Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Not Tim Tebow

But the Trey Burton. He's something else.

The Gators play Alabama Saturday night. It should be quite a game.

UPDATE: Wow! The Crimson Tide destroyed the Gators Saturday night. As for Trey Burton, the young man is not only "not Tim Tebow," he is "no Tim Tebow." But, in fairess, who could be other than Tim himself?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Pretty Good Argument for an Armed Citizenry

US law enforcement officials say they have been told the terrorists were planning a series of "Mumbai-style" commando raids on what were termed "economic or soft" targets in the countries.

-from an ABC News report entitled 'Credible But Not Specific' Threat of New Terrorist Attack: Officials in Europe, US on High Alert for Commando-Style Raids After Capture of Suspected German Terrorist. {Thanks, Drudge.)

Over-subscription of New BP Bond Issue

The WSJ reports that BP sold a "larger than expected" amount of bonds today.

The sale by BP Capital Markets PLC, a funding arm of the U.K. energy giant, was originally slated at $2 billion to $3 billion but was increased as a result of high demand. There were $12 billion of orders, the people said.

That either indicates a great deal of confidence in BP, the oil industry, and the commodity-value of oil itself, or it shows a serious lack of confidence in about everything else. Of course, I could be completely wrong on this, as the vigor of "everything else" will drive the price of oil. And we are dealing with bonds, of course, and not stocks.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Bill Clinton Embarks on the Healthy Journey,

reads The China Study, loses weight, becomes a vegan, wants to live to enjoy his grandchildren despite his history of heart disease (and may he do so).

No one has ever accused him of being stupid. See this interview on CNN.

(This could be immensely influential.)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Linneaus' Flower Clock

As I was working in the office this morning, I had playing in the background the FM classical music station known as "Classical South Florida," the station that purchased the old WMCU frequency on 89.7. The DJ announced a work written for oboe in 1959 by a French composer named Jean Francaix and known as L’horloge de flore (A Musical Flower Clock).

The "Flower Clock" idea is based on what Wikipedia describes as

Linnaeus' flower clock[:] . . . a garden plan hypothesized by Carolus Linnaeus that would take advantage of several plants that open or close their flowers at particular times of the day to accurately predict the time. He called it specifically the Horologium Florae (lit. "flower clock"), and proposed the concept in the 1751 publication Philosophia Botanica. He may never have planted such a garden, but the idea was attempted by several botanical gardens in the early 19th century, with mixed success. Many plants exhibit a strong circadian rhythm, and a few have been observed to open at quite a regular time, but the accuracy of such a clock is diminished because flowering time is affected by weather and seasonal effects. The flowering times recorded by Linnaeus are also subject to differences in daylight due to latitude: his measurements are based on flowering times in Uppsala, where he taught and had received his university education.

The Wiki link is here.

I found this link to the following YouTube performance of the piece.

Useless Information Department

A link, thanks to Instapundit, to "How to break in a new car." Just who buys new cars anymore?

Growing up, people in my middle/middle/middle class neighborhood and in our extended family always bought new cars. Otherwise, "we would be buying someone else's problems." For some families (not ours), the ritual was that one would trade in for a new car each year.

The decline in Western Civilization since the 50's and 60's probably accounts for the change. Or maybe Carmax.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Never Compete on Price

Good advice. (Thanks, Juan)

Is Nothing Sacred? Renting Better than Buying

In the majority of the surveyed years [1978 through 2009], renting [one's home] turns out to be the better choice financially,

-from an article by Ken H. Johnson, an FIU economics professor, in Sunday's Herald.

But only if one prudently reinvests the savings.

This is not to say that renters became wealthier than home owners. Home ownership is, after all, a forced savings plan. You are putting money into a house. Although renters save money by paying less in rent than they would on a mortgage, those savings will often be spent in a "cloud of consumption" -- on consumer goods rather than on a financial instrument that brings a return.

The universe rewards discipline. Long-term versus short term. Hanging in there versus bailing out. Etc. Provided that you have a relatively free, market-based economy. These virtues don't work in Venezuela, for example. Or they take a lot longer, maybe a lifetime or two, to work out.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Happy Birthday, Mary!

I goofed on this post. I meant it to be a prayer, thanking the Lord for Mary. Thus, "Dear Lord, We glorify you and praise your name! We thank you for Mary!"

Mary's OK and all that, but the praise belongs to the Lord.


Thursday, September 09, 2010

Recession? What Recession?

Today I had a conference with a very attractive couple who have two children. The dad told me that last year he bought for his 14 year old son and himself a package of 2 tickets for 10 home Heat games. The total price was $5,000.

This year that same set of tickets is $30,000. (He is not renewing.)

By the way, all the seats for all the Heat home games are completely sold out.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

J.B. Phillips on Translating Words in their Context

After reading a large number of commentaries I have a feeling that some scholars, at least, have lived so close to the Greek Text that they have lost their sense of proportion. I doubt very much whether the New Testament writers were as subtle or as self-conscious as some commentators would make them appear. For the most part I am convinced that they had no idea that they were writing Holy Scripture. They would be, or indeed perhaps are, amazed to learn what meanings are sometimes read back into their simple utterances! Paul, for instance, writing in haste and urgency to some of his wayward and difficult Christians, was not tremendously concerned about dotting the "i's" and crossing the "t's" of his message. I doubt very much whether he was even concerned about being completely consistent with what he had already written. Consequently, it seems to me quite beside the point to study his writings microscopically, as it were, and deduce hidden meanings of which almost certainly he was unaware. His letters are alive, and they are moving - in both senses of that word - and their meaning can no more be appreciated by cold minute examination than can the beauty of a bird's flight be appreciated by dissection after its death. We have to take these living New Testament documents in their context, a context of supreme urgency and often of acute danger. But a word is modified very considerably by the context in which it appears, and where a translator fails to realise this, we are not far away from the use of a computer! The translators of the Authorised Version [KJV] were certainly not unaware of this modification, even though they had an extreme reverence for the actual words of Holy Writ. Three hundred years ago they did not hesitate to translate the Greek word EKBALLO by such varying expressions as put out, drive forth, bring forth, send out, tear out, take out, leave out, cast out, etc., basing their decisions on the context. And as a striking example of their translational freedom, in Matthew 27,44 we read that the thieves who were crucified with Jesus "cast the same in his teeth", where the Greek words mean simply, "abused him".

-from the Introduction to Phillips' The New Testament in Modern English Revised Edition. (See my post on Romans 5:1-5 last week.)

Compare Phillips' statement to this statement in the Introduction to the First Edition of the NET Bible, under the heading "What are some of the distinctive characteristics of the NET Bible translation philosophy?," the penultimate paragraph:

[T]he translators and editors of the NET Bible are committed to following the text where it leads and translating it honestly. The translation philosophy leaves no other options: For the sake of Christ and the truth, the translators and editors are compelled to translate as they have done in the examples above and throughout the NET Bible. The 19th century conservative Christian scholar Henry Alford stated it best: “a translator of Holy Scripture must be…ready to sacrifice the choicest text, and the plainest proof of doctrine, if the words are not those of what he is constrained in his conscience to receive as God’s testimony.”

On Being "Half-Saved"

Commenting on Romans 5:9-11, John Stott writes in part

If, therefore, we are asked by some brash evangelist whether we have been saved, it would be just as biblical to say 'No' as to say 'Yes', although the correct answer would be 'Yes and No.' For yes, we have been saved through Christ from the guilt of our sins and from the judgment of God upon them, but no, we have not yet been delivered from indwelling sin or been given new bodies in the new world.

This explains a lot about a Christian's present situation. With the rest of creation, we all do groan so from time to time, as we do also celebrate.

Happy Birthday, Lolita!

Where Killer Whales have a 20 year life-expectancy, she's 40 years old!

But Steve, Why Limit This to Two People Who Love Each Other?

"Why would anyone in this country not want two people who love each other to enjoy the blessings of marriage and the protections of law."

-Steve Zack, the incoming president of the ABA, as quoted in the September 2010 ABA Journal, in connection with the approval by the ABA's House of Delegates of "the rights of gays and lesbians to marry in civil ceremonies."

(I'm also fascinated by Steve's use of the word "blessings." Because the House of Delegates is addressing "civil ceremonies," wouldn't Steve want to use the word "benefits" instead? Is he simply confused here, or does one have to reach for a religious word in order describe what a marriage can mean? And where does he think "blessings" come from if he means to refer to something beyond benefits?)

"Arranged" the Movie

Carol and I viewed this via Netflix download last night. It had been recommended by several of our Christian friends (but not a Christian anywhere in it - imagine that - except perhaps for the blind Puerto Rican boy and his mom). We recommend it now, too.

ARRANGED centers on the friendship between an Orthodox Jewish woman and a Muslim woman who meet as first-year teachers at a public school in Brooklyn. Over the course of the year they learn they share much in common - not least of which is that they are both going through the process of arranged marriages

-from the plot description at the IMDb link above.

There were all sort of interesting aspects of this movie, but one I will mention is how modest the two young women were about their hair. The Muslim woman wore her hair covered and the Jewish woman wore her hair pinned up or in a braid. On the few occasions when one saw them in the film with their hair down (always at home among family members, except in one extraordinary case), these already attractive women were transformed into absolutely beautiful women. I'm sure there were some cinematic tricks being played here, but I also wondered this: had my mental picture of these women in their public appearance been fixed early in the movie, so that when I saw them later with their hair down I could not help but find their full beauty stunning? Is this, after all, how God intends feminine modesty to work?

On the Madness of Free Fall Thrills

A really sad outcome. Why would one subject herself to such risks? (The lawyer in the photo is a good friend of mine.)

Friday, September 03, 2010

Nikon Pocket Camera with its Own Projector

The Nikon Coolpix S1000PJ.

The Nikon CoolPix S1000pj is the world's first digicam containing a built-in projector, which is capable of projecting captured images up to 40" across at distances of up to 5.5'. Featuring a 12.1-megapixel CCD and a 5x (28-140mm equivalent) zoom lens, the CoolPix S1000pj can capture broad landscapes or tight portraits with equal ease and print them at sizes up to 16x20".

- From the Adorama write-up.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Immigration Newspeak

Undocumented, better still irregular, but certainly not illegal immigrants. (Note to Herald: the headline writer needs re-education.)

Austin Presbyterian Seminary Professor Chimes in on the NY Mosque

Whitney Bodman, associate professor of comparative religion at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, has provided the most egregious misrepresentation of “Cordoban ecumenism.” He invoked it specifically to defend Imam Rauf’s GZM project and to condemn its opponents –who now represent 70% of both the U.S. and New York populations — for failing to understand “ … the difference between the Muslims of al-Qaeda and the Muslims of Cordoba.” Professor Bodman’s warped narrative was punctuated by the utterly ahistorical claim that the purported idyllic interfaith relations and glorious cultural symbiosis of Cordoba were abruptly terminated by the Spanish Catholic Inquisition:

["]The name “Cordoba House” is significant. It is named after the famed medieval Spanish city of Cordoba where philosophers, mystics, artisans and poets — Muslim, Christian, and Jewish — lived and shared together. … Its libraries were vast, and the translations of Arabic works into Latin changed Europe and Christianity forever. Among the resident luminaries were Maimonides, a noted Jewish intellectual, the poet Ibn Hazm, and Averroes, the Muslim philosopher and mystic. … With the coming of the Inquisition and Christian exclusivism, the brilliance of Cordoba faded, but its significance endures as a vibrant, inter-religious community.["]

-From "The Cordoba House and the Myth of Cordoban 'Ecumenism'", by Andrew G. Bostom, here.

Carol, Mary, and I visited Cordoba a couple of years ago. We saw several other indications of the ecumenism of the Moors in Spain. Take Toledo for instance.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Colonoscopy: A "Gold Standard to Refuse," according to Dr. McDougall

He's pretty persuasive. After my last one, I said "That is it - no more for me." Unlike the colonoscopy, the sigmoidoscopy can be administered without anesthesia by a competent GP. I had the sygmoid once before the colonoscopy became the rage. While unpleasant, it certainly beat the risk/no apparent reward situation with the colonoscopy and the fact that the anesthesia wipes you out for a day. (Not to mention the cost!)

Kidnappings and Murder in Haiti

That poor, beleagured country hardly needs this.

A recent U.S. travel advisory noted that bandits have attacked travelers leaving the Port-au-Prince international airport, and that at least two U.S. citizens were killed in recent months. Five have been kidnapped.

Even relief workers have been targeted. In March, bandits abducted -- and released --two staff members of Doctors Without Borders in Port-au-Prince. Two months later, kidnappers grabbed a British national from the Pan-American Development Foundation and his Haitian driver. The Brit was released. The driver was killed.

``After Jan. 12, it looks like the good targets would be the NGOs,'' said Reginald Delva, the head of a security consulting firm. ``And I'm pretty sure they don't have ransoms planned into their budgets.''

-from the Miami Herald article to which I link above.