The Inconvenience of Thought

I have some friends who like to listen to a certain pastor’s sermons.  Anytime you have a conversation with them and bring up a theological point, they don’t waste a minute before you know what this pastor’s view is on it.  Which is fine, I suppose, for some things—as tired as I get of hearing about what that pastor thinks, he usually has some good stuff to say.  However, such infatuations easily lead to a sort of cult of personality, where the proles unthinkingly follow what the head says, regardless of the real world.  This can happen with many topics besides theology, of course: politics, technology, entertainment, you name it.  Just look at the Steve Jobs cult, or the Ron Paul fan club.  Personally, I follow a couple of bands to near obsession.  Every B-side, every magazine interview…check the blog! Check the twitter! Check the YouTube! “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!”

When you get caught up in what a person or group says and thinks, you start to let them do the thinking for you.  This is never a good thing.  I sincerely think that our country’s problems are around because of the pop culture obsession we have.  People come home from work and sit down in front of the TV for the evening indoctrination.  You get your shot of Idle Idol and Dancing Survivor and go to bed, ready for the water cooler the next day.  We got into this state simply… by not caring.  Caring requires thinking, and thinking is inconvenient.

It is inconvenient to think about the latest proposed government program to help coordinate government programs.

It is inconvenient not only to create a realistic budget—it is inconvenient to stick to it.

It is inconvenient to raise a child; it is sacrificed to the god of convenience.

We should be ever observant in our surroundings—aware of the people around us, aware of the threats and problems around us, aware of the good and beauty around us.  We should have positions on different problems, and we should know why we have them.  We should be ready to argue.

If you want to argue with my politics, or my cultural views, or my religion, I hope that in doing so you reexamine what you believe.  I teacher I heard once said, “Do you really believe that what you believe is really real?”  Do you?  As far as I am concerned, if I can get you to think about your position on something, anything, I have won the argument.


Old Verse of the Moment: Snow

On the list of things that I want to try to keep track of are verses of poems, song lyrics, psalms, etc. that strike me.  I'll keep the newest one on the side bar over there, and then put the old one in a blog post with it's own label so they are easily track-able.  So here is the first one, from Archibald Lampman's poem, "Snow"

The evening deepens, and the gray
Folds closer earth and sky;
The world seems shrouded far away;
Its noises sleep, and I,
As secret as yon buried stream,
Plod dumbly on, and dream.
I like this one because I like to take long, slow hikes where I basically do what the poem describes.

By the way, is the title of this one an oxymoron?


On Toyota

Well, I must admit that I am no fan of Toyota vehicles--I can never fit in them.  Being 6'4" ish, and most of that legs, the only cars I can ever seem to fit in are American.  All the foreign cars I have ever sat in, from Germany to Japan, were never comfortable.  So the reputation of indestructibility that Toyotas have has never mattered to me.  The big thing about the current huge recall that gets my attention is the model years that are on list--some going back all the way to 2005. Apparently, they have been aware of the problem--worn out floor mats (a simplification, but really, that is the gist of it)--since last October.  Like many auto recalls, I wonder how dangerous the problem is, if it has been around for so long.  I guess it's some tightrope act, balancinng the image of your company between "They aren't doing anything about this problem!" and "Why in the world did they recall so many?"  This seems like a so many example to me.

Then, of course, there is the remarkably bad timing.  Toyota just became the world's top automaker, then the economy fell over, then this recall.  I bet Ford is laughing with glee.

Here's the WSJ article if anyone is interested.

Update:  Step right up, folks, and watch as it falls!

A further 2 million in Europe would take the total to 8 million, almost the same as its group global sales last year.


Oh No!

I was taking the last gulp of my tea this morning when the tea bag fell out of the cup and into my mouth.  A thought immediately went through my head:  "Dang teabaggers."


Have I been reading too much mainstream media, or does this make me a Democrat?


A good point

I was watching random clips of the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and he said something about the MA election that I think is a very good point.  Pardon the language: 

It's not that the Democrats are playing checkers while the Republicans are playing chess; its that the Republicans are playing chess while the Democrats are in the nurses' office because they glued their balls to their thighs.

Can I hear a hearty Amen?



Have you ever started at your blog and clicked on the "Next Blog" button to see who Blogger thinks you are similar to?  I just did, and boy did it put me in my place.  I am, frankly, frightened at my and my neighbors' insignificance.  I guess it was good--to keep it humble.  But I don't think I am going to try that again for awhile.

On a completely different note, I just renewed my anger of the gun control laws, by the simple method described as follows: 

1) Go to school in a state that is far away from your home state.
2) Go to any sporting goods store; in some cases even your local friendly big box store of doom.  Anything that sells firearms will do.
3) Look at said firearms.
4) Realize that it is illegal to purchase said firearms.
5) Think to yourself (this is the hard part, the thinking) "So... it is illegal to buy guns here... but not there." 
5) Do your best Captain Reynolds "Huh."

A firm sense of acceptance is needed.  I can shoot the guns I already own here.  I can buy ammo here.  I can't afford another gun anyway.


...stupid arbitrary gun laws.

An Old Post from an Old Class: Myopia

I took a "Social Science" class a couple years ago, where we watched movies and then wrote a blog about them.  Three credits, for watching movies.  But, that old class blog has been taken down, so I went looking in the depths of my hard drive to see if I had saved any of them.  I found one.  Please keep in mind that I am a somewhat opinionated Christian, and I was kinda in a war with the professor--his world view just...bugged me.  It was like he wasn't even trying to go against the stereotypical liberal arts image.   The movie was "The Matrix," here is the old blog:

People who think the world is flat will never stop walking.  I would like to apply this thought to a certain type of people:  those who see something, but cannot connect it to the world around them.  Those who feel that nothing they do is important—yet are so self-centered that they refuse to acknowledge the effects that their actions have on the world around them.
The Matrix extends this out to the ultimate distance, to where nothing anyone does is important because nothing anyone does anyone actually does.  If that does not make sense, then you have not seen the movie.  But thinking about this—if a person has a soul (or conscience, or consciousness, or what have you)—does it matter if they are living out their life in a real meaningful way if they are living a meaningful life in their mind?  Biblically it still counts. In Matthew 5:21-22, Jesus says, “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’  But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment.”  
Many technologies have much promise to bring us happiness or well being.  Just watch the T.V. for more than 15 minutes on ANY channel and you will see a plug for something that will make your life great.  However, if you look further away than the instant gratification of buying a new doohickey (that will probably break or be forgotten within a few months); you actually get a negative return on your investment.  You spend the time, money, or effort on the acquiring part, but only get a made in China sticker for your effort.  And really, many technologies are only new packaging.  I will venture to say, nothing has or can come around that will change our lives drastically.  By “drastic,” I mean some sort of Monument Moment when a black pillar appears and ushers us into another level of civilization.  The basic needs of a human being have never, ever changed.  Air, water, food, shelter.  Four unchanging items that have to be taken care of, one way or another, for a human to survive.  If you must buy something, let it be something that can help in those four areas.  A tent, maybe, or an axe.
Postmodernists believe that nothing matters.  This is an incredibly self-centered view, which could partly explain the state of our world today.  When you feel that there is nothing right or wrong, nothing true, you lose perspective on the entire world.  History no longer matters, and you have surely heard that those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it.  You cannot lose sight of where you have been, and you cannot lose sight of where you are going.  Certainly, technology can be helpful, but by focusing on it too closely, you will fall into the trap of The Matrix.

There.  Take that, stupid liberal professors.

Books of 2010

Have you ever ordered something online that, when you receive it, you realize that now you are probably now on a list?  That's what this book is.  It's kinda in the vein of "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress," but more practical (it's fiction, not science fiction).  It was good.  Um... can you guess what book it was?

I still don't want to be labeled as a Libertarian, though...


Books of 2010: "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress"

About a year ago I finally realized that some things you need to think about and/or have an opinion on.  Whilst in this phase, I came across a list of "Required Reading."  Some of the books I had read, others I had never heard of.  So I have started trying to read my way into the list.  Which brings me to the next Book of 2010:

"The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" by Robert Heinlein

A very interesting sci-fi story.  I thought it was a good read, and had some political stuff in it that I hadn't heard or thought of before.  It was strangely applicable for this day and age (the book was written in 1966).  If our politicians keep throwing out our liberties, it may come to throwing out our politicians...

And I'd really appreciate not being labeled as a wacko libertarian.  I may be one (maybe without the wacko part) but--just don't label me...

An Interesting little quote

"It’s only those medical procedures that people must pay for out of pocket (like Lasik eye surgery, breast implants, and the rest) that have had stable—or even falling—prices over the past decade."

--Richard Spencer


Books of 2010

The other day I was trying to tell someone about a book I had just read, but I could not for the life of me remember what book it was... even though I had finished it only A WEEK EARLIER!  So, in an effort to remind myself what I have read over the year, I thought I might start a list.

So far, in 2010, I have finished:

"The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes" by Sir Doyle
Sherlock Holmes is just classic, and with the movie that recently came out, I had to re-read it.  The movie has been getting mixed reviews, but I think it was a quite entertaining flick.  While Robert Downey Jr maybe isn't the best choice physically (Sherlock is described as tall and very thin in the books), he fits the attitude that I get from reading the books.  Both the book and the movie get 2 thumbs up!

"Without Remorse" by Tom Clancy
Without Remorse is the Story of how John Clarke (Tom Clancy's Super CIA Commando) got his start.  The best part about it is (I think) how Mr. Clarke uses a .22 caliber gun to kill so many bad guys.  Other Super Commandos need machine guns and large explosions... but not John Clarke.  He is that good.

I expect to finish another book tonight or tomorrow... I will probably have to slow down a bit with school (Boo! Hiss!) starting back up.  Should textbooks count as books I've read?  They surely aren't as entertaining...


I believe

Trying to figure out how to say what I want where I want it.  This probably belongs in a post.

I believe Jesus Christ is the one and only pathway to being dead and dancing. If this offends you, please realize it is only because I care about you and don't want you to go to be dead and not dancing.  It's a metaphor, yo. 

And if you don't like it, feel free to complain.  It's a free country... for now.

Happy New Year

Lets all hope that less happens this year than did last.

And I admit it.  Because I am new to this whole blogging thing, I really just wanted to see what happens when you have a new post in a new year.