Sunday, April 30, 2006

"United 93"

Will you see it?

Media reviews:

Blogger reviews:

I found it rather interesting that Michael Moore, who made an entire film from the tragedy of September 11(*), has given no link to "United 93." For several weeks Moore linked to this movie, which centers on the terrorist actions of a purported freedom fighter.

* - I know that some will accuse me of being unfair to Moore, and his film was actually a diatribe against the (in)actions of the Bush administration, and not specifically all about September 11. Maybe that's a fair accusation, but it seems rather odd that he would talk so much about his concern for the 9/11 families and the troops in Iraq and yet not link to a movie that pays honor to some of the 9/11 heroes.

If you want to write a novel....

Consider the tale of Kaavya Viswanathan as a warning.

If you're writing a memoir, you already know to keep this guy in mind.

UPDATE: In the spirit of the Soup Nazi, publisher Little, Brown & Co. tells Kaavya, "No book deal for you!"

Saturday, April 29, 2006

how weird is Matt?

You Are 50% Weird

Normal enough to know that you're weird...
But too darn weird to do anything about it!

The Wife would say I'm about 65% weird...

what kind of weather is Matt?

You Are Lightning

Beautiful yet dangerous
People will stop and watch you when you appear
Even though you're capable of random violence

You are best known for: your power

Your dominant state: performing

I'm beautiful all right, but everything else is off the mark.

Well.... perhaps I'm a little bit dangerous.

What color green is Matt?

You Are Teal Green

You are a one of a kind, original person. There's no one even close to being like you.
Expressive and creative, you have a knack for making the impossible possible.
While you are a bit offbeat, you don't scare people away with your quirks.
Your warm personality nicely counteracts any strange habits you may have.

Friday, April 28, 2006

tragedy at Taylor University

Four students (two women from Illinois, one woman from Michigan, one man from Wisconsin) and a staff member at Taylor University in Upland, Indiana, were killed in an accident when a truck crossed the median and crashed into their university van. It is believed the driver of the truck fell asleep.

Pictures and info on the deceased students and the staff member can be found here on the university website.

I have a special affinity for Taylor. Besides my alma mater, it was a college that I considered attending. Several teachers and friends from high school graduated from there, and the maid of honor in my wedding attended Taylor for two years.

Remember to pray for the families of the deceased, as well as the Taylor U. family as a whole, during this time.

on "Survivor", a new power is rising....

I was going to blog about last night's Survivor, but I was beaten to it. I thought Aras was toast...

The last time I can remember a more satisfying turn on this show was on the Marquesas season, when John was sent home.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Ye Olde Coffee House

Mark Roberts visits Colonial Williamsburg and considers how Starbucks isn't such a new thing after all. Read about it here.

Su Doku

I stopped for awhile, but now I'm on another period where I like to play when I have some free time (which frankly isn't a lot because I'm married with two young kids) - I've got The Big Book of Su Doku #1. What, if anything, does this say about me?

Politics, the church, the IRS, & Parsley

In a challenge to the ethics of conservative Ohio religious leaders and the fairness of the Internal Revenue Service, a group of 56 clergy members contends that two churches have gone too far in supporting a Republican candidate for governor.

Two complaints filed with the tax agency say that the large Columbus area churches, active in President Bush's narrow Ohio win in 2004, violated their tax-exempt status by pushing the candidacy of J. Kenneth Blackwell, who is the secretary of state and the favored candidate of Ohio's religious right.

The clergy members said the churches improperly held political activities and allowed Republican organizations to use their facilities.

The goal of the challenge is "for these churches to stop acting like electioneering organizations," said the Rev. Eric Williams, pastor of North Congregational United Church of Christ. "I don't want to harm or demonize these churches. I want these churches to act legally." (WaPo)

The two churches in question are World Harvest Church and Fairfield Christian Church. Although the article identifies Russell Johnson as the pastor of Fairfield Christian Church, it fails to recognize the pastor at World Harvest. This omission is fairly peculiar considering that the WHC pastor is Rod Parsley (see - he even made it into Wikipedia!), a nationally known author and preacher who appears regularly on the Trinity Broadcasting Network through his show Breakthrough. He has been to events with Senator Zell Miller and Columbus mayor Michael Coleman besides appearing with Blackwell. Parsley has talked openly about his belief that Christians should be involved in politics, but those politics seem to be what appeals to Christians on the political right (abortion, marriage) as opposed to what appeals to Christians on the political left (poverty, social justice).

Parsley is probably as Pentacostal as a person can get. It is difficult to determine when watching his show (which is often a recording of a service at WHC) whether he is being a preacher who is concerned about truth, or a showman - or some bizarre mixture of both.

Are you watching TV?

Tsk, tsk... you shouldn't be. It's National TV-Turnoff Week.

I only know this because the papers that my daughter brings home from school mentioned something about it. We had already let her watch a DVD (which isn't technically the same as watching TV, I suppose) when we read the paper.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006


You can always tell that the times are a-changin' when old board games are updated and modernized. Monopoly, which has seen its share of versions with university and movie-themed boards (you can even purchase a Spongebob Squarepants game), is being updated yet again - this time to reflect modern America and its landmarks. Go here to vote for your favorite landmark from 22 cities.

I don't think the game will be complete without spots for this place and this place. Yes, I have indeed been to both places, and let me tell you - they are worth the trip!

Go here for fun facts about the game loved by capitalists and real estate barons everywhere.

What's your favorite playing piece? I've always been partial to the wheelbarrow, but there's one piece that I would certainly never pick: the thimble.

Monday, April 24, 2006

the U.S. plan to invade Canada

There is one, you know.

Just in case we ever need to increase our supply of beaver pelts and caribou hides, and the Canadiens say to us, "Take off, eh?"

Blogger problems...

Blogger is frustrating again....

Don't get me wrong - I love Blogger. I love that I can have a blog for free, that I can write whatever I want and Blogger will (usually) post it, and that visitors come and actually leave me their comments. I occasionally enjoying clicking on the "Next Blog" button just to see who's out there, and many people come to me that way.

But, Blogger was frustrating last night. I tried to post something and it just wouldn't do it. For whatever reason, it would not go through.

Ah, well. The good outweighs the bad.

"It was beautiful until something broke out in the parking lot..."

Anyone who has ever been to a wedding knows that the cake is of utmost importance to the reception. Everyone waits with bated breath to see if the bride and groom will play nice or smash the piece into each other's mouths. However, it's not worth it to stab people just because you're impatient about the cake cutting - unless, of course, the cake is excellent (just kidding).

Thursday, April 20, 2006


The Church of Scientology is again in the news with the report of the "quiet birth" of baby Suri to parents Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. Journalist Sara Lawrence recently went undercover to find out more about the "religion."

Sites supportive of/favorable to Scientology:
Sites critical of/unfavorable to Scientology:

(H/T: Justin Taylor)

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

"I was amazed that it hadn't changed at all."

In November 1962, Lance Nesta received a fruitcake from his two aunts while he was stationed with the Army in Alaska. Like so many people who receive such a gift, he opted not to indulge but set it aside. While going through the attic in his mother's home over 43 years later, he discovered the fruitcake.

He reminisced about receiving the fruitcake:
"I opened it up and didn't know what to do with it," Nesta said. "I sure wasn't going to eat it, and I liked my fellow soldiers too much to share it with them."

As best he can remember, he packed the cake with the rest of his belongings and shipped it home to Waukesha when he left the military a few years later. He recently rediscovered the boxed fruitcake in the attic of his mother's home in Waukesha. (AP)
I would have just re-gifted it. Isn't that what everyone does with fruitcakes?

"We're still looking for God."

150 black artists, including Denzel Washington and Angela Bassett (two of my favorite actors of any skin color), are participating in an audio recording of the Old and New Testaments. The article states that no one has signed on to give voice to God the Father.

Wait. Shouldn't Morgan Freeman do that? He has played God before.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

I am Karl Barth

You scored as Karl Barth. The daddy of 20th Century theology.

You perceive liberal theology to be a disaster and so

you insist that the revelation of Christ, not human experience,

should be the starting point for all theology.

Karl Barth


John Calvin


Martin Luther




Jonathan Edwards


Charles Finney




Friedrich Schleiermacher




Paul Tillich


Which theologian are you?
created with

(H/T: Adam C.)

will they be playmates in preschool?

Tom Cruise and Brooke Shields both had children born yesterday. Tom's fiance Katie Holmes gave birth to Suri, and Brooke gave birth to Grier Hammond Henchy.

I blogged about Tom & Brooke here.

IQ & birth order

Researchers have continued to study whether birth order has an effect on intelligence. Past studies have claimed that the first-borns were the smartest, and intelligence dwindled as the number of subsequent children increased.

However: "A study this year by scientists at Ohio State University analyzed data on siblings from 3,000 families collected over 12 years. The researchers found that whether siblings were born first or last in their family generally had no effect on intelligence scores. But children in large families, primarily those in which the mother had her first child at a young age, had lower scores than those in smaller ones. Children in large families generally had high scores only when their mothers were older." (NY Times)

I know this to be true first hand. I'm way smarter than my older siblings.

when killers blog

I won't provide the link but I did visit the blogsite of Kevin Underwood, who currently faces first-degree murder charges.
Prosecutors filed first-degree murder charges Monday against a grocery store clerk accused of killing a 10-year-old neighbor after writing about a bizarre scheme to consume human flesh.

Kevin Ray Underwood remained in an Oklahoma jail cell under a suicide watch. He was arraigned Monday afternoon in the slaying of Jamie Rose Bolin.
Underwood's Internet blog allegedly revealed his bizarre intentions. Underwood, 26, wrote, "If you were a cannibal, what would you wear to dinner?"

"My fantasies are getting weirder and weirder," he wrote in another entry. "Dangerously weird. If people knew the kinds of things I think about anymore, I'd probably be locked away." (CNN)

Many of his posts were links to various articles, most of which had nothing to do with his crime or cannibalism. His last posting has receive hundreds of comments, many which tell him where he should spend his eternity.

Metafilter will give you more.

(H/T: Ann Althouse)

Monday, April 17, 2006

Happy Dyngus Day!

WHAT???, you ask?

It sounds like the craziest holiday ever, but it's true. Gotta love the Polish!

I'll let you find out about it on your own. You can Google, can't you?

Pssstt.... if you must know, go here.

the meaning of Easter

Christians the world over have just celebrated the most holy of days on the Christian calendar - Easter. Christians celebrate this day as the day that Jesus Christ, who had been crucified just days before, rose from the dead. Paul stresses in Romans 10 the importance of belief in the resurrection of Jesus - "because if thou shalt confess with thy mouth Jesus as Lord, and shalt believe in thy heart that God raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved: for with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."

There are some who claim that the resurrection of Jesus was not a literal event but symbolized the importance of endurance. The Jesus Seminar was composed of thirty scholars who were dedicated to researching the historical and authentic Jesus; they "concluded" that the resurrection did not actually occur, that Jesus did not bodily return from the dead. See this recent article in the "Washington Post."

Paul states that for salvation to occur in the individual, he/she must confess that Jesus is Lord and that He was raised from the dead. To confess something is to acknowledge or admit something - to profess a belief in something. It is through this belief and this confession that salvation lies - not on anything else. In his first letter to the Corinthian Christians, he argued that if Jesus was not raised from the dead, the Christian faith is vanity (see chapter 15).

Al Mohler discusses how death has been swallowed up in victory: "The church comes each year to this celebration of resurrection because we must constantly remind ourselves and the world of the resurrection hope, and of the reality of the risen Christ. The church of the Lord Jesus Christ must always remain a company of resurrection witnesses, speaking the Gospel of the cross and the risen Christ to a world desperate for genuine hope."

Mark Driscoll has a series on Easter: 1, 2, 3, & 4. *many people are linking to these posts by Pastor Driscoll - I'm just joining the bandwagon on this one*

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Happy Easter!

After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.

There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay."

Matthew 27: 1-9 (NIV)

Saturday, April 15, 2006

"As far as I am concerned, they can be burned, shot and mutilated."

Iguanas on the loose in Boca Grande, Florida.
During the last three decades, the resort community on Florida's Gulf Coast has been overrun by the black, spiny-tailed, nonnative lizards that demolish gardens, nest in attics and weaken beach dunes with burrows.

Last month, Lee County commissioners agreed to create a special tax for Boca Grande to cover costs of studying the infestation on the barrier island of Gasparilla, where scientists estimate there are up to 12,000 iguanas on the loose, more than 10 for every year-round resident.

The frustration here has led to frenzy. Bonnie McGee keeps a pellet gun by her door ready to take on the slithering enemy.

"They eat your flowers and their feces is everywhere," she said, adding that she's killed dozens. "Some people toss them in the canal and the hermit crabs feed on them." (CNN)

Guess who vacations nearby? The Bush family!

Looking to buy property in Gasparilla/Boca Granda? Click here. (Un)Surprisingly, the site fails to mention the iguanas.

a tragic (and titanic) anniversary

1,517 people perished in the freezing waters of the Atlantic Ocean on this date in 1912. Hours earlier, they had been enjoying the maiden cruise of the RMS Titanic, which was making a voyage from Southampton to New York. Two of the most famous passengers of the tragic ship were John Jacob Astor IV (who perished) and Margaret "Unsinkable Molly" Brown (who survived and died in 1932).

2,223 people, including the crew, were on board. Only 706 survived.

Friday, April 14, 2006

A hail of a storm

Terrible thunderstorms went through Indy for the third week in a row. Haven't heard of any tornados this time, but hail as big as golfballs fell (see the nice lady in the picture holding some hail?) I heard them fall on my roof for about 20 minutes.

What's good about Good Friday?

Matthew 27:32-50

32As they went out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name. They compelled this man to carry his cross.
33And when they came to a place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull),
34they offered him wine to drink, mixed with gall, but when he tasted it, he would not drink it.
35And when they had crucified him, they divided his garments among them by casting lots.
36Then they sat down and kept watch over him there.
37And over his head they put the charge against him, which read, "This is Jesus, the King of the Jews."
38Then two robbers were crucified with him, one on the right and one on the left.
39And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads
40and saying, "You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross."
41So also the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him, saying,
42"He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him.
43He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him. For he said, 'I am the Son of God.'"
44And the robbers who were crucified with him also reviled him in the same way.
45Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour.
46And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?" that is, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
47And some of the bystanders, hearing it, said, "This man is calling Elijah."
48And one of them at once ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine, and put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink.
49But the others said, "Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him."
50And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit.

Mark 15:33-39

33And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour.
34And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?" which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
35And some of the bystanders hearing it said, "Behold, he is calling Elijah."
36And someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink, saying, "Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down."
37And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last.
38And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.
39And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, "Truly this man was the Son of God!"

Luke 23:39-43

39One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him,[d] saying, "Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!"
40But the other rebuked him, saying, "Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation?
41And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong."
42And he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom."
43And he said to him, "Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise."

John 19:28-30

28After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), "I thirst."
29A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth.
30When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, "It is finished," and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

RELATED: Mark D. Roberts has an excellent series on the seven last words of Christ.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

What exactly is "Maundy Thursday?"

From the BBC: "Maundy Thursday is the Thursday before Easter. Christians remember it as the day of the Last Supper, when Jesus washed the feet of his disciples and established the ceremony known as the Eucharist. The night of Maundy Thursday is the night on which Jesus was betrayed by Judas in the Garden of Gethsemane. The word 'maundy' comes from the command given by Christ at the Last Supper, that we should love one another."

From "In Britain it is still customary for the sovereign to give 'Maundy Money' to a number of male and female pensioners - one man and one woman for each year of the sovereign's age. The money is contained in two purses: one red and one white. The white purse contains specially minted coins - one for each year of the sovereign's life. The red purse now also contains money, in lieu of gifts which used to be offered to the poor. Up to the time of James II the sovereign also washed the feet of selected poor men."

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Those English and their beastly grammar

Apart from having different names for the same thing (lorry=truck, loft=apartment, loo=restroom), the use of grammar is a way to tell the differences between the Queen's English (or England's English, if you prefer) and American English. A prime example is this headline on the BBC News site: "Harry to pass out from Sandhurst"

Americans, I want you to look at that headline for a moment. Take several moments, if you need them. What does it say to you?

"Harry to pass out from Sandhurst."

Ah, yes. Poor Harry passes out at Sandhurst. Things are so bad at Sandhurst that Prince Harry has been knocked unconscious - and apparently on a regular basis.

For Americans, to "pass out" is to become literally unconscious. This could be caused by many factors: imbibing too much alcohol (which Harry may have done from time to time) and being bladdered, being knocked on the head, being unable to breathe because all the air has been sucked out of the room, being forced to watch golf on the telly (that's TV to you, silly American), and so on. Passing out is not generally thought of as a positive thing - you're not likely to hear anyone say, I just LOVE passing out!

When you read the article, you see nothing about Harry being knocked unconscious. What you read is this:

Prince Harry is graduating from Sandhurst as a commissioned officer in the British Army. The Queen, Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles and Camilla and his brother William will be at the ceremony. The 21-year-old, who last week joined Army pals at a lap dancing club near Slough, will join the Household Cavalry's Blues and Royals.

Apparently, in England, to pass out is to graduate - and Bob's your uncle.

Somehow, it's just not as interesting as reading about how Harry can't keep conscious when he's at school.

Ah, well. The best of British to you!

An aside: Bob is actually my uncle. Honest! I'm telling the truth. Bob, or Robert as he is called, is my father's brother. Curiously, he was called Uncle Joe when I was growing up - I think it had something to do with his middle name being Joseph, but I'm not sure.

Update: As of 8:09 AM, the headline of the article reads "Harry graduates as Army officer." The first line of the article is "Prince Harry has graduated from Sandhurst as an Army officer, where his passing out parade was inspected by his grandmother - the Queen."

Can you imagine if we in America had "passing out" parades? If everyone was unconscious, who would be able to watch it?

Narcissistic Personality Disorder

I am currently taking a course through Wright State University (Fairborn, OH) so that I can complete requirements for licensure as a counselor in the state of Ohio. I have decided to post one of my assignments for the course, which was to examine the different symptoms of a specific personality disorder and describe how they may relate to other problems (e.g., disorders) for the person. I decided to focus on the narcissistic personality disorder, about which you can find out more information here.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) falls into Cluster B of the personality disorder categories; persons with a Cluster B disorder tend to be emotional, erratic, and dramatic (Butcher, Mineka, and Hooley 2004). Persons with NPD are often grandiose - they typically inflate their own abilities and accomplishments while deflating those of other persons. They appear to care only for themselves, disregarding the thoughts and emotions of others. Persons with NPD believe they are worthy of special attention and status, and they often prefer to associate only with those whom they perceive to have a high status as well. They may use others to obtain what they want or believe they deserve. Although seemingly impregnable, they greatly dislike criticism and are often preoccupied with others' views of them. Prevalance is estimated at less than 1% of the general population (Ronningstam 1999).

Due to their high regard for their own abilities and an abhorrence of criticism, persons with NPD may experience episodes of depression because of a sense of missed opportunities and a lack of recognition from others (Ronningstam 1999). NPD has a higher prevalence among bipolar patients (11-47%) but no study has shown a consistency of prevalence between NPD and any specific Axis I disorder. "In clinical samples of NPD, the most frequently co-occurring Axis I disorders were major depression or dysthymia (42-50%) followed by substance abuse (25-50%) and bipolar disorder (5-12%)" (p. 680). Treatment may be difficult due to the person's lack of perception that they are in need of treatment.

Cluster B disorders have the highest co-occurrence with substance abuse disorders (Nace 1990). Persons with NPD may turn to substances to cope with the perceived failure of others to adequately acknowledge or support them. They may use substances in an effort to inflate their sense of self and eliminate depressed feelings or low self-esteem. The treatment for substance abuse of a person with NPD may be greatly affected by the person's belief that he or she is above commonly used forms of treatment and therefore deserving of special attention; the person may also believe that he or she is actually in control of the substance abuse (Richards 1993).


Butcher, J.N., Mineka, S., & Hooley, J.M., (2004). Abnormal psychology (12th ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon

Nace, Edgar. (1990). "Substance abuse and personality disorder," Managing the Dually Diagnosed Patient, Current Issues and Clinical Approaches, David F. O'Connell, editor. Binghamton, New York: The Haworth Press, Inc.

Richards, Henry Jay. (1993). Therapy of the Substance Abuse Syndromes. Northvale, New Jersey: Jason Aronson Inc.

Ronningstam, Elsa. (1999). Narcissistic Personality Disorder. In T. Millon, P. Blaney, and R. Davis (Eds.), Oxford textbook of psychopathology. New York: Oxford University Press.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Happy Birthday!

You know who you are - even though you don't read this blog.

Matthew 25:31-46

31"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne.
32Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
33And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left.
34Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
35For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,
36I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.'
37Then the righteous will answer him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?
38And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?
39And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?'
40And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.'

41"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
42For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
43I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.'
44Then they also will answer, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?'
45Then he will answer them, saying, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.'
46And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."

"And my friends, the only difference between the sheep and the goats, according to this scripture, is what they did and didn't do!"
- Keith Green

Got your tag??

Monday, April 10, 2006

"We believe, our board believes, any Christian organization has an obligation to pay its debts in a timely fashion."

The once-powerful Christian Coalition crouches towards extinction and racks up $2 million in debt.
At its peak a decade ago, the Christian Coalition deployed a dozen lobbyists on Capitol Hill. Today, it has a single Washington employee who works out of his home. Its phone number with a 202 area code is automatically forwarded to a small office in Charleston, S.C.

The Christian Coalition is still routinely included in meetings with White House officials and conservative leaders, and is still a household name. But financial problems and a long battle over its tax status have sapped its strength, allowing it to be eclipsed by other Christian groups, such as the Family Research Council and the public policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention. (WaPo)

Is it any wonder this has happened? After all, these two guys used to run it...

Update: The fine folks over at Get Religion have more.

Friday, April 7, 2006

"There will always be millions of individuals blogging for the sheer joy of self-expression. Find them."

Well said, Professor Althouse.
People blog for lots of different reasons, and blogging is still burgeoning and developing. Don't cave into nostalgia for a Golden Age, especially one that got its golden glow from the horror that was 9/11. Things were bound to change and shake around, and some bloggers that you liked then may put you off now. But there are always a million new bloggers, and blogging is a beautifully fruitful format. The great power of blogging is the way it releases the creativity of the individual mind. That sense of not being able to predict your own opinions and observations -- that feeling of writing to discover your own ideas and interests -- is the great intrinsic value of blogging. There will always be millions of individuals blogging for the sheer joy of self-expression. Find them.

"We even oppose the name Playboy."

Hugh Hefner's mag, even without pictures of undressed women, isn't welcome in Indonesia.

The launch of a version of Playboy magazine in Indonesia has sparked a heated reaction in the world's most-populous Muslim nation. Muslim leaders condemned the publication as "moral terrorism" that destroyed the nation's way of life. But some readers were unimpressed by the toned-down content. One radio caller said he had been deceived as there were no nude women.

Indonesia had seen a number of street protests ahead of Friday's launch. The launch edition carried pictures of women with shots of midriffs, thighs and cleavage. But some readers complained that a number of other magazines already on sale in the country were more revealing. (CNN)

Update: Seems like many people are writing about Hef's birthday and his obsession with his legacy.

- Al Mohler reflects on the life of the quintessential playboy himself - read here.
- Read Matthew Scully's commentary in the Wall Street Journal here.
- Chuck Colson's thoughts on Hef are here.

Proverbs 14:12 - There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death. (ESV)

Heard of the "Gospel of Judas"?

For 2,000 years Judas has been reviled for betraying Jesus. Now a newly translated ancient document seeks to tell his side of the story.

The "Gospel of Judas" tells a far different tale from the four gospels in the New Testament. It portrays Judas as a favored disciple who was given special knowledge by Jesus -- and who turned him in at Jesus' request.

"You will be cursed by the other generations -- and you will come to rule over them," Jesus tells Judas in the document made public Thursday. (CNN)

Here is the link for the documentary on the National Geographic Channel, set to air this Sunday at 9:00 PM EST. You can actually read the "Gospel of Judas" here.

Quite a few folks have something to say about this supposed "Gospel." More from:

Thursday, April 6, 2006

Katie Couric, from "Today" to '"Evening News"

Do you care about this?

I have no feelings one way or another. I liked Katie on the "Today" show, and was touched by the news surrounding the death of her husband and how she was handling it. She certainly appears to have some inner strength, but I thought that often times she was more glib than Matt Lauer (no matter what Tom Cruise says). To say that her politics run toward the liberal side is to put it mildly.

Before deciding, she consulted her two daughters.
Ellie, 14, at once voted for the jump to CBS, pointing out that mealtime was certainly no problem because, thanks to her mother's unusual schedule, they had been eating "early-bird dinners" for their entire lives, while almost everyone else they knew did not sit down to eat until 7 or 7:30.

When Ms. Couric turned to Carrie, 10, she got an equally quick response. Carrie said she would choose CBS as well, because that would make her mother "the first woman in that job by herself."

Wednesday, April 5, 2006

Eating dinner as a family

Must it be this difficult? Some families rush to eat dinner before their children leave for various functions and appointments, while others eat while the children are at sports practices. Some resort to making calendars so that a dinner, with everyone present, can be coordinated.

After decades of decline in the simple ritual of family dinners, there is evidence that many families are making the effort to gather at the dinner table. A random nationwide survey by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University found a recent rise in the number of children ages 12 to 17 who said they ate dinner with their families at least five times a week, to 58 percent last year from 47 percent in 1998.

Getting everyone around the table can be a huge juggling exercise for overworked parents and overscheduled children. But many parents are marshaling their best
organizational skills to arrange dinners at least once a week.

"There's definitely an awareness that was not there a few years ago," said Miriam Weinstein, author of "The Surprising Power of Family Meals: How Eating Together Makes Us Smarter, Stronger, Healthier and Happier" (Steer Forth Press, 2005). "All the factors that have been working against family dinners are still in full force, but it's very much a subject on people's minds." (NY Times)

Families are way too busy if they can only meet up once a week for dinner. How involved should the kids be with other projects? I realize that I'm saying this as a father of a six-year-old and an eighteen-month-old, whose kids are not yet involved in sports, clubs, and various meetings. His kids aren't old enough - he is so naive - they'll become involved in extra-curricular activities and he'll be like every other parent. Do I have to let this happen though? Do I have to allow my girls to become so involved in other things that they have to schedule time to eat with Mom & Dad?

When it comes to the benefits of eating together as a family, the statistics are impressive:
The benefits of family dinners have been heralded for years by social scientists. A number of studies show that children who eat dinner with their families regularly are less likely to get involved with drugs and alcohol than those who do not. They also tend to get better grades, exhibit less stress and eat better.

The study by the Columbia center showed that compared with teenagers who have five or more family dinners a week, those who have two or less are three times as likely to try marijuana, two and half times as likely to smoke cigarettes and one and half times as likely to try alcohol.

Jesus, my homeboy, loves porn stars

Would someone explain the fundamental differences (if they exist) between the statements on this shirt and on this shirt?

1:02.03 04/05/06

We just passed it. If the Lord tarries and it happens again in 1,000 years, you won't be on planet Earth to witness it.

Tuesday, April 4, 2006

Barry Bonds' first day of work

I'm sorry but I laughed hysterically when I read this.

DeLay out!

Usually that's Ryan Seacrest's line on American Idol, but I guess Rep. Tom DeLay has decided to use it, too.
Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Tex.), a primary architect of the Republican majority who became one of the most powerful and feared leaders in Washington, told House allies last night that he will give up his seat rather than face a reelection fight that appears increasingly unwinnable.

The decision came three days after Tony C. Rudy, his former deputy chief of staff, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and corruption charges, telling federal prosecutors of a criminal enterprise being run out of DeLay's leadership offices. Rudy's plea agreement did not implicate DeLay in any illegal activities, but by placing the influence-buying efforts of disgraced Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff directly in DeLay's operation, the former aide may have made an already difficult reelection bid all but out of reach.

DeLay, who will turn 59 on Saturday, did not say precisely when he would step down, but under Texas law he must either die, be convicted of a felony, or move out of his district to be removed from the November ballot. DeLay told Time magazine that he is likely to change his official residence to Alexandria by the end of May. He said he informed President Bush of his decision yesterday afternoon. (WaPo)

Monday, April 3, 2006

World's Best Skylines

I'll let you take a guess as to what city ranked as #1. I lived in #5 for nearly a year, and I love going back for a visit. I'm almost ashamed to admit I've visited #2 only once - I went on a family trip with my parents and my sister's family (shout-out to Joy! Woo-woo!), and the only interesting things we did were visiting this lady and watching some hookers strut around. #20 is my new favorite city - I've been there twice and can't wait to return.

The complete list is here.

The U.S. has twenty-three cities listed, while China has twenty-two. Florida, my sister's home state, has three cities - Miami, Sunny Isles Beach, and Tampa (Panama City is listed, but it's the one in Panama the country). Ohio, the state of my birth, has two (!) cities, Cleveland and Columbus - Cincinnati wasn't listed, but I believe it has the best Ohio skyline, especially when one is driving into the city from Kentucky.

(H/T: Kevin Cawley)

Florida 73, UCLA 57

The Final Four has produced its winner - the Florida Gators. The Gators played in the finals in Indy in 2000 but lost to the Michigan State Spartans. The Gators had also made it to the Final Four in 1994, but failed to make the championship game. The UCLA Bruins won the championship in 1995.

This was the third team for which I was rooting. The first was Ohio State, but they didn't make it to the Sweet Sixteen. The second was George Mason, which lost on Saturday.

"This one talks and you don't have to press anything."

She's been a doll for many years. She's gone through some stylistic changes and has closets and closets full of clothes, but she's had only one boyfriend until very recently. She has her own DVD's and computer games. And now.... Barbie has come to life. And it turns out she can sing.
Taking product placement to new heights, the show — called a "kidsical" for combining traditional children's-theater interaction with Broadway-caliber costumes and 12 original songs — is Mattel's latest effort to buttress a brand battered by competition in recent years. Nowadays, a doll is never just a doll but a multimedia experience, so perhaps it was inevitable that Barbie, whose Web site and DVD's already top the charts with the under-6 set, would join Dora the Explorer, the Rugrats and Winnie the Pooh on stages around the country. (NY Times)

All I know is, my six-year-old better never find out about this show, or I'll never hear the end of it if we don't take her. The show is coming to Indy, so she's bound to find out.


You people with sons .... I'm sure I'm getting no sympathy from you.

the Meme of Jill Carroll

If you want to be part of the in the know crowd when it comes to knowing what bloggers are talking about, then you should head on over right now (I'll wait...) to Memeorandum. This site tells you what the most popular topic of the moment is. It seems to be updated regularly, so the accuracy is fairly spot-on.

At 4:20 AM on April 3, the hot topic is the release of Jill Carroll and her statements (which she claims were made under duress) against America. Some right-wingerbloggers supposedly have believed that Carroll was speaking her mind when she made anti-American statements on videotape, and have savaged here about this (no evidence can be found, however). Carroll gives a different story.
During my last night of captivity, my captors forced me to participate in a propaganda video. They told me I would be released if I cooperated. I was living in a threatening environment, under their control, and I wanted to go home alive. So I agreed.

Things that I was forced to say while captive are now being taken by some as an accurate reflection of my personal views. They are not. The people who kidnapped me and murdered Alan Enwiya are criminals, at best. They robbed Alan of his life and devastated his family. They put me, my family and my friends - all those around the world - who have prayed so fervently for my release - through a horrific experience. I was, and remain, deeply angry with the people who did this. (Seattle PI)

This raises some interesting questions: If you were in the same position as Carroll, would you have done the same thing? Would you have said anything that was written to satisfy your captors, knowing that going along with them might keep you alive? If you strongly objected to something that was written (on religious grounds or another reason), would you have refused, even if to do so meant a certain (and probably unpleasant) death?

Update: I can hear the crickets chirping. No one wants to take on my questions. Come on, nephews, surely you have something to say about this. Dustin, I'm waiting for you to say something controversial on my blog now....

Final Four in Indy

It has been an eventful weekend here in Indianapolis. As you know, Indy is playing host to the NCAA Final Four this year. The stage has been set for the final game this evening, between the Bruins of UCLA and the Gators of Florida. I was disappointed in George Mason's performance in the game against Florida, but they had quite a ride and knocked out some amazing team. What George Mason did will not be forgotten, and speaks to the huge heart of smaller college teams.

I didn't attend any of the downtown festivities this year. I didn't even buy a T-shirt, like I did when the finals were played in Indy in 2000. There was quite a wash-out at the end of the My Coke Concert last night, which featured performances by John Mellancamp, Carrie Underwood, Michelle Branch, and Chris Brown (no relation). A powerful storm moved through Indy (and a greater part of the Midwest) and caused some damage.

The game is set for 9:21 PM in the RCA Dome. Some people like Florida for the title, but we'll see what happens.

I was gonna blog about the whole DST/Indiana thing, but...

I'll let Doug Masson do it for me.

I will say that I prefer CST, if only to have prime time start at 7:00 PM and the nightly news at 10:00. That way, I can catch the news before I head off to work.

Sunday, April 2, 2006

Welcome, Tim McGraw fans

People still come here because of this post. I don't think this speaks as much to Tim McGraw as it does to the enduring legacy of Petra.

Speaking of Tim McGraw, it is quite difficult to find a picture of him (whether on the Internet or in magazines) in which in he is not in some fashion showing off his chest hair. Why does he prefer to be photographed when he's wearing an A-style undershirt or a button-down shirt with several buttons undone? Does he believe that his female fans enjoy this, and it meets some kind of sexual appeal? I'm just asking... I realize that he's far from being the only male singer to exhibit sexual potency by showing some skin, but he's one that comes easily to mind. If he had his own voice but the same physical features and manner of dress as this guy, would Tim be as popular?