Wednesday, December 31, 2003
I just found a parking ticket on my car for "PARKED RIGHT SIDE NOT TO CURB." In English, this means that I parked facing traffic, as many people in my neighborhood do. Sheesh.
Yes, I've been slacking off lately. I figure that having just completed a semester almost entirely composed of theory courses (3.48 GPA!), and looking at six straight semesters with only a Christmas Break to intervene, I need to get as much Smash Brothers Melee, video watching, and hanging out with friends as humanly possible. If I get bored, it may be time to break out the Legend of Zelda Collection, Mario Kart Double Dash, and mini-golf skills.
The sad thing is that I'm not working over break, and feel lost. I need someone requiring papers out of me and expecting me to have read 100+ pages every night, or else I just don't know what to do with myself. Maybe I should hire someone to professionally nag me.
Saturday, December 27, 2003
I have a special weakness for two kinds of music: ska-punk and hard-core drug rock ([BH] Surfers and Queens of the Stone Age, for instance). In the former category, one of the unheralded luminaries is Tomas Kalnoky, whose incredibly fast abd dense lyrics make him unmistakable. He was the lead singer/songwriter of the early version of the band Catch-22, and is now involved with Bandits of the Acoustic Revolution (BOTAR) and Streetlight Manifesto. The new (and first) Streetlight Manifesto album is basically part two of "Keasbey Nights," Catch-22's last recording with Kalnoky and several others who left with him. Another weakness I have is for songs that continue a theme. Everyone's heard the song with the chorus "just call me angel in the morning, baby," but there was a reggae song released a few years ago where they guy sings "Shorty, you're my angel, baby," which boosted it several notches in my estimation. In any case, the title track from the Catch-22 album had the following perverse chorus:
"When they come for me, I'll be sittin' at my desk
With a gun in my hand, wearin' a bulletproof vest
Singin' 'mymymy how the time does fly
When you know you're gonna die by the end of the night.'"
In the song "Point/Counterpoint" from the Streetlight Manifesto album, occupying the same track number as "Keasbey Nights," there's the following chorus:
"I've got a gun in my hand, but the gun won't cock
My finger on the trigger, but the trigger seems locked
And I can't stop starin' at the tick-tock clock
And even if I could I would never give up
With a vest on my chest and a bullet in my lung
I can't believe I'm dyin' with my song unsung
And if and when I die won't you bury me alone?
'Cause I'll never get to heaven if I'm singin' this song."
Awesome. This group also releases acoustic ska-punk as BOTAR, utilizing cellos, French horns, and other classical instruments. The song "Hey Sergio," originally by Catch-22, is "covered" by BOTAR, and BOTAR's song "Here's to Life" is re-done by Streetlight Manifesto.
Monday, December 22, 2003
Those opposed to the killing of unborn children have more kids than those who are okay with the idea. Well, shut my mouth!
(via Mark Shea)
Sunday, December 21, 2003
Perhaps a sign of hope is that those who argue for evil are never content to simply say "yeah, so what?" but instead try and couch vice as virtue. Favorite line: "Marrying somebody without knowing whether they behave in a good or evil manner in bed is like marrying somebody without knowing what their favorite book is, or what their religion is, without knowing what they think constitutes moral virtue."
I mean, come on! Is it really that hard to actually talk to a girl and get to know her without having to sleep with her? Call me crazy, but I would think that the best way to find out a person's favorite book is not to raid their bookcase and read their diary, and the best way to find out someone's religion is not to stalk them and find out which (if any) church they attend and how often they pray. Heck, if you can't even find out a person's religion, you probably have no business dating in the first place.
What it comes down to is this: most people would like to have sex and other forms of physical intimacy. However, instead of taking the time to lay down a non-physical foundation upon which a relationship can be built, with physical relations added on later as a supporting stone (not the key- or capstone), we're afraid that we're going to miss out. We get desperate, panic, and give in. For all their sophistry, arguments such as the one the author of the linked piece makes simply sound to me like Lady Macbeth, protesting too much.
After being told for a while that I ought to do so, I finally sat down and read Watership Down, by Richard Adams. Improbably enough, it's a story about rabbits and it's absolutely fascinating. Perhaps the thing that most struck me was that any reader could probably identify with one of the rabbits. Hazel is something of an Arthur-type, though without the Guinevere/Lancelot problem. Fiver is a visionary. Pipkin is small but resolute. Holly is a professional who is willing to admit when he is wrong and to take orders. Bigwig is a big galoot who is utterly loyal to his leader (somewhere between Gawaine and Lancelot, for Arthurian fans). Blackavar is the grateful refugee. Dandelion is a storyteller and the fastest of the rabbits. Blackberry has a knack for thinking outside the box. Strawberry, like Holly, had made a mistake but makes good on it. Silver, Buckthorn, Acorn, and Speedwell, to varying extents, are rank-and-file. I think I most resemble Bluebell, who escaped the original warren as it was being destroyed, survived an attack by Cowslip's warren, and helped encourage Holly until they made it to Watership. Bluebell is relentlessly light-hearted, and sometimes has trouble taking things seriously enough. He loves encouraging others, and while he's not the best rabbit, his support often gets others through patches where they would otherwise give up in despair. Though nothing special in himself, he carries his own weight and has a knack for helping others to do their best.
Friday, December 19, 2003
Just in case you ever need to translate from rabbit ("Silflay hraka u embleer rah.") to Finnish, you now know where to go. You can thank me later.
Thursday, December 18, 2003
Several people have responded to my post below where I argue against executing Saddam Hussein, as I believe he could provide intelligence and that he deserves a chance to convert. I'll try to respond to the arguments against my view. I'm very ambivalent about this, and while I could be swayed either way, I'll likely play Devil's Advocate (hey, that's strangely non-ironic...).
Well, I don't know that Saddam knows where Osama is, but he might turn in someone who does (or, more likely, someone who turns in someone who turns in someone who...you get the picture). If finding out information that would bring this war to a close sooner required that we leave him alive, wouldn't it be worth it?
As for the conversion argument, I still don't buy that he has to be executed. Where in the New Testament is execution condoned? The way I see it, this is solely a matter of secular law, and then only so long as we presume that there is no Biblical prohibition. Is there such a prohibition? I don't know. In the Old Testament, execution occurred if one broke one of God's commandments. However, we do not see Christians doing this in the New Testament. The Mosaic Law was essentially summarized as the Great Commandment, with the Great Commission newly emphasized. Obviously, Hussein broke the Great Commandment. The only trouble is that so have every single one of us. A rich woman who has stolen a candy bar from a 7-11 is just as guilty in God's eyes as Saddam Hussein; they have both done what they know to be contrary to the will of God. If the woman has been raised Christian, then arguably she is even more at fault, as she knew what she was doing, while someone with a secular/Muslim background would at the very least have less perfect knowledge of this. However, living in a largely Christian country, the woman will likely have more chance to repent than the man.
Obviously, God is not limited by time. However, we are, and waiting takes its toll on us, our minds, and our resources. As God could Save Hussein in a second if He wanted to, then it is argued that it is okay to execute him. By extension, there is no need for any real length of time to elapse from sentencing to the carrying out of that sentence, as the few seconds along the way to the wall would be sufficient. However, we are not to test God. I have no doubt that a millisecond would be quite sufficient if God wanted it done. However, not being bound by time, God doesn't always do things as quickly as we might like. Christ spent two years with his disciples, only to have them all run away once he'd died (and all but John while he was still alive). God obviously didn't need two years to make Christ ready for sacrifice, but we did. I know I'm about to become a little inconsistent with Free Will/Predestination, but please bear with me. If it takes a fall from power, humiliation, and captivity in the hands of his enemies to convert Saddam Hussein, wouldn't it be worth it? To argue that we should execute Hussein for what he's done is the same as arguing that Ananias should've slit Saul's throat. If Hussein needs until Thursday and we execute him on Wednesday, we've just caused a soul to be lost because of our own impatience. If killing Saddam would save lives, I would rethink this. However, the difference between Saddam captured/humiliated and Saddam dead isn't enough to prevent further death.
If we're going to take a life and potentially seal the fate of their soul, we need a good reason. You can't kill someone to save their soul. Will Hussein's death save other people's souls? I doubt it, and I also don't think that we can so willingly sacrifice one for many (this is similar to why abortion is wrong). Will his death prevent more killing? Again, I don't think so. What reason is left? If he is to be punished, then death is the one punishment least likely to work. Torture, which we don't do, and humiliation are far better tools. To execute him is to say that he is beyond hope of redemption, and is thus unworthy of more time. That argument makes a mockery of Christ's sacrifice. Are we willing to scar the conscience of his executioner just so we can wreak vengeance? Would any of us volunteer to throw the switch, inject the poison, or pull the trigger? I wouldn't. Again, I say that we can only take his life if we know that his soul cannot be Saved, or that it can be Saved if God works according to our plans instead of us according to His. I think we risk hurting our own souls more than we hurt Saddam's body if we kill him.
I may be wrong. Convince me.
For every click, Campbell's will donate a can of soup to the hungry. It only takes a second.
Tuesday, December 16, 2003
Good to know that people never make up hate crimes or anything...
Monday, December 15, 2003
Fearsome Pirate has a good debunking of Darwinian Evolution.
Within moments of the announcement of the capture of Saddam Hussein, many began calling for his execution, by means of a "short drop and a sudden stop."
I cannot support this.
Firstly, while it may be good for propaganda, surely that need could be better served by offering Saddam a deal where he spills everything, such as where his WMDs are (and if he actually had them or was just talking trash), what he knows about al Qaeda, and possibly the location of Osama bin Laden. Afterwards, put him in the cell adjoining Manuel Noriega's, and be done with it. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, can you think of a person more in need of repentence and salvation? If we kill him, after he's already surrendered, we preclude the possibility of him being Saved. I don't like the man, but then, the Apostles didn't much care for Paul in the early days, either. He's an old man and will probably die within a few years anyway, but I believe that it is to everyone's benefit that he remain alive.
I didn't get a flu shot this year. I haven't had one in years, as I always ended up getting it anyway, so I figure that there's no need to use up a vaccine that someone else could use for its placebo value (not to mention saving $20). On Friday evening, I could tell that I was about to get sick, with some light coughing. On Saturday, I was somewhat achy and tired all day, with a bit of a cough, but nothing serious. Yesterday was miserable. I was always freezing cold, except when I was burning hot. I went to bed around 11PM, and then woke up around 2AM this morning to find my bed drenched with sweat, my fever gone, and even most of the exhaustion gone (I didn't get back to sleep until about 7AM).
I guess that was the flu. I figured that if I was getting sick, the best thing to do was to get a lot of vitamin C. Over two days, I drank over a gallon of orange juice. I also had some Cold-Eeze zinc drops and ate some chicken, both of which are supposed to be very good for fighting colds (and, presumably, for flu as well). I had read a TS O'Rama's suggesting ways to beat the cold or flu, and while some seemed to make sense, the idea of drinking alcohol is a bad idea, at least in my case. I've never had a hangover while healthy, but after having an O'Doul's (.5% abv) last time I was sick, I woke up with something monstrous the next day. So, no alcohol for this Hokie when he's sick.
What's the moral of this? I don't know. Drink lots of orange juice (or Tang). Get your rest. Pray some. Watch sci-fi or action movies (I watched four over the weekend: Stranded, Blade II, Pitch Black, and Basic). Don't get bogged down, and you'll be fine.
Friday, December 12, 2003
Check out this Horn Star! And not only that, they're apparently French horns!
Congratulations! You're Pippin!
Which Lord of the Rings character and personality problem are you?
brought to you by Quizilla
Monday, December 08, 2003
I think we all know what that means. (For those who don't know, it means that I'm going to be up into the wee hours every night for a week, finding every conceivable excuse not to do my assignments, finally hashing them out four hours before they're due, and then getting an A- on them. It means logic trains such as "I feel tired; I'll work better once I'm rested. However, I can't focus as well when I'm not tired. Eh, I'll go to sleep anyway and see if it's different this time, unlike all previous times where I wake up and suddenly realize that I have 2,000 words to write and fewer than three hours in which to write them. Hey, I'm thirsty. I think I'll have a beer to relax, even though it always makes me want to go to sleep whenever I have one this late. OHMIGOSH, MY ALARM DIDN'T GO OFF!!! IT'S 9AM!!! I guess I'd better skip class and email it to the professor some time before 5PM...")
You would think I'd learn, but I haven't yet. Of course, I've still got one more semester of undergraduate work and four or five of graduate, so there's still so much time to learn. In fact, there's so much time to learn that it couldn't hurt for me to have a beer and sleep some more...
Friday, December 05, 2003
A friend of mine is afraid that they might have gotten HIV. So far as I know, they haven't done anything where they could've contracted it, but then, I could be wrong. I'm pretty sure they don't have it, but just in case, please pray for them. (Yes, if you were wondering, I'm playing the pronoun game.)
Mason's Away Message: "Rite Cheer"
Me: "Whoo! Go Anglicanism! Beat Eastern Orthodoxy! Rah-rah-rah!"
Krista: "she'd throw the frist punch"
Me: "She'd throw the Senate Majority Leader at you?"
Krista: "I would throw the Republican Whip."
Me: "Hey Will, how're you?"
Will: "Cold...and slightly drunk."
Eric from my History 2104H class, presenting a report: "To compete with the C&O Canal, Baltimore began building the B&O Railroad, which was a bit risky at the time as the steam engine hadn't been invented yet."
Thursday, December 04, 2003
Satan Wants Me Dead by Fire Engine Red, from the album "Change."
"When you're alone and tempted by sin
When you're alone reach out and pray
Never alone: God's always with you
Greater is He who's in me than he who's in the world
He's the God of love love love love love love love yeah"
Okay, let's be blunt: I've heard most of the rest of Fire Engine Red's stuff, and it doesn't appeal to me. It doesn't sound like this at all. Amazon thinks this is ska, but I don't really know how I'd classify it. I like the simple repetitiveness of it all, and think it's really catchy. I really like the touch the female vocalist puts on the third line of each verse, and the old-timey feel of parts of it are pretty nifty, too. It's a fairly simple song, and so this'll be a fairly simple review.
You just might get it. One problem I have is that under some circumstances, I'm very impatient (and under others, I can go on for a long time...odd). One prayer I have is that God would help me with this impatience. Well, I've been stressed lately because there was something I wanted really badly to have happen, and it didn't. Not only that, but I kept being told it would happen, only to have it need to be put off until later at the last second. I recently found out that it would almost certainly have to wait until mid-to-late January, which would mean I'd be waiting about three months for something that could reasonably happen in a few hours. Proverbs 13:12 says that hope deferred is bad for the spirit. However, I was overlooking the second part, which is that it is a joy when that hope is fulfilled. The best things in life are worth waiting for. Having realized that God heard and is working on my prayer, I think I'm good to go, though I'm sure there will be a few moments of despair. Just gotta keep my eye on the prize...
Wednesday, December 03, 2003
Who is better:
A) Krista, who is buying her boyfriend a cheesecake poster
B) Leslie, who bought her boyfriend Grand Theft Auto III
Tuesday, December 02, 2003
That's right, it's lately been All Gayness, All the Time here at HokiePundit. For those who believe homosexuals have a right to marry, I have questions for you.
1. If it is okay for two men or two women to marry, then why not three men or three women? Other than the "one of each" idea, what would limit marriage to two people?
2. If two unrelated men can marry, then why not two men who are first cousins or even brothers? The argument against incest is that it leads to genetic problems, but this is obviously not a problem faced by two men or two women, so what is to prevent even a father and son from marrying?
3. If it is legal for a man to have many girlfriends and sleep with all of them, so long as he supports them, why is it illegal for him to have many wives?
4. Would you agree that if marriage is not allowable, then sex outside of marriage is also unacceptable? If sexual activity outside of marriage is also banned, then homosexuality is reduced to two guys or girls hanging out with each other, which doesn't really present a problem, right?
5. If you're a Christian, why is homosexuality okay although alcoholism and fornication are not? If you say all three are okay, what is your source for contradicting the Bible? If you say that it is the Holy Spirit, then do you believe that the Holy Spirit regularly nullifies portions of scripture? Do you believe that Christ's death was the final sacrifice necessary, and that nothing further needs to be done on God's part to bring about our Salvation?
6. One argument for homosexual marriage is that people were born with certain urges, and it would be wrong to deny them the ability to act on these orientations. For what other orientations would you apply this reasoning? For which would you deny the ability to act? Why?
Well, we just had Tech-UVA rivalry weekend, with the basketball teams playing on Friday and the football teams playing on Saturday. Both times, the Hokies lost, bringing both schools to 4-4 on Sports That Count during my undergraduate career. There is, of course, hope for a grad school sweep, as I've been accepted into the M.A.Ed program for next year, which I'll finish by the summer of 2005. Both times, we didn't play as well as I've seen us before, but the simple fact is that we lost. These things happen.
I'd like to compliment the UVA fans on their behavior (the sober ones, at least). At both the WVU and Pitt games, their fans treated us like scum and generally made the experience unpleasant (and in Morgantown, potentially dangerous). There was some more-or-less good-natured taunting, but nothing serious. I hope we treat visiting fans at least as well, and I think we do. So, again, their fans have my compliments.
I went down to Charlottesville on Friday with my friend Brian, who's a resident at the UVA Wesley Foundation, and stayed with him through Saturday. Now, one thing that could've potentially made this "interesting" is that his roommate, Dave, is the Virginia Gentleman (now in the Land O' Links under Millenials) whom I recently disagreed with over the Christian view of homosexuality. I was a little nervous about what his reaction would be, since his reply to my post sounded pretty upset, I thought. Well, no worries. We, along with the other roommates, Andrew and Will, got on like peas and carrots. We, perhaps wisely, didn't discuss theology, but we did talk about the Church, the schools' rivalry, and all sorts of other things. Will, Andrew, and I played a lot of Smash Brothers, and I have to say that Will is the best Link I've ever seen. I got thoroughly spanked.
Losing the game wasn't really so bad. It gave me a chance to be humbled and to be gracious, rather than vituperative, which I'm often tempted to be. However, despite a few penalties I didn't like, the game was pretty clean. I figured that, especially as they'd been kind to me, the decent thing was to simply congratulate them on playing good games, which was true. And you know what? It felt good to not have to worry about keeping up images and being able to let my guard down. The responses I got were polite, and they even offered up a few excuses as to why we didn't win. It was very nice of them, and I think the mutual kindnesses shown early on defused any possible tensions. Later, the four housemates, their friend Jeff, Andrew's family, and I headed over to the Ponderosa Steakhouse for dinner. They were all in various forms of UVA apparel, while I was wearing my VT sweatshirt. However, Dave made two mistakes. Firstly, he sat across from me. Secondly, he was wearing an orange shirt, rather than a blue and orange one or a shirt and UVA tie. Thus, the waitress, who was middle-aged, first began by hitting on him, and then changing her mind, declaring that he must be a Tech fan. She then called over a younger waitress, and the two of them started talking about how they thought he was cute, but as a Tech fan, was not worthy. He began protesting that he was a UVA fan, confusing me, him, and probably everyone else. As near as I can figure it, he wanted to be recognized as a cute UVA fan, but not be hit upon by the waitress. Well, whatever it was, I think they all made a pact to never eat there again after a game. Afterwards, before I left for Blacksburg, Will and I Smashed for a while, with the result being that, once again, I was annihilated.
To Brian, Dave, Andrew, and Will, I would say that you really are gentleman, and I appreciate the kindness shown to me. While I still maintain that UVA is scum, y'all are the good kind of scum. Or something like that.
For the UVA perspective on these events, check here.