Saturday, December 31, 2005

Best Quotes of 2005

WaPo has a list, including this gem from Barbara Bush after she visited Katrina evacuees in the Houston Astrodome:
"What I'm hearing, which is sort of scary, is that they all want to stay in Texas. Everybody is so overwhelmed by the hospitality. So many people in this arena, here, you know, were underprivileged, so this is working very well for them."

NewsBlues lists the best quotes by newscasters and reporters. This by NBC's anchor Brian Williams is easily the best of the bunch:
"I don't have a therapist. I have my blog."
More quotes: Media Research Center, Sify Sports, '40 most obnoxious quotes' by Right Wings News, Media Channel

My personal favorite quote of 2005 is what the president said of a former FEMA director - you know the one.

Happy 2006!

Celebrate and make it a great one! (Did you wait an extra second before you celebrated?)

The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make his face to shine upon you,
and be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up his countenance upon you,
and give you shalom.
- Numbers 6:24-26

how to channel Ferris Bueller

Jump on a plane and go to Iraq without telling your parents.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Mr. Belue would be proud

You Passed 8th Grade Science

Congratulations, you got 8/8 correct!

(H/T: Rev Mike)

Do you think the film version of "The Da Vinci Code" will be big??

The editors at Newsweek seem to think so - the film adaptation directed by Ron Howard and starring Tom Hanks made the magazine's front cover. The trailer can be seen here.

"Seek the truth" is apparently one of the movie's taglines, but you certainly won't find much truth in the novel or the film. The only thing the tagline does is remind my of the one for "The X-Files" - The Truth is Out There.

Christianity Today has many links to articles about the book.

James White has been blogging about the book: (here are the articles, so far)

The War on Chanukah (?)

From the Denver Post:
The Chabad Jewish Center of Northern Colorado wanted to display the menorah on city property in Old Town Square, but city administrators denied the request, despite a precedent set by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1989 that likely would allow the display.

The compromise highlights the work of a newcomer rabbi and a mayor wishing to promote Fort Collins as a city that embraces diversity. But it also means that the menorah will not be allowed to remain on city property throughout the eight-day Hanukkah celebration, which began Sunday.

Instead, it will grace the square for a ceremony tonight at 6, to be attended by Mayor Doug Hutchinson, and then be moved back to the privately owned patio of a brewpub that offered to display the nine-branched candelabrum when word of the controversy hit the local paper last week.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

No more "time to make the doughnuts"

Actor Michael Vale died from complications due to diabetes. He was 83.

Vale's long-running character, "Fred the Baker," for the doughnut maker's ad campaign lasted 15 years until he retired in 1997.

Canton, Massachusetts-based Dunkin' Donuts said in a statement that that Vale's character "became a beloved American icon that permeated our culture and touched millions with his sense of humor and humble nature." (CNN)

Probably the most well-known film he was in was "The Marathon Man," which starred Dustin Hoffman and Laurence Olivier - Vale played a jewelry seller. He also sat down for an interview in 1999 on "The Howard Stern Radio Show."

It's in the history books now

Bill Clinton's impeachment makes it into school textbooks.
The impeachment is portrayed in the context of his two-term tenure, a milestone event, but not one that overshadows how Clinton handled the economy, crime and health care. The most commonly used texts give straightforward recaps of Clinton's toughest days, with some flavor of how it affected the nation. (CNN)
What's missing from the textbooks: "Yet at all levels, the salacious details of the Lewinsky affair are nowhere to be found." Good - as if our school-age kids need to read about all that.

Depression and the holidays

Post-holiday depression is one of those things that seems true and feels true but isn't actually true.
Despite the notion that the holiday season is filled with joy, psychiatrists have long argued that the time can also be fraught with stress, expectations that go unfulfilled, depression and, for some, loneliness. But for all the talk, studies over the years have found little evidence that depression rates actually climb around Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year's Eve. Researchers have looked at patterns of suicide rates and psychiatric emergency room visits. (NY Times)

What about seasonal affective disorder?
One form of depression, seasonal affective disorder, is tightly linked with winter. But the treatable condition has more to do with the short, dark winter days than with holiday stress, Dr. Saltz said.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Should Christians "celebrate" Kwanzaa?

Christian blogger LaShawn Barber gives her opinion here. If you want the quick-and-skinny on her posting without having to go to her site, then read:
Kwanzaa is not an innocuous celebration of black history. It attempts to spiritualize that history, replacing Christ-centered theology with pagan principles. For Christians, the only principles by which to live are found in God’s word, the Bible.

Pagans have argued that Christ was not born on December 25. Insignificant. While no one knows exactly when Christ was born, the fact remains that He was born. Christmas is a time for Christians to celebrate this joyous fact.

Christ became a man to save men, not to lift up one race or culture in worship. As with any man-made religion, Kwanzaa is just another attempt to make gods of men. All Christians must be discerning when faced with these false doctrines.

The Fall of Man was the direct result of our determination to become gods. The pagan ritual of Kwanzaa is merely the old Lie wearing a new disguise.

UPDATE: Religion Link offers more links about Kwanzaa. Kwanzaa has an official site.

"They went right for the bun."

When Bob Bernstein arrived at his coffeehouse to assess the scene of an early Christmas morning break-in, the one thing he noticed missing was the cinnamon bun that bears a striking likeness to Mother Teresa. Bernstein said he believes that the culprit is someone angry over the shop displaying the world-famous pastry, which has been preserved with shellac. A jar of money next to the Nun Bun was not stolen. (Chicago Tribune)

Check out the Bongo Java website, which has a link to the Nun Bun. Bongo Java is located in Nashville, TN, and was featured on Food Network's "$40 a Day" (the episode will air tonight at 10:00 PM).

I don't know what is more sad - that someone would steal a bun just to destroy it, or that people would revere images in food.

It's beginning to look a lot like Kitschmas...

Ship of Fools is listing the covetable gifts for Kitschmas. Christmas is over, but you can always plan for next year - or dole them out as New Year gifts.

I'll be giving these to my daughters and making them wear 'em until the day I die.

UPDATE: Forget those T-shirts - they're too immodest. I'll be buying clothes from this company from now on.

Video game legislation, brought to you by presidential contenders

Three Democratic senators, two of which are likely to be presidential contenders in 2008 and one of which was a vice-presidential candidate in 2000, have introduced a bill:
In a noontime press conference Senators Hillary Clinton (D-NY), Joe Lieberman (D-CT) and Evan Bayh (D-IN) introduced federal legislation designed to protect children from inappropriate video games. Today's move represents the formal filing of the Family Entertainment Protection Act (FEPA) announced by Clinton and Lieberman on November 29th. (Live Journal)

Note Senator Clinton's concern about families as she leaves a message on her senatorial site:
“The holiday season is a particularly important time to raise awareness of this issue. Video games are hot holiday items, and there are certainly wonderful games that help our children learn and increase hand and eye coordination. However, there are also games that are just not appropriate for our nation’s youth,” said Senator Clinton. “This bill will help empower parents by making sure their kids can’t walk into a store and buy a video game that has graphic, violent and pornographic content.”

You know what will also be "hot" in the coming years? The presidential race. Clinton and Bayh had to have that in mind as they introduced this legislation. They'll both want to bring up their concern over family values when they're wandering around the country in a couple years, and they will surely point to this as an example. Bayh will talk about having Hoosier values, and Clinton was say this is an example of being active in the village.

Entertainers of 2005

Pop-culture mag Entertainment Weekly has unveiled its list of entertainers of 2005. Here they are in order:
1. The cast of "Lost"
2. Steve Carrell, actor (starred in the film "The 40-year-old Virgin" and TV's "The Office")
3. Naomi Watts, actress (starred in "King Kong")
4. Kanye West, musician (released album "Late Registration")
5. Felicity Huffman, actress (Golden Globe-nominated for "Transamerica," Emmy-winning for Desperate Housewives")
6. George Clooney, actor/director (directed "Good Night, and Good Luck," starred in "Syriana")
7. Vince Vaughn, actor (starred in "Wedding Crashers," appeared in "Be Cool" and "Thumbsucker")
8. Gwen Stefani, musician (released solo album "Love.Angel.Music.Baby")
9. "Harry Potter" Wiz Kids (book "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" and film "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" both released this year)
10. Terence Howard, actor (Golden Globe-nominated for "Hustle & Flow", starred in "Crash")
11. Shakira, musician (released two albums, one Spanish and one English)
12. Jodie Foster, actress (starred in"Flightplan," will appear in the forthcoming "Inside Man")
13. "Entourage" Posse Cats
14. Alan Alda, actor (Oscar-nominated for "The Aviator," Emmy-nominated for "The West Wing," author of "Never Have Your Dog Stuffed")
15. Sarah Silverman, comedian (featuered in the film "The Aristocats," participant in Pamela Anderson's roast)

Monday, December 26, 2005

Most Blogged-About Books of the Year

New York Times has a listing with links to the blogs.

How many have you read and blogged about? I've read three of the top twenty - Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, The DaVinci Code, and The Chronicles of Narnia. I've blogged about Harry.

I only got one book for Christmas but it's good one - this.

Don't worry...

...if this made you upset. (Dusty Leggs, I'm obviously not writing to you)

Repeat after me: "Nothing matters until January... nothing matters until January..."

RELATED: In a showing of sympathy and solidarity, the entire Colts team will travel to James Dungy's funeral in Tampa tomorrow (Tuesday).

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Is her blog male or female?

Julia Sweeney, an alumnus of Saturday Night Live whose most famous character was the androgynous Pat, has her own blog. It's on Blogger, no less, which means she's not paying a cent to keep it going.

Thrifty, she is. And, she's no longer a believer in God with a one-woman show to prove it.

Happy Chanukah!

To all who celebrate Hannukah and find their way to my little blog, may you have a truly joyous Festival of Lights!

For those who don't celebrate and would like to know what Chanukah is all about, here's a little info on the holiday.

What's with all the different spellings? Click here to find the answer.

Merry Christmas!

We're skipping church this morning to prepare the dining room for our meal. Turkey, mashed potatoes with gravy, and other goodies. You know, the traditional Christmas meal. One year, though, my parents had chilled shrimp with cocktail sauce for Christmas - that was certainly something different for us, since we're usually quite traiditonal in our holiday meals.

Doesn't feel quite like the holidays this year since I'm working at the hospital so much. I didn't take any time off and I picked up extra shifts. How very Ebeneezer Scrooge of me!

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Christmas with the in-laws

I finally made it to Danville, Illinois, to join my wife and daughters as we celebrate Christmas with my in-laws. We're having Monical's pizza for dinner (mmm... so good to drizzle Monicals' own French dressing on a slice of pepperoni thin-crust), and then we'll go to an uncle's home to consume even more food. We have usually gone to the Christmas Eve service at April's grandparents' church, but we won't make it this year due to her grandmother's poor health. We'll spend the night in Danville, then travel home sometime tomorrow afternoon. Santa's already delivered his gifts to our home, so my eldest daughter should be surprised when we return.

May you have a safe and joyous Christmas! Remember that the child born and laid in a manger did not remain a child, but grew in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man. He died on the cross and was resurrected so that we might be with Him in eternity. Praise God for His unspeakable gift!

"I did it."

An apparent confession of guilt on a high schooler's blog leads to a DUI manslaughter plead.
Blake Ranking was a Eustis High School senior and still aching from a horrible crash three days earlier when he posted those words on blurty .com, a site for Web logs.

"It was me who caused it. I turned the wheel. I turned the wheel that sent us off the road, into the concrete drain . . .," he wrote as his best friend, Jason Coker, 17, lay in a coma at Orlando Regional Medical Center. "How can I be fine when everyone else is so messed up?"

Coker never awoke from the crash Oct. 3, 2004. He died Jan. 11. Although Ranking later retracted his words -- deleting them from the blog and penning an explanation -- they came back to haunt him, forcing him Monday to plead guilty to DUI manslaughter. He could have been sentenced to 15 years in prison. But defense lawyer John Spivey and Assistant State Attorney Julie Greenberg recommended five years in prison, 10 years of probation and a permanent license suspension. (Sun-Sentinel)

"Harry Potter books seem to protect children from traumatic injuries."

Reading Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince may keep your kid out of the emergency room.
When we last left Harry Potter his life was in mortal peril from Lord Voldermort and his Death Eaters, but the teen wizard was still able to cast a Protego spell to keep muggle (non-magical) kids from harm.

That's the opinion of researchers here, who found that when the latest installments of the Harry Potter books came out, the number of kids showing up in the emergency room with broken bones, sprains, scrapes and bruises went down significantly. Apparently, kids were just so wild about Harry that they didn't have time to ride a skateboard down a flight of stairs, or weave a scooter through heavy traffic. (MedPage Today)

Intriguing stuff, but I still think I'll encourage my daughters to spend some time outside when the weather is warm. Reading is important but so is physical activity.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Wanna tell the kiddies there's no Santa Claus?

Just don't tell this guy about it - you DO NOT want to get him riled up.

Tracking Santa Claus

Go here on December 24 to see Santa's progress in doling out toys and coal.

"I did not and never would have supported giving authority to the president for such wiretaps."

Former senator Tom Daschle (you remember him, right?) tries to show America that he's still around by writing an op-ed in today's WaPo discussing wiretapping. In case you are unsure about his opinion on this, I will offer the following:
All Americans agree that keeping our nation safe from terrorists demands aggressive and innovative tactics. This unity was reflected in the near-unanimous support for the original resolution and the Patriot Act in those harrowing days after Sept. 11. But there are right and wrong ways to defeat terrorists, and that is a distinction this administration has never seemed to accept. Instead of employing tactics that preserve Americans' freedoms and inspire the faith and confidence of the American people, the White House seems to have chosen methods that can only breed fear and suspicion.

" was just a job."

Martha Stewart talks about her show "The Apprentice: Martha Stewart," whose finale aired two days ago. It will not return for any further seasons due to lackluster ratings. Martha discussed her displeasure with the show and its cast in a recent issue of Business Week.

A big part of your reintroduction to the public has been two TV shows that launched this year: The Apprentice: Martha Stewart and Martha. Which has been more satisfying to you?
It's unusual for me to take a job like The Apprentice, and it was just a job. I got paid a fee. I have no participation in the show. Generally, we're the originators. But I did it because I knew it would be a jump-start, and it would get attention.

You're getting close to the conclusion.
Yeah, we're getting close to which of those inappropriate contestants we are actually going to have to hire. I can't believe people behave like that. They're exhibitionists and opportunists, those kids. I did not choose them either, by the way. I just want you to know I had nothing to do really with the choice of the contestants. That's part of reality television.

Read the entire interview. Her comments about daughter Alexis reveal more about their historically rocky relationship than I think she intended. Martha also says that her pick for president in 2008 is this person.

I only watched the first two episodes. I stopped watching it because it went up against the best show on TV right now, and apparently everyone else stopped watching for the same reason. I heard that the contestant Dawna won, and she will work for Martha's new magazine. I wonder how long Dawna will actually be at MSLO...

"The Rainbow Christmas"

Forty elementary school students at The Inter-national School at Dundee yesterday performed "The Rainbow Christmas," a play that promotes tolerance and diversity. Debbie Kendrick's second-grade class and Gene Schmidt's fourth-grade class performed the play in front of a schoolwide audience. The message of the play coincides with the school's values of fostering a society of acceptance among people of different beliefs and cultures, Schmidt said. (Greenwich Time)

The play is implying that Christmas-time is here so we can all learn to just get along. Funny, but I thought that the meaning of Christmas was Immanuel coming to earth to save His people from their sins. God became flesh to dwell among us.

RELATED: Steve Camp on the reason for the season.

Indy Colts coach Tony Dungy's son found dead

Terrible news.

James Dungy, the 18-year-old son of Colts coach Tony Dungy, was found dead today in his apartment near Tampa, Fla., and apparently took his own life, a local official said.

“It is an apparent suicide,” said Dick Bailey, operations manager at the Hillsborough County (Fla.) Medical Examiners Department. “We don’t know the
motivation (for the suicide),” Bailey said.

He said an autopsy, scheduled for tomorrow, would have to be completed before an official cause of death was announced. Vida Morgan, a spokeswoman for the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Department, said the cause of death would be released after the autopsy and that no foul play was suspected.

Sympathies and prayers go to the Dungy family.

Numerous papers are reporting the news, from the Chicago Tribune to the Orlando Sentinel to the Seattle Post Intelligencer (all got their info from the AP).

Thursday, December 22, 2005

a tragic reality for the homeless

Pastor John Hay of Indianapolis writes about attending the homeless memorial service at Christ Church Cathedral in downtown Indy.
Sadly, the names of 37 homeless neighbors who died while homeless or from the impact of homelessness were read, a higher number than usual. I recognized the names of several with whom I worked while directing Horizon House. The church bell tolled 38 times--37 times for known neighbors and one time for those known only to God.

"If people want to see it, I try to be nice to them."

The trials and tribulations of living in a Frank Lloyd Wright house include leaky roofs and gawking students. But the biggest problem of all is how to furnish a home built by a master of architecture.

If the Cretellas have one problem with the house, it's that much of their furniture and art - including Santa Fe-style pottery, Victorian antiques and red leather chairs - doesn't really complement Wright's architecture. "Our old house was completely different," Mr. Cretella said, explaining the mismatch. But even experienced interior designers have trouble knowing how to furnish a Wright house. So it's no wonder the Cretellas are hesitant about redecorating.

"We're attacking it, piece by piece," Mr. Cretella said. (NY Times)

I lived in Oak Park, Illinois for nearly a year in 1997 and 1998. The city is graced by quite a few Frank Lloyd Wright homes, and his former home and studio still stands as a museum. Visitors are able to purchase maps to walk around the city and view the homes, and each spring there is a tour inside of some of the privately owned homes. I could never imagine living in such a home. My problem would be the same as the Cretellas - how do I furnish it?

what to do when on trial for genocide

Claim to have been tortured by your captors.
On a day when three witnesses recalled the terror dispensed by Saddam Hussein's intelligence apparatus, the former Iraqi president said that he and his co-defendants have been beaten and tortured by their U.S. military jailers. Hussein's accusations came during a theatrical exchange Wednesday as he and his seven co-defendants stood trial for the 1982 massacre of 148 people in the Shiite village of Dujail. The attack purportedly was launched in retaliation for an assassination attempt on the dictator.

"Yes, we were beaten by the Americans," Hussein said during a meandering monologue that came during a period when he and the other defendants were offered the opportunity to question witness testimony through queries addressed to the court. "We were tortured one-by-one." (Chicago Tribune)

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Bad Santa(s)

Bill Danoff and Taffy Nivert wrote a song titled "Please, Daddy, Don't Get Drunk This Christmas," and it's been performed by John Denver and Alan Jackson. Perhaps Bill and Taffy should have addressed it to St. Nick.
Drunken Santas on a rampage in New Zealand, armed German robbers in Santa disguises, a British St. Nick wanted for flashing, and a Swedish vandal in a Santa outfit are giving the big man in red a bad name this year. Reports of "Bad Santas" breaking the law or otherwise wreaking havoc have been circulating around the world. (Yahoo! News)

My brain told me to eat all these brownies!

Researchers at the University of Michigan have found a "pleasure spot" in the brains of rats that may shed light on how food translates into pleasure for humans. The spot in rats' brains makes sweet tastes more "liked" than other tastes, biopsychology researchers Susana Pecina and Kent Berridge found. (Yahoo! News)

Did she forget to read her husband's book?

If she had read it, she would make every day her best day as part of her best life now.
Houston Lakewood Church pastor Joel Osteen, his wife, Victoria, and their two children boarded a Continental Airlines flight from Houston to Vail, Colo., Monday. The plane's door had been closed when Victoria Osteen and a flight attendant had a disagreement.

"She failed to comply with the flight attendant's instructions, and they were asked to leave the flight," FBI spokeswoman Luz Garcia said without elaborating on the disagreement. The FBI reviewed a report from Continental after the incident, Garcia said. No charges will be filed, she said. (Yahoo! News)

UPDATE: Believe it or not, I struggled with whether I should publish this post or not. I have no intention of using my blog to take cheap potshots at people or (to borrow a phrase from the gents at In the Agora) to point at something with outrage (aka, PASWO), and at first I thought this was exactly the kind of thing I'd be doing if I commented on this article. I realized, however, that Osteen has styled himself as a leader in evangelical Christianity, especially since he pastors a megachurch and has written a best-seller called "Your Best Life Now." If he is going to write a book about utilizing principles that he himself supposedly uses to live his best life, then it should be expected that his own wife would do the same. Getting into arguments with flight attendants, whatever the reason, doesn't seem to me to be a good way to live your best life now.

100 Spiritually Significant Films

The Arts & Faith website has a listing of the top 100 spiritually significant films. Go here for the list.

It should be noted that "The Passion of the Christ," Mel Gibson's film that made waves in the Christian community in early 2004 and was utilized in many church lesson plans, comes in at #35. I still haven't seen it.

Martin Scorsese's controversial "The Last Temptation of Christ" is #70.

"Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," a film that I expected to hate but ending up loving, is #98.

Bush should be impeached for listening to my grandma without a court order!

The next time someone makes some similar statement to you, tell them the following:

"Bill Clinton did it." - Byron York has more about it here.

"Jimmy Carter did it, too."

Related: "Your call is important to us"


The vast majority of people whom I interview at my hospital have some form of affective disorder. Most have some form of depression, whether it be a major depressive episode or a depressive 'spiral' of bipolar disorder.

On occasion, I will see someone who has cyclothymia, a milder form of bipolar disorder but problematic nonetheless to those who suffer from it. WaPo has a good article discussing the symptoms and treatment options - go here.
The American Psychiatric Association estimates that 2.2 million U.S. adults have cyclothymia, about half as many as those with bipolar disorder. But as bipolar disorders have gained visibility in the clinical community and popular culture, cyclothymia is being identified and treated more often.

Visiting the National Christmas Tree

It's bright around the White House, isn't it?

The tree dwarfs the Washington Monument

There's even a Nativity scene!! What "war on Christmas" are John Gibson and Bill O'Reilly talking about??

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Walking around the Jefferson Memorial

Yep, ole Tom appears to be in there

"K" examines history

The American Sphinx himself

Click here for my thoughts on visiting the memorial.

a primer on the five points of Calvinism

If you ever heard someone mention something about John Calvin and a tulip, and you wondered what hath a flower to do with theology?, then read this.

My daughters' Christmas tree

Woody Allen's new love

No, he hasn't left Soon-Yi for an even younger woman. He fell in love with London's weather while filming "Match Point."
"The weather was absolutely superb for photography," Allen said. "Gray skies photograph beautifully, the light it casts is very soft. Filming in New York can be so hot in the summer but here it was perfect for my melancholy spirit." (Yahoo! News)

Santa at the salon

They come to Joyce Beisel's salon as regular men with plump bellies and long, stringy hair. But in four to eight hours, she transforms them into their fantasy--a jolly white-haired Santa ready to ascend a gilded throne at a shopping mall or to hand out gifts at a Christmas party. For 30 years, Santas have traveled from all over the country, and perhaps as far as the North Pole, to sit in Beisel's swivel chair and let her work her magic with a concoction of bleach and dye, scissors and a blow-dryer. It is a complicated, time-consuming process, but Beisel has it down to a science, giving each Santa, and sometimes Mrs. Claus, a treatment that makes them appear authentic. For these men, and thousands of others around the country, being Santa Claus is not just a seasonal job. It is a lifestyle. (Chicago Tribune)

Is Santa Claus a metrosexual? Maybe so when you consider this:
"It's a lifestyle because you always look the part when your hair is natural," said Tom Hartsfield, a co-founder of the Amalgamated Order of Real Bearded Santas, a group of 670 Santa professionals who advocate a natural look rather than the wearing of wigs.

a shocking discovery

On a whim, I decided to "Google" some of my former college roommates - five roommates over four years - to see if there was any current information I could find on them. I was stunned to find that one of them was charged, just a little over two years ago, with soliciting online a person whom he believed to be a 14-year-old girl but was actually a police officer. He is now a registered sexually oriented offender.

I have no idea what to make of this or what to do with this information, except to pray for him. Perhaps that's all I can do at this point. There is certainly no way that I can contact him and say something like, "Hey, just wanted you to know that I found some intriguing info about you on the Internet..." He graduated the same year as my wife, but something tells me that he didn't go to his 10-year college reunion last year - we didn't go either, but only because my wife was weeks away from giving birth to our 2nd child.

I lived with him for two quarters, or approximately 21 weeks, of my sophomore year; he lived next door to me the next year. During that time, and the subsequent times that I saw him around campus, I saw nothing that would lead me to think that he'd be interested in underage girls. This just serves to prove that you can't truly know everything about the people that you meet (and with whom you sometimes live and share breathing space).

Bono, Jesus, Mohammed, and the Jews

It is being reported at recent U2 concerts that lead singer Bono has started to wear a head band with the word "COEXIST" written upon it. The "C" is the Islamic crescent moon, the "X" is a Star of David, and the "T" appears to be a cross. While wearing this headband, Bono has said something like this to the crowd: "Jesus, Jew, Mohammed - all true sons of Abraham."

There is, of course, much speculation as to what this all means. Bono seems to have espoused Christianity as The Truth in the past, but is he now advocating some sort of universalism? Is he perhaps saying that all religions (or at least Judiasm, Islam, and Christianity) have a valid pathway to God? What does he mean by "all true sons of Abraham?"

The COEXIST website can be found here. The following is the "concept" behind the company:

COEXIST was founded behind the concept of the COEXIST design logo. Combining the three monotheistic symbols to spell "coexist" suggests a lifestyle of creative consciousness. COEXIST embraces life first. We design the possibilities of enjoying it together because we are all at the interface of what is and can be. We aim to expose the distraction of discrimination, while promoting the vitality found in "collective." COEXIST expresses global beauty in all ways of life through the lens of fashion and design.

Much can be said about the "concept," beyond all the New Age jibberishness that it invokes. Really - so religion is all just a way to express fashion and design? You mean, I truly can go and worship at the House of Gucci? If this is true, then buying a T-shirt from COEXIST is a way to live out my faith.

Musician Tara Leigh Coble writes in Relevant about her experience at a U2 concert, in which she left feeling deeply disturbed.
I’ve heard the urban legends of amazing things Bono has said about his faith, I’ve read the books, and I’ve peered deep into everything he’s said hoping to find something that makes his beliefs clear. For years, I’ve adored him and clung to the notion that he is believer, too. After all, he identifies himself with Christianity, doesn’t he?

When he stated that lie so boldly, it devastated me. It was, without question, the most disturbing experience of my life; I felt like I’d been covered in bile. As I looked around, I saw all the people standing and chanting with him-it was disgusting and beautiful all at once. Unity can be so enticing. It made me think of the one world religion and how that will probably look benign and beautiful from the outside, too. I even started to wonder if universalism just might be poised to be that religion. All these things were running through my head.

Craig Dunham at TwentySomeone discusses how "respect is the new indifference."

More about Bono and his headband/scarf here, here, and here (in the comments).

Remember -
Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." -- John 14:6 (NKJV)

Monday, December 19, 2005

“How do you pick up the Blessed Mother and smash her on the ground?”

A nativity scene in Londonderry, New Hampshire, is destroyed. (HT: Wizbang!)
Of the seven toppled figures standing outside, nearly all were damaged. One wise man seemingly mourns over the loss of the left side of his body, his arm laying in the snow in front of him. Another wise man has been broken almost in half. Mary’s missing her head and Joseph is missing the lower part of his body, Farrell said. The shepherd and the sheep were unharmed, as was the crib.

Baby Jesus, however, was safe inside waiting for his time to join the other figures. “We keep baby Jesus inside until Christmas day,” John Farrell said.

Is the nativity destruction part of this?

JibJab & G.W.B.

Hysterical - Bush's year in review

the rocker, the geek, and the geek's wife

Bono has to share the cover of TIME with Mr. and Mrs. Gates.

What do you think of the cover itself? I think that Mrs. Gates should have worn glasses as well - maybe a nice shade of green or blue to offset Bono's chardonnay-coloured shades.

"We must never forget the persuasive power of wonder."

Pastor Rich Vincent analyzes "The Polar Express," and sees a parable.

Favorite Christmas Songs

A few posts back, I wrote about Christmas songs that I don't care for. This time, I will write about the songs that I always enjoy hearing in December.

  • "Joy to the World", Mariah Carey - Ms. Carey brings the emotion to the song that it deserves. With her in the lead, I could repeat the sounding joy over and over again.
  • "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree", Brenda Lee - Ms. Lee wrote the song, and nobody does it better.
  • "Tennessee Christmas", Amy Grant - Some of my family roots are in Tennessee, so I guess that's why I have an affinity for this song. The melody is so appealing musically that I imagine being wrapped up in a blanket and laying by a roaring fire, watching the snow fall on the mountains outside.
  • "The Christmas Song", Nat King Cole - If you're thinking of putting out a Christmas album yourself, don't even think about making your own version of this classic. Mr. Cole puts all other renditions to shame.
  • "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentleman", Phil Keaggy and Kim Hill - Ms. Hill's alto voice is perfect on this performance.
  • "Winter Wonderland", Steve Taylor - Yes, Avalon has a very nice version of this song currently playing on the radio, but Mr. Taylor gives his performance such a playfulness that it's hard to listen to anyone else sing it.
  • "Do You Hear What I Hear?", Whitney Houston - You know the line that goes "with a voice as big as the sea"? Ms. Houston's voice comes awfully close.
  • "Mary, Did You Know", Michael English - I know that Mark Lowry is co-writer of this song, and he has performed this himself. That being said, he doesn't have the voice of Mr. English.
  • "Christmas-Time is Here", Vince Guaraldi - Yes, it's from that classic "A Charlie Brown Christmas."

Better in December than in January

So the (almost) fabled quest for perfection by the Indianapolis Colts has ended. They were foiled in their attempt by the San Diego Chargers, losing 26-17. The Colts are now 13-1, and the Chargers survive to make the playoffs (they would have been out if the Colts had won). Well, if the Colts were going to lose, better this month than the next.

My much older sister will be happy about this, and my 3-years-younger-than-me nephew-in-law about this.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

John Spencer, RIP

I generally don't experience any kind of feelings when I hear that a certain star/celebrity has expired, other than a vague feeling of sympathy for their families and co-workers (if they were working at the time). I do not know these people on any personal level, so why would I feel any true sense of loss when they are gone? When Richard Pryor recently passed, I felt no sort of emotion that was associated with his death.

However, there have been a few times when I have felt a certain sadness when a star has passed. I have felt sad when a TV star, whose show I watched on a regular basis, died - I was disturbed for several weeks when Jerry Orbach, a veteran player on "Law & Order", lost his battle to prostate cancer nearly a year ago. Detective Lennie Briscoe is one of my favorite TV characters of all time. I felt sadness when Phil Hartman was murdered - I loved "NewsRadio," and he was one of the best SNL regulars ever (his performance of Bill Clinton may have been more celebrated, but I thought his Frank Sinatra was brilliant).

I had the same feelings again after I learned that actor John Spencer died of a heart attack several days ago. I thought that his White House Chief of Staff Leo McGarry was the most interesting character on "The West Wing." I haven't watched "West Wing" as closely as I had in the first several seasons, but I've caught a few episodes this year. I wonder how his story will play out, especially since his character was the V.P. pick of one of the nominees for president.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

"Of course the bill is laughable, unconstitutional, and will never be approved."

What bill, you ask? Why, the bill that makes it illegal for someone in the town of Biritiba Mirim, Brazil, to die. It appears that there are no more available gravesites in the cemetery.
The bill states that "offenders will be held responsible for their acts". However, it does not say what the punishment will be. (BBC News)
Let's assume that it won't be capital punishment.

With whom is Bono discussing AIDS in Africa?

You'll never guess. No, don't even try. It's him.

"You can not simultaneously prepare for and prevent war."

Richard L. Cohen takes Einstein to task for one of his worst 'quotes.'

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

10 worst foods of 2005

I receive periodic emails from, usually from the editor-in-chief who goes by the name Mr. Bad Food. He has picked what he believes to be the ten foods that would wreck anyone's healthy eating. See how many you've consumed.
  1. Burger King's Triple Whopper Value Meal
  2. Burger King's Enormous Omelet Sandwich
  3. Ruby Tuesday's Ultimate Colossal Burger
  4. Hardee's Monster Thickburger
  5. Lunchables Mega
  6. Swanson's Hungry-Man XXL Hearty Breakfast
  7. Marie Callender's Chocolate Satin Pie
  8. Double Chocolate Chip Frappuccino Blended Creme with whipped creme
  9. Pepperidge Farm Original Flaky Crust Roasted Chicken Pot Pie
  10. Anything with hydrogenated fats

Did they really think Castro would let them leave?

A group of Cuban women known as the Ladies in White are not allowed to leave Cuba to obtain a human rights award. Are you surprised by this?

Christmas at the White House

When I was in Washington, I stopped by the Christmas Tree in front of the White House. Just so you know that there is no confusion as to what holiday is celebrated, there is a Nativity scene near the tree. Smaller Christmas trees from each state and U.S. territory encircled the larger tree. When we arrived at the tree, the presidential motorcade was leaving to go to the 'Christmas in Washington' concert at the National Building Museum - the program airs tonight on TNT.

I didn't go inside the White House to see the decorations, but you can view them here.

"Narnia": allegory, or not?

Are "The Chronicles of Narnia" allegories, or just stories with some inspiration from biblical themes?

Jared at Mysterium Tremendum says 'no' to the allegory arguments.

Musician Steve Camp doesn't think they are allegories, either.

Thinking about Tookie

Like most of America, I was intrigued by all the drama surrounding the execution of Stanley 'Tookie' Williams, one of the founders of the notorious L.A. gang the Crips. There was much talk about his "redemption" over the years, primarily because he wrote children's books denouncing gang violence.

Williams had some high-profile friends to enlist in his effort to avoid execution, especially in Mike Farrell from TV's "M*A*S*H" and Jamie Foxx. Foxx played Williams in a movie.

Mark Daniels has some great thoughts about Tookie.

Related: How to start your own gang.

An aside: When I was in Washington on Sunday, I partially expected to see Jesse Jackson holding up some sign while standing in front of either the White House or the Capitol Building. But I learned from the news that night that the media hound was at Tookie's deathwatch.

Time's Person of the Year

The annual issue of Time, with its Person of the Year cover, has yet to come out, but you can beat it to the printing press. Go here and put your own picture on the cover.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

the Jefferson Memorial

I was here, at one of Washington's most picturesque sites, just two nights ago. It may not get as much respect as the Lincoln Memorial or the Washington Monument, but it is my favorite. April parked the van to feed "L", who was in no mood to be a tourist, while "K" and I went up to the memorial itself. The sun had set, so we walked in darkness through the pedestrian plaza, past the cherry blossom trees, and around the memorial. "K" asked to step down and look at the waters of the Tidal Basin. We gazed across the water at the Washington Monument. I bent on my knees and pointed out the White House to explain that the statue was directly facing the presidential home.

We walked up the steps to the memorial itself, the dome reminiscent of Jefferson's own home. Scaffolding was around much of the structure but it didn't take anything away from the majesty of the place. The air was very still, and there was no one around save for "K", me, and a police officer at the bottom of the steps. I looked up at the towering statue and the top of the dome. I took photographs of the panels inscribed with some of Jefferson's most famous and celebrated writings, including the preamble of the Declaration of Independence. I read the words that encircle the rotunda: "I have sworn up the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man."

And I felt a chill that was not from the night air.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Thursday, December 8, 2005

A few items about the "The Chronicles of Narnia" film

Roger Ebert gives three-out-of-four stars:
This is a film situated precisely on the dividing line between traditional family entertainment and the newer action-oriented family films. It is charming and scary in about equal measure, and confident for the first two acts that it can be wonderful without having to hammer us into enjoying it, or else. Then it starts hammering. Some of the scenes toward the end push the edge of the PG envelope, and like the Harry Potter series, the Narnia stories may eventually tilt over into R. But it's remarkable, isn't it, that the Brits have produced Narnia, the Ring, Hogwarts, Gormenghast, James Bond, Alice and Pooh, and what have we produced for them in return? I was going to say "the cuckoo clock," but for that you would require a three-way Google of Italy, Switzerland and Harry Lime.

The folks at Rotten Tomatoes offer a host of links to reviews, both positive and negative.

Disney downplays the Christian aspect of its marketing campaign:
Mark Johnson, the producer of the film who has also worked on Rain Man, has responded to claims suggesting that "the church is being used by Hollywood" by revealing that only 5% of the marketing budget has involved religious organisations. Disney has appointed US evangelical publisher Outreach to promote the Christian message of the film in churches and, according to reports, the Christian radio station Premier has been urging churches to hold services based on the theme of the film. (Brand Republic)

A mostly positive article from Village Voice:
Certainly, post-Passion, the Christian demographic is more important than ever before. "The audience and network for attracting and organizing said audience is very much there and the apparatus, from marketers to grassroots teams, has gotten way more developed and sophisticated," says Mark Urman, head of theatrical distribution for THINKFilm, which next Easter plans to release The Big Question, a documentary about the existence of God shot on the set of The Passion of the Christ.

John Lennon, 10/9/40 - 12/8/80

25 years ago today, John Lennon was shot while entering the hotel in New York City where he had been staying. Several hours previously, he signed an autograph for the man who shot him, Mark David Chapman.

I was nine years old when Lennon was killed. I don't remember much about it the way that I remember when President Reagan was shot or when the Challenger exploded, but I remember that everyone at school was talking about it the next day.

Newsweek looks back: "I just shot John Lennon."

Chapman remains in Attica, having been denied parole in October 2004. Some chilling words: "I felt that perhaps my identity would be found in the killing of John Lennon."

Were the Beatles about to 'come together' again? Some interesting news:

It would have been the sensational return of the Fab Four. But the bullet that killed John Lennon 25 years ago today destroyed plans for a Beatles reunion, according to new claims. Lennon was making secret plans to record an album with the other former Beatles when he was killed, Jack Douglas, the producer who was working with him until minutes before his death, told The Times.

He said in an interview in New York: “He and Paul planned to play on a Ringo album and that’s how they were planning to do it, and George had not come aboard yet.” The sticking point, however, was with Harrison. “George was already in a lot of hot water with John because of George releasing his autobiography and not really mentioning much of John in it,” Mr Douglas said. “But I think they assumed that George would come along as soon as the thing got going.” (Times Online)

Wednesday, December 7, 2005

If he doesn't attend the trial, can he skip the execution?

Saddam Hussein decides not to attend his own trial.
Saddam Hussein's trial resumed Wednesday after a delay of several hours with the deposed Iraqi leader absent from the courtroom. Chief Judge Rizgar Mohammed Amin opened the session at 3 p.m. (7 a.m. ET), about four hours late, and called the first witness.

Hussein's chair sat empty at the front of the dock, and his chief lawyer thanked Amin for continuing the proceedings. Amin said Hussein would be told about the proceedings taking place in his absence and that judges would meet with the defense team after Wednesday's session to discuss the lawyers' security situation. (CNN)

Would Allah have wanted Saddam to use this language?
"I will not be in a court without justice. Go to hell, all you agents of America," Hussein told the court.

"If you're fishing, and you don't catch fish, change bait."

Here is an article about Ultimate Christian Wrestling, a group of pro and semi-pro wrestlers based out of an Athens, Georgia church that travels to other churches in order to entertain audiences with wrestling and preach the Gospel.

Witness [Rob] Fields (aka "Rob Adonis"), a 6-foot-4, 285-pound package of ministerial menace, getting trounced by Lee "Lover Boy" Thomas, with a succession of choke holds, chin blasters and a thunderous flying leg drop from the top rope. When Thomas and his manager, Mr. Evil, gang up on the hapless Adonis, pounding him and stealing his UCW belt, we have to wonder, is the first going to be last tonight?

What would Jesus do?

I'm not quite sure what He would do in a wrestling ring, but I can't imagine Jesus would dress up in skin-tight briefs and then clothesline some guy so that He can give His Sermon on the Mount to an adoring crowd.

Tully Blanchard, a former partner of pro-wrestler Ric Flair, is now an ordained minister and has joined with this group.
Tully Blanchard .... offered his own testimony during a break in the Holly Springs match and stood ready at the altar call — a regular feature of UCW events — to counsel any new believers. Though none approached the ring that evening, wrestling, he said later, can win souls that conventional worship can't. "If you're fishing, and you don't catch fish, change bait."

Funny, but I thought that God, not wrestling, brought people to Himself. Jonah 2:9 reads, "Salvation is of the Lord."

Ultimate Christian Wrestling has its own site, complete with a prayer board, some photos of the wrestlers, and merchandise link.

SomethingCool News conducted a recent interview with Rob Adonis.

More Christian wrestling sites: Christian Wrestling Federation, Christian Wrestling Alliance, Extreme Christian Wrestling

RELATED: Some pro-wrestlers use steroids? I'm shocked, shocked, I say!

a Washington insider weekend

This weekend, my little family will be traveling to Washington, D.C. Hopefully there will be no more winter storms and we'll make it through Pennsylvania without any issues. I feel like we're going to be Washington insiders this weekend since (1) we are going to a surprise birthday party of a friend whose husband works for the CIA, (2) we may be able to meet up with a friend whose husband works in the White House, and (3) while my wife and I are at the party, our children will be cared for by an FBI agent.

Absolutely horrible Christmas songs

My wife will tell you that I'm a big fan of Christmas music. I love singing the traditional carols in church, like "Silent Night" and "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing." I enjoyed being in the Christmas pageants at the church I attended as a child/adolescent - I was a donkey one year, a wise man another year, never Joseph. I've great enjoyed singing in church Christmas concerts as an adult - I even had a solo one year. I play nothing but Christmas music between the day after Thanksgiving and New Year's Day. I listen to the local station that plays nothing but Christmas music (this one if you must know)

Having said all that, I must say that there are some Christmas-themed songs that I absolutely, positively can not stand in the least. Here they are, in no particular order:
  • "The Christmas Shoes", NewSong - Do you want to get all teary-eyed during the Christmas season? If so, listen to this. It's manipulative as all get-out. Not only do I find the lead singer's gravelly voice extremely irritating, I do not want to hear about some kid's mother dying when I'm trying to trim the tree. No, no, no.
  • "Jingle Bells", Barbra Streisand - Babs, whose voice does not sound like 'buttah' the more it ages, appeared to have been in the manic phase of her bipolar disorder when she recorded this. The music is so jumpy that I immediately jump to another station when I hear it.
  • "12 Days of Christmas" - Doesn't matter who sings this or how it's updated - the sheer repetitiveness of it annoys the heck outta me.
  • "I Saw Three Ships" - I dislike this for the same reasons as "12 Days," but I do find it barely tolerable when Nat King Cole sings it.
  • "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town", Bruce Springsteen - The Boss sounds like he severely strained his voice just before he sat down in the recording studio. The track he laid down isn't pretty.
  • "Santa Baby", Madonna - Only Eartha Kitt has the voice for this song. Back, Esther, back!
  • "Feliz Navidad", Celine Dion - Okay, here's a French-Canadien woman singing a supposedly Latin-flavored song. Bad all the way around.
  • "Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas Time", Paul McCartney - What's with so many Christmas songs having lines repeated incessantly? Sir Paul does it here, and he uses a cloying synthesizer to boot. John Lennon's "Happy Xmas (War is Over)" is light-years better.
  • "Please, Daddy, Don't Get Drunk This Christmas", John Denver - Nothing is better than a dysfunctional holiday, so raise your glass and we will all have a cup of 'Christmas cheer'.
The folks at Lean Left say their peace, and I'm surprisingly in agreement with many of them (considering that I don't lean left) - and, their comments about each song are spot on.

More lists can be found here, here, and here. Wow, everyone's hating on NewSong.

Ouch! That review hurt!

I occasionally watched the MTV show upon which this movie was based, but I have no plans to see the movie itself. I've decided that it's no loss at all, looking at these reviews.

Monday, December 5, 2005

Internet addiction

It's an addiction that only technology could create.

These specialists estimate that 6 percent to 10 percent of the approximately 189 million Internet users in this country have a dependency that can be as destructive as alcoholism and drug addiction, and they are rushing to treat it. Yet some in the field remain skeptical that heavy use of the Internet qualifies as a legitimate addiction, and one academic expert called it a fad illness.

Skeptics argue that even obsessive Internet use does not exact the same toll on health or family life as conventionally recognized addictions. But, mental health professionals who support the diagnosis of Internet addiction say, a majority of obsessive users are online to further addictions to gambling or pornography or have become much more dependent on those vices because of their prevalence on the Internet.

But other users have a broader dependency and spend hours online each day, surfing the Web, trading stocks, instant messaging or blogging, and a fast-rising number are becoming addicted to Internet video games. (NY Times)


We humans (especially we Americans) love to look at and debate about lists. Whether they involve books, CD's, movies, plays, or shopping locations, we love to give a rank ordering of subjects and talk about what should (or not) fits in and where it should place.

The end of the year is nearly here. Many magazines and newspapers will no doubt trumpet their lists of "The Year's Best." I know that I will be picking up my copy of Entertainment Weekly - since I'm no longer a subscriber - for it's 2005 review. (Speaking of EW, I have no clue as to who the 'Entertainer of the Year' will be, but I'm guessing Harry Potter will be somewhere near the top since a new book and new movie came out this year)

The New York Times already has out its list of the "10 best books of 2005." I haven't read a single one - perhaps someday...

Time names its picks of the 50 best websites (including a blog category!) in 2005.

Metacritic gave its list of top 30 albums in 2005 - and no, neither the Stones nor McCartney made the cut. The top honor goes to "Illinoise" by Sufjan Stevens.

Greener Cars gave out its list of best cars in 2005. My Kia Sedona didn't make it. :(

Favorite animated, Christmas-themed shows

  1. A Charlie Brown Christmas - What else would be at the top? It's timeless! Plus, you're a money-maker, too.
  2. How the Grinch Stole Christmas - Who's up for some roast beast?
  3. Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer - "Why am I such a misfit? I am not just a nit-wit."
  4. Olive, the Other Reindeer - Drew Barrymore does a great job giving voice to a dog that wants to be part of the big scene.
  5. Frosty the Snowman - "Happy birthday!"
  6. 'Twas the Night Before Christmas - A little on the cheesey side (and not just because of the mice), but sweet nonetheless.

"He is real. He worked miracles. He is the Son of God!"

Anne Rice talks about the re-awakening of her faith and her new book, Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt.

I haven't read the book, so I won't comment on it here. But, I shall allow those who have read the book to share their opinions in this forum.
  • The Grey Lady notes the attention to detail, the lack of scandal that sets the book apart from The Da Vinci Code, and the increasing enlightenment of Jesus about Who He Is.
  • Frank Turk, blogger and Christian bookstore retailer, gives his thoughts in a three-part series: 1, 2, 3.
  • Pastor Rich Vincent "loved" it.

the death of a blog

SwineBass is no more. It's no longer linkable because it has left the blogosphere as if it had never existed. (Well, not quite. It still shows up in the TTLB ecosystem.)

I've put quite a few postings from SwineBass onto the Good Brownie site. I have included the five days from my Florida trip that I managed to blog about - just look in the July 2005 archives if you are so inclined. Five days is all I managed to get in before I became consumed with other things.

Sunday, December 4, 2005

Colts 35, Titans 3

You already know what I'm going to type... but I'll type it anyway.

Still perfect

Oh, yes - congratulations, Bengals, on beating the evil Steelers. (Happy I mentioned them, Joy?)

Thursday, December 1, 2005

blogging styles

Mister Snitch discusses seven distinct blogging styles to generate traffic. I would say that I'm more or less #1, with a dash of the others thrown in.

Want to look like Saddam?

A military uniform said to have belonged to deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein is being offered for sale by a US auction website. The green uniform, with epaulettes bearing the mark of Saddam Hussein's rank in the Iraqi army, has a starting price of $5,000 (£2,900). A US soldier found the item during the assault on Baghdad airport in 2003, according to the website, (BBC)

You'll be the envy of every costume party you go to if you buy it. Too bad that the uniform wasn't for a sale 1 1/2 months ago, in time for all those Halloween parties.

The Emerging Church

The latest movement/obsession/conversation/rage/organization in Christendom appears to be the Emerging Church Movement (sometimes called "E.C.," sometimes called "E.C.M."). Many hail this is a better way to worship and to live out the faith in light of a 'postmodern world', while others contend it is nothing short of heresy and a diminishing of the Gospel. Whatever your view of E.C.M., it is very much like the character of Alex Forrest in the film Fatal Attraction when she says to her rejecting lover, "I'm not going to be ignored, Dan."

Several 'prominent' members in the E.C. movement have blogs:

To become more informed on emergent, you can leave your home and go to either a village or a planet.

Karen Ward is 'webmeister' to a site that reads the following on the front page:

the emerging church of the 21st century may have more in common with the church of the apostolic era, than with the church of the 20th century.
many ancient practices of faith and ways of being communal are being re:booted and morphed for the needs of the future church. as leonard sweet writes, "our faith is ancient. our faith is future. we're old-fashioned. we're new-fangled. we're orthodox. we're innovators. we're postmodern christians."

Here are some of the more popular emergent churches:

Blogger Justin Taylor has written some helpful posts in discussing a dialogue with the E.C.M.: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, & 10.

Phil Johnson (Pyromaniac), blogger and executive director of Grace To You, is certainly an outspoken critic of E.C.M. He has written several posts discussing his concerns, and you can read just a few here and here.

Ingrid Schlueter has also written numerous critical posts on her site Slice of Laodicea. Much of what is on her site is criticism of ECM and of Rick Warren and "The Purpose Driven Life."

Keith Drury writes about E.C.M. resistance from baby boomers.

Al Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, discusses his thoughts here and here.

D.A. Carson has written a book on E.C.M. titled "Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church." Here is an adapted article.

McLaren, Kimball and several others have given a response to criticism. This response mentions an essay written by Dr. David Mills, a professor at Cedarville University (I knew Mills when we were both students at Cedarville) - Mills wrote his essay after listening to Carson discuss his thoughts during the Staley Lecture series at Cedarville in 2004.

John Hammett of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary wrote a paper entitled "An Ecclesiological Assessment of the Emerging Church Movement."

UPDATE: Are you emergent without knowing it? Check here to see if you are.

World AIDS Day

Today has been designated as World AIDS Day.

From the website:
World AIDS Day is about people getting the facts about HIV and AIDS. It's a day for people to get involved and there are many ways in which you can do so. We have a listing of events where you can search to find the ones that suit you, or if you are organising an event, you can add details of your event. If you would like to get involved in other ways, we have some great ideas for you!

Here's another site with info - it's connected to the ONE Campaign.

Evangelicals are getting involved - read about it here.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

"I could wire your jaws shut so tight that you can't move your jaws to talk, and if you can't talk you can't eat."

An article in the New York Times discusses problematic experiences that some patients have had with their doctors. The title quote is what a doctor told someone whom she thought was slowly committing suicide by putting on weight.

Fat people say they know that problem well. It happened last summer to Tina Hedberg of Conover, Wis., who saw a doctor when a diet she was on was no longer eliciting drastic weekly weight loss. The doctor, Ms. Hedberg said, told her that she had a mental problem because she weighed 400 pounds. Ms. Hedberg was trying to commit suicide by getting so fat, the doctor informed her. Then the doctor said Ms. Hedberg had two choices. She could be admitted to a mental institution, or, the doctor said, "I could wire your jaws shut so tight that you can't move your jaws to talk, and if you can't talk you can't eat."

Being morbidly obese puts a person at risk for heart problems, for sure, but did the doctor really need to say that? Could a different, more caring approach have been better?

I've worked with hospitals and doctors (although mostly psychiatrists) in one form or another for a total of over eight years. Although the majority of doctors I've encountered have been genuinely caring and respective of patient needs, it is a slim majority. I have observed terrible attitudes some doctors have towards patients (as evidenced by their statements about patients, sometimes made in front of them), especially those who have a mental illness or a substance abuse problem. Numerous people whom I've talked to at my worksite have complained about how little time their doctor spends with them.

Ms. Wong had come across a bane of the medical profession: the difficult doctor. These doctors may be arrogant or rude, highhanded or dismissive. They drive away patients who need help, and some have been magnets for malpractice claims. And while such doctors have always been part of medicine, medical organizations say they fear that they are increasingly common - doctors, under pressure to see more patients, are spending less and less time with each one and are replacing long discussions with laboratory tests and scans - and that most problem doctors apparently have no idea of their patients' opinions of them.

The moral of the story? Talk to your doctor or nurse staff, demand better treatment if you don't believe you are getting proper care, and if you are able to do so, by all means see another doctor.

Black Sabbath, Blondie, Miles Davis, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and the Sex Pistols

These are the 2006 inductees to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Black Sabbath and the Sex Pistols have been nominated numerous times in years past, but finally have their invitation this year to join.

I can't say that I really listened to any of these performers, except perhaps Blondie. (You do realize that Blondie is a group, right? Deborah Harry is the leader singer - she isn't "Blondie" herself.) I still like to sing along to "Heart of Glass" when I hear it on the radio - I prefer it to "Call Me," which I find to be most irritating, musically.

Lynyrd Skynyrd is probably best known in recent years for providing back-up to Bo Bice on "American Idol" and giving a Reese Witherspoon movie its title.

Speaking of Debbie Harry, there is a longstanding debate about who was the better bad girl of rock - Harry or Pat Benatar (who sang "I Love Rock & Roll" and "Love is a Battlefield"). I always thought it was hands-down Harry.

is there meaning behind the anger in rap?

John McWhorter, author of the forthcoming "Winning the Race: Beyond the Crisis in Black America," doesn't think so and he tells you why.
Why do "conscious" rappers have so little interest in the political issues that directly affect poor black people's lives? Could it be because those issues do not usually lend themselves to calls for smacking people and making the streets run red? If so, then chalk up one more for people who do not see hip-hop as politically constructive.

The "conscious" rappers themselves make the "message" analysis even harder to fall for because they tend to squirm under the label. "They keep trying to slip the 'conscious rapper' thing on me," Mos Def says. "They try to get me because I'm supposed to be more articulate, I'm supposed to be not like the other Negroes, to get me to say something against my brothers. I'm not going out like that, man." So it would be "going out" even to question the theatrical savagery that hip-hop's critics fail to see the good in?

"Conscious" rap, like gangsta rap, is ultimately all about spitting in the eye of the powers that be. But this is precisely what the millions of blacks making the best of themselves in modern America have not done. And contrary to what we are often led to believe, spitting is not serious activism. It's merely attitude.

There is not a thing wrong with "conscious rap" fans enjoying the beats and the rhymes and even valuing the sprinkles of an awareness of something beyond guns, Hennessy and women's behinds. But if we have gotten to the point that we are treating even this "conscious" work as serious civil rights activism, then black America is in even worse trouble than we thought.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Dude, where's my ethics?

Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham pleaded guilty Monday to conspiracy and tax charges and tearfully resigned from office, admitting he took $2.4 million in bribes to steer defense contracts to conspirators. Cunningham, 63, entered pleas in U.S. District Court to charges of conspiracy to commit bribery, mail fraud and wire fraud, and tax evasion for underreporting his income in 2004.

Cunningham answered "yes, Your Honor" when asked by U.S. District Judge Larry Burns if he had accepted bribes from someone in exchange for his performance of official duties. Later, at a news conference, he wiped away tears as he announced his resignation. "I can't undo what I have done but I can atone," he said. (BreitBart)

I found it interesting that he became tearful during the press conference announcing his resignation. Was he crying because of his behavior, or crying that he was caught and will now face jail time?

His letter of resignation is here.

UPDATE: As of 12:57 AM EST on 12/1/05, still no mention on his website about his resignation.

UPDATE 2: The site now discusses how the office will operate as a vacant post.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Colts 26, Steelers 7

Still perfect

Was it personal? Oh, yes, they made it personal.

Supreme Court will consider N.H. abortion law

On Wednesday, November 30, the Supreme Court will hear a case about a New Hampshire law requiring parental notification before a minor has an abortion.

The 2003 law was struck down, days before it was to take effect, for failing to provide an exception to protect a minor's health. Under the law, parents or guardians must be notified either in person or by certified mail.

Supporters of the law say a provision that allows a girl to go to a judge instead of a parent provides needed protection if her health is in danger. Opponents, however, say the law's requirements could lead to dangerous delays and result in judges making medical decisions instead of doctors. They also view the law as an ill-disguised attempt by abortion opponents to chip away at Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that legalized abortion. (CNN)

It wil be interesting to see how the case is handled by the court. Conservatives will no doubt count on Chief Justice Roberts to rule in their favor, but his vote will likely be the same as Rehnquist's would have been.

"Women are going to get abortions no matter what, whether it's legal or illegal, whether they're 13 or whether they're 50. ... Any limitations put on it is heading backward in time," said Becca Pawling, 35, who leads Annie's Forum, a weekly program that brings together teenage girls and older women for snacks, support, crafts and conversation in Portsmouth.

We've heard this before, haven't we? It's the old they're going to do it anyway so it may as well be legal argument. But does it hold any water? Quite frankly, no, it doesn't. If that argument is valid, then we may as well legalize illicit drug use, since people are just going to use marijuana and crystal meth anyway. After all, people who use drugs put them into their own bodies, and don't they have a right to do with their bodies as they please?

But of course, it's all about moving forward, isn't it. None of this "heading backward in time" stuff. Any step forward is naturally the correct one.

Related: Check out this post on failed abortions and babies left to die on a hospital shelf.

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you."
Jeremiah 1:5

Madonna's desire

She may be a horrible actress, but what she really wants to do is direct.

* Okay, okay - she wasn't half-bad in "Truth or Dare," but she was playing herself, so...

Sunday, November 27, 2005

what happens if you win the lottery?

Two couples from Oregon won the recent Powerball jackpot, which had been estimated at $340 million but was paid out at $110 million because the couples opted for a lump sum. They recount what happened when they discovered they had won, and also talk about plans for their future.

[Winner Frances Chaney] said they waited a while before coming forward so they could get legal and financial advice. She said she couldn't believe their luck. "I went on the Internet that night to check the numbers," she said.

When she found a match, she checked several other Web sites before calling her daughter to tell her the news. The family checked and rechecked. Then they heard that the winning number was in Oregon, with a ticket bought in Jacksonville, "and we thought, 'Maybe it is us.'"

Steve West, who is self-employed, said he will continue working -- "to keep us grounded." He said he may buy a sports car, and his wife wants a new car, but "we plan on not changing a lot."

The media attention already has changed his life, he said, with people recognizinghim everywhere he goes. "You daydream a lot of times about what you'd do with the money," West said. "But you don't really expect how it would change your life and how things around you might change, until you've actually won the money, and things then begin to fall into place. It's scary." (CNN)

Mack Metcalf and Virginia Metcalf Merida, a married couple who won $65 million from Powerball five years ago, are now both deceased. Click here to read their strange and tragic tale. The article reads that Mack had lived in Kentucky in a replica of Mt. Vernon, and Virginia lived in a 5,000-square-foot geodesic dome house.

This begs the following questions: if you won the lottery and you moved to another locale, what would the house look like and where would it be located?

Do not wear yourself out to get rich; have the wisdom to show restraint. Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle.
Prov 23:4-5 (NIV)

UPDATE: More on the Metcalfs here.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

"I was trying to get out of the way, but they knocked me down."

Here is an excellent reason not to go shopping on 'Black Friday.' Lots of idiotic and greedy people out there.
"Black Friday," the traditional start of the holiday shopping season, began in South Florida early today with a 73-year-old woman being knocked down as a crowd at an electronics store rushed a metal security gate to get inside. The crowd of shoppers outside BrandsMart USA in Sawgrass Mills, angry at being forced to wait by security personnel, pushed their way under the security gate and down a hallway into the store, forcing dozens of people against the walls and trampling the woman. (Sun-Sentinel)

I've been to Sawgrass Mills several times. I've heard that it's the second most visited site in Florida. I'll let you guess as to what is the most visited site - it has something to do with a rodent. Sawgrass has a lot of great stores, especially the Off Fifth and the Gap Outlet. I loved eating at Wolfgang Puck's Cafe (mmmmmm... pumpkin-filled ravioli), but it appears from the S.M. website that it's no longer there.

UPDATE: I last visited Sawgrass Mills in late March 2007. Puck's Cafe had closed.

"So while cranberries can be enjoyed, they should be limited to mealtimes only to avoid potential problems."

Did you have enough cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving? They may help keep your teeth nice and healthy.
Scientists have found a compound in the fruit can stop bacteria from clinging to the teeth, blocking the formation of damaging plaque deposits. However, researcher Dr Hyuan Koo warned many cranberry-containing products were loaded with sugar and consuming large amounts could lead to tooth decay. The study, by the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York, will be published in Caries Research. (BBC News)

Roger Ebert to Oprah: "Syndicate!"

If you wonder how Oprah began her path to super-stardom, look no further than her Chicago neighbor Roger Ebert.
Yes, it is true, I persuaded Oprah to become the most successful and famous woman in the world. I was also the person who suggested that Jerry Springer not go into syndication, for which I have received too little credit.

All of these years I have maintained a discreet silence about my role as Oprah's adviser, but now that she has spilled the beans, the time is right to tell the whole story.

It begins early one morning in Baltimore, where Gene Siskel and I are scheduled to appear on a morning talk show hosted by a newcomer named Oprah Winfrey. The other guests on the show include a vegetarian chef, and four dwarfs dressed as chipmunks, who will sing "The Chipmunk Christmas Song" while dancing with Hula-Hoops. (

Jump to the source to see the full story.

I've always been an admirer of Winfrey's and what she has accomplished. However, I think she's become a little more full of herself in the past few years. She has shown off her lavish homes, and she spends a little too much on-stage time with her Hollywood friends. I still watch her at times, though, especially the "favorite things" show - and I'll hopefully catch her visit with David Letterman.