***Disclaimer***

***Disclaimer: The Wizard of 'OZ' makes no money at all from 'OZ' - The 'Other' Side of the Rainbow. 'OZ' is 100 % ad-free***

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Day Zune Music Died...


30 GB Microsoft ZuneHoping to start the New Year with a playlist full of songs carefully selected to bring your revelry to a fevered pitch? Turns out that plan might go silent if you're the owner of a 30GB Microsoft Zune. Reports around the Web are surfacing that the Zune first began freezing in the Midwest yesterday. Today, the Great Zune Crash of '08 has spread across the country.
Currently, Microsoft has not issued a statement on why their Zune music player is crashing. Nor has the company issued a fix to correct the problem.

Most of the Web has jumped on the timing of the Zune's collapse, pointing back to 1999 when the world was caught in the grips of the Y2K phenomenon. But this time, instead of computer systems crashing, banks failing and the world falling into disrepair, it's just the Zune that has started to mysteriously fail.

Z2K, anyone? Y2K9, perhaps?

The Day Zune Music Died?

Zune users who own the 30GB version of the player are reporting failures and lockups on a couple of sites. To see the complaints, check out Zune.net>, ZuneUser and ZuneScene.

The problem seems to be that when users reboot their Zune's the status bar will reach 100 percent and then freeze. That could mean that as midnight and 2009 approaches many Microsoft customers will be left without their digital music to ring in the New Year.

All I can say is: Good thing it wasn't the iPod. If Apple had planned something like this, chances are good we'd all be bowing to our new Jobs-ian overlord. As it is, it's Microsoft: there were bound to be a few glitches in the first release.

My 8 GB Zune is still working --- for now...


Happy New Year!


If you party - plan a safe ride home - "Take Care Out There!"

Happy New Year!

IMPOSSIBLE ILLUSIONS!


*Thanks, DW

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Overheard in the forest....


HEAD KNIGHT OF NIHEAD KNIGHT OF NI:
Ni!
KNIGHTS OF NI:
Ni! Ni! Ni! Ni! Ni!
ARTHUR:
Who are you?
HEAD KNIGHT:
We are the Knights Who Say... 'Ni'!
RANDOM:
Ni!
ARTHUR:
No! Not the Knights Who Say 'Ni'!
HEAD KNIGHT:
The same!
BEDEVERE:
Who are they?
HEAD KNIGHT:
We are the keepers of the sacred words: 'Ni', 'Peng', and 'Neee-wom'!
RANDOM:
Neee-wom!
ARTHUR:
Those who hear them seldom live to tell the tale.
HEAD KNIGHT:
The Knights Who Say 'Ni' demand a sacrifice.
ARTHUR:
Knights of Ni, we are but simple travellers who seek the enchanter who lives beyond these woods.
HEAD KNIGHT:
Ni!
KNIGHTS OF NI:
Ni! Ni! Ni! Ni! Ni!...
ARTHUR:
Ow! Ow! Ow! Agh!
HEAD KNIGHT:
We shall say 'ni' again to you if you do not appease us.
ARTHUR:
Well, what is it you want?
HEAD KNIGHT:
We want... a shrubbery!
[dramatic chord]
ARTHUR:
A what?
KNIGHTS OF NI:
Ni! Ni! Ni! Ni!
ARTHUR and PARTY:
Ow! Oh!
ARTHUR:
Please! Please! No more! We will find you a shrubbery.
HEAD KNIGHT:
You must return here with a shrubbery, or else, you will never pass through this wood... alive.
ARTHUR:
O Knights of Ni, you are just and fair, and we will return with a shrubbery.
HEAD KNIGHT:
One that looks nice.
ARTHUR:
Of course.
HEAD KNIGHT:
And not too expensive.
ARTHUR:
Yes.
HEAD KNIGHT:
Now... go!

--Later--


ARTHUR:
O Knights of Ni, we have brought you your shrubbery. May we go now?
HEAD KNIGHT:
It is a good shrubbery. I like the laurels particularly,... but there is one small problem.
ARTHUR:
What is that?
HEAD KNIGHT:
We are now... no longer the Knights Who Say 'Ni'.
KNIGHTS OF NI:
Ni! Shh!
HEAD KNIGHT:
Shh! We are now the Knights Who Say 'Ecky- ecky- ecky- ecky- pikang- zoop- boing- goodem- zoo- owli- zhiv'.
RANDOM:
Ni!
HEAD KNIGHT:
Therefore, we must give you a test.
ARTHUR:
What is this test, O Knights of-- knights who till recently said 'ni'?
HEAD KNIGHT:
Firstly, you must find... another shrubbery!
[dramatic chord]
ARTHUR:
Not another shrubbery!
RANDOM:
Ni!
HEAD KNIGHT:
Then, when you have found the shrubbery, you must place it here beside this shrubbery, only slightly higher so you get the two-level effect with a little path running down the middle.
KNIGHTS OF NI:
A path! A path! A path! Ni! Shh! Ni! Ni! Ni! Shh! Shh!...
HEAD KNIGHT:
Then, when you have found the shrubbery, you must cut down the mightiest tree in the forest... with... a herring!
[dramatic chord]
KNIGHTS OF NI:
A herring!
ARTHUR:
We shall do no such thing!
HEAD KNIGHT:
Oh, please!
ARTHUR:
Cut down a tree with a herring? It can't be done.
KNIGHTS OF NI:
Aaaaugh! Aaaugh!
HEAD KNIGHT:
Augh! Ohh! Don't say that word.
ARTHUR:
What word?
HEAD KNIGHT:
I cannot tell, suffice to say is one of the words the Knights of Ni cannot hear.
ARTHUR:
How can we not say the word if you don't tell us what it is?
KNIGHTS OF NI:
Aaaaugh!
HEAD KNIGHT:
You said it again!
ARTHUR:
What, 'is'?
KNIGHTS OF NI:
Agh! No, not 'is'.
HEAD KNIGHT:
No, not 'is'. You wouldn't get vary far in life not saying 'is'.
KNIGHTS OF NI:
No, not 'is'. Not 'is'.
BEDEVERE:
My liege, it's Sir Robin!
MINSTREL: [singing]
He is packing it in and packing it up
And sneaking away and buggering up
And chickening out and pissing off home,
Yes, bravely he is throwing in the sponge.
ARTHUR:
Sir Robin!
ROBIN:
My liege! It's good to see you.
HEAD KNIGHT:
Now he's said the word!
ARTHUR:
Surely you've not given up your quest for the Holy Grail?
MINSTREL: [singing]
He is sneaking away and buggering up--
ROBIN:
Shut up! No, no. No. Far from it.
HEAD KNIGHT:
He said the word again!
KNIGHTS OF NI:
Aaaaugh!
ROBIN:
I was looking for it.
KNIGHTS OF NI:
Aaaaugh!
ROBIN:
Uh, here-- here in this forest.
ARTHUR:
No, it is far from this place.
KNIGHTS OF NI:
Aaaaugh!
HEAD KNIGHT:
Aaaaugh! Stop saying the word! The word...
ARTHUR:
Oh, stop it!
HEAD KNIGHT:
...we cannot hear! Ow! He said it again!
ARTHUR:
Patsy!
HEAD KNIGHT:
Wait! I said it! I said it!
[clop clop clop]
Ooh! I said it again! And there again! That's three 'it's! Ohh!
KNIGHTS OF NI:
Aaaaugh!...


*"Monty Python and The Holy Grail"

Interesting Editorial Article


"Buzz" Thomas, a Baptist minister wrote the following editorial in USA TODAY warning Christians that they may lose their credibility over misguided interpretations of Leviticus and the Bible. In his opinion, too many Americans take the bible at face value instead of interpreting the word of God. It's refreshing to read a rational voice (especially coming from the Baptist church) regarding homosexuals in society. This is a great read-I urge everyone to take a moment to reflect on this editorial and pass it along!

Galileo was persecuted for revealing what we now know to be the truth regarding Earth's place in our solar system. Today, the issue is homosexuality, and the persecution is not of one man but of millions. Will Christian leaders once again be on the wrong side of history?

When religion loses its credibility
By Oliver "Buzz" Thomas

What if Christian leaders are wrong about homosexuality? I suppose, much as a newspaper maintains its credibility by setting the record straight, church leaders would need to do the same:

Correction: Despite what you might have read, heard or been taught throughout your churchgoing life, homosexuality is, in fact, determined at birth and is not to be condemned by God's followers.

Based on a few recent headlines, we won't be seeing that admission anytime soon.

When religion loses its credibility(Illustration by Adrienne Lewis, USA TODAY)

Last week, U.S. Roman Catholic bishops took the position that homosexual attractions are "disordered" and that gays should live closeted lives of chastity. At the same time, North Carolina's Baptist State Convention was preparing to investigate churches that are too gay-friendly. Even the more liberal Presbyterian Church (USA) had been planning to put a minister on trial for conducting a marriage ceremony for two women before the charges were dismissed on a technicality. All this brings me back to the question: What if we're wrong?

Religion's only real commodity, after all, is its moral authority. Lose that, and we lose our credibility. Lose credibility, and we might as well close up shop.

It's happened to Christianity before, most famously when we dug in our heels over Galileo's challenge to the biblical view that the Earth, rather than the sun, was at the center of our solar system. You know the story. Galileo was persecuted for what turned out to be incontrovertibly true. For many, especially in the scientific community, Christianity never recovered.

This time, Christianity is in danger of squandering its moral authority by continuing its pattern of discrimination against gays and lesbians in the face of mounting scientific evidence that sexual orientation has little or nothing to do with choice. To the contrary, whether sexual orientation arises as a result of the mother's hormones or the child's brain structure or DNA, it is almost certainly an accident of birth. The point is this: Without choice, there can be no moral culpability.

Answer in Scriptures

So, why are so many church leaders (not to mention Orthodox Jewish and Muslim leaders) persisting in their view that homosexuality is wrong despite a growing stream of scientific evidence that is likely to become a torrent in the coming years? The answer is found in Leviticus 18. "You shall not lie with a man as with a woman; it is an abomination."

As a former "the Bible says it, I believe it, that settles it" kind of guy, I am sympathetic with any Christian who accepts the Bible at face value. But here's the catch. Leviticus is filled with laws imposing the death penalty for everything from eating catfish to sassing your parents. If you accept one as the absolute, unequivocal word of God, you must accept them all.

For many of gay America's loudest critics, the results are unthinkable. First, no more football. At least not without gloves. Handling a pig skin is an abomination. Second, no more Saturday games even if you can get a new ball. Violating the Sabbath is a capital offense according to Leviticus. For the over-40 crowd, approaching the altar of God with a defect in your sight is taboo, but you'll have plenty of company because those menstruating or with disabilities are also barred.

The truth is that mainstream religion has moved beyond animal sacrifice, slavery and the host of primitive rituals described in Leviticus centuries ago. Selectively hanging onto these ancient proscriptions for gays and lesbians exclusively is unfair according to anybody's standard of ethics. We lawyers call it "selective enforcement," and in civil affairs it's illegal.

A better reading of Scripture starts with the book of Genesis and the grand pronouncement about the world God created and all those who dwelled in it. "And, the Lord saw that it was good." If God created us and if everything he created is good, how can a gay person be guilty of being anything more than what God created him or her to be?

Turning to the New Testament, the writings of the Apostle Paul at first lend credence to the notion that homosexuality is a sin, until you consider that Paul most likely is referring to the Roman practice of pederasty, a form of pedophilia common in the ancient world. Successful older men often took boys into their homes as concubines, lovers or sexual slaves. Today, such sexual exploitation of minors is no longer tolerated. The point is that the sort of long-term, committed, same-sex relationships that are being debated today are not addressed in the New Testament. It distorts the biblical witness to apply verses written in one historical context (i.e. sexual exploitation of children) to contemporary situations between two monogamous partners of the same sex. Sexual promiscuity is condemned by the Bible whether it's between gays or straights. Sexual fidelity is not.

What would Jesus do?

For those who have lingering doubts, dust off your Bibles and take a few hours to reacquaint yourself with the teachings of Jesus. You won't find a single reference to homosexuality. There are teachings on money, lust, revenge, divorce, fasting and a thousand other subjects, but there is nothing on homosexuality. Strange, don't you think, if being gay were such a moral threat?

On the other hand, Jesus spent a lot of time talking about how we should treat others. First, he made clear it is not our role to judge. It is God's. ("Judge not lest you be judged." Matthew 7:1) And, second, he commanded us to love other people as we love ourselves.

So, I ask you. Would you want to be discriminated against? Would you want to lose your job, housing or benefits because of something over which you had no control? Better yet, would you like it if society told you that you couldn't visit your lifelong partner in the hospital or file a claim on his behalf if he were murdered?

The suffering that gay and lesbian people have endured at the hands of religion is incalculable, but they can look expectantly to the future for vindication. Scientific facts, after all, are a stubborn thing. Even our religious beliefs must finally yield to them as the church in its battle with Galileo ultimately realized. But for religion, the future might be ominous. Watching the growing conflict between medical science and religion over homosexuality is like watching a train wreck from a distance. You can see it coming for miles and sense the inevitable conclusion, but you're powerless to stop it. The more church leaders dig in their heels, the worse it's likely to be.

Oliver "Buzz" Thomas is a Baptist minister and author of an upcoming book, 10 Things Your Minister Wants to Tell You (But Can't Because He Needs the Job).


Comments
Mr. Thomas,

Not sure were to begin. First, all Scripture is inspired by God (2 Tim 3:16). Homosexuality is condemned by Scripture (Lev, Romans 1;18-32, 1 Cor 6:9-11). I could go on but the problem I think you have is unbelief. Jesus came to save sinners (homosexuals, liars, adulterers, gossips, etc..) Telling a homosexual he/she is ok is to keep them enslaved in their sin. Jesus came to set the captives free. I don't hate homosexuals. I want them to be free. Only the Gospel can set them free. I'm not sure what you're a minister of. I hope you are a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Tell people what they need to hear, not what they want to hear. Speak the truth in love.

Chris M. (Texas)

Finally! Someone has actually read the entire bible and made an attempt to understand it. Anything can be proved by someone who wants to, if they are selective in the verses/portions of the bible that they quote, but living with tolerance and actually following the teaching of Jesus is much more difficult. It is also much less likely to gain you media attention.

Posted by: Jan from NC

I would like to see the evidence for your statement, "homosexuality is, in fact, determined at birth..." There are many studies suggesting that there are biological differences between gays and nongays, however, none of those studies proves your statement. If, for example, a gay man had a difference in a particular brain region, then all gay men would have that difference and all nongays would be missing that difference. Unless you know differently, none of the scientific studies prove conclusively that there is a biological determining factor. I do agree with you that the those who call themselves Christians needs to remember to "love your neighbor as yourself."

Posted by: Randy-MN

Sodom and Gomorrah??? And you are a Baptist Preacher?? Shame on You. What would Jesus do? He's already done it (Death, burial and resurrection) "Grace"! God's Word is the same yesterday, today and forever. Choice is everyone's decision: Heaven or Hell. This is the reason no one fear's God, is pastors like you that is suppose to be preaching the Truth, are tickling the ears with what the people want to hear. All of us will stand before the Lord's judgement; you and me included.......Now do your JOB! Their house is on fire....Tell them to come to the Lord for salvation. Talk about discrimination are you discriminating against GOD??? God won't let you starve, if He Called you to the ministry? Have a good day.

Posted by: Clair O'Connell

In spite of what you try to "prove" and your smear tactics against good Christian people, Bible-believing Christians will NEVER accept your lies and propaganda for a sinful lifstyle which God Himself in the Bible condemns. Homosexulality is sin and no one is born with it. Your hatred of the church only reflects your own bias. I you want to promote this perversion you have a right to do so, but don't condemn others who choose to believe the Bible instead of your lies and distortion!

Posted by: Michael Davenport

This is one of the best opinion written concerning the ongoing pronunciation that homosexuality is a sin by the religious community.

Thank you Buzz for the ethical analysis, not from a religious perspective, but from a human spiritual view.

Nature will go on without the permission of human rules of religion. Nature is trustful because it continues without human control. Religion is nothing more than man-made organizations with all their human frailties which blinds them of getting what Jesus got!!

Serenity is in the power of balancing your spirit

Posted by: Carol A. Nickell

As a homosexual, I think it's safe to say that I know a thing or two on whether or not I choose to be gay or I was born this way. Most individuals that are quick to condemn homosexuality and homosexuals have probably not spent much time talking to homosexuals. It's humorous how these individuals claim to have expertise on homosexuality. Based on my experience, I know that I have not chosen to be gay. I, like so many others, made every attempt to lead a heterosexual lifestyle. Despite all of my efforts, I just couldn't lie to myself about who I really was. As a gay man, I happen to know lots of other gay men and lesbians. Most of us share very similar stories. I know homosexuals from all different family situations, socio-economic backgrounds, races, ethnicities, and nationalities. What we all share in common is that not one of us woke up one morning and decided to be homosexual. I truly believe that in time, history will once again paint a very dark picture of religion's near universal condemnation of homosexuality and the political leaders that chose to exploit this condemnation. Future religious believers will be asking themselves why religion would not accept that the world was round, why religion was used to justify slavery, why religion was used to ban interracial relationships, and why the world's religions condemned homosexuals and homosexuality.

Posted by: Enrique

What do you think? Make a comment!

*USATODAY

TRUE or FALSE? - Lucky 7's!!!


True or False?


Owners of a Web site paid $15,000 to use a woman’s forehead as a billboard.







TRUE! When Karolyne Smith of Utah used eBay to auction her forehead as advertising space, Goldenpalace.com, an online casino, placed the winning bid—$10,000 plus an additional $5,000 added later. Karolyne now has “Goldenpalace.com” tattooed on her forehead in bold black lettering. Golden Palace has implemented other unusual advertising techniques: They’ve paid parents to officially name their infants “GoldenPalaceDotCom” and also named a new species of monkey the “GoldenPalace.com Monkey.” Other “billboards” used by the company include a woman’s chest, a pregnant woman’s belly, and a wheelchair.





Karolyne Smith


True or False?


The dinosaurs’ day was longer than ours is now.





FALSE! Days are longer now by about an hour. Earth’s spinning is slowing down, owing mostly to the moon’s pull. This means that every 1 million years, about 15 to 16 seconds are added to the day. The International Earth Rotation Service is in charge of periodically adding a “leap second” to official master clocks to make up the difference in time. The most recent leap seconds were added in 1998 and 2005, both in December. The very gradual slowing down of Earth might eventually cause it to stop spinning, but fortunately not for billions of years.

Barney


True or False?


The orangana is a new fruit, developed in the last ten years.





FALSE! Though an orange and banana combination might sound good to some people, no such fruit exists. Scientists are constantly developing fruit hybrids, less technically referred to as “frankenfruit.” One example is the peacharine, a sweet fruit that is half peach and half nectarine. About the same size as a peach, it’s darker and less fuzzy. There is also the nectacotum, another dark, sweet fruit that is one-third each nectarine, apricot, and plum.

Orangana


True or False?


The phrase “warms the cockles of my heart” actually refers to microscopic structures, which are called “cockles,” in the heart.





FALSE! Cockles are clams with double-valve (bivalve) shells, similar in appearance to our hearts. However, cockles are also called heart clams, so when people say something has “warmed their cockles,” they are indeed referring to their hearts. The saying goes back to medieval times and has varied through the ages, for example: “pleasing one’s cockles,” “delighting one’s cockles,” or “rejoicing one’s cockles.”


Cockles


True or False?


The first refrigerator was built in 1859.







TRUE! In 1859, a Frenchman named Ferdinand CarrĂ© invented the very first refrigerator, which effectively used ammonia as a cooling agent. Ammonia was eventually replaced by fluoride-chlorine-hydrocarbon, which helped refrigerators run more efficiently, but scientists soon discovered that it had a very negative impact on the ozone layer. Environmentally friendly fridges soon appeared—using ammonia again.




Ferdinand Carré


True or False?


In addition to sunlight and moonlight, there is also “earthshine.”







TRUE! Just as moonlight is sunlight reflecting off the Moon, earthshine is sunlight reflecting off Earth. During the Moon’s crescent phase, we can actually see earthshine reflecting back to us in that strange glow coming from the dark portion of the Moon. The amount of earthshine reflected fluctuates constantly, depending on how cloudy our skies are, but it is brightest during April and May. It was first described by the ever-observant Leonardo da Vinci during the 1500s.





Earthshine


True or False?


A Caucasian race existed in Japan before the Japanese.







TRUE! Caucasians called the Ainu were the original inhabitants of Japan. Of the 125 million people living in Japan today, only about 25,000 are Ainu. Though the Ainu once lived in many parts of what is now Japan, they were limited to Hokkaido by the 1880s. After the Japanese began living in Hokkaido during the 1860s, the Ainu, traditionally fishers and hunters, began to see a decline in their language and customs. In 1997, the Ainu Law was passed to help preserve their culture.





Ainu

Monday, December 29, 2008

TROY - The Latest Strip

This a gay-themed comic

Click Above Then choose 'Current Strip'

Click Above Then choose 'Current Strip'.



Troy #218 "Visions of sugarplums".


INTERESTING TRIVIA and other stuff**

In the 1400's a law was set forth in England that a man was allowed to beat his wife with a stick no thicker than his thumb. Hence we have "the rule of thumb".

Trivia Challenge

Many years ago in Scotland, a new game was invented. It was ruled "Gentlemen Only...Ladies Forbidden"...and thus the word GOLF entered into the English language.

Trivia Challenge
The first couple to be shown in bed together on prime time TV was Fred and Wilma Flintstone.

Trivia ChallengeEvery day more money is printed for Monopoly than the U.S. Treasury.

Trivia Challenge
Men can read smaller print than women can; women's hearing is better.

Trivia ChallengeCoca-Cola was originally green.

Trivia ChallengeIt is impossible to lick your elbow.

Trivia Challenge
The State with the highest percentage of people who walk to work: Alaska

Trivia ChallengeThe percentage of Africa that is wilderness: 28% (now get this...)

Trivia Challenge
The percentage of North America that is wilderness: 38%

Trivia ChallengeThe cost of raising a medium-size dog to the age of eleven: $ 16,400

Trivia Challenge
The average number of people airborne over the U.S. in any given hour: 61,000

Trivia Challenge
Intelligent people have more zinc and copper in their hair.

Trivia ChallengeThe first novel ever written on a typewriter: Tom Sawyer.

Trivia Challenge
The San Francisco Cable cars are the only mobile National Monuments.

Trivia ChallengeEach king in a deck of playing cards represents a great king from history: Spades = King David, Hearts = Charlemagne, Clubs = Alexander the Great, Diamonds = Julius Caesar

Trivia Challenge
111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

Trivia ChallengeIf a statue in the park of a person on a horse has both front legs in the air, the person died in battle. If the horse has one front leg in the air the person died as a result of wounds received in battle. If the horse has all four legs on the ground, the person died of natural causes.

Trivia ChallengeOnly two people signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, John
Hancock and Charles Thomson. Most of the rest signed on August 2, but the last signature wasn't added until 5 years later.

Trivia ChallengeQ. Half of all Americans live within 50 miles of what?
A. Their birthplace

Trivia ChallengeQ. Most boat owners name their boats. What is the most popular boat name requested?
A. Obsession

Trivia ChallengeQ. If you were to spell out numbers, how far would you have to go until you would find the letter "A"?
A. One thousand

Trivia ChallengeQ. What do bulletproof vests, fire escapes, windshield wipers, and laser printers all have in common?
A. All were invented by women.

Trivia Challenge
Q. What is the only food that doesn't spoil?
A. Honey

Trivia ChallengeQ. Which day are there more collect calls than any other day of the year?
A. Father's Day

Trivia ChallengeIn Shakespeare's time, mattresses were secured on bed frames by ropes. When you pulled on the ropes the mattress tightened, making the bed firmer to sleep on. Hence the phrase ......... "goodnight, sleep tight."

Trivia Challenge
It was the accepted practice in Babylon 4,000 years ago that for a month after the wedding, the bride's father would supply his son-in-law with all the mead he could drink. Mead is a honey beer and because their calendar was lunar based, this period was called the honey month, which we know today as the honeymoon.

Trivia Challenge
In English pubs, ale is ordered by pints and quarts... So in old England, when customers got unruly, the bartender would yell at them "Mind your pints and quarts, and settle down."It's where we get the phrase "mind your P's and Q's"

Trivia Challenge
Many years ago in England, pub frequenters had a whistle baked into the rim, or handle, of their ceramic cups. When they needed a refill, they used the whistle to get some service. "Wet your whistle" is the phrase inspired by this practice.

Trivia Challenge
AND FINALLY

At least 75% of people who read this will try to lick their elbow!


** Some of these are disproved on Snopes.com, but still make interesting reading!