Raiders of the Lost Ark?

3 03 2008

I caught the program last night about the guy who went out searching for the Ark of the Covenant.  No, not Indiana Jones…it was Dr. Tudor Parfitt’s journey in search of the elusive Ark which has not been seen since sometime around the take over of Judah by the Babylonians in the Old Testament.  No word of the Ark’s fate exists.

For centuries people have wondered what’s become of the ark.  Where is it? Who took it? Is it still intact? Is it still powerful?  As seen in Raiders of the Lost Ark the Nazis opened the Ark and were destroyed.  Those who know about the Christianity know that if the Ark was around today, it probably would not have the same powers because the Holy Spirit resides in followers of Christ.

Dr. Parfitt’s journey took him to Jerusalem and then his journey went to Egypt, Yemen and into the wilds of Africa.

He claims to have found the latest incarnation of the Ark in a Musuem in Zimbabwe, made of wood and used by a tribe on the South African/Zimbabwe border for hundreds of years.

Dr. Parfitt’s quest for the Ark amount to me leaving home telling you that I’m going to go buy a new car…and then returning with only a ham sandwich.  One has nothing to do with the other.

What is interesting is the retracing of the steps of some of the Jews as they fled Judah as Nebuchadnezzar was about to break the walls in Jerusalem.  These Jews, mentioned in the Bible as the ones who fled to Egypt, worked their way south into deep Egypt and eventually deeper into Africa.  Another group arrived in Africa via Yemen. 

Centuries later, reports came out of an African Tribe that somehow practiced the Jewish traditions…though Israel was some 3000 miles away.  This tribe ate kosher, followed the laws of the Jews and even carried around their own “Ark” like object into tribal war.  What’s really interesting is that DNA test show that they are in fact kin to Jews in Israel…so there is validity to the fact that the Jews who fled Nebuchadnezzar somehow ended up in modern day South Africa.

As for the Ark…if it does exist, it is lost somewhere or hidden somewhere very well.  Some say Israel has it hidden somewhere, others say the Muslims have it hidden somewhere, some say it’s in Ethiopia under heavy guard.  It would be astounding to find it, but maybe God does not wish for us to find it as we may be tempted to worship that and not Him. 

But we all know that really the Ark of the Covenant is locked away at Area 51 after being found by Dr. Henry Jones.

Harry Landis; 1899-2008

6 02 2008

Mr. Harry Landis of Tampa, FL died at the age of 108.  Mr. Landis is one of the last known American Veterans of World War I.  A Mr. Frank Buckles of Charles Town, West Virginia is now the only surviving veteran of World War I.

Mr. Landis enlisted in 1918 and trained to go to Europe, but never got the chance to head overseas.  The war ended before his unit shipped out.

The Associated Press (via the Richmond Times-Dispatch) has an article about Mr. Landis.

Mr. Landis was born in 1899.  His life spanned three different centuries.  When he was born, William McKinley was President of the United States, and the Spanish-American War had just concluded the previous year.

In his life the world transformed from the industrial revolution to what we have today.  Amazing.

It’s always weird when you think about how close we are to distant times.  Mr. Landis was born in 1899.  Let’s say there was someone of the age that Mr. Landis was in 2008, 108.  That person would have been born in 1791.  And if we continue that equation…a person who by chance was 108 in 1791 would have been born in 1683.

So three people could have spanned the time period of 325 years.  Astounding!

We can put it into more personal contex…I know a gentleman at church who’s grandfather was alive and present at the Battle of Cold Harbor in 1864.  He remembered riding out the day after the battle and being told to keep his head down and not look out, but he could see through the boards of the buggy the bodies strewn along the ground.  So there is only one person between me and the Battle of Cold Harbor.

It’s weird when you think of it like that, because these things seem so long ago.


Library of Congress’ flickr site

29 01 2008

It’s amazing and true, the Library of Congress, the official repository of the written word, photographs, motion pictures, etc. of the United States of America has a flickr site.

I came across it by doing a Google News Search for the word “flickr”.

Go check out the site, there are over 3000 photos on there so far.

She was alright when she left here…

27 01 2008

An interesting Time Magazine article about design plans to revitalize the old Harland & Wolff Shipyard in Belfast, Northern Ireland into a residential and commercial center.  The largest waterfront redevelopment in Europe if approved.

Check it out!

Peachtree Streetcar in Atlanta

24 01 2008

An interesting article about efforts to run a streetcar down Peachtree Street in Atlanta, GA.  What’s interesting is how they plan to fund it…by raising taxes along the streetcar’s route.  It goes before the public soon.

The article.

Rail-to-Trails: Seaboard Air Line Railroad Trail – Chesterfield County

19 12 2007

Was looking through a book about hiking trails made from abandoned railroads.  What a great idea!  It’s being done all over the nation, and here in Virginia there are some popular ones in the western part of the state and around Washington.

It got me thinking…this idea could be done here in Richmond.  We have several old rail lines and abandoned railbeds that could be converted into hiking trails.

The first that hit me was the old Seaboard Air Line Railroad through Chesterfield.  The line was abandoned in the 60s I believe.  It runs just over 13 miles from Centralia to Petersburg. 

I’ve marked it on page.

Richmond should take notes from Alexandria…

10 12 2007

The Richmond Times-Dispatch‘s website had an article today about the City of Alexandria in Northern Virginia.  It’s an interesting article about how Alexandria a long time ago decided to capitalize on its history.  Something Richmond needs to do, but due to…..ignorance….has not.

Richmond Master Plan…or…We can make a fancy book and so can you!

27 11 2007

This week the City of Richmond released their draft of the Downtown Master Plan.  The lengthy description covers things like transportation, housing, recreation and the like.

A lot of items in the plan are good…some are questionable, but okay we’ll go along…and others…well, we’ll see.

I have no idea if turning one way streets to two way streets is even worth the effort.  There are those who know better than I.  Planting trees and improving the street-scape will never hurt.  I love the idea of bringing back the streetcar.  I’d use it. 

The plan calls for Mayo’s Island to become a park and incorporated into the James River Park System.  This would be awesome, and perhaps better than developing it.  Development is probably not likely due to it being in the middle of the river beyond the protection of the flood wall. 

Magnificent renderings of downtown scenes are featured in this book:

Marshall Street

Above: The Future of Marshall Street?  Why not?

Below: The renewal of Hull Street in Manchester, which is now considered “downtown”…

Hull Street

 Two items that struck me…

One: the desire of the city to have a signature building at the northern end of the Manchester Bridge (see below):


 …and secondly…


This is most interesting to me.  Apparently there’s a movement (unknown how intense and/or serious) to have the USS Zuni, a World War II vessel, to dock at Richmond as a permanent fixture downtown.  This would be tremendous, awesome and fantastic all at the same time.

Bottom line…

Any and all parts of this would not hurt the city.  But would it be good for the city?  Perhaps.  I have been very optimistic about the city’s future…in spite of itself.  Richmond is a unique place in this nation.  Faced with the same challenges as any other comparable city, we seem to have a slightly different spirit than most.  It is difficult to explain.

The City really needs to embrace its history while at the same time focus on its future.  The opportunities are endless if those in charge can figure out this balance. 

 I wish this plan well and hope that the ones who will implement it will have success.

I’m hopeful.