Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Hunt for Gollum

anyone who has read The Lord of the Rings knows that once you have finished reading the third book, there are still many pages of Appendices to wade through. They continue to fill out the story. For instance, the Main Arwen/Aragorn love story is only touched on a bit in the main books, while the bulk of it found in the appendices.

The story of Aragorn's hunt for Gollum is never found in full, but it is laid out within the "Tale of Years" as well as some mentions in the main text. It appears that some fans are working on a 30 minute film that focuses on that hunt, and below you will find a trailer. Those people who are only a fan of the movies will probably balk at the sight of different people playing well known roles such as Gandalf and Aragorn, but for an independently made film, this looks like it will be of very good quality, with a healthy devotion and admiration of the books to guide it.

The website says it will probably be released after February, so we will see how well they did then!

THE HUNT FOR GOLLUM - FULL Trailer 1 from Chris Bouchard on Vimeo.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

River of ice

River of ice, originally uploaded by Philippe Sainte-Laudy.

Came across this picture today. Found it pretty mesmerizing.

Monday, December 15, 2008

"What did he say to make you such a believer?" - New LOST Clip

Lord of the Rings Conquest, and working creatively with an existing IP

Lord of the Rings games are a mixed bag, especially the ones based primarily on the movies, but this one looks interesting. You can play as either good or evil, and rather than the evil campaign mirroring the actual plot of the book, it asks the question "What if Frodo failed?" and goes on from there. If it had mirrored the book, I feel my reaction would be "But that never happened!" over and over. By starting from a premise that flatly says it is not part of the story, we avoid the cognitive dissonance for the most part. Honestly this sounds much more intriguing to me because it won't be confining itself to the story everyone knows.

There is only so much a game can do when working with an already existing story to keep it engaging for the player. Especially when it is a property that has been mined for gaming experiences many times before. I have been playing Lord of the Rings Online for almost a year now, and they too have found an interesting way to involve players. It would be impossible for an MMO to allow everybody to play as the main characters, so instead they have crafted a narrative that runs parallel to the LOTR plot. In many ways, this serves to enhance the story in ways the books Appendices do by fleshing out some of the details. One of my favorites in the latest expansion, is that you have a small quest to help escort Bill the Pony away from the Mines of Moria after Sam must leave him behind at the black pool. It is not of much consequence, and not terribly epic, but it does make this Tolkien fanboy smile.

And on that note, it is time to dig out my copies of the History of The LOTR for the rest of the evening....

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Treehouse- I'm From Barcelona

Treehouse - Im From Barcelona

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

In lieu of a Baby It's Cold outside video...

Here is Martin and Sinatra doing "It's a Marshmallow World in the Winter"

Baby It's Cold Outside

I was sad to come up empty in a search for Dean Martin singing this on his show, I would have thought he would have done so at some point. There is a newer version that they cut in Martina McBride for a duet, but I went and found an original duet, that is at least labled as Martin singing with Doris Day. Not totally sure how accurate that is though. Regardless, Enjoy!

Baby Its Cold Outside - Dean Martin & Doris Day

Zero Punctuation meets L4D

Saturday, December 06, 2008

"Wish On My Star"

So I just got my first speeding ticket in 10 years. I have been stopped and warned a couple times, and have received a ticket for expired tags, but have managed to go w/out an actual speeding ticket that whole time. Aside from the normal heart pumping anxiety that comes with any time I get pulled over, I am not really all that upset. See, my tags are currently expired again. When I moved to California, it was on expired Ohio plates, and when I moved back here to Northern KY, it has been on expired California plates. I know I need to do it, but I either don't have the money budgeted, or I put it off and it is just one of those things that I am horrible at keeping up on. But that is not my point. Somehow, the cap who pulled me over must have been off his game, because if he were he should have seen how badly expired my tags were. Anyway, he did not even mention it. He just gave my ID back to me, and was actually very nice about the whole time- something his California counterparts could stand to learn how to be.

But as a way to distract me I thought I would actually do one of those silly quiz type thingies. I saw this on Natalie Myers Facebook page when I got in and itt seemed worth a chuckle or two.

1. Put your Zune or other music player on shuffle…Ok, Ok, iPod for most of you.
2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.
4. Tag friends who might enjoy doing this as well as the person you got this from.

"Stop Draggin' my Car Around" Weird Al Yankovic

"Lectio 1" King's Singers

"Mr. Wu's a Window Cleaner Now" George Formby

"Zhaoderen Nana" Hanggai Band - No idea what this means in English

"Ye Banks and Braes" - Great Big Scottish Songbook

"Sexbomb" Tom Jones (Oh Yeah.....)

"Six People Isn't Convincing" Mitch Hedberg

WHAT IS 2+2?
"Shake Away" Lila Downs

"I'm Yours" Jason Mraz

"In the Army Kid" Of Montreal

"I Know There's a Word" Amiee Mann

"Act of Remembrance" Proclaimers

"Last Night" Over the Rhine

"I Felt my Size" The Microphones

"Whither's Rocking Hymn" Vancouver Chamber Choir

"Psalm 114: When Israel Came Out of Egypt" Choir of Westminster Abbey

"Down in the City" The Sea and Cake

"Medicine Girl" The Everybodyfields

"Light of the World" Apollo Sunshine

"Rough Design" Inara George

"Let's Spend the Night Together" Rolling Stones

"Florida Beach" The Microphones

"Sportif" Youssou N'Dour

"Killing Lies" The Strokes

"Questions" Lach

"Sway" Puppini Sisters

"Alone at Christmastime" Rosie Thomas

"Truth in Your Words" They Might Be Giants

"Wish on My Star" Jake Shimabukuro

Monday, December 01, 2008

BBC Christmas is just like Christmas!

So the official BBC youtube page has made these videos only available to people from the UK, but that seems pretty stupid since anyone can re-post them, as has clearly happened.

BBC Drama- Doctor Who, Jonathan Creek = Happy Richie

Comedy- Gavin & Stacy, BlackAdder reunion = Happy Richie

Thursday, November 27, 2008

It's a Nuclear Dance Party!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Louis CK puts it into perspective for the rest of us..

Monday, November 24, 2008

TF2 craziness

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain does Bowie's Life on Mars

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The English Language doesn't have the words to fully describe this...

Monday, November 17, 2008

Steve Martin Would be Proud

Friday, November 14, 2008


Here are the first 2 minutes of this years Doctor Who Christmas Special. They showed the clip tonight during the Children in Need Marathon over in the UK. The Christmas special is called "The Next Doctor" and the special Guest Star is David Morissey. He starred with David Tennant in Blackpool, the show which they tried to remake into some god-awful show on abc or cbs or something.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Zombie Apocalypse = Too much fun.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

It's a New Day

Friday, November 07, 2008

Time in Perspective

This is good or bad depending on how long the last 70 days have been for you...

As of this Sunday, Bush will have exactly as many days left in office as there have been since the day Sarah Palin was announced as McCain's running mate. - 72 to be exact.

I actually don't feel like she was on the national scene very long so this is good news to me!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


Tuesday, November 04, 2008

MSNBC Live Election Day Feed

Monday, November 03, 2008

Ed Helms teaches us about voting.


It is no secret that I am a fan of Senator Obama. I admire much of what he stands for both as a person and as a symbol for what this nation has been, is and can be. But what has fascinated me the most about his campaign has not been his proposals or his opinions, no matter how much I may agree with them.

It has been Toot.

In many ways the relationship that Barack Obama has had with his grandmother reminds me of my own experience. I should preface this by noting that all of my grandparents and my father have been an incredible source of strength and love and support. But after my mom decided to estrange herself from me, it was my dad's mother who really filled out that maternal role in my life. When she passed away in 2004 it was one of the strangest swirl of emotions that I have ever faced. On the one hand, I had moved in with her prior to her needing to live in a hospice care center, and had witnessed the horrible spread of cancer as it came out of remission and spread from her breasts, to her other organs, bone marrow, and finally to the brain. I was happy to see her released from pain and dementia. On the other hand, I lost one of the most important people in my life.

When I heard that Senator Obama was suspending his campaign to go visit his grandmother in Hawaii, all those phantom emotions of grief and pain resurfaced. Because while he has had to remain cool and confident on the campaign trail, I know the other thoughts that have been hanging around out back. Anyone who has lost someone significant to them knows those thoughts. Grief is not aware of our work schedules, it does not listen to us when we want to escape into a movie theater. The pangs of loss always rear their head at our most triumphant moments. So, if he is elected tomorrow, then as he gives his acceptance speech, I guarantee that Toot will be in his mind whether he mentions her or not. The same will go for the inaugural address. For me it was the moment I received my acceptance letter to Fuller, and then again when I received my diploma. Me-maw, and Pa-Paw were there, and the grief rose up, and then joy mixed with it, leaving the wonderful mix of emotion the makes your stomach turn sour and your tear ducts moisten.

At the end of it all, this shared experience is not enough for me to vote for him. If the stories were reversed, I would not be casting a vote for McCain because of shared experience. But it nonetheless picks up the thrill of voting tomorrow and takes it to a different place. One that is surely more emotional, but one that will hopefully end in the happiness that would be an Obama Victory.

Once again I have managed to say very little in a whole lot of words, so here is Senator Obama speaking about his current experience of sorrow earlier tonight. As usual, he does a much better job :)

Full-Length/Percentage View of the Race

This graph is supposed to show undecideds, Nader, and Barr voters as well, but it isn't cooperating. Anyway, Nader and Barr make up 3% of the vote, which leaves 4% as undecideds. If the current numbers are true, then McCain could get all the undecideds and still lose the popular vote. Of course, it is the key states that matter, but McCain's chances are slim overall.

For the best explanations of the how the polls work and what the likely outcomes are, I wholeheartedly recommend No one out there has done such an extensive look at the polling this campaign.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Jon Stewart Continues being Awsome Personified

In a related note, I read an article somewhere in my myriad of rss feeds about how an Obama win would affect Shows like The Daily Show and Countdown w/ Keith Olbermann because of how the shows have largely benefited due to their opposition to W. It is my hope that the DS in particular would continue pointing out the absurdities of government, including an Obama administration. Nonetheless it will be interesting to see how they adjust.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Tennant is stepping down as The Doctor after 2009

For those who don't know, Doctor Who is hands down my favorite television show. I love so many shows, but none have captivated me quite like this one has. Sadly the classic series was not a part of my viewing growing up, but once I became a fan of the new series, I have had the joys of going back to explore 30 years worth of episodes.

By the time I did come to investigate Doctor Who, David Tennant was playing what is known as the 10th Doctor (He is a Time Lord, and Time Lords don't die, they regenerate into new bodies/personalities ie- a new actor takes over the part). So, that means that Tennant has been 'my doctor.' He is certainly among my favorites, and knowing he is leaving a year in advance will at least ease the transition for me. It is certainly an odd thing to be affected by a mere fictional character and the people who play him, but I am odd, so there :-p Seriously though, I look forward to his remaining specials and am interested to see who takes on the role next. If I had my choice I would say David Mitchell, Stephen Fry, or Bill Bailey, however in the shows attempt to broaden its audience, they will probably go for someone less quirky and more attractive to the teenage girls demographic. Tennant was in this category, so that does not mean bad things necessarily, it just means some great potentials will never even be considered.

The announcement and subsequent interview:


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Forget Joe the Plumber, I wanna hear more about Bozo the Clown!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

New Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince trailer

John Hodgman: A brief digression on matters of lost time

I will never tire of anything this man does.

Homer Takes a Picture of Himself Every Day for 39 Years

Some nice little sight gags in this one.

Homer Every Day from Noah K. on Vimeo.

Christian Stewardship & Government Welfare

This is a great reminder of why the church cannot view government as a major solution to its mission in the world. I appreciate the emphasis they put on the need for personal interaction and sacrifice. Throwing money at the problem without the necessary relationship is not really something that works. I would still say that our government, and our churches both have a responsibility to look after the homeless and poor of our country, what it seems is needed however, is a new look at how we go about that.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


Friday, October 24, 2008

Richie Cunningham, The Fonz, Opie and Andy Griffith for Barack Obama

Regardless of which side you are on in this election, this is a pretty darn good clip.

See more Ron Howard videos at Funny or Die

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Just when I had come to grips with the fact that Lost wasn't on the air for another three months...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

No Ma'am- Yours is not the Christianity *I* know.

This kind of ignorance, intolerance, and lack of love bears no reflection of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is the kind of approach that has nothing to do with the Kingdom of God and should be rejected outright.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Powell Endorses Obama

Endorsements don't always translate into higher poll numbers, but what strikes me about Colin Powell's endorsement is that he has probably put forth the most thoughtful refutation of things the McCain camp has argued or done. In particular his thoughts on the Muslim issue line up pretty well with what I wrote the other day, but also his refutation of the socialist charge in the second video is also very good.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

California's Proposition 8- Gay Marriage Ban

In case you haven't noticed, there is another big issue being voted on in November out in California. Earlier this spring, the California Supreme Court ruled that it was against their state constitution to prohibit gay marriage. There is currently a proposition on the ballot that would reinstate the ban.

The rhetoric says that this is to protect 'traditional marriage' and keep it sacred. Well I would strongly disagree. First of all, there is no governmental authority in the history of the world which can preside over the holiness of marriage. The sacredness of marriage is under the authority of the church which is under the authority of Jesus Christ. So here I would say when it comes to marriage, the church needs to stop relying upon government to pass laws to please its will, but rather to be the church and change hearts from within.

Secondly, there is no such thing as traditional marriage. what most people are referring to when they say this is the two-parents, two-kids and a pet stereotype that arose after WWII. To be sure there are many families with this set-up, but there are also as many different combinations of families as you can think of. The rate of divorce in America is outrageous, with children growing up in all sorts of broken homes, or with grandparents and other relatives as guardians. When the church can't even conform to this 'traditional family' template, how can they even think about deciding others should too? I would also add that Christians are not the only people who inhabit this country and to presume that what we feel our religion teaches should be applied to all is not a good way to go about things.

Thirdly, if we are going to look at this from a biblical perspective, then I think the proponents of Prop 8 come to the wrong conclusion here too. I cannot stress enough that the Jesus the Bible reveals is one which sought to love everyone regardless of their actions (to speak against sin yes, but to love first. Always to love first), and furthermore, to seek out the lost, and outcast of society and bring them into the fold. In our day GLBT people are most definitely in that category. Anyone who would argue that they have not faced great hatred, discrimination and unfair or violent treatment in America is just not paying attention. So I do believe that Jesus would be seeking to care for them, and heal their pains as well.

This leads me to my fourth point. I believe it is possible to care for and love our neighbors as Christ and seek their welfare (i believe this is at the heart of the gospel no?) while still being true to our faith. I am not arguing that the Bible casts homosexuality in a positive light. However, it is a relatively small topic within scripture as compared to issues of caring for the poor, loving your neighbor, etc. Furthermore, I do not believe homosexuality is a sin which disqualifies one from being a Christian anymore than adultery, murder, pride or even terrorism do. Sin separates us from God, however, if it stopped there, none of us would be able to call ourselves Christians. If Jesus can offer forgiveness to Paul after the things he did, then I have no trouble offering it to anyone else. How they respond is not on my head, but even so, Jesus won't stop pursuing them with unbridled love and acceptance.

Finally, in light of the idea that we are to seek justice for our neighbors, and the outcasts, I feel a much more acceptable solution would be to recognize that the kingdom of God and the kingdom of this world (in our case the US government) are not intertwined in such a way that we think that passing the right laws makes us a christian nation. Here is where the separation of church and state is more important than ever. the Church cannot declare the actions of the state holy, and the state cannot have a say in what the church defines as holy. So, instead of passing bans against gay marriage, there should be two separate things which happen. First, the state should only have the authority to preside over civil unions. I believe these should be regardless of sexual orientation, but they should provide any couple the same tax rights as well as things like insurance, hospital visitation and other ways the state handles unions. It should address all of the civil rights issues of homosexuals, ensuring that every citizen of this country is equal under the law. Then, the state needs to offer protection to religious institutions which allows them to make their own decisions on whether to sanctify marriage according to their beliefs and traditions. Hate speech and thoughtful decisions based upon scriptures are two different things, and the a church's decision to decline the rite of marriage to homosexuals should not be equated with hate. Of course, for this to work, churches would have to be acting as the body of Christ among homosexuals too. It is not an excuse to dehumanize them in any way.

Obviously this solution is going to ruffle feathers on both sides of the debate, but it is one I have been seeing proposed in more and more places lately, and I truly feel that it is one which allows us to care for homosexuals, affirming their humanity, while also acting out our faith within our churches.

This post has already been much longer than I had expected and I am sure I have left out a lot of points i might normally make in conversation. Below I have posted a few ads from both sides of the issue for anyone interested.

YES on Prop 8 Ads

NO on Prop 8 ads:

Take On Me: Literal Video Version

And I thought the last one was depressing...

The only thing missing from this video is what the protesters were saying across the street. I am not sure it would have reached the same height of ridiculousness, but I am sure it was less than loving as well.

Each person on this video is someone Jesus came to die for, each one of them is precious in his sight. May the Lord break through all of this putrid and vile hatred from both sides with his peace, love, and understanding. May we stop losing our own humanity as we deny others their own.

Friday, October 17, 2008

George Wallace was the wrong comparison

Joseph McCarthy is more like it.

I actually caught this episode of Hardball Live tonight, and seeing it a second time confirms to me that Michelle Bachmann is only taking what has been an implicit message of the McCain campaign and making it about as explicit as one can get.

Later in the program a guest described Bachmann's remarks as fascist. I don't think that does anything to help the debate either, but what is clear is that once again the Republican tactic is to create an us vs. them mentality where anyone who disagrees with them is either:

a) un-American
b) elitist
d) a terrorist
or e) (in the case of senator Obama) all of the above and then some!

While there are definitely democrats who would like to do the same thing, I feel the difference is that we are talking about party radicals in that case as opposed to a full frontal assault by almost all republicans all the way to the top of the ticket. This to me is a huge difference and one which prevents me from even considering the McCain campaign.

When you couple this appearance with the robocalls all over the nation and Governor Palin stating that she loved to visit the 'pro-America' parts of the country today (of course this statement was walked back later when they realized what she had said), you get the equivalent of a modern day Red Scare.

Proof that they can both be civil!

Both of these videos are good for a laugh. After a rough debate the night before, it is good to see that they both really can have a sense of humor about it all. Now...if only they could take that sense of humor and civility and keep it up for the last 2 1/2 weeks.

John McCain's sense of humor is not enough for me to vote for him, however it is enough to remind me why I wanted him to win back in 2000 in the first place. It still is doubtful that he will win, but it is my hope that if he were to win, he would return to his old self. One of the things that really made me angry about both Bush terms were his repeated campaign pledges of bipartisanship that were tossed aside soon after taking office. In the case of a McCain win, I do think he could work with democrats again, but it is going to take a lot of work to undo the damage he has done during the present campaign.

Anyway, enjoy the brief respite from the negativity!

McCain's Remarks:

Obama's Remarks:

Thursday, October 16, 2008


I have no idea when this happened. All I know is that it is one of the funniest faces ever caught on camera. It is similar to the way people take random screencaps of Jack on Lost.

Maybe he heard David Gergen respond to the question of what should the McCain campaign do by saying "Beats the hell out of me!"

Spread the Wealth Around

Overall I felt that (surprise) Obama won the debate. I am tired and so I doubt much will be coherently said here.

What I do want to mention real quick is that the reply to McCain about spreading the wealth around should have pointed out that for too long we have tried the 'trickle down' economic approach which Republicans always push as a way of free markets taking care of themselves. The problem is not somebody like Joe the Plumber, and it is unfortunate that he would have to pay more in taxes (however I still say 250k is a high number, even for a small business). The problem is that so many large corporations simply do not spread the wealth around on their own. One doesn't have to look very far in the current economic crisis to see that this approach has not worked very well. As the income gap in this country and the world increases, we should not be so quick to dismiss the idea of taxing those more fortunate to aid those who are often struggling due to the large corporations and high income earners.

Finally, I am not suggesting that we have a massive redistribution of wealth, which is why I do feel that it can be the government's role to use that money on programs where it sees fit as opposed to pulling a full Robin Hood. It would be great if we were a country which looked out for one another on the financial stage. The reality though, is that we don't. And where citizen's fail in this regard, that is precisely the time for government to come in and do so itself.

PS David Gergen Rocks.

Monday, October 13, 2008

John McCain's "Comeback Speech"

I will freeze government spending on all but the most important programs like defense, veterans care, Social Security and health care until we scrub every single government program and get rid of the ones that aren’t working for the American people. And I will veto every single pork barrel bill Congresses passes. - John McCain, 10-13-2008
This reminds me of when Schwartzenegger proposed cutting all of California's budget 10% across the board. Both are at the extremes of our options. Whereas Schwartzenegger's plan ignored the fact that different programs have varying degrees of importance, I feel that McCain's spending freeze places the priority of some (including the wrong ones) things over the needs of others. The biggest problem I have with this is that Defense is right there at the top of the list. I would agree that the other three are priorities as well, but I would add many more things to the list. The idea that we would have a spending freeze on energy, education or government aide to low income citizens while putting what we do have into more defense spending is absolutely unacceptable. Somewhere in between the two proposals is a better way. Not every program should receive an equal budget cut, but neither should some just be left out in the cold.

It sounds bold and flashy to declare a spending freeze, but if you tried something like that in your personal life, you would quickly realize that it doesn't work. In fact many families in our country have to make those decisions out of necessity, and it only drives them further into debt. I can't simply stop paying for food because I need to pay my rent. What I can do, is look at how I spend that money and readjust. It may mean I buy less food, or that I drive less, or stay in more.

I appreciate that he wants to look into the spending habits of our government, however the way there should not simply be to stop spending money period.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The trouble with the "Arab" comment

Now for starters, I do give credit to John McCain for taking back the microphone and actually saying something. In the moment I am sure he was thinking on his feet and that was as good as anyone might do.

But, my problem is that his response only goes so far as to explain that Obama is a decent person. He leaves the whole Arab comment out there as if it is not being one that makes Obama a decent person. For starters, Arab is not a synonym for Muslim, nor is it a synonym for terrorist. Being either one of those (Arab/Muslim that is) should not be a disqualifier for being a decent person, or President of the USA for that matter. In fact more Arab-Americans are Christians than they are Muslims. But again, these facts do not have any bearing on one's "American-ness."

Just last night at dinner, someone I was talking to made the comment "Yeah, but don't you at least wish he had a different name? Something less..I dunno..." No, I don't. It can be easier in a place like Cincinnati to retreat into thinking like this because we are primarily a Black and White area. (I should note here that Arab-Americans are classified as white under the current census categories). We aren't confronted with the task of living in a diverse world in our daily lives as much as people in other cities might be. But while it may easier to think this way, that does not make it excusable. It is still prejudice.

I consider my time spent in Los Angeles as one of the more eye-opening experiences when it comes to race and minorities. There are very few cities like it in the world. It was definitely a stretching experience for me, and only part of my own journey of acceptance of others. But it was one I think I needed as well. Los Angeles is certainly no utopia when it comes to race and ethnicity, but for me at least, seeing families and people from all kinds of cultural backgrounds doing what they can to muddle through life there began to break down some of the preconceptions I had. It also showed me that the hesitancy towards anyone/thing not like us is not restricted to white Americans, but is a human trait we all share. However, our response cannot be "See - Everyone is racist so it is ok for me to be a little bit too!" When we live with a lowest common denominator attitude, it can only go lower. If we decide that there are things we can all aspire too, then the chances of it going up also increase.

And the only real way to combat prejudice in my opinion is through fellowship and community with those who are different. I don't think walking in someone else's shoes is really a solution. That is still an isolated action. Walking beside others though, is a communal activity. Whether it is working, worshipping, conversing with, or just enjoying their company, when we spend time with people out of an open heart, we at least provide the opportunity to love our neighbors. While our city may be predominantly white and black, it is not only that. Our goal should not be to seek out our Black friend, our Asian friend, our Arab or Hispanic friends so that we can sleep at night having met our diversity quota. But our goal should be an openness to recognize the diversity that does exist in our City, and then the freedom to develop relationships with anyone regardless of how much they are or aren't like us (I have focused mainly on race here, but this goes for socio-economic status, religious background, or urban/rural divides as well).

Finally, I am not writing this as a condemnation of McCain for his response, but more as a way to try and point in the direction of the real issue there. So yes McCain is right that Obama is a decent family man, but so too are Arabs and Muslims. Let us not make demographics the guage we use to determine decency or american-ness.

You're a Profanity/ Hannity.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

This is just plain sad.

This doesn't make me angry, it just makes me depressed.

Clearly the McCain campaign cannot be held responsible for these people, however I do believe that they have a responsibility to reject these kinds of beliefs more forcefully.

Also, comparing these to comments that McCain is too old (not really an issue for me) or Palin is too inexperienced (more of an issue for me) is just not the same. Labeling someone a 'terrorist' is an extremely dangerous thing to do.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

No one wins the Town Hall, because it wasn't one...

John Dickerson on

The night was billed as a town hall—but I've seen town halls, and this wasn't one. The strict rules apparently had frightened the questioners with foreclosure if they asked anything interesting, followed up with the candidates, or performed any acts of spontaneity. Town halls are supposed to be freewheeling and probing. This format was dull, and the constant ankle-biting between the candidates compounded the problem.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Freedom of the Press

I guess this is Sarah Palin's way of punishing that liberally biased media for abusing their 1st amendment rights: Remove them from contact with those outside the pen.

You ;) betcha ;) Doggone ;) it ;)

;) ;) ;) ;) ;) ;) ;) ;) ;) ;) ;) ;);) ;) ;) ;)

Sorry something was stuck in my eye.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

The easist/most awesome teapot in the world (so far)

Friday marked the delivery of my latest tea related purchase in my ongoing pursuit of a great cuppa tea. In honor of keeping on top of my finances, I have budgeted a little bit each week to start building not only my collection of teas, but also some of the things needed to brew it well.

I ordered the IngenuiTEA Starter Set from Adagio Teas. It comes with a nice little book on tea as well as a four-tea sampler set (I chose the green tea sampler). I also ordered their 16oz glass mug which is nice, because you can see how good your infusion looks!

I originally ordered it so that I could have something to use at work, but it is so great that I am thinking I will be lugging it back and forth from work so I can use it at home too. Here it is during the infusion:

Basically you heat up your water and fill up the pot. I have found that putting the tea leaves in before the water helps open them up better, otherwise they kind of just hang out at the top of the pot. Anyway, the main reason this thing is so great is because unlike my little wal-mart teapot, which has a tiny infuser, this one allows you to just throw the leaves in as they are. The problem with a tiny infuser is that it doesn't allow the leaves to fully expand, thereby preventing the flavor from reaching its full potential (thats what she said). After the brewing time is up, all you have to do is set the pot on top of a normal sized mug and it will open up a seal on the bottom, allowing only the tea to come out. There is a removable filter at the bottom of the pot which prevents the leaves from draining out with the tea. After you have done that, it looks like this:

And finally here is just the tea itself being held up to the light:

This particular tea was a black tea flavored with coconut. I have normally found it to be very good, however tonight I brewed it too long. Most black teas should be steeped for about 5 minutes, but for some reason the flavored teas from SpecialTeas should only be steeped around 3 minutes. I forgot this, so it came out a little bit on the bitter side. Nothing a few rock sugar crystals couldn't fix though!

I am really enjoying the green teas I have been trying. I am actually surprised the grassiness of some of them isn't too much for me. I will probably write about some of them soon. Or not. You never know :-p

And finally, I tried my first Oolong the other night at the Bean Haus. I wasn't sure what to expect, as the name of it was 'Hairy Crab.' I loved it though. Oolongs are sort of in between a green and black tea, and this one really tasted quite good. It was part grassy, part something I can't remember lol. All I know is that since then it is all I can think about. I can't wait to order some different ones to try here at home!

Brian Williams is a Maverick too.

Say it *is* so Joe- SNL VP Debate

"Oh And for those Joe Six-Packs out there playing a drinkin' game: Maverick!"

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

With numbers like these...

.... perhaps McCain really should continue his 'maverick' actions. They seem to be doing worlds of good for Obama. The daily tracking polls are only good for measuring trends, but the trend right now heavily favors Sen. Obama.

All I really have to say is something that has already been echoed over and over in the last 24 hours- McCain can't scramble to take the credit for the bailout when he thinks it is going to succeed and then deny any responsibility as soon as it fails. Also- for any Republican that "changed their vote" over a speech. I say screw you. It is either true and you are mentally challenged, or it is false and you are still mentally challenged for expecting the American public to buy into it. In the words of Bill Cosby- "That's Brain Damage!"

Monday, September 29, 2008

Monday's Tea- Almond Cookie

Today I am trying the Almond Cookie blend from SpecialTeas. It is a combination of black tea, almonds, cinnamon, flavouring, safflower blossoms. The smell itself is enough reason to brew this one. It smells, well... cookie-like lol. The official description talks about those windmill cookies with almonds in them, but the first thought I had was of snicker doodles.

As for the taste, this one holds up much better than the caramel from the other day. Whereas I felt the caramel added nothing helpful to that tea, this one brings in the cookie taste after an initial wave of the black tea flavor; leaving you with a nice sweet flavor in your mouth. As it is meant to be a dessert-like tea, adding a bit of sugar only serves to make it better.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Yesterday's Teas - China Tian Mu Qing Ding Organic & Caramel with Caramel Pieces

My latest order for tea came in yesterday and I decided to give a couple of them a try.

The first, China Tian Mu Qing Ding Organic, was actually one of the free samples they send with your order. I have to admit that while I am a huge fan of black teas, I havn't had much experience with green teas. I have enjoyed the pre-made iced green teas, but most of those are so sweetened it is hard to know what you are really tasting.

Overall I was mildly impressed. It is hard to go against the instinct that the longer you infuse it the more flavor you will get out of it (in reality it just turns teas bitter). My general understanding is that green teas range from a smokey flavor to a grassy flavor. This was towards the grassy end of the spectrum, but not so much that I felt like I was just drinking grass. The one thing I did enjoy was that it had a nice semi-sweet aftertaste. I have much more learning to do on the green tea front, so I am unsure what else to say about this one now.

The second tea I tried yesterday was Caramel with Caramel Pieces. This was one that I had been looking forward to, but was kind of disappointed in. The smell was amazing, however the taste did not live up to its smell. It just seemed to have a bit of a flat taste too it. I usually expect a good black tea to hit me with a lot more flavor than this one did. I will certainly give it another try, but I am not expecting too much out of it in the future.

As well as all the tea, I also ordered a bag of raw rock sugar crystals to sweeten tea with. It is recommended over table sugar because it is able to sweeten things without messing with their original taste/flavor. I included a little bit of the crystals in each cup of the black tea, and it did do just that- unfortunately I probably wouldn't have minded if it did cover up the flavor in that one!

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Proclaimers- Two Songs

I have been revisiting The Proclaimers the last few days. Everyone knows 'Im Gonna Be (500 Miles), but I have found that they haven't done an album I dislike.

First a cover of "Whole Wide World" - which to my knowledge was originally done by Wreckless Eric. More recently Will Ferrell sang it in Stranger than Fiction...

Whole Wide World - The Proclaimers

And I couldn't find a suitable/legal way to play a song called "If There's a God," so instead here is a video of Peter Kay and Matt Lucas doing '500 Miles' for Comic Relief last year. It is worth it if only for David Tennant dancing in a kilt.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

"McCain has found his inner voice...

... it is his inner William Jennings Bryan"

Friday, September 19, 2008

More of John Oliver

Thursday, September 18, 2008

That's what she said...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Hate, Reconciliation, and Prayer

I was driving home from work just now, and a man in a truck beside me motioned for me to roll down my window.

I foolishly obliged.

"You can't be a Christian and support Obama" he said, before yelling "I hope you like Muslims!" and driving off.

Now, had this happened out at a public place that wasn't on the road I would have hopefully been able to at least confront him on this charge. But instead there was simply no time to react before he was gone. React towards him that is. I certainly reacted alright. My initial response was anger. Not the kind of anger that makes me want to hit someone or something (although that seems to fit within my emotional range unfortunately), just anger. Oh the things I could have said if I had just been given the chance- I would show him!

To be sure- What he said straddled so many kinds of bigotry, ignorance, and hatred that it deserved to be called out for what it was- Pure and utter Shite. It was certainly not the kind of thing that Christ would say- and therefore not the kind of thing a Christian should say. And that is when it hit me- this guy was saying this presumably as a Christian.

One thing that riles my feathers mare than just about anything else is when one Christian questions the faith and orthodoxy of another without any real contact with that person. Whether it is Mark Driscoll calling Tony Campolo a wolf in sheep's clothing while distorting his words, or Catholic Bishops refusing to give John Kerry communion, or even those of us on the left who want to cast people like Pat Buchanan or Jerry Falwell out into hell. This was precisely what this man was doing, and in return what I had begun to do to this man.

The Bible does tell us that there are some wrong teachings out there (Although when it comes to heresy, I am reluctant to declare anyone who can confess the creeds a heretic- and I am also persuaded by Greg Boyd's notion that wrong doctrine is less of a heresy than acting unloving towards your neighbor). But it also provides some pretty clear examples of how to approach those with different ideas, beliefs or actions than we might agree with, and none of them consist of declaring heresy out of the gates and stripping others of their identity in Christ of our own judgment. It does point us to be reconciled if we can. Whether it is one-on-one, or in a small group, or as a church. The goal is embrace and reconciliation, not exclusion.

In those places where we are unable to do so- and this is where my encounter this afternoon comes in- I believe the peacemaking gesture is simply to pray for God to bless them with his presence and love. Now what I don't mean is to pray that God would provide that person with all of the insight that he has given myself, so they may truly see the light and agree with me. No- that isn't prayer conforming to the will of God, that is conforming holy prayer to my earthly will. And that is simply out of the question. Loving our enemies means hard work. It means doing the things that are contrary to our human instincts. And this means refraining from selfish prayer.

So, there I was, finishing my ride home, angry as can be. And then - peace. The phrase "Jesus Loves Him" began repeating in my head. Over and over and over until I surrendered the anger I had been focusing on him. This does not diminish my anger at what was behind the statements themselves, but it does take the focus off of my neighbor and put it on sin itself.

I have no way of truly knowing the status of this guy's faith. Perhaps his is as nominal as the next guy, perhaps he is committed to a life of prayer. All I can do is speculate from my own distorted viewpoint. But if there is the chance of one mustard seed, or a kernel of faith laying beneath the surface of those hateful words- then I am in no place to question him, and can only pray "God Bless you."

I have no idea how I may react the next time something like that happens, but I do pray that it will be with the heart of Jesus at the fore of my thought.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Stewart & Colbert- Unable to hold in the laughter

Mitchell & Webb

One of the best comedy pairings coming out of Britain today. David Mitchell in particular is one of my favorite people to watch in just about anything. But together they are known for their sketch shows "That Mitchell & Webb Look," "That Mitchell & Webb Sound" and their long running comedy "Peep Show"

Here are a few of my favorite Sketches:

SS Soldiers realizing they are actually the 'baddies'

One roommate has issues with football fans using the word 'we' in reference to how their favorite team does

Jesus catches some heat for his Good Samaritan references

Party Invitations- To invite Shaggy or not?

Uh.... This is just weird...

Greg Boyd on Abortion

Greg Boyd on Abortion

Greg Boyd truly has become one of the most influential preacher on me lately- here is his take on the issue of abortion, which steers away from the divisive political debate, recognizing that Pro-Life people can differ on how to politically address the issue, even voting "pro-choice"- and towards the kingdom questions of how do we care for those women and families who face the abortion question. Are we willing to sacrifice for them? are we willing to bleed for them?

I personally fall on the side of things which says if we truly want to reduce abortions, we must address poverty issues, as well as fund contraception education and distribution. I also feel that the evidence shows that in places where the abortion laws are stricter and abstinence only policies are adopted, the safety of the women involved is dramatically disproportionate to countries where abortion is legal. (This article also notes some objections to the findings, but I feel the findings are probably closer to the truth than not.)

I have to admit here that as strong of a supporter of Sen. Obama as I am, I don't agree with him on everything, and I am not untroubled by some of his past votes concerning abortion. However, I do refuse to make that the only issue I contemplate when voting for a candidate. There are too many issues that are too complex to ever vote on a single issue.

And finally, I recognize the right of others to come to differing conclusions on this issue. I do pray though, that on the Christian end of the spectrum, we would turn from placing our trust in the laws we get passed, to living out the kingdom in the way we care for the women and families who face these decisions. To put it another way- Jesus did not die more for either the mother or the child, but for both. He calls us away from the temptation to judge, and into the service of love, embracing them both as our neighbors.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Why I love Joe Biden-

It is almost a guarantee that he will shove his foot so far down his throat that he would still be standing on two feet, but he sure does have the best lines on the campaign trail!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Today's Tea - Cocoa Cardamom Tango

One thing I brought back to Cincy from California has been a love of Loose-Leaf Teas. As a student I did almost all of my studying and school work at the local Peet's Coffee & Tea. They always had a decent variety of teas to choose from, and I became hooked on the stronger flavors to be found by brewing from loose-leaf rather than bagged tea.

So, when I got back to Cincy, finding a good place for tea was on the top of my list. So far the best and closest place to me is the Bean Haus in Covington. They have a large selection to choose from, as well as free wi-fi and are rarely crowded. It is a great place to come and relax.

Anyway, I have since begun buying some teas online. I found a great Iced Tea pitcher that has its own infuser so that you can brew iced tea with loose leaf tea. The tea can be very strong, and you have to get used to it being visually cloudy (this happens when the tannins cool off), but it makes one heck of a brew!

So, the last time I ordered some tea, I got a couple of sampler packs, which are all pretty good, but they also sent me a free sample of the one I tried today - Cocoa Cardamom Tango (pictured above). I had been holding off on making some for a while mainly because when it is hot outside I normally don't want hot tea or coffee. But today seemed like a good day for it. It was quite good. The chocolate, cinnamon and black tea flavors ended up mixing better than I had expected. My first cup was unsweetened, and that was alright, but I added a packet of splenda to the next cup and that turned out to add the sweetness the chocolate was asking for.

I can't imagine this is a tea I will return to often, but I definitely can see it as being a nice treat during the winter months ahead!

Tuesday- The movie

3 different attempts to rob a bank by 3 different groups..

Most importantly it stars John Simm and Philip Glenister. Don't recognize them? In that case skip the American version of Life on Mars and watch the BBC version instead. These guys are simply two of the best out there in Britain right now.

Tu£sday Teaser Trailer - The story of a heist gone right...

"I invite the media to grow a pair...."

Can't get more uncannily on target than Tina Fey does with this impression.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


To be honest, I never quite know what to make of Olbermann, he seems to make excellent points yet he also has a way of taking things into such a strange place at the same time. I agree with him insofar as the choice of imagery during the tribute was questionable, especially after hearing how the networks were pretty much duped into showing the graphic footage w/out a warning.

The Daily Show's John Oliver

John Oliver is without a doubt my favorite DS correspondent since Colbert and Carrell.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Neil Gaiman- Check
They Might Be Giants- Check
John Hodgman- Check

Awesomeness- Check Check Check!

Moonwalking Birds are fun...

I was watching some old episodes of QI last night, and came across one of my all time favorite moments from the show:

Here is one of the bird w/sound-


So- while I have changed in the last 3 years, this blog has most definitely not. I'm gonna have to do something about that aren't I?

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

3 years gone...

I have not used this blog as a place for my thoughts in a very long time. I am not even sure I will be consistent with it this time around. It is sort of odd to look back over the old posts that are on here. Mainly because it seems to trace an old relationship from its happy start to bitter finish... I considered removing them, but they are good reminders of where I have been in the past. So- feel free to peruse them if you want, noticing the parts of me you recognize, and those that you don't recognize too- I am sure that I am not the same person I was even 3 years ago.

Tonight I had two reminders of how true that was. First I got stuck taking a bunch of quizzes that try and place you on the spectrum of political thought from communism to libertarianism etc.. I consistently came up as a social democrat, social liberal, or just plain socialist. Of course, these quizzes only go so far, which means the question of why you believe such and such on a particular issue is never addressed. I can see how my views would end up on that end of things, but my belief that government needs to be more active in taking care of the poor and outcast of society is based in my understanding of the bible's emphasis on such things rather than in a concept of equaling the playing field and eliminating oppression. Jesus tells us that the poor will always be with us, and that we must always love our neighbor. We need not expect to bring everything into harmony by our action, only that we share God's kingdom with all who need it.

The second thing which reminded me how much has changed was a short but fruitful discussion with my most recent (if 3 years ago is recent) ex-gf. We broke up in 2005 and for2 long years I harbored an unhealthy bitterness towards her. In fact, if the Richie of 2 years ago saw me say hello to her online tonight, he surely would have berated me for being insane. Thankfully the Lord brought some true reconciliation to that relationship about a year ago. Since then the bitterness has faded into nothing. Tonight we talked a bit about how different the political climate is between the midwest and california (her husband is from Mich.). I realized that along with my theological education, she was one of the major forces in my shift to the left. I am thankful that there was someone to challenge my assumptions and beliefs during that time. I remember some very heated discussions over issues such as the role of women in marriage and church. At the time I hadn't done enough research to have an opinion, but was wary of what I have come to know as the egalitarian view. Now, I feel so strongly in favor of women serving as leaders in the church as well as the need for an egalitarian approach to leadership within a marriage, that I will not even consider working or making my church home in a denomination that does not allow women to serve in the same capacity as men. -But that is for another time- My point is, that God has certainly been growing me and challenging me from many different angles.

I am now back in the greater Cincinnati area. The Richie who has returned here has so many different views than the one who left here. Whether family or friends, I recognize that most of them do not share my views, and that is ok. I need that voice of challenge now just as I had it before. This is what iron sharpening iron is all about. I may not like being backed into a corner on various issues, but it is the only real way that I am going to be able to evaluate where I actually stand on things. And I am assuming that I can do the same for them. I pray that in the course of this sharpening though- that the reminder of each others humanity, neighbor-ness, and need for christ-like love would be at the forefront. Other wise we move from sharpening one another to dulling and blunting one another until all we are useful for is beating each other up- and that is certainly not the best way to go about it at all!