As is becoming usual these days, my Dave-luck meter plummeted to zero yesterday morning and my shiny new BMW f650 GS fell off the kickstand in the parking lot at work. I parked it, got off, unhooked and removed the topcase from the back, took my helmet off and proceeded to take about 5 steps when I heard a sickening crunch. I turned around and saw La Muerte Negra laying on her side. I guess it was only a matter of time. Whenever you get something really nice you just grit your teeth and wait for the inevitable first oops to come along and bite you. I just wish it had happened on some kind of cool off-roading adventure or cross country trip instead of in the parking lot at work. At least then I could have saved my ego a bit. As it happened there was no cool factor at all.
Here’s the “carnage”:
The Black Death. Fear her and her broken turn signal.
The turn signal lens popped off of the signal housing and broke the inner screw peg off.
There were a couple of scratches on the grip weights and clutch lever.
Couple of scratches on the exhaust pipe heat spreader.
The fender took the worst of it. I’ll probably end up replacing it or filling it in with touchup paint.
There is a story on Ars Technica right now about a recent report by the FCC claiming that 99+% of indecency complaints made to them come from a single organization called the Parents Television Council(PTC). The author, Ken Fisher, appears distraught about this new information:
“It has long been through that the advent of reality TV and the onset of “loose morals” in TV have pushed conservatives over the edge. And you know what, it’s true. The problem is that, unfortunately, these massive numbers all boil down to one politically motivated group with an axe to grind. Hold on to your hat, folks.”
–Ken Fisher, Ars Technica
Apart from really needing to use spell checker, this is rhetoric folks. The image Ken is creating in the minds of readers is some dark room filled with about 20 quakers and a bunch of telephones grumbling, “I’ll get that blasted television if it’s the last thing I do.” The reality couldn’t be more different though. Here is what the “politically motivated group” actually consists of:
“The Parents Television Council was founded in 1995 to ensure that children are not constantly assaulted by sex, violence and profanity on television and in other media. Our national grassroots organization has nearly one million members across the United States, and works with television producers, broadcasters, networks and sponsors in an effort to stem the flow of harmful and negative messages targeted to children. We are a nonpartisan organization that works with elected and appointed government officials to enforce broadcast decency standards. Most importantly, the PTC produces critical research and publications documenting the dramatic increase in sex, violence and profanity in entertainment. This information is provided free of charge so parents can make informed viewing choices for their own families.”
And there’s the rub. The PTC is just a name that represents the views of almost 1 million americans. It’s just like any other lobbying organization. It allows normal people to influence their government in ways they could otherwise never do. Let me ask you this: If you saw something on TV that you were very offended by, exactly how would you go about filing an FCC complaint? And did you even know you could? I have no idea what the procedure is for filing a complaint like that. I would probably start by trying to call the network that showed the particular program. I would then most likely get bounced around from call handler to call handler for an hour before giving up. I probably wouldn’t even attempt to call the FCC. I have watched a friend of mine struggle to get a passport for the last 12 weeks and calling a government agency for anything is like getting a root canal.
The point is, lobbying groups make it easier for average people to have their views heard without having to spend their whole day on the phone or traveling to Washington. This is just common sense folks. What percentage of complaints about the new Medicare drug plan do you think came from normal senior citizens sitting at home with a phone book in hand? Probably hardly any. I bet 99% of them came from the AARP. And that is just normal for our system of government. There isn’t anything fishy about that. The PTC and the AARP are just the only ones doing that type of lobbying at the moment. Trust me, the “just change the channel” people would change their tune in a hurry if you showed something like an anti-homosexual commercial on primetime. You’d probably get 99% of FCC complaints coming from the ACLU. Wouldn’t that be fishy.
Ok, I’m a believer now. You really can find anything on the internet:
Extreme Ironing : “The sport that is ’extreme ironing’ is an outdoor activity that combines the danger and excitement of an ’extreme’ sport with the satisfaction of a well pressed shirt. It involves taking an iron and board (if possible) to remote locations and ironing a few items of laundry. This can involve ironing on a mountainside, preferably on a difficult climb, or taking an iron skiing, snowboarding or canoeing.”
*Track 1,*Track 2,*Track 3,*Track 4
The Prodigal – Lyrics
Son! Why did you go away?
I guess you thought you could make it on your own
So you took your father’s inheritance
Lived it up, and now your money is gone
Mirror, mirror on the wall, tell me what you see
The face of an empty man drifting out to sea
Playing in the pigpen
Lying on the ground
Looking for another chance to turn this ship around
Sometimes I’m just like the prodigal
And I turn and run
But every time I turn away
You still call me your blessed son
The prodigal said to his father
I’m not worthy to be your son
And the father said to the prodigal
Let’s celebrate, for my son has come home!
- Title: The Prodigal
- Album: Fields (1999)
- Words: Steve Awtrey
- Music: Steve Awtrey
- MP3: The Prodigal
As I was tucking our kids in tonight on this, Father’s day, I had in the back of my mind all of the flack that father’s get in our culture. Men get a lot of flack in general, but father’s get especially targeted or singled out for ridicule. Just see some of the stories from the past week as an example. But anyway, as we were praying I started thinking that it shouldn’t be surprising that things are like that. American culture is so hostile to Christianity right now. Any aspect of Christianity, in this case it’s emphasis on the role of men as fathers, will be instinctively mocked. But it isn’t just that teaching of Christianity that inspires such father loathing. It’s the whole image of the God we worship.
We worship a God who calls himself our “Heavenly Father”. If He indeed exists as we think He does, then it was not an accident that He chose that title. He is the father of our Lord, true. But that relationship applies to us as well. He is literally our heavenly father. He fills all of the roles of a father: protector, provider, motivator, chastiser, leader and friend. All of those aspects that we as humanly fathers struggle to satisfy on a daily basis. We routinely find ourselves out of balance. One day we are too much of a protector and not enough leader/motivator. The next day we’ll be too much of a disciplinarian and not enough of a friend and provider. To be a dad is a complex job. Even in our modern culture when things are so mundane, finding that balance proves to be much harder than it should be.
I’m sure in your churches this morning you got a toungue lashing from the preacher about all the things you should be doing as a dad. I’m sure those things are true, but I get really tired of the dad bashing creeping it’s way into the church. Dads, you keep up the good job out there. Love and lead your wives, discipline and play with your children, and take care of your families. Beyond that, take comfort in the fact that God is not our heavenly mother. He is our heavenly father. And that is a high honor that you should be able to share that title with our Lord. Having an honored position means we should fulfill our duties with zeal and reverence. Don’t walk around mealy-mouth, always afraid that you will fail. That doesn’t inspire anyone, and it is not what our heavenly father wants from us.
I’m not familiar with her music but I just saw this pop up on the homeschooling RSS feed that we subscribe to. Since it was short, here’s the whole article:
One of the things Gretchen Wilson spoke about at the CMA Fest pre-Stadium concert this weekend was her effort to finally get her high school diploma through GED.
When we asked why that was important for her to do she said it was because she’d told somebody she would do it, she wants to be able to homeschool her daughter.
“It’s always something I wanted to do and something I told someone I would do. I said it out loud to somebody and I’m one of those people that I do what I say I’m going to do. But, I think the reason it crept up on my right now is because we just started home schooling my daughter and I’m not eligible to be listed as an educator for her because I don’t have a high school education or a GED. It’s all her dad right now. I want to be a part of that and maybe, next year when I have my degree I’ll be able to,” Gretchen explained.
–NASHVILLE, TN /Tuesday Jun.12.2007/ (netmusiccountdown.com)
This has a couple of definitions depending on context but it’s generally as described below.
Definition: Approval or official sanction. Sometimes in reference to a published work.
Example: “The imprimatur of the Speaker ensured the bill would be on a fast track through the house.”
I read the article that STR’s blog linked to this morning about some disputes in the atheist community. It’s a wierd article to say the least, and not very informative. But it did have a couple of nuggets that got me thinking along other lines. The first was this statement:
“In March, in remarks to the Associated Press, Epstein called the popular writers Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins “atheist fundamentalists.” … (Harris calls the term atheist fundamentalist “an empty play on words.”)
–Lisa Miller, Newsweek
Now why would Sam Harris get his hackle up about being called an atheist fundamentalist? Webster defines fundamentalism as “a movement or attitude stressing strict and literal adherence to a set of basic principles”. So is Sam Harris saying that he doesn’t stress strict adherence to the basic principles of atheism? Surely not. Maybe he’s saying that the term fundamentalist is so strictly tied to orthodox Christians(who are anathema to Sam) that it’s meaningless in any other context. I disagree wholeheartedly. Just drop the phrase “atheist fundamentalist” in casual conversation and see if you get looks of bewilderment. I am guessing you wouldn’t. Most informed people will see the implication you are making and understand it quite well.
On the other hand, just a couple of paragraphs down we have this jem of a quote from the radical darwinian camp, criticizing Epstein:
“R. Joseph Hoffmann, senior vice president at the prestigious Center for Inquiry, lashed out at Epstein in a letter he posted online. He accused Epstein of mushy thinking (“Gen-X humanism for the passionately confused”) and of using the Harvard imprimatur to stake out a divisive position.”
–Lisa Miller, Newsweek
So we are to believe from the neo-Neitzcheans that the term “atheist fundamentalist” is an “empty play on words” but the phrase “Gen-X humanism for the passionately confused” is perfectly clear and understandable. That is total rubbish. Pick one of your friends at random and give them both of those phrases in turn and see which one they find the most straightforward and legitimate. By the way, why do all of these new darwinists dress like a Steve Jobs/Jeff Probst mashup? At least Daniel Dennett has a Father Christmas thing going on to change things up a bit.
More on this article later…
A common philosophical phrase used by metaphysical philosophers of the seventeenth century. Most notably Gottfried Leibniz.
Definition: Denotes something that is complete in and of itself. In this way you could call it the defining characteristic of substance.
Example: “What makes a human body into a body is that it’s material is ’ensouled’ or ’animated’, organized by an entelechy or form.” –Woolhouse, 1993(The Concept of Substance in Seventeenth Century Metaphysics)
I’m of the opinion that riding your motorcycle on the interstate is much safer than riding on side streets and backroads. Your (and other driver’s) field of vision is greatly enhanced by having 2 or more open lanes of traffic to look across. Also, merging cars are much easier to deal with than cars pulling out of sidestreets directly across your path. Here are some tips for safe interstate riding:
1. Do Not Tailgate! Tailgating is just a really stupid thing to do on a motorcycle. Proper swerving is a difficult skill to pull off without putting the bike on the ground. The motorcycle test recommends keeping a two second gap between yourself and the car in front of you. That might be ok if you’re a cyborg. For the rest of us at least a three second gap is a lot more manageable. Give yourself enough room to manuever in case of a sudden stop but not so far that you are all alone. Being near another car draws people’s attention to you. If you don’t have any other cars near you then it’s more likely that a driver will just “look right through you”.
2. Ride in the Far Right Lane. Considering that you shouldn’t be going over the speed limit anyway, this shouldn’t be a problem. I have two reasons for this. First, most merge ramps are located on the right side of the road. This gives you plenty of control over how the merge happens. You can slow down or speed up to allow the merging car in. The other reason is that if you are in the leftmost lanes you leave yourself susceptible to crossover traffic. We’ve all seen those maniacs who merge in and then shoot across to the far left lane with barely a look around. The right lane just gives you more protection from that kind of thing. Speed freaks and reckless drivers are usually addicted to the left lane.
3. Blink Your Tail-lights. Putting on the brakes on the interstate is a rare thing, so give the car behind you a heads up by tapping the brakes a couple of times before applying them for real. A blinking light catches attention more than a solid one. You only have one small tail-light so you must make it as noticeable as possible.
It also goes without saying that you should always be aware of your surroundings and drive in a defensive posture at all times. Turn your head to double-check your mirrors whenever you change lanes and always use turn signals. It’s also perfectly acceptable to beep the horn when you are driving through a car’s blind spot. This is recommended by the drivers manual. If somebody has a problem with it they can just get over it. It’s your job to stay safe and getting people’s attention is the primary concern of any motorcyclist.