Saturday, November 29, 2008

Christmas Movie Quotes Quiz 2

Here's the sequel to my Christmas Movie Quotes Quiz of 2005. This one should prove slightly more difficult. Try to guess the Christmas movie for each of the following quotes:

1. Close your eyes...! And think of snowflakes and moonbeams and whiskers on kittens...

2. I wish I had a million dollars... Hot dog!

3. Fella, if you can hear me, I'm just looking for your identification. As soon as I find out who you are, I'll give you a lift back to the mall.

4. I could show you letters that would open your eyes. No, you probably wouldn't understand what's in them. They're written by a type of man so far superior to you it isn't even funny.

5. I couldn't believe my own ears. Tinker Toys? She'd never buy it.

6. Hey, Kids, I heard on the news that an airline pilot spotted Santa's sleigh on its way in from New York.

7. Blast this Christmas music. It's joyful and triumphant.

8. Just because every child can't get his wish that doesn't mean there isn't a Santa Claus.

9. Hocus-Pocus explained the situation to Santa, who as you know, speaks fluent rabbit.

10. Ma'am, I'm eight years old. You think I would be here alone? I don't think so.

Click here to see the answers.

New for 2009: The Christmas Carol Quiz

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

We Agree on Something

Merlene Davis of the Lexington Herald-Leader titles her column "What if 52 percent voted not to let blacks drink at the fountain?" in a piece aimed at the reaction of voters to gay marriage proposals on the ballot.

Looking at all of this from a different angle, we should ask: Can a vote of 52% make something right or wrong? If it's a tax increase, then democracy seems a reasonable way to decide whether the tax increase should be allowed. However, would a vote of 52% also make murder legal? Actually, the vote would be couched in different terms: the vote would be to outlaw the prosecution of murder...voters would not be voting about whether murder was right or wrong, voters would be voting about whether the prison system and the taxes involved should continue to go to supporting the legal system, or something like that.

I agree with Davis that a 52% vote should not decide such matters. If gay marriage is ethically right, then voters should not be making such a decision. The irony is that in a world of relativism with no absolutes, it is often public opinion which is asked to determine what is permissible. But when public opinion backfires in this system, many cry "foul."

So then, where does a society derive its basis for right and wrong?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

January Weather in November

As Lexington continues to feel like January, I found some interesting data from local NBC weather man, Bill, on his blog. While he is no James Spann when it comes to the blog, he provides some interesting data on Lexington's average temperatures looked at by decade. As you can see, our current decade is extremely average.

1) 1930’s 56.6 degrees

2) 1950’s 56.0 degrees

2) 1990’s 56.0 degrees

4) 1940’s 55.8 degrees

5) 1920’s 55.7 degrees

5) 2000’s 55.7 degrees

7) 1980’s 55.5 degrees

8) 1910’s 55.2 degrees

9) 1970’s 55.0 degrees

10) 1900’s 54.9 degrees

What I find almost as interesting is that Bill gives no commentary on these numbers. Of course, if numbers speak so loudly, nothing else has to be said. He writes: "It’s not conjecture…it’s just the raw numbers."

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Signs, Signs, Everywhere Church Signs

"We Are Soular Powered by the Son"
(recently spotted church sign)

Church sign "posting" is apparently its own genre of comedy, or marketing genre, or something. The church sign has become so famous for its "catchy" phrases and puns that there's even the church sign generator website.

I saw the above "We are soular powered..." sign near my home last week. I took a camera-phone picture but it didn't turn out so well. Nothing against the particular church or any other church that has displayed this particular statement. It's the church sign in general that is a sore spot with me.

Churches really need to ask "What purpose is our sign fulfilling?"

I can think of three groups of people who read the sign: 1) people who go to that particular church, 2) people who go to a different church, and 3) people who do not do church.

1. If your sign is for people who go to your church, spare the rest of us and print your slogans in your bulletin. Put your meeting times on your sign, or something helpful for "outsiders."

2. If your sign is for other churches' people, then you must be attempting to woo them over to your church with your marvelous signage. Splendid. How about just handing out some cash? (It's been done...)

3. If your sign is for people who are not part of a church already, then the sign must be some misconceived attempt to get these people in the door. Is a cheap, pun-filled slogan going to accomplish this? And if so, what expectation have you created for what they will find inside?

Of course the unbelieving world thinks very little of the church, and its no wonder. Why do local churches insist on adding to the mockery from the world by so trivializing their own existence? When Jesus tells his followers that they will be hated by the world just as he was hated by the world, I do not think he was referring to their church signs.

How can anyone take a church seriously when all they ever see is a joke?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Government & Health Care

I broke down and watched Sicko a few nights ago. Interesting. Despite my difference of opinion on many issues, I've always found Michael Moore's work intriguing going back to when I first watched Roger and Me in the early 90's. Even with Sicko, I do not fault him for selecting facts for his advantage - he's trying to prove a point. Seriously, though, does anyone watch Sicko and believe that Moore has presented all the facts available to him?

Few can argue with a straight face that our current health insurance system works the way it should. I certainly do not pretend to have THE answers to fixing insurance costs, medication costs, or the problem of how to help the uninsured. However, when we consider the options for making health care affordable (or free) there are several stumbling blocks in plain view:

1. The Driver's License and Motor Vehicle Department. I don't know how it is where you live, but these are rarely efficient and usually quite painful. During my time in Birmingham, AL, I frequented one in Homewood where lunch breaks, computer failures, lines, and an utter lack of communication and proper signage made the "enterprise" a circus - nothing against those who work there. Now in Lexington, KY, I was disappointed on my first trip to find that they still do not accept payment by any kind of debit or credit card but require an ancient, paper form of money.

2. VA Hospitals. Ask any doctor who spends part of their time in the VA and they'll likely tell you that the VA cannot compete with the other local hospitals. I'm sure there are exceptions, but in general these are the most out-of-date, inefficient facilities to be found - nothing against those who work there. My few trips into VA facilities has felt amazingly similar to my experience in the former Soviet Union.

3. Congress itself. Can you say "negative approval rating"? And we want them to run our health care systems? (Like George Costanza being your latex salesman..."I don't think so.")

4. The Post Office. Okay, so this is fairly competent sometimes. But why do you have to send your envelope with "extras" if it actually has to arrive at its destination? (Nothing against those who work there...and, btw, my mailman, Doug, is super...) However, headlines just this week show that the U. S. Postal Service is heading to a $2.8 billion loss for 2008.

I'm certain that there are some positive examples out there of government-run agencies which are efficient, technologically up-to-date, breaking even budget-wise, and glowing examples of what your government can do for you...any come to mind?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Ethics in a Vacuum

"Why believe in a god? Just be good for goodness' sake."

According to this WP column, this "slogan" is a new advertising campaign by atheists in the D. C. Metro. Wow!

Making reference to such "ethical" practices usually associated with riding the Metro such as giving up one's seat for a pregnant woman, the article points to the work of the American Humanist Association to get "their message" out.

In case the irony does not strike you, take some time to watch Tim Keller's "author talk" at Google.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

10 Reasons the Vols Should Hire P. F. as Coach

10 Reasons the Vols Should Hire 'P. F.' as their New Head Football Coach:

[Since the season is still under way, the true identity of 'P. F.' should remain under wraps.]

1. P. F. is a Tennessee guy. He has previously played and coached at Tennessee. His heart is not just about money and winning at all costs - it is about the Vols and the Big Orange Nation.

2. P. F. has 17 years of head coaching experience in the toughest division of the toughest conference in college football.

3. P. F. has a national title to his credit. How many other available coaches can say this?

4. P. F. has proven to be one of the best recruiters in college football. He has consistently brought some of the nation's highest rated players to a fairly off-the-map location.

5. P. F. has run a program which, by all appearances, has stayed out of the kind of infractions other big schools have dealt with. While some have criticized his handling of disciplinary action with players, he has been fairly consistent and has sent several extremely talented players packing for rules violations.

6. P. F. has one of the highest winning percentages among any active head coach (in the aforementioned toughest division of the toughest conference.) While P. F. may not be Bobby Bowden or Joe Paterno, he has demonstrated some similar resiliency in his time as a coach.

7. P. F. has never suddenly left his team in the middle of the night for a 'better' offer. (Okay, maybe there haven't been those kinds of offers...)

8. P. F. has put countless players into the NFL. In fact, the NFL has come to view P. F.'s soon-to-be-former team as a good place to scout for talent.

9. P. F. already hates Steve Spurrier and is hated by Steve Spurrier.

10. P. F. will become available when his duties expire with his former team later this month after a game against Kentucky, and he would likely work for below market value (he might even work for free since he is coming off a $6 million buyout.)