The Thirty Minute Blogger

Exploring Books and the Writer's Life, Faith and Works, Culture and Pop Culture, Space Science and Science Fiction, Technology and Nostalgia, Parenting and Childhood, Health: Physical and Emotional ... All Under the Iron Hands of the Clock and That 30 Minute Deadline

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

How To Live Stream On YouTube - Start To Finish

I'm getting ready to try something new and need to review this when I have more time. I will be providing a live stream Bible study for those who are time challenged. It will be available live at a particular day and time and then will be uploaded to the Lansdowne Baptist Church blog site for further viewing later. The working title right now is Beyond Loaves and Fish: Bible Study Live Stream. As I say, it's a work in progress. It will be on the J.S. Brooks YouTube channel. Subscribe now if you're interested. In the meantime, I need to study some more.

For more details, see:

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Rail speeder cars tour Parksville

Just learned about these trips for the first time near Pottsville, PA. Here's a different tour. These folks all own their own old railway maintenance vehicle, the "speeder cars" and they tour with them on flatbed trucks, get to the railway they will use with permission, unload the speeder car directly onto the track and off they go. There must have been 20 lined up for the PA tour. They use flag signaling, keep a set distance from each other, are trained (there is a manual), and carry insurance. I had no idea.

New Adventure: Live Stream Bible Study

We are told to learn new things, try new things, and to have no fear of failure.

So, I'm going to boldly go into the land of live streaming on YouTube. Why YouTube? Because I have a channel there (created for other reasons originally).

How do you do that?

You state your intention to live stream to YouTube and they either agree you should or tell you you can't for a variety of reasons. Within 24 hours, I learned that I could. Then things got interesting. You can't just go to the Creator Studio, hit Live Stream, and go. I discovered I needed a program called an encoder. I found OBS was free. That caught my eye. I downloaded it and was stumped by a key it asked for. By then it was late, so I left that off until the next day.

Then I remembered how a friend in seminary was always saving money repairing his car himself. He did it by watching YouTube "how to" videos. Sure enough, there are brilliant how to videos on You Tube about how to get that key number and start live streaming. I paused the video many times (it was only 6 minutes long) to make sure I was correct in each step.

When finished, I was able to make two private experimental videos that actually worked. Two more videos and I had the OBS system formatted properly for my needs (I'm not playing games via computer).

At this point, I have enough to use my volunteers to see if they can find the live stream at the appropriate time and communicate with me on the Top Chat section. If that goes well, we're ready to run.

As one wise volunteer said, "It doesn't have to be perfect to start. We'll walk toward perfection together." Too true ... to be sure, it will be a long walk.

Still, new adventure begun. Learning lots. Still need to pick a title for an evening Bible study people can join from their own kitchen with tea or coffee, that will be recorded and others can watch later, plus will provide much in the way of application to the modern day. Hmmm. Suggestions, anyone? First Bible study will be the book of Esther, the Game of Thornes of the Old Testament. Life lessons will be learned and applied.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

New High Point: 1800

Well, following the blog post about scaling the highest elevation in the state of Delaware, J.S. Brooks Presents scales new heights. We have just passed 1800 posts since we began.

Always celebrate the small milestones. Enjoy life, enjoy the journey, enjoy everything that goes into your creative work.


Thanks for coming. Thanks for reading. Come back soon. 

Highest Elevation in State of Delaware

After my wife and I found the highest elevation in the state of Indiana, I headed out for a new and lower low. The state of Delaware has a much lower highest elevation than Indiana, a mere 447 feet and change above sea level.

Finding Indiana's high point was a whim while we were on vacation. It was well marked with multiple signs guiding us to the site. On the way home, we sought out Ohio's highest point but failed as it was not nearly as well marked. We realized some research would need to be done to be successful. I did my research online and discovered the highest elevation in Delaware was the Ebright Azimuth, just over the southern Pennsylvania line just off of Naaman Road.

To be able to use a driving directions program, an address was required. These elevations don't have one. A little more research showed a high school was just down the street on Ebright Road from the Ebright Azimuth. That gave me all I needed to succeed. Some photos of the locale online also showed me the lay of the land.

Interestingly enough, recent Lidar findings show that there is a slightly higher elevation of 450' above sea level in the private community by the radio tower (built in the late 1940s). So, now we have two down and 46 to go if we want to cover all the contiguous 48 states. We shall see. I wonder where New Jersey's highest elevation might be? How about West Virginia's?

For more information, you can check: and It turns out the Ebright Azimuth also has a Facebook page!

To see what started all this, see the Hoosier Hill post:

Monday, March 19, 2018

Falcon Heavy Test Flight

This was one heck of a test flight and a major accomplishment with a showman's flare! I don't know what was the biggest eyeful, a Tesla convertible leaving earth orbit or the synchronized landing of two booster rockets on SpaceX pads at Cape Canaveral. What a day that was! Now eagerly awaiting the BFR (Big "Falcon" Rocket).

Perspective: Dung Beetles and Us: Frederick Buechner Quote

I follow Frederick Buechner on Facebook. He offers up some powerful perspectives on Christianity. I found this particularly useful for keeping us in our place.

"Theology is the study of God and his ways. For all we know, dung beetles may study man and his ways and call it humanology. If so, we would probably be more touched and amused than irritated. One hopes that God feels likewise.

Have a blessed day and adjusted perspective. 

Hope for Spring

Three nor'easters down and another on the way. We're getting twitchy in the Northeast USA, and not just about news out of DC. So, we grasp at any straws that float our way on the snow melt saying spring is coming. The snow drops and crocus are giving us hope. So, I'm going to share. I do this every year. Reminds me I'm alive and warmer weather is coming. Hope it gives you hope too, wherever you are. 

Hobby Time: Wiring Complete

Last pictures until I have something really new to show. The wiring is now complete. This provides more satisfaction than I thought it would. Then again, I rarely do much wiring. The process is fascinating. You think you are doing one thing ... but that one thing is full of countless decisions you have not actually anticipated (in my case I've been around long enough and done enough DIY repair around the house to have all the tools required). For instance, how to corral all those wires once they are in place. Where do they go? Over the surface of the control board or beneath it. How are they held in place, wiring staples or cable organizers (I went with cable organizers and ended up using more than I had imagined. Now everything works and is squared away. As you can see, at least one old control unit (blue) will need replaced. It is an easy matter with this system.

For now, old fashioned straightforward wiring is working just fine. I don't see the wireless system in my immediate future. For now, lots of landscaping and modeling work to do. Lots more decisions to make. It will all begin with track tweaking and graveling. Onward! A whole lot more time spent not worrying about work, politics, the future, etc., etc. Wishing you all luck in your hobbying endeavors.

For more detail on the wiring, see: and Watch it evolve.

Compare and Contrast: R & D Senators on Gun Control

To set the scene: I wrote both Pennsylvania Senators in DC concerning gun control in the wake of the horrific gun massacre in Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. I was very clear on my position (gun bans for all military grade weapons: automatic and semi-automatic ... and NO I refuse to get into the semantics debate the NRA has tossed up). Here are their responses. Point of etiquette: Senator Casey used the title I provided at his email's request while Senator Toomey did not. Point to Senator Casey there for me. Without further ado, enjoy: 

Senator Pat Toomey (R, PA)

Thank you for contacting me about national firearms policy in the wake of the recent mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. As someone who has been a leader in bipartisan efforts to expand background checks for gun purchases and to stop terrorists, criminals, and the dangerously mentally ill from purchasing firearms, I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue.
As you know, on February 14, 2018, America suffered yet another horrific mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School. I was horrified and sickened by the senseless murders of innocent children, and my heart goes out to the victims and their loved ones. Sadly, we have seen a number of mass shootings in recent years, including the massacres in Sutherland Springs, Texas and Las Vegas, Nevada. Like many Americans, I believe that Congress can and should take steps to address the issue of gun violence.
That is why I support legislation to improve and expand our firearm background check system in order to keep guns away from criminals, terrorists, and the dangerously mentally ill. In 2013, following the mass shooting at Sandy Hook and again in 2015 and 2016, I introduced bipartisan legislation with Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) to achieve this goal. Our amendment had three parts. The first two parts were designed to make it more difficult for criminals and dangerously mentally ill persons to acquire firearms. Specifically, the first part would have improved state compliance with the existing NICS. The second part would have expanded background checks for gun sales to include commercial sales at gun shows or through the Internet. The third part of our amendment would have provided law abiding citizens with expanded opportunities to exercise their Second Amendment rights.
On February 28, 2018, I participated in a productive White House meeting with President Trump and a bipartisan group of legislators. At the meeting, the President expressed his desire for a comprehensive approach to strengthening our background check system and specifically indicated that we should use the Manchin-Toomey legislation as the foundation. Senator Manchin and I are working to secure support for our bill from our colleagues and we hope Congress will move quickly to pass it to keep the American people safe.
We must work together to forge a bipartisan together to forge a bipartisan consensus on gun safety, rather than talk past one another with partisan rhetoric. In my view, keeping guns out of the hands of terrorists, convicted criminals, and the dangerously mentally ill is not gun control, but a common sense public safety measure that is fully consistent with my strong support of Second Amendment rights. Please be assured that I appreciate hearing your concerns, and will keep them in mind as I work with my colleagues on various measures to address gun violence.
Thank you again for your correspondence. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future if I can be of assistance.
Pat Toomey
U.S. Senator, Pennsylvania

Senator Bob Casey, (D, PA)

Thank you for taking the time to contact me about gun violence. I appreciate hearing from you.

Multiple-casualty shootings are devastating families and ravaging neighborhoods on an almost daily basis around this country. Gun violence in the United States has reached extreme levels, with approximately 33,000 Americans killed by firearms every year. Among that number in 2012 were the twenty small children, just six and seven years old, and six adults who were shot at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut in December of that year.

The Sandy Hook massacre affected me deeply. The shooter used a military-style assault weapon with magazines containing up to 30 rounds of ammunition. Realizing that he chose this weapon because he wanted to inflict the most damage in the shortest amount of time, and that he would have tried to kill hundreds of children if he could have, led me to reevaluate how we approach gun violence as a Nation. After careful study, I decided to support legislation to close loopholes in the existing background check system, as well as legislation to institute a federal ban on military-style assault weapons and to restrict high-capacity magazines. I voted in favor of these measures, as well as efforts to close a loophole allowing known and suspected terrorists on the Terrorist Watchlist to purchase firearms, when they came before the Senate for consideration in 2013, 2015 and 2016. Shamefully, none of these measures has gained enough support to pass the Senate.

Since Sandy Hook, thousands of Americans have lost their lives to gun violence. We have witnessed some of the deadliest mass shootings in modern U.S. history at Charleston, Orlando, Las Vegas, Sutherland Springs and, most recently, at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where a gunman armed with a military-style weapon took the lives of seventeen innocent students and staff members, some as young as fourteen years old. In the aftermath of these tragedies, I have prayed for the victims, the survivors and their loved ones. I still keep them in my thoughts. But, their trauma and grief deserve more than sympathy. Their loss demands that we take smart steps to control the crisis of gun violence in this country.

I stand with the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, who have transformed their grief into a movement for gun reform. These students, along with so many other survivors and advocates, refuse to accept the daily reality of gun violence and have demanded that Congress listen to their calls for change. On February 28, I led a group of my colleagues in calling on the Senate Majority Leader, who controls what bills come up for a vote, to schedule a debate and vote on sensible gun reform measures. You can view those floor speeches here: . I also held a town hall on gun reform on March 2 with students at Cheltenham High School in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. The activism among students throughout the country has been inspiring, and I believe young people will continue to be a strong force for change in our response to gun violence.

I support the Second Amendment right of law-abiding Americans to own guns for hunting, sport and protection. However, as a public official and member of the United States Senate, I believe my colleagues and I have an obligation to enact commonsense reforms that will keep Americans safe and reduce the likelihood of gun violence incidents. I support a number of gun reform bills in the current session of Congress, including:

• S. 2009, the Background Check Expansion Act, which expands federal background checks to the sale or transfer of firearms by private sellers, closing the online sale, gun show and private seller loopholes.
• S. 2095, the Assault Weapons Ban, which would ban the sale, manufacture, transfer and importation of 205 military-style assault weapons, as well as ban magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. This bill would also ban “bump-stock” devices like those used in the Las Vegas massacre, which can convert semi-automatic firearms into guns that emulate fully automatic guns.
• S. 834, a bill repealing current restrictions on gun safety studies at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and directing them to study gun violence, just as they would study any other public health hazard. This data would help us better understand the problem of gun violence and how to address it.
• S. 1324, the Disarm Hate Act, which prevents individuals convicted of violent misdemeanor hate crimes from getting their hands on a gun. I introduced this bill after the 2016 mass shooting in Orlando, Florida, when a gunman with hate in his heart and claiming allegiance to ISIS walked into an LGBT nightclub with a military-style rifle and a handgun. He killed 49 people and injured 53 others. Four Pennsylvanians, two injured and two killed, were among the victims of this brutal shooting, the worst in the history of the United States at that time. If you have proven you will commit violent criminal acts based on bias against where someone comes from, how someone worships or whom someone loves, you should not have access to guns. It’s common sense.  

As we pray for the families and victims of the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and as families across the country mourn their daughters, sons, parents and siblings whose lives are lost to the daily gun violence that pervades our streets, we must again commit ourselves to action. I refuse to accept that the best our Nation can do is simply enforce our current laws. It is not working. Too many families are devastated by gun violence, and too many others live in fear for their safety. We are a Nation of people who come together, roll up our sleeves and solve difficult problems. We can pass smart measures to reduce gun violence while fully respecting the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens. This problem is not going away, so we need to come together now. I will keep fighting to make our communities safe from gun violence.

Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts with me. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future about this or any other matter of importance to you.

For more information on this or other issues, I encourage you to visit my website, . I hope you will find this online office a comprehensive resource to stay up-to-date on my work in Washington, request assistance from my office or share with me your thoughts on the issues that matter most to you and to Pennsylvania.

Bob Casey
United States Senator

I'm back: Senator Toomey goes nowhere near far enough. Senator Casey gets my vote (figuratively and literally). I appreciate his linking prayer with action, as it should be. Whichever stance you support, vote in November.

One further point: since the 1950s, flying cars have existed. It has, however, been considered unwise to give the average Joe and Josephine access to this technology. Given distracted driving rates, this is wise. Is it any less wise to keep weaponry capable of rapid mass murder designed primarily for war out of the hands of said average Joe and Josephine? I think not.