The Rowdy One

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Finally, a superstar with something worthwhile to say

More often than not, when rock or film stars yap about social issues they are either offensive to me, ill-informed, or generally both. This, however, I found quite different.

Here is footage from a compelling speech by Bono at the National Prayer Breakfast held exactly two years ago today.

Two points in particular struck me: 1. The Bible speaks of poverty and helping those in need 2,177 times (he references Lev. 25:35-38, among others). 2. Where you live should not determine whether you live.

It is sad to me that, as with other sanctity of human life issues, that poverty has somehow become so politicized that we as Christians often feel we can't get engaged in certain spaces because of who we might encounter alongside us. Yet, God's call to be engaged is certainly no less clear on the issue of poverty than it is on other human life issues such as abortion, orphan care and euthanasia.

The complete text of this speech can be found at:

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Why is The Golden Compass more dangerous than the Da Vinci Code?

A question was recently posed to me why Christians were so willing to engage culture with the motion picture release of the DaVinci Code – a film with a message Christians deny – but are now decrying The Golden Compass – a soon-to-be-released movie with a message Christians absolutely deny.

The Golden Compass, which releases December 7 in the U.S., is based on Northern Lights, the first of three books in a series from atheist Philip Pullman. Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy of children's books follows the adventures of a streetwise girl who travels through multiple worlds to defeat the oppressive forces of a senile God.

For me, there are three key differences that make Compass far more dangerous than the DaVinci Code.
  1. The agenda of the series' atheist author. Pullman boldly proclaims that he hates the Chronicles of Narnia, he hates God – who he kills in his third book – and he has written a series of compelling stories in the hopes of engaging others to embrace his atheist, humanistic beliefs.

  2. The Golden Compass expressly targets children. The most important distinction from Da Vinci, in my view, is that Pullman is targeting kids with his God-hating message with the express purpose of shaping how kids see the world. Clearly, C.S. Lewis's Narnia allegories were intended to – at least in part – positively shape a child's worldview from a Christian perspective. Pullman, who loathes Narnia and Lewis, has set out to do the exact opposite.

  3. The evil behind the message. Da Vinci author Dan Brown was clearly highly misguided, but he never claimed to be anti-Christian (in fact, Brown claimed the opposite; whether you believe him or not is besides the point). Phillip Pullman hates God. That is a level of evil, in my view, Brown did not approach.

You can try and put a happy, cartoonish, Carnegie-Medal-winning face on it, but let's be sure to identify this series for what it is. When a man who hates God sets out to tear Him down with tales that celebrate man's power over God ... that's pure evil. Does it create an evangelism opportunity? Yes. But so do most things in our culture. I think there are literally limitless ways to reach people for Christ without intentionally seeking out the evil in this film or book series.

It is true Christians are called to be "in the world, not of the world." We are called to live, serve and witness in the world – not escape from it. But we are also to avoid being contaminated by the world. The author's stated mission of the series this film is taken from is to contaminate people – and, more specifically, children.

In short, what makes this film and book series far more insidious than the DaVinci Code is: the agenda behind it ... who it targets ... and the evil of the message and the messenger.

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Saturday, September 01, 2007

The definition of a classic high school prank

High school pranks. Every class seems interested in achieving The Big One. But few do. Or, if they do, the prank ends up destructive or harmful in some way.

However, last week, Ohio high school student Kyle Garchar executed a prank that is -- simply put -- a classic. His class will talk about it for moons. And rightfully so.

His principal suspended him, and his two accomplices, for three days. But I think Kyle will forever say it was well worth it. And, after you watch the video, I think you'll agree.

Local Columbus, Ohio, news coverage:

Monday, August 20, 2007

Tab: What a beautiful drink

Remember Tab? Tab Cola? What a beautiful drink.

Back in the early 80s, you couldn't escape commercials for the original no calorie beverage in the pretty, tantalizing pink can. A few years ago, I made a passing wisecrack involving Tab to a co-worker, who promptly claimed he was sure the grocery store in his neighborhood still carried Tab.

"INCONCEIVABLE!" I exclaimed in Princess Bride like fashion. "I'll buy you lunch -- and pay you back for the 6-pack -- if you can produce a half dozen cans of Tab."

Sure enough, the next day, he came trotting in with a six-pack of the nasty stuff. Several years later, I still keep one of those full cans here on a shelf in my home office as a funny reminder.

So, how much will you give me to drink it? You think it was bad then ...
For beautiful people, my eye.

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Saturday, July 07, 2007

I can feel the earth getting warmer at this very minute!

If you step outside RIGHT NOW, on which ever of our seven continents you happen to be on, you can actually feel the planet GETTING WARMER. Why? From all the hot air being spewed in connection with The Concerts for a Climate in Crisis.

Crisis: n. - an unstable situation of extreme danger or difficulty. Pul-leeze. I don't think anyone but Al Gore would say there is extreme danger at stake.

MSN is among those that has jumped aboard as a sponsor for the faux-crisis event. Their site offers a tool that can help you estimate your "carbon footprint". According to this, I am about 30% over average at 10.2 tons per year (the average is purported to be 7.5). Driving my footprint higher is the fact that I have taken 5 or 6 airplane flights in the last year.

Hmmm. You'd think the 150 musical artists participating in this event all walked there. But, in fact, they're flying an extraordinary 222,624 miles between them to get to the various concerts - nearly nine times the circumference of the world.

Perhaps most ridiculous of all, is the 7-point pledge penned by Gore that they are asking concert attendees and listeners to "join Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid" and take. Included are:

+ To demand that my country join an international treaty within the next 2 years that cuts global warming pollution; "You mean the effectiveness bankrupt Kyoto Protocol? The one that would would reduce temperatures by 0.04 degrees Celsius in the year 2100?"

+ To take personal action to help solve the climate crisis by reducing my own CO2 pollution as much as I can and offsetting the rest to become “carbon neutral; "I've done my part now. I took the quiz."

+ To buy from businesses and support leaders who share my commitment to solving the climate crisis and building a sustainable, just, and prosperous world for the 21st century; "So, since Snoop Dogg is participating in this event, I guess I should go buy his CD that tells me, "I can make 'em say, Woof! m*th*f****r, Woof! m*th*f****r. Bow-wow-wow-yippie-yo-yippie-yay."

Despite the wisdom of guys like Snoop, the modern theory of global warming is terribly flawed, at best. A prior post here has some interesting facts to ponder.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The radical agenda of California schools heads east

In recent years, with the infamous, far-left 9th circuit court leading the way, California has become home to some truly bizarre and surreal practices in its public schools. In fact, just this week, the state's lawmakers are considering a bill that would not only promote homosexuality, it would ban anything from public schools that could be perceived as "reflecting adversely" on the homosexual lifestyle choice. That means the Bible, even as a piece of literature, would almost certainly be targeted for total removal.

But lest you think complete and total school insanity is limited to California, I give you Colorado -- specifically that bastion of liberal bizarreness, Boulder.

At a school-sponsored conference on world affairs, Boulder High School students were encouraged to engage freely in sexual activity and to use drugs.

Joel Becker, a clinical psychologist from Los Angeles (California, but of course) said this as he opened his presentation, "I'm going to encourage you to have sex, and I'm going to encourage you to use drugs appropriately. And why I am going to take that position is because you're going to do it anyway."

Further, the students were given graphic details of the sex lives of the other panelists. They were told to experiment with various forms of sex and sex partners. Becker even suggested to the students that if he had some of the drug Ecstasy right then, he would use it.

Later, when parent Priscilla White attempted to read the transcript of the conference in front of a Boulder Valley school board meeting, she was told to stop because of the graphic nature of the content. Apparently, it's OK for the kids, but offensive to the sensibilities of their parents.

It appears the radical California school agenda is heading east ... perhaps to a school near you.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Becoming Illegal: Letter from an Iowa resident to his Senator

Honorable Tom Harkin
731 Hart Senate Building
Washington DC 20510

Dear Senator Harkin:

As a native Iowan and excellent customer of the Internal Revenue Service, I am writing to ask for your assistance. I have contactedthe Department of Homeland Security in an effort to determine the process for becoming an illegal alien and they referred me to you.

My primary reason for wishing to change my status from U.S. Citizen to illegal alien stems from the bill which was recently passed by the Senate and for which you voted. If my understanding of this bill's provisions is accurate, as an illegal alien who has been in the United States for five years, all I need to do to become a citizen is to pay a $2,000 fine and income taxes for three of the last five years.

I know a good deal when I see one and I am anxious to get the process started before everyone figures it out. Simply put, those of us who have been here legally have had to pay taxes every year so I'm excited about the prospect of avoiding two years of taxes in return for paying a $2,000 fine. Is there any way that I can apply to be illegal retroactively? This would yield an excellent result for me and my family because we paid heavy taxes in 2004 and 2005.

Additionally, as an illegal alien I could begin using the local emergency room as my primary health care provider. Once I have stopped paying premiums for medical insurance, my accountant figures I could save almost $10,000 a year.

Another benefit in gaining illegal status would be that my daughter would receive preferential treatment relative to her law school applications, as well as "in-state" tuition rates for many colleges throughout the United States for my son.

Lastly, I understand that illegal status would relieve me of the burden of renewing my driver's license and making those burdensome car insurance premiums. This is very important to me given that I still have college age children driving my car. If you would provide me with an outline of the process to become illegal (retroactively if possible) and copies of the necessary forms, I would be most appreciative. Thank you for your assistance.

Your Loyal Constituent,
Donald Ruppert
Burlington, IA

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Sunday, February 25, 2007

Jeff Burton ... brought to you by a company that doesn't exist

I always have to chuckle when through corporate mergers or scandals a city is faced with having a stadium named after a company that no longer exists. For example, in 1999 the Houston Astros signed a 30-year agreement with Enron to name their stadium Enron Field, only to arrive at a legal settlement 3 years later to undo it.

I find the practice of re-naming a stadium after a corporation -- instead of a local leader or icon for that franchise -- a bit distasteful to begin with. So, it amuses me when these sponsorships go awry.

My favorite latest example of corporate sponsorship gone wrong involves one of NASCAR's top driver's Jeff Burton.

A month or so ago, AT&T inexplicably announced that after investing more than 2 Billion dollars over the last few years to build the Cingular brand, it decided to revert back to the name of your grandfather's phone company -- AT&T.

That fact, coupled with the merger of Sprint and Nextel into SprintNextel many months ago, has left Burton driving a car with a lead sponsor that is a wireless phone company that no longer exists -- racing in a circuit named after a wireless phone company that doesn't exist (at least, not the way it did).

Maybe next year he can drive for Worldcom.

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Sunday, January 21, 2007

Those supporting life are actually pro-choice ...

... as this compelling and amazing video reminds us.

"It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish." -- Mother Teresa

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Saturday, January 20, 2007

TCF Bank: The worst bank on Earth

OK, I haven't been to every bank on the planet, so it is at least possible (thought not likely) that there are one or two that may be worse. But based MY experiences, I believe there can't possibly be a worse financial institution than TCF Bank. (That is, unless there is one that simply auto deletes your money as it is deposited.)

First, the great irony. TCF is supposed to stand for: The Customer First.

So, how did the bank chain that operates in Minnesota, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Colorado, and Indiana -- and soon, I've learned, Arizona -- "put me first" in the near two years I banked with them?

When we signed up, it was because they were close to our home -- AND they had the most aggressive savings rates in the area. Ah, but now the catch. TCF sucks you in with a great rate. But after two or three months, the bank would drop the rate on our savings account to a mere fraction of a percent (at one point, we were dropped to 0.1%).

So, I would pay a visit to the bank, upon which time they would inform me of a "new" savings account I could move into that had a better rate. But guess what would happen would I would move our money there? If just a few short months, it'd happen again.

The password is: Weasels.

The last straw was when I went in to withdraw a few hundred dollars, and I was informed I would have to pay a $4 cashier's check fee to do so.

When I went to close my account a couple weeks later, the branch manager -- who like the majority of the bank's employees, was, incredibly nice -- expressed his own frustrations with his bank's slimy practices. Another former TCF employee, who now works at our new bank, told me, "It usually takes about two years, but eventually people figure out the games they play."

This former employee also shared that the bank's fee-raising, interest-lowering practices in Colorado were an effort to fund its new locations in Arizona. Very nice.

Arizonans, here's my advise. TCF more accurately stands for: The Crooked Financiers. Run far. Run fast. But most of all, run away from TCF.

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