One Hundred Words (35)

09/30/2008, 1:55 pm -- by | No Comments

With the financial meltdown and $700B ridiculousness eating up the media\’s “Foam at the mouth about how wonderful Obama is” time, illegal immigrants aren\’t in the forefront of our collective psyche.

Illegals “do the jobs Americans won\’t,” like landscaping, housekeeping, bussing tables, and picking fruits and vegetables. Why won\’t Americans ”˜do\’ these jobs? They don\’t pay well enough and they\’re dangerous, so illegals do them for less than Americans are willing to.

Get rid of the aliens, and hotels/commercial farms will have to provide safer environments and higher wages for LEGAL immigrants to work.

A living wage without government interference!


Adventures in Puppyhood!

09/28/2008, 10:12 am -- by | 3 Comments

Meet Reagan!  (And Gorby the duck)

Meet Reagan! (And Gorby the duck)

Official Wife Karen is a glutton for punishment. Whenever we would visit the mall, she would always make sure we stopped at the pet store to look at the puppies. I like dogs, so naturally I agreed to LOOK at the $1,000+ puppies in the mall, but never, ever, ever, ever, ever in a million years would we buy one there.

As much as I love her, Official Wife Karen is what you could call impulsive. So seeing puppies in the mall made her want them, checking account balance notwithstanding. Combine her impulsiveness with her gluttony for punishment and you have a recipe for disaster. I want that puppy, I want it now, and if you loved me you wouldn’t show me puppies we can’t afford.

We had been looking through ads in the newspaper to see the prices for different puppies for sale and had decided that we wanted a chocolate lab puppy named Albert Q. Einstein and a beagle puppy named Sir Isaac Newton. And of course, since we live in an apartment with a no-pet lease, we’d get them once we bought a house.

Yesterday morning, she wanted to look at puppies at the SPCA. LOOK at puppies. Look at puppies. Look, look, look, look, look.

Look, not buy. Continued here!

Best of Djere: Ethical Immorality

09/16/2008, 3:00 pm -- by | No Comments

Originally published, July 2007.

unethicalnot being in accordance with the rules or standards for right conduct or practice.
immoraldeliberately violating accepted principles of right and wrong.

The terms are used almost interchangeably these days, and I don’t know just how fair that is. In case this is your first visit to the planet, welcome to America, land of moral relativism.

Morality speaks to the inherent right-ness or wrong-ness of a given action, thought, or behavior. Regardless of the current pulse of the nation or flavor of the week, Morality exists and has existed from beyond the beginning of time.

Ethics are different. The problem with ethicality is that it changes from person to person, culture to culture, and time to time. I define ethics as the application of your values.

valuesthe ideals, customs, institutions, etc., of a society toward which the people of the group have an affective regard. These values may be positive, as cleanliness, freedom, or education, or negative, as cruelty, crime, or blasphemy.

Think of the things you value — freedom, money, family. The application of your values — which values take priority over other values — now that’s where you create your ethics. If a business organization places a high value on integrity or truthfulness, part of their code of ethics will reflect that importance. If a member were to deal unfairly with an associate, his actions would be unethical — contrary to the values of his organization.

Personal and organizational ethics are derived from values. Values are based upon two things — both a little farther removed from the lofty ethical ideals we think of as right and wrong. First, we base our values on likes and dislikes, two things which interact, change, morph, and ebb and flow as the years pass. Second, we base them on our experiences and observations.

Likes and dislikes, experience and observation give us the why behind the values which gives us the why behind the ethics. Like a pyramid, many experiences and observations combine into our likes and dislikes. Many likes and dislikes combine into our values. Several values combine into our ethics. The truest state of our ethics come from the bottom up, percolating from our past into our future.

Standing alone are morals. Being a Christian, I cannot believe anything but that morals are absolute. There is absolute supreme truth, and it is real and substantial. If morals are the thing, ethics are the shade, the shadow, the human approximation.

With the regeneration of ourselves through the redemptive work of Christ *should* come the regeneration of our code of ethics. Working in the hearts of men, the Holy Spirit Himself transforms us from the top down.

Nothing can change your past — your experiences, your observations, your hurts and past sins. What changes is your response to them, the forgiveness you receive, and hopefully, your values.


09/4/2008, 9:53 am -- by | No Comments

Senator John McCain... in Muppet form

Senator John McCain... in Muppet form

I mean, don’t get me wrong…

I’m voting for him…

But I wish he were a little more charismatic…

Russia Invades Georgia — Congratulations, Mr. Bush

08/12/2008, 11:42 pm -- by | 4 Comments

Ready for an understatement? I’m frustrated.

I know that given the circumstances, invading Afghanistan was the right thing to do. It was clear from intelligence reports that the mastermind behind the 9/11 plot, Osama Bin Laden, was in hiding there, protected by the Taliban. To almost any impartial observer, Al-Qaeda’s declaration of war on America gave us enough of a justification to declare that war.

I know that the people of Iraq are better off today than they were under Saddam Hussein. Any impartial observer would tell you that despite the old reports of sectarian violence and naysayers predicting three-way civil war, a fledgling democratic government is starting to take root.

But none of that stops me from being so *expletive deleted* frustrated by the whole situation. It’s been nearly seven years since I watched over 2,600 people die on national television. Never before had so much pro-American support been poured out on a global scale, and where do we stand today? Internally and internationally, I would say we’re worse off than ever before, with absolutely no glimmer of hope on the horizon. Neither of our presidential candidates are worth their weight in spit and Americans are too busy worrying about what celebrity is anorexic this week and which one should be anorexic the next.

Even in our own back yard, two-bit leftist thugs spew anti-American hate as a platform for election, and have been growing in influence slowly but surely. How many South American countries even like us any more? How many European countries respect America? How many Americans respect America?

Russia invades Georgia, and we’re absolutely powerless to stop them. We have absolutely no pull in the former Soviet republics when we cannot provide aid to the most pro-Western democracy in the region. Sure, we can threaten Russia with long-term effects — raising insurance rates so they can’t host the Olympic Games, blocking Russian entry into the WTO, refusing to play war games with them…

I don’t know what the answer is. I’d love to tell you that a North American Union would be part of the solution (provided it were a conservative, regional government, not like the EU).

I just don’t know and it frustrates me.

What we need is Ronald W. Reagan. :(

Isaiah 44 — Part 2

06/30/2008, 12:00 am -- by | No Comments

Tuesday, having come and now gone, brought with it a visit from missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I did my homework before they arrived, reading my copy of the Book of Mormon and jotting down notes from the Bible.

I didn’t want to scare them off or arrogantly present my faith to them. I wanted them to be comfortable, to open up and present their gospel so that I could calmly and rationally present the Gospel.

I certainly didn’t score any slam dunks, but I’d like to think that I got two shots in under their radar… two seeds that I hope and pray will take root and grow.

Seed 1 — God is spirit.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with LDS theology, I’ll bring you up to speed. They believe God the Father is a literal, physical person with a body of flesh and bone who is both physically and literally our father. (Doctrine & Covenants, Section 130:22)

The truth of God found in the Word is this:

John 4:24 (NKJV) — “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
Luke 24:39 (NKJV) — “Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.”

God, being spirit, does not have a body of flesh and bone.

Seed 2 — No man can see God; only Jesus is immortal.
The missionaries were very excited to tell us that they know that Joseph Smith was a prophet because God Himself, literally in the flesh, along with Jesus Christ, literally in the flesh, appeared to ol’ Joey in the forest. Furthermore, when Jesus preached His Gospel to the Indians in America, he selected twelve disciples, three of whom will never die.

The truth of God found in the Word is this:

I Timothy 6:15-16 (NKJV) — “which He will manifest in His own time, He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen.”

Earlier in I Timothy, Paul writes (1:17) that God is the “Eternal King, Immortal, Invisible.” If God is invisible and lives in unapproachable light wherein no man has or can see Him, how did Joe see him? Furthermore, if Jesus is the One “who alone has immortality,” how were three of Jesus’ Indian apostles granted immortality?

As I said, they’re not slam dunks, but the sisters wrote the verses down with notes like “God is Spirit?” next to them. I hope and pray the seeds take root, but we’ll find out on Thursday when they come back for another round.

Photoflash — Midwest Flooding

06/22/2008, 12:59 am -- by | No Comments

This just in… Residents living in a Midwestern flood plain continue to be baffled and disturbed by yearly flooding.Flood plain residents confused on source of flood.

Isaiah 44 — Part 1

06/20/2008, 11:00 pm -- by | No Comments

18 June 2008 WATERTOWN —

Imagine our surprise – Official Wife Karen and I were moving a large appliance onto our back porch when we heard a sharp knock on our front door. We weren’t expecting company, and as we peered through the blinds, Official Wife Karen literally jumped backward when she saw the eyes of two earnest-looking young women peering back at her.

“Man, I hope it’s not missionaries,” she muttered under her breath.

They chimed in unison, smiles beaming above their Latter Day Saints nametags: “Hi! We’re here from…”

Excited, I interrupted them. “SWEET!”

The talkative one laughed, while the quiet one scanned the inside of our living room, looking for clues to our eternal fate. “We don’t hear that very often,” said the first. “We’re here from the Church of Latter-Day Saints. We…”

I interrupted them again. “Uh, yeah, I can see that on your tag there. I didn’t know they sent women out into neighborhoods like this.”

Turning to my lovely bride, I asked, “Do we have time for this right now?”

“No,” Official Wife Karen replied. “We have an appointment in a half-hour.”

A few schedule wranglings later, the mormon missionariettes and the Maxon family had an appointment for this coming Tuesday at 4PM!

When I was a younger man, living on campus at Oswego State University of New York, I actually invited the local mormon missionaries into my dorm room for a chat. Official College Roommate Jacob was *not* thrilled.

With the Oswego-mormons, I played along with them, playing dumb, making them define their terms, taking my time… like a chess match.

Like a game.

But I don’t feel like playing games any more, because it’s not a game. Frankly, Mormonism is a cult, it’s dangerous, and adherents are going to a very real hell.

Needless to say, Official Wife Karen was less than pleased. “Why did you invite them back here!?” she growled sweetly whispered to me after the door was shut and locked.

“Because they’re going to hell, Karen. Instead of having to go out and find somebody to save, the devil brought them to our door, and by the Holy Spirit, you and I are going to do something about that,” I said, kissing her forehead.

She smiled. “Oh. That’s why.”

I’ll keep you posted.

One Hundred Words (17)

06/12/2008, 9:00 am -- by | No Comments

Attention Lowe’s customers: the time is now 9:45 p.m. and our store will be closing for the evening in fifteen minutes. Just a friendly reminder: Lowe’s hours are 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and Sunday 8 to 8. At this time I’d like to ask you to make your final selections and bring them to the lighted registers at the front of the store where our friendly cashiers will gladly ring you through. As always, thank you for shopping and saving with Lowe’s.

Attention customers: the time is now 10 p.m. and our store is closing for the evening. For your shopping convenience, we will reopen tomorrow at 6 a.m.


Bweinh! Goes to the Movies — Kung Fu Panda

06/7/2008, 12:12 am -- by | No Comments

Jack Black in the feel-good movie of the year this… is!

Though my brain can hardly believe it… I… actually… liked… a Jack Black movie.

Uncharacteristic of our movie-watching habits, Official Wife Karen and I watched this 92-minute romp on opening day. And while usually admitting you have a problem is the first step, Jack Black as Po, the laziest panda in ancient China was laugh-out-loud funny. From the opening sequence and the one-liners straight through to the end, something about this movie just worked.

Stunned civilian one: He’s so awesome!
Stunned civilian two: And attractive!
Stunned civilian three: How can we ever repay you?
Po: No charge for awesomeness. Or attractiveness.

By far, the funniest scene was between Po and Shifu (Dustin Hoffman): an elaborate kung fu battle between master and student… over the last dumpling in the bowl.

The cast is surprisingly star-studded, if you consider Jack Black a star, but that may be the most disappointing part of the movie. With creatures voiced by Jackie Chan (Monkey), Lucy Liu (Viper), Angelina Jolie (Tigress), Seth Rogen (Mantis), and Ian Cross (Crane), you really don’t hear a whole lot out of them. I really wish there had been more memorable lines to take away from the movie.

Adding to the humor was that we saw it on opening night. Sure it’s funny to laugh at a cartoon, but it’s funnier (for me) to notice that Official Wife Karen laughs when the adults laugh, and I laugh when the audience full of children laughs. To enjoy the laughter of children, catch this movie at around seven, and do so within the first week. Hilarious.

In all, I give it an astonishing bweinh! out of BWEINH! (6.5 out of 7).

One Hundred Words (13)

06/3/2008, 9:00 am -- by | No Comments

In America, Christians spend too much time dying of thirst in the desert.

Oh, if only the rain would come”¦ if only I could feel the next move of God I would have life.

Have you ever seen pictures of the desert days after the rain? It\’s beautiful: life springs up overnight where there was nothing before.

Have you ever seen that same desert a month after the rain? Desolation.

     He shall be like a tree
          Planted by the rivers of water,
          That brings forth its fruit in its season,
          Whose leaf also shall not wither;
          And whatever he does shall prosper.
     (Psalm 1:3)

Don\’t wait for it — dig for it.


News Analysis — Ted Kennedy

05/21/2008, 10:57 am -- by | 4 Comments

Conservative scientists were stunned today to learn of Sen. Ted Kennedy’s (D-MA) condition upon being released from Massachusetts General Hospital. Doctors diagnosed the aging Senator with a malignant glioma in his left parietal lobe — brain cancer.

Though details of his prognosis have not been released, speculation centers less around what they said, and more on what they did not say.

Listed as possible options for treatment were radiation and chemotherapy, but not surgery, leading many medical experts to believe the tumor is inoperable. Differing sources estimate the Senator has between one and three years to live — around 50 years longer than Mary Jo Kopechne.

Newsday reports that damage to the left parietal lobe can result in difficulty with words, math, and hand-eye coordination — symptoms most politicians suffer from. Gliomas are the most commonly diagnosed brain tumors — around 9,000 a year — but not common enough to explain away liberalism.

Bweinh! Goes to the Movies: Horton Hears a Who

03/31/2008, 9:58 pm -- by | 2 Comments

Jim Carrey in the feel-good picture of the year, this ain’t. But if you’re looking to be diverted from your troubles with a non-canonical Seuss-ish movie, drop the nine bucks on a ticket and kick back.

The movie follows the hapless Horton (Carrey)Horton Hearing a Who, an elephant who teaches the strangely shaped children of the Jungle of Nool (including the terrifyingly bizarre “Katie,” a multi-colored, sheep-like creature who can float). Horton discovers a speck of dust, on which lies the city of Whoville. They’re not the Whos of Grinch-related fame, but Whos they are nonetheless.

The mayor of Whoville (ably portrayed by Steve Carrell) requests Horton’s help in saving his Whovilization from almost certain doom, but Horton is met with resistance from the stifling censorship and closemindedness of Kangaroo (Carol Burnett).

The two most famous Seuss lines in the movie are: “I meant what I said and I said what I meant; an elephant’s faithful, one hundred percent,” and “A person’s a person, no matter how small.” For the record, the first line doesn’t even appear in the original Horton Hears a Who, but rather in Horton Hatches an Egg. What’s that? Who cares about which book it was in? That’s right. I care. Me, the guy who wrote a 30-page paper on Dr. Seuss for his 20th Century American Literature class!

It’s still true, though. A person’s a person no matter how small, whether 4 or 40, a blasted liberal or a blastocyte. Except for emo kids. Yuck. They turned the “shirker named Jo-Jo,” who taught in the book that “every little bit helps” and “everyone needs to work together to be productive,” into the mayor’s whiny emo son.

I call it Seuss-ish because the good Doctor’s books are just so short, it’s difficult to make a feature-length flick out of them without a good deal of fluff, so know what you’re getting into: an 88-minute diversion with several laugh-out-loud jokes, but no real staying power.

I give it a “Bwei” out of “Bweinh!” (4 out of 7).

Best of Djere — Squeaky Clean

03/3/2008, 10:30 am -- by | No Comments

Originally published August 20, 2007.

At some point, and I don’t honestly remember when, I had to put some serious thought into showering. I know it doesn’t seem like the kind of thing you need to think about, but applying some thought and reason toward bathing allows you to clean yourself more thoroughly and efficiently than could otherwise be possible.

Sins are gross, vile, and filthy stains that require cleaning. And while I certainly believe that, as the Bible says, whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved, we still have sins to deal with. You know, the process of becoming righteous… personal holiness and all that.

I’ve been a Christian for a long time now, saved at an early age, raised in a Christian home; a third-generation Christian, if you will. But I still struggle with sins in my own life. And it bothers me that after this many years, I still struggle with this problem.

I know I’m not alone, though. Everyone still struggles with sins after they are saved. So if it bothers me that I struggle after two decades of Christianity, it bothers me even more that after two MILLENNIA, Christianity is still permeated with the cancer of sin.

What have denominations been doing since the Reformation? Arguing over eternally worthless doctrinal statements, what day of the week Sunday School should be on, or whether or not ties are part of Heaven’s dress code (along with halos).

I know I’ve put thought into showering because I shower well — I come out of the shower clean, I don’t stink at the end of the day, and I’m relatively well-groomed. By examining the end product, you can tell I have a good process. Can the same be said for some Christian denominations? Spiritually, Christians are washed by the blood of Christ, the Spirit, and by the soap of the Word, right? Is their metaphorical showering doing them any good after they leave church?

Catholics — First, enter a booth and tell your priest what kind of dirt you have on you and where it is. Though you have a bar of soap at home, fully wrapped, you shouldn’t open it because laity couldn’t possibly understand how to use it properly. As you leave the booth, he’ll remind you to ask people, long since dead, who were clean while they lived, to bathe on your behalf.

Pentecostals — Cram as many people as you can into a tent and turn on the shower heads. Get them all riled up: running around in circles, flopping around on the tiled floor, working up a good sweat. Don’t bother learning how to use the soap: the apostles ’tweren’t learn-ed neither! Eventually somebody will show up with a snake. Just go with it.

Baptists — Which type? Does your congregation use the “King Jesus Version” of soap or are they “Nearly Inspired Version” heretics? How long, specifically, should you spend in the shower? Should you wash the right hand, the left hand, or your chest first? What temperature should the water be? For as many complaints or differences of opinion you may have, you can find a Baptist congregation out there tailor-made to your spiritual hissy-fits. Northern, Southern, Conservative, Cooperative, Primitive, Independent, General Associative, Regional, Ecumenical, American (sorry Mike), Progressive… you name it, we got it.

Me? I’d just like to stay grounded in the Word, submitted in the Spirit, and never too proud to see how I’m nothing without Him.

Bweinh! Goes to the Movies: Rambo

01/30/2008, 11:50 pm -- by | 5 Comments

I’ll tell you one thing — Rambo is by no means Sylvester Stallone in the feel-good picture of the year. But he has his moments.

The story revolves around sexagenarian John Rambo and a squad of mercenaries who rescue missionaries from the evil clutches of a brutal, dictatorial, oppressive, homosexual, Southeast Asian general and his raping, pillaging, murderous goon-filled death squads. Overall, the plot itself is fairly standard for 1980s-level action films, just with a higher production value.

Rambo himself is as murderous a killing machine as he is inventive, eliminating enemy soldiers with knives, bows and arrows, pistols, truck-mounted machine guns, and even by attaching a Claymore to an unexploded WWII British bomb. Oh, and he also rips out a man’s throat. Wicked. But it’s all for a good reason, so he’s kind of a nice guy at heart, you know?

Other characters lack depth (unlike the ever-multifaceted Rambo’s two sides — kill and slur). The missionaries are presented as pigheadedly bent on complete nonviolence as they infiltrate the border of a war zone for “the greater good.” The mercenaries are completely off the handle, screaming and swearing at Rambo, one another, trees, boats, rain, missionaries, enemy soldiers… in this movie, just about anything that can be screamed or sworn at is.

The death squads are believably evil, but why Stallone chose to include a scene of a young boy’s private late-night visit to the general is beyond me. I mean, seriously. We just watched this guy order a village hacked to bits and pieces, we get that he’s kind of a bad dude. Why add that he’s also into little boys? Is genocide not bad enough? Will American audiences think, “I still see the good in that man, even past his 1970s sunglasses and creepy mustache — but now that they’re implying he’s gay, I think he deserved to be hacked in half with a machete by John J. Rambo.”

The action scenes at the end of the movie were intense, too intense. I had no clue who was killing whom or why, except when the head missionary avenged all the others by bashing a soldier’s head in with a rock. Very Cain and Abel-esque.

Overall, I don’t think anyone should be exposed to the violence of Rambo, but I’m not going to lie to you. I enjoyed it.

Yo, Adrian!!!

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