"And the trouble is / We don't know who we are instead."

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Tsunami and giving

If you haven't noticed yet, Google has this link posted on their homepage:

Ways to help with tsunami relief

What an unbelievable disaster. So striking, so massive. I believe God is a God of Love, and in some ways I wonder—why those people, Lord? But I know He knows. In my human wisdom I think, "What an opportunity for the United States to redeem itself!"

It certainly convicts me . . .

Christmas passed

A few favorite gifts and moments in no particular order:

1. Singing Christmas carols with Skye on Christmas morning. Who knew "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" had such profoundly sinless Christianity lyrics?

God rest you merry, gentlemen,
Let nothing you dismay,
Remember Christ our Savior
Was born on Christmas day,
To save us all from Satan's pow'r
When we were gone astray;

2. Emma got a FisherPrice photography toy. Basically she mashes a big button and a wheel spins around and makes a noise like a shutter along with a flash and tells her about some animal or thing that is on the wheel. Awesome!

3. Shoe laces! Yeehaw! I needed these something awful.

4. Coffee grinder. My Braun grinder mysteriously gave up the java ghost, and my tinkering brought it to life momentarily but ultimately failed! Waah! But despair no longer, a new one has arrived, with built-in time settings! Woo!

5. Gift certificates galore. Target, Circuit City, and many others. Yay!

6. Not really a Christmas gift, but last night the neighbor lady agreed to watch a sleeping Emma for one hour while Skye and I ran out to Target—that's right, just us! Wow! It was like being 21 again.

7. The promise of an iPod. We weren't able to wrangle one in time (the 20 gigs are pretty much sold out nationwide), but in a month or two I might have one in my hands (partially assisted by the Target or Circuit City gift certs).

Free iPod for me?

Have nothing better to do? Do you enjoy getting freebies? Then help me get a free iPod!

As a side note, I would like to mention that my wife recently had 16—yes sixteen, Firefox browser windows open at once. Not tabs--but windows. I find this really funny. Probably no one else will. Oh, and that seven of those sixteen were her livejournal . . . 'How many of these can you read at once?!' was my question.

The really funny part is that she was wondering why the computer was running so slowly. :oP HA!

Monday, December 20, 2004

International relations

I do a bit of reading about international politics—particularly regarding the United States. The immense hypocrisy of the United States in supporting dictators on one hand and supposedly being the vanguard of the Axis of Truth on the other truly disturbs me, and threatens to discourage.

Fortunately, I know that "the fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much" (James). Christians ought to pray for the United States. But even more so, we must pray for her enemies. Neither is something I do enough of, and I especially don't hear the latter promoted on the airwaves today.

"Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword." —Matthew 26:52 (KJV).

"Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: β€œIt is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: β€œIf your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. —Romans 12:17-21

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Pro-Choice in the headlines

Woman Murdered, Baby Survives.

I've always found it striking how completely unscientific the pro-choice movement is, in light of this very thing: if the mother *wants* to have the baby, the baby is a life; if the mother does not want to have the baby, the baby was a dependent fetus. Since when does volition have anything to do with the definition of a life? That's phenomenology, not biology. How ironic!

In these news stories I can't help but be irked by the continual avoidance of calling the baby a baby, but instead referring to it as a "fetus", even after it has been removed from the womb. The rhetoric of the pro-choice movement just got stranger; it used to be that once the in utero life was no longer in utero, it was no longer a fetus, but a baby (assuming it survived). Because of the parallelism between this crime and abortion, the pro-choice movement must wrap the crime in the same rhetoric; sickeningly, this downplays the crime.

So, what we have here is a description of an attempted abortion. In the same swoop we have incontrovertible proof that the 'fetus is dependent on the mother' argument is biologically false. Roe v. Wade has nothing to stand on scientifically or experientially. Anything that can survive being forcefully severed from another entity was obviously *not* dependent on that particular other entity. Substitution is (or one day will be) possible at any stage in the game post-conception, and here we have proof.

The 'fetus' does not need the particular mother. Here is proof. Thus, the 'fetus' is a human lifespan independent of other human beings. This little one fought the good fight and proved it. Praise the Lord.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

In case you have $6 trillion laying around . . .

From Frequently Asked Questions - 1.1 General Procedural Questions

I'm concerned about the public debt. Can I make a payment to reduce it?

Yes. You can make a contribution (gift) to reduce the public debt. Make a separate check payable to the "Bureau of the Public Debt." You can also enclose the check with your tax return. Please do not add this gift to any income tax you owe. You can send the check to the

Bureau of the Public Debt
Department G
P. O. Box 2188
Parkersburg, W.V. 26106-2188

You can deduct this gift as a charitable contribution on your next tax return if you itemize your deductions on Form 1040, Schedule A. If you owe tax, make a separate check for that amount payable to "United States Treasury."

Yeehaw! Sign me up! Err, wait, I already am.

Google Suggest

Google Suggest! One of the better things since sliced bread.

Someone properly criticized it regarding its "failure" to normalize on singular/plural, which I think is a rightful critique, but the implications of receiving real-time feedback on a search argument before you actually have to execute are exciting. While this is syntactically neat, what I'd like to see is some kind of semantic clustering going on behind the scenes, so that keying in "Saddam Hussein" for example would auto-recommend queries like "Iraq" or "Desert Storm", etc., phrases that have similar meanings but no shared words. Basically, the power of Google meets the concept of Vivisimo.

Now that would be sweet . . .

Google v. Microsoft

Yahoo! News - Google to Scan Books From Big Libraries.

This could potentially kill the online venture a friend of mine (actually, a couple friends of mine) and myself are running—err, planning to run. Fortunately, this ambitious project of Google's will take something on the order of decades, by which time Microsoft will have either destroyed or bought out Google (same thing, right?), thus turning any hopes of this being a useful project into a bloated mess of buttons and Clippy help avatars.

Microsoft must kill Google. It's our only hope.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Newly-discovered Photographer

chris jordan photography — recycled lately? Very striking photographs on the waste generated by consumerism. Makes me ask myself what the subject and style of my creative photography is and will be. Right now I feel very divergent in my subject matter — nature of all shapes and sizes, with some architecture thrown in (with some pictures of Chicago coming soon, I hope) for good measure.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Belarusian mortgage refinancing (matthewwensing.com)

In case you don't already know, someone recently snatched up my domain (www.matthewwensing.com) when I failed to re-register it (actually, I purposefully failed to re-register it, but assumed I could transfer it before someone would buy it—after all, who else would want the domain 'matthewwensing'?). So now matthewwensing.com provides Mortgage Refinancing spam to the citizens of Belarus .

I contacted the current owner of the domain. Found out his name was Midas. When I contacted him about reclaiming the domain (after all, if I were famous, this could be considered identity theft/infringement/libel), Midas gave a hefty laugh (OK, so actually I just imagined that part in my head) and said he had 'never really considered selling it . . . what price?'

Trying to come in low and not too strong, I offered him $20. One Andrew Jackson to solve a morning's worth of troubles—not too shabby. Despite the foreign exchange rate stating that Midas could garner 1.8 million Belarusian rubles (BYB) for my $20 US dollars, he returned my offer with a scoff: "you must joke . . . this domain worth 1,000$ minimum".

Stunned by Mr Midas' rationale that a domain name consisting entirely and only of my first and last names should be worth 90,000,000 rubles, I asked him in my best Eastern European broken English: "What do you base this price on?", to which he replied "good search results". I fired off yet another e-mail, asking him "what searches bring up matthewwensing.com?" . . .

. . . and to that, I never received a reply.

That same day as consolation I snatched up matthewwensing.net. For some reason, despite the amazing marketing potential of matthewwensing.com, Midas failed to sweep the .net variation behind his Iron Curtain.

So yes, what was my personal portal is now replaced by an endless sea of mortgage refinancing link spam. My only logical conclusion is that somewhere in Belarus is a very famous Matthew Wensing.

C'est la vie. Or as Midas might say, "XA XA!"