Monday, March 30, 2015

UNCLE ED 1916 - 2015

Many more people called Ed Swartzendruber "Uncle Ed" than called him dad, but only Kay and I had the privilege of the latter.  At 10:55 this morning, Ed left us, and even though he lived long and prospered, it is never easy to lose a parent, child, relative, colleague....  We can say Farewell, or Fare Well, or Godspeed, but saying the last goodbye is not easy.  I and others will have much to share about Uncle Ed at the Yoder Culp Funeral Home in Goshen on Friday afternoon, at the Memorial Service Saturday morning at College Mennonite Church, and in the comments section of this blog.  

Vaya con Dios papá.

Goshen – Edward G. Swartzendruber, 98, passed away peacefully Monday at IU Health Goshen Hospital after a short illness.

He was born July 26, 1916 in Bay Port, Michigan to Joseph and Emma (Shetler) Swartzendruber.
On April 2, 1939 he married Mary A. Aschliman in Pigeon, Michigan.

She survives along with two children, Kay Montgomery, Palm Springs, Ca. and Douglas E. (Rhonda Willems) Swartzendruber, Boulder, Co.; four grandchildren, Anna Montgomery, Douglas, Nick and Rachel Swartzendruber; three great-grandchildren, Silas, Noelle and Elias; a sister, Bess (Joe) Gabriel, Kent, Ohio, and Claude (Shirley) Swartzendruber, Goshen.

He was preceded in death by his parents, four brothers, William, Paul, Walter and Omar Swartzendruber and a sister, Alma Heap.

A long time area resident, Mr. Swartzendruber, was co-owner, along with Ellsworth Fanning, of EDD’s Supplies in Shipshewana.  He also farmed for many years, raising corn, wheat and chickens.
Valedictorian of Bay Port High School, Ed was a member of College Mennonite Church
Ed had a deep appreciation for music.  He sang for many years with Menno Singers and was a loyal supporter and attendee of Goshen College music programs.

Friends may call on Friday from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. at Yoder-Culp Funeral Home.  A memorial service will be conducted Saturday at 11 a.m. at College Mennonite Church.

A private burial will take place at Violett Cemetery, Goshen.

Memorial contributions may be given to Goshen College Music Department Scholarship Fund.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015


This post title is a regular section of New Mexico Magazine.  I love each issue, and we have many fond memories of living there and we continue to travel there.  Each month, there are several hilarious anecdotes about how folks have had to explain in various and sundry circumstances that New Mexico really is one of the states of the Union!  It reminded me of a short anecdote that I sent along to the magazine, and they published it!  Here it is:

During the 1970’s, we lived in Los Alamos and I worked at the LANL’s Health Research Lab.  These were the days before online publishing and internet access to research journals.  Thus, whenever we published a paper, we would get many post card requests for a reprint.  Invariably, among the post cards would be several that carried 37 cents international postage rather than the 8 cents required. Many requests came from the Northeast, but most states were represented!   I often signed the reprint and highlighted USA after the Los Alamos, NM.

 In a recent issue, I saw a tote bag sporting the message below - made me chuckle, and I need to get one:

Saturday, March 21, 2015


It has been a little while since the barbaric ISIS/Daesh [the Nimrods] destroyed many antiquities in Nimrud, Iraq, but the phrase used in the title of this post kept coming to mind.  Most of you likely know the story, but accounts can be read here in the Guardian and a good CNN report including video is here.  This is just one more example of bad religion, or religion gone bad - take your pick.  The Daesh claim is that the cultural cleansing is required because the antiquities promote idolatry, but my bet is that they are carrying off a lot of the stuff to sell on the black market.  Here is a brief video from the Guardian link:

Yesiree - this really promotes idolatry!!,_Lamassu%27s_Guarding_Palace_Entrance.jpg 

We can only wish this fate for the Daesh Nimrods

Carved Nimrud ivory of lion attacking Nubian circa 850-750BC. Source: News Corp Australia

Friday, March 20, 2015


lives after them...." And, I believe that one of the most evil practices among men [humans] is beheading.  I don't remember too many sermons or Sunday School lessons on the subject, but in Matthew 14, we read:

But when Herod’s birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced before the company and pleased Herod, so that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she might ask.  Prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me the head of John the Baptist here on a platter.”  And the king was sorry, but because of his oaths and his guests he commanded it to be given.  He sent and had John beheaded in the prison, and his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother.

My earliest visual remembrance of beheading is seared into my mind, probably during the 1950's - I believe that I saw it in Life Magazine. 


The story, as told here, is as follows:

Sergeant Leonard Siffleet was a commando fighting with the Australian Army in New Guinea when he was captured by natives, who turned him over to the occupying Japanese army. Trained as a radio operator in the Special Forces, Siffleet was part of a secret surveillance detachment sent to New Guinea to watch the coast and report back on enemy activities.

After they were turned over to the Japanese, they were held for about two weeks, tortured, and then – on October 24, 1943, on the orders of Vice-Admiral Michiaki Kamada of the Imperial Japanese Navy – Siffleet was executed by beheading. He was beheaded by a Japanese officer, Yasuno Chikao. Chikao ordered another soldier to photograph him while he performed the execution. U.S. forces later recovered the photograph from the body of a Japanese major, in April 1944. Though the Japanese often executed prisoners by beheading (see Toshiaki Mukai and Tsuyoshi Noda above), this is the only known surviving photograph documenting the beheading of a prisoner.

I will not even give any links or references to the current Daesh beheadings - such atrocities are barbaric, monstrous, reprehensible [add any adjectives you want] evil. 

Thursday, March 19, 2015


I usually make an entry on Pi Day, March 14, but missed it.  Indeed, this year is an especially notable Pi Day because it only comes around once per century, 3-14-15 [I suppose that if you round up, you could also go for next year, 3-14-16].  Regardless, here is one of the most remarkable Pi Day achievements that I have ever seen!!

Added bonus:  Here is an interesting blogpost about pi and Ken Ham's Answers in Genesis

Friday, March 13, 2015


I have heard this song in the past, and then recently heard it again on Globe Radio, Goshen College's FM Station - Link on the Right Panel of This Blog.  And interestingly, Jerry Coyne hosted a guest post about the song, so go over there to read some very interesting comments.  Summary - many take it to be a very anti-theistic, anti church song, while a couple of wags said that it is simply a metaphor for sex.  And then one person trumped that by saying virtually every pop song is a metaphor for sex!!!  Har!  I will let you decide.

"Take Me To Church"

My lover's got humour
She's the giggle at a funeral
Knows everybody's disapproval
I should've worshiped her sooner

If the heavens ever did speak
She's the last true mouthpiece
Every Sunday's getting more bleak
A fresh poison each week

'We were born sick,' you heard them say it

My Church offers no absolutes
She tells me, 'Worship in the bedroom.'
The only heaven I'll be sent to
Is when I'm alone with you.

I was born sick,
But I love it
Command me to be well
Amen. Amen. Amen. Amen.

Take me to church
I'll worship like a dog at the shrine of your lies
I'll tell you my sins and you can sharpen your knife
Offer me that deathless death
Good God, let me give you my life

If I'm a pagan of the good times
My lover's the sunlight
To keep the Goddess on my side
She demands a sacrifice

Drain the whole sea
Get something shiny
Something meaty for the main course
That's a fine-looking high horse
What you got in the stable?
We've a lot of starving faithful

That looks tasty
That looks plenty
This is hungry work

Take me to church
I'll worship like a dog at the shrine of your lies
I'll tell you my sins so you can sharpen your knife
Offer me my deathless death
Good God, let me give you my life

No Masters or Kings
When the Ritual begins
There is no sweeter innocence than our gentle sin

In the madness and soil of that sad earthly scene
Only then I am Human
Only then I am Clean
Amen. Amen. Amen. Amen.

Take me to church
I'll worship like a dog at the shrine of your lies
I'll tell you my sins and you can sharpen your knife
Offer me that deathless death
Good God, let me give you my life

Friday, March 06, 2015


During the past several weeks, we have received over 5 feet of snow - you'd think we were in Boston!  But, I suppose that since we are in Colorado, we should expect this sort of thing.  It will be good for the water supply, and it has not been too hard on the back - it's been mainly powder, but it's still heavy when there are a couple of feet!  Supposed to be much warmer the next few days, so we will next be dealing with ice as the melting snow freezes during the night time.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015