Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Anarchist

Anarchist. n. An anarch; one who advocates anarchy of aims at the overthrow of civil government.

Anarchism. n. 1. The theory or doctrine that all forms of government are oppressive and undesirable and should be abolished.
2. Active resistance and terrorism against the state, as used by some anarchists.

Will someone please ask John Kerry to condemn these actions and to make these social terrorists stand down?

From an article describing anarchists:
In fact, if you ask 10 anarchists for their description of anarchism, you are
likely to get 10 different answers.

The basic tenet of anarchism is that hierarchical authority -- be it state, church, patriarchy or economic elite -- is not only unnecessary, but is inherently detrimental to the maximization of human potential.

Hmmm. Sounds interestingly like Al Gore...maybe he's running around out there with them.

This article provides a little of the 'sneaky' mentality:

They've learned how to escape police in a crowd, to make wheat-paste glue for
posting fliers, and to disrupt Republican activities by posing as helpful volunteers.

"Dress appropriately," so-called phantom volunteers are told. "Smile a lot."


Blogger Byron asks, "Tell me again, which is the party of hate?"

Can we call a spade a spade? While I'm certain that there are peaceful anarchists out there, the majority of these actions are of a terrorist nature and should be punished by more than a night in jail.

For the liberal media, it's an interesting dilemma: do they show all the glorious freedoms of the protestors in order to inform America that no one likes the Republican convention and in doing so also show the hate-filled atrocities of the anarchists and others who are extremists? Do you condemn the anarchists and other violent demonstrators and risk coming across as supporting the Republicans' efforts to hold a convention in hard-hit downtown NYC?

I think that anarchists are just the same as all radical demonstrators that burn things, flip cars, break windows, and start fights -- they're looking for a good excuse to throw out all restrictions on behavior and go wild. See also: cities where sports teams win championships and cities where groups of people feel mistreated.

Motto: "I'm a little upset/excited! Let's go tear some stuff up!"






Monday, August 30, 2004

Words

It is sad to witness the death of any worhty thing, even of a worthy word.
And worthy words do die, like any other worthy thing--if we do not take good
care of them. How many worthy words have already died under our very eyes,
because we did not take care of them!

If you persist in calling people who are not gentlemen by the name of
gentleman, you do not make them gentlemen by so calling them, but you end by
making the word gentleman mean that kind of people.


Words of B. B. Warfield. Read the entire thing here.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Creator

And there arose a fierce gale of wind, and the waves were breaking over the boat
so much that the boat was already filling up. Jesus Himself was in the stern,
asleep on the cushion; and they woke Him and said to Him, "Teacher, do You not
care that we are perishing?" And He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the
sea, "Hush, be still." And the wind died down and it became perfectly
calm. And He said to them, "Why are you afraid? Do you still have no
faith?" They became very much afraid and said to one another, "Who
then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?"

Mark 4:37-41 (NASB)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being
through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into
being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The
Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

John 1:1-5 (NASB)

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Frances?

Hurricane Frances is supposedly a powerful storm headed for the United States. Let's hope it and its allies are not easily offended.


Bush's Media Attacks Kerry

In reading this article a couple of times I can't decide whether it was written by a child or if this is the Canadian take on the entire business. At one point, it reads:

In the rest of the pseudo-interview, Jon Stewart stuck to his mockery of the American media, both print and television, that supports George W. Bush and relentlessly attacks Kerry.


I couldn't decide if this was an attempt at humor, if it was the show's sarcasm, or if this is in fact the writer's straight-forward perspective.

They report...you decide.

Casual

Casual. adj. 3a. Being without ceremony or formality; relaxed. 3b. Suited for everyday wear or use; informal.

Casual is here, in case you haven't noticed. As one who has been looking for a new career, I've seen too many ads that promote the casual dress code as evidently the number one reason someone should work at a place. Casual Fridays seems to be peoples' most anticipated event of the week. The last place I worked, a school, I was amazed at the grubs that people (teachers) showed up in on Fridays, as if they had come straight from doing some lawn care. This survey's results showed that 50% of people rated casual dress as something preferable (3 or 4 on a scale of 1 to 4) when considering a job. Dressing down may even make you healthier according to this. While the dress shirt is advertised here as the perfect item because it can be either dress up or dress down, this school (loosely, now) even includes in its curriculum some instruction on business attire.

The way we have learned to view clothing today, the traditions of a few generations before us become lost in translation. The days when a gentleman was hesitant to appear in public without wearing a coat sound like something from sci-fi, and the Victorian manners of women seem even further eclipsed today.

Casual is everywhere. Locally I saw a Catholic church that was advertising their "Casual Worship." The terms "casual" and "contemporary" have become almost synonymous today in terms of church "progress." A Google of the terms shows that casual or contemporary worship occurs around 3 times as much as "traditional" worship. Churches don't advertise traditional worship – it's like advertising that you're selling old cars rather than new ones. However, I see it more as advertising Coke Classic rather than New Coke – not trying at all to be sacrilegious (hmmm…interesting word.) I prefer Classic, however. Ceremony can certainly be good. Ceremony with content, but that's another day...

Casual has fully infiltrated speech as well. In browsing some blogs, I've come across several (I won't link to them…you can find them) where the language has been decimated. I'm sure there are lots of things to blame, but I wonder if a cause is not in the use of IM's, especially on the phone where a person is not going to spell out a word because of the effort involved. In teaching English in school, I was shocked sometimes to see just how all formality had been neglected in written English. As a friend pointed out, "I'll bet they [the students] can communicate on IM's though." He's likely right.

I'm not against casual…I'm against losing our culture. I'm against dressing with no respect for oneself or others. I'm against losing our language skills to the point that foreigners know more about English than the average American. And I'm especially against creating an environment in our churches that is no different from our culture. "What is worship?" we must ask ourselves. How casual, if at all, should I expect to be when offering praises to God? I'd say as casual as Moses in Exodus 33-34 when he asks God to show him His glory. Moses has to be hidden in the rock because of the glory of God passing by him.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Character

Character. n. The combination of qualities or traits that distinguishes an individual or group.

"Character" derives from the Greek word which described the engraved image or impression, especially that identified the object such as a coin. In biblical use, the only occurrence is a figurative one in Hebrews 1:3 – Jesus as the "character" of God.

There are at least 10 more English definitions for "character" depending on where you look, but they all stem from this basic meaning. Soren Kierkegaard called character "changeable rarely and least of all in extreme circumstances."

Character pours out of us whether it is favorable or not. Kierkegaard's words prove true by our experience. Character is slow to change. And why not? If our character has taken X number of years to develop, changing overnight is not only unlikely, but impossible.

Extreme circumstances bring out the best or worst of our character. When the lights are brightest and the stage is largest, a person's character is tested most. To a certain degree, any man or woman can prepare and present elements of character-wished-for. However, unexpected moments, sudden questions, unpredicted catastrophes, or unannounced joys bring out the character from deep within us as if opening a door to the soul. Who a person has become through everything – education, trials, family, religion, friendships, well…everything – that is the undeniable character of a person.

We are all judges of character. There are facts involved, and then there is our instinct. We see someone on TV or meet someone in person, and we get a vibe (nothing weird) about them. We trust or distrust them. We like or dislike them.

For years I've had an evolving list in my head of people I'd choose in extreme circumstances to be on my side. I'll probably never go to war, but I think of that type scenario. Some of them are smart. Some are stubborn. Some are tough. Some are resourceful. But it's all about character. (There are even people on the list that I wouldn't want to be around everyday, but in the heat of battle I'd take them in a heartbeat.)

Back to the Greek term and the idea of the coins. Isn't it interesting that some of those who have demonstrated the most character in history have their images engraved on our coins today?


Kierkegaard quote as in Hunter's The Death of Character

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Oil

Oil n. Something we cannot do without. [See Germany, WWII, and Japan, WWII.]

John Makin provides the only factually competent piece on the current oil situation that I've seen sans rhetoric. Among the reasons that I've heard from no part of the media is an increase in China's import from 2 million barrels to 10 million in just the past four years.

Even on the micro level, the economic impact is obvious. Our household income is affected substantially when our monthly gas budget is increased from $60-70 per month to roughly $150 for our two fuel-efficient sedans, and I know we're on the low end of these costs.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Wonk

Wonk. n. One who studies an issue or topic thoroughly or excessively.

Synonyms: "pundit" and the British term "boffin."
Earliest reference: 1962 Sports Illustrated and something something about Harvard.
Derivation: 1) "know" spelled backwards, or 2) Acronym for "WithOut Normal Knowledge."

In a heavily divided America where every person is being increasingly encouraged not only to vote but to be a wonk for their guy, gal, or position, we can only proceed by identifying which policies and candidates we choose by wearing the appropriate t-shirts or by playing The Political Machine game until we are as wonk as possible.

We all know just how valuable those political posters in our neighborhood yards have proved to be over the years, decisively swaying the vote one way or the other because if [insert neighbor's name] is voting for that candidate, golly-gee-wiz then so am I.

How exactly do people decide who they are going to vote for? Do their minds really change? Okay, I'll admit that I wanted to vote for Carter in 1980 – but then I wasn't the smartest 2nd grader. I did later change my mind. But does a t-shirt proclaiming abortion rights, pro-war, anti-war, high taxes, low taxes, or decreased school funding cause me to respond politically by voting accordingly?

Even with truer wonks that have a little more substance (or at least passion) to their arguments on TV talk shows, have you ever seen either the liberal or the conservative concede to the other's position? "Well, okay, I guess you're absolutely right, Hannity!" Don't hold your breath, or you'll be one less vote.

If there is a multitude out there that is going to be persuaded by the way that they think most of the people around them are going to vote, then we're all in trouble.

Fourteen

Fourteen. n. 1. A number that could be a lot or not so many. 2. The number of dogs who worked at Ground Zero who have died.

An interesting and somewhat helpful number to add to this story might be the number of total dogs who worked at Ground Zero. If the total was 15, then this is quite a story. If the total was 1,500, then this means nothing.

Just the facts, ma'am. Just the facts.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Logogenericism

Logogenericism. n. The evolution of a trademark name into a common name that transcends and is used to reference an entire product line.

Some people have tried the terms eponym, generification, and/or metonymy for this process, but none seem to quite fit.

The Historicals: a Kleenex, a Xerox, a Coke, a Walkman, the Frigidaire, a Polariod, some Scotch tape, some Tylenol, a Thermos, some Clorox, a Band-Aid

Lesser Degree: in Webster's, my Levi's, your Teva's

Evolving…

Google: "If you don't know, why don't you just Google it?" (for fun, check out "Googlewhacking")

Mapquest: "I'm sure you can MapQuest that more easily than I can give you directions."

Palm: "Give me your email and I'll put it in my Palm."


Can I use any of these in Scrabble?

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Choice

Choice. n. #2: The power, right, or liberty to choose; option.

A.k.a.: The highest "value" one can esteem in America.

While she flies in the face of all the odds, how can you argue that she was merely a choice at any point?

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Headlines

I'm sure you've already seen all of these, but I just wanted to list some of the headlines out there today...

"Looting in Florida – President to Blame"

"Insurgents in Najaf Hurt Bush's Approval Rating"

"Economy Picking Up Despite President"

"Bush Lied About Dodging Bullets at Thanksgiving in Vietnam"

"U. S. Olympians not Performing Up to Expectations Due to Bush's Failure to Make Allies"

"President to Blame for Protesters in NYC"

"As President, Kerry to Eradicate Joblessness, Homelessness, and Bring World Peace by Involvement in Extreme Sports"

Double-dealing

Double-dealing. n. action contradictory to a professed attitude.

We have troops in Germany and S. Korea!?! By all means, how did they get there? Surely it wasn't because of a war. How long have they been "occupying" these countries? For what reasons?

Of course, the Cold War. Of course, World War II. Of course, the Korean War. Then we stayed, we rebuilt, and we protected. Sound familiar?

So why is a troop withdrawal such a difficult concept now for some people to accept? This op-ed in the NYTimes argues that in the long range we need to remain in these countries for the good of the world. This article by Dave Moniz and Steven Komarow in USAT cries about our "alliances." I'm sure that minus our 70,000 troops the Nazis will now rebuild the war machine, or the Soviets will invade Europe again and set up ICBM's. And certainly we should expect N. Korea to sweep through S. Korea the day after we leave.

"No" to occupying and rebuilding Iraq and "Yes" to occupying our stable allies? Who thinks of this stuff? "Increase national security," we are told everyday by both sides of the partisan fence. Wouldn't bringing home tens of thousands of troops increase national security? Not according to this take.

Then there's the whining about the economic impact this withdrawal will have on Germany and S. Korea. While I'm all about seeing Germany and S. Korea do well, I'll take these families spending their earnings here in America instead of everywhere else.

There are certainly advantages to keeping such a large military presence in Germany, S. Korea, and Japan, but the arguments seem to fly in the face of current logic. Which countries is it permissible to have a strong military presence in and which is it deplorable?

Will these same people be opposed to withdrawing our troops from Iraq when the country has reached a stable place where U.S. forces are no longer needed? I imagine it might hurt Najaf's economy in the year 2022 if we move our military bases away from this prospering city that we worked so hard to liberate and then rebuild.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Mathematics

Mathematics n. [Insert your own definition here because it doesn't really matter.]

Is there no math required for people who major in journalism or political science? The "increase" in taxes for the middle class is an absolute myth. Yes, the percentage of the whole may have increased, but taxes have gone down…down…down. This article from the Washington Post propaganda machine would have us believe the opposite.

A refresher course for those who didn't get the well-rounded education the University of Tennessee offers: If those making $182,700 were taxed 26.8% in 2001 and now are "only" taxed 23.8%, they got to keep $5,454.00 more in 2004. This is outrageous! That money should be equally divided among us all, right? The argument is that since their overall role in the tax system fell from 64.4% to 63.5% then they are getting too much of a break. The so-called "break" amounts to paying only $43,482.60 to operate the greatest country in history.

Meanwhile, those in the next bracket who are suffering at merely $75,600 saw their role increase. Are they paying more taxes? NO! The rate for someone making $75,600 decreased from 19.3% to 18.5%, even if you went to Harvard. The only real argument here is that their actual monetary decrease was only in the amount of $604.08, not that much by comparison. However, these people also have to suffer in smaller houses, drive a slightly higher mileage luxury car, and eat at slightly less popular dining establishments. Never mind the fact that the taxes paid by the $182K group and the $75K group are basically as much as the two lower income groups. It is hard for those of us in the middle brackets to imagine $43,482 of our income going to the government.

But then, each person's definition of mathematics being equal, who am I to say which is right. I'll just vote accordingly.

H-O-R-S-E

Allen Iverson and Stephon Marbury are scorers, but they couldn't win a game of
H-O-R-S-E against half the 12-year-olds in the state of Indiana.


Michael Wilbon nails the reason the USA lost to Puerto Rico and is likely to lose some more in his column in the WP. The country that invented basketball can no longer hang with international teams. Now that I think of it, the country that invented baseball did not even make the Olympics. Let's hope the country's greatest invention, the cheeseburger, does not go down this slippery slope.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Object Permanence

Object Permanence. n. The ability of the brain to retain and utilize visual images. It develops at about eight months of age.

I was taught rather early on to write things of importance down. If I took a telephone message for the parents, I was supposed to write it down. Now if I take one for the wife, I'm supposed to write it down. I'm still not perfect at this.

I am disturbed by the lack of permanence the internet brings us. History is already in danger enough from those who want to rewrite it with the political agendas of the day. At least with history you have always been able to pick up an older text or historical novel that revealed the way things really were before the thought police jumped in and changed Columbus or the Cold War or the Roman Empire. With e-data, though, who is going to keep yesterday's news from being altered today? How can you prove that Charley had 145 mph winds? How can you disprove a website where the winds have been altered to be 245? What happens when someone altars my email ever-so-slightly and then forwards it to others?

I certainly love the accessibility of the online news which has basically made the television news more of a recent historical review. However, the whole format of constant change that you see with online news is a drastic transformation when compared to receiving the daily print edition with a set amount of information that was compiled by the deadline the previous day.

This editorial in Scifi and this article both give some interesting insights into the phenomena of ever-changing information online.

Friday, August 13, 2004

Veracity

Veracity. n. The quality or state of keeping close to fact and avoiding distortion or misrepresentation.

*Ribbons and medals are interchangeable terms.
*Christmas and January are equal.

The sham goes on…

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Coffee Fright

Coffee Fright. n. The trepidation encountered at taking the first sip of piping hot coffee or other hot drink.

Coffee fright is a real and dangerous reaction to hot coffee. You need to be aware that this reaction of your senses to prevent you from burning yourself adds to your anxiety levels and possibly causes hypertension (I've asked a couple of people who agree.) Coffee fright is especially a problem when drinking from a thermal mug or a paper cup with a lid at the likes of Starbucks. The sipping action involved takes away our natural defense mechanism of slurping that first sip of coffee to make sure that there will be no harm to lips, tongue, or throat. Unless you own one of those super deluxe coffee makers that brews coffee at its intended temperatures, you probably do not have a recurring problem with coffee fright in the home.

"Ghost sips" are the result of extreme coffee fright. These faux sips of coffee produce nothing but a sniff of the flavor. Especially at caf├ęs and coffee shops, I've been known to take as many as five (yes, 5) ghost sips before digging into the real goods. I'll take the hot stuff, though, as opposed to that weak, semi-warm brown liquid they try to pass as coffee at the second-rate shops. No thank you.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Newsworthy

Newsworthy. adj. Of sufficient interest or importance to the public to warrant reporting in the media.

Newsworthy: Al Qaeda Plots Assassination(s)

Not: Kerry an Expert on Scientific Matters

Newsworthy: Southern Terror Targets?

Not: Rogue Sports Star in Court

Newsworthy: Shouldn't the media give us all the real news and let the public evaluate the seriousness of the content? If Bush wins the election will we find the story on the 17th page of section Q of the NYTimes? Meanwhile, if John Kerry, who is running for President of the United States of America, attempts to create his own history from scratch by manipulating the facts, will this make the news anywhere except the Washington Times and New York Post?

Not: Updates on Big Brother 5, The Amazing Race, your network's latest poll findings, or Peter Jennings' national defense policy revisited.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Celebrity

Celebrity n. L. celeber "famous"

Is there anyone more qualified to make political statements than a musician or an actor? On the one hand, it is great that they can voice their opinions just like the media, bloggers, and people at cookouts in their backyards. On the other hand, what does it matter who Dave Matthews thinks should be the president? We each have just as many votes as he does. When Bruce Springsteen is on the radio, do we really need to associate him with a political party? Concert ticket prices cost a ridiculous amount of money for people, (Democrats, Republicans, Independents, or Communists) to attend. If they wanted to hear political rhetoric they would have paid a lot more money to attend their party's local fundraiser.

And what about the infamous? Should we also look to them for political statements. Maybe Scott Peterson should address the cameras each day after court adjourns.

Meanwhile, Sean "P. Diddy" Combs appears to be taking a much better approach. His purportedly non-partisan work, Citizen Change, and the interviews with him that I have seen appear to be a sincere effort to make a difference without stumping for a particular party. He seems genuinely concerned to promote voter turnout, especially among younger voters.

Don't blame the celebrities too much, though. The mouthpiece of propaganda, the media, has decided that stories about rock stars and movie stars are more weighty election material than renowned experts in such things as the economy, national security, or the law. Shouldn't the media be more concerned with the views to be presented by Thomas Sowell, William Cohen, or Alan Keyes?

Who is Chevy Chase going to vote for? What does Whoopi Goldberg think about the issues? What does Tommy Lee Jones think? I don't care.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Deipnosophist

Deipnosophist n. Someone skilled at across-the-table chit chat

According to Michael Quinion, the Greek term deipnon means "dinner" and, of course, sophist means "a master of his craft." So where does "chit chat" come from? Shouldn't deipnosophist simply refer to a superior eater? Why, just earlier today I was eating and doing quite a splendid job of it when it occurred to me that I was actually no deipnosophist, just a good eater.

Take a guess before you google it to see how many times the word does occur out there - but most of the occurrences are not in a context of communication but in gawking definitions. I was surprised, but not nearly as surprised as waking up with my head sewn to the carpet.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Patriot

Patriot. n. one who loves his or her country and supports its authority and interests


From the Kerry hq:
John Kerry and John Edwards believe in a better, stronger America - an America
that is respected, not just feared. An America that listens and leads - that
cherishes freedom, safeguards our people, uplifts others, forges alliances, and
deserves respect. This is the America they believe in. This is the America they
are fighting for. And this is the America we can be.

Kerry's recent interview:

KERRY: I've been involved in this for a long time, longer than George Bush.
[sic] I've spent 20 years negotiating, working, fighting for different kinds of
treaties and different relationships around the world. [sic] I know that as
president there's huge leverage that will be available to me, enormous cards to
play, and I'm not going to play them in public, George. I'm not going to play
them before I'm president.

The real JFK:


Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.



A few what ifs:



George Washington: "I'll lead the fight against the British, that is, if you agree to make me the first president."



Abraham Lincoln: "I'll sign the Emancipation Proclamation if you'll re-elect me."



Franklin Roosevelt: "The only thing we have to fear...is...well, I'll tell you after you re-elect me."


Monday, August 02, 2004

Fortitude

Fortitude. n. courage, spunk, guts, sand, nerve, grit, moxie, backbone.

We should all be so bold to model this young example.