Monday, October 24, 2005

Mocking the devil

Soon after my wife and I became Christians, the first holiday out the window was Halloween. It was obviously devilish, and we wanted our children to have nothing to do with it.

Back in the '80s and early '90s, Satanism scaremongers like the now-discredited Mike Warnke saw nothing but evil in the celebration of Halloween, and American Christians, steeped in the belief that the end times were upon us, were all too eager to believe the worst about any subject.

As my wife and I grew to understand more fully the sovereignty of God, our views on Halloween relaxed. But we were never completely comfortable with the idea.

Until last year. Funny how one well-written article can dismantle all manner of faulty prejudices.

You must read the whole article. For one thing, it's short. Well, kinda short. For another, it's rare to find someone with this opinion of what is so commonly believed to be a Satanic holiday co-opted by the church. The truth may very well be the opposite:

(M)any articles in books, magazines, and encyclopedias are written by secular humanists or even the pop-pagans of the so-called "New Age" movement. ... These people actively suppress the Christian associations of historic customs, and try to magnify the pagan associations. They do this to try and make paganism acceptable and to downplay Christianity. Thus, Halloween, Christmas, Easter, etc., are said to have pagan origins. Not true.

Oddly, some fundamentalists have been influenced by these slanted views of history. These fundamentalists do not accept the humanist and pagan rewriting of Western history, American history, and science, but sometimes they do accept the humanist and pagan rewriting of the origins of Halloween and Christmas, the Christmas tree, etc. We can hope that in time these brethren will reexamine these matters as well. We ought not to let the pagans do our thinking for us.

Read the entire article.

BONUS: Carve your own online pumpkin.

'Poor mental function'

More proof journalists drink and smoke too much. This headline was found on MSNBC by my 12-year-old son:

"NEW YORK - The poorer mental function seen among alcoholics, many of whom also regularly smoke cigarettes, may be partially due to the long-term effects of nicotine, new research suggests."

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Peanuts character quiz

Sometimes, you take one of those Internet personality quizzes and you are genuinely surprised by the result.

This was not one of those times.

Here's what a quiz said about me:

You are Schroeder!

Which Peanuts Character are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

The Katrina Chronicles

If you are looking for the Blogging in Biloxi package of bloggerage, the easiest way to find it is to click on the September 2005 archive and scroll your way up the posts. My first post on going to Biloxi was on Sept. 18.

But if you're in a hurry, and I had to choose only one series of posts, I'd select my posts on Ocean Springs, Miss. Here are the links in chronological order:

But I'd also want to cheat and point you to my posts on Biloxi itself:
Thanks, and your comments are always welcome.

Monday, October 3, 2005

Below the (Bible) Belt

A big thank you goes out to the guys at Get Religion, who linked to my blog a few days ago:

Thanks to blogger Jon Swerens, who has found this story on Mississippi’s debate about rebuilding casinos on land, on water or at all. The story touches on the religion angle of this debate, but in a regrettable parade of characters from central casting, Bible Belt division...

Then, one of the commenters over on Get Religion said something I would have agreed with a few weeks ago:
Isn’t it possible that in Mississippi, that this is a “Bible Belt” issue and there really isn’t any liberal involvement? Unlike in some places, if you are in Mississippi or Alabama, the term “Bible Belt” is used with pride and not as some implied sneer.

Ah, but it depends on where in Mississippi you happen to live.

As the folks at Get Religion are fond of saying, the whole red state-blue state divide is too simplistic. A better divide is perhaps red ZIP code-blue ZIP code.

And the Mississippi Gulf Coast has perhaps the bluest ZIP codes in the state.

Two factors have made the Gulf Coast more "cosmopolitan," as one person called it, than the rest of the state: Tourism and the military.

Because of the, umm, rowdier elements of the military, and the look-the-other-way elements of tourism, the coast is at least culturally more liberal than the rest of the state. (The capital city of Jackson may also be culturally liberal, but I spent very little time there.)

Tourism -- now including the casinos -- and the military are both big economic engines on the coast. And now, post-Katrina, casino proponents feel they have a moral obligation to do what needs to be done to rebuild the casino economy and its 17,000 jobs.

The danger for the coast media -- including those who publish front-page editorials insisting on a tweak in state law to allow casinos on land -- is to discount the arguments against the casinos as divisive and backward. The media has an obligation to cover the opposing side of the casino issue, even if it works against its economic self-interest.

Associated Press photo of the shell of the former Treasure Bay casino in Biloxi.

'Arlo and Janis,' after Katrina

This blog's favorite cartoonist, Jimmy Johnson of "Arlo and Janis," has been running repeats in the newspapers for a week. His house in Pass Christian, Miss., was damaged in Hurricane Katrina. In fact, it's estimated about 70 percent of Pass Christian was destroyed.

Today, Johnson begins running new comics again. And knowing that Johnson has shared in what the entire Mississippi Gulf Coast has gone through makes today's strip -- and I'm willing to guess, he'll keep up the theme for a few days -- especially poignant.

Go to today's strip.

Read about and see photos of Pass Christian on Johnson's personal web site.

Sunday, October 2, 2005

Well, paint that nice

Update: I've added a photo of the new curtains.

Here are a few photos of the great painting my family did for me while I was working in Biloxi:

With my father-in-law, I had installed new weather-resistant plywood on top of the floor of the front porch earlier in the summer. But I hadn't painted it yet.

My dear wife, Mary, says when she started painting, she was horrified: the first coat of paint looked pink. But the second coat held up a lot better.

I walked in the house, and this is what I saw.

My dear Mary and I had been trying to decided between a nice peach and a nice blue, wanted to be sure to contrast with the orange-y wood.

But Mary did some research. She read that when a room has a southern exposure -- like this living room -- then you should consider painting it a cool color like blue to cool it down. A warm color will only make such a room look and feel that much warmer.

"Paint it peach," Mary said, "and you may as well light a bonfire in the room."

Plus, Mary made new curtains.

Here's a detail shot of the white ceiling, blue wall and honey oak. (Type of wood unknown; matter is under advisement.)

Now I just have to install the new laminate flooring.

Saturday, October 1, 2005

Safely home, but 'strung up'

Whew! I am now at home, resting quite comfortably with my sweet family.

How sweet? Let me tell you what I discovered when I arrived in Fort Wayne:

  • They displayed a big "Welcome Home Daddy!" poster
  • They sprayed me with can upon can of silly string, right there in the terminal (yes, yes, we cleaned it up)
  • They presented me with a "Buy a Dozen, Get a Dozen Free" Krispy Kreme coupon, and so we immediately drove to the doughnut shop
  • Upon arriving home with two dozen doughnuts, I saw that someone had painted the front porch (I soon found out that my two girls, 10 and 7, did most of the work)
  • And when I walked inside, I was doubly surprised to see the entire living room painted, too (that was the work of my wife and two sons, 14 and 12)
Wow! What a welcome!

Bye-bye, Gulf Coast

Today I'm leaving the Mississippi Gulf Coast. I'll be boarding a jet in Jackson, Miss., this afternoon and, after a layover in Cincinnati, I'll be in Fort Wayne around 7 p.m.

As I come across forgotten photos or suppressed memories, I may yet have more to say on the Mississippi Coast. In fact, I certainly can put some sort of linkable table of contents at the top of the blog.

But for now, I'll be seeing you in Indiana.