Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Veterans Day

Happy Veterans Day, Dad!
Almost 91 years old and still tickin'!

Monday, November 3, 2014


N3CN is my amateur radio call sign. I've been a "ham" for a long time. It started when I was in Junior High School - back when there were Junior High Schools and not Middle Schools! They had a program called the "Learning Enrichment Program" and one of the things we could do was get an amateur radio license and use the radio station at the school. So I did. I learned morse code and some radio theory and got what was then called my "novice" license with the call sign WB3EXE (which is you know morse code is a really cool call sign to tap out). That must've been back around 1981.

Of course, Junior Highers are very competitive, so once we got our first licenses, we wanted to advance. At that time there were 5 classes of licenses you could get, so we tried to move up - and did! I went to General (level 3), to Advanced, and then got the top license, Extra. When you get that, you can get a special, shortened call sign as a perk, and I did: N3CN. I was active for a while and bought a nice radio for my home. But once I went to college, I was less and less active. Then I moved into an apartment and couldn't have an antenna up. Then I sent to seminary, then to New York and my first church, and then in Virginia the Home Owner Association where I lived didn't allow it. And so many years went by without being back on the air.

Now, however, I am starting back in. There is much I have forgotten, of course, but am re-familiarizing myself with it all. What got me going again was being trained in Disaster Relief Response and Ham radio operators are very useful at such times. So I got my old radio out, but since I haven't used it in so long, its not going to work without fixing up. Not too many folks do that anymore, and it has old parts, too - vacuum tubes even! So instead of trying to invest in fixing that up, I decided to save up and try to buy a new radio that would be both more reliable and easier to use.

Then I found someone in Warrenton selling the radio I had identified as a good and not too expensive fit for me. It was in very good condition and he was no longer using it since he had upgraded and was willing to give me a good price. Then I found out that he was selling an antenna also! So now I have the equipment I need to get back on the air. All I need to the time to erect the antenna and hook everything up. That will probably be in another week or so.

So if you're a fellow ham and reading this, let me know and we'll see if we can make contact. Hopefully the antenna will work well where I am going to put it and I don't blow anything up . . . :-)

Friday, October 31, 2014

Do We Still Need the Reformation?

You be the judge. This was taken off a Roman Catholic blog I sometimes read:


From the Handbook of Indulgences
Visiting a Church or an Oratory on All Souls Day
A plenary (“full”) indulgence, which is applicable only to the souls in Purgatory is granted to the Christian faithful who devoutly visit a church or an oratory on (November 2nd,) All Souls Day.
Will you not, for love, try to gain these indulgences?  Make a plan.
Requirements for Obtaining a Plenary Indulgence on All Souls Day (2 Nov)
  • Visit a church and pray for souls in Purgatory
  • Say one “Our Father” and the “Apostles Creed” in the visit to the church
  • Say one “Our Father” and one “Hail Mary” for the Holy Father’s intentions (that is, the intentions designated by the Holy Father each month)
  • Worthily receive Holy Communion (ideally on the same day if you can get to Mass)
  • Make a sacramental confession within 20 days of All Souls Day
  • For a plenary indulgence be  free from all attachment to sin, even venial sin (otherwise, the indulgence is partial, not plenary, “full”).
You can acquire one plenary indulgence a day.
A partial indulgence can be obtained by visiting a cemetery and praying for the departed.  You can gain a plenary indulgence visiting a cemetery each day between 1 November and 8 November. These indulgences are applicable only to the Souls in Purgatory.
A plenary indulgence, applicable only the Souls in Purgatory, is also granted when you visit a church or a public oratory on 2 November. While visiting the church or oratory say one Our Father and the Apostles Creed.
A partial indulgence, applicable only to the Souls in Purgatory, can be obtained when saying the “Eternal rest … Requiem aeternam…” prayer.

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Way Home

The last day of our little trip . . .

Sunday morning we packed up and drove up to Springfield, MA for a brief visit with my son at college. We went to church with him (Trinity Lutheran) and then to lunch before giving him the supplies we had brought with us and saying farewell until Thanksgiving. The church has a familiar story: a beautiful old little church in a declining part of town with now small membership. It was nice to be able to go and not carry everything up from our closet in the basement and just sit and receive. We also looked at their beautiful stained glass windows. Sadly they are in need of a very expensive repair that the congregation cannot afford. I hope they do not break and fall apart.

After that we began the long trek home. We decided that even though it would be dark and again take a little longer, we would go back through the mountains of Pennsylvania again - less traffic and a more pleasant drive. However, if I had to do it again, I might have taken the shorter route. No problems - just got home really late.

One good thing, however, was that we found a great little restaurant to stop in for dinner . . .

It is in Port Jervis - a little town off I-84 and right at the junction of PA, NJ, and NY. It was a warm and friendly place and not expensive. It was very homey and relaxing. So if you're passing through those parts, I would highly recommend it.

The rest of the trip home was uneventful . . . just long. Good to be back, but it'll be hard doing a lot today (except maybe a nap!). Overall, though, a good weekend.

Sunday, October 19, 2014


The wedding here at Immanuel Lutheran in Bristol went off without a hitch. Well, actually one hitch, as we "hitched" the happy couple! :-)

The old church is beautiful. It was my first time preaching from an elevated pulpit. The organist was amazing. And I didn't get lost driving! (Okay, my wife drove to the reception . . .) But all in all a good day. We spent the morning relaxing and visiting with my sister who drove up from Stamford for the morning. Today we leave for Springfield, MA to visit my son at college and go to church with him. Then we'll drive home. So looking forward to another good day!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Road Trip

My wife, youngest daughter, and I are in Connecticut this weekend for a wedding. Two of my member are being married up here at his home congregation, a beautiful old church in Bristol. We left early yesterday morning to get here for the rehearsal and purposely went a little out of our way to make the drive nicer. Our choice was: (1.) I-95 and the NJ Turnpike - mostly cities, industrial, and lots of traffic, or (2.) up through the mountains in PA - country, scenic, and less traffic. We went for . . .

The only traffic we really hit was for the last 15 miles in Connecticut, which took us about an hour! But, I was to find out, driving around here was going to be like that. Well, actually, like this:

Yeah, the roads here are tough. I got a little lost going to the church for the rehearsal, coming back to the hotel to pick up my family for the rehearsal dinner, going to the rehearsal dinner place, AND coming back to the hotel! Maybe it's just my age, but I used to be good at driving and finding things! But we got everywhere we needed to be and relatively on time - thanks to my smartphone and its navigation app. Without that, I'd still be out there driving around somewhere!

Here's an interesting tidbit for you all: in New York, they don't just have Rest Stops off the highway anymore - they have:

A sign of the times, I guess.

The hotel we're staying in - Homewood Suites - is very, very nice! Not too far from the sprawling ESPN campuses. (I don't think I've ever seen more satellite dishes in one place before!) 

So, takin' it easy this morning. I'll rehearse my sermon a few times, my sister is driving up to hang out with us a little (she lives about an hour from here), and then off to the church. Should be a good day . . . as long as I can get back to the church! :-)

Monday, September 22, 2014

Two Things

Two rather eyebrow raising things for you this morning . . .

#1: The front page, front and center, above the fold, prime location, lead story of the Washington Post Sunday paper yesterday: "When No Gender Fits." Really? With all that's going on in our country and world, that's the story you lead with? C'mon!

#2: In our study of the book of Romans (chapter 1) last week, we came across this passage:
28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.

What surprised us in that right in the midst of that lengthy list of sins was "disobedient to parents!" How lightly we take that in our day and age. It's almost seen as natural. Teenage angst. Part of growing up. No it's not! God includes it here as part of this list of serious sins. Maybe we should think about that a little more . . .