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Friday, March 28, 2008
Review: The Wiggles Live
There are a lot of creative ways that people have come up with to simultaneously market to young children and separate their parents from money. A pioneer in this field was Walt Disney. Walt entertained children and made a fortune doing it.
Much of the stuff geared to children finds its way into our homes via television. Some of this programming is entertaining to children but like constant fingernails scraping on chalkboards to their parents. Teletubbies and Barney come to mind in this category. Other programs are more like Pixar animation, geared for kids but with something there that adults can enjoy also. For me The Wiggles is in this more creative group.
Last night, my wife and I took our three-year-old son to see the 2008 version of their road show. The show entitled Pop Goes The Wiggles Live! was ninety minutes long and featured The Wiggles and all their friends: Dorothy the Dinosaur, Wags the Dog, Henry the Octopus and Captain Feathersword. In addition there were many extras on the stage as well.
It was my first time to see Sam. He is the new Wiggle that replaced the ailing Greg. Sam was good. He knew his part and seemed comfortable with the other members of the group. His vocal range was close to Greg’s and he was able to sing and dance his way through the show.
What amazed me most was physical nature of the whole act. There was lots of running and jumping. In addition, The Wiggles exhibited limberness that would be expected more from Jackie Chan that a group of guys that sing silly children’s songs. Lets face it, the Wiggles are getting into middle age and yet they can do the splits and limbo! I would expect some of their moves from someone trained in ballet but not from some guys that majored in child development.
Some of the music they did was prerecorded but much of it was actually done live. Again, it was impressive. They did many of my favorite songs during the show. Can You Point Your Finger and Do the Twist, Fruit Salad and Rock-a-bye Your Bear. They also did an instrumental version of The Knack’s My Sharona. Big Red Car was the last number in the show.
Our seats were about forty feet from the stage. There was lots of audience singing and clapping. Many children brought roses for Dorothy (according to Wiggles lore, Dorothy eats roses) and there were a few bones for Wags the Dog. Some children brought handmade signs that they held-up during the show.
My wife and I enjoyed the show. However, it was a bit overwhelming for our three year old. He experienced sensory overload. He spent much of the show in my lap just playing with the Wiggles stickers that were in our seats when we arrived.
I would like to see The Wiggles again in about two years. By then I think my son will enjoy it more. If you have a chance go see them please borrow a kid and go. I think even my high school aged daughter would have enjoyed the show.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
I’ve been paying close attention to the on going budget discussions as the California legislature gear-up for the annual budget fight. I would like to take the occasion of this blog entry to summarize my solution for this situation.
First, the estimates in the range of 14 billion dollars are lower than the actual numbers. If nothing changes this debt will expand exponentially. Structurally, the debt is much closer to 100 billion without any reforms. The lawmakers have so much automatic growth build into retirement, healthcare, education and other programs that the economy of the State cannot support the promises made thus far let alone deal with infrastructure and other needs created by neglect of elected officials.
While the legislature’s problems are all self inflicted, they are made even worse by the multitude of ballot measures passes in the last two decades that attempt to fix issues for which lawmakers have failed to provide leadership. Term limits and safe seats created by gerrymandered districts have also made the problem more pronounced.
Republican proposals offered this week to shift blame onto illegal aliens are a diversion that only nibbles at the edge of the fiscal mess. These ideas will not fix the fiscal mess we are in.
There is a large gap between what should happen and what is actually achievable in the current climate. I would like to deal with what is achievable. My idea is both a face-saving measure for the current leadership in both parties and also provides political cover from the political fall-out that will result.
The creator of the Dilbert comic strip wrote that there is a right way, a wrong way and the weasel way. I am skipping the other two options and heading straight for the weasel way.
The legislative leadership and the governor need to do the same thing the Congress did many years ago when Congress decided to start closing military bases; namely, they need to create a “Blue Ribbon” commission to craft an omnibus fix for the mess. It will be a combination of closing tax loopholes, instituting cost of living increases for departments of government not automatic double-digit increases (kill zero based budgeting), undoing budget allocations via previously passed ballot initiatives, raising voter threshold to enact any new budget mandates to a supermajority, restructuring state employee benefits and reforming the budget process to a two-year budget not an annual one.
The legislature will then need to swallow their pride and pass this thing before it gets too hot to handle. In military jargon, pull the pin, throw the grenade and run like hell the other direction. If this idea works take credit for it, if it blows-up in your face, blame to other guys. Remember, failure is an orphan but success has many fathers.
This fix will probably require a set of ballot measures to be fully enacted.
After everything is back on track, the people should enact a part-time legislature; after all, I did say the budget was every two years.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Hillary Rips-off Bob the Builder
Hillary Clinton is in trouble with children five and under for ripping-off the animated series Bob the Builder. As a parent of a small child, I know this to be true because Bob’s motto is “Can we build it? Yes we can!”
A central part of Hillary’s campaign is her theme that America is broken and only she can fix the ills of our country. Hillary is ambitious to do an extreme makeover of the United States. Hence her motto of “Yes we can!” This is obviously a rip-off of Bob the Builder. Where is Paul Shanklin when you need him?
Thursday, March 20, 2008
How to Steal the Democrat Nomination
A few years ago, Hugh Hewitt wrote a book entitled “If its not Close, They Can’t Cheat.” Well, the Democrat Primary is close, so the question is how will Hillary Clinton snatch the nomination from upstart Barack Obama? I have given it some thought and would like to propose two tactics that she could employ.
First, it is clear that only the “super delegates” can elect the next nominee. Neither Clinton nor Obama can win on the basis of pledged delegates from the state primary process. If, as I maintain, Obama has peaked in his support and the current downturn in his popularity will stabilize at a lower level of support, some Democrats will have “buyers remorse” and want to support Hillary. So what can Hillary do to capitalize on this change? Simple, she gets the “super delegates” to sit out the first ballot at the convention. This allows the delegates selected by the primary process to vote as pledged and results in no candidate selected. Once this vote is cast, delegates will be free to vote as their conscience dictates. These newly freed delegates and super delegates will then rally around Clinton and anoint her as the nominee.
However, why wait for the convention to get the nomination? Once the Rezko trial is over, Hillary can pull strings with the Daily operation in Chicago and get Barack indicted. With the speed of justice these days measured in years and not weeks, Obama will be damaged and have to withdraw due to this black cloud over his candidacy. If this tactic is employed, look for it to come from an African-American judge in the Windy City.
The proof that the Clintons undermined Obama will be almost untraceable except for the gnawing feeling in the pit of your stomach that this worked out just swell for Hillary.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Horton Hears a Who
Based on the children’s book by Doctor Seuss, this movie puts into action the tale of an elephant that believes that “a person is a person, no matter how small.” Horton risks life and limb to try to find a safe place for the speck of dusk that contains the world of Whoville. The animation is wonderful and this movie should get a bunch of awards.
While watching the film with my three-year-old son, I kept wondering if any of the people doing the voice work for the film really believe in the message of this movie or if it was just another job for them. I wondered how different our world would be if people really believed that “a person is a person, no matter how small.”
Horton Hears a Who is a story that illustrates the message of Christ that whatsoever you do to the least of these you do it unto me. I believe this movie is one of the most profound arguments for the sanctity of life ever to be written.
The contrast with the Leftist sermons of Jeremiah Wright couldn’t be any more vivid. Wright accuses the evil white run government of genocide against black people for creating and spreading the Aids virus. His strawman arguments are just laughable. It is the political party that he and Mr. Obama have associated themselves that advocates the genocide of blacks by the millions and even uses tax dollars to pay for it that should be Wright’s targets of indignation.
Rev Wright can’t really help but be a polytheist. Those seeking shelter on the Democrat Plantation can have any god they choose as long as government is their chief deity. The government taketh from the rich and the government giveth to the poor, blessed be thy name oh government.
Rev Wright doesn’t love the United States because it allows us the have equality of opportunity (as the founders intended), he despises the United States because it is not founded upon equality of outcome (as Carl Marx advocated).
Rev Wright and his Liberal associates deny those smaller than they any rights that are not convenient (abortion and euthanasia) and seek to teardown any that are greater than themselves (hence the mantra against corporations). Thus in the name of creating heaven on earth, they unleash the fury of hell upon their fellow man. “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” Proverbs 16: 25.
Too bad Rev Wright won’t learn the lesson from Jesus or Horton that “a person is a person, no matter how small.” Horton listened to that still small voice, maybe Rev Wright should try it some time. It worked wonders for Elijah the biblical prophet.
Friday, March 14, 2008
Wright Proves Obama Wrong
Senator Barack Obama is in the news for his association with Rev Jeremiah Wright. The sermon audio that has been featured on talk radio over the past few days is disturbing. It is racist and hate filled. It sounds like much of the lunacy that you would expect from Louis Farrakhan or other radical Muslims. While described as a Christian Church, Rev Wright seems to advocate another Jesus and another gospel.
The absurdity of Wright’s sermon claiming that Jesus was a black man who lived in a land that was under the oppressive thumb of the white Roman oppressors sound like Carl Marx or Louis Farrakhan not apostles like Peter, James and John. It is no more rational than if David Duke or some Clan member claimed that whites are superior because Jesus was white guy. Both are nonsense. Jesus was neither white nor black but somewhere in between. If Rev Wright should learn anything from the gospel it is that there is neither male nor female or Jew or Greek in Christ. We all enter the Church by adoption not by race or heritage. We are all equal before God and all enter his presence through the completed work of Jesus Christ.
Other quotes heard on talk radio speak about the evils of rich whites and the struggles of poor blacks. Then Rev Wright invokes than name of Hilary Clinton as an example of a rich white woman and Barack Obama as an example of a poor black man. Hey Rev try again. Barack is the one that earned over a million dollars a year while the Clintons were trying to get by on Bill’s 35K salary in Arkansas. Which family had more time in Ivy League schools? I don’t think it was the Clintons.
If Rev Wright is really so concerned about the rights of those that many consider non-persons then what is he doing to halt the genocide against blacks called abortion? What is he doing to strengthen black families and keep them gainfully employed? What is he doing to stop gangs, drugs and prostitution in his community? It seems that his answer is more big government and blaming white folks.
Rev Wright laments in his sermons about the number of blacks in prison. How many times has he taught his flock about the Ten Commandments? Oh, he probably can’t teach those because they are Jewish.
Rev Wright also says many outrageous things from his pulpit about the United States. While he has the freedom to do so in this country, his comments show a lack of respect for both Scripture and fact.
How such a man ever got ordained is a mystery to me. It is even more of a mystery why Obama stayed in this church for twenty years. Evidently, Obama agrees with much of the teaching he receives at the feet of Rev Wright. The only thing this whole episode does explain is the lunatic statements made by Obama’s wife.
Rev Wright is more proof that Obama is wrong.