Now You Know

No, by the grace of God, you will NOT plead ignorance. You will NOT testify that you never knew any better because no one ever taught you anything better. You will not plead that you were never told.

Friday, December 31, 2004

Auld Lang Syne

What would New Year's Eve be without Auld Lang Syne? A friend passes along this link to the lyrics for the song. And here's a link to definitions for those words with which you may not be familiar.

You've been told and NOW YOU KNOW.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

The Old Year Draws to Its Close

As this venerable year draws to its close and the eve of a new year is upon us, I wish you a blessèd and joyous year ahead. The Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord lift His countenance upon you and give you peace, the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you. Amen.

And now, with thanks (and apologies!) to ABBA [to hear the song, click on the link and then click again where it tells you]:


No more champagne
And the fireworks are through
Here we are, me and you
Feeling lost and feeling blue
It’s the end of the party
And the morning seems so grey
So unlike yesterday
Now’s the time for us to say...

Happy new year
Happy new year
May we all have a vision now and then
Of a world where every neighbour is a friend
Happy new year
Happy new year
May we all have our hopes, our will to try
If we don’t we might as well lay down and die
You and I.

Sometimes I see
How the brave new world arrives
And I see how it thrives
In the ashes of our lives
Oh yes, man is a fool
And he thinks he’ll be okay
Dragging on, feet of clay
Never knowing he’s astray
Keeps on going anyway...

Happy new year
Happy new year
May we all have a vision now and then
Of a world where every neighbour is a friend
Happy new year
Happy new year
May we all have our hopes, our will to try
If we don’t we might as well lay down and die
You and I.

Seems to me now
That the dreams we had before
Are all dead, nothing more
Than confetti on the floor
We’re through half of the decade
In another five years time
Who can say what we’ll find
What lies waiting down the line
In the end of 2009?

Happy new year
Happy new year
May we all have a vision now and then
Of a world where every neighbour is a friend
Happy new year
Happy new year
May we all have our hopes, our will to try
If we don’t we might as well lay down and die
You and I.

You've been told and NOW YOU KNOW.

La Shawn Barber Asks for Reader Input

La Shawn Barber is asking for reader input for a piece that she will be writing on "The Year of the Blog."

I’m developing a post about “The Year of the Blog,” a series of significant events in 2004 that changed the blogosphere or at least people’s perception of it.

I’m asking for reader input on this topic. What significant event(s) of importance occurred in the blogosphere in 2004? Rathergate and the presidential election rank at the top. What impact did these and other events have on the blogosphere? What impact did bloggers have on them?

. . . Your input on “The Year of the Blog” post will greatly assist me. And spread the word about this post.

Help La Shawn out if you have something of value to say. Please be respectful and courteous when contacting her.

You've been told and NOW YOU KNOW.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Judas Was a Liberal

It is time for some truth here, truth that many may find painful. Tough. When Christ came here to bear witness to the truth, Pontius Pilate gave a typical liberal response by saying, "What is truth?" John 18: 36-38 --

Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting, that I might not be delivered up to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.

Pilate therefore said to Him, "So, You are a king?" Jesus answered, "You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice."

Pilate said to Him, "What is truth?"
[Emphasis mine.]

Notice Pilate's response. Christ has just said that everyone who is of the truth hears him. Pilate, in his blindness does not even know what truth is. Was Pilate of the truth? No. Christ had just said so.

So here is some truth for non-Christians (which is to say more accurately anti-Christians) and self-proclaimed so-called"liberal Christians":

When you claim that you are fulfilling your Christian duty by mandating higher taxes for social programs, you haven't the faintest idea what charity is. Voting for higher taxes or voting for social programs or even paying higher taxes does not fulfill your obligation to God. God's kingdom is not of this world. Which part of that do you fools not understand? Who has blinded you and deceived you so much that you believe you can buy your way into heaven by voting for higher taxes or paying higher taxes? All you have achieved by doing so is that you have "rendered unto Caesar." But by doing so you have NOT given one iota of what you owe to God.

Have you, as an individual, enough money to help the poor, the widowed, the orphan, the sick? Have you, as an individual, enough money to donate to help victims of natural disasters such as the victims of the earthquake and ensuing tsunamis in Asia? If you have such wealth, then surely give. If you have time to volunteer, give of your time. If you can make sacrifices, make them. But this crap of it being the United States' responsibility to "give 'til it hurts" has got to stop. Period.

I have had more than enough of listening to lying liberals who claim Christianity as theirs and who say that "Jesus was a liberal." That is an utter crock and it stinks. If I recall correctly, La Shawn Barber did an excellent piece on her blog debunking the myth of "Jesus was a liberal." If I can find a link to it, I will post it here as an update.* See Update at the end of this post for the link. I would that I had her grace to put things so succinctly! As it is, I must simply say that the closest example of a liberal that I have seen in the New Testament was Judas Iscariot. John 12: 3-8 --

Mary therefore took a pound of very costly perfume of pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

But Judas Iscariot, one of His disciples, who was intending to betray Him, said,

"Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii, and given to poor people?"

Now he said this, not because he was concerned about the poor, but because he was thief, and as he had the money box, he used to pilfer what was put into it. [U.N. oil for food program anyone? ed.]

Jesus therefore said, "Let her alone, in order that she may keep it for the day of My burial.

"For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have Me."
[Emphasis mine.]

I don't know how to express any more clearly to non-Christians (i.e. anti-Christians) and "liberal" Christians any more clearly these two precepts:

1. If you don't know what "truth" is, if you consider it subjective, changeable, vague and indefinable, then you are as lost as Pontius Pilate was and in Jesus' own words, you are not of the truth.

2. If you are big on "social programs" and "socialism" you have not rendered one cent in the spirit of Christian charity and have not fulfilled any Christian obligation whatsoever. When you give of yourself, not because of a government mandated law, but when you give and give quietly, what God has seen you do in secret, He will reward openly. Beware of the hypocrisy of the Pharisees! Beware of being a Judas Iscariot who presumed to tell everyone how money which was not his own should be spent.

There is no such thing as a liberal Christian. One must decide to follow Christ, whose kingdom is not of this world, or one chooses to follow the liberals whose kingdom IS of this world. You cannot have it both ways. You cannot serve two masters. You cannot by human means make this world a paradise. Presuming to do so always guarantees that you will make of this world an even bigger hell than it already is. Taxes and social programs do not qualify as charity.

Get yourselves right with God. Stop breaking one of the 10 commandments by coveting that which is not yours (i.e. the wealth of others), and stop breaking another commandment about "Thou shalt not steal" by seeking to "redistribute wealth." Stop believing that you will buy your way into heaven by fighting for social programs. You can't afford heaven. No one can. I can't. But Christ paid the way for us.

It is no coincidence that the word "liberal" contains the letters that spell "liar." It is also no coincidence that the Latin word for left is "sinister." If you want examples of liberals in the Bible, look no further than Pontius Pilate with his still soiled hands, or Judas Iscariot with his feigned concern about the poor and his advice about how to distribute wealth that was not his own.

You've been told and NOW YOU KNOW.

Update: La Shawn Barber graciously provided me with the link to her superb piece regarding the "Jesus was a liberal" myth. It can be found here. Thank you, La Shawn! You're a gem.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Twisted Tolkien and Peers Among Bloggers

Never one to suffer or to enjoy without making others endure the same, I give you this link to a twisted parody of "The Lord of the Rings." I stumbled across it quite accidentally.

"How twisted is it?" you may ask. So twisted that it looks like it was written by Jeff Goldstein of Protein Wisdom in collaboration with Jim Treacher, Allah and the Ace of Spades and possibly Jeff Percifield of Beautiful Atrocities. In defense of the above named bloggers, let me emphatically state that none of them had anything to do with it (at least, not to my knowledge) but it's definitely the kind of thing that I wouldn't put past them and neither should you. Here are a few excerpts:

"Life goes on much as it has," said Gandalf, ignoring the hobbits sending him lewd gestures as he passed. "Although a recent outbreak of some sort of gender-altering virus has left Gondor and much of Rohan in utter confusion. Still, the lucky buggers are blissfully unaware of you italics-abusing little fucks."

"That's nice," said Frodo, sounding for all the world like he hadn't heard a bit of it (which he hadn't, he'd been too focused on a spec of dirt under one of his nails). "Well, you're creepy and old, and it can't be doing me much good being seen with you. Have fun tormenting Bilbo." Frodo leapt off the cart and scampered off.

. . .

Back in Bag End Bilbo slipped off the ring and tucked it neatly into his pocket before collecting his things for the trek to Rivendell.

"You're supposed to use that thing to cover the lands in darkness and whatnot," said Gandalf, materializing in Bilbo's parlour. "It's not for scaring the piss out of your relatives."

"Oh you're probably right, as usual."

"Of course I am! Now gimme."
. . .

See what I mean? Am I right or am I right? Couldn't you just see the bloggers I named above writing something this warped? Is nothing sacred, not even Tolkien? Well, if they had done such a thing, it would have been the Llama Butchers who would have instigated the whole thing. Never trust a llama.

Thank goodness I am blissfully above all that. Bunch o' sick bastards.

You've been told and NOW YOU KNOW.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Lesson 2 - Excluding the Extraneous and Irrelevant

Once again, it is time for NOW YOU KNOW to give a lesson to the press on how to exclude the extraneous and irrelevant (also known as propaganda) from their stories. Today's lesson involves an article titled "U.S. Marines Capture 2 al-Qaida Chiefs." The following is an example of how an article about that topic should be written, minus the unnecessary and untrue "Iraq is a VIET NAM QUAGMIRE!!!" bullshit:

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - U.S. forces captured two senior figures in al-Qaida's branch in Iraq, the U.S. military said Saturday.

The U.S. Marines said Saturday they captured two men who led cells in Anbar province for Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's Al-Qaida in Iraq network. The province is a center for the insurgency and home to the cities of Ramadi and Fallujah.

A Marines statement identified the men as Saleh Arugayan Kahlil and Bassim Mohammad Hazeem. Their cells kidnapped and executed 11 Iraqi National Guardsmen, carried out car bombings and other attacks in the Ramadi area and "smuggled foreign terrorists into the country," the Marines said.

"This group is responsible for intimidating, attacking and murdering innocent Iraqi civilians, Iraqi police and security forces, and business and political leaders throughout the Unbar province," the statement said.

Al-Zarqawi's group, once known as Tawhid and Jihad, recently changed its name to Al-Qaida in Iraq and pledged allegiance to Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida network. It has claimed responsibility for numerous deadly attacks against U.S. troops and government forces.

Now, that isn't so difficult, is it? It's short, sweet and to the point. It reports what it purports to recount.

What follows here below, however, is everything that a discerning reader must remove from the article because it has nothing to do with the U.S. marines having captured 2 al-Qaida chiefs:

. . . and one of Turkey's richest businessmen was reported kidnapped, appearing in a video along with a weeping employee saying they were being held hostage.

In Baghdad, police uncovered more bodies under the rubble after a suicide bomber blew up a gas tanker in an upscale Baghdad district, bringing the death toll in the Friday night attack to at least nine people.

The video of the two Turkish hostages was the first report of a kidnapping of foreigners in Iraq in weeks - and it appeared the abduction netted one of the most high-profile victims yet.

Kahraman Sadikoglu is the president of the Istanbul-based Tuzla Shipyard and is famed in Turkey for having renovated and saved from ruin the "Savarona" - one of the world's largest yachts, once used by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey.

Sadikoglu appeared in the video, aired on Turkish television, alongside Ahmet Yurtdas, the captain of one of his ships. No kidnappers appeared in the footage or issued any statement claiming responsibility and no demands were made. The video's authenticity could not be confirmed.

"Today is Dec. 23. We were captured four or five days ago," Sadikoglu said. "We're fine and they will check us out, what we're doing here, and will hopefully release us. God is Great.

Sadikoglu said he was working for the United Nations and the Iraqi government on a project clearing harbors of sunken ships. "We don't have any problems with the Iraqi government, we're creating jobs and food for the Iraqis," he said. "If that is a crime too, then we will accept the punishment."

The two men had not been heard from since they left the southern Iraqi city of Basra by land on Dec. 16, according to their families.

Several Turkish newspapers said a ransom demand of $25 million had been made, but Foreign Ministry officials and family members of the hostages refused to confirm the reports.

More than 170 foreigners have been kidnapped in Iraq this year, and at least 34 of them - including seven Turks - have been killed by their captors. Besides the two Turks in Saturday's video, at least four foreigners are known to still be held, three of them Americans.

Violence has persisted across Iraq despite the U.S. military's offensives last month aimed at putting down insurgents in several hotspots - including their stronghold Fallujah, which U.S. forces captured.

Friday night, a suicide bomber detonated a butane bas truck in the upscale Mansour district near the Libyan and Moroccan embassies, hours after Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld left the capital, ending a one-day visit to speak to U.S. troops.

Rescuers on Saturday uncovered seven more bodies under the rubble of one of three houses wrecked in the blast, bringing the toll to nine Iraqis. At least 14 people were seriously wounded by the explosion.

The escalation in violence has come in the run-up to national elections scheduled for Jan. 30. While majority Shiites have embraced the polls as a chance to assert their numerical strength, radical elements within the minority Sunni community are leading the campaign to prevent the vote.

In other violence Saturday, a car bomb exploded as a U.S. military convoy was passing through the southern town of Ein al-Nus, killing three Iraqis and wounding two, police said.

Gunmen shot dead Hasan Abdul-Ghani al-Rubaei, a professor at Baghdad University's medical school, as he drove his car along the dangerous Haifa street where militants often launch attacks.

And a roadside bomb exploded Saturday near the car of the governor of eastern Diyala province, wounding four of his guards, officials said.

Governor Abdullah Rashid al-Jbouri was unharmed in by the blast in the town of Khan Bani Saad, halfway between Baqouba and Baghdad, said Dr. Abdullah Mohammed of the Baqouba General Hospital.

More displaced residents of Fallujah returned to inspect their devastated homes Saturday, the third day that authorities have allowed some citizens back into the city.

Repatriating the tens of thousands of people who fled Fallujah before the U.S. assault in November is a key step in the attempt to restore stability in the city ahead of January elections.

Some complained the strict security measures imposed by the government and U.S. troops on the returning refugees.

"Every two hours, they are letting one car pass through the checkpoint," complained a man who identified himself only as Hassan. "And there are so many checkpoints and measures before we can get into the city, such as sniffing dogs and mirrors being put under our cars."

On Thursday and Friday, a total 1,404 residents returned to their homes in the Andalus district of Fallujah under the supervision of government and U.S. forces, a Marine statement said.
Do you know what the above text, which was excised like a malignant cancerous tumor from the original news article, has to do with the U.S. marines capturing 2 al-Qaida chiefs? I'll tell you. It has NOTHING to do with it.

Why then is it in the article at all? I'll tell you that also. It is there in order for the press to stress what a horrible mess they feel the U.S. has made of Iraq.

Rather than an article in praise of our success in capturing 2 al-Qaida chiefs, it devolved into a propagandistic piece against the U.S. and our military. It's ridiculous that only 5 paragraphs of the article actually relate to the headline about the capture of the al-Qaida chiefs by our marines.

How many paragraphs have nothing to do with the story but appear there any way? TWENTY-THREE. That's right: 23 negative unrelated paragraphs about everything from kidnappings to car bombings to complaints to . . . well, you get the picture. 5 measly paragraphs about the positive headline, 23 paragraphs of every bit of doom and gloom the press could dig up or invent.

Why is the looney left liberal press increasingly considered to be biased, slanted, and untrustworthy? You've just seen for yourself why. Because they are. That's why.

You've been told and NOW YOU KNOW.

Friday, December 24, 2004

For Unto Us A Child Is Born

For your Christmas Eve enjoyment, here is a midi file of For Unto Us a Child Is Born from Handel's Messiah.

For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulder; and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)

May your Christmas Eve be blessed as we remember the birth of our Lord and Savior.

You've been told and NOW YOU KNOW.

Update: Handel's entire Messiah is available on the internet in MIDI files at this location, thanks to the wonderful people at Bot Productions.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Oh, yeah. And Feliz Navidad Too, Cabrones Babosos!

Thanks to all the usual suspects (the Democrats and all the other leftist looney tune moonbats) and thanks as well to all the unusual suspects (so- called conservatives and even our own president, George W. Bush!) you may soon have to start brushing up on your Spanish. Read the entire article titled "Holidays Inspire a Rush to the Border." Here's an excerpt:

Though 2,000 border patrol agents will be added over the next five years, they do not address the reason immigrants come illegally, he said, adding, "We have to have the will to go after the employers."

With the Mexican economy faltering and Mexicans believing that the Bush administration will offer blanket amnesty to illegal immigrants, more people entered the United States illegally last year than any other since Sept. 11, 2001. Officials estimate that three million people entered the United States illegally last year, a majority of them Mexican.

The business of smuggling people has become so lucrative that drug-style cartels are in the game. As a consequence, murder and kidnapping have skyrocketed in Phoenix, the main hub of the smuggling business. An illegal crossing costs upward of $2,000.

"Stand on the border around Christmas and you'll see what a joke the immigration policy is," Mr. McCubbin said.

Not all news is bad on the border. In a ceremony on Monday, 90 wild parrots smuggled into the United States were repatriated to Mexico, a gift from the American government.

One cynical border official sniffed that the parrots, too, would probably make their way back to Los Angeles after Three Kings Day. [Emphasis mine.]

(h/t The Drudge Report)

I'd just like to thank both the usual and the unusual suspects for helping to turn my home into a crime infested barrio. Muchas gracias, amigos! Feliz Navidad y Prospero Año Nuevo, ya' bunch of little *&^%*$#.

You've been told and NOW YOU KNOW.

A Christmas Gift for You II

Of the two Christmas poems for you (this one and the one in the previous post) this one is more important:

Christmas Wrapping

Tonight before you raise your Christmas toasts,

Before you bid good evening to your hosts,

Before you reach to gather up your wraps,

While donning them, remember then perhaps,

That though you’ll be well bundled in your coat,

There was a Christmas when, not so remote,

There was no ermine there, no velvet fine,

No silk or satin dark as purple wine,

No mink or sable, tailored with great care,

No cashmere softly combed for Him to wear;

Naught but the coarse wool of a goat or sheep,

Was wrapped around the newborn King asleep.

No wrapping richly regal or refined.

No wrapping warmly, wealthily designed.

Just wrapping rude and rough for such a gift!

Then with that thought your Christmas toasting lift.

© 2004 All Rights Reserved

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve. May you and your loved ones be blessed as you celebrate the memory of the birth of our savior, Jesus Christ the Lord, the Messiah who died for our sins and rose from the dead. He will come again. This is our faith, this is our hope, and that is God's love.

You've been told and NOW YOU KNOW.

A Christmas Gift for You

Don't worry; I won't usually have this type of post for you all. However, in the spirit of Christmas, here is the first of two poems for you by yours truly:

Mistletoe II

It hung above the archway in the hall,

But other decorations made it seem

As though it were not hanging there at all,

Eclipsed by all the glitter, shine and gleam

Around the room and on a tree so tall

It almost touched the vaulted ceiling's beam.

Who would have guessed a sprig so slight and small

Was dangling like a half-forgotten dream

Or like a name you almost could recall,

If memory did not already teem

With all the Christmas guests who’ve come to call

Each yuletide in an ever-growing stream.

To think what I'd have lost, if I had missed

The mistletoe beneath which we first kissed!

© 2004 All Rights Reserved

(I am completely serious about the copyright. Don't make me have to hunt you down and hurt you. That wouldn't be very Christmas-y or Christian, now would it?)

You've been told and NOW YOU KNOW

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

A Tolkien View of Complacency

The following bit of text is excerpted from the Prologue to J.R.R. Tolkien's The Fellowship of the Ring:

. . . and there in that pleasant corner of the world they plied their well-ordered business of living, and the heeded less and less the world outside where dark things moved, until they came to think that peace and plenty were the rule in Middle-earth and the right of all sensible folk. The forgot or ignored what little they had ever known of the Guardians, and of the labours of those that made possible the long peace of the Shire. They were, in fact,
sheltered, but they had ceased to remember it.

Although Tolkien was writing about his fictional Hobbits in his fictional Shire, the above could just as easily apply to all of the complacent members of the liberal left and all the terrorism apologists. They too have forgotten or ignored what little they had ever known about our "Guardians" and of the labours of those that have made and continue to make possible our freedoms and peace in the U.S. These sad, sorry, misguided fools are, in fact, sheltered, but they have ceased to remember it.

During this Christmas season, let us remember our soldiers who are serving so that we and our children may have our "Shire." Dark forces do not simply go away because one wishes they weren't there. One cannot appease them. One cannot negotiate with them. They do not share power.

Merry Christmas and thank you to our armed forces.

You've been told and NOW YOU KNOW.

Monday, December 20, 2004

If John McCain Won't Listen. . .

. . . to his own conservative constituency who originally put him in office years ago, it seems unlikely that he'll listen to anyone outside our once fine state:

John McCain - Please shut up

Can you tell I have a problem with the senator from Arizona?

I'm not sure what it is about him that gets to me, honest, but he does get to me more times than he doesn't.

His most recent getting of me had to do with his sincerely stupid Rumsfeld remarks made nearly a week ago . . .

Please read the whole thing. RickinVA wrote it so beautifully, he saved me the trouble of having to do it myself. Unfortunately, I don't think all the Pepto Bismol or Imodium AD in the world would plug up John McCain's diarrhea-of-the-MSM mouth.

But thanks, RickinVA of Brutally Honest, for trying on our behalf anyway. That was mighty neighborly of you.

Now, to address my fellow Arizonans, why can't you show a little of RickinVA's intelligence and testicular fortitude and oust that self-serving, traitorous ego-McCainiac from office? Trust me, he is not serving our best interests. In fact, he increasingly doesn't even bother putting up a pretense of representing the conservatives from Arizona who elected him to office.

John McCain must surely go!
You've been told and NOW YOU KNOW.

Who Says There Is No Justice?

Readers of this blog are by now aware of my thoughts regarding cell phones. If you are a new reader, read this (scroll down) and this to bring yourself up to speed concerning my thoughts on cell phones. An article on Drudge today leads me to believe that perhaps Providence is of the same opinion.

See this article titled, "Mobile Phone Radiation Harms DNA, New Study Finds."

I won't say "heh" like everyone else in the blogsphere, but pardon me if I snicker and snort as I revel in a little schadenfreude.

You see? Cell phone use isn't only inordinately rude and unnecessary the vast majority of the time, it also may be damaging to the cell phone user's health.

You've been told and NOW YOU KNOW.

And speaking of Middle Earth. . .

. . . I've heard of being hospitable, but hobbit-able? Isn't there some kind of old saying about not throwing one's money down a hole?

(h/t Jeff Goldstein of Protein Wisdom)

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Middle Earth Maps Galore!

For any and all fans of J.R.R. Tolkien, here is an excellent website with many maps of Middle Earth. Enjoy!

You've been told and NOW YOU KNOW.

Front-tailed Monkey of the Week

Read this article, which I found on the Drudge Report. Here's an excerpt:

Joke Text Message Triggers Terror Alert

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) - An Italian tourist aboard a flight from Sydney to Vienna caused an international security alert after he sent a joke text message from his cell phone to his wife claiming his plane had been hijacked by terrorists, the Australian government confirmed Sunday.

The man, Antonio Casale, 35, sent the message to his wife from Kuala Lumpur during a refueling stop on a Lauda Air flight from Sydney last Sunday night, Sydney's Sunday Telegraph newspaper reported. . .

Casale claimed terrorists were in control of the plane and were taking the passengers to an unknown destination.

Shockingly, this Italian idiot didn't even get charged with any crime. Mr. Antonio Casale, you have just won yourself the NOW YOU KNOW award for Front-tailed Monkey of the Week.

You've been told and NOW YOU KNOW.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

More Blogthings Fun

Here's another fun pastime from Blogthings; take this quiz to determine "What Kind of Intelligence Do You Have?"

Your Dominant Intelligence is Linguistic Intelligence

You are excellent with words and language. You explain yourself well.
An elegant speaker, you can converse well with anyone on the fly.
You are also good at remembering information and convicing someone of your point of view.
A master of creative phrasing and unique words, you enjoy expanding your vocabulary.

You would make a fantastic poet, journalist, writer, teacher, lawyer, politician, or translator.

Well, duh.

You've been told and NOW YOU KNOW.

Well, I'll Grant Them the "Neglected" Part

Try this "What Does Your Name Mean?" acronym maker over at Blogthings.


F is for Fearless
R is for Radical
A is for Artistic
N is for Nice
K is for Keen
V is for Vibrant
I is for Intense
L is for Luscious
L is for Luxurious
O is for Organic
N is for Neglected

I guess I have to admit to the "Neglected" part. But the rest? Bah!

(h/t Tall Glass of Milk at Drink This. . . )

You've been told and NOW YOU KNOW.

When Non-Christians Attempt to Interpret the Bible. . .

. . . they fail miserably. However, they do succeed in demonstrating their ignorance and making laughingstocks out of themselves. See this website.

It's convenient to quote from the Old Testament books of Leviticus and Deuteronomy when one has no knowledge of the New Testament whatsoever. However, it's a stretch to presume to have the authority to tell Christians what they should or should not be doing when one is so totally ignorant about the New Testament:

Acts 10: 9-15

And on the next day, as they were on their way, and approaching the city, Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour to pray.

And he became hungry, and was desiring to eat; but while they were making preparations, he fell into a trance;

And he beheld the sky opened up, and a certain object like a great sheet coming down, lowered by four corners to the ground,

And there were in it all kinds of four-footed animals and crawling creatures of the earth and birds of the air.

And a voice came to him, "Arise, Peter, kill and eat!"

But Peter said, "By no means, Lord, for I have never eaten anything unholy and unclean."

And again a voice came to him a second time, "What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy."

See also Titus 1: 15-16

To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled.

They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed. [Emphasis mine.]

You've been told and NOW YOU KNOW.

How to Write a News Article That Actually Stays on Topic

The following is an example for news reporters and editors of how to write a news story and leave out extraneous bullshit that has nothing whatsoever to do with the article. Evidently, reporters and editors never saw the Sesame Street skit of "three of these things belong together, three of these things are kind of the same" where a fourth thing doesn't belong and should be left out. In the spirit of charity for the intellectually deprived, I shall try to remedy that situation by first showing what belongs together, followed by what doesn't belong. The following portions excerpted from the original news article belong together:

Iraqi Judges Interrogate Two Saddam Aides

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Iraqi judges interrogated the notorious general known as "Chemical Ali" and Saddam's former defense minister Saturday, opening the first phase in trials for the ousted dictator's top deputies.

Sultan Hashim Ahmad, Saddam's last defense chief, and Ali Hassan al-Majid - who earned his nickname for his alleged use of chemical weapons against Kurds and others - were the first of the 11 jailed top figures who, along with Saddam, are facing trial for crimes during the regime's three decades in power.

The two were questioned by a panel of investigative judges in a hearing attended by their lawyers, said Raad al-Juhyi, the head of the panel. The hearing was closed to the press.

Interim Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi said Tuesday that detained leaders of Saddam's toppled regime would start appearing before court in the coming week.

Many Iraqis - particularly among the Shiite majority - have been eager to see the prosecution of the ousted regime begin.

The Special Tribunal trying the former regime figures has said the investigative hearings are the first step of the trial process for Saddam and his deputies.

The judges interrogating the ex-regime leaders are expected to gather evidence against them before laying formal charges, after which the detainees will face fully fledged trials.

"We should make a distinction between the trial and the investigation," al-Juhyi said. "We are talking about the investigation and Ali Hassan al-Majid has been interrogated about the charges against him. We're in the investigation phase."

Al-Juhyi did not specify the charges that al-Majid faced, but the former general is accused of ordering the 1988 Halabja chemical weapons attacks that killed thousands of Kurds, the 1990 invasion of Kuwait and suppressing a 1991 Shiite uprising in southern Iraq.

Ahmad surrendered to U.S. forces in September 2003 at a coalition military base in Mosul, but was not considered to be a war crimes suspect and many had expected that he would be freed after being questioned.

Officials have not said when Saddam will appear before the investigative panel for questioning. Allawi said the defendants could be arraigned in January.

Putting former Baath regime leaders on trial is seen as a crucial step in Iraq's post-Saddam reconstruction, but human rights groups and lawyers for the defendants have raised concerns over the access of legal representatives to the detainees.

Iraq's justice minister has also accused his government of rushing to try the officials, saying the trials should wait until after the Jan. 30 elections.

Now that wasn't so hard, was it? I mean, the article is supposed to be about "Iraqi Judges Interrogate Two Saddam Aides," right? The above example shows how to keep to that story without straying into matters such as the price of beans in Muskogee or the latest news about Scott Peterson. True, many people may want to know the price of beans in Muskogee and the latest news about Scott Peterson, but that information doesn't really belong in the above article, does it?

Here below I present everything that had to be removed which had nothing to do with the interrogation or upcoming trial of these 2 Iraqi aides to Saddam:

Insurgents, meanwhile, attacked election offices and wounded four American contractors with a roadside bomb.

- pressing ahead with the trials ahead of crucial national elections set for Jan. 30.

The trials and elections come amid persistent violence by insurgents, including suspected former Saddam followers, that has raised concern over the success of the vote.

Mortars fired by insurgents landed near a center for Iraqis to register to vote in the town of Dujail, 50 miles north of the capital, on Saturday, killing one civilian and wounding eight others, said Master Sgt. Robert Powell, of the Tikrit-based U.S. 1st Infantry Division.

Gunmen opened fire in another election center in Riyadh, a town southwest of the northern city of Kirkuk, on Friday evening, Kirkuk police said.

Iraq's insurgency appears to be consolidating in northern Iraq following intensive U.S.-led military operations in central and western Iraq aimed at uprooting militants, comprising mainly Islamic extremists and loyalists of the deposed dictator, Saddam Hussein loyalists.

Gunmen killed two men, apparently Iraqis, in execution-style slayings in the northern town of Beiji, police Capt. Hakim Ali said Saturday. The men's bodies were found, one with his hands tied behind his back.

Also near Beiji, a roadside bomb exploded, wounding four American contractors employed by Florida-based Cochise Security Inc to dispose of Saddam-era munitions in the area. Two of the wounded were hospitalized. Three Cochise employees were killed in two separate April attacks in Beiji, 155 miles north of Baghdad.

- just ahead of the elections.

Meanwhile, an Iraqi militant group calling itself the "Jihad Brigades" claimed responsibility in a video posted on a Web site Saturday for the slaying of two American contractors on Dec. 8. Joseph Wemple, a builder from Orlando, Fla., and his boss, Dale Stoffel, vice president for international development for CLI USA, died in the ambush outside Baghdad. CLI USA is a Pennsylvania-based engineering-construction contractor.

"A group of Jihad Brigades' fighters set a trap on the Taji Camp road for members of the Pentagon and the American intelligence agency, the CIA, and those who had close ties with the American President Bush," a masked man said, sitting at a table and reading from a statement. A masked, armed man stood behind him. The video showed.

"Their vehicles were attacked, and we confiscated all their weapons and possessions, including Iraqi antiquities and classified documents," the masked man said. The video showed images of passports and other documents in the two men's names. The claim could not be verified.

Saturday's violence came a day after militants carried out a bloody ambush in Mosul, 90 miles north of Beiji, killing four men, three of whom were believed to be Turkish security personnel attached to the country's embassy in Baghdad. The four bodies, including one that was decapitated, were strewn over the road and pavement near their burning Chevrolet Caprice in western Mosul, Iraq's third-largest city.

In another northern city, Kirkuk, American troops shot at a car that sped toward a checkpoint after ignoring orders to stop, military spokesman Master Sgt. Robert Powell said. The car's occupants - a man, two women and a 5-year-old girl - were wounded in the Friday shootings and hospitalized.

Everything excerpted above and highlighted in red had nothing to do with the premise of the original article. None of the above text highlighted in red relates to the interrogation and possible ensuing trials of the the 2 former Saddam aides. I'm sorry that reporters, editors and news services can't figure that out for themselves.

And the left says that there is no such thing as a biased liberal media! If so, then why the deliberate insertion of extraneous irrelevant material (amounting to 11 paragraphs, 1 sentence and 2 dependent clauses!) into this article that is supposedly about the 2 aides? I'll tell you why -- it's because the MSM and their undeniably slanted leftist viewpoint would have found the article about the pre-trial interrogation of the 2 Saddam aides to be lacking in "nuance." Nuance is a word that has been abducted and raped and perverted beyond all recognition by the left. What they consider "nuance" is nothing more than lying, distortion, deliberate deceit and manipulation of the facts and how the facts are presented.

For the story as it originally appeared, go HERE.

Try this game on any other news article from Iraq (or on any other news article where the left has an ax to grind). You would be amazed at what belongs in these articles and what does not. Perhaps one day the MSM will stop employing and promoting those who would fail even the most elementary of beginning composition classes. Unfortunately, from all appearances, they would also fail Sesame Street. There are enterprising pre-schoolers who could do a better job than they.

You've been told and NOW YOU KNOW.

Friday, December 17, 2004

The Gossamer Thin Line

Hmm. Ya' know the difference between Jeff Goldstein of Protein Wisdom and Jim Treacher of Mother, May I Sleep with Treacher?

The difference is that Goldstein is constantly treading the thin line between pure genius and pure insanity as though he were a blindfolded tightrope walker with extremely perceptive feet that might at any minute get an itch. Just like a tightrope walker, it's fascinating but still kind of scary to watch.

Treacher is staggering all over that same thin line about a mile wide on each side like your most belovèd family drunk after a 3 day binge, and damned if you don't want to join him. But I mean that in a good way. After all, at least Goldstein and Treacher have located the line, whereas I still don't get that geometry stuff. . .

You've been told and NOW YOU KNOW.

(Just kiddin', guys. Please don't go issuing any comic fatwas against me.)

;) ;) ;)

The Myth of the Christian Doormat

On this comments thread to a post by La Shawn Barber on her blog, La Shawn Barber's Corner, the very first person to comment said the following:

"It’s been my experience that American Christianity is not Christian at all and that fundamentalists are hateful towards the world. I am a Christian myself, but it’s very clear that much of American Christianity is a joke and not connected to Christ at all. It is, at best, idolotry [sic] that includes Jesus."
Comment by Michael — 12.17.04 @ 9:06 am

Note that "Michael" does not leave an e-mail address and does not leave a URL for a blog or home page. He does not give his full name. He may as well have posted anonymously. He clearly did not want a response, although he threw out this attack against "American Christianity" (as opposed to European Christianity? Asian Christianity? Australian Christianity?) and left no substantiating evidence, no basis, no convincing argument in support of his assertions. In other words, we have an unprovoked attack made with unsubstantiated assertions coming from one hiding behind the secure confines of virtual anonymity. It was an implicit attack against La Shawn and an explicit attack on American Christianity, made in public with what is apparently presumed impunity.

My comment addressed specifically to La Shawn, as well as my response addressed specifically to "Michael" on that same thread, was the following:

"La Shawn,

It is comments such as the very first one on this thread from 'Michael' that confirm for me that your decision to limit them in the future is a wise one.

Why should you be attacked in a public forum by snipers who hide in the shadows? Readers should note that 'Michael' is indeed a cowardly sniper who launches his attacks not only against you but against Christianity from the safety of virtual anonymity.

As for you, 'Michael,' it would behoove you to reflect upon the meaning of the name 'Michael.' The name is a question and it means 'Who is like God?' Here’s a hint at the answer to that question for you to meditate upon 'Michael' – it isn’t you."

Comment by Frank Villon — 12.17.04 @ 11:15 am

Astute readers who possess at least average intelligence will note that my comment was specifically addressed to La Shawn, in support of her decision to limit comments in the future, and to "Michael" in defense of La Shawn and "American Christianity." Apparently, my comment did not sit well with one of La Shawn's readers by the name of Michael E. Cummins. I take it that Mr. Cummins is not among the astute readers I mentioned above, for I was not addressing him. Although he attacked me in response to my comment, he at least had the decency, courage and courtesy (in stark contrast to the previous "Michael"!) to do so while giving his name and a link to a blog in which he takes part. The blog is The e-mail contact information for Mr. Cummins that is publically available on that blog is:

The following is what Mr. Cummins had to say to me in his comment on La Shawn's thread:

"Actually Frank, I found your reply to have more measurable venom and sarcasm than Michael’s. Whether we agree with Michael or not is another matter, but his posed an idea instead of simply criticizing another’s comments wholesale."

Comment by Michael E. Cummins — 12.17.04 @ 11:40 am

That brings us to the explanation for the title to this post. I responded to Mr. Cummins' attack in an e-mail to his listed address. The text of my e-mail to him was the following:

"Mr. Cummins,

Please exercise some discretion and discriminating discernment before castigating me for defending La Shawn Barber and American Christianity, while simultaneously coming to the defense of one who slurred American Christianity without basis or provocation.

The first 'Michael' to post on La Shawn's thread was clearly not provoked by any other commenter, least of all me; he is the first commenter on that thread and can only be responding to La Shawn's post. He gives no evidence and presents no rationale for making a blanket statement that casts aspersions on all American Christians in general.

What you unjustly characterize as venom on my part was simply pointing out facts, and what you debase as sarcasm was meant in all seriousness and based on scripture. If you don't like the Bible and lessons to be drawn from it, that is not my problem, it's yours.

In spite of 'Michael's' unprovoked attack and unsubstantiated accusations, you have the gall to take me to task for pointing that out to him and for noting that he launched his attack in virtual anonymity, without provocation.

Please refrain from attacking me in the future. It's bad enough that you incorrectly felt that you had to attack me. It's even worse that you were doing so in defense of one who makes baseless blanket statements against American Christianity.

There is no need for you to respond to this e-mail and you would be wasting your time to do so. I can assure you that I will not respond to you or your attacks again. I do not conform to the myth of the Christian doormat, which is to say that I am a Christian, but I am not a doormat.

Thank you."

Let me re-iterate that last line for the benefit of any who may be under the mistaken impression that because I am a Christian I must suffer attacks in silence: I do not conform to the myth of the Christian doormat, which is to say that I am a Christian, but I am not a doormat. Nowhere in scripture does it say that one should sit idly by when a Christian or Christians are attacked. Nowhere. We can turn the other cheek and we are exhorted to forgive those who repent and ask forgiveness, but we are not commanded to allow others to trod upon us. In other words, if you think that you are going to attack this Christian with impunity, you have another think coming.

You've been told and NOW YOU KNOW.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Happy Birthday, Beethoven!

A friend has e-mailed to remind me that today is the anniversary of the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven. Beethoven was born on December 16, 1770 in Bonn, Germany.

In honor of his birthday, some links to the words from his magnificent Ninth Symphony will be given below. Beethoven took the words from Friedrich Schiller's poem "An die Freude."

For Schiller's ode "An die Freude" in its original 1785 version with English translation, go HERE.

For Beethoven's 1823 version for use in his Ninth Symphony with English translation, go HERE.

(They may not be the best translations and I didn't do them, but they'll work.)

For the musical score (sheet music) of the symphony, go HERE.

To listen to samples of the music, go HERE.

Ah! The JOYS of both poetry and music!

You've been told and NOW YOU KNOW.

Update: You may also download and listen to this excerpt from Beethoven's Ninth Symphony HERE. (N.B. It's a .ogg file and you will probably need Winamp or a plug-in for Windows Media Player in order to listen to it after you download it.)

Favorite Lines from Novels

Among my favorite lines of all time from a novel are the following ones, which come from Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift. They are lines wherein the King of Brobdingnag tells Gulliver what he has gleaned from Gulliver's accounts of the human race:

As for yourself (continued the King) who has spent the greatest part of your life in travelling, I am well disposed to hope you may hitherto have escaped many vices of your country. But by what I have gathered from your own relation, and the answers I have with much pains wringed and extorted from you, I cannot but conclude the bulk of your natives to be the most pernicious race of little odious vermin that nature ever suffered to crawl upon the surface of the earth. [Emphasis mine.]

Yep. That's about the size of it.

You've been told and NOW YOU KNOW.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Yes, But Does It Have a Reference Section?

Jeff Goldstein of Protein Wisdom kindly points us to this article by Matt Labash that appeared in The Weekly Standard.

One of the killer quotes from the article, worthy of a Dorothy Parker, is this:

“Even by the whitewashing standards of presidential libraries, Clinton’s stands out. He comes across like a president on a job interview with historians."

Yeah, like a president on a job interview with historians who to this day doesn't know the meaning of the word "is." Well, at least now that he has his own presidential library, perhaps he can look up the meaning of that word.

You've been told and NOW YOU KNOW.

Adam's Other Rib Was for Making a Foreign Fran Fein.

Britain's top law enforcement officer, David Blunkett, resigned today after acknowledging that his department fast-tracked a visa for his former lover's nanny. Read about it here.

First Bernard Kerik here in the U.S. and his illegal alien nanny problems, now this in Britain.

You know, I find it extremely interesting that those in both nations who are the strongest advocates for "immigrant labor" always defend their stance by saying that the immigrants are only taking jobs that nobody else wants to do. I guess that explains all the immigrant nannies. I take it this also means they are at last confessing that as parents they want nothing to do with their own spawn. Well, thanks for the confession of sorts.

How nice to know these parents don't want to be responsible for caring for their children. It's a job that they themselves don't want to do. Peachy. Then they compound the offense by hiring the cheapest foreign labor they can find. Gee, if I had their money, I'm sure I'd want the cheapest "help" I could find to raise my children for me. That way I could have my neglected brats that I foisted off on some bargain basement illegal alien grow up to be absolutely worthless and simultaneously I would have the advantage of being able to deny culpability for the way they turned out.

That's why God in His infinite wisdom created Adam, and then took one of Adam's ribs to make Eve, and then took another rib to make Josefina Maria Teresa Lourdes Guadalupe Juanita Luisa Conchita to look after the kids.


You've been told and NOW YOU KNOW.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Crossroads Arabia -- Added to Blogroll

I want to call your attention to a blog about which I have only recently become aware. The name of the blog is Crossroads Arabia. In the words of the creator of that site, "Crossroads Arabia is a site dedicated to the proposition that US-Saudi relations are important for both countries and that they will remain mutually important for the foreseeable future." You can read those words and the rest, in context, here.

I became aware of this blog when reading this comments thread at Protein Wisdom. The writer of the blog Crossroads Arabia, John, has knowledge and experience that, in his own words, is based on "25 years as a US Foreign Service Officer, primarily in the Middle East, and over 40 years of having lived in Muslim countries or countries where Islam was professed by significant minorities."

I have added Crossroads Arabia to my blogroll which appears on the left hand side of this blog. I hope that you will give John and his blog some of your time and attention. Read it. You won't be sorry that you did.

You've been told and NOW YOU KNOW.

Monday, December 13, 2004

It's a Bunny-ful Life!

With a title like that for this post, I bet you're all thinking of Jeff Goldstein from Protein Wisdom and his hilarious John Edwards photos.

But not this time. No, this time I stole it from, cough cough, I mean I borrowed it from RickinVA of Brutally Honest, who posted about it here.

Watch this 30 second condensed spoof of Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life, all with animated bunnies.

It's too funny.

You've been told and NOW YOU KNOW.

Update: If you liked the bunny version of It's a Wonderful Life, it's makers also have 30 second condensed bunny versions of The Exorcist, The Shining, Titanic, Alien, and Jaws available for viewing at their home page.

You've been told and NOW YOU KNOW even more.

Popular Opinion vs. Reason

What would happen if they conducted a popular opinion poll on what 2 + 2 equals? What if the current popular opinion was that it makes 5 1/2?

That's what I've been asking myself as I've seen many in the blogsphere (I don't like the term "blogOsphere." So sue me.) bemoaning the situation with the proposed new head of the Department of Homeland Security, Bernard Kerik, who had to withdraw from consideration due to having had an illegal alien as a nanny in his employ.

To read some of my fellow conservatives, one might get the impression that Kerik was a martyr, just the latest whipping boy of the left. Some who proclaim themselves to be Rightwing are coming to Kerik's defense and basically saying that hiring an illegal alien is no big deal, and after all, it's such a good thing to hire illegal aliens! After all, everybody hires them, don't they? Then these supposed conservatives recount anecdotes wherein people look at it with pride because they have hired scofflaw aliens who "struggle to learn English" and make something of themselves here in America.

Please. Please spare me the violins and the Valentines for all the poor law breaking illegal immigrants, won't you? For the love of God, you are starting to sound like limousine liberals! These illegals are taxing the system and the taxpayers past the breaking point, to say nothing of the crime and blight that accompanies them. So, some of you live in border states and are getting all misty eyed about your lawbreaking amigos and amigas. Isn't that just special? I live in Arizona, a border state, and went to the trouble of learning Spanish (in addition to other foreign languages) but I have had more than enough of the coddling of criminals and the pooh-poohing of the law. When you pooh-pooh our immigration laws, you poop on the entire law. Don't you see that? Don't you "get it"? How gross and graphic must I be to get you to wake up?

Fortunately, there are at least a couple of conservative bloggers who "get it." Thank you, Lord, for Michelle Malkin and La Shawn Barber!

From Malkin, we are treated to this gem that proves she "gets" that 2 + 2 = 4:

I find it annoying that Bernard Kerik is getting praised in some quarters for "coming clean" and "accepting responsibility" for his "mistake." From all accounts, including Kerik's own, President Bush's aides asked him upfront about the nanny question several times during the vetting process and he did not come clean.

Kerik didn't just make some minor clerical error. He misled the White House. So, stop making him a martyr.


And from La Shawn Barber:

So Kerik, Bush’s choice for Homeland Security chief, employed an illegal alien to take care of his kids. First of all, the president supports the employment of illegal aliens to the point where he wants to grant them amnesty. Only if Bush were hard-line anti-illegal immigration would this episode be truly embarrassing.

Hear, hear! You know, if you wish to sparkle as a conservative, take a cue from Malkin and Barber.

Otherwise, when you call yourself a conservative but keep coming up with emotionally based popular opinion conclusions that 2 + 2 = 5 1/2, people won't take you seriously anymore. People will question your logic. People will doubt your claims of conservatism. People will think that you've just lost your sparkly marbles.

Bottom line? Kerik mucked up. Get over it. Furthermore, those that would defend the hiring of illegal aliens had better re-examine their concept of right and wrong, not to mention their concept of right and left.

You've been told and NOW YOU KNOW.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

2004 Weblog Awards - DEADLINE today!

Just a gentle reminder that today is the last day to vote in the 2004 Weblog Awards sponsored by Wizbang! (No, I'm not in the running and rightly so. However, I can encourage you to vote for those who are daily busting their backsides to bring you news, entertainment, viewpoints, and excellent writing.)

Head on over there and cast your vote for your favorite blogs in all the categories.

You've been told and NOW YOU KNOW.

What would your "Gift of the Magi" be?

With Christmas approaching, I thought I would pose that question.

We know from the Bible [Matthew 2:11] that the gifts of the magi for the Christ child were frankincense, gold and myrrh -- valuable commodities in that time and place.

In a short story titled "The Gift of the Magi" by O. Henry (the pen name of William Sydney Porter) the characters James Dillingham Young (Jim) and his wife Della are poor. For Christmas, they both sacrifice their most valued possession in order to buy the other a beautiful gift. Jim sells his family heirloom gold pocket watch to buy Della pure tortoise shell combs with jewelled rims for her long, luxuriant beautiful hair. Della has her hair cut and sells it to buy Jim a platinum fob chain for his pocket watch.

So my question to you is, what do you cherish or prize the most that you would be willing to sacrifice for the one you love? What valuable thing would you be willing to sell? Be serious and keep it clean. Don't say you would sell your "sexual favors" because I'm talking about something, you know, that's actually of some value.

However, "value," much like "beauty" is in the eye of the beholder. Remember the Christmas song The Little Drummer Boy? He is poor and has nothing to give to the baby Jesus, so he plays his drum for Him. If you have a similar situation, something similar to the drum playing does count as your "gift of the magi" for the purposes of my question.

I suppose it wouldn't be fair to ask the question of others and not answer it myself. If I had to sacrifice something, it would probably be one or more of my books. (Before you scoff, you should know that I have some very rare and expensive books, some old and irreplaceable books, and even some sentimental books with which I would not part lightly.) Or perhaps my piano (not really a treasure to anyone else, but it is to me).

Now go think about this. Play this "game" with friends. Exercise some introspection.

You've been told and NOW YOU KNOW.

When Does One Celebrate the 12 Days of Christmas?

Of course, the title to this post is a rhetorical question because I'm not asking you, I'm going to tell you. Here it is, the 3rd Sunday in Advent and I had not yet posted anything in the spirit of the Christmas season. It's time to remedy that.

It's curious, but some people actually aren't aware of when to celebrate the 12 days of Christmas. They've heard the song, they know of the partridges in pear trees, but they haven't a clue about when the 12 days start and when they end.

I've asked people the question in the title to this post, curious to learn their thoughts about it. Many are under the impression that there is no such thing as the 12 days of Christmas and there never was, except as a fiction for the sake of the song. Others believe that it was a quaint custom, observed sometime back then in the time period known to them as "yore," and that the 12 days would begin 12 days before Christmas and culminate with a big celebration on Christmas day itself.

Both views above are incorrect. The Twelve Days of Christmas begin on Christmas day and end on January 5th, the day before the feast of the Epiphany.

Have you ever heard of the play by William Shakespeare called Twelfth Night? Well, "twelfth night" is the night of the 12th day of Christmas, the evening before the feast of the Epiphany.

Oh, and if you are wondering how much the gifts in the song would cost now, it runs to about
$17, 300 US according to this article.

You've been told and NOW YOU KNOW.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

France as Fangorn Forest?

Little Green Footballs in this post points us to a fascinating piece by the always insightful and intelligent Victor Davis Hanson. In VDH's attention arresting article titled The Ents of Europe: Strange rumblings on the continent, he proposes a Middle Earth paradigm for Europe based on the Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien. My interest was specifically piqued by VDH's question regarding France:

. . . More specifically, does the Ents analogy work for present-day Europe? Before you laugh at the silly comparison, remember that the Western military tradition is European. Today the continent is unarmed and weak, but deep within its collective mind and spirit still reside the ability to field technologically sophisticated and highly disciplined forces — if it were ever to really feel threatened. One murder began to arouse the Dutch; what would 3,000 dead and a toppled Eiffel Tower do to the French? Or how would the Italians take to a plane stuck into the dome of St. Peter?

. . . Things are no less humiliating — or dangerous — in France. Thousands of unassimilated Muslims mock French society. Yet their fury shapes its foreign policy to the degree that Jacques Chirac sent a government plane to sweep up a dying Arafat. But then what do we expect from a country that enriched Hamas, let
Mrs. Arafat spend her husband's embezzled millions under its nose, gave Khomeini the sanctuary needed to destroy Iran, sold a nuclear reactor to Saddam, is at the heart of the Oil-for-Food scandal, and revs up the Muslim world against the United States?

. . . So will the old Ents awaken, or will they slumber on, muttering nonsense to themselves, lost in past grandeur and utterly clueless about the dangers on their borders? [All emphasis mine.]

Yes, indeed, what would 3,000 dead and a toppled Eiffel Tower do to the French? A good indication of the answer to that question lies in the 2nd paragraph that I excerpted above: i.e. France would continue to do pretty much what it is already doing now. However, you can be fairly certain that in addition to all that, a massive terrorist attack on France would merely increase their hatred of and rhetoric against the U.S. and Israel. You see, France is not the quiet, isolated, mysterious, unknown and somewhat feared Fangorn forest. No forgotten ancient power from the mists of the past slumbers there in peaceful isolation while the rest of the world spirals toward darkness.

Jacques Chirac is no Treebeard. He doesn't have the wisdom of long ages of existence, experience and learning. He does not share Treebeard's basic belief in pacifism through isolation and neutrality. Furthermore, he certainly doesn't share Treebeard's feeling of horror that was aroused to a righteous fury at seeing his neighbors hewn down by Saruman.

The French are not Ents. True, like the Ents, the numbers of the French are declining and the world that they once knew in times long past is drastically changing. Perhaps, if one were to be exceedingly charitable and liberal to the point of excessiveness, a case might even be made that like the Ents, the French long only for a now forgotten past and for a slower, less hasty pace of world events that seem to be evolving and changing too quickly, leaving no time for sufficiently lengthy deliberation. However, the Ents did not have their wisdom-worn gnarled twigs and branches stuck in all of Saruman's and Sauron's pies. The Ents were not actively engaged with the enemy. The Ents were not entangled in financially lucrative and politically self-serving alliances with Orcs and Trolls. The Ents were not pursuing a course of obstructionism against Elves, Men, Hobbits, Dwarves and the other free peoples of Middle Earth.

No, the French are not Ents and they are not even Dutch. France is not Holland. No powerful wrath lies slumbering in France, just waiting to be awakened by the right impetus of a grave wrong done to her. If the Islamofascists were to kill 3,000 French citizens, topple the Eiffel Tower and occupy and govern Paris, a hefty portion of the French would collaborate with their invaders while a less sizeable contingent might try to flee, form an underground resistance, or simply wait in servitude and degradation hoping for outside intervention to deliver them.

No, France is no Fangorn forest, Chirac is no Treebeard, the French are not Ents. If push comes to shove, we may very well find that an alarmingly high proportion of the French are Dunlanders, already in league with the enemy, and more than willing to besiege us in Helm's Deep. After all, in criticizing and obstructing and attacking the U.S.'s interests, they are not seeking to destroy the power of the One Ring; they are only subjugating themselves to Islamofascist forces of darkness in hopes of gaining the promise of power of the nine rings given to mortal men, a false promise that in the end would merely subject them to the Evil which is determined to rule them all.

"One ring to rule them all, One ring to find them,
One ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them."

You've been told and NOW YOU KNOW.

Friday, December 10, 2004

And in This Corner, Jim Treacher

Jim Treacher of Mother, May I Sleep with Treacher shows that he has the stuff to be a contender. That's a powerful one-two that you've got there, Treacher. Take that, Scrappleface!

Cue music from the motion picture "Rocky" starring Sylvester Stallone:

Getting strong now
won't be long now
getting strong now

Gonna fly now
flying high now
gonna fly, fly, fly...

Don't forget to vote today for all your favorite bloggers in all the categories at the Weblog Awards.

You've been told and NOW YOU KNOW.


. . . in order to provide passengers with yet another opportunity to be obnoxious and unbearable at 30,000 feet above the ground. Via Drudge comes this article.

If you've been reading this blog for awhile, then you know how I feel about cell phones and their use in public. If you haven't been reading it, here's a sample of my opinion of cell phones and their inconsiderate users.

When it comes to cell phones, illegal immigration, and John McCain, be prepared for me not only to beat those horses until they're dead, but to continue beating them until the bloody pulverized carcasses become dessicated, crumble into dust and blow away on the wind. And even then I'll still be chasing down the particles with a club.

Therefore, I'm telling you again: The use of cell phones in public, where you subject those around you to hearing your private conversation is R-U-D-E. Not only is it rude, it is also completely unnecessary. Although it may pain you to be made aware of this, you are not the leader of the free world and you do not need to be connected 24/7 to a cell phone. You simply are not that important. Don't give me that horse crap about being a parent having to be connected with your children. One does not phone in parenthood. Children have been being raised for millenia without cell phones. Your cell phone "emergency use" generally consists of babbling, prattling, chattering, gossiping, and in general making a public spectacle of the fact that you are braying jackass with the capability to bray from any given location to others at a distance. That hardly constitutes a giant leap forward for the progress and enlightenment of mankind.

Pry that damned thing away from your thick skull that surrounds your empty head and don't subject those surrounding you to your inane private prate. You do not need a cell phone on a commercial jet liner. It will not save you from terrorists, it will not prevent the plane from crashing, it will not allow you to arrive at your destination any faster, it will not substitute for your absence on the ground if there were a real emergency. Stop deluding yourself about your own importance and keep your private conversations private.

You've been told and NOW YOU KNOW.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Famous Atheist Now Believes in God. . .

. . . and is still every bit as damned as when he did not.

I found this article on the Drudge Report. A brief excerpt follows below, but read the whole thing for yourself at the link which has been provided for you:

At age 81, after decades of insisting belief is a mistake, Antony Flew has concluded that some sort of intelligence or first cause must have created the universe. A super-intelligence is the only good explanation for the origin of life and the complexity of nature, Flew said in a telephone interview from England.

Flew said he's best labeled a deist like Thomas Jefferson, whose
God was not actively involved in people's lives.

"I'm thinking of a God very different from the God of the Christian and far and away from the God of Islam, because both are depicted as omnipotent Oriental despots, cosmic Saddam Husseins," he said. "It could be a person in the sense of a being that has intelligence and a purpose, I suppose."

This poor, deluded, blasphemous man. Obviously he has no knowledge whatsoever of Christianity to call our God an "Oriental despot, a cosmic Saddam Hussein." As for his deism, deism and atheism are the two sides of a counterfeit coin, the false currency that will pay for nothing but the one-way trip to hell. I thought of writing to illustrate everything that is wrong with deism, but then I remembered the belovèd Blaise Pascal, that brilliant scientific mind of the 17th century. Why should I reinvent the wheel? Pascal said it so beautifully (as he said everything beautifully) so why should you have to read my words when the words of one of the world's greats are already there, ready made? For those of you who are not already familiar with Pascal, he was a French mathematician and physicist who founded the modern theory of probabilities. A true genius, he invented the first digital calculator. His studies in geometry, hydrodynamics, and hydrostatic and atmospheric pressure led him to invent the syringe and the hydraulic press. He was the first to enunciate the principle which we know as Pascal's Law regarding fluid mechanics. Pascal was ahead of the crowd and ahead of his time. However, I do not bring him up because of his brilliant achievements in math and science. I mention him because he knew all about people of Antony Flew's ilk. There truly is nothing new under the sun, as the Bible tells us [Ecclesiastes 1:9]. Pascal already had the response to those who believe in some "clockmaker God" that made the "clock" of the universe and then disappeared [my English translation follows the French text. Just scroll down]:

Je ne puis pardonner à Descartes: il voudrait bien, dans toute la
philosophie, se pouvoir passer de Dieu; mais il n'a pu s'empecher de lui donner une chiquenaude pour mettre le monde en mouvement; après cela, il n'a plus que faire de Dieu . . .

Cette connaissance, sans Jésus-Christ, est inutile et stérile. Quand un homme serait persuadé que les proportions des nombres sont des vérités immatérielles, éternelles et dépendantes d'une première vérité en qui elles subsistent, et qu'on appelle Dieu, je ne le trouverais pas beaucoup avancé pour son salut . . .

Le Dieu des chrétiens ne consiste pas en un Dieu simplement auteur des vérités géométriques et de l'ordre des éléments; c'est la part des païens et des épicuriens.

I cannot forgive Descartes: in his whole philosophy, he would like to be able to do without God; but he couldn't help allowing Him a snap of the fingers to set the world in motion; after that he had no further use for God . . .

This knowledge, without Jesus Christ, is useless and sterile. Were a man convinced that the proportions between numbers are immaterial, eternal truths, dependent on a first truth in which they subsist that is called God, I would not find him much advanced toward his salvation. . .

The Christian God does not consist of a God who is merely the author of mathematical truths and the order of the elements; that is the stance of pagans and Epicureans. [Translation and emphasis mine.]

I pity those that can at last bring themselves grudgingly to believe in a God but can do no more, for they are every bit as lost as those who believe in no God at all. Deists would call a distant or no longer existent God "you" when addressing Him, but you and I would know to call Him "thou" and feel Him close. I know many, many people who believe there is a God (which, when you think of it, is really no great stretch of the mind or credulity!) and yet that is as far as their thoughts go. Pascal realized that it was not far enough. Read his Pensées (i.e. "Thoughts") in translation. Especially read his wager. Don't forget when reading his wager that this man founded modern probability theory. One aristocrat even wanted Pascal to use his genius to help the aristocrat with his gambling! Pascal knew a thing or two about odds.

My eyes are very tired now. I apologize for cutting this short. If my translation of the French above is less than graceful, I plead my fatigue and the fact that I translated it very quickly.

You've been told and NOW YOU KNOW.

Ye, Thou, You -- The Second Person and Its Crew

Following on the heels of my immensely popular and educationally significant previous posts, here is a lesson in one of the by-gone glories of the English language that can help you to understand works in Early Modern English a little better. It's as simple as understanding the differences between the words ye, thou and you. Yes, there are differences in the meaning of each of those words.

In the English of the King James Bible and William Shakespeare, there were three separate ways of expressing that which we now express only by the word you. Each of the three words to which I am referring had its own specialization. [Pay attention! This knowledge will help make you enormously popular at parties, increase your sex appeal, get you high paying jobs and even higher paying promotions and extend your youth and lifespan! Ok, maybe not, but it will add to your knowledge, help improve your mind and even help you understand some foreign languages better. Truly.] In other words the three words for expressing "you"(i.e. the second person) did not all express exactly the same thing.

Of the three, let's start with the one word that we have kept in modern usage. "You" was (and still is) the subject pronoun used to express the second person, singular. However, "you" once also served a function which it has now lost. That function was to express formality, politeness, when addressing someone. Of the three words for expressing the second person, "you" was the one used when addressing strangers or one's superiors. "You" implied a figurative distance between the speaker and the person being addressed. Using "you" to address someone was roughly analagous to today's practice of addressing someone whom you do not know well or who is your superior by "Mr." or "Mrs." and their last name. See how our use of honorifics or titles is more formal, less familiar than addressing a person by his first name? "You" signified this more formal, less familiar relationship with the person that one was addressing as "you."

So, what purpose do you suppose "thou" served? "Thou" was used to express familiarity with the person whom one was addressing. "Thou" was always singular and used for addressing a peer, a friend, a close family member, or a loved one. "Thou" expressed a closeness between the speaker and the one being addressed by that term. It would be somewhat analogous to calling someone by their first name today or by a nickname. N.B. (nota bene, or pay attention) If there was no such closeness or familiarity between the speaker and the addressee, "thou" was being used ironically as an insult, similar to calling a virtual stranger "honey" or "hey, you!" It would be like addressing her majesty Queen Elizabeth II as "Lizzie, baby!" or President Bush as "Yo! Georgie!"

If you wonder why the translators of the KJV Bible chose the "thou" form when translating Christ's words, "Get thee behind me, Satan. . ." [Matthew 16:23, Mark 8:33] it is to show that Christ was saying, "you are not greater than I." It is a demonstration of scorn.

According to the 18th century French writer Voltaire in his Lettres philosophiques, an judge in England had George Fox, the founder of the Quakers, thrown in jail for addressing him as "thou." The Quakers used (and still use!) "thou" for addressing everyone because they felt that no person was more important or more deserving of respect than any other. Thus they chose "thou," the familiar form, as a leveler to eliminate the appearance of special treatment based on social class or distinction.

The last of the three forms of "you" was "ye." It was used to express the second person, plural. Whether one was addressing people who would normally be called "you" (i.e. singular and formal, polite) or "thou" (i.e. singular and informal, familiar), if one was addressing more than one of them, the word to use was "ye."

Because English has long since discarded this form, it is constantly searching for innovative ways to express plurality in the second person. Athough in Modern English "you" correctly expresses the singular or the plural, people are constantly trying to add something to distinguish between whether they mean "you" singular or "you" plural. A perfect example is the use in the southern part of the U.S. of "y'all" (i.e. you all). I've even heard and seen in writing the abominable use of "you'uns" (i.e. you ones) or "youse" (i.e. an attempt to make "you" plural by sticking an "s" on the end). All of these would at one time have been "ye" as in "O Ye of little faith!"

N.B. (yes, again with the nota bene): The "Ye" of such phrases as "Ye Olde Curiosity Shoppe" has absolutely nothing to do whatsoever with the word "ye" that was just explained. In fact, the "Ye" of "Ye Olde . . ." isn't even supposed to be pronounced "ye." It is the word "the." The confusion for modern readers is due to there once being a printer's symbol to abbreviate the "Th" sound and that symbol resembled somewhat a capital letter "Y," but it was not pronounced nor was it intended to be pronounced "y" but rather "th." The same thing applies to when this symbol was used on signs of businesses or other establishments.

You are now permitted to lapse into a coma from boredom.

Ye have been told and now ye know. Thou hast been told and now thou knowest. You've been told and NOW YOU KNOW.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

You're a Better Man Than I Am, Gunga Din!

Here are a few brief lines from masterpieces about self-sacrifice in the service of one's fellow men:

Din! Din! Din!
You Lazarushian-leather Gunga Din!
Tho' I've belted you an' flayed you,
By the livin' Gawd that made you,
You're a better man than I am, Gunga Din!

From "Gunga Din" by Rudyard Kipling

I yield, yield, yield,
To the Thesean courage and grit you wield!
Tho' many say they want to slay her,
None till now have said they'd lay her,
You're a braver man than I am, Percifield!
From "Percifield" by Frank Villon

In the name of all that is good and holy, get thee over to Beautiful Atrocities and stop him from going through with this madness!

You've been told and NOW YOU KNOW.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

For Your Amusement

Just to show you that the merriment and laughs never end here at NOW YOU KNOW, I've scoured the blogs to rip-off (um, I mean borrow and give a hat tip to the bloggers of) the following pastimes for your benefit:

Virtual bubble wrap for you to pop. (h/t Ace of Spades HQ)

Holiday hijinks with the Burger King version of The Carol of the Bells. (h/t Beck from the blog Incite. Ok, yeah, I stole it, er, ahem, I mean, in the spirit of Christmas sharing I appropriated it from a comments thread at Protein Wisdom.)

History and art combine, hilarity ensues with this Do-It-Yourself Bayeux Tapestry. (h/t The Commissar from The Politburo Diktat.)

Make War, Not Love! Toy around with this virtual Trebuchet [i.e. a medieval war engine for hurling large stones.] (h/t Robert of The Llama Butchers.)

Teach your children the valuable lesson of democracy in action with this educational demonstration on the electoral process. Warning: May contain graphic sex and violence. Parental supervision required.

As for me, I have more cerebral pastimes, like surfing over to Protein Wisdom and hitting the refresh button over and over again until my quote comes up in Jeff's rotating testimonials in the upper left hand corner of his blog. How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Tootsie Pop? Evidently far fewer than the number of times I've had to hit refresh for this game. Try it, you'll like it.

You've been told and NOW YOU KNOW.