Thursday, February 25, 2010

Snooze and Lose

It's late and I should be snoozing right now, but I'm not. Think I'm sitting up waiting for the snow to start or something equally as important. Weird. Do this every so often.

So what is there to talk about. Toyota? Nah. Too much ink and air on that one already. The Summit? Possibilities there but it hasn't happened yet. Sort of a non story at this point in time except that it's still supposed to happen. No one has back out yet. I'm with the pundits in thinking it's a show. One that isn't going to flatter anyone by the time it's over.

One good thing coming from this gridlock in Washington is that the electorate is more attentive to the proceedings. Or it seems so to me. That is a change in attitude. The question is will that translate to anything in November. Or, will all this have blown over by then? It's been my observation that the public generally forgets within about sixty days or less. Some other shiny object grabs our attention and off we go on that crusade. The politicians know that too.

One example using this principle has already appeared in the local paper. The Senator has "vowed to push" for some federal funds for the city. So by the time November arrives we should not remember any recent history he has of switching party affiliation when the winds of change blow in a new direction. We aren't supposed to remember how he voted in the healthcare debacle, er debate. Nope. Just that he fought for some money for the city. That has worked in the past and will probably be sufficient to get him re-elected later this year.

Looking for some sign of spring and not having much success. The junco's are still here, but I did see our groundhog out of his(?) burrow today. Bet he was surprised to find snow instead of tender new dandelion shots. He looks pretty sleek so there must be some nutritional value in frozen grass for him. Those little beasts can tunnel. He's been living under the storage shed for a couple of years and has it totally undermined. There's at least three different entrances around it now. Watched the local cat go in one of the holes once. Now he just sniffs at it. Wonder how that visit went for the cat? Not well would be my guess.

Must be time to wrap this up for today. Actually, it's now tomorrow. My all nighter is progressing well. Still no snow or sleep happening yet. Maybe check for some old old movie on the tube.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Review: A Century Turns: New Hopes, New Fears

A Century Turns: New Hopes, New Fears
William J. Bennett
Thomas Nelson

I don’t know where to begin with this book review. To be fair I have not read any of Dr. Bennett’s other books, so I don’t know if this one is typical of his work or not. His style here is so low key that I just cruised through the last twenty years or so without having any emotions evoked at all. I lived those years and remember plenty of emotion and angst. That’s not to say the text is dry or boring, but its matter of fact-ness flattened the whole era. Sort of like looking at old newspaper headlines. Not sure what he hoped to accomplish with this endeavor.

The book did have an extra I haven’t seen in quite a while though. Color plates. How long has that been? Maybe I’ve been conditioned by all the visual media available now, but they did a better job of recreating the history than the text. Maybe a picture really is worth a thousand words.

Overall, I’d recommend this book for the people that were too young to remember the times themselves. The author covered the highs and lows of the political scene fairly in my opinion. No one was bashed or beatified and the complexity of the situations was described in enough detail get the point across without overwhelming the reader. Lots of footnotes allow those that may want to pursue a topic or fact check his work to do so.

This book has been reviewed for BookSneeze.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Just Wondering

Anybody notice it snowed a little here and there? Tonight it's the DFW area with the big white cloud over it on the radar. Might get a foot or so. That's really big news in that part of the country. Yankees, on the other hand, shouldn't be amazed that it snows in February. You'd think it was something unusual they way the reports have come in. Almost a hysterical. How'd they get along years ago?

That 24-7 news cycle has not been the best idea since they must have something to cover during all those minutes of broadcast time. So magnify whatever is out there. Or talk about what could've been out there as if it really was or might be soon. The end of the world probably won't get as much coverage as whether another snowflake fell on DC. Yeah, I know if the world ended no one would be there to report it, but assuming they were broadcasting from Mars or somewhere. Give me a break.

Did you hear the big, giant announcement? Yeah, that one. Iran has nukes. Um, yeah. Anyone not already know that? There are probably a few others out there that have the same as well, but we'll not spoil their big announcements. Have to wonder about those guys sometimes. Understanding that mind and its operation is beyond me. Maybe the news guys I mentioned above will explain it to me in detail. Nah. It's only nukes. Let's continue to rant about Sarah or tea bags or something.

I guess I'm a bit over the edge with the poor media. Sorry guys. Just weary of all the opinions, rants, hyperbole. Should I go on to the government? No. Those guys are beyond comment. If any one of us including the CEO's some camps like to malign performed as poorly as they have we'd all be on the street immediately. But not those guys. Nope. Re-elect them all. November is so far away that by then the public will have forgotten their current anger and be so enamored of the latest pile of money they toss our way that we'll gladly re-elect them all. And we have the audacity to look at some one else's government with disdain. Have to wonder about too.

I feel so much better now. Blogs are good for something after all. Ready for Mardi Gras? Don't go? Well, what about Lent then? Don't do that either? Mardi Gras is out for me. I'd never get any beads. No need to show off some saggy body parts for some plastic beads.

Have been thinking about Lent though. Normally don't, so this is new for me. Just wondering what might be appropriate to celebrate it as a religious season. Giving up popcorn doesn't seem holy enough. Don't like it that much anyway.

What are the origins of Lent anyway? Looked up a quick history and apparently it's been around for a long time, has to do with actual fasting leading up to Easter. Found this site with a short history if anyone is interested besides me. My tradition normally doesn't celebrate Lent, but probably could benefit from giving it a try. After reading that I need to get a bit more serious, if I do intend to observe it this year. Let you know how that works out for me.

About out of wonderment for now. Wonder what some else wonders about when they read this? Besides my sanity, that is.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Free Book* Brian Tome

Free Book*
Brian Tome
Thomas Nelson

I liked this book and I am free to say so, too. First of all it’s just a good read. Tome’s style is easygoing, conversational, and makes you feel as though you and he are engaged in a conversation. Like some other reviewers, I think the first couple of chapters could use some help, but keep going. It gets better the farther in you get. He finds his stride in the latter half of the book, but the front half is worth you time as well.

It is so refreshing to read about our freedom in Christ in a non academic tone and by someone who seems to live it. Make no mistakes, this isn’t about setting aside God’s authority and making up our own. Not by a long shot. What this author has accomplished is explaining a lot of that in ways that remove the harsh legalistic tendencies and replacing them with the joy and abundant life promised by Jesus. Of course, along the way he ruffles feathers and rattles cages. That’s the point.

His work on strongholds is especially complete. He discusses the relapses with skill and clarity. The range of strongholds goes much farther than the usual mention of drugs, alcohol and sex. It gets into your personal space and challenges attitudes and crutches we all cherish. He uses personal experiences that the reader can easily relate to in his or her own life. No details that don’t move the example into the reader’s life.

Some will object to mention of no helmet, beer, gay and some vernacular terms that you won’t find in the more erudite books that address the same topic. Could we have done without them? Possibly, but then the opportunity for an attitude check related to those areas would have been missed.

This is one of those books that I’d like my friends to read. Good work, Brian!

Reviewed for BookSneeze

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Looks like it's been a while since I've been around these parts. Well, I'm here now. Last time around it was some political stuff and looks like it's that way again. The latent activist awoke long enough to send a note to one of the congressmen that had a bunch of face time during the state of the union. And I even got a response. Automated, impersonal, but a response nonetheless. Not going to get all overheated describing the message or cause for it. That's old news by now anyway. Tried to send a similar message to the senate side but the amount of personal info that had to be filled out before the message could be sent was amazing. Fully expected that if I had given them all that I'd be on a no fly list or some other list. Isn't that a fine bit of cynicism?! Or is it?

Getting all excited about whether the groundhog will see his shadow or not. I can at least begin to think that the time of cold and gray and dark might have an end. On the up side the days are a full 30 minutes longer now. For those of us that have that real or otherwise winter malady known as SAD that's big news. Next marker will be a robin sighting or a crocus bloom.

Be putting up another review a little later. Just finished the book and I like to let it simmer for a bit before I let everyone know what I thought of it. Gives the author a fighting chance. So be on the look out for it.

I joined the ranks of the "I've seen Avatar" and helped it top the box office yet again. Interesting flick. Not Oscar material except for effects maybe IMO. Story line seemed like a mash-up of several other flicks. I guess they were drawing on the collective consciousness of movie goers to give it the depth the writers didn't. And what was with that opening scene of the Weaver character? But, it was a couple of hours spent wondering if the 3D would've worked better at an IMAX theater. Yes, I was disappointed with that, but it did give you the feeling of maybe being on the sound stage somewhere near the cameras. They are still called cameras, aren't they?

Been looking at some other blogs lately and have found that some are more or less op-ed forums that have been imbedded in some other larger blogish site. Don't know what I thought I was reading before. Duh. But, that said, I don't think I'll be going to all that trouble anytime soon. Researching for something like this isn't something I'm ready for yet. Besides, do opinions need research to back them up? Only if I'm trying to refute or correct maybe. Don't need all the ammo otherwise. What I think is what I think. Right, wrong, or otherwise.

Must be time to go do something else now. I could almost feel myself stamping my foot on that last bit. Besides, I do really need to get that review I mentioned earlier done.