Published June 29th, 2017 by

I spent a couple hours arranging my upcoming book and, so far, it looks like I’ll have a 175-200 page general Introduction to the Baha’i Faith for Christian Readers. Actually, I’ll try to make it accessible to any reader, but it will be written from my perspective as an Evangelical Christian — I’ll be presenting the material in a semi-autobiographical fashion. There are a couple of reasons for this approach, but the most practical consideration for presenting this material to someone new to the Baha’i Faith is where we find ourselves in history — we are entering in on the “ground floor” of Baha’i history and development as a distinct religion.… Read the rest

Published December 19th, 2015 by

Many men wish their handwriting was better and I’m one of them. This primer, How to Improve Penmanship, at The Art of Manliness, “will teach you everything you need to know about improving your cursive penmanship.” At least, that’s their claim. I have this notion that by training my mind, eyes, and hands to improve my penmanship, other skills I’m cultivating will follow. There are indications that writing by hand improves your cognitive abilities, but I’m hoping my art and creative writing will also benefit. We shall see. One specific writing skill I would like to acquire is the draftsman or architectural style of writing.… Read the rest

Published November 11th, 2015 by

I have to concur with the writer, that “racking up mile after mile is difficult, mind-expanding, and hypnotic—just like putting words down on a page.” But, it’s also energizing and freeing to be out on the road, around town or through the woods, working out ideas and problems, step by step, mile by mile.

Freedom, consciousness, and wildness: Running offers writers escape with purpose. When confronted with “structural problems” in her writing as the result of a “long, snarled, frustrating and sometimes despairing morning of work,” Joyce Carol Oates would ease her writing blocks with afternoon runs. For Oates and many other writers, running is process and proves especially useful for the type of cloistered, intensive work they do.

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Published May 25th, 2015 by

This was something I posted back  in 2005 and I thought it might be worthwhile to look back to where we’ve been and see how far we’ve come.

It has long been a dream of mine to redecorate our home in a modern theme, but it looks like that will have to wait for another 5-10 years. In the interim, we have decided upon a retro look and have been scouring thrift stores, garage sales and eBay for furniture and accessories from the same era as the ribbon-cutting on our home, i.e. 1961.couch

Today, Denise, and I were leaving a disappointing garage sale, when we happened upon a young gentleman (who happpened to be from New Zealand), standing in the driveway of his new home, next to this sectional.

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Published December 21st, 2014 by

The ministerial work must be carried on purely for God and the salvation of souls… They who engage in this as a common work, to make a trade of it for their worldly livelihood, will find that they have chosen a bad trade, though a good employment. Self-denial is of absolute necessity in every Christian, but it is doubly necessary in a minister, as without it he cannot do God an hour’s faithful service. Hard studies, much knowledge, and excellent preaching, if the ends be not right is but more glorious hypocritical sinning. Reverend Richard Baxter1

I’ve been blogging off and on for years, finally arriving at this moment when I can put proverbial pen to paper, in order to recount, report and reflect upon over 30 years of formal ministry as the director of two apologetic groups, Ex-Mormons for Jesus and Jude 23, as well as serving in the role of an elder (pastor or overseer) and church planter for most of that time.… Read the rest

Published October 11th, 2014 by

Blogging is a dangerous business for the Christian to engage in: particularly when commenting on culture, politics, religion, art, humor, sexuality or other volatile subject matter.

One can come off sounding self-righteous and condescending, as I often do — being boorish. Then, there’s also guilt by association: “That’s fine coming from the religion that gave us the Inquisition, the Crusades and the Salem Witch Hunts.” From the other direction, you open yourself up to insults by, so-called Christians, who want to hunt down witches, launch a crusade against the infidels or turn you over to the inquisitors! Indeed:

Sufferings must be the Churches most ordinary lot, and Christians indeed must be self-denying Cross-bearers, even where there are none but formal nominal Christians to be the Cross-makers… Richard Baxter

I was studying Paul’s letter to the Romans and reached for Karl Barth’s classic commentary.… Read the rest

Published June 1st, 2008 by

wordpress logoI just upgraded to WordPress 2.5 and it was deceptively simple. Now, I can use the Visual Rich Editor, which was not supported in earlier versions of Safari and WordPress! I actually liked coding the posts manually, but truth be told… I’m kinda sloppy and I’d have to go back and edit my posts about a million times.

Second, I can try out the latest plugins, including Akismet. That should save me even more time, not having to deal with SPAM.

Finally, I like the new look and feel… it’s almost like beginning all over again. So far, I highly recommend WordPress 2.5.… Read the rest

Published May 29th, 2008 by


Now, here’s a blog I get. Jonah travels the length and breadth of America, sampling the fare from taquerias of all sizes, posting his reviews on the Burrito Blog. As of this writing, he hasn’t sampled the best yet, which can only be found at El Tepeyac. ¿Es verdad, mi familia?

Now, if you’re ever in the Los Angeles area, you want to head over to East LA and find 812 N Evergreen Ave., between Brooklyn and Wabash. El Tepayac is across the street from a large Catholic church, in a neutral zone, and there’s usually a real long line outside.… Read the rest

Published February 27th, 2007 by

iListen and Schindler's ListI think this is a first for me… I’m blogging while watching a film — Schindler’s List. I’ve already seen it once, but that was years ago. Anyway, I was thinking about getting iListen for dictation and transcription. I do most of my best thinking in the morning, while I’m commuting and doing production/deadline work. I’ve tried a cassette dictation machine ten years ago, but that just didn’t work. I started looking into iListen to use with my computer at home, comparing it to other dictation/transcription software and hardware solutions. Then, it occurred to me… I have a video iPod.… Read the rest

Published January 30th, 2007 by

That’s the vista or view of Julio Ojeda-Zapata in his review, Vista’s pretty, but it’s a shameless Mac OS X imitator Bottom line. He sums up Windows Vista this way:

Get a Mac with OS X unless your home-computer needs are Windows-specific, or if the fine Media Center is a must for you. You likely won’t regret a Vista-PC purchase, but I’m betting you’ll enjoy a Mac much more.

An amusing tongue-in-cheek video by David Pogue covers the same ground in a more creative fashion. I have to say that I use Windows XP at work and I really don’t mind it that much.… Read the rest

Published September 30th, 2006 by

MySpace SucksYoung People Flock To Second-Tier Sites Amid Shifting Tastes

This is welcome news, as far as I’m concerned. I just signed up on Facebook and the interface was noticeably less cluttered and usable. I’m not a huge fan of these new-fangled social networking sites, but from a design perspective things are starting to look up. As I pointed out when Ditty Talk rolled out, the MySpace design is just plain ugly and whenever someone adds a photo or video to their page, it gets pushed all out of shape and the user ends up scrolling in all directions.

These new contenders have some neat features that MySpace lacks:

Among the new social-networking sites is one called XuQa.com, run by San Francisco start-up business iVentster Inc., which lets users play games against their online friends and offers awards to the top scorers.Read the rest

Published August 19th, 2006 by

I found a blogger’s home away from home at Panera Bread and it’s habit-forming. Denise likes to do her shopping in Rocklin and I like to spend time with Denise, so we drive down, she drops me off at Panera and she does her thing, while I do mine. Then, we usually get a bite to eat at a taqueria or barbecue joint.

Denise and I learned to love Panera when we visited Emma in Chapel Hill. Because it was overcast or raining the entire time we were there and Emma worked all day, Denise and I spent a considerable amount of time in the comfortable environs that are Panera, catching up on email, eBaying, blogging or just chatting over a hot, caffeinated beverage.… Read the rest

Published June 2nd, 2006 by


This weekend, I’m cleaning up all of my eMail SPAM and webforms on my sites. So far, success! The highlight is this anti-SPAM plugin for WordPress that really works. It’s called Did You Pass Math? and requires the commenter to solve a simple arithmetic problem before the comment is submitted. Fortunately, robots aren’t smart enough to know that 2 + 2 equals 4… yet.

Next, I’ll be checking out some spell checkers… The last one I tried didn’t work.… Read the rest

Published May 31st, 2006 by
Published April 8th, 2006 by

Today I checked out the statistics on my sites for the first time since moving to GoDaddy ten months ago. I was pleasantly surprised to find that my Overcoming Necrotizing Fasciitis site had over 1.5 million server requests and 213,000 page hits in less than a year. When the flesh-eating bacteria is in the news, traffic picks up and we average a couple prayer requests a week for someone in the hospital suffering from the disease. Students of all ages contact me for interviews or permission to use the materials on the site for assignments, papers and other class projects at least a couple of times a month.… Read the rest

Published February 11th, 2006 by

Well, today I got my old blog completely rolled over into PietyHill Press and have all the posts categorized in the navigation column. I’ll spruce up the blog roll and then track down all my old images and upload them. The next project will be to re-skin this blog… what do you think of a fall colors theme?… Read the rest

Published January 8th, 2006 by

I have a plan. PietyHill Press, hosted on my own domain, will be my main blog; the hub from which all spokes will emanate from. I will be reworking and tweaking this blog before the watching world. Well, actually, before myself and the one or two folks who may wander in here from time to time. This will be the vehicle I will use to learn PHP/MySQL, WordPress and related issues. The goal is to become an accomplished, sought after designer in about four years, when I will retire from the Postal Service.

I also hope to get a few dedicated blogs going on Blogger, which I will link to from this blog.… Read the rest

Published January 4th, 2006 by

Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!

Well, it starts here… Thanks to Levi for explaining Mac file structure, while passing along PHP/MySQL installation and configuration secrets. To show my appreciation, I am in the process of bidding on some obscure CDs on eBay.

Kudos to GoDaddy. After reading all the horror stories in preparation for installation, I can honestly say your MySQL activation and configuration instructions were absolutely simple. I can close the 40 tabs I have open to various GoDaddy/WordPress discussions and installation nightmares. The big problem it seems is hosting on a Windows server vs Linux.… Read the rest

Published November 25th, 2005 by


Back in February of this year, I began this blog in a fit of pragmatism. With youthful exuberence I set out to set the blogging world on fire about a year ago:

That brings me to this blog. It was supposed to be designed in WordPress and I intended to learn PHP/MySQL to exercise full control. But, I found that I am not prepared for that level of commitment yet. The dream of designing and implementing a beautiful, functional blog continues to live on and it will be realized, as time permits. But, I cannot bear to put off blogging and publishing a moment longer.Read the rest

Published October 14th, 2005 by

I just got home and my head feels pressurized… like it’s about to explode. So, I don’t have anything too profound except that in my meanderings this morning when my head felt like it was imploding, I came across these funny jpegs. The first one was found at Nacional sos el Decano del Futbol Uruguayo, which appears to be some sort of soccer fansite. The Salisbury’s always felt a certain kinship with the Simpson’s… perhaps that was all in my head.
Next, I found this jpeg titled “We found Nemo!” at Middle Age Madness. It made me hungry… a Philadelphia Roll, perhaps?… Read the rest

Published March 24th, 2005 by

I’m tired… and, when I’m worn out, I can’t stand the thought of losing productive time. If I’m in pain, I will rent a film or do something creative like work in Photoshop or fine tune some HTML or CSS. I’ve found these to be the most effective pain management techniques. But, when I’m just plain tired, I’ll do busy work, like add links to the left column of the blog. I hope you like some of the new ones.

Oh, and even though it says to “Read more” down here, don’t believe it… there’s no more to read.… Read the rest

Published March 13th, 2005 by

Expandable Post Summaries
I had a few minutes to work on some formatting for the blog and found this neat trick…You see, with this little hack on the Blogger template, I can create the illusion that I am becoming a better writer — saying more with less. The truth is, it entices the reader with a line or two and then lures them into another massive tome, sucking away more of their valuable time.

But, it does have an advantage… the reader can scan the main page to see if there’s anything remotely interesting and decide if they want to find amusement here or go do something valuable with their time, like save the world from catastrophic climate change.… Read the rest

Published February 14th, 2005 by

Okay, so I’ve worked on the template and I’m liking the formatting… I added an up-to-date photo for my profile and a “cast of characters” over there in the left column, so I don’t have to explain who each member of the family is every time I mention them. I also added my favorite blogs.

Here’s the burning question: When you click on a link, do you prefer the page to open in a new window or do you like to use your “back” button/command?

With tabbed browsing here in modern browsers and Explorer soon to play catch-up, this may all be academic.… Read the rest

Published February 12th, 2005 by

It looks like I’m ready to roll. I’ve finished my first post, created my profile, set up some files on my domain to link to and I even tweeked the template just a bit.

This is a real load off of my shoulders… now I can relax a little, redesign my old sites, perhaps come up with a few other designs and settle down to learn PHP and MySQL. PHP looks like it should be pretty straightforward, but I ran into a roadblock with MySQL. I think that’s because (I hate to admit it), I am still ignorant when it comes to the inner workings of Macintosh OS X.… Read the rest