boon-dog-gle: (noun) work of little or no value done merely to keep or look busy.
free: (adjective) provided without, or not subject to, a charge or payment.


Surprise random link of the week...

It's back!

Here's this week's link: Have Fun!


two prayers...

Recent events have led me to share the state of mind of Habakkuk the prophet, and thus appropriate his prayer:

O LORD, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear? Or cry to you 'Violence!' and you will not save?
Why do you make me see iniquity, and why do you idly look at wrong? Destruction and violence are before me; strife and contention arise.
So the law is paralyzed, and justice never goes forth.
For the wicked surround the righteous; so justice goes forth perverted. (Habakkuk 1:2-4, ESV)

It turned out that this was the state of mind and prayer of a man of little faith. And so it is. And so I also share the prayer of a father whose child was suffering:

"I believe; help my unbelief." (Mark 9:24, ESV)


Books--read and unread...

I've taken this meme from my seminary classmate, Ed Eubanks.

The top 106 books most often marked as “unread” by LibraryThing’s users:

Bold the ones you’ve read
star the ones you read for school
italicize the ones you started but didn’t finish
@ the ones you want to read
otherwise comment as desired

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Anna Karenina
Crime and Punishment @
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Wuthering Heights
The Silmarillion
Life of Pi : a novel
The Name of the Rose @
Don Quixote
Moby Dick
Ulysses @
Madame Bovary
The Odyssey *
Pride and Prejudice
Jane Eyre
The Tale of Two Cities *
The Brothers Karamazov @
Guns, Germs, and Steel: the fates of human societies
War and Peace
Vanity Fair
The Time Traveler’s Wife
The Iliad *
The Blind Assassin
The Kite Runner
Mrs. Dalloway
Great Expectations *
American Gods
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
Atlas Shrugged
Reading Lolita in Tehran: a memoir in books
Memoirs of a Geisha
Wicked: the life and times of the wicked witch of the West
The Canterbury Tales *
The Historian : a novel
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man @
Love in the Time of Cholera
Brave New World
The Fountainhead
Foucault’s Pendulum @
Frankenstein *
The Count of Monte Cristo
A Clockwork Orange
Anansi Boys
The Once and Future King
The Grapes of Wrath *
The Poisonwood Bible : a novel
Angels & Demons
The Inferno
The Satanic Verses
Sense and Sensibility
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Mansfield Park
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
To the Lighthouse
Tess of the D’Urbervilles
Oliver Twist
Gulliver’s Travels
Les Misérables
The Corrections
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
The Prince *
The Sound and the Fury
Angela’s Ashes : a memoir
The God of Small Things
A People’s History of the United States : 1492-present
A Confederacy of Dunces
A Short History of Nearly Everything
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
The Scarlet Letter *
Eats, Shoots & Leaves
The Mists of Avalon
Oryx and Crake : a novel
Collapse : how societies choose to fail or succeed
Cloud Atlas
The Confusion
Northanger Abbey
The Catcher in the Rye *
On the Road
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Freakonomics : a rogue economist explores the hidden side of everything
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: an inquiry into values
The Aeneid *
The Hobbit (8 to 10 times)
In Cold Blood: a true account of a multiple murder and its consequences
White Teeth
Treasure Island *
David Copperfield
The Three Musketeers

I've been a little stingy with the @ (books I want to read). My reasoning is: almost all of these are books I want to have already read (you know, in order to boost my intellectual snobbery), but truth be told I know that most of them I would never actually put the effort into reading in the future. So there you go.

Have a go at the list, and let me know if you do.


I might as well put these down in writing.

Though I don't usually bother with New Year's resolutions, I've been pondering 5 specific things that I want to accomplish/work toward this year. Here they are with brief explanations.

1.) Develop a regular weekly exercise schedule. -- I am by far at my heaviest weight ever. A few years ago, when I reached my previous heaviest weight ever (about 210 lbs.), I started a job at UPS. Let me tell you, the UPS diet is one of the most efficient weight-loss programs around. The program consists of a) working at UPS, and b) eating whatever you want. I was down about 20 lbs. within a month, and when I quit about a year and a half later I think I weighed about 165. That was a little over 2 years ago, and I've gained it all back (and a fair measure more).

Wanting to lose the weight isn't all (or even mostly) about the vanity of not liking my similarity to a hairy version of the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man (sans sailor outfit). I guess you could say it's about health, but mostly it's the fact that I just feel uncomfortable all the time. My body was not made to be this heavy, and it's been sending me that message for some time.

I imagine that while the weather stays cold, and then shortly after will turn frequently rainy, I'll mostly utilize the treadmill that's sat dormant in our dining room (yes, dining room) for exercising. But I've also considered checking into an indoor tennis league (I used to play frequently in high school and college). Then, this summer, I definitely want to take up golf and disc golf again after a few years of only playing a couple of times each year.

As far as weight goes, my goal will be to average losing 3 lbs. per month. That would put me below 200, which still wouldn't be my final target weight, but it would be a significant benchmark.

2.) Blog regularly. -- I know; I know; this is the lamest, most overused blogger resolution known to blogdom. But I really do want and intend to do so. The main reason is, I've always enjoyed doing it. So, expect more to come. At least I'm off to a good start.

3.) Read more. -- I know; I know; this is the second lamest, second most overused blogger resolution known to blogdom. But I really do want and intend to do so. The main reason is, I've always enjoyed doing it. The second reason is, as a bookstore owner, I do feel some responsibility to have a sense of what it is that I'm selling.

My goal is to read 20 books, not quite 2 per month. That seems kind of puny, compared to some people I know who are intending to plow through 40 or 50+ books. But I can't even conceive of reading more than 20 books with my hectic life, full schedule, and slow reading pace (even though those same people I know have lives and schedules at least [and probably more] full and hectic). Thus, I'll be satisfied if I can reach the nice round number of 20. Oh, and I do intend these to be books I've never read before.

One thing I've always had trouble with is skimming books. But one extra-credit goal connected to this resolution would be to skim an additional 10 books throughout the year. By skimming, I mean something more than looking only at each chapter title and section heading, but something less than making sure I understand each sentence before moving on to the next. This would give me familiarity with at least 30 more books by year-end than I have now.

4.) Watch less t.v. -- Really, this means that my t.v. watching will be more structured and intentional. Over the years, Suzanne and I have grown to be t.v. addicts. We watch so much that I'm pretty sure most of the time we don't realize how much time we really spend doing so. (And I'm quite sure I spend more time doing so than Suzanne.)

One of the main benefits of fulfilling this resolution, of course, will be that it would enable me to even have a chance at fulfilling the others. I'm quite certain that time spent in front of the television has been my main pitfall over the past couple of years to having more success in the activities of at least resolutions #1 and #3, and probably #2 as well.

This resolution seems like the most difficult, because it seems like the one in which I'm giving up something I like, rather than committing to something I enjoy. But really, I spend a lot of time flipping through channels, waiting for the top or bottom of the hour until a new set of shows turns over. So, how much time am I actually watching t.v.? Much less time than I'm sitting in front of it, that's for sure.

5.) Commit to daily time in the spiritual disciplines of prayer and biblical meditation. -- I'd say that I probably pray every day (well, not every day, but pretty much every day), but it's not always disciplined, concerted prayer. I cannot say I read and meditate on the Bible every day (probably at least weekly, not counting the Lord's day Bible readings and sermon).

Whatever the case, I've come to the realization over the last couple months, and especially weeks, that my spiritual reserve is very low. I have the feeling that over the last couple of years I've been living off the interest of several preceding years of hard work and large capital gains. But the account is getting depleted. I need fresh insight, clear instruction, and new challenge. Mostly, I need to encounter Jesus and receive what He promises: rest in His care; power to follow His lead.

Okay...well, that's the gist of things. That went on longer than I expected (when doesn't it?), but as I said, at least they're down in writing now.

G.K. Chesterton...

"The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because they are generally the same people."