The Washington Post had a great article this weekend about honoring those who have been wounded as a result of military service to our country.

These are the unknown, oft-forgotten, and rarely honored that have given their life in a different way - fully 8 times as many men who have died in the war on terror have lost instead what they knew to be their normal way of life. So many will come back to deal with the loss of sight, or hearing, or the ability to walk, or talk, to feed themselves or even scratch an itch. Sadly, they will come back broken and disfigured, and suffer the fearful glances of a all-too-unexposed public, rather than the solemn respect they so very much deserve.

While it is important to remember those who have been lost, and we should place the full value of the image of God upon every life given in the service of country, there is nothing of more tangible value that we can do for the dead than to console those left behind. Paramount to this duty should be our caring for those who have returned to us in need of help.

There are so many who haven't returned to us who clearly would have wanted it this way. What better way to honor their memory?


Awesome. At least Lucas ended with a bang. (real posts begin tomorrow, promise - sorry for failing to come through with AC trip / new phone / tv series critique blather).


Wow. Barely remembered I had a Saturday post due. At 1:30 on Sunday morning. And I have to be up to usher in a few hours. And I didn't sleep at all Friday night as we were in AC living it up. And I'm on the couch tonight as friends have my room.

Phone broke on my way back home this morning, so I've ordered a new one. Blogging on that, AC, and possibly a recap on one of the best TV series ever, tomorrow.

After church, golf, and possibly Star Wars 3.


Its Friday and the links are a day overdue. I have a few hours before I take off for AC for the night, and have to clean the place for those who will be staying here in my absence. Hence, I present you with:

Links I have barely looked at, but you might want to check out. I've spent next to no time at any of these links, but they are the first things that caught my attention in 15 minutes of surfing just now.

First off, ironically, the Annotated NY Times.

I didn't look into this one b/c it ain't that time of year for me. But it will be again, not soon enough.

I'll be going back to Macintosh Garden when I have some time to screw around.

I'm a sucker for dogs, so puppybreak looks like a great way to take a break. Second dog link of the week is Dog Island, which sounds just plain weird.

This looks funny but as I'm not looking for a geek guy I didn't read much of it.

Sooner or later I'll start giving free net telephony a twirl.

Scott's 20 Questions on how the net works.

Small ads from the UK looks funny. Possible content warning as I only looked at the first one - something about 30 chinamen and a zepplin.

Find out who you share your birthday with. Or if you're looking to get depressed, find out what other people had accomplished by your age.

My roommate sent me that annual email with the attachment of practically everything that's going on in NYC this summer. Its a handy tool, drop me an email/IM/comment if you'd like me to send it your way. This is just some of the free music, the attachment I have covers that and a whole lot more.

Last but not least your barely-looked-at google link of the week is googleblog. There's lots of blogs about google out there for the perusing, but I figure blogger's version is the official thing (although you have to deal with some of the corporate self-promo).

Happy Memorial Day weekend, everybody. Tired post-trip posting tomorrow, who-knows-what Sunday, and a Memorial Day post for Memorial Day. How fitting.

Well, cheaters posts for 2 nights straight now. I've made good on the getting-back- to-daily-blogging deal, though...one way or another.

I've got no links and even less energy tonight. No time to surf this week, for various reasons. I'll try to squeeze in a little tomorrow for the sole sake of throwing some links up, but I've got my work cut out for me with actual work, plus I have to clean up the joint as it turns out K-train is coming to crash here this weekend with Evonne. And I'm not going to be here to welcome them Friday as I'm headed to AC all night for Rob's bachelor party. I feel like I should back out, I just know I'm going to drop a hunge and come back wishing I had it, but it'll be fun, and I've stayed out of Vegas, AC, and Tahoe for 5 straight years now, so I'm due.

Saturday night I'm hanging with Titus while his rents celebrate their anniversary, Sunday is ushering with the youth group then probably Star Wars that night. I'd like to go to the beach on Monday but who knows. Maybe it'll rain, in which case there will be nobody on the beach. I love the beach when its raining. Best time to surf, too. The real kind.


Me falta tiempo para celebrar tus cabellos. Uno por uno debo contarlos y alabarlos; otros amantes quieren vivir con ciertos ojos, yo solo quiero ser tu peluquero. -- Pablo Neruda


...We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness... - The Declaration of Independence of the Thirteen Colonies, united States of America

I've been studying the story of Cain and Abel recently as part of a review of what it means to be created in the image of God, and I've noticed in particular the issue of human "rights." Genesis 4 shows us the disease of sin spreading on to the offspring of the first couple, and while the strain begins to mutate, it continues to show a basic structure. Like his parents, Cain was consumed with what he considered to be his right. They wanted equality with God as they were dissatisfied with merely being created in His image; Cain wanted to keep his first fruits, and this initial selfishness led him to later destroy another image bearer. Different desires led to different sins in the first family, but the motivation was the same. Later on, as "rights" ran rampant in the people of Noah's day - sin's various strains were many, but still all of the same original volition - to claim a "right."

Back to Cain. He and his brother both were in the employ of God's original calling to steward the soil and the animals upon it. But as they brought their sacrifices, Cain held back what he considered his right. Its interesting that we often minimize this original sin in the story in lieu of the gravity of the sin it later caused. Even more interesting is that God saw where the initial sin was leading, and He even pleaded directly with Cain to turn the train around before it was too late. But with his notion of what he could consider to be rightfully his already twisted, he continued to do whatever he wanted, namely acting his anger out upon the life of his brother. Cain's story was the first point in history that God actually cursed an image bearer. Cain did not value the image that Abel had been created in, and God's response was to directly curse Cain, even as he continued to bear God's image.

There's a problem with "rights" - it carries connotations of something that we hold ownership over or lay claim to. Something we deserve. Cain, like his parents, thought he deserved better. And we are no better: with so inaccurate a conception of what we actually deserve, our notion of "rights" causes us to devalue the image of God in many ways. We focus on the "rights" of the mother rather than on the image of God in the unborn human life. We fail to see the human dignity in the disabled and elderly and rather look to the "rights" of family members to do as they please with those who can't care for themselves. We even grant "rights" to those who in our day and age have murdered other image bearers, and civically fail to defend life by retributively punishing its takers.

I'm not saying the founding fathers were wrong in their wording. We are endowed with God's image and as such we have the basic privileges there unto pertaining. But perhaps that's just the way we should see them - as privileges, something not ours, but graciously granted to us. When we're freed from "rights" based thinking, we are able to respect more deeply the image that we are created in and restore value to each life so created.

Thomas Jefferson was so convicted that the pursuit of happiness was an inalienable human right that he wrote it into the Declaration of Independence and called it a self-evident truth. But Christians have this to add: those who pursue happiness never find it. Because joy and peace are extremely elusive, happiness is a will-o'-the-wisp, a phantom, and even if we reach out our hand to grasp it, it vanishes into thin air. God gives joy and peace not to those who pursue them but to those who pursue Him and strive to love. Joy and peace are found in loving and nowhere else. -- John Stott


In 2004, like every other in America's modern history, cardiovascular disease was again the number 1 killer of men in the US. Every year except one - 1918. What happened in 1918? The Red Sox won the world series. Also, the Spanish flu swept across the world, killing millions.


All I can say is that the rising concern with Avian flu began last year as well. And it continues to grow early this year. This article has some scary info:

Across the country, federal, state, and local officials...are trying to figure out how the United States would cope with a killer flu, one that would be very different from the usual influenza that strikes each winter. A global epidemic, or pandemic, would be caused by a new, lethal flu virus, one to which people would have no immunity. The new flu would spread around the world within weeks and could infect one third of all people, killing 1 to 5 percent of them. That's what happened in 1918, when the Spanish flu killed 25 million in six months; some historians place the total killed at 100 million. Since then, two other far less lethal flu pandemics, in 1957 and 1968, have swept the globe...

Flu viruses are notoriously good at mutating into new strains, and sooner or later one will morph into a mass killer. No one can say when that will happen; scientists say it could be this year, or 20 years from now. But in recent months normally sanguine health officials have been making increasingly dire predictions of a nightmarish 1918-style assault, one that could kill up to 2.2 million people in the United States. "We at WHO believe that the world is now in the gravest possible danger of a pandemic," says Shigeru Omi, Western Pacific regional leader for the World Health Organization. Those words echo Julie Gerberding, director of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who called the current situation "a very high threat."

The doctors are spooked by the continuing outbreaks of a new strain of avian influenza that has sickened at least 69 people and killed 46 in Vietnam, Thailand, and Cambodia in the past 16 months. One more death, of a 26-year-old man in Cambodia, was reported last week, and Vietnamese authorities are investigating a village where a 5-year-old fell ill with the disease in mid-March, shortly after his 13-year-old sister died. This new virus, called H5N1, is from the same family as the killer 1918 strain. Flu typically kills the old and weak, but with the new flu, most of the victims have been healthy young people. The 1918 flu killed the young and healthy, too.

The doctors are alarmed not because of the number of people that "bird flu" has killed but because the H5N1 virus displays an ominous adaptability and persistence. About 70 percent of those infected so far have died. Since 1997, when the new virus first showed up in chickens and killed six people in Hong Kong, it has spread to birds in eight countries in the region despite repeated efforts to halt it by slaughtering millions of chickens.

Freakin chickens. Who would have thought? If you had to guess which animal would try to wipe us out, you'd go with something truly evil looking, most likely squirrels. The hatred between squirrels and humans is secret to no one. But chickens? Even after that claymation movie, I was still pretty skeptical as to their cognitive abilities. But science is clearly telling us that chickens are on track to beat squirrels to the punch. Who knew?

Now then, some would blindly contend that the confluence of a Red Sox victory and impending human death on a massive scale are unrelated. But then, they never read THIS article in the New Yorker last fall. When I first read it, I never put the two together, but today, in considering the dastardly plot of these chickens, it all hit me at once. The irony is simply overwhelming: the article, seeking to demonstrate mathematically that Murphy's Law is a measurable phenomena, used as its example BOTH chickens AND the Red Sox. If only they knew then what we know now.

Using the formula those crazy Brits came up with, I concluded the following:

On a scale of 1 to 9:

Urgency (of impending human catastrophe): 9
Complexity (Red Sox, Chickens, pandemic death, what more do you need?): 9
Importance (uhh, hello???): 9
Skill (its a virus, I grant it no honor of "skill"): 1
Frequency (every 86 years, across several thousand years of human existence): 9

Aggravation equals 0.7 (though I would imagine it should be more for our purposes)

The likelihood, then, of Murphy’s Law obtaining under those circumstances, on a scale of 0 to 8.6, would be:

[((9+ 9 + 9) x (10 - 1)) / 20] x 9 x 1 / (1 - sin (9 / 10))

which is, [((27) x (9)) / 20] x 9 x [1 / (1 - .01571)

which is, (109.35) / [1 / (.98429)]

which equals roughly 107.63219024371

107. On a scale of 1 to 9, our chance of getting wiped out by the chickens (and, by necessary association, the freakin sox), is 107.

In other words, we are TOAST.


Long day.

Out the door early as I had to train in today - C&M were out of town so I had no ride. Planned to get some prep work done on the PATH for the lessons, but ran into my old gym buddy Kevin on the platform, waiting for the train. Haven't seen him in months (since my membership ran out and I didn't bother renewing). It was good to catch up and he seems to be doing well. Did a little bit on the shorter F train ride uptown.

Planned to get another 15 minutes in as I was early for church, but got into a good convo with the usher standing near me as there weren't many people around that early. Turns out she's Max McLean's wife - if you're part of the PCA somewhere you've probably heard his voice at one point or another - he has an incredible voice and has put it to good use. He's been recorded reading the entire Bible for professional and personal audio use, and I even once heard him being played in a small PCA outside Fort Worth, TX. He does performances of the Gospel of Mark that are just incredible, and often is the live scripture reader in our worship services. More about Max here and here. Anyway his wife introduced me to him at one point and I was glad to finally meet him as I've seen him around a lot and he seems to have a very winsome personality. She and I talked a bit more as they have a daughter that lives in Hoboken so they're here on a regular basis.

Church was good, then off with the kids to the offices. Did a relatively decent lesson on how both respect and responsibility are more important than rights, when we remember to keep our perspective on the image of God that we're created in (it makes more sense when you get the whole lesson). It was at least better than the krep job I did a couple weeks ago. Then we had our Max Q trip meeting to review the journals the kids have been working on.

Got to Hoboken in time for the evening service, and headed to George and Jerm's place to watch the 2nd Star Wars with a few of the guys.

Finally home, no energy to blog. Instead I placate you with the plethora of pictures from the U2 concert. Things I've learned about my camera this week: 1) always use the flash when you're unsure of the light conditions, even if its a rock concert, and 2) go get a tripod. Now.


A documentation of my first in-person, real-life experience with Improv Everywhere follows, in photoessayic format. You can find the full dearth of pictures here, however I should cover the high-lights pretty well.

It started out a clear early Saturday evening, as I walked up to the steps of the huge Post Office on 8th Ave, on the south side, just West of 8th on 31st. There were a few people already assembled, and over the next 15 minutes or so, a good deal more showed up.

We probably numbered 75 or so by the time the plan was put into action.

Before the plot was revealed, however, as we all sat there like nervous sheep, this urban-warfare-lookin dude shows up with an Asian film crew following him. He starts talking with the guys in charge, but none of us can quite figure out what's going on.

Then, before you could blink, the road was on the show. One of the guys in charge quickly explained that we were going to convince the fans that were flocking to the U2 concert at the Garden that the band was actually filming a pre-show video of some sort on a rooftop just down the street from the MSG. Just then a lone cop showed up and started eyeing us from across the street, but that was the last of the law I saw until they broke up the event, about 45 minutes later. You can see her just behind one of their heads.

We began to hustle towards the front side of the garden, but by the time we got to the corner, the signal had already been given to start the commotion amongst the gathering crowds that U2 WAS ACTUALLY ALREADY PLAYING A PRE-SHOW ON A ROOF JUST BEHIND THE GARDEN AND WHAT, ITS FOR REAL, HANG ON HERE WE COOOOMMMMMEEEE!!! We were in small groups and some of us alone screaming on our cell phones, but well enough dispersed in the crowds that lots of people heard us and saw us take off running. These people were like buffalo, I tell you. I didn't get any pictures of that part because I was too busy playing the part and running and talking on my cell phone and whatnot. People going the other way or just standing around began to see the masses running by and naturally followed. The herd grew. I rolled up to 8th Ave between 29th and 30th, and the band on the roof had already started. They were cleverly set up just a little too far back of the edge for us to get a good look, but every few seconds Bono would peek out and the crowd would go nuts.

They had the distortion up on the mics just enough that you couldn't get a clear read on his voice, and the musicians were half decent, so people were not that quick to catch on. At first the crowd was trickling in...

...but soon the herd effect had done the trick and the sidewalk grew to mostly full...

...and graduated straight to completely jammed. We even had a few lanes of traffic blocked with all the cars stopping for a look.

Those who knew the deal kept screaming our heads off for the band and singing along with the songs, and the growing crowd was a mix of those wondering if it was really them, and people who just went along with it.

People started pulling over cars, peeking out of sun-roofs and windows, trying to figure out what was going on.

I headed to the south end of the block to grab some pictures, and cabs started pulling up right by me. I watched at least 3 cabs in a row lose their fare to people hopping out to see the show. My screaming fanship of Bono may have contributed to that.

They had lots of video cameras on the roof which added to the effect.

People were looking out their windows, trying to figure out what the crowd was about and what was on their roof.

And photographers diligently captured every scene, even when the fuzz rolled up to stop the party.

Before the cops got to the roof, the band had played at least 5 or 6 songs by my count, and the crowd had really gotten into it. We chanted them back for an encore at one point and Bono got out the megaphone for Vertigo. That was awesome. Once the law was on the roof, it was clear the show was over, despite our mighty chants of "Let them play!" And even though it was getting dark at that point, and the music was over, the crowd still stuck around, hoping to get a glimpse of the defining band of my generation.

The gods of rock had smiled upon us and held the rain off just long enough for the whole event to be a flaming success. The skies turned ominous and I started running for Penn Station in nary enough time to beat the thunderstorm.


So yesterday's not-quite-a-post marked a full week of daily posting, I am officially on a role. We're going to push the concert picture posting to tomorrow and throw up a few links for your clicking pleasure. Then we're going to eat our Friday evening Chinese and hit the sack, because we have PT for the thumb early in the morning...

Guess the Dictator and/or Television Sit-Com Character
is eerily accurate. I don't know a lot of sitcoms so I went mostly dictators.

Cool photoshopping
, although I wish you could blow them up a little more.

It won't be long until televisions are a thing of the past. There will simply be monitors, and these will run through computers, which will all have TV cards (I'm already thinking about getting one) and the cable companies will just pump the TV straight along with your bandwidth. Don't take my word for it.

Bunny suicides
is not funny and I did not laugh at it. I recommend that you do not click on it. Also it made me think of Toby, who I linked to long ago. So I went to go see what's going on with Toby now...poor guy has little more than a month left and still needs more than $20K.

A compendium of Apple's TV ads.

The ever-handy Cult Comparison Chart.

I need to finally get working on my Photoshop skills and hope to do some of that this weekend / early next week. When I do, I have the Photoshop Guru's Handbook to help me...

Urban Honking
seemed real cool when I first found it but since then they've redesigned the site and it doesn't appear to be at all what I first thought it was. I haven't had a chance to re-explore it, so this is just a bogus fodder link with no real endorsement.

Google link-o-the-week

Radio Locator is pretty cool.

If you're anything like me, you thought Where's Waldo was pretty cool for about 4 minutes, and then you hated it ever since. But there's a whole new way to play, and I'm falling in love all over again, for the very first time. Or something.

Lastly (ironically), I never thought this could happen. But I guess it makes sense.


This is an illegitimate post. Its early on the next day again and I just don't have it in me to throw the links up right now. I guess that gives me something to write about tomorrow. Plus I still have to edit through the U2 pics and upload the decent ones. So maybe some of that too.

I need to get the bod back on a regular schedule - I've been staying up til 2 or 3 in the morning and sleeping in way too late. Once I kick the sinus thing I'm going to be swimming at Stevens with Ted in the mornings, so that should help. Hopefully get the metabolism back on track as well - lately its been a meal at 2pm and a meal at 2am. Real healthy.

Got turned down for a position with the Walgreens project in Chicago that I was pretty hopeful for. So its not like I need to get back on track because I actually have to work any time soon. Grrreat.

That's all.

(Can you believe it? I can't either. What a rip-off.)


Best. Concert. Ever.

(and our seats weren't too bad, either)


1 Surely God is good to Israel,
to those who are pure in heart.

2 But as for me, my feet had almost slipped;
I had nearly lost my foothold.

3 For I envied the arrogant
when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

4 They have no struggles;
their bodies are healthy and strong.

5 They are free from the burdens common to man;
they are not plagued by human ills....

20 As a dream when one awakes,
so when you arise, O Lord,
you will despise them as fantasies.

21 When my heart was grieved
and my spirit embittered,

22 I was senseless and ignorant;
I was a brute beast before you.

23 Yet I am always with you;
you hold me by my right hand.

24 You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will take me into glory.

25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you.

26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.

27 Those who are far from you will perish;
you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.

28 But as for me, it is good to be near God.
I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge;
I will tell of all your deeds.

- Psalm 73

Of the seven deadly sins, only envy is no fun at all. Sloth may not seem much fun, nor anger either, but giving way to deep laziness has its pleasures and anger entails a release that is not without its small delights. In recompense, envy may be the subtlest - perhaps I should say the most insidious - of the seven deadly sins. Surely it is one that people are least likely to want to own up to, for to do so is to admit that one is probably ungenerous, mean, small hearted... - Joseph Epstein, Envy: The Seven Deadly Sins

I've reworked my budget recently and found, to my chagrin, that I'm not quite where I thought I was. I'll be paying for college a little longer than I had thought when I had last reviewed the plan. No worries, I've got a good job, I live comfortably, and I really have little experience of want...but then there's still that nagging feeling.

I could blame it on a lot of things. I live in a pretty nice neighborhood in one of the most expensive real estate markets in the world. I'm surrounded by million dollar condos, cars nearing the six-figures, and manifest money everywhere you look. Tiffany for the ladies and Tags for the guys. I see pets in the park that probably cost more than my rent payment.

And many times I pride myself on the fact that I don't actually want these things. No, if I had that kind of money, I'd still drive a truck and still wouldn't wear a watch. Not me, I say. If I just had that much, I'd...but then that's where it all starts. With the "If I just had...".

And even if my justifications were true...well that's just the envy disguising itself. Envy does that. Its the most embarrassing sin we could be convicted of, after all - nobody wants to be convicted of envy. Anger...sure, I lost my temper, happens to the best of us. Pride, eh, we all face it sooner or later. Even deceit - humiliating, sure, but everyone has to bend the truth a little sooner or later, right? Not so with envy. The best of us are never prey to that, right? That's the last thing you want people to know about you.

The thing about envy is that while you're so busy wanting someone else's life, you kill your ability to enjoy your own. And envy certainly can't blame one's own self for the shortcomings, so as you begin to experience a deficit of joy in your own life, the very next thing to go is your ability to rejoice in the blessings that others have - you begin to resent them simply for having when you don't. As in verse 21, you're not only grieved that you don't have, but bitter that others do (it disguises itself as grief, but the bitterness is there, beneath the surface).

This is where I deal with envy - when it comes to getting out of debt. I find the temptation for that self-pity when I look at those who aren't still paying for their education, those who don't have that burden. It sneaks in when I focus on the lives of others and not on the wonderfulness of my own. Money, of course, is not the only place where envy can flourish, but its certainly a clear medium for my use as an example.

And so I've diagnosed. I haven't cured. This begins somewhere in the realm of vs. 28 - "But for me, it is good to be near God...". To begin to be satisfied with his cosmic payment of my eternal debt, to be near to Him and experience the love that He has for me for all time, not just in the material now.

I'm only just beginning to work this part out in my life.


Random stuff that's struck me recently.

Jesus. No greater following, no greater message. Made the ultimate sacrifice, accomplished the mission, and went home. -- Chance, 34; response to "Give an example of a great leader" in an article about leadership in last month's Men's Health

Truthfulness is one more invisible fiber that holds people together in humane community. When we cannot assume that people communicating with us are truthful, we cannot live with them in trust that they will respect our right to freedom to respond to reality. If we cannot trust each other to respect this basic right, we have lost our chance to be human together in God's manner. Therefore, when God sounds the trumpet for truthfulness, he summons us to live humanly; he provides a survival guideline for community. This makes his command an intrinsically reasonable one.... Generalized formulas for 'just' lies seldom work. In another time, perhaps, people could be more flexible and less stringent. In our age when deceit threatens every area of our society, the last word must be: Speak the truth, be the truth, for your truth sets others free. -- Lewis Smedes, Mere Morality

1. You can have a physical relationship with someone w/o actually "dating" that person.
2. You can have an emotional relationship with someone w/o actually "dating" that person.
3. You don't need to be "dating" someone to realize the potential for problems to develop if either person were to become interested in someone else.
Conclusion: A relationship is not defined the moment we place a label on that relationship. Rather, it is defined by our actions, thoughts, motives, and attitudes. God knows our hearts. He said, "If you love me, you will obey my commandments." -- An unsigned note I found in one of my college days folders. Wish I knew who it was from so I could thank them for their truthfulness.

The worst moment for the atheist is when he is really thankful and has nobody to thank. -- Dante Rossetti

What happens when we're dead? The irony is that all our questions will be answered after we die. We spend our whole life trying to figure out the truth and the only way we'll find out what it is, is to get hit by a bus. And the only comfort that religion offers is that God is driving that bus. -- John Ryman, When Galaxies Collide
Ok. Pictures from the party. This is just a sampling. Click here to see all the ones I uploaded.

Ever freezer should be well stocked with 60 some corn-dogs and approximately 8 pounds of tots.

Katy brought her Kip. Rock on, Kip.

Sar...er...I mean...Deb.

You can probably guess what the inside of this note said.

Pedro was nice enough to share his date for a dance with the roomie.

We opted for the 32 piece set and got this SWEET boat.

Pedro and his protection.

Esther made us a SWEET Tina balloon.

Uncle Rico surrounded by sea horses.


Quarter to frickin 3 in the morning again, for the second night in a row. I hope tomorrow doesn't hurt as bad as today did. Laying in bed waiting for the Nyquil to kick in so I figured I'd get the blog post in for Saturday (technically) after all, instead of begging it off tomorrow. There just wasn't 4 straight minutes of downtime today, between getting ready for the party and actually pulling it off, not to mention being sick throughout. I have no voice at this point, so its providential that I won't be teaching tomorrow.

Its just church, parents meeting for the Max Q trip, and then NAP, and I hope to hit evening service. Next week still on the beach with work, so blogging shouldn't be an issue.

Tough picture for a guy who drank water and stayed in the kitchen most of the night. Rawr. Many more to follow tomorrow. The party was a big hit. Lots to talk about...but...well hey that must be the Nyquil already.


You were lookin' for that third three, but you forgot that Professor Green folded on Fourth Street and now you're representing that you have it. The DA made his two pair, but he knows they're no good. Judge Kaplan was trying to squeeze out a diamond flush but he came up short and Mr. Eisen is futilely hoping that his queens are going to stand up. So like I said, the Dean's bet is $20. -- Mike McDermott, Rounders

Yeah, poker night. Same old story. I play it safe and smart on the standard poker games and try to reel the fish in when I have a hand. The *problem* is, ever time I'm not dealing, someone calls a crazy game like 7-inning baseball, follow-the-queen, or WORST OF ALL the new game George introduced us to, low in the hole roll over or whatever the sam heck its called. I still can't explain that game, so help me. Its about as far from poker as Tokyo from...Mars. Anyway, I lost less than the buy-in, so I didn't really care. Poor PK, the guy who always cleans up, finally didn't have a winning night - ended up buying back in twice. Joel bought in once, I didn't buy in at all (by the skin of my teeth), and Georgie went home fat-wallet.

It was fun. Lots of pre-party Napolean Dynamite talk. 16 new RSVPs when I checked tonight...can you say 'last minute flurry?'

Meanwhile we had the Yankees game on as pitiful Oakland dropped another one to the freakin Yanks, furthering our slump and helping them erase theirs. Sheesh. If we can 2-win the weekend we should be about even with them again, which ain't sayin much.

And that's all I've got. A worthy blog post, for 2 in the morning. I have to be up in 6 hours for a Sams club trip to stock up on party essentials (read: corn dogs, tater tots, wife beaters).

I lost with 5 nines. I had 5 nines in my hand. These are the kind of hands you can LOSE WITH when half the freakin deck is wild.


Well hey, how about that - its Thursday again already. I've done less than very little net surfing this week thanks in great part to my newest toy. Its taken SOF2 to a whole new level for me. Its like being on a special forces team without having to worry about getting shot. Or something. Anyway, its cool.

So what can I dig up on the fly?

I can tell you that on the day I was born, Shadow Dancing by Andy Gibb was number 1 on the charts.

Or that Camophone is a pretty cool idea, and
Search engine decoder
is mildly interesting.

I can tell you there's a new Strong Bad Email up but you really should have viewed it by this point since it comes out on Mondays. God bless those boys for putting the new ones up on Mondays. Like a soothing balm for the wretched wound that the first day of the work week can be.

I can point out the fact that God stopped me from finding this site for the first 5 years of my post-college employment so that I would still have a job today. He is good, all the time.

I could warn you to watch out for stray books.

I could cheat on the google link-o-the-week and instead give you a preview of where Google maps will soon go: Earth View.

And when I run out of links, I could simply direct you to the end of the internet.

I learned a long time ago what happens when I make blithe promises to my blog - I rarely come through on them. Its because I know she won't yell at me when I don't. She just quietly sits and waits and greets me every time, whether or not I've come to put down more blather. Anyway, with that said, as I sit here with my horrible sinus infection / chest congestion / throbbing head...my aim is to get back to daily posting. Expect them to be short. But tomorrow starts with a long overdue personal update. Which should be about 6 sentences long based on how loathe I am to post that kind of thing.


A few weeks back I made a submission to Christian Carnival dealing with a gospel approach to the Metro nation. For more on what that means, I suggest you give it a quick read, if you haven't already. What follows is some further introspective on the phenomenon of the city and what the Christian approach should be.

Stewart Brand had an excellent article recently on Environmental Heresies. In it he sought to promote the idea that the "environmental movement will [over the next ten years] reverse its opinion and activism in four major areas: population growth, urbanization, genetically engineered organisms, and nuclear power." While I found the entire article quite fascinating, I was particularly interested in some of his points on population growth and urbanization.

Take population growth. For 50 years, the demographers in charge of human population projections for the United Nations released hard numbers that substantiated environmentalists’ greatest fears about indefinite exponential population increase. For a while, those projections proved fairly accurate. However, in the 1990s, the U.N. started taking a closer look at fertility patterns, and in 2002, it adopted a new theory that shocked many demographers: human population is leveling off rapidly, even precipitously, in developed countries, with the rest of the world soon to follow. Most environmentalists still haven't got the word. Worldwide, birthrates are in free fall. Around one-third of countries now have birthrates below replacement level (2.1 children per woman) and sinking. Nowhere does the downward trend show signs of leveling off. Nations already in a birth dearth crisis include Japan, Italy, Spain, Germany, and Russia—whose population is now in absolute decline and is expected to be 30 percent lower by 2050. On every part of every continent and in every culture (even Mormon), birthrates are headed down. They reach replacement level and keep on dropping. It turns out that population decrease accelerates downward just as fiercely as population increase accelerated upward, for the same reason. Any variation from the 2.1 rate compounds over time.

That’s great news for environmentalists (or it will be when finally noticed), but they need to recognize what caused the turnaround. The world population growth rate actually peaked at 2 percent way back in 1968, the very year my old teacher Paul Ehrlich published The Population Bomb. The world’s women didn’t suddenly have fewer kids because of his book, though. They had fewer kids because they moved to town.

Cities are population sinks-always have been. Although more children are an asset in the countryside, they’re a liability in the city. A global tipping point in urbanization is what stopped the population explosion. As of this year, 50 percent of the world’s population lives in cities, with 61 percent expected by 2030. In 1800 it was 3 percent; in 1900 it was 14 percent.

The environmentalist aesthetic is to love villages and despise cities. My mind got changed on the subject a few years ago by an Indian acquaintance who told me that in Indian villages the women obeyed their husbands and family elders, pounded grain, and sang. But, the acquaintance explained, when Indian women immigrated to cities, they got jobs, started businesses, and demanded their children be educated. They became more independent, as they became less fundamentalist in their religious beliefs. Urbanization is the most massive and sudden shift of humanity in its history.
(emphasis mine)

A full half of the world's population lives in cities at this point. As responsible Christians, we simply cannot choose to ignore this fact. And yet it seems that cities remain the most morally base part of our societies - the areas where faith flourishes least. I don't intend to claim that we are indeed losing the battle, however it is clear that we at the least have our work cut out for us - especially as the population shift towards city-dwelling continues to grow so rapidly. One could perhaps argue that our responsibility to the cities is exponentially more than Paul's driving duty was.

New York, like most large cities, offers as one of its greatest attractions the incredible array of various world cultures, all forced into just a few square miles. A mini-planet, of sorts; world accessibility on a whole new level. You can walk from China Town to Little Italy to K-town, from Spanish Harlem to, well, Harlem. The Jews have their Garment District with its kosher delis, the Arabs sit just north in their Diamond district, and falafels are fresh cooked by sidewalk vendors. They're all here, and there's something else, too. In addition to the ethnic smorgasborg, the Christian is presented with an entirely new dish - a person who knows no outside world, but who comes from city folk himself. As each year passes, more and more are handed a genealogy that is comprised more primarily and recently of city dwellers themselves, as opposed to cultures developed in the historically distinct countrysides.

Its interesting to note that the very nature of the city itself should provide us encouragement in our mission to spread the Good News. While I would in no way detract from the important of seeking the lost out in the "mission field," we should be careful not to overlook incredible providence of God in guiding humanity at large towards a city-centric mind-set. Consider Roger Greenway:

In Acts 17:26-27 the apostle Paul observes: "...he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him." Viewed in light of these verses, explosive city growth in our century is not something to be perceived as the work of the devil, but as part of God's providential plan in history. God's redemptive purpose behind urban growth is that 'men should seek him and reach out for him.' By means of these enormous gatherings of people, God provides the church with one of history's greatest opportunities. Pressed together in metropolises, the races, tribes, and diverse people groups are geographically more accessible than ever before. God in our time is moving climactically through a variety of social, political, and economic factors to bring earth's peoples into closer contact with one another, into greater interaction and interdependence, and into earshot of the gospel. By this movement God carries forward his redemptive purpose in history. A sign of our time is the city.

A wonderful opportunity? Yes. Enough to make the evangelist's head spin a few rotations? Likely. How is the Christian to be so much to so many, to cater to the ever changing face of the melting pot?

By being resident aliens. For we are those with a citizenship in another city.

All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country - —a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. -- Hebrews 11:13-16

As aliens in the city, we declare a unique identity, much as any cultural group in the city would for itself. We are residents, yes, but we belong to another place. And declaring this is no small thing - we should realize that we will run the very present risk of rejection by the city, and yet we must endeavor to stay and to love it. Christ himself loved Jerusalem, prayed for it, cared for it, even wept over it. But he stayed in it, until in the end it spit him out (though thankfully not for good).

At the same time, knowing that our identity lies in the city of God, we are free from the very restraints of cultural boundaries. Instead, we can seek to be earnestly and fully engaged in all areas of the city - not bound to our own locales or neighborhoods, but living in and of every grouping, distinct or not, ethnic, social, or other. Like Christ, there is no grouping we should not be comfortable with, no people we would not share a meal with. Christianity is a culture of all cultures, loving not just the brothers, but the strangers as well - a unique identity, and yet one at home in any part of the city. Encouraging. And still, no small challenge.

I've written just two posts about it, but I have a feeling I've only begun to open the can of worms.

Christians are not distinguished from the rest of humanity by country, speech, or dress. For they do not dwell in cities of their own, nor use a different language, nor practice an eccentric lifestyle. But while they follow the customs of the land in clothing and food and other matters of daily life, they exhibit the remarkable and unusual character of their own citizenship. Every foreign country is to them a homeland, and every motherland is a foreign country. They marry like everyone else, but they do not throw out their offspring as some do. They share their table with all but not their bed with all. They live upon the earth, but their citizenship is in heaven. They obey the established laws, but in their private lives they surpass what the laws require. They love everyone, but are persecuted by all. They are abused, but they bless. They are insulted, but repay insult with honor. They are poor, but make many rich. They have nothing, yet abound in everything. In a word, what the soul is to the body, Christians are to the world. -– Letter to Diognetus c.100-150 A.D

(you can find a better exposition on much of the same, here).


So its Thursday and I've got plenty of links and zero volition to post them or anything else for that matter. I've got some sort of serious funk, and I need to break free. I've got a ton to do tomorrow that I've been letting slide all week. Call with partner in the company in the morning, fixing my internal resume, applying for more positions after that, talking with Cregan about leading the MaxQ prep sessions over the next month, fixing my wireless network and hooking up the VOIP, preparing Sunday's lesson, and whatever else comes along. That should keep me busy enough. I reward myself Saturday with an A's game. They're in town to kick the Yankees around.

Darn Floor's post on Disney's upcoming Narnia films. First trailer will be shown on ABC this Saturday night.

Ecological Footprint. Mine's like 4 point something acres if I remember correctly.

This is by far the best thing I've found in a long time. Its just so...so...true! Key quote:

It is here, at a pool of 18 726 acceptable females, that we end our statistical analysis. At first glance, a datable population of 18 726 may not seem like such a low number, but consider this: assuming I were to go on a blind date with a new girl about my age every week, I would have to date for 3493 weeks before I found one of the 18 726. That's very nearly 67 years. As a North American male born in the late 1970s, my life expectancy is probably little more than 70 years, so we can safely say that I will be quite dead before I find the proverbial girl of my dreams. Come to think of it, she'll probably be dead too.

Rate my professors for my alma mater. Wish they had this back when I was selecting classes. But then I don't agree with a lot of the comments being made. So maybe its a good thing it wasn't.

is just wrong. On so many levels. I am linking to this so that you can share my pain in finding out it even exists.

Nada does nothing for everybody.

0100010001100001011101100110100101100100 is my first name in Binary.

Go here and click on Innocent Escapes. The man who is always there for you is always here.

New fun useful things this week include Mailinator and Furl. I still need to post on the glories supreme of FireFox extensions. I know.

50 States seems pretty simplistic but its actually a cool repository of all kinds of information by city/state.

Can you tell a coder from a cannibal?

Google link of the week is Xtragoogle, which I haven't even played around with yet and am not even sure I'm going to like once I do.

That's all the linking I have in me. I need to get back to being lethargic.


Well I just haven't seemed to have it in me to blog at the frenetic pace I was at up until I left Macy's. And its been almost 2 months now. Que sera, and all that.

Finally got around to checking out some of my tracking information, noticed someone had reached me through googling "Redeemer Presbyterian Church Manhattan blog." Funny thing is that those terms didn't bring up my site til the 45th result, middle of the 5th page. Pulled up my November archive too, for some reason. So I meandered back to the initial results. The 2nd result of about 969 was this post. Interesting blog, haven't had a chance to read too much of it yet, but if you read the comments to his post, there are a couple responses from who appears to be the pastor of my church, Tim Keller.

Now, I already knew that he surfs blogs and I'm sure a plethora of other stuff online (he is, I am sure, one of the most well-read people I know of), but that got me thinking that he may of at some point stumbled across my blog. Or if not, could very well, in the future. Which would be, well, embarrassing. I don't say much of any import, and when I do try to put together a theological post of some nature, its often quite influenced by what I've been learning in my church experiences of late. And I don't doubt that my inept regurgitation of the quality info I've been able to absorb is, to say the least, lacking.

The closest I may have come to a decent relay of any of his material was when I posted my notes from his sermon on anger last fall, and that was simply my straight-up notes, no personal input to boot.

So there's my little disclaimer to you, Pastor K, if you ever do stumble this way. Imitation the highest form of flattery and all that.


Time for a little photoblography. Nothing from the crap cam here, these are all from the real deal camera, starting with the moving weekend straight through the wedding this past weekend, with a yummy Whistler vacation bonus to wrap things up.

Guess which train station I got to wait around in at the start of moving weekend.

I like taking pictures of my shadow. I don't know why.

This is me totally hanging 10 out of the back of the massive Uhaul I got to drive around while we were towing and hauling stuff. Every moving trip should have an obligatory boogie board to play with.

Brec made PB&Js, then stacked them back in the same bag the bread came in. I had never seen anyone do this before, or else I just don't remember ever seeing it before, but it made quite the impression with me as quite possibly the coolest idea I've seen in a not too very long time. So I took some pictures of it.

Grace, Brec, Jack, and Dave looking tough.

Just the guys, looking tough.

This is as close as I got to DC's blooms this year. Well, I was closer this past weekend for the wedding, but they had been pretty much rained off the trees by that point. Anyway, this was one from Philly on my way back to the train station. Hoboken had some nice blooms too, but I only have crap cam shots of that. Perhaps to come.

Also from the drive back to the train station, this interesting sign.

Everyone was really glad Robbie made it out for the wedding. Everyone is always really glad to see her. Anyway, this is just too much good lookingness for one picture. Look away before you damage your eyes.

There's all kinds of smiles. Fake smiles, big smiles, regular smiles, smirk smiles. But then there's real smiles. There were a lot of these on Saturday.

Ok so after youth group on Sunday, I scanned up some of Kuz's pictures from the vacation. Being as Kuz was behind the camera for these ones, they're naturally mostly of the older sis and myself. Also a couple of Stel, their friend who totally rips on a snowboard, so she's the other gal (the one without the helmet). Click on this picture of me feeling out a sketchy line to see the rest of them (and leave me a comment if the link doesn't get you into the album).