Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Of all the stat-tracking sites, I like the TTLB ecosystem the best. I'm currently ranked as #2174, which puts me in the Adorable Little Rodent camp. Under the "Incoming Links" camp, I've received 5 links from Mark Daniels, 2 links from three folks (Mark Byron, Neumatikos, Right Truth), and just 1 link (on their blogroll, I assume) from 199 people.
Frank Turk, AKA Centuri0n whose blog is ...and his minister's a flame of fire, is currently ranked as #1716, putting him in the camp of Marauding Marsupial. Under his "Inbound Links" section, he has 200 links listed, meaning that 200 sites have linked to his. 37 of these sites have more than 1 link, meaning that not only is Frank on these sites' blogroll, he's also been linked within their postings. Under this section, I am #4 with 7 separate links - Blogdom of God has 16 links, Carla Rolfe has 8 (not a suprise, since she's one of his "sidekicks"), and the folks at Boars Head Tavern are tied with me at 7 (this seems on the surface to be a suprise, since Frank has had some skirmishes with the Tavern-ites, but it's not really). Pyromaniacs, a group blog to which Frank makes frequent contributions, is at #9 with only 5 links. Bizarre, no? I've linked to Frank 2 more times than his group blog...
BTW --- Frank is #1 under my "Outbounds Links" ranking, with Joe Carter (a Mortal Human) at #2 with 6 links.
She says she's writing a book, a supposed tell-all about the people who have "wronged" her.
Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five
Dave Clark Five
Which of these will make it in, and which will be left out in the cold? Does anyone even care anymore? The only ones worthy of induction are the fellas in R.E.M. (yes, even Bill Berry) and Patti Smith. Van Halen doesn't seem like they've been around long enough, and I'm not sure that their music has had as much impact on the music scene as other bands' (although Eddie's guitar skills are extraordinary).
Sorry, KISS - denied! Again! Maybe if you had kept your makeup on the whole time, instead of taking it off for a while, you'd be rocking Cleveland right now as well as Detroit.
Haven't yet carved this year's duo so I don't know what they'll look like, but we'll see soon enough.
I'll be taking the girls around the neighborhood tonight, so The Wife is the lucky one to pass out candy to the kids. As I've said, The Cute One is going to be a bee, but the Sweet One still hasn't decided...
As a Christian, should I even be "celebrating" Halloween and taking my girls trick-or-treating? Isn't it "the Devil's holiday" or "the Devil's birthday?" While I don't subscribe to those particular notions (I don't think the Devil has any sort of holiday, much less one that involves tasty pie filling...), I think it is important to think "Christian-ly" about Halloween. Tim Challies has some nice thoughts about it here - he views Halloween as a way to reach out and connect with one's neighbors.
Christianity Today has more on Halloween.
Monday, October 30, 2006
Sunday, October 29, 2006
This article in the Chicago Tribune has more about this very topic.
Saturday, October 28, 2006
I'm also reading Doris Kearns Goodwin's Team of Rivals, now in paperbook form. If you haven't heard of the book (it's a #1 New York Times bestseller), it focuses on Abraham Lincoln and the men who helped him guide the country - the North, anyway - during the Civil War. This is the second time I have purchased the book. I bought it shortly after it was published, started reading it, took it on vacation, and lost it. I'm very excited to now have this book again, and I plan to keep a good watch on it.
I have to say, I love it whenever D.K. Goodwin comes on the TV screen. I know she's had issues with plagiarism in her past works, but that hasn't stopped me from reading what she's written. I don't know why, but I'm intrigued by her voice and her face. She's not particularly attractive, but she certainly isn't unpleasant-looking. She just seems so very knowledgable. If she ever does a book-signing in my area and I hear of it, you can bet I'll be there.
Friday, October 27, 2006
WHAT I'M THINKING ABOUT RIGHT NOW:
Are you tired of all the political ads you've seen, and you're so ready for the first Tuesday in November to come and go? I certainly am. Almost every other ad on TV is for two specific races: Marion County prosecutor (which engulfs the Indianapolis area) and the 9th congressional district of Indiana. Republican Carl Brizzi, the current county prosecutor, is running a campaign of "experience" against his Democratic opponent Melina Kennedy, who hasn't prosecuted a single criminal but she wants the job anyway. "Millionaire" - and Republican incumbent - Mike Sodrel is running to keep his seat in the House, hoping to keep Democrat Baron Hill from taking back the seat he held for three terms.
Brizzi's ads initially focused on the work he did as prosecutor. He has obtained a 57% conviction rate, which equals the national average. So, Brizzi is doing as well as most other county prosecutors are doing. More recently, though, Brizzi ads have been "warm and fuzzy," featuring his wife and children - and what appears to be a dream kitchen - with him as he talks about his desire to protect others. Kennedy's ads seem to say that it doesn't matter whether she has experience or not, it only matters that Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson wants her to have the job, too.
Sodrel won his seat two years ago by taking it from the incumbent, Democrat Baron Hill. Sodrel's ads paint Hill as some type of flaming liberal, apparently voting to have abortions paid for with tax dollars and to put a violent video game into every child's home. Hill believes that being a millionaire is a big negative for Sodrel, and that a "change" is warranted, even though that "change" involves voting in a guy who already had the job for six years and was turned out in 2004.
WHERE MY BODY IS RIGHT NOW:
We are staying with the in-law's in Danville, Illlinois, for the weekend. The Cute One's second birthday is in a few days, but we'll be celebrating it with The Wife's family tomorrow evening. We'll return home Sunday afternoon.
WHAT I ATE TODAY:
1 tall Java Chip Frappuccino from Starbucks
1 chocolate cream cheese muffin from Starbucks
Several pretzel sticks
Several Colby cheese cubes
1/2 turtle cheesecake from Fazoli's (from Thursday night's dinner)
Several glasses of Classsic Coca-Cola
1 Whopper Jr. from Burger King
Two chicken nuggets from Burger King
2 homemade soft tacos, made by The Mother-in-law
2 oatmeal rasin cookies and a brownie
Thursday, October 26, 2006
Here is a sample question with Kuo's response:
Washington, D.C.: Unlike many of Bush's opponents, I believe his professions of faith are genuine, and that religion is a central part of his life. But I also believe that if he were to spell out his beliefs in detail -- something he's always avoided -- many of his admirers would be shocked to discover that he's far less socially conservative than they've allowed themselves to imagine. Can you offer any insight as to whether I'm right or wrong on this?
David Kuo: Great question and one that I cannot ultimately answer. His faith is obviously real and so is his deep personal compassion for other people who are hurting. But his religious image is so tightly controlled for the evangelical market it is amazing - information about his daily devotional reading (or even that he does it) is used to help reassure Christians that he is one of them. That is just kind of weird.
He isn't alone in using his faith, however, look at recent comments by John Kerry about the increasing importance of his faith. It is as if this idea has reached maturity that if you want to be President of the United States you must also be pastor-in-chief.
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Joe Carter of the Evangelical Outpost has this to say about Obama (and a certain junior senator from New York):
So after two years in the U.S. Senate, Barack Obama thinks its time to make his move on the White House. Can anyone name a single achievement (other than getting elected) that Obama is known for? Yeah, me neither.
What does it say about the Democratic Party that the two leading contenders for the presidential nomination are two first term Senators with lackluster resumes? At least Obama has a great speaking voice. What does Hillary's claim to fame other than being married to a former President?
I guess this means that I should say this: If there comes a time again in our country when we are engaged in a great civil war, and I am nominated to lead, I will not run. If I am elected during a time of great civil war, I will not serve.
I can't say that I know personally any children of "Christian celebrities," much less the "celebrities" themselves. I was a good friend in college with the vocalist for this band, and in high school I was a very good friend with a guy who went on to be in a band with the son of this particular Christian celebrity (the band hasn't been together for years, btw).
However, I can say that in college, I was a friend with the nephew of a well-known California pastor and author (no, not John MacArthur). He is also the grandson of one of my alma mater's former presidents and chancellors. I remember talking with him about that while we were lounging in his grandfather's house one day (his grandfather was not home at the time) and he said, "So many people here are in awe of him, but to me he's just 'Grandpa'."
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
President Bush and his aides are annoyed that people keep misinterpreting his Iraq policy as "stay the course." A complete distortion, they say. "That is not a stay-the-course policy," White House press secretary Tony Snow declared yesterday.So, even though he said it numerous times, Bush never intended it to be some sort of slogan? Perhaps Bush will next explain what the definition of "is" is.
Where would anyone have gotten that idea? Well, maybe from Bush.
"We will stay the course. We will help this young Iraqi democracy succeed," he said in Salt Lake City in August.
"We will win in Iraq so long as we stay the course," he said in Milwaukee in July.
"I saw people wondering whether the United States would have the nerve to stay the course and help them succeed," he said after returning from Baghdad in June.
But the White House is cutting and running from "stay the course." A phrase meant to connote steely resolve instead has become a symbol for being out of touch and rigid in the face of a war that seems to grow worse by the week, Republican strategists say. Democrats have now turned "stay the course" into an attack line in campaign commercials, and the Bush team is busy explaining that "stay the course" does not actually mean stay the course.
Instead, they have been emphasizing in recent weeks how adaptable the president's Iraq policy actually is. Bush remains steadfast about remaining in Iraq, they say, but constantly shifts tactics and methods in response to an adjusting enemy. "What you have is not 'stay the course' but in fact a study in constant motion by the administration," Snow said yesterday.
UPDATED: Good grief! Many of WaPo's articles give you the ability to see what other blogs are linking to them. I checked this article, and so many people are saying something similar to the former heading I used - "cut & run from stay the course." So, I changed the heading to distinguish myself.
And it got me thinking: Are you able to talk profusely about how God takes risks, and still say that you don't advocate open theism?
Monday, October 23, 2006
Speaking of Top Chef, are you watching? It's on Bravo at 10:00 PM on Wednesdays, the same time that Project Runway was on.
The folks at Top Chef 2: They Cook. We Dish. will be blogging the show.
Nancy Pelosi can have any suite she wants!
Barney Frank can get his portrait painted!
Louise Slaughter will climb the "pileup of disasters!"
You can dare to dream, guys, but don't forget that you have an election coming in two weeks. You've got work to do.
Sunday, October 22, 2006
As I said last year at this time (I looked for the post from last year - it's missing, sorry): I like the old horror films, and I like the newer films that rely more on suspense and atmosphere (as opposed to gore,random killings, and scenes of torture) to bring the thrills. I greatly dislike the modern gore-filled films, although I will watch the TV-version of Halloween (which has less gore than your average CSI: episode). I enjoyed recent films like The Others and The Ring, but I won't be seeing Hostel or the Saw series.
By the way, I did catch Children of the Corn yesterday afternoon. Interesting story (evil children follow a twisted 11-year-old "preacher" and kill all adults), but very silly in the telling of it - it wasn't the least bit scary, except perhaps Courtney Gains' hair - Peter Horton's and Linda Hamilton's characters made ridiculous decisions throughout the movie (Let's go into a cornfield where some kid was just slashed to death! Let's go to a town when we're warned not to! Let's stay in a town that's obviously deserted!) that no one in their right mind would make - cheesy effects for the monster/demon at the film's end. If you haven't seen it, I wouldn't necessarily recommend renting it - it will come on TV again sometime, and you can catch it then. I do, however, want to say this: If you drive through some lonely little town and someone starts screaming "Outlander!" at you, just keep on driving.
Go here to check out AMC's site, which gives the schedule of the films.
W. David O. Taylor has written an interesting article, arguing that a Christian can make a "good" horror film. He also argues that the good horror films invite us to consider, and to stand up against, the true horrors of the world - our very selves.
Denis Haack has written an article on writer/director Scott Derrickson, who claims to follow Christ. Derrickson said of horror films, "No other genre offers audiences a more spiritual view of the world, and no other genre communicates a more clearly defined moral perspective.” Derrickson directed last year's The Exorcism of Emily Rose. Christianity Today interviewed Derrickson last year, which you can read here.
Here is the site for horror's "sinister minister," Maurice Broaddus. He's a church-planter who enjoys - and occasionaly writes - a good horror story. Broaddus lives in the Indianapolis area and is a contributer to INTake's "The Blog Squad."
For the invasively curious: The Wife hates - nay, loathes - horror films and will not watch them. The last one she saw was Se7en, only because she didn't know anything about it (and I didn't tell her about the plot) beyond that it starred Brad Pitt and Gwyneth Paltrow.
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Isn't that nice to know? It would truly be impressive, however, if it limited the amount of dollars it costs to get into the parks. Then we'd be talking about something extremely good...
`` We are excited about coming back to Ohio. We didn't really sit down and plan to come back -- we were really trying for some place warmer,'' Bales said, with a chuckle. ``But we believe God has called us to Riverwood and we're excited about that because it is a very relatable, authentic church that recognizes it is designed to be a hospital, not a country club. It is a place that helps people.''
In fact, they're kind of scary. I've wondered where this started and I think it goes back to the time I went to the circus, and a clown killed my dad.
Just another deep thought by Jack Handey, of course.
What, you don't remember him? He was the best thing about Saturday Night Live in the late 1980s and early 90s. Anyway, he's got a book out now.
Monday, October 16, 2006
Although I often wish I lived in a warmer climate, especially when the wind blasts through the days of February (my least favorite month of the year), I believe that I would miss the changing colors and cool breezes of Autumn if I did so. There's nothing quite like walking through the fallen leaves, wearing a warm sweater, enjoying the beauty of ever-changing creation.
Among those at the ceremony on the steps of St. Peter's Basilica were ailing Chicago Cardinal Francis George and five Indiana churchmen. George, who is recovering from cancer surgery, flew to Rome with hundreds of alumnae, trustees and students of St. Mary-of-the-Woods College in Indiana. After enduring a long sea and land journey, Guerin, born Anne-Therese Guerin in Brittany in 1798, turned the porch of a drafty farmhouse into a chapel for spiritual comfort. By the time of her death in 1856, her order was running schools and orphanages in Indiana, the pope noted.
In the crowd was the American man whose restored vision was judged by the Vatican to be the miracle necessary for Guerin's sainthood.
"Being here with so many faithful, seeing the pope," said Phil McCord, "it's really overwhelming." McCord, a 60-year-old engineer who manages the campus of Guerin's order, recalled how he had faced a corneal transplant after damage from cataract surgery. He went to the chapel at the college and asked Guerin for help, and his eyesight started to improve the next morning, said McCord, the son of a lay Baptist minister.
You can read more about the ceremony here.
USA Today traces Guerin's path to sainthood, which you can read here.
Robert King, blogger for the Indianapolis Star, chronicled his experiences in Rome, which you can read here.
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Lost is now 2-for-2 with intriguing episodes this season. I always like seeing Jin and Sun's flashbacks, and these were no exception. Poor Jin thought he had saved someone's life, only to have that person take his own life by making a huge dent in Jin's car. We also see that Sun is fairly used to deceiving the people she's closest to (first her father, then her husband), and she didn't stop the deception when Oceanic 815 crashed.
- Really? Ben has lived on the island his own life? Hmmmm....
- It's nice to know that there is indeed an outside world, and The Others keep in touch with it. (And, apparently, George W. Bush is a factor in the Lost universe). But of course we still don't know why The Others don't just go to the outside world, and what keeps them in the island.
- Is Jae the father of Sun's baby? How much does Jin know?
- That was Danielle Rousseau's daughter Alex talking to Kate, right? And speaking of Rousseau, when will she make a return visit? I suspect that she knows more about The Others than she has let on.
- How did Juliet get to score time with Jack in the aquarium, and with Sawyer & Kate on the rock dig? Is she going to be everywhere at once?
- What is the purpose of the rock dig, and what did the other people do to wind up there?
- Please, Jeffrey and J.J. and Damon - don't make The Others all-knowing and all-powerful. So far, that's how they've been portrayed, except that they didn't know a thing about Desmond's sailboat (and how is that possible?). I was excited when Sawyer talked with Kate about "waiting til they make a mistake," but disheartened to see that it was captured on videotape. It will quickly becoming boring if The Others can expect and counter the Losties every move...
- If people would just communicate and be honest with each other, they wouldn't be in the predicaments they have found themselves to be in. Consider: what would have happened if Michael had been honest about what The Others wanted? what would have happened if Jack had told Sawyer, Kate & Hurley about Michael's betrayal? what would have happened if Sayid had been honest - from the outset - with Sun and Jin about his plan to capture two of The Others?
- No matter what Ben says, The Others do not act like they are "the good guys." If they were indeed good, they would have (1) sent genuine help, not spies, to the survivors of the crash, (2) been honest from the outset about their intentions, and (3) not delighted in torturing other people.
- It appears from previews for next week's Further Instructions episode that Ole Smokey makes a return visit.
Let me get this straight. She skipped out of the wedding she herself had planned, she went missing for a few days, she returned with an outrageous story that she later admitted was false, and then she sold her story for money. Now she claims she didn't get her share of this money, and she's taking her ex-fiance to court to get it.
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Has anyone seen it? Has anyone else heard of it? I just don't visit the movie theatre that often these days, and I'm not especially inclined to see yet another high school football movie when there's been several (like Remember the Titans) in recent years, and even a TV show (Friday Night Lights, which was a movie a few years ago). If you go to the Internet Movie Data Base, you will see that some people have made comments on how the film might be "too religious." How can a film be "too religious?" Please - that's a little like saying The Birdcage was "too gay."
Speaking of Friday Night Lights, how funny is it that the show airs on Tuesdays instead of the night you think it would? Oh, that's right - everybody's actually at a high school football game on that night, and so nobody would be home to watch the show.
Monday, October 9, 2006
Regarding the best time they say to buy baby clothes, my response is, "Well, duh!!"
Speaking at a news conference, Richard Bentall, a professor of clinical psychology at the University of Manchester, said the concept of schizophrenia is scientifically meaningless. “It groups together a whole range of different problems under one label — the assumption is that all of these people with all of these different problems have the same brain disease,” he added. (MSNBC)Go here for information on the Campaign for Abolition of the Schizophrenia Label.
The idea that schizophrenia is not a true illness is by no means a new one. Psychiatrist Thomas Szasz expressed his ideas about schizophrenia in The Myth of Mental Illness: Foundations of a Theory of Personal Conduct. Szasz has no kind words for psychiatry in general, even though he comes from their ranks.
The National Institute of Mental Health has some good info on schizophrenia - go here.
More on Canadian Thanksgiving here and here.
- Is 4% an accurate number?
- Are the teens really leaving the faith in general, or just their church's view of it?
- Is entertainment - through magazines, movies, or rock concerts - the way to reach teens today, or should there be something more profound at work?
- If the teens are leaving, how do we know that they won't someday return?
- In Matthew 7, Jesus discusses the narrow gate that leads to life, and on how few people find it. If a great many teens turn away from Jesus and His message, should we really be shocked by it?
- If we believe that God is in control, and everything happens according to His purposes, do we truly have a reason to panic?
Mollie at Get Religion has more about this, which you can read here.
... All across Africa, India and parts of Southeast Asia, from within and around whatever patches and corridors of their natural habitat remain, elephants have been striking out, destroying villages and crops, attacking and killing human beings. In fact, these attacks have become so commonplace that a whole new statistical category, known as Human-Elephant Conflict, or H.E.C., was created by elephant researchers in the mid-1990’s to monitor the problem. In the Indian state Jharkhand near the western border of Bangladesh, 300 people were killed by elephants between 2000 and 2004. In the past 12 years, elephants have killed 605 people in Assam, a state in northeastern India, 239 of them since 2001; 265 elephants have died in that same period, the majority of them as a result of retaliation by angry villagers, who have used everything from poison-tipped arrows to laced food to exact their revenge. In Africa, reports of human-elephant conflicts appear almost daily, from Zambia to Tanzania, from Uganda to Sierra Leone, where 300 villagers evacuated their homes last year because of unprovoked elephant attacks. (NY Times)
If you're planning to go on safari anytime in the near future, be extra careful out there.
Wednesday, October 4, 2006
Update: Yes, I certainly did watch the season premiere. The first five minutes of the show were every bit as mesmerizing and great as the critics raved. Some questions answered (where do The Others live, and are they really so primitive? did the Dharma Initiative build anything more substantial on the island beyond a few underground hatches? what is NotHenry's real name?), but many remain.
Tuesday, October 3, 2006
Ultrasound images which show 12-week-old foetuses sucking their thumbs and walking in the womb are dangerously misleading, a group of scientists warned today.This article is frustrating for many reasons, the least of which is the lack of explanation by the scientists as to what is "dangerously misleading." Who is in danger? How are they in danger? Yes, of course, we understand that a child at 12 weeks in the womb is very immature, but that doesn't make her any less human. The level of maturity isn't the deciding factor in what constitutes a human being - its very existence is.
The 3D images of unborn babies apparently behaving in a similar way to newborns raised questions over whether the upper limit for abortions should be reduced form 24 weeks.
However, a group of scientists has now warned the scans could be dangerously misleading as they do not reflect the true nature of an unborn baby's brain.
Dr Donald Peebles, a consultant in foetal medicine at University College London, said the temptation to associate foetal movements with adult movements was "incredibly dangerous" and said they contributed nothing to the debate over whether the legal time limit for abortion should be lowered. (Daily Mail)
More from: Justin Taylor, Tim Ellsworth
Monday, October 2, 2006
In his official biography, First Man, Mr Armstrong tells the author James Hansen: “It doesn’t sound like there was time for the word to be there. On the other hand, I didn’t intentionally make an inane statement . . . certainly the ‘a’ was intended, because that’s the only way the statement makes any sense.”
Professor Hansen said: “Neil’s not got much of an ego, he’s a very modest man, but I think this really means something to him to have the proof.”
Have you ever been to the Neil Armstrong museum in Wapakoneta, Ohio? I went there years ago, dragging The Wife with me before we were married. We lived in Dayton, Ohio, at the time (although not under the same roof!), and Wapakoneta is only an hour north, so I decided to make the trip one Saturday. I think we went shortly after Apollo 13 hit theaters. I enjoyed it more than she did, but she was in love, so she didn't mind.
No longer perfect:
- Bengals (spanked hard enough to make waves in the Ohio River!)
- Seahawks (spanked so hard the Space Needle nearly fell over!!!)
To the family members that stop by this blog: you knew I'd be posting on this, didn't you?
More: If you are a Colts fan, check out the fan site Stampede Blue.