Thursday, November 13, 2003


I've been waiting all year to tell my students my two (in)famous chemistry jokes.

I finally told them last Wednesday. They were not amused; they even insinuated that I am a geek. Those four jokes got me through college!

If you have any better chemistry/physics jokes I can use, please let me know.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Deleted Post

For some odd reason I found myself browsing through the Warfield list archives last night and ran across this post.

I fell asleep last night listening to Pastor Wilkins' wonderful sermon on covenant and apostasy. As I was listening I was thinking to myself how frustrated I had become with proof-texting. No relationship to his sermon, really, the thought just crossed my mind and I thought how much of what I think anymore is not proof-text or systematically oriented. I had a good post in my head, and found myself mumbling points I wanted to make, but then I fell asleep.

So that's my great post on proof-texting.

A few months back (I can't remember if I already posted about this or not, so bear with me!) I realized I had been craving pepperoni rolls for the past several years - well, actually probably closer to a decade.

Pepperoni rolls are a culinary delight unique to West Virginia. And, as I discovered a few weeks ago as I searched the 'net for a good recipe, unique to certain isolated parts of the state. I have family there, and my mom spent summers in the Clarksburg area while she was growing up. The local supermarket bakery always carried pepperoni rolls. They are a soft roll (almost like pretzel dough, but softer) wrapped around pepperoni and baked. Variations include mozzarella cheese with the pepperoni, but the purest, most unadulterated form is simply the bread wrapped around the pepperoni. The grease from the pepperoni seeps to the ends of the roll as it bakes and stains the ends a delightful red color. Oh, they are so good! They are good room temperature, warm, cold, just however.

It has been ten years since I have been to West Virginia for a visit. In those years I have mentioned these rolls to folks and I always get a strange look. Unless someone has been to that area of the state, or has lived there, they are not likely to know much about pepperoni rolls.

In my attempt to mainstream this delicacy, I would like to provide this link to a gentleman who has the most authentic recipe I've found. I made the recipe several times and the rolls were delicious every time. Give 'em a try, if you're a fan of pepperoni.
Web Etiquette

If a web forum or discussion list has public archives, does that mean it is okay to quote someone from that group?

Sunday, November 02, 2003

In a good mood

My first alma mater is now 6-3 on the season. I can't remember the last time that happened - Craig Candeto surely is not going to get the credit he deserves for leading this team. Last year they lost by only a touchdown to Notre Dame; who knows what they might do this year?

You can bet I'll be watching the game next weekend - since Notre Dame's games are all nationally televised, the Notre Dame-Navy game will be on.

Navy isn't SEC, and not many folks down here know about the school except for Coach Weatherbie, but then there is nothing quite like the excitement of attending a football game where the entire student body is present, as is required at Navy home games and the Army-Navy game every December. Other schools may try to imitate it, and other schools may be able to pack 90,000+ into a stadium, but when you come down to it, it's a different type of school spirit. I never got interested in football at Maryland, even though they have a fairly good team. Athletics at Navy are required for every student; just about everyone is either a varsity athlete, has a roommate who is, or is a friend to one.
Psalm 71:1-8

In Thee, O LORD, I refuge take,
Ashamed let me not be,
O save me in Thy righteousness,
Give ear, and rescue me.

Be Thou my rock, my dwelling place,
My constant safe resort,
Thou my salvation hast ordained;
Thou art my rock and fort.

Free me, my God, from wicked hands,
Hands cruel and unjust;
Thus, Lord Jehovah, art my hope,
From youth Thou art my trust.

For I have been sustained by Thee
Through birth and early days;
Brought from my mother's womb by Thee,
I'll give Thee constant praise.

To many I am wonder am,
Thou art my refuge strong.
My mouth is brimming with Thy praise
and honor all day long.

Book of Psalms for Singing, Psalm 71A

Saturday, November 01, 2003

The Beauties of Ireland

Our secretary, who puts in countless hours of work organizing Reformation Day each year at our church, asked me if I could handle putting together the music for this year's party. I said I would, and immediately called a friend of mine who is more musically inclined than I to help me put together a program.

She came over a few weeks ago with a binder of Irish jigs, reels, slipjigs, and dances, and we set about trying to play them on our fiddles. We are both primarily violists, and for those of you who don't know the difference, shame on you (just kidding!). The viola is a huge monster, very difficult to hold and play, which requires great flexibility and long reaches in the left hand to reach the right notes. I haven't played the violin since elementary school. As we were practicing, I was consistently overshooting some notes by two whole steps. I had absolutely no knowledge about Celtic folk music before last week.

After a while the music got easier, my intonation improved, and I was hooked.
Just like me, he longs to be close to you...

This morning Duane, Bailey and I set out to our local mall to check out the JC Penney "Biggest Sale of the Year". We always need mundane items like socks (our dryer is the event horizon for a black hole), sleepwear, and sweaters. Even though its been in the 90's here in Lowsyana for the past several weeks, I'm optimistic cold(er) weather is on the way.

As we were walking up the sidewalk I heard a bird singing in one of the shrubs. I pulled the branches back and there he was, sitting on the branch all by himself, singing to his heart's content. Bailey wanted to see him, and she did, and he did not fly away, but began singing even more enthusiastically when he saw us. He really was a beautiful bird; gray-white on his breast with black, gray, and white wings. I don't know what made me stop and look for that bird, but I'm glad I did.
How does the nucleus of an atom stay together?

A nucleus is made up of protons and neutrons. Protons have a positive charge; neutrons are neutral. Since like charges repel each other, and protons are positively charged, why, then, doesn't the nucleus fly apart? Because protons are made up of smaller particles called quarks which also have a type of charge. This charge is enough to overcome the positive charge of the proton and hold the nucleus together and this is called the strong force or the residual strong interaction.

I constantly have to be careful to watch my language while teaching. I was "educated" in public school, and my worldview of chemistry until about six months ago was altogether worldly. While it is a good thing to discover how creation works, and that our understanding of the creation around us equips us to glorify God in a greater way, we must always be mindful not to view the mechanics of the universe as automatic or ordained-and-let-go but rather as personally sustained by God and His angels. Are there angels who, responding to the command of Almighty God, give the electrons their charge, their spin, their position? And are there those who apply the force to hold the nucleus together? Are there angels who command the quarks to pair and spin? It is absolutely mind-boggling, but so entirely comforting all the same.

We don't have to worry about our classical world being turned upside down by the discovery of quantum mechanics; it is God's universe, and He does with it what He will. Electrons dance, stars burn, planets fly. All obediently and joyfully, and at His command.

This is my Father's world, and to my listening ears,
all nature sings, and round me rings the music of the spheres.
This is my Father's world; I rest me in the thought
of rocks and trees, of skies and seas; His hand the wonders wrought.

This is my Father's world, the birds their carols raise,
The morning light, the lily white, declare their Maker's praise.
This is my Father's world; He shines in all that's fair.
In the rustling grass I hear Him pass, He speaks to me everywhere.

This is my Father's world, O let me ne'er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong,
God is the ruler yet!
This is my Father's world! The battle is not done;
Jesus who died shall be satisfied, and earth and heaven be one.

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