Monday, June 27, 2005

I Love These Men

Who are they? The creators of my new favorite restaurant, Cereality.

Not that I've ever been there, but I intend to make my first pilgrimage sooner, rather than later. The idea is simple enough. 33 different cereals, 34 different toppings, some milk and a trendy looking bowl. It's like Cold Stone for cereal.
Honestly, what could be better? If they opened a cafe in East Dundee, I think I'd go for every meal, every day. Come to think of it, I wonder how much it would cost to become a franchisee. Think about it, free cereal for life.


With that combination of cereals and toppings, there are easily over a thousand combinations of heaven to enjoy. They even have soy milk for certain types of people.

Anyway, despite these goofs I've put up a new song by Andrew Bird.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

The Hottest Topic on the Planet

Fresh off a discussion on Kay-do regarding the G8's decision to eliminate the debt of several African countries, World Magazine has published an article with some thoughts on the possible effects of such actions.

Whose jubilee?
COVER STORY: Powerful names in Christendom join music moguls to mount a seductive campaign to cancel poor-nation debt—a plan more likely to benefit oppressors of the poor than the truly impoverished by Mindy Belz

What common cause could unite Pink Floyd and Rick Warren?

Meet Live8, ONE, Make Poverty History, and the Long Walk To Justice, all part of the latest gizmo-laden, concert-driven, wristband-toting, venue-hopping extravaganza powered by aging rockers and their fans in search of—and perhaps sincerely committed to—a cause. more...

Of course I have thoughts on the article, and for lack of a better topic of discussion and simply for the fact that I'm bored, I'll share them with you.

Yet the United States gives the highest absolute amount in foreign aid of any country—in 2003, more than $16 billion, according to Hudson Institute senior fellow Carol Adelman. Hudson Institute research indicates private charity totaled over $35 billion for 2000, the last year such figures were tabulated—or three and one-half times U.S. government aid for that year. Those figures do not include giving by local U.S. churches.

This really shocked me. $35 billion in 2000 from private organization? That much money going to Africa in one year, and apparently making so little difference, is a very discouraging thought. Is simply pumping more money into this continent going to make any difference at all? Before you get all huffy and yell at me for not caring, let me just say I'm not suggesting putting an end to all monetary aid, I guess I'm just overwhelmed by the lack of progress that's been made in decades of efforts to alleviate the suffering of these people.

But offstage a band of leading economists and scholars says the G8 plan is not only misguided but harmful, particularly for church-based poverty-fighting efforts. "Debt forgiveness rewards the corruption and inefficiency of governments who have mishandled loaned funds," writes the editorial board of the Kairos Journal in a letter sent June 6 to Mr. Warren and Mr. Stott, along with others. "In forgiving the debt of poor nations, we're not forgiving the debts of those nation's poor; we're merely enabling bureaucratic perfidy and incompetence."

Here lies my greatest objection to the One campaign's thought process. With all of the relief going to the government and leaders of these countries, rather than their citizens, we have no guarantee that this money will help those who are in need at all. While it's easy enough to say at this point that the budgets of these countries will be transparent and monitored, who will be designated to enforce any infractions against the agreed upon budgets?

Furthermore, even if money is going to the poor and those who need it in the form of education and health care, isn't this just creating a pattern of governmental dependency rather than creating opportunities for these people to make their own situations better?

Beyond that, the poorest nations should look to Southeast Asia and India, where once-stricken economies are trading their way out of poverty.


Looking at recent success stories from other countries and learning how they got themselves out of trouble certainly seems like a better idea than returning down a path that has a known destination of failure.

Debt elimination would have a chilling effect on credit. "If it becomes clear that debt will be written off in the future, then it is no longer a loan but a gift," said Mr. Thornbury. He believes that will be a deterrent for both public and commercial lenders. "Why would you invest in something on which you would not have a return?" he asked.

While I do think Mr. Thornbury is overstating the effects debt relief would have on the global lending market, I also think it's important to realize no country is going to make an investment like debt relief and expect nothing in return. In having their debts dissolved, each country that partakes is sacrificing a piece of it's sovereignty. The United States is already a country that likes to force it's politics and will upon others, and donating billions to a few countries is going to give the US a greater sense of entitlement than ever.

"The problem is a problem that has to be solved not by governments but by people—people giving to people,"

This is where the story starts to contradict its self a tad bit. In the beginning, it was lauding the amount of money being poured into Africa from private charity groups. Now it's saying that the solution to the problem is not government intervention but private citizens. While I agree that bureaucratic influence alone is not enough to meet the needs of Africa, it is clear given the immense amount of money already going there via private donations, that some help from those in power is needed.

I'm not pretending to know the solution to these issues. I know it's easy to sit at my desk and pontificate and criticize those whose intentions are well meant, and I don't want to be one who stands in the way of progress just asking questions and not lifting a finger to help. But I also would like to stand behind a solution I truly believe in, and I'm asking a lot of these questions because I really don't know the answers.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

A New Feature Added to Tomato

You'll see it over the the right side there, it's called 'Songs to love.' Each week (or so) I'll post a new song for you to download and try out. If I feel like people enjoy it I'll keep it going. Due to limited server size I'm only going to keep one song posted at a time for now.

The current selection is a song from the oddest family in the church, the Danielson Famile. Click the band name to get some information about them, click the song title to download the song.

Like I said, I'll do this as long as there seems to be some interest, or until the RIAA breaks down my door. (HAHA@ME!!!)

Oh, one more thing, if one of you can test to make sure the link works just so I know I set this up right, that'd be swell.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

A peculiar occurrence at the grocery store

Today while getting the weeks supplies at the local supermarket, I noticed a preponderance of tables set up with samples. You know the kinds, crackers in the snack isle, ice cream in the freezer section, and little sausages in the deli. Normal stuff. That is until I reached the end of the store. The section they keep the non-grocery items at. Medicine, magazines, soaps, shampoos, that type of thing. Oh, and alcohol. It was there where I stumbled upon a table with a middle aged woman standing behind it. I was so shocked by the samples she was offering I simply stood there in awe. I think my mouth might have been hanging open. She must have noticed me staring, because she kindly offered, "Would you like a sample?"

There on the table before me stood several bottles. Next to them were little plastic shot glasses. I'm not a drinker, not even beer, but the labels were familiar enough to me. Jim Beam. Absolut. A few others I didn't recognize.

I finally came to, smiled, and politely turned her down. Turning, I walked away shaking my head, more in shock and disbelief than in disapproval.

I'll not make any social commentary on this other than to say I thought it quite odd.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Canadian Health Care

Maybe you've heard, over the past few years, the outcry from the left to emulate Canada's health care system. Maybe you, yourself, have considered what it would be like for the government to take care of all of your medical bills and procedures. Well the Canadian Supreme Court has considered it as well, and their conclusions are surprising.

I'll go eat some cereal while you read.

Health-care ruling called 'stinging indictment'

CBC News

Some of the country's largest medical groups call Thursday's Supreme Court of Canada ruling allowing private health insurance in Quebec a "historic" decision, but Prime Minister Paul Martin is downplaying its significance.

In a 4-3 decision, the country's top court said Quebec patients should be allowed to buy insurance to cover medical treatments already provided by medicare, citing the physical and psychological suffering caused by long waits for services in the publicly funded system. more...

It's amazing that it took seven years for the court to hear this case. How many people have died because of inadequate health care during that time? So many in this country continue to pine for a socialist based health care plan. Starting with classic democrats, and recently a new wave of Christian thinking that focuses on social responsibility. Maybe this ruling from the Supreme Court will dissuade some of those thoughts, but I doubt anyone will pay much attention.

Sunday, June 12, 2005


First I'd just like to get this out of the way because I thought this picture was hilarious.

I'm extremely anxious to post my review of Come on Feel the Illlinoise!, but patience is the order of the day.

The trip to Arkansas was a success I suppose since no one was lost or injured. I think everyone had a good time, we did a lot of swimming. I must say, having spent the vast majority of my life north of the Mason-Dixon line, I was some what thrown by the lack of haste in the service at some of the establishments we visited. Heh, well I don't know what else to say about it.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Hey Jon, I found him....

And for the rest of you, I took the time the other day to fix my brakes because the rotors were warped like crazy and the whole van was shaking. I'm sure you've been there and know how it is. Anyway, I was pleased to see the pads and two rotors to do the whole front end were only 70 bucks. I'm thinking that saved me a few hundred.

While I tinkered with the brakes I got to listen to Sufjan Steven's forthcoming album, Illinois. I must tell you, this album is... oh wait, better just wait until I post the review when it comes out.

Other than that, nothing new really. Crystal and I are going to see Architecture in Helsinki tonight.

Excitement is ours.

Friday, June 03, 2005

A Trip to the Theatre

A Small Play Based on Chad's Comment to my last post.

Staring (in alphabetical order)
Madison Kunze ... as herself
Chad Pilcher ... as himself
Scott Kunze ... as himself, and narrator

And Introducing
Buzz Lightyear ... as himself

Act I
(In which Chad first lets known his desire to punch Madison)

"It all started when me and Madison were trimming some bushes and Chad wandered by"

"It sure is a nice day for trimming lilac bushes."

"Oh, hello Chad, I had not noticed you wandering by. What do you think of babies Chad?"

"They go around in their little cases, looking so smug...I just wanna punch 'em in the face!!!"

"Oh No!!"

"OH NOS!!!11"


Act II
(Later that night, when Chad returns to prey upon his victim)

"I will get her when she sleeps! look at her now, she grows weary for the day is long and her activities are many!"

"i wuv mi mommy"

"Watch as I slowly climb up the stairs towards her room and.... what's this?"


"A small kitten has made it's resting place upon these steps. Nice kitty... nice kitty...."


"OH NO!"

(Baby Madison sleeps safe tonite)

(In which Chad follows Madison to a secret unknown location)

"i wuv mi mommy"

"I have followed their car to the perimeter of this secret compound."

(Outside the compound)

"Barbed wire is no match for my ability to crawl through it!"

10 minutes later....

"Ouch! Next time I will use wire cutters!"

"I have finally gained access to the secret compound!"

(Inside the secret compound)

"OH NOS!! The secret compound is Willow Creek!! It's ventilation system is laced with poisonous gas, and it is infested with W.A.S.P.s!!!"

The End(?)

Legal disclaimer for the criminally dumb.