Monday, July 31, 2006

Quick little update

Wow it is hot outside. It's 8:30 at night and the temperature is still over 90 degrees. I usually prefer warm weather to cold weather but this is ridiculous. It's been especially tough as I go door to door for the campaign. On Saturday I think I lost 10 pounds just from pounding the pavement in this heat. We have another big day planned for Wednesday and I am hoping the temp cools off by then but I doubt it.

Last night we had church and I am really enjoying going to barefoot. I am even learning a few things. Mostly, that being part of a smaller body means there is a lot for each person to do. Not an overwhelming amount but if everyone's not involved not much would get done. I have been helping raise money for a concert we are promoting in August. The money goes to Blood:Water Mission which was started by Jars of Clay and they help build wells in Africa. It's a cool venture to contribute too. Here is their website. This week I begin practicing with the worship band for our Saturday night services. I am eager to start singing again but I hope that I have enough time to commit in light of campaign season heating up.

We also talked last night about reaching out to the kids that live in one of the local apartment complexes. Apparently, they don't have a lot going on and the kids are looking for people to invest in them. Not sure just what the plan is yet but I like the fact that we are preparing to take on a need. Another avenue that we are pursuing is with the Lansing area aids network. Our pastor met with them last week and they are really excited about our church and want to work with us to reach out to the aids community. I was going to volunteer with them last year but could never worki it into my schedule so I am hoping that maybe I can do some work with them now through the church.

What I like most about my church is that the community is so young and they have great expectations and ideas. There are endless possibilities to serve people and even before we are officially launched there is an eagerness to see how our church fits in meeting those needs. The key will be focusing this energy and enthusiasm into the most effective venues.

One final thing, Derek Bethay just posted a link on his blog to an article about a preacher who is trying to keep the church above the political frey. It's a good read and I would suggest checking it out. Maybe when I get a little time, I will share my thoughts on what that pastor is doing.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Some thoughts on the war

Like most people I have been paying close attention to the outbreak of violence between Israel and Hezbollah. I know a lot of my friends are very encouraged by what's happening because they want Israel to win but I am saddened as I watch the news and see all the destruction. This is especially true as I see Lebanon (one of the few democracies in the region) get decimated. As much I hate war though, there is a time and place for it and this is that time.

It seems like there has been a recent call by many in the media for a cease fire. Thus far the Bush team has resisted such talk and I am encouraged by that. Yes, a cease fire would temporarily end the violence but it won't end the war. You don't need to be shooting rockets at each to be at war with each other. Just look at the cold war for example. We had several years where we never fired a single shot against Russia and yet we were in a full scale struggle to determine the fate of the 20th century. Even most recently, radical Islam has been at war with us for decades yet we were not even fully aware of it until September 11th.

This particular war is nothing new. Israel and the Islamic extremists have been at war for a long time even during the so called peaceful times. You see peace is not the absence of conflict but rather when one power has the upper hand as to deter the other from attacking. This is the principle of peace through strength and it has worked for a long time.

If Israel were to now listen to the world and arrange a cease fire they would be quitting before they actually made enough progress to restrain their enemy. All a cease fire would do at this point is allow Hezbollah a chance to regroup and build up their strength to attack at a time when it's more beneficial to them. I think we should pay special attention to this point as it pertains to our own war with Islam and maybe give pause to the growing chorus to withdraw from Iraq even though the work is not yet done. Our withdrawl will not end the war and we should not leave until we are strong enough to deter our enemy from attacking.

The other idea that keeps coming to mind as I examine these events is how Iran has badly overplayed their hand. Much of the war on terror is being facilitated and propped up by Iran. They are fueling a large portion of the resistance in Iraq and of course they are using Hezbollah as a pawn to attack Israel. The whole timing of the war was planned to distract the world from Iran's quest to become a nuclear power. They also wanted to take the our attention away from Iraq and make the US focus on several battle fronts. I think they also thought they could drive a further wedge between the US and certain allies like Russia and France.

The reality is just the opposite. The world and our allies have for the most part been restrained in their condemnation against Israel. Instead the event has opened many sleeping eyes and brought Iran to the forefront as the leading trouble maker in the region. And rather than pitting us against our allies, this war has pitted the moderate Muslim states like Jordan, Egypt and Turkey against Iran. They want no part in stirring the anger and retribution of Israel. What's more, because Iran had to use a surrogate army to attack they revealed their own cowardice to attack directly. Say what you want about the war in Iraq but the US is walking the walk in that war and demonstrated that we are willing to risk our troops and even our reputation to combat Islamic extremism. Iran on the other hand looks like the man behind the curtain who talks tough but has others do their bidding. I think this war will hurt their reputation and will only enhance their wanting to build the bomb so they can claim their role as the Muslim superpower. Without the bomb they are just another third world tyranny.

As the following weeks play out, I hope the world maintains their support for Israel to defend themselves and that Hezbollah is thoroughly destroyed. If that happens, there won't be peace in the middle east but at least there will be a little less fighting.

Monday, July 24, 2006

My Ex-girlfriend's Wedding

Saturday night I went to an ex girlfriend's wedding reception. I know it sounds strange that I would go to such an event but Michelle and I have been good friends since before we dated, while we dated and after we dated. It's a good formula to follow and it works well for me. This is actually not the first wedding of an ex girlfriend that I have attended. So I guess I am always an ex-boyfriend, never a groom.

The reception was a mix of people from all walks of life and I actually knew quite a few people. I enjoyed seeing her family again and got a chance to visit with several friends that I used to go to church with. What I find funny is the fallacy that weddings are a good place to pick up women. I have never found this to be the case. Usually, most women come with dates already and secondly, my chances of picking up a woman after she has seen me dance are limited to only the blind or the infirm.

Michelle did try to set me with up her friend Robin at the reception. Apparently she hadn't read my recent blog about fix ups because she chose the wrong person for me. Robin was very nice and sweet but a little quiet and boring. I already have quiet and boring in my life and I am ready for something different. Now her friend Nsombie was anything but quiet and boring but Michelle didn't think I could handle her. Too which I think if I was able to handle Michelle, how much tougher could her friend be?

All in all it was fun to celebrate their wedding. Her husband Aron seems like a pretty decent guy and they are a good fit. Usually I don't like receptions simply because I don't need married people gloating about how happy they are and flaunting their newfound life. But this one wasn't that bad. I wish them both a long and successful relationship.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Why I hate Katie Couric

Kate Couric is going on a nationwide listening tour to help her be a better news anchor when she makes the switch to CBS. What a stupid idea.

First of all, since when does reporting the news (the facts) rely on what people want to hear? Shouldn't she just report what happens regardless of what the public thinks about it. The idea that she will change how she covers the news based on what people tell her on this listening tour just reveals how little the news networks value actual reporting and how much they value gaining larger audiences.

If she really wants to know what people want to hear why is she limiting her tour to a pre selected group of people. How many conservatives do you think will be at these events? I just read an article that a web reporter in Minnesota was not allowed to cover the event. Can you imagine if Katie was told she wasn't allowed to cover an event. We would hear everynight about secret meetings and that the public had a right to know what was going on. It's so hypocritical.

But really, the public doesn't need to attend some make believe listening tour to convey what they want from their news. Just follow the trends in what people are watching and that will tell you enough to figure out that the public is tired of the big three mainstream networks and their bias reporting. Nobody wants to be lectured to and fed half truths and that is essentially what you get from CBS and the others. Instead, most people want fair, honest, objective reporting of the facts so they can figure out for themselves what's going on in the world. That's why Fox news and other alternative media is flourishing while the network ratings are in free fall.

But do you really think Katie is going to be fair and unbiased when moves to CBS? Even if some conservatives are able to sneak into her listening tour and tell her that's what they want, there is no way she can do it. It just goes against everything she believes in. You see her tour reveals more about herself than it does about what Americans want to hear. She is doing the tour to promote herself because she thinks she is a celebrity and this is her way of capitalizing on her fame. With that fame, she feels a responsibility to use her soapbox to promote the liberal agenda. The whole reason she does the news is to shape how people view the world. Okay, maybe the outrageous sums of money is motivation as well.

So don't be fooled by all the Orwellian hype surrounding her. CBS news will be the same as it was with Dan Rather; the same crap only with a prettier face.

footnote: For a sample of reporting in the past just visiting the following link

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Just call me Mr. Computer

Last night, as I attempted to delete real player from my computer I accidentally deleted my audio device as well. I didn't even realize what I had done until I went to listen to a video clip and had no volume. When I tried to find the volume control on my toolbar and it was gone, it quickly donned on me that I had done something terribly stupid.

After a few minutes of yelling and cursing my bad luck and misjudgment, I decided I was going to fix this problem myself. If I could delete it, I could re-install it. It sounded so easy until I realized I wasn't even sure if had the disks to re-install and wasn't entirely sure what the device was called. After a couple hours I finally found the right program on Gateway's website and downloaded it. Thinking I was so smart I restarted my computer only to learn that the device wasn't downloaded properly and I still didn't have any sound.

I was so pissed that I had to give up working on the computer and took a break to watch TV for half an hour. After I calmed down, I tried downloading it again. Again and again it didn't work. Now I am feeling both agitated and embarrassed that I can't figure this simple process out. I feel like Einstein's definition of insanity as I try the exact same dumb thing several times and each time expecting it to work when it never did before.

Finally, I realize that the hardware I was downloading was not the right device for my computer. After another 15 minutes of searching gateway's website I eventually found the right device and got it loaded onto to my computer and I am proud to say that I have sound again. And as much as I was irritated, I was equally proud of myself for fixing the problem without having to call the geek squad and pay 50 bucks to some high school kid. I just hope that I don't have to fix anything else on my computer in the near future.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Now that's a politician

I live in a mostly Democratic area and our current State Representative is term limited so there is vigorous Democratic primary to replace him. Since I have no faith the Republican can actually win the seat, I am going to vote in the democratic primary. No this does not mean my transformation from right wing conservative to left wing radical is complete. I am simply being pragmatic and hope to get the least offensive democrat elected.

In my quest to find the right candidate, I did some research on each of them. There are 6 total and most of them have websites. Even so, I am struck by the dearth of information on real issues. Every candidate's site talks about jobs and supporting education, blah, blah blah but none mentioned many specifics and few of the issues that I care about were mentioned. So I decided I would write each candidate and ask them if they were pro life, if they supported expanding the number of charter schools, and how they plan to address the state budget deficit.

To my surprise one candidate, Jerry Hollister called me an hour after I sent him an email. I was shocked that he responded so quickly. Either they have a very well run and agile campaign or he has nothing better to do than check his email every half hour. We had a good conversation about the new economy and while I don't agree with him on abortion or school choice, the mere fact that he called me personally goes a long way in garnering my support. Chris Lewless, another candidate sent me an email the same day which was very timely as well and I appreciate his specific and detailed responses.

Through this exercise, I have found ways to benefit our own campaign. First, put out as much information as possible because it's hard to find otherwise. Second, be responsive and timely. Third, direct and upfront is okay even if you don't agree because at least people respect that. Having said all this I still haven't decided who to vote for just yet. I am still waiting for half the field to get back to me.

The Fix Up

I mentioned in my previous post that my brother was trying to set me up with a lady friend of his. That raised the interest of a lot of people so I figured I would give an update.

First, let me preference by thanking Vince for introducing me to Kelly. It is hard to meet new people and having someone else looking for me is a help. Having said that, I have no idea why he thought we would be a good match. Sure, we are both attractive, single, thirtysomethings but once you get past that there wasn't much common ground.

We played cards for most the night and won quite a few times and while we played we chatted back and forth. And while, she was very nice, there just weren't any sparks on either side. We didn't really have much in common. Halfway through the night, she admitted that she knew nothing about politics so I admitted that I knew nothing about women. Seriously, I really don't care if someone "knows politics". But what I do care is that the person has an understanding and curiousity about the world around them and I didn't get that impression from her. In fact, after the first hour or so I came to the conclusion that the only reason I was still trying was because she had a killer body. If she didn't, I doubt I would have invested as much effort and interest as I did. Not that looks are everything to me but when you have no other connection the importance of physical attraction becomes magnified.

It's too bad that things didn't go any better. I actually had an open mind going into the evening despite all my previous bad experiences with fix ups. Preferrably I hope to just meet someone on my own and develop something that way but until that I happens I guess I'll wait until next time. Because sometimes even awkward set ups are better than doing nothing at all.

Friday, July 07, 2006


This week I have been un-ordinarily grumpy for some reason. Sure, I am sometimes sullen and sardonic but usually there is a hint of humor to my bitterness. Not so this week. It's hard to laugh when the people around me keep pissing me off for no reason. I really don't understand why I am in such a funk because I had a great weekend and holiday. Maybe the world is really full of idiots and slackers and I am just now realizing it.

I went to sleep early last night to try and work the feeling out of my system but it hasn't worked and in fact my attitude seems to be spreading the rest of the office. I feel a little sorry for Jennie in my office who has gotten most of my disdain but to be fair she has been in a foul mood herself. If you've ever watched Becker, you'll get a good description of our office this week and let me tell you its no picnic. I mean it's funny on TV but not so much fun in real life.

I am hoping things change this weekend. I get to play a game of poker with some friends on Friday night and then my brother is setting me up with a women he knows on Saturday. Maybe my fortune and attitude will change. But then again, I could lose my shirt at the poker game and my fix up could go horribly wrong and I will back in this state again next week. One thing is for sure, my co-workers are hoping that's not the case.