Thursday, February 28, 2008

Great 21st Century Marketing: Free Book

Sister blog Word has the scoop on the FREE, critically acclaimed Beautiful Children novel that Random House is offering.

Plus, some thoughts on some magnificent 21st Century marketing here. Perhaps we could allow learn something about spreading items of value from this.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Follow the Bunch(s) . . .

I thougt many of you might like to be able to follow the travels and adventures of David (former Collideoscope blogger) Bunch. He and his family are gearing up for a move to Northern Ireland in the next few months. They will be serving as AIMers and working with the McFarlands, who are the missionaries there.

The icing on the cake . . . there are pictures of David's adorable kids on there!

Click here for iBunch and then bookmark the site for future reference.

"Oh, and when I'm not hectoring my enemies with stolen FBI files, I'm a committed Methodist"

Maybe this will pass under the radar completely, but Hillary Clinton took to the 700 Club, to amass what may be the two schitzophrenic evangelical votes that may be out there.

Looks like even the S.S. Clinton has it's share of spiritual epiphanies when it's taking on water faster than it can handle.

Click the image to see the interview.

Convenience or the Cross

It appears a group of Muslims inAustralia want local universities to alter class schedules to fit around their prayer times.  In addition, they would also like separate female-only eating and recreation areas.  This is the most recent article in a long series from all over the world—England, Australia, the Netherlands, even here in the United States.  To me it highlights a disturbing trend, but not the one you might think.


I have seen some present these articles as proof of the attempted Muslim takeover of the Western world, and they may or may not be.  But I do believe they point to a far more sinister force, that of apathy and laziness.  Unfortunately, these forces are not just at work among Muslim college students, they are also at work among many Americans of all faiths.  There is a desire to have a spiritual experience, or to follow a particular religion, but only if it is easy and convenient.


“I know I need to pray, but it’s too confusing to work my class schedule around.  The university needs to change the way they operate to make things easier for me.”  “I know my religion calls for me to follow certain food restrictions, but it’s too much for me to do my own cooking or to brown bag from home.  The cafeteria needs to change what it serves to accommodate me.”


Of course many of the world’s religions call for inconvenient acts of worship.  But the one religion that should not be experiencing this apathy and laziness (but still is) is Christianity.  Ours is the one religion where we are called to die daily; where our founder’s words still echo through the ages “Take up your cross and follow me.”  The cross is a most inconvenient experience.  Let us never get into our hearts that following Christ should be easy or convenient. 


What I’m talking about here is not more rules or stricter adherence.  Mark Driscoll defined worship as what we do with our time, our talent, and our treasure.  As Christ-followers, how convenient is our worship?  How much of our time do we give to God?  How much of our talent and our treasure are his?  Are we willing to worship God no matter how uncomfortable it is?  How often do we seek our convenience more than God’s glory?


Just something I’ve been thinking about.




Saturday, February 23, 2008

I Think I'll Let That Fleeting Thought Fade Now

I know good and well, I'm not the only one that gets irritated with nanny-state micro-managing of life. And as much as I can appreciate certain laws that are "good for me," I simply obey them to a more subtle and latent soundtrack of my own, resentful composition.

I can't tell you how many times I've actually ruminated on selling a joke shirt that has a seatbelt facade already attached. Sure, it would look stupid, but the humor of course, is in the plausibility of going to more trouble to get out of something, than just actually complying and sparing the wear and tear on one's self.

All of that came to a screeching halt (no pun intended) today for me, when I read about 39-year-old Ivan Segedin, whose previous and respective 32-seperate fines for not wearing his seatbelt did not in anyway dampen his ingenuity.

Unfortunately, necessity was the mother of invention. Too bad he only ended up inventing his own funeral:

Examination of his car found that, though it was fitted with proper seatbelts, an additional belt with a long strap had been knotted above the seatbelt on the driver's side, providing a belt to simply sit over the driver's shoulder, Ms Nagara said.

Presumably this was to create the illusion to a passing motorist or police officer that a seatbelt was being worn when it was not.

Mr Segedin's car had an expired warrant, was full of rust, and an autopsy blood test showed he had taken methamphetamine and cannabis. But Ms Nagara said not wearing a seatbelt was the one variable that made the difference between life and death. "He died when quite possibly he need not have."

Memo to self: That mannequin I bought for the carpool lane is going back, too.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Calling All Bible Quizzers!

Bro. Marvin Walker, National Bible Quiz Master for two decades, has a special letter for you to read. Just scroll down and read away. Then remember when you were young and full of hope, and a trophy was enough to fulfill your life. Ah! Those were great days, weren't they?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Freedom of Speech or Separation of Church and State?

Image: Human Evolution

This week the Florida State Board of Education approved the new Florida Science Standards which presents macro evolution as “the fundamental concept underlying all of biology, and is supported by multiple forms of scientific evidence,” according to a press release by the Florida Family Policy Council.  Additionally, the board rejected a proposal to include a sentence that would protect teachers who point out weaknesses of the theory from discipline or reprimand.  So, for the state of Florida, the theory of evolution has become state dogma that cannot be questioned in any official sense.  It seems to me to be more a case of competing ideologies than protecting the separation of church and state.  Taken to its extreme, it could even begin to infringe upon other constitutional rights such as the freedom of speech.  Yet another reason to avoid the public school system!



Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Why Do So Many People Believe In God?

That is the questionOxford University researchers will spend $3.7 million trying to figure out.  Do people believe in God because they are taught to?  Or is it more that it is inherent to being human?  Does believing in a god give humans some kind of evolutionary advantage?  Or is it merely a byproduct of sociability?


Dr. Justin Barrett, editor of the Journal of Cognition and Culture, suspects the findings will lead more toward nature than nurture.  “We think there is more on the nature side than a lot of people suppose,” he said.  “It [the belief in an omniscient God] is easy, it is intuitive, it is natural.  It fits our default assumptions about things.”


So what does the Bible say about all this?  Well, you can actually use verses to support either side.  If you wanted to argue for the idea of a God-shaped hole (nature), you could point to verses about conscience and how we are created.  On the other hand, you could also look at verses that speak of learning about God from various sources as well as verses that speak of teaching children about God (nurture).  I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what the scientists come up with.



It's Like Having My Own Ant Farm

On February 12th, Radio talk show prognosticator, Rush Limbaugh, made the following pronouncement to a caller, concerning the candidacy and presidential aspirations of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton:

They want this. They need this more than anything in their lives! They have been planning on it, getting back to the White House. This is the Baby Boomers' last chance; the left-wing, anti-war Baby Boomers' last chance to get their arms around this country and bend it, shape it, as they want it. This is what she has lived for! This is what she put up with all those shenanigans from Bill all those years for. This is why she did it, and she's not going to sit there and let some upstart take it away from her. So if she has to do something about the Michigan delegates and the Florida delegates, she will.

Hubris? Blowhard, on-air narcissicm? Or the most interesting aspect to this election that the media desperately ignores at their peril--or at any rate conceals behind a more tepidly-layered journaistic language that attempts to elucidate the vageries of the delegate system?

Peggy Noonan seems to think the potential for "ugly" could put her in contention for the Rasputin Olympic Gold:

Prince Yusupov served him cupcakes laced with cyanide, emptied a revolver, clubbed him, tied him up and threw him in a frozen river. When he floated to the surface they found he'd tried to claw his way from under the ice. That is how reporters see Hillary.

Now it looks like even those normally poised to torpedo the conservative wing of the Republican party may be scabbording up to behead the Hydra; warning shots going out over the bow even now.

I kid you not. Despite the fact that the presumed nominee for my side is that apalling John McCain, I haven't checked out in the least. Not when the potential UFC-quality theatrics are waiting outside the doors of the Democratic National Convention.

And call me a polemic, but I can only hope the Clinton machine blatantly steals an election from a guy who, despite his ridiculouly vacant ideology, is at least classy in his neo-marxist deliveries.

Grab some popcorn and sit back. This could get really good. And fast.


Thursday, February 14, 2008

A True Love - Fact or Fiction

In the spirit of Valentine's Day, inspired by KDC over at Word and his look at the best literary romantic couples and fresh off a conversation about my love life (or lack thereof) with my best friend, I felt compelled to bring this discussion to the masses. That would be you.

First, I have to agree with Kent, in that for me, no literary couple captures the perfect love story quite like Elizabeth and Darcy in Pride and Prejudice. There is something so compelling about two people who have such passion, vibrancy, pride, humility, and humanity finding love with each other. However, if any of you have been following The Complete Jane Austen on PBS then you'll know that Jane Austen herself is quoted as saying, "the only way to get a man like Mr. Darcy is to make him up."

And I have to say that I agree with her. And more than that, I'm becoming evermore convinced that the only way to have a love like Elizabeth and Darcy is to make it up.

I know it sounds jaded and bitter.

It's not intended to be. It's just an observation.

Take a closer look at what really makes-up a great love like the ones Austen writes about. There are abundent flaws in both characters, as well as an admission of those flaws by the characters and of the characters. In Austen's world, no one is perfect, least of all the main characters. And there is pain. Enormous, HUGE, uncomfortable amounts of pain (longing, unrequited love, humiliation). And not just in Pride and Prejudice. Sense and Sensibility, Emma and perhaps most especially Persuasion are littered with brokenness. Jane obviouslly took Shakespear's "the course of true love never did run smooth" to heart.

If that's what it takes to make TRUE, great and lasting love then I'm afraid most of us today are seriously out of luck.

Whether it's a matter of culture, education, feminism, humanism, or any other-ism, very few people in the world are willing to admit and own up to their flaws. We have no problem pointing them out in others but beware if someone tries to subject us to the same scruitny. As for pain, well, when we pop open the asprin at the slightest sign of a headache, scream for epidurals during childbirth and drive the 1/2 mile to the store because walking makes our knees hurt, then I think it might be a bit much to expect that we're willing to endure the gut-wrenching, soul-sucking, emotional batteringram that is true love. Most people would rather cut-and-run and take their chances somewhere else.

And that's why I'm not sure that true love, on that scale, even exists anymore.

Yet, deep inside I have to believe that it does because the other side of the story, beyond the raw honesty and the pain is the beauty. The people who have endured the most, who have witnessed the ugliness, who have exposed themselves to the most hurt, ridicule and rejection seem to be the ones who have the deepest loves in the end. They're the ones who have a nearly visible connection even when they're across a room. They're the ones who light-up from the inside and actually seem to glow when you ask them about their mate. They're the ones who after 50 years of marriage and 17 years after after the death of his spouse when you mention her, his eyes light-up, he smiles like a teenager and says "WOW! She was a great wife."

So, I challenge those of us that are still single to grow-up, man-up, be adults and stop running from love when it's hard, stop fearing to risk your hearts and be willing to take a chance on the possibility of true love.

As Jane so kindly fitted Milton to her purposes (in Mansfield Park), "The blessing of a wife . . . is heaven's last best gift." Or if you'd prefer something more biblical, "Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing."

Happy Valentine's Day

Sister blog Word takes a stab at listing some of the best couples in storytelling history. So whether it's Romeo + Juliet or Superman and Lois Lane, take a peek and leave your opinion!

Or if you're in the mood to stay single, check out ninetyandnine's cover story this week: "A Great Year to be Single"!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

20 Something Manifesto

I try not to bore you all too much with the details of the ins and outs of my life. But for me this is really exciting and I wanted to share it with you!

About a year ago, on request, I submitted a writing for a book that was being written about 20 somethings and their "issues". I'm THRILLED to announce that the book has been released and that my contribution is included!

20 Something Manifesto: Quarter Lifers Speak Out about Who They Are, What They Want and How to Get it (New World Library), is a nationally published book by quarter-life crisis expert, Christine Hassler. 20 Something Manifesto is an inspirational guide aimed to help men and women in their twenties reach a personal transformation that will help lead to their future success.

In these pages, quarter-life men and women tell their stories, sharing their successes and failures, along with their frustrations and realizations. Life coach and quarter-life expert Christine Hassler offers insightful commentary and "take away" suggestions about how to beat the "Expectation Hangover" and how to create the skills you need to create change and direction in your life.

Hassler, is a nationally renowned speaker, columnist and life coach. Her first book, 20 Something 20 Everything has sold more than 50,000 copies. Additionally, Hassler is a weekly columnist for Huffington Post, an award winning online news website and blog.

The book is a fabulous resource for any 20 something you may know who is feeling a bit "stuck" or who just needs a bit of extra encouragement. So run to your nearest Barnes and Nobel, Borders or visit Amazon and check it out today!! I'd also love to hear any feedback you might have on pages 326-329 (bet you can't guess why)!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

And This Is How Spider Monkeys Get Killed, Too

The inability to relinquish one's own will in the face of imminent death, be it fiscal or physical--is alive and well out here in vainglorious California.

Some time ago, the Berkley City Council engaged in a very public berating of the United States Marines, and have opted to literally kick them out of the city, branding them "occupiers." The 6-3 voted also harmonized by a shrill soprano section from Code Pink, amounted so something . . . well, simply embarrassing by anyone else's standards.

What the city council forgot to consider, however, was that the same body that funds those "Gangsters" is also the same legal body that allocates over 2 million dollars to the city of Berkeley as well. Now it looks like the same city council's looking for blood to put on their doorpost before a vote that could strip them of all earmarks--despite an attempted procedural torpedo by Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid--happens as early as tonight.

As an aside, it is truly sad that a group so firmly entrenched that close to university-level education can't even spell their own vandalism correctly.

UPDATE: Looks like even Che Guevera-loving political passions can be tempered when the bottom-line actually becomes one.


Exactly Why The World Should Never Be Your Consultant

The institutionally-benign-sounding Consumer Reports magazine would be the last Rorsach-esque response to the term "misguided," but they contend nonetheless.

In a recent article taking public umbrage with the teen megastar, Hannah Montana (known also as Miley Cyrus, the daughter of "Achy Breaky" crooner, Billy Ray Cyrus), the magazine decided the pop-phenom shirked her responsibilities as a role model to the nation's youth. What exactly could the young teen princess have done to invoke the ire of Consumer Reports? Scantily-clad forays across the stage? Overtly sexual gyrations wrapped in a Disney facade? An air of oversophisticated worldliness despite the lack of years lived? Wholesale immodesty?

Nope. The highly-marketable Montana is guilty of far worse*: Failing to wear a seatbelt while riding a range rover with her celebrity father--an apparent "gaffe" in her upcoming movie:

It seems to us that Miley, her father, and Disney had a perfect opportunity to help influence teens and counteract—rather than encourage—this trend.

They really are blind. Really.

* All tongue-in-cheekness implied.

Friday, February 08, 2008

The Disillusionment Of Neil Young

As much as one should hope he can find a way to deal with his musical recession, Neil Young's recent lamentation about the powerlessness of music to change the world is a good thing--it may cause him to look a little bit higher.

The 1960's era mainstays (primarily the Woodstock alumni) have wasted many, many years applying preposterous spiritual gravity to their work. A combination of quiet self-importance, and refusing-to-get-off-the-world-stage narcissism has prolonged the conclusion many in subsequent generations arrived at many years ago: that music is a wonderful vehicle to advance passion, but must be followed up by some degree of introspective follow-up with quantifiable goals, either spiritual ot societal, if change is to be expected.

Unfortunately, Mr. Young's peer group did manage to do just that--by using their gifts to divide a nation and delude themselves into believeing they helped end a war they in fact--arguably prolonged.

Now, the singer laments the decisions he at one time helped to foment. Maybe perhaps Mr. Young's brief dallaince with christianity will soon be revisited by a man wholly consumed with an otherwise hopeless worldview.


Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Foundations-A Summer Bible College for Secular College Students

It is felt one main reason many UPCI young people do not attend Bible College is the perceived need for the students to pursue a marketable degree to enable them to compete in the corporate world and everyday society. However, it is vitally important that the students also have a Biblical foundation on which they build their lives. Many do not have this opportunity. In answer to this problem Foundations, a summer Bible College is being offered primarily for secular college students. This will give the students a foundation to withstand the atheistic teaching many are encountering, win other college students to the Lord, and prepare them for a life time of service to the Lord even if they never enter the ministry.


This summer Bible College will be an intense study of the Word. The students will take classes both in the morning and the afternoon. Only those who are recommended by their pastor and are committed should apply.   Courses offered will include such topics as Basic Bible Doctrines, Hermeneutics, and Creation. They will be taught by some of the most seasoned Bible Teachers in the UPC, namely James Merrick, Kelsey Griffin, Sidney Poe, Daniel Flemming and Arlo Moehlenpah. Foundations will be hosted by the Apostolic Bible Institute in St. Paul , MN June 16 - July 25. The total cost for the twelve credits of instruction will be about $1600 (cost does not include transportation). For more details on this program please visit Foundations’ web site.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Ben Stein Thinks That Last Post Was Most Swell

Multi-tasking rich guy, entrepreneur, political activist, game-show host, and former tousle-headed radical, Ben Stein, apparently decided that The Passion of the Christ was far too tame a gauntlet, and has decided to just go ahead and have his life threatened outright.

Never one to shy away from controversy, Stein brings his neo-phlegmatic approach to discourse to the theaters. This time, the secular world will find that instead of having their cerebellums dipped in liquid nitrogen by Mel Gibson, that they will have a successful, high-profile Jew tracing the direct arc between neo-Darwinism and history's little quirks . . .like, um, abortion on demand and the Nazi Holocaust.

Click on the image to watch.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Once Again: Dubious Assertion Used To Updraft Flailing Scientific Albatross

An unidentified Nigerian man takes a break from marauding the planet.
Axe overhauls may break him before he can plunder his daily 200,000th acre quota.

The whole "global warming" fiasco--one I've always personally believed is a socialist agenda hiding behind a mute constituency--has personally become a favorite subject for me.

I think this is the case primarily because of how the subject allows for its proponents to utilize the most malleable rhetoric required to keep the panic at fever pitch. This week, it how we're foresting ourselves out of our carbon dioxide defences.

Of course, this comes on the heels of the oft-repeated "acre a second" pablum (along with its permutations)brought forth daily in the public school classrooms. Try arguing against this with questions like "If that's the case, how come I can't hit my refresh button on Google Earth and see Brazil looking like a time-lapse shaving documentary?"

This, of course, ends up with me being castagated as a religious fanatic. Interesting. A group of environmental glad-handlers, notifying me that my indifference to changing my ways will cause the earth to burn.

Yep. They sure know how to distance themselves from religion, don't they?

And for those that love rhetorical red-meat for purely gratifying means, I give you the following:

Why should I, who supposedly arrived here by Darwinistic means be concerned that I am eliminated by Darwinistic means?