Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Refreshing, encouraging

My wife and I took a little jaunt to Houston from our more northerly residence this past weekend to take care of some business and hang out w/ a couple of friends.
They were nice enough to regale us w/ a trip to Galveston, during which we attended an Imax screening of "Ocean Wonderland" in 3-D. By the way, do NOT see that film. The 3-D was all out of whack (and I tried literally 8 pairs of glasses), it was boring, and it turned out to be some ridiculous propaganda piece for the UN and the World Wildlife Fund. Gag.

At any rate, this is a positive blog post. (Or half-positive, now - I guess I already screwed that up).
They took us to their church, a non-denom on-the-charismatic-side church. Now, for those of you who are unaware, my first 5-6 years as a Christian were spent as a charismatic, and I was glad to be one. Over the course of time, I became increasingly distressed by the growth of the heretical Word of Faith theology of Copeland, Hagin, Hinn, and ORU within the body of the true believers in these charismatic churches. They just let them in w/o asking for ID, as it were. As long as they said "Jesus" and "Holy Spirit," spoke in tongues, and preached loudly, they were OK. Never mind their New Age beliefs that subjugate God to the equivalent of a powerful Jedi who has learned to use the Almighty Force of Faith thru speaking stuff into existence. Which you and I can do too.
Anyway, the church that I attended was becoming increasingly allied w/ this junk and its corrolaries - the Health-and-Wealth Gospel. The pastor even endorsed a book called God Wants You To Be Rich from the pulpit. At the same time as that was increasing in my church, I was becoming un-convinced of the truth of the signature charismatic doctrines (speaking in tongues, etc). So I joined a Southern Baptist church, where I remain today.
But let me say that this church was refreshing - they actually spoke out against the Health-and-Wealth gospel from the pulpit. Ahhh... a breath of fresh air. That plus Spirit-led prayer (ie, the pastor had a real burden to pray for some members of the congregation, and that turned out to be a touch from the Lord to many, including my own wife, a guest at the church) and some lively and soulful praise-and-worship... made for a blessing for me.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Bad Interviewing

Was watching the after-show of the NBA Finals tonight.
The cameras zoomed in for the obligatory coach-hugs-star-player, and
also on the two-coaches-who-are-rivals-but-also-good-friends embrace.
Later, near the Pistons' locker room, Stu Scott from ESPN asks the
losing coach (Larry Brown) this brilliant question: "I saw that you
and Coach Popovich hugged after the game. What did you say to him?"

[background noise of hair being torn from roots]

Is it just me, or is that question
A) inane
B) so clichéd anymore that it's not even funny (since everyone asks it), and
C) just a really bad question to fill space rather than talking about the game?

I am really sick of that question - it's lame!

Or am I just being too grumpy?

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

No less a Durbinhead now

So, the Durbinhead makes mention anew of his idiotic views.

[obligatory 'apology' from the Durbinhead]
"I am also sorry if anything I said cast a negative light on our fine men and women in the military ... I never ever intended any disrespect for them. Some may believe that my remarks crossed the line to them I extend my heartfelt apology...I have come to understand that was a very poor choice of words...I don't want anything in my public career to detract from my love for this country, my respect for those who serve it and this great Senate. I offer my apologies to those who were offended."
[/obligatory 'apology' from the Durbinhead]

Now, far be it from me to refuse to accept such an obviously abject and humble apology.
By the way, since I am new to the blogosphere, let me introduce you to one of my favorite tools - Sarcasm. Please note that said tool was employed in the previous line, specifically in the words "obviously abject and humble."

I must note, in explanation of my skepticism about this Durbinhead's apology, that he, not once but twice, expressed these imbecilic, vitriolic, and morally incomprehensible words on the floor of the Senate (if I remember correctly). Given the huge media firestorm his words rightly generated, you have to wonder why he waited until Tuesday 21 June to apologise for them (though, the discerning reader will note, he did not retract them). That means that it has been one week since the first statement.

Shame on you, Durbinhead. And shame on you, Democrats, for not sticking pins in this guy so as to keep him from making a fool of your party and the US. At least in France, most normal people still blanch at the mention of the Holocaust.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

What a Durbinhead

As if one needed more proof that most Americans do not pay attention to what their politicians say and/or feel cut off from the national political process by and large, Dick Durbin, the 2nd-highest ranking Democrat in the US Senate, said this recently:

[politically-motivated diatribe] If I read this to you and did not tell you that it was an FBI agent describing what Americans had done to prisoners in their control, you would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime -- Pol Pot or others -- that had no concern for human beings. [/politically-motivated diatribe]

I have to tell you - I canNOT abide jokes about the Holocaust. Jews in ovens, Germans being great at mass murder, whatever - when people start making jokes about that, I leave. Yes, maybe I should stick around and ask the offenders to stop... that is possible. Either way, I can't take it. It is too degrading to the horror that was the Holocaust, Stalin's gulags, Pol Pot's murderous reign, etc. And this is a high-ranking Senator...
You know, you can say stupid stuff. That's fine. You shouldn't lose your job for that. But to say this? Illinoisans would do well to start a ballot initiative. But they won't.

"Never again," huh? I, for one, do not believe that for one instant.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Anakin Skywalker is a victim of George Lucas

Having watched the most recent Star Wars, "Revenge of the Sith" (lame title, btw), the following thought occurred to me:

Poor Anakin.

The man is a victim. Think about it. How was he to know which way was right and which one was wrong? The Jedi are too "narrow" in their "view of the Force," whereas the "evil" Darth Sidious (who is only evil, of course, in the eyes of the pointy-headed "hyper-orthodox" Jedi in the Jedi Council) is much more open-minded. He is open to powers that "many consider to be unnatural," even to the point of HEALING.
So... we the audience (and Anakin) are left w/ the choice.
On the one hand, we have the Jedi, who
1) refuse to allow Jedi to fall in love,
2) refuse to explore options in the Force that would allow them to heal people,
3) tell Anakin to "let go of his fear of loss," since people dying allows them to be absorbed into the Force (whatever that means), which is a good thing,
4) ... and yet mourn the deaths of many young Jedi at the massacre at the Jedi Temple, and
5) assert that one's path depends on one's own point of view, which is verbatim what Obi-Wan tells Luke Skywalker after Yoda's death in Return of the Jedi.

On the other, we have the Sith, who
1) are the persecuted minority,
2) are more open-minded,
3) are open to the power of healing people,
4) are open to people of any marital status (it would seem),
5) allow the open expression of one's feelings and passions,
6) practice treachery and constantly seek more power, and
7) regard the Jedi as evil and oppressive.

So what is Anakin to do?
Who is the final arbiter of truth for him? Who can tell him that the Jedi are right (which we, the audience know by instinct if not necessarily by actual active assent) and the Sith are bad?
This is relativism at its finest, polished and buffed for public consumption thru the genius that is George Lucas. Lucas is shameless in his abuse of Anakin. Not b/c he wrote the story in which Anakin destroys his life. Rather, it is b/c he placed Anakin's character into a universe that is devoid of any rational basis for morality. At least w/ a consistent and foundational moral guide, as opposed to his frequently self-contradicting mentors Yoda and Obi-Wan, it would be at least possible to know w/ certainty just who the good and bad guys are.
But (spoiler alert) when he cuts Mace Windu's hand off, what he did was completely neutral, since it was his own point of view doing the talking. And just before clashing lightsaber against lightsaber w/ Obi-Wan, Anakin tells us that, in his perspective, the Jedi are evil. Obi-Wan is forced to remind us that his allegiance is to democracy. I shouldn't have to reiterate that this statement is also completely arbitrary.

So feel sad for Ani. I was very sad when he choked his beloved wife. Of course, that's just because, in my point of view, hurting my wife is bad. I fail to see how, in George Lucas' fantasy universe, he could tell me I'm right or wrong to believe that.

First real post

Many thanks to Bryan over at StumbleOnWater for appreciating my simple tastes. "This is a picture." Indeed. It. Is.

So... decided to move this blog over from ><4|\|94 (that's for youx0rz, Justin) and I think I'll like this one better. Much easier to put pics on, for example. And that will be important in the future. Just for the record, my wife and I are about to embark on at least a year-long move to the Far East. This blog will hopefully log the journey there, the time spent while there, and all the fun in between.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Another test post, sent from email.

This is the outside view of the bed and breakfast in which my wife and I stayed for our 4th anniversary trip this weekend. This is the lovely dining room where we breakfasted.
This is a picture.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Testing...this pic cracks me up anyway.
This is a picture.

This is a first test.

First test.
Wonder if it'll be worthy of the rest of my blog or perhaps the best entry ever.