Mad balls, mad balls
Fun for one, fun for all
We play with our mad balls
They’re gross, funny, yucky, sick
There’s 6 to choose from, so take your pick!

What’s the time?
Slime time!

No one understands those references, I bet.

My goodness. I was just looking at the access stats for my page and it’s disturbing.

Okay, so you’re wondering, if you’re so busy, how is it you find time to update your web page? Here’s the answer. I’m programming and the nature of my program requires me to recompile frequently. Well this takes a while, so it’s convenient to switch to this terminal for 10 seconds while it compiles. So I’m updating in 10 second intervals.

As usual, there’s not much substance to my thoughts, so caveat emptor.

First thought is how in the class of 2000, a lot of people have e-mail addresses with numbers in them. I mean, that’s really no big deal, but I remember when they first came to Stanford how surprised I was, because until that time, no one I knew had a number in their e-mail address. In fact, I bet many of us didn’t even realize you could have numbers in our addresses, because no one did. So I wondered why that was, I mean, why all of a sudden, starting with a class, people starting putting numbers in.

And this is my theory. I think it’s because the junior class is the forefront of the AOL revolution. That is, starting with that class, AOL became really widespread and popular, so that many of them had AOL accounts in high school. And the thing about AOL is that you have to have numbers after your name because names are so often taken. So I think that class was the first real AOL class, and used to numbers in their addresses, so that’s why it happened.

I finally bought a new TV and VCR. I know, I was bragging before how I don’t buy things but I’m a hypocrite. Anyway, I couldn’t pass it up because it was such a great deal: $150 for a Magnavox (I think stereo) about 27″ TV, a VCR and a TV/VCR stand. That really is a great deal. So I picked it up from the guy and the guy selling it to me turned out to be a Christian. I went to his place and saw an Amy Grant album, so I ask him if he’s an Amy Grant fan and he says that he likes her early stuff but not so much the new stuff. Because the new stuff is so secular. I don’t know, for some reason that made my day.

Here’s why it made my day. It’s because I realized that evangelical Christians are a definite subculture, a minority in this country and I don’t think we, as members of the subculture, always realize this. But we really are. I’ve been reminded of this by two things that happened recently. One was The Prince Of Egypt. I am really disappointed that this movie hasn’t done better. I mean, it did mildly well, and I’m sure it will make money, but it wasn’t like a rousing success. And this made me really sad. Because there is no reason why it shouldn’t have done well. I mean, it got mostly good reviews, has great animation, I mean, it’s mostly a good movie. I guess you can’t predict hits, but the lesson that Hollywood will learn from this is don’t make a movie with Christian / religious themes or you’ll get killed. And that’s sad to me.

My secret hope was that you know, all the secret Christians in America, the quiet ones that aren’t politically or socially active, would all show their might and go see this movie and make like a statement, that there are Christians out there who if you make a product for them, a good wholesome product, they will come. I wanted to appeal to Hollywood’s selfish side by showing them that they can make money by making good wholesome and religious movies, by showing that there is a Christian market and audience. That way, more of these types of things would come out, and that’s a far better influence than all that other junk out there. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen, and now no one in the mainstream media is ever gonna produce anything like that again, and that is really sad to me. I almost feel like let down by Christians who didn’t support this movie. But I’m sure there are other reasons why the movie didn’t do well. But the end result will be the same.

But the bigger thing it made me realize is that Christians are a minority, so maybe they couldn’t even make that big an effect anyway.

The second thing that reminded me was this whole President Clinton thing. So here’s my feelings on everything. I mean, I don’t know if it’s worthy of removing him from office, or even impeachment, but the thing that bothers me about Clinton is that he has no morals whatsoever. Or rather, he has no character. I mean, doing that with a teenage intern is pretty dispicable, I think nearly everyone would agree about that. The thing is, ever since then, he showed absolutely no character whatsoever. Every single thing he has done has been predicated on either polls or being forced into things.

What I mean is this. If there existed no blue dress, then none of this would have happened, because he would have lied about it to the very end. Which, I mean, is understandable. It’s embarrassing at all. The thing is, he has never ever ever tried to tell the truth. It kills me when his defenders say that he told the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. That kills me. Actually, he didn’t tell the truth, he didn’t nearly tell nothing but the truth and he most definitely didn’t and continues to not tell the whole truth. And like I said, that’s all understandable, but come on. Everyone knows that he’s probably still lying about stuff and he will not say anything unless he’s absolutely forced to, a la the dress. So everything his lawyers say just makes me angry.

A side note: I’ve been kind of irritable lately because I’ve been really really busy. This is the first time I’ve had in a while and it’s only because I’m skipping work. Actually I have a midterm tonight but I need a break, and this is it. Anyway, a lot of things have been getting on my nerves, especially because I haven’t been able to sleep much but oh well. You can get used to my irritability. It’s a lot like Henry’s page.

Anyway, you know he lied to his wife about the whole thing until he absolutely had to tell her the truth? She until the dress incident, thought that it was some big Republican conspiracy. I just dislike the man because he has absolutely no integrity – the truth is some abstract legal notion to him that he won’t confront unless absolutely necessary. So we can never know when he’s telling the truth. I think we all realize this. His credibility is pretty much shot.

But that isn’t the big deal. Like I said, whatever he did, whatever, and I don’t know whether that’s impeachable or not. The thing that killed me is how no one in America seemed to care about it. Another digression. Matt Drudge wrote a while back how everyone on political talk shows acts like a spokesman for the “American people.” For example, “the American people are tired of this and want to put it behind them.” Stuff like that. Comments about the American people. He actually did a count of how many times different pundits used the word. It was actually quite funny.

Anyway, the American people don’t seem to care about what he did at all. It’s not even a matter of whether he should be impeached, it’s even a matter of whether people think it was wrong. I mean, no one seems bothered by that at all. I mean, everyone seems to think just leave him alone. And like I said, that doesn’t bother me, but what bothers me is that no one feels a sense of moral indignation, both for his affair and for his elusive sense of truth. That just kind of surprised me. If the reaction were, I am shocked and appalled by everything but it’s in the best interests of this country to not pursue this that’s one thing. But it’s like, whatever, I don’t really care what he did. I have a big fat wallet from a burgeoning economy and highly overrated internet stocks and I don’t care. There’s just no sense of morality in my opinion.

The Houston Chronicle had a great article about this over winter break. Just how many religious leaders were puzzled at the lack of moral indignation. I mean, you could react with either desiring punishment or forgiveness, but for many people, neither of those were even necessary because there was no sense of indignation at all that would even necessitate those responses.

William Bennett also has a book I think about that issue called the death of moral something or other. Anyway, it’s something that surprised me. And like I said, it served to remind me that Christians are really in the minority in America, like a huge minority, and I think living in the subculture you don’t realize this. Another thing you don’t realize is that evangelicals are minorities in Christianity. We tend to think that liberal Christians are 1) heretical and 2) just a few. Relatively at least. But really, it’s the evangelicals and the fundamentalists that are the true minority. And you know how many Catholics there are? The Pope just visited St. Louis and it’s insane how many people there were. Anyway.

Another thing that’s been on my mind is where I stand on the conservative / liberal spectrum of Christianity. I’m afraid to admit that I’m more liberal than I think many evangelicals, a statement that Rich Mullins also made. He said about himself that he’s about as liberal as you can be and still be an evangelical. I think I’m getting there.

Let me explain partly why this has been on my mind. Albert Shim came up a couple weeks ago and we were talking and I was asking where he kind of stands theologically and he says he’s pretty much Reformed but not super conservative like the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. And I said, why what are they like, and he replied that the women wear veils. And I was just like, whoa! I didn’t know they still did that in this day and age.

So I remembered that Sang Lee now goes to a OPC in S.F, so I e-mailed him and asked him if the women wear veils and he said yes. He says it’s hard to argue with them because they basically point to the Bible and say, it’s right there, just read it. Also it teaches a lot about submission and stuff like that. Isn’t that interesting? I mean, I didn’t realize that there were still churches like that around. So interesting to me. Anyway, what I wanted to ask is if that makes evangelism more difficult or anything. Sang, if you’re reading this, maybe you can tell me.

So that started me thinking and I’ve probably said this before but I think I’m more liberal in certain ideas than other people. A lot of this happened because of high school. I attended a Jesuit (which usually means all men) Catholic high school, and their theology is decidedly liberal. And of course we all need to take religion courses. Anyway, I am so grateful for that experience. Because it really broadened my perspectives on a lot of things. This was actually the topic of a mymind I wrote over break in Houston but forgot to bring back but who cares about it now. Anyway, I encourage everyone to at least get exposure to liberal theology because you’ll learn a lot. I don’t like the idea of keeping your head in the ground, as if that will keep you safe.

R.C. Sproul says something about this in his intro to Essentials of the Christian Faith. I believe many members of FiCS have this book, so you can read it. But he was saying how a lot of people got down on him for choosing to major in philosophy in college. I guess the gist is they felt it would expose him to bad liberal worldly ideas and that would drag him from the faith. I don’t remember exactly what he said but my feeling is that it’s good to study those things because it helps you realize all the more why you believe. Because what we believe is truth, and knowing worldly perspectives just gives us a stronger understanding of why what we believe is true. That’s definitely been my experience with both philosophy and liberal theology. Anyway, I don’t like the idea like you should be scared of looking at it, because I mean, if what we believe is true, then we have nothing to fear, right?

Anyway, there are a lot of heretical things with modern liberal theology. The thing that bothers me most is the idea of universalism. My senior year religious studies teacher was heavy into this. By the way I really disliked him. Anyway, he believed you know, all religions portray just a part of the truth and it doesn’t matter which path you go down, as long as you believe it it’s true for you blah blah blah. You know, that every kind of belief is valid. It causes one to respect everyone else’s beliefs. It’s a really beautiful philosophy. Just logically and spiritually wrong, that’s all. I don’t need to explain why it’s wrong here, a lot of people have done a great job doing that. The Ravi Zacharias video from Urbana. Also that other Indian guy from Urbana ’96 – the one who lost his voice. If you took notes, go look at it again, because it is really very compelling. Anyway, universalism is false.

But a lot of ideas will give you much perspectives on things. Like I feel like very few evangelicals know about all the scholarly work being done on the Bible because they want to limit themselves to conservative thought. You know, and that’s your prerogative but I just feel like you’re putting you head in the ground. Like most liberal scholars believe that the early parts of the Bible were written by different authors, the Yahwist, the Elohist, the Priestly writer, and the Deuteronomist. The last one I think was like an editor and he put a bunch of different sources together.

Anyway, you don’t have to agree with everything but it’s good to know why they come to these conclusions, and it’s because they detect different styles in the o.t. Not only that they refer to God differently. Most notably, the Yahwist refers to God as Yahweh, and the Elohist as Elohim. So you’ll see passages where God is referred to as Yahweh and passages where he’s referred to as Elohim, I mean, consistently within the passages, and to some scholars, this indicates (I mean along with other things) different authorship. In the Catholic Bible I used (the New Jerusalem Bible) this was made even clearer because they kept the word Yahweh as it appears in the original text, and used a different word for Elohim. I believe that many of the translations we use use God for Yahweh and Lord for Elohim but I’m not sure about that and I don’t know if that convention is consistent. Anyway, like I said, regardless of whether you agree, it gives you another perspective that’s useful in reading the Bible. Here, it’s that God is referred to in different ways at different times.

There are other distinctions too between the “different authors'” passages, like one anthropomorphizes God a lot, and other things like that. Again, interesting to know.

Anyway, over break I started rereading that Bible just out of interest and the most interesting translation was of the Joseph story. At the part where he is sold by his brothers, the Catholic version has a translation that literally, if you read it, it makes absolutely no sense. It’s like he is sold to Midianites and then he is sold to Ishmaelites. And you’re like, What? And the footnote says – note, this passage shows how 2 accounts of Joseph have been put together. In one account, he is left in a pit to die and then Midianites find him. Reuben is distraught because he had wanted to save him but doesn’t find him there, and he tells his brothers that he can’t find Joseph in the pit they left him in. In the other account (which has been intermingled with the first) the brothers decide to sell him to Ishmaelites, at Judah’s suggestion.

Anyway, these are totally conflicting stories, right? And the Catholic translation highlights the conflict by in 37:28 saying the brothers sell Joseph to Midianites but then saying that the Midianites are the ones that find him and pull him out of the pit. Even without this, the whole Midianite Ishmaelite thing in that verse is confusing.

So I read this and I’m like, what? That makes absolutely no sense. So I go back and look at my trusty NIV, and they say that the brothers pull him out of the pit, not the Midianites, so it makes a little bit more sense. But then I was like, how the heck can you have such different translations? So I pull out my trusty NKJV. This is the cool thing about KJV and NKJV. I don’t know if you’ve read it before, but it will have italics on the most random of words, and you wonder why it’s italicized, like, is it supposed to be emphasized? But it makes no sense because they italicize the most random of words. Like “And then the brothers went to the store.” Random. Anyway, I found out that the italics indicate stuff that’s not explicitly in the original text but is kind of inferred or connoted. They “indicate expressions in the original language which require clarification by additional English words.” So I look up that passage and yep, I find the “the brothers” in verse 28 is italicized. Which means that the NKJV clarified the original text by saying the brothers pulled him out, and the Jerusalem Bible by saying the Midianites pulled him out. It’s not explicitly stated in the original text. Isn’t that interesting? The answer is no, because it’s only interesting to me.

Why am I writing all this? I guess it’s just an interesting thing that happened over break and I was kind of reminded of it.

Here’s a side note. When I read other people’s pages that are hilarious (e.g. Dave Hong, Connie Chang – new link on jack.html!) I feel this terrible pressure to be funny also. But in the end I don’t care these are my thoughts and you either have to live with them or die by them.

OK, so another thing on my mind is the whole Microsoft antitrust case. I don’t know if you’re aware of this but something huge happened yesterday, I mean, a huge blow to Microsoft’s case, involving their chief techinical witness and a video that casts doubt on their entire testimony, so much so that even the judge made remarks. This is very exciting to me, because I really dislike Microsoft’s business practices. The more you learn about it, the more you realize how evil it is. Like with Sun and Java. It is just evil evil evil. At the science job fair a couple weekends ago, there were people distributing anti-Microsoft flyers. I mean, very few companies can inspire that kind of hate. And there’s a reason for that.

Anyway, the thing is, I don’t really understand this case too well. Like, Microsoft is terribly unfair, and in some cases probably illegal, but I just don’t understand why the stand has been made in the browser issue. Because first of all, browsers aren’t profitable. You can’t make money by selling broswers; you gotta be a portal or something like that. Probably only a few of you will understand what I mean, but anyway. But the second thing is, Microsoft has been doing stuff like this for years. Here’s an example. Back when I was in high school, there were always a bunch of PC utilities like Norton Utilities and… there was this other big brand but I forget the name. Anyway, what Microsoft gradually did was start putting these functions into the OS. So like with DOS 5? was it? One of those versions, they had a disk defragmenter and optimizer and unerase and stuff like that, that used to be the domain of the utilities. So all the utilities could do is either get even better at it, or drop out of the business. And many of them did. Anyway, the point is, Microsoft’s practice of bundling functions into the OS to eliminate competitors is not new.

So why is it a big fuss only now? Maybe because the web is so visible and big. I don’t know. Anyway, logically, it should be that everytime Microsoft did that it was illegal or the browser thing is not illegal. But I don’t really know I’m talking out of my butt. But there’s plenty of other illegal or immoral things that Microsoft has done so it the line must be drawn here so be it.

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