Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Evidence That Deaf People Are Just Messing With Us

Yesterday we had our Retro Super Bowl Party, to relive that glorious day when the Colts won the Super Bowl. It was a lot of fun and I can't wait for the season to start. However, while I was previewing the DVDs to make sure they worked, I noticed something crazy during Billy Joel's performance of the National Anthem during Super Bowl XLI.

Marlee Matlin gets the honor of being the Sign Language Interpreter for the National Anthem. If you watch the YouTube video below, it would seem that deaf people use the same sign for "glare," "bombs bursting," and "air." Pay attention around the 45 second mark and you'll see what I'm talking about. It's pretty bad (but keep reading, it gets worse).

When I was searching for the above clip, I came across another interesting one. This next YouTube video shows "Jason" signing at the same time as Marlee during the Super Bowl. He uses different signs. Pay close attention at the 55 second mark for his interpretation of "rockets red glare." Seriously? (but keep reading, it gets worse)

I finally found this last video of "samantha" signing the entire anthem. She seems to confirm Marlee's interpretation of "red glare" (35 second mark), but then she goes nuts on "bombs bursting." Check it out.

So I am thoroughly confused. Apparently, when you're signing the National Anthem, you're free to do whatever the heck you want for "and the rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air..." One of these days, I'll put my own interpretation up on YouTube.

I'm convinced that deaf people are just messing with us for fun. Really they all just know how to read lips.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Indianapolis to Host Super Bowl 2011!

That's what we're hoping to be able to say by the end of the day today. Right now, league owners are meeting in Nashville and will decide which city gets to host the 2011 Super Bowl.

The cities competing are Indianapolis, Phoenix and Dallas. Each city gets a fifteen minute presentation, then the owners will meet and come up with a decision. The presentations are given by certain leaders within the community. Our fate lies in the hands of Tony Dungy, Tony George (CEO of Indianapolis Motor Speedway), Tom Jernstedt (executive VP of NCAA), Fred Glass (head of Capitol Improvement Board), and Jeff Smulyan (CEO of Emmis Communications).

They are up against the likes of Roger Staubach (Hall of Fame QB with the Cowboys, representing Dallas) and the Geico Gecko (representing Phoenix). Dallas is presenting first, followed by Phoenix, and Indy gets to close.

Here is my guess of how each presentation will go:

Staubach: "Dallas has a long line of beautiful quarterbacks. From, well, myself (toothy grin...wink...pause for laughter) to Troy Aikman (cough), to Tony Romo; Dallas quarterbacks have become known for their grace and effeminate beauty. As a matter of fact, few people realize that the squad of Dallas Cowboy's Cheerleaders is made up entirely of former Dallas quarterbacks. The Super Bowl is a beautiful thing. So is everything that lives in Dallas. Especially the quarterbacks. Gentlemen, I rest my case.

Gecko: "Phoenix is damn hot! Only a gecko would want to live there. I have no idea why you would want to host a Super Bowl here, but I did save money by switching to Geico."

Dungy: "Hi, I'm Tony Dungy. My extreme humility prevents me from saying anything overly positive about my city. All I ask is that nobody mention how it was impossible to walk around downtown Indy prior to the AFC Championship Game, due to the city's inability to plow snow. I also want to take this opportunity to thank God for everything in the world. Thank you."

According to these presentations, I don't see how we won't host the 2011 Super Bowl. GO COLTS!

*UPDATE* We lost! Gosh darnit! That would've been awesome. Oh well. I'm sure everyone outside of Indy is happy they won't have to bring a coat to the Super Bowl. I'll be extra ticked in '11 if the Colts make it to the Super Bowl though.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Video Clip of Sports Bloopers

Yeah, this is just a clip of a bunch of sports bloopers. Happy Friday!

Why Do You Blog?

It's often hard to come up with new and interesting things to blog about. It's easy enough to go through the headlines and try to find something interesting, or to write about what you did over the weekend, or if the Colts are on their way to winning a Super Bowl; but if you're blogging daily, it's easy to run out of steam. This is when a blogger typically starts asking, "Why am I blogging anyways?"

This is especially true if your blog isn't making any money and has seemingly no readers. I'm lucky enough to have a few friends that I know, outside of the internet, who check up with this blog regularly enough to inspire me to keep writing. I also get about 30 or so random visits per day, but I know they got here by chance and are not here to stay. My posts aren't specific enough to any one topic to keep a steady readership.

So I got to thinking about why I'm blogging, which led me to think about why I started in the first place. Then I remembered that I had a worthless job that allowed for about six hours of free time on the internet. That was two and a half years ago. Now I feel rushed when I blog, trying to do it over a lunch break and save the posts for later.

Over two and a half years, I think I'm still blogging for the same reasons I started. Ironically enough, I just looked back and saw that my first post is about why I'm blogging (Read it here). Unfortunately, I don't have the time to write posts the way I had originally intended to. For now, I'll just keep blogging away.

Here are a few good examples of what I originally wanted to blog about and how I wanted to do it. Here are the first three posts I did; a few "must read" classics:

And Thirty-Four Cent
When in Rome
His Ride's Better Than Ya'lls

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Dr. George Bebawi Lectures on Islam

(photo used without permission)

Dr. George Bebawi gave a lecture last night on the Islamic faith and its relation to Christianity. Let me begin by saying that he provided a wealth of information and, even more importantly, inspired those in attendance to learn more about the topic.

In my last post about this lecture, an anonymous comment was left to inform us that Dr. George Bebawi has been excommunicated from the Coptic Orthodox Church. Before I address that, I have to say that in my limited understanding of the Orthodox faith, I heard nothing last night that contradicts any Orthodox views or doctrines. Also, I found the referenced Al-Ahram article, and thought I would share these excerpts:

Whereas the church clergy supported his expulsion on the grounds it would curb the spread of what one termed distorted thoughts, many secularist Coptic thinkers slammed the church decision as returning to the era of the inquisition.

Bebawi had told the press that the Synod's decision was illegitimate since he was not invited to a debate where he could discuss his views.

Zakher argued Bebawi was not given a chance to explain his views before being expelled, and wondered why he was expelled at this particular time when his teachings have been around since the 1970s.

So as far as his excommunication goes, I'm siding with Rab who said, "I don’t know all the details, but from what I’ve heard, it tells more about the heterodoxy of the Coptic patriarch than it does of Dr. George." That's all I have to say about that.

Hopefully we can get a copy of the lecture, because my thoughts on what he said are a jumbled mess and I'll never be able to adequately convey what he said. As far as lectures go, this was one of the best I've heard. The man knows how to speak (even with a thick accent). Add to it the fact that he is extremely educated on an interesting topic and you'll understand why it was such a great lecture.

I'm just going to throw out a few things that have stuck in my mind. Hopefully others who attended will write more and comment here and we can piece together what we learned.

Dr. George touched on some of the major differences between Islam and Christianity. One interesting point that he made is that Muslims follow the Law of God. They are told what is right and wrong and are rewarded for Good, and punished for Evil. Through this system, they will never come to know God. If you do good only for the sake of the reward, then your mind is always fixed on the reward and not on the actual good. Likewise, if you do good, only to avoid the punishment for evil, you learn nothing of goodness. I could go on for days trying to discuss this one, but I think that was the general idea.

Also, I should add that Dr. George emphatically stated that the English translation of the Qur'an cannot be trusted. Along those lines, he said that the phrase "God created man in his image and likeness" (loose translation) has been somehow removed from the Qur'an. This is huge, as it devalues humanity as a whole and each of us as individuals. It is also interesting to note that Christianity tells us to love our enemies. You won't find anything close to that in the Qur'an.

He also made mention of the 99 Names of God in the Qur'an, informing us that four of the names are actually demonic. I can't remember them all, but "The Accuser" and "The Avenger" come to mind. He also says that "Love" is not one of the names. Which is pretty much our definition of God.

One of the biggest differences that stood out to me was that we believe we will be made to be "like Christ." In essence, we will become like God. Saying that will probably get you killed in Islamic countries. This is so important to Christianity and to our belief in who we are and who God is. It is how we can love our neighbors as ourselves and do good for goodness sake. This is done for us through Christ, and not because we deserve it or earned it. I won't go into the obvious discussion that could be had here.

I wish I could have heard him speak more about the education of Islam. He pointed out five important aspects of education that Muslims are not allowed to do with their religion. I can't remember what they were, but it was very profound (somebody who was there help me out here). Basically, they have not learned to think for themselves and are not allowed to question the beliefs that have been passed down to them.

Near the end of the discussion, Dr. George touched on terrorism. I have a hunch that if he comes to speak to us again, this may be the focal point of the lecture. The interesting point that he made is that Muslims have no patriotism. They fight for religion, and a British Muslim has no less hatred for infidels than a Saudi Muslim.

There was so much more that was said and I wish I could remember it all. Hopefully he'll come to speak again; I have the feeling that he will.

DISCLAIMER: The above synopsis of the lecture comes from my memory, having taken no notes. Any misinformation provided is a result of my ignorance and should not be misconstrued with the actual information provided at the lecture by Dr. George. If any of the above is incorrect, please enlighten me.

Other posts about the lecture:

B: Dr. George Bebawi Speaks

A Whistling Train: Theosis and The Kingdom

Monday, May 14, 2007

An Orthodox Response to Islam

This Tuesday (May 15) at 7:30 PM, Dr. George Bebawi is going to be giving a lecture of sorts at St. John the Forerunner Orthodox Church in Indianapolis. Why should you care?

First of all, I'm actually surprised that there wasn't more hype about this at my parish and that I really haven't heard much talk about this at all. If my dad hadn't forwarded me an email that had a list of his credentials on it, I probably would have just blown this event off.

Not going to hear this man talk is the equivalent of walking past Joshua Bell as he plays in a New York subway. Even if you're not Orthodox and don't care about current events and having a deeper understanding of the Islamic faith and why so many Islamic fundamentalists are out to kill you; missing an opportunity like this would be a travesty.

I'm often embarrassed of myself for not taking advantage of things of this nature. I'm also often embarrassed that I live in a place where people would rather watch American Idol than go listen to a renowned scholar for free. It just boggles my mind what we will waste our time doing (myself included).

So anyways, if you have nothing better to do Tuesday night, you should go hear Dr. Bebawi speak. If you have something better to do, you're probably lying to yourself and you should reschedule those plans and make an effort to go to this. I'm like 90% sure you won't regret it.

Here's St. John's Church
Here's how to get there
And here's all you need to know to inspire you to attend:

We’re living each day with the threat of terrorism from Islamic Fundamentalists. There is so much information, false and inflammatory, floating around; I thought it might be good to invite an expert on the subject to come and speak to us. Dr. George Bebawi, a scholar and expert in the fields of Orthodoxy and Islam will come to address this topic with us on THIS Tuesday, May 15, 7:30pm. Please mark your calendars for this very informative meeting.

Dr. Bebawi was born in Cairo , Egypt in 1938 to an Egyptian Christian father and a Hungarian Jewish mother. He was adopted by his maternal grandmother at the age of five, who reared him as a Jew. He converted to Christianity in 1957 and joined the Coptic Orthodox Church which is the oldest church of Egypt . Dr. Bebawi studied theology, Bible, church history and more at the Coptic Orthodox Theological College and received his Bachelor's of Divinity in 1961. He was awarded a scholarship and studied at Cambridge University , where he received his M. Lit and Ph.D in 1970. He taught theology, Church History, Patristic Studies and Islam at Orthodox, Evangelical, and Catholic Seminaries in the Middle East, Europe and the United Sates from 1970-1984. Also during that time, he served as an advisor for Christian Affairs to Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat before his assassination in 1981. He returned to England in 1984 to lecture at various British Universities and to teach at St. John's College , at Nottingham University from 1985-2000. He served as the Director of Studies at the Institute for Christian Orthodox Studies, at Cambridge , England , and lectured on Islam and Judaism at for the Cambridge Federation of Theological Colleges, Cambridge University from 2000-2002. He is internationally recognized as one of the world's leading scholars on Eastern Christianity. He recently retired from Cambridge University and moved to the Indianapolis area and was joined in marriage to May. He is the father of three young adult men. He currently engages in public speaking and church ministry.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day!

This video reminds me of my brother. We never did anything like this, but for some reason, it looks like something we'd do. We did randomly hit each other for ridiculous reasons (e.g. hitting a home run in Bases Loaded). If you don't have a brother, I don't think you could ever understand.

It's a Mother's Day video presented by two sons to their loving mother. It's a classic. Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Pop! Goes My Heart

Last night the wife and I had a couple friends over for dinner and a movie. We watched Music and Lyrics (Drew Barrymore and Hugh Grant), which isn't a great movie, but it did have quite the gem in it.

They do a mock 80's pop video that is awesome. I seriously like the song and have been singing it all morning. And the video is classic 80's pop. It's like Prince mixed with Whitesnake. Here's the video of "Pop Goes My Heart." Be sure to watch for the classy dance moves and the awesome plot line.

My favorite part? Either the friend's face when he sees that his buddy is dead, or the stop-motion camera work when the guy's heart "pops."

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Real American Justice?

America needs a better justice system. I don't think I'm saying anything that you would disagree with, as I've never heard anyone say, "The American system of justice RULZ!"

This is a problem that every society faces and one that will probably never be perfected. However, it amazes me that we have made such incredible advances in science and technology, but we still haven't figured out a way to make the risks of molesting a six year old outweigh the benefits. (yes, I know we're dealing with sick people who don't weigh the costs of their actions- it's just an example) That kind of crap still happens way too much and often by the same offender.

A recent example of this is Warren Central senior, Michael Bell, who "allegedly" raped a sixteen year old girl in a Warren Central stairwell. The seventeen year old boy rapist had been involved in an incident two years prior to this event, where he apparently tried to rape someone else.

If you want more examples, just glance through your local paper and read up on the offenders. I'll bet 80% of them have some kind of prior history related to their crime.

So, it seems we aren't doing enough to prevent this kind of crap from happening. Maybe we could ship all of our criminals to Australia? Like I said, I don't have any answers here, but I am encouraged by a couple of recent events that may take us a step in the right direction: Public humiliation.

First up is a story about a judge in Alabama, who sentenced two shoplifters to wear signs that read, "I AM A THIEF- I STOLE FROM WALMART." I happen to think that this is brilliant.

Next is a story about our good friend O.J. Simpson. O.J. was trying to eat some steak before the Kentucky Derby. The owner of the steakhouse (Jeff Ruby) said he would not serve Mr. Simpson and asked him (and his 12-man entourage) to leave the restaurant. "I didn't want to serve him because of my convictions of what he's done to those families."

This is also brilliant. I wish more owners and corporations would act with this kind of integrity.

Anyways, we're not changing the world here, but I like the idea of more public humiliation for our criminals. Not everyone is as recognizable as OJ, so we should brand them all; that way they can be recognized and avoided and discriminated against. I realize this isn't very forgiving, but I'm sick of hearing about rapists, murderers, molesters, and thieves.

(All photos and derivatives used without permission)

Referenced stories below:
Michael Bell rape

Walmart Thieves

OJ Gets Sacked

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Indianapolis Mini-Marathon

Last Saturday I ran the Indianapolis Mini Marathon for the second year in a row. This is where I make up for a year's worth of inactivity in one single day. I have a serious "lack of discipline" problem, which prevented me from adequately training for this event. So, having trained up to two miles maybe twelve times in the previous year, I laced up Saturday morning to run the 13.1 mile, mini-marathon.

I'm not going to go into the details of the entire day, but it was a lot of fun. I'm very impressed with how well organized the whole event was and always seems to be. Lots of volunteers and fans and runners. The whole thing was a lot of fun.

Here are a few highlights from the day:

1) Before the race, hearing "Back Home Again in Indiana" over the loudspeakers. I love that song and never get to hear it. Apparently, there are verses to go with the chorus.

2) Running under the huge American flag on Washington Street. This is usually my favorite part of the race. Mostly because I still have energy.

(Photo from 500 Festival Gallery)

3) The little band from the West Indies. I have no idea what they called themselves, but they were the best band of the day. And as a side note, if you're ever going to bring your garage band and play during the mini, please play upbeat songs. For Pete's sake, we're trying to run a marathon here.

4) The Track. As much as I hate running the two and a half miles or so on the track, it is pretty cool to be out there. Somewhere there's a picture of the wife and I running across the brick finish line. That's just cool.

5) The Hi Neighbor Tavern. These guys are somewhere on 10th Street and they serve little cups of beer to all the runners. Although I didn't partake this year, my wife did and it's always nice to see that good ol' Hoosier hospitality.

6) The sack of goodies at the finish line. After running over 13 miles, there's nothing better than having your own personal trick-or-treating time. They hand you a sack and you get to walk around while people toss everything from apples and bananas, to cookies and chips, to Ben Gay.

Well, that's pretty much it. Not really, but that's all I'll say. I'm not sure if we'll be running it next year, but I'm sure it'll be worth it if we do. If you're thinking about doing it, make sure you register in time, because it sells out earlier and earlier every year.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

LIT$ Contest- Win Free Money!!!

I've decided to run a little contest here at Life in the Shadows. This is purely for my own enjoyment and the only way I can get you to participate is to offer you money. It's dang near impossible to get you to actually interact on this blog, so I'm left with no other option but to throw cash at you.

Obviously, I'm only doing this because I don't think I'll have to part with my money. This is more of a bet than a contest. And I'm betting $10 "cash money" that you can't figure out what I'm about to ask. Enough rambling, let's get on with the contest:

I'm always intrigued at the amount of random visitors who come to this blog. In fact, I get quite a bit of traffic from two specific searches. So, I bet you can't figure out what they are.

The Contest:

Find which two searches generate the most traffic for this blog.

The Reward:

$5 for each correct guess. $10 total.

The Rules:

Anyone can enter. Just leave your guesses in a comment on this post. The first person to guess correctly wins. Comments will be moderated, so that I know who guessed first and so you don't know what someone has already guessed. This means that even though your comment isn't published, it has still been entered. You also won't know how many other people are playing.

If I know you personally, I'll just give you ten bucks the next time I see you. Everyone else must be willing to accept their payment via Paypal. If you beg, I may send you a check, but I'd prefer Paypal.

The contest ends at noon on Sunday(5/13/2007- EST). If I get a lot of the same wrong guesses, I may publish a few of them, just so you know. Be sure to check back on this post for updates.

I'm referring to Google as the primary search engine and if you're a random visitor who just happened to get here from some random search, you probably know the answer.


If you have a blog, I'm offering you a chance to double your money! All you have to do is write a blog post and link to this post. Say something like:

Arthur is having a contest giving away $10 to anyone who can guess which searches generate the most traffic to his blog. You can join the fun here.

Anything along those lines will work. Be sure to email me to let me know that you've done this. If you end up winning the contest, I will double your reward! Links must be made before Sunday at 8:00 AM EST.

Ask any questions in the comments please, and I'll try to add it to this post. Good luck!

Friday, May 04, 2007

Linking To This Blog- Your Time Here is Up

There are a million things I have in mind for this blog (getting my own domain name, hosting, new title, etc.), but one thing I've been meaning to do for a long time is clean up my links.

I'm starting with that long ass list to your left called, "Indianapolis Bloggers." That list started as a way for me to easily keep track of everyone who has joined the Indianapolis Bloggers Ring. It started out pretty small, and I enjoyed keeping up with what everyone was doing.

Well, that site has grown and has about 40 members now. It's a list that is fairly irrelevant to this blog and one that I no longer keep up with on a regular basis.

So, within this next month I'm going to do some Spring cleaning. If your blog is in that list and you're already linking back to this blog, I'll keep you there. I know from checking my site stats that I rarely get visitors through these blogs, but it's always nice to see your blog on someone's blogroll.

If your name is on that list and you're not linking back to this blog (and if I don't check your blog regularly because I think you're boring), then you will be removed by the end of the month. Nothing personal, I just get tired of seeing it.

If you are ever interested in exchanging links, just let me know. You can leave a comment on the blog saying so.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

B: Brian Becomes Blogger by Boistrously Bringing Beloved Brain Before Blogosphere

I finally came across Brian's blog the other day and thought I would bring it to everyone's attention. He's actually been blogging for a little over a month now, so there's already some stuff to check out. The name of his blog is aptly titled, "B." It's "A chic, modish weblog." Here's a bit more about his blog, ripped from his About Page:

B… well, it’s my first initial, and I guess it could represent B -ing yourself - or myself. Who am I kidding, I thought chic was spelled sheik, but apparently that’s an Islamic patriarch of a tribe or family.

B is not focused on any one topic, what fun would that be? You’ll probably see posts mostly about music and web sites, as I am a web developer professionally and a musician amateur…tion…ally.

I’ve also been a long time fan of computer games and I play WoW on a pretty consistent basis. I started back in January of ‘06 and I’m still going strong, so you’ll see a good number of WoW posts, although probably not enough to make this a WoW blog.

If you want to know more about me, go up a level to my website home page and read the about section there.

Won’t you come along on the journey with me?

Brian is hilarious and can make any topic interesting, so I'm looking forward to wasting lots of time at his blog. It's also more fun to read stuff from friends than from random bloggers, so that's cool too. Anyways, check it it, add it to your blogroll, subscribe to the feed, leave comments and all that fun stuff. You'll be glad you did.

You can find a link to this blog in my sidebar to the right, under "Blogging Friends."

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Congratulations to Joel and Tessi!

(Photo from Rab's flickr page)

Congratulations to Joel and Tessi , who were married in San Antonio over the weekend.

Unfortunately, I couldn't go to the wedding and I also lost five bucks, because I thought for sure Joel would be the last of his nine or so brothers to get married. Oh well.

I wanted to wait until people who actually went to the wedding wrote about it, and Rab did a post today. There's also a brief Congrats to them on the BBS site. Unfortunately, nobody has really written anything about all the details and I haven't seen pictures of the actual wedding yet. Hopefully when Joel gets back from the Honeymoon, he'll post all of that.

From what I've heard, everything that could possibly go wrong, went wrong. This includes:

1) A car accident with the bride, groom and best man.
2) Reception music not being played.
3) Phil dancing.
4) The mother of the groom getting plastered and cussing out the bride for "taking my baby from me."

One of those four things didn't happen. I'll leave it up to you to figure out which one.