Monday, December 28, 2009

Compendium o' Links

Haven't done this in a while; and since my RSS feeder was overflowing with goodies, here goes:

Hillbilly Music gone mainstream? That balloon bass is very cool.

I think this is some dude's PhD thesis. Whatever it is, I want one.

Oh yeah, oh yeah, OH YEAH!!

None of my friends growing up had tree houses or play houses. These kids have something else altogether.

Have you ever had a hankerin' for some candy, but couldn't decide what? Well, wonder no more.

Who says we Canadians aren't crazy?

Can my ipod really make this airplane explode?

Most of these links below are from Dubious Quality. I'm just reproducing.

For any one who grew up in Ontario in the 80s, watching Rick Vaive, this story is very amusing.

Two interesting stories about...traffic lights? Here and Here.

An interactive website of historical scientific progress.

Scared of the real estate market and the stock market, but need a place to invest your money? How about Somali pirates?

No photoshop or camera trickery here; just clever painting. Meet the Ghostman.

Finally the best link of the day: the year in pictures (3 parts)

Top Music of the Decade: Honorable Mentions

So I put together a list of my favorite songs/albums of the decade a couple of days ago. I seem to have forgot a lot. But according to my convoluted logic, since I didn't remember it the first time around, they can't be on my "top list" but on my "honorable mentions" list.

So, here goes:

The band Fun. came out of nowhere this year and put an excellent album together called "Aim & Ignite". Here's "All the Pretty Girls" as a sample: (apologies in advance for the lead singer's pants. )



One of my new favorite Christian bands, Everyday Sunday, put out three albums this decade. I loved them all. Here's a sample, "Stand Up" from their debut:



I've long since lamented that radio in the metropolitan New York City area is abysmal. When I do listen to radio, 90% of the time, I listen to either Pandora Internet Radio or CFNY out of Toronto, cause I really hate NY radio. The two NY stations I do listen to are WRXP and WFUV (an NPR station). I did discover one new band from WFUV: Bell X1, and their song "The Great Defector". It's interesting to note, that it took WRXP 3 months to catch up.



Finally (for now, until I remember more), is the Welcome Wagon, an Asthmatic Kitty special with their song Sold! to the nice Rich man:

Friday, December 25, 2009

My Favorite Songs of "the decade"

So, everyone else seems to be putting together some pretty cool "best of" lists for the decade. Since I aspire to be a music connoisseur, I thought I'd start with my favorite songs.

Let me begin by saying that this is not intended to be a best of list, but a list of songs I enjoyed. I am a late arriver to the "ipod generation", having an ipod for the first time only a 2-3 years ago. So my primary judgement will be how much I listened to it. Consequently my list will be heavily skewed by the last few years.

Anyways, in no particular order:

Regina Spektor - Fidelity (Begin to Hope):



Andrew Bird - Scythian Empire (Armchair Apocrypha)



The National - (Boxer) This entire album is phenomenal. Here's "Fake Empire" as a sample:



Spoon - Underdog (Ga ga ga ga ga)



Editors - Smokers outside the hospital doors (The End Has a Start)



Mika - Grace Kelly (Life in cartoon motion)



The New Pornographers (Twin Cinema) This one I put on for the entire album. And before anyone yells at me for the name of the band, it is taken from a Jimmy Swaggert quote "Music is the new pornography". Here's "The Bleeding Heart Show" as a sample.



Jars of Clay (Good Monsters) Again, an entire album for the list. Here's "Dead Man" as a sample:



Steven Curtis Chapman - Heaven is the Face (Beauty Will Rise). Note, I'm not usually a SCC fan. In fact, historically, I've been an anti-SCC fan. But this song (and others from this album) are incredible.



Arcade Fire had two albums come out this decade: Funeral and Neon Bible. Both are excellent. Intervention is my favorite from both:



And last on this list is William Shatner's version of the Pulp's Common People (Has Been).

Friday, December 4, 2009

Babies, A Movie

The trailier below is from an upcoming documentary by Thomas Balmes, entitled "Babies". It apparently follows the lives of 4 babies from 4 vastly different places around the globe. The first I heard about this is from MPT's blog. It certainly looks very cool:



Background song: Sufjan Stevens, The perpetual self, or "What would Saul Alinsky do"

Tangent: I'm really becoming a fan of Sufjan. I really like all that I've heard of his music: (Just search youtube for more, or Elbows.)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Aerial photos from Dubya Dubya Two

Very cool. History preserved. A couple pictures below. The rest in the article. Remarkable detail. The 1st picture is the same as the 2nd, but zoomed in.













Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Muppets do Bohemian Rhapsody

Someone has taken Jim Henson's legacy and run with it. These 4 videos were posted a few months ago. Now we have bohemian Rhapsody.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Covers Vol 2

I love listening to covers--one band's interpretation of another artist's songs. Here's an earlier entry spotlighting some cool ones.

I think I have enough new ones to do another post, but most of the links come from youtube. You may find MP3's of these on music blogs, so Elbows is your friend. (By the way, as far as I know, downloading from most music blogs is legal. but I am not a lawyer, so don't sue me.)

One of the cheesiest songs of all time is "I've got you babe", originally by Sonny & Cher. Some dude named Aidan Moffat has covered it very well.

Speaking of cheesy songs, Shawn Mullins (the guy who did lullaby) has covered Wham's Wake me up before you go go.

I really like what I've heard of The Editors so far (admittedly not all that much, but I especially like Smokers), but their cover of Road to Nowhere (Talking Heads) is pretty cool.

These days, John Mayer seems to be everywhere, probably because he released an album. His cover versions of Message in a Bottle (The Police) and Free Falling (Tom Petty) are so good that hipsters think that these are really his songs.

Anything Jack White and company does is sure to be cool, but the White Stripes version of Jolene (Dolly Parton) is awesome.

I love Tori Amos' voice; her version of Losing my Religion (R.E.M.) is haunting because of it.

Last one: if you've ever watched an episode of Cold Case, there's a 90% chance you've heard REO Speedwagon's song Keep on Loving You. Lisa Loeb & Dweezil Zappa cover it here.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Compendium?

So, I decided not to do compendiums anymore, then I posted one anyway. So today, I'm wading through my rss feeds and have decided to change my proclamation.

New decision: I will post compendiums when I can. I just don't want to be tied down into an "every friday" list.

That being said, here goes:

Can we put this guy in jail for child abuse? Please? Seriously.

Another example of retardness--there's piranhas in a Florida lake (they don't belong). solution? Poison the entire lake to kill them. The genius behind this belongs in Washington, not Florida.

It seems that Andy Serkis (Gollum from Lord of the Rings) is the voice of Screwtape, from C.S. Lewis' classic The Screwtape Letters. Sounds awesome.

The title of this says it all: Mind Blowing Hyper Realistic Sculptures.

Understatement of the day: "I'm in spot of a bother". I hope this guy is all right. I stopped reading after seeing the picture and realizing what actually happened.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Orca vs. Jaws

Very cool video:

Pigeon Impossible


Pretty cool animated short by Lucas Martell. It's his first, and it took him 5 years. Worth the 6 minutes.

A rookie secret agent is faced with a problem seldom covered in basic training: what to do when a curious pigeon gets trapped inside your multi-million dollar, government-issued nuclear briefcase.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Compendium O' Links

I said a couple posts ago that the compendiums were finished. This was because it was getting tougher to do--saving them all for one big post. As mentioned before, the links will still come, but in onesies and twosies and threesies.

Here's what was supposed to be published on Friday the 13th, plus a couple more. Enjoy.

Start off today with a clip of American College Women's soccer. I might have to start watching.

A couple of not so funny funny faith items. First Christian Chirp (sigh), and Joel Osteen's new book (double sigh). I really wish perma-smile man would go away.

My life is average.

I went to school with a bunch of mennonites, who are very similar to the amish. For some reason I am surprised to hear that Verne Troyer (Mini-Me), is amish?

Just wait until PETA weighs in on this one, milking 1 million spiders for their gold thread.

How much does google know about you?

In unrelated google news, they makes things up? Really?

I'm looking forward to #6, and hoping that they don't ruin #35. The original (#35) was awesome.

This product is for sale on Amazon. But the pictures show that it's a joke. At least I hope so.

It's a little early to start talking about Christmas lights, but this is pretty funny.

I was scared of jelly fish after watching Finding Nemo, but this makes it scarier.

Fascinating excerpt from some book about people who made a little money betting against housing.

Do you know that file sharers buy the most music? I know the RIAA doesn't.

From Bill harris comes the following: Very, very cool insect pictures.

For all of you who grew up with TGIF, enjoy.

Great news! Hammer pants may come back! And while we're at it, here's one of Conan O'Brien's best bits.

Ironic story of the day.

I'm not a Sacha Baron Cohen fan at all, but he "humor" does expose some nasty parts of our society, doesn't it?

From Bill Harris also:
Weirdest, grossest ingredients in processed foods. Caution, title is accurate.

Very cool nature photos, very cool general photos here and here.

Through the eyes of an armadillo.

I just discovered this series of "images that aren't photoshopped". This one is the 5th installment. It links to the other 4. Caution, the site isn't exactly always family friendly.

Yeah! Let's boycott the GAP!

I posted this already on my facebook profile, but thought I'd add a few more comments due to my increasing irritation.

The American Family Association, the self appointed protectors of all things christian (note lower case "c"), had decided that in order to protect the sanctity of Christmas, we Christians should boycott the GAP. Their offence? An apparent refusal to use the word "Christmas"! Oh, the horror!

The boycott is part of our ongoing campaign to encourage businesses, communities and individuals to put Christ back in Christmas. The boycott runs from November 1 through Christmas Day.

For years, Gap has refused to use the word Christmas in its television commercials, newspaper ads and in-store promotions, despite tens of thousands of consumer requests to recognize Christmas and in spite of repeated requests from AFA to do the same.


The AFA is getting blasted (rightfully so), by everybody. The LA Times says very pointedly:

It would be easy to get sidetracked into debating the merits of the War on Christmas. Why, for example, is the phrase "Happy holidays" so insufferable to Christian fundamentalists, but not the vulgar, surfeiting exploitation of Christ's name to sell smokeless ashtrays, dessert toppings, Droid phones and trampolines? I'm not a theologian but I think the Gospels are pretty clear that Jesus was no fan of merchants.


A very valid question, don't you think?

Buddy Smith (what a great name!) says this about the fatwa (great word, huh? Not mine, got to give credit to the LAT for that one):

I interpret Gap's decision as a warning sign to Christians to get out there and tell people about Jesus Christ,


Therefore, instead of telling people about Jesus Christ, you denigrate His name by advocating a boycott? Makes perfect sense to me.

They'll know we are Christians by our boycotts, sanctimonious piety, and self-righteous judgment.

Lord, save me from your followers!

The Experiment is Over

The "Compendium o' links" era in the "Thought Storage" blog is over. From now on, I'm going to post cool and interesting links as I find them, instead of waiting for Friday. Hope that my faithful reader approves.

Anyway, here's the first one. Very cool story/video about leopard seals.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Compendium o' Links

Been a busy week. It's almost Saturday, so I'm a bit late. but better late than never, right? Right?

Some guys are good at guitar hero, some are good at soccer. Some are good at both guitar hero and soccer.

British dude (sorry, bloke) is drawing the entire NYC skyline after a 20 minute helicopter ride.

Periodic Table, get it?

This has been circulating for a while now, but this car dealership is really cool.

Zoom in via the scroll bar. Very cool.

From the "Too Much Time Department", comes DaVinci's Last Supper reproduced with Rubik's Cubes.

Scared of sharks? No? How about now?

Some cute and funny websites to waste your time visiting.

Caution this story may cause you to shed a tear.

If you or your friend had a tree house as a child, you probably thought you were cool. Well, not cool enough.

one last link, my personal fave of the week. Very cool nature video.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

A-Team, the Movie

I love it when a plan comes together!

I pity the foo!

I'm excited for the upcoming movie



Click on above pic for the whole thing. From left to right: Face, B.A., Murdoch, Hannibal.

Who cares what their real names are.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Compendium O' Links

I don't have much for you today, but here's what I do have:

I love mash-ups (two or more songs combined into one cohesively). So this youtube mash-up site is very cool. Here's another, but this one is a "do it yourself" site.

A very cool picture of the 1944 D-day Normandy invasion fleet.

Interesting list of 30 dumb inventions. More interesting, the founder of scientology, L. Ron Hubbard is on here. His invention was awesome--a device to measure whether tomatoes feel pain. I am not kidding.

For those of you who have ever watched a Pixar film (e.g. toy story), The Sordid Story of the Pixar Lamp. caution, most of the rest of that site is nsfw.

For U2 Fans, their 10/25 show from California will be streamed live on their site and on youtube.

Very, very cool pictures from inside waves.

Speaking of cool nature photography, bizarre landscapes and a volcano.

I'm not a gamer, but this technology that Xbox is working on looks awesome.

A lot of nature this week: a terrifying video of an avalanche, and one from a high altitude balloon (not the balloon boy).

More nature: 13 real animals from your nightmares.

The coolest link this week (and there's a lot of them): Just keep clicking to zoom.

Now onto the silly (you must be a fan of 80s tv to appreciate): Star Trek/A-Team, Star Wars/Dallas, Star Wars Rebels/Air Wolf, Star Wars Imperial/Air Wolf, and Star Wars/MacGyver.

A pool playing robot.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Compendium O' Links Vol 2

I am up late waiting ...

So, I thought I'd post the rest of the links I had saved:

Whatever bad things you think about the twilight books/movies, and I'm sure there are a lot of bad things to say, the upcoming movie has a pretty rocking soundtrack.

Speaking of movies and soundtracks, Where the Wild Things Are opened in theaters today. I loved the book as a kid. The soundtrack for this is fantastic. Listen to it here. Buy it here.

According to this fascinating article, there's an entire group of people living in underground drainage tunnels under Las Vegas. People have living quarters down there, and make their money and food by scavenging around casinos looking for discarded money and food. Many of them struggle with addiction and face the constant threat of flooding.

A new study suggests that parents lie to their children fairly often. In other news, Santa Claus is watching you!

This reminded me of the sappy powerpoint of cute cats and dogs email forward your 60 year old coworker forwards you. But unlike the forward, this one is actually thought provoking.

Very cool: Creative billboards. The McDonald's one is my fave.

These photos from the World Beard and Moustache Championships in Germany are incredible. Never have faces produced such forests of hair. I suspect that if this was held in India that the non-Indians wouldn't stand a chance.

Very Cool: Skateboard Tetris

Improv Anywhere, as I've said many times before is awesome, their pranks famous. This time, they take on the "bigoted" logo of Wendy's.

A very amusing video on the perils of being a nature photographer.

Very cool: 1 million frames per second video of bullets.

For fans of Rich Mullins (which will get his own blog post...someday): a cover of his song, Creed. I've never seen a hammer dulcimer before.

See! that's 2 weeks of links in one day...albeit in 2 posts. Hope you enjoyed.

Compendium O' Links

I have taken a hiatus from Friday Links. 2 weeks in fact. It's harder than I thought, compiling what I think is cool/funny/interesting. Because, I'm so weird, I have no idea what my two readers will think. I suppose since I'm almost sure both are family, they already know.

Anyway, here goes. This is a brief entry because of time. I have more, just waiting to be shared. Sorry!

I have given up trying to put them in some semblance of grouping or order.

I start off with my favorite link of the past couple weeks. A video I've shared on FB already. But it must be shared again, if not for the look of sheer joy on the dude's face.

This is a car ad?

Probably fake, but very cool.

I don't care if this spider is a vegetarian or not. Spiders freak me out.

Thought of the day from the Thinkling blog: "Michael Moore has made a movie that argues that capitalism is evil. He is charging people to buy, distribute, and attend this movie."

More irony: A couple months ago, the CEO of whole foods wrote an op-ed piece in the WSJ decrying Obama’s health care plan. The liberal elite was outraged. Some even started a boycott of Whole Foods, even though it's very green, very "progressive". They viewed MacKey as a turncoat to their cause. So MacKey gave an interview to the WSJ about the whole thing. The funny thing—he’s a "progressive". He just doesn't like the plan

Hymns I Wish People At My Church Knew

Glory to Thee Thou Son of God Most High
Author Uknown

Glory to Thee; Thou Son of God most High,
all praise to Thee!
Glory to Thee, enthroned above the sky,
who died for me;
high on Thy throne, Thine ear, Lord Jesus bend
as grateful hearts now to Thyself ascend.

Deep were Thy sorrows, Lord, when heaven frowned -
Gethsemane!
Bloodlike Thy sweat, Lord, falling to the ground
so heavily;
dark was the night, but heaven was darker still,
O Christ my God, is this the Father’s will?

Thorns wreathed Thy brow when hanging on the tree,
man’s cruelty!
Why lavish love like this, O Lord, on me?
Thou lovest me!
Would that my soul could understand its length,
its breadth, depth, height, and everlasting strength!

Thy precious blood was freely shed for me
on Calvary
to save me from a lost eternity;
glory to Thee!
Nor death, nor hell, nor things below - above
can sever me from Thy eternal love.

Like shoreless seas, Thy love can know no bound;
Thou lovest me!
Deep, vast, immense, unfathomed, Lord, profound,
Lord, I love Thee!
And when above, my crown is at Thy feet,
I’ll praise Thee still for Calvary’s mercy seat

Immanuel's Land
Anne Ross Cousin
(from a poem entitled The Sands of Time are Sinking--incidentally, I did not know that. I just found out after googling the words.)

O Christ, He is the fountain, the deep, sweet well of love!
The streams of earth I’ve tasted more deep I’ll drink above:
There to an ocean fullness His mercy doth expand,
And glory, glory dwelleth in Immanuel’s land.

With mercy and with judgment my web of time He wove,
And aye, the dews of sorrow were lustered with His love;
I’ll bless the hand that guided, I’ll bless the heart that planned
When throned where glory dwelleth in Immanuel’s land.

O I am my Beloved’s and my Beloved’s mine!
He brings a poor vile sinner into His “house of wine.”
I stand upon His merit—I know no other stand,
Not even where glory dwelleth in Immanuel’s land.

The Bride eyes not her garment, but her dear Bridegroom’s face;
I will not gaze at glory but on my King of grace.
Not at the crown He giveth but on His pierced hand;
The Lamb is all the glory of Immanuel’s land.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Lord Save Us From Your Followers

I've been hearing about this documentary for about a year now, and I've been excited to see it since. If it came to the NYC area, I missed it, and have to wait.

If you've not heard about this, here's a brief primer:

From Church Marketing Sucks:

Maybe I was afraid it'd be just another apology, maybe I was afraid it would just plain stink, ... but I wasn't so excited going in to it.

But the actual film put any of my worries to rest.

If you're not familiar with the movie, I'll give you a quick synopsis. A pastor from Portland puts on a white suit with tons of religious bumper stickers and magnetic fish, then he heads across the country interviewing people about their perception of Christianity and Christ.

Pastor Dan Merchant does his share of hilarious finger-pointing at mind-numbingly absurd efforts by the church. But even better, he tells the moving stories of churches that are healing wounds, loving the unlovable and truly making a difference.

It's the type of movie that will leave you reflecting on your own faith and positions and challenge you to make changes for the better. And not just that, it's the type of movie you can bring friends to who wouldn't normally step foot into a church. Afterwards, you'll probably have conversations you never thought were possible.

Other interesting perspectives from the blogosphere: From the search, and from Jason Boyett also here,

Check out these two you tube previews here. Some footage overlaps.



Thursday, September 24, 2009

Friday Compendium O' Links

I was thinking this week that it seems I am neglecting my regular blogging because of this novelty fad called Friday links. Then I realized I haven't blogged all that much in a while, and even when I did, I didn't have much to say.

My faithful reader (you know who you are NZ-B!) knows that I am never short of something to say, I just don't have a keyboard nearby when my choicest rants come forth.

Anyway, onto the links.

Last week I tried to be organized in some sort of way. Nope, not this week. Takes too much effort.

When they went after the HumVees, I didn’t care because I drove a small car. When they went after bottled water, I didn’t care because I drank tap water. Now they’re going too far!

When I banged my head as a kid, my dad used to put me into a headlock and "rub the bump" down. For all you mallu kids out there, you know exactly what I'm talking about. Well, it turns out he was doing it wrong.

If you want a thought provoking blog on Christianity and Faith, check out Jason Boyett. A while back, he interviewed an athiest. Fascinating. Part 1, Part 2

I'm not sure whom to blame on this one, the photographer or the parents.

Craig's List bucks all trends. It makes money, despite no banner ads. It runs afoul of the law for its risqué ads. And its design is maddenly simple. When you read this list, a mixture of emotions comes back, chief among them, fear. Then there's this utterly fascinating article on the phenom, Craig Newmark, and his genius (?) from Wired. Warning, very long.

Another Jason Boyett link...this time not so serious. Flash mobs! The Japanese, it seems, are experts. After finishing them search for "Improv Anywhere" on youtube. My favorite is the little league baseball game, simply because the kids feel so cool.

A common theme this week seems to be stupid criminals. Here, here, here, here, here and here. The last one is the best.

This link is 2 weeks late. Where were you? I was at work (in Canada), wondering why a coworker was late. All our managers were at a leadership retreat. When he did come in, he told us. The rest of the day was spent trying to find out as much as we could. Weird thing is that our bosses never did find out until they got home.

From the "I Wonder Why That Is?" Dept., seven jurors in the John Gotti, Jr. trial make last-minute appeals to be dismissed. The reasons were not immediately disclosed.

Man shoots hunting partner because he thought he was a squirrel. That's nuts! Ha! Thank you, thank you! I'll be here all week. Don't forget to tip your waitress!

Underwear Index Shows Economy Not Bulging Just Yet. (ha!)

Solar panels out of hair? Nope, not an invention by the professor on Gilligan's Island.

Finally, a link to one You Tube artist who publishes "literal videos". Literal videos are music videos where the music depicts what's actually going on. total eclipse of the heart is my favorite

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Friday's Compendium O' Links

A lot of cool and interesting links this week. Hopefully you enjoy.

First, the musical:

They're not being greedy, no, not at all.

Apparently Bollywood music is ubiquitious.

Vampire weekend 2.0 is coming!

Next the faithical:

Kathleen Sebelius, former governor of Kansas, talks frankly about the Catholic Church denying her communion for her views on abortion.

Fascinating story on prayer and how to pray; no not from Christianity Today, but from the NY Times.

Since this is Ramadan, an interesting photo blog on 30 mosques in 30 days.

On to the animal
(OK the 2nd one should probably go in the musical section, but I need another...shoot me!)

Scientists have determined that a mythical eagle in New Zealand did, in fact, exist and have named it the "Haast Eagle." The eagle weighed over 40 pounds and had powerful enough talons to kill a human. The bird is extinct, and we know we're supposed to be sad about that but ...

In the bird theme...cool bird music video.

Doubtless, you think you have seen all the email forwards about optical illusions. I did too.

Finally the humorous, cool links:

How to win at scrabble.

Oh, those olden days ways were a special time, when wives used to demonstrate the power of bulletproof glass.

Crazy strong hair.

The health care debate is important—but it pales in comparison to the age-old "Pirates vs. Ninjas" question. Fortunately, Wired UK has taken this debate head on. For the record, ninjas would totally beat pirates in a fair fight ...

What not to do in the background of a cool Obama pic.

What not to do to geeks.

Be NASA for $150.

Weekly dose of cardiac arrest.

My favorite link of the week! As the poster says, the look at 00:32 is awesome.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Friday's Compendium O' Links

I thought last Friday was my first foray in to the world of Friday linking. But it turns out that I was there one month ago, and didn't realize it. Oh well.

Anyway, onto the links:

Be scared, be very, very scared--rodents of unusual size do exist. Also, here, here and here.

Staying with the animal theme, is your internet connection faster than a pigeon?

From the "I never realized that" department comes this revelation.

If you ever wondered about the mathematics of grocery lines and how to prove the express lanes were not really express, well, wonder no longer. Or you can simply rely on intuition.

Another geeky math link regarding the mathematics of urinal usage. From the genius that is XKCD.

Awesome review of Will Smith Movie

Continuing the awesome theme, the awesomest fight scene evah, and the awesomest song evah!.

Now onto the interesting stuff:

A photo essay 8 years after 9-11. Today is 9-11. Where were you? If you want to relive the day, check out this live thread at FreeRepublic, people posting as news developed.

On the 9-11 theme, an image from space.

More images from space.

A rescuer meets with those he saved, who were recreating their escape.

An artist's rendition of what Manhattan would have looked like a few years ago.

The mad kings of clutter. I don't feel so bad about my pack-rat-edness anymore.

Very cool: Toothpick city

From Dubious: Why are tortilla chips so good? Also known as they're getting paid to study what, now?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Deluxe! Jesus Action figure!

My brother-in-law saw this (click on pic for larger view) on a recent trip to the great white north, and snapped a picture of it. Unfortunately, the price got cut off, but it's $45.99! A real bargain, if you ask me, especially since it's got glow in the dark hands!



Edit: I saw the brand name on the top right of the packaging, and after some quick googling, I found their web site. I can't say much more. The web site speaks for itself, unfortunately.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Friday Links

Other blogs that I read have this "Interesting Links on Friday" gimmick, so I thought I'd copy. When in Rome...

So, here we go:

A fascinating article from the New Yorker Magazine talking about a wrongfully convicted man who was ultimately executed for the crime. Warning: very long and sad.

Another long article, this time from Rolling Stone Magazine, about a deaf, dumb and blind kid, sure plays a mean phone scam.

Cool video of fish shooting bugs in a barrel.

Other cool science videos. Warning. Could spend a long time here.

Kinda funny, kinda depressing.

Yes, this is an actual commercial.

Deep Fried Butter? Seriously?

Mario Cart the Movie...only if.

A five pound gummi bear. [Gummi bears, jumping here and there and everywhere, high adventure that's beyond compare, these are the gummi bears.--is it shameful that I rmeember that?]

After the disasters that were Transformers 2 and G.I. Joe, Where the Wild Things Are (one of my favorite books of my childhood) is my most anticipated movie of the year. Trailers here, and cool article here. The soundtracksounds awesome also.

The following four are all from one of the aforementioned Friday links blogs. All very cool:

For children of the eighties and lego fans everywhere. An 8-bit Trip.

What's on earth tonight

ToTo Africa as interpreted by a Slovenian Choir. And just for fun, Toto Africa as interpreted by Jeffster [from the awesomest show on TV right now].

Who knew NBA statistics were so subjective?

Hope you enjoyed.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Hosea

Been reading the book of Hosea lately--fascinating book. Been having a jumble of thoughts regarding the illustrations and the events that give us the illustrations.

If there's anyone who can say "Why, God?", it's Hosea. Imagine marrying a prostitute, knowing that she's unfaithful, knowing that everyone knows that she's unfaithful. What kind of love must you have to love her? But as you think about it, this is exactly the point of the book.

Also, imagine naming your kids "Not Loved" and "Not my people". The latter one--wouldn't people assume that, given the nature of your wife, that you don't know the parentage of the kid? As I read the chapter, it never says that kids #2 and #3 are Hosea's. (But it doesn't say that they aren't either).

I searched RZIM's Slice of Infinity website and found this old slice:

I believe one of the most profound poems ever written was penned by an Englishman named Frances Thompson. Thompson was a genius, but he became a drug addict and was on the run for many years of his life. Towards the later part of his life he wrote that magnificent masterpiece he called "The Hound of Heaven." The poem describes God as a persistent hound who, with loving feet, follows and follows until he catches up with this person who is trying to run and flee from him. He writes,

"I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;
I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
I fled him down the labyrinthine ways
Of my own mind; and in the midst of tears
I hid from Him, and under running laughter.
Up vistaed hopes I sped;
And shot, precipitated,
Adown Titanic glooms of chasmed fears,
From those strong Feet that followed, followed after."

As the poem comes to an end, Thompson depicts the persistent cry of God to the one who flees his presence, the one He pursues to the end:

"Ah, fondest, blindest, weakest,
I am He Whom thou seekest!
Thou dravest love from thee, who dravest Me."

With the wisdom of one who had found himself chased after, Thompson notes the heart of God and the contradiction of man. We run away, fearful that if we have God, we might have nothing else beside. And God says, "You were weak and blind and miserable when you were driving me away, because you were actually driving love away from you. It is Me you seek."

The life and ministry of the prophet Hosea is a fascinating, mystifying look at the love of God and man’s readiness to push that love away. His message will send a deep ray of hope into our hearts if we listen carefully. Hosea was a prophet called by God to marry Gomer, a harlot who continually left the loving home Hosea had provided to return to her life of prostitution. We can almost hear the whispers among the people to whom Hosea faithfully preached, until someone is brave enough to ask: "Hosea, can you tell us how it is you continue to love this woman, a woman who has so betrayed you and repeatedly abandoned her commitment to you? How can a holy man of God like you be joined to a woman such as this?" And Hosea says, "I will be delighted to answer your question if you will first answer a question of mine. How can a holy God like this love such a harlotrous people like us?"

The first thing about the nature of God's relationship with us is that He gives to us a love that we do not deserve. We do not merit it. But not only is the love of God unmerited; it is also a love that grows and is sustained by relationship. The longer we walk with Him, the more we understand how glorious this love is.

Through the prophet Hosea, God spoke graphically to a nation running from his presence. As individuals, He chases after us, woos us into his arms, pays the price to buy us back, cleans us up, and brings us home. Through his Son, God has reached out his arms to pay the price for our sin, to offer us new life, to give us fresh hope and meaning. Let us come to the cross as we are: sinners needing mercy, children desiring love, souls sick of running through our nights and days and ready to follow the One who ordains them.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Albums I want that I can't afford right now

Funny thing about being on a budget, you can't buy what you want. So, if either of my readers wants to buy me something, here's a few suggestions:

Anything by Matt Maher
Imogen Heap - Ellipse (see previous post)
Regina Spektor - Far
Mute Math - Armistice
MGMT - Oracular Spectacular

Imogen Heap

I've known about Imogen Heap for a while now, but have never listened to a full album...until now. Very, very good. Listen below. Many of the tracks can be found via elbows.



Friday, August 14, 2009

Compendium o' Links

I know I haven't posted in a long time. So, since I have nothing meaningful to say, here's a bunch of cool links.

[Via Dubious Quality] is a performance by sand artist Kseniya Simonova in Ukraine's Got Talent. It's absolutely incredible. Read the back story here.

[Also via Dubious Quality]I wish I had thought of this for our daughter.

[Also via Dubious Quality]Root Bridges.

A 3000 year old egyptian sculpture looks exactly like MJ. I thought this was an onion story at first.

The definitive Bush v. Obama comparison.

Some humor, juvenile, but still humor.

[via JH] Mmmm...pancakes

[via tiwyf]Congestive heart failure #1, #2, #3, #4, and #5.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Obama's Supreme Court Pick

I don't know much about much, especially this Selma Bouvier look-alike that Obama has nominated.

Critics have brought some interesting criticisms of her record. But you know what irritates me? Pundits saying that it's more important to court the hispanic vote than to thoroughly vett (or is it vet?) her.

That's all for now.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Ivy Leaguer "Infiltrates" Liberty University

Fascinating article about some ivy leaguer who wanted to write an "exposé", but ended up writing a mostly positive book. He may even go to a church! [Source]

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Kevin Roose managed to blend in during his single semester at Liberty University, attending lectures on the myth of evolution and the sin of homosexuality, and joining fellow students on a mission trip to evangelize partyers on spring break.

Roose had transferred to the Virginia campus from Brown University in Providence, a famously liberal member of the Ivy League. His Liberty classmates knew about the switch, but he kept something more important hidden: He planned to write a book about his experience at the school founded by fundamentalist preacher Jerry Falwell.

Each conversation about salvation or hand-wringing debate about premarital sex was unwitting fodder for Roose's recently published book: "The Unlikely Disciple: A Sinner's Semester at America's Holiest University."

"As a responsible American citizen, I couldn't just ignore the fact that there are a lot of Christian college students out there," said Roose, 21, now a Brown senior. "If I wanted my education to be well-rounded, I had to branch out and include these people that I just really had no exposure to."

Formed in 1971, Liberty now enrolls more than 11,000 residential students, along with thousands more who study through Liberty's distance-learning programs. The university teaches creationism and that the Bible is the inerrant word of God, while pledging "a strong commitment to political conservatism" on campus and a "total rejection of socialism."

Roose's parents, liberal Quakers who once worked for Ralph Nader, were nervous about their son being exposed to Falwell's views. Still, Roose transferred to Liberty for the spring 2007 semester.

He was determined to not mock the school, thinking it would be too easy — and unfair. He aimed to immerse himself in the culture, examine what conservative Christians believe and see if he could find some common ground. He had less weighty questions too: How did they spend Friday nights? Did they use Facebook? Did they go on dates? Did they watch "Gossip Girl?"

It wasn't an easy transition. Premarital sex is an obvious no-no at Liberty. So are smoking and drinking. Cursing is also banned, so he prepared by reading the Christian self-help book, "30 Days to Taming Your Tongue."

He lined up a publisher — Grand Central Publishing — and arrived at the Lynchburg campus prepared for "hostile ideologues who spent all their time plotting abortion clinic protests and sewing Hillary Clinton voodoo dolls."

Instead, he found that "not only are they not that, but they're rigorously normal."

He met students who use Bible class to score dates, apply to top law schools and fret about their futures, and who enjoy gossip, hip-hop and R-rated movies — albeit in a locked dorm room.

A roommate he depicts as aggressively anti-gay — all names are changed in the book — is an outcast on the hall, not a role model.

Yet, some students also grilled him about his relationship with Jesus and condemned non-believers to hell.

After a gunman at Virginia Tech killed 32 people in April 2007, a Liberty student said the deaths paled next to the millions of abortions worldwide — a comment Roose says infuriated him.

Roose researched the school by joining as many activites as possible. He accompanied classmates on a spring break missionary trip to Daytona Beach. He visited a campus support group for chronic masturbators, where students were taught to curb impure thoughts. And he joined the choir at Falwell's Thomas Road Baptist Church.

Roose scored an interview with the preacher for the school newspaper, right before Falwell died in May of that year. Roose decided against confronting him over his views on liberals, gays and other hot-button topics, and instead learned about the man himself, discovering among other things that the pastor loved diet peach Snapple and the TV show "24."

Roose would duck away to the bathroom to scribble down anecdotes or record them during lectures. He never blew his cover, even ending a blossoming romantic relationship rather than come clean. He revealed the truth on a return trip to campus. He grappled with guilt during the entire project, but said he ultimately found forgiveness from students for his deception.

"If he told me he was writing an expose or maybe if the book turned out to be what I considered unfair, then I might have been more troubled," said Brian Colas, a former Liberty student body president who befriended Roose.

The university administration has been less receptive. Chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr. said in a statement that Roose had a "distorted view" of Liberty before he arrived and gave an incomplete portrait of the school.

"We appreciate Kevin's generally positive tone toward LU but he admittedly comes from a culture that has very little tolerance for conservative Christianity and even less understanding of it," Falwell said.

Roose said his Liberty experience transformed him in surprising ways.

When he first returned to Brown, he'd be shocked by the sight of a gay couple holding hands — then be shocked at his own reaction. He remains stridently opposed to Falwell's worldview, but he also came to understand Falwell's appeal.

Once ambivalent about faith, Roose now prays to God regularly — for his own well-being and on behalf of others. He said he owns several translations of the Bible and has recently been rereading meditations from the letters of John on using love and compassion to solve cultural conflicts.

He's even considering joining a church.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Britain's Certainly Got Talent

The show Britain's Got Talent has produced 3 surprising 1st round performances 3 years in a row. It seems that the producers of the show seem to find outcast common folk simply to surprise and awe the fanbase. At least two of the three performances fall into this category.

Here are the first round performances of the three: Paul Potts (2007); Suleman Mirza (2008); and Susan Boyle (2009)





Friday, April 3, 2009

My imam father came after me with an axe

Very interesting reading. From the Times of London.

My imam father came after me with an axe

Hannah Shah had been raped by her father and faced a forced marriage. She fled, became a Christian and now fears for her life

by Dominic Lawson
From The Sunday Times
March 15, 2009

We are all too familiar with the persecution of Christians in countries such as Pakistan and Afghanistan. Yet sitting in front of me is a British woman whose life has been threatened in this country solely because she is a Christian. Indeed, so real is the threat that the book she has written about her experiences has had to appear under an assumed name.

The book is called The Imam’s Daughter because “Hannah Shah” is just that: the daughter of an imam in one of the tight-knit Deobandi Muslim Pakistani communities in the north of England. Her father emigrated to this country from rural Pakistan some time in the 1960s and is, apparently, a highly respected local figure.

He is also an incestuous child abuser, repeatedly raping his daughter from the age of five until she was 15, ostensibly as part of her punishment for being “disobedient”. At the age of 16 she fled her family to avoid the forced marriage they had planned for her in Pakistan. A much, much greater affront to “honour” in her family’s eyes, however, was the fact that she then became a Christian – an apostate. The Koran is explicit that apostasy is punishable by death; thus it was that her father the imam led a 40-strong gang – in the middle of a British city – to find and kill her.

Hannah Shah says her story is not unique – that there are many other girls in British Muslim families who are oppressed and married off against their will, or who have secretly become Christians but are too afraid to speak out. She wants their voices to be heard and for Britain, the land of her birth, to realise the hidden misery of these women.

Hannah’s own voice is quiet and emerges from a tiny frame. She is clearly nervous about talking to a journalist and the stress she has been under is betrayed by a bald patch on the left side of her head. Yet she has a lovely natural smile, especially when she reveals that she got married a year ago; her husband works in the Church of England, “though not as a vicar”.

I tell Hannah that the passages in her memoir about her sexual abuse are almost impossible to read – but I also found it hard to understand why, now that she is in her early thirties, independent and married, she has not reported her father’s horrific assaults on her to the police.

“What has stopped me is that if my dad went to prison, the shame that would be brought upon the rest of the family would be horrific. My mum would not be able to . . . I mean, it’s bad enough having a daughter who’s left, is not agreeing to her marriage and is now a Christian. Then to have my dad in prison would be the end for her.”

I tell Hannah, perhaps a little cruelly, that in her use of the word “shame” she is echoing the sort of arguments that her own family had used against her.

“I understand that, but what I’m saying is that if I do that, then there will never be a door open to me to have contact with my family ever again. I’m still hoping that there will be some opportunity for that.” Of course, by writing this book, albeit under an assumed name and with all the places and characters disguised, there is a chance that her family and community will identify themselves in it. What does she think they would do, then?

“To be honest, I don’t even want to think about that. Either they will decide between them that they are not going to say anything because it will bring shame on all the community, or they will decide that they want to take action. Then my life will become even more difficult, because they’ll all be looking for me.”

Hannah’s description in the book of the moment when her “community” discovered the “safe” home where she had fled after becoming an apostate is terrifying. A mob with her father at its head pounded and hammered at the door as she cowered upstairs hoping she could not be seen or heard. She heard her father shout through the letter box: “Filthy traitor! Betrayer of your faith! Cursed traitor! We’re going to rip your throat out! We’ll burn you alive!”

Does she still believe they would have killed her? “Yes, without a doubt. They had hammers and knives and axes.”

Why didn’t you call the police after-wards? “First, I didn’t think the police would believe me. That sort of thing just doesn’t happen in this country – or that’s what they’d think. Second, I didn’t believe I would get help or protection from the authorities.”

Hannah had good reason for this doubt. When, at school, she had finally summoned the courage to tell a teacher that her father had been beating her (she couldn’t bring herself to reveal the sexual abuse), the social services sent out a social worker from her own community. He chose not to believe Hannah and, in effect, shopped her to her father, who gave her the most brutal beating of her life. When she later confronted the social worker, he said: “It’s not right to betray your community.”

Hannah blames what is sometimes called political correctness for this debacle: “My teachers had thought they were doing the right thing, they thought it showed ‘cultural sensitivity’ by bringing in someone from my own community to ‘help’, but it was the worst thing they could have done to me. This happens a lot.

“When I’ve been working with girls who were trying to get out of an arranged marriage, or want to convert to Christianity, and they have contacted social services as they need to get out of their homes, the reaction has been ‘we’ll send someone from your community to talk to your parents’. I know why they are doing this, they are trying to be understanding, but it’s the last thing that the authorities should do in such situations.”

This is the sort of cultural sensitivity displayed by Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, last year when he suggested that problems within the British Muslim community such as financial or marital disputes could be dealt with under sharia, Islamic law, rather than British civil law. What did Hannah, now an Anglican, think on hearing these remarks?

“I was horrified.” If you could speak to him now, what would you say to the archbishop? “I would say: have you actually spoken to any ordinary Muslim women about the situation that they live in, in their communities? By putting in place these Muslim arbitration tribunals, where a woman’s witness is half that of a man, you are silencing women even more.”

She believes the British government is making exactly the same mistake as Rowan Williams: “It says it talks to the Muslim community, but it’s not speaking to the women. I mean, you are always hearing Muslim men speaking out, the representatives of the big federations, but the government is not listening to Muslim women. With the sharia law situation and the Muslim arbitration tribunals, have they thought about what effect these tribunals have on Muslim women? I don’t think so.”

It’s fair to say that Hannah Shah is an evangelical Christian, who clearly feels a duty to spread her new faith to Muslims– something with which the Church of England’s eternally emollient establishment is very uncomfortable and the government even more so. She points out that even within this notionally Christian country, people are “persecuted” for evangelism of even the mildest sort. She cites the recent cases of the nurse who was suspended for offering to pray for a patient and the foster parents who were struck off after a Muslim girl in their care converted to Christianity.

“Such people – I’m not talking about apostates like me – have been persecuted or ostracised in this country simply because they want to share their faith with others. People call this political correctness but I actually think it is based on a fear of Muslims, what they might do if provoked.”

Shah’s conversion seems to have its origins in the fact that the family who put her up after she ran away from the prospect of an arranged marriage in rural Pakistan were themselves regular church attenders. She began to go with them and, to put it at its most banal, she liked what she heard.

“It was the emphasis on love.

The Islam that I grew up knowing and reading about doesn’t offer me love. That’s the biggest thing that Christianity can and does offer. I sense that I belong and am accepted as I am – even when I do wrong there is forgiveness, a forgiveness which Islam does not offer.”

So does Hannah offer Christian forgiveness to the father who raped and abused her and who, by her own account, was even prepared to murder her?

“It’s taken a long time and it’s only in the past few years that I’ve got to that. It’s very hard to get there and it’s taken a lot of shouting and screaming behind closed doors, and praying, to get me to the point of being able to say: I forgive. I have to, partly because otherwise I would be a very bitter and angry person and I don’t want to livea life that’s full of anger.”

I can’t help asking how she would react if a future child of hers decided she wanted to abandon the Christian faith of the family home and become a Muslim. “It would be very hard for me, obviously.”

Would she try to discourage it? “No. I’d bring them up as Christians, take them to church, but I’d also want them to know about, well, my culture, about Islam. Because being Christian should be a choice, not what you’re born to. But yes, it would be hard if they chose Islam.”

Somehow, though, I think Hannah Shah would cope.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Pathologically Incapable of Accepting Responsibility



This video of MEP Dan Hannan tearing a strip off British PM Gordon Brown in European parliament has gone viral.

My two regular readers know that I lean right of center; and maybe moreso since Obama has rammed his "solutions" (more about that when I have more time) down the throats of American People. So to see something like this during this current news cycle is a breath of fresh air.

Driving while texting

Coincidentally saw this article and video below yestday:

Drivers Gone Wild
If you thought typing a text message while dodging traffic at 65 mph was dangerous (it is), consider the perils of shaving your legs, reading a book or lifting weights while driving — all of which (and more) are happening on America's roads — every day.[Read more]

Monday, March 23, 2009

WWYD? What would you do?

A very interesting situation Link [via SC]:

New England Town Outraged After Pastor Takes In Child Killer

CHICHESTER, N.H. — A pastor in this quiet, picturesque New England town opened his doors to a convicted child killer who had served his time but had nowhere to go.

But some neighbors of the Rev. David Pinckney vehemently disagree with the pastor's decision — one even threatening to burn his house down after officials could find no one else willing to take 60-year-old Raymond Guay.
What would you do? More details:

Guay already had a criminal record when he was charged in 1973, at age 25, with abducting and murdering a 12-year-old boy in Nashua. Authorities said he planned to sexually assault the boy, whose body was clad only in socks and undershorts.

Guay pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to up to 25 years. He kidnapped a Concord couple after briefly escaping from the nearby state prison in 1982 and was sent to a federal prison in California, where he stabbed an inmate in 1991, court records show.

After 35 years behind bars, he was released in September and ordered to serve his parole in New Hampshire. Guay's release followed a failed attempt by state officials to keep him incarcerated as a dangerous sexual predator under federal law.
Would you let him in? Would you even let him near you? I'm not sure I would.

Read the whole article. The article mentions that the arrangement was set up by a prison fellowship staff worker. The article doesn't mention whether or not Guay was saved in prison. Does it matter? Would you let him in if he was?

Matthew 25:40 The King will reply, "I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me."