Monday, July 30, 2012

Monday Joke

The man had been in a coma for several months. Things did not look promising, but his wife was by his bedside every single day. Week after week she faithfully sat with him.

One day he slipped back into consciousness, and motioned for her to come close to him. She pulled the chair close to the bed and leaned her ear close to be able to hear him.

"You know" he whispered, his eyes filling with tears, "you have been with me through all the bad times. When I was stung by the bee on our honeymoon and had to be hospitalized, you held my hand. When I got fired, you stuck right beside me. When I was hit by a car, you nursed me back to health. When my business went under, there you were. When we lost the house, you stood with me. When I got shot, you rode in the ambulance with me. When my health started failing, you were still by my side. Now I have been in a coma all this time, you are still with me. And you know what?"

"What, dear?" she asked gently, smiling to herself.

"I think you're bad luck."

Sunday, July 29, 2012

What's it all about

I read this article today on Jeff Bezos donating $2.5 million to promote the redefinition of marriage. While the article is what is expected of a media that excoriates people for thought crimes or lauds them for goodthink, there is one thing I found interesting - the honesty of Jennifer Cast, who emailed Jeff asking for a donation. According to the article, she wrote "and to let my children and grandchildren know their family is honored like a 'real' family."

And that's basically what this issue is about. As I have said before, it's not about civil rights, it's about religious liberty. Do I, as a person of faith, have the right to hold a position on the morality of certain acts, or must I be forced to "honor" acts I believe are immoral and harmful? Mr. Bezos evidently thinks that I do not have that right, that I must be forced to treat people as "married" and a "family" when I do not believe that they are (and when science and religion both agree that they are not).

The fact is, there is no right to be "honored". Honor is something that must be earned, and earning it means doing something that is constructive to society, not just doing something difficult. We don't "honor" the person who commits adultery (unless he is the president - yes, that's sarcasm folks), even if that person overcame great obstacles to do so. Is it hard to live a "gay" lifestyle? Perhaps, but that's not the question. It's hard to live a Christian lifestyle as well, but Christians aren't demanding that the government force non-Christians to give us honor.

Truly the Prophet

How many of you sat through a homily today about sharing? C'mon, raise you hands. I can't understand why some people consider the "miracle" of the loaves and fishes to be about sharing. As I understand it, those folks claimed that the miracle that Jesus performed was to get everyone to share the food that they had brought with them. There are some problems with this.

First off, Jesus sets up the whole shebang by having the Apostles verify that there is no way the people can be fed. If the people had brought food with them, why then would they have to spend 200 days' wags to feed them? In fact, if they had brought food with them, all they had to do was sit and eat it; Jesus and the Apostles need do nothing. End of story. Nothing to see here, go home people.

But perhaps only a few people brought food, but they brought it in great quantities, and they needed Jesus to say a blessing in order to make them share it. Huh? Are we to expect that this was some sermon that Jesus uttered that made food vendors give away their stock? Where is the sermon? It is not mentioned here. We don't here "Jesus spoke the word and their hearts were opened." Instead we here "Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed them."

Well, perhaps that's figurative speech? Sorry, but that doesn't work either. We are told "When the people saw the sign he had done, they said, 'This is truly the Prophet, the one who is to come into the world.'" Are we to expect that the people wanted to make Jesus king, and called him Prophet, Messiah, because he convinced some food vendors to give away their wares?

And so my questions to the "sharing" theorists are these. Do you think Jesus God or a liar? Because He claimed to be God, so if He isn't, He's a liar. And if He is God, and God created the entire universe from nothing, why is it so hard to believe that He could make some bread and fish, that you have to invent ridiculous stories that don't fit the account in order to try to explain it away?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Monday Joke

A polar bear walks into a bar, and says to the bartender, "I'll have...." and a minute later concludes "...a glass of ice water."

The bartender asks "Why the long pause?"

The polar bear replies "I guess I was born with them."

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Uniform

Monday, July 16, 2012

Monday Joke

An Irishman named (you guessed it) Paddy was down on his luck. With no job prospects in sight he finally took to going door to door in wealthier neighborhoods looking for odd jobs to do. One day he walked up a long sweeping driveway across impeccable gardens to a beautiful large white house. He knocked on the door. "Top O' the marnin' sar" says Paddy. "Might ya be havin' any odd jobs for a poor lad just in from the old sod?"

After a few repeats the owner of the house deciphered what he was asking, and being a kindly man decided to find something for Paddy to do for pay. "There's some paint and brushes in the garage. I want you to paint the back porch" he said.

"Ah sure and bless ya kind sar" said Paddy and immediately set to work. A short time later, Paddy again knocked at the door. "Sar, if it please ya, I am done. Would ya care to check ma wark?"

"No" replied the man "I'm sure you did a good job. Here's your pay. I'm just surprised you're finished so soon. It is a rather large porch."

"Thank ya" said Paddy, taking the money. "May the good Lord bless ya and keep ya. You've been so kind to a poor lad, it almost breaks ma heart to have to correct ya. Ya see, it wasn't actually a porch in back, 'twas a mercedes."

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Searching for Muhammad

You may not be aware, but I am somewhat addicted to podcasts. Podcasts have done for me in the audio milieu what TiVo did for me in video. I can listen to what I want when I want it, and skip through parts I don't want. Add to that Yahoo Pipes, and life gets even better.

One of the podcasts I follow is Catholic Answers Live. I don't remember when I started listening to it, but what I like is that it is faithful to the Magisterium, and the guests are extremely knowledgeable, at least as far as I can tell (in other words where I know something, they do too, which believe me is rare in most shows). But the best part are the questions people ask. Things I never would even have thought to ask, let alone know the answer to. I can honestly say is that from almost every episode I have learned something new or looked at something from a new perspective. And learning new things and new ways to examine things is something I enjoy, much like Richard Feynman.

An example is one of last week's episodes, "Searching for Muhammad". The guest on the show, Robert Spencer, (no relation to Shawn Spencer) examines the question "did Muhammad exist". I had never considered the question, having taken the "history" of Islam that I've heard on the media at face value. But if his claims are true, there is no credible evidence that Muhammad existed or that he produced the Quran.

I'm very skeptical of this claim, since I have heard the same claims made about Jesus and Christianity. However, such claims are trivial to disprove, and Jesus' existence is documented by non-Christian historians as well as by Christians, and most of the New Testament, while not compiled into a single volume until the late fourth century, was written and widely disseminated during the first century.

On the contrary I haven't heard any such refutations of Mr. Spencer's claims (although that doesn't mean they don't exist). According to him, there are no references either in the Arab world or in the lands they conquered to Muhammad the prophet, or the Quran or Islam until about 125 years after Muhammad is supposed to have died. In addition, he says coins minted in that time that feature the name Muhammad bear the image of a man with a cross, which could not be the Muhammad of Islam (since the cross is accursed according to Islam).

I am not enough of a historian to say whether these claims are true or not, but it is a fascinating question to ponder. There's much more in the episode, and I suggest you listen to it if you find the idea interesting.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Monday Joke

Several weeks into an ocean crossing, the lookout calls down from the crow's nest "Pirate ship off the starboard bow!"

The captain calls for his cabin boy and tells him "Bring me my red shirt. If the pirates board and I am wounded in the fight, the blood won't show and dishearten the crew."

A few minutes later, the lookout calls down again "Five pirate ships off the starboard bow!"

The captain calls for his cabin boy and tells him "Bring me my brown pants..."

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Due Process and Due Diligence

I know most people are posting stories today about the liberties we enjoy as Americans. But I came across this story today. As you may be aware, our government has decided it has the power to spy on us in this country with aerial drones, to "keep us safe", just as they do in other places. But of course, Constitutional arguments aside, is this even good technology? Not according to the news story.
Todd Humphreys and his team at the University of Texas at Austin's Radio Navigation Laboratory have just completed a successful experiment: illuminating a gaping hole in the government’s plan to open US airspace to thousands of drones.

They could be turned into weapons.

With his device -- what Humphreys calls the most advanced spoofer ever built (at a cost of just $1,000) -- he infiltrates the GPS system of the drone with a signal more powerful than the one coming down from the satellites orbiting high above the earth.

Initially, his signal matches that of the GPS system so the drone thinks nothing is amiss. That’s when he attacks -- sending his own commands to the onboard computer, putting the drone at his beck and call.

Humphreys says the implications are very serious. “In 5 or 10 years you have 30,000 drones in the airspace,” he told Fox News. “Each one of these could be a potential missile used against us.”
There's so much I could say about this, from the failure of modern technology to replace people to the failure of a government to protect the interests of its people. Neither due process nor due diligence are being practiced here.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Upside Down

Every wonder how your phone knows to rotate the screen? Here's a quick video that I found interesting. Enjoy.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Monday Joke

In a small town in Ireland one day a stranger, an American, walked into the pub, ordered two beers and sat down alone at a table. He drank one of the beers, then started on the second. He then ordered another two beers, sat, and drank them.

This continued day after day, until curiosity got the best of the bartender. "Pardon me for asking" he says, "but why don't you just order your beer one at a time? That way you'd be drinking fresh beer with a nice head on it."

"Well, you see" said the stranger, "my brother and I were always as close as two people can be. We did everything together. We used to go to the pub every night and have a couple of beers together. But he's joined the military and been sent off, and my job has taken me to Ireland. The night before we both left, we made a pact to drink a beer for the other one each day at the same time, so even when we can't be together physically, we at least have this connection."

The answer satisfied the bartender, who told all the regulars, and after a while the stranger became the pride of the town, a man who was so devoted to his brother that he had a beer for him every day. He became known as "the man with two beers".

This continued for months and months, until one day the man walks in, looking forlorn, and orders a single beer. He sits alone at his table and slowly begins to sip at the foam. Everyone in the pub realizes something tragic must have happened, and they begin to whisper about it. As the man is finishing his beer, the bartender carries another single beer over to the table.

"I don't mean to intrude" he says, "but we all want to offer our condolences on your brother. We all noticed you only ordered one beer today..."

"Oh my brother's fine. I just gave up beer for Lent."