Saturday, July 22, 2006


Saturday Silly Links

From my understanding of the enginnering problems, this could bring the thing down.

In college, I actually performed tests to see what foods produced the worst smelling, and most flammable, well, you know. Turns out I could have published the results. All food combinations in my study concluded with "...and beer" - do you think that was involved in this story?

New Warnies - Definitely a silly Satuday Link.

You have to be from Indiana (like me) to get this joke. A peculiarity of the southern Indiana accent is to pronounce some words with an extra "r". For example - "Washington" is pronounced "Wershingtion."

courtesy RCP Blog

No, it's not funny, but it is a cartoon which is fair game for a Saturday and I think it says everythng I have to say about the current Middle East conflict.

Wait - I thought "animal rights protesters" were clowns?

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Say Hello To My Mid-Life Crisis

I bought this car yesterday - yes, it's a bright red inivtation to a ticket - particularly when you consider the specs, but a man has to do what a man has to do, particularly when his wife is gracious engough to not object.


Comic Art

It is the least coherent team of any super hero team, at it's core are personalities that are true loners - which is what has made it fun over the years - They are "The Defenders". On your right is issue #1 - their first appearance, and yes, I have a NM copy in my collection - cool, huh.

The guy on the right there, wit the bright red cape - that's Dr. Strange - Master of the Mystic Arts. He's the glue that holds the Defenders together. He has all sorts of magic abilities and fights foes no one else can possibly imagine. When he needs help he calls on a few friends - often never the same group two story arcs in a row - and they get busy. But the three you see here are the most consistent members of the "team" - The Hulk - who has mystic abilities no one can ever figure out which means Strange can control him better than most, of course never completely or he wouldn't be the Hulk, and - Namor, the Sub-Mariner - a water breathing half Atlantean, half-Human ankle-winged walking, swimming, flying ego. These guys cannot possibly get along, which is where the dramatic tension often comes from.
This is a bit more modern rendering of the core group. I hate the art, it's just juvenile, but check out that fourth memeber - The Silver Surfer. We've discussed him before, he is one of the best characters ever in the Marvel stable, and one of the most spectacular to look at, except in this picture where he loks like some sort of google-eyed, petulant child - give me a break, this guy rides a surfboard through the stars at the speed of light!
I throw in this picture just to show you how the line-up changes radically in this mag. Look in the upper left and check out this team - Doc Strange, and The Beast of X-Men fame, Reed Richards, the amazing elastic leader of the Fantastic Four and someone I doubt most people recognize - Daimon Hellstrom, bascially a demon trying to overcome his evil nature. Hellstrom shows up a lot in the Defenders.

There are a lot of other marginal, not recognizable to the general public characters that show up in this title - Valkerie - sort of like Thor but a woman with a winged horse - Nighthawk - way cool looking, but he never really caught on - Hellcat, the orginal woman you never wanted to date, the list goes on, check it all out here

I try to use this space to introduce people to the breadth of comic characters and what they have to offer so talking about the Defenders will give me a chance to do just that - I hope you enjoy this series over the next few weeks.

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Friday, July 21, 2006


Friday is Meme Day... least if there is an interesting one laying about (like this one at Thinklings) and I am too lazy to do anything else.

1. A movie that made you cry

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - every single time I watch it.

2. A movie that scared you

The House On Haunted Hill

3. A movie that made you laugh

Caddyshack- every single time I watch it.

4. A movie that disgusted you

Andy Warhol's Frankenstein - it defines pornography for me.

5. A movie you loved in elementary school

Mary Poppins

6. A movie you loved in middle school

Brother Sun, Sister Moon

7. A movie you loved in high school

Blazing Saddles

8. A movie you loved in college

Saturday Night Fever

9. A movie that challenged your identity or your faith

Several of the films done by the Graham organization in the '70's

10. A series that you love

The original 3 Star Wars from the '70's and early '80's

11. Your favorite horror

The Howling

12. Your favorite science-fiction

Forbidden Planet - "Id, id, id, id, id."

13. Your favorite fantasy


14. Your favorite mystery

Hate 'em

15. Your favorite biography

Brother Sun, Sister Moon

16. Your favorite coming-of-age

Risky Business, Better Off Dead

17. Your favorite not on this list

2001, The Right Stuff

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Hot July Links

The points here are endless, most importantly, sorting good influences from bad, questions os ecology and evolution mixed. Turns out the nature v nurture question is more than behavioral.

Man's awesome technology - struck down by jellyfish!? There is a sci-fi movie in this story.


Unquestionably the best illustration in the history of blogging.

I do love my BBQ ribs, but I doubt I can afford these.

Now that's talent. Pointless, useless talent, but unquestionably talent.

I told you they were going to try and regulate breathing. This is just ugly. Consider, fat people respire more, thus emit more CO2 - thus their "allotment" for other purposes will be lower forcing them into relative poverty. That's just one possible ramification.

Proof of the Genesis account?

Can some form of cloning - slavery and "Planet of the Apes" scenario - be far behind?

Can I go? Please, oh please, oh please!

Back in the '80's in one incident alone I forced a client (actually employer at the time) to scrap roughly 10 million dollars in material inventory becasue of possible dioxin contamination. Now look! Are you beginning to see why I am a bit skeptical on environmental "warnings"?

Now I need to go back to Hong Kong.

Not funny, nor surprising. It's become de riguer that the essence of "non-discrimination" is actuall reverse discrimination.

Where I would put my Batcave.

If you have diabetes, this story is way too sweet for you.

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Friday Humor

One of those great moments in supressed laughter memorialized in song. - Give it a listen.

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Thursday, July 20, 2006


Have I Struck A Bit Of A Nerve?

Based on comments and links, this post from early last week and this one from yesterday seem to have hit on a little something. What the posts have in common is, if I can sum it up succinctly, that when it comes to things Christian we have too many Chiefs, too many ill-qualified or ill-prepared Chiefs, no one willing to be Indians anymore, and that blogging may be the ultimate expression of that phenomena.

There have been some great posts about the value of linkers. I know that I have sometimes thought, "Linkers are Indians - I want to be a Chief," but think about - it is that really true? As Joe Carter says:
Talented linkers, however, do more than merely guide readers to new material. They provide the value-added services of sifting through dozens or even hundred of blog posts, news updates, and magazine articles and sharing the handful that are worthy of attention. Like the tower operator's in Chappe's France, linkers provide the link between information and the reader.
That's a form of leadership, deciding what people should read, and having people follow that advice is very much leadership.

The difference is that it is servant leadership. There has been a lot written about that concept over the years, so I am going to lay out what I think it is - it is the kind of leadership exercised by Christ who lead by dying.

Have you ever thought about the fact that Christ does not resemble in any way the kinds of people we think of when we think of leaders these days? He was accessible - oh sure the disciples tried to set themselves up as His gatekeepers, but every time I read about it, He was shoving them out of the way get to the people. Christ did not establish a church, or an institution of any sort. He did not write - He did not seek out the "media" of the day. In fact, if you call Christ a leader, you have to ask what it was He lead.

I would argue, based on these observations that in one sense, being an Indian is a form of leadership. But most importantly, this says it is not about us - it's about the other.

Effective institutional leaders usually view the institution as an extension of themselves - a way to get something done that they want done. But the approach described here would have the institution serve the other and the leader work to make that happen, regardless of the leader's desire.

Linking is certainly one form of blogging servant leadership, but the question is what are others? How do we blog in ways to serve? If we are to follow the example of Christ the purpose of our blogs should most assuredly be NOT attracting attention to ourselves, yet that seems to define the medium.

Godblogging needs, in my opinion, a new paradigm. What is it and how to we get there?

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Illuminated Scripture

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Big Phat Links

Wait, I diseccted one of these in jr. high - they have NO BRAINS - doesn't it take brains to do this?

Agony, AGONY! I believe such things would be forbidden under the "cruel and unusual" clause of the US Constitution.

Things that make you go WOW!

Where Catholics and Evangelicals meet.

Why I will be standing in line at the Post Office today - all gifts proffered will be accepted.

This story is worthy of Pravda, but funnier, much funnier.

MSM attempts to divert attention from serious blogging.

This is a prophetic voice. Warning, I am serious here - and this is very challenging, read this only if you are very serious about your faith. BTW, this is applicable to far more than the specific situations he addresses.


Extremely important reading if you are serious about global warming - this involves real science and is not easy reading, put on your thinking cap.

Cute headline or arbitrary shot at Biblical belief? Somehow my money is on the later.

Confused animals take center stage! Somehow I think this guy is having a problem with the accents - I have some Irish friends that lived in Melbourne for a while, when their Aussie friends come for a visit, I spend the whole evening going, "What?" -- And this poor guy will be forever picking the lint from his teeth. How does a snake pick his teeth anyway?

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Wednesday, July 19, 2006


Are We Accomplishing Anything?

I have, of recent days, become very pessimistic about the state of Godblogging. I really wonder if we are accomplishing anything worthwhile. I am going to risk insulting a lot of people here, I don't mean to, but when egos are as involved as they are here, I think it inevitable.

With a few notable exceptions - like the affect blogs may have had at the recent SBC conventions - all I see happening is us shooting our mouths off. I don't think blogs played any role in the recent PC(USA) General Assembly which is what I know best, and I think they should have.

I just get the impression that they have become places where we vent. We vent because we can't teach what we want in church. I know if I taught the kind of class I'd really like to teach people would stay away in droves. We vent because we are frustrated professionals, with apologies to the genuine Christian professionals among us. We vent because we don't like what is happening in our churches, and we feel powerless to do anything about it. We vent because we just know we are smarter than everyone else, but nobody believes we are. We vent because that blogger over there said something incredibly stupid.

But in the end, we have affected no change, save maybe the small salve on our souls because we have vented. But that is just the point - venting is about us and I think, as Christians, we are supposed to be about others.

I worry because if there is any single characteristic that marks what I see as the continuing degradation of the church it is "faith as an entirely individualistic undertaking" and I wonder very seriously if Godblogging has not become the ultimate expression of our individuality.

Am I just in a foul mood, or am I onto something here? How do we learn to become a faith community, particular when our writing makes our differences so apparent? How do we give that community purpose, goals, aims, and direction?

How do we become genuinely effective? At anything we, as Christians, are supposed to be doing.

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Linked in Lavish Luxury

So?...Are they suppposed to do penance some 1500 years later? Of course not, but someone will no doubt sue for reparations.

Because some things must be seen to be believed. Thank God it's not Doom - Oh wait, they made that movie, this is better.

The Corner says this will be the most discussed op-ed of the year. Powerline refutes Will as does Hugh Hewitt. Reading Hugh's piece reminds me that conservatives, absent religion and its necessary understanding of evil will turn wrong. Tat and the need to sell papapers explains Will to me.

Good Point - made in 1955. You would think it was written last week.

I think I'd work on sealing those cracks, leaks, and maybe keep the windows closed.

Have to agree, chaps looks lousy over kilts.

You know, money is fungible - how do they tell?

Food In The News. If Bugs Bunny got together with the Three Stooges...This looks like one of those postcards...

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Tuesday, July 18, 2006



I have linked over my vacation to Mark Roberts' series on the value of denomination, which has arisen int eh wake of recent PC(USA) decisions that will undoubtedly result in some schismatic action, but I held this one back so I could comment a bit further.

Denominations Provide Accountability for Churches and Church Leaders

This lies at the very heart of why I remain Presbyterian. Most of the other points Mark raises can be handled in some fashion, maybe not as well, but reasonably, by an independent or conventional system, but the only viable systems for accountability that I have found are the Presbyterian and Catholic models.

Clearly Acts establishes something we can loosely call "apostolic authority." Independent churches claim this authority for thier leaders on an individual level. The result is almost invariably one of two things. Either the leader abuses the power, ending up in David Koresh kinds of situations, although usually on a more limited scale. The other is that when the leader ceases to lead through retirement, death, or some other means, the church ceases to function. Oh sure, sometimes it takes more than a generation, but it happens. The point is that the members of the church end up focused on the leader, not the Lord.

Many would argue that the same happens with the Catholic model - and indeed it has historically - it is even complicated by the immense worldly authority the Roman and Orthodox churches have wielded, but in the end I think the Catholic model functions better than the independent. The sheer size of the Catholic churches forces politics and balance into play in ways not possible on a simple congregational level. The fact that governments no longer consider themselves accountable to the Church has also changed things considerably. While far from perfect, and full of historical abuses, if forced to choose between the independent model and the Catholic model of exercising apostolic authority, I'll take the Catholic one.

I firmly prefer the Presbyterian model for reasons Mark describes pretty well, but if I had to put in in a nutshell, the reason I prefer the Presbyterian model is that apostolic authority resides in collective wisdom and not in any individual, and the collective is quite a broad one. As sinners we are all prone to mistakes, but it is pretty hard for a large group of us, when fully committed to Christ and His ministry, to join together in a sinful stance. Needless to say, it happens, but it is much harder than for an individual, or a small group.

I really like being a Presbyterian and I really like Mark's take on this specific issue.

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LInks I'm Reading Today

This makes as much sense as a lot of what is being said about global warming.

First, get A LOT of money.

Brad's right - politics is no barometer of the health of our faith, although I think he could have titled the post a bit better.

I'd be far more than "upset". That stuff is dangerous!

Would like to see(hear) this fleshed out. David, are/will there be tapes available?

No Pillaging? - No Fun.

Call him Krypto.

Is there any other way?

Why I lost weight.

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The Terrorbuster Saga


Read this story from the beginning at The Terrorbuster Saga Blog

No one in the executive Office Building thought twice about it when Carter retuned for work. No one there really knew who he was anyway. But when he took the long walk through the tunnels into the White House and strode towards the President's office the stares and dropped jaws formed an invisible force which he had to work to overcome. He engaged none of their looks. As he approached the President's office a Secret Service agent stepped in front of him.

"I'm sorry, sir ? appointment only," was all the agent said trying to hide the bewilderment he clearly felt.

"You know doggone well that I am on the unlimited access list, Brown," was Carter's reply emphasizing that he knew who he was talking to and that he therefore had every right to be there.

"Sir, the person whose ID you are wearing has been reported dead. That makes you a likely imposter."

Carter was tempted to take a swing at Agent Brown, but thought better of it, knowing it would only bring every other agent in the building in his direction. Instead, with his hands plainly in sight, Carter leaned into the agent's ear and whispered, "My feed to the security brief is down, I must go in."

Brown could no longer hide his emotions and he started to stutter, "Bu?bu?but how?" The President's personal detail knew of Carter's activities. They had to, but they were the only ones who knew. No imposter would know about it.

"Need to know," was Carter's only response as the agent opened the door to the President's office and granted Carter access.

As Carter entered the room, the President looked up from the papers he was reviewing and as if it were the most natural thing in the world. "David, it's good to see you alive and well."

Carter could not help but wonder how much of what he was about to tell the President, the guy already knew, but he plowed ahead. He told the President the whole story, in a precise, concise and military fashion. That is until he came to Amy's death.

As he told the President about how heroically Amy had died, his narrative slowed noticeably. His voice quavered, but he managed not to break down completely. Once he was through that portion if the story, he returned to his proficient reporting norm.

When he got to the part about how he murdered the terrorist criminal he was at his most succinct. He reported the facts in extremely precise detail, almost as if he were reading a criminal indictment.

When he finished his story he added but one personal comment, "Mr. President, I have committed criminal acts. I deliberately and with forethought used torture to extract information. I then murdered the man I tortured. My sorrow over Amy is no excuse. Revenge does not justify murder. I request you call the FBI, have them send some agents over here to arrest me. I should be executed in accordance with federal law and provisions of military justice."

At this, the President stood up and walked over to Carter, put his arm around him and escorted him to the couch and they sat down together.

"First of all," began the President, "job well done. You prevented a major terrorist incident, one that would have had consequences far more catastrophic than any in history. You're a hero, regardless of how you accomplished it. By the way, I've been expecting you ? no one else could have pulled off that stunt in the Kiev airport."

"Secondly, I miss her too. Our relationship may not have been public, but that did not mean I did not love her dearly, as I can see you did, too." With that, a tear formed in Carter's left eye and gently began to roll down his cheek. His lip started to quiver, but he rapidly brought that under control. The two men sat there quietly for what seemed like an eternity, sharing their despair in that undemonstrative manner that men of action have.

"Finally," continued the President, "as to having you arrested?It's pretty hard to put a dead man on trial, let alone execute him. I think I have a better idea."

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Monday, July 17, 2006


Road Links 9.0

Of French School Children and Land Whale Pods - Some Final Travel Reflections

Some years ago when we visited Stratford-upon-Avon we were warned not to get caught up in groups of French school children. We were told they would sweep you up like some great tidal wave and never release you. My wife inadvertantly got so caught up and it was worse than the warning. The children were oblivous to her presence and unattentive to her requests to be excused. Eventually I threw her a rope and pulled her from the group like taking a fish out of a school.

Long ago in our travels my wife and I took to referring to Recreational Vehicles as "Land Whales" because of their immense size, slow movement, and tendency to simply take over the road. We soon noticed that they often travelled together in "pods".

This year we noted that when trying to pass a pod of land whales one could get captured like she had been captured in the scool of French children. Even later in this trip as we have traveled trough some of the most isolated roads in the United States, places too sparse in population and travel for a land whale pod ever to form, we still encountered lone land whales and still had to carefully negotiate our way around them, for even though not in pods they tended to form groups of all sorts of travel life and one was forced to become part of the pack or expend enormous energy to pass it.

I realize these fanciful bits of metaphor seem silly, but they make a point. My wife and I, living as you do in a huge metropolitan area, seek solitude on vacation - we seek to escape the push-and-pull of having to negotiate with the other at every turn. We seek the impossible. Even on highways rarely travelled one finds a group one must negotiate a way around.

As bloggers, we seem to pride ourselves on how we are not part of the crowd. And yet we are - we have formed our own crowd, that's all. More, it's a "safe" crowd. Like the land whale pod, I can encounter it and deal with it without ever actually meeting its members or forming anything so dangerous as a relationship.

Sounds a bit Pharisetical doesn't it? They after all encoutered and negotiated with the law without forming a relationship of any sort with the God behind the Law.

Well, anyway, here's what I am reading:

Even now, some environmentalist is planning to decry this move. Of course, they have no viable alternative because they simply don't like anything. See, here's the proof. Who would even ask such a question?

And speaking of aircraft - check this out!

What family characteristics do you show?

Who's the hater here? Critical speech is one thing, but denial of entry isn't?

Anything to build attendance, I guess.

Yes they do!

I hope so!


The line between a call and a vacation can be a fine one.

This has gone so wrong. The issues should be examined, but not int he individual's name.

Why even some?

It's not a small distinction, it's a huge one. And an important one.

What about chastity belts?

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Sunday, July 16, 2006


Road Links 8.0

I've heard of a penthouse in the sky, but this is ridiculous...
And this place -- Well, pilgrim, burn me a steak and let me tell you about it

Mesa Verde National Park - the cliff dwellings, that's the top picture there is quite isolated and quite uncrowded as national parks go - Those facts, when coupled with the incredible nature of the dwellings puts it on my highest recommended list.

Monument Valley is a trip to literally almost nowhere, stuck in the middle of a Navajo Reservation, with more services than I expected, but less than the average traveller is willing to cope with, it was worth the desert drive. It is less than one expects based on how it appears in the movies, but spectacular on that level that only the American southwest can deliver. I would recommend it to anybody that understands it's hard to get to, grossly underdeveloped, and hotter than hot.

I must also comment that one is hard pressed not to want to get completely ticked at the Navajo. There near xenophobic insistence on maintaining ther racial and national purity is why it is so isolated and so underdeveloped. They could be living very well if they allowed a little white man capital and did some deals - they could do so without the benefit of gambling.

Anyway, here is some reading for the day...

What a waste of perfectly good bar-b-que fuel...

"Iffy" is kind...

And here I thought poo-poo was for disposal...

I am on a wireless network with a satelitte Internet connection (Yes, that is how isolated Monumnet Valley is) and I cannot stand to work this slow any more. Today we return to the relative civilization of St. George, Utah where the Internet should be great. We do so via Marble Canyon - one of the wife and I's favorite spots on the entire planet.


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