Saturday, June 28, 2008

the bitter Bill

So Bill Clinton continues to be upset that Hillary wasn't given the nomination on a platter. It's plain and simple that he doesn't want Obama to win. If Obama does win, Hillary will never become president. If Obama loses, Hillary will run again in 2012.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Naked Cowboy sues Mars

The Naked Cowboy of NYC, whom I blogged about two years ago, is in the news because of a lawsuit against the makers of M&M candies.
The Naked Cowboy stands around Times Square all day playing the guitar in his underwear — but that doesn’t give the maker of M&M’s the right to make fun of him to sell candy, he says. That, says Robert Burck, the man in the tighty-whities — and not much else — is the naked truth behind the $4-million lawsuit he’s filed against Mars, the maker of M&M’s, along with the advertising agency that (un)dressed up a morsel of candy in Naked Cowboy gear for a commercial. On Monday, a New York judge, after reviewing the bare legal facts, ruled that Burck can go ahead with the lawsuit.

Good luck, Cowboy. Pick something appropriate to wear when you go to court. Something that would match your, ahem, legal briefs.

money-making jobs of the future

I'm reading Alister McGrath's Christianity's Dangerous Idea, and I came across this passage on page 39:
Martin Luther was born on November 10, 1483, in the German town of Eiselben, the first son of Hans and Margarette Luder (as the name was spelled at this stage; it was later Latinized to the more familiary "Luther")... Having himself risen from the ranks of the German peasantry, Hans was determined to see his son rise still further and bring both status and income to the family. He began to plan his son's future. He would become a lawyer - then, as now, a career with excellent financial prospects.
And, it led me to think: what present-day careers will still exist - and be just as lucrative, or perhaps more so - 500 years from now? Obviously we will still need doctors and other healthcare professionals in some form or other. I'm betting that we will continue to have clergy members and religious leaders as well, even though Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens probably hope that we won't. I don't know if it's quite so obvious that we'll have lawyers. Maybe our societies will be such that every law is perfectly clear with no wiggle room, so lawyers will be unnecessary.

so can I carry around a plutonium-based weapon in my pocket?

At last. The Supremes will tell us what the Second Amendment actually means.

UPDATE: It means you can carry a gun. Didn't it already say that?

smelling coffee gets you going

It's something I've always suspected.
That morning coffee is just the thing to get the brain in gear and the body moving. But it turns out that just the aroma of coffee also gets some of our genes up and at ‘em. That’s according to research in the June 25th issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. The authors report that a sniff of coffee turns on several genes in the brain in ways that help diminish the impact of sleep deprivation. In rats, at least.

Of course, this all begs the question: what do rats have to be stressed out about?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

James Dobson vs. Barack Obama

On his radio program yesterday, James Dobson of Focus on the Family discussed Senator Barack Obama's comments from June 2006 about Christianity, religious pluralism, and the Bible. Dobson believes that Obama has distorted the Bible and endorsed a "fruitcake interpretation" of the U.S. Constitution (AP story here).

Dobson believes that Obama "equated" him with Rev. Al Sharpton. You can listen to Obama's speech and Dobson's response here. You can also read the text of Obama's speech here.

Naturally, voices from the blogosphere aren't united when it comes to Dobson and Obama:

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

update on Chapman family

Jim Houser, a fellow Cedarville University alum, is the manager for Christian music artist Steven Curtis Chapman. He has posted a recent update on how the family has been doing since their daughter passed away a month ago.

"10 Ways to Become a Better Film Critic"

Evan Derrick of MovieZeal is offering ten tips to improve your skill at reviewing films. He has posted part one and will soon offer part two. UPDATE: He now offers part two.

His suggestions:

  1. Expand your cinematic vocabulary.
  2. Respect the medium you are criticizing.
  3. Develop an appreciation for all the arts.
  4. Study classic film criticism.
  5. Develop a unique voice.
  6. Don't be dull.
  7. Invest yourself in other pursuits.
  8. Become an excellent essayist.
  9. Avoid the reviews of others before writing... study them afterwards.
  10. Develop a philosophy of trash.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Tom Brokaw will moderate "Meet the Press"

From now until we know who will be the next American president, the former NBC anchorperson will take over the chair on Sunday mornings. It's the smartest move, really, while the search continues for a permanent moderator. I think that if Chris Matthews or Keith Olbermann were really in the running, one of them would have the chair now as opposed to waiting until the middle of November.

Friday, June 20, 2008

"female gay sex"

Sitemeter tells me that someone from New Zealand came here after they Googled the above three words.

Yeah, go figure. They ain't finding that here...

Russert's lessons

Peggy Noonan has a very interesting article on the what she thinks can be learned from Tim Russert's death and the media coverage that followed. It's not an Associated Press article, so I'll feel free to show a bit of her writing here:
In a way, the world is a great liar. It shows you it worships and admires money, but at the end of the day it doesn't. It says it adores fame and celebrity, but it doesn't, not really. The world admires, and wants to hold on to, and not lose, goodness. It admires virtue. At the end it gives its greatest tributes to generosity, honesty, courage, mercy, talents well used, talents that, brought into the world, make it better. That's what it really admires. That's what we talk about in eulogies, because that's what's important. We don't say, "The thing about Joe was he was rich." We say, if we can, "The thing about Joe was he took care of people."

The young are told, "Be true to yourself." But so many of them have no idea, really, what that means. If they don't know who they are, what are they being true to? They're told, "The key is to hold firm to your ideals." But what if no one bothered, really, to teach them ideals?

After Tim's death, the entire television media for four days told you the keys to a life well lived, the things you actually need to live life well, and without which it won't be good. Among them: taking care of those you love and letting them know they're loved, which involves self-sacrifice; holding firm to God, to your religious faith, no matter how high you rise or low you fall. This involves guts, and self-discipline, and active attention to developing and refining a conscience to whose promptings you can respond. Honoring your calling or profession by trying to do within it honorable work, which takes hard effort, and a willingness to master the ethics of your field. And enjoying life. This can be hard in America, where sometimes people are rather grim in their determination to get and to have. "Enjoy life, it's ungrateful not to," said
Ronald Reagan. When it's your time to die, what do you want people to say about you?

I am reminded of a quote that's been attributed to the Cherokee: When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life so that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice.

that movie offended me!

There are two different lists (here and here) floating around, both featuring films that people have found offensive and worthy of protest. Have you seen any of these? Were you as offended as you planned to be, or did you think that the film actually offered something constructive to say? (And, yes, I believe that all films have a specific point of view, even tasteless comedies and horror flicks)

Monday, June 16, 2008

Sunday, June 15, 2008

My father

Since I did an entry for my mother on Mother's Day this year (see?), it's only fitting that I would do one for my father on Father's Day. He's wearing his high school baseball uniform. I'm not quite sure of the year - maybe around 1949?

Happy Father's Day, Dad.

Gingrich says the GOP can't complain about Obama's "experience" and win

Newt is correct. Hillary called herself the more "experienced" one, and she didn't beat Obama. Why would McCain think that he could, even though he has a great deal more experience in the Senate than Obama?

An aside: I think it's rather funny that McCain entered politics because he became sort of "stuck" where he was in the military, and now he is someone who could become the next Commander in Chief.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Friday Night Dinner

One of The Wife's former coworkers came to town on business for the weekend. We used the opportunity to dine at one of Naptown's best oldest and most distinguished restaurants, St. Elmo Steak House. St. Elmo, along with several other restaurants, is participating in Devour Downtown by offering a three-course dinner for $30.

The Wife and I chose the same dishes for our meal. We started off with the appetizer that St. Elmo is most famous for, the shrimp cocktail. It's every bit as fiery as everyone says it is and certainly not for the squeamish.

Our main course was the filet mignon, accompanied by redskin mashed potatoes and fresh vegetables. The filet, cooked medium, was delicious. The potatoes were mainly creamy with a few meaty lumps. The vegetables on my plate were mostly green beans, with a couple carrots and mini cherry tomatoes for good measure. Our waiter assured us there was no salmonella anywhere on our plates.

Our dessert was chocolate pots de creme, which is similar to a rich pudding. It was topped by fresh blueberries and a sprig of mint. A rich, sweet end to a delicious meal.


Well, he is a writer, so he knows how to use it.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Tim Russert, 1950-2008

Tim Russert, host of NBC's Sunday morning staple Meet the Press, died earlier today of a heart attack while he was at work. This is indeed shocking. It's too strange to think that we won't be seeing him on election night while his board, writing and crossing off states with his magic markers. He seemed like a genuine and engaging man.

the new SBC president

The Southern Baptist Convention was in town a couple days ago, and among the things they did was to elect a new president. They decided upon Johnny Hunt, pastor of First Baptist Church in Woodstock, Georgia. As with many decisions that they've made in the past (like demanding total abstinence from alcohol), the SBC has picked a controversial choice.

Happy Friday the Thirteenth!

Be careful out there. Don't let one of these cross your path, don't walk under this, and don't open one of these indoors.

"Star Wars" meets "Dancing with the Stars"

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

it's a nice place to visit, but you can't even do that

I'd like to visit Havana, but I can't go (and neither can you, if you're an American). Perhaps that will change with an Obama presidency. After all, the conservative folks on the radio say he'll give all kinds of concessions and appeasements to just about anybody in the world, so maybe next summer I can be eating a truly authentic Cuban sandwich that's not made in Miami.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Indiana flooding

Please pray for my Indiana neighbors in the lower third of the state. They've been hit hard with rain and flooding in the past few days, and some have lost their homes. Residential areas aren't the only places being hit hard because of the rain - the flooding has affected the economy, too. If you look through the pictures on the Indianapolis Star website, you'll see Marines, Amish men, and Mennonites working together to save homes and property.

Monday, June 9, 2008

"There are some soldiers who will do almost anything not to go back."

Soldiers are injuring themselves so they don't return to combat zones.
As an internist at New York's Mount Sinai Hospital, Dr. Stephanie Santos is used to finding odd things in people's stomachs. So last spring when a young man, identifying himself as an Iraq-bound soldier, said he had accidentally swallowed a pen at the bus station, she believed him. That is, until she found a second pen. It read 1-800-GREYHOUND. Last summer, according to published reports, a 20-year-old Bronx soldier paid a hit man $500 to shoot him in the knee on the day he was scheduled to return to Iraq. The year before that, a 24-year-old specialist from Washington state escaped a second tour of duty, according to his sister, by strapping on a backpack full of tools and leaping off the roof of his house, injuring his spine.
It's very catch-22.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

what we can learn from Big Brown

As you surely know, Big Brown came in last at yesterday's Belmont Stakes race. The thoroughbred had won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, so everyone was talking about how there may finally be a Triple Crown winner again. Alas, it wasn't to be. Da'Tara, a 38-1 longshot, won the race.

Trainer Rick Dutrow Jr., who earlier in the week called Big Brown’s victory in the Belmont Stakes a “forgone conclusion,” rushed back to the barn to tend to the Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner, the lowest price Belmont Stakes favorite since Secretariat in 1973. He later told reporters that he couldn’t find anything physically wrong with the colt and was next planning to “scope” him to see if bleeding from his nostrils or throat could have interfered with his breathing.
I think there are several lessons to be learned from this:

  • There is very little in life that is a "foregone conclusion," much less a horse race. Like Patrick Henry supposedly said, the only certain things are death and taxes.
  • It's never wise to boast, because if you don't follow through, you look like an idiot.
  • If you're going to race, you have to prepare, no matter how you've done in the past.
  • There's a new new sensation every year.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Hillary's concession

You know, it was a good speech...

It was the speech she was supposed to give. I think it took the extra few days from Tuesday evening just to get it right. I wonder what ran through her mind the five minutes before she took the stage.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

burning Bush to Burma?

Perhaps the next place we send our military won't be Iran, but Burma.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Sullivan Award

There have been times when Andrew Sullivan writes something with which I agree, but mostly I find him rather irritating. He has certainly made no bones about his preference of Barack Obama over any other candidate, especially Hillary Clinton. (Oh, how Andrew loathes those evil, narcissistic Clintons! Don't get him started...) Every once in a while, he writes something so patently unfair it is beyond belief.

Take this assessment of Hugh Hewitt's views of Obama. Sullivan has just created "the Hewitt Award, named after the absurd partisan fanatic, Hugh Hewitt, is given for the most egregious attempts to label Barack Obama as un-American, alien, treasonous, and far out of the mainstream of American life and politics."

Sullivan uses this example:

Its most proximate inspiration was this quote from Hewitt himself about the Portland, Oregon, rally:

"And did the Obama rally begin with the Soviet National Anthem?"

Since subtle attempts to describe Obama as a commie atheist alien are a central plank of Republican attacks, the Hewitt Award is reserved for those that border on hilarious extremity.
You might read that and think Hewitt probably wrote that out of the blue without any kind of context whatsoever. It turns out, he did not. He asked the question because the rock band The Decemberists, who "opened" for Obama when he spoke in Portland, typically begin their concerts with the Soviet National Anthem. Hewitt, in that particular post, makes no connection between Obama and communist ideology.

When someone writes something that is incredibly unfair, be sure to hand out The Sullivan Award.

Obama the nominee

Yesterday was truly a historic day. The polls closed in Montana and South Dakota, bringing to an end the Democratic primary process. For the first time in American history, an African American man has won enough delegates to be considered the presidential nominee of a major political party. This is a certainly a momentous time in a country that was partially built on the backs of African slaves. It was not so long ago that America was a deeply divided nation, a land where you could find drinking fountains labeled with a sign reading "For Whites Only."

While I can't say that I'm a true fan of his politics, I admire his ability to deliver a good speech. I am sure he has a few speech writers to thank, but then again, so do many other political folks. Of course, what matters for the president is not whether he can deliver a good line, but whether he can deliver sound policies.

(Photo by Ozier Muhammad/The New York Times)