Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Great Lines

From time to time I hear quotes that I find interesting. I thought I'd include a few of them here... I didn't do much research or checking, so I can't tell you that these quotes are extremely accurate. Please, correct any errors or comment about any quotes that pique your interest.

"Only the dead have seen the end of war" - Plato. This line is quoted at the beginning of the movie Tears of the Sun with Bruce Willis. I love Bruce Willis, and I love war movies (except Hart's War). I won't go into the details of the movie except to say that the internal battle between Bruce Willis' conscience and his instinct to follow orders is as thrilling as the battle between the Navy Seals he commands and the Nigerian rebel soldiers intent on genocide.
The quote itself is pretty self explanatory (which is what makes it a good quote). I don't want to get into an argument about heaven and hell, but this quote seems to indicate that death - and subsequent existence in the heaven of your own god - is the only escape from war. Living in this plane inherently begets war; whether that war is between the north and the south, the Sunni's and the Shiites, the Indians and Pakistanis, the religious right and the ACLU, Dave and HAL, or man and nature.

"He died to make men holy; let us die to make men free." - The Battle Hymn of the Republic. I've always loved this line from The Battle Hymn. It recognizes two distinct and important roles in the world. It's obvious reference to Jesus alludes to his role as God incarnate and his death on the cross - which was the ultimate atonement of a sinless man for a guilty man-kind. He allowed all of us to be free from the law, and free for the law. The second part of the line refers to man's duty - specifically American patriots - to fight and die for the flag, the republic, and the freedom that we hold so dear. I love the contrast. We can't atone for our sins in death - only Jesus can do that - but a soldier's death can be in service of other men; and that's all Jesus asked us to do anyway (see Matthew 25:40).

I hope to have more quotes for you in the future. I try to carry a journal, so any quotes I hear I'll begin to write down and reflect on them here. Again, please, don't hesitate to comment with agreement, rebuttal, or your own reflections about quotes that make you think (though, don't be angry if it takes a day or two for me to moderate the comments so other's can read them).

Friday, October 10, 2008

Movie Quote

You fell victim to one of the classic blunders! The most famous is never get involved in a land war in Asia, but only slightly less well-known is this: never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line!

Friday, October 3, 2008

The Credit Crunch and the AIG Bailout

I don't own a house. I can't afford a house. Sure, I can afford a mortgage - my mortgage broker says so. But, I'm smart enough to know that I can't afford as much of a mortgage as my mortgage broker tells me. I also know, that when I say I can afford a mortgage it means, "...as long as nothing ever breaks and has to be repaired or replaced."
What I mean is that I don't have enough cash to pay a mortgage and have a cushion for things like food, doctors, broken refrigerators, cracked foundations, flood damage, or any other catastrophic force majeur. I don't earn enough to save that kind of cash either.
That's exactly why I don't have a mortgage... but now I have to pay some one else's mortgage. My hard earned tax dollars aren't paying for nuclear weapons systems or local parks. My tax dollars are paying for the mortgage of someone with my budgetary constraints who said:

Oh Sh!t... I can't afford my mortgage. I didn't think lying about my income would cause such a problem. The mortgage broker said it would be OK.
I knew I had an ARM, and I knew it would adjust up, but I didn't know it would adjust so high - even though the mortgage contract said it could... and I didn't think the first five years would go by so fast. I thought it was a problem I could keep putting off.

Dear Uncle Sam - Can you help me? I don't want to lose my house. That might teach me to be more frugal in the future - hell, I might even read stuff before I sign it. But, that's not fair. Instead, I want other tax payers who were smart enough to stay away from this kind of problem to foot the bill for me.

My tax dollars are also making me into an unwilling customer of AIG. Until tonight, I hadn't been an AIG customer. Sure, I thought about it. When I shopped for car insurance, they had decent rates. But, their customer service was crap. I couldn't get anyone to answer the questions I had and one customer service rep even flatly stated, "whatever" and hung up the phone.
I chose to be a State Farm customer (mostly because of how well my wife was treated by her agent after an auto accident). And, it seems that plenty of other people felt that AIG was not a good choice for their insurance needs (that's why State Farm and GEICO are both still in business without a government bailout).
But, Uncle Sam said, "Gee, I'm sorry that you can't attract customers. There's no need to improve the quality of service... how about if I write you a check for $700 billion dollars? Will that help?"
So now I'm paying your mortgage, and living in an apartment. And, I'm paying State Farm for auto insurance and customer service, but I'm also paying AIG - and they won't pay me if my car catches fire... and their customer service still stinks.
I'm just glad I don't work for the Dallas Independant School District or the State of California. Although, they'll both probably get bailouts, too.
What forms do I have to fill out to get my bailout? I don't need $700 billion like AIG, $7 billion like Arnold, or even $84 million like DISD. I just need a cool million.

That would suit me right down to the ground.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Alumni Support

Below is the letter I wrote to the President of my college regarding the recent termination of a beloved religion professor...

Dr. p

I was stunned and appalled to read comments from fellow alumni, fraternity brothers, and from x indicating that he had been deemed a dangerous, aggressive, or abusive person and subsequently dismissed from the x College faculty.

I have not been in contact with x since my graduation in May of x, but the four years I spent on campus and in class with x were spent with a loving and caring professor. Dangerous, aggressive, and abusive would not have been appropriate words to describe the man I knew.
I understand that you must be receiving messages like this from hundreds of students and alumni that would be willing to attest to x's caring and loving demeanor. If that is what is needed, I would be more than willing to write, call, or visit the campus to share my testimony.
My concern, however, is not that there is a lack of support for x. In fact - I suspect that the opposite is true.

Instead, I am concerned with what appears to be a lack of disclosure about the issue. X's comments have indicated that documents regarding the investigation into this matter have large sections or important information that has been blacked-out or with-held.
I understand the desire to protect the identities of students or faculty that may have made complaints; but when the issue involves termination of a tenured professor who has more than a decade of service, the investigation should be thorough, solid, and completely transparent.

I have the highest respect for you, Dr. p. My freshman year at x College was your first year as President. I have always felt that you strive to provide the highest education standards as well as a lively and productive campus environment. I'm angered as my conscience tries to process this situation and my mind tries to determine which side is right in a matter of which I have little knowledge.

The intent of this letter is to offer my plea that you take a personal interest in this case and ensure that the correct action is taken on the part of x College. Since I have little knowledge of the situation and no access to the complaints or investigation notes, it would be presumptuous of me to advise or direct you as to a course of action. I have no envy for the situation you are in. My sense is that you have a love for x College that - much like my own - will remain with you long after you leave campus.
If you are personally involved with this issue I trust that you will have done everything in your power to ensure that the right course of action was taken. I pray that you will be able to look back on this situation and feel the same.

My prayers are with the x family in what must be one of the most difficult times in their lives. Dr. p, I also pray that God guides your hand and provides for the best outcome for the x family and the x College community.
If there is anything I can do to provide my support for x, for you, or for x College please, don't hesitate to call on me.



Thursday, May 15, 2008

Two Years Old

I don't like to share too much personal information on this blog - mostly because of people like this - but I'm excited because tomorrow my little girl turns two.
I'm excited because it's a big day for her. The difference between one and two is alot bigger than the difference between 30 and 31. She knows a lot more words than she did last year, and can walk alot better than she did at her first birthday party. She's helpful (sometimes) and can hold an entire conversation with her mother (as long as you only ask her how old she is, say hello or bye bye, and ask her if she likes boys at church (two of her early words). I have convinced myself that she doesn't like boys yet... she's just using slang for her favorite football team.
I'm also scared... more scared than I feel (how does that work?). I'm scared that I'm old enough to have a two year old daughter. I'm scared that I have a little girl that repeats everything I say (so I'd better watch my mouth). I'm scared that I have someone that relies on me for food, shelter, knowledge, love, and attention. But, again - I'm also excited.
I have a little girl who - along with her little sister - thinks I'm Superman. I love the way they look at me when I do something heroic (or something silly). I love the way they kiss and hug, and the way they squirm and giggle when they're tickled (BTW, my wife squirms when she's tickled, too).
Mostly, I'm just excited to see my little girl's face each and every day. I love all three of my girls, and I love to see them happy. I'd do anything to keep them all smiling.
Enough gushing... before I go, I want to say something about the crises affecting our world. Sometimes God does thinks that suck, and we don't understand why (like the earthquake in China). The government of Burma ("...you may know it as Myanmar, but it will always be Burma to me") is doing the same thing. Why are they turning down or re-routing help? Lets hope that the government there knows something we don't know and has a purpose that we don't understand. As God said in Evan Almighty (and I'm sure somewhere else before) "Just know that I do it because I love you."

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Ritchie Sexson is a ChickenSh!t

If you watched the Ranger's game tonight you'd understand why I say that. Of course, not too many people watch Ranger's games anymore... but, I digress.
So the Mariner's pitcher put some Ranger's batters on base by hitting them with pitches. I don't think he was intentionally pegging batters. I think he just sucks at pitching.
When Ritchie Sexson takes the batter's box, he get's a pitch that's high and tight. I know that Ritchie Sexson doesn't know much about baseball, but that's what happens when you crowd the plate. It's how the pitcher backs you off of the plate.
Sexson, not knowing much about baseball - and not being very intelligent anyway - charged the plate (this is where he begins to become a chickensh!t). Just short of the pitcher, who is ready for the onslaught, Ritchie Sexson threw his helmet at the pitcher. He must have thought, "Crap, I got here to the mound and realized that I don't want to get my butt kicked. I should use weapons." In any other sport, that will get you fined.
However, since Bud Selig only watches the Brewers and the Yankees, he may not ever find out about Sexson's cowardice. I'm certain that Bud Selig doesn't read this blog.
Anyway... I've insulted enough people for now, so I'll call it a night.

Wait... one more. Josh Howard, what the hell is wrong with you? Are you really as stupid as you sound? From this point on you should just keep your mouth shut. Don't talk anymore.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Long Time... No See...

I haven't posted in a while... sorry about that. I have a new job where I spend my whole day on a computer. When I come home from work I like to spend the evening with my girls. Firing up another computer is the last thing on my mind.
I spend alot of time in my car (two hour round trip commute daily) listening to AM radio and thinking about alot. Of course now that I'm sitting in front of my laptop, I got nothing.
There's a guy on one station around here that spends his time asking callers to recall one good thing that Hillary or Obama has done that qualifies them to be the President. Of course, no one has a response. However, this guy can't seem to recall anything that McCain has done that would qualify him for this particular post. The problem seems to me that there isn't one answer. Social security seems to be a helpful program, but I've put alot of money into a system that won't be able to help me when I'm 65. Why can't I decide how best to invest my own money? I have a job that provides health care, but what about people that don't? If you don't work for a company that provides health care does that mean you shouldn't be able to see a doctor? But, if we socialize health care, won't I be paying for health care for people who abuse the system? I guess the issue is that there are some people that can't afford health care and retirement because they'd just assume someone else provide it for them, and there are some people that can't afford health care and retirement because, despite their best efforts, they don't have the same opportunities that I have.
Well, I'm ranting... I'd like to start writing again. I hope you'll start reading again. Keep checking back for more.