Monthly Archives: November 2007

Jesus(?)

The last time I checked my Bible, Jesus wasn’t a fairy.

So why do people feel compelled to make Him look like this…

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Am I the only one offended by the portrayal of Jesus as a pink and fluffy man who apparently gets a manicure every week? Just look at His hands! Look at them! They’re like a little baby’s hands!

STOP MAKING JESUS A SISSY!

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Should’ve Given it a 7.5, Buddy

Here’s a story that approximately 3.4% of you will care about.

Gamespot recently fired one of their best-known journalists, Jeff Gerstmann. What was his crime? Giving a video game a bad review.

When you look at it closely, a 6.0 out of 10 possible points is not horrendous. It’s not great, by any means, but it could’ve been worse. And, as of this post, the game has received an average rating of 70% across the industry. So what was the big deal?

The problem was that the game’s manufacturer, Eidos, had heavily advertised the game on Gamespot’s web-site. We’re talking about hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of advertising. Eidos was so upset about Gerstmann’s review, they informed Gamespot that they would never advertise on their site again. Gamespot’s response: fire the journalist who dared give the game a mediocre review.

There are two reasons why this is important. The first is that the video game industry is a growing economic behemoth that can’t be ignored much longer. According to this article, the gaming industry has outgrown the U.S. economy 4-to-1 from 2003 to 2006. Last year, the gaming industry added a whopping $8,600,000,000 to the U.S. GDP. Software sales in 1996 totaled 74,100,000 units. In 2006: 250,000,000.

In other words, the video game industry is actually becoming important to the economy, especially when considering that 80,000 U.S. citizens have a job in the video game industry.

The second reason this story is important is that it has the potential to radically change the landscape of video game journalism. Sure, they’re a bunch of black t-shirt-wearing geeks (I’m so glad I’m not wearing my black t-shirt today), but they need the freedom to operate just as any other journalist would.

The reason that many Americans lost confidence in news programs such as the CBS Evening News is because of untrustworthy reporting, such as Dan Rather’s George W. Bush debacle. When people get the feeling that something other than honest reporting is shaping a story, they tend to tune out the individual or company that is pushing an alternate agenda.

If gaming fans recognize Gamespot’s willingness to bow to the feet of their advertiser’s at the expense of their journalists’ integrity, gamers are going to look elsewhere to sites such as IGN or 1UP for what will perceptively be more honest reviews.

Here are two thoughts…

Gamespot: way to buckle under (minimal) pressure and turn yourself into gaming’s public enemy numero uno. Enjoy your downward spiral. Now everyone working in your office is going to be frightened to death to be perfectly honest.

Eidos: instead of threatening site’s with the removal of your advertising dollars, make better games.

Today’s geek rant is effectively over.

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CNN, Wake Up

We’re not idiots, CNN. You might’ve had a stranglehold on the cable news division in (many) years past, but we’re not longer being duped by you day after day. We’re on to you.

The CNN/YouTube Republican Debate gave rise to an interesting moment last night when retired Brig. Gen. Keith Kerr, an openly-gay man, asked a question about gay and lesbians in the military. You can watch the exchange in the video at the bottom of this post.

There’s only one thing about this gravel-voiced geriatric that CNN didn’t tell you when he asked his question: that he is the co-chairman of Hillary Clinton’s National Military Veteran’s group. He was also active in John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign.

You might be wondering, “Well, why does it matter? Democrats should have a voice in these debates as well!” Actually…no.

This is a REPUBLICAN PRIMARY debate. It’s Republicans deciding who their candidate for president is. Democrats should have no say in this debate or any others leading up to the Republican nomination. Once we nominate someone, then they should get involved. The reason so many people are crying foul about this is that Brig. Gen. Kerr was, in essence, an intruder. The fact that CNN not only aired his question, but also recognized him and gave him a frickin’ microphone to ask further questions indicates that CNN was well aware of his presence.

Now Anderson Cooper, the gray-haired metrosexual media darling who moderated the debate, is claiming that CNN had no idea!

“Like, OMG, if we had only KNOWN! Oh, that sly little Kerr! He is SO not going to be my BFF for this! ROFL! Call me later?”

Okay, CNN. I told you we’re not stupid. If you think for one second that we don’t believe that you knew pretty much everything there was to know about Mr. Kerr before you PUBLICLY RECOGNIZED him, then you really are as condescending and disrespectful to your audience as we have come to believe. Really cute move. Oh, Anderson…you crazy fella.

And everyone wonders why CNN has roughly half the viewers of FOX News.

More Huck

More plain-speaking from The Huck as other candidates stumble all over their answers:

Stay Tuned

You know, I can’t figure out if this YouTube debate is a big, hilarious mess or if there’s actually something worthwhile to it, but I did find this video entertaining for one reason: the response of Gov. Mike Huckabee. Fred Thompson bumbles around, Ron Paul gives his supporters something to whoop for, and then Huckabee pops up to energize the present crowd.

Watch it (or fast forward it) to about 70% through the clip.

The Kindle

Kindle

Take a look at the current issue of Newsweek, and you’ll see this “interesting” white piece of Soviet-era design. The Kindle is making headlines, but for God’s sake, why?

It’s supposed to be the future of reading? Well, it’s not, and I’ll tell you why.

1. It’s ugly as sin. Really ugly. It’s keyboard is also atrocious and looks unusable. Which brings me to point two…

2. It has a keyboard. If I’m buying a device that specializes in reading, I don’t want a keyboard. Look at what Apple did with the iPhone. You see how you can just fling stuff all around by touching it with your fingers? You see how none of the screen real estate is compromised by a large, obtrusive keyboard? The iPhone (for all its problems) is intuitive, beautiful, and the beautiful screen being all you need is part of its appeal.

3. You have to pay for the blogs you subscribe to. Seriously. Oh, and not only are you paying for things that are usually free, but comments are not included. Oh, good, look! It’s lot’s worse, but I pay for it!

4. No backlight. The video on Amazon’s site touts this as an advantage, since it’s easier to read in the bright sun, but what do you do if you want to read a book in bed while your spouse is dead asleep? You guessed it; you turn the lamp on and tilt the Kindle towards the light. BRILLIANT! We’re only stepping back 15 years in the past. What will they think of (destroying) next? Oh, and I have no desire to read in the bright sunlight of a hot, 100-degree Louisiana day.

5. The Back Page and Next Page buttons are in the worst locations possible. Look at the video to see how they work. It’s the dumbest design flaw since everything Microsoft has touched (surely you saw it coming). Want to accidentally flip through pages all day long? Get yourself a brand-spanking-new Kindle! It’s yesterday’s today.

6. The price. Want to have a poorly-thought-out device that’s going to cost you plenty of spare change just to make use of its material? No problem! Just shell out $400 for a device that uses cell-phone-grade wireless technology, has no backlight, looks like junk, is inoperable, and will embarrass you in public.

7. Seriously, do I have to say it again? Yes, I do. IT’S VERY, VERY UGLY!

That will be all, infidels. Don’t buy a Kindle.

The Nintendo Table

I vividly remember the feeling. It was a pitiful amalgamation of fear, embarrassment, insecurity, and confusion. I would be minding my own business, eating my lunch with my friends, and one of the “cool” guys would pass by on his way to the “cool” table, laughing, pointing, and repeating the same dreaded phrase over, and over, and over…

“Nintendo table! Nintendo Table! Nintendo Table! HAHAHA! Nerds!”

You see, I sat at the Nintendo table. We had friends come and go throughout the years, but my two best friends throughout school were Jonathan Needham and Thomas Rimmer. Jon and Thomas were the only two guys in school who I had a lot in common with; we liked basketball like everyone else, but our lives didn’t revolve around it. We didn’t hunt like the other guys; we played video games. We talked about Star Trek, Star Wars, and The X-Files. And we committed the ULTIMATE sin against the popularity gods: we made good grades.

I was blissfully unaware of my social status for the first seven or eight years of my life. Either that or there was no discernible social status to be aware of until children unfortunately began recognizing the social norms seen in their older siblings or parents.

Take a moment to let that idea sink in. If not for the impact of society, we couldn’t make fun of anyone; we wouldn’t know what to make fun of in the first place. In other words, if not for pop culture, legions of high school and college girls wouldn’t know that they’re expected to dye their hair blonde, beg Daddy for a Ford Mustang, and preface every phrase with the word “like.” For the sake of equality, guys wouldn’t know that treating women with respect makes them sissies, computers are for guys who never want to have a girlfriend, and unless their laugh sounds like “HUH, HUH, HUH,” then they must be something other than 100% male.

This is why I love children, especially those younger than 8-years-old. One might even say that I envy them. Watching them live their lives without inhibition is almost liberating. I have three amazing nephews; Jackson Luke, Harrison Cruz, and Lincoln Dean. Luke is just a baby right now, but the smile that spreads across at the simplest of things is enough to make an entire table of adults say, “Awwww.”

Harrison is almost three years old, and he’s like a bull in a china closet. It’s already plain to see that he’s athletically gifted. He’s very strong for his age, and he is absolutely full of mischievousness and personality. He’s the type of kid that you can’t help but laugh at whenever he gets in trouble.

Then there’s Lincoln. Lincoln loves sports (and is good at them). He’s cute, has an extremely friendly personality, and speaks with an east Texas drawl. Maybe it’s just my imagination, but I see a lot of myself in Lincoln. He loves to draw, he has an imagination that never takes a break, and he’s incredibly sensitive.

Lincoln is also incredibly smart; certainly much smarter than I was at his age. The other two will probably be as well, but since Lincoln is 7 (his birthday was earlier this month), it’s becoming apparent that he is not an average child.

Lincoln will probably always make good grades. He’s sensitive, creative, and intelligent, so he’ll probably enjoy reading. He’s already beating his dad in sports video games, so he might be tech-savvy as well. I want Lincoln to feel free to use those natural gifts that God gave him without inhibition or shame, and I’m scared to death that the next few years will change something in him due to the overwhelming pressure that society, even among elementary students, places upon people to conform.

Several months ago, we had an unbelievable church service. It was the kind of Sunday night service that leaves everyone very solemn around the altars at the end of service. The altar call left people crying, on their knees, relishing the presence of God. Towards the end, everyone who was left became quiet. Several hundred people sat silently in the pews, on the floor, and against the steps of the altar. There was a peace in the air–that beautiful, calming presence of God.

Then out of nowhere, a little, trembling voice started crying out with a sense of desperation, saying, “Jesus, I love you! I want to have more of you, God! Please, Jesus! I want to have more of you!”

It was my little nephew, six-years-old, eyes closed with tears pouring down his face with his arms wrapped around the neck of his father. When Lincoln prays, it’s not an act. He’s not like a typical child who might sneak a peek through his closed eyes to see who is looking around; you can feel Lincoln actually reaching out and touching God. It’s the strangest thing to witness, and almost has an eery quality.

Lincoln doesn’t care. He’s a child. A brilliant, loving, sensitive child who adores his family and isn’t afraid to be himself.

And then there is society, waiting to attempt to rob him of the zeal and passion that he has for life and for God. You might ask what kind of life a seven-year-old has; they don’t have responsibility, stress, and worries. Exactly! Without the pressure and demands of the world, we could all probably be a bit closer to ourselves, to nature, and to God.

I’m not advocating that we start some sort of a cult and build a small society in the mountains, but I do feel the need to express a distaste for all that this world attempts to steal from us. We are individuals, created by a loving, all-knowing God who crafts us to be a unique piece of the beautiful puzzle that He has constructed.

And then society attempts to strip us of our individuality. We are, as it is written in Psalm 139:14, “fearfully and wonderfully made.” God meticulously designed us to be something special, each and every one of us.

Society speaks of “being yourself.” Actually, advertising agencies speak of “being yourself.” In other words, if you really want to have what has been misrepresented as individuality, you need to wear a certain style of clothes. You need to listen to a certain style of music. You have to stop laughing this way. Quit hanging around those people! You’ll box yourself into the unpopular crowd if you actually confess to enjoying the geeky stuff. You need to FIT IN in order to STAND OUT!



Does that make sense? Of course not.

I’m taking a moment here to encourage all of the ones who want to sit at the Nintendo Table in their lives. Don’t be afraid to be yourself. Don’t change who you are based upon what is popular (it won’t matter later anyways; trust me!). Don’t be afraid to reach out for God in an increasingly areligious world. Make use of the talents and the tastes that He has put in your life.

Take a seat with us. We’d love to have you.

He’s For Real?

Huckabee

I don’t like to be wrong. Just ask my wife.

Scratch that; I hate being wrong. It’s a strange, terrible feeling that leaves me quiet, dejected, and irritable–a trait that my family have found irritating in itself.

Luckily, there are exceptions to every rule. I have recently been very happy to be proven wrong. Mike Huckabee is gaining ground as he vies for the Republican Presidential nomination, and he’s gaining fast!

My friend Derek has supported Huckabee for months now (actually, it was his most recent post, posted September 6 – let’s get with it, Derek). I agreed that Huckabee was likely the truest conservative out of the nominees, and was likely the best candidate from a Christian’s perspective, but I didn’t think that he had a fighting chance. I wasn’t supporting anyone at the time; I was going to see what our “real” options were.

Huckabee was originally an underdog, but due to Giuliani’s lack of conservative credentials, McCain’s struggles with sanity, Romney’s flip-flopping, Thompson’s underwhelming entry, and Ron Paul getting little more than the YouTube vote, Huckabee not only has a chance…he looks like a potential winner.

If you want a candidate who has always been pro-life, pro-Second Amendment, pro sanctity of marriage, and pro religious freedom who will stand firm on the war on terror, then Huckabee is your safest bet. He’s not perfect, but what politician is (or even close)?

I almost forgot; he also supports the FairTax. Huckabee FTW!

The only problem? He was celebrating Arkansas’ win over LSU Friday.

Ah, forget it. I’ll still support him.

LSU: Observations

Miles

LSU deserved to lose.

Wow, I actually said it. Boy, don’t I feel better!

Yes, LSU deserved to lose. I don’t like the fact that they lost; I hate it. I got upset that I wasted 5 hours of my life on a game that meant more to me than it should have. I was emotionally involved in the game, wondering whether or not dozens of witless college guys could actually be lead to a national championship game by a coach with very little happening upstairs (”upstairs” being his noggin, for the slow ones out there; “noggin” being his brain, for those who are even slower).

Les Miles, please go to Michigan. Seriously, I’ll help you pack! You’ll love it there. The weather is cold (you’ll readjust to it again), the tradition runs deep, and you’ll have a splendid time losing to Division 1-AA teams. Of course, if Michigan had any sense, they’d take a look at the job you’ve done over the past few years and ask themselves whether or not you could do anything if it didn’t depend on scavenging what you could from Nick Saban’s system and recruiting class, but I’m guessing they won’t. After all, they have to save you from us crawfish-chomping inbreeds before you lose a few dozen IQ points. Our Slap Yo’ Mama-seasoned breath is enough to turn you into a blithering idiot. Be careful.

Why not go to the Big Ten? They’re a great conference. No, they don’t have much speed, but their players do look ‘roided out. And as we all know, why force yourself to be able to break a 4.8 when you can lift 400 pounds with your pinkys, right?

No, the Big Ten doesn’t make its two best teams put it all on the line by playing a conference championship game at the end of the season, but can you IMAGINE what kind of damage that would do? They wouldn’t even be able to take advantage of the fact that the East and West SEC Champs are duking it out year after year, greatly increasing the odds that the higher-ranked SEC team is knocked out of contention for the title game at the last second.

Enough about the Big Ten. This isn’t about the Big Ten. This is about LSU. And Les Miles. And Miles’ bad coaching.

This is about millions of LSU fans wondering what happened to their team, ranked number-one, falling apart, humiliating themselves at home against a team not even in the top 25. We’re confused. We’re heartbroken.

You usually don’t get but one mistake per year. LSU had a second chance, but they blew it. Two triple-overtime losses in one year as the number-one team in the country is hard to get over. We’ll be feeling this one for a long time.

Nalts

YouTube is an enigma to me. You can find almost anything there, but about 95% of it is…

1. Stupid.

2. Not worth someone posting.

3. Vile, disgusting trash.

And yet somehow it chugs along, hosting millions of videos as it engrained itself as a cultural mainstay. There is this weird, dedicated community that has rooted itself into the lore and history of YouTube. They really believe in what they think YouTube is about, and they’ll fight anyone who “desecrates” the culture (even YouTube staff). It’s really quite pretentious, and would be amusing if it wasn’t so widespread.

However, I can say that I’m a subscriber to someone on YouTube who I think is worth watching. His name is Kevin Nalts. I forgot what his real job is, but he’s a video fanatic. By the way, just call him “Nalts.”

He’s something like the 56th most-subscribed member of YouTube, but that means nothing. The reason that I like him is that he’s funny, plain and simple. That’s nothing new, right? But he’s also a clean family man, unlike the millions of YouTubers who post comments on videos laced with profanity, poor spelling, and indecipherable jumbles of random words.

Check Nalts out. He’s funny. He’s clean. He’s not a YouTube elitist jerk (he posts on several video sites). He just likes making videos.