For my birthday, I got a bluetooth OBDII adapter. OBDII is the second revision of the on board diagnostic systems used in most cars today. It is probably best known in terms of the scanner that is used to figure out why the check engine light is on. However, it can also be used for all kinds of diagnostics.

The specific Bluetooth OBD11 adapter I got was made by BAFX. It is a fairly inexpensive adapter. I paired it with my Samsung Galaxy G4 phone and ran two apps.

The first app was Torque Lite. Torque seems to be the most popular app for Android devices talking with cars over OBDII Bluetooth adapters. My gearhead friends may find the information Torque provides interesting, but mostly, I used it as a test to make sure the adapter was working.

The app I was more interested in is MyGreenVolt. It is designed for volts, focusing on electricity consumption, battery temperature, Miles per kWh and stuff like that.

On my initial test, it seems not to run well in the background, which is how I had hoped to run it. The idea being that I would gather the data, and then analyze it later when I’m not driving. Fortunately, I have two cell phones, so I started running it on the phone I use less frequently.

So far, I’m getting about 4.4 miles/kWh. I’m not sure how that compares with others, and I’m not sure what I can do to get better mileage. I’ve only briefly looked at the data from the App and I expect that will be the next area I spend some time analyzing.

If any of you know other good resources on using OBDII with a Chevy Volt, let me know.

The Funeral

The young girl
wistfully sniffed
the red carnation
placing the flower
on the waiting casket
as her sister
wept quietly
in the corner.

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#FRFF Preview, Part 1

For the past couple weeks, I’ve been listening to a Spotify Playlist of the 2015 Falcon Ridge Folk Festival Emerging Artists. Here are some of my notes about the performers.

I’ve also set up a Facebook Interests Page and a Twitter list of social media accounts of the emerging artists, as I find their accounts.

I also want to highlight a blog post, with links to some of the emerging artists webpages.

With that, let me highlight some of the performers I’ve been listening to.

Meg Braun (Nashville, TN)


Meg’s bio includes: “Meg came to New York to pursue a career in community organizing” She is friends with a bunch Falcon Ridge Friends, politics friends, and old NYC friends. She has the plaintive voice of a community organizer influenced by Joni Mitchell, and sings songs that tell compelling stories.

Gypsy Moon keeps grabbing my attention as it pops up on the Spotify Playlist

Josh Brooks (Vergennes, VT)

His bio says, “Plain and simple, Josh Brooks knows how to write a song… Brooks has evolved into a craftsman and poet-philosopher in the spirit of his idols Guy Clark, Steve Earle, Johnny Cash and John Prine.”

It is the sort of music I really like and he writes, and sings it well. “Queen for a Day” catches my attention as it comes around on the playlist.

Katie Dahl (Baileys Harbor, WI)

Facebook page

There are quite a few songs of hers that jump out at me. Good storytelling songs: Pier 33, The World As I Found It, Ghosts of Sheboygan Town.

Meghan Cary with Analog Gypsies (Erdenheim, PA)

Facebook Page
Reverb Nation Page

Probably the song of hers that jumps out most at me is “Building This House”. Perhaps some of this is because it makes me think ofMiranda’s BIG Art; Tiny House project.

Mya Byrne (New York, NY)


I like her music, but have yet to find a favorite song by her.

Chasing June (Rockaway, NJ)

Facebook Page

Any band that record Wayfaring Stranger starts off on a good foot with me. Their song, The Magician catches my attention when it pops up on my playlist.

Annika (Blauvelt, NY)

Facebook Page
For my local friends, it is worth noting that she is Playing at The Space in Hamden on July 25th. She has a sweet voice, and often wins song writing competitions, but I haven’t yet been grabbed by any of her songs, yet.

Mark Allen Berube (Brooklyn, NY)

Facebook Page

Humorous songs about Vampire Women of Jersey City, Bride of Frankenstein Hair, and The Higgs Bosong.

These are my notes so far. There are several other emerging artists that I’m really looking forward to that I hope to write about in coming posts.

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The Words of Our Mouths

The thought first came to me on the campaign trail. Psalm 19:14 isn’t meant to be just the postlude to a wonderful Psalm, or the prelude to a sermon. It is something we should be praying without ceasing.

“May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.”

I think about the beginning of John, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

I think about the beginning of Jeremiah, “Then the LORD reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, "I have put my words in your mouth.”

I think of Matthew, “But when they hand you over, do not worry about how or what you are to say; for it will be given you in that hour what you are to say for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.”

I tend to shy away from these thoughts. Too often, those whom I hear claiming to speak in the name of God are saying words that don’t fit with how I understand the Gospel, how I understand God’s love for all of us.

Yet God touched my heart, and perhaps my mouth, in unexpected ways a couple months ago, and now I need to struggle with my words, or are they God’s words, and pray without ceasing that they may be pleasing in the Lords sight.

There have been times that I have been called to comfort the grieving, and there is more than enough grief to go around. I feel awkward doing this. I feel like I don’t know the words. I’ve written eulogies on my blog, and have been thanked for that, but that is just a regular part of writing, or at least, that’s how I’ve looked at it.

Yesterday, I received a message on Facebook that caused me to think more about my words. It is one thing to try to do no harm with my words, something I wish we’d see more of in politics. It is another thing to comfort. Yet can words bring healing? Can words save lives?

The Facebook message repeated, “Your article saved my life”. It is frightening to think that my words, our words, God’s Word has that much power. Please pray that my words, that all our words, may be pleasing in the sight of our Lord.

Buen Camino

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Rachel's Children

Holy Innocents

When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:
A voice is heard in Ramah,
weeping and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children
and refusing to be comforted,
because they are no more.

Saturday is the third anniversary of the death of Junaid. I never met Junaid, but I met his mother a few weeks afterwards at the height of her grief. Junaid died from brain cancer, but, like all stories, it’s a lot more complicated. He came from a family wracked by domestic violence.

I thought of his mother this week, as we mourned another young child whose life was taken way too early. How would the death of Aaden affect Junaid’s mother, especially as we approach the third anniversary of Junaid’s death? His mother is a devote Muslim. How would all of this fit together during the holy month of Ramadan?

In the story from the Gospel, we don’t hear about the mothers of the children that Herod slaughtered, except as Rachel as a metaphor for them.

Rachel’s children: the children of the Babylonian captivity, the children of Bethlehem killed by Herod, the children of the holocaust, the children of domestic violence, of Junaid’s mother and of Aaden’s mother. Junaid and Aaden are part of this very special group.

Grief can be especially painful when we think we have it under control and it comes back at an anniversary or with some other event reminding us of our grief, and so I, in my Episcopalian ways, keep Junaid’s mother in my prayers.

I don’t understand suffering. Sure, I’ve heard it put into one theological context or another, but that rarely seems to ease the suffering. I don’t understand God, or as Junaid’s mother calls God in Arabic, Allah. I don’t understand why God has place Junaid’s mother in my life or called me to pray for her. It would seem as if I should be praying for Episcopalians and Muslims should be praying for Junaid’s mother, but God seems to do things differently.

So, I’ve written about Junaid and his mother in the past. I’m writing about them again now and will probably write about them again in the future. I think of the Psalm:

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart
be pleasing in your sight,
LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Will the words of my mouth be a blessing to Junaid’s mother and to others? Will Allah give words to Junaid’s mother to be a blessing of others? I pray that this will be the case.

Perhaps that is what we all need to do, find words of comfort and encouragement for whomever God, or Allah, puts in our paths.

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