Friday, May 27, 2005

A fitting tribute to the fallen

BLACKFIVE: Opening the Gates of Heaven
I've lost three good friends during the War on Terror. And I write about the others to ensure that we don't forget their sacrifices - I do that for me as much as for anybody.
...
It's important to remember them, and it's just as important to enjoy yourself this weekend. To spend time with your family and friends.
...
What better assurance to them they did not die in vain?

Enjoying your freedom and understanding it's value is the best way to honor the sacrifices of my friends.

That's the way they'd want you to spend Memorial Day.

Remembering them, and being a good dad and husband and an American is the best way that I can honor their memory.

Concrete work

Backfence: Summers of our discontent

The payoff is near the bottom. RTWT.

Iraq's 'devil-worshippers' seek constitutional rights



Iraqi Kurds who worship Lucifer (I kid you not!) want their religious freedom protected in the new Iraqi constitution.

At the same time, an American judge is depriving American nature-worshippers of their constitutional rights to practice their religion. (ht: Captain's Quarters)

Something is very, very wrong with this picture.

A curious state of affairs, indeed.

Fallaci charged in Italy with defaming Islam
ROME (Reuters) - A judge has ordered best-selling writer and journalist Oriana Fallaci to stand trial in her native Italy on charges she defamed Islam in a recent book.
Hm... According to Italian Judge Armando Grasso, you can't criticize homosexuals, and you can't criticism Islam .... a religion which condones the beheading of homosexuals.

Hat tip: CDR Salamander

An interesting double standard

Anti-American Rallies Staged in Mideast - Yahoo! News When shock-rocker Marilyn Manson or other "artists" blatantly, gleefully, repeatedly desecrate the Bible and crucifixes, the handful of Christian protestors who make the news are generally depicted as fundamentalist crackpots. But let there be a handful of inadvertent "mishandlings" of the Koran, and tens of thousands of Muslims demonstrate, and they are covered as justifiably enraged.

I'm losing my patience with these people.

How ti use a Dial Telephone - 1927

From the Internet Archives: How to Use a Dial Telephone Of course, many adults today have never seen a dial telephone. Our grandkids may wonder, "What was Microsoft Windows?"

We can only hope.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Monday, May 23, 2005

I'm a Marauding Marsupial!

According to N.Z. Bear's Blogosphere Ecosystem, I'm #2001.

Surplus Embryo?

Welcome To JJ and Tracy's Place Look at that face. And to think some people say it's OK to harvest stem cells from so-called "surplus embyos." ht: The Corner

Episode III - on second viewing

After some deliberation (and no small amount of effort on his part) I took my son to Revenge of the Sith this weekend. He was of course vibrating with excitement. It was a lot of fun to watch him watch the opening.

It's a better movie the second time around. Much better, actually. Most of the emotional "stuff" mostly works, now that I look at it again. And knowing that it's coming, I can play the lines that annoyed me last time in context (they're STILL contradictory).

The only really flat spot was the too-sudden turn of Anakin to the Dark Side. I just don't buy the transition from, "What have I done?!?" to, "I dedicate myself to your teaching." We also don't see Anakin "growing in power," as he tells Padme' he is.

Oh, I noticed that Jar-Jar appears twice, not just once. Dang.

And I missed the Millenium Falcon's cameo. Guess I'll have to go see it again. (I am SUCH a sucker!)

Friday, May 20, 2005

Star Wars redux

Ok, Ok, already. It's only a movie, and only a Star Wars movie at that. It's not in the same league as Oliver Stone rewriting history with "JFK." Fluff and popcorn.

George Lucas has earned millions by providing terrific entertainment, and if he wants to take a cheap shot or two, well, it's a free country. I can ignore the cheap shots, or just engage my suspension of disbelief and interpret them in the context of the story (ignoring / accepting the pretzel logic of, "Only Sith deal in absolutes," just as I ignore / accept the wooden acting).

Besides, George W has actually changed the world, and for the better IMO. And regardless of what any moviemaker says about the nature of absolutes, I know the Real Story.

Ya know, it's Star Wars. My inner ten-year-old really just wants to see spaceships and robots and swordfights.

May the Force be with you.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Lucas, you S.O.B!

Just got back from the midnight show of Revenge of the Sith....

George, you sonufabitch, why did you do it?

28 years I've been a Star Wars fan. I saw the original on opening day way back in '77 when both of us had dark hair. I stood in line to see the sequels. I built the AMT (or was it Ertl?) T.I.E. fighter kit. Like every other male my age, I salivated over Carrie Fisher in a bronze bikini. Like the rest of the fans, I was horrified to discover that the ugly rumors about Darth Vader being the father of Luke were true.

I forgave you for the Ewoks, because their technology was so darn cool and because C3PO got some good lines off them.

Years later, I watched the videos with my kids. I bought them lightsabers, action figures, LEGOs, and Darth Vader Halloween costumes.

When the prequels came out, the visuals were so cool that I forgave you the idiotic plotline about mitichloridians, and even overlooked the foolishness of the "virgin birth" of Anakin.

I even didn't totally hate Jar-Jar.

We bought the DVDs and watched them over and over, soaking up the grand story and the incredible visuals.

For the past year, we've subscribed to the Hyperspace section of your website, eagerly awaiting each installment of the behind-the-scenes action. We avoided the unauthorized spoiler sites out of loyalty to the story. May 19th has been on the calendar since, well, forever.

And you had to go and ruin it all.

Three lines, George, three lines, each unneccesary.

#1: "He's got the Congress and the courts." - spoken by a Jedi explaining why the evil Chancellor cannot be removed legally. Clearly a cheap dig at President Bush and the Republican majority in the Congress. Of course, you could not have predicted that the film would be released on the eve of a showdown over judicial nominees. And it wasn't as cheap and obvious as "The Day After Tomorrow," but you certainly could have done it differently.

#2: Anakin (now Darth Vader): "Either you're with me, or you're my enemy." HELLOOOO? Don't tell me that's not a direct restatement of the Bush Doctrine.

#3: Obi-Wan (in response to #2): "Only the Sith deal in absolutes." And he draws his lightsaber to fight his former apprentice.

Ahem.

So what you're trying to say, it seems, George, is that those of us who DO believe in absolutes such as Good and Evil, Right and Wrong, are... SITH? The very EMBODIMENT of evil?

That's what you said, George. Yes, it's contradictory (more on that, perhaps much more, later), but it ...

it hurts, George.

You see, George, all those years while I was buying my kids Star Wars stuff, explaining to them how the grand saga was a tale writ large of falling and redemption, all those years, George...

I was attending church, George. (The past 15 years or so, at least.) Not namby-pamby spiritual-smorgasbord-ifitfeelsgooddoit "churches", George, but REAL churches. Places where the Gospel of Jesus Christ is proclaimed without shame or fear. Places where clear distinctions are drawn between Truth and Lie, between Good and Evil.

I believe in those things, George.

And until a couple of hours ago, I believed in Star Wars, too. I believed that Star Wars taught that Good ultimately triumphs over Evil.

But right now, George, I'm feeling more than a little sick, and a helluvalot disappointed. Because you could have given us those stunning digital FX, that classic-Star-Wars wooden acting, tied up all the loose ends, just as well without those three lines.

But you bastard, you had to go and do it. You just HAD to get your last digs in, and EFFIN' RUIN IT.



That in itself, a lesson is.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Irritating the right people

Purported al-Qaida Statement Blasts Rice - Yahoo! News

So according to a website, al-Zarqawi is hacked at Condi Rice:

"Our belief entails that the sword and bullets are our way of holding dialogue with you."

Presumably the "you" refers specifically to Rice, though perhaps it refers generally to the Shi'a majority. (I wonder how they would have "held dialogue" with whoever Kerry would have tapped for Secretary of State?) If that's the case, then this non-Iraqi is clearly trying to foment an Iraqi civil war.

Yup, they realize the import of a stable and democratic Iraq.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Handbasket? What handbasket?

Faithful Are Carving Niche in the Workplace - Yahoo! News Replace "Christian" in this story with "homosexual" or "African-American" and see how it sounds. The fact that IT MAKES THE NEWS that people of faith are being PERMITTED to express it at work says a great deal about this society, little of it good.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Jet collision under federal review

Jet collision under federal review Another good article from the Strib. It gives not only the facts of the matter, but important background info about NWA's issues regarding maintenance. That might or might not have played a role in the accident, but it's certainly germane. Looking at the photo, I have to play airchair quaterback and wonder why the DC-9 pilot didn't apply reverse thrust when he realized he was too clse to the A-319. Probably too busy trying to troubleshoot the brakes (assuming that's what caused the accident).

Kids' book on evolution stirs censorship debate in Monticello

Kids' book on evolution stirs censorship debate in Monticello A fair and balanced article. It avoids painting advocates of Intelligent Design or critics of Darwinian macro-evolution as anti-science flat-earthers. The cries of "censorship!" come across as shrill and hysterical (which they are), and the school administrators come across as spineless (which they are). Yes, it's appropriate for a school set policies to teach certain topics at certain grade levels, but come on! My kids were exposed to the "origins story" in Montessori preschool. Elementary kids are into dinosaurs. The topic comes up. Instead of "caving in" to "religious extremists" - those horrible bogeymen - the school has caved to the Darwinian Dogmatists. Micro-evolution is observable. Macro-evolution is not. It's an assumption. Common Descent has not been proved. There is evidence that supports it, but the same evidence can be interpreted in support of Intelligent Design. The problem that the Materialists have is that Intelligent Design requires an Intelligent Designer, and despite IDer's assurances that it doesn't matter whether the Designer turns out to be Christ, "I AM WHO AM," Zeus, Odin, Vishnu, or Barney, if a student is allowed to think about Design, he or she might utter the Forbidden Word - you know, the one that begins with a "g" - in a public school, which would directly contravene many postmodern jurist's reinterpretation of the Founding Father's Original Intent, resulting in the collapse of Western Civilization. Or at the very least Barry Lynne (the founder of People United to Censor Public Expressions of Faith) would be offended, which could be worse. After all, he gives press conferences and files lawsuits.

Am I stupid, brainwashed, or... a careful reader?

Iraqi Insurgents Go on Rampage, Kill 69

OK, read the headline, read the story, look at the (truncated) picture caption, then the extended caption.

A casual reading is, "oh, snap, not only is the insurgency growing, but they are getting more effective, and the US is STILL screwing up!"

Look just a *tad* bit deeper and it's clear that the insurents are getting less effective, more desparate, and that Us troops - as almost always - act with professionalism and restraint.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Minor yet major

In the grand scheme of things, the decision by the Director of the USAF Museum to move an old airplane that few people under the age of 50 even know about from Texas to Arizona matters not at all. And yet... The B-36 Peacemaker, in its day, stopped Stalin in his tracks. The men and women that built, maintained, and flew it sacrificed as much as those of any warriors of any period. (If you doubt that, imagine doing maintenance on a running engine sitting a couple of feet away from a nineteen-foot propeller trying to to suck you in. Oh, did I mention that it's either sixty below (before you factor in wind chill) or a hundred-and-two-in-the-shade?)

What an age of wonders we live in ... ?!

Gadget promises to translate baby babbling Hey - I've got a radical idea. Maybe I'm crazy, but bear with me here. Suppose, just suppose, parents actually.... PARENT?

Democrats, differences, and definitions

Reid Offers Olive Branch on Bush Nominee - Yahoo! News:
"'We know the difference between opposing nominees and blocking nominees. We will oppose bad nominees, but we will only block unacceptable nominees,' Reid said."
And what, Senator Reid, is the difference between a "bad" nominee and an "unacceptable" nominee? And what qualities in a "bad" nominee make him or her "acceptable"?

Back in the day Bill Cosby had a routine about kids and how irrational they were. He had a simple, two word explanation for their logic-defying behavior: "BRAIN DAMAGE!"

Friday, May 06, 2005

Bigotry on display

Christopher Hitchens demonstrates the hypocritical bigotry of the "tolerant" Left. I'm a conservative Christian. I'm unashamed of that fact. There are a lot of people like me, and the numbers are growing. We vote our values. But to people like Hitchens, this is dangerous. We are dangerous. I am dangerous. What's next - forcing me to sew a yellow cross on my shirt?

Monday, May 02, 2005

Wonkette - First Wife Swapper: Laura Bush Steals the Show at WH Correspondents Dinner

Wonkette - First Wife Swapper: Laura Bush Steals the Show at WH Correspondents Dinner Wonkette goes a bit overboard with the "wife swapping" charge, but the pull quotes from Laura Bush's zingers show a woman with a real sense of humor.
"George always says that he's delighted to come to these press dinners. Baloney. He's usually in bed by now. I'm not kidding. I said to him the other day, George, if you really want to end tyranny in the world, you're going to have to stay up later." "The amazing thing is that George and I were just meant to be. I was a librarian who spent 12 hours a day in the library, yet somehow I met George." "People often wonder what my mother-in-law is really like. People think she's a sweet, grandmotherly Aunt Bee type. She's actually more like Don Corleone." "I'm proud of George. He's learned a lot about ranching since that first year when he tried to milk the horse. What's worse, it was a male horse." "George's answer to any problem at the ranch is to cut it down with a chainsaw. Which I think is why he and Cheney and Rumsfeld get along so well."

Time certainly seems to have MovedOn

It's been a long time since I read a newsmagazine. I get headlines from Yahoo and a slew of RSS feeds aggregated at bloglines, and analysis from a handful of blogs I read semi-regularly. But the current issue of Time had Darth Vader's visage staring out at it, so I forked over the four bucks. I figured it'd be a nice thing for my Star Wars-besotted preteen son. Hoo boy, was I in for a rude awakening. There is a decent article on the final episode of the Star Wars saga. A bit thin for psuedofanboys like yours truly who have devoured the behind-the-scenes goodies at Hyperspace (the members-only section of starwars.com), but not bad. Not much in the way of spoilers, and a decent if lightweight exploration of hte dramtic sweep of the saga. The interview with Lucas provides interesting insight into the man who never really wanted to be defined by the space epic, and who offhandedly describes himself as a San Francisco liberal. But... Next comes, "How Star Wars Saved My Life," by a guy who as a seven-year-old dealt with his "confusing" crushes for the other boys in the neighborhood by becoming a Star Wars geek. They couldn't find a straight person whose life was changed by Star Wars? And just what the heck difference did the kid's nascent sexual persuasion make w/r/t his becoming a geek, or vice versa? Exactly nothing - it's totally and utterly gratuitous. Elsewhere, an article on the Christian college students on secular campuses (a growing demographic, according to the author's statistics) begins with two women kissing at a drunken frat party. (At least the article treats the Christian students it describes with respect.) There's a snarky item about a "creationist" museum of earth history founded by a "right-wing zealot and notorious anti-Semite." Later in the magazine is a full-page ad for P-FLAG, and the final commentary is by an author who flaunts her "Volvo-driving, pro-abortion rights, pro-gay-marriage, liberal credentials" as a prelude to ripping on a new Florida gun law. I knew things had gotten bad at the venerable newsweekly, but this was a real shocker.