Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Brownie steps out of his hiatus to write...

Okay, I'm cheating a bit. I'm still on hiatus, but I'm putting up a post. Why? Well, I have the time, and I want to provide a few links for myself and the couple other people who still read this blog (Hi, Sis! Hi, Megillicutty!), so there you go.

I had a very nice mini-vacation last weekend in Fort Lauderdale. While The Wife worked, I got to lounge by the pool at this place. It's a little pricey (The Wife's place of employment paid for our room), but I recommend it if you have the means. We took a boat ride by Miami's Millionaire's Row, and I took photos of Shaq's place and Gloria Estefan's home. We spent an evening walking around the Art Deco buildings of South Beach, and we ate a delicious meal at the Pelican Hotel. We saw two of these cars, which really aren't so impressive in person as they seem to be in pictures. I walked by this famous Ocean Drive building, the former home of murdered fashion designer Gianni Versace, when several people were coming out of it, but I didn't recognize anyone. I ate a tasty burger at this place near Ft. Lauderdale's beach. All in all, a nice time.

Here is the cover art for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Both Harry and his nemesis Voldemort are on the cover. Neither The-Boy-Who-Lived nor He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named are holding their wands - is there some significance to this? We'll have to wait until July!

For a period of time when I was a child, I collected stamps. I didn't have a particular affinity for any certain type of stamp - I had stamps of people, places, and things. This was a very short period, so I didn't collect many. I have no idea where they are now. However, I will have to gather up every one of these stamps. The Wife and my parents know why.

I love bunny movies!

One last thing. The Wife had an important life event yesterday. Not on par with, say, graduating from college or getting married or having a baby, but still important. It was the kind of event most everyone has experienced at some point (I haven't yet, but I believe I came close ten years ago). As devastating as an event it can be to many people, she took it very much in stride. She wasn't suprised by it. She found it to be quite liberating. She knows that God is still on His throne, that He is in control, and that our family will be able to go on. I love you, Honey!!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Also while I'm on hiatus...

Let me leave you with some things to check out and/or ponder.
  • Whatever happened to the Holy Spirit? Dan Edelen wants to know.
  • Kill the bear!
  • According to this Wikipedia article, the upcoming episode of Lost, "The Man from Tallahassee", will feature conversations between Locke and Ben. Will Locke ask a question I would ask if I were him - "If you saw our plane fall from the sky, why did you decide to 'infiltrate' us, lie to us, and harm us when you should have come to help us?" Then again, it's such an obvious and giving-away-the-show-storyline question that there's no way any character will ask that (and no Other would directly answer it).
  • I was a fan of pro wrestling back in the early 1980's. Those were the glory days of Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant, and WrestleMania III. I felt very sad reading this article about the current use of steroids by some pro wrestlers. (When I worked as a university hall director a few years ago, one of my resident advisors was a niece of this wrestler - he claims to be a Christian.)
  • Maybe the less you know about aliens, the better.
  • Joe Carter lists 10 things we've forgotten about the Iraq war. He also gives a scathing critique of Jim Wallis' views on Darfur (for God's sake, save them!) and Iraq (saving them offends God!).
  • Improbably, I'm a fan of Bravo's Project Runway. There will be a season four. Style guru Tim Gunn has a book coming out - and in case you hadn't noticed, Gunn himself is out as well.
  • I'll believe this about a Real World cast when I see it. Every season showcases nothing but the same sex-crazed, constantly-intoxicated 20-somethings who fight about sex and alcohol - they're just in a different city each season. RW stopped being interesting after San Francisco, and I pity the poor people who've only seen it from Las Vegas on.
  • Mark Driscoll reveals a bit of himself with this post. Frank Turk brings up important points on one aspect of Driscoll's post: the apparent need for multiple services and video broadcasting. iMonk talked to Noel Heikkinen about it.
  • I probably shouldn't have, but I chuckled at reading this bumper sticker.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

On Hiatus


I'll be taking a break from blogging for a bit.

While I'm tanning myself in sunny Florida, be sure to check out these sites. They are some of my favorites:

Stop by to see my relations, too:

I was saddened to learn that fellow DCHS and Cedarville alum Brian Orme is discontinuing his blog. He will be missed!

TwitterVision

Go to it if you dare...

Monday, March 19, 2007

Be wary of your fellow airplane passengers

One might look like she's sleeping, but she's actually dead.

My wife flies to Miami later today, and I'm flying down there on Thursday. I'll let you know if I have any "sleepy" neighbors.

Sweet Sixteen

How are your brackets for the office pool? (A non-gambling one, of course....)

All four #1 seeds are still alive, as expected. No Cinderella teams this year, with the lowest seed being Vanderbilt (#6). What happened to you, George Masons of the world?

Those Purdue guys may have acted tough when they met with Indy Star reporters over the weekend, but Florida showed them how to play a game in the Big Dance: you play tough and you win it. Will Florida go all the way like they did last year? First, they have to get past the Butler Bulldogs, the only Indiana team remaining in the tournament.

OSU is the only Ohio - and Big Ten - team to make it, beating out fellow Ohio university Xavier in overtime. My Wright State Raiders didn't get past the first round.

Butler in the Sweet 16


basketball
Originally uploaded by Good Brownie.
The Butler Bulldogs are one of the Sweet Sixteen! Good luck, guys - you'll need it against the defending champion Gators.

America's favorite architectural structures

Here they are - all 150 of them. They're mostly buildings, but the Golden Gate Bridge and Vietnam Veterans Memorial are in there.

I've been to Orlando several times in the past few years, so I've seen Michael Graves' Swan and Dolphin. It's Disney, of course, but most everything in Orlando seems to be. I've stayed at Miami's Fontainebleau twice, and the first time was the better one - a heavenly Art Deco inspired room with a balcony and magnificent view of the hotel grounds below and the Atlantic beyond.

Chicago had several buildings represented, including this one:

tall
Originally uploaded by Good Brownie.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

"I'll leave that for others to conclude."

That was Senator Clinton's response when asked if she believes the same as General Pace about the morality of homosexuality. Truly a political answer, no? It makes me wonder what other questions she would respond to in this manner.

"Senator, how are you feeling today?"
"I'll leave that for others to conclude."

"Senator, should healthcare be managed by the government?"
"I'll leave that for others to conclude."

"Senator, what is two times two?"
"I'll leave that for others to conclude."

Science is hard

The Onion has it. This news comes straight outta Indy.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

"Beware the Ides of March."

A classic scene.

free Starbucks

Oh, yeah. I'll be there.

Update: Missed it. Having to contend with a two-year-old and a puppy will do that to you.

"Late mortgage payments reach high"

I bought my first house not long ago. So far my mortgage payments have been on time. However, some people have struggles with that concept.

"Unlike most politicians, I will not hide my EVIL SIDE!"

Jonathan "The Impaler" Sharkey, who ran for governor of Minnesota in 2006, has announced his plan to run for the presidency next year. He describes himself as a "Sanguinary Satanic Vampyre" and a "Hecate Witch."

Is he serious? Is this just a big joke? Looking through the website, it's difficult to tell for sure, but it appears that he's serious.

He's got a blog, too.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

"The Company"

This should be an interesting show.
"The Company," which focuses on the activities of the CIA during the Cold War, is scheduled to premiere in August. The six-hour limited series will join a pair of other new shows, the previously announced "Heartland" and "Saving Grace." The cable network also announced several new series in development Tuesday, including a project from Steven Bochco and an update of the 1960s series "The Saint."

Actors involved in the project include Michael Keaton, Chris O'Donnell, and Alfred Molina. Keaton played Batman in 1989's Batman and 1992's Batman Returns, O'Donnell played Robin in 1995's Batman Forever and 1997's Batman & Robin, and Molina played the villainous Doc Ock in 2004's Spiderman 2. I wonder if the actors will reference that somehow in this show. Perhaps Keaton's character could have a love of comic books, or O'Donnell could be an avid ornithologist.

"They are much like indulgences in that way, aren't they?"

Somehow, Tim Challies connects one of the latest trends of the environmentalist crowd - purchasing carbon offsets for home energy use - to the ancient Roman Catholic practice of selling indulgences. Naturally, he brings up Al Gore.
I was amazed, as I thought about this, how humans are so eager to rely on their own actions instead of grace. Indulgences bypass grace through action, through human merit. Carbon offsets do the same, relying on self-punishment (purchasing "forgiveness" for crimes committed) to assuage guilt. By purchasing an indulgence a person neither needs to regret nor change his behavior. He can simply buy forgiveness in the form of a piece of paper. The same is true with carbon offsets. A person can continue to drive his SUV and fly around the world in a private jet, but have his conscience clear because he has offset his guilt with the offsets he purchases. If we ever reach the point where we are forced by the government to purchase carbon offsets, it is the poor who will suffer and the rich who will benefit. There will be no equality.

Indulgences and carbon offsets showed me something. Somewhere in the human heart is something that demands justice, but demands a perverted justice. It demands a justice that is so human, so flawed. It demands a justice that does not rely on grace.
As Instapundit would say, read the whole thing.

Related: The evangelical catfight over the environment

Related 2: Will this happen in America?

a giving Wal*Mart?

For all the evils that we hear about Wal*Mart, it's nice to see them do some good things.

Premillennialism

Apparently, there are problems.

social laughter

When you're watching a comedy in a packed theater, do you laugh at something because you find it truly humorous or because other people are laughing? This is an intriguing article on the social aspects of laughter.

This scholarly study examines the neuological components to laughter.

Where did many "Idol" contestants first start singing?


Unsurprisingly, it was in church. LaKisha Jones is the latest to put down the hymnbook and pick up the lyrics to recent pop hits. Ruben and Fantasia preceded her.


Monday, March 12, 2007

March Madness brackets

The brackets have been filled. The office pools will start later today.

I find it humorous how they decide to place teams in the location categories: Midwest, West, East, and South. Maryland is close to the Atlantic Ocean and Oregon is close to the Pacific, but somehow they both are in the Midwest section. Wright State, one of my two alma maters, is in the West section - I suppose there was a time when Ohio was considered Out West, but that was 150 years ago or so.

I'm from Ohio but I currently live in Indiana, so let's see how teams from those states fared:

Ohio: OSU (#1-South), Xavier (#9-South), Wright State (#14-West), Miami (#14-Midwest)

Indiana: Butler (#5-Midwest), Notre Dame (#6-Midwest), Indiana (#7-West), Purdue (#9-Midwest)

Thursday, March 8, 2007

the "neither/nor" candidate

If we have a Clinton/Giuliani match-up next year, might we have this as well?

In the final weeks of the French presidential campaign, dominated by a nurturing Socialist and a crime-busting conservative, a third candidate has upended the race with a very American theme: put partisanship aside and end the false promises of the big parties.

The candidate, Fran├žois Bayrou, a 55-year-old politician, farmer and former classics teacher, is campaigning as the “neither/nor” option. Remarkably, the strategy seems to be working, in part because of rising disillusionment over the two main candidates.


The percentage of undecided voters is higher than before any presidential election in 25 years. Between 17 and 20 percent of voters say they will choose Mr. Bayrou in the first electoral round on April 22, according to France’s major polling organizations. Suddenly, he is a contender.

Hmmm. A "nurturing Socialist" and a "crime-busting Conservative." On the surface, it sounds like a Clinton/Giuliani match-up, doesn't it? Clinton wants to be perceived as nurturing and she has been labeled a Socialist in the past, and Giuliani's policies helped to clean up New York City streets.

It wasn't so long ago - 1992, in fact - that we had a third-party candidate who made some serious waves. H. Ross Perot became a media darling after he announced on Larry King Live that he'd run for president if his name was on the ballots of all 50 states. Even though he couldn't seem to make up his mind about the presidency, he received almost 19% of the popular vote. Ralph Nader attempted to become a serious third-party contender in 2000, but he was largely seen as a person who squirreled away votes from Al Gore.

Ft. Lauderdale

Next week, The Wife and I will be heading to the Ft. Lauderdale/Miami area for a few days. We've been there before, so we're quite familiar with South Beach and Sawgrass Mills. Much to The Wife's chagrin, I plan on making a pilgrimage to the site where Anna Nicole died. Anybody have any other favorite spots to visit?

Update: Maybe I'll hang out with Ann Coulter. She owned a place in nearby Palm Beach.

You feel embarrassed when...

...you are in your yard and you yell at your neighbor's dogs to be quiet because it's nighttime and they're barking, and your neighbor steps out of the shadows to prove that he heard you.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

an American werewolf in Wisconsin


A werewolf is running around Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. At least,that's what a man told police after he was arrested for breaking into a woman's apartment. He claimed to be a werewolf presently in human form. (This is nothing new. People have been talking about werewolves in Wisconsin for quite some time now. Perhaps the man is this beast.) The woman said he entered her home - in human form - around 3:00 AM and grabbed her. The article did not say that the man bit the woman, so it is unknown if she will commence with any carnivorous lunar activities within the next month or two. The man was also charged with marijuana possession - who knew lycans liked to smoke grass?

Forgive me, Al...

Dr. Sanity has a great little comic on to whom we should confess when we experience "green guilt."

layoffs at New Life Church

New Life Church of Colorado Springs, a 14,000-member mega-church, is cutting its paid positions in the wake of the fall of former pastor Ted Haggard.
Beset by scandal and a subsequent decline in giving, New Life Church in Colorado Springs has laid off 44 people - or about 12 percent of its workforce - a church official said today.

The nondenominational megachurch had experienced attendance and financial growth in each of its 22 previous years, said Rob Brendle, an associate pastor.

That came to end in early November, when its charismatic founding pastor, the Rev. Ted Haggard, was fired amid allegations he used methamphetamine and paid a male prostitute for sex.

Brendle estimated church income has been down 10 percent since then, orcing the layoffs. The layoffs range from pastoral staff to support staff and nursery workers. Brendle said the cuts took place last week and were announced today during Sunday services.

"We recognize a church is an institution of trust, and that trust has been bruised," Brendle said. "So we're committed to serving people faithfully and earning it back in any cases where it might have diminished." (Denver Post)
When the pastor of a church is forced to step down, his family isn't the only one to be hurt. This can be especially true in mega-churches, where there are more people in the congregation - and more staff members on the payroll - to be affected by it.

Raiders defeat Bulldogs

Living in Indianapolis, I'm surrounded by Butler fans. I hope they don't mind that I am rejoicing in this victory! Special congratulations to DaShaun Wood.

For those who don't know: I received an M.S. in mental health counseling from Wright State in 1995. And I was only 8 years old!

I wonder if the Bulldogs like seeing this banner in Hinkle Fieldhouse now!


Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Coulter calamities

Wow. I agree with Atrios completely on this.

She showed up on Fox last night, and she's going to be on Sean Hannity's radio show later today, getting what she craves most - attention.

Some of the credentialed CPAC bloggers, and other right-of-center folks, have sent an open letter to CPAC about Coulter's words.

From Al Mohler's blog:

So . . . why would Ann Coulter use that word? And, even more troubling to me, why would any in her audience laugh? There is nothing remotely funny about that word in any context. It is meant to hurt when boys use it in the locker room, and it was meant to hurt when Ann Coulter used it when speaking to a conservative audience. It demeans homosexuals and should be banned from any acceptable discourse.

How can homosexuals think anything but the worst of a movement that would laugh at the use of this slur? How can we think any better of ourselves if we stand by and let it happen?
Andrew Sullivan likes what Mohler said.

Monday, March 5, 2007

(red) troubles?


Back in November 2006, I first learned about the (RED) Campaign. This organization, in cooperation with several companies that include Gap, claims to send some of its profits to Africa so that those stricken with AIDS may obtain medicine. From their website:

(RED) is not a charity. It is simply a business model. You buy (RED) stuff. We get the money, buy the pills and distribute them. They take the pills, stay alive, and continue to take care of their families and contribute socially and economically in their communities.

If they don't get the pills, they die. We don't want them to die. We want to give them the pills. And we can. And you can. And it's easy.

All you have to do is upgrade your choice.
I wrote a post about this company, specifically its marketing strategies and the involvement of celebrities such as Bono and Oprah. I was concerned that people may be more focused on buying the products and being perceived as someone who cares about others, rather than being someone who cares about others and doesn't have a need to put on a display.

Advertising Age recently published an article about (RED), claiming that only $18 million has been raised (and upwards of $100 million may have been spent on marketing).

The disproportionate ratio between the marketing outlay and the money raised is drawing concern among nonprofit watchdogs, cause-marketing experts and even executives in the ad business. It threatens to spur a backlash, not just against the Red campaign -- which ambitiously set out to change the cause-marketing model by allowing partners to profit from charity -- but also for the brands involved.
As expected, parodies have sprung up.

The campaign's inherent appeal to conspicuous consumption has spurred a parody by a group of San Francisco designers and artists, who take issue with Bono's rallying cry. "Shopping is not a solution. Buy less. Give more," is the message at buylesscrap.org, which encourages people to give directly to the Global Fund.

"The Red campaign proposes consumption as the cure to the world's evils," said Ben Davis, creative director at Word Pictures Ideas, co-creator of the site. "Can't we just focus on the real solution -- giving money?"

Trent Stamp, president of Charity Navigator, which rates the spending practices of 5,000 nonprofits, said he's concerned about the campaign's impact on the next generation. "The Red campaign can be a good start or it can be a colossal waste of money, and it all depends on whether this edgy, innovative campaign inspires young people to be better citizens or just gives them an excuse to feel good about themselves while they buy an overpriced item they don't really need."
Bobby Shriver, the CEO of (RED), has written a response to the article.

Rudy, a dud for a dad

Andrew Giuliani believes his father Rudy would make a good president, but he hasn't been the best father.

"I got my values from my mother," 21-year-old Andrew Giuliani told ABC in an interview quoted on "Good Morning America" yesterday, the same day the Daily News spotlighted the rift between the former mayor and his only son.

"She's a strong influence in my life," Andrew Giuliani said of his mother, Donna Hanover, seemingly drawing a contrast between her and Rudy Giuliani. "She's a strong woman." (NY Daily News)

Andrew said he is "working" on his relationship with Rudy. Ah, there's nothing like a good father-son bonding moment on the campaign trail!

I first saw Hanover when I became a regular Food Network watcher in 1999. She co-hosted a program with David Rosengarten, which I believe was called In Food Today. Since I knew her before the 9/11 attacks and her then-husband's rise to prominence, I was much more sympathetic towards her during their messy separation and divorce. Let's face it - I was also sympathetic because Rudy chose to ditch her for his girlfriend via news conference.

Update: I was correct! Rosengarten was on In Food Today and Taste in the earlier days of Food Network. He and Emeril Lagasse were the two biggest figures back then. Lagasse's star on the channel has diminished, and Rosengarten is nowhere to be found.

“I don’t know which was worse, being told that I had cancer or finding that I could not get insurance.”

The people living in the "poor" or "bad" sections of town aren't the only ones without health insurance. Your neighbor in your "middle-class" community might be without it as well. Or, it might even be you.

Ms. Readling, a 50-year-old real estate agent, is one of nearly 47 million people in America with no health insurance.

Increasingly, the problem affects middle-class people like Ms. Readling, who said she made about $60,000 last year. As an independent contractor, like many real estate agents, Ms. Readling does not receive health benefits from an employer. She tried to buy a policy in the individual insurance market, but — having had cancer — could not obtain coverage, except at a price exceeding $27,000 a year, which was more than she could pay. (NYTimes)

Be careful about the kinds of photos taken of you

They may come back to haunt you. This code enforcement officer didn't lose his job because of the photos, but I'm sure he lost a bit of dignity and gained some embarrassment by them.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Peyton on "Saturday Night Live"

Back in my high school days, I was big fan of SNL. Those years had memorable castmates in Phil Hartman, Dana Carvey, Jan Hooks, Victoria Jackson, Jon Lovitz, Dennis Miller, and Kevin Nealon. I watched it faithfully every Saturday night, even though I had to be up early for church the next morning. I couldn't get enough of the skits featuring the Church Lady.

Even though I haven't watched a full show in years, I'll be tuning in on March 24. A certain quarterback from a football team in Indianapolis will be hosting. On his birthday, even.

Thursday, March 1, 2007