People Using Up Your 15 Minutes of Fame

I’m sure you’ve always wondered (or maybe just fantasized) about which celebrity you looked most like. Well, in the process of researching face recognition software, I ran across My Heritage, a site that answers that question once and for all. Or maybe just stirs it up well. If you try it yourself, you’ll need to do a quick and free registration. Also note that it requires a close-up straight-on photo, and it doesn’t work too well with kids.

And since I’m sure you’re dying to know, this is how I fared. If nothing else, this may explain my fascination with the 1812 Overture and reruns of Who’s Line Is It Anyway. But Leonardo DiCaprio?? C’mon, I didn’t deserve that.

So for further testing I uploaded Kim. You should be so lucky to keep this kind of company. Although in honesty, the Glenn Close thing frightens me a bit.

The Month In Review

I thought maybe I’d just share some of the highpoints of my past month:

  • I can’t wait for the kids to return to school. They are restless and miserable and bickering and they need something to do.
  • Job cuts of 30% are announced in my group at work. But final decisions won’t be made for a month yet, so don’t worry ’til then. Right.
  • The school tax bill arrives, which reminds me that enlisting the boys in the military would be a cheaper alternative.
  • The terror alert is raised to “guys with WMD’s are probably hiding in your basement.” This reminds me that election day is coming, and makes me wonder if any of those guys in the basement would be willing to chip in for the school taxes.
  • The Pope says Muslims are violent. Hugo Chavez says that Bush is the Devil. Bill Clinton says Fox News coddles the political right. Jerry Fallwell says that running against Hillary on ’08 would be like running against Lucifer. All of which leads me to conclude that pretty much everyone’s speech writer must be taking kickbacks from Jay Leno and Jon Stewart as this kind of late night satire fodder just doesn’t happen by accident.
  • The “fund raiser” tax arrives, whereby I’m coerced into buying all manner of useless overpriced stuff in the interest of supporting various school activities because inconceivably my school taxes don’t cover it. But at least the volleyball team is selling expensive pies this year. Blueberry… yum.
  • There’s swimming, volleyball, bible quiz, gymnastics, and cheerleading so far. But only because drama club and challenge bowl haven’t started yet. I look forward to work because it’s the only period of the day where I’m not driving someone somewhere or attending a game/meet/match/competition. I regret ever wishing the kids had something to do.
  • Pretty much everyone is sick. The kids have been together in school long enough for the germs to mutate into new virulent mucus producing strains, which the kids then take home and share at dinner. I’d be sick too except that we never have time for dinner anymore.
  • I landed a new job in the big yellow box. Instead of caring about what happens after people buy our products, I’m going to the other end of the cycle and create the products that annoy them in the first place. Cool.
  • I miss my Beauty. We used to spend time together. Now we just trade emails where we fantasize about life after the kids go to college. At least we get to see each other in the bleachers now and again.
  • How long until summer vacation?

Brotherly Love

“If you love someone, torment them relentlessly.”

This seems to be the credo of brothers. I didn’t grow up with a brother, so I don’t entirely get this. However, as the parent of brothers, this seems to be the way it works. There’s something decidedly alpha-dog about the behavior. Physical domination by the older one following by over-dramatic yelping from the younger one.

Unfortunately, the one who feels victimized by all this is me. And if they don’t cut it out soon I’m gonna start smacking them on the nose with a rolled up newspaper.

WWJD Redux

In his address to the U.N. yesterday, Bush urged people to reject religious extremism. I’m inclined to wonder if he wishes that to apply in the U.S. as well. Our self-avowed born-again leader is openly advocating for the right to torture captured suspects. Cal Thomas, a columnist who makes no bones about his his rabid Christianity, asserts in his September 19th column that the terrorists have no qualms about torturing us, so we need to be willing to do that to them. He goes so far as to chide John McCain, a torture victim himself, for not being willing to torture the enemy.

I couldn’t have possibly slept through that much Sunday school. When did Jesus become a militant? As I recall, Jesus was the ultimate peace and love guy. Turn the other cheek, love thy neighbor, let he who is without sin cast the first stone. Let’s face it, this guy was only a sitar and a dimebag from being the world’s first hippie. Even during his execution he extolled his followers to forgive the men executing him, for they know not what they do. If ever anyone had cause to tell his troops to rise up and crush the enemy, you’d think Jesus would have launched a little jihad of his own from Golgotha. But no, he was true to his principles and teachings, even in the face of people doing unspeakably evil things to him.

Christians believe he was then resurrected after his death. Surely this was a good time to raise his army up and smite the Jews, the Romans, or both. But no, he still maintained that tolerance, love, forgiveness, enlightenment, and truth were the path to follow. And he taught his disciples to lead by example.

So where in all this do these so-called Christians get the idea that war, torture, deception, and violence are an acceptable and justified means to their end? Jesus wanted the whole world to follow him too, and (according to mythology) had the power to make that happen. He could have crushed his enemies in a single thought. But he didn’t. The only reasonable conclusion from this is that people like Bush, Cal Thomas, and others are co-opting the power of religion for other nefarious purposes. Isn’t this exactly what the Islamic extremists are doing? Why should we not consider these guys Christian extremists?

And if we do, by Bush’s own assertion, we need to reject them, including him. But that’s hard isn’t it? There have been lots of calls, including my own, for Islamic moderates to quiesce the radical extremists. It seems so obvious that the moderate majority should be able and eager to do this. After all, the extremist’s actions reflect on Islam as a whole, and not favorably.

But put the shoe on the other foot. Are the Christian moderates in this country prepared to rise up against our own extremists? Especially when we’re bombarded by the message that to oppose them is to embolden our enemy? Exacerbated by the fact that 80% of what the extremists avow, moderate Christians agree with. Is it really that important to put energy into rising up against that 20%? How much harm can they really do?

I’m sure the Islamic moderates are undergoing the same struggles. And I’m sure they don’t understand why the Christian moderates don’t control their extremists. This is not to say that I’m letting the Islamic moderates off the hook. Not at all. But I am putting the Christian moderates on that same hook. If you’re a Christian, I want you to ask yourself something. Can you separate the wolves in sheep’s clothing from the rest of Jesus’ flock? Can you call out the impostors who feign to represent the will of God? Can you interpret for yourself the true meanings of the teachings of Jesus? Can you really do what he would do? Let’s get our own house in order before we set out to clean up the neighborhood.

Jesus Camp

I think there has to be a point where evangelism, regardless of how well intentioned, becomes child abuse. Just because other radical factions in the world are brainwashing their children into religious militarism doesn’t really mean that Christians need to answer in kind. You gotta ask yourself, WWJD?