Zoo Station

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Archive for November, 2006

I’m still here…

Posted by Chance on November 29, 2006

Just been busy… I have a few ideas of blog posts, just have not had time to do them.

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I’m still here…

Posted by Chance on November 29, 2006

Just been busy… I have a few ideas of blog posts, just have not had time to do them.

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The cycles of political passion

Posted by Chance on November 18, 2006

My passion for certain issues, mostly political but sometimes theological, goes in cycles. Sometimes I feel inspired and want to post on topics such as abortion, affirmative action, economics, or more spiritual like biblical doctrine, i.e. Once Saved Always Saved, Predestination, etc… I haven’t talked so much about the spiritual stuff because that was more of a passion before I started to blog. My blogging time happened to hit while I was interested in political issues.

Basically, I get in a mode where I feel strongly about the way I do; not that my convictions are weaker, but that my passion for defending them is. During this period, I may tend to blog more and comment on other people’s blogs, especially remarking on opinions with which I disagree. This is not a bad thing, but it can get to the point where I actually get annoyed that people disagree with me. I mean, after all, aren’t my opinions obviously correct? Why can’t they see things the right way?

At this point, passion can turn into obsession. I find that I spend more time than I want debating with people. Someone says something I disagree with and I usually have to throw my own 2 cents in.

I have not been feeling like that so much lately. Sure, as Michael or Dan can probably attest, I still make comments on other blogs, but it seems to happen less frequently. And anyone can notice I blog here less often, and many times not on political topics.

The thing is, I kinda like this version of Chance. My convictions are the same, but I’m not spending all my time thinking about such topics. I think it is good to be passionate about things, but at the same time, during this phase I feel…for lack of a better word, content. Not content with the way things are in the world by any means…but many less sensitive to them. I am not sure. I still want to care about such things, and I know only those who truly care can make a difference in the world. But I’m happy to get less riled up when I see opinions with which I totally disagree. Sometimes I avoid commenting on certain blog posts altogether and not even reading the comment section. I like being less obsessed with political issues.

I suppose I have to examine my motivation for why I am passionate about certain issues in the first place. Is it simply because I want more control? Is it just a desire to shape the world as I see fit?

When I think of what I want to do at this moment, I think of taking care of my family. I think of working out certain things in my own life, things I can do as an individual. My focus at the moment seems to be less global. As I said in a previous post, we have certain convictions, and we have to make sure we live them in our own life, whatever our politics. Not that people who are involved in politics neglect their personal life in any way. I am just saying that, for some reason or another, I am less interested in discussing and thinking about worldwide topics. Not that I won’t post on such topics, and I have a few ideas for such, I am just explaining what is going on with me at the moment. This does not mean I will stop commenting on other people’s blogs, but I may be less likely to enter a heated debate or write some really long comment outlining my beliefs in the free market. I’ll still post here on this blog, but I’ll do so without the burning need to tell the world why I think what I think. Anyway, that is what is going on with me. I think it is all about balance, being interested in issues, but not being obsessed. If I lean on the opposite end of obsession, that is alright by me.

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This week in college football

Posted by Chance on November 15, 2006

I was disappointed that the Texas Longhorns lost last weekend, but fortunately my Oklahoma State Cowboys dominated Baylor in offense and in defense, scoring two defensive touchdowns. USC is ranked 3rd, with Florida 1 spot behind, but I think Florida is better, because I think the SEC conference is better than the PAC-10. Look at the Tennessee-Cal game. A good PAC-10 team got throttled by an average SEC team.

If I get the chance, I’ll be watching the Ohio State vs. Michigan game, but that’s if I have nothing else going on. The top teams and players of this year just do not excite me as much as last year, or even the year before. This year we have Ohio State as the top team and Troy Smith as the top Heisman candidate. But last year we had USC and Texas which collectively included Matt Leinart, the highlight-reel star Reggie Bush, and the one-of-a-kind quarterback Vince Young. And even the year before, we had those same USC stars, and the running back Adrian Peterson(sp?) from OU. It was exciting to watch these people play, and these teams seemed unstoppable. I know Troy Smith is a great athlete and deserving of Heisman honors, and he is probably just as skilled as many of the previously mentioned stars. I even thought previously this season that if Texas and USC did happen to meet again in the final game, it wouldn’t even hold a candle to last year’s matchup. Probably the most exciting team this year is Arkansas. I think that’s because any time a team comes out of nowhere to do so well, it is always an exciting thing. But the year is not over.

Once this season is over, or at least when the bowl games are announced, I will compare the results to my predictions at the beginning of the season.

Update: I said that the SEC must be much better than the PAC-10. Then again, I remembered that USC routed Arkansas 50-14. Simply early game growing pains? Possibly. But so could Tennessee vs. Cal. Point is, you can’t judge two conferences based on one game.

Update 2: I think a team must be the conference champ to compete in the national championship game, with a possible exception for the case where the conference champion is your opponent.

Posted in Sports | 4 Comments »

Live blogging on "Face/Off"

Posted by Chance on November 12, 2006

7:36 PM – John Travolta and Nicholas Cage meet in a Catholic Church for a good old gunfight.

7:38 PM – Travolta and Cage shoot at each other a bunch of times and miss. Religious figures are shattered with bullets.

7:40 PM – Cage’s character, who was actually Travolta’s character before they switched faces,’s daughter shows up at the church, for absolutely no reason at all, except to ultimately serve as the chick leverage that bad guys always use against the good guys.

7:41 PM – Daughter goes through the confusing ordeal of not knowing who her father is. After all, Cage is now wearing Travolta’s face (not really, but according to the movie – this would be less confusing if I knew the character’s names, not the actors). Anyway, she goes through the dilemna in which their father’s arch-nemesis stole the father’s face, and the father stole the face of his arch-nemesis, and she of course, doesn’t know who to shoot. This may have to do with why the CIA no longer engage in face-swapping operations.

7:43 P.M. – Daughter stabs Travolta (the bad guy, at least for now) in the leg, based on a trick that Travolta taught her earlier when a guy tries to have inappropriate relations with her. Oh the delicious irony.

7:48 P.M. – Somehow the battle has moved from a gunfight to a speedboat chase, but I missed exactly how this happened. Apparently two speedboats next to each other have keys. Now they are shooting each other while on speedboats. Will Cage go for the ram-the-speedboat-into-the-other-speedboat maneuver, or continue to shoot and miss?

7:51 P.M. – Their boats crashed while flying high through the air, so now they are in a shipyard punching each other. This fight has everything – a gunfight in a church, followed by a speed boat chase, and topped off by hand-to-hand combat with a harpoon involved.

7:53 P.M. – Cage, who was Travolta, finally kills Travolta, formerly Cage, with the harpoon.

7:55 P.M. – Travolta, who was Cage, is back, with the correct face. The weird part is that his wife and daughter first see him for the first time post-“return to original face” as he walks through their front house door. I would think that whenever I have a face transplant, that my wife would actually be at the hospital waiting for me, not waiting for the cab to drop me off. The daughter no longer has a nosering, which implies that her inner demons that have resulted from her previously neglectful father have been purged. Once more, Travolta brings home a new kid to replace the one that Cage had killed. Apparently the first time the rest of the family have met new kid. I think if I ever adopted, I would include my wife in the ordeal, but then it wouldn’t have the same dramatic effect.

8:00 PM – Movie over, maybe watch “The Mummy Returns”. Whatever happens, the night includes DiGornio’s. (I’m on travel currently if you are wondering why I have this spare time. My wife’s cooking usually rivals frozen pizza.)

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U218 being released on 11/21/06

Posted by Chance on November 12, 2006

A new U2 compilation CD and DVD is being released Nov. 21, called U218. The CD has 16 of their greatest hits, plus 2 new songs. Here is the tracklisting from a UK store:

Disc One – CD

* 1. Beautiful Day
* 2. I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For
* 3. Pride (In The Name Of Love)
* 4. With Or Without You
* 5. Vertigo
* 6. New Year’s Day
* 7. Mysterious Ways
* 8. Stuck In A Moment You Can’t Get Out Of
* 9. Where The Streets Have No Name
* 10. Sweetest Thing
* 11. Sunday Bloody Sunday
* 12. One
* 13. Desire
* 14. Walk On
* 15. Elevation
* 16. Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own
* 17. The Saints Are Coming
* 18. Window In The Skies

Disc Two – Live In Milan (DVD)

* 1. Vertigo
* 2. I Will Follow
* 3. Elevation
* 4. Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For
* 5. All I Want Is You
* 6. City Of Blinding Lights
* 7. Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own
* 8. Miss Sarajevo
* 9. Original Of The Species
* 10. With Or Without You

Looking at the CD tracklist specifically, I think it is a pretty good list, containing what I think are the essential songs in the U2 catalog. While we are talking about the greatest of U2’s songs, I wanted to talk about what, in my opinion, are the essential songs of the U2 catalog, that is, songs that no complete U2 best of can be without. Not only that, but I think these are the songs that had a large role in making U2’s career what it is.

1. Sunday Bloody Sunday
– One of their first major songs and what established them as a band with a political conscious
2. Pride – Simply one of their classic anthems
3. Bad – Probably the least well known song, I include it because this song at Live Aid was a defining moment for their career.
4. Where the streets have no name – Perhaps their most famous live song.
5. Either “I still have not found what I’m looking for” OR “With or Without You” – I know it is strange to have an ‘OR’ here, but either song captures the era of the Joshua Tree. Maybe both of them should be included.
6. One – While all of Achtung Baby is great, this is the song that helped the album, and therefore, the U2 of the 90s, really take off. It helped U2 remain relevant.
7. Beautiful Day – U2 had a couple of strange albums, Zooropa and Pop. Not to say these are not great albums, but U2 did leave planet Earth for a while, and many U2 fans and music lovers in general were waiting for a return to classic U2. This song is simply amazing because it’s right up there with their older songs in popularity. As “One” brought about 90s U2, this song provided a bright window into what U2 could and would bring in the 90s.

Some would say “Vertigo” is another of these songs, and while it is a great song, I cannot help but compare it to “Beautiful Day” in terms of impact to U2’s career. Perhaps if the latter was never released, “Vertigo” would be more significant. That is not to take away the quality of the song, however.

Posted in Music, U2 | 1 Comment »

Trying to put in old header

Posted by Chance on November 12, 2006

I’m trying to put in my old header, but I am an HTML dummy and don’t know how to do it with the new Beta Blogger templates? Anyone know how to do this? Thanks.

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The most elitest quote I have ever heard

Posted by Chance on November 11, 2006

This quote was on my personalized Google Home Page today.

“To be able to fill leisure intelligently is the last product of civilization, and at present very few people have reached this level. – Bertrand Russell”

This quote bothers me for several reasons.

For one, Bertrand Russell was a philosopher and mathematician, who happened to be an atheist (not really anything to do with my comments here). No doubt Russell thinks he is one of the fortunate few who had attained the level of intellectual pursuits, thereby saving civilization.

Secondly, judging what other people do in their pastime is one of the most common, yet most excused forms of snobbery. It is the person attending the opera wondering how the poor brute can pass his Saturdays watching football. (By the way, my brother-in-law is a fan of opera, this is no remark against him; he is one of the most down to earth people I know). It is the person who quotes a few lines of Frost and just assumes everyone knows what he is talking about.

Do not get me wrong, more intellectual pursuits in one’s pastime is valuable. It is important to have a hobby in which gratification is not immediate, in which you have to work a little for it. One’s life will be truly richer if they read an occasional book instead of watching TV all the time.

I was just annoyed with the way Russell worded his comment. One should pursue certain things to enrich their lives and quit worrying about how others spend their time.

Posted in Philosophy | Leave a Comment »

On government and the direction of society

Posted by Chance on November 8, 2006

I found an interesting blog post about a pastor’s experience with Jim Wallis. For those who are not familiar with Jim Wallis, he is author of the book God’s Politics and a contributor to the Sojourner’s website, a website that, like Wallis, focuses on “social justice” issues from a Christian perspective. Greg Boyd, the pastor who met with Wallis, had this to say

My conviction is that our target should rather be to motivate Christians to engage social justice issues in unique Kingdom ways, without relying on the help of government or politics. Jesus was all about transforming society, but never by political means. As much as people tried, Jesus never let himself get drawn into the political issues of his day. I believe we should do the same. While I’m of course not opposed to Christians voting and participating in politics however they feel led, the particular way a person does this isn’t part of their uniquely Kingdom identity. Of course Christians should vote their “faith and values” – and Jim encourages people to “vote all their values “ (in contrast to the Religious Right which he believes overly focuses on the pro-life and marriage amendment issues–at the expense of social justice issues). But what is uniquely Kingdom about this? Doesn’t everyone try to vote all his or her values? Does anyone intentionally try to vote against any of his or her values? (By the way, I strongly suspect these sorts of slogans arise because one group of people can’t believe that another group could share their faith and values and yet vote different then they do. So it looks to them like the other group isn’t really voting their “faith and values.”)

In any event, our uniqueness as followers of Jesus isn’t in how we vote; it’s in how we live, how we love, how we’re willing to sacrifice our time and resources for others. Following Jesus doesn’t give us any privileged wisdom on how to fix and run society by political means, but it should give us a greater willingness to transform society by Jesus-looking means – that is, through the power of self-sacrificial love.

In other words, a Christian society should start with ourselves. If we want a society that is moral and regards the sanctity of marriage, we should first look at our own lives, see if we have any sexual impurity in our lives, and we should look at how we regard our own marriage. If we want a society that regards the poor and needy, we should look at our own efforts to look at the poor and needy. As someone who is limited government, this post resonated with me. However, one does not need to be limited government to appreciate the idea that we should not rely on government to produce the type of society that we want. That does not mean we cannot vote our values, or that we must support limited government, it just means government should not be our first resort in producing the type of society we believe the Bible supports.

This post especially resonated with me today. As anyone who reads this blog knows, the Democrats believe in many things I disagree with. Any any time an election does not go our way, we feel, or at least I do, some degree of frustration because we have less control. Society appears to go a way different than our ideal one, and we wish we could do something to change it. However, as Boyd’s post points out, somewhat indirectly, is that the way an election turns out does not dictate God’s kingdom. Just because a party is in power that holds values contrary to our beliefs does not mean we cannot still act out those beliefs within ourselves and within society. Government is only one facet of society. And I say this to people of any party. It may not apply to the Democrats now, but it did 2 years ago and may 2 years from now. Just because the government at the time does not promote certain values, does not mean those values cannot become important in society by other means. All of us must make sure our vision of society is in line with God’s, and we must ask ourselves what we are doing as individuals to ensure that happens. To what level government should be involved is another question. But we do know for sure that as individuals, we need to live out God’s vision for our lives and society.

The point is not to discuss how horrible I think society with the Democrats gaining some power. The point is, that for myself, I see a party I disagree with gaining power, and when that happens, I fear society go in a direction with which I disagree. However, I am working on realizing that God has ultimate control over our lives and society, not election results.

Posted in Politics | 8 Comments »

Good News for Lovers of Limited Government

Posted by Chance on November 8, 2006

I am not the least bit happy about the events today, but Cato Scholars assert that divided government is better for the economy and for the size of government (which I would say are inversely proportional). Scholar Niskanen asserts:

Let’s look at some statistics. From the dawn of the Cold War until today, we’ve had only two periods of what could be called fiscal restraint: The last six years of the Eisenhower administration, and the last six years of the Clinton administration, both intervals in which the opposition controlled Congress. Under Clinton, the average annual increase in spending was at about 1 percent, while, under Ike, it was negative. By contrast, our unified governments have gone on fiscal benders. Harry Truman, with the help of a Democratic Congress, sent the money flying, with spending increases of as high as 10 percent a year. Lyndon Johnson was almost as profligate. And today, unfortunately, George W. Bush, with a GOP majority, is the heir to their legacies. To put this in plain numbers, government spending has increased an average of only 1.73 percent annually during periods of divided government. This number more than triples, to 5.26 percent, for periods of unified government. That’s a hefty premium to pay for a bit of unity.

Power attained only leads to the desire for more power, whether it is Republicans or Democrats. I wouldn’t even trust the size of government under control of the Libertarians. Some people think increased spending and government intrusion in our lives is a good thing (and yes, they do go together). I don’t. So, a Democratic Congress may not be too bad as long as a Republican gets elected in 2008.

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