Thursday, July 19, 2007

Terrorism in history and Asymmetric Warfare...

A lot of news space is being delivered to the war on terror, the war in Iraq, etc.

I thought I would start by getting at the fundamental issue: what is warfare? Or, more accurately, how does warfare end?

The Merriam-Webster definition is: "an activity undertaken by a political unit (as a nation) to weaken or destroy another"

I think in today's warfare, we can safely remove the "as a nation" portion. Al Qaeda, Shining Path, et. al. are operating without country, mobile between countries as alliances come and go.

The fact that their training centers have been destroyed reduces the quality, if not the quantity, of the fighting forces that we deal with.

However, the question still remains: what is the endgame of any war? How do you end a conflict?

Past wars have ended at the armistice table or with the routing of an army. My friend, who has forgotten more about ancient warfare than you and I will ever know, could think of no time in ancient history when any army was ever destroyed to a man. (As a side note, sometime sit down with him and discuss ancient warfare. He brings it alive, and you will be astounded by the amount of info he can recall from the top of his head).

Most wars between nations have been conceded when only 10% or so of the fighting force has been destroyed.

The Japanese in World War II understood that, which is why they expected to fight to the last man, and we expected to take huge casualties (estimates were around 1 million US casualties for Japan alone). It was only through a massive technological leap were we able to bring them to the table.

In other words, an actual victory on the battlefield means nothing if the politicians are willing to concede defeat.

Which brings us to our present conflict. Using the venerable slogan, "If it bleeds, it leads", the media is finding all the worse spots it can to report from, ignoring the successes to sell advertising space. In fact, few of the good things going on are reported from Iraq.

I am trying to get into the Marine Reserve. The recruiters I have been talking to have been telling me that the people who are completing their tours are re-requesting Iraq. That's not something the media is eager to report on.

They want the one homesick midwestern clerical Sergeant with a new baby that will make us so upset that we feel like buying the Toyota from the commercial they show right afterwards.

Now why is that such an issue? Because, as I stated before, the problem is with how wars are won. When a side feels like it is losing, historically, they have lost. The perception, not the actual facts, direct the march of warfare.

So when media, in an attempt to sell advertising, restricts themselves to only the things that are going wrong, they are losing us the war.

In this manner, we are fighting what the military is calling "asymmetric warfare". We are fighting their military troops, but they are really fighting the PERCEPTION of the war back on us back in the homefront.

They want to force us to the armistice table by weakening our resolve.

And the media is helping them by showing as much footage as they can of insurgents killing our troops.

To help Old Spice sell deodorant.

Something to remember from our grandparent's generation: There were naysayers throughout the entire course of World War II. "We'll never recover from Pearl Harbor", "The allies should concede European waters. We'll never sink the Bismarck", "The Germans can't be overrun. We should just allow them to sign another armistice.", "The Japanese will never surrender.", etc.

World War II gave us around 4 years of warfare with 407,300 military casualties at 112 times the casualty rate of our present operation, and yet we are conceding defeat.

We have lost the heart to fight on, not because our armies are not capable, but because our people are willing to give up.

And I say "give up", not "peace". Peace is not the absence of war. Living under the threat of harm or death is not a peaceful existence, even if no actual fighting is breaking out. To quote Edmund Burk: "All that is necessary for evil to prosper is for good men to do nothing."

Something else that has gotten people's goat is the treatment of "un-uniformed combatants"

Allow me a detour:

I will admit I am late in starting on Tom Clancy's Ryanverse series (I laughed out loud when Jack Ryan brags about his 2 MB PDA), I thoroughly enjoyed reading "Patriot Games", which is actually the first chronologically in the Ryan series.

In it, he makes an eerily predictive point about the stickiness in dealing with non-country-based terrorists operating within a sovereign country. In the novel, it is the Provisional IRA/ULA, but the problems are very applicable today with our issues at Guantanamo Bay: How do you deal with people who are not citizens, yet operating militarily inside your borders?

Slumping them in with common criminals is treating them too lightly for what they have done, military tribunals aren't applicable, deporting them is not an option...

The book makes an excellent point: We deal with them as pirates. Not to say we make them wear peglegs and a patch (although....), but rather, once they are people sans country, they have no rights to any country's protection, and are dealt with as right-less.

Article 19 of the Geneva Convention deals with Piracy here:
On the high seas, or in any other place outside the jurisdiction of any State, every State may seize a pirate ship or aircraft, or a ship taken by piracy and under the control of pirates, and arrest the persons and seize the property on board. The courts of the State which carried out the seizure may decide upon the penalties to be imposed, and may also determine the action to be taken with regard to the ships, aircraft or property, subject to the rights of third parties acting in good faith.

In other words, we get to make it up as we go along!

With today's news that we bagged the #1 Al Qaeda man in Iraq, the troops AND THE MISSION need our support, now more than ever, to finish the job.

One of my friends suggested a bumper sticker campaign that might work: "Pull out of Iraq. Rape rooms aren't that bad."

Tuesday, May 22, 2007 doesn't hurt anyone...

Often, when faced with the facts as to how little humans truly affect climate change, they fall back to one of their old stand-bys: "it can't hurt to help!"

Yes, yes, it does.

In case you are lazy, the push for corn and soy-based ethanol is driving the prices up, keeping people in third world countries from one of their primary food sources.

What truly grinds my gears is the fact that this goes un-noticed. Even Christians are getting on the bandwagon by renaming it Creation Care.

Watch this BBC program. De-program yourself.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Why we should be intolerant....

Johann Hari has a brilliant column on the travesties being done in German courts in the name of "multi-culturalism".

The upshot is that Muslim immigrants who manage to screw up enough courage to approach German courts claiming "my husband is beating the tar out of me" are being told, "Hey, it's your culture. I would hate to enforce my cultural stereotypes of women's rights onto your glorious culture. That leads to Crusades and stuff. Besides, you knew this going into a muslim marriage. Don't forget to shield your face with your hands."

On the one hand, I feel very very sorry for these women. They are hoping for a better life, and are being sold upriver in the name of being politically correct.

On the other hand, this puts the oh-so-tolerant left in the rare position of having to piss off one or all of its constituent members: Either the very powerful women's movement is going to have to sit by and watch their foreign sisters get beat, or they will have to denounce a religious practice, making them seem intolerant.

Personally, I'm hoping for muslim women to rise up and institute a smackdown on these radical Imams. Wouldn't that be humiliating?

It'd be Mujaheddin brothers vs. the Menopause sisters. Sounds like pay-per-view.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Let's make fun of disturbed dead people!!

Well, everyone is now psycho-analyzing the ass-hat that shot up Virginia Tech.

However, what everybody might not know is that Mr. Cho was also a burgeoning playwright.

The fine folks at managed to get ahold of one of his manuscripts and have reviewed it for your pleasure.

What a whack-job.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Success Means You Aren't Doing Something Right...

Yup, Billy and I are disagreeing again.

This time, he's quoting This blog with the following statement:
The emerging church used to say mega-churches are going away. They’re not going away. They’re predicated on the metaphor of consumerism. And as long as consumerism is the dominant mode of our culture mega-churches will always thrive. Some are saying that this next generation hates that. They don’t. They love it.
-Shane Hipps

To be fair, the rest of the blog that Billy quotes goes on to excuse itself from its inflammatory stance, but as Billy has chosen to pull up and talk about that one quote, I will do likewise.

Reading and re-reading this post, I am reminded of something my Mom used to tell me:

"Don't over-spiritualize being poor"

And she didn't mean "broke", "On a down-cycle", "experiencing a negative cash flow situation". She means f---ing poor. We're talking about a woman who at one point had to decide if buying a 10 cent pen would break her budget.

Allow me to give a little history lesson about our denomination (Foursquare).

WAAAY back in the day, Aimee Semple McPherson started a radical movement of faith called Foursquare.

It bloomed.

Like, a lot.

At one point, her soup kitchens were feeding more than the government's.

After some controversies inside the church, and after Aimee's death, things kind of waned.

In that period, the Foursquare movement died down. The huddled Foursquare masses hunkered down.

Enter Pastor Jack Hayford. Jack's gift was to bring Foursquare out of its exclusivity and make it accessible for all.

Some people did NOT like him for that. He had shifted the status of Foursquare for a small people who fancied themselves as the few, committed, misunderstood devotees, who know the whole truth. Suddenly everyone is at the party.

Success and having everyone in on a movement of God does not make it "consumerism". It means you have made something that people can identify with.

Wherein lies the problem with Mega-Churches?

Is it the fact that a lot of people come together in the name of Christ?

Is it the fact that the pooled resources of many can make for powerful contributions and provision?

Here, let me learn you some edumikation: It's a cultural instinct of us as U.S. citizens to always root for the underdog.

However, sometimes, the underdog isn't right.

So, with the new "emerging church" coming on the scene, they have a need to viciously rail against the "mega-churches". Otherwise, how can they, the small, few, misunderstood, be able to justify their continued course of action despite the lack of apparent interest?

Jesus was NOT the underdog. Yes, I said it. He was the epitome of someone who has everything under control, knows what is going to happen, and does what He needs to do.

Throughout the Bible, God consistently chooses the underdog. But they are humble underdogs. If Mr. Hipps' comment holds sway on the course of the emergent church, it will be destroyed from within by those who think any church that grows too big is "consumerism".

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

I'm famous! Sort of....

Ystrday (Tusday), I got into th Santa Barbara Nws Prss...thy did a fature on social danc in the ara, and I was fatured on the covr of the "Lif" sction.

Thy mis-splld my last nam. Can you guss which lttr was lft out?

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Western culture is perfectly fine...I'm not so sure about the Emergent Church though...

It's happened again...

God bless my Pastor, but he has a tendency to rail against people who are...well, like me.

This, I explained... was the best analogy I could come up with for why so many rich, comfortable, western, neo-conservative, first ammendment protected, christians could claim they are being persecuted in a society of freedom.

(Found here)

Now, I happen to agree with him that the church claims persecution too much, and what we see in America is more of a "it's not as popular as it used to be" mentality than true persecution.

I also agree that persecution forces people to take a stand.

What I am concerned about is the mentality in the emergent church to think that anything conservative, or western is automatically discounted.

Take Pastor Billy's infamous "...arrogant, overfed and unconcerned west." line. I use to beat him over the head anytime the US, England, or Australia does something magnanimous.

Having only been exposed to the emergent church from Pastor Billy's viewpoint, I sometimes wonder if there is a place for me there.

As shown in two different places, it seems to champion leftist causes, often accepting feel-goods over fact. The "we should be doing something to help people" often trumping more realistic solutions. After all, sometimes the best solution is killing the people doing the killing. Does anybody really think that Saddam and his sons would stop the rape rooms if we had asked them really really nicely?

The irony is that most people in the emergent church seem to idolize Diedrich Bonhoeffer for his radical views on how a church community should operate, and seem to conveniently forget that he helped foment an assassination attempt.

True, it was Hitler, but Saul was an evil leader, and David still slew the man who killed him. It should not be the place of any modern Religious icon to be involved with the active planning of military matters. That is called a Crusade, and you can see how well that turned out.

One other thing that seems to pervade the Emergent Church is the readiness and willingness to take swipes at the Conservative viewpoint.

To be fair, Billy did amend the headline to say that "Sutton says" to blame Aimee Semple McPherson for the religious right.

My question is why should we isolate the "Religious right" to begin with? It only serves to isolate and divide a church along political lines instead of denomination lines.

Pastor Billy and I have disagreed about the church's involvment in politics. I think that the politics should follow the church. Pastor Billy thinks that the church should get in on the political game.

Now, with that much venom between political sides lying just below the surface, why infect the Church with venom that had formerly been left at the door?

Yes, pastor was joking with me when he stated that he wished there was so little conflict in the world that my employer (a defense contractor) wouldn't have work.

However, would it have gone over so well if he told one of the more-hippy-ish people that he hoped that there would be enough environmental understanding so that his people could stop torching SUV dealerships and spiking trees? Somehow, I think not.

As one of my friends used to say, "Multi-culturalism/tolerance is only tolerant as long as you agree with their politics."

Tell someone with a left-leaning slant that you think global warming is linked to sunspots, and not man-made CO2, and see how tolerant they are.

Tell someone with Birkenstocks that you think current firearms restrictions make no sense, and, more likely than not, you'll get a diatribe on how firearms in the hands of citizens are the worst thing we have ever thought up. Never mind that it prevented Japan from invading during WWII after they had smashed Pearl Harbor.

The emergent church, with its exploration of viewing things from other points of view, seems to reject mine.

How am I expected to get behind a supposedly tolerant movement that feels free to rail against my viewpoint almost exclusively?

Please don't take this as me leaving my church. When I don't feel my viewpoint assaulted, I value the different take on the Bible that Pastor Billy provides.

As should be the case with any blog, this is me simply expressing my viewpoint for all you sicko voyeurs to read. For those who agree 100% with Pastor Billy, good on you. I am simply voicing a concern regarding my exposure to the Emergent Church.

P.S. H1alphas were the only true Hummers. That makes this a thing of wonder and beauty

Monday, April 09, 2007

Pastor Billy is gonna hate me...

My pastor has a problem with the new owner of the Santa Barbara News-Press, as you can see here and here.

Sooo, I was swing dancing on Friday night. It was a pretty good night. Awesome band, good dancers, my co-worker was there, I ran into an old friend, Jofflyn from my swing dancing days back in LA. A good night!

I was tearing it up with a girl named Tasha, when we get flagged off the dance floor by someone I've never seen before and a guy holding a fairly large case.

Thinking I had done something wrong again, I was relieved when she told me that she is a reporter doing a news story on Social Dance in Santa Barbara.

She asked me if she could interview us, and take pictures.

Tasha and I agreed fairly quickly, and we proceeded to swing dance while the cameraman took pictures of us. (It's HARD to do that, btw. I'd set him up for a good shot, then have to do a turn-out to get out of it, resulting in a very unflattering shot of my back and ass, and you couldn't see Tasha at all!)

So, the reporter then asked us a few questions. Afterwards, I asked what paper she was from, and she said, "Santa Barbara News-Press".

Sooooo, Seeing as I know that Pastor Billy isn't too fond of them, AND that he reads my blog, here you go! I am contributing to the downfall of journalistic respect in your eyes by giving the News-Press useful content to help further their circulation. Now the Daily Sound will have to struggle to catch up!

I'm off to spread more hate and discontent...

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Ok, What in the hell... joined the Marines. We won't question why for a second, but we'll be back.

They train you to kill people. You are told multiple times that you will be sent out to kill people. You stay through boot camp.

Suddenly, you are called to war and told that you need to kill people like you have been trained.

Oops, suddenly, I'm a "conscientious-objector".

If you are anti-war, at least you are being honest. Misguided, perhaps, but honest.

But for the love of mud, if you are going to join the military, have the intellect to figure out that sometimes, the military will ask you to over-run/neutralize/kill/destroy/secure opposing forces with extreme prejudice.

Our military isn't made for tea-parties. K-bars make horrible stirring sticks. (Don't ask me how I know).

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Global Warming is bunk. Here is proof...

Here's an article explaining the unscientific way that scientists are being bullied if they don't express faith in mankind-caused global warming.

Let's break this down: Carbon Dioxide is a minor gas, and not the main greenhouse gas. Water Vapor is.

Al Gore got it wrong in "Truth". While there IS a correlation between CO2 and temperature, if you look at the data closely, Carbon Dioxide levels are a RESULT of changing temperatures. They do not lead the changes in temperatures.

96% of all Carbon Dioxide is natural. Man has nothing to do with it. Unless we are going to eliminate all leaves, termites, and cows.

Also, from 1940 to 1970, when the post-war boom was happening, and man-made carbon dioxide rates climbed exponentially, the earth was cooling.

So what is changing the temperatures?


The Sun.

If you watch the above video, it will tell you that the rates of sunspots dictates the temperature here on earth. And we are coming into a record number.

The Earth has been a lot hotter than now, and humans have survived.

Some say, "Hey, let's just eliminate it anyway. What's the worst that could happen?"

Here is an article explaining how our environmental craze here in the west is starting to set things up to cripple Africa economically.

Global Warming will not "drown your neighbor".

Attempting to control something that will not make any difference in global warming by preventing developing nations to provide for themselves.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Now I want demographics...

Well, I finally read an article that describes how I feel towards people in Santa Barbara.

Just to set the scene, when it comes to housing, EVERYONE here rents. Engineers for 25 years rent. Pastors rent. Newlyweds rent. Homeless people, had they the money to set aside for non-homelessness, would be renting.

And yet, the vanity that permeates this place dictates that they should not be left without fashionable wheels.

Enter this article. Basically, people are overspending for their rides. They are getting too much car.

This quote REALLY applies to Santa Barbara:
Treating cars as a status symbol. You can't watch television for long without being bombarded by car commercials, and many of us have absorbed the idea that we are what we drive. It's complete BS, of course, but some people have been so brainwashed that they literally drive themselves into bankruptcy.

And yet, they rent.

The real reason, I think, is that people fail to see the big picture. A car drops by a quarter of its value the instant you turn it over for the first time.

Historically, over a 10 year span, houses have always gone up in value.

So why?

Three reasons:

1. You are seen out and about in your car. Being the vain place it is, Santa Barbarians must be seen in the latest/greatest/coolest. Anything less would lessen their social status.

2. People don't visit much here. I thought LA was flaky until I moved up here. People here in SB will say "oh, sure! We'll be down!" All the time. It rarely happens.

3. A house anchors you. People here take pride in their ability to pick up at a moment's notice. Making deep roots means that you have to invest in your community. People here are wary to make any kind of social commitment to one another. It interferes with their free spirit-ed-ness. In my opinion, it also detracts from building a sense of community.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Amazing Grace...

So I went to the Scottish Festival down in Long Beach this past weekend.

On Saturday, I hung out at the Clan Inebriated booth, and helped out as I could (got a free t-shirt out of it too!)

Turns out that a certain leader from Clan Stewart is trying to get Clan Strachan un-invited to the Pomona Scottish Games.

drama drama drama.

Oh, on Sunday morning, I went to a church service that they put on. Included was a "Kirkin' o' the Tartans". Its actual history is in dispute, but the story goes that after Bonnie Prince Charles defeated the Scots, he banned the tartans in the hopes of killing any Scottish pride.

However, the canny Scottish would, being devout Christians at this point, would conceal a piece of the tartan, and show it at a certain part in the service, where they would re-avow their faith.

Now days, it's a yearly event, where those in Tartans (which, I hope, will be me next year) come up and declare their fealty to God.

However, later, we sang "Amazing Grace" to a bagpipe. I had arrived late, so I took a seat in the back. Which isn't a bad thing.

However, nobody notified me, and the bagpiper walked up the center aisle. From the back. Scared the snot out of me.

Those things are LOUD!

The service was good. It was about the tribe of Israel failing to learn from the lessons of the past, and repeating their mistakes. He equated it to the US failing to learn from its mistakes, neglecting to keep a careful watch on things, and/or taking the steps necessary to defend ourselves.

Yes, the pastor was an ex-marine.

This was the first time I ever thought the pastor would end a service not with "amen", but "ooo-rah!"

Friday, February 16, 2007

A new analogy...

There is a lot of talk of how God "grafted" us into the promise of the Jewish faith, most often using the whole olive tree/fig tree analogy...

Well, I was in my shower the other day, when I came across a new know how when you get to the end of a bar of soap, you use it until it goes down to a tiny nub, then you get a new, fresh bar, and sort of merge the two?

At first, it looks kind of silly, but as you use the bars together more and more, they become one bar.

I think that you as Gentiles (I'm Jewish by blood...neener neener!) have been grafted into the promise in a similar fashion.

Of course, the fact that I claim Jesus Christ means that I have completed my Jewishness, and now need His promise just as much as any gentile. Plus, I love bacon, have worked on the sabbath, and have never been inside a synagogue.

So, we are all the remnant of a Suave soap bar grafted onto a Dove Ivory body bar.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Conviction vs. Guilt...

So, there was a mix-up on one of my previous posts about guilt from a pastoral point of view (it has since been resolved...just a case of misunderstanding), and it got my wheels turning.

Where is the line drawn?

At what point has a pastor crossed the line from exhorting his congregation, and placed them in a spirit of bondage over guilt?

One of the earliest memories I have on the subject was during Summit '94, when Tony Campolo was speaking. He related the story of a (in his mind), promising intern of his.

As I remember the story, he lost track of the intern, and discovered that he had become a plastic surgeon. The venomous diatribe that Mr. Campolo spewed made it seem as if Lucifer himself had turned this kid.

His tone of voice spoke as if being a plastic surgeon was the worst vocation a man could choose, if he neglected ambulance chasing. (I believe his exact words were "He could have been mighty for the Kingdom of God, but instead, he's a PLASTIC SURGEON")

Two weeks later, my dad went in for a surgery.

He had smashed his nose during a bicycle wreck when he and my mom were first dating. For at least 17 years, he had lived with a deviated septum, which affected his breathing, caused him to snore, etc.

Guess what kind of surgeon he had to see?

Yup, you guessed it, a plastic surgeon.

It was at that moment that I realized that from the stage at Long Beach Arena in the Summer of '94, Mr. Campolo had placed thousands of kids in spiritual bondage over his inability to see past his own point of view.

When someone goes to see a Plastic Surgeon, many times they are in a state of low self-esteem, depression, etc. Thanks to Mr. Campolo, those Christians who would heed the word of clergy have quite likely removed themselves that vocation, thus cutting themselves off from people who are in desperate need to experience the Love of God.

Church On The Way had a nasty reputation for getting people to come to its meetings. They would start with "If you consider yourself an ongoing part of this congregation, then you should come to [insert meeting here]". People would come, but they would come out of a sense of obligation than real joy. It should be noted that they have drastically scaled back the usage of that language in exhorting people to attend.

So where is conviction? What does it look like?

The image that comes to my mind is a thousand hamsters in a huge version of those plastic roller-balls you see.

Ignoring food/water/air considerations, let's look at this: a thousand hamsters, thrown in together. How do you get them all to move in the same direction?

Well, there are two ways to do it. The first is for an outside force to push the ball, forcing the hamsters to collectively move. However, they will tumble inside this ball, and not really enjoy the trip. Most people put pastors in this position: on the outside, moving the church as he/she sees fit.

the other way is for the hamsters to all run in the same direction. In this scenario, the pastor is another hamster in the ball. Seeing the hamsters all running, he gets in front, and harnesses the momentum of the running hamsters, guiding them around possible obstacles.

Pulling ourselves out of the analogy, what does this look like?

A pastor's job is to make a congregation spiritually mature. From there, the pastor has to be able to recognize where the church wants to be led to. Right now, a hot point of care is AIDS in Africa. A lot of churches are making big news getting involved with that point of care.

If, however, a church matures, and the point that really strikes home is about Civil rights abuses in Chinese orphanages, the pastor has to recognize that as the conviction of the church, and lead them there. That is where they are most effective, and that is where their passions lay.

If the pastor should show them the latest video of emaciated Africans and tell them that they aren't doing enough to help ease the suffering there, he has just guilted the church.

In our example, the church is/was motivated to help in a way they felt called to. The momentum was moving to assist as they could for Chinese Orphanages, but the pastor used spiritual contexts to make the church feel culpable for not doing enough for the AIDS in Africa crisis.

But at what point does it stop? At what point do you feel called to say, "Yes, that is a tragedy, but the attention/time I can devote to this is minimal".

You can find hundreds of causes to champion. Because you feel drawn to one does not mean that you are ignoring the others, or are somehow less caring.

And yet, it seems perfectly acceptable to throw up a heartbreaking picture, put up a Bible verse that has something to do with it (and very often, is taken out of context), and end with a phrase like, "What are YOU going to do about it?" ("Nothing. I'm busy trying to feed the homeless here in America.")

People should feel the freedom to mature spiritually, then decide how they want to help out. When all the hamsters start running in one direction to solve a problem, and the church learns how to capitalize on that momentum, we'll see true ministry out of a conviction through the Love of God, rather than out of a spirit of bondage over Guilt.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Ezra's spiritual way made ready by Nehemiah...

The US is coming into a new period of Nehemiah, after much of the Ezra-like spiritual groundwork has been established.

Let's set a bit of a background, as I understand it.

God's people, in captivity, have been told for 70 years to get ready. Priests have prayed, they have been told to expect it, and, true to His word, the people are released to go back to their land.

However, once there, they find the walls in ruins, and Jerusalem in no way to be called a homeland.

Enter Nehemiah. Having been granted favor with the king as his cupbearer, he requested the clearance and materials necessary to go back to Jerusalem and rebuild the walls.

One might say that he was the first example of an engineer in the bible, save Noah.

In my walk, he was instrumental in showing me that it is necessary to be practical, even when you are dealing with the spiritual.

Nehemiah was the fulfillment of what Ezra was praying for.

What correlation does this have with the US?

After much worrying/fretting/praying over many of the major social issues there, the US is about to step in in a major way.

A few days ago, the President ordered the creation of AFRICOM. Its goal is to set up stability in the region..

Now, more than ever, we need to be praying for wisdom, guidance, and protection of our troops, as they are being committed long-term to a very just cause: making things hospitable in a very turbulent region.

The Nehemiah has come for the Church's Ezra-like preparation of Africa.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

People...some common sense please...

For those of you out there who have no idea what is going on, A local newspaper, the Santa Barbara News-Press has been taken over by a woman by the name of Wendy McCaw.

Evidently, she took it over, is not playing nice with the unions, has some sort of personal vendetta against Rob Lowe, has reduced the journalistic quality of the paper, and is fighting to make the beach in front of her house private property.

Ladies and gentleman, we have the anti-Christ.

At least, according to Santa Barbara standards.

Everyone loved their little paper, and now it is no more.

So what is everyone doing? Trying to fight to make it back the way it was by writing nasty things about her, organizing protests, etc.

In other words, acting like they are still in University.

People: welcome to the professional world. "Freedom of the Press" means that the government can't censor the paper. It does NOT mean that you can impose your ideas of "journalistic integrity" on the paper.

However, in the quasi-socialistic setting that the people around here seem to prefer, they would rather curse the darkness than light a candle.

In the spirit of capitalism, and taking positive steps, I present you with the only other option: stop buying their paper. Lack of money has been known to make a newspaper change. Also, if nobody is buying it, what they say won't make a difference.

Do you know why the "Enquirer" has been around for so long? People buy it.

If you are afraid that The Santa Barbara Free-Press will stay in business because people who are not up to your level of sophistication might keep them in business, you are being elitist, and need to take a look at yourself and your attitude towards your fellow man.

This is a clear-cut case of the free market deciding. Quit the 60's dream of a protest changing everything. Bumper Stickers espousing the decline of Ms. McCaw only serve to make you look foolish and hopelessly out of touch with economics. Vote with your dollars.

Start here. If Ms. McCaw buys that too, if you REALLY believe that EVERYONE is on your side, form your own newspaper, don't make it a publicly traded company, and put out the news that you think EVERYONE will want to see in a local paper.

If not, I suggest you discover something else to be worried about. It's a big world, I'm sure you'll find something.

So....what are you saying?

UPDATE: Please note that Pastor Billy didn't advocate commune living. This was something I was wondering about when the verse went up. It seemed like something worth investigating on my own. Pastor Billy was simply making a point about living in community in general.

So our Pastor had an interesting message the other night...he was talking on the subject of community.

He referenced Acts 2:42-47:
They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

For a second, I almost thought that they were announcing "The Aqueous Commune".

But then it came to me: what does that mean for me? What is the application in my life. A couple of things stand out:

They did not quit their jobs. It does not say that they "quit their jobs, pooled their money, and cut themselves off from the responsible world".

So, the hippies got it wrong.

Which is good...I suck at the Tambourine.

So what is to be said here?

I know of no communes that have lasted with any success, save the Amish and maybe some Mormons.

But, I think regressing is not the way for the church to head, and, frankly, from what I've heard, trying to connect with one wife is hard enough, let alone many.

The ATF proved a deep theological point, namely that Sun Tzu's thoughts on fire trumps nutbag every time.

And who can forget that one compound that proved conclusively that cherry beats apple flavor, hands down.

So, commune living is out.

So how do re reconcile Acts 2 to our present method of living?

I notice that Acts 2 does not say anything along the lines of, "as it should be". It simply gives an example.

Pastor Jack Hayford blew my mind when he casually dropped in the middle of a service that: "God is not limited to his actions in the past". In other words, repeating what happened in the Bible in terms of configuration of people, resources, and specific prayers are no guarantee of God's will, unless it says so.

For example, The Lord's Prayer, starts with "This then, is how you should pray."

It is an explicit instruction.

The verses in Acts 2 offer no such wording.

It was how they acted in that time.

Furthermore, the footnotes in my bible point out that this was done so that they could pool their resources and provide for those that did not have enough for the essentials of living.

In current time, we live in a country where the poorest amongst us are still overweight. Our churches and church-affiliated non-profit organizations provide the most aid to foreign countries than the second and third placed countries combined.

So the reasons for a "sell everything and move in together" model of community are no longer strictly necessary.

Which is nice.

No offense to those who are/were hippies, but I really like to bath.

Interesting side note: reading through the Bible, I came across Exodus 36:3:
They received from Moses all the offerings the Israelites had brought to carry out the work of constructing the sanctuary. And the people continued to bring freewill offerings morning after morning.

The "Freewill offerings" was the construction of the tabernacle and all its components. So, by definition, giving of your time is an offering to God. So the next time some church attempts to guilt you into volunteering, you can gently remind them that it is an offering, not a requirement.
UPDATE: Please note that Pastor Billy doesn't do this. I meant this for the church in general, which does have a bit of a reputation for guilting people into service.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

When having faith is a bad thing...

While haunting Wikipedia, I stumbled upon this essay by Dr. Michael Crichton.

In it, he argues that environmentalism is a substitute for Judeo-Christian thinking wrapped in a tortilla of socially acceptable feel-goods.
"There's an initial Eden, a paradise, a state of grace and unity with nature, there's a fall from grace into a state of pollution as a result of eating from the tree of knowledge, and as a result of our actions there is a judgment day coming for us all. We are all energy sinners, doomed to die, unless we seek salvation, which is now called sustainability. Sustainability is salvation in the church of the environment. Just as organic food is its communion, that pesticide-free wafer that the right people with the right beliefs, imbibe."


He then proceeds to once again knock down all the precepts we've been spoon fed as "truth".

An interesting point he raised is about how ridiculous it is for us in the Western world to have glorified "nature", never having seen it's viciousness or callous disregard for all forms of life.

"Nature" has never been anything but an ugly, murderous mix of the stronger preying on the weaker until the weaker has been dominated or the stronger is temporarily placated (I.E. "I'm full").
" And so it is, sadly, with environmentalism. Increasingly it seems facts aren't necessary, because the tenets of environmentalism are all about belief. It's about whether you are going to be a sinner, or saved. Whether you are going to be one of the people on the side of salvation, or on the side of doom. Whether you are going to be one of us, or one of them."

At what point does a commonly held idea become religion? When it takes faith to believe in it? Ironically, that would make Atheism and Agnosticism religions as well.

Is it simply a set of instruction? I tend to think that when it crosses the line to guiding and dictating your actions and how you live your life, you have made that idea into your religion.

By putting the environment as the forefront of all things, we have made it a god, and worship daily. We accept social change blindly in the name of "the environment".
We ban chemicals that can help our fellow man in third world countries because the royal priests of environmentalism have decried them as bad, and a book was made in the 1970s. Never mind that they never were a threat to either nature or man. The most despicable part is that those attempting to ban DDT knew it was not harmful when they attempted to outlaw it.

We turn the stewardship of forests over to those that in the name of conservation and fire prevention, set change into motion from which the forests will never recover in their current incarnation.

We attempt to change ourselves to create a fictional, static environment that we think we have lost, ignoring the fact that nature around us will change with or without our interaction. A magnetic reversal of the poles is already underway, the Sahara desert is shrinking, the Antarctic ice sheet is growing and getting thicker, the hole in the ozone is shrinking, etc. You'd think that scientists would be questioning this.
"...because the beliefs of a religion are not dependent on facts, but rather are matters of faith. Unshakable belief."

But shouldn't study of environment be based on science? You'd think environmentalism would be moved from a state of mind to a scientific study. But you'd be wrong.

From Forbes' article "Clean and Green":
"Global revenues from clean technology, broadly defined, nowsurpass $150 billion a year, according to the Cleantech Venture Network, a for-profit membership group that connects venture and institutional investors with entrepreneurs."

So it's a multi-billion dollar industry.

And it's not just industry. Universities have been corrupted with the infusions of cash. $20 billion as a conservative number.

Be sure to read the Crichton article. In it, he suggests a plan to eliminate the religious aspects of environmentalism and get it back to hard science.
In the interest of starting anew, I suggest a term for those who choose to ignore the emotions, politics, and religious overtones of the study of the environment:
Terralogy. The scientific study of Earth.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Why I think Church On The Way will be around for 100 more years...

For those of you who have been following along with Pastor Billy's blog, I've had an ongoing debate with him regarding how appropriate it was of Rick Warren to have Sen. Obama on the pulpit to "raise awareness" for the AIDS crisis.

Pastor Billy claims that it was simply a senator who cares raising awareness.

I make the claim that it was Mr. Obama's way of stumping for his presidential run. Especially considering that he hasn't been overly vocal about the fact that the new Congress is not funding what they promised for AIDS research. I further make the claim that the real way to get the AIDS crisis dealt with is for the church to quietly go about doing it without needing the fanfare and hoopla with politics.

I've always been told to judge any action by the fruit it produces. As a result of Mr. Obama's appearance on the pulpit, people who would have helped to fund the AIDS crisis are now bound up in political debates regarding the church. The focus has been removed from the potential to help people. If Mr. Obama was really concerned, I would suggest he partner with Rick Warren in a non photo-op moment.

Another on-going debate with Pastor has been the discussion about Sudan/Darfur.

He makes the claim that because it isn't in the media daily, we are the "arrogant, overfed, and unconcerned west".

I pointed out that back in 2004, Blair pushed for 150 million in aid for the region. Congress approved $850 million for all of 2005 and 2006, and the white house requested an additional $880 million (at the bottom).

Both the problem, and the solution are being dealt with quietly. Personally, my solution would involve the use of massive amounts of ordnance, but that's not the "Christian" way to do things, I guess...

So you may be wondering where/why the title comes into play:

I visited my old home Church, "Church On The Way", and what do I find out on the tithe envelope?

No fanfare, no politician "raising awareness", just quietly doing what needed to be done. I wholeheartedly believe that God will reward their giving quietly, with the left not knowing what the right is doing.

With ethics like these, I believe God will continue to bless the little Church that could, now can, and does.

Places like COTW are examples of what make me proud to be from the west. We are doing things that no other country in the world can do, and are blessing people as we are able. May people like Pastors Tolle and Hayford continue to define the heart and generosity of the western church.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Fake blogs (the heck you say!)

Soooo, the "fake blogs" award came out. "Flogs", as they are called. I won't give it away, but someone very deserving got the award.

Speaking of the award, it's worth the price of admission alone to see the actual award they hand out. Priceless.

I would like to volunteer to be a "Shlog". A shill blog. I will endorse almost anything in exchange for money. I can make a convincing "swoosh" noise with my mouth, and I can claim that McDonalds helped me to lose 5 pounds.

Heck, if Dow Corning paid enough, I'd make the claim that asbestos tastes like chicken.

So c'mon, hit me up. I want a Wii. :)

Ok, going to go live my life now.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Socialized medicine works!!

No, really, it does. Because, when you combine politicians with vasts amounts of money, then ask them to remember that it's for health care, they respectfully keep themselves in check...

No, just kidding, they ask nurses to work for free to fund new buildings..

Monday, January 22, 2007

Environmentalism Racist?

Here is another interesting fact put forward by Michael Crichton:

"I conclude that most environmental 'principles' (such as sustainable development or the precautionary principle) have the effect of preserving the economic advantages of the West and thus constitute modern imperialism toward the developing world. It is a nice way of saying, 'We got ours and we don't want you to get yours, because you'll cause too much pollution.'"

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Another viewpoint on Environmentalism...

The scientific political heir to Richard P. Feynman's views on science, and its need to remain pure in terms of being "science-only", I.E. not tainted by business or governmental politics, is Michael Crichton.

If 'ole Dick Feynman were here, he would agree. Read "Genius: Life and Times of a Curious Character" to see his viewpoint. One of my few regrets in this life will be to never have met the man. (and yes, I can call him Dick. He macked on my Grandma back in the day.)

Why Politicized Science is Dangerous

(Excerpted from State of Fear, as found at:

Imagine that there is a new scientific theory that warns of an impending crisis, and points to a way out.

This theory quickly draws support from leading scientists, politicians and celebrities around the world. Research is funded by distinguished philanthropies, and carried out at prestigious universities. The crisis is reported frequently in the media. The science is taught in college and high school classrooms.

I don't mean global warming. I'm talking about another theory, which rose to prominence a century ago.

Its supporters included Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and Winston Churchill. It was approved by Supreme Court justices Oliver Wendell Holmes and Louis Brandeis, who ruled in its favor. The famous names who supported it included Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone; activist Margaret Sanger; botanist Luther Burbank; Leland Stanford, founder of Stanford University; the novelist H. G. Wells; the playwright George Bernard Shaw; and hundreds of others. Nobel Prize winners gave support. Research was backed by the Carnegie and Rockefeller Foundations. The Cold Springs Harbor Institute was built to carry out this research, but important work was also done at Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford and Johns Hopkins. Legislation to address the crisis was passed in states from New York to California.

These efforts had the support of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Medical Association, and the National Research Council. It was said that if Jesus were alive, he would have supported this effort.

All in all, the research, legislation and molding of public opinion surrounding the theory went on for almost half a century. Those who opposed the theory were shouted down and called reactionary, blind to reality, or just plain ignorant. But in hindsight, what is surprising is that so few people objected.

Today, we know that this famous theory that gained so much support was actually pseudoscience. The crisis it claimed was nonexistent. And the actions taken in the name of theory were morally and criminally wrong. Ultimately, they led to the deaths of millions of people.

The theory was eugenics, and its history is so dreadful --- and, to those who were caught up in it, so embarrassing --- that it is now rarely discussed. But it is a story that should be well know to every citizen, so that its horrors are not repeated.

The theory of eugenics postulated a crisis of the gene pool leading to the deterioration of the human race. The best human beings were not breeding as rapidly as the inferior ones --- the foreigners, immigrants, Jews, degenerates, the unfit, and the "feeble minded." Francis Galton, a respected British scientist, first speculated about this area, but his ideas were taken far beyond anything he intended. They were adopted by science-minded Americans, as well as those who had no interest in science but who were worried about the immigration of inferior races early in the twentieth century --- "dangerous human pests" who represented "the rising tide of imbeciles" and who were polluting the best of the human race.

The eugenicists and the immigrationists joined forces to put a stop to this. The plan was to identify individuals who were feeble-minded --- Jews were agreed to be largely feeble-minded, but so were many foreigners, as well as blacks --- and stop them from breeding by isolation in institutions or by sterilization.

As Margaret Sanger said, "Fostering the good-for-nothing at the expense of the good is an extreme cruelty … there is not greater curse to posterity than that of bequeathing them an increasing population of imbeciles." She spoke of the burden of caring for "this dead weight of human waste."

Such views were widely shared. H.G. Wells spoke against "ill-trained swarms of inferior citizens." Theodore Roosevelt said that "Society has no business to permit degenerates to reproduce their kind." Luther Burbank" "Stop permitting criminals and weaklings to reproduce." George Bernard Shaw said that only eugenics could save mankind.

There was overt racism in this movement, exemplified by texts such as "The Rising Tide of Color Against White World Supremacy" by American author Lothrop Stoddard. But, at the time, racism was considered an unremarkable aspect of the effort to attain a marvelous goal --- the improvement of humankind in the future. It was this avant-garde notion that attracted the most liberal and progressive minds of a generation. California was one of twenty-nine American states to pass laws allowing sterilization, but it proved the most-forward-looking and enthusiastic --- more sterilizations were carried out in California than anywhere else in America.

Eugenics research was funded by the Carnegie Foundation, and later by the Rockefeller Foundation. The latter was so enthusiastic that even after the center of the eugenics effort moved to Germany, and involved the gassing of individuals from mental institutions, the Rockefeller Foundation continued to finance German researchers at a very high level. (The foundation was quiet about it, but they were still funding research in 1939, only months before the onset of World War II.)

Since the 1920s, American eugenicists had been jealous because the Germans had taken leadership of the movement away from them. The Germans were admirably progressive. They set up ordinary-looking houses where "mental defectives" were brought and interviewed one at a time, before being led into a back room, which was, in fact, a gas chamber. There, they were gassed with carbon monoxide, and their bodies disposed of in a crematorium located on the property.

Eventually, this program was expanded into a vast network of concentration camps located near railroad lines, enabling the efficient transport and of killing ten million undesirables.

After World War II, nobody was a eugenicist, and nobody had ever been a eugenicist. Biographers of the celebrated and the powerful did not dwell on the attractions of this philosophy to their subjects, and sometimes did not mention it at all. Eugenics ceased to be a subject for college classrooms, although some argue that its ideas continue to have currency in disguised form.

But in retrospect, three points stand out. First, despite the construction of Cold Springs Harbor Laboratory, despite the efforts of universities and the pleadings of lawyers, there was no scientific basis for eugenics. In fact, nobody at that time knew what a gene really was. The movement was able to proceed because it employed vague terms never rigorously defined. "Feeble-mindedness" could mean anything from poverty to illiteracy to epilepsy. Similarly, there was no clear definition of "degenerate" or "unfit."

Second, the eugenics movement was really a social program masquerading as a scientific one. What drove it was concern about immigration and racism and undesirable people moving into one's neighborhood or country. Once again, vague terminology helped conceal what was really going on.

Third, and most distressing, the scientific establishment in both the United States and Germany did not mount any sustained protest. Quite the contrary. In Germany scientists quickly fell into line with the program. Modern German researchers have gone back to review Nazi documents from the 1930s. They expected to find directives telling scientists what research should be done. But none were necessary. In the words of Ute Deichman, "Scientists, including those who were not members of the [Nazi] party, helped to get funding for their work through their modified behavior and direct cooperation with the state." Deichman speaks of the "active role of scientists themselves in regard to Nazi race policy … where [research] was aimed at confirming the racial doctrine … no external pressure can be documented." German scientists adjusted their research interests to the new policies. And those few who did not adjust disappeared.

A second example of politicized science is quite different in character, but it exemplifies the hazard of government ideology controlling the work of science, and of uncritical media promoting false concepts. Trofim Denisovich Lysenko was a self-promoting peasant who, it was said, "solved the problem of fertilizing the fields without fertilizers and minerals." In 1928 he claimed to have invented a procedure called vernalization, by which seeds were moistened and chilled to enhance the later growth of crops.

Lysenko's methods never faced a rigorous test, but his claim that his treated seeds passed on their characteristics to the next generation represented a revival of Lamarckian ideas at a time when the rest of the world was embracing Mendelian genetics. Josef Stalin was drawn to Lamarckian ideas, which implied a future unbounded by hereditary constraints; he also wanted improved agricultural production. Lysenko promised both, and became the darling of a Soviet media that was on the lookout for stories about clever peasants who had developed revolutionary procedures.

Lysenko was portrayed as a genius, and he milked his celebrity for all it was worth. He was especially skillful at denouncing this opponents. He used questionnaires from farmers to prove that vernalization increased crop yields, and thus avoided any direct tests. Carried on a wave of state-sponsored enthusiasm, his rise was rapid. By 1937, he was a member of the Supreme Soviet.

By then, Lysenko and his theories dominated Russian biology. The result was famines that killed millions, and purges that sent hundreds of dissenting Soviet scientists to the gulags or the firing squads. Lysenko was aggressive in attacking genetics, which was finally banned as "bourgeois pseudoscience" in 1948. There was never any basis for Lysenko's ideas, yet he controlled Soviet research for thirty years. Lysenkoism ended in the 1960s, but Russian biology still has not entirely recovered from that era.

Now we are engaged in a great new theory that once again has drawn the support of politicians, scientists, and celebrities around the world. Once again, the theory is promoted by major foundations. Once again, the research is carried out at prestigious universities. Once again, legislation is passed and social programs are urged in its name. Once again, critics are few and harshly dealt with.

Once again, the measures being urged have little basis in fact or science. Once again, groups with other agendas are hiding behind a movement that appears high-minded. Once again, claims of moral superiority are used to justify extreme actions. Once again, the fact that some people are hurt is shrugged off because an abstract cause is said to be greater than any human consequences. Once again, vague terms like sustainability and generational justice --- terms that have no agreed definition --- are employed in the service of a new crisis.

I am not arguing that global warming is the same as eugenics. But the similarities are not superficial. And I do claim that open and frank discussion of the data, and of the issues, is being suppressed. Leading scientific journals have taken strong editorial positions of the side of global warming, which, I argue, they have no business doing. Under the circumstances, any scientist who has doubts understands clearly that they will be wise to mute their expression.

One proof of this suppression is the fact that so many of the outspoken critics of global warming are retired professors. These individuals are not longer seeking grants, and no longer have to face colleagues whose grant applications and career advancement may be jeopardized by their criticisms.

In science, the old men are usually wrong. But in politics, the old men are wise, counsel caution, and in the end are often right.

The past history of human belief is a cautionary tale. We have killed thousands of our fellow human beings because we believed they had signed a contract with the devil, and had become witches. We still kill more than a thousand people each year for witchcraft. In my view, there is only one hope for humankind to emerge from what Carl Sagan called "the demon-haunted world" of our past. That hope is science.

But as Alston Chase put it, "when the search for truth is confused with political advocacy, the pursuit of knowledge is reduced to the quest for power."

That is the danger we now face. And this is why the intermixing of science and politics is a bad combination, with a bad history. We must remember the history, and be certain that what we present to the world as knowledge is disinterested and honest.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Ok, so I'm a little behind...

I just finished reading Michael Crichton's "State of Fear".

Wow. Just wow.

The story is his usual page-turning romp through a technological nightmare, where the resolution you thought was going to solve everything happens WAY too early to be an actual solution, and further serves to convolute the plot in a direction you hadn't anticipated. Simply amazing.

Crichton uses actual data to prove his point that the Global Warming issue has been blown out of proportion, and that we are actually on the cusp of another mini-ice age. All the while, he is shooting down arguments that environmentalists raise towards someone doubting what we have been told is a "real, dangerous threat".


Towards the end, one of the minor characters points out that before 1989, the words "crisis", "catastrophe", etc. were rarely associated with environmental causes in the media.

With the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, something had to replace the fear of communism as a way of maintaining control.

The "Military-Industrial Complex" no longer is a safeguard that people cling to to protect them against the latest, seemingly insurmountable "bad guy".

Enter the "Political-Legal-Media Complex". The PLM seeks to control people by making them worry about something they have little hope of actually affecting, focusing them into kicking the goads. People are so worried about the environment, they don't think about other problems.

He also takes a swipe at the "liberal" colleges, claiming that this new complex is a "[factory] of fear". "The notion that these institutions [colleges] are liberal is a cruel joke. They are fascist to the core...."

As if to prove his point, just the other day, I opened slashdot to see there is talk of decertifying any weathermen who dare express skepticism towards global warming

Just a few months ago, the media were positively SCREAMING for us to transition to corn-based Ethanol for fuel, backed by Greenpeace and the like, yet recent research shows that for the land use that is required, filling the tank once could feed a person for a year

As another example, the DDT outrage that happened in the 70s has successfully banned the use of DDT, despite the fact that the research done was biased at best, and illegal at worst. DDT, which was known not to be a carcinogen, and innocuous enough to eat, ended up killing people as malaria flared back to life. In fact, DDT was so effective that WHO is reversing its ban, and now suggesting that it be used again to combat Malaria in Africa

He makes the claim that scientists have become like Renaissance painters of old, where the creation (in this case, research) is tailored to be as favorable as possible to the patron supplying the funding.

Crichton suggests "double-blind" funding for scientists, so that the scientists have no idea who is supplying the funding for experiments and simply do the research without bias.


I encourage you to pick up a copy of this book. It will challenge your commonly held notions on what is truly going on in the environmental movement.

I'll end with a quote from my scientific hero, Richard P. Feynman: "It is our responsibility as scientists, knowing the great progress which comes from a satisfactory philosophy of ignorance, the great progress which is the fruit of freedom of thought, to proclaim the value of this freedom; to teach how doubt is not to be feared, but welcomed and discussed; and to demand this freedom as our duty to all coming generations."

(Yes, it's a run-on sentence. He was a scientist, not an English Major.)

Side note: After reading this, I am deathly afraid of these things.. If you read it, you will be too. *shudder*

Another side note: a VERY thinly veiled Martin Sheen-esque character gets his in a way that is infinitely satisfying. Let's see him accept THAT script when it comes around!