Friday, December 22, 2006

A Dynamite Christmas

I received the DVD of Napoleon Dynamite as an early Christmas gift over Thanksgiving. With Christmas Break starting Wednesday I was finally able to find time to pop it in and watch this great movie. A lot of people are entertained by this movie because it seems so bizarrely weird. But I enjoy it because it is so true to life in high school. I think a lot of people forget the oddballs and socially challenged people they went to school with. If you were one of those oddballs then that's another reason you might find it great. I see Napoleon Dynamites every day walking down the halls of Kaufman High School. I like this movie because although it is strangely goofy it ends on a heartwarming note. And it is an uncannily accurate depiction of the weirdness of high school.

Ironically enough during Homecoming Week at KHS we had a 'dress as your favorite movie character day.' There were a lot of Napoleons and Debs that day. What was ironic was the fact that most of the people who dressed up as Napoleon or Deb were from the elite crowd...people who pick on and mock the real Napoleons on a daily basis. The elites are so self-absorbed they can't even see themselves as the jocks, Summers and Tricias of the movie...people to despise for their snobbery, egotism and bullying. I fight for the Napoleons. I fight for the Pedros and Debs. That's one of the reason I teach.

Well, we'll be pretty busy the next two or three days and I may not have a chance to log back on before Christmas. So have a Merry Christmas and see you around the next snowman.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

DOGma or CATastrophe?

Often when I see a profile of someone I see them asked the question "Dog or cat?" I guess whether you are a dog person or a cat person is supposed to provide some deep insight into your psyche.

Now I have nothing against dogs. I like dogs. But from a socio-political view, dogs represent fascism. Think about it...dogs are dogmatically (pun intended) loyal, never questioning and are easily trained. They'll do anything to please their master. They'll make fools of themselves for a dry biscuit. They have no dignity. From one standpoint these qualities are what make dogs's best friend. And yes, I like happy dogs as the next person. But they happily conform to making their master happy at the expense of their own individual dignity.

But cats represent individual freedom. They kowtow to no one. They are not so easily trained or conditioned. They are selective about their food. They have a mind of their own. They know where to use the restroom without being trained. They show love and affection on their terms. They play when they want. And any cat owner can tell you that dignity is very important for a cat. Plus, they are not nearly as high maintennance as dogs. They can live on their own for days and they don't keep you up at night with incessant barking. They represent critical thought and individual freedom. I guess that's why more than twice as many people own cats than dogs in the United States.

But you notice...who's more slavishly vocal about their owners. The typical bellocosity of fascism. So when you read that next survey be wary of the pet chosen.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

The Last Look

Well, here it is. The last sonogram of our baby boy until D-Day (delivery day). The bags are packed (mostly). The nursery is finished (hopefully). We've completed child-birth classes, child-care classes and nursing classes. We have certificates to prove it! Now we wait. The target is just two weeks away...December 30th. The substitute lesson plans are ready. The car seat is in place. The clothes organized and the diapers ready. The iPod playlists to help lure the baby asleep are done (one jazz and one classical) and the iPod plugged into the bassinet's Mp3 jack. The name is chosen...although it's a closely guarded secret until the big day. Let the madness begin!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Season Wrap-up

Thoughts on the college football season...both the regular season that's wrapped and the bowl season that charging full steam ahead...

Wow! The Oklahoma Sooners win the Big XII Championship! Who would have thought after all the crap thrown their way. Stupid quarterbacks, corrupt officials, heartbreaking injuries and still the Sooners win the conference. A texas longhorn fan friend of mine at work told me that Thanksgiving weekend was the apocalypse for ut supporters. First ut loses to A&M...but worse yet, that loss send OU to the title game.

It was great to see the OU-Nebraska rivalry renewed. Growing up in Kansas City with all those displaced Husker fans that was the big game of the year for me. I didn't even know a texas fan until college. So all the trashtalking in football was with those cornfed bruisers from the north. Plus, OU-NU was a conference game and often determined a trip to the Orange Bowl. OU-texas was just a bitter non-conference game. So a strange year ended up great...even if the Sooners lose in the Fiesta (highly unlikely to the smurf turf crew of Boise State)...this year will be very satisfying for Sooner fans. This was the first year that the conference championship game seemed a reward for OU. Usually it's just another hurdle to a title with little upside. This year it was all gravy.

Yes, the BCS is a flawed system...but the title game is the right matchup. Florida deserves a shot at Ohio State. Michigan may very well be the second best team in the nation...but they had their shot at the Buckeyes and lost. Sure it was a heroic loss on the road by only three points. But it was a shot. Now it's someone else's turn.Of course my son is due to arrive right at the height of all this bowl madness so I may not be paying much attention this year. If I'm lucky I'll get the VCR set in time...but expected babies puts everything in perspective.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Loss of a Visionary

I was saddened to hear of the loss of AFL/NFL visionary Lamar Hunt last night. Hunt, the owner of my favorite team the Kansas City Chiefs, was one of the most humble and gentle-spirited entreprenuers America has seen in the last century. He was a shrewd businessman but he was known to treat others with respect and made decisions based off their merits and not on ego. Lamar Hunt's automated signature appeared on my paychecks when I worked at his World's of Fun amusement park in Kansas City for three summers during my high school years. I used to say to my high school peers you may make a little more money working for McDonalds but I work for Lamar Hunt. He will be missed.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Conversations with the Cosmos

A year ago my grandmother-in-law got me a book on my wish list as a Christmas gift. The book was Kurt Vonnegut's "Slaughterhouse Five: The Children's Crusade." Vonnegut tells the story of the World War II firebombing of Dresden, Germany. Vonnegut was there as an American P.O.W. in an underground bunker. He was among just a few to survive the horrendous fire storm that killed more civilians in one night than the atomic bomb did in Hiroshima. Worse, Dresden had no strategic or tactical value. It was a massacre with no military purpose. It was an excellent yet sobering read.

A few days later as I was pondering what to read next I picked up a book on our shelf that belongs to Kimberly. The book was "Disturbing the Universe" by Freeman Dyson. I had vaguely heard of Dyson and never heard much about the book. It was required reading for one of her SNU science classes back in college. I just picked it up by chance.The book is written by a world-reknowned scientist discussing the philosophy of modern science. I found the first two chapters engrossing and then I was stunned as I hit the third chapter. The third chapter was entitled "The Children's Crusade." Dyson writes about his experience as a scientist attached with the same bombing division that bombed Dresden in World War II. He said he always wanted to write a book about Dresden but that Vonnegut had beaten him to the punch and done a better job than he could have done. The third chapter of Dyson's book discusses Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five in length.

I was amazed. I had just read Slaughterhouse Five...a book that I had received a year earlier but only just picked up to read a few weeks ago. And I picked up Dyson's book by sheer accident. Was this mere coincidence? These types of coincidences have happened several times in the past year in my reading choices. Sometimes I purposely read several books that investigate a certain theme. But in the past year I have found several of my reading choices linked and yet I had chosen them randomly...often receiving them as gifts from others and not of my own volition. Is somebody trying to tell me something?

I will expound on my new theory of cosmic dialogue in an upcoming entry. But I often I subconsciously linking certain themes together? Or am I being led into certain directions of intellectual introspection by some outside force, i.e. God? Or is it all chance that I'm led down these paths of enlightenment? I'll write more about this later as this entry is beginning to ramble incoherently on subjects quite esoteric. But it kinda makes me wonder. And wondering is good.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Weezer and The Beach Boys

Yes, I'm still blogging. Life has gotten hectic recently. Sorry for the delay between blogs.

Many of you know that Weezer is one of my favorite bands. If I had my druthers I would name my soon-to-be-here son Rivers after Weezer's lead singer. My wife vetoed that idea very early on. Some parents play Mozart for their infant children to stimulate brain development. My Dad played The Beach Boys. Now I always knew there were some inherit similarities between The Beach Boys and Weezer. Weezer has been called the "Beach Boys of today" or "The Beach Boys on mescaline" by many critics. Weezer has even covered a couple of Beach Boys tunes. So knowing that I was indoctrinated with Brian Wilson melodies since I was in the womb I now wonder if that had anything to do with my love of the music of Weezer.

Now there is a website that details the similarities...some coincidental, some intentional...between Weezer and The Beach Boys. Some similarities are a stretch...others are very apparent...all are interesting. You can find the site here...

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Ranking the 007 canon

I am often asked (believe it or not) how I rank the 007 movies. This is subject to change, but as of now here's how I rank the Bond movies...

The classics
1.) Goldfinger
2.) From Russia With Love
3.) Thunderball

The near classics
4.) On Her Majesty's Secret Service
5.) Tomorrow Never Dies
6.) Casino Royale
7.) Dr. No

The pretty good
8.) For Your Eyes Only
9.) The Living Daylights
10.) The World is Not Enough

The goofy yet entertaining
11.) The Spy Who Loved Me
12.) You Only Live Twice
13.) Octopussy
14.) The Man with the Golden Gun
15.) Moonraker
16.) Die Another Day

Okay...if there's nothing better on
17.) View to a Kill
18.) License to Kill
19.) Live and Let Die

Downright lousy and stupid
20.) Diamonds are Forever
21.) Goldeneye

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Change is Necessary

An excerpt from the 1978 essay How to Build a Universe That Doesn't Fall Apart Two Days Later by Philip K. Dick:

Do not assume that order and stability are always good, in a society or in a universe. The old, the ossified, must always give way to new life and the birth of new things. Before the new things can be born the old must perish. This is a dangerous realization, because it tells us that we must eventually part with much of what is familiar to us. And that hurts. But that is part of the script of life. Unless we can psychologically accommodate change, we ourselves begin to die, inwardly.

What I am saying is that objects, customs, habits, and ways of life must perish so that the authentic human being can live. And it is the authentic human being who matters most, the viable, elastic organism which can bounce back, absorb, and deal with the new…The authentic human being is one of us who instinctively knows what he should not do, and, in addition, he will balk at doing it. He will refuse to do it, even if this brings down dread consequences to him and to those whom he loves.

This, to me, is the ultimately heroic trait of ordinary people; they say no to the tyrant and they calmly take the consequences of this resistance. Their deeds may be small, and almost always unnoticed, unmarked by history. Their names are not remembered, nor did these authentic humans expect their names to be remembered. I see their authenticity in an odd way: not in their willingness to perform great heroic deeds but in their quiet refusals. In essence, they cannot be compelled to be what they are not.

The entire essay can be found here.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


Here's a little poem I wrote while stuck in traffic...and no it doesn't rhyme...and remember I was stuck in traffic and I really am a happy person and I really do like America.

11-15-06 - Dallas, Texas

Crash! BAng!
We're a nation of Idiots!
No one can drive.
Turn off you PHONE!
Use your turn signal!

Let's go to war and kill us some Muslims the redneck says.
Let's go to our trailers and do us some Meth.
Let's go to our schools and spend all our taxes on sports.


My calculator broke I can't do any math.
Essays? Why not text message?
College? No, let's get knocked up instead.

Let's go to church so we can judge our NEIGHBORS.
Let's have a theocracy
so Dobson and Hagee can rule
and save Israel.

Who needs Earth when Mars is so close?

Speak English or Die and
don't call me a bigot just because I don't like Mexicans.

We're a nation of Idiots!

Let's re-elect based on the commercials.
Going to church makes you a Christian.
Everyone outside the states is to be suspected of

Don't AGREE?
You HATE America!

GUN SHOW HERE - Defend yourself and your family.

We are a nation of IDIOTS!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

The Ubermensch

So we were watching this video over Christopher Columbus in my World History classes the other day. And regarding his atrocious treatment of the Native Americans the "experts" threw out the same old tired line that he was simply "a man of his times." This line seems to be the favored line to gloss over the more despicable behavior of our historical heroes.

Well, I think that line of thinking is rubbish. I realize I have the benefit of hindsight and centuries of knowledge before me. I know it's ridiculously easy to hold the past in harsh judgment. But I also realize I too will be judged by future generations.

Great men should strive to be ahead of their times. I'm not referring to subtle distinctions of social mores of certain time periods. I'm referring to man's treatment of other men. We cannot excuse the injustices we commit in the present by later using the excuse we were playing by the social conventions of the day.

God gave us brains. He gave us the ability to think critically. We must shatter the archaic conventions of our day if they perpetuate injustice, prejudice, and violence.

Easier said then done. Difficult at best. But dogma is the enemy of progress. All things must be carefully weighed and considered...all things. Toddlers are asking the right question when they ask 'why' a hundred times a day. Why do we stop asking 'why' once we reach adulthood? Because tired, overworked, exasperated parents beg their inquistive child to just go along so they can have some rest.

One of our great goals should be that if we are to be remembered after we pass on those who follow might say of us "they were not of their times, they were ahead of their time."

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Casino Royale

So I saw the latest installment of the James Bond series last night, Casino Royale. Casino Royale reboots the series back to the beginning to see how Bond became 007. I've read all of Ian Fleming's novels and Casino Royale at least twice. The movie was actually fairly faithful to the book. Daniel Craig is exactly how the book envisions James Bond. This is a different type of James Bond than you might be used to...grittier, more realistic, and more human. The comedy is much darker and sarcastic. The action is more visceral and real. The theme song was only average. I liked the movie and liked Craig as 007. I'm not quite sure where it fits in the pantheon of great Bond flicks yet. But it is definately a good one.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Lincolns and Cadillacs

You would think that after their scathing defeat at the hands of the electorate that the Republican Party would have gained a sense of humility. It seems, however, that the G.O.P. is as out of touch as usual. The party of Lincoln has truly become the party of Lincoln and Cadillacs...isolated and out of touch with reality. Why else would they elect Trent Lott as their senate leader? Have the Republicans not learned a thing? They are either stupid or arrogant or more likely both.

The Republican party assumes that the American people will have forgotten or forgiven Lott for his racist remarks two years ago. The Republican party is making a serious mistake shooting themselves in the foot this way. The GOP will not win the hearts and minds of the people by following right wing racists like Trent Lott. They must follow a middle course or they will truly become a party of extremists and whackos out of touch with the mainstream. They will be the mirror image of the Democratic party of the 1980's.

With defeated elephants littering the political landscape after last week's massive defeat, which the President described as a "thumping", the Republicans would have done well to show contrition for theie policy failures. Even their staunch allies like James Dobson are accusing them of selling out their base. To rebound the G.O.P. should have eaten their crow, re-evaluated their position and plotted a new course to win back the hearts and minds of America. By bringing back Lott they are exhibiting extreme arrogance and unwillingness to moderate the more extreme members of their party. The Democrats must be secretly rejoicing as the elephant continues to stick it's head in the sand.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Save Ferris!

One of my favorite 80's movies, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, was on television this past week. I have seen it numerous times...but I had a startling revelation as I watched it again for the umpteenth time. I realized that I have switched sides. I am no longer a Ferris. I am now the boring teacher. I am now the enemy.

Instead of fighting the man I have become the man. I am not raging against the machine. I am the machine. This revelation was shocking and a bit depressing. I must fight to retain my subversiveness. I must struggle to enlighten and not brainwash. I must be a Jedi Master and not a Fascist pig. I must be the student's advocate and not their enemy. I must guide but not bully.

I think I do an okay job in all those areas. But sometimes I wish I could go back and be Ferris again.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Iceberg Radio

At work I listen to internet radio when class isn't in session. There are many sites that provide a wide variety of music. But my favorite is iceberg radio from Canada. They have every category of music imaginable. Take for instance one type of music, alternative. They have eight or nine different stations of different types of alternative music. I'm a radio humanist. I can't listen to the same style of music every day. That's like eating the same cereal every day. One day I'm listening to jazz. The next day, classical or world music. Iceberg has it all.

It's based in Canada so when you perform your one time free registration you must enter a Canadian zipcode. Don't worry...that's all legal. And you get great music to listen to while you are at work or at home. And it's all free.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Earth at Night

I always show this picture of Earth to my students at the beginning of the year. Modernity requires electricity. Electricity requires power. Unbelievable how unequal the distribution of power is on this globe. I guess we know the reason we can't see the stars at night. Too much light pollution. Do the world a favor every once in awhile and turn off the light. Click on the picture to get a larger view. This picture really says a thousand words.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Excising Cancer

I've been going to church since I was in the womb. Yesterday I experienced something I had never experienced before in all my years of going to church. I was yelled at in the foyer, in public, by a racist bigot angry at my support for having a Spanish congregation of Nazarenes meet in our sanctuary when not in use by our congregation.

First I was shocked at being yelled at period. Secondly I was amazed that anyone would so publicly expose themselves as racist in such a Mel Gibsonesque fashion. Some of his choicest words as he pointed toward the sanctuary as the Hispanic congregation was worshiping, "Those people didn't build our country, those people didn't make this country great."

Yes, I'm proud of my white forefathers who committed genocide by wiping out millions of Native Americans who had lived on this contintent for thousands of years while never keeping a single treaty they signed with the Indians.

I'm proud of how they built the southern agrarian economy on the backs of African slaves.

I'm proud of how humanely they treated the Chinese laborers who built the trans-contintental railroad.

I'm proud of how they refused to allow women to vote until 1922.

I'm proud of how they rounded up law-abiding Japanese-American citizens (including war-veterans from WWI) in 1942 and forced them to live in horse stalls at internment camps for the duration of World War II despite never being charged with any crime.

There is much to be proud of our nation and our nation's history. But like all races my ancestors have made grievous mistakes. Therefore, how can I judge any race when I remember how Christ died for me despite my sins?

There is no room in God's church for bigots like the one I encountered Sunday. I remember reading some of this guy's ideas in a little book called Mein Kampf in a history class. Mein Kampf...a warped (and poorly written) little book written by Adolf Hitler.

Racism is as much a heresy as the circumcision heresy, Arian Christianity or Gnosticism. I, for one, will shine the light of truth on such individuals so they can scurry like cockroaches for the dark places of this world. I will not allow God's church to become a safe haven for such satanic beliefs just because they can no longer espouse their racism publicly in the secular world.

I will attempt to follow Christ's model of compassion even toward those who disagree with me. But I will never kowtow and be intimidated by the insanity of those who hate God's fellow creations.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Medieval Toothpaste

So here's a joke I came up with the other day, yes...written by yours truly as I was brushing my teeth one morning before AP World History students really enjoyed it.

Q: Why did medieval peasants in Russia use Crest toothpaste?

A: They needed Tartar protection.

If you don't find it funny...look up Tartars on wikipedia and maybe you'll appreciate it more.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Evil of Two Lessers

Now, I'm no fan of John Kerry. He ran a stupid campaign in 2004. A moron could have unseated Bush. But Kerry is a waffling morose fool who somehow got beat by an intransigently ignorant Dubya. However, I am disgusted by the Republican's hammering of Kerry's statements about being stuck in Iraq. Yes, Kerry was an idiot for saying what he did.

However, the GOP is simply trying to divert attention from the issues that matter. They are desperate. They know that the Bush Administration is in trouble. They know they have to divert attention from the record of their corrupt and bloated Republican party. And they know that either most Americans are shallow enough to be distracted by all this Kerry criticism...or they know their easily-riled conservative base is so shallow as to think what Kerry said was actually important. Who really cares what Kerry says!?!

So there's my take...Kerry is a fool and the GOP deceitful. And you know what? Kerry in one sense was right. If Bush and the hawks had paid attention in World History class...they would have known this war in Iraq would be a horrible mistake. But the smell of oil can sure cloud the senses.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Hunger Site

A real easy way to help others is to click on to the Hunger Site. The Hunger Site is a non-profit website that allows a browser simply to click on a button to donate money to the United Nations Hunger Relief Fund. You pay nothing. The money is donated by advertisers on the website who give a small donation everytime someone clicks on the hunger button. There are other sites linked that do the same thing for other causes as well.

The site has been endorsed by the New York Times and has been thoroughly checked out as legitimate. The idea was a brainchild of an Indiana man who decided to use the internet in a simple way to help others. The Hunger Site is truly elegant in its simplicity. And it costs the internet surfer nothing but a few seconds each day. You can only click once a day on each of the sites. It's ten seconds well worth the time.

There is so much on the internet that is garbage. For the past six years the Hunger Site has been showing the altruistic possibilities of the world wide web.

Monday, October 30, 2006

And God Answers...

Two weeks ago my Dad was diagnosed with cancer...multiple myeloma to be exact. As you can imagine the news was shocking and sobering. My father then went to the oncologist who performed a bone marrow biopsy which my Dad described as feeling like being stabbed with a knife for 15 excruciating seconds. The doctor said the thing to hope for would be results that come back clear. However, clear results only come back in 10% of cases that have the kind of protein levels my Dad had already tested for.

But the amazing thing is...the tests came back clear! My Dad does not have cancer. He has a fairly rare blood disorder acronymed MGUS. It is a blood disorder that is benign and not life threatening. Patients with MGUS do not suffer side effects and have a normal life expectancy. Instead of chemo or radiation my Dad now only has to have his blood tested every 3-6 months to make sure the MGUS does not morph into myeloma which is extremely unlikely.

I believe in prayer. Hundreds were praying for my Dad's tests to come back clear. And that's what happened. The odds that the tests would be clear were very small. But odds don't mean a thing in Heaven. God doesn't always answer our prayers the way we might prefer. But in this instance...I believe God has things for my Dad to do at Dallas Central Church of the Nazarene. It was a real heartwarming experience to hear the congregation applaud the news this past Sunday.

Miracles are those events which bring us closer to God...a supernatural phenomenon in its own right. So yes, I would qualify this as a miracle. Glory to God.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Don't Fence Me In!

My students and I were studying China and the Mongols this week. We learned about how the Chinese over the centuries built the greatest, most fortified wall the world has ever seen. We learned that it was a dismal failure in keeping the northern nomads out of China. In fact, in the 13th Century the Mongols would storm over the wall, rip away the Mandate of Heaven from the Song dynasty and create the Yuan dynasty with Khubilai Khan as supreme leader over the Han Chinese.

And this got me thinking. If the longest, widest, strongest, most fortified wall in human history could not keep out immigrants...what makes Dubya think that a 7,000 mile wall made of corrugated aluminum will keep Mexicans from crossing the Rio Grande?

The most fortified and guarded segment of our border is south of San Diego and yet that is exactly where more border crossing take place than anywhere else...according to the U.S. Border Patrol Agency. If you build a twenty-foot wall...I would advise buying stock in twenty-one foot tall ladders because that will be a hot seller in Mexico once this wall is built.

The whole thing is an election year scam. The bill passed by the Republicans and signed by Bush appropriates no money for this wall. What? Another unfunded mandate from the Bush Administration? There has not even been a financial feasibility study done on this wall. No government cost estimates. The only funds authorized call for a one BILLION dollar downpayment for the project. And that's just the downpayment!

We are going to spend billions for a wall that will not work. This is simply a way to strengthen the election chances for Republicans running next week. "Vote for me...I'll keep those Mexicans out of our country!"

Illegal immigration is a real problem that needs to be addressed seriously. Building a wall is a short-sighted and lazy way to deal with this problem. Real solutions that take actual thought and dialogue need to be discussed in a serious bi-partisan manner by our government. Both parties need to do the hard intellectual labor of coming up with long term solutions. Let's help Mexico strengthen their economy so people won't want to leave for America. Most of these immigrants don't want to make the dangerous and difficult journey north. They feel no other option exists to keep their families alive.

Let's come up with better ways to enforce the laws on the books. Let's come up with compassionate measures to help our neighbors to the south. Let's use our brains. Instead of empty and expensive measures...let's do some real thinking. Unfortunately that takes real leadership...something not seen in the White House or Congress in a very long time.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Happy Birthday iPod

Today is the fifth birthday of Apple's iPod. When the iPod was introduced Steve Jobs said it would revolutionize the way we listen to music. Most at the time thought he was indulging in the usual Apple hyperbole. But he was right. And boy, do I wish I had bought stock in Apple. A week before the iPod was introduced Apple stock was selling for $5 a share. Today Apple sells for $79 a share.

As much as I am intrigued by new technology I usually wait for the hype to settle down and for the newer improved models tp come to replace the initial 'shock and awe' prototypes. I am pretty hesitant to jump into a new format change. I waited a couple of years before buying a CD player in 1989. I didn't wait quite as long to go DVD. But I was incredulous to join in the iPod craze. I own nearly 300 CD's and was not happy that a new format looked to replace them. Plus the idea of downloading all those discs onto my computer didn't appeal to me.

But then I saw my first iPod one Christmas when my Uncle Phil and my cousin's Jeff and Greg brought their new iPod's to Grandma's house. I was entranced and about a year later I finally jumped the divide and bought the one I currently use almost two years ago. I use the CD's in the car and as a hardcopy. The iPod allows me to take all 290 CD's anywhere I want. I never have to worry about picking and choosing music for trips. I can easily create playlists and download new tracks from the internet. And the sound quality is pristine. Can't say enough.

So happy birthday iPod.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Me and Hugo

I was in Venezuela when Hugo Chavez attempted his military coup in 1993 which ultimately failed. Chavez was quickly arrested and there were some Venezuelans who were embarassed that their country couldn't even get a coup right. The coup was pretty much a non-event for me and the SNU Brass Choir I was traveling with. Our only direct contact with the attempted overthrow came when our bus (pictured left) was boarded by a helmeted, M-16 wielding soldier. He demanded to see our passports. When he saw that all our documentation was in order he waved us on without incident. It was the closest I had come to an M-16 machine gun. We also noticed similarily armed soldiers at many of the traffic intersections our dilapidated third world bus passed through. We weren't even sure whose side they were on in the coup. The coup became merely another crayon with which to color our experience in South America. I had an amazing time in Venezuela.

Well as the story goes, Chavez served his time, got out and took power the democratic way...he got himself elected president. He has since re-written the constitution and stacked the legislature with his lackeys. Although he has not committed genocide (yet) he has successfully followed the Hilterian path to power. He has positioned himself as a Castro who needs no sugar daddy due to his ace in the hole...oil. We have helped positioned him in a position of power due to our addiction to oil. I am pained by the thought of all those Venezuelan Nazarenes who I met and fellowshipped with having to endure this autocratic demigogue. Venezuela is a beautiful and wondrous country. A nation with some of the most beautiful scenery and friendly people in the world. Venezuelans deserve better.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau

I just finished re-reading Civil Disobedience and Other Essays by Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862). Much of Thoreau's insights ring true over 140 years later. Some good quotes I read along the way...

"I ask for, not at once no government, but at once a better government."

"I think that we should be men first, and subjects afterward."

"Those who, while they disapprove of the character and measures of a government, yield to it their allegiance and support, are undoubtedly its most conscientious supporters, and so frequently the most serious obstacles to reform."

"Why does it (the government) not encourage its citizens to be on the alert to point out its faults, and do better than it would have them?"

"Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison."

"A minority is powerless while it conforms to the majority; it is not even a minority then; but it is irresistible when it clogs by its whole weight."

"But the rich man--not to make any invidious comparison--is always sold to the institution which makes him rich."

"There will never be a really free and enlightened State, until the State comes to recognize the individual as a higher and independent power, from which all its own power and authority are derived, and treats him accordingly."

"Genius is a light which makes the darkness visible."

Monday, October 09, 2006

The Kung Fu Mentality

Channel 68 here in Dallas has begun showing reruns of the old David Carradine show, Kung Fu. David Carradine plays a half-American half-Chinese Shaolin monk who after avenging the murder of his teacher flees to the United States in the 1800's. Chased by bounty hunters while searching for his American family, Caine helps people in trouble dispensing Daoist advice while he has frequent flashbacks of his master teaching universal truths back in China. The show ran for four seasons on ABC from 1972-1975.

What I like about Caine is that he never loses his temper, raises his voice or even seems in a hurry. Even when he moves fast or engages in martial arts combat he doesn't seem to exert much effort. Most of his strength comes from mind over matter. He only fights in defense and always speaks in a peaceful tone. He never judges and always helps people in need.

I wish I could always keep such calm in hectic situations. I always strive to be that calm eye in the hurricane of life. Caine also lived a life of elegant simplicity. Never carrying anything more than a bed roll and a few essentials. All the garbage we accumlate in life can really weigh us down. It's refreshing to see an alternative. Of course Caine, even in the 1800's, always stood out from society because of this simplicity and peacefulness. He took a lot of grief for being a man of peace and simplicity. I think the same would be true for such a character in the 2000's.

Great t.v. show.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Fembot Katie

So I uh, actually watched Katie Couric's first two news broadcasts on CBS. And I've caught her in bits in pieces in the weeks since. And yeah, I'm sticking with Charlie Gibson and ABC as the network anchor and news of choice. Katie has always been described as perky and engaging. But in her new gig she's a lifeless fembot. Plus, they try to cram so many speciality fluff pieces that hard news is often ignored or glosssed over. I hadn't watched the CBS evening news in years and was quickly reminded how they are definately the most unabashedly biased broadcast out there. White House correspondent Jim Axelrod, with his smirking wise-a#@ attitude makes me want to punch the side of my television. All broadcasts are biased to some degree. But at least there is an attempt on ABC for the appearance of objectivity. And Brian Williams makes me twitch if I listen to him long enought. I dig Anderson Cooper (despite his pretensioness) and Soledad O'Brian. But Katie...go back to the morning shows.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Movies seen so far in 2006

I remember the old college days when I would go to at least a movie a week. It was common to see two or three movies in a week. I'm not including the movie rentals that also supplemented our movie viewing during the week. It's amazing any school work got done with so many movies that had to be seen. Those were the days.

The last several years we've been averaging a movie a month. Kimberly and I alternate movie picks...both at the multiplex and the video store. We don't rent many movies nowadays...but when we do we usually get for me and one for her. But our movie viewing has slowed to a halt due to our schedules jumping into baby prepartion overdrive. Below are the movies I've seen this year on the big screen. July was the last time we made the trip to the theater.

My ranking system is based on the following criteria...

* One Star - Horrible. Total waste of time. I am dumber for seeing this movie.
** Two Stars - Not great, wouldn't personally recommend it. But I can see some production value and maybe other might get something out of it.
*** Three Stars - Decent. Maybe I even enjoyed it. Wouldn't see it again necessarily. But didn't feel I wasted my time.
**** Four Stars - Good movie. Probably would be willing to buy it for my DVD collection. Includes guilty pleasures. Good stuff.
***** Five Stars - Absolute classic. Rises above the standard fare. One for the ages. Not too many of these in the pantheon.

The Family Stone - *
Tristan + Isolde - ***
Failure to Launch - ***
Mission Impossible III - ****
The Breakup - **
The Lost City - **
The Lakehouse - **
Nacho Libre - ****
The Devil Wears Prada - ***
Pirates of the Caribbean 2 - *** (three stars is a major disappointment for this movie)

So yes, so far I'm sad to say that the two movies I've enjoyed the most at the multiplex were MI:III and Nacho Libre.

We'll be lucky to hit our magic number of twelve movies this year. I am greatly anticipating the the Bond flick, Casino Royale. The trailers look great. We'll see if Daniel Craig can pull of the legendary tuxedo. I also want to see Jet Li's last kung fu movie coming out this month.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Texas Renegade Radio

A few years ago I discovered a fantastic radio station in Dallas on the dial at 89.3 fm. It's a community station run on pledges and it plays every type of music available. They have shows dedicated to Texas Blues, rockabilly, jazz, reggae, hip-hop, country, rock, surf music, latin, gospel and more. They have speciality shows on each of those genres. For example, they have a show comprised entirely of Grateful Dead concerts. They also have talk shows such as Empowerment Radio for the working class. In the evenings they focus on blues and rockabilly.

I love eclecticism. And I love how this station represents the vast mosaic of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. You can listen live at If they are playing something you don't like...just wait around or check their schedule...and they'll play the stuff you love but the mega-monopolized clear channel radio stations of America won't.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

How Cool is That?

Saw an interesting item on the ten year anniversary of the release of Weezer's sophomore album Pinkerton. I've dug Pinkerton from the first. It was released the day after I landed in Spain for my yearlong sojourn on the Iberian peninsula. I heard the first single (El Scorcho) on Barcelona radio and bought the CD at Virgin Records on the Passeig de Gracia. The album was considered a failure by the music industry. It only went gold and caused lead singer/writer Rivers Cuomo to spiral into a depression culminating with him living in an apartment with the walls all painted black for a year. The guitars were harder edged, the lyrics overtly emotional and the chords a bit all over the place for standard radio fare. I thought it was awesome.

A strange thing soon happened. Other gen-x'ers, fed up with Nirvana clones, began picking up the album and digging it. Soon it became a cult classic. It is often considered the album that kicked off the emo movement...or at least one of the pillars of that style of alternative music. Several years later Rolling Stone changed its review from worst allum of 1996 to one of rock's classics. It has since gone platinum and is considered one of Weezer's best albums and one of the best albums of the 1990's.

The article I was reading compared it to The Empire Strikes Back, saying that Empire was darker and harder edged than Star Wars: A New Hope. Many people didn't get it at the time and only appreciated it later as the best of the trilogy (Don't even mention the other crappy films in the series!). Sometimes it takes time to recognize genius. I like all the songs on Pinkerton (named after the opera Madame Butterfly), but my favorites are The Good Life, Why Bother, and Across the Sea. Ten years. Man I'm getting old.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Travel by Numbers

Just read an interesting blog by a traveler who touched on some ideas I have thought about quite a bit myself and agree with wholeheartedly. Most Americans travel the world as if they're on the Amazing Race (a show I love to watch but not to adhere to as a travel philosophy.) checking off things on a to-do or to-see list. Most modern travelers don't spend anytime soaking up the ambiance or the culture of the place. They're too busy running around like madmen from tourist trap to tourist trap taking pictures to document that they've seen something interesting. They also forget that the journey is a huge part of the experience.

What's worse are the inane travel stories that issue forth upon their return. Most of the stories are mere descriptions of sights we already know are cool and awesome. We don't need the same old description of the Eiffel Tower or the Taj Mahal. Tell us something we don't know or at least bring us a new slant.

This blogger said travel stories should fit into seven categories...

1.) Bus Stories
2.) Bathroom Stories
3.) Airplane Stories
4.) Animal Stories
5.) Hotel Stories
6.) Food Stories
7.) Guide Stories

Tell what happened to you at the famous sight...or what happened to you on your way to and from the sight. We can all see the Parthenon in a picture. We can read about the Pyramids in a textbook. Tell us about the experience. And when you focus on the makes traveling more than checking off things on a becomes a metaphysical journey connecting us with the human experience.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

What's on the television tonight?

Now that the fall television schedule is in full swing my television schedule has cemented as well. My shows for this season include...

The Amazing Race on CBS
House, M.D. on FOX
The Office on NBC
Globetrekker on PBS
Lost on ABC

And once a month, Frontline:World on PBS.

That's it. I kicked Smallville off two seasons ago. Alias and Everwood are gone. And Survivor has become boring and predictable. So about five hours a week with the occassional sporting event on television thrown in for good measure. Probably don't have time for much more.

Friday, September 29, 2006


I haven't been able to post on my blog as frequently recently. I've been busy building shelves, cribs, trundle beds, desks, hanging blinds, etc... I can't blog at school because our district now employs a filtering system so airtight even wikipedia is off limits for reasons only a fascist would understand.

One of the great benefits of being a teacher are the many opportunities that abound for fresh starts and new beginnings. Each new six week term, semester, and especially each new school year allows for catching up, introspection, and new resolutions.

One of my goals this six weeks is to simplify. My life is about to kick into a new level of complexity with the anticipated arrival of our son in December. There will be many things in my life I will not be able to control. So I would like to reduce, coelesce, and eliminate much of the clutter in my life that makes control difficult. Yes, I know you cannot control everything...but it would be nice to control what you can control, if that makes sense. For me...I experience paralysis when things become too cluttered or convoluted with unnecessary complexity. So that's my new goal...Simplify.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Weird things on the Road

As we were flying through Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois and finally Indiana and then back...we saw some interesting sights on the road. As we walked into the IHOP in Bryant, Arkansas I saw Billy Bob Thorton...or a guy who was the spitting image of Angelina Jolie's ex-husband. As soon as we walked in I turned to my brother-in-law Sam and said, "there's Billy Bob Thornton!" I went back to the truck to get my camera for proof. But as I was walking back in he was walking out with his group. I quickly made my way to the table and had my sister-in-law pull up the window blind so I could snap some shots surreptiousesly. Fortunately Billy Bob stopped in the parking lot and I got some good shots. Judge for yourself. Billy Bob or an imposter? Billy Bob is from Arkansas I do believe. Someone asked why I didn't say "Billy Bob" really loud in the IHOP to see if it was him. I responded that if I said that if I had said "Billy Bob" half the resturaunt would have answered being that we were in Arkansas.

We also saw the usual low flying crop dusters that you always see between Blytheville and New Madrid. Here are some shots of them coming close to hitting us on the highway..We also the Sanyo blimp heading south along I-57 near Boomland, Missouri. Weird stuff on I-30, I-40, I-55, I-57, and I-64.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

A Singular Man

Last Friday saw the passing of a great man to his new life in Heaven. Kimberly's paternal grandfather's, Elmer (Papaw) Lagenour, physical body finally succumbed to a long heroic battle with cancer. Ten years ago, Papaw was given only a few months to live. He outlived that diagnosis by ten years. Kimberly and I have been blessed to have had all eight grandparents in our lives until Papaw's passing last week.

Papaw was a singular man...a true renaissance man. He was a beloved father, husband, and grandfather. He was also an expert carpenter, musician...especially on his Gibson Les Paul, engineer, mechanic, farmer, rancher, hunter, fisherman, entreprenuer, pastor, theologian and much much more.He built and operated his own saw mill. He cut down his own trees and used the mill to construct his own house. He knew how to tap trees for syrup, cultivate an orchard, hunt for mushrooms, and lead a musical enesemble. He even ran a roller skating rink. His talents were wide and varied.

When he "retired" from Crane munitions he entered the ministry and pastored several churches. Hundreds came to his viewing and the funeral service. He had obviously touched the lives of many. He gave me a great appreciation for things I had never really considered such as the beauty of American roots music, gardening, nature and many other things. He presided over my wedding to his granddaughter. He showed confidence in me by inviting me to speak at his last pastorate...Doolittle Mills, Indiana. He was a true role model.He will be greatly missed and I hope that I can in some small way continue his legacy by reflecting his gentle Christianity and interest in the many aspects of this gift of life that God has given us.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


"I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion."

"We all realized we were leaving confusion and nonsense behind and performing our one and noble function of the time, move."

- Jack Kerouac, On The Road

Thursday, September 07, 2006

The Artistry of Man

My new goal is to try to express myself artistically at least once a day. Such expressions can be expressed in a multitude of ways. Writing (including journaling), musically (for me that means trumpet or guitar), sketching, drawing, painting, poetry, photography or whatever.

Our days can quickly be filled with mundane chores and projects. Granted, these chores and to-do lists may improve the quality and enjoyment of our lives. But we must not allow ourselves to become automons checking off our procedure charts.

We must fight for our humanity. We must tap into our God given creativity. The well of imagination is in danger of drying up if we do not continously make use of it.

We need not be a Rembrandt, Picasso, Hemingway, Yo Yo Ma, or Ansel Adams to artistically represent ourselves. We simply need to be human. The Neolithic cave paitings of France are simple...yet beautiful. The drawings of a child on a fridge are majestic. The whistling of a worker drone is melodious.

Let's not do art for art's sake. Let's do art for our own humanity's sake.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Christian Humanism - Living Life to the Fullest

Life is a gift. Sounds fairly obvious. But for the vast majority of Christian history the idea that life was something to be endured not enjoyed reigned supreme. During the Medieval Era life was a miserable drudgery for the vast majority of Christian believers. Life was hard for the peasants and they were taught to handle their station in life by focusing their eyes on heaven and not on earth.

But life is a gift given to us from God. We are meant to enjoy this gift. Life is an essential part of our spiritual journey. We should embrace this gift. However, we should always keep our minds focused on the true goal and not become so in love with life that we become obsessed with the things of this world.

But we should live life to the fullest and use all the gifts God has bestowed upon us to the greater glory of His Kingdom. Every day is an opportunity to witness for his Kingdom. Every day is an opportunity to enjoy God's creation. Also, living life to the fullest helps us help people around us rather than ignore their plight. God does not want us to live in misery. He has given us hope eternal. We should reflect that hope in our daily lives.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Original Weezer Fans

I have convinced my students that I was one of the original fans of Weezer. There is some truth to that...I did buy their first album back in 1994 on the recommendation of my friend Michael Jordan (the trombonist from Alva, Oklahoma...not the Chicago Bull) three months before their first single (The Sweater Song) became a big hit. By the way, my wife still isn't taking my suggestion to name our baby boy Rivers after Weezer's lead singer Rivers Cuomo.

Anyway, in the liner notes on a couple of their albums they thank someone named David White. In fact, in the liner notes for the Green Album they thank both a Kimberly White and a David White. I don't think they're talking about me otherwise I would have scored better tickets than what I ended up with last October at their concert in Dallas.

So here is a picture of the liner notes thanking me and Kimberly. Hmmm...maybe they are thanking us after all. I mean, c' many David Whites are there in the world? That's not that common of a name. Rivers that would be a cool name...even my Mother-in-law thinks so. Rivers Cuomo just graduated from Harvard. How cool would it be to named after a leader singer from a rockin' band who's also a Harvard grad!

Thursday, August 31, 2006

The Institutions of Man

In the last two months I have learned once again the danger of placing your faith in organizations created and operated by human beings. I have never been involved with an organization ran by dolphins or pandas...but I can tell you that you should be wary of investing too much of your emotions into the institutions of man.

The desire to belong to something bigger than yourself is natural. Unfortunately power, self-preservation, and the search for prestige are easy temptations for those who wield authority in organizational structures. Unless one's life is completely dedicated to Christ they are motivated in sometimes subtle ways by their baser natures.

It is essential to always keep your faith wholly in Christ and not in the machinery of men. Even institutions meant for noble purposes often fall prey to the sinfulness of man. It is difficult not to be swept away by group-think. It is important always to keep your mind well exercised and sharp. When serving in any organization whether a church board, school district, corporation, political party, NGO, or little league baseball team it is essential to keep focused on the humility of our Lord and Savior. Love everyone as Christ loved us. Don't let even the smallest amount of authority consume you.

As Jesus said; be as meek as lambs and shrewd as wolves. Keep your heart pure and stay above the fray. The New Testament book of Jude recounts the story of archangel Michael's dispute with Satan. Michael stayed true to his principles yet reserved Satan's judgement for God alone.

Think for yourself. You are too unique to subjugate yourself to the tyranny of the mob. Work the community of believers. Love the community of believers. But place your faith only in God. Because the institutions of man will always fail you in the end.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Christian Humanism - Man Has Dignity

In the 1980's Christian ayatollahs such as Jerry Falwell and John Hagee began alarming the world about the insidious threat posed by secular humanism. In their slash and burn strategy even the word humanism sans secular became a word despised by the right wing religionists of the day.

These ignorant hayseeds ignored the fact that it is possible to be a Christian and a Humanist at the same time...ever heard of Michaelangelo or Erasmus? They ignored the fact that Christian Humanism helped liberate the masses from the theological tyranny of the Medieval Roman Catholic Church. They ignored the fact that Christian Humanism laid the foundations for the liberal arts education seen in America's high schools and most universities.

To them, anything with the word humanist associated with it needed to be tried by the Calvinist inquisition and burned at the stake.

But I'm with the Christian Humanists. There are four major pillars to their philosophy. I will deal with each in an individual post...

1.) Man has dignity.
2.) Life should be lived to the fullest.
3.) Traditions should be challenged.
4.) Man should be well rounded.


1.) Man has dignity. Since man is a creation of the most high and holy God and that His son Jesus Christ gave His life on the cross so we could receive forgiveness and become His adopted children...that gives us dignity. Michaelangelo demonstrates this beautifully in one section of his Sistine Chapel Masterpiece. Here is God reaching out to man to impart wisdom to his creation. God is stretching is reclining and seeming a bit blase about the whole matter. Man is naked because that is the way God created him and should not be embarassed about God's craftsmanship. (Tragically ironic how today's presentation of nudity tears down and humiliates human beings as mere objects while the Christian Humanist's nudity builds up and dignifies human beings as God's handiwork.)

The angels are smaller beings than man and seem inferior to humankind. This refuted the old medieval presentation of angels as majestic creatures higher than humanity on the spiritual food chain. Michaelangelo was being true to the scriptures which expressed that man was a far higher being than the angels because of mankind's free will.

The shape behind God and the angels resembles the shape of a giant brain. God is imparting wisdom to man. What a special gift! Yes, man is sinful by nature...but God still loved him enough to send his only son. When we receive his salvation...we become an adopted child of God. What position in the universe is more dignified than that?

Falwell and his ilk turn man into a monster doomed to hell unless he repents. The humanists focus on the potential that lies in man if only he chooses to accept God's salvation. Certainly Hell is the consequence to rejecting God. But we should focus on God's wondrous blessing. If we focus on God and Heaven then the path toward Hell will never seem so attractive again.

Always remember that God first reached out to us...not the other way around. Now it's our turn.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Friday, August 25, 2006

The Mad Ones

"The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn burn burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes 'awww!'"

- Jack Kerouac, On The Road

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Stray from the herd

There is a mystical world out there...right at the edge of your fingertips.

The danger arises when as your floating over our earthly drama you get sucked into the ruts of monotony that crease the surface of our existence like Simba's claw marks on our living room coffee table. Once sucked into the vortex of these ruts it becomes very difficult to maintain your perception of the mystical and ethereal nature of life. The longer you dwell in Rutland the more blind and ant-like you become.

The only way out is to detonate an explosion of creative unorthodoxy. You must actively seek the absurd. You must doggedly pursue the metaphysical. You must chase down the glorious drama of human existence. You must be proactive.

Routine is the enemy of imagination. Embrace the chaos and randomness of life. Boredom is the great and terrible symptom of routine. Break down the walls of convention. Look for beauty everywhere. Stray from the herd. Be more than an ant. BE HUMAN!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Burning Flag Man

It was reported yesterday that a 7th grade teacher in Kentucky was reassigned to a non-instructional position in his school district for setting fire to two American flags and then having his class write essays either supporting his right to do so or condemning his action. This teacher is not new to the profession. He has been teaching since 1979.

Although I believe setting fire to the flags in front of his class may have been unwise in regards to maintaining his employment status, I believe there is philosophically nothing wrong in his actions. It is becoming more and more difficult to inspire students to express their opinions in writing. There was nothing obscene about his actions. There was nothing racially, religiously, or ethically inappropriate in his attempt to stir his students to think and write critically. Shocking students can go too far...but this is not one of those instances.

Perhaps he should have shown a videotape of a flag being burned or something of that nature. Although the shock factor would not be nearly as effective with a videotape. Perhaps he should have gained prior approval from his principal. I don't know.

Regardless; as a Christian I believe this whole worship of our flag and our nation has gone too far. I appreciate the United States of America. I appreciate the sacrifice of our veterans. But they were not fighting for a piece of fabric or even an idea. No one in their right mind fights for an idea no matter how poetic that sounds. When the bullets are flying and the bombs are exploding...people fight for things more tangible.

Tom Brokaw's "greatest generation" was fighting for their families and their friends and, according to many interviews with veterans, most of all for their buddies in the trenches with them. I appreciate their drive to protect with their lives that which was most important to them. I don't agree, however, that by refusing to "love" America without question and at any cost that I am treading disrespectfully on their legacy.

I pledge alligiance to Christ. Period. Patriotism often morphs into Nationalism which then evolves into racist xenophobia. Our eyes should be on Heaven. Period. Jesus Christ comes first and foremost. I can respect and have strong feelings for my nation...but if I "love" America then I risk placing that love above my fellow believers simply because they live in another nation.

I do not judge those who have decided otherwise. But I will judge them when they force me to follow their ideologies against my better judgement.

Again I say, never in the New Testament do you see the followers of Christ defending their rights or their nation. Actually, the early Jewish followers of Christ went against the will of their nation by disobeying the commands of the Sanhedrin. And you definately do not find the early Christians pledging alligiance to Rome but to Christ alone.

Now don't misunderstand me...I love the freedoms America gives me...maybe too much. Sometimes I think the materialistic luxuries America provides serve as a stumbling block in my path toward Christ. But I am not going to fall in love with an abstraction. I will love my wife, my son, my family, my friends and most of all my God.

And I will love those who see things differently. And I will not judge someone who burns a piece of fabric in order to help young America begin to think critically and not simply join the brainwashed masses of the mob.

Christ is the savior of all the world...not just America.

Monday, August 21, 2006

It's a Boy!

Well, about four hours ago we went to the hospital to take a sonogram. We went back to the dark room and boom!...there was our baby. The technician took her photos for the doctor and then froze a shot and asked us what we thought the gender was. It was pretty obvious for everyone to see...a healthy little baby boy.

A very active little baby boy. The tech didn't even have to move her wand half the time. He jumped and saumersalted and waved and kicked like crazy. He even opened and closed his eyes and mouth. The tech said he's an active one. His heart rate was great...125 bpm. His spine was clear. He put on quite a show. We taped it so we have nine minutes of the little White show anytime you're in town.

The videotape is much clearer than the still photos...but here's one where he's facing the camera. He has left arm raised with his thumb next to his temple. He could be getting ready to do a K.C. Chief tomahawk chop. So yeah, we're pretty excited. His due date was moved back one day to December 30th. So it should be a fun Christmas break.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Christian Marxism - Part Three - Violent Revolution

The third major foundation of Marxism is the idea that only once the proletariat has overthrown the bourgeoisie and gained control of the means of production can true equality exist. Marx believed that this overthrow must be violent in nature. He believed that the revolution must happen quickly and succinctly and therefore must be violent. Only by using violence would the proletariat succeed in gaining control of the means of production.

It is at this point where Christianity and Marxism cannot be reconciled. The message of Jesus Christ was a message of peace. There is never a point where I could imagine Christ espousing violence in any matter for any matter. From the Ten Commandment injuction "Thou Shall Not Kill" to Christ's Sermon on the Mount never could violence ever be a part of a Christian's life. I believe this to be true whether your attempting revolution or defending democracy. Violence is unacceptable according to the teachings of Christ and he lived out his words by being crucified rather than use the powers at his disposal to fight an unjust government.

The early Christians followed Christ's lead. Nowhere in the New Testament do you find Christians using violence to defend themselves. Instead they choose to be martyred. Violence implies that either rage or greed rests in your heart. Many use violence to protect their interests or their rights and Christ preached against being obsessed with both. Christians aim for a peaceful revolution led by love and Spirit-led conduct. I wrote more on this subject in my Christian Manifesto published on this blog some months ago.

So it is at this point where the greatest divergence occurs between Christianity and Marxism. Do I believe someone can be a Christian Marxist? Yes, but only if they denounce violence as the means to justice. As Camus said..."an end that requires unjust means is an unjust end."

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Christian Marxism - Part Two - Private Property

The second and perhaps most important component of Karl Marx's economic theory is that the ideal society can only exist once all private property had been abolished. In fact, Marx himself said that communism could be summed up in one sentence..."the abolition of private property."

Can such a statement be reconciled with Christian philosophy? Absolutely.

The New Testament of Acts describes the early church...perhaps the only true model of a church in Christian sharing everything in common. Here is Acts 2:44-45 (NIV)...

"All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need."

Whether or not the early Christians gave up all their private property will never be known. But the reigning idea is that private property should not be a concern for a Christian. A Christian's eyes should be focused on Heaven and not be obsessed with the temporal.

There is a grain of truth in Buddha's observation that all suffering is caused by desire and to eliminate suffering you must eliminate desire.

How pervasive is the desire for private property...especially in a capitalistic society? Capitalistic society is run on the engine of greed. Success is soley determined by how much profit you can generate. The germ of profit motive easily infects all aspects of our lives. Soon we become obsessed with having more and more. Even if we do not reach the level of obsession all of us still put enormous concern into our private property.

I am as guilty as anyone. I like my "stuff." But sometimes I wonder how much simpler or elegant my life would be without the albatrosses hanging around my neck (Is that a mixed metaphor? Should I have said millstones instead?). How much time do we all put into worrying about our things? How often do our things and our need for things get in the way of our relationship with Christ? How many people have ignored calls to Christian service in order to preserve their status quo?

So yes, I believe it is indeed possible to reconcile Marx's theory of private property with the Biblical standard.

Special thanks to Simba, my cat, who played fetch with me the entire time I wrote this blog.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

House, M.D.

I don't really have time for television. In fact, I will probably have no time for television whatsoever after December 29th. But this summer I unintentionally picked up another show...Fox's House M.D.. The show has a predictable formula...a patient has some bizarro malady that is killing them and Dr. House and his staff have little time to figure out how to save the patients life. However, how the show executes this formula never ceases to surprise. Dr. House expresses the truth in a bluntness that is inappropriate in conventional social settings...something I wish I could do every day in the classroom without fear of a law suit. Each episode continues to show how amazingly intricate the human body actually is. One of House's favorite aphorisms is "everything is connected." Unconventional show in a conventional television universe.