Friday, October 31, 2008
Which, if either, of the two candidates -- Barack Obama or John McCain -- do you believe that you know the "real story" behind?

I wonder ... if people voted according to this, would it dramatically change things on November 4?

  posted at 6:58 AM  

I apologize for not posting much lately. Things have been pretty busy, which is good actually.

Tim Stevens just had a great post about media coverage of the two presidential candidates. Click Here for his summary.

And then know exactly why our country is about to take a huge left hand turn ... and very very few people realize it ... they just think they're following a rock star.

  posted at 5:55 AM  

Saturday, October 18, 2008
I have not been blogging much lately. I am not quite sure other than just being busy. But I was also waiting for something to come along that was particularly blog-worthy. This may be it.

We have a sump pump in a pit in the crawlspace under our house. Several of the downspouts on our house lead into this pit so it is fairly important that the pump be in running condition. Should it stop running and a heavy rain come along (such as what we usually get in the Spring in these parts), the last you may see of the Miller family will be us waving from our house as we float down the Great Miami River, headed eventually for the Ohio River followed by the mighty Mississippi. Now, I am all for adventure but Evan would have a whole lot of homework to make up after we'd be fished out of the Gulf of Mexico so I have always figured it would be best if we keep the sump pump running.

We've had a dry summer in our part of Ohio, though, so the sump pump hasn't needed to run much. However, on the rare occasions when it has rained, I started to notice a couple of months ago that the pump never seemed to run. When it rained a few days ago, I listened very intently and, sure enough, it was not running.

Now, I did not like this. I really wanted to hear that pump run. I listened and listened but, no doubt about it, the pump was not running. The reason I wanted to hear it run was because I have made the dark crawlspace trip to the pump a few times before and it's not something I relish. I'd rather have hot pokers stuck in my eyes in fact.

I waited a few days for the crawlspace to dry out after the recent rains but, today, I had to face the inevitable. I had to go into the crawlspace. Now, certainly, one of my options was to just call a plumber but my plumber, Joe, is pretty busy with a lot of national attention these days so I figured I'd better check on it myself.

Besides, a couple of years ago when the pump quit working, I was able to fix it quite readily by removing a piece of mulch that had gotten into the pit and wedged itself precariously in the float valve that causes the pump to start working when the water hits a certain level. It would be embarrassing to call Joe just to remove a piece of mulch, I figured.

Getting into the crawlspace was not easy when I weighed 170 pounds. That was awhile ago. It definitely isn't any easier now. And, as luck would have it, the sump pump pit is on the northeast corner of our rambler while the entry into the crawlspace is on the southwest corner.

I lowered myself into the crawlspace. Gravity was on my side even though the small entry way was not. With a flashlight in one hand, I began to crawl commando-style through the stony, dark, damp space. (No, by "commando-style", I do not mean naked -- but rather just sort of sprawled out on all fours so I could make my way over wires and pipes but below I-beams and ductwork.)

After passing out a few times and stopping for a few breathers and thinking that maybe I should take up drinking when I was done, I eventually made it to the sump pump pit. I was starting to panic, though, convinced that my flashlight battery was not as strong as I'd hoped, and wondering what I would do if it died.

I flattened myself on my stomach and, as I leaned my face into the sump pump pit and shined my light so I could peer down into it, a fly came out of the pit. That was odd.

And, then, I saw it. The problem of our pump and the source of the fly and many of his friends. Sprawled out on top of the float on the pump was a dead animal. My first reaction was to jerk my head upward (at which time I was reminded of the floor joists.)

It was not a large animal but, nonetheless, there I was in close quarters with a dimming flashing, sore knees, an aching back, and this critter that was keeping our pump from working. I figured I had several options, all of which I considered.

1) Scream until I passed out and the paramedics would have to drag me out of the crawlspace. (Not exactly manly, I'll admit, but it was tempting. The biggest downfall of this was that it would not fix the problem, unless Joe has had to take on a second job as a paramedic.)

2) Get out of the crawlspace as quickly as possible, seal up the entry way, put the house up for sale and move. (This also merited serious consideration but the housing market is pretty slow around these parts right now.)

3) Just ignore it and hope the critter would lose enough weight through evaporation that the float would rise up and start working again before the spring rains come.

4) Exit the crawlspace, tell Lisa I didn't have a clue what the problem was, and call Joe. (A long shot as he is pretty busy wondering how Obama will be redistributing his wealth.)

5) Go ahead and plan for our trip to the Gulf of Mexico.

And then there were two more options:

6) Calmly back out of the crawlspace and return with the proper equipment (gloves, paper towels, trowel, bucket, and face mask) for dead and decomposed critter removal.

7) Pick at the dead animal with my bare fingers, making it shred into pieces given its state of decay, and then flicking those pieces to unknown parts of the crawlspace, eventually getting the float clean enough that it could once again float.

Admittedly, Option #6 would have been the most rational but my knees were sore, my back was aching, and no one ever has accused me of being rational. Especially not when my knees are sore and my back is aching. So, "Pick and Flick" was my option. Our crawlspace looks like a "Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom" show gone badly awry but the sump pump is working once again. (And, there goes that vacation in the Gulf of Mexico.)

  posted at 3:18 PM  

Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Yesterday, in Toledo, Ohio, Barack Obama laid out part of his plan for economic recovery. Here are two components:

1) A $3,000 tax credit per new job a business creates.
2) An elimination of taxes on unemployment benefits.

Of all the hare-brained ideas. Okay, let's look at these two things individually. They are stupid enough that way. Then we will look at them together.

1) The cost for any business to create a job is very very very high. Quite possibly $100,000 or more for the expansion required to create just one job in many industries. A $3,000 tax credit really doesn't help. Now, what if I as an employer just want to be patriotic and add a new employee for the heck of it, and take my Obama tax credit? A new employee, at even minimum wage, with health insurance, taxes, and other benefits, will easily run ten times the $3,000 tax credit.

2) No taxes on unemployment benefits. There are a couple of problems here but one certainly is that most folks who go through a period of unemployment end up with a fairly low income and their taxes will be minimal anyway.

But, let's put the two together. A tax credit to encourage businesses to add jobs and then a benefit to those on unemployment which actually encourages them to stay on unemployment?!?!?!

Of all the hair-brained ideas, this just about tops them all. This is something that even my 10-year-old can tell you makes no sense.

Absolutely insane.

That's it. I have been fairly undecided on who I was going to vote for. Not any longer.

  posted at 7:03 AM  

Monday, October 13, 2008
Read this story about current goings on in India and then join me in praying for peace and the eventual spread of Christianity there.

  posted at 7:03 AM  

Sunday, October 12, 2008
Another work week in the world is about to begin. What will it bring? Will the markets continue to plummet or will something happen to cause a rebound? Will the words of the G7 or the G20 or Bush or anyone else restore confidence or will anxieties continue to mount? Will our retirement funds continue to drop? Do we need to pull it all out? What really would happen if we all did that?

What is it that drives anxiety? Greed? Lack of faith?

Sure they are rhetorical, too, but I ask these questions of myself.

The past few weeks, I have heard many people say that their faith has been shaken. I am not sure what they mean by that. Where is my faith anyway? The Israelites received manna but it stayed good for only one day. Is that a faith we're willing to accept today? Can we even fathom it? Can we really have any idea what it would mean to live one day at a time?

What did our nation learn during the Great Depression? To whom did we turn? Did a spiritual revival occur? One would like to think that maybe so but a quick Fact Check says not.

Will gas prices continue to drop this week? Is that good or bad? How could it even be? What does it mean? What will happen in our businesses? Will sales be brisk or weak? Christmas is coming -- what will that bring? When I asked that, did I even remotely think about Christmas bringing the Christ child ... hope ... redemption? Or did I only think about dollars and cents?

Who will pick up poll points this week -- McCain or Obama? Will either one offer anything solid at all in regards to answers to the current situation? Do we really have any hope that they can? Should we have any hope that they can? Are we voting for the lesser of two evils? Should we debate and argue and then vote or should we pray and vote and pray some more?

Is there any such thing as a foxhole atheist? Is it true that we only really turn to God when all we have is God? Can we even fathom having nothing but God to turn to? Really? Will we have anything else to turn to this week? Next week? The week after?

Why is this all happening and why now? Is God challenging us on who or what we, as a nation supposedly under God, will really turn to? Would God challenge us on this?

Or perhaps He is trying to lead us to Him? If He is, will He be successful? Where will I turn this week -- Media or God ... CNN or the Bible?

  posted at 9:27 PM  

Saturday, October 04, 2008
Tim Stevens hits the nail on the head in terms of where I think the mortgage issue problem all started. I do not know why the Republicans are not pointing this out more. I suppose they figure it is not real good to speak out against the idea of home ownership for all but these are the facts as I see them.

  posted at 10:56 PM  

To the lady doing stretching exercises yesterday afternoon on the floor of BWI Airport D Concourse: that was really awkward. I felt like I was on the set of a porno flick.

  posted at 8:00 PM  

Friday, October 03, 2008
Eight years ago, Tina Turner did her "Farewell Tour". Lisa and I went to see her in Cincinnati. I have not been to a lot of concerts in my life but seeing Tina Turner was a thrill.

She's now 68 years old and has decided that her "Farewell Tour" was not her farewell. She just opened a tour of 30 some venues.

You have to admire that. Still standing strong.

  posted at 5:41 AM  

Who Am I?

Todd M


An ordinary guy. A wife I love very much. A great son. Wonderful friends. A metal roofing business and a sales training business. A loving church family. A few trade associations. A Christian school. And a four-pound poodle. Just trying to follow God and see where He leads.

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