June 28, 2003

I just realized that I'm

I just realized that I'm not going to have internet access for a whole week, from Sunday to Friday. Noooo. I'll be so out of it. I'll stop at the Mickey D's in Evart on the way home Friday afternoon, they have the NYT there. Then I can get my food from the Subway across the street and catch up on the news. Then I'll come home and read the blogs all night. You guys are just going through Instapundit withdrawal, I'll be going through everything withdrawal. Sigh. Sob.

Posted by Tim at 09:18 PM | Comments (18)

How do I get stuff

How do I get stuff to indent? I'd like to set off my poems and writings I am commenting on, but I'd like to save italics and bold for emphasizing and clarifying my own words. Also, where exactly do I insert comments into the blogcode? Help help.

Note: eight months ago, the phrase "blogger-blegging" would have meant the same to me as "due process" appears to mean to Orrin Hatch, (R) Utah (or, in the interest of keeping everyone mad at me, the same as "four-thousand-year-old institution" means to Andrew Sullivan). Who'd've thought I would have stopped watching Fox and gotten all my news online?

By the way, the poem below ends with "Thank you." That's part of the poem, not the post, although I do thank you for reading it as well.

Posted by Tim at 09:02 PM | Comments (20)

Another facet of my character

Another facet of my character is that I'm a poet. I did my Senior Project on the characteristics of good poetry, and I enjoy reading and writing poetry. This poem was written sitting in front of my locker at the small Christian high school I attended. Actually, I'd already graduated when it was written, but I was early picking my little bro up from school. My graduating class had, I think, thirty students. Yeah, small.

I feel I should remove my shoes,
standing in this now-hallowed hallway
That I have walked these last
Four years: have laughed and cried, have
Learned and loved, and now am leaving.

So much has changed: the carpet's color,
Faces, friends: myself most of all.
I see myself, exuberant freshman,
Running to my locker (no. 57), mere
Feet from where I sit: but light-years ago.

I hear my classmates' conversations echoing:
I recognize each individual's laugh. I know
Their voices, and they know mine:
That�s community, like it or not.

Other voices I hear too: the teachers
Lecturing, praying, joking, listening.
(Make no mistake: you can hear it when
Someone's truly listening to you. I know,
as does every graduate of this school.)
And all of them dispensing wisdom
In a way beyond their years: for they
Are full of life, energetic, passionate.

I have done so much here, have learned
So much, have grown so much. Of all
the million graduates this year,
I feel I am most blessed.

Thank you.

Posted by Tim at 08:43 PM | Comments (18)

I just want to thank

I just want to thank Rory Lee for sending me some tips on blogging, and generally giving encouragement. It's nice to know someone's read what you've put out there. If anyone else wants to give me advice, I gladly solicit it; my email is timoteo57 at msn dot com.

Posted by Tim at 08:31 PM | Comments (58)

Really, there hasn't been much

Really, there hasn't been much going on, in my life or in the Blogosphere. And I have amazingly been able to keep my mouth shut, (fingers still?) in spite of the fact that I don't let not having anything to say stop me in real life. That previous sentence is akward... how do you spell it? I'm regressing, I tell you.

So, I'll summarize the Blogonews AND comment on it, all in one pocket-sized post.

1) Ann Coulter is the reincarnation of the Virgin Mary SLASH Ann Coulter is a rightwing version of She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, HRC. My reaction: Yawn. I've never read an Ann Coulter post, er column (forgot, when you're paid it's a column. . I could really care less, and if bloggers are complaining about other people ranting.... Pot, be a good pot and introduce yourself to Kettle while I play the Imperial Nanotech Violin (why yes, I have been reading the Emperor a lot lately, why do you ask?)

2) Affirmative action is racist. My two cents (3 cents canadian!): Definitely. Being a Non-approved Minority I certainly qualify to complain. But I really haven't got anything else to add. Besides, all ranting and no happy posting will make Tim an irritable person.

3) Go to Dean's World. I have actually been posting and stuff. Dean's so great, and so is his site. It's hard to find someone whose position on such a monumental issue as religion is diametrically opposed but whom you admire and respect deeply. I mean, I'm a die-hard Calvinist (we converts are always more passionate) and he's an agnostic. I love this country, where differences of opinion are not grounds for assault.

4) The Bright meme. Can't believe Dean Esmay and Glenn Reynolds, among others, have so dropped the ball on this one. I'm sorry, but it's derogatory, intellectually dishonest and an horrendous use of the English language.

See, nothing happened this week. And I won't be here next week because I'm a volunteer counselor at a camp Up North (that is, the Northern Lower Peninsula of Michigan) while they hold Special Week, which is basically camp for mentally disabled (is that the PC term still?) adults. It's so much fun, and there's so many great stories. I'll tell you them when I get back, I'm planning to keep a log (the pen-and-paper kind, so 1995, I know). That means I get to transcribe. Yippee. My typing abilities are so much worse when I'm not writing from my head.

Posted by Tim at 08:28 PM | Comments (20)

We interrupt this hiatus to

We interrupt this hiatus to give you, my reader(s?) the following announcement: I have been blogrolled. By Susie at Practical Penumbra. Woohoo! I'm so excited.

Posted by Tim at 08:07 PM | Comments (22)

June 21, 2003

I have to tell you,

I have to tell you, I'm usually an easygoing guy. Really. I am, for instance, pretty nice about letting people borrow my stuff, I'm generally willing to give people five bucks or so (remember, I'm an unemployed just-out-of-high-schooler so I'm really really poor). I'm not perfect by any means and I mess up all the time, but I'd like to think I'm a fairly good person in this regard.

But I was so incredibly ticked off today, I said something really stupid too, stupid as in I could have gotten myself really beat up bad.

OK, to set the scene... I was driving to King Park which is in inner-city Grand Rapids, a poor black neighborhood, to have a picnic with some friends from high school. A white friend of mine (I'm Asian Indian, remember) was following me in his car, and stopped at a light a few blocks from the car I saw two black guys, well-dressed and in their 20s or 30s waving newspapers. At first I wasn't really paying attention but then I noticed that the headline said "The Day Israel Attacked America". I had read that there was a strain of anti-semitism in the black community, but somehow it's different when it's real life, not the Internet. You figure there's lots of crazies in Montana or SF or somewhere, but when it's your hometown, and not just dumb stuff like "innuendo" or whatever, but actual racist, anti-semitic absolute shit-- arrgh. I shook my fist at them, I really couldn't think of anything intelligent to say to that absolute scum. Before I could do anything (probably Providentially), the light turned green. I did cuss up a blue storm as I drove the rest of the way to the park. Tore into the lot; as soon as my friend parked I stormed up to his car and screamed "Did you see what those fucking niggers were doing..." then I realized I was standing in a park filled with black people....
Thanks be to God, I wasn't, erm, noticed. My skin color saved the day - if my friend had said it, white as he is, half the park would've been on his back, quite literally. I'm sorry I used those words: I don't really have a problem with swear words as long as they're not just used as filler but I do think it's wrong to use colorful language against people (thus, saying "fuck" won't piss me off, how is it different from "darn"? but saying "fuck you, OK?" or "go to hell", or any profane use of the Lord's name, is definitely over the line-- I'm not even a huge fan of "gosh" or "jeez", kind of weird I suppose. Anyway, I crossed the line today and I do regret it, but all the same I think that my anger was completely righteous and I think those two men deserved to be called it. Just not by me: I should have left that to the Judge. The day of the wicked will come.

I don't happen to be of that strain of Christians who believe (to me, weird) things about the necessity of the salvation of the Jews and the establishment of Israel as I don't even know what, a precursor to the end I imagine. I really don't understand it all, although I'd like to sit down and talk with someone who did so I could get it straightened out. But I do think Israel's a pretty special place. The Jews were God's chosen people, and even though they rejected Christ, God promised to show his love to them for a thousand generations. And from a purely secular vantage, what other nation can trace its history not in decades or centuries, but three or four millenia? The Jews have survived two thousand years of persecution since the destruction of their homeland in seventy AD. A hundred years ago, they began coming home; sixty years ago 6 million of them were massacred; then they established their nation and defended it against incredible odds... and you know the rest of the story.

It angers me that we minorities, especially black minorities, can get away with absolutely racist, unfounded statements that the media would never let a white person say. We still have so far to go on the racism issue, complicated by the fact that we've got white-on-black and black-on-white and Jews and Hispanics (now officially the largest minority) and of course middle-class Asians like me. I agree with my fellow conservatives that anti-discrimination laws & affirmative action are counterproductive, but I don't think either side of the political aisle has really tried to get to the heart; nor can they, secular movements that they are. This is a spiritual issue, digging deep into the human psyche. To overcome the instinctual fear of the other, for all sides to give and receive forgiveness, the hand of God is needed. This looks like a job for the Church... and we've been procrastinating for thirty years.

Posted by Tim at 01:34 AM | Comments (26)

June 18, 2003

I'm tired of having the

I'm tired of having the group with which I most identify in this nation continually mocked, misunderstood and slandered. Almost every day I read a comment online or see on TV a derogatory, condescending remark toward evangelical Christians.

To help those who seem to be sensitive to every freakin' miniscule minority except Evangelicals, I offer this list.

Misconceptions About Evangelicals, In No Particular Order Of Importance

1. We are not all members of the "Religious Right". I know plenty of proud leftist who are, nonetheless, Evangelicals. Granted, they are a minority within our community. But, in a disturbing correlation to the larger American society, the leftist have managed to seize control, to a frightening extent, of the bureaucratic centers of power-- our denominational headquarters, our magazines and our publishing houses. I cringed to see that David Englehard, the general secretary of the Christian Reformed Church, my denomination, was a signatory on that stupid What Would Jesus Drive? campaign a while back. Actually, I don't have problems with cleaner cars or mass transit or whatever, I think it's a pretty good idea to conserve when you can, for financial and environmental reasons. But I don't think a church leader should be using his position to promulgate his own partisan views unless the church is very strongly to one side of the issue (like on abortion, to use the most obvious example). Wow, that was quite a meander. On to #2.

2. We are not all Fundamentalists. Fundamentalism relates to Evangelicalism something like Orthodox Jewry relates to Reform Judaism. It depends on the definition, however. If you call "Fundamentalism" the belief that the Bible is the literal Word of God, that God basically moved persons to write, in such a way that each writer retained his own perspective and style but that the original words were indeed infallible, well, that's closer to a definition of Evangelicalism: but I have a feeling most non-Evangelicals would indeed call this Fundamentalism. By this definition, I'm a Fundamentalist. However, my concept of Fundamentalism would be one that treats the Bible as literal to the extent that it refuses to acknowledge the difference between the symbolism of Revelation and the logical prose of Paul. Fundamentalism to me connotates a premillenial dispensationalist eschatology (meaning, end-times theology (eschatology) that believes Christ will come before he reigns on earth for a thousand years (premillenialism) and... well, I can't really describe dispensationalism without writing a lot more than I want to tonight, but this is the part that looks for a Rapture in which all Christians will be taken to heaven, leaving the unbelievers 7 years of tribulation before Christ returns. Suffice it to say, this point of view relies on an overly literal view of prophetic literature like Revelation that reads Western, rational ideas into figurative language that the original, first-century Jewish converts almost certainly read as symbolic. Not that I don't believe events in Revelation will not occur, but more on this later -- getting off-track again.

3. We are not all Baptist or Catholic. This may seem a strange comment, but in the few instances I've seen a church portrayed on TV, it was either Catholic or black Baptist. These are sort of extremes, and there's lots of in-between stuff. While I'm on the subject, it would be nice to see more religion in TV shows. I realize that producers are required to make only shows about twentysomething apartment dwellers in New York City, but it would be nice if they would talk about faith now and then or even pray, or go to church for something besides funerals or weddings. I thought Bruce Almighty was an excellent movie, by the way. I had some theological issues with it (I have theological issues with practically everything to the left of the esteemed French lawyer-turned-Swiss theologian John Calvin and the (infamous) Puritan Jonathan Edwards). Remind me sometime to blog about Puritans, and how they were not all that "puritanical". Oh wait, I don't have any readers. Never mind.

4. Don't assume I would like to take over the government, destroy the Constitution and establish a theocracy. Do you know how many Puritan Calvinists were among the Founding Fathers? Well, I'm not sure either, in that I don't have any exact numbers. But I'm reasonably certain it was at least a majority, if not an overwhelming one. I will try to find some actual statistics on that, but my point is that very few Christians are not overwhelmingly supportive of the First Amendment, even if we think that the ACLU takes separation of church and state quite a ways past the Founders' intent. I have never, ever met anyone who wanted a theocracy. At least, they didn't tell me so. Hmmm.

5. We are not all white. I myself am Asian Indian, although I admit I was adopted into a white family, and I've grown up in a middle-class, white community, and the vast majority of the people in my church are white (and Dutch, to boot, which is like, white beyond white. (The CRC (Christian Reformed Church) didn't even let people dance until recently, and it's easy to see why.) Well, if you're going to hold a stereotype, I suppose this would be the best one. Sigh.

6. Same goes for being middle-class. I live in a middle-class, mainly white neighborhood, but the Christian high school I attended was primarily lower-class Hispanic. I'd estimate 20% Dominican (from the Dominican Republic, not Catholic monks or whatever), 10% Mexican, 10% Some Other Hispanic, 20% black, 5% Asian (woohoo, that's my Ethnic Group!) and the rest (35%) white. A substantial portion of that white group, however, is missionary kids (MK's in evangelical, um, slang) -- they're poorer than any of us, believe me. By the way, you can tell Dominicans from Mexicans, and they get pissed if you confuse them. I assume other Hispanics are distinguishable, too, but I can't really do it. Oh, and I don't speak fluent Spanish, but I think I can tell the difference between Spanish Spanish and New World Spanish. Can you do that? Would a monolingual Hispanic be able to discriminate between an Englishman and an American? Email if you know (even if you don't) so I can be happy I have a reader. Or you could tell me how to get a web counter (I know squat about coding) so that I can obsessively check it every five minutes to see if anyone besides me has visited. Yes, I'm pathetic.

Posted by Tim at 03:30 AM | Comments (24)

June 17, 2003

How come as soon as

How come as soon as I start blogging, news stops. I've been in rant mode for the last five months and I've been intending to get a blog, but been too busy. Now school's out, I've got nothing to do, and there isn't anything to freakin' rant about. I'm ranting about the lack of Rantable Stuff. I need help, I'm reduced to making snarky comments about Ohioans at Bloviatin Ginanities (or is it Blovia Tinginan Ities?) Words should not be longer than three syllables, m'kay?

Update: Unless I'm using them, then it's hunky-dory.

Posted by Tim at 10:32 PM | Comments (23)

June 16, 2003

OK, here's a few stats:

OK, here's a few stats:

I'm 18 years old, male.
I live in West Michigan, which is the sensible side of the state. The Detroiters and Ann Arborites have been subverted by the eevil Canadians.
I'm an evangelical (!) Calvinist (!) neoconservative (!) But I'm not Jewish, so they wouldn't let me join any Top Sekrit Cabals. I would convert, but I don't think Jews believe in predestination.
I hope to blog about politics, faith and humor. I think this is a fairly unique niche so I should get lots of hits and linkage.
Note to the irony-impaired (and believe me, you don't know who you are): the above statement was ironic.

Posted by Tim at 05:33 PM | Comments (23)

I've gotten National Geographic for

I've gotten National Geographic for years, since I was in elementary school, I think (as a gift). I used to read about random tribes in Africa or whatever, and would finish the issue thinking I'd learned stuff. I knew the people who wrote it were probably leftist weirdos, but I assumed it was mostly accurate. In recent years I've been too busy with school and stuff to really sit down and read it - I have a map collection, and I found myself just shaking out the magazine to get the map. Eventually, I told the person who's been giving me the subscription all these years "thanks, but I'm not interested anymore."

Looking back, I'm glad I did. The article I'm going to be writing about / fisking is entitled "The Great Lakes: Are They Shrinking" and is found in the Sept. 2002 issue. An excerpt can be found here at the National Geographic website.

First off, there are plenty of statistics that don't prove the author's point. "Ontario's snowpack near Lake Superior has declined in depth and density, with snowmelt running below average in three of the past five years." Three out of five. And we can assume that the sixth year previous saw above-average snowmelt, since he would have included it in the statistic if it had been below. That gives us, hmm, 3/6. Uh-oh, half the winters in our sample are above the average.

The author also spends a page or so whining about ships that scrape bottom. First off, there's always going to be shallow water. There are always going to be stupid boaters. Secondly, he still hasn't proved that the low water isn't a cyclical thing, but is due to global warming.

There are a lot of just completely random facts in here, too. I don't know if the author had a word requirement he was trying to get to, or what. Here's one: "If only the Earth were flat and the lakes adaptable as buckets, there'd be enough H2O here to flood all the land of the Western Hemisphere under 2 feet of water." Um, OK. It seems that if the earth were flat, the frickin' OCEANS would cover the land. But whatever, keep your precious little factoid. It's all yours, dude.

He also describes the water cycle as a "complex hydrologic cycle". Yeah, that's why we learned about it in third grade. Evaporation -> Clouds -> Precipitation -> Runoff -> Lake -> Evaporation again. Real complex; why are you writing for National Geographic again?

The best (saddest?) parts, however, are the pathetic attempts to translate the locals' words into paranoid envirospeak. "'Oh, the lake will come up someday,' Cline said. A retired surgeon and Wolrd War II leatherneck dive-bomber pilot, he has seen much of the upper Great Lakes from the cockpit of his private plane... now, at the top of the steps above his dehydrated beach, I could only say to Cline, "I hope you're right."

The money quote? (emphasis mine): "Although there is still some uncertainty about the effects of global warming, current studies suggest that under some scenarios the water level of the Great Lakes could be further lowered by three feet or more by the middle of the 21st century." Oh boy.

If you can find the issue, read the article. It's great.

Posted by Tim at 04:48 PM | Comments (23)