Wednesday, December 28, 2005

 

Bandwidth Thieves




The following list of assorted internet scoundrels are illegally stealing bandwidth by hotlinking to files at darwen.us.

Whenever I catch someone stealing bandwidth (usually by hotlinking images) I update my code so that they get this obnoxious graphic instead of the image they are trying to steal. Sometimes I get creative and give them a custom replacement graphic. If it's a myspacer, it's often this graphic.

The list of offending sites, along with my commentary, are to follow.

The newer instances of theft are toward the top of the list.

I will append and update this list whenever I notice changes.




Former Offenders


Here's a list of... well, former offenders. People who are no longer stealing my bandwidth. I no longer want to brand them as thieves, but I do want to continue to mock them. Consider their names stricken from my S-List.






Friday, December 23, 2005

 

Holy Images?



It's another one of those news stories:

JACKSONVILLE, FL -- Employees at The Stadium Club Restaurant on Beach and Southside Boulevards say they see an image of Jesus in a cooking pan used to heat water. The pan, which is usually used warm nacho cheese containers, actually has mineral deposits from water left on it. The kitchen staff at The Stadium Club say they won't be using the pan anymore in the kitchen, but people are welcome to come check it out anytime.


I don't think that stain looks much like Jesus. I think it looks a little bit like Chewbacca, but I just don't see Jesus in it. Maybe it's just me. Wendy says it looks like a monster from Where The Wild Things Are. I don't really see that. I kinda see Jar Jar Binks, though. (Not that I'm Star Wars obsessed.)

Hat tip: Blonde Sagacity

This, of course, is not the first time that people have believed they've seen images of the sacred in everyday items:

Remember the grilled cheese sandwich, auctioned on e-Bay, which some believed contained an image of the Virgin Mary?



Wendy says it looks a bit like Marilyn Monroe. I guess. If I squint.




In the Chicago area, a steady stream of the faithful came to see a stained highway underpass concrete wall that, according to some, was another image of Mary.






Some claim that this tree, at the home of the Kilburn family in Harris County, Texas, features an image of Mary and/or an image of the finger of God, pointing skyward. No, I am not making that up. It's a real story.






Ditto Dalcher (real name, as far as I can tell) noticed what he believed to be the image of Christ in this brick from the fireplace in his home. Of course, he immediately put it up for sale.



Wendy thinks it looks a little like Che Guevara.




Office building windows in Clearwater, Florida, are believed by many to reveal the 60 foot tall image of the Holy Mother.






Oh, I don't know. I guess this stuff is harmless. If it leads anyone to lead a more reverent life, then it's a good thing. I just hope that people don't get so involved in looking for the holy images in Fritos and mud puddles that they forget to look for holiness in the people around them.


Thursday, December 22, 2005

 

The Season Of Faith



This sketch of the human story began in a cave; the cave which popular science associates with the cave-man and in which practical discovery has really found archaic drawings of animals. The second half of human history, which was like a new creation of the world, also begins in a cave. There is even a shadow of such a fancy in the fact that animals were again present; for it was a cave used as a stable by the mountaineers of the uplands aboutBethlehem; who still drive their cattle into such holes and caverns at night. It was here that a homeless couple had crept underground with the cattle when the doors of the crowded caravanserai had been shut in their faces; and it was here beneath the very feet of the passersby, in a cellar under the very floor of the world, that Jesus Christ was born But in that second creation there was indeed something symbolical in the roots of the primeval rock or the horns of the prehistoric herd. God also was a CaveMan, and, had also traced strange shapes of creatures, curiously colored upon the wall of the world ; but the pictures that he made had come to life.

A mass of legend and literature, which increases and will never end has repeated and rung the changes on that single paradox; that the hands that had made the sun and stars were too small to reach the huge heads of the cattle...

Bethlehem is emphatically a place where extremes meet.


From G.K. Chesterton's The Everlasting Man


Merry Christmas to to all my Christian friends... and Happy Hannukah to our Jewish "Older Brothers" in God.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

 

"McFat Four" Sounds Like A Rap Group. No, That'd Be "McPhat Four."



MCF strikes again:

1) Does the departure of any one radio disc jockey, no matter who it is, merit a radio station changing its name, firing some DJs, and hiring others as they rearrange their schedule? I'm thinking specifically of 92.3 KROCK, soon to be known as “92.3 FREE”, but readers are free to answer the question on general principal.

I worked in radio for eight years. I don't know that I can answer the question, but I can damn sure give an opinion.

First of all, don't worry about the DJs who got fired. They saw it coming. DJs wonder when the bomb will drop every day of their lives. Radio is a transient industry.

The thing is, Stern isn't just a DJ. He's one of those guys who lays the foundation for the entire identity of a station. Even the other 27 Infinity Broadcasting syndicate stations around the country who carry the Stern program are though of as "the Stern station" in their market.

Syndicating has really changed what radio is. It used to be that each station really did try to build a separate and unique identity, and when you were listening to a given station, you were (for all intents and purposes) hearing a truly unique on-air product. Now, with a number of broadcast companies owning between them what seems like every damned radio station in the US, all we really get is variations on a few select flavors. It's just repackaging the same products over and over again... because, as consumers, we've proven that we'll settle for that. In fact, we prefer it. We prefer familiarity to even the most trivial forms of risk.

Think about it this way: It's like Mello Yello and Mountain Dew. They're both essentially the same soft drink, but one is marketed by Coca Cola and the other by PepsiCo. They both want you to believe that their product is unique and different, but once you try them both, you know they're the same thing. It's the same in radio. Go from town to town and city to city and you'll realize that the broadcast companies are competing with each other by each offering at various outlets their different "flavors" of radio (rock, urban, country, whatever)... but once you've heard one "rock" station, you've heard them all. Once you've heard one "pop" station, you've heard them all. To continue my soda analogy, it's all the same bubbly, sugary water with nothing special in it. It's all empty calories.

The thing about somebody like Stern is that he does have something a little bit more unique to offer. Any rock station can play the latest Coldplay record, and all of the ones who are doing so are essentially the same... but the station's that broadcast Stern can position themselves in their marketplace as the "Stern station," a claim that no other station in the area can boast (because of market exclusivity rights) regardless of the rest of their format.

The fact that Stern has been able to create his own unique and highly successful niche by appealing to the lowest common denominator is another matter. It's especially frustrating when you realize that Stern is one hell of a smart guy. He really could have done something worthwhile, he just wasn't interested in doing so, I suppose.

The changes taking place at K-Rock aren't simply a matter of one station over-reacting to a DJ's departure. Broadcast FM stations are worried that they're really losing listeners to the pay-radio satellite stations. Having Stern go to Sirus is major because this is the first time that a MAJOR name in broadcast radio has defected to satellite radio. It's like when Milton Berle deftect from radio to television. It seemed like a risky move at the time. Everybody had radio... TVs, however, were new-fangled and expensive and uncommon. Berle's gamble paid off, though... and soon television had not only snagged him from radio, they also snagged Edward R. Murrow and Jackie Gleason and Walter Winchell and on and on and on.

Stern's syndicate network, Infinity, is really getting worried. They're repositioning themselves partly in response to Stern's departure... which they'd do anyway even if he were simply retiring... but a big part of the nature of this major repositioning is because he's leaving for a competitor. And not just a competitor across town or in another state... he's leaving for what amounts to another medium. Infinity is repositioning everything about many of their stations as a way to aggressively market against satellite radio. 92.3 FREE is just one part of Infinity's Free FM repositioning scheme for a number of their stations.

FM will survive Stern's departure, of course, although the smut-merchants like Stern are going to end up entirely available through the satellite stations. It makes the most sense for everyone: The smut peddlers won't have to censor themselves or worry about FCC crack-downs. The station owners won't have to worry about FCC fines or sensitive advertisers. People who object to Stern-style content on broadcast radio surely see this as a victory, too. It's a win-win, in my opinion. It's just a matter of how long it will take FM to get over this identity crisis. In the best of all possible worlds, five years from now we'll find it hard to believe that Stern was ever on FM radio... just like it's hard to believe that Uncle Miltie..."Mr. Television" himself... was ever on the radio.

So the answer to your question... in my opinion... is that it's both far more complicated and far simpler than the average listener realizes.

2) What's the absolute worst last-minute gift you've ever given someone, and how do you feel about it today?

Heck, I dunno. A gift certificate? That's probably the worst thing to give someone, and yet I am always glad to receive them.

3) Which song would you say most influenced and/or changed your taste in music?

I thought I hated bluegrass music until I heard Tony Rice's version of "Poor Wayfaring Stranger," and fell in love with it immediately. To this day it's one of my favorite songs and opened up the whole world of bluegrass music for me. If you ever get interested in bluegrass, go get Tony Rice's album Cold on the Shoulder... one of my ten favorite albums of all time. It's amazing. AMAZING.

4) You can either have a passive mental super power, or an active physical one. Which would you prefer and why?

What's a passive mental power? Like the power to do nothing? If so, I already have a number of passive mental AND physical powers. If I could have any super-power in the world, it would be the ability to turn trees into pigs with the touch of my hand. Then nobody could say "Yeah, but he's really just Marvel's version of such-and-such character."

5) Would you be comfortable with fame?

No, I am not.

6) Since people thought the last test was too hard, I'll throw in an easy one: list as many prepositions as you'd like.

Uh... Preposition-H? That's the only one I can think of.


Monday, December 19, 2005

 

The Little Things



Granted, there are those, including my wife, who are fine with the fact that few stores say "Merry Christmas" anymore. And, really, it isn't that much of an issue for me. I do think that stores who've initiated policies against the "C" word are being extreme... and silly... and extremely silly. But I agree with Wendy and with others who've said that K-Mart and Target aren't really the place to find the real meaning of the season anyway.

Still, it's undeniable that we live in a culture that shuns, mocks, and deplores Christianity. Most movies depict Christian characters as backwards and ignorant. Most news stories about Christians focus on the nutty remarks of the Pat Robertsons and Jerry Falwells, rather than the charity, hard work, and love of Christians (both individually and as groups) around the world. Christian ideals are seen as outdated and even portrayed as "dangerous" by the left fringes... and even the mere mention of Christian faith is enough to get you branded a "theocrat" or a "Bible bigot" ... or simply an idiot.

Every Friday when I go pick up my son for weekend visitation, I drive past a Bojangles chicken restaurant in Daleville, Virginia. I never pay much attention to the restaurant or the sign out front, I'm always focused on picking up my son and coming home. This last weekend as I made the trip, however, the sign at Bojangles caught my eye... and made my day. I took a quick digital picture of it, that's it to the right.

Yeah, it's no big deal in the greater scheme of things... but I couldn't help but be impressed. The owner of this Bojangles restaurant, apparently, is willing to risk losing business and drawing negative attention from secularists in order to proclaim his faith. You don't see that much anymore. In fact, I can't remember the last time I did see a sign this forthright in front of a business. Let alone one in Daleville, which is little more than a row of fast food joints and gas stations on the way to Roanoke, Virginia. (Just to give you an idea of what Roanoke is like, the city is known for it's gay nightlife. Sure, it's a southern city, but many who live there find it oh-so "progressive".)

Again, I know, it's not a big deal. Still, the sign put a smile on my face and prompted me to call the store and tell the manager how much I'd enjoyed their sign. He thanked me for the call and said that it meant a lot to the store employees to get positive feedback about the sign. (If you're moved to call them yourself, grab your cell phone and punch in the number, 540 - 966 - 1440. I'm sure they'll be glad to hear from you.)

I'm not trying to say that a Bojangles chicken restaurant is the lone spot of Christian faith in a great heathen mecca. I'm not trying to say this restaurant is taking sides in the so-called "war on Christmas," and I don't believe that they intend the sign to be provocative or offensive to anyone. Still, I saw the sign as a good-faith expression of Christmas sentiment from one Christian to the others who might pass by... and it was nice. It made my day.

I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before others the Son of Man will acknowledge before the angels of God.
Luke 12:8



Sunday, December 18, 2005

 

Lost In Translation (??!!?)



One of the first things I discovered when I got internet access was Babelfish, the free internet translation service at altavista.com.

Being something of an amateur student of languages, I was amazed and amused by the notion that a software program could actually translate languages, one to another. I think this is an instance where a computer simply can't take the place of a real human, mainly because of context. Words in and of themselves might have literal translations from one language to another, but concepts such as context and colloquialism are nuanced things, and they're beyond the grasp of software.

When I first discovered Babelfish, I tried to translate some foreign websites and read the translations, and of course it never quite worked right. The very first thing I tried to translate was a German review of a movie. In that instance, and in all others, I could usually get the gist of what I was reading... but so much of it was just confusing, obtuse, and downright funny.

So I ended up with a hobby that I still occasionally enjoy. What I'll do is take a bit of English text and go to Babelfish and translate it to another language. Then, I'll translate it back to English again, just to see how much gets lost in the journey. Sometimes... in fact, quite often... the end result is something that I find very funny.

Now, granted, my sense of humor is pretty weird... but from time to time I still do this and I end up getting a big laugh out of it.

This evening, I translated the lyrics to one of my favorite old heavy metal songs to German... and then translated it back to English.

First of all, here are the real lyrics to "Peace Sells... But Who's Buying" by Megadeth:

What do you mean, I don’t believe in God?
I talk to him every day.
What do you mean, I don’t support your system?
I go to court when I have to.
What do you mean, I can’t get to work on time?
I got nothing better to do
And, what do you mean, I don’t pay my bills?
Why do you think I’m broke? huh?

What do you mean, I hurt your feelings?
I didn’t know you had any feelings.
What do you mean, I ain’t kind?
I’m just not your kind.
What do you mean, I couldn’t be president, of the United States of America?
Tell me something, it’s still we the people, right?

If there’s a new way I’ll be the first in line, but, it better work this time.

Can you put a price on peace?
Peace sells, but who’s buying?


I used Babelfish to translate those lyrics to German... and then cut and pasted the German "version" of the lyrics and translated them back to English. Here's what Babelfish came up with. I find it funnier if you imagine it being read... or sung... with a German accent:

What do you, I mean do, not to believe in God?
I speak with him each day
Which mean you, I carry out not support your system?
I go umwerben when I must.
What do you, I mean can not receive to work in time?
I did not receive anything better to do and,
What you mean, payment my calculations does not do me?
Why do you think me are broke? huh?

What do you, I mean hurt your feelings?
I did not know that you had all possible feelings.
What do you, I mean are not friendly?
I am not fair your kind.
What do you, I mean could not president, the States of America be?
Do you explain to me somewhat, it are still we the people, right?

If there is a new way, which is I first in the line, but, she better work of this times.

You can, set a price on peace?
Peace sales, but who has the purchase?


Again... my sense of humor is weird. I freely admit that. Still, it cracks me up.

Just to "share my joy," here are a few quotes from some of my favorite bloggers. I know when I start this that I'm going to leave out a favorite blogger or two and not remember it until later tonight when I get to work and can't do anything about it... so this might be only the first installment. Click the links below if you want to see the original text that I pulled a quote from and put through Babelfish's cheesegrater.

The Chronicles of Rhodester, From English to Italian and Back Again:

To exceed it outside, they are ill. I mean the SICK one. They have been from it for approximately three days but we do not obtain the days becomes ill to you so as to I do not call outside because I have need of the moneies, particularly with Been born them that it appears in distance to right around to the angle. Hour they are loaded in on on the medicine and Ibuprofen of cough, so as to I think the kind of floaty. I am going to go floating I withdraw me to the front part of the construction and try to send to the more interesting things this fine week if I think until it.


Jamie Dawn goes to Germany... then heads back home:

When I was small, my parents arranged, so that a friend above as if sank dresses and to the house comes. I was in my area, dressed, in PJs and, when I heard a loud, "Ho, Ho, Ho lucky in played!" Come down the Hallway. I froze rigid. Sank came, bursting into my area and frightened the Pipi from me!


MCF goes Greek and comes back:

Him I remember that is relaxed, and that plays with, and that has that custard from a thread for the longest-lasting time. Then one morning I called upset in mom my that it had devolved to my bowl Cheerios.


The Unseen Blogger's Round Trip to Portugal:

The last night, mine and the sample of tevê of the reality that I can tolerate finally had only come to a head. In Martha Stewart, the apprentice, the bastard Jim was retroceded FINALLY is of the sample. Good! I could not be this doofus underhanded.


Das Wrighten Jerry - The English-German-English Connection:

I could connect with any of these tragic applicable stories, but you cannot swing psycho, after Hawaii threatening a baby on a flight, without striking these and a ton of other depressing stories.


Where Have You Gone, Ronald Reagan? Why, To France And Back!

Snoop Dogg was in the past an active member of troop of Crip. It claims that Tookie helped to include/understand the cycle of the violence which the troops support and support. Did the dog of Snoop give up the violence of troop and its association with Crips?


And last but not least, my wife exposes her German-American roots:

I am really tired from the complete hoopla, which is referred on the people, which more glad Christmas not to memory says. It is not honest the end of the world. Christmas will not disappear. People will not those to recognize birth of Christian or from nothing to to stop. If you liked to receive a tilting over something, receive to tilting over that verflixten top side down Christmas trees, because they are terrible.


I'll do more quotes from more of my favorite blogs if anyone else (besides me and Wendy) think this is funny.

Labels: , ,


Saturday, December 17, 2005

 

Jamie Dawn's Spirit Of Giving



Well, you can imagine my delight and surprise when I opened the Christmas Gift that Jamie Dawn got for me, and found a poster of one of my heroes:



There was only one appropriate response: YEEEEEAAARRRRRGGHHH!!!!!!

I'm so proud of my new poster... and I'll proudly display it here on the SouthCon Wall of (dis)Honor, along with the following:




My 50 Cent Poster



50 Cent is one of my heroes for the advancements he's made in the arts and entertainment, including lyrics such as

I ain't that nigga trying to holla cause I want some head
I'm that nigga trying to holla cause I want some bread
I could care less how she perform when she in the bed
B***h hit that track, catch a date, and come and pay the kid
Look baby this is simple, you can't see
You f****ng with me, you f****ng with a P-I-M-P


Who needs Bob Dylan or Townes Van Zandt when the modern music scene has given us poetry like this?




My Che T-Shirt



The existence of the Che-Shirt has improved my life dramatically, if only because it increases the odds that, on any given day, at any given mall, I'll see some pampered, rich, white college kid doing free PR for a murderous communist guerrilla.




My Framed Hillary Picture



Because it reminds me that there are those who God really has blessed with both brains AND beauty.




My Jeanneinee Garaffelliolo Poster



Because it reminds me that America is really the land of opportunity. Can't make it as a comedian? Bottom out as an actor? There's always Air America.




My Michael Savage Poster



I love Michael Savage. He's done so much for those of us on the right. Because of him and his tireless efforts to convince everyone that all conservatives are shrill, hateful, mentally constipated bigots, we conservatives have been spared the burden of insightful conversation with those who disagree with us and think that Savage speaks for all of us.




My Howard Stern Shrine



Because of how much he's done to promote the cultural importance and social worth of the broadcast medium that I love so much.




My Tookie Williams Memorial Do-Rag



For giving those of us who oppose the death penalty the opportunity to align ourselves with Snoop Dogg. Finally, a spokesman who really represents our cause!




Thank you, Jamie Dawn, from the bottom of my heart. And, from the heart of my bottom. ;)


Friday, December 16, 2005

 

School, Music, and Santa



As a parent, it's up to you to be the adult who decides when and how to tell your kids the "truth" about Santa. Right? Well, not if you live in a certain suburban Dallas school district.

Guess what, kids? There's no such thing as Santa Claus! That's what a suburban Dallas music teacher told first-graders on Monday - and the school's been hearing from parents ever since.

The angry phone calls prompted the Richardson school district to issue a pro-Santa statement. The district announced that the offending teacher had heard from Santa Claus himself -- who assured the teacher that "the spirit of the holidays is alive and well."


Oh, so much to comment on here.

First of all, having seen Music of my Heart, I recognize the absolute world-changing importance of elementary school music teachers. (OK, I didn't see that movie, but I saw a TV commercial for it. Same thing.) Anyway, I realize that, without the critical work of America's elementary school music teachers, there'd be nobody to teach our kids to play the triangle or dance the Macarena. In my view, elementary school music teachers are right up there with air-traffic controllers, paramedics and policemen... and I CERTAINLY DON'T THINK OF ELEMENTARY SCHOOL MUSIC PROGRAMS AS A WASTE OF TIME AND TAX MONEY. OH, NOOOOOOO.

Nonetheless, what was going on in Richardson? Did this teacher have a momentary brain fart, forget what her real job is, and try, in the spur of the moment, to actually teach something?

I think we all see how that worked out.

Memo to Richardson Texas elementary school music teachers: We'll tell our kids about Santa, you let them bang on bongos.


 

Coolness, Thy Name Be Morgan



Morgan Freeman, who continues to prove himself to be the coolest human being who ever lived, won't be celebrating Black History Month this February:

"I don't want a black history month. You're going to relegate my history to a month?"...

The Shawshank Redemption star said: "Black history is American history."

In a US TV interview, Freeman said the only way to end racism was to "stop talking about it".

The 68-year-old called for an end to the use of the words "black" and "white".

He said: "I am going to stop calling you a white man and I'm going to ask you to stop calling me a black man.


We need to create a national honor called the Most Awesome Dude In History Medal and give it to Morgan Freeman for a lifetime of achievement. Every time this guy opens his mouth, one of two things comes out of it: Either pitch-perfect acting, or sound and logical observations expressed with eloquence and wit.

I'm even willing to forgive him for all those crappy movies he's done with Ashley Judd.


Thursday, December 15, 2005

 

100% Safe New Video Game



Concerned that video games are too dark and violent for your kids? Then you should rush out and get them a copy of Stacker! ... a new video game wherein kids simply stack cardboard boxes. Over and over and over again.



The game's designer says that parental concerns were the driving force behind the game's placid and harmless nature:

"To avoid any appearance of suggestive or adult situations, the graphics consist entirely of rectangular polygons rendered in shades of brown against a simulated gray cinderblock wall. The game is free-roaming inside the warehouse environment, meaning that no goals are set for stacking a certain number of boxes, nor is there a time limit for the stacking. The health-level bar remains at a constant peak, and the first-person perspective avoids the problem of players identifying too closely with the main character, whose name is never specified and to whom nothing actually happens."

A demo version of Stacker was unveiled at the Tokyo Game Show in September and garnered praise from parents' groups who lauded its unstimulating visuals, utter lack of storyline, and non-immersive game play.


By the way, in case you had any doubt, this is yet another example of the brilliance of The Onion.


 

LWW Reviews Finally Up



If anyone cares, Wendy and I have finally posted reviews of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe at film geeks.


 

They Know It's Murder



Check out the latest in fashionable toddler-wear for the children of "pro-choice" parents:



It's been clear for some time that the "Pro-Choice" side knows that abortion is murder. That's why they fight for it with such venom and hatred, like spoiled kids demanding that they be allowed to keep something they've stolen. Of course, the fact that most abortions amount to selfishness and irresponsibility is another factor. Just listen to them talk and it's obvious... they know it's murder.

However, even I didn't realize that they think it's funny.

By the way, check out The Church Militant's post about a macabre new "underground railroad."


Sunday, December 11, 2005

 

Rest In Peace





1940 - 2005




Thursday, December 08, 2005

 

The Claws Of Winter





Just some icicles on the tree in our backyard. This picture isn't skewed, they really did form at this strange angle. I did monkey with the contrast, though, and if you're curious about this kind of thing, the original, unaltered pic is here.I thought the icicles looked cool; kinda imposing.

Speaking of an imposing winter, The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe comes out tomorrow! I think Wendy and I are actually more excited than the kids.

And, just a reminder for my Catholic friends, this is a Holy Day of Obligation. So, see you in church tonight, and see you at the theater tomorrow.


Wednesday, December 07, 2005

 

Four For The Price Of One Post



Update to Item on the so-called "Megachurches" below...

  • Mark Steyn Nails It... As He Always Does

    If you're a conservative and you're not reading The National Review, you're really missing out on something terrific. NR is always smart, funny, and full of interesting and intelligent opinions. The current issue marks the magazine's big Five-Oh. Fifty years of the absolute best conservative writing in the world.

    Of course, Mark Steyn's regular column in NR is always outstanding. Always. Steyn has never let me down yet, and his article in the current jam-packed issue is another fine example of his wit and perception.

    Steyn sums up the so-called anti-war movement perfectly:

    You can understand why the Dems miss the Nineties. There was nary a word about war. Okay, you’d get the odd million-man genocide in Rwanda, but you tended to hear about it afterwards, usually as a late-breaking item in the Clinton teary-apology act. Instead, it was an era of micro-politics, a regulation here, an entitlement there, a recycling program everywhere you looked. Venusian Americans assumed they’d entered an age of permanent post-Martian politics, and they resented 9/11 as an intrusion on their minimalism. When you’re at an event for the “anti-war” movement, you realize it’s no such thing: It’s an I-don’t-want-to-have-to-hear-about-this-war movement.

    That’s why they like to mock Bush, Cheney, Rummy & Co. as the real terrorists — the ones determined to maintain America in a state of “terror.” Oddly enough, this was how the Left chose to live during the Cold War, when the no-nukes crowd expected Armageddon any minute: Fear of the phenomenon sold a gazillion posters, plays, books, films, and LPs with big scary mushroom clouds on the cover. When nuclear weapons were an elite club of five relatively sane world powers, progressive opinion was convinced the planet was about to go ka-boom and the handful of us who survived would be walking in a nuclear winter wonderland. Now anyone with a few thousand bucks and an unlisted Islamabad number in his Rolodex can get a nuke, and the Left is positively blasé.


    Steyn is my favorite of NR's brilliant writers, but he's far from the only class act they've got. I usually read each issue from cover to cover. Literally. Even the ads are often enlightening. Do yourself a favor, go to National Review Online and sign up for a subscription.


  • Churches That Take The Christ Out Of Christmas

    This is just stupid. Just. Flat. Out. Plain. STOOOOOOOPID.

    This Christmas, no prayers will be said in several megachurches around the country.

    Even though the holiday falls this year on a Sunday, when the churches normally host thousands for worship, pastors are canceling services, anticipating low attendance on what they call a family day...

    Cally Parkinson, a spokeswoman for Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Ill., said church leaders decided that organizing services on a Christmas Sunday would not be the most effective use of staff and volunteer resources. The last time Christmas fell on a Sunday was 1994, and only a few people showed up, she said.


    For these megachurches, Christ is nothing more than a mascot. A brand-name. Something to feel good about, not something that requires that you actually inconvenience yourself, for pity's sake. I mean, who wants to go to church on Christmas Day?? It's bad enough that we have to go every Sunday, right? Why should we have to drag ourselves away from our materialistic consumerism festival under the Christmas Holiday Tree for Church? Who wants to spoil the Holiday by having to hear about and think about Jesus???!!!?? Right?

    This attitude makes me sick. I don't give a rat's hindquarters if turnout IS low on Christmas day. The proper response by a legitimate Christian church is NOT to close the doors and say "Oh well... as goes the world, so goes the church." Who'd be attracted to a church that spineless? Can you imagine a soul, searching for meaning and morals and depth is today's vacuous culture, turning to such a church for anything of real value?

    And yet there are those who wonder why so many Christians are fleeing these trendy churches in droves and going back to good old fashioned legitimately Christian churches. (Which reminds me, I need to write a review of Dave Shiflett's Exodus, a book I recently read and enjoyed a lot. I recommend it, and I also recommend this article by Dr. Gene Edward Veith.)

    Update: Don't miss what some other bloggers have had to say about this topic:

    The Unseen Blogger: Megachurches Closed

    Burr in the Burgh: Idolatrous Churches Closed On Christmas


    Hat tip to my blogless friend Jamie for this item.

  • Daddy's Bad! PETA Said So!

    Attention fishermen... the fine folks at People For The Ethical Treatment Of Appetizers Animals are trying to turn your children against you. PETA's newest comic book, aimed squarely at children, is called "Your Daddy Kills Animals!" Here's a close-up of the cover:





    According to MSNBC's Tucker Carlson, the comic reads, in part:

    "Since your daddy is teaching you the wrong lessons about right and wrong, you should teach him fishing is killing. Until your daddy learns it's not fun to kill, keep your doggies and kitties away from him. He's so hooked on killing defenseless animals, they could be next."


    I put up with PETA for the most part... I've even praised them in the past when they behaved reasonably over a just cause. Then they go and do this; telling kids that if daddy likes to go fishing, he might kill your dog.

    Of course, PETA is probably the last bunch who should be lecturing children about dangerous people. According to ActivistClash.com, PETA is in bed with some seriously shady characters:

    In the past, PETA has handled the press for the Animal Liberation Front (ALF), a violent, underground group of fanatics who plant firebombs in restaurants, destroy butcher shops, and torch research labs. The FBI considers ALF among America's most active and prolific terrorist groups, but PETA compares it to the Underground Railroad and the French Resistance. More than 20 years after its inception, PETA continues to hire convicted ALF militants and funds their legal defense. In at least one case, court records show that Ingrid Newkirk herself was involved in an ALF arson.


    Maybe the American Bass Anglers should put out a comic for kids with a message like this:

    Since PETA is teaching you the wrong lessons about right and wrong, you should teach them that bombing and arson are terrorism. Until PETA learns it's not fun to bomb and burn, keep your brothers and sisters away from them. They're so hooked on destroying the lives of those who disagree with them, and you could be next!


  • Hat tip: Weapons of Mass Distraction.

  • Lest We Forget

    Today is Pearl Harbor Day. Sixty-four years ago today, America was attacked by a foreign enemy; blindsided as she slept. Without provocation, the empire of Japan damaged or sunk 21 American ships at our Naval base in Hawaii. It may have been the single biggest mistake in the history of Japan.

    Stephen Ambrose, the late historian and author, had this to say on Pearl Harbor day in 2001:

    Right after Pearl Harbor, Winston Churchill came to the United States and he spoke to a joint session of the Congress, and he asked this question.

    "What kind of a people do they think we are?"

    Well, the Japanese found out. And the Taliban, now gone, apparently, but all of the fundamentalist terrorists in the world are going to find out.

    What kind of a people are we? We'll be glad to show you if we have to.


    Unfortunately, America isn't as unified in the wake of 9/11 as she was after Pearl Harbor was attacked. In the 1940's, under the leadership of a Democratic president, the Republican party adopted a policy that "politics stop at the shoreline." We may have bickered among ourselves regarding the best way to reach our goals, but in the 1940's, Americans of all political bents still shared the same goals. Liberal or conservative, Republican or Democrat, it didn't matter. The safety, security and freedom of America was paramount.

    Sixty-four years after Pearl Harbor, America is once again involved in a war against an oppressive foreign conviction. Radical Islam, like Axis fascism, is a force that aims for the destruction of the West. I'm not speaking metaphorically or allegorically, and I'd hope that you didn't need me to make that clear.

    Axis fascism and radical Islam are two different names for the same evil. Both are grounded in a hatred of all Jews. Both seek global domination. Both are cancers born of hate, and neither is confined by the borders of any one nation. Both see their adversaries as less than human. Both want to bring about a new world order based on the template of their ideals. The name and face of our enemy has changed. That enemy's black, malevolent heart has not.

    Drowning in secularism and still struggling to recover from the drug-addled self-loathing of the 1960's, Americans seem to find it impossible to unite in this decade the way we did sixty-odd years ago.

    It doesn't have to be this way.

    I'm convinced that liberals once meant well. Facing up to our misdeeds as a nation has been difficult, but it has been done. Now, in the face of an enemy we've faced before, it's time to move on. There is a difference between regretting our mistakes and despising our essence. There is a difference between mourning our past and choking our future. America is more than the sum of her faults.

    America has done the right thing at great cost in the past. Now, with the war on terrorism, we are called to do it again. This will not be the last time we're called upon to take that action... unless we falter here.






  • Tuesday, December 06, 2005

     

    Two Stories Relevant To Nothing



    I've done little blogging (at least by my standards) for the past week. Mostly because I've been working some compulsory overtime. For whatever it's worth, here are some notes from the past several days.

    Plink! Plink! Plink! Plink!

    Last Wednesday, Wendy wakes me up in the morning with a sentence that begins "You're going to think I'm crazy, but..."

    I've learned that when she starts out that way, no good can come of it.

    "You're going to think I'm crazy," she says, "but I think there's something in the attic and it's trying to get out in the house!"

    Scenes from The Exorcist come into my mind.

    She elaborates "I hear something in the attic! It's tapping on the attic hatch!" (We have shuttle access to our attic.) "I think it wants out of the attic!"

    So I'm half asleep, half confused, and I think for a second and ask her if it's making a steady, rhythmic tapping noise, or a random tapping noise.

    "Oh, it's very steady. Very rhythmic."

    Then I ask her if it's raining outside. She says that it is. So, I get up and get a kitchen chair and drag it into the hall, right under the shuttle hatch. I stand on the chair, reach up and push the shuttle hatch up and a pint or so of water (extremely cold water) runs out on my face.

    Long story short, the roof vent had separated at one of the joints. We spent the rest of that day and part of the next with a kitchen pot sitting on that chair in the hall, catching the rain water. Then, when the rain stopped, I got on top of the roof with a bit of tin and some tools and some roofing tar, yadda yadda yadda... and, fifteen minutes later, problem solved.

    The thing is, I HATE heights. I despise them. I don't go on the roof unless I have to for emergency reasons. I decided that since I was going to be up there anyway, I'd take a couple of quick shots with our digital camera. That way, if I ever get to wondering what the view from the roof is, I can just review the pictures with my feet on firm, stable ground.








    Chester Becomes A Man

    Our Basset Hound puppy, Chester, turned eleven weeks old yesterday. To us he's still a baby... but he's clearly come to think of himself as a man.

    Chester has gotten bigger since we got him just before Halloween, when he was around six weeks old and could sit in the palm of your hand. He's gone from a little brown ball of fur to a small dog that clearly looks like a Basset Hound. These days, he spends most of his time eating Puppy Chow or wrestling with Tilda, our Brittany Spaniel. This is pretty funny to watch most of the time, since Tilda is so much bigger than Chester, and could crush him like a grape. In the picture below, you can see both dogs following Wendy into the kitchen... I snapped this pic about an hour ago, so it's a very current look at their size difference.



    Anyway, last night the kids were watching Yu-Gi-PokoTitans (or whatever) and the dogs were wrestling in the floor, and I was watching them, since I find it amusing when they wrestle. At one point, Tilda was laying on her back while they were wrestling, and when she rolled back over with her belly on the floor, Chester just happened to be toward her backside.

    I'm going to try to phrase what Chester did next as delicately as I can. Basically, Chester was overcome by the machinations of biology. He was suddenly made subject to a basic, animal urge. One minute, he was a cute puppy, playing with an older dog. The next minute, he was a man in the throes of passion.

    Imagine my horror as the scene on the living room floor changed from slapstick comedy to something of an entirely different nature. The Keystone Cops music that plays in the back of my head whenever I watch the dogs wrestle suddenly came to a screeching halt, and was replaced by a Barry White song. What had been family entertainment was transformed into a seedy scene from the doggy version of Cinemax After Dark.

    Tilda, for her part, looked more confused than I've ever seen her look. Remember, she's never been around male dogs at all, and she was spayed as soon as she was old enough for the procedure. I'm not sure if she knew what was going on, or why. She just crained her neck around and looked back at Chester as if to say "Excuse me... what is this?"

    A few seconds later I think she figured it out and jumped up, barking at Chester. I think she was trying to say "But I don't like you IN THAT WAY."

    All of this happened in just a few seconds, leaving me shaken and upset. If I'd seen it coming, I suppose I'd have sent the kids out of the room, but it was all so sudden and it was over so fast.

    For whatever it's worth, Tilda and Chester seem to be back to their same old selves today; back to romping and wrestling and playing. I was worried that there'd be an awkward period, with them passing in the hall but not making eye-contact, him unsure what to say, her uncertain of what he might try next. Thankfully, neither of them seem to have been phased in any long-term way. Still, Chester will be at the vets having his life altered as soon as he's old enough.

    Not much to report other than that.




     

    McFat III: Revenge Of The McFat



    To be honest, I agree with Wendy and Jerry... this one is tough. But I'll offer my answers, for what they're worth:

  • 1) What, in your opinion, was the best finale to a television series? I know these things are frequently difficult to narrow down, so if you cannot choose one, narrow it down to a reasonable number, perhaps three.

    My favorite series finale was the last episode of Cheers. I liked the fact that they didn't "resolve" things, didn't have each of the main characters leave for a different location because that part of their lives was over. The only thing that was really resolved was that Sam finally realized that he really was, totally and finally, over Diane. I was glad for that, and I was glad that he and the rest of the main characters all had a moment at the end to realize how grateful they each were for their lives and for each other. Other than that, it was pretty much life as usual for the whole gang. Except, of course, for Frasier... a spin-off I never watched. Not even once.


  • 2) You wake up to get the morning paper when you notice something is wrong. The sky is green and the grass is blue. Birds are swimming and fish are flying. Explain.

    No.


  • 3) How did you lose your first tooth?

    I don't remember. I honestly don't. I can't remember the circumstances of a single tooth that I lost. I can remember that the Tooth Fairy brought me money whenever I lost a tooth, but I can't remember how much. I can't remember a single detail.

    The only marginally interesting thing I can say about my dental history is that I was born without the "buds" (if that's the word) for wisdom teeth. I never got a single one. My dental x-rays reveal me to be a freak of nature. Coincidentally, my jawbone is shown by x-ray to be made of adamantium.


  • 4) What’s the strangest thing you or someone you know has made out of snow?

    I don't remember. I honestly don't. I can't remember the circumstances of a single thing I ever made out of snow. I can remember that the Snow Fairy brought me money whenever I made something out of snow, but I can't remember how much. I can't remember a single detail.


  • 5) What’s the best superhero lair and why? Feel free to provide examples.

    Well, I've always thought that Green Lantern was a lair. I've never believed anything he's ever said. Every time he opens his mouth I say "Lair, Lair, Pants On Fire!"



  • Monday, December 05, 2005

     

    More On Michael Steele



    A couple of weeks ago, I wrote an entry about Michael Steele, who's running for the Senate in Maryland, where he's the Lieutenant Governor. The focus of what I wrote was the racial attacks that have been launched on Steele by his political opponents. Steele, who is a black Republican, has been targeted as an "Uncle Tom" and as an "Oreo" by liberals (black and otherwise) who disagree with his politics.

    Of course, were he a black Democrat, and were he the target of racial attacks by conservatives, the liberal media, the NAACP, and PC moonbats in general would be climbing the walls in outrage. Since he's a conservative, though, these kinds of race-based attacks are just fine and dandy with the hypocrites on the left.

    I suppose it was somewhat implied in what I wrote that I supported Steele's Senate bid, at least on principle. Since I wrote that first bit, however, I've learned a lot about Michael Steele, and I want to make it clear that I don't support his run for the Senate.

    I don't support his run for the Senate because I don't want him wasting his or our time legislating. I don't support his run for the Senate because I really hope Micheal Steele will run for President in the next election.

    The more I learn about Michael Steele, the more I realize that this guy is exactly what I look for in a leader and exactly what I think we need in a President. A lot of the time I end up voting for the lesser of two evils, or for the guy who comes the closest to my beliefs. Usually, that's the Republican. If Michael Steele ran for President, however, I'd have a Presidential candidate I could support enthusiastically, since I've yet to find an important issue or a position that I disagree with him on.

    For me, Mike Steele is the best of all possible Presidential candidates:

  • He's Pro-Life
    For me to support him, that's a given. I'd never vote for anyone who approved of the murder of unborn babies. Steele opposes abortion on demand, and even the issue of abortion for victims of rape and incest isn't something he's comfortable simply glossing over. Some politicians favor abortion in those instances without qualms. From what I've read, Steele even sees that issue as complex and difficult. In short, he might even be more pro-life than I am. That's exactly what I want in a candidate; somebody who's more likely to err on the side of life.

    For the record, I do support a woman's right to have an abortion in instances of rape, incest, or a threat to her health. I think that Steele does, too... But he seems to recognize that, even in instances of rape and incest, the issue is complex. Of course, anyone who ever sees abortion is a cut-and-dry issue is a nutjob, anyway.


  • He Opposes The Death Penalty
    YES! YES! Finally, a conservative politician who feels the way that I do about capital punishment! I don't have to tell you, Republicans who appose the death penalty can be few and far between. Steele is one of those few. It was learning that about him that made me first think I should educate myself a little more on the guy.


  • He's Catholic
    Look, don't get me wrong... I'm not saying that I'd only vote for Catholics for the rest of my life... but it's nice to think I have an idea where a politician is coming from, what forms his guiding principles, and why. Now, of course, Catholicism isn't the trump card. That moron John Kerry is a Catholic, after all. From what I can tell, though, Steele seems to be a "practicing Catholic" instead of a "Kennedy Catholic." As a young man, Steele even seriously considered the Priesthood.


  • He Is Committed To Rehabilitation For Prisoners And Drug Users
    This is another area where I part ways with some of my Republican friends. I don't know why I have the feelings I do on this matter... maybe it's just the Johnny Cash fan in me. I don't think I've written much at this blog on the subject, except to say that I thought people should leave Martha Stewart the hell alone once she got out of the joint.

    I believe that once somebody has been sentenced for a crime and done their time, it is incumbent upon society (especially for Christians) to do all we can to help them make a new start. The prison system doesn't work if it's seen as a closed circuit. If, once someone goes to jail, they're ostracized from society forever... what's the point of calling it rehabilitation? What are jails for? Are they for punishment and rehabilitation of the criminal... or are they simply cages for criminals, where the last of their humanity is destroyed and their role as a lifelong criminal is cemented? Once released from prison, it's the former prisoner's task to rejoin society as a law-abiding citizen. It's society's task to help him or her do just that. Steele seems to agree with me on that issue, too.


  • Minority Incentive, Not Minority Dependence
    Steele is very focused on Maryland's Minority Business Enterprise Program, an initiative that has it's critics and boosters, just like any other government program. I've read several articles about the MBE Program, and the more I read, the less certain I am that I understand it. I think, though, that I understand some of the philosophy behind it. The point seems to be that the program encourages members of minorities to get pro-active, to make something of themselves, and to take advantage of the wonderful opportunities that are available in this country. That's refreshing, especially considering how many minority leaders preach the exact opposite to their default constituents. It seems to me that most minority "leaders" ensure their position by creating an imaginary need for themselves. They keep minority members convinced that they don't have a fair chance, that "the man" is keeping them down, and that the field is not and never will be balanced, racially, in this country. Of course, that's BS. It's refreshing to see a prominent black leader who focuses on opportunity instead of "oppression."


  • There are, of course, a few things that I disagree with Steele about. The main one is that he seems to have done a little rationalizing and "gotten on board" with the current Governor's plan to allow slot machines at Maryland horse racing tracks. That's not really that big a deal, though. It's not like he's in favor of allowing slot machines at Wal-Mart. We're talking about race tracks, here... it's not like nobody's gambling there.

    That's a small item, though... and, so far, it's the only thing I've seen that even gives me a slight gripe with the guy.

    So here's hoping that Michael Steele will reconsider his bid for one of Maryland's Senate seats. It's not that I don't want him in Washington. I want the guy in the White House.

    Labels: , , ,


    This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

    Subscribe to Posts [Atom]