Letter to the Editor — Richmond Times Dispatch

A friend recently wrote a letter to the editor of the Richmond Times Dispatch.  His letter was printed this past Sunday .  I thought he made a good point so I asked him if I could post it here.  He said yes.  So, here is his letter:

 Editor, Times-Dispatch:

Both evolution and creation are conclusions drawn from assumptions. Letter-writer Andrew Shufferly [“Creationism Assumes the Conclusion”] and many other people believe that evolution is fact, based on the evidence. However, neither evolution nor creation can be proven, because the beginning of our world happened in the past, without eyewitnesses, and cannot be repeated. Evolutionists and creationists look at the same evidence, but come to different conclusions because of their assumptions (there is no God, or God created the world in millions of years, or God created the world in six literal days).

Millions of years are not needed to create fossils or the Grand Canyon. A museum in Zeehan, Tasmania, has a fossilized felt hat that can be no more that 100 years old (it was found underwater in a mine). The Grand Canyon could have been created with a lot of water in a short amount of time. The fossil record could be seen in terms of the sorting action of a worldwide flood, such as Noah’s flood. A person’s assumptions determine his or her conclusion.

God is the real issue here. If there is a God, then we would have to come under his authority as the one who created us. If there is no God or if the Bible can be questioned, then humans can come up with their own rules for living. I challenge the reader to look at the evidence with a different assumption. If there is a God, then he is an authority over all he created whether we believe in him or not.

Tim Elder. Richmond.

Neat Site — New Feature

At times I like to listen to audio books.  Before my 2007 Thailand Trip, I went looking for audio books online.  At that time, I came across Librivox.  Librivox provides free audio books that they release into the public domain.

I think I’ll take a chapter a day (or perhaps week) and post as part of my podcast.  That way, you can see what sort of literature interests me. 

Doi Suthep Monk

As I mentioned before, we went to a Bhudist Temple at Doi Suthep.  While there, I saw this monk blessing people by sprinkling them with water then tying a bracelet around people’s wrist:


I was looking on Google video and came across this video of the same thing (I didn’t take this second one):


Contrails while Crusing over the North Pole

I took this video while we were crusing over the north pole on Thai Airways flight 790 from JFK to BKK.  I thought it surprising I could see the contrails forming right outside my window.


Night Market

 While in Chiang Mai, we went to the Night Market (We also went to the special Sunday Night Market but I don’t have any pictures of that for some reason).  This is controlled chaos.  The sidewalks on both sides of the street are taken over by vendors selling just about anything and everything.  From silk shirts, to videos and games (illegal copies I’m sure), to knives, to baby clothes.



 While there, we ate at the Burger King (I know, I said no western food while gone).  The whopper I had was the best whopper I have ever had.  The burger tasted good, the hot part was hot while the cold stuff was cold.  If only BK could be like this in the states.



 After we ate, we went through the market.  You can haggle for price and get some really good deals.  I ended up and got Lydia a dress for 200 bhat (I think), me a silk shirt for 250 bhat, and several other souvieneers.

If you want to see some more pictures, go see the Chiang Mai Night Market Gallery

Songthaews (aka Songtows)

SongthaewWhile in Chiang Mai, I found the easiest way to get around was by Songtow (or Songthaew).  I was trying to write something about it when I found a very good article on the internet describing this mode of transportation.

From McCartor.com :

Songthaews [pronounced song-tao] are pickup trucks that function as taxis in Thailand.

The trucks have a large metal framed unit fitted onto the back. Ever had a neighbor with one of those things in the flatbed of his truck that makes it into a “camper”? They’re kinda like that.

The mostly-enclosed back area protects passengers from rain or, more often, from the hot Thai sun. Long pieces of tinted plastic serve as thin windows on each side. Running the length of the inside are two long cushioned benches. This is where the name comes from; songthaew is Thai for “two bench(s)”.

Passengers enter through a doorway-like opening in the very back. Where the tail-gate would normally be there is a step or two to help you get in. To the left and right of the opening on the outside there are places for people to stand and hold on if the truck’s really full. More rurally-based songthaews may also have a small luggage rack on top useful for transporting big bags of goods to and from market.

Just so you know, there are different colored trucks. These different colors give you an idea as to where the particular songthaew goes. If you’re a visitor to, say, Chiang Mai, most likely you’re going to be using the red songthaews. Reds circle around the moat, serving both the old city (that is, inside the moat) as well as popular outlaying spots (Central Airport Plaza, Kad San Kaew, maybe Tesco-Lotus). Depending on the time of day, the red ones may also swing by the airport, the bus depot, or the train station.

Yellow songthaews in Chiang Mai are the ones that head to smaller towns twenty, thirty kilometers away. These are more like your commuter trains; long straight trips with just a few stops. I don’t think they take people exactly where they want to go. Rather, they take everyone to a central place in a town and then head on to the next one.

I’ve heard tell of blue songthaews in Chiang Mai, but like Nessie, never actually seen them. It makes sense that they’d have the third primary color, but I don’t want to go telling tales outta school.

Now, when you want a taxi you usually have two choices: you can call the taxi company or you can try hailing one. Songthaews are old school offering only the latter option.

Okay, you’re standing on the sidewalk. You see a songthaew coming a block or two away. Is it the color you want? If so, extend one arm out towards the street (usually this would be your left arm). Now don’t go raising you arm all like “Taxi!”; but rather, put it down at a 45 degree angle—as if you were pointing to a crab on the ground seven feet away from you. With your palm facing down, swing your four fingers towards your palm a couple of times (kinda like how kids wave when they’re really little or Bart Simpson demonstrating the sound of one hand clapping).

The truck will pull over if he can; if traffic’s too heavy he might not be able to stop right there. Go to wherever he stops, but don’t get in yet. Walk up to the passenger window of the cab (in Thailand cars drive on the left-hand side of the street, the right-hand side of the car—like England) which will be open at least a little bit. Tell the driver where you want to go, poised more as a question. “Airport?..”

If he (I’ve yet to see a female songthaew driver, although I have seen one female tuk tuk driver) shakes his head, that’s too far out of his way or not an area he covers. If, however, you get a nod then he’ll take you there. Songthaews don’t have any sort of meter like a taxi, so (especially if you’re a farang) you’ll want to agree on a price before getting in. Fifteen baht? Ok. Once that’s sorted, get moving and get yourself into the back.


 Overall, I found thm a good mode of transportation.  They get you where you want to go and they are cheap.


Rasmussen Out

I was reading the news this morning when I saw that Rasmussen’s team, Rabobank, had kicked him out of the tour.

From the story:

“Michael Rasmussen has been sent home for violating (the team’s) internal rules,” Rabobank spokesman Jacob Bergsma told The Associated Press by phone. The team also suspended him.

Only once before in the 104-year-old Tour has the race leader been expelled. In 1978, Belgian rider Michel Pollentier, trying to evade doping controls after winning a stage at the Alpe d’Huez in the Alps, was caught with an intricate tube-and-container system that contained urine that was not his, said Tour historian Jean-Paul Brouchon.

 In other news, Moreni faied a drug test :

 Another Tour de France rider — Italian Cristian Moreni — failed a doping test and was led away by police at the end of Wednesday’s 16th stage.

Moreni tested positive for testosterone after stage 11 of the Tour last Thursday, said Didier Simon, of cycling’s world governing body, the UCI. He said it was for Cofidis to decide whether to pull its other riders from the Tour in the wake of Moreni’s failed test.

Don’t you understand?!

I sat down this morning, opened up a web browser, and was presented with a link to an article about Bible translation.  The article is on the IMB’s homepage and leaves the reader with something good to chew on.

“Don’t you understand?…These people need the Gospel…They need the Scripture in their language.”

Click here to read the entire article

Favorite Food

I had this post written while waiting in LGA; however, I messed up and it didn’t get saved.  So, this is a repost.

While we were in Chaing Mai, we ate at many places including one hole-in-the-wall/avoid-at-all-costs-if-you-are-a-tourist type restaraunt.  We are there because one of our friends suggested it and had eaten there many many times.  I’m glad we went because it was awesome.  Here are some pictures of the place:


 I ordered this dish called Cowsoy (don’t know if that is how it is spelled or not).  It turned out this was my most favorite dish of the entire trip!  I tried to order it other places; however, it wasn’t on the menu anywhere else.  Here is a picture:

It came with this plate of stuff you mixed in with it.  I ate everything except the big brown lump (it was like tofu blood or something like that.  My friend didn’t eat it either).

You then added this spice stuff to it to suit your hotness level:

Here is a picture of two ladies working there.  The one on the right made us this nice fruit slushie drink that we ordered just about every place else we went.  They were good!  She is a believer and she asked us to pray that she would know how to witness to the lady on the left.