Persians and Greeks

I've just finished the book:

It ends, of course, with the Greeks stopping the Westward advance of the Persian Empire.  But what really struck me was that for the people living in Greece, it didn't seem to matter much whether they paid taxes to Sparta, Athens, or the Persians.  The Persians even charged lower taxes than the Greeks.  So, for the common person, it may not matter much what government you have--the Iraqi's may prefer a king or dictator, we may prefer a representative democracy, but what we really all prefer is for our lifestyle not to change and our taxes not to be too high.

Another book I have been reading challenges some of these same issues:

Jesus for President: Politics for Ordinary Radicals

ISBN: 0310278422
ISBN-13: 9780310278429

If a Christian, where is our allegiance and how does that work in our society, how does our culture influence us and where do our loyalties lie.  What does Jesus have to say about kingdom, war, community, money, possessions, holidays, etc. 

It also struck me how the U.S. looks like any other empire.  We have holdings (military bases) all over the known world. We seek to impose democracy on every other civilization we encounter.  We respond to violence (eg. 9/11) with greater violence to bring the perpetrators (and perhaps their whole civilization) under our control.  Note:  More than 100 times as many civilians have been killed in our war against Iraq than were killed on 9/11, no matter whose report you believe.

You might not agree with everything in this book, nor should you agree with everything his sources believe, but it's still a good book to get you thinking about the kind of kingdom we live in.

And all of this fits in well with the study I'm doing: 

Daniel: Lives of Integrity, Words of Prophecy

ISBN: 1415825882
ISBN-13: 9781415825884

Note: videos from the study can be viewed here:  Daniel video

Daniel, too, had to fit into a civilization that violated his allegiance to God.  Check out the videos and if you like it, find a group or just get the workbook and do it on your own.

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Opera 9.5 Mobile (beta) for Windows Mobile

I have just tried this and it works far better than the Opera Mini version I was running.  Faster and cleaner.  So for phones not running Windows Mobile 5 or 6, stick with Opera Mini.  Otherwise Opera Mobile is the best.

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Cellphones and Internet
What can you do with a cellphone?
If you are using a "smart phone" (this is a phone that offers some computer-like applications), you may be able to use it to connect to the Internet using your laptop. So in a place without wifi, you can connect your phone using Bluetooth or with a USB cable to your laptop and surf the Internet if you have a data plan with you cell phone carrier and if you phone and laptop support the technologies. On your phone you would look for Internet Connection Sharing. If using Bluetooth, you would look for the Bluetooth PAN. This works best if the laptop is running Vista and, of course, you phone would need to be able to make and Edge or GPRS connection. Is this all Greek to you? Just do a web search for the terms along with your operating system on your laptop and your brand and model of cell phone. You should be able to find useful advice.

More Cell phone uses
Email and Weather
If you have webmail, the best way to check it on a cell phone (if it's compatible) is to use Opera Mini or Opera Mobile. Opera Mini is for cell phones with a data plan and Opera Mobile is for Smart Phones running Windows Mobile. (Although I'm running Opera Mini on my ATT Tilt Smartphone). It is a Java application, which means your phone must support Java. The best weather site if you want to see the radar is mobile. And if you can do that you can certainly check your webmail, also. Gmail works very well. Opera Mini has a zoom function which shows you the entire page and then lets you zoom so you can actually read it. Give these a try.

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Introducing Jeff Lutz, Computer Consultant

jeff Jeff is joining me in helping to service your computer needs.  How did I find Jeff?  I interviewed 1 person I thought I knew and was ready to sign him when he stopped answering my emails and phone calls.  Someone contacted me, and I was getting ready to sign her, when she rejected my business model.  I was referred to someone else, but he decided that he was too busy.  However, he referred me to Jeff.  Jeff worked for Lucent Technologies for some years.  He enjoys working with computers and solving problems, and has done computer-related volunteer work.  He is married and has 2 grandchildren.  Be sure to ask him about the reason for his season ticket to Cedar Point! 

Is Jeff my partner or my employee?  No.  He is an independent consultant like me who I have under contract.  He will make the decision, just as I do, as to whether he can handle your problem and how he will do it.  If you want Jeff, rather than me, just ask.  If you want me, rather than Jeff, just say so.  What does this mean for you? 

  • Quicker response time.  Need help now?  Well you might actually be able to receive help now, rather than on another day. 
  • Better service.  When I don't know the answer, perhaps Jeff will.  And you know the adage, Two Heads are Better Than One.
  • Fresher service.  With someone else to take calls, I don't have to squeeze so much into a day.  I can rest once in awhile and do other things I enjoy (Yes, I do have a life outside of technology!)  This should give you the benefit of not having someone check out your computer in an exhausted mental state.

So better service for you, some rest for me, and another person who is also a technology "geek" to take care of your technology problems.

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Easy, Fun History

This series of history DVD's is useful if you are not a history lover.  However, even if you love history as I do you will enjoy them.  Featuring a guide with a sense of humor, and approximately 30-minute segments, anyone would enjoy this!  This was originally broadcast on History Channel but now is available from the producer. . . (Our public library has it, too.)  I have watched just 2 segments. . . I might order the series to watch them all!

Drive Thru History - Rome if you want to...
Price: $19.95

  • Episode 1:  Lost in Rome, the Forum & Palatine Hill, the Emperors during the time of Christ, the Arch of Titus and the destruction of Jerusalem
    Approximate Running Time: 34 Minutes
  • Episode 2:  The Circus Maximus, chariot racing, the great fire of Rome, Nero's persecution of Christians and the Roman Pantheon.
    Approximate Running Time: 31 Minutes
  • Episode 3:  Hannibal invades Rome, the Colosseum, the Gladiators and the early Christian influence.
    Approximate Running Time: 30 Minutes

Drive Thru History - Greece and the Word
Price: $19.95

  • Episode 1:  The Greeks, the Oracle at Delphi, the Olympics, Paul and Alexander the Great.
    Approximate Running Time: 35 Minutes
  • Episode 2:  Lost in Athens, Acropolis & Parthenon, the Philosophers, the life of Paul, Mars Hill, missionary journeys.
    Approximate Running Time: 37 Minutes
  • Episode 3:  Paul in Corinth, Corinthian decadence, Corinth Canal and New Testament evidence.
    Approximate Running Time: 32 Minutes

Drive Thru History - Turkish Delight
Price: $19.95

  • Episode 1: Churches of Revelation, Dave's sweet ride, Ancient Sardis & Smyrna, Darius' Royal Road, Martyrdom of Polycarp.
    Approximate Running Time: 34 Minutes
  • Episode 2:  Hot Springs of Hieropolis, Camel bite, Christians in Laodicea, Ancient Colossae, Paul's Letter to Philemon and the Colossians.
    Approximate Running Time: 31 Minutes
  • Episode 3:  Ancient Ephesus and the Apostle Paul, Letter to the Ephesiands, Roman Ruins, Library of Celsus, Artemis Temple, Ephesus riot of Acts 19.
    Approximate Running Time: 30 Minutes

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What occupies me during July

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The Persians

OK, I've progressed from the Babylonians to the Persians, and from Cyrus tthrough the lesser kings to Darius.  I'm working my way toward Xerxes so I can have some good background on Esther.  This is the book I'm reading:

What are the differences so far between the Babylonians and the Persians?  The Persians let all the conquered peoples stay in their own areas, keep their own language, culture, gods.  To some of those they conquered, this strategy made them look weak, so there were always uprisings.  In addition, the Persian language never became the lingua franca of the areas they conquered:  From Turkey to India and Northern Africa to Ethiopia. 

Why are the Medes and Persians tied together?  The story goes (there is historical support for this story) that the King of the Medes married his daughters off to the Persian King.  But he had been told my his wise men that a grandson would murder him.  So he had his chief lieutenant steal the child and kill it.  However, the chief lieutenant decided to hide the child, instead, and then inform the Persians where it could be found.  This child was Cyrus.  The lieutenant remained a double agent and when Cyrus became king, he assisted Cyrus in killing Cyrus' grandfather and uniting the Medes and the Persians.  He became Cyrus' lieutenant and the famous Medean cavalry joined the Persian armies and navy, and together the Medes and Persians became a world power.

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Derek Webb--The Ringing Bell

This is one of my favorite artists. I buy anything he does. Listen for yourself.

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Just Read

I just finished this book: 

It's not my usual kind of read. It's an easy book to read--just the thing before I go to sleep. The subtitle has "opportunity" as a theme, but from my frame of reference it should be "disaster" or
"distress."  However, it really doesn't matter what you call it, the book reads the same.  What do we do, how do we act, when we see a lion ahead or end up in a pit with a lion in on a snowy day?  I am still recovering from my burn-out period last year and this was just the book I needed to give me new hope and propel me forward.  I was reminded last weekend of the need just to stay the course--to not be left out of the story.  As Sam said to Frodo, it's the ones who keep going and don't turn back when they encounter difficult times.  Those are the ones who make a difference. 

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