Monthly Archives: October 2007

Harsh, Ryan. Harsh…

Okay, so I rethought my comment from my blog (about 5 minutes ago).

No, you don’t have to be dumb to be a criminal. I should have said “really dumb, desperate, or confused.”

I mean, honestly, if I had been dealt a different hand of cards so to speak, I could possibly see myself being a member of an Italian mafia or something like that, and I fall somewhere in between really smart and really dumb. The only thing I’m sure of is that I’m not incredibly smart or incredibly dumb.

Come to think of it, I could have also been a hitman. I’m not sure how successful I would be, considering my empathetic persuasions, so I might have been a procrastinating hitman. The types of people who hire hitmen probably wouldn’t take too kindly to my putting off killing someone for weeks at a time.

Crazy, But There’s MORE!

From Reuters:

BERLIN – A 19-year-old German woman has escaped from prison by hiding in a friend’s suitcase. The fugitive hid inside the large case when her 17-year-old fellow inmate was released from the youth prison in northwest Germany on Friday, Lower Saxony ministry spokesman Dennis Weilmann said on Monday.

The girl simply walked out of the building with her friend concealed in her luggage, Weilmann said.”Our staff are going to make sure they inspect big suitcases more carefully in the future,” Weilmann said.

Hey, no kidding! You’re actually going to start looking inside their massive backs of luggage? Hmm, that might be a good idea! But WAIT!!! It gets even better…

Neither of the teenagers has since been caught. Both had been jailed for theft. The escaped prisoner had less than two weeks left to serve.

Um…come again? The girl had less than two weeks left in her sentence, and she said, “Ah, what the heck? I’ll just become a fugitive!”

I’ve always thought that you either had to be incredibly smart (think Ocean’s Eleven) or really dumb (think this girl) to be a criminal.

I am correct.

Hi.

I’m too busy to post until after service tonight, but I wanted to say hi.

Hi.

Hi.

Road Rage

Road Rage
Feeling aggravated by the fool’s who seem intent to…

1. Slow traffic down by driving 10 mph below the speed limit in the passing lane?

2. Cut you off for no apparent reason?

3. Tailgate you even when you’re speeding by 10+ mph?

4. Panic in traffic and slow everyone down by being indecisive?

I freak out about these things. Driving is a hassle, and I can’t stand it. Since it is one of the only things in this world to make me truly angry, I’ve started quoting this verse to myself when needed:

Proverbs 25:28 (NLT) – “A person without self-control is as defenseless as a city with broken-down walls.”

Hope it helps. Let’s all keep our cool out there.

Blinded

Blind

It’s time for church culture to open up its eyes.

A statement like that is attention-getting. That’s the biggest reason I used it; but it’s also very, very true. The church is at war with a problem, but the problem is winning, and it has been winning for a long time.

We are at war with pornography. Actually, for the sake of obligatory allegory, let us remember a scene from World War II…

Paris

Have you ever seen the pictures of the Nazis marching through Paris after the French surrendered on June 22, 1940? Well, pornography is like the Nazis, and we’re like the French. Pornography has marched through our homes, schools, and even our churches. We’ve ignored the problem, pretended we were immune, and now the youth of the American church are left to deal with it on their own.

Our current course of action is to maintain an exhausted state of surrender as we try to gather our thoughts and regroup. Meanwhile, pornography has swept like a plague across our churches, youth groups, schools, and the bedrooms of your home.

How could we ignore this problem? The answer is painful: because it’s not just our youth’s problem, but it’s our fathers’ problem, and it’s difficult to fight a problem that you are struggling with yourself, at least when there is such a stigma attached.

Are you having trouble believing me? At a recent Promise Keepers meeting, it was found in an anonymous poll that over 50% of the men at the meeting had viewed pornography within a week prior to the event. These are religious, Christian men, and they fight the problem in silence. Do you think they feel comfortable teaching their children about the dangers of pornography if they were viewing it on a regular or semi-regular basis?

Pornography isn’t one generation’s problem. It is EVERY generation’s problem. It is the problem of all of modern society. Consider the following statistics, gathered from xxxchurch.com

The size of the pornographic industry: $57,000,000,000 worldwide – $12,000,000,000 in the U.S.

Number of pornographic web-sites: 4,200,000 (accounting for 12% of all web-sites)

Daily pornographic search engine requests: 68,000,000 (25% of total search engine requests)

Daily pornographic Emails: 2,500,000,000

Daily Gnutella “child pornography” requests: 116,000

Web-sites offering illegal child pornography: 100,000

Percentage of youth affected by sexual solicitations in chat rooms: 89%

Youths who received sexual solicitation: 20%

Worldwide visitors to pornographic web-sites: 72,000,000 annually

But that’s not all. Your children are incredibly susceptible to viewing pornographic material.


Average age of first Internet exposure to pornography: 11 years old

Largest consumer of Internet pornography: 12-17 age group

15-17 year olds having multiple hardcore exposures: 80%

8-16 year olds having viewed pornography online: 90% (most while doing homework)

Adults are often the one’s developing long-lasting, harmful problems with pornography.

Men admitting to accessing porn at work: 20%

US adults who regularly visit Internet porn sites: 40,000,000

Promise Keepers men who viewed porn within the last week: 53%

Christians who say pron is a major problem in the home: 47%

Adults admitting to Internet sexual addiction: 10%

Breakdown of male/female visitors to porn sites: 72% male – 28% female

28% are women? Let’s look at that a little closer.

13% of women admit to accessing porn at work.

70% of women keep their cyber activities secret.

17% of women struggle with pornographic addictions.


Women, far more often than men, are likely to act out their behaviors in real life, such as having multiple partners, casual sex, or affairs.

Women favor chat rooms two times more than men.

9,400,000 women access adult web-sites each month.

The statistics are staggering, but we have heard them countless times. We know the statistics, and each time the count is read back to us, we recoil in horror and shake our heads, refusing to CHANGE the problem. Men and women of God, listen to me…

It’s not enough to DESPISE the problem. You have to FIGHT the problem!

Porn-blocking software is not difficult to find, nor is it particularly expensive. The question is this: is your marriage, your children, and your soul worth the investment?

Also, you should be using Parental Controls. Mac OSX (Apple’s Mac operating system) offers wonderful parental controls. The administrative account can set who the child can send/receive emails to and from, what files they have access to, who they can speak with on instant messenger (iChat), what times of the day they can log on to the computer (making sure they’re not on at 3:00 AM is a good move no matter what), whether or not they can install programs, and what kind of web access they will be permitted to have. It’s quite practical, functional, and necessary, especially if you have pre-teens and teenagers accessing the computer.

I have heard someone use the argument, “Well, kids these days are computer-savvy. They’ll find a way around it.”

While it’s true that some kids are computer savvy enough to find a way around it, you DO have the power to take steps to make it incredibly difficult for them to find a way around it. Start doing what you know to do, and if your knowledge is limited, then find someone who can help you.

Finally, as always…pray! You can’t expect to fight lust in what is arguably the most lustful era in human history without God’s help. Die daily, put on the armor of God, and start FIGHTING!

Rant finished.

Family

Shari and I spent a lot of time with the family today. Yesterday was my sister’s birthday, so we got together at Mom and Dad’s house after Lincoln’s soccer game to eat dinner and give gifts. This marks the last time that any of the siblings, in-laws, or parents get gifts on my side of the family. There are so many of us now that it’s getting overly costly, so we’re just going to get presents for the grandsons from this point forward.

Some of my favorite times are those spent just casually visiting with the family. There’s nothing else in the world that means as much to me as relatives. That’s part of why I hate that Shari’s family lives so far away (8 hours); we don’t get to see them often enough.

It puts me in a good mood.

Aunt Shari, Harry, & Apple

Papa and the Grandsons

Patrice Profile

There are more pictures from today on my Flickr page.

From the Wikipedia article:

Lolcats are images combining photographs of a cat with a humorous and idiosyncratic caption, said to have its origins in the 4chan imageboards as the Caturday phenomenon. The name “lolcat” is a compound word formed from lol and cat. The phenomenon is also referred to as cat macros. Lolcats are created for photo sharing imageboards and other internet forums. Lolcats are similar to other anthropomorphic animal-based image macros such as the O RLY? owl, but the cuteness of cats “enhances” the appeal and increasing prominence of the Internet meme.

Understand that? No? Then let me explain…

Take a funny cat picture, put a witty caption on it using “Internet lingo,” and put it on the web. Viola…lolcat.

Go to ICanHazCheezeburger.com to see what I’m talking about. I’m addicted to the stupid things. Some of the humor might go over the heads of people who haven’t been to Internet message boards over the past few years, but they’re still funny.

lolcats and funny pictures -

FCA

We just finished up hosting an FCA breakfast for Airline High School, which is located about a quarter of a mile from the church. There were 100+ students in our family life center, eating donuts and generally attempting to resume consciousness.

I thought it was hilarious that almost every person that walked through our line said, “Hey, chocolate milk!” I thought this was odd until some of our girls explained that at every other FCA breakfast, the churches just lay out some jugs of regular milk and make the students pour it themselves. In other words, the Pentecostals of Bossier City are the only church to give variety (skim milk, 2% milk, chocolate milk, and orange juice) in the realm of beverages. Take THAT, other churches!

I did make a mistake in my very short devotional: I mentioned something about not knowing how the football season was going so far. Every girl in the room laughed, as well as about half the guys. The ones in jerseys were not smiling. I found out that the football team is currently winless and apparently is, ‘ow do you say…horrible.

Whoops.

Anyways, I woke up at 3:50 AM to get ready for the thing, plus I have a doctor’s appointment at 8:30, so at about 2:00 PM today, I will be DEAD.

Say a prayer for me.

Last Mow of the Season (I Pray)

At approximately 6:05 PM, I did something that I hope to not do again until early 2008: mow the stupid lawn.

I would estimate that there are only two people on Earth that hate mowing the lawn more than I do: Kal Veinshweigher in Luxembourg and some guy in Wisconsin who hasn’t slept in 4 months.

I HATE mowing the lawn.

What’s funny is that the lawn didn’t really need a trim, at least not in my estimation. I’ve come to realize that my wife lives in a parallel universe where the grass is 6 inches longer than it is in my universe.. She says the glass is half empty, and I forgot that I left the glass on the book shelf the night before.

I don’t like mowing the lawn, but I hate my wife being forced to mow it even worse. I realize that I’m a procrastinator, so I understand that Shari gets upset when I don’t mow the lawn promptly. When she gets upset, she gets antsy and impatient, so she takes it upon herself to mow the lawn before the neighbors sneer and throw tomatoes into our backyard.

So I drive up to the sight of her fighting our piece of junk lawnmower, desperately trying to get it done properly. This doesn’t happen every single time, but it has happened…quite a few times. That’s enough to make a guy feel really guilty (and not like much of a “man”). She actually does a better job than I do, but she has enough on her plate, and I don’t want to add to it by using my powers of procrastination to force her behind the mower.

Guilt has forced me to mow the lawn when I don’t really have the time, and also at the most inopportune times. Have you ever tried mowing the lawn 45 minutes after sundown? It’s not easy. It makes for some interesting revelations the next morning.

So HOPEFULLY this was the last guilt trip I put myself through for the next several months. Cold weather, please hang out and stay a while. Don’t leave us. I can’t take the shame.

Podcasts

Podcasting

From Wikipedia:

A podcast is a digital media file, or a related collection of such files, which is distributed over the Internet using syndication feeds for playback on portable media players and personal computers. The term, like “radio”, can refer either to the content itself or to the method by which it is syndicated; the latter is also termed podcasting. The host or author of a podcast is often called a podcaster.

That’s pretty cold terminology for such a beautiful gift. You might still be having trouble with the concept, depending on just how tech-savvy you are, so allow me to explain in layman’s terms.

A podcast is like a radio show that you download. You can listen to it on your computer, transfer it to your iPod (or other MP3 player), or even burn it to a cd (for whatever god-awful reason you can come up with).

The cool thing is that podcasts can be downloaded automatically. I’m not sure about the other clients that are available, but I use what I believe to be the simplest: iTunes. Sure, I’m a die-hard Mac user, so I’m naturally going to lean towards the Apple program, but you Windows users can take advantage of it as well. Besides, iTunes is the program that brought podcasting to the masses, and it has the widest selection.

Just open iTunes, go to the iTunes Store, click on Podcasts, and start searching for things that you’re interested it. There is quite a bit of variety (and quality, for that matter), so it might take a while to find something you like, but by making sure you have the popularity filter onscreen, you can tell which podcasts are the most popular. Once you’ve found what you want, you can click “subscribe,” and every new episode will be automatically downloaded to your iTunes, ready to be sent to your iPod. Did I mention that podcasts are FREE?

You might not know where to begin, but you’ll eventually find something to suit your personal tastes. A podcast is most beneficial, in my humble opinion, when you find a podcasts with people who discuss something to which your friends may not express an interest. For instance, I enjoy listening to ESPN Soccernet Extra. It’s not exactly like talking to people about soccer, but it’s the closest thing that I’m going to get in the States. I don’t have any fellow soccer fans in my local circle of friends, especially not of the Premiership variety.

To which podcasts am I currently subscribed?

1. Creative Pastors Blog and Podcast: Ed Young is getting old to me, and I’m not listening as much, but it’s a good place to get ideas from time to time.

2. Digital Photography Tips from the Top Floor: This podcast is run by a German professional photographer who has helped me a LOT with basic and intermediate photography. Highly recommended.

3. Learn Spanish with Coffee Break Spanish: This one’s okay. That’s all I have to say.

4. MacBreak Weekly: Mac fans, subscribe to this podcast. They discuss all things Apple. It’s part of the TWiT radio network. Good stuff.

5. North Point Ministries w/ Andy Stanley: See Ed Young, except less tiresome after several months.

6. This Week in Tech (otherwise known as TWiT): The flagship series for Leo Laporte’s TWiT radio network. Good stuff, although John Dvorak is a chump.

7. Windows Weekly with Paul Thurrott: Paul Thurrott’s SuperSite for Windows is a place I go to on a consistent basis to find new reasons to make fun of Microsoft. He’s a Windows guy (obviously), but has good things to say about the Mac (most of the time). He’s a major iPhone basher, however, and some of the criticism seems a bit unfounded. Still a good podcast.

I’ve subscribed and unsubscribed to several others. My favorite used to be The Beautiful Game podcast, but it shut down this summer, unfortunately.


I’d recommend that anyone with an iPod, or even those who don’t own one, should give podcasts a try. Between podcasts and audiobooks (from Audible.com), I listen to music only about 20% of the time. They’re a great way to pass time on the road, while exercising, or just laying silently in bed on those nights you can’t seem to fall asleep.