Airborne Chicken

   It is not often that I condescend to meddle with those conceited, cackling nuisances of a bird species, commonly called chickens; but when I do, I always regret it heartily for at least three days.  They’re all very well, lying serenely on your plate with a nice, crispy coating over them, but in any other way, shape, or form, chickens have ever been my mortal foes.

   We live on a five acre hobby farm with twenty chickens or so running loose, free to amble up and stare you out of countenance as you go innocently about your business, leaving moreover small but revolting traps across the yard.  To crown it all, they have a distinct tendency – especially on those days when we’d stayed up laughing and joking until the wee hours of the morning – to crow and squawk and cackle directly beneath my window at sunrise… Continue reading

The Affordable Care Act, Calorie Labeling, and You

                “Every year our government adds thousands and thousands of pages of new rules,” John Stossel stated in his TV special, War on the Little Guy.   Now a new regulation is scheduled to go into effect – one that FDA commissioner Margaret Hamburg says “will help consumers make informed choices for themselves and their families.”  Vending machine operators that run more than twenty machines must post calorie counts (when not otherwise visible before purchase) for sale items.  This rule, buried in the 2010 Affordable Care Act, is to go into full effect July 26th, 2018 – it took the FDA four years just to spell out a regulation that would fulfil the ACA’s provisions.  In fact, their final ruling even regulates “type size, color, and contrast requirements for calorie declarations in or on the vending machines.”   While this regulation will clearly have costs for the industries it affects, the FDA contends that it will “enable consumers to make informed and healthful dietary choices.”  It sounds fantastic!  Operators spend a little on calorie labels, and now all vending machine consumers can be healthy!  Is this the case?  Do the benefits really outweigh the costs?

Continue reading

Conquering Math

So there I was, trying to drill some smattering of math into this obsessed child.  “Leon!” I called.  “Leon!  Stop playing conquistador and come back to your studies!  Look here, see this problem?  You got it all wrong!  68 out of 88 is not 110%!”

“But ma’am, you have always told me to give 110%!  When I am older, that is what I will demand from my soldiers!  Why would I put 77%?”

“And there you go again!  What is this soldier thing?  We are doing math!  Math is precise and exact…”

“So will my soldiers be,” Leon interrupted in a very definite tone.  “They will be precise!  There will be no disregarding my orders.  Everything will be exact!  No one out of line.  No one a minute late!”

“Then look!  Before you can command, you must be able to obey.  See, I am telling you.  You must divide…”

Continue reading

Poverty Part II: The Biblical Diagnosis

What is the worst state in which a man can be found?  Is it a state of material destitution?  Or is there something more devastating, more horrible – a state that affects him not only now, but forever?  As we know from Scripture, the “light affliction” of this life “is but for a moment” (II Corinthians 4:17).  For this reason, we “look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal” (ibid 4:18).  With this sort of worldview, it is not surprising that the Biblical answer to material destitution – poverty – is far different from all others.  While modern humanism elevates poverty and defines it as inequality, the Bible recognizes it as a result of sin – a fundamental brokenness often expressing itself in material need – a view which leads to help that is radically different and truly helpful.
Continue reading