my point being is now ad-free

As the owner of the blog My Point Being, my view of the site is not quite the same as that of my very much appreciated readers. It was only recently, then, that I realized ads were starting to show up on my blog posts. If you read the blog from the home page there is no issue. But if you read the individual blog entries you’re likely to see an ad. At first I thought that it was only when you were viewing my blog from a mobile device, but I recently realized that it happens on a PC as well. And it’s not like it’s small, unobtrusive ads. They are large, intrusive, video ads.

Now I can hardly blame the good folks at WordPress for this. I have been very happy with my blogging environment since I moved my blog here in September 2011. And in all that time I have not paid WordPress a single cent. They have to pay their bills somehow, and obviously ads is one way to do that.

At the same time I want you, good reader, to have a comfortable, pleasant environment in which to read My Point Being. And to me that means a place that is free from ads. So I have chosen to upgrade my account and pay WordPress an annual fee to make My Point Being a blog without ads.

The nice thing is that as part of the deal I get my own domain for this blog. That means that you can get here by entering

And as long as I’m in a mode of shameless self-promotion, remember that you can follow me on Twitter via @MikeChristie220. I tweet whenever I publish a new blog entry.

I do hope you’ll continue to hang out here with me.

Good Friday

I am foregoing Sacred Music Friday this week in observance of Good Friday. Instead:

During her visitation on Palm/Passion Sunday, our bishop, The Rt. Rev. Mary Gray-Reeves, told the story of a 4 year-old who asked her where God was when Jesus was in the tomb. She described her response as this: There is a place called hell, she said, which is where, some people say, those who don’t want to be with God go. So, she told the boy, some people say God was in hell asking the people there if they didn’t want to be with Him again.

Of course that fits well with standard Christian theology. After all, in the Apostle’s Creed we say “He descended to the dead (or, as some versions say, hell).”

Bishop Mary then went on to tell about the young girl who asked her bishop where Jesus was on Holy Saturday. The bishop’s reply: “He went into hell to find his good friend Judas.”

That works too.

Google, you can be so annoying

Like most people I rely heavily on Google, both for the search capability and for various other tools. And like many people, I am annoyed at the churn in their products, at how some are renamed and modified and how others are discontinued in a seemingly arbitrary manner.

Last week, though, Google made an announcement that affected many of us in our day-to-day device use.

Getting the most publicity was the end of Google Reader, the news feed aggregator. Now I rarely use Google Reader directly, but both the news feed tool I use on my PC and the one I use on my iPad and iPhone rely on Google Reader to do their job. This is where I read all of the blogs I follow.

The developer of the PC application is developing one last version before he retires the product. The developer of the iOS app is scrambling for a solution before Google Reader disappears.

Then, later in the week, I had an email from my ISP saying that the spam tool they offer, which was bought by Google some years ago, is also being discontinued. So of course my ISP is scrambling to find a replacement. In this case it’s frustrating because this was an independent product that Google bought and and now is killing.

Google, sometimes you can be so annoying.

cooking with…

The solemnity of Holy Week seemed to me a good time to think about our relationship to our environment. Add to the that the fact that Pope Francis has already reminded us several times about how badly we have handled that relationship.

I love our kitchen, and I love our stove. When we did the remodel we very consciously bought a gas stove and oven. I enjoy using my stove top, seeing the blue gas flame, and having that precise control. And the nice thing is that supplies of natural gas are abundant and it is inexpensive.


Except that the reason that natural gas is abundant and it is inexpensive is because much of it is being obtained through the process of hydraulic fracturing, often called fracking. It is a process about which there are many questions and which uses large amounts of water. There are also questions about how destabilizing it is to the surrounding land. Perhaps there are safe ways to do hydraulic fracturing, but there’s no guarantee that drillers will follow those procedures without proper government regulation.

A much more energy-efficient way to cook is induction cooking, which is electric. And since we have solar panels cooking that way would greatly minimize the impact on the environment and the use of fossil fuel. The catch is that your cookware needs to be sensitive to magnets. That is, if you can get a magnet to stick to the bottom of your pan you can use it with an induction cooker. Of our stainless steel Calphalon pans that I sampled, only one qualified.

These things are never simple.

hello again

I’ve written about the loss of both our Fresh Choice salad bar and Juicy Burger. As of last week both are back, sort of.

Juicy Burger is back as Café 152 Burger Company. I suspect this must be owned by the fellow who owned the short-lived but very enjoyable Café 152. He’s an experienced businessman and also owns a fast-food franchise in town. Given that, I think he has a good chance of making it work. I certainly enjoyed my hamburger and garlic fries on my initial visit.

Fresh Choice is another matter. The chain pretty much shut down last year. Since then some locations have re-opened as California Fresh. My initial understanding was that the all-you-can-eat model was gone and salads would be sold by weight with à la carte items available for sale as well. Based on the reviews I’ve read, that’s not the case. It appears that the business model is unchanged, but that the selections are fewer, slightly different, and not as good. Check out Yelp and this Sacramento Blogger. I think we’ll stay away for a while.

On another restaurant front, our local Chinese fast food place has restored its made-to-order specials. Happy to see that.

Holy Week

Here it is, once again, Holy Week. Back when I first started participating in the liturgical tradition, in the late 1990’s and the first several years of the twenty-first century, it seemed that Lent lasted forever. In the last couple of years it has gone by so fast that I almost feel as if I’ve missed it. Lent, after all, is supposed to be a time of preparation for Easter, and I have to admit that I don’t feel that I’ve done much preparing.

No point in regretting. I can’t go back and have a do-over.

The good news is that Holy Week got off to a magnificent start yesterday with a marvelous Palm/Passion Sunday service presided over by Bishop Mary on the occasion of her visitation.

More from Bishop Mary on Good Friday.


Sacred Music Friday: All Glory Laud and Honor

Looking ahead to Palm/Passion Sunday


My credit union changed their security procedures. They told me that if I logged in from a new device I’d have to answer some questions, which I assumed to be the challenge questions I submitted when I set up the account. No. I wanted to set up access from my iPhone, and discovered they were questions from my database dossier. One question was about the street I lived on in Oklahoma City in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Now that is seriously scary.

follow me on twitter: @MikeChristie220 I tweet whenever I publish a new blog entry.

more thoughts on Pope Francis

I thought the the following by Melinda Henneberger in the Washington Post captured well the initial impression conveyed by Pope Francis in comparison to his predecessors. The views come from Catholic scholar J. Bryan Hehir.

J. Bryan Hehir, the former head of Catholic Charities and of the Harvard Divinity School, arrived a smidge late Thursday to the Kennedy School class he teaches on the ethics of war, and tried to jump straight into his planned lecture on humanitarian military intervention. His students, however, had other ideas: “Can you talk about the pope, please?” one asked.

Hehir is one of the most interesting thinkers in the church, so of course he could: When the charismatic John Paul II first stepped out onto that loggia overlooking St. Peter’s Square right after he was chosen to lead the church, he thought, “he overwhelmed the crowd.” When scholarly Benedict ventured out onto the balcony, “he taught the crowd,” and when humble Francis “stepped onto that platform, he related to the crowd.” What that shift will really mean, for and far beyond the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics, no one knows.


Terry and I spent two nights in Carmel last weekend. We’ve stayed other places in the Monterey Bay area, but never in Carmel proper. We were at the Sea View Inn, a marvelous little B&B between the village and the ocean.

We’re about an hour from the Monterey Peninsula, so I appreciated it that when I called to make reservations the innkeeper referred to us as local. She reiterated that when we arrived. What surprised me though was that the person who helped us at the hat shop in town said the same thing. Terry was looking for a fedora to go with her rain coat and found exactly what she was looking for. The shopkeeper gave us a 20% discount. 10% for being local and 10% for our anniversary. How nice is that?

My Carmel quibble

lonecypressThe village is pleasant and fun to walk, though some of the stores and restaurants may be a tad pricy and pretentious. But except for the far West and East ends of town all of the parking is parallel. I don’t do parallel.

New things and things I didn’t know

We took the 17 mile drive. I didn’t know that it was on the private property of the Pebble Beach resort, and that the cost is $9.75 to make the loop. Nor did I know that that is where the famous Lone Cypress is. But it was a marvelous drive with some spectacular coastline to enjoy.

Time at the ocean is always a good thing.