Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Stanley Jordan

Autumn Leaves is one of my favorite chord progressions to jam to. A guitar enthusiast in my youth group named Chet just introduced me to Stanley Jordan. I have nothing to say about this other than that my mouth is hanging open in amazement.

It's Nacho Cat

She isn't supposed to be on the bed, but her persistence and my lack of feline disciplinary aptitude allow her to be on here anyway occasionally.


I have some excellent pictures and such of recent thanksgiving activities, along with several things I've been pondering that I want to post about. But alas, I have two papers due between now and Dec. 5th, and I need to not make many posts on here until I get my other stuff done. Let's hope the papers turn out well.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

It's Nacho Cat: Caption my Cat

Here's my Nacho picture of the week. We got very tickled at this one. What do you think is going through her head? If I inserted a caption above her head, what would it say?

Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Golden Compass and the Death of God and a plug for Mars Hill Audio

So if you haven't already gotten 50 Fwd::Fwd::Re::Re::Fwd::Fwd:: e-mails about the Golden Compass movie coming out, I'll fill you in on what I've been hearing. I had been excited about this movie because I love science fiction and fantasy, it has an excellent cast, and it has excellent visuals. But apparently, Philip Pullman is an avowed atheist who wrote this trilogy called His Dark Materials in an effort to do the opposite of what C.S. Lewis did with his Chronicles of Narnia. The books apparently speak for themselves pretty well, but Pullman has come out and said that with these books, "I am trying to undermine the basis of Christian belief".

Apparently the first two books are there to draw you in to the story, then the third one is where all the extremely anti-God stuff comes out. Basically, the whole climax of the books is that the main characters are out to kill God so they can do as they please. (If my sources are accurate)

This puts me in a bit of a dilemma, just as I found myself with the DaVinci Code stuff. I want very much to read the books and see the movies so I can decide for myself what I think about them. On the other hand, I have enough credible information to make me think I don't want my money going to support anything of this type. Then again, if someone from my church sees it and then comes to me with tough questions, I'd hate to be ignorant about what they're asking me. And once again, as a movie lover, I would really like to see it in the theater because it looks like a fantastic production.


This brings me to my second part of the post. I've made plugs before on my blog for the Mars Hill Audio Journal. I don't want my blog to be overused for advertising, but I am so fond of this effort, I will probably bring it up from time to time. My good friend Jonathan introduced me to the journal.

Basically, it is a scholarly journal in audio interview form. Ken Myers is the host. He brings in people--most often who have recently published a new work on something relative to Christianity and culture--and interviews them about their work. It isn't a biographical kind of interview like Leno or something; it's very focussed on a topic of choice. Myers is extremely intelligent and gifted at what he does. The motto for the publication is "A bimonthly audio magazine of contemporary culture and Christian conviction." I've been subscribing for about 3 years now. It's a little pricey, but it's worth every penny. It's available in cassette, CD, and now MP3 format. (MP3 downloads are definitely the cheaper option, but I like getting the CD's)

Rather than just talking about current trends in astonishment, the journal looks very deeply into history, music, culture, and philosophy from the last few centuries to help shed light on where modern actions come from. Even if we aren't aware of our history, we're certainly influenced by it! It also gives excellent treatments on hot topics in contemporary culture.

If you want to take the journal on sort of a test drive, I highly recommend their free podcast called "Audition". The latest installment has an interview with Alan Jacobs about the Philip Pullman Trilogy.

If you would like to give your minister a good gift, or if you spend lots of time in the car and are tired of the radio stations, you should really consider the Mars Hill Audio Journal.
Some issues have caught my attention more than others, but this has been an invaluable resource for me to try and navigate through the philosophies of my culture and to decide where I stand on a lot of critical issues.

If you are interested:

Here is the link to the Mars Hill Audio Journal website.

Here is the link to the Audition Podcast website.

Here is the direct link to the interview about Philip Pullman's new trilogy as an MP3.

Here is the link to click on if you want to subscribe to the Podcast. (It will open your ITunes application)

Friday, November 16, 2007

Use Your Allusion: Quasimodo

Quasimodo is the hunchback from Victor Hugo's The Hunchback of Notre Dame. He is an ugly, deformed bellringer of the cathedral in Notre Dame. He also becomes deaf because he is always around the loud ringing of the bells. He is devoted to Esmeralda, a gypsy dancer on trial for witchcraft. He tries to save her from the scheming Archdeacon named Frollo (who also is the one who raised Quasimodo when he found him as an infant). Through Frollo's efforts, Esmeralda is finally hanged. At her death, Quasimodo throws Frollo from the top of the bell tower. Years later, the skeletons of a woman and a misshapen man are found together in Montfaucon, the criminals' burial vault.

Quasimodo is a tragic protagonist, and a type of noble savage. Though his story is a sad one, he is a pretty commonly used allusion for humorous means.

Basically, whenever you see someone or something awfully deformed, you might refer to them as Quasimodo--or in light of Quasimodo--as a sort of cruel joke or mockery. ("Hey! That must be Quasimodo's dog!" Or when you see someone in the morning before they've had time to get cleaned, groomed, and ready: "Hey, it's Quasimodo!") The fact that "Quasimodo" is fun to say and humorous to the ear encourages this sort of usage.

Quasimodo's story was made into a Disney Movie in 1996. Regrettably, I haven't seen it yet.

And now for a bit of Allusion trivia, can any of you tell me which Adam Sandler movie makes a reference to Quasimodo?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Technology in Ministry...or not

Define irony. I was looking for websites with information about using technology in ministry, and I found this website for a company that assists churches in enhancing their technology. I'll have to confess, this is one of the most low-tech websites I've ever seen, and I don't think they're going to get many customers this way.

What's your blog's readability?

I thought this thing was kind of neat. My blogger friend Lisa had a post about it on her blog, so I decided to try it.

Here's how mine scored. I'll let you decide if that's a good thing or not.

cash advance

Cash Advance Loans

Please find some criminal to go after instead

This morning I had a ticket on my truck underneath my windshield wiper. Carolina and I had been unloading some stuff from my truck, and had needed to swap around the vehicles in order to start parking the car in the garage again. I left my truck parked in front of my house, and figured that rather than go out again last night and move it, I'd just drive it today, then park it in the driveway when I got home.

But a Corporal from the Mt. Juliet police department (I'll withhold his name) gave me a ticket at 3:51am. Apparently, I'm not allowed to park my car in front of my own house between the hours of 1am and 5am. And why did I decide it was ok to leave my car there last night? BECAUSE THE POLICE OFFICER WHO LIVES DOWN THE STREET FROM ME LEAVES HIS CAR PARKED ON THE ROAD IN FRONT OF HIS HOUSE EVERY NIGHT.

I'm one of those types who tries really hard to be respectful of police, and I even contribute annually to a charity that assists families of officers killed on the job. I never make "oink" noises or donut jokes, I don't buy gangsta rap music about cop killing, and I don't support people who do any of those things. In an effort to be respectful, I'm going to pay this ridiculous ticket. But Mr. Corporal, next time, could you please find some criminal to go after, rather than sneaking around a completely silent street in a safe neighborhood giving tickets to people who pay taxes and try to make your life easier? Surely you could find something better to do. At least you could be consistent in applying the law to my neighbor as well.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

It's Nacho Cat

Last year Carolina and I found a calendar called "Why Cats Paint" featuring paintings and artwork done by cats. Of course, we decided to try and get Nacho to start painting. Some of these kitties are bringing in between $10,000-$20,000 per piece. We got some fingerpaints and set her up a little studio in the bathroom and she was completely disinterested. I still hope that one day I can use her like my personal ATM/Golden Goose, but it doesn't look like it will happen any time soon.

Although at this point my cat is not a painter, she's quite the model. She's a very photogenic cat, I think, and she enjoys posing for the camera. Carolina and I have already taken far more pictures of her than what anyone should probably take of their pet.

Because I just can't keep them all to myself, I'm going to start a second weekly blog post for as long as I have decent pictures called, "It's Nacho Cat". (Pun intended, sadly) From time to time I have put lots of pictures on here anyway, and Carolina just took a really nice batch of photos at our new house with the leaves changing, so we might as well use them.

So here's the first official installment of Nacho's modeling pics. I'll give you a pic, and you can give me a suggestion of what you think might be going through her head. :-)

P.S. Some of you have sent me messages on Facebook asking why I have missed the last two weeks of "Use Your Allusion". I've either been out of town or insanely busy. I even had one picked out for last week, but just couldn't justify the time it would take to type it out. I plan to have a new one for this Friday. Thanks for asking!