Thursday, September 30, 2004

Debate So Far

I'm calling it for Kerry so far. Bush looks exasperated. His body language sucks. Not good. He needed to be confident and presidential. He needed to have authority and carry himself well. Instead he's been on the defensive. People seem to be thinking this debate is about the issues. It isn't. Its about the men. So far Kerry is looking presidential and Bush is looking flustered. Contrast this to the last debate when Bush was playing Gore like a master by now.

UPDATE: Yes Kerry won. For those of your who read the prayer, no this does not mean I will be voting for him. While Kerry did a better job of talking, he did not do a better job of saying anything I could agree with.

Overall I don't think the Kerry presidency will necessarily be a disaster as long as the Republicans maintain control of Congress to control his penchant for spending. By the time Kerry could get in the Oval Office, Iraq will be having elections and the indigenous Iraqi National Guard troops will outnumber ours in the country. Thats a good looking situation. Kerry may inherit Iraq just in time to take credit for winning the war.

Debate Prayer

Lord God, I know who I would like to vote for. I want to know who you would have me vote for. I pray that you would reveal your candidate through these debates.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Iraq: The Debate

Orin Kerr at the Volokh Conspiracy is offering a challenge about Iraq. I accept.
First, assuming that you were in favor of the invasion of Iraq at the time of the invasion, do you believe today that the invasion of Iraq was a good idea? Why/why not?
People call this the War in Iraq. Its not the War in Iraq, its the Battle of Iraq. The War is against Islamic Terrorists, not a single country.

Most of our military might in mideast was tied up containing Saddam Hussein's Iraq, how can you conclude that Iraq is completely secondary? Two years ago we basically had two options, either withdraw US forces to free them up for offensive action elsewhere or make Iraq the target. We chose the later. I believe it to be the right choice. Saddam Hussein was too dangerous to be left alone especially without containment or sanctions.

Now that the threat of Hussein is gone what do we do? We rebuild the country into one that will put pressure on the terrorist backing regimes in the area, specifically Syria and Iran. We know that freedom is more productive and more attractive than tyranny. If we can teach that freedom to the Iraqis then the other regimes in the region will have to follow suit or fall behind. That is what makes this worth it. That is the heart of the Battle of Iraq and what links it to the entire campaign. If democracy in Iraq succeeds it will force a complete change in the underlying culture of the region. Its a gamble, but I think it can succeed.
Second, what reaction do you have to the not-very-upbeat news coming of Iraq these days, such as the stories I link to above?
I don't dispute that bad things are happening in Iraq. Its a war. War is hell. Similarly a lot is being made of things not going to plan. A wise man once said that a plan in wartime never survives the first shot.

It think we have a good idea of what is going wrong. The problem with the news is that we have no idea about what is going right. All we get is body counts with no mention of accomplishments. How can you base a decision on just that? You cannot do a proper cost-benefit analysis if all you have is costs.
Third, what specific criteria do you recommend that we should use over the coming months and years to measure whether the Iraq invasion has been a success?
Is Iraq a freedom loving democracy, representative of its people? If so we will have won. If Iraq slides into Islamic Fundamentalism like Iran or back into B'aathist Dictatorial Fascism then we will have lost.

It does not matter if they like us. It only matters if they value the same freedoms we do like freedom of expression, self-defense, and religion. That will be enough. That will change their world.

Respect the Box!

I just thought I would bring this post at the Volokh Conspiracy together with this one from ESR.

Respect the box. You don't have to stay within "the envelope", but for God's sake realize why the envelope exists.

Oh and all you Howard Stern loving liberophiles complaining about the FCC, that goes double for you too. The envelope expands and the envelope contracts. We're in a contracting phase. Blame the war since contracting phases historically accompany them. But for God's sake stop whining about it.

Two Becoming One

My Girl couldn't sleep last night. She says screwing up one of my favorite shirts is ok, but I should buy some spares just in case. Good plan. She also says:
I tried going to bed but couldn't fall asleep. Maybe its the chocolate I had before bed. Sheesh I used to be able to drink diet cokes before bed an not have them affect me at all. Darn getting old.
I've said that exact same thing a thousand times myself. We're thinking alike and we're not even engaged yet. At this rate by the time we have kids, we'll be operating like some sort of hive mind. :)

Universal Gun Ownership

Kim du Toit is making a great point about gun ownership: it's not cut out for everybody.

I'm a gun owner. My Girl is not. I don't care if she ever gets into guns like I am. So far the most fun that I have ever had was skeet shooting. Target shooting is also satisfying. I love it, but I don't expect her to. I do have one stipulation though. She has to learn basic gun safety and how to make sure my guns are safe. Our house will have guns in it. I keep them locked up, but for her own safety she needs to know how to safely operate them just in case. Locks can be picked. Safe combinations can be guessed.

If you don't want to own guns fine. A lot of people don't want to own guns because they don't feel they are up to the responsibility. Hey you know yourself better than I know you. I'll take your word for it. But do us all a favor and refrain from making these two mistakes. Don't assume I'm not up to that responsibility because you aren't. Don't assume that means a gun will never come into your life.

The first is self explanatory since I'm not you. The second is why My Girl needs to know how to operate a firearm. Even if your family doesn't own guns, that doesn't mean you won't come across one in a parking lot somewhere. Or worse maybe your kids will. You should know the rules of safety just in case. It is in your benefit that you do.

Driving to Work

Today was one of those statistical confluences of idiots behind the wheel. In the space of a hundred yards there were almost two accidents. One of them almost involved me. The first saw a BMW and a ricer pass an normal driver. Joe Blow had the audacity to slow down at a yellow light instead of gunning it. They passed him using the left hand turn lane and then cut him off trying to beat the yellow and get back in the proper lane for the intersection. A few seconds later a soccer mom talking on her cell phone with her 7 year old son in the passenger seat nearly took my back bumper off at a merge. The kid wasn't distracting her though, he was too damn scared of his mom's driving to make a peep (insert look of wide-eyed horror here).

I wonder if we might not be better off if the automatic transmission was never invented. Seriously then people wouldn't be able to do a bazillion things while driving because they'd have to shift. They'd have to focus on what they're doing. And for your slush-box owners who might take offense, my car is an automatic too. But that doesn't make it right. ;)

Tuesday, September 28, 2004


Well I'm almost done at the old apartment. I'll know when I'm actually done because the apartment will be clean enough for my satisfaction or I simply won't care anymore. I'm rapidly approaching the second.

I spent 3 hours there today. I cleaned the walls and windowsills. I vacuumed all the carpets I even decobbed the cobwebs in the corners. The kitchen is cleaner than I've ever had it at least. Bad news is that the bathroom still needs work. Remind me never to let soap scum build up that much again. Worse news is that the one of the cleaners must have had bleach in it, because now one of my favorite dark grey t-shirts now has light spots on it. Worst news is that its also one of My Girl's favorite shirts so she going to be unhappy too.

Oh well I'll have to remember where I bought it so I can buy another. Next time I clean, I'm wearing a white shirt that I got for free and won't mind losing.

Monday, September 27, 2004


My internet connection at the new apartment is up and running. Now I can say nothing twice as fast!

Saturday, September 25, 2004


Well I'm moving to the new place today and it doesn't have internet yet. Unfortunately I don't have a dialup account I can use. The last time I tried that the uninstall hosed the hard drive on my computer (that's what I get for using an AOL free trial). Blogging will be light until the situation is rectified.

Friday, September 24, 2004


Lots has been said. I'm not going to reiterate. But I thought someone referring to the Columbia Broadcasting System as "See BS" was wonderful in its subversive cleverness. From here on out if I ever have to pronounce that particular acronym, be assured this will be what I am actually saying.

P.S. Yes I am easily amused.

Loosing Pets

Messy Christian's dog Nicky has a heart condition. The Vet is saying he only has a couple years to live. Both My Girl and I have lost pets in the last few years. It hurts. It was like losing family for us. My prayers are with you MC. Part of me really hopes there is a puppy heaven.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Ambra on Little "C" Ideology

Ambra Nykol is preaching against wishy-washy christians.

Christian technically means "little Christ." Acts says it was first using in Syrian Antioch and before then christians were simply referred to as "The Way."

I agree that the "all things to all people" wing of the American church is tragically flawed. Christ is about two things truth and love. The conservatives tend to emphasize truth. We are like the church of Ephesus in Revelations. The liberals tend to emphasize love. In my mind they emphasize love too much and sacrifice truth and so they have become like Sardis.

Christ accepted many people, but there was always the implicit notion of "Go and sin no longer." The liberals have kept the acceptance, but forgotten the truth. Similarly if the truth brings us into conflict then so be it. Christ himself says he comes to bring the sword and turn families against themselves.

Presbyterians and Israel

Eugene Volokh is blogging about Eugene Kontrovich's article in national review online. Basically the Eugenes are concerned that the Presbyterian Church is taking a stand against Israel but not against anybody else. You know like the Arabs in Sudan killing black Christians and selling their children into slavery. Or North Korea and China where Christian churches are being heavily persecuted because they oppose the absolute dominion of the state.

They have a point, but as a former presbyterian (Jeff the Presbyterian didn't have the same ring) I'd like to point out something myself. There are three presbyterian denominations in the US: PCUSA, PCA, and Orthodox. PCUSA is the original and went heavily liberal with the cultural revolution. They are also dying out like most of the liberal denominations. PCA is more evangelical and Orthodox is probably the most conservative and traditional. Please do not tar all presbyterians with the same brush. My PCA and OP brothers wouldn't put up with this crap.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Idiots and Onramps

So my coworker Izzy and I are coming back from picking up our lunch materials at the local WaWa. There is a fun onramp/offramp during part of the trip. It has some tight curves to it and opens out onto a nice merging lane so you should be able to take them sportily. I say should because it has the problem of being a major idiot transportation route.

In short, the only time this ramp is safe is in a car. Unfortunately it tends to get a fair bit of pedestrian and bicycle traffic. The combination of a steep grade, narrow shoulders, guard rails on both sides, and a blind corner at the top make for a potential death trap if you're a cyclist or a walker. We have both had a scary situations at that blind turn. Anyone with any sense stays away from it unless they're driving, but there are always idiots that walk or bike it.

Izzy said that he wished he didn't know about the idiots. That way he could have fun on the ramp and take the turns spiritedly as is his wont. I said that his ignorance would have tragic conclusions. Perhaps it would be better if there were simply fewer idiots in the world.

No, he said, then they would be less evenly spaced. You would have patchy idiot coverage instead of a background level of stupid that is easy to ignore. Plus the remaining idiots would tend to congregate together so you have regions of very high relative stupidity.

Hmmm. Yeah that would be horrible, said I. I'd walk up to the pump in dumbassington and find out I can't pump my own gas! Doh! Darn New Jersey Designated Stupid Zone!

Kerry and the Military

Hey that rhymes! Bush has been commander-in-chief for 4 years. Kerry served in Vietnam as a lieutenant for 4 months. Yet somehow Kerry is better qualified? How the heck does that work? Last I checked 4 years beats 4 months even if you consider a lieutenancy in a war equivalent to being commander-in-chief in a war. Which I don't. I wonder when the Democrats will figure this out, if ever.

Michael Badnarik at Slashdot

Slashdot has conducted an interview with Michael Badnarik, the Libertarian candidate for President. It basically sums up all the things that are wrong with the current Libertarian party. What do I mean? Well let me show you.

Badnarik is asked how we can improve the voting system to be more inclusive of third parties. His response is:
Personally, I prefer Approval Voting. In this method, each voter can select as many candidates as he likes -- he can vote for all the candidates whom he can live with. All of the votes are counted, and the candidate with the most votes wins.
So basically if I vote for 6 people under this system I have 6 times as many votes as someone who only votes for one. This is not a system where everyone has an equal or equivalent vote.

On the movement of both parties toward the center:
All I can tell the "lesser of two evils" folks is that if they keep voting for evil, they'll keep getting evil.
The problem here is that there is not such thing as a good candidate. If you are voting on a political representative you will not agree with everything. You will always be voting for the lesser of two evils and the founding fathers even recognized this in the writing of the revolutionary period like Common Sense.

He goes on about repealing the PATRIOT Act in its entirety. Which is stupid since even the ACLU says that the majority of the PATRIOT Act is simply government reorganization and is neutral to civil liberties. Badnarik either hasn't bothered to inform himself on this issue or is an idiot.

Speaking of being an idiot, here is a choice piece on his corporate reforms:
A market in which single proprietorships and partnerships must compete against what are essentially mini-branches of government, with all the attendant privileges and immunities, isn't a free market. It's a rigged game. ... Stockholders are owners, and should be liable for the consequences of that ownership like any other owners.
That's right, all corporations are bad because they are legal government constructs to shield shareholders from liability. So what we should do is reduce corporations to jointly controlled proprietorships. Lets destroy the most significant legal and financial construct in history, because Mikey doesn't like it.

Lastly lets look an nuclear proliferation:
Pakistan and India have a history of 50 years of conflict. They're both nuclear powers. Yet they haven't used those arms. Israel has nuclear weapons, is surrounded by enemies and has had to fight for its very survival, yet has not used them.
Israel has never lost a war. That's why they haven't used them. Similarly Pakistan and India haven't fought a war since they became nuclear powers.

To be fair he does come out in favor of the electoral college and privatizing education. He also has some intelligent commentary on intellectual property and the effect of technological change.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Little Cars with No Power

I took my Protege in for its 30,000 mile service on Friday. The 30,000 mile service is pretty lengthy and takes about 5 hours (it involves flushing most of the cars fluids). So I ended up driving around in a rented Chevy Cavalier.

Uggh. My Protege is technically in the same size class as the Cav, but there was no comparison. No power even though it technically had a larger engine than my car's 2 liter. I had to rework how I took offramps because the handling just wasn't there. The interior was tiny with my left shoulder hitting the door. Similarly the roof seemed lower. Shudder. Definitely going to rent something else if there is a next time. I have never been so happy to be back in my car. Gonna have to baby it soon to keep it happy.

My Girl

My Girl has a blog on blogspot now. Previously she was only posting on a private online journal site so there wasn't much point to linking.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Cultural Tendencies

Ambra Nykol is writing about stereotypes and generalizations. She's drawing off of a blog entry by Brenton Mumford. What makes this interesting to me is that Brenton is a white man talking about black women. Ambra is a black woman. Here is a teaser:
The immediate reaction of having this type of dialogue is for us to tense up at the thought of "gross racial generalizations". Indeed, we do get into murky waters when we start typifying people based on race. If anyone is living proof against the ramifications of that, it's me. However, interestingly enough, one would be surprised as to how some of those "generalizations" actually measure up in real life. Oftentimes, they're spot on.
Now I'm probably going to put my foot in this a lot because I am a white male too. I'm more than that, I'm a white anglo-saxon protestant male. I'm a WASP, the whitest of the white. Don't make me whistle the opening theme to Andy Griffith to prove it.

Where am I going with this? The problem of generalization is that, while useful, they are often wrong in the specific. One of my favorite lines in Gettysburg is said by Sargeant Kilrain:
The thing is, you cannot judge a race. Any man who judges by the group is a pea wit. You take men one at a time.
Generalizations are trends. At best they are just paths of statistical likelihood. At worst they are unfounded accusations or popular falsehoods. Some of them are often quite useful, but we must always keep in mind that they're never right all of the time for all people.

I think this is part of the reason God forbids us from judging by the family or the group. God may visit the sins of the father onto the son, but it is not permissable for Man to judge the son by his father. We are all individuals, with our own paths to walk under heaven. Best we be reminded that generalizations are much like the rules of grammar or spelling, for every case there is always an exception.


My Girl pointed me towards this story on Yahoo! News. People you're supposed to eat wasabi with sushi not put it up your nose for medicinal effect...

At the Movies

So I saw Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow yesterday. It was ok.

Visually it is pretty amazing. Well most of the time. Art deco robots stomping through 1939 New York. Giant rocket ships and lots and lots of references to old Republic serials. The "most of the time" comes in because some shots are just really bland. If you've seen trailers, you know that the movie's color scheme has a very washed out feeling to it. It works fine for the most part, but if there isn't anything interesting going in the shot, then the lack of color makes it amazingly boring. Several reaction shots throughout the movie are set like that deliberately. We have an actor and nothing interesting behind them but drab alleyway or black mineshaft reacting to something we can't see. Boring. If you have technology to show the monster like we do, then show it and let the audience react. Then show the protagonist doing something. Don't show people reacting to something we've already seen.

Writing was mixed. Some of it was classic serial writing. I honestly didn't mind that the arc-plot was so contrived because thats what they are supposed to be like. Some of it was really clever, one of the important props is basically a dollar store spark gun we all saw as kids. There are little details and one-liners in there that really are great. I will not ruin them by typing them here. Similarly the acting was quite good considering they are all on blue screened sound stages.

Other parts of the movie were just annoyingly stupid. Like Gwynneth Paltrow's whole character for instance. Her only purpose was to give Jude Law a hard time and give the villians important information. Why couldn't Angelina Jolie's character be in the movie that whole time and Gwynneth only appear for 5 minutes instead of the other way around? Granted giving Jude a hard time resulted in some yucks but otherwise she was a waste of space. At one point Jude punches Polly and knocks her out in order to go and be the hero. It was perhaps the best part of the movie. I clapped. Not because he was heroic, but because I'd been wanting to hit Polly for at least an hour by that point.

Oh and if you're going to set a movie in 1939, at least have the decency to know that World War I was not called "World War I" before World War II. It was called the Great War or the War to End All Wars. Do some research for heavens sake.

Oh and the last picture in her camera? She takes it of Sky Captain. Trust me you would have figured it out half an hour before the end of the movie anyway so I'm not spoiling anything.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Women's Lib

I am acquiring a real respect for the writings of Connie du Toit. She has an essay up about true liberation of women. It involves the fundamental fear of violence women face every day and how she dispelled it with firearms.

10 Tips for Being a better Man in a Relationship

Hey this guy has some good ideas. Technically his tips are about marriage, but many of them apply to any level of relationship. The best part of it is I already do some of that stuff before I read the article. (Not the stuff about reaching under you wife's blouse.) Go me.

Hat tip to Marriages Restored.


I'll be changing apartments soon. Blogging may be lighter than usual for the next week or so while I pack up and then settle back in. Just thought you might want to know.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004


Christian Inclusiveness is the topic of a series by Mark Roberts. I'm putting him on my blogroll so I can hopefully keep track of it.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Yglesias bashed AWB

Matthew Yglesias supports the death of the AWB. He actually has a fairly good line of reasoning on why it was a very poor law in the first place.

He reasons that Gun Control is only important as it relates to Crime Control. Since assault weapons are rarely used in crime, this link is especially weak. Additionally, the policy is so poorly written and handled that it seriously undermines trust between even non-activist gun owners and gun control advocates. Essentially the law gave strong credence to the slippery slope, comprehensive ban argument. Also attempts to improve it would only strengthen this argument because of the bans arbitrary design. I think he's right about both of these incidentally.

He then goes off on partisan rants about how Bush is evil and a liar. Where are the WMDs? Where are the WMDs? Oh well. At least he has done something worth reading. That puts him ahead of Atrios.

Sword Time

I own a sword. Its a nice one, an Angus Trim 1518 Longsword. Mine has blued fittings and an oxblood grip.

Usually my brother and I go shooting on Sundays, but today we did something different. We flipped over an empty trash can in the back yard and "recycled" some 2 liter plastic bottles. The first step in the process was hitting them with 32 inches of tempered steel of course. If we thought we could get away with it, we hit them twice. After we had reduced them to the smallest possible component parts we could, they went into the recycling bin. See real recycling goes into it somewhere... Good stewardship of earth's resources and all.

It is incredibly fun. You really must try it some time. I plan to bring my sword and a stand to my next church picnic.

AWB Correction

The Volokh Conspiracy and others are reporting that the Chicago Sun-Times has retracted their "assault weapons=machine guns" assertion two days early. Read my previous post for why this is a good thing.

Update: Did you know the AWB expired this morning at 12:01 AM? Well it did! Woo hoo! Assault Weapons for honest citizens again! Time to start planning that AR-15 M4orgery I want. I hear Rock River Arms does good work.

Sunday, September 12, 2004


Well I spent the 3rd anniversary of September 11th doing exactly what I should have done. I slept in, watched some Rise and Fall of the World Trade Center on the History Channel, and then went to see Resident Evil: Apocalypse at my local Googleplex. At night I watched some cartoons and talked with the woman I love for a couple hours.

In short I got on with my life. I remember what happened 3 years ago today and I will not forget. But that governs how I act every day. Today was nothing special.

Residental Evil was ok. I saw a matinee which was worth it, but don't go into it thinking you'll be seeing high art. Its a monster movie with zombies and genetic freaks. Oh and lots of overblown corporate paranoia.

Coming out of the theatre I saw a car flying a flag and sporting a Bush/Cheney sticker. It occurred to me that I haven't seen many similar cars flying flags or yellow ribbons with Kerry/Edwards stickers on them. Maybe there is a correlation there. If you have seen some patriotic K/E folks, let me know.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Fortune Cookies

I went to an all-you-can-eat chinese buffet for lunch today with a cadre of coworkers. My fortune cookie said:
Find release from your cares, have a good time.
Heh. My coworkers said something along the lines of:
An uncomfortable proposition will bring great joy.
Hmmm. Perhaps there is the back seat of a volkswagen in his future.

The Assault Weapons Ban

Ok here is a gun post. The Assault Weapons Ban is about to expire on September 13th. Thats Monday. The Volokh Conspiracy is reporting that the Chicago Sun-Times will correct its misinformation about the ban on Tuesday. Thats the day after it is set to expire. After their falsehoods (intentionally or no) will have been used to influence policy as much as possible.

For those of you who don't know what the AWB is, it regulates a number of semiautomatic weapons on the basis of what are mostly external physical characteristics. Bayonet lugs and other things that aren't useful but look scary. It also limits the magazine capacity of most guns. It has been widely criticized both by pro-gun and anti-gun lobbyists for being ineffective and easy to circumvent. But people are still trying to renew it of course.

The most common misconception is that the AWB covers machine guns. Its not true. The AWB doesn't have any effect on machine guns (they are covered by the 1930s era National Firearms Act or NFA). All the guns covered by the AWB are semi-automatic. They are not machine guns although some have a passing resemblence to them. But the press promises to correct itself, only after its too late.

Awww Cute Baby

Gabe at Penny Arcade is a daddy. Pictures are contained within. I have to get around to putting a comic roll up on the ole blog here. Tycho, Gabe's partner in crime, had this to say:
When he told me this pregnancy thing was for real, triumphantly declaring that he "makes boys," I told him precisely what I thought - that any idiot is capable of this feat, and that - in actual point of fact - idiots engage in this kind of thing more than anyone else, which is why it can be so hard to get a decent cappuccino. I was being mean to him, it's kind of what I do, but he really was describing the most common, most ordinary event on our planet. There are two ways to interpret this.

The first way is to dismiss it, as I did initially.

The second way, the way that now seems apparent, is to recognize that the significance of an event isn't necessarily diluted by its frequency. Consider that we might live absolutely encompassed by marvels and wonders. I am suggesting that we are up to our asses in signs and portents that we are quick to omit or can't interpret.
Amen. Perhaps we should think like this more often. Its not that miracles don't happen anymore. Its that we fail to recognize them.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

The Other Jeff the Baptist

Did you know there is another Jeff the Baptist? I didn't until today. Evidentally he's a seminary student living in Seattle. He seems to be one of those whiny people who consistently miss the obvious in hopes of finding something profound on the other side of it. For instance here's something he wrote:

"Why not just admit that God may be larger than our ability to comprehend? Why not just admit that we don't have all the answers yet (if ever)?"

I agree with all of that. In fact I know I will never fully comprehend God. He is a being who transcends all of creation and is certainly above the most basic precepts of my understanding. Do you know how I know this? Because God told me. Its in Isaiah. Its in Psalms. Its in the Scriptures God wrote for us so we could understand even a little of Him (or Her if you prefer) and what God wants us to do with ourselves.

Sorry other Jeff the Baptist, I can understand how all that love you have for your fellow man must be wonderful. But what happens when you see your friends doing something foolish? Something that will cost them their lives? Their souls? Do you do nothing and say "hey who's to really say?" In your analysis you do. After all we wouldn't want to dim their divine spark would we?

The right answer is that you do something. When the God who created the universe comes to your door and tells you what you need to do, you do it. I worship a God who commands me to opposed evil in His name and, while there are definitely gray areas, there are also some jet black and bright white ones. I love you enough to tell you when you are making a mistake when I know you will hate me for it.

See that divine spark you keep talking about is Divine. Its a gift from God. And he left us instructions for how to tend it so that it will grow ever stronger. Perhaps you should spend a little more time contemplating those instructions.

Worst List Ever

Josh Claybourn is creating a list of worst lists ever. It led me here.

My God that music list awful. How can you have 5 essential songs from the '80s and not include any of these: Angel is a Centerfold, 867-5309 (Jenny), Video Killed the Radio Star, Whip It, or Jessie's Girl? When somebody needs a song to represent all of '80s rock, doesn't it come from those 5? If it doesn't you can bet its going to be comething close like Safety Dance, Shout, Broken Wings, or anything by Duran Duran or Huey Lewis.

Similarly where is a disco song on their 70s list? No Donna Summer or the Bee Gees? The last time I heard God Save the Queen was on VH1 during the Sex Pistols Behind the Music show. No Sugar Hill Gang?

Now I'm not saying any of these songs is good (although I do like Video Killed the Radio Star), but they are what '70s and '80s music are.

Somewhere a Old Newspaper Man is Smiling

What we have here is not a case of Man bites Dog, what we have is a case of Dog shoots Man. Now even I know thats gonna sell papers.


Connie Du Toit has a piece up on stewardship. Its long and rambles a bit, but its good stuff. Her point is that we are stewards, but what we have is for us to use and enjoy.

I don't have a lot of stuff to pass down to my as yet unborn children. I have my FN Hi-Power and I'll probably have a few more guns to add to it. I have a good sword. It should survive me as well. My kids might like that shirt of maille I've been working on.

The rest is pretty utilitarian. My plates are not expensive china, they're just corell because I use them. My flatware is just stainless. I use that too. My computer and car will be ancient before my kids can ever use them. Most of my furniture is inexpensive particle board stuff.

On the other hand that doesn't mean my kids won't value any of them. I once gave My Girl a little knot made of vinylester resin left over from an experiment I did in grad school. Its worthless, just a little bit of scrap left in an injection line but she keeps it in her purse like I had made it from pure gold. I do the same with my kitchen table, its the one I ate dinner off of every night growing up. Its nothing special, but its family. Maybe my kids will be like that too.

Pretty soon I will be inheriting a gun from my Grandfather. It will probably be his Remington 870 12 gauge or his Sears 20 gauge. He was a deer and bird hunter. I'm not a hunter but I'll shoot some clays with it anyway. I might have to change the choke on it to suit the sport, but other than that it stays the way I receive it. Someday it may break, but it'll still have its place of honor in the cabinet whether it works or not.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

The Tales from the Trip

I visited My Girl in North Carolina over Labor Day Weekend. The South is weird. Well it is for a Northerner like me.

Want an example? We went to a chinese all-you-can-eat buffet. My Girl ordered her usual Diet Coke. I ordered a tea. Now in most chinese restaurants, ordering tea will bring you a pot containing hot green tea. Usually there are handle-less tea cups involved as well. Not in North Carolina. I came back to our table with my first plate and there was a tall glass of sweet tea (pronounced sweettay). That was fine because I like sweet tea too, but it wasn't what I was expecting.

Similarly lots of people had accents and that seemed to make my mind jump to conclusions faster.

(1) Attractive women get even hotter. Southern women just sound sexy. Men might gain a certain air too, but I'm straight so if they get sexier I'm not the right person to notice. If My Girl picks up an accent down there I won't complain.

(2) Unattractive people metamorphose into total rednecks. They could be fat or skinny. Maybe they just need to put on a shirt. Others are like My Girl's neighbor who is Boomhauer-ly unintelligible. I find myself repeating Jeff Foxworthy routines to myself. They could be the nicest people ever and it doesn't matter.

(3) Slightly provocative people instantly become skanks. Remember Britney Spears when her first album came out. Normal girls in the south are like that; cute and (if you were in the proper age group) pretty sexy. On the other hand a southern woman dressing a little slutty is like Britney now; total whore-slut.

(4) People with multiple layered accents are just perplexing sometimes. The waitress at the aforementioned buffet had a Chinese accent and a North Carolinian accent. I can't write something down to illustrate the weirdness of this without getting into stereotypes that offend even me. I've actually experienced this before closer to home though. Most of the Indian professors at my alma mater had layered British and Indian accents. Its still weird when a chinese woman with the full asian accent says "you all" though.

Anyway the last bit of weirdness is the cuisine shift. There the usual franchises, but on top of this there are Sonic (yum!), Checkers, and Bojangles Chicken and Biscuits. Oh and Hardees. Yummy thickburgers. Even yummier thickburger commercials with that girl on the mechanical bull. Yowsa! Anyway mechanical bull girl sidetracked my brain. Suffice it to say that the general level of cuisine became about twice as fattening. I gained a lot of respect for My Girl because she actually lost weight in this environment.

P.S. Yes I realize that North Carolina isn't really the South because the state still has "north" in the name. ;)

Woo hoo!

Blogger is back up. Now I know why everyone wants to get off this service... ;)

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Christian Singleness

Messy Christian is writing about christian singleness. Singleness or Marriage? Why is the church so obsessed with one or the other?

The Apostle Paul's advice on staying single is one of those funny things in Scripture. Its about that only time I ever have heard a scriptural writer say "I'm not sure if this is from God but..." then he talks a lot about how its good to be single. He basically concludes the passage with "...and I think thats inspired." Lots of wiggle room there.

Being single is good. Being married is good. Paul preferred singleness for the freedom it brought in trying times. Jewish tradition on the other hand has taken God's command to be fruitful and raise a family very seriously. So much so that they can't understand where we got the idea of solely dedicating yourself to God outside of marriage. Celibate priests, monks, and nuns? Foolishness!

The singles group at my church had a troubled history with this. The first singles pasator there had a bullet in his mission statement about making people "marriageable." He left over unrelated doctrinal disputes and our current pastor came in. As soon as he saw that bullet he knew he would have to rebuild the group from scratch.

Being single or being married, the church's interests should be the same. You need to raise up a spiritually strong, upright christian. By doing that they will move in the ways that God calls them. The couples who married and "graduated" at my church started a Young Married Life (YML) group using the same model as the singles group. Its been fruitful and is its own ministry separate from the singles group drawing in couples on its own. On the other hand many of the singles have used their singleness in ways Paul would approve, they are involved in short and long term missions. Some of them got married because of that, but others are still single and working in God harvest field. To each their own.

I'm about to start shopping for a ring, so we know which group I'm in. Darn burning with passion.

Monday, September 06, 2004

Holy Crap

This post at Evangelical Outpost is hilarious.

Labor Day

Spent the weekend with My Girl. On a completely different topic, isn't it kind of telling that Organized Labor is celebrated in the US with a day to be lazy and not work.

Thursday, September 02, 2004


The Evangelical Outpost has a piece up on atheism. I'm obviously not an atheist, but that doesn't mean they can't be good folks. However while Joe Carter says there are four types of atheist I contest there are only really two; anti-theists and skeptics.


Anti-theists take the position that there is no God. There is nothing skeptical about it which sets them apart from the Skeptics. The Anti-theists know that there is no God with certainty. Anti-theists often look down upon theists for being less rational or intelligent than themselves. In my experience, these are the sorts of people that may get angry when you pray for them or around them. Religion to them is often seen as a psychological crutch for the weak.

The funny thing is that anti-theism is not a rationally defensible philosophical position. You can't prove that there is no God. God is far too generic and broad a concept to be refuted in this way. You can try to refute someone's specific conceptualization of God, but there can be an infinite number of those and you get nowhere. So the anti-theist is no more rational than the theist. The only way you can be an anti-theism is by buying into an unproven assumption, which is the same act of faith as a theist.

Some anti-theists are people who just haven't realized the philosophical discontinuity within their belief system. They usually become skeptics once it is pointed out to them. Others I have met have had strong experiences that have caused them to break with religion. Often this can be the death of a loved one or family member or similar traumatic event that their old religious belief failed to help them with. They abandon religion altogether as a falsehood because of it. These are often the people who see religion as a crutch. It didn't help them through their traumatic event so they assume it is incapable of helping you through yours.


Skeptics describe themselves as lacking a belief in God. Carter's post uses the term "methodological athiests." How can you be sure a room isn't full of invisible bunny rabbits? You can't say the skeptics, but it is wise to assume that it is not. The logical default for skeptics is disbelief. In comparison, a theist would often say putting off decision until you know more would be wiser still.

Skeptics usually say that God hasn't met some standard of reasonable proof. If He did, we would relent and believe says the skeptic. The determination of what is "reasonable" is up to the skeptic though. With a sufficiently hardened heart they can doubt anything, even their own personal experience. Skeptics put a strong emphasis on truth in my experience, but their standards for establishing it are almost impossibly high. Honestly, I think a lot of these people have their minds made up already.

A skeptic, in my experience, will rarely look down on a theist like an anti-theist will. The reason is that you may know or have proof of something they do not. They don't hold your opinion of course, but live and let live.

Frankly, I find both philosophies small-minded and lacking in warmth or hope. But then thats why I'm not an athiest. I respect the skeptical athiests more than the anti-theists myself. Their belief system is at least fairly consistent. Joe Carter at Evangelical Outpost feels the opposite. He respects the anti-theists because at least they have faith. To each their own.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

That's What I'm Talking About

I write about a lot of stuff on here. I'm a typical guy. I like guns and cars and My Girl. I get passionate about politics and religion. All those things will show up here. Some will show up more than others. I haven't written anything about guns yet and only a little about cars.

I'm also going to avoid talking about a lot of stuff. I work for the Unites States Army. Don't count on seeing a lot of stuff that is work related showing up on this blog. Likewise I lead a small group bible study on thursday nights. It meets in the Pike Creek area of Northern Delaware if your interested in finding a study. What gets said at my bible study is confidential among the attendees and it is not going to show up here either. Sorry. I probably won't be going into intimate details about My Girl either. She writes personal stuff on her blog, but its not out in public like mine.

One thing I can say about work is that it occasionally gives me a wake up call. A meeting today really hammered home that we're in a war. People are dying out there for you my fellow Americans. Blood is being spilled on the altar of freedom to secure your liberty. Don't forget it.