Saturday, September 29, 2007

Will They Dodge the Bullet?

Michigan's legislature is working overtime (without time and a half!!!) to prevent the shutdown. While they are not giving any details and are honoring a news blackout, what little is coming out is sort of hopeful.

However the governor will not accept a plan that does not include new revenues. What they are looking at is taxing non-essential services with a sales tax. Supposedly it will be only things that the affluent and rich use, but who's defining the word affluent?. Somehow tax-the-rich schemes always seem to fall on the working and middle class people.

We really need to look and see where we can cut spending because we are not going to be able to maintain current spending levels. It just can't be done. The state needs to learn to get more bang out of every dollar it collects and stop assuming that there are going to be more dollars to be had. The proverbial goose that laid golden eggs is dead!!! It's time Lansing recognized that.

If the shutdown does happen a Q&A from The Detroit News link gives information on what is and isn't available. It does appear that, at least for now, County and local governments will continue without delay and they handle a lot of things.

I cannot prove but strongly suspect that a lot of our budget problems come because government agencies do not think in terms of efficiency because they have no reason to. They have no competition and always assume that the money will be there. This is has got to stop; they need to learn to think in terms of efficient use of human and financial resources in government agencies.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Gawfer Has A Very Good One.

Back when Walt Disney studios believed in America they produced patriotic things while we faced Hitler.

He has an excellent video that takes look at Reason and Emotion that is well worth the time.

The (CENSORED) is Hitting the Fan

Michigan is hours from a crisis.

A major one.

At midnight Sunday night - Monday morning the state government will be largely shut down.

This has been coming for a long time. You can't strangle the goose that lays the golden eggs and then wish for more golden eggs. Michigan has done that by taxing and punishing successful businesses and driving them into other states and countries. When total business revenues in a state drop so do tax revenues.

How many tax dollars does it take to kill a job?

How many private sector jobs do you have to destroy to create one state job?

These are questions I'd like to see the answer to.

I am not going to analyze the situation or blame this or that politician because as I have said many times: it is a cultural problem in the state and not simply a political one. Instead I want to point out a couple of things.

1. Everyone needs the government now and then but we depend on it for way too much and it is involved in things it doesn't need to be.

I was on unemployment and while I was I was spending 3 to 5 hours a week in a state office getting state help finding a job. In the end I heard a rumor from a friend, followed it and found a job that the state didn't have a clue about. How many tax dollars were wasted on me to no avail and I solved the problem the old-fashioned way? Most of my old co-workers who have found work found it the same way. I have not found one of them yet who got their job through the state agency. It sounds like a good idea, as so many government programs do, but what percentage of people does it really help and what percentage in the end find work elsewhere in other ways? Is it the most effective way for people to find jobs?

We need to depend on the state for less.

2) We need to look at other things too and wonder if the state really needs to be involved and we need to look at user fees and licenses in some areas where the state is involved but only a small number are effected. (User fees being funds paid directly to a state agency by those who use its services.)

I understand the state controlling licenses and regulating the flow of liquor in the state but shouldn't that be paid by a user fee rather than general tax dollars? The same with running the lottery commission.

I just hope we can solve the problem without completely destroying our state economy.

There is no painless answer.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Who'll Win?

There is a lot of hub-bub about the upcoming presidential election and who is a shoe-in, who is unelectable etc. etc.

Now I don't have any idea who will ultimately win but history does provide a small clue.

There is something that I think is every bit as important as the issues, partisan politics etc and that is the "common man" vote.

The candidate who can at least appear to empathize with the common man will almost always win. The candidate who comes across as believing themselves to be better than the ordinary man (or woman) will not win.

I suppose all presidential candidates are snobs at least on some level. (I mean who would try for the presidency without a little bit of an ego?) However the one who can either hide it or in whom it is a secondary character trait has an edge going into the election.

A big part of electability is likability. A person isn't going to vote for someone they dislike or someone they believe considers themselves better than or above the average voter. To win they must either be or know how to act like an ordinary person, the person you would want for a neighbor.

Monday, September 24, 2007

A Little Better

People were laughing and joking a little around me today. I also found out why they weren't on Friday. My employer lives up (down?) to the stereotype of a robber-baron capitalist. (He is also a major fundraiser, sometimes candidate, and current elected-office-holder for the Democratic Party -- so much for that absolute BS canard about the Democrats being the party of the working people.) He trusts no one and even the management jokes about his paranoia (where he can't hear of course.)

Anyway they are always cautious around new people because this guy has had people come in pretending to be new employees just to spy on his people and make sure they're actually working. That's a real upright citizen signing my paycheck. Today there was laughter and joking.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

I've Started

Began the job yesterday.

As far as work goes, it really wasn't bad. The workers said I did a good job and they seemed to like me. The management was pleased with me. Old co-workers who were already there greeted me like a long lost friend. It seems pretty good when I say this.

Yet at intuitive level something is very wrong. I have been puzzling over it since yesterday asking "What is bothering me about this?"

I was just out for a walk and it hit me. There was no joy in the plant. Everyone did there job without talking or laughing. Even in boot camp there was laughter and joking. You don't want a factory to be a playground, yet when no one ever laughs or cracks a joke, something is almost inhuman. Even in the breakroom a lot of the employees just sat and stared at the wall. It is a very depressing place.

That and the surveillance cameras everywhere.

I will work there as long as I have to but I will continue looking.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


Al Gore is raising awareness of global warming and lining his pockets at the same time.

Oh and those ice caps

"It's melting 10 times faster than previously recorded. Experts are now saying that if we don't act with urgency, the entire ice cap could be completely gone in less than 23 years."

Oh dear. I guess he has every right to charge $25,000 dollars to meet him if he has such an important message.

It's not about survival. It's about him and his colleagues controlling other peoples' lives and property. (There is good reason to believe world was warmer when the Vikings sailed to Vinland than it is today.)

Local and National Job Scenes

I consider myself fortunate to have found a new job, but I am still troubled. I will have to work 48 hours a week to make what I used to make in 40. I am adult enough to realize that that is just "how it is." and will not complain too much.

Many have not found work and in the last year one worker out of every sixty has left this state for greener pastures out west and down south. The unions are predictably more interested in preserving benefits and their personal power than they are in preserving jobs. At times it seems that they would rather have a small plant with twenty union jobs than a large non-union plant with a thousand decent paying jobs.

The obvious solution is one that too many people are unwilling to accept. A business needs to know with reasonable certainty that he can make a healthy profit in this state. Some people complain so much about how evil the profit motive is, and while it is not morally terrific, it is dependable and can be counted on. Businessmen are going to go where the profit is (duh!!!) and if we want them to come here we need to stop penalizing success. The state creates neither jobs nor wealth.

It is curious that unemployment is so high in Michigan (Especially south-eastern Michigan) and is moderate to low in most other places. A big chunk of the problem is the State Auto Industry and the UAW are still stuck in the Jurassic Period with their thinking. They will never accept the changes that are needed until they are at the brink of death, and even then it's not a sure thing.

We need a positive business climate in this state. Other states have higher taxes, others have more regulation, and others have harsher labor laws but Michigan has all three of them combining into a deadly combination like no other state. We could get away with one of them if the other two weren't there.

We need to do two of the following three things (and doing all three would help considerably.)

1) Cut business taxes. We are not the highest but it combines with rest to create a toxic brew that kills business opportunities in this state.

2) Ease up a little bit on business regulations. Same as above.

3) Accept lower rates of compensation as I have.

This is not optional. It's do or die.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Just a Stupid Question

This has bugged me for some time.

We all know the stuff that is called by several names including "decorative corn", "colored corn" and its (probably unPC) old name "Indian corn".

My question is has anyone ever eaten this stuff? Does it taste different? It's always dried and inedible in the stores and the local farmers' market but I'm just curious.

I know, I know, dumb question.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Christian Converts in Danger

During my senior year in college my roommate was a Lebanese from a mixed Christian/Islam family. This was not unusual during the middle of the last century. His father was a Muslim and his mother was a Christian. He was allowed to choose and chose Christianity, and his father apparently accepted it (perhaps he was MINO - Muslim In Name Only.) He prayed frequently that his father would see the light and become a Christian, but sadly he died that year.

Islam is growing mostly because of its prolific birth rate. A little known secret is that, outside of Europe, there are far more Muslims converting to Christianity than Christians converting to Islam. (A fact I posted on a long time ago.)

We hear how Islamic converts to Christianity are threatened with death in the middle-east, but it is not a problem just in those barbaric countries. There is a growing fear that these Barbarians will kill "apostates" in Britain. At this point no deaths have happened, but converts to Christianity have been assaulted, threatened, and vandalized. Perhaps it is only a matter of time before there is an honor killing.

Again, this is not some third world hell hole, but Britain.

Employed Again!

If I pass the drug screening, which should not be a problem, I will employed at the beginning of next week.


I wonder if that screening will catch the fact that I am probably embalmed with caffeine?

Thanks for all the prayers.

Update: 9/19 Passed the Drug test. Thanks everyone.

Monday, September 17, 2007

I'm Getting Jealous Again

Ah the green-eyed monster of envy.

Spend three nights at an orbital hotel for a measly four million.

They are aiming for a grand opening sometime in 2012. It's largely the work of Bigelow Aerospace joined by a Spanish investor, along with several smaller ones.

Some say it's a scam and it could well be, but Bigelow is a respected name in space development and that makes it likely to be true.

Now if I could just figure out a way to have a few million by 2012

Call me foolish, call me greedy, call me insane, but I would be very tempted.

I Love This Metaphor

Courtesy of Gagdad Bob

I don't know if it's original with him or if he got it from somewhere else but I love it.

"Petey? What do you think?" Okay. How about the sunlight of truth, the water of grace, the fertilizer of ritual, and the loving assistance of an expert gardener -- who certainly need not be technically "living" in the biological sense of the term, so long as he or she be alive.

Sounds like the way to Spiritual (or Vertical in his terms) growth to me.

Thanks Bob

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Been Busy - - - - Pointless Post :-D Emoticons

We are familiar with so many of them
;-) :-) :-( :-D :-O

However while going through some old documents I found a 35 page listing of them.

Some of them are cool but pointless.

[:-|) ( Frankenstein's Monster)

0:-) ( Angel or Saint)

/\o/\ (Spider)

:(=) (Jimmy Carter)

(O)| (Deep sea diver)

Some are elaborate and fancy

@}--)----)---- (Rose)

:----} (Liar like Pinocchio)

__m_oo_?__ (Captain Hook spying at the wall)

...---... (SOS)

[I==I) (On four wheels)

or perhaps humorous:

.-( (Should have worn safety glasses )

{:-} 8 X (Female wearing chastity belt)

My personal favorite
------w--OuO--w------- (Kilroy spying at the wall)

Of course some were obscene or inexplicable. But it was an interesting document. (It was E-mailed to me years ago.)

Friday, September 14, 2007

He Has the Right Idea

I have never heard of the TV Evangelist who is doing this as I generally don't pay a lot of attention to televangelists. (I have serious doubts about the effectiveness of it and the celebrity that comes with it has corrupted a lot of very good people.) However sometimes their flair causes them to do things that should have been done long ago and they come up with some pretty good ideas.

Televangelist Bill Keller has sent a video-message to both Osama bin Laden and Adam Gadahn telling them that they will soon join Mohammad and Satan in Hell if they don't repent and become Christians and he invites them to do so. He told him the truth about Mohammad, that he was a liar, a false prophet, a pedophile and a bandit.

I have to agree with this message and it is probably futile but it needs to be done. Osama badly needs to hear this message. Will he believe and repent? Probably not but when a soul is on the line it is worth the effort.

I especially appreciate the message sent to Mr. Gadahn:

Your hero Osama was born into this lie of Islam, you were born here in the United States, exposed to the Truth of God's Word, yet you rejected that Truth and embraced the lie of Islam? You listened to too much heavy metal music dude! It rotted your brain. Look at you. You are now living like a hunted dog in the middle of hell on earth. You are using your life to further the hatred and murder and evil of this street gang you have joined. Haven't you figured out their only goal is death and destruction?

It brings to mind this passage:
For my people have committed two evils:
They have forsaken Me
The fountain of Living Waters
to hew for themselves cisterns
broken cisterns
That can hold no water
(Jeremiah 2:13)

A few verses later God says that they will drink instead the waters of the Euphrates knowing and seeing that it is evil and bitter. (bitter meaning that it is polluted or poisoned) (vs 18 & 19).

Those who reject the life giving waters of the Gospel may well be forced to drink (at swordpoint) from the bitter, life-stealing waters of Islam. Europe has turned its back on its Christian heritage and Islam is filling the void. The nations of Europe who have rejected the Water of Life given by the Son of God will instead drink the poisoned water that flows from Mecca.

A video of Mr. Keller's message may be seen here.

H/T World Net Daily

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Memories - Prime Time Cartoons

Today prime time cartoons have come into their own and between The Simpsons and King of the Hill, and a few others, not to mention cable channels dedicated to animated series, they seem to be here to stay. It's almost difficult for some to realize that there was a time when cartoons were strictly Saturday and Sunday morning and just after-school fare. But there were several efforts to introduce animation into prime time and they largely failed.

I was very young, possibly fresh out of diapers, but vaguely remember that I used to watch Alvin and Chipmunks just before I went to bed but I really couldn't tell you if that was for the night or for a nap.

Also when I was around kindergarten age The Flintstones were a Prime Time show. (I also remember Mom reading the newspapers wondering if Fred & Wilma were going to have their baby -- Pebbles -- in the upcoming episode; that seemed to be a point of interest to a lot of people in that time.)

These two shows are a permanent part of our culture and are known all over the world. There was an attempt to bring animation into prime time around 1970 and it apparently failed.

First off there was Wait Till Your Father Gets Home which I remember quite well and used to watch pretty much every week and can still remember the plot of a few episodes. The cartoons theme seemed to be to avoid political extremism on both the left and the right (though today the position of the show would be considered extreme right). Dad was caught between his liberal kids and their foolish and misguided liberalism and his right-wing vigilante neighbor Ralph (and his sidekick- - an old lady named Sargent Whitaker). The theme of the show appeared to be "Moderation is best" but moderate circa 1970 is far different from moderate today.

Two episodes stand out. 1) Dad was going to get an award and his family was going to a special dinner where he would receive it, but his teen-aged daughter decided she would wear a see-through blouse to the dinner- - Dad couldn't talk her out of it until he embarrassed her by announcing he was going to wear only his underwear to receive the award using her arguments to bolster his case and she quickly relented. 2) They rented an expensive beach house for a vacation and then the youngest son was not allowed on the beach because the neighbors insisted on nude sunbathing until the youngest son guilt-tripped them with a speech on how their selfish demand for the right to be naked meant he couldn't enjoy the beach. No they weren't all about inappropriate clothing but those are the two that stand out in my mind.

Another Prime Time Cartoon from around the same period, but only made 10 episodes was Where's Huddles which was a cartoon about a professional football quarterback and his neighbor (the team Center) and their families. They were an inept pair, but along with the team running back "Freight Train" managed to win most of their games and still handle the crisis of the week. In spite of the shows failure to survive it is historically significant because it was the first animated series to include a black character as a regular character who was considered an equal by the other characters. The show was canceled to open slot for All In the Family which was understandable.

A few years earlier there was one other Prime Time cartoon that my mother preferred that I not watch as it planted nightmares in my 6 year old mind and that was Johnny Quest. I saw reruns of it several years later and didn't understand why it gave me nightmares as a child, but it did. Actually the stories weren't half bad but none really stand out.

These cartoons are largely forgotten and prime time went many years without an animated series as it was believed to be undo able until Homer, Marge and Bart proved them wrong almost 20 years later.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

They're Awful . . . But Don't Kill Them

As entertainers I have no great love for either Britney Spears or Madonna and if they never produced another song or video in their lives my world would be no emptier.

As human beings with immortal souls however, I have a very real agape (spiritual love) for them and would do anything to see them saved. They are to be pitied, not hated.

Ah . . . but Islam

"If these two prostitutes [Madonna and Spears] keep doing what they are doing, we of course will punish them. First we will call them to join Islam. But if they keep what they are doing ... we can stone them or even we can kill them if they keep ... tempting men in order to put them far from Islam. ... A prostitute woman must be stoned or must be eighty times hit with a belt."

They are poor examples of human beings and not that great of singers (Madonna could be if she would practice a little bit more discipline - - occasionally you see a flash of the singer she could have been) but they certainly don't deserve to die.

"The thief comes only to kill and destroy, I come to give life abundantly" Issa Bin Allah.

Seek their redemption, not their destruction and if they must be destroyed, God Himself will take care of it.

Hit 80 times with a belt ?!

Update: 9- 13
Off topic yet slightly related. What was this man up to? Hunting squirrels? With an AK-47? In Dearborn?

From My Congressman

My Congressman, Dave Camp, keeps his interested constituents up to date with an electronic newsletter and I just received mine from him. (please note that his links are PDF files).

On Monday, General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker delivered a Congressionally mandated update on the War in Iraq. I urge everyone to read both of their reports and not simply rely on media reports. To read the Petraeus report click here. You should also view General Petraeus' slides that he provided to Members of Congress, some of which I have included below. To read Ambassador Crocker's report click here.

In my view, General Petraeus makes it perfectly clear that after many missteps in Iraq, the U.S. is finally making significant headway in reducing sectarian violence. From that standpoint, the new military strategy is working and has enabled us to begin bringing troops back home.

A sustainable level of security has always been critical to clearing a path for political progress. And, while security advances have come about only recently, it is equally clear that the necessary political progress in Iraq has been far too slow in coming. That point cannot be stressed enough with Iraqi leaders.

Now that General Petraeus has given us a proven path forward on the security front, and at a time when Americans and Iraqis alike needed it most, it would be irresponsible for us to walk away. Simply put, we need to give the General more time.

I urge my Iraqi counterparts to not misinterpret the support I expect General Petraeus to receive. The window for success continues to narrow and will remain open only with real progress. We are winning on the security front, now it is up to Iraq to succeed on the political front. If they fail, the consequences are dire not only for the Iraqis, but for the region and the world.

Please also note that the Iraqi government is being called to step up to bat. If we are to continue to sacrifice lives and resources for their future, then we should expect them to seriously do their part. It would be beyond shameful for the Iraqis if after the brilliant job our armed forces did, that they should lose their hardwon freedom through their own neglect.

I want to thank my Congressman for sharing this information and these charts with his constituents. There is a lot to absorb.

Dave: I am fortunate indeed to call you my Congressman. You're one of the best.


First of all my interview today: The interview itself went very well but I am not very confident I will get the job. The interviewer let me know that he would hire me immediately if he wasn't concerned about the fact that he could not pay me what I was worth and I would take a better offer when one came (and he said "Not that I'd blame you a bit, I'd do the same.) . At least he was honest. He said he still might hire me but he is concerned that I am used to a higher pay scale and I told him that I would work for that amount.

My computer and modem. My IPS has one brand but several models of modems and some of them require specific settings at their terminal. They gave me one style but, due to human error, marked the wrong model on my paperwork, so I was using one modem while their system was trying to lock into a different modem. It's been fixed.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Fixed and a Joke

It wasn't my fault! Yeah!!!!

From my brother Skip

A Japanese doctor says, "Medicine in my country is so advanced that we can take a kidney out of one man, put it in another, and have him out looking for work in six weeks."
A German doctor says, "That is nothing. We can take a lung out of one person, put it in another, and have him out looking for work in four weeks."
A British doctor says, "In my country medicine is so advanced that we can take half a heart out of one person, put it in another, and have both of them out looking for work in two weeks."
The Canadian doctor, not to be outdone, interjected, "You guys are way behind. We took half of a brain out of a woman , sent her to Michigan where she became Governor, and now half the state is out looking for work."

Vigilance Day

Six years ago today I was getting ready to go into the paintbooth and start painting when the radio announced that a plane had just flown into the World Trade Center. I went into the booth envisioning a propeller plane with an inept or suicidal pilot doing something incredibly stupid and was concerned about debris from the Cessna or whatever it was hitting people on the ground below but painted for a couple of hours without any realization of what was happening. About 11:00 AM EST a co-worker came in and told me what was happening, that both towers had been hit and had collapsed, the Pentagon had been attacked, and "planes were falling out of the sky" in Pennsylvania. I stepped into the general work area where my co-workers were mechanically doing their jobs but their hearts were about a thousand miles to the East.

We let our guard down and evil struck. Sept 11th must never be forgotten. Let it be a day that we do two things:

1) Do good to strangers to counter the evil done to us.

2) Renew our vigilance against the enemies that hide amongst us.

A day of Vigilance and Kindness.

Hopefully this will be my last day limited to 1 hr on a Library Computer.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Still Having Problems

My IPS couldn't fix the problem so I have to get yet another modem tomorrow.

Groan. Of course they're still going to bill me for the time I don't have internet access from home.

Good news. Job interview Wednesday.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

The Truth of What Osama Wants

Osama bin Laden has a couple of things he wants America to do to end all terrorist attacks on America and its interests.

The first is obvious; end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The second is much more significant and much more problematic.

It has now become clear to you and the entire world the impotence of the democratic system and how it plays with the interests of the peoples and their blood by sacrificing soldiers and populations to achieve the interests of the major corporations.”

As long as we are a Democracy we are a target and they will try to kill us. Which means he wants us to surrender to the world-wide caliphate and accept Sharia law over our Constitution and then the terrorist attacks will end. This is called Surrender!

One thing to note: meeting the first demand without meeting the second is useless. As long as we reject Islam he considers us to be at war with God Himself. God has demonstrated that He prefers to do the fighting in His own holy wars and doesn't need any help from His children. What we are fighting for is not our religion, but our freedom and way of life. If we win they can remain Muslims without any trouble. They win and we either become Muslims or dhimmis.

I very rarely use this gesture but I would like to honor that Satan worshiper the one-fingered salute. I sincerely hope and believe that the majority of Americans will hear this wicked man's demands and share in that defiance.

H/T Captain's Quarters

Note: Still using a Library Computer.

Update 11:01 This article by Jihad Watch is also worth the read.
One of the world’s most respected Deobandi scholars believes that aggressive military jihad should be waged by Muslims “to establish the supremacy of Islam” worldwide.
Justice Muhammad Taqi Usmani argues that Muslims should live peacefully in countries such as Britain, where they have the freedom to practise Islam, only until they gain enough power to engage in battle.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Library Computer

My modem dove into the Lake of Fire today.

Using a public computer. How embarrassing.

Update Friday

I apologize for not visiting as many blogs as I usually do but Library computers have a timer on them. And there is a waiting list

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Great Sci Fi

Listverse offers a list of what they consider the top 15 sci fi books of all time.

Now the trouble with these lists is that they are informed opinion at best and very seldom will two people completely agree on such a list.

The list as offered

1. H.G. Wells The Time Machine Indeed a well done and well considered work but I prefer his War of the Worlds but then both are great works. I don't know about #1 to but great.

2. Robert Heinlein Stranger in a Strange Land a bizarre and intriguing study of human society. Indeed a major work but with a caveat that it is a mixture of brilliance and nonsense like much of Heinlein's writing. By 1976 I had read every book that was listed as written by him but read him less and less after that. Honestly I prefer Starship Troopers, Have Spacesuit -- Will Travel, and All Methuselah's Children to Stranger in a Strange Land.

3. Doc Smith The Lensmen Series. Embarrassing to admit but I have never read them.

4. Arthur C. Clark 2001 A Space Odyssey a bit esoteric but the book is far superior to the movie and actually I thought the book made more sense than the movie.

5. Ray Bradbury Fahrenheit 451 Actually I preferred his books The Martian Chronicles and Something Wicked This Way Comes. He was actually just a great writer who wrote many brilliant stories. Some of his best stuff is his short stories. Any of these books could be included in this list.

6. Isaac Asimov The Foundation Series I am no fan of Mr. Asimov. Yes he was brilliant but I found his fiction to be uninspiring. Let the death threats and hate mail begin!

7. Kurt Vonnegut When I was 15 I thought Slaughterhouse 5 was wildly entertaining. Today I find it uninteresting.

8. Douglas Adams The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. A cult favorite that I have a love for, except for the last book Mostly Harmless which has considerably less humor and ends in absolute despair which was the logical conclusion of Mr. Adams' beliefs and philosophy. I disagree with Mr. Adams' world view but do enjoy the series.

9. Frank Herbert The Dune Series. The first three books were brilliant and the fourth wasn't bad, but he should have known when to stop. (Chapterhouse Dune and Heretics of Dune were both monstrosities in my opinion; I don't know why I forced myself to read them.)

10. William Gibson Neuromancer. Never heard of this one.

11. Philip K Dick Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? I read this when I was in the Navy but it really didn't make an impression on me.

12. Fredrick Pohl Gateway I never read this one.

13. Orson Scott Card Ender's Game I have never read this one either.

14. George Orwell 1984. A well written and well thought out novel of a terrifying future. Certainly is a classic but I don't know if I consider it Science Fiction.

15. Aldous Huxley Brave New World This is actually one of my favorite books period and one I wish I could get everyone in America to sit down a read and think about. I would rank it in the top 5.

Some that should have at least been considered.

Something by Jules Verne. My favorite was Around the World in 80 Days but I think 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is probably his most popular work.

Larry Niven's Ringworld

Most people don't consider this legitimate Sci-fi novels but the novelization of the original three Star Wars movies are very good and carry a lot of stuff that is missing from the movies.

Actually there is only English language writers listed. And that is a major lacking. I am sure that Russia, Germany and Japan have produced some quality stuff that is worth considering even if I am unfamiliar with it.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Another Soul Killer _ _ Greed

For the love of money is the root of much evil

Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's goods.

One of the most condemned sins in the Bible is greed. It is condemned in everyone, rich and poor, powerful and powerless, male and female, Jew and Goyim, etc.

What is greed? Is it just wanting more? Not really otherwise you would sin every time you asked for a raise or took a better paying job. Now that can be greed, depending on circumstances, but is not necessarily greed.

Is desiring a good paycheck greed? It depends. Did you earn a better paycheck? That is the question. Greed is wanting something that is not yours or something that you do not deserve or wanting more than you really need. That means you have to make an assessment not only of yourself, but of others as well. Demanding a dollar that you haven't earned or isn't yours is a greater sin than asking for a thousand dollars that you have earned or is rightly yours.

But isn't refusing to share greed? In a Christian and moral sense yes, in a legal sense no. A Christian believes, or should believe, that everything he owns actually belongs to God and God has commanded us to be generous, especially with those in need. But the Bible also teaches that Christians are responsible to meet their own financial needs as far as they are able. I've always believed, and still believe, that a Christian will gladly give to charity and be very hesitant to ever receive charity. (It's noteworthy that Jesus commanded His disciples to give to Charity but never commanded or encouraged them to receive it.) Life or death is one thing but a Christian should always feel obligated to pull his own weight. As God said through the pen of the Apostle Paul If anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those in his own household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. I Timothy 5:8 This passage of course, speaks to a lifestyle of dependency and not the occasional asking a brother to help meet a need. (The precise case of the Greek verb -- present subjunctive -- "to provide" points to a continuous ongoing activity, if it meant they should never ask a brother for help it would be aorist subjunctive case.) I have both given and received such help but we must not tolerate those who are too good to work or feel that such and such a job is beneath them. With those in genuine need or who are truly unable to care for themselves, refusing to share is greed, but for those who do not truly need or are unwilling to assume responsibility for themselves it is greed for them to even ask.

How about CEO's making millions of dollars every year, or even every week? First off I have to ask myself "Am I simply jealous?" and if the answer is yes, and it could well be, then I need to look at my own sin first. Would I turn down such an income? It's easy to say yes when the paycheck isn't in your hand and probably never will be. We all, and I include myself, need to look at our own greed because it is that which is affecting my soul. If a man barely makes poverty level income but shares what he has, he is much more likely to be generous when he has it spare. (Luke 16:10,11). Some wealthy people do indeed just suck in the material goods and fortify their luxury, but I also know some very well off people who are paragons of generosity and I know some poor people whose giving to those in need would shame many middle-classed and affluent people.

One of the reasons that I strongly support religious charities but am very skeptical of state welfare is because I can evaluate whether or not this person is truly deserving of help or I can decide whether or not I can trust a certain person to sensibly dispense the money in God's name. The state does not allow me to evaluate which cases are being helped and as a result some who don't need it are getting it and some who truly do need it are not.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

The Blind Squirrel Finds a Nut

For most thinking people Hollywood is the center of unthinking Narcissism and any "thinking" that comes out of the mouth of an actor or actress needs to be taken with several pounds of salt.


Sometimes they are right, as Richard Gere is today. Understandably unhappy with the Chinese stranglehold on Tibet, he wants the Beijing Olympics to be boycotted over the invasion, conquest and continued occupation of Tibet. Now I am not so sure that I want to go that route, it is still something to think about.

My question Mr. Gere. Would you be that concerned if China invaded Taiwan or the Philippines. Or South Korea? or Japan? or India?

China is a threat to the freedom of many nations. We still have the strength to face them down but we lack the will.

Ghandi's method worked against Britain because the British were a moral people with a government that cared about moral issues. His methods are useless against far too many Muslims and Socialists because they have no respect for morality and will only respect strength.
When dealing with a moral people you base your actions entirely on morality; on those who respect only strength and fear you must base your actions differently.

You're not going to win in China with an appeal to morality.

Archie Has Changed?

The artwork of Archie Comics has remained basically unchanged since the 1950s.

No more.

I like the artwork, but I don't know if it's the same feel. Their popularity is not what it used to be and perhaps some change is needed.

Can't sleep.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Two Unanswerable Questions

1. Why is there such a thing as existence? We can explain matter to a great degree, but we can't explain why it exists and perhaps never will. Each answer will lead only to new questions. Some cosmologists are saying that matter is born of the interaction of two universes (whatever that means) but they cannot explain why those universes exist. Whether existence begins with God or mere material and energy working together through time, existence itself defies explanation. Why is there a "there".

2. Why do I know that I exist? As existence itself is inexplicable, so is awareness. We can explain the processes of thought in electrical terms but awareness, the fact that I am aware of those thoughts, defies all science.

Jubal knew only one absolute of theology; self-awareness was more than two chromosomes bumping into each other. Robert Heinlein Stranger in a Strange Land.

These two simple questions, in my opinion, render a materialistic explanation of the universe impossible. There is something to the universe that is beyond the reach of science and rationalism. Science and rationalism have a very important place in our thinking, but they also have their limits. They are limited to the physical aspects of a physical universe that clearly has an undergirding that is not part of our universe. Where our universe ends, so does science and pure reason, yet there is clearly something more beyond it.

I learned years ago that there were a limited number of basic dimensions: the three dimensions of space, the dimension of time, also mass and charge. These were the dimensions that we used in science as they were adequate for what we were doing. Yet as I contemplate the concept of awareness, I wonder if that is a hint of yet another dimension. A dimension that makes awareness possible.

I wonder.