Friday, June 29, 2007

spicing up dinner :-)

So, a couple of evenings back, after finishing work, I'm standing in line for dinner in the cafeteria. Lazagna, green beans, and various other things.

Let's face it, school cafeteris food, even the school cafeteria food which is served to the staff, is still school cafeteria food. That is no slam on those who fix it, it is simply how things are.

So, I'm standing in line, waiting, and wondering, what could be done, to make this food more appetizing, or at least make us more willing to settle for it.

And I though...

We need ninjas.

Imagine this--your standing in line, like I was, or you've just filled one section of your tray with lazagna and carrot salad, or even you've sat down and are settling in to eat your dinner.


People dressed in black jump through doors and windows and come through the ceiling, screaming and yelling and waving their arms around and striking dramatic martial arts types of poses.

Suddenly, the mundane becomes the extraordinary. The tray that once held your lasagna becomes the tray with which you now smash the face of the nearest assailant. The rock-hard cornbread muffin becomes a projectile. The sloppy joe (which actually is pretty good) can be thrown in the eyes. Forks, spoons, knifes, even the banana pudding, all take on aspects that they did not have before.

It wouldn't need to be long. Not even five minutes. The ninjas come, get beat up, and leave, but look at the difference.

Now, people are happy. Teachers who had been complaining about unprepared and stubborn students now feel much better, because they've just dumped a bowl full of soup beans on a ninja's head, followed directly by a person sitting at the next table spilling some chocolate pudding on the floor, causing the ninja to slip, and causing the two-year old in the high chair to barf on his nunchuks.

See, everyone (except maybe the two-year-old) is now feeling good--congratulating each other, talking about good blows they gave out, recounting former encounters, even talking about the more mundane things.

And, of course, the exercise sharpens everyone's appetite, so the food now tastes better.

So, I think the school needs to hire ninjas. They could do other things during the day (we wouldn't know who they are, of course, because being ninjas they wouldn't show their faces, or maybe take off their glasses when in ninja-mode), so that they could more easily fit in and be more productive.

And, of course, they must be paid more then anyone else. That way, when they do get thwacked by a food tray, we could at least console ourselves in knowing that they are being well-paid for it.

Also, it would be a staff-only thing. No students are allowed to thwack the ninjas, only faculty and staff. After all, the students are partially at fault for us needing them, anyway.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Summertime Blues Remedy chess tournament--a small success

The tournament began an hour earlier then usual, so I wound up getting to it just a little before the first round began, as I hadn't noted the time change. Still, it was of no major consequence.

The first game started quiet, but suddenly caught fire in the middle game. The result was an unbalanced position, and with time running low, we agreed to a draw. My opponent was more highly rated then I was, and while I suppose pushing the game further may have resulted in a win, but it wasn't clear, so I was pretty happy with the draw.

The second is a game I need to look at again more close, as I think I had chances. I had lines to his king, and my pieces were bearing on him, but I couldn't find it, and in the end my opponent held me off and won.

The third was a hard game. I think I mishandled the opening, and in order to get any kind of counter-play, I had to sacrifice some material. It probably shouldn't have worked well, and I'm sure that my opponent was winning, but I was able to make things difficult, and he started getting short of time. In the end, it was his lack of time and a materially unbalance position that led to a him accepting my draw offer.

The fourth game was almost quiet compared to the first three. There was a bit of excitement in the middle game, but I entered the endgame a pawn up. Then my opponent sacrificed some material in hopes of getting to my king, but I was able to hold him off, and in the end I had a rook and and he no other pieces except his king, and our pawns were soon to be of equal number.

So, after the dust had cleared, I had 2 points out of 4 games--two draws, a win, and a lose. That was enough to put me in a tie for first place in my section. So, it wasn't a bad tournament. I was playing opponents who were stronger then I had played in the past few tournaments, and the games were difficult ones, and if I had pressed on in the games that were draws they might have been won, if for no other reason then because my opponents likely would have ran out of time.

Thursday, June 21, 2007


"When people in the church talk about authority they are very often talking about controlling people or situations. They want to make sure that everything is regulated properly, that the church does not go off the rails doctrinally or ethically, that correct ideas and practices are upheld and transmitted to the next generation. ‘Authority’ is the place where we go to find out the correct answers to key questions such as these. This notion, however, runs into all kinds of problems when we apply it to the Bible. Is that really what the Bible is for? Is it there to control the church? Is it there simply to look up the correct answers to questions that we, for some reason, already know?"
N.T. Wright, in a lecture called "How Can the Bible be Authoritative?"

This seems to be a common supposition in some circles now, and I've encountered something like it online a few times--that there are people out there who see the Bible primarily as a book of answers and directions, and that such a view does not do the Bible justice as a book of stories. Whether they would necessarily go so far as to say that the Bible has no rules or directions or instructions in it, I don't know (I doubt it, to be fair), but there is the hint that looking to it for those things is somehow not right.

There have been times I had thought this to be incorrect, both in representing certain people's way of thinking about the Bible (it has usually been stated that way by people who do not approve, like Wright, of that way of thinking) and of the Bible itself, I haven't until recently been able to think why it is wrong. But I think that I have put my finger on it.

To illustrate my thoughts, let us look at a child, a young boy, and his parent's relationship to him. The roles the parents must play for the child will be numerous--nurturers, providers, playmates, teachers, rule-makers, story-tellers, rules enforcers, and probably more that I can't think of at this moment.

Parents are not just rules-makers, though it would be as wrong to say that they never make rules that they expect the child to follow. Parents are not just teachers or instructors, thought that is one part of their duty as parents.

By that same token, the Bible is obviously not just a book of rules and instructions, but just as obviously the Bible does have rules and instructions. I can't help but think that to deny that aspect of the Bible, or to downplay it in favor of something like that storytelling aspect, is not to do it justice.

To get back to the parents and child illustration, let us imagine the child is with some adults, and they are asking him to do something. The child refuses to do it, because he has been told by his parents to not do such things. The adults hear this, and conclude that the child sees his parents only as rule-makers and instructors.

Of course, give that half a thought, and such a conclusion falls aparts. If the adults were to see the parents having dinner with the child, or pushing him on a swing in the park, or reading books to him, they would easily see that the parents are much more then just rule-makers, and that the child does not always sees his parents only a rule-makers.

In that same way, I think very few if any Christians see the Bible as only a book of rules and instructions. They know that it is filled with stories and historical events, poetry, parables, and wise sayings, as well as rules and instructions. The fact that they find in the Bible rules and instructions, and that in today's culture much debate is about various rules in the Bible and whether they are applicable today or not, is not to say that they see it only as an instruction book, or a rules book.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


I didn't get to watch any of the NBA championship which ended a few days ago. I would have liked to see some of it, but I was not able. I have been able to hear a bit about it on the radio, and read some about it on the internet.

Much of what I have heard and read has been, well, kind of conflicted--on one hand, there has been a lot of respect shown to the winning team, the Spurs, as being a team which has been consistently good for several years, and for being a real team, and for not having the kinds of behavioral issues which seems to plague many other teams, while on the other hand, I don't recall ever hearing so much lamenting about how boring a team is, and how dull their play is, and how bad the series was played overall. Their star player was refered to as a "charismatic black hole" on one radio show.

There may be some cause for thinking the series was dull. The Spurs swept the final series, and did it seemingly easily. Their opponents, the Cavs, were clearly unable to hold their own against the Spurs.

Nor is it something that is only seen in sports. In chess, the most popular players have usually been the attackers and risk-takers--Tal, Alekhine, Morphy, Fischer, and Kasparov. There has usually been much less enthusiasm, though maybe not respect, for the more cautious and defensive players, such as Petrosian, Capablance, and Karpov. I have a recent version of the Chessmaster series of programs, and it has a collection of classic games. I remember looking through it, and finding very few games by Petrosian, and only one win. Petrosian was the world chess champion for six years, and was among the top chess players for many more years. To so disregard his play seems a little odd to me.

But I digress...

This isn't to say that being good must of necessity mean being boring. The Bulls of the 90s were among the best teams of all times, and they were not boring. In chess, Kasparov is easily one of the all-time best players, and his style of very dynamic and aggressive.

But these are matters of style, not of good or bad play. In fact, there does at times seem to be a burder, and an unnecessary one in my opinion, is placed on people--the need to be dynamic and charismatic, someone who will draw to his performances who would normally not watch such activities.

One show I listened to made reference to the sale of NBA merchandise, and whose player's stuff sells most. The Spur's star player wasn't among the top ten, and if I remember correctly he was down around 15. He has been around a while, has proven for many years that he is one of the best players of all time, but players who haven't done half of what he has are more popular then him.

Maybe we should expect a certain level of sophistication in spectators. While no doubt wanting new people to discover and like something we like, perhaps it is time to accept that sometimes newcomers will not always like what they see, and may even conclude that it is boring and not worth the effort. I admit such an attitude could be borderline snobbish, but maybe it's also necessary. We do not expect fans of pop music to also be able to appreciate opera. The two music forms are not necessarily exclusive, but they are very different. Someone whose music listening has been primarily the bubble gum of pop would probably find opera much more difficult, if not outright dull.

The NBA is not opera, and nor should it be. But at the same time, it should not apologize when its best players do not draw people like they want them to. Perhaps the problem is as much or more the spectators as it is the players.

Friday, June 15, 2007


"...They took a poll here in my area of Seattle and found that 95 percent of the nonchurched have a favorable view of Jesus, so Jesus is not the problem. It is the church they dislike, because they do not readily see the church living out his teachings." Karen Ward, taken from a quote in the book "Emerging Churches" by Gibbs and Bolger, p. 48.

This reminds me of the oft-used quote by Gandhi, or that is at least often attributed to him, which was something like "I like your Christ, but I do not like your Christians. They are so little like your Christ". An interesting statement, to be sure. I simply point out the parallel for the moment, I do not say whether Gandhi had just cause or not for such thinking.

Ward's statistic, however, I do wonder about. I trust neither the stat nor her conclusion that "Jesus is not the problem".

For one thing, the stat is isolated. We have only that one bit of data, with little context. Outside of having been taken in a part of Seattle, the book gives no further information about this poll,--what questions were asked, how many people, what their own beliefs were, what did they like about Jesus, what does the church do that they do not like, and so forth.

In other words, simply from the one stat that 95 percent of the people polled in one area said that they have a favorable view of Jesus, there is not enough support for the contention that "Jesus is not the problem", and it is certainly not right to go further and say that the church is not living out Christ's teachings simplp because some people do not readily see it.

I can have fun with that statistic, too. I can consider that, first off, the poll was taken in Seattle, a place that is about as left as the left coast gets. I can further consider that if the people polled are to the left socially and politically, then why not theologically also?

Considering that, what would they think Jesus taught? Let me give some more of Ward's quote, "The cultural view 'gets' that Jesus was for the marginalized and the oppressed". I could take that part of the quote, and come to the conclusion that when 95% of the people polled say they view Jesus favorably, they are thinking of a Jesus who in essence agrees with their own agendas.

So, considering that, why would they not see the church as doing Christ work? Would these people be the sorts who would see churches and Christians trying to save the lives of the unborn by standing against abortion, and think that these are backwards people who hate women and women's right? Would they see Christians sharing their faith trying to convert people as example of religious intolerance? Would they think of preachers who stands for biblical morality as spewers of hate and bigotry? Would they see Christians in uniform and those who support the military as warmongers who go against some kind of biblical teaching of pacifism?

See, funfunfunfunfun!! Of course my conclusions are speculations, but no more then Ward's, which is the point.

I can remember when I was young listening to a preacher say that if we wanted to know how a Christian should live, we should ask a lost person. The really funny thing is that this was in a very conservative, fundamentalist, independent, KJV-only church. It actually does make some sense, but only up to a point. Especially now, it seems that if nonchristian people were asked such a question, the asking Christian would be surely torn between the nonchristian's statements and what is stated in the Bible.

Another memory is from my time in missions, and listening to a speaker tell of how missionaries in India discovered that teaching the Gospel to the people there would be difficult, because when they learned about Jesus, they would simply add Him to their already numerous pantheon of gods, instead of naming Him as the one true God. I suppose it could be said that those people had no problems with Jesus either, at least until they fully understood His claim to exclusive faith and worship to Himself only.

Let me attempt to give a balance--there are people who have had bad experiences with churches, so I'm not completely discounting that some of those people polled may really love Christ even as their experiences color their views against the church.

But when a stat like Ward's comes up, I start to smell a rat. I think that only a few days before HIs death, He entered Jerusalem to a celebration, and if that city could have been polled, His approval rating would probably have been about the same as Ward's stat. I remember His words to His disciples, to beware when all men speak well of you, that as they hate Me they will also hate you, that you will be hated by all peoples for My name's sake.

And I think that if 95 percent of the people polled think so highly of Jesus, then perhaps they have been taught a wrong view of Jesus, or they simply don't understand Him truly. I can't help but think that if they understood the real Jesus, that rating would be much less.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Ocean's Thirteen--a small review

I don't often watch comedic movies. So many of them have no appeal to me. The humor seems to be too often based on stupidity and crassness.

It's not that stupidity isn't a worthy fodder for comedy (crassness is something else). I enjoy the "Jeeves and Wooster" TV comedy series, and one can't get much more vacant-headed then the characters of Bertram Wooster and his friends in the show. But it's stupidity done smartly (if that makes any sense), as opposed to stupidity done stupidly.

One of the last movies I had watched in a cinema which had me laughing for much of the viewing was "Ocean's Twelve". It was a smart comedy done smartly. The dialogue (banter) had a good mix of wit and randomness, the situation was of course impossible but still not insanely so, there were some interesting twists which added a lot of humor, and the little Chinese guy got lost in another group's luggage.

"...Thirteen" was maybe not a strong as "...Twelve", but still quite enjoyable. Adding Pacino to the cast, even as the main baddie, was good. It had much the same kind of dialogue as the previous, and some clever twists.

I don't think it was quite a funny as "..Twelve", but again it wasn't bad. Not near as much of a letdown as "Shrek 3" was.

Monday, June 11, 2007

07 Kentucky Open--a near miss

For me, the Kentucky Open chess tournament did not begin on the most positive of notes--having to stand in a long line to register, having to pay a bit more then I thought because I also needed a Kentucky Chess Association membership, and to usual late start to the first round. Nothing major, mind you, but a bit of a bother.

Oh, well, once the rounds began, things got more interesting. We had three rounds on Saturday, and two on Sunday.

The first game was a good one for me. My opponent played pretty well, but allowed a pawn fork early on. I returned the material to mess up his pawn structure and leave him on the defensive, and after that it was mostly a case of grinding him down for the win.

Game 2 started out interesting, as the opponent played a gambit, but I think didn't play it as well as he could have. He let me nullify his initiative while keeping the sacrificed pawn, and that pawn he sacrifced was eventually what lost it for him, as I was able to promote my extra pawn in the endgame.

The third was tight for a while. I was able to put some pressure on some open lines, but I couldn't find a breakthrough until the very end.

The fourth round was on Sunday morning, and that was my downfall. My opponent played in much the same style I had been playing, only she did it better. It was a hard-fought game, and we both may have had chances, but in the end she made the better moves and won.

The last game was, then, a bit of an anti-climax. There was still the chance that I could tie for second place in the tournament, but the two who were tied for first (one of them being the young lady who beat me round 4) drew and put themselves both out of reach of the rest of us. So, it was mostly a case of pride and rating points, which is quite enough. It was another tense game, with both of our kings under attack. I found some tactical shots towards the end which allowed me to queen a pawn and that was that.

So, it was a good tournament, only mildly disappointing. I like the level at which I was playing, perhaps the best I had every played, while still seeing ways I could improve. In the game I lost, I made some incorrect decisions in the middle of the game, which put me in some difficulties, which were well-exploited by my opponent.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Where are the real Christian?

"I am alone, surrounded by unbelieving activists and inactive believers. Where are the real Christians?" (letter excerpt in the book "The Irresistible Revolution")

A part of me wishes I knew the background story behind that comment because, to be brutally honest, I don't believe it. Oh, perhaps this is the writer's perception, but I don't think that his statement is accurate.

I would suspect, rather, that by 'inactive believers' he means believers who are not active in things he thinks are important. Although I cannot prove it, I suspect that one could look at his community, and find quiet people doing many small and quiet things--going to church, teaching Sunday School, helping each other as best they know how, raising their kids, looking after the older people, praying for each other, giving to charities and missions, and such things.

Nothing loud and fancy. No riots or protests or anything people today like to call 'extreme'.

What they are not, I further suspect from his words and how the author uses them, are 'radicals'. They aren't mindless enthusiasts who start protests over perceived 'injustices' when such injustices have not been proven. They don't think saying "God bless America" is an unchristian statement of hatred against other nations, nor that such a declaration necessarily means that they do not want God to bless other places. They think being a soldier is a high and honorable thing. They think working hard and enjoying that rewards of the work are good things, even as they also give to their churches and other charities. They know that there are poor people who could use a hand up, and others who for reasons of health and age are unable to help themselves, but they also know that there are people who would abuse any charity given to them, and whose poverty is their own faults for laziness or wasting of their resources. They are peaceful people who think their are times when the only solution is conflict.

To be plain, they are not 'activists'. What they are, again to be plain, is active.

And so, in this youngster's mind, they are 'inactive believers'.

I suppose I should stress again that I can't prove any of that, that it's all speculation. But if I were a betting man, I'd probably put a dollar on my speculations being reality. Maybe even five.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

something humorous

I guess as a form of penance (not really) for the last entry, here's something more on the humorous side which I read a while ago.

Uncomfortable Questions: Was the Death Star Attack an Inside Job

Sojourner's candidate's debate

There are I suppose several reasons for not discussing things like religion and politics. Not the lease of those reasons would be that it's very likely to tick someone off. Another reason is that I may be setting myself up as an expert on things about which my understanding is seriously lacking.

But as well, to not talk about such things would not be good, either. I am a religious person, I am a Christian of a sort that would be considered conservative--I believe the Bible is the inspired and innerrant Word of God, in God as Trinity or Godhead--Father, Son, and Holy Spirit being one God, faith and belief in Christ as necessary for salvation. I am also a citizen of my country, and as such politics must be a concern of mine.

The nature of a blog seems to me to be of a "public musings" sort, although I've also been around some that are more like debate forums. Consider these musings. There may be disagreement, and that is expected. My musings may even be wrong, and I may have misunderstood things. I am not an expert, only someone giving his own observations and opinions.

That being said, let us be off...

There is a certain 'progressive Christian' publication called Sojourners who has sponsored an event this past week, one part of which was a debate among certain presidential candidates. There were three candidates in the debate, and all three were Democrats--Edwards, Obama, and Clinton. For the record, I give those names in the order in which they appear in the transcript.

Here is a link to the transcript.


I want to give some excerpts from this transcript, and some thoughts on them.

O'BRIEN: But I will -- so I'll just ask it again, maybe more pointedly. Do you think homosexuals have the right to be married?

EDWARDS: No. Not personally. Now you're asking about me personally. But I think there's a difference between my belief system and what the responsibilities of the president of the United States are. It is the reason we have separation of church and state. And there are very good people, including some people that I'm very close to me, my daughter who is sitting in the front row here tonight, feels very differently about this issue. And I have huge respect for those who have a different view about this. So I think we have to be very careful about ensuring that the president of the United States is not using his belief system and imposing that belief system on the rest of the country. So what that...

This is an interesting statement, I think. I suppose the broader questions would be something like this--What is the connection between laws and morals? Can we rightly make morality into law?

Let us say, no, there may be times when morality cannot rightly be made into law. Some moral standards simply cannot be legislated--we may rightly tell people to not covet, for example, but how could such a thing be determined, let alone enforced? Covetousness is not a thing, not even really an act.

But there is morality that can be legislated, and I would say that any law is to some extent based on morality. We have laws against theft and murder because we have a moral standard that says that theft and murder are wrong. Even in controversial cases such as abortion and socialistic economic policies, the contention is not that murder or theft are right, but that those actions do not fall under the categories of murder or theft.

Let me ask another question--can we trust someone who believes one way, but votes another?
I don't think this a simple question, either, but not as much. I'm not going to deny the possibility one someone going against their beliefs in making a decision concerning rules, but more often then not I think we expect leaders to make decisions according to what they think is right or wrong.

So, let's say that what Edwards is voicing is a conflict of interest of some kind, let's say between his religious beliefs and his views of personal rights.

I'm really not certain what to make of that, at this moment. I respect the rights given to US citizens in our Constitution, but I'm not certain that there is a real conflict here. I think that Edwards creates the conflict because what he wants requires him to take a position his beliefs say is wrong.

O'BRIEN: Do you think this is a Christian nation?

EDWARDS: No, I think this is a nation -- I mean I'm a Christian; there are lots of Christians in United States of America. I mean, I have a deep and abiding love for my Lord, Jesus Christ, but that doesn't mean that those who come from the Jewish faith, those who come from the Muslim faith, those who come from -- those who don't believe in the existence of God at all, that they don't -- that they're not entitled to have their beliefs respected. They're absolutely entitled to have their beliefs respected. It is one of the basis for which our democracy was founded.

I do not think that saying this is a Christian nation necessarily means that people of other beliefs are not allowed to follow those beliefs. The US has never been a perfect nation, and some of its faults have been ugly, but the influence of Christianity on the US is no secret, either.

EDWARDS:I think it's a completely achievable agenda. There are lots of components to that agenda. Making work pay, having a living wage, making sure that workers can organize themselves into unions, having decent housing for families that don't have it, having true universal health care, helping kids be able to go to college, which is why I started a college for everyone program for kids in a very poor section of eastern North Carolina. And I believe this is an agenda that should be the agenda -- one of the agendas -- part of the agenda of the president of the United States, so there's not much doubt about where I am on this issue.

This was in reply to a question about poverty, and these seem to be Edward's ideas. Getting into each thing he mentioned is beyond me for the moment, although personally I don't think his ideas are workable; for example, the places where universal health care has been attempted have shown that it has hardly been the panacea people like Edwards thinks it will be. It is enough for now to show how socialistic his ideas are.

OBAMA: Well, I think our starting point has to be based on the notion that I just expressed, that I am my brother's keeper, I am my sister's keeper, that we are connected as a people, that when, as I said in my speech at the Boston convention, when there's a child somewhere here in Washington, D.C., who is impoverished in a crumbling school without prospects and hope for the future, then that impoverishes me. If there's a veteran in Chicago that's foraging through a dumpster because he's now homeless because we did not provide him the services that he needed after he served our country, that diminishes all of our patriotism.

I think I can best both agree and voice reservations about Obama's statement here with a quote from G.K. Chester, from 'What's Wrong With the World'.

This is the arresting and dominant fact about modern
social discussion; that the quarrel is not merely about
the difficulties, but about the aim. We agree about the evil;
it is about the good that we should tear each other's eyes cut.
We all admit that a lazy aristocracy is a bad thing.
We should not by any means all admit that an active aristocracy would
be a good thing. We all feel angry with an irreligious priesthood;
but some of us would go mad with disgust at a really religious one.
Everyone is indignant if our army is weak, including the people
who would be even more indignant if it were strong.
The social case is exactly the opposite of the medical case.
We do not disagree, like doctors, about the precise nature
of the illness, while agreeing about the nature of health.
On the contrary, we all agree that England is unhealthy, but half
of us would not look at her in what the other half would call blooming
health . Public abuses are so prominent and pestilent that they
sweep all generous people into a sort of fictitious unanimity.
We forget that, while we agree about the abuses of things,
we should differ very much about the uses of them.
Mr. Cadbury and I would agree about the bad public house.
It would be precisely in front of the good public-house that our
painful personal fracas would occur.

OBAMA: Well, we've got a bill in right now that says at minimum, shareholders should take a look at these executive pay scales, and they should be able to vote on whether these are appropriate or not. That I think would provide some constraint. I also would like to see executives recognize that when they're getting as much in one day as their average worker is getting in an entire year, that there is a moral element to that. That that's problematic.


OBAMA: But look, America is a land of success, and that's terrific. We just want to make sure that people are sharing in the burdens and benefits of this global economy.

I think there is something dangerous in this thinking of his. As he says, America is a land of success, or where people are free to succeed.

When I was on missions in Russia, my monthly support would have been at poverty level here, but in Russia it was enough to live fairly well. I do not apologize for that, nor was I the only one whose support was at such a level. We also had some who struggled, and knew people from there who struggled, not to mention those who begged on the sidewalks.

We did not have any kind of "maximum support" mechanism in our base to distribute what would be deemed 'excess support' to those who didn't reach that level, nor was it required that we give to others. But we did help each other, in obvious and subtle ways, and help others too. I'm not going into ways, but they happened.

To put up a "salary cap" (to borrow a phrase from sports), especially on a national level, simply doesn't make sense to me. For one thing, time in Russia is a good cure for thinking socialism is good--even after ten years, the mess communism caused was still evident. And let's be honest, what Obama speaks of is at least a low-grade form of socialism.

Shall we say, America is a land of success, but only up to a point? That we do not want people to have too much success? At which point, who decides what is enough and too much success?

CLINTON: And that is what I have tried to both talk about and reach out about over the last many years, going back, really, at least 15 years, in talking about abortion being safe, legal, and rare. And, by rare, I mean rare. And it's been a challenge, because the pro-life and the pro- choice communities have not really been willing to find much common ground. And I think that is a great failing on all of our parts, because, for me...


CLINTON: ... there are many opportunities to assist young people to make responsible decisions.

I read her comments about 'common grounds', and wonder--what common ground? One side sees the unborn as less-then-human (read Peter Singer if you think I'm wrong) and thus can be disposed of, while the other sees the unborn as human and in need of protection. There is little room for common ground' in those positions--one side is right and the other wrong.

CLINTON:The same with energy -- you know, we can't keep talking about our dependence on foreign oil, and the need to deal with global warming, and the challenge that it poses to our climate and to God's creation, and just let business as usual go on.

O'BRIEN: Senator...

CLINTON: And that means something has...


CLINTON: ... to be taken away from some people.

Such a statement as her last should be questioned, and questioned seriously. What is to be taken away from 'some people'? Why? What does this mean? What does this have to do with any of us? Who are these "some people"?

There is much more in the transcript, so please read it.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Thoughts about--B5

The London, KY, library has a very nice collection of DVDs that can be checked out, and I have taken advantage of them lately. Some things that they had, and which I was curious about, were a few seasons of the sci-fi TV show 'Babylon 5'. So far, I've been able to watch through seasons 2 and 3 and a few episodes of 4, but since one big story line is ended shortly into season 4, I thought I would give my opinion at least up to that.

B5 can be compared and contrasted with Star Trek, especially DS9. In comparison, the shows are largely human-centric, and like DS9, B5 takes place mostly on a space station that is in some parts trading center and diplomatic center. Although Earth in theory seems to run B5, up until they break away from it, the theory seems to be that it's a place for all alien races, with the hopes of bringing peace.

Unlike Star Trek, the humans are not a homogenous whole, but rather more like, well, normal humans, so one big story line involves B5 breaking away from the human government and going solo. Another thing B5 treats with some seriousness is religion, whereas in Star Trek it was mostly a non-issue.

Most of season 2 was ok, but not great. It wasn't until the last few episodes of that season that things took a turn that seemed to indicate an increase in drama and intensity. Season 3 kept up that pace pretty well, and 4 promised more of it.

Which may explain my disappointment in how the one story line ended. For the past two seasons, there had been this one alien race, the Shadows, who was causing problems, while another, the Vorlans, was seeming to help the good guys prepare to combat them. Then the dramatic showdown ends with those two alien races leaving together for parts unknown, going outside the galaxy, and leaving the 'younger races' to fend for themselves now.

There was something unsatisfying about it. I suppose one thing was the idea that in the end the 'good guys' and the 'bad guys' weren't really all that much different. I was expecting more.

I suppose I'll keep on watching season 4, as it could be interesting. I'm not as much into it now, though.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Places of importance forums

For what it's worth, I've actually been online for a few years. I think it was in 'o2 that I first joined an online bulletin board forum. I really can't remember what it was called at that time, but it's now the forum (and I think that it is also the forum, too--same content, different name and look).

I think that the contents go back to only about one year, so sadly lots of things are now lost. There was also the merging with another such forum (I think that was where Crosswalk comes in) about two years ago, and things from before then have been lost. Tragic, as there was the quite intense debate with the Christian Science follower from some time ago, not to mention other things.

I don't post there as much now as I did. Sometimes I'll put up several, but mostly nowadays it's links to news bits, or posting on topics of interest. It's a busy site, much more so then other forums I've visited, and there is much for all kinds of people.

Oneida Baptist Institute

My current place of employment. I've been working here since last December.

There is much surprising about this school. It is not an exaggeration to say that it is located in the middle of nowhere, yet the student body consists of kids from many different states other then Kentucky, and no small amount are from other countries.

I work in the print shop, where I do a bit of things that are common to print shops, I guess--copying, preparing mailings, labelling, etc. I also get to do some graphic design work at times, and I update the school's web site when it's required.

It's a good place, I like it.

Corinth Baptist Church

I feel like I should apologize for that site, as for me it was painful to view. It's a good church, and I think they may be working on improving their website, but for the moment it's kind of not good.

Anyway, I've been there only a couple of times, but I'm really liking them. They seem solid and biblically sound, which for me is important.

Youth With A Mission in Perm, Russia

Maybe this is more a 'blast from the past', and not really current. I was with them for roughly four years, and still have friends with them. I still think fondly of my time with them.


Hello. As this is the first post to this blog, I guess I'm trying to figure out exactly how to go about this.

I've no idea how many blogs are 'out there', but the word 'millions' comes to mind, followed closely by the phrase 'and that's probably understating it'.

In a sense, I'm getting into this without really knowing where it's going. There may be some personal stuff, but I doubt much. To quote from a very popular movie, "I like my privacy!!".

Still, things of interest, some light stuff, some heavier and more serious. Thought, ideas, rants, etc.

Could be fun.