What is this object that my camera recorded?

6 Jan



9 Oct

How many times have we heard someone say “He/She makes me laugh, smile, is funny or express something similar to or about another person? This was brought to mind today when a friend after being married for many year said with a big smile on her face “and he still makes me smile.”

Smiles are contagious. Even if you are not a person who can make another laugh with your wit and humor, we all have the capability of smiling. A smile can go a long way. A smile helps the person who is smiling and others who see your smile.

As in Proverbs 15:30 – A friendly smile makes you happy

And in Job 29:24 – The smile on my face renewed everyone’s hopes

“Peace begins with a smile..”  –Mother Teresa–

There is always something to be happy & smile about even on the darkest of days. The first thing that comes to my mind is knowing that “God Loves Us/Me” even when it’s difficult to see happiness and goodness. Starting from this, other things will start coming to mind and before you know it a smile just might appear. Smiles are exponential.

Time & Photos

12 Aug

Like many, I have my computer screensaver (now a misnomer – screensaver) set up to display photos. Photography is one of my hobbies and has been for a very long time. I can say ‘very long time’ and mean it since I am, at this writing, 77 years old going on 78 in a couple of months. Let me deviate from my primary thought of ‘time and photos’ for a moment. When I typed in the word ‘screensaver’ and called it a misnomer I thought maybe a short explanation was in order. In years past the old type CRT’s (cathode ray tubes) used as a monitor, projected a source of electrons on a fluorescent screen to create the images. I won’t get into how the newer monitors work or that some advanced CRT’s are still in use. So, with the old CRT, if one permitted an image to remain in one spot too long the image would burn into the florescent material (phosphors.) The technical expression for this is ‘long term phosphor persistence or phosphor burn in.’ To reduce the probability of burn in, a simple program called a screensaver would take over after a prescribed amount of time and cause an image to wander across the screen vs. projecting it in a single spot. With the new monitors, a screensaver in the classical sense is no longer necessary to protect the monitor from burn in. However some now use a screensaver program to project images on the monitor for entertainment or to just give us a warm feeling that the monitor and computer are turned on and functional.

Now back to the topic ‘time and photos.’ In the quiet of this overcast and rainy morning I was sitting here at the computer minding my own business, surfing and occasionally doing something useful like paying bills. I glanced over at two of my other computer monitors sitting nearby where the screensavers were running. I was distracted from what I was doing and I started watching the screensavers. Your likely thinking “Jim get a live.” Well to tell you the truth, I like my life even though it would seem boring to many. Yes, occasionally I will do things in addition to sitting at the computer and watching screensavers. I have my screensavers set up to randomly display photos taken from the 60’s to the present and I have taken a lot of photos over that timeframe. I haven’t converted too many of my older photos to digital yet. Some of screensaver photos are date stamped and some are not. I enjoy looking at photos of my family from the past and I enjoy adding new photos from the present so that I will have something new to look at in the future. Today one thing that caught my attention was some photos from just a few years ago of my Grandsons compared to some recent pictures and how fast they had grown. I look fondly at my Grandsons from earlier in their life when they were just young boys and now that they are young men. I enjoy looking at photos of my daughters in their relatively young age as well as photos at their current relatively young age. I won’t get into the definition of young & old since they are relative terms. As an old guy I do feel young at heart even though the more recent photos of myself don’t completely capture this feeling. I love living in the present since I know that the present lasts only a moment and soon will be the past.

I love nature and taking nature photos. In recent years I have taken many photos at River Farm down the George Washington Parkway from my home. I take picture there year round. One might think that this pretty repetitive. Maybe taking pictures in the same area is repetitive, however there is always something new in God’s creation that I may have overlooked or photographing at a different time of the day or when the light or clouds were shedding light differently, any of which can make a significance difference. Nature photography can be dynamic if you observe. Pictures cannot replace the actual beauty of nature in real-time, however real-time is dynamic and a photo view can bring back memories of years past.

Good thing that I have named my Blog Site, Jim’s Ramblings since today’s blog confirms that I do truly ramble from screensavers to family and nature photos.


Jim – August 12th 2014


5 Jul

There are many human rights infringements in addition to abuse of the environment. At this time and throughout recorded history, nations and individuals have not lived by the “Golden & Sister Rule” as defined in both religious and secular writings.

One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself
One should not treat others in ways that one would not like to be treated

Believing in and following these two one-liners would would have a major impact on the world. We would want to protect the Earth on which we live and care for all those living on the Earth. Believing in something greater than self is necessary.

Until we sincerely want and work for something better it will not happen. Goodness & caring cannot be mandated.

I think that one way to relieve some of our current frustration is to look at the many unsung acts of goodness & kindness that occur each day and make an effort to pay it forward without personal expectations.

Fenders, Faces, and Fighting Foe’s

19 Jun

That’s a little strange subject line, Fenders Faces and Fighting Foe’s isn’t it? I agree. This will be a short blog since I don’t plan on going into details but just relate a single word which could tie these and many other seemingly unrelated words together. So what ties these seemingly unrelated words together? For better or for worse I chose Technology.

Think about how technology influences our lives. Now that we have experienced some of the far reaching tentacles of technology, is it influencing our lives for better or worse? In some cases are we relinquishing what we once knew how to do on our own to technology? Well yes, but so what. Are our lives make less complicated by technology, probably yes in most cases and maybe no for those who are from the ‘old school’ and not technology savvy or don’t believe it can be trusted? Since some things ‘just seem to happen’ as a result of technology.  Are we getting too dependent?

Thinking back to last night when this subject popped into my mind I was watching a commercial about cars. The commercial illustrated how technology can keep us from bumping or crashing into another car or object. The technology can warn the driver to take action and if action is not taken by the driver the technology can assume control and take the action it had suggested to the human driver. This safety, accident preventing technology can, according to the commercial, reduce the risk of accidents. That sounds great…Now when the technology experiences a glitch will the driver, having developed a dependence on technology, have a clue how to manually intervene? Or how about the Google car that drives itself? Now you see where ‘Fenders’, as it relates to a vehicle, becomes a part of the subject line. Before going to then next area ‘Faces’ just a note how our social media can influence where the car takes us. As you know there is an ‘app’ for just about anything. Several friends using the same navigation app might keep up with the real-time travel of each other and the app can suggest meet-up places when routes are projected to merge based on real-time & individual travel trending data stored on the app’s common cloud server. That is super…We don’t need to be concerned with an accident as the app makes arrangement for a social get together that may or may not have been a part of our original travel plans. What’s next?

Now on to Faces. I must be careful, social grace, that I don’t say something that could offend anyone while discussing how technology can relate to the Human Face. To be on the safe side maybe I should just gloss over the Face subject lightly. You have seen how some products or procedures are advertised to turn ‘tired skin’ into a new younger look. Or how a person can have surgical procedures to tuck up sagging skin, remove blemishes, etc. You get the idea of how technology can relate to the Face and I had better hold off writing any more on this subject.

Fighting Foe’s in this blog relates to warfare and how technology interfaces on the battlefield or from a location far from the actual battlefield. As an example, back in history one would point their cannon in the general direction of the intended Foe (not Friends Of the Earth, but the enemy), light the fuse and stand back. Since the range was relatively short, one might be able to visually observe the damage done w/o overhead surveillance. As technology develops, the art of warfare follows in rapid pursuit. Now we don’t even need to be near the intended target to view & attack with drones or projectiles. I won’t go into the ‘Timeline of Weaponry’ since you can easily Google this subject with more than 12 million hits. One interesting timeline is http://is.gd/fLHmww which starts before Christ with the bow and arrow and goes to 2007. This site, http://is.gd/xUl1m9 is focused on advancements in USA military technology from 1775 to present.

I know that this blog may seem somewhat pointless. My initial thought was simply to come up with some seemingly random words then think what might tie them together. The words Fenders, Faces, & Fighting Foe’s came to mind. I chose technology to tie them together, you may choose something else. So there you have it for better or worse.

Jim Sohn

June 19th 2014

A Moment in Time

18 Jun

When one is young thoughts are to be older. You can likely guess what thoughts may go through one’s mind when age creeps upon them. When is the optimum age? It may and probably is different for different individuals. Whatever you think is the right answer, it is right for you.

Today I couldn’t help think of a good friend who will be 90 very soon. He was always active through his younger years and into his mid-80’s. He was and is a friend to all in whatever situation they find themselves. He gives his life, time and resources for others.

Now my friend has very limited mobility with most of the time in bed. He doesn’t complain and takes each moment as it comes. He doesn’t dwell on the past or search too far in the future on what might come but lives in the moment.

One day I asked my friend what he now missed most. He gave this simple one line answer “I miss visits by my friends.”

If you have read some of my past postings you will know that the concept or illusion of time has always been an interest to me. The moment after you have read this sentence that ‘moment in time’ is a point in the past. In life we think that the past events are fixed and the future is open until it becomes the immediate present. That immediate flash in time that we call the ‘present’ has not yet become the past and can no longer occur in the future.

So when my friend lives in ‘the moment’ that is exactly what we all do and maybe we just haven’t given this concept of time much consideration. Mr. Einstein suggests that there is no single special present but that all moments are equally real. A quote from Mr. Emerson “You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.”

If we have nothing else to give but a ‘moment in time’ that is the most precious gift we can offer another person. Please consider giving another person a few moments of the time that God has given you. DO IT NOW…..

Jim Sohn

God Keeps Records – What About the Government

6 Jun

God has always had access to ALL personal records and always will,  and that’s OK with me. God is my maker. The government having unrestricted access to personal records & conversations is troublesome. We the people and governments of the world are so different now than in my earlier years of life growing up in the southern United States. There is a near universal (at least on planet Earth) increase in the distrust of each other and world governments. Greed and self indulgence is running ramped in this ever increasing secular world. My personal opinion is we are becoming even more secular, putting our self first and either not recognizing or admitting that we are all here on this beautiful Earth by the grace of God who loves us ALL equally.

Indiscriminate collection of large scale information on individuals for no apparent reason except to collect the information is a violation of our privacy rights as individuals. This is likely escalating since now since it isn’t clear on who are the ‘good guys’ and who are the ‘bad guys’ and I am not sure we even have an agreed on clear definition. So in order to collect information on the ‘bad guys’ , is information being collected on all, including the ‘good guys’.  Where does it stop, I don’t know but I am concerned.

In the USA with Obamacare coming info full force in 2014 the broad based & centralized information collection process will become more intense. The IRS will be the focal point for collecting information on EVERY person in the USA and policing who gets, has and doesn’t have health care and action will be taken accordingly. The IRS has a proven record of not being able to even police themselves so its anyones guess what they will do when they police us all. This is terribly frightening to a country that has in the past made individual rights & privacy a top priority. It could be that the government is now getting a head start on this large-scale collection process in view of the future. Maybe with international and home grown terrorist on the increase this is a security measure. Who knows, certainly not me.
We know that our email exchange, Facebook, Tweets, & Blogs are  being archived by our Internet Service Providers and can be made available to the government at their will.  In these instances we knowingly participate as with me writing this blog. Intercept is another story and much too complicated and multifaceted for this blog.  My thoughts are that we as individuals must have protected rights to express opinions.  However we should not say or do things that we would feel uncomfortable about if they were published in the Guardian or Washington Post or on the day of  judgment before God.  At the same time we have the right to privacy where our personal conversations remain private and not indiscriminately kept on record by governments or other organizations. Is this an oxymoron? This is a subject that is much too complicated for this simple old guy to be writing about.

No Appointment Necessary

1 Apr

The only TV in my house is on the blink. Naturally I have made an appointment to have it repaired. I am not skilled in TV repair and must wait on the repair person to schedule time for me.  This brought to mind the title for this short blog “No Appointment Necessary.”

The God of the universe is always just a prayer away at any hour of any day and welcomes you and me to talk with Him. It it truly mind boggling to think that the one and only God who created the universe and all that is, including you and me awaits and wants to have conversation with us.

I didn’t get the feeling from my conversation the TV service person that they were not waiting or necessarily welcomed my call for pre-paid service which will take time away from providing service to potentially new paying customers.

I don’t believe any explanation is necessary to the point I am trying to get across. God’s love is unconditional. God loves all of his creation and asks us to love Him, spend time with Him and communicate regularly through prayer.

God is waiting and no appointment is necessary.

In Jesus name,

Jim – Monday April 1st 2013

Religion, The WWW & Statistics

24 Jan

A good friend and I have been discussing technology related to communication. Isn’t it interesting how we as individuals want others to believe what we believe or think? This can relate to a post on Facebook or Twitter a blog or the slant and spin put on some news reporting. That may fall under the broad category of ‘human nature’ which could be the subject of a future blog, not this one. Since so far I have only said what I am not going to discuss, you may quit reading before I get to the point, please don’t.

The point is related to communicating religious beliefs/thoughts/actions at the local church level and on the WWW. Normally the speaker (Pastor, Rabbi, Priest, etc.) is trying to convey to the listener/reader that the expression/interpretation of their personal/corporate religious belief, faith and message is the way.’ Well I am edging up to what is on my mind this morning.  How does one measure the effectiveness of conveying this message?

We in the United Methodist Church have the “Vital Congregations” initiative. This initative is too comprehensive for me to discuss in this blog so I suggest if you are interested you go to this website to read more http://goo.gl/2LMEl .

This is a copy/paste of the mission of the UMC as stated on the Vital Congregation website: “The mission of The United Methodist Church is to “Make Disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.” (Matt 28:18-20 & Matt 22:36-40) This mission is achieved through vital congregations that equip and empower people to be Disciples of Jesus Christ in their homes and communities around the world.

Now finally what prompted me to write this short blog….This Vital Congregation initiative is relatively new and as time goes the methodology of collecting statistics related to my first paragraph statement “How does one measure the effectiveness……” will be improved.

To repeat, the mission statement is to “Make Disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.” The current data sheet for collecting statistics related to “the world” doesn’t include a place to enter data on how a vital congregation in the local church can and does influence the world through the Internet. For instance from our church web presence, on an average we get 600+ visits with 2000 page impressions per day (we are a medium size church.) I certainly understand that the WWW is only one part of the overall mission to “Make Disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the World.”  HOWEVER….

Our weekly podcast extends beyond our bricks and community to the World with no place to officially record this data as another avenue for measuring results for the UMC mission . . . . Are we missing important statistical information?  

Ok I have gotten this off my chest. Don’t you just hate reading blogs where the bottom line could have been the first paragraph and been done with it….


When You Mentally Forget Something

4 Dec

A while back I wrote a blog on “Where do things go on your computer when you delete them.”  That blog was more in jest but it does make me think about  the subject “When you mentally forget something.”

This is a thought from an earlier blog regarding deleting a computer file:
 When one deletes a computer file is not actually throwing something out of my computer but rearranging it on the hard drive platter or in solid state memory so it no longer represents the original data stream. So if I generalize, which is usually not a good idea, maybe I could say that things are not physically removed when I delete something from my computer. I might further say that the pattern and sequence of ‘bits’ & ‘bytes’ that originally represented a file or program has simply been randomized or rearranged and the sophisticated pointers in the computer that did tell the computer where to look for a file no longer point to where the ‘bits’ & ‘bytes’ were/are located.”

For the purpose of this blog, what if I replaced the word ‘delete’ with ‘forget’ and the word ‘computer’ with ‘mind’?

Forgetting things has become more frequent with me as I grow older. Most of the time, if not all the time, we don’t forget things on purpose (like in forgive and forget) but we do sometimes forget, or at least I do. I have asked myself Why, but have yet to receive a good answer.

It is unlikely that we experience a memory overload? That is, used up our free memory.

Do memory cell (neurons) die after a certain period of time?

If its dying, then what is the dying process, last in die first, first in die last or some other algorithm? There is no question that some persons have a greater learning capability than others. But, how does learning capability relate to memory?

Is it our lack of concentration that we can’t recall (forget) certain things?

Is there a loss, reduced or scrambled connection between neurons & nodes within the brain? In the computer we can relate to a ‘memory map scramble” or pointer problems.

Is memory loss permanent, random loss/recall, scrambled? Can it be revitalized?

On a physical computer drive one can organize the data contents into the smallest number of contiguous tracks through a process called defragmenting. This increases the speed at which data can be retrieved and reduces the possibility of errors. Wow, that sounds like a great idea if the human brain could be defragmented from time to time. That sounds like a subject a philosopher or theologian could blog about.

I am sure that you can think of a number of other possibilities.

I am sorry if you thought this blog was going to provide insight on forgetfulness. It only raises questions to answers that I have forgotten or the neurons & nodes have yet to be connected in my brain to provide answers. Since I am more familiar thinking in the technical realm I can conjure up technical possibilities. I will anxiously await one of you to blog about neurological,  psychological and theological possibilities.

In other blogs I have discussed different capabilities such as Static Read Only Memory (fused link), Dynamic Random Access Memory and others. These are pretty straightforward and understood by a technical thinking person. In a static RAM the memory states alway exist as initially programmed and fused link Static SRAM’s cannot be be changed, just thrown away and a new one burned. With the Dynamic Programmable Random Access Memory (DRAM), as the name implies, has a more brain like memory storage characteristic. One can program the memory, reprogram the memory, and access memory contents in any random order. (lets not get into programming aspects of different DRAMS and learning with the human mind)

An SRAM can withstand just about anything other than physical destruction and the memory contents will remain viable, that is no reprogramming on the fly. I have known people like that.

The DRAM is highly versatile for reprogramming and readout but can have some special characteristics that aren’t so good. Some high speed dynamic memories require refreshing the contents on the fly, else they wont retain their memory state. Some folks are like that. Some DRAM’s can have their memory contents inadvertently altered. Some can be sensitive to Ultra Violet Light, static discharges, Radio Frequency Waves, etc.

As I asked in the “Where do things go on your computer when you delete them..” blog, I ask now where do memories go when you can no longer recall them from your brain. Its pretty simple with computers but to me its beyond my comprehension with the human brain.

I was never a smart person but I knew more ‘textbook’ related things after graduating from college. I may know more ‘life’ related things now. I use the word ‘may’ since life related things could be a matter of perspective. Why do I recall vividly some ‘life’ related things of the distant past but not others? Why do I recall some ‘book’ related things from college days but many other things have passed?

Why is it that with some persons the mind is the first to fail. With others the heart or other body members fail first or we are consumed with something else. I am pretty sure that we will be pondering these and other questions into the future. God designed us to pass through this Earth on our way to be with Him in the heavenly realm when He calls.

Personally I have fond memories of the past, growing up in a small southern town with loving parents who gave so much of themselves to ensure my future.

I remember the morality, ethics & religious belief that once permeated our country but seem to be dwindling today. I am thankful for the past, enjoying the present and looking forward ………

Jim Sohn – December 04, 2012