Monday, September 30, 2002
In keeping with the progressive theme, check out KickIdle.com. You'll notice that it hasn't been updated in about two weeks. If anyone would like to form a posse with me to go kick Daniel's [Idle] into gear, please enlist in the Comments section.
Incidentally and ironically, it was Daniel who got my Comments system working properly in the first place, and threatening to kick his [Idle] right before updating my YACCS code may not be the most brilliant of ideas. Oh well, as they say in Moscow: "c'est la vie."
Okay, so I thought I'd removed the temptation and thus most of my frustration through what I thought was an excellent bit of maneuvering. However, as usual, I overestimated myself. There is no longer any temptation, but the frustration has been roughly doubled. For the record, I banged my head against the wall (not very hard; I'm not stupid) and against my bed (hard, this time). Progress is being made, but it's slow.
Sunday, September 29, 2002
Well, I know that I haven't posted much lately, and for that you have my apologies. What follows may partially explain it, though (and do remind me to talk about Hobbes, Rousseau, Locke, heaven, and earth in the near future).
Lately, I've been greatly tempted. I'd prefer to not to say anything specific, including the type of temptation, since it might identify it to some of my readers. It's not the sort of thing where outside help would be very useful, though you can add me to your prayers if you're so inclined.
Anyway, back to my temptation. From what I can see, it has advantageous and disadvantageous aspects, and giving in to this temptation wouldn't be a sin. However, I would be seriously risking losing a current great hope of mine, and I can envision several scenarios where dishonesty and disloyalty could easily become evident if I wasn't firmly committed to taking this potential course of action. Since I don't think I can fully commit, it seems best to at least wait. I can't directly deal with the source of my trouble right now anyway, so that's another argument for waiting.
However, what gets to me is this: whenever I'm tempted or tested, my defiant nature* shows through, and I resent the heck out of the trial. I don't resent God, since I know He's helping me. If I resent anyone, it's either myself or Satan, though it's generally the situation itself that I dislike. My question is: should we welcome tests and rejoice in them, so long as we pass, or should we try to avoid them?
I don't believe that we're ever given a task that we cannot manage. It may be extremely hard and require incredible sacrifices, but we are always capable of fulfilling our mission. As such, with a true reliance on God and using all of our knowledge and wisdom, we should be able pass every test that comes our way. Thus, we should have no fear and welcome tempting. However, it's not always that simple. If I had a dozen beautiful girls sans clothing constantly throwing themselves at me, several things would happen. I'd first try and avert my eyes. I'd then politely decline. I'd then forcefully decline, while also praying for strength. Next, I would do my best to remove myself from the situation. However, these girls are rabid stalkers, and this isn't possible. As a last resort, I'd probably curl up into a fetal ball, start screaming at them, and praying the Lord's Prayer obsessively. However, I suspect that I'd eventually give in, if only to end the torment of being tempted. We all have our breaking points, and while we can withstand temptation, most of us don't do so all the time.
It would seem like the best course is to do your best to avoid temptation, except that this avoids the problem. Temptation usually comes when we're least looking for it, and so avoidance is nearly impossible. Withstanding temptation makes us stronger, though, and thus we are more worthy to be in God's presence the more we keep the faith.
I'm not sure where I stand on this right now. If you have thoughts, I'd love to hear them.
*I actually have an extremely defiant nature, and don't take orders very well from those who I believe to be unqualified to issue them (that said, I also work very hard when I believe that it's my actual duty to do so). I know that we're not supposed to be defiant; I'll say that I'm improving, though I've got a long way to go.
Tuesday, September 24, 2002
Your pirate name is:
Red Roger Cash
Passion is a big part of your life, which makes sense for a pirate. You're musical, and you've got a certain style if not flair. You'll do just fine. Arr!
(via Sgt. Stryker)
"Everywhere I see immense establishments where youths are brought up at great expense to learn everything but their duties."
-Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on the Sciences and the Arts
I've been thinking a lot about the rights and responsibilities we have in light of Christianity and the views of Locke and Rousseau. Give me a bit of time while I work them out.
"Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it."
-the fortune cookie I just ate
Monday, September 23, 2002
Before you do anything else, go over to Ben Domenech's site and congratulate the man!
Saturday, September 21, 2002
-Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
On Friday, I was working as the server in the pasta line. We had prima vera with penne, spaghetti, shells, rainbow macaroni, and some sort of tubular stuff. We also had sauce without meat, sauce with meat, and sauce with meatballs, plus a cheese sauce. The following is just one of many similar incidents of the day:
Me: "Hi, what can I get you?"
Customer: "I'd like some of the pasta."
Me: (helpfully)"This one?" (point to random item)
Customer: "Yes, spaghetti sauce."
Dear Sirs and Mesdames,
I have written to inform you that there is a problem in your Blacksburg stores. You see, Blacksburg is the home of Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University, more commonly known as Virginia Tech. The Virginia Tech Hokies have a great (if recently one-sided) rivalry with the University of Virginia Cavaliers (often known as Wahoos), and prior to games, many Hokies stop by their local Kroger stores to pick up some snacks. It was on this mission recently that I encountered the thing that made me decide to write to you. Whilst in the "chips and other unhealthy foods" aisle, next to the Pringles, was a full display of General Mills' Wahoos snack food. Nary a one had been sold. Quick reconnaissance at your other store in town and at one of your competitors (which I'll simply call "Lewd Ryan") established that Wahoos are not a top seller in the Blacksburg market. I would encourage you to ship these snacks to your Charlottesville-area stores, and to replace them with something better-selling, like more Red Bull.
Thank you for your time,
UPDATE: Brian, a friend from oova, informs me that "[t]hose things are nasty."
Louder Fenn has come back from his extended break with a new color scheme and having destroyed his archives. Welcome back!
Somehow, I can't edit the post directly below this one. Whenever I try, my Post and Post & Publish buttons disappear. I did insert a close-bold tag in front of the header to the post after that, though, so everything else should be okay.
Friday, September 20, 2002
Guess what! There's apparently a historic family crest for the Bauer clan!
Now, one problem: Bauer means "peasant." While I have at least one Graf (the German version of a Count) on my father's side, his name wasn't Graf Bauer. I'm going to guess that there's no such thing as the "historic family crest" of the Bauer "clan."
However, I do have a legitimate clan crest, motto, and tartan from my mother's side. The Robertson clan is apparently descended from the King Duncan of Shakespeare's MacBeth, and so I know I've got some royalty in my blood (if the throne of Scotland should ever become vacant, I'm probably around 80 millionth in line!).
Alternatively, I'm an American, without need of anything from my family history but an appreciation for my ancestors' hard work, suffering, and determination. I think I like this option best.
Thursday, September 19, 2002
In any case, while I'm not sure if I mentioned it or not, one of my friends put me as a write-in candidate for Hall Council without my knowing, got a bunch of our friends to vote for me, and thus successfully got me elected. I would consider actually going to the meetings, but I've got a time conflict. While I've considered letting them know that I can't do it, they don't seem to care that I haven't been to any meetings, and so I'm just on the mailing list, which gives me advance notice of tidbits like this:
"East AJ CHEER
HEY! What did you say?
EAST AJ’S GONNA LEAD THE WAY!!
Who’d lead the way?
EAST AJ’S GONNA LEAD THE WAY !!
We’re the hall - above them all
Don’t compete - you’ll be beat
East AJ’ll bring the heat
Representn’ East to West
East AJ - is the best
Look up now n’ hear our cheer
Get that fear - outta here
RHF’s the place to stay
East AJ will lead the way
Stomp the ground
Break it down…
LEAD THE WAY!!! (3x)"
And people ask why I'm not interested in running for political office.
*My dorm is East Ambler Johnston, and RHF stands for Residence Hall Federation
I don't know what to make of this. (via Matthew Edgar, who has also returned from a brief blogging break belligerently. Breathtaking.)
I've just been Rejected!
(caution: do not watch with small children present)
Apparently, with the Hokies rocking right now, people have realized that there's a small chance they could see their favorite conservative evangelical blogging Hokie Mellophone on national TV. Well, Mark Byron and Kevin Holtsberry, at least.
Thus, the official HokiePundit Guide to Finding HokiePundit.
The Marching Virginians sit at the very bottom part of the North stands. The press box is in the West stands, so you should be able to guide off of that. What you're looking for is a huge group of over 300 people wearing white. Several of them may be holding sousaphones (big tubas). Now, that's probably not going to be of much use to you. The Mellophone section is in the upper center-left (sounds like a description of Tony Blair, doesn't it?) portion of the MVs as you're looking at us from the South stands, slightly to the left of the left upright (this is why I managed to catch the first Tech field goal at the Marshall game after it barely sailed though the goalposts last week). Thus, if this is the MV part of the stands, the Xes will represent where Our Hero may be standing:
.\ _____ XXXXXXXX ________________________/
..\ ____________________________________ /
I'm usually towards the center, but that's go guarantee. However, as I'm 6'4" and always wear a bandana at the games, I shouldn't be too hard to spot.
However, as we have over a month until our next home game, you're going to have to wait a while to catch a glimpse.
Teacher: "Student, please translate 'Non habes dona deorum.'
Student: "You ain't got no divine powers."
later in that discussion...
Teacher: "Yes, but we need to look at the verb carefully to figure out what Phoebus was fixin' to do."
Dispatches from Outland has found something mighty interesting.
"Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality. Bless those who persecute you, bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written 'VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,' says the Lord. BUT IF YOUR ENEMY IS HUNGRY, FEED HIM, AND IF HE IS THIRSTY, GIVE HIM A DRINK; FOR IN SO DOING YOU WILL HEAP BURNING COALS ON HIS HEAD.' Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." -Romans 12:9-21 (NASB)
"Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." -Ephesians 4:1-3 (NASB) (via Mark Byron)
"You have heard that it was said, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous." -Matthew 5:43-45 (NASB)
There are a lot more passages like this, but I think you get the idea. Within just a day or two of resuming blogging, I started saying some really stupid things (start at the bottom and scroll up) in response to something else stupid that I said (the part about Canada at the bottom). When my unChristian cursing was questioned, I responded by trying to deny it and by basically pointing the finger everywhere I could except at myself (though I maintain that the War of 1812 had nothing to do with my earlier post).
Now, I currently have a bit of a dislike for Canada. I do hope that they elect new officials, and that they reconsider their decision not to help us restrain Iraq (this is about restraint, not revenge or retaliation).
However, I should not, even jokingly, have wished the things upon them that I did. Whatever I do, wherever I am, I am an ambassador of sorts. I am a representative of Americans. I am a representative of Christians. I am a representative of the Commonwealth of Virginia and of Virginia Tech. I am a representative of conservatives. By showing hatred towards a group I disagree with, not only am I shamed and discredited, but so are those groups of which I am a member.
If I may, I'd like to recant those things I said that I hoped happened to Canada and to Canadians. I don't know how to edit Comments, but the offending portion of the September 8th post will be struck through, so that while the fact that it was uttered will be preserved, it will be indicated that I no longer profess that to be true.
You may now all resume telling your teen-aged daughters that "When you get older, I want you to marry someone like HokiePundit, that handsome stud."
I won a Million Hokies!
Wednesday, September 18, 2002
I'd thought that this was just another prankish bit of humorous quasi-reporting by that delightfully comic paper, The Onion.
However, I'm no longer sure. Only a few days ago, I myself was the recipient of a suspicious telemarketing call. Not only was no business or set of options outlined, but the caller had trouble with English and said that she had a "special offer for students at Virginia Technical Institute University." At this point, I hung up, but the feeling that the icy hand of Islamofascism had tapped me on the shoulder lingers on.
(link via InstaPundit
Tuesday, September 17, 2002
Hint: try and get the computer to go into a back-and-forth session along the bottom of the screen, with as little up-and-down motion as possible. The computer will occasionally make a mistake.
Just a random thought, but might Saddam be trying to get inspectors to return so he can use them as hostages? "I see you're planning on bombing the Basra Bomb Building. Maybe Sven, Francois, Mtembe, and Pablo here will help change your mind?"
Well-developed arguments? We don't need no stinkin' well-developed arguments!
As you may or may not know, I'm an Anglican by denomination (contain your disbelief: evangelical Anglicanism isn't an oxymoron). However, while I was baptized into the Episcopal Church, USA (ECUSA is the American province of the Anglican Communion), I refuse to call myself an Episcopalian, as ECUSA has grown too spiritually corrupt to be my home. From what I've observed, the Church of England (the English branch of the AC) is in a similar state.
However, looking on Blogs4God, I found two excellent Anglican news sites, St. Peter's News Service and The Prayer Book Society. I'm sure the pending schism within the Anglican Communion isn't of interest to that many people, but since I'm the autocrat of this website, my will be done.
Incidentally, I ought to mention that despite what the non-religious claim, most American denominations don't regard other denominations as enemies, but as rivals to be convinced. I'm an Anglican, and while I disagree with the Roman Catholics, Presbyterians, etc. on several, sometimes many points, I wouldn't mind if one of my future children were to become a Pentecostal or Russian Orthodox Catholic. The cry of "with so many religions [sic], how can you claim that yours is right?" is shown to be misleading. All those denominations are Christian. It would be like saying "with fifty states, how can you ever expect to elect a president?"
Well, several people were long overdue for making my blogroll, and I hope I've corrected at least the most egregious omissions. Firstly, we have Charles Murtaugh, who's been kind enough to link to me in the past, and who I shamefully neglected to acknowledge. In a like vein, there's also Joshua Sargent, a Roanoke pastor who's also been a frequent contributor to my Comments section and fan at Hokie football games. With nearly identical credentials (other than the Roanoke pastor and fan at Hokie games part) is Bobby Allison-Gallimore, who runs the Caffeinspiration site. Our final addition is the re-adding of John Hohman, who's a pretty amusing read.
While not exactly an addition, I'm replacing John Hawkins' former site (inactive since April) with Right Wing News, which is Most Excellent.
I'd also like to thank Natalie Solent for some recent links and wish Jeffrey Collins of Joyful Christian the best of luck in getting over his sickness. He appears to be back with a vengeance, though, so all seems well for now.
Make sure you check out these people, and be sure to tell their referrer logs that HokiePundit sent you.
(A quick note: according to my own referrer logs, several people are clicking on those hyperlinks where I link back to my own page. If the hyperlinked text is "HokiePundit" then I'm just amusing myself, and the link will just add to my hit counter. Thus, the decision to stoke my ego rests entirely with you, the consumer. Full disclosure, and all that...)
I've noticed that a few of the posts in my archives have gone missing, such as part of Theological Foray #5. If you'd like to see my very best writings, including the missing part of TF#5, in one place, go here.
That's right, except for that one brief lapse, I abstained from blogging for two weeks. What happened during that time? A lot.
After reading Paul Wright's post in the Comments section in the previous post, it occurred to me that he's right. Australia has always been there for us, just like Britain. I apologize for the oversight.
I finally broke down and got a cell phone. It's a Kyocera "Party Animal," and it uses a pay-as-you-go scheme from Virgin Mobile USA. I'm afraid a cell-phone mentality has already set in, with my being disappointed with not getting messages and calls, despite the fact that only my parents know my number thus far.
I've formally decided that I will return to London this coming summer. The entire trip, from mid-May to early August, ought to cost $4500 (about $2000 of which needs to be had before I leave), including airfare, tube pass, rent, food, laundry, and whatever other costs may pop up. In the post below I said that I'd be willing to wash dishes to earn the money to be able to go back, and that's more-or-less what I've done. I'm now working at the Dietrick dining hall ten hours per week, doing whatever they tell me to. Today was my first day, and I had the Sisyphean task of keeping the stocks of burgers and fries filled. The work wasn't hard, though there was a lot of it. If I ever get discouraged, I need only to think of how much I want to go back and how every burger I wrap gets me that much closer.
It's odd, but nearly every waking moment I've had has been spent thinking about how much I want to go back to England, and London in particular. It's not that I prefer it to America, but that there's simply so much there to experience that the few weeks I spent over there merely whet my appetite. America is and has been the apprentice, son, and younger brother to Britain, and it's actually a bit of a stretch to call us separate peoples. The more I learn about them, the more I find that I learn about myself. Going as a worker instead of a tourist will give me a completely different view, and seeing England from the inside and America from the outside is an opportunity that no one should turn down if ever given the chance.
It's occurred to me that I'm at a time in my life when I need to begin assuming a leadership role. I've been given so many advantages in life that others lack that it's incumbent on me try and give back what I can. What I've found is that the best way to lead is by example. As a Rank Captain in the Marching Virginians, people look to me to see how they should behave. I'm the only non-Freshman in my section who doesn't drink, and I've noticed that several of them seem unsure of what to do. My hope is that by demonstrating that there are people who don't drink, they'll feel comfortable in refusing if that's their choice. Likewise, I wear a cross around my neck. I've had several people, especially in Britain, ask me about my faith and where to find local churches. People have been genuinely interested, and I get the impression that they'd never really thought about it before. In London, for example, the only people I saw who you could identify as Christians were some Koreans and sub-Saharan Africans. Now, I'm thrilled that these people are Christians. However, they're not English. If you're curious about something, it helps to know that people who look and act like you (yes, I'm American, but I speak English as my first language and, except for my good teeth, look like them) have already tried it. Other people seem to recognize some aspect of leadership in me, since right after people ask my major and I tell them that it's Political Science I joke that I'd rather starve than go into politics, I'm often told that they hope I do consider it as a field. Interesting.
As for HokiePundit, I've decided that while I have some mild expertise in a few areas, that's not the main reason people visit this site. Of course, my occasional theological forays seem to be popular, but I'm a little rusty right now, and so I'm having to work myself back into them. What appears to be the main draw is reading my gut reaction to issues. If you want brilliant analysis, you can go to Ben Domenech, Mark Byron, or USS Clueless (not to slight those who I didn't mention). If you want prose, go to Mark Butterworth, Louder Fenn, or James Lileks. You're not going to get the news you'd get from Samizdata, InstaPundit, VodkaPundit, or Sgt. Stryker. What you get is an insight into how a conservative twenty-year-old evangelical Christian Political Science major at Virginia Tech thinks. I'm not going to start loading the site up with my thoughts on every tiny aspect of life, but you'll probably see more gut reaction posts to things that impact me.
Oh, and if you'd like to see some of my photos from this summer, go here.
Sunday, September 08, 2002
I know I said I was going to take two weeks off, but I really didn't feel like waiting to say this:
God Bless the Brits.
We're at a point now where the only countries we can really trust are the UK and probably Australia, though some others (Italy, Spain, Poland, Czech Republic) may be coming around.
Also, while I despise his domestic policies, I have to admire Tony Blair for standing up to his own party to do what he thinks is right. He was already in a shaky position, and this could cost him his post if it doesn't go exactly as planned (of course, it could make him more popular than ever if it succeeds). It also occurred to me that despite the fact that I strongly prefer to Conservatives to be in power in Britain over Labour or the Lib-Dems, I would vote for Blair if he was running in my district. There comes a point when you'd rather have someone you know you can count on when the going really gets rough then someone who simply agrees with you on the issues.
Again: Thank you, Britain. It's things like this that make me willing to get a job washing dishes so I can go back.
Monday, September 02, 2002
Okay, here are my goals for this academic year:
1. Make Dean's List (3.4 GPA) both semesters, and thus bring my overall GPA up to a 3.0.
2. Save up enough money to travel to London, get a job, and rent a flat for the summer.
3. Keep HokiePundit afloat as a blog.
4. Develop leadership skills.
5. Develop my theological skills.
What does this mean? It means that I'm enforcing a blogging ban on myself until September 17th (interestingly enough, this is the day after Yom Kippur). If I come up with something brilliant, I'll write it, but not post it. If there are anniversary attacks, I'll be silent. I need to get my GPA up and my life ordered, so I'm going to have to ask for your patience. I'll still be reading blogs, though, and so you may see me in the Comments.
See you in two weeks!