Joke of the Day, 10/26/07

10/26/2007, 7:00 am -- by | No Comments

The Queen was showing the Archbishop of Canterbury around the royal stables when one of the stallions passed gas so loudly it couldn’t be ignored.

“Oh my heavens,” said the Queen, “how embarrassing. I’m frightfully sorry about that.”

“Quite understandable,” said the Archbishop. He paused. “As a matter of fact, I thought it was the horse!”

Chick’s Last Will and Testament

10/26/2007, 1:00 am -- by | 1 Comment

©1984-2007 Chick Publications, Inc. Reprinted without permission as fair use (parody).


Patience and Perspective

10/25/2007, 1:00 pm -- by | 3 Comments

As a child, I had a fascination with maps and travel, probably — at least in part — because it was something I so rarely did. My brothers and I spent the vast majority of our youth at home, outside, exploring the fields and forests that surrounded us. For a flavor of the exotic, we called the different woody areas that separated the neighbors’ yard from our own “jungles,” and named them after faraway places. The Amazon. The Budapest.

When I did come inside, I sometimes pored over maps, mostly atlases of the United States, planning out extensive itineraries for journeys I knew my large family would never be able to take. Trips around the entire country, trips around the state, trips to particular destinations — for a time, I had a small bound collection of each, with estimated arrival times at every planned stop. I don’t recall thinking much about the purchase of gasoline, but those were the days it cost $1/gallon anyway. (Yes, the good old days… very soon, I’m going to start wearing my pants at chest-level and leaving my signal light on non-stop.)

I also watched the news frequently, and read the paper, and I knew, or thought I knew, how dangerous Washington, DC was. People, a lot of people, got murdered there. There were gangs and drugs and all manner of horrifying events. And so when my mother mentioned in passing that we might go there for a visit, I was very worried. Naturally I was interested in the trip and the destination, but it was so unsafe, wasn’t it? The murder capital of America! Well, we didn’t end up going for a few years; by that time I had reached age 11 and acquired enough perspective to view the trip with an almost total lack of fear.

Nothing really changed in that city in those few years — in fact, the crime statistics I just found show that DC murders practically doubled, from 225 in 1987 (36 per 100,000) to 443 in 1992 (75 per 100,000). But I changed. I became wiser, more capable of reason and risk calculation. After all, tourists visiting the Smithsonian on a sunny February afternoon are rarely murdered, and our trip wasn’t going to include any midnight trips down to Columbia Heights for an eightball. When I made those connections, the fear dissipated.

To me, the most valuable aspect of passing time — perhaps the only aspect of it I actually enjoy — is the improved perspective it brings. Third graders in a reading class were imposing and threatening to me at age 4. This is (usually) no longer the case. I distinctly remember dreading my tenth birthday for fear that double digits would mean the end of carefree childhood… but I think it was worth it in the end. And I have lived through and triumphed over events and challenges that were unthinkable — until they happened, and I adapted.

My biggest problem in life (correct me if I’m wrong) is getting upset about things that don’t matter at all, like losing my wireless connection or a point in a volleyball game. These are fundamentally problems of perspective, both temporal and eternal. After all, what is patience but a proper understanding of life and its ingredients? When I fume over forgetting my lunch, costing myself an extra ten minutes at the most, I am cowering in the face of third-graders all over again.

I don’t necessarily think the key to happiness is “living in the present.” It might be first realizing how little of the present will matter to the future, then focusing on precisely what means the most. Drive away the distractions. What have we to fear?

Ask Bweinh! Poll — Least Favorite HS Subject

10/25/2007, 11:00 am -- by | 8 Comments

This edition of the Ask Bweinh! poll is sponsored by Air Transat, the worst airline in the world!

Just listen to what another satisfied traveler had to say:
“[The change in flight] was bad enough but to receive a cold inadequate sandwich and a cookie was not sufficient sustenance . . . The sandwich consisted of an elongated bun, some shredded lettuce and a thin slice of roast beef, probably less than 1 oz. One steward in particular was very unfriendly and rebuked us when we asked for 2 water and 2 coffee stating he only heard one coffee ordered. He was reluctant to give us the other cup of coffee. The staff in general did not have a good attitude on this particular flight.”

I despise you, Air Transat.

But hey, here are the least enjoyable subjects in high school!

Rank Subject Points
1. Math 20
2. Algebra 14
3-4 (tie) Biology; Physics 12
5. Health 11
6. English 9
7-9 (tie) Art; Geometry; Gym 7
10. Trigonometry 6
Other Keyboarding; Chorus; Economics; Home/Careers; Chemistry; Marching Band; Physical Science; Drivers’ Ed; Free Hour; History 1-5

2007 World Prayer Champion Credits Surgery

10/25/2007, 9:00 am -- by | 7 Comments

-LAS VEGAS, Nevada

Jerry “The Knees” Noble credited his unprecedented fourth consecutive World Prayer Championship to surgery, intercessory sources reported Monday. This marks the first time a WPC champion has singled out surgery — the art, practice, or work of treating diseases, injuries, or deformities through manual or operative procedures — as the key to victory.

“Surgery really brought this victory home for First Pres,” Noble remarked, referring to his sponsor church, First Presbyterian of Greater Houston. “A lot of the young kids came in here praying against natural disasters and for world peace. Not me. Surgery, even dental surgery, is always dangerous — and it’s my bread and butter.”

“It’s like the Protestant rosary,” Noble added, swigging a Gatorade.

Noble’s strategy seemed truly Heaven-sent in a year where great diversity in many contestants’ prayers led to scattered and disjointed petitions, broken up by repeated um’s and Dear Lord God’s — point killers, according to WPC Prayer Pontiff Evan Fielder.

“It’s awfully hard to change your pitches up mid-prayer,” Fielder reported. “We saw a lot of that this weekend, but the true veterans played it close to the vest.”

Surprisingly, this year’s Championship saw an unusually high number of stuttering penalties and “uneasy pauses,” even with an election campaign and two-front war going on.

“They got greedy,” explained Fielder. “Too much speaking in tongues, too many financial prayers and way too much of the Middle East. I understand the lure of the high degree of difficulty, but simple is best. And simple, my friends, is surgery.”

Meanwhile, Noble insists he won’t stop at four championships.

“As long as people keep getting sick and cancer goes uncured, I’ll keep coming back to get another W for my congregation. It’s like shootin’ Jesus fish in a barrel.”

Quote of the Day, 10/25/07

10/25/2007, 7:00 am -- by | No Comments

“I do not want people to be agreeable, as it saves me the trouble of liking them.” — J. Austen

Battle of the Bands XXXII

10/24/2007, 2:00 pm -- by | No Comments

Moving on are Plan B, Sheep For the Slaughter, and The Pangs!

Here are the next contestants, from Romans 9…


Bible Discussion — Romans 9

10/24/2007, 11:45 am -- by | 1 Comment

This week, looks at the next chapter in the book of Romans, Romans 9.

Genesis: 1-4 | 5-9 | 10-14 | 15-18 | 19-22 | 23-26
27-29 | 30-32 | 33-36 | 37-39 | 40-43 | 44-46 | 47-50

Exodus: 1-4 | 5-8 | 9-11 | 12-14 | 15-18
19-22 | 23-26 | 27-30 | 31-34 | 35-40

And the book of Romans: Ch. 1 | Ch. 2 | Ch. 3
Ch. 4 | Ch. 5 | Ch. 6 | Ch. 7 | Ch. 8 (I) | Ch. 8 (II)

After introducing the concepts of calling, predestination, and election in chapter 8, Paul must now deal with the ramifications of these doctrines on his people, Israel.

Paul turns a corner here, going from the exaltation of the last few chapters, to equal depths of anguish as he weeps over the condition of his countrymen, the Israelites.

Paul actually says the Israelite people “are not all Israel.” Much like Esau had the right blood, but the wrong heart, the current descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were focused on genealogy rather than God.

The Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it by faith. The Jews, because they tried to gain righteousness by works, did not.

Steve: The Same Lump
Chloe: Cursed and Cut Off

Continued here!

Doomed to Learn

10/24/2007, 9:15 am -- by | 3 Comments

It was a bright and beautiful day when we kicked off. The weather must have been sunny with a high of 75, not a cloud in the blue London sky. The traffic was moderate, only a few people honked at us, and before too long, we were on a train headed to Birmingham.

Two friends (Mike and Matt) and I were biking from Birmingham, England to the coast of Wales, 160 miles total, sleeping on the side of the road, and eating dried fruit and peanut butter and jelly. We had been planning the trip for weeks, everything had gone right, and now we were there, on the train, actually going on this grand adventure.

Birmingham was bigger than we anticipated. We hadn’t done much in the way of city cycling, and we didn’t know Birmingham. As the sun sunk lower, it got colder. We lost each other a couple of times trying to maneuver the rush hour traffic. Then I started shaking. My heart was beating irregularly, my legs were on fire, and I was dizzy. I was falling behind, so I jumped off my bike. Mike and Matt stopped ahead of me and waited for me to catch up. We had only been biking for about four miles. “I don’t think I can do this,” I announced.

They convinced me to try again, arguing that since I wasn’t out of breath, it was probably just the traffic throwing me off. They were sure I could do it.

But ten minutes later I was off my bike again, then again five minutes after that. Only then did they finally accept I simply could not handle this trip. So they went on, and I walked the bike all the way back to the station and caught a train home.

Throughout the next day, I learned that even the fittest person can’t just hop on a bike and go 160 miles in four days — that kind of work uses such specific muscle groups. It would take intensive training to take such a strenuous trip. But my mother didn’t share her similar biking experiences until I got home. My professors didn’t admit how worried they were until I admitted it was impossible. No one said I couldn’t do it. And knowing me, if they had, I would have made a point to prove them wrong.

There are so many lessons in life we must learn the same way. One of the hardest things is keeping your counsel when you know someone else is going through such a trial. But the lessons learned through experience will be lessons they’ll never forget, lessons that will increase their wisdom and make them more whole.

Mike and Matt returned home the next day because of a broken bike. I’m thankful all three of us got home safely. I’m thankful for the experience, for biking around London and Birmingham, for getting to know Mike and Matt better, and for getting to see firsthand how God humbles and protects His children.

And I’m thankful to the people who let me figure it out myself.

Joke of the Day, 10/24/07

10/24/2007, 7:00 am -- by | No Comments

A man felt ill, so he went to his doctor for a complete checkup. Afterward, the doctor came out with the results.

“I’m afraid I have some very bad news,” the doctor said. “You’re dying, and you don’t have much time left.”

“Give it to me straight, Doc,” the man said. “How long have I got?”

“Ten,” the doctor said, sadly.

“Ten?” the man yelled. “Ten what? Months? Weeks? What?!”

“Nine… Eight…”

Clash of the Titans LV: Speeding

10/23/2007, 11:30 am -- by | 5 Comments

In this corner, against speeding, is Connie!

And in this corner, in favor, is Steve!

I have six paragraphs to convince you that speeding is bad. These pesky little vices are difficult to argue. After all, we’re all guilty of them, and we can always find justification for an occasional offense. Gotta get to work, or the doctor’s, or school. But set that aside. I’d like to address the deliberate persistent Christian scofflaw.

I don’t think anyone would argue that as Christians, we are called to obey the law, be good examples to our weaker brethren (not stumbling blocks), and not waste the liberty we’ve been given on fruitless pursuits. So I’ll move onto my next point — posted limits are set by the government for reasons of safety and gas consumption. The latest PR campaigns say that for every 5 miles you drive over 55 mph, you pay 10 cents more for that gas in your tank. Why drive all over to save 7 cents a gallon only to waste it by going over the speed limit? To save a few minutes? Just leave earlier!

I want to spend the rest of my space on safety, because I believe the only reason Christians deliberately and consistently speed is that they’re ignorant and/or purposefully blind to the facts. Maybe they just need a little information. When speed increases from 40 mph to 60 mph, the energy released in a crash more than doubles (IIHS, 2003). The economic cost of crashes that involved excessive speed were $40.4 billion, representing 18% of total crash costs, and an average cost of $144 for every person in the United States. In states where speed limits were raised to 65 mph in 1987, the higher limits are causing 15-20% more deaths on rural interstates each year. In states that raised rural speed limits, more than 400 lives are lost each year because of higher limits (IIHS, 2003).

In 2002, 39% of male teenage drivers in fatal crashes were speeding at the time of the crash. In 2002, 38% of all motorcyclists involved in fatal crashes were speeding. The percentage of speeding involvement in fatal crashes was approximately twice as high for motorcyclists as for drivers of passenger cars or light trucks.

When Texas increased its speed limit from 55 mph to 70 mph, the average speed on a sampling of its urban freeways and interstate highways increased substantially. Prior to the increase, 15% of cars on these roads exceeded 70 mph and 4% went over 75 mph. After the increase, 50% were exceeding 70 mph, and 17% were traveling faster than 75 mph.

When you speed as a Christian, you compromise your testimony — strike one. When you speed, you waste money, time and resources — strike two. And when you consistently break the law, you put yourself and others in very real danger — strike three. And you’re not just out, you could be dead — or worse, you could have killed the love of your life, or someone else’s. Try living with that.

I don’t enjoy this. I don’t want to defend breaking the law, even one as soft and pliable as the speed limit. I’m writing this primarily out of duty, but I must admit — I do speed. Not by a lot, but I do. I’m guilty. And you are too.

And sometimes it’s okay.

First, let’s talk city. I drive about 5 mph over the speed limit on city streets, sometimes lower if no one is around, but often a bit higher when there’s traffic. And that’s the real reason I speed — the flow of traffic demands it. It’s one thing to stubbornly stick to the letter (or number) of the law when you’re Sunday drivin’ down a deserted lane, but driving 30 mph on a busy boulevard will get you tailgated and cursed. Frankly, 38’s safer.

And if it’s true in town, it’s even truer on the highway. I drove 700 miles this past weekend — no lie — and 650 of those were on the interstate, where I travel somewhere between 72 and 75 mph. The most dangerous driver I saw was going about 95 mph (again no lie) and weaving in and out of traffic like a maniac. But the second-most dangerous driver I saw was driving 60 and chilling in the right lane of the Thruway. Traffic had backed up behind him for a quarter-mile, leading to dangerous lane changes and sudden surprises for those who came over a hill and encountered the mess. Like it or not, it is not safe to drive the speed limit on an interstate highway. And if you prefer to go 68, or 70, then — like the man told the woman — we’ve already established what you are; now we’re just haggling over the amount.

The statistics on safety, quoted by my opponent, are compelling. Some are even accurate. For instance, it is more dangerous to crash at a higher speed. The data, however, suggest that states that have raised their rural interstate speed limits are actually some of the safest places to drive. Deaths in those states have declined drastically over the past ten years, as they have everywhere. You were 37% less likely to be injured in a car crash in 2005 than you were in 1995, when the national 55 mph limit was repealed. The IIHS is a group of insurance companies, whose motives for publishing such a study may not be entirely pure. They raise your rates for speeding tickets, remember? Of course they like low limits.

But yes, excessive speed is dangerous. I can’t stand any reckless driving, especially when it endangers lives. Neither can the police. So they pull people over who drive 15 mph over the limit, or pay more attention to their phone than the road, or get behind the wheel when chemically impaired. The point of the law is to deter unsafe driving, and the speed limit is designed to accomplish that — with leeway built into the system. Officers can ticket a reckless 70 mph driver without having to resort to some subjective measurement of danger — but they can also let the safe driver continue at the same speed.

So drive safely, at a reasonable speed, avoiding distractions. There’s no deadline — and no text message — worth your life.



The Chick Tract Answer . . . From Hell

10/23/2007, 9:15 am -- by | No Comments

What was in the letter from a friend . . . in hell??

If you picked “A poem asking why her friend never shared . . . the Gospel!,” you’re a winner!!

OOPS! There’s Baphomet again!

©1984-2007 Chick Publications, Inc. Reprinted without permission as fair use (parody).

Quote of the Day, 10/23/07

10/23/2007, 7:00 am -- by | No Comments

“The longer I live the more I see that I am never wrong about anything, and that all the pains I have so humbly taken to verify my notions have only wasted my time.” — G.B. Shaw

Cannibal Culture

10/22/2007, 10:00 pm -- by | No Comments

Best of Job, September 2006.

I read in Smithsonian about a tribe in New Guinea that still practices cannibalism. The writer went deep up a dark river and found them, eventually, living in houses adorned with bones — with a life-expectancy of 31 years, from a cocktail of disease, war and famine.

Tenderly gaining their confidence, he discovered that they eat those they believe are witches or warlocks, whom they blame for slowly eating their loved ones from the inside out. If someone dies slowly, they blame it on the ones who spent the most time around them…

The brain is our tastiest part, I guess.

The most galling thing was how the writer (and the Dutch missionaries downstream, who had decided not to convert them, in order to save their pristine culture) “teared” up because so many of the people were leaving the jungle to seek life elsewhere.

Within 30 years, he stressed, these people’s way of life would be lost forever.

Which is, of course, 30 years too many.

I remember arguing with Dr. Arensen about this in class once. While he was one of my top three favorite teachers of all time, I took exception when he said a certain African culture was “leagues” ahead of the West because they didn’t have a word for “stealing” — the implication being that there was, therefore, no stealing in their culture.

I asked him if a culture lacked a word for “adultery,” but still practiced it, would it therefore not be a sin?

His exact words I don’t remember, but I recall him outclassing me with extreme and surgical precision…not dissuading me, but silencing me most definitely.


Pristine, untouched — I see the pricelessness of these things in human terms. But while drawing a peace with evil religions, backward societal practices, and life-ending hygienic practices may be cerebral, literary and scientifically comforting, through the lens of Christ, it is still very, very selfish.

I find no reason to embrace Islam on any level. I embrace the Muslim, but only with the caveat of Christ.

I will never make that truce under the guise of accepting them on the basis of my greater depth and understanding — because it’s just selfish to not want to be hated for it.

The Council’s Ruling — Best Season

10/22/2007, 12:00 pm -- by | No Comments

This and every Monday, the Bweinh!tributors, having convened in secret for hours of reasoned debate and consideration, will issue a brief and binding ruling on an issue of great societal import.

This week’s question — What is the best season of the year?

Chloe delivers the ruling of the Council, joined by Connie, Job, and Steve:

Summer. Sleeping out on the porch, drinking lemonade, playing games in the evening, family reunions, long afternoon walks, picnics, swimming holes, crick walking, wildflowers, sun, monsoon season, tans, breakfast on the patio…


Mike dissents, joined by Erin:

Winter — the world has to slow down every once in a while and take a day off.


Josh dissents:

Winter brings sledding, snowball fights, icicles, and the dream of a snow day.


Djere dissents, joined by David:

Hockey season — it’s the most wonderful time of the year.


MC-B dissents, joined by Tom:

Autumn/fall — the temperature is delightfully pleasant, and the beauty of nature abounds.

Next week: What is the least useful major in college?

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