Super Bowl Haiku Prediction 1

01/30/2009, 2:07 pm -- by | No Comments

Mediocre game
Very good food, however
Chicken wings galore!

Further Election News

11/18/2008, 10:03 pm -- by | No Comments

The major media outlets appear to be calling the Stevens-Begich Senate race for Begich, the Democratic challenger. This puts the Democrats one seat closer (58 total) to a 60-seat filibuster-proof majority, pending the results of the December 2nd Chambliss-Martin runoff and the Coleman-Franken recount which begins tomorrow. We’ll keep you posted.

Presidential Haiku Prediction 8

11/3/2008, 6:04 pm -- by | No Comments

Barack Obama
will win PA and CO:
John McCain loses

Call J.G. Wentworth

10/3/2008, 2:57 pm -- by | No Comments

Does anyone remember this poll?

Well, if California (tied for #2) doesn’t get some cash soon, they might sink into the mighty Pacific.

We’re still working on Massachusetts. Stay tuned.

One Hundred Words (32)

09/10/2008, 10:16 am -- by | No Comments

I have two classes on a given day. One professor seems self-absorbed and condescending when answering questions. He requires that we turn our cell phones off — completely off — because vibrations, even shielded by knapsacks, are too disruptive. I wouldn’t want to be disruptive, so I comply. In a few weeks, some phones have already gone off at full volume.

The same day, I have another, much larger, class with an engaging, funny, interesting professor. He respects our work. I don’t think he said anything about phones. I haven’t heard a single phone go off during his class since day one.

–MCB

The Most Important Thing

03/17/2008, 5:22 pm -- by | 1 Comment

I was looking for some guidance recently, but couldn’t find my Bible. Luckily for me and for the rest of you who are lost and seeking answers, there’s Google. Having successfully completed a comprehensive search of what the internet considers “the most important thing to remember,” I am prepared to release my findings to the world.

Here are ten of the things that the Internet thinks are the most important thing to remember, each nugget blossoming with wisdom in its own right, as nuggets are wont to do:

–You simply cannot go wrong with flowers.

–You do not need to learn to throw the Frisbee very far.

–You must be able to carry your own luggage.

–Anyone who has accomplished more than you has no life, and anyone who has accomplished less than you is a noob.

–Swim only when and where guards are on duty.

–Never grab a lizard by its tail!

–Buy a collection of toys that will suit a variety of purposes.

–Wine was made to be enjoyed.

–Empty your bladder completely and regularly.

–You’re here to tell the jurors your story.

 

I’m thinking of basing a personal philosophy or small startup cult around these teachings, or at least cobbling together an email chain letter. Please forward this to ten people that you care about and also back to the person who sent it to you, for you are loved. If you do that, your crush will ask you out TODAY!

Also, I’ll show you how to throw a Frisbee really far.

Best of MC-B — Can I Interest You in Some Fine Real Estate?

03/6/2008, 10:30 am -- by | No Comments

Originally published April 26, 2007.

Come right in. Please, sit down. What can I do for you folks today? Interested in buying some property, huh? Well, okay, we have a lovely house down on Park Street: oh, you wanted something a bit more unique? Hmm.

Well, maybe I can interest you in one of the most recent arrivals on the real estate scene. We’ve got a few plots that we’re practically giving away on Planet 581 c.

What is Planet 581 c? Well, according to CNN.com, it’s the most Earth-like planet that scientists have ever discovered. Well, yes, I suppose that technically Earth is more Earthlike than 581 c, but I thought that was implied. Okay, okay, I’m sorry, no need to get testy. Anyway, this planet is filled to overflowing with that sweet, sweet substance that we call liquid water. Do you have children? I’ll bet they’d love to jump off a swinging rope into some of 581 c’s cool, clear rivers and lakes. You don’t? That’s a shame. You look like great people.

Did I mention the fact that, on this planet, it’s your birthday every 13 days? By the time you’ve been there for twenty years, you’ll be about 561 years older on this planet, have 561 more years worth of birthday presents, and be able to absolutely destroy Jeanne Calment’s record. Think of that, folks: a place for your name in the Guinness Book of World Records, and all for the low price of this fine piece of property. I have to tell you, though, that buying anniversary presents could get a bit pricey (the 1000th Anniversary is the Bohrium Anniversary, by the way). Probably no problem for wealthy folks like you anyway, right?

This beauty of a planet is also just a quick flight from Earth at only 120 trillion miles away. That’s still more than far enough to keep the mother-in-law at bay, right sir? Oh, okay, that’s fine, no need to get offended.

Aliens? Well, we haven’t checked it out completely yet, but I can guarantee that 581 c is in one of the safest neighborhoods in the known universe; no known signs of life anywhere nearby means no crime, no vandalism, and no pollution. Well, yes, I suppose it might get a bit lonely, but who needs other people when you have each other, right?

Okay, well, you folks take some time to think about it. I can’t guarantee that we’ll have these plots when you make your decision; they’re going pretty quickly. If you decide you want to buy, you have my number.

Best of Bweinh! — Childlike Faith

12/13/2007, 2:45 pm -- by | No Comments

In honor of his birthday (that’s right, two in two days), here’s an article from MC-B, previously published in June 2007.

Matthew 18:2-4 says that in order to enter the kingdom of Heaven, we must become humble like little children. I’ve been told occasionally that this kind of humbleness means following God with an unquestioning faith, like a toddler trusting his or her parents to make everything all right and handle the affairs that are beyond a less developed mind.

God wants us to trust him for all of our needs, and there are parts of God’s plan that don’t make sense to us from our position here on the ground; these things are beyond question, especially in light of other Scriptures. However, anyone who has experience with toddlers or young children can verify the fact that “unquestioning” is almost the worst possible choice to describe these (perhaps besides “clean” and, in some cases, “courteous”). The question “Why?” seems to be the one most often asked by toddlers in their desire to better understand the world around them.

My hope is that we truly would be like children in the faith, constantly seeking answers about God and His creation. One trend that seems to be present (though perhaps decelerating, thank the Lord) in the modern American church, especially when viewed from the outside, is a distrust for intellectual pursuits and a reliance on simplistic populism to spread the gospel message. Some preach that the Gospel message is simple, which it is, but also that it is simplistic, which it is not. Why bother considering your faith intellectually if all you need to guide your walk is “feeling” God?

As a result, to the academically inclined, spiritual belief is viewed as symptomatic of intellectual death, and sometimes intellectual debate or theological discussions, which are the church’s best ways of asking itself “why” and “how” questions, are viewed by churchgoers as almost pharisaical* and not focused enough on the Spirit or the relational aspect of salvation. The emotional experiences that we associate with God are important, but they do not detract from (nor are they even completely separable from) the intellectual and/or theological roots of our faith.

Sometimes, a “because I said so” from our Father is the most complete answer that our deficient minds can process and we must therefore be content, if not satisfied, with this answer. However, we should not presuppose this answer before we ask, and believers should always ask questions of God, themselves and others, so as to be prepared to engage the world on a strong intellectual footing.

*This post brought to you by the 365 New Words-A-Year Page-A-Day Calendar.

Scientology – nicht aus Deutschland!

12/8/2007, 8:41 pm -- by | 2 Comments

I’m really not the biggest fan of Scientology. I know that’s probably hard to believe, but I personally think that Galactic Overlord Xenu is a little overrated. Sure, maybe he was king of the Galactic Confederacy 75 million years ago, but if you’re an evil overlord, you just don’t go around killing billions of your subjects with volcanoes and hydrogen bombs. It’s bad practice and it lowers morale across the empire.

Since I don’t like Scientology all that much, I should have been happy when I found out that the German government is considering declaring Scientology unconstitutional. However, in increasingly atheistic Europe, I worry that the grounds on which the Germans are considering banning Scientology (cult-like behavior and exploiting followers for financial gain) could easily be extended to Christianity from an outside observer’s perspective. Scientology has both of these characteristics to an absurd degree that no sect of Christianity with which I am familiar possesses, but give it a few decades.

If you’re not inside Christianity, there are parts that you won’t get. I was Christian from an early point in my life, and I still didn’t understand speaking in tongues or prophesying when I saw them. Unless lawmakers in Europe are themselves Christian or receive large amounts of electoral pressure from Christian groups, how can real, Spirit-fueled Christianity differentiate itself from cult movements? From my perspective, the Truth can triumph easily if people are willing to be God’s instruments, and national governments should not protect a follower of any religion, sect or cult from being “duped” unless that person normally has special protections against such things (children, the elderly, the infirm), even if it causes that person financial harm. What do you think? What threshold should be used to determine what components of religion (if any) should be regulated?

The Republican YouTube Debates

11/29/2007, 8:58 am -- by | 12 Comments

Last night I decided to watch the Republican presidential debates on CNN (powered by YouTube!). I was very unimpressed with the whole ordeal.

First of all, CNN decided that it would be appropriate to give certain audience members (12 men and 12 women, all undecided registered Republicans) the opportunity to push buttons on a keypad in order to rate their responses to the answers that the candidates gave. This is problematic to begin with; is there anything that brings out true leadership like treating our candidates like racehorses? However, aside from problems with their methodology, let’s imagine that you, personally, were responsible for getting a ticker line graph thing on the air to represent the way that these people were responding. Where on the screen would you put it? The bottom edge? In a corner, perhaps? Well, I’ve been unable to find any screen shots as of yet, but CNN decided to put a continuously-updating line graph smack in the middle of the screen, over the faces of the candidates as they were giving responses. It was extremely distracting and generally told us nothing about the way that candidates were answering. The whole idea smacked of excessive populism.

Questions were uninspired and generally hand-selected in order to encourage sniping but no real policy comparisons. No questions were asked about healthcare or the environment, but CNN did find time for one question, already following two other questions about gun control, about the candidates’ personal gun collections. (Incidentally, this question elicited one story about military service, two about a candidate’s family, and one fairly curt response). I suppose I can’t fault the questioner, though: with this information about how many guns the candidates own, I now feel completely ready to vote.

The cuts to commercial were also very unprofessional. Local stations were afforded some commercial time, so sometimes during a candidate’s response, we were abruptly cut to the local Time Warner Cable’s ad for digital phone service. Sometimes, we would even cut from the candidate answering a question to “rap with” the 24 men and women who were pushing the response buttons in an isolated room somewhere else in the building.

Few people are going to watch these debates at all, but probably even fewer are going to go online to watch them in their entirety. CNN had a chance to showcase the differences between the candidates with illuminating questions, but I believe they generally failed to do that. Although, after the debates I suppose I could be coerced to vote for Mitt Romney after seeing online that he said (with respect to his family) “like most Americans we love our sports teams and we hate the Yankees.”

Or maybe I’ll vote for Ron Paul in protest.

Just kidding.

Why We Believe: Vol. 6

11/17/2007, 9:49 am -- by | No Comments

This and following weekends, we will share the brief salvation testimony of each Bweinh!tributor. So far we’ve heard from David, Steve, Tom, Connie and Djere. Next in line is MC-B.

Unlike a number of my fellow Bweinh!tributors, I did not grow up in a household where baptism, regular prayer or even church attendance were presupposed. I was encouraged largely to ‘do my own thing'; if I wanted to do any of those things, that was fine, but if I wanted to stay home and read or sleep on Sundays, that was fine as well.

I still went to church most weeks anyway; they had the best food (at least the best that was available to me on Sunday mornings), and it was an excuse to talk to people and make friends. I also got involved in a number of church activities like camps, summits, retreats and conferences. The summer before my senior year of high school I was invited to go to the Presbyterian Youth Triennium, the biggest event that the Presbyterian Church throws for its young people. People come from all over the world to spend a week in Purdue University for fellowship, prayer, miraculous experiences, etc.

I was fairly blown away by the whole experience; I had been disinterested in getting too involved in my home church because they were so sleepy. There was little seriousness of purpose about spreading their mission or bringing in new people to hear the good news. The business of the church lasted for an hour on Sundays (two if there was a general meeting afterward) and that was it. Nothing particularly remarkable. At the Triennium, however, I realized that God doesn’t have to be boring and that He’s rarely found without specifically looking for Him. On the first day of the Triennium, I asked God into my heart and my life.

There is a huge amount of finality to asking God into your heart; once you do, you can’t be eternally lost ever again regardless of how temporally lost you may get. In other words, your position and relationship with God have been permanently sanctified. On the other hand, there is also a progressive element to sanctification; allowing God into your heart is a process that a person has to recommit to every day. God may continue to watch over someone who strays from His ways, but trying to get His Spirit to fall when there’s something getting in the way of one’s life with Him is another story entirely.

A salvation testimony is a great story of the triumph of God over man’s weaknesses and over evil, but it is only by examining every day since the commitment of a new heart to Him that an observer could fully understand why I or anyone else believes.

Clashers, Take Note!

09/6/2007, 9:07 am -- by | No Comments

Today is Cookie Monster Day here on Bweinh! (not really, but I was going to post this even before I saw what I was posting with today), so in honor of everyone’s favorite blue cookie-loving monster, I’ve decided to expose him as the true intellectual that he is. The following article has been culled from the internet (dot com!), specifically from Wikipedia’s Bad Jokes and Other Deleted Nonsense page.

C is for Cookie

C is for Cookie can be regarded as a case study in persuasive oratory, emphasizing the emotional aspect of public speaking. Cookie Monster builds excitement by answering his opening rhetorical question, “Now what starts with the letter C?” with the obvious reply, “Cookie starts with C!” He then challenges the audience, “Let’s think of other things that starts with C,” before quickly replying, “Oh, who cares about the other things?” casually dismissing a whole range of other possibilities as irrelevant. Thus, having ostensibly come for the purpose of covering the letter C in its entirety, Cookie Monster has already focused his agenda exclusively on cookies, employing the classic bait and switch tactic.

Several times in his presentation, Cookie Monster emphasizes what appears to be the central thesis of his remarks: “C is for cookie, that’s good enough for me!” The appealing rhythm of this slogan appears designed to entrance listeners, swaying their emotions and making them instinctively want to chant along with him. After rousing the crowd, Cookie Monster systematically lays out the logical underpinnings of his pro-cookie ideology, comparing cookies to round donuts with one bite out of them and to the moon during its crescent phase, in essence using a straw man argument that implies his opponents would advocate the superiority of these competitors over cookies. In this sense, Cookie Monster may be proposing a false dichotomy representing cookies as the only viable choice to a group of obviously inferior alternatives.

Before the audience has a chance to catch on, Cookie Monster launches into another round of repetitive chanting, “C is for cookie, that’s good enough for me, yeah!” as young children sing along. Here, Cookie Monster uses a propaganda technique strikingly similar to that employed in George Orwell’s Animal Farm by the pig Napoleon, who trained the farm’s sheep to bleat, “Four legs good, two legs bad” on his cue. Cookie Monster then adds visual stimulation to his discourse by chomping into a large cookie, concluding his remarks with “Umm-umm-umm-umm-umm” and other chewing sounds.

Cookie Monster, we hardly knew ye.

Best of Bweinh! — The Student’s Wager

07/26/2007, 8:30 am -- by | 1 Comment

Originally printed on May 11, 2007.

At 11:21 this morning, I turned in the last final of my sophomore year of college. It feels pretty good to finally be done and have summer looming before me with its promises of outdoor fun, a multitude of refreshing beverages and gainful employment. However, as I look back, successfully completing this year of college seems a bit hollow. Of the 76 or so years the average American male lives, twenty of mine will be eaten up preparing for the future (3 or so of daycare/preschool, K-12, 4 years of undergrad) — that’s over a quarter of the average without including graduate work!

Completing this year has reminded me that every college guy like me is gambling a rather large portion of his life on the idea that the other 75% of his life on Earth will be worth more to him with a college degree than the 25% he’s traded pursuing one, never mind the loans to repay. That’s a significant wager, and it would be rather frightening if it didn’t pay off.

Of course, I still have my ace in the hole. It will go well for me, even if I become destitute, live in a cardboard box, pick up a touch of the consumption, run up a huge hospital bill and die. I know where I’ll end up in the end, and once I’m there, the results of the earthly wager won’t matter so much. Not everyone has that security, though.

The liberal arts program at an average university teaches students they are better off relying on their own ability to provide for their own security, severely limited as it may be, than to rely on a nebulous concept like God for their needs. After all, if you can’t see Him, how can you trust Him? Students who accept this lie leave the university unarmed to fight with hope against the injustice the world runs on, which eventually leaves many disillusioned, bitter and depressed. Not to be too sentimental, but if in the next few weeks you could think about the students graduating this time of year and pray for them a little, they may appreciate it someday. I know I will; I might have to work with some of these people!

Also, if you could pray that I don’t live in a box, that’d be super too. Thanks.

Childlike Faith

06/18/2007, 4:22 pm -- by | No Comments

Matthew 18:2-4 says that in order to enter the kingdom of Heaven, we must become humble like little children. I’ve been told occasionally that this kind of humbleness means following God with an unquestioning faith, like a toddler trusting his or her parents to make everything all right and handle the affairs that are beyond a less developed mind.

God wants us to trust him for all of our needs, and there are parts of God’s plan that don’t make sense to us from our position here on the ground; these things are beyond question, especially in light of other Scriptures. However, anyone who has experience with toddlers or young children can verify the fact that “unquestioning” is almost the worst possible choice to describe these (perhaps besides “clean” and, in some cases, “courteous”). The question “Why?” seems to be the one most often asked by toddlers in their desire to better understand the world around them.

My hope is that we truly would be like children in the faith, constantly seeking answers about God and His creation. One trend that seems to be present (though perhaps decelerating, thank the Lord) in the modern American church, especially when viewed from the outside, is a distrust for intellectual pursuits and a reliance on simplistic populism to spread the gospel message. Some preach that the Gospel message is simple, which it is, but also that it is simplistic, which it is not. Why bother considering your faith intellectually if all you need to guide your walk is “feeling” God?

As a result, to the academically inclined, spiritual belief is viewed as symptomatic of intellectual death, and sometimes intellectual debate or theological discussions, which are the church’s best ways of asking itself “why” and “how” questions, are viewed by churchgoers as almost pharisaical* and not focused enough on the Spirit or the relational aspect of salvation. The emotional experiences that we associate with God are important, but they do not detract from (nor are they even completely separable from) the intellectual and/or theological roots of our faith.

Sometimes, a “because I said so” from our Father is the most complete answer that our deficient minds can process and we must therefore be content, if not satisfied, with this answer. However, we should not presuppose this answer before we ask, and believers should always ask questions of God, themselves and others, so as to be prepared to engage the world on a strong intellectual footing.

*This post brought to you by the 365 New Words-A-Year Page-A-Day Calendar.

Bweinh! Soundtrack — Barenaked Ladies

05/27/2007, 7:40 pm -- by | 2 Comments

Every weekend, a different Bweinh!tributor will discuss a song or songwriter that inspires or interests them. Read the first eight soundtrack entries here.

I’ll admit it. I was introduced to the music of the Barenaked Ladies by that New York lotto commercial where average people (just like you and me!) sing about what they’d do if they had a million dollars. Buying cars, houses, and just being rich. At the time, my father had the largest music collection of anyone I knew, and he was very familiar with the group that had written and performed the song originally. He introduced me to the full version, which was not only about cars and houses but also about Kraft dinner and pre-wrapped sausages.

From that first listen, I was hooked. Sure, the version in the commercial was nice to listen to, but the things that average, boring people were singing their hearts out about buying with their winnings were average, boring things. The full version was much more fun, and told a story about the potential use of vast amounts of wealth that I could relate to during my youth, namely squandering it on “the fanciest Dijon ketchups.” It even had a pun in it.

In a broader sense, I suppose that’s why BNL is near the top of my list of preferred artists. Their music isn’t so dense and esoteric that I can’t relate to it, but it also still sounds as though the group actually enjoys writing and singing it. In a word, it’s fun. (The full text of this article was originally going to be one sentence about how much fun BNL is, but we in the stable of Bweinh!tributors are paid by the word, or so I’m told.) Sure, some of their music slithers its way into Lotto and car commercials, but it still doesn’t sound anything like another boy band trying to churn out another hit single about how its collective girlfriend left forever to be with someone new. Sniff, sniff.

For one quick example, take “Be My Yoko Ono.” In the words of Wikipedia, “in the song the narrator explains that he would be willing to give up everything to be with the person he loves by comparing their relationship to the one between Yoko Ono and John Lennon.” Certainly unique, and enjoyable enough to merit a listen. Barenaked Ladies: still one of the best things ever to come out of Canada.

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