Monday, February 26, 2007

Jesus is Alive!

The rediscovery of Jesus' family tomb has sparked a lot of debate. No one has seen all of the evidence yet, yet everyone is piping up with criticisms. So far, none of the criticisms have been scientific in nature. "Jesus family was too poor for a tomb of such luxury". Umm, for starters, there is no statement in the bible about Jesus' wealth! In fact, it is unlikely that anyone with so much influence was poor! How unscientific can one get? It's just funny how everyone is panicking.

Hey Christians, your god was just a man! Not even all Christians look to Jesus as a god. Certainly, he had a life prior to the age of about 34, when we started preaching openly. So, there's nothing odd about him having a family. In fact, there's nothing odd about his family being hidden from history! Perhaps the story of Jesus' death and lack of mention of his family is due to the fact that his followers were trying to protect them from the Roman Empire. Or perhaps the politics within the Christian Church were at play, as groups fought for control of the faith. Maybe Jesus lineage lost power in the group once he died, so their record was expunged to justify the resulting power shift. This sort of activity is evident from within the text of the New Testament. There is obvious tells about the rise and fall of apostles and other leaders within the Church in power struggles where the victor was not necessarily even familiar with Jesus (for example, St. Paul). After all, the Council of Nicaea was commissioned by the pagan Roman Emperor Constantine. If an outsider held that much say over the faith, how much more was the faith in flux from within?

So, do I believe these remains belong to Jesus and his family? No, I don't hold a belief about such things. Do I think there is a possibility that these remains are of Jesus? Yeah. In fact, I think it is likely.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Every House Has a Maker

Did a god make our world? I must admit that I know that every house has a maker. A lot of work goes into making a house. A house is built by humans, using processes developed by humans, with materials discovered and formed by humans. We make houses to serve as shelter for our population. What does this say about how Earth came into being? 

Well in nature, we do not see such an effort being made. In nature, everything is random. Houses don’t just come into being by themselves. 

If this Earth was created by a nurturing and carrying god, one of the main things one should expect is that all of humanity's corporeal needs are directly addressed. For example, if an average person today was dropped into the middle of the wilderness without supplies, most persons would not be able to survive. Another example, people who raise animals feed their animals, groom them, raise them, protect them, provide companionship to them, and even clean up after their dirty business. Imagine what would happen if a cat owner didn’t clean the litter box. Yuk! 

Yet, this world doesn’t do any of that for us. We have to find our own food. We have to cook our own meals. We have to build the houses in which we live and the cars we drive. We even have to wipe our own asses. 

Bottom line, where there is a house, there is indeed a maker. Where there is no house, there is certainly no maker.

Good, bad and the ugly

Although I feel my actions are "good", I don't hold "good" and "bad" are moral standards. Everything that one does is both beneficial and detrimental at the same time. I may buy a loaf of bread for a poor family, but that loaf was made by growing and then killing yeast; it was likely delivered to the store in a truck that consumed fossil fuel that polluted the atmosphere; it was packaged in plastic, also from fossil fuel, that when discarded will be garbage polluting the Earth. Here's a more basic example: every breath we take adds a few seconds to our life, but also takes us one breath closer to our last.Something good is something we perceived as more beneficial than detrimental; and visa versa for something that is bad. So, from this, how does one presume a moral code? "Experience" is often sited. However, since everything is relative to one's prespective, how is society supposed to trust each individual's experience to steer them towards activities which it feels are more beneficial than detrimental?Once we answer that, then we can toss out religion. Any takers?
For me, my morality is based on my experiences. I do try to have all of my actions within what is preceived as being "good" (more beneficial than detrimental). Is there any way for society to codify this? Yes, through secular law. Of course, then one can get into the duscussion about fairness of certain laws, but that's another topic all together.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Amazed and Confused

I am thoroughly amazed about just how weird the Anna Nicole Smith story can get. Literally every day there is some new development in this woman's story. Each new revelation is weirder than the previous. I'm not going to bother recapping all the nonsense. Just say that now the judge overseeing motions about her body is now becoming a character in this confusing and sordid tale. A famous fiction writer couldn't make this stuff up and still be considered a good writer!
It's almost as though one of the many dieties running this world said, "Hey, it's my turn to watch over things on Earth. The last diety spinkled violence all over the planet, and that didn't go so well. I think I'll mix things up with some seriously weird stuff to lighten the mood. Hmmm, who shall me my vessel of weirdness? I know, Anna Nicole!" Why do I get the feeling that 1000 years from now, people will still be talking about her? LOL Seriously, she is like the Jesus Christ of weirdness!
What's next? I don't know. I'm half expecting a bunch of psychics will come forth soon to claim Anna has been talking to them and that she wants to tell everyone to stop fighting over her and her baby. Some of the psychis will say she wants to change her will to give custody of the baby and all the money to Michael Jackson. Others will say that she wants to give her baby to this or that person, and for the money to be donated to charities. An still others will say she's in heaven just laughing away at the mess she created.
But who knows. This story is already weird beyond belief. How can it get any weirder? Uh-oh, I had to ask, huh?! lol

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Trouble with stores charging Credit Card fees

UPDATE: A few years ago (sometime after the original posting of this article), Credit Card companies agreed to allow vendors charge fees for the use of their credit card.  It is now legit for a business to charge for the use of a credit card.

UPDATE 2: It seems in 2023, there's a separate lawsuit against Visa and Mastercard by merchants who claim they are charged excessive fees due to antitrust violations.  Although this is a separate issue from the one mentioned originally below in this article (back in 2007), it seems important to note it here.  The settlement agreement (backup link) to end the 2023 lawsuit was apparently effective on August 1, 2023.  

OUTDATED INFO: Have you ever run into a store with a sign posted that states they charge a fee for any purchases under a certain price if you pay with a credit card? Card Card companies have restrictions on when a fee can be charged. No fee is allowed for amounts greater than $1. If you come across a store that is charging a fee for any amount greater than $1, just leave and tell them why you are leaving. If you are a regular customer, perhaps gently remind them of this before you take off.
Then, report that place of business to your credit card companies. They will take it from there.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Someone made my day

I got the funniest automated news today. I was notified by Yahoo! Answers that I am now a level 2 member for earning 250 points on the Answers area. (That's not the funny part.) I checked out why.
It appears that I had previously answered the question "If only god can judge, shoudn't we abolish all the courts and tribunals?" with one simple little statement "LOL". So, apparently somebody thought that my answer was most appropriate and voted it as the Best Answer for that question. LOL I think I laughed for like a minute or more when I made this little, simple and yet ironic discovery. In fact, it is ironic in its irony. hehe This made my day.
Ok, so what does "Level 2" status give me? Well, I now have the power to rate other people's answers. ::insert unnecessary and fake maniacal laugh here:: I haven't even explored the Yahoo! Answers thingy in like 6 months. When I did, it was out of boredom for a few evenings here or there last summer.
Hmm, I'm not feeling bore right now...this being Lovers Day, I have some stuff I need to do, but maybe I can take a few minutes to explore.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Dollars and coins

With the new $1 coins coming off the mint now, there's renewed discussion about which (coin or bill) are better or needed. A common sentiment is found in the linked article quoting a fellow citizen, "I really don't see any use for [the dollar coin]. We tried it before. It didn't fly."
I personally disagree. I feel that the issue with the dollar coin is not that we tried it and it failed. It is that our Mint has made a series of mistakes in the design of the coin.
First, for 3 decades, they've been putting somewhat obscure characters from U.S. history on the coin. Susan B. Anthony is important, but is she more important than Eisenhower (who she replaced)?
The person on the coin may not be as big of an issue as the next mistake in the 1970's. They made the dollar coin of similar size, weight and color to the quarter. It is way too confusing for vendors to handle change when they can't immediately tell a quarter and a dollar apart.
Third, they did not commit the U.S. economy to depend on the coin, but rather continued to produce the bill at the same levels.
The fourth and fifth mistakes comes in the late 1990's when they replaced the Susan B. Anthony coin with a brass colored coin of an even more obscure character from pre-U.S. history. Honestly, to me, once these coins hit circulation and got tarnished, they resembled 1950's coins from Latin America. The idea was to make a coin that looked gold in color. They failed horribly on this.
The sixth mistake was again with size. They keep the coin the same size and shape as the Susan B. Anthony coin. This meant that even though the coin was goldish color, in dark lighting or at a glance, it was still very hard to distinguish the them from a quarter.
Given this series of blunders, one might have to suspect that the errors have been made intentionally to sabotage the efforts to establish an American dollar coin.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Talk about work

One thing I never do it talk about work directly. No exception today. But if I were going to talk about work, then I'd be saying some cool stuff about things that I may or may not be accomplishing. :)

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Sex in Space

Just some thoughts about this psycho astronaut. Ya'no, there's only about 70 astronauts at any given time. Love triangles going on at this level, involving married people leads me to just imagine what else has been going on in this tight knit group. For example, has their already been first time people had sex in space in some extremely exclusive Zero-G club (as opposed to the Mile High Club)? Hmm. This could either desolve into a Sex in Space fantasy, or a 90210 nightmare. Right now, it appears to be 90210 in Space.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Da Bearrrrszz

Corus "It's Da Bears!"

Robert Smigel "Bill, what is your prediction for Super Bowl 41?"

Bill Swerski "My prediction for dis Sunday's big game is Da Bears: 171.5, and da utter guys: Forfeit due to dair entire team being seriously injured on account of dair fancy team bus being accidently leaned upon by a 10 year old girl."

Todd O'Conner "Really, are da Colts so weak dat dair'll injured by a 10 year girl leaning against dair bus? Is dat possible?"

Robert "No, Todd, but it is possible if dat 10 year old girl is Coach Dikka's daughter!"

Bill "Of course"

Robert "Not Coach Dikka's eldest daughter, but his youngest daughter, because we all know what Coach Dikka's oldest daughter would do to da Colts!"

Pat Arnold "Oh, yeah, of course!

Todd "So why is the score only 171.5 and not just 172?"

Bill "Well, actually da score will be a dominating 171, but on account of Da Bears shear mightiness, the N-F-L will award dem a bonus 1/2 point."

Pat "No, I think the score will be 172, but dee N-F-L will deduct 1/2 a point because Coach Dikka is not longer coaching the team!"

Todd "Yes!"

Robert "Da Bears"

Corus "Daaa Bearssszz"