When Bicycle Helmets Don't Make Sense

Amazing Grace | ★★★★★★★★★☆

2/27 Update: Ann and I went to see AG after church on Sunday with some good friends and we were really glad that we did. The story is a great one, the acting is good, the cinematography is wonderful and overall it was a great movie watching experience. I think that it was in the genre of Chariots of Fire where faith was the heart of the movie but not the focus of it.

Wilberforce, the main character, struggles early in the movie about his role in life - whether his calling is to the church or to the nation ... the scene is a great one ... his struggle is heartfelt ... it is one that will be inpspiring to many who pursue ministry in corporate and political life. I liked that he struggled, wanted to give up and found a way to persevere.

Some may not like the portrayal of faith playing such an important role in important matters like abolition and civil rights. For those who see faith as an integral part of such matters the movie will be a very refreshing and encouraging experience. On a scale of 10 I give this movie ★★★★★★★★★☆

2/18 Update: Our friend Tracy emailed me and said:
I have been able to preview "Amazing Grace" and I was off-the-scale impressed. It is about the life of William Wilberforce and his tenacity in seeking to abolish the slave trade out of Africa. His eventual win in Parliament was 200 years ago this month. This is a huge piece of African American history, and an empowering example of someone being salt & light in the midst of unjust cultural norms.
2/18: I just saw the trailer for this movie and got excited to see it when it hits Kansas. It debuts in theaters this week on the 23rd. The movie is about William Wilberforce and his struggles in the Parliament in 18th century England to end slavery in the empire. John Newton, one-time slave trader and author of the song, Amazing Grace, is worked into the story as a friend of Wilberforce. I am excited to see this one.

When you see it please let me know how you liked it.

Catch my other mini-reviews by selecting the Movies link in the menu bar above.

Bridge to Terabithia

Danny Sims recommends this movie saying this on his blog:
The two main characters are a boy (Jesse) and a girl (Leslie) who become friends in those tough “junior high age” years when we all need good friends. Jesse’s family goes to church weekly whereas Leslie’s family does not. Yet it is Leslie who is imaginative and full of fun and life. She opens Jesse’s world to beautiful thoughts and ideas about helping people.

There is a scene where Jesse has taken Leslie to church. On their way home Leslie tells Jesse how much she enjoyed going and how fascinated she is with God. When he acts surprised she tells him, “It’s funny… You have to go to church and you hate it. I don’t have to go and I think it’s beautiful.”
I like that last quote - kids gets to the heart of life don't they. Please let me know if you have seen this movie and what you thought of it.

Nascar Rocket

What’s good for Nascar is good for NASA. -- Milly

But I really wanted to use Therese' caption :)


I am awestruck ... this video changed my view of suffering and overcoming pain. Watch Nick's story here and visit his website here.

Illegal Spanking

2/24 Update: Yesterday San Francisco Bay area Assemblywoman Sally Lieber abandoned her heavily ridiculed campaign to make spanking a crime, acknowledging that the idea would get whacked even in California's sometimes whimsical Legislature. Read more here.
Calif. lawmaker seeks ban on spanking
Associated Press

1/20 SACRAMENTO, Calif. - California parents could face jail and a fine for spanking their young children under legislation a state lawmaker has promised to introduce next week. Democratic Assemblywoman Sally Lieber said such a law is needed because spanking victimizes helpless children and breeds violence in society.

"I think it's pretty hard to argue you need to beat a child," Lieber said. "Is it OK to whip a 1-year-old or a 6-month-old or a newborn?" Lieber said her proposal would make spanking, hitting and slapping a child under 4 years old a misdemeanor. Adults could face up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. Aides to the assemblywoman said they are still working on a definition for spanking. Read more here.

Any opinions on this one?

The First Clicker

Left is the original Space Command TV remote control as it appeared in a 1957 ad featuring TV stars George Burns and Gracie Allen. This clicker went into production in the fall of 1956. Here we are fifty years later wondering what we would do without it. Read more here.


I just saw another Britney shaves her head video on TV and just want to cry. I am not sure why but I have had this reaction several times this week. It really makes me sad that this very troubled young lady is hurting so much. I think that she is a representative of the many lost young people who need Jesus. I pray for Britney and the many like her who seem to have it all but are living lives of quiet desperation ... looking for love in the wrong places and finding none. Jesus please help these young ones to find reality in faith.

Flags of Our Fathers

Here is a brief review from my good friend Kirk:
I'd say it was a bit disappointing. I found myself ffwd'ing through some parts and in the end, wish I'd just watched Saving Private Ryan again. No knocking Clint Eastwood because he is an amazing talent.

Anyone else seen this one? I'd be interested in hearing your opinion.

Geezer Mouse

KB got tired of the pain in his right thumb wrist joint and bought this new-fangled pen-mouse. After the purchase I read that it helps ease old man pains. The 'old man' article continued to harrass me by calling me a wimp and calling the pen an example of ergonomic nonsense.

Why do I bother to surf the web? I'll keep you posted on its effectiveness in reducing my pain.

NonUnion Apples for Teachers

In this wired news article Steve Jobs suggests that the teachers' unions are ruining America's schools because they prevent bad teachers from being fired. "I believe that what is wrong with our schools in this nation is that they have become unionized in the worst possible way," the Apple CEO told a school-reform conference in Texas on Saturday. "This unionization and lifetime employment of K-12 teachers is off-the-charts crazy." The solution, Jobs believes, is to treat schools like businesses: Empower the principal to fire bad teachers like a CEO.

Jobs has also been a longtime advocate of a school voucher system. Jobs argues that vouchers will allow parents, the "customers," to decide where to send their kids to school, and the free market will sort it out. Competition will spur innovation, improve quality and drive bad schools (and bad teachers) out of business. The best schools will thrive.

I have to admit that American education needs to be imroved but I am not sure that Jobs' ideas hold water. Leander Kahney, the article's author, disagrees with Jobs. What do you think?

A Sign of the Times

The Definition of Life

The Supreme Court of New Jersey heard a case this week that could impact what information a doctor is required to give a woman before an abortion is performed. According to this article physician Sheldon Turkish told Rosa Acuna that her embryo was "only blood" in response to her question about whether "the baby was already there". The lawsuit brought by Acuna states that she suffered "severe emotional and psychological trauma" after nurses told her the physician had "left parts of the baby inside of her". It will be interesting to see how the NJ high court rules on this one.

Environmental Priorities

According to this article the top 20 selling vehicles are still gas guzzlers. This chart displays the combined city-highway fuel economy ratings for the top 20 selling vehicles in the U.S. in January.

This list blows me away. It appears that for all of the rhetoric around the environment most people are still buying gas-guzzlers. Only the Civic and Corolla get more that 30 MPG. File this one under Give Me An Environmental Break!

Presidential Straight Man

Just in case you haven't seen this really funny 9 minute video :)

You Want a Piece of Me?

My favorite all-time Seinfeld blooper :)

7,100 Brits in Iraq?

Today's announcement that Britain would be pulling 1,600 troops by the end of 2007, with the rest of the force, about 5,500 troops, staying at least until 2008 begs the question - is that all? Are there only 7,100 paltry British troops in Iraq? Less than 5% of the USA commitment.

I guess KB has been asleep at the wheel on this one. With all of the years of posturing, complete with joint Bush / Blair press conferences, you would have thought that the Brits had more skin in the game. I checked and here are the figures:

Military Personnel in Iraq As of (date)

United States, 140,000, November, 2006
Iraq, 75,791, June, 2006
United Kingdom, 7,200, October, 2006
South Korea, 2,800, August, 2006
Australia, 1,400, November, 2006
Georgia, 900, June, 2006
Poland, 900, November, 2006
Romania, 600, November, 2006
Denmark, 470, October, 2006
Italy, 0 ,December, 2006

The numbers put a whole different spin on the term Coalition Forces.

Gay Christian Middle Ground?

2/21 Update: Rygel at Coming Out Clean posted the following:
I think it's pretty clear what the Bible says about the "defining act" of being gay. It's stated in black and white in Leviticus 18:22. I was brought up in a religious family and I don't have any doubt that same-sex sex is a sin. Being gay doesn't necessarily mean you have to have sex just as being straight doesn't. Spiritually it's a struggle but I'm not lying to myself. Being gay is NOT a sin but the ACT of being gay is.
I applaud Rygel's courage in making this statement and wonder what you all think about it?

2/19 Update: My wife has offered a middle ground statement:
The church welcomes homosexuals but will not perform marriages for homosexuals.
I feel that this statement is incomplete. Can we truly welcome gays and restrict marriage ... or is this just Christian rhetoric? Please let me know what you think and how you might revise a statement like this.

2/18: I posted the following recently at Julie's place:
I wonder if there is a totally different perspective on gays in the church ... I wonder if there is any sort of middle ground at all? On one extreme I see an all-out war by fundamentalists on homosexuals. On the other extreme I see an all-out quest for full acceptance of homosexuality by gay Christians.

I guess I don't see a middle ground ... I don't have one and I wonder if anyone has one.
I post it here to see if you all know of a middle ground or are we just left with the extremes?

Salmonella in Kansas!!

All Peter Pan peanut butter bought since May 2006 should be discarded, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Friday in a statement broadening its warning about salmonella-contaminated peanut butter. Read more here.

KA checked and found an opened one of these in the pantry.
I guess KB & KA had some angelic help on this one :)

Smoker Rebellion

There's a revolt going on in Hawaii as some bar owners openly defy the state's new anti-smoking law by letting their customers light up. Hawaii is one of 16 states that have banned smoking in all public places. I wonder if businesses in other states will follow their Hawaiian counterparts.

Canine Outsourcing

After a failed outsourcing effort to India, Dell decided to give local tech-support another try... with a twist. -- DugALug

PDC Conspiracy Theory

I got an email today that talked about Rick Warren's Purpose Driven Church (PDC) model. The email began by saying: "It is important that EVERY church member know if their church is targeted for a PURPOSE DRIVEN CHURCH takeover". The email gave the following list as evidences of a PDC takeover:
  1. Change in music to a contemporary rock style.
  2. Removal of hymn books...often words on a screen.
  3. Eliminating the choir or introducing a choral "entertainment type"
    singing group. Repetitive praise lyrics are used.
  4. Replacing the organ/piano with heavy metal type instruments.
  5. Dressing down to casual informal attire.
  6. Eliminating business meetings, church committees, council of elders, board of deacons or other traditional leadership groups.
  7. The pastor with a few assistants (usually four) take charge of all church business.
  8. A repetitive 40 day PDC study program stressing psychological relationships with each other, the community and the world.
  9. Funded budgeted programs are abandoned or ignored with 'hidden' line items in financial reports.
  10. Sunday morning, evening, and/or Wednesday prayer meetings are changed to other times, named differently or eliminated.
  11. Sunday School teachers are moved to different classes or replaced by new teachers more sympathetic with the changes being implemented.
  12. The name "Sunday School" is usually dropped and classes are given new names.
  13. Crosses and other traditional Christian symbols may be moved, removed, or put in obscure places.
  14. New versions of the Bible are used. Verses are flashed on the screen.
  15. PDC videos are shown prior to, during or after a service.
  16. The decor may be changed to eliminate any resemblance to the 'former church'.
  17. The name "church" is often removed and may be called a "campus". Denominational names are often removed.
  18. An emphasis on more fun and party times for the youth.
  19. Elimination of altar calls or salvation invitations.
  20. The elimination of such words as "unsaved" "lost" "hell" "heaven" "abortion" "sodomy".
  21. Reclassification of the saved and lost to the "churched" and "unchurched"
  22. The marginalizing or ostracizing of all who are not avid promoters of the new PDC program.
  23. Closed meetings between pastor, certain staff, and selected leaders without any accountability to the general membership.
  24. Open hostility to members who do not openly embrace the new program or who may have left for another church.
See #3 of the comments section for the rest of the email.
This list seems to be a bit of paranoia mixed with a dose of conspiracy theory. Here is a definition of paranoia:
A mode of thought, feeling, and behavior characterized centrally by false persecutory beliefs, more specifically referred to as paranoidness. Commonly associated with these core persecutory beliefs are properties of suspiciousness, fearfulness, hostility, hypersensitivity, rigidity of conviction, and an exaggerated sense of self-reference.
Doesn't this list seem to reflect some of these tendancies?

3D Pictures

Designer Brett Klisch has harnessed several technologies to create a 21st-century photo booth capable of capturing and printing 3-D busts rather than 2-D images. Read more here.

Longer Daylight This Year

Daylight-saving time is arriving three weeks earlier this year, thanks to a new federal law aimed at decreasing energy use.

Unfortunately, some of the gadgets consumers depend on will need help catching up to the time change. Read more here.

State Mottos

Hell Yes, We Have Electricity.

11,623 Eskimos Can't Be Wrong!

Yes, But It's A Dry Heat.

Literacy Ain't Everythang.

By age 30, Our Women Have More Plastic Than Your Honda.

If You Don't Ski, Don't Bother.

Like Massachusetts, only smaller.

We Really Do Like The Chemicals In Our Water.

Ask Us About Our Grandkids - And Our Voting Skills.

We Put The Fun In Fundamentalist Extremism.

Haka Tiki Mou Sha'ami Leeki Toru
(Death To Mainland Scum, Leave Your Money)

More Than Just Potatoes...
Well, Okay, We're Not, But The Potatoes Sure Are Real Good

Please, Don't Pronounce the "S"

2 Billion Years Tidal Wave Free

We Do Amazing Things With Corn

First Of The Rectangle States

Five Million People; Fifteen Last Names

We're Not ALL Drunk Cajun Wackos, That's Our Tourism Campaign.

We're Really Cold, But We Have Cheap Lobster

If You Can Dream It, We Can Tax It

Our Taxes Are Lower Than Sweden's!

First Line Of Defense From The Canadians

10,000 Lakes... And 10 Zillion Mosquitoes

Come visit -- Feel Better About Your Own State

Your Federal Flood Relief Tax Dollars At Work

Land Of The Big Sky, The Unabomber, Right-wing Crazies, and Honest Elections!

Ask About Our State Motto Contest

Hookers and Poker!

New Hampshire
Go Away And Leave Us Alone

New Jersey
You Want A ##$%##! Motto?
I Got Yer ##$%##! Motto Right here!

New Mexico
Lizards Make Excellent Pets

New York
You Have The Right To Remain Silent,
You Have The Right To An Attorney...
And No Right To Self Defense!

North Carolina
Tobacco Is A Vegetable

North Dakota
We Really Are One Of The 50 States!

At Least We're Not Michigan

Like The Play, But No Singing

Spotted Owl ... It's What's For Dinner

Cook With Coal

Rhode Island
We're Not REALLY An Island

South Carolina
Remember The Civil War?
Well, We Didn't Actually Surrender Yet

South Dakota
Closer Than North Dakota

Home of the Al Gore Invention Museum.

Se Hable Ingles

Our Jesus Is Better Than Your Jesus

Too liberal for the Kennedys

Who Says Government Stiffs And Slackjaw Yokels Don't Mix?

Our Governor can out-fraud your Governor!

West Virginia
One Big Happy Family ... Really!

Come Cut the Cheese!

Where Men Are Men... And Sheep Are Scared
(Home of Brokeback Mtn.)

The District of Columbia
The Work-Free Drug Place!

Wally on Goals

This cartoon reminded me of the many, many, many ... many business goals that I have set in my life. Years ago, back at the Phone Farm, we had a program called Manipulation (er, Management) by Objectives (MBO). Each year you would set new and exciting objectives for the year and at the end of the year you were supposed to be compensated by how well you met those MBOs (as they were affectionately called) ... I am really having a hard time not laughing out loud as I am remembering this. Well, at the end of the year these MBOs were never looked at and people were compensated by some unknown formula that included good looks, popularity, friendship, hard work, and circumstances - among other things. This system of rewarding the faithful bred a cynicism of sorts where goals were never taken too seriously.

So, going back to the cartoon, I was intrigued the way that Wally said "I thought you said my goals". Don't you love Wally - he seems to cut through the dross and get to the heart of things. Back to me. Somewhere in the late 1980s upper management started telling us technical managers "You manage your own career". I cynically interpreted that as you don't really care about my career and began upsetting people by "managing my career". I also began managing my retirement about that same time taking ownership, not only of my retirement savings, but of what I wanted to do when I retired. Going back to Wally, I started to think about my goals.

In hindsight I have to say that my plans have not all worked out and my goals have not been all accomplished but ... and this is an important but ... some of my goals have happened and some of them are happening. My advice to you ... especially if you are younger than me ... is to be concerned about your goals ... start planning and doing things that will cause you to get a step or two closer to your goals ... and one day you might remember my advice and think kindly of me :)

Iraq: A Vote for the Record

House Democrats to vote on anti-war bill

WASHINGTON - House Democratic leaders circulated a nonbinding resolution Monday saying that Congress "disapproves of the decision of President George W. Bush President George W. Bush ... to deploy more than 20,000 additional United States combat troops to Iraq." Read more here.

This story got me wondering if it woud be a good idea for our national leaders to formally affirm or disaffirm their support for the Iraq war escalation. Despite what anyone thinks about the escalation is seems that our leaders should at least tell us formally where they are on it.

A side-bar on this one is the misperception that the number of escalation troops is around 20,000 troops ... the number will be at least twice that when you consider that additional support troops will be needed to support combat troops.

Flight Plan | ★★★★★★

Ann and I watched this movie on Saturday despite it's Two-Star rating. Maybe that rating was why I was surprised and liked the movie. The movie is all about terrorism and who a terrorist is. It takes a few predicatable turns and the outcome is pretty much what you expect. I suggest you try it if you like a bit of suspense and mystery.
On a scale of 10 I give this movie ★★★★★★

Can Bloggers Break This Record ?

6,124 couples kiss, break world record
More than 6,000 couples kissed simultaneously at midnight Saturday in the Philippines with organizers of the event claiming to have set a new world record.
Maybe we should set a date for a world-wide-blogger-kiss-in ... with your spouse/friend of course. How about this Wednesday at 10:30pm CST - just before Leno/Letterman? It is Valentines Day you know :)

Shotgun Wedding Store

"Your one-stop shop
for shotgun weddings."

Heresy Monopoly

Found this one on Dave's Blog.


I just couldn't resist.

I lifted this one from Rose.

Lost Virtue of Happiness

Christianity Today offers these comments in review of this book:
Everyone wants happiness, yet this country's record levels of depression, suicide, and general malaise attest to our limited success at achieving it. The problem, according to Moreland and Issler, may be the distorted belief that happiness resides in personal pleasure and self-satisfaction rather than in "a life well lived, a life of virtue and character, a life that manifests wisdom, kindness, and goodness." Read more here.
So what do you think about this whole idea that happiness is something that comes from living well? Do you think that there is a difference between happiness and joy?


Three and a half minutes of awe-inspiring video!
View an interview with Akiane here.


Bloglines is a free online service that I use to read news feeds and blogs. I also use it to track comments on blogs.

You can check it out here and use the subscribe link above to track my rantings.

Bible Reading Poll

A poll from the Better Bibles blog gives these results.

I may have asked this before but which translation are you currently reading and which is your favorite?

For me it doesn't get better than the NAS for study purposes but I am currently reading the NIV.

Putting a Face to Generosity

Last week I posted about the blessings of being generous. This story from USA Today presents us with a personification of a life lived with thrifty generosity.
Herb Linneweh, a shy retired janitor known for his "radical thriftiness," left a big surprise when he died last spring: cash-filled envelopes hidden throughout the house he had lived in for nearly 50 years. "It was a little over $100,000," Joanie Schwarzbeck, a friend and neighbor, said. "I had no idea he had that kind of money in his house--none."

That's easy to believe. The Chicago Tribune says "he wore his janitor's uniform long after he retired, sewing it back together as it frayed. He walked to a nearby bank every morning for a complimentary cup of coffee. And ... he declined to get a membership at Blockbuster: The library's movies, after all, were free. He never even bothered to get a doctor of his own."

All told, the 72-year-old bachelor was worth about $700,000. He left most of it to his church, a local food pantry, the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, the Salvation Army and the Make-a-Wish Foundation. Read more about Herb here.

I'm a Porsche 911!

You have a classic style, but you're up-to-date with the latest technology. You're ambitious, competitive, and you love to win. Performance, precision, and prestige - you're one of the elite,and you know it.

Take the Which Sports Car Are You? quiz.

Corporate Loyalty

Dilbert has such a knack for getting to the heart of things. When I saw this today I was reminded of my many years at AT&T and how service anniversaries (celebrated in 5 year increments) were sometimes celebrated. Mostly for me these were happy occasions. I got a tie tack (with AT&T logo) at 5 years, a key ring (with logo) at 10, a desk clock (with logo) at 15, a cordless phone (logo included) at 20 and 3 pieces of luggage (sans logo) at 25 - I got money when I retired at 27 years. Each of these occasions were accompanied by a celebration of sorts with cake and sometimes lunch.

So, for me, these celebrations were all a part of the larger issue of my loyalty to AT&T. Since I retired 8+ years ago this corporate loyalty seems to have been sacrificed on the altars of greed, outsourcing and indifference. Most of the folks that I worked with have either been layed off or now work for IBM - most lost their retirement benefits even though they had been there over 20 years. Corporations do not do many things that foster much loyalty anymore. I wonder where Corporate America will be when my children are ready to retire.

363 Tons and Whaddya Get

According to this story the U.S. Federal Reserve sent record payouts of more than $4 billion in cash to Baghdad on giant pallets (weighing 363 tons) aboard military planes shortly before the United States gave control back to Iraqis. It reminded me of this chorus from a Tennessee Ernie Ford song:
You load sixteen tons, what do you get
Another day older and deeper in debt
Saint Peter don't you call me 'cause I can't go
I owe my soul to the company store
Unfortunately, in the case of this $4 billion, this is a debt that the people of Iraq will probably never repay.

Shacking Up

In this AP story Jim Carrey says he and his lady love, Jenny McCarthy, aren't planning to get married. "No, we're never getting married, but we're never getting divorced, which is fantastic," the 45-year-old actor says on Tuesday's edition of "Access Hollywood."

More and more these days the words "living together" seem to be the words that describe a growing normative lifestyle in America. Celebrities like these folks are misguided role models that give creedance to be married without the exchanging of rings. I wonder what society will look like in 25 years.

Supersize Me!

Always be specific when you say "Supersize Me!" -- Therese Z

Elijah Sims

Sometimes blogging can bring an unexpected blessing to my morning. This morning was one such time as I read a few excerpts from Elijah Sims' (the son of fellow blogger Danny Sims) journal of his missions trip to the Philippines. The picture to the right is one of Elijah holding the head of a person having a tooth pulled. Here is an excerpt from his excerpts:

We then headed to the Sunrise clinic to help with the medical and dental mission. I held people’s heads still while they had their teeth pulled out. I had to step away 3 times because I felt sick from the cracking, snapping, and blood squirting… My friend Luke literally dragged me into the room where Luke’s Uncle Sam was performing surgery on people’s cysts. I was forced to see a woman be sewn up and then Luke set me free… I saw many sad and strange things today.”

Hats off to you Elijah from a friend and coworker in God's Kingdom.

Tony Dungy on Winning

"I'm proud to be the first African-American coach to win this," said Dungy during the trophy ceremony Sunday night, according to the Associated Press. "But again, more than anything, Lovie Smith and I are not only African-American but also Christian coaches, showing you can do it the Lord's way. We're more proud of that."
We are proud of you Tony for serving the Lord and testifying of Him.

US Budget

I got curious about our national budget, googled around looking for a pie-chart and found this chart at an anti-war website. The numbers are pretty staggering and explain why military spending is such an important topic of discussion when we consider how we are going to pay down the national debt which is now in the trillions. Anyone out there have a better pie-chart? I'll use it if you do.

National Prayer Breakfast

A few excerpts from Lisa Miller, an editor at the Washingtom Post, on her experience at this year's National Prayer Breakfast:
I am Jewish and the National Prayer Breakfast is an assembly of mostly Christians, with the express purpose of giving people “understanding, confidence and hope for the future through a deepening relationship with Jesus.”...

Imagine my surprise, then, when I found myself moved nearly to tears, not once or twice but several times during the breakfast...

The oddball highlight of the morning, though, was offered by Dr. Francis Collins, director of the Human Genome Project, believer in Christ and world-famous geneticist. In his keynote speech, Collins gave a passionate defense of the intertwining of faith and science, insisting that one point of view does not automatically negate the other. Then, as punctuation, the scientist pulled out an acoustic guitar, and like a wacky nursery school teacher, sang a hymn that glorified human wisdom and knowledge.

No one but a geek, as he called himself, could have pulled off such a stunt without drawing the derision of the crowd. But Collins is a geek and soon all 3,400 guests – from the Ukraine, Senegal, Belize, Texas, Virginia, and Brooklyn – were singing along. In that moment I saw what I wish the people trapped on both sides of the culture wars could see: That there is a time and place for talking about God in an earnest, personal, heartfelt way; that such talk is not, in itself, threatening or loaded; and that, if done honestly, with intelligence, humor and humility, can inspire people to feel the miracle—and the responsibilities—of human existence. Read more here.
Lisa also reflected on the president's appearance and how he seemed a bit defensive. I echo her sentiments about earnest, personal, heartfelt communication about God. I wouldn't blog if I didn't :)

Little Miss Sunshine | ★★★★★★★

02/03 Update: At her request, Ann and I viewed this movie last night and I have to admit that I was underwhelmed. I think that I would have enjoyed it more if the buzz on it had not been so high - it is Oscar nominated you know. That said I have to admit that it was fairly enjoyable, poignant and funny at times much like National Lampoon's Vacation. Ann enjoyed it more than I did. On a scale of 10 I give this movie ★★★★★★★

From Stephanie's (Come What May) Best of '06 - Movies post:
I love Toni Collette and adore every movie I've seen her in. Then you add Steve Carell, Alan Arkin and Greg Kinnear? This tiny little independant movie was the most enjoyable thing I saw from the silver screen all year.When all the critics starting raving I was skeptical - because I always am. But this time I agree with them. This movie was an absolute delight from beginning to end, and if I don't see it showered with awards I will be bitter. It has the one of the more unique story lines in independant film that actually reflects real life without being dull or pretentious. You know how hard that is to come across? It is for this reason, I call Little Miss Sunshine the stand-out movie of the year.
Don't know about you but this one is now on my DVD list ... my wife tried to get me to see it when it was in the theaters but I panned it for some unknown (macho) reason :)

The Beatles and The Gospel

I grew up listening to the Beatles in my teen years. I can still flash back to the first time that I heard She Loves You - simply sublime ... for a Junior Higher anyway. During my ten years I saw the Beatles' music go mystically dark and over time I lost interest in them and their music. So I was interested when I saw an article in the paper this morning on this book.

Steve Turner, author of The Gospel According to The Beatles , was recently interviewed by INFUZE. Here are a few excerpts from the interview:
I spent my teenage years listening to the Beatles. The very first article I ever wrote was on the Beatles for their fan magazine The Beatles Monthly. I've always found them exciting and interesting so it's a great pleasure to be able to investigate them in more depth.

As a Christian I've always been interested in the way they fused their changing beliefs with their music and how the music in turn affected a whole generation. So this is what the book investigates and hopefully people will learn about the Beatles, the Sixties and how they affected each other...

The book goes into their changing beliefs starting with their upbringing in different churches and ending with what they believed before they died (in the case of John and George) and what they seem to believe today (in the case of Paul and Ringo). I explain their gospel as one of expanded consciousness. They identified the problam in a song like "Nowhere Man" ("He's as blind as he can be...").

All the answers they came up with, whether it was drugs or eastern spirituial practices, had expanded consciousness as their goal. They believed that a child naturally has this consciousness and yet we lose it as we grow older. If we regain it, we see everything with a greater degree of clarity and are able to enjoy the present momenet rather than get hung up either on the past or the future...

It just gives me a deeper understanding of their view and how it did affect and continues to affect society. People who are now in important decision-making positions are people who grew up on The Beatles. Read more here.

The Prognosticator

Who else could it be?

Epic Spoof Movies

Christianity Today's review of Epic Movie got me thinking about how I like movies that spoof other movies. I guess I like them because it helps me not to take myself too seriously. Leslie Nielson has done some great, albeit lame, spoof movies like Airplane, Repossessed, The Naked Gun movies, and more recently the Scary Movie movies.

Too bad that many of the later genre of these movies include questionable and rather nasty content. Don't think that I'll be seeing Epic Movie. Will you pass, catch it at the theater or wait for DVD?

Big Bird or Fozzie Bear?

Don't you just love these online tests? Karen referred me to The Sesame Street Personality Quiz that told that I have a Big Bird personality. They said this about me:
Talented, smart, and friendly... you're also one of the sanest people around.

You are usually feeling: Happy. From riding a unicycle to writing poetry, you have plenty of hobbies to keep you busy.

You are famous for: Being a friend to everyone. Even the grumpiest person gets along with you.

How you live your life: Joyfully. "Super. Duper. Flooper."
This assessment really confuses me because I was once analyzed and told that I resembled another muppet. So who am I? Big Bird or Fozzie? And who are you?

We Blog Cartoons

I regularly visit Dave Walker's Cartoon Blog ... his cartoons adorn the bottom right side of this blogsite as well as my other blogsite. Today Dave referenced a review from Christian Marketplace. To honor of Dave's work I quote the review below:
A Review by John Leach

A relative newcomer to the Church Times, Dave Walker produces a weekly cartoon guide to the oddities of the Church of England, and this book is his fi rst published collection. Dave serves the vital function of comedians down the ages: he helps us to laugh at ourselves and our strange and surreal ways, and he may even be a catalyst for change, although of course if we became too normal we’d put him out of business. Like his fellow cartoonist Ron Wood, of St Gargoyle’s fame, Dave insists that what he has drawn is based on real-life experiences in various churches. I think his cartoons are works of genius, and he deserves you to stock them and sell them!

What Seperates Us from the Apes

Maybe Coffee Is Not All Bad :)

Home Schooling

Jason at Antioch Road does a book review of Home Schooling: The Right Choice, by Christopher Klicka. It got me to thinking.
I have been around the homeschooling movement for about 25+ years and have seen it from different angles. What always impresses most is the young men and women who have been homeschooled most of their lives. These 20+ year olds are impressive and do seem to be a bit different in a very positive way.

I wonder if the key to their success is that they mainly interact with adults and are not exposed to unhealthy peer pressures at school. I think that the evolution of the public school system was one of the main changes in 20th Century American culture. Before this time schooling was either at home or in a small school atmosphere.

Maybe homeschooling works so well because it capitalizes on an environment that bonds parents and children ... one where peers and teachers are not the predominant influencers in children's lives.

Have you had any experience with this phenomenon? Any suggestions for people considering this education alternative. And for the record we did not home school our children.