Thursday, January 31, 2008

Friday's Feast

Feast One Hundred & Seventy Eight

Appetizer - What is your favorite kind of cereal?

I'd say Raisin Bran would be at the top of "sorta healthy" cereals, but my all-time favorite would have to be Lucky Charms. That frosted oat cereal with sweet surprises...why, they're Magically Delicious!

Soup - When was the last time you purchased something for your home, what was it, and in which room did it go?

Wow, we actually haven't bought anything really for the house in a good while. There's a number of things we need to buy...a new deck door, for one.

Salad - What is the funniest commercial you’ve ever seen?

Probably the funniest one I ever saw was the famous "Herding Cats" commercial that aired during a Super Bowl a few years ago. Here's a Youtube link.

Main Course - Make up a name for a company by using a spice and an animal (example: Cinnamon Monkey).

Thyme Turles

Dessert - Fill in the blank: I haven’t ______ since ______.

I haven’t eaten squid since well, never.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Author! Author!

Ok, I'm digging the new site I just found: Ficlet
What Are ficlets?

A ficlet is a short story that enables you to collaborate with the world.

Once you’ve written and shared your ficlet, any other user can pick up the narrative thread by adding a prequel or sequel. In this manner, you may know where the story begins, but you’ll never guess where (or even if!) it ends.
Check out my first attempt. Beware, I've read a lot of Stephen King...

UPDATE (01/31/08): I've written a second one: Short stories are fun when you have a limit of 1024 words!

My Creepy Daughter

Eight-year-old Tink was under the weather most of this past weekend (a polite way of saying she was yakkin' all over the place, including my parent's house where she was a guest Saturday night. Sorry, mom and dad - I'll make it up to you. How bout next weekend?)

She's much better now, though last night she complained again about her tummy hurting. Probably nothing, she went on to bed around 9pm.

Later, pushing 11pm after everyone else is in bed and I'm at the computer, listening to the UT/Bama basketball game on the radio, I heard voices. Or more accurately, a voice. Coming from downstairs.

Now, a quick bit about the layout of our house. The computer desk is on the landing at the top of the stairs. I can come to the top of the stairs, look down and see the whole living room (there's a vaulted ceiling so everything's very open-air). A bridge/hallway that's also open-air to the vaulted ceiling, goes from the landing, over the living room to Tink's room. Brainyboy's room is downstairs in another part of the house.

Did I mention it was storming?

So I get up, wondering who in the world is talking below in a high-pitched voice... I come to the bridge, look over and there's Tink sitting on the couch watching the UT game with a very blank expression. Ever have one of those moments where you feel like you should literally rub your eyes in disbelief and shake your head (eh-eh-eh-eh-eh!) like in cartoons? For her to get downstairs, she would've had to come down the bridge, walk past me at the computer and then down the steps to the living room. All out in the open.

Kid's so light that barefoot she didn't make a sound and I never saw her out of the corner of my eye so intent was I on my, er, my spreadsheet. Ok, my web surfing. Ok, my World of Warcraft. But that's not important.

I ask her, a bit incredulously, why she's out of bed and if she's ok. She gazes up at me, smiling faintly. Ok, creepy (Have I ever told you how much she resembles little Heather O'Rourke from Poltergeist - "They're here!". I need to film her doing that sometime, it would creep you out, too). I go downstairs, pick her up and carry her back up to her room. I ask her once again if she feels ok, and she says, brightly, "yep!". I lay her in her bed and kiss her goodnight - she gives me a kiss too and settles right back to sleep.

She didn't remember a bit about it this morning.

Creepy dang sleepwalkin' kids.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

So Ironically Symbolic

One of the worst things about election time in Tennessee (one of the many bad things, of course) is the interminable litter:


What makes it ironic is that the candidates' campaign staffs - all campaign staffs, nationwide really - actually think these road sign jungles represent anything more than what their candidates really are: artificial, paper-thin, insubstantial participants in popularity contests. All that matter are their names. In their eyes if you recognize the name, the more likely we are to vote for them. The more people recognize the name, the better chance they'll be elected.

Meanwhile we have to put up with scores of blighted spots like the one above (taken at lunch on Northshore Dr. near Kalamata Cafe and the Pizza Kitchen). They might as well be cardboard cutouts of the candidates waving for all the good they do.

All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues


And did anyone listen? Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

(Big ol' hat tip to Big Orange Michael for cluing me in that this LOST mobisode was available)

Friday, January 25, 2008

Ready to Get Lost

I just watched last year's 2-hour season finale of "Lost" again, in prep for next week's season premiere. This season may be strike-shortened, so get it while it's good.

A few last minute thoughts that occur to me from the finale before we plunge ahead to season 4:

1) Christian Shepherd, Jack's dad, is alive. I'm certain of it. When Jack was confronted by the doc and asked if he was drunk, Jack said, "Call my father down here and if he's drunker than I am, I'll leave." No matter how drunk Jack was, he wouldn't "forget" his father was dead. He remembered which key opened the drug cabinet, he knew the name of the woman that was in the car wreck. Yes, he was drunk and his motor skills were impaired, but he wasn't amnesiac. Somehow Christian Shepherd not only survive his "death" he survived the plane crash.

2) Miles away, baby Aaron knew Charlie was dead. As soon as it happened he began to cry, and while it could be chalked up to dramatic license, I think it's significant in showing the baby's developing abilities.

3) Apparently one of the people that died in the finale is Not Quite Dead. That means either Charlie, Mikhail, Bonnie and the other woman in the Looking Glass Station, Mr. Friendly, Ryan, or one of the rest of the "Others" killed on the beach. I'm banking on Mr. Indestructible, Mikhail. He's survived cranial sonic disruption and a speargun to the heart - what's a little hand grenade?

4) It was apparently confirmed over the summer that the body in the coffin was Michael. Why would Jack get all broken up to the point of ending it all over Michael's death? What could happen in Season 4+ that would re-endear Michael to Jack, but not to Kate (who said she would not have gone to his funeral)?

Any other loose threads from the finale I missed?

UPDATE (01/25/08): I kept the 2-hour finale on my DVR since last May when it first aired. It's one of the first shows I "taped" (still use that word since it's easiest to understand, though there's no actual "taping" going on) when we got DVR last year, and it's almost been an old friend - first on the menu list by a long shot for several months. When I'm scrolling through the recorded menu, I always use "LOST (2 hrs)" as my starting point and work backward to find the most recent shows. I'm not sure I can stand to get rid of it now, it's like part of the family...

Friday's Feast

Feast One Hundred & Seventy Six

Appetizer - How many times per day do you usually laugh?

I can always count on being able to laugh around my kids and my wife. I'd say I laugh 30-40 times a day.

Soup - What do your sunglasses look like?

They're black plastic that keep bending and getting out of alignment. They have a brave history of surviving dunking in an alligator pond and being lost for months in my gym bag.

Salad - You win a free trip to anywhere on your continent, but you have to travel by train. Where do you go?

Well, no passenger trains leave Knoxville so I'd have to travel to another city and pick up an Amtrak. And they go most everywhere, so I guess I'd take it to Washington DC. New York and parts west are too far to travel on a train...

Main Course - Name one thing you consider a great quality about living in your town/city.

A huge quality is living near the mountains. The Appalachians and the Smokeys will never rival the Rockies for grandeur and majesty, but our mountains have a warmth, culture and character all their own. The green...all that green! To get out early in the morning and see the mist curling around the peaks in the's wonderful.

Dessert - If the sky could be another color, what color do you think would look best?

Orange, baby. Big Orange :)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Good Luck, Amy!

I finally dragged myself to the TV and watched a little of "American Idol" - not because I have the slightest bit of general interest in the show, but because Knoxville teen Amy Catherine Flynn is a contestant.

Amy Catherine (or "AC" as she introduced herself) is a junior at Knoxville Catholic High School, and more relevant to your family, is a former student at the my kids' school. When she was in 7th and 8th grade, I helped her out a couple times in the school talent show so I'm acquainted with her and her singing.

She's developing into quite a nice talent, with a soft voice and good tone. We wish her a lot of luck!

Oh, and the best part was she really got under Simon Cowell's skin during the audition, which is always a plus. Has there ever been a less-likable person on TV?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

What I Did On My (Short) Winter Vacation

Since the kids' school was closed today on account of the massive (ahem) ice storm (unlike Knox County schools, which were closed, they were to be open today) I stayed home with them.

Having a laptop and wireless access to work means I can be almost as proficient here as I can there. I don't quite have a dungeon to work in, but the kitchen table filled in nicely.

But what made the day was all of us spending our day watching the Gilligan's Island 1st season DVD I got for Christmas! I think we watched 15 episodes of classic B&W comedy gold...

Thursday, January 17, 2008

And Tonight's Special Guest....

I'm podcasting with!

Rex and the Beast and I are discussing theme parks - it'll be online tomorrow and I'll link to it...

UPDATE: The podcast is online!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Wheel 'em in!

Just got back from having my MRI.

In case you joined the story late, a week and a half ago I realized my right arm was aching. As a couple of days went by it felt less like a muscle ache and more like a pinched nerve. So I went to the doc last Monday and they made x-rays of my neck, which showed compressed C6 and C7 vertebrae. The most likely treatment option is Physical Therapy, although surgery is always a distant possibility. She would need to see an MRI to have a better idea what was going on. So I went there today.

I was very glad to go, because although the pain comes and goes what's become fairly constant and more annoying is numbness in my hand and arm. For someone who types (like now) and mouses for a living designing websites, and also plays keyboards in a band for fun and profit, the prospects of a diminished functionality arm are not pretty.

I had no idea the space was actually that confining. If I were claustrophobic, it would've been unbearable. As it was the fact my arms were squeezed in to my sides made my right one (where the nerve is being compressed) very sore. There were a couple times I thought I was going to have to squeeze the little bulb that signals you needed out, but I made it ok. It lasted 20 minutes with all these weird loud noises (they provided earplugs, thank goodness).

The doc gets the results tomorrow and then I'll find out from there....

So, how has your day been? ;)

New Year's Traditions

Tish of The Kat House tagged me for this meme about New Year’s good luck traditions.

Copy the person and persons’ names that sent it to you and add your own at the bottom of the list. It really helps to build community.

Let’s start it here!

*My mom used to collect some coins and when the new year comes she put the coins in a bowl and shake it to create sounds. She said its good luck for money throughout the year. And also wearing dotted dresses on new year don’t know why. CC/chalyza/keep

*My old folks always told us to avoid spending money on new years day. They said, once you spend on the first day of the year, you like to spend the rest of the year. Behind d Scenes of ME/ Retchel’s Pure Life/ A little bit of me

*I grew up believing that if you have some money on your pocket (whatever you’re wearing) come New Year’s eve it will ensure steady flow of income throughout the year. The other belief is that the main door of the house should be wide open come New Year’s eve so that good luck will be ushered in. Juliana of MY WORLD and JULIANA’S LAIR.

*I don’t know if what I am about to write is a new year’s tradition or not. In my place, most people will ‘jump’ into the sea or take a shower as soon as the clock strikes to 12 in New Year’s Eve to get rid of all the bad lucks in the previous year. ;D ~ CHOC MINT GIRL~

*Like most other East Tennesseans, I always have a side of blackeyed peas with my dinner on New Year’s Day. - Tish of The Kat House

*For the past several years we've invited four other families from our church to our house New Year's Eve for a great get-together. Food, games, kids, a great time for everyone. Unfortunately this year my band had a gig so I had to leave the party early, but it's become such a big tradition I wasn't missed too badly :) And most importantly, no black-eyed peads were served! Thank goodness. Where that tradition ever came from I have no idea but I can't stand black-eyed-peas. I don't know if our tradition invokes particular amounts of good luck, but it certainly starts the New Year off right! - Barry of Inn of the Last Home

I tag Logtar, Michael and Sarcomical.

Fossils on Exhibit

Sue the T. rex stomps into East Tennessee
Millions of years ago, T. rex was the top of the food chain. Today the T. rex named Sue comes to East Tennessee State University and General Shale Brick Natural History Museum at the Gray Fossil Site near Johnson City for a first-ever visit to Tennessee.
This is really cool, and I'd love to take a trip to Johnson City to visit. However, it occurs to me that we have more fossils in Knox County than we can handle.

They call it county government...

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Friday's Feast

Feast One Hundred & Seventy Five

Appetizer - What is your middle name? Would you change any of your names if you could? If so, what would you like to be called?

My middle name is Wade. I'm actually pretty happy with all my names. I didn't like my last name when I was younger because it starts with a "W" and I was always last in whatever alphabetical ordered thing we were doing (interestingly I'm hearing the same complaints from BrainyBoy. What's old is new again..) but I like it ok now especially since I realize it has such a historic significance in Scottish history. And Barry is cool because it's fairly unique.

Soup - If you were a fashion designer, which fabrics, colors, and styles would you probably use the most?

Oh, come ON! Since I'm, you know, a guy I'm going to arbitrarily change this question...

Soup - If you were a fashion designer video game designer, which fabrics, colors, and styles strategic tactics would you probably use the most?

Ok, much better. I love Civilization III, and I usually try to build my civilizations up slowly. I try to spread my soldiers out among the cities to repel invaders, but rarely expand over others' territories. But, of course when I do, I smash them utterly, enslave their workers and take the women as my concubines.

...what? Why are you looking at me that way?

Salad - What is your least favorite chore, and why?

I can't stand changing the litter box. We have four cats and two boxes. You do the math. But my wife and I split the chore, mainly because we're too horrified to make the kids do it...

Main Course - What is something that really frightens you, and can you trace it back to an event in your life?

I have for ages been terrified of a nuclear weapon, and I can trace part of that directly back to watching "The Day After" when I was in high school. The nuclear detonation sequence of "Terminator II" bothered me, and I didn't like watching the nuke go off on 24 last season.

Dessert - Where are you sitting right now? Name 3 things you can see at this moment.

I'm sitting upstairs on the landing at my home computer. It's 11:18 pm and everyone else is in bed. I can see several empty cups, the new Harry Potter book and the new Walt Disney bio sitting nearby, and a large artificial tree we used to keep downstairs but now lives up here by me. I like it.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

My Fifth Bloggiversary

On January 9, 2003 I posted my first blog entry.

It's been a long strange, trip, but a lot of fun. I've considered hanging it up a couple of times, but thought better of it. I've made a lot of friends while blogging and visiting blogs and all those of you out there who I've come to know via this online community please know I appreciate you all and value your friendships.

Thanks for five good years. Here's to five more! (and more!)

Soon To Be A Major Motion Picture..

Iranian TV: Pentagon video, audio fake
Iran accused the United States on Wednesday of fabricating video and audio released by the Pentagon showing Iranian boats confronting U.S. warships in the Persian Gulf.

The video from Sunday's incident shows small Iranian boats swarming around U.S. warships in the Strait of Hormuz. In the recording, a man speaking in heavily accented English threatened, "I am coming to you. ... You will explode after ... minutes."

"The footage released by the U.S. Navy was compiled using file pictures and the audio has been fabricated," an official in Iran's Revolutionary Guards was quoted as saying by the state-run English-language channel Press TV.
Dudes, if you knew anything about America besides the belief we're all a bunch of infidels, you would know we couldn't possibly have fabricated that video.

It's obvious, if Americans were going to fabricate a video of some little speedboats in the water buzzing around, there would've been a John Williams or Hans Zimmer score playing in the background. Tom Hanks would've been there as captain of the American destroyer with Tommy Lee Jones as the crusty old admiral and Will Smith as the wisecracking-slacker-with-a-heart-of-gold lieutenant. They would have seen Christopher Lee in dark make-up as leader of the terrorist cell with Keifer Sutherland playing the crack CIA operative climbing onboard the lead speedboat.

And there would've been a dog - usually a german shepherd or collie somewhere. Plus a monkey. An orangutan. And aliens. Somewhere, hovering nearby, would be an alien ship observing the conflict for future invasion. The Rock would be the President, and Uma Thurman his VP. Mariah Carey and Steve Tyler would sing a rock ballad duet over the end credits....

C'mon, this is America. When we fake a video, we do it right.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Rex and the Beast Podcast

Rex and the Beast, theme park aficionados, movie stars, and all-around good guys, have released their first podcast.

Take a listen!

Quick Hits - From Lost to Rocks to Mayo

  • Billboard entices 'Lost' viewers (Knoxville News Sentinel, 01/08/08)
    A billboard for fictitious Oceanic Airlines greets travelers on Interstate 40 eastbound just before the West Hills exit. The ad is related to the upcoming season of ABC's hit television series "Lost."
    I'll take personal responsibility for "Lost"'s popularity in Knoxville. Thank you, thank you... ;)
    McGhee Tyson Airport spokeswoman Beth Baker said Monday that the airport has received no calls inquiring if a new airline is coming to Knoxville's airport.

    "There was a 'press release' last week that we discovered that named Knoxville as one of nine cities that fictitious Oceanic would begin serving.

    "I was surprised to also see a billboard. My best guess, being a fan of the show, is that the character Sawyer's tie to Knoxville is why we were chosen to be one of the cities. All of the nine cities have ties to characters' pasts," Baker said.


    Also, it was unclear Monday if Knoxville would be mentioned in upcoming "Lost" episodes or if the nine cities are all homes to characters in the show.
    Just for the record, early on in the series the character of Sawyer (a southerner) was shown to be carrying around a letter he had written as a child but never mailed. The return address on the letter was Knoxville, TN, establishing Knoxville as his home town. It hasn't really been mentioned again in the series that I recall but that could change.

  • Rock ruling lessens sentence - Boulder not considered destructive device, state appeals court rules (Knoxville News Sentinel 01/08/08)
    In a landmark decision Monday, a state appeals court has removed a rock from the list of weapons deemed under state law as destructive devices.

    The ground-breaking ruling comes in the May 2004 death of Barbara J. Weimer, 69, who was slain when a 10-pound rock heaved from an Interstate 75 overpass smashed through the windshield of the van in which she was traveling.

    The ruling does two things. One, it fills a gaping hole in a state law that made it a case of first-degree murder to cause a death by throwing a destructive device. Two, it cuts the prison term of Weimer's killer, Alford Lee Morgan, from a minimum 65-year prison term to 18. With credits for good behavior, Morgan could be eligible for release now in as little as six years.
    This is yet another example of how reality can be warped by those that sit back and allow it, and how anyone can get away with virtually anything today. To not consider the little "redneck fun" they were taking part in as anything less than deliberate, wanton, reckless endangerment with intent to cause massive bodily harm is a complete idiot. I'm usually not so crude, but this ruling is just revolting. Oh wait, one more quote that's also pretty revolting:
    "This is a great day for Alford Morgan," defense attorney Russell T. Greene said Monday. "This has been a four-year battle to finally get to the point we said we should have been all along."
    A great day for the moronic killer of the woman driving along the interstate, minding her own business, when she's smashed with a 10-pound rock. Yes, Mr. Greene, this is a great day. I hope nobody ever uses his services as defense attorney again.

    I wish I could offer some brilliant blogging insight into this story, but there's really nothing to be mined from it. The court was completely inept and negligent in overturning this conviction, the attorney should never practice law again, and the perpetrator should never again see the light of day. It should be blatantly obvious to everyone, and those that agree with the ruling or have sympathy with the perpetrator I will never be able to understand. I only hope a higher court can restore the original sentence.

  • After that last story, I almost could care less about anything else, but then there's this bit of sports news:Mayo expected to enter NFL draft; Foster may follow
    The NFL's college advisory committee prompted mixed responses from three Tennessee juniors considering leaving school early.

    Linebacker Jerod Mayo was projected to be a late second- or early third-round pick and is expected to forgo his senior season and enter April's NFL draft, a source said.

    Tailback Arian Foster was told he likely would be a second-round pick and is still contemplating his decision. Foster is thought to be leaning towards going pro, the source said.
    Hear this, guys. Mayo, if you do get drafted the first day you'll get picked up by the Falcons or the Lions or the Chiefs or something and never heard from again. Get that, you'll never be heard from again. Foster, whoever told you you'd be a second round pick after the year you had was telling you what you wanted to hear. If you leave now, you're screwing yourself out of an NFL future. Both guys need to return for their senior years and get another year of experience. Trust me, the rate of return will be much higher. Look at Robert Meacham - he left early for the draft and did nothing all year on whatever pro team drafted him. Had he stayed around Tennessee not only would it have helped us immensely, he would've been drafted much higher this year and perhaps actually played as a rookie.

    Except for the very rare exception, any player going out as a junior is kidding themselves about a real future in the NFL outside of 3rd string obscurity.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Oh, Me Achin' Back...and Neck....and Arm....and....

While visiting my wife's relatives over Christmas, I was exposed to my first real Wii experience. I know, sheltered I am... I have a PC and play World of Warcraft and Civilization III on it. What else do you need??

Anyway, both me and Brainyboy complained for several days afterward of sore right arm muscles. Swinging the controller as if it were a bat/golf club/tennis racket/bowling ball/boxing glove certainly took its toll.

However, while BB's pain eventually subsided, mine evolved into something a little more interesting...

Last Tuesday night the Atomic Horns played a New Year's Eve gig, which using my mad keyboard skillz, didn't help matters.

Thursday I realized the pain in my arm wasn't from the muscle anymore, but centered just under and to the back of my right shoulder. And if I moved a certain way it would send little friendly jolts up and down the arm from the neck to my fingers. By Thursday evening, it was very uncomfortable to even find a place to rest my arm (which made mousing and keyboarding on the computer a nice little adventure). Snarfing Aleve helped eventually, but it was worse on Friday and I vowed to see the doc on Monday (today) if I could. I was sure I had some kind of pinched nerve, because that's just what it felt like.

So I did. When I mentioned my fingers on my right hand would sometimes get a bit numb, she clucked and shook her head (Uh Oh...never good when a doctor does that...) So at the doc's office I had about 426 x-rays taken of my neck area.

The diagnosis? Probable compression of the C6 and C7 vertebrae. They're going to call me tomorrow to schedule an MRI.

Fun, fun, fun, fun, fun....

Meanwhile my prescription is to take two Aleve in the morning and two at night. You guys help remind me....

UPDATE (01/09/08): MRI scheduled for next Tuesday at 11:30.

Does It Count If It's From a C-List Blog?

Interesting post...

Who's the Fifth Cylon?

Warning: Possible Spoilers for 4th Season of Battlestar Galactica

Entertainment Weekly has a new spread about everybody's favorite show of wandering vagabonds vainly in search of meaning to their sad, frustrating lives.... No, I'm not talking about "Celebrity Apprentive", I'm talking about "Battlestar Galactica".

Series Creator Ron Moore mentions some spoilers about who may or may not be the fabled "Fifth Cylon" (and if you don't watch the show or don't understand what that means...well, I'm sure there's a new episode of "American Idol" coming soon). Suffice to say, based on this photo, Moore has confirmed the person who should be in the empty #10 slot is the final Cylon. This tells us that none of the others in the photo we don't already know are Cylons is a Cylon.

So here's the scorecard as I see it:

Are Cylons:
The doctor we saw in the fertility clinic

Chief Tyrol
Tory Foster (these from from last season's finale)

Are not Cylons (based on photo):
Lee Adama
Bill Adama
Kara (Starbuck)
President Roslin

Who's Left Over (alive):
Cally (Chief's wife)
Dualla (Lee's ex-wife)
Gaeta (bridge officer and all-around pest)
Tom Zarek
Doc Cottle

Who's Left Over (dead or fate unknown):
Billy (dead for a couple of years)
Admiral Cain
Ellen Tigh
Priest Elosha

Clearly there are a number of options, with of the live ones Doc Cottle being (to me) a clear choice for most shocking yet most logical, and Billy as the dead one who is the best dramatic choice. Really, almost any of the live ones would be decent choices (Dualla/"dual" natured character? Gaeta's always been sneaking around...)

I checked the IMDB cast list and while there are other cast members who could at least be possibilities they were so seldom used as to not be good dramatic choices.

What are your best predictions?

UPDATE: It just occured to me, if the 5th Cylon were still alive (in the fleet) wouldn't they have heard the Bob Dylan siren song and joined the other four? I hope it's not just a case of he/she couldn't get to the Galactica where Tyrol/Anders/Tigh/Tori were - that would be cheap (i.e. Zarek was stuck on his ship with no available transport).

That would rule out any of the rest of the live people in the fleet, leaving only the dead...

Friday, January 04, 2008

The Gauntlet: Should Religious ideas/instructions/philosophies change with the times?

Becky took up my gauntlet to challenge for a post topic, and has thrown it down at my feet. So here it is:

Should religious ideas/instructions/philosophies be timeless or change with the times (keep in mind that my question comes from being raised Catholic)?
I really have no idea what it means to be raised Catholic. Knoxville has its fair share of a Catholic community, but being raised Baptist and now a member of the Methodist church the Protestant faith is all I've ever really been around. None of the churches I ever attended ever had any kind of anti-Catholic bias or teaching that can sometimes crop up from time to time, so there's no negative ingrained feelings at all.

I've known a few people here and there that have been Catholic during my life, but their particular religious practices and beliefs (those that differ from Protestantism) have been pretty nebulous. I know more about Catholicism from popular culture than personal experience.

That said, I can't really comment on that aspect, and I welcome your (or others') input there.

But for the original question: Should religious ideas/instructions/philosophies be timeless or change with the times? Here's what I believe on the subject.

I think mankind, as a social group, has evolved over the centuries. Some people believe we are as barbaric in AD 2008 as we were in 2008 BC or 20,008 BC (if you believe we go back that far). We just dress it up differently. I don't buy that as a universal truth - I believe humanity as a whole has learned to put most of its true barbaric past behind it. I do, however, believe some cultures on Earth today have a harder time putting it behind them than others. I think the evidence is pretty clear the Middle Eastern cultures, especially those grounded in the Islamic faiths, are struggling mightily to even join the 20th century (much less the 21st) in their ways of dealing with each other. Maybe that's an elitist and pro-Western attitude, but I think it's truer than not.

Anyway, humanity's culture evolves and has evolved over time. The way we perceive each other, how we interact with the world and God has changed since the times of Moses, Elijah, David and the Prophets. Even a casual skim through the Old Testament reveals a very, very bloody history - even compared to today's World Wars, pound for pound it was much bloodier and much more common. Thousands and thousands of men killed at the whim of kings, despots and emperors. Enemies beheaded, banished, cities burned and pillaged. This city-state rises up against another city-state because the leader of another city-state was mad at somebody else. Hundred-year exiles, wandering in wildernesses, walls falling down...the works.

Two thousand years ago, things changed.

While no one would paint the Middle Ages and the Dark Ages as cheerful, nor the Inquisition, Puritanism, Nazis and "Islamofascists" as cute and cuddly, still those cultural blights became more and more the aberration than the norm. We have seen the rise of democracy and the rule of the people overtake the culture of the monarchy and totalitarianism as the norm in the world.

Like I said, things change. But what's interesting is that while a New Testament was added, the Old Testament has stayed more or less the same in spirit since the ancients followed its teachings. And the NT, since the final official formation, has stayed more or less the same as well. The words in the two halves of the Bible are the same now as they were two thousand or five thousand years ago.

But should they be interpreted differently now, in today's more "civilized" world? Should the rules people were expected to follow and live by back then be updated to fit today's more "enlightened" society? I think Becky presents an interesting contrast of components: ideas/instructions/philosophies. To me (and apologies to the Book of Numbers), Ideas begat Philosophies and Philosophies begat Instructions.

The Bible presents the ideas of goodness that God (and Jesus) expected us to follow. The Ten Commandments are the obvious place to start, with Christ's reiterating of them into Two Commandments (Love thy neighbor as thyself, etc) plus all of Paul's exhortations in his letters. There are all the ideas necessary to live the life we all should: love one another, be fair, be nice, don't steal, don't murder, remember what's holy, love your enemy, etc. No, those ideas do NOT change over time. They are as true now as the were the first day they were uttered, passed down to later generations as oral tradition and finally put on parchment.

Philosophies are bodies of thinking based on collections of ideas. I think Christianity itself is a philosophy, embodying the teachings of Christ and his ministry. There are other collections of non-religious philosophies such as those bandied about in Ancient Greece between Plato and Socrates. Many more examples exist. Philosophies, being mostly created by man are a bit more malleable as we can see. Christianity in AD 2008 is a good bit different in a lot of ways than how it was practiced in AD 90 - the ideas are the same, but the philosophy has evolved to reflect the changing maturity of human culture. When we understand more about the world and each other, we can adapt of philosophies to better reflect the ideas they were built on.

The real trick comes in the Instruction. That's how people interpret the philosophies and relate them to others. That's where we can get into trouble, because anyone can come to a conclusion and spread their interpretation of what they perceive to be "right". Consider homosexuality: It's not directly addressed in the Ideas, touched on here and there in the Philosophy, but interpreted very differently in several sets of Instructions. Same as questions like, "what is adultery?", "what is killing/murder?", "do I love the enemy who stabs me in the back?" All those questions we deal with on a daily basis.

So yes, Becky, is my answer to you. And, no. :)

No, the Ideas shouldn't change. They are immovable, as solid as the foundations of the Earth and the fabric of the universe. Love Your Neighbor as Yourself. That's never going to change.

No, the basics of the Philosophies shouldn't change but they should bend and adjust as humanity's civilization evolves to the point they can understand more about what the Ideas are saying.

Yes, the Instruction should change when we weed out the human, sinful influence on what we feel are the rules. What We Want!!! should be resisted in conflict with What We Need!!!


Friday's Feast

Feast One Hundred & Seventy Four

Appetizer - When was the last time you received a surprise in the mail, and what was it?

Last week suddenly Netflix has adjusted their shipping schedules, either opening up a new distribution center or something. Anyway, I sent my movie back to them on a Tuesday, got the email receipt notice Wednesday and the next movie on Thursday. A true, 1 business day turnaround from receipt like they promised! Then I sent two movies back Wednesday, got the receipts yesterday and email promise to have the next two ("The Simpsons Movie" and "Meet the Robinsons, btw) today! So I expect a nice surprise when I get home this evening.

Soup - If you could have a summer and/or winter home, where would you want it to be?

Somewhere in the Caribbean, preferably St. Maartan or on St. John. In fact, if I had a home there it wouldn't be summer and/or winter home - it would be an all-year home :)

Salad - Pick one: pineapple, orange, banana, apple, cherry.

Cherry is my favorite flavor, so that one's easy. But I love fruits in general so all of those sound very good

Main Course - Describe the nicest piece of clothing that you own.

I have a really nice tan flannel-ish buttondown shirt that I wear a lot as a knock-around shirt. It's really warm, really comfortable, and great to wear just wherever. I love it :)

Dessert - If you could forget one whole day from your life, which day would you choose to wipe from your memory?

September 11, 2001 springs to mind.

But from a personal side, I can't think of any days I'd like to forget. In fact there are a number of days I'd like to remember more vividly...

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Some Football Thoughts Going out of the Bowl Games and into the NFL Playoffs

  • I don't see a very bright immediate future for the Tennessee Volunteers. This might seem an odd conclusion based on the evidence:

    - We lose a senior QB in Eric Ainge, two good tight ends, a couple of experienced defensive linemen, possibly a middle linebacker if Jerod Mayo turns pro, and a vastly overrated defensive back in Justin Harrel. Those are the main losses.

    - We return the entire receiving corps, the entire running back corps, the freshman defensive player of the year in Eric Berry, and two good kickers. The junior backup QB is serviceable and experienced, and some new QB's will compete for the starting job

    There are four coaches to replace, including the offensive coordinator, the receiving coach, the running back coach and the tight ends coach. None of them will be easy, and there are very few good, young, innovative OC's out there to be had.

    While every unit should improve next year, I don't see the talent in any of them to improve to the point of being an elite unit. The receivers are all very good 2nd and slot receivers without a real go-to deep threat. The RB's are injury prone and nowhere on the level of Travis Henry/Stephens or James Stewart/Aaron Hayden. The offensive line's strength was pass protection which was a huge plus (only 4 sacks allowed all season) but couldn't run block and the defensive line was way, way too porous. The defensive backs will still be very young even with Berry. Daniel Lincoln faded down the stretch at place kicking, and Britton Colquitt was inconsistent at punting and kickoffs, and played injured most of the season.

    The few real brights spots are the linebackers, G-Man Gerald Moore (when used efficiently) and punt returner Dennis Rogan.

    Still, after losing Peyton Manning in 97, nobody thought the 98 squad would amount to much with a new starting QB. See what happened there :)

    Still again, after winning the BCS championship in 98, the 99 team had huge expectations and underachieved in 99. So there's that, too.

    To me, it all hinges on who the new Offensive Coordinator is and how he motivates the offense to over-achieve (or at least achieve its potential)

  • Florida Gators? *snicker* So much for the Heisman ;) They won the National Title last year with Chris Leak, right?

  • Tennessee Titans? One and done, unfortunately. They remind me of UT a lot in that they do just enough to squeak by, but not nearly enough talent to really win well. A nice trip to San Diego then home for the offseason. Maybe I'll be surprised. Right.

  • Indianapolis Colts? How horrible can a knee bruise be to keep Marvin Harrison - one of the top 5 receivers in the NFL - out for 45 weeks???. Ok, it wasn't 45 but since he was on my fantasy team it seemed like 45. Closer to 10, but still. And he's again questionable for next week's game. With a thigh bruise???? Why don't they just call it what it is as a big boo-boo and be done with it?

  • New England Patriots? Boring. Brady to Moss. Boring. How dare Brady break Manning and Marino's records?

  • TONIGHT'S BIG ORANGE BOWL MATCHUP: Virginia Tech vsss.. Knaasnasssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssatrdaf cawctvuaw

    Sorry, feel asleep.

Lack of Updates

Hey folks, all my 2 or 3 regular readers out there - I'm still here. Twittering, commenting, but not a lot of posting.

I would love to get back to more deep, philosophical posts but have found it difficult to string coherent thoughts together. Maybe it was the stress of the month-1/2-long holiday. Maybe it's a hundred other things. I'd love to be able to write prolifically, but every time I want to start a post, I can't think of a thing relevant to discuss.

But I am here, and the site's not going anywhere. I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. The Atomic Horns performed New Years Eve and I somehow mustered up my best Elvis impression for the celebration. We have two more gigs coming up at the end of January and first of February I'll be posting more info about if people want to come...

UT beat Wisconsin in the Outback Bowl and we didn't screw up too awful much. Go team, go. Titans are also in the playoffs, but will lose to San Diego on Sunday so there's that.

I can't find a single interested cell in my body of the presidential elections. I don't care about any of the candidates. Can they all just go away and let us elect David Palmer? Yeah, yeah, fiction, right. Whatever.

The floor's open - what should I post about?