Blog: The absolute latest random thoughts

Kari Byron news

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When did the Fall happen?

The merging of the blogs...

Living in micromanaging

MNBlogCon 2017 musings

Bread and circus

Salvation vs. Kingdom

"In your anger, do not sin"

Envy and the Cross

What is Repentance? Really?

Living sacrifices

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No kissing for Candela

And people wonder why we're so serious about peanut allergies being a big deal? USATODAY.com - Teen with peanut allergy dies after kiss.

BTW, we weren't ever slathering her up with peanut-laced lotion, so that's not the sole cause of the increase in peanut allergies...


When pacifism turns to stupidity

I'm sorry, but I just have to be an equal-opportunity critic when dumb things are said and done in Christ's name. The latest comes from the tragic news of the Virginia Man Among Four Kidnapped in Iraq. He was a member of a team of pacifists in Iraq named "Christian Peacemakers Teams". They were kidnapped by a gang of terrorists calling themselves the "Swords of Righteousness Brigade," which, according to the article grabbed these people and, "claimed they were spies working under the cover of Christian peace activists."

Sadly, unless these terrorists wise up -- and that's not likely -- I'm pretty sure these well-intentioned folks will be the next victims of some beheadings or other gruesome deaths-of-choice at the hands of what we now call "violent extremists".

So, what's the reaction of this group? "'We are angry because what has happened to our teammates is the result of the actions of the U.S. and U.K. government due to the illegal attack on Iraq and the continuing occupation and oppression of its people."

That's really, really stupid.

I understand that their blind rage against the Bush administration makes it hard for them to understand the horrors of Saddam's reign in Iraq or see how profoundly he obstructed U.N. efforts to ensure he wouldn't commit the same atrocities he had in the past. But stepping in to challenge a war that's fighting terrorism abroad, then criticizing that war by pretending it's the cause of the very thing it's fighting when that fight is embodied in the plight your teammates now face... well, it just doesn't make any sense! Despite what the anti-Bush crowd would like to claim -- and theirs is a purely political claim, which has nothing to do with genuine Christian pacifism...

What's happened to this group's teammates is the result of evil actions of terrorists. Claiming that a coalition offensive in response to the Iraqi government flouting 17 U.N. resolutions is the cause for terrorists idiotically nabbing your peace activists is a real stretch. Claiming that it's natural for oppressed people to grab the nearest aid workers, accuse them of being spies, and behead them (sure, not yet, but it's coming... or maybe simple gunshots execution-style this time?) is a profound insult to the oppressed people of the would who somehow manage to avoid beheading those who are there to help them.


Bird Ethics

Did you know that there are actually "Ethical Standards in Birding"? Neither did I. But there are.

Actually, it's pretty good advice for more than just bird-related situations... though I don't know how well it would appply to things like office-cooler conversation or prime-time television habits.


Kari Byron's stripey hair

So, I'm watching the Mythbusters marathon and was shocked by one thing: the yellow-and-black striped hair that Kari Byron has given herself.

Now, seriously, it must be hard to start out life as a simple intern in some shop run by a couple geeks, and be launched into stardom, so we can't be too hard on Kari because she's a real live person with feelings and such... but, come on! Kari, what were you thinking?

Any thoughts from my dedicated readers? (Go ahead and make a comment!) Does saying "Kari Byron" really say "redhead", or does the black and yellow look work for you?

UPDATE (June 2006): I've moved all my Kari Byron commentary over to a different site; you're welcome to browse around here... but for anything new, check out the Kari Byron category on att.ention.net.


KARE-ing about money over the community

This quote says it all, from the Star Tribune story KARE plans to change show from talk to 'advertainment': "'I am aghast,' said University of Minnesota media ethics professor Jane Kirtley, who at first thought a reporter was kidding about the new format. 'This is the logical extension of the whole pernicious practice of infomercials. If viewers are accustomed to getting [talk show] programming in a very different way, to suddenly change the rules on them isn't fair.'"

In a nutshell, KARE is dropping its morning talkshow and replacing it with something that appears to be indentical, yet is full of paid advertisements.

So I have lots of conflicting thoughts at once:

1) What do you expect from a media giant?
2) I hate to see them go, but I hope that Roxane Battle and Pat Evans (the current hosts) have nothing to do with this, because there'll be huge ethical issues if they do. (Why? Because viewers will assume they're seeing the same news show that they used to.)
3) How many infomercials can a station run during traditional public information times (e.g. we're not talkin' 3 a.m. here) before the FCC gets concerned that chunks of the public airwaves aren't being used for bettering the public good but for lining Gannett's pockets?


TV audiences will get a taste of the format during prime time next month. KARE plans to air a show called "Minnesota Holiday Showcase," a compilation of advertiser-funded segments.

"At a loss for gift ideas this holiday season? See the latest in gift ideas from the finest local merchants," says the program description submitted for the Star Tribune's TV listings -- which, contrary to [general manager John] Remes' promise of clear labeling, does not mention the paid promotional character of the show.

"Should the program listing say that? Yes, it should," said Remes.

Kirtley said the labeling situation would become "really problematic unless KARE is going to be really, really clear to its viewers about what this animal is."


Murtha, Clinton, Somalia, bin Laden, Bush and Iraq

Okay, I'm not pro-war, and I'm not one of those "the liberal media is comspiring against everything that's good and true" kinds of people, but it's kinda interesting that nobody is talking about this story: Will the Mainstream Media Cover the Story of Murtha and Clinton on Somalia? | NewsBusters.org: "Murtha and Clinton on Somalia"

Here's the deal. There was a big splash in the media when John Murtha spoke out and said we should get out of Iraq. Fine. But there should be an equally big splash when you connect the dots and see that Murtha was directly involved (by his own account) in our withdrawal from Somalia, and Osama bin Laden (by his own account) used that withdrawal to motivate his terrorists.

Hello! This tells me that "withdrawal from mid-East conflict" isn't a wise course of action!

The Long Tail vs. the Short Spike

Another comment on "the long tail", which isn't a reference to field mice (... and I wonder what AdSense will do with a reference to field mice?). Check out the passing reference to � The Long Tail of Media Attention - The Work Better Weblog - Working Pathways, Inc; the basic point that Garrick is making is that bloggers linking to things here and there builds a much firmer foundation of interest out in the world than mainstream media's "flash in the pan" tendency to cause a blitz that ends really quickly.

But if you read my seeker.TV site, you'll see my old references to something I still believe -- that television provides a "browse and bumble into something interesting" opportunity that targeted niche media like podcasts just can't achieve.


Biblical standard of criticism?

On another blog, someone commented on the wisdom of "Point #4" found in Brian McLaren: A Response to Recent Criticism: "If one of your trusted spiritual leaders has criticized our work, we encourage you, in respect for their leadership, not to buy or read our work, but rather to ignore it and consider it unworthy of further consideration. We would only ask, if you accept our critics’ evaluation of our work, that in fairness you abstain from adding your critique to theirs unless you have actually read our books, heard us speak, and engaged with us in dialogue for yourself. Second-hand critique can easily become a kind of gossip that drifts from the truth and causes needless division."

I agree! Well said, and it applies to far more (inside and outside of the Christian Church) than what Brian McLaren discusses in his letter.


Computing for the masses!

You know, it's been a long time since I've written anything here (for a moment I almost used the dreaded bl__ word that Ruth and I are avoiding so our AdSense ads don't get flooded with irrelevant junk... but I digress).

So, here's another article on the concept that's been kicking around for awhile...The Chronicle: MIT Researchers Unveil a $100 Laptop They Hope Will Benefit Children Worldwide


Drew's Unlimited Memory and Limited Warranty

Wow! Way to go, Drew! For a couple years I've had this vague memory of a Twin Cities band rattling around in my head. So I asked a former roommate of mine with the following note:

Back in 1985, possibly 1984, there was a big cheesy local pop group that became at least somewhat popular nationally (don’t know if they ever had a top-40 song, but I think they did). They gave a concert in the Metrodome, sponsored/promoted by WLOL (or maybe KDWB).

Not the Jetts. Not Prince. Not Information Society. :) It had a guy as the lead singer, and I want to say it was four guys in the band.

I also want to say that their big popular song was titled (or had the chorus of) something like “Never Enough”, but I don’t want to throw you a red herring there.

So, I figured you might have a clue what I’m talking about, considering our last musically-related conversation went something like…

ERIC: “You know, there was this local group that was really popular in 1992 or 1993…”
DREW: “Trip Shakespeare?”
ERIC: “YEAH! And then this other group came out that sounded just like them…”
DREW: “Gin Blossoms?”
ERIC: “WOW! Exactly! And they had this popular song…”
DREW: “Hey Jealousy?...”

So, given your track record, any thoughts on my mystery 1985 group?

Within minutes, I had this link: Expired: The Limited Warranty Memorial Page



With teachers like these...

Scott McNealy of SUN Microsystems fame, in his EduCAUSE 2005 keynote, said he put his kids in private schools because he was concerned about the influence parents were bringing into the classrooms. I have no idea what the "influence" was, but when I read the article Teacher's costume scares up complaint, I realized, "With teachers like these, who needs parents to mess up your kids?"

Or, put another way, "Thank goodness a parent stood up and complained about this!"


Solid Abortion Statistics

More on the continuing topic of Abortion in America, where Justin Taylor comments on a recent study: "Far from feeling defensive, however, I found their study to be very illuminating and very well put together, and highly recommend it to all who are concerned about abortion."

I agree. Read Justin's summary, or follow his link to the paper itself.


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