Wednesday, November 30, 2005

New Arrival

You read it right.

A new baby in my life - A Brand New Laptop.

What can I say about my new baby. Ladies and gentlemen, Satellite P35-S605 from Toshiba (Applause please).

Let's take a moment or so to go over the specs. Drop everything you are doing. This is important.

- Pentium 4 Processor 553 3.46 Ghz processing speed
- 1 GB memory
- 256MB (Min) /2048MB (Max)

(David at this point is too overcome with emotion to continue down the list.

In other words, he is verklempting. Verklempt, as some of you may know is a fake Yiddish word which means overcome with emotion. This word was coined by Linda Richman of Saturday Night Live's "Coffee Talk" back in the mid 90's.

Please be respectful while he composes himself.

Even though Linda Richman originally sanctioned it as an adjective, I am using it as a verb, hence I am verklempting. It's a fake word. In the immortal words of William Shakespeare, or Britney Spears - BITE ME, Linda.)

I'm okay now. Please follow this link to read up more on this marvelous laptop.

One thing that the photo above fails to do justice is the monitor. It is a 17" diagonal widescreen. To get an idea of what that means, check this out.

I can now have Patricia Heaton's fan site AND the Katherine Jenkins official website open in TWO SEPERATE browser windows SIDE BY SIDE. No longer do I have to choose Patricia over Katherine. No longer do I have to choose Katherine over Patricia.

The same goes for my childhood heroes The Bionic Woman and Wonder Woman.

(David is verklempting again....)

Saturday, November 26, 2005

My Brief Stint as a Cartoonist

No, Brotha Buck. I am not trying to emulate you. I'm not worthy. Not even close.

While looking through my archived files, I ran into this "comic strip" created by yours truly about six years ago while moonlighting as an adjunct faculty member at a local university. DO NOT miss this posting if you have not read it. The Best Posting from the Best Dog In the World ever!

Some background information is in order. When I taught a lower division course called "Computer Architecture," all of my students had a co-requisite course which they had to take concurrently while taking my course. The course ID for particular this co-requisite course was 241 while mine 240.

Apparently the professor that they had was unbearable. Although I didn't know the professor, I tried to provide them with sympathetic ears in my misguided attempts to be a "cool professor." And they talked and talked and talked incessantly about 241, and seldom my course.

Then one week, they were sweating out the upcoming midterm in that class. The looks of helplessness on their faces were hard to watch.

So as a "cool professor" that I was, I published this comic strip on my class website to cheer them up. Nobody thanked me for it.

241, 241, 241. All Professor Cho hears about is 241

One fateful day, Professor Cho passes out.

Instead of wallowing in jealousy, Professor Cho decides to cheer up his students (Yes, I did bring in a set of pom poms into the classroom one day and put on a show. I don't wanna talk about it.)

He goes even further. He barges in in the middle of the 241 midterm to cheer up his beloved students.

Crime: Disturbing the Peace (Or just for being disturbing, period)

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving

Friday, November 18, 2005

This Day in History

November 18, 1932
Al Jolson's radio show launches

November 18, 1964
South Vietnamese conduct largest air assault to date

November 18, 1978
Mass Suicide in Jonestown

November 18, 1980
South Korea exports to the United States its dorkiest 14 year old boy named Sung Min Cho. For free.

Some of the observations made that day by yours truly include

- The freeway lane markings are electric lanterns embedded in pavement (I had heard Americans had money to burn)

- The air is very fresh (Seoul was/is much worse than LA)

- There are more white people in Korea than there are in America (Our first apartment was near South Central LA, and not too far from the flash point of the 1992 Los Angeles riots. In Korea we lived near tourist attractions frequented by foreigners)

- An establishment near the airport with a large sign that contains the word "Nude."

(My English vocabulary at the time was limited to about 100 words*. How the word "nude" made its way to the list of the first 100 words is still beyond me and I have no explanation for it even after 25 years of extensive pondering, thinking, and soul searching. Words fail me.)

Here's to 25 more years of extensive pondering, thinking, and soul searching. Be sure to check back on November 18, 2030. Maybe I will have an answer for you by then.

* outside of pronouns, prepositions, conjunctions, and articles. Go to this site if you don't know what they are.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Go Team!

Welcome to another one of my rare postings on current events and politics.

This story is a bit stale now that the one time U.S. Supreme Court nominee named Harriet Miers has withdrawn her name after weeks of facing blistering opposition from President Bush's own conservative political base. I am not about to rehash her fitness to serve on the Supreme Court or my feelings about the current nominee whom the President named just a few days ago.

What I do want to write about is the subplot of the whole Miers saga which probably only the worst of political junkies among us recall today.

The weekend before President Bush officially announced her nomination, his chief advisor Karl Rove called James Dobson of The Focus On the Family to share Miers' evangelical Christian background and her strong Christian faith. The information that Rove shared with Dobson was not at the time available for public consumption, but was meant to assure the conservative religious broadcaster who commands a very large national following before the news broke out.

James Dobson, when many of the President's conservative allies balked at Miers' nomination, stepped forward to declare his support which he based in part due to "confidential" information he had received during a phone conversation with Karl Rove.

I was very bothered by this.

I was very disturbed by the picture of our prominent Christian leaders flexing their political muscles and brandishing their close ties to some of the most powerful people in government. I was not, to say the least, heartened by the image of Christians being in the know and privy to the information limited to the very few and privileged in the corridors of power.

Am I supposed to go to bed tonight feeling assured because "our guys" are now rubbing shoulders with the movers and shakers of the most powerful institution in the world? Very few Christians that I have talked to seem to be bothered by our cozy relationship with those in high places and many even think it's great that we are now "a force to be reckoned with." They believe that the head of the most powerful nation in the world sharing our deeply held belief will go a long way in bringing about positive changes to America and the world.

The head of the most powerful nation sharing our Christian faith ...

Doesn't this sound a bit familiar? Haven't we been down this road before? Didn't this happen when a Roman emperor named Constantine, who after seeing a cross in the sky before he won a battle, instituted Christianity as the civil religion of the empire?

Constantine's move was hailed as the greatest triumph of the faith by the Christians at the time after nearly three centuries of intense persecution and marginalization. Not only did the emperor issue an edict to legalize Christianity, but he went onto finance churches and seminaries and placed Christians in powerful positions in government. The faith was vindicated not just by the commoners who made up the majority of the Christian community, but by the Emperor of the greatest and most powerful nation on earth.

The Christians had become a force to be reckoned with.

The "greatest triumph of the faith" also marked the beginning of unprecedented church corruption which gave birth to some of the most heinous crimes committed against humanity. Quickly forgotten was how the church grew through martyrdom and peaceful means in the centuries leading up to Constantine's edict. Now war, violence, and corruption had become the trademarks of the church.

I do not mean to decompose this issue into the familiar debate over the separation of church and state. No way can the complexity of the issue be addressed in a short blog essay.

But I agree in general that we Christians should permeate through all parts of society including the political arena. But it seems that we are permeating through, or at least perceived to be, only the political arena and little else. It is a problem when a particular brand of politics, no matter how much sense it seems to make, becomes our identity and dwarfs the gospel of Jesus Christ.

While there is no way I can describe what the role of Christians ought to be in a short essay, something that John Roberts said during the Senate confirmation hearings stood out to me. John Roberts, as many of you know, was recently confirmed as the Supreme Court's Chief Justice. He likened the job of a judge to that of a baseball umpire. As an umpire, you do not take sides. You make calls on what is right and wrong to the best of your ability in order to ensure the fairness and impartiality of the game.

Even though Roberts was describing how a judge should conduct him/herself, what he said got me to think about how Christians ought to behave in politics as I thought about what it must be like to be a judge in a stadium packed with partisan and boisterous spectators. This small group of men quietly but resolutely makes calls in line with what they believe is right. A call goes in favor of the home team, much to the delight of the crowd, and the next moment, another call goes against them, infuriating the same crowd.

But throughout the whole game, this group of men promotes justice and fairness without taking sides, undaunted by the abuse and ridicule heaped on them by the rancorous crowd.

Granted that this analogy fails at some point since most of our "calls" aren't legally binding, but the picture of promoting righteousness and justice without taking sides seems much more line with how we should behave in the political arena.

But the reality is that in the stadium of American politics, we dress up fully in Republican uniforms on the field, pack the stands with pro-Republican pom poms, and hysterically and unabashedly root for our favorite political party. When a "teammate" from our side gets caught engaging himself in dubious activity, we seldom call him out because doing so will only create an opening for the opponent. Examples are plenty.

Once we take sides in the political arena, winning becomes the primary objective at the expense of righteousness and justice, leaving the message of Jesus Christ clouded and destroyed by our partisanship.

It's happened before many times and it is happening now. Again.

It was only when I lay there on rotting prison straw that I sensed within myself the first stirrings of good. Gradually, it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes, not through states, not between classes, nor between political parties either, but right through every human heart, and through all human hearts. So, bless you, prison, for having been in my life.
Alexander Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

You have to read this


(Many thanks to a thinker for bringing this to my attention on her blog.)

Monday, November 07, 2005

Welcoming Walrus & Carpenter

The Best Dog In The World would like to take this opportunity to welcome A thinker of Walrus & Carpenter to its blogroll and to the blogging world.

A thinker has taken a plunge into blogging just over a month ago, and so far has composed several thoughtful essays and poems on faith and life in general and you will not want to miss the creativity and beauty of her prose. I thought her entry on Love was particularly insightful and poignant.

Now, don't be jealous just because your blog didn't get a mention upon joining the highly coveted and prestigeous blogroll of The Best Dog In The World. Acknowledging each addition is a new tradition that I've decided to embark on going forward.

Actually, be jealous. By all means, please.

I cannot remember the last time I was the object of jealousness, and if you are feeling it, I might as well milk it. Even my dog couldn't care less when I would pet other people's dogs and shower them with affection.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Note To Self No 3

Keep your mouth shut when women discuss weight.

The dialogue below should be considered a work of fiction. I will neither deny, nor confirm....

Woman: I need to lose some weight.

Me: It's not the weight one needs to lose. It is the volume. One can lose weight while ballooning out. It comes down to the composition of the body. Muscles are more dense more than fat, and therefore weigh more, but occupy less space. By exercising and as muscles displace the fat, it is possible for one to weigh more, while getting thinner or visa versa.

Woman: ...........

Me: Do you remember from school how weight, mass, and volume work? Weight is not the sole variable in the equation.

Woman: ...........

Me: Let's suppose you are a van. Have you noticed as boxes are loaded into and removed from the van, its volume stays the same?...