Tuesday, February 28, 2006

You Might Be an Evangelical If...

#10. When you pray, you punctuate all entreaties with as many "justs" as you can, as if to convince the Lord you are not asking too much. "Lord, we just want to thank you." "Lord, we just ask that you watch over Bobby as he heads off to college." Lord, can You really say no to such modest requests as these?

Find out if you are a true Evangelical by reading #s 9-1. Thanks to maxskybarger and Alan for reminding me to read The Wittenburg Door.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Photo Tour of the Balkans, Part II

Today's Magnum slide show is an excellent photo essay of the former Yugoslavia. I loved these photographs. They made a part of the world (and a part of history) that was once abstract to me a little more material. Enjoy.

Firelance, forgive me for hijacking your thread.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Valentine's Day, Ya'll

Every year, single women and all sorts of men proclaim their hatred for this day. It's contrived! It was conceived in a vast conspiracy of women, Hallmark, and FTD! But you know what? I've always kind of liked V-Day, despite natural law's decree that as a male, even a single one, I ought to hate it. Why do I like it?

I think because it holds promise. It reminds us that true love, romantic and steadfast, exists in the world. It gives us hope. And it celebrates the first recorded gift God gave to man: companionship. (Oh, and it reminds us of the first commandment given, too: be fruitful and multiply).

So celebrate, even if it's only in a small way. Cherish your friends and loved ones today. If you've got a wife or a husband, show 'em some appreciation; after all, you could be all alone in this world with nary a soul to comfort you (and don't neglect that commandment, eh? You know what I'm talkin' 'bout.) And if you're still pissed about the day, don't blame St. Valentine, blame Chaucer.

And check out these fantastic V-Day photographs from Magnum.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Poor Man's Rhapsody

Being a missionary with TIME Ministries has its benefits, such as paid world travel and afternoons off for religious holidays like May 19, 2005 (Revenge of the Sith opening day). The major downside is that missions doesn't pay enough to afford subscribing to an online music service.

No matter. Great music is out there, and it's free. Remember radio? The joy of pre-Clear Channel radio was discovering music you loved but would not have known to seek. Well, radio has upgraded to the web, and I'm not talkin' 'bout crappy ol' mono Real audio. A seldom-streamed format called aacPlus (the same format your iTunes are in) is gaining momentum in internet radio via Winamp, and it sounds superb. aacPlus is the most bandwidth-efficient stereo compression out there, but the audio comes through at CD quality or higher, even over dialup. Listen to stuff you've never heard of and old favorites you've forgotten about. Give radio another chance.

For your aural pleasure, Spoon recommends

The Current (hands-down the best radio station I have ever laid ears on)

WOXY: The Future of Rock
WOXY Vintage
Radio Skipper (great 80's music even I can enjoy)
Radio Student 100.5 from Zagreb, Croatia
SKY.FM Modern Jazz
WKSU: NPR, Classical, Other Smart Stuff

Find a plethora of stations at

Go to Slate for more about aacPlus streaming.

The Raddest Car in the World

Before I could drive, my parents purchased a used, navy blue Pontiac 6000LE, which to my 10-year-old self was a very cool car. It was sporty for a sedan. It's very name spoke of the future and luxury. Sitting in the back was comfortable, better than huddling in the back of our 1984 Toyota Corrolla. Yes, the 6000LE was the coolest car we had ever owned. That is until my 'rents upgraded to a tan, faux-woody 6000LE station wagon, the most awesome car I had ever laid eyes on.

How did I love the 6000LE wagon? Let me count the ways. The car's lines were much sportier and futuristic than any wagon that came before. It had a bench seat in the front, allowing a young boy to sit in the front seat at the same time as Mom and Dad--impossible in the outdated, bucket-style seating of all previous family vehicles. The driver's seat was adjusted electronically--no more struggling with an underseat latch. It had a tape player (later converted to a CD player via an RCA 3-second antiskip walkman CD player and tape-adapter system) and a digital radio with "scan" and "seek". It had plush, tan, upholstered seats. Automatic transmission. Electric windows and locks. A fold down seat in the storage area that allowed two extra people to sit, spaceman-style, facing backwards.

As I approached driving age, I sometimes fantasized that the 6000LE wagon would be passed down to me. Saving the money I made as a grocer bagger (working the mid-day shift when mothers come in to cash in their WIC checks and the elderly buy their gallons of Popov vodka), I would be able to make the 6000LE even more awesome. I would have the faux wood removed and the entire beast painted black. Low-profile tires and "mag" wheels. Interior and exterior neon lights (including neon license-plate frame). A spoiler. Tinted windows. A party vehicle for me and my friends, the likes of which none of my peers had ever seen.

My dreams never came true. Dad sold the 6000LE and replaced it with an '89 Caravan. I bought a Mazda 626, which had a sunroof. You know, riding backwards wasn't that great anyway.

I'm not the only fan of the 6000LE. Read about one family's love for it here.