Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Too soon old. Too late smart.

Learned a few things about IRAs this week:
1) Once you take an IRA distribution, it's ALL taxable, and as ordinary income, because it went in pre-tax.
2) If that makes you want to undo the distribution, a) you must do so within 60 days, and b) you can only undo 1 IRA distribution per 365 days.
3) There's no longer multi-year income averaging for anyone but farmers and fishermen.
4) You can only deduct up to half of your adjusted gross income as a charitable contribution in any one year. (The rest can be deducted in a future year.)
5)This is not a problem when you rollover money from one IRA directly to another IRA, even with different companies.
6) It's also not a problem with Roth IRAs, which are taxfree when distributed. (However, unless you need the money, a Roth may be even more useful as a way to benefit grandkids.)
7) Once you reach age 70-1/2, you have to take a required minimum distribution, but you can take it from any of your IRAs, so long as you take enough to meet the requirement for all IRAs (about 3.65% in the first year, rising slowly thereafter under an IRS-supplied formula.)
8) If you don't need part or all of your RMD, you can have your IRA donate it directly to a 501(c)(3) charity, which
a) avoids all taxes on up to a $100K donation per year for both you and the charity, and
b) cannot also be declared as a tax deduction (because it's not part of your income.)
9) The charity you can designate for this may [Update: NOT] be a donor-advised fund, such as or T Rowe Price's That way, you can give the RMD immediately, but decide later which specific 501(c)(3) charities get donations from the donor-advised fund, on what schedule and for what purpose. Better yet, once set up, such funds can continue for generations. [Update: Still a great way to channel charitable contributions, but cannot yet be legally used to receive RMDs.]
Long story short: As of today, "The Strasma Family Fund" at now exists as a way to help our church and favorite charities benefit more, both now and into future generations, while lowering our tax bracket from a too-large initial IRA distribution that can no longer be undone.
Yep, this is deep stuff, covered nicely in a "It's Your Wealth" class a neighbor and I are taking at the local senior center sponsored by I only wish I'd known all this before taking any IRA distributions. Oh well. "Too soon old. Too late smart."
(Note: also posted on Facebook and Google Plus.)

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Lessons from the Roach Hotel

My clinical pastoral education was at Cardinal Cushing hospital in Framingham, Massachusetts. It was a long-term care facility for senior citizens. I cringe to admit we seminarians sometimes called it the "Roach Hotel" because the only way any of the residents ever left was in a casket. Needless to say, that resulted in literally every conversation there that summer touching on the topic of death, usually brought up by the residents.
It was a helpful time for me personally, as I was finally able to deal properly with the death of my father a decade earlier when I was 13. (The goal of CPE was to tear down our faith and then rebuild it on a better footing, so we all spent plenty of time on the hot seat in the middle of our group, dealing with our issues.)
My biggest takeaway from that summer was that there were only two happy patients in that hospital. One was a quadriplegic, only able to move his head, but still always surrounded by nurses and other visitors as he conversed happily and positively with them. From him I learned you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. Rather than dwelling on his aches or inabilities, he spent his time listening to his visitors and sharing interesting memories with them.
The other happy patient was a 90+ year old woman in a ward of almost 100 patients. Her secret was that she made a point of visiting every other patient on her ward every day. That gave purpose and meaning to her days in a place where most others were just waiting to die, long since having outlived or been forgotten by everyone they'd ever known.
Ever since that summer, my goal has been to be like those two happy patients, and I hope I still remember their lessons if I too someday am in a roach hotel, awaiting the end of my days on Earth.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Books Recently Read

May '16
The Deputy: Reaping the Whirlwind, by Ted Snedeker (Excellent)
The Counterfeit Captain, by Henry Vogel (Good)
No More Lies, by Thomas A. Wright (Good)
ALICE, by Charles Lamb (Good)
ALICE-9, by Charles Lamb (Good)
ALICE Resurrection, by Charles Lamb (Good)
Metal Boxes - Rusty Hinges, by Alan Black (Good)
Hidden Stars, by Edward McKeown (Good)
Hero at the Gates, by Timothy Ellis (Fair)
Exiled, by Chris Fox (Fair)
Destroyer, by Chris Fox (Fair)
Freedom/Hate, by Kyle Andrews (Fair)
Last Fight of the Valkyries, by E.E. Isherwood (Fair)
April '16
The HAM Whisperer's Technician Class License Course 2nd Edition, by Andy Vellenga (Very Good)
Dead Man's Debt, by Elliott Kay (Good)
Rich Man's War, by Elliott Kay (Good)
Poor Man's Fight, by Elliott Kay (Good)
Warship, by Joshua Dalzelle (Good)
Honor from Ashes, by Amanda S. Green and Sam Schall (Good)
Battle Cruiser, by B.V. Larson (Good)
Dreadnought, by B. V. Larson (Good)
Until We Are Free, by Shirin Ebadi (Good)
Stop the Sirens, by E.E. Isherwood (Good)
Siren Songs, by E.E. Isherwood (Good)
Since the Sirens, by E.E. Isherwood (Fair)
Cascades, by Pam Uphoff (Fair)
Three Fantastic Surprises, by Sarah A. Hoyt (Fair)
Regrets and Requiems, by Edward McKeown (Fair)
Once Upon A Saturn Moon, by Edward Antrobus (Fair)
Excelsior, by Jasper T. Scott (Poor)
The Fall of Saar, by Edward Antrobus (Poor)
March '16
Basic Economics (5th ed.), by Thomas Sowell (Excellent)
Haraken, by S.H. Jucha (Very Good)
Farside, by Patrick Chiles (Very Good)
Hero to the Rescue, by Timothy Ellis (Good)
A Fall of Moondust, by Arthur C. Clarke (Good)
Crazy Charlie, by Jim Heter (Fair)
Cat's Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut (Fair)
Marines, by Jay Allan (Fair)
Ctrl-Alt Revolt, by Nic Cole (Fair)
We the People, by Juan Williams (Fair)
The Dark Side of the Moon, by Pam Uphoff (Poor)
February '16
The Summoned King, by Dave Neuendorf (Excellent)
Mechanical Jesus, by Timothy Z (Very Good)
The Last Apostle, by Dennis Brooke (Very Good)
Of Treasons Born, by J.L. Doty (Very Good)
Wanderer's Escape, by Simon Goodson (Very Good)
Wanderer - Echoes of the Past, by Simon Goodson (Very Good)
Larry Goes to Space, by Alan Black (Good)
Three Tales of the USAians , by Sarah A. Hoyt (Good)
The Empire's Corps, by Christopher G. Nuttall (Good)
A Choice of Treasons, by J.L. Doty (Fair)
Was Once a Hero, by Edward McKeown (Fair)
Fearful Symmetry, by Edward McKeown (Fair)
Points of Departure, by Edward McKeown (Fair)
Last Sunrise, by Simon Goodson (Fair)
The Wedding Weatherman, by Simon Goodson (Fair)
Fuel Pressure, by Simon Goodson (Fair)
Anti Deja Vu, by Simon Goodson (Fair)
The Great Detective Stumbles, by Simon Goodson (Poor)
The Chemist and the Werewolf Hunter, by Simon Goodson (Poor)
Star Wanderers - Outworlder, by Joe Vasicek (Poor)
January '16
The 5 Love Languages, by Gary Chapman (Excellent)
Chasing Freedom, by Marina Fontaine (Excellent)
Domino, by Kia Heavey (Very Good)
Red Queen, by Jeb Kinnison (Very Good)
Nemo's World, by Jeb Kinnison (Very Good)
Shrivers, by Jeb Kinnison (Good)
The Autobiography of James T. Kirk (Good)
A Redneck's Guide to the Church Letters - Philippians, by Jeff Todd (Good)
Decisively Engaged, by C.J. Carella (Good)
Meridien, by S.H. Jucha (Good)
Into the Dark, by J.A. Sutherland (Good)
Mutineer, by J.A. Sutherland (Good)
The Little Ships, by J.A. Sutherland (Good)
Wronged, by J.A. Sutherland (Good)
Call Sign Reaper, by Thomas A. Wright (Good)
Reaper, Inc., by Thomas A. Wright (Good)
Falcone Strike, by Christopher G. Nuttall (Good)
Mall Santa, by Pam Uphoff (Good)
Jane's Christmas, by Timothy Ellis (Good)
Avanaux, by P.J. McDermatt and Pat (Good)
Rise of the Erlachi, by P.J. McDermatt (Good)
Out of Sorts, by Aurélie Valognes (Good)

The Lost Starship, by Vaughn Heppner (Fair)
The Lost Command, by Vaughn Heppner (Fair)
The Lost Destroyer, by Vaughn Heppner (Fair)
The Lost Colony, by Vaughn Heppner (Fair)
The Second Coming, by P.J. McDermott (Fair)
The Scarab Moons, by Thomas A. Wright and Rosa Saba (Fair)
Pilgrim's Progress, by John Bunyan (Fair)
Infinity Rises, by S. Harrison (Poor)
Better World, by Autumn Kalquist (Poor)
Legacy Code, by Autumn Kakquist (Poor)
Protecteds - Origins, by Autumn Kalquist (Poor)
318, by Autumn Kalquist (Poor)
Mercury Begins, by Robert Kroese (Poor)
Mercury Swings, by Robert Kroese (Poor) 
December '15
Hire a Hero, by Timothy Ellis (Very Good)
Superego, by Frank J. Fleming (Good)
Burnside's Killer, by Timothy Ellis (Good)
Gray Panthers - Dixie, by David Guenther (Good)
Sleeping Duty, by Laura Montgomery (Good)
The Lawyers of Mars, by Pam Uphoff (Good)
Live or Die, by J.A. Hawkings (Good)
ConQuest, by Dhayaa Anbajagane (Poor)
ZeQuest, by Dhayaa Anbajagane (Poor)
November '15
Soul Keeping, by John Ortberg (Excellent)
Manga Messiah, by Next Manga (Very Good)
Quarter Share, by Nathan Lowell (Very Good)
Half Share, by Nathan Lowell (Very Good)
Full Share, by Nathan Lowell (Very Good)
Double Share, by Nathan Lowell (Very Good)
Captain's Share, by Nathan Lowell (Very Good)
Owner's Share, by Nathan Lowell (Very Good)
In Ashes Born, by Nathan Lowell (Very Good)
South Coast, by Nathan Lowell (Very Good)  
The Second Coming, by T.J. Sedgwick (Good)
Fancy Free, by Pam Uphoff (Good)
Limits of Power, by Hugh Taylor (Good)
The Star Cross, by Raymond L. Weil (Good)
Manipulism and the Weapon of Guilt, by Mikkel Clair Nissen (Good)
The Pike Chronicles - Books 1-3, by G. P. Hudson (Good)
Scout's Honor, by Henry Vogel (Fair)
Scout's Oath, by Henry Vogel (Fair)
Scout's Duty, by Henry Vogel (Fair)
City, by Clifford D. Simak (Fair)
Eve, by Wm. Paul Young (Fair)
Hard Duty, by Mark E. Cooper (Fair)
Infinity Lost, by S. Harrison (Fair)
Constitution, by Nick Webb (Fair)
Social Justic Space Warriors - Shaming on Arcturus Beta, by Caleb Q. Washington (Poor)
October '15
The Chaplain's War, by Brad R. Torgersen (Excellent)
The Evolutionary Psychology Behind Politics, by Anonymous Conservative (Excellent)
The Mexican Dream, by J.D. Deal (Very Good)
My Outcast State, by Edward F. McKeown (Very Good)
Outcasts and Gods, by Pam Uphoff (Good)
Explorers, by Pam Uphoff (Good)
Spy Wars, by Pam Uphoff (Good)
Caretaker, by Josi Russell (Good)
Brother Frankenstein, by Michael Bunker (Good)
Exiles and Gods, by Pam Uphoff (Good)
The Black Goats, by Pam Uphoff (Good)
Comet Fall, by Pam Uphoff (Good)
Dark Lady, by Pam Uphoff (Good)
Empire of the One, by Pam Uphoff (Good)
Young Warriors, by Pam Uphoff (Good)
The God of Assassins, by Pam Uphoff (Good)
Bad Karma, by Pam Uphoff (Good)
Earth Gate, by Pam Uphoff (Good)
Heirs of Crown and Spear, by Pam Uphoff (Good)
Mages at Large, by Pam Uphoff (Good)
Sea Wolves, by Pam Uphoff (Good)
Triplets, by Pam Uphoff (Good)
Not Without Honor, by Dennis Smirl (Fair)
Growing Up Magic, by Pam Uphoff (Fair)
The Fiend, by Pam Uphoff (Fair)
Warriors of the One, by Pam Uphoff (Fair)
Dancer, by Pam Uphoff (Fair)
1969, by Timothy Ellis (Fair)
A Taste of Wine, by Pam Uphoff (Fair)
Photography Composition, by James Carren (Fair)
Portrait Photography, by James Carren (Fair)
Riding on Faith, by Alice Teisan (Fair)
Slaughterhouse, by C. Blake Powers (Fair)
Art Theft, by Pam Uphoff (Poor)
One Alone, by Pam Uphoff (Poor)
Saturday Night, by Pam Uphoff (Poor)
Life on Mission, by Tim Harlow (Poor)
Dark Space - A Chance Encounter, by Jasper T. Scott (Poor)
September '15
SJWs Always Lie - Taking Down the Thought Police, by Vox Day (Excellent)
Compost Everything, by David the Good (Excellent)
How to Diagnose and Fix Everything Electronic, by Michael Jay Geier (Excellent)
The Stars Came Back, by Rolf Nelson (Very Good)
Stranded on Haven, by William Zellmann (Very Good)
Death Ship Quest, by William Zellmann (Very Good)
9th Euclid's Prince, by Dan Hoyt (Very Good)
Survival Test, by David L. Burkhead (Very Good)
Metal Boxes - Trapped Outside, by Alan Black (Very Good)
Vengeance from Ashes, by Sam Schall (Good)
Duty from Ashes, by Sam Schall (Good) 
Take the Star Road, by Peter Grant (Good)
Ride the Rising Tide, by Peter Grant (Good)
Adapt and Overcome, by Peter Grant (Good)
Stand Against the Storm, by Peter Grant (Good)
War to the Knife, by Peter Grant (Good)
Forge a New Blade, by Peter Grant (Good)
Gray Panthers - Battle for Earth, by David Guenther (Good)
Gray Panthers - Earth's Revenge, by David Guenther (Good)
Hail the Hero, by Timothy Ellis (Good)
The Oncoming Storm - Angel in the Whirlwind, by Christopher G. Nuttall (Good)
Plutocracy in America, by Ronald P. Formisano (Fair)
Dark Space - Armageddon, by Jasper T. Scott (Fair)
No Honor in Death - Siobhan Dunmoore book 1, by Eric Thomson (Fair)
The Path of Duty - Siobhan Dunmoore book 2, by Eric Thomson (Fair)
Exposure Mastery, by Brian Black (Fair)
Drawing Made Easy, by Dwayne Brown (Fair)
Big Boys Don't Cry, by Tom Kratman (Poor) 
August '15
Titanium Texicans, by Alan Black (Excellent)
The Last Israelis, by Noah Beck (Very Good)
Lilith's Brood, by Octavia E. Butler (Very Good)
The Cunning Blood, by Jeff Duntemann (Very Good)
Metal Boxes, by Alan Black (Very Good)
Paradise Earth - Day Zero, by Anthony Mathenia (Very Good)
Hero at Large, by Timothy Ellis (Very Good)
Hunted Hero Hunting, by Timothy Ellis (Very Good)
Send in the Hero, by Timothy Ellis (Very Good)
Make or Break the Hero, by Timothy Ellis (Very Good)
Star Splinter, by J.G. Cressey (Very Good)
Aurora Rising - the complete collection, by G.S. Jennsen (Good)
The Recruitment - Rise of the Free Fleet, by Michael Chatfield (Good)
Coming Home - Free Fleet 2, by Michael Chatfield (Good)
Terms of Enlistment, by Marko Kloos (Good)
Lines of Departure, by Marko Kloos (Good)
Angles of Attack, by Marko Kloos (Good)
Chewing Rocks, by Alan Black (Good)
Don't Retire in Mexico - an Expats Reflection, by Ron Jackson (Good)
Meant for Greater Things, by John Mickus (Good)
The Giver, by Lois Lowry (Good)
More Than Human, by Theodore Sturgeon (Fair)
Battlecruiser Alamo - Aces High, by Richard Tongue (Fair)
Universe in Flames - Earth - Last Sanctuary, by Christian Kallias (Fair)
Idempotency, by Joshua Wright (Fair)
Sky City, by Tobias Roote (Poor)
The Loranth, by Jean Kilczer (Poor)
Liberty Station, by Terry Mixon (Poor)
July '15
La Biblia en Acción, by Sergio Cariello (Excellent)
Life of Pi, by Yann Martel (Excellent)
Children of the Comet, by Donald Moffitt (Excellent)
A Summary and Analysis of Jean Raspail's Camp of the Saints, by Rapid Recap (Excellent)
A Long Time Until Now, by Michael Z. Williamson (Very Good)
Paradigm Lost, by Hugh Taylor (Good)
The Last Hero, by Nathaniel Danes (Good)
The Last Revenge, by Nathaniel Danes (Good)
The Silver Ships, by S. H. Jucha (Good)
Libre, by S. H. Jucha (Good)
Prepper's Underground Guide to Improvised Weapons, by Jonny Mayhem (Good)
Brothers in Valor, by H. Paul Honsinger (Good)
Trulbert!, by Mitch Berg (Good)
The Paradise War, by Stephen R. Lawhead (Good)
The Silver Hand, by Stephen R. Lawhead (Good)
The Endless Knot, by Stephen R. Lawhead (Good)
Starwatch, by Mark Wayne McGinnis (Good)
Mexican Humor 201, by Cabo Bob (Good)
2287 A.D. - After Destruction, by R. Brown and G. Van Dyke (Fair)
What God Has Bent, by Greg Krehbiel (Fair)
Emergence, by Nick M. Lloyd (Fair)
Akaela, by E.E. Giorgi (Fair)
Baja Diaries, by George and Argentina Puckett (Fair)
June '15
The Mexican Mind, by Boyé Lafayette De Mente (Excellent)
A Force for Good, by Daniel Goleman (Very Good)
Equinox, by Christian Cantrell (Very Good)
Foundation's Fear, by Gregory Benford (Good)
Foundation and Chaos, by Greg Bear (Good)
Foundation's Triumph, by David Brin (Good)
Mother of Eden, by Chris Beckett (Good)
May '15
Monster Hunter International, by Larry Correia (Very Good)
Tin Men, by Christopher Golden (Very Good)
Virtues of War, by Bennett R. Coles (Very Good)
Stars and Empire II - 10 More Galactic Tales, by Various (Good)
Lightless, by C.A. Higgins (Fair)
(R)evolution, by P. J. Manney (Fair)
April '15
A Few Good Men, by Sarah A. Hoyt (Good)
Stars and Empire - 10 Galactic Tales, by Various (Good)
March '15
Good Calories, Bad Calories, by Gary Taubes (Excellent)
Starship Troopers, by Robert A. Heinlein (Excellent)
Rejection Proof, by Jia Jiang (Excellent)
I Love Baja!, by Mikel Miller (Very Good) 
Forge of War, by Medron Pryde (Very Good)
Wealth to Last, by Larry Burkett and Ron Blue (Good)
Midnight's Furies, by Nisid Hajari (Good)
Earthman Jack vs. the Ghost Planet, by Matthew Kadish (Fair)
February '15
No Dawn for Men, by James LePore and Carlos Davis (Excellent)
Ebola K, by Bobby Adair (Very Good)
The Cloud, by Elmore Hammes (Good)
The Spiritual Child, by Lisa Miller (Good)
Pennsylvania, by Michael Bunker (Good)
Pit Bulls vs Aliens, by Neal Wooten (Good)
The Forge of God, by Greg Bear (Fair)
Anvil of Stars, by Greg Bear (Fair)
January '15
The Indispensable Calvin and Hobbes, by Bill Watterson (Excellent)
The Martian, by Andy Weir (Excellent)
Dark Space V: Avilon, by Jasper T. Scott (Very Good)
The Inner Enemies of Democracy, by Tzvetan Todorov (Good)
Tale of the Tigers, by Juliette Akinyi Ochieng (Good)
Any Man So Daring, Sarah A. Hoyt (Fair)
Saint Nicholas: the Christmas Story, by Matthew Eldridge (Fair)
Revival, by Adam Hamilton (Fair)
December '14
A Learning Experience, by Christopher G. Nuttall (Very Good)
Ireland, by Frank Delaney (Very Good)
Marguerita Wednesdays, by Deborah Rodriguez (Good)
All Night Awake, by Sarah A. Hoyt (Fair)
November '14
Eat the Rich, by P.J. O'Rourke (Very Good)
Rainbow Six, by Tom Clancy (Very Good)
The Year of Living Biblically, by A.J. Jacobs (Very Good)
Ill Met by Moonlight, by Sarah A. Hoyt (Good)
Dark Space IV -:Revenge, by Jasper T. Scott (Good)
The 13th Gift, by Joanne Huist Smith (Good)
Prometheus, by Sarah A. Hoyt (Good)
Chaplain Turner's War, by Moni Basu (Good)
October '14
Preserve Protect and Defend, by Cameron C. Taylor (Very Good)
The Jesus I Never Knew, by Philip Yancey (Very Good)
Overwhelmed, by Perry Noble (Good)
My Other Car Is a Spaceship, by Mark Terence Chapman (Good)
Dark Space III - Origin, by Jasper T. Scott (Good)
Dark Space II - The Invisible War, by Jasper T. Scott (Good)
Darkship Renegades, by Sarah A. Hoyt (Good)
Dark Space, by Jasper T. Scott (Fair)
September '14
A Distant Eden, by Lloyd Tackitt (Excellent)
The Sharecropper Prodigy, by David Lee Malone (Very Good)
Quantum Mortis A Mind Programmed, by Vox Day, Jeff and Jean Sutton (Good)
August '14
What's So Amazing about Grace, by Philip Yancey (Very Good)
Line of Control, by Mainak Dhar (Very Good)
Peace Warrior Trilogy - Omnibus, by Steven L. Hawk (Good)
From Chaos Born (The First Empress: Book 1) (In Her Name), by Michael R. Hicks (Good)
Hindustan, by Mainak Dhar (Good)
July '14
Conservative Insurgency, by Kurt Schlichter (Very Good)
Bugging Out and Relocating, by Fernando Aguirre (Very Good)
Out of the Black (Odyssey One, Book 4), by Evan Currie (Very Good)
Pathfinder, by Orson Scott Card (Very Good)
Return of the Prophet (The Lemniscate Legacy), by Phil Moore (Good)
Resurrection, by Arwen Elys Dayton (Good)
The Dark Beneath (Book 2 of The Nexus), by J. Kraft Mitchell (Good)
Earth's Shadow (Book 3 of The Nexus), by J. Kraft Mitchell (Good)
June '14
The Nexus, by J. Kraft Mitchell (Very Good)
First Spanish Reader for begineers (Volume 2), by Lora Estrada (Good)
Shadows in Flight, by Orson Scott Card (Good)
Southwest USA's Best Trips, by Lonely Planet (Good)
May '14
The Fourth Revolution, by John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge (Excellent)
Safe People, Henry Cloud and John Townsend (Very Good)
Darkship Thieves, by Sarah A. Hoyt (Good)
Where Horse and Hero Fell, by Sarah A. Hoyt (Good)
The Wrong Enemy, by Carlottq Gall (Fair)
The Crack in Space, by Philip K. Dick (Fair)
Mars Rising, by Cidney Swanson (Fair)
Mars Burning, by Cidney Swanson (Fair)
Striking Mars, by Cidney Swanson (Fair)
Quicksilver, by Neal Stephenson (Poor)
Place, Not Race, by Sheryll Cashin (Poor)
April '14
House Selling for Dummies, by Eric Tyson and Ray Brown (Excellent)
For Honor We Stand, by H. Paul Honsinger (Good)
Off to Be the Wizard, by Scott Meyer (Good)
Hospitals and Health, by Abram Hoffer, Andrew W. Saul, and Steve Hickey (Good)
March '14
The Action Bible, by David C. Cook (Excellent)
A Miser, A Manger, A Miracle, by Marianne Jordan (Excellent)
The Knowledge, by Lewis Dartnell (Excellent)
Call to the Heart, by David Camden (Very Good)
To Honor You Call Us, by H. Paul Honsinger (Good)
Freehold, by Michael Z. WIlliamson (Good)
A Rabbit's Tale, by Diogenes Ruiz (Fair)
Where Do We Go from Here?, by Martin Luther King Jr. (Fair)
Saving Mars (books 1-3), by Cidney Swanson (Fair)
Know Stealing, by M. Shane Coley (Poor)
February '14
Survival of the Nicest, by Stefan Klein (Excellent)
January '14
The Life You've Always Wanted, by John Ortberg (Very Good)
Titans, by Edward W. Robertson (Very Good)
The Daniel Plan, by Rick Warren, Daniel Amen and Mark Hyman (Good)
Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World, by Vicki Myron and Bret Witter (Good)
December '13
Know Doubt, by John Ortberg (Very Good)
Medicare for Dummies, by Patricia Barry (Very Good)
Cryptonomicon, by Neal Stephenson (Good)
November '13
Appearance of Impropriety, by Peter W. Morgan and Glenn H. Reynolds (Excellent)
Season of the Harvest, by Michael R. Hicks (Very Good)
Genome, by Matt Ridley (Good)
First Spanish Reader for Beginners (Volume 3), by Lora Estrada (Good)
The God Particle, by Leon Lederman with Dick Teresi (Good)
Start Wars: Lost Tribe of the Sith #8: Secrets, by John Jackson Miller (Poor)
Start Wars: Lost Tribe of the Sith #7: Pantheon, by John Jackson Miller (Poor) 
October '13
Why Liberty?, by Tom G. Palmer (Very Good)
Stairlift to Heaven, by Terry Ravenscroft (Very Good)
Ex-Boyfriend's Handbok, by Matt Dunn (Very Good)
Second Spanish Reader for beginners (Graded Spanish Readers), by Lora Estrada (Very Good)
Castaway Kid, by R. B. Mitchell (Very Good)
India Unbound, by Gurcharan Das (Good)
Enjoy the Decline, by Aaron Clarey (Good)
The Altar, by Samuel Solomon (Good)
That Hideous Strength, by C. S. Lewis (Good)
Out of the Silent Planet, by C. S. Lewis (Fair)
Perelandra, by C. S. Lewis (Fair)
A Wind in the Door, by Madeleine L'Engel (Fair)
A Swiftly-Tilting Planet, by Madeleine L'Engel (Fair)
Many Waters, by Madeleine L'Engel (Fair)
An Acceptable Time, by Madeleine L'Engel (Fair) 
Baja by Chance, by Ray Turner (Fair)
The North Wind, by George McDonald (Poor)
September '13
Learn Spanish - Word Power 101, by Innovative Language (Excellent)
Who Is This Man?, by John Ortberg (Very Good)
Homeworld (Odyssey One), by Evan Currie (Good)

The Bond, by William Donovan (Good)
Mastering the Galaxy S4, by Sharon Vaknin (Good)
The Chrome Book, by C.H. Rome (Fair)
The Science of Jurassic Park, by Rob DeSalle and David Lindley (Fair)
Eden (Eden Saga), by Matthw C. Plourde (Fair)
Ovoid Illinois, by DC Rapier (Poor)
August '13
Breaking Out of Beginner's Spanish, by Joseph J. Keenan (Excellent)
Kenobi, by John Jackson Miller (Good)
Dark, Light, Almost White, by Warren Barrios Wilson (Fair)
The New New Thing, by Michael Lewis (Fair)
July '13
First Spanish Reader for beginners bilingual for speakers of English, by Maria Victoria De Stefano and Vadim Zubakhin (Excellent)
Government Failure: A Primer in Public Choice, by Gordon Tullock, Gordon Brady and Arthur Seldon (Excellent)
The Fountains of Paradise, by Arthur C. Clarke (Very Good)
The Mobile Internet Handbook - US RVer Edition, by Chris Dunphy and Cherie Ve Ard, (Good)
June '13
The Last Centurion, by John Ringo (Very Good)
Long Long Honeymoon, by C.S. Michael (Very Good)
Off the Grid, by J. J. Luna (Good)
Earth afire : the First Formic War, by Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston (Good)
May '13
Gospel Justice, by Bruce Strom (Excellent)
Against the Fall of Night, by Arthur C. Clarke (Very Good)
The Human Division, by John Scalzi (Very Good)
Generous Justice, by Timothy Keller (Very Good)
Starfire, by Mike Lee (Good)
God Among Us: Glimpses of Glory in Baja, Mexico, by Linda Baker Kaahanui (Good)
Angels & Demons, by Dan Brown (Good)
The Closing of the American Mind, by Allan Bloom (Poor)
April '13
How to Live in a Car, Van or RV, by Robert Wells (Excellent)
Entreleadership, by Dave Ramsey (Very Good)
Sprinter RV COnversion Sourcebook, by Greg Keith (Very Good)
2013 Sprinter RV Buyer's Guide, by Greg Keith (Very Good)
First Citizen, by Thomas T. Thomas (Very Good)
Fast and Furious, by Katie Pavlich (Very Good)
Charla's Children, by Charla Pereau (Good)
Crowdfunding for Dummies, by Sherwood Neiss, Jason W. Best and Zak Cassady-Dorion (Good)
The Ten Commandments of Propaganda, by Brian Anse Patrick (Good)
Manuscript Found in Accra, by Paulo Coelho (Fair)
All Good Men Serve the Devil: Sullivan's War - Book 1, by Michael K. Rose (Fair)
March '13
Gun Guys: A Road Trip, by Dan Baum (Excellent)
Austerity, by Mark Blyth (Excellent)
Does Jesus Really Love Me?, by Jeff Chu (Excellent)
The Hunger Games Trilogy, by Suzane Collins (Very Good)
Damascus Countdown, by Joel C. Rosenberg (Very Good)
Coolidge, by Amity Shlaes (Good)
War Against the Weak, by Edwin Black (Good)
A New New Testament, by Hal Taussig (Poor)
February '13
The International Bank of Bob, by Bob Harris (Excellent)
Benghazi: The Definitive Report, by Jack Murphy and Brandon Webb (Excellent)
Dave Ramsey's Complete Guide to Money, by Dave Ramsey (Very Good)
In the Shadow of Ares (Amber's Mars), by Thomas L. James and Carl C. Carlsson (Good)
Navy SEAL Tips: Fundamentals of Marksmanship, by Brandon Webb (Good)
Navy SEAL Tips: How to Survive an Active Shooter, by Brandon Webb (Good)
Skeet and Range Shooting Basics (Vook Enhanced Version), by Mark Cortis and Brad Harvey (Good)
January '13
The Harvest, by John David Krygelski (Excellent)
Into the Black: Odyssey One, by Evan Currie (Very Good)
Brother Half Angel, by Martin Roth (Very Good)
Festival in the Desert, by Martin Roth (Good)
The Maria Kannon, by Martin Roth (Good)
The Coptic Martyr of Cairo, by Martin Roth (Good)
Military Orders, by Martin Roth (Good)
Perigee, by Patrick Chiles (Good)
Holy Spokes, by Rob Coppolillo (Good)
The Frugal RVer, by Nick Russell (Good)
Buying a Used Motorhome, by Bill Myers (Good)
Never Blame the Umpire, by Gene Fehler (Good)
The Spirit Well, by Stephen R. Lawhead (Good)
The Reason, by William Sirls (Fair)
How to Buy a Car, by Thomas Garcia (Fair)
Confessions of a Car Sales Manager, by D.F. Marsh (Fair)
Love Bytes, by Larry Kilham (Fair)
December '12
Letters from a Skeptic, by Gregory A. Boyd and Edward K. Boyd (Excellent)
Becoming the Son, by C. D. Baker (Excellent)
Antifragile, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb (Excellent)
The Signal and the Noise, by Nate Silver (Excellent)
The Ascent of Money, by Niall Ferguson (Excellent)
Knox's Irregulars, by J. Wesley Bush (Very Good)
Looking Backward 2012-2162, by Beth Cody (Very Good)
After America, by Mark Steyn (Very Good)
Intellectuals, by Paul Johnson (Good)
Final Impact, by John Birmingham (Good)
Designated Targets, by John Birmingham (Good)
The New Economics of Inequality and Redistribution, by Samuel Bowles (Fair)
November '12
Time Enough for Love, by Robert A. Heinlein (Excellent)
America Alone, by Mark Steyn (Excellent)
Without Warning, by John Birmingham (Very Good)
After America, by John Birmingham (Good)
Angels of Vengeance, by John Birmingham (Good)
On the Precipice, by Chris Hambleton (Good)
Every Bush Is Burning, by Brandon Clements (Good)
O Llama and I, by Daniel M. Hoyt (Poor)
Wait Until the War Is Over, by Sarah A. Hoyt (Poor)
October '12
Unleashed, by Perry Noble (Very Good)
Jimmy Swaggart and Ross Perot Save the World, by Evert Snicks (Very Good)
The Heart of Matter: Odyssey One, by Evan Currie (Good)
Baudolino, by Umberto Eco (Good)
Complete Atopia Chronicles, by Matthew Mather (Fair)
The Name of the Rose, by Umberto Eco (Fair)
September '12
How People Grow, by Henry Cloud and John Townsend (Very Good)
The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini (Very Good)
The Puppet Masters, by Robert A. Heinlein (Very Good)
Coming Apart, by Charles Murray (Good)
Acrylic Painting for Dummies, by Colette Pitcher (Good)
August '12
The Jesus Lifestyle, by Nicky Gumbel (Very Good)
The Higher Education Bubble, by Glenn Reynolds (Good)
A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L'Engel (Good)
The Invisible, by Arloa Sutter (Good)
Earth Unaware, by OrsonScott Card and Aaron Johnston (Good)
July '12
The Road to Freedom, by Arthur C. Brooks (Excellent)
Containment, by Christian Cantrell (Very Good)
Flags of our Fathers, by James Bradley (Fair)
How to Annoy a Liberal, by James Delingpole (Fair)
How to Build a Skydeck, by David L. Bradley (Fair)
Acrylic Revolution, by Nancy Reyner (Fair)
June '12
Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline (Very Good)
The Golden Acorn, by Catherine Cooper (Good)
Redshirts, by John Scalzi (Fair)
The Adventures of Bubbles: Episode 1, by T.J. Renner (Fair)
Dog Cartoon-A-Day: 2012 Day-to-Day Calendar, by Jonny Hawkins (Poor)
Ronald Reagan's Leadership Lessons, by New Word City (Poor)
Slaughterhouse Five, by Kurt Vonnegut (Poor)
May '12
Twilight of the Elites, by Christopher Hayes (Very Good)
Alif the Unseen, by G. Willow Wilson (Very Good)
The Teavangelicals, by David Brody (Good)
The Divine Commodity, by Skye Jethani (Good)
A Lady Cyclist's Guide to Kashgar, Suzanne Joinson (Fair)
Greatest Clicks: A Dog Photographer's Best Shots, by Mark J. Asher (Fair)
Me the People, by Kevin Bleyer (Poor)
April '12
Local Dollars, Local Sense, by Michael Shuman (Good)
Teenage Jesus, by Brian Shell (Fair)
March '12
Jesus in the Now, by Peter Smythe (Good)
If My Body Is a Temple, Then I Was a Megachurch, by Scott Davis (Good)
The 100 Minute Bible, by Michael Hinton (Good)
February '12
King Peggy, by Peggielene Bartels and Eleanor Herman (Excellent)
Naked to the Stars, by Gordon R. Dickson (Very Good)
Financial Peace Revisited, by Dave Ramsey (Good)
Bathroom Remodeling for Dummies, by Gee and Katie Hamilton (Good)
A Fire Upon the Deep, by Vernor Vinge (Fair)
The Children of the Sky, by Vernor Vinge (Fair)
Holidays in Heck, by P.J. O'Rourke (Fair)
Sh*t My Dad Says, by Justin Halpern (Fair)
First Flight, by Mary Robinette Kowal (Fair)
How to Greet a Dog and What to Avoid, by Sophia Yin (Fair)
Thomas & the Christmas Orange, by Lewis Brech and Laura D Lewis (Fair)
Ali Baba & the Forty Thieves, by Andrew Lang (Fair)
I Love You This Much, by Sue Buchanan and Lynn Hodges (Fair)
Last to Finish, by Barbara Esham, and Mike and Cari Gordon (Poor)
Victoria Rose and the Big Bad Noise, by Stacy Juba and Larry Drumtra (Poor)
The Frog Prince, by Vook (Poor)
What the Fox Learnt, by Aesop (Poor)
A New Pet in the Family, by John H Carroll and Claudia Mendoza (Poor)
The Adventures of Leaf Man (Poor)
Cougar Cub Tales: I'm Just Like You, by Sharon Cramer (Poor)
Cougar Cub Tales: Lost and Alone, by Sharon Cramer (Poor)
Pollywogs & Watermoccasins, by J.E. Taylor (Poor)
The Mouse and the Christmas Cake, by Unknown (Poor)
Papa's One Summer, by Natsu (Poor)
Good Friends, by Frankie Lassut (Poor)
Little Miss Mary and the Big Monster Makeover (Poor)
Henry Burp - Mind Your Manners, by Mike Winn (Poor)
Norbert, by James Sutherland (Poor)
Barack Obama: A Politician's Journey, by Vook (Poor)
When a Pig Flies, by JadeNabi Jin (Poor)
January '12
Wheat Belly, by William Davis (Very Good)
The Secret To Lying, by Todd Mitchell (Good)
Being George Washington, by Glen Beck (Good)
Photographer's Guide to the Canon Powershot S100, by Alexader S. White (Good)
Just a Minute, by Wes Stafford (Good)
In Her Name: First Contact, by Michael R. Hicks (Good)
Plants vs Zombies: Video Game Guide, by Vook (Good)
Angry Birds: Video Game Guide, by Vook (Good)
Dead or Alive, by Grant Blackwood and Tom Clancy (Fair)
Noble Vision, by Gen LaGreca (Fair)
I Have A Secret, Do I Keep It?, by EJ Thornton (Fair)
Mortimer's Book of Whatifs, by Mandi Tillotson Williams (Poor)
On My Daddy's Shoulders, by Peter Lawson (Poor)
My Little Pet Dragon, by Scott Godon (Poor)
Garbage! Monster! Burp!, by Tom Watson (Poor)
Stick Dog Wants a Hamburger, by Tom Watson (Poor)
An Austere Christmas, by E.S. Viviano and Sabrina Madsen Pate-Terry (Poor)
Patch Pirates Adventures Brocolli, by Dean Derkson et al (Poor)
Catch That Collie, by Tarrin Lupo (Poor)
Bilbo's Adventures: A Christmas Wish, by Peter John and Cher Lucking (Poor)
December '11
It Is Dangerous to be Right When the Government Is Wrong, by Andrew P. Napolitano (Excellent)
The Help, by Kathryn Stockett (Excellent)
Strength in What Remains, by Tracy Kidder (Very Good)
God's Debris, by Scott Adams (Very Good)
Ron Paul: A Politician's Journey (Very Good)
Inheritance, by Christopher Paolini (Good)
The Blue Parakeet, by Scot McKnight (Good)
The Rise and Decline of Nations, by Mancur Olson (Good)
The Dirty Parts of the Bible, by Sam Torode (Good)
Pebble in the Sky, by Isaac Asimov (Good)
The Legal Answer Book for Families, by Emily Doskow and Marcia Stewart (Good)
The Religion War, by Scott Adams (Fair)
Plants vs Zombies, by Vook (Fair)
Tunnel in the Sky, by Robert A. Heinlein (Fair)
Laughing at Obama: Volume 1, by Scott Ott (Fair)
Gift for a Mouse (Redemption Tales), by Rebecca Graf (Fair)
The Bean Straw, by David Hammons (Fair)
Ballad of the Rag Man, by Cynthia Bloomquist Gustavson and Kristina Tosic (Fair)
Frankie Pickle and the Mathematical Menace, by Eric Wight (Fair)
America's Greatest Comics Issue #1, by Brandon Mullins (Fair)
Gwynne, Fair & Shining, by Stephanie Lisa Tara (Poor)
Good Neighbor, by Erich Bethel (Poor)
Wiggle, Wiggle, Bloop, Bloop, by Adam and Robin Casbarian (Poor)
Caterpillars Don't Check Email, by Calee and Jacob Lee (Poor)
Lil Glimmer, by Angela Muse and James McCullough (Poor)
A Stranger at Christmas, by James McCullough and Dennis Cox (Poor)
November '11
Move, by Greg L. Hawkins and Cally Parkinson (Excellent)
Making an Exit, by Sarah Murray (Good)
Orphans of the Sky, by Robert A. Heinlein (Fair)
Obama: The Greatest President in the History of Everything, by Frank J. Fleming (Poor)
October '11
The Five Percent - Finding Solutions to Seemingly Impossible Conflicts, by Peter T. Coleman (Very Good)
This Is Herman Cain, by Herman Cain (Good)
Knocking on Heaven's Door, by Lisa Randall (Good)
My King The President, by Tom Lewis (Good)
How to Protect Your Money from the Coming Government Hyperinflation, by David Voda (Good)
Grace Immaculate, by Gregory Benford (Poor)
The Prophet, by Brent Knowles (Poor)
September '11
Princess Bride, by William Goldman (Very Good)
Through Darkness and Stars (The Omniverse), by Steve Karmazen (Good)
Peregrin, by A. Sparrow (Fair)
Guide to Investing in the Apocalypse, by James Altucher and Douglas R. Sease (Fair)
Wackier Whisker Wisdom, by Lacey Maran and Kevin Michael (Poor)
August '11
Marzi, by Marzena Sowa and Sylvain Savoia (Excellent)
The Unearthing (The Omniverse), by Steve Karmazen (Good)
Smallworld, by Dominic Green (Fair)
Geek Wisdom, by N. K. Jemisin et al (Fair)
July '11
The Rational Optimist, by Matt Ridley (Excellent)
Temporary Duty, by Rick Locke (Very Good)
Alexander Galaxus, by Christipher L. Anderson (Very Good)
First Light Chronicles Omnibus (Spinward Fringe), by Randolph Lalonde (Good)
Shrink Rap, by Dinah Miller et al (Good)
The Future and its Enemies, by Virginia Postrel (Good)
The Accidental Hero, by Joshua Graham (Fair)
Seeking Cygnus, by I. K. Ellwood (Fair)
The Cageless Zoo, by Thomas K. Carpenter (Fair)
Mug Shot, by Edward Winslow (Fair)
Test Pilot, by John H. Carroll (Fair)
Ledman Pickup, by Tom Lichtenberg (Fair)
Copy Bird, by B.C. Young (Poor)
Coffin Humor, by John Brinling (Poor)
Fantos, by Joshua Scribner (Poor)
Here We Go Again, by Jeffrey Somogyl (Poor)
If at First, by Peter F. Hamilton (Poor)
Don't Count the Stars, by Jacob Heim (Poor)
A Short Walk on a Cold Night with a Dead Friend, by Jim Haffner (Poor)
Ethics, by Roy Le Coeur (Poor)
Stupid History, by Leland Gregory (Poor)
No Free Lunches, by Jeffrey Somogyi (Poor)
Expiration Date, by Jeff Thomason (Poor)
June '11
Economics of Good and Evil, by Tomas Sedlacek (Excellent)
The End of Country, by Seamus McGraw (Very Good)
Bonhoeffer, by Eric Metaxas (Good)
Small Acts of Amazing Courage, by Gloria Whelan (Good)
A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, by Donald Miller (Good)
Change the World: Recovering the Message and Mission of Jesus, by Mike Slaughter (Fair)
Soldier of the Legion, by Marshall S. Thomas (Fair)
May '11
Lions of Kandahar, by Rusty Bradley and Keven Maurer (Excellent)
More Than Equals, by Spencer Perkins and Chris Rice (Excellent)
Son of Hamas, by Mosab Hassan Yousef with Ron Brackin (Excellent)
The Ultimate Harry Potter and Philosophy, by William Irwin and Gregory Bassham (Very Good)
The Twelfth Imam, by Joel C. Rosenberg (Very Good)
Zoe's Tale, by John Scalzi (Good)
Blue Like Jazz, by Donald Miller (Good)
The Big Shift, by Marc Freedman (Fair)
A Walk in the Woods, by Bill Bryson (Fair)
April '11
2030, by Albert Brooks (Excellent)
Makers, by Cory Doctorow (Fair)
Sophie's World, by Nancy Rue (Fair)
Sophie's Secret, by Nancy Rue (Fair)
I Love You This Much, by Sue Buchanan (Fair)
Squidge: Little Elf Big Trouble, by Andrew Thomas (Poor)
March '11
All New Square Foot Gardening, by Mel Bartholomew (Very Good)
Origins (Spinward Fringe), by Randolph Lalonde (Good)
Imaginary Jesus, by Matt Mikalatos (Good)
Lucy Doesn't Wear Pink, by Nancy Rue (Good)
Star Wars: Lost Tribe of the Sith #6: Sentinel, by John Jackson Miller (Fair)
February '11
Why We Get Fat: and What to Do about it, by Gary Taubes (Excellent)
Necessary Endings, by Henry Cloud (Good)
Decision Points, by George W. Bush (Good)
The n00b Warriors (Book One), by Scott Douglas (Poor)
January '11
Treat Me, Not My Age, by Mark Lachs (Excellent)
The Blue Zones, by Dan Buettner (Very Good)
Starlighter, by Bryan Davis (Good)
Fireflies in December, by Jennifer Erin Valent (Good)
The Taliban Shuffle, by Kim Barker (Good)
Brain Candy, by Garth Sundem (Good)
They Almost Always Come Home, by Chnthia Ruchti (Good)
Venus in Blue Jeans: Konigsburg, Texas book 1, by Meg Benjamin (Fair)
Overtime, by Charles Stross (Poor)
Star Ware: Lost Tribe of the Sith#4: Savior, by John Jackson Miller (Poor)
Star Ware: Lost Tribe of the Sith#5: Purgatory, by John Jackson Miller (Poor)
December '10
What Your Doctor May Not Tell You about Diabetes, by Steven V. Joyal (Very Good)
The Aedyn Chronicles: Chosen Ones, by Alister McGrath (Very Good)
Elantris, by Brandon Sanderson (Very Good)
Celia and the Fairies, by Karen McQuestion (Good)
Long Term Care, by Joseph Matthews (Good)
Bittersweet, by Shauna Niequist (Fair)
God Came Near, by Max Lucado (Fair)
Weight of Shadows, by Alison Strobel (Fair)
Your Secret Name, by Kary Oberbrunner (Fair)
Natalie Wants a Puppy, by Dandi Daley Mackall (Fair)
Jed and Roy McCoy, A Christmas Story, by Andrew McDonough (Fair)
Jackson Jones, Book 1, by Jenn Kelly (Fair)
Preacher Creature Strikes on Sunday, by Mike Thaler and Jared Lee (Fair)
The Art of Deception, by Kevin D. Mitnick & William l. Simon (Fair)
Other Sides: 12 Webfiction Tales, Ergofiction (Fair)
The Last Rakosh - A Repairmanjack tale, by F. Paul Wilson (Fair)
Quiet As They Come, by Angie Chau (Fair)
November '10
When Helping Hurts, by Steve Corbett & Brian Fikkert (Excellent)
Amsterdam 2012, by Ruth Francisco (Very Good)
The Death Trip, by Marion Stein (Fair)
October '10
Thrive, by Dan Buettner (Excellent)
Through a Dog's Eyes, by Jennifer Arnold (Excellent)
Fully Devoted, by Willow Creek Community Church (Good)
Everyday Justice: The Global Impact of Our Daily Choices, by Julie Clawson (Fair)
September '10
The Power of a Whisper, by Bill Hybels (Excellent)
Velvet Elvis, by Rob Bell (Excellent)
The Shadow and Night (The Lamb Among the Stars, Book 1), by Chris Walley (Excellent)
The Dark Foundations (The Lamb Among the Stars, Book 2), by Chris Walley (Excellent)
The Infinite Day (The Lamb Among the Stars, Book 3), by Chris Walley (Excellent)
Lucy's Perfect Summer, by Nancy Rue (Good)
Maid for a Dragon, by Roderick Gladwish (Fair)
And Thereby Hangs a Tale: Stuck on You, by Jeffrey Archer (Poor)
Youth, by Isaac Asimov (Poor)
August '10
Buy In, by John P. Kotter (Excellent)
The Malacca Conspiracy, by Don Brown (Very Good)
Metagame, by Sam Landstrom (Very Good)
His Robot Girlfriend, by Wesley Allison (Very Good)
When Christians Get It Wrong, by Adam Hamilton (Good)
The Forever War, by Joe Haldeman (Good)
More Blood, More Sweat and Another Cup of Tea, by Tim Reynolds (Good)
Nostradormouse, by Chris Tinniswood (Fair)
Milrose Munce and the Den of Professional Help, by Douglas Anthony Cooper (Fair)
Sleeping Beauty: A Moment to Remember, by Catherine McCafferty (Fair)
July '10
Retirementology, by Gregory Salsbury (Excellent)
Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell (Excellent)
Invasion of the Prostate Snatchers, by Ralph H. Blum and Mark Scholz, MD (Excellent)
Permission to Speak Freely, by Anne Jackson (Very Good)
The Rules of Work, by Richard Templar (Good)
Dourado, by David Wood (Good)
June '10
The Return of the Great Depression, by Vox Day (Excellent)
Nomad, by Ayaan Hirsi Ali (Very Good)
The Ultimate Suburban Survivalist Guide, by Sean Broderick (Very Good)
Space Cadet, by Robert Heinlein (Good)
May '10
The End of the Free Market, by Ian Bremmer (Excellent)
In Her Name, by Michael R. Hicks (Very Good)
The Best of Everything after 50, by Barbara Hannah Grufferman
Unfinished Business, by Lee Kravitz (Good)
April '10
Tea with Hezbollah, by Ted Dekker and Carl Mediaris (Excellent)
Stuff Christians Like, by Jonathan Acuff (Very Good)
Too Small to Ignore, by Wess Stafford (Good)
Welcoming the Stranger, by Matthew Soerens and Jenny Hwang (Good)
Xenolith, by A. Sparrow (Good)
The Twelve Sacred Traditions of Magnificent Mothers-in-Law, by Haywood Smith (Fair)
Skinny, by Laura L. Smith (Fair)
How to Succeed at Aging without really Dying, by Lyla Blake Ward (Fair)
In my Place Condemned He Stood, by J.I. Packer & Mark Dever (Fair)
Star Ware: Lost Tribe of the Sith#3: Paragon, by John Jackson Miller (Poor)
March '10
Ethnic Blends, by Mark Deymaz and Harry Li (Very Good)
Silent Tears, by Kay Bratt (Very Good)
Seized, by Max Hardberger (Fair)
Tiger's Curse, by Colleen Houck (Fair)
The Briar King, by Greg Keyes (Fair)
February '10
Empire, by Orson Scott Card (Excellent)
Hidden Empire, by Orson Scott Card (Very Good)
Nudge, by Richard H. Thaler & Cass R. Sunstein (Very Good)
The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho (Very Good)
The Sleep of the Gods, by James Sperl (Very Good)
Lamb, by Christopher Moore (Good)
Right Ascension, by David Derrico (Good)
Declination (Right Ascension), by David Derrico (Good)
Silent Tears, by Kay Bratt (Good)
This Time Is Different, by Carmen M Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff (Good)
Spin, by Robert Charles Wilson (Fair)
Poets' Corner, by John Lithgow (Fair)
January '10
American Savior, by Roland Merullo (Excellent)
The Map, by David Murrow (Very Good)
So Sue Me, JACKASS!, by Amy Epstein Feldman and Robin Epstein (Good)
Ender in Exile, by Orson Scott Card (Good)
One Simple Act, by Debbie Macomber (Good)
The Power of Respect, by Deborah Norville (Fair)
Five Little Peppers Grown Up, by Margaret Sidney (Fair)
December '09
Surviving the Fog, by Stan Morris (Good)
Ten Stupid Things that Keep Churches from Growing, by Geoff Surratt (Good)
In the Land of Believers, by Gina Welch (Good)
Elfhunter, by C.S. Marks (Good)
Fire-Heart, by C.S. Marks (Good)
Ravenshade, by C.S. Marks (Good)
Starfist: First to Fight, by David Sherman and Dan Cragg (Good)
Unleashing the Power of Rubber Bands, by Nancy Ortberg (Good)
Skeeter: A Cat Tale, by Anne L. Watson (Fair)
The Man Who Would Be King, by Rudyard Kipling (Fair)
The Sleeper Awakes, by H.G. Wells (Poor)
McIlvaine's Star, by August Derleth (Poor)
November '09
Going Rogue, by Sarah Palin (Excellent)
Surviving the Economic Collapse, by Fernando Ferfal Aguirre (Very Good)
Childhood's End, by Arthur C. Clarke (Good)
The Christmas Bus, by Melody Carlson (Good)
The Christmas Lamp, by Lori Copeland (Good)
The Scarlet Plague, by Jack London (Good)
The Crystal Crypt, by Philip K. Dick (Fair)
October '09
Tell Me a Story, by Daniel Taylor (Excellent)
Windows 7 Secrets, by Paul Thurrott and Rafael Rivera (Excellent)
Soul Intent, by Dennis Batchelder (Very Good)
Aaron's Storybook #3: The Baker's Dozen, by Aaron Shepard (Good)
Aaron's Storybook #4: The Gifts of Wali Dad, by Aaron Shepard (Good)
The Consolation of Philosophy, by Anicius Manlius (Fair)
America, Welcome to the Poorhouse, by Jane White (Fair)
The idiot girl and the flaming tantrum of death, by Laurie Notaro (Poor)
September '09
The Last Day, by James Landis (Excellent)
The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman (Very Good)
Never Surrender, by William G. Boykin (Very Good)
The Soloist, by Steve Lopez (Good)
Coraline: The Graphic Novel, by Neil Gaiman (Good)
Jungle Crossing, by Syndey Salter (Good)
Learn Me Good, by John Pearson (Good)
Private Sector and Poverty, by C. K. Prahalad (Fair)
Rogue Hunter, by Kevis Hendrickson (Poor)
August '09
Manifold: Time, by Stephen Baxter (Good)
IRAs, 401(k)s & Other Retirement Plans: Taking Your Money Out, by Twila Slesnich & John Suttle (Good)
Axis of Time: Weapons of Choice, by John Birmingham (Good)
The Caliphate, by Jack Stewart (Fair)
Heaven, by Randy Alcorn (Fair)
The Legend of Witch Bane, by Kevis Hendrickson (Poor)
July '09
Doomsday Book, by Connie Willis (Very Good)
Publicani, by Zak Maymin (Very Good)
Free, by Chris Anderson (Very Good)
Soul Identity, by Dennis Batchelder (Very Good)
Beacon Street Girls:Worst Enemies/Best Friends, by Annie Bryant (Good)
The Worried Citizen's Little Survival Guide to the Greatest Financial Crisis of the Century: The Domino Depression, by Stephen Windwalker (Good)
The Time Axis, by Henry Kuttner (Fair)
Free Range Chickens, by Simon Rich (Fair)
Star Wars: Lost Tribe of the Sith #2: Skyborn, by John Jackson (Fair)
Bugs in the Arroyo, by Steven Gould (Fair)
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, by F. Scott Fitzgerald (Poor)
June '09
The Parable of the tribes, by Andrew Bard Schmookler (Very Good)
Marathon, by Jeff Galloway (Good)
The Art of Forgiving, by Lewis B. Smeades (Good)
The Alchemyst, by Michael Scott (Good)
The Palmyra Impact, by Boyd Morrison (Good)
His Majesty's Dragon,by Naomi Nivik (Good)
eXplorations, by Poul Anderson (Fair)
Star Wars: Lost Tribe of the Sith #1: Precipice, by John Jackson (Poor)
The Babysitter's Code, by Laura Lippman (Poor)
May '09
The Total Money Makeover, by Dave Ramsey (Excellent)
Prayers for Sale, by Sandra Dallas (Excellent)
Autism and Me: Sibling Stories, by Ouisie Shapiro (Good)
Your Money After the BIG 5-0, by Larry Burkett & Ron Blue (Good)
In the River They Swim, by Michael Fairbanks et al (Good)
Beyond Lies the Wub, by Philip K. Dick (Fair)
April '09
One Second After, by William R. Forstchen (Excellent)
The Hole in our Gospel, by Richard Stearns(Very Good)
Inside the Revolution, by Joel C. Rosenberg (Very Good)
Retief!, by Keith Laumer (Good)
Beyond the Door, by Philip K. Dick (Poor)
March '09
Beasts of New York, by Jon Evans (Excellent)
Dead Heat, by Joel C Rosenberg (Very Good)
The Promised Land, by Mary Antin (Very Good)
Watchmen, by Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons (Good)
The Epicenter, by Joel C. Rosenberg (Good)
This Alien Shore, by C.S. Friedman (Fair)
The Kindle 2 Cookbook, by David Emberson (Good)
I, Robot, by Cory Doctorow (Good)
I, Row-Boat, by Cory Doctorow (Fair)
After the Siege, by Cory Doctorow (Fair)
Super Man and the Bug Out, by Cory Doctorow (Fair)
A Place so Foreign, by Cory Doctorow (Fair)
Anda's Game, by Cory Doctorow (Fair)
Eastern Standard Tribe, by Cory Doctorow (Fair)
Gump & Co., by Winston Groom (Fair)
Nimby and the Dimension Hoppers, by Cory Doctorow (Poor)
Home Again, Home Again, by Cory Doctorow (Poor)
Craphound, by Cory Doctorow (Poor)
Shadow of the Mothaship, by Cory Doctorow (Poor)
Return to Pleasure Island, by Cory Doctorow (Poor)
Shepherd of the Planets, by Alan Mattox (Poor)
February '09
"Atlas Shrugged", by Ayn Rand (Very Good)
"Tales of Beedle the Bard", by J.K. Rowling (Good)
January '09
"The DNA of Relationships", by Gary Smalley (Good)
"The Good Life and Its Discontents", by Robert J. Samuelson (Very Good)
December '08
"The Complete Guide to Marathon Walking", by Dave McGovern (Good)
"The Picture Bible", by Iva Hoth and Andre LeBlanc (Very Good)
"Beacon Street Girls: Lake Rescue", by Annie Bryant (Very Good)
"The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression", by Amity Shlaes (Very Good)
"The Law", by Frederick Bastiat (Very Good)
"Dragons Wild", by Robert Asprin (Good)
November '08
"Sheep Tales", by Ken Davis (Fair)
"Chi Walking", by Danny and Katherine Dreyer (Good)
"An Act of State: The Execution of Martin Luther King", by William F. Pepper (Good)
"The Shack: Where Tragedy Confronts Eternity", by Wm. Paul Young (Excellent)
"The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order", by Samuel P. Huntington (Very Good)
"Faith and Doubt", by John Ortberg (Good)
October '08
"Using the Asus Eee PC", by Bill Lawrence (Very Good)
"Boundaries with Kids", by Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend (Excellent)
September '08
'Linux Pocket Guide', by Daniel J. Barrett (Good)
'The Audacity of Hope', by Barack Obama (Fair)
'Brisingr', by Christopher Paolini (Good)
'Treason', by Ann Coulter (Good)
July '08
'Democracy in America', by Alexis deTocqueville (Good)
'Guns, Germs, and Steel' by Jared Diamond (Good)
June '08
'The Message of Exodus', by J.A. Motter (Fair)
'The Last Lecture', by Randy Pausch (Very Good)
'10 Books that Screwed up the World', by Benjamin Wiker (Good)
'La Biblia para Principiantes' (bilingual Spanish/English version of 'Beginner's Bible') (Excellent)

May '08
'Looking for God', by Nancy Ortberg (Good)
'Moment of Truth in Iraq', by Michael Yon (Excellent)
Apr '08
'Bike for Life', by Roy M. Wallack & Bill Katovsky (Excellent)
Jan '08
The Power of Nice, by Linda Kaplan Thaler & Robin Koval (Fair)
My Grandfather's Son, by Clarence Thomas (Excellent)
Dec '07
Secrets of the Baby Whisperer, by Tracy Hogg with Melinda Blau (Good)
Ethical Realism, by Anatol Lieven and John Hulsman (Very Good)
World War IV: The Long Struggle Against Islamofascism, by Norman Podhoretz (Good)
Rainbow's End, by Vernor Vinge (Very Good)
What's so Great about Christianity, by D'Nesh D'Sousa (Excellent)
Nov '07
The Last Colony, by John Scalzi (Very Good)
The Android's Dream, by John Scalzi (Good)
Up from Slavery: An Autobiography, by Booker T. Washington (Good)
Oct '07
I Sold My Soul on eBay: Viewing Faith Through an Atheist's Eyes, by Hemant Mehta (Very Good)
Sep '07
The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, by Robert A. Heinlein (Excellent)
Aug '07
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, by J. K. Rowling (Very Good)
The Treasure Principle, by Randy Alcorn (Poor)
Faithfully Fit, by Claire Cloninger & Laura Barr (Fair)
Jul '07
Chi Running, by Danny Dreyer (Good)
Jun '07
The Essential Bible: Manners and Customs, by Ralph Gower (Good)
Triathlon Swimming Made Easy, by Terry Laughlin (Good)
Narrow Gate Churches, by Atallah Mansour (Good)
May '07
Future Hype: The Myths of Technology Change, by Bob Seidensticker (Very Good)
In the footsteps of Jesus Christ, by Uzi Tauber (Good)
Same Kind of Different as Me, by Ron Hall and Denver Moore (Excellent)
Apr '07
On the Wealth of Nations, by P.J. O'Rourke (Very Good)
Mar '07
James, by Douglas J. Moo (Fair)
Uncle Tom's Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stowe (Good)
Feb '07
He Talk Like a White Boy, by Joseph C. Phillips (Good)
Your First Triathlon, by Joe Friel (Very Good)
Jan '07
Real Food, by Nina Planck (Excellent)
Difficult Conversations, by Douglas Stone et al (Good)
Strong on Defense, by Sanford Strong (Very Good)
Dec '06
SQL Queries for Mere Mortals, by Michael J. Hernandez & John L. Viescas (Excellent)
Nov '06
Social Intelligence, by Daniel Goleman (Very Good)
America Alone, by Mark Steyn (Excellent)
Eldest, by Christopher Paolini (Very Good)
Heart Monitor Training for the Compleat Idiot, by John L. Parker, Jr. (Fair)
Younger Next Year: A Guide to Living Like 50 Until you're 80 and Beyond, by Chris Cowley and Henry S. Lodge, M.D. (Excellent)
Crisis of Abundance: Rethinking How We pay for Health Care, by Arnold Kling (Good)
The Cure: How Capitalism Can Save American Health Care, by Dr. David Gratzer (Good)
The Diamond Age, or, A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer, by Neal Stephenson (Good)
Oct '06
The Copper Scroll, by Joel C. Rosenberg (Very Good)
Orthodoxy, by G.K. Chesterton (Fair)
Reagan in His Own Hand, edited by Kiron K. Skinner, Annelise Anderson & Martin Anderson (Very Good)
Phule's Errand, by Robert Asprin & Peter J. Heck (Fair)
Sep '06
The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation, by Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colón (Excellent)
Love Busters: Overcoming Habits that Destroy Romantic Love, by Willard F. Harley, Jr. (Very Good)
SQL Pocket Guide (2nd. ed.), by Jonathan Gennick (Very Good)
Aug '06
Quit Digging Your Grave with a Knife and Fork, by Mike Huckabee (Good)
Life Application Study Bible (NIV translation - Very Good, study notes - Fair)
Eragon, by Christopher Paolini (Very Good)
July '06
Making Room for Life, by Randy Frazee (Very Good)
June '06
Whose Land? Whose Promise? What Christians Are Not Being Told about Israel and the Palestinians, by Gary M. Burge (Poor)
The Rape of Alma Mater, by Wells Earl Draughan (Very Good)
May '06
The Divine Conspiracy, by Dallas Willard (Very Good)
The Wailing Wind, by Tony Hillerman (Very Good)
The Didymus Contingency, by Jeremy Robinson (Very Good)
The Ghost Brigades, by John Scalzi (Good)
The Biz Agent to the Stars, by John Scalzi (Very Good)
April '06
body logic: Guide To Wellness, Fitness And Nutrition, by Neil Wolkodoff (Excellent)
March '06
An Army of Davids, by Glenn Reynolds (Excellent)
February '06
Blood Brothers, by Elias Chacour (Excellent)
How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must), by Ann Coulter (Fair)
Leaving Ruin, by Jeff Berryman (Poor)
9 Things You Simply MUST DO to SUCCEED in LOVE and LIFE, by Henry Cloud (Very Good)
The Pushcart War, by Jean Merrill (Good)
January '06
Armed Response, by David Kenik (Good)
Dendelions in a Jelly Jar, by Traci DePree (Good)
The Travel Safety Manual, by Christopher P.P. Barnes (Very Good)
Let Justice Roll Down, by John Perkins (Good)
Shadow Puppets, by Orson Scott Card (Good)
The Purpose-Driven Life, by Rick Warren (Fair)
December '05
The Magician's Nephew, by C.S. Lewis (Good)
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, by C.S. Lewis (Good)
The Power of Full Engagement, by Jim Loehr & Tony Schwartz (Excellent)
Traveler's Tool Kit, by Rob Sangster (Good)
November '05
The Mystic Rose, by Stephen R. Lawhead (Good)
October '05
SAS Survival Handbook, by John "Lofty" Wiseman (Excellent)
September '05
Bulletproof: The Making of an Invincible Mind, by Chuck Holton (Excellent)
The Emotionally Healthy Church, by Peter Scazzero (Good)
August '05
The Cannibal Queen: An Aerial Odyssey Across America, by Stephen Coonts (Very Good)
Nice Girls Don't Change the World, by Lynne Hybels (Fair)
The Gospel of Good Success, by Kirbyjon H. Caldwell (Good)
Sarah, by Orson Scott Card (Good)
July '05
No god but God: the Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam, by Reza Aslan (Very Good)
The Barbarian Way, by Erwin McManus (Good)
The Ezekiel Option, by Joel C. Rosenberg (Excellent)
The Authoritative Calvin and Hobbes, by Bill Watterson (Very Good)
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, by J. K. Rowling (Very Good)
Freakonomics, by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner (Good)
Learning to Sail: the Annapolis Sailing School Guide for young Sailors of All Ages, by Diane Goodman (Fair)
June '05
The Road to Serfdom, by F. A. Hayek (Excellent)
A Can of Peas, by Traci DePree (Good)
State of Fear, by Michael Crichton (Excellent)
Old Man's War, by John Scalzi (Very Good)
I Am Charlotte Simmons, by Tom Wolfe (Poor)
May '05
When Jesus Came to Harvard:Making Moral Choices Today, by Harvey Cox (Very Good)
The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde (Fair)
April '05
Anthem, by Ayn Rand (Very Good), by Gordon Atkinson (Good)
Basic Economics (2nd ed.), by Thomas Sowell (Excellent)
The Cartoon History of the Universe III: from the Rise of Arabia to the Renaissance (Very Good)
March '05
Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott (Very Good)
Floating Off the Page, by Ken Wells (Very Good)
The Total Temple Makeover, by Gregory Jantz (Excellent)
Because of Winn-Dixie, by Kate DiCamillo (Excellent)
February '05
The Complete Cartoons of the New Yorker, by Robert Mankoff (Fair)
January '05
A Long Way from Chicago, by Richard Peck (Excellent)
A Year Down Yonder, by Richard Peck (Excellent)
To Reign in Hell, by Steven Brust (Poor)
The Volunteer Revolution, by Bill Hybels (Good)
November '04
The Prince, by Niccolo Machiavelli (Excellent)
October '04
Dune: Battle of Corrin, by Brian Herbert & Kevin J. Anderson (Very Good)
Making Your Children's Ministry the Best Hour of Every Kid's Week, by Sue Miller with David Staal (Good)
Emergency Sex and Other Desperate Measures: A True Story from Hell on Earth, by Kenneth Cain, Heidi Postlewait and Andrew Thomson (Good)
September '04
Ten Minutes from Normal, by Karen Hughes (Excellent)
the Skeptical environmentalist: Measuring the Real State of the World, by Bjorn Lomborg (Excellent)
the CONTRARIAN'S Guide to Leadership, by Steven B. Sample (Excellent)
July '04
Brainwashed, by Ben Shapiro (Good)
Fast Food Nation, by Eric Schlosser (Very Good)
June '04
The Five People You Meet in Heaven, by Mitch Albom (Good)
Welcome to the Ivory Tower of Babel:Confessions of a Conservative College Professor, by Mike S. Adams (Excellent)
May '04
Acorna's Triumph: The Further Adventures of the Unicorn Girl, by Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Scarborough (Poor)
Deliver Us from Evil, by Sean Hannity (Good)
April '04
Star Trek Voyager: The Farther Shore, by Christie Golden (Fair)
Radical Middle, by Mark Satin (Excellent)
March '04
The Crystal City, by Orson Scott Card (Good)
Applied Economics, by Thomas Sowell (Excellent)
A National Party No More, by Zell Miller (Good)
February '04
Law in America: A Short History, by Lawrence M. Friedman (Very Good)
Darwin on Trial, by Phillip E. Johnson (Excellent)
The Savage Wars of Peace: Small Wars and the Rise of American Power, by Max Boot (Good)
January '04
A Traveler's Guide to the Galapagos Islands, by Barry Boyce (Good)
Galapagos, by Kurt Vonnegut (Poor)
The Last Days, by Joel C. Rosenberg (Good)
December '03
Authentically Black, by John McWharter (Excellent)
Beyond Black and White: Reflections on Racial Reconciliation, by George Yancey (Excellent)
Even Grues Get Full: The Fourth User Friendly Collection, by Illiad (Good)
November '03
What to Do When You Don't Know What to Do, by John Townsend & Henry Cloud (Very Good)
Dune: the Machine Crusade, by Brian Herbert & Kevin J. Anderson (Good)
Pattern Recognition, by William Gibson (Good)

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Already and not yet

One of the key things for Christians to know about the Kingdom of God is that it is both already among us and not yet as visible and dominant as it will be.

This dichotomy was perhaps never more obvious than when Jesus stood up to read at the synagogue in Nazareth one day. Given the scroll of Isaiah, he opened it and read these words (from Chapter 61:1-2):
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” (Luke 4:18-19, RSV)
Jesus then added:
“Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4:21b, RSV)

Imagine the scene: the Messiah they had awaited for 400 years, standing right there, but most hearers only able to recognize Jesus as their carpenter’s son, asking: “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” (Luke 4:22b, RSV)
Indeed, they found it so hard to accept Jesus as Messiah that they soon tried to toss him off a nearby cliff for blasphemy.

I found myself thinking about this “already and not yet” aspect of the Kingdom of God last Monday evening. I’d had cataract surgery that morning, and still had a bandage over my eye until the next morning. My eye had already been fixed, but I couldn’t know that for sure until the bandage was removed the next morning.

As Christians, we believe Jesus was and is the promised Messiah, and that his Kingdom is already breaking into our world. At the same time, we believe more and better is to come as the Kingdom fully arrives. We trust that the key event in that process, Jesus death and resurrection has already happened, leaving us only to await the removal of the bandages from our eyes so we can see clearly, rather than (as Paul put it) “through a glass, darkly.” (1 Co 13:12a KJV)

A pair of Jehovah’s Witnesses dropped by as I was first thinking about this, and helped me choose the passage above to describe how the Kingdom is already and not yet. They are also a useful reminder that everyone who has tried to predict the Kingdom’s full arrival has been wrong. Personally, I’m happy with Jesus’ words on the subject:  “But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.” (Mt 24:36 RSV) Suffice it to say we each see God soon enough.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Charity is what you do with your own time and stuff, not your employer's

Cracker Barrel is in the news again. This time for firing a worker for giving away a corn muffin. (Story here.) The worker had been there 3 years, and this was either his 3rd or 5th such action, depending on whether you take his word for it or Cracker Barrel's.

This caught my attention because the underlying offenses all appear to involve taking for himself or others what isn't his to take or give. Whether having a soda on duty when doing so is not allowed, or giving away a restaurant's food, seems to me the underlying issue is "Who pays?" for the lost time and lost food and drink. In my opinion, unless otherwise agreed, it's the worker's responsibility to work during working hours and to pay for anything that the company normally sells but he or she consumes or gives away instead. The worker here says he'd have been willing to pay for the muffin if asked, but after multiple such warnings, why did he think he needed to be asked?

Charity is great, but giving away others' time and stuff without their permission is theft, not charity.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Tips for Moving with Pros

We just moved from a Chicago suburb to Orange County, CA, using Allied Van Lines pro movers. We chose them over United Van Lines only for their $1K lower bid, having learned in a previous move that no matter what we did to cut costs later, the estimate is what we'd have to pay.

Better Business Bureau rates movers, so don't bother with anyone not top-rated on their site. Also, June is prime moving season, so get your request in early.

Before you get your estimate, get rid of absolutely everything that isn't worth $2 a pound to have with you at the other end, and physically separate that which will be moved from that which won't to help the estimator get it right.

We sold lots of furniture to the buyers of our home, and gave away tons of other stuff to friends, Goodwill, Salvation Army, and the "trash fairy" (guy who cruised the neighborhood weekly just before the weekly trash pickup.) That saved us thousands of dollars, and allowed us to comfortably fit into a home here that is 1/3rd smaller than our former home. That in turn pays because now we can clean it ourselves easily with the help of a Braava 380T mopping robot rather than needing a house cleaner, all of whom here appear to work only under the table - a way we are not willing to pay, both for moral reasons and to avoid being billed for their social security decades hence.

Most boxes we packed ourselves, using inexpensive and effective boxes and supplies from Lowes, plus hand-tearable 3M packing tape from Amazon subscribe-and-save. The movers packed the china and other breakables, and the little big furniture we kept. (Cheaper to buy a new bed from Amazon than to move an existing one, though like pulling teeth to find anyone willing to take a used mattress.)

Anything we truly cared about rode in one of our two cars, and fit easily as there isn't all that much we couldn't stand being without. This included a safe of ammo in one car, and a safe of guns in another car. Keep them apart and very clearly unloaded when crossing multiple states, and keep both safes entirely out of sight.

Something that helped the drive a lot was a set of Motorola Family radios. There are large parts of the west where no one's cell phone works. But we didn't find anywhere we couldn't talk on the Family radios. Made coordinating stops and turns a whole lot easier.

We shared cell #s and emails with our driver - this vastly eased coordinating a move-in date and time, especially when it turned out our new street was unexpectedly scheduled to be torn up during most of the originally-planned move-in delivery window.

As another commenter suggested, ditch the printed books and go with Kindle versions before moving. Someday when you are living in a single room with only a bed and chair, you'll still have your entire library on a Kindle. Only exception is books you must have in printed form to be useful, such as those necessary for recovering from an EMP attack.

Similarly, I made a good digital photograph of every important bit of artwork, and now use those as daily-changing screensavers on our PCs, with only those our son still wants to inherit someday actually going up on walls at the new place. We also got a good high-speed scanner, and reduced several file cabinets worth of old papers to a small portion of our ReadyNAS storage system that is both locally and remotely backed up.

In the end, nothing at all broke, our movers were skilled and never even hinted at a tip, and pre-paying via credit card worked out perfectly.

Only change for next time, hopefully never, is that my wife now wishes she'd just let the pros pack all the boxes, regardless of cost. But the pros actually advised against that.

All in all, a great move, and I'm happy to recommend Allied-affiliated Reebie Storage & Moving Co. (

In the end, it's all just stuff, so lighten your load before you move.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Deja Vu

Yesterday, our pastor (Bill Hybels of Willowcreek Community Church) preached for week three of Willow's annual Celebration of Hope series about helping the poor. It was the first sermon I've ever heard by Bill in which I didn't notice him mentioning either God or sin. (I could have missed something. Listen for yourself here:

It was a surprising omission to me because Bill's first question was "Why are the poor poor?" Bill offered several possibilities. He did not, however, offer the obvious Willow answer - because we live in a fallen world.

I was glad to see Bill then note the plight of the extreme poor has improved in recent decades. But I was surprised to see no credit given for that to the era of freedom beginning with the fall of the Berlin wall, nor to the resulting wave of free enterprise.

Next, Bill mentioned how he and Willow evolved from only offering compassionate help to the poor, to also supporting justice, and recently becoming involved in politics.

The example Bill offered was of recently writing editorials, meeting politicians, and attending demonstrations to solve the problem of illegal immigration. As usual, nothing was said on behalf of applicants for legal immigration, who wait years for a decision.

The new focus on justice and lobbying over compassion is a huge switch for Bill and Willow, but deja vu for a retired United Methodist pastor. Forty years ago, we in the UMC tried the same thing. For example, Bread for the World ( told us we could raise more money to feed the poor with one vote in Congress than from any number of individual charitable gifts. Theoretically true -- but not magic. Unless a majority of voters agree, members of Congress seeking re-election won't long support any idea.

When I first attended (in 1990), Willow had a different approach, called "Life by life." Rather than lobbying politicians, Willow built individual relationships. This resulted in such sights as Congressman Bobby Rush attending a Willowcreek Leadership Summit, and Bill's monthly visits with then-President Bill Clinton.

There is value in both approaches, but hearing the UMC argument coming from Bill's mouth left me wondering who now reaches people life by life?

Like many reaching the end of a career, Bill has recently become more willing to express controversial sentiments, coming out as a Democrat, much as I came out as a Libertarian on many issues after retirement. But part of me would like to return to the days when pastors were more careful not to drive off half a congregation by too fervently supporting only one side of a controversial issue in which major parties disagree and Biblical truth is elusive.

Update:Here's a contrary view from today's news, noting that George Soros is funding a group in which our pastor's spouse is involved. That's the conservative equivalent of telling a liberal something was funded by the Koch brothers: