Thursday, January 29, 2009

Blago a-go-go

The governor of the state of Illinois, where I now reside, has been impeached and convicted.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

the Christian, mental illness, and iMonk

Michael Spencer, or the Internet Monk if you prefer, has written several articles on the Christian and mental illness, which you can find links to here.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Do you pledge to be a servant to President Obama?

Yeah. uhm.... I don't think this would have been made if McCain was president right now.

I think we all should head out to Hollywood right now, bang on the doors of Cameron Diaz and the Moore-Kutchers, and tell them how then can come over and help out our communities. They can start by picking up the trash by the road. Do you think they'd do that?

And since I mentioned Cameron and Ashton: were you two representing America when you did that hideous What Happens in Vegas movie? Or was that made just because we were still all living during the oppressively horrible Bush years, and we're now in the Obama Era so everything will be better?

They should have a show called "American Re-Idol"

If only so we could have more stories like this.

Poor Joanna Pacitti. She was supposed to play the title role in the production of Annie on Broadway ten years ago or so, but she was replaced a few weeks before opening night. I played Drake in our high school production. It wasn't Broadway, but it was still fun.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

We all know that W left Washington and returned to Texas

What about Dick Cheney? What happened to him?

It wasn't pretty.

Because You Left

I have just a few thoughts after seeing the premiere of the fifth season for Lost. Yes, I'll have some spoilers here, so read on only if you dare.
  1. Traveling through time sure made it tough for Sawyer to find a shirt. He finally got one from Neil, but they certainly don't look like they have the same shirt size. I'd guess Sawyer would wear a large and Neil would be a medium, but whatever. Maybe shirts on the island shorten and stretch, just like time on the island does.
  2. How fantastic was it to see Dr. Marvin Candle... or Pierre Chang, or whatever his name is... in the first few minutes? And, yes, that was Daniel Faraday with the other workers below the Orchid station. I don't think we yet know the number of times he's visited the island.
  3. Is Charlotte doomed? She's having nose bleeds, she's having prolonged headaches, Faraday is obviously hiding things from her... I'm guessing she's doomed.
  4. When the TV first reported Hurley as a murder suspect, why didn't the cops immediately go to his house? Why wouldn't they have had a search warrant for his parents' home?
  5. If Sawyer had come back when Desmond and Faraday were talking, what might have happened?
  6. If you need a good recap of the episode (and all previous ones), go here. For a bit of commentary with your recap, you can try this spot.
  7. Who could've guessed that Ben likes porterhouse steaks?
  8. Nice to see you making yourself useful, Ms. Hawking. I wouldn't be surprised that you're the one Desmond comes to... again.

First, she wanted the job and told the media all about it

Then, she saw something happen to a family member and decided she didn't want the job.

Now, she wants the job again.

Or, maybe, she doesn't.

Ms. Kennedy, what exactly is going on?

UPDATE: It's official. Caroline is out.
"I informed Governor Paterson today that for personal reasons I am withdrawing my name from consideration for the United States Senate," the official statement read.

Monday, January 19, 2009

"O god of our many understandings..."

Here is Eugene Robinson's prayer from yesterday's inaugural festivities. Given HBO's programming history, it's rather interesting that the channel chose not to include the prayer in yesterday's broadcast. Is HBO afraid of a gay planet?

But let's go back to the prayer itself. Timmy Brister has something to say:
Notice that, in the four minute prayer, nothing is said of the nature of this god, and nothing is asked in reference of him doing what only a god could do. The prayer is fundamentally ethical, not theological. It reflects not a desire to know the one true God and conform our lives to His will, but a prayer for God to understand us and conform his will to our ways. The requests for deliverance is not against sin, Satan, and self but rather social evils. While it may be true that billions exist with less than a dollar a day, every human exists without forgiveness of sin apart from the person and work of Jesus Christ. But that’s not the point. Mr. Robinson is “horrified” by the Christian prayers of the past and seeks to buck the trend by advocating “religious tolerance” for everyone who has a god of their own understanding. Having said that, anyone who prays to a God who has defined Himself, who is eternally self-existent, eternal, and self-sufficient, well, that will not be tolerated. Your prayers should be renounced and your God must not be addressed. We don’t need to know and understand the God who has spoken and whose words shape reality; we need to self-actualize and shape our own realities with greater moral fortitude and faith in the supposed inherent goodness of man. We are all victims, and so is the god of our
many understandings.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Inauguration Day mishaps

Read this list to discover which presidential inaugurations had party crashers at the White House, dead pigeons on the parade route, and broken hotel room windows.

Let's hope the Obama team has prepared themselves appropriately.

"...a commitment to agnosticism—as opposed to agnosticism still open to the alternative— is a form of atheism."

Maclin Horton thinks agnosticism is not a solution.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

top 10 photography "firsts"

This list is to be viewed only by my nephew-in-law Dustin. Don't you dare look, because you don't have permission.

Okay, look if you must.

top 10 signs of evolution in humanity

An interesting list.

Friday, January 16, 2009

"Lost" returns on January 21

Only five short days from now...

I like how the poster splits the Lostaways in half, between the Oceanic 6 (plus Ben and Desmond) and the ones who were left on the island. Of course, we know that John Locke eventually found a way off the island and took the name of Jeremy Bentham, but I imagine we'll learn the particulars in the next few months.
To find information about nearly everything on Lost, go here.

goodbye, Circuit City

I've bought a few things from you over the years - DVD's and CD's, mostly - and now you're gone. I didn't buy enough, I guess. Or, America didn't.

Reading the Bible in 2009

It's not too late to start a plan. An old college friend has provided a link to an exceptionally good one.

His reasons:
    1. It takes you through the entire Bible, but not sequentially. This is important because I've quit in April when I was struggling through 3-4 chapters a day in Leviticus and Deuteronomy. The plan typically gives you two New Testament readings, an Old Testament passage, and a Psalms or Proverbs. The diversity is really helpful.
    2. It allows for 5 missed days per month. I wish that I could say that I like this because it gives me 5 extra days to do other readings...but the real story is I appreciate the grace of 5 days per month.
    3. It balances various genres of Biblical literature. Typically the plan features a narrative, some kind of poetry, and an epistle. My heart is touched differently through each.
    4. I appreciate the accountability of a sheet that records my reading.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

"As the years passed, most Americans were able to return to life much as it had been before Nine-Eleven. But I never did."

"Every morning, I received a briefing on the threats to our Nation. And I vowed to do everything in my power to keep us safe."

I think those are the best lines from President Bush's farewell speech.


You can see that I've placed the "retirement" tag on this post. While he can't really "retire" from the presidency - not being elected again isn't the same thing as retiring - it is safe to say that Bush is "retiring" from public life.

"The puppet master is... the counselor?"

Star Wars: Retold (by someone who hasn't seen it) from Joe Nicolosi on Vimeo.

Let me tell you something, because I'm speaking from experience: counselors are puppet-masters, so she's not really wrong.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Ricardo Montalban, 1920-2009

the Bibles of the Presidents

An interactive look at the Bibles used by George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Jimmy Carter, and a few other guys. Barack Obama reportedly plans to use the same Bible as Lincoln at his first inauguration.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Speaking of two great tastes that taste great together....

Peanuts and Beethoven.
When Schroeder pounded on his piano, his eyes clenched in a trance, the notes floating above his head were no random ink spots dropped into the key of G. Schulz carefully chose each snatch of music he drew and transcribed the notes from the score. More than an illustration, the music was a soundtrack to the strip, introducing the characters’ state of emotion, prompting one of them to ask a question or punctuating an interaction.

“The music is a character in the strip as much as the people are, because the music sets the tone,” Mr. Meredith said. To understand what gave Schroeder chills, he said, you have to listen to the musical passage. “When you actually hear the symphony, the whole thing feels completely different.”

What will the Bush haters do after next Tuesday?

Poor Bush haters. They've had one main object of derision for the past eight years. They even have his portrait to hate. And now, he's about to pass into history. Who will their fire consume now?

bacon + chocolate

I'm seriously considering ordering some of these. Seriously. They are two great tastes separately, but together they seem a little scary.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Golden Globes 2009

Did you watch the broadcast? If not, you can check here for the listing of winners. Kate Winslet, who has yet to win an Oscar, won two GG awards, for The Reader and Revolutionary Road. She beat a lot of serious talent, including Meryl Streep and Angelina Jolie. As expected, Heath Ledger won for his portrayal of the diabolical Joker in The Dark Knight.

Films which the GG's made me want to see:
  • Slumdog Millionaire
  • The Wrestler
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • Recount
  • Gran Torino
  • John Adams (technically a mini-series)

UPDATED: Does Entertainment Weekly not know American history? The Florida recount drama occurred in 2000, not 2004.

2008 Weblog Awards

Have you voted yet? You have until 5:00 PM EST (or 4:00 PM, where I live) on Tuesday, January 13.

Here a few of the categories I voted in:
  • Best Blog: Boing Boing
  • Best Individual Blogger: The Anchoress
  • Best Liberal Blog: Talking Points Memo
  • Best Conservative Blog: RedState
  • Best Diarist: Dooce

Make your own croutons - don't use storebought, even if they are T. Marzetti's

Just one course from a whole dinner's worth of advice from Mark Bittman, one of the best food writers around. He'll also tell you what to ditch.

Do you read his blog? You should, you know.

"Since winning the Super Bowl after the 2006 season, Dungy has thought long and hard each offseason about how much longer he really wants to work..."

Tony Dungy is supposed to meet with Jim Irsay, owner of the Indianapolis Colts, today to discuss his future. He will then give Irsay his decision tomorrow.

BROWNIE'S PREDICTION: Dungy will say that this was his last season as the coach for the Colts.

UPDATE: It looks like Dungy will step down. This isn't surprising, given his desire to work in some type of ministry and to spend more time with his family in Florida.

Brownie beats Althouse

I always get a thrill when I blog about something before she does.

no Manning at this year's Super Bowl

Peyton Manning's team lost to the Chargers last week. Eli Manning's team lost to the Eagles this week. With the Eagles, Cardinals, and Ravens in the hunt, it looks like the Super Bowl will be for the birds.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

"... he has the coolest style and foulest mouth of any preacher you’ve ever seen."

The NYT Magazine's Molly Worthen examines the ministry of Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill in Seattle. The article is a pretty fair assessment of the Seattle pastor.
Mark Driscoll is American evangelicalism’s bête noire. In little more than a decade, his ministry has grown from a living-room Bible study to a megachurch that draws about 7,600 visitors to seven campuses around Seattle each Sunday, and his books, blogs and podcasts have made him one of the most admired — and reviled — figures among evangelicals nationwide. Conservatives call Driscoll “the cussing pastor” and wish that he’d trade in his fashionably distressed jeans and taste for indie rock for a suit and tie and placid choral arrangements. Liberals wince at his hellfire theology and insistence that women submit to their husbands. But what is new about Driscoll is that he has resurrected a particular strain of fire and brimstone, one that most Americans assume died out with the Puritans: Calvinism, a theology that makes Pat
Robertson seem warm and fuzzy.

At a time when the once-vaunted unity of the religious right has eroded and the mainstream media is proclaiming an “evangelical crackup,” Driscoll represents a movement to revamp the style and substance of evangelicalism. With his taste for vintage baseball caps and omnipresence on Facebook and iTunes, Driscoll, who is 38, is on the cutting edge of American pop culture. Yet his message seems radically unfashionable, even un-American: you are not captain of your soul or master of your fate but a depraved worm whose hard work and good deeds will get you nowhere, because God marked you for heaven or condemned you to hell before the beginning of time. Yet a significant number of young people in Seattle — and nationwide — say this is exactly what they want to hear. Calvinism has somehow become cool, and just as startling, this generally bookish creed has fused with a macho ethos. At Mars Hill, members say their favorite movie isn’t “Amazing Grace” or “The Chronicles of Narnia” — it’s “Fight Club.”

Worthen seems intrigued by Driscoll's unusual preaching style and acceptance of people you probably wouldn't see at a "normal" fundie church service, but repulsed by his embrace of Calvinism and complementarianism.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Blago: impeached

My governor has been impeached. The vote was overwhelming, 114-1.

Do you want a wingsuit?

If you had one, you could do stuff like this...

wingsuit base jumping from Ali on Vimeo.

I like how they casually talk about testing out the wingsuits by jumping off 1000-feet high cliffs, as if it's really no big deal.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Willimon vs. Ehrman

William Willimon discusses Bart Ehrman's God's Problem: How the Bible Fails to Answer Our Most Important Question—Why We Suffer over at Christian Century.
Bart Ehrman has written another book that is probably destined to be a best seller. God's Problem is a lively, though thoroughly conventional and utterly predictable, dismissal of Jewish and Christian views of God. It is a real page-turner, quickly written by an author who assumes a position of moral and intellectual superiority to just about everyone who is unlucky enough not to be a tenured professor in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

God's Problem begins not with God but with Ehrman, and with antitheology as autobiography. We learn that suffering has "haunted" Ehrman "for a very long time" and that it is the reason he lost his faith. The faith he lost was Christian evangelical fundamentalism, which, as we are told, crumbled under "critical scrutiny." Ehrman told NPR's Terry Gross that for a while he tried the Episcopal Church, finding its rituals aesthetically pleasing, but that he eventually left because "even in the Episcopal church they say the creed." Even Episcopalians were too gullible and credulous for the agnostic Ehrman.

Being subjected to the puerile theodicy of undergraduates while he was teaching courses in religion at Rutgers was the coup de grâce for what was left of Ehrman's faith. So the professor ventured forth on the journey that he apparently considers heroic, even though it has been made by millions in the West before him: the journey of taking God less seriously and himself more so. While this is now an old story, Ehrman seems invigorated by the telling of it—I presume because it his own story. The radical subjectivity and narcissism of evangelical pietism must be tough to shake.

While reading God's Problem, I kept asking myself, why bother?

Saturday, January 3, 2009

"Empire Strikes Back" toys

If I could go back in time for the sole purpose of purchasing toys to bring back to 2009, I would return to 1981 so I could buy these. Yes - yes, I would.

If you could go back in time to do only one thing - and that one thing could not in any way affect your life (ie, you couldn't stop yourself from doing something you later regretted) - what would you do?

2008 films

If you pay attention to such things, the New York Times has an excellent section on its website dedicated to the best films of 2008. Two of the slide shows - one on the aging of Brad Pitt for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and one on the recreation of a 1970's political campaign for Milk - are particularly fascinating.

The Golden Globes air next Sunday night. You can see the complete listing of nominated films here. I've only seen two on the list - The Dark Knight and Kung Fu Panda.

she was a fast machine

I wonder, did she keep her motor clean? Ah, well. She's fast, though. Not fast enough to win the Indy 500 - yet - but too fast for the common roads.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy 2009!

I have to confess: I don't generally make New Year's resolutions. I did in the past, but I haven't for the last few years. For the most obvious of reasons: I don't generally keep them. But this year...

This year...

I resolve to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with my God.

I resolve to be a better husband to my wife.

I resolve to be a better father to my daughters.

I resolve to be a better master to my puggle.

I resolve to be a better therapist to my clients.


So, what are your plans for 2009?