holy wars

This weekend is the True/False Film Festival in Columbia. I’ve always wanted to go, but still haven’t managed it. Still, I often look at the line-up so that I can try and see the films at another time.

This year a really interesting one is called Holy Wars following an Irish convert, Khalid Kelly, to extremist Islam and Christan fundamentalist Aaron Taylor.

I went looking for Aaron Taylor to see where exactly he stood in the spectrum of conservatives, and I found this blog. At least, he seems to be admitting he was misdirected, if not out-right lied to about the war he originally supported in Iraq.


I’d still like to see that documentary by Stephen Marshall. There’s also a book written by Taylor about the experience called Alone with a Jihadist: A Biblical Response to Holy War. I’m considering getting this book or getting the library to buy it. It sounds like a very well-thought, comprehensive argument for Christ-like peace.

kudos to Toyota…

Everyone knows that Toyota is having troubles with a couple of giant re-calls on their products, right now. But last night I saw a new commercial from that company that caught my attention.

It was very impressive because I don’t often hear corporations basically say “we’re sorry”, “we made a mistake”, “we’re working to fix it”,”we’ll try to do better”.

After all, we’ve seen a lot of this recently, from contaminated pet food and childrens’ toys, to peanut butter and tomatoes… even war.

I can respect a mistake apologized for and fixed a lot more than a mistake glossed over, passed on and ignored.

I’ve gotten so sick of of this bluster-through policy that I almost automatically think the worst of those who utilize… and we’ve seen way too much of it in the last decade.

It’s good to see a change, and as for me, I remember things like this when it comes time to spend my money as well as my vote!

“Rapture Ready!”

There was a great segment on “To the Best of Our Knowledge”, on NPR today. It’s very imforative about how outsiders see Christian Rock music. I also liked that Radosh seemed to really enjoy the Cornerstone Festival.

Here’s the blurb from the TO THE BEST OF OUR KNOWLEDGE website: Daniel Radosh is the author of “Rapture Ready!: Adventures in the Parallel Universe of Christian Pop Culture.” Radosh, a liberal New York secular Jew, is married to a woman whose family is born-again Christian. They took Radosh to a Christian rock festival and introduced him the world of Christian pop culture.

I also liked that there are differences in styles in different cultures, but similarities too. Recognizable and connectable similarities.

At the end of the interview, Radosh recognized the positives that Christian rock artists can teach mainstream America. The Christian aspects and beliefs that change peoples lives!

solar decathlon


I heard the competition from the Department of Energy had ended, this morning. It’s pretty cool. I look forward to having a house off the grid some day.

The one thing for me is, I’m not big into modern/contemporary architecture. I understand about needing certain designs for efficiency’s sake. But to me, contemporary designs tend to be cold and blank and boring. There has to be a balance between designing a HOME and sustainable-efficiency.

If anything, I think most of these “houses” look more like summer cottages and less like homes.

Still, the fusion of technology is very, very cool!

**grimace**… that’s all there is… oh, and stop drinking milk!


the kind of waiter they all should be

So, I have to tell this story:

This evening my brother and I went to eat at one of the local spots – it has a burger madness on Sundays, so you can eat a good dinner really cheap. They also have the best veggie burgers ever! And yeah, I know that sounds like an oxymoron.

Anyway, I took Aggie because she was in the truck after I moved a few things to my new (and hopefully temporary) rental. Boone Tavern has an outside eating area and dogs are allowed in there.

Our waiter was a guy that I’ve actually had serve us before and he kindly brought Aggie a giant bowl of ice water. He’s always attentive and very nice.

Anyway, later I was picking Andrew up from his lab and taking another load south to the “ghetto” rental. Andrew was working on a little side project/experiment – a homemade digital antenna, because I haven’t been able to get anything but NBC. (This totally worked, by the way!!! – and it may deserve it’s own post!! Andrew’s so awesome!)

Aggie and I spent a chunk of time playing fetch and when she was tired, stretched out in the grass under a tree. And when Peg called, it turned out to the be the most perfect evening = good food and talk with my brother, fun with the dog, some easy moving, talking with one of my closest friends, and laying mosquito-free on a nice grassy stretch, watching the moon.

And as I was talking, Aggie jumped to her feet as someone walked by and ran up to him… the waiter from the resturant.

We both looked at each other and recognized one another – and he recognized Aggie – laughing at the coincidence. Then he pulled off his backpack, saying (to the equivelant, I don’t have the exact words) “Funny that I see you, because the guy you were with (my brother) left his sunglasses. I was going to bring them back each day until I saw him at the resturant.” And he gives me Andrew’s aviators.

It was sooo weird and yet so cool!

Peggy was laughing on the phone at the situation, and Andrew was awed (and confused for a moment), when I told him the story – it was so odd.

And then Andrew and I went to the rental and his digital antenna worked perfectly! So now we get CBS and ABC, as well as NBC and PBS. A plethora of tv stations!

Crazy how life is sometimes, isn’t it?

light changes

I can see it happening. It’s staying darker later in the morning and becoming darker earlier at night.

I love it when I notice that change. Too me, it’s a good sign that summer is ending and fall is coming – YEAH!

I have no idea why, but this is about the time when I start waking earlier, and getting to the park earlier. For some reason I become more alert, which is the opposite of most people, who tend towards wanting to hibernate as the days become shorter.

I know, I know. I’m weird. I don’t know why, but that’s just the way I am. And I’m not complaining. I love waking early and walking in the dark. I love watching the stars change their patterns with the seasons and watching the moon wax and wane.

Still, I’m not a night owl. I’m a morning person – so this makes less and less sense.

Oh well…

house buying

I remember why I didn’t want to do this.

It’s like other types of shopping (which I would rather do through a computer screen), it looks good until you have to pay for it.

The image I usually associate with home buying is from the Cosby Show, when Elvin is signing away his life for the loan of his and Sandra’s first home and his hand is shaking so that he can hardly write.

Well, today – this unusually perfect, 75 degree, day of July – was spent inside taking a local “home buying” class. 9am-1pm (or a little later), with 2 quick 5 minute breaks and 3 speakers: budget/home realities lady, realtor, and lender.

After two hours it was clear this is another form of social and cultural torture – something that we generally all painfully go through; like puberty.

The basics were fine. I’ve heard the realtor schpeel before and gone through the contract. It’s actually pretty simple, though it’s nice to have someone point out the most important things.

“Yes, of course, I need an good inspector.”

Then the lender got up to speak, and it was like listening to Thai. I don’t think I could repeat anything he said. I suspect that I will be reading and rereading the loan specifics about 20 times before I put my name to it. I don’t want it to be difficult. But obviously that’s wishful thinking.

There were a lot of expectactions I used to imagine about buying a house – not the least being, I didn’t think it would be by myself. And all of that’s changed.

While advice from friends and family is wonderful, it’s not given from the same perspective and is not the same as a partner to bounce ideas off of.

I don’t want big or fancy. I want decent efficiency, comfort, quiet and a space for my dog.

I’m trying to remember when this became too much to ask for.

digital TV – good or bad

I’m not the most advanced technology user. I don’t text, or use my phone to access the internet. My computer is adaquet not spectacular. I don’t pay for cable, or satilite.

So when tv went digital, I got a translator and then a basic tv that was digtal ready when my supposed “digital antenna” didn’t really work.

But it appears that the broadcast networks weren’t ready at all. I went from 3 analog stations to 1 digital station… somehow that doesn’t seem to be advancing, but rather regressing.

But the one technology I have advanced on is home internet access. And guess what. It turns out I don’t need tv at all!

Who needs TiVo?

I watch little in the way of tv anyway. I hate reality shows which are really some of the dumbest things ever thought up. And now days I can find most tv shows on the internet anyway. The ones that might be of interest to me – mostly the older ones. 🙂

So if I actually feel like watching tv I can, oddly enough. So far I’ve begun the original Star Trek series and Eureka. It’s taken me 3 months to watch 5 episodes  total. There are too many other things to do and I don’t miss it at all!

So in a weird way, I’ve passed into the next phase of technology – the one where we begin to leave typical tv behind.

Because I’m one of those the tv exec’s lost in this transition and there’s no way I’m paying good money to go back!


slaughter horses


I’m actually not sure about this. Part of me says that if it’s humane… even though I love horses. Over population of any species must be controlled some how… which leads me directly to humans, but that is another argument.

However, the article was right about (1) horse sensitivity. They aren’t as stupid as sheep and cows, and most notice everything around them immediately. (2) at this point, I’m not eating beef that has been pumped with drugs and you can bet any animal that has had a minimal of care will probably be pumped with things you don’t want to consume… yuck!

But mostly, anyone that treats any animal cruelly just to eat it, or because they don’t care, has serious problems.

Being humane most important; that and controlling population if that’s what the “problem” is.