Shots Across the Bow

A Reality Based Blog

Monday, November 24, 2008

My Blog Type

Typealizer analyzes your blog and tells you what kind of a thinker you are.

Maybe. You be the judge. here's what it says about Shots.

INTP - The Thinkers

The logical and analytical type. They are especialy attuned to difficult creative and intellectual challenges and always look for something more complex to dig into. They are great at finding subtle connections between things and imagine far-reaching implications.

They enjoy working with complex things using a lot of concepts and imaginative models of reality. Since they are not very good at seeing and understanding the needs of other people, they might come across as arrogant, impatient and insensitive to people that need some time to understand what they are talking about.

Posted by Rich
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Friday, November 21, 2008

Civics Quiz: Why Obama Won

I took this quiz.

I scored a 32 out of 33. No biggie, I'm a smart guy.

71% of the people who took it failed it, scoring an average of 49%.


I'm sure it's just a coincidence that the majority of educators are liberal. And it's just another coincidence that the majority of reporters and editors are liberal as well.

Then again, how informed do you have to be to chant "Obama! Obama!"

Incidentally, our elected officials scored worse than the general public. Talk about the blind leading the blind...

Posted by Rich
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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Forget Star Trek!  I Want to See This!

Posted by Rich
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Monday, November 17, 2008

Galt Goes Shopping

No sales tax when shopping on-line.

Looks like Christmas is coming from Amazon this year.

Posted by Rich
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Friday, November 14, 2008

Speaking of Quantum Physics

Lissa and I will be seeing the new Bond movie tonight, 8:30 at the Pinnacle, after eating dinner somewhere in Turkey Creek. Maybe Five Brothers, maybe Abuelos, maybe somewhere else. If you want to meet us, She's the redhead and I'm the guy with conure poop on my shoulder.

Posted by Rich
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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veterans Day

Adam Michael Privett; US Army son
Richard David Hailey; US Navy
Michael James Privett; US Navy son's father
George Edward Hailey Sr.; US Navy my father
Harry "Butch" Privett; US Army son's grandfather
Anthony "Tony" Joseph Hailey; US Marine Corps uncle
Richard Drury Harwood; US Navy my grandfather

If I've left out any relatives, let me know and I'll add them to this list.

Posted by Rich
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Monday, November 10, 2008

It’s All In Your Perspective

In capitalism, the best exchanges are those in which both parties feel they came out ahead. While money is the usual method of keeping score, other intangibles also play a role in the exchange, otherwise the system would fail instantly. Factors like convenience, effort, talent, etc result in people assigning different values to the same item. It is the margin between those differences that allow trade to take place.

To me, I made a great deal over the weekend for a new gun. The guy I made the deal with believes he got a great deal on my old gun. We're both right.

Hooray capitalism!

Here's the deal.

I have a Springfield Armory XD 40 that's about 3 years old, and I've put probably 400 rounds through it. I bought it for just over $400, and it sells new now for about $550. SA just came out with a new revision to the XD .40, the XDm .40, and it's sweet. It comes with a full kit, two 16 round mags, a mag holster, gun holster, mag loader, safety lock, etc. Retail runs around $650. My friend, also my boss, was wanting a gun, and he liked my old XD. We were at the gun show yesterday, and as I was drooling over the XDm, and talking about selling my old XD for $350 or so, he mentioned that I was due for a $400 bonus in December.

Instantly a deal began to happen. I'm buying the XDm using my bonus, then he's buying my old XD for the difference in the XDm purchase price and my bonus. In effect, I'm trading up to the new model, with high cap mags and all the extras for no money out of pocket, and he's getting a great deal on an XD .40, complete with holster and three mags. I could get more money for the XD selling it at a gun show, but this way I get the intangible benefit of doing something good for a friend.

And that has great value to me.

I love a win-win situation.

Posted by Rich
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Friday, November 07, 2008

Phelps Fails

I drove out to Scott County to support that community against Fred Phelps and his hate group from the Westboro Baptist Church. I got there shortly after noon and found that Huntsville had prepared for a major protest. There were city police, county deputies, HIghway Patrol men, a SWAT team, and the local fire department was there with a water hose just in case they needed a little more crowd control. The security folks were lined up in a double row looking very serious with their nightsticks in hand ready to whack anyone who got out of line.

The woman standing next to me called out to one of them, "Hey now! You wouldn't hit your cousin with one of those things, would you?"

The officer she was talking to tried hard to hold his expression but you could see a smile cracking through.

There were over a hundred folks from East Tennessee there, ready to welcome Phelps's picketers, and the air was a mix of calm patience with a bit of truculence as I walked up. There were a few people there who were spoiling for a fight, but the majority of folks were there just to show support for the families of the people who died.

As I circulated through the crowd, I heard a familiar voice cutting through the misty rain.

"Don't talk to 'em. Don't engage them, don't yell at them. Don't give them a stage, because that's exactly what they want."

I looked over and saw a bald head, a leather jacket, and motorcycle chaps, and I knew I was looking at Marc Anthony from Star 102. I went over and introduced myself, and was pleasantly surprised that he recognized me from the piece I did on the Marc & Kim and Frank show awhile back.

It was about then that the Phelps caravan arrived. Ok, it wasn't a caravan, or a minivan. A little econobox drove up and three women got out, grabbed about 10 signs, and came over to their side of the street to start the picketing.

Yeah. 3.

Marc took one look at the three picketers trying to figure out how they could hold all of their signs, and "If that's the best they've got, let's just leave."

And most of the crowd did. Before the protest even started, before the first offensive sign went up, most of the folks on our side just walked away and refused to engage. Like Marc said, why give them the attention they want?

I was very proud of my fellow East Tennesseans today. While there were certainly some who felt the need to engage with this group, for the most part, they realized that nothing would be accomplished, and that the best way to respond to people like Phelps's followers is to deny them the attention they crave.

I went to Scott County with another purpose though. I wanted to engage with the Phelpsians and see if they could be turned from their hatred. I had studied and prayed last night, and knew exactly what I should say to them, but I never got the chance. The police made sure that any meaningful interaction was impossible.

So I am going to say it here.

Let's start in Genesis, because everything always starts in Genesis, right? Chapter 18 vs 16 begins the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham is in distress because God has told him the He was going to destroy the two cities because of their evil. SO Abraham stood before the Lord to intercede for the cities, and asked God if He would still destroy the cities if there were 50 righteous men living there. And God said that for the sake of the 50 righteous, he would spare the thousands of sinners. Abraham then asked i the Lord God would spare the cities if only 45 righteous men were found there, and God agreed. Abraham continued to lower the number, and God finally said that if 10 righteous men could be found within the cities, he would withhold his wrath.

Now there's two important things going on here. First, God is making it very clear to Abraham that he will not punish the righteous along with the wicked, but instead will forbear punishing the wicked for the sake of the righteous. This instantly refutes the Phelpsians, who claim that every tragic death is a judgment of God on a Wicked America. They started off picketing at military funerals, but now that those are much less common, they've expanded to cover every tragedy. But as we've just seen, God will not punish the innocent for the sins of the guilty. The second thing we need to see here is that our job as Christians is not to condemn with hatred but to intercede with God. Abraham wasn't marching outside of Sodom and Gomorrah carrying a sign that says "God Hates You!" He was pleading with God to forbear his righteous wrath in order to spare the innocent. The Phelpsians are sitting in judgment when true Christians are called to be intercessors, following in the footsteps of the Greatest Intercessor, Jesus Christ.

Continuing in the story, In Chapter 19, we meet Lot. He meets the two messengers of God and invites them to stay in his home. Then the men of Sodom come to Lot's house and demand that he release the two messengers so they can rape them. For interceding with the crowd, the two messengers offered to save Lot and his family from the coming destruction.

Again, we see some important things going on. First we see confirmation that God will not punish the just with the unjust, again demonstrating the fatal flaw in Phelps's theology. Also, we see that Sodom and Gomorrah not only practiced rampant homosexuality, but also condoned and accepted homosexual rape. This is the evil that condemned Sodom and Gomorrah, not just homosexuality, but the brutal rape of strangers. Consider that cultures that tolerated or even advocated homosexuality, including ancient Greece, have flourished throughout history without having their cities utterly erased from the map. We also have to consider that Sodom and Gomorrah were both Jewish cities, which would indicate that God's great wrath was due not just because they were homosexual, but that they claimed to be faithful to Him at the same time as disobeying His Commandments. Regardless of these possibilities, it is clear that God does consider homosexuality a hateful sin, but it is also clear that God hates all sin.

So the Genesis account makes clear a few very important points. First, that God does not punish the righteous for the sins of the wicked. Second, that the role of a true Christian is to intercede on the behalf of the sinner, not condemn him.

This second point is reinforced in the New Testament in a couple of different ways. When Jesus was asked how to earn eternal life, answered like this:

(Luke 10:27) So he answered and said, "You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself."

His questioner went on to ask about who was his neighbor, and Jesus told the parable of the Good Samaritan. Remembering that Samaritans were looked down upon by the Jews of the time, it was remarkable that Jesus picked one for the parable, but when he'd finished, and asked his questioner who acted like a neighbor, the response came quickly, that it was the Samaritan, who had shown mercy.

This is critical to understanding our task as Christians. We are called to show mercy on our neighbors, even those we hold in low regard or actively despise. When the Phelpsians picket a funeral at a tragedy, and proclaim their hatred for gays, they are not showing any mercy at all. They are failing to walk as Christians.

Another interesting parallel is the story of Jesus and the adulteress. In John 8:3, the Scribes and Pharisees bring a woman caught in the act of adultery before him, and remind him that the Law of Moses required that she be stoned to death. Now, we know Jesus hated adultery, and referred to the current generation as "wicked and adulterous" (Matt 12:39) for falling away from God. Yet this woman, who was caught in the act, he refused to condemn, and he turned to the crowd and said
"He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first." John 8:7

The crowd fell away, and Jesus forgave the woman and sent her on her way. And note very carefully that nowhere in this does John tell us that the woman repented.

Clearly, the Phelpsians have not "rightly divided" this passage, for it tells us that here on earth, we are to show mercy to all sinners, even those whose sins are of a sexual nature. If we are not free from sin ourselves, and there is not one of us who is free from sin (Romans 3:10-12), then how can we pass judgment on another sinner, especially since He who was without sin refused to do so?

And it gets even worse for them. Matthew 7:1-2 tells us not to judge others, or we will face judgment by the same measure. This is a major condemnation for the Phelpsians because by judging homosexuals and America under the Law, without tempering the Law with mercy, they themselves will be judged under the exact same standard, and returning to Romans 3:20

Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law [is] the knowledge of sin.

Paul is telling us that nobody can be justified under the law; there is no righteousness apart from Salvation through Jesus Christ. When we stand before God and are judged, we who have accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior will be protected from that judgment. Part of accepting Jesus as Lord is following His commands, and the Phelpsians are not following. They are spreading hatred and discord, rather than preaching reconciliation.
They are showing no mercy to their neighbor.
They are speaking in judgment and condemnation, rather than forgiveness.
They are judging under the Law, rather than under the New Covenant.
They are not praying as intercessors, but as condemners.

I pray that these words help somebody.


Posted by Rich
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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Lissa Writes Her Post on the Rally

Unless I'm very very nice to her, she may have some video posted of my conversation with the Obama supporters. But until then, here's her version of the events.

Posted by Rich
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Monday, October 27, 2008

The Difference Between Idealists and Realists.

Unlike all of the Ayers apologists, if these two idiots get an education while in prison, and come out articulate, clean, and totally unrepentant for what they wanted to do, I will remember that underneath the veneer of civilization, there lies two ignorant, inbred, racist rednecks who shouldn't be allowed around guns or children.

Posted by Rich
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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Yeah, I Went There

Oh heavens! I've upset Manish! I've hurt his feelings because apparently, I don't respect Obama's family as much as I should.

Oh please!

Manish thinks it's perfectly okay for him to drag up John McCain's divorce from his first wife, but I'm not allowed to comment on Obama suspending his campaign to visit his ailing grandmother in Hawaii? What a tool, and I apologize in advance to any other tools who are offended by the comparison.

Let's look at the record, shall we?

When America was facing a crisis uniformly described as the greatest in 80 years or more, John McCain decided that the needs of the country were more important than his desire for the Presidency, and he suspended his campaign for a couple of days to shoulder his responsibilities. On the other hand, Obama declared that hundreds of thousands of people losing billions of dollars were not as important as keeping the campaign going, but he promised to man the phones if he was needed. But now his grandmother is ill, and he suspends his campaign to be by her side.

Let's do the math. Greatest crisis in 8 decades vs ailing grandmother. Which would you say was more important?

God help us if one of Obama's daughters comes down with strep during Joe Biden's looming international crisis.

Here's the part that really turns my stomach. Had Obama not been the sanctimonious ass he was during the banking fiasco, I would have cut him some slack for this. In fact, I cut him some slack anyway. When I did my post yesterday on why I support John McCain, I chose not to make this obvious comparison, instead sticking to the week in question to make my point.

But in a replay of why I got into this in the first place, an Obama supporter (Manish) has to come in and start slinging slime that has no place in a campaign, talking about McCain's divorce

I said when I started this that if you play clean, I'll do the same. But if you want to get dirty, I can do that too. Manish could have come in and pointed to Obama's accomplishments, such as they are, pointed out where he disagreed with McCain, and all would have gone well. Instead, he wanted to go personal.

Posted by Rich
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Friday, October 17, 2008

Fun with Football

It's always nice when a hobby actually pays you back. I love football, and I also like to write. (Duh.) So it really worked out nicely that I was given the opportunity to combine those two, and make a little money at it by covering high school football for The Mountain Press.

Even nicer is the fact that I was able to pay to replace my cell phone using the money I made covering football.

Next, I want to make blogging pay for a new lap top...

Posted by Rich
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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

10 Important Safety Tips for Smart Phone Use

curve.jpgTip #1. When purchasing a smart phone that costs you more than your weekly food budget, strongly consider purchasing the insurance that goes with it.
Tip #2. If you neglect to perform tip #1, treat your phone with the love and respect you'd shower upon your spouse. Unless you don't like her, in which case, treat your phone as you would your universal remote control.
Tip #3. When getting into a car, check to make sure your phone is still attached to your belt.
Tip #4. If you neglect to perform Tip #3 and you feel a slight bump as you back up your car, do not pull back into your parking spot to see what happened.
Tip #5. If you neglect Tip #4, and you feel another slight bump, this would be a good time to check your belt for your phone.
Tip #6. Do not cry. People will look at you funny.
Tip #7. Trying to take a picture of your smashed smart phone with your smashed smart phone is futile, and people will look at you funny.
Tip #8. After looking at your smashed no-longer-quite-so-smart-phone, try to remember why you decided it would be better to store all of your important data in the phone memory and not the removable smart card.
Tip #9. Checking to see if the smart card is still intact is just adding insult to injury. It will be.
Tip #10. Under no circumstances should you ever go onto e-bay to bid for a replacement for your smart phone without first allowing a 48 hour cooling period to elapse. On the other hand, if you are a techno junkie, and there's a likelihood of withdrawal coloring your future judgment, then by all means, bid away!

So, in a totally unrelated bit of news, I bought a new cellphone today on e-Bay. Why replace when you can upgrade?

Posted by Rich
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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

My Son, the TV Star

If you were watching Live at Five at 4 on Monday, you saw my son Isaac, chatting with LaSaundra Brown as they discussed the active web community that has grown around the WBIR news magazine.

And of course, to make me proud, he dressed up for the occasion with sandals on his feet and a doo-rag covering his mop of shaggy hair.

It brings a tear to my eye, yes indeed!

Of course, I can't complain too much. There are pictures of me not so very long ago that make me cringe whenever I see them. And no, I won't link to them.

Posted by Rich
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Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Post in Which a Rude Fan Gets His Comeuppance.

I was getting ready to announce for the first game of the night when a parent from the visiting team came up to the press box with a request.

"I hate to be a bother, but there's a group of people sitting up against the fence in front of our bleachers and they've set up a bunch of umbrellas, and we can't see the field. Could you ask them to move please?"

I looked out the window, and saw what she was talking about. One of our fans had set up camp at about the 50 yard line, directly in line with the visitor's bleachers, and had opened three large beach umbrellas to shade their 2 babies. The spot they had chosen was just a few feet down from the spot they used 2 weeks ago, when I had requested them to move because they were blocking our fans.

So I made the announcement.

"Ladies and gentlemen, we are about to start our games for this evening, but before we do, We'd like to ask those folks who are sitting up against the fence to please close all umbrellas because you are blocking the view of the people behind you. We understand that you want to shade your children and you are welcome to use your umbrellas as long as you are not located in front of the bleachers. Thank you for your cooperation."

One member of the family looked up at the press box, then looked back towards the field, but none of them made any move to close an umbrella. I gave them a few minutes to decide where they were going to go, or to close up their umbrellas, but they decided that they were special, and didn't have to have any consideration for anybody else at the game.

"Once again folks, I'd like to ask you to please remove any umbrellas you are using if you are sitting in front of the bleachers. You are blocking the view of the people behind you."

Now two of them shot a dirty look up at me in the press box, then started to turn back around, ignoring me a second time. It should be simple common sense to not annoy a guy with a microphone and a couple of hundred watts of power behind it.

"Yes, I'm talking to you!"

That got a reaction.

The group started jabbering back and forth, throwing frequent daggers in my direction. One woman started to take down her umbrella, and a short, red faced man stopped her, pointing at me and then striding away from the group towards the press box.

He came upstairs and began to call me out.

"Look, I've been coming to these games for years now and we always sit in that spot and nobody has said anything before now. I'm not ..."

I interrupted him.

"You sat in that spot at our last home game two weeks ago and I asked you to fold your umbrellas at that game as well. It was a cloudy day and you closed them up, so don't try to tell me nobody has said anything because I did."

"Well we got here two hours ago and set up in that spot and we always sit there, so we're not moving."

I informed him otherwise, and we went to talk with the game director, who told them to move.

He was slightly more diplomatic than I was.

After our fine fan agreed to move to a shady area on the other side of the field, he tried to argue with me again, telling me I didn't have to be rude about it. I could have let it go, but I just can't stand to see inconsiderate people try to pretend that they were the ones offended.

"Buddy, my first announcement was very polite and you ignored it. My second announcement was not quite as polite and you were trying to ignore it again, so I decided to stop being so nice."

"Well, you shouldn't have been rude!"

"Well, you shouldn't have ignored my instructions."

He walked off in a huff to move his things to the far side of the field, and I'm sure he stewed over it the whole time, but in the end, he packed up and moved, and the visiting fans got to watch their kids play.

Which is all I care about.

Here's the bottom line folks. Have a little consideration for the folks around you. Everybody is there to watch their kid play. Make sure you aren't preventing them from doing so.

Remember, the guy with the microphone might not be as nice as I am.

Posted by Rich
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