Saturday, July 17, 2004

The "Left Behind" Series

Someone should leave these authors behind! What is so amazing is that so many people actually believe this gibberish. Obviously, I am not one of that persuasion. NY Times columnist Nicholas Kristof discusses their latest novel - If the latest in the "Left Behind" series of evangelical thrillers is to be believed, Jesus will return to Earth, gather non-Christians to his left and toss them into everlasting fire: "Jesus merely raised one hand a few inches and a yawning chasm opened in the earth, stretching far and wide enough to swallow all of them. They tumbled in, howling and screeching, but their wailing was soon quashed and all was silent when the earth closed itself again." These books have sold more than 60 million copies worldwide. The latest is "Glorious Appearing," which has Jesus returning to Earth to wipe all non-Christians from the planet. It's disconcerting to find ethnic cleansing celebrated as the height of piety.

Furthermore - In "Glorious Appearing," Jesus merely speaks and the bodies of the enemy are ripped open. Christians have to drive carefully to avoid "hitting splayed and filleted bodies of men and women and horses."

"The riders not thrown," the novel continues, "leaped from their horses and tried to control them with the reins, but even as they struggled, their own flesh dissolved, their eyes melted and their tongues disintegrated. . . . Seconds later the same plague afflicted the horses, their flesh and eyes and tongues melting away, leaving grotesque skeletons standing, before they, too, rattled to the pavement."

One might have thought that Jesus would be more of an animal lover.

These scenes also raise an eschatological problem: Could devout fundamentalists really enjoy paradise as their friends, relatives and neighbors were heaved into hell?

If you find this far fetched, well many of your fellow Americans feel this way. Makes one pause, doesn't it?

Olympic Trials

Deena Drossin smoked the other ladies in the 10,000 meter finals, almost lapping the 2nd place finisher. She won't run the event in Athens though, choosing instead to run the Marathon (She set the American Record in the Marathon - 2:21.16 in London in 2003). Tune in August 23rd to see her compete. She's a class act - after almost lapping every person in the field, she waited at the finish line and congratulated every finisher. Nice to see that - in her interview later, she proved herself to be articulate and a credit to Track and Field. She's a English/Creative Writing/Journalism major from the Univ. of Arkansas, where she won 7 Southeastern Conference titles.

To keep up with other fast ladies, check out this web site .

Tune in on Sunday to the Trials to watch Alan Webb try to win the 1500m - should be a great race. He's the kid who broke Jim Ryun's High School Mile Mark. Could this be the year America brings home a Gold in the 1500? Now that would be big! For a good interview, turn to this page .

What happened to chasing Terroists?

Now we're chasing poor ol' bad boy Bobby Fischer ? Wouldn't you think a few terroists would somehow be a bit higher on the priority scale, than trying to track down Bobby Fischer? He was scheduled for a match with Boris Spassky in 1992. Just before the match, however, the United Nations imposed sanctions against Yugoslavia for supporting Serbian aggression in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the United States banned its citizens from doing business there. Mr. Fischer ignored a formal warning from the government against playing the match, and at a news conference spat on the letter. He won the match, collecting $3.3 million, and has been in exile from the United States ever since.. If you are unfamiiar with chess, Bobby was and probably is the greatest chess champion of all time.

Bobby is a bit nuts, professing to be a Jew hater, amongst other things (he is a Jew himself) and thought 9/11 was a fine thing, so you can see why there is not a lot of love lost for him, but somehow I doubt this guy is a huge danger.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Fahrenheit 911

Took in Michael Moore's movie yesterday. Not bad, but being aware of his stance and most of the issues, didn't come as a huge shocker. I suspect it might to folks who rarely read the news. It started off a bit overblown, I thought, but got better as it went along, in particular the scenes with Lisa Lipscomb, who lost her son in Iraq. It closed powerfully, bringing the message home that it is our poor youth and the kids from the projects who are really sacrificing their lives for the rest of us. Hopefully, it will sway some voters to vote Democratic - although Kerry/Edwards lead overall in the polls, Edwards isn't bringing the pop to the southern vote , that many probably hoped he would. He is more likely to appeal to those in Michigan and Ohio, who are out of work. Bill Moyer's piece I alluded to yesterday, pointed out why the poor still vote Republican, despite the economic damage that does them. It is discouraging to see how illiterate so many Americans are when it comes to having even an inkling of the issues - it's as if so many are in tune with Britney Spears, who has said that she just trusts our president and you have to believe in him. Just having Britney extoll those words of wisdom should be all that would be necessary to elect Kerry/Edwards, but....

I got a chuckle out of an ad I heard on the radio yesterday while eating one of those low-carb wrap sandwiches at Subway (not really that good in my opinion). The ad was extolling the virtues of Slim Jims as a low-carb , healthy snack. Slim Jims are now healthy? Lord help us all. They really prey on gullible folks, don't they?

Experts Set a Lower Low for Cholesterol Levels
New lower levels for LDL cholesterol are touted, especially for those at risk. Of course, they encourage heavy use of statins. Doc Mercola thinks that is all wrong, "This give the drug companies another tool to forcefully advocate use of their drugs to lower cholesterol into very dangerous low levels. These "experts" are absolutely clueless as the foundational causes of heart disease. Cholesterol is only an innocent bystander and using drugs to control a symptom is a sure fire solution to worsen the problem. The most obvious is the reduction of coenzyme Q10 that occurs to everyone consuming statin drugs. The less obvious ones are the side effects and complications that result when using a drug Band-Aid solution rather than treating the cause of the problem. The recent Baycol recall is a classic example.

The way to lower heart disease risk is to address foundational causes of

* Optimal exercise
* Ideal diet for one's metabolic type
* Addressing emotional stresses
* Good sleep
* Exposure to adequate levels of sunshine

Think Doc is right or not? Good question. Offer your opinion in the comments section.

Your ol' used Computer
Office Depot is taking in your old worn out computer this summer for FREE. HP and others have done this in the past, but have charged for it (usually about $35), so this is a great opportunity to dump some of those big paperweights (I have quite a few myself).

Firefox/Mozilla/Thunderbird patch
If you're using one of these browsers instead of IE, there's a new security patch out for it. Go to this page to install the patch.

Quote of the Day
"The only reason some people get lost in thought is because it's unfamiliar territory."

Paul Fix

Ouch of the Day Story!
SHEFFIELD, England - A man who shot himself in the groin after drinking 15 pints of beer and stuffing a sawed-off shotgun down his trousers was jailed for five years Tuesday for illegal possession of a firearm. Read the whole story here . Geez, get it together there you crazy bloke!

Monday, July 12, 2004

Mo Greene blazes to narrow Win in Olympic Trials finals

A great race - 1 1/00th of a second separating the top 3 finishers, 9.91,9.92,9.93 - that is some smokin' running! First time since 1972 that 2 guys have broken 10 flat in the Trials and this time actually 4 did (a 9.99 also in there for a 4th place, but no trip to Athens - only first 3 go - bummer for Coby Miller). It was lucky that Mo Greene had such a fast start cause I think if Shawn Crawford had had a good start, he would have run him down. Always exciting to watch! Better, of course, by far, if you're there in person, but ...

Marion Jones
Gary Hall, the Olympic swimmer, took a poke at Marion Jones the other day. `I hate that her defense is, `I never tested positive,' '' he said, pointing out that the drug in question, THG, has only recently been detectable. ``In an Olympic year, there's only a handful of athletes who get the attention that they deserve financially, and it's what keeps us going for another four years. If she has cheated, or if anybody has cheated, they should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.'' Marion finished a disappointing 5th in the finals of the 100 and won't be around to defend her Olympic Gold of 2000. It will be interesting to see how she does in the 200 later in the week and in the long jump. She had a baby just a year ago and probably isn't in top form, but many will wonder if she has lost here spark because perhaps it was steroids , all along? That would be a shame, because she was very good for Track and Field. Trials continue tonight from 10 p.m.- 1 a.m. Eastern on the USA channel and Thursday night from 10 p.m. -12 a.m. (USA), and Friday night from 11 p.m - 1 a.m. (USA). Saturday, they return to NBC from 5-6 p.m. Looks like I will be burning some long nighttime hours - may have to set up the VCR.

What's the Matter with Kansas? Watched an interesting program with Bill Moyers yesterday. He had author Thomas Frank on, who was talking about his book, "What's the Matter with Kansas"? As Democrats and Republicans battle for the hearts and minds of voters in key swing states, author Thomas Frank turns his attention to the traditionally red-voting state of Kansas which, he says, is a microcosm of a sea change in the voting patterns of working class Americas. Blue collar workers, says Frank, are embracing a conservative moral agenda centering on opposition to abortion and gay marriage and support for school prayer. The American working class, he argues, is voting against is own economic interests. What can the Sunflower state tell us about why Americans struggling to provide for their families would vote conservative and against their own economic futures? Bill Moyers talks with Frank, who argues that a culture war has led to a political deck stacked against America’s working poor.

Sounds like it would be an interesting read.

Quote of the Day
"One of the few good things about modern times: If you die horribly on television, you will not have died in vain. You will have entertained us."
Kurt Vonnegut