Saturday, September 29, 2007

Celebrity Look Alikes

MyHeritage is a web site with some interesting features. One of them is a celebrity look alike function. You upload a photo of yourself and they show you celebrities that resemble you. I uploaded the head shot of me from on the front page of my blog and got this:

I tried another photo and got this:

Interesting. Three people appeared on both lists. I had no clue who Chester Bennington was, but Wikipedia says he is the lead singer for Linkin Park. That explains why I don't know him as I'm not a fan of their music. Hrithik Roshan was also a mystery to me, but Wikipedia tells me he is a Bollywood actor. Phillip Seymour Hoffman is the other person to be on both lists.

I think I've learned that I need to look like the first picture more often because that one apparently makes me look like Gavin Rossdale and Leo DeCaprio.

Try it out and let me know who you look like.

UPDATE: I went back and tried a different layout for my pictures since it was hard to read the names in the other style.

UPDATE 2: I did it again with a different picture.

Many Thanks

Debbie, wife of my best friend Jeromy, made a big bowl of chicken fettuccine alfredo as well as a dish of garlic butter for my mom and I yesterday. It tasted very good and the best part was, of course, that I didn't have to cook. So, thank you very much, Debbie.

Scandal Prone or Just in the Spotlight and All Too Human

CNN has an article about the recent Juanita Bynum scandal and asks whether Pentecostal preachers are more prone to it than other movements. This quote from the article is the best answer to that question:

But Anthea Butler, a professor of religion at the University of Rochester in New York believes Pentecostals are no more trouble-prone than other Protestants. "The same sort of thing is happening to Baptists and Presbyterians," she says. "Except for one big thing. They are not media figures." Notes Charisma's Grady: "There's something about someone who is excited about the things of the Holy Spirit that makes them want to get up and proclaim it" — often on TV. "But you'd better have character, or there's going to be a national scandal."

Exactly. If you are going to be in front of millions of people, you better keep your skeletons in the closet or they're going to end up a big deal even if it is something stupid that wouldn't do more than cause a rolling of the eyes or a raised eyebrow if your neighbor or co-worker did it.

Take Away the Mystique

Can this really be a surprise to anyone? I've blogged about this and sex before. I really think that a big part of the problem is that our society trains kids to rebel and then tells them that alcohol and sex are really bad (while media tells them how cool it is). Is it any wonder that teens get drunk and screw? Is it any wonder that kids go off to college and get drunk and screw?

Our current system isn't working so we obviously need to try something different. By making an issue - be it alcohol, sex, drugs, smoking - less mysterious, less black and white ("It's bad! Don't do it ever!") you make it more difficult to be something that can be rebelled against and less likely for a teen to want to do it "just because." It won't stop all teen drinking/irresponsible college drinking and sex, but nothing will. We're only human after all.


Just what the Republicans need. Another fake candidate.

Ron Paul seems to be the only principled candidate on the Repub side, but he's a little too out there for most people. I like that he stands by his principles and I'm glad that he's injecting some new ideas into the debate, but I don't agree with a lot of his principles. Even John McCain seems to have given up some of his principles supporting as he has the president's right to take away habeas corpus at will.

It's a pretty sad bunch for the Republicans this election. I don't see how they can win the White House, short of the Dems nominating Hillary that is. Then they've got a fighting chance. Hell, the Republican candidate probably couldn't even beat Mike Gravel.

Poor Guiliani

Guiliani is upset that people are judging his personal life. I think it's called...politics, Mr. Guiliani. Should it happen? Well, of course not, but we are only human. I don't think Guiliani does himself any favors by invoking Jesus on this issue, though. I'm pretty sure Jesus didn't freak out over ferrets.

In the same story, Guiliani uses 9/11 as an excuse for taking phone calls from his wife in the middle of speeches. What can't you use 9/11 as an excuse for anymore? I thought that was over a few years ago, but I guess not. Maybe I can use it as an excuse to take a few days off from work. Hmmmm...

Free Money!

Seriously, how can anybody think this is a good idea? It's a half-step removed from paying people to have kids, not to mention that giving somebody money for nothing is never good (unless you're the Dire Straits). I can't imagine that Hillary could get this passed if she was President, but just the fact that she thinks it's a good idea is one more reason not to vote for her.

Cold Mountain

I finished this book a couple of days ago. It was a very enjoyable read. I saw the movie when it came out a few years ago, but not since, so some of the details of that are fuzzy. The biggest difference is in the portrayal of the romance between Ada and Inman. It is much more low-key in the book. In fact, though it is the prime motivation for Inman's actions and plays a big part at the end, it is hardly a major part of the book. Rather it is the story of two people's journeys - Inman's physical journey to return to Ada, his mental journey coping with the things he has seen in war, and Ada's emotional journey to mature and grow into a self-reliant person. The romance is secondary to these and I think more poignant for it. I understand why they played it up for the movie (and I did enjoy it), but the book is more powerful because of it's low-key approach.

Snake Handlers

Like Ransom at mental_floss, I have long been fascinated with the Christian sects that handle snakes and speak in tongues. I haven't read much about it; I need to get some good books on the subject. Ransom does have a video with clips from a 60s documentary about a West Virginia church that features these things. The sound isn't the greatest, but it's fascinating nonetheless.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Teaching Methods

I agree with Alex that we can't be hoping for real teachers to be like hero-teachers in the movies, but I disagree with him strongly that what teachers need is a strict script to go by. I think teachers need flexibility to address individual students. One size most certainly does not fit all in education. With a system like that you end up teaching to the middle and losing the kids on the ends of the spectrum. I know because I've been there.

When Can You Consent to Sex?

William Saletan writes about the issue of sexual consent age and our laws around it.

This is the reality of sex with minors: The ages of the parties vary widely from case to case. For more than a century, states and countries have been raising and standardizing the legal age of consent. Horny teenagers are being thrown in with pedophiles. The point of this crackdown was to lock up perverts and protect incompetent minors. But the rationales and the numbers don't match up. The age of majority and the age of competence are coming apart. The age of competence is fracturing, and the age of female puberty is declining. It's time to abandon the myth of the "age of consent" and lower the threshold for legal sex.
Lay out these numbers on a timeline, and you have the beginnings of a logical scheme for regulating teen sex. First comes the age at which your brain wants sex and your body signals to others that you're ready for it. Then comes the age of cognitive competence. Then comes the age of emotional competence. Each of these thresholds should affect our expectations, and the expectations should apply to the older party in a relationship as well as to the younger one. The older you get, the higher the standard to which you should be held responsible.

We need to do something about sex laws in our country. When a 17-year-old gets a 10 year prison sentence for having oral sex with a 15-year-old, there's a problem. I could go off on other issues like being convicted on rape charges when the woman consents to sex, changes her mind after it starts, admits the man stopped, but still accuses him of rape; but I'll save that for another time.


I have had a lot of fun at work yesterday and today, not just a "good" day, but fun.

I assisted the Public Safety department with two drills. Yesterday, they ran a violent patient drill in Outpatient Rehab. I got to play an agitated head injury patient on the verge of violence. The rehab staff knew it was a drill, but the employees responding to the Code:Grey call did not. Even though some of them recognized me, they thought it was real and that I was really freaking out. One lady told me I was really scaring her. I was pacing around yelling, "This is bullshit!" and "You can't keep me! I just want to go home!" A few people told me I need to go into acting. Only if I can just take the role of agitated patient, though. I was just copying all of the people I've had to babysit at the hospital while doing security. It was a great stress reliever, though. I was imagining all of the things that make me mad and channeled that. Everyone should get a chance to be an angry, confused person.

Today, the drill was a baby abduction and I got to be the kidnapper. I put on street clothes, my jacket, took my glasses off, and put on a baseball hat pulled low. A girl from patient accounts, Ann, was the mom. The nurse manager took us into a room and gave us a baby doll. Ann put on the gown. My job was to get as far as I could with the baby. Ann gave me a brief head start and then went to the nurse's station and told them that she went into the bathroom for just a minute and when she came out her baby was gone. Apparently she gave a very convincing act with tears and all and the nurses started freaking out. For my part, I made it out of the building in about a minute without being apprehended. I walked by a few people that know me but did not recognize me. I had the doll hidden under my jacket and walked with a purpose but not too fast. I walked to the end of the parking lot and sat down and waited. After almost two minutes a few staff members started surrounding me because my description started to get out and someone had seen me go out. If had a vehicle, though, I would have been long gone. I had a lot of fun and I helped identify some weaknesses in our system for preventing baby abductions.

Both drills were a blast. I can't wait to help with another one.

Another Blade Runner

Ridley Scott is releasing a definitive version of his classic, Blade Runner. His director's cut in the early 90s was closer to his vision (and definitely superior to the original cut), but apparently not quite up to his standards. His new cut will be out in DVD in December. Wired has an interview with Scott about the movie.

And, of course, this is the perfect excuse to link to a clip of one of the most incredible scenes in cinema.

Chaos at Home

I haven't written much lately in part because I've been busy, but more because I've been frustrated and in a bad mood. Home has been crazy lately. Mom fell on Saturday and hurt her side. She was still in a lot of pain on Sunday, so I took her to the emergency department. Thankfully nothing was cracked or broken; she was just bruised up. She's still in a lot of pain, and doesn't get off the couch unless to use the bathroom or go to bed. I took most of Monday off work to help Mom because she was feeling sick from the pain meds and babysitting her granddaughter, Alexis. She's had to babysit too much this week (well, every week). No one seems to want to clean up after themselves around here and I end up cleaning up after my siblings and their kids. Sharie and Shawn live here, but they either avoid everyone or just get angry and moan about how "bad" they have it.

Sorry about the rant/whine, but I had to get it out of my system.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

" open relationship with the Lord."

A moving account of one person's spiritual journey.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Overly Dogmatic

People make a big deal out of orthodoxy, what someone's beliefs are. That's why there's some 35,000 different Protestant sects and each one will tell you their beliefs are the correct ones. Sadly, the difference are often very minor and yet lead to conflict and a spirit of noncooperation. An interesting article examines this issue, specifically relating to our origin and the conflict that has been built up between those who believe the world is 6000 years old and those who believe it is far older. The good old Religion vs. Science debate. The author, a believing Christian, writes that by being overly dogmatic on this issue, Christians are putting a "stumbling block" up for bringing in non-believers who do not accept the young Earth theory.

I am dedicated to standing strongly for Scripture in those areas that are essentials of the faith, regardless of what the “world” says. I can join Luther and say “here I stand”. But when we are talking about areas that are not essential, which are not “salvation issues”, and upon which sincere and dedicated Christians differ, dogmatism can be dangerous. And, I think one of the most serious examples of this danger today comes when Christians take a dogmatic position regarding their view of origins.

The reason why I engage in these discussions is very simple: I want to remove the stumbling block to the Gospel message that is being created by a dogmatic presentation of Creationism. Not the belief in a young earth and creation without evolution per se, but the “either/or” teaching that comes with it. I am not here to argue for an old earth or evolution, necessarily, but against the false dichotomy that so often comes along with Creationism. More and more people are being taught that an old earth/evolution and Christianity are wholly inconsistent and that if you believe one, you can not really believe the other. Such a blanket statement puts two very distinct groups in crisis and I am convinced that souls are being lost to the Kingdom as a result. This may sound a bit over-dramatic, but I have seen too many people distracted from the Gospel message by this issue.

I think a lot of Christians would do well to think about this.

Sunday, September 23, 2007


Stealing from old people is pathetic enough. Trying, and failing, to rob an old person is even more pathetic.

Muslim Voices

Muslims have been criticized for not being vocal enough in their denunciation of terror, but their are Muslims voicing their disapproval as Salman al-Audah, someone Bin Laden very much respects, did recently. Muslims may not be as outspoken against terror as they should be, but I don't think the media reports it as much as they should. I haven't seen any report of this other than on the link above. If we want Muslims to speak out we need to ensure their voice can be heard.

Israel and Palestine

Iraq will no doubt be the defining issue of the Bush presidency, but I think historians will also regard his failure to take seriously the Israeli/Palestinian conflict as almost as criminal as his incompetence in the Iraq war. Scott McCleod writes about it on his Time blog.

Everybody knows what the outlines of a settlement are: Israelis and Palestinians came very close to a deal back in 2001 when Clinton was still president and before Bush took America out of the mediation business for six years. My hunch: there will be a meeting, it will be postponed until early '08, the Saudis and other players will excuse themselves, Olmert and Abbas will sign a memo stating some progress, and Bush will urge them to... hold some more meetings.

Old Guard vs. the New

Andrew Sullivan looks at the differences between Clinton and Obama.

Clinton, in other words, represents payback for the Democrats and liberals after the Bush era, just as Giuliani is emerging as the inheritor of the Bush legacy of divide and rule. Right now, Obama remains to the side, offering Americans something else: not payback, but a new page.

Neither black nor white, neither atheist nor born-again, a candidate who favours withdrawal from Iraq but an offensive against Al-Qaeda in Pakistan, a progressive offering the working poor a tax cut, his bet is that, in the end, America wants to come together again. The unanswerable question is whether America really does.

The primaries are quickly approaching. Whoever gets their party nomination and then the presidency is going to need to unite our nation. I'm not sure any of the current candidates could do this with the exception of Obama.

Marriage Secret


Marriage is a funny thing these days. We have unprecedented freedom to choose our mate, but people don't seem to be happier in their marriages and we certainly have plenty of divorces. I can attest to it because I've "been there, done that," but I think one of the biggest reasons for marriages failing is that people rush into them too quickly. You fall in love, and thinking that "all you need is love," you get married. Then you learn all about your mate. That's backward, of course. Before you stand before one or one-hundred witnesses and take a vow of lifetime commitment, you need to learn all about the person you want to marry. You need to sit down with your potential spouse and ask tough questions about life goals, money, children, etc. If your ideas of what your lives should be like are too different and can't be worked out, there's no shame in deciding to not get married. Marriage and a vow of commitment should be taken seriously and not rushed into even if divorces are easy to come by.

Bill O'Reilly the Blowhard

I can't stand this guy. I think he's a pompous ass. Still, it's a bit surprising that he could be this openly stupid.

Helping Out

On Friday I helped a coworker in the Care Management department out. They assist patients with many things from getting set up for in-home care to getting out of town family members a place to stay while a loved one is in the hospital. Theresa needed to get a bus ticket for a patient being discharged, but could not leave to go get it. Often times a Public Safety officer will do it, but the officer on duty was working by himself and could not leave the campus. He suggested Theresa talk to me. I didn't have anything critical going on, so it wasn't a problem for me to run to the bus station and get the ticket.

Theresa was very, very grateful and even called my boss to tell her how happy she was and how great it was that I would do this. It felt good that Theresa was so thankful, but what is always somewhat strange in these situations is the seeming surprise from the person you help, surprise that someone would go out of their way to help them.

Why is that? Why do we live in a society where people are shocked when someone helps them? Especially for something like this where I was on the clock so I got paid for my time. I used a company vehicle, so I didn't have to use my own gas money. I really didn't sacrifice anything to help Theresa out, but somehow it was still amazing to her that I would help. It's sad that we live in a society that greets help with amazement. We should be grateful, but we shouldn't be surprised.

A Moment of Silence

I'm not sure how I missed this news. Robert Jordan, author of the Wheel of Time series of novels passed away last Sunday. He was only 58. Jordan was diagnosed with primary amyloidosis with cardiomyopathy last year.

I've been following the Wheel of Time since the second book came out in 1990. Though the series began to become bloated and decline in quality with the last few books, it still ranks as a favorite of mine. The (supposed) last book in the series remains unfinished. I'd like to be frustrated that it may never be finished, although his wife does have all of his notes for it, but I can't. Robert Jordan has passed away too young and he will be missed.

Photo by Jeanne Collins, taken November 2, 2005 at Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore in San Diego, California at a book Signing for Knife of Dreams.