Wednesday, February 21, 2007

63955 Chesterfield Central 1960

63955 Chesterfield Central 1960
Originally uploaded by Spion Kop.

Mind my eyes!

41804 Staveley Iron Works 1964

41804 Staveley Iron Works 1964
Originally uploaded by Spion Kop.

Wow. There's Thomas the Tank Engine! Or maybe Stepney!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Ubuntu Conference at Google NYC HQ.

If you know me, you should be able to pick me out of the second picture at this blog: .

Sunday, February 18, 2007

The most over-rated virtue

It's holding the door open for folks. In winter.

Now generally speaking, it is an act of kindness to open the door for a stranger, perhaps especially kind if the person is elderly or showing signs of moving quickly. But not in winter.

You can take any act of kindness and turn it into an act of thoughtlessness towards everyone else. Holding the door open in winter is thoughtlessness. I've been in too many situations where someone was holding the door open for a friend who was waddling their way over to the door, for a matter of 10 seconds or more, and thereby subjected everyone waiting near the door to drafts of extremely cold air. They couldda waited until the person got to the door.

Monday, February 12, 2007


Originally uploaded by D_Art_98.

Interesting twist on comics

Sunday, February 11, 2007

I found 'em!

I was making daily backups of my povray scene files to CD-R. Whaddayaknow, but the CMOS battery died on the computer I was using to make my online comic. It turned out that I was not in the habit of saving the files for the comic, per se, the files in the Xara presentation program I was using to make the captions, et al. For several weeks, I was thinking they were lost for good. Then last night I stumbled across two disks, a CD and a DVD, where I had burned backups of these files! Soon to be creating new episodes of "The Man from M.I.M.E."!

Only problem is I found my ipod, which was lost for over a month. I spent all my hobby time tonight downloading and searching for new podcasts.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Truth "versus" Love?

Some atheists have charged that the Bible moves its adherents not only to brutality but also to indifference to the physical suffering of our neighbor. Richard Dawkins has for example predicted that if a giant fireball were to appear over New York City, that the hearts of many Christians would be filled with delight at its sight. Even if we were to disagree with the biblical scholarship of these critics of Christianity, anecdotal evidence to support their charge abounds in the antics of contemporary Christians. One need look no further than the public policy positions of many religious broadcasters (and AM radio personalities who wave the flag of the Judeo-Christian tradition) on anything from the bombing of Lebanon to proposals to penalize Christians who meet the humanitarian needs of aliens. These broadcasters and the bleeding-heart atheists seem to agree on nothing but one thing: the bible inspires brutality. This cultural landscape is the rocky and thorny field in which the Christian preacher sows seed.

Even within mainstream Christianity, I believe there are ditches on either side of the road for one to fall into. Ditches where one may end up emphasizing, one at the expense of the other, of either Truth or Love, theological orthodoxy or compassion. In one ditch, some folks may have a very sound view of how the humanitarian crises of the world should be seen through the lens of God's Law, and be able to name personal and corporate sins that exacerbate the problem. Their naming of such sins is well within the tradition of the church fathers. Sometimes their answer however is not so much a Theology of the Cross (which drives one to contrition and faith in Christ's work) but rather a celebration of our own good works and an urging of legislative advocacy. One might rightly ask how different is this theology from an appeal written by the Red Cross or Amnesty International. Where is the rest for the weary that Jesus talked about?

In the other ditch, one may find folks who rightly uphold the primacy of gospel and forgiveness of sins in the Christian witness. Yet in hearing them preach, one might be tempted to ask, "Forgiveness from what?!" Some may dismiss all talk and preaching on specific sins as legalism, doing so to a degree that is more "cheap grace" than Luther's Theology of the Cross. Some may dismiss the church's deliberation on matters of violence and money as "issues" or "social agendas" rather than being a part of God's Law which the church had traditionally wrangled with. They may oppose not only third use of the law but also the first and second uses when it comes to social sins. They confuse the omitted good of law-preaching with the bad of works righteousness. Luther told Spalatin, "By making our sins small, we make Christ small." One ends up with a witness that is devoid of "terrors of the conscience"-- the staring point of faith-- and risks leaving folks in a state of "heedlessness" regarding sins of omission and commission related to your neighbor's (or enemies') physical well-being.

Back to the center of the road, in several examples of Luther's preaching, I see both a Theology of the Cross and a grappling with "terrors of the conscience" on things like unjust wars ["Whether Soldiers..."], economic exploitation ["Sermon on Trade and Usury"], and oppression of the poor ["Admonition to Peace"]. This stuff is not only in his extra-confessional musings but also in the Large Catechism's Explanation to the (Fifth and Seventh) Commandments.

I ask, do we have to choose between theological orthodoxy and compassion? Can anyone write a sermon that speaks to social issues with the incisive insight of John Paul II and follows through with a Theology of the Cross in the tradition of Gerhard Forde? Is anyone currently "weeping for those whose life is hard" [Job 30:25] and striving to be faithful to unchanging doctrines? Can anyone confess a Jesus who is truly both "a sacrifice for sin and a model of the godly life"? Can anyone preach a law message that offends us in our comfortable conservatism, and a gospel message that offends us in our liberal moralisms?

This is the Preamble to 'The Truth "versus" Love Project: The Greg M. Johnson Homiletics Award,' a little sermon writing contest I've started for seminary students in my denomination. See more at:

Monday, February 05, 2007

Cool blender fluid sim (by someone else!)

This is much better than anything I was ever able to accomplish myself. It's also got nice lighting & texturing, to aid the pleasant looks.

Why "Puppy Bowl III" reeked.

I watched a few minutes of "Puppy Bowl III" at 3PM and during boring moments of the SuperBowl.

It would have been cool to see hours of live, unscripted chaos of puppies and kittens running loose in a football-shaped room. It might have been even cooler to try to set up some kind of scoring system. What we were presented with was heavily over-edited, and obviously not live. It was as if someone taped a whole day's chaos of puppies & kittens, then boiled it down to the cutest 15 minutes in very short segments, and put it on a tape loop over an entire afternoon. It was more insulting to our intelligence than endearing.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Interesting walking vehicle

If it were a military vehicle, might make enemy troops flee in fear, drop their guard in awe, or ROTFL.

Favorite internet radio station

It's the "Secret Agent" channel at Somafm.
SomaFM independent internet radio

It's a mix of downtempo, jazz, and 60's lounge music. Between songs are witty clips from James Bond movies.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Fascinating pictures of rare bugs & animals

Originally uploaded by artour_a.

This is a moth from Borneo. Head over to this link to see the flickr photostream I couldn't get enough of.