Saturday, October 29, 2005

Internet: Art-based personality test

(Click the post title link to take the one-click test youself. Here are my results:)

You are quite willing to accept certain risks and to make a strong commitment in exchange for interesting and varied work.

Routine, in contrast, tends to have a paralyzing effect on you.

What you like most is to be able to play an active role in events. In doing so, your initiative is highly pronounced.

Technology: First outdoor wireless test

Guess what? I'm sitting in a park bench across the street from my place with wireless Internet access. Ah, techie heaven! Molley is inside after walking up to the mailbox (where due to a lack of Saturday pickup, my Netflix DVD will wait 2.5 days before it wings its way back for a replacement). Oh well, I guess we can't have everything immediately.

Words: bunkum [MW]

Main Entry: bun·kum
Variant(s): or bun·combe /'b&[ng]-k&m/
Function: noun
Etymology: Buncombe county, N.C.; from a remark made by its congressman, who defended an irrelevant speech by claiming that he was speaking to Buncombe
: insincere or foolish talk : NONSENSE

News: Nobel winner who discovered 'buckyballs' is dead

AOL News - Nobel Winner Who Discovered 'Buckyballs' Is Dead: "Rice University professor Richard Smalley, who shared a 1996 Nobel Prize in chemistry for the discovery of 'buckyballs,' has died of cancer at the age of 62, the university said on Friday.

Buckyballs, short for buckminsterfullerenes, were a form of carbon that had 60 atoms arranged in a hollow sphere and whose discovery in 1985 opened the way for the development of the field of nanotechnology."

Trivia: I am file extension PPT (PowerPoint)

Which File Extension are You?

Friday, October 28, 2005

Media: Nickelodeon's edginess

Nickelodeon has been airing a segment in the style of a "public service spot" that goes on about (and depicts) farting, how it's normal and so everyone should really get into it (that's virtually a quote).

Now they have a nutrition "spot" with dancing products singing (badly, unless in ensemble, which has to be dubbed) "We're great foods, we go great together." The final chorus is a resounding "Eat me!"

Words: vulnerary [MW]

(I was looking up wintergreen when I encountered this word for the first time.)

Main Entry: vul·ner·ary
Pronunciation: 'v&l-n&-"rer-E
Function: adjective
Etymology: Latin vulnerarius, from vulner-, vulnus
: used for or useful in healing wounds

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Technology: Correcting foreigners' English

I'm on live chat with Symantec technical support right now, with Syoosh before a handoff to Anubhav. Naturally, an impish new campaign with a side of social justice just came to me: Every time I call technical support and get someone in India who is making hamburger of the English language, I'm going to play school teacher and correct their English. After all, it's what a technical writer (which I am) is paid to do, right? Don't we all hate those hamhandedly worded product manuals written by people in farflung parts of Asia? Aren't we sick of our jobs being flung in that direction too? Don't these people want to speak English and thereby do their jobs better?

Just so they don't ask in that smarmy tone that AT&T perfected, "How may I provide you with excellent service?" That would be the ultimate of ironies.

I blame the money-grubbing corporations behind these harebrained schemes that spin away our jobs and then waste our time. I've wasted 45 minutes online so far with this clown, and he hasn't said one useful thing yet. The sad part is, it's the only way possible to get tech support from the Symantec/Norton behemoth. After IBM, I have found them over the past 15 years to be the most monolithic and unreachable tech firm.

Time to start abandoning some of the industry leaders in favor of worthy startup firms, I suspect.

Email: Phones are our friends [D]

I couldn't do without them! (Well, I could, but things would take much longer...)

Email: White Sox over Astros [DD]

I think Chicago wanted it more; that much seemed evident.

Weblogs: Nerdiest thing ever

(Dilbert cartoonist Scott Adams now pens The Dilbert Blog)

"I watched the movie Alexander on my office wall. It is quite possibly the worst movie ever made. But if you project it large enough on a wall, the nerdish pleasure in doing so actually compensates for the complete lack of cinematic value. I knew I’d enjoy it because my aforementioned friends showed Van Helsing on their house last Halloween and I couldn’t have been happier. The plot of that movie is, if I may summarize: Monsters get killed. That kind of storytelling plus a couple of beers makes for a good time."

Weblogs: Longest startup sound

(via Cult of Mac, click the post title link to see a video of the longest Mac startup sound ever)

Weblogs: The complete guide to house concerts

(via Cool Tools; also see and

Weblogs: Seeing invis[i]ble disabilities

Culture Watch: Thoughts of a Constructive Curmudgeon: "A seminary student of mine looks healthy, yet he suffers from such chronic and extreme back pain that he lost his medical practice. He also lost a friend who could not accept the limitations that chronic illness put on their relationship.

What can Christians do to discern people’s invisible disabilities and display the love of Christ?

First, we can empathize with them, instead of lecturing or ignoring them. [... W]e need empathy to be agents of love and encouragement. Jesus wept; so should we (John 11:35).

Second, we should listen to and believe what the afflicted tell us. My wife looks so healthy and fit that someone in the locker room where we swim thought she was a woman who’d been swimming at top speed for an hour. But if you listen to Rebecca’s story — one of pain and frustration mixed with faith and determination — you’ll find things quite different from how they appear.

Third, we can look for ways to minister to those we know with such conditions. Sherri Connell’s web site, The Invisible Disabilities Advocate (, offers a wealth of materials. Sherri, who suffers from an invisible disability, has a big heart, an indomitable spirit, and much practical and spiritual advice.

Let us seek to have the eyes of Jesus, so we may look beyond appearances and gaze deeply into the lives of those who are suffering. Then we can offer them our love, understanding, and encouragement."

Weblogs: Against multi-tasking

(I deeply respect Douglas Groothuis, who I often find is the first person to cogently articulate the important things that need expression about our culture, as he does here in Culture Watch: Thoughts of a Constructive Curmudgeon.)

"Reality demands an attentiveness that multi-tasking does not allow. Human beings especially tend to be opaque and mysterious beings, whose inner recesses are not easily discerned. We can push a key and make the computer or cell phone do something. We cannot push a key and understand or help change a human being. That kind of being requires more attention, more patience, more suffering. This is because we are made in God’s image and likeness, yet we are fallen and disoriented by sin’s manifold manifestations. We are sinners in need or reorientation according to truth (that which describes reality). Some of the most important truths about ourselves and others and about God himself are not easily fathomed—or when fathomed, they are not easily remembered. The discerning of these truths requires attentiveness, patience, and studiousness. [...] Conversations concerned about truth and virtue require the engagement of two people who are attending, respecting, and responding to one another without mediation.

If all this is true and important, several things follow. We need to slow down and become less efficient and effective, at least as these terms are defined by popular culture. We need to unplug more often, endeavoring do just one thing at a time and to do one thing at a time well. Perhaps we should simply listen to music in order to discern its nature, structure, and aesthetic value. This requires a one-pointed immersion into its sonic reality. Just listen and think. Maybe we should simply listen to another person, laboring to exegete his or her soul and bring our soul to bear on another’s pain, yearnings, and boredom. [...] Maybe much should change—within and without. Much should change if we think truth is being lost, relationships are being cheapened, and virtues are being soiled by our incessant dividedness, fragmentation, and alienation known as “multi-tasking.”"

Weblogs: Ex-Catholic [or ex-Fundie]

Reflections of a Happy Old Man: "The smallest group may be called the chosen. 'Many are called, but few are chosen' (Matthew 22:14). The chosen are those who choose to accept the love of God and put behind them the fear of hell (if they ever had it). Without doubt they are the smallest segment of our (or of anybody's) population; they are the salt of the earth; they inherit the blessings, and they participate in and enjoy the final triumph (and material appearance) of the kingdom of God."

Weblogs: All hail Doonesbury, 35 years old

The Comics Reporter: "I also just enjoy the strip. I always have, despite a childhood so Republicanized I was 24 years old before I realized much of what Archie Bunker said was intended as satire. I've been collecting the older, white books recently, and it's a lot of fun re-reading the 1970s run. My favorite storyline, I think, is the one where Joanie Caucus -- maybe the greatest female comic strip character ever -- ran a congressional campaign and in the fallout ended up in the sack with Rick Redfern in a great silent sequence, the kind of thing no one could do today without coming across as self-congratultory and smarmy. There was something really sustained and smart and wholly character-based about that entire run that I still find endearing. I also have a soft spot for the old football huddle strips from the comic's early days."

Weblogs: Snark in explicate

jessica coen dotcom: "As 'the face of snark incarnate,' I have a sense of moral obligation to address the issue of how and why what sorts of snarky items work. Specifically, I'd love to offer some pointers to P6 and the gang, who really wasted some primo space by failing to explicate their item on me. As such, a quick lesson, for the good of humanity, in Snark:

• is my top bookmark, and I suggest you make it the same on your browser. Then you needn't use words like 'snarky' over and over again. Say I'm contemptous, irritable, cranky, cocky, insolent, sneering. Call me a dimwitted bitch, for all I care. Just don't use 'snark' twice in the same item.

• If you're going to mention that I'm unknown outside of the 'blogosphere' and also insult said circle, you might want to explain why you know who I am and are bothering to write about me. Be self-effacing and self-deprecating. For example, I'd edit as such: 'Unknown outside the dork-infested waters of the Blogosphere [(which we, in only our loneliest hours, are admittedly familiar with)], her name is Jessica Coen...' See? That works, acknowledges why I'm in your column and still manages to poke at my ego.

• Your main point of contention should be easy for everyone to spot. Pick something universal: I am human typo machine; I'm functionally illiterate; I do very little original reporting. These are things to attack, as our shared readers will recognize these issues. Personal pet peeves will just fly over the audience's head, so steer clear of that stuff unless you're willing to divulge every relevant detail. Otherwise, you're spitting nonsensical venom. And venom, when it's nonsensical, leaves us with a nasty case of blueballs."

Weblogs: Jesus Junk and Christian Kitsch - What is kitsch?

Codex Blogspot: "In the 1990s the sales of Christian products exceeded 3 billion annually -- and that's just in the United States! Advanced capitalism, with its outsourcing, niche marketing, and new marketing and advertising techniques has clearly demonstrated that anything -- absolutely anything -- can become a commodity. This results in the reduction of beliefs, symbols, and religious practices into 'free-floating signifiers' to be consumed like anything else. The result is the proliferation of what some would consider 'kitsch.'"

Weblogs: Does '@' stand for 'pig's tail' or 'strudel'?

CNET "Not so in non-English-speaking lands, where the [@] symbol may not have existed prior to the popularity of digital missives, and where some very creative solutions have been put forth to the problem of what, exactly, to call this odd-looking import.

Here are some of our favorites:

• In Dutch it's called, among other things, the apestaart, or 'monkey's tail.'

• The Danish call it the snabel, or 'elephant's trunk,' and sometimes the grisehale, or 'pig's tail.'

• The French have been known to refer to @ as the petit escargot, or 'little snail,' and

• in Hebrew, some call it the shtrudl, or 'strudel.'"

(For more, see Herodios.)

Weblogs: Farewell, Maxwell Smart

(I completely missed the passing of Don Adams on September 25. See his bio on IMBD.)

CNET "Don Adams, who as TV's Maxwell Smart lampooned spies, spy movies and an earlier generation of technology, has died at age 82.

Well before the era of the cell phone, Smart--also known as Agent 86 in the 'Get Smart' series--was renowned for the portable telephone built into his shoe. In keeping with the state of the art at the time, the gadget had a rotary dial. Secure communications were also much on the mind of the fictional spies, and another notable technology from the show was the 'cone of silence,' the plexiglas equivalent of two tin cans connected by a wire. The device has long been surpassed by more sophisticated technology, but the phrase has become part of everyday language.

Besides his work on television, Adams was a stand-up comic and served in the Marines Corps in World War II (where he survived a bullet wound and disease on Guadalcanal, according to the New York Times). He won three Emmys for his comic role in 'Get Smart,' which ran from 1965 to 1970, and in the 1980s provided the voice for the title character in the animated series 'Inspector Gadget.'

According to the obituary written by the Los Angeles Times, Adams died of a lung infection Sunday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He was born Donald Yarmy in New York."

Weblogs: The end of the world in Aztec and Anglican history

Clueless Christian: "The mighty city of Tenochtitlan (modern day Mexico City) boasted Montezuma['s] splendid palace, hospitals, a zoo, botanical gardens, canals, aqueducts and twin pyramids dedicated to the sun and the moon. However, like their Anglican counterparts, Aztec prophets were afraid and filled with desperate plans."

(The author offers an extended and fascinating history of the Spanish conquest of the Aztecs, even as the Virgin of Guadalupe revealed herself to Juan Diego, though he sees parallels between the fall of the Aztecs and an expected schism among the Anglicans.)

Press: Make it or break it - Relationships can thrive - Make it or break it: Relationships can thrive or dive based on people's tastes in music or movies: "Pauline Kael, the late New Yorker film critic, once said she could never have a relationship with anyone who thought Dances with Wolves was worth watching."

Websites: Interactive map of Narnia

Weblogs: Can’t beat ‘em? Join ‘em!

(via the christian agnostic - Can’t beat ‘em? Join ‘em!, the best Flash animation I have ever seen is also the most intelligent)

Weblogs: Whatever happens to you

(from The Didache via the christian agnostic - Whatever Happens to You)

"My child, flee from all evil and from everything resembling it. Do not get angry, for anger leads to murder. My child, do not grumble, for this leads to blasphemy; be gentle-minded, for those of a gentle mind shall possess the earth. Be patient and have a loving heart.

Do not be one who stretches out his hands to receive but closes them when it comes to giving. If you have earned something by the work of your hands, pass it on as a ransom for your sins. Do not turn away from those who are in need, but share all things in common with your brother.

Your heart shall not cling to the high and mighty, but turn to the good and humble folk. Accept as good whatever happens to you or affects you, knowing that nothing happens without God."

Weblogs: Behold the God of new things

the christian agnostic - Behold the God of New Things:

"So often I come upon conservative Christians who are fond of saying that they take the Bible seriously and that what God has said in the Bible God will never, ever contradict. In essence, nothing new will ever happen because it will contradict the God of the Bible (never mind those pesky contradictions like outlawing polygamy and slavery - approved by the Bible, and the equal rights gained by women - staunchly condemned by the Bible).

To them I quote the prophet Isaiah - speaking for God:

See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
Isaiah 43:19

God does new things - God said so himself. Our job is to perceive it - to see those new things - to weigh those things that come to us and make sure that those new things bear the fruit of the spirit:

“…love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
Galatians 5:22-23

We have evidence of God doing new things. Jesus was God doing a new thing - sending his son into the world to show the world that being in relationship with God is not a matter of law, but of grace - not a matter of right doctrine, but a matter of right living - not a matter of right believing, but right acting - not a matter of the letter of the law but the spirit. When asked what the greatest of the laws were, Jesus responded with two, love God with all your heart, mind and strength, and your neighbor as yourself. Odd for a religion that practiced eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth. But, there it is - a new thing - all the laws and the prophets hang on love of God and love of neighbor as self - removing that ego before God and man. Totally a new thing.

It got Jesus killed.

[...] We are destined to do greater, newer, better things than Jesus ever did. The things we are doing will not be recorded in the Bible, but they will still be God’s work in the world.

Those who think the Bible is the be all and end all of what God has taught us worship not a living God, but a dead, leather-bound one. God does not live in a book. The Bible has not swallowed God whole and spit it back at us in the form of rules and regulations. To believe that is to make the same mistake the Pharisees made - failing to perceive God doing a new thing.

Modern day Pharisees seek to kill anything they perceive as “new.”

The Good News that Jesus sought to reaffirm for all of us is this: God is still alive, still speaking, still doing new things.

Do you not perceive it?"

Weblogs: The Ing and I

Christianity and Middle-Earth: "When you have inflicted seven cats upon yourself (actually I only inflicted six; my husband’s responsible for the seventh one; he would insist on removing a wee starved scrap from the inner workings of a stranger’s car), life can take on a surreal aspect at times, like a Van Gogh painting on uppers. Many people think one cat is pretty much like another, at best a low-maintenance pet for the children and at worst a creature who leaves footprints on newly washed cars, smelly surprises in the flower-beds and bits of songbird all over.

But here at Entropy House and in other secret cat-worshipping enclaves all over the country, we know better. (This is possibly because we also know that we’re outnumbered.)

Which brings us to Ing.

Ing, as I have mentioned before, is a grey-and-white varmint. Natural selection through generations of barn cats has provided him with a long pointy nose ideally suited for scavenging supper from discarded food-cans in back alleys; the same process gives him an extremely elastic conscience to go with the snout: I Take What I Want and I Want What is Yours."

Poetry: Helm's Deep

Helm's Deep
(author's name not stated on Christianity and Middle-Earth weblog)

Shadow on horse-lands, smoke-kindled.
Withered the wood-smith’s walls to embers,
Red was roof-fall, rafters crumbled,
Bright-blazed homestead, hearth forsaken:
Long-years labor lying in ashes.
Hewn the fruit-bough, fair tree ax-dead,
Cattle-herds slain, corn-houses broken.
Star-mirror poisoned, sickened with death-taint.
Loud rose the grief-cry, life-hope waning,
As Rohan fled from farm to Deeping.
Dread was the duskfall: doom fed it,
The sword-bands ravened, ruin-greedy.
Fell was their war-chant, fearsome shield-song,
Loud with blade-beat, battle-gladness.
Mordor saw them, men and Uruk,
As strength he bided in shield-hall mighty.
Cunning had tempted, trapped a stone-seer,
Wound him in web-weaves, will-enshackled,
Orthanc enslaved to Orodruin.
The servant of Sauron slew men for him.
Night came swift as Northmen trembled.

Then out of dream-grave, deep, long-buried,
Theoden wakened and walked out of shadow.
Sister-son he summoned to serve him.
Came Eomer gladly, offered his sword,
Kneeling in honor, in homage to Theoden.
Rode they from Edoras, rain-shield golden,
Young lord eager, his elder age-wearied,
Scorning king-comfort, stern, bold-hearted,
Son of the Mark-lords, Snowmane’s master.
Left behind him Eomer’s womb-kin,
Sister-daughter, Dunharrow’s captain.
With him war-men, wielding sword-might,
And new-beard younglings: need called them.
Fealty they kept and faithful heart-oath,
Spear-thronged, they guarded, gathered with him;
Shining in armor and steadfast in king-love.
Warnings sped them; the white-clad wanderer,
Mearas steed-friend, spoke truth to Theoden.
Warriors he left him, wing-footed hunters,
Elf and Dwarf and Heir of Sea-kings,
Lordly victors, valiant in battle.

To Hornburg they came, Hammerhand’s fortress
Great were foe-wards guarding Deeping,
The vale behind and hidden hollows,
Winter-cold caverns cloven in splendor
By Time under mountain, many rooms making.
There the folk-clans, fear-mustered, waited,
While Rohan’s soldiers readied without,
Girt on sword-belt and sharpened war-blade,
Arrows told, to each archer counted,
Then bending the war-bow like baleful sky-ship
Curled to spin a star-shaft deadly
From highest heaven to the heart of the void-dweller.
Purposed they stood upon the stone-heights,
Fear honed to strong-heart, defying the shadows,
As under deep roof-veil the enemy gathered.
Bright was the fire that fled through storm-dark:
War-drum beating, on the blackness it crashed.
Fierce were the war-bands; from the wall men saw
As from the world’s edge white flew sky-glare,
A man’s-breath of daylight. Many there were
Thronged in the valley, throat-loud, clamoring...

Weblogs: Church Marketing Quotes

Church Marketing Sucks: Church Marketing Quotes: "Mac Richard of Lake Hills Church in Austin, Texas: 'The world calls it marketing. The Bible calls it evangelism.'"

(Those who are not techies or Macintosh aficionados may not know that Steve Jobs at Apple Computer launched the first marketing effort officially called "evangelism," and Guy Kawasaki as Apple's first Software Evangelist has written a number of books about what we might now call "purpose-driven marketing.")

Art: Tomizaki Nori

(via Cipango)

Weblogs: An intimate God

Cantánima: An intimate God: "Having learned a little Russian, I sometimes think in Russian; so, when I ask God (or my wife) to forgive me, I sometimes murmur in Russian, Прости меня (prosti menya) just as I sometimes say, miserere mei (Latin), or perdonami (Italian), or forgive me.

I had occasion to say this yet again recently, and it occurred to me that Прости is the familiar form of the Russian word, not the formal (which would be Простите, prostitye). From here my thoughts passed to how many American Christians refer to God as 'thou'. This happens regardless of denomination. It is probably due to how religion seems to retain obsolete manners of speech (Latin mass and Old Slavonic, for example). In any case, 'thou' has a sound of reverence, of respect, of admitting God's distance and lordship. To use 'you' sounds a little disrespectful to the ears of some.

This wasn't always the case. I have read that the reason older Bible translations use 'thou' instead of 'you' is the same reason that Italian translations use 'tu' instead of 'lei', Spanish translations use 'tu' instead of 'usted', and Russian translations use ты (ti) instead of вы (vwi): at the time, 'thou' was the familiar, intimate address, whereas 'you' was the formal, respectful address. With God, Christians should be familiar, not formal."

Weblogs: It’s a guy thing

Camassia - It’s a guy thing: "I can affirm from my own experience with churches that, indeed, evangelical churches tend to be gender-balanced while mainline churches tend to tilt towards women. And to be honest, not only do I think it’s a problem for the church, I personally don’t like it. I spent my undergrad years at an all-female college, and I don’t especially want to spend my church life in a manless environment."

(Camassia treats this topic at length, but my gut feeling is that churches which lack an appeal to [single] men neglect gospel elements that appeal to men of character -- teaching comfort more than challenge, for example.)

Weblogs: Putting the you in ecumenism

Catholicae Testudines: "I think I have come to better understand ecumenism, and why it is that our recent popes have been so warm to non-Catholics.

Essentially, mocking any religion makes you look like an idiot.

Even mocking a stupid religion makes you look like an idiot."

Weblogs: Reformation Day fun!

The Story of Nikki Tatom: Reformation Day Fun!: "So, instead of celebrating Halloween, I submit that we all celebrate Reformation Day!! Come on! It'll be fun!

Reformation Day fun can include the following activities:
- Playing Nail the 95 Theses on the Door (like Pin the Tail on the Donkey)
- Making up our own indulgences and then throwing them in a huge bonfire
- Showing the movie Martin Luther on a huge screen on the seminary lawn
- Holding a drama contest for a reenactment of Luther's 'Tower Experience'
- Wearing red
- Eating only Gummy Worms all day
- Playing 'RECANT!' (A fun game where half of the people yell out RECANT! And then try to look really mean. The other half of the people yell out in unison 'I neither can nor will recant anything, for it is neither safe nor right to act against one's conscience!'"

Weblogs: Jolly Green Giant, R[est] I[n] P[eas]

Boing Boing: "Elmer 'Len' Dresslar, Jr., the voice of the Jolly Green Giant, has died. He was 80 years old. Dresslar was a jazz singer in the group Singers Unlimited but became best known for vocalizing 'Ho, ho, Ho' on more than four decades of TV commercials." (Chicago Sun Times article)

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Weblogs: LibraryThing

C. Callosum: "I've been getting bugged to catalogue my books for years now and I'm finding that LibraryThing makes it really fast to add in a book. All you have to do most of the time is type in the title or most of the title of a book. The service then checks in the Library of Congress' z39.50 bibliograpic information gateway to retrieve the nearest relevant information, as well as looking up Amazon. It then returns the books that match, and you just point and click. If there's only one book that matches, it just adds it in straight away. Fast and easy. [...]

Cool features:

* Sort your books by author, title, date published or the tags you've used to describe them.

* An excellent search tool to see what's already in your library.

* See who else in LibraryThing has the same book in their catalogue.

* I love it that you can see the LoC classification. This sounds really dorky, but I miss the P selection of the library...all the linguistics and languages books!"

Sports: Now _that_ was disappointing

Nuff said.

Good night, you kings of Houston, you princes of the National League.

Email: Look—no wires! [MG]

I'm a sentimental ol' fool (esp. for a guy).

[I'm t]yping this on the wireless connection while sitting in the stairwell as Molley snoops around outside with a beautiful day in the air. I gotta get a lawn chair that holds a mint julep in the armrest, I tell ya.

Humor: Don't b'long

Q. What did the woman say to a wedding proposal and large diamond ring?
A. Bling it on!

Websites: Rosa Parks, 1913-2005

Sports: Well that was disappointing

The Houston Astros lost the first World Series game ever in Texas and the third Series game of the year, 7-5, in a recordbreaking 14 innings. Games have been close but lost in the clinch. Miracles can still happen, but it will take at least three of them. Get a bigger fire in your belly and Go, Astros!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Trivia: I am Alton Brown

Alton Brown
Which Food Network chef are you?

brought to you by Quizilla

Weblogs: Buckypaper and the end of print literature

(Science Daily via Scribal Terror via Unlocked Wordhoard)

"[O]ne of the potential uses for buckypaper [...] was to make buckybooks (sorry, I have no link -- I heard this long ago). The idea, as I remember it, was to have paper made entirely of buckyballs that were dark on one side and light on the other. The 'off' setting for the balls would be for the light side to be facing out. When current was run through the buckyballs, they would flip over so that the dark side was showing. By selectively turning some on and turning some off, you could create writing on the page (much as a marquee sign does by turning lights on and off)."

Weblogs: Breaking up that Our Gang of mine...

Thrilling Days of Yesteryear: "Another one of the “Little Rascals” has gone on to meet his heavenly reward—(Eugene) Gordon Lee, the chubby child actor best known as “Porky” in forty-three of the Our Gang comedies from 1935-39. He was 71.

[Lee's] movie career took off because of his resemblance to George “Spanky” McFarland, the child actor who was the star of the Our Gang series at the time he became a member of the troupe. [...] The obituary also notes that it was Lee who originated the catchphrase “O-tay” (often attributed to Billie “Buckwheat” Thomas, Lee uttered those words in the 1936 short Pay as You Exit) and that he was eased out of the shorts when a growth spurt changed him dramatically from his former butterball status."

Weblogs: Beauty and virginity

Almost 40-Year-Old Virgin: "Now I really do understand that I have a problem with fixating on girls who are too far above me on the social desirability scale. And then I'm afraid to ask them out anyway, and if I do get on a date with them my virginness emanates from me and they sense that I'm a loser with women, and this of course turns them off."

(I can tell from this post that the author is intelligent, because he plays all the angles that justify his existing viewpoint. However, people object to making beauty or the lack of it an issue, not because beauty isn't important but because it's personal and shouldn't play into the transactional dynamics of choosing and maintaining a relationship.

Dude, you're responsible for choosing someone you want to be with, period. It's not an emotional negotiation with your self-esteem to see who is "too pretty" for you to "win" or "so plain" that she's "desperate"! You're second-guessing yourself and handicapping your chances of winning anyone prettier than average. You are as worthy of any woman as you believe yourself to be! Personally, I don't think men should turn "the hunt" into a "grocery list" of traits anyway. Men need to learn to see each woman as a whole person -- and go from there.)

Prayers: You are great, O Lord, and greatly to be praised

(via reverend mommy's random thoughts)

You are great, O Lord and greatly to be praised.
Your power is Magnificant and Your wisdom infinite.
And that you would care for and glorify humankind,
Humans, who are just a particle of Your Creation,
Humans who bear about them the marks of their own mortality,
Humans who show and witness to their own sinfulness,
The witness that You resist the proud
Yet we humans would praise You,
Us small humans, a particle of Your creation.
You awakes us to delight in Your praise,
For You made us for Yourself
And our hearts are restless, until they rest in You.

Teach us, dear Lord, to number our days;
that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.
Oh, satisfy us early with Thy mercy,
that we may rejoice and be glad all of our days.
And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us;
and establish Thou the work of our hands.
And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us;
and establish Thou the work of our hands, dear Lord.

Let nothing disturb thee,
nothing affright thee;
all things are passing,
God never changeth!
Patient endurance attaineth to all things;
who God possesseth
in nothing is wanting;
alone God sufficeth.

Weblogs: Historical vertigo

Blogopotamus!: "I [...] was positively overcome by an experience I shall call “historical vertigo” for want of a better description. It’s hard to explain what it is, but the “vertigo” metaphor works very well. It’s the experience of realizing that your own time and place is so limited that it isolates you from every other time and place, and somehow there’s a necessity to be there (everywhere), so you get as high as you can above the historical abyss and feel an indescribable yearning to plunge headlong into the void, even if you know you’ll lose everything in the process. But you can’t; you find yourself, unhappily, in your regular time and space, limited by the same historical constraints.

I have also experienced or been told about other forms of vertigo. There’s a spatial vertigo which comes from looking at maps and wishing to spread oneself out across every inch simultaneously, whose typical result is wanderlust. I have that impulse, and used to indulge it with random roadtrips to unknown locations at inconvenient times, where I hoped I would experience God or die. A friend tells me that C.S. Lewis often had this experience (which Lewis dubbed “joy,” and which forms the subject of his book “Surprised by Joy”) with regard to compelling imaginary worlds. Lewis assumed that such experiences were common and represented a longing for the direct experience of God; a nostalgia for all the vistas of experience that are natural to human beings, but were lost in the fall."

Websites: The Outdoor Bible

(via Daddypundit)

Weblogs: The next Great Awakening?

Daddypundit: "The September/October issue of Rare Jewel Magazine features a number of stories on the Next Great Awakening. In other words, are we poised for another widespread revival in this country as we have seen in the past?

To get a better understanding of where we are as a country and where we are headed, it's helpful first to look at where we have been so far. Through the articles contained in this isue, they do a good job of laying the historical foundation of previous revivals and showing what factors were involved so that we can get a better sense of whether such a revival can occur again and what our role as individual believers might be in such a revival."

(I've often pondered when such a thing might happen again -- Lord knows we need it! Perhaps in the wake of the great Billy Graham, new persons will be anointed to speak out for America to find renewed faith in God. It seems likely that we will have to suffer more, however, until proud hearts are broken and hard soil will crumble to accept the waters of his grace. Please note that I am all for deeper faith through a personal relationship with God, which universally shows itself by humility, but I will always fight willful ignorance and religious pseudopiety manipulated for political gain, which have as their motives sloth, pride, and greed.)

Weblogs: Inside the RevGal Studio meme

RevGalBlogPals: "Inside the RevGal Studio" meme: "At the end of each [Inside the Actors' Studio] show, the host asks the guest a series of questions.

1. What is your favorite word? Cascade (English), Arroyuelo (Spanish).

2. What is your least favorite word? Cock (or any other vulgarity).

3. What turns you on, creatively, spiritually or emotionally? Imagination.

4. What turns you off? Willful ignorance.

5. What is your favorite curse word? Crap!

6. What sound or noise do you love? A baby's coo, a cat's purr.

7. What sound or noise do you hate? Loud motors, gangsta rap.

8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Owning a bed and breakfast.

9. What profession would you not like to do? Anything that involves lying or compromising my principles.

10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? "Well done, good and faithful servant."

Music: Music CDs meme


1. What was the last CD you purchased? Riding with the King - B.B. King & Eric Clapton
2. Did you like it? Haven't listened to it yet actually.
3. Is it the kind of music you would call your favorite? Blues comes after Celtic, bluegrass, folk and classical.
4. What was the first album (CD for you youngsters) you ever owned? Déjà Vu - Crosby Stills Nash & Young
5. And what was your favorite cut from that recording? Everybody I Love You

Weblogs: Sun Tzu on George W. Bush

The Sharpener - Sun Tzu on George W. Bush: "The more of them we have, the more war begins to mirror Hollywood and vice versa in a vicious circle of insufferable gaudy bollocks."

(click the post title link to see all of this lengthy analysis)

News: U.S. troop deaths in Iraq reach 2,000

U.S. troop deaths have reached 2,000 since George Bush announced "mission accomplished" and a "cessation of hostilities" in Iraq. CNN tracks the number and reported it this morning after confirming same with the U.S. military, which shockingly "does not track" such numbers per se. At the same time, the military confirmed that insurgent tactics are increasingly successful at penetrating tank armor and killing U.S. soldiers, so it plans to "go back to the source" and work to hunt down those who provide funding, supplies and manpower to the insurgency.

Words almost fail the intelligent person when faced with the dumbfounding mismanagement of key elements of the Iraq war. Wishful thinking and inattention to detail have shadowed the occupation and liberation of Iraq, probably because its commander in chief refuses to face reality and to do all that it takes to succeed. In other words, Bush fails to follow through on his own rhetoric. Without diminishing in any way the efforts and successes of all those who work to protect America, let's review his promises.

Job 1: Did Bush intend to take more than four years to find Osama Bin Laden? Then why didn't he say so? Or why isn't he doing what he said he would do? He can't have it both ways.

Job 2: Announcing a cessation of hostilities generally means that hostilities cease and deaths stop occurring. Yet Bush has let an additional 2,000 U.S. troop deaths slip by on his watch -- and his officers aren't even bothering to count them, apparently in the recurring Bush theme that if you try to ignore a problem, maybe it will go away.

Job 3: Ending the insurgency means capping off its sources from the start and never letting go of every stranglehold you establish until it's dead. In other words, you stop the water from topping and breaching the levee by both diverting the waters and strengthening the levee. Taking preemptive action is always better than reacting to the flood and resulting deaths after you have let them occur. What happened to "shock and awe"? What happened to "winning the hearts and minds"? What happened to "finding the head and killing it"? The fact is, the military has had insufficient numbers from the start, or it would be able to do more than one thing at a time -- being consistently proactive instead of reactive.

Job 4: Four years after 9/11, our borders are still immensely porous and virtually unprotected. What's the plan?

Job 5: The best policy is to admit one's mistakes so America can fix what's wrong and get it right as soon as humanly possible. Anyone who puts politics ahead of stopping terrorism is unfit for public office.

Job Ground Zero, actually, is to prevent a terrorist strike from ever happening on U.S. soil again, through coordinated and effective intelligence and early response. God help us, please, to do a better job than with New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina.

Quagmire is a word that increasingly describes the Bush administration: Iraq. Katrina. Rove. DeLay. Cheney. And that's too bad, because the goal here is not to bring a good man down. (Any man who is willing to contribute to a solution is a good man.) We want Bush to pull his boots out of the muck of dithering, inaction and insufficient resource allocations. We want Bush and Cheney to stop stonewalling, come clean with the American people and soldier on. We needn't impeach our commander in chief in mid-conflict, we want him to do the job he said he was going to do.

You can't say you fulfill your promises, yet fail to do so. You can't fulfill 80 percent of them and claim you've made no mistakes and left "no stone unturned." You can't claim to be a faithful and honorable man when you break faith with the people even in small ways. (Only partisans and minions would disagree, because in their intellectual dishonesty, they have already chosen sides.) You can claim, however, to be a humble servant and a mortal human being who will do your best, listen to others' advice and always try to do better.

Pets: Midway Airlines awards free trips to pets

Midwest Airlines: "If your dog or cat is a frequent airline traveler, it ought to be earning free travel for itself. Our Premier Pet Program is the first frequent flying pet program to award free travel to pets that travel with their owners. Pet owners have two options:

* One free roundtrip for the pet after it flies three paid roundtrips.
* One free roundtrip, using 15,000 of its owner's Midwest Miles."

Monday, October 24, 2005

Names: Sean

MSNBC has a weather guy named Sean (pronounced seen). I think it would be cool to have the name Sean (pronounced zane).

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Music: Jiggernaut

Houston-based Jiggernaut picked up some top musicians from Fort Worth's former Blarney Brothers and styles itself as, in the words of antic creatif and founder Wolf Loescher, "neo-Celtic groove-a-latious mondo-pop indulgence." In two words, Jiggernaut rocks! I've heard Jiggernaut at the Mucky Duck and this band is an experience not to be missed. Check their website to subscribe to the newsletter and listen to streaming MP3s, In Search of More (2001) and Evolution (2004).

Websites: A history of hot dogs

"Hot Diggity Dog" by Shenanchie: "Eating the hot dog in a warmed bread bun with various condiments is credited to Charles Feltman of Feltman's Gardens in the Coney Island amusement park. He opened the first 'hot dog' stand in 1871, which were known as 'dachshunds' at the time, and sold 3,684 of the dogs wrapped in a milk bun his first year. Corn dogs were introduced in 1942 at the Texas State Fair by Texan native Neil Fletcher.

The actual term hot dog is attributed to sports cartoonist T.A. Dorgan. He was present at the Polo Grounds in New York during a 1901 baseball game and heard vendors yelling 'Get your dachshund dogs while they're red hot!' Dorgan sketched a cartoon depicting the scene, but was unsure how to spell 'dachshund.' Instead, he simply used the term 'hot dogs.' Later, Dorgan's 'sausage' cartoons maligned the inexpensive wieners sold at Coney Island, hinting they contained dog meat. The publicity was so ferocious in 1913 the Chamber of Commerce banned the use of the term hot dog from signs at Coney Island. The term first appeared on the pages of the Oxford English Dictionary in the year 1900."

Websites: Animated illustration

Email: Lifelong learning [Mc]

Isn't it great that we can keep learning and ultimately know more than we ever did in school, despite all the stuff we forgot? Experience and wisdom can be like that.