May 28, 2006

This, ladies and gentlemen, is a dream finish.

IndyCar rookie, 19-year-old Marco Andretti, was 6/100ths of a second short of winning his first Indianapolis 500, after Penske driver Sam Hornish Jr. grabbed the lead in the final straight of the last lap, crossing the line only 0.06 seconds sooner.

Marco Andretti has never run an Indy 500 before. His father, Michael Andretti, who came out of retirement for today’s race, has never won. Hornish has never finished all 500 miles. Four laps before the race, any one could have taken the checkered flag. Last year’s Danica mania was fun, but this was a fitting finish to the 90th running of the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”

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A few search queries

May 28, 2006

It’s been awhile since I searched through my referrer logs to see what searches bring people to the Crusty Curmudgeon. I’m gratified to see that they’re no less odd than they used to be:

Also, it turns out that Wikipedia actually has an entry for “crusty” (which kind of strains its credibility as an encyclopedia, but I digress):

Crusty may be used to help describe a type of person, such as in the phrase “crusty old colonel”. Typically such a crusty person would have the following attributes, either in part or wholly:

  • inflexible

Yeah, sometimes . . .

  • out-dated

I wouldn’t go that far . . .

  • conservative in their opinions

Pretty much . . .

  • a firm believer in the value of institutions important to them personally, such as a village fete organising committee, their gentleman’s club

Sort of true, though I can’t say I’m crusty enough for a villege fete organizing committee or gentleman’s club . . .

In almost all situations crusty people are old and male.

Old? Why, you . . .

Guess he didn’t go with Life of Pi

May 13, 2006

The trailer for M. Night Shyamalan’s latest film is out: Bryce Dallas Howard returns as the eponymous Lady in the Water.

I can’t say I’m sure exactly what it’s about: it looks like an underwater-people-invade-the-surface kind of horror flick thingy. I’m sure that in typical Shyamalan fashion, the trailer encapsulates all the actual action in an otherwise laconic film and that half the viewers will be completely disappointed that it wasn’t what they were led to expect.

Too bad for them. Shyamalan hasn’t let me down so far, and it’s only two months to July 21.

(H/T: Siris.)

Spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, baked beans, spam, spam, spam, spam, and spam

May 13, 2006

I don’t like spam.

I don’t like getting spam. I don’t like deleting spam. I don’t like seeing how much spam I get. I even don’t particularly like knowing, in a general sort of way, what kind of spam I’m getting.

What does fascinate me, though, is the gradual change in tactics that the spammers use to get my attention.

The latest strategy employed by spamvertisers to get around our filters is to send the messages with a single, random word as the subject. Right now in my junk mail folder I have emails titled scald, mill, protein, footing, alarm clock, blab, hyphenate, and vertebra. Just on a whim, I opened up alarm clock – after all, I’m not a morning person. Quite predictably there was no information about alarm clocks, only an offer to buy stocks in some company no one’s heard of, together with some amusing disclaimers about how the email is not a statement of fact and how I could lose all my money investing in this stock. (Way to sell your product, guys.)

What kind of drugs are these people on, anyway? I can imagine the conversations around the table in the spammers’ smoky backroom:

Spammer #1: Wow, sales of p3nis pills have dropped way off in North America. Maybe sending all our advertising in Chinese wasn’t the best sales strategy.

Spammer #2: Why don’t we try Russian?

Spammer #1: That’s an excellent idea!

Spammer #3: Here’s one I just thought of. If we generate random names for the From: line so that our ads look like personal messages, more people will want to read them. If I were one of the V1agra-buying masses, I would love to know what my buddies Alleging V. Sociopath, Handel T. Atherosclerosis and Syllabication H. Perfecter were up to these days.

Spammer #1: Yes! You’re a genius, Spammer #3!

Spammer #2: Here’s the only problem, though. Sooner or later those evil spam-filter programmers are going to catch on. Then what?

Spammer #4: I know – we’ll just send our ads out with a random word in the subject line.

All: (singing) We’re in the money! (Everyone lights up huge cigars with burning $100 bills.)

God’s plan

May 10, 2006

Yesterday, I pointed out that theologians have historically thought of God’s will in two senses: his will of decree and his will of desire. Today I want to work through the first of these, which we could also call God’s decretive will, his secret will, or his plan. If we wanted to personify it slightly, we might call it, simply, Providence.

Millard Erickson defines God’s plan very simply: it is “his eternal decision rendering certain all things that will come to pass.”1 This definition has several important ramifications.
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Hey, I’m something I’ve read!

May 10, 2006

And that’s always a good thing. I wouldn’t want to be some grotty potboiler I’d never heard of.

You’re The Hobbit!

by J.R.R. Tolkien

All you wanted was a nice cup of tea when some haggard crazy old man came into your life and told you it was time to do something with yourself. Now you’re all conflicted about whether to stick with your stay-at-home lifestyle or follow this crazy person into the wild. While you’re very short and a little furry, you seem to be surrounded by an even greater quantity of short folks lately. Try not to lose your ring, but keep its value in perspective!

Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

(H/T: Notes in the Key of Life.)

What exactly is “God’s will”?

May 9, 2006

Way back in the summer of 2004, I began working on a series of posts about one of my theological hobby horses: knowing and doing the will of God. I got about four or five posts in before running out of steam.

One of my goals for this year is to emphasize theology a little more than last. This series is a good candidate to revive, since I have already laid the foundation. The young adult class at my church, for which I am a leader and sometime teacher, recently went over the topic, so it is fresh on my mind. And searches on the “perfect will of God” and similar subjects still bring people to the Crusty Curmudgeon from the search engines, so I owe it to my readers to keep up my work. (I am gratified to see that although the blog has practically laid fallow for the last month, I’m still getting upwards of 75 visits per day!) Finally, I see that James Spurgeon is posting his Bible study notes on Galatians; I hope that ramping up my own Bible studies might encourage me to complete that series as well – before he overtakes me!

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