Tuesday, September 28, 2004

For those of you who are getting referred over here, I've been over at Typepad for over a year. Blogger does have some nice looking bells and whistles, including the ability to change the color of the text as well as the font of the text. If your getting started, Blogger is still worth the price.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

The new Blogger tools seem to be nice, but not nice enough to get me off of my Typepad site. If you got here via a stale permalink, give the people who sent you here an e-mail and get them to update their permalinks, especially a certain UT law professor.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

I'm still over at my Typepad site. It's been seven months. If you got here with a stale permalink, razz the folks who sent you here and get them to update their permalinks.

Saturday, September 20, 2003

I'm showing a friend of our, Warren Hoyt, how to use Blogger. He's got a web site for his ministry and is thinking of starting a blog or something like it

Saturday, September 06, 2003

He Went That-a-Way-The blog has moved over to TypePad I'll keep this active as an archive, occasionally posting over here just to keep things from going stale.

In Praise of Blogger and YACCS-I don't want to leave Blogger on a bad note. The Pyra people have provided a solid public service in providing a free and easy way to spead your thoughts to a world-wide audience. It has its weak spots and its down times, but it delivers a product far in excess of its cost. They have, as the caring folks would say, done well by doing good. Google seems to have been helpful in the process, providing some synergies like adding Blogger to the Google Toolbar. Despite their recent server fubar, I'd like to tip my hat to YACCS as well. It would go AWOL from time to time and sometimes be tempermental to load up, but it worked nicely most of the time. If you're looking to add a commenting feature to a blog, it's a solid choice, although other services are available. For those of you that might wander this way via the Lakeand Ledger piece that is due out this moring, starting a blog will expand your horizons and help you make pen pals from around the globe. I've got Filipino programmers, Canadian journalists and Americans from most states that have become friends. Blogger is a bit like free bowling ball and rental shoes. The serious bowlers have their own ball and shoes, but the free stuff will allow you to see if you like it before you lay out serious money. Likewise, if I had to pay $5/month to blog at the start, this would never had happened. It may still be a bit buggy, but Blogger is easily worth trying out if you want to give this a try.

Friday, September 05, 2003

Last One Off Blogger, Turn Out the Lights-Part IV-Hasta La Bye-Bye. I have just moved over to TypePad.

One Seagull Returns-The Texas Democrat Two-Step to the border ends as one guy decides to get real.
State Sen. John Whitmire, the longest-serving Democrat in the state Senate, returned to Texas Wednesday from Albuquerque, where 10 of his fellow Democrats remain. Whitmire is taking a lot of heat for returning home, but he said that's where the fight must now take place. "I just don't know what 30 more days in Albuquerque would accomplish. Ultimately, I think everyone knows we need to fight this on the Senate floor. We can do it next week or we can do it two or three months from now, but it's going to happen," Whitmire said. According to Whitmire, some of his Democratic colleagues have talked of staying in New Mexico until Christmas.
However, that isn't stopping people from keeping up the rhetorical fight at the cost of being factually challenged-
The White House has insisted that the redistricting fight is a state matter. But the Texans in Washington, and one ally in the House, said the similarities between Colorado and Texas indicate a concerted effort by Republicans to gain advantage illegally. "What's happening here is people in the Republican Party are trying to overturn the results of elections. They are trying to overturn the results of elections in Texas two years ago. They are trying to overturn the results of the election in California. They are trying to overturn results of the election in Colorado," said U.S. Rep. Martin Frost, D-Texas.
That dog don't hunt, Marty. The 2002 elections aren't being overturned; you'll still have your seat through 2004. What will go down if the Republicans get their way is that the 2004 elections will have a different set of districts. I don't know of any constitutional requirement that states have to stick with an original redistricting plan for an entire census cycle. Irregular, to be sure, but not illegal.

Last One Off Blogger, Turn Out the Lights-Part III-Jeffery Collins has moved over to TypePad. I may soon join him.

Orn'ry Henri-It looks like I finally get to see a tropical storm upclose and personal. Henri is about 100 miles east of St. Pete and heading this general direction, expected to make landfall a bit north of the Tampa Bay area near midnight. We're a good 50 miles inland, so storm surge stuff isn't a factor, but we'll still get a lot of rain. We're already getting some early drizzle thanks to Henri. Minor problem. We've got tickets to Night of Joy tonight. Michael W. Smith. Nicole C. Mullins. Rebecca St. James. Petra. It's a pity they couldn't get any stars to come (For those of you who aren't in the CCM loop, that's a all-star cast). Disney World hosts the thing, and as part of the group package we got through Warner Southern, we get into Disney World at 4, have the run of the place, then the concerts start at various locals in the park at 8. Not bad for $20. We'll most likely be on the southeastern edge of Henri this evening, so I swung by WallyWorld to pick up a couple of ponchos for Eileen and I on my way to work just now. One of the downsides of being 6'5" and, ur, stocky; the generic "one size fits all" stuff usually doesn't. At least the poncho I got for Eileen was honest to say "One size fits most." I kinda figured I wouldn't be one of the most.

Edifier du Jour-Judges 1:27-35
27 But Manasseh did not take possession of Beth-shean and its villages, or Taanach and its villages, or the inhabitants of Dor and its villages, or the inhabitants of Ibleam and its villages, or the inhabitants of Megiddo and its villages; so the Canaanites persisted in living in that land. 28 It came about when Israel became strong, that they put the Canaanites to forced labor, but they did not drive them out completely. 29 Ephraim did not drive out the Canaanites who were living in Gezer; so the Canaanites lived in Gezer among them. 30 Zebulun did not drive out the inhabitants of Kitron, or the inhabitants of Nahalol; so the Canaanites lived among them and became subject to forced labor. 31 Asher did not drive out the inhabitants of Acco, or the inhabitants of Sidon, or of Ahlab, or of Achzib, or of Helbah, or of Aphik, or of Rehob. 32 So the Asherites lived among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land; for they did not drive them out. 33 Naphtali did not drive out the inhabitants of Beth-shemesh, or the inhabitants of Beth-anath, but lived among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land; and the inhabitants of Beth-shemesh and Beth-anath became forced labor for them. 34 Then the Amorites forced the sons of Dan into the hill country, for they did not allow them to come down to the valley; 35 yet the Amorites persisted in living in Mount Heres, in Aijalon and in Shaalbim; but when the power of the house of Joseph grew strong, they became forced labor.
The Israelites didn't finish the ethnic cleansing job that God told them to do. They wound up living with their heathen neighbors, much to their future detriment. In our own personal lives, we haven't cleaned house and applied a big can of Holy Ghost whuppin' to the heathen spirits in our head and heart. How many spiritual Canaanites do you let live in your life? A TV show that isn't edifying, but is a guilty pleasure? Movies that are "pretty good, if it weren’t for ..."? Songs that glorify illicit sex or drugs but have such a great melody or base-line? Old buddies whose conversation takes you into the gutter? Just a little bit of gossip at the water cooler? Maybe you've got an amorous Amorite loose, letting your eyes spend a bit too much time appreciating the coeds? What's that? Only just a bit? An unhealthy dose of sarcasm? Is there a healthy dose? We've (at least myself, and I've probably got company) got a truckload of small vices that drag me down. There was a old Doobie Brothers album entitled What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits. Ain't that the truth. When we let those vices settle in, we can fall prey to that mind-set that they are just habits and aren't sinful. Time for some spiritual ethnic cleansing. If the Devil doesn't like it, tell him to complain to the UN.

Hey Rocky! Watch Me Pull a Cucumber From a Hat!-Not again! Not another Christian company selling out to a secular media outfit. The VeggieTales people, Big Idea, wrote a new chapter in the company history, Chapter 11; self-financing the Jonah movie and a big lawsuit over changing video marketers forced the issue
Big Idea has agreed to sell its assets—including copyrights to Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber and other VeggieTales characters—to Classic Media LLC, which owns or manages media properties such as "Rocky and Bullwinkle," "Lassie," "The Lone Ranger" and "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer."
Classic Media might treat Bob and Larry with respect, but after what I've seen with other secular media sorts taking over Christian organizations, I'm a bit skeptical. While reading that CT article, I saw a reader poll on the Family Christian Sunday thing. 65% said that "No. Christian businesses should be different." One thing that I was thinking about this afternoon was that the five proposed hours on Sunday might only increase sales by 7-10%. If they lose 15% of their business from folks like me who want them to be different, they've just lost money in the process. Thanks to Amy Welborn for the link.

Thursday, September 04, 2003

Appologies and Counter-Posts-YACCS is still hosed due to a server crash. The YACCS site has them shipping a backup server and getting back up by Monday night. Well, it has been worth the price. I'm about this close to moving over to TypePad to provide a more robust package than Blogger. I had begrudged myself the money that a server would cost. However, I don't begrudge Eileen spending money on stuff for her Lake Wales Chorale and the church dance group that she just joined, so why should I begrudge an upgrade of my little ministry? I'm not sure if Typepad is the best option, but Movable Type seems to be the way to go and I'm not in the mood to play server geek. I could probably get server space and get MT installed, but the Typepad Pro seems to be an option that would be more condusive to my sanity. ________ Two quick counter-posts. The first is on Gov. Owens. Chris Burgwald take exception to my early funeral for his presidential hopes
hold your horses, guys! A separation is just that... a separation. In his statement, Owens says, "We hope to be able to work through this soon." It doesn't sound like things are totally done yet, does it? Of course, it is fine to discuss Owens' political future should he be divorced, but that isn't necessarily what will happen... let's hope and pray that it doesn't.
Agreed. My mind was fast-forwarding, assuming a divorce or permanent separation. If they work out whatever the problem was and the problem isn't infidelity, then he might still have a shot. However, if things don't get patched up, my assessment stands. Clarification two-I picked up an F in Constitutional Law from Professor Collins, who pointed out that it's the Sixth Amendment that the Supremes used to mandate that juries give out death sentences. However, here is the text of the Sixth Amendment
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.
It says that all criminal prosecutions need to be tried by jury. What got shot down was a plan to have the jury convict the person and then assign the duty of sentencing to a judge. The amendment doesn't specify what the scope of the jury's duties was. If the jury has to be the body that decides prison sentences, then our whole parole system and good-behavior mechanisms may also be unconstitutional, for they modify a sentence handed down by a jury. That being said, I can also see where the Supremes came to a different conclusion.

Edifier du Jour-Matthew 12:1-14
1 At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath, and His disciples became hungry and began to pick the heads of grain and eat. 2 But when the Pharisees saw this, they said to Him, "Look, Your disciples do what is not lawful to do on a Sabbath." 3 But He said to them, "Have you not read what David did when he became hungry, he and his companions, 4 how he entered the house of God, and they ate the consecrated bread, which was not lawful for him to eat nor for those with him, but for the priests alone? 5 "Or have you not read in the Law, that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple break the Sabbath and are innocent? 6 "But I say to you that something greater than the temple is here. 7 "But if you had known what this means, 'I DESIRE COMPASSION, AND NOT A SACRIFICE,' you would not have condemned the innocent. 8 "For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath." 9 Departing from there, He went into their synagogue. 10 And a man was there whose hand was withered. And they questioned Jesus, asking, "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?"--so that they might accuse Him. 11 And He said to them, "What man is there among you who has a sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will he not take hold of it and lift it out? 12 "How much more valuable then is a man than a sheep! So then, it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath." 13 Then He said to the man, "Stretch out your hand!" He stretched it out, and it was restored to normal, like the other. 14 But the Pharisees went out and conspired against Him, as to how they might destroy Him.
A day off each week to rest and focus on God is a good thing. However, the Pharisees of the days would up making it a day to focus on rules. For instance, elevators in orthodox Jewish territory automatically go to every floor on the Sabbath, for hitting a floor button would be concidered work. God wants us to focus on Him on the Sabbath (Sunday for most of us). It's not a day to do errands or to catch up on work, but to rest, spend time with friends and family and draw closer to God. All work and no re-creation make Johnny an unproductive boy. I remember when I was in a busy stretch of my MBA program, I caught myself going to the early service at the large church I was attending in order to "get it out of the way." Sunday's not a day to get God out of the way. Nor is any other day, for that matter, but I remember rebuking myself for that attitude. Sometimes, you do have to get some work in or run the occasional errand on the way home from church, but those should be the exception to the rule. P.S. Sorry for the lateness-I gave Eileen a ride to work this morning and didn't squeeze in my morning quiet time until now.

From Blue Laws to the Law of Green-I’ve got some misgivings about this story on Family Christian Store's decision to open from 12-5 on Sundays, starting first in Dallas and rolling out the policy nationwide. That link will require registration, you can pass on reading it if you like. Jason Steffans pointed out this interesting post from Jared Bridges-
...the CEO of Family Christian Stores, Dave Browne, said:
"This was a decision that we took very seriously," Mr. Browne said. "But after prayer, study and seeking the counsel of others, it became clear to us that the ministry opportunity of opening on Sundays vastly outweighed the operational preference of the status quo." He considers his decision to open on Sunday different from Chick-fil-A's because Family Christian sells "ministry products." "No one is going to go to hell if they don't eat a chicken sandwich on a Sunday," he said.
Does this mean that someone is going to hell if they don't buy an It's All About Jesus Candy Tin, a Fruits of the Spirit canister set, and a Praying Puppy stuffed animal? I think not.
This is a business decision. Family Christian is a major bookstore chain and is run as a business. In the article, Browne mentions that competition from church bookstores is driving the decision. Maybe things are a bit different in other places, but the $40-$50 of sales from the Lakeland Vineyard’s resource room isn’t going do much to help the bottom line. Some churches, like the big Victory Church in Lakeland, have a large, well-stocked bookstore that would likely drain some business, but not that much. I don’t think too many people will say “Let’s skip the church bookstore, we can pick it up at Family Christian next to Wal-Mart on our way home.” There are sales that Rupert Murdock isn't getting and they want to claim that market share. What's Murdock got to do with this? Yes, News Corp. owns Harper Collins, which bought Zondervan, Family Christian’s parent company, back in the late 80s. This is big business, with $4 billion in sales last year. While the people working at the local Family Christian may be good and faithful folks, the business is run as a business first and foremost. Corporate decisions will be based with the bottom line in mind. I don't to get too puritanical, but Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest. We'll go out to McDonalds after church for a cheap $1.19 All-American Meal with some of our Lake Wales friends and occasionally hit the grocery store on the way home, but Sunday shouldn't be the day to do all the errands you couldn't get to on Saturday. "Customers tell us that they work Monday through Friday, are occupied with soccer and the kids' activities on Saturday[.]" Might that be a sign that you're over-scheduling yourself and need to build in some more down time during the rest of the week. If you need to run lots of errands on Sunday, you're too busy. Being open on Sunday isn't evil in and of itself. It is lawful to do good on the Sabbath, and the stores that do stay open do serve the public. However, stores that supply non-necessities, such as CDs and books, should be able to afford to close on Sunday, especially for a clientele that understands the need to have Sunday off. Having Family Christian open will make it harder for workers to take Sundays off and for Christian-owned businesses to stay closed on Sunday. "Hey, even the Christian bookstore's open on Sunday, you can skip church this week." Chick-fil-a can't get into many malls, for they don't want that vacant spot on Sunday; this will give secular mall owners more ammunition to force them to open on Sundays. Also, a lot of stuff happens between 12 and 5. Church lunches, meetings, youth activities will often go on in those hours. Plus, not every church gets done at noon. People going to big churches might have the option to go to an early service, but a worker whose single-service church starts at 10 and ends about 12:30 will be under some pressure to skip church. This might be counter-productive to Family Christian. Our household will now be more likely to shop at alternative Christian stores, like Lighthouse Christian in Winter Haven or Pathway in Midland, MI. I still have a $25 gift certificate to Family Christian left over from my birthday, but the trip to spend that will likely be the last time I’ll be there for a while.

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