Observation

"Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again..."

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Location: Tampa, FL, United States

Friday, March 31, 2006

Bad Science meets Bad Religion

A cohort of licensed green monkeys met last week and determined prayers were needed for the "scientists" who concluded their study on prayer and healing merited publication in the "prestigious" American Heart Journal. Maybe bird flu has struck America after all.

Apparently 1,802 heart bypass patients were either prayed for and knew it, prayed for yet not informed they were being prayed for, or not prayed for (at least not by the prayors used for the "study.")

The flaws in this study are numerous. God was given a time limit to respond. There's no way to determine whose prayers were going unanswered for whatever reason. It's impossible to measure any mental and spiritual benefit in patients who declined in some physical capacity. How was God expected to reign over his creation when it's known by all parties involved that a handful of finite "study leaders" are seeking to possibly pass judgment on what is strictly a God-ordained, spiritual discipline--prayer--for which mankind has no sovereign control and only limited insight? Was it ever ascertained that these Christian groups doing the praying were all comprised of Christians? Christ's church is invisible and it's highly unlikley any church doesn't have a few or more reprobates "playing the game."

Was God saddened that mankind had outwitted Him and trapped Him at his own "game?" What if God had fully restored all the hearts of the "prayed for" group in an instant, while the other patients all died within a couple days of their surgery? Would the journal have published those results? Would the study leaders suddenly start tithing?

If God could be completely or even more fully understood through man's studies then he would not truly be God. Men that seek to prove any aspect of God know not God. This whole John Templeton Foundation-sponsored study costing $2.4 million was an exercise in foolhardiness and manipulation, inclusively.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Win a 1/2 lb of fresh-roasted coffee!

As a "coming attraction" to a future lengthy post, what might the following have in common (relative to a common ingredient containing fat and protein in its original state!) --

resin, oil-filled breast implants, imitation marble, mattresses, mosquito repellant, bio-diesel fuel, plastics and tempeh?

All correct answers will be pooled and one winner selected (assuming two or more correct answers are submitted). If you forward the blog to a friend and they win, then whoever did the forwarding will also win a free 1/2 lb of fresh-roasted coffee.

I'll roast the coffee here at home to insure ultimate freshness. If multiple forwardings occur then only the initial forwarder wins the prize. The middle forwarders get a pat on the back.

I'll e-mail the winner(s) to get their home mailing address.


DEADLINE - March 23.

Scott

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The Joy of Misery

James' admonition to "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance," (James 1:3) is of great importance for several reasons.

Firstly, it's biblical so it's altogether true, relevant, important and necessary.

Secondly, it's anti-human nature, which isn't surprising because that testifies to the accuracy of the Doctrine of Original Sin.

Thirdly, it's a continual reminder to shed existential thinking and be generationally-minded. Included with this is to remember the believer's ultimate destiny--up in heaven with God sans prior imperfections and past struggles with manifold temptations.

Fourthly, being joyful in the midst of trials, even if it's only an internalized joy at best, somewhat alleviates the present distress.

Fifthly, it reminds us to not be consumed with ourselves and to reorient our lives with God's calling in mind. Such a calling generally entails ministering to others rather than loading up on personal pleasures.

Sixthly, building perseverance is inevitable with anyone endeavoring to be Christ-like. Because perseverance is a trait all believers should expect to have instilled into their character, the pure joy expected to be expressed during the process is a disposition for which we need a great measure of grace.

A priority should be to understand God's purpose for the test and not so much to get out of it in time for your next bout with happiness. Because modern churchity tends to be blessing-centric it's impotent for its lack of maturity and completeness (James 1:4).

Monday, March 13, 2006

March Madne$$

It's that time of year. You can just envision the multitude of players from the 63 teams destined for elimination, or already eliminated, from the Men's NCAA basketball tournament, gripped with depression as time runs off their respective clocks. For about half the teams the dream has been shattered and the memories are being sorted out.

But on another front, there's ... the brackets. Every year daily rags run stories on how hundreds of millions of dollars in lost economic activity will occur in the nation because employees and employers are either filling out, or following their... bracket(s) instead of producing. Most have lobbed a buck or two into a pot in hopes of achieving bragging rights for the upcoming decades, and win enough bling to buy a few double tall cappuccinos once the final buzzer sounds. Lunch hours are being extended to watch the weekday noon'ish games wrap up.

The excitement generated by the first and second rounds for untold millions of of March Madnessites is likely akin to what bird flu reporters on crack would be experiencing when racing to meet their deadlines. While legitimate violations will be handled on an office level, one could make the case that March Madness breathes life into many otherwise staid work environments saddled with enough micro-rules to strain gnat after gnat. Who knows, perhaps the mild adrenalin surge afforded by March Madness actually increases productivity? Hyped up workers--ramped up output.

With respect to the myriad of office pools, is there no greater cumulative violation of "American Empire law" than when March Madness strikes? With March Madness it's a veritable Thanksgiving Day feast type of "lawlessness." Petty ante "gamblers" push aside their draconian, empire-furthering income tax forms to pick a 14-seed over a 3-seed, a 12 over a 5, and hope their Bradley or Northwestern State knocks off a fellow poolster's Final Four pick.

While the lottery is certainly a horrific idea, March Madness is always a fun time to live vicariously through young point guards, forwards and centers from no-name schools. Hoopsters, who are about to look back and contemplate if they wasted much of their college years to throw a ball through a hoop, knowing they undermined their studies at a whiff of a chance to make the NBA. It's Madness! March Madness.

Bradley really beat Kansas? Yes! Somebody always beats Kansas.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

United States of Jenga

Jenga of course is the game wherein players take turns removing wooden blocks, one at a time, from an 18-story tower until the tower collapses under its own weight and instability. (To enliven the action you have to replace your removed block back on top of the tower). The last player to have successfully removed and replace a block, without toppling the tower, wins.


One could make a strong case that the strength and might of Great American Empire (still known as the "United States" in some parts) is analagous to a Jenga tower that's substantially higher, but frightenly more unstable. Our heads have pierced the stratosphere but how many more blocks can be removed and restacked before the inevitable collapse? In the analogy, the blocks are representative of historical events and moments that have instilled weakness in the nation as a whole. Things like the War Between the States, the acceptance of "Executive Orders" by the president and the created imbalance of power amongst the federal governmental branches, the debasing of the currency, the establishment of a Federal Reserve board, abortion, the increase and acceptance of sexual sins, deficit spending (public and private), public "education," welfarism, oppressive taxation, pornography as a "right" protected by the First Amendment, weakened immigration policies and practices, and there are others.

Jenga towers never "partially collapse." They crash in an instant with great fanfare leaving a shattered foundation at best. America is at a point in history where it needs blocks reinserted rather than removed. It's difficult to imagine the empire weathering very many more blocks being removed before our Jenga imitation commences.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Technical analysis of "Technical Foul"

Technical fouls are ostensibly egregious fouls commited in the game of basketball. In actuality, the phrase "technical foul" is more of an oxymoron. An oxymoron is of course is a single moron (e.g. Jon Stewart) with one free oxygen atom attached, to donate to cholesterol. That aside...

At face value and in the context of basketball, the term "technical" implies great scrutiny has been exercised. In the truest sense "technical foul" should be applied to a foul that's barely a foul, but still a foul. However, in today's game technical fouls are more correctly, "blatant fouls." For example, if a player was dribbling up court and stopped at the three-point line to complete a drug deal, the ref would overlook any concomitant palming or traveling violation(s) and call a technical foul. That would be appropriate.

If the NBA and NCAA want to be taken seriously they'd do well to change the phrase to a more technically correct form like "blatant foul," or "Artestian foul."

Bumper Sticker Alert

"Your body may be a temple
Mine's an amusement park"
(seen on Bruce B. Downs Blvd)

This is clearly a slap against Jesus Christ, His church, and a confession of a person wholly given over to fueling the pleasure impulses. Apart from repentance the proud owner of this sticker will one day reflect back on an unfulfilled life "robbed" by an experience commonly referred to as death.

Pleasure seekers tend to suck the life out of their friends and transfer their problems and burdens onto others, all with a sense of entitlement. There's generally nothing wrong with enjoying most forms of amusement, until they become slave mastas, as is the case with this confused sticker owner.

The greatest benefit afforded to others by this bumper sticker's message is "beware... contents harmful."

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Misguided Rain Forest Altruism

The "Save the Rain Forest" clic has a great degree of cross-pollination with the "Don't Eat Meat" crowd. Well apparently it's the soybean industry (see: Fu, To) that's outdoing the steer of the world in encroaching on trees. See this article. Scroll down to the "Soy and the Amazon" section.

Bird Flu Versus Tamiflu

Presntly on Bill Sardi's site he lists the tale of the tape between deaths from bird flu versus death from Tamiflu (dating back to November 17, 2005). So far Tamiflu has a commanding lead with 102 deaths while bird flu struggles to keep up with its 67 deaths.

Keep up-to-date on the war on birds at birdfluhype.com

Pimping Teens

One generally doesn't view MTV, VH1 and the music industry in general as prostitution rings. On paper they're not but for practical purposes they are.

Talented musicians are everywhere. Marketed, bling-ladened musicians are about as prevalant as bird flu deaths. In other words, there aren't many. Record companies tend to pump millions of dollars into a handful of acts that they hope to become the next Beatles or Brittany, while overlooking the gads of talent that don't titillate the corporate inner-muses as much.

After the handful of hopefuls--the Mariahs, Madonnas and Ricky Martins before they're "somebodies"--are bankrolled, the propaganda machine swings into overdrive. CDs are cut, tours are booked, interviews are arranged, tee-shirts are airbrushed, PR releases are, well, released, and then the public votes up or down with its collective wallet. This method has been the preferred method over the signing of multiple bands and throwing small aliquots of money at them.

Once on MTV the stars and stars-to-be strut their wares believing they're somebody the world can't do without. Said stars may note the percentage of acts MTV panders to once crows feet don the eyes and the benefits of estrogen are overrun by father time. For every Aerosmith and Rolling Stoned (see: rockers, geriatric) there's a Scorpions, Bee Gees and Pat Travers Band. Todays stars are tomorrow's "Where are they now?" material. Much like a pimp trots out ladies of the early-, mid- and late-evening for a cut of their income, so MTV, VH1 and a vast percentage of the music industry trot out their own carefully vetted and selected "whores" without the decency of reminding them they ain't who they think they is.