The 4 Toms of Pennsylvania

1. Thomas Mifflin – first governor of Pennsylvania, 1 of the 39 signers of the Declaration of Independence, expelled from the Quakers for being an officer in the Revolutionary War and became a Lutheran, famous portrait with his wife Sarah, spent all of his money and buried at government expense in Lancaster, PA (b. 1744 d. 1800, gov 1790-1799)



2. Thomas McKean – 2nd governor of PA, 1 of the 39 signers of the Declaration of Independence, first chief justice of PA, father of 10 children, buried in the Laurel Hill cemetery in Philadelphia (b 1734 d. 1817, gov 1799-1808)

3. Tom Ridge – 43rd governor of PA, did not sign the Declaration of Independence, Republican, appointed first Secretary of Homeland Security by President George W. Bush (b. 1945, Gov 1995-2001)

4. Tom Corbett – current governor of PA (46th), did not sign the declaration of independence, Republican, and not doing a very good job. (b 1949 gov 2011-now)


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Charlotte’s Poem

Charlotte, my niece,  wrote and delivered this very great poem at my father’s memorial service!

Poem for my Grandfather’s Memorial Service

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May 26, 2013 · 8:58 pm

Memories of my father

I just came back home from my trip to Kansas for my father’s memorial service. All of my father’s 8 grandchildren were able to come (Samuel, Joshua, Hannah, and Benjamin Cole; Charlotte, Peter, and Richard Ashlock, and Walter Magellan Musser), my father’s twin brother Arthur, and other dear friends who packed out Danforth Chapel at the University of Kansas. Many people shared their memories about my father and this is what I said:

Richard Cole April 2nd 2013- October 29, 1929.

My father was an excellent father and was a very wise and virtuous man. He honored truth and wisdom so much that he made it his full time vocation and actually got paid for it. Somebody once told me that someday I would become wiser than my father, but I am not sure if that day will ever come. We spent a lot of time discussing history and technology and religion together late into the night on many occasions. He was an outstanding father and friend and mentor about life from the beginning of my life to the end of his. I remember asking him about him recently about if knowledge and wisdom has been passed down from the ancient Greek philosophers to modern philosophers, what if one or a couple generations would drop the ball? He said that would never happen because ideas are captured in books, as long as there are books, people can read those books and rediscover those truths again and again. My first memory of my father is giving us baths and telling us Mark and Wendy stories about our invisible, intangible rabbit ears and about the ogre who lived in the basement and the old ghost lady who lived in the attic. At the end of each of those stories he would always say: Good Night, Sleep Tight, Wake Up bright, To do what’s right with All your might. And that is what I have learned from my father. The answer to the question “Why Am I Here?” is to do what’s right with all my might.

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7 sprinkles


…he shall sprinkle some of it with his finger seven times before the atonement cover.

-Moses (Leviticus 16:14)

The Sunday morning after my father died I visited this statue of Holy Moses.

The Sunday morning after my father died I visited this statue of Holy Moses.


Sprinkle 1

The blood from my forehead that I sweated in the garden the night before. I was praying hard and my disciples were sleeping. I was concerned about tomorrow.

Sprinkle 2

The blood from my face where the Roman Soldiers wacked me. I just turned the other cheek. They wacked me there too, with a rod.

Sprinkle 3

The blood from my back when they flogged me hard with a Roman whip 39 times.

Sprinkle 4

When they pulled out my beard. They didn’t even put little pieces of Kleenexes to stop it from bleeding extra.

Sprinkle 5

When they shoved a crown of Thorns deeply into my scalp. Father forgive them please!

Sprinkle 6

My hands and feet bled when they hammered them to the cross so they would stick. They wanted to make sure I wouldn’t walk away.

Sprinkle 7

When they pierced my side. I didn’t feel that one, but it still counts as a sprinkle. I was in a temporary state of being dead.

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2012 in review

Hi everyone! 2012 was a good year. I am now a grandfather. Thomas Cole was born on August 1, 2012 and he is very cute. I haven’t posted much on this blog, but I am thinking about blogging again – this time about artificial intelligence, a long-time interest of mine. Please feel free to contact me on Facebook or at I only blogged once in 2012, but I got 85,000 hits for things that I had posted earlier.

Have a great 2012!




The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

19,000 people fit into the new Barclays Center to see Jay-Z perform. This blog was viewed about 85,000 times in 2012. If it were a concert at the Barclays Center, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Grading Obama’s Cabinet, first up Robert Gates

4 years ago, I wrote up a blog post about the president’s new cabinet and how to remember their names. Here is my report card on how they did.


Robert Gates – “R” for Republican not “B” as in Bill for “Billions”

United States Secretary of Defense – re-appointed by President Obama even though he was a Republican. Retired in April 2011 and replaced by Leon Panetta. He is now the Chancellor of College of William and Mary.

Grade: A+ on the virtue of ending the war in Iraq, and winning awards such as Best Leader by U.S. News and World Report, and one of the year’s most influential people by Time Magazine. He was appointed by bi-partison and almost unanimous vote – only Rick Santorum and Jim Bunning voted against him. Gates fired a bunch of top brass when the Walter Reed Army Medical Center neglect scandal was brought to the spotlight. Weakness: did not end the war in Afghanistan.

Robert Gates over-saw the end of “don’t ask, don’t tell”, saying it was a matter of “common sense and common decency” to end it.  He did not want to be secretary of state during an election year, so he retired on July 1, 2011 after recieving the nation’ highest civilian award – The Presidential Medal of Freedom.


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Review of Erasing Hell by Francis Chan and Preston Sprinkle

First I want to tell you what I think:

Jesus Christ is the best person for erasing hell. He has been erasing hell for people, one person at a time, for a long time, and He is very good at it!

This is a quick read written mainly by Preston Sprinkle and not Francis Chan. It is worth reading because it is a good Bible Study and reflection on 2 important questions

1. How could a loving God send people to hell – a place of torture – forever and ever? The short answer is God doesn’t have to do what we want him to do, which is not to send the people we love to hell, and he doesn’t have to give us a reason (see Romans 9).

2. Will people have a chance after they die to believe in Jesus and go to heaven? Francis Chan does not unequivocally answers this question in either direction, but says that it is not responsible to give this question an absolutely Yes answer:

“So where Do I land?

The Debate about hell’s duration is much more complex than I first assumed. While I lean heavily on the side that says it is everlasting, I am not ready to claim this with complete certainty. I encourage you to continue researching, but don’t get caught up on this debate that you miss the point of what Jesus was trying to communicate. I even deleted several pages that I wrote about the issue because I feared it would distract from the heat of Christ’s message.” (p. 86)

Francis, I am curious about your missing pages, and if you will send them to me I promise to give you more stars in my review! And I will not be distracted or fail to miss the point of what Jesus was trying to communicate!

The other really helpful thing I got from this book is that there are different kinds of Universalism. There is (1) non-Christian Universalism that claims that there are many ways to get to heaven besides Christ (Jesus taught there is only one way to heaven – through Him John 14:6). (2) Hopeful Christian Universalism that hopes that everyone will go to heaven by believing in Jesus Christ as the only way to get there, but perhaps because of free will some will choose eternal hell, and (3) Dogmatic Christian Universalism – that teaches that every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord (phil 2:10). Everyone will end up in heaven. The Bible says it. I believe it. The book does an adequate job of knocking down dogmatic Christian Universalism (by looking at each verse) and the New Testament does not teach non-Christian Universalism, so that only leaves us with hopeful universalism. He rejects hopeful universalism as bad spiritual advice that is not backed up by the urgent message of repentance in view of the coming of God’s Kingdom. Teaching hopeful christian universalism could damn people to hell if they use that as an excuse for ignoring believing in Christ today.

There is one verse he did leave out which I wish he hadn’t – baptism for the dead in 1 Cor 15:29. Paul, who is sometimes difficult to understand, throws out some rhetorical questions about whether if the dead are not raised, why are you getting baptized for them? Could the Corinthians have believed that somehow getting baptized for their dead unbaptized relatives could effect their eternal destinies? The reason I thought of that is that he says “No passage in the Bible says that there will be a second chance after death to turn to Jesus”

This book has many good things to recommend it but Crazy Love was much better. I got through this entire review without mentioning Rob Bell! (oops)

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