You might be a liberal…

If you spend your life hugging trees, but you think carbon dioxide is destroying the world, you might be a liberal.
If you froth at the mouth anytime some questions Darwinian evolution, AND you froth at the mouth if a species is listed as “endangered”, you might be a liberal.

If you think that medical care is too expensive and hard-to-access, but you think the answer is to force everyone to buy insurance policies, you might be a liberal.

If you think that measles outbreaks are caused by parents not injecting their children with measles, you might be a liberal.

A New Study on GMO Maize

Even among the scientific community intelligent enough to be skeptical of the anthropogenic global warming hypothesis, I often come under fire for my lack of support of genetically-modified food.  Many of these people do not even understand that genetic modification is completely different from selective breeding–in fact, it technically creates new species.  Nor, apparently, are they aware of the growing body of evidence of harm of long-term ingestion of GMO crops–which should not be surprising, since the primary selling point of GMO crops is the incorporation of pesticides into the foodstuffs itself.  Hopefully, this new study published in the International Journal of Biological Sciences will help open some eyes.

Questions About my Religious Development

One of the posts which established the current direction of my blog. Still pretty good.

Home of the Little-Known Blogger

An old friend from high school and college just asked me some rather deep question about my religious experience and beliefs. I thought that they were interesting enough to share, both the questions and my answers. For reference, I was raised in an Evangelical Church (Presbyterian); became an atheist when I went to college; began practicing Buddhism later in college and developing it significantly in the Marine Corps, where I was stationed in Japan for three years; turned to Gnosticism later as a more symbolically-familiar system of mystagogy; and eventually returned to Christianity through the Episcopal Church, although with a strongly mystical/Gnostic outlook.
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I have a question, in your switch to Christianity. I was wondering did you just one day say I believe. Where before it was the absence of belief.

When I was a child, of course, I never thought to questions the teachings of the Presbyterian Church…

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Adventures of an Amateur Hoplologist

Japanese Girlfriend: “Hey, there’s a karate tournament this weekend!” *hands me a paper*

Me: Oh, let’s see…  This guy does Shorin-ryu, this guy does Goju-ryu, this guy does Shorin, Shorin, Goju… No, he does Uechi-ryu…

Japanese Girlfriend: “I thought you couldn’t read Japanese?”

Me: I can’t.  I can tell what style they practice by how they are standing.

Japanese Girlfriend: *Stares* *Drools*

—–

*Walking into a Chinese martial arts studio for the first time*

Me: Well, I see tiger forks.  This must be a southern style.

Instructor: *Stops short* *Stares for ten seconds* “Have you…  studied kung fu before?”

Me: No.

Nostalgic Reading

When I was about 12 years old, I was inducted into the First Presbyterian Church.  As part of the process, a Church elder took me out to eat and to have a conversation with me about joining the Church.  I ate very little–I was a very skinny kid–and so the elder offered to take me to the adjacent Wal-Mart and buy me a book, if I liked.

Oh, did I like.

There was one novel in particular I had had my eye on–but hadn’t saved up enough allowance yet.  It was called The First Book of Swords, by a man named Fred Saberhagen.  It had been on the shelves for a while, and I was afraid it was going to rotate out-of-stock (no such thing as internet shopping in 1983).  The Elder actually called my mother to get permission to buy me the book (had to use a pay phone, in fact; this was long before cellular telephones), and she gave it–although she later accused me of somehow strong-arming the fifty-something year old man into buying it for me.  Did I mention that I was twelve?

At any rate, I finally got the book.  It was not the first novel I had read–that honor belongs to Star Wars, A New Hope, when I was six (so unlike what the franchise later became), followed soon thereafter by The Andromeda Strain by the inimitable Michael Crichton.  This novel, however, (and the trilogy which spawned from it) was what cemented me into the fantasy genre.  An absolutely brilliant story of gods and demons, magic swords and heroes, forgotten technology, families, loss, and change.  I read that series many times, eventually tracking the preceeding series (The Empire of the East)–but not before devouring the Wrinkle in Time series, the Dark is Rising series, and every other fantasy book I could get my hands on.  Science fiction, at the time, was pretty much limited to Star Trek–which meant that it was always preachy.  But fantasy?  Fantasy was all imagination!

I have little time for reading per se, these days, but I do have regular long drives.  Thanks to the invention of the digital audiobook, I have yet again worked my way through The Empire of the East and the Book of Swords trilogies.  I am even beginning Saberhagen’s concluding work, the Book of Lost Swords series, which I had not previously read.  I find that I like them no less for being a bit dated–after all, so am I.

Why Freedom Beats Socialism

“Real wages rose by 50 percent and the portion of the population in acute poverty fell from 50 to 15 percent.”

Although not exactly the economy I would plan–they have light income tax and no sales tax–Hong Kong nevertheless remains the exemplar of free-market economics in the world today.  Especially when compared to it’s Socialist mother country, and the living conditions there.

Unfortunately, I seem to be having an issue with inserting links today, so here is the URL for the article to which I am referring:

http://www.fee.org/freeman/detail/the-man-behind-the-hong-kong-miracle

I am a climate skeptic who believes in global warming

Here is an excellent primer on the AGW skeptic’s position.

Watts Up With That?

Guest essay by Richard J. Petschauer

A skeptic that believes in global warming? How can that be? We have been told that climate skeptics, sometime incorrectly called “deniers”, still believe the earth is flat and disagree with 97% of scientists. Well, first of all, most of us have seen a globe and know what it represents. Second, do you know on what these scientists agree? If not, don’t feel bad. Those making these claims, mostly politicians, probably don’t know either. Actually, a rather poor survey was done looking at a summary of many technical papers. If any one of many climate related points were made, they were put in the 97% camp. This article would probably have qualified too.

But the real question, not covered in the survey: How fast will the earth warm if we do nothing to curtail the growth of man made carbon dioxide emissions? And how…

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My Guilty-Pleasure Movies

This list is by not exhaustive; I will probably think of several more as soon as my head hits the pillow this morning.  :-/  However, here is at least a partial list of B-movies, bombs, and otaku-fodder that I would gladly miss a few hours of sleep to watch again:

The Last Action Hero

A 1993 Schwarzennegger vehicle.  I actually don’t like putting this on a “guilty pleasure” list–I think it’s really a brilliant film which was vastly under-rated.

Zoolander

Actually based on a series of video shorts produced for VH1.  I have absolutely NO reason to like this movie–but I think it is hilarious, nonetheless.

Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn

Call it cheesy if you like (most people do)–this was a bold and original science-fiction piece.  I would rather see a Metalstorm 2 than Furious 7.

Hawk: The Slayer

Ditto for this often-unknown fantasy gem.  Before you watch The Lord of the Rings again, watch this.  Then see if anything seems familiar about Legolas…

Bitch Slap

Vulgar, profane, over-the-top in every possible way.  Also surprisingly intelligent, if you can see past the deliberate exploitationism.

Eko Eko Azaraku (“Eko Eko Azarak”)

Sometimes known as The Wizard of Darkness, this manga-based Japanese live-action movie series combines Wiccan and OTO magic with Lovecraftian mythology (and just a bit of martial arts).

“Earth Day” *sigh*

Anyone who knows me well, knows that I am a dedicated conservationist.  I do not “Earth Day.”  One part of being a true conservationist–someone dedicated to maintaining a healthy ecosystem to pass on to our descendants–that most people don’t know: I LOATHE environmentalists.

But wait, aren’t those the same thing?  No, they bloody well are not.

A conservationist, as I mentioned, is dedicated to keeping the environment clean and passing it on to future generations.  An ENVIRONMENTALIST, on the other hand, is dedicated to playing on people’s fears about unknown dangers to environment, to force ridiculous Socialist legislation that otherwise would be laughed into oblivion by a rational population (witness: Anthropogenic Global Warming).  In essence, environmentalists are just socialists who have thought up a hook.  And they really couldn’t care less about the environment (How many trees has Greenpeace planted in the last year?  Zero.)

“Earth Day” is the spawn of a murderous (literally) environmentalist.  That means that it has zero to do with conservationism, and everything to do with socialism.  Guess how I treat socialist holidays?  (Actually, “holiday” doesn’t really fit.  If “Holy Day” becomes “holiday”, does “Profane Day” become “profanity”?  I believe it does.).  Guess how I treat socialist profanities?

Labor Day: Sorry, I’m working that day.  Hippie.

Women’s Day: Actually, I’m too much of a gentlemen to do anything really obnoxious about this profanity.  However, I like to think that the fact that I do behave like a gentleman–treating women with respect and kindness, rather than as the consequence-free sex-toys socialists would turn them into–is enough to put the proponents of Women’s Day into apoplexy.  The Rape Tents are over at the “Occupy” catastrophe (also very polluting), not at the Tea Party rally.

Earth Day: Guess how many appliances I left on when I went to work?  OH, YES.  As much as I love a clean, healthy environment, I will do this just to spite the “environmentalists”.  Socialism is the greatest bane the Earth’s biosphere has ever known: just look at the pollution record of the USSR, China, et al., vs. the U.S. at the same time–and then compare it to the U. S. today, after decades of innovation which could never have occurred under a socialist regime.

Anyone who knows me well, knows that I am a dedicated conservationist.  I do not “Earth Day.”