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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Rare tick-borne virus kills Minnesota woman...


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First Death in Minnesota from Powassan Virus

The first death related to the Powassan virus was recorded in
Minnesota Wednesday according to a release by the Minnesota
Department of Health

The victim was a Northern Minnesota woman in her 60s.

Another likely Powassan case was identified in Anoka County this
year in a man also in his 60s.

Both the female and male cases became ill in May after spending
time outdoors and noticing tick bites -- the Powassan virus is
transmitted by blacklegged or “deer” ticks in Minnesota and


Terror threat -- U.S. churches in danger


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Terror threat -- U.S. churches in danger
Becky Yeh - OneNewsNow California correspondent - 6/30/2011 3:55:00 AMBookmark and Share

Caution signWith the recent airing of an al-Qaeda video that encourages Muslims to attack religious institutions, Christian churches are being warned.

In a video released by al-Qaeda spokesman Adam Gadahn, the American-born Muslim asks jihadists to quickly obtain guns and carry out terrorist attacks against the West. He states that Muslims are placed in the region to "do major damage to the enemies of Islam, waging war on their religion, sacred places, and things and brethren."

"That's very troubling," admits Steve Amundson of the Florida Security Council. "Adam Gadhan lived here in Southern California for a number of years. He studied under Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi at the Islamic Center of Orange County, which is in Garden Grove."

church steepleGadahn's statements to U.S. Muslims follow the death of Osama bin Laden. In response, the Christian Emergency Network has issued a warning for churches in the United States, and Amundson advises Christians to stay alert.

"Churches, just like everybody, I tell them to be vigilant; be aware of your surroundings," he urges. "Don't walk around like everything's okay, because we're in different times now, and it's time for Americans to be vigilant, be aware, [and] be alert because something could happen."


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Inside the Fed’s Vault: $1 Billion Worth of Unused Coins

I think these coins are cool and would wear much better than paper dollars.

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Inside the Fed’s Vault: $1 Billion Worth of Unused Coins

James Buchanan

In the basement of a Baltimore vault the size of a soccer field, 1 billion dollar coins are just sitting there. Thanks, Congress.

NPR’s Planet Money reporters recently investigated the $1 presidential coin program, which was a Congressional effort to get more $1 coins into circulation while also trying to be educational.

The problem is that nobody really wants them. Well, not nobody. Sixty percent of the coins make it into circulation. But that other 40 percent? They’re sitting in vaults. In fact, the Fed’s even running out of space for them.


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Do you eat McDonald's Chicken McNuggets? Read this.


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The Chicken Which Should be Banned

girl eating fried chickenDo you put dimethylpolysiloxane, an anti-foaming agent made of silicone, in your chicken dishes?

How about tertiary butylhydroquinone (TBHQ), a chemical preservative so deadly that just five grams can kill you?

These are just two of the ingredients in a McDonalds Chicken McNugget. Only 50 percent of a McNugget is actually chicken. The other 50 percent includes corn derivatives, sugars, leavening agents and completely synthetic ingredients.


How to Make Money this Summer


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How to Make Money this Summer

Logo Chair Red

There are currently 13.9 million people unemployed in this country, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and nearly half of them have been out of work for more than 27 weeks or roughly seven months. If you are one of these folks or know someone currently out of work, here  are some ideas for getting by this summer.   

When it comes to getting a foot in the door, temping agencies are always a great start, but in this market even temping has become pretty competitive. If you want to get more creative in figuring out how to get by this summer, consider summer gigging. Gigs are temporary work--sometimes even just for a day--but can lead to bigger opportunities. 


Friday, June 24, 2011

Notes from the Tilt-a-Whirl

Don't know much about this, but the DVD this is from looks fascinating. From the author of 100 Cupboards.

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Notes from the Tilt-a-Whirl: Breathing Characters by N. D. Wilson
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'Hobbit' First Look: 3 Pics!

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Martin Freeman | We'll all have to wait until Dec. 14, 2012, for the full fruits of director Peter Jackson's labors on his two-part adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's…
Peter Jackson lets us sneak a peek at work-in-progress; spy Martin Freeman as Bilbo, Ian McKellen as Gandalf, with the director's comments

Monday, June 20, 2011

False Witness by Randy Singer

Book Description

“The government can give you a new identity, but only Christ can change your life."

Clark Shealy is a bail bondsman with the ultimate bounty on the line: his wife's life. He has forty-eight hours to find an Indian professor in possession of the Abacus Algorithm—an equation so powerful it could crack all Internet encryption.

Four years later, law student Jamie Brock is working in legal aid when a routine case takes a vicious twist: she and two colleagues learn that their clients, members of the witness protection program, are accused of defrauding the government and have the encrypted algorithm in their possession. After a life-changing trip to the professor's church in India, the couple also has the key to decode it.

Now they're on the run from federal agents and the Chinese mafia, who will do anything to get the algorithm. Caught in the middle, Jamie and her friends must protect their clients if they want to survive long enough to graduate.

An adrenaline-laced thrill ride, this retelling of one of Randy Singer's most critically acclaimed novels takes readers from the streets of Las Vegas to the halls of the American justice system and the inner sanctum of the growing church in India with all the trademark twists, turns, and the legal intrigue his fans have come to expect.

About the Author 

Randy Singer is a critically acclaimed author and veteran trial attorney. He has penned 10 legal thrillers, including his award-winning debut novel, Directed Verdict. Randy runs his own law practice and has been named to Virginia Business magazine's select list of "Legal Elite" litigation attorneys. In addition to his law practice and writing, Randy serves as teaching pastor for Trinity Church in Virginia Beach, Virginia. He calls it his "Jekyll and Hyde thing"—part lawyer, part pastor. He also teaches classes in advocacy and civil litigation at Regent Law School and, through his church, is involved with ministry opportunities in India. He and his wife, Rhonda, live in Virginia Beach. They have two grown children. Visit his website at

My Review

This excellent novel (really, a revision of an older book by the author) provided a suspenseful, engaging, complex tale that kept the reader glued from beginning to the end and didn't fudge on spiritual content. Frankly, this project is extraordinary. Seemingly dissimilar story lines make the reader wonder how these fascinating stories are going to come together. The Chinese mafia. The US witnesses protection program. The church in India. An algorithm so powerful it can crack any Internet encryption. These threads come together in a Grisham-esque legal thriller (minus the language) with plenty of heart-stopping twists and turns and just enough romance to appeal to many female readers. Only one use of a crude word (common in some Christian fiction) and some violence detract from the overall appeal for the most traditional readers. Strong on plot and characters, strong on message, this hard-to-put-down novel will keep you up late at night, wondering how the story is going to conclude. While much newer Christian fiction seems to be getting weaker on message, this one actually gets stronger. Highly recommended.

Fatal Witness is available from Tyndale House Publishing.

Thanks to Tyndale and B & B Media for the review copy.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Study: Housing Collapse Steeper Than During Great Depression

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Study: Housing Collapse Steeper Than During Great Depression

This Feb. 23 picture shows a foreclosed house for sale in the Detroit suburb of Southfield, Mich.

The author of a study claiming the U.S. housing collapse is now worse than during the Great Depression warned Wednesday that the market likely will continue to fall for the rest of the year before going stagnant. 

Paul Dales, senior U.S. economist for Capital Economics, predicted home prices would fall another 3 percent over the rest of 2011 before potentially hitting bottom. 

"Even when that happens, I don't think we're going to see any significant or sustained rises," he told Wednesday, predicting "a couple years of pretty much no recovery whatsoever." 


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Video: Full CNN Republican debate from New Hampshire, June 13th

Video: Full CNN Republican debate from New Hampshire, June 13th

On June 13th, 2011, seven GOP candidates took to the stage in Manchester, New Hampshire to duke it out for the 2012 Republican nomination. In case you missed it, here is the entire debate video from St. Anselm College broadcast on CNN and WMUR-TV:

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Monday, June 13, 2011

See the card trick that drove Houdini nuts

How did he do that?

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US ‘Hand of Fate’: See the Card Trick That Drove Houdini Nuts

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Andi's Fair Surprise by Susan K. Marlow

Andi's Fair Surprise
Circle C Beginnings, Book 3

by Susan K. Marlow
(Kregel Publications)

About the Book

If Andi can’t take Taffy to the 1874 California State Fair and win a blue ribbon, she doesn't want to go. But the fair turns out to be so exciting that Andi’s glad she came . . . until her brother tells her she can't keep the prize she won fair and square!

About the Series

Children ages 6-8 can join six-year-old Andi, her friend Riley, and Coco, Andi's hand-me-down pony, for a whole new series of adventures on the Circle C ranch in 1874. A baby Taffy will join the ranch as well! These are completely new stories, with fun, black-and-white illustrations and easy-to-read text, for kids who are ready for first chapter books.

To hear Andi talk about her new adventures, click HERE

About the Author

Susan Marlow has a BA degree in elementary education and 20 years teaching experience in private, public, and homeschooling fields. In addition to writing her Circle C Adventure series for kids, she speaks at Young Author conferences, teaches writing workshops for kids, and serves as a freelance editor. She and her family make their home in Washington State.

Visit the author's Web site.

Check out the novel at

My Daughter's Review

I liked how the book told about different places at the fair you can go to, and I like all the animals Andi saw. I liked how she gave up what she loved to help her family. I liked how her mother told about the shepherd giving up all of the lambs just to find one. This shows that Jesus cares for all of us. I would recommend this book to other kids my age who like animals. The story gives you a nice, warm feeling, as if you’re actually there watching Andi look at all the animals and all the fairgrounds. The book also teaches us that when you’re on trains not to open the windows!

—Laura Blumer, 9

Note: Thank you, Kregel Publications, for the free review copy! 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

How Huge the Night by Heather Munn and Lydia Munn

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
How Huge the Night
Kregel Publications (March 9, 2011)
Heather Munn and Lydia Munn


Heather Munn was born in Northern Ireland of American parents and grew up in the south of France. She decided to be a writer at the age of five when her mother read Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books aloud, but worried that she couldn’t write about her childhood since she didn’t remember it. When she was young, her favorite time of day was after supper when the family would gather and her father would read a chapter from a novel. Heather went to French school until her teens, and grew up hearing the story of Le Chambonsur-Lignon, only an hour’s drive away. She now lives in rural Illinois with her husband, Paul, where they offer free spiritual retreats to people coming out of homelessness and addiction. She enjoys wandering in the woods, gardening, writing, and splitting wood.

Lydia Munn was homeschooled for five years because there was no school where her family served as missionaries in the savannahs of northern Brazil. There was no public library either, but Lydia read every book she could get her hands on. This led naturally to her choice of an English major at Wheaton College. Her original plan to teach high school English gradually transitioned into a lifelong love of teaching the Bible to both adults and young people as a missionary in France. She and her husband, Jim, have two children: their son, Robin, and their daughter, Heather.


Fifteen-year-old Julien Losier just wants to fit in. But after his family moves to a small village in central France in hopes of outrunning the Nazis, he is suddenly faced with bigger challenges than the taunting of local teens.

Nina Krenkel left her country to obey her father's dying command: Take your brother and leave Austria. Burn your papers. Tell no one you are Jews. Alone and on the run, she arrives in Tanieux, France, dangerously ill and in despair.

Thrown together by the chaos of war, Julien begins to feel the terrible weight of the looming conflict and Nina fights to survive. As France falls to the Nazis, Julien struggles with doing what is right, even if it is not enough-and wonders whether or not he really can save Nina from almost certain death.

Based on the true story of the town of Le Chambon-the only French town honored by Israel for rescuing Jews from the Holocaust-How Huge the Night is a compelling, coming-of-age drama that will keep teens turning the pages as it teaches them about a fascinating period of history and inspires them to think more deeply about their everyday choices.


“The Munns have written an engrossing historical novel that is faithful to the actual events of World War II in western Europe during the tumultuous year 1940. But How Huge the Night is more than good history; it is particularly refreshing because the reader sees the conflict through the lives of teenagers who are forced to grapple with their honest questions about the existence and goodness of God in the midst of community, family, and ethnic tensions in war-ravaged France.”—Lyle W. Dorsett, Billy Graham Professor of Evangelism, Beeson Divinity School, Samford University

“Seldom have the horrors of war upon adolescents—or the heroism of which they are capable—been so clearly portrayed. I loved this coming-of-age story.”—Patricia Sprinkle, author of Hold Up the Sky

“The book expertly weaves together the lives of its characters at a frightening moment in conflicted times. As we read of their moral dilemmas and of their choices, we too wonder, Would I do has these in the story have done?”—Karen Mains, Director, Hungry Souls

If you would like to read an excerpt from How Huge the Night, go HERE

Watch the book video:

My Review

Actually, my mom grabbed this one before I could read it, and I share her thoughts. (The novel is on my TBR pile.) This was a terrific read! The novel was hard to put down and very well done with a clear faith message. The protagonist grapples with various life issues including how to respond to difficult situations and those who hurt others. There are some powerful themes here that will stay with readers long after they turn the last page. The writing was superb, the characters well developed, and the story compelling and fascinating—everything you look for in a good novel. This one is highly recommended!