July 31, 2014

Saturday Ramblings 4.20.13

RamblerIt has been a rough week for us all, iMonks. It’s in times like these I long to retreat to a true monastery and shut out the world. Unfortunately, that is a vocation only a very few are called to. For the rest of us, we must walk in places where bombs and fertilizer factories explode. Where madmen mail poison to those they disagree with. Where those we look up to grow old and die. It is in this world Jesus has placed us. It is here where he tells us to not let our hearts be troubled. So let us hold hands, iMonks, as we walk where troubled hearts seem to be the order of the day. Now, shall we ramble?

Yes, it was a very rough week in our nation. I’m not sure we really needed wall-to-wall coverage of the manhunt in Boston yesterday. The bombs that killed and maimed those in Boston were a horrible reminder that there are those who want nothing but to steal, kill and destroy. But should we grant them their desire of worldwide attention? And what of those who died as heroes in West, Texas? Where were the news vans and satellite uplink trucks and beautifully-coiffed talking heads to report on this tragedy? Could it be that news is more important when it happens on the east coast where there are more potential viewers? Could it be that “news” outlets are simply entertainment venues that exist not for the public good but for one rea$on alone? Yes, it could be. And it is.

Just because we all need to have our souls washed right now, please stop and read this story. Then tell me if it wouldn’t be better to hear about the Frosty Westerings of the world more than we hear about those who want to blow things up.

Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal says he’s fine with creationism being taught in public schools, as long as it is based on “good science.” What? A politician who makes sense? What is this world coming to?

Speaking of good science, it seems the majority of pastors in the United States doubt manmade global warming is real. Yet many of these same pastors promote recycling in their churches. If … then … Oh please, make it all stop. I like the planet we live on. Why can’t we each do our part to keep it nice? Is that asking too much?

Oy. Mindfulness? Lying on your back in a dark room is “mindfulness”? And we wonder why little Johnny can’t make change at McDonald’s when he’s 23. This just had to be done in Ohio …

And just to prove my home state does not have a monopoly on stupid, my adopted state of Oklahoma features state legislators like this one who find it comical to slander an entire ethnic group, and then laugh about it. Oh, and get a load of how he tries to make it right. Rule one when you find yourself in a hole: Stop digging.

Wow. I really, really like Pope Francis. Not only is his teaching in this homily very theologically sound, but just look at that picture. This man seems too humble to be true. Still, how long will it be before we see “God spray” t-shirts in Hot Topic at the mall?

Not everyone is thrilled with our new pope. The group of nuns in the U.S. who were hoping a new pope would take up their cause are disappointed to find he is not willing to bend in what he sees as right. One thing I really like about the Catholic Church is that you don’t get to pick and choose what you like and don’t like about it. You either buy the whole parcel or none at all.

Speaking of nones, the Barna Group has come up with a list of criteria to determine if one is post-Christian or not. What do you think of this list of items? Where do you score? Talk among yourselves.

Homeless Jesus has finally found a home. Why did it take so long? If this had been “Happy Jesus chasing butterflies” would it have taken so long?

Finally, artist Storm Thorgerson died this week. Thorgerson designed some of the most iconic album covers ever, including the cover for Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon. A sad day indeed.

It was a happy day for these who celebrated another birthday this last week, including Don Adams; Tony Dow; Al Green; Max Weinberg; Rod Steiger; Pete Rose; Ritchie Blackmore; Roy Clark; Charlie Chaplin; Henry Mancini; Kareem-Abdul Jabbar; Jane Leeves; Conan O’Brien; and Ashley Judd.

Max Weinberg has chops. Major chops. But who knew his son does as well? This video is just sick, sick in the most righteous sense of the word. Buckle up for this one, and enjoy.

[yframe url='http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KW86Vr9Engg']

Comments

  1. Jeff, you wrote: “It is in this world Jesus has placed us.”

    More significantly, I would add: “It is in this world that Jesus walked.” Our God and Creator, who put us in this world, also put His son here for a time. Now THAT is a God wants us to know He loves us.

  2. The Weinbergs: What joy!

  3. I recycle.

    And yet I think that “man made global is the biggest scam and money making scheme ever foisted upon the people of the earth.

    One can still care about the earth and being a good steward of it without falling in with hucksters.

    • Klasie Kraalogies says:

      Why is it a scam? What is your reasoning?

      • Donalbain says:

        They are all in in it for the money. You go to any university science department carpark and marvel at the BMWs, the Porsches and the like. Then compare that to the poor downtrodden people who work at the oil companies who just want to tell us the truth!

      • Global warming people are just now coming to the realization that the computer simulations on which they have based their “warming” claims just may be flawed. On studying the data for the past 20 years it appears that the “warming” trend is falling at the lowest end of the “warming” scale, and if this trend continues it will actually fall OUT of their model altogether! It appears that the earth is not “warming” up to their expectations and it is way too soon to claim that humans activity could be responsible for this unexpected drop.

        Remember, this whole future “warming”catastrophe idea is NOT based on actual data but on a computer simulation. Garbage in, garbage out! Why do you think the conversation has shifted to “climate change”? It is much easier to look at weather patterns happening today and then say “Look! This is due to made made “warming”!” to take our minds off the failing model than it is to say “We might have been mistaken” Whole industries and political action groups have been created to take advantage of this supposed “science” and the money involved will not let them back down.

        Alarmists never have to say “I’m sorry”, they only say “We mean well”.

      • Steve Newell says:

        It’s hard for me to take people like Al Gore seriously when he lives in a home that is 4 times the size of mine and I live in a very nice ranch and jets around on private jets. When I see Mr. Gore downsizing to a 1800 square home, flying commercial, and driving himself in a small cars around town. Many of these people want for others to move back to an pre-industiralized world to “protect the earth” while they continue to live as if nothing is wrong.

        Another aseptic I take issue with many of the proponents of global warming is that many view humans as a parasite of the earth and not part of nature.

        The history of earth science of warming and cooling periods. Does man’s activity contribute to a general warming of the earth’s climate, possibility? Can we say for certain; probability not. As Christians, we are to good stewards of what God has given us. This includes conservation, recycling and living a modest lifestyle.

    • Klasie, I’m with Steve on this one. I grew up listening to the threats of “Future Shock” and “The Population Bomb” along with global cooling, nuclear winter, and all the rest of it in the 70′s. There is no dispute that the climate is changing. No arguing with the data on that. And if you take a historical perspective, it has always been changing, so why should we be surprised and/or worried that it continues to change? The skepticism is related to its cause. It isn’t that I disbelieve that antrhopogenic climate change is possible. The disbelief is in the “solution” which seems to run pretty much the same no matter what – reduce the population and redistribute the wealth.

      Meanwhile, sensible alternatives like those from Allan Savory, Joel Salatin, and Paul Wheaton fail to make the MSM headlines. Instead of building a better world through the efforts of individuals, the MSM coverage always seems to go after the Big Corporations and blame them. Recycling is just one expression of how individuals can make a tiny difference that collectively has a big impact. Of course pastors would be behind such a strategy. After all, isn’t that how Jesus created a world-transforming movement – a few individuals spreading a message the size of a mustard seed that eventually grew into a tree big enough to hold the hopes and aspirations of a whole world?

      • scrapiron says:

        Funny that the people who are least skeptical about the cause of global warming are the scientists who know the most about it.

        And whose solution is to “reduce population and re-distribute the wealth?” The solution is to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels so we introduce carbon into the atmosphere at sustainable rates. Which is exactly why we need to go after the “Big Corporations.” The oil industry is pouring ridiculously large amounts of money into lobbying to maintain the energy status quo.

        What would be the point of Jesus starting a world-transforming movement if His followers are unwilling to participate in transforming the world in its most important areas? How many solar panels and wind turbines could have been installed across America for the money we’ve spent in the last three decades maintaining stability in the oil-rich mideast? Germany now produces 1/4 of its electrical energy through solar. This is a country roughly on the same parallel with the northernmost tier of states in the US. It can be done, but not if we allow our policies to be dictated by the short-term goals of our wealthiest citizens.

        • “What would be the point of Jesus starting a world-transforming movement if His followers are unwilling to participate in transforming the world in its most important areas? “ Jesus was concerned with the hearts of humankind. Nothing He ever said could be construed as being ecologically sound. It is only our looking through 21st century eyes that colors Him in that way.

          And by the way, our policies have ALWAYS been dictated by the rich and powerful,,,ALWAYS! The only difference comes when some say they are doing it “for the people” as opposed to naked self interest. I’ll trust the word of naked self interest any day, as selfish as they may be at least they are being honest.

      • I would add to points:
        1. The indisputable data includes that CO2 levels are continue to rise while the rain forests which used to absorb CO2 out of the atmosphere continue to disappear. There is a known historical connection between rising CO2 levels and climate change. But we can keep debating the existence of global warming, if that make conservatives feel better.
        2. I disagree that conservatives agree that the climate is changing – regardless of cause. There are stories from cities like Northfolk where city planners are trying to deal with increased coastal flooding and to adjust building codes and zoning accordingly, and conservatives and construction companies are blocking any such efforts if they mention climate change.
        3. How did anti-global warming become a Christian position? When did the defense of big business become a Christian value?
        4. I don’t recall when anyone could not debate global warming, but just attempt to talk about rising CO2 levels among conservatives and see how long before you are shouted down. I have a hard time viewing conservatives as defenders of free speech.
        5. Hand-in-hand with the climate change debate is the still-looming day when the oil runs out. Even if new oil reserves equal to all that currently exist were to be discovered today, the current exponential growth in oil consumption would still consume those new discoveries as well as existing reserves in a matter of a few generations. Conservation and alternative energy development address supply, demand, and the pollution issues. It would also seem that conservation and moderation would be values quite compatible with Christianity.
        6. I know too many Christians who think since the Bible says the world will end some day, there is no reason to try to stop it from happening. Add to that the escape rope of the “rapture”, and those same Christians assume they will be safely in heaven before anything really bad happens. It’s a bit like Christians during the Jesus Movement running up their credit cards because they thought Jesus was returning before they had to pay them off. It’s irrational as well as irresponsible. And the world is watching Christians act like this. It seems to lend to the argument held by many atheists that religion is bad for society.
        7. A cold spell does not disprove global warming. I am beyond sick of this illogic from conservatives. Here in the west we are still waiting almost five years for appreciable moisture. Long ago global warming maps predicted that this region would be one of the first to experience the affects of global warming through increased temperature and decreased precipitation. Yes, it has been cold here recently and some areas received snow, but overall the drought continues. Water restrictions began a few weeks ago. Fire season is starting early. I guess I better hope the rapture happens soon. Too bad I’m not a dispensationalist.

        • “When did the defense of big business become a Christian value?” I’ve been wondering that myself the past few years. When did business and commerce become a god that we must worship if we are to be godly people?

        • +1

        • Dumb Ox — Check out this public service announcement:
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TQlHaGhYoF0

        • I think the connection between peak oil and global warming is a good one. Like peak oil, the interested parties will deny its going to happen until years after it occurs (peak oil arguably happened about six years ago) and then they’ll tell us of course it happened, why should we of done anything to plan for it.

      • @RICK

        +1

        It is not about preserving the earth, which is part of being a good steward, that I take issue with.

        It is about turning the threat of “man-made global warning” and so-called ‘solutions” into a religion, with a dogma and requirements as strict as any fundamental independent Baptist church in the Ozarks!

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          It is about turning the threat of “man-made global warning” and so-called ‘solutions” into a religion, with a dogma and requirements as strict as any fundamental independent Baptist church in the Ozarks!

          And doublepluswarmfeelies for the Kyle’s Moms who become the Popes and Ayatollahs of this New Religion, which is what’s really important.

          I’m in California. Our State Legislators-for-Life (AKA the Thin Grey Ponytails in Sacramento) hath decreed that California Shall Single-Handedly Reverse Global Warming. We have the highest tax and regulatory burdens of any state (even exceeding Taxachusetts and DC), yet the Thin Grey Ponytails load even more burden after burden upon us peasants for their Gaian Utopia — “THE PLAAAAAANET WILL THANK US!”

          These guys would sneer at our Invisible Sky Fairy and Imaginary Friend in the Sky, yet they gush over how THE PLAAAAANET is Angry at Us, how THE PLAAAAAAAANET will Wuv Us (or Wuv THEM Her Devout) if we only Keep All Her Commandments and talmuds and Hadiths (interpreted and proclaimed to us peasants by Her Beloved Thin Grey Ponytails).

          • As a fellow Golden Stater (San Diego) I say WELL SPOKEN! ” “Thin Grey Ponytails in Sacramento”, now THAT’S a hoot!

          • Donalbain says:

            Yes, it is definitely a religion.

            Religion is FAMOUS for its adherence to evidence and scrutiny by skeptical peers.

            Of course, if you are stupid enough to think that climatology is about a planet being “angry”, then why would anyone take you seriously?

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            And I’m not even mentioning the $ale of Indulgences — I mean Carbon Credits.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            Or the anecdote related to me at a con by a couple who being observant Jews, had a “thing” about “You shall have no other Gods before Me”.

            They related being buttonholed by Global Warming Advocates in terms usually reserved for the receiving end of Wretched Urgency Witnessing: “DO YOU BE-LEEEEEVE IN GLOBAL WARMING?????”

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            “Thin Grey Ponytails in Sacramento”, now THAT’S a hoot!

            I believe the term was coined by one of the guys in charge of South Park. One of them (Parker or Stone, I don’t remember which) lives in Santa Monica, CA (locally called “The Democratic People’s Republic of Santa Monica”) and had a LOT of run-ins with local City Council and City Regulatory officials who were still reliving their Glory Days at Berkeley in ’68. (Hence the term “Thin Grey Ponytails”; imagine an “old hippie” and you get the idea.) They found out the hard way that if you cop an attitude to Parker or Stone, you get on TV — and not in a flattering way.

      • Josh in FW says:

        Bjorn Lomborg has a lot approach to evironmental issues

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        And don’t forget those of us old enough to remember The Global Cooling Emergency back in the Seventies. How We Have PROOF A New Ice Age Is Upon Us AND WE HAVE TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT NOW NOW NOW NOW NOW! Save Us, Federal Government!!!!! SAVE US UNITED NATIONS!!!!!

        I remember the Ominous TV Special About This Crisis, and its ending image — a globe being buried in snow falling from above while an Authoritative Voice ominously intoned “One spring, the winter snows Will Not Melt. THAT IS HOW IT!!! WILL!!!!! BEGIN!!!!!!!”

        And since then, we have been regaled with Urgent Cause Du Jour, to where GLOBAL WARMING GLOBAL WARMING GLOBAL WARMING has become Urgent Cause Number 3,472 Which We Must Do Something About BY YESTERDAY AT THE LATEST! WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE! IT’S ALREADY TOO LATE! IT’S ALL OVER BUT THE SCREAMING!

        And after hearing the exact same Everybody Run Around In Circles Screaming for the other 3,471 Urgent Causes Which We Must Mobilize About And Do Something About By Yesterday URGENT URGENT URGENT URGENT URGENT, most Gen-Xers and Millenials have the reaction, “Yeah. Whatever.”

        • Donalbain says:

          http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2010/11/08/207002/the-global-cooling-myth-dies-again/

          The idea that the scientific community was worried about global cooling is a MYTH. It has been exposed as a myth for years. The fact that people still support it means that they are LIARS.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            Look, dude, I can tell you exactly how the Global Cooling Scare started.

            First, analysis of ice core data from Antarctica and fossil tree-growth rings showed that Ice Ages kicked off a lot faster than previously thought — a matter of decades instead of millennia.

            Second, this was discovered when Earth’s climate was in a short-term Cooling Trend.

            Stir well with Apocalyptic Zeitgeist and…

          • Donalbain says:

            You can tell me how you imagine it started. But you can’t show me large numbers of scientific papers promoting it.

        • It’s been quite sometime since I graduated with my Ani. Sci. credentials (’76, during the “global cooling” days), but I recall from my science classes that we still classify as being in an “ice age”; there are yet ice caps on the N and S poles.

          T

    • Let’s see… we go underground, dig up millions of tons of coal, millions of barrels of oil, all made from carbon and hydrogen that has been tucked away neatly for thousands of years (or millions or billions if you’re a liberal), we haul it to the surface and burn it off, thereby releasing heat as well as carbon, and then we insist that it won’t have a significant impact on the environment?

      Even more embarrassingly, we preach from the bible about tiny things having huge consequences: a bit in the mouth of a horse; a rudder on a ship; a spark in a dry forest; a tongue poisoning relationships.

      But we can’t make the connection that torching off lakes of that oily stuff can affect a few thousand feet of atmosphere.

      A lot of this so-called Christian belief against global warming (thank you, Jim Dobson; you’re fired) is either blatant mammon-worship or a perverted form of pantheism—insisting that the earth will do nicely whether we keep poisoning it or not.

      Should we sin that grace may abound? Saint Paul says “Don’t push it.”

      • Ted, have you not read accounts of 19th century industrial cities where the sun rarely shone because of the smoke from wood and coal fires? MUCH worse than today where we have the cleanest air that the modern industrialized world has ever seen!

        And you are making a mistaken leap in logic when you imply that ANYONE says that “torching off lakes of that oily stuff” is good or desirable. That is just a conflation of the argument, and rhetorical hyperbole, that NO ONE makes. “Should we sin that grace may abound?” Paul isn’t speaking about ecologies.

        And you mention “a perverted form of pantheism” as a fault of Christians who doubt global warming. Back up just a second and ask yourself, who is it ,exactly, that talks about “Mother Earth”, and “Gaia” and “Earth Day” and all the rest? Isn’t it those who actually WORSHIP the earth, TRUE pantheism? Aren’t THEY the ones pushing the agenda? Christian pantheism INDEED! Don’t project the sins of those you favor onto those who object to your view.

        • Slander Pie says:

          Oscar: thanks for reminding me why I left Christianity.

          What a waste of years of faith that was.

          • I’m assuming that you picked out my comment about projection, but that is NOT what Christianity is about. That is a perversion meant to garner attention and , in some cases, $$$$$!

            Which is why I avoid the mega-church doctrines: Rick Warren (a good man, an overblown teaching), Joel Osteen (skim milk Christianity, if THAT!), Willow Creek (all things to all men, to the extreme), and any of the other media promoted icons. Christianity is NOT pointing fingers at the sins of the world, the world KNOWS what their sins are. It is letting the finger of God point to our (MY!) sins and then draw us (ME) to Himself, prompting our (MY) worship and obedience to a higher calling in living life. If THAT makes you uncomfortable, well then…

        • Marcus Johnson says:

          Oscar: Ted’s phrasing of “torching off lakes of that oily stuff” is a little hyperbolic, definitely. Hyperbole, in most cases, masks the sane point one tries to make–in this case, that we can and are doing irreparable damage to the ozone layer, and that the willful ignorance of that fact is underscored by a need to affirm a naive worldview that tries to twist facts to suit beliefs, rather than beliefs to suit facts. The fact that we don’t have coal factories burning 24/7, like in the 19th century, does not mean that we are causing just as much–or exponentially more–damage to the atmosphere.

          I’m not sure where your tirade against Ted’s Christianity was headed. Seems like he was asserting that the dismissal of global warming is a) something that a lot of Christian communities still affirm, and b) underscored by a belief that the world cannot be irreparably damaged by mankind. I am not sure, however, that that belief is a core value of pantheism, though. Maybe Ted can elaborate a little more?

          In any event, the dissatisfaction that Slander Pie has with Christianity comes from the tendency of assumed Christ-followers to use their faith tradition as a shield to avoid confronting their misconceptions and naivete. That is not what Christ intended for the Gospel to do, but when it comes to global warming and our stewardship of the earth, many people of faith still hide behind the “I just want to believe in the Bible” excuse.

          • I almost did mention Gaia, but went with “perverted form of pantheism” instead.

            Those who insist that humans don’t have the capacity to harm the earth either underestimate our capacity for sin and greed, or they have a bizarre faith in the resilience of the earth—possibly a religious faith, but I think rather it’s bought by the oil companies.

            Jim Dobson was indeed removed from Focus on the Family for getting too political, and I think his yammering about global warming had something to do with it.

            Good grief, some Christians are afraid Al Gore is gonna end up in the White House if we start believing in global warming.

          • Marcus Johnson says:

            I disagree only slightly, I think that those who insist that humans don’t have the capacity to harm the earth would contest that 2 + 2 does not equal 4 if their pastor told them to.

        • Ted, have you not read accounts of 19th century industrial cities where the sun rarely shone because of the smoke from wood and coal fires? MUCH worse than today where we have the cleanest air that the modern industrialized world has ever seen!

          Oscar, much of that pollution from coal and wood was unburned fuel—particulate matter that did block the sun and even cause some of the famous London Fog by condensation of moisture onto the stuff. With more efficient burning there may be less pollution, but the CO2 is still released.

          During the Industrial Revolution the pollution was more localized, whereas now automobiles are all over the world (with China pushing for more). The demand for oil has increased, and the rain forests are being cut down for agriculture and ranching, reducing the capacity of the earth to recover from the CO2.

          Even propane and natural gas, which are perfectly clean—releasing only water and CO2—are part of the problem. It’s not the same kind of pollution as during the Industrial Revolution but it’ll raise the temperature of the oceans. I live a couple hundred yards away from the North Atlantic and I’d like to keep it that way. And, as a commercial fisherman, I’m seeing changes in species and their behavior that seem to be temperature-related. Anecdotal evidence on my part, but it’s a start on the science and it’s where hypotheses begin.

          Isn’t it those who actually WORSHIP the earth, TRUE pantheism? Aren’t THEY the ones pushing the agenda? Christian pantheism INDEED! Don’t project the sins of those you favor onto those who object to your view.

          I don’t favor them. Some of them are just plain wacko.

          But they’re not the only ones pushing the agenda. I don’t favor Jim Dobson’s unbiblical, unscientific view either. And I hold him more accountable because he’s supposed to be a Christian leader.

          • London still had what they referred to as “pea-soupers” (“fogs”) in the 1940s and 50s – for as long as coal was the primary heating source.

            We have had killing smog in the U.S., too – Donora, PA in 1948 was one of the most destructive.

            personally, I’m glad to be outside of the Baltimore – D.C. corridor, which has long been thought to have the worst air pollution in the East. The air becomes scarcely breathable during summer temperature inversions, and there are all too many days when warnings are issued for people with asthma and similar problems to stay inside if at all possible.

            I noticed while living there that pollution became steadily worse – at 1st, while living close to I-295, I didn’t notice anything unusual, but in a few years’ time, black gritty gunk was appearing on my balcony daily. *Lots* of it.

            needless to say, we were all breathing that stuff. Yikes!

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          Anyone remember the “Earth Day Brainwashing Festival” from that South Park episode about the Terrence and Philip Reunion?

          Including the Earth Day Activist who ended every speech and/or answered every question with a Jedi Mind Trick Gesture and Scientology Tone 40 Voice of “The Plaaaanet is Dying. And The Republicans are responsible. It’s All The Republicans’ Fault; The Republicans Are To Blame. It’s All The Republicans’ Fault; The Republicans Are To Blame. It’s All The Republicans’ Fault; The Republicans Are To Blame…”

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        A lot of this so-called Christian belief against global warming (thank you, Jim Dobson; you’re fired) is either blatant mammon-worship or a perverted form of pantheism—insisting that the earth will do nicely whether we keep poisoning it or not.

        Don’t forget Hal Lindsay and Left Behind Fever’s influence on that.

        When Christ is Coming Soon (any minute now… any minute now… any minute now…) and It’s All Gonna Burn, so what? We’ll be Raptured up to Heaven before anything bad REALLY happens, so Why Bother? It’s All Gonna Burn, It’s All Gonna Burn, It’s All Gonna Burn…

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Wouldn’t it be a kicker if after much hardship and suffering we Finally Fix Global Warming(TM) — and find ourselves in a New Ice Age? With mile-thick glaciers grinding Chicago beneath them and the oceans withdrawn past the continental shelves? That all that EEEEEVIL CO2 from Man-Made Global Warming(TM) was all that was holding off the next Ice Age? That the Interglacial Period had ended a century or two ago but Man-Made Global Warming(TM) was all that was keeping us in an Interglacial Warm Period?

    • I blame flatulent demons. They are the real cause if GW.

  4. ‘warming’…I forgot that word after ‘global’.

  5. Recycling saves money.

    Our county figured it out when lawsuits delayed opening of new landfill by about 10 years. With old one filling up county started an intense (for the times 10+ years ago) recycling program. Turned out it extended the life of the old landfill by over 5 years and in the total cost of waste disposal reduced the cost to the county (tax payers). Forget GW. It cut my taxes. :)

    • Forget GW. It cut my taxes. :)

      Hey, it worked in my town too. That’s what it takes sometimes.

    • cermak_rd says:

      That’s what I was gonna mention. Even if you don’t accept the models showing increased warming, just landfill usage alone is a really good reason to recycle. No one that I know of wants a landfill next to one’s house, so keeping the ones we have open by only putting stuff there we have to just makes good sense.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        It’s a generally good idea. My roomate goes through Pepsi and Frappucinos on a regular basis, so I make a little back on CRV deposits every few weeks. Cuts into the amount of trash a little.

        Except paper. Paper recycling ended up a victim of its own success. So much paper got recycled that the price of scrap paper dropped to effectively zero.

        And why do they call them “Recycling Centers”? They’re SCRAPYARDS — scrap metal, scrap plastics, scrap paper.

    • Sound like here in San Diego, and the new landfill is STILL not open!

      • A bit more detail. County knew old landfill would fill up. So they bought a big chunk of land out where no one was building anything. County population started growing. Top 10 places to live and all that. Land around new location was cheapest in the county. So developers started buying it and building there. As the years moved forward and county started prepping area for new landfill people who had bought in the area went all “say what?!?!, we didn’t know, you can’t build here, we’lll sue !!!”. And they did. Took about 15 years but county won all suits and new land fill opened but about 5 years after old one as supposed to fill up. But recycling saved the say.

        As to paper, I think most of it now goes into insulation and such. It’s still cheaper for governments to collect it and give it away than burry it.

    • Josh in FW says:

      +1

  6. TimothyR says:

    As a Bostonian I will say that it would have been difficult to avoid the intensive coverage of the events of the past week. Our city was under lock down as the violence moved from one neighborhood to another last night – and that was after the terrible attacks. We are still stunned. It was not presented as ‘entertainment’.

    Your comments that some believe it was more important because it was ‘on the east coast’ does not reflect reality.

    There was also a great deal of coverage of the tragic events in Texas. Boston did not take away from it. There is no competition between tragedies and grief.

    I think you might have had a different perspective if you had been here.

    • Donalbain says:

      I think that there is less of a “story” in what seems to be a tragic accident than in a manhunt for a terrorist.

      • Exactly, Donalbain. The Texas story was most likely an accident and it is over except the clean-up. The Boston story was ongoing, and may still be ongoing for all we know (as in there may be accomplices that we don’t know about).

        And, in all this, we must remember that news media is a business. They exist to get the news out, but also to make money and make more money by being to first to get the big story. It’s the competition model that we capitalists love! No news outlet was going to risk not being there when the shootout happened, or when the bomber was either killed or taken into custody because that would be a great way to lose viewers and, thus, advertisers. They cover what people will watch. I watched the Boston story unfold and I’m guessing many of you did, too.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          No news outlet was going to risk not being there when the shootout happened, or when the bomber was either killed or taken into custody because that would be a great way to lose viewers and, thus, advertisers. They cover what people will watch.

          And some of it gets REAL ridiculous. Several years ago, we had an airliner crash in the ocean off the CA coast. News helicopters swarmed the crash site, and for six-eight hours “exclusive coverage” on all channels were closeups of the waves on the nighttime sea. All channels. Six to Eight Hours. The next day, drive-time radio speculated “What if they had a high-speed police chase go down at the same time? Can you imagine the panic in the TV newsrooms? “WHICH DO WE COVER? WHICH DO WE COVER?”

  7. About the “mindfulness” – When I was in grad school my major professor used something similar to this in our brain dominance and creativity classes. It was to help us access parts of our brains that need to be expanded. Often in our educational systems the left logical brain is emphasized and the right non-linear side is ignored or downplayed. As a result of doing these kinds of exercises my ability to remember things was increased, much to my surprise. For me it was helpful not only emotionally, but in so many other ways. I’d recommend it.

    • Donalbain says:

      Aaaargh!!

      Sorry, I get rather angry when people make that left/right brain sort of comment in public.

    • Jennifer E. says:

      Our elementary school recommended something like this and I too think it’s a good idea to help kids calm down and learn to control their emotions. How much time is devoted to it during school hours can be an issue, but I think it’s a valuable practice.

  8. Donalbain says:

    I like the idea of creationism that is based on good science. It could be taught in the same lesson as astrology that is base on good science, and flat earth geocentrism that is based on good science!

    • Bobby Jindal is Catholic, I think, so he would have a different view on ‘creationism’. I have to admit, I find it difficult to understand precisely what is meant by the term as it’s used in the press; if they mean “You believe God created the world” well, yeah, I’m a creationist. But I don’t believe in the “literal six days of literal twenty-four hours each, six thousand year old earth”.

      And as I’ve said on here before, my secondary school science teacher was a nun, and as part of the curriculum we learned about Darwin and Lamarck.

      So the tangle in American debates about this puzzles me. I would understand Governor Jindal as saying that, as long as the curriculum is taught, there is no objection to permitting students or teachers to hold the opinion that God created the world or to not believe that science = atheism necessarily. But I have no idea what that would mean in American terms – I suppose a nasty row between on the one side, those saying “Keep Bible-thumping fundamentalist godiots out of our schools!” and on the other side, those saying “Science is the devil’s work, the earth was made in six days, geology and evolution are lies!”

      Jeff, according to that measure, I hit at least three of the post-Christian markers (I’m not sure if the “commitment to Jesus” one counts as I don’t know if they count being confirmed as making a commitment):

      13. have not attended Sunday school (in the last week)
      14. have not attended religious small group (in the last week)
      15. do not participate in a house church (in the last year)

      In fact, not alone have I not attended any of these in the past week or year, I’ve never attended any of them in my life. So I’ve always been a post-Christian!

      If you like the picture of the pope, you might like this joke :-)

      • I had the same thought, Martha. It seems a pretty evangelical American definition of Christian/post-Christian. In addition to yours I have to add that I’m not sure I have read directly from the Bible this past week — no, actually, someone from the community came to my office with a grammar question involving KJ English, so I read that — but I have not volunteered at church this week either. I’m doomed.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          Problem is, American Evangelicalism — Culture War, Altar Call, and all — has turned itself into the default of “Christian”; when someone says “Christian” without an adjective (“Catholic”, “Presbyterian”, “Lutheran”, etc) it means Fundagelical or Revivalist or Baptist with the labels painted over. They have redefined “Christian” without an adjective to mean the Altar Call and Personal Salvation and Creation Museums and Rapture and Culture War Without End, Amen.

      • Martha, your pope looks like a back-pew baptist.

        And about that other thing—you may not be aware that one of the chief complaints evangelicals have against you papists is that your church accepts evolution (it’s whispered amongst ourselves). You no longer bury us under the floorboards, but you’ve replaced that with evolution, which is just as bad.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          You no longer bury us under the floorboards, but…

          You were the bastard child of a priest and a nun? I thought they buried them in the secret tunnels between the rectories and the convents!

      • I think that’s about the size of it. Jindal isn’t throwing his weight behind Kent Hovind or anything, he just doesn’t seem to want it to be the Moral Outrage of the Week if a teacher brings up some mention of creation.

        I grew up in and around evangelical circles, although not so much as others here. That said, I was 23 before I knew that “Creationism” to a lot of people meant “6000-10000 years, and Noah’s Flood covers most of the discrepancies.” I just thought that Genesis 1:1 meant that we believed God created the heavens and the earth.

        (Or you know, it could just be a governor hoping that the actual teaching will be left up to the teachers…I know, what a concept, right??)

        • Jindal is a Catholic POLITICIAN who doesn’t want to alienate the fundamental voters in his fine state. I think that is it, period!

        • This still amounts to government support for a religious position. You’d complain if it was some other religion’s creation myth being smuggled into the science classes.

          • Exactly. How the religious right misses this is completely beyond me.

          • Marcus Johnson says:

            I don’t think the religious right misses it, Miguel. I think they just think you and I are dumb enough to miss it.

          • What? You mean you think they are really aware that their cause is hypocritical but they keep selling because, well, people are buying it? They’re promoting a conviction they don’t have out of self interest and they really don’t believe their own hype? My friend, I believe you are giving them too much credit.

          • Marcus Johnson says:

            The alternative is that they are totally oblivious to the damage that they are causing, like bulls in a china shop. I’d prefer my earlier conclusion; for some weird reason, it feels more optimistic.

          • You miss it. Ken Ham has convinced a lot of these folks that a 6 day creation, 6000 year old earth can be shown to be true via science. So to them they feel that creationism is being unfairly excluded from schools. And in general there’s no talking to them. They don’t understand the science they support. They just support “this guy” who tells them what they want to hear.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            Ken Ham has convinced a lot of these folks that a 6 day creation, 6000 year old earth can be shown to be true via science. So to them they feel that creationism is being unfairly excluded from schools. And in general there’s no talking to them. They don’t understand the science they support. They just support “this guy” who tells them what they want to hear.

            Especially once Grand Unified Conspiracy Theory (this one on a literally Cosmic level between God and Satan) clocks in:

            “THE DWARFS ARE FOR THE DWARFS! WE WON’T BE TAKEN IN!”

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        But I have no idea what that would mean in American terms – I suppose a nasty row between on the one side, those saying “Keep Bible-thumping fundamentalist godiots out of our schools!” and on the other side, those saying “Science is the devil’s work, the earth was made in six days, geology and evolution are lies!”

        “HERE AHURA-MAZDA, THERE AHRIMAN!”

        “NO! HERE AHURA-MAZDA, THERE AHRIMAN!”

        “NO! HERE AHURA-MAZDA, THERE AHRIMAN!”

        “NO! HERE AHURA-MAZDA, THERE AHRIMAN!”

      • Donalbain says:

        It actually doesn’t matter. There is no “good science” behind any form of creationism.

  9. Donalbain says:

    And for the record, I am 14/15 post-christian. I miss out on one because I do not accept that Jesus committed sins. Since I do not accept that “sins” are a thing that exist.

    • You must not watch a lot of news then.

      • cermak_rd says:

        There’s a difference between a crime and a sin. When I try to be a good person, I first look to the laws of the land, remarkably, they’ll get me about 90% of the way there and do a better job than the Torah (I don’t hold slaves, though Torah says that’s cool (in some places for a time.) The final 10% to not being a jerk I get from the way I was reared (don’t ignore the shy, old, different in gatherings, try to comfort the hurt or grieving…), which is probably based on Torah to some extent and the zeitgeist to some extent.

      • Donalbain says:

        A sin is a crime against a god. As an atheist, how would I think that sins exist?

        • Or even that sin is a Christian concept, I wouldn’t expect non-Christians to describe wrongdoing that way.

          Only 4/15 on that list, oh no I’m not post-Christian yet.

    • Would you say there is no such thing as wrong doing? Or how about failing to do good things that we ought to? (1 John 5:17 and James 4:17)

  10. Marcus Johnson says:

    1. The “East Coast/West Coast” dilemma only makes sense if you are talking about rappers in the 90′s. In reality, the Boston Marathon bombings happened first, and the media outlets find it much easier to exploit a terrorist attack for ratings than a single tragic accident. However, if you want the media to pay more attention to the West, TX tragedy, just Tweet that you have a photo of a dark-skinned Muslim illegal alien planning to drop a match in the factory. You’ll see round-the-clock coverage in no time.

    2. So, most pastors don’t believe in manmade global warming. Is that stupider than a Republican governor advocating for a K-12 creationist curriculum that “is good science,” only months after claiming that the Republican party must stop being “the stupid party”? Oh, why should we argue? Let’s just call it a tie, shall we?

    • 1. Sorry, but the press seemed to be obsessed with the notion that a white, male, angry with Tax Day and Obama was behind this. Even NPR (who I trust far more than the big three cable nets and the usual Slate/Salon stuff) Godwined themselves over this. (n.pr/13jQ6NI – last paragraph).

      A better answer to why this tragedy in Texas isn’t a huge is that there was no culprit. No one was on the loose and no one was spotted on camera with a backpack or out of uniform. When we had the I 35-W bridge collapse in Minneapolis, the press and politicians desperately looked for a villain…go so far as to blame the governor on TV while bodies were being pulled out of the river behind them. Sick, but it gets screen time. When it turned out that it was a flaw in the system 25-30 years old the rest of the country forgot and moved on.

      2. Re-read. He’s not saying that, and certainly not what’s in quotes. Chances are the Catholic Jindal is not filtering his words through Ken Ham/ICR thinking when he says this — which is not like how the layers of Advocacy Journalism like Salon and Raw Story want to you to interpret this.

      • Marcus Johnson says:

        1. I don’t think we’re really in dispute. Actually, we’re both right. I’m thinking we can both agree that the media, in general, did a pathetic job of reporting the news this week. You’re right: there wasn’t a culprit on the loose in the explosion at West, TX, which just made that tragedy an important event that devastated an entire community, not a serialized, reality-TV drama that a news outlet could sell as entertainment.

        2. Jindal was calling for a sort of comparative curriculum, which assumes that creationism and evolution are equally legitimate scientific theories. Not only is that assumption false, but creationism is not, and can never be, classified as a “scientific theory,” legitimate or otherwise. There are no such things as “best” facts, and a curriculum that presents creationism and evolution side by side and places the responsibility upon children to choose which is legitimate is about as stupid as sitting an apple and a pillow in front of students, telling them that they are both types of food, and asking them to decide for themselves which tastes better. If Jindal wants to own the statement that he made months ago, that the Republican party needs to stop being the “stupid” party, then he needs to stop making stupid concessions just for the purpose of placating a political base who gets insecure because their worldview is not affirmed in state-sponsored classrooms.

  11. Could it be that “news” outlets are simply entertainment venues that exist not for the public good but for one rea$on alone?

    The thought occurred to me as everything was going down last night that this was the ultimate in reality TV.

    • For some reason Fahrenheit 451 comes to mind…..

    • And there is gambling in Rick’s cafe.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      The thought occurred to me as everything was going down last night that this was the ultimate in reality TV.

      They were saying the same thing on morning drive-time radio last Friday: “Carjacking? High speed police chase with them throwing bombs at the pursuing cops? Cornered into a police shootout? With pressure-cooker bomb rolled at the cops? One perp killed running at the cops wearing a homemade suicide bomb vest, the other charges through the cops on the SUV and gets away? WHAT IS THIS, THE OPENING SCENE OF AN ACTION MOVIE?”

  12. Robert F says:

    Mindfulness meditation is the basis of all Buddhist practice; it is not religiously neutral in practice or effect, because it tends to inculcate an experience of the non-duality (sometimes known as oneness) of all reality, subsuming God and individual human identity into this supposed non-duality. To assert that Christian contemplation or meditation is the same as what the Zen Buddhists I used to practice with called emptiness meditation or any form of simple mindfulness is disingenuous, because Christian prayer practice is always orientated toward the recalling God in our wandering hearts and minds; even when a kind of darkness or emptiness is utilized, as in the mystical system of St. John of the Cross, it is always in the wider context of faith in Jesus Christ, which is what fills the contemplative prayer practice with its specific Christian meaning. None of which is to say that mindfulness meditation will inevitably lead to states of mind that result in a religiously monist experience of the world, but it will tend to do so, and the more it is practiced apart from a specific Christian framework, the more it will tend to form a non-dualistic experience of reality and the self and God.

    I’ve been there, done that. It leads away from God in Christ and toward the world as sufficient unto itself.

    • Jennifer E. says:

      I get what you’re saying. Definitely, there is a sense where Christian meditation is centered towards God. In Buddhism, the center is self. But if we’re looking at being aware of how one is thinking and feeling, I fail to see how this is a bad practice for kids if it is not taught in a religious way.

      Without realizing it or calling it “mindfulness”, when I’m feeling negative emotions, I consciously stop myself and and try to pinpoint the feelings and the thoughts behind them so that I can deal with them. Otherwise, I’ll go throughout my day having these negative emotions and letting them spill out onto others unjustly. For me, this is understanding myself, the reasons behind my behavior, feelings, and thoughts. Once I get a grasp of that, often times I pray about it. Sometimes I don’t get a grasp and I just pray. Either way, it’s an exercise in understanding oneself and trying to take responsibility for actions, thoughts and behaviors one has. I find it to be a positive practice.

      • Robert F says:

        What you are describing, which is a kind of personal cognitive inventory and evaluation undertaken by a willed decision not to be captive to destructive emotions or thoughts, is not the same as mindfulness meditation, and I do not believe it is what they’ve had these kids practicing.

        In fact, what you describe is in Christian tradition, specifically Catholic spirituality, part of what’s called an Examen of the self, with the intention of moving toward right relationship to God. Such a practice would never be allowed as a programmed activity in schools, filled as it is with theistic assumptions.

        • Jennifer E. says:

          The way it was described to me by our school was very much what I had described, minus the prayer part. They don’t practice it at our school, but discussed it as techniques that have been found to be helpful. I think one thing that is misunderstood is that the mindfulness techniques they were using were not an “emptying” of oneself. I could be misunderstanding what it is, but as I understand it, it doesn’t seem to me to be harmful.

          • Robert F says:

            If I were a parent, I would want to examine the course materials supporting the activity, and observe an actual session, before allowing my child to participate in what very easily could amount to the state teaching a psycho-spiritual technique, which by necessity is religious in nature.

            Keep in mind, when I say emptying, I’m talking about the release of all thoughts and emotions as part of merging into a unitive experience with reality; such release is normally achieved by focusing the attention on the present as it comes to us in breathing, or sensing a part of the body, and using that as a centering place from which to release everything else. Sometimes guided meditation is used, with an instructor, or teacher, leading others into release be refocusing on some idyllic, tranquil image.

          • Jennifer E. says:

            I agree with you–I’d want to understand what the practice entailed before allowing my child to participate.

      • Buddhist meditation is centered on self? I don’t believe this is correct.

        • Robert F says:

          Buddhism teaches that the phenomenal self is an illusion caused by the attachment of awareness to dynamic phenomenological processes and manifestations, which awareness identifies with, which in turn gives rise to suffering; the purpose of Buddhist practice, especially mindfulness meditation, is to detach awareness from the illusion of a stable identity, and this detachment is said to result in nirvana, or the extinguishing of attachment, and so the end of suffering. The emptiness that is realized in meditation is the emptiness of the self, and in fact of all phenomena, of any intrinsic identifying qualities.

    • Mindfulness meditation already existed as a spiritual practice before Buddhism, it came into Buddhism from what we would now call Indian culture.

  13. One thing I really like about the Catholic Church is that you don’t get to pick and choose what you like and don’t like about it. You either buy the whole parcel or none at all.

    Well, in theory, maybe, but in practice…

    This whole thing with the LCWR is a source of constant annoyance for me. You see a lot of the “misogynist boys club oppressing the poor nuns” narrative, because it’s easy and it sells. But when you have a big group of Catholic religious, whose keynote speaker at their annual conference offers up such gems as:

    Jesus is not the only son of God…Who’s to say that the movement beyond Christ is not, in reality, a
    movement into the very heart of God?

    and calls courageous and speaks approvingly of this:

    As one sister described it, “I was rooted in the story of Jesus, and it remains at my core, but I’ve also moved beyond Jesus.” The Jesus narrative is not the only or the most important narrative for these women.

    well, call me crazy, but you don’t get to complain when you get a phone call from the arm of the Catholic church in charge of promulgating correct doctrine. Does this stuff make them bad people? No. Does it make them so doctrinally off-base that it could be argued that they are barely even Christian? Yup. And these are nuns we’re talking about, not flaky, undercatechized laypersons.

    For anyone curious, my quotes come from here, starting on about page 17: https://lcwr.org/sites/default/files/calendar/attachments/2007_Keynote_Address-Laurie_Brink-OP.pdf

    • Thank you! I understand that the concept of “obedience” is so far-removed from American thought as to be a sign of feeble-mindedness or weakness. The simple fact is that the Catholic Church calls all its members to obedience, and these ladies took a VOW to this end. You do not get to believe or speak theology that is removed from the Church AND STILL BE A FAITHFULL CATHOLIC! You can pack your bags and leave…..heaven knows the throngs that have over the last two thousand years, but you can’t flaunt the rules and be surprised if you are corrected by those in authority.

      This is what underlies the concerns with public and unrepentant sinners like Biden and Pelosi calling themselves Catholic and receiving the Eucharist….it is a scandal to the faithful.

      Look, in the last 200 years in America, no one, to the best of my knowledge, has ever been FORCED to remain in the Catholic Church. We want people to freely choose to be Catholic, but knowing that the choice MEANS something about beliefs and actions. Either join or stay at the party, in all its crazy splendor, or leave. Just pick one!

      • To a point, Pattie, but Catholic doctrine does not really recognize anything outside itself as truly Christian (I could say the same about the LCMS Lutherans, too). So, no, many Catholics can’t really just leave and go somewhere else. It’s really what got Martin Luther in dire straights back in the day. He saw problems in Rome but couldn’t just leave and go elsewhere…

        • Suzanne, I insist you are incorrect on that. Rome recognizes protestant baptisms as valid (i.e., they make one a Christian), even those coming from the most liberal of mainlines. And the LCMS recognizes all forms of Christianity within trinitarian orthodoxy to be valid. In fact, this openness to the fullness of the Christian spectrum as brothers, albiet with disagreement on various issues, was something that drew me to Lutheranism. The Fundagelical world recognizes neither Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, or Mainlines to be genuine Christianity. We accept them all as sincere expressions of Christian faith. There is a fine line between disagreement and disownment, or acceptance without minimizing significant differences, and the LCMS, imo, walks this line quite well, albiet inconsistently.

        • Well, but he did, Suzanne — he left and went elsewhere and died of old age. And people have been doing that ever since. The nuns also could leave (if they were willing to give up the material accumulations of centuries) and still call themselves Christian. They are already demonstrating that they do not accept the Catholic definitions of things — what would it matter to them whether or not the Catholic church recognized them as Christian?

          • True, Luther left, but not really willingly. He did not get fed up a decide to start a new denomination because that was not anything that would have remotely been in his mindset. Being a part of the church in his day meant being part of Rome. His going “elsewhere” was a by-product of his trying to change what was there because being outside of the church (meaning Roman Catholic) was not really an option.

            Certainly Rome now accepts baptisms of other denominations, but it was not always so. And I know several people who were raised Catholic but no longer attend and can’t bring themselves to join another denomination. Why? They all say that it is because they grew up hearing that outside the Catholic Church, well, you can never be sure…. I don’t hold to that, but it is out there. Or was in the not too distant past.

  14. If you think a pastor arriving on stage via a zip line is a bad idea, you might be a post-Christian.

  15. If pursuing your “best life now” would ruin your life, you might be a post-Christian.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      If your family tree does not fork…
      You might be a Redneck.
      (Or a Spanish Hapsburg.)

  16. Mr. Poet says:

    I do not believe in manmade global warming, but I support recycling, if it actually works, because I have heard that recycling certain materials can take more energy than producing new materials. The best way to recycle, though, is not to cycle at all. Stop buying so much.

    East Coast news? Ha. Try Northeast news. I first noticed it as it pertains to major weather events. I live in the Richmond, Virginia, area. I often watch the national news, both cable and network. Whenever there is a major weather event striking the East Coast, it seems coverage ends at the D.C. area. Anything D.C. and to the north of D.C. gets plenty of coverage. Anything happening in Richmond or points south gets token coverage, if any at all.

    The Richmond area had the nationally popular (among runners) Monument 10k just before the Boston marathon. I don’t doubt, if the Potluck Bombers had detonated bombs here, there would have been nowhere near the wall-to-wall coverage the Boston bombing got.

    The UCI World Road Cycling Championships will be held in Richmond in 2015. What? You haven’t heard of that? Yeah, me, neither, until local polticians pounced on the opportunity to put Richmond on the global map. If terrorists strike here, don’t expect Boston-style coverage. We’re not important enough to major news agencies.

    • cermak_rd says:

      Yes, but have you seen the population numbers of the northeast? When I drove there on vacation once, it just seemed that it was one huge megapolis with little intervals in between the suburbia of one metro area before entering the suburban area of another one. If you look at one of the maps that show the map of the US adjusted by population, you can see that the northeast is huge as far as population.

      • That Other Jean says:

        That’s because the area between Washington, DC and Boston, MA IS just one huge population center. East Coasters don’t refer to it as “BosWash” for nothing.

  17. cermak_rd says:

    I went back to work this week (yippee!) I was surplussed on 1 Feb, so this has been nice. I spent the time off playing the clarinet on which I take lessons once a week. So to celebrate my new job, I bought an upgrade to my student level clarinet and a bass clarinet as well. My instructor was impressed by my sound improvement (and I don’t think I can claim any part of that, I think it’s all the instrument).

    My answer to wall-to-wall as it’s happening news coverage? Play the clarinet and follow along on twitter from time to time. Just as inaccurate, but in an easier on the time commitment.

    • Play the clarinet and follow along on twitter from time to time. Just as inaccurate, but in an easier on the time commitment.

      Brilliant!

  18. It was a rough week here at home too. Doesn’t look to be over. I always look forward to Saturday when I can come here and find a few laughs to lighten the load. Not this week. I liked it better when the dog greeted us up at the top. I think I’ll go see if I can find him and go for a walk.

  19. Regarding manmade global warming, I’ll simply refer back to the evolution thread from earlier this week. I do not believe in global warming, anymore than I believe in evolution. (If you want to know what I believe, I’ll give you a hint: it starts with, “in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth…”)

    However: in matters that involve a number of highly trained individuals spending their lives studying something–say, medicine, civil engineering, biological origins, or climate science–when a massive consensus emerges, I think it wise to defer to the consensus. And the consensus, overwhelmingly, is that manmade global warming is a thing, and that evolution is by far the best explanation we’ve come up with for how we got here. So I accept them as true.

    • That Other Jean says:

      Obviously, all global warming isn’t man-made–there have been warming cycles long before there were humans. But I’m more than willing to concede, on the basis of the massive consensus of experts that you mention, that this particular cycle has been generated/helped along by human activity, and we need to figure out ways to minimize our part in it, NOW. We probably can’t stop whatever is going to happen, but we can’t influence what we don’t acknowledge.

  20. Reading about Frosty Westering makes me glad I came here today.

    Reading the comments section makes me sad I came here today.

  21. First, the most disappointing thing to me bout the entire Boston episode was the “two minutes hate” broadcast coast to coast after the second suspect was apprehended. While some sense of relief is normal and expected, the cheering and waving of American flags was more than a bit odd. When we conflate justice with patriotism we are on the fast track to despotism.

    Second, I am really, really tired of people with no background in mathematics and/or science commenting on anthropogenic global climate change. The discussion by scientists has nothing to do with the deadly pollutants that we are creating by the metric ton every week. The issue is with statistical modeling and whether chaotic events can be realistically predicted. We can effectively model weather using differential equations in the imaginary number line – Lorentz used six, but we have since been able to pare it down to three – but predictive modeling is nearly impossible with chaotic systems. Anyone who pretends that anthropogenic global climate change is a “hoax” is just plain old ignorant of basic facts. We (humans) are pumping poisonous chemicals into our atmosphere, no doubt, but is that related to climate change? Well, this rise in chemical output correlates with statistically relevant increases in the variance of our climate – which is why you rarely hear actual scientists talk about “global warming” – warming is not the issue. This statistically relevant variance is a mathematical fact, and there are hundreds of scientific journal articles modeling this effect. The issue of disagreement is whether mathematics that describes the past can be used to model the future. Common sense tells us yes, but mathematics tells us no. So please, if you don’t have the knowledge and skill to deal with the yottabytes of data compiled by NOAA, please don’t comment. Facts before feelings, please.

    • Amen, Dr. F! The problem is that most of us don’t understand all the science , and there are no simple answers. When you’ve got so many churches preaching the Gospel of “All scientists that don’t agree with us are part of the godless liberal hoard of deceivers” I get scared. Sure, scientific predictions have changed since the 60s. Thank goodness! That is how science works. Things are revised as new information and discoveries become available.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        And in Grand Unified Conspiracy Theory, any who doubt the existence of The Conspiracy have proven themselves to be part of The Conspiracy.

  22. Barna’s little list is quite a revealing litany of what “good Christians” are supposed to be doing:

    -Make a commitment to Jesus
    -Read the Bible, at least every week
    -donate money to and attend Church
    -at least feel responsible for sharing their faith
    -volunteer at church
    -attend Sunday school
    -attend a “small group”
    -AND be involved with a “house church”?

    Geese Louise, I do believe we have found the decalogue of contemporary American Evangelicalism. With all these hoops to jump through, Roman Catholicism has the edge on appealing to Ockham’s razor. I think this list is more reflective of the pietistic and revivalist orientation of the Barna group (and their clientele) than it is of the religious landscape of America today. Yes, let’s all go around judging how “Christian” America truly is by evaluating their behavior based on a criteria we completely make up! Just another example of how the “relevance” crowd makes themselves irrelevant by trying so hard.

    FWIW, I only scored a 7.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      “Nothing gets old-fashioned faster than over-relevance.”
      – my old Dungeonmaster

  23. If you think the books on clearance at the local Christian bookstore would make cheap kindling, you might be a post-evangelical.

    • Really? The bargain bin is where all the good stuff winds up. It’s the “best-sellers” list that I think would be more suited for fueling fire (though significantly less economical).

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Just like back when there were mainstream bookstores, I always took a look over at the “New Age” section (what used to be called the “Occult” section). That section served as a catchall for any weird or unusual books whose genre didn’t match any other section, so the weird stuff would tend to shake down into there. I once picked up a serious book on exobiology by a favorite SF author because it got mistaken for Ufology and shoved in the “New Age” section.

  24. If you read about a pastor’s arguments against Jesus changing water into alcoholic wine while sipping on a beer (that you bought yourself and didn’t steal from your neighbor), you might be a post-evangelical.

  25. If you realize Ayn Rand was as anti-Christian as Karl Marx, you may be a post-Christian.

    • Which reminds me that I need to order my “Atlas Shrugged / Jesus Hugged” bumper sticker.

  26. If you do not demonize views and data which conflict with your faith assumptions as “unscientific”, then you might be a post-Christian.

    • This reminds me of a recent post in which a seminary professor noticed that many of his evangelical students tended to assume that “unfamiliar” = ” unbliblical.”

  27. If you don’t use the Loch Les Monster to defend your view of cosmology, you might be a post-Christian.