I wonder stuff …

By Scott Linscott

                           September 21 frost.

I wonder how many individual wood pellets come in a ton? If you haven’t seen wood pellets, they look like rabbit food pellets but they are made of sawdust and mill scraps. We burn them in a wood-stove thing to stay warm in the cold season. In Maine, the cold season is about 8 months per year.

I wonder why the word “cold” means “brr” and “cough cough achoo.” I have both types of cold this morning and pellets are burning.

I wonder what all the New England Patriots haters are thinking now that they’ve seen the new look without Brady. And, I wonder what this year’s division champion t-shirts will look like.

I wonder if cereal is actually breakfast soup.

If animals could talk, I wonder which ones would be the most rude? I definitely think that cats would be the rudest. I’d tell you what I think cats are saying but I try to avoid using profanity for the most part.

Sometimes I wonder what my daughter’s Golden Retriever is thinking. I suspect she has a five word vocabulary: “food, in, out, play, people.” The first four are obvious but the last one might be her favorite. Bailey wants to meet every human she sees and drags us to them. When she sees a people she responds with the strength of a Fryeburg Fair oxen team.

It’s okay 9 out of every 10 times but when we meet weird people who don’t like dogs it gets downright awkward.

I wonder what Pompom is saying when she runs at other dogs barking her 11-pound head off. I know she is either yelling, “hi, friend” or “hey, what’s your name? Can I sniff your ears? Want to chase me? I like chase games. Is this your human? These are my humans. Want to come see my house?”

Unfortunately, her tone is more like, “I am coming to kill you. I am a mighty warrior. You should fear 11-pound me!” She needs a gentle but firm punt.

If I had a big dog and a little dog came running at him, I would let nature take its course. She really needs a big dog to give her a lesson in respect. She has forgotten old man Manny. He was an old chocolate lab who put her whole head in his mouth and sat her down.

I wonder why it has been 10-20 degrees below normal here in Maine? I wonder where I file my complaint?

I wonder why voters respond to all the “she’s the devil” advertising that both sides play continually. I think all it does is convince us all that both candidates are the devil.

I  wonder why some people are all nervous about the government getting access to pictures of our faces when we use online facial recognition. Have none of these people heard of state IDs, drivers’ licenses and passports?

I wonder when our pellet delivery is going to happen today. All I know is that they are coming today. Morning? Afternoon? I have no idea. All I received was the message that they are coming today. If only we had some type of device where we could put in an address and get an estimated time of arrival. If only that device was then able to, say, send some sort of instant message to say, “your delivery will arrive at approximately…” Imagine what a world it would be if we had such technology.  If I jump into the shower they will arrive at that moment, for sure.

We had a great weekend and got lots of stuff done in preparation for winter. Robin made ice cream with neighborhood kids and sent it home with them so I wouldn’t eat it. Phew! Church in the Park was awesome yesterday. And, believe it or not, I actually gave one of the neighborhood kids a tennis lesson Saturday morning. I think it’s been 20 years since I last hit a tennis ball!

I hope you have a great Monday and are able to resist being dragged into the culture of rage that is our current reality. Look for the good and focus on that.

#everydayisabonusday

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Dear USA, please, could we have just a moment of silence?

By Scott Linscott

Shhh … just breathe.

“Ladies and gentlemen, please stand and remove your hats as we ask you to join in a moment of silence…”

We’ve all done that before. We know how to do it. Entire audiences, auditoriums, school, standiums and even countries stand quietly.

For a moment, just a brief moment, all politics, ideologies, debates, arguments, economies, plans and worries are purposely set aside. We join together in a painfully human moment to empathize and remember. We call it respect.

Our nation lost a pioneer yesterday. Ruth Bader Ginsburg lost her battle with cancer at 87 years of age, still mentally sharper that I can ever hope to be, and still actively serving on our nation’s highest court.

Though small in stature, even those who differed ideologically and politically must admit, she was mighty in presence.

Denied a clerk position in 1960 only because she was a woman, she determinedly pressed forward knocking down numerous gender barriers.

Please, America, I ask for a moment of silence. Lowering my flag to half staff today, I thought of those she leaves behind; family, close friends, and co-workers who loved her as just “Ruth.” I asked God to quiet those circling their wagons, preparing the fight ahead.

Could we just take a moment to respectfully be silent and remember the humanity of loss and grief?

Breathe, America. Hold off on the social media posts until Monday. Put away the signs and the banners for just a brief moment in time.

No matter how we felt about her writings, her judgements, and her decisions, might we just see her as another human being just like your grandmother who passed recently, the sister you lost or the mother you mourn?

Ladies and gentlemen, please stand and remove your hats as I ask you to join in a moment of silence for Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Shhh … Just breathe.

#everydayisabonusday

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Cake is Good but Homemade Birthday Cake Ice Cream is Way Better!

My awesome wife makes me breakfast.

By Scott Linscott

I try to eat healthy most of the time but when I fall off the wagon, I fall hard. Back in 1901, that expression meant that the driver of the water cart, going around spraying down dusty roads, drank water instead of booze since he was “on the wagon.” Today, “falling off the wagon” applies to abandoning a healthy habit to dive into an unhealthy one.

My tumbles off the wagon usually come when I am stressed out, feeling out of control, or discouraged. That’s called “emotional eating.”

I also have what I call “celebration eating.” That happens when we party. We Linscotts celebrate A LOT! Cakes, desserts, cookies, ice cream, ice cream and more ice cream are part of every celebration. Every day is a bonus day and we are very good at remembering that.

My too-busy-for-good-eating periods have been crushed by COVID restrictions. I’m not too busy. I don’t rush from one meeting to another anymore and drive through businesses probably think I died or moved. Unfortunately, now I graze the cupboards and counters here at home and, since we celebrate a lot, there are usually left-overs.

I’ve made two significant discoveries this summer:

  1. I can do without donuts made from potatoes. A local, very popular donut shop makes their donuts from a potato recipe and a lot of people love them. Me? Nah. I prefer the light, fluffy donuts. Potatoes should never be used to make cakes and donuts.
  2. Homemade Birthday Cake Ice Cream has the power to turn me into a a dumpster-diving bear. Hunters could bait me with birthday cake ice cream and stand right there with their guns ready and I would still come stumbling toward their trap like I was stuck in a tractor beam. I am powerless around that stuff.

In January I weighed 207 pounds. This morning I weighed 225 pounds. That’s 18 pounds of celebrations, grazing, discouragement and birthday cake ice cream and a promotion to BMI Class 1, 32 BMI. It’s not a promotion any of us want, especially with COVID skulking around. (BMI CALCULATOR) The CDC shows that the bigger we are the harder we fall if we get the virus. It has used cases of people hospitalized to show our risk of “serious illness requiring hospitalization” based on our chunkiness alone.

Overweight (not obese), if BMI is 25.0 to 29.9.

Class 1 (COVID: low-risk) obesity, if BMI is 30.0 to 34.9.

Class 2 (COVID: moderate-risk) obesity, if BMI is 35.0 to 39.9.

Class 3 (COVID: high-risk) obesity, if BMI is equal to or greater than 40.0.

2009. “Oh Beast? Come here, Beast.”

My mother couldn’t say “obese.” She would say “obeast” instead. I weighed more than 300 and she would scold me about my weight, while handing me a whoopie pie, saying, “you are too obeast.” Robin would laugh later and say, “Oh beast, come in here beast!”

I’m considering buying combination locks for the freezers to keep me out of the ice cream. We already instituted the policy of sending all dessert leftovers home with the kids to reduce my grazing habits. And now, we are trying to add daily walks. Our problem is that I’m too slow for Robin so she has to schedule time to walk her beast and time to get in her 3-mile exercise walk.

Are there other tricks to keeping the bears out of your food? Let me know and maybe we will implement them here on Village Lane. I’d really, really love to get back to the plain, old, fat guy classification leave Class 1 behind.

Have a great day. Don’t invite me to your celebration but, if you must invite me, please chain me to a tree where I can’t reach the dessert table. If you have birthday cake ice cream you better make it one of those heavy chains they use to on ships.

#everydayisabonusday

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I’m doomed. I have a cold in this COVID chaos.

Cats! Cats! Everywhere!

By Scott Linscott

I’m doomed. Yesterday, after my afternoon meeting, I didn’t feel super-duper so I laid down “for a few minutes.” That was at around 1:45 PM. The dogs were very excited because they love afternoon naps on the bed.

“A few minutes” ended up being 4:15 PM. Dang. That was a good few minutes! It was around 150 minutes. That’s a significant difference. If you ask me for a few bucks I’ll most-likely have it on me. If you ask me for 150 bucks, I’ll have to check with Robin to see if we have it, and then I’ll need to go to an ATM.

So, I woke up with nose running, some sneezing and the usual dry cough that I get with every cold. “Dang it, I’ve already got COVID,” was my first thought. I figure, with Robin teaching school, that it’s only a matter of time before I join the ranks of COVIDIANS, but she’s only had students for a few days. I have no fever so I’m sure it’s just a cold.

The danger is that if I cough or sneeze outside my house, I will immediately be stoned by a panicked mob. My grave stone will hold a cool Haiku:

Scotty? Gone too soon.

Sneeze! Cough! Rocks fly through the air.

COVID? Just a cold.

– The Haiku Master

I never really understood the fuss about Haiku poetry in high school. I mean, they don’t even rhyme. Most of them feel like a jumble of random words. My friend and I made a mockery of them and I wrote this one that I remember:

Green wall standing high,
Monkey has no food.
Sit on a ball. Death.

My English teacher went nuts about it. I had to try to keep a straight face and read it to the class. And then she asked me to explain my thought process and the “passion” behind my piece. I couldn’t very well say, “I wanted to prove how stupid this stuff is,” so I said, “institutional-ism.” I don’t think that’s even a word but it brought another gushing wave of accolades. She asked if she could submit it to some student poetry thing somewhere.

My poem had deep meaning, apparently. Since I’m so good at Haiku writing, I figure my headstone should have one. That makes sense, right?

I was all excited about today’s events too. I have a new minion mask and another ghastly cat mask from the Morton kids. (They want to convert me into a cat lover. Yuck.) I was ready to fog up my lenses for a meeting with transplant survivor friends on my lawn. We were even going to eat muffins. Stupid cold!

After that I was looking forward to zipping around a golf course in a golf cart to put out hole sponsor signs for our Rotary Club golf tournament. I had to back away from that too. No one likes a cougher-sneezer in this pandemic world. I don’t blame them. Dang it. Driving golf carts is kind of fun.

I’ll keep taking my temperature with Robin’s cool, little, teacher kit to make sure it’s just a cold. Trust me, I’m trying to be pretty careful because that list of people who are at greatest risk is pretty much my health profile. I’m not over 60 yet so I do have that going for me and I don’t have diabetes. But “underlying health issues” could be the slogan on my business card.

We transplant recipients have to be careful anyway, but little things like epidemics and pandemics can make us a downright jittery. I am hoping that we are not bat-poop crazy enough to drink cleaning products and bleach though! I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed but I am smart enough to know that sipping bleach is a very, very bad idea. Washing hands and surfaces, wearing masks and distancing are sufficient.

So now my plan for the day is to finish Sunday’s message and then straighten out the church website since it gives people that scary warning about it not being secure. That’s just a scam to make us all pay more money to make even our simple websites “secure” even though we don’t collect any data on them. The data we collect, like offerings and newsletter subscription stuff is through links to secure websites.

My mom used to say, ‘they’ve got you coming and going.” I want to know the origin of that saying. I searched Google for a few minutes and came up with plenty of uses but not anything very far back in history suggesting where it might have come from. You’ll win a prize if you figure it out and let me know.

Have an awesome Thursday. If you hear someone cough or sneeze, hold your breath. It might just be a cold or allergies. Stoning people should only be a last resort.

#everydayisabonusday

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NOON: Beyond the Biopsy: The Massachusetts Panel 9/16

Join us live at 12 PM Eastern for this Global Liver institute panel discussion about non-invasive alternatives to biopsy. Http://www.facebook.com/GlobalLiver

Beyond the Biopsy is a GLI program dedicated to accelerating the acceptance and adoption of non-invasive diagnostics as an alternative to biopsy. This is part of a series of discussions featuring patients, experts, and policymakers on the changing role of non-invasive diagnostics and how they can be promoted as an alternative to biopsies.

Dr. Raymond Chung – Director of Hepatology and the Liver Center and
also Vice Chief of Gastroenterology and the Kevin and Polly Maroni
Research Scholar at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Also joining us from Massachusetts General Hospital is radiologist Dr.
Mukesh Harisinghani, Professor of Radiology at Harvard Medical School
and Director of Abdominal MRI and the Clinical Discovery Program at
MGH.

And, finally, completing our panel is liver transplant recipient and Lead
Pastor at FBC Westbrook – Scott Linscott.

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I’ve been dishing it out for years.

By Scott Linscott

I’m ready. I’ve been dishing it out for years, riding the success of Tom Brady, sending my football fan friends teasing memes and razzing text messages.

So, yesterday, at the start of the bulk of another NFL season, I prepared myself for an avalanche of payback because Brady is but a memory here in New England.

All the Chicken Littles signaled the end of the Brady era, declaring that our day of reckoning had come. I prepared to eat crow or seagull or whatever bird dishes my friends served up. I deserved it.

But, here I am, waking up to NFL scores that are pretty much the same as usual. Let’s see … Cowboys lost. Check. Tampa Bay, with TB 12 got crushed and Gronk was invisible showing that Tamba Bay may likely continue as the Tampa Bay we all know, except they have a GOAT on the field now. Oops.

And the Patriots? They won. Same old, same old. Yeah, they had lowly Miami and TB12 had the mighty Saints. But still … if the Steelers lose tonight, all will be golden.

In non-football world …

I missed getting a first day of school picture of my girl today because I was still asleep! What??? I know, it’s weird but I seem to sleeping like normal people sleep.

Are these “smart” watches accurate in measuring deep sleep? If they are, that could explain why I feel like a post-marathon-running sloth every afternoon. 1.11 hour of “deep sleep?” That’s not good, right?

Now I have a dilemma. Do I take a picture of her tomorrow morning and fake it? Or, will she let me take a picture of her if she survives today’s masked and distanced chaos? Stay tuned…

It was an awesome weekend. Our church has been meeting outside, in the beauty of the park, since the start of July. It really has me charged up and feeling like we are connecting more, meeting needs and having more of an impact. Today I will deliver another tent from one in our congregation’s attic to another recently unhoused person who has found himself now sleeping on the ground. outside.

We’ve also transformed our food closet, which COVID prevented from opening, into a mobile food pantry. It’s cool. Sunday mornings we have bags of groceries for the unhomed living near the park who have been joining us for service. Then people take bags to deliver to people who they know are in need. I love that!

Have a great week. If you had memes and texts ready to fire my way to razz me about the Patriots without Brady, just hang on to them until Monday. I doubt you’ll get to use them but you can still hope.

#everydayisabonusday

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It’s 46 degrees and there’s “a beaver on da roof.”

“Grampa, there’s a beaver on da roof.”

By Scott Linscott

It’s 46 degrees, 6:50 AM and, apparently, there’s a beaver on my roof.

While I am putting our pellet stove through its first test of the season, Ethan is telling me an elaborate story.

A beaver, not just any old beaver but, a rock-climbing beaver, made his way to the top of our roof. This beaver must be of the “petram scandere-fiber” species and be a bit confused because my roof is not made of rock.

Anyway, according to the story teller, this buck-toothed fella became trapped. A neighborhood cat went to investigate but also got stuck.

So, now we have a confused beaver and a confused cat stuck on our roof.

Ethan says that a rock climber with a special “trouble phone” will come to rescue the beaver.

“He rescues the fierce animals first because they are da best,” according to Ethan. A beaver is not fierce so he has to wait a bit.

The guy with the special phone is rescuing a bear stuck in his cave that is blocked by a boulder with a big T-Rex on it and they are, “um, um, um… very strong!”

Apparently this animal rescuer has something that has “two grapple hooks.” One will move the T-Rex and the other will move the boulder and the bear will go free.

I asked if the T-Rex was going to be chill with some dude using a grappling hook on him. The storyteller had no interest in this sidebar and refused to give more detail of the bear rescue.

“Then he will come to our house for da beaver,” he went on, ignoring my questions.

According to Ethan, the rock-climbing, animal rescuer also has a “special gun that shoots ladders” that he will use to rescue the beaver. He will use yet another gun that shoots treats to get the cat to come down.

It’s going to be a much more eventful day around here than I thought with this rock-climbing, beaver-saving adventure in the works.

Our tenants are under contract on some land in Gorham. Their builder is telling them to expect occupancy in January. Most with experience in having houses built advise adding 30-60 days to that estimate but hopefully their builder is one of those on-time types. I’m in no big hurry to be left in an empty house but I won’t root against them.

The animal rescue guy is like the cable guy … Ethan has no idea when he’ll be here. We just have to hang around and wait.

I hope you have a great Saturday planned. Our ton of wood pellets arrives in 9 days so we will need to start organizing our garage for the delivery. Maybe that will begin today.

#everydayisabonusday

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My pumpkin spice is lacking something

Something is off.

By Scott Linscott

Some people have big stuff happening that worries them. My biggest concern today is that my pumpkin spice coffee is lacking something. I can’t decide if it’s not “pumpkinny” enough or not spicy enough.

I bought 5 pounds of these grounds so I am pretty committed. I figure that since I am wild about this coffee roasting company’s chocolate-raspberry that I would be equally as wild about the pumpkin spice. Nope. Not wild.

Did I really buy 10 pounds, two giant 5-pound bags, of coffee grounds like I am some sort of trendy coffee shop or breakfast restaurant? Yes. Yes, I did. I bought 5 pounds of chocolate raspberry and 5 pounds of pumpkin spice to get free shipping.

But, I’m not a café. If I were a restaurant, would I have a goofy Golden Retriever chewing on my foot as I write this? Probably not.

Anyway, I’m not sure what I will do. I might just forge ahead with this “okay” coffee. But, part of me thinks that life is too short for “just okay” coffee.

I asked Pompom and Bailey their opinions. They are totally apathetic.

I asked my granddaughter, Emma. She was too busy informing me that I don’t have hair except on my face which, according to her, is the color of white, milkweed goo. (Ew) She just shrugged about the coffee question.

Is the pumpkin spice coffee I love flavored by sugary syrup? If it is, that is not okay. My fat, COVID bum, and the rest of me too, tipped 230 on the scale Sunday morning. 230 is my alarm number. It used to be 220 but, well, you know… So, sugary syrup is OUT!

I ate myself to 330 in one stretch of my life and then went through a liver transplant largely because of it. I will not do that again! Nope, nosiree-Bob!

I’m at 225 this morning so I’ve dropped from DEFCON 5 back to DEFCON 4 on the fat-bum scale. Nana’s Best Treat Shop has slowed production since she is now back to school for the first time since March. That was brutal with warm cookies, brownies, dipped waffle cones and new flavors of homemade ice cream coming every week.

In other news, it’s Friday. Some people love Friday and hate Mondays. I love Friday but I can’t really say I love it more than any other day. All my days look a lot alike except for Sunday when I am allowed out of the house for church in the park. That is definitely my weekly highlight.

The rumor is that this week’s Church in the Park will include coffee. Will it be good coffee or “church coffee?” We use K-cups when we meet at the building and that offers good coffee varieties. We have coffee-shop carafes for Sundays in the park. I could offer some of these pumpkin spice grounds and see if it’s just me or if others say “meh” too.

Have a great weekend. Come on over to Riverbank Park on Sunday morning for some music, message and people viewing at 9:45 ish for coffee and then the rest.

#everydayisabonusday

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When method drowns out message.

Yes, “Jesus loves you,” but how does he feel about vandalism?

By Scott Linscott

Method can overpower message. The cliché of “actions speak louder than words” is more than cliché. It is truth.

I noticed the message in this photo painted on a fence post as I walked along admiring the gorgeous scenic views on Portland, Maine’s Eastern Promenade Trail. “Jesus loves you” graffiti was scribbled four or five inches above a paper product sticker, both littering the landscape.

I thought, “Yes, Jesus loves me but I’m fairly certain he wouldn’t advise vandalism to spread his message.”

I wonder how many other people have walked by thinking the same thing and shaking their heads?

Method matters. It matters a lot. It matters in Jesus circles, in political circles, in marketing circles and in every area where getting a message out is an important part of the plan.

When we claim to be all “Jesus is love” one minute and then switch to spitting venom the next, the message is obliterated. When we say, “Jesus is truth” and then spread conspiracy theories and misinformation, our credibility is shot. When we rightly say that our Bible teaches that we need not fear, but then, live continually panicked and fearful, we demonstrate that we don’t believe it ourselves.

Is it any wonder the world is confused when they look at us?

I know that I am confused when I compare our book, the Bible, to what the press calls the beliefs of “evangelical Christians.”

Method often overpowers message. When people march peacefully in the streets to call for an end to violence and injustice their message is damaged when the much-smaller, angry, after-crowd shows up intent on violence and destruction. It is the after-crowd’s fires, angry shouting and destruction that gets the headlines and the video playing on loop all day, every day.

We “evangelical Christians” know what that’s like, right? How many times did we have to see that hateful church picketing soldiers’ funerals while a reporter described them as a “conservative Christian group?” The Christian reputation meter traveled steadily downward as people who looked nothing like Jesus pretended to be his spokespeople.

Faith without action is dead, according to James. Justice without Jesus, the Jesus of scripture, is just us. If your gospel is good news for you but not the people you disagree with, it is not the true gospel of Jesus.

I’d like to suggest something radical, if I may. I’d like to suggest that we who consider ourselves “Christian” submit ourselves to two processes, before we act, in an attempt to make sure that our methods do not obscure or nullify the message of new life and Hope in Christ:

  1. Might we first pick up the book we say that we treasure and use it to study the person of Jesus Christ? What I mean is, rather than search for trite answers and bumper sticker “moral to the story” slogans, we study the character, personality and passions of our Christ to know his heart and character. Might we read Matthew, Mark, Luke and John to discover what author Gayle D. Erwin called, “The Jesus Style.”
  2. Might we then, confident that we have a better-educated sense of the personality and motives of the one we call “Lord,” take the WWJD bracelet cliché of the 1990’s and make it more than cliché? Might we allow it to shape our methods and flavor our interpersonal interactions?

“Our motto will be, ‘What would Jesus do?’ Our aim will be to act just as He would if He was in our places, regardless of immediate results. In other words, we propose to follow Jesus’ steps as closely and as literally as we believe He taught His disciples to do.”

Charles M. Sheldon, “In His Steps,” 1897

How would that impact our methods online? How would it impact our tone? How would it affect our interactions? Our attitudes? Our opinions?

The Jesus of the Bible that we say we adhere to reacted most strongly to those who misrepresented his Father and his Kingdom. It is that same Bible that says we are to be “ambassadors” of Christ, reflecting him.

I think we must ask ourselves, “are my actions, my methods, reflecting my Christ?” If they are not, we need to make changes.

...let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. 
1 John 3:18
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“Hey, Scott, are you okay? You’ve disappeared.”

By Scott Linscott
The question came from a friend who noticed that my former Facebook fascination faded recently. (Nice alliteration, huh?) “You okay? You’ve disappeared.”

This is a game-changer!

My lack of selfies has left her concerned. My posts have decreased to one a day or less and those are these blog things so they kinda don’t count.

It’s true. Facebook and I have decided to see other people and I have retreated to my top-secret lab where I am working on a game-changing invention.

What invention? In my patent application I have called it “Woof! Pants.”

Sounds like something to do with dogs, right? But, trust me, it has nothing to do with dogs.

I am working on an invention that will make pants combust at the very instant anyone posts a lie or forwards lies.

“Liar, liar, pants on fire,” is the song that gave me the idea. I think there would be less lying if people’s pants burst into flames with every lie.

Oh, wait, I probably offended someone. Lies are not lies now but are something called “misinformation.” That’s so much less offensive.

I don’t think my mother would have bought into that. “Mom, I didn’t lie. I gave you misinformation.” She’d reach for her paddle immediately if I tried that.

Anyway, my invention would ultimately either wipe out humanity in an apocalyptic fire, or, it would end the social media love for libel and lying.

“Scott, are you suggesting torching me if I repost or share something that is misinformation?”

“You mean a lie? Yeah, that’s exactly the idea. It’s spontaneous combustion – WOOF! PANTS ON FIRE!'”

“But what if I didn’t know it was a lie … er … I mean, misinformation.”

“WOOF! Not “woof” like a dog, but “woof” like a charcoal grill doused with a whole bottle of lighter fluid.”

“I probably wouldn’t share anything until I checked it. That’s crazy talk.”

“No, actually, that’s exactly the idea. People would be a lot more careful.”

So, say, you share:

  • Migraine cure found: cream of tartar. “WOOF!”
  • Mail-in ballots are different than absentee ballots. “WOOF!”
  • CS Lewis wrote this big thing about politics in Screwtape Letters. “WOOF!”

I could go on and on. Woof, woof, woof.

I’m stalled at the moment trying to make one addition. I’m trying to think of a modification that will maybe shock or stun someone who switches the burden of proof onto disproving things. I mean, basically, they say anything that cannot or has not been disproved is therefore true and factual.

The rationale goes like this:

“Well, you can’t disprove that there is a hidden society of weather gnomes hiding in the Himalayan Mountains controlling the world’s weather and making it worse!”

Proof requires demonstration to establish fact. Consider the following claims. Which can easily be proven? Which could I say, “well, you can’t prove it didn’t happen. I know what I saw?”

  1. A pterodactyl landed on my lawn this morning. I know it was a pterodactyl because it urinated and the p was silent.
  2. My dog, PomPom, urinated on my lawn this morning. I could not hear it, so the p is silent again meaning I should call her “om-om.”

What do you think? Well, both questions deserve more exploration before just forwarding this breaking news to all our social media pals.

I’m really stuck on this part of my invention. The “liar, liar, pants on fire” concept is fairly straightforward but I know no catchy rhyme for the prover stunner/shocker part. That might have to wait for phase two of my invention.

I may be back to Facebook if I get this up and running. I can’t promise it will be ready for mass distribution by November 1.

Honestly, right now it’s just in concept form all up here in my head. I was planning to go on Shark Tank to get funding but I have no answers to these questions:

1) Will government fund this? (No, it would mean WOOF for Washington.)

2) Will “evangelical Christians” buy it? (Oh, geez, that would bring “fresh fire” for sure.)

3) How about Wall Street? (Um, no, definitely not.)

4) The media, then? (Bahaha! That’s hilarious!)

5) Facebook? (And lose all the income from click-bait and viral misinformation??? That’s a big no!)

I guess my invention is doomed. Dang it! I really thought I was onto something.

Anyway, I’m not on Facebook much anymore beyond these blog babblings and pics for family and friends who love us and want to see the kids.

Don’t worry, I’m fine. I’m feeling better actually. I’m trying to focus more on those old manuscripts I like to read.

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

Psalm 19:14 New Living Translation
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I probably ruined my grandkids today.

Thomas the Train to the rescue!

By Scott Linscott

It was Cousin Sleepover weekend and I was rockin’ it. I was the hero for setting up the movie on the lawn. And, even though I confess having fled from the 190 decibels of noise on at least two occasions, I was doing well.

Granted, my risk was small because Nana was here. She is used to lawless, toddler mobs. She has secret skills that she uses on them. As long as Nana is around, I’m safe with the whole crew.

“I need to run to the store to get some bread. Ethan is in his room upset because his bandaid came off and the other three are playing. I’ll be right back,” Robin said.

“Um, wait, what?” I said with fear in my eyes. I need more information like what does “upset” mean? And what are they “playing?”

When I went in I could hear “upset” very clearly. It was probably an 8 on the 1-10 upset scale. I tried to settle him but he was having none of it. That’s when I ruined my grandchildren.

It was easy. It’s my “go to.” I turned on Thomas the Train on Netflix. Within 3 minutes I had 4 entranced, little, zombies sitting in the corner of our sectional.

I live with educators. “Screen time” is a precarious equation. If a child crosses that undefined threshold of too much screen time they are forever destroyed.

  1. Perform worse on tests
  2. Obesity
  3. Sleep problems
  4. More violent

I don’t get it. Thomas the Train is good at solving problems. He’s as big as a train but I don’t consider him obese. He seems chipper all the time so it appears he sleeps well. And as far as violence goes? Thomas is less violent than a Golden Retriever puppy!

Nana came home just as the episode ended. She is letting me stay and I don’t even have to sleep on the couch. So, I guess the damage is either reversible or not permanent.

What’s a Grampa to do? It was either ice cream just before lunch or Thomas. I was desperate.

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Someone call the zoo!

By Scott Linscott

There’s been an escape! Call the zoo! Someone left the door to the monkey cage open.

I’m pretty sure these are howler monkeys because they are LOUD.

Yes, I am wearing hearing protection.

I think they came here because they heard someone say “Nana” and they thought they said “banana.”

These little monkeys are calling me “Grampa” and laughing at my headphone ear protection. They like to rush me all at once and beat on my belly. It must be a strange jungle ritual of worship for the alpha male in the troop.

I asked them who they are and why they are in my house. I told them that all my children grew up and moved away but they claim they are related to me somehow. I asked the oldest one, “are you my little boy’s little boy?” He thought that sounded silly.

The smallest male in the troop appears to be called “Ethan.” He is telling me that this chaos is something called a “cousin sweep over.” However, I see no brooms or any sign of “sweeping.”

The youngest female wants to climb to the highest point on my chair where I normally sit in quiet reflection while drinking my morning coffee. She tells me she is called “CoCo Loco” but the others appear to call her “Coco-zilla.”

The one they call Nana instructed to me to set up a movie on the lawn last night. I complied. No one messes with the one called Nana. This attracted other yellow-haired monkeys to our lawn. Winnie the Pooh kept them transfixed for 75 minutes.

Nana tells me this troop of monkeys is mine. I am apparently the patriarch of this troop. Another is due to arrive in February.

9 years ago I made no plans for a future because my survival depended on my getting a liver transplant. As my MELD score increased and I spent more and more time being managed in the hospital, I gave up hope for my future here on Earth and started focusing on moving to Heaven. Others told me “God is not finished with you here yet. You have more to do.” I just nodded and smiled.

Life can and does turn around even when we can’t see it coming. When we sit in total darkness, our friends tell us that dim light in the distance is “the end of the tunnel.” We don’t share their optimism because we are certain that, if we even see any light at all, it’s a train. I was at that point.

If you’re at that point, sitting in hopeless darkness, I want you to sit up for a second and look at me. Listen closely.

I was where you are. After being taken off the transplant list, too sick to survive, everything changed. It’s a long story … but the short story is that today, 8 years after having my transplant, I have a full and very blessed life.

Keep fighting. Hang on. I know how dark it is. Keep praying. Keep doing what the docs tell you to do. That phone will ring eventually and your second chance at life will begin.

Every day, even my toughest day, is a bonus day now. I couldn’t have even imagined being where I am now, when I was back there in the dark.

It turns out that this troop of monkeys is indeed my troop. This “cousin sweep over” is one of many to come.

Today, I plan for the future. I never thought I would be able to do that again. But, my friends were right. God, had more for me to do right here on Earth.

I’m glad he did.

I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten …

Joel 2:25
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My wife brung me a IQ measurer

I got an A on the IQ reader!

By Scott Linscott

Yup. They got all kinds of fancy-shmancy new things for schoolin’ nowadays. My wife is a teacher so I get to see the newest stuff.

She brung this thingy home. You point it at your head and then pull the trigger. It beeps and, boom, there you have it! Your IQ is right there telling how smart you are. (Usually it’s a bad idea to point something at your head and pull the trigger.)

At first I didn’t know what it meant. My score was “9L6.” I just figured I needed one of them teaching degrees from a college to understand it. My wife has one of those. She’s wicked smart.

But then, when I set it down it said “97.6.” Woah! That means I got an A on my IQ. That’s pretty darn close to 100!

Them teachers got all kinds of gadgets now. Even the kindergardeners get themselves those Eyepads to bring home with them. They say they are for online learning over the Interwebs. The interwebs must make your eyes hurt so you need to have them eyepads.

You know what we had when I was a kid? We had chalk and blackboards and if I was good enough and didn’t cause Miss Saddleback no trouble, I might get picked to go outside and bang those chalk erasers together and make a big, white cloud of dust. The goody-goody kids have chalk-lung now because they got to do it so much.

One time, when I got to go out, I learnt that if you banged them on the brick wall, you could spell your whole name. I also learnt that if you did that you never got picked again until you got a new teacher.

We also had little white jars of paste for craft time. It was delicious. Miss Saddleback told me I wasn’t ‘sposed to eat it but I didn’t listen. I figured if they didn’t want you to eat it they wouldn’t have put that little, orange spoon in there attached to the cover.

When I was in kindergarden we only went for half a day and even had blue mats so we could take a rest. Today, they got them poor kids going all day, reading, taking tests and meeting something called “standards.” I don’t think we had any standards. If we did mine was probably “stop eating paste” and “stop pulling Mary-Jo’s ponytail.”

We definitely didn’t get no EyePads unless we got poked in the eye. I wore an eye patch for my lazy eye when I was a kid. I don’t think it worked. I think my lazy eye just spread to the rest of me. Now, I’m just altogether lazy.

In first grade, my teacher was Mrs. Walls. She had hair like a porcupine and was very funny. I’m pretty sure if she had one of these IQ measurers she would be at least a 98. She was a great teacher, but she stunk at kickball and tetherball and every type of game that had a ball.

I tried the IQ measurer on everybody in my house. It’s weird but we all got A grades. Mine was lowest though. That’s okay. I’m proud of my overachievers all getting 98 point something. Smarties!

They just announced that they are delaying starting school for another week because of The COVID messing everything up. That means my teacher wife is going to probably be a painter wife and get to paint her classroom. She and Darlene have wanted a decent paint job for years.

Have a great weekend. It’s Labor Day Weekend so that means lots of babies will be delivered. Come on by and I will tell you what your IQ is if this thingy works from 6 feet away.

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I’m a weakling, wuss-baby, delicate snowflake.

My granddaughter’s mask is not a good fit.

It’s me. I admit it. I’m the reason so many Americans have their undies in a twist. It’s my fault. Eight years ago I was given a second chance at life with the gift of a liver transplant and now I am delicate and fragile.

There are a lot of nice people out there who actually want me and the nine-year-olds with Leukemia to have a little bit of freedom. They willingly don uncomfortable, ugly, hot, inconvenient masks to try to stop a virus that most-likely wouldn’t do them too much harm even if they did get it. Sure, there are those 10,000 or so totally healthy people who caught it and croaked within the last six months, even with all the lock-downs, sanitizing, and over-reaching government stuff, but, let’s be realistic here, that’s only like 200 people per state. Right? Psshaw! That’s nothing.

I saw a guy post that he is more worried he’ll die from a shark attack than COVID. I’m no math whiz but 10 people a year, give or take one or two, die from shark attacks GLOBALLY, so that’s about the same odds, right? After all, sharks have got to be more of a risk because they have “Shark Week” on cable. They don’t have “COVID Week.” I just can’t argue with logic

But, regardless of all the arguments, I truly do appreciate all of you who have chosen to try to watch out for me and Great Grampy. I am glad that the caring hearts have won out so far to try to keep nature from having its way with us weaklings. You guys rock and we wuss-babies love you.

I apologize for my sarcasm. I kinda think this COVID thing is real and would prefer that everyone take it seriously. I don’t mean that we should live in fear. I mean we should give it the respect of at least being cautious while we go about living our lives.

I believe that my God, in his providential love, will grant us the knowledge to develop a safe and effective vaccine as he has done in the past. I pray it comes soon. I pray that politicians do not push to cut corners for their own gain but, instead, allow scientists the time and freedom to do things safely.

I don’t like masks either. I don’t like that I have only been inside 5 different buildings since March. I don’t like social distancing at all.

On the other hand, I like being alive and as healthy as I can be. I guess I can put up with all these inconveniences while we wait.

But, when a vaccine is made available? It will take all my self-control to keep me from pushing and cutting to get to the front of that line!

Romans 12:12

“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”

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Laughing at ourselves

By Scott Linscott

I can laugh at myself.

I like typos, grammatical errors, and misspellings that make me laugh.

For example, the girl on Twitter who tweeted, “I love the smell of my boyfriend’s colon.”

Now, I’m the last person to have the right to throw stones, but I am pretty sure she meant to say “cologne” not “colon.”

Churches have these little sheets of paper they call “bulletins.” They are basically programs or mini-newsletters with announcements. I love reading their bloopers.

“The outreach committee has enlisted 25 visitors to make calls on people who are not afflicted with any church.”

“The peace-making meeting scheduled for today has been canceled due to a conflict.”

Life is always funny even though people are less willing to laugh at themselves nowadays. That makes it tougher for people like me who see humor in almost everything. I have to laugh on the inside quite a lot now.

Autocorrect is making us all look stupid. Why does it insist on changing “its” to “it’s” and “love” to “live?” When we don’t catch the mistakes our Grammar-Nazi friends get all over us. I pat them on the head and try to comfort them with a gentle, “there, their, they’re … everything is going to be okay.”

Autocorrect can be deadly, like in this example:

Wife: Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday to dead husband! Happy Birthday to you!
Husband: Thanks. I assume you meant “dear”.

(Um, by the way, that period should be inside those quotation marks, dead husband.)

I normally catch most of my typos and autocorrect silliness after I hit the “publish” button. That allows me to then hit the “edit” button and then the “publish” button again. Such fun.

Why is it that we’re so sensitive now? Why does everything offend or make people mad? Why do we take ourselves so seriously?

My theory is that it all comes down to insecurity which triggers fear. That fear then sprouts into defensiveness and anger.

I run in lots of “evangelical Christian” circles. (I put that in quotes because the word “evangelical” has evolved into a weird thing that, in my opinion, has mostly lost its bearings.) It seems to me that a lot of my Christian friends look like they are packed into a giant blender worried that it is about to kick on and go straight to puree.

I don’t get that. The book I read, with the red letters, says a lot about fear. It has the same message, page after page, that those who trust in God do not have to live in fear because he has everything in his control and steps in wherever and whenever he wants in his timing. Granted, that is frustrating because we all think we know what God needs to do and when he should do it better than he does, but he promises that we can trust him and not fear through it all.

I’m pretty self-confident (some would say “cocky”) on the whole. I’m not scared of much, except, being a wimpier member of the male population, I’m scared of pain. I have to battle my fear of doctor’s offices and procedures but, otherwise, I do pretty well in life. I owe that to my Faith which has given me security.

Insecurity breeds fear and fear breeds a giant pile of ugliness including vicious attacks, dishonesty, irrational behavior, selfishness, etc…

If faith does not produce security, is it really faith? Yes, this world does feel like a giant blender at times but Jesus said, “take heart, I have overcome the world.”

Seriously, guys? I believe he meant it. Are we operating in faith or allowing fear to shape us?

But now, this is what the LORD says– he who created you, (insert your name), he who formed you, … : “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are mine.

Is. 43:1



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