July 31, 2009

A Tenth of What You See


My wife and I are tithers. We give away 10% of our paychecks split between our local church and charities of our choosing.

However, my wife's paycheck comes to us after having taxes withheld from it, and mine (as a freelance writer) comes to us before we pay any taxes on it.

So, this new work situation for me has made us question if we're being slightly generous now, or if we've been big cheapskates in the past?

On a tithing side note, I recently read an interesting article from a Christian financial planner. He talked about how you see televangelists talk all the time about giving your money away so that God can give it back to you and then some.

He disagrees God makes that claim in scripture. But, he does recommend the practice of tithing to his non-believing clients, too, claiming that his clients who tithe run into financial problems less often. Except he attributes it to the fact that those who tithe are acutely aware of their budget, and therefore are more able to stay within it.

July 29, 2009

Obama Care


Ok, as a man of the people, I have decided to listen to the readership, and create a post on the universal health care debate going on right now. Mainly so those of you interested in voicing an opinion on the matter can converse in the comments section of this post.

My main goal, as I have mentioned in previous posts regarding universal health care, is to lower the actual costs of care by improving price transparency in order to increase competition between health care providers.

What I find fascinating about this whole current debate is that the election of Obama has strangely convinced me how relatively conservative the nation is. I honestly didn't expect there to be that much outcry about this issue. Especially from Democrats on his own side. I mean, this is the best opportunity (with a fillibuster-proof majority in the Senate and unemployment causing the visibility of so many people without coverage) to pass universal coverage in our nation's history. And yet, it's getting held up.

Ok, have at it.

July 28, 2009

The Whorette


The Bachelor/ette is the most unromantic show of all time. You can never watch the show back with your kids, or even the guy you picked!

"Wait, you were making out with these dozen other guys the whole time we were dating? Wait, you had sex with another guy the night before I proposed to you - even after you had your mind made up about me just because you couldn't give anything away on TV?"

Most unromantic show of all time.

July 27, 2009

Richie Rich Kids


What if rich kids don't test better because their schools have more tax dollars to work with, but because their parents are smarter than most? Ever consider that's why they're rich?

July 24, 2009

Don't Respect Your Elders


Respect Everyone.

I know the common maxim is based on the fact that elders are often not respected, especially by the young. Those who see them as merely passive members of the ex-world community.

But, the maxim implies that the elderly are somehow more deserving of respect simply because of their age. This is untrue.

They are worthy of our respect because they are humans. Start giving the two-year old next door the same respect you do the elderly lady down the street. It's hard. We have some relearning to do.

July 23, 2009

Exoneration Compensation


I don't usually want new laws. In fact, I want to revoke most that exist that sacrifice freedom for the sake of "intended" order or results-based initiatives. But, I have been riled up after watching the film "After Innocence" that depicts the exoneration and life after decades in prison of several innocent men.

Each of the men were wrongly tried, and imprisoned for 10-30 years. Then, with the evolution of technology and the laborious push for a retrial, DNA evidence proved them innocent. Often, mistaken eye-witness accounts and over-zealous prosecutors ignored the evidence in the hopes of seeking immediate justice. Decades later, these men are released, without apology, and without a dime to their name.

We are one of the only countries in the world without a loser-pay law system. If someone brings a frivolous lawsuit against you, and you go to court and win hands-down, you're still responsible for your entire court costs and legal fees. Similarly, we have in this country a loser-pay legal system. We take your life for 20 years, and we were wrong. We don't owe you a dime.

Think again.

July 22, 2009

Death of the Opera


I had a boss who used to rail against my generation for letting fine arts die. She used to try and pawn us off tickets for the local opera and ballet performances. I had less than no interest.

Today, I have become mesmorized by "So, You Think You Can Dance", the television show. Modern dance is amazing to me. And my generation will keep it around. We're simply going to let the un-fine arts die.

July 20, 2009

Bone Diggers


Recently, a graveyard was discovered to have been exhumed near Chicago, and the corpses discarded in order to sell more burial plots.

I didn't have a huge reaction to it when I heard the news. But, some people seemed traumatized by it. The thought of their relative's bodies being unearthed seemed to really shake them.

As a Christian, I believe in a future resurrection of the body. So, burial makes more sense than cremation, simply because of the belief that the body and the soul are connected, not because God could not resurrect a cremated person.

But, as far as visiting cemeteries and stuff...it's just a body. The spirit is temporarily gone. And this incident made me curious if more Christians or non-Christians visit dead relatives in cemeteries?

Poll time. Let's hear your results.

July 17, 2009

Two Trains Driving Toward Each Other


Last weekend my wife and I attended a wedding just south of Indianapolis. The ceremony began at 2:30 PM. Mapquest claimed a close to 4-hour drive, so we left a little before 10:30 AM. Check my math.

We arrived just before 2:30 PM.....central time.

Turns out some parts of Indiana are on Eastern Time. We missed the whole thing. My question is: would you have made the same mistake, and if you were in charge of the invites and you knew half the attendees were coming from Chicago, would you have included an EST notice on the invite?

Note: We were not the only couple to arrive an hour "late", and many people told us that they would have done the same thing, but they were warned by some other attendees.

July 16, 2009

Not a Techno-Rant


I learned of my friend's divorce on Facebook. I'm not sure what to make of that yet.

July 15, 2009

I Want a New Mind

Those books I shouldn't have read
get caught in my head
come out as truth
'cause i see it in black and white
conscious thought say goodnight
clean slate
mind blank

middle of tragedy
fingers go wildly
pointing at anyone other than me
while nothing gets done
that needs to get done
until the tv's had its say

if we had time
we'd still be in combat mode
using our quotes from
our favorite ex-voices
we would have been friends
but that all depends
on if we were exactly the same

i want a new mind
i want to be able
to tell truth apart
from a libelous fable
that's told to me
so delicately
to make me guilty
i believe.

July 13, 2009

They Can't Be Married


They're too happy.

My wife and I were playing tennis this weekend next to a couple of 35-year olds. They were adorable. Being so sweet to each other. Constantly giggling.

I went up to the net and asked my wife what she thought their relationship was. She instantly replied, "Oh, they're not married."

I had thought the same thing, and for a while I felt bad about that. But, then I realized that the only difference between them and us is that we're comfortable around each other. There's no awkward tension. We still go out and have fun. Love spending time with each other. Laugh.

There's just no pressure.

But, it did make sad that nearly all relationships start like those giggling 30-somethings, and that less than half stay laughing.

July 10, 2009

I Didn't Know The Punishment for the Crime


To me, this is a somewhat valid defense. Let's say you get caught speeding, and they see you're on your cell-phone while drinking a soda. This fictional state had recently passed a law that increased the serverity of the violation depending on how many simultaneous infractions they could cite you with. Since you had three, that puts you in jail overnight.

How are you supposed to know when new laws come out? Police officers don't even really understand the law that well. I feel like ignorance actually matters here.

July 09, 2009

Yea! A Recession!


I've become curious if there is a significant segment of the population that really enjoys a recession. And I'm not talking about how there's a silver lining on the cloud, but actually prefers the recession to a growing economy.

Food costs less. Gas costs less. Cars cost less. TVs costs less.

If you're in a relatively stable line of work (e.g. healthcare), I've got to think this is the best environment to be living in, all things selfishly considered.

July 08, 2009

Congratulations on the Accident


At what age do you start congratulating people on unexpected pregnancies?

We're so used to congratulating people when we hear the news that they're pregnant. But, more often that not, the person was married and trying to conceive.

If you're in high school and your best friend gets knocked up, you don't offer your congratulations do you? And yet, saying "sorry" sounds weird, too.

But, if an older friend is dating someone and gets pregnant, what should the response be?

July 07, 2009

Daniel Faraday and Young-Earth Creationism


You ever catch yourself wondering how seemingly intelligent people can believe the world is only 6,000 years old?

It's the same reason Daniel Faraday's explanations of time travel and spontaneous island movement on LOST kind of make sense when he tries to explain it.

He's always wearing a tie.

This postures him as an authority figure. And he's a scientist, which means he knows more than you do. That's all it takes. There are in fact "scientists" who believe in a young-earth, and that either our current dating systems are flawed or that the earth has "appeared" age.

If you hear one of them talk, and they're wearing a tie, you're going to believe them, as long as you've never been presented with a more compelling argument from another tie-wearing scientist. And for those who believe the Bible to be true and hold to an ultra-literal linguistic view of the Creation story in Genesis, it's easier to reconcile this belief with a 6,000 year old scientific earth. And so, they're ok with it. After all, a "scientist" believes it.

July 03, 2009

Walking the Plank


The historical tradition of walking the plank actually has a unique sense of morality doesn't it? It's not murder in a strict letter of the law sense. It's a self-inflicted punishment. You simply have no choice whether or not to enter into it.

Pirates traditionally believed their ships to be sovereign vessels under the rule of no country or man. But they willingly submitted themselves to their ship's captain and the code of the ship. They took it seriously. Stealing from others was ok. But, all stolen booty must be shared among your fellow shipmates at the penalty of death. There were "good" pirates. It's only if you believe in a different set of ethics that you view pirates in the barbarous sense that you do. In terms of avoiding hypocrisy, many pirates lead the way.

It's fascinating, and makes you wonder if in God's eyes, we're simply "good" pirates. Decent people only in comparison to the rest of the lot. It's worth noting that in those days, if a King ever caught a pirate ship, he had no respect for their claimed sovereignty and held them guilty according to his laws.

July 02, 2009

I Am Not a Hyundai Loyalist Campaign Idea


Testimonial TV Ad Copy: My first car was a 1990 Hyundai Excel passed down from my mother. I drove that car into the ground. In 2003, I test drove a bunch of different replacements from a bunch of different manufacturers and decided on a 2003 Hyundai Sonata. A year later, my wife bought a used 2000 Hyundai Elantra.

We're not Hyundai loyalists. We've just never found a better value for a car.

an anti-loyalty campaign. what do you think?

July 01, 2009

Future Careers


While golfing the other day, I met a college student who told me he recently decided to major in journalism. He had just finished a couple of years of general education classes at a local Junior College and was heading up to a major Illinois school to continue his studies.

I didn't know what to say.

If there were any major I would try to veer my children away from right now, it would be journalism, simply for marketability sake. I'm not exactly sure what the future holds for journalism, but I just don't think there's going to be much money in it.

I remember when I started college in 2000, my friends went into a wide field of studies, from psychology and medicine to business, communications and journalism. All of them seemed like decent decisions.

What fields today do you think would be smart for newly entered collegiates to enter? And which would you plead them to stay away from?

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