Thursday, 26 February 2015

IT'S THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN

Easter Sunday is on April 5th this year but chocolate bunnies and Easter candy is already appearing in stores across the land. One store I went to before Christmas even had those Cadburry Mini Eggs on sale.

As much as I love those chocolates, as well as all the bunny-themed items on sale, one aspect of Easter gets me down. Far too many under-aged rabbits are sold to gullible parents who have no clue how to look after these creatures.

The scenario is almost exactly the same in households across North America. The parents buy a bunny from a breeder or pet store. Then the kids won't look after him or her. The rabbit soon is put in the back yard in a tiny hutch. The parents quickly tire of caring for the one-time kids pet. Either the defenseless animal is dumped in the park or surrendered to an over-crowded animal shelter. Often times, the family dog or some passing predator frightens the bunny to death. Next year, many of the brainless parents will buy another hapless animal for their whining brood.

In the past decade or two, animal welfare proponents have advocated for rabbits to be treated with the care that dogs and cats receive. They spend considerable time and effort reaching out to people through the media. Often times, they set up booths at pet shops to warn potential bunny owners of what they need to do to have a long and happy experience with their rabbit.

But to the warnings from many worthy causes, some folks are just stuck on stupid. They hear all the public service announcements on such important matters as drunk driving and distracted motoring, yet they figure that's for other people. The same sadly holds true for warnings about rabbits at Easter.

If you feel tempted by breeders or pet shops to buy that cute little bunny, STOP! Visit House Rabbit Society and study all the information you'll need to decide if a bunny is for you and your family. As with any animal, rabbits need to be spayed and neutered. They require a special diet that will prolong their lives and keep them healthy. They can also be litter trained. Furthermore, bunnies aren't treated by every veterinarian but by the ones specializing in exotic animals.

I also have written a memoir of my experience with rabbits in my home. The paperback is filled with humorous stories and surprising facts about these long-eared companions. Check out When a Man Loves a Rabbit at Bruce Atchison's books page.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

WE'VE ALWAYS HAD WACKY WEATHER

It seems like people today think that the weather used to be so nice but now man-made pollution is up-ending the weather systems. The older I get, the more ridiculous that argument gets.

I remember riding the Greyhound bus home one windy day in 1970. An elderly man sat next to me and began telling me how strange this weather was in comparison to how things were when he was my age. I've heard many similar stories how today's weather isn't like it used to be.

A pattern is forming in my mind about these "wacky weather" reports from various people. Older people seem to forget the bad things in the past, generally speaking that is. This is why everything seems so good long ago.

It also seems to me that our senses diminish as we age. What once was an adventure now is an ordeal. To me, soft ice cream tasted better when I was young and summers were hotter. Now I realize it's just a matter of perspective due to decades of experience.

The leader of the cultic house church I once attended also made some wild predictions about the weather. One of his outlandish claims was that the southwestern United States would be uninhabitable by the turn of the century due to violent storms and earthquakes. Last I've heard, the western states of America are doing quite well. Apocalyptic claims have been made by other false leaders and haven't yet come to pass.

I'm sure the children of today will someday realize that we've had it good during the first decades of the twenty-first century. There will always be storms and quiet years. Winters will vary in length in severity, just as they've always done. The same goes for the other three seasons. Keep in mind that these cycles have happened for millennia and that our tiny contribution of heat is being compensated for by the environment.

My How I Was Razed memoir shows how wrong that rogue leader was with his supposed revelations. Check it out at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Powell's Books.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

HOW COMPUTERS HAVE CHANGED OVER THE YEARS

Having just purchased a new laptop, I marvel at how quickly personal computers have developed.  When I was a child, there were only mainframe computers, the size of refrigerators, and only businesses or universities had those. The Apolo 11 crew had a portable computer for their Command Module but it was extremely primitive compared to what we now have. Microprocessors didn't exist until I was well into my adult years.

Do you remember your first computer? Mine was a Vic-20 that I bought second hand from a shortwave-listening club member. Instead of a hard drive, programs were stored on cassette tapes. To access one, you had to pop the correct tape into the player and type in a command to run it. Thirty years later, I still have the Vic-20. It might be a collector's item someday so I'm hanging onto it.

My first "real" computer was a used IBM clone which I bought in 1993 for seven-hundred dollars from a computer store. It had a 100MB hard drive and drives for 5.25" and 3.5" floppy disks. It also had 2MB of memory, too small to run Windows 3.1. A friend gave me an amber monochrome monitor and I bought a dot matrix printer from a friend at work. As I've written before, this computer opened the world of writing for me.

It wasn't until November of 2000 that I bought a new PC with Windows 98 on it. Along with writing and research, I was able to record my music to its hard drive and burn my own CD-Rs. I also made tray and j cards for my disks, as well as printing labels for them.

In April of 2008, I bought a new PC with a much faster CPU and it was able to use USB flash drives. I made videos with it and the PC is still my main machine today. I'll have to upgrade to Windows 8.1 from XP but some of my beloved programs won't run anymore on it.

Now I have a laptop, fulfilling a dream I've had for years about writing outside during the warm months of the year. I can also take it with me whenever I travel. Though I'll have to get used to its flat keys, I feel confident that this helpful device will be of use when we get our lovely summer weather here in Alberta.

I've mentioned my computers and how I wrote them in my three memoirs. Read about the first two at Bruce Atchison's books page. My most recent paperback is at Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, and Powell's Books.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

DAD'S ARMY, A SERIOUSLY FUNNY TV SHOW

We've been fortunate so far here in North America. Up until now, we've had no devastating con tenant-wide conflicts. Europe, Africa and Asia have had horrific wars in the past hundred years while we rested safely in our isolation across the ocean. Though nuclear missiles were aimed at our major cities, none were fired during the Cold War.

Perhaps this is why I find Dad's Army to be such a hilarious television program.  Airing in the U.K. between 1968 and 1977, this comedy showed what life was like for the Home Guard during the second world war.

To me, far too many movies and TV shows have focused on the soldiers at the front. Seeing, even in a comic form, what other forces were doing during the war adds depth to a person's understanding of those times.

The Home Guard were a force of volunteers in Britain who were ineligible to fight but who wanted to defend their homeland. from German invasion. Check out the link to learn more about these individuals and how their group formed.

Much of the TV show's plots were based around real life events, though the town of Warmington-on-Sea was fictitious. The volunteers often had personal clashes due to class and regional differences. Adding to the hilarity, one member's mum made outrageous demands for her boy to the self-appointed captain of the platoon. The vicar and verger of the church hall also complicated matters with their objections to the training going on in their sacred space.

I highly recommend this TV show to fans of British comedy. The characters are engaging and the double entendre puns are clever. Check online or at your local video store for this excellent series.

Make sure as well that you buy the correct version for your region as some DVDs only play on PCs and region 2 players.

I can't think of a good segue from that subject to my memoirs so please save me from a bad headache by visiting Bruce Atchison's books, Amazon, , and Powell's Books.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

PROVIDENTIAL PROTECTION AND HOW WE OFTEN DON'T REALIZE IT


Listening to the news each day can make a person feel paranoid. From auto accidents to murders, we're bombarded with tragedies. I know of one case where the news made one woman so paranoid of being spied on and stolen from that it sent her to a mental hospital. Doubtless, you might know of similar cases.

I'm a slow learner when it comes to spiritual matters. Even so, I now understand the wonder and beauty of God's providence. Even a casual look back on my life shows how things could have been much worse.

When I was a security guard working the night shift, I was awakened by a house inspector who needed to measure the room I rented. He noticed that my headphone cord had fallen across the space heater and was beginning to melt. Had he, a fellow Christian, not come that day, I might have died in the resulting fire.

In February of 1981, another act of God's providence happened. I was hired by the federal government and stayed employed with them for fourteen years. The resulting pension I earned helps me live a comfortable life today.

Likewise, the equalization lump sum payment from the government in 2000 allowed me to buy a house in a small rural hamlet and put in a septic field. I have the perfect place to write, all due to the heavenly Father's awesome guidance of events.

No more will I fall for the faith teachers and their name-it-and-claim-it doctrine. God knows what is best for us and he works through providence to preserve us. And even when bad things happen, he makes good come out of it.

I wrote in How I Was Razed how I learned to trust God's providence rather than trying to work up my faith so I could received miracles. I feel so much happier as a result. Check out  my book at Amazon page for details.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

RIGHT ABOUT ISLAM; WRONG ABOUT THE GREAT RED DRAGON

Have you noticed the growth of militant Islamic organizations over the decades? Up until recently, we never heard of groups like Boko Haram, Hamas, or the Taliban. Before September 11, 2001, Islamic terrorism was an "over there" sort of problem.

As I pointed out in my How I Was Razed memoir, The minister claimed that Islam , not communism, was the great red dragon mentioned in The Revelation of John the Divine, the last book in The Holy Bible. He made that declaration in 1979 during the Iranian revolution.

More than thirty-five years later, I find that he was right about the rise of Islamic militancy but wrong about the dragon. The Islamist forces are gaining power in many countries around the world.  Sharia law is being enforced in many Middle East countries, thanks to the "Arab spring" of the past few years. In western European countries, Muslims are exerting pressure on governments to set up Sharia courts, ostensibly for their people. Calls for this have even been made in Canada.

A recent Newsmax.com article describes how Muslim immigration poses a danger to American retirees and to health care. Another article published at World Net Daily
Where I disagree with that minister is in regard to his notion that Islam is the great red dragon mentioned in the twelfth chapter of Revelation. From the context, and understanding that the letter was written to seven churches in Asia, I can tell that the reference is in fact to Satan trying to destroy Christ at his birth. I'm convince by teachers such as Hank Hanegraaff that the books of the Bible were written to the people of the ages when they were penned, not for twenty-first century Christians. Only the return of Christ hasn't happened yet.

Thanks to that rogue minister, I feared the coming of tribulation and the mark of the beast. Now I know that whatever happens, God will look after us and we need not fret about the future. Please check out How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity and see how wonderfully the heavenly father led me into his truth.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

WILL CHURCHES LOSE THEIR TAX EXEMPT STATUS?

Pastors and priests had better wake up their ideas. In this increasingly secular culture, people are beginning to wonder why churches don't pay taxes like everybody else. I used to wonder why that was as well until I heard the reason why this is so.

Apparently church organizations used to be the providers of social services. They set up hospitals, orphanages, and rescue missions to help people in need. At the time, governments weren't all that involved in social work.

As the so-called progressive movement grew, so did the involvement of governments in caring for the disadvantaged. People soon accepted this, reducing the pressures on church budgets. The twin lures of more control over people by the government and more money for church budgets has steadily eroded the need for Christian social outreach.

The danger in this trend is that the rationale for Christian charities and churches receiving a tax break is rapidly fading. From what I've learned from various sources, atheists are now openly questioning this tax holiday for one religion.

If believers in Christ aren't careful and don't heed the warning signs, they could wake up one day and find that their churches suddenly owe taxes. I dare say that some municipalities might even demand retroactive tax payments.

I hope and pray that churches of all denominations get their acts together and start reaching out to their communities. This can be done in simple ways. For example, volunteers could shovel the sidewalks of elderly neighbours. They could drive disabled folks and seniors to doctor appointments. Even helping elderly and infirm neighbours with shopping trips would be a step in the right direction.

I used to receive plenty of help from church members. Now, only a few of my former congregants are willing to help. Thorhild County now takes me, and a few seniors, shopping twice a month. I also ride with seniors from Newbrook on the county bus for a day-long shopping trip. A few non-Christian neighbours also give me rides but I pay for their gasoline and time.

Sad to say, I used to receive plenty of help from members of a cultic house church. You can read about the memoir I wrote of those times at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Powell's Books.