Monday, February 28, 2005

Three Tries for $1.00 and the Winner Gets a Giant Pink Teddy Bear

Welcome to all those linked from The Carnival of the Capitalists.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Musicians: You Are Now Obsolete.

A new (and apparently a rather dark) blogger named Abner Gromble has brought to my attention that computer-generated music is no longer a pipe dream in Ray Kurzweil’s fertile imagination.

What does a Post-modern composer do when he hits a bad string of writer’s block and can't come up with any new tunes. Why, he makes a computer program that makes up music for him! David Cope has actually created software that can compose music in the form of artists like Bach, Beethoven, or Ragtime in the form of Joplin.

A list of his free mp3 computer compositions can be found here. As you'll listen, you'll notice that the music get progressively worse as you go down the list. This is not due to bad programming, but rather due to Cope's rather strange musical style. "Innovation" could easily be confused for 18th century Bach. The faux Beethoven is an obvious ripoff of the moonlight sonata. The Ragtime is nice; ironically and frighteningly reminiscence of a tune a player piano would make. But the rest sounds like Bjork singing to the theme from Planet of the Apes, or rejected cuts from a Tangerine Dream jam session.

Cope's programs are fantastic and show the extent that software design is going to revolutionize society. However, it helps to keep this innovation in context. The program merely takes apart and puts together existing musical patterns. It cannot (yet) make unique music with its own style.

Of all the sounds imaginable, a computer cannot pick on out and say "this is a nice tune". Software cannot discern beauty. More fundamentally, software cannot make the identifications necessary for creativity. Computers cannot say "This exists!", let alone "This is like that", or "This is a sound. This is good music. This sound is the same as good music." In the end, computers still only can know the information we tell them, the initial identifications we make. Or if you're a believer in meme theory, you would say that computers are breeding grounds for memes to replicate, but not for their creation or significant evolution. I don't believe in meme theory, so I say that computers are still nothing more than tools which fashion what the human mind originally envisions.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

The Wikipedia Watchword of the Day--2/26

The Wikipedia Watchword of the Day is

The Chewbacca Defense

Friday, February 25, 2005

Internet Bunny Blackmail

This guy raises some interesting questions. Note that he's holding the rabbit blackmail for $50,000.00, and has already raised $15,000.00.

The tiny libertarian who sits one my left shoulder says "Let him threaten to kill the poor bunny. He's only harm an unconscious creature and parting fools from their money."

Then the tiny social conservative on my right shoulder says "He's threatening to kill an animal, for no good reason, which has some worth in God's scheme of things. Any money he's getting is by duress. Even by objectivist standards of that dead old hag you fawn over, this guy is a 'second-hander' living off the resources of other people, by threats of force."

Then the little libertarian says "You tedious little prick! This guy will encourage a hundred guys do that a hundred times. Then the effect is gone, all without any legislative oversight into the internet or our cooking habits."

Then the little social conservative says "You near-sighted, bomb throwing anarchist! That kind of jadedness will only up the ante on what people will do for money. Next, pregnant women will threaten to abort their kids for payoff money. Meanwhile, those who actually value life will pay through the nose to stop it. It's a transfer of resources from the virtuous to the malicious."

And that's about as far as the conversation proceeds before I scream "Get out of my mind!!" and crawl into fetal position under the desk. That's what you get for trying to think without caffeine.

Hatin' Life about Now

Here's why I haven't been blogging:

Late last Wednesday night, I woke up and vomited.

Since the vomit was particularly dark brownish, I determined that it was caused by too much soda. So, until I hear from the doctors, I swore of anything carbonated.

I don't drink coffee, so my caffeine intake went down the toilet with said vomit.

That day, waking up from what was left of my fitful sleep, I went to work and came home. Went to sleep again Wedsnesday 7:00pm.

Slept for 11 hours. Woke up at 6:00am and went to work again.

Was beat when I got home again. Went to sleep at 8:00pm for 3 more hours.

Woke up, mulled around a bit, now I'm blogging before sleeping some more.

Life sucks without caffeine.

It also hasn't helped that the weather here sucks. Too far south for beautiful snow, I've instead had days of a slate gray sky pissing on me.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

The Wikipedia Watchword of the Day--2/23

The Wikipedia Watchword of the Day is

Reductio ad absurdum

A trickier, but even stronger reduction from the philosophical point of view, because it does not rely on A's accepting that D's opinion is wrong, would be the following.

A — You should respect C's belief, for all beliefs are of equal validity and cannot be denied.
B —

1. I deny that belief of yours and believe it to be invalid.

2. According to your statement, this belief of mine (1) is valid, like all other beliefs.

3. However, your statement also contradicts and invalidates mine, being the exact opposite of it.

4. The conclusions of 2 and 3 are incompatible and contradictory, so your statement is logically absurd.

Ezzo and the Immoral Baby

Post-Modern Clog talks about Tulipgirl talking about a rather intriguing nutcase child care expert named Gary Ezzo.

From what I can gather, Ezzo’s guide to raising kids is this: don’t feed them whenever they want, spank them liberally, and leave them alone a lot. Anything less will turn them in “selfish” heathens.

I can write pages (and have!) on the use and abuse of the term “selfish”, but Ezzo raises a more fundamental point. In his worldview, nature is unrelated, and may even be antagonistic, to that which is “good”.

A baby is the closest that a human will ever come to being an animal. A baby knows no right or wrong beyond that of its own biological survival. For a baby, that which feels good is good, and that which feels bad is bad. For a baby, there is no search for knowledge or truth—it lacks the capacity for forming that goal, let along obtaining it. For a baby, there is no search for self-esteem—it knows nothing but self.

Of course, a baby can’t survive like this forever. Eventually, he will be exposed to phenomena that feel good, but are detrimental to his well being. Eventually, his wants and cries alone will not be able to provide those wants. Eventually, he will have to interact with others by providing his own wants without interfering with the wants of others. Such is mortality and maturity. Many of us are still working at it. But for a baby, without mind or ability, wants = good. A baby's morality runs on autopilot.

Whether by evolution or intelligence design, we expect, and hope, that such programming is the best way for a child to survive. But this is not the case in Ezzo’s world. One can draw one of two conclusions from Ezzo’s childcare: (1) Babies are “broken” and must be “fixed” by the proper training, or (2) morality has nothing to do with comfortable preservation.

If (1), then children are innately bad, the people they turn into are bad (at least, up until GKGW was published), society is bad, and nature is bad—since that is the root of a child’s desires. Such a message is the broadest view a Christian could take towards original sin—that everything and everyone is evil. That view produces the most misanthropic of Christians and the most virulent criticisms of Christianity. It’s a conclusion that is a stretch far beyond what Genesis 3 says: That man is estranged from God because he tries to be God.

If (2), then quite literally, morality has absolutely no earthly purpose whatsoever. You’re reward for being moral is that you’ll die sooner and go to heaven. Meanwhile, sinful “opportunists” who strive to improve their situation on earth will be rewarded with damnation. This is the other hated school of Christianity: self-loathing flagellants who preach that suffering = good. This view is easily contradict by proper biblical translation and cross-interpretation. “Suffer” in the bible can easily translate in “endure” or “wait”, i.e. keeping focus during bad times. But when “suffering” is used as we use it today, it is always and exclusively used to denote suffering at the hands of unbelievers—persecution and martyrdom. Also, such an enthusiastic view of suffering easily contradicts Jesus’ necessity for love and peace, which each Christian should enjoy liberally. I hate using this metaphor, but in a moral state, a Christian’s worldly station would resemble that of Ned Flanders, highly blessed and loved, but constantly goaded by the Homer Simpsons of the world.

Any way you look at it, Ezzo sees only a malevolent universe, and babies as part of that malevolent universe. In a very real and ontological sense, Ezzo hates newborns. Jesus teaches us to “suffer the little children”. Ezzo, seems determine to invert the word order.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Cut off His Bar Tab, Throw his Coat Outside, and Call Patrick Swayze if He Still Won't Leave

Maurice Hinchey is no longer fit to be a member of Congress.

His rhetoric has cease to be merely partisan and now borders on paranoid delusion. Despite garnering some headlines or applause from the DU/Kos axis, Hinchey is going to be marginalized and may not win the 2006 primary, let alone a challenge against a Republican.

Th real question now is what his own party is going to do about him. The Democratics are heavily in need of some inter-party discipline. It's quickly becoming the party known for wild conspiracy theories and genetic hatred for anything and anyone conservative or patriotic. Granted, it's common for a minority party to demonize the opposition. To this day, there are many conservatives who consider it undeniable that the Clintons had Vince Foster killed. But with the 21st century Dems, a unique phenomenom is occurring: They're conspiracy theories are becoming their platform. Their moonbats are becoming the party's ruling class, leaving sensible Democrats with nowhere to go but right.

The Democratic leadership needs to make an example of Hinchey. The best they can do is move to expel him from Congress. Also redeeming would be to give him Jim Traficant treatment: deny him any committee seats and disown him from any meaningful role in Congress.

Of course, this won't happen. Even already, the Dems are slow to recognize his behavior. We've seen this play out before; First the blogs speak out, then Drudge, then Fox News, then everybody in the media, then Republicans speak out, while the Democrats put the head in the same hole in the sand they reserve for islamofascism threats.

If this keeps up, they'll be nothing left for the Democrats to build on. If the Republican show weakness, and some charismatic Democratic neo-JFK comes along, he'll lose even in the primary stages by not placating the insane prejudices of moonbats now drunk on power. However, this process may be inevitable. The entire liberal/democratic ideology is based, in one form or another, on reality-aversion. They've worn out the patience of the American people, and after decades of being high on socialist utopian fantasy, their Dems are now starting the DTs.

Monday, February 21, 2005

No Wikipedia Watchword

The Wikipedia is down. For your arcane knowledge needs, try reading a book or calling an old relative.

UPDATE: The Wikipedia appears to be back up.

The New Epidemic

Democracy is Contagious

Sunday, February 20, 2005

"Agnosto Theo"

The Good SarahK has chosen a rather profound verse for her weekly bible posting.

I said to her:

Those who think that Christianity is somehow backwards, regressive, or superstitious must seriously consider the paradigm shift that Paul offered to the world. Before Jesus, people would earnestly worship stone, wood and metal statues as their gods. Only the Jews knew better (although some Greeks, and maybe some Buddists, were on the right track). Jesus, through Paul, gave to some people the first glimpse of metaphysical truth they’d ever seen in their lives.

The Wikipedia Watchword of the Day--2/20/2005

The Wikipedia Watchword of the Day is


Overheard in Conversation, Part IV

I’ll bet when you’re flippin'like that, it almost seems like eternity.

---Overheard from a commentator on the Daytona 500 after the 15th lap to go accident.

UPDATE: There was just another crash with 13 laps to go.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Music That Goes On Forever

Today I listened to Telemann on my way to do some weekend work. I've listened to classical music since I was 16 years old, and before that, there was no music I liked. Hated grunge, hated alternative, really hated (c)rap.
In time I also grew to admire also jazz, bluegrass and classic rock (leaning toward Dionysian, lyrical musicians like Floyd, Zeppelin, or ELP). As a rule, I don't like music if it was made in my lifetime.

Listening to classical music is one of the most profound forms mental liberation you could commit. There is an entire super-culture out there telling you that "if you are ___, then you like will like ____", and that you are an outsider if you do not. With classical, you completely shun the jihading memes of modernity which try to form your being. You say to the world "This music was made by people who lived thousands of miles away, hundreds of years ago, in a culture completely different from mine. It has no words, no image, nor does it emanate from some near-naked teenager or foppish thug whom I'm suppose to ogle or admire. It's mere music produced by human genius, and I listen to it because it is a product of genius, and I'm human enough to recognize that genius. It will sound just as wonderful 1000 years from now as it does now, because human genius is eternal."

Telemann is an especially dirty pleasure. Everyone knows what Mozart or Beethoven sound; they typify their time. Telemann sounds old also, but also has a strange air of modernity to it, like something a computer would write if Ray Kurzweil has his way.

The Wikipedia Watchword of the Day--2/19

The Wikipedia Watchword of the Day is


Ha ha ha! That's a funny word!

Friday, February 18, 2005

Holy Bloody Crap!!

I took off of work early due to physical illness. Not "I'm not feeling well. May I have the rest of the day off?" ill, but "Oh my God! What the hell is going on? I need to see a doctor!" ill. Here's a hint for you: It happened in the bathroom, and it's the first time in awhile I've seen that much blood come out of me.

Thankfully, I was able to schedule a doctor's appointment that afternoon. Had bloodwork done, and now have a, how do you say, "evasive procedure" scheduled for two tuesdays from now. I would have thought it the lamest of jokes if someone had woken me up that morning by saying "Don't forget to schedule your colonoscopy with plenty of time the night before for the prescription-strength laxitive to take full effect."

Well, I say we have some fun with this. Let's start a betting pool on what medical condition I have, exactly. To enter, you have to send me $10 paypal dollars. If no one gets it right, I keep the pot to pay for medical expenses. Choose an illness below, or add your own:

Food Poisoning
Inflammaory bowel disease
Anal Sex Injury
Crohn's disease

Silver Lining: Since I got the afternoon off, to listen to Rush today.

UPDATE: Bigwig thinketh I protest too much. Hey, if I'm going to have the best blog possible, then I've got to have to hold nothing back, justlike the best writers or talk-radio hosts.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

The Wikipedia Watchword of the Day--2/17

The Wikipedia Wathcword of the Day is


Wedded Bloggy Bliss

Good news over at TIFI: Mr. Suleske has taken a wife (and a rather fine catch, if I dare say so myself).

I've been married for two years and a month, and I love her more than ever. All the sterotypes about marriage have proven to be complete BS. If you love each other and you're each committed to being a good, nice person, then you'll have a happy life. It's the a-holes, who live life with unrealistic expectations of a world they hold in contempt, who get divorced. All the people you can't stand in your public life--those people got to go home to someone.

The Ed Wood of Automobiles

Damian Penny has an expose on the curious career of Malcolm Bricklin.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

The Wikipedia Watchword of the Day--2/16

The Wikipedia Watchword of the Day is:


The Parisians released only seven prisoners — four forgers, two lunatics, and a dangerous sexual offender .

Fake Cop Wards off Real Ones

This ugly-ass giant bust now dons the Police Station of the City of Richmond, Virginia.

(Make sure to see the full slideshow.)

A Richmond columnist proffers the following comments:

I believe the policeman's head would perhaps look better on a giant Pez dispenser and placed in front of the new Shockoe Bottom ballpark.


Some words that just jump out upon viewing Headquarters Head are 'sinister,' 'hollow,' 'schizophrenic,' and 'Orwellian.'

Ascethetic atrocites like this are made possible by an obscure city ordinance which says that 1% of city building funds have to be spent on art. This is the law despite the fact that the city is chronically short on money and has a socio-political/economic condition resembling Monrovia, Liberia. Nevermind that the money spent on this thing could've paid for ten real cops who are much more active and nicer looking.

Hopefully, the bust will improve in beauty once the bird start to roost in it and crap all over the thing.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

The Wikipedia Watchword of the Day--2/15/2005

The Wikipedia Watchword of the Day is

The Cimmerians

Note the etymological similarities between "Cimmerian" and the biblical "Gomer" (גמר): Gutteral to begin and an "r" to end. Note also the similarities between "Gomer" and "Crom" their god. Perhaps their founder became their deity of worship?

Monday, February 14, 2005

[Insert wordplay on "Drudge" here]

I just saw Matt Drudge on Hannity & Colmes, Fox News. I was surprised at how disheveled & utterly asymetrical the man looks. His collar was undone and his tie was crooked. He was constantly leaning in to his left, and his hair was parted weirdy to the right. His ears and nose were disproportionately large to his already bulbous head. If you didn't know him, you'd think he had scoliosis or something. He looked like he was rehearsing for Richard III or I, Claudius.

More Mathematical Antics

Add the following:

111111 x 111111

The answer is surprising:


Give the Gift of Bandwidth

Lucky Then, Lucky Now
Valentine's Day, Ginger. You're the best, most wonderful wife a guy
could ever have. In me, you saw what no one else saw. In you, I saw
what I never knew existed. Since I've met you, you've brought me joy
every day of my life. And for every day of that life, I will happily be
your valentine.

I ordered this blog ad1 from Frank J. at IMAO. She liked it alot.

1 From now on, I spelling "blog ad" as two words. I looks silly as hell as one word.

__Rabbits__ are Good, but __Lizards__ are Better

The site meter tells the story. On Friday, I get linked by Bigwig links to me and I get over 100 links. On Saturday night, I post a simple link on LGF's Open Topic thread and I get over 200 links. Thank you both, and to viewers from both for caring.

The Wikipedia Watchword of the Day--2/14

The Wikipedia Watchword of the day is

The Silk Road

Few people travelled down the entire length of the silk road. Instead traders moved products much like a bucket brigade. . . .

Space Cadets on Board Columbia

"This is the most unbalanced university I have come across when it comes to issues related to the Middle East."

Columbia, when Alan Dershowitz thinks you're too liberal, you've got a problem.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Digital Augury

This is really fucking creepy. I'm skeptical, but nonetheless intrigued.

Hat Tip to "reader" commenting on LGF

Fun With the Number 9

I hope this isn't a sign that I'm running out of blog material, but the best thing I can think about writing is some fun (?!) mathematical tricks.

Consider the following:

All ten digits, from lowest to highest:

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

All ten digits, from highest to lowest:

9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0

What do you get when you put them together;

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0

Multiples of Nine!

Even weirder, when you add up all the digits of a multiple of nine, you get a multiple of nine.

For Example:

9 x 14 = 126. 1 + 2 + 6 = 9

9 x 4258 = 38322. 3 + 8 + 3 + 2 + 2 = 18

9 x 2156754862 = 19410793758. 1 + 9 + 4 + 1 + 0 + 7 + 9 + 3 + 7 + 5 + 8 = 54

Now I got to go wash out my pocket protector for the big D & D game tomorrow. Bye.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

The Wikipedia Watchword of the Day--2/12

The Wikipedia Watchword of the Day is

Harper Lee

Friday, February 11, 2005


Apparently, the radiowaves I've been beaming over North Carolina have been working. Silflay Hraka saw fit to link to the post below, due to the ever so subtle mental cues in my email to him. Since this morning, links to this sight have been in the hundreds! Three-figures I tell you!!

In return (1) He's now on my blogroll, and (2) I'll keep the below promise

Watership Dune: A dissent group of rabbits colonize the desert planet Arakis and are exposed to the psycho-stimulative drug melange, which gives them power to formulate their own language and communicate with seagulls and giant sandworms. Their leader, Hazel Atreides, then wages a relentless jihad against the infamous Baron Woundwort to both seize his female does and monopolize the intergalactic spice trade.

Enough fooling around. I've got to print up more "campaign material" to ship to Ukraine.

UPDATE: My God! What have I begun!!!

How to Brainwash Your Co-Workers (. . . maybe)

Having trouble at work? Want your colleagues to like you? Do you want to make ornery co-workers become your bidding slaves? The follow these easy instructions to send subliminal messages to your co-workers:

(1) Open Microsoft Word

(2) Go to the "Watermark" feature, usually in the "Format" menu of the latest versions of MS Word.

(3) Choose "Add Watermark". Then type in the subliminal message you want to give, e.g. "GIVE RAISE". I prefer using all caps, and one-syllable words.

(4) Custom change the color of the watermark to a very faint gray. I find that (253,253,253) is the safest, yet most latently visible.

(5) Print out a few hundred copies of these "blank" pages which have the faint watermark -OR- Print out groups of 20-30 pages several times over the course of the day.

(6) Put the blank pages back into the printer tray. NOTE: Depending on how your printer rolls off documents, you may have to put the watermark in face down so that the watermark is face up.

(7) Now, whenever your co-workers print out a document, their subconscious will absorb the phrase.

Opinions vary on the effectiveness of subliminal messages, or if this form of subliminal messaging works. The best empirical evidence of subliminal messaging I've seen comes from the new book Blink : The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell, where he cites the successful efforts of a professor to make his test subjects feel old, polite, or rude by carefully placed words in a red-herring test. However, this form of subliminal message takes a completely different form the kind I suggest.

However, I knew a guy who did the experiment. For a week week, in the above described process, he placed the subliminal message "WEAR ORANGE" on everyone's paper. Before he started, he noticed virtually no one wearing orange. Later, some of his co-workers wear orange, or colors like orange, such as certain browns or yellow and red together. For me, it's evidence, but not conclusive evidence. Personal observations could be biased, or the phenomena may be explained by an upturn in the temperature that week.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

The Wikipedia Watchword of the Day--2/10

The Wikipedia Watchword of the Day is

Logical Fallacy

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Next Up: Hazel, Fiver and Bigwig Colonize Planet Arakis

To this list, they need to add the following:

Ender Shrugged: A race of collectivist aliens threatens to
destroy Earth as all our Earth's finest starfighters go on strike
against the world's emerging socialist order, latently ruled by 10 year
old Peter Wiggin. His plucky younger sister, railroad mogul and
conservative ideologue Valentine, seeks our her long lost brother and
"strike leader", the rumored Ender Galt. Will Ender be man's destroyer
or liberator? Will Valentine destroy the company she loves, or join
forces with the boy she has sworn to destroy?

Wahh Wahh!! 9/11!! Give Me Money to Spend!!

Baltimore Mayor Compares Budget Pork Cuts to 9/11 Attacks

Later, Mayor O'Malley issued this statement:

Years ago, terrorist smashed a plane into the World Trade Center. They did that because that was the best way to take away what gave us pride. Today, the car company repossessed my Cadillac for failing to make my car payments. And with a tow truck of terrorism, GMAC is dragging away what gives me pride. They are impounding the very core of my being!

UPDATE: Now it's "Wahh!! Wahh!! Now the vast right wing conspiracy is targeting me for supposed infidelity, all because I demonized the President's budget plans as terrorism."

Over at FreeRepublic, one poster did indicate that blog discussed the mayor's infidelity . . . about 8 months before the current story broke! Hmmm. If I had to guess, the mayor is now using this window of opportunity to clear the air about the infidelity by blaming it on conservaive rumormongering and those damn undependable weblogs.

BTW: Get a load of the picture, too. He sure has the Bill Clinton pity look down!

The Wikipedia Watchword of the Day--2/9/2005

The Wikipedia Watchword of the Day is


Plato's Theaetetus defined knowledge as justified true belief.

The Weakest Links

See the dissonance between these two graphs?


Apparently,when I registered with Pro Life Blogs a bunch of sites automatically linked to me, which I didn't know would happen. I visted a sample of them. Some were unimpressive, others had been dead for months. I see no reason to republish that same blogroll; I only link to sites I personally visit frequently and/or find interesting. If I ever get unlinked by them because of that, then so be it.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

The Wikipedia Watchword of the Day--2/8/2004

The Wikipedia Watchword of the Day is


rex, regis, regi, regem, rege, reges, regum, regibus, reges, regibus

/showing off

Godblogging Homework

Pursuant to Mr. Devine's advice, I took some time tonight at Barnes & Noble to read Satan's Necronomicon Your Best Life Now by Joel Osteen to see what the fuss was all about. Although I still don't know that, I got about fifty pages into Pastor Osteen's book and skimmed through the rest (which continues in the same vein as the beginning), and now have some solid basis for an opinion on the man and his teachings.

First, his books appears to be intended for those already Christians, rather than those who are not. Otherwise, his multiple references to God and scripture would be premature and irrelevant. Thus you could defend Osteen's saccharine preaching as being the result of an overestimation of his audience; he thinks that they are already saved and that they now need uplifting and encouragement. Arguably not a bad evangelism strategy, considering that most Americans (and Texans!) think of themselves as Christian in some sense. Rather than say "You're not a Christian, and this is what you have to do to be one," he's saying "Since you're a Christian, this is what you're entitled to". I'll repeat, since I don't know what other teaching goes on in his 30,000 member church, I'm in no position to judge his doctrine or his evangelistic methods in totality. Yet it's very likely, nay probable, that Osteen's televised books and sermons may very well be a sweet appetizer to prepare his parishioners for a meatier entree.

But if Osteen is going to be legitimately criticized for anything, it's the "mind or matter" conclusions you can draw from his teachings. You can criticize the Kantian trend that has most plagued modern Christianity, that somehow faith, good thoughts, good will, and/or prayer alone will cause blessings for the believer. You can look at positive thinking two ways: (1) God created you, and if you think the right thoughts toward God, he will create for you a universe where you are happy, or (2) God created you, and God created the universe for you, and if you think the right thoughts towards both God and His universe, then you will operate in that universe the way God intended, and you will be happy. Put more bluntly, we come to Ayn Rand's old question--Are man's thoughts the subject or the object of the universe around him? Not surprisingly, Osteen doesn’t answer that deep philosophical question in his easy-to-understand book with lots of encouragement and simple sermon stories. But that question must be answered if a Christian is to have a true, healthy understanding of God and his world. That Osteen wouldn't answer that question, and would leave some of his flock to believe that they could simply wish away their problems with no overt action, is genuine grounds for criticism.

Yet Osteen's mistakes, if any, are omissions and not errors. They're ground to build on, rather than reasons for reproach. If Osteen has 30,000 parishioners and thousands more TV viewers believing that God is good and wants to bless them, its a huge achievement and not grounds for complaint.

Monday, February 07, 2005

When Enough Monkeys Seize Frank J.'s Keyboard for Enough Time

So - and I'm not saying this is necessarily true - it looks like humanity is just a byproduct of an elaborate sting operation on the devil. Pretty heavy, huh?

Frank J. is the classic example class clown who hides extreme intelligence behind piss-in-your-pants humor.

The Wikipedia Watchword of the Day--2/7/05

The Wikipedia Watchword of the Day is


Sunday, February 06, 2005

Adventures in Canadian Cyberspace

Quotulatiousness noticed me trolling around Damian Penny's blog and liked what I had to say. Since he's into quotations, maybe someone should tell him about my Overheard in Conversation series.

Overheard in Conversation, Part III

Smiley Preaching Provokes Scowling Criticism

Internet Monk really really doesn't approve of Joel Osteen. He's the pastor of Lakewood Church, one of the Southern/Texas "magechurches" which claims a congregation in the thousands. I use to watch John Osteen on TBN, have seen Joel a few times. I thought them both good preachers, though not necessarily great. In other words, I'm knowledgeable, but not an expert, on Osteen.

Internet Monk asks the blogosphere to "devote at least one substantial post to outing Joel Osteen." In response, I offer the following:

(1) Internet Monk seems to be complaining about sins of omission, so to speak: Osteen is not a real pastor, he's not preaching a complete gospel. I'm skeptical that he's actually doing or teaching anything apostate.

(2) This church has supposedly 30,000 people. In my experiences with televised megachurches, alot goes on behind the scenes that isn't on TV, bible studies, cell groups, Sunday schools, etc. which nurture a congregation in more "meaty" doctrine.

(3) Internet Monk gives away alot by his collateral criticism of TBN, "Faith Movement" evangelist. This struck a chord with me. I came to the Lord by watching these shows and learned volumes of sound Christian doctrine and apologetics through these preachers. Yes, they preach prosperity doctrine, but there's alot more that they teach. Salvation by faith doctrine, indwelling of the holy spirit doctrine, bible-based morality doctrine, are all products of their teachings. In time, I included prosperity doctrine with other philosophical and spiritual principals: i.e God has created a benevolent universe for us, and can and will bless his children, but not without their objective recognition of and action in his universe; God prepared the conditions for our prosperity, and will prepare us to attain it and receive it, but God will not directly cause our prosperity.

(4) Although Internet Monk distinguishes between Osteen and "faith movement" preachers, his criticism of the latter appears to be based on the same animus. To Internet Monk, Osteen's doctrinal omissions, or perhaps slight mistakes, make him apostate. From what I can tell from his churches fundamental doctrine--found on his website--I'm not prepared to call him apostate.

(5) It's also suspect that Internet Monk is spending time critiquing a church to which he does not belong and which does not affect him. Granted, most blogosphere discourse is based on subjects with which were not directly involved. But with Internet Monk, it seems personal
I want to challenge the Christian Blogosphere to devote at least one substantial post to outing Joel Osteen. Why is a man who doesn't preach the gospel the most popular preacher in America? Are we going to take note of what kind of message is going to be identified as building the largest church in America? In short, who in the blogosphere is willing to stand up and say "Joel Osteen's message of positive thinking as a way to God's favor isn't the Christian Gospel."

Internet Monk wants Joel Osteen to change or go away. Why? If he's not explicitly contradicting what I believe, why should I stop him? If he's preaching an incomplete gospel, doesn't that give other evangelists a chance to complete it? There's a real puritanical, bridgeburning jihadist tone to what Internet Monk is proposing, that other people's beliefs affect the quality of his own spiritual world. Respectful to my brother in Christ, I take a different tack.


Mr. Spencer's claims that he does not want Joel Osteen to "change or go away". He has a very odd way of showing it.

Suppose you're a regular bible-believing Christian. You hear a preacher whom you believe to be a "Christian", not preaching incorrect doctrine. Yet you find his preaching to be milquetoast, not focusing enough on morally guidelines or non-subjective Christian principles.

Most of you would acknowledge that preacher's ministry, but favor another preacher instead, and use the Wall Street Rule/Vote-With-Your-Feet Principle: i.e. don't listen to the sermon. But not Mr. Spencer, who literally believes it is his God-given mission in life to criticize other Christians. He insist that we all start a blog-campaign criticising Pastor Osteen for what he's not doing, and that what he's not doing is somehow watering-down Christianity.

He says of Osteen: He will represent evangelicalism with his big smile and a message that would make Screwtape shout "Amen! Preach it brother." . . .It makes me angry and I want to do something." If he wants to do something, then why doesn't he rent out the Compaq Center and preach it the right way?

I, for one, am not going to criticize great people, who do great things, for not doing them greater. I'm not going to nitpick the soul-saving preaching of God's word
with Adrian Monk obsessive-compulsiveness. Nothing but good can come from 30,000 people attending non-heretical Christian church on Sunday morning, even if it isn't as much good as Mr. Spencer would prefer God to produce for him.

The Wikipedia Watchword of the Day--2/06/05

The Wikipedia Watchword of the Day is

Felony Murder

If while passing a forged check, the receiver, who happens to be a hemopheliac, gets a paper cut and bleeds to death, most courts will not hold the defendant guilty of murder.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Overheard in Conservation, Part II

It's strawberries! I thought you'd like them!

---Overheard from an anonymous woman in a parking lot of a Super-Walmart.

The Wikipedia Watchword of the Day--2/5/05

The Wikipedia Watchword of the Day is

The VENONA Project

It's Like a Minstrel Show with Japanese kids!

Wow! Just caught a whiff of this on Cartoon Network. Usually there good at keeping themselves away from tweeny-bopper crap like this, unlike the Disney Channel or the fallen once-great dynasty that was Nickelodeon. (Don't get me wrong. Spongebob's great, but he seriously needs to renegotiate his contract to keep those shitty little junior high veejays from tainting his show.)

Even worse, this is anime, which is doing to animation what lead poisoning did to Rome. I remember as a kids watching Inspector Gadget, finding it mildly amusing, but clearly recognizing that it was inferior animation: cartoon drawn with rudimentary shapes with minimal movement other than their mouths. Two decades later, every cartoon looks like inspector gadget: cheap ass cartoons with still shots, blank stares and moving mouths. Jeez, at least Clutch Cargo used real mouths.

And by no means is this anti-Asian thing. Michelle Malkin agrees with me.

Friday, February 04, 2005

The Permanent Lullaby Law

There's a bill before the Virginia General Assembly that would require a fetus to be sedated before being aborted.

Under the fetal-pain legislation sponsored by Del. Richard H. Black, R-Loudoun, a doctor must anesthetize a fetus 20 weeks or older during an abortion procedure.

Currently, there is "nothing to relieve a child's terror and suffering," argued Black, holding a plastic model of a fetus in each hand.

"I hope you will have the merciful impulse to vote for this proposal," Black told the House before it advanced, the measure to a final vote, perhaps as early as today.

Comical? Absurd? Like something out of The Onion? That's the whole point. Pro-life Republicans are slowly building a portfolio of fetal-protection laws that, if legally upheld and binding, would make Roe v. Wade logically untenable.

The most famous case is the Unborn Victims of Violence act, although it's much more limited in scope and jurisdiction than admitted by those who would lionize or demonize it. It made good election talking points, but (1) the law specifically excludes abortion as killing a child, and (2) it covers only federal murder crimes, which are very rare and would presumably occur only in U.S. territories or military bases.

More intriguing was the Scott Peterson verdict itself, which charged Scott with 1st degree murder of Laci and 2nd degree murder of Connor. First degree murder is murder with intent and premeditation; otherwise its Second degree murder. Yet Scott premeditated just as much to kill Connor as Laci. The only way you can say Scott did not premeditate killing Connor is by arguing that he did not know that Connor was a person who could be killed. But if Connor's humanity was non-existent, or even in doubt, then it wouldn't even be second degree murder by the court. You cannot say that Scott murdered Connor, but that Connor was not human being. Nor can you say that Scott murdered Connor, but wouldn't have if he were an abortionist. (That is, unless you're going to take the stand of this person whom I previously discussed.)

The Wikipedia Watchword of the Day--2/4

The Wikipedia Watchword of the Day is


Thursday, February 03, 2005

Misleading Commercial Turns into Fraudulent Blogad

See The Ad FOX Rejected
Malone says President Bush's proposal would hurt innocent victims of
medical negligence like his son. But FOX Network won't air his message.

(My Apologies for the above. It was the best I could do with my limited HTML experience)

That ad now runs on Instapundit's right panel roll of blogads. The only problem? I saw that ad on Fox News last night! I even blogged about seeing it last night, and thought it was oddly-timed. (See 8:47pm).

The commercial had that same exact CGI looking guy was talking about, to paraphrase, how Bush wanting tort reform was tantamount to killing his baby child. That commercial-- in theory--is just as repugnant as the NAACP "dragging" ad run in the 2000 election. Granted, they could probably defend the statement on the blogad by saying that "Fox Network" means the main network and not its cable channels. Still dishonest and misleading, just like the premise of the commercial is dishonest.

UPDATE: The Puppy Blender Napoleon Dynamite Professor Reynolds sent me this ominous email:

Well, perhaps Fox ran it in response to the irresistible pressure of a
blogad on InstaPundit.

Hmmm? Sarcastic derison at misinterpreting facts? Good-Natured riveing coupled with confident self-deprecation? Disdain that a small-time blogger would waste his time? You be the judge.

The Wikipedia Watchword of the Day--2/3

The Wikipedia Watchword of the Day is

King Midas

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

State of the Union Liveblogging

8:45pm--I'll be watching the SOTUA on Fox News. O'Reilly and Tony Snow were chit-chatting about Social Security reform. If I could take just a fraction of my Social Security money and pay that into a 401K, I'd build the statue to Bush with my own hands.

**WARNING: Gratuitious typos ahead, due to fast typing**

8:47pm--I haven't watch O'Reilly in a while, so I don't know if its normal for O'reilly's show, or caused by the SOTUA, but I just saw three political ads in a row. The First was an anti-PETA (!) petition, the second was a "Bush kills babies by wanting tort reform" and, the third was for "torts suits make fat people sue girl scouts for selling cookies". BTW, the sit will lead you to Apparently, they were wiley enough (and well-connected with Fox News enough?) to sandwich a anti-tort reform suit between two of their ads.

8:56pm--Supposedly, some statesmen have dyed their finger purple to celebrate the Iraqi elections. Next year's big fad?


9:08--He has a new haircut and a red power tie. Apparently, he means business tonight.

9:12--Maybe its just my new TV, but everything looks really shiny, compared to SOTUAs I've seen. There showing off their fingers!

9:14--As a neat trick, bush looks thinner, with two fat guys sitting behind him. "The US. has added 2.3 million new jobs." take that, Kerry/Pelosi/Kennedy.

9:15--To early to tell, but it looks like this is going to be a common "laundry list" SOTUA. Good, but unimpressive. Not a 2001 SOTU. Whoa, "junk lawsuits"! Thus the commercials earlier.

9:18pm--"Improved information technologies" for health care? (1) Isn't that something the free market can do, and (2) isn't that contradictory with HIPPA?

9:22pm--Fight the tax code through a Congressional Committee? A wishy-washy stand on immigration? Not his strongest points.

9:25pm--Regarding Social Security, no changes for old people, plugging the "obsolescence" theme, bankruptcy of the system by 2040s has some effect with the Congress (hard to tell if positive or negative to Bush).

9;28pm--Sounds like a pretty utilitarian, number-crunching speech. Not famously eloquent, but may have good, subtle long-term effects.

9:32--When Bush started mentioning personal accounts for Social Security, it was as if the two halves of the room were in different states; the right half clearly cheered, the left didn't. Gee, which view do you think is going to go over better with the twenty to thirty something voters, you liberal dumb-fucks.

9:35--Back to the laundry list--stem-cells, judges, faith-based initiatives etc.

9:38--More money wasted on AIDS, an incurable disease, when its almost 10X as funded as heart/cancer research, which are the common cause of death and where real progress is possible. Death row lawyers? WTF!

9:42--Here comes the saber-rattling part of the SOTU, always after the domestic agenda.

9:45--Hmmm? He mentioned Zaqawi, but not Bin Laden. 'Democracy = Peace" echos from his inauguation. A hat tip to Ukraine. Ha! Caught Sen. Biden off guard on an foreign policy applause line (who just accused Rumsfeld of gross incompetence, BTW).

9:50pm--Syria? Will it be the next Iraq. If it were, it'd be a pushover. "Ask Iran"?! We need to stop those animals now!

9:53pm--Props to the Iraqis for voting, with the long applause line it deserves. "Sadaam . . . That was the real occupation." A good line to take away from the SOTUA.

9:59pm--Patriotic bromides toward the war and the troops. I thought he'd allude to Vet benefits, but he didn't. It's touching to watch the Texan and the Iraqi interact.

10:03--Now wrapping it up, in seemingly record time (< 1 hour!).

10:11pm (post-mortem)--The pundits are taking away the message from Social Security on this, i.e. that the President openly admitted that the system was going bankrupt. The Democrats are walking away in outright denial on the issue, not healthy. No blogging on the Dem's response will be forthcoming now. I have neither the interest nor the temper to hear the Reid/pelosi spew crap from their mouths.

Deep Blue vs. Homer Simpson

It's no longer that Republicans are playing chess, while Democrats play checkers. It's Republicans playing Six-Tiered Star Trek Chess against John Nash while Democrats keep pumping quarters into a rigged slot machine.

This LA Times article can be summed up simply by saying "Republicans are making bold moves to garner future voters, while democrats are still trying to appease old voting blocs."

Meanwhile, Howard Dean looks like a shoe-in for DNC chair. Is not a party chairman usually a quiet behind-the-scenes party loyalist who can shake hands and raise money? Instead, the DNC will be appointing a polarizing, controversial firebrand prone to contradictory statements and unseemly outbursts. His only fund-raising experience consisted of using a Paypal account to raise around $30 Million, which he uselessly pissed away.

It almost makes me wish for the days when there was a fair fight between the parties. Almost.

The Wikipedia Watchword of the Day--2/2

The Wikipdia Watchword of the Day is

Fannie Mae

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

You Can Check Out Anytime You Like, But You Can Never Leave

Joe Donnelley of LA Weekly writes an odious article favoring that California secede from the Union.

The rest of the U.S. has been bearing with California for centuries: building a transcontinental railroad to get to it, fighting a World War in large part to protect it, overruling the illogical rulings from its courts, having its left-leaning politicians skew our laws, and having its media corrupt society. Now when the rest of America begins to say "No! You have to do things our way for a change!" some muse about leaving.

The Civil War wasn't just a war to "end slavery" or "preserve the union". It was fought to fight unfairness. The North had spent years bending over backwards to appease Southern agrarian society, letting their prejudices disproportionately affect nationwide policy. California doesn't want George Bush as President. The Civil War started basically because the South didn't want Abraham Lincoln as their President, even though they had picked most of the Presidents in preceding decades. California has no right to complain if Texans and Southerners choose, in disproportionate numbers, to protect the Blue States and free the world from tyranny.

"The figure in the photo appeared stiff and expressionless."



You think the AP would've suspected something when the speech of the video consisted of "Dherka Dherka Mohammed Jihad Dherka Dherka".

The Wikipedia Watchword of the Day--2/1

The Wikipedia Watchword of the Day is

Orange Revolution