You are currently browsing the monthly archive for January 2008.

Jan 29th

I warn you – this is a sad, cringe-inducing story.

Back a few years ago I was working on our house to get it ready for us to sell it. I was finishing up the basement bedroom. Here’s what I put in Erik’s Journal (he’s our youngest):

I was working on the closet door and Carl (then 6) and Erik (only twenty months old) were alternately watching me and playing with toys and I had just started to saw a quarter inch off the bottom of the door when Erik, who I assumed (unwisely, wrongly, foolishly) would know not to put his hand where I was sawing, did so. He recoiled and I could tell immediately that it was bad: the end of his left pinky was not fully attached. He was very upset and I carried him upstairs, quite upset myself. Debbie called 911 while I held him and he kept crying. So the ambulance came and I held him while we rode in it to Hennepin County Medical Center in Downtown Minneapolis. This was at about 2:30. He was pretty calm from the start of the ride for the rest of the time, thankfully. We had some hope that they would be able to save the end of his finger (in between the second and third knuckle) but this was not to be, which grieved us. The bone had been cut clear though . . .

So now if you look at his hand, it has a clearly shortened pinky with a scar on the tip. I grieved much that week, with no small amount of guilt at my foolishness.

There are some touches that God painted into the story that are more cheerful. A week later I still needed to finish the job and while I was doing it, I asked Debbie to bring Erik down to watch me. He showed no signs of fear or apprehension. So it appears that I didn’t scar him psychologically, at least.

And of course, since then I have been more careful.

These days, he will proudly show you his slightly different hand if you ask. A badge of courage of a different kind.

And when our family doctor (whose religious viewpoint we didn’t, and still don’t, know) looked at it a few days later to see if it was healing well, he looked my wife in the eye and said “This was God’s will.” Wow.

Towards the end of that day one of our older kids asked if it was going to be the worst day of that year. I told them that I hoped it would be and I am relieved and thankful to report that it was.
And I pray it is my worst day as a father. Ever.

One way to determine the effectiveness and robustness of an allegory is how quickly one has to say, “Well, of course all allegories break down . . . “

On January 28th, 2007, I posted my first post.

A few comments about this year:

* As I started out, I wrote with the hope that I wouldn’t be embarrassed in later months by the first few weeks of posts. I am glad to report that I am not.

* Astute readers will note the leaving off of one repeating category and the addition of another. I pretty much have stop posting my Saturday Poems for the single reason that I don’t have that many previously written poems and I am currently not writing very many new poems. At least not one a week. I still have a few that I want to put up, eventually. And I’ll give an explanation of the Third Thursday Ogden stories fairly soon.

* I have wondered if I would been able to keep up the one-a-day pace, but this hasn’t really been a problem. A few times I have wondered what I am going to put up the next day, but something always comes to mind.

* I regret that I haven’t done as much with the Free Will/ God Sovereignty Compatibleism (Both Ways) discussion as I should. A goal for this blog has always been to glorify God and talking theology does this better than Calvin&Hobbes Friday Everythings, for example.

* I always appreciate commenter input, positive and negative.

* I have been thankful every time that people have linked to me, as has happened today by the Evangelical Outpost and a week ago by Vox. I wouldn’t really have a blog except for these referrals.

* If you want to describe the many ways that your life has been changed for the positive as a result of reading this blog, the comment section here is the place to do it.

 Just finished reading it to my kids . . .

Everything I Ever Needed To Know I Learned From The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe 

A charge of lying against someone who you have always found truthful is a very serious thing, a very serious thing, in deed. *** Logic! Why don’t they teach logic at these schools. *** At the sound of his roar, sorrows will be no more, when he bares his teeth, winter meets its death, and when he shakes his mane, we shall have spring again. *** There may be two views about Humans, but there’s no two views about things that look like Humans and aren’t. *** When you meet anything that’s going to be Human and isn’t yet, or used to be Human once and isn’t now, or ought to be Human and isn’t, you keep your eyes on it and feel for your hatchet. *** Battles are ugly when women fight. *** All shall be done, but it may be harder than you think. *** Whatever happens, never forget to wipe your sword. *** Here is your brother, and there is no need to talk to him about what is past. *** All names will be restored to their proper owners. *** If you’ve been up all night and cried till you have no more tears left in you – you will know that there comes in the end a sort of quietness. You feel as if nothing was every going to happen again. *** Once the feet are put right, all the rest of him will follow. *** Giants of any sort are now so rare and so few giants are good tempered that ten to one you have never seen a giant when his face is beaming. It’s a sight well worth looking at. *** You mustn’t press him. He’s wild, you know. *** Once a king or queen, always a king or queen. *** Don’t go trying to use the same route twice. Indeed, don’t try to get there at all. It’ll happen when you’re not looking for it. And don’t talk too much about it even among yourselves. And don’t mention it to anyone else unless you find that they’ve had adventures of the same sort themselves. What’s that? How will you know? Oh, you’ll know, all right. Odd things they say – even their looks – will let the secret out. *** Keep your eyes open.

Ogden was taking his monthly fast walk around the building complex with his coworker, Phil.
“I walked in from the parking lot with the Vice President of Demand Chain Operations this morning” stated Ogden, with a little pride in his voice.

“Oh, yeah? What did he have to say?” asked Phil.
“He said that he liked my tie,” Ogden replied, proudly again. As usual (since it was the third Wednesday of the month,) Ogden was wearing his favorite tie, which had the repeated phrase, in many sizes and colors:
“Bloggers can’t be choosers”

“Your tie, huh? He didn’t mention your green shirt?” asked Phil.
“Uh, no, I guess not. Just my tie.”
“Huh, that’s odd. That’s a pretty nice shirt.”
Ogden wondered what the big deal was, but just replied, “Yeah, well, maybe green isn’t his favorite color.”

Later that day, Phil was eating lunch in the cafeteria with some people from his department
“Hey, I heard something weird about our VP today. A friend of mine saw him in the hallway and he got the distinct impression that the VP didn’t approve of the shirt that he was wearing.”
“Really?” asked Fatima “That is odd.”
“Evidently, he thinks that green shirts are unprofessional, or something.”

The next day, Fatima and some people were waiting for a few late people to join them in a meeting room. The topic of company administration came up and Fatima said, “Say, a friend of mine knows somebody who got in trouble with the VP for wearing a green shirt.”
“Really? What wrong with a green shirt?”
“I know it sounds crazy, but that’s what I heard.”

On Monday the next week, Ogden received an email which was sent to his whole department. It said:

******** Important Memo *******
As many of you have already heard . . .
It has come to our attention that company employees have been reprimanded by our Vice President of Demand Chain Operations and threatened with demotion for not wearing clothes that follow standard dress code. We are not entirely sure what this dress code is (details to follow as soon as we have them) but it has been determined that he definitely does not like green apparel of any kind.
We recommend that you dress accordingly.

Again, as soon as we have more detailed guidelines regarding appropriate business wear, we will pass them along to you.

Ogden saved the email and thought to himself, “Whew, I guess I was lucky. . . and he seemed so pleasant.”

I am not super studied in things political, so bear with me as I delve into it a bit. And correct me where I’m wrong. 

I have been (somewhat quietly) a Huckabee supporter, so it would be true to say that I was disappointed when The National Right To Life Committee came out in support of Thompson. It would also be true to say that I was amused, or at least bemused by this action. Here is why –

First, I think the Conventional Wisdom is that Huckabee is the strongest Right To Life supporter.  But I have read in NRTL materials that they think it wise to go with the candidate based not only on how strongly ProLife they are, but also based on the likelihood that the candidate will win. This can backfire, but this is not what happened this time.

Their mistake, I think, was in choosing too soon.  They should have known better.

Another piece of conventional wisdom, from the beginning, is that Thompson was not really in this fight. He was not trying, he didn’t have the aggressiveness it took to win. NRTL shouldn’t have ignored this CW.

Unfortunately for NRTL, their announcement came out just as Huckabee was starting to get real numbers. So, in my mind, and I bet in the mind of others, this looked like a foolish decision.

That this was foolish was proven more completely yesterday. And now what are they going to do? Perhaps they might have helped Huckabee, but now that may be too late.

Still, I hope for their sakes and Huckabee’s sake, that they endorse him. It would be the most honest and courageous thing for them to do,  just as it would have been two months ago. 


Well, I just put in my order to try to improve the surge – now’s as good a time as any to put in my review.

The Irrational Atheist – By Vox Day
A Review By Jamsco

First, a disclaimer: I am biased to like this book. Again, here is a book that is Christian in paradigm and written by a friend of mine. In addition, this book is unique among all books in the work in that it has my name in it, sort of. You can see the word ‘Jamsco’ on page vii. Hey, that’s me!

I must admit it was a kick to go through these chapters, chapters from a real live book that was going to be published, and try to find flaws and problems. It was a bigger kick to be thanked for it in print.

Second, a quick Summary: In this book, Vox takes on 3 (or 5 depending on how you count it) noted atheist authors and attempts to show that they are wrong. He also tackles many of the common arguments that atheists (and agnostics) use against religion in general and Christianity specifically, such as the Inquisition, the crusades, Hitler, faith verses science, etc. And he does all of this on their terms, i.e. (mostly) without Bible verses.

Third – The Rating – 8.5 out of 10 

Fourth, the actual review:

I must say I’m a bit torn on this one. But the tear doesn’t go down the middle of the page; the Good piece is bigger than the Bad. And the Bad I think will come as no surprise to Vox and regular Puppet or Vox readers. So let’s start with the Bad and get it over with, shall we?

They are three.

1. As I have been involved in creative endeavors of late, I am learning something that perhaps most artists/authors/developers already know – Art requires sacrifice. Except for the extremely talented, artists need to choose one good over another in their creative process. So for example, a painter who wants to go for a more impressionistic piece sacrifices realism. A movie director who is going for a stark feel will hesitate to show the beauty inherent in their subject matter. A poet will choose a rhyming word over the word that makes more coherent sense. This is the way it must be. You can’t do everything. I understand this.

Okay, here goes: I disagree with a significant sacrifice that Vox made while writing this book – In some sections, he chose style and tone and sacrificed showing a Christ-like attitude. To be fair, this choice doesn’t show itself that often, but where they are apparent, it is pretty significant. This is unfortunate and I think it might hurt his overall goal.

The most notable example of this is the very first sentence of the first paragraph in chapter one. I will not give it away here, but it expresses a disinterest in the reader’s final destination and (by implication) their relationship with God. Let me be clear – It is an excellent way to start his book. It makes a reader want to read more. But I think it is un-Biblical.

There are other notable places where he is somewhat course (read: not rated G or PG) but to his credit, more than once it is clear that he has chosen the more discreet way of putting things. But it is the first paragraph that really bugs me.

I think it possible that Vox will say that he sacrificed nothing – This is how he really is and he is not ashamed of it. To that I would respond that he needs to read more of Jesus and Paul. I am at his disposal to give him passage suggestions, should he so need.

2. Of course, I can’t write a review of this book without at least mentioning our differing theology. You might be surprised, however, that my principle theological difference with him (omniderigence vs. open theism) is only brought up twice. One is a short paragraph which really only troubles me because he appears to seemingly be suggesting that all Christians agree with him. Of course, this is verifiably false. Applying Occam’s here would point to the implication that he wants his reader to believe that all agree with him on this issue.

Where he really moves into this subject is Chapter 15 (Master Of  Puppets Or Game Designer?). He posted a significant part of this as his lead-in to our online debate (which you can see here). The topic is largely brought up as a response to an extremely lame “logical contradiction” posited by Dawkins. All Vox needs to do here is to create a way to consider God which defeats this contradiction. He does this successfully. His book, his theology – that’s the way it goes.

3. Dates on the helpful chart about the crusades would have made it more helpful.

Two Neutral Statements about the book.
1. Having read this book, I fear that he has presented responses to the most poorly reasoned passages in the atheists’ books and disregarded those sections that were more logically sound. But since I haven’t read any of the targeted authors’ work, I can’t say.

2. Beware – some (okay notably one) of the chapters are thick with tricky vocabulary, intricate history, and difficult concepts. I found it helpful, at the end of harder chapters, to write out what I thought was the main theme. I recommend this. And if, having read it, you are thinking about making a suggestion to the author regarding this: ix-nay on the umbdown-day.

Okay, that took a bit longer that I thought it would. On to the positive:

1. This book succeeds in making his targeted authors look like fools.
2. This book has no short supply of wit and cleverness.
3. Vox managed to find extremely helpful studies and data which prove his point and made me think: How did he conjure that up? That was exactly what he needed to disprove the atheist line of thought on this subject.
4. I learned a fair amount of history by reading this book, and the next time the Crusades or the Inquisition are brought up, I’ll know what to show them.
5. Vox is willing to admit dark things about Christians in the past.
6. This book succeeds in making the idea of an Atheist-run government seem dangerous.
7. Who knew that Schwinn, the bicycle company, was so evil?
8. This book succeeds in showing that religions aren’t the source of all wars, or even the majority of them.
9. I like how he groups the various atheist types. (High Atheists, Low Atheists, etc.)
10. I also appreciated his nomenclature for the three ways of looking at Science.
11. This book is effective in defending religion, specifically Christianity.
12. If there is any fairness in the world, this book will add to the American lexicon.
13. Did I mention that it has a great hook for a first sentence?
14. This book has at least two Python references. One is hidden – can you find it?
15. Extremely astute Responsible Puppet readers will find four words written by me. Hint: It’s a footnote.
16. The last chapter is sweet, short and poignant. It is also more biblical in attitude than the first.
It is my prayer, hope and expectation that this book will serve to make atheism less tenable in many minds. I further expect and pray that this book will then push many readers closer to the true God and His Son, make Their existence (and love) look more plausible, and thus glorify Them.  This is the most important goal any book can have.

As I type this, I am sitting on our couch with my daughter, Anna sleeping next to me. She has this big round cup (okay, 3 inch wide) filled with dressing on her ear, protecting it and she is doing fine.  The surgeon and the nurse both said that it was one of the biggest cholesteatoma they’ve ever seen.

There is, as a result, some lack of ‘connection’ in the ear, which has caused and will continue to cause some hearing loss which they hope to correct in six months or so.

Thank you for praying. 

Everything I Ever Needed to Know I Learned from My Two Oldest Kids 

You can’t talk to creatures! *** “A snowstorm is when snow is coming down. I think a lot.” *** Grandma told me that I wasn’t going to get another shot until I was ten years old and that made me glad, but now I’m getting nervous. *** I was thinking about my future last night and I decided I should work harder. *** I’m proud of you, too, Daddy ***  The storm is going to go away and thunder is good for the grass. *** Good Riddance! We’re having pizza tonight! *** There are two things I hate: Sugar and Sin *** Sometimes people say ‘The food was scarce.’ But that doesn’t mean the food was scary. *** I know why they make bike helmets round. So if you fall you won’t stay upside down. *** I want another baby after we eat apples *** Don’t suck your baby! That’s not right! *** If anyone is dead, its Goliath. *** I like water, that’s why I was choking. *** It’s harder to win in football. Like the Vikings hardly ever win *** Just follow the force. *** I don’t want to be David, I don’t want to be Goliath. I just want to be me. *** Jesus will save us from the storm *** I’m beginning to think that you are a good daddy *** No jumping on my head.



. . . I’m saying something nice about Nate, who I have taken multiple jabs at before.

He wrote last week in his blog:

So an otherwise quiet morning was interupted by my wife’s report the Eli had discovered a monster under the bed in the guest bedroom.

Now I don’t know how y’all deal with your pest issues but we take our monster problems very seriously. Drwho took the boys off to seclusion while I suited up… boots… sword… firearms… black cowboy hat. (please… everyone knows you need a black cowboy hat to fight monsters)

So… I head up stairs… slam the door… and being shoutin and hollering nonsense… it was a great battle indeed. Once the beast was slain…. I devoured it… then came downstairs, grabbed the spotbot, and proclaimed that no one was allowed to go back up until I gave the word. . . 

Say what you want about Nate (“He’s crazy”, “His blog is really offensive”, “this event might goof up his kids belief system” or even “But, Jamsco, you strongly disagree with 90 of what Nate has ever written!” . . . All true). But I have to endorse the spirit of this post (which I couldn’t find a link for and I’m not going to send you to his blog and tell you to search for it – other posts that you might find there are mind-scaringly* warped – I even had to edit this one).

This post shows that Nate and His wife:

– Are clever
– Are a team
– know how to make each other laugh
– Are raising their kids with the idea that Dads should be honored
– Are raising their kids with the idea that Dads should protect their family.

How can one not respect these traits?

* Just to clarify, this adverb is intended to suggest that it will scar your mind, not scare your mind

Please pray for my six year old daughter Anna, who is undergoing surgery this Friday.

Over the last year or so, she has had chronic ear infections and last fall our doctor recommended that we bring her into an ear/nose/throat specialist. We did and that doctor did a CT scan and found that she had a Cholesteatoma in her right ear. I had never heard of this and I imagine that you may not have either. If so, check here.

To describe it briefly, it is a small gap near the eardrum which (in her case) has a tendency to collect matter which makes infection more likely. The surgery will remove this gap.

The doctor has told us that this is relatively routine surgery (out patient) but he wanted us to know that the surgery will be working very near the eardrum, the jugular and the brain, so it requires careful work. If it doesn’t go well, she could lose her hearing in that ear (among other things that could wrong.)

Please pray for wisdom and skill for the doctors, and peace and health for Anna.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

Blessed is the man who can see through propaganda.

Continued from here.

So you’ve upset your optometrist, by answering randomly when it was too difficult to determine which of the vision options you liked best. He caught you and he has left you alone to his office to complain about you to his internist.

Opto: “I got a wise guy.”
Internist: “Again?”
Opto: “Yep, He’s probably from the local fraternity or something, acting on a bet to make me look goofy.
Internist:”Boy, you sure get a lot of those.”
Opto: Don’t I know it! But I’m made of sterner stuff that they can ever know.
Internist: Surely you’re not going to –
Opto: You bet I am – prepare the Glaucoma test.

Now this being your first time, you have no idea what this entails, but you are bright and you can read the tea leaves to figure out what experienced eye-wear wearers world wide already know: The Glaucoma test is how optometrists punish wayward eye appointment customers.

He comes back into your room and says:
Opto: Sir, could you come with me . ..
You: Please, I . . . I’ll be . . . well, okay.

So you follow him and he ‘invites’ you to put your face up against another machine – this one more sinister looking – it has things attached to it. You – seeing no way to avoid this doom – do so. Certainly, you think, any damage done by this machine won’t be permanent – he has some kind of diploma – it’s there up on the wall – and it doesn’t look fake. You should just keep repeating to yourself “I’m in a safe place – Walmart – it’s well lit and open and hundreds of people would hear me if I suddenly started screaming in agony, wouldn’t they? Or is this room sound proof?”
As this doubt hits you, its already too late – you have your eyes up against the machine and Opto is saying –

“Now try to keep your eyes open and there will be a gentle – whisper soft puff of air that will waft ever so gently against your bare, uncovered eyeball which, if damaged will result in injury up to and  including total and permanent blindness, but it will, of course, do nothing of the sort.”

Okay maybe that’s not how he puts it – but you get the message.

He describes what the machine does, but you don’t believe that measuring the ‘bounciness’ of your eyes will tell him anything helpful, any more than you would have believed that little gnomes are doing the puffing. Actually that might be more comforting.

So finally he leaves and you try to keep your eyelids open, but you are staring at these tubes which look like something out of a science fiction / horror movie and it’s hard to keep your eyes open for more than a few seconds at the best of times (you never did well at those ‘stare downs’ in junior high) and now your eyes feel dry and you’re afraid of wafting puffs so at every movement felt or sound heard you find yourself blinking against your will.

You hear grim amusement and a trace of sarcasm in Opto’s voice as he said “I thought you said you’d never been in for an eye appointment before. . . ” and was that a slight chuckle you heard?

“I haven’t, it’s just that – “
“So, why are you afraid to keep your eyes open?”
“Well, you told me that it’s going to – ”
“Just keep your eyes open”

You do your best, it takes five tries and as you leave the room you look like someone has syringed your eyes with onion juice.

Minutes later Opto comes into the waiting room and says “Nope, all clear of . . . what was it that we were checking for?  … Oh, yes, Glaucoma. No, you don’t have it, but I thought it best to see if you were one of the one in seven million people who do. Don’t you? And what’s wrong with double and triple checking, right?” He smiles.

You nod. You just want out. He shows you to the reception area where you, as quickly as humanly possible, choose the glasses or contacts that you are going to order. And then you leave. Walmart customers stare at you. And when you get home you, after searching through the phone book, with shaking fingers, dial the first Lasik surgery doctor you find there.

“Lester’s Lasik – we fix up your eyes until they can’t be fixed up anymore! How may I direct your call?”
“How much for both eyes?”

Never again, you think.

Everything I Ever Needed To Know I Learned From First Peter 1


To those who are elect . . . according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you. *** Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! *** According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you  *** Now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. *** Though you have not seen him, you love him. ***  Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory  *** Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. *** As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, *** As he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” ***  You were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. *** He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you *** Love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God  The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever. *** This word is the good news that was preached to you.

10 Bad Excuses For Not Disciplining A Disobedient Child

1. “I’m really busy”
2. “I don’t want to ruin a special evening/day/event.”
3. “I didn’t give him a second warning”
4. “I don’t want to get up from this chair”
5. “She didn’t hear me”
6. “We’re eating”
7. “It’s not going to work.”
8. “Disobeying isn’t that big of a deal.”
9. “If anyone sees me do it, it will be tantamount to admitting that my child isn’t sinless.”
10. “Maybe Solomon was wrong when he wrote those things about child-raising.”

A few of you have never had to wear contacts or glasses. This article is for you. You have been missing out. Most likely, you have never been to the optometrist.

Obviously, before you get these optical devices to put in or on your eyes you need to go to the optometrist who will determine what sort of eyewear you need. Here is the typical way this appointment goes:

You sit in a big black comfortable chair and the optometrist puts a big black flat machine up to your face and you hear things clicking into slots and you see letters appear in front of one eye. Then the Optometrist says “Okay which one is clearer – A?” (and here he makes a change and the same letters are still visible but they either look more or less blurry), “Or B?”

You say “A” (for example)

Here the Optometrist takes note and then makes some slot clicking adjustments. Soon the letters appear with a different degree of blurriness:

Optometrist: Okay, how about now? A <clicking> or B
You: B
Optometrist: Okay

. . . and the answer is noted and the cycle starts all over again.

This cycle is repeated perhaps two dozen more times with the differences between A and B getting slimmer. Pretty soon you are having difficulty determining which one is better.

Optometrist: Okay, how about this one. A <clicking> or B
You: Um, . . .. . . B.
Here the Optometrist (I’ll call him Opto for short henceforth) pauses as if considering: “Doesn’t this guy know what looks clear to him?”
Opto: Okay, and how about this one? A <clicking> or B.
You: Longer pause – these two look very much like the last pairing. You’re about to say something, but too late, because Opto repeats himself:
Opto: <clicking> A <clicking> or B.

If this happens to you, consider it to be a warning – as if he is saying: “You are trying my patience and putting me a bit on edge. You need to focus and answer more quickly.”

I recommend that you acquiesce and give him an answer.

You: B!

The cycle continues.
Opto: I . . see, well, <clicking> how about this one – A <clicking> or B?
This one may be the first of many where your mind screams – how can I tell? You’re just showing me a series of letter that are blurry vertically and then the same letters blurry horizontally – neither is clear at all! I would just be picking randomly!”

But whatever you do – don’t say that out loud. Don’t really even think it. Just think to yourself – “Okay now it doesn’t really matter – Even if I goof this one up – my contacts will still be good enough to, say, drive, at least in the daylight. I’ll just answer randomly. He’ll never know.”
You: (as confidently you can) A!

This is true, he won’t ever know – to a certain extent, but don’t do this forever, because eventually. . . .

Opto: And here? A <clicking> or B.
You: B!
Opto: <Long Pause> <Here, don’t give into the temptation to suddenly say “I mean A!” You won’t help anything. But back to –
Opto: <Long Pause> Sir, is this some kind of practical joke?
You: What?
Opto: Do you think this is funny?
You: Do I think . . . what?
Opto: I suspected that you were not answering seriously. This time you answered ‘B’, but you were obviously unaware that I just showed this same pair to you three pairs back and you answered ‘A’. Now you must know that you are only hurting yourself by giving false answers. What gives?

Now the first question that may come to your mind is: “’What gives?’ Isn’t that phrase only used in bad literature and goofy cop movies from the sixties?” – again, do not ask this question out loud. And again, nor should you blurt out a statement about neither of the options looking good. Believe me, this will just play into his hands, to wit: He may use it as an excuse to send you to a specialist, just to get you off his hands.

Rather, you should – Uh Oh, too late, He’s getting up.
Opto: I’m sorry, sir, I’m going to have to confer with my internist.

Now obviously he has no need to confer with anyone, least of all his internist – he’s upset and needs to vent. Despite the fact that he carefully shuts the door, you should at this point keep your ears open and maybe you’ll hear the conversation – yes, there it is.

Opto: “I got a wise guy.”
Internist: “Again?”

See Part 2 Here

Anytime you stop doing something you enjoy doing because you believe God wants you to stop, you are doing well.

I think most Christians have heard the ACTS acronym with respect to prayer: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication (asking)

Every year, on or about the last Sunday of the year, Pastor John gives a sermon about prayer. This time (in last week’s sermon), he added one that I hadn’t heard before, which he described as slightly controversial, but nevertheless biblical:

And finally, you can complain to the Lord. “With my voice I cry out to the Lord. . . .  I pour out my complaint before him; I tell my trouble before him” (Psalm 142:1-2). Now here, again, language frustrates. So are you saying, Pastor John, that it is good to have a complaining heart toward God? No. Philippians 2:14: “Do all things without grumbling or questioning.” It’s not good to have a complaining heart. The heart should trust God in all his sweet and bitter providences. So why then do you say we should complain to the Lord? Because sometimes our hearts do complain about the circumstances God has given us, even though our hearts shouldn’t do this, and it is better to consciously direct it toward the Lord than to think he doesn’t see it. Acting like you are not complaining is hypocrisy and will make you a very phony, shallow, plastic person in the end.

I thought this a worthy thing to note.

Everything I Ever Needed To Know I Learned From Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl 


The code is more what you’d call “guidelines” than actual rules. *** You can keep doing that forever, the dog is NEVER going to move. *** If an adversary demands parlay you can do them no harm until the parlay is complete. *** We must honour the Code. *** The only rules that really matter are these: what a man can do and what a man can’t do. *** Waste not. *** The deepest circle of hell is reserved for betrayers and mutineers. *** You know nothing of hell. *** You should know better than to wake a man when he’s sleepin’. Its bad luck. *** The moonlight shows us for what we really are. *** A dishonest man you can always trust to be dishonest. Honestly. It’s the honest ones you want to watch out for, because you can never predict when they’re going to do something incredibly… stupid. *** Not all treasure is silver and gold  *** Even a good decision if made for the wrong reasons can be a wrong decision. *** Dead men tell no tales. *** One good deed is not enough to redeem a man of a lifetime of wickedness. ***  A craftsman is always proud to hear his work is appreciated. *** Bad luck to sing about pirates.

I know this isn’t an always thing, but sometimes when people use this word it sounds condescending.

Person 1: “Oh, so  ___ ___ ___ ___?”

Person 2: “Exactly.”

Person 2 (translated): “Wow, normally you aren’t as bright as me, but when you responded in that way, for one brief shining moment you approached my level of intelligence.”

We’re on to you, smarmy “exactly” users!

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January 2008