Secret Service, Chaperones, and Pumpkins

So now the Secret Service has to have chaperones in order to police how they act. It has already been said several times that those who had prostitutes in their rooms were a smidgeon of the whole, and several have already been cleared from wrongdoing. Last Saturday, Obama joked about needing to get home to get his Secret Service people home before curfew as if they'd turn into pumpkins after midnight. he thinks it's funny.

That is not funny.

It shows what a tasteless and clueless person he is.

What is shocking to me is that these people are charged with protecting his life, and he's going to joke about them? It seems that there is a deeper problem exposed in that Obama is trying to hard to be funny and to be touted as a celebrity, using his office to that end rather than focusing on the real problems at hand such as the economy... and unemployment. Oh, yeah, he blames GOP for those problems. It is always someone else's fault, never his. Finger pointing began with Adam and Eve, and it didn't work well for them, either.

I'm not at all impressed. I think our country is in the tirlet and we've got to do some flushing and bowl cleaning hoping the bad stuff will be filtered out and we'll come out fresher, cleaner, and usable at the other end. Frankly, I'm not holding my breath.

8 attributes of a wise husband

Job 11:12 For an empty-headed man will be wise, When a wild donkey's colt is born a man.

Solomon had a lot to say about wives such as living with a contentious woman is like the constant dripping of rain (he should know he had 300 of them and 700 concubines). His wisdom along with some old Hebrew adages are laid out in simple text in Proverbs. He spoke directly to his son about being wise in the world, with others, in business, and many situations. Some particularly seem to resonate with marriage wisdom from a woman’s point of view.

Proverbs 1:5 A wise man will hear and increase learning, And a man of understanding will attain wise counsel,
Listen to your wives, husbands. So often the act of listening and hearing and responding to your wife will avoid misunderstandings and arguments, but more importantly, you will better understand her.

Proverbs 12:5 The thoughts of the righteous are right, But the counsels of the wicked are deceitful.
Husbands, keep your thoughts under control. The man who has a wandering eye, and seeks outside entertainment; who does not drink water from his own cistern, and whose fountain is not blessed is foolish beyond measure. The pleasures of the body are fleeting at best. The intimacy of marriage lasts much longer, is more satisfying, and is much warmer when the bones get old and tired.

Proverbs 12:13 The wicked is ensnared by the transgression of his lips, But the righteous will come through trouble.Proverbs 12:19 The truthful lip shall be established forever, But a lying tongue is but for a moment. 20 Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil, But counselors of peace have joy… 22 Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD, But those who deal truthfully are His delight.
Do not lie to cover up anything. What a tangled web we weave when we practice to deceive. When a person is caught in a lie, then trust starts to disintegrate. When trust is gone, that deep abiding love dissipates, too. It is very difficult to love someone you do not trust. It is interesting that there are four verses in this one chapter dealing with deceit. Peace reigns where there is honesty. Speaking of peace…

Proverbs 12:16 A fool's wrath is known at once, But a prudent man covers shame.
When anger rules the man, folly sticks to him like gum on a shoe. A wise husband will be lord over his anger. Righteous anger is a wonderful thing and spurs us to do something about injustices, but foolish anger does nothing but stir up strife and sows discord in the marriage which is something the LORD hates (Proverbs 6:18). Angry words never solve anything, and only cut to the bone wounds that take forever to heal. Soft words turn away wrath. Just remember that always being right doesn’t always make you happy. Joy in marriage is work. Love in marriage is work. Anger is a tool of Satan that steals joy and distorts love, be wary of that fiery dart from Hell.

Proverbs 12:14 A man will be satisfied with good by the fruit of his mouth, And the recompense of a man's hands will be rendered to him.
There is nothing so wonderful as a hard-working man. There is something about hard work (either in an office, a farm, or a shop) that makes a man smell good to the soul. The godly esteem that exudes from a man who’s put in a good day’s work drapes around the wife’s shoulders and comforts her with warm security. Hard work says, “I love you, my darling wife,” more than words. It goes deeper into the fibers of her being and encases her heart in a loving, gentle embrace.

Proverbs 20:7 The righteous man walks in his integrity; His children are blessed after him.
There is a whole sermon in this verse. Watching the political game for this presidential election I wonder does any man/woman in politics possess this quite desirable quality? I also wonder about the media, and business owners, workers, Sunday school teachers, preachers, doctors, lawyers, and Indian chiefs. A man who considers honesty and integrity above himself honors God and his family. Someone who always points a finger, never taking responsibility for his own foolishness will tear down the wall of trust that protects the marriage, and heaps shame upon his children.

Proverbs 20:22 Do not say, "I will recompense evil"; Wait for the LORD, and He will save you.
The wise husband will not retaliate or seek revenge against friends, enemies or his wife. Waiting upon the LORD is not an easy thing to do, but God deals with each person within that person’s own special heart language. Only God had build and restore friendships and marriages through forgiveness which is a vertical thing, not a horizontal thing. Forgiving someone is not saying, “What you did is okay, I condone it.” Forgiving someone is saying, “I love you anyway, no matter what you did. We’ll bury the thing and not think about it again.” Forgiveness is the best expression of love except for laying one’s life down for another.

Ecclesiastes 12:6  Remember your Creator before the silver cord is loosed, Or the golden bowl is broken, Or the pitcher shattered at the fountain, Or the wheel broken at the well. Proverbs 14:27  The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, To turn one away from the snares of death
There is no wiser husband than the one who bends his knee to the LORD for his discipline, recognizing the LORD’s voice, and obeying Him above all others. He who puts God first and his wife second will have a long and blessed marriage.

Isaiah 54:5 For your Maker is your husband, The LORD of hosts is His name; And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; He is called the God of the whole earth.
That is quite a high mark to attain as a husband. God knew there would be only one Jesus, and when Paul told husbands to love their wives like Jesus loves the church, he wasn’t kidding; but the fact remains: there is only one Jesus. We all fall short of the glory of God. But that should not keep us from striving toward that goal.

Ladies and gentlemen, we will have the perfect everything when we get to Heaven, for now, we’ll have to strive for what is attainable. The Bible is quite vocal on how husbands should behave, and the wise husband shall have mountains of blessings.

An encouraging word

The written word is a mighty thing. Jesus stymied Satan with the words, "It is written..."

An encouraging word that is written has a great deal of power.

Photo graphic from Encouraging Words
I reached in my bag to grab my Sunday School book to study and a blue piece of paper came out with it. “What in the world?” I thought as I opened the folded note.

Suddenly, I was transported back a couple of years to a happy Sunday morning. The note was from my pastor’s wife encouraging me and telling me something to make me smile. Just a little three inch by three inch scrap of paper and a few words from a beloved friend lifted me out of the humdrum onto a floating blessing. It wasn’t much effort on her part. It was all the gold in the world to me because it came at just the right time that Sunday morning. Yet, it performed another blessing as I read that note again two years later.

I have a Blessing box that I keep in a not-too-handy place for those times when I fall into a black funk. My whole family is prone to depression. My dad fought it all the time after he retired, especially during the winter when he couldn’t get outside and do Tim things. So, I have the problem, too. Thus, I have kept a blessing box where I put all the notes of encouragement I’ve received down through the years. I guess it’s about twenty-five or so years old.

I don’t have to get it out much anymore because I’m so familiar with those notes from my bosses and clients and friends over the years. But, it helps to remember what people have written to me and about me when Satan zings that depression arrow at my heart.

Yes… I know the classic cure for depression is to quit thinking of one’s self and to get out and help others. Focus outwardly instead of inwardly. It doesn’t take long to break those bonds of darkness. It truly works.

But, what happens when you feel so worthless that you just know there isn’t a thing that you can do to help a soul? What happens when God has been silent for so long you think perhaps He’s forgotten about you and your big (little) problem? You start worrying that there’s no place for you in society. You start to feel like you are a millstone and everyone would be better off if you weren’t around because of _______________ (fill in the blank with whatever problem in your life.)

God uses His children to help each other and to lift each other up. It is a family dynamic that God designed. He has not forgotten you and your little (big) problem. Most of the time when He is silent, He is working in your behalf. That is when those little notes of encouragement and those notes of praise, God sends your way through friends, bosses and clients to let you know you are a crown of great honor and immense worth to Him. It is imperative that we all understand this. Once we were worms and worthless to Him, then we were metamorphosed from ashes into great beauty and worth far more than the pearls used for the gates of Heaven all because of and through Jesus Christ.

So I think of those precious notes and gifts from my friends when I was going through trying times of testing. It is as if God Himself has picked me up and settled me on His lap of comfort saying, “Yes, my Beloved, you are worthy to Me. My work I prepared for you to do in My name cannot be done exactly as I have designed, for My glory, without you, without those trials you learn from, or without Me. We are a team. We are Hand and glove.” Then He sets me back on my feet, straightens my collar, kisses my cheek and encourages me to get back into the fray. It is one of His ways. His strong arm is not a hammock, but a safety net.

So when you feel a little nudge to write a note to a friend or someone in your family, a collegue or even your boss, never waste a minute before you do so because you'll never know how many years of encouragement that note may bring to the recipient.

(Taken from a 2010 column of mine at

Drones--Privacy blasters?

More than 50, yes, I said 50 organizations have been given approval by the FAA to use drones. Those are the electronic eyes in the sky machines that two decades ago were merely science fiction called "Hawks" which The Outer Limits awakened us to so long ago. Drones will be flying the skies perhaps at a university near you, or city, or farm, or al queda cell. Of course it won't be until 2015, yet, it is still a scary proposition.

No more skinny dipping in the backyard pool... unless you want to be eye candy for some agency in the air. But, criminals trying to grow marijuana or farmers being paid not to grow something but grow it anyway, or criminals in the drug industry will be targets of observation. The surveillance equipment will encompass infrared cameras, radar, wireless sniffers, video cameras, flir (thermal imagers) and the like. So in rain, sleet, dark or night these bats will be keeping us safe--er, uh--keeping us all under surveillance to catch those at their illegal avocations. We will be protected for our own good whether our privacy is violated or not.

Where will all these drones come from? Iraq, Afghanistan, and other points of the earth. Of course all the weaponry will be removed, right? Of course. These are just for spying not for prohibiting or violent enforcement of the law. Why does that episode of The Outer Limits keeping replaying in my mind?

All this with Zimmerman going to trial for standing his ground. Oh, I know there is a lot that hasn't come to light to the general public. One brave reporter told us that there was a lot of proof of what Zimmerman said in his own defense was true. He actually did have a bloody nose. He actually did have grass stains on his back, but that should all come out in the trial. So, if there had been drones in the sky... and if, say, they still had weaponry... and--let's, just for grins, consider this situation seriously for a moment--if, perchance, the drone had some sort of intelligence like the Hawks did in that Outer Limits episode, who do you think would have been shot? If Zimmerman had to wear a bullet proofed vest in the court room, for crying out loud, which ones are relying on violence for justice I'd really like to know.

Millennium of peace --

Some have questioned whether there actually will be a millennium of peace teaching that The Millennium is allegoric or symbolic. However, several of the early Christians taught it was a certainty.  

Papias was taught by John and Polycarp; and he sought out those who had witnessed Jesus’ deeds and what He said. Then he wrote five books of all that he heard. Today we only have fragments of those works, however, some of the ante-nicene fathers wrote about him and his writings. He wrote of several parables and instructions of the Savior. “Amongst these he says that there will be a millennium after the resurrection from the dead, when the personal reign of Christ will be established on this earth. He moreover hands down, in his own writing, other narratives given by the previously mentioned Aristion of the Lord’s sayings, and the traditions of the presbyter John” (Papias, ante-nicene, 70-155 AD).

“Sabbath was symbolical of the millennial kingdom at the end of the six thousand years' dispensation, when the Lord would reign over all, and His glory and service fill the earth with thanksgiving'  (Edersheim, 1874, chapter 8).

Justin Martyr wrote, “But I and others, who are right-minded Christians on all points, are assured that there will be a resurrection of the dead, and a thousand years in Jerusalem, which will then be built, adorned, and enlarged, [as] the prophets Ezekiel and Isaiah and others declare.” And he points out in Isaiah, “For Isaiah spoke thus concerning this space of a thousand years: ‘For there shall be the new heaven and the new earth, and the former shall not be remembered, or come into their heart; but they shall find joy and gladness in it, which things I create. For, Behold, I make Jerusalem a rejoicing, and My people a joy; and I shall rejoice over Jerusalem, and be glad over My I people.’”

Methodius also wrote of the millennium of peace in his discussion of the Feast of Tabernacles: “I, a follower of Jesus, ‘who hath entered into the heavens,’ (Heb_4:14) as they also, after the rest of the Feast of Tabernacles, came into the laud of promise, come into the heavens, not continuing to remain in tabernacles - that is, my body not remaining as it was before, but, after the space of a thousand years, changed from a human and corruptible form into angelic size and beauty, where at last we virgins, when the festival of the resurrection is consummated, shall pass from the wonderful place of the tabernacle to greater and better things, ascending into the very house of God above the heavens, as, says the Psalmist, “in the voice of praise and thanksgiving, among such as keep holy day.” (Psa_42:4) . 

I disagree with Methodius here. I believe that we Christians will be transformed in the twinkling of an eye (1 Cor. 15:52) and rise to meet Jesus in the air before the millennium of peace begins. I believe we will rule and reign with Him (Rev. 20:6) during that period while the rest of God’s plan for humankind and especially the Jews plays out to the end.
There are some differences between then and present time. One is today we do not have Jesus physically present with us. We have the Holy Spirit who indwells us as our Seal and promise of salvation from the wrath to come. Two is we have lots of trials and troubles which Peter and Paul and others told us to rejoice in. These trials and troubles bring us closer to the Lord. They remind us that it is only through Him that we can do anything. They help us to rely on Him for our strength and our sanity.
But in the Millennium, there won't be any trials or troubles. There won't be any thing that has to be "overcome". Isaiah 25:6-8
6 On this mountain the LORD Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine-- the best of meats and the finest of wines. 7 On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; 8 he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove the disgrace of his people from all the earth. The LORD has spoken.
And then in Isaiah 60:18-20
18 No longer will violence be heard in your land; nor ruin or destruction within your borders, but you will call your walls Salvation and your gates Praise. 19 The sun will no more be your light by day, nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you, for the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. 20 Your sun will never set again, and your moon will wane no more; the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your days of sorrow will end.
The people during the Millennium will have sin attached to them. The mere fact they are human and physical puts them in the Adam category. Jesus’ blood washes that sin away with belief in Him. I pray you understand this goes without saying.
I don't believe the sacrifices in the Millennium are to atone for sin, Jesus has already done that. However, if we were living in a world with zero strife and stress, where there was zero worry about the weather, and our crops would grow… where was no sickness, zero tears of sorrow... how long would it take for us to take our eyes off of God and what Jesus did to make all of that possible? How long would it take for greed and pride to push their ugly heads to the forefront of our hearts—even without Satan to whisper in our ears?
We remember what Jesus did by partaking in the Lord's Supper... how many of us really think about that when we take the bread and drink the juice? Do you know what is at the Bottom of the Cup?

Edersheim, A. (1874). The Temple: Its ministries and services as they were at the time of Christ. Public domain.
Papias. (70-155 AD). Fragments of his writings. Ante-nicene, volume 1.

The Third Temple

Chaim Clorfene has recently published a book on the Third Temple, called THE MESSIANIC TEMPLE (Understanding Ezekiel's Prophecy), Menorah Books
The link above will take you to an interesting article concerning the two Second Temples (Ezra and Herod's refurbished Second Temple). The Third Temple is the one Ezekiel describes in chapters 40-48. I found a very interesting article by Lambert Dolphin written from a Christian point of view. There is something very crucial to note in the above graphic. The 2nd Temple has the altar slightly south of the east to west line from the Golden Gate into the Holy of Holies. Ezekiel's 3rd Temple, the altar is in direct line. What is not shown is that the inner room in the 3rd Temple is completely open to the sun all the way through because there is no laver, veil or golden altar of incense, and so forth. Please take note in Dolphin's page (click on his name to go to that page) where these are mentioned in the Bible.

Sacrifice in the Millennium?

First, let me say that this discussion is for edification. It does not in anyway affect OUR salvation. I have difficulty understanding why sacrifices during the Messianic Kingdom are necessary. However, I love the Lord with all my heart and if He says to make sacrifices, then that's what I would do... Do you understand what I'm saying? Whatever God says do, I will do. The problem I am having is the understanding.

Now, There are lots of references to sacrifices in the Messianic Kingdom. Ezekiel not only gives us the measurements of the Temple, but also identifies the feasts to be celebrated and the sacrifices along with them.

Compare the Levitical Feasts with the Millennial Feasts
L. N/A                                     M. New Year - Ez 45:18-20
L. Passover Lv. 23:5               M. Passover -- Ez 45:21-24
L. Unleavend Bread                M. Unleavend Bread
Lv. 23:6-8                               M. Ez 45:21-24
L. Pentecost Lv 23:9-2           M. N/A
L. Trumpets Lv. 23:23-25      M. N/A
L. Atonement Lv 23:26-32     M. N/A
L. Tabernacles Lv 23:33-44   M. Tabernacles Ez 45:25 Zech 14:16-21

Feast of the Tabernacles is the "do or die" feast. Every nation absolutely must participate in this feast coming to Jerusalem or the rains will be with held for one year. Which means no food and so forth. We know this is in the Millennium because that had never been a requirement in the Law of Moses. It could not have been practiced after 70AD because the sacrifices were no longer practiced because the Temple had been destroyed. The only time it could be viable is after the new Temple is built.

It is well documented by several Biblical scholars that the prophets had difficulty in knowing the time frame of the prophecy. Their writings aren't chronological so to speak. Daniel is much more chronological and it seems to me that Ezekiel is more chronological, too. Especially in the last verse of the last chapter where the city is named THE LORD IS THERE." v 48:35. Jeremiah reads to me like a scribe dropped a sheaf of papers and hastily scrabbled them together and that’s how the book was preserved.
However, during the Millennium, there are still going to be folks that do not believe! I cannot fathom that.

I think this is why God is so specific towards who will be able to enter the Temple... only the "circumcised of heart" may enter (Ezekiel 44:5-9). That is only believers may worship there and pray there. He admonishes Israel to have no more abominations. Which is a look-back at what the priests did in Solomon's day all the way up to King Herod's day and what they did to Jesus. All through the OT, there is sin everywhere which is the reason that sacrifices were necessary. But the sacrifices offered were abhorrent to God (Malachi 2) they were thrown back in the faces of the priests as offal. In other words, God rejected the offerings of the people of Israel because they turned from Him and became as a harlot for the gods of other nations.

So we have on one side of the cross, blatant stone-hearted people that act a part without being clean on the inside and a few that trusted God to do as promised. And on the other side of the cross we have stone-hearted people that reject the gift of Grace with a few of us very blessed ones that believe in what Jesus did.

Sacrifices were necessary before the cross, but were rejected by God because of the nature of their hearts. The Temple was destroyed, I believe, because of the sheer horrendous nature of an incredibly falling-short sacrifice of animal (bull or lamb) offered to God in rejection of the sacrifice made by God, the Holy Son of God.

One Thousand Years of Peace

I look at the headlines and violence abounds. Not only violence, but bloodshed in accidents, and natural disasters, intrigues, and power struggles. This is our lot until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. When that will be, not even Jesus knew while He was with His disciples. We know several facts about when the second coming of Christ is, when He comes in wrath and cleaves bone from marrow with just His breath. It is precisely 3.5 years from the breaking of the written agreement between the Antichrist and the Jews. It comes on the day of the abomination of desecration. It comes 45 days before the beginning of the Millennium of Peace.  I believe Jesus is eagerly anticipating when He can come retrieve His Bride... but, for now, we live in a world of sin because the prince of this world is Satan.

What about after Satan is bound? What happens during that one thousand years? I do believe the Bible is literal in prophecies, and is actually clear when the Holy Spirit is the guide to understanding.

I have run across a few things in Isaiah to chew on... 

We know that the outer courtyard of the Temple was the only place Gentiles could go. The inner courtyard all the way into the Holy of Holies was reserved for the Jews. This is one reason it was so horrific to the Jews at what Antiochus Epiphanes did and later in 70 AD what Titus of Rome did...
So, in Isaiah 56:6-7 "6 And foreigners who bind themselves to the LORD to serve him, to love the name of the LORD, and to worship him, all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it and who hold fast to my covenant-- 7 these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations." 

Isaiah is speaking about a time in the future when the Gentiles are welcomed into the Temple to worship Jehovah and to offer burnt offerings and sacrifices upon His altar. This, of course, means another Temple will be built. We get a beautiful picture of that Temple in Ezekiel chapters 40-48, as well as some clues to the millennial sacrifices.

In Isaiah 66:18-24 we get another clue. Jehovah will gather all nations and tongues (Not just Israel) these are Gentiles that haven't "seen" the Glory of Jehovah... and it looks like God is going to use the Gentiles as "carriers" to bring the Jews to Jerusalem. Verse 20 this is done as an "offering" to the Lord, just "as the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of the LORD." 

Since Jesus is our Sacrifice, and His blood covers our sins, and all our sins are paid for, then why sacrifices? What purpose do they serve? Can we even make sense of them if, perhaps, the sacrifices God requires are sacrifices of praise and prayer in His house of prayer? What is God talking about in Ezekiel? Isaiah?

Could this be speaking about a time when Jews and Christians will be like-minded and worship and pray together? -- maybe like the Jews who come to accept Christ? Hopefully those Christians will not denounce Christ as the Messiah and adopt Judaism, but is that really what is happening when sacrifices are made? 

I would welcome any insight you guys have. Hopefully over the next few days we can make some kind of sense from this muddle.

Plague of plagiarism

Hungary's president, Pal Schmidt, resigns after reviewers discover he plagiarized two authors in most of his doctorate which he claimed as his own work twenty years ago. It seems to me that those doctors who mentored him and advised him through the doctoral process would have caught such blatant stealing, especially since most of his doctorate was taken from just two other sources. I find it reprehensible that anyone would plagiarize, but even more so that someone who aspires to a doctorate would climb on the backs of others to do so.

I have often thought about plagiarism and how it is a cancer to our society. It is only a few words, correct? So how could it be so cancerous? Why kick up such a fuss about it? Le bon Dieu est dans le d├ętail... The Good God is in the detail -- Gustave Flaubert (Madam Boavary) -- some attribute it to mean when something is done, it should be carried out thoroughly and to the best of one's ability, with trustworthiness.

The bible says if you can't trust a man in the small things, then you certainly can't trust him in the big things. Someone else said that character is what a man does when he thinks no one is watching. I wish I knew who said that so I could give credit where credit is due, because it is so true. It's in the little things where you know you can trust a person. The AP story today just proves another biblical truth, that nothing done in secret remains secret, but the full light of truth will shine upon it sometimes sooner than later. Plagiarism is stealing, plain and simple.

 Stealing is not in the eye of the beholder.

When you walk away from the bank with their pen in your hand, is it stealing when the bank's logo is on the pen?

When you take several little cups of creamers from the restaurant table "for later", is it stealing?

When you take the shampoo and lotion left for you by the hotel, is that stealing?  What about taking a towel and wash cloth... or the bathrobe?

When you've had pot luck at a club meeting or gathering and you load your plate down with left overs to take home, is that stealing?

When you take a hymnal home from church, is that stealing? What about sheet music or other music?

Hosea 4:2  By swearing and lying, Killing and stealing and committing adultery, They break all restraint, With bloodshed upon bloodshed.

Another saying comes to mind: The devil is in the details. It certainly looks that way today.

Swimsuit trauma...

I have saved this piece since my very first computer way back in 1985 or thereabouts. I think this is one of the most hilarious pieces I have ever read... Perhaps because I can so identify with this mature woman.

From Australia...

The Bathing Suit

I have just been through the annual pilgrimage of torture and humiliation known as buying a bathing costume. When I was a child in the 1950's, the bathing costume for a woman with a mature figure was designed for a woman with a mature figure - boned, trussed and reinforced, not so much sewn as engineered. They were built to hold back and uplift and they did a bloody good job.

Today's stretch fabrics are designed for the prepubescent girl with a figure chipped from marble. The mature woman has a choice - she can either front up at the maternity department and try on a floral costume with a skirt, coming away looking like a hippopotamus who escaped from Disney's Fantasia - or she can wander around every run-of-the-mill department store trying to make a sensible choice from what amounts to a designer range of fluorescent rubber bands.

What choice did I have? I wandered around, made my sensible choice and entered the chamber of horrors known as the fitting room. The first thing I noticed was the extraordinary tensile strength of the stretch material. The Lycra used in bathing costumes was developed, I believe, by NASA to launch small rockets from a slingshot, which give the added bonus that if you manage to actually lever yourself into one, you are protected from shark attacks. The reason for this is
that a shark taking a swipe at your passing midriff would immediately suffer whiplash.

I fought my way into the bathing costume, but as I twanged the shoulder strap into place I gasped in horror - my bosom had disappeared. Eventually I found one bosom cowering under my left armpit. It took awhile to find the other. At last I located it flattened beside my seventh rib. The problem is that modern bathing suits have no bra cups. The mature woman is meant to wear her bosom spread across her chest like a speed hump.

I re-aligned my speed hump and lurched toward the mirror to take a full-view assessment. The bathing costume fitted all right, but unfortunately it only fitted those bits of me willing to stay inside it. The rest of me oozed out rebelliously from top, bottom and sides. I looked like a lump of play dough wearing undersize cling wrap.

As I tried to work out where all those extra bits had come from, the prepubescent salesgirl popped her head through the curtains, "Oh, there YOU are!" she said, admiring the bathing suit. I replied that I wasn't so sure and asked what else she had to show me.

I tried on a cream crinkled one that made me look like a lump of masking tape, and a floral two piece which gave the appearance of an oversize napkin in a serviette ring. I struggled into a pair of leopard skin bathers with a ragged frill and came out looking like Tarzan's Jane on a bad day.

I tried a black number with a midriff and looked like a jellyfish in mourning. I tried on a bright pink pair with such a high-cut leg I thought I would have to wax my eyebrows to wear them. Finally I found a costume that fit...a two-piece affair with shorts-style bottoms and a halter top. It was cheap, comfortable and bulge-friendly, so I bought it.

When I got home, I read the label which said "Material may become transparent in water", but I'm determined to wear it anyway. I just have to learn to breaststroke in the sand.