Tuesday, February 28, 2006

College Politics

I've seen Christina Trefzger's post on liberal bias at state schools mentioned in a few different places now. Here is the pertinent passage for me:
One time I complained to one of my engineering friends how liberal my classes were and asked her if all of her professors were liberal too. To my astonishment, she said that she had never had a liberal professor. When I expressed my shock, she said, “We’re engineers; we deal in reality. We don’t have the luxury of being liberal.”
Frankly, I went through four years of college and then grad school without much of a clue about my engineering professors' politics. I'm sure some vote Democrat and others vote Republican. It didn't come up much because we were too busy learning objective methods to solving problems.

Engineering is not a profession for political idealists. It is a profession for empirical realists. Generally when the politicians get overly involved bad things happen. No amount of wanting will make a bad design work well just as no bill passed by Congress can repeal the Law of Gravity. The tools we use to solve problems are not cutting edge scientific research, but often simplified rules of thumb and a healthy respect for past solutions to problems.

I have to admit my experience with the PoliSci department was different from Christina's. I found my PoliSci profs to be liberal but relatively unbiased. They had something of an objective academic outlook on politics as if they were studying chimpanzee behavior or something. When I took Intro to American PoliSci, my prof pointed out things like "Democrats historically get re-elected by bringing home the pork while Republicans historically get re-elected for fighting the good fight." We discussed how Newt had brought the Republicans success in the 1994 election by reinventing the party platform using the Contract with America. And she was a total hippie that went to Woodstock. When I took Third World PoliSci, my prof pointed out that all the third worlders transitioning to First World status were capitalists. He was a little upset about the failure of Communism but he had to admit it had failed where capitalism had succeeded.

Christianity and the Courts

Guest blogger Greg Sisk is covering bias against traditional Christians in the courts at the Volokh Conspiracy.
The enduring legal myth is that members of minority religious groups face a decidedly uphill battle in securing accommodation for unconventional religious practices, expression, or values from the courts. According to the conventional wisdom, traditional Christian believers may anticipate a more hospitable welcome from the judiciary when asserting claims of conscience or religious liberty. However based upon our empirical study of religious liberty decisions in the federal courts, the proposition that minority religions are less successful with their claims was found to be without support, at least in the modern era and in the lower federal courts. In fact, counter to popular belief, adherents to traditionalist Christian faiths, notably Roman Catholics and Baptists, appear to be the ones that today enter the courthouse doors at a disadvantage.
He began yesterday and continues today.

Jewish Jokes

The very Semitic crew over at the Volokh Conspiracy is discussing them and ethnic humor in general. A few choice jokes from the comments are here and here. My current favorite piece of ethnic humor goes like this:
A New York tailor, devout Jew all his days, tries very hard to bring up his children in the faith. One day, his youngest son comes to him and announces that he is becoming a Roman Catholic. The tailor ponders his misfortunes, trying to understand why such a thing should happen to him. In desolation, he seeks out his rabbi and confides in him.

"Rabbi," laments the tailor, "I do not understand. My son, a good Jewish boy, brought up in the faith. We observed, we attended, we did everything for the boy, and yet he decides to become a Catholic. How can this thing be?"

"My friend," says the rabbi, "I can't stand it, but I must tell you. My son, a good Jewish boy, brought up here in the synagogue in the faith. Yet, he also became a Catholic."

Suddenly, the lights dim, the walls shake, and voice of God fills the room. "My son, a good Jewish boy..."
To poke a little fun at myself here is another one:
There are 3 fundamental truths about religion: Jews don't recognize Jesus as the Son of God, Protestants don't recognize the Pope as the Vicar of Christ, and Baptists don't recognize each other at the bar on Saturday nights.

More Tiny Terrors

Von brought up the Smart. It is the only kei car not made by a Japanese company. I have no desire to own one. It might make a great city car, but frankly its high center of gravity makes turning horrific. It was the Worst Handling Car in Top Gear's 2004 Car Awards. But if you want it to go really fast in a straight line, put the engine from a Hayabusa superbike into it. The engine and transmission from the bike won't last long because even the tiny smart is too heavy for them, but you can have a little fun while they do.

Motorcycle engines have me interested though. Radical racing is combining two suzuki RST inline 4s into a motorcycle inspire V8. If you follow the link to the dyno charts, it makes 360+ horses with only 2.6 liters of displacement. It also has no torque and makes all it's power above six or seven thousand RPM. Radical is also looking to bore the block to 3.0 liters for more fun. But in a very lightweight speedster, it still could be pretty impressive.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Kei Cars

Japan has a class of vehicles called "kei" cars. Thankfully they have nothing to do with the old Chrysler products of the same name. Kei means "light". These are very small cars produced mostly because the government offers tax breaks because of their ecological friendliness. How small are they? Frankly they're rollerskates, 11.15 feet long and 4.85 feet wide. Think of a car smaller than a Mini with a turbocharged engine no larger than 660cc. That's 0.66 liters if you're bad at unit conversions. Most weigh under 1800 lbs. They're totally tiny.

Some of these cars are imported into various parts of the British Commonwealth, including Canada. They're probably most popular (outside of Japan) in Britain, Australia, and New Zealand. This is because those countries all drive on the wrong sides of the street just like the Japanese. You can't get them in the US. Don't even try. Sorry, ludicrous amounts of federal regulations exist to prevent Americans from importing fuel efficient small cars from somewhere else.

And yet I'm intrigued. Some of the designs are downright fascinating. Now trying to cram a family vehicle into this small footprint seem fraught with peril. But this might not suck if all you want is a small commuter car for one or two people.

Take the Honda Beat for instance. It is a little mid-engined convertible. Now take that car (quite literally that exact car), stretch it a bit and drop in a bigger engine. Now you have the MG TF which is the most popular sports car in Britain and for good reason. The Daihatsu Copen and the Nissan Figaro also have a big of style and performance.

I really think that small may be the untapped future of American automobiles. Right now we have lots of mammoth V8s, but few small, light, quick two-seater fours like the MG or the Lotus. I really think there is a sweet spot in the market for a small, sporty, fairly inexpensive, two-door that doesn't do much but does it well. But maybe that is just the guy that spends an hour and a half a day commuting doing the talking.

Holy Crap!

This armed robbery happened at my supermarket on Friday. Time for me to invest in that CCW permit.

Don Knotts, Comedy Genius

A friend and reader linked me to this post about the Christian nature of Knotts's comedy:
One by one, Mr. Knotts mocked the pretenses of the comic actor who often has his eye on nobler pursuits. In the nervous man, he reveled in the discomfort that most comics tend to pass off as indignation or savoir-faire. As Barney, he satirized swagger and self-importance. Finally, on "Three's Company" in the late 70's and 80's, he sent up the comedian's hypersexuality, which is often his pride.
Knotts was reliably ahead of his time. He (along with Andy Griffith and others) are also Christian's from the old silent majority school that Ronald Reagan also espoused.

Christian Compassion

One of the Thinklings is discussing the softening of evangelical attitudes toward homosexuality. While individuals like Brian McLaren are taking a lot of credit and (in some circles) blame for this, we are really coming to the end of a pretty long road.

I remember my first experience with realigning relationships started when I was a teenager in a PCA church in Wilmington. A prominent member of the congregation was gay and had been struggling with leaving that lifestyle with the help and support from our excellent Assistant Pastor. We had an evening service on the subject one summer in the early nineties.

I remember them expressing that what most gay people need isn't a lecture on sexual morality. What they need more than anything else is Christ. To do it the other way around is to put the cart before the horse. The wisdom of that statement seemed incredibly well founded to me then. A recent study of 1 Corinthians has shown it to be biblically founded even now.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Moving Day

Amybear and I are moving her into her apartment, which will be our apartment once we get married. Hence the light blogging today. Her parents have managed to finagle a lot of free but definitely not cheap loot for us. If you come to visit you can easily distinguish what is what by the quality.

In a side note, we bought lunch for everybody from McDonalds. Am I the only one that looks at a typical fast food meal only to have the the theme song to Aquateen Hunger Force spring into my head?

Fundamentalist Athiests

There is a such a thing. I have met them. It is scary. Physics Geek links to a list of ways to recognize the phenomenon.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Death of an Enzo

More on ,this story from Greg Costikyan:
Stefan Eriksson, former executive for Gizmondo, apparently crashed his $1m Ferrari while street racing on the Pacific Coast Highway. Eriksson apparently left Gizmondo last October when Aftonbladet (a Swedish newspaper) revealed that he was convicted in 1993 and 1994 on counts of financial fraud and counterfeiting, and was at the times considered the brains behind the Uppsala Mafia, a local criminal gang. (Sweden has a Mafia? Who knew.)
Yes the Swedish mafia exist and are operating in the US, here they are doing intensive weapons training.

Ok I'd Buy This

From the makers of Rollercoaster Tycoon and Sim-Everything, it's MegaChurch. See how easy it is to be just like Joel Osteen! Via: Rev Ed.

Rangers Lead the Way

From McQ at QandO:
In June 24th of 2004, a young Ranger with the 75th Ranger Regiment was greviously wounded in Iraq when, on his second tour, the humvee he was riding in was attacked. After exiting the vehicle after the explosion and attack, Ranger Kanaan Merriken passed out and was unconscious for 11 days.

Merrikan had been airlifted to a hospital in Germany where surgeons had worked desperately to save his life. His carotid artery has been severed by shrapnel and part of the left frontal lobe of his brain had been damaged. The damaged portion had to be removed in a crainiotomy. He also had shrapnel wounds all over his body, a retinal hemorrage in his left eye and loss of hearing in his left ear.
Merriken was given a medical discharge. He didn't take it. In fact he fought to have it repealed in court. In November, Merriken completed the Ranger Indoctrination Program for a second time. He is now back serving with the 75th.

I'm a civilian, you can't force me to salute. But Kanaan Merriken, I salute you.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Dobson Does Something Right

I'm not normally a fan of James Dobson and his political machinations. He's generally too old guard for me. But a bill he is supporting in Colorado is actually pretty good:
A controversial bill under consideration in the Colorado Legislature, which is supported by Dr. James Dobson and Focus on the Family Action, would facilitate certain contractual obligations or legal arrangements for any two "unmarried persons who are excluded from entering into a valid marriage under the marriage laws of this state."
Meaning that this law can be used to streamline gay couples sharing parental rights or other legal arrangements. It could also be used by close family members and other groups. Joe Carter has this to say:
Some conservatives and libertarians may see no need for the government to expand the definition of civil unions in any manner. But the political reality is that the change is inevitable. The issue is no longer when civil unions will be recognized but what form they will take. (The Colorado bill is competing with a domestic partnership proposal from Democratic lawmakers.) By desexualizing the issue we preserve the government’s purpose (a social institution that brings stability to our society) without endorsing behavior that many of us consider immoral.
Exactly. I'm not fan of homosexuality in general or gay marriage in particular. But gay couples are adopting and raising children. I'm not insensitive to the problems this creates. If we don't react in a way that allows both Christians and homosexuals some flexibility, then we are likely to get something that has no flexibility shoved down our throats.

There are essentially two models of Christian involvement in government. The first is to embrace big government and use it to try to foster or even impose godly behavior on the governed. In short, turn the gigantic government machine that the liberals built against them. It is tempting, but it isn't biblical. In Corinthians, Paul says that you can't expect or require that non-Christians behave like Christians. Without the Holy Spirit to do so is little more than tyranny. I am many things, but not a tyrant.

I believe we need to embrace a form of limited civil government where people may do what they like contractually, but where the government and the legal system cannot impose support for behavior that citizens consider immoral. We need to dismantle the monster liberals have built and bring many social issues out of the halls of government and back into the public square where they really belong.

UPDATE: A response to some comments:
You want limited government but only if it agrees with your moral compass.
No what I want is a government limited so that it cannot force me to act against my own moral compass. I really don't care if gay people want to get married. I do care if I am forced to support their lifestyle with my taxes, etc.

Maybe they don't want to support my lifestyle either. If that means some things I want don't get government or contractually supported because other people have problems with them, then I'm fine with that. I'm more than willing to support them myself with my non-tax dollars, especially when limited government means I will have more non-tax dollars I can use to support those charities.
What Problem does adopting children create exactly? What is getting shoved down your throats? What flexibility do Christians need from the government?
Adopting children causes huge parent/guardianship problems for gay couples. Often only one member of the couple can be listed as a parent or guardian. If that one dies, the child's other parent may be in a custody battle with their deceased partner's family for the child. It happens, it sucks, and I sympathize. Also, a civil union or marriage would probably make it a lot easier for gay couples to get health benefits and the like from people who have no moral problems with homosexuality. This is also useful for raising kids.

On the other hand if gay marriage is considered marriage, there is no option to deny gay couples coverage on moral grounds. The civil institution of marriage is a pre-existing legal construct with pre-existing contractual issues. If no differentiation is made, then all those pre-existing issues can be rammed down the throat of conscientous moral objectors in a court of law.

On the other hand if gay marriage is legally different than straight marriage, then it has to be re-legislated by the states and feds. Gay marriage can't just piggy-back on the immense body of pre-existing legislation. You can't use gay marriage to force people to do what they want. The difference is that if gay marriage is a "civil union" then a Christian healthcare provider (and there are several) can say "No we don't cover you, but try Blue Cross" instead of being told "You cannot deny me coverage by state law."

Death of an Artwork

Authorities were investigating the circumstances behind a spectacular crash on Pacific Coast Highway that destroyed a rare Ferrari Enzo that experts said was worth more than $1 million.
Poor car. Dumb driver. But he's lucky. If he had been going 100+ in a lesser car, wrapping it around that telephone pole probably would have killed him.

If there are any Enzo owners in Delaware who need a driver to get them home from the bar, give me a call. I'll get you home safe. Honest.

Not About Whales

John the Methodist has some issues with Jonah.

I really like Jonah. Jonah is the biblical equivalent to "Ring Around the Rosie" or "Alluetta". Everybody knows "Ring Around the Rosie" as a childrens song with a fun little dance. Like the Hokie Pokie except shorter. Fewer people realize that it is about everyone dying from the Black Death. The "ring around the rosie" is a description of the buboes cause by the Plague. Similarly Alluetta sounds like a cute french song, but is actually about plucking a bird's feathers so you can eat him.

Jonah is like that. We teach it to children as a story about a man that was scared and ran away. Then he got eaten by a fish, spit up, and everybody lived happily ever after. This is the cartoon version of Jonah you'll see in Veggie Tales and in Sunday school lessons. But it isn't the real story. The real story of Jonah is about the adventures of a Jewish bigot.

The reason for the mis-interpretation is that Jonah doesn't tell you why he ran away until the last chapter. God initial told Jonah:
Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.
But Jonah runs, why? Most people just project their own insecurities on him. But was he actually scared? No. Jonah has this to say in Chapter 4:
That is why I was so quick to flee to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. Now, O LORD, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.
In other words, the Assyrians are a horrible people. I wanted them to be destroyed. I didn't want to give them the opportunity for repentance by bringing your word to them. Now kill me.

Then Jonah goes up on a hill overlooking the city and waits for God to destroy it. But that doesn't happen. God attempts to teach him a lesson using the vine and worm, a lesson about the value of the lives of the people of Nineveh, but we have no evidence that Jonah actually learned it and repented from his own sins.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Speed Skating Feuds

Ok if I were Shani Davis, I would have competed in the pursuit. If I were Chad Hedrick, I wouldn't be mouthing off so much. But I'm neither. For further thoughts, look to Matthew at Physics Geek, Jesus Freak.

What bugs me most about this whole situation is all the "first African American to get the gold" business. What happened to Vonetta Flowers winning the gold driving women's bobsled in 2002? Does she not count because she's a woman and competes in a team sport? Davis is only an icebreaker if you start liberally applying qualifiers like "individual" or "male" in front of "African-American."

I can respect Davis's drive and performance. But the truth is that the story the media wants to tell really isn't there. But they're dedicated to telling it anyway. Which is what has made Davis's interviews so entertaining for me and frustrating for reporters like Melissa Stark.

Shotgun Gate Part Deux

I promise that this will be the last shotgun gate post until the next one...

Via Geek with a .45, some science nerds are looking at 28 gauge shot patterns from various ranges. They start with patterning boards and move to chickens, etc. It is an interesting post and they have great pictures.

The problem is that we don't know what choke Cheney was using and the choke can have a huge effect on pattern size. The guys at My Science Project guessed modified which is probably the best choice. But if Cheney was shooting full, I expect the pattern to be significantly different.

An Emerging Endeavor

The Delaware conservative blogosphere was knit a little closer this weekend. Several of us; Hube of Colossus of Rhodey, Ryan of Jokers to the Right, Steve of Blogolution, Paul Smith Jr., the Mark Levin Fan, and myself; got together Saturday for dinner and discussion. It was good fun and we'll be doing it again, possibly on a regular basis.

Sometime during the night, we realized we had a potential opportunity staring us in the face. Delaware is a small state. We have a weak (at best) mainstream media in the News Journal. Even our state government has a small town feel. A loud but small group of people can make a difference. But wait! We're a loud but small group of people. Why don't we make a difference!

Our first step is the formation of the Delaware Conservative Bloggers Alliance (DCBA). The new blogroll and graphic will be appearing to the left once I get off my lazy butt and put it there. The second step is the creation of Delaware 2006, a new group blog focusing on issues and people involved in the 2006 Delaware elections.

Odd facts about the Alliance:
  • Unlike the Rebel Alliance in Star Wars, we are not modeled on the Viet Cong in any way, shape, or form.
  • Oddly enough a lot of us are current or former comic book fans. Some even know people in the industry.
  • Our blogging platforms are diverse. Blogspot is the most common because we're cheap and it's free.
  • We're religiously diverse. I'm Baptist, Paul is Catholic, Hube is also Christian, and Steve is Jewish. Good for us.
  • We're a political big tent too, although we're all to the right of Mike Castle.
  • If you want to see what big nerds we are Hube and Paul both have the picture posted. I'm the guy who's ball cap is covering up the fact that he badly needs a haircut.
Stay tuned for future developments.

UPDATE: I misreported Hube's religious background as atheist/agnostic. Sorry about that Hube, I was misinformed. While Hube isn't big on organized religion, he's also Christian. I don't anticipate any friction there since I'm Baptist and therefore practice one of the most disorganized religions in the world.

Gearhead Alert

Ever wondered what makes an engine go? Autoblog has not one, but two pieces covering the engine design of two big V8s. The first is a comparison of Chrysler's 5.7 and 6.1 liter hemis. The second compares the supercharged 5.4 liters found in the Ford GT and Shelby Mustang 500. Pay no attention to the brand bigotry in the comments over there.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Blogging Around the World

Last night my small group entertained (sometimes literally) Brenda Herhei, a missionary operating in Hungary with Pioneers International. Brenda is one of several people from my church's singles group to transition into full time missions. She was there to ask for support and I intend to give her some. If you wish to, contact me and I'll hook you up.

Brenda does church planting on a team in Petofibanya, a small ex-mining town in Hungary built by that country's Communists a while back. It is a blue collar town and a fairly unpleasant place to live. The people there have had rough lives.

Where does blogging around the world fit in? Well the Mercers, Allen and Sharon, also came out of my church and are some of the original members of the team. The interesting thing for you guys is that they blog. Within the last year their team's work has really born spiritual fruit. A small group study which has been unattended for three years has recently taken off. They have two many people for one group now and have multiplied. God is doing amazing things and their blog is record of it.

I wish more missionaries could do this. Unfortunately, many of my church's missionaries operate in Muslim countries where even admitting to being a missionary at home or on the internet can get you lynched.

Republican Leadership

Instapundit turned me on to a discussion of John Shadegg's place in Republican Party internal politics:
Aside from beefing up the new leadership’s "reform" banner, Shadegg would serve as a valuable conservative temperature gauge. Who knows better how limited government conservatives will react to a piece of legislation than one of their own?
The whole article makes me sad. The Republicans are learning and getting back to where they should be. Still why did it take them so long to get concerned over the lack of small government conservatives and how did the party of Reagan get itself into this position in the first place.

Gun Registration

It seems the Canadians are scrapping it because:
One former Mountie called the registry "totally useless" because criminals don't register their guns.

"They've wasted $2 billion on what should have gone to front-line policing," said Dennis Young, parliamentary assistant to Saskatchewan Conservative MP Garry Breitkreuz, a gun-registry critic.

"They've targeted law-abiding citizens instead of the 176,000 people (with court convictions) who have been prohibited from owning guns."
Several US states with registries have come to similar conclusions. Gun registry is very expensive and not especially useful for actually solving crimes, mostly because criminals have an easy time avoiding it.

Bashing the Services

Joe Carter is bashing the Air Force with his tongue firmly planted in his cheek. That is his God given right as an ex-Marine.
Let me first say that I have the utmost respect for all of the groups that serve our country. The Army, Navy, Marines, and Boy Scouts all do an outstanding job and have my deepest admiration. The Air Force, being very similar to a military organization, gets my thanks as well.
Amybear's Dad was a Major in the Air Force before he retired and became a contractorsold his soul to the devil. That means you will never hear me bash the Air Force. Where Amy's Dad might see or hear it. But I will make fun of him for being a contractor as is my right as a federal employee.

I must say that when I'm watching Stargate SG1, the thing that taxes my suspension of disbelief the most is not that these guys are flying space ships or traveling to other planets. It is that Air Force personnel are supposed to be capable of being such badasses in close combat. Let's face it, the Air Force isn't exactly the combat arm for elite infantry. Just once I'd like to see a ton of Marines or Army Rangers come piling through the gate and save SG1s hide.

Der Hornen

This is what happens when you let Baby Boomers be President. I guess he learned it from (caution profanity) the best though. Doesn't anyone adhere to the guidelines of the Supreme Metal Council anymore?

Blogger Troubles

Blogspot has been giving me (and everyone else) a lot of trouble both yesterday and this morning. Even when I could see the blog I couldn't log on or post for most of it. We'll see how it goes.

If blogging is light today, keep in mind that it may not be my fault.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Bird Hunting Mechanics

Wizbang is describing what bird hunting is like and why Cheney didn't see Whittington until it was too late.
Anyone who has ever raised a shotgun to track a quail or pheasant would understand how the eye and the trigger finger are operating in different planes of space and time. When swiveling to track flushed game the information being processed by the eyes and the operation of the gun lag each other. With experience hunters learn to compensate for this disconnect (as well as for the physics of hitting a moving target) by leading the shot.

I find it perfectly reasonable to believe that Cheney may have seen a flash of Whittington right as he was firing or even a split second before - past the point where the brain can recall the impulse it has already sent to the hand to fire. Once the shot is fired all sorts of visual information from the periphery - information the brain had been blocking to concentrate on the flight of the bird - comes rushing back into the hunters view.
I don't bird hunt, but I have shot clays and Kevin Aylward's description of the mechanics of shotgunning are dead on. If you are shooting a bird, you are shooting the bird. You are focused on it. Not what is behind it (Whittington) or what is in front of it (your gun).

Stephen Hunter is also a bird hunter. His column at the Washington Post fleshes out a lot of details of birding from his own personal experience. It is well worth the read.

UPDATE: King of Fools linked to this pdf of Texas hunting accident records. There were 29 accidents in 2004 (the last year with data). 4 were fatal. That's slightly up from the all time low, but down significantly from when they started keeping records. The document has a profile for the typical accident and much of the description fits the Cheney case.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Big and Little Tech

Honda may be coming out with a turbocharged variant of their 1800 VTX power cruiser. The problem? The 1800 already has more than enough straight-line grunt. What it needs is better handling, which is what this package won't give it.

At first I didn't see the big deal with this little laser camera. But on second thought this is pretty cool. The laser projection process means you don't have to fool with image focus or expensive optics. Their proposed image quality is impressive enough to encompass home theatre projectors from even a relatively small unit. And it requires very little power, so you could incorporate it into a small electronic device and use it to create a big screen on any interior wall. This product is just packed with utility.

Shotgun Gate

The Press is apoplectic. The hilarious thing is that they are incensed, not because the VP shot someone and was irresponsible handling firearms, but because he didn't tell them about it until the next day.

Lets face it, this is Dick Cheney's business and Harry Whittington's business, not the American people's business. Do you really expect Cheney to come out on national TV and talk about how he serious injured a good friend? I wouldn't. I'd tell the press to suck it, because it is none of their business. Bill O'Reilly realizes this:
The veep's failure to come clean, says Mr. O, is because of his "well-known press phobia. . . . The vice president's hunting accident affects no one, means nothing, and the vice president's refusal to brief the press was predictable." O'Reilly did allow that "Dick Cheney's secret style hurts him."
Seems about right to me.

Lonely Valentines

Were you alone yesterday? Was it because you're stuck in a platonic friendship? Joelogon's guide to platonic friendships can help. Or give you a place to be bitter and brood. Maybe both.

I've had my share of platonic friendships. Far more of them than romantic ones, really. Most were my fault. Women reading this are probably thinking, "Fault? that makes platonic relationship sound bad." Guys reading this are thinking, "Of course it's bad! No guy wants a platonic relationship!"

Anyway usually I screwed up and put the relationship into the friend zone. Often it was because I lacked emotional sensitivity or any idea of what the girl wanted. Or maybe I played it safe and didn't pursue them enough, leaving the girl with the impression that I didn't care. Others were women who just weren't interested in me romantically to start with.

Amy and I got together shortly after I started grad school, although we met my senior year in college. Turns out a nice christian boy has that forbidden fruit appeal to those quiet Jewish girls. We've been together (meaning emotionally linked but often hundreds of miles apart) ever since. The wedding is in three months.

Yes, this should have gone up yesterday. But better late than never.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Too Common Tragedies

One of my shooting acquaintences was expecting his first child. Was is sometimes a powerful word. His wife miscarried yesterday. She is physically fine, but they are obviously distraught and will be holding a funeral for the baby thursday. Please pray for their family.

Unbiased Reporting

Dawn Eden received the following email from a fellow journalist:
Hi there
I am a reporter for Marie Claire magazine working on a lengthy feature about "crisis pregnancy centers" and I love your site. I am looking to talk with women who have been deceived by CPCs. I am wondering if you can help. Of course I wouldn't expect you to divulge their identity to me, but if you could pass along my information, I would greatly appreciate it.

Please feel free to call me any time day or night via email or cell phone at *data withheld*.

All the best
Siobhan O'Connor
Reporter, Marie Claire Magazine
One, she obviously has never read Dawn's site. If she had, she would realize that the most Dawn would give her is the finger. Second, does this sound like a well researched and unbiased article to you? "I'm looking for people with horror stories from Crisis Pregnancy Centers so I can publicize how bad the centers are." Granted we are talking Marie Claire, not the New York Times... er... Well ok this does sound like something the Times would run. But that isn't a good thing.

And yes I have done fund raising for crisis pregnancy centers in the past.

Mazdaspeed 3?

I make no secret that I'm a Mazda fan. I really really like my current Protege. It doesn't have amazing pickup, but it handles like a dream. I thought about buying the Mazdaspeed Protege instead of my car, but it was $5k more for 30 horses, a limited slip differential, and higher fuel costs because of the low-boosting turbo. I wasn't impressed.

Then they replaced the Protege with the Mazda3. I was a bit leery. The Mazda3 is built on the same platform as the Euro focus (but not the American focus which is the older design). I've driven a base model 3 when my car was in for service. The 3 is larger than the Protege, which makes for better interior room. But the base engine is the Mazda 2 liter in my car and the suspension is softer and less responsive. The end result was a slightly bigger, slower car that didn't turn as well. I wasn't impressed, but then again I'd never buy the base model. I'd buy the 2.3 liter sport model with 30 more horses and the suspension I like.

Now Mazda has introduced the Mazdaspeed 3. Well actually they introduced the Mazda3 MPS, which is the Euro version. It's the 5 door sportwagon variant of the 3, but with the same turbocharged 2.3 liter that is in the all-wheel drive Mazdaspeed 6. This is an engine that makes ~275 horses and 280 lb-ft of torque. But the 3 weighs 300 lbs less than the 6 and is just front wheel drive. It's scary. I have to wonder how this car compares to the Euro Focus rally cars kicking the crap out of everybody on the WRC.

Thankfully my Protege still has several years of life left in it, or I could be getting myself into real trouble.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Why Batman is Still Cool

Frank Miller is penning another Batman graphic novel. Thats a comic book for those of you who want to look down on the post-teenage men who buy such things. What is it about? According to Miller "Batman kicks Al Qaeda's ass." Via Michelle Malkin:
The reason for this work, Miller said, was "an explosion from my gut reaction of what's happening now." He can't stand entertainers who lack the moxy of their '40s counterparts who stood up to Hitler. Holy Terror is "a reminder to people who seem to have forgotten who we're up against."

It's been a long time since heroes were used in comics as pure propaganda. As Miller reminded, "Superman punched out Hitler. So did Captain America. That's one of the things they're there for."

"These are our folk heroes," Miller said. "It just seems silly to chase around the Riddler when you've got Al Qaeda out there."
Maybe now Marvel can follow suit and give Cap his balls back.

UPDATE: Hube, an even bigger comic nerd than myself, has similar thoughts and more of Miller's background for anyone not familiar with his work.

"Buckshot" Dick Cheney

Well as a Christian gun blogger, I'm wondering if people are expecting me to comment on the Texas Cheney-saw Massacre from over the weekend. Unfortunately, I'm not a bird hunter although my Grampy's 20 gauge could certainly do the job. I'm a target shooter and self-defense advocate, so my understanding of the safety ettiquette surrounding bird hunting is a bit weak. Here are comments from some others who know what they are talking about better than I:
Anybody in here an avid Quail hunter??? Guessing some have never hunted wild birds before. This is what happens when you leave the hunting party and go out on your own. Mr. Bob White isn't stupid, he'll fly right twards you, your buddy, your dogs, and any vehicle close by. That's why you hunt with everyone formed in a line perpendicular to the covey rise. That way when the bird doubles back you can bring the muzzle into your chest, turn a 180 and let em' have it. Also, you don't pick up birds until the rise is over and you don't pursue the next point until all the birds are in the bag. While I agree that the VP should have seen a man in the line of fire and pulled off, the Lawyer is definitely to blame for coming up from behind with birds still on the ground. Stop, drop and roll buddy!
It's an unspoken rule but when walking a line for birds we've always either helped search for the downed bird or held our position until the guy who left the line returns to his position. Now I know why. I've always thought it was because getting ahead of others put me at risk though, not the other way around.
A third:
I don't know how many of you hunt, but here's how it works. You walk a line as noted before. If someone is out of the line you wait. I admit I've gone on to the next point or gone after another bird, but when my partner is retrieving a downed bird but I sure as hell know where he is.

Whenever hunting I make it a habit to always know where everyone in the hunting party is. Anyone I hunt with does the same, or we don't hunt together. You can tell if a guy has his head on straight pretty quick just by watching him. If you see him checking you like you're checking him then its OK. That plus muzzle awareness makes a safe hunter.

If a bird goes over the line, or anywhere near my hunting partners/kids/dogs/etc its a no shoot. Like the earlier poster said IF the line is right and I know where everybody is a 180 to get the shot is fine.

This accident was 100% preventable and 100% negligent. The guy coming up from behind had no obligation to announce himself. That part about the guy coming up behind him and making it sound like he snuck up or something is complete BS. What's he supposed to do? He has to rejoin the hunting party.

When I lose contact with my hunting partners (behind cover, in a wash, etc) i call out to them and they to me. You just have to know where people are or don't shoot the gun. No little bird is worth risking shooting a person.

One other point. If these were late season wild birds and not planted birds it isn't surprising that they flew toward the hunters. Late birds do crazy stuff and seasoned hunters know that. That's why they're still alive. All the well behaved ones got shot already!
Yes, mistakes were made by all. Cheney SHOULD have known what was beyond his target. His friend should have followed the correct protocol when hunting with a group. They didn't. Thankfully, no one was maimed or killed, no one lost their eyesight.
I agree with the last one. Cheney screwed up. Whittingdon also screwed up. Thankfully no one was blinded or killed.

Doom and Elizabethtown

Amybear and I rented these this weekend. We wanted ample movie supplies should we get snowed in (which we were.) Guess which one was her pick and which one was mine, I dare you.


Not bad for a movie based on a video game. It was similar in quality to the Resident Evil movies. Worth the rental, but nothing special.

My biggest criticism is that the movie disregarded too much of the game's content. The imps weren't throwing balls of eldritch fire. They were just nasty zombies and close combat monsters. The main plot was changed from "human experiments in teleportation open the gates of Hell" to "scientists make a big mistake in genetic engineering." The change didn't really work for me. I thought a movie with space marines facing off against demons would have been a lot cooler.

The first person sequence is pretty cool though.


Good movie. Very good movie. Excellent cast. Orlando Bloom, Alec Baldwin, Jessica Biels, Susan Sarandon, Kirsten Dunst, etc., etc. There are a lot of other people you might recognize from TV and movies (like Bruce McGill and Judy Greer). Just go rent the darn thing.

Snow Days

Hube is happy because his school district has the day off. Amybear isn't so lucky. She starts her first day managing aftercare this afternoon and her school is only running 2 hours late.

We cleaned the cars off yesterday. It seemed like a good idea at the time. I did not want to have to clear 10 inches of snow off my car and another 10+ off the ground behind it so I could get out. So we cleared both our cars off. This morning they were covered in ice instead of snow. Just getting in was a pain because ice had worked into the door seals.

Fortunately by this afternoon when Amybear is going somewhere a little sunshine should have worked wonders.

Sunday, February 12, 2006


You may have noticed that my background images are broken again. A while back I was hosting my images on Roadfly, but they changed their policies. Then I moved to Photobucket, but they seem to be broken at the moment.

If anyone has suggests for where to go next, I'd love to hear it. Is there a way to get blogger to host my backgrounds without having them compress the hell out of them (like they do with pictures for posts)? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

UPDATE: My Photobucket account seems to be busted. I've made a new one so we'll see how that goes. I'm keeping an eye out for another solution.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Brief Blog Break

I took a couple days off blogging because things got busy. Amybear has a job in Delaware that starts Monday. We're going to be local for the first time in 5 years.

Because it starts Monday, a lot of arrangements have to be made. Plus I'm sick. So the last two days have been an interesting mix of getting stuff done, bank accounts established, etc. and being sick, grouchy, and/or medicated.

Opening Ceremonies

Amy and I watched it until she fell asleep. Then I switched over to the WWIIHistory Channel.

The Good Points: The Ski Jumper, the Ferrari, and fire. Lots of fire.

The Bad Points: Yoko Frigging Ono. Imagine? I'm sorry but I'm sick to death of people treating that song as if the deep secrets of the universe can be unlocked within. Imagine is John Lennon's vision of a secular humanist utopia. Go read the lyrics again if you don't believe me. This isn't something I can stand behind. This is some immature commie hippy's version of the future, not mine.

I was watching a Kathy Griffin standup routine. She talked about hosting a charity benefit in LA where Sharon Stone recited the lyrics in a similar manner as tonight's opening ceremonies. Kathy responded by reciting the lyrics to "You Ain't Nothing But a Hound Dog" by Elvis. Multiple members of the audience had paid her to do it via large contributions to the charity. There is hope for Hollywood yet.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Gun Fun

I've been looking into building my own AR15 for a little while now. Yes I said building. While some may doubt the stopping power of the military's current rifle, the engineering behind it is quite astonishing. With only some simple tools you probably have in the basement, you can turn a pile of parts into a safe, functional, and accurate rifle. I may make it a male bonding activity with my dad and brother.

This isn't something you can do with a typical rifle, I assure you. Most require a qualified gunsmith to do the final assembly. Installing a barrel on most designs is especially tricky and when done improperly you can have too much or too little headspace. That means the gun can blow up in your face. Not so with the AR. As long as a few parts are in spec, you'll be fine.

Now for those of you worried that gangbangers will be building assault rifles in their parents garages, don't worry. The first part you need is the lower receiver. (I explained this to Amybear as the gun's skeleton.) Where the state and federal governments are concerned, the lower receiver is the firearm and you need to go through all the relevant background checks just to buy the darn thing. So unless they can forge and mill their own receivers in their parents garage, you're safe.

The other great thing about ARs is that learning about it often constitutes work for me. Being a gun nut that works for the Army has a great symbiosis to it. Some great sites I found on the gun today? Ammo Oracle is one. It contains all you really need to know about 5.56 NATO and .223 Remington. B&T Ammo Labs also has some good information on terminal ballistic effects.

Passing It On

One of my coworkers is sick. She got it from her husband. He is much improved. Why? Because he has passed it on of course. You always get better after you have made someone else sick. It seems like this is the case at least.

I have to wonder if this isn't more than a coincidence? Would it be beneficial for diseases to operate on a cycle so that the gestation period (the period before you show symptoms) is similar to the time the average person actually spends being sick? Beats me but it seemed like an interesting idea when I thought of it a few minutes ago.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

A Record of Prayer

To all the world this is a boring blue memo pad. You can get five of them for a few dollars at any supermarket or drug store. Yet inside is something precious. Every page is contains prayer requests, three years of them in all. This is the second of these little books I have filled. Now I need to get around to buying another. It is a good problem to have.

Now some of you are probably thinking that this is pretty cool. But those of you who actively prayer journal will realize that fitting three years worth of prayer onto 75 little sheets of paper is a pretty mediocre record. Three years of your prayer life would hopefully require a much bigger book.

Actually, I don't use this to record all my prayers. My little book is more of a set of prayer request reminders from the guys in my bible study. In theory I use them a lot to pray over the need of my friends and brothers. Unfortunately that probably isn't the case. My daily prayer life has tended to be pretty meager outside of corporate fellowship.

Recently, I've been convicted that I'm not spending enough time in personal bible study and prayer. I have met a lot of mature strong christians who have the same problems. It seems a lot of us have real trouble having times alone with God. We struggle with scheduling them and having them regularly. We struggle with what to do during them. We especially have trouble listening instead of just talking.

What about you? How is your prayer life? How about your quiet times? What are you doing to keep them fresh? Feel free to comment in the comments, that is what they're for.

Thats My Church

For better or for worse:
Opponents of embryonic stem cell research and cloning forced Delaware Senate Bill 80 to be “gutted” of its most important elements in order to gain passage in blue-state Delaware.

Several supporters, including sponsor Rep. Deborah Hudson, R-Fairthorne, said the bill’s references to embryonic stem cell research were removed because of a powerful lobbying and advertising campaign that opposed the bill.

The campaign Rep. Hudson referenced, “A Rose & a Prayer,” is a grassroots effort that involved Delawareans of many faiths. More than 2,400 Delawareans signed up for a total of more than 1,500 hours of prayer in opposition to SB 80. Also as part of the campaign, state legislators last week received more than 1,500 roses with cards from individual voters asking them to vote against the bill. In addition, it is believed that over ten thousand Delawareans contacted their representatives asking them to vote against the bill.

Supported by Christian ministers, such as Bowen Matthews of Brandywine Valley Baptist Church and Bishop Michael Saltarelli of the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington, A Rose and a Prayer created a dynamic grassroots network was instrumental in preventing the original SB 80 from coming to the House for a vote.

Mohammed Cartoons

It's hard to believe that European embassies are burning over this:

Fortunately there are voices of hope and sanity even in the Muslim World. I like Grand Ayatolla Ali Al-Sistani. He had this to say:
In Iraq, the country's top Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, decried the drawings but did not call for protests.

"We strongly denounce and condemn this horrific action," he said in a statement posted on his Web site and dated Tuesday.

Al-Sistani, who wields enormous influence over Iraq's majority Shiites, made no call for protests and suggested that militant Muslims were partly to blame for distorting Islam's image.

He referred to "misguided and oppressive" segments of the Muslim community and said their actions "projected a distorted and dark image of the faith of justice, love and brotherhood."

"Enemies have exploited this ... to spread their poison and revive their old hatreds with new methods and mechanisms," he said.
Or in other words "I'm not happy with these drawings, but perhaps the way to make them disappear would be to stop confirming their prejudices by blowing people up and setting fire to things." What a guy.

Oh and if a Muslim out there is reading this blog and is offended, then my apologies. I'd also like to note that I'm an American and we have rights to self defense which secure our rights to free expression. Go bother a softer target.

God's Politics

Gaines is reviewing the book by that title from Jim Wallis. Long review made short: Wallis's criticism of the right for being stingy and the left for being godless are dead on. But the book has some serious problems with analyzing scripture. His recommendations are far more along the lines of a godful left than a holy middle. If nothing this shows the biases Wallis brought to the table.

I've been thinking about how the spheres of religion and politics are colliding in the US. 1 Corinthians 5:9-12 has this to say:
I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.

What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside.
Once America was a nominally Christian nation. Perhaps then it was appropriate to live by Christian rules. But let's face it, that is no longer the case.

The Christian life is only possible through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. How can you require it from Spiritless people? To do so borders on tyrannical legalism. The church must hold itself to the higher standard, not the world.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Movies for Old People

Amy and I rented Must Love Dogs this weekend. She thought it would be your typical romantic comedy and I thought that would put her in a good mood. We were both wrong. Must Love Dogs is a romantic comedy, but for people approaching middle age. Both the protagonists are divorced with baggage. The acting is solid and it isn't a bad movie (although a bit dark), but Amy and I were definitely in the wrong demographic for it.

We also rented Transporter 2. Guess which of the two movies I picked out. The plotline was interesting, unfortunately it was in a movie about unbelievable stunts and explosions. I liked the original better. It was lower budget, but had a grittier more realistic feel to the movie. People got hurt, cars blew up. Transporter 2 just felt like one surreal CGI effect after another. The stunts are unbelieveable and the cars and heroes emerged unscathed. I guess I like my heros slightly scathed.


I'm a big fan to the show. Although having done research professionally, I realize that what they do is not exactly at the level of a peer reviewed paper. Which doesn't actually mean much either, but what do you want?

Mythbuster's examination of the Star Wars movies came up at lunch yesterday. Suffice it to say that some of the effects are effects, but others could actually happen. For instance Luke wouldn't need force jumping abilities to survive the fall from the AT-AT walker in Empire Strikes Back. Snow really is that good at breaking your fall.

I believe they also showed that a lightsaber is both a beautiful, elegant, and horribly stupid weapon. A double-bladed lightsaber is doubly so. That Darth Maul fight scene looks great, but if you look closely you'll see that he always has one blade of his saber uncomfortably close to his body.

The WCM Method

More relationship wisdom from the desk of Scott Adams:
Forget about how much you know, or how smart you think you are, or how much extra information you might have recently collected. That will not help you. Instead, I offer you the only solution: The WCM Method.

WCM stands for Who Cares Most. If you want your relationship to have a chance, defer all decisions and interpretations of fact to the person who cares the most.

In practice, this will mean that women will make 98% of all the decisions and be “right” 98% of the time. Compared to men, women care more passionately about just about everything. Men mostly scratch what itches and call it good.
Yup that sounds about right.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Momentary Materialism

Amybear and I have spent a fair bit of time compiling our registry lists. Saturday was an extended trip through Bed, Bath, and Beyond. Today was a trip through the tool department in Sears. It is really fun to "buy" things for yourself without actually spending your own money. Almost intoxicatingly fun really.

Both stores also let you add stuff on the internet, which means I may not be getting much work done for a while.

Friday, February 03, 2006


They're talking church government at the BHT. Michael Spencer highlights why I left the PCA:
I don't believe having to call the COM from the Presbytery in Lex to deal with a wild card pastor is one of them. I remain convinced that the relationship between congregation and pastor needs to be direct, and not mediated. I take with that all the nonsense that can happen, but if my pastor/elders start a mission without congregational permission or proper process, I want to be able to stand up in the monthly business meeting and ask what kind of luggage he prefers.

Emergent Homosexuality

Thinklings is covering Brian McLaren's answer to this question:
Do you personally believe that all sexual activity between two persons of the same gender is always a sin?
McLaren hems and haws for ten plus paragraphs. My answer?

I believe sex between two people who aren't married is a sin. It doesn't matter if they are gay or not. I also believe the covenant of christian marriage is only applicable between men and women because only a man and woman have the potential of bearing children together. Marriage in the civil sense is certainly up for debate since it would apply to an awful lot of non-Christians.

Now, just because someone is sinning doesn't make them a spiritual outcast. Everybody in this church has sinned and will sin. This is a congregation of fallen human beings. We're all screw ups at some level and we aren't going to turn anyone away.

Now McLaren wouldn't answer this way because he doesn't want to turn people away and because the couple asking him this question were engaged and unchurched so they were probably having sex outside of marriage as well. He goes on to say how he is actually being "pastoral" and that he learned this trait from Jesus himself. Perhaps he should reread the story of the Woman at the Well. In concludes with this passage:
He told her, "Go, call your husband and come back."

"I have no husband," she replied.

Jesus said to her, "You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true."
My my, how un-pastoral of Jesus.

Political Nicknames

I'd like to offer the following suggested nicknames for Delaware Politicians:
Senator Joseph Biden - Diamond Joe
Senator Tom Carper - Tommy Boy
Congressman Mike Castle - Big Mike
and finally:
Governor Ruth Ann Minner - Grandma Ruth
Feel free to use these in tongue-in-cheek discussions of Delaware politics.

The Republicans Get Boehner

John Boehner (actually pronounced Bay-ner) is the new House Majority Leader. It was an acceptable choice.

I actually cared enough about this race to write Delaware's only Congressman, Mike Castle. Now Mike Castle and I are not exactly on the same wing of the Republican Party. He's pretty liberal and I'm pretty, uh, not. I said I liked Shadegg and I hated Blunt, but if he voted for Boehner I'd understand. Just not Blunt. Please Good Lord Almighty not Blunt.

I don't know how Big Mike voted (it was a secret ballot), but I got my wish of Not Blunt so I have no room to complain.

The Gunnies

Countertop Chronicles has held the first ever gunblogger awards. The results are up but many of the original nominees are also very good and still worth a look.

I've been thinking about doing more gun blogging. To put it simply, the world doesn't need another conservative evangelical blogger, even one as ideosyncratic as myself. There are already plenty of us out there ranting about how stupid the Democrats are. However the gunblogging community could probably use a few more vocal Christians.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Nutjob 1 or Nutjob 2?

Was it Al Gore or the Unabomber who said:
Among the abnormal conditions present in modern industrial society are excessive density of population, isolation of man from nature, excessive rapidity of social change and the breakdown of natural small-scale communities such as the extended family, the village or the tribe.
You need to take the quiz to find out. I only scored 50%.

I'm a Little Bit Country

Well I'm still more Rock and Roll than Donnie at least.

I've started listening to *shudder* country music more often. I even own a couple of albums. I've started to realize I kinda like it. Amy isn't especially happy, but that's mostly because she thinks I'm turning into her dad.

But really it's Amybear's Dad's fault. He likes country. A lot. He has an excuse though, he's from the South. Well Richmond, but you can get sweet tea there so it counts as the South. He had a Toby Keith CD playing in his Lexus on the way to dinner last weekend.

Yes a southern Jew listening to "I Love This Bar" in his black Lexus. Truly he is a man of deep contradiction. Don't worry the CD before featured a lot of Hebrew. We won't be having a hora hoe-down at the wedding.

Anyway, I realized that TK could sing a catchy yarn. After "American Soldier" was followed by "If I Was Jesus", I knew I was buying the album. Here is the chorus and you might understand why:
Ooh and I'd lay my life down for you
And I show you who's the boss
I'd forgive you and adore you
While I was hangin' on your cross
Just wow. Let me just say I better keep Shock'n Y'all away from my copy of American Idiot. Bringing them together would be like matter and anti-matter. Someone could get hurt.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Observations on the Emergent Church

Several people have written on the emergent church lately. Michael Spencer has a piece about the many threads of the emerging church movement.
I thought “emerging” was an intentional effort to do church in a way that employs a non-traditional missional approach to reaching younger people in postmodern, western culture. Now it appears to mean “everything bad you can find in a Brian Mclaren book is embraced enthusiastically by everyone with a goatee.”
Long story short, the emergent church is like the Evangelical church. There isn't a single unified definition.

There is Emergent aka Brian Mclaren's group. Emergent is pretty weak theologically and it's orthodoxy might be a bit too generous. There is a lot of poor liberal theology there. A lot. John over at Locusts and Honey did a review of some of McLaren's writings a while back. I share his concern that McLaren's de-emphasis of the bible is not a good thing and will end up fostering more heresy than tolerance.

There are also various "emerging" groups who are trying to reach young people and the unchurched by updating their worship and spiritual relevance. In many ways these folks are doing good work. They are cutting away a lot of reactionary baggage from the evangelical church. That isn't unreasonable or even bad. But they are also often lacking in maturity, which I suppose they can only get in time anyway.

Travis Prinzi has a more practical tale about his visit to a local emerging church. I share a lot of his opinions. I have a lot of trouble with contemporary worship because it feels immature to me. I'm an adult and I want adult music. If you can't tell the thematic differences between "In the Secret" and "It Is Well With My Soul," then I'm really sorry for you. The comments made by some of the church's worship and pastoral staff demonstrate the emerging outlook. Whether you agree or disagree with that outlook is up to you.

A Glimpse of Amybears Wedded Bliss

I have to wonder if this is what our married life will be like. Except that it is unlikely that I will ever own an Xbox. Some broadband required for the clip. Thanks to my brother for the link.

Practical Preaching

Michael Spencer is giving preaching advice. He started with a suggestion about length.
"It is hard to imagine that, if the Sermon on the Mount really was a sermon, Jesus could have done it in less than an hour.
I'm not a preacher, but I've done the Sermon on the Mount as an exercise with my small group. It takes around 30 to 40 minutes depending on how fast you go. My senior pastor performed a dramatic recitation of the entire book of Mark once. It took less than two hours. But Mark is the shortest Gospel.

Really, the bible is surprisingly compact and concise. I have an audio Bible. Well I had an audio bible. It's on extended loan at the moment. Start to finish you are looking at 65ish CDs. So the whole bible takes maybe 80 hours to read out loud. That's a lot if you're doing it in one shot, but I listened to the whole thing in about three months of commuting.

Low Carb, High Fiber

I'm doing a low carb diet right now, as are Amybear and several of my coworkers. One of the weird nuances of the diet is that fiber essentially counts as negative carbs. So you can get away with eating some breads if they are high in fiber because the "net carbs" are still acceptable.

Several of us at work have come to the conclusion that this is not because fiber actually counts against carbs in your diet. We think it is to encourage all those Atkins dieters who are subsisting solely on beef and cheese to eat some fiber. Hopefully this will stave off other major gastro-intestinal problems, if you know what I mean.