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Archive for September, 2008

In case you haven’t come across it yet, Jesus Creed is probably the best Christian blog I read regularly. Scot McKnight recently wrote a couple posts about John McCain and Barack Obama that are about as reasonable, balanced and level-headed as anything I’ve read in this political season. Check out his very thought-provoking introductory note too. A couple random thoughts:

1. The next president of the United States will be a Christian. I am glad of that; I believe that a president who is sincerely seeking to serve and obey Jesus will govern more justly as a result. But while I hope that the president will faithfully act as an agent of the Kingdom of God, I think it’s good to remember that the job we are electing him for is to lead the kingdom of Caesar.

2. Not only will the next president be a Christian, I think it might not be possible to be elected President of the U.S. today unless one professes to be Christian. Can you imagine one of the candidates going into the Saddleback forum and telling Rick Warren, “I think the Christian faith brings much good to our society and am grateful that so many Christians call the U.S. home, but I am not a Christian myself because personally I don’t believe the stories of Jesus are true.” If he stood by that remark, I think his polls would plummet. I’m not sure how I feel about that.

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The Greatest Word Ever

Much to my chagrin, we’ve had a preponderance of UHT milk in our house lately. For the uninitiated, UHT stands for Ultra High Temperature, which is what you need to subject milk to in order to give it a nearly indefinite shelf life at room temperature. My chagrin is largely due to the fact that UHT brings back unpleasant memories of being at sea. But with three members of our household eligible for WIC, we get more free milk than we can consume each month. Perhaps more precisely, we get more milk than we have room to store in the refrigerator. Hence the UHT stockpiling.

Anyway, the other day I found myself reading the carton during breakfast (don’t scoff – you know you’ve done it!) and made an interesting discovery. The words are all printed in three languages, which is certainly not interesting in itself. Almost everything you buy in Europe is printed in at least two; what was interesting was the languages used. The UHT brand sold at the commissary, Arla, comes from Denmark, so naturally one of the languages was Danish. The second was of course English, the linguistic common currency of Europe. Can you guess the third? German? Nope. French? Nope. Dutch? Spanish? Italian? No, no, and no. Nor Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish or Portuguese. The third language printed on all the UHT milk in our U.S. army commissary is of course…

Gaellic. Yep, apparently they store a lot of milk out there in rural Ireland. Or they don’t have electricity. Or they just love that kinda odd aftertaste that makes me feel like I’m back in the wardroom of the USS Mount Hood enjoying some delicious oven-baked breaded meat patty on a ceramic plate. Anyway, I’ve had little exposure to Gaellic outside of chillin’ out to some Enya, and I have to say, that is one strange looking language. So my new favorite word for the week is (make sure your browser is on full screen): assigiiaaqqissqarsimasuuvoq. That’s right, a double U and a double Q in one word. You need at least four sets of scrabble tiles (and two boards) to play that baby.

I’m pretty sure it means homogonenized.

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I was asked yesterday if I was done with this blog. The question was predicated by the title of my last post, which I guess I didn’t explain well. Each page in a Navy flight log book ends with a diagonal line through all the blank lines with the words “No Further Entries This Page” (or NFETP) written across it. I was simply reflecting on my final NFETP from August 1998. No, Logomanikos is still alive. I do plan to start writing some more meaningful posts again sometime – soon I hope. Anyway, the question was another reminder of how easy it is to miscommunicate online, and that one should think twice before throwing something on the world wide web for anyone in the world to read if they are so inclined. And with that completely artificial segue…

Two weeks ago, we had a bit of excitement at work when our chapel secretary passed out. We thought it was a heart attack and called 911 (actually 112 here in Europe). He was OK, but left in an ambulance and was taken to the hospital for some tests. (Turned out to be an ulcer.) Then last week, I was lifting weights in the base gym with a couple high school guys when one of them smashed his finger pretty bad – fingertip swelled up, he bled everywhere. I walked him the 200 or so meters over to the fire station to get it looked at, and then waited with him until his dad picked him up. Two unrelated incidents, neither directly involving me, and neither ultimately that serious (though the first was a little scary at the time).

That night, for my daily Facebook status update, I wrote “Steve hopes to end his streak of consecutive weeks interacting with base paramedics at TWO.” I thought it was a good status update: interesting, clever, mysterious – always gotta try to hook some comments, right? Of course no one one asked about it, and life moved on. The next morning, as I arrived at work, the garrison chaplain says: “Hey, your name came up this morning. Something about paramedics at two in the morning?”

What? I was completely puzzled at first; it took a minute or two to connect the dots and figure out what had happened. I realized a colleague with whom I’m friends on Facebook mentioned my status comment in the weekly staff conference call, in the process misinterpreting the word “TWO”, not to mention my ill-expressed tongue-in-cheek intentions. Well, no harm no foul I guess, but it’s pretty interesting how differently information is relayed in this digital world.

So, anyone else have any good stories about crazy untended consequences resulting from communication via the Internet?

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