Monday, November 30, 2009

Secular quotes from Scripture

The Associated Press recently did a piece* on a book called "Biblical Literacy: The Essential Bible Stories Everyone Needs to Know." Authored by Case Western Reserve University Religion professor Timothy Beal, his work delves into, among other things, common references to biblical stories.

For example, the term "All things to all people" comes from 1 Corinthians. "Cast the first stone" and "Doubting Thomas" are found in the New Testament book of John. "Forbidden fruit" was originally cited in Genesis. "Salt of the earth" is written in the Gospel according to Matthew, "Woe is me" was used in the Old Testament book of Job, and "Writing on the wall" is first mentioned in Daniel.

Most Christians knew these phrases already, but the unbeliever is likely vexed to find that they've been quoting Scripture for years.

* "Quote sound familiar? It might be Scripture" by Thomas J. Sheeran. Associated Press; November 29, 2009

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sunday's Quote: Modern Liberalism defined

"A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical Liberal minority, and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous Left-stream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end."
-- Source Unknown (but I wish I knew)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Compare and contrast

Three Navy SEALs -- Petty Officers Julio Huertas, Jonathan Keefe, and Matthew McCabe -- are facing a courts-martial for their roles in giving noted Islamic militant Ahmed Hisham Abed a bloody lip. More specifically, one SEAL is accused of punching Abed in the face after he was taken into custody, and all three are accused of making false statements to cover it up.

Abed himself was wanted by American-led forces (some 40 nations in all) for orchestrating an ambush that killed four Blackwater agents five years ago while transporting supplies for a catering company. In an act that made international headlines, each security operative was burned and dragged through the streets of Fallujah before their lifeless bodies were hung from a bridge over the Euphrates River. The picture above might ring a bell.

In summary, three of our nation's elite defenders are facing a potentially life-altering trial for the cardinal sin of smacking an enemy combatant -- having declined a less stringent "Captain's Mast," they will be arraigned in military court on December 7 -- while the militant himself, it seems, will be treated as a victim.

There's so much to say about this, and yet it's difficult to find the right words.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

George Washington's Thanksgiving Proclamation (220 years ago today)

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand, at the city of New York, the 3d day of October, A.D. 1789.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Just Thinking Out Loud: Adam Lambert

Girlfriend, please.  Try to take it down a notch. Your homoerotic stunts at the AMAs were beyond unnecessary.  And letup on the makeup while you're at it.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Wanna know what Heaven is like?

Buy some Boiled Custard -- not Egg Nog or any variant of the sort.

Go to Kroger and purchase their Grade A brand of Boiled Custard. Let it sit in the refrigerator for about 24 hours. Then kick back and enjoy. You'll thank me later.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sunday's Quote: Some hardcore truth

"It just seems like we're making a lot of mistakes on this whole calling everybody racist. Everybody's calling everybody morons and nuts. We're becoming more juvenile as a nation. The guys who won World War II and that whole generation have disappeared, and now we have a bunch of teenage twits."
-- Clint Eastwood, from the most recent issue of GQ

Friday, November 20, 2009

Just Thinking Out Loud: The Hef

Someone should encourage this creepy octogenarian to stop dancing.  He's not very good at it.  Like grandma used to say, there's no fool like an old fool.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Bending over (backwards, or otherwise)

Barack Obama is currently visiting the Asian continent with the intention of convincing the various regimes to continue buying our debt. And for good reason. According to the London Telegraph, America is about $2 trillion in the hole to China alone.

That's $2,000,000,000,000. The amount may as well be a "sideways eight."

Although one could ponder the extensive talking points of Obama's Far East tour, it is perhaps our President's submissive bow to Japan's Emperor Akihito -- a gesture which makes his obeisance to Saudi King Abdullah last April look almost exultant -- that has proven every bit as intriguing.

Don't let the picture fool you. Viewpoints from other shots make it seem as if Obama was about to grab his own ankles. Even a blog for the Los Angeles Times contrasted the difference between President Obama's henpecked bows and the manner in which previous representatives such as Vice President Dick Cheney and General Douglas MacArthur respected Japanese dignitaries without embarrassing the United States.

George Bush might have set the standard for presidential gaffes, but our current Commander-in-Chief has also made his share in just 10 months. Whether it was Obama's flub of the presidential oath, knocking his dome on the entrance to Marine One, his various misadventures with the all-important teleprompter, or the Special Olympics blast about his own bowling game, it seems this most recent faux pas smacks of something else -- as if Obama is somehow apologizing for America yet again.

According to NPR, the President recovered somewhat by hedging a reporter's question about the atomic bomb America dropped on Hiroshima that helped to end World War II. Obama did the right thing by not taking her bait, but I wish he would have responded with a redirect of sorts, something like...

"Was Japan right for siding with Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy? What about Pearl Harbor, sweetheart? You gonna blame us for that one, too?"

At least he didn't bend over.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sunday's Quote: Liberalism & Socialism comingled

"The American people will never knowingly adopt Socialism. But under the name of 'liberalism' they will adopt every fragment of the Socialist program until one day America will be a Socialist nation without ever knowing how it happened."
-- Norman M. Thomas (1884-1968), noted pacifist, Princeton alumnus, ordained Presbyterian minister, co-founder of what would become the ACLU, and six-time Presidential nominee for the Socialist Party of America

Friday, November 13, 2009

The double social standard (for lack of a better way of putting it)

Carrie Prejean has endured a nearly unprecedented barrage of criticism for not endorsing same-sex marriage during the Miss USA pageant last April. Having finished first runner-up in Miss USA, she was dethroned by Miss California officials two months later for "continued breach of contract." Additionally the ambiguous reason behind her de-crowning was largely the end result of "celebrity blogger" Perez Hilton's smear campaign.

Hilton (born Mario Lavandeira) is the one responsible for asking Prejean the now famous question about gay marriage during the Miss USA pageant. His militant disapproval of her reply led him to make a variety of disparaging claims against Prejean soon after, which included referring to her as a "dumb bitch" -- and all because she offered the same defense for traditional marriage as the Liberal Democrat who now occupies The White House.
It should be noted that Perez Hilton released his first song in September 2008, a single about Gonorrhea called "The Clap."  During any other time, this fact alone would be enough to nullify any perspective he would ever attempt to impose upon others.
This controversy is no different from the mass of insults Sarah Palin continues to tolerate a full year after Barack Obama's election became official. As if her electoral defeat wasn't enough for Palin's detractors, it seems the Left wanted to make an example of her, just as they have Carrie Prejean. And why? Because Palin and Prejean (among others) dare to endorse a standard found only in the Holiest of all books even despite their past imperfections.
They are talented, accomplished, poised under intense scrutiny, honest and imperfect, and not filled with the rage that consumes their Left Wing counterparts -- a fact conveniently overlooked by those who find it easier to dismiss non-"Progressives" as hypocritically divisive hate-mongers.
Without question, my girl Carrie -- who turned down $140,000 to pose for Playboy -- has made a few errors in judgment that have been well-documented by those who celebrate those shortcomings. Yet Conservatives are evidently more capable of recognizing the difference between making mistakes and cultivating mistakes, and that will always lead them down a path separate from political correctness and social hypersensitivity.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Howard Stern

The self-proclaimed "King of All Media" went on a rant earlier today that demanded a rebuttal. Here's the e-mail I sent to the show moments ago:

What makes Howard think that the irrational rantings of a childish, foul-mouth pervert such as himself hold any validity whatsoever?

"Crazy" and "mentally ill" by his own repeated admission, what causes Stern to believe that the unmitigated hate he spews about Christianity -- most recently about Atheist-turned-Believer Kirk Cameron -- are rooted in anything but his own narrow-minded prejudice?

More than all other religions combined, the foundational principles rooted exclusively in the Holy Bible are what make this country the envy of the entire planet, a powerhouse upon which God's fingerprints are indelibly self-evident.

In fact the reason that Stern has a right to express his unfortunate and inaccurate bias is because our Christian forefathers made provisions to allow it, although I highly doubt the First Amendment was ever intended to permit deviants to speak endless loads of verbal pornography.

So show some respect Howard. This is still very much a Christian nation, and that is to your benefit because most other countries, which truly force their belief system down your throat, would never allow for the soapbox that has afforded you so much.


I've been back into the blog thing for less than two weeks, and I already feel the need to switch things up a bit. It should be done by tomorrow.

Monday, November 9, 2009

On the brink

Five more banks collapsed recently, bringing the total to an astonishing 120 for the year. The numbers amaze even a hardened bank veteran such as myself. Now that unemployment has topped 10% for the first time in a quarter-century, I thought a politically incorrect quote from one of America's all-time greats would be in order:

"History fails to record a single precedent in which nations subject to moral decay have not passed into political and economic decline. There has been either a spiritual awakening to overcome the moral lapse, or a progressive deterioration leading to ultimate national disaster."
-- General Douglas MacArthur, Supreme Commander of Allied Forces during World War II

No diatribe is necessary. That says it all.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Smashmouth Saturday

I spent much of today watching grown men hit each other. Having loved this time of year all my life for the pleasant weather and wall-to-wall football, I can now kick back with a sense of gratitude for the warrior culture that resonates throughout our great society.

College football is the sport I follow most, so much that I didn't settle on an undisputed favorite until my mid-20s, eventually giving my allegiance to Tennessee (with Ole Miss coming in a close second). Watching my Volunteers improve each week has become reassuring, especially now that the oft-maligned Jonathan "Straight Outta" Crompton appears more comfortable than ever behind center.

An occasional cheer for the underdog to which I have no tangible affiliation is inevitable when one closely follows a sport that has been an ambiance-laden part of the national landscape for about 140 years. Seeing mid-majors like Houston, Cincinnati and Texas Christian continue their respective runs for a BCS bowl game is both satisfying and increasingly typical of everything fans have come to expect from the highest level of college football.

Heck I was downright jubilant when Navy beat Notre Dame for the second straight year after the Midshipmen had previously suffered through a record-setting 43 consecutive defeats to the Irish, but it was also disappointing somehow to see Iowa's 13-game win streak (dating back to last season) come to an end against a bottom dweller like Northwestern, thanks in no small part to quarterback Rick Stanzi's ankle injury.

Then there's Boise State -- the team nobody wants to play. Having established itself as a legitimate national contender over the better part of this decade, Boise St. Athletic Director Gene Bleymaier has thrown down the gauntlet and made, perhaps by necessity, an almost unheard of offer:

BSU will play at the home field of any big name school at the start of the 2011 season, and their opponent will not have to return the favor by playing in Idaho the next year. However intriguing, not a single big time school has stepped up. Not even one.

For such a rarity, a dominant school located in a remote region better known for potatoes than pigskin, this is the kind of story that could only come from college football. And that's why we love it.

Friday, November 6, 2009

This is why we fight

By now everyone has heard about the massacre at Fort Hood in east-central Texas -- the largest American military base in the world -- that resulted in 13 deaths and at least 30 injured, including a civilian police officer named Kimberly Munley who is chiefly responsible for taking the assailant down.

Major Nidal Malik Hasan,
an Army psychiatrist and Muslim of Palestinian descent, yelled "Allahu Akbar!" ("God is great") as he entered the Solider Readiness Center on September 5 at approximately 1:30 p.m. CST and opened fire on a group of unarmed soldiers who were present to receive their compulsory pre-/post-deployment medical treatment.

Having grabbed the attention of federal authorities some six months prior because of Internet postings he reportedly made about the virtue of Islamic suicide bombings throughout the world, it is also believed that Hasan, a conscientious objector to America's "Global War on Terror," was less than pleased about his upcoming deployment to Afghanistan.

It's easy for me to sit in the comfort of my home and say "Let's go to war and kick some terrorist tail!" when I'm not saddled with the responsibility of standing a post with my finger on the trigger, but Douglas MacArthur wasn't kidding when he warned that we should be more concerned about the insidious forces that work from within our country than those who operate outside of it.

The enemy has brought this fight to our doorstep repeatedly and demands a response. To understand the extremist mentality further -- as if the truth isn't already obvious to those who have simply chosen to see it -- check out the website I've included at the bottom. I assure you, it will tell you a lot more about what we are facing in the most vivid possible detail.
("List of Islamic Terror Attacks
For the Past 2 Months")

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Damn Yankees

The Evil Empire won its record-setting 27th Fall Classic last night (it's not really a "World Series," a term used since the 19th century). I'm no fan of the Bronx Bombers, obviously, and I have delighted in telling anyone who would listen that the Pinstripers were evidence of how team chemistry can't be bought -- $200 million payroll and all.

While the Yanks finally proved me wrong, thus ending my nine year streak of reveling in their defeat, I pout mostly over George Steinbrenner's success. Although he no longer oversees the day-to-day operations -- leaving the job to his biological proxy, Hank -- "The Boss" is as well-known for his pursuit of costly free agents as he is for deriding them.

Steinbrenner shelled out contracts worth more than $420 million combined to CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Mark Teixeira last off-season, according to a recent piece on Sports. That's in addition to the $275 million the Yankees handed Alex Rodriguez the year before, not to mention the $189 million Derek Jeter got after the Yanks won their previous championship nine years ago.

Instead of instituting a legitimate salary cap in the name of competitive balance like every other major sport in America, Commissioner Bud Selig opted to focus on revenue sharing (pro sports socialism), which he justified by concurrently implementing a luxury tax against teams with the deepest pockets -- like the Yankees -- whose combined salaries often exceed the threshold established by MLB's collective bargaining agreement.

In other words, Steinbrenner & Co. owe some debt of gratitude to the other franchise owners who essentially allow them to spend astronomical sums of money without retribution (as long as they stay out of the red).

Despite everything, it's Steinbrenner's characteristic flair, for lack of a better way of describing it, that inspires the odium felt by fans such as myself. Steinbrenner fired 10 different general managers before almost miraculously settling on Brian Cashman over 10 years ago. Steinbrenner has also changed managers an unbelievable 20 times in his colorful history, including the firing of Billy Martin on five separate occasions.

Steinbrenner even called a press conference after the Yanks' Game 3 loss to the Dodgers in the '81 World Series to show off the "injuries" he claimed to have sustained in an elevator fight with a couple of Dodger fans. Steinbrenner's accusations were never corroborated, and the event led some to believe that he made the story up to light a fire under the Yankees.

It didn't work. The Yanks lost the series in six games.

Go ahead and call me a "hater." I acknowledge that the Yanks do whatever it takes to win, and that is commendable to a point. But it doesn't engender the fidelity that will allow them to fully emerge from the shadow of glory days past. Thanks to Steinbrenner, the present-day Yankees have become less a team and more a greedy corporate entity willing to spend in the neighborhood of a quarter-billion dollars -- profit margins be damned -- for a single ring.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Back to the 80's

Ralph Macchio, best known for his role in the Karate Kid trilogy, turns 48-years-old today. Under-appreciated for his other roles in semi-classics such as The Outsiders, Crossroads, and even My Cousin Vinny, it's hard to believe that Ralph Macchio is a mere seven years younger than my parents. I suppose this means that he's old, and so am I.

This got me thinking about Back to the Future, another three-part movie franchise from the 80's that played a role in defining my childhood. Here's some trivia about BttF that you may find interesting if you enjoyed the movie as much as I did:

* Michael J. Fox is only ten days younger than Lea Thompson, the actress who plays his mother, and is almost three years older than his on-screen dad, Crispin Glover.

* The school that served as Hill Valley High was Whittier High School in Whittier, CA just outside of Los Angeles. Before filming, the school was better known as Richard Nixon's alma mater.

* When Marty pretends to be Darth Vader ("from the planet Vulcan"), he plays a tape labeled "Van Halen" to scare George out of his sleep. The screeching guitar riffs are from an untitled Eddie Van Halen original written for a movie called The Wild Life (1984), which starred Lea Thompson.

* When Doc Brown first sends Einstein "one minute" into the future, the time elapsed between when the '81 DeLorean DMC-12 disappears and reappears is actually 1 minute 21 seconds, just as the reappearance occurred at 1:21 AM via the Flux Capacitor-required 1.21 jigowatts of electricity.

* The device originally considered for use as the time travel machine was a refrigerator. Director Robert Zemeckis said in an interview that the idea was scrapped because he and Steven Spielberg did not want children to start climbing into refrigerators and getting trapped inside.

* The set for Hill Valley is the same one used for Gremlins (1984). The set for the Courthouse Square was also used for Bruce Almighty (2003), and the clock tower is the same one that is seen in To Kill a Mockingbird (1962).

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Ripping the Bible

Legendary British actor Sir Ian McKellen confirmed in a recent interview with Details that he tears the page that contains Leviticus 18:22 out of copies of The Bible in his hotel rooms. Openly gay for the past 20 years, McKellen said, "I do, absolutely. I'm not proudly defacing the book, but it's a choice between removing that page and throwing away the whole Bible."

Often pointed out by critics as an example of antiquated dogma, Leviticus 18:22 states, "You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination." (Leviticus 20:13 records a similar position.) Few realize, however, that this is not the first reference to homosexuality in the Bible.

Amid the mass depravity in Sodom (near the Jordan River in present-day southwest Asia), a group of men approached Lot, the righteous nephew of Abraham, and said in Genesis 19:5, "Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may know them carnally."

It is no coincidence that the destruction of Sodom (and Gomorrah) is recorded in the same chapter, just 19 verses later.

The New Testament offers something about the alternative lifestyle as well. Perhaps most potently, Romans 1:26-27 asserts:

"For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due."

Comparable New Testament verses are also found in I Corinthians 6:9, I Timothy 1:10 and Jude 1:7
. Why these are commonly overlooked is anyone's guess, but it most likely has something to do with a prevailing sense of Biblical ignorance.

Fortunately -- and I'm being factitious here -- McKellen didn't rip portions of which he might not approve from the Talmud, Confucius' Analects, the Tao Te Ching, Krishna's Bhagavata Purana, the Hindu Veda and Upanishads, Buddhism's Tripitaka, or the Koran (which also forbids homosexuality).

That, of course, would amount to intolerance.

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Mighty Hetfield

I watched some old Metallica concert clips (Seattle '89, San Diego '92) on YouTube earlier today, along with a few new ones. I was once again struck by the force they bring to a live show, which is untouchable among the vast majority of other so-called bands of this era that shun power chords, favor "guy liner," and produce user-friendly songs that reach for mainstream success at the deliberate sacrifice of their musical art.

These bands simply lack balance, and in all fairness Metallica has taken their hardcore fans on a few valley experiences as well (St. Anger, for instance). But through it all James Hetfield has been the heart and soul of Metallica from the very beginning. He is the Warrior-Poet of the Hard Rock/Metal genre' and precious few are worthy to be mentioned in the same breath. None have ever surpassed him, and it's unlikely that anyone ever will.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The punishment doesn't fit the crime (as usual)

The NCAA recently levied a 12-month suspension against Oklahoma State wide receiver Dez Bryant for having dinner with former NFL standout Deion Sanders at his home in Texas last summer.

Bryant didn't do himself any favors by lying to officials -- and that shouldn't be overlooked -- but the NCAA has a history of handing down stringent decisions that could incite a Heisman candidate on the verge of pro stardom to offer less than full disclosure in order to stay out of trouble over something so innocuous as breaking bread with a future Hall of Famer.

Bryant could be reinstated shortly, but the 6-foot-2, 220-lb. Oklahoma State junior is NFL bound regardless. Projected as a top 10 selection last year, Bryant's numbers in only three games this season [19.0 yards per catch, 107.7 yards per game] have solidified his standing for the 2010 draft in April. Fortunately Bryant's modest error in judgment will not keep him from reaching the next level.