Thursday, October 31, 2002

locdog takes a good look at Halloween, link via Josh Claybourn

Google thinks Jesus is ...

link via Bene Diction.

Mark continues his Muggle Moment ...

Not sure what to say other than:
  • Mark needs to undertand what is and is not allegory
  • Mark should read the books he intends to comment on. It drives me nuts when people who haven't read the Bible comment on it, same goes for "Harry Potter".
  • and yes most non-Xian books won't look to God for the ultimate answer, what a shock. Course that would apply to entertainment, sports, news media as well. So why pick on "Harry Potter"?

    PS Nowheresville USA takes Mark to task for his postion on Halloween, well worth a read.
  • Wednesday, October 30, 2002

    Mike's Spot On The Wall

    • Busy Yet Fun
      It has been very busy at work. I'm working on an e-commerce interface for our college bookstore and there's a lot of work.

      In the evenings I'm reading the Gandalara Cycle. It's a great series that has quite a story around it as well as in it. The original author who began the series contracted meningitis but worked out the plot details with his wife who completed the series after he passed away. In spite of that I find the story quite moving and beautiful.

    Mike's Walk

    Tuesday, October 29, 2002

    Muggles are unfailingly literal, deaf to metaphor, blind to the central reality of what Chesterton calls "the poetical side of man" -- that behind the ordinary facade of atoms and death lurks an enchanted world indeed. The literal-minded critic has no choice but to defend Muggles, since to do otherwise would be to raise the possibility of a world beyond the reliable borders of a strictly literal interpretation of human existence.

    Harry Potter vs the Muggles - Myth, Magic & "Joy"
    By Mike Hertenstein

    I think Mark Byron was having a Muggle Moment.

    Update: A Reply to Mark's comment

    Just to make things clearer for Mark, since I don't think he read the article, his Muggle Moment is along these lines

    understanding poetry and myth primarily as vehicles of doctrine, which [muggles] presume to sift out and graph as one-to-one correspondances, i.e. the Star Wars' Force = Eastern religion, or, to raise our present subject, the magic of Harry Potter connects precisely with dark supernatural powers.

    On the elitism charge:

    Yes, in "Harry Potter" only a few poeple are Wizzards and Witches, but in "Harry Potter" there are good Wizzards and Witches and evil Wizzards and Witches, there are good muggles and evil muggles. In the books being a wizzard doesn't equal having access to God. Mark is trying to make a 1 to 1 map from his world view, that for the most part I share, and the "Harry Potter" world. The aproach just doesn't work. Might as well make the same compairson to the NBA. The NBA is bad cause we all can't be gifted enought to be in the NBA but we all can have the gift of the Holy Spirit. Mark: read the article, and then read Harry Potter.

    Mark read the article, but still misses the point, but as least he gives it good go. A for effort, I'll reply tonight.


    The fear of the LORD leads to life:
    Then one rests content, untouched by trouble.

    - Proverbs 19:23

    That's my prayer this morning as I head into an interview with a potential client, oh the joys of consulting.


    Monday, October 28, 2002

    Salon has in interesting article on the History of Halloween: Primeval terror (since 1929)


    Sunday, October 27, 2002

    Why is it that a large number of Christians are afraid of Halloween? Many try to ignore it. Others celebrate it by other names. For instance our church had a "Fall Costume Party" for the kids on Saturday. But we don't seem to engage it. Here are a couple of ideas I posted back in 96 when I was the web slinger for IVCF at the U of A.

    1. Carve a cross in your pumpkin
    2. Go tricker or treating for the Food Bank

    We had a lot of fun with the Food Bank project, though IVCF at the University of Manitoba out did us by raising 3000 pounds of food in one night.

    The nice thing about carving a cross in your pumpkin is it's something anyone can do.

    Know of other good ways to transform Halloween? Let me know in the comments.


    PS Gotta love the WayBackMachine

    Saturday, October 26, 2002

    As many as 100,000 Christians are in concentration camps, enduring regular torture. Executions are common.

    - Saints in Waiting – the Christian Martyrs of North Korea by Martin Roth

    Friday, October 25, 2002

    I love learning something new. Today I learned that as of Oracle 8 you can defer constraints within a transaction until commit is called. That means that within a transaction you can violate the restraints as long as everything is squared away before the changes are committed. The key is defining the restraints with the DEFERRABLE and INITIAL DEFERRED key words. See the ORACLE8 FOR DEVELOPERS PDF file. This is nice compromise between DBA's that never want the rules broken and Weblogic that expects things to happen it's way. Being stuck between a DBA and your appserver is like well this.

    Using Container Managed Persistence (CMP) and Container Managed Relationships (CMR) I found that Weblogic 6.1 sp 3 violates the rule that foreign keys (FK) can't be null. If you let Weblogic auto deploy your tables you will notice it will not create the FK NOT NULL constraint. However if you have a good DBA, and I'm lucky to work with two of them, then you'll be forced to use that constraint to prevent orphaned records. This where deferring the constraint until commit saves your bacon.

    Weblogic wants to create the child record and then update it's FK with the parent id. So it does an insert and then an update followed by a commit. With out a deferred constrain the insert fails. With a deferred constraint everything should be tickety-boo (That's Albertan for just fine). Oh one last detail, DataSources in Weblogic have AutoCommit on by default, so make sure to us a TxDataSource as they have AutoCommit set to false.


    Thursday, October 24, 2002

    Spiritual consumerism is just unsatisfying as material consumerism but it is much harder to detect.
    - from Simplicity and Religious Complexity by Leighton on
    The 2003 Demotivators are out. And yes, Jordon beat me to the punch.


    Wednesday, October 23, 2002

    my reading for the train ride home

    Notes on Postmodern Programming
    - James Noble and Robert Biddle

    as seen on /.


    God is with us in everything, not just the things that work out our way.
    Top Ten New Things You Can Do with NIO
    ... cause I know you were wondering.


    Tuesday, October 22, 2002

    Kim and I put together our new futon couch today. We're ok, still married, but do have the matching chair still to do. So please keep us in your prayers.

    Paradox1x has a post on Wal-mart. Bassed on the comments I wonder how many people are aware of the Wal-Mart Employment Practices Class Action Lawsuit.


    Sunday, October 20, 2002

    You know you're Canadian if you feel the urge to preach on the virtues of Robertson screw drivers.


    Saturday, October 19, 2002

    I never post these things, but I'm a sucker for the Muppets.

    Yuoo ere-a zee Svedeesh Cheff!
    Yuoo ere-a a guud cuuk, thuoogh yuoo cun't speek Ingleesh fery vell. Bork Bork Bork!

    link via Patrick Carver.

    Why not a 40 MPG SUV? - By Mark Fischetti, MIT Technology Review  November 2002

    Here's the good news: The Technology exists to build a 40 MPG SUV. The article goes into the geeky details of all the various things that can be done. It's worth a read just from that perspective.

    Here's the bad news: The technology has not moved into production because the United States Congress hasn't changed the MPG regulations in 17 years! Without regulatory pressure, the auto industry has only had market pressure to respond to. In the market individuals have chosen more power at 1985 efficiency levels.

    But isn't that what company's are supposed to do? Give people what they want. Yes! But it's the government's role to look out for the common good, especially for things like clean air. And that hasn't been happening in the US or Canada.

    I spent March – June in Toronto, and in June the air quality plummeted due to smog. The day before I left, it hurt to breathe. Now I do have slight asthma, but it never bothers me in the summer, nor in humid conditions, but the smog was killing me. I don't understand how people survive all summer dealing with days like that. Maybe it's like the frog in the hot water, increase it little by little and you can boil him. For me though it came as quite the shock. If I had to put up with it hurting to breath much longer, I would have been out campaigning to ban cars in the Greater Toronto Area. Yet people in the GTA seem resigned to having painful air to breath.

    There is also a spiritual component to this, consider the words of the prophet Ezekiel

    Is it not enough for you to keep the best of the pastures for yourselves? Must you also trample down the rest? Is it not enough for you to take the best water for yourselves? Must you also muddy the rest with your feet? All that is left for my flock to eat is what you have trampled down. All they have to drink is water that you have fouled.

    Can we admit that painful air and our failure to deal with it is a reflection of our morale decay in a way that Buffy or Harry never could be?


    What does it profit a blog to gain all the links and traffic in the sphere, but lose it's own unique voice?

    Ok so not an exact quote. Bene Diction is looking for Blog Proverbs, fun stuff.


    Friday, October 18, 2002

    Mike's Spot On The Wall
    • Ships That Pass
      I live in Edmonton and was going to celebrate Thanksgiving with Carol's family in Calgary. Meanwhile Dave lives in Calgary and was going to celebrate Thanksgiving with his family in Edmonton.
      It sounds like a bad sitcom script but in spite of it all I not only was able to see Dave for a bit but I worshiped at his church. It was a great service and I also met Steve. (Steve's musical gifts are awesome) Thanks to Dave and Steve for a great worship time.
    Mike's Walk
    • A Thankful Heart
      I normally put a scripture here but with it being Thanksgiving and all I wanted to share this poem that a friend sent me last year.
      I am thankful…
      For the partner who hogs the covers every night,
       because they are not out with someone else.
      For the child who is not cleaning their room, but is watching TV,
       because it means they are at home, and not on the streets.
      For the taxes I pay,
       because it means that I am employed.
      For the mess to clean after a party,
       because it means I have been surrounded by friends.
      For the clothes that fit a little too snug,
       because it means I have enough to eat.
      For my shadow that watches me work,
       because it means I am in the sunshine.
      For a lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning, and gutters that need fixing,
       because it means I have a home.
      For all the complaints I hear about the Government,
       because it means that we have Freedom of Speech.
      For the parking spot I find at the far end of the parking lot,
       because it means I an capable of walking and that I have been blessed with transportation.
      For my huge heating bill,
       because it means I am warm.
      For the lady behind me in Church that sings off key,
       because it means that I can hear.
      For the pile of laundry and ironing,
       because it means I have clothes to wear.
      For the alarm that goes off in the early morning hours,
       because it means that I am alive.
    Last night in our small group we were looking at this verse

    Since you are precious and honored in my sight,
    and because I love you,
    I will give men in exchange for you,
    and people in exchange for your life.

    -Isaiah 43:4

    The question of how all six billion of us could be precious came up. After all we're so common, common things aren't precious. The usual response to this to point out that we're each unquie. But last night I had a different image come to mind. That of the earth hanging in space. In the vastness of the universe we are not common but rare, and for a moment being precious made sense. Could that be the message of the near infinite space that surrounds us, that our value is the inverse of all that emptyness?


    Wednesday, October 16, 2002

    The painting on the left was always part of the worship service at The Freeway when I was there in the spring. I think of it as the Anime Jesus. I know there are other influences, but that is how it strikes me. It’s by Kevin Coghill. Kevin heads up the Visual Art group at The Freeway.

    If you are in or near Hamilton Ontario, drop in on The Infusion - the Freeway's worship gathering. Tell them Big Dave sent you.


    Tuesday, October 15, 2002

    Good afternoon,
    Well Mike and I were down in Calgary for the holidays. Even met two of the blogers. (is that the correct spelling blogers? bloggers?) Anyway There is a digital picture of Mike, myself and Dave all together so if people want to see it I will try to put it up. Dito with other new pictures. Dave said that I am behind on my posts and since a picture is worth a thousand words if I remember to upload a picture a week it counts. :-) So in the future expect me to put up the occational picture and otherwise say hi.

    Monday, October 14, 2002

    Thanksgiving, it's our last good holiday. Christmas is when you get stuff, Boxing Day is about getting the stuff you didn't get for Christmas, and Easter is the hunt for chocolate. In a radical departure, at Thanksgiving we give thanks. Other than the turkey industry, that has the gig down pat, it's still commercial free. In Canada we're even free from the flood of TV specials as our holiday doesn't line up the the US thanksgiving. So I guess you can say I'm thankful for Thanksgiving.


    Thursday, October 10, 2002

    I do not think that we could over-emphasise the influence that the simple and moving story of the Good Samaritan, told by Jesus in the Gospel of Luke, has had on our culture. It is the story of a man beaten by robbers and left for dead on the road, and then helped by a passing Samaritan. But the problem is, the story has become so well-known to us that we somehow think it expresses some kind of universal truth.

    -Martin Roth Living Our Stories - Reclaiming Our Biblical Heritage
    My review of Jonah will have to wait, but Telford Work has a good review.
    This was on the radio when I woke up this morning.

    Fired medical officer offered job back

    Dr. Swann will take time to think about the offer.


    Wednesday, October 09, 2002

    Just to put the recent Conservatives / Conservationists post in some local context.

    The medical officer of health for the Palliser Health Authority in southeastern Alberta has been fired after publicly supporting the Kyoto Protocol.

    I'm not prepared to get into a debate on the protocol, but the fact that a Doctor would get fired for speaking out on it shows the climate here in Alberta.


    Tuesday, October 08, 2002

    Mike's Spot On The Wall
    • Music In The Air
      I've sent off my song Lead Me to Vision Quest Music. Vision Quest is pretty small but active in the Christian music community.
      I've also joined my colleges music club. They meet tomorrow; we'll see how it goes when I play some gospel blues.
    Mike's Walk
    • The Best Thing In Jonah
      I'm planning to see the Veggie Tales movie. That being said, I wanted to relate the best thing I learned about Jonah, and it has nothing to do with whales or fish neither.
      Jonah 4:2
      So he complained to the LORD about it: "Didn't I say before I left home that you would do this, LORD? That is why I ran away to Tarshish! I knew that you were a gracious and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. I knew how easily you could cancel your plans for destroying these people.

      Jonah understood God's love better than I ever will. He knew God was eager to forgive and wanted Nineveh to know Him and repent.
      I wonder how many people would come to God if they knew how much He wanted to save them and not destroy them? I wonder if we give the world a picture of a God like that?
    I head up the men's ministry for South Meadows Community Church. The formula was in place when I started. We meet once a month for breakfast, one of the guys shares his testimony or a short devotional. I added one thing, we break into pairs and ask each other three questions:

    How is your Bible reading?
    How is your prayer life?
    How can I pray for you this month?

    And I ask the guys to touch base with their prayer partner during the month. Quite basic when you compare it to the Twenty One Questions used by John Wesley with his Holy Club.


    Monday, October 07, 2002

    Why Aren't Conservatives Conservationists?

    Sunday, October 06, 2002

    You are worthy, O Lord our God,
        to receive glory and honor and power.
    For you created everything,
        and it is for your pleasure that they exist and were created.

    -Revelation 4:11

    Saturday, October 05, 2002

    Jonah Round Up.

    Kim (my wife) asked my if their were any reviews of Big Idea's Jonah, we plan to see it Tuesday . So I went looking. Irony aside, Rotten Tomatoes has a very comprehensive list of reviews. Here's two I found interesting

    Children, Christian or otherwise, deserve to hear the full story of Jonah's despair — in all its agonizing, Catch-22 glory — even if they spend years trying to comprehend it. That's called having an inner life, and it's nothing less than our birthright.
    - Tom Keogh's Review in the Seattle Times

    Umm Tom this is a kids movie, not a an art-house existential flick. Liam seems to get it.

    Occasionally, in the course of reviewing art-house obscurities and slam-bam action flicks, a jaded critic smacks into something truly new. Such is the case with Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie. This is the offshoot of a subversive series of made-for-video cartoons that has sneaked into the daycares and underground toddler economy of the country. VeggieTales represents one of those products that previous generations had never imagined: Spiritual V-8 juice.
    - Liam Lacey's review in the Globe and Mail.

    I used Who Links Who to find those blogs in our neighbourhood that link to (this feature isn't public yet) Here's what I found:.

    Rick quotes from sevral reviews. Rick's site looks stangely familiar. The perma link is broken, just look for the Jonah graphic.

    Blithering Idiot lives in area where the film won't open for two weeks, but fills us in on why he's a veggie tales fan.

    The Brothers Judd Blogg gets very excited: quotes extensively from the LA Times Review, share their favorite silly love song, and a ton of Veggie Links.

    Interact plans to see the movie today, it will be his kids first movie.

    The Native Tourist confesses that he likes Veggie Tales "at least in small doses".

    Mark Shea posts his review, in short: Golden Rule for Comedy: Be as morally uplifting as you like, just so you are funny. Jonah is very funny. Go see it. Take your kids. You'll all laugh.

    Hogue Heaven is planning to work the movie into an insentive plan for his kids. How about "the kids get to see the movie when they explain perma links to Dad"?

    Mean Dean submits the movie launch to slashdot. Getting on a story submision picked up by slashdot is rare, but it does happen.

    Relevant Magazine points to Christianity Today's article Big Trouble at Big Idea, Former workers worry that Jonah could sink the company.

    As Steve J. points out in the comments, Mark Riddle of THEOOZE has some thoughts on Jonah and the need for fresh story telling.


    Wednesday, October 02, 2002

    Hello everyone I am Carol, Mike's wife. And since Mike mentioned it and Dave said it would be ok, I'm putting in the picture that won the September Photography contest here in Edmonton. It is of a butterfly so nothing too scary (unless you have a phobia about butterflies)

    Quotes you need to put in context.

    your average Presbyterian/Christian Reformed worshipper is hardly in danger of being overly emotional, unless we categorize somber as an emotion.
    - Russ Reeves

    So I have a crossdresser in the morning class and a kid who got jello down his pants in the afternoon session. Teaching is certainly an adventure!
    - Anna


    Tuesday, October 01, 2002

    Mike's Spot On The Wall
    • Crazy Daze
      I haven't posted lately cause things have been nuts here.
      - I had to return the laptop I was using to my work, which means I have no home computer.
      - My sister in law up and decided to sell her condo that we helped them get into. Which means I had meetings with real estate people, phone calls, and other sundry interruptions.
      - The Christian based group that I volunteer with, Neighbourlink, is looking for a new board of directors. Which means more interruptions.
      - Vision Quest Music Group called and wants to do a professional verison of one of my songs. Which means something I'm sure. (I'll blog more on that as I find out more)
      - And finally my wife and I joined a local photography club. At our fist meeting as members Carol entered a few of her pictures in an open photography contest and won first prize against about 40 other entries, some of them by professionals.
    Mike's Walk
    • Hope From James?
      Usually the last place I would think to look for encouragement when I'm not doing to great spiritually, I found these marvelous gems in James:
      James 1: 2-5
      1:2 Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy.
      1:3 For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.
      1:4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything.
      1:5 If you need wisdom - if you want to know what God wants you to do - ask him, and he will gladly tell you. He will not resent your asking.

      Man, that sure hit me where I was that day.

      And James 4:8-10
      4:8 Draw close to God, and God will draw close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, you hypocrites.
      4:9 Let there be tears for the wrong things you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy.
      4:10 When you bow down before the Lord and admit your dependence on him, he will lift you up and give you honor.

      By the time I got here I was ready to do just what it said and He, good as His word, lifted me up.

    The good news is that Calgary will be a smoke free city. The bad news is it won't happen till 2008. Visit Smoke Free Calgary for the background on our smoking by-laws.


    I definatley don't want IdeaJoy to be the place for FINDING DIRT ON A CO-WORKER.