The Institute for Additional Dimension Adjustment Therapy. A good place to go if you've spent too much time here.

The file extension source.

Cool clock.

When paper, rock, scissors isn't enough, RPS-15. And, for the clinically insane, RPS-25.

An interesting anniversary passed this week, the 22nd anniversary of the day Stanislav Petrov saved the world.

I've linked to this before, but it deserves a second...found the whole first episode to the new Chris Rock show on Google Video the other day.

Google link of the week goes to, however, this new maps hack - see where your zip code falls.

Meanwhile...quietly...Google begins its plans to take over the entire universe.

Every guy could use one of these at one point or another.

Wikipedia is a great site, basically an online, constantly updated, user-edited, encyclopedia. Its really quite fascinating - you can read a quick, interesting article about how it can be practically used, here. Using the techniques in that article, its feasible that college students could start getting their term papers basically written for them. Fascinating. Wikipedia has all kinds of interesting info, like lists of unusual deaths, for instance. I particularly liked Jack Daniels'. Of course, I always particularly like Jack Daniels.

I probably skimmed this faster than I should have: how to blog safely.

I'm off to Grove City and Pittsburgh, PA, for my 5th anniversary homecoming at my alma mater. My brother started there as a freshman this fall and I'm really looking forward to hanging out with him. And my sister, Moogs, who's in nursing school in Pittsburgh. And 12 hours of solid road time to think/pray some things through.

So, not much planned in the way of bloggery tomorrow, probably another cheater's post at best. But we'll be back next week in regular hit-or-miss fashion. Have a great weekend.


Its what-to- write-about Wednesday again. Wednesdays are always the toughy. Mondays have become the what-I-did- with-my-weekend post, and I'm trying to keep the personal blather (unless its something I want to note in particular) restrained to just Mondays. Tuesdays are theology Tuesdays, Thursdays are the weekly links, and Fridays are usually a cheaters post of some kind as I'm either a) beat tired, b) rushing into the weekend, or most likely c) both.

Its hump-day that poses a problem. The thing about Wednesday is its the one day I never really feel like I have anything to type out. I've been immersed in work for 30-40 hours over the past 3 days, and creativity is hitting its low-point.

I don't know about other people, but Fridays are usually a wash for me at work. When Friday rolls around, I've worked so hard the past 4 days that I'm lucky if I'm half as productive on a Friday as I am any other day of the week. You just see straight through work into the weekend at that point. Unless you happen to be working the weekend, in which case you just kind of stare at the wall. So I'm glad to be at a company that has flexible hours, at least depending on the project you may or may not be on. Theoretically.

Furthermore, I have a weak point in the day. For about an hour, usually somewhere between 3-5pm, I operate at sub-standard levels. It gets hard to focus and sometimes even stay wide awake. Come 4-5ish, though, I snap right out of it, catch my second wind, and can work til at least 2 or 3am if necessary without missing a beat.

You've probably figured out by now that I'm not coming up with anything to say. I need to solve this problem if I'm ever going to write for a living. Because right now, the only difference it makes is that you're going to go to some other site at the end of the next sentence. But then, it will make the difference between what kind of colleges my kids will be able to attend.


Have you ever been in love? Horrible isn't it? It makes you so vulner- able. It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means that someone can get inside you and mess you up. You build up all these defenses, you build up a whole suit of armor, so that nothing can hurt you, then one stupid person, no different from any other stupid person, wanders into your stupid life.... You give them a piece of you... your life isn't your own anymore. Love takes hostages. It gets inside you. It eats you out and leaves you crying in the darkness, so a simple phrase like 'maybe we should be just friends' turns into a glass splinter working its way into your heart. It hurts. Not just in the imagination. Not just in the mind. It's a soul-hurt, a real gets-inside-you-and-rips-you-apart pain. I hate love. -- Neil Gaiman

I've never been "in love," so in one sense I'm not the person to be writing on this. But I've been close enough to get a good idea of what it looks like. And one thing I'm pretty sure of - love, in its purest form, has a very dark, very unkind side.

As wonderful a thing as it may be on the sunny days filled with poetry and playfulness, night always comes, and the bitter consequences of the sinful world we live in serve to twist even the best feelings a human could have into truly the worst. No one who would choose to love could be immune from this. True love gingerly puts one's heart on the chopping block and hopes for the best. And there is no person in this world who is perfect enough to hold another's heart without damaging it. It simply can't be done.

And yet we are commanded to love. In fact, it is the greatest commandment that Christ gave us - to love God and to love one another as we would ourselves. The sad fact of the matter is that we can't love another person as we would ourselves without doing some measure of damage to our own self. Simple illustration: if I have bread, and my brother doesn't - if I give it to him so that he can eat instead of myself, I go hungry. Would that we were always able to give completely to others, but alas, we are human. And as such, we are programmed to seek our own well-being first, and then secure the masks of those next to us who may need assistance.

So it should really come as little surprise when someone deals shrewdly with the love you have given them. Could you be any better, in the long run? No one offers the perfect love of Christ. We all fail each other.

But Christ told us that those who mourn would be comforted, and even more, blessed. Love isn't something we can choose not to do, because it hurts. And this is a hard pill to swallow - why would (a loving) God command us to do something that He knows will cause us such deep grief, such accute loss?

So that we could know, in just a small shadow of the true sense, what kind of painful, passionate love Christ had to have for us, when we had played fast and loose with his heart. Love is something we must do, because we are commanded to do it, especially when it hurts...for only when we truly mourn in the deep grief of love can we be truly comforted and blessed.

To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket - safe, dark, motionless, airless - it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell. -- C.S. Lewis


So much I want to write about and literally NO time to sit and think and actually write lately. So *that's* been about as fun as a bag of hammers. Last week was bonkers hours out at Toys R Us's headquarters in Wayne, NJ, and some time at our own Florham Park office as well. And lots of time in a car, in between here and those locations.

Friday afternoon rolled around, I shirked some last minute stuff I really should have done, and took off in time to head out to Spruce Lake, a campground retreat type place just a bit into Pennsylvania on I-80. The Hoboken Redeemer had their Fall getaway deal this weekend and as our good friend James MacMillan left us for Holland this past year, my services as a guitarist were requested to help lead song around the campfire. James leaves big shoes to fill.

But it went well, I didn't play too bad, I didn't get much sleep, played too much football with the guys (legs still hurting from that), and I had beers by the fire late at night. So it was a good time. Did some light climbing too, but nothing requiring ropes. I don't think I'll ever be comfortable enough to seriously rock climb again. I think about Emily every time the topic even comes up, let alone when I'm standing at the bottom of a rock face looking up. It just wouldn't be right.

Sunday was youth group, which I had trouble staying awake at, and then football and pizza over at Keller's place. We just sit and check our fantasy pools and flip between the games, its a good time. 49ers lost and then the Steelers did too so I had lots to be sour about on my way home. Did the Sunday evening checking-in with the various family members and called it a day.

I haven't had the camera out in a while. That's something else I need to make the time for. Maybe even throw some pix up here for a change.

More of the same this week - 14 hour days and trying to find time for dry cleaning and eating and sleeping and maybe a run or two. Home fellowship group and men's accountability group both kind of exit stage left when work is this crazy. I don't like it but it is what it is.

Like I said, I've got lots I'd like to write about (topics, I promise, far more interesting than this evening's drivel), and hopefully I'll find some down time to do it this week.


If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too,
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream--and not make dreams your master,
If you can think--and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings--nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much,
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And--which is more--you'll be a Man, my son!

If by Rudyard Kipling


I'm taking applications for someone who is interested in organizing my bookmarks. This position entails organizing and combining the bookmarks on both my work laptop (already somewhat organized, maybe 33% of them) and my home computer (not organized but significantly less volume of actual bookmarks). Position would also entail listing all my bookmarks (once organized on my FireFox bookmark menu) in my personal del.ic.ious file for safe-keeping.

This temporary position includes the possibility of long-term part-time employment in managing the upkeep of my bookmarks both on my computers and on del.ic.ious.

Compensation: you get access to the literally thousands of cool links I've felt worth remembering at one point or another, and you don't even have to search for them. Hundreds upon hundreds of interesting tools, good reads, and generally cool stuff.

Serious applicants can submit resumes to my email, found in my profile.

Ok now its time for me to be serious...quick and dirty links (again) tonight, taking a brief work break to drain the brain, then its back to organizing all this stupid interview data I've been collecting the past few days. Blech.

Oh, and thanks to these stupid hours I've been unable to run all but one day this week. Pisser.

Christian Carnival is up over at Digitus, Finger & Co.

I know I'm a total nerd for linking to the Cornell Note Taking Method, but I really could have used it earlier in life.

is an awesome tool for people like me who always try to finangle an exit row.

Check these out if you have an interview any time soon. I also highly recommend this book.

Yet another cheat sheet for advanced Google users.

20 ways to say no.

Good way to check and make sure your anti-spyware really is.

Google link of the week (hah, you thought I already gave it to you, that was just a head fake - and here's the real thing, BOO YAH)...is their new wireless connection encrypting tool. All your wifi surfing gets sent through their servers to be encrypted, unviewable to anyone else in the world. Except the Google servers. But its ok, because they are Google, and therefore embody everything that is good and right in the universe. Resistance is futile. (This is actually a pretty good idea if you do a lot of surfing from wifi hotspots like myself. No, really.)

Bonus Google link: Placeopedia uses Google Maps...cool.

Extra Bonus Google link: Census results combined with Google Maps.

Dang...there's lots more links but no time left. No idea when I'll be able to blog again - tomorrow if I can get out of work its off to the weekend getaway thing. This is not going to be a relaxing weekend. For me.

Can somebody relax on my behalf? Thanks. I'll make it up to you later.

(Lots of links thanks to Lifehacker this week.)


Based on my first 6 or so months here in my new job, and on a couple of conver- sations with co-workers that I've had lately, I'm beginning to realize that I'm in a job right now that basically negates my ability to commit to almost anything.

And I mean anything. About a month ago I committed to lead worship for a church retreat taking place this coming weekend, and right now, Wednesday night, I have simply no idea whether or not I'll actually have the weekend off to do so.

Convenient that I landed this position right about the time I thought I might look into dating a little more seriously. Ironically, my singleness and ability to travel was one of my selling points in landing the job. Now, faced with the prospect of 60-70 hour weeks for the next couple years, I have to deal with the very real possibility that my romantic aspirations will be, for the large part, put on indefinite hold (not that there were any big prospects). At least until I find some kind of stability in this position or move on to bigger and better things.

And this job certainly puts me in a position to move on to such things at a much faster rate. But that's the whole thing with consulting. Everything is so...fast. Your week is gone before you know it, you've worked every waking hour, and yet you're working all weekend because the work is still there.

This is going to be a good test of the healthy Sabbath habits I was blessed to be able to develop over the past 5 years. Perhaps this will simply be a season of work for me. This topic needs some serious prayer and discernment...

At the same time, things could be worse, I could have stayed where I was at and be dealing with this. If you weren't already aware, I submitted my resignation to Macy's just two days before they first announced the acquisition this past spring. Providence works in mysteriously ironic ways.

(FYI if you haven't guessed by now...I worked way too long today then came back to the 'boken to celebrate David (Keller)'s visit to my neighborhood with a couple beers. Dave and I determined that a. you can't win solitaire on the first try, b. any rating above an 8 necessarily assumes personal preference, and c. we should write a book together. Among other things.)

(These are the kind of posts you get on the rare occasions I drink beer.)

(Blogging on a regular basis comes under serious long-term threat as of this week, for reasons already stated. More later.)


Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD. - Ps. 27:14

When we talk about waiting for God, its easy to confuse who is actually doing the waiting. Very often, we think of "waiting for the Lord" as if we were children obeying our parents to receive some reward. We focus on meeting his conditions, being that obedient and holy kingdom citizen who's prayers will be answered.

But there's a flip side. Perhaps we should be thinking of waiting for the Lord as if we were a child who's parent is holding back some reward that the child is not yet ready to give us. Often, as children, we don't understand why we can't see the PG-13 rated movie, or wear makeup, or what have you.

The difference between the two is this: in the former, we're focused on ourselves being ready for something. In the latter, the issue isn't so much whether or not we are ready, but whether or not the Father is ready. And the child will, oft times, think that he is ready for something long before the Father knows that the child is. Waiting for the Lord very often means waiting long past the time that we are ready...it means waiting until He is ready.

I saw moreover in my dream, that the Interpreter took him by the hand, and had him into a little room, where sat two little children, each one in his chair: the name of the eldest was Passion, and of the other, Patience; Passion seemed to be much discontent, but Patience was very quiet. Then Christian asked, 'What is the reason of the discontent of Passion?' The Interpreter answered, 'The Governor of them would have him stay for his best things till the beginning of the next year, but he will have all now: but Patience is willing to wait.' -- Pilgrim's Progress

Blessed are all who wait for him! -- Isaiah 30:18


So...yeah. To think that a couple months ago I was complaining that I wanted some structured work for a change. Stupid.

I'm taking a brief blog-break from work, which I'll basically be doing round the clock for the next couple weeks, which is nothing new. Ugh. But hey I have a good job and work with cool people, I can't complain. Very much.

Friday was chill, Saturday was working on the lesson for Sunday, and then that evening I went to the Higher Ground Jazz Benefit at Lincoln Center for Hurricane Katrina victims. Courtesy of my new friend Kristin from church.

It was one of the coolest musical experiences of my life. First time seeing some people I have always wanted to see live, including Elvis Costello, Robin Williams, James Taylor, Aaron Neville, Laurence Fishburne and Bette Midler. Plus many more. All the big names in Jazz were there, and Wynton Marsalis did an incredible job leading the various band pieces. Bill Cosby was really the only big disappointment of the night, otherwise it was pretty much 5 straight hours of simply incredible music. I'd love to write more about it, but I digress...

Sunday was church, high school group, hanging out with Keller at his place checking our pool scores and talking about girls. Stopped by the Hoboken church after the service on my way home, and then the work week started again. Worked / dozed through An Ideal Husband with the roomie and his girl.

Tonight I banged out an 8-miler after work and am watching Clinton Portis' failure to produce and the Dallas defense's success against Washington give me my second loss in the football pool in as many weeks. I blame Peyton for playing worse than his younger brother this week. ARGH. I need to trade Portis.

Light blogging this week as work will be ridiculous and I have to devote my spare time to preparing to lead worship at the Hoboken church's weekend-getaway this weekend. Please pray for me should you think to - I haven't been playing much lately and am totally unprepared to lead 60 some people in worship all weekend.

Thank God in heaven that I get to work from home tomorrow.


You can get an idea from the poem about when it came into being...suffice to say I originally got this email on our college's Boaz student server. If you have any idea what that is, you are at least as old as me. Anyway, its a little more liberal and beery than things really were at our school (ok, for me...for the most part)... but it still has some stuff that you can connect with if you've done, or are doing, the college thing.

My brother started as a freshman at my alma mater this fall, and my fifth year homecoming is at the end of this month. I don't know if I want to go. I can't imagine there's many of us left at this point who are still complete failures by Grove City College standards: still single, 5 years out. I'd be surprised if there's anyone past me, Knauer, and Lumanowski at this point. We're the last of the Mohicans...


Sometime in between moving into the dorm
And begging for an ID,
Somewhere in the middle of an 8 o'clock class,
And watching Friends on our 8 inch TV.

Sometime after the night you forgot,
With the girl you don't remember.
Maybe before the five tests in three days,
Or the party every night in September.

Sometime in the car on the way to Iowa,
For the roadtrip of the year.
After class gets out with that gay TA,
After you finish the last warm beer.

Shortly after you figured out,
This newfangled 'e-mail' thing.
And after you stopped dreaming about,
The fun a 21 ID would bring.

Maybe the morning after you pulled the allnighter,
But finally got the paper done,
Or maybe when you can't remember,
The last Sunday night you had fun.

Somewhere between the day you met your dorm roommate,
And you were sure you got one of the duds,
And the day 4 years later when he's still your roommate,
And he's one of your best buds.

Definitely after you realized how lucky you are,
To have such a great group of friends,
And after you get that sick feeling in you stomach,
Wondering what will happen when it ends.

Maybe on the beach for spring break,
Hot sun, tan bodies, cold beer.
Maybe after you started looking for a job,
And your happy world turned to fear.

Soon after you discovered there's just not enough time,
To do everything you should.
But not before you realized Thanksgiving dinner,
Never tasted so good.

Sometime after the day your parents came to visit,
So you were forced to make your bed.
Or the morning after a tough night at the bars,
And you can't believe the things you said.

Sometime after you enjoy the beautiful weather,
Though it means missing a class.
Probably after laughing on homecoming weekend,
Watching old alumni drunk off their collective ass.

Somewhere between day one and year four,
The best years of your life were spent.
And looking back with a smile and a sigh,
You wonder where those years went.

You try to figure out who made you a victim,
Of the most serious crime,
You offer a reward for any information leading,
To the one who stole the time.

The day is coming closer, and closer,
Until one day it will be your last,
And someone is guilty of doing this to you,
The years have gone way too fast.

Sometime when you were too busy to notice,
Happy as a newborn pup,
Someone came along and did the unthinkable.
Somebody grew us up.


The Million Dollar Homepage...some day I'm going to think of something like this and retire.

Google link of the week is their much heralded Blog Search. But wait, bonus Google link: if you start digging a very deep hole, and just keep digging, where will you come out on the other side of the planet? Good thing this never worked in our backyard in Cali, I would have ended up in the middle of the Indian Ocean.

Think gas prices are high? Exxon doesn't. They're on track to make more money this quarter than any company has made in any quarter, ever.

Blog of the week goes to Pray for Katie. Please pray for her. It won't cost you a thing.

Boundless Webzine looks pretty cool, maybe I can get some of my stuff on their site too.

I don't think I've linked to McSweeney's before, but there's some classic stuff there. Peruse at your own risk. You might consider starting with Implausible Claims Made by Vanilla Ice in His 1990 No. 1 Hit "Ice Ice Baby."

Gmail Tips - The Complete Collection

The Mutopia Project - apparently legally free music.

Like McSweeney's, this is another one of those links that I suppose most people have found on their own by now, but its incredibly useful just in case you haven't found it yet. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Oh, and my sister made the mistake of deciding to keep her blog on the evil and not-owned-by-Google and therefore totally unsanctified xanga. So I *guess* you could go visit her over there, if you're feeling extremely benevolent.


Quick and dirty. I tell you, you were *this* close to getting another quote post, like Monday's cheat. I do those when I have barely any time to blog. Which has been pretty much all the time, lately.

Deal is, Toys R Us still hasn't given us an answer on the pitch we made to them a week ago. So I'm still doing a bunch of work that may be completely pointless if they come back with a "no." So you can imagine its less than inspiring. But its still a lot of work - thankfully I've been able to work from home all week but its been more work than it has been home. If that makes any sense...

I'm not getting my runs in until late at night - 9 or 10pm starts, which kind of stinks, but I have the roads to myself for the most part, which is nice. I'm doing 6-8 miles a day, depending on how much time I have for it, and hope to get it up to 8-10 in the next month or two. After that I want to add the swimming during the winter months.

The goal is Ironman before I'm 30. You heard it here first.

Youth group started again for the school year this past weekend. We're still doing the 7 Checkpoints material I blogged about last year, but I'm going to try to do another recap of this year's material should I get an opportunity any time soon. I think I did a pretty good job of drilling at least some of the checkpoints and related scripture / ideas into the kids heads last year as they seem to remember some of it...this year I want to move briskly through the earlier points and hit the later points a little earlier in the spring, when we can focus intently on them, before the big fade-to-summer starts to slag everyone down.

Home fellowship group started again last week over at Cregan and Mindi's (who, I might add, are preggers with #2, Naomi - at least that's what she's called right now, save any late ultrasound discoveries). She's due around Christmas time so they'll be in town for the holidays - first holidays it looks like I'll be plenty free to travel home for, ironically.

I'm not digging this not-knowing-what-life-will-look-like-next-week deal that I've been stuck in thanks to work pretty much since the spring. I'm not complaining, summer was the best one I've had since college, its just that after a while, and especially now that I'm working sporadically (but in huge bursts), I'd like to have some regularity - be able to plan stuff like going out of town, be able to get a gym membership going, normal stuff that I can't do right now. Even the weekends are difficult as I sometimes find work thrown my way on Friday night. I really don't like how it forces me to be non-committal with friends and such.

At the same time, I've really gained new appreciation as of late for how good my life is, especially now that I have a job that I don't hate. I'm not in a profession that I know I love, but I've taken a huge step away from one that I do know I hate.

So there's your personal blather update from me, probably won't see that again for a while. Pizza is still cooking, which is why its actually run longer than I first thought.

Things to come, soon, Lord willing:

- more articles submitted to RelevantMag, and other online rags.

- Dave finds himself back on the market again after 5 years off, is not pleased with his initial findings (read: this is not Dave saying he is dating. Dave hates dating)

- favorite places in NYC (just in time for autumn explorations)

- on Instant Messaging and the totally non-committal youth culture (although I think I wrote on this before, somewhere...)

- a techy piece on how I have my computers set up and what I want to do next, by the nerd in me

- lots more comment posts (perhaps a return to regular weekend posts, with these), as I'll be updating my "Reflections in a Diamond Eye" file - more on that later


But when they said, "Give us a king to lead us," this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the LORD. And the LORD told him: "Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you. Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will do."

Samuel told all the words of the LORD to the people who were asking him for a king. He said, "This is what the king who will reign over you will do: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. Your menservants and maidservants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use. He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, and the LORD will not answer you in that day."

But the people refused to listen to Samuel. "No!" they said. "We want a king over us. Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles."

When Samuel heard all that the people said, he repeated it before the LORD. The LORD answered, "Listen to them and give them a king." -- 1 Sam 8:6-22a

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the failure of the local, state, and federal governments to adequately prevent, prepare for, or respond to such a disaster is evident to all. President Bush, who many have jumped to lay full blame on, has even himself admitted this. This is no matter of debate.

But is the disastrous aftermath of the storm truly the governments' fault? No. Its our fault, each and every American. The welfare state we created and were content to live with is lies squarely to blame for the ill-prepared state of New Orleans, the woefully inefficient response to the disaster, and even the maniacal behavior of the people in that city during the crisis. You can read excellent articles detailing these facts both here, and here (both links thanks to my beautiful and graceful sister, Robbie). I love the second article because it rings clear and true, being written by an incredibly astute black woman.

For my purposes, I won't delve much further into the political applications of the claims I just made, the articles do far better justice to the topic than I ever could.

But I would elaborate where I say that the blame for this tragedy lies on every American's shoulders. We are a sinful nation. Many would argue against this, but I once had a college professor point out an interesting fact when speaking about Vietname - a Godly nation doesn't lose wars. And even today, our nation is at war, and its one that I'm skeptical that we can truly 'win.'

Much like the people of Samuel's day, we have corporately forsaken the Lord to turn after our own lusts. It was never supposed to be the governments' job to take care of our poor. That responsibility lies on the community itself, and namely the church. Now, I am not condemning all churches everywhere - heaven knows I know of some wonderful churches and ministries that daily toil to serve Christ among the poor. There are even great ministries like Desire Street and the PCA church that are working as we speak to bring healing to the victims of this tragedy.

But the church at large, especially in America, has failed at the very least to be socially active in crying out against a nation that would settle for a government that would attempt (and so blatantly fail) to care for said nation's poor. We have settled for our luxurious lives, spent far from the ghettos of the inner city, complacent and satisfied to pay ridiculous taxes to a government that failed to do what was clearly our duty. I'm just as guilty as you are, before you respond angrily to that.

We need to change our culture, our government, and our nation. We need to pray that God would effect this change, because we cannot do it on our own. That's the macro level of this problem.

At the micro level - in dealing with the crisis we currently have on our hands, the church should be at the front lines. If you claim the name of Christian, you should be earnestly considering how you can be of the most service to the poor and needy in the South. Whether it be sending more money to Red Cross, dropping off spare clothes at the local fire station collection drop, or considering going there to volunteer yourself, we all need to be doing more, with hearts broken over the true grief of this situation. While it may seem a grave claim to make, I submit that unless you were there caring for the sick and dying at the Superdome in the days after the storm, you need to consider the fact that you probably don't radically understand and live out the Gospel message the way the church once did. I know I don't:
Acknowledging the huge death rate [in the plagues in the cities of the ancient Roman empire], Dionysius noted that though this terrified the pagans, Christians greeted the epidemic as merely "schooling and testing." Thus, at a time when all other faiths were called to question, Christianity offered explanation and comfort. Even more important, Christian doctrine provided a prescription for action. That is, the Christian way appeared to work...

At the height of the second great epidemic, around 26, in the Easter letter...Dionysius wrote a lengthy tribute to the heroic nursing efforts of local Christians, many of whom lost their lives while caring for others.

Most of our brother Christians showed unbounded love and loyalty, never sparing themselves and thinking only of one another. Heedless of danger, they took charge of the sick. Attending to their every need and ministering to them in Christ, and with them departed this life serenely happy; for they were infected by others with the disease, drawing on themselves – the sickness of their neighbors and cheerfully accepting their pains. Many, in nursing and curing others transferred their death to themselves, and died in their stead...

-- Rodney Stark, The Rise of Christianity


Bono: Yes, I think that's normal. It's a mind-blowing concept that the God who created the Universe might be looking for company, a real relationship with people, but the thing that keeps me on my knees is the difference between Grace and Karma.

Assayas: I haven't heard you talk about that...

Bono: At the center of all religions is the idea of Karma. You know, what you put out comes back to you: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, or in physics--in physical laws--every action is met by an equal or an opposite one. It's clear to me that Karma is at the very heart of the Universe. I'm absolutely sure of it. And yet, along comes this idea called Grace to upend all that "as you reap, so will you sow" stuff. Grace defies reason and logic. Love interrupts, if you like, the consequences of your actions, which in my case is very good news indeed, because I've done a lot of stupid stuff.

Assayas: I'd be interested to hear that.

Bono: That's between me and God. But I'd be in big trouble if Karma was going to finally be my judge. It doesn't excuse my mistakes, but I'm holding out for Grace. I'm holding out that Jesus took my sins onto the Cross, because I know who I am, and I hope I don't have to depend on my own religiosity. -- from Bono in Conversation with Michka Assayas


Another day.

Its cooler now that summer is passing. The city seems quieter on these weekends as the tourist season dies down for a bit before the holiday rush. The locals are back in town for the weekend - their beach house share-rentals expired on Labor Day, and the frenetic pace of living and working in the city will return with the Monday morning of the first 5-day work-week of the season.

Sports converge as the Giants open up out in the Meadowlands, the Yankees fight Boston for their playoff spot, training for the marathon is in full swing, and tennis is played by the greats out in Queens.

Fireworks go off over the Hudson every Saturday night for the latest festival on the riverfront. The boardwalks and parks are crowded with people happy not to be behind a desk for the moment.

There was one solitary leaf on the sidewalk on the way home from church this afternoon. It wouldn't have even been noticed but for the sound when it was trampled.

Fall begins again in New York, just like it always does, just like it always will, for as long as time allows.

But things are still different here.

Cops look in your bag on your way to work. People nervously eyed those with luggage on their way to the office before the long weekend. In the airports you try to read but find yourself sizing up every person getting on the same plane as you and wonder if you would have the courage to do what it takes, should you have to.

And there's still a certain tourist attraction downtown that you won't take your friends to when they come to town for a visit.

On the first anniversary, I remember standing in my office, across the street from Penn Station. I was standing in a conference room, staring at a live news feed, and had just heard the city be quiet for one complete minute. And then I saw something I'll never forget.

The first victim's wife made her way from the bottom of the ramp towards the circle in the middle of the grey valley. It was windy that day, and dust whipped up from the ground in twists, as if to push her away. She tilted her head forward and stepped into the swirling grit that had once been the building that her husband went to work in that hated morning.

And then the wind changed directions.

Growing up, I was told that the wind was angels rushing by us on their way to do God's work. I still believe it.

I watched as the wind changed direction and slowly blew her hair out in front of her, as it ruffled her skirt towards the circle she walked towards. The angels walked with her as she stepped towards the void and laid down her flowers. There was no dust, only the silent rush of air, as she let them go.

And then thousands of others followed her.

Today is the day we remember. Today is the day we will never forget.


2 days of not much work. After a bear of a Tuesday / Wednesday its been nice to chill for a couple days...

We'll find out early next week if the pitch was successful. If not...its back on the searching-for-work wagon. In which case I think I'm going to call my HR rep in Houston and see if there's any option for me to do a little volunteer work down in NO during my time off. Could be quite the opportunity, if it works out.

After waiting for work to not happen today, I headed out to pick up the new prescription for my hands (long story short I have some kind of chronic allergic Eczema, whatever). Then running shoes and a couple books I've been wanting. When you go shopping for new running kicks, the service you get in the shop makes all the difference in the world. If he takes 2 mintues to look at the tread on my old shoes, watch the way I walk, feel my arches, and then suggests a new shoe...he could be suggesting the worst shoe, charge me twice the retail value, and I'd still buy it and thank him. This is what I need when I get new running shoes.

On the way home, Joel calls and wants to grab drinks and play some Golden Tee as the women (namely, his wife) are at a monthly ministry leaders meeting, or something. So that's what we did.

If I could golf in real life like I do on Golden Tee, this blog never would have happened. That's all I have for tonight. Pitiful, I know, but I'm hoping to ply you with meaty Saturday posting to make up for the weak effort lately.

Fall kicks off this weekend. Keller is preaching again, youth group starts full fledged, MCM Monday night, HFG on Wednesday.

I'm ready.


A no-post Wednesday? What's up with that? Shoddy work. Shoddy.

Its the job, I tell ya. Tuesday we worked through the night, got home around 4am on Wednesday morning. Thankfully the partner who was repping us cut us some slack and we didn't have to work on Wednesday while they made the pitch to Toys. We find out next week if it sells or not, in which case I spend the next 6 months of my life in beautiful Wayne, NJ.

Extra tasty links for you today to make up for my no-show yesterday. (I warned things could get a little hectic with work picking up...let's just all pray I find a routine. Til then, baby steps.)

First, and most importantly, there are many people in the wake of Hurricane Katrina that need our help. If you haven't given, even a little, yet, please find one of the million easy ways to do so. Specifically, please consider helping out Desire Street Ministries. Some particularly heartbreaking updates on their site.

(I'm linking to NYC, find your city on the right hand side of the site) is one of those links that I feel goes pretty much without saying, as its on my favorites bar and used even more than a normal bookmark. But then I guess its a pretty big thing in NYC compared to how it gets used in the rest of the world. Anyway every once in a while I'm talking to someone about it and they have no idea what I'm talking about, so I felt it deserved a safety link. Craigslist is good for free stuff (especially last minute extra tickets to sporting / music / arts events), finding jobs, finding places to live and/or roommates, and even finding a date. Particularly popular are the missed connections. Filled with sad people who didn't take the chance when they had it...

Just in case there are any schizo liberals left out there that still think the world hates the US for our war on terror...uh, I don't think so. Although not listed on the link, even Afghanistan has made offers of assistance.

This one is just plain weird, but in that kind of cool just plain weird way.

I read Being Poor last week but apparently you might be seeing it in your local paper soon, its getting a lot of press. We live in a nation where, I suppose, the majority of people who read his article will not identify with most of what he says. We need to be thankful for that.

Do you know what they call a quarter pounder with cheese in Sacramento?

Usually when Christmas or a birthday rolls around, I have no idea what to tell mom I want, even though she asks like 40 times. This year that will not be a problem.

Oodle looks useful, Imeem may be pretty cool as well.

Google image search for "woman driver."

Half of me says these people have too much time on their hands but the other half is screaming "I WANT TO DO THAT!"

Cool tool: online parallel Bible.

This is one of those links that the only person who thinks its cool is me, but TGR still rocks.

Our link du jour is an exciting one - news on Tim Keller's new book, to be in print within a year. I can honestly say this ranks in the top 10 most highly-anticipated books of my life (for the most part I enjoy reading things that were written before my time - there just hasn't been that much I've been excited about that's been written recently). Note that the blog is hosted by J and M Keller - two of his sons. I'm friends with the other one, David, so this should be an interesting conversation piece next time we get together. Check out the rest of their blog, its good reading. Found via FirstFloorFlat.


Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world, there is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We were all meant to shine as children do. Its not just in some of us, its in everyone. And as we all let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same, as we are liberated from our own fear - our presence automatically liberates others. Sir, I just want to say 'thank you,' you saved my life. -- Timo Cruise (Rick Gonzales), Coach Carter

Its really not that great of a line, but the delivery the actor gave it made it what it is. Good movie, over all.

Its almost 2AM and I'm in the middle of an all-nighter in the satellite offices out here in Florham Park. Which means one of two things - if we finish early enough to justify going home, we have an hour drive cutting into our sleep going there and coming back in the morning. Or, we don't finish early enough to justify going home. That's the other option, which means I get to sleep an hour maybe, sitting up, then get to wear the same clothes tomorrow.

So that's why I missed a Christian Carnival post for the first time in a while. I'll try to get something of value up maybe tomorrow or Friday to make up for that.

I'm not super bummed about work as the honeymoon phase with the new company is still fresh, thanks in large part to the 4 months being unstaffed. But if this pace keeps up, it will fade fast.

Back to work.


Well its Labor Day, and while I usually like to post something relevant to the given holiday that I happen to be blogging on, Labor Day is just so...blah. I mean its a holiday to celebrate labor. Work. By not working, which is kind of ironic. "A creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers blah blah blah blah blah."

So, in honor of Labor Day, I'm going to post here an email that I once sent to a group of my friends back when I was working at my first miserable job at Kaufmann's, in the buying program there. I had been working late on a Friday as was often the case, and more than a little unhappy about it. Its basically my views on work and where it came from and why I don't like it. Some people who received my rant have taken some issue with it, and while for the large part its written in wry jest, some parts of it still ring fairly true.

Guess what? That's right. I hate work. I don't hate my job; I just hate work in general. I know this to be true because I hate work at home (i.e. laundry, dishes, etc.) just as much as I hate it here at my job (heretofore undistinguished from "work" - it should be noted that an underlying presupposition to this litany is that work and job are two entirely different entities).

It all goes back to that stupid Adam guy. Boy, did we humans ever had it made, running around butt naked, eating anything we wanted except fruit from one stinking tree in a whole huge garden (how hard was this concept, really?), no hurt, no pain, life was great, you never got sick or died or anything. Then it all went to heck in a hand-basket.

This whole "sweat of your brow" thing - suitable punishment for man's sin, I grant God that (although it is still under debate as to whether it was actually "man's" sin - yet regardless of who's sin it was, Adam did, however, set the perfect initial example of what has become known as "blame" when he said "the woman You gave me..." - notice he blames both the woman and God for giving him the woman. Classic.). Nevertheless, it never said anywhere that we were explicitly required to love work. So I propose that whoever first came up with the insane idea that work was something you should love, was, in fact, an absolute moron.

Now, since we postulate that most people (present company excluded, naturally) are generally stupid, we can assume that most people are of the mind (or lack thereof) that you can, ideally, find work that you actually love. These people are stupid because they believe this, and they believe this because they are stupid. It is a vicious cycle.

Side note: some say you should fear stupid people in large numbers, I say fear large numbers of people. Chances are there are more stupid people than not in any given large group. Most smart people are too cautious to gather too often with any group of people for fear of too much association with stupid people, as stupidity has, in rare instances, been known to be contagious.

To my point, I don't believe there is such a thing as work that can be loved. Labor of love is an oxy moron, when in situations where the labor is the focus (i.e. the apostle who coined the phrase meant labor of LOVE, not LABOR of love). Perhaps it may be said that there are jobs that you can love, but are these really work? No. They are a form of something, anything else (relaxing, playing, thinking, what have you...) that you happen to get paid for. This is what I want. That I could love.

Please contact me if you know where I can find this. Of course, if you did know where I could find this, you would keep it to yourself, if you were smart. And since I have formerly excluded present company from the category of idiocy, my request is rendered moot.

I rephrase - please forward this to stupid people you may be pained to know who do have jobs that they love (and likely, therefore, think they love their work). Ask them to get back to me with info.




Apologies for the second week in a row for missing a Friday post. This week I have no poetry to placate you with. But I am blogging in the middle of a holiday weekend. Holiday weekend for you, I mean - not for me.

Friday I showed up in the office for an 8am conference call that never happened. I worked for the next 16 hours. It was the second day I worked an 8-to-midnight in a row. The days before that last week weren't much better. But it meant I didn't have to work yesterday, which was nice...laundry and a decent dinner and collapsing early (early for me, in the PM for a change). But of course I'm working again today, hoping to wrap up in time to watch the A's / Yanks game over at Ko's with him and Moody. I'm waiting on my counter-part to email me her portion of our project that she just got around to working on right now. Convenient for me, not like I got my stuff done early in the day so I could have the evening free...or something. So I'll be working during the game. And after.

And I'm working tomorrow. Pisser. Not all day, I'll get a game of ball in with the guys in the morning, but that will be about it.

I haven't had time for ANYthing lately, so if you're among the masses of people I owe a call / email to, my apologies. The three months of not doing very much in the way of work was nice, and heaven knows I needed it to prepare me for this kind of frenetic work-all-holiday-weekend pace.

My most painfully ironic Labor Day ever.


Well its 10pm and I'm still working. Ugh. Good news is that I *think* I'm going to be free this weekend. Who knows...all depends on how tomorrow goes. Anyway, abridged links, again, thanks to too much work. I'll try to put some actual time / thought into them next week.

The link of the week, of course, is my big break. This is where it all starts. You were with me in the beginning, I won't forget that when I'm closing major book deals.

What else...what else...

Google Maps link of the week, smugMaps. Eeeenteresting.

Free Tibet. Then free classical music.

Cool Google Tutor on finding unprotected directories. Kind of like that Troogle or whatever it was I linked to a week or two ago.

Answers to 40 (common) Objections to Christianity.

God's Yellow Pages - used to keep a printout of something similar in my Bible in college.

This guy predicted the disaster in New Orleans back in 2001. Can you say "I told you so..."?

Google can tell you how to whistle the loud way. I'm going to learn this over the weekend. That's my one main goal for the long weekend.

The New York Times points out some of my Santa Barbara fave eats.

If I do two things this weekend (first is whistling), the second will be either cleaning my room or uploading a picture to this cool ASCII tool. Guess which.


Had my fantasy football pool draft last night, I got first pick and against my own better judgment I didn't pick up P. Holmes or L. Tomlinson. I just couldn't resist picking the Man. Here's how I ended up:


Peyton Manning passed for almost 4600 yards last year, with 49 TDs and a mere 10 interceptions, for a QB rating of 121.1. This is a safe as a bet gets.

Backing him up I have none other than big Ben Roethlisberger, who in his rookie year passed for TDs and took home a rating of 98.1. Not too shabby.

Wide Receiver:

Chad Johnson
heated up late last year, getting 7 of his 9 TDs in 5 games on the second half of the season. I could have done better for my first WR pick but I'll have to take what I can with the best QB in the league.

Drew Bennet had a respectable 11 TDs last year, hopefully he'll improve on that.

Steve Smith had the whole season off last year basically after serious injury, but he's projected to return hard and fast this year.

I'm kind of vainly hoping Brandon Stokely will see a more even distribution of Peyton's passing and improve on his 10 TDs last year.

Running Back:

Here's where the hurt starts. I need a big improvement from Clinton Portis this year, only 5 TD's last.

Brian Westbrook
only had 3 rushing TD's last year but they went to him through the air for 6 more - he had nearly as many receiving yards as he did rushing. He may replace Clinton early in the year for the starting position.

And as my backup I gots the bus, Jerome Bettis. Out of my 3, he had the most TD's last year, even passed for one (remember that?). The question is, will he be healthy?

Tight Ends:

Jeremy Shockey
and Heath Miller, who went at pick #30 in the first round of the draft this year to Pittsburgh. By this point in the draft I was like "eh, whatever..."


Mike Vanderjagt and San Diego's Nate Kaeding.


Now this I was happy about, for as late as I picked my defenses: New England and Philadelphia. Yay, me. People were like "but you lost Ty Law and your starting middle linebacker" and I'm like "if there's one team in the league that has shown the ability to deal with adversity and still bring the rings home consistently lately, its New England."

We'll see how this goes. My first time doing a fantasy league since like college, so of course I'm re-learning everything as we go along here.