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Showing posts from 2007

A Romantic Evening Out

More from the land where they use the C-word on telly, (but only after 9pm, it's not like we're French or anything).

Friday night we got a friend to take the children overnight. This allowed us the opportunity to spend a relaxing evening together, and we decided to make a date of it. So what did we do, but play Laser Tag of course.

The fiancee's church was having a night out playing Laser Quest with another church. So we got to spend the evening running around a dark room lit by black lights and strobes and shooting people. Nothing like a little violence to keep a load of Christians entertained.

We played three rounds. The first was a free for all, which was well wrong, being as thirty or forty people in a small arena just becomes a bloody massacre. The next game was roughly church on church, though the fiancee and I, as well as the pastor and his wife, were loaned out to the other team due to uneven numbers. Our team won.

The last round was guys versus girls. We pre…

Glastonbury 1996

One of my mates is in this music video for Higher State of Consciousness, Tweekin' Acid Funk mix by Josh Wink. Set to video filmed by Wink himself at the 1996 Glastonbury Festival.

Reading

Since I've had a bit of time on my hands, I've been rediscovering the art of pleasure reading.

Last week, since I enjoyed Fatherland so much, I read three more books by Robert Harris.

Archangel is a modern thriller centered around the hunt for the lost diary of Joseph Stalin.

Enigma is a fictitious look at Bletchley Park's codebreaking efforts during WWII.

And finally, Pompeii is a great historical novel set in the four days leading up to the eruption of Vesuvius, filled with fascinating technical information on the Roman Aquaducts.

I'm currently reading Every Dead Thing by John Connolly, a spiritual crime thriller. More information on that when I've finished.

A great book...

Just finished reading Fatherland by Robert |Harris. It's an excellent "what if" look at Germany in 1964 had Hitler won. Check it out.

Talk like a Buccaneer Day

I wish I knoo who ever created this rubbish excuse fer a "holiday". hold on 'un minute, tar ter the power of wikipedia, I can. john baur an' mark summers, yaouw wankers 'ad be'ah hope ar paths never cooss, or I shall gid yaouw a roight proper walloppen. i fink it's abart as noggen yedded an idae as possible. an excuse fer grownups ter terk loike lung john silvers moy be crack, but really, the point agen? so i've decided ter foight the trend with this "talk loike a brummie" post. We are not chuffed.

Also... Bugger
and... Bollocks

The Yearbook

So I brought my senior PHC yearbook with me to the UK. I have been going through it with various friends.

Invariably, there are several responses:
1) Man, alot of these people look rather odd.

Maybe this is just a reaction to the Hollywood picture of America that most Brits are exposed to, where everyone has perfect teeth and looks somewhat plastic. Then again, alot of the people who went to PHC do look rather odd. Is there a reason that some homeschoolers look like they are the inbred spawn of a bunch of cousins?

2) Damn that guys looks like an alien.

Name removed to protect the guilty. Surprisingly, this same person got the same reaction from everyone who saw the yearbook. Curious.

3) They laughed at our American names. Names like Tobin Duby. And "Randy" got a good chuckle, but that's only because it's the British equivalent of naming your child Horny.

4) You actually have hoedowns?

The image of Americans in plaid clothing and ridiculous hats is just painfully colo…

Pictures

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This is what passes as a beach in Birmingham... a pile of sand, some lawnchairs and a giant screen that alternates between the BBC news and ocean scenes. All in the square in front of the Library. It's also a very multicultural area, you can see Sikhs in traditional garb, Muslim women wearing head scarves or the full hijab, and Arab men in their traditional robes, as well as the usual cross-section of Anglo/Celtic peoples.








The UK recently implemented a far-reaching smoking ban. Not only can you not smoke in any indoor public areas, but that also includes bus stops and train platforms. Right....

BTW, the silly orange knapsack contained the kids lunch for the day, and they were tired, so I got drafted to carry it. The Don King hair was a result of a windy day and roller coasters.

















This was a more or less random English bloke we met in the pub, mugging for the camera with our gay-sian friend Adam. (In Britain, Asian refers to people from South Asia, not Oriental nationas like China…

A Bit of the Rugger

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So I've been watching the Ruby World Cup of late. Now there is a game. None of the pads and 10 second plays (or complex penalties) of American football. Lots of running, these guys are as as fit as European footballers without all the poncy dancing around a little round ball. For American football fans who love watching a long run back with a couple of well executed laterals, that is the bread and butter of rugby. These guys are fit and built, they can run like receivers and running backs, and block like defensive ends.



No wonder Sebastien Chabal is nicknamed "Attila"
The scrummages are also pretty interesting to watch. Imagine an American football offensive line three guys deep, pushing towards their opposing counterparts in an attempt to gain posession of the ball. Less of the sudden impact and ponderous players, more sturm und drang. They say the hooker (the center man in the front of the line) experiences 3,000 pounds per square inch. Maybe I like it so much …

Misconceptions

I am thinking of doing a several part piece on common American myths about Britain. Here are a few I have in mind:

British TV is crap (you'll definately get this one if you watch 11 hours of .
Life in the UK is like either Fawlty Towers or Snatch.
The average Briton is a middle class, Stiff Upper lip white guy with a posh accent.
British food is bland and nasty.
In Britain everyone drinks their beer warm.

Feel free to comment with any questions or thoughts you would like addressed. I also plan to do a series on typical British myths about America.

Pictures from Alton Towers

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We passed this on the way to Alton Towers... At first glance it appeared to be a Chernobyl style nuclear reactor power plant. Turned out to be a farm silo, still cool though.












A picture of the Castle at Alton Towers.



















Another view of the Country House/Castle.

I love Sir Richard Branson, and Rollercoasters

View Larger Map

Friday we went to Alton Towers, a major British theme park. Built on a HUUUUGE Tract of land once owned by the Earl of Shrewsbury in Staffordshire, it is an enormous complex including a ruined castle built in the gothic country house style. It is also, incidently, considered one of the most haunted sites in Britain. What's a gothic country estate without a curse?? We had a great time there celebrating cousin Leo's birthday, which mostly consisted of taking the children around to the kiddie rides.

However, my fiancee and I got to ride on Nemesis, the first inverted roller coaster in Europe. It was an incredible ride, appropos for a coaster considered to be the third best in the world. It boasts a drop of over thirty metres, maximum of four g-forces, and a top speed over 80 km/h. We elected to wait a few extra minutes and sit in the very first row, which made the ride even better. The two corkscrews and the zero-g roll were crazy, making it easily the most…

I'm Back

I know I've neglected this lately, the last several months were very hectic for me.

However, as I sit here in the UK drinking my luncheon beer (what a great custom), I've resolved to try to post at least 5 times a week, even if it's just a few short lines.

I just got back from Birmingham, I went into town to do some food shopping at the fine market in town. I know, how domestic of me. I also visited the Central library for the second time, I found a great book there in the stacks that you just can't find in the US.

I flew in earlier this month. I watched Fracture on the plane, those little TV screens in the back of your seats are great, no editing as is typical of airline films. I had a ten hour layover in Dublin. When in Ireland.... so yeah I bought a daysaver bus pass, and went into Dublin City Centre. I walked around for a couple of hours waiting for the pubs to open... which doesn't happen until ten thirty in the morning. While enjoying a few proper pin…

Anonymous, this is for you....

I say what I mean clearly and concisely, and you still willfully misunderstand me. Fine. Civility be damned.... Here's what I really think.

A Consise History of Christianity

Some of my readers may be unfamiliar with certain common terms used in Christian circles. For the un-heathen readers, you may have grown up familiar with phrases and jargon but not completely understand them beyond what you learned from your parents in church. And so I present to you Everything You Wanted To Know About Christianity.

"Some people in America are scared silly of Christianity, but many of the most frightened know very little about it. They throw around terms like fundamentalist and evangelical with very little knowledge of their meaning, and this is before they enter the dark thicket of Preterists, Amillennialists, Prelapsarian Arminian Claims Adjusters, etc."

Here, then, is a handy reference guide to some of the key terms, concepts and groups.

Premillennialism: This is the belief among some Christians that ever since January 1, 2000, it has no longer been possible, in the words of the Prince song, "to party like it's 1999." Postmillennialists are t…

RIP Mr. Falwell

To those who were offended by my GTalk tag line, an explanation. To those who didn't see it, here's your opportunity to get offended. It went something like this: "Jerry's Falwell's death was a punishment, not just on Jerry Falwell, but on the church that tolerated him...."

Now, I'm not trying to be overly harsh, however I don't have any taboo about speaking ill of the dead or not confronting the views of a fellow Christian, however well meaning. Nor did I really mean that his death was his punishment. Hello, all people die eventually, and orthodox Christian teaching is that disease and death are the natural consequence of all human sin. But that's as far as I'm willing to take the judgment correlation.

The tag was a satirical comment, playing off Falwell's appalling comments assigning blame for the 9/11 attacks and Hurricane Katrina, saying "I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays an…

Christ Follower vs. Christian Ads

For those who like the Mac vs. PC ads.







Moving Out, Moving On

So I'm moving to Florida for the time being. Some thoughts on my recent trip to the UK are in the works though (don't expect anything too personal, if you're looking for typical blog fare you had better email me.) Just some comments on culture from the land where asking someone for a fag is normal, people smoke weed in the parks, faggots come with chips and peas in a restaurant, and everyone wants to know my opinion about the War in Iraq. So look for it once I get settled.

Shameless Self Promotion

Jack's Confused Sense of Rejection

An expanded essay inspired by a previous blog post. Please go check it out, and if you have a blog, I'd appreciate a mention. Thanks.

Never Judge a Shop by its Contents

While visiting sister and brother-in-law this week, I made the rounds of used book shops. At the end of the weekend, after finding a traditional German sausage maker and an Italian bakery which felt like a time warp to the 1940s in all the good ways, my family was at a small upscale Italian pastry shop. While they were enjoying gelato, I was checking out the shops in the area. One in particular looked like the sort of place that you could offload some merchandise with few questions asked. Among the VCRs and collection of DVDs, some still marked from a library or video rental, there were several shelves overflowing with books. Most were the typical fare of pulp fiction, Clancy and Steele paperbacks stacked two or three deep with no apparent order. While digging through the piles, I did find a couple that were interesting. I wished I had the time to sort through the dreck and find all the forgotten treasures you could see poking out here and there. Next to a copy of Animal Farm …

A riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma

When people ask me what denomination I consider myself, I usually tell them "I'm an Anglican who currently attends a Bapto-costal church." For purposes of this discussion, my church considers itself Baptocostal because they have Baptist doctrine and drums in worship.

A bit of a condtradiction don't you think? As an Anglican I find myself most blessed when in a church that has strong doctrine, sound tradition and a liturgial worship style. However, there are no good Anglican churches nearby, so I fellowship with my family.

Why do I go to a church where I often feel uncomfortable? Because I believe that the Scriptural mandate to fellowship with believers carries no caveat "if you find it comfortable or like the people in your church." That's not to say that I dislike anyone in my church, but I have to admit, after tasting the joys of a traditional faith, there is much in the large-e Evangelical movement that rubs me the wrong way. Why do I attend? Be…

Gluttony: Being the First in a Seven Part Series on the Deadly Sins

“You can get a large audience together for a strip-tease act—that is, to watch a girl undress on a stage. Now suppose you came to a country where you could fill a theatre by simply bringing a covered plate on to the stage and then slowly lifting the cover so as to let everyone see, just before the lights went out, that it contained a mutton chop or a bit of bacon, would you not think that in that country something had gone wrong with the appetite for food?..... There is nothing to be ashamed of in enjoying your food: there would be everything to be ashamed of if half the world made food the main interest in their lives and spent their time looking at pictures of food and dribbling and smacking their lips.”

Some heady thoughts from the fifth chapter of the third book of Mere Christianity. Lewis is of course making a point about the unhealthy cultural attitude towards sex, but I want to reverse the analogy and deduce the inverse. Lewis claims here that our attitude towards food could …

Sweet Thoughts for the Holiday

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Invasion of the Body Snatchers

And suddenly my jokes about where Chicken McNuggets come from become alot less funny.

Report Says Chinese Military Harvests Organs from Falung Gong Policial Prisoners

Solicitation of Topics

Ok Readers: I would like to know what topics (religious or cultural preferably) you would like me to turn my ascerbic wit, cutting insight, biting sarcasm, deep perspective and all around supreme modesty on next. Consider it a jump start for my muse. I'm in the midst of a writing project, and I often find that short essays help me to regroup and recharge in between writing and editing on a larger project. So, if you read this blog at all, and I presume you do because you're the audience of this post, please comment with a few suggestions. Thanks.

Conversations with a Pharisee

Ok, this topic won't leave me alone. My friend Eric recently pointed me to this blog. Cut through the dreck, and this is the conversation that emerged. I'lll use Courier for the blogger's comments, and Times for my reply, and different colors.

This next part of my post is just my opinion. I’m really sorry if you get offended at what I’m about to say but remember that it’s only my opinion. Please don't think that I'm judging anyone by writing what you are about to read. That was and still isn't my intention for writing this post at all. If anything I wrote this post to help others because I don't wish to see anyone hurt themselves or others with their actions. If you happen to smoke and/or drink I don't think any less of you. Please remember to keep in mind that this is only my OPINION and nothing else.

I don’t see why people smoke and drink. First, I’m going to talk about smoking. Why do people do it? Do they not know that they are killing the…

Religious? Litigious??

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Ok, so comments have died down and I figure it's about time I up the shock value of my blog just a bit. Remember, this is about Free Speech and a picture of the kind of world we will live in if some Christianists get their utopia of a theocratic nation. It's not about gay rights, but about Christians repressing thought and controversy that makes them uncomfortable. I also find it relevant as a blogger who frequently uses parody as a rhetorical tool. So on that note:

First Cease and Desist Letter

Response to the Cease and Desist Order

Just Another Day Off Work...

For many people, Martin Luther King Jr. Day is just another day off work. For some, it remains the abomination of Lee-Jackson-King Day. So, on that note, I urge you to read the Letter from a Birmingham Jail.

If we could recapture just a bit of Dr. King's vision, we would be motivated to do more for our fellow man, no matter his country, beliefs or ethnicity. On that, a short poem by an Irishman named Paul.

One man come in the name of love
One man come and go
One man come, he to justify
One man to overthrow

In the name of love
What more in the name of love
In the name of love
What more in the name of love

One man caught on a barbed wire fence
One man he resist
One man washed on an empty beach.
One man betrayed with a kiss

In the name of love
What more in the name of love
In the name of love
What more in the name of love

(nobody like you...)

Early morning, April 4
Shot rings out in the Memphis sky
Free at last, they took your life
They could not take your pride

In the name of love
What more in the name …
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Window in the Skies

An awesome video with lyrics that speak a great message.

Thou shalt not be a victim. Thou shalt not be a perpetrator. Above all, thou shalt not be a bystander. - US Holocaust Memorial

On January 3, 2006, 18-year-old Nazanin was sentenced to death for murder by court in Iran after she reportedly admitted fatally stabbing one of three men who attempted to rape her and her 16-year-old niece in a park in Karaj (a suburb of Tehran) in March 2005. She was seventeen at the time. Her sentence is subject to review by the Court of Appeal, and if upheld, to confirmation by the Supreme Court.

According to reports in the Iranian newspaper E’temaad, Nazanin told the court that three men had approached her and her niece, forced them to the ground and attempted to rape them. Seeking to defend her niece and herself, Nazanin stabbed one man in the hand with a knife that she possessed. As the men continued their attack, she stabbed another of the men in the chest, which eventually caused his death. She reportedly told the court “I wanted to defend myself and my niece. I did not want to kill that boy. At the heat of the moment I did not know what to do because no one came to our help”…