January 2007 - Posts
Yesterday, Rush Limbaugh wrapped up his show by debunking Super Bowl myths. I was amused and searched for a website that explained the myths in detail. Enter Snopes.com.
Snopes.com, if you don't know, is dedicated to researching the truth or fallacy of folklore and urban legends. If you get a wild email claiming something that is really out of left field or is almost unbelievable, search for the truth at Snopes.com. It'll save you the embarrassment of having a friend tell you you're crazy for forwarding an email that said Barak Obama is a radical, ideological Muslim.
There a several untrue Super Bowl myths. Here are a few from Snopes.com:
- Two-thirds of all avocados sold in the USA are bought within three weeks of Super Bowl Sunday.
- Super Bowl Sunday is a good time to visit Disneyland because the park is virtually deserted.
- Which team wins the Super Bowl is an indicator of whether the stock market will see an overall upward or downward trend throughout the year.
- More women are victims of domestic violence on Super Bowl Sunday than any other day of the year.
- Sewage systems in major cities have broken due to the tremendous number of toilets being flushed simultaneously at halftime.
Pictured above is the National Library of Finland which, before June 2006, was known as the Helsinki University Library. The library's official website has a wonderful picture gallery (Link
). Of special note is this quote from the website:
The oldest items in the library is a papyrus collection from the 3rd century B.C. The oldest vellum texts are from round 1100. The Fragments of the psalter of Mainz (Psalterium Moguntinum) from 1457 are the oldest printed matters in the Library. The oldest complete book is De sermonum proprietate, sive opus de universo, by Rabanus Maurus. Strassburg: Adolf Rusch 1467. The first book printed for Finland is the mass book Missale Aboense. It was printed by Bartholomeus Ghotan in Lübeck 1488.
A friend sent me an article and said that I might be interested in commenting on it. It's good to know that I have friends that think I have an opinion about everything ... because I do. You can find the article here: [Link].
In the "Features" section of the Orlando Sentinel, Mark Pinsky reports that "experts say that most Sunday-morning sanctuary pews are filled with women." So, the problem is deeper than reported. "Experts" have to "say" because most of us do not know because most of us don't go to church and see for ourselves. So, why do you not go to church?
But, I digress. The idea of a "man-church" appeals to me because a lot of churches are feminized. Men like objectivity. But every time I turn around I see that a Methodist church is ordaining a woman pastor, or a Presbyterian church is ordaining an openly gay clergyman, or a Roman Catholic church is under fire because a priest has been caught in an inappropriate relationship with an altar boy. These are broken rules; and deep down in our core, we men don't like it. The more we learn about God, the more we find that his rules aren't subjective. I don't think there'll be figure skating or "Dancing with the Stars" in Heaven; but bobsledding and the long jump are sure to be there!
Again, I digress. Being all things to all people is not only a good idea; it's a requirement for a healthy church. A man-church is a wonderful way to reach out. But focusing solely on Jesus' toughness and masculinity is as dangerous as focusing exclusively on his compassion and tenderness. A lopsided view of Jesus -- or God -- is unhealthy and, at times, can be dangerous (e.g., white supremacists, abortion clinic bombers, Jesus People Movement, etc). Therefore, a man-church should be an outreach ministry where men are encouraged to get involved in a local church. It shouldn't be a replacement for church.
That's my opinion. Make it yours.
Update: I don't like the use of "unhealthy" in the fourth paragraph. The word is too bland and undefined. A lopsided view of Jesus -- or God -- ignores his complexity and, therefore, he becomes a god of our own creation or imagination which, at times, can be dangerous. Ah, that's better.
“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NIV)
Fanciful human sophistry and intellectual pretensions, or what Paul calls “worldly wisdom” in 1 Corinthians 3:19, crumble at the power of the Christian’s weapon. However, as Solomon writes in Ecclesiastes, “what has been will be again … there is nothing new under the sun.” (Eccl 1:9) The same arguments come and come again at the Christian.
One of the most detrimental arguments has its roots back in the Garden of Eden. The serpent asks Eve, “Did God really say …”
This same question still haunts us today.
Does God’s word really say he created the universe in six days?
Did God really say that a wife should submit to her husband?
Does God’s word really tell about a place called Hell?
Does God really hate the sins of divorce, homosexuality, lust, and pride?
Did God really say that salvation can only occur through Christ Jesus?
Trust your weapon.
1. Jamestown 400. Again, there were no new clues this week. If you have been considering seeking the treasure, now is a great time to start. If you started late, now is a great time to catch up. And if you have answered the last clue, now is a great time to read and study. I certainly have been.
For my birthday (And thanks for the birthday wishes on BJnotBK's blog), my parents gave me Washington's Spies written by Alexander Rose. You can find the book on page 90 of the Vision Forum catalog. Although the book isn't as well written as other books from some of my favorite historians like Stephen E. Ambrose and David McCullough, it is well-researched and informative. I am in awe at the level of spy technology that was used on both sides of the Revolutionary War. I recommend you buy it along with David McCullough's book, 1776.
2. Where is Napalm? I have to admit that one of my guilty pleasures is watching no-limit Texas hold 'em poker on TV. Yes, I know gambling is wrong, but isn't Doyle Brunson smooth? Anyway, if you ever find yourself dealing at a dealer's choice poker table, choose Napalm. The rules can be found here: [Link]. I guess you should be wearing a cav hat and smoking a cigar when you announce it, huh?
3. I love Westerns. I have been on a tear through as many Louis L'Amour books as can be found. I've seen not quite all, but most, of John Wayne's movies*. I've seen Clint Eastwood in action and have enjoyed "Tombstone," "Open Range," "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly," and many, many more. Just this week, I saw "Open Range" for about the fifth time. One of my favorite quotes is when Charlie Waite (Kevin Costner) says to the doctor's sister, "Men are gonna get killed here today, Sue, and I'm gonna kill 'em." Ah, I'm in my happy place.
* Sometimes I give Mrs. Napalm what I call "John Wayne kisses." I hook her around the waist with one arm (leaving the gun hand free, of course), push my hat back, pull her to me in a quick jerk and lay a big one on her. Although she prefers "Cary Grant kisses," she can't resist the Napalminator!
4. Have a glorious, glorious weekend. Get outside and enjoy the Creator's handiwork. I will talk to you on Monday.
"The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living and the get rich quick theory of life." - Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States
The last half of President Bush's speech was about Iraq. I have addressed what I believe our role in Iraq should be and will continue to do so. Therefore, I won't expound on that portion of the speech.
One thing struck me almost immediately as it normally does every time I watch a State of the Union speech: When politicians choose to applaud and when they choose to sit on their hands. I wholly understand why it happens. Partisan politics is a necessary evil in Washington. It always has been and, if we stand guard, will continue. Nevertheless, I am sometimes dumbstruck to see politicians sit still for issues that are obviously critical to the welfare of our nation.
The first issue is school choice. Last night the President said, "We can lift student achievement even higher by ... giving families with children stuck in failing schools the right to choose something better." Most, if not all, of the Democrats sat firmly ensconced in their comfortable leather chairs with sour faces after this statement. Why?! Who doesn't want choice in such a critical matter?
The reason that we Americans can buy top-quality products at a low price is because of the free market. We have choice: Wal-mart or Target, Ford or Toyota, Gap or Abercrombie, and so on. Monopolies are frowned upon. Also, who wants to be forced into a poor quality subcompact car that the government pays $50,000 for when you could drive a nice full-size for the same price that would make more sense for you and your family? Choice breeds competition which forces higher quality.
Homeschooling parents choose their own child's destiny; and most of the time, that destiny is higher IQs, higher reading skills and broader exposure. But sometimes parents are not capable, willing, or financially able to homeschool and must send their child out of the home for a formal education. The best choice is a private school because it is held accountable by the paying parents. The school is careful with teacher selection and curriculum choices. So, what is good for the private school is good for the student. But, again, some parents don't have that option. So, they are locked into sending their child to a local underperforming, dumbed-down, state-run institution where they have very little say in anything. [Full disclosure: Mrs. Napalm and I send our two boys to a private school; and both of my parents are teachers.]
School choice is very American -- it's free enterprise! And recommending a change in the way we do education now should cause anyone, Democrat or Republican, to stand and applaud.
The other issue is taxes. President Bush said, "First, we must balance the federal budget." To this he received a standing ovation from the entire assembly. Next, he said, "We can do so without raising taxes." And only those on the right side of the aisle applauded. What?! Taxes are terrible and oppressive. Are you aware that nearly one-third of our time working is to be able to pay our personal tax burden? And those on the left side of the aisle want more? Incredulous!
I won't go much further with this because long posts are rarely read. And there were a few less significant items that I won't list, but school choice and lower taxes are good. You should have stood and applauded in your living room last night. Certainly all of our representatives should have applauded.
Certainly, I'll gather my thoughts and post more tomorrow. But for now, here are a few thoughts:
- When the President says that underprivileged children stuck in poor schools should have another choice and people on the left don't applaud, that's just sick.
- I like tax cuts. I hate taxes. Some like them. Can we have those people pay my portion?
- Why did Nancy Pelosi blink so much?
- Winning in Iraq is essential, but how do we do it by setting up a Muslim government? I understand the logic in sending more troops, but aren't we avoiding talking about the 500-pound gorilla in the room? Islam with a peaceful democracy? Puh-leeze.
- Can we begin calling some of the Democrats Tories?
- An emotional response is not a logical debate.
- Hillary Clinton can beat Rudy Giuliani in 2008.
Pictured above is the Trinity College Library in Dublin, Ireland. From www.tcd.ie
Trinity College Library is the largest library in Ireland. Its collections of manuscripts and printed books have been built up since the end of the sixteenth century. In addition to the purchases and donations of almost four centuries, since 1801 the Library has had the right to claim all British and Irish publications under the terms of successive Copyright Acts. The bookstock is now over four million volumes and there are extensive collections of manuscripts, maps and music.
The Library has a triple rôle. As a university library it serves the needs of the College's undergraduate and postgraduate students and of the academic staff; it is also a research library of international repute, making available much rare material to scholars from all parts of the world. In addition, it provides an information service to government departments, to research organisations and to technical, industrial and commercial bodies within Ireland.
The following quotes are from actual emails to email@example.com. The items in italics below each quote are candid responses from me, your friendly neighborhood super hero.
"We've really appreciated all of your clues [about the Jamestown 400] that steer us in the right direction, yet do not give the answer away. We gave up a few weeks ago until we found your website." - Tammy F
What makes this blog great is the encouragement that I receive from many of the readers. I'm glad I can stand as a lighthouse and encouragement to others.
"I hope to find out more about what it means to be a Son of Liberty, something that I hope and pray all of my sons will follow in similar footsteps as yours – it means everything to our nation! We are a 'retired' Navy family, with both parents having done time – Chuck 22 ½ years and still serving as a civilian, and myself 5…. Please advise me how I can turn the hearts of my sons ever closer toward being a “Son”…and thank you so much for all your help!" - Dawn K and family
In my banner above, you'll see that the s in "son" is lowercase and the L in "Liberty" is uppercase. That is on purpose. It is a play on words. Teach your children to be sons of God and they'll understand true liberty.
"Your blog has been a real blessing to us!" - Wren Family
Getting emails from readers with kind words is great encouragement and forces me to be accountable for my writing.
"I'm going to name my next kid 'Joe.'" - BJ not BK
Just kidding! He didn't really say that. But all of the others are real. Thanks to everyone and keep watching this blog grow!
This weekend my father reminded me what G.K. Chesterton, author of Orthodoxy, said in a lecture entitled "What I Saw in America." Chesterton explained why America is unique because "America is the only nation in the world that is founded on a creed." I'll expand on this a little more later in the week; but, for some reason, at the time it reminded me of the Boy Scout Oath -- a sort of creed.
I am a brand-new Webelos assistant den leader. Webelos are fourth and fifth grade boys between Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts. It is a sort of Boy Scout prep course. During those two years, the boys work on badges and pins that prepare them for the Boy Scouts. We work on many things, but one is memorization of the Boy Scout Oath. I recently memorized it and want to share it with you. It is good memorization for all Americans -- young and old, Scouts and non-Scouts.
The Scout Oath says, "On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight."
The Scout Law, referenced in the Oath, says, "A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent."
Reflect on these.
President Bush said in his address to the 2005 Boy Scout Jamboree in Virginia that "these are the values of scouting, and they're important values for America." "By working to live up to them," he continued, "you're bringing great credit to yourselves and to our nation."
Now, don't you want to be a Boy Scout?
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account. (Hebrews 4:12-13 ESV)
My two nephews and I were playing one of the Zelda video games. After an hour or more we had found a broken blade and had it mended. If I recall correctly, the blade was called the Giant Sword. The name fit. The video game character had to hold the sword with both hands, and one swing killed most enemies instantly. However, after several swings, the blade would eventually break. Frustrating!
An analogy might be drawn between this brittle blade and popular world views. These views appear to be strong and able to answer most philosophical questions. However, after several swings of these views, their authority eventually breaks. For instance, take what Christian apologist Dr. Voddie Baucham calls Philosophical Pluralism. There are no absolutes; what is true for you may not be true for me; there is no such thing as absolute truth. However, it is logically impossible for there to be no absolutes because “no absolute truth” is an absolute.
The blade breaks. Frustrating!
Therefore, wield the only blade of truth: God’s word.
"Therefore put on the full armor of God, … take up the shield of faith, … take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." (Ephesians 4:13, 16, 17 NIV)
1. The other day I read that Hugh Hewitt was the Jack Bauer of the blogosphere. I was hoping for that title. Oh, well, I guess I should come to terms with being the Erkel of the blogosphere.
2. Where is Napalm? How would you like to be the proud owner of a napalm canister and display it gloriously on your mantle? According to the website, Napalm.net has "purchased 5,000 lbs of weapons-grade napalm and has individually packaged it in safe, attractive, displayable canisters." Check it out here [Link]. Sike!
3. Jamestown 400. All is quiet on the range.It still seems to be a great time to research the forgotten president and find the identification of the trustees and their treasure. If you don't have the tip book, now is a great time to pick it up.
4. Naked hugs. There is a standing rule at home that I don't accept naked hugs from the boys. I have a 7-year old and a 10-year old that are either getting in the shower or out of the shower when I leave in the mornings; and they definitely want hugs and kisses before I leave But, again, no naked hugs allowed. This morning, my younger son ran down the steps holding his underwear in front of him to cover his ... nakedness. I caved and hugged him. My older son said that that wasn't naked hugs -- it was Greek-statue hugs.
5. Wesley posted for the first time last weekend. He came out of the gate with strength. Let's watch and see if he has endurance. It seems that Saturdays work best for him. Look for one from him tomorrow.
6. Have a wonderful, wonderful weekend. Freezing weather and snow in the Smoky Mountains can mean only one thing this weekend: Hiking! See you on Monday.
Disclaimer: I hate that I have to post this. And I hate that my mother will probably read it, but it's necessary. If you read further, you're liable to see some indignation and anger. I won't apologize for it.
I have been silent regarding the comments by "Stunned." Airing out ones problems in front of everyone while hiding behind an online pseudonym is not good reading. It's ugly. And it's not very courageous because there is no personal responsibility. But, because "Stunned" is intent on seeing this played out, let's do it!
You, Stunned, emailed me in December concerned about me sharing the answers to the Jamestown 400 hunt. I listened and took the recommendations under advisement. Shortly after the email, I decided to not share answers because it is true that one of the goals of this hunt is to understand perseverance. I admitted error, edited earlier posts and explained my decision. Everyone saw it all play out on the blog.
But here's the thing that disturbs me: Why do you come into my kitchen and kick my dog? I asked that if you had any other problems to email me. There have been no more emails. And then you step in and presume to speak for me and Doug Phillips. You assert in front of all of the readers that I am hiding something. You say that I am only doing this for one reason -- profit.
I blog for free. It's a hobby. You'll see no advertisements. You'll see no pleas for donations. Yes, I thought that the Jamestown 400 was a great fit for "A Son of Liberty." And, yes, I foresaw how it could increase readership. But one thing you failed to mention is that the goal of increased readership is to be able to successfully pull off a fundraiser for our troops or their families. And failure to share that whole story from the email is lying. That's right, you are the one lying.
In return for the free work that I do here on the blog regarding the JT400, I ask for a coin. It's a silly thing. And, in no way are any of the readers under any obligation to send me a coin. Some of the readers have even offered me two coins -- or more. But, if I don't get a coin for some reason, I won't play cry-baby. My plan for the coin is to frame it with a note. It will be a sort of trophy.
Don't come here and presume to speak for me. And especially don't accuse me of hiding something or lying. If you feel that you have to do it in front of everyone, you are yellow -- a coward. And I hate cowardice.
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A few days ago, President George "Dubya" Bush stood in front of the cameras and told the American people that he was responsible for the failures in Iraq. He continued by telling us that he wanted to send a surge of 21,500 troops to Baghdad to help fix the situation. This apology and request, as much as we seem to want to think, was not based on emotion. It is not a Paula Abdul-style, Hollywood-esque emotional response. The leader of the greatest nation in the world cannot -- and should not -- conduct himself in that way.
I have been amazed since the Supreme Court confirmation hearings of judges Samuel Alito and John Roberts that the Bush Administration has such a depth of brilliant players. You can count many of the main players such as Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and her multiple doctorates; or Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who is the only career officer in the history of the CIA to rise from entry-level to Director. There are many, many more. And it seems that the administration chose wisely with General Dave "Peaches" Petraeus.
On January 4, 2007, President Bush appointed Gen. Petraeus to commander of Multinational Force Iraq (MNF-I). Petraeus was a natural choice. He has the most positive image among Iraqis than any U.S. leader, civilian or military. When he led the 101st Airborne Division in Northern Iraq in 2003, he was such an excellent diplomat that the Kurds called him "Malik Daoud" -- King David -- as a mark of respect. He is a patriot, setting aside all personal concerns in the interests of the mission.
In order to regain control of Baghdad, Gen. Petraeus has recommended two actions: 1) Increase the number of troops in Baghdad, and 2) significantly change the rules of engagement (ROE). And President Bush, who actively supports the troops, listened and approved.
The other night, Bush stood before the American people and admitted fault. Why? Because, as our leader, he is ultimately responsible for the success or failure in Iraq. To resolve the problem of failure in Iraq, he has recommended that we Americans follow the advice of our military's leaders and send more troops to beef up Baghdad. With the support of the Iraqi prime minister, Bush has also authorized a change in the rules of engagement so that our soldiers and marines no longer have to ask for permission to chase enemy combatants when they flee.
There, we find a solution to a problem -- not an uninformed yell to cut and run.
For further reading, I highly recommend you check out this brilliant post [Link] by Dean Barnett. He intelligently and systematically addresses both the troop surge and the ROE change. If you don't do anything else today, read that post. And if you have time, read this article by Brian Bresnahan at York News-Times [Link], where he lists the ten strategy changes requested by our military leaders in Iraq.
What do you think? Please comment.