WWW: Hot Sauce Surgery

In this edition of Weird World Wednesday, I submit to you this excerpt from this AP medical article:

Devil's Revenge. Spontaneous Combustion. Hot sauces have names like that for a reason. Now scientists are testing if the stuff that makes the sauces so savage can tame the pain of surgery. Doctors are dripping the chemical that gives chili peppers their fire directly into open wounds during knee replacement and a few other highly painful operations.

The Big Religious Picture

This 90 second animation is one of the best I have seen. HT to Scott.

Dr No

This just in from the Baltimore Sun:
Tonight thanks to Leno, a few million Americans who've never heard of the man with two first names, will get their first exposure to a representative known in Congress as Dr. No for his anti-spending votes.
Here is what I found on a AKA Dr No post at Digg
Republican Presidential candidate Ron Paul has never voted to raise taxes or Congressional pay. He has always voted against USA PATRIOT Act, The Military Commissions Act, and the Iraq War.
I watched Ron Paul on Leno last night and, while I like many of his positions on social, fiscal and foreign policy issues, I don't think that America is ready for him.. he is just too honest for us.. I think we will say no to Dr No L

33 Seconds of Laughter

HT to Rose. I am still laughing!

Egalitarian Definition

From Suzanne McCarthy at Complegalitarian:

These are definitions for egalitarian which I have found on the web and elsewhere, which represent what I believe it means to be egalitarian.

=> a society without formalized differences in the access to power, influence, and wealth

=> relating to the principle of equal rights and opportunities for all

=> a person who believes in the equality of all people

=> classless: favoring social equality; "a classless society"

=> Egalitarianism (derived from the French word égal, meaning equal or level) is the moral doctrine that people should be treated as equals, in some respect. Generally it applies to being held equal under the law, the church, and society at large.

=> A term referring to societies that do not have a graded order of inequality in ranks, statuses, or decision makers

All mighty soap

This one from a distant relative
just made me smile.

Scarier Next Year

Hillary Clinton is the top choice when people are asked which major 2008 presidential candidate would make the scariest Halloween costume. Thirty-seven percent in an AP-Ipsos survey this month chose the New York senator. Fourteen percent selected former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

These costumes aren't so scary today but could really be frightening next year if they represent our presidential choices.

High School in Brooklyn

From 1963-1965 I attended Brooklyn Technical High School, a 6,000 student all boys engineering magnate type of high school. The school itself was an intimidating edifice.. 11 stories tall and a one square city block footprint.. the curriculum and the teachers were even more intimidating. In addition to these challenges I travelled one and a half hours each way to school. 30 minutes on a bus. 30 minutes on the Staten Island Ferry. 30 minutes on the subway.

One and a half years after enrolling, struggling to maintain a "B" average, I had an attack of appendicitis. Weeks later I found myself enrolled by my parents at my local high school - which I sometimes walked (about 3 miles) to. I sailed through the remainder of my school experience and lost most of the study ethic I have developed in Brooklyn.

A number of years I ago I talked with my mom about that experience and realized that my mom saw my illness as an opportunity to pull me out of dangerous Brooklyn. She shared with me of how she worried everyday I travelled to Brooklyn. It was a place where violence was frequent in that era. And I was not a big kid. My mom did what she believed to be in my best interest. I still wonder if it really was. My deficient study ethic came into full bloom in college.

The moral, I think, is that we need to understand the inner motives that drive us to make decisions for our children. Sometimes fear and other negative inner forces can drive us to act in certain ways. I certainly did with my children. Letting our teenagers go and trusting their wisdom can be very difficult - not that I know what I am talking about. ツ

Museum of the Future

I found this editorial in a British newspaper about the opening of the "London, Sugar and Slavery" museum to be a fitting follow-up to our earlier discussion of abortion. In the piece the author says a few noteworthy things as he makes a comparison between abortion and slavery. Here are a few excerpts that I thought noteworthy:
Dawn Primarolo, ... the health minister, was telling the Commons Science and Technology Committee that there was no justification for lowering the limit for abortion below the current 24 weeks. In doing so, she was going against those who argue that medical advances now make it easier for children born before 24 weeks to survive. As if timing it to undermine Miss Primarolo's position, Millie McDonagh, who was born in Manchester aged 22 weeks, celebrated her first birthday the following day, photographed with her mother in the newspapers.
I found it interesting that the UK prohibits abortions after 24 weeks. He continues the piece looking at the new slavery museum and envisioning a future one.
I found myself wondering how abortion will be viewed by museum curators, teachers, historians and moralists 200 years from now.

As the slavery exhibition shows, something that one generation accepts readily enough is often seen as abhorrent by its descendants – so abhorrent, in fact, that people find it almost impossible to understand how it could have been countenanced in a supposedly civilised society.

How could people not see that Africans should not be bought and sold for the convenience of our trade or our domestic life? We reserve particular scorn for those who sought to justify slavery on moral grounds. We look at the moral blindness of the past, and tut-tut, rather complacently.

It is not hard to imagine how a future Museum of London exhibition about abortion could go. It could buy up a 20th-century hospital building as its space, and take visitors round, showing them how, in one ward, staff were trying to save the lives of premature babies while, in the next, they were killing them.
I'll end with this excerpt ... I think that it somewhat reflects our previous conversation.
In many ways, I accept, such a museum of the future would be extremely unfair. We anti-abortionists should not paint all those who disagree with us as callous. Many of those who support abortion have a deep concern about the horrors of an unwanted child, not realising that the culture of abortion is one that promotes unwantedness.

Others worry about world population growth. For reasons too long to explain here, I think they are mistaken, but I would certainly not want to argue that this automatically makes them haters of the human race. We should be conscious of how genuinely difficult some of the situations of a pregnant woman can be. We should think more of help and less of condemnation.
More of a help and less condemnation.. something we can all agree on.

Words in Red

This article talks about Bibles with the words of Christ printed in red. It got me to wondering if I really liked the idea or not. Sometimes things like this become institutionalized over time and we, taking them for granted, don't question their influence or value in our lives.

Good and bad habits fall into this category as well as theology and other kinds of thinking. I think that it is often wise to reevaluate these types of things questioning when we embraced them and why we still hold them so dearly.. not that I plan to get rid of my red letter editions J

Who is Mike Huckabee?

A few excerpts from yesterday's
Wall Street Journal editorial titled:

Another Man From Hope

Betsy Hagan, Arkansas director of the conservative Eagle Forum and a key backer of his early runs for office, was once "his No. 1 fan." She was bitterly disappointed with his record. "He was pro-life and pro-gun, but otherwise a liberal," she says. "Just like Bill Clinton he will charm you, but don't be surprised if he takes a completely different turn in office."

Phyllis Schlafly, president of the national Eagle Forum, is even more blunt. "He destroyed the conservative movement in Arkansas, and left the Republican Party a shambles," she says. "Yet some of the same evangelicals who sold us on George W. Bush as a 'compassionate conservative' are now trying to sell us on Mike Huckabee."

I guess I was intrigued by the Eagle Forum comments because of the mention of the 'compassionate conservative' that I twice vote for. My disappointment with our current president and many who call themselevs conservatives is that they do not embrace fiscal conservatism and play on many of our social conservative leanings manipulating us with 'life' issues as they continue to spend our money like flaming liberals.
To be fair, you will want to read this rebuttal of the WSJ editorial. The rebuttal says that the Eagle Forum disappointment stems from Huckabee's positions on immigration. Take a look at both and judge for yourself.

New Blogger Feature

I really like this follow-up ability!

Supernatural Perspective

Put me down with no, yes, no, no, no! Now if the questions were about demons instead of ghosts.. spiritual gifts instead of ESP.. well that might be a different story J How would you have answered?

The Death Penalty

A high profile murder case in our Kansas City metro area that ended with a guilty verdict and (this just in today) death sentence for Lisa Montgomery has got me thinking about the death penalty again. Lisa's offence was pretty gruesome.. murdering a pregnant woman and cutting the baby from her body so that she could be a "mother". Lisa's attorneys argued insanity and I thought that, even though she was convicted of first degree murder, Lisa would receive a life sentence.. seemed the humane thing to do. Possibly the sentencing was a reflection of the gruesome nature of this murder.. I am not sure.. the jury heard all of the evidence and decide on a death sentence.

At one time I was pro-death-penalty. With the advent of DNA testing and the overturn of sentences for several death row inmates I have begun to wonder how much evidence shoud be required for a death penlty conviction. Now, for sure, I am not advocating a pro-death-penalty position.. I am actually now undecided on this issue.. just wondering how much evidence should be required to give someone the death penalty.

Movie Perspective

I guess one person's feast is another's horror flick! Can you relate to walking out of a movie theater just loving it and the person that sat next to you for the last two hours hated it. I felt that way about the first Lord of the Rings movie.. my wife loved it but I just thought it was okay.. don't write me off though.. I did get sucked into the story with the second and third Rings installments.. really loved the last one.

Have you had any movie experiences like this? What movie(s) did you disagree on? Feel free to share your horror story J

Dancing Environmentalist

Hattip to Therese and Bravely Anonymous!

Comparative Perspective

We all go through times when life, family and careers get a bit too much. In times like those it is good to get a bit of perspective.. things (usually) can be worse.. though it may not seem to be possible J

Aging Perspective

Cute story from my inbox.. Have you ever been guilty of looking at others your own age and thinking, "Surely I can't look that old?" Well.. you'll love this tale from a woman in her 60s!

I was sitting in the waiting room for my first appointment with a new dentist. I noticed his DDS diploma, which bore his full name. Suddenly, I remembered a tall, handsome, dark-haired boy with the same name had been in my high school class some 40-odd years ago. Could he be the same guy that I had a secret crush on, way back then?

Upon seeing him, however, I quickly discarded any such thought. This balding, gray-haired man with the deeply lined face was way too old to have been my classmate. After he examined my teeth, I asked him if he had attended Morgan Park High School.

"Yes. Yes, I did. I'm a mustang," he gleamed with pride.

"When did you graduate?" I asked.

He answered, "In 1959. Why do you ask?"

"You were in my class!" I exclaimed.

He looked at me closely. Then, that ugly, old, wrinkled, bald, fat, gray, decrepit man asked, "What did you teach?"


What do you see?

WWW: Toilet Shaped House

In this edition of Weird World Wednesday, I submit to you this computer graphic image of a toilet-shaped house 40km south of Seoul. The house owned by South Korean sanitation activist Sim Jae-Duck will be open on November 11 to mark the launch of the World Toilet Association.

Greatest Film Soundtrack

According to this Reuters article "Purple Rain" topped the chart of movie soundtracks that have been named as the 50 greatest by the editors at Vanity Fair.. even though it was described as "perhaps the best badly acted film ever". These films rounded out the top 10.
10) The Big Chill
9) American Graffiti
8) Saturday Night Fever
7) Trainspotting
6) Superfly
5) The Graduate
4) Pulp Fiction
3) The Harder They Come
2) A Hard Day's Night
1) Purple Rain
I was surprised that Grease didn't make the top 10. My favorite all time soundtrack is.. no surprise here.. Chariots of Fire. What is your favorite movie soundtrack? Don't think too hard.. okay if it just makes your top ten J

What's Wrong

What's wrong with this picture?

Greatest US Concern

I was in the bottom 3% on this one.. not sure why I selected it.. maybe because I will be eligible in a few years and no one is discussing it.. not even the presidential candidates. Which one would you have selected?

Don't Lose Your Song

10:22: This 10 minute video gives us a peek into why Lakewood Church and Joel Osteen is so successful. About halfway through the video.. after a song of worship.. Joel prays for and encourages people to hope in the Lord.. something I needed today.

In this 10 minute video you see another reason why Joel's messages succeed on so many levels. For those who think that his messages are just fluff I say watch this one.. and start believing in and bringing the best out of those around you.

10/17: I needed this message today. If you have never listened to Joel Osteen you might want to watch.. try it for 10 minutes.. and remember to make melody in your heart today.. it might change your day.

Better than Romeo and Juliet

N.Y. couple also a perfect genetic match

An engaged couple in Manhasset, N.Y., found out they were even genetically compatible when they were forced to share a kidney before their marital vows.

The unusual situation came about this year when 23-year-old Jarena Bates suffered kidney failure, prompting her fiance to offer one of his own kidneys should they prove compatible, the New York Daily News said Saturday. Tests showed Tyehesian Johnson was genetically compatible to his fiance and last week they went under the knife in what has been called a successful transplant surgery.

Their surgeon, Dr. Ernesto Molmenti, said the situation reminded him of one of the oldest literary tales of romance known worldwide. "They had matching blood types and genetics," Molmenti said. "Their story is better than that of Romeo and Juliet."

The newspaper said Bates has already started calling her fiance her "angel" in recognition of his extraordinary engagement present. "God brought him here to protect me, and I love him for it," she said of her future husband.

Valerie Plame Wilson

If you did not catch the 60 Minutes interview with this former CIA covert operative who was betrayed by the White House administration you can catch it here and here.

I found Valerie to be intelligent and her story to be very credible. I think President Bush embarrassed himself and the office of the president when he hung her out to dry and commuted Scooter Libby's jail sentence.

Bob Dole

Kansas' favorite political son has a great wit.. a few of his quotes:

We're trying to get good pictures. Don't worry very much about what I say.

You feel a little older in the morning. By noon I feel about 55.

The internet is a great way to get on the net.

If you're hanging around with nothing to do and the zoo is closed, come over to the Senate. You'll get the same kind of feeling and you won't have to pay.

History buffs probably noted the reunion at a Washington party a few weeks ago of three ex-presidents: Carter, Ford and Nixon - See No Evil, Hear No Evil and Evil.

Elizabeth's back at the red cross, and I'm walking the dog. At least she's the president of something, which is more than I can say.

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia

A few excerpts from this Philly.com article titled
Scalia opines on faith and justice:

Devout U.S. Catholics like himself may stand apart from much of the nation on abortion, homosexuality, and embryonic stem-cell research, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia told a packed audience at Villanova University yesterday, but he insisted "there is no such thing as a 'Catholic judge.'" "The bottom line is that the Catholic faith seems to me to have little effect on my work as a judge," he declared.

"Just as there is no 'Catholic' way to cook a hamburger," he said to a murmur of laughter, "I am hard-pressed to tell you of a single opinion of mine that would have come out differently if I were not Catholic." Nonetheless, he continued, his Catholic faith obliges him to abide by two "commands" in his life and his work as a judge.
"'Be thou perfect as thy heavenly Father is perfect.'
And 'Thou shalt not lie,'" he said.
Those principles, he said, call him to be a strict constructionist of the law, one who does not "distort prior cases" or the Constitution in order to assert that certain rights are guaranteed under law.

As a result, he said, "I see no constitutional right to an abortion, just as I see nothing in [the Constitution] criminalizing or prohibiting abortion."
He concluded that Americans should disabuse themselves of the notion that "everything you care about personally is in the Constitution." "Well, it's not," he said. "What it says, it says. What it does not say, it does not say. "If that makes you sad, well . . . ," and he dropped his voice to a whisper: "It's not a perfect world."

Left My Fix in San Francisco

San Francisco considers injection room

City health officials took steps Thursday toward opening the nation's first legal safe-injection room, where addicts could shoot up heroin, cocaine and other drugs under the supervision of nurses.

Hoping to reduce San Francisco's high rate of fatal drug overdoses, the public health department co-sponsored a symposium on the only such facility in North America, a four-year-old Vancouver site where an estimated 700 intravenous users a day self-administer narcotics under the supervision of nurses.
Bertha Madras, deputy director of demand reduction for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, called San Francisco's consideration of such a facility "disconcerting" and "poor public policy."

"The underlying philosophy is, 'We accept drug addiction, we accept the state of affairs as acceptable,'" Madras said. "This is a form of giving up."

Just when you thought that you couldn't be surprised. Maybe this 'solution' could work if it was a way up and out.. if it was incorporated into a larger plan to get people free of drugs.. and not a way to institutionalize a bad idea that strengthens the hold of drugs on people.

Strength Over Silence

10/21: Saw a re-broadcast of Hilary's interview today.. wow!

5/6: This morning I listened to one of the most courageous 19 year olds. Hilary Griffith is the current Miss Arizona. Her platform is not world peace - it is titled Strength Over Silence: Rape Awareness and Recovery.

Here are a few words that she has written:

I know God was with me during the rape. I prayed throughout those 45 minutes, and I had “God thoughts” that I know were not of my own mind. I remember thinking that I needed to forgive the man that was raping me.

God did not abandon me during the rape, and He has never left me since.

Christ has helped me get through the toughest time of my life. With His help, I was able to win the Miss Scottsdale pageant four days after the rape, and I have since changed my community service platform to “Strength Over Silence: Rape Awareness and Recovery.” God has opened so many doors for me to speak about my experience, share my testimony, and raise awareness about rape. He is definitely taking this awful event and using it for His glory.
Young people like Hilary give me a glimpse of hope for our future. Her courage and faith is inspiring. God bless her as she shares her story and overcomes evil with good.

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Pearlie's post of Celtic Woman's version of Rainbow made me want to listen to the version from The Wizard of Oz. Listen to both versions and let me know which one you prefer. My vote is for Dorothy.. but then again I am from Kansas J

Values Voters Straw Poll Results

Mitt Romney increased his already growing credibility with evangelical Christians on Saturday afternoon with a surprise win in the Family Research Council’s “2008 American Values Straw Poll.” The results:
First – Mitt Romney – 1,595 votes

Second – Mike Huckabee – 1,565 votes

Third – Ron Paul – 865 votes

Fourth – Fred Thompson – 564 votes

A total of 5,576 votes were cast.
The results didn't surprise me.. these value voters.. like most of us.. are wanting a candidate that can win.

The Year of Living Biblically

10/20 Update: An interesting email dialog with the author.. a few excerpts:
At heart, this is a seeker's book, a doubter's odyssey.
In my experience, most people I know who fall away from religion do so because they are put off by legalism and dogmatism. You, who grew up as a godless heathen, and never suffered any of that, seem to find solace in the almost comically legalistic sections of the Bible.
By the end of your story, you still claim to be an agnostic, albeit one who prays a lot. It has me wondering—can I believe your unbelief?

I'm delighted that you thought I went beyond the surface to look for deeper meanings and wrestle with the Bible. To be biblically honest, I had two simultaneous—and slightly paradoxical—motivations for the book. On the one hand, I did want to play pin the tail on the fundies, as you put it.
At the same time, since I grew up a godless heathen, as you say, I wanted to take an earnest spiritual journey. I wanted to see if I was missing anything. I wanted to see what I could find in the Bible that might be relevant and enhance my life.
The entire dialog is worth reading if you have the time.

10/9: I saw the book's author on The Today Show on Monday and found him to be an interesting character. He seems to have read the biblical text but somehow missed the message of the bible.. at least the New Testament message.

Here is an excerpt from a Newsweek article that talks about the book:

After A. J. Jacobs spent a year reading the entire Encyclopedia Britannica for his book “The Know-It-All,” he figured he had the yearlong experiment thing down. How much harder could it be to follow every rule in the Bible? Much, much harder, he soon discovered, as he found himself growing his beard, struggling not to curse and asking strangers for permission to stone them for adultery. Jacobs spent the year carrying around a stapled list of the more than 700 rules and prohibitions identified in the Good Book, and also consulted with religious leaders and spent time with the Amish, Hassidic Jews and Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Chinese Morality

Sarah's post made me think of this picture that I took in China in 1987.

Please Come to KC Joe Torre

10/20 Update: Joe's not coming to KC. 44-year-old Trey Hillman was hired by the Royals. He has never played, coached or managed in the majors. But he was always successful as a minor league manager, and his Nippon Ham Fighters are playing in the Japan Series for the second consecutive year. Sorry Joe.. welcome to KC Trey!
10/18: According to this article:
Joe Torre rejected a one-year contract offer to return as manager of the New York Yankees, turning down Thursday a deal that would have meant a pay cut unless the team won the 2008 World Series.
And in a totally unrelated KC Star article:
The Royals appear to be closing in on a choice for their new manager — and it could include a Japanese twist. Sources close to the process indicate a decision could be announced early next week, before the start of the World Series, and say the club is looking at someone currently managing in Japan.
I am not sure that the Royals can afford Joe.. but I guy can dream can't he J

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

A Washington Post article says that
Most PTSD Treatments Not Proven Effective

Here are a few excerpts from it:

The majority of treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder that are used to treat hundreds of thousands of veterans lack rigorous scientific evidence that they are effective, according to a report issued yesterday by a panel of the federal government's top scientists. The report by the National Academies emphasized that the therapies might not be useless. Rather, it said, the evidence is weak when it comes to drawing any kind of conclusion about most of them. The findings of the panel, widely considered the nation's most influential scientific arbiter, will have far-reaching consequences. The report comes when awareness of PTSD has risen as a result of its incidence among veterans returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"A very high percentage of people who have been diagnosed with PTSD are on medications," said Larry Scott, the founder of the advocacy group VA Watchdog dot Org, which serves as an information clearinghouse for veterans. Most of the evidence supporting the use of medications and psychological therapies for PTSD has been assembled by pharmaceutical companies that make the drugs or by researchers with conflicts of interest in the outcome of the studies, and lack independent and rigorous proof, the report said.
Edna B. Foa, a professor of clinical psychology in the department of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania, and one of the pioneers in developing exposure therapy as a PTSD treatment said the technique was based on the insight that many victims of trauma do all they can to avoid being reminded of traumatic events. A rape victim might avoid going out in the evenings, while someone injured in an auto accident might avoid getting into any kind of vehicle. Soldiers might avoid movies or TV shows about war.

Two things happen in this process, Foa said. Patients come to replace actual recollections of trauma with other perceptions -- taking on blame and guilt, for example, for being afraid. Second, by avoiding situations, patients can fail to see that much of life is not dangerous -- the movie is only fiction. Foa said she has patients recount traumatic events aloud with their eyes closed. She records the patient, and then has the patient listen to the tape repeatedly.
"People don't recover because they avoid thinking about the trauma," Foa said. "Every time the trauma comes to the mind, they push it away. They don't allow themselves to process and digest the memory, so it keeps on haunting them with nightmares, flashbacks."
Foa also has patients make lists of situations that trigger anxiety and encourages them to deliberately expose themselves to the least-frightening situation. As people realize that many situations are harmless, Foa said they replace images of self-doubt and helplessness with a more healthy outlook.

Johnny Cash

If you watch these two videos you can only come away with one thought.. Johnny Cash, like fine wine, improved with age!

Here are a few quotes from the rock and country legend:

“You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone. Close the door on the past. You don't try to forget the mistakes, but you don't dwell on it. You don't let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space.”

“I start a lot more songs than I finish, because I realize when I get into them, they're no good. I don't throw them away, I just put them away, store them, get them out of sight.”

"I've probably had the equivalent of college in the roads I've traveled since then, but it would have been great to go from high school right into college to study music and literature."

“The Master of Life's been good to me. He has given me strength to face past illnesses, and victory in the face of defeat. He has given me life and joy where other saw oblivion. He Has given new purpose to live for, new services to render and old wounds to heal. Life and love go on, let the music play.”

New Presidential Candidate

10/19 Update: Nephos asked for it!

10/18: Finally there is a new candidate on the scene that we can all get behind.

Stephen Colbert has announced his candidacy for president on "The Colbert Report," tossing his satirical hat into the ring of an already crowded race.

"I shall seek the office of the president of the United States," Colbert said Tuesday on his Comedy Central show as red, white and blue balloons fell around him.

Colbert, 43, had recently satirized the coyness of would-be presidential candidates by refusing to disclose whether he would seek the country's highest office — a refusal that often came without any prompting.

Really, could he be any worse than some of the folks running J

Sam Brownback to Withdraw

According to this AP article:
Republican Sen. Sam Brownback, the Kansas conservative who struggled to raise money and gain recognition in the 2008 presidential campaign, will drop out on Friday, people close to him said Thursday.
This announcement comes on the heels of this Christianity Today Interview, posted today, that says in part:

CT: Do you see abortion as a significant part of this campaign?

SB: I see it as the lead moral issue of our day, just like slavery was the lead moral issue 150 years ago.

CT: Why do you think evangelicals are not rallying behind you in light of your pro-life stance?

SB: There's a combination of things. One is that I am not as highly visible as some of the other candidates. Second, we haven't raised the amount of funds that some of other candidates have. I think there is a general position on our side that people are watching and waiting. They're waiting to see the candidates run for a while before [they] decide. It is very early. Some people are tired, just of politics, saying, "I'm just weary."

CT: At what point would you withdraw from the race?

SB: I'm not going to. I have said we need to finish in the top four in the Iowa caucuses. We just haven't gotten hardly any media coverage, particularly if you compare me to Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama. We have got to crack through that, but the only way to do that is to perform, perform in the states.

The Congressional Gold Medal

According to this article China is upset that the US Congress awarded a gold medal to the Dalai Lama. I wasn't sure what the criteria for this award is so I looked it up and found out:
A Congressional Gold Medal is the highest civilian award which may be bestowed by the United States Congress, the legislative branch of the United States government. The decoration is awarded to any individual who performs an outstanding deed or act of service to the security, prosperity, and national interest of the United States. The honoree need not be an American citizen.
The past recipients of the award include: religious leaders, entertainers, US presidents, generals, foreign leaders, civil rights leaders, sports figures and others. File this one under award shows.

Analog TV Death Watch

According to this article Best Buy, the nation's largest consumer electronics chain, says it has pulled all analog televisions off store shelves. Flat panel and high-definition screens have taken their place. The Minneapolis-based chain says it told its stores to stop selling the products at the beginning of the month.

Beginning in February 2009, broadcasters plan to stop transmitting analog signals, although people with older sets can still get programming via special converter boxes, set-top box or direct satellite. After the first of the year, the government will be making available coupons that can be used to buy converter boxes. Best Buy will sell coupon-eligible converter boxes starting early next year.

Candidates on Outsourcing US Jobs

This is one of my all time favorite cartoons.. it really brings the overseas outsourcing of US jobs home to me.. albeit with a bit of a twist. Frankly, I wasn't too interested in this issue when many auto industry jobs were sent overseas.. sadly I only became interested when it affected the people that I knew and worked with.

Matt of From the Morning fame has been posting a series of Presidential Candidate [non]responses to his email inquiries to them about the overseas outsourcing of [IT] jobs. Here are a few of the candidates that have [non]responded:
Barack Obama .. John Edwards .. Mike Huckabee .. Duncan Hunter
If you are interested in this issue keep tuned in to Matt's blogsite to see if any of the other candidates respond or send a non-response.

WWW: Cheney is related to Obama

In this edition of Weird World Wednesday, I submit to you this excerpt from this Washingtom Post story:
Vice President Cheney is related to Sen. Barack Obama.

At least that was the stunning announcement made yesterday by Lynne Cheney, who said that the very white vice president from Wyoming is in fact the eighth cousin of Obama, the Senate's only African American member...

Obama, whose mother was white, did not immediately comment on the revelation. But his campaign made light of the tie, without confirming it. "Obviously, Dick Cheney is the black sheep of the family," Obama spokesman Bill Burton said.
I am not sure if the quote is attributed directly to Senator Obama but it did bring a smile to my face this morning J


In one of her great posts Barbara recently said:
There's a tag going around that asks: "What were you doing 10, 20 and 30 years ago".
Interesting question.. here are my answers:

10 Years Ago I was newly married (2 years) and starting my life afresh with Ann. We were dealing with teenagers in pain (grieving their Mom's death) and much of family life dealt with dealing with that pain. That year we began attending a new church (our first that we chose together). We were both healthy and walked two miles together most evenings. I was still working for AT&T and very happy about my work.. little did I know that in less than 1 year I would be retiring at age 49.

20 Years Ago I was living the good life.. see picture. My life was built around God, family and church. I loved every aspect of my life. My wife and I were raising a son (age 7) and daughter (age 3) and our lives were filled with so much life and joy. A few years later my wife would have a heart attack and the joy would be gone.. I didn't know how great things were.

30 Years Ago I was a living life as a new believer in Jesus. My wife and I had just moved to Kansas and I had just begun a new career as a computer programmer. The past pain of her three years of blindness seemed to be a distant past. Life was filled with joy and excitement as we travelled about sharing our story of how God had rescued us from physical and spiritual blindness.

Thanks Barbara for sharing your 10-20-30 story and inviting me to share mine. For the rest of you, I invite you to share your 10-20-30 story.. let me know if you share it at your blogsite.

Corporate Health Strategy

Civil Unions

On Friday California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed another homosexual marriage bill Friday, saying voters and the state Supreme Court, not lawmakers, should decide the issue. He also said that he supports state laws that give domestic partners many of the rights and responsibilities of marriage.

This got me to wondering.. actually I have been pondering this for a while.. if domestic partnerships already afford many the rights and responsibilities of marriage.. why is it that civil authorities like state governments.. and not religious authorities like temples, mosques and churches.. determine who is married and who is not? It seems that civil authorities should validate contracts like civil unions and religious authorities validate covenants like marriage.

I think that I must be missing something because many religious folks seem to want more civil involvement in religious affairs advocating a Federal Marriage Amendment. I wonder what is the core issue on this topic? Are we religious folks opposed to both homosexual civil unions and marriages or just one of these? If we are consistent then it seems that we should be either for or against both. It seems that citizens have civil rights and as such may have a right to a civil union. In the same sense it seems that the government should not be in the middle of a covenant situation. Maybe someone can help me understand this one a bit better?

Fixated on a Closed Door

Incrementally ProLife

Jason recently linked to this post at the Evangelical Outpost. In it Joe Carter makes this delineation:
"There are two broad political camps in the pro-life community: the incrementalists and the absolutists.

The absolutists are political idealists. They want a "Human Life Amendment" and a Federal ban on all abortion. Some of them don't even want Roe overturned since it would give the power to the States.

Incremenatlists, on the other hand, are political realists. They know that the issue of abortion won't disappear when Roe is overturned. Their position is that the best that can be hoped for is that the issue be returned to the people and to the individual states...

I am a political realist, which is why I am an incrementalist."
I am also an incrementalist and think that we pro-lifers fight too much about the minutiae of 'life' amongst ourselves instead of banding together in our common beliefs and taking on pro-abortion forces in our country.

8 Random KB Facts

10/12 Update: Casey tagged me to reveal seven things about myself. As I don't have much new (that I haven't shared since.. search my PERSONAL tag if you want more) I thought that I would re-post this one. I absolve all previously mentioned bloggers from posting about themselves but do hereby tag one blogger that I like to visit: Sarah at Accidental Blog.
07/06 Update: I have been tagged again by a different Jason to tell eight things about me. As I cannot think of anything new to say, and nothing much has changed since May 8th, I will simply repost these answers.
Jason tagged me, asked me to give “8 Random Facts About Myself” and gave me the following instructions:
  • I have to post these rules before I give you the facts.
  • Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
  • People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
  • At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
  • Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.
Here are the KB facts:
    1. Food: I love Kansas City BBQ but have been known to stray towards that mustard based Southern BBQ Pork. Next to BBQ I think Alaskan King Crab is my favorite food - pizza is a close runner up. Like Jason I don't like tomatoes but like sauce and salsa.
    2. Family: I have a beautiful (in every way) wife, two great grown kids and two wonderful grandchildren: Jordan 5, Malia 3 1/2 ... I love being around them - they really wear me out.
    3. Exercise: I don't like to do it but I do water aerobics 3 times a week. I do it because it is one of the only ways I can get a cardio workout without hurting my bad ankles.
    4. Profession: I have been a pastor for the last two years. Before that I worked in software for 25+ years. I retired when I was 49.
    5. Obsession: I am obsessive and compulsive when it comes to computers. I am also somewhat of a neat freak.
    6. Faith: I am a one-time Charismatic Fundamentalist and still struggle with legalistic tendancies.
    7. Ailments: In the past 10 years have discovered that I have hemochromatosis, stomach problems and arthritis ... it is great getting old.
    8. Games: I have been shooting pool for 45 years, have a table in my basement and I'm still not very good.
All that said I now hereby tag the following: Karen, Barbara, Milly, Codepoke, Matt, Danny Kaye, Matt and Stephanie. Now go forth an randomly bare your souls :)


Okay, all of you Apple/Mac people can move on because this post is not for you. I want to recommend an Internet Explorer add-on that I have been using for over a year. It's name is SlimBrowser and can be downloaded here. Here is what the creators of it have to say:

SlimBrowser is a tabbed multiple-site browser. It incorporates a large collection of powerful features like built-in popup killer, skinned window frame, form filler, site group, quick-search, auto login, hidden sites, built-in commands and scripting, online translation, script error suppression, blacklist / whitelist filtering, URL Alias. It brings you convenient and comfortable browsing.

I particularly like the tab naming and URL alias features. Please let me know if you try it and if you like it.

Death With Dignity: My Stories

Thought that I would offer a personal follow-up to my previous post on the topic. I hadn't heard any real life stories yet so I thought that I would share mine with hopes that you would share yours:
1) At 43, my first wife had cardiac arrest with her heart, lungs and kidneys shutting down. I could have kept her alive with a respirator (against her wishes and her doctor's counsel) but chose to let her go to be with Jesus.

2) With my dad we chose not to insert a feeding tube when he had trouble swallowing after experiencing a stroke. He lived another 5 months and at times could eat solid food and drink thick liquids (like ensure). He was never in any pain, was in pretty good spirits often recognizing his family members, and died quietly one night. Possibly, if I was more 'pro-life' we would have done a feeding tube and all sorts of measures to keep him live into his 90s ... he was heading for 88 when he died.
These two events were intensely traumatic ones for my family.. no one ever wants to be in these decision making experiences.. it would be so much easier if we weren't faced with them.. which begs the question.. do you personally have a document with advance medical directives? If not, you can get some info by just googling 'living will'.. we did ours for free.

I guess I didn't share my stories to invite your second guessing of my family's actions but simply to share my experiences. Like many of you I think that there is a definite line between letting someone go to be with the Lord and helping them in that journey. One of the issues that often comes to bear is the 'letting go' on the part of the loved ones.. sometimes we make it more about us than the loved one who is suffering.

I think that we have probably covered the ethical and philosophical parts in our previous discussion.. perhaps some of you might have real life examples to share.. I'd like to hear your stories if you have any.

$500,000 Batman Comic

Holy collectibles, Batman!

A near-mint copy of Detective Comics No. 27, a pre-World War II comic featuring Batman's debut, was recently found in an attic and sold to a local collector.

The comic is considered to be the second-most valuable available and can fetch up to $500,000. The only comic considered more valuable is Action Comics No. 1, in which Superman makes his first appearance.

Collector Todd McDevitt said the Batman issue he bought is worth about $250,000, but he won't say exactly how much he paid or who sold it to him.


10/11 Update: Looks like the Iraqi's may soon be eating cake!

10/9 Update: Accordng to this article Iraqi authorities want the U.S. government to sever all contracts in Iraq with Blackwater USA within six months. They also want the firm to pay $8 million in compensation to families of each of the 17 people killed when its guards sprayed a traffic circle with heavy machine gun fire last month. To which I say:

You can't always have your cake and eat it too!

Maybe the Iraqi government protesteth too much and too late.

9/21: This 2 minute video says that Blackwater Mercenaries are funded to the tune of $100 million by our US government. I guess that is the cost of not having enough US troops to wage the war. I have said it before that it is sad how our military is becoming a mercenary organization ... like Blackwater ... of course our soldiers don't receive $100,000 salaries like their mercenaries do.

Driving Sideways in the Future

According to this article:

Japan's Nissan Motor Co. on Friday unveiled a new version of its egg-shaped Pivo concept car that can drive sideways and has a small robot to assist with navigation or calm down angry drivers.

The Pivo 2 three-seater electric car has wheels that can turn 90 degrees for easy parallel parking. Like its predecessor, which was unveiled two years ago, the new Pivo has a cabin able to revolve 360 degrees, eliminating the need to reverse.

A round-eyed robot head sitting on the dashboard has cameras that can tell when a driver is getting sleepy. "You look tired. There's a coffee shop 500 metres ahead on the left," it told a driver with drooping eyelids during a recent demonstration.

It can also nod or shake its head, helping to improve the mood of irate or glum drivers. The car has "by-wire" technologies that use electric signals in the steering and braking.

Unlike the first Pivo, it has no axles. Instead it has four separate electric motors, allowing the wheels to turn further than a conventional car.

Death With Dignity?

This Pew Forum article discusses Oregon's 10 year old law permitting physicians to prescribe a lethal dose of drugs to certain terminally ill patients. The article says:
Oregon’s law applies only to patients who are terminally ill and likely to die within six months, a diagnosis that must be confirmed by two physicians. In addition, eligible patients must possess the mental capacity to give informed consent; cannot suffer from depression; and must sign a written declaration, in front of two witnesses, stating that they are mentally competent and acting voluntarily. Finally, while doctors may prescribe the lethal drugs, the dose must be administered by the patient. Between the time the statute was enacted in 1997 and the end of 2006, 292 terminally ill people had availed themselves of the right to end their lives, according to state records.
Do you have a living will or advanced medical directives? If so, what did you indicate about the measures to be taken to keep you alive if you are in a vegetative state? I opted to not be kept alive. Now I am not saying that both of these issues are the same.. just saying that many of us have already opted for death with dignity under certain conditions.

WWW: 6 Year Old Driver

In this edition of Weird World Wednesday, I submit to you this AP story:

6-year-old tries to drive to restaurant

A hungry 6-year-old grabbed his grandmother's car keys, positioned his child seat behind the steering wheel and tried to drive himself to an Applebee's restaurant.

He didn't get far.

Unable to take the car out of reverse, the boy backed up 75 feet from her house into a transformer Tuesday, knocking out electricity and phone service to dozens of townhouses in this suburb north of Denver.

No one was injured and the boy, whose name was not released, got out of his car and told his grandmother what happened.

"He proceeded to start the car and started backing up," said Sgt. Colleen O'Connell of the Broomfield Police Department. "He went backward about 47 feet, hit the curb, then went backward another 29 feet."

Investigators couldn't figure out how the boy reached the accelerator.

No charges will be filed.

"I have five children of my own, so I know you cannot watch them every minute they're awake," said nearby resident Nancy Hollis, whose power was knocked out by the accident.

Wealth In Perspective

To get this I entered $12,000 of yearly income here.

On Taking Credit

There are two kinds of people: Those who do the work and those who take the credit. Try to be in the first group because there is less competition there. - Indira Gandhi

No person will make a great business who wants to do it all himself or get all the credit. - Andrew Carnegie

A good leader takes a little more than his share of the blame, a little less than his share of the credit. - Arnold H. Glasgow

The world is divided into people who do things and people who get the credit. - Dwight Whitney Morrow

Political success is the ability, when the inevitable occurs, to get credit for it. - Laurence J. Peter

We always take credit for the good and attribute the bad to fortune. - Jean De La Fontaine

You can take no credit for beauty at sixteen. But if you are beautiful at sixty, it will be your soul's own doing. - Marie Carmichael Stopes

Business leaders often get credit for the successful decisions that were forced on them. - Oliver A. Fick

There is no limit to what a man can do or how far he can go if he doesn't mind who gets the credit. - Robert Woodruff

The Freedom to be Wrong

Brian recently wrote a post titled My Favorite Freedom. Here is an excerpt from this most enlightening and gracious post:
I am so grateful for the freedom to be wrong. I think of all my new found freedoms, it's the most precious to me. I engage in a lot of debates on various message boards on the Internet. One thing I've been observing lately is just how closely people identify with their ideas, beliefs and actions. Attack their beliefs and they think you are attacking them personally.
I think that Brian has captured the heart of why so many non-religious people are turned off by us religious types. I resonate with what Brian is saying and relate to many years when being right was more important than being righteous.

Redefining Marriage

In this article twice divorced Halle Berry said she has no plans to wed her current boyfriend/baby daddy Gabriel Aubry. She says:

"What Gabriel and I have decided is that
we will just redefine marriage for ourselves."

I wonder what that phrase "redefine marriage" means to Halle? What does it mean to you? What I hear is an echo of the deep pain and disappointment over two failed marriages. It is like she is saying, "I have twice followed the marriage rules and my heart got broken. I don't want to follow those same rules again". I think that this phenomenon of "commited couples" having babies is something that will continue to confront us as many try to redefine marriage and redefine our culture.

WiFi at 30,000 Feet

Board the plane, turn off your phone ... and surf the Web
By Alexandra Marks, Christian Science Monitor

NEW YORK - Coming soon to an airplane near you: broadband.

That's right, wireless Internet service that will allow passengers to send messages, surf the Web, and, yes, check in with the boss at 30,000 feet. American Airlines is first out of the starting gate domestically. It expects to have a test plane operating by December, and its whole transcontinental fleet of 767s ready in 2008. Virgin America is close on its heels with plans to equip every seat back with high-speed capability by mid-2008. And Alaska Airlines will run a test next spring and, based on its outcome, the company hopes to outfit its whole fleet.

How to Become a Famous Blogger

Dave at Cartoon Church gives all of us celebrity wannabes some good advice :) On the left side of the diagram I might include Michelle Malkin, Albert Mohler, Al Roker.. to name a few. On the right side I might include Matt Drudge, Michael Spencer, Scot McKnight.. and others. I know that I am missing many.. early morning funk setting in.. who do you think of on the left and right side of the cartoon?

Voting Values

Who Isn't A 'Values Voter'?
By George F. Will (Thursday, May 18, 2006)

An aggressively annoying new phrase in America's political lexicon is "values voters." It is used proudly by social conservatives, and carelessly by the media to denote such conservatives. This phrase diminishes our understanding of politics. It also is arrogant on the part of social conservatives and insulting to everyone else because it implies that only social conservatives vote to advance their values and everyone else votes to . . . well, it is unclear what they supposedly think they are doing with their ballots.
While I agree with George that many people are interested in and vote their values I also recognize that many many vote their political party and let that party identify what their values are. The good news is that, I think, more voters these days are independently informed about values and have the potential to vote their values. It will be interesting to see which values we embrace when we vote next year.

Theology of Intolerance

This video comes your way through a recommendation from Sarah at
accidental blog (recently added to my blogroll). Like Sarah I have never read anything written by Brian McLaren. I found this interview to be both informative and insightful. Brian discusses how he has responded to attacks on him and his books. He also speaks to (what I call) the theology of intolerance ... a theology I once embraced when I was a Charismatic Fundamentalist. The interview makes me want to go out and buy one of Brian's books - any recommendations for a first read?

Jon Stewart plays Hardball

Just Call Me Don Quixote

My earliest memory of the theatre was seeing Man of La Mancha on Broadway in 1968. I have loved that musical ever since and still well up with emotion when I hear The Impossible Dream.

To dream the impossible dream
To fight the unbeatable foe
To bear with unbearable sorrow
To run where the brave dare not go

To right the unrightable wrong
To love pure and chaste from afar
To try when your arms are too weary
To reach the unreachable star
And the world will be better for this,
That one man, scorned and covered with scars,
Still strove, with his last ounce of courage,
To reach the unreachable star

I sometimes think of myself, especially in my earlier years, as a windmill fighter ... siding with the underdog and always ... always fighting for 'the right'. I haven't changed a whole lot over the years except maybe in my understanding of what constitutes 'the right' :)


"A friend is a person with whom I may be sincere. Before him I may think aloud."- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Associate yourself with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for 'tis better to be alone than in bad company."- George Washington

"One loyal friend is worth ten thousand relatives."- Euripides

"Friendship is the only cement that will ever hold the world together"- Woodrow Wilson

"Misfortune shows those who are not really friends."- Aristotle

"Friendship is love without his wings"- Lord Byron

"The best mirror is an old friend."- George Herbert

"My best friend is the one who brings out the best in me."- Henry Ford

25 Manly Skills

My blog buddy Codepoke recently posted, in response to this Popular Mechanics list of 25 Skills Every Man Should Know, his manly exploits and conquests. I will do likewise but in a more condensed fashion:

1. Patch a radiator hose: Once upon a time I used to work on my cars using a timing light, tach/dwell meter ... but alas I no longer bother and pay another to even change my oil.

2. Protect your computer: I am a spyware, antivirus freak and do backups all the time.

3. Rescue a boater who has capsized: Not me

4. Frame a wall: Done all sorts of construction ... but not too good at it.

5. Retouch digital photos : Did this really make it? Yes, I use Picasa all the time.

6. Back up a trailer: I have never been able to do this ... even on my riding lawn mower.

7. Build a campfire: Haven't been camping in a while but I have built camp fires.

8. Fix a dead outlet: Replaced many of these guys.

9. Navigate with a map and compass: Nope, never ws a boy scout.

10. Use a torque wrench: Yes, my dad was a mechanic and had several of these guys.

11. Sharpen a knife: I have but my wife is actually better at it than I am.

12. Perform CPR: Only in a CPR class.

13. Fillet a fish: Nope

14. Maneuver a car out of a skid: I have and have not :(

15. Get a car unstuck: Brings back bad memories - but yes I have.

16. Back up data: Yes, see #2

17. Paint a room: Since I was about 7 years old I have been spackling and painting.

18. Mix concrete: Yes, someone needed to put that basketball hoop up.

19. Clean a bolt-action rifle: Yes, if you caount an M-16 - even though I hate guns.

20. Change oil and filter: Yes, see #2

21. Hook up an HDTV: Yes, but I have had to make many tweaks

22. Bleed brakes: Nope, too risky for my comfort level

23. Paddle a canoe: Yes, but this brings back some painful memories

24. Fix a bike flat: Grew up doing this all of the time.

25. Extend your wireless network: Yes, mostly at work.

I think I count 19 out of 25 affirmative responses. Maybe I am more manly than I think I am :)

Religious Censure

Today St Louis Roman Catholic Archbishop Raymond Burke indicated that he would refuse communion to presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani because of his pro-choice position. In response Rudy said that the archbishop had a right to his opinion. My purpose in posting today is not to debate that specific instance but to ask the question:

Should religious leaders censure politicians based on their political positions? If so, which leaders should censure?

In Rudy's case the censure is pretty inconsequential (at least to him personally) because Rudy doesn't live in St Louis but I think that a censure by Rudy's priest, bishop or the pope might be more impactful. But I guess what I am really thinking about is a censure by someone like Dr James Dobson who (in a sense) censured Fred Thomson because he did not support the Federal Marriage Amendment.

What do you think that the role of our religious leaders should be on issues like this? Should they assume the prophetic mantle of an Old Testament prophet and condemn (what they believe are somewhat) sinful political positions? It seems to me that our religious leaders do have a responsibility to be a prophetic voice but on what issues should they prophesy to our leaders about? Should they be censuring a candidate about their personal sins, their political positions or both?

The Five Browns

Just a very short video from these brothers and sisters.

Dr Barbara de Angelis on Love

Difficult times always create opportunities for you to
experience more love in your life.

I just want to get a Ph.D. in love.

Love and kindness are never wasted. They always make a difference. They bless the one who receives them, and they bless you, the giver.

Love is a choice you make from moment to moment.

Love is a force more formidable than any other. It is invisible - it cannot be seen or measured, yet it is powerful enough to transform you in a moment, and offer you more joy than any material possession could.

Love's greatest gift is its ability to make everything it touches sacred.

You never lose by loving. You always lose by holding back.

WWW: Bacon Salt

In this edition of Weird World Wednesday, I submit to you Bacon Salt. The brainchild of Justin and Dave, two bacon-loving former tech workers, the zero-calorie seasoning lets you add a bit of bacony goodness to any food product. It comes in three flavors--original, hickory, and peppered.