Tuesday, December 09, 2008

"Coldplay rips off Joe Satriani?" The fur is gonna fly....

The kids over at ChordStrike have been on a roll lately and you should check them out for their ideas and recommendations for music that is often off the beaten path.

Here, though, is their take on the recent lawsuit brought by guitar-samurai Joe Satriani against the pop superstars Coldplay in which it seems their huge hit, Viva La Vida may have borrowed too generously from one of Joe's instrumental tunes off of a 2004 album.

You definitely want to check out the YouTube video that they have showing the two songs overlaid. It's pretty incredible. I am usually pretty skeptical about these kinds of claims, because pop/rock music is so pervasively inbred anyway these days. But this time...this time it really sounds eerily close and I'm thinking ol' Satch may have an axe to grind with the youngsters.

One thing I know for sure, and this video proves...Coldplay really could be the best band in the world if they got Joe Satriani to play guitar.

Followup: Coldplay says, "Oh, no we din't!"

What's So Great About Christianity?

Maybe I should start a category called "Books I Haven't Read Yet."

From the recently resurrected Anti-Itch Meditation, there is a pointer to this interview in Salvo Magazine with author Dinesh D'Souza. If, like me, you've heard that name on the TV news, but couldn't quite place him, it turns out he is a card-carrying renaissance man with multiple areas of high expertise. He has written a new book of Christian apologetics called "What's So Great About Christianity?," and has been spending the last year or so publicly debating noted atheists Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins. I have not yet read the book, but if this interview is any indication, it would seem he is likely handing them their secular humanist heads on a platter.

Here's one of the best, most surprising bits from the interview, in response to the widely held and oft reported assertion that Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world:

"That's actually not true. Islam is indeed growing, but primarily through reproduction. Muslims have big families, which translates into an increase in their numbers. But Christianity is growing both by reproduction and by conversions. The rate of Christian conversions in places such as Africa and Asia is really startling. Even the U.S., which is in some respects more modern, affluent, and technological than any other nation in the world, has also remained perhaps the most religious country in the West."


"The truth is, however, that if you go to South America, you will find a huge number of conversions to Protestant Christianity. If you go to Korea, you will find Christian churches with 100,000 members. If you go to China, you will find 100 million Christians. And if you go to Africa, you'll find that countries whose populations were only five percent Christian 100 years ago are now 50 percent Christian. These trends have not gone unnoticed by historians, who are startled by them and have attempted to explain them away, and they are the empirical basis for my claim that God is doing very well in this world."


Thursday, December 04, 2008


For my birthday, I received the most wonderful toys:

A Radial Engineering Trimode Distortion Pedal

Motorola Z6TV Cellphone

Juggling balls

Albums by:

Buddy Miller

David Bowie

David Byrne & Brian Eno

Carlos Santana

A new crockpot!

Not to mention an excellent black hoodie, a sweatshirt, and some generous monetary gifts.

Plus, I was treated to a meal at the best restaurant in Richmond, Ghyslain, with my wife, mom, and Grandma. Chef Ghyslain is an international award-winning chocolatier and restauranteur from Canada. Outstanding!

I missed my son not being there, but he'll be home from IU/Bloomington soon.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

"Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet..."

Via the ArtsJournal.com, here is an interesting piece from The Guardian examines why pop songs are so short. Apart from the fact that in many cases it is simply our own good sense or the the Lord's sweet mercy that delivers us from the worst of what passes for pop music, this article takes a fresh look at typical examples and historical reasons, as well as notable exceptions.

In this latter category, he describes the background of and offers a link to an emotionally arresting recording by Gavin Bryars, entitled "Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet."

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Worst Day of My Life...

You know, perspective is everything. Especially at this time of year it's important for us to be thankful for what we have and to say a little prayer for those whose lives are so much less fortunate.

A special thanks to my son, JP, for pointing me towards this timely reminder, on this, his 22nd birthday, no less.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Arlen Roth: Slide Guitar Lesson

Here's another short video lesson in beginning slide guitar technique, this time by Arlen Roth. Not only does he give great insight in the "how-to", he delivers some easy, great sounding basic licks. He is playing a Gibson SG, which is the model preferred by Derek Trucks, too.

Slide guitar is a lot of fun, but like he says, it's totally different than playing regular guitar.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

10,000 Hours, more or less

"In the early 90s, the psychologist K Anders Ericsson and two colleagues set up shop at Berlin's elite Academy of Music. With the help of the academy's professors, they divided the school's violinists into three groups. The first group were the stars, the students with the potential to become world-class soloists. The second were those judged to be merely "good". The third were students who were unlikely ever to play professionally, and intended to be music teachers in the school system. All the violinists were then asked the same question. Over the course of your career, ever since you first picked up the violin, how many hours have you practised?

Everyone, from all three groups, started playing at roughly the same time - around the age of five. In those first few years, everyone practised roughly the same amount - about two or three hours a week. But around the age of eight real differences started to emerge. The students who would end up as the best in their class began to practise more than everyone else: six hours a week by age nine, eight by age 12, 16 a week by age 14, and up and up, until by the age of 20 they were practising well over 30 hours a week. By the age of 20, the elite performers had all totalled 10,000 hours of practice over the course of their lives. The merely good students had totalled, by contrast, 8,000 hours, and the future music teachers just over 4,000 hours.

The curious thing about Ericsson's study is that he and his colleagues couldn't find any "naturals" - musicians who could float effortlessly to the top while practising a fraction of the time that their peers did. Nor could they find "grinds", people who worked harder than everyone else and yet just didn't have what it takes to break into the top ranks. Their research suggested that once you have enough ability to get into a top music school, the thing that distinguishes one performer from another is how hard he or she works. That's it. What's more, the people at the very top don't just work much harder than everyone else. They work much, much harder."

Excerpted from from Malcolm Gladwell's new book, Outliers: The Story of Success, reprinted from The Guardian. A fascinating read, this excerpt also discusses hockey champions, Bill Gates' career, and Mozart's childhood.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Everyone Can Go

This is an Associated Press photo from a couple of weeks ago showing religious pilgrims returning from a...uhm, pilgrimage to their home in Multan, Pakistan.

Click to enlarge.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Roasted Pears with Cheddar Crumble

Frankly, I'm getting annoyed at all of my favorite food websites because all they want to talk about is Thanksgiving dinner. I like Thanksgiving dinner as much as the next guy but, for me, from a cooking standpoint, it's just not that interesting. I know it's all about the turkey recipe, the stuffing, the cranberry something-or-other, blah, blah, BLAH! I'm beginning to fear it will be January before it gets creative and fun to read about cooking again.

That said, Mark Bittman, one of my favorite chef/authors, was on The Today Show this morning with some interesting, very simple soup recipes. Here's the link. And I don't think he even mentioned the word "turkey" one time.

Sorry, I didn't really mean to go all anti-Thanksgiving there. To make up for it, here is an excellent, healthy dessert recipe that I freely adapted from one of those recipe cards that they give away free in the produce section of the grocery. You just never know where you'll find an inspiring idea. Nancy requested it for this morning's breakfast, and it worked great. It is one of those dishes that looks fancy, but it is really incredibly easy.

Roasted Pears with Cheddar Crumble

2 ripe pears, halved, cored and seeded
2 tbsp. butter, approx.
1/4 cup of good cheddar cheese, grated
2 tbsp. granola
2 tbsp. Splenda brown sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat small baking dish with cooking spray. Place pears cut-side up in dish. Cover with butter, cover, and bake for 30 minutes.

Shortly before pears finish cooking, combine grated cheese and granola in small bowl.

Remove pears from oven, Uncover and spoon cheese and granola mix into and on top of pears. Sprinkle with brown sugar. Return to oven and bake for 10 minutes more.

Serve in bowls, pouring extra syrup over pears.  Serves 2.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Tommy Tedesco Interview

Here is a link to an interview with Tommy Tedesco, one of the greatest studio musicians in the world. He passed away a few years ago and there is a new documentary about his work in "The Wrecking Crew," a storied group of musicians who played on quite literally all of the major record and important film dates in LA from the early 60's through the early 90's. I'm not kidding...I mean all of them. Check it out. He was so prolific throughout this time that I daresay, in this age of cable TV, there is likely always one or more movies or TV shows that feature his guitar playing.

Tommy Tedesco is revered among guitarists, in particular, for his unbelievable musicality and stylistic versatility. He had an astonishing ability as a multi-instrumentalist and was generally without peer in the LA studio scene for many years. He could literally play in any musical context, and he thrived on the high-stakes pressure of the high-dollar, two-takes-and-you're-done recording sessions. When I was in college at the University of North Texas, circa 1981, he visited and gave a master class/lecture on what it takes to be a professional studio musician. That certainly was one of the most memorable days of my college career and figures significantly into my lifelong pursuit as a guitarist.

Check out the links above, if you've got a minute or two, and you will be surprised and entertained. Tedesco was a fascinating character and a superb musician.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Crockpot Lambs Shanks for Two

As "empty-nesters," most often these days, I am fixing dinner for two. As I've mentioned previously, we really like lamb. Here is an excellent, simple recipe, adapted from this one found at About.com.

Lamb shanks are an economical cut of meat and should not be available at any grocery that stocks lamb.  It is a fairly tough cut of meat, though, and require a little special treatment. Slow cooking in a crockpot is an excellent way to tenderize any meat and the marinade in this recipe really helps a lot with this while preserving the wonderful, rich flavor.

First, the cast of ingredients:

2 lamb shanks
1 onion, sliced medium thin
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp kosher or sea salt
1/2 freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp olive oil
5-6 whole, garlic cloves,
4 ounces cleaned mushrooms, halved
3/4 cup red cooking wine
1/2 cup strong beef broth
1 (14 ounces) can diced tomatoes
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp ground allspice


Chop and slice the veggies as specified above and shown here:

Coat lamb shanks with Worcestershire sauce, then sprinkle generously with sea salt and pepper.

Heat a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and brown the lamb shanks.

Separate the onion rings and place in bottom of crockpot.  Place browned lamb shanks, along with any tasty scrapings from the skillet, into the crockpot on top of the onions.

Top with garlic and mushrooms.
In a bowl, mix together the wine, beef broth, tomatoes, oregano, basil, thyme, allspice, and bay leaf. Pour mixture over the vegetables and lamb shanks.  

Cook on low for 7 hours or until tender. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. 

When done, the meat will be fall-off-the-bone tender.  Serve with pan juices and vegetables.  The picture below also features a simple salad of wilted spinach, bacon, and tomato along with a slice of toasted Amish wheat bread and fresh butter.


Sunday, November 09, 2008

Indiana University/Bloomington 11/7/08

This past Friday, Nancy and I spent the day in Bloomington, visiting JP. While he was in class in the late afternoon, we wandered around the campus a bit, taking photos. Even though the full glory of autumn is a couple of weeks past, it was still really beautiful.

(If you click on the pictures above, most of them will expand.)

Update:  Nancy took some great pics....check them out here.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Bacon vs Fries!

Yeesh. If I lived in Denver I would have been all over voting split-ticket on this one. I'll reach across the aisle for bacon every time. It's good to see it was a landslide victory. There is no contest between bacon and fries.

h/t Amazon's Al Dente Blog (one of my favorite food blogs).

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Truett says to go vote.

World War II History

I stumbled across a series of fascinating and unusual articles at Spiegel Online covering Nazi Germany. Most of the pieces incorporate new and and ongoing research into various historical topics.

Titles include:
  • A recent trial of a 91-year old convicted Nazi war criminal who held up a pharmacy with a toy gun
  • A reassessment of the bombing of Dresden
  • New photos from concentration camps
  • A look at the surviving members of Hitler's "Lebensborn" program to breed an Aryan super-race
  • A study of the effects of rape trauma on the women of Eastern Germany in the last days of the war as the country was being overrun by invading Allied troops
  • New research about looted art treasures and literature
And many more...

Monday, November 03, 2008

Watershed Politics

Presidential elections bring to the surface a number of interesting aspects about our American society. They always reflect the complexity of our culture and how we as individuals perceive and relate to the key issues of our time.

One of the rights we enjoy as Americans is that we are free to vote for our leaders. Many voters find themselves compelled by their consciences or their circumstances to effectively reduce their voting criterion down to one specific watershed issue. For some, the issue is abortion, for others it is national security, for some it is national healthcare, and for others it is the economy. It might be all about immigration, or it might be about the war in the Middle East. But for many of us, it all boils down to one key issue. This is not a bad thing, in my opinion, and an essential part of the freedom we enjoy here is the privilege of expressing our own thoughts and our own personal convictions in the hopes of swaying others to our way of thinking. This is a type of thinking to which I can relate and, in fact, ultimately, my own voting choice condenses itself down to a single issue.

Unfortunately, this particular election's choices have revealed some unpleasant things about our society, too. I know of black voters who will vote for Obama for the sole reason that he is black. Nothing else matters to them. I know of white voters, ostensibly Democrats, who will not vote for Obama for the same reason. Nothing else matters to them.

There is a legion of middle-age feminists, too, who have completely twisted themselves into knots over the ascension of Sarah Palin. Many are unable to even speak in civil terms about the intelligent, ambitious, self-determining woman who has a very real shot at being the first woman to hold the second highest political office in American history. Her conservatism, her religious faith, her dedication to her husband and family, along with her repudiation of the traditional strident feminist ideology have made her a target of some of the most bitter, shrewish personal attacks by other women, on the basis of her gender. It is good that women are not voting for her simply because she is a woman, but it is pathetic to see the dialogue turn so ugly.

I could go on, but anybody who has been following the national narrative has seen these things. For me, the one watershed issue that it boils down to is quite simple. I am for freedom. I believe that history demonstrates that the more government we have, then the less freedom we enjoy. That makes me a small government guy.

The Democratic party, as part of its fundamental philosophy, believes that it is the function of government to take care of its people, to provide for all their needs, and to chart and guide the course of their collective future, ostensibly for the good of all. The Republican Party, in its fundamental philosophy, conversely, seeks to limit the size and influence of government on its constituents in the belief that freedom flourishes in the absence of governmental constraint. It is my observation that the Democratic Party is much better at serving its core belief than the Republican Party is. Under the predominant control of the Democratic Party, the government ALWAYS grows in size, scope, and power. This is part of it's mission. I say this without criticism or malice. It just reflects a different view of life. It is an inferior view, to my thinking, but it is the right of every American to believe what they want. Besides, when the Republicans are in charge, especially of late, government also grows, I'm very sorry to say.

However, in general terms, it remains a demonstrable, historical fact that liberals consistently seek to grow the size of government whereas conservatives seek to limit the size of government. It is that simple.

For me, this fundamental difference in ideology is important. The less government intervention in my life, the better. I believe that individual freedom is the basis of our democracy and I will always default to the party and to the people who share that belief.

So, yeah, this year, like so many ideological conservatives, the vote I am casting is not so much for the Republican party as it is a vote cast against the Democratic party.

For the record, I think it would be fantastic to have a black President...just not this black President.

It's the O-conomy, stupid.

This is a good quote, worthy of a link.

"Now, I'm not suggesting Obama intends to transform this nation into 1950s-era Soviet tyranny or that he will possess the power to do so. I'm suggesting Obama is praising and mainstreaming an economic philosophy that has failed to produce a scintilla of fairness or prosperity anywhere on Earth. Ever."

I'm really not stumping for any particular candidate. This is obviously not a political blog and I have little interest in swaying anybody. And if I were so inclined, it's safe to say that I'm a little behind the curve. Later today I have a post in which I discuss who I voted for (early!) and why. But the article above, that I read this morning, serves as an adequate preamble and suitable context for my post later.

h/t Instapundit

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Genoa Salami

One of the things I like best about authentic Genoa salami is that you know it's good because it tastes like something might be wrong with it....like it's slightly spoiled or something. But it's not. Really.

It's great in scrambled eggs with a little sweet bell peppers. Here's a link to more info about salami in general, including links to recipes.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Knowing your limitations

Tournament Weather

The pastor, an avid golfer, was once taking part in a local benefit tournament.  As he was preparing to tee off, the organizer of the tournament aproached him and pointed to the dark, threatening storm clouds looming in the near distance.

"Preacher," the organizer said, "I'll trust you'll see to it that the weather won't turn bad on us."

The pastor shook his head, sighted down the fairway.  "Sorry," he replied.  I'm in sales, not management."

Friday, October 24, 2008

Gigantor, The Space Age Robot

Gigantor, Gigantor, Gigantor.

Gigantor the space aged robot,
He is at your command.
Gigantor the space aged robot,
His power is in your hand.

Bigger than big, taller than tall,
Quicker than quick, stronger than strong.
Ready to fight for right, against wrong.

Monday, October 20, 2008

7 Random Weird Things Meme

I don't usually do meme-blogging.  I have some half-baked reasons for this reluctance, but it's mostly because I'm a curmudgeon.  On the rare occasions when I have participated it has been at the request of close friends.  Izzybeth has tagged me for this thing.  I don't know yet whether or not I will perpetuate this meme...I doubt it, but I don't mind following through to this extent.

List 7 random weird things about myself:

1)  I sang in an opera chorus in college.  It was Verdi's Falstaff, and I enjoyed it immensely.  Like a lot of things, opera is much more fun to do than it is to spectate.

2)  I lived in Grand Island, Nebraska for one winter when I was in the fourth grade.

3)  I have always wanted to be a private pilot like my grandfather.  I suspect it will not come to pass.  I suspect that flying will have to wait until the next life.

4)  I have heard the Lord speak in an audible voice.  

5)  I once met Harold Melvin of Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, the icon of Philadelphia Soul, who wrote the classic "If You Don't Know Me By Now".  I sold him a Tascam cassette deck in a music store in south Dallas.

6)  I own a pair of tiny mummified monkey's feet.  My wife gave them to me.

7)  Most people think that death is the worst thing that can happen to you.  I've been certain for a very long time that this is not true.

If you read this, then, uhm, go ahead and tag yourself and make your own list.  The rules are above.  Let me know that you did this (on the honor system) so I can come read 7 random weird things about you, too.

Friday, October 17, 2008

I don't approve of this message.

If ever there was a candidate for my "Egregious Offenses" label, it is this little collection of news stories about the left's insane pummelling of Joe The Plumber. Helpfully collected by the Instapundit, they reveal the deeply bitter, conniving, and pernicious spirit that prevails in the hearts of some of the most influential supporters of and powerful people in the Democratic party. 

What are these knuckleheads thinking?  I guess they are telling us what they are thinking about those of us who work for a living.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

"Are you going to eat your tots?"

Do us both a favor and go read this funny, funny story by Ree, the Pioneer Woman. 

That is all.  No more blogging for you now.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Social Networks in Ministry

Kem Meyer, the Communications Director at Granger Community Church, has a couple of interesting recent posts on the potential role that internet-based social networking tools such as Facebook and Twitter can play in the life and dynamics of the local church.  One of them is provocatively entitled "Why is Twitter or Facebook Worth Your Time?"  This is an area of interest to me, personally, and I know it is to some of you who read my blog.  

A couple of weeks ago, our church started a Group on Facebook and we currently have just under 10% of our weekly attendance represented in this group.  Here's what is good about that. Relationship is based on communication, and Facebook has already proven that it is not merely just one more way to talk to other people in our community.  It has, in fact, shown itself to be an effective, genuinely positive way to deepen friendships, to mobilize volunteers, to connect ministry team members, to disseminate news and prayer requests of mutual interest, and, generally, to enable participants to "share life" in a new way and with greater immediacy than is available through other means.  I know of at least one case where members who did not previously know each other become "friends" on Facebook, and then turn that virtual relationship into an actual relationship.

btw, I stole the graphic from Kem's website.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Points of Interest

Here is an article, a book review, actually, in Slate, that tells of some very recent, fascinating scholarship on the relationship between President Thomas Jefferson and his slave, Sally Hemings. Research shows that Jefferson's young concubine was also the half-sister of his deceased wife, Martha. A "Gordian-knot of family relationships."

Interesting, if somewhat unsettling news, from Discovery.com describes a brewmeister/mad-scientist who is brewing beer using yeast extracted from microbes harvested from a weevil encased in amber some 45 million years ago (sic). It is described as having a "smooth and spicy" flavor. Beer always finds a way.

Bacon Cinnamon Rolls. I haven't tried this recipe yet, but that is only because it is Sunday night, half-past nine, and the nearest roll of cinnamon rolls is sitting on a refrigerated shelf about 15 miles away. But count on it happening very soon.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

High School Reunion - NHS Class of 1978

This past weekend, while in Texas on business, I also attended my high school reunion. It was a modest celebration at the local Knights of Columbus hall on Saturday night. There was barbecue, classic rock, and, fortunately, name tags. Other than the observation that all of those people have somehow gotten old, I am pretty much at a loss for any particularly “deep thoughts” with respect to the Chester W. Nimitz High School class of 1978. I had a very nice time. Simply, it was fun to see some of my old friends again and swap a story or two. Most of them I had not seen since our graduation, although I have had some sporadic correspondence with a few in the intervening years. I even enjoyed good conversation with people to whom, even in high school, I had not been especially close to.

Turns out, it is very hard to convey in one 15-minute conversation all of the life that you have seen in the past 30 years, even to someone who is genuinely interested. And, even when you are interested in hearing what their life is all about, you realize as you listen that you are only getting the AM radio version of a 60-second trailer to an epic movie that was itself an adaptation of a richly written ten-volume historical novel series transcribed from a language you dimly remember but no longer actually speak. (How’s that for a torturous metaphor?) That’s not to say that what is said is not meaningful or appreciated, because it is. But it is inadequate, incomplete. And it must ever be.

For example, one of the things that happens is that everyone stands around and wonders aloud about the people who aren’t there. “Whatever happened to James? And what was his sister’s name?” That’s kind of an interesting thread but it, too, either leads to a dead end or to a place that just kind of trails off into the hills, uncertain and unknowable.

I was saddened to hear about those who had died, grieved to hear of the stories of broken marriages, disappointing careers, ill health, poor choices, and difficult trials. But I was also glad, genuinely happy, to hear of the long, happy marriages and the stories of success and fulfillment, of going back to college for a new career, of surviving the death of a spouse, and of building a rich family life on a bedrock of faith and unflagging love.

It is likely I’ll never see most of those people again, I suppose. Some I will undoubtedly see on the other side and I look forward to that, too.

More than anything else, I came away with a greater sense of appreciation for my own family and a deep, strong affirmation that God is in control of it all.

Sunday, September 21, 2008


This is good news if you are fan of Roxy Music like I am.  Original members Bryan Ferry, Phil Manzera, Andy McKay, Paul Thompson, and Brian Eno, et al, are back in the studio cooking up their first album in some 20 years. 

It is my considered opinion that Avalon is one of the best rock albums ever, so my hopes are high. At the bottom of the original Mix Magazine article linked above is a link that lead to another interesting article that discusses the details of the Avalon session, for those of you that find the behind-the-scenes studio stuff interesting.  

Friday, September 19, 2008

Avast, there, mates.

Aye, 'tis that time o' year agin, ye greasy lubbers, to weigh yer anchors and talk all piratical-like, ya see? 

So, look sharp, ye foresaken scum! That, or the Captain'll see to it yer mates are soppin' up your blood from the foredeck and the gulls be feastin' on your gizzards before dusk.

UPDATE:  'Ere's your official website, ye wicked stankin' chumbuckets.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Rico Loop and the Boss RC-50 Looper - MBPYNHO

In this edition of Music By People You've Never Heard Of, check out this great solo performance by Rico Loop.  He's an amazing improviser and, in fact, a gifted multi-instrumentalist, this vocal piece not withstanding.  

Sure, that's undoubtedly not his real name, and yes, he's speaking German, and those are English subtitles.  And yes, it is a product demonstration featuring the also amazing Boss RC-50 Looper.  Most of the online video demos of this innovative product involve instrumentalists, typically guitarists, but Rico has something unique and very creative going on.

I like the clever way the video production emphasizes the overdubbing capabilities of this device with the picture-in-picture effect.  And I want one of those RC-50's.  Street price is around $525, I think.  Good thing I'm a Boss dealer, eh?  

Santa...you listening?

Monday, September 15, 2008

THE END IS NEAR...and this video proves it. But don't watch it.

You know, in the future, when Brant Hansen tells me not to do something, I'll probably take his advice and abstain.  He warned me not to watch this video, but I did anyway.  So, it's too late for me and the damage has been done.  

But YOU, you still have a choice.  You can walk away...or click away, actually.  But whatever you do, don't watch this video.  Just don't.  And if you do, don't blame me, it's not my fault...I warned you.  It's Brant's fault or, more likely, Satan working through him.  Regardless, don't come crying to me.  Just be thankful that this is not your church and that you don't know these people personally.  Be very, very thankful.


This is surely a sign of the coming Apocalypse.

"Come quickly, Lord."

UPDATE:  Sadly, YouTube has pulled the video.  Evidently the copyright owner, The Way International, does not want anyone to see what kind of musical and theological shennanigans they are up to.  Trust me, it was really bad.  It's probably for the best.

ANOTHER UPDATE:  You can still find it here.  But, beware, there may be some kind of Jedi mind-control tricks employed by these folks.  Keep your Scofield NIV close at hand.

Friday, September 12, 2008

That's no way to treat a lady...

Politics.  The last couple of presidential election cycles have been highly entertaining, to say the least, and I have been enjoying the last few weeks, in particular.  

The Democrat convention was a hoot, starring Bill and Hillary and that other one guy, the nice, well-spoken African-American gentleman with the unusual name who, apparently, would also like to be in government work.  The choice of Joe Biden as the VP candidate caught me completely off-guard.  He's one of those politicians that always surprises, occasionally amuses, but seldom leaves behind the feeling of competence, intelligence, or integrity.  But he did seem clean and articulate, so he's got that going for him.

The floundering McCain campaign's selection of Sarah Palin as his VP running mate was also a big surprise, obviously, but one that seems to be serendipitously inspired.  She is turning out to the secret weapon of the Republican party; one that nobody even knew they possessed, least of all the Republicans.  If McCain wins the election, then he will owe it to whoever championed that crazy idea.  Like most of America, I had never heard of her, but I found her immediately likeable and, for a politician, reasonably credible.  And it is great fun to see the liberal left and the feminists so completely unwound by it all.

I doubt that any other VP nomination has generated as much national discussion as that of Sara Palin.  Watching Charles Gibson's interview on ABC cemented in my mind how smart, focused, and unflinching she is.  It also revealed what a pompous, arrogant, and unpleasant man Gibson seems to be.  I wondered as I watched if he would have borne the same combative demeanor, the same sneering rudeness if he had been interviewing an African-American woman, or if he would have grilled Hillary with such surly disrespect.  I wondered what he was thinking inside, if he thought he was appearing professional?

Being professional means, among other things, that you are polite to people, regardless of whether you think they deserve it or not.  You can be direct, even insistent, without being impolite.  Being a gentleman means, among other things, that you show a respectful deference to women, regardless of whether you think they deserve it or not.  It is the opposite of being an asshole.

Sarah Palin showed that she is fully capable of answering difficult, direct questions in a personal, heartfelt way.  Whether you agree with her politics or not, it is undeniable that she communicates sincerity.  I will be voting for John McCain with considerable less reluctance now.  Charlie Gibson communicated something, too, but I doubt that it would make his mother proud.