CLICK HERE FOR BLOGGER TEMPLATES AND MYSPACE LAYOUTS »

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Thank you, CIA

The attempted terrorist attack was (praise God) a dismal failure. The terrorist managed only to hurt himself (and one or two heroic passengers who'll get a book deal--and good for them).

That's one.

I guarantee you there are dozens more that are fully thwarted by the CIA, Homeland Security, and the FBI. We'll never hear about them (well, maybe in 25 years after the Freedom of Information Act kicks in). I heard someone complain that they all missed the Christmas bomber, and I appreciate that the nation's security can't answer criticism with a list of all they do to keep the country safe. But they are.

In one sense, it's too bad. By keeping it a secret, we Americans too easily buy into the idea that we're all civilized and that if we just treat the barbarians nicely, they'll become civilized, too. They won't. And because they won't, the watchmen at the gate stand ready; and we who slumber inside the walls do so only because these good men and women sacrifice career, family, and wealth to do what we do not often enough thank them enough for.

So thank you, secret agent men & women. May God bless and keep you in your ceaseless toil!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Intelligence Breeds Evil... And Cats Prove It

I freely admit cats are smarter than dogs. They're smarter than my dogs, anyway.

They're also more sadistic than dogs. To wit: every night, a cat comes to visit our puppies. It slowly walks the top of the fence in sinister motion, sending my brain damaged dogs in apoplectic spasms of barking. They slam out the dog door and rocket through the rent in the screen porch and bay at the thing of evil. The thing of evil loves this, it's tail languidly waving at them in condescending pleasure. This ratchets up the barking and endears the neighbors to us in new and unpleasant ways.

Fortunately, one of them owns the cat.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Bullets and Genderism

Don't ask how this came up (bets on J. asking anyway?) but I was talking with someone about donating organs that would kill you for certain people. As in, if two of my kids needed a kidney to live, I'd give them mine even though I can't live without them. It devolved into who I would give a piece of my liver to if I was the only immediate donor...

...and then it got into the mad gunman brandishing a weapon. I would automatically step in front of any kid (even J.) and almost any woman to shield them from potential bullets. I wouldn't automatically shield a man, even a close friend.

Is that genderism? In our day of equality, should I give the wackjob a shot at the women so they can feel equal? Or should I step in front of the men, too?

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Door-to-Door Program Funders

A young man came to our door this evening with his tub of cheap knick-knacks and dutifully recited his desire for us to fund "a program to help keep me off drugs."

Okay, I applaud the sentiment, but every time I hear a child say this I can't help but think that anyone with the foresight to join such a program probably has the wisdom to "just say no." And it makes me wonder if using drugs is inevitable for our underprivileged youth if they don't join such a program.

I further applaud the entrepreneurial aspect of going door-to-door. If the program fails, it's tomorrow's most effective drug dealers who are a-knockin'.

Hmmmm....

Further, Sam Jones, the actor who engagingly played Pete Ross on Smallville is allegedly Hollywood's premier drug dealer moving 10,000 oxycodones to Hollywood's elite. There's something ironic about that, but I'm not certain what it is...

Saturday, December 05, 2009

In Your Stuff

I was a reporter for a very brief period during college. With little interest in sports, community, or politics (at the time), the only thing left was reviews and gossip. Reviews I could handle but the repackaging of gossip made me quit. I don't want people getting into my stuff, so why should I, or we, get into other people's stuff? "The People Have a Right to Know" refers only to government.

So leave Tiger Woods alone. What he did or didn't do is between his wife and him. Leave his endorsements alone. Our only business with him is centered around golf.

And, per usual, the wrong attention is being thrust upon Desiree Rodgers, the Obama's social secretary. "Crashergate" may have been partially her fault, but the Secret Service knew she was deviating from past SocSec procedures, so it was their fault for not adjusting hers. Don't try to tear down people just because they're Democrats. Have a good reason or forget it. Same with Republicans or anyone else.

If you WANT to investigate Rodgers, look at her salary and budget. Is she overspending in times of troubled economy or on par with others? The fact that Michelle Obama has a huge budget is a travesty and should be trumpeted. No other 1st Lady had a budget or more than a single aide. She has 27 aides with a $1 million budget. THAT'S our business,and THAT'S outrageous.

And while we're on the subject, which journalistic airhead coined -gate as a synonym for scandal? Watergate was the name of the hotel in the Nixon scandal, not the scandal itself. Word coinage in the sound-byte world is a sad, sad affair. Speaking of affairs, did you hear about...

Friday, December 04, 2009

Farewell and See You Soon, Jim!

Jim M.'s memorial service was beautiful is so many ways. He and Grace have a wonderful family and they shared from their hearts to make Jim's life shine.

The passing and sharing of friends reminds us of how blessed we are. I looked around at the people in Jim's life and saw so many of my closest friends--life friends. What a shared community we have.

Jim was not an old man. 10 years my senior, but certainly not old. It's a reminder that we don't have 8 or 9 decades guaranteed to us and that the special people of our life should know that they are.

And as our hearts reach out to Grace's, we can't help but think what life would be like in her circumstance. I doubt I'd do as well. Lynette is as breath to me, and like oxygen, I can take her for granted. Lord, may I show her regularly how desperate I would be without her and how blessed I am to have her. Knowing this, join in praying for Grace! I can't imagine a more difficult journey.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Humanity and Colony Creatures

We are each a colony creature. Cells form tissue, tissue forms organ or bone, organs and bones form a person. And really, what is a person? An organization of meat bristling with sensors by which we interpret the world. Or at least part of the world.
Our senses are limited. We see in a narrow bandwidth, hear in a narrow bandwidth, touch/feel at indiscreet levels. We only have four taste sensations which blend to a narrow spectrum, and smell at an even narrower level. Further, our senses combine in several ways that we aren't aware of. To wit, when temporarily deafened by using an impact hammer without ear protection, I deemed potato chips "stale" because apparently we use hearing as much as "feel" to determine if something is crunchy.
We are in deep error when we think we "know" the world we're in, and we make logical missteps when we think things don't exist because they don't fall in our narrow field of sensation (consider a shark, which has some sort of magnetic sense--we can't even perceive it enough to comprehend it!). Further, limited by our understanding, we can't invent things to detect objects beyond our comprehension and wouldn't recognize readings if we could.
That makes atheism pretty foolhardy. I've read some nasty commentary about how stupid the idea of "God" is when if He existed He'd do this and this and that... Fascinating how a superior being who refuses to work to our wishes is deemed not to exist. What hubris we lowly colony creatures display in demanding from God, rather than simply thanking Him for our incredibly complex cells and tissues. Despite the obvious design of cells (just not how we'd design them), because we as a species prefer metal, wood, and digital science, we think "wet" design isn't possible. The sciences God develops in dips below our menial senses. Is that a shortcoming of God's or of ourselves?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Give Thanks!

In between feast preparations I reflect on the overwhelming bounty God has graced us with. Used to be I'd feel a bit guilty about enjoying enough food to feed a small country in a single sitting. No longer.


There are people across the globe suffering horribly. I and mine are not among them. God calls each of us to care for those less fortunate, each in a different way. For some people that means volunteering to serve the homeless a warm meal on Thanksgiving. For others, it's serving the homed with a scrumptious meal while doing their part throughout the year for those who need help, some in big ways, some in small ways. And for still others, it's caring for people who don't need physical help but do need friends, hospitality, and God's love.

The Bible shows God to be a God of feasts. No, He's not a party animal, He is a master of symbolism. God's grace and unending bounty is obvious in most American's lives. He delights in us realize that. As I reflect on a grace-filled life, starting with a wonderful family of origin, great friends, wonderful churches, good jobs, terrific wife and children and dogs, I also have to look at the things I counted as suffering. Bone disease, bullies, a faulty moral compass that led me to embarrassing and often horrifying actions... and then I realize these things shaped me into the "container" who would and could receive God's individualized grace.

Extrapolating from that, is it such a stretch that the downtrodden are being similarly shaped? Those who believe God can look forward to tremendous grace, sometimes here, sometimes not until eternity. And even within tremendous suffering, grace abounds. I read of a father who, during the typhoon "over there" lost sight of his daughter. In the throng of fleeing people, he was shoved one way and another, right back to his crying daughter. He praised God, seeing not the typhoon but a caring Father.

Those in poverty should not be ashamed; those of us with an embarrassment of riches shouldn't be ashamed either. God give to us all. Whatever we have, whatever we don't, give thanks.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Star Trek The Second Review

Saw it again on DVD. I know I reviewed it before, but I can't resist.


Spock was terrible, but it's simply not Quinto's fault. Leonard Nimoy succeeded in creating the number one TV character of all time. It was the perfect marriage of role and actor. Consider Star Trek the Original Series without Spock. It simply wouldn't have worked. Spock gave the show the needed bling to work. Without him it would have been completely forgettable. With ANY other actor, it wouldn't have been worth watching.

The Voice, the Height, The mile-long maxilla and naso-labial folds, the Squinty Eyes, and the acting chops to make you believe a man could have green blood... Angular body, deep, full-bodied voice, and just a naturally alien face to begin with, and the ability to conceive and commit to creative and apt action choices.

Zachary Quinto has none of the above. His voice is high, he's tall but not gawky tall. Admittedly, he's got a bit of a long face and big nose, but nowhere near Nimoy's. His eyes are too open and bright, and he didn't make a single acting choice Nimoy hadn't done 100 times better. Even the ears were too round and perfect (Nimoy's were longer and narrower, which is true of his natural face as well). And he can't do the Vulcan salute.

To be fair, I don't think any actor could do the role justice. Any choice he made wouldn't ring true with the narrow understanding we have of "Vulcans."

Chris Pine didn't have to mirror Shatner, he had to make choices grounded in the vast panorama of human experience. In truth, the insouciance of his Kirk was far BEYOND Shatner's choices (if you can believe it). The old Kirk had one foot in Starfleet protocol and one foot out. Pine's Kirk had maybe a pinkie in Starfleet protocol and the rest dancing outside the circle. And it worked really well. If "our" Kirk hadn't had George Kirk riding herd on his outlandish traits, he'd be complete rebel with a genius strategic mind and an energetic, childish, unrestrained Id. Pine didn't swipe anything from Shatner (but it's still hard to accept that he'd not only be given a captaincy, but the flagship captaincy? No way. This Kirk can handle a battle but not a crew out of red alert).

The McCoy character, I think, mimicked Kelley's McCoy instead of trusting his own skill as an actor (which is prodigious) a little too much. His initial entrance promised great things. "Space is death and disease wrapped in ice and darkness..." He'll be better next time because several times he shined.

Scotty had no relation to Scotty, and that's fine (though when he said, "I'm givin' it all I got, Captain... he should have tagged it with "...as soon as I can find the thing..." Where were the engines?

Sulu and Uhura, no relation to their counterparts and that's fine. Uber-competent and that's enough.

Chekov was brilliant. Fantastic. Best performance by far and the kid's only 18.

Can't wait for the next one. :)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Fat-Acceptance Blogs

I run across these every now and then; women, normally, of hefty proportions convincing themselves to love themselves as they are. Almost always they are well written, witty commentaries demonstrating depth and intelligence (there are, presumably, dim-witted zaftigs, but they must not blog).


I find these blogs particularly convicting personally and societally. Why must anyone be forced by the standards of our culture to struggle to accept themselves? Worse, why have I demanded others meet my standards of "beauty" lest I look down on them?

Wit, intelligence, kindness, pleasantness, cheer, caring, and a host of other internal qualities should count for so much more than outward features.

Let's not be naive, of course. From a romantic perspective we probably each have our preferred "types," but in no way should every woman be expected to fulfill the romantic interests of men. And for those of use fortunate enough to have found our soul mate, why should physical presence of anyone else even be of concern?

Here's the deal. You are who you are and that's good enough. Plenty of room for personal growth for everyone, but if someone makes unfair demands on who you are, punt them and their opinion. You're good enough.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Our Next President

Heard a bunch of stuff about "Governor" Palin on the way home from work. Seems like she's still being put forward for Federal office. *sigh*


Here's what the Kennedy's always had that too many of our current stable of contenders lack: a life-long aim at becoming president.

I like Huckabee, but he's not a strong candidate, just as Sarah Palin isn't. Neither has conducted themselves in a manner lending itself to a clean run at the presidency. In their state positions, they profiteered, if not to legal abuse, at least to ethical abuse.

The Kennedy's certainly weren't clean, but today's candidates must be. H and P saw their Governships as their final stop and milked the positions rather than used them as stepping stones. MAYBE if Palin gets a seat in the house or Senate she can rebuild, but we'll have a losing ticket if she tries to rise to the top.

Say what you want about Obama, but his background may be offensive to conservatives, but it played well to the liberals and undecided.

Who will that be for the right party? Dunno, but if we don't get our act together, we have no one to blame but ourselves if we lose the next election.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Why I'm Deleting Facebook

I blame it on the TV Writer's Strike a decade ago, when arrogant writers thought what all writers think, "let's see them fill the air without us." And so Reality Television was born. Like original sin, the people of the world believed a lie, "we're interesting when we're petty."


And we wondered how could it get worse than Reality TV? The answer is Facebook (which we topped -- or bottomed? -- with Twitter).

A digital monument to banality masquerading as "relationships." Except 99% of it isn't relating at all. Broadcast proclamations of less-than-small-talk isn't the fellowship the Bible promotes.

Oh sure, many people use it well. The Lashways, alerting us to their mission in Madagascar, Scott George's needs for his ministry, commercial purposes (and to be honest, if one of my business ventures takes off, I'll re-up the account to promote it... when I have purpose).

I profess it is nice to know what's going on with distant friends, and reconnect with people I haven't seen in decades, but is knowledge without relationship anything other than gossip, even if it's spread by that individual?

Finally, there are better things to do with my time than read stuff I wouldn't care to hear or take quizzes about things I don't need to know.

Nor is this a condemnation of Facebook users. If you get something out of it, bully for you and fare-thee-well.

For all those dear friends whom I am in fellowship with, please check in via e-mail, or, you know, in person. I do still love you all. But for me and mine, we shall Facebook no more.

(For my e-mail, please see my website www.swanwrite.com).

Monday, November 09, 2009

Just a Little Post (OK, Bad Pun; Read On)

Maybe I've blogged this before, because I tend to think cyclically and ratchet through my story ideas ever few months and things just stick out, you know?

Dwarfs prefer to be called "Little People" instead of "Midgets." It's a whole thing, I guess. My bad, I had formed the uninformed belief that "midgets" were proportionally correct and dwarfs weren't until the PC Police clubbed me in the shins (oooo!).

In fact, the term "midget" is a term of exploitation because Hollywood had a habit of rounding up any dwarf regardless of talent to staff movies like Wizard of Oz, Disney elf, gnome, or fairy movies, Buzby Berkly flicks, and anyone else who wanted a, let's say "height challenged," piece of human furniture.

So somehow, and I'm not sure where such things are decided for a people en mass, the clever term "Little People" was chosen to be less demeaning.

Say what?

"Little People?" That isn't demeaning? "You're like a person, only smaller." Come on PC Police, that's a little short on sensitivity isn't it? (oooo, again!).

Let's face, these guys get the short end of the stick all around. The correct term, "Dwarf", conjures pictures of white haired guys with long beards. Can't use that. "Little People" should be an embarrassment. What's an individual, then, a Little? Pretty sure that's a copyright infringement...

"Midget." What's wrong with that, exactly? Perhaps it comes from the term "smidgen" meaning a pinch. Is that so bad? Does it conjure a negative image?

For my story, a minor character (oooo! unintentionally) is a... dominunator (how's that!?) isn't much of a joiner (like me) and while she refuses labels and "group think" as a matter of course, has particular loathing for the term "Little People" but if a label is demanded, goes with "midget."

Can I, a 6'2" "Big People" make such a claim for one of my characters when I don't represent their group at all? (Ultimately, it doesn't matter, I'm going to anyway).

Which term is your label of preference?

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Cynicism and Faith

Great home group tonight. Dr. Brady is teaching on "the Gospel." Speaking about faith tonight, it hit me between the eyes that cynicism is the opposite of faith on so many levels.

Cynicism is, of course, pride. "The universe isn't going to put one over on me! Those who expect the worst are never disappointed!"

How opposite of faith which says, "I believe that God is Good. His will is right and just. He wants what is best for me."

While faith masquerades as naivete, it isn't. It is, as Scott said, objective truth.

Is my reputation so important to me that I don't want to be caught flat-footed by the universe just in case God isn't what He says He is? Hedging my bet isn't an act of faith, it's an act of pride.

Food for thought.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Dorito Wars



Lo, when I was young, there was ONE kind of Dorito chip; the bland, boring, flavorless tortilla chip, no flavoring.




THEN, manna descended in the form of Taco Flavor Doritos (not the pail imitation Taco BELL flavor Dorito that came later). TACO Flavor was pure heaven. No chip to this day has matched it. Then the over-flavored Nacho Cheese came on the scene and consumers of no taste switched over enmass, dooming Taco to the oblivion of once-was.




There have been dozens of flavors since then, none matching the vibrant power of Taco... even those that contained the Taco label, but they were pretenders.




UNTIL, the black-bag, limited edition, Late-Night promotion that returned Taco to it's long ago splendor... or was it? It might be. It very well could be. But my taste-buds are 30 years older and *gasp* jaded!




A web search uncovered the fact that I was not the only one who was unsure. Debates rage over the new chip's authenticity. Curses are hurled. Passions run high.




For me? I believe it is the fabled chip. Alas, it gives me the same gas as the former Dorito manna. That's good enough for me.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Cruisin' in the Rain, Just Cruisin' in the Rain

Okay, yes, it rained a lot on our 7-day Disney cruise but it was still great and probably evoked stronger memories which was the point of the vacation.

Disney has this business down pat. We've all had vacations where the weather ruined things, but short of sinking, I don't think it's possible for a Disney cruise to be anything less the wonderful. We'd done a couple 4-day cruises which were over too fast. While I didn't see many smiles on departing passengers, a week is a long time. I figured I'd be ready to go home, but I wasn't. Way too much fun.

There is something to be said for enforced inactivity. I think it's hard for adults to relax unless they HAVE to. At-sea days were great. Hanging out in a deck chair or attending an event (we learned to cook a great Phylo Salmon and how to fold napkins :)) was heaven. Our Key West shore leave was mellow. The Grand Cayman adventure to swim with stingrays was wonderful once we got out there but pretty miserable on the back and forth trips (I kept imagining laying on the catamaran's deck in the sun instead of huddling in the aft seats trying to stay warm). Still, the water was warmish and the stingrays friendly. :)

The Cozumel excursion to Xcreta was what I most looked forward to. The underground river was a blast even if the water was cold. Otherwise, it was like trying to do all four Disney parks in three hours. Beautiful but frustrating because of the lack of time.

Disney's Castaway Cay was, IMO, the least of the shore leaves, but it ended up being the absolute best. M&M brought snorkeling equipment and for the first time I really, really enjoyed it. We were out for hours. Ben is a natural in the water. I think that was my favorite day. :)

Of course the food is amazing, topped only by the servers. They went out of their way to get Charli lactose-free meals and desserts. To see her smile with delight was worth the price tag alone. They say you gain a pound a day and I proved them right. For the first three days I had great self-control. I didn't eat way too much and enjoyed everything. After that, my inner pig ran free and if it was in biting distance, I bit.

The kids stayed in a cabin on the other side of the ship (short walk but still distant). They were great and had a wonderful time. Ben tended to wander around the top deck and listen to his MP3. The girls did this and that. Disney's only real weakness is not a whole lot for kids to do outside the group programs. They didn't care though.

Going with the Youngs is the only way to travel. They make sure you get the most out of any trip. They live in a fun world and we're privileged to get to visit every now and then.

Guess we'll have to do another cruise to catch the sun. :)

Friday, October 09, 2009

Utterly Amazing -- Or -- Nobel's Credibility Flushes Down the Toilet... Again

Several years ago, Al Gore won a Nobel Prize for a trumped up enviro-farce, beating out a Holocaust survivor who saved innocent men, women, and children at the cost of torture that robbed her of the ability to walk. The Nobel Committee's judgment plunged to a new low.

They've plunged further than ever by awarding Obama the Nobel Peace Prize. Unbelievable. The Kool-aide mustaches sported by the committee are topped with brown noses. If duping Americans is what it takes to win the prize, the guy who convinced overweight people to buy Spandex should have one on his mantle. What has Pres-O done? If being the first black president is the sole reason, the prize should be divide among those foolish enough to vote for him, not the man himself.

Perhaps they've been sniffing the dynamite the original Nobel made.

Just once I'd like to see a winner look at the field of nominations and say, "you know what? The committee messed up. This really belongs to..." Now THAT would be a PR stunt better than the award.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Racism and Gasoline

We watch House on DVD. My favorite character was Kutner. Great character, great actor, REALLY not happy with his exit from the show. Naturally, I checked the web this morning to see what that was all about. The actor, Kal Penn, was offered a job in the White House and had to be written out of the show. This post isn't about that.

Reading about Kalpen Mobi on Wikipedia, I learned he changed his name to Kal Penn as a lark because friends said he'd get more callbacks if he Anglicized his name. Sure enough, they went up 50%. He apparently had a role as a terrorist in 24 he almost didn't accept because of the evil of racial stereotyping... but he got blow things up and hold a family hostage and who can pass up that? Then a big deal was made out of Harold and Kumar as the first non-white/non-black led movie in history.

While I knew the Kutner character was Indian, it was purely on a characteristic basis, like Taub has a big nose, or 13 has weird-but-cool eyes. I liked who he was. He seemed like a person it would be cool to be friends with.

And that's all race should be. A characteristic. Okay, if 99% of terrorist are Middle Eastern, "characteristic" profiling makes sense. It's not racism unless you assume all ME's are terrorist.

Today, most of what is considered racism, isn't. It's behaviorism and culturalism and mostly because we're uncomfortable with what people DO not what the ARE. I'm not going to hire someone who slouches, grumps, speaks poorly, and looks angry. That's true of white, black, brown, whatever.

Bill Cosby said racism won't be over until we stop talking about it. I believe racism is fomented in part because people trying to "stop" racism. I believe it's one of the few society ills that can die a slow, quiet death. Stop pouring gas on the flames.

And I guess Taub is now my favorite character.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

And They Thought Republicans Were Bad

Remember how the left accused the right of labeling any dissenters as "traitors" when they were just calling out policies they disagreed with?

Now the right is being called racist whenever they disagree with Obama. Sure, dimwits like Janine Garggle-Rofo have been saying it since before he got elected (on a wave of "reverse" racism -- would he be president right now if he wasn't black? Face it, he wouldn't have even been nominated)... now presidential dimwit Jimmy Carter hops on the bandwagon claiming Joe Wilson's outburst was motivated by racism.

I'm curious; while Joe was technically incorrect that Obama was lying about illegal aliens receiving single-payer benefits when it passes, will anyone look back and say, "whoa, Joe was right!" when they do end up with benefits, because really, does anyone doubt they will? As soon as the government gets their sticky hands on some of the health care, they'll grab for more like mold taking over a bathtub.

Wilson was out of line. And premature. But is it really any different from democrats booing GWB? What a mighty shield Obama has to hide behind. Disagree with my dumb comments, denounce my naive dealings with heads of other states, see my socialistic policies for what they are? Racist!

Hey, is Obama calling West a jackass racism? Food for thought....

Monday, September 07, 2009

Dogs

Dogs. They have a brain the size of a walnut but know everything there is to happy life.

1. Sleep
2. Eat
3. Play
4. Poop
5. Love someone unconditionally whether they deserve it or not.

Not bad for a slobber-machine.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Mighty Mouse or Spidey Mouse

Disney is buying Marvel Comics. Knowing the principles in both companies, I don't expect this to be a match made in heaven. While I doubt much is going to happen to the comics (you don't kill a cash cow), and I'm fairly certain all the movies and amusement park stuff is locked up with long-term contracts, there are only two things hanging 'neath the sword:

1) My old employer, Diamond Comics, may be taking it in the shorts. Marvel is almost 50% of the distributor's comic book base and Disney has their own distributor. Will they take it was from Diamond? Eventually, I'm sure they will. Might be a pain for retailers, but they'll adapt (it may affect their discount, though, so that could hurt them).

2) Animated shows and animated movies. This could be a great thing. Marvel's animation projects are horrible. Bad art, not enough frames... Disney, on the other hand, is the gold standard. Or at least they were. With their 2-D geniuses dismissed, what could be amazing probably won't be. *Sigh* If they hired them all back, though, imagine how good things could be. Imagine the Fantastic Four as good as the Incredibles; Ultimate Spider-Man, Submariner (underwater could work in art; less so in live action).

It probably won't happen though. Fan boys can only hope.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

How Much Do You Have To Have Right?

When we went to the Philips, Craig, and Dean concert, there was a young man standing in the rain screaming at the top of his lungs that PCD were preaching a different gospel. He did so with fervor and desperation.

My kind of guy. If it weren't raining, I would have engaged him to find out what he was blathering about.

Instead, I looked it up.

They believe that we are sinners saved by grace imputed upon us by Christ's sacrifice on the cross if we repent and believe.

That's the same gospel I believe.

What my fervent friend was frothing about was their understanding of the Trinity. We believe God is three persons, Father, Son, Holy Spirit; PCD believe God is three manifestations, Father, Son, Holy Spirit.

That is a different doctrine (barely), not a different gospel. If we have to have doctrine down perfectly, we're all doomed. I don't think anyone can truly grasp the Trinity (partially because while it is strongly implied in the Bible, it is not directly addressed, and ultimately because it is beyond our physics).

If you get the boiled down gospel above, but are off on doctrine (an understanding of the details of how it all works), I'm thinking you'll be okay, though possibly not as effective. I don't need to know how a cellphone works to use it.

A different gospel would be salvation through works (Jehovah's Witnesses, I think Mormons), salvation through a being other than Jesus Christ (Norse Mythology, Moonies, Muslims), stuff like that. (Catholics believe in the "candy bar" approach, as I've termed it. They wrap grace and works all up in one bar whereas we separate them; I'm guessing they're okay.)

And, y'know, I bet there are individuals in JW and Mormonism who are going to be okay because they just don't get what's being taught and believe the gospel anyway.

As someone pointed out to me, when we get to Eternity, we'll be less surprised by who's there than by who's not.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Anti-Intellectualism

I've been seeing it a lot, lately. From a gossip site slamming Sovereign Grace Ministries to the current Health Care Debate.

Because conservatives are against government controlled health care, liberals claim it's useless talking to us since we're "against any kind of reform since all we want to do is trample the poor and fatten the rich folks." Somehow, saying we're against one kind of reform and suddenly we are against any kind of reform. Ridiculous. That's like saying just because I don't like mushrooms, I don't like any fungi. Oh, wait a minute, I don't... okay, because I don't like onions, I don't like any vegetables. Utterly silly.

Meanwhile, the intellectual dishonesty of former SGM'ers who feel "wounded" by their time in SGM take it upon themselves to make every little move CJ makes to be evil (bwa-ha-ha-ha!). There are entirely consumed by gossip... while castigating CJ as an anti-intellectual because he admits he didn't go to college. As if college is required to develop intelligence. Every stand is pushed to the extremes. And they do this as a "warning" to others. So sad.

Is simple logic that difficult to grasp?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

We Shall Never Forget; But We Have

Our Jewish brethren have a saying, "we shall never forget."

There's also an age old question: "If you could go back in time to when Hitler was a boy; would you kill him to prevent the Holocaust?"

Or what if Chamberlain recognized Hitler for what he was and made a preemptive attack and ended the threat of the Reich before it could gather momentum? I'll tell you what. Chamberlain would be vilified. Britons would complain about the folly of sending young men to die in ending a threat before it became heinous. Just as the person who said yes to the second question would be branded a vile murderer of children.

I don't like the Iraq war. I hate that so many of our brave men and women have died. But Hussein killed 35,000 of his own people and mass graves cried out for justice. Right now in dozens of places on the globe thousands upon thousands are killed by warlords and corrupt government. And like Chamberlain, we think it's not our job to end such things.

I'm sorry, my Jewish kindred, we have forgotten.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

GI Joe - What Do You Know?

Caught GI Joe as part of a guy's night out with a bunch of friends. For the fellowship alone, I enjoyed it. Not because of the movie, mind you, just for the friends.

GI Joe, originally a six inch toy American Soldier with a beard. Then it became a team to facilitate more toys. Now it's a movie to sell bazillions of more toys.

Problem with movies made from toys is that it is a two hour commercial and business plan for future toys. Which means story and characterization are an afterthought.

GI Joe is no longer American but NATO run -- Meaning the title is nonsensical, but now the toys can be a global phenom. The necessity to have as many weapons, characters, bases, vehicles, costumes as possible makes it chaotic. What few clever ideas they had were drowned in silly toy references.

The actors seemed to know they were second fiddle to the toys so they phoned in their performances. Quaid who is dissappointing regularly is worse here. Branden Frazier makes a bizzarre cameo to say "again?" over and over before disappearing. Everyone else was just... sad.

Stephen Summers, the director, is making a name for himself doing toy movies badly (as opposed to Michael Bay, who makes flashy toy movies adequately).

If you're a fan of GI Joe toys, go and have fun. If you're not, either grab a dozen friends and go or stay home.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Good to Know

I got my irregular notification from Social Security of how much I'm worth to my family if I died.

They'd do alright.

I guess I should feel good about that...

Saturday, August 01, 2009

A Fair Question

"If Sarah Palin looked like Golda Meir, would we even be talking about her today?"-- GOP strategist Mike Murphy

So true. I doubt McCain would have selected her if she resembled Humpty-Dumpty, but she doesn't and he does, and we're stuck with an albatross in the conservative camp.

Don't get me wrong. I like Sarah Palin. She's got conservative views, an engaging personality, and she ticks off the press. What's not to like?

In many way's she's the exact opposite of our current President (besides black/white and male/female) and I think she'd be just as damaging to the country as he is.

Obama is an intellectual (of dubious conclusions) and completely out of touch with humanity and common sense.

Palin is in touch with humanity, loads of common sense (except when it comes to the perks of office) but is a fairly dim bulb. She espouses conservative values, but would she come up with them on her own? Can she articulate them and studiously defend them? No, I don't think so.

As such, she is not fit for Federal (or possibly State) office. Nor is she fit as a Republican spokeswoman. The GOP can (and must) do better.

Huckabee, probably unelectable and now, as a talk show host, definitely unelectable was the whole package, except he too fell victim to abuses of office--not criminal, but certainly unethical--as the Governor of Arkansas. Could he articulate his platform and defend it from all comers? Absolutely, and with humor as well as aplomb.

People scoff at the idea of dynasties, a la Kennedy, Bush, and the attempt by the Clintons (watch out for Chelsea), but by knowing they're grooming presidents, they know what to avoid early in office. Kennedy had all sorts of personal moral lapses, but his time in office had a purpose. Did Huck and Palin ever consider being president and therefore be careful about milking the office for all it's worth? Doubtful.

Who will the right GOP leader be? I have no clue. I just know they aren't on the scope at the moment.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Hip and Happenin' Dude

The body is an amazing thing; so different than technology and far more awe-inspiring, yet it's technology that allows us to understand the human machine.

I had x-rays taken of my hips and pelvis this evening. This machine, peering through cloth, skin, and flesh to reveal the essence of my structure. Such odd looking things, bones. My face is highly personal -- to see it is to see me. My bones, however, are anonymous, though unique to me. Stripped of flesh, no one would know how I am, but without the bones, my flesh would be without form and unrecognizable.

My left femoral head (the "ball" of the ball and socket joint) is properly round, though the socket is decaying. My right femoral head is no longer a ball, or if it is, it looks like one my puppies have been gnawing on, and the socket is also pretty chewed up. To my inexpert eye, it doesn't look like it's to the place where it will begin to dislocate yet, though I suspect if an accident pops it out, it will stay out. I'm hoping replacement is still a year or two off and that the constant dull pain won't get too much worse before then.

And yet, technology... I can eventually get a hip replacement that will make it better than new (at least my new, which since the bone disease of childhood, has never been great). A titanium spike driven into the femur from which the head has been cut off, and a titanium ball that fits into a titanium socket. A friend with the same bone disease had his hip replaced five years ago. Because hip pain is a part of our lives, he was able to get back to work three days after the surgery (with a walker, then a cane) and now he feels fantastic. After constant pain, he (we) sublimate so much of it that we don't realize what no-pain feels like.

The coward in me who has never had surgery wants to put it off as long as possible, but to be able to ride a bike again, and ride a horse again, and maybe even ski for the first time... at least until the left hip starts to go... maybe surgery isn't such a bad thing.

And who knows? Maybe they'll inscribe my name on the titanium spike and my bones won't be anonymous anymore. :)

Wonder what a hip replacement surgery is like? Click http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2-e4WhdAImM

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Eyes (don't) Have It

I was flipping through pictures of our cross-country road trip the other day and was surprised to see I wasn't wearing glasses in any of the pictures. In just three years, my eyesight has worsened to requiring glasses all the time.

One eye is far-sighted, the other is near-sighted (which is such a symbol of my psyche I just can't stand it).

What this means is that when I don't wear my specs I have a constant touch of vertigo; not full-scale spinning, just a vague sense of swirling movement which must be caused by each eye trying to focus in opposing depth.

I can't read a screen without everything swimming in hazy water (I can read print, though, go figure) and the dual dis-focus means my depth perception is shot. My daughter tossed me a pillow once when I wasn't bespectacled and it was alarming. One hand went out, the other pulled back to catch it so it fell between them.

Oddly, 3-D movies only work one way for me. I can see "into" the screen, but when others see something project "out" from the screen I see plain old two-dimensions. IMAX? Forget it. I'm too aware of the frames of my glasses.

Oh, and in the dark I have tunnel vision which makes driving at night an adventure.

Just goes to show, the older you get, the less good-looking you are. :)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Never Exhaust Your Puppy

I was intending to post on a fun new event in our family -- Thunder has discovered the pool. When we go in for a swim, he now joins in. He's an excellent swimmer, chugging along, snapping at splashes. The only problem is that we can rest by standing up, but he can't (and wouldn't if he could). We tried to put him out, but he'd just run back in.

Finally, when it was time for us to go in and dry off, Thunder reluctantly left the pool and let us towel him down. After showering and getting dressed, I decided to blog about it. Now dry, he joins me in my easy-chair as I prepare to blog.

Then I hear an odd tinkling sound, like water trickling on cloth...

He'd managed to stand, but not to jump down and go outside. Thunder was peeing on my chair. Apparently he drank a lot of pool water... Poor easy-chair.

Friday, June 26, 2009

OK, You Knew It Was Coming

Michael Jackson. What a tragic life. Christians take heed! This was an extremely blessed individual who got every single thing he wanted. Every whim indulged.

Praise God for a Savior who will say "no." As I yearn for my desires, even those I believe called to by God, I must remember this: His "no" is a blessing as surely as His "yes."

On the cynical side: Jackson's fans should bring a class action suit against the surgeons who wrecked his face over and over again. It didn't matter than he wanted it; it didn't matter that he paid... through the nose... (sorry) for it. Those doctors should have said "forget it." I don't know if all that had anything to do with his death, but it couldn't have helped. Track those guys down and sue 'em!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Living in a Sound Byte World

I've been a cranky Christian lately. I'm frustrated with media Christians who take stances I think miss the point; participating in a sound byte mentality and thereby misrepresenting what I believe Jesus stands for.

Momentary clips do not convey the love and compassion that exemplify Christ's stand on issues. I so struggle with putting things into law. How do we portray the love of God by passing amendments that do not preserve rights? By railing against particular sins en mass instead of one heart at a time? Jesus will establish His reign and exercise his sovereignty someday, but as a man on Earth he did not push for laws; he preached, he touched individuals... Paul called us to live a high standard, but he didn't try to encode morality in the law (that hadn't worked for thousands of years before, why now?)

Abortion activists reaching out to those crossing the line is wonderful, so don't mistake my intention. They ideally are preaching the love of God while showing it.

In trying to make the media work for us, how do we succeed when anything we say is going to be shortened to a 30 second blip of the worst part of the message?

Sunday, June 07, 2009

The White OutHouse

In researching 1835 for a screenplay I'm writing, I needed to find out about plumbing and the existence or lack thereof.

Indoor plumbing was spotty at the time and I had to decide if my character's humble abode had a water closet or an outhouse.

From there, my addled brain took a turn to the White House. Which of our august chief executives had the privilege of a toilet and who had to trek out to the Rose Garden for a little hands on fertilizing?

Who knew the White House had few amenities for a long time? Congress apportioned funds for building and renovations, and back then they were spendthrifts instead of today's porkbellies.

When Adams took office (Washington didn't live in the Presidents House... later to be called the Executive Mansion, and only after it was burned down by the British in 1815 and was rebuilt that it became the White House), there was no water at all. Servants had to carry it in from 5 blocks away.

The first toilet was installed in 1902. No wonder so many of our early presidents had sour looks on their faces for their presidential portraits.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Tiller and Roeder

Murder or vigilantism? The church-going late-term abortionist is killed in his church (!) by an anti-abortionist=murder. And a very bad hit against pro-lifers, giving pro-abortionists another straw man to play with.

I have no doubt that Tiller was a murderer in God's eyes, just not legally. Will any babies live who would have otherwise died at Tiller's hands? Probably not, so not only was there no short-term gain, there is significant damage to long-term efforts.

I do understand Roeder's frustration, seeing something so clearly heinous and being unable to do anything about it. Most of us have felt that frustration and helplessness to the point of verging on insanity. Roeder healed over into insanity, though. His actions assuaged his own emotions and harmed the life movement (admittedly, his movement wasn't "our" movement. Terrorism is not a part of pro-life on any level).

If this fight is to ever be won (and I suppose we'd need to agree on what "winning" looks like--some believe victory comes from a change in the law; others of us believe it comes from a change of the American heart), it will be done through love, knowledge, and compassion. Nothing else will succeed. Roeder and his group are hypocrites.

The answer will not be found in doctors, only in the hearts, souls, and minds of the mothers and fathers.

Friday, June 05, 2009

In Response to Sherlock (or, There's No Place Like Holmes)

I, too, saw the trailer for the new Sherlock Holmes. At first I was aghast.

At second, too.

But still, you have to admire the brazen reinvention of Sir Conan Doyle's flagship character.

I mean, be fair. Just because he solved crimes doesn't mean he was a sterling fellow. He was a drug addict, after all, who hung around rather dense friends making him display his genius at every turn. Such arrogance...

And how much respect does Doyle really deserve; he was duped by children crying "fairy!" He hared after every ridiculous notion of the fraudulent supernatural.

It remains to be seen if this new breath of life for an almost-forgotten character to today's generation will be worthy of that life.

Friday, May 29, 2009

What Power a Name

In my job I encounter people with the strangest names. Names that if I had them I would change in a heartbeat. Yet these people don't. I can only imagine what life would have been like in school.

It makes me think about the power of names. Fathers hope their sons will "carry on the family name."

And yet we expect women to change theirs when they get married. And then, they keep that name after divorce--in many cases because they want to keep the same name as their children, but even women without kids keep their married name after a marriage is over. And then there are women who have children out of wedlock and still give the kid the dad's last name. Is a name of less importance to a woman?

How do girls, who presumably expect to get married someday and change their last name, view their last name? Like a temporary tattoo? A hairstyle?

What say you?

Friday, May 22, 2009

Torture and the American Way

Torture has been used in our legal system for two centuries. Sleep deprivation, isolation, light 24 hours a day, repetitive sounds... and it's been questionable at best. It elicits false confessions and causes a whole host of problems. It's antithetical to the American Way in that we have that pesky presumption of innocence until proven guilty.

The war isn't our legal system, though, but it's fought on two fronts: 1) the battlefield by our military and 2) investigations by the CIA. In the first, presumption of innocence isn't really a question. People shooting at you are the enemy and the enemy may have information that will save lives.

Remember that Colonel who threatened an Iraqi prisoner of war and then pretended to shoot him in the head but instead shooting past his ear (no contact, just a really loud BOOM). The guy wet his pants and gave up the bad guy's plans, averting a costly battle. That Colonel was reprimanded and retired, as I recall.

How silly. Give the guy a medal. The Iraqi was caught in the act of war; waterboard his head already!

The CIA, on the other hand, bags guys they strongly suspect are terrorists. Even if they are, they may not know anything and torture may give false information that can be just as dangerous as no information. Occasionally, though, they have guys they KNOW are guilty and have information we need.

And that's where I have a problem with torture. Allowing the CIA and the military to use torture "only when it's called for" allows them to use it even when it's not necessary. It could be used out of incompetence, revenge, etc. Torture for the sake of torture is wrong, but how do we trust fallible people to torture only when it can save lives? We can't.

Still, the thing I have not heard in the media is how often torture has been used and saves lives as a result. We see the abuses; something tells me we don't see the successes partially because the media doesn't want us to and mostly because the CIA really doesn't want us to.

So; I am not against torture on principle (the enemy is the enemy and if they have information, they're a fair target... of course, that presumes who the torturer says is the enemy really is the enemy); like the death penalty, which I'm against only because we don't carry it out well (though some folk just needs killin'), I'm against torture because we can't be trusted to do it "properly."

How frustrating is that?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

To Boldly Go... Again

A definite 9 out of 10 for Star Trek. Maybe even 9.5. Good enough to see twice, which we did, and it left us looking forward to the next one.

The premise was simple: reset the timeline for more rollicking adventures with the first and best crew. This had it all, fun, action, sci-fi, warm fuzzies, and good old fashioned planet destroying good time. Pure popcorn movie (though to the nay-sayers who complain the original Star Trek was about something; that is that sci-fi is supposed to explore deep themes, I say thhhhhhpppppttttt!)

Without too many spoilers, here's my assessment:

Story - FUN

Concept - Fully realized, we're back at zero ready to warp ahead.

Kirk - Great. While Shatner always managed to beat up people ten time stronger and five times faster (since humanity is the slowest, weakest species in the universe... but we rule, baby!) the new Kirk was everyone's punching bag. And it worked for him. He's the new Kirk, raised without a father and hyper-rebellious. No mimicry of Shatner, he's really a whole new character who is a rebel not a maverick. Same no-no-win scenario, though.

Spock - The weakest of all of the new cast, it's not really his fault. Nimoy's shoes are just too big to fill. Nimoy looked alien. The new guy has a baby face. He looks a bit like a kid playing dress up. Good foil for the new Kirk, though.

McCoy - Great. He was the most like the original but didn't fall into mimicry despite the ease to do so with the McCoy-ish lines. Didn't have enough to do in this one other than follow Kirk around, except for the funniest sequence in the movie.

Sulu - Asian, like Takai, but that's about it. Pilot and fencer, but his own person. No deep voice, no swashbuckling. He took his sword fighting seriously. Didn't have much to do after his two big scenes, but that's okay.

Chechov - The best in show, by far. Love this kid; did everything right. Want to see more of him.

Uhura - Weird looking lady. In fact, everyone in the movie except McCoy looked like there might have been an alien or two in the woodpile somewhere in their ancestry. She's good; an interesting foil for Spock.

Scotty - Second best in show. Terrific, but looked lost in the engine room. No, that's not right, the engine room was lost. A conglomeration of tubes does not an engine room make. This was the film's biggest weakness...

The Enterprise - where are the bulkheads? All the wide open space seemed a waste. I loved the bridge and the glass display boards. Loved the new transporters. The outside was okay, but the inside was mostly atrocious.

Uniforms - I liked George Kirk's uniforms best of all Trek so far. I would have been happy if these were our crews uniforms and their uniforms were George's. Speaking of George, what happened to Jim's brother Sam?

Nimoy Spock - Dude is old, looks even more alienish, and is, of course, fantastic. He was the best thing about the old show and still has it without being overbearing.

The Lack of Shatner - I like Shatner and I'm glad he wasn't in this movie. There is no way for him to be in the movie without taking it over. Notice how easily he stole the movie from Picard in ST Generations, and Stewart is STRONG. The new Kirk would never been "his own" if Shatner was in it.

Sarek and Amanda (Spock's parents). Winona Rider looks ancient! She was good, though. I have no idea who Sarek was. Mark Leonard he was not. Seemed more vampire-like than Vulcan. I don't want warmth from a full-blooded Vulcan. I suppose there's new toys to play with if Sarek and Spock aren't feuding.

Bad Guy - Nero, great villian. Great look. Weird looking ship, but hey, they're Romulans. At this point in "history" humans had never seen Romulans but they glossed over that (the Romulan war could have been different, I suppose, in which humans never saw them, but why would it be?)


JJ Abrams. Knows Star Trek better than even Rodenberry. Make many more!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Dad broke his hip

And he's mad as a wet hen. At 80, my dad is in pretty good shape as long as you don't count his blood pressure, kidneys, and fake knee. He fell in his backyard yesterday and broke his hip clean through. He's in the hospital (of course) and surgery will be followed by a stay in a convalescence home. I spoke to him at the hospital and he sounded awful. I think they'll need to get his blood pressure down before they can operate.

Your prayers are appreciated.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

It Comes in Threes

I confess to not know who Danny Gans was before he died (not a big Vegas fan) but I knew and very much enjoyed Dom Deloise.

Truth to tell, I though he had passed away a while ago, so it saddens me afresh. He seemed a very happy man who could communicate that happiness to his audience.

Who will be the third? Or did I miss the first?

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Air Force One: A Financial Terrorist

Forget about the insensitivity and naivete of the new administration in buzzing the Statue of Liberty in Air Force One with an F-4 fighter dogging it's tail for a photo-op (after all, insensitivity and naivete are the hallmarks of President O-bow-to-Muslims). Rather, consider the phenomenal waste of taxpayer money instead.

I don't know the actual cost of flying Air Force One and an F-4 but it's in the hundreds of thousands at least. Contrast the fact that there are thousands upon thousands of photographs of AF1 and the Statue of Liberty and making a composite of them in Photoshop would take ten minutes for a semi-talented graphics designer (and the mega-buck photo-op disaster's photos would have to be retouched in Photoshop anyway) and you have a shameful boondoggle.

While I highly doubt BO had anything to do with it, the judgment of his staff is as woeful as his own.

10% down, 90% to go....

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Sanctity of (a bug's) life

I'm not the most emotional of guys, but I don't like to kill things. I don't hunt or take potshots at squirrels. The one time I had to set mouse traps I felt guilty for weeks for murdering two rodents.

But I can kill bugs like popcorn. Spider? Smash it. Cockroach? Spray it. Mosquito? Mash it. All with glee.

Why is that? It's not because they're loathsome. I don't like rats or cats, but I wouldn't kill them if I didn't have to (no, I'm not killing cats).

Is it mammalism? Do I relate with mammals but not insects, so I can zap them? Is it cerebralism? An insects brain is the size of pollen, so they don't rate? Is it legism because two and four is fine but more is terminal?

I just don't know....

Friday, April 17, 2009

Pardon me while I geek out...

Batman Three

Which criminals should share the spotlight?

Here's who I don't want.

  • Riddler (dumb character and even with reinvention would be a dumb character)
  • Penguin (let's all say "yuck")
  • Any overtly superpowered bad guys.
  • Bane (yuck)
  • Scarecrow (the first movie was great, scarecrow was sad)
  • Harley Quinn (dumb)
  • The Ventriloquist

Here's who I would be okay with.

  • Poison Ivy (done well, unlike before)
  • Black Mask (a little gross, but could the humor translate?)

Who I want.

  • Catwoman (done right, who hasn't been done right yet)
  • Batwoman (Kathy Kane without the perversion)
  • Hugo Strange (Patrick Stewart!)
  • Talia (maybe)
  • Killer Crock (maybe)
  • The Outsider (with a twist)
  • MAN-BAT! (okay, he's superpowered, but come ON!)

The problem is Nolan's Batman works but I doubt even he could reinvent thin characters from the 60's and before to work in his Gotham. Joker and Two-Face were great, but they have some heavy psychological stuff to dig into. The rest don't except for those I've listed as "I wants."

Geek out concluded (unless you join me in comments).

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Thinking about roads not taken

I've been contemplating this more for Lynette than myself, but isn't it amazing how your spouse changes everything about your life? That has to be the most life changing decision anyone can make. You merge your rhythms, goals, interests, activities, and dreams with your spouse. You don't just become "one flesh" you become DIFFERENT flesh.

I know I married well, but I'm not convinced Lynette did. She encourages me in all I aspire to. She has so much capacity, though, with art, music, compassion... how might someone else have influenced her? I'm glad no one else had the chance, mind you, but the malability of humanity is amazing.

I suppose divorce happens when one partner won't bend with the other. Don't know if that's the fault of the individual or the individuals make-up. Could it be that some couples who love each other simply can't merge together? I'm blessed to have the ideal wife, so I'll never know, thankfully.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Easter

Your opinions, please.

Easter is not a Biblical holiday (neither is Christmas, for that matter). While they commemorate Christian events, they are "tacked on" to tradition, not intrinsic to it.

Easter was actually a fairly big event when I was kid. We sometimes (maybe often) went to church and had a big family meal.

We don't so much, now. We go to church, of course, but we've never gotten into the secular stuff like egg hunts and roasting bunnies (or whatever you do with them). We do try to remember the Christian part, reflecting on Jesus' resurrection, but if memory serves (and it often doesn't), we don't do a special meal. Partly out of laziness, and partly because we have no extended family here.

Is Easter a big deal? Should Christians be compelled to observe it?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Does This Make Sense?

I like to wash my hands before I eat, especially at restaurants. So I give a good scrubbing with soap and water (I like the foam soap the best) and go to dry my hands. A "hand dryer" blowing out hot air with the hope of me being patient enough to wait for it to dry my hands hangs on the wall with some amorphous claim to be more environmentally friendly than paper towels.

Okay, paper towels are most often recycled paper, and even if not, trees are a renewable resource, right?

Air dryers, on the other hand are electric. Here in Florida, electricity is generated by burning coal, a non-renewable resource. Further, most people are like me and are impatient and annoyed by the lack of real drying power, so we end up wiping our hands on our jeans and walking off (defeating the purpose of clean hands). The dryer then continues to blow its preset cycle, raising the temperature and kicking the A/C into overdrive, burning more coal.

This is green how?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

My Dogs Worship My Wife

The rest of us could go burn for all they care. As long as "Mom" is around, 100% of Grizzly's and Thunder's devotion is on her. As I type, Thunder is sprawled in her lap as she tries to read, and while Grizzly is beside me, he's staring at her waiting for his turn in her lap.

Hold on that for a moment and move over here where we can discuss "consciousness." What is it? What does it mean to be conscious or sentient? This is a big deal, because on Earth, though there are other intelligent animals, we are the sole possessors of consciousness. In the archives somewhere, you'll recall I mentioned the "consciousness explosion" that perplex scientists so. It seems 65,000 years ago (in their C speed erroneous thinking) our ancestors went from basic animal awareness to consciousness in an anthropological eye-blink. They have no idea how (from an evolutionary standpoint, it's a bad leap; consciousness breaks the chains of "survival of the fittest").

"Consciousness" is "self awareness" with "self direction" and "self gratification" and "self destruction" thrown into the mix. Animals survive. That's their one goal. They can play, but really, everything is geared toward survival. Their instincts drive them that way.

Instead of instinct, we have consciousness, and survival is the simply the springboard on which we achieve our true objective, self gratification. Or as David rightly said in his sermon, self worship. With an animal, it's all about survival; with people, it's all about "me" which often gets in the way of survival. We will kill ourselves in the pursuit of our pleasure.

Now we're back to the dogs and their worship of Lynette. When given a loving object, they worship OUTWARD. This is what Adam and Eve did. They had indwelling sin genetically written in their DNA but it was not expressed until a command not to eat from the tree of "consciousness" activated it. Paul tells us we need the law to show us the sin inside us. One law is apparently enough.

When they ate from it, all other people existed outside the garden also achieved consciousness (Adam is both a name and a word meaning "mankind." Whether or not he was the first man or just the first man created in the garden, he was the Platonic Archetype; what happens to him at a genetic template level happened to everyone - yes, yes, this is all speculation and not explicitly in the Bible... I take it from Paul saying "through Adam, sin (consciousness) entered the world." It could mean, and must also mean, that genetic sin is passed down from the father, not the mother, hence Jesus' sinless nature on Earth.)

From the Fall on, we each worship INWARD. Something about knowing right from wrong makes us dependant on ourselves rather than God.

This was part of God's plan from the beginning (as was our redemption through Jesus). We are to dominate the Earth, which we could not do as animals. Dominate doesn't just mean control, but also to optimize. Conservation, city building with Green principles, art (the real stuff -- maybe grist for another post), music, and all the things that go into "building" (math (ugg), engineering, science) are part of responsible dominion of the Earth. Stewardship is a huge part of dominion. Our takeover of the Indians was dominion at its worst, our rebuilding of cities wiped out by tornado is the good stuff.

There has never been a conscious human being without genetic (indwelling) sin, EXCEPT Jesus.

Jesus was not like Adam, and Adam was not like Jesus. When we enter His kingdom, we will not be like Adam OR Jesus. Unlike Adam, we will be conscious but without sin. Unlike Jesus, we will have an imperishable body. (I'm not really sure what Jesus has now, to be honest. Is He as He was at the transfiguration, or does He have another state of being different than optimized human?)

I can't imagine what that's like. Imperishable, sin-free, still conscious. As long as I'm covered by Jesus, though, I'll find out. :)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Silliness in the Pursuit of Political Correctness

It is so completely backwards to rename a people group because you don't want to refer to their color... even though you're still classifying them by their color.

Think about it; we all know African-American is a *wink-wink-nudge-nudge-he's-black," so what do you call a black person from somewhere else? Or the white guy from South Africa who immigrates here. Is he an African-American?

Native Americans--that throws me, because I was born here. I'm a Native American, by gum! No one calls me an Irish-American or a Scandinavian-American. And let's be honest here, Indians (an unfortunate name to be sure) didn't originate from America. They probably migrated across the Siberian land bridge. Why do we arbitrarily assign them to America? It wasn't even America when they controlled it! Native Pangeans? That would be all of us!

And really, isn't People Group-American racist? Doesn't that mean plain old American refers to a white person? You're still singling out black people as a "different kind of American."

Don't even get me started on Inuit Indians! They drop Eskimo (why? Didn't want to get confused with a pie? Is the Eskimo Pie now a racist dessert?) and they keep INDIAN? I mean, really, did Columbus get them confused with East Indians, too? Did that guy get around or did somebody miss the PC memo...

I think the only group who's got a decent claim are Asians. And maybe Latinos. What color are they, after all? If Asians are yellow, what does that make Latinos? Tea colored? And many black people are, in fact, high yellow which would make them sound loftier than Asians if we stuck to the color theme.

I've got an idea. What if we called all people who are American citizens "Americans" and forget about what color someone is? Either that or go all the way and individualize the color theme. I'd be Fish-Belly White With a Hint of Pink, Josiah would be Edging to Brownish But Maybe Just Almost-Olive, Former Senator Martinez would be Light Brown with Darkish Highlights, and the President would be Toast.

I could live with that.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Just talking through my hat

Since I can't follow the math and I'm really just intrigued by the concepts, this is more gentle musing than anything else.

You see, I'm fascinated by what people will believe so they DON'T have to believe in God. Let's move away from evolution and on to cosmology. How did God create the universe? Prevailing theory is a gravity-driven model (which, oddly, takes billions and billions of years). Super-simplified (because that's all I can handle) particles drift together in cosmic clumps with gravity as the principle actor. Clumps become planets and swirling galaxies (similar to water swirling down the drain... the cosmic drains are black holes, great gravity sinks so strong light doesn't escape).

There's only one problem. For galaxies to be moving the way they are, we're missing 90% of the mass required to fuel the gravity theory. So scientists, those wonderful empiricists, have made up dark matter and black holes. Great fields of stuff and pinpoints of hyper-dense mass that HAVE to be there... we just can't see it. Or detect it. Or figure out where it is....

But, see, if gravity didn't do it, how did it happen?

Perhaps... plasma? You see, when streams of plasma (ionized gas) which space if FULL of, cross just right, these straight plasma fibers... spiral. And within those spirals (which look suspiciously like spiral galaxies) they occasionally "pinch," accruing matter rapidly. We know this works with small plasma filaments; it's been proven in laboratories. Many scientists believe it doesn't ramp up to cosmic size, but if it did (and like I said, there is a lot of it in space), those pinches would become planets and suns. Rapidly.

Plasma. Non-scientists who see the ionized gas might call it "light" as in "let there be light."

Fascinating stuff. :)

Saturday, March 07, 2009

I've Had it with Movies

...okay, I'll see Star Trek in two months, but really, Blockbuster is a wasteland of things worth seeing, and what's on in the theaters is just as bad. I saw Watchmen last night and regret it. I could go on about that, but why bother? So much stuff that just didn't need to be there. S'okay, that's not what this post is about.

It is a typical worldview these days that there must be no God because people are so evil. The "big joke" in Watchmen (not really a spoiler) is that people are barbarians underneath it all. Civilization is a thin veneer, and because people are such animals, God must be absent, uncaring, or bad Himself.

Ridiculous. The Bible is abundantly clear that men are evil to the core. That's the reason we need God. We were created to be in relationship with Him; it's the only way to stem our wicked hearts. Sure, we can reduce it by making all resources available to all people. Fulfill everyone's wants and you'll never see the horror we'll perpetrate to get what we want. That's the veneer that we of plenty live under.

So, if we need God for salvation, utopia on Earth will actually condemn us for eternity. Anything that drives us into the arms of God is used by Him as good. That puts a spin on movies, not to mention this wicked administration....

Monday, March 02, 2009

Respect to Paul Harvey, RIP

Paul Harvey, a unique and cherished voice on the radio, originator of "The Rest of the Story..." passed away this weekend. Nicknamed the "hardest working man in radio," Harvey reported the bad AND the good, and often the funny and just plain weird, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

I believe he may have been a major spur in goading my curiosity into a major trait. One of the first books I ever read was one of his "Rest of the Story" compilations. The stories don't always pass Snopes muster, but it was a strong encouragement to dig beneath headlines and find the people underneath.

His broadcasts have been guest hosted a lot lately, notably by his son and former Gov. Huckabee. When he did speak, the energy was there but the voice was failing.

May he enjoy broadcasting in paradise.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Since I've Been Studying Creation... (Heretic Warning)

More along the lines of the post a few back...

The Old Testament doesn't talk much about Native Americans. Or the Chinese, or a bunch of other people groups. Mainly because it is about God's Chosen People and only includes those with direct impact on same.

Which is to say Scripture is silent on say, Neanderthals, Cro-Magnon, and such. Therefore it doesn't rule them out. For fellow creationists to discount Neander as a deformed human is silly. One doesn't have to accept speciation to accept the existence of critters fossils clearly say existed. Even evolutionists know Neanderthals aren't related to homo sapians. That cro-magnon was minorly different than us, far less so than, say, the Nephilum, takes no skin of creation's nose.

Even if one wants to believe a literal seven days of creation, there's no indication who long Adam and Eve were in the garden before eating the fruit. Long enough for cities to spring up outside the garden. Cain was afraid to be exiled because the people of the other cities would kill him. That means a couple things. 1) Cities existed and it couldn't have been the descendants of Adam and Eve populating them (not enough time). 2) Death existed there or Cain wouldn't have been worried they would kill him. Abel was likely not the first human to be murdered, he was the first of God's Chosen to be murdered.

Does this have any effect on God's creation (He made them, too)? Does it lessen the significance of Adam and Eve? No to both.

It's important to recognize that scripture's silence doesn't mean there's nothing there. The Bible rules out certain things (such as random mutation being the cause of speciation) but unless it speaks directly to something, it doesn't rule out its existence, just it's relevance.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Research Project for Eager Beavers

Why is the speed of light considered a constant (never changing)?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Church Got My Heart Beating This Morning

Great sermon, too. But what really got things going was a friend leaning over my chair saying, "did you hear about M&M? Their Hummer's totaled!"

THUMPA_THUMPA_THUMPA! Hummer's don't GET totaled, they do the totalling!

"Yeah," they continued, "Rear-ended at a stoplight by a guy going 100MPH. They're in the hospital."

And that's when David started church. NOOOOOOOOOO!

Y'all know they're okay, though they'll be immensely sore tomorrow.

Then God tapped my on the shoulder and raised an eyebrow. Yeah, I get it. I've always been amused by the Hummer. What vehicle more says "Mike" than that military boat? Now I am SO grateful for it. Any other car and we'd be visiting M&M at the morgue. God so knows best.

I like to think I've never taken them for granted; it's always a pleasure to hear their voices, never more so than when M-ette's phone voice was chipper and a joke was the first thing out of her mouth (not a good one, but the effort is appreciated).

I am awed by God. Not even Hummers are designed to go from zero to 50 in .5 seconds. Praise Him also for airbags, given a certain someone's habit of not buckling up. I admit to shudders and cold chills when I think of what could have happened...

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Shot Through With Sin

On the New Earth in our resurrected bodies, we will be without sin and at the peak of our DNA potential. I have no idea what that will look like. A sinful grub, I can't imagine perfection as a state of mind, spirit, or body.

Evolutionists believe our DNA is repleat with "junk code." I don't believe so. First, I don't think new information evolves in DNA but that it is complete in itself. That junk code is unactivated, unexpressed, and unrealized. When it's switched on, maybe all of it, we'll be who we are meant to be.

The week before I proposed, I gave Lynette a stuffed Panda. What she didn't know was that her engagement ring was inside (and let me tell you, if I'd known the stress I'd undergo in that week hoping she didn't find it, I probably wouldn't have done it). For Lynette it was just a Panda with some sort of weird hard lump inside. I knew it was far more.

I think we're like that. Who will you be on the New Earth?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The History of the World

A question from my cousin-in-law prompts this explanation of my personal understanding of the world timeline.

In the pre-beginning, God created the planet and populated it in a phased approach with dinosaurs. They romped happily for a long time, eating each other, and making eggs. I do not believe they evolved in a speciation kind of way, but I'm sure environmental adaptation occurred.

Then the asteroid struck what would one day become the Yucatan. Dirt, ash, and stuff choked the atmosphere, killing off the remaining dinosaurs. Leaving the Earth void and without form.

Long time passes and the KT barrier is formed. The planet was dark and the atmosphere began to thin, and then there was LIGHT. This corresponded roughly with the Cambrian period where all existing body forms were created by the Lord.

He then set apart in this growing wilderness the Garden of Eden, and he created Adam as a special creation within the garden as well as people outside the garden. Eve was created as were more people outside the garden. How long both sets of people partied before Eve ate from the tree, I don't know, but when she did, the consciousness explosion took place and A, E, and other people outside became aware of right and wrong, attaining accountability in a stroke. Cities sprang up and A&E had C&A and many others once they were cast out of the garden. Their children became the elect. Things went on from there.

Biblically, "void" means something once was and now was not (dinos). From the pre-beginning, God's plan included a strife torn Middle East. Over what? Territory and OIL. Where do we get oil? Fossil remains of dinosaurs. They were part of His plan from the beginning.

Science points out the Cambrian explosion where suddenly all the body forms existed within ten thousand years (give or take). Evolution can not explain this, Creation can.

Science also speaks of a consciousness explosion where hominids became sentient, aware of themselves and of right and wrong. (Evolution doesn't explain this... sentience is actually a negative survival trait... The Fall does explain it).

Cain speaks of being afraid of the peoples of the other cities killing him not long after expulsion from the Garden. Cities (perhaps Clans) co-existed with the Garden of Eden.

I do not believe in speciation; evolution speaks of random mutations and since we don't see random mutations ever being positive (they are instead cancer), I believe God specifically created each animal. Are there changes within species? Yes. It is a turnkey system that does not require randomness. With the need for extended periods of time that evolution requires, I except the idea of an old Earth but not billions of years old. I have no problem with the Fall being 10,000 years ago, but I do believe the world pre-existed for thousands and maybe hundreds of thousands or more (it is unknowable) before the Garden.

I further believe that this does not contradict anything from the Bible. A right understanding of the Bible and a right understanding of Science will always coincide. I don't think we have a right understanding of either yet (closer with the Bible than Science), but that they can work together for discovery.

Believe it... or not....

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Swans of War

New template from a site the kids told me about.

Why Mars? Planet of War? Dunno, it looks cool. :)

Monday, February 09, 2009

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

I heard on the radio today that Obama is the "Jackie Robinson of Politics."

I think Jackie would be horrified (okay, probably not, but I am).

Robinson became the first black baseball major league because he was a fantastic ball player.

Obama became the first black president because he's black. (Although I had a marvelously confusing moment with an Hispanic acquaintance when he said "Obama is not a frickin' American!" It took me awhile to figure out he was saying, with his PR accent, "Obama is not African American." But I digress).

I have no doubt that Martin Luther King would be thrilled we have a black president, but this election was as racist as they come. Obama won because:

A) He's black (or, as Jimmy says, part black).

B) He ran against McCain, whom Gary Coleman could beat for the same reason Obama did (see reason A).

To his credit, we are one step closer to a true non-racist election (and it might be in four years when Obama will have to run on his record...)

(Have I already posted this comment or am I having Deja Vu?)

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Wo to you creative people looking for employment

Paul Newman's movie "The Color of Money" about pool sharking has the most salient comment for creative people looking for jobs. The exchange goes something like this:

"He's a flake!"
"Yeah, the question is, can he flake on and flake off at will?"

Creative people are flakes (almost by definition). I know this from past experience and acutely from the last week where I'm hoping to hire business writers. We placed an ad on Monster and we've gotten over a hundred responses. That is, hundreds of resumes from writers... the most torturous kind.

You see, earlier in the week I had the privilege to review Matt's resume for costume design. It has a woman in armor in the left eighth of the page. For his target audience, that's right on. It's eye catching, shows his talent and assures he will not be forgotten.

The writing resumes, however, were clear for a target audience of business writing. I can forgive the various clip art on the cover letters... there's a difference between flat ignorance; no, I'm talking about things that should be common sense. For example:

* Endless purple prose - four pages of resume digging into their heart of hearts as to why they want to be, or are, writers. "I think it was a fairy or a muse camping in my heart and typing fingers..." ugg.

* Scary e-mails. bathedinblood -at-killer.com or sweatychick-at-myplace.com

* Links to their personal (not business) websites detailing their obsessions in aberrant interests.

* Links to their personal blogs where they talk about how they want to kill their former employer for not recognizing their genius.

I admit, we writers are hopelessly self-possessed; but doesn't logic dictate that if you apply at a professional business you should conduct yourself professionally and just think a little bit about what you include?

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Emotions: A Weird Kind of Spectacles

I don't even know why we have the word "objective." I don't think objectivity exists as anything other than an imaginary concept.

Can anyone name one thing we don't do from emotional prompters? In stories about aliens, they invariably call humans "flesh-apes" or something similar. That is the least of what we are. It amazes me we can even fit all these emotions into our bag of skin.

What prompts this is last Wednesday looking at my savings and checking balances and sinking into despair, "OH NO! We're DOOMED!"

Then yesterday I looked at the exact same balances, not a penny different and I feel all rosy, "God is so GOOD!"

Do you ever do thought experiments like "come up with a sixth sense (seventh if count kinesthesis as a sense). What would it be like?" I always draw a blank. Electrical sense that sharks have... no that exists. What's a completely new one?

I've decided it's emotions. You don't see, smell, taste, hear, or feel (in the traditional sense) them, but they color every one of those senses. I doubt there is a sense they ever fail to color.

Think about it; the only people who don't have emotions are sociopaths and they kill people. Maybe subjectivity isn't such a bad thing...

Friday, January 23, 2009

Accessory to Commit...

I struggle with the idea of of making abortion illegal. Not because it isn't a horrible thing but because it would be in inadequate law, unenforceable, and ineffective.

That is not to say that select abortion laws shouldn't exist. Late term and partial birth abortion should be illegal. If there is a danger to the mother's health, C-section the baby if it's viable, and tragically abort if it's not. There is no excuse for partial birth abortion and I don't see how anyone could think otherwise. That is flat out criminal.

Further, because so many people are divided on the issue, no tax dollars should support abortion.

Obama has reversed the ban on tax funded abortions. Two days into his presidency and as far as I'm concerned, his administration is a failure on moral, ethical, representative, and intellectual grounds. He has made all tax paying Americans complicit to murder and genocide.

Shame on anyone who voted for this person.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Irony in Racial Memorials

Today is Martin Luther King Jr.'s Day (or, as our India employees said it, "King Martin Luther Day). It is also Robert E. Lee's birthday (observed and in fact). So, we honor a civil rights activist and good man, and celebrate the birthday of a man who would see him still in chains.

Lee is observed as a hero on Stone Mountain, a college is named for him (Washington and Lee University), and he received a full pardon and eventually a return of citizenship after he died (should have been granted before, but an administrative error prevented it). He has a memorial in Washington D.C., or maybe it's Virginia...

Lee is a struggle for me. He was, quote, a "good man." Lincoln asked him to lead the Union Army and he refused. When Virginia seceded, in loyalty to Virginia he led the Confederate Army. A Christian man, he owned slaves. Some say he was against slavery, but that wasn't true. After his relative died, he was executor instructed to free the 150 slaves within 5 years, as soon as it was "safe" to free them. Financial issues raised their heads, and he worked and hired out those slaves -- who knew they were supposed to be freed -- to shore up his finances. He hunted down escapees and dealt with them in "military fashion." True, after 5 years he release those left alive, but the law commanded it.

Most of all, though, he led armies that killed Americans. Thousands upon thousands of Americans, both as enemy and as soldier, died bloody deaths and more were maimed. He called the orders and as much as pulled the trigger.

Robert E. Lee was a terrorist. His vision of the US was different the rising tide. In his mind he was not a traitor, but anyone who kills Americans, no matter what their personal belief, is a terrorist. He was responsible for more deaths than 9-11, the Gulf and Desert Storm wars and he did it on our soil.

There may have been political expediency that prevented him from being executed, but in no way should his memory be honored today.

How's that for a strong opinion?