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Friday, June 16, 2006

Out of Town

I’m off to the hills for a weekend camping adventure and I’m bringing my hat.  This is where I’m going, so if I’m not back by Monday, launch the rescue.  I’ll have plenty to post about I’m sure.  

Till then, have a good weekend.

My New Sign

My Mom picked up this sign for me. I'm going to send this pic as a postcard to my nephew Scott, who is currently enjoying his summer vacation in Arkansas.

My New Hat

Baptists and Alcohol

Yesterday, I was reading a blog by Wade Burleson, a Southern Baptist pastor from Oklahoma. Andrew Sullivan linked to him as an example of the “difference in tone” of the SBC after the election of a new leader.

Wade argues that drinking alcoholic beverages isn’t by itself sinful, but that drunkenness is. Being a biblical fundamentalist, he cites some verses to back up his argument. I read with a critical eye, of course, but also an open mind, and proposed this question in the comments:
Wade,
Found your blog thru Andrew Sullivan's. Though I was raised a Baptist, I no longer adhere to the faith, but I'm curious to hear your views on this subject. It seems quite reasonable, since it is a well known fact that Jesus did imbibe, as well as encouraged his followers during the Eucharist.

You make a wonderful point that drinking itself isn't the sin, but you also adamantly argue that "drunkenness" is.

My question, coming from a secular "scientific" angle, is this: At what point does the drinking of alcoholic beverages descend into drunkenness?

Myself, I'm a notorious lightweight and can feel myself getting "buzzed" after a few drinks. Would I have gone perilously close to sinful territory, or would it be too late?

Or is it a pattern of drunkenness that's sinful?
JP
To which, Wade responded:

James,

Your question is both thoughtful and honest.

I cannot answer your scientific question because I'm not sure scientists could even answer the question of "When is a man drunk?" Allow me to answer Biblically. The Bible says "Be not drunk with wine, but be filled with the Spirit."

I would propose to you that alcohol abuse in most people is an attempt to substitute an artificial "high" for the genuine work of the Holy Spirit in the heart.When alcohol controls you, when you drink alcohol to escape, when you lose sight of reality by the deadening effects of alohol on the mind, then you are obviously drunk.

The Holy Spirit can give you the same type of "joy" (or in your venacular "buzz") but you NEVER lose control of your mind, you never have reality distorted, you never have you emotions deadened, but rather the Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit in your life is always in charge and He works in and through you.

So . . . I will pray the Lord grants you faith and the happiness you seek in the world will truly be found in a relationship with Jesus Christ.

In His Grace,
wade
I still disagree with Pastor Wade, especially about the reason that people drink (I think it’s more about endorphins than spiritual emptiness), and even more about the infallibility of the Bible, but I am glad he responded. That's dialogue.

Adam Sandler - Overrated?

I’ve been waiting for the moment when Adam Sandler would go away, and I think the moment is coming, especially after this movie.  Am I the only one who wonders how this one-note joke got made into a movie?

There was a time when Adam Sandler movies were gold at the box office, but that hasn’t been true for some time now.  Billy Madison…sucked.  Happy Gilmore…sucked.  Big Daddy sucked.  So did Mr. Deeds, The Waterboy, Anger Management, and 50 First Dates.  The only Adam Sandler movie I remotely liked was Little Nicky, and even that sucked.  (Hell, heavy metal, and an ingenious Ozzy cameo are Little Nicky’s only redeeming virtues.)

Click just might be the latest nail in the coffin.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Political Leanings

Just in case you were confused about my political inclinations, here's a numerical breakdown. I have to say though, the questions sucked. I would have liked an option C.

And what do ya know, there's one category where I'm 100% conservative...interesting, very interesting.

Your Political Profile:
Overall: 40% Conservative, 60% Liberal
Social Issues: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal
Personal Responsibility: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal
Fiscal Issues: 50% Conservative, 50% Liberal
Ethics: 0% Conservative, 100% Liberal
Defense and Crime: 100% Conservative, 0% Liberal


Thanks to Claystation for the link.

A Little News

As inflation worries hit the Fed and consumer prices edge upwards, strange news on the employment front. United, feeling it more than most perhaps, is slashing 1000 jobs.

But DirecTV is bringing 1000 jobs to the Denver metro area. I guess it evens out somewhat.

In other business news, the music industry has a new cash cow. Ringtones. They are even giving out gold and platinum cell phones to commemorate the occasion. Has it really come to this?

In art news, sculptor Luis Jimenez was killed by his own sculpture when a piece fell on him and severed an artery in his leg. A tragic story, to be sure, but this part gives it a cruel twist:
Jimenez missed four deadlines - the latest was May 31 - for finishing the sculpture (that killed him). In 2004, a mediator had to intervene when the artist refused the city's request to refund its money and allow someone else to finish the job.
Now it looks like they have no choice.

Another interesting story, a British artist named David Hensel submitted a sculpture for a Royal Academy exhibition, but unfortunately made the mistake of sending it in two pieces, the sculpture and the plinth on which it stands. The Academy much preferred the plinth.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Rollin' With Bob Saget

If you didn't know, before Full House , Bob Saget was known as a blue comedian. After Full House, he's been returning to his roots with appearances in Entourage and The Arisocrats. Now he's got his own music video, and it's HARD CORE.

My Muppies

This blog has really gone to the dogs...

Some pics of my muppies. (And no, I'm not the first to give cutesy-wutesy names to my canine companions.)

First, Jack, who my loyal readers have already encountered. Jack's a Welsh Corgi/Terrier mix, not sure what kind of terrier, but it's a cute combination. I used to have a Corgi growing up named, get this, Max, and that's the kind of dog I wanted when I got out on my own. When I went to the shelter to pick out a pup, Jack was the closest they had to a Corgi and just look at him! He's a big teddy bear! My only regret is that I didn't have him as a puppy. I'm sure he was just the cutest little thing...

Then there's Gabby. Gabby was given to me by a lady I used to work with who had a houseful of dogs, one of whom was a great big bully who wanted to kill Gabby and eat her for dinner. In a sense, I rescued her from certain death. Now, she's a little wary around other dogs (you would be too, if you were abused as a child) but she's my little baby. I'm not sure what kind of dog she is, part chihauha maybe, part beagle. No clue. After this weekend, I'm starting to suspect she might be part vizla too. At the jazz concert, I saw a dog that looked just like her, except for its head, and it was part vizla, so who knows? All I know is she's my pretty girl.

I Have The Golden Ticket

Quick, go to Home Depot, buy up all the vanities.  It might be a worthy investment.  

Best Heckle of the Year

The best heckle of the year was directed at Hillary Clinton:

It takes a bomb to raze a village.

Snap!

A Free And Democratic Iraq

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words, such as this one of the White House Press Secretary Tony Snow and Bush advisor Dan Bartlett accompanying the president on his "inspiring" five hour trip to a "free and democratic Iraq."
I think Iraq is the only "free and democratic" country that requires you to arrive in a flak jacket and helmet.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Ghetto Garden

The Ghetto Garden is looking greener every day. You might recall the genesis of the Garden, which can be revisted here, but look at it now. Another week or two and there should be an explosion of color. Unfortunately, it looks like my zinnias are coming up yellow...which is fine, but with all the marigolds I planted, I was hoping for some blues or reds. I'm also somewhat proud that all of these plants, with the exception of the strawberries and the unknown plant in the front with red flowers, I grew from seed.

Here are my tomatoes. Right now, I have seven plants in the ground, all of them different varieties. The best performer will get the whole bed next year. On the very right, you can see some of the seedlings for my cucumber plants. They were the last additions, hence why they're so small. The white plastic fence is a lame attempt to keep the dogs out of there. They like to chase squirrels along the fence and don't really care if they trample the garden.

This pic is of the other side, with a little more variety. In the cages are my jalapeno plants. The big mass of greenery next to that is lettuce (obviously not iceberg). Some of that lettuce can probably be picked already and made into a salad. On the far right, more cucumbers.

Here's the cumulative effect. Forgive the lack of grass. I still haven't quite figured out what I will put there instead of grass. Rocks maybe? Or another garden bed. I'm fairly certain that I will not attempt to grow any more grass...and yes, I know how that sounds.

Oh, and does anyone need any tomato plants? I've got plenty to spare. Plenty...

FUCK

This article is somewhat illustrative of what I like about the blogosphere. No, it’s not all the self-correcting crapola, or all the gotchas. What I like is the very last sentence:
We have a great thing going here. Let's not fuck it up.
You wouldn’t see that kind of language in the Washington Post, or even the Times, LA or NY, supposedly ultra-liberal papers filled with coastal elites. Why? Because they’re fucking pussies.

(I keed, I keed.)

Andrew Sullivan's Magical Linking

Out of all the political blogs that I read, the one I like best is Andrew Sullivan’s. To this blogger, he seems to speak from principle rather than partisanship. I don’t agree with everything he says, but he always puts forth a good case. And he gives good links.

Check this one out. Without Sullivan, it would have never crossed my radar and it’s oh-so-quotable. Here’s some of my favs:
If there is any document that needs to be preserved from religious squabbling and moralizing, it is the Constitution.
Absolutely!
The Constitution doesn't exist to implement a certain "American way of life." It exists to ensure an environment of freedom in which the ways Americans live can flourish and evolve, within a common commitment to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," as stated in the Declaration of Independence.
Hear, hear!
It is remarkably short-sighted to think that one part in that morality debate is so compelling that it merits undermining the entire fabric of rights and laws. That is theological nonsense. If any topic of Christian morality deserved such a spotlight, it would be the one Jesus actually addressed -- namely, wealth and power.
You listening, Dobson?
Don't worry, say some observers. The "Marriage Protection Amendment" is just for election-year show, not serious deliberation. Such trifling with our common life is no less worrisome. It manages to trivialize marriage, human sexuality, legitimate methods for resolving disputes and the U.S. Congress all at one time. That seems a lot of damage just to make the point that one branch of Christians doesn't believe gays and lesbians should have the same rights as other citizens.
Amen, brother!

Road Rage

Okay, so here’s the scenario: A nasty car accident occurred on the road ahead of you. The police have the road blocked off as the tow truck picks up the wreckage. Do you:
  1. Resign yourself to the detour and make a choice: Right or left.

  2. Come to a complete and full stop so that you can stare blank-eyed at the catastrophe

  3. Realize that maybe driving isn’t your thing and instead resolve to get a bus pass
I just experienced this exact situation. I chose option 1, probably because of my ability to think on my feet and adapt. The cars in front of me chose option 2. As I much as I wish they would have chosen 1, like me, they probably should have chosen 3.

To paraphrase Jeff Foxworthy, If you can’t figure out how to navigate through a detour, you might be an idiot.

And Now the News

Real quick news round-up.

Karl Rove escapes indictment. Damn. I was really hoping to see this guy led off in cuffs, and now that he’s been exonerated, right-wingers will rush to defend Rove’s actions. This is what I have to say to them: The powers that be decided Rove didn’t do anything criminal. That’s not to say that using his security clearance to cynically smear a political opponent was the right thing to do.

Is it any coincidence that the season’s first tropical storm is named after our Attorney General?

Ben Roethlisberger, adventurous thrill seeker or idiot? My money’s on the latter. First, Ben, considering you’re an elite quarterback in the NFL (the youngest QB to win a Super Bowl), I’d hope that you’ve already tackled your penis size issues. If you still feel inadequate, go to therapy. You can afford it. Secondly, you’re pulling down millions of bucks playing a game and all you have to do is stay healthy. Maybe you should take up a new hobby, one that won’t jeopardize your millions, like crochet or drinking, or is feeling the wind in your hair really that important? I hope the doctors extricated your head from your ass while you were in surgery…

Howie Kurtz of the Washington Post comes up with a cute Tom Swifty:
“But remember, you still have to win the Iowa caucus, as Dean screamingly failed to do.”
Cute.

Here’s a semi-funny story on the local front. Vandalism isn’t funny…until they spray paint the dog.

Deadwood

Goddamn fucking cocksucker!  In today’s “Say it Ain’t So” department, rumors of a premature end to Deadwood.  This after I just watched the first episode of the third (and last?) season.

Like I said, I’ve only seen this in rumors, not in any press releases, so I hope it’s not true.  Why is it that a show like Everybody Loves Raymond (which existed mostly to keep you entertained between commercial breaks) can go on and on and on, and a legitimate piece of art like Deadwood has a short life span?

You want my advice, HBO?  Pay the cast.  Keep the Deadwood cameras rolling.

Monday, June 12, 2006

And Now, With Pics

Thanks to the new handy-dandy flux capacitor enhanced camera I have, I was able to go back in time to Saturday and snap a pic of the tubing adventure with my brother. The dude on the right with the farmer's tan is me.

Alright, you caught me. We went back yesterday!

Yesterday's tubing adventure was marred by an unfortunate incident. I lost my tube, and had to wade in the rapids to get it. With the water rushing past, and my sandals unable to gain purchase on the smooth cement floor, I was churned up against a rock, scraping my knee and giving it a deeper bruise. I eventually retrieved my tube, and made it down in one piece. In an unrelated occurence, a fellow tuber on a different creek lost control of his tube and drowned. Me, I don't even have a limp.

Also, yesterday was the concert at the park, featuring After Midnight, an all-white 7 piece jazz band. (I can imagine concerts in the park fifty years from now, where all white rappers revive the hits of Dr. Dre and Ludacris.) They were good, and even played a few songs I knew. The guitarist and the clarinet player were extraordinary, but the piano player tried some stuff that didn't work and I kept wishing that the drummer would open it up more. Still, they inspired this charming fella to get up and dance. And he had some moves.

The crowd that massed on the park for the concert was as diverse as it was large. People of every stripe were there, spread out in the lawnchairs or on their blankets, nibbling from goodies in picnic baskets and sipping wine. The clouds threatened rain, but never let out more than a few drops, and by the end of the show, the clouds and the failing light was perfect, absolutely perfect.

Ferrill Lake at dusk.
Here's another shot from another angle, with the skyline in the background.

Something about the way the light hit these trees struck me and I snapped this photo. I kind of wish I didn't have the older couple in the foreground, but looking at it again, this photo could almost be an advertisement for some kind of retirement fund, or Viagra. Walk into your sunset...rich, happy, hard, whatever you're trying to sell.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Saturday, With No Pics

Uncle Henry was in town this week and we got to spend some time with him yesterday. He was rolling with my Mom and they stopped by for a little bit. Last time he was in town, I still lived in an apartment so he got a brief tour of the old homestead. My good fortune that I had cleaned the place up before I had visitors…

For lunch, we went to the Baker St. Pub, a fish and chip joint with a British theme. The hostess was a very charming lass with an even more charming East London accent, but of course my brother focused in on the young-looking blonde with a tramp stamp. The food was alright, the conversation full of laughter and life, but Henry started to look like he needed a vacation from his vacation. (It was his last day in town, so he was exhausted.)

After picking up some tubes at Dick’s Sports, me and my brother rolled out to Confluence Park. You might remember this place from a post a few weeks ago, the place where Cherry Creek meets the Platte River. It’s in the shadow of the REI store, and as such has a man made rapids section under the bridge, specifically designed for testing kayaks.

It’s also quite fun to roll down in a tube, like Water World, but free. Next time I go, I’ll have pics. I forgot to bring my camera along! Der. It would have also been nice to have some sandals. The hot concrete is murder on bare soles.

Of course, now I can’t wait to do it again. to find other spots for tubing. I’m going camping next weekend, and now I want to know if there’s a river nearby. The info on the campground doesn’t specify, but it does say it’s only 3.5 miles from the Colorado Trail. Liking the sound of that, I looked it up. Listen to this:
Almost 500 miles of Colorado's stately Rocky Mountains are connected by The Colorado Trail as it threads its way over eight spectacular mountain ranges, through six national forests, six wilderness areas and the headwaters of five major river systems, reaching its highest point at 13,334 feet.
Holy hell rider! That sounds awesome! Here’s an idea: Ride the whole trail, from top to bottom, on horseback! I might have to start dreaming about that one…

Later this afternoon, I’m going for a bike ride with a friend to the zoo, then later to City Park for some jazz. After Midnight is playing tonight, and though I’ve never heard of them before, this was all I had to hear:
Any time of day or night, After Midnight is your source for the best in hot Swing and Jazz. This is Colorado's hottest swingtet modeled after Benny Goodman's popular small band sounds of the 1930s, 40s, and 50s.
I’m there!

On Zarqawi

I haven’t blogged since Zarqawi was killed.  You’ll have to forgive me.  I’ve been engaging in a bacchanal of Roman proportions in honor of this symbolic meaningless victory.  If there’s one thing I can tip my drink to, it’s death and betrayal.  Okay, that’s two things.  Actually, can I make it three things?

Let’s hear it for laser guided bombs.  Yeah, laser guided bombs, baby.

You know, the human being deep down inside me, that small part of me that’s not touched by race or culture or nationality, is recoiling at all this rah-rah kill-em-till-they’re-dead blood lust.  And yet I know that killing this dude probably saved lives, probably disrupted his followers, and certainly scared the shit out of a lot of terrorists.  I know it fucked up Zarqawi’s day, that’s for sure.

I have to say, though, after drinking all this champagne, I think I’m gonna puke.