Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Wrong and Wright views

Much has been said in the MSM, talk radio, and the blogosphere about Senator Barack Obama and his former pastor Jeremiah Wright. I won't add anything here, except to point you to some posts which I think are worth reading and pondering.

First, read a more secular view of the brouhaha at Balloon Juice, and mind the language, please. (HT: Masson).

Now, read the perspective of another black minister, Thabiti Anyabwile. (HT: DJP)

Then, go here for some thoughts by a Lutheran pastor, Mark Daniels.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

visiting Graceland

So here it is, definitive proof that I did indeed walk around Elvis' place. I didn't see him in person, just his gravesite. His parents are bured beside him, as well as one of his grandmother's (his father's mother, I believe). Did you realize that Elvis was outlived by his father and his grandmother (who also outlived her son)?

We were one of the last visitors to tour the house, so I was able to take several unobstructed (read: no fellow tourists) shots. The house, by no means small, isn't as large as I had imagined it would be. I've seen many homes in Carmel and other expensive spots around Indy that are much larger. Then again, Elvis came from very humble beginnings and he was 22 years old when he bought the place, so it must have seemed absolutely huge to him.

After you walk into the house and turn to the right, you see the living room. Obviously, Elvis was a fan of peacocks. That's no suprise, given his use of dramatic and detailed jumpsuits later in his life. Velvet - not suede - ropes keep visitors from walking through the living room.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

in Memphis

I'm in Memphis right now, blogging from the hotel computer. Which means, I don't have any pictures I can put up yet, since my laptop is at home. When I get a chance, I'll give you a peak as to what we did. For now, I'll just tell you that we (1) went to Graceland, (2) walked around Beale Street and avoided zombies, (3) saw where MLK was assassinated, and (4) ate BBQ at the Neely's place.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

don't cut, don't paste

I don't often agree with Ingrid Schlueter's assessment of things because she's so prone to write with overblown hyperbole, but I agree with her on this.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

who does John Mellencamp want to be the Democratic nominee?

I live in Indiana, so quite obviously, I must listen to John Mellencamp and be obsessed about him and what he is doing and thinking and feeling. He is playing at an Obama rally in Evansville this evening, where the junior senator from Illinois gave a Pennsylvania concession speech (which didn't really sound like a concession to anything). Brian Williams has said on MSNBC that Mellencamp is going to play at a Clinton rally sometime in the future.

Is John confused? Why is he peforming for both? What is he thinking? How will he vote? Perhaps John, just like the Pennsylvania voters, wants this race to go on and on.

Earth Day 2008

Be excellent to the earth today. After all, it's our home. While you're being excellent, Watch this video promo for Discovery channel. It's earth-centric!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

"25 Biggest Real Estate Mistakes"

I'm watching a show on HGTV, called "25 Biggest Real Estate Mistakes." Although it's pretty cheesy (sprinkled with advice from reality and HGTV personalities), the program has some good tips. Here are just a few:

  1. Buying a house for its decor.
  2. Not providing easy access for showings.
  3. Not researching the neighborhood. (Remember: location, location, location)
  4. Thinking auctions equal a good deal.

Go here for the rest.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

"Continue reading the Bible."

That's always good advice, but this comes from Carlton Cuse, executive producer for Lost, on how the show will finish its fourth season. In a telephone conference with Cuse and fellow producer Damon Lindelof, a reporter asked about what books should be read to prepare for the final two seasons. If you like Lost, then you should definitely read the article, but be forewarned that there are spoilers.

Lost returns next Thursday, April 24, at 10:00 PM EST.

Friday, April 18, 2008


I've listened to Ingraham and Hannity and Levin on the radio this past week - you know, just for kicks. They're all talking about Obama's bitter comments and Rev. Wright and Hillary's Bosnia sniper fire. Why aren't they discussing this serious issue?

Updated: I should have realized it. Duh. HE'S THE REPUBLICAN NOMINEE. They're not going to say anything critical of him, now that he's the nominee.

For your consideration......

Read about young evangelicals who, like me, are not as tied to the GOP as they once were.

Peruse this list of the 10 greatest Christian rock songs.

You've heard of Intelligent Design - now read about intelligent paint.

Learn about the ESV Study Bible, available October 2008.

Read about Obama's fall to earth.

Watch and listen to Jackie Chan discussing a fight scene in The Forbidden King, a film costarring Jet Li.

Go here for information on earthquake activities. The site includes a map of recent earthquakes, and you can see the 5.2 earthquake that epicentered not too far from my home (which I did NOT feel, BTW).

Learn how sherpas work. (HT: Doug Masson)

Check out a list of the top 20 "feel bad" films of the past 20 years.

Read and see if you agree as to whether there is too much profanity on this season's Top Chef (which, I think there is).

Ponder how to make a summer reading list - you've still got some time.

Read and hear Michael Savage say, in effect, the devil you know is better than the devil you don't.

From a listing of 24 myths and misconceptions about evolution, find which one you've heard the most (or possibly, even used).

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Walker's mental illness

Legendary American footballer Herschel Walker has revealed his struggle with a rare type of mental illness: dissociative identity disorder (DID). He won the 1982 Heisman Trophy and claims not to have remembered it. DID is thought to form after periods of extreme childhood trauma, usually involving some type of abuse.

Here are a few sites where you can find information on dissociative identity disorder (DID):

the latest polls

It's not looking too good for Hillary. The latest polls show she's losing the strong lead she had, not just in Pennsylvania but in my home state of Indiana, too. Many people have said that Hillary should pull out of the race if she doesn't "win big" in the remaining primaries. What will happen if Obama wins Penn, Indy, and North Carolina? I'm guessing Hillary will stay...

I've seen several Obama ads on the telly, but none for Clinton. Have any other Hoosiers seen any Clinton ads?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

What was the #1 song the day you were born?

Taking a cue from a well-known blogger, I'm checking out the #1 song the day I was born. Actually, there are two songs (I'm guessing an A/B sided record?) that were #1 that day, both by Carole King - "It's Too Late"/"I Feel the Earth Move." These songs seem diametrically opposed - one about the physical joys that can come with a relationship, the other about the ending of a (the same?) relationship - so it's humorous that they'd be on the same record. I seriously doubt this song was playing in my house at the time - my siblings were all young, and my parents didn't listen to Carole King.

Go here to check out your birthsong.

Ten tidbits, v. 13

01. She may seem like a simple cartoon character with a monkey as a sidekick and a fox , but much thought went into creating Dora the Explorer.

02. Highly intelligent but completely stupid - that pretty much sums up the minds and behaviors of one of the more brilliant husband-and-wife teams, Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir.

Their private lives were wildly experimental. Simone de Beauvoir had affairs with both men and women, while Sartre, despite his stunted stature and ugly squint, was always surrounded by adoring muses happy to pamper his genius. When he died in 1980, 50,000 people turned out on to the Paris streets. But that was not the end of the story. For their influence continues to this day - often with disastrous consequences. For this luminous pair, who were at the peak of their fame just after World War II, arguably legitimised the Godless and permissive society in which we now live.

03. It doesn't look like we men have to leave it all up to the woman anymore. We can now take a pill.

04. Why do people read blogs? A group at the University of California-Irvine decided to study that question, and they drew some interesting conclusions.

What they found is that reading blogs has become a habit integrated into Internet use for many people, akin to instinctively checking e-mail. Several of the blog readers described it as simply a way to pass the time, using terms like "wasting time" and "doing nothing." One of them described it in terms of addiction: "I don’t really look forward to cigarettes anymore, but it's something that happens through the course of the day that I feel like I might need to do. It just becomes habit, I guess."

05. Movies boiled down to just three lines (or less) of dialogue.

06. It's Tax Day, so feel free to humm any song that mentions taxes. (HT: ALOTT5MA)

07. Do you take medicine that helps keep you alive? It may cost you.

08. "I'm on television, but I'm just like you, really." Paul Waldman has an interesting article on all those white guys on political shows who want to seem like they're just part of the masses.

09. The NFL released the 2008-09 schedule today. It looks like the Colts will have a tough year, and the Patriots an easy one. Of course, winning all your regular season games doesn't translate into Super Bowl success, as the Patriots know so very well.

10. Can you understand this blog?

blog readability test

TV Reviews

Monday, April 14, 2008

Huckabee's next move

What could it be?

Vending machine art

They have the coolest machine at the Eiteljorg Museum. It's called the Art-o-Mat, a retired cigarette machine that has been converted to dispense art. There are only two machines in Indiana, this one and one at Accents Design in Goshen.

You insert a $5 dollar bill into the machine. You make your selection, you wait a few seconds, you pull the handle, and out pops artwork. Nothing unhealthy. Beneficial for both body and soul.

I selected a collage print by Jordao. I had no idea what I would receive. I opened the box and beheld my artwork.

Pretty nifty, eh? Do you have one of these in your neighborhood, and if so, did you put $5 in the machine?

From the accompanying paper explaining the piece:

You have purchased a mini-print of an original collage. This piece is one of fifty one-of-a-kind collages in circulation as part of the Ubu Series, each signed and numbered by the artist. Each collage consists of intricate steps of tearing, assembling and gluing. The original pieces range in size from large to small. To keep all the artwork consistent, the original work has been scanned and reduced in size to 2" X 3" for this project. Please note there are only two prints of each original collage. One print the artist keeps on file and the other print you now own. Please be assured that the print you have purchased is an original art piece and will not be mass-produced. The original collages are available for sale; prices range form $50.00 - $250.00 each (unframed).

wait until August, you must

Will they have catfish on the table? Will there be gospel in the air?

Not this coming weekend but the next, I'll be like Marc Cohn and go walking in Memphis. The Wife and I have a wedding to attend. I'm rather excited because this will be my first trip to the illustrous Southern city. We're planning on visiting Graceland (if you're in Memphis, how could you not?), and we'd like to stop here and eat here. We will be staying far away from the law offices of Bendini, Lambert, & Locke.

Anybody have any suggestions about any other stops? Mind you, my time is extremely limited.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Dr. Brown to speak on postmodernism

Dr. William Brown, president of Cedarville University, will speak on the emergent church and postmodernism during campus chapel at 10:00 AM today (April 14). You can hear it online here.

Dr. Brown sent an email to Cedarville alumni, in which he discussed the upcoming chapel program as well as the recent controversy.

Hillary calling...

The telephone rings.

I get up from the couch and walk over to the phone. I pick it up. I look at the caller ID screen.

A chill crawls up my spine. I think: Could it be? Is she personally calling me to ask for my vote next month? What if she wants to get together - what would Bill say? What do I tell The Wife - "sorry, Honey, I can't have dinner with you and the girls tonight - I have to meet with a presidential candidate"?

I answer: "Hello?"

A woman responds: "Yes, I'm calling on behalf of Senator Hillary Clinton. Can we count on your vote in the primary?"

I breath a sigh of relief. It's not Hillary, unless she's prone to referring to herself in the third person, and she's trying to affect a Hispanic accent. I answer: "Well, I haven't really made up my mind yet."

The woman says, "Okay, well.... I wanted to tell you that President Clinton will be speaking tomrrow at Perry Meridian School. Did you plan to attend?"

I respond, "Yes, I knew he's be speaking. Unfortunately, I can't go because I have a class at that time."

She says, "All right. Thank you for your time."

And, that was that. My first political call. No statements about how Hillary was so much better than Barack, or how my vote is important to the Clinton campagin machine. Just a finishing "thanks for your time."

The phone rings a half hour later. Is it Barack calling to court me to his side? No such luck - just a friend of The Wife's.

iMonk @ Asbury

Michael Spencer, known in Blogdom as Internet Monk, will be speaking on blogging tomorrow night at 7PM at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky. He'll be in the Royal Auditorium.

Wilmore is just a little drive from Lexington. If you live close and you can attend, you should be all means listen to him (Nephew Adam, I'm talking to you).

have you ever been?

I haven't, but I love the sign. You can go here to check it out.

Keeping your shape in shape has its rewards.

And what would those rewards be? Hmmm....

Be a mindsticker.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Homenaje a Selena

One of the more unusual pieces I saw at the Eiteljorg Museum was Homage to Selena, 2000, by Anita Rodriguez.

The plaque reads:
The skeleton figure in this print is a reference to the Mexican Celebration, Day of the Dead. The skeleton represents Selena, a well-known and much beloved singer whose career was abruptly ended in 1995 when she was shot during an argument.

Friday, April 11, 2008

but will the Numbers show up again?

Entertainment Weekly, the mag for all things pop culture, has the goods on what's coming down the river (or down the hatch, or in the submarine, or through the Looking Glass) for our Lostaways. Some answers, like the identity of the person in the coffin from last season's finale, will be revealed. And, yes, it sounds like we'll see Ole Smokey again.

the Christian bookstore

Justin Taylor offers some links about the current state of the Christian bookstore. The closest one to me is a few miles south of my church. I enjoy going in and looking around, but most of their titles can be found in Barnes & Noble or Borders (either in the stores or online). My daughters like it because they have Webkinz there. As with most Christian bookstores, they sell a lot of what some people may consider to be "art," but I certainly don't.

JT also talks about a new book which I'm sure I'll be adding to my library, since it's right up my alley: Comfortably Numb: How Psychiatry is Medicating a Nation.

"She is the reincarnation of a goddess."

A child born in India has craniofacial duplication.
A baby with two faces was born in a northern Indian village, where she is doing well and is being worshipped as the reincarnation of a Hindu goddess, her father said Tuesday.The baby, Lali, apparently has an extremely rare condition known as craniofacial duplication, where a single head has two faces. All of Lali's facial features are duplicated except for her ears--she has two. Otherwise, she has two noses, two pairs of lips and two pairs of eyes.

"My daughter is fine--like any other child," said Vinod Singh, 23, a poor farm worker.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

be sure to check out the menu when you're considering universities

When I recall my Cedarville years, I don't think too kindly about the food eaten in the cafeteria. Most of it was palatable, but some of it - shepherds pie in particular - brings back horrible memories. The steaks were a little tought, but mostly okay. I won't even mention a particular meatloaf incident - your stomach would churn. The Wife can tell you about the fields of salad she consumed during her four years.

It seems, however, that this kind of food - the cause of so much post-traumatic distress - is being left in the freezer. Dijon-crusted chicken, cheese quasadillas, and sauteed spinach are now being plated in university dining halls.
Colleges nationwide have been innovating. Stanford offers “spa waters,” mineral water with cucumber, watermelon, mint and other flavors. The University of Massachusetts at Amherst shares guest chefs with eight colleges. Yale has an organic cafe. Brown has a farmers’ market. At Wheaton College in Illinois, low-carbon meals use local and organic food; students can choose Thursday dinners illuminated only by the lights outside.

“The food is part of meeting the expectations of those enrolled and those who are going to choose you,” said Steve Thomas, director of admissions at Colby College in Waterville, Me. “We budget $15,000 a year just for meal tickets for prospective visiting families and students.”

Modern college students have a savvier palate than their parents:
Mr. Johnson said students expect to eat the way they do in a restaurant: “We discovered a way in the marketplace concept — kitchens brought out from behind the wall, cooking platforms with pizza ovens, broilers, fryers — so students can see you throw the dough, top it to order and put it in the wood-fired oven. And they don’t just want that product in name only, but they want it to be authentic, because they’ve eaten at Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant and they want to smell that hickory wood burning.”

the Eiteljorg Museum

I had some free time the other day, so I went somewhere I had never visited before - the Eiteljorg.

I strolled around the hallways and galleries:

I was entranced by the eyes and cheeks of this girl:

This piece is the Tesuque Papoose, 1916, by Robert Henri (a fellow Ohioan!).

McDonalds, homosexuality, and boycotts

Rick Pearcey of the Pearcey Report Weblog writes the following:
My son and I often stop by McDonald's for a bite to eat after homeschool bowling on Fridays. But not today.

Not today, in light of reports that McDonald's has decided, apparently, to declare war on my family. And to declare war on the civilization of liberty, independence, creativity, and humanity under God that my Dad fought for in World War II.
Pearcey links to several posts about Richard Ellis, McDonald's vice president of communications, recently joining the board of directors for the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. Pearcey explains that he will no longer patronize McDonald's because it is "a morally and socially corruptive business, " a "business that helps fund organizations that disrespect the heart of family life," and an organization who has joined "groups that turn their backs on the Declaration of Independence, the Founding vision, and the living Creator who holds it all together."

I have a few thoughts:
  1. Pearcey's boycott seems to be based solely on a vice president joining the NGLCC. No other reason was given. I guess Pearcey had no problem with McDonald's poor history of treatment towards their animals (although this seems to have improved). He didn't write about the high fat and sugar content of many of McDonalds' foods. He didn't touch on the millions of dollars McDonalds spends in advertisements targeting children (with play areas and Happy Meal toys) so that they can be "hooked" for life.
  2. Pearcey's boycott perpetuates the idea that Christians should be known only for things they are against, namely homosexuality and abortion.
  3. If Pearcey were asked about parents of hospitalized children spending time here, would he tell them they shouldn't?
  4. I've read the Declaration of Independence, and I don't see anything in it about sexuality of any kind, let alone homosexuality.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

the Indiana Steam Clock

the Indiana Steam Clock
Originally uploaded by Good Brownie

The Indiana Steam Clock was designed for the Indiana State Museum by horologist Raymond L. Saunders and was inspired by his world famous Gastown Steam Clock in Vancouver, B.C., Canada. This steam clock is made of stainless steel, with brass trim, is 17 feet high, and weighs 1.5 tons. High-pressure steam, that heats the museum, is reduced to 20 PSI for the eight brass whistles. The steam whistles play "Back Home Again (in Indiana)" on the quarter hour. A model of the earth, rotating at 3RPM, is illuminated by a miniature 'sun' lamp.
- from the plaque on the clock

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

blogger beware

It seems everyone with a blog is linking to a certain article in The New York Times, "In Web World of 24/7 Stress, Writers Blog Till They Drop." NYT even claims that it's the most blogged-about article in the "technology" section of their site. Several known (though not to me) bloggers have died within the past months, and some have reported depression-like symptoms of sleeplessness and appetite problems. But do the symptoms - and deaths - of a few people point to a larger problem?

To be sure, there is no official diagnosis of death by blogging, and the premature demise of two people obviously does not qualify as an epidemic. There is also no certainty that the stress of the work contributed to their deaths. But friends and family of the deceased, and fellow information workers, say those deaths have them thinking about the dangers of their work style.
I really can't see how we can examine what happened to a few people and say with any degree of definitiveness, See? Blogging will be the death of you! What other lifestyle factors might have figured in to the deaths of Russell Shaw and Marc Orchant, the two mentioned in the article?What about other jobs that have "dangers of work style?" Go here to read about America's most dangerous professions.

There have certainly been studies that examined a link between suicide rates and specific types of employment, and there are some stastically signicant rates of suicide for white male physicians, black male guards, and white female artists. However, no study has been able to convincingly show that if someone takes a specific job, it's more likely that she will die.

It would certainly be difficult, though not impossible, to conduct a study on the prevalence of depressive symptoms for bloggers. The difficulty lies in the fact that bloggers, although they're usually white males, can come from all aspects of life. The study would have to specifically focus on those who blog as their primary profession or means of financial support. I'm sure we'll see something about this in a psychological research journal within the next few years.

Monday, April 7, 2008

"I always knew... it was gonna be the ferns."

Do you like to know where you stand with your plants? It's important to know. Googly eyes can help, but you should know that they don't work so well with grass.

Really, is there anyone as weird as Christopher Walken who could sell this skit?

Sunday, April 6, 2008

the politics of falsehoods

I suppose if you're a Clinton, it's just a natural thing to not be honest, especially when it comes to wars. One day, if we have the audacity to hope, we'll have someone running for political office who always tells the truth.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Charlton Heston, 1924-2008

Charlton Heston, star of the Easter season favorite The Ten Commandments, has died. My favorite film of his would have to be the one with the most memorable climactic scene, Planet of the Apes. Another of his films, Ben-Hur, won 11 Academy Awards, including the grand prize of Best Picture. Later in his life, he became president of the National Rifle Association. Heston was 84 years old.

I'm sorry for the very mild oath in this clip, but I simply must include it here:

Thursday, April 3, 2008

"...the rest of us will be cannibals."

Ted Turner sees a grim future. Hopefully Will Smith and his German Shepherd will be around to save us.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008