Best of Bweinh: The Dinosaur Clash

01/25/2008, 12:00 pm -- by | No Comments

Originally ran on July 3!

In this corner, claiming the superiority of the tyrannosaurus rex, is Djere!

And in this corner, backing the apatosaurus (nee brontosarus), is MC-B!

It’s good to be the king.

The Tyrant King of the Lizards, that is.

T. rex is the epitome of dinosaur. Weighing four to six tons, 40 feet long, 20 feet tall, and with a four-foot jaw filled with razor-sharp teeth upwards of 12 inches, T. rex was not built for play dates. He was a killing machine that ate meat.

The image of dinosaur conjured up in every mind is of an enormous Tyrannosaurus, standing over the body of a lame dinosaur like a Triceratops, Stegosaurus, or an Apatosaurus, roaring in delight. Oh, I’m sorry, did I say Apatosaurus? Perhaps I meant Brontosaurus.

While the incorrectly named Brontosaurus would passively graze, staring around with its vacant, cow-like eyes and walnut-sized brain, Tyrannosaurus stalked the primordial jungles of Laurasia, with a brain over twice the size of herbivorous dinos. That’s right, Laurasia, or present-day America. If America were a dinosaur, it would totally be T. rex.

Broadly speaking, the only lame thing about the T. rex is the disproportionate size of its teeny forearms. But recent discoveries show that the arms, while small, were incredibly muscular, designed to hold its prey in place while it was devoured.

So who’s it going to be? The Tyrant Lizard King, with his gigantic brain, or the dim-witted, hopelessly lame, salad-eating “thunder lizard”?

Today is “July 4th Eve,” the day before we celebrate the birth of our wonderful nation. The story involves a small group of poorly-armed militiamen successfully fighting off the forces of a terrible king and rising to become a mighty colossus. It would be nigh on sacrilegious if, on today of all days, the readers of Bweinh! selected a tyrant as their favorite dinosaur.

Once you get past the hype surrounding the T-Rex, what is it? For what does it use its kingship over the other dinosaurs? According to Calvin and Hobbes (a reliable source if there ever was one), T-Rex was either a fearsome predator or a loathsome scavenger. Regardless of Calvin’s answer, we should be unwilling, as Americans or Christians, to accept a dinosaur fitting either description as our favorite. There are better paths than predator or scavenger.

Enter the brontosaurus. Simple- minded and simple-living? Probably. Defenseless? Hardly. Strength has always been a prerequisite to peace and the brontosaurus is built to last. No teeth or claws to speak of: just pure size and a willingness to group together with others when necessary. Its name means “thunder lizard,” and it is indeed mighty, a force of nature — at least 23 metric tons to the T-Rex’s 6.8.

With this in mind, the brontosaurus now seems more like the mighty United States (its fossils have also been found here). And the T-Rex is placed squarely with the North Koreas and Irans of the world: noisy and fussed over for weaponry, but in the end unable to match the sheer size and power of its mighty adversary in a fair fight.

Do not reject America’s proud heritage of reluctant heroism and unmatched power in exchange for tyranny and a set of shiny teeth.


Blessed Are Those Who Mourn

01/25/2008, 10:00 am -- by | No Comments

I once heard a preacher say that for every atheist who dies from cancer, a Christian dies too — so the world can see how a Christian faces death. That is an obvious overstatement, but the fact remains “that the rain falls on the just as well as the unjust” for just such a purpose — so the world can see what it means to place your faith in Jesus and to live for the next world, not this one.

Rick Burgess, half of the popular Rick & Bubba Show here in the South, lost his 3-year-old son William Bronner Burgess, in a tragic drowning accident this week. I have to admit I had never listened to the show, assuming that it would be funny, but laced with off-color redneck humor like Larry the Cable Guy or even Jeff Foxworthy’s material. After hearing what happened, a co-worker turned the show on in the company truck for me, and I listened, amazed and dumbfounded, to the latest proof of my hidden prejudice.

When we turned it on, Bubba and a pastor friend were counseling a caller, leading him to Christ over the air. What would have overwhelmed some men with grief, spawning bitterness against a God who could allow such tragedy, has been embraced by the family as an unknowable mystery that must be walked through, while giving glory to God and reaching out to as many people as they can.

Their web page is here; I encourage everyone to listen to Rick’s address at his son’s memorial service. As the Bible says, “We don’t mourn as those who have no hope” — but please keep this family in your prayers.

Quote of the Day, 1/25/08

01/25/2008, 7:00 am -- by | No Comments

“If a thing isn’t worth saying, you sing it.” — P. Beaumarchais

Is Good News A Myth?

01/24/2008, 12:00 pm -- by | No Comments

I check the news daily, but I rarely read any of it. It’s not that it’s bad writing (though it is) or that it’s slanted reporting (though it is). It’s not even that I’m bored with it (though I am). The reason I haven’t been reading the news is because it gives me nightmares. It makes me sick to read the headlines of FOX News and CNN, because their style of reporting is more like a parade of freakishly heinous crimes rather than anything resembling journalistic integrity.

I took a sampling this week of the headlines on the two sites. One day I had to copy nearly every single headline. These are just a few exemplary examples of the daily dose of bad news:

Sri Lanka clashes kill 59 rebels
Cops arrest 66 in online prostitution sting
Stabbed Woman, 4 kids found dead in burning home
Cops: Mom put son in oven as punishment (with video)
Bad Day: Doc delivers baby, watches house burn down
Macedonian army helicopter crash kills 11 (with photos)
Man found with maggots in eyes dies
Marine slaying crime scene photos

Our world is fallen. We can’t close our eyes to the fact that these types of things happen every day. However, I cannot stand any longer for their use as entertainment. The only reason news agents write articles like the above is because people read them. If it’s not bloody and bizarre, it’s not worth reading. It’s like ambulance chasers, or people who slow down at the scene of a car crash, trying to spot a mangled body or some bits of gore. It’s sick. There’s no other word for it.

But there’s some good news! Literally! I went searching for something to ease my discomfort after reading those headlines, and I found the Good News Network. GNN was started by Geri Weis-Corbley, a TV news producer who was exhausted by the inundation of bad news in her profession. Now it boasts such lines as “Johnny Depp donates $2M to Children’s hospital,” and “Couple reunited after 60 years apart since the war.”

This is what I was looking for. It’s just good news — in business, civics, earth, family life, health, recreation, and other fields. So if you feel burdened by the daily news reports, visit GNN. It’s a refresher and a reminder that though our world is fallen, good things still do happen.

Battle of the Bands XLII

01/24/2008, 9:30 am -- by | No Comments

Here are the next batch of band names from Luke (Hometown Prophets moves on!)


Ask Bweinh! Poll — Restaurants

01/24/2008, 9:15 am -- by | 4 Comments

Today’s Ask Bweinh! poll is brought to you by Air Transat — the worst airline in the world!

Just listen to yet another thrilled guest: “I thought it was easily the worst flight I have ever taken. Service, seats, food — terrible. I would only consider Air Transat as a last resort. . .”

Air Transat: I still loathe you!

Our favorite chain restaurants, of any type —

Rank Restaurants Points
1-2 (tie) In-N-Out Burger; Olive Garden 10
3. Cici’s Pizza 7
4-5 (tie) KFC; Wendy’s 6
6-11 (tie) Pizza Hut; Applebee’s; Subway; Sonic; Longhorns; Ruby Tuesday 5
Other Chili’s; Chic-Fil-A; Texas Steakhouse;; Claim Jumpers; Little Caesar’s; Bennigan’s; Dunkin Donuts; McDonald’s; Outback Steakhouse; TGI Friday’s; Village Inn; Logan’s Roadhouse; Holy Cats Monday; 99; Taco Bell; Burger King; Cracker Barrel; Wings Over; Denny’s 1-4


Joke of the Day, 1/24/08

01/24/2008, 7:00 am -- by | No Comments

A man was struck by a bus on a busy street in New York City. He lay dying on the sidewalk and a crowd of spectators gathered.

“A priest! Someone get me a priest!,” the man gasped.

None could be found, but finally an old man stepped out of the crowd. “Officer, I’m not a priest — I’m not even Catholic! But for 50 years I’ve lived behind St. Mary’s on 78th, and every night I hear the Catholic litany. Maybe I can bring this man some comfort.”

The policeman agreed and brought the octogenarian over to the dying man. He knelt down, leaned over the man, and began reciting, in a solemn voice: “I-21, I-21. G-54, G-54…”

How to be Useful

01/23/2008, 1:00 pm -- by | No Comments

Sister Janice Brown said to me last Sunday, “Erin, you’ll know my car by the gold emblems on the back where it says Nissan — you know us black people, we always got to have our gold and nice stuff.” She said to me yesterday, “You’ll hear a lot of open talk from me about race, about racism. You can’t hide from it, not here.” She then launched into a story about one of her previous interns who was white-as-white-can-get, and how she did her best to train him in the city, but wasn’t entirely successful. The whole time she spoke, I thought to myself, oh, God, that’s me, isn’t it?

Every time I enter Sister Brown’s house (only a few times thus far), she tells me to be at peace, to be blessed of God, to have the Spirit rest on me and nourish me. She is on the pastoral staff at the Pentecostal Miracle Deliverance Center Church (PMDCC), on the corner of St. Paul and Upper Falls Boulevard in Rochester, but she wears about as many hats as there are townhouses in the 19th Ward. When she speaks, her words are almost always teasing, instructing, or praying; sometimes all three.

This weekend when I worked for my internship at her house/office, I felt useful, which is a lot more than I can say for much of my college experience. That ‘experience’ has usually consisted of cramming, reading, writing, and generally getting on the nerves of those unfortunate enough to live with me and not be in the Kierkegaard seminar (consider this my apology, housemates). The oddest thing about this feeling, however, was the fact that what I did seemed so minor. So what if I showed Sister Brown how to look up articles on segregation vs. integration on the internet? So what if I put together a program for a Youth Association rally? So what if I semi-translated and reformatted a registration form? So what if I played soccer with Yaser, Roby, Mateo, Carmilo, etc.?

Why, if all of these seem so minor to me (and, no doubt, to you), did I feel like I actually did something — or that I am doing something?

I grew up being taught that if I didn’t take initiative when I saw something wrong or something out of place, then it was my fault if the conditions turned worse. Usually, this was just my mom’s way of telling me to do laundry when the laundry room got so full that we couldn’t step inside it, but I really value the point that she made and it has stuck with me. There is something to be done. There are new ways to be learned.

And if I am in a position where I can learn those new ways, where my stupid I-just-met-you-so-I’m-kind-of-shy tendency can be stretched to teach me what it truly means to have interracial friendships, to work with teens who have never known the luxuries I have known (and now feel almost desperate to leave behind) — then by all means, I want to do this! I want to feel like in some small way, I am useful. That I am serving and learning at the same time. That my future isn’t as bleak as it sometimes seems.

This may be nothing more than a rant for hope from a hopelessly idealistic student. But I think the answer to the question ‘How can I be useful?‘ is strikingly simple: find a need. Fill it. And if you can’t find a need where you are, go somewhere else.

Bible Discussion — Luke 5

01/23/2008, 12:00 pm -- by | No Comments

This week, looks at the next chapter of Luke, Luke 5.

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
Romans: Ch. 1 | Ch. 2 | Ch. 3 | Ch. 4 | Ch. 5 | Ch. 6 | Ch. 7 | Ch. 8 (I)
Ch. 8 (II) | Ch. 9 | Ch. 10 | Ch. 11 | Ch. 12 | Ch. 13 | Ch. 14 | Ch. 15-16
Luke: 1:1-38 | 1:39-2:40 | 2:41-3:38 | 4

Miracles are on display in this fast-moving chapter. Jesus’ ministry is getting started, and woe to the demons, paralysis, or fish that get in His way!

Jesus continues His new ministry by choosing disciples and irritating the local religious leaders with unorthodox and amazing healings.

Peter is called and forsakes his fishing business to follow Jesus, but this is not the first time for Peter (Matthew 4:18) nor the last (John 21:16). Peter always manages to end up back in his boat, fishing again. Peter and I (and perhaps you too) have had to deal with this issue more than once. It’s interesting that in the famous water-walking text, Jesus is again urging Peter to get out of the boat. “Do you love me? Then feed my sheep.”

This chapter is just one of the many that make up Luke’s account of Jesus’ ministry. I am both interested and frustrated at Jesus’ willingness to heal (in some instances), His intentionally vague parables, and His choice of disciples. But that’s why many have called our faith a “mystery”!

Just before Jesus forgives the paralytic, it says that Jesus “saw their faith.” Not his faith, but their faith. I know that ultimately we all have to make faith decisions for ourselves, but I also believe strongly that there are times when we just have to have enough faith to carry our friends through to that point.

After the leper is healed (v. 13), people start flocking to Jesus, and the need for Him to be alone with His Father seemed to increase — it seems to me a sign of Jesus’ humanity that as the pressure of his ministry increased, communing in prayer with God became even more important.

I never noticed the reaction of those who witnessed Jesus forgiving and healing the paralytic — “We have seen strange things today!” I can tell you — I’ve left some meetings with that same testimony.

Verse 17 — “…and the power of the Lord was present to heal them.”

Luke points out an important aspect of Jesus’ character in verse 6: “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” This made me think about what I do when I’m emotionally drained, as I’m sure Jesus was (and much more than I) throughout His ministry. Typically, I read a book, or turn on some music and play a game online. I don’t pray. Prayer sounds exhausting to me, and I need to relax. Prayer as an emotional refresher is something that never really occurred to me.

Chloe: Water’s Edge
David: Whither Thou Wouldest Not (WTWN)
Steve: A Certain City
Connie: Follow Me
Erin: Sons of Zebedee
Josh: Through the Roof; Dinner with Sinners

Continued here!

Quote of the Day, 1/23/08

01/23/2008, 7:00 am -- by | No Comments

“I feel like King Kong, hideous, but with a soft and tender heart.”Y. Zhenhuan, the world’s hairiest man

Farewell, Fred

01/22/2008, 4:00 pm -- by | 3 Comments

The candidate who topped our latest presidential poll has dropped out of the race today, leaving many of us with an uncomfortable decision. I had Fred at position 1B, so I’m not switching horses myself, but it still makes me sad to see the most consistently conservative candidate in the race depart.

If you’re wondering where to go next, I’ll give you a brief tour of the remaining major candidates, as I see them. You can click each candidate’s name to get a better idea of where they stand on each individual issue that might be important to you.

In (my own) descending order . . .

8 — John Edwards
Disadvantages: 100% pro-abortion voting record; ardently anti-business economic rhetoric; borderline-crazy expansion of public university system; thinks he can take away Congressional healthcare to encourage a mandatory universal system; opposes the war in Iraq; opposes the Patriot Act; head in the sand on Social Security (no privatization, no decrease in benefits, no increase in retirement age)
Advantages: Uh… His hair looks nice?
Why I could never vote for him: I couldn’t disagree with this man more.

7 — Hillary Clinton
Disadvantages: Named “Clinton”; many ethical problems; supports a ‘right to education’ through college; strong supporter of ‘campaign finance reform’; consistently pro-abortion; tries to take both sides of issues; wishes to end tax cuts; pushing a quick withdrawal from Iraq
Advantages: Pragmatic politician willing to compromise; (mostly) realistic foreign policy; has a certain level of experience
Why I cannot vote for her: The few areas where we agree are outweighed by the many on which we disagree. If a Democrat has to win, though, I actually hope it’s her.

6 — Barack Obama
Disadvantages: Very young and inexperienced; voted against banning partial-birth abortion (among other things); used and sold drugs as a youth; poor on foreign policy (including odd comments about invading Pakistan); attends a church with a very radical pastor; voted against both of Bush’s highly qualified Supreme Court nominees; holds almost entirely liberal positions
Advantages: Talks about changing Washington in a way that makes you actually believe him; genuinely intelligent and likeable; supports nuclear power
Why I cannot vote for him: Sometimes I think I won’t mind it when he becomes president. Then I remember that he believes in more than just hope and change, and that his principles are uniformly liberal ones.

5 — Ron Paul
Disadvantages: Absolutely loony foreign policy that involves removing troops from all overseas bases; economic plan depends on a totally unrealistic return to the gold standard; constant and continued association with many unsavory elements, some of whom apparently ghostwrote his newsletters for a period of many years; anti-Israel; opposes the Patriot Act and the Iraq War
Advantages: Wonderful (if oversimplified) understanding of the Constitution; solidly socially conservative; generally good on federalism; his election would result in four fascinating years of gridlock and government reduction
Why I cannot vote for him: I agree with him on quite a few things, maybe more than I disagree, but I absolutely cannot vote for someone with his foreign policy positions.

4 — Rudolph Giuliani
Disadvantages: Repeated and terrible scandals in personal life; moderate to liberal on social issues; often stubborn and cruel; supports increased gun control; likely to lead to a pro-life third-party candidate, electing the Democrat as a result
Advantages: Promised to nominate conservative judges; strong on crime as NYC mayor; strong leader after 9/11; will not close Guantanamo; understands the enormity of the war on terror
Why I don’t want to vote for him: He is not an honorable man, and although I could live with his election (and even vote for him), I do not wish to support it or work toward it in any way.

3 — Mike Huckabee
Disadvantages: Raised taxes and grew government as governor of Arkansas; has an absolutely unworkable plan to replace the income tax with a national sales tax; rapidly moving to the right on several issues, including immigration; seems unable to appeal to non-evangelical voters; criticized Bush’s foreign policy; highly questionable ethics as governor
Advantages: Strong pro-life record; endorsed by Chuck Norris; evangelical Christian; unwilling to cede American sovereignty; promised not to raise taxes; friendly, funny and personable
Why I don’t want to vote for him: I don’t think he rightly understands the federalist nature of our government, and I don’t want another president who wants to expand government power over our personal lives, Christian leader or not. His ideas are often good ones, but they aren’t ideas for government to impose. He should work to get the Body of Christ to do something.

2 — John McCain
Disadvantages: Co-authored terrible and unconstitutional campaign finance reform law; joined with Senate Democrats to limit Bush’s judicial nominees; supports amnesty for illegal immigrants; favors bringing enemy combatant detainees into the United States, thus granting them constitutional rights; strong proponent of American action on global warming; old and cranky; opposed Bush tax cuts
Advantages: Socially conservative; strong supporter of the war on terror; always tells you what he thinks regardless of what you think of him; appeals to independents and moderates; legitimate war hero who was tortured for his country for years; strongly supports free trade; experienced
Why I don’t plan to vote for him: I believe his desire to be a “maverick” has led him to many unnecessary and unwise compromises, and his attack on free speech through McCain-Feingold continues to be maddening. But I could certainly vote for him — if I had to.

1 — Mitt Romney
Disadvantages: Changed his mind on abortion while governor of Massachusetts; practicing Mormon; seems robotic and impersonal; associated with some big government-type programs as governor; would not support Bush tax cuts as governor; accused of pandering to voters and changing positions
Advantages: Very successful businessman; saved the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics from financial ruin; successfully governed a very liberal state; very intelligent; excellent problem-solver; strong on foreign policy; favors private Social Security accounts; favors lowered taxes; opposes abortion; favors nuclear energy; supports the Patriot Act
Why I plan to vote for him: Look, I know Mitt Romney is not nearly the perfect candidate. But his “conversion story” on the abortion issue is entirely plausible (especially since it came while he was in office, and he acted accordingly), and he is the candidate most likely to unite the party.

He is socially conservative — now — with strong family values, and he has said these beliefs will control his administration, and that he will appoint solid judges. He is economically conservative, and not only does he preach that on the campaign trail, but he governed like it, balancing his state budget while not raising taxes. And he is conservative on foreign policy, with an understanding of the threat we face and the proper ways to address it — without pandering to the media or attacking our president. Plus, he has a record of success in everything he has done, and he is unquestionably intelligent, which (to be honest) would be nice to have in a candidate.

It’s Romney for me. What do you think?

And You Love Them Too!

01/22/2008, 10:00 am -- by | 3 Comments

What did Grandma tell Ice Man??

If you picked “The cop he was planning to kill once saved his life,” you’re a winner!!

Make way for Grandma!

©1984-2008 Chick Publications, Inc. Reprinted without permission as fair use (parody).

Joke of the Day, 1/22/08

01/22/2008, 7:00 am -- by | No Comments

There were two fish in a tank. One turned to the other and said, “Do you have any idea how to drive this?”

The Council’s Ruling — Appliance

01/21/2008, 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 — Which kitchen appliance, besides the fridge, do we appreciate the most?

The Council delivers the ruling of microwave, although it was unable to agree on a rationale.

Josh offers this opinion, joined by Job and MC-B:

The microwave allows a hopeless bachelor to prepare actual hot food quickly enough to hit the window between when he first feels hungry (and thus bothers to begin any food preparation) and when his hunger pangs would inevitably overwhelm him (thus causing him to eat out, abandoning whatever was in a conventional oven).


Djere offers this opinion, joined by Chloe:

Over-the-range microwave oven — microwave, fan, light, clock, timer, instant popcorn maker…


David dissents, joined by Connie:

The coffee maker.


Erin dissents:

Mixer. An essential for virtually every recipe.


Steve dissents:

Hands down the dishwasher. It saves so much time and effort, and it gets dishes cleaner too.


Tom dissents:

The stove, the appliance closest to the primal ways of our forebears. Open flame anyone?


Mike played no part in the determination of this issue.

Next time: At what age is a person old?

Ask Bweinh! Poll — Colors (#2)

01/21/2008, 10:00 am -- by | No Comments

Today’s poll is a repeat performance — we first considered the question ten months ago, right here! And the champ holds onto its title.

Rank Color Points
1. Blue 25
2. Green 21
3. Orange 15
4. Red 11
5. Black 9
6. Brown 7
7-8 (tie) Lime Green; Olive 5
9-11 (tie) Silver; Burgundy; Yellow 4
Other Cyan; Magenta; White; Mauve; Cobalt Blue 1-3


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