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This evening, my oldest son (JamCar) came up to me and showed me (and sang for me) a song he had written. I present it to you in full:

What do I Hear?

Chorus:
What do I hear,
Oh, what do I hear?

Verse 1:
Is it a kitten meowing,
or a tiger growling?

(Chorus)

Verse 2:
Is it a fareis wheel turning 
or a wolf dog howling?

Now you may be wondering – how old is your son? Surely the author of such an accomplished piece of work must be in high school, if not college. Nay, says Jamsco, my oldest son has not reached his tenth year.

If you would see into the mind of this artist, I can tell you that he pointed out that he wanted to express in each verse the contrast of something pleasant and something frightening. Also, his muse for writing this song was his youngest brother (age 4) asking the titular question at the playground. 

Please note also the nontraditional (some may call it avant garde) spelling of the word “Ferris” 

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(I thought I’d take a little break from LOTR for a week) 

Everything I ever needed to know I learned from Bruce Willis 

This is the nineties. You don’t just go around punching people. You have to say something cool first. ···  Sorry Hans, wrong guess. Would you like to go for Double Jeopardy where the scores can really change? ··· Hi, Mickey O’Brien, aquaduct security. We’ve had a report of a guy coming through here with, uh, eight reindeer.  Yeah, they said he was a jolly old fat guy with a snowy white beard. Cute red clothes. I’m surprised you didn’t see him ··· There’s safety in sandwiches ···  The United States Government just asked us to save the world. Anyone wanna say no? ···  I’m gonna keep the coke and the fries but I’m gonna send this burger back. And if you put any mayonnaise on it, I’m gonna come over to your house,  <violent act edited out>, set fire to your house, and watch as you  <result of violent act edited out>  ··· Take this under advisement, jerkweed! ··· Relax, I know what I’m doing. ··· The CIA didn’t know the Berlin Wall was falling until the bricks started hitting them in the face. ··· Oh, wouldn’t it be great if I was crazy? Then the world would be okay.  ··· You’re right, you’re right, I shouldn’t have done that. I’m sorry. ··· You haven’t even tried doughnuts yet. You wanna store some fat, that is the way to store some fat, you’ll be sweating through the winter. ···  Let me ask you something. If you get called a jerk four times in a single day, does that make it true?  ··· The sky is blue, water is wet, women have secrets. ···  I was always kinda’ partial to Roy Rogers actually. I really dig those sequined shirts. ··· That is an S.U.V; Humans ride in then because they are slowly losing their ability to walk ··· Do unto others before you’re turned into a pillar of salt. ··· Is looking like a constipated warthog a prerequisite for getting a job in the art world? ··· Hey! It’s not important. Besides, I’m the car. I’m *always* the car. ··· I’m telling you this like a friend because if you screw this up – I would hate to… I would really hate to have to kill you. I would hate it more than mayonnaise. You know how much I hate mayonnaise. ··· All I want is an explanation. Look, I just got in. I just smashed my cab, I lost my job, I got mugged. Besides that, everything’s peachy. Thanks for asking ··· You can know the rules and still do the wrong thing. ··· This is the land of opportunity, gentlemen. The opportunity to turn yourselves in. ··· Come out to the coast, we’ll get together, have a few laughs… ··· Days change, seasons change, people don’t change ··· Maybe the human race deserves to be wiped out. ··· Everybody ends up dead. It’s just a matter of when. ··· I was born without a conscience. ···  It’s a funny thing about people. One time out of a hundred they turn out better than you expect. ··· Houston, you have a problem. ··· You wanna’ know what this is all about? You can say this about drugs or guns or bad decisions, what ever you like. But this whole thing is about parenting. And taking care of your children.··· Now, the traps are set here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. Here, here, here, here, big one here, here, and maybe a few over here ··· A hundred million terrorists in the world and I gotta kill one with feet smaller than my sister.

I just finished reading the Lord of the Rings last night. I don’t read it as often as (if I remember correctly) Christopher Lee (the Saruman actor) does (he reads it every year.)* But I have read it perhaps 10 times to myself and twice out loud with my wife. It’s worth it. More reads provide more understanding and depth.

But may I recommend that if you haven’t read it, do so?

You may say, “Well, I’ve seen the movies.” There is no doubt that the movies were good, some may excellent, but (A) the movie producers clearly made some mistakes and (B) just like any good book, much is left out at the cinema and the richness is often not there.

You may say, “I’m not really into fantasy books.” Me neither. Except for Narnia and Theodore Beale (a friend), I haven’t read any others. Don’t let this stop you.

I could put in another weekly category for things that I like about LOTR, but one thing I will say here is that I really, really like the fact that it has a decent (read: long) ending. I don’t want to spoil the ending of other books or I would name them, but some books get just past the climax and boom, a summary paragraph and that’s it.

Not so LOTR. You want to know how everyone ends up? You got it. And if a 80 page ending is not enough, you can get more detail from the very complete timeline in the appendix. Mr. Tolkein, I thank you. 

Also – if you have read the book and you didn’t get the reference in the double meaning title of this post, time to read it again.

*Have you noticed? I’m a parenthesis guy.

For years, I thought that taking a filling your car with gas and taking off without paying would bring down the police on you faster than <please here enter some pithy allegory of your own choosing>

Two experiences have changed that:

First, and less importantly, I was on a 14 hour road trip with my wife’s family and 30 miles down the road after a stop at a gas station we realized that none of us had paid for gas. Not only were we not pulled over by state lawpersons, but at the next stop, when my Father In Law called the station and explained the situation, the manager suggested he just forget about it. Hmmm.

But more recently, and I admit, this was probably a few years ago, but after they made pay-at-the-pump available, I noticed a posting commonly placed on the gas station tanks warning people not to take gas without paying. This was a very poorly made message. To wit:

(A) The first thing you see is a stern looking person in a police uniform, obviously disapproving of anyone who would steal gas. What was notable is that this man had a toughness appearance factor in the negative numbers. He looked like someone who might have been voted vice president in Junior High. I have never been in a fight (as an adult) and don’t hold out high hopes of my ability should I find myself in one but my first thought when I saw the picture officer was “I could take him. Even if he had a taser.”*  If this was my response, I wonder how a more ethically challenged would feel upon seeing him.

(B) Next you notice the wording “If you take gas without paying, cameras or witnesses will see this and you will be reported.” Translation: Since you can look inside and see that no one is watching the video monitors, you can be sure that our only hope in catching you is if someone is really bored and watches you really carefully to see if you are not fake-sliding your credit card though the slot and then decides to spend some positive amount of time reporting you.” Do they really want to call attention to your good chances of a clean getaway?

(C) Then, since you have nothing better to do as you wait for your gas pump, you read that as punishment for being caught stealing gas you will be “fined an amount not to exceed 30 dollars.” 30 Dollars? What? So if (when I get gas for my suburban) I’m only caught one in every three times it will still pay off for me?

I had never had such a strong inclination to drive away without paying. 

I can only imagine the conversation of the Gas Station Owner Association Comittee to Prevent Gas Theft –

Owner 1: We have to do something! Now that we have pay at the pump, no one looks strange if they don’t go inside!

Owner 2: Okay, what?

Owner 1: Let’s put a stern warning on the gas dispenser.

Owner 2: With what?

Owner 1: Well, a picture of a police officer looking . . . really unhappy.

Owner 2: Maybe we should hire a model.

Owner 1: No, I’ll get my cousin, he just got his badge.

Owner 2: I don’t know, didn’t you tell me that he was effectively made fun of at an elementary school presentation by eight year old girls?

Owner 1: Well, yeah, but this way we won’t have to pay him.

Owner 2: . . . . . Well . . .

Owner 1: And then we’d have words on them that show them all the ways they may be caught.

Owner 2: But they never get caught!

Owner1: But they won’t figure that out! We’ll word our message cleverly! And we tell them about the really big fine.

Owner 2: The fine is only 30 dollars!

Owner 1: Yeah. . . rats. Well maybe if we put it in the words of the actual law, it will sound more scary!

 * I live in Minnesotat, but I saw another ad much like this in South Dakota, but they wisely chose a picture of an officer who I don’t doubt could handle an altercation with me.

** More recently, they have changed the law to take away your driver’s liscence for a month. Much more effective.  

   

Don’t have too much fun, one day you might discover you don’t enjoy it.

So the post-meal-prayer conversation goes like this:

3 Year Old: Alex had his eyes open while you were praying!
Dad: How did you know that if your eyes weren’t open?

And the Dad then feels smug and proud despite the fact that (A) his parents almost certainly said this to him and therefore he can’t claim any creativity and (B) he just mentally outmastered a three-year old.

I wonder in how many homes this conversation has unfolded in the history of family prayer. 100 million times? A billion?

I say it’s bourgeois. Have no part in it!

Barn Bluff

Don’t think
 As you are looking down onto the mighty river
  Through the elms and oaks
 From your picnic spot
  Under the King Oak
   Without peer
 With the knowledge that you are in Minnesota
That you are looking east
 
Nor that
 When you look the other way
across the blanket
  past your wife and children
 To what’s on the other side of the bluff
  Town blocks and schools and cars.
You would be looking west when you turned
 
Heading down river to the ragged cliffs
 on the pleasant
  fairly straight
 age old walking path
and heading upriver to the overlook of the downtown
 and the big river-crossing bridge
will not bring you south and north, respectively.

Also:
Don’t think
at the end of October
 knowing that you are in Minnesota 
that you have lost your last chance
for a River fall day trip

For the mighty river doesn’t always flow south.
And there is such a thing as well above average temperatures.

Both Mississippi and November may surprise you. 

Sometimes Nature breaks what we think are its rules. As does it’s Creator.

Everything I ever needed to know I learned from

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers – Book 4

It’s a pity that folk as talk about fighting the Enemy can’t let others do their bit in their own way without interfering ··· Night oft brings news to near kindred, ‘tis said ··· Strange chances, but murder will out, ‘tis said. ··· Fair speech may hide a foul heart. ··· Not very wise, but just; yes perhaps as just as our little wisdom allows. ··· It seems less evil to counsel another man to break troth than to do so oneself, especially if one sees a friend bound unwitting to his own harm. ··· Where there’s life, there’s hope . . . and need of vittles. ··· They cannot conquer forever. ··· Adventures, as I used to call them. I used to think that they were things the wonderful folk of the stories went out and looked for, because they wanted them, because they were exciting and life was a bit dull, a kind of a sport, as you may say. But that’s not the way of it with the tales that really mattered, or the ones that stay in the mind. Folk seem to have been just landed in them, usually – their paths were laid that way, as you put it. But I expect they had lots of chance, like us, of turning back, only they didn’t. And if they had, we shouldn’t know, because they’d have been forgotten. We hear about those as just went on – and not all to a good end, mind you; at least not to what folk inside a story and not outside it call a good end. You know, coming home, and finding things all right, though not quite the same. But those aren’t always the best tales to hear, though they may be the best tales to get landed in! I wonder what sort of a tale we’ve fallen into? ··· That’s the way of a real tale. Take any one that you’re fond of. You may know, or guess, what kind of a tale it is, happy ending or sad-ending, but the people in it don’t know. And you don’t want them to. ··· The great tales never end as tales, but the people in them come, and go when their parts ended. ··· You and I are still stuck in the worst places of the story and it all too likely that some will say at this point: “Shut the book now, dad; we don’t want to read anymore” ··· Don’t take names to yourself. It’s unwise whether they are true or false.

For those non-Minnesotan ResPup readers who were nervous last week after I blogged about the Muslim cashiers not being willing to scan pork products at Super Targets, here is relief for you

That’s right, they are changing the jobs of the Muslim workers. No longer are Target Patrons going to be forced, like common retail workers, to scan their own bacon, or worse, wait 15 seconds for another cashier to do it. And this was happening as many as nine times a day in the Twin Cities area!  That’s more than two minutes of TV time lost. 

And can I put out a big “I’m Impressed” with the Star Tribune for (A) creating this front page news by grabbing comments from their own blog and then (B) having the temerity to update us with a Top of the Front Page headline because the first article caused customers to call Target, thus forcing Target to change their policies.

An admirable trait of the Hyper-Compatibleist theology (and here is the bold and perhaps soon to be proven false statement) is that all of the biblical proof texts of both side of the debate work as proof texts for this one.

(Again I will state that I am not at all entirely sure that Hyper-compatiblism is Biblical. This is partly why I am putting out this challenge, to see how easy it is to prove it wrong)

A little review for those who have just joined us – Hyper-Compatibleist (HC) theology states two things:

(A) Everything that happens in God’s universe is a result of His specific and designed choice And a part of his plan that he created before he created the universe. This (“Everything”) includes a drop of water falling, a human sinning, an earthquake killing thousands and a star going supernova. Also, and importantly it includes each human’s choice to embrace or deny Christ.
(B) Every human act is a result of his (the Human’s) specific and designed choice, for which he is responsible. Again, importantly this includes the person’s choice to embrace or deny Christ.*
 
The reason that proof texts from both sides work as proof texts for this one is because the proof texts for the Free Willies (I would call them Arminians, but this is what one of them instructed me to call them) are all proofs that Humans make their own decisions even the one to accept Christ (Agreed to by HC) and the proof texts for Calvinists are all proofs that God causes things to happen including human choices and especially the human choice to accept Christ (Agreed to be HC.) With HC-ism no longer is it possible to say that a verse that says that humans are responsible is evidence that God doesn’t control what humans do, or vice versa.

But here is the Challenge – find the anti-HC proof text.

This would come in one of two ways. The less likely would be a verse that suggested that humans are not responsible for their sins, or for things they do. Something that says, “it wasn’t that guy (some biblical figure’s, or group of human’s) fault.”

But more likely would be a passage in the Bible where it is said of God (or God says of himself) that He didn’t do it. Something like where God says, “Don’t blame me for that happening” or “That is not the Lord’s doing.”

Again, I must admit that I don’t know for certain that there isn’t a verse like this in the bible. I read through the bible last year and tried to take note. I have, in fact, found a passage that seems to me to fit the more likely criteria, but I will address that at another time.

But to anyone who doubts this theology, can you think of a verse that counters HCism (Not Humans fault / Not God’s fault) ?

Before you put a verse or ten down – two things:

1. If you are thinking ____ 8:11 and following, read it again. It does not say what you remember it to say. (I would put the name of the book but I have learned a debate rule, to wit: if you think you know how someone is going to counter your argument, avoid the temptation of stating it outright, at least make them come up with it themselves.)

2. Do not put down verses that talk about God’s will. I am on record of believing in two kinds of God’s will – His Permissive Will and His Perfect Will.

* Note that the first part (A) is offensive to Free Willies and the second part (B) . . . well, at the very least the second part causes true Calvinists to furrow their brow.

May God bless those who have the courage and honor to sacrifice much to tell people about His glory.

. . . Regarding Movie Literature

My Definition of Literature is two-fold:

1. Durability: Has it been around (or does it look to be around) for a long time?
2. Quality: Is it the kind of thing that a person who considers himself well read should read?

This definition and the fact that my kids are of video watching age makes me wonder if there should be the concept of movie literature. Specifically, family-friendly movie literature.

So I have been wondering which movies meet these three criteria:
A. Is it a movie that all people who are secular movie watchers should see?
B. Is it a movie that has been around for a while, or will be around for awhile? – with the caveat that “a while” has a more short term meaning for movies than for books, since the cinema has been around for a significantly shorter period.
C. Is it a movie that is appropriate for kids younger than 10?  – the age of my kids at present – so whatever you think about Bill Murray – “Stripes” is out.

Here are movies that are on my criteria meeting movie list:
1. Mary Poppins – Perhaps the best Disney movie ever.
2. Star Wars –
3. Empire Strikes Back
4. Return of the Jedi  – I agree with others who say that this is not nearly as good as the first two, but it would be torture for a kid to watch “Empire” and not watch this.
5. The Sound of Music

That’s it. I can only think of five. Does anyone have any other suggestions?
I suppose other Disney movies – but which ones?  I might also go with Narnia, but I’m not sure it has durability.

What do you think?

Update: What was I thinking? Of course “The Princess Bride” needs to be in the list!

(But yes, I know this is a day late)

Outside Which Radisson Hotel?

You are standing inside a 200 meter circle
 The edge of the circle is a 5 meter high platform for sitting
 The center is a
complex and everchanging
fountain
This circle is a monument to the Union of European Nations
 You feel
  As an American 
  A little left out.

You are facing away from the center of the circle
 But inside its perimeter
Looking towards the impressive, new Hotel
 Which a nervous couple entered and was glad that its employees spoke English

Turn a little to the left
 (We’ll go clockwise)
And you see the grand entrance to a significant train station
 Which is very large and clean inside.
 You are standing near the entry point for many visitors from other European countries.
  Daily.
A little more to the left and you see steps
 Going down
To a significant subway station
 The subway here is called the metro
 This station is the junction of three different underground trains

A little more to the left
(now you have turned 90 degrees)
And you see a tall wall which hides construction from the road beyond.
Cross this road and you will see a familiar looking building which has a familiar looking sign
 If you look carefully the sign says in Cyrillic – “Macdonalds”
  This was the first place the nervous couple went, because
   Unlike other well seasoned travelers
  They wanted something familiar

Another turn to the left and you see the disorganized random parking lot for the train-station
 Actually you have been looking beyond this for awhile
 But we will disregard it
  And keep turning.

Another turn to the left
 (now you have turned 180 degrees)
and you see a park.
 It is filled with trees and benches and the remains of a bonfire
 This would be a pleasant area to walk through if it weren’t so filled with litter
  And party leftovers

For the remaining 180 degrees you see river
 The primary river for this capital city
 The river for which this city was named
  The couple toured this river with their college choir
   before they were a couple
    they were both less and more nervous then.

And when you have made your way almost full circle
You see a bridge, with impressive architecture, interesting to walk across
 Where you might note a police officer tossing his cigarette bud into the river
 Where you can see
  From opposite sides
 A University and a hotel which look very similar
  And a restaurant that looks like a Viking ship
   What?
This bridge might be a good way to visit the city center
 Rich with history and religion and shopping
  You might find very cute dresses for two new sisters

But don’t think
Now that you have come full circle
That you have seen it all. 
No. Try looking down.
You see that a three year old girl is holding your hand.
 She has blonde hair
  They kept it short at the baby home.
 She is your daughter, but you don’t know her.
And since she speaks a different language, you may wonder what she is thinking
 Clearly she is interested in the dancing waters of the fountain.
  Indeed she wanted to climb into it.
 And she has looked in wonder at much she has seen in the last twenty-four hours
 And she seems to be cheerful, but 
Does she have any real idea what is happening?
 And to the degree that she does, does she have truly joyful feelings about it?

My suggestion is that you pray
 To the God who made both her and you
Pray for peace for her and wisdom for yourself

Everything I ever needed to know I learned from

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers – Book 3 

 

Do not cast all hope away. Tomorrow is unknown. Rede oft is found in the rising of the sun. ··· Good and ill have not changed since yesteryear; nor are they one thing among Elves and Dwarves and another among Men. It is a man’s part to discern them, as much in the Golden Wood as in his own house. ··· Farewell and may you find what you seek! Return with what speed you may, and let our swords hereafter shine together! ··· There are some things that it is better to begin than to refuse, even though the end may be dark. ··· The enemies whom we pursued took captive two of my friends. In such need a man that has no horse will go on foot, and he will not ask for leave to follow the trail. Nor will he count the heads of the enemy save with a sword. ··· Do not be hasty, that is my motto. ··· I am honored by your confidence; but you should not be too free all at once. ··· Hill. Yes, that was it. But it is a hasty word for a thing that has stood here ever since this part of the world was shaped. ··· Still, we do what we can. We keep off strangers and the foolhardy; and we train and we teach, we walk and we weed. ··· Sheep get like shepherds and shepherds like sheep, it is said. ··· It is easier to shout stop! than to do it. ··· Few can foresee wither their road will lead them, till they come to its end. ··· I was talking aloud to myself. A habit of the old: they choose the wisest person present to speak to; the long explanations needed by the young are wearying. ··· He that strikes the first blow, if he strikes it hard enough, may need to strike no more. ··· It is a comfort not to be mistaken at all point. ··· A king will have his own way in his own hall, be it folly or wisdom. ··· Every man has something too dear to trust to another. ··· Ill news is an ill guest, they say. ··· In two ways may a man come with evil tidings. He may be a worker of evil; or he may be such as leaves well alone and comes only to bring aid in time of need. ··· Faithful heart may have froward tongue. ··· Receive now this cup and drink in happy hour. Health be with thee at they going and coming! ··· Oft the unbidden guest proves the best company. ··· Dawn is ever the hope of men. ··· The king stays or comes at his own will. ··· The guest who has escaped from the roof will think twice before he comes back in by the door. ··· The treacherous are ever distrustful. ··· When the plot is ripe it remains no longer secret. ··· Strange are the turns of fortune. Often does hatred hurt itself. ··· Things will go as they will and there is no need to hurry to meet them. ··· Oft evil will shall evil mar. ··· Perilous to us all are the devices of an art deeper than we possess ourselves. ··· The burned hand teaches best.

 

Make no mistake, there were some good songs from the 70’s. It is perhaps a flaw of mine, but I like listening to secular music and there are many songs from that decade that I sing along with in my car (assuming I’m alone.) These generally come from the first two thirds of the decade (say 70 to 76) But in between the middle ages of the mid to early 70’s and the Happy Pop Renaissance of the 80’s was the musical dark ages of 78 and 79.  This sad period produced music that was largely comprised of unsingable melody-lacking garbage-work.

(Remember: this is a blog – I’m supposed to use hyperbole)

One of the most unsingable songcraft examples was a harshly mind-breaking ditty entitled “Brick House” Let’s looks at a few of the lyrics, shall we? And non-secular music listeners may want to avert your eyes – this isn’t pleasant:

She’s a brick—-house
Mighty mighty, just lettin’ it all hang out
She’s a brick—-house
The lady’s stacked and that’s a fact,
ain’t holding nothing back. 

And if you haven’t heard the song, know that these words, degenerate as they are, actually look more promising than the song is in reality. And yes, there is a several second gap between the title words. What the singer did in concert between those songs, I don’t know. Perhaps knit a sweater?

So, you might suggest, listen to MPR or KTIS! Why are you wasting time listening to this? It a good point, but let it be known that when I hear this song on the radio I am generally able to turn the channel before “—-house” is heard. The reason I bring it up now is because there is a furniture store, from which I have actually bought furniture (years ago), but I see only has stores in the Midwest and west coast, called Wicks.

And their marketing department has decided to inflict us with . . . yes:

“It’s a Wicks . . . . House.” with the same peace-piercing nasal tone quality as the original.

That’s where their creativity ends, there are no other words sung in the commercial, just the hot new deal that you can get there.

Now what were they thinking, one wonders . . . “Hmmm, perhaps people will be drawn to come to our stores if we use an offensive, 30 year old song that is appealing to (currently) about zero people and thought negatively by the majority of those who were listening to music back in those dark days. Hopefully people won’t remember that the original song spoke of the woman as an Amazon.”  

    

  

(Nothing new here, just wanted to get it out)
 
So the age old Muslim / Christian conflict was played out in a small way in a Twin Cities Target Store this week. I read about it here.

http://www.startribune.com/535/story/1052945.html

Put quickly, Muslim Cashier employee at Target refuses to touch bacon, asks customer to ring it through herself. Major griping ensues.

And on the way to work I had a little argument with myself:

Jamsco 1 – Boy, that’s the way those Muslims are, pushy and proud.

Jamsco 2 – So you think all Muslims are like that?

Jamsco 1 – Sure, it’s a clear representation, we’ve seen this before. If you don’t want to touch pork, don’t work at a store that sells it.

Jamsco 2 – What about the Christian pharmacist who didn’t want to sell the Plan B pill (or whatever.) Didn’t you defend them?

Jamsco 1- Well, . . . not fully. Maybe they shouldn’t work as a pharmacist. In any case, don’t make them a representative of all Christianity.

Jamsco 2 – And is it possible that many if not most Islamic Minnesotans don’t want this cashier to be their representative?

This brings to my mind a blind spot that most who are strongly on one side of an issue have about the other side. They think their side is inherently better, and while they give their own side every benefit of the doubt, they give the other side no benefit of the doubt. So:

So you think, as a Republican, that what that Crazy Democrat said is reprehensible and Democrats should be ashamed for thinking that? Be aware that there are crazy republicans who say wrong-minded things and you don’t want to be associated with them.

So you think, as a Protestant (or an Atheist), that Catholics should really clean up their abuse problems? Do you recall that your side has problems like that?

So you think that all those folks on the right lie all the time? Check out the untruths on the left.

So you think those crazy Libertarian bloggers use twisted and faulty logic? Do a quick sweep of the major party bloggers.

So you think that other branch of your religion is too dogmatic? Consider what you sound like when you disagree with them.

In short – there are good reasons that people strongly disagree with you and not all who do are crazy, foolish, decieving, conniving or . . . wrong.

But just to make myself clear however, both Jamscos think that Muslims have (how shall I describe it?) pride issues.

The Teflon is dead, long live the old scratched up frying pan.

I not a big fan of spicy food, or food from exotic countries, or ethnic foods or even really fancy foods. This is something that has always been true about me. I like American foods. I like meat and potatoes and bread. I can have certain foods multiple times a month and not get bored.

Now the impression I get is that people who really enjoy spicy or ethnic food or never let themselves get into a culinary rut either look down on a person like me or feel bad for me. Either: You coward – try something different for once! Or: You poor guy, don’t feel bad, not all of us can be risk takers.

But I think of it differently:
Oh, I’m sorry. You don’t really enjoy dining if it’s not really spicy? It must be hard for you to be satisfied. That must be rough.

I am a man whose best beverage drinking experience is most likely a really cold pepsi (75 cents) with a pizza. Oh, you really want a bottle of wine with your dinner? There goes 35 bucks. Too bad.

I am a man whose favorite dining experience is an 8 dollar half pound burger at Fuddruckers. Oh, you spent 83 dollars (not including tip) at that fancy restaurant? And you’ll be hungry again tomorrow? I really hoped you liked it.

I could go to Spaghetti Factory, with its not very authentic and not very seasoned spaghetti, multiple times a month. Oh, you’ve already been there this year and you only go to the same restaurant once a decade? Good thing there are a lot of restaurants around here.

In short – I pity you.

But there is another group of people, eating-wise, of whom I am envious. Say you’re at a party where there are lots of different kinds of snacks and appetizers. There are three kinds of people:

1. The Normal People: These are the people who eat the chips and brownies and fried stuff because, hey, it’s a party. I want to eat what I like.
2. The Dieting people: They eat the vegetables and fruits because they think it will help them lose weight or regain health.

But there is a rare kind of person who aren’t included in either of these lists

3. The People who eat raw fruit and vegetables because they actually like them better than junk food. Now my first thought about these people is that they are disturbing. Possibly even untrustworthy. Are they aliens?

This is the kind of people (assuming they’re not lying, which I strongly suspect! But let’s give them the benefit of the doubt for a moment) who could and should pity me:

You’d rather have a chocolate covered cherry than a cherry tomato?
   Uh, yeah.
I’m sorry. Maybe when you grow up and become an adult, taste-wise.
   Yeah, maybe then.

This poem I wrote a few years ago as a response to a song whose lyrics (or a part thereof) I read on another blog. I would show these lyrics but they are offensive enough that I wouldn’t be able to maintain the PG rating strived for here at the Responsible Puppet. Suffice it to say that they describe a situation of a young woman who has had a hard time dealing with a breakup of an unhealthy relationship, yet is putting up a bold face, in a fairly crude, angry and explicit way.

Response to the Dark Song

My hope at hearing darkened word,
(Your song sung deep and deeply heard,
And sharing saddened thought and mind),
Is through your song your wrong you’d find.

Expressing thoughts and once expressed,
Repent, you might, like deeds confessed,
And not return and get ye passed,
And one more victory amassed.

But no, I fear your song holds true,
To what is yet availing you,
Instead of shrinking back from sin,
You cling to it and hold it in.

And then you hope to keep the pride,
Of knowledge that is not denied,
The truth: you are no Innocent,
Who has no mark nor tear nor dent.
 
Since you’ve been hurt, you wish it true,
You won’t be fooled again, not you,
And you, not fooled, won’t share the blame,
And innocents can’t say the same.

But give some thought to what you might,
Become if you don’t climb from night,
And what if next it’s you who dents,
The hearts of pre-fooled innocents?

So break the Circle here today,
Walk straight toward the One True Way, 
And climb the ladder one more wrung,
And let a sweeter song be sung.

 Everything I Ever Needed To Know I Learned from “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings – Book 2”

 Compiled by Jamsco

He that breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of wisdom. ··· None are evil from the beginning. ··· None can foretell what will come to pass if we take this road or that. ··· It would comfort us to know that others fought also with all the means that they have. ··· Despair or folly? It is not despair, for despair is only for those who see the end beyond all doubt. We do not. It is wisdom to recognize necessity when all other courses have been weighed, though as folly it may appear to those who cling to false hope. ··· If simple folk are free from care and fear, simple they will be  ··· Well, let folly be our cloak, a veil before the eyes of the enemy. For he is very wise, and weighs all things to a nicety in the scales of his malice. But the only measure that he knows is desire, desire for power; and so he judges all hearts. Into his heart the thought will not enter that any will refuse it. ··· The road must be trod, but it will be very hard. And neither strength nor wisdom will carry us very far upon it. This quest may be attempted by the weak with as much hope as the strong. Yet such is oft the courses of deeds that move the wheels of the world: small hands do them because they must, while the eyes of the great are elsewhere. ··· There must be someone with intelligence in the party. ··· When winter first begins to bite and stones crack in the frosty night, when pools are black and trees are bare ‘tis evil in the wild to fare. ··· Books ought to have good endings. How would this do: And they all settled down and lived together happily ever after. ··· I sit beside the fire and think of how the world will be when winter comes without a spring that I shall ever see. ··· Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens. ··· Let him not vow to walk in the dark, who has not seen the nightfall. ··· Sworn word may strengthen the quaking heart. ··· May the stars shine upon your faces. ··· When heads are at a loss, bodies must serve. ··· In nothing is the power of the Dark Lord more clearly shown than in the estrangement that divides all those who still oppose him. ··· The world is indeed full of peril and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater. ··· Seeing is both good and perilous. ···  It’s the job that’s never started as takes longest to finish. ··· Never travel far without a rope. ··· Hope remains while all the company is true. ··· Do not despise the lore that has come down from distant years; for oft it may chance that old wives keep in memory word of things that once were needful for the wise to know.

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