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Wide White: October 2007

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

One of my favorite music videos

My mom was asking for the link to this video, so I thought I'd just post it here.

The song is "The Scientist". The band is Coldplay.

I love trying to figure out how they shot it. The whole video is obviously supposed to be him singing "forward" with everything else being rewound, going "backwards." Some scenes were obviously filmed "forward" and then shown backwards for the video, or they were done with special effects (such as at the beginning where he lays down on the bed, or when he jumps over the wall). Other scenes appear to have been filmed with him actually walking backwards, such as when he's walking through the woods and the field on the hill. It's most obvious when he closes the door of the car. It's obvious by the way that he puts his hand on the door that he was actually opening the door and getting in, not getting out and closing it.

I'd really like to see the whole video from end to beginning (with the music in reverse, but all of the actions in the video played out going forward) to see how much of the movement going forward looks natural and how much of the video that was supposed to be "rewinding" was actually shot moving forward.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Window washing

I was just thinking about how much our windows need to be washed in the building where I work. It reminded me of this crazy video.

This happened in Denver a few years ago. Wind can easily gust an additional 20-30 miles in a big city due to tunneling, which causes mishaps like this.

That's just crazy...

Friday, October 26, 2007

Why I won't support Giuliani

Rudy Giuliani is courting the support of recent presidential race dropout Sam Brownback.

I doubt he has it, but whether he does or not, I couldn't support him. Here's why:
Giuliani, pressed on whether he would describe himself that way [pro-choice], said: "You know what I am."

"I've described it in the past," Giuliani said. "I've opposed abortion. I'd like to see a society in which there is no abortion. I think you have to get there by changing people's minds and hearts. I'm not in favor of changing the law and the right that presently exists.

"But I do think I'm in favor of everything else that would limit the number of abortions, that would increase the number of adoptions and that would move us in the direction of many fewer abortions," Giuliani said. "And if we could get to no abortions based on people's decision-making, I'd be in favor of that."
Regardless of your view on abortion, you've got to admit that's quite the dance he's got going around the issue.

People don't typically ask you for your view unless they're confused and need you to clarify it. Giuliani refuses to clarify his view. Let's review his statements:
  • "I've opposed abortion" doesn't mean you inherently DO oppose abortion.
  • "I'm not in favor of changing the law and the right that presently exists" leaves people to wonder if you'll be willing to change what exists in the future.
  • "I do think I'm in favor of everything else...." Are you serious? You expect us to believe that this helps clarify your position?
  • "...move us in the direction of fewer abortions..." Yes, let's get moving in a direction. Such a politically warm phrase; such a beacon of inactivity.
  • "And if we could get to no abortions based on people's decision-making, I'd be in favor of that." Um, this is something EVERYONE is in favor of!!! This does absolutely jack squat to clarify his position
Giuliani failed to shed any light on his position on abortion and, surprisingly, apparently failed to break a sweat as he danced his way around the questions.

Pro-choice or pro-life, I can't support a candidate who runs kittywampus around the issues and fails to communicate clearly and directly.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

At work quote of the day

From a guy who sits next to my wife at work. (Her company just stopped providing plasticware in their lunch rooms in an effort to be environmentally conscious and encourage people to bring silverware and wash it.)
"This is ridiculous, why don't we just stop using paper... why don't I just stop wearing a jacket and wear leaves - that'll reduce my carbon imprint!"
Nothing like a cynic to cheer everyone up!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

27 years later, where are your wedding pictures?

It seems a little odd to me that a photographer would work a wedding without being paid for it, but this is still a pretty cool story.
MANSFIELD, Ohio - A couple won't mark their 27th anniversary until Thursday, but they've already received the perfect gift: the wedding pictures they couldn't afford when they married as teenagers. Their photographer showed up last week at the diner where Karen Cline works and surprised her with a photo album from her big day in 1980.

"About a month ago, I was just cleaning out some of my old things and I found it," said photographer Jim Wagner, who's now 80. "I knew she didn't have any money back then, and I just thought she might like to have it."

"I just stood there and cried and cried and hugged him," Cline said afterward, tearing up again.

She recalled being a new bride at 18 and admiring the pictures, but feeling heartsick because she and her husband, Mark, who was 19 at the time, didn't have $150 to pay for them.

All these years, the Clines have had just one wedding picture that someone else took, of her walking down the aisle.

Wagner said he was able to track down Karen Cline after running into her stepfather a few weeks ago.

When the photographer showed up in the diner, she wrote him a check for the long-awaited $150 — and that's when he cried, she said.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Caution: drunk elephants ahead

Elephants are great, but I'm glad the only place they exist in the Western Hemisphere is in zoos.

Here's why.
GAUHATI, India — Six Asiatic wild elephants were electrocuted as they went berserk after drinking rice beer in India's remote northeast, a wildlife official said Tuesday.

Nearly 40 elephants came to a village on Friday looking for food. Some found beer, which farmers ferment and keep in plastic and tin drums in their huts, said Sunil Kumar, a state wildlife official.

They got drunk, uprooted a utility pole carrying power lines and were electrocuted....
The elephants are known to have a taste for rice beer brewed by tribal communities in India's northeast. Four wild elephants died in similar circumstances in the region three years ago.
This is the second story I've seen recently of elephants trampling through inhabited areas in India and wreaking havoc.

With India's population exploding and elephants' habitat disappearing, incidents like these are only becoming more frequent.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Norris for Huckabee

Chuck Norris likes Mike Huckabee for president. Therefore, Chuck Norris will destroy anyone who likes any other candidate.

But seriously, what I've seen of Huckabee has impressed me as well. With Brownback dropping out of the race, there's a good chance his supporters will switch to supporting Huckabee. I've been following the race at a distance (in other words, I can't tell you every position of every candidate), but Huckabee is my favorite at this point.

I'm not 100% sold on anyone yet though.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Brownback bites the dust

Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) has dropped his bid for president.

I had predicted him to place sixth, so I can't say this is a surprise. Sure, he's conservative, but he never picked up any momentum and went after some strange issues on the campaign trail. He was also extremely unreliable on the immigration issue, which severely damaged his presidential potential.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

What is the purpose of a worship service?

I was on the website of a local church the other day and read something that struck me.
We want to attract seekers AND edify believers in our services.
Now, I'll start by saying that I know that not everyone out there will agree with me on this. Your comments are welcome.

Having said that, I have a problem with the number of churches today that are schizophrenic in their mission. Should a church edify believers? YES! Should a church pursue seekers? YES! But too many churches are trying to meet both goals within one service. You can't do it!

I should note that I'm identifying "seekers" as those who do not know Christ as their Lord and Savior and are seeking the "truth", but have not yet determined what that is.

Worship services should exalt Christ. They should facilitate teaching those who know Christ as their Lord to serve Him better. They should give us the tools to serve Him.

They should not, however, have the purpose of attracting those who are lost. The church should be mission-driven. We should seek out those who are lost and present the gospel to them. But we must reach out to them. We can't build our ministry around them coming to us and liking what they see. They are lost, therefore they don't love the Christ that we love.

As it stands, churches are adjusting their services to meet what the lost are looking for. In turn, the saved are presented with no meat, and the milk that is presented is watered down.

I'm not saying that Crossroads Church presents watered down milk. I've never been there and can't make that judgment (though they are openly "seeker-sensitive"). I'm making a conclusion based on their statement of "what we believe" rather than based on their actual service.

But I have seen that statement reflected in the services of many churches I have been to. The gospel is being watered down because we're seeking to do what that sentence says: "attract seekers."

I don't want to attract seekers to our services. I want seekers to be attracted to Christ. This could happen in our services, but should never be the purpose of our services. The worship service should a.) be worshipful of Christ and b.) build up the saints.

Seeking to attract seekers accomplishes neither.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Colbert for President

Stephen Colbert is one of the funniest talk show comedians out there. I don't always endorse his humor, but when he's on, he's as dead on as anyone.

This is no different.
NEW YORK - Stephen Colbert has announced his candidacy for president on "The Colbert Report," tossing his satirical hat into the ring of an already crowded race.
Colbert, 43, had recently satirized the coyness of would-be presidential candidates by refusing to disclose whether he would seek the country's highest office — a refusal that often came without any prompting.

Shortly before making the announcement, Colbert appeared on "The Daily Show" (the show that spawned Colbert's spin-off) and played cagey, claiming he was only ready to consider a White House bid. He entered the studio set pulled by a bicycle pedaled by Uncle Sam and quickly pulled out a bale of hay and a bottle of beer to show that he was "an Average Joe."

Colbert said his final decision would be announced on a "more prestigious show," which turned out to be his own.

"After nearly 15 minutes of soul-searching, I have heard the call," said Colbert.

His recent best-seller, "I Am America (And So Can You!)," allowed him to mock the now-standard approach to a White House run, complete with a high-profile book tour.
Colbert said he would run as both a Democrat and Republican. He earlier explained the strategy: "I can lose twice." He claimed three running mate possibilities: Colbert-Huckabee, Colbert-Putin or Colbert-Colbert.
In a guest column for Maureen Dowd in Sunday's New York Times, Colbert wrote: "I am not ready to announce yet — even though it's clear that the voters are desperate for a white, male, middle-aged, Jesus-trumpeting alternative."
I thought that last quote was poignant. So many politicians sound the "Jesus" trumpet for obviously political reasons. They stump from the pulpit, invoke God whenever they have the chance, but their double standard is so painfully obvious.

Funny thing about all of this is, I can see him actually filing papers and everything.

Sounds like Man of the Year.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Word to China: WHAT?!?

President Bush is meeting with the Dalai Lama today.

Like, I'm totally, like, "whoa", too!

But apparently, it's a big deal to China.
"We solemnly demand that the U.S. cancel the extremely wrong arrangements," said Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi in Beijing. "It seriously violates the norm of international relations and seriously wounded the feelings of the Chinese people and interfered with China's internal affairs."
Um, huh?

I hate to be the one to break it to Jiechi, but "violates" is present-tense, which is the context of this story. "Wounded" is past-tense, which shouldn't be used for an event that hasn't yet occurred, much less in the same sentence as a present-tense word that describes the same event. You also used "seriously" twice in that sentence. Once would have been just fine.

But unlike the non-binding resolution on Turkey, this equally non-binding Congressional Gold Medal is more unlikely to actually do any damage. I agree with Judy:
Judith Shapiro, a China author and professor at American University, says the visit is "not going to profoundly affect ties in either direction. China needs the U.S., the U.S. needs China, and issues like Tibet are a bit of a sideshow to the basic relationship."
Discombobulated sentences of condemnation or not, nothing will really come of this on the foreign relations front. China will still be its irksome self, and Tibet will still be controlled by an irked China.

(Underscoring the unimportance of this story, I wonder if Judith Shapiro hates being called Judy...)

Monday, October 15, 2007

My ring

I lost my wedding ring.

Three months ago, I went and dropped it down a heating vent at a friend's house. Since then, I've been wearing a sad $20 sterling silver ring from a kiosk at the Mall of America.

Yesterday marked the return of my wedding ring to my hand. We had already spent hours trying to get it out on no less than three occasions. We finally succeeded.

And by "we", I mean my wife's grandpa, who's a pretty resourceful guy, along with my wife and me. He used an Aqua-View, which is a plastic fish with a camera and light in it. We dropped it down the heating vent, saw a glimmer that we thought might be the ring, and sent the Shop-Vac hose after it. We'd tried the Shop-Vac before, but never with a camera down there with it. He just held the hose on the glimmer until the little shiny spot down there disappeared and he felt something rattle past him through the hose.

We were...well, elated would be an understatement. Let's just say that the ring cost slightly more than I care to admit, let alone the sentimental value that any wedding ring has.

Thank you Grandpa!!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Gore Gore Gore...

Since you asked for my opinion on this...

Most of you know by now that Al Gore won a Nobel Prize.

Woo hoo!! Now what?

I don't know the president of the Czech Republic very well - certainly not on a first name basis - but I think he makes sense:
Czech President Vaclav Klaus was surprised at the award because the relationship between Gore's work and world peace was "unclear and indistinct," his spokesman said.
Um, ya think? Great, you've spent the last number of years telling everyone that we're making the earth warmer. You've raised "awareness". What in the world does that have to do with peace? Remember, there are numerous Nobel Prizes. This one just happened to be for peace. Huh?!?

I'm not saying that raising awareness is fruitless. Plenty of people are raising awareness about breast cancer, but people are still dying of it. Does that mean we stop raising awareness? Of course not!

However, there is undeniable evidence that breast cancer causes death; there is NOT undeniable evidence that humans are causing global warming.

There is evidence that the world has been getting warmer for years (remember that whole Ice Age thing??). This was long before various emissions entered the picture.

I'm not saying that humans aren't causing the temperature to rise more than it ordinarily would be. There are a lot of us making a huge impact on this earth, and we need to be very careful about not destroying it. I believe we have an obligation to conserve what we have, to become less wasteful people.

But what I am saying is that without undeniable evidence that humans are destroying the earth due to their impact on its increasing temperature - some of which we know is natural to begin with - how can a Nobel Peace - PEACE!?! - prize be awarded because someone has spent the better part of the last 5 years telling everyone about it?

I think it's ridiculous.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The federal judicial branch laughing stock

It's not often that our legislators pass commonsense laws. However, when they do, you can always expect a federal judge to knock it down.
SAN FRANCISCO - A federal judge has blocked a proposed rule requiring employers to fire workers whose names don't match their Social Security numbers, dealing a major blow to the Bush administration's crackdown on illegal immigration.

Under the rule, businesses with employees whose names and Social Security numbers didn't match would have three months to correct the mistakes or fire the employees. If not, they could face government prosecution.
Um, how does this not make sense?!?!

You can read the rest for a whole lot of other reasons people give that we shouldn't be enforcing our laws. I'm somewhat sympathetic to some of the employers' complaints regarding the hassle of dealing with legal employees with quirky errors. But come one, we've got to do what's right here.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Who thought a non-binding resolution could mean so much?

I've seen the debate over a measure on Armenia before.

Yes, that's right. Armenia. It's not a hair on your arm. It's not a religious viewpoint. It's a country.

And apparently, the United States Congress' non-binding resolution stating that they believe Armenia suffered from a genocide at the hands of Turkey is a huge, huge deal.
WASHINGTON - A House panel defied President Bush on Wednesday and approved a measure that he said would damage U.S. goals in the Middle East.

The measure that would recognize the World War I-era killings of Armenians as a genocide had been strongly opposed by Turkey, a key NATO ally that has supported U.S. efforts in Iraq.
At issue is the killing of up to 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman Turks around the time of World War I. Turkey denies that the deaths constituted genocide, says the toll has been inflated and insists that those killed were victims of civil war and unrest.
Turkey raised the possibility of impeding logistical and other U.S. military traffic now using Turkish airspace.
70 percent of U.S. air cargo headed for Iraq goes through Turkey, as does about one-third of the fuel used by the U.S. military in Iraq.
95 percent of new vehicles designed to better protect against mine attacks are being flown through Turkey to get to Iraq.
It's pretty amazing to me. A non-binding resolution that simply states, "We, the members of this Congress, agree that..." is potent enough to damage ties with Turkey.

So be it, if you ask me. The resolution is pointless to me, but then, I'm not Armenian. It obviously means something to others to have a simple fact acknowledged. I don't understand, but I'm not against it, and if it causes Turkey - a country which, as "Western" as they pretend to be, has a pretty rough human rights record - to turn their backs on the United States, maybe it's just all the more assurance that we need to get our butts out of the Middle East and let them fight their own battles.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Michigan breaks the rules

Politics make me laugh sometimes.
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Five Democratic presidential candidates Tuesday sought to officially withdraw from Michigan's January 15 primary, rendering the event virtually insignificant.

Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, and Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio all announced the move Tuesday, the deadline for filing such paperwork.
Biden's campaign called the primary a "beauty contest."
"We're very disappointed and this is another example of why the monopoly that Iowa and New Hampshire have, needs to end," Michigan Democratic Party spokesman Jason Moon said.
The DNC voted to punish both Michigan and Florida by refusing to seat their delegates at next summer's Democratic National Convention.

In response, Florida Democrats last week filed a lawsuit against the DNC, asserting the national party's punishment is illegal because it denies Florida the right to help choose the Democratic nominee for President.
Silly fights don't stop when kids grow up. They just take on a new form.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Country vs. City: crime is not the deciding factor

Most of you have probably already read the story of Sunday morning's shooting that has left 7 people dead (including the gunman). Crandon, Wisconsin, is just 25 miles from where I grew up, so it hits pretty close to home for many of my family members who still live there.

I remember talking to a girl at work when I was back home during a college break. Her family had moved to Rhinelander to get away from the crime of the Milwaukee area. Not long after they moved up north, her mom was murdered. The killer was never found.

It served as a reminder to me that life can be taken from us no matter where we live and at any time. This serves as yet another reminder and reinforces why I don't feel any safer in the country than I do in the city. The same God is God of both and He can take my life in a place like Cody, Wyoming, just as soon as He can take my life in Denver, Colorado. The people living in Crandon, Wisconsin, are just as sinful as the people living in Bloomington, Minnesota.

There are many other factors that make me prefer the city or the country over the other, but crime is not one of them.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Proof of true love?

Hmm...great story, but come on...
RACINE, Wis. - Melody Kloska and Matt Behrs take it as a sign they were meant to get married.

After tying the knot on a Lake Michigan beach on Aug. 18, they released a bottle containing their wedding vows. A few weeks later, the bottle was found by Fred and Lynnette Dubendorf, of Mears, Mich., who were also married on a beach — exactly 28 years before Kloska and Behrs.

"It was meant to be," Kloska said. "This was a sign to me."

Kloska, 46, and Behrs, 41, have been together for five years, but with several failed marriages between them, they had doubts about remarrying.
"I took it to mean that there's hope yet," she said.
It just seems to me that once you're married, you shouldn't need "signs of hope" that it will last. You're married. That's the deal. It lasts.

But maybe I'm just naive. I have, after all, only been married for 7 months...