Friday, May 30, 2008

Quote to Ponder over the weekend.

"It's still an ongoing Christian responsibility to be ready to give an answer, and at times all you have is a couple of minutes. Do your best in a couple of minutes. At other times, you've got a long relationship; maximize that opportunity... There are a couple of things I'd like to encourage here. Number one: Show up. Number two is, Show up smart. And number three: Show up respectful. Or you might say, humble. You know, you have to show up with some sort of argument. A lot of Christians really kinda 'let the team down' because all they know is, 'This is what I believe, and--that's all I have to say.' We've got to be better than that. I mean, after all, we are told to 'be ready to give an answer for the hope that is in us,' you know, some explanation... If Jesus Christ is the 'most important thing' in your life, and all you have are three pat sentences to say about him, you've got a problem."

--Dr. Al Mohler, from an interview on today's Boundless podcast

Thursday, May 29, 2008

PBB Comic of the Week

Click for the full comic:

Thursday Video View: All-Burlap Edition

From a great old CCM band:

And a couple of newer songs by Steven Delopoulos, the former lead singer of the band:

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

I've got about 5 posts to write you guys, i know...

...and i've got no time to write them today.

But I really feel compelled, out of some deep well of spitefulness within me, to state the following:

Dana Stevens' review of Indiana Jones has to be, without a doubt, the most self-indulgent, narcissistic, self-congratulatory puff piece of film "review" that I have ever read.

Look: If your review of the film works harder to convince the reader of your cleverness than it does to help them decide whether or not to see the film, then you just aren't doing your job. Go write for Salon or something, where that brand of intellectual masturbation is better appreciated.

Here endeth the lesson.

Friday, May 23, 2008

The Morality of Storm Troopers

I'm listening to the "LOST" podcast with the executive producers (shut up, it's cool), and they received a question about whether the "bad guys" on "LOST" actually realize they're bad guys. In other words, do they understand they are evil, or are they convinced they're doing the right thing? And then the reader used the example of the storm troopers in "Star Wars" thinking that they're fighting for the right side.

One of the guys (I always forget which is which) gave the example of Luke Skywalker's aunt and uncle being murdered, and their farm being destroyed by the storm troopers, and insisted that no storm trooper is going to murder a farming couple and wreck their homestead and still say to himself, "I'm doing the right thing." The other guy responded that, in their minds, this couple raised a rebel leader, but the first commenter pointed out that this isn't known yet. (Fair point, though if the couple in question was in possession of stolen military secrets, it's easy to suspect them of being part of the rebellion.)

I think this is a really interesting question to address. Do the storm troopers think they're on the right side? Think about it: the Empire defeated the Droid Army and brought stability to the galaxy, and now an guerrilla force is rising up to overthrow the people in power. If you're a foot soldier in the Imperial Army, you'd see the rebels as bad guys, right?


Obviously, this is a difficult question, with difficult answers. And the parallels to current realities can be drawn pretty easily, though to do so would mean oversimplifying a complex reality.

I'll leave this open for discussion, then, but with this follow-up question: was it moral for the Rebel Alliance to blow up the second Death Star, knowing there were probably hundreds of thousands or millions of civilians on board? Does it make their actions any less moral?

Of course, there is a counter-argument:

Thursday, May 22, 2008

"Me Am #1 Fan of Astros"

Have to agree with Al Yellon over at BleedCubbieBlue:

This is the best Sports Illustrated cover I've seen in forever.

In fact, the only SI cover that could beat it is... well, you know.

[And yes, the post title is "BizarroDave" talking.]

Unrelated Note: So I am listening to The Lovely ScarlettJo's new album online, a collection of Tom Waits covers, when suddenly she starts singing about the street I live on. It's a bizarre feeling.

Totally Showing Off.

You paid attention during 100% of high school!

85-100% You must be an autodidact, because American high schools don't get scores that high! Good show, old chap!

Do you deserve your high school diploma?
Create a Quiz

[h-t: Dan Phillips]

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Freaking Hunter Pence.

0 Wins, 4 Losses.

That's my record for watching my Cubs play the Astros live. 2 losses in Wrigley, 2 losses in Minute Maid.

In the losses, I have seen Zambrano pitch twice, Maddux pitch once, and Ryan Dempster (who was 5-1 going into last night's game) pitch once.

I'm not superstitious about anything...except baseball. I can't explain it, but it's true. I worry about what I wear to the game, down to which ball cap I wear. (Actual thought last night: "Should I wear the away cap to the away game, or should I wear the Central Division Champs hat?" I went with the NLDS cap because I was 0-2 with the away cap) And now, after 4 losses, I'm now afraid to attend Cubs/Astros games now. It's incredibly frustrating, as a Cubs fan living in Houston, to feel like you're a jinx to your own team when they come to your hometown.

Anyway. The game last night.

We sat behind the Astros bullpen in right-center field. Got a lot of good pictures from that perspective, which I hope to upload by Friday.

Soriano went oh-fer on the night, but DLee was strong. Aramis got the early lead in the third, with a two-run shot that bounced high off the wall in left-center. For a moment, I felt like we had a good shot of taking one from the Astros, as Ramirez rounded the bases.

Dempster looked strong through the first three innings, but after a double and two walks in the fourth, he had bases loaded and Hunter Pence at the plate. The count reached 3 balls, and Demp, obviously scared to walk in a run and cut the lead in half, tossed a meatball that Pence parked in the middle of the right field seats. That was the end of scoring. Five innings later, 4-2 would end up being the final score.

The Cubs had some good chances later in the game, but the wind had been let out of the sails. The best chance came with men on and Soriano at the plate in the seventh (I think). I knew at that moment that if they didn't score, they wouldn't have the steam to overcome the paltry two-run deficit.

On the way out of the stadium, the Astros fans were as classy as ever, heh. Loud chants of "Go Home, Cubs!" and "Cubs suck!" I turned to the obnoxious guy on my right and said, "Yeah, ten games over .500 and still in first place. Right, we suck." The guy's buddy was like, "Hey, cool it, man, they're everywhere around here!" The loud guy was a little startled that I was right there looming over him. The rest of the rowdy crowd was less cowed. Whatever. Stay classy, Astros fans.

So there you go. Oh-and-four watching my boys play the Lastros. Heart-breaking.

Freaking Hunter Pence.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Another Cartoon

Click on the title to see the full thing.

PBB Cool Ten (5/18-5/24) [Updated--Mea Culpa!]

10. 27-17. Do you feel that, in the air? Destiny.
9. I'm going to see the Cubbies play the Astros tomorrow night! If you can see the game on TV, keep an eye out for the center field front-row seats. Me and my dad will be sitting right behind the Astros bullpen, trying to get in the ear of their relievers. Hey, anything to help my boys.
9b. I'm also going to the ballgame on Saturday to see if the Astros can outlast the Phillies. I love me some baseball!
8. They want to remake "Red Dawn"?!? Noooooooooooo!
7. My podcast subscriptions, currently: The Village Church, Mars Hill (Seattle), Starkville's House of El (Smallville podcast), The Boundless Show, The Dave Ramsey Show, the official "Lost" podcast, and four ESPN podcasts (Around the Horn, Mike and Mike, Baseball Today, and Fantasy Baseball Focus). I have 18 hours of unheard content I'm trying to burn through. Yes, I'm a dork.
6. NEWSFLASH: "Lost" is freaking awesome, and I can't wait until next week's 2-hour season finale.
5. PBB upcoming content: Reviews of "Iron Man" and "Prince Caspian" (no, really), the concert review (with pictures), and rants about "Smallville" and stupid kids. Yeah, fun stuff.
4. I'm reading an amazing book called "The Case for Democracy." It's written by a former Soviet dissident, Natan Sharansky, who was jailed for 14 years near the end of the Soviet Empire. In the book (written a few years ago), Sharansky argues that free societies have a moral imperative to promote democracy and freedom in oppressive societies. This is a book that helped to shape and solidify the "Bush Doctrine" of opposing totalitarian states and promoting democracy abroad. And it's an amazing, compelling treatise. Even if you don't agree with the current administration, I'd highly recommend reading this book and consider the argument being proposed.
3. What was I thinking, leaving this off--the Penguins are going to the Stanley Cup Finals!!! I hope Dallas pulls off the come-from-behind series victory, because Detroit scares me a little. (On the other hand, if Detroit can blow a 3-0 lead like this, maybe they would be the better opponent.) I can't believe I forgot about this--shows my brain's fried from the weekend. (Thanks to Will for the memory jog.)
2. "Prince Caspian" was an amazing film. Go see it, but don't take young siblings (like I did). PC is more like "Lord of the Rings" than the first Narnia film. LOTS of battle scenes. It was pretty awesome.
2b. The Telmarines are Spaniards?!? I totally didn't get that. Wow. Well, hey, it works.
1. Had a great time on Friday night with the sisters. We saw a big rock show with five acts. Once I upload my pictures, I'll give you the full round-up.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Geeky Links

Wanted to drop these on ya right quick.

Coming tomorrow: Content of some kind!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Something Fun

Click the pic to expand (since I can't figure out how to shrink it to fit the column). Or, if it's not showing up, click here.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Quote of the Day (Pretty Much, Quote of the Lifetime)

(swiped from Team Pyro's post on good and bad transparency)

"I am the subject of depressions of spirit so fearful that I hope none of you ever get to such extremes of wretchedness as I go to, but I always get back again by this--I know I trust Christ. I have no reliance but in Him, and if He falls I shall fall with Him, but if He does not, I shall not. Because He lives, I shall live also, and I spring to my legs again and fight with my depressions of spirit and my down castings, and get the victory through it; and so may you do, and so you must, for there is no other way of escaping from it. In your most depressed seasons you are to get joy and peace through believing."

--Charles Haddon Spurgeon
(from "Joy and Peace in Believing")

PBB Cool Ten (5/11-5/17)

10. 22-15. That's right, we just swept the D-backs. Would've been nice if we could do that last October. Oh well, past is past, and we look forward to the future. This is the year, Cubs fans. Write it down in ink.
9. I'm feeling better than I have been lately, but I'm not back to health yet. Still sneezy and snotty and wheezy (and all those other Disney-dwarf sounding names).
8. So have you seen "Iron Man" yet? Because you really oughta. I know, I know, I promised a review. How about tomorrow?
7. Speaking of comic book movies, the comic adaptation "The Spirit" looks intriguing. It could go south pretty easily, but for all of the problems in Frank Miller's "Sin City," one thing you can't knock is the compelling visuals, and that's something that this new film has going for it.
6. Okay, Trevor, prepare to claim victory, because you've won me over--Battlestar Galactica is pretty sweet. I'm now waiting for Disc 3 of Season 1 to arrive, as Starbuck has taken damage in a firefight and is careening toward terra firma.
5. Sometimes I'll read the website "Stuff White People Like" and chuckle as I recognize the idiosyncracies of myself or others. There are other days, however, when I fight the urge to defend myself (like so many hot-tempered commenters do on a regular basis). Taking pot-shots at bottled-water drinkers or people who want their kids to speak multiple languages is one thing; but no one--and I mean no one--messes with grammar. That's not cool, man. (Just kidding; that blog post is actually brilliant. And yes, if you ask nicely, I will proofread your paper.)
4. On this week's seventh-season finale of "Smallville": Lex Luthor will use the crystal sphere artifact that he found in the stone [from the Scottish castle] above his mantlepiece (using the pendant removed from the nineteenth-century French clock in the cathedral in Montreal) to discover the location of the Fortress of Solitude. Once he arrives, he will discover that Clark is in fact "the Traveller" who has been sought after and protected by his father and the other members of the Veritas Group (though Robert Teague's attempt at making Clark a ritual sacrifice certainly calls his motivations if not sanity into question!), and a showdown of some sort between Lex and Clark will take place. Reports are that this is Lex Luthor's (Michael Rosenbaum's) last episode as a series regular, so my guess would be that Jor-El intervenes and memory-wipes Lex, so that he won't remember Clark's true nature, and the canonical conflict of Lex versus Superman can be preserved with any sense of rational justification. Also, Brainiac's plan for world domination will be revealed, as Clark discovers (SPOILER) the Kara that returned with him from their travels back in time to prevent Clark's premature death on Krypton is NOT actually Kara, but was Brainiac in disguise! ("WHAT?!?" "I KNOW!") FURTHERMORE, Lana wakes up from the coma induced by Brainiac, and rumor has it that she will only be in a few episodes next season. Perhaps this incident will convince her that staying in a relationship with Clark will only bring her pain and possibly an uglier demise than she has experienced (MULTIPLE TIMES) up to this point? AND FINALLY, word is that Allison Mack (SVille's Chloe Sullivan) is having a hard time negotiating a contract with The Powers That Be, so there's a serious possibility that Chloe could end up comatose or "dead" by the time the finale is over, and whether or not she wakes up is fully dependent on if TPTB can offer AM a number she can accept. So much tumult! So much drama! [I know you're just as excited about this as I am. Heh.]
3. You know what's cool--geeking out about stuff. That's cool.
2. Plans for the weekend: Taking my sisters to a rock show, celebrating a friend's birthday, and possibly seeing Prince Caspian. Full weekend.
1. Yesterday was Mothers Day. Hope you did something nice for your mama, or for the special mamas in your life.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

"I used to live alone before I knew ya..."

Jeff Buckley's music makes me want to write long, self-reflective posts about love and loss. It makes me want to rip off every scab and old scar and bleed out just a little bit, just to be able to feel it all over again, just to be able to say, "Yeah, man, I totally get what you're saying, because I'm going through it too." But I'm not going through it too. I haven't gone through anything like that for a good long time. What I have is the pretension of feeling.

And now he's singing to his lover who should've come over, and I'm sad because I'm not sad.

The worst thing about fear? It keeps you from the good pain. The pain that you can actually heat up and hammer into shape and use to make something that's worth something. All fear motivates you to do is be safe, and safety doesn't give you anything you can use. Safety is dry and brittle and turns to dust the moment you try to use it to create.

So rather than write you a weepy retrospective or something self-flagellating and vain, I'm gonna go home and choke down some cough medicine so's I can be a little less whiny and miserable for the rest of the evening.

See you, space cowboy.

(Non-contagious) Wednesday Linky Love

Since I'm ill, and taking many pills, I'm not in the right headspace to write up a proper "Iron Man" review (so that will come tomorrow or at the latest Friday). So, I'll instead provide this, a list of links collected over the last few weeks. Some may be old news to you, but bear with me.

[Disclaimer: I've forgotten where I've gotten most of these, so if you feel I've link-robbed you without proper attribution, please let me know in the comments and I'll correct the error.]
  • Uwe Boll, possibly the worst director actively making films in Hollywood, has promised to hang up his directorial spurs forever, if one million people ask him to. So ask, already. And tell you friends.
  • The Improv Everywhere team turn an average Little League game into the Greatest. Game. Ever. Just imagine being one of those kids and seeing... well, just check it out.
  • Being a church worship leader is a dangerous gig. (I dare you not to laugh.)
  • I'm a terribly cluttered person. Good thing there's the interweb.
  • You may be aware, but author Michael Chabon submitted a script for "Spiderman 2." If you're interested, the first scene or two is here. (Sadly, the rest has been removed.)
  • Did you know that Barack Obama is a Jedi Master? Amazing.
  • TV producer/writer guy Chuck Lorre always puts this 500-word tag at the end of his credits. Some that I've been able to pause on tape and read are really funny. Well, turns out, he puts them online. Some won't make sense outside of the show's context, but he's still clever Dan.
  • Here's an interesting blog post about how TV shows like "Friends" have helped pornography seem like a more normal part of everyday life. Makes you wonder what other messages your favorite shows are sending to you.
  • Prodigal Jon posted these hilarious, cute videos. Sometimes it helps to remember the simple things.
  • Here's a Poetry FAQ by Robert Pinsky, a modern poet I kinda dig.
  • Did you know that Charles Durning was a veteran of WWII, and stormed Omaha Beach on D-Day? I didn't know that.
  • While you're waiting for my "Iron Man" review, here's an interview with the film's star.
  • Speaking of interviews, here's 20 questions with the legendary Bruce Campbell.
  • Can you find all 34 (35?) secret items on the LostScape? (Caution: LOUD.)
  • Here's an amazing story of forgiveness involving a theft of church property, and the church body's attempt to connect with the culprit.
  • If you haven't gotten your "cry" on yet today, here's a blog about a father, his baby, and the empty space left by the death of her mommy.
  • Whew. Need to change the tone. How about...silly dancing?
  • Last political thing: "Stuck with Jeremiah in the Pastor's Pews Again"
  • In case you were curious: the etymology of having to "pee like a racehorse."
  • Timewaster of the Day: a simple, but addictive game called "Spin the Black Circle."
  • How do you know if you're a hipster? Take a gander at this list.
  • One of my new favorite Youtube users is a girl named Julia Nunes who plays ukelele and posts not only her original stuff (which is pretty good), but also great covers. I like her voice and style; see what you think. My current favorite is her cover of Ben Folds' "Gone."
Enjoy, and I'll catch you kids later.

Monday, May 05, 2008

"Well...see.. the thing is... I *am* the PBB Cool Ten."

10. 18-13. Started off strong, but we're having trouble with the Cards and Brewers. And we kinda need to beat them.
9. Know what's fun? Suddenly pulling out scissors and snipping off locks of your hair in front of your shocked Bible study class, as an object lesson. The look on their faces was priceless.
8. Of course, the previous item was a set-up. I'd had enough of the shaggy look, so after church (and my autotonsorial experiment), I got a haircut. The 'do is now back to short-cropped. My head feels so much lighter!
7. I've discovered that I really like Buffalo Wild Wings. My favorite sauces are the Honey BBQ and the Asian Zing.
6. The Penguins are in the Eastern Conference Finals. Go Pens!
5. This is a great story from the world of college sports, and makes a great statement about the importance of sportsmanship superceding the need to win.
4. The new "Dark Knight" trailer is out. Wooohooo! No slight to Iron Man, but TDK will be the movie of the summer.
3. Blowing 25 bucks at Mountasia with Mike (including 60 tokens on Time Crisis).
2. Iron Man was friggin great. Expect a full PBB review tomorrow.
1. Neil Diamond's newest album comes out this Tuesday. I'm listening to it on AOL, and as I listened to his song, "Pretty Amazing Grace," I had to ask myself--has Neil Diamond actually become a "believer"? Take a listen yourself, and see if you pick up on it too:

Friday, May 02, 2008

ETL Week: It's the Final Countdown!

ETL Confession of the Day: Obviously, it's the fact that I just referenced the band Europe.

This is it, folks. The last day of ETL. If you've been putting it off, this is the time to lame on. The 2008 ETL Hall of Lame closes forever at 5 p.m. today, so get your lame lists posted, either in my comments or on your own website, and notify me by then.

Thanks to all of you who participated and commented. It's been fun getting back into blogging during ETL. Reminds me why I enjoy blogging.