Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Incan Religious Rites

The next time you're pining for the good old days, or reading about how loathsome the conquistadores were to the peace-loving native Indians:

Recent evidence sheds light on the young boys and girls who were killed during Inca sacrificial ceremonies in the 15th and 16th centuries, evidence that includes pottery and human remains found at South American mountaintop sites.

Although archaeologists do not believe the Inca practiced cannibalism, as did their Aztec neighbors to the north, the evidence does suggest that Inca leaders targeted children to serve as sacrificial "tribute," somewhat similar to money collected for state taxes.

Historical writings indicate that the victims probably were drugged during the ceremonies and did not feel much pain, although killing methods were violent.

"The forensic evidence indicates that some were killed by strangulation, others by a blow with a blunt instrument to the head," she explained. "It's likely they would've been sedated prior to being killed through lots of chicha — corn beer — ingestion."

Ah, compassionate murder. Only those of us living in these post-Terri Schiavo days truly can appreciate this. As for these deaths encompassing a "sacrificial tribute,"I'm reminded of abortion, somewhat; except in our enlightened modern times, babies are sacrificed on the altar of narcissism, to the deity of Self.


Sixty years after the end of the Second World War, two Japanese veterans have reportedly emerged from the Philippines jungle, declaring that they wish to go home but are afraid of a court martial.

According to one version, the pair - in their mid-eighties - had no idea the war was over until they came down from the thickly forested mountains near General Santos, a city on the southern island of Mindanao.

It seems barely conceivable that the men could have spent six decades in hiding, possibly unaware of Japan's defeat. Yet in 1974 a former Imperial Army intelligence officer, Lieutenant Hiroo Onoda, was discovered in the rainforests of Lubang island in the Philippines, 30 years after being assigned there.

Mr Onoda, now 83, refused to believe that the war had ended, and it was only when his former commanding officer was flown over from Japan that he agreed to leave the jungle. In 1975 he emigrated to Brazil. Another Japanese ex-soldier, Shoichi Yokoi, was found on the North Pacific island of Guam in 1972. He came home, and died in 1977.

Japan's Sankei Shimbun newspaper said the two men had probably belonged to the Panther division, which was virtually wiped out as the war drew to a close. It said that the pair ended up in the mountains after becoming separated from their comrades. The newspaper quoted an unidentified source as claiming that as many as 40 Japanese soldiers were still in the Philippines, all yearning to return home.

This is amazing, if true. But out of curiosity: Does this shed light on the old Bugs Bunny cartoons, in which we all were assured, "You're a sap sap sap, Mr. Jap."?

Monday, May 30, 2005

Guarding Our Borders

The deployment of 36,000 National Guard troops or state militia on the U.S.-Mexico border would stop the illegal flow of foreigners into America, says a congressional report that credits the Minuteman Project with proving that additional manpower could "dramatically reduce if not virtually eliminate" illegal immigration.

"As we wage the war on terror in foreign lands, we have all our doors and windows open at home. ... The insanity of such a policy, or silent toleration of such a policy is almost criminal in itself," it said. "The Minuteman Project demonstrated that illegal immigration on America's southern border can be dramatically reduced to manageable levels."

The report, to be released today, also said the U.S. Border Patrol failed "through no fault of its rank-and-file enforcement officers" to protect the United States from an influx of illegals.

It said the agency's uniformed leadership should be pointed in a "new direction" as it is in "total denial of the magnitude of the disaster" and — as currently organized, staffed and supported — "cannot be relied upon" to remedy the situation soon.

The report said Congress and the states could sustain the success of the Minuteman Project — whose members were lightly armed, had no arrest powers, were not paid and traveled to Arizona at their own expense — with the deployment of National Guard troops or state militia working in coordination with the Border Patrol.

The report said that sufficient reinforcements exist in current National Guard units and could be put on the border by governors and the secretary of defense within one month, if the political will exists.

"The primary impetus to stimulate the Minuteman Project is a border out of control; not for months, not for years, not just since September 11, but for many, many years," the report said. "Social and legal costs and cultural cohesion far outweigh supposed economic benefit. At a time of terror threat, the cost of irresponsibly unsecured borders can be horrific."

The report also noted that Border Patrol supervisors said the Minutemen had little or no effect on illegal immigration, attributing apparent decreases during the vigil to increased enforcement efforts by the agency, along with the increased presence of Mexican military and police south of the border.

"However, nearly every individual Border Patrol officer who spoke off-the-record in the field to the Caucus team said that illegal immigration virtually stopped in the sector patrolled by the Minutemen as a direct result of Minutemen activity and publicity," the report said.

"The individual officers were highly appreciative of the impact the Minutemen made in the area, had good working relations with the project unofficially and felt the project had made a valuable contribution to the cause of the rank-and-file officer — protecting the border against impossible logistical challenges," it said.

Despite contrary claims by the supervisors, the report said, illegal immigration dropped significantly in the areas east and west of Naco, Ariz., targeted by the Minutemen. It said the decline "put to rest the historic immigration reform myth that it is impossible to stop illegal immigrants from crossing the border with any reasonable amount of additional manpower."

"The Minuteman Project demonstrated that illegal immigration on America's southern border can be dramatically reduced to manageable levels," the report said. "What is missing is not the means to control; it is the will. With a will, there is a way."

God bless Tom Tancredo and the 70 other members of the caucus responsible for this report.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Thought Crimes

Hate-crimes revisited & updated for the new era of hate-filled bigotry! Yee-haw!

The legislation, reintroduced by two Democrats and two Republicans in Congress, would expand federal jurisdiction to cover violent hate crimes committed "because of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender or disability" of the victim.

C'mon, guys. At least be honest with the sheeple. Call this what it is: thought-crimes legislation.

Let me bring a little clarity to this otherwise confusing situation: If I murder you because you're brown, dark-skinned, Muslim, from Libya, homosexual, male, and stumping around on crutches after losing your leg in a homicide bomber attack, I'm one heck of an evil feller. Throw me in the lion's den or a pond filled with piranhas; lock me in a dank & pitch-black dungeon with spiders the size of German Shepherds, where rat-gnawed human bones decorate the corners; give me a mindwipe with a red-hot poker in my ear.

But if I murder you for any reason not listed above. . .well, now, that ain't quite so bad. They'll just give me a few years in prison, three squares a day, Wheel-of-Fortune and Jeopardy!, jailbird jazzercize, free-weights, workout benches and uniformed spotters, Psychopaths Anonymous meetings, and Martha Stewart macrame techniques. If I'm reeeely on my best behavior, I might be out in no time at all, straight through the revolving door, locked and loaded, and coming to a neighborhood near you!

Ain't that just precious?

Friday, May 27, 2005

Revenge of the Sith: A Review

I saw this movie, yesterday afternoon, with my father and my wife. We had the theater mostly to ourselves, with only a few people scattered hither and yon, throughout the place. I had quite a good time, I must admit. Even the dizzying barrage of questions my wife launched at me with the agility and speed of a Jedi lightsaber attack, afterwards, didn't compel me over to the Dark Side. See, she's seen only episodes 2 and now 3, so everything was a tad bit confusticating, for her.

I enjoyed this last film in the series. A lot. It was a nice improvement after episodes one and two. The special effects were out of this world--literally and metaphorically--and perhaps were the best I've ever seen. The director did a masterful job of preserving the series continuity, as well, blending the end of the third movie smoothly into the intro of the fourth installment (or the first, depending upon your perspective). The acting on the part of everyone was competent, if not inspirational. One exception is Ian McDairmid, who played Palpatine. I've always thought the man is a fine actor, and his role, here, reveals this in one of the slimiest, most loathsome on-screen villains imaginable. In the acting department, his scenes were the film's high points, though he did ham it up a bit a couple of times. It was almost as if he reveled in this final portrayal of the man, as the story came full-circle.

The plot was well thought-out and serviceable, and all questions of major significance were answered.

A few words about the director and the film's moral tone: George Lucas is an odd duck. Within his movies, we see politics and philosophy depicted in ways that send mixed signals. Throughout the series, I've noticed elements of libertarianism, conservatism, socialism, totalitarianism, liberalism, and incomprehensible mumbo-jumbo all tossed in the blender and given a good whirl. It's hard pinpointing where he stands, and maybe that's his intention. On the one hand, he strongly shows us that absolute power concentrated in the hands of one or a few people is a devastating force. On the other hand, his mystic characters spout gibberish like: "Search your feelings." Or "Look to your feelings." "Listen to your feelings." And "Let your feelings be your guide." I consider this a nonsensical and dangerous message. Emotion is a fickle beast. One moment it purrs and slinks around your leg; the next, it's biting it off at the knee. Lucas may not be aware of this; but the irony of the situation is that heeding this advice precisely is what leads Anakin Skywalker down the murky path to the Dark Side of the Force.

Waffling aside, however, Lucas is staunch on one particular moral point, which I'd like to elaborate upon, if my readers will indulge me. It is the rare film that does an excellent and convincing job of demonstrating the corrosive effects of evil. Such a film is Revenge of the Sith.
In recent memory, only The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy makes such a strong statement on the nature of wickedness. My personal belief--which is sculpted from my understanding of the holy scriptures--is that evil is the corruption of good. It is a parasite, unable to exist without good as its precursor. It is not self-sustained, but is engorged on the ruination of that which is unblemished. Satan began as the "Son of the Morning," and became the "Father of Lies." Adam and Eve were created good, but fell into sin, bringing death and a curse to themselves and the creation. Even in the literary world--again using LOTR as an example--Sauron was made good, but fell into shadow through his own greed and lust for power. And so we come back to the present film, which exemplifies this devolution with a starkness and forthrightness seldom experienced in a movie. We see this ravagement in the personal life of Anakin Skywalker, as well as in the collapse of the democratic Republic and the erection of a galactic Empire on its smoldering foundation.

In my honest opinion, this characteristic of evil's dissipating aspects--in and of itself--makes episode three worth the price of admission. It makes a worthwhile point usually absent in the Hollow Halls of Hollywood.

Are there flaws in this installment? Of course--as there are in all the other movies in the series. But they came across as secondary in importance to the greater message in this film, illustrated above. For example, Padme's belly transforms from prodigious to nearly flat, throughout the movie, as VQ noted in a review on her blog. No explanation is offered for the ballooning and leveling of her abdomen. I delved into some confusing aspects of the philosophical undertone, earlier. Though the Jedi have great powers of precognition, they are helpless at prophesying their own demises--again, without explanation. Some of the dialogue came across as stilted, though most of it was decent enough, and a little even was well done. On at least two occasions, Obi-Wan Kenobi's reactions to the transpiration of horrific events was flat and unconvincing. I consider this more a directional fault than a lapse in Ewan MacGregor's acting skills, though. Also, this was--far, far and away--the darkest and most depressing film in the series. To that extent, I can sympathize with someone not accepting it with googly-eyed rapture. In the final analysis, most of the criticism I've read regarding this film is far too harsh. One last error in judgment, on Lucas' part: Jar-Jar Binks appeared twice in the film, both times in non-speaking roles. I considered his muteness a blessing. Yet somehow, he escaped every pitfall, making it all the way through to the end, eluding dismemberment, incineration, or boiling in a vat of acid.

George, what were you thinking?

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Brave Sir Robin

In honor of the dauntless Republicans and their head-on taming of the filibuster:

Brave Sir Robin ran away,
bravely ran away away.
When danger reared its ugly head,
he bravely turned his tail and fled.
Yes, brave Sir Robin turned about,
and valiantly, he chickened out.
Bravely taking to his feet,
he beat a very brave retreat.
A brave retreat by brave Sir Robin.

--From Monty Python and the Holy Grail, the funniest movie of all time.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005


I received this in an email:

Only a Southerner knows the difference between a hissie fit and a conniption fit, and that you don't "HAVE" them, you "PITCH" them.

Only a Southerner knows how many fish, collard greens, turnip greens, peas, beans, etc., make up "a mess."

Only a Southerner can show or point out to you the general direction of "yonder."

Only a Southerner knows exactly how long "directly" is -- as in: "Going to town, be back directly."

Even Southern babies know that "Gimme some sugar" is not a request for the white, granular sweet substance that sits in a pretty little bowl in the middle of the table.

All Southerners know exactly when "by and by" is. They might not use the term, but they know the concept well.

Only a Southerner knows instinctively that the best gesture of solace for a neighbor who's got trouble is a plate of hot fried chicken and a big bowl of cold potato salad. If the neighbor's trouble is a real crisis, they also know to add a large 'nana puddin!

Only Southerners grow up knowing the difference between "right near" and "a right far piece." They also know that "just down the road" can be 1 mile or 20.

Only a Southerner, both knows and understands, the difference between a redneck, a good ol' boy, and po' white trash.

No true Southerner would ever assume that the car with the flashing turn signal is actually going to make a turn.

A Southerner knows that "fixin" can be used as a noun, a verb, or an adverb.

Only Southerners make friends while standing in lines. We don't do "queues," we do "lines"; and when we're "in line," we talk to everybody!

Put 100 Southerners in a room and half of them will discover they're related, even if only by marriage.

Southerners never refer to one person as "ya'll."

Southerners know grits come from corn and how to eat them.

Every Southerner knows tomatoes with eggs, bacon, grits, and coffee are perfectly wonderful; that red eye gravy is also a breakfast food; and that fried green tomatoes is not a breakfast food.

When you hear someone say, "Well, I caught myself lookin'," you know you are in the presence of a genuine Southerner!

Only true Southerners say "sweet tea" and "sweet milk." Sweet tea indicates the need for sugar and lots of it -- we do not like our tea unsweetened. "Sweet milk" means you don't want buttermilk.

And a true Southerner knows you don't scream obscenities at little old ladies who drive 30 MPH on the freeway. You just say, "Bless her heart" and go your own way.

To those of you who're still a little embarrassed by your Southerness:Take two tent revivals and a dose of sausage gravy and call me in the morning. Bless your heart!

Y'all come back, now. Ya heah?

Monday, May 23, 2005

Falling to Pieces

Leprosy, the contagious skin disease evoking thoughts of biblical and medieval times, is now making its mark in the United States, and many believe the influx of illegal aliens is a main factor.

"Americans should be told that diseases long eradicated in this country – tuberculosis, leprosy, polio, for example – and other extremely contagious diseases have been linked directly to illegals," Rep. J.D. Hayworth, R-Ariz., told the Business Journal of Phoenix. "For example, in 40 years, only 900 persons were afflicted by leprosy in the U.S.; in the past three years, more than 7,000 cases have been presented."

"This emerging crisis exposes the upside-down thinking of federal immigration policy," he continued. "While legal immigrants must undergo health screening prior to entering the U.S., illegal immigrants far more likely to be carrying contagious diseases are crawling under that safeguard and going undetected until they infect extraordinary numbers of American residents."

The number of cases of leprosy, now known as Hansen's disease, among immigrants to the U.S. has more than doubled since 2000, according to a news report from Columbia University.

Of course, we can't gather these people together and quarantine them; that would be profiling, and as we all know, such a thing is one of the cardinal sins in our PC world.

Besides, we reeeeely reeeeeeeeely need them to work jobs that Americans shun. Without them, our economy would collapse over night.

Maybe this story explains the Wendy's chili finger, hm?

Flush North Korea

I laughed out loud when I read this idiocy:

Despite Newsweek's retraction of the Quran-in-the-toilet story, the official North Korean news agency yesterday blasted the U.S. for violating the human rights of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.

"American soldiers flushed holy Qurans down toilets in a bid to wrest concessions from prisoners at the Guantanamo POW Camp," claimed the North Korean story.

Minju Joson, in a signed commentary for the government news agency, termed the incident "a direct product of the U.S. policy of abusing human rights. Nothing is more intolerable insult to the personality of the Muslims and more unbearable encroachment upon their human rights than this profanation of their holy Qurans."

"Under the pretext of 'anti-terrorism,' the United States arrested and imprisoned Muslims en masse and has inflicted all descriptions of mental and physical sufferings upon them," charged North Korea. "It has committed unheard-of inhuman criminal acts which stun the world as evidenced by what happened at the Abu Ghraib prison. As noted in a report released by the U.S. State Department some days ago, the number of the cases of abuses of prisoners by the U.S. forces in Iraq reached 190. This shows that the U.S. is harboring extreme antipathy toward the Muslims."

"This is the practice of the U.S. which advocates human rights, while talking about the 'religious freedom,'" the article continued. "The U.S. has no right to talk about human rights as it abhors Islam merely because it differs from its own religion and pursues national chauvinism."

Doesn't that tickle your funny-bone? North Korea--a monotheistic state which believes its "leader," Kim Dung-Hill, is god incarnate--now calls Korans "holy." And all this time, I thought the only sacred objects in that hellhole are torture devices.

This is like Hitler lecturing the Catholic Church on its treatment of Jews. Under the rulership of its tinpot dwarf demigod and his father before him, this country has squelched, stomped, and annihilated all religious freedom. It excises the expression of Christianity and other religions like pustulent boils on its dystopic rump. Its people live under the burden of some of the worst oppression imaginable. As in all communist countries, news agencies merely are organs for the dissemination of government opinion and propagandizing efforts. The uber-hypocrisy of this ruling class grows steadily with its dictator's ego.

I cannot take criticism seriously, when it emanates from a nation that has elevated murder, torture, and the stiflement of liberty to an art form.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

So Many Movies, So Little Time


Now with the friendly PSA aside, here we go:

The Gospel of John--Even better than The Passion of the Christ, in some ways. It has a much smaller budget and less breathless effects sequences, but it doesn't stray from its source material. This is perhaps the most faithful rendition of the scriptural story of Christ I've ever seen on film. I can't recall an instance when it deviated from John's gospel, remaining always within its boundaries and never venturing outside. All the dialogue is rendered in modern English, as well, so those who dislike the difficulties of archaic modes of expression will have no problem following along. Every Believer should see this movie.

Luther--I love it when Christianity is treated with decorum on film. It happens so rarely, the novelty alone lures me in. This tells the tale of Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation. Joseph Fiennes plays the starring role, and he does a fantastic, convincing job. I'm fuzzy on some of the small details in Luther's life; but the general story is told with accuracy. Great acting, profound subject matter, inspiring in its scope. Even the Catholic Church is portrayed fairly, with some priests and bureaucrats manifest as greedy and carnal, and others virtuous and devoted to Jesus. One of the best movies I've seen in the past couple of years.

The Reckoning--Willem Dafoe and Paul Bettany play significant roles in this one, a film about a Medieval troupe of traveling actors who join with a runaway priest, en route to a nearby town. Within the city walls, they learn of a local murder trial, in which a woman is convicted of killing a young boy. Something about the story unsettles two of the actors, and they take it upon themselves to investigate the matter, and perhaps perform a play on the subject for the townfolk. The story progresses from there in an unusual and well-acted drama that isn't your garden-variety Hollywood movie. I enjoyed the characters and the realistic representation of the times.

I Am David--This is a great movie about a little boy who escapes a Bulgarian concentration camp in the 1950s, followed by his harrowing search for liberty. Jim Caviezel stars, and he's fast becoming one of my favorite two or three actors. He consistently goes for roles in serious, morally upright dramas. This film speaks in moving and interesting ways about family, friendship, freedom, and sacrifice. And the acting on the part of the little boy is a joy to behold. A must-see.

And that's all for now, folks.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Founding Quotes of Note XXIX

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, it expects what never was and what never will be."--Thomas Jefferson

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Skeered Ta Death

Here's a list of phobias of my own dubious invention. If you don't wanna read them--well, that's just your fear of reading two posts on the same subject.

Fear of Bees--Buzzoffophobia.

Fear of England or English Culture--Limeyphobia.

Fear of Floods--Glubglubophobia.

Fear of H.P. Lovecraft's Writings--Cthulhuphobia.

Fear of the Truth--JohnKerryophobia.

Fear of Death AND Fear of Frogs--Croakophobia.

Fear of Meat--PETAphobia.

Fear of Small Government--(See the Democrat & Republican Party platforms).

Fear of Robots or Computers--HALophobia.

Fear of Trees--Entophobia.

Fear of Looking in Mirrors--Buttuglophobia.

Fear of Undressing in Front of Others--Nekkidasajaybirdphobia.

Fear of the French--Frogophobia.

Fear of Long Sermons--Snoreophobia.

Fear of Bald People--Chromedomeophobia

Fear of Stuttering--S-s-s-s-s-stutterphobia.

Fear of Telephones--Ringalinglingophobia.

Fear of Arabs--Ragheadophobia.

Fear of Women: Hearmeroarophobia.

Fear of Politicians--Heck, this ain't an unreasonable fear; it's just good common sense.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Quaking in Terror

Here's a list of some honest-to-goodness, real phobias. I kiddeth not.

Anthrophobia- Fear of flowers

Arachibutyrophobia- Fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of the mouth.

Aulophobia- Fear of flutes

Auroraphobia- Fear of Northern Lights

Barophobia- Fear of gravity (In all fairness, if I fall off a building or my ripcord malfunctions while skydiving, I, too, shall wax terrified of gravity).

Bibliophobia- Fear of books (Many in our culture suffer from this one).

Blennophobia- Fear of slime

Bogyphobia- Fear of the bogeyman (Didn't we all have this one, as children? Hopefully, you grew out of it!).

Cnidophobia- Fear of string

Eleutherophobia- Fear of freedom (The Soviet Union collectively suffered this for, oh, 70 years, or so).

Geniophobia- Fear of chins (No wonder I can't watch The Tonight Show with Jay Leno).

Helmintophobia- Fear of being infested with worms

Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia- Fear of long words (AKA Supercalafragilisticexpealadociousophobia).

Octophobia- Fear of the number 8

Paraskavedekatriaphobia- Fear of Friday the 13th (AKA JasonVorheesophobia).

Phobophobia- Fear of fear

Panophobia- Fear of everything

So what makes your knees knock?

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Following Your Heart

"Follow your heart."

How many times have you heard this trite and mystical expression in movies, tv programs and speeches, or even in person from a friend or relative? According to popular wisdom, when obstacles plague us, and we don't know where to turn for support, when the road of life snakes its path into a dark and whispering wood, we all just should "follow our hearts," which inevitably leads us to sunnier climes and greener pastures.

But is this true and good advice?

For the non-Christian, I suppose following one's heart is as sound as following one's nose, since he or she doesn't subscribe to the leading of our Lord. But for Christians (and by "Christians," I mean true followers of Christ) following one's heart leads to error and possible destruction.

Here's what the Bible says about the heart:

And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.--Genesis 6:5

. . .for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth;--Genesis 8:21

. . .and that ye seek not after your own heart and your own eyes, after which ye use to go a whoring:--Numbers 15:39

Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.--Proverbs 3:5

A man's heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.--Proverbs 16:9

The foolishness of man perverteth his way: and his heart fretteth against the LORD.--Proverbs 19:3

There are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.--Proverbs 19:21

For their heart studieth destruction, and their lips talk of mischief.--Proverbs 24:2

He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.--Proverbs 28:26

. . .the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live, and after that they go to the dead.---Ecclesiastes 9:3

For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:--Matthew 15:19

Scripture is full of other examples, but I think its meaning is clear. To be sure, the Bible speaks of the heart of humanity in a positive manner, as well; but only in the context of allowing God dominance over it. A heart without God's influence is a dangerous, corrupt, and misleading thing. There's a reason why Jesus said: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.--Matthew 22:37

It's a part of a greater whole. Alone and without God as its captain, the heart is a doomed ship heading for a lurking reef.

Kingdom of Revisionists

Three good links for anyone interested in learning about the new film, Kingdom of Heaven, directed by Ridley Scott:

The Real History of the Crusades

Hollywood Version

Onward, Lukewarm Christian Soldiers

The first is an article by Thomas Madden, a non-PC expert on the Crusades. The second is an article by John Podhoretz, and the third is an interview with Madden, and his take on the movie. All three are interesting and educational--but if you read only one, peruse the first.

For the record, I haven't seen the movie, but I consider Madden a very reliable source on the matter. This saddens me to no end, too, for I have great admiration for Ridley Scott, as a director. He helmed The Duellists, Alien, Black Hawk Down, and Gladiator--all wonderful films. I knew he had it in him to do a politically correct piece of trash, though. He directed Thelma and Louise, after all. It's the only movie directed by him that I've seen and loathed. I so looked forward to Kingdom of Heaven. I love history, and the specific subject matter of the Crusades is one I find fascinating.

On the bright side, Bane gave the movie a positive review, so perhaps it isn't all bad. In fact, I'm sure it was well-made, as I expect nothing less from Scott. The most troubling aspect is the apparent intention of making a film propagating the need for tolerance in the modern world, without portraying the people or the times as they really were.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Those Who Recover

A Kansas woman severely brain-injured after an accident in 2002 has begun speaking , to the amazement of her doctor.

On Sept. 3, 2002, Tracy Gaskill suffered critical internal and head injuries when her pickup overturned. Doctors told her relatives that night that she probably would die by noon the next day, her grandfather, Don Gaskill, told the Ark City Traveler.

Not only did Tracy live beyond the day after the accident, she gradually began to improve.

Then, about three weeks ago, she spoke for the first time since the accident, about the same time she began to swallow on her own.

"It's amazing, isn't it?" Dr. David Schmeidler told the local paper. "I have never seen this happen in my career. I've read about it happening, the severely brain damaged recovering suddenly, but never seen it , until now."

Continued Schmeidler: "She is actually able to speak and to speak coherently. In light of all this stuff on Terri Schiavo ... it makes you pause and think. For three years or so, (Tracy) was fed through a tube, then she swallowed a little bit and now she speaks."

Tracy received what Schiavo did not, at least in the last several years: therapy.

According to the report, in the last few months, nurses worked with her to get her to hum.

Last week, it was reported Donald Herbert awoke from a coma and spoke for the first time in 10 years. A Buffalo, N.Y., firefighter, Herbert was severely brain injured while fighting a fire in 1995. Eventually, she started to speak clearly.

Remember all the bleeding hearts who defined a human being by what he/she could contribute to society? Remember those who would cut loose people who can't perform mundane tasks, such as feeding themselves? Next time you receive the privilege of speaking to one of these paragons of compassion, remember these stories.

Death and Mutations

“The secrets of evolution are time and death. Time for the slow accumulations of favorable mutations, and death to make room for new species.”– Carl Sagan, Cosmos, program “One Voice in the Cosmic Fugue.”

I see this succint description as a contradiction of the holy scriptures. Genesis teaches that the actions of the first humans brought death into the world. As for time needed in the mutation process, the vast majority of mutations are detrimental or fatal to the organism in question, time-frames notwithstanding. A tiny percentage appear beneficial, but only to the individual creature. There still is a genetic loss of information, so the damage appears over time, not immediately.

Reading the self-assurance of Sagan's words, one would think that Benjamin Franklin might have stated--in his scientific capacity--"But in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and mutations."

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Lawless Bench-Warmer

From Michael Peroutka's website:

On May 5, the West Pasco Bar Association "honored" the career of George Greer, the Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge who ordered the starvation murder of Terri Schiavo.

During a banquet at the Heritage Springs Golf And Country Club in Trinity, Florida, Greer was given a "Special Justice Award" for, in part, what the "Tampa Tribune" newspaper called "his handling of the emotionally and politically charged Schiavo case." It is said that when Greer got his award, he received a one-minute standing ovation.

Commenting approvingly on this award, 2nd District Court of Appeals Judge Morris Silberman says: "What Judge Greer did, and what judges in general do, is they look for guidance in the law, and they come up with the best answers they can within the law."

This article also quoted Greer as saying: "My oath is to follow the law, and if I can't follow the law, I need to step down."

So git ta steppin'. What law did this guy follow? The Bias Against Life Law? He ignored almost every aspect of the case that didn't strengthen his pro-death agenda. Is there a law in the Florida or U.S. constitution that states: "The right of an innocent woman to be euthanized like a dying dog by her husband shall not be infringed."? I must've missed that one. Is there a biblical mandate for such an action? "Thou shalt kill any person who does not retain the quality of life deemed fit for them by their spouse." I don't remember learning that all-important commandment in Sunday school, nor can I find it in my Bible.

So to what "law" is this ghoul referring?

Death from Above

A dark shadow looms over the horizon, chilling the spines of those in its path with skeletal fingers of fear. Black-robed dictators scamper in terror. Ruth Bader Ginsburg--deep in thought-- leaps off the throne at the alarm, hiking up her skirt, dropping the roll of tissue, its every delicate sheet imprinted in a complete copy of the Constitution. House and Senate members burst forth from the Capitol Building like rats from a sinking ship. A passing intern, wearing a "Monica-in-training" t-shirt, becomes a hapless victim of the mewling herd, trampled underfoot. Hillary Clinton screeches and punches, pushes, and claws her way to the head of the rabble, planting a fist in a pulpy face, a stiletto heel in an eyeball, a knee to the groin. Her hair is trailing, lipstick smeared, mascara running. Gone is her omnipresent composure as she shoves Barney Frank down the steps. He falls, always a bit precarious in high heels, and the result is one that would make a professional bowler proud. John Kerry stubs his pinky toe in the melee. For now, tears stream down his face; but later, he'll stand in front of many clicking, flashing cameras with utmost decorum, and relate the circumstances of his injury to an ooooohing and ahhhhhing press. Thus the creation of the Peacetime Purple Heart. As the elite flock to places of refuge (underground bunkers, mountain fortresses, and local pubs), the media sit in collective hushed anticipation, waiting for the spark that will ignite the commentariat. And worse than a Japanese Zero winging toward an aircraft carrier, it comes! Ever so slowly, it traces its contrail across a leaden sky! Closer! Ever closer! Is it some renegade missle, some mile-wide advance scout-ship for an extraterrestrial invasion, bent on raining hellfire and death from the air?

Nope. It's an off-course Cessna, a two-seater plane crewed by a pilot and student, who got lost on their way to an air show. They come no closer than three miles to the White House.

May God have mercy on us all.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005


What is faith?

Well, according to the godless heathen of our age, it is a belief without justification. It is blind and unreasoning. It is an uncritical acceptance of a certain concept or idea. It is a mark of zealotry.

But is this the definition of faith, as understood by followers of Christ and outlined in the Bible?

The answer is a resounding "No!"

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.--Hebrews 11:1

The rest of this chapter of Hebrews is devoted to a description of believers and their acts of faith, from the days of Genesis to the present, as of the time of its writing. At no point do these descriptions entail a blind trust or a stumbling in the dark. I highly recommend this scriptural selection to anyone unfamiliar with it, or anyone who hasn't read it in a long while.

If faith requires mere superstitious dependence, why would God use the words "substance" and "evidence" in defining it? Clearly it is more than that. Unbelievers find it a difficult concept because they do not know or recognize God's work in their lives. But to those of us who believe and accept Him as our own, we do know the power of our resurrected Lord. We've experienced his aid in distressing situations. We've seen the evidence of his interventions. And our stories of answered prayers come by the truckload. I know people who have sought and received His bounties to such a degree that shrugging them off as coincidence strains credibility.

We find validations of our faith in the earthly life of Christ, in our very existence, in the drawing of every breath. We find reasons to believe hidden in the statistical probabilities against our planet and all its multi-faceted lifeforms simply popping into being, through no divine intervention or decree. We see His influence and guidance in inexplicable and unmerited acts of goodness from our fellow human beings. We ponder the night sky, knowing that we live out our lives on a small orb in a vast solar system, itself a tiny speck in a galactic whirlpool. Even the Milky Way galaxy is a seeming insignificant grain of sand on the infinite backdrop of the universe riddled with other such galaxies. Yet all this hangs on nothingness, in a near-perfect synchronicity that cannot--will not--be explained by the scoffing of chance. Surely "The Heavens declare the glory of God."

More examples of a justifiable faith exist, but I think you get the gist of my point. Is all this proof-positive of God's existence? Is all doubt banished by what I've said?

Sadly, no. There are those who believe already, and there are those who will not believe, no matter how much or what type of evidence is provided.

But as I have shown, my faith is more than a grasping at the aether, more than a baseless conviction, more than a shout of certainty in an empty room.

How can we expect unbelievers to understand our faith, when they do not comprehend the meaning of the word?

Monday, May 9, 2005

"I Pledge Allegiance to Myself. . ."

From The Washington Times: DENVER -- The students in Vincent Pulciani's seventh-grade class were reciting the Pledge of Allegiance this week when they heard the voice over the intercom say something they'd never heard before, at least not during the Pledge.

Instead of "one nation, under God," the voice said, "one nation, under your belief system."

Apparently, this was not an administrative decision, but an individual act on the part of the 8th-grade guidance counselor.

A school district spokesman said: "The day was the sixth anniversary of Columbine, and she felt she should be all-inclusive, so she replaced the word 'God,'"

Making every belief system co-equal removes whatever special characteristics a belief in God comprises. This is not a nation founded upon the concept of Brahminism or secularism, Confucianism or paganism. It originated from a belief in God. Such faith is what aided the U.S. in scaling the cultural heights to a position of great and numerous freedoms--the very freedoms twisted, abused, and taken for granted, today. Our origin should be acknowledged and remembered--for history's sake, if for no other.

What would a sample secularist pledge be? Perhaps something like this:

I pledge allegiance to the concept
of me, myself, and I,
and to the atheism for which I stand--
one nation, indivisible in skepticism,
with liberty and justice for none.

Or the Islamic variant:

I pledge allegiance to Muhammed,
of the united Islamic Jihad,
and to the violence for which he stands:
one world under Allah, invincible,
with virgins for every martyr.

(Sorry this post on the linked story is slightly dated. Blame my eeeeeevil computer's glitches for that).

Belated Happy Mother's Day

It's a bit late, I know. So sue me. (For any lurking litigious whack-jobs and ambulance-chasers, I'm just kidding).

But for what it's worth, happy mother's day to all the many thousands of mothers frequenting my blog, and hanging on my every word. God bless you all.

"God could not be everywhere and therefore he made mothers." -- Jewish proverb

"My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her." -- George Washington (1732-1799)

16Then came there two women, that were harlots, unto the king, and stood before him.

17And the one woman said, O my lord, I and this woman dwell in one house; and I was delivered of a child with her in the house.

18And it came to pass the third day after that I was delivered, that this woman was delivered also: and we were together; there was no stranger with us in the house, save we two in the house.

19And this woman's child died in the night; because she overlaid it.

20And she arose at midnight, and took my son from beside me, while thine handmaid slept, and laid it in her bosom, and laid her dead child in my bosom.

21And when I rose in the morning to give my child suck, behold, it was dead: but when I had considered it in the morning, behold, it was not my son, which I did bear.

22And the other woman said, Nay; but the living is my son, and the dead is thy son. And this said, No; but the dead is thy son, and the living is my son. Thus they spake before the king.

23Then said the king, The one saith, This is my son that liveth, and thy son is the dead: and the other saith, Nay; but thy son is the dead, and my son is the living.

24And the king said, Bring me a sword. And they brought a sword before the king.

25And the king said, Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one, and half to the other.

26Then spake the woman whose the living child was unto the king, for her bowels yearned upon her son, and she said, O my lord, give her the living child, and in no wise slay it. But the other said, Let it be neither mine nor thine, but divide it.

27Then the king answered and said, Give her the living child, and in no wise slay it: she is the mother thereof.

28And all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had judged; and they feared the king: for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him, to do judgment.--1 Kings 3: 16-28

Friday, May 6, 2005

Guest-Bloggin' Infidel

Here's the guest post I authored for Vox's blog, which originally appeared last saturday. This is for anyone who may have missed it the first time around, or for those who found its literary value so ineffably splendiferous that only a second reading would suffice.

Brief Disclaimer-- For those who hated the post, finding themselves frothing in their beards over its words, smothering themselves with their prayer rugs in frustration, beating themselves over the head with a Koran until senseless, or cleaning their AK-47s in great agitation, I offer this gentle reminder:

The Truth often hurts.

Good to Be Back

Like the swallows of San Juan Capistrano, I've returned, following a brief--and wholly involuntary--hiatus. I had some serious problems with AOL and my wonderful pc; and as a result, I've missed out on quite a lot. It'll take me forever and a day to catch up on my reading, so everyone bear with me.

I've suffered through some terrible internet withdrawal symptoms: restless sleep and insomnia, fits of shaking, intense sweats, blogospheric delirium tremens--you know, the usual. Now I can empathize with Robert Downey, Jr. and Whitney Houston, the poor things.

But for the nonce, all is well. I see no bloodstains in the Haloscan comments section, so it seems everyone comported themselves well, while I was away. Some of the nicest, most civil folks in the Matrix frequent my blog. I hope everyone's safe and sound, and doing just dandy.

It's good to be back.

Sunday, May 1, 2005

Not Quite the End of the World

Guys & Gals:

Thanks for all of your great comments. My PC had a nooc-yuh-luhr meltdown, so that's the reason why I haven't commented or posted on my blog. That goes the same for my non-appearance in the discussion on my post over at Vox's. Could this have happened at a worse time?! Arrgh!

As I type these words, I'm sitting at a public PC at my wife's place of employment. Hopefully, I'll have the problems corrected & be back to posting & commenting regularly, in the next few days. I miss the arguing, kidding around, & ranting, so rest assured--I shall return!

Until then, God bless & keep each & every one of you.