RJ's Corner

57 Varieties…

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Pittsburgh PA – H.J. Heinz Company Museum

It is unclear just who invented ketchup but as usual an American perfected the process. As shown in picture taken of a mural at the museum H.J. Heinz was making it on a large scale.  Here is a little about it from Wikipedia:

Tomato ketchup was sold locally by farmers. A man named Jonas Yerks (or Yerkes) is believed to have been the first man to make tomato ketchup a national phenomenon. By 1837, he had produced and distributed the condiment nationally. Shortly thereafter, other companies followed suit. F. & J. Heinz launched their tomato ketchup in 1876. Heinz tomato ketchup was advertised: “Blessed relief for Mother and the other women in the household!”, a slogan which alluded to the lengthy and onerous process required to produce tomato ketchup in the home.

If you find yourself in Pittsburgh the museum is well worth the visit….

Before Becoming A Christian…

2014-09-20_08-08-101) Christ is perfect but “Christianity” is not. Don’t mistake Christian Culture as God, they aren’t the same thing. Churches, pastors, theologians, and other believers will inevitably fail you, but Jesus never will.

2) It’s OK to change your beliefs. You’ll never have Christianity fully figured out. You won’t have an answer for everything. Theology is a journey, a Pilgrim’s Progress. Life, relationships, and experiences form, shape, and change the way you see, experience, and understand God. The disciples didn’t understand God much of the time, and you probably won’t either.

3) Christianity Isn’t Easy. It doesn’t magically fix things, make you more popular, wealthy, or healthier. In reality, it’s not a form of escapism but a lifelong process of dedication, service, sacrifice, and humbly loving others. It’s very, very, very hard, and not for the faint of heart.

4) Christianity Is Complex. Nobody believes the same thing. There are hundreds of denominations. Doctrines, practices, and traditions are as varied as the people that represent them. This diversity of faith should be appreciated and celebrated. The goal of Christianity isn’t conformity, but an honest and intimate relationship with God.

5) Christianity is ultimately about loving God and loving others. It should never be co-opted by a political movement, a religious institution, gaining power, obtaining control, spreading influence, enforcing laws, or becoming rich and famous. It’s about a relationship with God—never let anything supersede this

5 Things You Should Know Before Becoming A Christian.

I am going to do something here that I don’t often do and that is to reblog an entire post from a blogging friend. This one’s name is Stephen Mattson. He is near the top of my blog reading list as he seems to have just the right words to express what I am feeling about so many issues. He is a trained and practicing theologian but I won’t hold that against him. :)

My big complaint is that too many people try to make Christianity a sit back and wait religion but Christ told us he was about anything but that. This list should be read and practiced by all of us who are just approaching it or have been in it for a while.  At times in my life I have almost succumbed to number one.  I took a serious look at Christianity as it seems to be practiced today and found it to be anything but perfect.  That almost turned me away but as Stephen says the institution of Christianity might seem to fail you but Jesus and his words won’t.  That is what keeps me coming back to the well.



Salina, UT – Home Cooking

The backbone of America is our small business owners. Mom’s Cafe, which we visited in 2009 is a prime example. It was a good place to eat and inexpensive meal while on the road.  We stayed at a small motel just outside of town and ate our supper and next day breakfast there.

Celebrating Native Americans….

Another quick snapshot of my blog InSearchOfAmerica. Visit it by clicking on the mosaic map just to the right of this post.

Rapid City Composite-crop

Rapid City, SD – A City of Sculptures

I love all the sculptures in downtown Rapid City. Many celebrate our Native Americans. What could be more American than to celebrate the original inhabitants of this great country. Too bad it took us so many years to realize that…..

Juneau, AK –  Red Dog Saloon

I’m not sure of the history of the Red Dog but it is now a big tourist spot in Juneau Alaska. Good beer, good burgers but not really unlike many mine in the “lower 48” as they say. I know Alaska residents don’t pay any taxes to speak of, in fact they all get paid by the government. It is a beautiful State in mid-summer when we visited but I just don’t think I could tolerate those wicked winters with no sunshine.

You're So Vain, You Probably Think This Post Is About You…

2014-07-15_16-07-58This is a continuation of last Friday’s post about why I blog and why I have been around longer than many of my blogging friends.

The above title with a slight modification is from a song from Carly Simon in the early seventies.  I am not really taunting you here it is just that like so many of my blogging buddies have been doing lately I sometimes wonder if I should go on with this blog or just hang it up? Last Friday I mentioned some of the reasons that I blog.  I thought I would finish the thought with this post.

It comes down to the basic question “Why do I blog??”

  • Do I do it for fame or fortune?
  • Do I do it because of an inflated ego?
  • Do I have just too much time on my hands?
  • Do I do it because I am always right and need others to know that fact?

I can emphatically answer NO to all of these thoughts. I have been offered some monetary gain by allowing advertising on this blog but have reject that as I might feel restricted in what I say. Most of my life I have suffered from an inferiority complex that my father, rest his soul, probably inadvertently taught me. My ego was thoroughly bruised by those years. Too much time? I can’t seem to get everything done on my to-do lists for any given day so that is not the reason.  Because I am always right (Ha). I don’t know many answers but I do have a lot of questions. Nope, don’t blog because of any of those reasons….

When it comes down to the root reason I blog it is just who I am at this point in my life.  I am a person who is full of questions.  I am a person who instinctively doesn’t go with the crowd but instead seek an alternative paths. I also blog in order to get all these things out of my head. :)  If I don’t do something with them all the unanswered questions would probably drive me crazy…

For a good part of my life I saw myself as a guy who thinks about things when others just take them for granted. It made me weird and sometimes less than sociable. In my old age I have come to discover that these characteristics are actually of some benefit.

No, I don’t have all the answers but that is OK. Sometimes I just get it wrong and have to learn otherwise and that is OK too. The root reason for  why I blog is probably more for me than for you my loyal readers. It keeps me sane… ;) More thoughts on that next Friday….

Urbandale, Iowa – Living History Farms

I am thoroughly convinced that America wouldn’t be America if it weren’t for freedom of the press.   Governments like all other institutions are prone to abuse of power and without someone to show us when that happens anarchy often follows.

Never Take An Active Part…

2014-09-13_09-50-19I have ever deemed it fundamental for the United States never to take active part in the quarrels of Europe. Their political interests are entirely distinct from ours. Their mutual jealousies, their balance of power, their complicated alliances, their forms and principles of government, are all foreign to us. They are nations of eternal war.

–A Thomas Jefferson Letter, 11 June 1823, to President James Monroe

Thomas Jefferson just didn’t trust government very much. He was always skeptical that they would get us involved in things we had no business being involved in. The constant wars in Europe were one of those things to be avoided at almost all costs. In the intervening two-hundred years much has changed with the world. It has definitely gotten smaller such that anything happening anywhere can affect others in at least some way. But, I kind of think that Jefferson’s words above still apply today especially in the Middle East.

The Middle Eastern countries including all those we have spent trillions of dollars trying to reform are fundamentally different from the U.S. As Jefferson said their mutual jealousies, their balance of power and their forms of government and particularly religious beliefs are very foreign to what we practice in this country.  We can spend trillions of trillions of dollars and thousands of our kids lives trying to make it otherwise but that just won’t happen. If only we would recognize that fact we would save ourselves much agony.

There have been many “doctrines” in this country. The Monroe Doctrine, The Marshal Plan, The Bush Doctrine (I don’t think Obama has a doctrine except maybe “send in the drones”) but I believe the only successful plan for our times is :

We will leave you alone if you leave us alone

But of course our dependence on their oil reserves negates that possibility. Maybe we need another wall? The Wall of China was meant to keep out foreign invaders. The Iron Curtain was meant to separate two very different doctrines. Maybe it is time for a Islamic Wall to separate us from all those constantly feuding religious doctrines of the Middle East? Maybe if we get out of their business they will get out of ours.  It worth a try….


Indianapolis, IN – Celebrating War

Our Civil War was the bloodiest war in our history.  Re-enactments are common in many small and large towns. I personally don’t celebrate wars, they are our failures not our successes but ending slavery was a very necessary thing. Too bad it couldn’t have ended with a more civilized process than taking a half million lives to resolve it.


2014-09-15_20-26-03I have a question for my Republican friends. Yes, that sounds like the setup for a smackdown, but though the question is pointed, it is also in earnest. I’d seriously like to know: If Republican fiscal policies really are the key to prosperity, if the GOP formula of low taxes and little regulation really does unleash economic growth, then why has the country fared better under Democratic presidents than Republican ones and why are red states the poorest states in the country?… Yet, every election season the party nevertheless makes those claims. It will surely do so again this fall. So it seems fair to ask: Where are the numbers that support the assertion? Why is Texas only middling in terms of per capita income? Why is Mississippi not a roaring engine of economic growth? How are liberal Connecticut and Massachusetts doing so well?… It seems to suggest Republican claims are, at best, overblown. If that’s not the case, I’d appreciate it if some Republican would explain why. Otherwise, I have another earnest, but pointed question for my Democratic friends: How in the world do they get away with this? SOURCE:  If GOP is right, why are red states so far behind? – Leonard Pitts – Newsday.

Why is probably my favorite word in the English language. Everyone should use it many times a day. If we don’t questions things in our lives then we leave the door open for others to determine how we live.

Why do we let others, particularly the politicians, say almost anything they want without questions? The above example is a biggie for me. If the Republican mantra of low taxes, no regulation, and small or maybe no government at all is the answer then why are so many of the red States so poor. With their iron-fisted control of their State governments why are so many “liberal” States so much better off then the red ones?

Theoretically it is possible to replace over 85% of our representative in congress in the coming months. So, if as the polls suggest, we are all so disgusted with those folks why will we return the vast majority of them to a job that they seem utterly unqualified for?

Are we just too lazy to take the necessary actions to turn our totally dysfunctional government around?  What we have to do is really not that difficult; just a couple of button pushes in early November. Out with the old and in with the new. The new couldn’t be any worse so why not give it a try?  Why??

One final question I have is why is my home State of Indiana a red one when all our surrounding neighbors are so blue? For the life of me I can’t figure that one out. :)



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