Shots Across the Bow

A Reality Based Blog

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Blogathon and Blogfest

The Blogathon for STAR was a success! Cathy, Doug, Barry, and I successfully posted every half hour for 24 hours, raising lots of money for STAR and having lots of fun. You can read our posts here. My own contribution, Who Put the Bomp in the Bomp Bomp Bomp; A Rock and Roll Mystery starts here.

If you read it, let me know how it turns out. I was writing so fast, I'm not sure.

From what I hear, the Blogfest was also a success. I was there, but I was sort of busy, if you know what I mean. I do know that the nachos were good, and Lissa tells me my fries were good.

Posted by Rich
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Welcome to the World, Charlotte

Katie and Jon welcomed a new member of their family to the world today. Go congratulate them over at Jon's blog.

Posted by Rich
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Saturday, July 28, 2007

Don’t Forget BlogFest and Blogathon Today

Cathy has her towel and her webcam on, although one of the two seems to disappear intermittently, and I will be starting my stint in just a few hours. It's not too late to sign up to sponsor us.

And in an attempt to bring in more money,I'm making another announcement. In addition to writing a story live at Baileys from 3PM to 9PM, based entirely on suggestions from sponsors, (By the way, the sponsors have left no suggestions yet, which could make for an interesting story. Maybe I'll write a story about nothing. Naaah, it's been done and it stunk the first time around.) I'll also perform requests for money. You come to Baileys and sponsor us there, and I'll perform your request. I won't do anything that might get me arrested, might get me committed to a mental institution, or might result in physical injury to small farm animals, but anything other than that is on the table. I do reserve the right to make the donation amount match the ridiculousness of the request.

So come out to Baileys for the BlogFest at 6PM, or come earlier to watch me type.

Posted by Rich
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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Blogathon in Less than 2 Days

Get your sponsorships in!

I've been staying off the keyboards, saving upmy energy for the 6 hours of writing I plan on doing on Saturday. Since I haven't seen any suggestions yet,my mind has wandered off into the wilderness to come up with its own ideas, always a dangerous proposition. A few of the early returns below:
  • (Parody)Happy Rotter Takes Over Pigpimples
  • (Satire) The Politics of Breast Enhancement: A Closer Examination of Hillary Clinton's Cleavage
  • (Horror) A Closer Examination of Hillary Clinton's Cleavage
  • (Philosophy) Was Immanuel Kant really a pissant?
  • (Investigative Reporting) An Inside Job: The True Story of How 150 Construction Engineers Were Able to Work Night and Day for Two Months Wiring the WTC to Implode Without Anybody Ever Noticing They Were There.
  • (Philosophy) Who Put the Bomp in the Bomp, Bomp, Bomp, and Why?

As you can see, I need your help. Go sponsor us, then come back and leave your suggestions.

Do it for the children...

Posted by Rich
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Saturday, July 21, 2007

BlogFest-Where is Everyone ?

Posted by Rich
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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Signs of the Coming Apocalypse

Is it just me, or is it strange that the NYT catches more heat for revealing plot details from the final Harry Potter novel than they did for revealing government programs that affect national security? I mean seriously, she accuse the NYT of violating a public trust for reviewing a fictional book about wizards in school! BUt revealing a program to track terrorist funds through bank transfers is A-OK.


Posted by Rich
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BlogFests and Blogathons (oh my)

First of all, it's not indecisiveness; it's flexibility in the face of constantly shifting expectations.

So here's the New Deal on BlogFest Rev 2.0

The BlogFest for this weekend is unchanged. We will be meeting upstairs at Barley's in the Old City on Saturday, July 21st at 6PM for food, fun, and lively conversation.

The second BlogFest will still be held on the 28th, but not at Barley's in the Old City. Instead we will be at Bailey's in West Knoxville. They have WiFi access there so all participants in the Blogathon will still be able to come to the BlogFest, as long as they are less than 30 minutes away.

We'll be starting at 6PM, just as before, but it looks like I'll get to Bailey's around 2:30. I've been invited by Barry to join him on Cathy and Doug's Blogathon Team, and my shift is from 3PM until 9PM. We're blogging for STAR, The Shangri-La Therapeutic Academy of Riding. STAR teaches special people how to care for and ride horses, activities that provide tremendous benefits to their clients all in a fun, enjoyable setting.

Here's how I am doing my part to help them.

For my six hours, I'm going to pull a Harlan Ellison/Drew Carey mashup. (Now there's an ugly picture.) Early on in his career, Ellison would write short stories sitting inside the front window of a local bookstore. I'm going to do the same thing, except I'll be doing it in a noisy pub. As for the Drew Carey portion of the mashup, the story will be based on suggestions and contributions from the sponsors. When you make your pledge, leave a comment on this post, giving me a suggested title, a genre, a character name, or first line, and I will incorporate at least one suggestion from each sponsor into the story. (This applies even if you have already sponsored the team before I came along. Just send me your suggestions.) During the Blogathon, I'll post the completed section of the story every half hour, and will check the comments for sponsor suggestions on plot twists, new characters, or lines of dialog. I'll keep the story as interactive as possible, but that will depend on the quantity of sponsors and suggestions.

At the end of 6 hours, the story will be finished, and so will I. It figures to be a very intense 6 hours of concentrated writing broken up by a chicken wing or fish and chips every now and then. I may need a ride home or somebody's spare couch.

Now, here's how you can do your part. Go to Cathy's Blogathon sponsor page. Sign up and sponsor us. Be generous. Tell your friends to sign up as well. Then leave your suggestions here on this post. See how simple it is? Now if you really want to get in on the fun, monitor the posts here on Saturday, starting at 9AM, Cathy's shift. She'll be posting every half hour and has promised to have a webcam going. I'll take over at 3PM, and I promise NOT to have a webcam going. Remember, before the 28th, leave your suggestions on this post. Once my shift starts, leave your suggestions in comments on the story itself. By the way, you are welcome to come out to Bailey's and watch me write, but it isn't very exciting watching a guy sit and type for 6 hours. Barry will take over at 9PM, and I'm thinking we need a live streaming musical performance from him. Doug will bring us all home, taking the 3AM to 9AM shift.

So let's sum up,so I don't get accused of causing anyone any more headaches (and I will take care of it):

BlogFest 1 Jul 21, upstairs at Barley's in the Old City, 6PM
BlogFest 2 Jul 28, Bailey's in West Knoxville, 6PM
Blogathon Jul 28, Bailey's in West Knoxville, 3PM-9PM (My Shift)
Sponsor Link
Blogathon Home
Giddyup for STARWhere all the action takes place.

Posted by Rich
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Sunday, July 15, 2007

Getting Goofy…

Tish started it!

Posted by Rich
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Saturday, July 14, 2007

Christopher Hitchens Pitches a Fit and Misses the Target

Via Ann Althouse, I read this from Christopher Hitchens:
But this sober conclusion, objective as it is, is surely preferable to the delusion that we have been created diseased, by a capricious despot, and then abruptly commanded to be whole and well, on pain of terror and torture.

I actually agree with Mr. Hitchens. His statement is indeed the product of a delusional mind. Fortunately, Christians are not as delusional as Mr. Hitchens would have you think, and do not believe the tripe he assigns to us.

  • To begin with, we do not believe that man was created diseased. Man was created in the image of God and it took an act of will to fall from His grace. Man chose to place his will before the will of God, a choice Mr. Hitchens is obviously quite familiar and comfortable with.

  • Next, while God may be described as a despot, His nature is anything but capricious, unless you define capriciousness as laying out in great detail the future events of the world, the correct actions to take to prosper spiritually, the consequences of failure to follow His plan,and then following that plan to the letter over several thousand years.

    Personally, I have a somewhat different definition of capricious. And so does the Merriam Webster Dictionary, which defines it as "impulsive, unpredictable, and inconstant."

    Mr. Hitchens may not like the rules of the game according to God; what he cannot claim is that God has broken those rules.

  • Next, we are not "commanded" to become whole and well; we are invited to do so.

    For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
    For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. John 3:16,17

    Man placed his will over God's and in so doing turned away from God. But God wasn't willing to let that be the last word. Instead, He became man, and took our sins upon Himself, so that we might turn back towards Him. God could have commanded our obedience; instead, he asked for it. He is still asking for it.

  • Finally, our belief is not driven by fear of pain and torture; in fact, unlike Muslims, Christians recognize that coerced belief is not true faith. However, the consequences of unbelief are real, and must be mentioned.

Mr. Hitchen's mistake is to try and equate "goodness" with "godliness," which is a very common error, even among Christians. I'll demonstrate.

How many of you out there, by a show of hands, believe that as long as the good you do outweighs the bad you do, that you are a good person,and will go to Heaven?

I see an awful lot of hands raised.

The problem is that this isn't what the Gospel tells us. In fact, Jesus preached that man can never earn his way into heaven through doing good workss because God's standard is perfection. The Law must be kept perfectly in deed, in word, and in thought in order to be righteous in the eyes of God. No human can meet that standard; we all fall short. That was the whole reason for the Incarnation and Crucifiction of Jesus; his sacrifice shields us from the absolute justice of God the Father.

Hitchens lists the long line of evils perpetrated by religious men, and uses that list to condemn a belief in God. His underlying assumption is that any immoral act performed by a Christian disproves Christianity. This assumption is based on a distortion of the Gospel.

A Christian is still a sinner. Aided by the Grace of God and the Holy Spirit, we fight our sinful nature, but becoming a Christian doesn't mean we've flipped some magical light switch that makes us better than we were before. We still sin in thought, word, and deed. We're still capable of doing wrong.

Not only that, but evil men can act under the cover of religion. Even though God is perfect, man is corrupt, and any organization of men will eventually be corrupted, even religious organizations. The Bible even tells us that evil men will come and claim they are working in he name of the Lord, but that they will be deceivers and the faithful are warned to watch carefully and verify their words against the Scriptures to discern whether they are false or true. Evil men always seek to hide behind virtues. That does not reflect on the validity of that virtue. Many dictators take power under the guise of providing security. Does this mean that security is illusory?

I'll just give one more example of Mr. Hitchens's many mistakes. Michael Gerson says this:
On evidence found in every culture, human beings can be good without God. And Hitchens is himself part of the proof. I know him to be intellectually courageous and unfailingly kind, when not ruthlessly flaying opponents for taking minor exception to his arguments. There is something innate about morality that is distinct from theological conviction.

Mr. Hitchens replies with this:
However, it is his own supposedly kindly religion that prevents him from seeing how insulting is the latent suggestion of his position: the appalling insinuation that I would not know right from wrong if I was not supernaturally guided by a celestial dictatorship...

Hitchens is responding to a charge that Gerson not only did not make, but refutes himself!

I don't know why Mr. Hitchens is so zealous an atheist. But based on this article, it is clear to me that his perceptions of Christianity are based not on Scripture, but on a distortion of Scripture.

Posted by Rich
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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Quick Thought on Socialized Medicine.

In England, they are considering adding a tax to unhealthy food in order to reduce the burdens that fat folks place on the National Health Care system.

Think about that for a minute folks. If you make the government the provider for health care, you give the government the right to tell you how to live.

Here's an example. The Federal government sponsored a network of highways throughout the US. They were built with the assistance of depression era works projects, but maintenance was left up to the states. The Federal government allocates money to each state that is earmarked for maintenance of the Interstate highway system.

So far,so good.

Then the Federal government decided that being old enough to vote, enter into legal contracts, and to fight and die for your country didn't mean you were old enough to drink,so they proposed a drinking age of 21. While the Constitution clearly prevent the Fed from creating a national drinking age, they blackmailed the states into going along with the increased drinking age by threatening to cut off the Federal money for maintaining the Interstates.

If the Federal government controls your access to medical care, that means they also control your life.

The only thing worse than letting big business control medical care is to let government control it.

Posted by Rich
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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Update to the Important Change Announcement.

I just realized that July 28th is also Blogathon Day, and we have some bloggers who are participating.

What ever shall I do?

Easy. We're having two BlogFests at Barley's, one on the 21st and the other on the 28th. Come to either one or both.

I'll be at both. I live Barley's pizza. And their hummus. Now I don't have to decide which one to have!

Posted by Rich
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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Important Change Announcement

The BlogFest previously scheduled for July 21 has been re-scheduled to July 28 in order to avoid conflict with the next Harry Potter Book launch. I have been contacted by attorneys for J.K. Rowlings,and they have advised me about the legal ramifications of holding such a high profile event so close to the release of Harry Potter Dies a Miserable Death While Ron and Hermione Play Hide the Wand in the Chamber of Secrets.

I can hardly wait for the movie.

Be that as it may,we will be having the Blogfest, just a week later than originally announced. So, to recap:

BlogFest: Saturday,July 28th, 6PM upstairs at Barley's in the Old City.

Posted by Rich
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I’ve Had a Request

I've been asked to move the Blogfest to the following weekend,the 28th of July. It seems that there is a book or something coming out on the 20th that's going to have people up all night or something. If this isn't going to cause anybody any heartbreak,we'll go ahead and move it.

All opposed signify in the comments.

Posted by Rich
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New Features Here at SATB

Yes, that's a fundraising link to the left for Fred. And no, I haven't contributed yet. When he announces, I'll contribute. If he can play it coy, so can I.

And the Twitter badge below the Recent Entries on the left is just for the fun of it. Blogging is supposed to be social, at least partially,and I've been way to busy being serious to have any real fun. Twitter reminds me to have fun.

Posted by Rich
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Monday, July 09, 2007

A Serious Question

I was watching the national news, and alongside such groundbreaking stories as it's hot in July, NBC reports that our military cannot sustain the current deployment rate.

Whether you support the War on Terror or not, does it bother you that maintaining 150,000 men in the field appears to be beyond out capability? I mean, considering that China can put out a couple hundred million men, I think it might be nice that we could at least sustain a force large enough to take on a 3rd rate military power like Iraq without breaking our military.

Maybe it's just me...

Posted by Rich
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