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Friday, September 04, 2009

Did You Bring a Horse For Me?

Charlie Bronson asks.

Jack Elam grins, looks at the three horses standing by the hitching post. "Well," he say. "It looks like we're shy one horse."

Charlie Bronson shakes his head. "You brought two too many."

Zakk Wylde on the Healthcare Debate


He's been in and out of the hospital with blood clots lately.

Get well, buddy.

Why I Could Never Be a Christian

Today in the mail I got a flyer for the Stapleton Fellowship Center, which had this "Warning!"
Warning: SFC IS A NO WEIRDNESS ENVIRONMENT. What you will find is a cool atmosphere, warm relationships, and hot coffee!
Which is pretty much the only marketing trick that would get me interested in a church.

So I checked out their website. And quickly realized, no, I don't care how cool the atmosphere is, how warm the relationships are, it's still a church. And I'm up for a cool atmosphere and warm relationships (hot coffee has its merits, too), I just can't buy on for any of this:
We believe that the Bible is the Word of God, fully inspired and without error in the original manuscripts, written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and that it has supreme authority in all matters of faith and conduct.
I believe the Bible was written by men, compiled by men, containing the thoughts of...men. Inspired, yes, but edited too, added to, subtracted from, translated, interpreted, and often misquoted. A work of great literature, perhaps the work of great literature, but certainly no supreme authority.
We believe that there is one living and true God, eternally existing in three persons, that these are equal in every divine perfection, and that they execute distinct but harmonious offices in the work of creation, providence and redemption.

I'm not sure where I fall when it comes to the "persons" of God. I suspect that the entity we humans call "God" is so unlike us, so inconceivably different, that he can't be broken up into three pieces. I mean, the whole trinity is confusing anyway. No one can explain it. They just have to accept it. I don't.
We believe in God, the Father, an infinite, personal spirit, perfect in holiness, wisdom, power and love. We believe that He concerns Himself mercifully in the affairs of each person, that He hears and answers prayer, and that He saves from sin and death all who come to Him through Jesus Christ.
I'm not down with any "God the Father" stuff. I think he's more like "God the Mad Scientist," creating strange whirls of color in the universe. I think he cares about as much about us (mankind) as he does dolphins or algae colonies or fungal blooms, but in all honesty, I think he cares about the Big Red Spot on Jupiter more. As for prayer...just not my thing.
We believe in Jesus Christ, God's only begotten Son, conceived by the Holy Spirit. We believe in His virgin birth, sinless life, miracles and teachings. We believe in His substitutionary atoning death, bodily resurrection, ascension into heaven, perpetual intercession for His people, and personal visible return to earth.
I believe Jesus Christ is a fictional character in a great story that may, or may not, be based on a real person. Like Thomas Jefferson, I reject any supernatural elements of the story as the product of active imaginations.
We believe in the Holy Spirit who came forth from the Father and Son to convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment, and to regenerate, sanctify, and empower all who believe in Jesus Christ. We believe that the Holy Spirit indwells every believer in Christ, and that He is an abiding helper, teacher and guide.
I can't quibble with something as vague as the Holy Spirit. I just use a different term, that's all.
We believe that all people are sinners by nature and by choice and are, therefore, under condemnation. We believe that those who repent of their sins and trust in Jesus Christ as Savior are regenerated by the Holy Spirit.
I have no use for the concept of sin. Or divine condemnation. See the Big Red Spot.
We believe in the universal church, a living spiritual body of which Christ is the head and all regenerated persons are members. We believe in the local church, consisting of a company of believers in Jesus Christ, baptized on a credible profession of faith, and associated for worship, work and fellowship. We believe that God has laid upon the members of the local church the primary task of giving the gospel of Jesus Christ to a lost world.
Woah, slow down. Regenerated members? Stop the bus. I want off.
We believe that Christians should live for the glory of God and the well-being of others; that their conduct should be blameless before the world; that they should be faithful stewards of their possessions; and that they should seek to realize for themselves and others the full stature of maturity in Christ.
I'm down with all but the last part. Too late, though, I'm already off this bus.
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ has committed two ordinances to the local church: baptism and the Lord's Supper. We believe that Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water into the name of the triune God. We believe that the Lord's Supper was instituted by Christ for commemoration of His death. We believe that these two ordinances should be observed and administered until the return of the Lord Jesus Christ.
These rituals are great...for other people.
We believe that every human being has direct relations with God, and is responsible to God alone in all matters of faith; that each church is independent and must be free from interference by any ecclesiastical or political authority; that therefore Church and State must be kept separate as having different functions, each fulfilling its duties free from dictation or patronage of the other.
YES! Finally something I can support.
We believe that local churches can best promote the cause of Jesus Christ by cooperating with one another in denominational organizations or nondenominational fellowship. Such an organization, whether it is a denomination or another mechanism for cooperation, exists and functions by the will of the churches. Cooperation in such organizations is voluntary and may be terminated at any time.
Okay, this one is weirdly legal in its wording. Consequently, I have no opinion.
We believe in the personal and visible return of the Lord Jesus Christ to earth and the establishment of His kingdom. We believe in the resurrection of the body, the final judgment, the eternal felicity of the righteous, and the endless suffering of the wicked.
This is the stuff that cracks me up so much about Christianity. Jesus is coming! Look busy!

No thanks.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Me, Being a Jerk

I got lippy with an RTD security guard tonight. Now I feel a little bad about it but at the time, I wasn't taking any shit.

Today was an RTD nightmare. The train going into work was late and when it arrived, it was broken and I had to wait for another one. Hence I was late. Then on the way home, the same damn train was broken, this time filled with Bronco fans returning home from the game.

So I left the station, thinking that maybe I could catch the bus instead. (Yeah, right...it leaves two minutes before I get off the train.)

Anyway, I was riding back to the train station, hoping that the clusterfuck had been cleared during my failed excursion and that's when the security guard came into play.

"You need to walk your bike!" she called after me. Unfortunately for the both of us, I didn't have my headphones on.

I grumbled "Yeah, yeah," hopped off long enough to carry my bike down a few steps.

Perhaps sensing my foul mood, she tried to diffuse the situation. "How you doing tonight?"

So I was honest, and answered "Not very good." It was not a very friendly response to a friendly question.

With the stairs cleared, I hopped back on my bike and started riding away.

"Sir," she said more forcefully this time, "you need to walk your bike."

"Yeah, well," I said, peddling away like an asshole. "Shoot me then." RTD guards are armed but I'm pretty sure they're not allowed to shoot people who refuse to walk their bikes.

"I can call down there and have the security guard on the other side write you a ticket."

"Go for it," I called over my shoulder, riding out of earshot. She probably called me names or got on the walkie-talkie to warn someone about the dangerous bike rider, but I didn't care.

I got on my train and got the hell out of there.

On the way home I had plenty of time to think about all the bad things I did.

Say What?

Kerry King is starting rumors about a metal super-tour that contains some big names.

Slayer.

Megadeth.

Anthrax.

Metallica.

For an old thrash head like me, that would be like seeing Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, the Beatles, and the Rolling Stones on the same bill. And I'm not even all that cracked on Megadeth.

Although I have to agree with King on this:
I think he even threw in ANTHRAX and I said in this day and age, I know we had that time together, but how do you leave out MACHINE HEAD? There's better options than ANTHRAX and that's nothing against ANTHRAX, but they've just been in pieces for quite some time and that doesn't make as much sense to me.
My thought exactly. I'd love to see Anthrax, but who'd sing?

At least Machine Head has their shit together.

Not To Pile On

But Megan McArdle's studied ignorance is kind of annoying. Michelle Goldberg is talking about Glenn Beck and his strange antics possibly inciting people to violence. (Possibly?)

But listen to McMegan ask (with a straight face) "How many talk radio hosts have actually urged violent uprising against either targeted groups or...?"

Michelle Goldberg starts backpedaling, but if it were me, I'd be a little more in your face about it.

"A few, Megan," I might say. "You ever heard of Hal Turner? But let's address the point I was making and not the straw man dancing around in your head." Then I might proceed to explain that my point isn't that Glenn Beck and others are being explicit in their calls for a violent uprising, but their talk of tyranny and "taking this country back," in addition to showing up at peaceful assemblies with assault rifles strapped to your back, implies a violent uprising.

But no, Megan is going to sit there, wide-eyed and innocent, sucking on stupid. I wonder how she'd feel if a bunch of armed hippies besieged a Libertarian meeting with assault rifles and signs that say, "We surround you."

No doubt, she'd be arguing with sweaty palms and a racing heartbeat that she's not scared, that, no, the mob isn't being at all threatening (no sirree!), just another happy day in Libertopia. Keep smiling and try not to let them see you tremble.

It astounds me how Libertarians like McArdle can breezily dismiss normal human impulses* when they conflict with Ayn Rand's received wisdom.



* Like, say, concealing your less-than-noble motives behind a cloak of righteousness.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

All You Needed to Know About Megan McArdle

In one sentence:
I'm sad that people are carrying guns to protests, even though I think they have a right, and I'm sad that so many liberals have caricatured the opposition to the health care agenda as legions of astroturfed militiamen who accuse Nancy Pelosi of appointing Hitler to a death panel, or something.
Got it?

When you exercise rights McArdle fully supports...it makes her sad.

And when those liberals caricature the opposition, not only does that make her sad, it makes her want to do a little caricaturing herself.

Show me the liberal that "caricatured the opposition to the health care agenda as legions of astroturfed militiamen who accuse Nancy Pelosi of appointing Hitler to a death panel" and we'll hang him. Then we'll burn his corpse.

Just for you, Megan.

At one point, she writes:
No, I'm not calling you a socialist. I'm saying that if nationalizing companies and 90% tax rates on the very wealthy had worked well anywhere, a lot more liberals would be in favor of those things, because if you take away the unintended consequences that they turned out to have, they seem to conform to a lot of progressive priorities about justice, distribution, and so forth.
WTF? Who is she arguing with here? Raise your hand if you've heard anyone talk about "nationalizing companies" and "90% tax rates."

I see no hands.

I'm not sure McArdle, an acolyte of Ayn Rand, should be lecturing people, least of all liberals, about "justice, distribution, and so forth." Objectivism has such a warped view of justice that I don't even think the term qualifies. And distribution? I suppose in her mind, the current system is a marvel of market efficiency.

C'mon.

I myself have yet to be impressed with Obama's health care reform effort, but then again, I'm not wedded to an ideology I picked up from reading a science fiction novel either.

How to Look Stupid 101

Step 1)

Receive a dumb right-wing e-mail.

Step 2)

Send it without checking Snopes.

Step 3)

Challenge me to blog about it.

My brother forwarded me this gem from the right-wing e-mail chain that shows you the proper way to do it.

Here is one for your brother to blog about. Let’s see how they write this one off….

Larr

Oh yeah, I almost forgot

ALL HAIL BARACK


Subject: First Lady has 20 Attendants, Vast Clothing Budget


I thought, during the campaign, that she stated that she bought her clothing at Sears and WalMart. ?? I saw her say that on TV. NO designer clothing for her, too extravagant and unnecessary! Really? Hmmmmm . . . . .





How Our New First Lady Lives




"In my own life, in my own small way, I have tried to give back to this country that has given me so much," she said. "See, that's why I left a job at a big law firm for a career in public service, " —Michelle Obama

0D In spite of her sacrifice she has hired an unprecedented number of staffers to cater to her every whim and to satisfy her every request in the midst of the Great Recession. Just think Mary Lincoln was taken to task for purchasing china for the White House during the Civil War. And Mamie Eisenhower had to shell out the salary for her personal secretary.

How things have changed! If you're one of the tens of millions of Americans earning less than subsistence wages stocking shelves at Wal-Mart or serving up McDonald cheeseburgers, prepare to scream and then come to realize that the benefit package for these servants of First Lady Michelle are the same as members of the national security and defense departments and the bill for these assorted staffers is paid by Jane Q. Public:

1. $172,2000 - Sher, Susan (Chief Of Staff)

2. $140,000 - Frye, Jocelyn C. (Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Policy And Projects For The First Lady)

3. $113,000 - Rogers, Desiree G. (Special Assistant to the President and White House Social Secretary)

4. $102,000 - Johnston, Camille Y. (Special Assistant to the President and Director of Communications for the First Lady)

5. $102,000 Winter, Melissa E. (Special Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief Of Staff to the First Lady)

6. $90,000 - Medina , David S. (Deputy Chief Of Staff to the First Lady)

7. $84,000 - Lelyveld, Catherine M. (Director and Press Secretary to the First Lady)

8. $75,000 - Starkey, Frances M. (Director of Scheduling and Advance for the First Lady)

9. $70,000 - Sanders, Trooper (Deputy Director of Policy and Projects for the First Lady)

10. $65,000 - Burnough, Erinn J. (Deputy Director and Deputy Social Secretary)

11. Reinstein, Joseph B. (Deputy Director and Deputy Social Secretary)

12. $62,000 - Goodman, Jennifer R. (Deputy Director of Scheduling and Events Coordinator For The First Lady)

13. $60,000 - Fitts, Alan O. (Deputy Director of Advance and Trip Director for the First Lady)

14. Lewis, Dana M. (Special Assistant and Personal Aide to the First Lady)

15. $52,500 - Mustaphi, Semonti M. (Associate Director and Deputy Press Secretary To The First Lady)

16. $50,000 - Jarvis, Kristen E. (Special Assistant for Scheduling and Traveling Aide To The First Lady)

17. $45,000 - Lechtenberg, Tyler A. (Associate Director of Correspondence For The First Lady)

18. Tubman, Samantha (Deputy Associate Director, Social Office)

19. $40,000 - Boswell, Joseph J. (Executive Assistant to the Chief Of Staff to the First Lady)

20. $36,000 - Armbruster, Sally M. (Staff Assistant to the Social Secretary)

21. Bookey, Natalie (Staff Assistant)

22. Jackson, Deilia A. (Deputy Associate Director of Correspondence for the First Lady)
(It all comes to about $1 million a year. How's your budget? )


There has never been anyone in the White House at any time that has created such an army of staffers whose sole duties are the facilitation of the First Lady's social life. One wonders why she needs so much help, at taxpayer expense, when even Hillary only had three; Jackie Kennedy, one; Laura Bush, one; and prior to Mamie Eisenhower social help came from the President's own pocket.

There 's more. This doesn't include makeup artist Ingrid Grimes-Miles, 49, and "First Hairstylist" Johnny Wright, 31, both of whom traveled aboard Air Force One to Europe.

And none of this explains how Michelle Obama can afford to wear a different set of $$$$ high-fashion designer clothes each and every day — one wearing and, poof!, they're gone. Even in France, where their first lady serves as an icon for the world's great fashion houses, Michelle Obama's lavish costuming outdid that of the wealthy French prime minister's equally prosperous wife, a renowed model.

Who pays for this? When in 2008 Sarah Palin briefly wore costly clothes provided by the RNC, it was a huge media scandal. Yet, there's been nary a whisper about the vast sums needed for Michelle Obama's parade of haute couture dresses, blouses, skirts and shoes. Who is providing these, and if it's not the taxpayer then what is the payback to the Obama's lavish benefactor(s)?
In case you didn't click the Snopes link, their call says this is "a mixture of true and false information," which is weird, because usually the right-wing e-mails are just false.

Too bad in this case, the "true" parts make you go, "So? What's your point?"

A Chart for Bronco Fans

This chart from a "Pick-em" league I just joined cracked me up.

Opinion on the Denver-Cincinnati game is split, as is the Chicago-Green Bay game, owing to conflicting feelings perhaps about the Jay Cutler trade.

But still, no one likes the Raiders.

Love to Let You Down

Now here we go. A rare dose of "pro-shot" footage from You Tube.
Muuuuch better than the album version.

Rip-Offism

I'm just perusing my mortgage statement here, last month's payment having cleared, and something popped out at me. Perhaps the reason why I'm more willing to criticize various business interests than I am various governmental agencies.

My year-to-date property tax bill: $977.04

The year-to-date interest on my mortgage: $5,003.90

It's more than five time the amount I'm paying in taxes, and I've got 3 more months of interest to pay this year.

Oh, I know, I know, mortgage interest is tax deductible (thank God) but seriously, you know who's dipping into my pocket in a more egregious manner? It's not the socialist, tyrannical government. I'm looking forward to the day when I only have to pay them. No, it's the bank.

Hell, from where I'm sitting, that socialist tyrannical government's not only making Glenn Beck pee his pants, but they're being quite generous with the mortgage interest deduction. They're saying, "Hey, all that money you would have paid to us, give it to your bank instead." Which, considering the shovelfuls of government money already given to the banks in the bailouts, is doubly charitable on their part.

"Don't worry about us," they say. "Yeah, I know we have two wars going on, three if you count the War on Drugs, but we'll be okay. The engines of capitalism will save us."

No. They won't.

It's Time

Now this is what I'm talking about.

I think it's time we starting treating the whole sagging pants things with due and proper respect...

by ridiculing mercilessly the "grown ass man" who is wearing them.

I say, no more! Wearing your pants like this is no longer "keeping it real." It's like a pocket protector. Or plaid pants. It's the epitome of dorkhood.

Barack Obama says the new fashion is belts. And belt buckles. With lots of bling. Go to it, my hip-hop minions!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

More "Most Vile"

Leave it to George Orwell to put the "unprecedentedly vile" nonsense in perspective. From a blog that is publishing Orwell's journals one day at time, we come to the day Nazi Germany invaded Poland.

As Orwell notes:
Invasion of Poland began this morning. Warsaw bombed. General mobilization proclaimed in England, ditto in France plus martial law.
A pretty big deal, made bigger by this:
2. Naval reservists and rest of army and R.A.F. reservists called up. Evacuation of children etc. begins today, involving 3m. people & expected to take 3 days.
Contrast that reaction to George W. Bush's comments shortly after 9-11.
[O]ne of the great goals of this nation's war is to restore public confidence in the airline industry. It's to tell the traveling public: Get on board. Do your business around the country. Fly and enjoy America's great destination spots. Get down to Disney World in Florida. Take your families and enjoy life, the way we want it to be enjoyed.
Hmm...something tells me that "Go to Disney World" is a much, much different response than "general mobilization plus martial law."

Just saying...

Just Asking

If the modern era's copyright regime was intended to provide incentive for the creators of artistic works to create new works...

Why did Disney drop $4 billion to buy Marvel?

Oh, that's right. It's not about incentivizing new works. It's about monetizing old works!

Once Upon a Time In the West

I watched Once Upon a Time in the West this weekend because I'm on a big western kick, and damn...this scene gives me chills.

I love how Henry Fonda (as the villain...yes, the villain) mulls around in the background until Charles Bronson steps into frame. Cue the music, get the chills, cinema at its finest.

Hung Over

This weekend I didn't puke until I got home and slept for half a night. And to tell the truth, I'd prefer just getting it out of the way.

The Broncos lost. Coach wore his hoodie. Kyle Orton cut his finger. Jay Cutler went home triumphant.

But I still had a good time.