Culture of Death
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One of my kids had borrowed a stack of CDs from a friend to listen to. I asked if I could have a look and see what the millennials were listening to these days. I was impressed by the musicianship—gosh, I wish I could play guitar like those guys. But I was saddened by the recurring theme of blood and death. There is a culture of death in today’s music, which means that there is a culture of death in... Read More
False Alarm
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The street in front of our house holds a lot of cars, and many of them have car alarms. It doesn’t take much to set them off—a truck backfiring, a clap of thunder, or just being touched by someone walking between cars to get to the sidewalk. But there they sit, safe and unmolested, braying and baying their irritating song, whooping and screeching that they are under attack from a car thief. To stay sane in the city you have... Read More
Tiger the Buddhist
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The Tiger Woods drama (soap opera?) continues. Last fall, as evidence of quite a few adulterous affairs became public, Tiger went into seclusion to work on his marriage and family relationships. He failed to show at his own tournament (the Chevron World Challenge). Quite a few of his major corporate sponsors dropped him. The 2010 PGA Tour began without him (with significantly lower TV audiences, of course). Two University of California-Davis professors calculated that “shareholder loss” caused by Woods’ actions... Read More
Radical Church Membership
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That’s what California megachurch pastor Rick Warren is calling it. He and plenty of other pastors in America have noticed the trend among young Christians to participate in worship and small group church life but not actually to join the congregation. There’s talk that some congregations have given up the struggle and don’t really have “members” any more. I suppose the pastor and family hold title to the property and take care of government obligations. Some congregations have given up... Read More
Kidnappers
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All this week the stories about rescue efforts in Haiti had to compete with the odd sideshow of the band of Baptist kidnappers from Idaho. On the surface, the story is simple enough. Ten “missionaries” from Central Valley Baptist Church in Meridian, Idaho, followed the vision of Laura Silsby to bring Haitian “orphans” to an “orphanage” in the Dominican Republic, which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti. They managed to get 33 Haitian children together, but were stopped at... Read More
Love Child
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“Love child, never meant to be, Love child, scorned by society, Love child, always second best, Love child, different from the rest.”   Love child. I’ve been thinking about Diana Ross’ 1968 Motown song all day. A “love child” is a euphemism for a child born out of wedlock. Surely the worst case is when the father denies the child. After years of strenuous denials, former North Carolina senator and presidential candidate John Edwards admitted not only an affair with campaign... Read More
Satanic Tectonics
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Pat Robertson has put his foot in it again. Last Wednesday he opined on his television show in a very casual way—as an aside, really—that the Haitians were only getting the devastation they deserved with the recent earthquake. In his opinion they were being punished by God for entering into a pact with the devil when the slave rebellion was beginning in 1791. Mr. Robertson has ventured other opinions in the past on what he is sure are divine retributions... Read More
Cardboard Crust
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Well, what do you think of the new Domino’s Pizza ads? Designed by their advertising firm Crispin Porter + Bogusky, the ads show Domino’s business leaders ruefully reading critical reviews of their pizza from disgruntled customers. “The crust tastes like cardboard,” they say. “The sauce is no better than ketchup.” The next scenes show kitchen bosses admonishing workers to ramp everything up, promising more spices in the sauce, real cheese this time, and garlic butter on the crust. Is this... Read More
Negroes
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Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D, Nev.) has had a miserable week. A new book just out quotes private remarks that he uttered in 2008 that Barack Obama was very electable because he was “light-skinned” and “didn’t speak with  a Negro dialect unless he wanted to.” Reid has groveled and apologized profusely and was officially pardoned by the president. At least he was spared the indignity of having to appear in public with Al Sharpton and beg. The timing couldn’t... Read More
Wish List for 2010
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Wanna join me and David Letterman in preparing a Top Ten list for New Year’s wishes? The rules are simple: it has to be something possible and achievable (finding a cure for cancer and a thousand other diseases are wonderful thoughts but will be disallowed in this list). Here are my top ten wishes:   1. Elections in Iraq will strengthen the legitimacy of the Iraqi government and so bring Sunnis and Shiites together that U.S. military forces can leave in... Read More