Monday, July 28, 2008

On The Frivilous Side: Spam News Stories

On occasion, I like to post something random and light-hearted. To sort of change the pace once in a while. Here's such a post.

You gotta love spam. What follows are a collection of real live spam e-mail titles I've received in my mailbox, excepting a bunch of obscene ones. Which one of them do you think would be the most unlikely news story?
  • "Barack Obama Wins Ku Klux Klan Endorsement"
  • "Bush And Putin Agree To Restart Cold War During G8 Summit"
  • "Attack Of The Zombie Negro: Dick Cheney"
  • "MLB players boycott All-Star game"
  • "Mccain Vows TO Replace Secret Service With His Own Bare Fists"
  • "Britney Spears And Michael Jackson To Write Parenting Book"
  • "Obama Comes Clean: "Im An Elitist, Ultra-Liberal.."
  • "Mccaine vows to remain celibate"
If I really had a lot of spare time, I'd probably write fake news reports for each one of these. The stories probably wouldn't be all that more wacky than some of what gets published in tabloids nowadays.

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Saturday, July 19, 2008

Neither Here Nor There

  • Ever wonder what it would be like if the U.S. had facebook during the civil war? here it is
  • The Fraser Institute has an interesting article titled The State of Economic Freedom in the World. The top countries were Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand, and Switzerland. The U.S., Canada, and the U.K were tied for fifth. The least economically free country was said to be Zimbabwe.
  • Douglas Wilson's satirical novel Evangellyfish now has a website
  • John Piper has something to say on Why God Doesn't Fully Explain Pain
  • Some Canadians, such as I, think Henry Morgantaler should not get the Order of Canada. However, that said, this article over at Liberty in Canada might even have a better idea. Why not abolish the Order of Canada award all together?

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Calvin on The Use of God's Beautiful Gifts

Just recently I posted an excerpt from The Golden Booklet of the True Christian Life" (which is a translation of a part of John Calvin's Institutes of Christian Religion. Here is a second excerpt. It is from the chapter titled "The Right Use of the Present Life" from a subsection called "Earthly things are a gift of God".

"1. The first principle we should consider is that the use of the gifts of God cannot be wrong, if they are directed to the same purpose for which the Creator himself has created and destined for them. For he has made the earthly blessings for our benefit, and not for our harm. No one, therefore will observe a more proper rule than he who will faithfully observe this purpose.

2. If we study for instance, why he has created the various kinds of food, we shall find that it was his intention not only to provide for our needs, but likewise for our pleasure and for our delight. In clothing he did not only keep in mind our needs, but also propriety and decency. In herbs, trees, and fruit, besides being useful in various ways, he planned to please us by their gracious lines and pleasant odors. For if this were not true, the psalmist would not enumerate among the divine blessings "the wine that makes glad the heart of man, and the oil that makes his face to shine." (Ps. 104:15) And the Scriptures would not declare everywhere that he has given all these things to mankind that they might praise his goodness

3. Even the natural properties of things sufficiently point out to what purpose and to what extent we are allowed to use them. Should the Lord have attracted our eyes to the beauty of the flowers and our sense of smell to pleasant odors, and should it then be sin to drink them in? Has he not even made the colors so that the one is more wonderful than the other? Has he not granted to gold and silver, to ivory and marble a beauty which makes them more precious than other metals or stones? In one word, has he not made many things worthy of our attention that go far beyond our needs (Ps. 104:15)?"

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On the Lighter Side...An NHL Delinquent

One of the favorite Canadian pastimes is hockey. The National Hockey League has had its share of heroes, but also some "interesting" characters. Known as "The Missing Link", Link Gaetz was one of them. The blonde defensemen was born in 1968 (that might explain something?) in Vancouver, BC.

I guess you could sort of see Link as a cross between Jim Morrison and Mike Tyson.

The General Manager of the Minnesota North Stars had this to say about drafting Mr. Gaetz: "In the first round we drafted Mike Modano to protect the franchise. In the second round we drafted Link to protect Mike and in the third round we drafted a lawyer to protect Link." He was was a "defenseman", but it seems he spent a little bit more time on the offense so to speak. In only 65 games in the NHL he collected 412 penalty minutes. That is quite remarkable because it would normally take the average player over 20 games just to PLAY 400 minutes!!! He spent the equivalent of a game in the penalty box for every goal he scored. But his NHL penalty minutes were nothing compared to what he "accomplished" in the CHL. In the 1994-1995 season with the San Antonio Iguanas, he earned 156 penalty minutes in just 13 games, averaging well over 10 penalty minutes a game (keep in mind the typical game is only 60 minutes!). And in an obscure Canadian league, he earned 68 penalty minutes in one shift!!!

Link may also have been the only hockey player ever suspended for leaving the game during an intermission to get a vendor hamburger. But more seriously, he terrorized the teams he played for in various ways: apparently smashing cars, beating up his teammates, taking over the food preparation activities of local restaurants, etc. He even sucker punched one of his coaches after that coach had refused to bail him out of jail for an evening.

Eventually his major baggage (and injuries) led NHL teams to avoid Link and he spent his time playing in a variety of different leagues such as the CHL, AHL, IHL, etc. It seems the coach never needed to bench Link, he was quite efficient at doing it himself. If there ever was a "shameless goon" in hockey, it was Link. There are honorable hockey players, and it seems even some goons have had somewhat of a sense of honor, but unfortunately Link wasn't close to being one of them.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

The Gospel Is Not A Doctrine of the Tongue

The Swiss theologian John Calvin is much maligned by his critics. Though his name has become a reproachful byword in some circles, the simple fact is that very few of Calvin's most vocal critics have bothered to read his writings in any depth. As with any human interpreter, of course, he is a fallible interpreter and should be read with discernment and compared with the scriptures. Whatever you may think about his various ideas, one thing is clear: The eager student of the Bible can gain much by perusing his works. His insights are very often compact, piercing, thorough, and sometimes quite witty!

There's a short booklet called "Golden Booklet of the True Christian Life", which is an English translation of a portion of Calvin's Institutes. The excerpt I'm sharing has to do with the insufficiency of external Christianity.

"Let us ask those who possess nothing but church membership, and yet want to be called Christians, how they can glory in the sacred name of Christ? For no one has any communion with Christ but he who has received the true knowledge of him from the word of the gospel. The apostle denies that anyone actually knows Christ who has not learned to put off the old man, corrupt with deceitful lusts, and to put on Christ. External knowledge of Christ is found to be only a false and dangerous make-believe, however eloquently and freely lip servants may talk about the gospel. The gospel is not a doctrine of the tongue, but of life."

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