Monday, March 28, 2005

Free Music

A couple free downloads worthy of your attention:

The Decemberists - "Engine Driver"

M. Ward - "Sad, Sad Song"


Thursday, March 24, 2005

What's for dinner?

This gives a whole new meaning to "finger foods."


You can see a black and white photo of the finger here.


Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Spurgeon on Nature's Refreshment

"He who forgets the humming of the bees among the heather, the cooing of the wood-pigeons in the forest, the song of the birds in the woods, the rippling of rills among the rushes, and the sighing of the wind among the pines, needs not wonder if his heart forgets to sing and his soul grows heavy. A day's breathing of fresh air upon the hills, or a few hours' ramble in the beech woods' umbrageous calm, would sweep the cobwebs out of the brain of scores of our toiling ministers who are now but half alive. A mouthful of sea air, or a stiff walk in the wind's face, would not give grace to the soul, but it would yield oxygen to the body, which is the next best...The firs and the rabbits, the streams and the trouts, the fir trees and the squirrels, the primroses and the violets, the farm-yard, the new-mown hay, and the fragrant hops - these are the best medicine for hypochonriacs, the surest tonics for the declining, the best refreshments for the weary. For lack of opportunity, or inclination, these remedies are neglected, and the student becomes a self-immolated victim."

-Charles Spurgeon

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Monday, March 21, 2005

English Standard Version

I ran across John Piper's thoughts on the English Standard Version. In my experience, I agree with him that the ESV flows a bit better than the NASB, but I haven't used the NIV enough to fairly compare the two.



Sunday, March 20, 2005

New Music

Hammock - Kenotic

For fans of Sigur Ros, Radiohead, and the like.

That is all.


Saturday, March 19, 2005

Spring Break 2005

IMG_0010iAnother year's spring break has come and gone. This year I spent the week in the Medicine Bow range just north of Rocky Mountain National Park. Nine of us from Berean spent five days and nights in tents and yurts in the area. Some highlights of the trip include:

-Experiencing the best weather I've ever seen in the mountains during the winter. We hiked in on fresh powder that had fallen the night before we got there and had perfectly clear weather for the next three days.
-Discovering that Sigur Ros is the perfect music by which to appreciate the winter mountain landscape. The album "()" played while the fresh powder softly crunched beneath my snowshoes and I gawked at windswept peaks with their intimidating cornices. Something about the sonic space that Sigur Ros creates fit perfectly with the vast stretches of untouched IMG_0088ipowder and snow-dusted pines. I also discovered that Muse, Interpol, and Thievery Corporation make the best motivational music when you're dead-tired of hauling your pack up steep inclines.

-Building a quarter-mile long sled run down one of the trails. The run took a couple sharp turns, where we built up snowbanks in order to make the turns. As I flew down the trail luge-style on my back in the sled, careening up the bank and barely making the first sharp turn, it occurred to me that I was racing down the best sled run I'd ever been on.

-Watching Grant hit the first banked turn on a test run, fly off the sled, and land face-first into the snow, narrowly missing a stand of pine trees. IMG_0080i

-Learning the luxuries of yurt camping. The first night some of us spent in tents at a high camp in order to get on the ridge the next day. However, the next four nights were spent in yurts, stationary tents that are more like cabins, equipped with propane stoves, bunk beds, and a fireplace.

-Having wonderful meals of pasta with shrimp in a garlic cheese sauce and another of beef with fresh vegetables and mushrooms. Quite an improvement over the usual fare of Clif bars and freeze-dried backpacking dinners.



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A Legislative Week in Review

Unlike my friends, I was fortunate enough to spend Spring Break working at the Nebraska Legislature rather than doing something dull and frivolous like mountain climbing or skiing or something. Okay, so I was actually rather jealous of those friends who escaped the drudgery of everday life to do something fun. Still, there were enough interesting events to make things seem like they weren't too terribly bad. The following is a list of the week's highlights.

In a committee hearing I was paging (I was responsible for making sure that senators had enough coffee and water to stay happy as well as passing out any handouts testifiers might have brought), the bill in question was one that involved elevator safety inspections. There were quite a few people who showed up to testify, but one man in particular had a great interest in the bill.

Testifier: I've spent a lot of time--a lot of years--working on this stuff. As a matter of fact, my wife is ready to leave me.
Senator on the Committee: (Nervously) We hope that isn't the case.
Chairman of the Committee: (At the end of the testifier's time) Well, thank you for coming today. I suggest that you buy some flowers and go home right now.


Senator Ernie Chambers was railing against Christians (again), mocking their "...pontificating, religiosity, etc..." At this point, another senator smirked and remarked, "'Religiosity'? Now, I know that's not a word." He then looked at a group of pages that included me and asked, "It's not a word, is it?" I sort of grimaced and nodded to indicate that religiosity was, in fact a word. He looked away and didn't say anything else.

One of my fellow pages asked, "Did you just tell a senator that he was wrong?" Oh, crap.


Senator Ernie Chambers has a way of using stories and metaphors that are only incidentally (extremely incidentally) related to the subject at hand to make his point. On this occasion, Chambers was trying to make a point that people were trying to garner his support for a bill by providing a few good things among several bad things, and that, moreover, the "good" things were not actually very good. So, he says, "These people are holding out this bill to me saying, 'Look at the candy in it,' even though the candy is submerged in a foul substance that I refuse to eat. And even the candy is not good candy, but--and you young people won't know what this is--the candy is horehound. When we were kids on Halloween, if we got horehound, we knew that that house was going to get a trick."

At the end of the day, I went up to Senator Chambers and said, "Senator, I love horehound. I buy it wherever I can find it." He said, "Is that right? I always thought that it was terrible. Well, if I ever find it, I'll buy it and give it to you. Of course, if I do, Health and Human Services will write me up for child abuse."


Thursday was St. Patrick's Day. To celebrate the occassion, men played bagpipes in kilts outside the capitol. Also, some lobbyist or something brought green-dyed corned beef and rye sandwiches which were pretty good. Okay, I'll admit--Thursday was straight-up boring. Nothing much at all really happened.


Well, Friday was actually a recess day, so the legislature wasn't in session. I didn't work but had actually come home the day before. Still, Ben and I watched a great documentary called Ernie Chambers: Still Militant After All These Years. There was some great stuff in it, like footage of when Senator Chambers had corn rows. Also, it includes a twenty or twenty-five-year-old clip of when Senator Beutler (still a senator as well) said that Chambers was lying about something--Chambers pushes Beutler away from his microphone and says, "Mr. President, that is uncalled for. If he wants to call me a liar, let him call me a liar outside." What was really amazing was that, in this documentary produced ten years ago, Chambers wore the same shirts that he still wears to this day.

I would recommend watching this clip of the video (which includes the Beutler-Chambers footage)--it gives a good picture of what Chambers is like that goes above and beyond what you'll read about him in the news.

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Friday, March 11, 2005

Public Transportation

The guys on the bus from one of the neighborhood group homes were discussing politics today. Here's what I overheard:

Guy 1: We should never have gone to war.

Guy 2: Yeah. You know what we should do...I think we should throw Sadaam in jail. Probably for almost ten years.

Guy 1: More like for life. Lock him up for life.


Guy 1: Gas is $2.04. I should have voted for Kerry. I should have voted for John Kerry. Instead I voted for Bush. Ever since he got elected for five more years, gas prices have gone up.

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Thursday, March 03, 2005

Perseverance of the Saints

I realized that this will be the fiftieth post on this blog (or something like that), so I wanted to make it extra special. Thus, I'm going to include some of the spam that I get--after all, it brightens my day!

You see, after some of my legitimate e-mail (in my Yahoo! account - ended up in my bulk mail folder, I have been forced to check absolutely every message I got to make sure that I wasn't deleting anything important. But, as much as I thought this was going to be a pain, I've have really been enjoying some of the spam subject lines I skim--there are really stupid people out there sending these things. So, I wanted to share my spam with you, because one man's junk mail is another man's treasure.

  • "Everyone need this Jimsen12" - Jimsen12? Are they really thinking I'll open this and read it?
  • "Notice About Your 2004 Military Benefits" - Thanks guys! You see, Mr. Lumbergh told me to talk to payroll and payroll told me to talk to Mr. Lumbergh and I still have not received my paycheck and they moved my desk to storage room B and there was garbage on it. So, it's good to finally get this official notice to straighten everything out.
  • "Be Careful with this information" - Thanks for the heads-up. I will take the utmost care with this information. Baleeted!
  • "Advance in Pay; On the Way" - Hmmmm. Obviously these spammers don't have a sophisticated enough system to realize that I am an English major and therefore able to use a semicolon properly.
  • "Imagine sweaty young army guys is naked-male bootcamp" - I guess it's good sometimes that I don't have a very good imagination.
  • "Delivery Confirmation #3658-VACC6735" - Yes! My fondue pot is on the way!
  • "Internal Memo #3932 Overnight Pay Advance for Jacob Gerber" - First, I want to know who in the Clerk's Office is leaking internal memos. Second, I want to know who is taking the time to write internal memos about the pay rates of Legislative Pages. Third, I want to know why there is a numbering system for such memos. Fourth, I want to know how dumb these people think I am.
  • "Are these dates free?" - That's a good question. Delteated!
  • "Christian home refinancing do it the christian way" - The "christian" way? Is that a little more perverse than the "Christian" way? Does this in some way include a demigod named "christ"? Intriguing...

So far, this has all been nothing to cause a flagrant system error or anything, but I really wonder how spammers make money. After all, I would never, ever buy anything that was advertised through a spam message. Second, I rarely even open the messages because the subject lines are such dead giveaways as to their origin that they aren't worth my time. What fools out there are creating this niche?

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