FAIRFIELD, Conn. (AP) - Residents of the neighborhood of Sunset Circle say they have been terrorized by a crazy cat named Lewis. Lewis for his part has been uniquely cited, personally issued a restraining order by the town's animal control officer.What's funny is that a lot of "dies alone with cats" types still have no idea why many of us wanted concealed carry so badly...
"He looks like Felix the Cat and has six toes on each foot, each with a long claw," Janet Kettman, a neighbor said Monday. "They are formidable weapons."
The neighbors said those weapons, along with catlike stealth, have allowed Lewis to attack at least a half dozen people and ambush the Avon lady as she was getting out of her car.
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
Monday, March 27, 2006
When I came home Saturday afternoon, the kitchen table was covered with stacks and stacks of pennies perfectly aligned in long, neat rows. The husband was pacing back and forth in front of them with his hands behind his back and his glasses perched low on his nose. It looked like Cornwallis inspecting a regiment of British Redcoats -- or in this case Copper Coats -- before the Battle of Long Island.The amazing thing is that this writer was so busy being cleverly flippant that she never bothered to understand what was happening in front of her face. If you asked her, doubtless she would claim full knowledge of the workings of her husband's mind, but it's obvious throughout the article that she has absolutely no idea what's going on behind blue eyes. She thinks her husband is simply entertaining himself; in reality, he's protecting her financial future.
The husband is only a semi-serious coin collector (semi- serious collectors save coins in cardboard Swiss Miss canisters, while serious collectors save them in dignified 10-pound coffee cans). But he takes the business of awarding particular coins promotion into the blue folders very seriously.
He was so busy surveying the columns that he didn't notice me. I clicked my heels, gave a snappy salute and said, "Problem with the rear guard, sir?"
"No," he said without looking up. "The problem is with 1982."
I racked my brain. "War on the Falklands?" I asked.
"Copper and zinc," he said.
He then turned toward me, balancing a penny on the tips of both index fingers as though I should know what this meant...
The most obvious fact she misses is that a normal coin collector has no interest in 1982 Lincoln cents*. With 10.7 billion of them in circulation, they are not rare nor will they ever be rare enough to command a numismatic premium. The fact that he has piles of cents on the table just proves the point. This is not a numismatic endeavor at all, but a metallurgic one.
Now, I can tell a copper 1982 cent from a zinc one by balancing them on my fingers. Anyone can without the least bit of trouble if they concentrate on it - that she couldn't just illustrates how little importance she attached to the whole episode. That she was distracted by the condition of her nails when her husband constructed a crude scale out of an emery board to help her, well, enough said.
The question that ought to have been asked is "why would a grown man bother with the relative weights of coins?" The obvious answer is that it must be worthwhile to separate them by content.
But why draw such a distinction between coins that have the same face value? Because one is intrinsically more valuable than the other. Gresham's Law in action, you know, and a sad byproduct of the government destroying the dollar. Because the dollar is in the process of crashing, the copper in a copper cent is now worth about 160% of the face value of the cent. It won't be long before small coins are made out of aluminum, because the government won't be able to find another metal worth as little as its tokens.
What he's doing is removing from circulation (ahem, hoarding) all the copper cents he can find, squirreling them away in the blue Swiss Miss cannisters she noted but didn't think about, and spending back into circulation the (relatively) worthless zinc cents. The silver in an old silver dime is now about 700% of its face value, which is why you don't find them around^ but instead can buy or sell them in $1000 "bags". For $7500 - $8000 each. Soon you won't find copper cents, either. When I was back East a few weeks ago, that was one thing I noticed: all their money is 'new,' without a copper cent in the bunch. Here in rural Kansas, about 1 of every 4 cents is still worth squirreling away.
So her husband understands inflation, Gresham's law, saving, scarcity, metallurgy, the fall of the dollar, and the history of real metallic coinage, and is taking action, however small, to protect his family from the inevitable ravages of government's fiscal monkeyshines by putting aside money that has value apart from government fiat. Either that or he's just easily amused.
Which one do you suppose she concludes?
* With the exception of making sets of "large date" or "small date" varieties, and those are not collected from coins that have been in circulation for decades.
^ Through an amazing trick of numbers, if you were to pay for your $2.50 gas in 1964 dimes, you would pay .35/gallon for it. In other words, the price of gas hasn't changed all that much: the price of money has changed.
Sunday, March 26, 2006
Saddam Hussein planned to use "camels of mass destruction" as weapons to defend Iraq, loading them with bombs and directing them towards invading forces.I don't really have anything to say about this; I just thought it was funny...
The animals were part of a plan to arm and equip foreign insurgents drawn up by the dictator shortly before the American-led invasion three years ago, reveals a 37-page report, captured after the fall of Baghdad and just released by the Pentagon.
More than 25,000 evangelical Christian youth landed Friday in San Francisco for a two-day rally at AT&T Park against "the virtue terrorism" of popular culture, and they were greeted by an official city condemnation and a clutch of protesters who said their event amounted to a "fascist mega-pep rally." ...There's something extremely comical about an elected official telling his audience that the protestors whom they are counterprotesting are "small in number" when his audience is 2/10 of 1% the size of theirs. Math skills like that explain liberals' constant surprise that they lose so many elections.
Assemblyman Mark Leno, D-San Francisco...told counterprotesters at City Hall on Friday that while such fundamentalists may be small in number, "they're loud, they're obnoxious, they're disgusting, and they should get out of San Francisco."
And while such a vitriolic reaction on the part of elected officials in San Fran is probably to be expected - after all, these wierd minorities seldom show their faces in the City by the Bay - I really wonder if a city counselor from a major metropolis who used the same words about some of the left's pet protestors would survive the national media blitzkreig that would inevitably follow. Then again, "loud, obnoxious, and disgusting" could be applied to most of San Francisco's native rallies, so for the life of me I can't imagine why those Christians weren't welcomed with open arms...
-- Gen 2:17
Is God here threatening that if Adam ate from the forbidden tree, he would be dead before the day was over? A number of critics have made that statement that Satan, who denied that Eve would die (Gen 3:4) was more honest than God, for Adam lived 900 more years after eating of the tree. A number of atheists have even called this "God's first lie."
Christian commentators have occasionally tried to get around the fact that Adam did not drop over dead by saying that ‘spiritual’ death, rather than physical death, is what God is threatening (e.g. "The primary warning is undoubtedly that of spiritual death" - Morris, The Genesis Record, p.94). This seems to get around the ‘immediacy’ problem, because we can then say that Adam died spiritually without dying physically, necessitating a savior who would rescue us who were "dead in tresspasses and sins" (Eph 2:1). The savior is promised to Eve and all mankind in the next chapter (Gen 3:15).
However, as the ideas of "spiritual death" vs. "physical death" are developed so much later in scripture, I cannot help the feeling that we are imposing on the text to make such a proclamation; that certainly was not what the ancients had in mind when they read the passage. God seems here to be talking about physical death, the kind of death Adam and Eve likely witnessed for the first time when God made clothing from an animal (Gen 3:21) to cover their nakedness, and the kind of death we speak of when we say someone died. But if physical death is what is in view here, then our original problem remains: Adam did not die on the day he ate.
On the other hand, the fact that he did not die the very day he ate never seemed to bother the ancients. They never tried to tidy up the text or gloss it over. In fact, those critics who say that this story is a pious fabrication - of course, they would say ‘late tradition’ - must also add idiocy to the list of maladies allegedly suffered by the ancients, for no intelligent person would create a story with such a blatant faux pas only 2 chapters in. The fact that it did not bother the ancients, however, gives us a clue to understanding the verse; maybe they did not understand it the same way we do from a casual reading.
So let us begin by looking where our problem lies, in the words ‘in the day you eat’. To our minds, this suggests an immediacy of consequence: eat, then die. But is that the way the Hebrews understood the phrase?
Fortunately, we have a good example of how the phrase was used from another source: 1Kings 2:36-46.
The story is this: King Solomon sent for a man named Shimei who had cursed his father David (2Sa 16:5) when Absalom rebelled. Upon his entrance to the court, Solomon condemned him to a form of house arrest and threatened him with death if he ever crossed over the Brook Kidron (1Ki 2:36-37).
Some time later, Shimei took a trip to Gath to chase some of his runaway servants and Solomon found out about it. Calling him to the palace, Solomon reminded him of the oath: Did I not make you swear by the LORD, and protest to you, saying, "Know certainly that on the day you go out and walk abroad anywhere that you shall surely die?" (2Ki 2:42). After which Solomon carried out the promised death penalty.
Solomon's threat "On the day...you shall surely die" parallels God's threat to Adam, yet it is clear from Solomon’s usage of it that the promised penalty was not carried out the very day, for Shimei had to go to Gath, then return, then the king had to deal with it. And Solomon did not say "Well, since you lived past that day, I guess I can’t carry out sentence on you". What Solomon was saying was "When you cross the brook, your fate is sealed, and that fate is death."
In fact, reading the original oath spells this out clearly: "For it shall be that on the day you go out and pass over the brook Kidron, you will know for certain that you shall surely die: your blood shall be upon your own head." 1Kings 2:37
Now, if this usage is carried back to Gen 2:17, it will cause us to read God’s command something like this: "You shall not eat of the Tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil, for when you do, your fate is sealed, and that fate is death". "On that day" represents not an issue of immediacy, then, but an issue of certainty.
So although Shimei lived on past the actual day of his transgression, he was in fact a walking dead man; his fate was sealed. Adam was the same way, "for the wages of sin is death" (Rom 6:23a). But God mercifully extended Adam’s physical life, gave him a reprieve so to speak, from immediate judgement, and he was allowed to live a long time afterwards. Just as we do not immediately die upon sinning, Adam did not.
Thank God, though, he allowed Paul to finish the verse:
"but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Rom 6:23b
Saturday, March 25, 2006
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- Under mounting foreign pressure, President Hamid Karzai searched for a way to free an Afghan man on trial for converting from Islam to Christianity without angering Muslim clerics who have called for him to be killed...I'm certainly not the only person who finds irony in the fact that Afghanistan has a "state-sponsored" "independent" human rights commission. That's like having a "privatized" government post office, but that's neither here nor there, I guess. What's important is the fact that they have a Constitution and a democracy, and yet the human right - and I believe highest human responsibility - to recognize Jesus Christ as God and Savior carries a death sentence. If there was ever proof that democracy itself is an empty husk when it lacks the substance of a prior recognition of inalienable human rights, this is it.
Afghanistan's constitution is based on sharia law, which states that any Muslim who rejects Islam should be sentenced to death, according to Ahmad Fahim Hakim, deputy chairman of the state-sponsored Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission.
But while even the Pope is writing letters trying to get Abdul Rahman freed from his death sentence, I'm torn. Not that I think he deserves to die, of course: he deserves and will receive eternal life for his testimony. But I was thinking tonight about my favorite children's book, "The Last Battle," and about the fact that we all must die, and yet most of our deaths mean nothing.
In one scene, the heroine of the book, Jill Pole, has just discovered that her trip to Narnia has resulted in a hopeless situation. Outnumbered and outflanked by the invading army of Calormenes, she and Eustace will probably not survive their appointed commission:
"I almost wish - no I don't, though," said Jill.Does Abdul Rahman not find himself in the same situation today? If he is rescued through judicial shenanigans and whooshed out of the country, he will prove that there are people and governments that care about human rights, and he will prove that those governments have power over the sharia government of Afghanistan. What that will mean for Afghanistan, I don't know. It will probably result in riots and burning and killing, a favourite pastime in Islamic countries.
"What were you going to say?"
"I was going to say I wished we'd never come. But I don't, I don't, I don't. Even if we are killed. I'd rather be killed fighting for Narnia than grow old and stupid at home and perhaps go about in a bath-chair and then die in the end just the same."
But if he is killed, he will stand today and eternally with the cloud of witnesses that turned a just-as-hostile Roman Empire upside down. If Afghanistan is ever to change from a democracy where the majority is in favor of killing those who do not follow their evil prophet, it's not going to be done by governments, it's going to be done by God's Holy Spirit working through the witness of his martyrs.
And don't feel bad for Rahman, for as a Christian he is the recipient of a promise more valuable than the longest life one could ever ask for: "For whoever would save his life shall lose it: but whoever loses his life for my sake, he shall save it." That's a promise Rahman certainly ponders every day, holding it more important to cling to his Savior than to life itself.
"Hey, you in there," Miracle Max asked a mostly-dead Westley, "What's so important? What you got here that's worth living for?"
Perhaps that's the wrong question. Since we all must die, since every generation passes away eventually, a better question might be what you got here that's worth dying for?
You may have noticed a virtual dearth of pictures lately...that's on purpose, as I was trying to make the pages load faster, and it does quite a bit. But since I'm such a big believer in democracy, I figured I'd open this up for a vote. Do you miss them? Does it add more to the site to have pics in every entry? Or would you rather just see them occasionally?
My latest silver article ("The Game") is online at SilverSeek and a few other sites, but it's already been posted here (all but the book reviews) so most of you have already read (or skipped) it anyway.
Friday, March 24, 2006
Here's how the above scam works:
You're selling something online (in my case, it's bulk boxes of used paperbacks) and you get an email offering to buy it, usually sight unseen - though in my case, one of these guys actually wanted a photo of my warehouse full of books. No problem, because we all want to sell what we're selling.
Then upon arranging for payment, you receive in the mail a cashier's check or (as in my case) a postal service money order. But there's a catch: the buyer paid too much.
"No problem," the buyer says, "just wire me the overage here in Lagos or London or Italy."
So you wire the overage, but there really is a problem after all: the checks are fake. So not only have you lost what you wired, you've lost the item and could quite possibly be in trouble for passing fake checks.
In my case, the buyer only sent an overage of about 15%, and I suppose he expects that I'll send that extra $400 by Western Union and ship 30 boxes of books to England.
Fat chance. They're not even good color copies of Postal Service money orders. I'll take them to the post office to be sure, even though I'm already sure.
Then I'll frame them here in the office, along with the envelope and maybe a catchy little motto: "Beware of Nigerians bearing gifts."
Accusing Republicans of betraying family values, Senator Clinton said a House immigration bill would turn "probably even Jesus himself" into a criminal...Given that the Good Samaritan is a literary figure from several millennia ago, it's doubtful that the US Government could do anything to literally criminalize him. And I suppose the same is true for Jesus, though he must have already been a criminal. Otherwise the government wouldn't have executed him, right?
Mrs. Clinton, who previously said the bill would move America toward a "police state," also invoked biblical language yesterday. "It is certainly not in keeping with my understanding of the Scriptures," Mrs. Clinton said, "because this bill would literally criminalize the Good Samaritan."
But the silliness of left wingers trying out their newfound bibles aside, I have to admit that I'm torn on the whole immigration debate. It's not just that America was built by immigrants and enjoyed its greatest burst of prosperity at the very time that it enjoyed a nearly unlimited supply of cheap, uneducated labor from Italy and Ireland. It's not just that there is no argument against immigration today that was not used (or could not have been used) then. And I understand the need for secure borders, or at least think I do. I also understand that those who are here illegally are, by definition, engaged in a criminal activity.
But here's my problem and the reason that my thinking is at least opening up on this: As I study the Book of Ruth and take a look at the concept of being a stranger in a strange land, I see a couple issues.
As a matter of history, nearly anywhere the stranger was treated differently it was a difference of oppression. Such treatment, nearly universal, led to a couple of rules for the Israelites in order to ensure justice in society. Especially in Exodus but carrying through the Torah is the idea that the stranger among us has enough problems without us adding to them. In fact, not only are we to 'not vex him' (Le 19:33), but we are to love him as ourselves (Le 19:34) and see that we feed him of our own harvest (Le 19:10). In fact, the 'tithe' that so many churches are fond of collecting for their building funds was set aside so "the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, which are within thy gates, shall come, and shall eat and be satisfied" (De 14:29-30). In most laws, the stranger was under the same legal protection as the citizen, but also had to fulfil the same legal requirements.
However, even under that regimen, there was allowed (mandated) a difference between stranger and citizen. Most are primarily religious, though even then the stranger could join in the Passover so long as he followed certain rules (c.f. Ex 12:48). But there were certain restrictions that held as well, especially those related to national temple service. I don't understand if property rights were allowed strangers, but I suspect not. I have certainly not seen anything that would allow for it.
Now I'm not a big fan of the law for law's sake. I don't believe that Christians are under any of Moses' law (2Co 3:7-8) and I'm very wary any time someone tries to prove something using a few verses, especially from Moses. Rather, what I'm looking for is principles that underlie the law. For example, I don't have a battlement on my roof (De 22:8), but I understand the principle of keeping a safe environment around the home.
Approaching it that way, it seems to me that in matters civil we need to be very careful that our division of citizens from strangers remains one of justice and not one of oppression. But I don't know where that balance is. I expect my thinking will change on this, because this is really the first time I have examined it and I'm not surprised to discover that I really don't know anything.
I suspect the same is true of our solons who about to set that ignorance in stone.
Literally, of course.
Thursday, March 23, 2006
ST. PAUL, Minn. - The Easter Bunny has been sent packing at St. Paul City Hall.Now this is just funny as hell. I wonder if anyone bothered to explain to Mr. Terrill that eggs and bunnies have nothing to do with any Christian book or church or creed, but are historic and symbolic leftovers from pagan European fertility rites. Bunnies and eggs are, in fact, the distraction from the Resurrection, the way that those who are not Christians can join in the societal springtime celebration of the majority without getting uncomfortably close to all that Jesus stuff. As such, they have their own function to perform: helping the religious and non-religious peacefully coexist. Therefore they must go, I suppose, in the name of religious tolerance.
A toy rabbit, pastel-colored eggs and a sign with the words "Happy Easter" were removed from the lobby of the City Council offices, because of concerns they might offend non-Christians.
A council secretary had put up the decorations. They were not bought with city money.
St. Paul's human rights director, Tyrone Terrill, asked that the decorations be removed, saying they could be offensive to non-Christians.
Look, I understand that some might be offended. After all, important and well-paid public officials like Mr. Terrill don't make these types of requests just because they have nothing worthwhile to do. So if any person is truly and legitimately offended by the presence of plastic eggs and a toy rabbit in the hallowed halls of government, then I'd be more than willing to come down to city hall myself and point at him and laugh.
But as the carefully-choreographed Christmas Wars demonstate, what just might be even funnier will be those knee-jerk Christians who will go out of their way to get offended by the removal of these pagan barnacles, certain that this is further evidence of a conspiracy to undermine our Christian legacy. Letters will be written to editors and congresscritters, boycotts will be declared and then silently abandoned, and love offerings will overflow with the dollars of the faithful. And to top it off, some ministry will declare that bunnies and plastic eggs form an integral part of the religious heritage of America - the absence of which will be like spitting in the face of the Almighty himself - and warning that America is risking a cosmic bitchslap if it doesn't save the bunny.
Jesus would roll over in his grave, if he had one.
TOPEKA, Kan. -- Kansans will be able to carry concealed guns after the House on Thursday overrode Gov. Kathleen Sebelius' veto of a gun bill, allowing it to become law this summer.And finally we get to change this annoying map.
The vote was 91-33, giving supporters of the measure seven votes more than the two-thirds majority necessary. The Senate voted Wednesday night to override the veto, 30-10, with three votes more than needed...
Legislators' action capped a decade-long debate, which saw Kansas remain part of an ever-dwindling group of states that didn't allow residents to carry hidden weapons. Only Illinois, Nebraska and Wisconsin are still on the list.
I'll get a permit, though I don't know if I'll carry. But the great part is that no one else will know if I'm carrying, either.
Feel lucky, punk?
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
El B creates a report from an 8-year-old spreadsheet that George found lying around:
Bill Hoyt wrote:George: Try this for a first pass... you'll be able to pick metro areas (single or multiple) as well. Anything else you'd like added?This is a wonderful report! How about adding the Major Gift Codes, A, B, C?
Then do the Wichita, Tulsa, Joplin, Springfield, Lawrence, Oklahoma City, St. Louis, Bentonville - Rogers - Bella Vista - Springdale - Fayetteville, Denver, Colorado Springs, and Tyler, Texas for starters!
Take your time. I can't use them all at once. Just make it easy on yourself.
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
-- Gen 7:16
After months of searching, I finally found my Online Bible notes following a hard drive crash last year. I’ve since loaded them back on my computer, my wife’s computer, and my laptop, so hopefully I won’t lose them again. But that means ya’ll will have to put up with my notes and speculations (I hate to say insights) about whatever I’m studying at the moment.
Some of you have possibly seen these before. Some of the material is expanded, some is better cross-referenced, some (thankfully) has been cropped.
But don’t worry; I don’t like long sermons. Seriously, that’s one thing I enjoy about the Catholics: get in, dominus omus, we’re outta here. In fact, I’ve found that sermons all generally contain the same number of thoughts, or at least people leave sermons retaining the same amount of information, so those guys who like to talk for hours and hours aren’t really giving any more than those who hit it hard for 20 minutes and head for the casserole line. The meeting of Christians is primarily about celebration and worship, rather than hearing the Word - while important, it should not be primary. We all have bibles and are perfectly capable of reading them at home. That we don’t is a separate issue altogether.
So that being said, I present a one-minute sermon:
Awesome to Behold
It is an interesting detail that God himself shut the door of the ark once Noah had entered.
The detail, perhaps surprisingly, is left out of the Epic of Gilgamesh’s remembrance of the event, though what it does recall might lead well into my point:
"I watched the appearance of the weather, the weather was awesome to behold. I boarded the ship and battened up the gate. To batten up the whole ship, to Puzar-Amurri, the boatman, I handed over the structure together with its contents."
— Epic of Gilgamesh, Tablet XI
I’m sure the sight of clouds rolling in was awesome to behold, not only for Noah, but for everyone around, and Genesis tells us that once the animals were safely loaded the Lord himself shut Noah into the ark (Gen 7:16). The question immediately arises, “Why did God do it himself?” The biblical Noah could have battened up the gate just as easily as Utanapishtim, the Sumerian Noah.
There are a number of reasons, the chief of which is doubtless that the door was a symbol of God’s salvation, an image Jesus revived when he said in John 10:9, “I am the door: if any man shall enter by me, he shall be saved.” The door symbolizes the way to God, that there is only one way to be saved: God’s way. There is only one place we have to go and only one entrance created for us to use. Today it is Jesus Christ, in that day it was belief in the message that Noah preached, which was similar to Jesus’ message (1Pet 3:19-21) - this should not surprise us in the least, for our God doesn’t change. Going through the door is not only symbolic of accepting God’s grace, but it in the case of the ark was a physical necessity. There was no praying the Sinner’s Prayer and sneaking home to catch Jon Stewart. You either entered through the door or you did not. Eight did.
But the act of closing the door has a symbolic meaning as well, that of the end of God’s patience. God is longsuffering with us (2Pet 3:9), not willing that any should perish. He takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked (Eze 33:11), and had given 120 years (Gen 6:3) for the antediluvians to turn away from slaughtering one another all over the earth (Gen 6:11). That time was over, and God declared it to be over by closing the door with his own hand. Once that portal was closed there was no more opportunity, no more turning. His patience had run out.
But I think there is also a more pragmatic reason, and it is an insight my wife had while we were discussing these things. We often forget that these men were men just like us. They had like passions, similar weaknesses, they shared our concerns and our sympathies.
When the weather became awesome to behold, when the Earth burst forth in pelagic fury, when the ark began to lift into the waves, it became undeniable to those outside that everything Noah had been telling them was true, and they were doubtless horrified. The crowds who had to that moment considered Noah but a crazy old man swarmed about the ark, pounding on it, tearing at it, desperately seeking an entrance. Their screams of panic and fear echoed within the ark, piercing the hearts of all who were inside.
How painful it must have been for those safely inside to listen to the screams of Let me in! and Take my baby! How guilt must have twisted the guts of Noah and his passengers as those fervent pleas were subsumed by wind and wave. And how tempting to open the door. To save a life. To offer just one more chance. If we imagine Noah was not nearly destroyed by the death that reigned around his rising sanctuary, we do not know the hearts of men who know the heart of God.
But the decision of life or death for the people outside was not Noah's to make. God had made the decision (Gen 6:17), God’s judgment had fallen, and God bore the responsibility for its consequences, not the old man shaking and sobbing in a pile on the ark's filthy floor.
God was and is in control - not men - and God closed the door because he is God, and ultimately it was his door to close.
Let us then enter through the door he holds open for us today, Jesus Christ, before we find ourselves in weather awesome to behold, pounding on an ark, a salvation, that is lifting off into the waves.
I had a dream last night, or rather this morning, one of those dreams you have after you wake up the first time and spend about 20 minutes floating into and out of sleep. In it, I ran into a high school teacher who was having touble teaching economics, so I decided to create a game for her to help her get through to her class. But it wasn't quite a board game, or if it was one it was so big (or we so small) that we were able to walk around on it like living game pieces, creating it as we talked.
The board was a cul-du-sac with seven houses, all differently built and coloured. One was like an old one-room schoolhouse, one like a haunted house with spires and bats in the best Halloween tradition, one was a Victorian-era Painted Lady mansion, and the others were of differing shapes and sizes. Each of them was unique, yet together they represented every type of house one could imagine.
"There are six players in the game," I explained as we walked through the clover-covered field between two houses, "and each has certain assets and certain liabilities." I pointed out that one house had some rabbits in a hutch out back, another some chickens scratching in the yard, one had a well and one a saw. The haunted house sat empty with no assets of its own.
I told the teacher that the game was played in rounds, with the first round being the hardest for reasons that would become obvious. Each person, because of their assets and limitations, could produce certain things but not all things, and each would need to have in possession a defined amount of food and shelter at the end of each round to stay in the game. Since only so much could be produced, especially at first, the loss of anyone from the game, rather than increasing one's odds of winning - like in Monopoly - decreased one's chances.
Each round asked hard questions and demanded harder choices: if you are the man with the rabbits, do you eat them? Your rabbits can produce more rabbits, but only so many, because you only have one acre of land on which to feed them. But your neighbor has an acre of garden. Might you let some 'extra' rabbits into his garden at night? Or do you trade those rabbits for some corn? And if you do trade, do you trade dead rabbits so they'll be counted as food, or do you trade live ones which might be able to increase the overall food supply but would also increase competition? Same question with chickens. Same with seeds produced by the garden. One man has a hole in his house, another can create so many board-feed of lumber that might be used to fix it. But what has man A to induce man B to give up what he needs?
As the first round ends, everyone must have so much food and a shelter to protect him from the evil wind that would blow him off the board. Beg, borrow, or steal, at the end of the round you MUST have what it takes to survive into the next round. And players truly could steal, though the others could remove a stealer from the game at any time. But as if by magic, any time someone left the game, everything they had, from chickens to apple trees, left with them. All the people hoped the man with the well stayed in.
As the second round begins, something new is introduced: money. In this round, everyone is more established - the apple trees are producing and the rabbits reproducing like, well, rabbits - and suddenly trade is easier. The man with rabbits who needs lumber does not need to trade rabbits for apples because the lumber man needs apples and not rabbits; he can simply trade him a little money and the lumber man can buy his own apples. Of course, the money supply increases slowly...it takes food (capital) to build a gold mine, so surplus food is needed in order to produce money. People find that they can expand their fields as well, which might allow for more rabbits and chickens, but it costs food and maybe some money to do so.
Once the second round ends, everyone counts to ensure they have the required amount of food and sufficient shelter. Maybe they even have a little money that they can use to buy food if they came up short, instead of having to beg, borrow, or steal. All through the round there have been little cards drawn, like "grass fire... your field is destroyed until the round ends," that can really hurt someone...but if they have a little money set aside, they can rebuild in the next round. Or they can borrow from another player if that player is convinced they are a good risk.
The teacher is really excited now, seeing the possibilities for turning the students on. Which of them would not enjoy building a rabbit farm from scratch? Who wouldn't like to run a gold mine or an orchard?
"What about the third round?" she asks.
"Remember that there were seven houses?" I ask, pointing at the haunted house. "Well, the seventh gets an occupant now."
We watch as a bent little gnome of a man moves in. The man turns out to be a cantankerous little viscount with a soft heart and a handgun who makes sure there is no more stealing or putting people out of the game by other players. But there's a cost: he takes a small cut of the money that everyone earns in trade - making their trade less profitable but not painfully so - and buys some food for himself with it. He does not produce anything but does a marvelous job keeping the peace.
Everyone seems a little better off for not having to worry about stealing or being put out, and they are glad the old man moved in and they ask him to help with some more things. So the occupant of the haunted house starts to help out when some of the cards come up really bad. If someone draws a "your house is destroyed" card, the viscount takes up a collection (involuntary) on behalf of the man who needs a new house. He starts to give some of the food he collects to those who have less food, though most of it is simply removed from the game. No one complain about his occasional collections because they feel bad for people whose houses were destroyed or who don't have enough food.
But toward the end of round three something else begins to happen, or rather to be noticed. The man in the haunted house is no longer small. All through the round he has been performing more and more services, but the more things he does, the more he grows. And as he grows, he must collect more money to buy up more food, not only removing goods from the game, but making everyone noticably poorer. They have less money and start to feel that the man might be more of a bother than he's worth. But some of them start to like him very much, choosing not to produce for themselves but instead relying on the old man's largesse. They are glad to see he's looking so healthy and big.
But the old man doesn't like having half the people mad at him, so he comes up with an idea for something he can produce. And the thing he can produce is money. He can produce it for free, and then he won't have to take money from the people who are complaining and he can still satisfy the people who love him. So he makes some of his own money and buys up the existing money, and everyone is pretty happy because they didn't like carrying heavy money anyway and didn't like having to spend capital to get it. And there seems to be more money now, and they feel rich, and they all like the old man because he helps them and doesn't charge them for it. They continue to ask him for more, and more and more people decide that they'd rather not produce.
At the end of round three, however, there's a problem. The old man is fat now, very fat, and is buying everything in sight with new money to feed himself. Some people start to realize that even though there is more money than ever before, there aren't more products to spend it on - the chickens don't breed any faster, the apple tree boughs are no more laden with fruit. In fact, there is actually less to spend it on, because the fat old man has been carting so much of it away.
Now comes the counting for round three. Everyone has plenty of money, but not everyone has enough food to stay in the game. They offer to buy it from others who have enough, but some refuse...they already have plenty of money, and the money seems to buy less all the time anyway. A terrible fight breaks out as each side tries to get the old man to take their side, either to keep others from stealing or to ensure through force that everyone has enough to stay in the game. Some people are put out and a lot of stealing occurs, and no one enjoys this part very much.
"What happens after round three?" the teacher asked, apparently quite troubled by the idea of her students breaking into open warfare during class.
"I don't know," I said, shaking my head. "No game has ever been played beyond round three...usually the old man gets killed by one side or the other, the haunted house falls empty again, the new money disappears, and everyone goes back to round one with a few chickens and rabbits and beans."
"What a stupid game," the teacher said. "Why would anyone let the old man grow so much that his appetite endangered everyone like that?"
And then I woke up before I could tell her that I didn't know why anyone would do that. We just do.
Monday, March 20, 2006
"It feels to me that we have an opportunity ... to choose understanding in a new way. And it really is just a breath. It's just an agreement that's just a breath. We are not far apart. We can choose to have this alternative kind of growth that is a collective nuance of understanding."
-- Sharon Stone on bringing peace to the Middle East once and for all.
I'm pretty sure the solution to four millennia of social strife and hatred can be found in Sharon Stone's brain, and it's ours for the taking if only we were blessed with a collective nuance of understanding to freeble the gnits of sporgsten tung, frabben ir a gnorgist, ser otna borch gnistsa.
KABUL, Afghanistan Mar 19, 2006 (AP)— An Afghan man is being prosecuted in a Kabul court and could be sentenced to death on a charge of converting from Islam to Christianity, a crime under this country's Islamic laws, a judge said Sunday.I mean, because if we hadn't invaded and gotten rid of the Taliban, people there might be denied basic liberties and stuff...
He'll probably be found guilty (for he is guilty according to the Koran) and he'll probably be executed, simply another in a long line of modern martyrs, testaments to the power of the satanic deception that is Islam.
And the deception that is democracy. The most obvious thing about democracy is that the will of the people will be done; that's what Democracy is supposed to bring about. Well, it's the will of the adherents of Islam, which includes most of the people in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and a host of other places, that a man who confesses Jesus Christ as King should be slain. If the act of making martyrs is evil, then it is pure foolishness to implement a system guaranteed to bring such acts about.
But if we leave, the terrorists win. And terrorists might kill innocent people, right?.
A lot of people are surprised to find out that my lovely wife is a gunsmith (or was...she hasn't done anything with it for a while) and they laugh nervously at her stickers that say stuff like "Keep honking, I'm reloading" or "If you're found here tonight, you'll be found here tomorrow." Yes, the NRA mags around the house are hers.
So at her office they had a contest this week: guess how many candies are in the jar. Skinner won the contest and a gift certificate to Wal-Mart.
Her winning guess? 357.
I guess the gunsmith stuff still comes in handy.
Sunday, March 19, 2006
The bird flu outbreak in southern Israel is God's punishment for the Gaza Strip and northern West Bank disengagement, National Jewish Front Chairman Baruch Marzel says.You know, I don't mean to be a wet blanket, but all these guys saying, "This is God's punishment for that" have got me thinking about how they undersell God. When one looks at God's judgments in the past, there's one thing that stands out: none of them could ever be confused with anything else. If 1500 naked Venezuelans were torched by fire from the sky, then you might be able to make the case that God felt compelled to get involved.
"You were punished by God and now you'll have to ask for the forgiveness of Gush Katif residents," Marzel wrote in a letter to southern residents whose communities were affected by bird flu.
Sodom, Noah's flood, hundred-pound hailstones falling on fleeing armies... when the wrath of God is revealed in natural events, it's usually quite a spectacle - you know, like in Ghostbusters:
Dr Ray Stantz: Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies. Rivers and seas boiling.All this talk about the wrath of God taking the form of chickens with runny noses... I just don't see it.
Dr. Egon Spengler: Forty years of darkness. Earthquakes, volcanoes...
Winston Zeddemore: The dead rising from the grave.
Dr. Peter Venkman: Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together - mass hysteria.
Saturday, March 18, 2006
Because it was posted on Usenet 10 years ago, it took me an entire evening of searching the seedy back roads of the web to find "White Unity & Goats," which I feared had disappeared from the world forever. The author, who went under several psuedonyms but whom I remember best as "racial theorist," was involved in a small home-grown white power group and often reported his activities for the edification of his fellow white power advocates, though just as often to the amusement of us detractors.
As with the missives of Lulu it's sometimes difficult to tell whether one is reading the real thing or an extrememely clever lampoon. I have my opinion of course, but I shall leave it to the reader to develop his own. Enjoy. Spelling and (lack of) capitalization is in the original:
i am happy to report that the second white unity day, which was held over at ted's because his wife and kids were out of town, was as great a success as the first white unity day.
ted and i had got this black goat that we killed, cooked and ate. we had a little trouble buying this goat. the first place we went they asked us what we were going to do with the goat and we told them we were going to eat it, the woman got all mad and wouldn't sell it to us. the second place we went we volunteered that we wanted the goat to clean fence line, and they sold us the goat with no problem.
"do you think we might come up with a better way of killing the goat than we did with that other one?" i asked ted.
"i'd like to try out a sledge hammer this time," ted answered. "that ought to be a more fun way of doing it."
we were thinking about waiting till everybody got there to kill the goat.
"but what if something goes wrong like last time?" i asked ted.
"nothing's going to go wrong this time, take my word for it. I'm gonna get him one good time with the sledge hammer and that'll be it for mr. goat."
but we got tired of waiting and decided to do it before everybody got there.
it's a good thing we did kill the goat before everybody got there because it could have led some people to question whether or not we knew what we were doing, which we knew what we were doing but things can't go smooth all the time.
i'm not real sure whether the goat moved or whether ted's aim with the sledge hammer was bad.
"next time I think it would be better if you could get him good that first time," i said to ted after it was all over.
it took ted a few times to knock off the goat. the goat tried to get away, but ted had done some damage on the first swing, and a little more on the second swing and on the third, and the goat didn't get as far as he would have liked to although he did put up a good sporting fight and make a whole lot of noise. by the tenth swing ted was about worn out and the goat was about dead.
"did you feel sorry for that goat?" ted asked after it was all over.
"I didn't either," ted said with a friendly smile. "i guess i'm ruthless as far as goats and minorities go."
i told ted about how i had quoted a similar statement he had made on apw-p and the libs tried to make out like we were blood thirsty and we both had a good laugh as we strung up mr. goat and gutted him.
we also talked about whether blacks are a different species.
"do you remember," i said to ted, "about how my daddy's moma got real sick when my daddy was a month old and they had to get a black wet nurse for him? my daddy might not be alive if it weren't for that black wet nurse."
"that don't prove nothing," ted said. "they could have put him up under a cow and he could have sucked the cow's tit, but would that make the cow human?"
"no," i said, "i don't guess it would. but you know, i've had certain natural relations with colored gals that i haven't had with no cows."
"but you could," ted said.
i didn't care to talk about it anymore, so i just told him i didn't know if he was right or if he was wrong. (btw--i have stopped having relations with black gals and am sticking with white.)
about the time we got him on the grill marlowe and stan and stan's two daughters showed up. we had met stan, but not the daughters.
believe me, there wasn't nothing wrong with the two daughters, nothing wrong except one of them was 16 and marlow and done latched onto the 18 year old. I thought about it, and I don't think stan would much mind, but it would jeopardize my career if I got caught having sex with a minor, so I decided I better just be nice and maybe she would still be around when she got legal age.
stan and I had met briefly at an earlier time but we hadn't talked much and I just want to say that I did enjoy listening to stan talk about the fun times he spent in the klan riding around on saturday night with his fellow klansmen in milledgeville, georgia. it's good to have someone in our organization who has had as much experience in the white power movement as stan, and somebody with two fine looking daughters to boot.
but I wasn't too much worried about stan's available daughter not being of legal age because, not being so sure marlow's tastes in women matched up with mine, I decided to invite kathy and linda over as reserves, kathy for me and linda for ted since ted's wife was out of town.
the goat was done at 2:30, and we sat down at the round table to eat. we discussed the white race and the characteristics that make the white race the finest and purest race on this earth. we usually do not allow drinking at our w-p get togethers, but we decided to make this an exception, and stan and marlow drank beer and old crow while me and ted drank iced tea and coffee. at the next unity get together, we plan on placing limits on the amount of alcohol that can be consumed on the premises.
after dinner we listened to some of stan's tapes of klan rallies he attended which included several rousing speeches in support of the white race by stan. and then it was time for cross lighting ceremonies in the back yard.
stan gave a brief talk. then ted lit the cross and explained to everybody that we weren't burning the cross, but that we were lighting it as a symbol of light over darkness, of goodness over evil.
all in all, our second white unity day was a great success. there was nothing but white people there, and we had a good time.
in loyal service to the white race,
MIAMI - A growing scandal over teachers who paid to get credit for courses they never took has cost nearly three dozen educators their jobs, and hundreds of others were being investigated.Licence-mandated continuing education is a scam anyway. Seriously. Whether applied to teachers or barbers, those in non-technology fields aren't going to see that many necessary changes over the course of a few years. How much does teaching sixth grade or high school chemistry really change? And if it does change, is there no incentive other than law that would make teachers want to improve their own knowledge and performance?
The Miami-Dade County School Board voted 5-4 on Wednesday to fire six teachers and accept resignations from 26 others.
The punishments stem from a scam run by former high school teacher William McCoggle, who claimed to offer continuing-education classes through a private company. McCoggle pleaded guilty to fraud in November, admitting he did little more than sell transcripts, requiring no tests, homework or other academic work.
Hundreds of teachers who never took classes are being investigated for buying continuing education transcripts. Last fall Otterbein College, which has about 3,000 students, in suburban Columbus, Ohio, revoked almost 10,000 college credits given to 657 teachers. It was one of five schools that prosecutors say provided the course credits through McCoggle's company, Move On Toward Education and Training.
It is telling that those who do have to deal with rapid change, like technology professionals, don't need a law requiring them to be continually re-educated so they can keep their jobs. Those who neglect to keep up on their skills (and you're reading one who did) soon find that the job market forces the issue far more effectively than the government ever could.
But the surprising thing is those parents and school board members more worried about classroom disruptions in the middle of the school year than making sure hundreds of fraudsters aren't teaching the kids. Not that I disagree with their position - I simply don't care - but they are making two points very clear: continuing education is not really that important, and neither is integrity.
A pretty dress teaches an economic truth:
Mitzibel - You rarely find a dress with a four or five inch seam allowance that would let you alter a dress like that to fit someone with actual hooters. I'm sorry, Bethie, I feel your pain. This is exactly why I can't order pretty clothes off the internet. I am, however, getting an actual working sewing machine, so this summer I get to wear T-shirt corsets 'till I get sick of 'emEverything, even great stuff like big boobs, comes with a price.
Bethie - yup, what she said. There's no way there's enough fabric to let it out -- at least not enough to where it would actually fit *me* and if I order a bigger size it'll just look funny. I guess my days of ordering stuff online is over :p at least clothing-wise.
El Borak - Yeah, I'm laughing at you both...
Bethie - Why are you laughing at me?
El Borak - 'Cause all this time you were the one who wanted big boobs.
Bethie - I'm not complaining, I was just bummed that they came with a price.
One of the great forgotten truths of modern days is opportunity cost, the cost of that which must be foregone in order to choose one thing over another. "You can have it all" is a lie, and it's particularly sad one, as a lot of people (thankfully, not Mitzibel or Bethie) have based their lives on the idea that they would have something now (in the case of modern mythology - feminist or not - it's usually a career) and there would always be time later to have that which was sacrificed (marriage and family). But no one can have it all. No one ever could.
The words of Pink Floyd aptly describe it:
Tired of lying in the sunshineWe must do some things, but because our time and resources are limited, we cannot do another. Perhaps we can spend our lives dedicatd to a good career, but that does not leave sufficient time to be a good parent. How many men are only vaguely aware that there are short people living in their million dollar houses? How many women have turned around at 35 and decided it's time for family, only to find the good men are gone or they must submit to a drug regimen in order to conceive? How many politicians have dedicated their lives to "public service," only to find their own children won't come home for Christmas? What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his soul?
Staying home to watch the rain
And you are young and life is long
And there is time to kill today
And then one day you find
Ten years have got behind you
No one told you when to run
You missed the starting gun
Perhaps we can work for a lifetime to pass a constitutional amendment for something or other, perhaps we can march in the streets against war or poverty or halitosis, yet every hour we spend and every dollar we donate is an hour or a dollar that did not go somewhere else that it might have had an impact today. There is a price, Barbarian - a silver dime to the first person to name the movie - there is a price for everything.
There was a comment on Bethie's blog to the effect that, "just because something is not successful, that doesn't mean it's not worth doing." Occasionally that's correct if the objective is a moral victory. Usually the fact is that it's just not worth doing when the costs of things that were given up for such a Pyrrhic victory are factored in.
Friday, March 17, 2006
As I listen to a certain ministry when I drive to work, I hear a lot of speeches regarding the culture (this was the week that all the keynote speakers at some conference or other get their radio time) and most of them I agree with. The gist of many of them - and imagine how surprised I was on Wednesday to hear John Ashcroft say this - is that we Christians rely too much on the political process. Amen to that. I think that for a majority of 'involved' Christians, the government and especially the GOP has become sort of a replacement Christ. If we can just get the right people elected, all will be well. I think that's rubbish. Man will be man and there's really no difference between the Caesars of today and the Caesars of yesteryear, but it's nice to hear from people who have been involved in government for so long saying that government is not the solution.
But then the inevitable 'commercial' comes on. It's not a commercial, really, but the way that ministries pay for this radio time. And what they are selling is little pins so we can all show our support of having "In God We Trust" on our coins and showing how Michael Newdow is an atheist poopyhead. This is a battle, we are told, that we must win, or else something or other bad will happen. We need a political solution or God will be tossed and will probably be pretty pissed about it.
And of course, I hate to line up with an atheist poopyhead, but I have to ask this: given that our money - since the establishment of the Fed in 1913 - is completely fraudulent, if you were God, would you want your name on it? If our money no longer has the value that God's word presumes for money, if it defies God's commandments against false weights and measures, is it not blasphemy to attach God's name and character to that?
God said to the Israelites:
Just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin you shall have: for I am the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt.
-- Le 19:36
Now, did God just like saying his own name? Not at all. Several laws that share that phrase are telling:
Le 19:34 - The stranger who dwells with you shall be to you as one of your own, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.
Le 24:22 - You shall have only one law for the stranger as for one of your own country: for I am the LORD your God.
Le 25:17 - Your shall not oppress one another; but instead fear God: for I am the LORD your God.
God's name and his character are tied to justice in society, for he is a just God. When the authorities in society use an unjust weight, it is an accusation that God is an unjust God. When the modern dollar loses 90% of its value since its introduction, it's no different than the ephaph or the hin (measurements of weight in ancient Israel) losing 90% of their weight. It's fraud and theft.
I understand where Dr. Kennedy is coming from. He's trying to avoid a completely secular state in which Christians have no input into the political process, and I can respect that. But what I can't respect is the idea of putting God's name on the lie that is our modern money.
If there's a political solution necessary, it's the elimination of our false dollars and a return to honest money that conforms to God's standard of justice. If we're not willing to do that, then the issue of ensuring that God's name is attached to our current money is a symbolic fight and one that I doubt God cares about very much. If that makes me line up with atheist poopyheads politically, so be it I guess. Some things are more important than politics.
One of the joys of the Bible is its errors. It seems a funny thing for a fundamentalist to say, for we're supposed to believe that the Bible as we have it today (or at least as it was in the original manuscripts) is without error. Perhaps it was, yet it is a fact that every manuscript upon which our bibles are based contains differences from every other, and there is a complete discipline, lower textual criticism, that compares passages in one copy to the passages in the others to discover what the original said. As a result the "final final" text of the Bible always has a bit of uncertainty. Not much, but some.
Does that bother me? Not particularly. I believe that the Bible is authoritative, whether 'perfect' in the version I have or not. And the odds are higher that I will misinterpret some passage - either through translation issues or misunderstanding of culture or context - that is well-attested than that I will come across in insoluble moral dilemma in the few percent of biblical passages that are in question. For all intents and purposes, I take is as read. But there are still issues, especially where several passages cover the same material and seem to disagree. It's the old problem with watches: a man with one watch always knows the time; a man with two is never sure. That uncertainty provides no end of subjects upon which an anal-retentive wannabe historian like me can spend his Friday nights.
2Chron 22:2 and 2Kings 8:26 are one of those problems, for in the first, King Ahaziah is said to begin his one-year reign at 42, yet in the latter, it's said to be 22. As is often the case, there are a multitude of possible solutions, one of them being that there is a genuine copyist error here.
There are some 5 theories that I've located thus far that attempt to explain the discrepancy:
1) That some copyist made an error, since the Hebrew letters representing the numbers ‘22’ and ‘42’ are very similar. This is supported by the fact that a lot of manuscripts say '22' instead of '42.'
2) ‘42’ is the age of Ahaziah’s mother, Athaliah, since she was the power behind his throne.
3) ‘Began to reign’ refers not to his actual ascension to the kingship, but to an earlier annointing, so he was annointed at 22, but began to reign at 42, his reign lasting a single year.
4) There were 2 Ahaziahs, one twenty years older than the other, who was the son of a previous marriage of Athaliah.
5) That ‘42 years’ here refers to the House of Omri, not the actual age of Ahaziah.
We shall deal with each of these in turn:
Copyist error: it is possible, given the nature of the Hebrew numbering system, that the original Chron passage has been corrupted in some manuscripts. This, however, should be an answer of last resort, given the existence of other ‘strange’ numbers (e.g. 2Chron 16:1, which I'll address below) which have inconsistencies on the surface, but which can be understood with a little digging. Secondly, the fact that many mss have ‘22’ instead of ‘42’ is just as easily explained as a ‘fix’ to bring the Chronicles passage into conformity with the Kings one as they are a true witness to the original reading.
Ahaziah's mother: This is the view held by Poole, and is also possible, since the Hebrew phrase literally says Ahaziah is ‘the son of forty two years’. So what is ‘forty two years’ but his mother mentioned in the same passage? I find it unlikely, for lack of other verses which follow this pattern, but it does illustrate the difficulties inherent in translation from one culture to another.
Annointed at 22, King at 42: This can be thrown right out, as is it ignores the fact that both versions plainly say he reigned one year. If he was annointed at 22 and died at 43, he should have reigned 21 years. Furthermore, the text says nothing about annointing, but in both passages simply that ‘he began to reign’. If Ahaziah did begin to reign at 42 after being annointed at 21, then he was 2 years older than his father Jehoram who was ‘thirty two years old when he began to reign, and reigned in Jerusalem eight years’ (2Chron 21:20), dying at the age of forty. Clearly, 42 cannot be the age at which he was made king.
2 Ahaziahs: This theory is created to get around the obvious problem, with a strange twist: it is promoted by a few KJV-only people, who cannot (from their understanding that the KJV is ‘inpired in translation’) understand the 42 to be anything other than Ahaziah’s actual age, since the KJV says ‘Forty and two years old was Ahaziah’. The argument is that the Kings passage talks about one Ahaziah, and the Chron passage talks about his older half-brother. The problem is, of course, that both passages are obviously talking about the same person, unless we believe that there are two kings in Jerusalem with the same name, the same parents, who go to battle with the same ally in the same battle, and both visit that ally when he is wounded. These kings are also both killed by the same man (Jehu) in the same place at the same time, yet neither of the Kings/Chronicles authors mentions the other. I think this theory can be discounted on the grounds that these passages and history (e.g. Josephus, ‘Antiquities’ IX/vi/2-3) both only mention one Ahaziah, and the contortions we need to go through to justify it are unsubstantiated in the text and history.
House of Omri: This theory goes to the Hebrew to discover that the phrase which troubles us is an ambiguous one, that Ahaziah was ‘the son of forty two years’ (as mentioned above). Now, looking at the house of Omri, from whom he was descended through his mother, we find that Omri reigned 6 years (1King 16:23), Ahab his son 22 years (1Kings 16:29), Ahaziah his son 2 years (1Kings 22:51), and Joram his son 12 years (2Kings 3:1), for a total of 42 years (6+22+2+12). So a ‘son of 42 years’ could easily mean ‘a son of the dynasty 42 years old’, i.e. Omri, which he proves in verse three where Ahaziah ‘walked in the ways of the house of Ahab’ (who was the son of Omri). A clue to this is that his mother is called ‘the daughter of Omri’ in 22:2, though given the fact that Omri is dead almost 40 years, she is probably his granddaughter. Ahaziah, then, is called a true son of Omri, not only in descent but in morality, and the forty-two years here belong to that house, not his own life.
Now, as you might have noticed from my treatment of Abram's genealogy below, when I find an issue, I find it helpful to see if there is a parallel passage that has the same issue. In this case, like that case, there is: 2Chron 16:1, which states: "In the six and thirtieth year of the reign of Asa Baasha king of Israel came up against Judah, and built Ramah, to the intent that he might let none go out or come in to Asa king of Judah."
However, that gives us a problem, for "In the third year of Asa king of Judah began Baasha the son of Ahijah to reign over all Israel in Tirzah, twenty and four years." — 1Kings 15:33
and "In the twenty and sixth year of Asa king of Judah began Elah the son of Baasha to reign over Israel in Tirzah, two years". — 1Kings 16:6
So if Baasha began to reign in the third year of Asa and reigned 24 years, then he was dead and his son Elah took his place in Asa’s 26th year, how then did Baasha come against Asa 10 years later?
The answer is, he didn’t. 2Chron 16:1 says 36 years, which is made up of the ’Kingdom of Asa’, which is the Kingdom of Judah counting from the time of the division. Rehoboam reigned 17 years (2Chron 12:13), Abijah 3 years (2Chron 13:2), and Asa 15 (2Chron 15:10), making 35 years (17+3+15). In Asa’s 15th year (15:10), Asa entered into a covenant with God (15:12), and in the next year, Baasha declared war on him ‘that he might let none go out or come in to Asa’ (16:1). Therefore, the ‘thirty sixth year’ of Asa is counted as the thirty sixth year of his family’s rule, not of his personal rule.
Frankly, I think that the final solution is the correct one, and the author of Chronicles, having a more 'long-term' and 'theological' approach than the drier approach of the author of Kings, approaches his numbering to illustrates dynasties more heavily than individuals. Such is not evident from a newspaper reading, of course, but it does provide a chance to wrestle with the hidden treasures that can be found in God's word.
"Watching a Train Wreck" is cliche, but the cliche is exactly what I felt while reading through the posts of my new favourite Lawrence wacko commenter, Lulu. One of the commenters on the LJ World site said reading what she had written would convince you that she cannot really be a real person. I don't know if that's true or not, but I could just not stop reading. Or laughing.
Therefore, I must present for your reading pleasure, some of the best of Lulu:
On the family values of bar hopping:
On the Daylight Savings Conspiracy:
I love taking my kids with me when I have a drink or two or three at one of our local bars. The smoking ban is wonderful for parents and families. Thank you for letting my children attend my outtings. I no longer have to hire a baby sitter. I also go out more often which is good for businesses I guess, even though I don't care to be a contributor to the capitalist pig society we live in.
Thanks again smokiing ban yeah! Banning automobiles should be next! I'm tired of the polution.
I encourage everyone to ignore the daylight savings time. It is good for nothing. Why do we have it? I propose Lawrence ignore daylight savings time as a message to the corporate fascist pigs that run our country. Not only does daylight saving not save us any energy, but it actually encourages us to use more energy.
When we have longer summer evenings, it encourages us to go out and spend money. Keeping us in the dark is the only way to go because people will be more rested and use less electricity because they will be in bed earlier and the corporate ripoff artists called big oil will lose and so will their partner in crime Bush.
I am mad as hell that our weather is getting warmer. Hurricane Bush is to blame because of Kyoto. Wake up and smell the coffee people!!!!!!!!!! Warmer winters , hotter summers and we are living in hell if you believe in a hell which I don't but it has to be like this and Dante's description. Give me the Four Seasons back like the good old days. Damn!!!!!On drugs in the Public Schools:
On flowers and vegetables
There will never be enough money for our education system. Teachers don't get paid enough. Will the teachers get a raise after the court ordered windfall appears? I doubt it.
Thank god there is ritalin for our children. If it wasn't for ritalin the schools would've shut down years ago.
I am sick and tired of hearing about Terri Schiavo, LET HER DIE! She is dying with dignity and in peace. The press conference yesterday said she stopped urinating. Her brain is so far gone, she is a non-person anyway. They should've pulled the tube years ago.
Back to topic, stop the senseless spraying of weed killer. We'll be better off, including the defenseless animals and plants. I love dandelions. They are beautiful.
On the link between fireworks and gun violence:
Fireworks should be banned from sea to shining sea.On the freedom to follow her lead:
They make noise pollution, air pollution and dispense litter everywhere. They could promote aggressive behavior in young males which could lead to the use of handguns, violence, pyromania and more.
Ban them completely. They are essentially anti-American anyway.
... Lawrence doesn't need uniformly, low-grade miserably designed environments that make people feel bad. High density gets people out of their cars. Most days I walk or ride my bike to work. Everyone should have to live the way I do. If low income people want a back yard... well, they can't have everything.On Justice:
Bar owners should be the only ones who get the ticket if one of their patrons gets caught. They should be shut down for a week. That will show them who is boss. In a capitalistic pig society, the business should always be blamed for wrong doing, regardless of who did the wrong.On Parental Rights:
One of my saving graces being a teacher were the 5 children I recommended be tested for Attention Deficit Disorder. Sure enough, school counseling realized my concerns and all 5 were eventually put on Ritalin by a physician. Two parents didn't like, so the state forced the issue. Not wanting to face the consequences, the parents obliged.
My job got easier to partake and the kids were very happy.
And it should not come as a surprise to discover that Lulu is also a public school teacher.
I do not like competitions. We are all winners and should be taught accordingly.
John Kerry is a fan of the Boston Red Sox and I am pleased his team won.
The team of government agents armed with shotguns and a helicopter succeeded in its mission near Clinton Lake.Leave it to the federal government to waste tons of perfectly good bacon.
When it was all over, 25 wild pigs had been gunned down, tested for disease and carted away to an approved mass grave in Osage County.
“They were feral swine, which means they were domestic pigs that either got away from somebody or were intentionally released,” said Rob Ladner, a law enforcement officer and supervisor with the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks in Topeka...
Over the past few years, wild pigs also had been a problem in Sumner County in south-central Kansas and in the Cimarron National Grasslands in western Kansas. About a hundred wild pigs were killed in the course of the week’s hunting, Ladner said.
We had a feral hog out back a couple years ago, black as night and probably in the 300 pound range. My neighbor got him (after it nearly killed his dog) and traded the carcase to the local phone crew for a couple of telephone poles. They smoked it at their company picnic. Everybody wins.
I did rather enjoy Lulu's comment after the story, however:
Where is the sport from the Slaughtering-Industrial Complex? Using helicopter gunships to hunt down defenseless pigs trying to exist in a man made environment to carry on their bloodlines. The only reward is death from a helicopter. Just as freedom fighters and innocent civilians die in Iraq in a war based on lies and deceit. Ted Nugent should be proud.Ted would have used a bow, and he would have eaten what he killed. Asking the government to be sporting about anything is like asking Lulu, I imagine, to share a nice, rare, steak with you.
Or asking Ted to turn it down...
Honest to God, my wife got the following via intra-office email today:
Ok as most of you know we are having a tattoo party tomorrow Saturday the 18th. If you know anyone else that would like one please spread the word. We need as many people to come as possible. Not only that but we would like to know if you are coming or if you know anyone that would like to come...And I thought the home party died with House of Lloyd...
"Bottom line, there is a lot of buyer's remorse," said Rep. Tom Feeney (R-Fla.). If the vote were held today on the Medicare prescription drug benefit, he said, as many 120 Republicans would vote against it. "It was probably our greatest failure in my adult lifetime," he said...Nice article from the WaPo today covering the congressional rebellion against Bush, and all I can say is that I have to laugh. I'll laugh even harder if the GOP majority is kicked to the curb this fall, which is a major possibility.
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), a Bush ally who dismissed concerns about an inattentive White House, said he regrets voting for the No Child Left Behind bill in the first term.
Not that I have any great love for Democrats, who are the only party, as if that were possible, that has even less principle than the GOP. But at least the Democrats will ensure that nothing happens domestically for the next two years - probably the best one can hope for - and there is unlimited comedic potential in those three little words, "Speaker Nancy Pelosi."
If we're going to send in the clowns, we might as well do it right.
Thursday, March 16, 2006
I found a really cool article on blogs:
A blog may be an online journal tangential to a company's main business, where users of a company's products give feedback and ask for help. Blogs can be hosted by single individuals, shared by teams, or produced by entire companies. They may be hosted on a dedicated blog server using fancy templates or lovingly hand crafted in HTML on a page that resembles a bulletin board.It's part of the introduction of a book I ghostwrote last year, and there's something that just feels wierd about reading your own words under someone else's byline. Not that I really care what they do with the words once I got paid...
But a blog is not simply a syndicated column or a newspaper that is online. Many news outlets feature their content online and even allow readers to respond to stories. However, the newspapers business does not change just because it has a new medium. Editors and writers still do the same jobs they did before the advent of online distribution; the newspaper does not view itself as any different from what it always was.
And perhaps therein lies the difference: attitude. The newspaper sees itself as presenting all the news that is fit to print, written by objective professionals, while the blogger sees himself as presenting a piece of his own world and his own expertise from his own perspective.
I don't see the rest of the book anywhere (which is, to be honest, what I was looking for), but I thought it was pretty cool to find that much.
This week's column is a question, a brief one addressed with honest curiosity to Republicans. It is: When George W. Bush first came on the scene in 2000, did you understand him to be a liberal in terms of spending?The summer of 2005? I've always liked Peggy Noonan, one of Reagan's best speechwriters and a lady who has always been a fine judge of character. But I have to ask her this: Why did it take you, and most Republicans, until after Bush was re-elected to discover that he was a big spender?
The question has been on my mind since the summer of 2005 when, at a gathering of conservatives, the question of Mr. Bush and big spending was raised.
It should have been obvious...no, let's be honest, it was obvious when in 2001 Bush pushed through Congress a nationalization of public schools, rather than eliminating the Department of Education as the GOP had wanted since Reagan. And it was obvious when Bush pushed through Congress the largest welfare expansion since LBJ: the Medicare Drug Benefit. It has been obvious in every budget since he was innaugurated and in the record deficits they brought. It's been obvious in the whimperings of baby seal fiscal conservatives bludgeoned into submission by their own party leadership when they tried to stand in the way of the above.
Those Republicans who are suddenly acting surprized to find out that Bush has busted the budget have one of two problems: either they are dishonest or they are dumb as pig dribble.
I realize Peggy's asking a "what did the voter know and when did he know it?" type of question. But there is nothing new this year, no new program, no new grand spending initiative, that is making the GOP and those pundits who have vociferously supported Bush through 2 elections suddenly shake these fiscal scales from their eyes. These questions are not arising now because Bush's spending benders are suddenly interfering with his day job.
Rather, the truth is far more cynical: the GOP was willing to blindly follow Bush wherever he went so long as his popularity translated into power for them. Now that his war is going to hell and his popularity rating is in the can, now that he's a lame duck with no annointed successor and has made several politically stupid policy decisions, his own party is rebelling because their power is in danger. They must face re-election in mere months, and Bush has become a liability.
Suddenly the things that could be ignored can no longer be, and they will sacrifice him now to save their own asses. Oh, that they would have done it 4 years ago, when it became obvious that Bush's Vision Thing(tm) was the domestic policy of LBJ combined with the foreign policy of Wilson. But for the GOP, it's never too late to throw a drunken sailor overboard.
(hat tip: Vox)