#NationalCoffeeDay

#NationalCoffeeDay

#NationalCoffeeDay- My drink of choice tonight was Mocha Frappe from McDonalds

Today is a day that people who are connoisseurs of a certain kind of bean can get in on. It is National Coffee Day! Now, I know, every day is a celebration of coffee, right? Well, maybe not to the members of the faith that I was raised in, but I can drink the beverage guilt-free now! So how did you celebrate the day?

Stores across the nation had special deals on some coffee drinks. Ironically, the store one would think would offer their customers some kind of bargain on their specialty item did not really have a sale, but Starbucks celebrated today, and will continue to celebrate through Sunday by having no menu boards. Instead, Starbucks is sharing information with customers about how their coffee purchases have made a difference, and will educate on the company’s commitment to coffee from ethical and sustainable sources.

Several other offers were available. A local coffee shop in our area used 20% of the proceeds made today on purchases to go toward Puerto Rico’s hurricane disaster relief.

Fun facts about coffee:

 80% of adults consume caffeine every day in the United States.

The Food and Drug Administration says the average intake is 200 milligrams,which is about two five-ounce cups of coffee.

The original definition of coffee means “wine.”

Coffee was originally named qahwah, came from the Yemen term for wine. The Turks called it kahveh, then the Dutch referred to it as koffie. Donald Trump prefers covfefe. Just kidding, I had to get the joke in somehow.

Decaf is not really caffeine-free.

An eight ounce brewed cup of decaf coffee actually has two-to-12 milligrams of caffeine, while a regular cup of coffee has anywhere from 95 to 200 milligrams. Not a whole lot of caffeine, but you are not escaping it altogether by pouring the decaf in your cup.

 Brazil produces most of the world’s coffee.

40% of the world’s coffee comes out of Brazil- twice as much as Colombia and Vietnam(who come in 2nd and 3rd in production).

Coffee is the second most traded commodity on our planet.

The Global Exchange tells us that there are approximately 25 million farmers in over 50 countries involved in producing coffee. It comes in 2nd to oil.

Mormons aren’t the only ones who have banned coffee.

The first ban seems to originate in Mecca in 1511. Why?  Leaders believed it stimulated radical thinking.  Italian clergymen in the 16th century tried to ban coffee because they believed it to be “satanic.” That ban was lifted by Pope Clement VII, a coffee lover in 1600. Ottoman leader Murad IV created punishments for coffee drinkers in 1623  which included beatings and being thrown into the sea. In 1746, Swedes weren’t even allowed to have cups or plates for coffee. In 1777, Frederick the Great of Prussia declared that beer was superior to coffee, so he proclaimed a manifesto to prevent coffee from being chosen over beer.

There may be some health benefits to drinking coffee

According to WebMD, research shows that coffee drinkers, compared to nondrinkers, are less likely to have type 2 diabetesParkinson’s disease, and dementia. They also have fewer cases of certain cancers, heart rhythm problems, and strokes.

 

Now I leave you with Ralph’s World “The Coffee Song.” Let me know what your favorite drink is by leaving a comment below!

Project 475 Kits Will Technologically Prepare the Next Generation

Project 475 aConsidering that the younger generation is addicted to tech, it is up to the older one to teach them how to make better tech. This is why there is such a push for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mechanics) education, and there have been a lot of educational toys to help with this.

The issue is that many of these educational toys are muy expensivo. As someone who has written a book on Lego MINDSTORMS, I know that those kits cost a few hundred dollars. Wouldn’t it be easier to create a kit that can teach kids about how to create educational electronic kits with nothing more than materials found in the average home?

That is just what the 475 Kits are designed to do, and it is quite a bright idea. Not only that, these kits will be available to users on a subscription basis, so you get a new kit every once in a while around a theme.

Now, this idea is just a Kickstarter project, at least until it can get its proper funding (and you should give to it). The plan is that the first kit be a Home Audio Kit. The first would be a Collaboard for using resistance using graphite pencils, the second is an electric ukulele, and then a DJ Mixing Station, which you can see in the image.

All of these can be done with the Andruino Board and materials like bottle caps, CDs, and a hot glue gun. In fact, if you click on the link below, you will see a video of the next project, which is a hand grasping.

Hand Grasp

Project 475 bYou can imagine what this does for the user as he or she can create something of their own with simple materials. Suddenly, creating some technical creation becomes easier, and you don’t have to buy a lot of expensive equipment, like a 3-D printer and such.

Well, I am looking forward to the day when these kits become available for subscription, as these 475 Kits will make a smarter and more tech-savvy generation. Until then, please go over to project 475’s Kickstarter page and donate to them.

NFL and Patriotism Myths and Rumors Debunked

As posted not long ago, an immense pet peeve of mine is when people spread rumors on the internet. Once they begin to go around, they spread like wildfire, and many begin to use it as cold, hard fact. The #TakeaKnee and #IStand debacle is tearing a deeper hole in our country, and the rumors being spread do not help. I’ve even been guilty of not researching something I posted on Facebook about this, so I’m going to clear up some of these rumors today.

A letter from NFL Owners Saying Their Players Must Stand

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This letter has been attributed both to Clark Hunt, and also to Jerry Jones- owner of the Dallas Cowboys. This meme has been going around about Jerry Jones for nearly a year, and the Cowboys tried to show how wrong people were about it by kneeling before the National Anthem with Mr. Jones, and then standing- arms linked during.

Jerry Jones with his players before the National Anthem Photo credit:AP

Jerry Jones with his players before the National Anthem Photo credit:AP

According to Yahoo Sports, Jerry Jones has never forbidden his players to protest by taking a knee, but he HAS shared that the anthem is close to his heart.

Members of Congress Refuse to Stand for the Pledge

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This picture was posted on one of my Facebook posts by a friend. It was stated that it was Congress, with some members protesting. This is actually the New York senate in a leadership crisis during 2009. More details can be found on TruthorFiction.com. Yes, it is true that these are Democrats who are refusing to stand while the room is being led in the Pledge of Allegiance. It is false that this is currently going on, or that this is happening in Congress.

There have been House lawmakers “taking a knee” on the floor.

NFL Players Required to Stand According to League Rules?

A copy/paste statement has spread through Facebook land saying,“The specific rule pertaining to the national anthem is found on pages A62-63 of the NFL League Rulebook. It states: ‘The National Anthem must be played prior to every NFL game, and all players must be on the sideline for the National Anthem. ‘During the National Anthem, players on the field and bench area should stand at attention, face the flag, hold helmets in their left hand, and refrain from talking. The home team should ensure that the American flag is in good condition… …It should be pointed out to players and coaches that we continue to be judged by the public in this area of respect for the flag and our country. Failure to be on the field by the start of the National Anthem may result in discipline, such as fines, suspensions, and/or the forfeiture of draft choice(s) for violations of the above, including first offenses.’”

News sources such as this one from KREM news have verified that there is no such rule in the NFL books.

 

NFL Players Have Not Been on the Field for the National Anthem Before 2009

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This is one that I failed to check before posting. According to Snopes, this is a mixture of truth and fiction. The truth is that players were not required to be on the field until 2009 during primetime games. This was due to network timing issues. The anthem wasn’t televised during that time. On other games like Sunday, players lined the field during the anthem.

The NFL was given monies by the Department of Defense, but the time period doesn’t quite align with the years given, so it can’t be said that it had a direct relation to what was happening with the players lining up on the field, so I will retract using this meme as evidence of bad patriotism, although I do have an issue with taxpayer dollars going toward recruitment advertising at NFL football games.

I assume there are more memes floating around that contain falsehoods, so if you see more floating around, let us know in the comments or on our Facebook page.

ABC’s “The Good Doctor” Starts Out With Not so Good Reviews

Freddie Highmore in The Good Doctor(Photo: ABC/Liane Hentscher)

Freddie Highmore in The Good Doctor(Photo: ABC/Liane Hentscher)

TechnoMark thought this would be a good show for me to write about since I’m knowledgeable about Autism, and I like hospital dramas like Grey’s Anatomy.

Having only seen the pilot episode, I can’t say if I like the show or not. It received a lukewarm reception from many reviewers such as this one from The Vulture and Rotten Tomatoes has the show at only 31 percent, although the audience generally seems to like it at 92 percent.

The show, from the makers of House, features the main character, Dr. Shawn Murphy, played by Freddie Highmore- who does a pretty commendable acting job on the show. Of course, he has been great since he was a young kid in movies like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, August Rush, and The Spiderwick Chronicles.

If you haven’t seen it yet, the premise of the show is Murphy’s mentor, Dr. Aaron Glassman(played by Richard Schiff), is trying to convince the hospital’s board of directors to accept him as part of the hospital’s team in spite of his Autism. Frankly, I find it surprising that a hospital board could have such a misunderstanding of Autism, but I suppose it could happen.

The pilot episode should have been longer, because trying to jam in multiple back stories did a disservice to the show. Also, do all hospitals have doctors getting it on in the on-call room? I guess this is a way to introduce characters in a medical show now, but it seems laughable to me.

Is this show a credit to Autism awareness? Some people are pointing out that only 10 percent of people with Autism are savants, like this character. I was asked this summer if my son had a special niche like being able to play music by ear, or being a math genius. Well, I guess at age 2 1/2, he did teach himself how to read, but you wouldn’t know that today as he struggles with comprehension(he’s good at spelling, though!). I wouldn’t say that he has any special savant talents, though. I guess he would be in the 90 percent category. I did appreciate that Shawn was able to show compassion and emotion, as many people tend to think that people on the spectrum have more Vulcan tendencies.

I thought the show could have some merits, though it might take another episode or two before people start to enjoy it. Do I see it lasting 8 seasons as House, or 14 seasons like Grey’s Anatomy? I don’t think that would happen, but I’ve been surprised before.

#TakeAKnee and #IStand: What is Patriotism?

Colin Kaepernick started a movement when he took a knee during the National Anthem last year to protest the unjust treatment of black people by police. He isn’t playing for a team this year, but his example continues.
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Friday night, Donald Trump caused a stir when he said that the NFL owners should fire any “son of a bitch” who took a knee of protest during the traditional National Anthem. He suggested that fans get up and walk out if players do that.

On Sunday, the Seattle Seahawks and Tennessee Titans made big news as they did not take part in the national anthem, remaining in their locker rooms during the time. Many other NFL teams showed their solidarity on Sunday and Monday- whether by linking arms or kneeling. A couple of singers of the National Anthem also took a knee while singing. Meghan Linsey, a former contestant of The Voice, knelt at the end of the song she was singing with the absence of the Seahawk and Titan players.

It’s not just the NFL players. Stevie Wonder, Pharrell Williams, even X Files stars, David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson have joined in support.

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You may not stand (or in this case, kneel) with Kaepernick, but America needs to hear the message that is trying to be conveyed.  We have come far as a country, but there is still unjust things happening. There are still people of every race, creed, and sexual orientation who are denied the basic freedom of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as stated in the Declaration of Independence.

Now, I hear the people who are offended that people would disrespect our flag- and in turn, disrespect those who have given their lives. I hear people say,”If you don’t like our Country, leave!” I think some people would like a law that makes it mandatory for people to stand and honor the flag or the anthem. That isn’t patriotism. That kind of attitude goes against everything that our veterans have fought for. Many veterans in the wake of this controversy have said that they took an oath to serve our country so that we all could have freedom.

In the video below, our former president graciously explains why we should consider the perspective of the protesters, and those who are offended. “Part of what makes this country special is that we respect people’s rights to have a different opinion and to make different decisions about how they want to express their concerns. The test of our fidelity to our Constitution, to freedom of speech, to our Bill of Rights is not when it’s easy, but when it’s hard. We fight sometimes so people can do things we disagree with, but that’s what freedom means in this country…”

He goes on to say that he hopes that those who kneel in protest will listen to those who may be offended by their choice of protest because they lost a loved one in the military, and he also hopes that the offended side will listen to why people are protesting because of the loss of a loved one who they feel was unjustly shot.

 

John Pavlovitz said,”America as an ideal, (the one from the Anthem) is about speaking boldly and demanding justice and giving voice to the voiceless, because that’s the way you respect the freedom. That is how you show gratitude for the gift. That is how you honor those who died to give you that freedom.”

Praying in Public and the Stink it Causes

OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 06:  Tim Tebow <a href=

#15 of the Denver Broncos prays before their game against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum on November 6, 2011 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)” width=”584″ height=”405″ /> OAKLAND, CA – NOVEMBER 06: Tim Tebow #15 of the Denver Broncos prays before their game against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum on November 6, 2011 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)


Praying in public has made news headlines recently.

A school in Alabama in the Lee County district received a complaint from a parent through the organization “Freedom From Religion” about a public prayer that was led by a student over the PA system before a football game. The letter detailed some U.S. Supreme Court rulings about public prayers in school.

One of the examples included was the 2000 ruling of Santa Fe Independent School District vs. Doe, which concluded that even student-led or initiated prayer over a public loud speaker at football games was in violation of the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution.

The area schools decided to stop the practice, but fans were not happy. Friday night at Smiths Station High School, attendees yelled out part of the Lord’s Prayer before the game- the same prayer that was read by a student over the loud speaker to bring this all into question.

A month ago, a high school football coach from Bremerton, Washington tried to convince the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that he should have been allowed to lead his players in prayer immediately after games on the field. He failed to convince them to force the Bremerton schools to reinstate him and allow him to lead prayers again.

So why are Christians so upset when they are not allowed to use the schools for their public prayer? The right to pray and practice our religion is not being taken away. I remember my teacher in my high school Government class teaching us that “your right to swing your fist ends where my nose begins.” We certainly have the right to pray. We don’t have the right to expect that everyone else should take part in our prayers.

Matthew Chapter 5:5,6 says, “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. Truly I tell you, they already have their reward. But when you pray, go into your inner room, shut your door, and pray to your Father, who is unseen. And your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

Oh, and I used this picture of Tim Tebow, but I’m not inferring that he shouldn’t have been allowed to take a knee and do his thing, just as I support the athletes who take a knee during the National Anthem. The difference is that Tim Tebow isn’t using a government-run forum to lead an audience in prayer.

God doesn’t need a microphone or PA system to hear our prayers. When Christians throw tantrums and yell “persecution” for not being able to use public forums to lead audiences in prayer, they are not shining a good light on Christianity.

 

Will the Church Fill the Government Role of Healthcare?

Many have already heard of the Cassidy-Graham legislation that the GOP is trying to get passed through quickly to try to get rid of the Affordable Care Act. They are trying to sneak it through before the end of the month so that they can repeal it with a simple majority- which is 51 votes. This will kick 30 million people off the healthcare that they desperately need. It’s been said that Christians don’t think that the government should step in to fill the need that the church is supposed to be filling, but will that happen?

There are many medical missions that go out to other countries. There are even medical missions here in the United States, such as Operation Renewed Hope that provides one day clinics through a host church. Many Christians also volunteer at their local free clinics. These programs are wonderful and useful, but they can’t begin to cover every needy person in this country and their medical expenses. Our college town has a free clinic that I know is staffed by Christians, but even they can’t take on all the medical needs of every needy person in our area, and even these charitable places accept Medicaid funding. They can’t run it on volunteers alone. They also don’t provide therapies that disabled people in our area(including my son) need to improve their lives. These programs are going to get cut if this small majority get their way.

Can your church afford to take care of the medical costs of your own pastor- let alone every member or non-member in your community who can’t afford it? I have seen the charitableness of church people, and it is extremely admirable. I believe the people who give their money to help the poor and the sick will be rewarded, but I’ve heard far too many people say that it’s not their problem to be assured that Christians would be able to take over the responsibility that the government has been doing for years.

Jesus did call for us to take care of the sick and needy. Matthew 25 has some strong words about those who do not do so. Nowhere in the Bible does it speak about the government not being able to do so, as well. If the Church stepped up and provided healthcare for ALL- without judgement or strings attached, maybe people would be more apt to believe that we don’t need the government.

The American Medical Association, AARP, and the American Cancer Society are just a few groups who have come out against this bill. Jimmy Kimmel has a lot to say about it

So, you don’t like the ACA, or ObamaCare(as everyone who despises it likes to refer to it), a bi-partisan group of senators are working together to make a better plan- one that does not include ripping out all the benefits of the needy in our country. Please call your senators and tell them you don’t want healthcare to be ripped away from those who need it. Show the nation that Christianity is pro-life for all- not just the unborn fetus.

 

The Pokemon Go Autumn Equinox Celebration!

pokemon_go_equinox2017-600x315I’m sure that I can’t be the only one that feels like they are the only one who still plays Pokemon GO. Yeah, remember how hot this game was in the summer of 2016, but it kind of fizzled out when the weather got cold. Now, over one year later, there is an Autumn Equinox celebration with bonuses for users.

It will start on September 22 at 1 PM ET or 4 PM ET, and according to VG 24/7, users have the opportunity to earn double the normal Stardust for catching Pokemon.

There are also some other bonuses like hatching 2 km eggs that allow the Chansey, Mareep, Larvitar, and much more. I am guessing that you probably couldn’t have hatched those guys from a 2 km egg before, because I think I have only hatched them from 5 or 10 km eggs.

In addition to that, there will be special boxes available at the in-game shop that includes some Lucky Eggs, Lure Modules, as well as some Super-Incubators that can hatch eggs at 1.5 times faster the normal rate.

Then there is another bonus which is that any new registration of a new Pokemon into the Pokedex will earn players triple the normal XP. So if you want to get that Raikou, Entei, or Suicune in your area, you should go an do that.

So if you are the type that is still playing, get in on this before it ends on October 2nd at 1 PM PT (4 PM ET).

I want to see Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs Right Now! Darn you, actual release date!

I have to admit that I am not a big fan of Wes Anderson, but I love the pastel look of his latest works such as The Grand Budapest Hotel and Moonrise Kingdom. Then there is his animated masterpiece of Fantastic Mr. Fox, which I feel is so under-appreciated.

If you haven’t seen Fantastic Mr. Fox, it has an all-star cast and a unique style of animation which features a lot of fur and an odd frame rate. Also, if you haven’t see it yet, then you should.

Looks like Mr. Anderson is up to his old and new tricks with Isle of Dogs. The first trailer popped up today, and it is a film that Disney and Pixar would not touch unless there is some post-apocalyptic future that I don’t know about.

Yeah, this film feels very dark, with it taking place 20 years in the future as a mysterious dog flu hits Japan, forcing the government to banish all dogs to Trash Island. From there, it is about a young boy who journeys to the canine penal colony to find his doggie, because I would do that as an adult.

Of course, I am going to have to wait March 23rd, 2018 to see it, and I’m not certain if I will take my kids to see it. According to W magazine, it features “Tilda Swinton, Bryan Cranston, Liev Schreiber, Greta Gerwig, Frances McDormand, Jeff Goldblum, Harvey Keitel, F. Murray Abraham, Ken Watanabe, Courtney B. Vance, Bob Balaban, and several Japanese stars including Akira Takayama as well. The only surprise is that Anderson didn’t find characters for Angelica Huston and Jason Schwartzman to voice, as well”.

Amber Cantorna’s “Refocusing my Family” Tour and Release Date

Amber Cantorna was a daughter raised in a Christian home. Not just any Christian home, though. Her father was part of the Focus on the Family team- an executive for 30 years. When she came out to her family at the age of 27 as being gay, her family was torn apart. Amber has written a book called “Refocusing my Family,” which details her struggles coming out, being disowned by her family, and rediscovering her relationship with God.

In an interview with the Denver Post, Amber talked about her struggles with her faith and being a gay Christian.

” I think right now I’m at a point where I’m questioning more. All that I’ve seen Christians do in the name of God is so disheartening. I think I’ll always be a person of faith and have a relationship with God. But it’s embarrassing to call yourself a Christian with the way that so many people are treating others in the name of God. I still identify as a Christian but very much more on the progressive side.

There are still things that I’m working through and processing. Well what does that mean? Do I believe this still? Do I need to look at this differently?

But in a way, it’s also very freeing. I don’t feel like I need to have all the answers like I used to. Growing up, we had to have the answers. You couldn’t be wrong. There was no room for doubt.

What I love now about my faith community at Highlands is that there’s so much room to question and to doubt and there’s no fear in that. I feel very comfortable living in a space of mystery where I don’t know and I don’t feel like I have to know to be a Christian as long as I have my faith in God. A lot of these other things really don’t matter as much as people make them out to matter.”

Amber’s book is available on Amazon now, and she will be doing a book tour- with her first release event in Denver, Colorado on October 1st. To find out more about her events, you can visit her site.

For those LGBTQ+ people struggling with their own navigation of who they are and coming out process, Amber Cantorna has a non-profit called Beyond.