Friday, December 28, 2007

Dubious Distinction.

It's amazing what Sitemeter can tell you about traffic to your site. One of the features it has is to show you the referring link to your site, so you can see where people are coming from. Lately the bulk of my traffic has been coming from Google searches of XP vs Vista (my thoughts on which you can find here).

Today, however, I was rewarded with a treat. The latest referring link came from a post at Type it in your browser if you want - I'm not giving this guy any free traffic. At first glance, it looks like RIGHTWINGSPARKLE, a blog on my blogroll. Looks can be deceiving I found, as I clicked the link and came upon a typical, filth spewing left-wing blog, evidently dedicated to highlighting those of us on its 'G-list' of wing-nut bloggers.

Then I decided to check my email, and what did I find in my spam folder, of all places? A brief love-letter from Mr. Snarkle himself, informing me that he has added me to his blogroll. It seems he has dubbed me "Tennessee Jed." While I feel flattered to have earned such a distinction, I'm offended that he has seen fit to try and hijack one of my favorite blogs. So, here you go: the real RIGHTWINGSPARKLE. Enjoy.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

What's Next, Serfdom?

Hoosiers upset by the recent property tax hikes had better hope our sluggish legislature doesn't wake up and hear about this idea.

"The town is pushing a program that would let seniors work part-time, for
$7 an hour, to help pay off some of their property taxes.

"People shouldn't have to sell their house, move away to a place
with less taxes, leave behind their family and friends," said Town Supervisor
Paul Feiner."

Now, few government solutions to problems government has caused can ever be accused of being grounded in common sense, even in a place like New York, but this takes the cake!

The Hoosierpundit is right on target:

"I don't think that grandma should have to be a greeter at Wal-Mart just so
that she can pay the property taxes for a house she and grandpa built forty
years ago. And grandma shouldn't have to engage in indentured servitude to the
government just to pay off property tax debts either."

Indentured servitude is right. However, it is also no surprise when even local governments have swelled into monsters that must feed on themselves to survive.

Violence in Pakistan.

I've been at work all day and missed most of the story, so I'll have to send you to HotAir for all the details. Since I got home, I've been skimming the blog posts and news articles.

The big question in the US now is, obviously, what does this mean for us? Pakistan has been somewhat of an ally in our war on terror, or rather Musharraf has. Because of this, President Bush has reason to attempt to be supportive of the embattled Pakistani president, inviting cries of 'hypocrisy!' for championing freedom while climbing into bed with a dictator. Ally or no, however, when 46% of a country thinks favorably of Public Enemy #1, that country is no friend, making calls for justice empty.

Time will tell if the assassination of Bhutto will spark a civil war or hold pat with the current outbreak of riots. In either case, the main concern for the US should be Pakistan's nuclear weapons, and who ends up with control of them. That alone should govern any response we consider. I agree with Bryan Preston on the initial damage:

"But the most obvious beneficiary of Bhutto’s death is al Qaeda and its various
allies who create chaos and revel in death in the name of their twisted
ambitions. A Pakistan in turmoil is a Pakistan that is weakened as an enemy of

Bhutto is being described as a martyr for democracy, perhaps rightly so. She certainly had courage, and had dodged several other assassination attempts before today. Keep that 46% figure above in mind, however, when pining for the cause. The media have portrayed Bhutto as a shining crusader against tyranny. Both Mark Steyn and Christopher Hitchens point to the tarnish on the halo.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas!

I've been too tired and busy to update this blog much in the past few weeks, so I apologize for the dearth of content. As many of you know, I work in a grocery store, so this is one of the busiest times of the year for me, and continues until after the New Year.

So let me take this moment to wish all of my readers a Merry Christmas! Enjoy the holiday with friends and family, enjoy the giving and receiving of gifts, and keep in your mind and heart what Christmas is all about: its a celebration of the moment our Lord and Creator humbled himself and entered our world as a helpless baby, lying on a bed of straw, wrapped in a blanket.

As you busy yourself putting away the gifts and decorations, cleaning up the wrapping paper, and setting out to the mall to get what you really wanted, and as you gratefully sigh at the end of another Christmas season, remember that that first Christmas was not just a day that came and went, even though the shepherds returned to their flocks and the Wise Men returned to the east. It was merely a beginning, the first step in a process of Forgiveness and Salvation that would reach fulfilment thirty-three years later on a bloody cross. Yet there is even a hint in the Christmas story of this ending by the gifts given to the newborn babe: frankincense and myrrh were often used in funerals and preparation of the dead for burial.

So, even as we remember the wonder of a baby in a manger, don't lose sight of the sacrifice made on the cross, and the triumph of the empty tomb.

If you're travelling this Christmas (as I am), be safe. Merry Christmas, and God Bless.

Friday, December 14, 2007

"That thing got a Hemi?"

I.Love.It. What better way to brighten your holiday than by hanging 426 cubic inches of raw power on your Christmas tree? Guaranteed to vulcanize the tires and burn down the house. I want one, but alas, the better half has vetoed it in no uncertain terms. But for all you guys that are not married to Scroogette, here's the full line. Sweeeet.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Christmas Request.

Long time readers of this blog may remember my posts about Matthew Rager. I still follow his story via Caring Bridge, and while Matthew is doing well right now, I would like to pass along a request from his mother regarding one of their Caring Bridge acquaintances:

"There is a little girl named Dasia who has a pontine glioma (tumor on
brain stem) who was hoping to get birthday cards from all 50 states. Her
birthday was Dec. 3rd and her mother posted her birthday hopes on her caring
bridge site. Well I read her update tonight and sadly the little one received
only 3 cards. Here's my favor, do you think we could send her Christmas cards
from all 50 states?
I was made aware of this little girl from my online
pediatric brain tumor support group. We are a tight knit group and we will do
all that we can for other kids and parents in need, because we know how it is.
We are all putting this out in cyperspace in hopes that people can send this
beautiful little girl some Christmas greetings. This is her website "

My wife and I are notoriously bad procrastinators when it comes to Christmas Cards, but this time I'm making an exception. So, dear readers, spread the word in the blogosphere and see if we can't get this little girl her Christmas Cards!

Edit: I've clipped Dasia's address from the quote. You can get it by clicking on the Caring Bridge links.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Another Point in the Case for Marriage.

It could just save your life.

"A shot was fired as Register threw up his left hand, and his wedding ring
deflected the bullet, police said."

File this one under "Amazing story of the day."

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Jezla's Underground Goes Live!

I've started a new blog project I'd like to share with you. Rather than lump all of my creative writings in amongst real-world news and commentary here on Back Home Again, I decided to start a blog just for my creative stuff.

I got to thinking, however, and I thought it would be neat if I offered to share works of readers and passers-by as well. Therefore Jezla's Underground is a blog project that showcases not only my own writing and art, but reader submitted content as well. It is primarily fantasy-themed, but not exclusively so. There are rules for submitting content, but I don't think they are to stringent.
There is not a whole lot of content on the Underground as of yet, though one of my regular readers here at Back Home Again has already submitted a good story. I will still be posting here as well, so there is no need to fear the loss of my unique brand of drivel.
Thanks for reading, and don't hesitate to stop by the Underground, and if you have a tale to tell, don't hesitate to share it.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Evel's Greatest Leap

Evel Knievel passed away this week at the age of 69. There's many videos I could post in tribute, but this one I think, is the best.

Coming soon...

I've been working on a new project for the last few months, as viewers of my profile will know. Well, I actually haven't been doing much work per se, but I'm finally about ready to "go live" on it, as it were. More to come on Monday...

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

XP vs. Vista.

This story posted on the headlines at HotAir got my attention the other day. Researchers at Devil Mountain Software pitted Windows Vista (SP1 beta) head-to-head with Windows XP (SP3). The results:

"Vista, both with
and without SP1
, performed notably slower than XP with SP3 in the test,
taking over 80 seconds to complete the test, compared to the beta SP3-enhanced
XP's 35 seconds."

Naturally, Vista-haters everywhere are celebrating their vindication with hearty gusto, and "I told you so" is flying around the 'net. IT Blogwatch at Computerworld has a tech-blog round-up of the brouhaha.

There's a catch, however: the computer they tested the operating systems on had only 1GB of RAM. To my mind this takes unfair advantage of Vista's weak spot, which is its appetite for RAM. 1GB is the bare minimum needed to run Vista at all, with 2+ being recommended. I know, the testers tried it with 2GB RAM and got no appreciable boost in performance. Oh, the calamity!

I'm no shill for Vista or Microsoft. In fact, I think the marketing campaign for Vista has been a giant flop, not to mention the speedy release left the rest of the tech industry scrambling to ensure that every one's old hardware would work with the new system. As a result, users had to endure months with inoperable peripherals or go shell out more hard-earned cash for new, "Vista-ready" hardware and software. Or just buy new computers. Some programs and hardware still don't work, and probably will never work without 'net cobbled workarounds.

But I missed the whole XP boat. I'm a geek, but I am by no means cutting-edge. I stayed with Windows 98 because some of my older games were difficult to make run on XP and I saw no reason to spend the money to upgrade and open myself to all the worms that were crawling around a few years ago. So all the XP worship out there is alien to me and strikes me as a little silly. I have Vista now, because I decided it was time to buy a new PC, and since Vista was the new thing, and games for the next few years figure to make use increasingly of DirectX 10, I figured why not get Vista? It won't be long before Bill Gates forces all the XP lovers to commit OS adultery anyway.

So, I have Vista, and guess what? I like it. I don't care how much it looks like XP, or how much slower it is. As I said, my frame of reference was Win98SE. The security features bug me, but I understand that they were a problem on XP, too.

So flog Vista all you want, it's here to stay. Love XP? Keep using it until it coughs, rolls over, and dies. Or gets hit by a virus.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Interesting Discussion.

My post about sex sparked a discussion with The Critical Bookworm about legislating morality. Jim Sullivan makes some good points, none of which are easy to respond to or refute. I've tried my best, and you can read it here.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving.

Today across America, before proceeding to celebrate gluttony, people will pause and reflect on what they are thankful for.

One thing I am thankful for is that I have a loving God who takes care of us in good times and bad, when we do right and wrong, and who gave Himself for our sake, so long as we turn to Him.

Happy Thanksgiving, and God Bless.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Lunchtime Link.

I'm on lunch, skimming the blogs, and came across this excellent post at Conservative Propaganda. Enjoy!

The Price of Belief.

(via The Persecution Blog)

"In July 2007, an Iranian Christian couple was sentenced by the Justice Court of
Revolution to be whipped, two years after they were accused of attending a house
church. According to Farsi Christian News Network (FCNN), "The couple was
arrested on September 21, 2005, by government agents. They had gathered in a
house, in a town northwest of Tehran (gohar dasht) for their regular prayer and
devotional time.""

Amid the increasing hostility to Christianity in the U.S., it's hard for us to understand that there is real persecution going on in the world. As difficult as it is, we at least do not have to worry about being imprisoned or beaten for our beliefs. In some ways, this may be detrimental to our faith, as we get caught up in our own troubles and feelings of persecution, we forget about our brothers and sisters around the world who risk their lives every day just to spread the Gospel.

This couple in Iran was ordered to report regularly to the Court until their sentence was decided. The wife stopped going after being abused during one such instance. Following that, agents of the Court came into their home with a letter stating that their sentence of whipping would be carried out in their home immediately.

"Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is
the kingdom of heaven" [Matt 5:10]

Pray for this couple and all who face such persecution in the world. To learn more about how you can help persecuted Christians, visit The Voice of the Martyrs.

Link to image source.

Lieberman on National Security Politics.

Senator Joe Lieberman recently gave a speech at The Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). Joe Lieberman is a rarity these days, a liberal who is able to rise above politics where our national security is concerned. You may remember he lost the Primary Election in Connecticut because of his support for the Iraq War, and subsequently kept his seat by running as an Independent.

In his speech, he talked about Paul H Nitze and his service to Presidents from Roosevelt to Reagan, and the strength of past Democrats on national security (I disagree with him on Clinton however, but nevertheless), and the dramatic shift that has occurred in the Democratic Party with the rise of the far-left anti-war, anti-Bush movement. This movement, led by the likes of Markos "Screw Them" Moulitsas and his DailyKos blog has exercised an undue influence on the Democrats in Congress. The money quote:

"But there is something profoundly wrong—something that should trouble all
of us—when we have elected Democratic officials who seem more worried about how
the Bush administration might respond to Iran’s murder of our troops, than about
the fact that Iran is murdering our troops."

He's right. National Security should not be subordinate to partisan politics. We are all Americans, regardless of our political stripes, and what our view of the government's role is. Anti-war activists decry those who question their patriotism; well I do question it, because their violent opposition, if brought to fruition, will only lead to defeat and more civilian deaths on our soil in another terrorist attack. I think the reasons for invading Iraq were a little hard to swallow, but I also think the deposing of Saddam Hussein was about 12 years overdue. I also don't think we were fully prepared or fully anticipated the nature of the fight after Saddam's regime was swept away. But I want us to win, and I agreed with critics of how we were conducting the war, and I welcomed the change in strategy. Such criticism is designed to ensure that we win. The radical Left only seems interested in defeat so that they can oust Bush and the Republicans.

This war is not like Vietnam, no matter how much the anti-war crowd wants it to be. We acted decisively in the interest of national security, not inserting ourselves into an already on-going civil war like we did back then. However, if we don't pursue victory, the outcome will almost surely be the same.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Call Me Frosty.

I guess this fits, since I was accused by my college roomate of being an eskimo, because I opened the window in the middle of winter.

You Are a Snowman

Friendly and fun, you enjoy bringing holiday cheer to everyone you know!

(h/t BigDadGib)

Let's Talk about Sex.

Yet another study strengthens the case for traditional families, but will our sex-obsessed society take notice?

Dr. Laura had it right in describing the rise of sex as a commodity. You cannot escape it, and it is permissible everywhere except, apparently, in a committed marriage. I read a 'Dear Abby" column in the paper yesterday in which a reader wrote a response to a question from a lonely husband: "I do all these nice things for my wife, and she still won't have sex with me! What can I do?"

The response? Stop pressuring your wife and being so selfish. The responder's husband also is guilty of planning numerous romantic dinners and occasions in the expectation that fun will ensue. Not so, says the responder: he should stop expecting and start merely hoping, but oh, keep up the romanticism. "Remember," she writes, "it's about what you are giving, not getting." Well, news flash - she's not giving, so he's not getting. What more does he have to give? The columnist agreed with the responder (of course).

But these days, sex outside of marriage is sacrosanct and not to be tampered with, under any circumstances. This article is astonishing in that it seems to take the men's side, yet refuses to condemn the culture of casual sex which led to the dilemma.

"And yes, sure, you can say a man doesn’t have sex if he doesn’t want a
child…but let’s discuss this as if we’re living in the real world, ‘kay?"

This is the weakest argument in the world, similar to the one used to justify giving birth control to pre-teens: "They're doing it anyway, shouldn't it be safe?" This view is defeatist, in that it assumes that we don't have the power to change society or impact our kids' development. Similar platitudes are used to advocate legalized drugs. Anyone who uses this argument has abandoned principles and ushered society to the dung heap. Sure, kids are going to have sex and people are going to do drugs, but we should not give up the fight to safeguard our principles and values.

Sex is a wonderful thing and a necessary part of marriage. It is also a profound expression of love, particularly for us guys. How many women complain that their man turns into a zombie afterwards? Ever consider that maybe we do because we've just given so much of ourselves, not just physically, but emotionally as well? I think the idea that men can have sex without emotion is a bunch of garbage, meant to blunt the empty feeling that results from casual sex. I think Dr. Laura is unique in advising couples to be each other's lovers as well as spouses. Most advice columnists and therapists give the authority to the woman to decide, and the man awaits her whim, often with the admonition that 'sex isn't that important to the relationship.' Then it must be okay for the man to look for sex elsewhere, isn't it? Give me a break!

Max Lucado had a wonderful sermon series called "Pure Sex." It's about this wonderful gift we've been given, and how to use it according to God's will. You can find it on iTunes, and I highly recommend it.

So what does all this mean? We need to continue to combat the sexualization of our culture. Teach our kids that sex outside of marriage is wrong, and encourage them to wait, no matter what the world around them says. After all, can you really trust a world that says wanting casual sex with strangers is OK, yet wanting it from your spouse is selfishness?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Fun with Statistics.

I'm running out the door for a while, but I wanted to fire this at you as a sort of lead-in for some upcoming posts. Watch the whole thing: it's fascinating (even if a little liberalism seeps in from time to time, the guy's Swedish after all).

Here's a follow up from this year:

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

For Sale: Slightly Repainted Jag.

Cheap Jaguar for sale in the U.K., if you don't mind washing it first.

The story behind this little artistic beauty is the typical one of the woman scorned: husband buys fancy car, registers it in wife's name (probably for tax reasons), then uses said auto to cheat on the aforementioned wife. Can we say dumb?

Now, the aggrieved spouse is selling her tainted automobile, paint job included, for about $20,000, which is a steal if you're looking for a used luxury car. Naturally, if you don't want to have the paint removed, you can always go with a new model, which may also smell better.

Don't let the modest price tag get you down, either; financing is available for this little monument of wedded bliss.

The cheating husband would do well to follow the links and find new wheels; the ad states that the paint damage to the car is nothing compared to what she'll do to him. Hell hath no fury, eh?

Readers of this blog know I'm a car buff; they also know I take my marriage vows seriously. I'd never cheat on my dear wife, firstly because I love her, secondly because infidelity hurts more than your spouse. I'd never give my wife any reason to do something like this to such a fine piece of automotive machinery.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Believing in Blue: Colts 21, Chargers 23.

What a disgusting display. I don't care how close it was at the end or how great the comeback almost was, when you throw six interceptions, you don't deserve to win.

I could go into a big rant here about that, the coaching, special teams, and the missed field goal, but it just wouldn't be worth it. What I will say is that as much as the team talks about guys stepping up for injured players, don't be fooled: this is a different team without the offensive weapons. Some of the young guys are passable, but down the stretch you want to have your best available. As it is, our playoff picture is looking worse if we don't get back with it. This team is not used to losing and does not take it very well. Last year they translated that into one of the best playoff runs ever. Hopefully they can do that now.

One bright spot: you can't lay this one at the feet of the defense. They played a good game and made it possible for us to catch back up, despite the horrendous special teams play and Manning's turnovers. Quite a switch from past years.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Veteran's Day.

"The Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh month..."

Those words describe the time of the signing of the Armistice between Germany and the Allied Powers in 1918, marking the end of what was called "The war to end all wars." In 1926, Congress marked the day by resolving that the President proclaim that the flag will be flown on all government buildings that day; in 1938, Congress recognized Armistice Day as a legal holiday, honoring veterans of the World War.

War came again.

In 1954, fresh from WWII and Korea, Congress amended the Act of 1938 to honor American veterans of all wars.

" On that day let us solemnly remember the sacrifices of all those
who fought so valiantly, on the seas, in the air, and on foreign shores, to
preserve our heritage of freedom, and let us reconsecrate ourselves to the task
of promoting an enduring peace so that their efforts shall not have been in

All of us have been touched by a veteran in some way. In my case, it is through family. My paternal Grandfather's brother served in Patton's 3rd Army during WWII. My maternal Grandfather served in the Army Corps of Engineers in Korea. My brother-in-law is currently serving in Iraq.

I'm proud that these men, and all others like them, answered their county's call in her time of need. I'm grateful for what they did and are doing to ensure that I have the freedom to write, and you, the freedom to read.

God bless our veterans, past and present.

Link to image source.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Picture of the Day. (Updated)

I posted this picture last night before I went to bed. I was tired and thought it was funny, since I'm not a Mac fan, and the geeky side of me doesn't like their Mac/PC ads.

Having slept on it however, I realized that the picture is not really in keeping with the tone of this blog, and does not represent the message I want to send on a daily basis. I still think it's funny, but this is not the way to react to feelings of inadequacy. I apologize for appearig to advocate it.

So, instead of a picture, you now get a link, with suitable Content Warning.

R.I.P. Norman Mailer

American journalist and novelist Norman Mailer died of renal failure in New York City today. I'm still trying to sort my impressions about this news.

I first discovered Mailer while I was a freshman in college. I had read about The Armies of the Night in a magazine article, and being young and flushed with idealism and liberalism, I bought a copy at a second-hand bookstore and immersed myself in a world that I had only seen in The Wonder Years. Needless to say, it was a side of that world that I had never known, but I was drawn in by Mailer's unique writing style, even if I didn't fully comprehend the politics behind the narrative. I've since grown out of my youthful liberalism.

I moved on to The American Dream, a dark portrait of our country that I still haven't figured out. What mattered was that Mailer wielded words the way Monet or Picasso wielded a brush, sometimes with similarly striking results. While in Italy, I read some of Ancient Evenings. I tried to read Of a Fire on the Moon during the summer I spent reading about the space program, but the contrast with the no-nonsense technical histories stymied me and I had to put it down. Likewise, I've never been able to get very far into The Prisoner of Sex, which is a pity, because I believe that in this instance, Mailer and I are in agreement. He seems not to be a fan of the feminists (nor they of him), but alas, here his unique style defeats me.

Possibly my favorite Mailer book is Oswald's Ghost, a remarkable look into the life and mind of a killer. Rather than examine bullet theories and grassy knolls, Mailer delves into Lee Harvey Oswald's history to make the case that he did indeed kill Kennedy and acted alone.

In his historical romances about WWII, Herman Wouk writes of Churchill complimenting Rommel with the words, "Across the gulf of war, I salute a great general." Norman Mailer at once entertained me with his narratives, enthralled me with his style, and disgusted me with his politics. He probably would have been amused by that, and appreciated it. Across the gulf of ideology, I salute a great writer.

Link to image source.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Tagged by the SEO Monster.

I'm not usually into going along with memes, but since I got tagged a while back, I've been thinking it would be a poor sport of me to ignore it. I've picked three posts from my blog and added them to the list. Take a few minutes and peruse all the links; after all, the purpose of these things is to build traffic.

~Start tag~

This is based on the SEO theory that links to posts inside your blog are more important than links to your home page. I have selected three posts I want to promote along with my site’s name. You should do the same thing. Keep it simple and spread our good work around to both share and build some ratings! Pick three posts that you feel are your best or those you simply want to promote. Your site name is listed with your 3 selected posts beneath. Once you have your post up: Add the sites and post links of the folks you tagged onto your post. Try to add the site and post links to anyone involved to maximize the effectiveness. Tag a minimum of 5 people! Try your best not to double tag people so it will spread better! Please actually read the posts from everyone so you can see some really good work from our beloved blogging friends! Make your title a little different from mine to avoid repetitive titles. Please try maintain some friendly updates to your post too.

Revellian dot com
SEO Keywords For Beginners
Content: The Kings Illegitimate Stepchild
Tales of Blogger-X Illusion

Mariuca - Wishing On A Falling Star
Love In Disarray
In Love With A Dream
The Good Client

Mariuca’s Perfume Gallery
Perfume Shopping Spree
Defining Beauty
In Full Splendour

First Time Dad
Homer Kidnapped
Something Ends
Good Night Sweetheart! Hello Basil!

Speedcat Hollydale Page
Rocket Boy in Hawaii - DC9
Speedcat’s Death Ride into Terror!
The Boy Inside All Men

R Playground
Shy Blogger
Soul Music

LadyJava’s Lounge
Are you a Genius??, The secret to a happy marriage, I’ve got a twitch in my eye

Rooms of My Heart
Let’s Celebrate with Us, Join Tribute to Dads Project, 8 things that make who I am now

Being Woman - The Joy of Being One
A Handbag Lunatic, A Real Deal, What makes you fat?

Make Money Online
Share Uploaded Files and Earn, Fight Back against computer-security threats, Earn Money 3 Ways with Shareapic Program

Cat Tales
Sunday was Bathday, Someone got locked in!, When she’s sleeping….

Life with the Two Crazy Dogs
35W Bridge Collapsed Survivor, 10 Questions, Traffic Violation - Bite Me!

Attitude, the Ultimate Power
Cookies Happiness is a Decision; Choose to be Happy Happiness Vs. Human Nature

Terri Terri Quite Contrary - Just How Immature Are We?, Finding a Voice, So Much More to See than the Game

Amel's Realm - In Memoriam, On Trust and Relationship, Marriage Review

Choc Mint Girl
Failure in Every Success
Feel Like Singing?
Warm Wishes to Dad

Back Home Again
They Shall Become One Flesh
The First Year
Archaeology in the Holy Land


~End Tag~

Here goes. Tag, you're it:

1. Devilish Girl
2. BigDadGib
3. Shiny Sink
4. Mental Poo
5. Heh, can't think of any others...if you're reading this, consider yourself tagged!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Diggity Digg.

I've been working tonight trying to get a Digg button attached to each of my posts. I've found code for various types, but what I really want is the new style button that shows how many times a story has been dugg.

As you can see, I've managed to get it working, but it's still not to my satisfaction. For one thing, the lawnmower post is showing digg information for the Sam Hornish post. The Digg button also seems to look a little...hinky.

So, if anyone out there knows a good way to get the button I want working, please leave a comment with your suggestions!

Update: Well, I found a different set of instructions, and got the look I wanted, but now I'm not sure I like it. I may go back to including a simple digg graphic in the footer of each post. Opinions?

Dumb Move of the Day.

It's official. Sam Hornish Jr. is switching to NASCAR. After failing to qualify for six NASCAR races this year, why not go for the big bucks and try it full time?

I really don't understand this at all. I know that the earnings potential is greater in NASCAR, and open-wheel racing in this country is in perpetual Limbo, but consider the history:

1) Hornish is the most successful and consistent active driver in IndyCar Racing, with the best team. He could win the Indy 500 and the IRL championship as many times as he wants.

2) All of his previous closed-wheel (or tin-top, for you Brits) excursions have been spectacular flops (see picture above). Did I mention the six failed qualifying attempts?

Hornish is optimistic about the move, and feels that he can do well (provided he makes the field, eh?).
""I am a much better racer than I am a qualifier, and if I can just get in, I
feel confident I can figure it out.""

Uh, Sammy? Look at the picture again, please. Getting in is easier said than done, too, as you well know by now. Never fear, though, the NASCAR rules favor in this regard: Penske can use his owner points earned by Kurt Busch to guarantee Hornish at least five starts. Naturally, that should be enough to get started with. Again, the optimism:
""People always ask me why Montoya has been so successful, and the easy thing to
say is because he had the points," Hornish said. "He had those first five races
and he was automatically guaranteed to get that seat time.""

But Montoya is something that Hornish is not: a true racer in the old style, like Tony Stewart; these guys can drive fast in anything, much like drivers of the '60s. Men like A.J. Foyt, Dan Gurney, Jim Clark, and Mario Andretti could race, and win, in anything.

Maybe with some extended seat time he'll get the hang of it, or he could get lucky(car number 77, you see). But I just can't see how this is a good move right now.

One good thing, though, is that now there's a seat open on the top open-wheel team. Prospects will be circling like sharks, so here's my suggestion: give the media a real story and give this deserving driver a chance.

(h/t Jalopnik)

Link to image source.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

You've Never Done Laps Like This Before.

Where can I get it?

Alas, it's only a concept in CG. Still the thought of wrapping my leather-clad hands around the F1-style steering wheel, listening to the roar of the motor as I set out to fight the suburban man's battle turns me on.

Schools Gone Wild.

"It states: "Displays of affection should not occur on the school campus at any
time. It is in poor taste, reflects poor judgment, and brings discredit to the
school and to the persons involved.""

The vagueness of the policy makes it a stretch to think that detention for a hug is an appropriate punishment. Especially since the 'incident' occurred at a football game. It's not an isolated occurrence, either.

""It was made to be something ugly and it wasn't," Muir said.
She says the
hug wasn't meant to be sexual. She says her daughter was consoling a male friend
who recently lost a parent."

It's frightening to think that those who are entrusted with the education of our youth have such poor judgement. There have always been rules against "PDAs" at schools; such rules were designed to prevent excited teenagers from playing tonsil-hockey in the halls and encouraging appropriate behavior. Now the goal is different:

"In 1999, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled schools could be held liable by ignoring
claims of sexual harassment. Some say the ruling puts schools between
a rock and a hard place. By not identifying all suspect behavior, they risk

Time was when harassment was dealt with by either a slap across the face or the intervention of a gentleman. Some guys wolf-whistled a girl in my high school band class once, and the director went ballistic. In the '70s, a teacher actually slammed a football player against the wall for inappropriately grabbing a girl. Unfortunately, the sexualization of our culture means that such actions are either acceptable or grounds for a lawsuit.

Fear of liability has neutered school officials and robbed them of the capacity to judge for themselves.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Election Day. (Update): Ballard Wins!

Indiana voters went to the polls today, full of fire over property taxes and crime. Here in Indianapolis, the mayoral race is turning into a nail biter as Republican challenger Greg Ballard holds a slim lead over incumbent Democrat Bart Peterson. In the City-County Council races, the Republicans likewise leading in the four at-large seats, enough to give them the majority.

I'll be up watching the returns and will post updates here from time to time. Hoosier Access is live blogging the entire election. My focus is on the mayoral race here in Indy, because typically as goes the mayoral election, so goes the council. Here's the current numbers:

Bart Peterson (D) - 47.17%
Greg Ballard (R) - 50.51%
Fred Peterson (L)- 2.28%

Bear in mind, I heard radio reports earlier today about some problems with voting machines which could mean a block of votes that have to be hand counted. So there may not be a definitive result tonight. The good news is, that the polls opened without event, unlike the fiasco in the May primaries.

Update (9:51pm): Ballard's lead slipped for a while, but he seems to be building again.

Update (9:57pm): The Indianapolis Star's graphic shows that the Republicans have locked up 10 seats on the CCC to the Dems' 6. That includes 4 Dems who were running unopposed. Rather than constantly re-type numbers, I'm just going to change the ones above with each update.

Update (10:16pm): 100 precincts left to go, and Ballard still going strong. Considering that he had no money and didn't run a TV ad until 4 days before the election, this is a colossal upset in the making. The question is which precincts have yet to report. The Star still shows 10 seats on the CCC for the Good Guys; Hoosier Access shows 12. The at-large seats are too close to call, with the Republicans holding a slim (very slim) lead.

Update (10:34): Victory! Peterson concedes to Ballard. The Star calls it the biggest upset in local politics since 1967. This should also indicate good news ahead for the City-County Council races. The Democrats have been an absolute disaster in charge; hopefully the Republicans can provide some responsible leadership.

Helicopter Parents.

If you supervise teenagers, as I do on occasion, then you've surely run into this creature. Mom or Dad will call in for the kid when he doesn't feel like working, or will call in righteous indignation when Junior is written up for failing to do his job properly. My favorite is, "Sissy isn't coming to work today or tomorrow because we have important family activities planned."

The phenomenon has really drawn attention at college campuses. Professors dread the harangue of the indignant parent who demands that their chick and child receive a better grade from Dr. Scrooge. It doesn't matter that Buffy never came to class; that's not her fault! The class is too early, she has important extra-curricular activities, etc.

A new study even lauds such behavior as helping the kids get more out of the college experience. I always thought the college experience was to be independent and get away from home.

"Though excessive contact with parents might inhibit learning and development,
students in frequent contact with their parents are more satisfied with their
college experience, according to the new survey."

Notice how the effect on grades is secondary to satisfaction with the college experience. I find myself now in sympathy with my Roman History professor who refused to end any class session even a minute early because we were paying for it. If you're going to spend $20,000 a year on an education, shouldn't good grades be a priority over "the college experience?" These parent's are harming more than the kids' grades, however:

"we should tell them by words and deeds that it's OK to fail."

That's exactly what these kids are not learning. By having Mommy and Daddy ride to the rescue in any situation, they will not know how to deal with adversity on their own until it's too late. One cannot learn from one's mistakes unless one is allowed to face the consequences. Sooner or later these kids will have to deal with the real world in which things will be demanded of them, which no one can smooth over for them. Parents need to sever the cord and let their kids stumble on their own once in a while. That's how you mold children into adults.

Update: I suppose there are alternatives to being a helicopter parent. Sheesh.

Monday, November 5, 2007


Update 11/05: The child that survived the accident is now in the hands of the Lord. Continue your prayers for this man and his family. The donation information has changed; see below.

Originally posted on 10/22/2007:

I can't imagine anything more horrible. Follow the link in Michelle's post and read the whole article; take a box of tissue because you will cry.

Pray for this brave man and his family. If you have the means, you can help financially by giving to the Ashley and Logan Johnson Memorial Fund at any Bank of America.

Amazing Grace.

My favorite hymn. We sang it in church this week, and I always enjoy it. It's so simple, yet right to the point about how wonderful God's Grace is. It's hard for us to understand sometimes just how much it means, but little incidents in our lives can wake us up.

"I'm tired of fixing or replacing everything she destroys. I'm tired of her
doing the same thing over and over and over without learning to be better. I'm
tired.And then I'm reminded: what if God felt the same about me? What if He
said, "That's it Tim. I've had it. You're obviously never going to get it right.
Time to get rid of you.""

Isn't it wonderful that we have a God that is so much better than we are, with so much more patience and love? Amazing.

A New Experiment.

I've decided to try something new here at Back Home Again. Every day I see posts in discussion groups about making money with a blog, so I've decided to give it a try. There are many ways to earn, but since I don't like clutter on my blog, paid posts are the way to go.

One such service is bloggerwave. It's a paid post service based in Europe that connects bloggers with opportunities from advertisers. The advertisers pay for ads, the bloggers provide. What's great about this service is that you can take whatever opportunity you wish, so you don't have to worry about endorsing something you don't like or approve of. That's the danger with embedded ads; I can't tell you how many times I've visited a site in which the ads were directly opposed to the content of the site. Paid post services leave some power to the blogger, which is how it should be.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Believing in Blue: Colts 20, Pats 24.

Well, it was certainly a good, though frustrating game. I didn't like the way our offense wilted in the second half. The defense put up a mighty fight, but against a team as good as the Patriots, you can't afford to be one-sided. So, I'll admit, I predicted wrong.

But it's only one game, even if it means the road to the Super Bowl will probably go through Foxboro. I doubt New England can go undefeated; they looked average against a good team today, and will surely play good teams as the year goes on. Remember also, that Miami has an eerie habit of defending the '72 Dolphins' record. As they say, it's the NFL, anything can happen.

Anyone got any ketchup?

Home Improvement.

I've been Stumbling while I wait for the Showdown. I don't know what they're saying, but this is cool:

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Fall Space Day.

I took my oldest son to Purdue University today for their annual Fall Space Day. It's a day for kids in grades 3-8 to meet a real astronaut and do activities that teach them about some of the problems and principles of spaceflight. It's a long day, but the kids enjoy it. As a parent, I enjoy watching my son work with the other kids on the various activities. All of them involve some sort of challenge to overcome, such as designing a capsule to protect an egg 'astronaut.' The capsule is then dropped from a second story window to determine its effectiveness. Suffice it to say, I would not want to be an astronaut on this day!

Today my son got to make a rocket from a drinking straw, design a structure to protect a potato chip 'astronaut' from a meteor impact, and launch styrofoam and toothpick satellite components using balloon rockets. The last activity was interesting because the kids had to 'pay' for their components and rockets, as well as each launch. The winning group was the one that got all their components into orbit for the least amount of money.

The kids also get their picture taken with the astronaut speaker, and a goody bag with the astronaut's autograph. A good day, a good father-son outing.

Emergency Rule.

The big news story of the day is President Pervez Musharraf's declaration of emergency rule in Pakistan in an effort to stay in power. He's fired the Chief Justice and surrounded the Supreme Court with the military. His claim is that it's for the good of the country.

""Extremists are roaming around freely in the country, and they are not scared
of law-enforcement agencies," the president said."

This presents a Catch-22 for the United States. On the one hand, Musharraf has been a fairly reliable ally in the war on terror. By contrast, the opposition is increasingly Islamist and anti-American. The sticking point is that Pakistan is a nuclear power. Americans naturally wish for free elections and do not like cozying up with dictators, but you have to consider having a nuclear arsenal in the hands of a jihadist government would be far worse. In this light, the U.S. response is predictable.

"US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the declaration of
emergency rule was "highly regrettable" and called upon Pakistan to have
free and fair elections."

One thing not reported however, is that neither side is friendly to the Christians in Pakistan. Persecution tends to increase in times of political upheaval, so keep the Pakistani Brothers and Sisters in your prayers.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Gaming Addiction.

(OK, I've been on a tear tonight. Last post of the day, I promise.)

I listen to the PC Gamer Podcast and was intrigued a few months ago to hear the staff go on about the game Peggle. It's supposed to be great as well as massively addictive. I don't know, I haven't played it yet. I guess if you're interested you could try it out or, like me, just watch this (Language Content Warning):

Believing in Blue: Game of the Year

I know I got off-track keeping up with the Colts' season. Here's a brief rundown since the last update:

Indy 30 - Houston 24
Indy 38 - Denver 20
Indy 33 - Tampa 14
Indy 29 - Jacksonville 7
Indy 31 - Carolina 7

The Colts are playing well, though they are still starting slow each game. I'm glad to see that the defense is no longer seeming to lag a little late in the games the way they did the first couple of weeks.

Now the game everyone has been waiting for is nearly here, and the hated Patriots come to town with their 8-0 record. I think this game will live up to its hype, but the Colts will prevail, though not by a large margin. For all the talk about the Pats' offense, they haven't played any good teams yet, and their defense is pretty much the same as it has been. The other reason the Colts will win? Propaganda like this cannot fail to inspire.

A Manly Stance on Health Care.

One of the sites I enjoy while surfing on Blog Explosion is Arthur's Hall of Viking Manliness. It's refreshing and always to the point.

Read their latest on the health care crisis in America. Nail. On. The. Head.

His language isn't always appropriate for Sunday School, but it's nothing we haven't heard on TV, so observe your mild content warning.

Dilemma for the Modern Man.

I came across this post while surfing on Blog Explosion. I agreed with most of it, because the author feels as I do, that kids should be raised by two parents who are married. However, I was saddened by the thought that single men today might actually be considering giving up the joys of marriage and fatherhood out of fear of divorce.

I agree that marriage and having kids is not something to be done lightly, but at the same time, if you wait until conditions are perfect, you'll never get there. You cannot perform Due Diligence on a prospective spouse and be 100% sure that the marriage will work. Marriage is a life-long process that is rarely perfect. There are bumps in the road, and it takes a team effort to keep the car on course.

But, both of you can and should talk about marriage and what it means to you before you tie the knot. Better yet, speak to your pastor or a Christian counselor who can help you understand what God wants from a man and woman who have committed their lives to each other. If you cannot do those things, then I'd recommend you at least read Dr. Laura. She's wonderful.

As I said in the comment to the post, and here before, the state of affairs today which would drive men away from marriage is due to the rise of radical feminism. All is not lost, however. There are many women who still believe that men have value, and understand that we each have a role.

Diplomacy Needed; Diplomats Chicken Out.

Michael Yon's latest dispatch is sure to give the MSM palpitations. Sheik Omar Jabouri boldly proclaims that Al-Qaeda Iraq is defeated; a little premature perhaps, but events are definitely moving in that direction. Clearly, AQI's strategy of fomenting a sectarian civil war is failing. Tribal leaders, like Sheik Jabouri, are turning from AQI and are working with American forces to root out the terrorists. Now, pay attention:

"In fact, more and more meetings in Iraq are turning to day-to-day business, and
less time is required on military and security topics like targeting and
addressing intelligence-type matters, which until recently monopolized most
meetings across Iraq."

This means two things: 1) that the military is succeeding in its mission. 2) with the emphasis turning to non-military matters, more diplomats are needed to help work through these issues.

They're not exactly lining up in droves.

""It's one thing if someone believes in what's going on over there and
volunteers, but it's another thing to send someone over there on a forced
assignment," Croddy said. "I'm sorry, but basically that's a potential death
sentence and you know it. ... Who will raise our children if we are dead or
seriously wounded?""

Indeed. Probably the same people who will raise the children of the nearly 4,000 brave men and women who have already given their lives. They already know the meaning of bravery and sacrifice.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Taking a Stand.

In the recent Democratic debate, Senator Hillary Clinton showed her mettle in the face of tough questioning. Apparently the words 'yes' and 'no' are not in her vocabulary. For all the Republicans disheartened by our own candidates (and I admit, I'm one of them), Charles Krauthammer has some good advice. Besides, do we really want this for the next four years?

Monday, October 29, 2007

Second Chances.

Michael Yon is an independent writer and former soldier working in Iraq. He chronicles the war from the soldier's viewpoint, telling the story as it is, in a way that is not reported by the Mainstream Media. I like to think of him as a modern-day Ernie Pyle.

By now, the Scott Thomas Beauchamp/TNR story is old news, but I wanted to share with you Yon's follow-up to the story.

"In fact, the commander said Beauchamp, having learned his lesson, was
given the chance to leave or stay."

He stayed. I don't have any other comment on this; read Yon's piece, and undertsand why our troops are the best of the best.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

You're Beautiful, Baby.

Unless you happen to live in DC, that is.

I like looking at attractive people as much as the next person, but in my experience a beautiful appearance does not equate to a beautiful heart. I was driving to work one morning and heard a local talk radio host make fun of all the gamers that were in town for Gen Con, a yearly gathering of role-playing game enthusiasts. I don't remember what his specific comment was, but it had something to do with them being geeks and having no life.

I'm a gamer(retired), and I'll freely admit that we're geeks. We take pride in it. But I also can say that for all their quirks, gamers are some of the most loving and caring people I've met, who make friends for life and would do anything for their friends. It's a pity that so-called normal people rarely look beyond our propensity for wearing cloaks and shouting "+4 Battle axe? Leave my wife alone!" to see it.


Here it is: my 100th post. I've been racking my brain over the last few days for a topic to write about. But I saw this post and got to thinking how much bloggers obsess over numbers; we track subscribers, hit counts, page visits and views, posts, comments...bean counters extraordinaire we are.

Well, for this one post I'm bucking the trend. It's a throw-away. I'll still check my hit counts and page views. But my goal is and has been to share my thoughts. If you agree or disagree, admire or revile, thanks for reading.

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Very Best?

Yesterday saw the conclusion of one of the most interesting Formula One championship seasons in recent years. Lewis Hamilton, rookie sensation and points leader going in, flubbed the first lap then suffered mechanical problems which set him well back in the field, costing him the title. Fernando Alonso, his teammate and two-time champion, drove a steady race to a lackluster finish. This left it to an improbable Kimi Raikkonen to come from third in the points to capture the drivers' title by winning the race. I'll say I wasn't displeased by this as I feel that since McLaren were (rightly) disqualified from the Constructors' Championship, their drivers should have been as well. F1 commentators are fond of calling it a 'team sport.'

What really struck me, however, was not the race but a segment in the pre-race coverage on Speed Channel. Each of the top three drivers was asked, "If something unfortunate happens to prevent you winning the championship, which driver would you like to win?"

To which all three replied with some variation on, "If I can't win it, I really don't care who does." Amazing. Not one had the courtesy or the guts to say, "I think so-and-so should win." It shows the depths of self-centeredness that Formula One has sunk to in the last few decades.

Contrast this with today's Indy Car drivers: each year the Indianapolis Star asks the participants in the 500 mile race a similar question. Most will name another driver, often a teammate. Better yet is Jackie Stewart, himself former F1 champion driver, speaking about his experience in leading the 1966 Indy 500:

"You know, I thought later, 'I could have won this thing!' But the
team won; Graham [Hill] won."

Quite a change in the last 40 years. Formula One drivers are called the best in the world. The most skilled? Maybe. The best quality? I don't think so.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Coolest Vid of the Day.

Actually, I found this yesterday, but oh well. This kid has the weirdest technique I've ever seen, but awesome trumps weird every time.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Too Fast, Too Furious.

I've written here before about my enthusiasm for import tuners. I also pointed out the dark side to that hobby, namely illegal racing and personal excess.

Alicia asked me the other day if I had heard about a little girl killed by street racers. I hadn't, as most of the news sites and blogs I read cover political news, and such stories rarely get any play. It piqued my curiosity, though, because I love racing and driving, and bad examples of this outrage me.

It turns out that such instances are on the rise, and stupidity does not discriminate. What are these guys trying to prove? I understand the desire to go faster than the other guys, and I've accumulated my share of speeding tickets. What any serious driver knows, however, is that there is nothing safe about pushing a car to the limit of its performance, and it shouldn't be done anywhere. Fortunately, these criminals may soon get their reward.

If you've got to prove something, then go to the local racetrack, most of which host street-legal drags on the weekends. You can race in a controlled and (reasonably) safe environment. Life isn't a video-game; there is no reset button, and no second chances.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Under God.

Over the past week or so, there has been a running argument in the editorial pages of The Indianapolis Star over whether the United States is a Christian nation or not. The argument has been among letters to the editor, not the newspaper staff, so I'm unable to link any specific examples to you. I also don't remember which article the initial letter-writer was responding to, but she proclaimed that we are not, in fact, a Christian Nation. Other respondents wrote stating that we are, or that we were a nation founded under Judeo-Christian values. One man even amusingly wrote that we owe our bicameral legislature to the Almighty. Strange gift, no?

Let me refer you to this article addressing this very subject. As Mr. Cherry states, our Founding Fathers, whether Christian or Deist, did believe in God, and that our rights as men are given to us by God, and not by government. Add to this the fact that all of them grew up in the Christian tradition, as opposed to say, a Hindu tradition, and it is easy to see that our national identity arises from Judeo-Christian values.

Nevertheless, the Founding Fathers understood that there is a power greater than Man, upon whom man is dependent for liberty and morality. Tocqueville (yes, him again) remarked on the religiosity of Americans and the importance of religion in democracy, echoing, as it were, John Adams:

""We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human
passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge,
or gallantry would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes
through a net. Our Constitution was made for a moral and religious
people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.""

It is no surprise, then, that the immoral and irreligious Left continually try to distort the Constitution or ignore it altogether.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Rule the Waves.

Here's something that most Americans probably haven't heard about, and won't if the globalist Senators and MSM get their way. Even top conservative bloggers seem to be a little in the dark.

There is a new push to join and ratify the Law of the Sea Treaty (appropriately condensed to LOST). This treaty, which Reagan rejected, and Bush is trying to revive, would place the United States in the hands of authorities created by the dysfunctional UN, infringing on our sovereignty and effectively crippling our ability to protect our interests around the world. Conveniently, it also opens the door for further encroachment by the UN, which will expect US taxpayers to fund all of this and which places us under the jurisdiction of so-called "international" courts, none of which have any ties to, nor sympathy for the US.

Since the time man first put boat to water, nations have understood that the true law of the sea is made and enforced by the country which has the strongest navy. Since WWII, that country has been us. Like Britannia of old, we've ruled the waves for the last 70 years, and the world has been better for it. Now the envious globalists, under the guise of world peace, are trying to pull the rug out from under us.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Infrequent Updates.

Update 10/9/07: Well, I've worked out a deal with my ISP so that I can keep my connection, but I still may not post very often for a while as I just haven't been able to think of anything I want to write about. I'll post occassionally, so keep a weather eye on this space.

I've been pretty busy this past week, and have not been able to update this blog very much. Now, due to financial reasons, I'm having to drop my internet connection. I'll try to get to the library about once a week and update from there, but they'll probably be just quick and dirty posts, nothing major; so, I'm officially calling myself on hiatus until probably after the New Year.
Thanks for reading thus far, and please check back from time to time until I'm able to resume posting on a regular basis. Thank you!

Saturday, September 29, 2007


Or not. US Rep. Julia Carson has missed 13% of her votes this year in Congress. Sometimes she has to have someone help her cast her vote, coming dangerously close to violating the rules of the House. She intends to run for another term in 2008.

I don't wish harm on Ms. Carson, and I hope she recovers from her infection, but one would think that she would realize it is time to quit and let more vigorous candidates run for the job. She is not serving her constituents if she is not able to execute her office. This notwithstanding the fact that she is on the opposite side of the political aisle from me, and thus does not represent me anyway. But she is not serving the people who voted for her, either.

The paper has also hinted that she is grooming her grandson, Andre Carson, recently elected to the City-County Council, to run for her seat in the House when she retires. While I have deep misgivings about such a situation, at least he would be young enough to participate and make sure that Indianapolis' citizens have their voice in government.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Couple Caught Cheating: With Each Other!

Another story indicative of the sad state of marriage in our world today. It also illustrates the pervasiveness of the self serving idea that marriage is a means to satisfy ones needs.

A couple in Bosnia are divorcing after both of them struck up a relationship online with other people. They knew their online paramours only by their internet 'handles,' and were in for a rude awakening when each agreed to meet in person.

They arrived at the designated meeting point only to discover that their newly-found "soul mate" was none other than their spouse! Both have now filed for divorce, each accusing the other of being unfaithful.

Once the fog of irony subsides, however, this story illustrates a point I've made before. Marriage is a joint commitment, the success of which depends on the willingness of each party to sacrifice for the other. Too often men and women expect the other to be the first to sacrifice, thereby causing a stalemate in which neither will budge. This insistence on "I'll do this for you if you do this for me," which is touted by advice columnists everywhere is the height of selfishness. A better attitude is "I'll do this for you because I love you, whether or not I get anything for it."

I wonder if this couple could not have saved their marriage by putting each other first, instead of looking for their own satisfaction elsewhere. Alas, too many people in an unhappy marriage look elsewhere for the problem, when in fact the problem most likely resides in themselves.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

What's in a Name?

If you read the comics in the newspaper, you might have noticed that Cathy has run strips for several days about the stress that new parents undergo to pick a name for their child. It pokes fun of the lengths that some parents go to pick a name that is unique, marketable, or Google-able. Sometimes I think the old advice is best - pick a family name or a Biblical name.

Names are powerful things. They are the core of our identity, so much so that we may insist on being called by one of our names (first or middle) to the exclusion of the other. Tolkein understood this; in the Two Towers, Treebeard cautions the hobbits not be hasty lest they give out their real names. Names, according to Treebeard, tell the story of those they belong to.

Names also give us control over someone. If you have some one's name, you can Google it and perhaps find out more about that person than they want you to. In Jurassic Park, the main character marvels at children in museums who master the complex names of dinosaurs that their parents are unable to pronounce, as if by saying the name, they have gained a measure of control over the terrible beasts.

It might seem strange that something which we are given can have such power; but once given, it defines us for all our days. There is little wonder though, if you look at the Bible. All the names in the Bible have a specific meaning; Moses is similar to the Hebrew for "draw out," as he was drawn out of the water. Jesus is a translation of Joshua, which means, "the Lord saves." The Bible clearly illustrates the importance of name to a person's identity. The Third Commandment even forbids profaning the name of God.

Perhaps the best example from the Bible comes from three people whose names changed: Abraham, Jacob, and Paul. All were chosen by God, and none were what you would call saintly material in the beginning. Abraham was a nobody, Jacob was a conniver, and Paul persecuted and murdered early Christians. But God chose them not for their qualities, but to illustrate his power to take something bad and put it to use for good. He does this with every Biblical hero, but these three are special in that their identity changes completely, evidenced by their names.

Abram was chosen by God to be the foundation for His chosen people. He became Abraham, "father of many." Jacob, "the supplanter," stole his older brother's inheritance. He became Israel, because he "struggled with God and with men and [overcame]" [Gen. 32:28] Saul, the Pharisee, the strict religious Jew, became Paul (from Paulus, a Roman name), was "humbled" and became the Apostle to the Gentiles. Once they belonged to God, these men were not the same as they were before; they were new persons.

God can change your identity as well; by letting him come into your life, by accepting His gift of salvation through Jesus Christ you become a new person, as surely as if you changed your name.

Believing in Blue: Colts 22, Titans 20.

Well, the Boys in Blue pulled it out in the music city today to go 2-0. Tennessee gave them a tough go, and played the full sixty minutes. It came down to a huge defensive stop and Tennessee fumble with 4 seconds to go.

The Colts played fairly well today, though they seemed a little less sharp than they did last week. Perhaps that's due to the Titans being so familiar with the Colts or two of our starting linebackers being out. The defense played worse against the run by giving up more yards, but they did not get gashed nearly as badly as some games last year. Vince Young was either better contained or more patient. It looked again as if the defense ran out of steam in the latter part of the game, though they came up with the big plays when it counted.

The offense was its usual productive self, though the interception intrigues me. Why did Reggie Wayne stop and look for a flag? They never said if he was hurt or not, and he came back in on the next possession with a big catch. Finish the play, and then worry about whether or not there should be a penalty flag. The line had a tough fight in this game, and Tennessee brought lots of different pressures. Everyone talks about rookie Tony Ugoh at left tackle when it was the right tackle and the guards getting called for the penalties and allowing the sacks.

The win is good, but I hope the close score does not become the pattern this year; last year was enough of that!