Sunday, June 26, 2011


It’s called the Zafirro Iridium. Just a razor. But what a razor!

It has hypoallergenic artificially-grown sapphire blades (several magnitudes sharper than your average Bic), and a handle made of the extremely rare platinum-family metal, Iridium—the most corrosion-resistant material known, and mostly found on earth in crashed meteorites.

Those of you who go for this hair-removing implement will only have to shell out $100,000. Only!

But it comes with the satisfaction of knowing that Iridium maintains “good mechanical properties” at temperatures above 1600°C (if you happen to fall into molten lava, you can still shave). And, in case you were wondering, it has a very high boiling point. But watch out, it becomes a superconductor at temperatures below 0.14 K (about –273°C).

(In other words, don’t shave after putting the thing in your freezer. You might get a shock.)

"Iridium's modulus of elasticity is the second highest among the metals, only being surpassed by osmium. This, together with a high modulus of rigidity and a very low figure for Poisson's ratio (the relationship of longitudinal to lateral strain), indicate the high degree of stiffness and resistance to deformation that have rendered its fabrication into useful components a matter of great difficulty."

(My brother is a materials scientist.)

Despite these obvious limitations, our friends at the Portland, OR-based Bright Light Ventures have gone to great lengths to provide for us an implement that will give us an impressive, though a bit expensive, shave.

$100,000. Only.

(And it is dermatologist recommended.)

But you have to hurry. They're making only 99 of them. A limited run, off which Bright Light expects to make a cool $10 million.

A giant leap for mankind! Think about it—Iridium!

“Utilizing expertise in fields as varied as rocket engine manufacturing, nanotechnology, and particle physics, the Zafirro Iridium combines some of the rarest, strongest, and most technically advanced materials in existence.”

Bright Light claims this development is equivalent to the move from vacuum tubes to transistors, from CB radios to the iPhone. Etc.

So, forego that new sports car, yacht, fancy vacation, or other such piddling trifles. Get yourself a Zafirro Iridium. You could even leave it to your children after you die. Generations of luxurious shaves!

This other-worldly metal (one of the least abundant on earth: silver is 80 times more abundant; gold, 40 times; platinum, 10) was named after the Egyptian goddess Isis. This deity is the personification of the rainbow and supposedly links the gods to humanity.

But she can’t. Nope!

For there is one God,
and one mediator also
between God and men,
the man Christ Jesus.
1 Timothy 2:5

Not Isis, but Jesus.

And talking about other-worldly stones, Jesus is …

… a living stone
which has been rejected by men,
but is choice and precious
in the sight of God.
1 Peter 2:4

God incarnate, who came to save man from sin, died on the cross and rose on the third day, paying the full and final price for our sins.

And talk about value!

You were not redeemed
with perishable things
like silver or gold
from your futile way of life
inherited from your forefathers,
but with precious blood,
as of a lamb unblemished and spotless,
the blood of Christ.
1 Peter 1:1819

And what do you have to dole out for this deal?

Nothing! It’s free.

For by grace
you have been saved
through faith; …
it is the gift of God.
Ephesians 2:8

Free to all who believe, who have faith, who place their trust in Jesus Christ as their only God and Savior.

Get saved, not shaved!

Saturday, June 18, 2011


I became an Ohioan the other day. Just for a day, though. June 14, 2011.

Here’s the official text making me one of the sons of the “Buckeye State,” “The Mother of Presidents, “Birthplace of Aviation,” “The Heart of It All,” etc.

WHEREAS, the Dallas Mavericks won their first ever National Basketball Association championship, emerging victorious with a 10595 victory in Game 6; and

WHEREAS, the Dallas Mavericks displayed the loyalty, integrity and teamwork essential to victory before the entire country, affirming that these admirable traits are as crucial as talent and athleticism [Amen!]; and

WHEREAS, NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Dirk Nowitzki chose to re-sign with the Dallas Mavericks in the summer of 2010, forgoing free agency and keeping his talents in Dallas [Ouch! I feel for “King James” (LeBron)], thus remaining loyal to the team, city and fans for whom he played his entire career [OOOUUUCCCHHH!!!]; and

WHEREAS, the proud city of Cleveland and the entire state of Ohio share in the excitement of Dallas Mavericks fans everywhere.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, John R. Kasich, Governor of the State of Ohio, do hereby name the DALLAS MAVERICKS organization, friends, family and fans [Yup, that’s me!] as honorary Ohioans, with all privileges and honors therein, for the day of June 14, 2011.

On this 13th day of June, 2011                        [Ye olde seal of OH]

John R. Kasich

Less than 24 hours after the Mavericks’ victory came Kasich’s citation, loaded with jabs at NBA all-star LeBron James, who abandoned his Cleveland Cavaliers team last year to play with Miami Heat, in a move that forever soured James’ relationship with pretty much everyone in Ohio. Cavaliers fans still hurting from the snub dubbed our Mavs “Mavaliers” and “Cavericks” during the NBA Finals. Gov. Kasich added that “the proud city of Cleveland and the entire state of Ohio share in the excitement of Dallas Mavericks fans everywhere.” Nope, Ohioans won’t forgive or forget! (James’ reaction: “Get a life!”)

Anyhow, I spent all of June 14, basking in my good fortune of being an Ohioan and musing about how I would take advantage of those “privileges and honors” afforded to me. But by the time I finished musing, June 14 was history, and I was no longer an adopted son of Ohio. Oh, well! Didn’t do me much good.

But there is one adoption I’ve been through that has. A lot of good! Forever!

For you have not received a spirit of slavery
… but you have received
a spirit of adoption as sons
by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”
The Spirit Himself testifies …
that we are children of God,
and if children, heirs also,
heirs of God and
fellow heirs with Christ.
Romans 8:1517

Indeed, adopted into the family of God. All because of Jesus Christ.

But when
the fullness of the time came,
God sent forth His Son,
born of a woman, …
so that … we might receive
the adoption as sons.
Galatians 4:45

He paid for my sins and yours. And all who place their trust in Jesus Christ, God incarnate, as their Savior, are so adopted into the family of God, as children of God.

But as many as received Him,
to them He gave the right
to become children of God,
even to those who believe in His name.
John 1:12

And this “privilege and honor” will be ours forever.

Amazing grace! Wonderful love!

See how great a love
the Father has bestowed on us,
that we would be called
children of God.
1 John 3:1

Not just for a day. But forever!

Sunday, June 12, 2011


The other day the New York Times told us about a Cornell University studied that discovered something strange about Cheetos, America’s favorite “cheese-flavored cornmeal snack” (yup, that’s its official title, as proclaimed by Frito-Lay, another corporate son of Texas).

These things are made by blending corn with water; the concoction is heated under pressure and pushed through a die. When contacted with hot air, the steam in the mixture expands creating its terrific texture. The product is then fried. (Other imposters like Puffs, and Twists, and Paws, and Whirls, etc., are oven dried. Nope, not for purists!) The snack is then tumbled with a variety of flavors: Cheese n’ Bacon in Argentina, Requeijao in Brazil, Turkey and Blueberry (not together) in China, Seaweed in Indonesia, Masala in India, Kosher in Israel, Milk Chocolate in Japan, Ketchup in Poland, etc. However Cheese is the flagship flavor.

Chester Cheetah is the proud mascot of the product.

You need to know that Cheetos has a natural color. Guess what it is? Gray. Yes, gray! Without FD&C Yellow No. 6, the artificial color, our favorite “cheese-flavored cornmeal snack” would resemble either bacteria or worms (depending upon magnification).

So scientists at Cornell did a study. They fed subjects the naturally colored “larva/bacteria” version of Cheetos and the FD&C Yellow No. 6 painted ones. And followed this with a taste test. The naked Cheetos lost. Badly. Even though they tasted the same.

You see, the subjects fingers didn’t turn orange. Cheetos crumbs did not coat the clothes, hair, teeth, and tongue of consumers. Not a single yellow crumb on floor or table or napkin. And … apparently, the brain didn’t register a cheesy taste, either.“People ranked the taste as bland and said that they weren’t much fun to eat,” said Brian Wansink, a professor at Cornell University who directs its Food and Brand Lab.

Kantha Shelke, a food chemist and spokesperson for the Institute of Food Technologists declared, “Color is such a crucial part of the eating experience that banning dyes would take much of the pleasure out of life.” She’s right, especially when said color somehow, inexplicably, affects the brain. Indeed, color often defines flavor in taste tests. She reminded reporters that tasteless yellow coloring added to vanilla pudding makes it mysteriously taste like banana or lemon pudding.


"Color can actually override the other parts of the eating experience,” creating a psychological expectation of what it should taste like, and we end up actually tasting that expected tasted.
We taste what we expect to taste.

So, do you want to change your experiences? Lose weight? Golf better? Learn the guitar? You do? Well here’s how to do it.

Change what you think.

Well maybe that’s pushing it.

But the Bible tells us that we need to keep our minds on the right things, concentrate our brains on things of God, attend carefully to his priorities.

Set your mind on the things above,
not on the things that are on earth.
Colossians 3:2

Now what are these “things above”? Certainly not less than what Paul talks about …

Finally, brethren,
whatever is true,
whatever is honorable,
whatever is right,
whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely,
whatever is of good repute,
if there is any excellence and
if anything worthy of praise,
dwell on these things.
Philippians 4:8

Dwelling on the things of God yields benefits.

For the mind set on the flesh
is death, but
the mind set on the Spirit
is life and peace.
Romans 8:6

So, you wanna change your experiences? Think of God and godly things. Guaranteed to change your life!

Saturday, June 04, 2011


Now admit it. We’ve all done it. Staying in bed way beyond the time the alarm goes off. Often punching the snooze button umpteen times.

And if you’ve had trouble waking up, you’ve tried it all. Loud noises. Cacaphonic music. Alarm clocks at a distance, forcing you to get out of bed (to hit the snooze button and then get back to bed), or even—for the adventurous—multiple alarm clocks.

But nothing beats this device for motivating one to jump out from under the cozy coverings.

It’s diabolical—an alarm clock that shreds money! If you wake up immediately when it goes off, you save the cash. If not, it proceeds to atomize your Ben Franklin, slashed, gashed, and hashed, in front of your sleepy eyes.

Weird. But I bet it’s effective!

(Of course, deliberate destruction of U.S. currency will get the Feds after you—perhaps another powerful motivator to get you out of bed!)

In the comments section, one macho guy noted that cash was for sissies. He recommended using birth certificates instead!

Dangerous consequences are good motivators!

And the book of Proverbs had a few things to say about that …

Go to the ant, O sluggard,
Observe her ways and be wise,
Which, having no chief, officer or ruler,
Prepares her food in the summer
And gathers her provision in the harvest.
How long will you lie down, O sluggard?
When will you arise from your sleep?
Proverbs 6:6–9

Laziness casts into a deep sleep,
And an idle man will suffer hunger.
Proverbs 19:15

Do not love sleep,
or you will become poor;
Open your eyes,
and you will be satisfied with food.
Proverbs 20:13

“A little sleep, a little slumber,
A little folding of the hands to rest,”
Then your poverty will come as a robber
And your want like an armed man.
Proverbs 24:33–34

Scary stuff!

Another commenter on the website announcing this money-devouring machine provided a helpful take on this barbarous device. He suggested that on weekends, one could try reverse motivation by using, instead of cash, pictures of one’s “evil ex-” or “horrible boss.” Then, one could just stay in bed longer, letting those foes and adversaries get shredded!

In other words, pleasant consequences are good motivators, too.

Here is the Proverbs writer again …

My son, let them not vanish from your sight;
Keep sound wisdom and discretion,
So they will be life to your soul
And adornment to your neck.
Then you will walk in your way securely
And your foot will not stumble.
When you lie down,
you will not be afraid;
When you lie down,
your sleep will be sweet.
Proverbs 3:21–24


The fear of the LORD leads to life,
So that one may sleep satisfied,
untouched by evil.
Proverbs 19:23

Yup, that's good reason to sleep in.

So go on. Take an extra hour or two. Deadlines come, deadlines go. May schedules perish; may timetables vanish. A hex on calendars, and a pox on clocks.

For those not persuaded by this line of subtle argument, who, seeking to capitalize on every millisecond, have, by now, gotten keenly interested in obtaining their own personal cash-consuming contraption, I hate to disappoint you. Apparently this gizmo is still only in the concept stage, yet to be manufactured.

In the meantime, remember ...

It is vain for you to rise up early,
To retire late,
To eat the bread of painful labors;
For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.
Psalm 127:2

Where’s that snooze button …