Sunday, October 31, 2010

Birthday Girl and the State Fair

We took my oldest daughter to the Arizona State Fair for her birthday this afternoon.  It is a sobering mortality check to realize she is the same age now that I was when we adopted her.  The State Fair has all kinds of things I don't do, like spin fast, go high, or both combined.
The Wifey and Daughter in the ferris wheel.

More my speed is the petting zoo.  The Llama made instant friends with Brittany. 

The daughters feed the gluttonous Llama.

S-p and the goat.  BFF.

And my new avatar....

State Fair Mecca!!.... deep fried Twinkies, Snickers, Moonpies, Oreo and yes!!! Deep fried butter!  Oil, flour, butter... It's all natural.

And finally... posers.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

New Icons

So with the midterm elections looming on the horizon, I decided since I don't vote for them, I should at least pray for our civil authorities like St. Paul told me to. But some of the Republo-dox and Demo-dox bloggers seem to be telling me that I should pray that the civil authorities align themselves with their respective political platforms, which of course, are God ordained. So I set out to find an appropriate icon for my family altar that depicts "God ordained American politics". No small feat. But thanks to Keith and Randy, I now have one.
But this image doesn't tell the whole story. In fact, this is an interactive icon, which is sheer genius, and you can see all the hidden meanings in the icon by dragging your mouse over it. Each person in the icon represents something. Go HERE and be amazed and perhaps even edified!

Speaking of political icons, I think the McNaughton icon goes well next to another political cartoon... ummmm... icon that I have.
(Clikonit to embiggen)

I think it would be really cool if we could bring Orthodox iconography into the new millenium and make them interactive too. Just imagine dragging your mouse across Luther, the Pope, the New Agers or the Ecumenists and seeing a sidebar that lists all their heresies!

So the only thing I have left to figure out is when I reverence these, who exactly is the veneration going to? I've searched the menaion and can't find a "Saint Concept" anywhere.... hmmm.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


It started about 4 weeks ago. My computer just randomly rebooted in the middle of something.

So of course I clicked the "Send Error Report" that I'm sure went directly to Bill Gates' personal email and he missed breakfast because he got right on trying to figure out why that happened.  Bill never got back to me with an update or a bit of code or even a "Wow, that's a new one on me!"

In the past four weeks I think I've sent a couple dozen of those now.  The blue screens have gone from every couple days to two or three times a day now. I've done the debugger, the error report investigation that's buried in the "advanced" tabs of places I've never seen in my computer before that links to Microsoft's geekiest webpages. Nothing. Nada. Not even a guess.

So, I think its time to bury this old friend... He's about 4 years old. In computer years that's probably over 100. There's a very small part of me that is saying, "Don't replace it... simplify, be a Luddite, get your life back, go fishing...." and it is tempting. But, we're not in Mayberry anymore, Goober. So some time in the next few days I may disappear for a while. I'm a total tech dunce and it will take me at least a couple days to set up a new computer.

In the meantime, yes, I am backing stuff up. I hope.....

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Bishop Blesses New Tattoo

OK, so you have a past. Who doesn't? You were hanging out with some friends one night and had a few too many shots of tequila and staggered by a 24 hour "Skin Art" studio. You woke up the next morning with a cool (then) skull tattoo.

But oops... now you've become Orthodox, grew a beard and you're thinking "priesthood". By God's grace you got the tattoo where you might be able to hide it wearing full vestments or a cassock. Oh sure, you told the story and showed it to your spiritual Father in your life confession, but the permanent record remains. Now you aren't sure if you should show it to your bishop before you talk to him about ordination. Why waste 3 years of your life in seminary and years of student loans to pay off for nothing because you have a skull tattooed on your shoulder?

Well! Your days of embarrassment and apologies are over! A Bishop of the Russian Church has just blessed a new tattoo design for converts called "Orthodoxy or Death".

When asked why he blessed this design the Bishop said, "If the Church can baptize the Greek culture, it can certainly baptize American skin art."  The "Orthodoxy or Death" motif is designed so it can easily be retro-fitted around almost any skull tattoo and thus it can be "Orthodoxized".  Just imagine your willingness to be martyred for your Orthodoxy emblazoned around the former permanent record of a falling down drunken stupor! Give your skull a new Orthodox name!

So if you have a tattoo... don't apologize, EVANGELIZE!
Don't remove your tattoo, transform it!
It's best because it's blessed!
Heck, you might even be regarded as a "fool for Christ" by your friends!... (and they'd be half right.)

(Disclaimer: the Church will not pay for retro-fitting existing tattoos, nor does it endorse any tattoo artists who do not know Russian. Consult your spiritual Father, priest or bishop for potential side effects of "Orthodoxy or Death" tattoos, which may include but not limited to: prelest, vainglory, Russophilia, Society for Creative Anachronism Syndrome, posing, exhibitionism, arrogance, super-correctness, Monkabee syndrome, marginalization by friends, family and fellow Orthodox,and rejection for ordination by a normal Bishop.)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

June Cleaver, Memory Eternal

Probably the most brilliant piece of casting in cinema history: 

The making of the scene:

And a later interview with Barbara on the "Airplane" cameo:

Friday, October 15, 2010

Fall in Arizona

The wifey and I took an overnight trip to eastern Arizona where Arizona Highways said there is a scenic forest road worth navigating to watch the leaves changing.  They weren't kidding. It's times like these I wish I had a real camera again.(Clikonem to embiggen)

One short trip, one happy wife... (and hubby).

Monday, October 11, 2010

Christian Porn

So, I recently posted a video of a "goofy" charismatic couple "praying". Basically to be honest, I posted it because it invited derision, smirking, ridicule and well, yeah, comments.

But I confess that, when I created the post, I hesitated for a split second before I hit "publish".  And then I violated my personal rule of thumb for the internet:  "If I hesitate to hit SEND, there MIGHT be a reason to sit on it."  I ignored my hesitation this time, I published the post.  But the unease did not go away. But then again, laughter goes a long way to cover up dis-ease.

Then, last of all, Fr. Sean commented:
"So I finally broke down and decided to get to a computer that actually deals with videos, and I watched the silly thing.

First thought: I can not and will not judge their mode of expressing praise for God. If I do so, I will be accountable to the God whom they are praising, and whom I praise with much less fervor and (apparent) sincerity. I strikes me as odd that any Christian could look askance on this as an example of private praise. Surely I do things which would seem even sillier to another person. Thank God that he is my only audience (I hope!).

My serious objection to the video was simply that I was watching it. It felt almost like watching a video of a loving married couple expressing their love for each other in bed. I might criticize their technique ("that's not how I would like to do it"), but the main point is that I would have no business watching it and they, no business exposing it to public view. Yes, that is exactly what I thought. "This should have been a private thing between them and God, not in front of an audience, and certainly not on YouTube."

I find some fault with the culture of parts of the Christian world which makes this sort of thing a matter of public spectacle. I find fault with myself for having watched what should have been a private moment with God (whether the participants felt that way or not). And I am disturbed by the judgmentalism in my soul which can watch this and pretend that I am virtuous because I do not give way to preposterous silliness as I seek to express the unspeakable and wild praise and joy that God naturally calls forth from me. I also feel a little bit dirty for having watched it."

I read his comment and nearly wept.

You see, I despise the Jerry Springers, the Montels, the Dr. Phils who parade human weakness before the world and hold it up for derision in the name of entertainment. Oh to be sure, there is a vanity and pathological narcissism to those who would expose their most private weaknesses to public view.  But fallen humanity is symbiotic: there are those who expose themselves and those who watch.  The world has gone from "doing your good deeds to be seen of men" to "youtubing your most intimate and sometimes stupid moments for the world to see".  Porn sites are the quintessential evidence of the depth of the fallen symbiosis of voyeur and exhibitionist. Non-sexual exhibitionism and voyeurism may not offend the moral sensibilities, but they have the same roots and that is what makes it the more subtle and damning temptation. The internet exponentially feeds the ego, is a snare for the narcissist and gives the smug and judgmental an entire universe to ridicule, even if he doesn't realize it is a universe of his peers. But I am not far behind. I parade my facade onto the web hoping for voyeurs to discover me.  I am viral. I have trackbacks. I can be googled, therefore I am.  My human worth is determined by the number of  FB friends I've never met, hits and comments.  The street corner is no longer a few square feet of pavement and a few bystanders who happen by in real time, it is trillions of 1's and 0's on billions of square feet of computer screens all over the world, and until the internet dies, I can potentially be seen everywhere, at all times.  I am the exhibitionist who puts my weaknesses up for all to see.

So, thank you, Fr. Sean.  I realize now what my hesitation was about: I am also the voyeur. And as the voyeur I am even less holy than the human train wreck I can't take my eyes off of, who publishes his demolished humanity for the world to see, whether it is hard core porn or something Jesus said it is best to do in your closet and not before men.

And I also realize that not only am I the hooting and laughing audience, I am also Jerry Springer.  I paraded human weakness before you for hits and ratings. Basically, I hosted an internet Christian porn site. I gave you the link to watch two fallen people do something that should not be seen by human eyes.

I confess that when I saw it, even in my dis-ease, rather than hear the Spirit and weep, I judged and I laughed. And quenching the Spirit, I then put the stumbling block in your path.  Forgive me.

May God have mercy on me a sinner.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Ecumenical Dialogue Overheard

OK folks, this is not a serious commentary on "ecumenism" etc. etc. It just made me smile. If you didn't smile, don't comment. Thank you in advance for not filling the combox with links and diatribes about ecumenists, Bartholomew and the Pope.