Tuesday, February 27, 2007

They're in for a surprise

The various terrorist movements around the world are remarkably media savvy. They know how to plant stories that the Western media will breathlessly report as true. Furthermore, they know how to manipulate opinion in the West, tying their actions to their political goals. The Spanish elections were a case in point. Set off one bomb and the whole country decides to leave Iraq in a panic.

And so it would come as no surprise to us if the Taliban were aware that Canadian involvement in Afghanistan is unpopular in the province of Quebec. And surely they know a Quebecois military unit is now replacing an English-speaking Canadian military unit in Afghanistan. So this is the perfect chance to step up attacks against the Canadians, right? But if that's what the Taliban are thinking, they're in for a surprise.

Quebec typically opposes any sort of military action. Remember, conscripting Quebecois to help put down Hitler's genocidal regime caused riots in Quebec in the 1940's. But none of this has any effect on the fighting qualities of the VanDoos (a.k.a. the Royal 22nd Regiment). The VanDoos are a really tough unit with a proud history and they are spoiling for a fight. Today I was reading that the soldiers have mounted iPods on their LAV 3 armoured cars, and are debating whether "Metallica" or "Rage Against the Machine" provides the best music for killing Taliban. They're looking for a fight, and if the Taliban decide they want to attack the VanDoos, the Taliban is likely to find they've bitten off more than they can chew.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

A Quiet Day

It's been a quiet day. Our church is having a retreat at Galilee Bible Camp. I took Joel up yesterday, but we couldn't make it today. So we had a family devotional time this morning, singing a few hymns with me reading and explaining a short passage. Hannah was great, and sat there with the other children on the couch.

Right now the glorious smells of roast chicken are filling the house. Karen spiced it with sage, and stuffed it with lemon and garlic. The smell is indescribably wonderful!

The Ultimate Driving Machine?

Yesterday I was on the 417 highway behind someone in a BMW driving at 80 km/h. BMW may market itself as "the ultimate driving machine", but that doesn't make BMW owners any better drivers than the average owner of a Lada.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Bland, predictable and explicit vs. interesting, creative and implicit

I'm not sure I'm going to express this properly (and I don't remember how much of this is my own thoughts and how much belongs to others), but somewhere along the line Christian art forms became blunt and explicitly Christian, rather than subtle and implicitly Christian. Today's Christian fiction novels need to be perfectly doctrinally correct, with a strong gospel presentation and a happy ending.

Contrast this with C.S. Lewis. Some of the things he says in his books just aren't doctrinally correct. How I'm definitely in favour of correct doctrine, but the purpose of a fiction novel is not to lay out doctrine like a textbook, but to entertain you while making you think. The final novel in the Chronicles of Narnia is enough to make you weep with joy.

Likewise Lewis's non-fiction. Maybe the doctrine wasn't perfect, but his books did make you think. Think about his statement, "there I sat, the most dejected convert in all England." Or how about "it matters more that Heaven exists than that we should ever get there." Or even such pithy observations as "We laugh at honour, and are shocked to find traitors in our midst."

So where is the implicit Christianity in the arts? Where are the talents like Lewis who could describe the basics of Christianity in a different sort of world? Where are the novelists who can write about characters who are obviously Christian in their beliefs without sticking them in church to make sure we all know there are saved?

Correct doctrine must be taught, from the pulpit and in the home. But today's Christian arts are bland, predictable and have a blunt explicit Christianity. And mores the pity.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

You know what they'll say

I don't claim to be a prophet, but sometimes you just know what is going to happen. So mark my words, and when it happens you'll know it was so predictable that even I could foresee it. Iran has been frantically working on nuclear weapons for a couple of years. As they've got closer and closer the Americans have tried to push the rest of the world into doing something to stop them. And what will Iran say when they finally reveal that their whole nuclear program has nothing to do with reactor fuel and everything to do with becoming a nuclear power? The Devil made me do it. Or more specifically, the Great Satan made me do it. They will say they needed nuclear weapons to protect themselves against American aggression, even though that aggression has been targeted on preventing them from getting nuclear weapons, and even though the Americans have been amazingly willing to turn a blind eye to the way Iran is funding loony tunes all over the world.

And one last point. What happens when you renounce terrorism, confess you were working on weapons of mass destruction, and destroy your WMD plants in a verifiable way? Do you need to fear the Americans? Just ask the Libyans. The only thing they need to fear from the Americans is that their business men will trip all over themselves trying to get to Libya and open some trade ties.

New Idea

OK, I've been trying to think of some way to make money off this whole natural/organic thing. I think I've come up with a sure fire hit. Organic embalming fluid. Think about it. Embalming fluid is a really harsh chemical. All I need to do is come up with some alternative. Maybe a saline solution with some borax in it. It doesn't really matter what it is; it only matters that I can market it as "all natural". I've even come up with a marketing slogan; "You shouldn't need to give up your convictions just because you're dead." This is my ticket out of the hi-tech rat race!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Goodbye Norton

I'm not opposed to paying for software. Really I'm not. I've paid for lots of software over the years, and there's no pirated software on any of my computers. But tonight I got rid of one piece of commercial software and replaced it with a free alternative.

I've used Norton Antivirus on this computer since I got it, and used it on my previous computer for about half a dozen years. Every year I go to renew my AV definitions, but this year I decided it was just too objectionable.

I went to renew my definitions, but wasn't sure how to do it. The software gave me a number to phone, but it wasn't connected anymore. On the web site I was able to see a renewal for my Norton Antivirus 2005, but I wasn't sure. I couldn't find a number to phone, so I sent a help request by email. They got back to me to tell me to go ahead and use the website. And that's when the objectionable stuff started.

The web site had removed the antivirus definition renewal, telling me that I now had to upgrade to Norton 2007. The shopping card still listed the definition renewal from the last time I logged in. In addition, they automatically added to my shopping card an option that would allow me to download my product again for a full year rather than just 60 days. As if it costs them anything to allow me to download my software again for a full year! Also, there was a little note saying they would automatically renew my antivirus definition subscription each year on my credit card. If I didn't like this, once I went through the whole ordering process, they would send me some instructions for opting out. And of course this means they would be storing my credit card number in their system. And by the way, they would be sharing my credit card number with their e-commerce partner.

And so I uninstalled Norton Antivirus, and installed the freeware version of AVG. I had a couple of minor configuration issues, which their free support forums on the Internet resolved within minutes. Sure, I understand businesses want to find ways of increasing their profit. But I didn't like Norton's approach and I voted with my feet.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Twenty-five stupid reasons for dissing dispensationalism

This article is great, although you need a PhD in Theology to really get the full value out of it!


Lame Arrogant Excuses

Here we see the lamest, most arrogant excuse possible for not implementing income splitting:


In other words, we must force women to remain in the workforce against their will. We must force them to pay lots of extra taxes. We must deny them the sorts of free choices adults are usually able to make. And why? Because we know what's best for them.


Saturday, February 10, 2007

Has the mania subsided?

Interesting Financial Post article.


Two weeks ago the author would have been burned as a heretic, derided as insane, mocked as a reality denying traditionalist, or been written off as being hopelessly under the spell of George Bush. But the Kyoto mania seems to be subsiding, and people are actually (1) talking about global warming in a rational manner, and (2) recognizing that the Liberals have been using this issue for crass political purposes.

More Conversation with K

I was talking to K at work today. We were talking about the incredible engineering behind today's jet engines. I asked, and so he told me the difference between axial flow and centrifugal flow turbofan engines. I had heard the terms before, but didn't really know what they meant.

Car Races

Today was the annual AWANA car race. AWANA is a children's club, and each year the children get wooden car kits. The parents help build the cars, and the kids decorate them. Then there is a race between all the kids. It's quite a big production, and our Sunday School Superintendent does a really good job organizing it each year.

Unfortunately I'm pretty hopeless at building cars. And every year my kids cars come in last. This year, for the first time, my children's cars placed well in a couple of the races. I made a good guess on how much weight to put on the cars, paid lots of attention to the alignment of the wheels, and applied a little graphite lubricant. Although they didn't make it to the finals, they did have fun.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Income Splitting

Looks like the concept of Income Splitting is not completely excluded from the upcoming Federal Budget. Apparently it is still under consideration. If you support Income Splitting, please feel free to contact Finance Minister Jim Flaherty at Flaherty.J@parl.gc.ca

"They're all about everything stupid."

Here is the article that caused my wife to exclaim, "What is it about the Liberals? They're all about everything stupid."


I particularly love the part about needing to protect the 101 incumbents from nomination challenges. Since there are only 21 female incumbents, 40% of the remaining ridings would need to run female candidates.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

David Long

David Long died last Sunday. To many of us, he was a hero. He spent 40 years in Angola as a missionary, and many additional years teaching the Bible in North America and finally returning to his native Ireland.

I feel no sadness for him, for his pain and struggle is over. He's receiving the "well done good and faithful servant", but we remain. And this is a reminder to me that my generation should be ready to take the spiritual reins. Unfortunately we're not really ready. David Long went out as a missionary when he was half my age, and yet I still don't have the grasp on the Bible I wish I had.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Garth Turner

Garth Turner has crossed the floor of Parliament to become a Liberal. But of course this is more than just a man voting his conscience with his feet. Turner has always picked the right moment to make the biggest impact, to gain the most publicity, when it has been most to his advantage. Sometimes when an MP crosses the floor you can respect their decision, even if you disagree with it. But while Turner will be welcomed with open arms by the Liberals, they will neither trust him or respect him. Turner will never again get a Cabinet position. His political career is at an end.