Popesplaining

September 26, 2015   10:44am   No Comments

Has anyone coined the term "Popesplaining" yet?  If not, allow me.  (If so - well, hey, my server, my rules.  Why am I asking for permission, anyway?)

Popesplaining (n.)

  1. A politically conservative Roman Catholic justifying the public papal positions that disagree with their political positions and/or established church theology.
  2. A politically liberal person, typically allergic to anything religious entering the public square, justifying the papal message that coincide with their political views, while failing to recognize his message as a theological one.

(Spoiler alert: I'm not a fan of either one.)


My Web Log

June 7, 2015   8:32pm   No Comments

When I started this blog, I was using static files; I'd update them and replace them when I wanted to make a post.  Back in 2004, I moved it to a database-backed system that I was writing myself. I guess you could call today "back to the future," because I have moved the site from Orchard to MyWebLog, a solution which I am in the process of writing.  It is designed to be very lightweight on server resources, while having the ability to serve multiple sites from a single instance of the code.  When I get it to a more releasable state, it will be hosted at CodePlex; I already have the project there using a prior attempt I made at this.

Why change?  Orchard is great, it just wasn't the best fit.  I think it was overkill for my little ol' blogs.  There were also a couple of annoyances, the biggest of which is that it wasn't running the comments through Akismet.  A 10-year-old site gets a lot of spam, and I don't want to have to deal with it.  There were also some hit-or-miss connection issues with the back-end data store, which (to their credit) the developers helped me try to resolve.

It's still a little rough around the edges, more so in the admin section than this part.  And, while it does not (yet) allow new comments to be made, it does display existing comments.  Once I do get a bit further into this, I'll do a write-up on my tech blog detailing the technology behind it.

Maybe I can even post more regularly...  :)


2014 Year in Review - The Good, the Bad, and the Ridiculous (and the Funny)

January 3, 2015   6:54pm   1 Comment

I missed this in 2013, and this is not a 3-post series as usual.  Instead of writing a lot about each topic, I'll give a short reason I categorized it where I did.  Please make no assumptions or conclusions about what I don't say; the fact that people are so apt to do that should probably make the "Bad" list, but not this year.  Since this is a single post, we'll lead with...

The Good

  • No Terrorism at World Stage Events - 2014 saw the Winter Olympics in Russia and the World Cup in Brazil.  Neither were marred by terrorism.
  • 16 Out of 20 Ain't Bad - Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood did not want to provide coverage for 4 of the 20 forms of "birth control" mandated by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), as they work post-conception (an "abortofacient").  The Supreme Court agreed, in a rare victory for religious freedom.
  • Plummeting Oil Prices - In spite of the current administration's best efforts, our economy overcame them.  The "Drill, Baby, Drill" crowd was vindicated, as an explosion in US oil production caused prices to drop substantially.  Fracking has enabled this boom while preserving the environment, and the drop in prices has hit hostile-to-us oil-based economies hard.  It's a big win-win that progressives still can't throughly grasp.
  • Republicans Win Control of Congress - This is a qualified "good" entry, assuming that they'll govern as they ran.  Hey, there's a first time for everything, right?
  • Tennessee Football Rises - Playing an SEC schedule and non-gimme out-of-conference games with the youngest team in FBS is a recipe for a 3-9 season; the Vols made it 6-6 (and, since this is written after their bowl, 7-6) and have great momentum for 2015.

The Bad

  • The Deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner - Neither the Brown nor Garner families had loved ones with them this Christmas that they had last Christmas.  There may be speculation as to the incidents surrounding their deaths (and neither are going to trial, so we'll likely never fully know), but even the public knowing every little detail of what happened will not bring these young men back to their families.
  • Colorado Going to Pot - The first year's experiment with legalized marijuana has not gone well.  Assurances that children will not be able to easily get it have evaporated, and nearly all the tax money it's generated has gone to enforcement.  Their governor caught some heat for saying that the citizens acted foolishly, but the facts certainly indicate he was correct in his assessment.
  • Ebola - 2014 was the year Ebola came to America.  While there were some ridiculous things with how it was handled, the bad was limited, with some who contracted the disease surviving, and a new set of medical protocols helping to protect those who care for people.
  • ISIS - Nearly 10 years after being freed, Iraq fell back into enslavement thanks to a group coming in to make a hostile takeover, combined with an army that was not willing to fight for what it had won.  Islamic law marches on, while Christians die, in a place where thousands of Americans gave their lives to win freedom.
  • Russian Aggression Versus Ukraine - Russia invaded and took over part of another sovereign nation.  They do not appear to be done yet.

The Ridiculous

  • The Handling of the Death of Michael Brown / The Reaction to the Brown Grand Jury Verdict / The Reaction to the Garner Grand Jury Verdict - Ferguson and Missouri police handled the initial aftermath of Brown's shooting about as poorly as you could.  The riots once the grand jury failed to indict Darren Wilson were unnecessary and unhelpful (and unwanted by Michael Brown's family), and the "Hands Up Don't Shoot" gesture would have been impactful had it been based in verified fact (which it was not).  This was also the case where "unarmed teen" is supposed to imply harmless, peaceful, law-abiding child, but video showed a certain store owner who would dispute that characterization.  Once the Garner verdict came out, there were die-ins all across the country, proving nothing, but inconveniencing people who had nothing to do with anything surrounding the case.  Two dead New York policemen and one in Florida, at last reports, still hadn't brought Michael Brown or Eric Garner back to their families.  (If I have a chance, there will be much more on this in my MLK post.)

    p.s.  ALL lives matter.
  • Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the Missing E-mails - Under oath, and subpoena from Congress, IRS chief Lois Lerner claimed to have lost her e-mail.  This was after other e-mails came out that pretty much confirmed their deliberate targeting of conservative groups leading up to the 2012 election.  While those e-mails were "found" toward the end of the year, this Watergate-esque dodge was pathetic.  IT does not work that way, and if it does, those people need to be fired.
  • Computer Security - This was a bad year for computer security.  "HeartBleed," "Shell Shock," and "Poodle" were names given to long-existing exploits that were discovered in the software that runs much of the Internet.  Target fessed up about how large their breach was, and Home Depot let a lot of customer information get away as well.  Finally, targeted attacks released iCloud data from celebrities, while an (internal?  North Korean?  We don't know yet...) attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment released salaries, movies, even e-mails among leaders and actors.  (Maybe we should sic the Guardians of Peace on the IRS!)  Hopefully some good will come of this; if nothing else, it will make people think about security before they trust a "cloud" service with their information.
  • Kaci Hickox - Kaci is a nurse who was exposed to Ebola.  She defied quarantine, though, and created a lot of concern.  While she ultimately was not found to have the disease, her foolish, selfish actions stirred up a lot of concern in her community.  As a medical professional, she should have known better.  But, of course, if she had, then her name wouldn't be on some random guy's blog in a year-in-review post, would it?

The Funny - Continue his tradition which he didn't miss last year, Dave Barry has his take on the year's events.

Here's to 2015 - let's hope it's a good one!


Same Vocabulary, Different Dictionary

December 20, 2014   12:26pm   1 Comment

"Same vocabulary, different dictionary."  This is the way Skip Heitzig described false teachers in a recent sermon on 2 Peter 2.  That certainly is good to remember when it comes to theological matters; think about how many different definitions, just in evangelical circles, you have of the word "worship" and of its role in the life of the church and believer.

It works outside the realm of the directly-theological as well.  Take the CIA report released last week.  I've been seeing a lot of banter back and forth over the results of the report, but relatively few questioning its characterization.  Even though pretty much everyone is against "torture," there are competing definitions at work.  If we just debate back and forth without addressing the root issue, we're simply reinforcing the "other side"'s view of us.

Now, to be fair, it's generally the left who like to redefine things.  Racist no longer means "one race is superior"; rather, it covers a host of things, from ethnically-related comments, stereotypes, or even common insensitivity, if the object has a different ethnicity from the one who is offended.  Rape is expanded to include a whole lot of things that are not really rape, including simple after-the-fact regret.  Marriage means something today that it has never meant throughout millennia of history.  And, somewhere along the way, freedom of speech has been replaced with freedom from offense, and freedom of association has been replaced with freedom to compel.

That being said, I'm not necessarily advocating for "the right" either - it's not about the right, it's about being right.  We cannot flourish, either as a Christian or as a society, if we do not share a common lexicon.  And, until we do, it is futile to try to defeat one person's argument with an argument that has an entirely different meaning.  All you've got is ships passing in the night.  Same vocabulary, different dictionary.


2014 College Football - Weeks 12-14

December 9, 2014   9:51pm   No Comments

Thanksgiving and vacation conspired to keep me away from here.  How did my teams finish their seasons?

11/15 Results
Tennessee Volunteers 50, Kentucky Wildcats 16 (W)
New Mexico Lobos 21, Utah State Aggies 28 (L)
#9 Auburn Tigers 7, #15 Georgia Bulldogs 34 (L)
#1 Mississippi State Bulldogs 20, #5 Team That Shall Not Be Named 25 (L)

11/22 Results
Tennessee Volunteers 21, #20 Missouri Tigers 29 (L)
Colorado State Rams 58, New Mexico Lobos 20 (W)
#14 Auburn Tigers 31, Samford Bulldogs 7 (W)
Western Carolina Catamounts 14, #1 Team That Shall Not Be Named 48 (L)

11/29 Results
Tennessee Volunteers 24, Vanderbilt Commodores 17 (W)
Colorado State Rams 24, Air Force Falcons 27 (L)
#15 Auburn Tigers 44, #1 Team That Shall Not Be Named 55 (L)
New Mexico Lobos 36, Wyoming Cowboys 30 (W)

These 3 Weeks: 5-7
Final: 30-26 (.536)

Above 500, but nowhere close to where I'd hoped.  However, all three of my primary teams are going bowling, which is way better than last year, so I don't know that I can complain.  Tennessee will be taking on Iowa in the Taxslayer Bowl on January 2nd, Colorado State meets former Mountain West foe Utah in the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl on December 20th, and #19 Auburn gets #18 Wisconsin in the Outback Bowl on New Year's Day.  (As if I needed another reason to crave cheese fries!)

See you next year!


2014 College Football - Weeks 10 and 11

November 9, 2014   2:37pm   No Comments

Quite a swing over the past two weeks.  Week 10 saw the first 4-0 week this season; week 11 saw us nearly give it all back.  I'm also glad that I picked a replacement game rotation, because I missed some off weeks when I was putting the schedule together back in September.

11/1 Results
Tennessee Volunteers 45, South Carolina Gamecocks 42 (W)
Colorado State Rams 38, San José State Spartans 31 (W)
#3 Auburn Tigers 35, #4 Ole Miss Rebels 31 (W)
New Mexico Lobos 31, UNLV Rebels 28 (W)

11/8 Results
New Mexico Lobos 49, Boise State Broncos 60 (L) (Tennessee off)
Colorado State Rams 49, Hawai'i Rainbow Warriors 22 (W)
#3 Auburn Tigers 38, Texas A&M Aggies 41 (L)
#16 LSU Tigers 13, #5 Team That Shall Not Be Named 20 (L)

These 2 Weeks: 5-3
Cumulative: 25-19 (.568)

Colorado State is #23 in today's AP rankings - nice job, Rams!  Enjoy your week off.  Next week, Tennessee looks to pull within a game of bowl eligibility against Kentucky; Auburn visits a smarting and likely fired-up Georgia; and - uh, how should I put this - HAIL STATE!


2014 College Football - Weeks 8 and 9

October 28, 2014   10:11pm   No Comments

A busy two weeks for me, a crummy two weeks for my #1 team, a great two weeks for my #2 team, and a weird on week for my #3 team.  Throw in some questionable officiating, and you're pretty much up to speed.

10/18 Results
Tennessee Volunteers 3, #3 Ole Miss Rebels 34 (L)
Colorado State Rams 16, Utah State Aggies 13 (W)
New Mexico Lobos 31, Air Force Academy Falcons 35 (L)
#21 Texas A&M Aggies 0, #7 Really Mad 1-Loss, 1-Barely-Win Team 59 (L)

10/25 Results
Tennessee Volunteers 20, #4 Returning Turncoats 34 (L)
Colorado State Rams 45, Wyoming Cowboys 31 (W)
#5 Auburn Tigers 42, South Carolina Gamecocks 35 (W)
Troy Trojans 13, South Alabama Jaguars 27 (L)

These 2 Weeks: 3-5
Cumulative: 20-16 (.556)

With the first playoff rankings released this week, one of the games next week is #3 Auburn vs. #4 Ole Miss; that should be a good one.  Tennessee visits Columbia to see if they can give Steve Spurrier an L, while Colorado State has the opportunity for some separation in the Mountain West if they can beat San Jose State on the road.

 


2014 College Football - Week 7

October 13, 2014   9:28pm   No Comments

This past weekend was certainly an interesting one.  I didn't get to watch very much, though, so let's jump straight to the scores.

10/11 Results
Tennessee Volunteers 45, Chattanooga Mocs 10 (W)
Colorado State Rams 31, Nevada Wolf Pack 24 (W)
#2 Auburn Tigers 23, #3 Mississippi State Bulldogs 38 (L)
Arkansas Razorbacks 13, #7 Team That Shall Not Be Named 14 (L)

This Week: 2-2
Cumulative: 17-11 (.607)

This upcoming weekend, Tennessee tries to become the first team this year to beat an SEC team from Mississippi as they visit #3 Ole Miss; Colorado State hosts Utah State for homecoming game; we go for our first alternate over our second as New Mexico goes to play Air Force; and we'll look for Texas A&M to end their 2-game skid.


Shame. Judge. Bully.

October 13, 2014   3:22pm   No Comments

Shame.  Judge.  Bully.  Three words that we've seemingly redefined, but only on one side of the equation.  The words still carry their negative weight when they're used to label someone or their actions.  However, the bar at which those labels get slapped on is becoming very, very low.

How do we fix it?

  1. Stop.  If you're accusing someone using these terms, stop.  (You don't have to stay stopped - keep reading.)
  2. Investigate.  I don't want to hear that this person is a bully (a subjective, opinionated statement); I want to hear what they did that is so reprehensible.  See, I want to save my moral outrage for truly outrageous things.  If I got upset over every accusation, my outrage machine would have been tapped out long ago.
  3. Do not respond to uncomfortable questions with one of these accusations.  Just because someone makes you feel uncomfortable with what they said does not mean that they've done something shameful.  Are you truly offended at the question?  Or are you offended that their question hit the nail on the head?

If, after 2 and 3, you still believe that their actions rise to those levels, then by all means, apply them.  Just realize that by applying those labels, you're shaming - something you say people shouldn't do.  If you get a bunch of people to do it, and harass the person over it, you're bullying - something you say people shouldn't do.  And, by looking at actions and deeming them shameful, you have also made a judgment.  (gasp!)

In summary:

  • Pointing out facts is not shaming.
  • Moral disagreement is not judging.
  • Coercing behavior is not necessarily bullying.
  • When you point a finger at someone, you will often find 3 pointing back at yourself.

 

(Stay tuned, where in our next segment we discuss "Even if they're a horrible person, does what they're saying have a valid point?".) 


2014 College Football - Weeks 5 and 6

October 4, 2014   10:42pm   No Comments

I realized that, when I went to write up today's games, that I hadn't ever written up last week's games.  Hours later, I'm still steamed over the officiating in the Tennessee / Florida game.  If you can block in the back, flagrantly hold, tackle a receiver so you can intercept the ball - you just might win.  However, tempering my steam are the results of the other games on my slate.  This was two tough weeks in a row for Tennessee.

9/27 Results
Tennessee Volunteers 32, #12 Georgia Bulldogs 35 (L)
Colorado State Rams 24, Boston College Eagles 21 (W)
#5 Auburn Tigers 45, Louisiana Tech Bulldogs 17 (W)
New Mexico Lobos 24, Fresno State Bulldogs 35 (L)

10/4 Results
Tennessee Volunteers 9, Florida Gators 10 (L)
Colorado State Rams 42, Tulsa Golden Hurricane 17 (W)
#5 Auburn Tigers 41, #15 LSU Tigers 17 (W)
#11 Ole Miss Rebels 23, #3 Team That Shall Not Be Named 17 (W)

These 2 Weeks: 5-3
Cumulative: 15-9 (.625)

Next weekend, Tennessee hosts Chattanooga, Colorado State visits Nevada, Auburn gets a crack at Mississippi State, and Arkansas hosts the former #3 team.  The recap for next week will not be posted on Saturday, because Colorado State's game is past my bedtime.  :)  See you next week!