Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Congratulations and farewell...

Congratulations to Hendrikje van Andel-Schipper for holding the title of the world's oldest person for the last year or so exclusively, though she's ranked up there within the top 5 for several years. Farewell is in order for the Dutch woman, however, since she died early this morning at the ripe old age of 115 years, 60 days. One of her best tips on how to live long, besides eating herring and drinking orange juice, is "breathing." Her death now leaves an American woman the oldest in the world at 115 years, 15 days.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

The infiltration of PC in the church

According to this article, the hymnals of the Evangelical Lutheran Church has decided to make the titles of God more "gender-neutral" in order to attract more people into the church. First of all, what they propose to replace God as "Father" with is "Holy Eternal Majesty" and Jesus rather than "Son" will be "Holy Incarnate Word." If that doesn't alienate more people from God with an even more distant title than "Father" or "Son," I don't know what will. Secondly, since when was the church supposed to acquiese to the percieved politically correct terminology of the world, because they think giving God a male gender will give people Oedipal complexes or bring up bad memories of their fathers? The Lutheran denomination is doing a disservice to their people and to Christianity in general, and are not signifying themselves as a "global church."

Apparently, abstinence is "inhumane"

According to some people from the liberal bent, teaching abstinence before marriage is not only unhealthy--because teaching abstinence is the "healthiest choice for teens" as being an imposition of values, not facts--but it's "irresponsible" and "inhumane." Additionally, according to Congresswoman Barbara Lee, (D-CA), we might as well be animals because "Abstaining from sex is oftentimes not a choice, and therefore their only hope in preventing HIV infection is the use of condoms." Either that, or she advocates rape.

Using this logic, since when was keeping people more emotionally and spiritually healthy, free from diseases and unwanted/unplanned pregnancies, and a host of other difficulties brought about by having sex without a lifetime, monogamous spouse in marriage "irresponsible?" Perhaps it is "inhumane" to teach people to have self-control and respect for others and themselves, and not to use sex indiscriminantly with others to avoid most of the plagues that have become more and more rampant in our nation (AIDS, abortions, disease, single parenting, etc.). Hmmm, who are the ones that are "imposing" their values on others: the people with true concern for others' health and well-being, or those who are pushing for their ultimately destructive agenda under the guise of "freedom?"

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Gaggle this!

As I was leaving work one afternoon, I happened to have my camera on me as I saw a gaggle of Canadian Geese hanging out by the creek. There were several around, on each side of the road, and they let me walk among them and take some pictures. Just thought I'd have a light-hearted post and share one of the shots with you.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Throwing chicken to the crocodiles

I have waited a while to comment, if at all, on the Jewish relocations from Gaza and the West Bank. However, I came across this commentary from Cal Thomas, who essentially expresses what I've been thinking all along: Give the Palestinians and inch, and they'll take a mile. They'll never be satisfied with little pieces of land. Next they'll want Jerusalem, then Samaria, and eventually all of Israel. The Palestinians will not negotiate until they've taken all of Israel away, which is what they intend to do. In case they didn't know, the Israelis (Hebrews) were in that land before they were, before the land was called Palestine. Even aside from the promise of God that it would be their land, geographically they preceeded the Palestinians anyway. Why can't Israel see that they are cutting their own throat here and giving away their heritage and rightful land?

Another tragedy of Political Correctness

As you may have heard, talk-show host Michael Graham was fired for stating his opinion--based on facts--about Islam and its essentially lone connection with terrorism. He attempted to put to rest the statements that Islam is a "religion of peace," and stated that "the reason Islam has itself become a terrorist organization is that it cannot address its own role in this violence." Now, many Muslims may claim that this isn't true--and it is true that not every Muslim has committed acts of terror themselves--but the justification of such acts are permitted within the Koran and they could act upon them if they so desired. They have been trying to appease people into thinking that they are peaceful, while at the same time not condemning acts of violence committed in the name of Islam among the "infidels," as well as committing other social atrocities among their own people (i.e., honor killings, domestic violence, torture/killing of converters/non-believers, extreme punishments for breaking laws, etc.) that are much less publicized. As Graham was "threatened" by CAIR, people have been essentially bullied into not letting on the true spirit of Islam and what Mohommed promoted. His commentary is well-worth reading and makes a lot of sense. I, for one, am glad that he spoke up. However, in this time of political correctness--where we cannot state things as they really are for fear of offending the party in question (unless they're Christian--they're always fair game and so what if they're offended?) and is called "hate-speech" if we do--he was fired for his comments. Here is Michael's follow-up commentary on his termination.

Update: (8/24/05) According to this report, Graham didn't go long without a job: Rightalk.com, an Internet-based conservative radio network, hired him to start on Monday. In addition, here is another commentary talking about the irony of CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) and their reprimand of Graham's linking of terror with Islam, when their own leaders have been convicted of various crimes supporting terrorism themselves in one way or another.

An interesting rationale for polygamy...

Malaysia's leading Islamic politician, Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, has announced that men should take on up to four wives so that some women won't be relegated to be "aged virgins," though they should "be sensitive to [their] first wife's feelings." He also has some stellar ideas for men who leave their wives without alimony or abuse the polygamy laws: He has also called for men to be whipped if they desert their wives without paying maintenance. Similar punishment should apply to those who abused Islam's polygamous provisions: "In addition to being fined, these irresponsible men should be caned, preferably until they become impotent."

Monday, August 22, 2005

Apparently there is still goodwill on earth...

This man in Sweden tipped a 19-year-old waitress where he was dining his 1979 Porsche, without any strings attached. The article states how he decided to give it to her: The man, who asked to remain anonymous, told the paper he could not really explain why he gave her the car. “I was just sitting there in the restaurant and looked her in the eyes and saw an angel and thought to myself ‘the Porsche, she should have it’,” he said. Asked if he had any regrets, he replied, “no, absolutely not”.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Appreciating the small things...

Yesterday, I went out with the kids I work with on a photo nature walk, to give them time off from the unit as well as to teach them some basic photographic principles as we walked nearby the hospital and looked for picturesque things to snap. Here is a favorite of mine that I came across as we were walking along--simple, yet profound--just of a leaf on the rocky ground.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Perhaps his assumption is more correct than you think...

This chief Rabbi from Russia thinks that the Messiah is very near to coming or has actually been born. Another interpretation to his theory, to which he probably wouldn't subscribe, could perhaps be more applicable to the timing of Messiah's second visit...

Friday, August 12, 2005

The birth of a hummingbird...

Here is a fascinating picumentary of the stages of a hummingbird's nest from eggs to flight.

Thanks to Steve for the link.

Exposing our own who are hurting us...

Here is what appears to be a well-needed, well-timed book out--that I'm sure you've all heard about already--whose aim appears to be to educate Americans that the "elite" of our country are really not helping us at all, but rather using their reputation and power to advocate views that probably very few of the public at large actually hold. He includes categories such as the America Bashers, the Hollywood Blowhards, the TV Schlockmeisters, and the Intellectual Thugs, to name a few. I'm not sure that everyone has been duped by these (generally) liberal naysayers, but it's a darn good time to expose those who have been doing America the most harm. Read an excerpt.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Who said Legos were for kids?

Here is an amazing representation of the Crystal Cathedral using Legos. Check it out for yourself...

Thanks to Mianne for the link.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

The Battle of 21st Century Ideologies

An excellent commentary, part of a series on Judeo-Christian values, by Dennis Prager that discussed the three ideologies that are fighting to be the dominant value system and shaper of humanity's morality (or lack thereof): Secular-Leftist, Judeo-Christian, and now Islamic. Whereas the Secular-Leftist and Judeo-Christian values butt heads on the intellectual level, the Judeo-Christan and Islamic ones butt heads where faith comes into play. Which one is the most viable, and which one will you choose?

Another Biblical site located...

The famed Pool of Siloam, where Jesus healed a blind man, was reportedly discovered as workers were repairing a damaged sewer line. This is yet another archeaological find--assuming it's valid--that has proven that the facts of the Bible are accurate, found exactly where it should have been located. Excavations to come after they gain permission from the nearby Greek Orthodox Church to cut through their garden.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Maybe you should reconsider smoking...

Here is a website with cool images using colored smoke. It kind of reminds me of the light particle "art" about which I posted a while back. The images are actually made from burning joss sticks, not from cigarettes as I jokingly intimated in the title...

Thanks to Mianne for the link.

Which one is really the "belief"-based theory?

Today, President Bush proclaimed his support for the Intelligent Design theory of creation to be taught alongside the evolutionary theory of development. Of course, he was attacked right and left for his support of teaching something "with no scientific basis to support it" and "no educational basis for teaching it." So what makes evolution any more valid? What they don't understand is that evolution is still a theory and still takes as much faith--if not more--to believe happened than creationism does. It has still not been proved, and there are huge gaps in the macroevolution that scientists claim have happened. Certainly, microevolutionary adaptions occur in nature, but to say that humans were created from "goo to you by way of the zoo" is scientifically ludicrous. That holds less credibility and reason than to think that there might be an intelligent Being who actually brought us into existence the way that we are. Additionally, if it is being proposed as being taught along with evolution, what are they so afraid of? For being so "tolerant" in their perspectives, they're awfully closed-minded on this one. (kind of like the ones who are freaking out about the elective Bible study class)

(8/8/05) David Limbaugh's commentary on this very issue posits about the Darwinian scientists' double-standard when it comes to a theory not their own: "Indeed, it appears many Darwinists are guilty of precisely that of which they accuse ID proponents: having a set of preconceived assumptions that taint their scientific objectivity."

(8/9/05) Even though I believe in absolute truths, Mr. Harris has a legitimate argument that even Darwin would have allowed the debate of his own theory in the classroom, and that children should be taught to think about theories and ideas and decide for themselves. He actually agreed with Bush's statement that "You're asking me whether or not people ought to be exposed to different ideas, and the answer is 'yes,'" and further stated that "So this time Bush got it right, and the critics that are pouncing on his statement are getting it mostly wrong. There is no harm in teaching children to discuss and debate the ultimate questions -- indeed, the greatest danger is that we may raise a generation that is never challenged to think about such questions at all. If an open-ended debate about evolution stirs up the kids, then, for heaven's sake, let the stirring begin."

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Pop Cathedral

I don't know whether to find this humorous or irreverent--maybe both--but our very own Washington National Cathedral decided to allow a competition in the 1980's where children designed decorative sculpture for the cathedral. Well, it's hard to believe the third place winner's contribution that made it on the walls...it truly goes to show how pop culture has affected even our places of worship. You can see the sculpture here.

Thanks to Chris for the tip-off.

Monday, August 01, 2005

A sad day in the world of animation...

Disney has announced that it will close the last of its hand-drawn 2D animation studios in 2006. As an artist (of sorts), it is sad to see the basis of the animated movie go by the way of the dinosaur as CGI becomes the current day norm, allowing for 3D work to come through the screen. I remember when I went through the Disney studios as they were drawing "Beauty and the Beast," and wanting to be an animator, even though I knew I lacked the right artistic skills that it takes to animate a characater over and over again. Who knew it would become so obsolete so quickly? I hope these talented people will be able to continue using their artistic talents as a career and to share them with the public at large in one venue or another.

Blowing a gasket over an elective course...

Here is another lame "[myth of] separation of church and state"* case where an Odessa, TX school board has added an elective Bible study course to its 2006 curriculum and some people are already up in arms about it "as an effort to instill religious training in the public schools." What these people apparently don't get is that it is an elective; hence, a non-required course. No one is being force-taught anything, as they attempt to portray; it is merely available for those who wish to partake by their own choice. There is a simple solution to the whole matter: if you don't like it, don't take it!

Major side rant:
*"Separation of church and state" is found nowhere in the Constitution and has been a myth perpetrated by the media and various groups across the nation to further their own agenda. In reality, the First Amendment gives religious freedom and only states that Congress shall not make a state religion, like the Church of England was in Great Britain, but did not imply that religion and government could not comingle [Congress can't prohibit the free exercise of religion, either]. The "separation of church and state" phrase came from a letter that Jefferson wrote to a church organization, after they had expressed fear over the rumor that another denomination was going to become the national religion, to assure them there would be no state church--writing in very similar language that was used in the First Amendment.

Interestingly, Jefferson also alludes in this letter that the government should only interfere when there is an illegal action taken in the name of religion, not just having a differing opinion (i.e., destroying one's home because of their religous beliefs (a crime) vs. expressing disagreement with them (an opinion)--which opens another can of worms with the "hate crimes" proposed legislation [including verbalizations/ opinions/ thoughts] where you start getting into the thought police): "...the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions..."

Here is an essay that goes into further detail about this exchange. You can find the text of the Jefferson and the Danbury Baptist Association's letters here.