The 38 United States of America

Forget the 50 United States. That’s too many. We should only have 38! At least that’s what this guy thinks:

The map reducing the U.S. to 38 States is the creation of C. Etzel Pearcy, geography professor at California State University, Los Angeles. The new boundaries totally erase the 104 lines currently separating the 50 States. Each State’s new name, chosen with the help of a poll of geography students, represents a physical or cultural aspect of the new territory…

Why the need for a new map? Pearcy states that many of the early surveys that drew up our boundaries were done while the areas were scarcely populated. Thus, it was convenient to determine boundaries by using the land’s physical features, such as rivers and mountain ranges, or by using a simple system of latitude and longitude. Proof of this lies in the fact that the Mississippi River borders 10 States. The practicality of old established State lines is questionable in light of America’s ever-growing cities and the increasing mobility of its citizens. Metropolitan New York, for example, stretches into 2 adjacent States. Other city populations which cross State lines are Washington, D.C., St. Louis, Chicago, and Kansas City. The “straddling” of State lines causes economic and political problems. Who should pay for a rapid transit system in St. Louis? Only those citizens within the boundaries of Missouri, or all residents of St. Louis’s metropolitan area, including those who reach over into the State of Illinois?

So I guess I grew up in Carolina and currently live in Biscayne. I just don’t know why people would go out and make up new systems like this.

You can see the large scale map here.

Thanks to The Map Room for the tip.

Hymns and Praises

An old farmer went to the city one weekend and attended the big city church. He came home and his wife asked him how it was.

“Well,” said the farmer. “It was good. They did something different, however. They sang praise choruses instead of hymns.”

“Praise choruses?” asked the wife. “What are those?”

“Oh, they’re okay. They’re sort of like hymns, only different,” said the farmer.

“Well, what’s the difference?” asked the wife.

The farmer said, “Well it’s like this … If I were to say to you, ‘Martha, the cows are in the corn,’ well that would be a hymn. If, on the other hand, I were to say to you:

Martha, Martha, Martha, Oh, Martha, MARTHA, MARTHA, the cows, the big cows, the brown cows, the black cows, the white cows, the black and white cows, the COWS, COWS, COWS are in the corn, are in the corn, are in the corn, in the CORN, CORN, CORN, COOOOORRRRRNNNNN.

Then, if I were to repeat the whole thing two or three times, well that would be a praise chorus.”

As luck would have it, the exact same Sunday a young, new Christian from the city church attended the small town church. He came home and his wife asked him how it was.

“Well,” said the young man, “It was good. They did something different, however. They sang hymns instead of regular songs.”

“Hymns?” asked the wife. “What are those?”

“They’re okay. They’re sort of like regular songs, only different,” said the young man.

“Well, what’s the difference?” asked the wife.

The young man said, “Well it’s like this … If I were to say to you, ‘Martha, the cows are in the corn,’ well that would be a regular song. If on the other hand, I were to say to you:

Oh Martha, dear Martha, hear thou my cry
Inclinest thine ear to the words of my mouth.
Turn thou thy whole wondrous ear by and by
To the righteous, glorious truth.

For the way of the animals who can explain
There in their heads is no shadow of sense,
Hearkenest they in God’s sun or his rain
Unless from the mild, tempting corn they are fenced.

Yea those cows in glad bovine, rebellious delight,
Have broke free their shackles, their warm pens eschewed.
Then goaded by minions of darkness and night
They all my mild Chilliwack sweet corn chewed.

So look to that bright shining day by and by,
Where all foul corruptions of earth are reborn
Where no vicious animal makes my soul cry
And I no longer see those foul cows in the corn.

Then, if I were to do only verses one, three and four, and change keys on the last verse, well that would be a hymn.”

Jan Update: Tsunami Relief

The following email just went out to our eNews subscribers:

We’re sure you have been affected as we have by the ongoing stories of human
suffering and needs resulting from the tsunamis. We in Campus Crusade for Christ have been very active in helping address the unimaginable physical, emotional and spiritual suffering.

There is great despair. Just recently a Crusade leader visited a family who refused any help, asking only for cyanide. Another man could not hold on to his sister, who could not swim. She died and he is blaming himself.

Read how Campus Crusade is providing Tsunami relief here.

Thanks for partnering with us as we minister to the world.

Rob & Patricia Williams
Campus Crusade for Christ

How to Read a Blog

Something I’ve been thinking about writing for a while is a simple, how-to guide for those who have come to this website with the question “what is a blog” or “isn’t this just another website”? In addition, Ken Leebow wrote today

Blogs are great, but bloggers need to explain in simple layman’s terms what it’s all about. The people in the blogosphere don’t appear to be doing that.

So this goes out to Ken and all others wondering what this whole “blog thing” is all about.

I could take some time to go into the history of blogs, but I won’t. I don’t think the average person really cares. What they you probably care more about is what is different about a blog and how to read it.

A blog is simply a website.

However, a blog is a little different than just a website. A blog has a slightly different structure to it than a traditional website. What confuses most people about blogs is the homepage. But before I explain that, let me explain something else. Every blog post (section on the homepage such as this post) has it’s own unique web address (URL). The blog website links all of these posts together to make a website…just like a traditional site.

The biggest confusion about a blog is usually the homepage. It looks different than a traditional website. That’s because what the homepage does is display the latest posts or webpages added. Usually it posts them in reverse chronological order. That way the most recent entry or post is at the top of the page. Scroll down to see the next posts in order.

Another confusion is that the posts on the homepage can cover all sorts of topics. That’s because there are different kinds of blogs. Some people write randomly–like journal postings. Some write about different topics and then file those entries into categories. After a while, on most blogs, some of the entries on the homepage “fall off” or disappear. Depending on the blog, those entries are now in the archives or categories. Usually you can find links to those archives and/or categories on the side of the page.

Another difference in a blog from a traditional website is that blogs usually has interactivity built in. At the bottom of most blogs is a line that says how many people have commented. If you click on that comment link, you’ll be taken to that post’s unique web’s (where that entry alone sits) and you can read the comments left by other readers. You can even post your own comments if the blog owner has it setup to allow it.

Blogs also have something called a “permalink” at the bottom of each entry. That is “blog-talk” for that entry’s unique web address. Click it and you’ll see the “permanent link” for that entry.

For another great tutorial for you, check out this page.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment on this entry. Just click on the link below that has some number and the word “comments” after it. If you were on my homepage, you’ll be taken to a page that has another link that says “post a comment”. I’ll read it and leave an answer for you there.

Hope this helps!

American Idol Lottery

Is American Idol kind of like a lottery?

I was pondering that this morning as I was driving to work. My radio is busted. I had to think about something!

The chances of winning AI are similar to winning a lottery. The lottery is a “get rich quick” sort of thing. AI is a “get famous quick” sort of thing also. It could be argued that only about 3-5 AI alum to date are really benefiting from the experience…similar to a lottery.

I wonder how many people aren’t working hard to make it in the music industry because they see the glitz of AI…so they wait and take that route instead? I’m not saying to win AI isn’t hard…I’m sure it’s quite difficult!

I’m probably getting myself in trouble here, but just wanted to ask the question.

Orlando vs. Jacksonville

A lot of people give Jacksonville a bad rap. I’ve driven through there a lot and I don’t think it’s all that bad. Okay, it does reek of sulfur from the paper mills and doesn’t have great weather, but what do I know? I’m from Orlando…

Here’s all you need to know: As Jacksonville gets ready for its Super Bowl next weekend, guess what big sports happening will be in Orlando this weekend? It’s called ‘The Super Bowl of Motorsports,’ but actually it’s just a glorified name for a tractor pull. Jacksonville gets the real Super Bowl; we get the Monster Truck Super Bowl…

Would Orlando be a better spot for the Super Bowl? Of course, it would. We have a zillion hotels, an internationally renowned airport and infinitely more entertainment options. But Jacksonville has something more important: Vision…

Jacksonville shouldn’t be laughed at by the nation’s media, it should be lauded. Jacksonville is what all sports writers say they love: The ultimate underdog story. It’s the Rocky and Rudy of sports cities. It is the little town that could. And did.

Orlando dreams; Jacksonville does.

Orlando wanted an NFL team at one time; Jacksonville went out and got one.

Orlando wants a new downtown arena; Jacksonville just built one.

Orlando wants a minor-league baseball park downtown; you should see the one Jacksonville just built.

Orlando put in a half-hearted bid to get the Atlantic Coast Conference football championship; Jacksonville put in a serious bid and got the game…

Heck, we can’t even make fun of Jacksonville’s reputed love affair with Waffle House and Hooters. According to the Waffle House customer service hotline, Orlando and Jacksonville each has seven Waffle Houses. And are you ready for this? According to the Hooters Web site, Jacksonville has just four Hooters locations; Orlando has six.


I had a couple of random observations about a couple of words today.

reckless – You can get ticked for driving reckless, but not if you’re driving in such a way that is causing less wrecks.

in-between – I find it quite appropriate that the proper spelling for this word has a hyphen between the words “in” and “between”.

A Goofed Up Morning

I got up early today to start my semi-normal routine of going to the gym before work. I hadn’t gotten back into the swing of things since we left Canada. Honestly, in part it’s been because of travel, busyness, laziness, and a bit of anxiety. But I’m over it all. So I got up and got myself ready.

Goof #1: I couldn’t find my new gym bag. I had to use my wife’s.

Goof #2: I brought everything I needed to swim laps. The pool was closed. Ugh. I didn’t have the right equipment to work out, so I left. No gym today.

Goof #3: I boiled an egg for breakfast while I took a shower. I ate it right out of the hot water (I tried cooling it some) and burned my tongue…some.

Goof #4: I decided after that morning, I “deserved” a good coffee. So back to Barnie’s to get a good cup of half-caf Americano. This week the price went up to $2.12 in my mug. Man! In Canada it was $1.75 CAN. That stinks.

Goof #5: Got to work and all was fine. Was chatting with a buddy over AIM. Meanwhile I had my windows media player on and set to random. While we were chatting Bette Midler’s Wind Beneath My Wings came on. What the? How did that song slip in? Later it got back to the good stuff: Sly and the Family Stone’s War, the Charlie Daniels Band’s The Devil Went Down to Georgia, and Al Green’s Ain’t No Sunshine When She’s Gone which seemed rather appropriate this morning (it’s both raining and my wife is out of town).

That’s about it. I debated posting this stuff. It was a fight between authenticity and pride. Authenticity won out.

Now it’s 9:15. But at least it’s Friday!