Archive for August, 2006

John Fischer – great read!

Friday, August 18th, 2006

Recently my wife, Jill, picked up a novel by John Fischer.  The title is “Saint Ben”.  Actually it was two novels rolled into one.  The main characters are pastor’s kids.  Some great humor and deep theological perception rolled into easily readable text.  In fact, Jill spent a good number of evenings reading it to me!

I was not surprised, then, to find his name crop up again when I was looking for some background on a sermon I was writing.  He has a website at that you might find interesting.  Here is one comment made in his “in the tank” section.

Hard Rock Mice –  Tuesday, January, 09, 2001

 “SUFFOLK, Va. (AP) – David Merrell, a Suffolk high school student, was so convinced that hard rock music is bad for the brain that he picked up 72 male lab mice, a stopwatch, a 5- by 3-foot maze and some CDs to prove his point. The 16-year-old from Nansemond River High School ended up winning top honors in regional and state science fairs.

David said a group of mice exposed to hard rock music took 30 minutes to bump through his maze. The same mice got through the maze in 10 minutes three weeks earlier.”

My conclusion? Play hard rock music in your house. Mice will have a harder time finding their way in.

Canadian Arctic Sovereignty aided by oil well permit for Hans Island

Wednesday, August 16th, 2006

I have1578 pages of writing in front of me.

No, it is not a doctoral dissertation on “The appropriate waste distribution of fibre based, integrated forestry products.”  This is not from a recycling bin!

This is the Canadian Oilfield Service and Supply Directory.   You can order your copy on line at

Venture to their website and you will find all sorts of current oilfield news.  Such as a great piece on how oil exploration helps maintain sovereignty in the Arctic.  Watch out, environmentalists might not like this.  Here’s the first sentence: 

  • Paying $57 for the right to explore a disputed island in the Arctic long the subject of a minor territorial tug-of-war between Canada and  Denmark appealed to geologist John Robins’ sense of humour.

By the way, guess where this is published.  Did you guess Alberta?  Did you guess Edmonton? 

You win!

Hornets and Archives

Tuesday, August 15th, 2006

They sting like crazy.  Or maybe they are just stingingly crazy.

However you say it, hornets/wasps are not fun.  A week or so ago I was mowing the lawn and I felt a bite on my leg.  The culprit disappeared.  My leg felt a little numb around a nickel sized area.  That passed within a day or so.

Yesterday I was again bitten.  Mowing the lawn.  By the same swarm.

This time I found the nest.  A hole burrowed into the ground was constantly experiencing incoming and outgoing flight patterns.  They buzzed more fiercely as I approached.  Needless to say I backed off.

Backed off all the way to the store.  Where I purchased some hornet/wasp spray.  Tonight I will seal up their hole and hopefully take care of the threat.

But this morning the bite was very itchy.  And the swollen area increased in size.  So much so that I ventured to our doctor’s office.  An unusual thing for me.

How unusual, you ask?  Well, in the year I have been here, I’ve never been to the clinic.  The search was on by the receptionist to find any previous files.  She checked the  file room down the hall.  Apparently there was a Ron Baker, but the file was in the “archives’ in the basement.  She wandered down the stairs and returned with a thin file.

I had lived here from 1976 – 1980.  My previous file contained one page — probably just one visit for insurance purposes.  Four years and one visit?  That is basically the ratio for my doctor visits over the intervening 30 years.  You will not find a lot of paperwork on me at doctor’s offices.

Now the file has two pages. 

Amazing what hornets can bring back into being!!

Family Lines

Monday, August 14th, 2006

Tomorrow is the one year anniversary of the passing of my brother.  He was a unique individual whose grace of life recalls laughter and loyalty.  This past week I have been reminded of others in my family line.

The July issue of a magazine called ALife contains an article by my brother-in-law, Tim Barton.  A story well written – with heart (the characterstic of good writing is the ability to reach through words to the centre of a person).

Today I was cruising the net and came across the class schedule for Wycliffe College – the Anglican Seminary in Toronto.  My brother, Murray Baker, is teaching a course on Greek there this fall.  Always knew he would amount to something.  His hope is in this coming year to finish his doctoral dissertation.

Now, if I were to begin on the rest of the family you’d be here all night.  I find that we all are unique.  Not one of us the same.  Some traits appear the same.  Bakers have a certain quiet tenacity.  Coopers have a certain artistic flair. 

So, in the end — when we are at the end — what gets engraved on our tombstones?  That’s where a good walk in the cemetery is always insightful.  The phrases end up being short – there’s only so much room on the granite!

What would I put on my rock?  “He loved Jesus and served those around him.” 

I used to think that the passage of time would change my priorities — seasons of life and all that.  But I sense my naive 20 year old enthusiasm is the same as my 50 year old mid-life settledness.   I could fill the epithaph out more —  talking about my wife and family, my work with the church, my devotion to God, my desire to make the place I live a better place than when I first arrived.  

But all those life experiences are to be found chisled behind that short phrase.  Reminiscent of another phrase contained in a book I read through as often as I can — “Love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and love your neighbour as yourself.”

Rooked by Rook!

Sunday, August 13th, 2006

In past years I have enjoyed and participated in the game of Rook.  At one point I found myself becoming way too competitive.  So I backed out for awhile. 

Recenly I’ve returned to the game.  Hopefully I’m a little more merciful and discerning in how I play.  Tonight we were with some friends.  As we surrounded the table we began the game.

When I am becoming competitive I become silent as I concentrate.  So I watched that I did not withdraw from the table banter and kibbutzing which is probably more important than the game.

Nevertheless I did participate in one or two very good hands!!  And loved every minute!

A walk downtown!

Friday, August 11th, 2006

Tonight my wife and I headed downtown to the post office.  Now, remember, this is small town Saskatchewan.  We can walk downtown to the Post Office!  A whole six blocks!!  At 815 pm.

The mail was merely flyers.  So we stood in the post office.  Read about Canadian Tire sales.  Blow up beds for company.  115 piece drill sets.  And other essentials.

Across the street — now 8:15 — the pharmacy is the only shop open on main street.  We venture in to buy a pen.  I guess it was a bit of a venture — we’re the only ones there!  The cashier looks bored.

On the walk home we run into a senior.  I’ve gotten to know him a bit this past year.  A few moments of talk and we wish each other well.

Down two more blocks and we see a friend.  She has just renovated her back yard.  We stop in for a few moments and discuss trees and rocks and decks and patio lights.

Now 9:15 we head up the last few blocks to home.  The sun is receding and solar lights are populating the lawns. 

Not a record — but 1 hour to walk 12 blocks.  I’ll check my pedometer and see if I could go any slower!

For all you American readers – an approximate George Carlin quote (or so I’m led to believe!):  Save gas.  Kilometers are shorter than miles, so use kilometers next time you go for a drive.

Could the world be more dangerous?

Thursday, August 10th, 2006

Word today of another foiled terrorist act.  A pipeline has been shut down which supplied a large part of American oil. 

Gas prices are soaring and air travel is being grounded.

I’m preaching on faith this weekend.

Faith to believe what God said he will do.  Contentment and not worrying fit right in there! 

If I took a short poll of people around the world, I wonder how we would do on the “faith scale”?

Back in full swing?

Tuesday, August 8th, 2006

Well, today was a hot one – even for Saskatchewan! 

I was back in the office after vacation.  I received a return phone call.  Was I available to play some golf?

Now, normally, I’m not so preoccupied that I can’t take an hour or two away. 

But I’d been away for three weeks of holidays.  I had slipped in yesterday to get a head start.  Today, I could see work piling up as I spoke. 

I declined. 

Later, I stepped out the door.  Suffocating heat surrounded me.  Not a day to be outside! 

Somedays a round of golf, left for another day, is wisdom in action!

Faith in perspective!

Monday, August 7th, 2006

I’ve been reading through Jim Cymbala’s book “Fresh Faith.”  The premise is that we do not presume upon God, but do take him at his word.  Words that speak of the good God has planned for those who trust in him (John 7:38).  Words that speak of being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see (Heb. 1:1-2).   And even words that say “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.”  (Gal. 5:6)

So where am I at on the faith spectrum? 

I’d like to think I’m an eternal optimist but there are days I wonder about God’s power to heal, or to provide for those who are poor, or to overcome simple “old nature” impulses.  Then there are the other days . . . when I’m overwhelmed by just the simple story of a coincidence piled upon a coincidence that can no longer be called anything but a miracle. 

I guess I just keep coming back to ground zero – to know God.  That is the beginning of faith, and the continuation of faith, and the end of faith.

New Computer

Sunday, August 6th, 2006

This is from my new computer.  Hopefully you can see this.

Picked up a laptop (last one I owned was given to me by my father – a 286 processor and heavy enough to be a boat anchor – but it worked for what I needed at the time).  This one is one of those Centrino Duo machines with 100 gig hard drive and 2 gigs of memory.  Lots of fun to try and get it up and running – but I think it will work.