Friday, December 31, 2004

This is what happens when Lutherans do not take the Doctrine of Vocation seriously. Some of you may remember the movie Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. Ace Ventura, at times during the movie, would begin taking out of his ass, for a lack of a better way to say it. This is another example of someone talking out of his ass. Yes, I'm actually being charitable to Rev. Dr Ishmael Noko because the only other explanation for his comments is that he is an idiot. I have given a lot of thought about this. The last major earthquake in this area was about 300 years ago, if I remember correctly (don't quote me on that). I'm still trying to draw the line between Global Warming and Plate Tectonics. Oh yes. I know now. We're waiting for Yellowstone to blow and send us back into the ice age. His statement is so ambiguous that I have to wonder if he actually believes that global warming caused this. This is why theologians should keep their mouths shut when talking about stuff they have no training in. Actually, considering I have read some of the stuff Rev. Dr Ishmael Noko has written theology wise, maybe he shouldn't speak at all.

Thanks to Midwest Conservative Journal for the story.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

I have three pieces of news:

It is with a heavy heart that I am informing all of you of the death of Rev. Ranjith Fernando and his wife Darshini in Sri Lanka. Rev. Fernando was translating the Book of Concord into Sinhala for the Lutheran Heritage Foundation. Pray for the three daughters that did not join their parents in God's eternal glory and pray that the LHF can find new translator to continue Rev. Fernando's work.

Secondly, as you can see, I have updated my blogroll, adding significant links and repairing links that were about to go dark. As you can see, I decided just to throw the Brits into the pool with the LCMSers and declared us all ILC members.

Thirdly, the earthquake was powerful enough to actually affect the tilt of the axis of the earth. The tilt has moved 1 foot from where it was. This isn't going to affect the climate of the earth. It takes a lot of energy to move the earth even one foot. This earthquake was huge.
If anyone has anymore questions about what happened near Indonesia, I shall do my best to answer them. I'm not sure I can say much more about what happened from a purely scientific perspective. I'm actually avoiding the human element of this story and discussing the science because you can find the human element all over the place and on the blogsphere, but the science is difficult if not impossible to find. Not only that, I think the science brings some answers to the question of how could this kill so many people. When you recognize the scale of the earthquake and the magnitude of the movement, it is easier to understand how so many people died in this disaster.

One final note: the tsunami appeared to have formed after the ocean floor moved 30 feet (~10m) vertically because of the earthquake. There is also the possibility submarine landslides could have triggered the tsunami as well. It will take a bathymetric scan in order to figure out what exactly happened.

Edited to correct error

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

The Dynamic Earth

This is a good booklet put together by the USGS (United States Geological Survey for my British readers) discussing plate tectonics and why things happen where they happen. It explains things better than I ever could and the figures will help you visualize the geological processes occurring. You don't have to buy the uniformitarianistic bias of the booklet. The processes are the only important thing. The processes are proven. We can measure the creeping of the plates using GPS, of all things.

To answer Elle's questions, I give you this. I guess they are uncertain about how much this earthquake will affect the rotation of the Earth.

Edited to correct stupid spelling error

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Tonight, I will put up what I'll call "A Primer on Plate Tectonics: Why the Earth Rumbles Sometimes."

Oh, in case you are wondering, the rotation of the earth is now 3 microseconds faster than it was on Christmas day and there was a measurable wobble after the earthquake occurred. The earth rang like a bell for a short time after the earthquake as well.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Dan, you said that this quake affected the rotation of the earth. Is this something that we'll be able to notice at all? Like daylight coming later or something?

Probably not. We're talking about milliseconds here.

What are the chances of something like this happening again?

Once every 30-40 years. On average.

Would a quake that size be capable of making California an island?

No, but this quake repositioned Sumatra 120 ft south of where the island formerly was. It was this sudden movement of this large landmass that affected the rotation of the earth. It would take hundreds, maybe thousands of earthquakes like this before California could even begin taking the form of an island. Besides, the tectonic forces working in California are different than the forces working near Sumatra. Strike-Slip forces are at work in California while Convergence is at work near Sumatra. Neither of these forces will split a piece of land from a continent quickly. It takes a divergent boundary (spreading centers or rift zones) to create such a scenario.
Why was the earthquake below so deadly? I've taken a good look at the preliminary data, and one thing stands out. The epicenter of this earthquake was a little over six miles deep. Most megathrust quakes occur anywhere from 10-500 miles below the surface. If this quake had occurred at a much deeper depth, chances are the tsunamis would not have formed. Secondly, it is a solid 9 on the Richter scale. 9's are rare. What a 9 means is that this quake had ~30x more energy than an 8. The scale is exponential so to measure a 9, it is the equivalent of 31,800 1 megaton nuclear bombs going off all at once. The quake released so much energy it actually disturbed the rotation of the earth. Any earthquake that shallow and that strong is going to produce tsunamis, and, as in most strong earthquakes in the ocean, the tsunamis killed most of the people. Unfortunately, the countries most devastated by the tsunamis do not have warning systems in place. Keep the people devastated by this natural disaster in your prayers this Feast of St. John, and especially keep Chris Williams in your prayers since he has relatives in Sri Lanka, one of the hardest hit countries in this disaster.
Info on the Andaman-Nicobar Islands Earthquake of 26 December, 2004

It looks like this quake was a megathrust earthquake along a plate boundary. 1000km of this fault slipped, which is almost unthinkable to most people. This is the type of Earthquake Alaska and the Pacific Northwest is vulnerable to.

Friday, December 24, 2004

The sun fell almost five hours ago here in the plains of Kansas. With the Church Trimphant and the Church Militant throughout the world, we raise our voices in praise and thanksgiving for the Incarnation. Gloia in excelsis Deo. In that spirit (and a slight nip of single-malt Scotch), I wish everyone who reads this blog, whether you agree with me or not, a Merry Christmas.

For those of you who want to see something interesting, see how the Gospel reading for tonight looked like in English 1000 years ago.
I want to remind everyone of one simple little fact: Christmas doesn't officially begin until sundown tonight. Let's all take a deep breath and realize that we are all still in Advent and we need to be driven towards repentance (all the more this time of year). We need to be reminded of this not only because of Christ's first Advent, but also because his Second Advent is still coming. In a way, Advent is as much preparing us for his Second Advent as much as it prepares us for his first Advent.
One more reason for me to love France and the UN.

These are the guys Kerry wanted to get help from:

The expert was a Frenchman who worked at Goma airport as part of the UN’s $700 million-a-year effort to rebuild the war-shattered country. When police raided his home they discovered that he had turned his bedroom into a studio for videotaping and photographing sex sessions with young girls.

The bed was surrounded by large mirrors on three sides, according to a senior Congolese police officer. On the fourth side was a camera that he could operate from the bed with a remote control.

When the police arrived the man was allegedly about to rape a 12-year-old girl sent to him in a sting operation. Three home-made porn videos and more than 50 photographs were found.

Oh yes, it gets better:

Investigations have already turned up 150 allegations of sexual misconduct by peacekeepers and UN staff despite the UN’s official policy of “zero-tolerance”. One found 68 allegations of misconduct in the town of Bunia alone.


Jordan’s Prince Zeid Raad Al Hussein, a special adviser to the UN Secretary-General, who led one investigative team, said in a confidential report obtained by The Times: “The situation appears to be one of ‘zero-compliance with zero- tolerance’ throughout the mission.”

This is bigger than Abu Ghraib, yet we are all learning about this from a UK newspaper. Our own press is probably trying to cover for the UN. It makes me sick.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Two quick notes:

1) You can vote daily for your favorite Christmas Carol. If you have more than one that looks attractive, go ahead and vote for both on different days.

2) The commemoration day for St. Thomas was yesterday. I didn't blog on it because I fell asleep quite early.

Monday, December 20, 2004

I had to modify the poll. I gave translations to all the titles I had, but it just ate up too much space on my blog. If you need top know what the titles translate as (and they are all familiar even though you may not think so when you see them), look them up yourslef. I do not have the space.
Due to the fact I screwed up, I have revised my original poll. So now, you have 10 serious choices of Christmas carols. This poll will reside here until the day after Epiphany, at which time I will have to think of something else to use.

By the way, the old computer is up and running, so the long-awaited "improvements" may be ready sometime this week. Or, it may not ever see the light of day. I said my post on Grace Imperatives was going to take a while, and three days later it was up. Who knows what I might be able to get done if 24 and RotK were not constantly tempting me.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

So what was I talking about when I mentioned the phrase “Grace Imperative?” Let us break down this phrase. An imperative is a command, at it’s most basic for. Grace is, at its most basic, a gift from God. So a grace imperative is a command from God that, if obeyed, results in gifts bestowed upon us. We don’t obey the command, however, because we feel it is something we have to do, but because we love God. In essence, we respond in love because God has loved us. In this way, the very things God commands us becomes part of the Gospel. This isn’t some “new thing” God is doing but it is something God has used from the very beginning. Passover is an excellent example of a grace imperative. Yes, God gave his people very specific instructions on how to celebrate the first Passover. Yes, God told his people what to do. It took faith in God and trust in his word to do what He asked. In the end, God spared the firstborn of all the people who trusted in him.

In this same vein, Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are also grace imperatives. Christ himself commands both sacraments to us. It takes faith, however, to grasp these commands. Since faith is also a gift of God, we are now in the situation needing a gift in order to embrace other gifts that God promises. God gives us gifts so He can give us more gifts. That is where grace is primary in this whole scheme. Grace is given so we may trust the commands of God so that more grace can be given.

Maybe I haven’t explained this clearly, so if you are confused, tell me and I will give it another shot later.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

I shall post on all the theological posts I want to get to after I get through 24 and all the junk with RotK. That could be a while.

By the way, too few of you have voted so far. I might have to institute the P. Diddy policy: Vote or Die.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

I am very happy to see Bunnie Diehl back to blogging, but I never did quite get to the post where I was to lament her dead blog. For those of you that know the not-so-great great and utterly reprehensible musician P.D.Q. Bach, you know he composed a song as part of his Four Folksong Upsettings called Little Bunny Hop! Hop! Hop! for mezzo soprano. I was going to use those lyrics in my post lamenting the untimely death of her blog. Being that she is back, I shall have to wait until the pietists drive her up the wall again. In case you do not frequent her blog, the least you can do is pray for her friend Jennifer.

I am making my way through the appendices of RotK. So far, it looks awesome!

A post on why Lutherans don't pray to the Saints is in line behind my grace imperatives post which I am still working on (lie) and should be done soon (lie). OK, I'm watching 24 (still not finished with it) while trying to sneak RotK in also. I am currently working on diddly and squat when it comes to the future of this blog.

In case you didn't notice, there is a new poll up. Vote to your heart's content!

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

First, I have a little official business. Duke, you have been banned permanently from commenting on this forum for being unwilling to give us neither your real name nor an e-mail. May I also say your argument is weak and it had nothing to do with what I had posted.

Now that that's over, I can get onto the fun stuff. In my lap sits the extended version of Return of the King. The movie now times at four hours, ten minutes. You better believe I'm going to watch it all the first chance I get, which is probably Friday Night. I have to work out tomorrow. I want to keep losing weight, you know. Anyway, I plan on watching the first of the appendices tonight.

I handed out Christmas cards tonight at Church. In case you wondered, I always get a large stack of Shoebox greeting cards for everyone. They go from quite cute and funny to extremely childish and funny. I gave my pastor a card that falls in the latter category.

To everyone I am mailing cards to (all two of you), they will be in the mail tomorrow and, hopefully (I made a funny), they will arrive before the mail system completely collapses.

Everyone enjoy the rest of the week. If I am lax about my blogging, you all will know why. Tolkien rules.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

I was going to write a series of posts on the voters meeting, then I remembered why I don't blog much on local church stuff: I always end up taking crap, no matter what. Some people can't stay away from the red herrings and an Ad hominem tu quoque and an Ad Hoc fallacies (I just ignore them and ban them if they are unwilling to take the heat for what they say). Some people just can't keep themselves from questioning my motives even though they should know by now I don't argue the way they do. As far as I am concerned, this subject is closed for discussion.

One thing I did want to mention, if you were wondering if I put the last little blurb about losing weight below all my thoughts about the voters meeting there on purpose or by accident, it was on purpose. I wanted to see how you all reacted to good and bad news in the same post. As you can see from the comments thread, I probablly could have said the France was overrun by a giant tidal wave and none of you would have commented.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Since there are many new people commenting, I want to reiterate the rules of commenting on this blog and some explanation why the rules are the way they are.

1) I do not care if you post under a pseudonym as long as you give an e-mail address. The reason for this is simple: accountability. I will not allow someone to comment on this blog without accountability. With this in mind, I want to say this: to everyone who is in violation of this policy, you have 48 hours to remedy it or be banned from commenting for good. If you have e-mailed me in the past, however, do not worry. I know how to get in touch with you if I need to.

2) If you post anonymously, it results in an immediate and non-negotiable ban. I, in a way, inherited this policy from Josh. Again, it is a matter of being accountable for what you say. If everybody knows how to get in touch with you, you will be less likely to say something either insulting or stupid.

3) Posting under a pseudonym is allowed with an e-mail. Don’t make me have to change this rule.

4) All the rules boil down to this one basic rule: DON’T PISS ME OFF! Ask some of my friends who got on my wrong side when posting in my comments section and suddenly found themselves banned because they made me mad. I do not care if you agree with me. I welcome dissenting opinions, especially those that make me think. If you start throwing fallacies around, however, you will find yourself on the outside looking in very quickly. Civility is encouraged, hostility punished.

5) These policies have developed because of problems that have arisen on this blog since I installed comments. This latest policy has been in force for at least six months. I do revise things when new problems arise. If I have to tweak something, I’ll try to remember to let you know. If you keep rule #4 in mind, however, you shouldn’t have any problems.
We interrupt a series of posts on a voters meeting to engage in my favorite sport: French Bashing

Oh yes, the French are at it again. They are suing the Hamburger chain Carl's Jr. (aka E. coli central) because of a commercial depicting the French as, well, cheese-eating surrender monkeys. They are calling it racism. That is just plain wrong. It is one of the finest examples of xenophobia I have seen in a while, but it isn't racist. What a joke.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Hell Hath No Scorn Like A Voters Meeting

I think I sat through today the longest voters meeting I have ever sat through, ever. I still do not remember whether the one meeting I went to at Trinity in Norman, OK was longer (it might have made it to the four hour mark) but this meeting definitely helped me break my record for wearing a suit and tie. Nine hours in a tie. This from a guy who, after four, finds it constricting. While the Terrible Swede (still on probation) had told me that there were divisions in the church between the pastor and some people within the congregation, and I knew the differences were bad (one of our staff members resigned recently), I did not know how bad the abuse against our pastor would be. I was amazed by much of what was being said about our pastor. As someone who has a pastor in the family and a DCE, I have seen what a divisive congregation can do to a pastor's health and well-being. While I sit here, I get angrier thinking about it. I know all too well how a congregation can take a pastor and rip him apart. Todd Wilken once even mentioned a pastor had to be committed because of a congregation. There will be many prayers said tonight for my pastor and for his accusers.

After the nightmare that was the voters meeting, I went home. My radio was tuned to NPR. Yes, I do listen to NPR. There happens to be two NPR stations in the area. One is out of Wichita and plays, most of the time, NPR talk which, if I listen, just makes my blood pressure rise. The other station plays mostly classical music and rarely has any of the talk stations. They do carry the best talk show on NPR: Car Talk. Most everything else talk and news related on NPR I would wipe my butt with if I could. Anyway, I had the radio tuned to the NPR station I like (mostly music) and the program Pipe Dreams was on. An organist was playing a theme and variation on Ein Feist Burg and then they went to seven different settings of the hymn O Come, O Come, Immanuel. There is nothing to relax the body and soothe the soul like listening to good organ music. God's transcendence comes through so clear with that loveliest of instruments.

On another piece of good news, I have reached my first weight goal. For the first time in almost four years, I am back under 200 pounds. The next stop is 190.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

If anybody wishes to receive a Christmas card from me for some strange reason (I really don't know why you would want one), go ahead and e-mail me your address sometime between now and whenever and I'll make sure to send one of my silly little Christmas cards to you by Monday.

I am now involved in a discussion about what the Church is and isn't. Right now, I'm ambushing someone. It's an interesting tactic just to sit here and ask questions and wait for these people to slide their own heads into the nuses and even pull the lever to hang themselves. As the Augsburg Confession states, the Church can be found where the gospel is preached properly and the sacraments administered rightly. Unfortunately, since I am not a postmodernist, they will find it very depressing trying to reverse the questions I am asking them onto me because I have a spine and I won't back down to the chalenges. I also know the burden of proof is on them, since their theology is the novelty. May God keep me humble.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

I took this quiz last year. Just to remind you of the results:

A Christmas Carol
You are 'Christmas Time is Here, by Golly!', by Tom
Lehrer. Hmm, you really don't like Christmas,
do you? From the moment they start playing
carols in the shops in October to the
appearance of the first Easter Eggs in the
shops on New Years Eve, the rampant hypocrisy
of the Christmas spirit sets your teeth on
edge. You know just how many family fights
start over Christmas dinner, how many people
are injured in the Boxing Day sales, and how
few people actually find Christmas even
remotely merry. You liked Scrooge far better
before those ghosts got to him, and you are
only doing this quiz because you are bored at
work and anything is better than listening to
everyone else discuss their Christmas shopping.
Still, it is two days off work, which does
count for something... Enjoy the break.

What Christmas Carol are you?
brought to you by Quizilla
Elle has given her thoughts on Christmas. Here's mine.

I enjoy Christmas, but I don't take the secularization of the holiday all that seriously. For instance, I find that, rather than complaining about Christmas and all the crap it entails, it is much healthier to just make fun of what the holiday has become. A quick look at my Christmas music collection should make that clear. I am the proud owner of CDs with name like Twisted Christmas, More Twisted Christmas, Chipmunks Roasting on an Open Fire, The Greatest Christmas Novelty CD of All Time, Holidays in Dementia... You get the point. My current favorite Christmas song is I'm Dressing Up Like Santa Claus (When I Get Out on Parole). Anyone who has ever received a Christmas card from me knows how seriously I take Christmas. Anyone who has received any type of card from me knows how serious I take just about anything.

The Restroom door said "Gentlemen"
So I just walked inside
I took two steps and realized I'd been taken for a ride
I heard high voices scream and found the place was occupied
By two nuns, three old ladies and a nurse
What could be worse
Than two nuns, three old ladies and a nurse

How could anybody not like that?
I have felt misrable the past few days. I had a sore throat Monday night and I am now congested in my head. This isn't any fun. Tobasco pepers are my friend. These little miracles unclog what is cloged up in my head.

I basically slept fitfully for about 12 hours last night. I feel quite a bit better this morning than I did yesterday. I have a feling this is allergies, and a barage of two allergy medications seem to be working, but I still wonder if I have a cold. I'll probably figure that out by next week.

Monday, December 06, 2004

A while back, my pastor discussed an idea called "Grace Imperatives." When I have more time, I'll try to flush it out.
I predict the Terrible Swede's Christmas present will look an awful lot like something his wife will enjoy but he will not. It's only a prediction. I could be wrong.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

I deleted the comments spam. No more sex toys. Sorry.

Last night, I went to my office Christmas party in the enormous town of Zenda. We were at the only restaurant in town. I must say they have excellent prime rib. The steak was 2 inches thick! I ordered it medium rare. The thing was mooing at me while I was cutting it. A little bit of steak sauce. Good eating.

One of these days, I'll post on something theological. It might even be extremely smart. Until then, you'll just have to listen to my random rambligs of my life.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Remind me that I need to post every once in a while. 24 and poker are overrunning my life. OK. I still manage to find my way to the gym. Working out still trumps 24 and poker. OK. Church and working out trump 24 and poker. I sometimes wonder if it's barely.