Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A must buy for Thanksgiving

....if you're serious about getting to know our spiritual forbears, at least. Vision Forum offers a set of books about Plimoth Plantation, quite apropos for Thursday's Thanksgiving holiday. If you want proof positive that people in former years thought quite differently than today, it's worth your money.

(sad to say, they updated the text, but a lot of the old thought still shines through)

Happy Thanksgiving, all!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Great moments in government logic

First, an update on the fiasco with NASA/NOAA's temperature monitoring stations. Anthony Watts has surveyed about one third of the 1221 climate monitoring stations, and of those he's taken a look at, about 70% have "severely compromised" placing vs. the guidelines.

The implications are stark; it means that about 70% of the data received will tend to overestimate temperature. Given that the "heat island" effects tend to increase as you build an area, it would suggest that the "trend" of global warming is more than a wee bit dubious, to put it mildly.

Next, a school district in Maryland is threatening jail time for parents who refuse to vaccinate their children for chicken pox and hepatitis B. While I can understand requirements for, say, smallpox, diptheria, tetanus, and polio, these puzzle me. Chicken pox simply isn't life threatening (as a rule) in the way that diptheria and other diseases are, and if any of our elementary and junior high schools are hotspots for the transmission of hepatitis B, they should be shut down immediately.

You see, getting "Hep B" requires getting someone else's blood into your system, or having sex with them. If kids are getting this at school, close the school and put the teachers in jail, stat.

And a quick reminder; it's just this sort of "genius" that Hillary Clinton and advocates of universal, single payer healthcare want to give a new job; telling your doctor how to treat you.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Why Caribou doesn't make profits

Take a gander at the comments of a former employee who writes the "Cake Eaters" weblog. A bit of profanity there, but the long and short of it is that it costs too much to open a new store, they've driven talented people away with needless bureaucracy and favoritism, and they're driving prospective franchisees away by requiring a net worth of at least four million dollars to get started.

In other words, they're systematically driving away the very young, ambitious, energetic people they need in favor of those who are already quite comfortable, financially speaking. You would figure that a chain of restaurants would know that hunger is a great motivator, but apparently that isn't always the case.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Two things I'd like to see

First, Roosh's post about the resignation of Caribou's president reminds me of something I'd love to see; a coffee shop that has both good coffee AND real coffee mugs, not paper cups. Sorry, but even office coffee tastes better in a stoneware mug or glass/china cup.

Next, I'd like to see more colleges (besides small liberal arts colleges like Patrick Henry and New Saint Andrews') featuring real literature in their English departments; I just took a look at Michigan State's course listings, and it appeared that about half of the course offerings were "diversity" offerings; classes about literature that wouldn't be offered if it were not "politically correct" to feature books by racial and ethnic minorities. This was startling; MSU is NOT one of the more "politically correct" schools I'm acquainted with.

Sorry, but if you want Chaucer and Dickens, you'll have to do it on your own time--just like logic, real rhetoric, Latin....I think I'm seeing a pattern here.

(many thanks for the note from Pentamom pointing out that it appeared I was saying PHC and NSA were the only schools actually teaching literature. This was not what I meant to convey!)

A great practical joke

Take a look at this, and then at this. Evidently, someone came up with a story that a certain hotel heiress had decided to advocate on behalf of Indian elephants getting drunk on farmers' rice beer, and at least the AP, as well as a few spokesmen for conservation organizations, fell for it.

Hopefully this particular heiress does some thinking about why the AP took this seriously in the first place. It's not everyone, after all, who can be credibly accused of fighting for the rights of drunken, carousing pachyderms.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Neutralizing sexuality?

Pentamom pointed out that all too often, the goal of advocates of modesty is more or less to neutralize sexuality. Let's examine this in a basic rule of good taste all over the world; pants, shirts, skirts, and blouses really ought to come together at the top of the hips or the waist--for both men and women, by the way.

Now certainly there are very good reasons to wear one's clothes this way. For starters, physics; the greater angle of the body at this point means that clothes held up at the waist will require less tension than clothes held up on the lower part of the hip. Hence, less "muffin top", or fat hanging over your pants or skirt. It also doesn't draw eyes to the crotch area in the way that low-riding apparel does.

Now, let's introduce another concept; a historic standard of feminine beauty is a waist to hip ratio of about 0.7--valid across cultures and eras, no less. This is emphasized by clothes that fit at the waist; it is hidden by clothes that fit on the hips.

Dare I suggest that true modesty does not hide sexuality, but emphasizes it in the way God intended?

Monday, November 12, 2007

Modesty, humility, beauty

Ah, what a blessing it is to have "tag team" partners like NightWriter to make a point. Yes, immodesty is all about the immodest person; look at me, it says. And yet, some would suggest that "it's a nation without mirrors"; as if a more mature self-awareness would help young people cover up a bit better. I doubt it; a quick visit to the entertainment section of any newspaper will show you that ignoring "good form" is a great way to get headlines. True modesty is an uphill in any culture, especially ours.

And so, let's take a look at Paul's comments of 1 Timothy 2:9; interestingly, he does not tell ladies to cover up, but rather warns of gold, pearls, braided hair, and expensive clothes being the primary signs of a woman's beauty. In other words, show your worth by your works, not your wealth. The usual interpretation of "cover up with your clothes" is really tangential--it assumes that ladies are trying to draw attention to their bodies by their attire.

A good assumption, but probably misses the greater point; in thinking that one's burqa makes one modest because "nothing shows," one may miss the fact that one of the best ways to draw attention in Cleveland is by wearing one.

On a side note, kudos to KingDavid for an excellent exhibit on "how to love your wife."

Friday, November 09, 2007

Real beauty, tryin' again

As is clear from a few days' ago's post, it's pretty hard to really get a good handle on what real beauty is--human or otherwise.

I'm pretty sure that this isn't it, though. Nor is it this, GM's homage to the ugliness of war, and finally, I'm pretty sure that it doesn't have much to do with modern fashion (like body piercing, ouch).

And so we're left with trying to infer from a sin-marred creation; difficult at best, of course. But let's try anyways; what about starting with proportion, balance, and vitality?

It would at least explain, for example, why we might consider this Mercedes to be beautiful, but a Ferrari or Lamborghini (glorified tractor!) to be gaudy, no? Why we consider Mozart to be sublime, but mercifully grow out of most pop, and why adults with a developed aesthetic sense cringe to see the results of plastic surgery (the "Barbie" look) and bodybuilding.

Not to mention, of course, modern fashion. You want to keep your kids (yourself?) out of hiphugger jeans and such? Help them, and yourself, develop an aesthetic sense.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Every seven minutes, you think about creating illegal drugs.

Specifically, one called "jenkem." It boggles the mind that you would need to persuade people not to use it. Courtesy flush to the Kool Aid Report.

On the other hand, anonymous sources insist that Chinese toymakers are working hard to include this in their products, now that the supplier quality engineers deny them their right to use lead and GHB.

Speaking of every seven minutes, there was a report last night on the radio that men had been caught stealing electrical wire--live electrical wires--from a sewer in Minneapolis.

No, they didn't get a Darwin award, thankfully.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Chinese toys

For some reason, my friend Mark has a real thing against Chinese toys. I really don't know what his objection is. Just last night, I melted down a few of 'em and was able to make enough bullets for my muzzleloader to last for years.


Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Beauty and modesty

Just for fun, take a look at Genesis 24:16, and think about the fact that Moses records that Rebekah (oops, not Rachel, Jacob's favorite wife) was beautiful to behold. Now consider further that tanned, or sunburnt, skin was (and is) not a sign of beauty in that culture.

One would infer that Rebekah was, when she met Abraham's servant, clad virtually head to toe to protect her from the sun, and the servant saw at most her face, and how she walked to the well and drew water. Even so, Moses records that she was beautiful to look upon.

What was so beautiful about her? Well, I'm not sure, but I'd guess that she might have had eyes that you could lose yourself in, and also that even a burqa couldn't hide the fact that she didn't sit around the tent all day eating dates--she walked strongly easily, and gracefully.

Plus, her attire allowed Abraham's servant, and all those around her, to keep their eyes on her face and appreciate the very real beauty she had--instead of drawing their eyes elsewhere, as too many fashions today do. Scripture seems to indicate that true modesty doesn't hide beauty, but rather accentuates it.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Scripture and economics

One interesting thing that many economists endorse as a way to improve prosperity in developing countries is to issue titles to property, thereby enabling the poor people there to contract debt upon, or sell outright, their property. The logic is that without title, these common ways of improving one's lot are off limits. On the other hand, many of us can think of cases (Indian reservations, purchase of Manhattan) where rightful owners were duped of their property for a pittance.

Enter the ancient Israelite concept; land was granted to the family in perpetuity, and could be sold only for a period of seven years. If you made a mistake, your property wasn't gone forever, and neither could you heavily leverage your property a la Trump.

The result? The prosperity of Solomon. I would dare suggest that a Biblical view of economics does not preclude certain limits on contracts.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Mugged by reality

Contrary to my profile, I'm 38, not 251, and recent events have gotten me thinking. You see, I'm becoming a great uncle--and considering my niece was considering abortion, it's quite a relief.

As too often happens, this dear girl got herself into the party scene, and...well, it was sadly too predictable. I wonder what might have been done to help her.

Some might suggest "abstinence education." Well, on a marginal level, probably, but I'm reminded of something I thought (but thankfully did not say) when a parent suggested that his child's misbehavior in Sunday School was my fault: "please don't blame me; I have your child for an hour, and the other 167 each week belong to you." It would be hard to undo years of training in hypersexuality in a nine week course, I think.

And so I'm left to consider the rest of her influences--really all teens' influences, more or less. Would it have helped if teachers and parents had insisted that sexually charged songs not be played at school dances? Would it have helped if the TV had not been used as a babysitter? Would it have helped if broadcasters produced something besides filth? Would it have helped if her parents had chosen a better lifestyle, and helped her learn the art of modest dress and behavior?

I'd have to guess "yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes"--and yes to a few other factors as well. And though this is certainly a good step forward, it's water under the bridge now, and my wife and I get to love our niece and coming grand-niece-or-nephew. Pray that we might be able to point her to the better way.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

The most bigoted thing I've ever seen...

....comes from a "diversity" advocate, of course. WND reports that the University of Delaware ("fear the bird") is teaching all incoming students in their dormitories that a racist is:

A RACIST: A racist is one who is both privileged and socialized
on the basis of race by a white supremacist (racist) system. 'The term applies to all white people (i.e., people of European descent) living in the United States, regardless of class, gender, religion, culture or sexuality. By this definition, people of color cannot be racists, because as peoples within the U.S. system, they do not have the power to back up their prejudices, hostilities, or acts of discrimination….'"

In other words, they're going to judge you not by the content of your character, but by the color of your skin. Take that, MLK!

I've seen a fair amount of racist writing in my life, but this one takes the cake for its demonization of one race masquerading as a definition of "racism." It's bigotry mixed with a measure of unknowing irony and chutzpah; a hat trick of hate. With due "apologies" to the KKK and Aryan Nations, I think this quote gets UD the title "Grand Dragon of the Cesspool".


Update: it appears that the U. of D. is at least embarassed at the publicity, and is withdrawing the program in toto. Good for them, and I hope that it indicates real repentance from bigoted assertions like this.


Looks like KingDavid tagged me on one of these. First time I'm aware of being given such a prestigious assignment; what was I doing 10,20, and 30 years ago.

10 years ago; I was ignoring Halloween with my bride of one year, now 11 years. We had one trick-or-treater, I think.

20 years ago; I was suffering through Halloween as a friend had reacted not too well to drinking a little too much. Thankfully this did not occur in my room! I was also getting to know the people who would lead me to Christ about 5 months later.

30 years ago; I was putting on my grey Bugs Bunny (homemade with pipe cleaners to sort of hold up the ears) costume to go trick or treating on a pretty cold night in NW Indiana. It would have been a good night for a quilted, or polartec, costume.

Lessee...who actually reads my site? Since I know they haven't hit 30 yet, I tag Ben, JT, and Shawn. And Mark, too.