Saturday, March 31, 2012


I saw the documentary "Monumental" the other day, and it's really cool. "Monumental" is about American history, and the almost-forgotten "National Monument to the Forefathers." Production of the movie is perhaps a little over-dramatic (Check out the trailer as an example of what I mean =P), but it kept me from getting bored. Most of us don't even know that this monument exists, but it stands as a tribute to the principles of America. Look at the poster, and examine the monument in the back left corner a little closer. The "National Monument to the Forefathers" is over 80 feet tall, and is comprised of five statues (and smaller reliefs) that symbolize important values. The central figure stands for faith, and holds an open Bible. The four surrounding statues are Liberty, Morality, Law, and Education.

Liberty sits on a lion skin, holding a sword. Broken chains bind his wrists and feet. The two side reliefs are "Tyranny Overthrown" and "Peace."
Morality holds the Ten Commandments, and is seated above two reliefs, "Prophet" and "Evangelist." Morality has no eyes, because her thoughts are focused inwards.

Law also holds the Ten Commandments, and sits with his hand outstretched in judgement. The two side reliefs are "Justice" and "Mercy."

Education teaches out of a Bible, and blends the two side reliefs of "Youth" and "Wisdom."


"National Monument to the Forefathers. Erected by a grateful people in remembrance of their labors, sacrifices and sufferings for the cause of civil and religious liberty."

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Tuesday Tunes: Max Schneider

This guy is kinda awesome. I adore his voice. He hasn't done that many covers on YouTube, but the ones that he has blew me away. Surprisingly, he has a really high voice as well as his unbelievable normal voice. These videos aren't really in any particular order - they were going to be in order of preference, but then I couldn't decide which one I liked best!

Breakeven - The Script

This isn't my favorite song, but his voice goes with it really nicely. Don't get bored with the first part. =P Awesome showcase of his talent.

It Will Rain - Bruno Mars

This was the first song I heard Max in. Love the intro/his first verse. I'm not as into the girl's parts though.

Without You - David Guetta & Usher

This song probably has the least contrast in it (between his passionate voice and his high delicate voice =P), but there's definitely still some, and it's really good. Plus, I like the song itself.

Friday, March 16, 2012

" our world and in our name have these things been done."

The Catholic health care debate has been all over the news recently. In January, the Department of Health and Human Services mandated that most religious institutions pay for certain health services that include those they find morally objectionable. [1] For weeks, there was intensive criticism over this decision, and the Administration amended their mandate in early February. This “accommodation” requires that these religious employers offer the health services, but their insurance companies would be the ones to pay for those services. [1][2] Realistically, insurance companies will not be willing to pay for these services. Either the religious organization will lose coverage, or their coverage will become, indirectly, more expensive. Religious institutions are being, in effect, forced to offer services that they find morally objectionable and that violate their rights of conscience. The Administration has "encouraged" Catholic leadership to listen to the "enlightened voices of accommodation." [3] Professor Stephen Monsma explained why this issue impacts everyone, saying, "It's a matter of religious freedom rights and if the religious freedom rights of some religious traditions are violated, the religious freedom rights of all faith-based organizations would be put in danger."[4] It isn't even constrained to the rights of faith-based organizations. When liberty for some is removed, it may also be removed for others.

In the 1900s, Pastor Niemoller wrote that we can easily convince ourselves, simply because we're not immediately or directly impacted, something is not our battle to fight. I like his writings, and I find them inspiring (as well as convicting), so I wanted to share a famous excerpt.

(Disclaimer: I don't mean to be inflammatory, and I'm certainly not making a comparison between the health care issue and the concentration camps, however, I think the principle Niemoller wrote about is applicable to today and this situation.)


“… when the concentration camp was opened we wrote the year 1933, and the people who were put in the camps then were Communists. Who cared about them? We knew it; it was printed in the newspapers. Who raised their voice...? We thought: Communists, those opponents of religion, those enemies of Christians – ‘should I be my brother's keeper?’ Then they got rid of the sick, the so-called incurables. - I remember a conversation I had with a person who claimed to be a Christian. He said: ‘Perhaps it's right, these incurably sick people just cost the state money, they are just a burden to themselves and to others. Isn't it best for all concerned if they are taken out of the middle [of society]?’ … Can we say, we aren't guilty/responsible? … I believe we Confessing-Church-Christians have every reason to say: mea culpa, mea culpa! We can talk ourselves out of it with the excuse that ‘it would have cost me my head if I had spoken out.’”
“We preferred to keep silent. We are certainly not without guilt/fault, and I ask myself again and again, what would have happened, if … Protestant pastors and all Protestant communities in Germany had defended the truth until their deaths? ... I can ... imagine that we would have rescued 30-40,000 million people, because that is what it is costing us now.”
"We must openly declare that we are not innocent of the Nazi murders, of the murder of German communists, Poles, Jews, and the people in German-occupied countries. … For in our world and in our name have these things been done." – Pastor Martin Niemöller



How often do we not speak out, just because it's easier to sit down? Even apart from the rights of religious often do we let things we disagree with just pass by?

Liberty cannot be divided. With liberty, you cannot pick some parts and leave other parts. Liberty isn't just a cliche - it's so much more. Freedom for all (popular or not) is the foundation of our nation. When we allow actions to be taken for our nation, and in our name, that infringe upon anyone's liberty - we are responsible.

“First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out--
     because I was not a communist;
Then they came for the incurably sick, and I did not speak out--
     because I was not a incurably sick;
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out--
     because I was not a Jew;
Then they came for the people in countries occupied by Nazi Germany., and I did not speak out--
     because I was not in countries occupied by Nazi Germany;
Then they came for me--
     and there was no one left to speak out for me.” – Pastor Martin Niemöller

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Tuesday Tunes: Act of Valor

I haven't seen the new movie Act of Valor yet (note: R for violence/intensity), but it looks really good. It stars active-duty Navy SEALS, and is shot as realistically as possible (live ammo, etc). Tis pretty intense looking , but also emotionally powerful. The soundtrack is mostly by country artists, but it doesn't have too country of a sound. Anyway, I love the music, and I'm excited to watch the movie, so I thought I'd share a couple songs. (Don't forget HD for better quality audio and video.)

For You - Keith Urban
And I wonder, would I give my life? / Could I make that sacrifice?

If it came down to it, could I take the bullet, I would.
Yes I would for you.

I Was Here - Lady Antebellum

I wanna do something that matters / Say something different
Something that sets the whole world on its ear
Wanna do something better / With the time I’ve been given
I wanna try / To touch a few hearts in this life
And leave nothing less than something that says
I was here

Thursday, March 8, 2012

A Few Tournament Pictures

Yaaaaay bubble tea! California has unbelievably good food.

After announcing people who advanced, Mr. Hack would give away the page to whoever got to him first. Once of the times, it turned into a scuffle. "I think this the last time we're doing this, and by 'think' I mean '100% absolutely sure.'"

California beaches are so. freaking. beautiful.

We climbed up on this little rock bluff - such a pretty view. That's us on the right!

If you want the full album, then shoot me an email, or comment.


Also, in case this wasn't clear, the GoogleMusic $0.25 promo album changes each day. =P Today tis Lady Antebellum - which makes me very very happy.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Post-Tourney Tunes & GoogleMusic

Yeah, I know: I'm late.

But I have a good excuse - I was in California.

Amazing, sunny, beautiful, warm California.

And I was doing speech and debate. Which makes it even more awesome.

I'll post pictures later in the week, so you can see the awesomeness.

But it was snowing when I came home. =/

Oh well.

Unstoppable - Rascal Flatts

I absolutely adore the original song (I think the lyrics are better ^_^) but the Olympics mix sounds more like pop music, for those of you who don't like the twangy-country Rascal Flatts style as much. 
When the cold hard rain just won't quit / And you can't see your way out of it
You find your faith has been lost and shaken / You take back what's been taken
Get on your knees and dig down deep / You can do what you think is impossible
Keep on believing, don't give in / It'll come and make you whole again
It always will, it always does / Love is unstoppable
Love, it can weather any storm, / Bring you back to being born, again
It's a helping hand when you need it most / A lighthouse shining on the coast
That never goes dim. 
(Original Lyrics)

~*~*~ Public Service Announcement ~*~*~

I don't know if you've noticed, but iTunes music is expensive. I'm predicting GoogleMusic to get a pretty substantial following. One of their last promotions was $5 albums, and $0.50 songs. At the moment, they have a couple $0.25 albums. Yeah. Twenty-five-cents. No lie. Check it out. Their prices change a lot, but if you just keep an eye on their promotions, you can often catch the music you've been waiting for on sale. Amazon's music department is also putting things on sale - which makes me happy.

This is compilation of 20 random popular songs. Honestly, I'll probably buy it just for the Adele song - it's cheaper than buying it as a normal single. =P (EDIT: Don't forget to double-check the pricing if you buy it - sometimes it changes from the display page to the checkout page.) Also, here's Tha Carter IV, again for $0.25. I'm not a Lil' Wayne fan, but in case you are, tis really really really cheap... They also have a couple genres where a selection of the albums are $4 (1) (2).