Potatoes

A little while ago, I heard a man on TV say that potatoes originated in Peru. “Now that can’t be,” I said to myself. “Everyone knows that potatoes were started in Ireland.”

Shows how much I know. I looked it up. Guess what? He was right and I was wrong. Surprised me but you can look it up yourself. However, it does leave me with a question. What did the people in Europe have for dinner before Columbus. I can hardly think of sitting down to a meal without potatoes, certainly not very often. Like the the guy in the advertisement on TV says, it is usually my bite.

Don’t tell my cardiologist but I could make an entire meal of nothing but mashed potatoes and gravy. I wouldn’t need another thing. Well, it would be nice to have a glass of cold milk with it.

Well. I do like fried rice too. The problem with that is that I have no idea how to make fried rice.

Into Captivity

In my last post, I discussed the origin of the Israelites and I suggested the reading of a few books of the Holy Bible to verify my post.  Indeed, I would hope you would read them, especially those who have not read them before in their entirety.

The first five books of the Bible and the book of Joshua explain the origin of the Israelites.  The books of Joshua, Kings and Chronicles explain the history as they lived in the Promised Land.

To be sure, in this post I want to concentrate on the events leading up to their going into captivity.  However, before I do this, I need to call one thing to your attention.

Shortly after the Israelites crossed over into the Promised Land, the book of Joshua records a very important event.  God called for the Israelites to chose Whom they would serve.  God called them to a pair of mountains and call out the blessings that they would receive for following God.  He also required them to call out the curses for not following God.  They had a choice and they chose to follow God.

God promised that, even if Israel strayed, if they would repent and follow the Lord, he would heal their land and bless them.  However, he told them that if they did not repent, that, among other things, He would scatter them throughout the world.

If we read Judges, and I wish you would, you will see several cases where they disobeyed God and worshiped idols.  In some respects, they were worse than those who were in the land before them.  Some of the events I find disgusting and I think most everyone would.

Yet, every time, they repented, God forgave them and He healed land and His people prospered.

It was God’s desire that Israel would be an example to the world.  He wanted us to know what will happen when a nation follows the Lord.  Unfortunately, they were often an example of a nation that did not follow the Lord.  Repeatedly He punished them and they repented.

When the nation was split into two kingdoms, the northern kingdom, Israel followed foreign gods.  Even though God frequently chastised them, it was only a matter of the degree of disobedience.  Finally, as God warned, he sent them into captivity.  The Assyrians came down and overthrew Israel and took many of them off into captivity.

Unlike Israel, Judah went through periods of obedience and periods of disobedience.  This was mostly recorded in the history of the kings of Judah.  When they had a good king, he would destroy the idols and made the people follow God.  When they had a bad king, he allowed idol worship, even to the point that he too would worship the idols.

Whenever God would chastise them, they turned from their wicked ways and He would heal their land and the people prospered.  In general, my own observation is that they could not stand the prosperity.  As they prospered, they turned from God and claimed their success was by their own hands…. Or worse, by the hand of idols.

These oscillations continued over the decades until, finally, Judah refused to repent.  When God chastised them, the people wrote it off as coincidence.  (Rather as we do today)

So God gave up on them.  He sent a prophet, Jeremiah.  Today, he is known as the weeping prophet because he was given an impossible task.  He was told to try to get the people to repent but God knew they would not and He told Jeremiah from the beginning that he would not succeed.  (I know I sort of repeated myself, but it was something worth repeating.)

Jeremiah wrote 2 books, the one bearing his name and Lamentations.  Parenthetically, lamentation means an expression of extreme grief or sorrow.  God let Jeremiah know some of what was going to happen to Judah and it caused him great sorrow.

God caused the kingdom of Babylon to rise up and attack Judah.  Through Jeremiah, He told them not to defend the city of Jerusalem.  He told them to give up.  The decision was already made and the best thing they could do was accept it.

Instead, they kept fighting to the point that they fulfilled the prophecies that they would eat their own babies and drink their own urine to survive during the siege.

Finally, about 100 years after the fall of Israel, Judah fell.

…BUT it didn’t stop there.

Another nation rose up, Persia and captured both Babylon and Assyria.  I guess God planned it that way.  Now, both Israel and Judah were under the authority of one king.

…and so it was that the entire nation of was again under one authority.  However, not all of Israel was in Persia.  Some remained in the Promised Land, those who were not taken away.  Some went south, many into Egypt.  To some degree, they were already scattered as God foretold back in the Book of Joshua.

After 70 years of captivity, fulfilling prophecy, the Israelis were allowed to return home.  In the Scriptures, the numbers returning was recorded accurately by tribe.  However, there is no recording of how many remained in Persia.  There is no way of telling where they went or how many remain to this day in Iran.

One of God’s unconditional promises was that He would greatly multiply the seed of Abraham and He did.  It is very likely that the number of Israelites doubled, tripled or greater while captive.  Many Israelites can continue to trace their history back through time.  Others have tried to hide their history.  They find it safer.

Also, during their captivity, there was some intermarriage.  The Book of Ester explicitly records the marriage of one Israeli woman to the King of Persia.  At this point the scattering of God’s people is well under way, but it has only begun.

In my next post, I will bring us up to date.  There is no way I, or anyone can completely follow where all the Israelites have gone, but I find it interesting that God, Himself, calls them Jews, all of them.  So, from this point on, so will I.  Even though Paul called himself a Jew, he was from the tribe of Benjamin.  (I don’t try to explain it.  I just take note of it.)

A Little Misdirection

As an writer, I occasionally use the internet for research.  Currently, I am working on a book where I wanted to do some checking on camp-stoves, specifically the type that use Sterno fuel.

Now I have a slew of e-mails suggesting the purchase of camp-stoves.  My apologies to the merchants.  It was not my intention to misdirect you, but I am not interested in camp-stoves.  My days of camping are long behind me.  Besides, from what I learned of Sterno Stoves, they are not well suited for camping.  They have a hard time boiling water.  In my book, my character decided on the old gasoline type.  The flame burns hot and the fuel is readily available.

Don’t get me wrong, the Sterno Stoves do serve a good purpose, but not for survival.  The flame is not hot enough to boil more than a quart or two of water.  Propane or (or if available) is much better for most purposes.  There is a one burner version that is not much larger than the LP bottle and it can generate a good uniform flame for quite a while.  It would very likely be a good stove for power outages, unless like me, you have a gas stove.

The one real laugh I have about it all, those monitoring my internet queries often have a false impression of me and there is not one thing I can do about it.  None of there e-mails permit return messages.

Braids

Just heard something I found interesting.  I can’t say for a fact it’s true, but, given the nature of those involved, it does sound about right.  Certainly it is exemplary of socialists.

It would seem that the New Jersey State Assembly unanimously voted to remove the law requiring professional hair braiders to have licenses.  Now that just floored me.  I didn’t know they required licenses.  Then again, I guess I should have.

At any rate, when it reached the governors desk, he vetoed it.  Go figure.  That was as far as the news report went.  There are however a couple of conclusions that a person can easily draw.

First, and foremost, it only goes to prove that socialists don’t have the interest in the poor in mind.  By signing the veto, he also insured that, maybe a couple hundred people will not be able to braid hair.  Also, of course, he protected those that already braid hair.  Hence, he insured that they could continue to charge higher prices and those that want to get into braiding stay in the homeless shelters.  To summarize, it is effective at keeping little gal or guy down.

My second conclusion is that either the man is stupid or someone has slipped him a dollar or two under the table.  I don’t know.  Maybe it is three dollars.  Regardless, I don’t know which is worse.  I don’t know which scares me the most.  Do we want to admit that the governor has the reasoning ability of a ten-year-old or someone who likes bribes.

By the way, for those interested, about half the states require licenses to braid.  I don’t know, but I’d guess most of them are blue.

The next time you find a useless law or regulation, I suspect you will find it was made by a Democrat.  If it keeps the little guy down, then I am sure of it.

Well, at least those of you in New Jersey can rest assure.  The person braiding your hair has successful graduated an extensive training course on braiding hair.  I sure that does make y’all feel much safer.

As a side note, my wife has braided her own hair, even when it was down past her waist.  I wonder if they will start outlawing that.  I know.  I am being ridiculous.  Then again, a week ago, I figured just about anyone can braid hair.  I guess that was my mistake.

I don’t know if a license is required in Mississippi.  I guess I should check before I open a shop.

A Word or Two About Some Obscure History

I guess it was a few decades ago that I recall watching an old black & white Sherlock Holmes movie.  In it, Holmes notices a man with military shoes and deduced that he had been a soldier.  Not was a soldier, but he had been in the Crimean War.

Immediately, I was launched into thought.  I knew I heard about the Crimean War, but I hadn’t an inkling of anything about it.  My wife gets angry with me for doing such things, but I immediately went into research mode.  I decided I’d not sleep until I found out about it.

I won’t bore you with all the info about the war, but there are some things I gleaned that most everyone should know.  It is a small peninsula jutting south from The Ukraine into The Black Sea.  It started at or about 1862, slightly before our Civil War.  The most famous battle was The Charge of the Light Brigade.  It was such a disaster that Tennyson wrote a poem about it.  Afterward, the method of selecting and training the British officer corps was drastically changed.

It is in during this war that Florence Nightingale became famous for her help of the wounded.  Yalta, a city on the south coast, was the place that the leaders of the US, Brittan and the Soviet Union met near the end of WWII.

For quite a while, I liked to test who really knows their history/geography.  I simply asked where Crimea was.  Of course the peninsula has become better known recently, since Russia took over the Peninsula.  This is a something of a paradox, being as that was the reason for the Crimean war.  Hence the war only delayed the takeover by Russia.

By the way, even with Crimea being in the news so much here lately, I would suspect there aren’t many that know where it is.  I am sure there are far fewer who know the history.

While the Crimean was very important, I won’t bother with all the details.  You can look it up yourself and I would suggest you do.  In spite of the fact that the little plot of land is so small, the land and the war were and are a very important part of history.  Besides, you will be able to impress your friends with how knowledgeable you are.