Friday, November 28, 2008

Multiple Guess Test
Posted by celtic-dragon on Friday, August 11, 2006 10:20:09 PM

Multiple Guess Test

1. In 1979, the U.S. embassy in Tehran was stormed and the diplomatic personnel held hostage by:
A. The Sandmen from "Logans Run"
C. Cheech and Chong
D. Male Muslim extremists, mostly between the ages of 18 and 45

2. The Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro was hijacked and passenger leon Klinghoffer murdered and thrown overboard by:
A. Sponge Bob Squarepants
B. Jaques Costeau
C. Flipper
D. Male Muslim extremists, mostly between the ages of 18 and 45

3. The U.S Marine Corps barracks and French peacekeeper barracks in Beirut were blown up by:
A. Deranged Jodie Foster fans who read "The Catcher In The Rye"
B. Salman Rushdie
C. Truman Capote
D. Male Muslim extremists, mostly between the ages of 18 and 45

4. Suicide Bombers, snipers and molotov cocktail throwing people in Israel and Palestine are usually:
A. Disgruntled postal employees
B. Disgruntled "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" Fans
C. Disgruntled Kerry/Edwards campaign workers
D. Male Muslim extremists, mostly between the ages of 18 and 45

5. U.S. Embassies in Africa were attacked by:
A. The guys from the movie "Zulu"
B. General Rommel and The Afrika Korps
C. The Mummy
D. Male Muslim extremists, mostly between the ages of 18 and 45

6. A U.S. warship was attacked in Yemen and nearly sunk by:
A. The good ship Lollypop
B. The Pirates of the Caribbean
C. The Bermuda Triangle
D. Male Muslim extremists, mostly between the ages of 18 and 45

7.Journalist Daniel Pearl was tortured and beheaded on T.V. by:
A. Captain Kangaroo
B. Mister Rogers
C. Big Bird
D. Male Muslim extremists, mostly between the ages of 18 and 45

8. Women in Afghanistan were imprisoned, denied basic human rights and reduced to slavery by:
A. Ruyard Kipling
B. Ghandi
C. Mother Theresa
D. Male Muslim extremists, mostly between the ages of 18 and 45

9. Christian and Animist Sudanese are being massacred, displaced and sold as sex slaves by:
A. Nelson Mandela
B. The rock band "U2"
C. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie
D. Male Muslim extremists, mostly between the ages of 18 and 45

10. The World trade Center was initially attacked in 1993 and subsequently destroyed in 2001 by:
A. The Death Star
B. The Klingon Empire
C. Orcish armies from "The Lord Of The Rings"
D. Male Muslim extremists, mostly between the ages of 18 and 45.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Bob Dylan - No. 7 Greatest Singer Of All Time (Rolling Stone Magazine)

Photo: Wilmer/Redferns/Retna

7 Bob Dylan
by Bono

Born May 24th, 1941
Key Tracks "Like a Rolling Stone," "Lay Lady Lay," "Visions of Johanna"
Influenced John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen, Patti Smith, Conor Oberst

Bob Dylan did what very, very few singers ever do. He changed popular singing. And we have been living in a world shaped by Dylan's singing ever since. Almost no one sings like Elvis Presley anymore. Hundreds try to sing like Dylan. When Sam Cooke played Dylan for the young Bobby Womack, Womack said he didn't understand it. Cooke explained that from now on, it's not going to be about how pretty the voice is. It's going to be about believing that the voice is telling the truth.

To understand Bob Dylan's impact as a singer, you have to imagine a world without Tom Waits, Bruce Springsteen, Eddie Vedder, Kurt Cobain, Lucinda Williams or any other vocalist with a cracked voice, dirt-bowl yelp or bluesy street howl. It is a vast list, but so were the influences on Dylan, from the Talmudic chanting of Allen Ginsberg in "Howl" to the deadpan Woody Guthrie and Lefty Frizzell's murmur. There is certainly iron ore in there, and the bitter cold of Hibbing, Minnesota, blowing through that voice. It's like a knotted fist, and it allows Dylan to sing the most melancholy tunes and not succumb to sentimentality. What's interesting is that later, as he gets older, the fist opens up, to a vulnerability. I have heard him sing versions of "Idiot Wind" where he was definitely the idiot.

I first heard Bob Dylan's voice in the dark, when I was 13 years old, on my friend's record player. It was his greatest-hits album, the first one. The voice was at once modern, in all the things it was railing against, and very ancient. It felt strangely familiar to an Irishman. We thought America was full of superheroes, but it was a much humbler people in these songs — farmers, people who have had great injustices done to them. The really unusual thing about Bob Dylan was that, for a moment in the Sixties, he felt like the future. He was the Voice of a Generation, raised against the generation that came before. Then he became the voice of all the generations, the voices in the ground — these ghosts from the Thirties and the Dust Bowl, the romance of Gershwin and the music hall. For me, the pictures of him in his polka-dot shirt, the Afro and pointy shoes — that was a brief flash of lightning. His voice is usually put to the service of more ancient characters.

Here are some of the adjectives I have found myself using to describe that voice: howling, seducing, raging, indignant, jeering, imploring, begging, hectoring, confessing, keening, wailing, soothing, conversational, crooning. It is a voice like smoke, from cigar to incense, where it's full of wonder and worship. There is a voice for every Dylan you can meet, and the reason I'm never bored of Bob Dylan is because there are so many of them, all centered on the idea of pilgrimage. People forget that Bob Dylan had to warm up for Dr. King before he made his great "I have a dream" speech — the preacher preceded by the pilgrim. Dylan has tried out so many personas in his singing because it is the way he inhabits his subject matter. His closet won't close for all the shoes of the characters that walk through his stories.

I love that album Shot of Love. There's no production. You're in a room hearing him sing. And I like a lot of the songs that he worked on with Daniel Lanois — "Series of Dreams," "Most of the Time," "Dignity." That is the period where he moves me most. The voice becomes the words. There is no performing, just life — as Yeats says, when the dancer becomes the dance.

Dylan did with singing what Brando did with acting. He busted through the artifice to get to the art. Both of them tore down the prissy rules laid down by the schoolmarms of their craft, broke through the fourth wall, got in the audience's face and said, "I dare you to think I'm kidding."

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Scratch Out!

I was in Wal-Mart yesterday, and on a whim/chance, I bought a product called "Scratch Out!" barcode 6-89076-62379-7 from viaMarket CP, LLC I figured it's only $5.98, and if it doesn't work as promised, I can return it as "defective" and get a refund.

FAQs on how it works:

So I took it home and gave it the "acid test" (which was the reason I bought it):

My DVD of A Thief In The Night - a decently-acted kind of cheesy '70s Christian movie about "The Rapture" (part 1 of a 4-part/4-movie series) from Russ Doughten films of Des Moines, IA (formerly Mark IV Pictures) - - had become unplayably scratched. I had tried every method I had of cleaning and "buffing" it from DVD/CD scratch remover/polisher to toothpaste. No luck. It would freeze up about 2/3 of the way through in both my old DVD player and my computer DVD drive. This was the only DVD I hadn't been able to repair to playability using these methods. (I had loaned it out, and when I got it back it was loose in the case and had bounced all around and back and forth and who knows what else it had been subjected to.)

Well ... Scratch Out! fixed it.

I tested it by FFWd'ing it in my PC DVD drive, with no problems. I then did the same thing in my recently-bought PS3 at 120x. No problems. Then I watched it in the PS3 and it played all the way through with no problems.

I'm impressed with "Scratch Out!" (It comes with a microfiber polishing cloth as well.)

(It also seems to have restored a hopelessly-scratched "Barney Sing-Along Fun!" DVD.)

Saturday, November 15, 2008


PostSecret (November 2005)
My Secret (October 2006)
The Secret Lives of Men and Women (January 2007)
A Lifetime of Secrets (October 2007)

The instructions were simple, but the results were extraordinary.

"You are invited to anonymously contribute a secret to a group art project. Your secret can be a regret, fear, betrayal, desire, confession, or childhood humiliation. Reveal anything -- as long as it is true and you have never shared it with anyone before. Be brief. Be legible. Be creative."
It all began with an idea Frank Warren had for a community art project. He began handing out postcards to strangers and leaving them in public places -- asking people to write down a secret they had never told anyone and mail it to him, anonymously.

The response was overwhelming. The secrets were both provocative and profound, and the cards themselves were works of art -- carefully and creatively constructed by hand. Addictively compelling, the cards reveal our deepest fears, desires, regrets, and obsessions. Frank calls them "graphic haiku," beautiful, elegant, and small in structure but powerfully emotional.

As Frank began posting the cards on his website, PostSecret took on a life of its own, becoming much more than a simple art project. It has grown into a global phenomenon, exposing our individual aspirations, fantasies, and frailties -- our common humanity.

Every day dozens of postcards still make their way to Frank, with postmarks from around the world, touching on every aspect of human experience. This extraordinary collection brings together the most powerful, personal, and beautifully intimate secrets Frank Warren has received -- and brilliantly illuminates that human emotions can be unique and universal at the same time.

About the Author
Frank Warren is a small business owner who started as a community art project. Since November 2004 Warren has received more than 150,000 anonymous postcards. The website won two Webby Awards in 2006 and this year was named Weblog of the Year at the Seventh Annual Weblog Awards. The PostSecret project also received a special award from the National Mental Health Association for raising awareness and funds for suicide prevention. Warren lives in Germantown, Maryland, with his wife and daughter.

I have all four of these books, and find them fascinating. Reading them is like therapy. It makes you realize that most of the people you see and work with and talk to every day are showing you only part of themselves. It also makes you realize that you are not alone with your fears, problems, and secrets, but that others have theirs, too - many of which are just as awful or guilt-inducing or traumatizing as your own, and likely worse.

You'll find yourself saying a prayer for some of these anonymous persons, too.

See examples of the postcards/secrets that are in the books by viewing the sample pages for the books at or by visiting these Websites (warning: some of the secrets deal with mature or adult subject matter, as is to be expected):

The PostSecret Website/Blog

The PostSecret Community

A Google Images search for "postsecret" yields lots of results and examples like these:

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

How And Why Did You Vote?

I wonder if the election was also a referendum on old vs. young, as well as liberal vs. conservative religious beliefs? I'd like to see the age and religious demographics of voters, and if things changed from 2004 to 2008. I'm not too fond of most polls, because I often find the answer choices aren't right for me or are too vague or broad. Here's my attempt at one, though:

1. What was your age on November 4, 2008 (i.e., Election Day 2008):

2. How would you most accurately describe your political party affiliation or preference:
a. Democratic
b. Republican
c. Libertarian
d. Other
e. Undecided

3. If you voted in the 2004 Presidential election, how did you vote:
a. Democratic - John Kerry
b. Republican - George Bush
c. Libertarian
d. Other
e. I did not vote for a Presidential candidate

4. Who did you vote for President for this election:
a. Democratic - Barack Obama
b. Republican - John McCain
c. Libertarian
d. Other
e. I did not vote for a Presidential Candidate

5. What party did you mostly vote for Senator (if applicable) and Congressman this election:
a. Democratic
b. Republican
c. Libertarian
d. Other
e. Split between Democratic and Republican candidates
f. Split between Democratic and non-Republican candidates (e.g., Democratic and Libertarian)
g. Split between Republican and non-Democratic candidates (e.g., Republican and Libertarian)
h. I did not vote for the Senator and Congressman candidates

6. How would you describe your religious affiliation/identification:
a. Jewish
b. Christian - Protestant
c. Christian - Catholic
d. Christian - Orthodox
e. Christian - Other
f. Muslim
g. Hindu
h. Buddhist
i. Other religious/spiritual
j. Agnostic (no firm beliefs about God's nature or existence or non-existence)
k. Atheist (firm belief that there is no God)

7. How would you describe your religious beliefs and views:
a. Liberal religious views
b. Moderate religious views
c. Conservative religious views
d. Not Applicable (e.g., Agnostic or Atheist)

8. How much did the Abortion issue affect or influence your choice of whom you voted for President:
a. Very strongly
b. Moderately
c. Not much at all

9. How much did the Iraq War issue affect or influence your choice of whom you voted for President:
a. Very strongly
b. Moderately
c. Not much at all

10. How much did the Economy issue affect or influence your choice of whom you voted for President:
a. Very strongly
b. Moderately
c. Not much at all

11. How much did the Presidential candidate's race/ethnicity affect or influence your choice of whom you voted for President:
a. Very strongly
b. Moderately
c. Not much at all

12. Which of the above issues (questions 8. - 11.) have strongly affected or impacted you personally:
a. Abortion (e.g., you are actively involved in the abortion issue; you closely know someone affected by abortion; etc.)
b.The Iraq War (e.g., you or a family member or close friend have been personally impacted by the War)
c. The Economy (e.g., you or your family are being strongly affected by the economic situation)
d. Race/Ethnicity (e.g., you or your friends or family are affected by racial or ethnic issues)
e. None
Select any one, two, three or all four of a., b., c., and d., or select e. (None).

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Happy Halloween!

My wife and I on our 3,000th wedding anniversary

Someone was offended that a friend posted the above picture on their "Christian" blog, and in defense of my friend, I replied:
Don’t you recognize us? We’re two of the four horses of the Apocalypse! If you look up the original Greek, you’ll see that the word translated as “pale” (as in, "behold, a pale horse" - Revelation 6:8) is χλωρος (chlôros), which means "green" (e.g., "chlorophyll" = "green leaf/blade"). That would be my wife. The first horse is a white horse (Revelation 6:2), and that would be me. We look like death because the four horses bring death and destruction.

And ... My wife’s black hair and my red/orange fiery hair represent the other two horses. See Revelation 6:4 (Greek = πυρρος (pyrros) = fiery-colored - e.g., "funeral pyre") and 6:5. We’re THOROUGHLY and TOTALLY Biblical, and in the best of Reformed/Wesleyan/Lutheran/Catholic/Orthodox theological tradition, too. :^D
Yeah, I was a bit snarky. Sorry.