Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Friday, December 21, 2007
Thursday, December 20, 2007
I had the toughest time finding one. I was going to bring one of those old school cellular phone bags, but I couldn't find it.
I found a book at Goodwill called "Doctor, am I a virgin again?" but no, that wouldn't work either.
Just hours before the party, I found the PERFECT GIFT. Summed up in five words, its:
SANTA. CLAUSE. CONQUERS. THE. MARTIANS.
It was a hit.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
I'm borrowing this picture from Entertaiment Weekly. Which poster, to you, is more disturbing?
Well, according to the Motion Picture Association of America, an upcoming documentary about torture and the U.S. military's stance on it, this poster involving two soldiers walking a detainee is inappropriate for children.
Yes. They deemed that poster inappropriate.
More inappropriate than this:
Or even this:
Okay, this last one was a joke.
But this is just another decision the MPAA has made that they have no right making and deciding arbitrarily. Who would have even noticed this poster? What child would have gotten the implication of pending torture by the soldiers on the hooded man they were walking?
I don't even care that much about the movie--this is just something that the MPAA shouldn't be able to do so easily.
Monday, December 17, 2007
Saturday, December 8, 2007
Well, I USED to be an early bird. Man oh man. I used to get up AT LEAST two hours before school started. I would get up between 5 and 5:30 in the morning and give myself plenty of time to get ready. Not only that, but once I could drive, I'd get to school about thirty minutes before classes started. That was the big social part of the day, where a bunch of us friends would all meet up in the gym and talk before the day got started.
Now, however, I'm DEFINITELY a night owl. Even though I fall asleep very easily now, I hardly ever go to bed absolutely tired. I can stay up past midnight and still be just fine.
I'm not sure why the change. I actually think it might be because of past jobs. At the various radio stations I worked at, there would be many nights where I would have to work late into the night. I think I got used to it.
why I believe in God. I don't think any natural thing can explain our creativity as humans. Why do we all think differently, act differently? How on earth do we all have different personalities? I believe that is something science cannot explain. Why we love music, why certain colors or flavors are enjoyed by some and despised by others. It fascinates me.
What is inspiring you right now?
A lot of things and ideas are inspiring me at this moment.
As far as books go, Beth and I have started reading through Thomas a Kempis' "The Imitation of Christ," and I've really enjoyed it. I'm not as "gung-ho" as he is about being completely separate from the world, but I have been inspired greatly by his desire to live his life as devoutly as possible.
This may sound dumb, but lately I've been inspired by the ever-increasing technology. Not that I can keep up with it, but I love the fact that enormous amounts of information are becoming increasingly available to more people all over the world. This is handy not only for individuals to make better decisions, but also for nations. We've got a long way to go, but I think this world is getting flatter and flatter. I'm very excited.
Just recently I watched the Charlie Brown Christmas, and I was absolutely floored at how amazing it was. It was beautiful in it's simplicity.
I have more I'm sure, but I'm just running a blank.
Which season inspires you the most and why?
Either Fall or Winter. There's something to like about every season, but there's just something about Fall and Winter that just inspires me. I just love the colors and weather of fall. I like Halloween and Thanksgiving. As much as I hate Christmas music airing months before Christmas, I just have this idealistic love for Christmas and that general season.
If you could travel anywhere, where would you go and what would you do there?
I think I would travel to Eastern Europe, Russia. Somewhere around there. I just have to go back.
What is your favorite handmade thing to make?
I don't know. I don't really handmake things. I like writing. I like audio/video editing, which is kind of making something with your hands (and a computer, etc.). Like Meredith, I think with real creativity I'm more of a critic than a creator.
What is your favorite holiday treat?
I like anything pumpkin; pumpkin rolls, pumpkin crisp, pumpkin this and that.
I also like ciders and hot chocolate.
And I"m not sure if this is necessarily a "holiday" treat, but one of my favorite desserts ever (that seems to only be made during the holidays) is STRAWBERRY PRETZEL SALAD.
Thursday, December 6, 2007
Balducci's offers ham for Chanukah
BY BILL HUTCHINSON
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Thursday, December 6th 2007, 4:00 AM
Balducci's in Greenwich Village advertises tasty boneless spiral ham as 'Delicious for Chanukah.' Store blamed a clerk for the gaffe.
Balducci's in Greenwich Village advertises tasty boneless spiral ham as 'Delicious for Chanukah.' Store blamed a clerk for the gaffe.
Oy vey! Pork for Chanukah?
The Greenwich Village gourmet grocery store, Balducci's, has become the butt of the Jewish holiday by advertising its boneless hams as "Delicious for Chanukah."
Manhattan novelist Nancy Kay Shapiro, 46, spotted the kosher faux pas while browsing the meat section Saturday at the chain's outpost at Eighth Ave. and W. 14th St.
When Shapiro went back Sunday, she took photos of the unorthodox display promoting boneless spiral-cut hams for $8.99 a pound, petite smoked hams for $6.99 a pound and boneless smoked hams for $6.29 a pound.
Instead of pointing out the mistake to management, she posted the snapshots on her blog to "amuse others."
"I just thought it was funny," Shapiro, a self-described "unobservant Jew," said. "I wasn't offended in any way. I just thought, here's somebody who knows nothing about what Jews eat."
Shapiro said that when she went back to the store Tuesday, the first night of Chanukah, the signs had vanished.
A Balducci's official was so verklempt about the error he didn't want to speak on the record. He fessed up that "it was a mistake," blaming it on a stock clerk who normally doesn't work the meat department.
He referred all other questions to the company's marketing department in Connecticut.
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
This is a little old, but Paste picks The National's Boxer as it's top record of 2007.
It's been a mostly what I have expected, a little bit what I haven't. I've enjoyed just about all of it. From the people that I'm going to be working with to what all I'm going to be doing, I really like it a lot. I'm getting to learn how to do things I've never done in the video department, and I'm also getting to relearn things that I've done for the radio. I'm pretty excited.
The only semi-downside is that I will have to work second and third shifts from time to time, but that won't be too bad at all.
Sunday, December 2, 2007
Time Will Tell
The acronyms are just a bit construed
But form a perfect word, even if misused.
The Sunday paper and coffee stains
Turn pulp and ink and dry liquid circles
Into a parchment piece with every page
Reading events of the world and closer too.
On the lines and inbetween
Sometimes they both mean the same thing
And lack the certain codes and hidden words
That's often said and never heard.
Invite death out but we're afraid to die.
Try to soar but we're afraid to fly.
Want to walk we're afraid to crawl.
Long to climb but we're afraid to fall.
Invite life out but we're afraid to live.
Invite life out but we're afraid to fight.
Long for love but we're afraid of the pain.
But even pacifists still get killed.
Try to aim for heaven
But always expect hell
And where you scoped and set your sights
Won't be far from where you fell.
Truth takes time
And time will tell.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
"If we were as diligent in uprooting vices and planting virtues as we are in debating abstruse questions, there would not be so many evils or scandals among us.... Certainly, when Judgment Day comes we shall not be asked what books we have read, but what deeds we have done; we shall not be asked how well we have debated, but how devoutly we have lived."
I love this. Now, I'm not trying to throw out the baby with the bath water--debate is good, when it is true to its definition. Reading is good. Debate, questioning, reading, evaluating, --even DOUBTING!-- etc., is good when it helps us figure out the truth of the matter, when it helps us figure out how to live devoutly.
But I think sometimes in the realm of Christian society, some people place more merit on how well they can debate Calvinism vs. Arminianism rather than on how well they love other people, how well they obey God, and etc. I mean, I do this.
Debate is fun--especially when the purpose is to assist us in figuring out how on earth we can love God more, how we can live in obedience to God, how we can love other people more. But if we place our ability to debate and to argue over how well we live our lives, I think we're missing the mark somewhere.
Believe me, I'm working on this too.
Monday, November 26, 2007
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Monday, November 19, 2007
But I believe the world is burning to the ground
oh well I guess we're gonna find out
let's see how far we've come
let's see how far we've come
Well I, believe, it all, is coming to an end
oh well, I guess, we're gonna pretend,
let's see how far we've come
let's see how far we've come
Another lyric says:
I sat down on the street, took a look at myself
said where you going man you know the world is headed for hell
I know you've heard me on this topic before, but I always get so ticked off when people sing about and talk about this sort of pessimism that everything is falling apart.
I heard somewhere that throughout the generations, two things have remained true:
-The world is constantly getting better.
-Everybody thinks it's getting worse.
And I really agree with that. How is the world worse off than it was 10 years ago? 50 years? 100 years? 500 years? All I can see are VAST improvements through the generations. Life expectancy is going up almost everywhere, there are cures for diseases that once plagued us, more people are being fed than ever. Thanks to the internet and other forms of communication, people all around the world are able to get the knowledge and information they need. People get more information in one newspaper today than someone did in their WHOLE LIFE 300 years ago.
We still have strides to take before everyone is being fed, and poverty ends. But I believe we're getting there. And we're getting there thanks to technological, scientific, and medical advances, and so on. Things are not worse off than before, we're just more aware of everything around us.
Yes, let's look at how far we've come. It's been a long way. But we have so much more ground to cover. I'm optimistic.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
P You recently moved to Nashville from Detroit after having experienced a lot of jealousy and pettiness from other bands. Do you feel like that ordeal made you gun-shy about participating in Nashville’s music scene?
JW At this point, I don’t think either Meg or I want to be part of a music community in any sense. But I think that if there was one to be around, it would be the country-music community because they’re almost the complete opposite of hipster, underground, cynical garage rock—all that jazz. Country-music people aren’t obscurists in any sense. They’re of the moment. You don’t hear words like “sellout.” To them, it’s an achievement to be on the side of a billboard.
In Detroit, it was so tough to figure out what was happening to us compared to how everyone else was perceiving it. And I think this happens a lot. It happens to the folk artists that broke out—Dylan and Peter, Paul, and Mary, etc.—their scene. You can’t figure that out. Nobody can figure that out.
Who’s going to sit and decide whether you’re selling out to put your song on a video game as compared to, you know, performing live in front of people and charging them money for it. What’s the difference? Those battles take too much time.
I remember when Get Behind Me Satan was about to come out and we got offered to sell the record at Starbucks, and I remember a couple roundtable discussions with people we knew. It was sort of like, “Well, what do you think of that?” And I was there, and I don’t know. In one sense, I could care less where people buy stuff. What’s it matter? OK, you bought the record at McDonald’s, does that mean it’s no good? I highly doubt anyone in the country-music community gives a darntootin’ about being sold at a point-of-purchase at Wal-Mart. Who cares?
When you’re just trying to create and make music and perform, you shouldn’t have to worry about all that stuff. That just makes your job so much more difficult.
P It seems like the journalistic community is partially responsible for the cycle of building up rock stars and then ripping them down. Like a kid who makes a bunch of sand castles and then gleefully stomps all over them.
JW I’ve never understood it. I’ve always thought it was strange what happened with the underground and punk publications that really championed us when we were in our early days making seven inches. It just seemed like as soon as two other people heard of us they could care less. It’s ridiculous to champion underdogs and once they succeed to abandon them. That’s a whole lot different than building them up and knocking them down. There’s this abandonment that happens.
Where’s your sense of longevity with the things you love? If you abandon a band as soon as other people like them, then you don’t love it for the right reasons. You like music for identity. You have an identity problem. [laughs] That’s not loving music. Loving art for its own sake means you don’t care what people think—which is exactly what they’re supposedly standing for. Somebody explain that. I don’t get it, man.
P You mentioned dismantling your faith in organized religion, stripping all that stuff away, and finding your own path. What have you learned through that process?
JW I just think that everyday, whether it’s finding a good place to eat breakfast or reading a good book, you’re trying to experience beauty in some way whenever you get the chance. But I’m not looking for so-and-so’s opinion, not even my own opinion. I just want to know what the truth is. I mean that’s what I’m looking for. In my opinion, there’s no way God looks at things from 14 different angles. I see God as knowing only one truth, and that’s it. There’s no other opinion about it. And I want to know what that one truth is. Everyone can sit around and have their manly and earthly opinions about things, but I doubt there’s much debate going on in heaven. I’m trying to find whatever that singular truth is in any particular topic. It’s interesting because as humans we’re so stupid, there’s no way we can figure out most of these things. So the question makes for good protagonists and antagonists in stories. It creates those characters.
We started reading Philippians today, and we found some interesting verses:
"It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwil. The latter do so in love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice."
I thought this was especially interesting. There was a discussion a few months ago in our Sunday School class, and a lot of the general thought was that any good done with selfish motivations was not good at all, but bad, and a detriment in fact. Beth and I disagreed with this sentiment. I mean, isn't all good done with a somewhat selfish motivation. And even if someone does good with COMPLETE selfish motivation,
the good that he did, whether helping build a house, or donating money to something, is still good that's done. Warren Buffet could have donated that 35 billion because he wanted to make himself look good, but that's his own problem. The 35 billion is still going to go to do good.
What do you think?
Friday, November 9, 2007
As I have mentioned in the past, Clay Leverett, my step-brother, has been touring with Bright Eyes during the fall. He's been having a blast.
Beth and I, two days ago, was able to see Bright Eyes in Birmingham, AL. However, unbeknown to us, Clay was able to get us backstage passes.
We arrived a couple hours before showtime, but Clay took us back to the tour bus where we hung out and chatted. While talking, Conor Oberst came onto the bus chatted a little as well. I will admit, there was a side of me that wanted to let him know how big of a fan I was and how incredible I thought he was, blah blah blah, but there was another side of me that (thankfully) wouldn't allow it. It would have been forced, and totally destroyed the calm, cool, and collected vibe I was desperately trying to emit. Beth did compliment Oberst's boots, and began a conversation about cowboys, rodeos, and etc.
Later, before the show started, Clay took us backstage and showed us around. Afterwards, he took us to ours seats--(THE SECOND ROW), and we watched away. The Felice Brothers, the first opening act, were great. They had this energy and quirkiness that was incredibly fun to watch.
Maria Taylor followed them (with help from Andy LeMaster), and it was a great performance.
Bright Eyes..... what can I say. It was phenomenal. Clay drummed and also provided background vocals. I have snippets of particular songs that should be going online today for you to check out. I was very disappointed with the recorded audio (because we were close to the front, the camera's audio from the show was overmodulated and distorted at times), but I may try to fix it and get out a second edit of all of the video. We'll see.
Saturday, November 3, 2007
I must say from the offset, I am just reporting this as a secondhand witness--I was there for none of it.
As I have mentioned in the past, Beth's work has been barraged by criminal activities, from stolen cars and vans, to stolen laptops, to people being held up at gunpoint. The last reference in particular was just a couple blogs ago, where one person (one of the thieves) was killed by the self-defense of a worker. In this particular robbery, one of the burglars got away.
As it turns out, this burglar that wasn't caught was one of the most wanted people in Clarkston and Dekalb County. He had already killed a woman in a bank robbery, killed another woman in a parking lot, beat up three men mowing and landscaping a lawn, and etc. Well, this past tuesday night he decided to steal an AK-47.
On Wednesday morning, this man set out to get his revenge on the non-profit organization (my wife and all employees included). He scouted out the area, and tried to get other people to help him out (offering them $100, by the way). Luckily, a witness to this was able to run over to where Beth's work and let them know. The powers called the police, and a group of police officers, FBI, and SWAT teams assembled. After tense hours, the SWAT team stormed the building he had hid in, and arrested him without a single shot being fired (either way).
Because of all the mayhem, the organization was closed on Thursday and Friday.
Please pray for everyone. People are shaken a little, but they're back at work this week. Right now people think everything has quieted and should remain that way.
Monday, October 29, 2007
I'll get into what exactly we did in the near future. Remember the last post where I talked about all the hold-ups and thefts at World Relief? Well, this happened while we were gone:
Man shot dead attempting to rob nonprofit
By TIM EBERLY
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 10/23/07
An employee of a Stone Mountain nonprofit association that helps war-torn refugees shot and killed a robber who forced his way into the office Tuesday evening around closing time, authorities said.
The robber collapsed and died near a rear door of the World Relief, an immigrant resettlement agency at 655 Village Square Drive, according to DeKalb County police spokesman Marcus Hodge.
Hodge said around 6:30 p.m. the two robbers entered through the rear door as two male employees, described as older men, were preparing to leave and lock the front door.
Both robbers were armed with handguns, and one of them acted as a lookout, Hodge said.
The other demanded the victims' wallets, then put his gun to one employee's head and ordered him to open a safe, Hodge said.
When the robber turned his back, the other employee grabbed a gun from his desk and fired several shots at the robber, Hodge said.
Hodge said he did not know how many times the robber was struck, or where he was wounded.
Both robbers ran, though the wounded robber did not make it far. Police were still searching for the second robber late Tuesday.
The name of the employee who shot the robber was not immediately released Tuesday. He had not been charged late Tuesday, Hodge said, because the shooting appears to have been in self-defense.
World Relief, which is the humanitarian arm of the National Association of Evangelicals in the U.S., has resettled more than 200,000 refugees for nearly 30 years and helped thousands of immigrant families across the country, according to its Web site.
The ministry was established in 1944 to send clothing and food to victims of World War II. Its name was changed from War Relief to World Relief in 1950 as the group's focus evolved, according to the Web site.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
If you can, please pray for Beth and everyone at World Relief. This past month, so many crazy things have happened.
A few weeks ago, someone's car was stolen right in front of him.
A week ago, the World Relief van was stolen and wrecked during the night.
Yesterday night, World Relief was broken into where laptops and other items were stolen.
Today someone was held up at gunpoint outside World Relief.
The song is called "The Three of Us," and can be heard HERE.
I managed to submit my own remix. Let me know what you think: http://www.mediafire.com/?3vdaet4ejpi
Friday, October 12, 2007
Thursday, October 4, 2007
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
Friday, September 28, 2007
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Bright Eyes is performing on Jay Leno tonight, and my step-brother Clay is drumming. I'm pretty pumped!
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Monday, September 10, 2007
Nov. 29, 1918 - Sept. 6, 2007
"The world of science lives fairly comfortably with paradox. We know that light is a wave, and also that light is a particle. The discoveries made in the infinitely small world of particle physics indicate randomness and chance, and I do not find it any more difficult to live with the paradox of a universe of randomness and chance and a universe of pattern and purpose than I do with light as a wave and light as a particle. Living with contradiction is nothing new to the human being."
"Those who believe they believe in God but without passion in the heart, without anguish of mind, without uncertainty, without doubt, and even at times without despair, believe only in the idea of God, and not in God himself."
"I look at Mother, and think that if I am to reflect on the eventual death of her body, of all bodies, in a way that is not destructive, I must never lose sight of those other deaths which precede the final, physical death, the deaths over which we have some freedom: the death of self-will, self-indulgence, self-deception, all those self-devices which, instead of making us more fully alive, make us less."
"We pin him [Jesus] down, far more painfully than he was nailed to the cross, so that he is rational and comprehensible and like us, and even more unreal. And that won't do. That won't get me through death and danger and pain, nor life and freedom and joy."
"When we make ourselves vulnerable, we do open ourselves to pain, sometimes excruciating pain. The more people we love, the more we are liable to be hurt, and not only by the people we love, but for the people we love."
"What I believe is so magnificent, so glorious, that it is beyond finite comprehension. To believe that the universe was created by a purposeful, benign Creator is one thing. To believe that this Creator took on human vesture, accepted death and mortality, was tempted, betrayed, broken, and all for love of us, defies reason. It is so wild that it terrifies some Christians who try to dogmatize their fear by lashing out at other Christians, because tidy Christianity with all answers given is easier than one which reaches out to the wild wonder of God's love, a love we don't even have to earn."
"If we commit ourselves to one person for life, this is not, as many people think, a rejection of freedom; rather, it demands the courage to move into all the risks of freedom, and the risk of love which is permanent; into that love which is not possession but participation."
"The best way to help the world is to start by loving each other, not blandly, blindly, but realistically, with understanding and forebearance and forgiveness."
This podcast (and radio show on NYC Public Radio), whether the topic is morality, the placebo effect, time, and so on, both grapples with the science of each topic and the art. It's a sort of amalgamation of what is real and logical, and how that makes you feel, what to think of that, etc.
This American Life
This is another NPR produced podcast, and this one just takes stories from our daily lives. Each show involves a main theme, but each individual story can be from anywhere about anything. And it's just been great.
I have others that I really enjoy, but I have to say that those two are my favorites out of the bunch.
On a complete side note, if you have been wondering "Man, what did Beth and Tim do for their Labor Day weekend," or what I might have done this past weekend, I'll be posting that soon--but hopefully with more picture and video than my commentary.
Friday, September 7, 2007
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
Thursday, August 30, 2007
I'm sure many of you have seen this video, or maybe not, but I think it's pretty important.
I too am sick of this sort of "What's Your Cause This Week," but this is pretty significant. At World Relief where Beth works, there are many Burmese coming in at the moment because of this struggle. For a while they were not able to come to America because they were fighting this evil government. And because they were fighting this government they were considered terrorists. Once it was realized that the government was committing crimes against humanity, the particular groups were granted refugee status.
The group that is coming over now is primarily Christians. Please be in prayer for the groups coming over as well as the groups that are still in Burma!
Friday, August 24, 2007
And not to go off on a tangents, but I believe that's how must documentaries should be. Just show people. If you go into a documentary production with a certain idea or bias, where instead of just showing what IS, you are more quick to select examples and ideas and etc. that will be shifted towards your own preconceived ideas (i.e., confirmation bias). Movies and films like that, supporting ones own causes and agendas are fine, but don't call it a documentary.
Anyways, this series, "God Warriors," however, was a documentary in a lot of ways.
Before I go any further, I must also say, that I pretty much abhor cable news, CNN, Fox News, and the other underlings. I'll watch it from time to time, but things have gotten pretty ridiculous. And "ridiculous" is being nice. No news channel is unbiased (suprise suprise!), and most of the program features either: a.) the ravings and rants of the right or left; b.)after a disaster occurs, they must immediately place the blame so it won't happen again (a ridiculous and rather racist notion that only belittles and profiles particular people); c.)Lindsey Lohan, Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie, - I mean seriously, you know more about these few blathering blondes than you know your own relatives; d.)how close we are all to dying of the bird flu, or mad cow disease, or anthrax, or etc.; or e.) predictions on who's going to win an election that's OVER A YEAR AWAY.
So, needless to say, I did not expect something of this caliber on ANY cable news channel. Instead of saying any of the religions were wrong or right, she simply stated, "Okay, here is what *IS*; all religions claim they are right, claim exclusivity, and have the same goals of reaching all of mankind. Can we reconcile anything? What can we do to more peacefully coexist?"
I thought that was pretty cool.
More thoughts to come, but for now you can check out CNN's site on it: www.cnn.com/godswarriors
Monday, August 20, 2007
It's basically a social networking site, but it's main feature is a family tree. You can put in your family and ancestors and so on, and it's pretty neat. Let's just say now I'm actually figuring out how I'm related to the people I see at the family reunion every year. I highly recommend checking out this site. It provides more than just social networking, but also family networking--and that's pretty neat. It's a really good idea for a site.
As well, Beth's step-brother-in-law is a designer, so that's pretty cool too!
Check it out!
Tuesday, August 7, 2007
The days have just flown by.
Right now other than working we're spending time cleaning the house, putting things where they belong, getting the necessary services (internet, hopefully within this week; trash service, etc.), and so on. We haven't heard from a lot of people, or gotten in contact with many, but we would like to get back into the swing of hanging out, and hopefully having a get-together pretty soon!
And if you're like me and really bad at budgeting, check out this AMAZING (but unfortunately not free) online budgeting site: www.mvelopes.com. It's pretty incredible.
Friday, August 3, 2007
Obama, the poor guy, just doesn't know what he's doing. And I don't know if it's a ploy by Hillary to Just look more mature than the Illinois Senator, but it apparently isn't hard at all.
In the CNN Youtube debate, when the Democratic candidates were asked if they would get together with dictators (Kim Jong, Fidel, etc.) within the first year, Obama said of course. He also said it was a "disgrace" that it wasn't happening now. (I think it's rather amusing that he'd be so eager to speak with these people while backing out of a Fox News debate) Clinton came back to say she wouldn't be so quick to meet, she said it would be completely based on the context of the situation and whether her meeting might be used as propaganda for the countries involved.
Similarly, when asked about using nuclear weapons, Obama said that he would never use them, and then amended the statement, saying he would never use them when civilians were involved. Hillary Clinton chastized Obama, saying that past presidents and powers have used nuclear threats to maintain peace, and it would be unwise to just come out and say that you would never use them.
Now, as I said, I'm not sure if these responses are just to make Hillary look more mature than the Obama the lightweight, but it's working.
Thursday, August 2, 2007
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Well, it's been a while (..... and it'll be a while.....)
Just want to let you know that all is well, this week I began a trial period at a potential full-time job in Atlanta. I'm an Audio Editor for Leading the Way with Dr. Michael Youssef (www.leadingtheway.org--I would link it but I"m on a mac for now). I'm not well acquainted with the ministry, but I've heard he's pretty solid. It's a job.
Things have been pretty great. Yesterday, Beth and I received gifts from a very kind relative of hers, and I couldn't believe my eyes:
So that's been pretty stinkin' exciting.... although I haven't had much of a chance with it.
Also, be sure to watch out for the Honeybadgers!!
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Since I last wrote I think my life has changed in almost every way possible. Except I'm still a man. And still left-handed. And other things.
There's a lot to write about, and it'll all have to wait for the moment. But I hope to be back in touch soon. :-D
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Saturday, June 23, 2007
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Reprogrammed fibroblasts identical to embryonic stem cells
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (June 6, 2007) — Embryonic stem cells are unique because they can develop into virtually any kind of tissue type, an attribute called pluripotency. Somatic cell nuclear transfer ("therapeutic cloning") offers the hope of one day creating customized embryonic stem cells with a patient's own DNA. Here, an individual's DNA would be placed into an egg, resulting in a blastocyst that houses a supply of stem cells. But to access these cells, researchers must destroy a viable embryo.
Now, scientists at Whitehead Institute have demonstrated that embryonic stem cells can be created without eggs. By genetically manipulating mature skin cells taken from a mouse, the scientists have transformed these cells back into a pluripotent state, one that appears identical to an embryonic stem cell in every way. No eggs were used, and no embryos destroyed.
“These reprogrammed cells, by all criteria that we can apply, are indistinguishable from embryonic stem cells,” says Whitehead Member and MIT professor of biology Rudolf Jaenisch, senior author of the paper that appeared online June 6 in Nature.
“We are optimistic that this can one day work in human cells,” says Marius Wernig. “We just need to find new strategies to reach that goal.”
What's more, these reprogrammed skin cells can give rise to live mice, contributing to every kind of tissue type, and can even be transmitted via germ cells (sperm or eggs) to succeeding generations. "Germline transmission is the final and definitive proof that these cells can do anything a traditionally derived embryonic stem cell can do," adds Jaenisch.
Two additional papers report similar findings. The first, by Shinya Yamanaka of Kyoto University, will be published in the same issue of Nature. The second, from Konrad Hochedlinger, formerly of the Jaenisch lab and now at the Center for Regenerative Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Stem Cell Institute, will appear in the inaugural issue of the journal Cell Stem Cells. Additionally, another paper in Nature from Kevin Eggan, also of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute and a former member of the Jaenisch lab, describes using mouse zygotes, rather than eggs, for somatic cell nuclear transfer.
Jaenisch cautions that "all these results are preliminary and proof of principle. It will be awhile before we know what can and can't be done in humans. Human embryonic stem cells remain the gold standard for pluripotent cells, and it is a necessity to continue studying embryonic stem cells through traditional means."
In August 2006, a team of researchers at Kyoto University led by Yamanaka reported a landmark discovery that by activating four genes in a mouse skin cell, they could reprogram that cell into a pluripotent state resembling an embryonic stem cell. However, the resulting cells were limited when compared with real embryonic stem cells, and the Kyoto team was unable to generate live mice from these cells.
A team of researchers decided to replicate this experiment, while refining certain technical aspects. This group was led by Jaenisch lab postdoctoral researchers Marius Wernig, Alexander Meissner and Tobias Brambrink; graduate student Ruth Foreman; and Manching Ku, a research fellow from Bradley Bernstein's lab at Massachusetts General Hospital. Konrad Hochedlinger also contributed.
Using artificial viruses called vectors, the team activated the same four genes in a batch of mouse skin cells. These genes, Oct4, Sox2, c-Myc and Klf4, are called transcription factors, meaning that they regulate large networks of other genes. While Oct4 and Sox2 are normally active in the early stages of embryogenesis, they typically shut down once an embryo has developed beyond the blastocyst stage.
"We were working with tens of thousands of cells, and we needed to devise a precise method for picking out those rare cells in which the reprogramming actually worked," says Wernig. "On average, it only works in about one out of 1,000 cells."
To test for reprogramming, the team decided to zero in on Oct4 and another transcription factor called Nanog. These two hallmarks for embryonic stem cell identity are only active in fully pluripotent cells. The trick would be to figure out a way to harvest Oct4- and Nanog-active cells from the rest of the population.
The answer came in the form of a laboratory technique called "homologous recombination." Here, the scientists took genetic material known to be resistant to the toxic drug neomycin, and spliced it into the genomes of each cell right beside Oct4 and Nanog. If Oct4 and Nanog switched on, the drug-resistant DNA would also spring into action. The researchers then added neomycin to the cells. Only those fully reprogrammed cells with an active Oct4 and Nanog survived.
Next, the team ran these cells through a battery of tests, seeing if they could discover any substantial differences between these cells and normal embryonic stem cells.
"In all tests, both genetic and epigenetic, there were no molecular markers distinguishing these two groups," says Meissner.
But definitive proof would only come through demonstrating that these cells could actually develop into any kind of body tissue and cell type. The researchers approached this question in three ways.
First, they fluorescently labeled these reprogrammed cells and injected them into early-stage embryos, which eventually gave rise to live mice. While these mice consisted of both the reprogrammed cells and the natural cells from the original embryo, the fluorescent tags indicated that the reprogrammed cells contributed to all tissue types in the mouse—everything from blood to internal organs to hair color.
Next, they bred these mice and found lineages of the reprogrammed cells in the subsequent generation, proving that these new cells had contributed to the germ line.
Finally, the team took advantage of another lab technique that involves creating a genetically abnormal embryo whose cells all consist of four chromosomes, rather than two. Because of this aberrant formation, the embryo can only form a placenta, and cannot develop into a full-term fetus. The researchers injected the reprogrammed cells into this embryo, and then implanted it in a uterus. Eventually live late-gestation fetuses could be recovered—created exclusively from the reprogrammed cells.
"This is the most stringent criteria anyone can use to determine if a cell is pluripotent," says Jaenisch.
Still, many technical hurdles remain for possibly translating this work to human cells. For example, the homologous recombination technique used to isolate the pluripotent cells does not yet work in human embryonic stem cells. Also, using cells that contain viral vectors can pose health risks.
"We are optimistic that this can one day work in human cells," says Wernig. "We just need to find new strategies to reach that goal. For now, it would simply be premature and irresponsible to claim that we no longer need eggs for embryonic stem cell research."
This research is supported by the National Institutes of Health.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
We leave early to get it over with, and carry with us a letter from our pre-marital counselor. Unfortunately, when we got there we found out that the letter was missing some requirements to grant us the special discount. While a marriage license is normally $51, if you have at least six hours of counseling it is dropped to $16. Not a bad deal.
So we decide to save our money and get the letter that we need. We call Beth's church, thinking that we can get them to verify the information and then print a letter on a letterhead with a signature (the two items needed to legitimize it). We do all that, and we're finally back to try again. This time, it doesn't work either. They can't accept it, and we just give up and pay the $51 fee.
What was going to be a relatively simple task turned into a day of craziness.
Friday, June 15, 2007
Study: TV sex actually has cooled off since the '70s
Was the era of “Charlie’s Angels” and “Three’s Company” really raunchier than the era of Janet Jackson’s bared breast? Apparently yes. A new study of American primetime network programming between 1975 and 2004 says sexual content of nearly every kind has decreased sharply and consistently over those three decades, leaving today’s viewers with one-third the sexual content they’d have seen in the 1970s. That may be a surprise considering the big outcry over broadcast indecency the past few years. Analyzing 2,558 hours of programming, Amir Hetsroni, a professor of communications at Yezreel Valley College in Israel, found that kisses have become less passionate, suggestions of sexual intercourse have gone missing, and there’s been less talk about sex, including safe sex. The study also finds less content about what it calls “illegal sexual interactions.” Content related to homosexual sex is the exception, having increased markedly in the past two decades.
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
For some odd reason, futuristic dystopian movies can scare the hell out of me. I don't know why. I'm not usually fearful of the future--I figure almost every generation feared for their future lives, but everything just gets better. But these movies with a foreboding view of the future, I always seem to wander out of the movie theater wondering if everything is as it was before I entered the theater.
This movie, Children of Men, gave me a similar feeling of fear. Partially because it does have that dystopian plot, but also, I believe, because of the cinematography. I'll get to that in a minute.
The movie is based in 2027, a time where not a single child has been born in the last 18 years. One man, played by Clive Owen, must take a pregnant woman to safety. This incredibly original movie (though based on a novel) powerfully casts a shadow on earth's future. Chaos is everywhere, everything has lost its value.
The cinematography was especially impressive, as I mentioned before. Sometimes particular scenes would last for minutes on end, showing the depth and artistry of the director and cinematographer--and the difficulty of pulling so much off. As well, the cinematography would place you into the scene, sometimes moving with the actors on foot. It's not as bumpy as you would think, and it works so incredibly well to really make you a part of what is going on.
This movie works so well. The action will leave you on the edge of your seat, the human drama is incredibly moving, and so on. Check this movie out. It's pretty fantastic.
You have got to be kidding me!
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Claim: The average person swallows eight spiders per year.
Origins: Oh, yuk!
It's hard enough to avoid those horrible wriggly things while we're awake, and now we have to worry that they're crawling into our mouths while we sleep? Little Miss Muffett was a piker.
Fear not. This "statistic" was not only made up out of whole cloth, it was invented as an example of the absurd things people will believe simply because they come across them on the Internet.
In a 1993 PC Professional article, columnist Lisa Holst wrote about the ubiquitous lists of "facts" that were circulating via e-mail and how readily they were accepted as truthful by gullible recipients. To demonstrate her point, Holst offered her own made-up list of equally ridiculous "facts," among which was the statistic cited above about the average person's swallowing eight spiders per year, which she took from a collection of common misbeliefs printed in a 1954 book on insect folklore. In a delicious irony, Holst's propagation of this false "fact" has spurred it into becoming one of the most widely-circulated bits of misinformation to be found on the Internet.
Just after I type this, snopes comes to mind.
Sunday, June 10, 2007
We got up at 4 am to get to the show early enough to get a good spot. We arrived at 4:45 in the morning and there was already a line of over 150. While we were waiting, and old man got in line behind us. He was a short man, wearing a baseball cap and jacket. He didn't really look at us, especially when he spoke to us. We began to talk to him, and he was very quiet and reserved. We finally found out his name, Luis, and he opened up more and more. He was a retired postal worker. He didn't have a lot of family in the area. We found out that since 1984 Luis had been going to the Price is Right EVERY DAY. Seriously. Every day of taping, he was there.
He finally won in 1990. He won two cars, and an assortment of other things. Even though he won and therefore can't win again, he still goes to every single taping. He has never missed a day of the Price is Right, save for a day during spring break when a bunch of college students attended a taping and got there before he did. It was so interesting talking to this guy who knew more than the people telling us what to do! The Price is Right had even offered Luis a VIP pass to just go in and avoid the lines but he did not accept it. We tried to find him after the taping to talk more, but he was gone.
Saturday, June 9, 2007
"Jungle Love" - Steve Miller Band
"Icky Thump" - White Stripes
"Umbrella" - Rihanna. Shut up.
"Unravel" - Bjork
"Bleed American" - Jimmy Eat World
"Fake Empire" - The National
"Montage" from Team America
"Noah's Ark" - CocoRosie.... this song is so weird. But it's cool.
"If You Find Yourself Caught In Love" - Belle and Sebastian
Friday, June 8, 2007
Monday, June 4, 2007
US court rejects FCC broadcast decency limit
By Martha Graybow
NEW YORK, June 4 (Reuters) - A U.S. appeals court on Monday overruled federal regulators who decided that expletives uttered on broadcast television violated decency standards, a major victory for TV networks.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York, in a divided decision, said that the U.S. Federal Communications Commission was "arbitrary and capricious" in setting a new standard for defining indecency.
The court sent the matter back to the commission for further proceedings to clarify its indecency policy. The FCC, which said it was still studying the opinion, could decide to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse the appeals court.
The FCC ruled in March 2006 ruling that News Corp.'s Fox television network had violated decency rules when singer Cher blurted "fuck" during the 2002 Billboard Music Awards broadcast and actress Nicole Richie used a variation of that word and "shit" during the 2003 awards.
No fines were imposed but Fox had challenged the decision to the appeals court, arguing that the government's decency standard was unclear, violated free speech protections and that the rulings had contradicted findings in past cases.
Republican FCC Chairman Kevin Martin angrily retorted that he found it "hard to believe that the New York court would tell American families that 'shit' and 'fuck' are fine to say on broadcast television during the hours when children are most likely to be in the audience."
"If we can't prohibit the use (the two obscenities) during prime time, Hollywood will be able to say anything they want, whenever they want," Martin said in a statement.
He was silent on a Supreme Court appeal, though Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye, a Hawaii Democrat, and the Parents Television Council urged the FCC to appeal.
The stakes are high for broadcasters who could face fines of up to $325,000 per violation.
The three-member appeals panel focused on whether expletives were used repeatedly or were only uttered fleetingly. The FCC had argued that, under certain conditions, one utterance can violate the decency standard.
"We find that the FCC's new policy regarding 'fleeting expletives' represents a significant departure from positions previously taken by the agency and relied on by the broadcast industry," Judge Rosemary Pooler wrote for herself and Judge Peter Hall in the majority decision.
"We further find that the FCC has failed to articulate a reasoned basis for this change in policy," the ruling said. "Accordingly, we hold that the FCC's new policy regarding 'fleeting expletives' is arbitrary and capricious."
The court did not rule on constitutional challenges to the FCC's policy. But the majority of the judges suggested it could be tough for the commission to prevail on constitutional grounds.
"We are skeptical that the commission can provide a reasoned explanation for its 'fleeting expletive' regime that would pass constitutional muster," the majority wrote.
Judge Pierre Leval dissented, writing that he believed the FCC "gave a reasoned explanation for its change of standard."
Fox said it was "very pleased with the court's decision" and that it believes "that government regulation of content serves no purpose other than to chill artistic expression in violation of the First Amendment."
"Viewers should be allowed to determine for themselves and their families, through the many parental control technologies available, what is appropriate viewing for their home," Fox said.
The FCC under the Bush administration embarked on a crackdown of indecent content on broadcast TV and radio in 2004 after pop star Janet Jackson briefly exposed her bare breast during the broadcast of that year's Super Bowl halftime show.
A few weeks after that incident, the FCC reversed an earlier staff decision and ruled that the fleeting use of an expletive by U2 rock star Bono during a 2003 NBC broadcast was indecent.
FCC Chairman Martin has pressed subscription television services to give customers the option of blocking channels they find offensive and on Monday opened the door for the idea of blocking broadcast channels as well.
"Permitting parents to have more choice in the channels they receive may prove to be the best solution to content concerns," he said. (Additional reporting by Peter Kaplan in Washington and Paul Thomasch in New York)
Thursday, May 31, 2007
Sunday, May 27, 2007
Friday, May 25, 2007
I couldn't stop laughing. What's next? Will they remake "A Modest Proposal" and for our current generation tell us that not having kids will help solve the "global warming" crisis?
Oops, I spoke too soon....
Children 'bad for planet'
By Sarah-Kate Templeton in London
May 07, 2007 12:00am
HAVING large families should be frowned upon as an environmental misdemeanour in the same way as frequent long-haul flights, driving a big car and failing to reuse plastic bags, says a report to be published today by a green think tank.
Sunday, May 20, 2007
That's not a horribly bad thing. It just seems that no matter how closer I get to the destination that this life has (if I'm allowed to get away with that over-used metaphor), the more blurry the "X" that marks the spot is off in the distance. The more clear things are marked out, the more unsure I am of the steps, or vice versa.
I'm very excited about the future; it's weird, because chance simultaneously freaks me out and keeps me going. I get content with where I'm at all the time--this is one of the reasons graduation was so shocking or hard to believe perhaps. But at the same time change is pretty cool. Change, it seems, is something that we as humans have to do. We change because it may be necessary, it may be inevitable, it may be reasonable. Maybe it's God's way of working the kinks out.
Sometimes I'm a cynic about a lot of things, mostly the amount of intervention God has in everything we do, and the degree in which we as Christians in fact have a "personal relationship with Jesus Christ." Is he really supposed to be our friend? Is that what he died for--to gain our friendship?? How much of what we think of our relationship with Christ is based on emotions, and the desire to be loved despite everything about us that is unlovable?
But I think sometimes when I believe myself to be a cynic I am in fact really a hypocrite. The fact is, life is change, and we're required to change as Christians. If nothing else, we are a "new creation." Does that happen at the moment of salvation, or does it happen over time? Probably both.
I'm not sure where I'm going with this. It seems I feel more lost and found with every step I take.
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
My first creation is a poem I wrote. I took all the words from an Aquafina water bottle and turned them into a poem:
Every serving is a choice
Based on bottled information
Not made easy
Pure and perfect substances
The process is all the same:
Aquafina, total consistently perfect.”
Questions are a smart choice
Because Independent authority of Pepsico leave you
In your fat daily values and purchase water
Aquafina’s Waters are free of protein, calories, carb, calorie, sodium, calories, taste
Comments are cool in a serving per bottle
And smart choices for more time.
A sodium visit
Only thing in place is our total system
Or container size
Please recycle, for purified visit,
Bottled visit under most other servings per every purification store.
So, drinking water,
Per Nutrition serving,
Per purification system,
For diet by percent water amount.
The bottlers, Inc.
Call comments about Aquafina
|Television Evangelist Falwell Dies at 73|
|May 15 01:45 PM US/Eastern |
View larger image
|LYNCHBURG, Va. (AP) - The Rev. Jerry Falwell, who founded the Moral Majority and built the religious right into a political force, died Tuesday shortly after being found unconscious in his office at Liberty University, a school executive said. He was 73. |
Ron Godwin, the university's executive vice president, said Falwell, 73, was found unresponsive around 10:45 a.m. and taken to Lynchburg General Hospital. "CPR efforts were unsuccessful," he said.
Godwin said he was not sure what caused the collapse, but he said Falwell "has a history of heart challenges."
"I had breakfast with him, and he was fine at breakfast," Godwin said. "He went to his office, I went to mine, and they found him unresponsive."
Falwell survived two serious health scares in early 2005. He was hospitalized for two weeks with what was described as a viral infection, then was hospitalized again a few weeks later after going into respiratory arrest. Later that year, doctors found a 70 percent blockage in an artery, which they opened with stents.
Falwell credited his Moral Majority with getting millions of conservative voters registered, electing Ronald Reagan and giving Republicans Senate control in 1980.
"I shudder to think where the country would be right now if the religious right had not evolved," Falwell said when he stepped down as Moral Majority president in 1987.
The fundamentalist church that Falwell started in an abandoned bottling plant in 1956 grew into a religious empire that includes the 22,000-member Thomas Road Baptist Church, the "Old Time Gospel Hour" carried on television stations around the country and 7,700-student Liberty University. He built Christian elementary schools, homes for unwed mothers and a home for alcoholics.
He also founded Liberty University in Lynchburg, which began as Lynchburg Baptist College in 1971.
Liberty University's commencement is scheduled for Saturday, with former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich as the featured speaker.
Monday, May 14, 2007
I'm done. Finished with my undergraduate degree. Completely done. But something is still nagging me, telling me that something is going to go wrong, that I didn't pass this one class or pay this fine or write this paper. I'm sure I'm graduating without a hitch, but I'm still nervous about it, and I think I will be until the calligraphy-clad paper is in my hands.
On a completely different note, I think this semester ended quite well. The one and only Dr. Jerry Fliger took our Senior Seminar class out to eat in Atlanta. We went to "Fire of Brazil," and it was INCREDIBLE. The food was DELICIOUS, the company was great, and it was so much fun.
Afterwards we also went to play a game I had never heard of called "Whirly Ball," and I must say it is one of the most fun games I've ever heard. It is basically bumper cars plus lacrosse, and it was a blast!
Thursday, May 10, 2007
And did you know the divorce rate isn't as bad as everyone thinks it is? There are multiple theories for the reasons for that, but it's still interesting.
Monday, May 7, 2007
This has been a rough semester, mostly because of the amount of things to do. I've taken 18 hours of classes plus an internship, been planning for a wedding, and working two jobs. I don't know how it's happened, but I'm getting there. I've felt more antisocial than I've ever been, and I've been more antisocial than I thought I could ever handle. But I've survived. Who would have thought, but sometimes, just sometimesI enjoy it. I'm pretty shocked that I can even say that.
I'm still overwhelmed with work that I don't think it's quite hit me that I'm graduating. I don't know when I'm finally going to slow down long enough to realize it.
Wednesday, May 2, 2007
Monday, April 30, 2007
Sunday, April 29, 2007
I can't believe it's almost finished and I'm probably going to graduate. Believe me, I've had my doubts. I doubted a whole lot.
This past Friday I had my orals for the School of Communication. I passed everything, except, ironically, the Mass Comm. part. Luckily, it's just three or four questions that I have to retake this Wednesday.
The same Friday I had a pretty hefty paper due for History of Theology.
And recently I've been feeling pretty sick. It seems this past week more times than not i've been taking some sort of medicine to combat this intense headache and neck ache. (I wonder why we can combine "head" and "ache" to create one word, but not "neck" and "ache")
I hate these posts where they're pretty much just comprised of complaints. Here's an old editorial I wrote a long time ago. Many of you probably know, that I do in fact own a cell phone now.
“Okay, so, who doesn’t own a cellphone?”
I would reluctantly have to raise my hand. It is true that I am one of the few still not in the droves of used airwaves and low signals. In the past I was fine with that. When cell phones became first introduced I laughed it away like other unnecessary commodities of living—much like automatic toilet flushers, peanut butter and jelly in the same jar, microwavable dinners, candle snuffers, instant coffee (which never really is that fast), and so on. I reduced cellular phones to nothing more than a fad and never thought I would ever think of needing one.
Now, of course, while working not only here in Toccoa but at a restaurant an hour away, and having school here at TFC, there are so many times where I need a phone, but have to go home or to work simply to use one. There is nothing more annoying than having to drive home to simply use the phone and nothing more.
For now, while I lack a cell phone, I have reverted to answering my wallet. If a phone rings nearby, or everyone around me is chatting on a phone, I pull out my wallet and “answer” it—in order to feel special, like one of the gang.
Yes, I am that pathetic.
Despite needing a cell phone, I still have my reservations. Although I did not see the movie, and neither did many of
A much smaller problem I would have with it is the fact of just figuring the thing out. I have little knowledge of the actual methods of using a cell phone, and I am pretty illiterate when I try to borrow a friend’s phone. I even remember a similar circumstance where a friend rushed up to me to show off his new phone. It was one of those phones with a keyboard and one that plays all of those cool games and so on. He went on and on about all of the features. I finally get around to asking him how the phone works, and his simple response is, “Oh, uh, I don’t know.”
Another problem I would have is with the ringtones. There are so many different sound and songs that you can hear, telling you to answer the phone, but sometimes I fear that I would have difficulty answering, given the song that may be playing. If I had my ringtone to any song by Switchfoot, I fear that I would rather listen to the song than actually answer the phone. I would be too awed by the music, that any desire to see who was calling would escape me.
I guess all in all it is a very good idea to have a cellular phone handy in case of emergencies. I just have to get past all of my weakness to admit that I am more materialistic that I would like and need one.
Where am I going with this article? Ladies, please stop calling my wallet.