Weekend Reading: September 16, 2016

Good evening, and welcome to the weekend!  Normally I don’t get a chance to write this post until Saturday morning – it has become a sort of ritual, I suppose.  But tomorrow I’m traveling with the family to Western Michigan, where we’ll enjoy a weekend with long time friends.  In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this week’s collection of stories, videos and blog posts. At the very end, I update you on books I’ve read and am reading.

Not sure where to begin…but let’s start on the lighter side.  Fallon had Trump on the show this week, and man this video is pretty hilarious. HINT: It has to do with the Donald’s hair.

And, more seriously, and thought-provokingly, Politico wrote a story up about how Trump seems to be very close to overtaking HRC in almost all the key battleground states. It wasn’t but a few weeks ago when the press seemed sure that though HRC was losing ground nationally, she was still ahead in the key battleground states like Ohio and Florida. Now, after a disastrous week, that assumption seems shaky.

Speaking of that disastrous week, I wonder who had a worse week, Wells Fargo, or Hillary Clinton?  Or, maybe Fox News who lost yet another key anchor.  Nah, not much of a competition – I say Clinton by a mile.  Oddly enough, it was the New York Daily News’ Gersh Kuntzman (whoever that is), whose story on the HRC faintness/whateverillnessitisness captures the issue the best with this headline: Clinton’s cover story for her pneumonia diagnosis further proves her first instinct is to lie.  And, there you have it. I don’t need to make any more comment, except simply to say that the reason why this illness won’t work to her favor politically is that whatever happens to her politically because of it won’t have anything to do with it at all.  Follow me?  In one exposing moment in front of millions of voters, HRC reminded them than their suspicions about her were correct: she’s a liar and not to be trusted. Talk all you want about illness…that isn’t what made her week bad.

Okay, I don’t talk a lot about the sexual revolution, per se. I don’t feel I have to – there are many already writing much more eloquently and poignantly about it. If you want to know how new sexual mores affect us in our Christian walks, then read Desiring God’s blog. If you want to keep up on the cultural impact of this stuff, then listen to Al Mohler’s podcast (just not around your children).  But from time to time I will post something on this front, because occasionally it reaches a level of ridiculous that can’t be ignored.  This week, the ridiculous arose from the Daily Caller: Overpriced Fancypants University Festoons Campus With Absurd ‘Ze, Zir, Zirs’ PRONOUN POSTERS.  I don’t know whether to be spitting mad, intellectually incredulous, or simply to laugh out loud at the preposterousness of the whole thing.  But there it is. Judge for yourself…judge rightly.

Since we’re on the topic of the ridiculous: Daniel Craig ‘offered $150 million to return as James Bond’.  I mean…I like Daniel Craig’s acting, but man that’s a lot of dough!  I can’t resist at this point to air a few thoughts about the Bond series…I think Craig has been the most authentic Bond to date. The rest were really just caricatures; Craig is a character, he’s created a character.  He’s made Bond human. The old ones were horrid, you didn’t know whether to laugh or what. Yet I still watched with guilty enjoyment. They were extremely degrading of women – something I always cringed at. The Craig ones didn’t seem that way. He was a real person; he was human. Relationships came at a human cost to him, and this made all the characters more human. Also, Bond actually fell in love – not simply lust. This deepened and enriched the story.  The irony of it is that I doubt the Hollywood producers recognized any of this…blind squirrels?

Something to Watch: More parents believe vaccines are ‘unnecessary,’ while a mumps outbreak grows. I am not going to say a doggone thing about this. I’m not sure there’s any social topic that is more decisive among friends over a casual dinner than to discuss this topic! Everyone seems to have an opinion, and an attitude to accompany it. I find it fascinating, and continue to learn more and more as time passes.  I will note that it seems this particular article is a bit tilted in favor of the traditional medical establishment’s opinions.

I think this probably flew under the radar this week, but it caught my attention: The Man Who Tried To Kill Reagan Walks Free — With Conditions

A weekend reader sent this to me and I got a good chuckle: John McIntyre’s “trigger warning” to new students at his editing class at Loyola University Maryland.

Interesting video about the 9/11 Boatlift – I had no clue this was a thing, but its pretty neat. This was making its way around social media this week, but I think I need to give credit to Marc W.

Call it clickbait, or whatever, but it still caught my attention: Here are the weirdest presidential eating habits (or maybe I just feel bad for poor neglected AOL.com).

I know very little about college football – except that I enjoy watching it from time to time. But this was really interesting: Finding the Small Stories in NCAA Football Data

Crrrreeepy: Kuwait plans to create a huge DNA database of residents and visitors. Scientists are appalled.

Haven’t gotten to this one yet…but it might be worth checking out: Lay Aside the Fear of Man

And this was excellent: If God Is Sovereign, Why Pray?  Snippet:

There is something erroneous in the question, “If God knows everything, why pray?” The question assumes that prayer is one-dimensional and is defined simply as supplication or intercession. On the contrary, prayer is multidimensional. God’s sovereignty casts no shadow over the prayer of adoration. God’s foreknowledge or determinate counsel does not negate the prayer of praise. The only thing it should do is give us greater reason for expressing our adoration for who God is. If God knows what I’m going to say before I say it, His knowledge, rather than limiting my prayer, enhances the beauty of my praise.

My favorite post of the week: LESS REDEEMING THINGS AND MORE ENJOYING THEM.  Excerpt worth reading, then re-reading:

Is it wrong to find the 8 gospel themes in The Revenant? Of course not. But it’s also okay to watch the movie simply for fun and to observe Leo’s bear skills. That too is a gift from God. An activity doesn’t need to be overtly “spiritual” for it to be deeply spiritual.

Someone over at the Federalist was perturbed…and rightly so: If You’re Not A Dad, Don’t Go To Dad Events At School.

This will get you thinking…despite the annoying nasal V.O.: Transistors – The Invention That Changed The World.

Would this surprise you? Study: Religion contributes more to the U.S. economy than Facebook, Google and Apple combined.

This is kind of a no-brainer, but Jim G. over at National Review says what needs to be said, and repeated, and thoughtfully digested on a regular basis I think: The Problem with Partisan Faith

For you golf fans, David Love III has chosen his Ryder Cup captain’s picks…I like Fowler, I really do, but I’m not sure he’s really broken out enough to deserve this.

David Mathis is at it again: Dad Enough to Sing.  I think my kids would disagree now, but maybe agree later on! haha!  I’ve been singing some twisted silly version (with my own silly lyrics) of the following Tolkien song from the Fellowship of the Ring all week long (much to their chagrin!).

Sing hey! for the bath at close of day
that washes the weary mud away!
A loon is he that will not sing:
O! Water Hot is a noble thing!

O! Sweet is the sound of falling rain,
and the brook that leaps from hill to plain;
but better than rain or rippling streams
is Water Hot that smokes and steams.

O! Water cold we may pour at need
down a thirsty throat and be glad indeed;
but better is Beer if drink we lack,
and Water Hot poured down the back.

O! Water is fair that leaps on high
in a fountain white beneath the sky;
but never did fountain sound so sweet
as splashing Hot Water with my feet!

Isn’t that pretty silly? I thought so as well…simply delightful!

And what in the world is going on here: Why a Chemical Banned From Soap Is Still in Your Toothpaste.  There’s some crazy stuff in toothpaste!

This one will make you a little hot under the collar, unfortunately: Zika Funding Bill Blocked Again by Senate Democrats over Planned Parenthood.

Okay…there are two more items to cover this week.  The first is media bias creeping up on my iPhone, and the second is literature.

I don’t get “shocked” or annoyed by media bias. It’s on both sides of the political spectrum, and so ubiquitous that it doesn’t phase me much anymore. Nonetheless, I decided to take two screenshots of my iPhone this week to show you what I encountered. One was a list of opinion articles from WaPo and the second was curated news items from Apple. Why do I display these?  Because these examples got me thinking about how, though we are familiar with media bias from both sides, there’s a difference between these two images that goes a bit beyond that…if “beyond” is the correct word. There is a newer phenomenon now: it is the bias injected into the curation of stories to our devices, to our social feeds, and to our inboxes. This is the new form of messaging control, and its becoming more and more prevalent. We ought to take care to ask ourselves “why are these stories populating?” “what are the assumptions behind these headlines?” etc.

Apple Bias

wapo-bias

Now, on to literature.  Many years ago I made myself the promise and the goal to read 100 books in a year. This week I finally achieved that goal, and I’m both excited about it and disappointed. I’m excited because it wasn’t that hard, and it was very enjoyable. I’m disappointed because I sometimes allowed myself to become a little too obsessed with the number, and the goal, and the prestige of the goal – pure pride. God has some work to do on me here, and I’ve felt is acutely in the last week or so. Yet He is gracious and has given me great enjoyment in literature.  This same enjoyment I sincerely wish for everyone.

Here’s the list of what I’ve read – I’m currently working on 7 or 8 books, including Ayn Rand’s ‘The Fountainhead’, which has been very interesting. I both despise it, and enjoy it at the same time. I’m not stopping reading just because I hit the goal.  One of the startling things I’ve learned this year, startling and shameful, is that I’m still learning how to read better, and have a long way to go in that department.

I’m not going to give any top tens or top whatevers list at this point. I’ll save that for later or at the end of the year, maybe.  For now, I hope to encourage you to read, and enjoy reading. Even if you only read 5 or 10 books a year, its important to be reading, to be learning, and to exercise those imaginative muscles that God gave you for the benefit of yourself, and others, and for his Glory.

That’s it for now – I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

PJW

 

 

 

 

 

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