Sunday, January 29, 2006


You Are 8% Abnormal

You are at medium risk for being a psychopath. It is somewhat likely that you have no soul.

You are at low risk for having a borderline personality. It is unlikely that you are a chaotic mess.

You are at low risk for having a narcissistic personality. It is unlikely that you are in love with your own reflection.

You are at low risk for having a social phobia. It is unlikely that you feel most comfortable in your mom's basement.

You are at low risk for obsessive compulsive disorder. It is unlikely that you are addicted to hand sanitizer.

HT to Shelby.

On Going Back To The Way Things Were

Interesting quote on the Church going back to the way things were.

If we insist on going back to something in the past, perhaps we should go back to the beginning, rather than getting off conveniently at some 18th-century plateau (or 16th or even 12th).

Larson, Osborne, The Emerging Church (1970), p83

Reminds me of John Perkins' regular comment about Christians who want to go back to "the way things were." He said, "I don't wanna go back to the way things were, I'd be a slave!" Sometimes we forget about the way things really were when we make comments like that.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Been a while

Not only have I been slowing down in my posting to the blog, but I've been slow in reading the blogs I follow. This weekend isn't helping much either! We've been on the go all day, and tomorrow will be much of the same. My most recent computer build hasn't exactly been taking off. There seems to be something amiss. When I tried reinstalling the old motherboard, the power supply seems to have died. All in all, a bit frustrating. My first two builds were a piece of cake. Fortunately power supplies can be pretty inexpensive, and given my computer use (running Folding software), its not that important that I get a high end power supply. I basically need to power a motherboard and a hard drive. Everything else is optional. Anyway, finding a bit of time to troubleshoot hasn't been easy. I grab 15-20 minutes here and there.

Next week we travel in to the suburbs for the first part of our adoption home study. The idea in taking this semester off of school was to focus on adoption and testing stuff. I'm actually starting to move forward on one of those fronts. I still need to schedule a time for my GRE and a certification test for work. I'm not quite sure how much effort I should put into the GRE as I did quite well on it my first time around (10 years ago), and I'm feeling like I'm a bit smarter this time through after having gotten a second bachelors degree and started graduate level work. I'm also not too worried about it as I have straight A's in the grad classes so far (one class a semester is much easier than taking a load!), so even a moderately good showing should get me into the program without too much trouble.

Hope you're getting a bit more time to breathe than I've had lately! I'll try to do better this week on the posting front.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Fiddler on the Roof and Post Modernism

We watched Fiddler on the Roof this last weekend. Fascinating movie. A lot of emphasis on generational change. We talk a lot about the move from modernism to post-modernism, but I can't help but think that we are a bit out of focus at times. There are important implications for such a change, but its nothing compared to changes that have occurred in previous generations. Seeing how the Jews were treated in the 20th century really brings that into focus. I'd guess that my 101 year old grandmother has seen changes far more dramatic than most of us can ever imagine. Combine that with our lack of a sense of history, and we tend to give ourselves a lot more credit than we deserve! Jill and I watched a PBS show on the Flu Epidemic of 1918. Over a half million people died in the US alone. Of course, with WWI going on, the flu spread all over Europe as well (the show discussed this, but not in much detail). It was mind-boggling to think of the President's decision to send thousands of troops to Europe knowing that many would catch the fatal flu bug on the boats going over. They would die without ever seeing battle. He knew it before he sent them! In Philedelphia, bodies were set out on the front porch so the undertakers could go around and pick them up. A different colored sheet signified the age of the deceased.

And we think we face major challenges. Our challenges are much less about life and death. That's the benefit of living in a wealthy society. We can pick and choose our issues, and blow them out of proportion. My respect for my grandparents grows everyday. They didn't get to pick their issues, they simply had to survive them. And they did. And they did it well.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Culture Wars

The Internet Monk has one of the best posts I've read in a long time about the "Culture Wars." It's a great reminder of the primacy of Scripture and the Gospel. Too often, we have replaced rhetoric with legitimate Christian living. IM reminds us of the proper priorities.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

God's Politics

Back in November, Jill and I attended the CCDA national conference in Indy. Jim Wallis was one of the keynote speakers, as I mentioned on this site. I have finally started to pick up his book, God's Politics, and I've gotta say that it is one of the most important religious/political books out there. Wallis is definitely fitting the role of prophet by focusing on a return to all that God commands of His people. If you're thinking that there's partisan politics here, forget it. Wallis takes no prisoners, as his subtitle points out "Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It." There are some great life lessons to be found, including the rules that he grew up with. "First, if there isa child that nobody else will play with, you play with him or her... . Second, if there is a bully who is picking on other people, you stand up for them." How about those for lessons to pass on to our children?

Where Wallis really got me going was when he started to refer to Habakkuk. Here was a prophet who was lamenting the power structure of Israel at that time. He was complaining long and loud to God about the social conditions of the day, but then he received a vision from God of the future. "Then the Lord answered me and said, 'Write the vision; make it plain upon tablets, so he may run who reads it. For still the vision awaits its time; it hastens to the end--it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come, it will not delay.'" There is no clear, Biblical vision being pronounced today. What visions are being pronounced are political and partisan. They do not take into consideration the best for all of society. A great vision starts with the question, "What makes a great society?" This is not a question to be taken lightly or selfishly. It is a question to be answered with all seriousness, and with an understanding that the answer may mean that I have to make some sacrifices.

One more point from the book. The leaders of movements that changed society were not politicians. They were the people of faith who created a change in the wind. Politicians are always trying to figure out which way the wind is blowing. The creators of change are those who change the wind patterns. Martin Luther King, Jr. was one of those. When he was told by the President that there was no way a Voting Rights Act would pass, MLK created a change in the wind pattern that moved the society to make the necessary change. Today we need a new change in the wind pattern. A change that causes both sides of the political spectrum to stand up and take notice. A change that creates a longing for justice and a determination to create a great society. There is currently no one creating that type of wind change, though many people are longing for it! Who will be the one to start that change in the wind pattern?

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Personal Data Missing?

People's Bank is reporting that a tape is missing containing the personal data of 90,000 account holders. I could launch into one of the many "shame on them" rants, but in reading the article, it sounds like People's Bank actually had a plan of action if something like this were to occur. The fact is, all of our personal data are handled by human-run machines, and transported by humans, so there is a strong likelihood that something like this can happen. I sure hope my bank has a plan!!

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Apple's Value Greater Than Dell's

Everyone seems to think that Apple's market share is the only important thing. The fact is, it's a company that is supposed to be making money. And it has. Apple is now worth more than Dell. Here's the proof for all of us who have been saying that Dell computers are cheap pieces of junk!

Die A Bit Closer To Your Funeral

Darryl found this great quote.

"Some people die at seventeen and put their funeral off until they're seventy-seven. And I see a lot of dead young people, I see a lot of alive old people." (Bono)

Jeremy Made Me Do This

Birthplace:Akron, OH
Current Location:Rockford, IL
Eye Color:Hazel
Hair Color:Brown
Right Handed or Left Handed:Right
Your Heritage:Heinz 57
The Shoes You Wore Today:Size 13
Your Weakness:Too many to list
Your Fears:Myself
Your Perfect Pizza:mushroom and pineapple
Goal You Would Like To Achieve This Year:Lose weight
Your Most Overused Phrase On an instant messenger::-)
Thoughts First Waking Up:I'm waking up at 3 again?!?
Your Best Physical Feature:My glasses
Your Bedtime:about 10ish
Your Most Missed Memory:I don't remember (isn't that why its missed?)
Pepsi or Coke:Dew (only 2 choices?)
McDonalds or Burger King:McD's
Single or Group Dates:Yes
Lipton Ice Tea or Nestea:Huh?
Chocolate or Vanilla:Chocolate
Cappuccino or Coffee:Ick
Do you Smoke:Ick
Do you Swear:No
Do you Sing:Badly
Do you Shower Daily:Yes
Have you Been in Love:Every Day
Do you want to go to College:Again? Sure.
Do you want to get Married:I stick with my first bride, thanks.
Do you belive in yourself:More than I believe in the spelling ability of this survey.
Do you get Motion Sickness:No
Do you think you are Attractive:I got over that one a while ago.
Are you a Health Freak:No
Do you get along with your Parents:Yes, yes yes
Do you like Thunderstorms:yes
Do you play an Instrument:no
In the past month have you Drank Alcohol:no
In the past month have you Smoked:no
In the past month have you been on Drugs:no
In the past month have you gone on a Date:yes
In the past month have you gone to a Mall:Only with the kids to the play area (free entertainment)
In the past month have you eaten a box of Oreos:I prefer donuts
In the past month have you eaten Sushi:no
In the past month have you been on Stage:no
In the past month have you been Dumped:uh...I'm married...That'd be a "no"
In the past month have you gone Skinny Dipping:Its January in Northern Illinois!
In the past month have you Stolen Anything:Someone else's idea(s)
Ever been Drunk:no
Ever been called a Tease:no
Ever been Beaten up:no
Ever Shoplifted:no
How do you want to Die:in the Faith
What do you want to be when you Grow Up:Me
What country would you most like to Visit:Kenya
In a Boy/Girl..
Favourite Eye Color:
Favourite Hair Color:
Short or Long Hair:
Best Clothing Style:
Number of Drugs I have taken:
Number of CDs I own:Over 200 + iTMS albums
Number of Piercings:0
Number of Tattoos:0
Number of things in my Past I Regret:Not so much regrets as lessons learned


Top 10 Humanitarian Stories You May Not Have Heard

Doctors Without Borders has a list of the Top Ten Under-Reported Humanitarian Stories of 2005. We all heard about the tsunami and the hurricanes. Had you heard about the continuing violence in Haiti (started in February 2004)? Of course, most of the stories are written from the "We need doctors/money" perspective, but the fact is that doctors are needed because the needs are huge. While most of the stories are from Africa, there are stories from South America, North America (Haiti), Europe, and Asia. Humanitarian issues cover every part of the globe.

HT to Mike.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Random Chuck Norris Facts

I'm not a Chuck Norris fan, but I laughed all the way through Jordon's list.

Guilty as Accused

Jeremy points out the hypocrisy of the politicians. Joe Biden called the hearings a game. Guess who one of the biggest players was? Yup, Joe Biden. If you're going to accuse the system of being broken, quit being part of the problem.

Fighting the Klan

Black Police Sargeant Named Head of Local KKK

Home Rule in Rockford

Rockford, my hometown, is a bit of a backwater, in spite of being a city of 150k people. Home Rule is an example of that. Home Rule is essentially a default status for cities over 25,000 people that allows those cities to fully govern themselves. If you get sick of graffitti, you pass a law that bans spray paint. You want to get tough on pollution, you pass stiff penalties against violators. It is possible for a city to have a population over 25k and not have Home Rule. Rockford is that city. In 1983 a group pushed a ballot initiative to give up the Home Rule status because it cost us too much in taxes. Here we are, 23 years later, with some of the lowest cost housing you can find in a city of any significant size, but with a huge tax burden. That tax burden came from years of the school district dealing with the consequences of being racist (yes, they plead guilty in court...finally). That tax burden does not come from City Hall. It can't. City Hall can't do much of anything.

Aldermen have wanted to ban spray paint in City limits. They can't. We don't have Home Rule. Since spray paint has not been banned state wide, we don't have the right to ban it here. I would guess that our speed limits are determined by the State, not by our local governing bodies. A lot of the things that govern our daily lives in Rockford are determined in Springfield. Finally a group has gotten sick and tired of having our lives governed by state legislators, most of whom live in Chicago or the Chicago suburbs, or south of I-80 (which runs east-west across the state about 45 minutes south of Rockford). We've got very little influence, but we've subjected ourselves to the State's decision-making process. Now, each year, we have to vote on whether or not we want to spend money on road repairs. At the ballot. All of the voting public. A City of 150,000 people can't fix roads without a ballot initiative?!? There is no word for that apart from "STUPID!!!"

The local group tried to get City Council to place a vote on Home Rule on the ballot for May. The City's Democrats (which is really quite shocking, when you think about it) voted against it. One Republican joined them. It lost. Now there will be a petition drive (which a bunch of Democratic aldermen said they'd help with...HUH?). Sign me up!!! It boggles my mind that a city of 150,000 has to be run like a village of 50. Does it mean higher taxes? Studies show that the higher taxes usually come in the form of sales taxes, not property taxes. That means that the people who use the services in Rockford actually have to pay for them, rather than laying the full cost on the shoulders of those who own property here alone. If someone comes to Rockford to shop for a car, do they manage to do that without driving on our streets? Highly unlikely, but they don't pay to maintain the streets that they're driving on. That burden is only on those of us who choose to live in City limits.

There are a number of people who are afraid of Home Rule (a link to the only other blog post I could find on the subject). They are afraid of it because one time in some other city, someone "abused" it (meaning a local government used eminent domain to take a property for the benefit of the region as a whole). If you think someone has abused it, vote them out. HELLO, we still live in America!!!

That's enough mid-night ranting, I'll add more at later.

Friday, January 13, 2006

First Post Since MacWorld

And no, I wasn't there. Seems that Apple's ability to start selling Intel based Macs has a few corporate IT people fuming. Weird, I thought that the reason IT people liked Windows was because they could get their computers from different suppliers. Dell and HP are assumed to be the only players in that market. Anyway, Apple seems to have the control on the new Yonah processors that everyone is wanting, so the IT folks who have shunned Apple (let's face it, they'd be out of work if they didn't!) are left getting mad because they can't have things their way for once. Hey, you create a corporate policy that locks you out, its your own fault. Sit down and wait in line!

Monday, January 09, 2006

How Close Are You?

I found a cool little site that lists cities based on proximity. I found Rockford, IL, my hometown. Turns out that the Bahamas and Cancun are closer to Rockford than California. Cool!

Good Communication Consists Of...

I received a sample newsletter from a management consulting firm today. They included a sample of their newsletter, Communication Solutions, that focused on effective communication in business. The irony is that their newsletter was full of language that I would never use in private, much less in a business setting! I just don't understand why some people feel that "edgy" language is acceptable in business. I've only dealt with one business person who used language like that, and I am almost always on edge around that person simply because of their language. As an employer, and much of the newsletter focused on employer/employee communication, I would never use the language that they did in my office. Then, they want me to believe that their newsletter (a whopping 12 pages! :rolleyes: ) is worth...are you sitting down?...$179 for 12 issues!!! Ya, I'll be signing right up for that one...NOT!!!

One Issue Voters

We've all heard the complaints that one group or another is a "one issue vote" bloc. Usually that charge is aimed at politically conservative evangelicals and the issue referred to is abortion. I've pretty much quit following politics as I've gotten tired of the noise. Today I was working out and upon returning home I heard that the nomination hearings for Judge Alito are supposed to begin today, though they don't expect any questions to be asked of the nominee due to a Democratic filibuster. I decided to make sure it wasn't just the news I heard on the radio talking about abortion, so I checked the New York Times to see what they had to say. Sure enough, the issue seems to be one of abortion. Nearly the entire first page focused on that issue alone.

What do we learn from this? Abortion is the only issue of importance, and Senate Democrats are one issue voters. Or, at least, that's what the media wants us to believe. Personally, I think there are a lot of important issues facing this country, some of which are of importance to a Supreme Court nominee. Maybe the issues discussed in the media should reflect that. I've always been of the belief that having fair-minded intelligent people is more important than having partisan hacks. I just wish the politicians on both sides of the aisle would agree with me.

And now, back to the noise.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Flickr Toys

This looks like too much fun!


Jason saw it and did something about it. Thanks!!

Tech Companies and Free Speech

Tech companies do not believe in free speech.

MacWorld Is Coming, So Are The Rumors

If you don't follow the Apple Computer community, then you have no idea how important the next week will be. of course, if you follow computers, then you at least know that something big is about to happen. Either way, this is the week of MacWorld San Francisco. In the month or two leading up to MWSF, rumors fly all over the internet. Now there's talk about Plasma screens. It's pretty amazing how these stories get going. Read it for the entertainment value, and remember that its only a rumor!

Friday, January 06, 2006

Mac Posters

I was reading a forum this afternoon and noticed that someone was looking for some Macintosh merchandise. A few years ago I had picked up a few posters that were left in the teacher's lounge where I was teaching. I was a bit confused as to why they were there since the RPS is a Windows only environment. It didn't matter, though. I picked them up and have hung on to them ever since. Someone sent me a PM on the forum commenting that they are worth quite a bit of money, so I did some poking around. Those five posters are now worth over $300!! Kewl!

Space Software

I found what appears to be a very cool piece of space software. It's available for Windows, Mac and Linux. Check it out here.

What Would You Do...

if the panhandler asking for money was someone you knew?

Technology and the Amish

I've seen links to this article in a few places. has an interesting look into how the Amish decide what technologies can be allowed and how. We were surprised a number of years ago when we visited Lancaster County, PA, by how many of the Amish had some form of modernity in their businesses. One of the little shops we stopped in was attached to the house. There were electric lights and an electric cash register. There was a phone booth out by the street.

So, if we were to take the time to think through technology as the Amish have, what would we do differently? I have become very willing to let my answering machine take care of phone calls. Sitting at the dinner table should be about being focused on my family, not on the phone ringing. Its a fascinating, though long (by modern, internet standards) article, but well worth the read.

PUH-LEAZE Shut This Man Up!!

Pat Robertson is at it again. What is this, the third time he's opened his mouth and gotten the blogosphere up in arms? The man is a loose cannon and should have his FCC license revoked!! Now Sharon's stroke was God's judgement for dividing Israel. Funny, I don't remember anything about hurricanes hitting Virginia Beach being God's judgement for Pat's proclamations that turn God into a mean ogre.

Two Days in Chicago

I spent the last two days attending workshops in Chicago. My staff and I took the bus to O'Hare and then caught the El, which dropped us off about a block from our first workshop. A good friend from Housing Action illinois led the workshop. She had to cram two days worth of material into one day, but she did as good as was possible given that restriction.

After spending the day in the workshop, I walked the two ladies who were with me back to the El since they were not staying the second day. I then went back and had dinner with my friend who led the workshop. We went to Hilary's Urban Eatery (zkz HUE). Great food and great atmosphere. It's a BYOB bar/restaurant, something I had never heard of before. Basically, if you want alcohol, you bring it in with you. Pretty cool setup. My friend then was kind enough to give me a ride to the Henkel's house, on the far south side.

Marc and Sandy had left for Texas earlier that morning, so I wasn't able to catch up with them, but her dad was there as was a young man who lives with them. We had a good time watching the NCAA Championship game. I'm guessing Marc and Sandy had even more fun, though, since they were in Texas for the game. I finally had to crash out of sheer exhaustion, so I missed the exciting end. Oh well, its just a game.

Yesterday I got a ride to the El and rode the Red line from 95th to downtown. The El is definitely the way to get around Chicago. Its never boring, but it sure beats driving! A quick transfer downtown to the Blue line and I was a block from my next workshop. Turned out I was two blocks from Union Station (where I ate lunch) and about three blocks from Lou Mitchell's, the world's best breakfast spot and the starting point of Route 66. Had I known I'd be so close, I would have caught the El earlier so I could eat breakfast there! I finally got to check email at lunchtime by hopping into a Starbucks and opening a pay-as-you-go TMobile account (hasn't anyone heard of free wi-fi in Chicago?!?). I downloaded enough RSS feeds to give me plenty to read on the way home last night. The workshop ended a bit early, which was fine, I hopped on the El and took the Blue line back to O'Hare, missing a bus by five minutes (not bad given that I didn't know when the buses ran!). With 4 minutes to spare, I picked up a personal pizza and started reading the RSS feeds. It had been so long since I'd read any, there were nearly 600 posts to read!

Finally got back to town last night and got hit with a bug as soon as I stepped off the bus, so now I'm sitting at home sick for my Friday!

Monday, January 02, 2006

Sugar Bowl and CCDA

I was just watching the halftime of the Nokia Sugar Bowl, and low and behold, they were giving $75,000 to a CCDA member. Congratulations to the Desire Street Ministry!! There's been a lot of folks praying for you and the other New Orleans CCDA members.

Mac OS X is the Best

InfoWorld has announced their Tech of the Year awards, and the best operating system does not go to Windows (that's really not a surprise) or to Linux. At both the client and server levels, it goes to Apple's Mac OS X! Of course, IT departments around the world still won't touch Mac OS X because they've got a great relationship with the Dell representative, er, I mean they like the freedom to choose Dell, er, I mean they like the excuse of saying they prefer the sense of freedom that they get when they call Dell. Well, what they really say is that they like the freedom to choose their vendor, though that usually means Dell. Personally, I haven't figured that one out. Dell's always feel and act like they are the cheapest computers made, especially when compared to Macs. Oh well, I guess that's what happens when you like to use corporate money to buy new computers every few years. Say, what happens to all those Dells, anyway? Seems like they could be put to use Folding, eh?

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Paul Thurrot Bought A Mac!

Paul is best known for his tech columns on the virtues of Windows, so I was quite surprised to see that bought a Mac mini for his wife at Christmastime! Although he is very proficient in all things Windows, he got tired of having to be proficient for his wife's computers too. It was easier to buy her a computer that she wouldn't need an IT expert to maintain. The comments that follow show that there are plenty of zealots on all sides of the fence (Windows, Mac, and Linux). Personally, I use all three. I definitely prefer Macs. They are the easiest to use and require the least maintenance. Linux is the most difficult. I can't imagine using it everyday (though I know people do). My favorite comment on the article came from DougW:

"My wife is a technophobe. I bought her an iBook. She first used the browser, then email, now she sells on eBay. About a month ago my 19 month old daughter dropped it on the carpet when it wasn't plugged in & my wife said I had to have it repaired. I pressed the "on" button and it booted up. Apparently the jar had momentarily disconnected the battery. The point is, SHE DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT THE POWER SWITCH. For a year now, she merely openned the lid and used it, or closed the lid and it was off (sleep). Apple rocks."

She had never used the power button!!! Too funny!

A Fan Club, Where?

TallSkinnyKiwi has become the unwitting home of a Green Day fan club! I don't know that I'd ever heard of a fan club starting in the comments section of a single blog post before! Hey Sven, want to drum up hits?!? ;-)

Why Was Apple Switching?

Last year Apple announced that they'd be switching from IBM and Freescale (formerly known as Motorola) processors to Intel. Apple has always had difficulty on the processor end of things. Now that they are moving to Intel, it becomes public knowledge that Intel's newer Pentium M chips are just fancy Pentium III's!