Farmhouse Burns Near Sunnyside

An old farmhouse on Van Belle Road was ablaze this morning at around 9:00 a.m. It reportedly has been uninhabited for several years.


The black, acrid, column of smoke was visible for miles around. Personnel from Yakima County Fire District No. 5 responded to the scene, but allowed the structure to burn.

Yakima Herald-Republic: Abandoned farmhouse burns in Sunnyside

What Zonderkidz Did To This Bible Will Have Girls Clamoring For More

Can a publisher possibly do anything to a decades old Bible translation to make it fresh and interesting for kids? The answer is a resounding yes! We are blessed to live in a time when there are more translations and editions of Bibles available than ever before. As parents, teachers, grandparents, and role models, we have an obligation to pick from what is available; in a way that will bring our children closer to the word of God.

When it comes to girls, ages eight and up, the NIV faiThGirLz! Bible is a wonderful volume to consider. First, the NIV translation has been around a long time now, and is generally accepted in many churches across most Protestant denominations. This Bible contains the complete NIV text that children and adults of all ages can benefit from, with supplemental material geared especially toward young girls.


The reviewed version is hardcover, sporting a girl friendly design of blue pastels, pinks, and purple, with a unique magnetic end flap closure on the right side. The supplemental material is authored by Nancy N. Rue, who has authored over 100 books, and is also a speaker and radio guest.

Features in this Bible include various sections to help understand, and motivate. “Dream Girl” prompts readers to imagine they are in the setting where the various stories take place. “Bring It On!” includes self quizzes, with Biblical references for more information depending on the answers. “Oh I Get It!” provides additional facts and information on the topics in a section of the Bible. “Is There a Little ____ in You?” asks the readers if they can see character traits from names of the Bible in themselves. “In Your Own Words” provides a review format in which readers are asked to complete a “Recap” of what happened. This is a great way for adults to check for understanding in young readers.

The Bible also has introductions to each book, including a list of “Cool Characters You’ll Meet” and “Bad Guys to Watch Out For.” Reference material in the back of the Bible has a table of weights and measures, a section called “How To Begin a Relationship with Jesus,” “Through the Bible in a Year,” “Promises from the Bible,” “Perspectives from the Bible,” and several blank journaling pages with a heading of “My Notes.”

Despite the whimsical cover, this is a Bible to take seriously. Anything that encourages kids to read more of the Bible is a great thing. My own eight year old daughter can’t keep her eyes off my review copy, which is a testament to the great job the author and publisher have done.

This edition gets five stars.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

When Prime Comes To Town

Recently, I used a promotional credit to get a discount on an order placed with Amazon Prime Pantry. The idea of ordering some groceries online was intriguing enough for me to give it a try. This service option, available to Amazon Prime members, allows for orders of selected grocery products, with a flat rate delivery fee of about $6.00 per box.

In certain situations, customers might appreciate being able to stock up on things without making a trip to the store. The savings in gas and time are an appeal. On the other hand, thrifty shoppers looking for discounts on store brands will not find many here.

Without doing a careful analysis of items I purchased in this order, I can not say that I saved any money ordering this way. My promotional credit took care of the shipping charge, but I am not in a big rush to order significant numbers of these boxes again.

One nice aspect to this service is the ability to order some items that are not usually stocked in the local stores. If you like items that are hard to find, you might take a look at Amazon’s availability of products to see if they have what you are looking for.

Prime Pantry orders tell you the percentage of the box that is filled as you click on various items and quantities.  The buying process is fairly simple, and within a couple of days you will receive your goods. Some folks may have trouble handling a box weighing 40-45 pounds, which is another thing to consider for home delivery.

This service gives customers yet another alternative to buying groceries, especially boxed, canned, and other non-perishable food items. However, for fresh items, the local stores can’t be beat.

My kids will appreciate the items I purchased for snacks and their school lunch boxes.

The delivery service, if expanded to include more inventory, could result in Amazon taking a sizable share of the grocery market in the future. Time will tell if customers appreciate this new buying option.

Vote For One In Each Race

Can’t make this stuff up. All seven seats on the Yakima City Council are on the ballot this year because a federal judge decided previous elections unfairly disadvantaged Hispanic candidates. If you don’t think that topic is on the mind of voters, consider this.

Several people have contacted the county auditor’s office and asked for clarification of instructions printed on the ballot, especially the phrase, “Vote for one in each race.” Their question: Does that mean I need to vote for one HIspanic and one Caucasian candidate?

To read more, see:

The Yakima Valley Business Times, July 24 – August 7, 2015, Random Notes by Bruce Smith, Page 4.

What was the FIRST thing you ordered on Amazon?

What was the first thing you ordered on Amazon? Thanks to the miracles of modern technology, and Amazon itself, you can find out the answer to the question by reviewing past orders in your Amazon account.

For me, we have to go back to March 6th, 1999, when I purchased two books and a CD. This is before the days of eBooks and music downloads boys and girls.

In my case, the order consisted of

The Collected Works of Billy Graham: Angels/How to Be Born Again/the Holy Spirit/Three Complete Books in One Volume

Greatest Hits and Then Some, Aaron Tippin

Into the Storm: A Study in Command, Tom Clancy, et al

Ah, 1999. I spent most of that year in the Republic of Korea, and ordering items from the Internet was a new and wonderful idea to me. It also allowed me to obtain items that the local PX did not have on hand.

Mashable has a picture of what the Amazon website looked like back then, as earlier this year they brought the old web design back into action for a day. Enjoy the blast from the past.

Having Just Entered Kindle Worlds, It Appears There Is A Place For Fan Fiction

Love me some Kindle reading. Hey, it’s summer. Time to chillax with some escapist ePulp. Yes, if you happened by recently, that was me standing next to the grill with Kindle in hand. Care for some sweet tea?

Anyway, I accidently entered Kindle Worlds. (“You might be thinking, how does one ‘accidentally’ enter Kindle Worlds?” Glad you asked! Now I have a reason to continue on with this wonderful explanation.)

For some years now, I have been a fan of F. Paul Wilson‘s Repairman Jack series of books. Along the way, I got on the author’s email list (you can sign up for it here if you like:, and enjoy getting regular updates from him about his books, and other entertainment projects he pontificates on.

A recent email update mentioned his Kindle World’s novella Wayward Pines: The Widow Lindley, which was published in 2013. Having just finished reading the Wayward Pines trilogy by Blake Crouch, and watching the TV adaptation of it on Fox this summer, I wanted to know more about it. I immediately pulled up the title in the Kindle Store on my phone, when oopsie-daisy, the accident happened. You know what happens when your thumb goes on the portion of the screen that says “Buy now with 1-click?”

Anyway, I could have easily reversed the transaction (it was an accident after all), but the cost of the title was only $1.99. Besides, I love F. Paul Wilson AND Wayward Pines. My two dollar mistake can’t be that bad can it?

Wayward Pines: The Widow Lindley by F. Paul Wilson

In a little under an hour, I consumed the title and learned about Kindle Worlds in the process.  Amazon offers authors and aspiring writers the opportunity to publish fan fiction in the Kindle format. The original author/creator of the “world” in which the story takes place maintains ownership of their created universe, but allows others to write stories set in that place. The creator of the “world” gets compensated when fan fiction written by others is sold. The fan fiction writer gets a piece of the pie, as does the publisher, Amazon.

Fan fiction is not usually published because the copyright holders generally frown on someone else using their creation. However, Amazon is attempting to turn this around for the advantage of everyone that seeks more stories from a book series, or even movies and TV shows. They have guidelines with restrictions in place to protect the author and the quality of published works.

BLOGSUNNYSIDE contacted F. Paul Wilson via one of his social media sites, and asked “From your perspective as an author, do you like the idea behind Kindle Worlds, and do you think it is a worthwhile venture?”

Wilson responded saying:

I think monetizing fan-fic in a way that provides compensation for the creator and the fan is brilliant. It’s a win for both, plus a win for readers and for Amazon. I don’t see a downside.

This was my first foray into Kindle Worlds reading, and my only complaint is that the novella is too short.  With a high quality best selling novelist writing this particular piece of fan fiction, that should be considered as a compliment.

Wayward Pines: The Widow Lindley gets four stars out of five.

Should the Democratic Party Change its Name?

So, I got this email from the Chairman of the Washington State Republican Party on August 11. The Republicans have been trying to get the Democrats to agree to an earlier primary in an effort to attract more media and candidate attention to the state during the 2016 election cycle. For reasons unknown, the Democrats oppose such efforts.

Screenshot 2015-08-13 at 3.53.14 PM



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