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!"