Curiosities & Sundries

For some lighter fare this week, here are a handful of curiosities and sundries that I ran across.

If there was no Big Bang, how did the universe begin?  Or did it?

My family earns $250,000 a year.  I’m middle class, right?

I am rebuked for my phobia of spiders.  Who would have thought they could be so “spiritual?”

A love poem for prime numbers.  And a couple others.  Who said poetry was dead?

Ann Marie Cox. Washington insider, liberal blogger and… Christian?

It’s like shining a light in the darkness.  The more we choose to take notice of domestic abuse, the more it will change.

I’ve been listening to Seth Godin’s Startup School on Soundcloud.  So worth it.

We’ve been waiting long enough… they’re back!  And for those who want more, the photo shoot.

And the best for last… it’s colon cancer awareness month and we all need “butt-shaking Icelandic celebrities” to remind us to keep it clean up there… wow.

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More on “Violent Extremism”

These links are complex, dense and overwhelmingly insightful, so I’ll just warn you up front that if you’re brave enough to actually read all this stuff, you’ll emerge informed and educated (and maybe even changed), but you will have worked hard for it.

Just because there haven’t been any beheading videos or people being burned alive doesn’t mean it’s any better in Raqqa.  Or in Mosul.  Interestingly, one of the end results of ISIS’ brand of pure Islam is a growing Atheism.  How’s that for a solution?

More on this idea that we’re at war with “violent extremism” instead of defining the enemy.

A great sermon on a Christian response on ISIS and the Middle East in relation to biblical prophecy.

So, is Islam really the “religion of peace?”

And what was it, exactly, that was the tipping point of western defenses against Islamic jihad?

Ok, so we know it’s bad.  Where’s the good news?

And if you take the plunge and read that (above), here’s an interview with the very same Padina.

And for those of you who want a thoughtful, deeply personal and insightful education on reaching out to your Muslim neighbors, this is a must read.

And after all that, you may not look at Muslims the same.

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Some Interesting Items from the Week of February 16th

Hi y’all, here are a few interesting and noteworthy things I ran across last week.

If you’ve ever had dreams of fame, fortune & Taylor Swift, this story is for you.  And there’s more where this came from Birmingham’s live iteration of Storycorps.

If you can’t call out ISIS for what it is, you can’t fight an ideological battle.  Yes, the situation does call for a multi-faceted solution and yes, economics matter as well as social systems and governance (this gripping book just might open your eyes), but western secularist policies are not the solution and to act like they are on the national stage dressed up in political correctness does nothing but destroy American credibility and reinforce international perception that we are completely out of touch with reality in the eyes of everyone else around the globe.

From Punk’d to top 15 on the web?  Ashton Kutcher.  Who would’ve thought?

And here I thought these kinds of things only happened in Alabama.

Harry Reeder has been preaching some of the best sermons on the end times that I’ve heard in a while.

I just watched Ragamuffin, a recent movie on the life of a musician that really impacted me in college.  I appreciate the attempt at a more authentic portrayal of a Christian than typically makes it the big screen.  Actually it didn’t.

Ran across this article from a link from one of Seth Godin’s blog posts.  It’s quite hysterical, R rated and delightfully enlightening to to a ignorant white guy!  He had me at “full-time Black Person…”

Is this the future of auto shows and concept cars?  I guess the good news is that you can actually drive one.  Sort of.

I’m reading some Phillip Levine, former poet laureate, who died on February 15th.  Poignant and captivating.

And here’s one of my own (not to compare in any way with a real poet), composed in a fevered stupor when I had the flu earlier this year:

Behind closed eyelids I see
black and red at the same time
oscillating fractal noise
like body and soul
occupying the same space
both sick,
yet with different symptoms.

There is no high tech
infectious disease unit
in the ramshackle rural clinic
in west Africa
where bodies and souls together
wither and die.

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An Interesting Week

Last week, ISIS released another video, this time publicizing the killing of 21 Coptic Christians.  We’ve all seen the images by now.  I grieve and pray for these “people of the cross” and their families and all the victims of ISIS’ brutality.

Ann Voskamp delivers a poignant and stirring eulogy and challenges our (i.e. western Christians) comfortable notions about taking up our cross.

So what’s behind all this?  What does ISIS hope to gain by making enemies out of everyone?  Here’s the short answer.

And here’s the long answer.  This complex, dense and weighty article is a rare piece of journalism excellence and is utterly enlightening for those with the will to read it all.  I am particularly struck by the comment, “The Islamic State’s ideology exerts powerful sway over a certain subset of the population. Life’s hypocrisies and inconsistencies vanish in its face. Musa Cerantonio and the Salafis I met in London are unstumpable: no question I posed left them stuttering.”  While Christians in the west can’t even talk consistently about abortion, the definition of marriage and our culture of sexuality.  What’s wrong with this picture (you’ll just have to spend the hour to read the article…)?

And in sharp contrast, we have President Obama saying that ISIS is not Islam.  Until we acknowledge what we’re dealing with, shine a light on it, we will not be able to lead, or even influence, an effective coalition.

In fact, we’re already dealing with it.  Here.  Now.  Just ask Molly Norris.  If you can find her.

Enough about ISIS.

Speaking of spreading ideology, do you have any old bibles you don’t know what to do with?  I did.

I heard on the radio this week that we’ve sequenced the Neanderthal genome.

So who were the Neanderthals anyway & where to they fit in biblical history?

If you’re still up for reading long articles, Jonathan Boyer, cyclist and sex offender, can teach us something.

And lastly… really a bummer I have to say… I guess I’m going to have to give up my Crocs.

 

 

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Some things worth sharing

Here are a few things I ran across this week that I thought were worth sharing.

Physicist Charles Townes died last month.  He was a Nobel Peace Prize winner for the idea of the laser and was someone who saw no conflict between science and Christianity.

Newsweek recently ranked 60 versions of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Halleluja’.  I think my personal favorite is Regina Spektor.

We’ve all heard about ISIS’s burning Lieutenant Muath al-Kaseasbeh alive.  We’d like think this was a torture that went too far and that the international outcry will cause these radical Islamic terrorists to rethink their actions.  Don’t bet on it.  And don’t think there aren’t many other instances of the same thing.

What’s it like to be a captive of Islamic extremists?  Theo Padnos can tell you.  All I could say was, “wow.”

All of us homeschoolers have different reasons for what we do.  Here’s a the Silicon Valley take.

How to think like a self-made billionaire.

GenXer’s like me who may have been tempted to think that somewhere between the cold war and Ukraine, Russia might have been our friend are wrong.  The story of William Browder and his attorney is as captivating as it is tragic.

Looking for something cheap, easy and delish for dinner?

 

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Ruminations on Risk Tolerance

The other day my neighbor pointed out to me that I have a rotten tree in the backyard and that if I didn’t do something about it, it would fall on my fence. Continue reading

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A walk around the neighborhood

My busyness, whether that which comes with life’s seasons or that which I bring upon myself, robs me of my wonder and my joy.  What I know with my head isn’t always consistent with what I do with my time, too often frittering it away as I confuse activity with effectiveness.  I know this is true and I see the folly, but why don’t I translate that knowledge into the action of proaction, of margin and space, of quiet and reflection?  I think that for me, there are several answers to the question and as these thoughts percolate in my mind, ideas gradually become coherent.  There is much there, but it is still mostly hidden from me, like these roots. Continue reading

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How to Make Your Own Canvas

I just uploaded a new video to YouTube on making a canvas, specifically a gallery wrap canvas.  This is the first video I made, but it’s just the middle part of the process that I shot for a complete painting.  I’m going to try to get to a video on the building of the frame which is easy and cheap if you do it yourself, then the whole process of priming it and then, maybe, painting the whole picture.  For small canvases I recommend going to the local art store and buying one, but for the larger ones, you can definitely save money making them yourselves, assuming you have the tools. Continue reading

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A Collection of Premiere Pro and After Effects Training Resources

As part of my series on “How I Went from Knowing Nothing About Adobe Premiere and After Effects to Producing a Client Video in 2 Weeks” I consulted a lot of videos and training resources as I attempted a crash course in Adobe video production. Continue reading

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Creating a “Flicker On” Effect in After Effects

I’m going to compile this and several other posts into a series I’m calling “How I Went from Knowing Nothing About Adobe Premiere and After Effects to Producing a Client Video in 2 Weeks.”  How’s that for a short, catchy title?  Since this effect was the last item I did in the video, I’m going to lead off with this one (and reorganize later!).  If you prefer this as a video tutorial, just scroll down to the very bottom of the post. Continue reading

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