Wednesday, January 29, 2003

My Limits

Okay, I'm lactose-intolerant (I'm a Christian: of course I'm intolerant!) and can't eat most fruit (due to fructose?) or invertebrate seafood without digestive trouble. I don't eat meat on Mondays as a sort of sacrifice, similar to how Catholics don't eat meat or poultry on Fridays. With Lent coming up, I'll be giving up candy, iced tea, and soda again (that I give up food like that should tell you something about my maturity level). Now, to add bitter insult to greivous injury, Marmite may be on the list of prohibited foods. Seriously, I'm getting to the stage of vegetables, pasta, and water. I know of worse cases, but darnit, I'm an American! I shouldn't have to take this! Of course, the whole lactose-intolerance thing has meant that I'm not eating pizza and ice cream at every meal and have thus gained a mere four pounds since coming to college, but still. Thankfully, most meats except harsh things like pepperoni are fine. It'll be a sad day when I can't eat roast beef, sausages, or fried fish, though. They can have my cod when they pry it out of my cold, dead, small intestine.

Sorry, just needed to vent. I've decided to ask God to at least let me keep Marmite, much like I made a specific request to be able to keep lemonade. I understand that we can't have everything, and I know how lucky I am to even have food whenever I want it, but I'm rapidly approaching the food-and-water stage. Leave me roast beef, cod, pasta, bread, corn, peas, broccoli, Marmite, and tea and I'll be fine. Giving up corned beef and cabbage would be a bitter loss as well, too.

You Heard It Here First

Joe Millionaire, despite working a job where he only made $19,000/year, isn't poor or even middle-class. His parents are millionaires. Look for this to be revealed after the winner decides whether not to marry him after learning that he's not (yet) a millionaire. No, I didn't just make this up.

Sunday, January 26, 2003

(on hiatus due to schoolwork)

Wednesday, January 22, 2003

France Defeated!

He's chokin' how
Everybody's jokin' now
The clock's run out
Time's up, over, plow!

Hey, at least they still have football...

Tuesday, January 21, 2003


Today's edition of the campus newspaper is a doozie. Look for snide comments and possibly even a Fisking later on today.

Friday, January 17, 2003

Quote of the Day

Me: "Yeah, my teacher told us that he was Captain Ahab."
SB: "Oh, I'm not familiar with Moby-Nick."

Virginia College Morning Rituals

Longwood- milk the cows, gather eggs
Radford- finish liquor, take STD shot
UVA- find paper online
William & Mary- shower, study till class
VCU- toke on way to class,never make it
Virginia Tech- check rankings (football/academic), cry
JMU- roll over, introduce yourself

(courtesy of Tess)

Wednesday, January 15, 2003

Sloppy, Sloppy

My International Law book says that the main Allied diplomats at the Treaty of Versailles were Woodrow Wilson, Georges Clemenceau, and "Lloyd George." This is wrong, or at least disrespectful. The man's name was David Lloyd George, with Lloyd George being his last name. It's like Vincent Van Gogh or Manfred von Richtofen. The last two words are the last name.

Of course, what do you expect when the author is Van Dervort?

UPDATE: Oops! My bad, the author is Thomas Van Dervort. Sorry, I must not have been paying attention...

A Joke!

Did you hear about the panic at the Catholic service last Sunday? It was Mass hysteria.

Cough, Sputter

Unsweetened tea from the Southern-style Sweetened tap? What are they trying to do, poison me?!?

UPDATE: Not only do I have to endure the heathen savagery that is unsweetened tea, but both Sprite taps were only dispensing seltzer water and they didn't have blondies (peanut-butter brownies) available for dessert today. I put up with too much.

He's Not the Only One...

Gregory Hlatky visualizes P-51 Mustangs strafing his car whenever he sees a "Speed Limit Enforced By Aircraft" sign. I personally think of attack helicopters and F-15s, but the idea's still the same.

Meanwhile, the "No Hazmat Trucks" signs always make me think of prohibitions on terrorists driving in the fast lane...

Tuesday, January 14, 2003

Theological Debate!

TS O'Rama takes issue with my post lamenting the state of Christianity, most especially with my call for an "open table" Communion and apparent support of "mere Christianity" over denominations. To answer the second objection first, I'd like to start by saying that I think Christianity ought to be one big room without the need for corridors. That doesn't mean glossing over differences, but rather looking to see what the Bible says and whether the differences are really enough to keep people from worshipping together. I can't think of any disputes not readily answerable by the Bible (I suspect that most are, though) that should be enough to prevent Christians from worshipping together.

As for Communion, it appears to me that any church which denies Communion to anyone who seeks it (or forces them to lie about their status as a member of that church in order to participate) and still holds that the people they refuse are Christians needs to re-examine its policies. If Xists want to say that Yists are Christians but still refuse to show Christian brotherhood, they're hypocrites. As for Catholics believing Communion to be the actual veins-and-sinews body and blood of Christ while Protestants believe it to be merely a representation, I don't consider this enough to separate the two. It also doesn't address those such as myself who believe it to literally be the spiritual body and blood of Christ. I think that ultimately, Protestants and Catholics also believe this. To say that it's merely a representation is saying that it is love and fellowship. Catholics deny that their view of Communion is cannibalism, and thus the only way I can see something being Christ without also being human flesh is to be his spiritual body, which, being God, is love. The closest to a dispute I can see from this is whether or not fellowship is a direct or indirect result of this.

Monday, January 13, 2003


While I'm not pleased by it, Virginia Tech does sell the email addresses of its students to spammers. However, I just got an email from people wanting me to call them so I can get a degree (Bachelor's through Doctorate) of my choice without any tests, classes, books, or interviews. What was Tech thinking in sending this to me? Don't they see how they've sold information to a competitor? If I'd known that I could get a degree with this little effort, I wouldn't have stayed up all night for my Freshman Chemistry final two years ago! Man, I got hosed...

A Scene

The scene: we find our protagonist (me) shifting about the room, looking mildly distracted. He has thus far scrubbed out the inside of his tea mug with a toothbrush and danced to the song Sayonara Senorita by himself while his roommate looks on with interest and mild alarm.

Me: I'm going to start answering the phone with "ahoy," if that's okay with you.
KJ: What are you doing?
Me: I'm reading and highlighting my International Relations book, even though it only has to be done by Thursday. Theoretically.
KJ: You're procrastinating on getting ahead? You are such a loser! Get an effin' life!
Me: I'm afraid I've already got an F in life.

Filthy Capitalists...

I just got back from the bookstore(s), along with about $400 worth of textbooks for this semester thus far. I'm taking nineteen hours, which helps explain it, but there's still some serious imbalance in cost per class. I actually only need to take the Political Science and Imperial Russia courses, but I figure that I may as well learn as much as possible while I'm here. I'd like to take all four courses in the Russia sequence (I took Russia to Peter the Great with the same professor last semester) and as much of the England sequence as possible (it looks as though they only have a teacher for the survey, though). I'm taking Latin because it's making me smarter. I'm taking Band because it's fun, I'm good at it, and I can't argue with a free A. The PhD candidate teaching the Philosophy course is a member of the Freethinker listserv on which I participate, and so that should be interesting. All in all, it looks to be a challenging but fun semester.

Philosophy 1304 Morality and Justice
PSCI 3616 International Relations
PSCI 3346 Constitutional Law
History 2156 History of England
History 3616 Imperial Russia
Latin 1106 Elementary Latin
Music 3314 Symphony Band

Amusing Visual Logic

See, it really is all about oooooooooiiiiiilllllllll! (warning: profanity)
(via Balloon Juice)

Accidental Lack of Modesty...

My Indian hallmate informs me that the word "pundit," from the Sanskrit "pandit," is the term used for a very learned and scholarly man. I had thought that it just meant "commentator" when I created HokiePundit. This seems to happen to me a lot. My AIM Screen Name is ElGuapoSiempre, which translates as "The Handsome One, Forever." I created this back when I wore heavy glasses, didn't look in the mirror before going to school, did a poor job of shaving, and looked at the ground a lot and didn't smile much. Now that I have contacts, make sure I don't look like I got zapped with something, shave against the grain, look up, and smile, I actual look fairly decent, and have been told that people will probably think I'm arrogant for choosing the SN that I did. It's my opinion (seriously) that I probably am too arrogant for my own good, but I probably need to stop saying things about myself that look like I'm fishing for compliments.

Okay, enough introspection for the day. I've got to take care of an audition and some other stuff today, and probably should eventually work on those.


Joshua Sargent has moved! Update thy bookmarks! I know I'm very behind in all this, but I do need to find out what happened, since I seem to have missed a lot.

HokiePundit's a Dork

If you're stuck in a long line of cars behind a silver Ford Taurus wagon with Virginia Tech, American flag, and Christian fish stickers that's going exactly the speed limit, be it 15 or 75, you can blame my Political Theory teacher (Dr. Davis). You see, the law says that the maximum speed at which you or I may drive on state-maintained roads is the posted speed limit. Now, as we all know, that doesn't mean that this is the fastest that you can drive (you'll have to trust me on this one, not that I would have any experience driving at speeds slightly above reckless...).

Why should I obey this law, though? For over four years I sped, and never once received a ticket for speeding. If you only go about five or ten over the limit and don't go faster than marked cars (or Crown Victorias with blue things in the back window), the odds of your getting pulled over are pretty small. Is anyone really hurt by your speeding? Isn't more good done by you spending less time in transit and more time being productive?

The reason one should obey traffic laws is for the same reason one should obey any other law: it is not only respect for your fellow citizens, but a buttressing of our society. A long time ago, men first got together and forged the first social contract. It was probably something simple, like "you stay there, I'll stay here, and neither of us will kill the other so long as it stays that way." Actually, modern social contracts aren't really much more than this. They are simply agreements that state, in essence, that everyone's rights will be protected against undue intrusion, and that there will be consequences for this undue intrusion, generally in the form of the society uniting against the intruder. They may have other layers, such as stating that a fundamental human right is to have enough food and shelter to survive so long as a person is working or at least attempting to do so, but these, if examined closely, are still basically the same as the initial premise, with an idea, such as death, taking the place of a human. The social contract seeks to prevent bullying by those with more resources, since so long as no individual has more power than the rest of society combined, it is he who stands to lose from any conflict. All laws are (theoretically, at least) designed to protect rights, and punishments are designed to induce criminals to re-evaluate the risks of violating the social contract. Stealing is prohibited because it deprives a person of his goods without the benefit of due process. If caught after the fact, society unites, hunts down a suspect, determines whether or not he is guilty through the due process of a trial with strict rules of evidence and procedure, and then, if guilty, sentences him according to pre-set guidelines and attempts to return the property to the victim. This is superior to the state of nature, since someone like me probably wouldn't have the resources to track down a person who stole my credit card number (yes, I know that credit cards wouldn't exist in the state of nature). This also begins to touch on why laissez-faire libertarianism is flawed, but speaking on that is not my intention in this post.

As I drive, and I'm sure you also notice, cars whiz by me. As I tend to be right on the speed limit, this means that either my spedometer is broken or that they're speeding and thus breaking the law. Now, I know that the general will of the good people of the Commonwealth of Virginia is for the speed limit to be 35 mph on Telegraph Road and 65 mph on I-81 except around Harrisonburg and Roanoke. I know this because the signs posted by the Commonwealth along the roadside state the speed limit. If Virginians wanted it to be 100 mph on all roads and actually cared enough about it to want it changed, then it would be changed. Parts of Montana have no speed limit, and that state has experienced neither divine vengeance nor the USAF bombing Butte or Helena. Virginians appear to care more about prohibiting late-term abortions, eliminating the car tax, and funding public schools than increasing the speed limit on I-81to 70 mph so as to match West Virginia. If we decided that, by gum, we wanted to up the speed limit, the Faster Roads Party would gain seats in local assemblies and one or both of the major parties would begin supporting it. If the support for changing the law isn't greater than that of maintaining the status quo, then the general will is in favor of the latter. Therefore, we know that it is our will to restrict all drivers on I-81 to 65 mph unless otherwise marked (Roanoke just has to be different). However, most people still violate their covenant with their neighbor and break the law. Very rarely is this done in order to save lives, and most of the time it is broken it is by police cars chasing lawbreakers or ambulances or fire trucks trying to save lives. Most people speed because they get bored while driving long distances and want to reduce that time or because they didn't allot enough time for their trip and thus need to break the law in order to keep on schedule.

Breaking the law, no matter how small the statute, has many negative effects. Most obviously, you become a lawbreaker and can be disciplined by the police and courts. In Virginia, it also means that you cannot collect on your insurance if an accident results from your poor judgement. It also makes a person undisciplined, since if you can't be expected to follow something as simple as driving below a certain speed, why should you be expected to be competent to do something like vote? It also sets a bad example for children. If they see mommy and daddy breaking the law, why should they follow the rules their parents set for them? Lastly, there is the simple honor of the thing. As a citizen, you tacitly agree (explicitly, if you've been naturalized) to follow the laws of the various governments by which you are governed. When you intentionally break the law, you lie, and state that you believe that your opinion is more important than the combined opinions of the rest of society.

Personally, I've found driving the speed limit to be more relaxing. I just set the cruise control and lean back, generally moving out of the way of people who try to pass me. It's not my job to enforce the laws, just to obey them.

UPDATE: Jeffrey Collins comments. I'd considered adding a theological dimension to my argument, but I decided not to for two reasons. First, I liked the way this turned out, and I'm not sure I could've added more without some major revision. Secondly, I'll probably incorporate his point into an upcoming post on theology.

Thursday, January 02, 2003

Status Report, Number One

Post on social contract: forthcoming
Theological foray: forthcoming

UPDATE: I'm sick with a cold, or else the essays would be up. Sorry!

Bowl Trip Report

Yes, the Virginia Tech Hokies beat the Air Force Academy Falcons 20-13 at the Diamond Walnuts San Francisco Bowl. There were some calls that the Hokie faithful found a bit, ahem, questionable, but in the end, Better triumphed over Good, and we were vindicated. Apparently, even the ESPN announcers were surprised at the calls, so I think it's safe to say that we have a case for declaring those bad calls.

In other bowl news, Notre Dame lost yet another bowl by an embarassing margin. They need to either join a conference or buzz off. I'm told that Notre Dame has a tradition of remaining independent in football (though not in any other sports). The Big East has a tradition of going to the bowls we deserve and winning them. Notre Dame apparently does not share this tradition. The Big East is a combined 3-1 in bowls so far this year, with Miami yet to play. In three of the past four years, a Big East team has played for the national championship. At present, half the teams in the Big East are ranked. We are a serious conference. Join us, join another conference, or be satisfied with the Humanitarian Bowl.

In related news, UVA still doesn't have class.

Quote of the Bowl Trip

"Stereotypes exist for a reason!"

-Will, to our irritating cheerleaders

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