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Archive for July, 2008

Miss Piggy…

“Never eat more than you can lift.”

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A lot of people grumble about objectionable advertisements on the sidebar of FaceBook.  That’s understandable.  There are numerous FB groups calling for action against FB for this.  I never see the ads on most webpages.  You might not like my steps, but here’s how:

1.  Stop using AOL.  What I used to get for $25/month is now free.  I used it in the free format for a few years and then dropped it entirely (a lot of people don’t know that AOL has been available for no monthly cost since Sep ’05).  Unless you have dial-up, I recommend you drop it.  There are many advantages to AOL, but nothing that can’t be replaced with a better version…unless you need quick access to celebrity news.

If you have a broadband connection, there’s no need for you to pay an Internet Service Provider (like AOL or Earthlink).  You just need a web browser.  There are two main browsers: Internet Explorer (54% of internet users) and Firefox (41% of users).  They are both free.  Firefox is the choice of capitalists everywhere.  It is user-supported, bug-free, efficient, customizable, safe and private.  Many of the things that IE is not.

2.  Install the Firefox browser (if you have broadband access).  Give yourself a week or so to get acclimated.  Learn to bookmark.  Learn to love the efficient tab system.  Learn to love the status bar and bookmarks toolbar.

3.  When you’re ready.  Visit the add-ons.  These are separate programs that have been created by users that you can “add-on” to your Firefox to make it more “yours.”  The three I use the most are Foxmarks (which syncs my bookmarks to other computers I use), AccuWeather (which summarizes the weather and gives me a pop-up radar on the status bar) and Ad-Block Plus.

4.  Install Ad-Block Plus.  It will get rid of most banners and ads.  But it’s also customizable so you can remove things it misses.

By the way of recommendation, I also recommend and use constantly much of the free suite of Google products.  Everyday I use Google’s email (GMail), Calendar, Reader, Documents and Maps.  They have plenty I haven’t used yet, also.

Also, this week a former Google creator started a new search engine called Cuil (pronounced “cool”).  It has a different feel, but it has potential.  It purports to search more than 1 trillion web pages.  I was wondering if anyone was trying it out.

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Video Help

If you’ve ever wanted to download a YouTube video for some reason to be able to use the video on your harddrive or to send it to a friend who doesn’t have broadband or access to YouTube, perhaps you’ve noticed the immense volume of technical jargon and numerous steps and suggested programs that make you quickly avert your attention to another problem in the universe.  First you have to download the video as an .FLV file and then you have to convert to .MPG.  You also have to worry about the programs you are downloading whether they cost money or have viruses.

ConvertTube is a free online program that converts YouTube videos to .mpg in simple steps.  Enter the YouTube web address of your video (URL), let it process and then, when it is done, download the completed file to your harddrive.

The only limitation is that if you don’t register, then you can only convert one video every 8-9 minutes.

ConvertTube

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Karsten asked me I could do that. I told him that I couldn’t believe they could do that.

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Wow!

Nudibranchs, The Most Colorful Creatures in the World

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The last four years on the senior trip, I stand with my mouth gaping in awe that the beautiful baroque (usually) music being played by this cellist in the Harvard Square Train Station in Cambridge, MA.  I can’t find much info. on him except for this video of him with another musician.  He is positioned 15 ft. opposite the train, and I make sure the students take careful notice.  I hate leaving the platform.  It’s a good place to catch me not watching my wallet.

Looking for a clip with the music I love hearing him perform.

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I don’t have any comments about the new Dark Knight, but the boys have this 1966 version of Batman.  Here’s a fun scene.

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George Grant…

“Attacks on great cultures come first through the denigration of language.”

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Chrissy and I are better Americans, personally, probably for having digested the 8+ hour HBO Miniseries John Adams.  To be immersed in the rich language, sweet passion for country, rich honor, deep integrity, blood-earnestness were sobering and convicting.

John Adams is probably less of a hero now, having learned more of him.  As an American and a President, he was a bulwark.  As a father, he was too absent to be effective.  Would America be less American today if he hadn’t, essentially, forsaken his children during their youth?

Perhaps McCullough left out a warm religious fervor and fatherly affection that were indeed present that would endear me again.  Have you seen the series, and what were your thoughts?

“No, Posterity, you will never know how much it cost us to preserve your freedom.  I hope that you will make good use of it.  If you do not, I shall repent in Heaven that I ever took half the pains to preserve it.”

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From Blog and Mablog,

“Or how much curious and loving attention was expended by the first man who looked hard enough at the insides of trees, the entrails of cats, the hind ends of horses and the juice of pine tree to realize he could turn them all into the first fiddle. No doubt his wife urged him to get up and do something useful. I am sure that he was a stalwart enough lover of things to pay no attention at all to her nagging; but how wonderful it would have been if he had known what we know now about his dawdling. He could have silenced her with the greatest riposte of all time: Don’t bother me; I am creating the possibility of the Bach unaccompanied sonatas” (Robert Farrar Capon, The Supper of the Lamb, p. 19).

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Sweet medicine from Nancy Wilson.

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US Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire is here openly heckled at during a service in England.  The heckler seemed to have acceptance of the crowd.

These are two lines of the song that the congregation begins singing.

“Life is naught without Thee; aid us in our strife;
Make us more than conqu’rors, through Thy deathless love:”

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From John Piper’s Four Mistakes I Hope You Don’t Make

“I don’t feel excited when I hear a question like: “You want to be a firefighter? Why are you in college?” “You want to be a homemaker? Why are you in college?”

“We’re in school to see a whole panorama of life that comes out in all manifestations of disciplines in the hope that all these beams of light refracted in human minds will lead us to the source of all things so that we know him better.

“Every time I send Talitha off to school—she’s in the 5th grade—I try to remember to connect for her what she’s about to do today with Jesus. And not in a superficial way like, if you know this fact it might be useful in witnessing, though that’s true and wonderful. But rather, if you study math, you’re going to know God better. I promise you. As you advance through the complexities of math—from 5th grade to Calculus—you will find out things about the nature of the mind of God that you would not get any other way. It’s the same thing with the way language works. Same thing with processes in history. Same thing in politics and social studies. And art.”

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Animation + free + aware of your need + aware of the importance = semi-palatable.

[My apologies to Farmer for my half-promotion of such an unerudite method.]

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Big story #1:  Zondervan is being sued for the content of it’s Bibles.

Big story #2:  A reporter found the library (as admitted in the video story).

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I love my wife, Ecclesiastes, the Gospel, my boys.  I really, really like my iPhone and classical education.  Get yours on 7/11/08.

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…and then found this quote by James Jordan,

The key to health is obedience and faith, not mechanical observance of health techniques. Valuable as exercise, good diet, and the like may be, they are not delineated in God’s revealed law.”

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Good super-summary of why education exists and what befalls the public system today.

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It’s amazing that they fit the whole group inside each car.

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A great story and video of the largest ever American reenlistment ceremony.  The video was shot Al Faw Palace in Baghdad, Iraq on July 4, 2008.

Thank you, soliders.

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Andrew Kern must have read Deuteronomy:

“The Christian classical educator does not determine his success by measurable academic or developmental outcomes, because he comes at it from a different angle. Those are trivial and inevitable compared to what really matters.

Instead, the Christian classical educator assesses his success by the simple objective of whether he has succeeded in handing on the tradition to the student. Has the student received it into his soul and is he now able to pass it on to the next generation.

The difference is that the Christian classical educator embraces both faith and ignorance, while the conventional educator fears both.

The Christian classical educator has faith in the tradition as embodied in great works of art and books and experiences. The conventional educator does not trust the tradition. He thinks it is fascist, sexist, oppressive, etc. Of course, that is because he hasn’t had it handed to him.

The Christian classical educator embraces his ignorance too. He recognizes perfectly well that he can know almost nothing about what the tradition is doing right here and now in the child. He can certainly measure whether a child is developing in a healthy manner, but that is more easily done by particular observation of  a particular child in a human relationship. He recognizes the danger that measurement will distract from what really matters.

Ironically, of course, by tending to the health of the child’s soul and body, the Christian classical educator produces a child who scores higher on the standardized tests. Which leads the school to celebrate these scores more than they merit, thus distracting the activities of the school from the tradition and gradually converting the Christian classical school into a hollow shell.

Unless it is led by men and women of clarity and courage.”

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The last living WWI U.S. Veteran.

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I’ve been to Madame Tussaud’s thrice or “frice?” [what's a good word for four times?] yet I never considered making a political statement against the evil ones I have stared down or avoided.  This guy did.

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I’ve mentioned Navy Seal Michael Monsoor before.  Here is a brief story that includes a link to his memorial service montage video–nearly every Seal on the west coast attended–and the text of President Bush’s speech when he gave Michael’s parents the Medal of Honor.

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“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

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Douglas Wilson, For Kirk and Covenant, biography of John Knox…

“[He] knew that ignorance, not learning, was the breeding ground for heresy and superstition, and so he was zealous to see schools established throughout the realm of Scotland.”

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Jonathan Edwards says we have little because we give little…

“Such little things as Christians commonly do, will not evince much increase of grace.  We must do great things for God.”

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You should have seen how hard I guffawed a few weeks ago when I read THIS in the paper.

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Thornton Wilder, playwright…

“Money is like manure; it’s not worth a thing unless it’s spread around encouraging young things to grow.”

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A good read about the amazing art of the knuckleball.

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