Monday, December 20, 2010

From merely "good" to...

... ultimate.

For a variety of reasons, but mostly out of convenience, I'm packing up shop here at Good Brownie and moving over to a new Blogger site, Brownie's Bites. I hope to offer up the same stuff I dished out here, only with a little more regularity. So check it out over there.

For all those who visited here, and especially those who left comments, I thank you.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A murder in Celebration

It seems that not everyone has been happy living in the Town Built by the Happiest Place on Earth.
Celebration, Disney's master-planned, picture-perfect central Florida community, has never reported a homicide in its 14-year existence — until this week.

Residents of the town five miles south of Walt Disney World woke up Tuesday to the sight of yellow crime-scene tape wrapped around a condo near the Christmas-decorated downtown, where Bing Crosby croons from speakers hidden in the foliage. A 58-year-old neighbor who lived alone with his Chihuahua had been slain over the long Thanksgiving weekend, Osceola County sheriff's deputies said.

The community's famous friendliness is what brought investigators to Matteo Giovanditto's body: Neighbors hadn't seen him for days, so they filed a missing person's report, then went into his condo a day later and found him.

Town officials claimed this to be an isolated incident. What would they have said at the beginning of last week, if asked if there were ever to be a murder in their fair town?

UPDATED: More tragedy in Celebration. Craig Foushee committed suicide after barricading himself in his home.

"Just because this is Celebration doesn't mean everyone's perfect," said Eva Medved, who lived across the street from Foushee. "People die, people get divorced, people get in trouble."

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

"I don't know if I'm going to win another one."

Rafael Nadal takes the humble route after winning the U.S. Open on Monday, completing his own personal Grand Slam. He is only the seventh man in tennis history to have won all four major tournaments, the other three being the Australian Open, the French Open (Roland Garros), and Wimbledon.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

"It’s the kind of film Freud, or more likely Jung, would have delighted in deconstructing."

It's really not shocking that the man who brought us Memento and The Dark Knight would make another critically acclaimed film. Memento focused on the problems of memory and loss, while The Dark Knight reveled in nihilism and fate. From what I've seen of the trailer, Inception appears to focus on perception, dreams, and reality. It's always a treat to watch a movie that engages the senses and the mind.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy 234th Birthday, America!

May you have many, many more to come. And may God shed His grace on thee...

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

You can't expect every WH staff member to be in the Gulf, can you?

Not all White House staffers are taking the BP crisis as seriously as our president. Well, I guess we should give them some slack, right? They work hard...

Saturday, June 5, 2010

"From what we know of the future DSM-V, Anakin is a 'good' to 'very good' match to the future BPD."

DSM-V = Diagnostic and Statistic Manual of Mental of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition.

BPD = Borderline personality disorder

Anakin = Anakin Skywalker, AKA Darth Vader.

Yes, some French psychiatrists and psychologists had time enough on their hands to create a biopsychosocial assessment and diagnosis for the Lord of the Sith. I guess we should applaud them for their efforts, but how much honor should they get for spending so much time and energy diagnosing someone who doesn't exist?

Think this all is rubbish? We know what Lord Vader would say to that:

Thursday, June 3, 2010

3 ways the Gospel can transform a porn addict

Thanks to Covenant Eyes and Breaking Free for a clip of D.A. Carson, John Piper and Tim Keller discussing the power of the Gospel for those who struggle with pornography.

Blago's trial began today

The illustrious former governor of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich, finally got his day in court. The Chicago Tribune is keeping up with the latest details, information, and allegations. I'm not sure how exciting the court proceedings will be, but it will certainly be lively if there are a few jurors with 'bad temper.'

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Federer out of Roland Garros

For the first time in six years, Roger Federer will not play in a semi-final match at a Grand Slam. Fifth-seed Robin Soderling beat the #1 seed in four sets.

Geoff MacDonald showed two days ago why he has a future in fortune-telling - "I predict that [Soderling] will take the reigning French Open champion down in four sets."

"a mutual and mutually supportive decision that we have made together"

The Gores are no more. Some people may, of course, think it great fun to ruminate on reasons for their split, but it's a tragedy in the end. The article reads, "The Gores crafted an image as a happily married couple during his eight-year stint as vice president in the 1990s and a presidential candidate in 2000." Was it just an image? Perhaps they were deliriously happy during the Veep years, and it wasn't just an "image" to "craft." Ten years ago, marital separation may have been the furthest thing from their minds.

Monday, May 24, 2010

"The End" of "Lost"

So now we know the complete story and plan that Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse had for one of the greatest shows on television. An ending that has everyone talking. I was pleased to see that the series concluded with a final struggle of good triumphing over evil. (And, yes, the MIB was evil. How could any good person threaten Bernard and Rose?) Jack sacrificed himself for the sake of the island, and for all the people who still remained there.

There were so many great moments in the final hours. Jack turning over the island caretaker role to Hurley. Sawyer and Juliet remembering each other by some vending machines. Claire deciding she didn't want to be crazy anymore and choosing to go with Kate and Sawyer on the plane. Kate and Charlie helping Claire to deliver Aaron... again. Locke forgiving Ben for murdering him. Vincent coming to Jack in the bamboo reeds, just as he did in the first moments of the "Pilot" episode.

I like Denny Burks' statements about the show here.

As I’ve said before, the Lost story was not your run-of-the-mill postmodern critique of metanarratives. Good and evil were in a pitched battle, and the good won in the end. Viewers saw in this story what they already perceive to be true about their own story. The world that they live in is broken, something has gone wrong, there is evil afoot, and something needs to be done about it. Everyone living in this broken-down world is broken-down themselves and in desperate need of redemption.

I think it’s easy to see why viewers have been attracted to Lost’s mythology. They feel a yearning that what was true in Lost’s story might be true in their own. They hope to find that what they did here did have meaning and a purpose and that good will win-out in the end. The Christian gospel teaches that this universal human yearning does have an answer. It teaches that good does in fact win-out in the end, that there is a purpose to it all, and that redemption is possible—even for the vilest characters in this drama (1 Timothy 1:15). There was really a man who was pierced for our transgressions to make a new world and new life possible (John 19:34; cf. Isaiah 53:5; Zechariah 12:10). Only this man didn’t live in a mythological TV-world. He lived here, was one of us, and has gone on to prepare a place for those who know Him by faith (John 1:14; 14:2-3).

“Lost” highlighted the itch that only the gospel can scratch. This was the unwitting genius of the show, and it is why people will be talking about it for years to come.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Josh Marshall: Rand Paul is "deeply unlikeable" on a "personal level"

So I was reading Althouse, which is one of my go-to places for some lite thought-provoking bloggishness, and I came to this post about Josh Marshall's thoughts on Dr. Rand Paul. Paul is running for the U.S. Senate seat in Kentucky, and scored a big victory in yesterday's primary. Josh believes Dr. Paul is a "deeply unlikeable guy," and not just because he's a Republican - no, he's unlikeable "on a personal level."

The interesting thing about this post is that Josh appears to use a lot of therapy-speak. I realize he's not a professional journalist, in the sense that he doesn't have to be objective (or he doesn't have to try to be objective, I should say) when he's writing about persons, places, or things. But Josh seems to have written this as if he was talking to somebody, and he wasn't sure about how he viewed things, and he wanted to check them out. It is my impression that he qualifies his statements to make sure they're accurate.

Do you see what I mean?

  • "So is Rand Paul, on a personal level, just a deeply unlikeable guy?" Josh is asking a question of his readers. He's not actually saying that Paul is an unlikeable fellow - he just wants to know if his readers think that way.
  • "But I am getting the impression that Paul..." Josh doesn't know something for sure - he's just getting the impression. He wants to check it out, see if he's right, and make sure that his observational prowess is still good.
  • "... aside from just being very unlikeable in personal terms..." OK, Josh shows his hand here and writes definitively that Dr. Paul is very unlikeable. Or is he still talking about impressions? This is kind of tough, and gives Josh a cushion in case he has to backtrack and say, "No, no, I didn't say that Dr. Paul is very unlikeable. It's just my impression that he is unlikeable."
  • "... may be a much more devisive figure..." Josh believes that Dr. Paul is devisive. That pretty much goes without saying, right? But he could be even more devisive than Josh had previously thought.
  • "I get the sense..." Oh, my! Josh's feelers/sensors/antennae have activated!

I'm sure we're getting the same impression. Or am I completely off base?

Wenlock and Mandeville

Just when you think you got the Brits figured out, they pull stuff like this. What exactly are they supposed to represent?

Monday, May 17, 2010

"a laughing stock, an absent-minded buffoon.... the one who is silly"

Simon Critchley, chair of philosophy at the New School for Social Research in New York, attempts to answer an immortal question - what is a philosopher? - in the newest section of the New York Times.
The freedom of the philosopher consists in either moving freely from topic to topic or simply spending years returning to the same topic out of perplexity, fascination and curiosity.
And of course, it takes money to enjoy all that time. Which is why you'd be hard-pressed to find professional philosophers outside academia.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

What is the strongest, fastest animal in the world?

The copepod. I should point out that it (1) has two systems of movement, so it doesn't fatigue like other animals, (2) is blind, and (3) is 1 mm long.

(HT: Neotorama)

The best illusions of 2010

These illusions are extraordinary. But then again, most illusions are, no? And the great thing is that they're free. But some illusions are for sale...

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Thursday, May 13, 2010

What does former First Lady Laura Bush think of same-sex marriage and abortion rights?

The answer:

the sins of the mother passed on to the son

A very sad story: Tyler Lamber, the 25-year-old son of "Different Strokes" star Dana Plato, committed suicide. He had reportedly been "experimenting" with drugs and alcohol. Plato committed suicide on May 8, 1999.

Take note: Never "experiment" with drugs and alcohol.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Coco still has his sense of humor

Conan O'Brien on TV last night: “Jay’s got The Tonight Show. I have a beard and an inflatable bat. And I’m touring city to city. Who can say who won and who lost?”

Sunday, May 2, 2010

He's dropped the whole "I'm not going to say a word" idea

He's now in favor of remaining silent no longer.

I think that if you're going to write some long piece, Roman, about how you can be silent no longer and about how you should get to stay with your family and remain a free man and not face the consequences of forcing sex on an underage girl, you shouldn't start out with how you were cruelly arrested when you were on your way to pick up some lifetime achievement award.

Thank your local T-shirt salesperson

Your life may have been saved by someone who's just trying to earn a living selling an "I (Heart) NY" shirt.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Medication recall

You read this:
The McNeil Consumer Healthcare Unit of Johnson & Johnson has voluntarily begun a recall of certain children's over-the-c0unter liquid medicines because of manufacturing deficiencies, the Food and Drug Administration said Saturday.

The deficiencies may affect the potency, purity or quality of products, the agency said in a statement.

Consumers should stop using certain lots of infants' and childrens' Tylenol, Motrin, Zyrtec and Benadryl products because some of them may contain too much of the active ingredient, McNeil said in a statement late Friday. Other products may contain tiny particles or inactive ingredients that may not meet testing requirements, the company said.

... and you have questions swirling around in your mind.
  1. What standards are in place to ensure quality control?
  2. Why couldn't they have discovered these deficiencies before the medications hit the stores?
  3. What exactly are these "tiny particles or inactive ingredients that may not meet testing requirements?"
  4. What medications are we taking today that will be recalled tomorrow?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


A document fished out of a California state university trash bin last week has prompted a state investigation into the university's foundation arm and its refusal to disclose details related to Sarah Palin's upcoming speech at the school.

On Tuesday, California Attorney General Jerry Brown said his office would look into the finances of the California State University, Stanislaus Foundation, as well as allegations that the nonprofit organization violated public disclosure laws by keeping details of Palin's contract secret.

Palin is scheduled to speak at a June 25 gala hosted by the foundation to mark the university's 50th anniversary.

Brown's investigation was prompted, in part, by a group of CSU Stanislaus students who retrieved five pages of the contract from a campus trash bin last Friday after hearing administrators were engaged in shredding documents.

Hmmm. I have a few questions. (1) If the contract wasn't supposed to be found by anyone, why wasn't it shredded? It seems like this was purposely planted. (2) How often do students at CSU explore the campus trash bins?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Feel free to be naked in your own home

The law says it's okay. It may not be smart, but it's not illegal.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Michael Spencer's passing

The Associated Baptist Press has a report on the recent death of Michael Spencer, whose blog has been consistently near the top of all Christian blogs. His blog was certainly a regular read for me, and I mourn his passing.

Monday, April 5, 2010


Originally uploaded by Good Brownie
I took this photo of Hinkle Fieldhouse a few years ago, but I thought it would be appropriate to post it now. Good luck, Bulldogs!

Jesus and the Dawgs

Jesus and the Dawgs
Originally uploaded by Good Brownie

Butler Bulldog

Butler Bulldog
Originally uploaded by Good Brownie
I lived in Indianapolis for over eight years altogether. My girls are both Hoosiers, born at St. Vincents Hospital. Of course I'm going to root for the Bulldogs.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

an insidious and deadly drug

Imagine a drug so powerful it can destroy a family simply by distorting a man’s perception of his wife. Picture an addiction so lethal it has the potential to render an entire generation incapable of forming lasting marriages and so widespread that it produces more annual revenue — $97 billion worldwide in 2006 — than all of the leading technology companies combined. Consider a narcotic so insidious that it evades serious scientific study and legislative action for decades, thriving instead under the ever-expanding banner of the First Amendment.

According to an online statistics firm, an estimated 40 million people use this drug on a regular basis. It doesn’t come in pill form. It can’t be smoked, injected, or snorted. And yet neurological data suggest its effects on the brain are strikingly similar to those of synthetic drugs. Indeed, two authorities on the neurochemistry of addiction, Harvey Milkman and Stanley Sunderwirth, claim it is the ability of this drug to influence all three pleasure systems in the brain — arousal, satiation, and fantasy — that makes it “the pièce de résistance among the addictions.”

Bathynomus giganteus

Hollywood studios will surely make a movie with a creature that looks like this. Oh, wait - they already did.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Have you been to one of the top 100 highest grossing independent restaurants?

I have dined at two on the list: #45 St. Elmo Steak House and #51 Frankenmuth Bavarian Inn. I last visited St. Elmo's a couple years ago. My parents took me to Frankenmuth on one of our annual summer vacations; I was somewhere in the teen years.

Don't think that being near the top is all that great. You may be #2, but you'll still end up in bankruptcy.

I'll be heading to Baltimore in a few weeks, so maybe I'll check out #52.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Ricky Martin "officially" came out

Add this to the things we already knew file. I believe that the present is always the best time to be honest about yourself, but this seems like a ploy to me. Ricky Martin is no longer a part of our lives as he once had been. Well, twice that I remember - once as a member of the group Menudo, which I remember from my Saturday mornings, and then as a solo artist who sang about how a woman bangs. And now he has a found a way to enter our lives a third time: as a "fortunate homosexual man."

Monday, March 29, 2010

Do the Butler Bulldogs compare to the "Hoosiers" team?

Butler University Police Chief Benjamin Hunter described the increasing interest in the Northside campus via Twitter this morning: "Looking forward to a busy week at Butler. Never seen so much media on campus. Go Dawgs!"

Why is Butler a darling of the press? The small private school is making its first appearance in the Final Four and is the first school since UCLA in 1972 to be playing in the Final Four in its hometown.

But there's more: the players are bracing themselves for a week full of "Hoosiers" references. They are piling up.

See the comparisons?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Have you noticed the declining state of males?

Wagner College has and is doing something about it.

A gathering of academicians drawn from a range of disciplines will meet on April 7, 2010, at Wagner College, Staten Island, New York, to examine the declining state of the male, stemming from cataclysmic changes in today’s culture, environment and global economy. The live teleconferenced colloquium will be chaired by Lionel Tiger, PhD, Rutgers University Charles Darwin Professor of Anthropology. It will encompass a broad range of topics relevant to the study of boys and men in contemporary society ranging from their roles in the family and workforce, as well as their physical and emotional health, to the growing problem of misandry—the hatred of males, an unacknowledged but underlying socio-cultural, economic, political and legal phenomenon endangering the well-being of both genders.

The goal of the April colloquium is to consider the nature and structure of male studies programs designed for institutions of higher education. It follows on the current experience of the On Step Institute (OSI), which supports graduate fellowships at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Education, Culture and Human Development. It will seek to generate a cross-disciplinary community of scholars in male studies and establish a series of networks enabling scholars to become acquainted with each other’s work. The Chair of OSI, Edward Stephens, MD, who has organized the consortium, finds that while a handful of schools now sporadically offer courses dealing with males in traditionally unrelated departments – for example, literature, history, anthropology, psychology and sociology – the courses are unequal to providing effective insight into the immense problems confronting males in the 21st century which requires an integrated approach incorporating a multiplicity of academic disciplines.

Don't you feel better about a gathering of academicians drawn from a range of disciplines coming together to save the males? Man, I sure do.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Why the church should accept evolution

UPDATE: Doug Wilson offers a response.

Was Stupak stupid?

Congressman Bart Stupak initially refused to vote in favor of the healthcare bill, but agreed to do so because President Obama said he would sign an executive order to not allow federal funds for abortions. Just as he said he would, Obama signed the executive order. Whether this executive order means anything in the long run is unclear, but neither the pro-choice camp nor the pro-life camp think it does.

So if the executive order is essentially meaningless, was Stupak stupid to give his vote for it? It would appear so, as he's not getting the love he seemed destined to get.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

"Dad, the unfinished business is done."

I'm linking to this story because I'm intrigued by items people leave at gravesites. What is the point in leaving something? When someone leaves flowers at the tombstone of a loved one, what are they hoping to accomplish? Obviously, the dead person is incapable of watching flowers transform from liveliness to decay. Only those who visit the graveyard will see the flowers, and the vast majority will not give them a second glance, no matter how elaborate and lovely they are.

When a son leaves a note - to tell his deceased father about what has transpired in the world since he expired, or whatever - no one would seriously suggest that the corpse could rise to read it. The son leaves the note for others to see. Would the son have left the note if the father was buried in some obscure place, instead of one of the most visited graveyards in the world?

India has a fiery new weapon

The chili grenade:
After conducting tests, the military has decided to use the thumb-sized "bhut jolokia," or "ghost chili," to make tear gas-like hand grenades to immobilize suspects, defense officials said Tuesday.

The bhut jolokia was accepted by Guinness World Records in 2007 as the world's spiciest chili. It is grown and eaten in India's northeast for its taste, as a cure for stomach troubles and a way to fight the crippling summer heat.

It has more than 1,000,000 Scoville units, the scientific measurement of a chili's spiciness. Classic Tabasco sauce ranges from 2,500 to 5,000 Scoville units, while jalapeno peppers measure anywhere from 2,500 to 8,000.

"The chili grenade has been found fit for use after trials in Indian defense laboratories, a fact confirmed by scientists at the Defense Research and Development Organization," Col. R. Kalia, a defense spokesman in the northeastern state of Assam, told The Associated Press.

"This is definitely going to be an effective nontoxic weapon because its pungent smell can choke terrorists and force them out of their hide-outs," R. B. Srivastava, the director of the Life Sciences Department at the New Delhi headquarters of the DRDO said.

Could your chili be classified as a lethal weapon?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

"The real winner is the American people."

It looks like the Dems will get their votes for the healthcare overhaul.
Passage of the legislation seemed assured when Democratic Rep. Bart Stupak of Michigan announced that he will vote in favor of the health care overhaul, citing confidence that an executive order signed by the president will prevent federal funds from being used for abortion coverage.

Here is Obama's executive order that assured the votes of the pro-life Democrats.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Georgetown out!

I know I should be ashamed to have picked Georgetown over Ohio University since I'm a native son of the Buckeye state, but honestly, who would have thought it? I'm not alone.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

What's with the Huffington Post featuring this picture of Obama and Pelosi?

This is the picture at the top of HuffPo's main screen right now, with the words "END GAME" looming large and blood-red:

It looks as if the President of the United States is about to take a bite out of the forehead of the Speaker of the House of Representatives. I think we can safely presume that most of the HuffPo articles lean towards the left. Is this the image they want to present?

Top 100 Church Blogs, with bonuses

From the Church Relevance site:

There are hundreds of great church blogs and ministry blogs to read, but do you ever wonder which church blogs everyone else is reading?

I do, which is why I have compiled a list of the world’s top church blogs.

Some focus exclusively on ministry, while others are more like theology blogs. Regardless of how you label them, these are the world’s most popular church blogs written by many of today’s most influential church leaders, theologians, and Christ followers.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

President Obama sent me a letter!

Well, an email actually. But hey! It's mail just the same, right? And he addressed it to "Matthew," which is how my family members call me. Barack and I are family!
I wanted to take a moment to thank you directly for the outstanding work you've been doing as part of Organizing for America's Final March for Reform.
Why, thank you! It's nice to be noticed. Although I don't remember doing anything to directly help you with this. But still, the notice is nice. And this is the Final March for Reform? We won't be having anymore, ever?
I can tell you that your voice is heard in Washington every day.
Really? Who all is hearing my voice? Besides you, that is?
I see how your efforts are moving us toward victory.
I haven't been to Washington since December 2004. You weren't even in the Senate yet. How could you have seen me?
Raise your voice today.
Would it help if I stepped outside before I started raising my voice? To improve the hearing of my voice?
We must all speak out together to finish the job.
Wait just a minute here, Barack. You're writing a personal letter to me, and now you're talking about how we must all speak together...? Who is this we? Umm... Are you sending email to other people, too?

Oh. I guess you are. I'm not so special after all.

Win the Best Actress Oscar, divorce your husband

It certainly seems to be a trend, with this news about the most recent Oscar winner.

a history of CCEF

David Powlison and Tim Lane of the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation have posted an article about the identity and history of CCEF.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

It's a good day to wear green if you're going to celebrate the most recognized Irish saint. Or you could opt to wear orange.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

"You know we're talking 'bout the doctor! Doctor!"

"Dr." Tony Bourdain provided a healthy guest appearence on Yo Gabba Gabba!

Good night, Mr. Phelps

Peter Graves, most famous for his roles on the television show Mission: Impossible and the movie Airplane!, died earlier today.

Graves died of an apparent heart attack outside his Los Angeles home, publicist Sandy Brokaw said. He would have been 84 this week.

I was a sophomore in college in February 1991, and a part of the college concert chorale, which toured for four days every year. On that particular year we sang in a few churches around Washington, D.C. We were fortunate enough to savour a few Saturday morning hours by wandering around the Mall. After walking by the Lincoln Memorial towards the Korean War Veterans Memorial, I passed by a particularly gloomy group. They were led by Peter Graves, whom I immediately recognized. I was feeling rather plucky, so I approached him and asked, "Sir, are you who I think you are?" He responded with a whispery, "I suppose so," and walked on. A woman, whom I could only assume was his wife, gave me the dirtiest of looks. I didn't care. I had spoken to Captain Clarence Oveur, and he spoke to me.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Google vs. Bing

I guess this is a bit narcissistic, but I've noticed I'm the top result in a Google search but the seventh in a Bing search. I wonder what this means? How can I get Bing to notice me more?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Michael Spencer

I was very sad to read this news from Denise, the wife of Michael Spencer, whose blog I regularly read.

It is with a heavy heart that I bring my latest update on Michael. We have learned that his cancer is too advanced and too aggressive to expect any sort of remission. Our oncologist estimates that with continued treatment Michael most likely has somewhere between six months and a year to live. This is not really a surprise to us, though it is certainly horrible news. From the very beginning, both of us have suspected that this would prove to be an extremely bad situation. I don’t know why; perhaps God was preparing us for the worst all along by giving us that intuition.

The combination of the cancer and the chemotherapy is keeping Michael in a very weakened state. He is in bed all day, getting up once or twice only to eat a “meal.” His meals consist mostly of Ensure, with occasional mugs of soup, dishes of ice cream and milkshakes. He’s still taking fluids well, currently preferring Sprite and ginger ale. His tastes do change slightly from time to time, and I try to be ready to jump in whatever direction they seem to be moving. He is in no pain at all, for which I am unspeakably grateful.

Michael went through a period of depression, as I’m sure you would expect. He seems to have come through that now, for the most part. He knows he is dying, and he says he is at peace. Though he will still say with unashamed honesty, “I don’t want it to all be over at age 53!” he has the confidence of knowing that he has run the race God set out for him. He believes he has done the work our Lord intended for him to do, and if the last task God has for him in this life is dying, then he will do that to the best of his ability.

Monday, March 8, 2010

"By the way, what the heck is he doing in the congressional gym? He goes there to intimidate members of Congress."

There are buck naked politics, and then there are shower naked politics. Former congressman Eric Massa (D-NY) claims Rahm Emanuel accosted him in the congressional shower room last year. While both were wearing not one stitch of clothing. "Do you know how awkward it is to have a political argument with a naked man? ... It's ridiculous."

Saturday, March 6, 2010

82nd Academy Awards

Usually I see only one or two Oscar-nominated movies before the awards are handed out, but this year is an exception. Thanks to the makers of DVD's and DVD players for making this possible.

  • District 9 (Picture, Film Editing, Visual Effects, Adapted Screenplay)

  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Cinematography)

  • The Hurt Locker (Picture, Director, Actor, Cinematography, Film Editing, Original Score, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Original Screenplay)

  • Inglorious Basterds (Picture, Director, Supporting Actor, Cinematography, Film Editing, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Original Screenplay)

  • Julie & Julia (Actress)

  • The Princess and The Frog (Animated Picture, Original Song)

  • Star Trek (Makeup, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Visual Effects)

  • Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (Sound Mixing)

  • Up (Picture, Animated Picture, Original Score, Sound Editing, Original Screenplay)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

We're all going to age faster

The Chile earthquake may have shortened our days:

The massive 8.8 earthquake that struck Chile may have changed the entire Earth's rotation and shortened the length of days on our planet, a NASA scientist said Monday.

The quake, the seventh strongest earthquake in recorded history, hit Chile Saturday and should have shortened the length of an Earth day by 1.26 milliseconds, according to research scientist Richard Gross at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

"Perhaps more impressive is how much the quake shifted Earth's axis," NASA officials said in a Monday update.

The computer model used by Gross and his colleagues to determine the effects of the Chile earthquake effect also found that it should have moved Earth's figure axis by about 3 inches (8 cm or 27 milliarcseconds).

Monday, March 1, 2010

to sleep, perchance to dream of the white bear

Jonah Lehrer can't sleep because he can't get his insomnia out of his mind.
My insomnia always begins with me falling asleep. I’ve been reading the same paragraph for the last five minutes — the text is suddenly impossibly dense — and I can feel the book getting heavier and heavier in my hands. Gravity is tugging on my eyelids.

And then, just as my mind turns itself off, I twitch awake. I’m filled with disappointment. I was so close to a night of sweet nothingness, but now I’m back, eyes wide open in the dark. I dread the hours of boredom; I’m already worried about the tiredness of tomorrow.

You can find more from Jonah at his blog The Frontal Cortex.

"That investigation is now concluded and no criminality has been found."

The Brooklyn ACORN has been cleared of charges of advising prostitutes.
Brooklyn prosecutors on Monday cleared ACORN of criminal wrongdoing after a four-month probe that began when undercover conservative activists filmed workers giving what appeared to be illegal advice on how to hide money.

While the video by James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles seemed to show three ACORN workers advising a prostitute how to hide ill-gotten gains, the unedited version was not as clear, according to a law enforcement source.

"They edited the tape to meet their agenda," said the source.

I wonder what Rush and Hannity will say about this.

Happy March!

I am so very thankful whenever March gets here, because Spring is three weeks away!

And, of course, there's this:

Sunday, February 28, 2010

2010 Vancouver

Like many Olympic fans, I will experience withdrawal this week. It seems strange to think that will be the case, since I usually don't watch people racing around a rink on skates or sliding down a hill on a board. But every two years, I tune into whatever station is playing the Olympics, and I settle down on the couch with much pleasure. And every two years, I suffer through the week following the closing ceremony, thinking, Now what will I watch?

Lots of stories, some winsome and some controversial, from Vancouver. The shocking death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili. Apolo Ohno becoming the most decorated American Winter Games athlete. Queen Yu-Na living up to the pressure placed upon her by her native country. Shaun White proving he's still the champ of the halfpipe. Joannie Rochette skating through the pain of losing her mother to capture the bronze medal. Vonn v. Mancuso and Plushenko v. Lysacek stealing the drama spotlight usually reserved for S. Korea v. Ohno. Steve Holcomb driving the "Night Train" to golden glory. Canada dominating in hockey, curling, and... speed-skating?!? The U.S.A. winning the medals race.

Thanks for putting on a great show, athletes! See you in Russia in 2014!

UPDATE: Fantastic set of pictures from the Games.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Saturday, February 20, 2010

"It's like being in a play; I'm always in a play."

Temple Grandin, the subject of a recent HBO biopic, talked about living life among the "yakkity yaks."
Mostly, though, her advice is simple: It's about hard work. Young children need 20 or 30 hours a week of one-on-one time with a committed teacher or mentor. Money, Ms. Grandin says, should not be an obstacle. If you can't afford a professional teacher, find volunteers through your church or synagogue, she says. Parents need to teach 1950s-style social rules "like please and thank you, basic table manners, how to shop."

There have to be high expectations. She's worried about the "handicapped mentality" that she thinks is increasing. "When I see these kids with 150 IQ and their parents want to put them on Social Security [disability], it drives me nuts." These kids "will come up to the book table and start talking about 'my Aspergers.' Why don't you talk about becoming a chemist, or a computer programmer, or a botanist?"

She continues: "It's important to get these autistic kids out and exposed to stuff. You've got to fill up the database." Silicon Valley and the tech companies are like "heaven on earth for the geeks and the nerds. And I want to see more and more of these smart kids going into the tech industry and inventing things—that's what makes America great."

Thursday, February 18, 2010

"With a more generous understanding of Genesis, evolution is not quite so abhorrent, because it does not insist upon rejecting the Bible..."

Joshua Sowin explains why he believes in evolution:

There are times in our lives when the scales fall from our eyes and we see something clearly for the first time. For me, it usually happens through reading books.

Looking back, the experience often seems instantaneous, but it always takes cultivation. Because of my experiences and reading I was at a place where it was possible for me to believe the earth was old. So when I picked up A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson, I was in danger of reading it with an open mind.

As I read, my belief in a young earth crashed down. None of the arguments made sense anymore. There was too much evidence for an old earth. When did all those gigantic asteroids hit the earth (or the moon)? When did the mega-volcanoes (like Yellowstone) erupt? How could the fossil record be so consistently layered and dated? These sorts of questions finally led me to accept that the earth is around four and a half billion years old.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Twittering the Olympics

You knew people were going to do it.

A pregnant woman, due in 4 months, is playing in the 2010 Vancouver games

In this sport. Which, really, is the sport we can all imagine ourselves to compete in as an Olympian. Because we watch it and we think, Yeah, I could do that. I could wear crazy clothes, too. So if you want to go to the Olympics, here's how.

Monday, February 8, 2010

"Sarah Palin needs help."

So says Nate Silver at 538.
There's something which, if you've ever been in the business of trying to sell consulting services, you've probably grown accustomed to. It's what I call the "consulting paradox". Namely, it's the idea that the people who are most in need of help are often the least aware of it. Indeed, the range of potential clients who (i) aren't smart enough to solve all their own problems and (ii) are smart enough to know it ... is generally very narrow.

Sarah Palin needs help. So does almost every politician -- but Palin needs it more than most. She is young. She is inexperienced. She's not especially well connected. She's strong-willed and a little impulsive.
But Steve M. argues that it's working:
The "mainstream" (???) media operation for which Palin works, along with the rest of the tea party movement and GOP noise machine, has utterly rewritten the narrative. Almost nothing done by a right-winger now is considered "extreme" or amateurish, because the entire political spectrum, except for lefties/liberals, now accepts the notion that tea party activism is in the American grain and is therefore a good thing, a necessary corrective to the real "extremism" -- which is what's coming out of the Obama White House. Obama's agenda, deficits, bailouts, etc., are "extreme" and therefore everything his critics do is not extreme, no matter how many racist signs are waved, how many guns are wielded, how many conspiracy theories and lies are bandied about.

And as for amateurism, that's not bad, it's charming. Palin's non-slickness may grate on our ears, but that's because we're overeducated urban slicksters, just like those Chicagoans in the Obama White House. The tea parties are wall-to-wall patriotic kitsch and incoherent hokum, but incoherent hokum is new and hip. It's even OK that Palin chose to be an amateur after being a political pro -- she dropped out inarticulately and in a clumsy way, which makes it genuine, and thus very much in keeping with the tea party spirit, which is now generally conceded to be wonderful.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

"I'm someone who made mistakes in my life. And look where I am. If I let you down I'm sorry."

Scott Lee Cohen has withdrawn his name as the Democratic nominee for Illinois lieutenant governor.
For days, the pawn broker-turned Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor was dogged over allegations he abused anabolic steroids, went into fits of rage, sexually abused his then-wife, got behind in child support payments and held a knife to the throat of a former girlfriend who is a convicted prostitute.

But Cohen was never convicted of a crime and said he'd moved on from the transgressions of his past. And after spending a couple of million dollars of his own money on his campaign, he initially refused to step aside.

Democratic candidate for governor, Pat Quinn, called Cohen's decision "the right decision" for the party. "Now we can continue to focus our efforts on putting our economy back on track and working to bring good jobs to Illinois," Quinn said in a statement.

Super Bowl 44

I lived in and around Indianapolis in two different time periods, totalling eight years and 2 months, so you can imagine where my loyalties lie for this game. And, of course, I look to Stampede Blue for stats and analysis.

5 arguments for God's existence

William Lane Craig responds to Richard Dawkins's book The God Delusion, which I've recently read.

ADDED: I believe Dawkins's basic arguments in The God Delusion can be whittled down to three.
  1. God doesn't exist because I don't like him. Especially the God of the Old Testament. Yuck.
  2. Question authority, especially religious "authority." Do this because I'm telling you to.
  3. Evolution is the answer to everything. I know it's the answer to everything because if it wasn't, we wouldn't have an answer. Or we wouldn't eventually find out the answer. Because it will eventually answer everything, it is the answer to everything. It is this way because I'm telling you it is this way.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

"Scott Lee Cohen... was arrested about four-and-a-half years ago and accused of holding a knife to a former live-in girlfriend's neck"

Cohen won the Democratic party's nomination for lieutenant governor of Illinois in Tuesday's primary. Yep, we sure know how to pick 'em here in this fine state.
Cohen -- who records show also had federal tax troubles that he says he has settled -- denied in a written statement that he ever hurt the ex-girlfriend or his family. Cohen disclosed his domestic violence arrest when he announced his candidacy, but the details about the knife and prostitution case didn't surface in the campaign, as Cohen was considered a longshot.

"It was a difficult time in my life. I was going through a divorce, and I fell in with the wrong crowd," Cohen said. "I was in a tumultuous relationship with the woman I was dating. We had a fight, but I never touched her."

He fell in with the wrong crowd. Is he talking about Chicago-style politicians?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Nope! No non-thin non-whites this year!

Vanity Fair tells us once again - it's a yearly habit, after all - which thin white pretty-young-things are the "New Hollywood" darlings.

Monday, February 1, 2010

"Lost," season 6

The end is near for Lost as it starts its sixth and final season tomorrow night. Many people are obsessed with Lost, and for good reason, for there's no other show on right now that tackles such issues as faith, science, time travel, philosophy, free will, and fate. And what other shows feature Taweret and Smokey? The show has had many mysteries both answered and unanswered (What's in the hatch? Why was that little boy taken by those scruffy-looking people? How can there be two Lockes - one alive, one dead? What has Claire been doing all this time?), and that's part of the appeal. I'm sure many people will be sad when Lost reaches its conclusion, but at least one person won't be.

Anyways, Lost has given us a great ride so far. Just like Alan, I can't wait to see how it all ends. If only to see whether Doc Jensen is right or not.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

What is the "New York Times" telling us about the health care bill?

I read this headline - Decision Looms on Advancing Health Care Bill - and a word flashes through my brain: Doom. Putting together decision and loom, I get doom.

I read the first line:
Seeking to avert the collapse of major health care legislation, the White House and Democratic leaders in Congress face a crucial decision about whether to use a procedural maneuver that would allow them to advance the bill despite the loss of their 60-vote majority in the Senate.

Yep, sure sounds like doom for the health care bill.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Saturday, January 23, 2010

"Nobody in life gets what they thought they were going to get."

So said Conan O'Brien last night, his final turn as the host of the Tonight Show.

But I wonder: how many people get $33,000,000 to not be on a TV show? Of course, the money wasn't his dream - hosting the Tonight Show was.

Yes, but what kind? Polar? Black? Grizzly? Koala? Panda?

Great headline from Reuters: "White House says bears part of blame for Senate loss."

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Scott Brown, Senator elect

A Senate seat long held by a Democrat has passed to a Republican:
Scott Brown, a little-known Republican state senator, rode an old pickup truck and a growing sense of unease among independent voters to an extraordinary upset Tuesday night when he was elected to fill the Senate seat that was long held by Edward M. Kennedy in the overwhelmingly Democratic state of Massachusetts.

By a decisive margin, Mr. Brown defeated Martha Coakley, the state’s attorney general, who had been considered a prohibitive favorite to win just over a month ago after she easily won the Democratic primary.

With all precincts counted, Mr. Brown had 52 percent of the vote to Ms. Coakley’s 47 percent.
What will this mean for the president, especially with the fall elections looming in the distance? What were the people of Massachusetts trying to tell America on the eve of Obama's one year anniversary as POTUS? Will a man who rode on the winds of change became change incarnate?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Killer movie

How many films have killed at the box office? We know of one for sure - Avatar.

Friday, January 15, 2010

"It is the paradox of the cyber era: A nation of exhibitionists demanding privacy."

A revealing article on the non-private thoughts of Michael Gerson:
The most interesting aspect of cyber culture, however, is not the quest for privacy but its disregard -- not the desire to protect private communication but the compulsion to make bra colors public.

The Internet is known for its milestones of exhibitionism. In 1996, Jennifer Ringley began broadcasting her entire life -- from brushing her teeth to making love -- on the Internet. In 1998, Elizabeth Ann Oliver delivered her baby live on the Web. In 2001, Josh Harris presented his breakup with his girlfriend and his nervous breakdown for Internet consumption.

But the real revolution of the Internet has been to make personal disclosure routine. Some, via Twitter, Facebook and the like, have taken to afflict others with a constant stream of their random thoughts -- an avocation that a columnist has no business to criticize. Less understandable to me are the revelations once reserved for the most
intimate friends.

If nothing else, we need wisdom in discerning what to keep hidden and what to reveal.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Scott Brown, candidate for U.S. Senate, was a "Cosmo" centerfold

Let us suppose that a physically attractive 50-year-old woman had posed for a magazine when she was in her early 20's. A magazine that was geared towards men. For this particular picture, she does not appear to be wearing any type of clothing, but her hands are modestly covering her "female parts." And let us say that this woman is now running for the U.S. Senate. What kinds of things might be said about her? How often would that picture be shown? What kinds of questions might she be expected to answer? If she was directly questioned about it, would she have a "meltdown?"

And now let us suppose that a man... Oh, we don't have to suppose. We have a man like that. A man who's running for the U.S. Senate. Who reportedly had a "meltdown."

Katie Connolly thinks there's a double standard:

Jokes aside, that this racy pic has been circulating for years and hasn't hampered Brown's career perhaps isn't that surprising. "It's a pretty tame photo compared to what you might see at an NFL halftime show," says campaign spokesperson Eric Fehrnstrom. "The fact is, when Scott was 22 years old, he was footloose and carefree." That may be so, but how would he be treated if he were a woman?

Although a nude centerfold might not kill a female politician's career, it would most certainly prompt questions about her character. Was she unacceptably promiscuous? Did she have a wild, compromising youth? While we scoff at the exploits of young men─they're allowed to be "footloose and carefree"─women are rarely afforded that luxury. For Brown, who just turned 50, it's a case of "boys will be boys." We can giggle at Brown's treasure trail and not think twice about how the sight of it affects his political career. But when Sarah Palin's head was Photoshopped on the body of a gun-totin', bikini-clad babe, it served as evidence for many of her unsuitability for office. Even when the photo was proved to be fake, it continued to haunt her. Palin's sexuality was at once titillating and threatening─for as many fans as she gained for being attractive, there were as many who used it in building the case against her. If Barbara Boxer had posed nude in her youth and declared her love for "buff boys," I predict her voters would be collectively horrified, and she'd probably never shake the crass jokes that would follow. As a culture, we simply don't like our female representatives to be publicly sexual.

(Via Althouse)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Peyton's 4th MVP prize

He's done it: Peyton Manning has captured the NFL MVP title for a historic fourth time.
Only one other player, Minnesota quarterback Brett Favre, has been honored three times by the Associated Press’ 50-member panel of sportswriters and broadcasters. Manning previously won the award in 2003, ’04 and last season.

The face and foundation of the franchise since being selected with the first overall pick in the 1998 draft, Manning has helped direct the Colts to a league-best 14-2 record, the No. 1 seed in the AFC and an eighth consecutive playoff berth.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Bart Stupak

The kind of Democrat I like.
Now he is enduring more hatred than perhaps any other member of Congress, much of it from fellow Democrats. His name has become a slogan: “Stop Stupak!”

Scott Schloegel, his chief of staff, said wearily, “I can’t tell you how many New Yorkers have called me up and yelled at me about this Stupak guy.”

With final negotiations on a health care overhaul beginning this week, complaints about “the evil Stupak amendment,” as the congressman dryly called it over dinner here recently, are likely to grow even louder. The amendment prevents women who receive federal insurance subsidies from buying abortion coverage — but critics assert it could cause women who buy their own insurance difficulty in obtaining coverage.

Mr. Stupak insists that the final bill include his terms, which he says merely reflect current law. If he prevails, he will have won an audacious, counterintuitive victory, forcing a Democratic-controlled Congress to pass a measure that will be hailed as an anti-abortion triumph. If party members do not accept his terms — and many vow they will not — Mr. Stupak is prepared to block passage of the health care overhaul.

"If you can find a better deal, take it!"

I really don't know if Ann Coulter is a fellow believer, but I can see by what she's written that she gets the heart of the Gospel.
In a boiling rage, liberals constantly accuse Christians of being "judgmental." No, we're relieved.

Christianity is also the hardest religion in the world because, if you believe Christ died for your sins and rose from the dead, you have no choice but to give your life entirely over to Him. No more sexual promiscuity, no lying, no cheating, no stealing, no killing inconvenient old people or unborn babies -- no doing what all the other kids do.

And no more caring what the world thinks of you -- because, as Jesus warned in a prophecy constantly fulfilled by liberals: The world will hate you.

With Christianity, your sins are forgiven, the slate is wiped clean and your eternal life is guaranteed through nothing you did yourself, even though you don't deserve it. It's the best deal in the universe.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Epiphany

Thanks, Rev. Paul, for today's history lesson.
The Epiphany of our Lord was, in the ancient church, a day that was set aside to commemorate not only the visitation of the Magi, but the Lord’s Baptism, and his first miracle. The season of Epiphany was developed to offer separate meditation and reflection on each of these events in our Lord’s ministry, so on this day, the focus is on the visit of the Magi. Many churches observed Epiphany last Sunday, using the custom of observing a major feast falling on a week day, on the Sunday immediately preceding it.

"dung good"

For some people, nothing says I love you quite like manure.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Sunday, January 3, 2010


Tim Challies, one of Christianity's most prolific and well-known bloggers, has started his new project - reading every single nonfiction book that lands on the New York Times bestseller list.
My wife thinks I’m a little bit crazy, I’m sure of it. During eleven years of marriage I’ve done a lot of things that have led her to roll her eyes and sigh. I guess she is getting used to it, though, because even she is interested in what I am planning to do in 2010. I plan to read all of the New York Times bestselling books over the course of the whole year. Do the math and you’ll see that this will come in at somewhere around 10 million words.

While the project proper begins on January 1, 2010, in the months leading up to it, I will be attempting to read all of the current bestsellers to reassure myself that I can actually do this without losing my sanity. In so doing, I will be trying to “find my voice,” so to speak–finding the best way to deal with as imposing a project as this one, and looking for the cultural and worldview themes that I think will be so interesting.

I'm sure your wife isn't the only one, Tim, but good luck.

"Open", Andre Agassi

I really can't explain why I'm such a fan of tennis. I've never played a complete match, just a few games with a childhood friend. I've never owned a racquet - I've had to borrow one from others when I played. I can't remember the last time I was actually on a tennis court, other than to watch someone else play. I remember well that last match I attended. My wife and I obtained tickets for a night at the RCA Tournament in Indianapolis in 2003, to see Andy Roddick in his quest for that title. He won it, of course, and two months later he went on to win the U.S. Open.

But Andy wasn't my favorite player. Andre Agassi was. He had such style and flair, and an incredibly formidable return of serve. Pete Sampras may have been the better player, but he was boring compared to Agassi. I watched his career - and his personal life - go up and down. His joy at finally winning at Roland Garros. His marriage - and subsequent divorce - to the actress Brooke Shields. His relationship to one of tennis' brightest stars, Steffi Graf.

And now, he has written his life story for all to read. Open is truly one of the best autobiographies I've ever read. Agassi writes extremely well, and with refreshing candor. It seems that in many memoirs, people wish to gloss over or diminish the uglier parts of their personal history. Agassi refused to do that. He writes about his frustrating relationship with his father, who pushed him into the sport at a very young age. About his dalliance with crystal meth, and how it almost cost him his career. His doomed relationship with Shields. His hair loss. His disappointing losses. The fleeting and surreal characteristics of fame. Everything stays in the line, nothing is out of bounds.

Agassi states numerous times throughout the book that he hates tennis. He tells this to other people in conversation, but none of them really believe him. Not even fellow tennis player Brad Gilbert, who coached him for several years. "You don't really hate it, do you?" is the reply he often gets when he's willing to admit the truth to them. Only his wife Steffi understands this.

Open is an compelling look inside the world of one of sports' most beloved and charismatic figures.

"Tiger, turn to the Christian faith, and you can make a total recovery and be a great example to the world."

That's Brit Hume, giving advice to Tiger Woods on the Fox News Channel earlier today:

As expected, there is a lot of chatter about this.

Update: A lot of non-surprising chatter. And, La Shawn is right, the Gospel is offensive to those who don't believe.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

And here we are in 2010! Well, those of us on Central Standard Time, at any rate. Most of the world has been in this new decade for hours already. But here in Vermilion County, Illinois, we've just watched the ball drop (an hour delay) at Times Square in NYC. Yes, we watched Dick Clark here at Chez Brownie, because there really is no one else to watch. I mean, Carson Daly? You were great on TRL, but you're no Dick Clark. The Sweet One and The Cute One both stayed up to ring in the new year/decade, but The Wife had gone to bed.

And now, I'm shuddering with a single thought... Next year, I turn 40. Four-oh! Oh, man, now I need to go get a blanket.