ERROL CASTENS: Another helping of miscellany

By Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal

The full moon tomorrow night, according to NASA, will be the biggest in almost 20 years, because it will happen when the moon is closest to Earth – the perigee – in the oval lunar orbit. It’ll look 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter than when it’s at its farthest point – the apogee – from the planet.
• Columnist Paul Greenberg nailed an explanation of why the Supreme Court was correct in ruling for Fred Phelps’ speech rights: “It is not the flamboyant shouters, the rhetorical exhibitionists, who are the great threat to liberty; they can be seen through easily enough. It is the rest of us, who would compromise an essential freedom in order to punish just a few little pissant protesters. They’re an irritation, not a danger. It is we, the great majority, the ones with the power to silence others by force of law, who are the dangerous ones.”
• My dad laughs when he admits spending decades wishing, as he would work on equipment in front of his too-small farm shop, that he had a big shade tree there. It finally dawned on him that though he couldn’t plant a big tree, he could plant a small one and wait for it to grow – or keep on wishing.
No telling how many of our problems that’s an analogy for: I can’t be slim tomorrow, but I can exercise today. I can’t be rich tomorrow, but I can spend wisely today. I can’t be a Ph.D. tomorrow, but I can register for a class today.
“Time and tides,” you know.
• At the end of a Wall Street Journal essay on why Japan’s earthquake-and-tsunami-related nuclear power problems are fundamentally different – and of lesser degree – compared to those of Chernobyl, William Tucker writes, “It would be tragic if the result of the Japanese accident were to prevent development of Generation III reactors, which eliminate this design flaw.”
• If you haven’t seen “Flame On,” I can’t recommend it highly enough. “Flame On” is a 40-minute DVD that tells how American Family Radio’s JJ Jasper and his wife, Melanie, dealt with the sudden, accidental death of their 5-year-old son, Cooper. The production is aimed especially at those in the middle of their own nightmarish pains, but it offers insights for those of us sailing less turbulent waters.
“There are no words to describe how we hurt,” JJ Jasper said in the video. “But God’s sovereignty and His character do not change. He is still a good God. We knew that intellectually, and now we know it experientially.”
For more info or to get a copy of the video, log on to

Contact Daily Journal Oxford Bureau reporter Errol Castens at (662) 281-1069 or

Farmer in Oxford
– Joyce Farmer will be in Oxford on Tuesday for a “meet-and-greet” with Dr. Jo Ann O’Quin’s students and caregivers from across the region at Azalea Gardens retirement community. At 2:30 p.m. she’ll speak on both the inspiration for and the creative process that led to “Special Exits.” At 3:30, caregivers will participate in a discussion panel, and from 4:30 to 6, Azalea Gardens will host a reception and book signing for Farmer. Each of the events is free and open to the public.
For more information, contact O’Quin at (662) 915-7199 or or Sandra Enfinger, executive director of Azalea Gardens, at (662) 234-9600.

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