Alibris Secondhand Books Standard

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

juggling act

Jason Quick lost his right arm in an accident at age six, but that didn't stop him from learning to juggle:

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Thursday, February 25, 2010

mt. sunflower

It's popularly believed that my home state of Kansas is flat. OK, it's not just a popular belief: It's a proven fact that Kansas is flatter than a pancake. Nonetheless, the western edge of the state is actually higher than the average peak in the Appalachian Mountains.

In 1998, five men climbed to the summit of Mt. Sunflower, the highest point in Kansas at over 4,000 feet. Read Into Thick Air, the story of this historic ascent.

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Tuesday, November 03, 2009

joel o$teen'$ new book

Joel O$teen i$ back with a new book and it'$ not about him! Crazy, huh? But true. Thi$ time around it'$ all about YOU.

More $pecifically--your TIME.

And according to Pa$tor O$teen, it'$ your time NOW to purcha$e hi$ new book, It's Your Time: Activate Your Faith, Achieve Your Dreams, and Increase in God's Favor

See the full review at Jesus Needs New PR. Hat tip: Bad Alice via Twitter.

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Sunday, August 23, 2009

snipe hunting

Where I come from, snipe hunting is a popular form of entertainment. My high school cross country coach first introduced me to this unusual bird. Unfortunately I never could work it into my busy schedule to actually go on a hunt. I have no regrets about missing out on this rite of passage; knowing my luck I would probably have gotten lost in the woods and not caught anything.

Here's a sort of documentary of snipe hunting:

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Sunday, August 02, 2009

on languages

Q. What do you call a person who speaks many languages?
A. multilingual

Q. What do you call a person who speaks two languages?
A. bilingual

Q. What do you call a person who speaks only one language?
A. American


Friday, March 13, 2009

celebrating a milestone

News flash:

Sitemeter has just recorded the 32,768th visitor to it seems to me.... In octal, that's visitor number 100,000. To honor this momentous occasion, here's an octal joke:

Q: Why do computer programmers confuse Christmas with Halloween?

A: Because 25 Dec = 31 Oct

Thank you to all the wonderful people who have visited this blog through the years. And I promise: if I ever mention octal again, it will be on my other blog.

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Thursday, February 26, 2009

stress reduction

This relaxation exercise has been designed by experts to help reduce stress:

Picture yourself near a gurgling mountain stream.

Birds are softly chirping in the crisp cool mountain air.

Nothing can bother you here. No one knows this secret place.

You are in total seclusion from that place called "the world".

The soothing sound of a gentle waterfall fills the air with a cascade of serenity.

The water is clear.

You can easily make out the face of the person whose head you're holding under the water.

Look. It's the person who caused you all this stress in the first place.

What a pleasant surprise. You let them up... just for a quick breath... then ploop!...back under they go...

You allow yourself as many deep breaths as you want.

There now... feeling better?


Friday, February 13, 2009

god's core deliverables

Since I've got an interest in Bible translations, I thought I'd pass this along. Hat tip to Eddie Arthur of Kouya Chronicle:

1. At the outset, God’s agenda was to basically focus on his core deliverables, namely two leading-edge products, (a) heaven and (b) earth.

2. However, the earth lacked an overall concept, and had a low profile in terms of its key audiences. Obviously the Spirit of God had to step back and benchmark the existing waters before his game plan could get the green light.

3. And God’s key message was that light was a strategic objective, and it was covered-off.

4. And God’s perception of the light was that it was fit for purpose. However, his desired goal was that light and darkness should be differentiated in the marketplace.

5. So God branded the light ‘Day’, and the darkness he branded ‘I Can’t Believe It’s Not Light’. And the evening session and morning session made up Day One.

6. Then God set out with the object of factoring-in a firmament to interface with the existing generic waters, to bring to the party two segmented brands.

7. So God tasked himself with the job of rolling-out a firmament, to supply a proactive vehicle for launching his two distinct waters products, and it was up and running.

8. And God branded the firmament ‘heaven’. And at close of play, the prioritised actions for Day Two were ticked off.

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Saturday, November 01, 2008

memories, or not

Thanks to Steve Hayes for this meme...

If you read this, if your eyes are passing over this right now (even if we don't speak often or have never met), please post a comment with a completely made up, fictional memory of you and me.

It can be anything you want - good or bad - but it has to be fake.

When you're finished, post this little paragraph in your blog and see what your friends come up with...

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

jesus for president?

Jesus for President is the title of a book by Shane Claiborne. But what kind of President would Jesus actually be?

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

lazy blogging

Geez I just noticed I have not updated this since you last visited... You would not believe how insane my life has become. Apologies to my regular readers! Even the little blue ones!

I am not going to post now with any regularity, personal projects, just generally being a pain to the bodyguards of the blogger I am stalking, my day is passing in a blur from lunchtime to whenever. I am not complaining though. life happens.

I swear on the bones of my ancestors I will write something that makes sense soon. No, really! What do you mean you don't believe me?

Generated by The Lazy Bloggers [sic] Post Generator. Hat tip: John the Methodist

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Monday, December 31, 2007

hospital charts

The following are actual sentences found in patients' hospital charts:

  • She has no rigors or shaking chills, but her husband states she was very hot in bed last night.

  • Patient has chest pain if she lies on her left side for over a year.

  • On the second day the knee was better, and on the third day it disappeared.

  • The patient is tearful and crying constantly. She also appears to be depressed.

  • The patient has been depressed since she began seeing me in 1993.

  • Discharge status: Alive but without my permission.

  • Healthy appearing decrepit 69 year old male, mentally alert but forgetful.

  • The patient refused autopsy.

  • The patient has no previous history of suicides.

  • Patient has left white blood cells at another hospital.

  • Patient's medical history has been remarkably insignificant with only a 40 pound weight gain in the past three days.

  • Patient had waffles for breakfast and anorexia for lunch.

  • Between you and me, we ought to be able to get this lady pregnant.

  • Since she can't get pregnant with her husband, I thought you might like to work her up.

  • She is numb from her toes down.

  • While in ER, she was examined, X-rated and sent home.

  • The skin was moist and dry.

  • Occasional, constant infrequent headaches.

  • Patient was alert and unresponsive.

  • Rectal examination revealed a normal size thyroid.

  • She stated that she had been constipated for most of her life, until she got a divorce.

  • I saw your patient today, who is still under our car for physical therapy.

  • Both breasts are equal and reactive to light and accommodation.

  • Examination of genitalia reveals that he is circus sized.

  • The lab test indicated abnormal lover function.

  • The patient was to have a bowel resection. However, he took a job as a stock broker instead.

  • Skin: somewhat pale but present.

  • The pelvic exam will be done later on the floor.

  • Patient was seen in consultation by Dr. Blank, who felt we should sit on the abdomen and I agree.

  • Large brown stool ambulating in the hall.

  • Patient has two teenage children, but no other abnormalities.

Here's wishing you a happy, medical-chart-free 2008!


Sunday, March 18, 2007

the boat race

Once upon a time an American aerospace company and the Chinese decided to have a competitive boat race on the Detroit River. Both practiced long and hard to reach their peak performance. On the big day they both felt as ready as they could be. The Chinese won by a mile!

Afterwards, the American team became very discouraged by the loss and morale sagged. Corporate management decided that the reason for the crushing defeat had to be found. A Continuous Measurable Improvement Team was set up to investigate the problem and to recommend appropriate corrective action. Their conclusion:

The problem was that the Chinese team had eight people rowing and one person steering, whereas the American team had one person rowing and eight people steering. The corporate steering committee immediately hired a consulting firm to do a study on the management structure. After some time and millions of dollars, the consulting firm concluded that too many people were steering and not enough people rowing.

To prevent losing to the Chinese again next year, the American team's management structure was totally reorganized to four steering managers, three area steering managers, one staff steering manager and a new performance system for the person rowing the boat, to give more incentive to work harder. "We must give him empowerment and enrichment. That ought to do it."

The next year the Chinese won by two miles.

Another meeting was called. This time the American team's managers decided to include the person rowing the boat in the area steering management committee. This was a sure way of finding a winning combination. They listened patiently to what the rower had to say, making comments at crucial points and helping him to come to a workable conclusion. So they set out again, only this time the rower was included not only as a rower but also as a part of the steering team.

The next year the Chinese won by three miles.

Humiliated, the American corporation laid off the rower for poor performance, sold all of the paddles, uniforms, life jackets as well as the new equipment, halted development of a new canoe and distributed the money saved as bonuses to the senior executives.


Monday, January 01, 2007

a parable, updated for our times

The Kingdom of God is like a preschooler with eight chicken nuggets. If one of them falls to the floor, will he not leave the seven on his tray, and crawl under the table to get the one? And once it is found, he will proclaim it cleansed from all impurities, and no one will be able to snatch it from his hands.

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Wednesday, December 06, 2006

ten verses never preached

The hardest thing about blogging again after a long absence is writing the first post. So, in lieu of offering one of my own, I'm just posting a link. Maybe that will get me back in the habit.

A blog called Church Hopping has a list of ten Bible passages that don't often get read from the pulpit. Hat tip to Cross and Flame of Street Prophets.

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Saturday, October 28, 2006

how people of faith read a stop sign

1. A postmodernist deconstructs the sign (knocks it over with his car), ending forever the tyranny of the north-south traffic over the east-west traffic.

2. Similarly, a Marxist sees a stop sign as an instrument of class conflict. He concludes that the bourgeoisie use the north-south road and obstruct the progress of the workers on the east-west road.

Stop 3. A serious and educated Catholic (or Orthodox or Coptic or Anglican or Methodist or Presbyterian or whatever) believes that he cannot understand the stop sign apart from its interpretive community and their tradition. Observing that the interpretive community doesn't take it too seriously, he doesn't feel obligated to take it too seriously either.

4. An average Catholic (or Orthodox or Coptic or Anglican or Methodist or Presbyterian or whatever) doesn't bother to read the sign but he'll stop if the car in front of him does.

5. A fundamentalist, taking the text very literally, stops at the stop sign and waits for it to tell him to go.

6. A preacher might look up "STOP" in his lexicons of English and discover that it can mean: 1) something which prevents motion, such as a plug for a drain, or a block of wood that prevents a door from closing; 2) a location where a train or bus lets off passengers. The main point of his sermon the following Sunday on this text is: when you see a stop sign, it is a place where traffic is naturally clogged, so it is a good place to let off passengers from your car.

7. An orthodox Jew does one of two things:
1) Take another route to work that doesn't have a stop sign so that he doesn't run the risk of disobeying the Law.
2) Stop at the stop sign, say "Blessed art thou, O Lord our God, king of the universe, who hast given us thy commandment to stop," wait 3 seconds according to his watch, and then proceed. Incidentally, the Talmud has the following comments on this passage:
R[abbi] Meir says: He who does not stop shall not live long. R. Hillel says: Cursed is he who does not count to three before proceeding. R. Simon ben Yudah says: Why three? Because the Holy One, blessed be He, gave us the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings. R. ben Isaac says: Because of the three patriarchs. R. Yehuda says: Why bless the Lord at a stop sign? Because it says: "Be still, and know that I am God." R. Hezekiel says: When Jephthah returned from defeating the Ammonites, the Holy One, blessed be He, knew that a donkey would run out of the house and overtake his daughter; but Jephthah did not stop at the stop sign, and the donkey did not have time to come out. For this reason he saw his daughter first and lost her. Thus he was judged for his transgression at the stop sign. R. Gamaliel says: R. Hillel, when he was a baby, never spoke a word, though his parents tried to teach him by speaking and showing him the words on a scroll. One day his father was driving through town and did not stop at the sign. Young Hillel
called out: "Stop, father!" In this way, he began reading and speaking at the same time. Thus it is written: "Out of the mouth of babes." R. ben Jacob says: Where did the stop sign come from? Out of the sky, for it is written: "Forever, O Lord, your word is fixed in the heavens." R. ben Nathan says: When were stop signs created? On the fourth day, for it is written: "let them serve as signs." R. Yeshuah says: ... [continues for three more pages]

8. A Pharisee does the same thing as an orthodox Jew, except that he waits 10 seconds instead of 3. He also replaces his brake lights with 1000 watt searchlights and connects his horn so that it is activated whenever he touches the brake pedal.

9. A scholar from Jesus seminar concludes that the passage "STOP" undoubtedly was never uttered by Jesus himself, but belongs entirely to stage III of the gospel tradition, when the church was first confronted by traffic in its parking lot.

10. A NT scholar notices that there is no stop sign on Mark street but there is one on Matthew and Luke streets, and concludes that the ones on Luke and Matthew streets are both copied from a sign on a completely hypothetical street called "Q". There is an excellent 300 page discussion of speculations on the origin of these stop signs and the differences between the stop signs on Matthew and Luke street in the scholar's commentary on the passage. There is an unfortunately omission in the commentary, however; the author apparently forgot to explain what the text means.

11. An OT scholar points out that there are a number of stylistic differences between the first and second half of the passage "STOP". For example, "ST" contains no enclosed areas and 5 line endings, whereas "OP"contains two enclosed areas and only one line termination. He concludes that the author for the second part is different from the author for the first part and probably lived hundreds of years later. Later scholars determine that the second half is itself actually written by two separate authors because of similar stylistic differences between the "O" and the "P".

12. Another prominent OT scholar notes in his commentary that the stop sign would fit better into the context three streets back. (Unfortunately, he neglected to explain why in his commentary.) Clearly it was moved to its present location by a later redactor. He thus exegetes the intersection as though the stop sign were not there.

13. Because of the difficulties in interpretation, another OT scholar emends the text, changing "T" to "H". "SHOP" is much easier to understand in context than "STOP" because of the multiplicity of stores in the area. The textual corruption probably occurred because "STOP" is so similar to "SHOP" on the sign several streets back that it is a natural mistake for a scribe to make. Thus the sign should be interpreted to announce the existence of a shopping area.

14. A "prophetic" preacher notices that the square root of the sum of the numeric representations of the letters S-T-O-P sigma-tau-omicron-pi in the Greek alphabet), multiplied by 40 (the number of testing), and divided by four (the number of the world--north, south, east, and west), equals 666. Therefore, he concludes that stop signs are the dreaded "mark of the beast," a harbinger of divine judgment upon the world, and must be avoided at all costs.

Hat tip: Terry at Monastic Mumblings


Thursday, September 28, 2006

theological engineering exam

4 Questions, 60 Minutes.

You may use a calculator, the Bible, the Koran, the Torah, and the Book of Mormon. The speed of light is c. Show all work. For all problems, assume a perfectly spherical Jesus of constant density D. No praying during the exam.

1. (20 pts.) Bob and Joe are standing on a street corner. God loves each an equal amount of L_O. Bob then accelerates to .9c. In Joe's rest frame, how much does God now love Bob?

2. (20 pts.) Let the eternal, all abiding love of the Holy Spirit be the xy plane. Let Sue's soul be at (0,0,5) at t=0 sec., traveling at 5 m/s in the direction of the positive z axis. Everything is in Cartesian coordinates bespeaking subscription to a perfectly rational Enlightenment attitude towards the Universe. At what time t will Sue be saved? (Hint: Assume a point soul.)

3. (20 pts.) Assume the Rapture occurs at time t. Cornelia, a saved human weighing 90 kg, in a state of grace, has her head in the closing jaws of an alligator at time t. What mass of meat will remain to the alligator at time t+10 sec.?

4. Stan is a frictionless, massless Mormon in a rest state. His sin level for his faith is currently 11 McBeals. He eats .3 kg of pork, and enjoys it very much. Assume that the Jews are right about, well, pretty much everything.
A. (10 pts.) What is Stan's sin level now?
B. (10 pts.) Stan is one of them Salt Lake City Mormons. He ain't so smug now, is he?

Extra Credit (10 pts): 25 grams of wafers and 20 ml of cheap wine undergo transubstantiation and become the flesh and blood of our Lord. How many Joules of heat are released by the transformation?

Hand in exam when done, and may God have mercy on your work.

Hat tip: John the Methodist


Sunday, June 11, 2006


Artificial intelligence has come a long way. Forty years ago, Joseph Weizenbaum gave us ELIZA, the artificial intelligence program that parodied a Rogerian psychotherapist by restating the user's statements as questions. At the time, ELIZA was considered very advanced because it could swap the words "I" and "you" as appropriate.

Today there is iGod, an entertaining AI program that can converse on many topics. iGod may not be omniscient, but it has definite opinions about certain topics.


Saturday, May 13, 2006

kids' letters to god

To lighten things up in the middle of this series about hell, I thought I'd share these. I received them in an email titled "Kids' letters to God."

Dear God,
In Sunday School they told us what You do. Who does it when You are on vacation? - Jane

Dear God,
I think about You sometimes even when I'm not praying. - Elliot

Dear God,
Did You really mean "do unto others as they do unto you?" Because if you did, then I'm going to fix my brother. - Darla

Dear God,
I didn't think orange went with purple until I saw the sunset You made on Tuesday. - Margret

Dear God,
I read the Bible. What does "begat" mean? Nobody will tell me. - Love, Allison

Dear God,
Are you really invisible or is that a trick? - Lucy

Dear God,
Is it true my father won't get in Heaven if he uses his bowling words in the house? - Anita

Dear God,
Did you mean for the giraffe to look like that or was it an accident? - Norma

Dear God,
Instead of letting people die and having to make new ones, why don't You just keep the ones You have now? - Jane

Dear God,
Who draws the lines around countries? - Nan

Dear God,
The bad people laughed at Noah - "You made an ark on dry land you fool". But he was smart, he stuck with You. That's what I would do. - Eddie

Dear God,
I went to this wedding and they kissed right in church. Is that okay? - Neil

Dear God,
What does it mean You are a Jealous God? I thought You had everything. - Jane

Dear God,
Thank You for the baby brother, but what I prayed for was a puppy. - Joyce

Dear God,
Why is Sunday School on Sunday? I thought it was supposed to be our day of rest. - Tom L.

Dear God,
Please send me a pony. I never asked for anything before, You can look it up. - Bruce

Dear God,
If we come back as something - please don't let me be Jennifer Horton because I hate her. - Denise

Dear God,
My brother is a rat. You should give him a tail. Ha ha. - Danny

Dear God,
Maybe Cain and Abel would not kill each other so much if they had their own rooms. It works with my brother. - Larry

Dear God,
I want to be just like my Daddy when I get big but not with so much hair all over. - Sam

Dear God,
You don't have to worry about me. I always look both ways. - Dean

Dear God,
I bet it is very hard for You to love all of everybody in the whole world. There are only 4 people in our family and I can never do it. - Nan

Dear God,
Of all the people who work for You, I like Noah and David the best. - Rob

Dear God,
My brother told me about being born but it doesn't sound right. They're just kidding, aren't they? - Marsha

Dear God,
If You watch me in Church Sunday. I'll show You my new shoes. - Mickey

Dear God,
I would like to live 900 years like the guy in the Bible. - Love, Chris

Dear God,
We read Thomas Edison made light. But in school they said You did it. So, I bet he stoled Your idea. Sincerely, Donna

Dear God,
I do not think anybody could be a better God. Well, I just want You to know but I am not just saying that because You are God already. - Charles


Friday, March 03, 2006

the lesson

My mom, a retired teacher, sent me this.
The Lesson:

Then Jesus took his disciples up the mountain and gathered them around
him. He taught them, saying,

Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
Blessed are the meek.
Blessed are they that mourn.
Blessed are the merciful.
Blessed are they who thirst for justice.
Blessed are you when persecuted.
Blessed are you when you suffer.
Be glad and rejoice for your reward is great in heaven.

Then Simon Peter said, "Are we supposed to know this?"
And Andrew said, "Do we have to write this down?"
And James said, "Will we have a test on this?"
And Phillip said, "I don't have a pencil."
And Bartholomew said, "Do we have to turn this in?"
And John said, "The other disciples didn't have to learn this."
And Matthew said, "Can I go to the bathroom?"
And Judas said, "What does this have to do with real life?"

Then one of the Pharisees who was present asked to see Jesus' lesson
plan and inquired, "Where is your anticipatory set and your objectives
in the cognitive domain?"

And Jesus wept.


Wednesday, January 11, 2006

our daily chicken?

An ad man from Tyson Foods arranges to visit the Pope. After receiving the papal blessing he whispers, "Your Eminence, do we have a deal for you. If you change The Lord's Prayer from 'give us this day our daily bread....' to 'give us this day our daily chicken....' we will donate $500 million dollars to the Church."

The Pope responds, "That is impossible. The Prayer is the Word of the Lord and it must not be changed."

"Well," says the Tyson man, "we are prepared to donate $1 billion to the Church if you change the Lord's Prayer from 'give us this day our daily bread....' to 'give us this day our daily chicken...'."

Again the Pope replies, "That is impossible. The Prayer is the Word of the Lord and it must not be changed."

Finally, the man from Tyson says, "This is our last offer. We will donate $5 billion to the church if you change the Lord's Prayer from 'give us this day our daily bread....' to 'give us this day our daily chicken...'," and he leaves.

The next day the Pope meets with the College of Cardinals to say that he has good news and bad news.

"The good news is that the Church has come into $5 billion."

"The bad news is that we are losing the Wonder Bread account."