Friday, December 15, 2006

Ms Dewey and serious stuff

I heard at ms dewey the other day on NPR. http://www.msdewey.com The woman makes silly comments after every search that you type. For a while I thought of funny or crude things to type in to hear her response, but then I thought "How about things that you can't joke about?" My most successful entries for getting the most inappropriate comment was "child abuse." and then "genecide." For child abuse, she said something about loving shopping. For genecide, she said that she couldn't talk about it because her hands were tied and turned around and showed her tied hands. The genecide one perhaps is worse because it sounds like a poor joke someone might actually make, where as the child abuse one seemed to show that it just didn't seem to understand what child abuse was.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Picture crazy




I have been working on this picture project for quite a while. I have been scanning old family photos and recently I got a new digital camera and have been taking new ones. As I look at some of the pictures, I wonder what was going on in my life at the time? What was going on in my mind? Why would I take a picture like that? I wish that I had made almost a diary of the pictures to explain why the picture was taken, who that person was who I guess I never thought I would forget who he or she was.

This is not a new thought for me but I have often wondered how many people's photo albums that I am in. Think of all of the people standing in the background of your pictures on vacation and theme parks. You're in someone else's photo album.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

If the CD is dead resurrect it!

I was reading the drudgereport this morning and saw this article saying that an EMI executive said that the CD was dead.

http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/story.aspx?siteid=mktw&guid=%7BBA27DA69-B92A-473A-AF46-0CBE9DFA59EE%7D

I know that I always have my little conspiracy theories, but I just don't trust "The Man" to say what it really means. I believe that the reason that record executives are so excited about the demise of the CD is that they can control the content more easily. I have only downloaded maybe 10 items from the internet and dealing with the digital rights management crap is a pain in the rear. I'm not boot legging this stuff and making a killing in China, but if anything goes wrong in the transfer to my MP3, it's annoying to have to re-register and do all the other junk you have to do. If I copy the music off a CD, I don't have to deal with that crap. I can put the music on all my players, no one needs to know, and I don't have to worry if I mess something up will I have to work for 3 days to be able to listen to the music again.

On a less cynical note, I enjoy buying a CD for the fact that I won't know every song. Some of the best songs are b-sides and often some of best music is unpromoted because execs think that the public can't handle it. I think of Genesis on this one. Genesis's best music has never been played on the radio. If I hadn't bought the CD, I wouldn't know it existed.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Election Wishes

You know those voters guides that every special interest group puts out at election time? Don't you wish that you could publish your own. I know that someone might respond "You can, idiot," but I mean one with real answers from the candidates rather than someone's interpretation of all of their statements and votes. Maybe some questions that would seem inappropriate questions should be included like:

1. Will you actually make your running platform goals priorities, or will you just move on to something else when others oppose you long enough?
2. Do you think the question "Have you ever gone to the Gymnasium?" is an appropriate question for congressman to ask a minor?
3. Will you say the sun is the moon just to frustrate members of the other political party?
4. Will you just admit the silly, rude, stupid, dangerous, and possibly criminal things you have done so we can worry about more important things? Attach extra sheets as necessary. (I think that the American public and politicians can be very hypocritical in this area.)
5. So you say you go to church, huh. I want an attendance report signed by your minister. I also want an explanation of how every past vote you have made fits in line with your belief system.
6. For state politicians-Would you support a law requiring individuals 70 and above to have an driver's license examination if they desire to keep their license?
7. For federal politicians-Would you support an annual paint ball tournament to determine the agenda of your legislative body?

Friday, October 20, 2006

Democratic Conspiracy II

I really like Joseph Lieberman. I think that Al Gore held back him from becoming vice president. I think that by Lieberman running as an independent, the Democratic party has tricked Republicans for voting for a Democrat. I really admire that move.

Monday, October 16, 2006

The daily grind

I remember growing up that it seemed that my family was basically able to enjoy themselves after 7 PM. All of the chores, dinner, and anything else were basically done. Only homework could impair the freedom of the evening. While I was in college, I longed for the time when life would calm down long enough to just relax. I when from college to being a church music minister and I worked strange hours working all of the rehearsals that I had. I still longed for relaxing evenings. Now for the most part, I don't work as much as a used to, but rarely are things calm at least before 8 PM. A good part of my relaxing time is spent worrying about what I could be doing. I wonder did my parents feel as free as I felt at 7 PM or did they have things going on that I didn't even realize. I have realized that the things that I have guilt me into feeling guilty about not using them as much as I should. Strange sentence but true.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

An American in Paris.....Tennessee or thereabouts

I grew up in the Chicago suburbs and would probably be best described as a former mall rat so I can't say that I grew up in the hood; pretty far from it. When I first moved to Tennessee, I lived in Jackson. There was a lot of culture shock for me. Everyone seemed nicer, but really they were less likely to tell you what they thought of you and tell everyone else instead. I also have learned what the phrase "the other side of the tracks" means. In Jackson, it literally seemed like on some invisible line the town is divided between whites and blacks and the only place one would meet someone of the other race was at Walmart.

In Chicago, I remember neighborhoods that had lots people from Poland here and Italians there and Hispanics there, but I don't not remember such clear dividing lines between who lived where. I guess I really wasn't that aware of differences because everyone was different, but a former white southerner living in Chicago told me "in the south whites don't get along with blacks and blacks don't get along with whites; in Chicago everybody hates everybody." I often get frustrated by southern racism, but growing up though I learned every derogatory phrase for everybody and used most of them. I can hold a contest with George Carlin for knowledge of the most ethnic insults. The difference though I think is that I don't know of anyone where I grew up who actually meant the insults as racial insults just as insults. Here people seem to mean them.

It seems to me that whites and blacks in south have developed two independent cultures side by side due to segregation. If someone meets someone from another country, we expect that there are differences and forgive each other's faux pas. I don't necessary think that the two cultures recognize that the two cultures exist and think "well they're Americans, they should act like me." I am also amazed that we are afraid to ask simple questions about each others cultures for fear of embarrassment. Instead of "Everything You Wanted to Know About Sex but Were Afraid to Ask," someone needs to write "Everything You Wanted to Know About (African Americans, Caucasians, Hispanics, Northerners, Southerners, or You Name It), but Were Afraid to Ask."

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Movie Ratings

I was listening to Fresh Air on NPR today and Terry Gross interviewed Kirby Dick, the director of This Film Is Not Yet Rated. I had previously seen clips of the film on IFC. It was pretty interesting. While I do not necessary agree with Mr. Dick's conclusions, it is interesting how arbitrarily it seems how films are rated. I do agree with him that perhaps it would be more valuable to have rating that actually describe the content rather than whether some unknown people think that a kids should be able to see.

One movie that really intrigues me is Big Fish directed by Tim Burton. The film is great and I would put it as one of the cleanest films I have seen in a while and I have no idea why it got an R rating. There is a mermaidish woman and at one ocasion I think you can see crack. The film is not exactly a children's movie I guess the topics it covers include death, father-son relationships, marital relationships, etc. To me it is a classic PG film in the line of Terms of Endearment except less of a tear jerker.

I also have noticed that older movies with content appealing to adult audiences had received G ratings. Today the only movies that get G ratings are cartoons and movies that probably should not have been made because they are so bad. Also some of those cartoons have content so that if the film was live action film, it would probably earn a PG-13.

I have tried to come with my own personal rating system for about 30 minutes and I haven't come up with anything.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Kenny Loggins-The movie song god

My wife and I went to Sonic tonight and I'm Alright was playing over the loudspeaker. Then naturally I started thinking about Kenny Loggins and his other movie songs Footloose from Footloose (duh) and Danger Zone from Top Gun. I thought that it was interesting that one man wrote big songs for 3 of the biggest movies of the eighties. I guess that it shouldn't be surprising considering Henry Mancini, Dave Grusin, or the like, but I don't know many people who go out and but their records. I take that back, anyway I don't hear their music played on the radio. Also I don't know of popular musician who has been around for so long and yet is mainly known for 3 super famous songs. I know that I have probably offended the individual that knows every Kenny Loggins tune ever written, but hey I've heard other Kenny Loggins songs, but I don't know other Kenny Loggins songs. Survivor has 2 big movie songs that I know of from Rocky (numeral unknown) and the Karate Kid, but I know more their music. I guess there is no point to this, but I think that it is a musicological oddity.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Wordy Dirds

I was thinking about my respect thing which is one of my standard rants. I always would use these verses to say that swearing was okay:

Matthew 5:21-22
"You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.' But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brotherwill be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, 'Raca,' is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell. (NIV)

I figure Raca is the equivalent of "F-you!" Whenever someone said a wordy dird, most Christians that I know go nuts. It's almost as if the person had commented the unpardonable sin by using a four letter word and we as Christians generally make a value judgment of the character of the person that used the word. If I read the passage right, it is not the word choice that is important, but rather the intent of the speaker and the way words are meant to be received. People in general and Christians in particular have become very skilled treating people like garbage without using the magic words as if the magic words are missing then the words don't hurt.
I spoke a professor at college about my thoughts and he said I was right, but that he chose not to swear because it made a person sound unintelligent. I have also learned that some people swear because they have learned that language pattern from birth, but that doesn't indicate anything about the character of the person, rather that their word choice is appropriate to their upbringing and culture.
I guess my point is that you can not tell anything about someone's character by their vocabulary. One has to consider their actions and the intent of their words. Also that we can be meaner to each other than we pretend to ourselves.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Great Expectations

This week something at work that I thought was going to happen, well...didn't happen. First I was shocked and a little upset. Then slowly as I began to take it all in, I realized this just saved me a ton of work. Why would I want something to happen that is going to make me work harder? I mean I'm doing my job. The person that decided that this wasn't going to happen thinks I'm doing a good job. What else can you ask for?

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Getting it all in

Life has been pretty hectic. I have been working alot. I got a gym membership. I have been trying to practice guitar. I have been trying to review my musical skills and knowledge. (I have degrees in music, but I do nothing vocation-wise that uses those degrees. I feel like I losing the knowledge I had, but that's another post entirely.) I got a playstation 2 for my birth day a few months ago and I feel like I need to play to get my moneys worth out of it. I have a collection of movies tivo-ed that I keep meaning to see. Who thought tivo would be so much pressure. I have the blog which I intended to post regularly on, but obviously I haven't. I haven't even talked about house chores. I have never been able to balance it all very well. Oh well.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Offended

A woman I work with asked me if I was offended by her use of foul language today. I told her that I wasn't and I'm not. I began to wonder "What am I offended by?" I don't really have good answer yet, but I would have to say I'm offended when people don't treat people with respect. Then I guess the natural question is "Do I treat people with respect?" The honest answer to that question is "When I feel like it."

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Delmar Dog-My little Man-Redux


Delmar passed away Saturday night. Delmar when we got him was described as a chihuahua dachsund mix at the pound. He later grew up to be we think a rat terrier mix of some kind. He was amazing with kids; they could pick him up by his head and he wouldn't do a thing to them. My wife and I were really looking forward to seeing him play with our own kids, but it was not to be. Things are quieter without Delmar; we have 2 other 4 legged pets but he seems to have been to one that kept them all riled up. It's amazing how you get attached to these animals. I miss him.

You could not imagine a better dog.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Democrat Senate Conspiracy

This has been my theory for a while, but only now have the means to share it. Democrat senators' filibusters of President Bushes judicial nominees shows that if an issue is important enough to the party the issue can be dead in its tracks. Here is my theory, the Democrat senators allow certain legislation to go through for the sole purpose of being able to claim that the Republicans did it. It seems like nothing seems to get passed other than the stupidest bills ever created (bankruptcy reform, the Patriot Act, etc). And there has never been any real discussion of real things that need to be addressed like Social Security reform, which every financial counselor I have ever had says not expect SS when I retire. I do not think that the Republicans have not or would not stoop to that level (latest federal marriage amendment), but this is my idea and I have never heard of anyone expressing this idea other than me. I basically think the Democrat Party and Republican party are in cahoots to prevent legitimate discussion and suppress other voices in politics.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Billy Graham Edited

I just read this article about Billy Graham on MSNBC from Newsweek. It is pretty interesting to me that the article reveals more about the theology of the writer of the article than about the theology of Billy Graham. I don't want to say that author is forcing words into his mouth, but perhaps trying to make him palatable for the universalist mindset. I'm afraid to say more.


http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14204483/

Sunday, August 06, 2006

The Gym

Saturday I joined a gym. Now, a long time ago circa 15 years ago, I was in pretty good shape; I could run 3 or 4 miles and not think too much of it. Now....I can run 3 or 4 steps and not think too much of it. I am 90 POUNDS heavier than I was 15 years ago and my muscles have atrophied so much, I'm a skinny wimp trapped in a fat man's body. Joining the gym is my attempt at fixing that.
The first thing I notice is no matter how much I could lift before, I can't lift any where near those amounts. That is kind of depressing. It's kind of like picking up my guitar after a month or so of not practicing.
The second thing (which I hope will remain true), watching other people work hard inspires me to work hard. I got to walk faster and longer than I normally would because that guy next to me has been running and has been doing even before I got on the treadmill.
The third thing related to number 1 and number 2, there were a few times, I said to myself "Please God, let me be able to lift more than my wife!"

Friday, August 04, 2006

The Pokey

Now I must say that I have been in several detention centers (not as a resident), but recently I had the opportunity to go to the Davidson County Juvenile Detention Center. Each jail that I have been to has been pretty much what you expect. I have never seen bars; mostly solid steal doors with a tiny little slit open window. Some, like the cells I saw the other day, have unbreakable glass windows where the inmate can be seen at all times.
When I went into the juvenile court building I was told that I could use the gated parking area since I was transporting an inmate and told to go in the door and upstairs. I drive up to the gate hit the button, and wait a few minutes and the gate opens. I pull up and get my shackles and walk up to the door and hit a button, after about 30 seconds it opened. I enter a tiny room and there is another door in front of me. I hit the button and nothing happens. I hear a lock open, but when I pull it wont budge. I hit it a again, I hear the noise behind me and I see another door around the corner. I push the door and it opens to a stairwell.

"Go up," I remember. I walk up one flight of stairs, see a door, and hit a button. Nothing happens. I go up another flight of stairs, reach the last floor, see a door, and hit a button. I look around and see a camera pointed at me. I hear a women's voice on a speaker system say "Sir, where are you going?" I say "I'm trying to pick up my kid from detention." She says "go down." I am starting to get a little nervous now. I walk down to the 2nd floor and hit that button and try to open the door; it won't open. I walk down to the original floor and there is no button to push. I'm getting really nervous now. I walk back up to the top floor, hit the button and a woman again says "where are you going?" "I WANT TO PICK MY KID UP FROM DETENTION!" I said (not yelled) frustratedly. She tells me to go down one floor and hit the button. I start to walk down and a door opens on the top floor, and a guy wearing a tie says go down one floor and hit the button. I say I did, but the door wont open. He says that they must be asleep. I reach the second floor hit the button and wait.

I hear the lock, I open the door, and enter a new very tiny room. On my left and right are doors with the buttons; in front of me there is an elevator with a button. I hit the button by the door on the right; nothing happens. I hit the button by the door on my left; nothing happens. I hit the button by the elevator; I hear the elevator move. I wait. Nothing. I look around there are no cameras, or windows. I wonder "Do these buttons even work?" I start hitting buttons and pushing on doors like a maniac. I feel like I'm about to pass out. Finally the door on the right opens. I'm there! My heart is beating like crazy.

The workers can tell that I've been scared, but they think that it is because of prisoners. Not in this place. I'm afraid of becoming a skeleton locked in some room with buttons.

I now know what claustrophobia feels like.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

World Community Grid

I was listening to NPR several years ago and I heard about this research project that involved university researchers using the internet to connect individual PCs together to act like a supercomputer. Last November, I again was listening to NPR and I heard about it again and caught the name: World Community Grid. You download this software and once you set it up, your computer downloads a "problem" and begins making calculations when your CPU is available. When the calculations are complete your computer uploads the results and downloads a new problem. My computer is currently doing AIDS research. Projects include, Help Defeat Cancer, Human Proteome Folding, and Fight AIDS @ Home.
World Community Grid's mission is to create the world's largest public computing grid to tackle projects that benefit humanity. Our work has developed the technical infrastructure that serves as the grid's foundation for scientific research. Our success depends upon individuals collectively contributing their unused computer time to change the world for the better. World Community Grid is making technology available only to public and not-for-profit organizations to use in humanitarian research that might otherwise not be completed due to the high cost of the computer infrastructure required in the absence of a public grid. As part of our commitment to advancing human welfare, all results will be in the public domain and made public to the global research community.

http://www.worldcommunitygrid.org

The software created by IBM is not obtrusive and most people wouldn't even know that it was running. You can even join teams and compete for the heck of it to get the most points. I am on the Nashville, TN team, but there should be a Nashville Bloggers team. Check it out and make your computers down time do something.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Movie Madness

I am a movie and DVD nuts. We have at least 160 DVD movies, 10 seasons of Friends, 9 seasons of X-files, 8 seasons of Frazier, 3 seasons of Cheers, 4 seasons of Seinfeld, 2 seasons of Law and Order, 2 seasons of Mad About You, 1 season of Night Court, 1 season of The Andy Griffith Show, 2 seasons of Homicide, and 1 season of The Flintstones. Needless to say, I have more AV media than anyone could watch in a year. Since I basically have run out of space to store these discs, today I went through my entire collection, we found 2 discs that I was willing to get rid of. It was pretty pathetic.
You may ask why so many DVDs of TV shows. There are several reasons why TV DVD is superior to movies on DVD or TV on TV.

1. Who has time to watch a movie?-A sitcom with no commercials will last about 24-25 minutes, so it is pretty easy to fit in.
2. More bang for your buck-for about $30, you get at least 10 hours of entertainment versus 2 hours of entertainment for $14-20.
3. When you watch a season on DVD, you can see the arch of story lines and see the characters develop more clearly over time.
4. Watching old shows on DVD, you relive memories from the past-The other day I was watching Cheers season 8 and felt like I was back in school doing my homework in front of the tube.
5. I WILL win at any Friends or Frazier trivia.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Cops



I saw a cop put a guy who was resisting arrest on the ground in 0.0 seconds. No bullets, no guns, and it didn't even get physical. It was cool. It is amazing at least how well trained this guy was. I know some people aren't that amazed by cops, but the ones that wear uniforms are just plain cool.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Have you ever wondered how much family connections affect how far you go career-wise in this world?

Saturday, July 22, 2006

The Man knows best

If you haven't heard the story of Starchild Abraham Cherrix, you need to hear of him. He is a 16 year old with Hodgkin's Disease. Here is his basic story:


After three months of chemotherapy last year made him nauseated and weak, Abraham rejected doctors' recommendations to go through a second round when he learned early this year that his Hodgkin's disease, a cancer of the lymph nodes, was active again.

A social worker then asked a judge to require the teen to continue conventional treatment. In May, the judge issued a temporary order finding Abraham's parents neglectful and awarding partial custody to the county,
with Abraham continuing to live at home with his four siblings.

http://www.breitbart.com/news/2006/07/21/D8J0MGOO1.html


I don't understand why the government feels that it needs to be involved in every family situation. Laws about medical right seem to outrightly contradict each other. Parents do not have the legal right to know if their child has HIV, because it is the child's right to withhold that information from their parents because the child's right to control his medical information and treatment under HIPAA. While I disagree and believe a parent needs to know if their child has HIV, it the law and would seem to contradict the ruling in Abraham's case. By restricting the information from parents, the government has said that a child know what is best for him or her. Abraham's family and Abraham feel that the standard medical treatment is not for him. If Abraham is choosing the course of treatment, why is some paper pusher more qualified to make the decision. I may disagree with the decision and feel it is unwise, but it is not my decision to make.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Trix are for kids!


My supervisor at work informed me of an interesting blog. This woman rates kids breakfast cereals. Finally, a topic worth blogging about.

http://cerealfest.blogspot.com

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

FUTUREQUAKE!


This evening, Tuesday, July 18, 2006 at 8-10 central time, Paul Winkler is the tentatively scheduled guest on the Futurequake radio show. Paul Winkler is an investor coach with his own radio show, the Investor Coaching Show, on WLAC 1510AM in Nashville. The topic will be Strategies for Investing in the World of the Future. Basically how does all of the conflicts and brouhaha around the world change where one should invest his or her money. You can listen to the show online at http://radiofreenashville.org. If you have any questions that you would to ask, post them as a comment and the good doctor ask the question of Mr. Winkler. You can also email Dr. Future at drfuture@futurequake.com with questions, show ideas, or plain old mental torture. I'm not the good doctor so it wont hurt me. I'm Emmett if you don't know.


http://www.investorcoaching.com

Monday, July 17, 2006

Motorcycles are coooool!



Let's face it: everyone knows that motorcycles are cool, but not everyone knows how cool. There are several things that only someone who rides one can now about.

1. You smell more on a motorcycle. Yes, you probably do smell worse after riding on a motorcycle, but you smell more of the world around you. Every restaurant you pass, you can smell the individual odors of the cuisine served at each restaurant. When passing by flowers or woods, you can smell the scents of the buds and pollens. You realize that the scents of your community change more than you'd think.

2. The ride is more of an experience. Frankly, you're a little scared that you're not going to have face when you reach your destination, so your much more focused on your driving. This can be such a stress release because you don't have time to worry about work or whatever. It clears your head.

3. The gas mileage is amazing. I have a small motorcycle, so I get at least 75 mpg. I have got about 100 mpg when I was learning to ride and riding like a granny. You also get the moral high ground in any environmental debate, unlike the SUV driving, bonfire for global warming crowd.

4. It's like a fraternity. Everyone is friendlier on a motorcycle. Expect to be waved at while riding. I have even had 1 percenters admire my baby bike.

5. People are jealous of you. If you don't ride, admit it. You are. Pre-teen boys everywhere think that you are a god!

6. You get to dress up like an astronaut! Think of the fun you can have with the biker clothes that you couldn't have otherwise.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

The Israeli thing

I wish that I had something good to say about the stuff going on in the middle east, but I don't and am kind of shocked at how quickly things have been progressing or regressing. It seems amazing to me that the same government that unilaterally pulled out of the Gaza strip is attacking anything that moves. I would agree that Israel has the right to defend itself, but this seems like overkill literally. It's pretty scary to me.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Famous People


I have this compulsion to figure out which famous person everyone I meet looks like. The music minister at my church looks like David Hyde Pierce (Niles Crane), my brother in law looks like John Walker Lindh (the American Taliban), a woman I work with looks like Linda Carter (Wonder Woman), and I even think that a famous person, Josh Hartnett from Blackhawk Down, looks like Tommy Lee Jones from The Fugitive. I went to go see the new Pirates of the Caribean movie and the whole time that I'm watching the movie , I'm thinking Davy Jones looks exactly like... let's say Jane Doe! Jane Doe is the meanist nastiest woman I have ever had the dishonor to meet. This made me wonder, do these people look like the people I think that they do, or if I like the people, they look like actors or characters I like and if I don't like the person, they look like disgusting sea creatures.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Tuype-Os

I have been doing this blog for about a month and I am amazed at the number of spelling and grammer errors that I make. I can barely stand to read soem of the crap that I type. It looks like an eighth grader did it. No wonder my english teachers hated me. I use the grammer check, but it just looking for noun, verb, article, object, or whatever those english terms are. I even read some of it and don't catch the errors until they are already posted. The sentence structures that I use are also pretty scary. I sound like a cave man. I go to store. I write bad. Urgh!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Post Modernism-the post communism communism

In the Christian media you will hear references to post modernism and its evils and it is given the stigma that communism had in the past. It is described as the belief that there are no absolutes or moral relativism. The interesting thing about post modern philosophy is that it impossible to describe since there is no coherent post-modern philosophy; it is so ambiguous that its title "post-modern" is a description of what it is not rather than what it is.

There is no committee on post modern thought that determines whether an idea is post-modern enough to be truly post-modern, and people don't really think purely in one or even two philosophical systems. We have beliefs and understandings that make sense in one system and we have beliefs and understandings that make sense in another.

One aspect of post-modern thought is that it is impossible to view and understand the world from someone else's point of view. You can enlarge and expand your point of view, but you are always interpreting new information based on your unique experiences. An example of this is myself. I grew up in Chicago, but I lived in the south for the past 11 years. My understanding of southern life has expanded, but I never will have the true experience of a southerner. No matter how long I live here I will interpret southern life through my northern goggles.

I do not believe that post-modernism says that there is no absolute truth, simply that we view it from our individualized goggles that we simply can't take off. I believe that is why different Christian denominations have developed. Each denomination reveals a different aspects of that universal truth. Because it is impossible for us to see from all angles, we have limited understanding of God and his creation. The Bible even acknowledges that there is truth in other religions by including proverbs from other religions in the book of Proverbs, but obviously is not endorsing the entirety of those religions. This does not mean that all religions and denominations are equal; some goggles are dirtier and more out of focus than others.

1 Corinthians 13:11-12 even says:

It's like this: When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child does. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. Now we see things imperfectly as in a poor mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God knows me now. (NLT)


This explains to me why 2 people can read the same passage in the Bible and interpret it 2 completely different ways and both be equally right (or wrong). It is not there is not absolute truth, but that we can not yet fully comprehend it.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

If it has skin on it

When I hear someone make a statement, I think that I analyze the statement based on my understanding of the topic, the evidence relating to the topic, and hopefully the merits or the lack thereof of their arguments. I know that is not always the case; someone I may not care for may offer a valid idea and I likely will not properly consider it. I get frustrated when I hear individuals get quoted and misquoted out of context or their entire persons being equated with one of their perhaps less than sound ideas. I guess that I am beating around the bush, but I do not want to do what I am complaining about people doing.

I will use Tony Campolo for an example. Tony Campolo is an amazing man who has been a prophet in the modern Christian community. His preaching and writings have influenced me so greatly that I know that I live my life differently than I would otherwise. There are those as of late in the evangelical Christian community who have criticized him and have discounted all of his ideas because of his concern and consideration of the homosexual community and his criticism of the blind allegiance of evangelical Christians to the Republican party. I have heard individuals criticize and summarize his beliefs in ways that reveal either that they have never read his books or are blatant misrepresentations of his writings.

While not everything that he says or writes is correct, it is not more wrong than the stuff I hear coming out of the mouths of more "orthodox" preachers. I wish that those "orthodox" preachers would honestly respond to Tony's statements and agrue points of theology and not attack his character as if all he had to say had no value.

I find this to be true of all theological persuasions. We like to attack the person rather than to tag team wrestle along side them to understand the world together through the eyes of faith.

2 Corinthians 6:12
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Quoting Jack MacGorman quoting a preacher-"If it has skin on it, it is not the enemy."

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tony-campolo/

http://www.tonycampolo.org/

http://www.comedycentral.com/motherload/index.jhtml?ml_video=59604

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Iron Butt




My wife's cousin got a new motorcycle and wanted to go ride Natchez Trace. I called him yesterday to arrange to go today, but he wasn't home. When I got up this morning, I still had the Trace on my brain, so I took off. I had only ridden the Trace one time before and I rode with guys from south of town, so I really didn't know the best way to get there. I took local roads from Nashville to Pasquo and it seemed like every road had some kind of lane closure, accident, or plain slow traffic. I got on the Trace and could only ride for 20 miles or so. I ate lunch and turned around and headed home. By the time I got home, I had been on the road for over 5 hours and my rear is still killing me 4 hours later. I think that I may have killed the flesh of my rear.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Nothing to talk about

Over the past few days I have been working like crazy. I haven't read the news. I haven't watched TV except for a couple Frazier reruns on DVD. Yesterday I worked 12 hours straight; I was so busy that I didn't even get hungry. For my waistline, I wish that could be the case all of the time, but I know what "all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy' means. Sometimes I wish that I had one of those jobs where you can tell people about your day, but I have one of those "If I told you, I would have to kill you" jobs. Well maybe not that bad. More like "If I told you I'd get my pants sued off" jobs.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Nuclear Bibles

This Sunday morning we had a speaker from the Gideons at our church. I grew up in the Chicago area and remember when I was in junior high school there were a couple of guys standing on the sidewalk surrounding the school. As my friends and I began walking home one of those guys started walking towards. We wondered what kind of child molester was going to attack us. Instead he gave us these nuclear orange New Testaments. Everyone was pretty freaked out, but relieved that it was just some guy giving out stuff. None of my friends were particularly religious and they did not appreciate being scared to death to be given something they didn’t want. When they got a suitable distance away they threw their Bibles on the ground. I tried to explain that the guy was just being nice and I felt bad and picked up the New Testaments and carried home 6 nuclear orange books.
I appreciate what the Gideons try to do by making Bibles available to people, but there are a few things I think that they need to deal with in today’s world. First of all is finding a more readable translation of the Bible to use. I can barely read the King James Bible and I grew up reading it. Also, don’t scare the crap out people you’re giving the Bibles to.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Cat food conspiracy


Have you seen these Cat food packets? They contain the chopped up cat food that until recently you would only find in a can. There are several different brands of cat food using this packaging but they probably all owned by the same company so I guess it is not technically a conspiracy. You rip open the top and pour out the food and when you're done the package still feels full, because there are pieces of cat [food] stuck to the sides. I just recently resorted to using a spoon to try scrape as much out as possible. The only reason we buy these things is because our cat is getting fat but, I think the true goal of this packaging is to make as purchase more packages to serve our cats the same amount of food.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Bad food

I went to a famed Nashville establishment and heard some pretty good music and had a good time. I also though had some of the worst food I have ever eaten. As a former Baptist minister I am skilled at eating foods that cause me to upchuck my guts out and smile as I am eating it, but this was bad. My stomach has been unsteady ever since. I go home, get on the internet and see that the M&M/Mars factory in Chicago has been closed down due to rat feces and a fruit fly infection. I am sitting and thinking about the Snickers bar I had a week ago and struggle to deal with my gastronomic gyrations.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Babysitting

I wasn't sure if I wanted to say this or not, but I am a probation officer with the Department of Children's Services. The kids I work with are teenagers. Most of which have done something stupid and are unlikely to do it again. The next group is kids who did something stupid, continue to do stupid things, but if they had the right environment maybe would not get into trouble. Of course finally there are kids that seem determined to fight the world. I have gotten used to working with these kids, and I really enjoy being around them. As a children's PO you spend a lot of time just waiting for the proper place to put the individual kids if they come into state's custody. The average kids will spend at least 6 hours in your cube waiting to find out where they will go. While waiting with them, you get good at cracking jokes, 7 degrees to Kevin Bacon, and making sure they don't burn down the joint. They know that they did something to get them there; you know they did something to get them there. It makes sense to all; sort of. I had the opportunity to babysit younger kids that did not come in through the court system. They didn't do anything. They didn't know why they were there. I didn't know why they were there. I hated it. Frankly, someone dying an untimely death in a car accident makes more sense. I understand that. I can explain that. I am so glad I got the "bad" kids.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Secondhand smoke

I just want everyone to know that if you are around individuals smoking pot, you may come up positive on a drug screen, and it is not a good excuse that you were not the one actually with the joint in your hand.


http://http://www.wsmv.com/Global/story.asp?S=5086961

Monday, June 26, 2006

We mourn the passing of dear brother Moose

Moose
December 24, 1990-June 26, 2006
The star of Frazier as "Eddie" and My Dog Skip as "Old Skip"

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Families First Waste

The state of Tennessee website says of Families First:



Families First is Tennessee's welfare reform plan which replaced the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program. The temporary cash assistance program emphasizes work, training, and personal responsibility. As part of the Families First program, each participant must agree to follow a Personal Responsibility Plan (PRP).

Unless a participant is exempt from the work requirement, he/she must also agree to develop, follow, and complete a work plan. The work plan is based on the individuals needs and skills.

See http://http://tennessee.gov/humanserv/famfir.htm

Let me tell you the idea of Families First is great. Single parents have the opportunity to receive free job skills training while receiving a small stipend and child care certificates from the government. The program tries to address the root causes of poverty along with the handout.
Each parent on Families First is to be in a 40 hour activity; either work, job skills training, education, or a combination of those activities which is verified every 6 months. For example, a participant could enroll in college for 12 hours and work a part-time job for 16 hours (school hours count double). If the participant is not enrolled in college or working, most likely the client will be referred to ECS, the states job preparedness program, to meet the work requirement. The interesting thing is that a large portion of the participants following certification will quit their job or drop out of school. ECS is tracked by contract agencies of the state so it is harder to go unnoticed as not participating.

Families on Families First are also limited as to the length of time that they can be on Families First; a family can be on Families First continuously for 18 months with a lifetime total counter of 60 months. When a family reaches the 18 month point, the family is supposed to not be eligible for 3 months in order to ease the family into the real world like a bird. If they fly, Families First has done its job; if they sink, Families First will be available to them for another 18 months or until the 60 month lifetime counter is full. There are various reasons to stop the counter like the birth of a child (1 year), when a family is being assessed for Family Service Counseling (1 month), or the parent is assessed to be below the 9th grade level (until the individual reaches the 9th grade level).


TIME LIMITS
POLICY STATEMENT:
Families First assistance groups have eligibility and grant payment time limits. A time limit is a range of months in which an assistance group will work to achieve self-sufficiency.

An assistance group has an 18-month time limit for a period of eligibility and a 60-month lifetime limit. There are exceptions to this time limit for certain assistance groups. These exceptions can include exemptions interruptions, and extensions.

The 18 and 60-month time limits are maximum time limits. An assistance group may acheiveve self-sufficiency or become ineligible for other reasons earlier than the maximum time limits.

See http://http://tennessee.gov/humanserv/ff-handbook.pdf (pdf pg 244, manual pg 199)

The interesting thing is that these counters are basically meaningless. When a family recertifies(reapplies), the eligibility counselor performs a counter review to determine if the client is still within the 18 month and 60 month limits. If a worker is not able to show through documented records that a parent is in a 40 hour work activity for a particular month, that month does not count for the counter.

Remember what I said before about quitting activities right after the certification appointment; the participants are supposed to report within ten days any significant changes in work activities, but they almost never do. Also, the state tracks the attendance of those in ECS right? The eligibility counselor may learn that a client is not attending, but generally will do little about it due to the high workload and revolving door of case workers. The worker is supposed to schedule a meeting to renegotiate the Personal Responsibility Plan, but many will wait to the 6 month re-certification to deal with it. The result is that people have been on Families First for over 10 years (120 months)! This is due to the negligence of the workers and participants who have figured out how to work the system.


When I hear about the cuts and stories of abuse in Tenncare, I get so angry that no one hears about Families First abuses.

Future Quake



You should listen to http://www.radiofreenashville.org, 98.9 WRFN Pasquo, Tennessee, this Tuesday evening at 8-10 PM central. Dr. Future is returning from the 9/11 + the Neo-Con Agenda conference in Los Angeles. He attended the entire conference and as credentialed member of the press, he will probably have the most complete coverage of the conference. Even if you're not in to that kind of thing, it is pretty interesting.


http://www.futurequake.com

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Eminent domain protections-Yipee?!

If you haven't heard yet the Prez produced an executive order concerning eminent domain; basically the federal government is not going to take your house to build a shopping mall. I think that the executive order should include something about firing patriot missiles at the city halls and county commissions that actually steal people's homes so they can build another starbucks.


http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2006/06/20060623-10.html

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Crime story

I love cops shows, forensic shows, lawyers shows, and just plain anything that involves a detective. I watch reality based programs like The New Detectives, Forensic Files, American Justice, and even occasionally Cops. I also enjoy fictional shows like Law & Order, C.S.I. (any version), and anything else like it. The novels that I read are mainly those by authors like John Grisham or Greg Iles.
One day, I encountered a woman who had been the victim of a very serious crime. I got excited asked her all kinds of questions and sought details of the crime, and all of the sudden I realized that I might be smiling. I quickly regrouped and became a human again, and sought to serve this lady like she deserved to be served. In my current situation in life, I encounter all kinds of people and many of them have experienced crime (in one role or the other) in their lives. I wonder has all of this crime entertainment desensitized us to the all too real realities of crime in America? I definitely was not compassionate to that woman; I was a voyeur.

I can't wait to see which Law & Orders got tivo-ed today!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Hollywood vs the terrorists

I just read an article on MSNBC about how Hollywood has made a public service announcement against suicide bombing to air on Iraqi television. How ridiculous! One of the main reasons why Islamic fundamentalists hate the United States is because of the products of Hollywood that infiltrate their homelands. The Hollywood picture of American life is so distorted and unreal, but that is the view that much of the world has of America. If Hollywood would really like to help prevent terrorism, start making more films that are not inundated with the worship of carnality and materialism. The PSA, I believe, will be seen for what it is, silly American propaganda, and may actually discredit American efforts in the region.

I have more DVD's than Blockbuster, so I'm not just a grumpy old man.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/13444608/site/newsweek/

Friday, June 16, 2006

Social services

When I first was inspired to go in to Christian ministry, I saw the needs of families, the homeless, the hungry, and the just plain beaten down. As I went through my theological training, I became distracted from my original drive to serve others. The classes focus on the Bible of course, but they also focused on administration of the church. Both are needed, but there was little that was "preaching" to the students. There was an occasional professor here or there but nothing that reminded my initial calling to make the world better for those around me. I became frustrated over time in church work, where most of the churches were moving away from social ministries and focusing solely on evangelism. The Southern Baptist seminaries' social service programs have been shrinking over the past 15 years or so and social ministries have become equated with "liberals" in evangelical circles. I believe that churches are abdicating their role in social ministry and seeing the government as the primary support system for families. I know that churches can support families better than the government can, because they provide the moral frame work and social (in the friends sense) support to meet goals. The government has to rely on formulas and artificial standards in who will receive aid. The church and individuals may benefit from the use of such formulas but they can also use common sense to provide more personalized assistance. The church needs to step up to the plate.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Well, I wanted to be in the world. I have a pretty sheltered existence in church work. Oh, I have seen everything you see anywhere else, but you put it off as an aberration and mainly occurring in the lives of people who don’t profess similar beliefs as yourself. I felt like I was working with the best of the best and not really having a chance to influence my world for the better. Now, I deal with people with people of all kinds.
I have always considered myself to be a little more open than the average minister type, but the opinions and interpretations of life that one can create in church isolation can be pretty hard to reconcile with modern American life. For example, Southern Baptist Churches say consuming alcoholic beverages is wrong and that if you drink you are leading others into temptation. Using that logic, you should not be allowed to eat Ice Cream, because I am fat. I have never had problem with people drinking responsibly (I never did drink anything while working in churches; just to make that clear). The Bible says that it is wrong to be drunk. I have always felt that we become like the Pharisees if we create laws around what the Bible actually says.
But… where I work, it seems like everyone drinks, and drinks to get drunk. Smashed. Sloshed. Wasted. I don’t want to say that drinking is wrong, but I do not want to be associated with irresponsibility. I want to enjoy Amaretto in my Coffee, but I do not want to be seen as participating in drunkenness. Should I even care what people think, as long as I hold to my beliefs?

My intentions

Those that know me know that I like speaking my mind and perhaps that is why I am a former Southern Baptist minister. I have not lost my faith in God or really anything like that. I am frustrated over simplifications of complex issues and insistence that one's viewpoint is the only correct viewpoint. I am a Christian and conservative Christian at that, but I belief that there are more auxiliary beliefs that are open to discussion than we like to admit to ourselves. My postings hopefully will not be limited to Christian, spiritual, or important topics for that matter, but I want to share my imperfect and even just plain ignorant musings so I may be able to understand and enjoy the world to the fullest.