August 28, 2008

Obama's Backdrop

Everyone's talking about the Temple of Obama that the Dems set up at the convention. My wife pointed something out to me, and I think it's more likely that this is what they were going for:

Compare the set to pictures of the President taken during a press conference in the Rose Garden. The DNC has built their own Rose Garden Press Conference Playset, complete with Major Media Reporter action figures. Veto-Power President Obama action figure shipping soon, some assembly required.

Seriously -- look at the Rose Garden picture here and note the similarities. I seriously think that is what the DNC is going for with this set, and not the Temple of Obama that people seem to be complaining about.

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August 27, 2008

The Chronicles of Andreius, the Paladin, Chapter 2

Chapter 2
Curse of the Wolf Moon

I missed the introduction to this one. Basically, the assignment is to go hunt some herbs that grow near a lake, past a big mountain. Sort of a Dora the Explorer adventure.

Collecting the herbs will require a long trek -- through the forest, across a mountain pass, and finally to Mirror Lake. Andreius best get started!

Andreius was following a trail through the woods when his foot was violently yanked out from under him. His body followed, and he was suddenly upside down, swaying back and forth from a tree branch. Then goblins with big sticks emerged from the woods. The goblins took turns trying to smash Andreius with sticks while cackling jokes to each other. Between his expert wiggling and his armor, Andreius didn't receive any real injuries. He reached out with his Rapier and impaled one of the goblins in the face. Their tone instantly changed and they scurried away from their dangerous prey. This gave Andreius plenty of time to free himself and follow their fresh tracks.

Andreius was growing quite hungry and decided to throw a balanced stick at a rabbit as he had been taught to do by his uncle. It was almost easier than Andreius had remembered. He beaned the first rabbit on the head in one shot. It was a most delicious rabbit, and he felt much better with some meat in his stomach.

Andreius crossed into the mountain pass, and his progress slowed. Andreius came to an old suspension bridge made of rope and boards. Unfortunately it had snapped and was laying flat against the far side of the gorge. Andreius took his grappling hook and fifty feet of rope out of his pack, and tried to hook the bridge and drag it up. Andreius's aim was true, and he hauled the bridge back into place. After securing it properly, he was able to cross with ease.

Andreius encountered a sad looking shepherd in the mountain pass who told him that he had lost his magic sheep. Not wishing to bother with such an obviously preposterous story, Andreius moved on. (oops)

Finally, Andreius arrived at Mirror Lake, where the herbs were known to grow. Andreius was surprised to see two snarling kua-toa with nets and tridents rise out of the lake! The creatures were somewhat clumsy on land, and Andreius defeated them easily. Still, Andreius had to wonder what else might come out of that lake . . .

A lizardfolk warrior charged up the beach as terrified fishermen fled in its wake! Andreius charged in to meet it, and a mighty battle ensued. At last, the beast lay defeated, and the fishermen rewarded Andreius well for his aid.

Andreius was enjoying the beautiful weather at the edge of the lake when a giant crab appeared! The beast's claws and shell were a whole lot stronger than Andreius's weapon and armor. It was crushing Andreius in its claws by the time he found a spot soft enough to get an attack through. Andreius impaled the crab repeatedly in that spot, eventually defeating it. Andreius dragged the beast inland and sold its meat to the local fisher's guild.

With a name like Singing Falls, Andreius expected a cute little waterfall, not the two-hundred-yard wide, thirty-yard-high monstrosity thundering down before him. The blessed wolfsbane was there, growing on a rock protruding from the water right in front of the center of the falls. There were a lot of sharp rocks in front of the falls, actually, making a swimming approach too dangerous. Andreius walked under the waterfall and got pounded by the water. It seemed the only reasonable path even though the rocks were wet and slippery and the water punishing. Andreius's athletic prowess was up to the task and he was able to retrieve the wolfsbane. He proudly returned with it and saved the village. They will forever know him as a hero, and of course, rewarded him greatly.

Some serious schwag in this one -- a morningstar, a potion of glibness, a battleaxe, and a bunch of money. This one may have been a better "chapter one" than chapter two, but hey ....



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Just A Few Years Behind ....

Pop Christianity (as opposed to Christianity -- pop Christianity adds all the Jesus junk that Christian bookstores seem to love so dearly).

As I was saying ... pop Christianity always seems to be several years behind pop culture. We got ska late, we got rap late (and most of it wasn't good), we got metal late (though some of it was quite good).

And now, we're getting Guitar Hero late.

Digital Praise, the folks who brought you Dance Praise and Dance Praise 2: the Remix are at it again, bringing us Guitar Praise. It's Guitar Hero with Christian rock music. Three years late.

If we have to compete with pop culture (and I'm not sold on that idea yet), we should compete with pop culture. Three months, tops -- not three years. Three years in, we look like dweebs. We're copycats, and not even good ones.

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August 26, 2008

Did Bill just endorse ... McCain??

From The Hill:

"Suppose for example you're a voter. And you've got candidate X and candidate Y. Candidate X agrees with you on everything, but you don't think that person can deliver on anything. Candidate Y disagrees with you on half the issues, but you believe that on the other half, the candidate will be able to deliver. For whom would you vote?"

Of course, Paul Begala says that Clinton is "totally for Barak." And Clinton will never come out and support anyone but the Democratic nominee. But it makes you wonder ...

Ironically, there are plenty of Evangelical Christians who are asking themselves a similar question: Suppose you have Candidate X, who you only agree with half the time, and you've got Candidate Y, who you agree with on maybe one or two issues. If they're both electable, and only Candidate X has an actual voting record that goes further back than the current Presidency, who do you support?

And will either candidate win in 2012?

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Hmmmmm. BC Bought!

It's been confirmed -- Blogcritics has been bought by Technorati. Yeah -- it's been reported by all the tech sites, but I wasn't going to say anything until Eric Olsen sent us all an email letting us know.

This is a good thing for Blogcritics. Eric and Phillip and everyone else at BC have worked hard to make it what it is today. It's a great place for bloggers to make a name for themselves, and it's a great online magazine. It shows how a "group blog" can effectively rebrand itself into a "magazine" while still keeping much of the tone of the original group blog.

There were some concerns along the way. I remember when the rule came down that nobody was allowed to publish their own material; every article had to be read over by an editor, and only an editor could publish the article. Long time writers weren't happy with giving up their autonomy, and several left. But I really think that the rule improved public perception of the site, and has certainly improved content -- and I speak as one of those editors at the time, who had to suddenly read a ton of articles every day, proofread, suggest improvements, and finally publish them. It wasn't what any of us signed up for, but it made things better. And when I finally stopped being an editor (I was assistant books editor, then full books editor, for several months), I still wrote for BC because I liked it.

I haven't written anything for Blogcritics in a while, though I do owe a few reviews (this month, expect a bunch of book and music reviews from me). I've made some contacts that I never would have otherwise. I've read books and listened to music I never would have otherwise. In short, I love Blogcritics.

And the purchase seems to only foreshadow good things for the site, including some talk of "monetization options for ... contributors". So congrats to Eric and Phillip, who are new Technorati employees. And congrats to my fellow Blogcritics, all 2,500 or so of us -- things are getting good.

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The Chronicles of Andreius, the Paladin, Chapter 1

Chapter 1: Cutthroats of Crawling Bog


The king's soldiers are protecting the wealthy merchants and nobles on the High Road, but bandits still prey on the common folk. The scoundrels hide from the soldiers in Crawling Bog, a sucking swamp so notorious for the dangerous plants and monsters that live there that the soldiers dare not enter. It's time someone brought the bandits to justice.

Andreius found tracks that led into the fetid swamps -- the thieves must have gone that way. The rain was pouring down through the leaves, feeding the churning river that Andreius was wading across. Suddenly, the stirring currents sucked him underwater. Andreius desperately held his breath while trying to resurface.

Andreius almost drowned when his lungs gave out. He thrashed about, gasped for air, took in water, and surfacing intermittently as the river dragged him along for what seemed an eternity. Nearly an hour later, Andreius emerged from the river battered and exhausted.

After a long afternoon of adventuring, Andreius came across a family and their wagon stuck deep in the mud. They were moving to the city because the father had gotten a new job in a prominent guild. He braced himself and, with a mighty heave, freed the wagon and pushed it to a drier patch of road. The family was grateful that they had escaped the swamp before night fell. They gave Andreius some money and a new weapon for helping them on their way.

While wading waist deep through a particularly sloppy patch of water in the swamp, Andreius was startled by a nearby splash and an unpleasant sensation of being bitten in the thigh. His armor was not quite strong enough, and it took several violent attacks with his Rusty Dagger to get the alligator off him. Back on shore, Andreius applied some first aid before moving on.

To say the size of the giant rat Andreius faced off against was unusual would be an understatement. Most townsfolk would never believe such a large rodent could exist. Nevertheless it had come thundering through the roots and brambles and was now smack in front of him with its teeth bared. Andreius almost had a hard time taking the rat seriously as he crushed it with his mace.

There were a great many old logs lying around the swamp. As they laid rotting, a thick and furry green moss had begun to engulf them. There was something peculiar about one of the mossy logs . . .

Unable to figure out what was so peculiar about that log, Andreius forged ahead through the swamp. Only much later did Andreius realize that he should have looked under the log.

Andreius rounded a corner and was confronted by a camp filled with bandits. He steeled himself for the fight ahead.

The bandit lord accepted Andreius's challenge to single combat! Andreius easily dodged the bandit lord's attacks and quickly subdued him, humiliating him in front of his band of thieves. Andreius was hailed as a hero when he returned the village's meager treasures.

The End

I got some $$ and a new rapier out of the deal, but only ended half the encounters successfully.

All in all, it's a neat little app. I just hope they can keep the servers running.

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The Continuing Adventures of the Paladin Andreius, Introduction

So there's this new Facebook app called Dungeons and Dragons, Tiny Adventures. You create a character, and send them out on adventures. Every 15 minutes or so, you get a report back on how your character is doing. It's roleplaying without the playing part. Or, really, the role part.

So I see this as an opportunity to add some content here. I'll be posting all of my character's adventures here for your reading pleasure. And if you'd like to be my friend on Facebook, you can send me healing and "buffs" to aid in my adventures -- and I'll mention you here.

The introduction appears after the break: more...

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August 09, 2008

Tole, Lege

Stephen Curtis Chapman on Adoption. As someone who was adopted at 6 months old, I don't remember anything about life before my adoptive parents. But I know what they went through, and that was a fairly standard domestic adoption. I've heard of what people go through in international adoption. I've always thought it was a wonderful illustration of the believer's relationship with God, and it's something that far too few people do anymore. Chapman's essay on the adoption of his daughter Maria is a great read -- maybe more people will adopt some of these kids who need loving homes.

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Your Best Lawsuit Now

In case you haven't heard (and what rock have you been under if you haven't?), Joel and Victoria Osteen are being sued by a distraught airline flight attendant after a confrontation on a 2005 flight to Vail, Colorado.

more...

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August 04, 2008

Latest from LUBama

I'm not linking to the forum this time (though the "good stuff" is in one of the threads that I linked to on the previous post, you can see for yourself what kind of individual she is). I do want to clarify and correct a few things, even though Michelle has never contacted me directly about my previous post (she prefers to threaten lawsuits on message boards -- nice).

Looks like the person who checked on her status was checking under her married name, and she never changed it in her LU records. I'm still not 100% sure when she left, though it looks like she kept taking classes through Liberty's Distance Learning program so that she could keep her position with the Obama campaign. So that part was incorrect -- had she contacted me and asked me in a civil tone to fix it, the post would have been edited with a note attached. Since she can't seem to speak to anyone who disagrees with her in a civil manner, I'm leaving the post up and adding this correction post.

Near as I can tell, that's the only fact I've got wrong. Well, that and the fact that she's not a student at LC either -- from what she said on the Flamefans forum, she "forgot" to include her transcripts with her application. I'll leave you to insert your own incredulous statement there.

I still think that someone showing up at a notoriously conservative school who is not just a moderate but obviously a flaming liberal is there for one reason -- to stir up trouble. Having done that, she's done. And I still doubt her ability to actually defend her position. When she posted on the "civil discussion" thread, she admitted that she hadn't done as much research on Obama as she should have, and didn't seem to know anything about his positions on many issues. She either wouldn't or couldn't answer direct questions about his policies. So you make up your own mind. I know I have, and I'm done with the subject.

Until she tries to sue me over this post, too. Then we'll have some fun

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August 02, 2008

Liberty University Students for Obama???

Recent article on a ynchburg TV station concerning a student who is the head of an organization called LU Students for Obama.

Now, the rest of the story.... more...

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