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From an excerpt from one of Sippican’s posts

I am not young any more. I have a bad back. There is a great deal wrong with my feet. I am still a bit feebler than I’d like to be from a bout of Lyme disease. All my neighbors, the nicest people I’ve met in this world, no exaggeration, passed by and told me to be careful up there, fearing that I might fall, never suspecting that if one of the bees buzzing around the chimney took umbrage I’d die right there without ever making it back to the top of the ladder, never mind the bottom.

A upon reading this, I could not help think three things.

1. The nicest people I know would have done the roof for Sippican.

2. One such nice guy was an old guy (in his mid to late fifties) who carried a couple sheets of plywood up a extension ladder before I could help. I told him that when I got to be his age I hoped I was in as good a shape as he was and smart enough not to do what he was doing. He told me that I had to pick one or the other. It strikes me that Sippican subscribes to the same school of thought.

3. I am such a wimp. Just looking at the pictures that Sippican posted brings back bad memories and makes my stomach feel a little sick. Cowardice is something I always have to fight.

Edit: Fixed spelling. Don’t know why I always want to add a another “p”.

.50 Cal taking over the world

This is amazing only because of the caliber of bullet that they are firing.

More here.

Over the years, I have read a lot about so called “chav” cultural. Most of the time, it all seems unreal. It is easy to read stuff like this post from Inspector Gadget and get disgusted. But it is hard to read it and imagine yourself dealing with those types of people.

Yet when you watch videos of everyday normal people having to deal with “chavs” it becomes all too real for me. I see these things and my guts just twist up. I can’t imagine how I could live in an environment like this without becoming a murderous madman. And the two clips below represent the best case that you could possible expect when dealing with “chavs”. I would hate to think how I would feel if I saw a pack of “chavs” going after someone who was helpless and alone. And yet, that is a far more likely outcome then what you see below.

Some more proof that I am still writing lies below the more tag. Since I added in new paragraph into stuff that I have already posted, there is some old and new mixed in below with most of new starting about half way down.

Sadly, most of the new stuff is a good candidate for deletion.

This issue is not quality per say. As much as I like to beat my chest about how hard I am on myself, I put plenty of crap up. The real issue is about staying on track.

And this is also why standard advice of “write out, then polish” does not apply to me. When you are capable of writing twenty pages of that are totally off track, the proper advice is more like “when you are in a hole that you want to get out of, the first thing to do is to stop digging.”

The new stuff below is not quite that bad, but I do think it went a little off track.

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Another Section

As discussed in the last post, there is more writing below. A few paragraphs from last time were added in to help place it in context.

I wanted to address Rundy’s comments on the last post, but that will have to wait until some other time.

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Trying to get out of a rut

I have not been happy with what I have been writing lately. I don’t find my life to be that interesting and I can’t manage to put much heart into writing about it. I generally spend my life in my own little world and the only thing that even comes close to explaining to others what is going on in my own little world is my essay site.

And I have not been writing for my essay site lately.

So I thought I would try to spend more time trying to write for my essay site and not worry so much about this site (especially since most of the other members of the challenge have dropped off anyway).

But on past form, I will delete everything I write for my essay site before I put it up and this tends to disappoint some people. So I thought I would experiment with putting up sections that I am working on as I am working on them (or deleting them), with some commentary. That way my few loyal readers can maybe understand what I am trying to accomplish and why I keep failing. Also, I can prove that I am as hard on myself as I am on other people.

This is probably a dumb idea that won’t work, but I am in a rut that I would like to get out of. And I guess the only way to get out of a rut is to try different things.

Now, I won’t be posting stuff every day. Most days it will be all I can do to work on the essay a bit. But I hope to post sections of progress (or things that I have deleted) at least twice a week with at least some commentary.

So after the commentary below you will find beginnings of the first real chapter of “A Critique of Christianity”. The part that is currently up on my essay site is only a prologue. A necessary prologue to be sure, as I will need to refer to it. But it is not directly related to flow of my argument.

I had written out past this first chapter long before I even put up the prologue. But I never really fleshed out the arguments in this first chapter for a variety reasons that mostly boil down to the fact that I did not want to.

To make a long story short, as soon as I realized that I had to write this chapter before I could finish anything else (which was a long time ago now), I knew what it was going to be called and the arguments that I wanted to make in the chapter. But I had various problems and I kept deleting everything I wrote.

My biggest problem was that I want to write this essay to express a bunch of things that I have long wanted to say to those Christians who wonder why I don’t go to Church. I know it will not accomplish anything (too long for anyone to read, for one thing). But for therapeutic reasons, I would like write out what I want to say in the manner that I wish I could say it. At least then I will have the satisfaction of having expressed myself, even if it is only to the void.

The reason I kept deleting all my stuff every time I tried to write this chapter previously is that I kept trying to (A) tie this chapter in with the prologue or (B) express the private agonies that lead me to want to write this dang thing. Often I would try to do both at once.

The end result was pages and pages of really stupid writing that was always just a couple of paragraphs away from starting to address what I really needed to addresses when I deleted it all.

And so here I am, trying again for the umpteenth time to spell out things that I know like the back of my hand.

Currently, I have the following structure in mind for “The Problem of Authority.”

(a) Define Christianity (kind of necessary if your over all title is “A Critique of Christianity”)

(b) Define the problem of Authority (particularly as it relates to Christianity)

(c) Explain in biblical terms why the Bible itself is not the solution to the problem of authority.

(d) Explain the conception of authority that will govern the rest of the Critique.

(e) Maybe foreshadow a bit what the next chapter will be about?

As I flesh out this structure, I am trying to keep two things in mind.

(1) Try to error on the side of underexplaining/defending/defining.

(2) Use utilitarian words to create logical flows. (i.e don’t worry about making it an interesting read, worry about making the argument flow).

Below is how I started trying to flesh out the above outline. Tune in next week for an explanation of why I deleted it all (that’s a joke, I hope. Have not slept on it long enough to really hate it yet).

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Depressing News

“What happened to you? You looked like you got dragged behind a truck for a couple of miles.”

Maybe he did not look that bad. But I had to wonder what caused him to be late and show up looking tired.

This guy was not ever late.

“I had a power outage and so my alarm did not wake me.”

“I thought you had a back up generator.”

“I will tell you about later.”

Long story short, his marriage of roughly 30 years was in the process of ending. Apparently his wife had decided that she did not love him some years prior. So she decided to clean him out of every red cent he had. His house was in process of being foreclosed on. Every bill you could think of was past due and there where plenty of other bills that he found that he knew nothing about. And he found out that he had no savings.

This was incredibly depressing news for me.

This guy has always struck me as being a decent family man. Unlike so many other men, he does not talk trash about his wife or chase after other woman. He is not profane. He does not party. He did not work ungodly hours. He gave every paycheck he got to his wife so that she could pay the bills and he would ask her for whatever money he needed (That is why she could clean him out so badly without him knowing).

Granted, there is always two sides to every story. In this case though, I think the other side of the story has to do with an addiction that spun out of control and a marriage that never should have happened in the first place. But I don’t know for sure and it is not my place to judge.

It still depresses me though.

Insanity

The recently passed health care bill demonstrates how insane the American political process has become. The fact that American cannot afford the costs is the least of its problems.

Lets face it. No matter how personally repugnant the idea is to our ideological sensibilities, America can afford national health care. The reason America can’t afford this health care bill is because America wants everything.

We want to be a super power. We want to subsidize agriculture. We want to drive the biggest cars and eat the biggest burgers. We want everyone to be able to buy their own home (and we spend more government money subsidizing mortgages than any socialist European country). And so on and so on.

A “progressive” sort of person might reasonably argue that it is unfair to blame the health care bill itself for the fact that American can not afford it. To me, that still means that we should wait until the country is not on the verge of bankruptcy before we even begin to debate the issue.

But whatever. I am a charitable sort of dude. So lets forget the fact that the bill is going to help bankrupt this country. This bill is still one of the most insane things that this nation has ever done.

The simple fact of matter is that the same people who talked about the evil nature of insurance companies are going to give the insurance companies an extra 200 billion dollars a year. On top of that, they are going to force lot of people to pay their own money for insurance who have previously spent their money on other things.

To help pay for this bill, they are going to cut payments to health care providers. This will make providing health care less profitable.

If your goal is to make it easier for people to see a doctor, this is an insane way of going about it. At very least, it is not very cost effective. At the worst, you will have insurance, but you will not be able to get an appointment because everyone will be able to afford to go to the doctor but very few people will want to be doctors for the pay offered.

It’s almost funny

Listen up, all you dirty scum without health insurance, the IRS is going to be monitoring you for compliance with the new health care bill. This process is going to be modeled on the famed campaign run by a certain Santa Claus. Just make sure you do the right thing and you will not have anything to worry about.

And don’t worry your pretty little head about the fiscal impact of this bill. A lot of work was put into the bill to make it fiscally responsible. But you don’t need to dig into the details. Just rest assured that every angle has been covered to ensure that this bill is as good for the fiscal health of America as it is for its physical health. The only thing that could go wrong is if some of the more backwards states fail to pay their share.

Granted, to understand how this bill is fiscally responsible, you need to have a good working knowledge of higher math. But such sophistication should not alarm you. Rather you should feel relived that such people are working on your behalf.

Another indication of their brilliance is the parliamentary brilliance behind the sophisticated parliamentary tactics being used to both pass and not pass some of the more unpopular bits of the bill.

Have a good night’s sleep everyone.

Some things I found today

I am not sure how much I liked the dilapidation, but I sure liked the over all design. At least, as much as I could see of it in the pictures.

You never know what you are going to find when you wander over to Andrew Cusack’s web site. But then, that is the beauty of the internet as a whole. You can find out all sorts of things that you would have never expected.

For example, today I was reading in Spiegel about places that Germans are loved because of Hitler. In part, this strange love for Germans goes hand in hand with hatred for the Jews. But I think it also a reflection of how much racial identity is the backbone of nationalism in most of the world.

But even though it is a bit unsettling to think of how many people in the world think Hitler was cool, I found this even more unsettling.

I don’t know if I could do a good job of explaining why. You would think regrowing lost limbs would be a good thing. But for some reason, the thought strikes me as being very creepy.

This story was not creepy in and off itself, but it made me wonder if some of those creepy internet drug sellers were getting their product via this means.

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