Monday, January 31, 2005


I don't know yet if the family and I will make GodBlogCon this year (Arizona is very far away), but I would suggest that everyone who is interested in a Christian blogging conference should consider attending.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

The passing of a legend

LaserQuest's first American franchise was here in Lexington, KY., and my friends and I were among the players who payed way too much of our paychecks the first year it was open. Later, Number 1 son loved to go when we could save up enough to take some friends with us. Now, after 11 years, it's closed.

Number 1 son and I both hope that LQ can open another facility here in Lexington.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

I've been wanting to vent, but I'm glad I didn't

I'm not happy with my blogging this week. I've been meaning to use Kentucky Packrat as a forum to present original theological posts, such as Joe Missionary's Theology Thursdays (although I know myself well enough that promising a regular schedule with my perpetual procrastination would be blogging suicide :) ). It doesn't help that I have all these good ideas rattling around in my skull, and then one of the WONDERFUL writers on my blogroll write about it first. Of course, it's one against a multitude, that kinda makes the odds uneven.

I could blame the dog waking me up every morning, or the stomach viruses (especially since Milady spent Wednesday night catching the virus). I could blame still being worn out emotionally from Number 1 son's pneumonia bout, or even the cold that he cought Thursday, replaying the start of his pneumonia.

There is no real excuse, but instead an embarassing reason. I have been trying to deal with some resentment left over from Number 1 son's hospital stay, and it's hurting my walk with the Lord, and thus my writing. My normal method of dealing with resentment is venting against the source of my problem, but I've held back so far. Now I understand why.

Number 1 son entered the hospital late on a Saturday night. Sunday morning, I went to church to drop off cookies we'd made for the dinner that afternoon and supplies for the next week's trip to the nursing home. I talked to at least 2 different people on the ministry staff & most of our Bible Fellowship class. By the next week, almost everyone in the church who knew us knew of our son's illness.

Milady and I have the weakness of self-sufficiency. We have learned (often the hard way) to rely on each other and on God, but it is hard for us to ask others to do things for us. Therefore, we rarely do. During the time we didn't ask the church staff for help or staff visits1, so they didn't know to come to us, and they didn't.

God was meeting our needs well, as my earlier post on the subject says. Our families and the homeschool co-op stepped in before we could ask and met every need we had during this time. Our church (both staff and the members) were deep in prayer for us, and without that prayer Number 1 Son might not even be alive right now.

Like a 5 year old upset that you didn't do what he didn't ask, I've been upset that the church didn't do what I didn't ask and God didn't want to use them to do. Rather than realizing my own errors, I stewed in my own mental temper tantrum. Only over the last couple of days have I realized that it's my fault that I didn't ask the Lord for the church to be involved or ask the church members to come to me. My being upset was not rational.

It's humbling to think that I have thought myself ready and able to help teach the college class at church, and yet the Lord pushes me a bit and I'm back acting like a baby. I can only hope that I can let the Lord use this as a growth opportunity for me.

1We did ask for shut-in communion one week, and they came for that as soon as we asked.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

My brain hurts.

I was being lazy this morning, so I turned into the digital wasteland (9600s) of Dish Network, and got a scare. On Free Speech TV, there was a recruiting video documentary about Radical Cheerleading. I was amazed that so many people were stuck in their high school era.

High school sports, and especially high school cheerleading, is the Lord of the Flies on steroids. You go in, win some popularity contests and a few trophies, you're hot stuff, and then (unless you're one of the top 1% of athletes who can get a spot on a college team or go pro) you move on with your life.

These Radical Cheerleaders appear to be the people who either weren't cool enough to be cheerleaders in the first place and have never gotten over it, or were high-school cheerleaders and never grew up.

Protest debate always reminded me of my kids arguments for wanting a toy:

I want a toy.


I just do.

Do you need it?

I want it.

And so on for hours on end. I wonder if one person featured in the video I'd watched could carry their own ideas an hour in a gloves-off debate. But, boy do those skirts keep the evil agents of The Man policemen from harassing them so much... </sarcasm>

My only excuse is that the Big Joe Polka Show was on RFD-TV, and there is only so much brightness and sunniness I can stand that early in the morning....

UPDATE at 23:20: I've reread this, and it's pretty obvious that I need therapy to deal with my high school years... :) That said, I have NEVER liked the "Glory Days" thought process. Bruce Springsteen's song has the singer saying that high school was the height of his life. When I was in high school, I knew life would be better in college, and it was. In college, I thought life couldn't get better, and then I met my wife. :) Now, I love my kids, and I know my best times ahead. And then there's the New Jerusalem.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Phenominal cosmic powers...

I finally got the new CPU for this box, and boy does it like it. :) In my early tests, the database and web server are happy, and the things just flys. Well, OK, it's not 3 GHz Athlon64 happy, but the Home Supercomputing Complex's fastest box used to be an AMD K6-2 underclocked to 375MHz (because of some fault in the motherboard), so a P3-750 is lightning fast by comparison. The only delays you should notice now is because of the network pipe.

As always, please feel free to let me know of any problems via a comment here, or by Emailing me at

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Am I an Evangelical? Yes, but....

While looking for other people's ideas for what an evangelical is, I ran across Shane Raynor's WesleyBlog. In the article What is an Evangelical?, Shane gives a very nice definition of evangelical:

An evangelical is someone who emphasizes the need for Christian conversion and whose ultimate authority for faith and practice is the Bible.

By all measures and definitions, I am an evangelical. I do believe that the Bible is the absolute authority in all areas where it speaks, and that only those who accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior are saved.

Nonetheless, I am uncomfortable with the term, mostly because of the "right-wing nut job" connotations that the secular media have attached to the term. I grew up in a "left of center" household, so "conservative" was a bad word. Even though my political views have evolved into barely-right-of-center libertarianism, I'm leery of the identification. At least I do understand why "progressive" has become such a popular term. :)

I guess I'll accept the term evangelical, and just do what I can to keep it detached from the political meaning some want to attach it.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Unclean! Unclean!

Friday morning at 3AM, Number 1 daughter starts throwing up. We thought at first it might be a reaction to the antibiotic they gave her for her infantigo. We gave her some medicine that we had had for the "stomach virus" that turned into pneumonia for Number 1 son, and she got better. One more vomiting incident Saturday morning around 3AM, and she's fine.

Yesterday at my sister-in-law's, Milady looks at my neck and says, "You have a ringworm". Sure enough, I do. We think Number 1 daughter scratched a patch of her ringworm enough to get the infantigo, so I must have gotten it from her.

Last night at 8PM, Number 1 Son says, "I'm sick", and sure enough he throws up the Mexican food he'd eaten for lunch. Time for a dose for him. He's slept through the night.

The dog wakes me up at 4AM to go pee. I stay up a few minutes reading blogs, and then its my turn to make a deposit, which I've proceded to do about every 45 minutes since. The kids have run the last of the medicine out too, so Daddy gets to work it out the hard way (better than them being sick a minute longer, of course).

I should just have T-shirts made saying "Unclean". It'd be simpler.

Excuse me, I have to go now....

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Am I an Evangelical? Part 2

In Part 1 of Am I an Evangelical?, I looked at the first four parts of the National Association of Evangelicals statement of faith. Let's finish the other three.

We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit by whose indwelling the Christian is enabled to live a godly life.

I agree with this one. I think this is a fairly non-controversial one for Christians.

We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost; they that are saved unto the resurrection of life and they that are lost unto the resurrection of damnation.

This is a rather ingenious wording. There is a small subset of Protestant Christians who believe that the Bible teaches that God's Great White Throne judgement (as related in Revelation 20) results in eternal destruction (the "Second Death"), not in eternal torture. I am sympathetic to this position, since it's one I held for almost 10 years, and am still not so sure is wrong. This statement of faith is flexible enough to allow both positions.

We believe in the spiritual unity of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ.

This one really has a "design by committee" meets "new age" feel, but I suppose the underlying idea that all Christians are spiritually unified as a single Church. This is a no-brainer too.

Really, these are little more than restatements of the Nicean Creed and other basic Christian creeds, and little sets it apart from what I would consider the "basics" of being a Christian.

I've found a couple of other people's ideas of what an evangelical is, so I'll look at those ideas, and see if I can give you an answer, in the next post.

Ouch, ouch, ouch...

We're refinancing our home loan to take advantage of lower interest rates, and that means having an appraiser into the house. And THAT means doing some of the things on the Honey-Do list.

Number one on the list was painting the main part of the downstairs ceiling. Several years ago, Number 1 Son splashed a bunch of water out of the tub, and it ruined our ceiling downstairs. I cut the spot out, let it dry, and then patched the hole up. You can hardly even tell how bad a job I did on it. :) [If you are my appraiser, I'm joking, of course.] Then I painted over the patched spot with some new ceiling paint that almost, but not quite, matched the rest of it. And then we waited. Why? Because we HATE to paint ceilings, and it didn't look all that bad. No one would notice but us, except of course an appraiser. Yesterday, we painted. I rolled, and Milady edged. I know I can barely walk, and I can only imagine how sore she is.

That said, we now have a nice, matching ceiling, and even new curtains in the kitchen. Not bad for one afternoon's work. Now if I can just get enough energy to walk back upstairs to take my shower....

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Am I an Evangelical? Part 1

In a Christian Carnival article, Rick of Brutally Honest wonders if he is an evangelical. Given Milady's and my confusion about exactly what an evangelical is and whether we are evangelicals, I decided to read the the National Association of Evangelicals statement of faith as a starting point as Rick suggests in the comments.

First, I do need to outline my own background. I grew up in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), and despite my problems with the liberal turn in the Disciples of Christ, I still consider myself a Restoration Movement adherant (and attend a nice, conservative independant Christian Church now). "In Essentials, Unity. In non-essentials, liberty. In all things, love." These are not traits traditionally associated with evangelicals, but does it fit in with the definitions? Let's go through each one by one.

Rick had trouble with the first Evangelical statement of faith:

"We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of God."

I find that I dislike this slightly, since it allows for the "King James Version is infallable" fallacy that some people are prone to form. I like this restatement from this page from Answers In Genesis:

"The 66 books of the Bible are the written Word of God. The Bible is divinely inspired and inerrant throughout. Its assertions are factually true in all the original autographs. It is the supreme authority, not only in all matters of faith and conduct, but in everything it teaches. Its authority is not limited to spiritual, religious or redemptive themes but includes its assertions in such fields as history and science."

I suppose I just went further than the evangelicals. Oops. :)

We believe that there is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

I can't disagree with Unitarians any less than I do now. Dr. Vallicella of Maverick Philosopher fame has presented some really interesting philosophical problems with the Trinity, but I admit that I take the existance of the Trinity on faith anyway.

We believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and in His personal return in power and glory.

Again, I have to generally agree with this one.

We believe that for the salvation of lost and sinful people, regeneration by the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential.

In his post, Rick says:

The problem I have with this one has to do with who the arbiter is in defining lost and sinful people. It leads to the practice of my saying I'm not lost and sinful and you are... when the reality may be exactly the opposite.

I think Rick here is half-right in his opposition, for the wrong reasons. Many evangelicals are very much "I'm saved, and you're not, so there. :P" It isn't our place as believers to declare that someone is not saved, but we can tell all that everyone is sinful (including believers) and that all are lost without the saving grace of Jesus Christ.

I guess I'm with the evangelicals again.

I'll continue with the line items in another post today or tomorrow.

An issue with Rick's Post on Brutally Honest

Rick of Brutally Honest has posted an interesting comment to his own article asking if he is an Evangelical. I can't help but respond to it.

Rick says

  • We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of God.1
I certainly used to. And I certainly desire to but I can't with sincerity and integrity say that I believe it anymore. Besides, the argument given by some that Christ is the only infallible and authoritative Word of God seems to hold much more water with me now. And I think this one leads much less to unity within the body of Christ and much more to petty squabbles.

This is a very tempting idea. The practical problem with this is that Scriptures are the only definitive way to know what Christ did say, so without infallable autographs we don't have infallable statements from Christ. Without these, there's really no room to argue with revisionists like the Jesus Seminar, or cults like the Jehovah's Witness or Mormon who says that the traditional channel is not fully aware of some critical "new fact".

Bill Rick, I suppose I have to ask: If we can't be sure that the Bible was inerrant (in the original autographs, at the very least), how can we be sure about anything of Christ's nature?

1This quote is from the National Association of Evangelicals statement of faith

Friday, January 21, 2005

Not practicing true Gun Control

At first, I was a little upset that Lexington police were charging Kevin Beall with wanton endangerment (Read the Herald MisLeader's take on the news here), but then I read the entire article. If Mr. Beall did shoot after people who were driving away, then he did recklessly endanger the lives of those in the paths of his bullets.

I am not a pacifist. I believe that the Bible (both Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament) a person to defend one's self and others from life-threatening force1. Any person who has entered an occupied house should be assumed to be a threat to the health of the residents of that house until the theives are dead, have surrendered, or have fled.

In Mr. Beall's case, he appears to have chased after the criminals after they had left the house. Assuming they were not coming back to the house, they were no longer a threat, and Mr. Beall shouldn't have shot.

Personally, I hope that these goons stop before they hurt anyone else, and I hope they stop before some citizen or policeman stops them. However, I would consider their death by self-defense action of a homeowner a better solution than some innocent's death or serious injury in their hands.

1There are times when people are called to be martyrs. That is a direction from the Holy Spirit, and is a bit out of the pervue of this discussion.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

This is twisted AND wrong

Two words: Darth Tater.

(Thanks to the other blogger who had a link to this. I'll come back and update this if I can find who had that link.)

I know I should be posting, but enjoy these links instead

The last couple of nights, we haven't gotten to bed until almost midnight (so Milady could get a couple of hours of decompression time after homeschooling the little darlings), and I've been waking up at least once a night for either animal bathroom duty (our dog seems to have developed a pea bladder) or child wake-ups ("Mom, I can't get back to sleep"), and then up again at 6AM for my own bladder. Hit that for about a week in a row (I got up early all weekend for the new web server), and it feels like my brain is wanting to ooze out my ears. I think I'll save what little energy I have for work...

That said, here's some nice links I've found (and will be adding to the blogroll, if not already there). Cerberus tells us about police life in Some City. "Okay Rover, Time For Yer Booties!" and "Can't You Give Me a Break, Just This One Time?" are especially entertaining. The Policeman's Blog is a nice look at the reality of British law enforcement. (Thanks to suzanna at cut on the bias for the links.)

Professor Bainbridge has posted a nice letter from David Ragsdalee with some interesting thoughts on Dr. Rice as President in 2008.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Star Trek may be dead. Long live Star Trek

Appearantly, there is some show called "Enterprise" on UPN, and the rumors have started that the crew even knows it's going to be cancelled.

To paraphrase Sherlock Holmes, after I had watched Enterprise a while, I did my best to forget about it. I like most of the ST shows (even DS9, the Babylon 5 clone). The nebula fight in The Wrath of Khan is my favorite theatrical space battle scene ever, and is only topped by Battlestar Galactica. Both give you that World War 2 submarine warfare feel that (IMHO) real space battles would be like.

Voyager was mostly a loss, what I did bother to watch, but I'd had high hopes for Enterprise. The Romulan war and pre-Federation politics would have been SO cool. They had a perfectly good story line, but NO, they had to have a Vulcan with few clothes, and time traveling.

Bah, I'm getting too bitter. Maybe Enterprise will die, and they'll have to go back to the drawing board.

Early notes about the new Battlestar Galactica

I have to admit that I haven't watched the entire BG 2 episode set through yet. We managed to have a low-TV day three-day weekend at the Packrat household. I worked on the web server in the few spare moments I had over the weekend, so I only glanced at my DVR recording of the first show. I intend to fix this, but I have already been struck by the "vengance of God" theme.

A common science fiction theme is how Science and Technology will lift ignorant man out of the trap of theism into the enlightenment of secular humanism. One could hardly watch the Star Trek: The Next Generation Friday marathons1 on TNN without seeing one show about a "primative" species that believed in some Deity, and that belief, as wrong as it was, was fully protected by the Prime Directive. Knowledge would always prove that a Deity was a powerful computer, an advanced species, or a myth run wild.

BG is turning this on its head. It's the "backwards", stick-in-the-mud humans who are humanists, and have no desire or inclination to look for a God to either ease or explain their suffering (or even be mad about it). It's the technically advanced machines that believe in God and believe that they are God's instrument of vengance.2

I hope that BG can avoid repeating the "let's show five minute soft-porn sex scenes for ratings" of the pilot, and keep a record of quality.

Food for thought: Is Number 63 really talking to Baltar, or is he just crazy?

1My wife would prefer me to put the period where this footnote was. She is not a Star Trek fan...

2I want to explore a little more what kind of God the Cylons do believe in, but I think that needs to wait for a few more shows.

3I smell a The Prisoner fan somewhere.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Up on new box - please forgive any hickups

I've got to go pick up a faster CPU from a friend, but I have moved onto its new home machine. This shouldn't cause any problems, but that kind of statement usually gets one in all kinds of trouble. :) Please post in a comment here or Email me at if you see any problems that need fixing.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Doing the geek thing

Sorry for no posts this weekend, but I've been doing the family thing (boy, does that sound so 90s), and using my little bit of spare time to build the new web server for this machine.

I do have some ideas mulling in my head, so don't go too far. :)

Friday, January 14, 2005

In Memory of S

My condolances to TheAnchoress and her family over the passing of S.

2 Timothy 4:6-8 (English Standard Version):

6For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. 7I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.

My first link - and a request to forgive any slowness

Wow, Bill of Bill's Comments is the first person to link to me (here), and such kind words too. I blush at them all. Thanks, Bill, I can only hope to live up to such a kind recommendation.

If you're coming from Bill's site, or from one of my trackbacks, please forgive any slowness. The blog's running on a slower box right now, and it's chugging just a little bit. The new box and its newer CPU will be up by Tuesday *crosses fingers*.

Not that there's anything wrong with that

Several people are posting about the new former ADA Serena Southerlyn outing herself in her firing scene on Law and Order (like Dawn Summers and Susanna Corlett of cut on the bias fame). We've never gotten around to getting a second dish to get local channels on Dish Network, so we haven't watched new episodes of Law and Order in quite a while.

I suppose <sarcasm>I should be morally incensed that a normal, ordinary character was a *gasp* lesbian</sarcasm>, or that, as Marvin Kitman said one time for CNN, Wolf is "replacing the hot, sexy assistant DA with another hot, sexy assistant DA who herself replaced a hot, sexy assistant DA." I just can't work myself up for it.

I loved s eeing George Dzundza (as Greevy) and Chris Noth (as Logan) act against each other. God rest his soul, I miss Jerry Orbach as Briscoe, especially how he and Chris Noth interacted. Steven Hill (who played DA Adam Schiff) leaving was the final nail in the coffin. I can't stand Sam McCoy (the character), and neither Dianne Wiest or Fred Thompson can match Steven Hill. Let's not even get into the 4 times a day showings on TNT and uncounted reruns on USA.

I just can't summons the energy to get excited about anything about Law and Order any more.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Adding to the zoo

We joke that we have the zoo. Until Sunday, we owned one cat, one dog, 2 hamsters, 1 cockatiel, and 2 budgies. Then Sunday, we went to see my grandparents on the farm, and one of the barn cats had brought its kittens out to the house. My daughter started playing with a cute kitten. A lot of begging and a look from My Lady, and we brought home O'Malley.

The funny thing is that we finally have a cat who likes people. This cat plays with the kids, plays with us, and even plays (through the cage, of course) with the hamsters. It would even love the older cat if the older cat would have anything to do with any of us.

I have gotten a promise that this is the absolute last animal to join the zoo from everyone else in the family. I am just not sure I believe it....

The list of animals that we have had since starting the family:

  • Matilda: The Chocolate Labrador Retriever we got when we moved to the farm. She was VERY nice, but she hated to stay in the truck. I p ut her in my grandfather's truck when we were moving to our current house, and she jumped

    out into an intersection & was run over. It didn't kill her, but we couldn't afford to have her hip reconstructed, and were too young and dumb to realize that the vet was blowing smoke when he said she might get better. I will NEVER go through that kind of experience again.

  • China: Female Cairn Terriers are the sweetest animals until they hit puberty. Ours loved everyone and was the friendliest, well-balanced dog I've had. Then the hormones hit, and she turned psychotic. She would pee on herself every time we turned on the hair dryer, vacuum cleaner, or any other electrical device. She finally picked up the habit of running at an open door, and disappeared one day.

  • Sue-y:This is our oldest animal, the older cat. It wasn't the most loving, cuddly animal anyway, but China power groomed it as a kitten every time one of the kids touched it. The kids also were so young they'd ye ll and chase it. It now will actively hide during the day, and runs from any attempt to pet it on anything but its own terms.

    (Yes, Sue-y is named for Steve Irwin's dog.)

  • Dylan: While My Lady's father was still alive, a German Shepherd mix pup came up to the house, and my wife fell in love with it immediately. He was smart, and had a good personality. I also washed at least 200 fleas and uncounted ticks off his poor little body. And then he barked. He barks through his nose. If Bob Dylan were to magically turn into a dog, he'd sound just like this dog (it's arguable whether you could tell the difference, but that's another post....), so we named it Dylan. As best we can tell, he is a German Shepherd-Border Collie-Hound mix, because he herds like a collie, has colors and head like a Shepherd, and barks like a hound.

  • The budgies: At first we bought Toughie and Sara for the kids. They were nice birds. Then Sara got sick and died. We bought Jade to make up for the loss, and to be with Toughie, and we ended up with two males. Then Toughie died, and Toughie was alone. Finally, one of Number 1 son's friends gave us the budgie he just HAD to have, and we have Jade and Shamrock. They're a mated pair, although I do sometimes catch one of them cheating with the hanging string toy....

  • Sunshine is our cockatiel. Number 1 son begged for a bigger bird, when the budgies made a mating pair. It still likes Number 1 Son, but Number 1 Daughter and her best friend have pulled so many tail feathers that it doesn't like most kids any more. It talks a bit, especially "Pretty Bird", and My Lady thinks it's starting to mimic my office phone.

  • The hamsters: The kids insisted on buying BF ("best friend") and HH(I forget exactly). Being hamsters, they love their floor wheels and eating. We are looking for a good source of that hamster cage tubing, since they need more area to play in.

  • Of course, I have mentioned O'Malley above.

Less than 48 hours until Battlestar Galactica series starts

I wasn't sure I'd like the new Battlestar Galactica, but I knew it couldn't be any more cheesy than the original. If they could have left out the gratuitous sex, and made the "father-son" conflict much less cookie-cutter, I'd have liked it more. However, the battles are more physics-real than any other science fiction show ahead of it. I like it.

Of course, this is also a good opportunity to prove Richrad does really get Trackbacks occasionally... :)

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Paving with dollars

TheAnchoress mentions in this article that the US posted a surplus last month. This itself is true. Unfortunately, this is no more a surplus than the surplusses our household used to run every March 15th. At my previous blue-colored employer, yearly bonuses were handed out on March 15th. That month, I usually managed to draw in significantly more money than I had allocated for monthly expenses that month.

The catch? I was still paying off Christmas and the various other debts I had run up over the last year or so. I just sent that bonus money straight off to Mr. Credit Card, and called it even. The Federal Government may have had a surplus in December, but they (like me) had already spent the money.

What scares me is that the $114 billion added to the "on the record" federal debt is really the tip of the debt problem in the US. There's billions of new debt in pseudo-governmental agencies (Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, etc.) and in the state and local governments. The trade deficit topped $600 billion last year, and that has to come back to our nation one way or the other. And let's not even go into consumer debt.

I can't dwell on this much, or I get to sounding too negative, and then my wife starts accusing me of being a right-wing nut job.

"Paving with dollars"- I used to wonder if the Federal Reserve was dedicated in printing enough new US Dollars to allow people to pave their driveways with them. Now, I'm much less negative, I simply know they are. :)

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

The end of Tivo, Broadcast, Satellite, and Cable as we know it.

The Mac Mini wasn't just an overblown rumor after all.

I want one. I want one NOW.

Jeff Harrell talks about Apple moving into "video iTunes" here on The Shape of Days, but there is an additional implication of the Mac Mini: it's the prototype for Apple's Video Appliance of the Future. You can buy the S-Video and Composite video adapter for the Mac Mini now. Add the H.264/AVC chip to this box, switch the audio out to digital, and a WiMax box on the roof talking to the 802.11n card in the Mac Mini 2 (or Satellite IP, or fast DSL, or IP-only cable, or....) , and you have the ultimate AV settop box. Give the thing away in return for a $30/month subscription for iCable for a year that includes your local station & basic showing commercials, and things get VERY interesting very quickly.

Wow. Jobs might actually pull it off.

Update: Sorry, Jeff, didn't notice that you posted the Movie Store post BEFORE the Mac Mini was announced when first typing the article, so I hit Send before I realized that I'd made a total fool of myself. I'm also usually not so much of a loser as to type the wrong name TWICE. Sorry.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Looking to the End during Trouble

Number 1 son has always been interested in talking theology with my wife and I, so we've never discouraged him from talking about any theological issue. A couple of days ago, he mentioned that, between the tsunami and his own brush with death from pneumonia, that he thought we had to be close to the End of the Age. While this surprised me a bit, my wife said that she had experienced the same thing. She was suffering from a massive case of pneumonia herself as a teenager, and while she was sick the world discovered that the Jonestown crew drank the Kool-Aid Flavor-Aid. She also felt like "Lord, it has to be near the end of the world."

The most reasonable datings of Revelation have it being written around A.D. 95. John was the last apostle left alive by practically every account. Many Christians had perished under Nero, and more were being persecuted under Domitian. Jerusalem lay in ruins, and the Jewish nation was scattered to the four winds. The members of the first generation of believers who had lived through persecutions were now dying of old age. Jesus' promises of being near to return must have appeared hollow to many tired Christians, perhaps even John himself.

Then Jesus gives John a wonderous and awesome vision of terrible things to come. The visions involve the destruction of most of the Earth's surface and most of the world's people. The outline of God's return shown by Revelation doesn't reveal many new theological concepts. To quote Philander Johnson, it appears that the message of Revelation is "Cheer up, the worst is yet to come."

Nonetheless, Revelation is a blessing. Christians may not know when Christ will come, but we are meant to have as much understanding as we can that He is coming, and how He will come when He does. As He said, we may not know when the Thief is coming, and we will never know the day and the hour, but we can be ready. Revelation reminds us that our current travails are just part of the plan, that there is a plan and that God has set it in motion, and more importantly, we already know the highlights.

People interested in the End Times have often been guilty of obscuring it (To quote David Reagan, "I don't know what it means, but it doesn't mean what it says") or trying to make the entire exercise too specific or complicated. Revelation is a tool God can use to bless and comfort us, if we just let Him do so.

There wasn't a UK game yesterday....

If I can just keep telling myself that, I might keep my sanity.

Go look at ESPN for the details of the game. I just can't bear to think about it.

Sunday, January 9, 2005

A thank you to God and some people on Earth

On December 28th, 2004, our son came out of the hospital. He spent 24 days in fighting a vicious round of pneumonia that ended up costing him the lower two lobes (around 50 percent) of his right lung. Fortunately, he is extremely healthy otherwise, and will lead a full and healthy life. (I'll tell the rest of No. 1 son's story in the extended part of the article a future post (sorry, ran out of time this morning)).

Throughout this period of suffering, God has used a wonderous and diverse set of people to support and bless us. We are members of a Christian homeschool co-op, CHC, and they have gone above and beyond the call of duty to help us. My wife and I went into the second surgery thinking No. 1 Son would be getting a little bit of scar tissue scraped off his right lung, and the remaining air leaks sealed with glue. Instead, he spent 4.5 hours having half the lung removed. We hadn't called anyone to come to us since we thought that it would be a minor procedure, but 20 minutes after calling one of the CHC moms, three people were there to help us and sit with us until No. 1 Son had woken up in ICU. Several others collected Christmas dinner for us, so all 4 of us could eat together Christmas day. Toys for both kids, food, and gift certificates for food sustained us physically through the 24 day stay, and their prayers were such a spiritual strength. Afterward we got home, they've still visited, fed us, and laughed, cried, and prayed with us. If you were to ask any one of them, they will say that they don't feel like they've done much, but for me, I feel like I've felt God's hand from them.

I also have to thank my employer and boss. I had just started a new job Sept. 16th, so I was still on probation and low on sick time when Number 1 Son went into the hospital. My boss could have griped about my being off, or even extended my probation period. Instead, he switched someone else to cover a Disaster Recovery trip I was supposed to attend Dec. 6th, and was very generous with my use of sick time throughout the ordeal. Through my wife's long-suffering patience with my creative use of flex time, I was able to get through this without having to take unpaid leave, which has been a financial blessing.

Finally, I want to thank TheAnchoress for writing about her family's vigil with S, mentioned in several articles (including this article about life in pastels). Her family's strength and example have been a comfort and a blessing for me throughout our own travails. Anchoress, please know that S and your family are in our prayers as well.

Thank you all.

Saturday, January 8, 2005

Touched By An Angel - or at least talked to one

I wrote this entry in mid-2003. In my original (wimpy) attempt to blog, this was one of my only posts. Since I like it, I'm keeping it. I fixed the formatting, and the next-to-last paragraph was so bad I HAD to fix it..
Between the junior and senior years of my high school I was honored with the opportunity to attend the Kentucky Governor's Scholars Program at Western Kentucky University. It is a 5 week program where bright young kids stay on campus all 5 weeks & experience multiple educational experiences. Scholars were expected not to leave campus during the entire time of the program, except for leaving campus to attend local worship services.
For the first 3 weeks, I took the opportunity to sleep in on Sunday. The fourth week, I realized that I should go to church, and went to the Bowling Green Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for Sunday worship. I don't remember coming in exceptionally early, and except for the usual "shake hands" session in the first part of the service, I didn't really interact with anyone.
During the service, a young family sat in front of me, joined by a person who appeared to be the children's grandmother. When the service ended, the older lady turned around and said, "It's good to see you back in church, <MYNAME>."
I have read my journal from that week, and studied my own memory. I don't think I introduced myself to anyone that morning. I certainly did not mention not having been to church with anyone there. She could not have known me before then, since the church I attended in that timeframe was so small I knew everyone by name (and was related to at least 1/3 of them). I believed then, and I still believe now, that there was no natural way that she could have known that I hadn't been to church.
I believe that either that lady was an angel, or that God used her to directly speak to me. I just wish that I had listened to God more during that time....

Welcome to Kentucky Packrat

Thanks for stopping by. I am a Christian apologist, husband to the most beautiful, smartest, and most attractive woman on the Earth, father to two loving children, big-system UNIX system administrator, and aspiring writer and commentator.

I hope to use this forum to expand upon my interpretations of the Restoration Movement, Christian apologetics, the Biblical description of the End of the Age, surplus computer auctions, and just about anything else that happens to rattle through my mind. Please have patience with me as I get the design work finished up.

Since you've put up with me not saying much, I'll explain why "Kentucky Packrat" after the break.

Why KYPackrat?

From Websters:

Packrat: Any of several bushy-tailed rodents of the genus Neotoma of western North America; hoards food and other objects.

In Southern parliance, "Packrat" is a person who collects and hoards junk for possible later use.

When I first went to college, there was a pre-Internet chat program called "Phone" on the Prime miniframe which required nicknames to register. Since I already had the habit of collecting junk, Packrat seemed a logical name. While I did show up on IRC in the 1991-1992 era as "Yorick", I stayed visible until I graduated as "Packrat".

After getting a real job in 1996 that didn't have Internet access, "Packrat" kinda faded out. When I started getting involved online again, I found that there were just too many "Packrat"s to make me unique, and my ego wants me to be unique. :) Since I am a Kentucky Packrat, I decided to choose "KYPackrat" as my new nickname, and the rest (as they say) is history.