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Wide White: September 2007

Friday, September 28, 2007

Oh, (high) Canada

Canadians have the highest rate of marijuana use in the industrialized world, according to a United Nation's study released in July.
But then, they are socialists...or do you think that's related?

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Childrens what?

Bush just gets funnier every day.
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Offering a grammar lesson guaranteed to make any English teacher cringe, President George W. Bush told a group of New York school kids on Wednesday: "Childrens do learn."

Bush made his latest grammatical slip-up at a made-for-TV event where he urged Congress to reauthorize the No Child Left Behind Act, the centrepiece of his education policy, as he touted a new national report card on improved test scores.
"As yesterday's positive report card shows, childrens do learn when standards are high and results are measured," he said.
Journalists don't always get it right either though. I read a story earlier that had "73nd" in it. Of course, now I can't find it to link.

Anyway, grammatical errors normally make me cringe, but if I cringed at all of Bush's grammatical snafus, I'd have permanent furrows in my eyebrows from cringing so much.

So, I figure it's better to just laugh.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

And I thought I was big...

I weighed in at 10 lb. 2 oz. when I was born.

This kid puts me to shame.
BARNAUL, Russia (Reuters) - A Siberian woman who gave birth to her 12th child -- doing more than her fair share to stem Russia's population decline -- was stunned to find that little Nadia weighed in at a massive 7.75 kg (17.1 lb).

See for yourself:

The folds of skin in the kid's arm make it look like there's a joint between the elbow and shoulder. Or maybe it's just me...

Monday, September 24, 2007

Lefties on the rise

Apparently we're making a comeback.
Lefties have been bouncing back in recent decades, following a decline in the beginning of the 20th century, a new study shows.

While lefties currently make up about 11 percent of the population, earlier studies found only 3 percent of those born in 1900 were left-handed.
I didn't know we ever had something to come back from...

Actually, were it not for the fact that I sucked my right thumb when I was little, I'd probably be a rightie. I write with my right hand and play tennis right-handed, but I throw and bat left-handed.

I think I'm just mixed up and confused.

Friday, September 21, 2007

James Dobson is wrong on Fred Thompson

I'm not a supporter (yet...the jury's still out) of Fred Thompson. I haven't given him money and, while I think he's one of the more viable Republican candidates for President, I have reservations about him and still feel like I need to know more.

Having said that, James Dobson's criticism of him was uncalled for. An email Dobson recently wrote revealed his thoughts on the candidate:
"Isn't Thompson the candidate who is opposed to a Constitutional amendment to protect marriage, believes there should be 50 different definitions of marriage in the U.S., favors McCain-Feingold, won't talk at all about what he believes, and can't speak his way out of a paper bag on the campaign trail?" Dobson wrote.
First, while I don't agree with McCain-Feingold, how is this a religious issue? It's purely political. If this is Dobson's personal view, I suppose it can't be too heavily criticized, as he's entitled to his personal view, but if this view is entwined with his duties with Focus on the Family, I think it's wrong.

Second, I don't know what Fred Thompson's view is, but I am also opposed to a constitutional amendment on the marriage issue. Why? Because I believe the federal government's influence in our lives should be kept to a minimum.

Since everyone must be "for" and "against" everything and since it's probably fair to give my opinion on the subject, I'm against gay marriage. I think it defies the definition of marriage.

I am also against federal encroachment on states' rights. I don't think the federal government's power over the states should be what it is. We are over-taxed, over-legislated, and over-governed by Washington enough as it is. The federal government's primary function should be to defend our nation. That's it. That's what was intended in the late 18th century. That's not what we have today.

Now, I doubt we'll ever quite get back to the federal government we once had. It has grown so big that it seems hard to turn back. But I still believe that's what's right. I still don't think the federal government should be dumping money into our schools and transportation systems and social programs. Leave those issues to the people who know how to best address them; leave those issues to the citizens of each respective state to deal with (and pay for) on their own.

So, it would be hypocritical for me to want the federal government out of the states' lives in these arenas but want them to be involved on the issue of marriage. That's why I stand where I stand.

The issue is confusing enough. The federal government's control has continually expanded ever since the Civil War, when the Union decided that the Southern states should not be allowed the "freedom" to decide whether or not slavery was legal. But shouldn't the federal government have stayed out of the states' business? In this case, I don't think so, because this was an issue of life and death. It's an issue of inhumanity. Abortion is also an issue of inhumanity that I think can be justly dealt with at the federal level.

Marriage, however, only affects the two who are entering the marriage. Oh, it affects the society around us, but then, that damage has already been done in our society. A marriage certificate really doesn't change much in that arena aside from a few legal aspects.

My point isn't that you should agree with my opinion on the federal government's involvement on the marriage issue. My point is that there is legitimate cause for disagreement on the role of the federal government, regardless of your opinion of the issue itself.

If Fred Thompson believed that gay marriage should be legalized, that would be one thing. But as far as I know, he doesn't. And as far as I'm concerned, Dobson should lay off.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Adultery WITH your spouse!?!

That's what happened to a married Bosnian couple that met each other online and sweet-talked each other into meeting, not realizing (obviously) that they were already married to one another.
Sana and Adnan Klaric thought that they have found their soul mate when they discussed their marital troubles under the names Sweetie and Prince of Joy.

But it turned out to be a shock, after they decided to meet up.

Now, both have sought divorce, accusing each other of being unfaithful.
Well, they're both right. They were both unfaithful. But then again, if you betray your spouse WITH your spouse, are you unfaithful?

I'd say yes, but it's still a strange thought.

(Interestingly, as I write this, Brad Paisley's "(I'm So Much Cooler) Online" came on the radio. Very ironic...)

I don't follow cycling, but something stinks here

Floyd Landis won the Tour de France. Now, his title may be stripped from him due to a doping scandal. At this point, it looks like the title will be stripped from him, as he's down to his last few straws for appeal options.

If you don't know the story, you can read it here. The rest of you still reading this probably already know the story, which is the only reason you give a rip what I think of the issue.

I really don't follow biking, or cycling, or whatever they're calling it, so I don't know how much my input really means. Dustin probably knows better than I do. But I do know that I think the anti-doping thing is going a bit too far. I think steroids and doping is wrong. However, I do wonder how accurate the tests are. I wonder how easy it could be to fail a test, even though you're innocent. I wonder if you can be clean, but register testosterone levels that are too high.

Floyd Landis may be guilty, I don't know. But when the vote by the arbitration panel is 2-1 and that same arbitration panel had serious reservations about the accuracy of some of the tests, it makes me think that the 2 who voted to take away Landis' title were out for blood.

There, I put in my one cycling post for the year.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Radio airwaves + my name = hello St. Louis

I occasionally listen to the radio at work and recently decided to find a station from my old stomping grounds in St. Louis, Missouri, that I could stream online

I sent an email to the DJ at WIL just to let them know that they have listeners from out of town. I figure being a DJ is kind of like being a blogger; if you never get any comments/feedback, you wonder if anyone is really reading/listening.

It turns out this DJ is originally from Eagan, which is half a mile from me. He read half of my email (and my full name) on the air and later slipped me into an live ad he was doing for Cooper Tires (referring to their cold weather benefits: "I'll bet that guy in Minneapolis wishes he had some of these tires"...ironically, I do need new tires).

This got me thinking...if I had time to burn (and I don't, though anyone can make room for burnable time if they really want to), and was that big of an obsessive lunatic (which is a matter of opinion), how cool would it be to get my name broadcast on a station in every city in the country?

Of course, there would have to be rules involved. You couldn't include every WMOO station in the country. Maybe every station over 100,000 watts? That's feasible. And would it have to be every genre or just every geographic region? You could even set up some kind of device to record the DJ saying your name on the air. And then you could blog about it.

Or you could just blog about the idea of the thing. And then you could get laughed at by the few readers who made it this far for the ridiculousness of the fact that you thought of it in the first place.

You're welcome. I'll be here all week.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

What's falling out of the sky just might kill you

I was just thinking a day or two ago (yes, this does give away my brain's randomness) how amazing it is that people don't die from meteorites falling to the ground.

Then, I read this story today.
LIMA (AFP) - Villagers in southern Peru were struck by a mysterious illness after a meteorite made a fiery crash to Earth in their area, regional authorities said Monday.

Around midday Saturday, villagers were startled by an explosion and a fireball that many were convinced was an airplane crashing near their remote village, located in the high Andes department of Puno in the Desaguadero region, near the border with Bolivia.

Residents complained of headaches and vomiting brought on by a "strange odor," local health department official Jorge Lopez told Peruvian radio RPP.

Seven policemen who went to check on the reports also became ill and had to be given oxygen before being hospitalized, Lopez said.

Rescue teams and experts were dispatched to the scene, where the meteorite left a 100-foot-wide (30-meter-wide) and 20-foot-deep (six-meter-deep) crater, said local official Marco Limache.

"Boiling water started coming out of the crater and particles of rock and cinders were found nearby. Residents are very concerned," he said.
A 100-foot-wide crater that's 20 feet deep? Are you serious? I know this isn't exactly normal, but it's not entirely unheard of either. How do these things not hit people?

Monday, September 17, 2007

Yes, too much internet can kill you

It may take three days to do it, but it CAN kill you!
BEIJING (Reuters) - A Chinese man dropped dead after playing Internet games for three consecutive days, state media said on Monday as China seeks to wean Internet addicts offline.

The man from the southern boomtown of Guangzhou, aged about 30, died on Saturday after being rushed to the hospital from the Internet cafe, local authorities were quoted by the Beijing News as saying.
I can't even wrap my head around this one...

Friday, September 14, 2007

China's reign of terror

No, not Mao. This is 21st Century China. Their one-child policy is inhumane at best, and this story shows the situation isn't getting any better.
BEIJING - Urban Chinese who have more than one child will get a black mark on their credit record, the government said, in a scheme that appeared to target newly rich couples undeterred by fines from having extra children.

"In the future, city residents' family planning violations will be entered in the credit system of the People's Bank of China," said a notice posted late Thursday on the Web site of China's National Population and Family Planning Commission.
In February, the eastern province of Zhejiang announced it planned to name and shame rich families who ignored the one-child policy by paying to have their second or third baby.
I still don't totally understand how you can get rich individually in a Communist government, but I digress.

Apparently, even if you do figure out how to earn some money, the Chinese government will do everything they can to financially destroy you because you refused to kill your baby.

It's sick and getting sicker.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

CN Tower ousted

The CN Tower, which has been the world's tallest structure since 1976, has been ousted of its role by Dubai's Burj Dubai.

I guess it's fine by me. What could I do about it anyway?

My trip to the CN Tower in Toronto at the age of 13 was memorable, but not exactly for the right reasons. While standing on a glass floor at 1,122 feet high is a pretty neat experience, being separated from your family for an hour and a half stinks. But hey, how many people can say they had a police search and their physical description (clothes, height, etc.) read over the intercom of the world's tallest structure for a solid hour while their family tried to track them down?

Yeah, that's what I thought...

Twins continue to disintegrate

I'm a baseball fan. I umpire, I've coached, and I used to play. While hardly anyone can tell you the name of the general manager of any given team, it is probably the most important position in any organization. Without a good general manager, you will be hard-pressed to find success in recruiting talent to your team, whether it be players or coaches.

Terry Ryan has been an outstanding GM for the Minnesota Twins, and sadly, he's stepping down. I imagine he's being forced out. The Twins have made the postseason in 4 of the last 5 seasons, but this season could see the Twins below .500. That, apparently, is a death stamp.

Even if he's not being forced out - even if he's just stepping aside because he's been doing this for 13 years - it's a huge blow to the Twins organization. Johan Santana has already expressed frustration with the team's inability to add offense, and who knows how long players like Torri Hunter will stick around before finding bigger contracts elsewhere.

The Twins are a great club, and hopefully Assistant GM Bill Smith, who's taking over for Ryan, will live up to the standard set by his predecessor. With outdoor baseball coming to Minneapolis in 2009, the games should even more enjoyable to watch. But they need to right the ship, because it's threatening to sink.

Virginia's senate seat going Democrat in '08

As far as I can tell, Virginia's 2008 U.S. Senate race won't even be close. Popular former Governor Mark Warner - a Democrat - just stepped into the race to replace equally popular retiring Republican Sen. John Warner (no relation).

With Republicans already losing ground over their inability to put together a unified message that actually attracts anyone with half a brain, the Democrats are already well on their way to gaining ground in the Senate and winning the presidency. This is just one more step forward for them.

$1.4 million for a car

But it sure is a sweet car!

Leave it to Lamborghini...too bad all I can afford is the Hotwheels.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

NCAA madness

No, not March Madness, which keeps me glued to hours of basketball as I watch my brackets crumble.

Politically correct madness. The NCAA is waging a relentless campaign against North Dakota State University the University of North Dakota over its use of the nickname "Fighting Sioux" and its accompanying mascot. This, of course, is despite the fact that the Spirit Lake Sioux Nation has adopted a neutral stance on the issue.

I personally wouldn't adopt an American Indian mascot simply because of the controversy that comes with it, and I don't see a reason to embrace the controversy when I can just as easily pick an animal (though the animal rights activists will no doubt rise to the call at some point, as they already have with the Green Bay Packers). However, one must also consider that this mascot has existed long before the controversy did.

What makes me so annoyed with the NCAA is that they have no problem with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish or the West Virginia Mountaineers. I haven't heard the NFL or anyone else demanding that the Minnesota Vikings change their name.

The hypocrisy is just maddening.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Watch how much salt you put on that hamburger

It could land you in jail.

Of course, who knows if McDonald's employee Kendra Bull had any malicious intent when she doused (accidentally or otherwise) Officer Wendell Adams' hamburger in salt. Who cares? Until there's proof of intended toxication of the hamburger, how could jail time and a misdemeanor charge possibly be warranted for this incident?

I just hope there's more to the story than what is printed.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Mother Theresa, summed up in one post

My sentiments exactly.

The that if she preached at all, she preached a false religion. In so doing she provides us with an example not of a Christian responding to God’s call, but an example of deeds of charity and compassion completely separated from the Truth.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

I don't have any of Fred Thompson's wedding pictures!!

I've had a number of hits lately from people Googling "Fred Thompson wedding pictures". Strangely, I come up number 8 on this list.

No folks, I don't have any of Fred Thompson's wedding pictures. I'm sorry to disappoint you. More than that, I'm sorry that you're wasting your time Googling for them. It's a sad life you must lead if you're Googling for wedding photos of an ex-politician, ex-actor who's now decided to run for president. But, I salute your efforts and wish you the best of luck.

(Note: I am also number 4 if you Google "my barefoot and pregnant wife". Settle down...I don't actually have a reason to blog on this topic yet...)

Friday, September 07, 2007

My sentiments exactly

A quote my wife overheard from the guy in the cube next to her yesterday:
"we're cancelling [work] today due to lack of interest"

Thursday, September 06, 2007

The poor, attendance-starved Minnesota Vikings

They can't sell out their home opener. And it's against one of the most talked-about teams in the league, the Atlanta Falcons.

How are they going to front a new stadium if they can't fill the one they have? Or are people not buying tickets because the stadium they have needs to be replaced? Hmm...

Either way, until they drop the prices, you'll be hard-pressed to find me at a game regardless of where it's being played and who's playing in it.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Quote from my 8-year-old brother

Thoughts from him on life, 7/26/07:
“Wouldn’t it be weird if this was all a dream and I woke up and was homeless?”
H/T: Mom

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Fat pastors (and their fat wives)

[ADDED 9/5 - NOTE: Please read the comments along with this post, as I think they offer good insight and criticism - along with further clarification - of this post.]

My wife made the observation recently that it seems many evangelical Christian pastors and/or their wives are overweight. I don't know if it's a greater percentage than the rest of the population or if we've just happened to notice an irregularly high number of them.

Either way, it begged the question from her: Why isn't obesity dealt with in the church?

I think it's a question that's worth asking simply because the Bible instructs us to take care of our bodies (I Corinthians 6:19) and to eat in moderation (Proverbs 23:20). While obesity is not the only sign of neglecting to do either of these things, it is often a more obvious sign.

As Americans neglect the commandment to take care of our bodies at a rapidly increasing rate, churches are mum on the issue. Instead, we indulge in potlucks where unlimited food is available. Nearly every small group/Bible study you go to offers food. We are constantly indulging, yet we don't seem to consider this to be a spiritual problem.

We fail to recognize that many of us are addicted to food.

We are failing to put Christ first. Hunger Desire-for-food pangs consume our thoughts throughout the day. Food has, in many ways, become a god that consumes us more than Christ consumes us.

Obesity is not in itself the problem. While it is often the expression of the problem, some people struggle medically with obesity, and food consumption alone isn't their issue. Some of these people have come to recognize that they need to take care of their bodies and they are, but they still struggle with an inability to actually shed pounds. On the flip side, many people have a fairly high metabolism that allows them to consume more food than is healthy without doing heavy damage on their wastelines.

However, the fact is that the vast majority of humans who are overweight are big because of a combination of physical inactivity and over-consumption of food. Our culture has told us that it's okay to be whatever shape we want to be ("I'm in shape; round is a shape") and churches have bought into that.

Whether pastors aren't dealing with the issue because they themselves are overweight or because they agree with the worldview on the issue, I don't know, but it strikes me as odd that more pastors don't see a problem with misappropriation of our priorities. Churches have no problem lashing out at abuses of alcohol and drugs, but abuse of food is an untouchable subject.

This isn't about running marathons or modeling swimwear. It's about simply taking care of our bodies. I think Christians have a moral obligation to take care of our bodies. We only have one, and unless we see it as a gift from God, we are prone to abusing it.

I'm sure something I've written will be misinterpreted, and I'm sorry if it is. This isn't directed at anyone but is more of an overall observation and reflections on those observations. Any comments on possible misinterpretations on my part are more than welcome.