Thursday, August 24, 2006

What Foreigners Really Think Of Us

All I hear any more from liberals and whiners is how our image abroad has been so tarnished by this administration and that we are hated and ridiculed around the world. Personally, I don't believe it's true and quite frankly don't care even if it is. An article I read today on though has me considering this more seriously.

According to the article, a 29-year-old man was travelling with his mother to Turkey and was questioned by airport security over an item in his luggage that looked like a grenade. As it turns out, it was actually a component of a penis pump. [Insert Austin Powers joke here]

The article continues:

When officers asked him to identify it, Amin said it was a bomb, said Cook County Assistant State's Attorney Lorraine Scaduto.

He later told officials he'd lied about the item because his mother was nearby and he didn't want her to hear that it was part of a penis pump.

After being charged with felony disorderly conduct, the man's lawyers now claim that he merely whispered that it was a "pump" and the security guard misheard it as "bomb."

Now, as amuzing as this article is I'm sure you're wondering what this really has to do with the image people in foreign countries have of us. Well, in trying to explain himself the man said he would never claim it was a bomb because he "does not consider a penis pump an unusual object to own."

And his next words will echo in my ears for a long time....

"It's normal," he said. "Half of America they use it."

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

A good friend of mine on FreeRepublic posted an article today by Allison Kugel at called Stephen Baldwin and the Extreme Sport of Jesus Christ. I figured it would be an article focused primarily on "The Breakthrough Ministry," an extreme sports ministry Baldwin is involved in, but much to my surprise and enjoyment it focused more on Baldwin's conversion to Christianity as detailed in his new book, The Unusual Suspect.

While I would certainly not describe Baldwin as a "theological heavyweight" by any stretch of the imagination, what I enjoyed most about this interview is his unwillingness to compromise the Gospel as truth. Reading the interview I was very quickly reminded of what happens when Larry King interviews Christians, and was afraid I would see Baldwin succumb to the same unwillingness to stand fast. I'm very happy to be wrong in this case as Baldwin did a great job (albeit in his own cryptic, goofy way) of standind firm. My favorite response was that given to the question if, after his children are raised as Christians and later decide that "This isn't really for us," it would be OK with him (my emphasis):

"Of course it wouldn't be ok, but everybody has a choice to make and everybody is free to do whatever they want. What would be ok, is the hope I would have, that God would represent in their lives."

In a day when "Christian celebrity" is practically an oxymoron, it's wonderful to see a celebrity convert and then stand steadfast in his faith under public scrutiny.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Pursuant to my geek-love of NASA's WorldWind, I found out awhile back an experimental site called Flash Earth which delivers image data from Google Local and Windows Live Local through a flash-based delivery interface. It's not nearly as robust as WorldWind, but it's also much simpler and faster to use if you don't have a need for all the bells and whistles.

So, for your amuzement and amazement here are some links of interest I have bookmarked:

Cleveland Browns Stadium - Home of my beloved Cleveland Browns

The Kremlin in Moscow - Can you imagine imagery like this being available during the Cold War?

Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site - site of several Soviet nuclear tests

Christmas Island (Kiritimati) - site of several US nuclear tests during Operation Dominic

Bikin Atoll (Marshall Islands) - one of the primary US test sites in the Pacific; clearly visible in the upper left is the crater from Castle Bravo (at 15MT, the largest ever nuclear test by the US).

Enewetak Atoll (Marshall Islands) - the other primary US test in the Pacific; the first thermonuclear (or "hydrogen") bomb, Ivy Mike (10.4MT), was detonated here.

Nevada Proving Grounds - The famed Nevada Test Site where the first ever atomic bomb, Trinity, was detonated (notice the pockmarked landscape from all the low-yield tests carried out)

Hiroshima - target of the first nuclear weapon ever used against another nation (the actual visual target was this bridge)

Nagasaki - target of the second (and to date, last) nuclear weapon ever used against another nation

Thursday, August 10, 2006

For all you out there tired of the endless rantings of conspiracy theorists, Popular Mechanics has a great article on their site about Debunking the 9/11 Myths. In fact, they spent so much time investigating and refuting these conspiracy theories that they've since published a 192-page book called Debunking 9/11 Myths: Why Conspiracy Theories Can't Stand Up to the Facts.

On a lighter note, check out this old commercial for the Isuzu Gemini. What they do with these cars in this commercial is so ridiculous it's funny. Keep in mind that this is NOT computer generated. I've gotta wonder how many of these things they crashed or otherwise damaged while making this commercial...especially when they're jumping the river.