Monday, April 29, 2013

Road Trip!™: Phoenix to Toronto April 2013

"The Big Texan Steak Ranch", Amarill...
"The Big Texan Steak Ranch", Amarillo, TX (Photo credit: Xavier de Jauréguiberry)
Tuesday 5:30am. Left Phoenix for Winslow AZ and La Posada's Turquoise Room. Had their unsurpassed Green Chile Eggs and terrific coffee. Motored on to Albuquerque and stopped at Einstein's Bagels. Arrived just before 3pm so I got the bagel for 25% off -- my planning skills are simply awesome or, alternatively, I was just plain lucky. Pushed on to Tucumcari, my planned first night stop. Feeling good so pushed on to Amarillo TX and the Big Texan Steak Ranch. Saw a guy trying to eat his way to a free 64 ounce steak. I settled for a 12 ounce ribeye. Flopped at the Super 8 down the road.

Wednesday 7:30am. Left Amarillo. Reached Oklahoma City and said good-bye to I-40 for I-44. Stopped at the two McDonalds that are part of the I-44 turnpike, one north of Oklahoma City and the other south of Joplin, MO. Headed on to Lambert's Cafe - Home of the Throwed Rolls, in Ozark, MO, south of Springfield. Had an awesome pulled-pork sandwich topped with coleslaw. For pass-by fixin's I had fried potatoes and for my "vegetable", I had the applesauce. Pushed on to Rolla, MO and stayed at the Super 8.

Thursday 7:30 am. Left Rolla; hope to get to Detroit tonite. Headed up to and through St. Louis and over to East St. Louis and into Illinois. Up to Effingham, IL and then over to Terre Haute, Indiana. Ate a buffet lunch at Chicago's Pizza somewhere around Indianapolis. A friend had recommended Esther Price chocolates in Ohio so I tracked down their outlet store off I-70. Garmin was off but I got there eventually. Bought a pound of mixed dark chocolates and another box of chocolate covered potato chips. Back on the road east to Dayton and then north to Toledo. Stopped south of Toledo for a power nap and then south of Detroit for a Dunkin' Donuts coffee and a sack of White Castle sliders and some mac and cheese deep-fried poppers. Ain't the USA grand?! Pushed on through Detroit and made the big decision. Feeling pretty good so decided to push on to the border. Got to the border 9pm-ish and through Canada Customs by about 9:30 -- I had some duty to pay (but always find Canada Customs agents more than fair). Pushed on to Toronto. As usual, I experienced the worst, most unsafe driving on the 401 -- while most of the drivers simply flowed with traffic, some were uncivil, careless, and reckless.

Arrived home in Toronto at 1am. The dogs, Reggie and Brady, were thrilled.

Denouement (or, as Quinn Martin would say, Epilog). Happy to make the trip in three days but wouldn't recommend it. Memo to self: next time, stop at the Red Roof Inn north of Detroit and enjoy a good Bob Evan's biscuits and gravy breakfast the next morning. The Esther Price chocolates were really good, but the Esther Price chocolate covered potato chips are simply outstanding.
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Friday, April 26, 2013


George W. Bush
Cover of George W. Bush

DALLAS — Shortly after Barack Obama was elected in 2008, a fellow reporter who’d covered President George W. Bush all eight years told me she’d had enough of the travel and stress and strain of the White House beat, that she was moving on.
We reminisced about all the places we’d been, all the crazy days and wild nights, all the history we’d seen — first hand. Just before we said our goodbyes, I asked her if she’d miss covering President Obama. 
“Not at all. He’s an inch deep. Bush is a bottomless chasm, a deep, mysterious, emotional, profound man. Obama is all surface — shallow, obvious, robotic, and, frankly, not nearly as smart as he thinks. Bush was the one.” 
Her words, so succinct, have stuck with me ever since. By the way, she’s a hardcore Democrat.
Full article here.

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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Evangelical Extremists -- We're Number One!

A U.S. Army training instructor listed Evangelical Christianity and Catholicism as examples of religious extremism along with Al Qaeda and Hamas during a briefing with an Army Reserve unit based in Pennsylvania.... The incident occurred during an Army Reserve Equal Opportunity training brief on extremism. Topping the list is Evangelical Christianity. Other organizations listed included Catholicism, Al Qaeda, Hamas, the Ku Klux Klan, Sunni Muslims, and Nation of Islam.
 We beat out Al Qaeda, Hamas, the Ku Klux Klan, the Sunnis, the Nation of Islam and the Catholics -- We're number one!!!

But really, here's the test: who would you rather be on a plane with -- a bunch of evangelical Christians heading to Africa to do charitable work, or a bunch of Al Qaeda on their way to America?

And that's the way the evangelical extremist Ball bounces.

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Friday, April 05, 2013

An Atheist's Journey from A(theist) to B(eliever)

So I plunged headlong into apologetics, devouring debates and books from many perspectives. I read the Qur'an and Richard Dawkins's The God Delusion. I went through The Skeptic's Annotated Bible and looked up Christian rebuttals to apparent contradictions. But nothing compared to the rich tradition of Christian intellect. I'd argued with my peers, but I'd never investigated the works of the masters: Augustine, Anselm, Aquinas, Descartes, Kant, Pascal, and Lewis. When I finally did, the only reasonable course of action was to believe in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
 The role of an informed, empathetic Christian in this woman's conversion is instructive.

So is her emphasis on the role of obedience as opposed to mere intellectual pursuit. And the role of head and heart in conversion.

A good read.
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Wednesday, April 03, 2013

The Problem With Socialism

The Socialist International logo
The Socialist International logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The problem with socialism, in a word, is socialists. They like communal funding and high taxation when someone else is paying it, but, when it comes to arranging their own lives, it's a different matter.

France's former budget minister Jérôme Cahuzac admitted on Tuesday that he had held a secret bank account abroad – a fact that he has strenuously denied until now.
His admission comes two weeks after he resigned from the Socialist government over allegations that he had siphoned funds into a UBS bank account in Switzerland in order to avoid paying taxes in France.
 And that's the way the Ball bounces.

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Tuesday, April 02, 2013

America's Newspaper of Record Gets Easter Wrong

Image representing New York Times as depicted ...
Image via CrunchBase
The New York Times, America's newspaper of record and the top of the journalistic heap, gets Easter wrong.

As Michael Walsh puts it, "what does resurrection into heaven even mean"?

Mark Steyn weighs in on the implications of biblical illiteracy among journalists' creme at the NYT.

O biblical illiteracy, where is thy sting?!

The New York Times will probably squeak through this by the skin of its teeth -- after all, it's the apple of the intelligentia's eye.

And that's the way the Ball bounces.

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"... nothing intellectually compelling or challenging.. bald assertions coupled to superstition... woefully pathetic"