The Holiday Chick Answer

11/28/2008, 12:00 am -- by | No Comments

What techniques did they use?

If you picked “Poisoning and booby-trapping candy bars,” you’re a winner!!

Yes or no, turkey?!

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

Quote of the Day, 11/26/08

11/26/2008, 7:00 am -- by | No Comments

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” — J.F. Kennedy

The Second Thanksgiving

11/25/2008, 10:30 am -- by | No Comments

So much has been written about the First Thanksgiving in 1621 that the follow-up celebration in 1622 has been all but forgotten, by historians and citizens alike. At this time of year, I think it would be helpful to look back at that second celebration, to glean what we can from the complex Pilgrim-Indian interplay that helped found this great institution.

Everyone knows that Thanksgiving originated with the feast held in the autumn of 1621 by the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag to celebrate the colony’s first successful harvest. It was well-attended by over 90 Wampanoag braves, the great Indian king Massasoit, and his daughter, Princess Pocahontas, who had recently married Cpt. John Smith, precipitating her invitation by Gov. Miles Standish.

The second year was a little different. To begin with, when John Smith informed Pocahontas of the upcoming celebration — and the expected attendance of her relatives — he was rebuffed by her argument that they had “spent every Thanksgiving with his people,” so this year they would spend it with her parents in the Wampanoag encampment. Miles Standish was informed of the change, and after much discussion, he decided that the colonists would make the trek to the Wampanoag Casino Resort Hotel (located near present-day Piscataway, New Jersey) and celebrate by partaking in ancient American rituals including blackjack, roulette and three-card Monte.

Although many colonists were skeptical, they soon took to the ceremonial tents with fervor. Especially intriguing were the “One-Armed Totems,” which allowed a user to deposit a small coin for a chance to receive a small measure of parched corn; the amount varied depending on the alignment of certain mystical figures that spun on three sticks. The bar, the cherry, and the lemon, among other powerful symbols, could produce anywhere from 5 to 500 kernels of corn on a single turn. Many colonists soon found that a simple sack of coins could win them several pockets full of meal. Consider that the “All-You Can-Eat Buffet” was complimentary for anyone who spent the equivalent of five gold sovereigns, and you can see why this should have been the ideal celebration.

But, as everyone knows, the original celebration was three days long, and that’s where the real trouble started. On day two of the second feast, while some of the men were still deeply engaged in ritual wagering, some others had assembled on a green to watch the Redskins play the Pilgrims in a friendly game of touch football (this game, of course, took place before the Pilgrims moved to Dallas and became the Cowboys under Tom Landry). Many female colonists — including Pocahontas — rebelled, announcing that they would not spend the first shopping day of the Christmas season watching football. The women stormed off, in search of a mall rumored to be under development by the Massapequa Indian tribe to the north.

In the fourth quarter, with the Redskins trailing by 2 points, the Pilgrims were expecting an upset. They appeared to hold the home team to a three-and-out with under three minutes remaining, but the Redskins elected to go for it on fourth down. The ensuing play-action pass resulted in an incompletion to the left side, but an Iroquois official threw a late flag and whistled pass interference on the Pilgrims. This put the Indians in field goal range and they nailed a 43-yard kick to win the game.

Needless to say, the colonists were not happy. They had lost their money to the gaming tables, their wives to the mall, and now a shot at the playoffs to what was obviously a “homer job” by a biased official. So that, my friends, is why there was no third Thanksgiving celebration with the Native Americans — and why today we still celebrate separately.

Puzzle of the Day, 11/25/08

11/25/2008, 7:00 am -- by | No Comments

What is the probability, within 0.5%, that a randomly chosen whole number will contain the digit 4?

Any correct answer received by November 28th at noon, either as a comment or by email to, will have an equal chance to win $4.

Chick Tract: Holiday Edition

11/24/2008, 10:53 pm -- by | No Comments


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


Quote of the Day, 11/24/08

11/24/2008, 7:00 am -- by | No Comments

“It is literally true, as the thankless say, that they have nothing to be thankful for. He who sits by the fire, thankless for the fire, is just as if he had no fire. Nothing is possessed save in appreciation, of which thankfulness is the indispensable ingredient. But a thankful heart hath a continual feast.” — W.J. Cameron

Three Links (Vol. 13)

11/22/2008, 1:30 pm -- by | 1 Comment

Halftime of the Villa/Man U game…

— The thing I’ve noticed about the weird Levi’s commercials, with people backflipping into jeans and filling their pants up with helium, is the lack of a disclaimer at the bottom advising us against “trying this at home.” Does this mean they think these things are perfectly safe, or that they think it’s obvious that the commercials are fake?

This poor guy drove all the way from upstate New York to Montana, worked one 10-hour shift, then got fired. Meanwhile, down in North Carolina, a couple fishermen a mile out to sea used a lasso to land a golden retriever.

— Last story’s a sad one. Six weeks ago, a 22-year-old Army reservist and Jefferson CC student named Jesse Kilgore walked into the woods near his home and shot himself. Now, in an interview with the questionable WorldNetDaily site, his father links his suicide to Richard Dawkins’s atheist snoozer, The God Delusion.

His death is a terrible tragedy no matter what its cause, but if these claims are true — that a book and “science classes” turned this young man’s faith into despair — the real problem is not with literature or science. The problem is not even a college that allegedly “undermin[ed] every moral and spiritual value” he had (which has not been the experience of the many JCC students I know). God created the world that biology explores and studies. When our faith in Him cannot stand up to a full, impartial consideration of reality, when we feel “we must shut up one of God’s books to read the other” (Noll), then it is we who are to blame: not God, and not science.

We cannot simply demonize learning and rely on this sort of mushy, meaningless answer: “I told [Jesse] it was my relationship with God, not my knowledge of Him that brought me back to my faith. No one convinced me with facts . . . it was a matter of the heart.” Heart or no heart, facts exist whether we ignore them or accept them. Part of the reason the university culture is so dismissive of faith is that so many people of faith are reflexively distrustful of education. Where teaching is openly anti-Christian, that’s understandable. But rather than disengaging from society, we’d be a lot better off teaching young Christians how science and philosophy are blessings, not threats.

Best of Bweinh! — Married/Single Clash

11/21/2008, 11:00 am -- by | 3 Comments

In this corner, defending the sanctity of marriage, is Tom!

And in this corner, loving the freedom of the single life, is Djere!

Married life is the best kind of life there is. Trading freedom for security has always been the way we roll here in the U.S. of A! So many rough areas of a man’s life can be smoothed out by the delicate touch of a feminine hand.

Decision-making is a prime example. Making decisions is a lot of work. Where to live, what job to take, what to wear? Who has time to figure out the proper choice in all of these important areas? Most single men learn to make decisions quickly, weighing options and coming to decisions so fast that the process seems almost primitive in its simplicity.

The married man can still quickly reach a simple decision, but it is never the end result. Instead, it’s just one stop on the interminable amusement park ride central to any marriage: the discussion. By looping around and around the many possible choices, a man with a skilled spouse eventually comes to see the ignorance of his original choice, and the unparalleled superiority of the course his wife has already selected. Eventually these “discussions” can strip a man of his desire to make an initial choice, streamlining the entire process!

Marriage also lets a man grow beyond the boundaries he places on his social life. Many single men prefer the company of a particular group of friends, spending the majority of social time with them, coming to know them well. Once a man is married, these constraints are taken from him, and he can come to full social fruition. New friends he would not have chosen! New activities he does not enjoy! An entire new family with whom to spend holidays, reunions, excruciatingly boring conversations, and arguments!

And chores! Once a man has a wife, he has a partner with whom to split the domestic tasks central to any household. A single man has no assistance in performing these chores, and no helper to decide when they should be done. It’s true that marriage brings a man a tidier house, but with a spouse helping, the net decrease in work will be offset by the extra discussions that will fill the saved time, in lieu of radio, television, or blessed quiet.

It’s true that some freedom is lost. If I were married, I couldn’t keep the random and flexible work schedule I enjoy. I wouldn’t be able to spend my leisure time any way I like, I wouldn’t have as much time for quiet reading, I might not amuse myself so much with the Internet dot com. I certainly wouldn’t be able to drop everything and take a trip, change my plans at the last minute, or do any of the other things that make me the man I am.

No, I would become a different man, a better man, with a thousand chips of my very nature shaved away by the delicate chisel in my wife’s knowledgeable hand.

I only hope that man will think of the old me fondly from time to time, as he lives his life to the beat of his life’s new drummerette.

If he can find the time between discussions.

You know, when you’ve been married as long as I have (almost three weeks!), you almost forget what it was like on the other side…

Being single has its advantages. Gas mileage, for example. With only one person in the car, you’ll use less gas, you know, when you drive places… alone. And you’ll never have to worry about another person changing your radio stations. In fact, you never have to be exposed to any tastes other than your own! Gosh, that does sound pretty good… cruising down the highway of life — alone — listening to the same old songs on the radio…

And there are benefits outside your motor vehicle as well. Like at work! Now that I’m married, Karen calls me at work once or twice a day. But if I were single, think about how great it would be: eight uninterrupted hours without hearing a friendly voice on the other end of the telephone line. Even better — eight uninterrupted hours without hearing the person I care about more than any other say, “I love you.”

Yep, being single sure has advantages. I mean, at home you’ll never have to worry about someone messing up your stuff, the kitchen, unmaking the bed, or leaving the toilet seat in your least favorite position… because there’s never anyone there. In fact, when you’re single, you have the immense joy of doing all the cooking, cleaning, laundry, and chores yourself. All by yourself. Sure, you can daydream all you want that the next time you’re at the laundromat, there’ll be a pretty, single girl there who shares your joy of separating whites from darks for a bleach load, or your cultivated taste in fabric softener… but probably not.

And who does this ‘God’ fellow think He is? “It is not good for man to be alone.” What’s that all about? Certainly people weren’t designed with a helper in mind, a divinely inspired counterpart, like that “Bible” of yours says in Genesis 2:18.

When you’re single, you’ll experience neither the joy nor the pain that having a spouse brings. You don’t understand what Solomon means when he writes, “you have ravished my heart with one look of your eyes.” Just the numb comfort of loneliness and hope deferred.

Man, those were the days!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a loving wife to attend to. Cheers.


Quote of the Day, 11/21/08

11/21/2008, 7:00 am -- by | No Comments

“Among the attributes of God, although they are all equal, mercy shines with even more brilliancy than justice.” — M. de Cervantes

What I Just Read . . .

11/20/2008, 10:57 pm -- by | No Comments

(first in a series)

The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, Mark Noll

Its First Words — “The scandal of the evangelical mind is that there is not much of an evangelical mind.”

In Ten Words — Evangelical Christians must again think seriously — or risk cultural irrelevance.

In Fifty Words — Fourteen is usually an awkward age, for human beings and non-fiction books, so it’s a bad sign indeed that Noll’s indictment of the intellectual impotence of the evangelical church has aged so well. 10 years later, he largely stood by its conclusions, seeing any improvements as exceptions, not the rule.

In Its Own Words — “Fidelity to Jesus Christ demands from evangelicals a more responsible intellectual existence than we have practiced throughout much of our history.”

Fighting Words — Young-earth creationism and dispensationalism come in for some serious and well-leveled criticism. In one particularly blunt passage at the end, Noll compares evangelicalism to the deuce in the card deck of Christianity. Really? Not even the four or five, Prof?

Well-Chosen Words — A juxtaposition of the 19th-century Spirit of God, Descend Upon My Heart with the 20th-century Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus is cherry-picked but interesting. “Under the influence of fundamentalism, evangelicals turned their eyes to Jesus, and the world grew very dim indeed.”

As an Aside — Mike Huckabee is the new William Jennings Bryan: populist, activist, and Christian progressive. (I do not think this is a good thing.)

Closing Words — Christians must obey the mandate to love God with our minds, wherever that leads. Learning matters — our habits of thinking matter — because the world and its people matter. “The search for a Christian mind is not, in the end, a search for mind but a search for God.”

The Wisdom of Ecclesiastes

11/20/2008, 10:30 am -- by | No Comments

I saw a car yesterday in traffic, a mid-’80s compact model, and it reminded me of something that I hadn\’t thought of in years. Two decades ago, I was working as a salesman — like I am now, only with far less success — and I wandered into a car dealership to make a sales call. It was yet another rejection when I desperately needed a sale.

The salesman noticed me eyeing a brand-new compact car and began giving me his pitch on the way out. He opened the door and made me slide in; I experienced that “new car smell” and took in the spotlessly clean interior. It was mesmerizing, and as far out of reach as the constellations in the sky. I thanked him, turned down a test drive, and slogged through the snow back to my old junker, which I drove off into the gathering gloom of a wintry evening.

I thought about that car forever, struggling to make ends meet raising a family on my income while my wife stayed home to raise our children. I marveled at a world that seemed so far beyond my reach: a world where people could buy a house, not rent; where people bought their children new clothes whenever they needed them; where people could walk into a dealership and buy a new car if the mood struck. All I could see was my poverty, and I was convinced that this other world would be a happy one indeed.

When I saw that same model, dented and rusted, smoking its way through traffic the other day, I was amazed at how small and unspectacular it really was. I\’m 47 now, almost 48. My wife went back to school after the kids were grown, and now she teaches. We certainly aren\’t rich, but we have bought and discarded a half-dozen new vehicles that all put that low-end GM product to shame. The poverty that shamed me and left me feeling so helpless at times is just a distant memory. Like all young couples, we struggled. but God was always faithful to provide what we needed — we never went without.

We’re reading through Ecclesiastes in our Bible study, and someone asked what value the book holds for a Christian. Well, when you understand it was written by a man of unlimited wealth, who sought to test the limits of the happiness it could buy, always coming up empty, then you see the wisdom of Ecclesiastes.

There is no “other world,” where material wealth brings forth a joyous existence of unbounded peace and contentment. Test if you must, but my experience with automobiles shows me that Solomon knew what he was talking about: “Vanity, vanity! All is vanity!”

Joke of the Day, 11/20/08

11/20/2008, 7:00 am -- by | No Comments

A woman went into a sporting goods store to buy a shotgun. “It’s for my husband,” she told the clerk.

“Did he tell you what gauge to get?” asked the clerk.

“Are you kidding? He doesn’t even know I’m going to shoot him!”

Battle of the Bands LXXVIII

11/19/2008, 3:00 pm -- by | No Comments

The next group from Acts is below; moving on is House Divided!


Bible Discussion — Acts 25-26

11/19/2008, 2:30 pm -- by | No Comments

This week, moves on to the next two chapters of Acts.

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 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10
11 | 12 | 13 | 14-15 | 16-17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24
Esther: 1-2 | 3-5 | 6-8 | 9-10
Acts: 1 | 2 | 3-4 | 5 | 6-7 | 8 | 9-10 | 11-12
13-14 | 15-16 | 17-18 | 19-20 | 21-22 | 23-24

Paul, still in chains, once again meets with Festus and is offered the deal of going back to Jerusalem to defend himself. He declines and appeals to Caesar, removing the burden of the decision from Festus. But before he heads for Rome, another king visits and asks for an audience.

During this retelling of Paul\’s testimony, he included the words from the Lord, “It is hard for you to kick against the goads.” Perhaps it had not been until then that Paul fully understood how hard it was, what the price would be for that persecution.

Festus was concerned about how King Agrippa may have been perceiving Paul’s story, and tried to cut it off by calling Paul crazy. Agrippa responds with the famous “You almost had me at ‘hello'” line, later immortalized in Jerry Maguire.

The trial before Agrippa and Bernice was a big show, in an arena filled with “prominent men of the city.” Weird.

Josh: The Learned and Mad
Connie: Conversion
Djere: Uncle Festus
Steve: Oh Felix

Continued here!

Quote of the Day, 11/19/08

11/19/2008, 7:00 am -- by | No Comments

“The tendinous part of the mind, so to speak, is more developed in winter; the fleshy, in summer. I should say winter had given the bone and sinew to literature, summer the tissues and the blood.” — J. Burroughs

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