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Primary Colors

By Tim Butler | Posted at 1:04 AM

From Five on Friday.

1. When is the presidential primary in your area?
Super Tuesday, February 5, 2008.

2. Do you plan to participate? Have you participated in the past?
Yes and yes. And, yes, I'll admit it right here: I voted Dubya last time around.

3. Do you identify with a single party or do you consider yourself independent? Has that changed over the years?
It has changed. I came to my senses awhile back and became Republican. ;) Seriously, I prefer the GOP because of its traditional stands concerning abortion, cloning, taxes, government size, immigration and so on. Sadly, the Grand Old Party is in a state of flux just now and seems to be fragmented into three parts none of which fully cover the ideals of the Republican Platform; even more sadly, President Bush hasn't helped lead our party very well in staying true to our platform.

4. In your opinion, what are the major issues this year's presidential candidates must address? Which is most important to your vote?
The normal social issues come first. Then, I'm interested in things like immigration reform (I favor improving and expediting legal immigration but absolutely oppose amnesty for illegal immigrants — I don't see why legal immigrants shouldn't be given priority over those who are already breaking our laws), Iran policy (please don't attack it), civil liberties in light of the PATRIOT Act, net neutrality, and a whole bunch of others. Huckabee pleases me on many of these, but not so much on some of the others. A true descendant of Reagan could cover them all.

All the same, vote Huckabee!

5. How do you get your information about candidates at this time of year? What media and messaging impacts your opinion of the candidates the most?

Matt Drudge keeps me apprised of things much of the time. I also keep up on the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, its political news and its (often disagreeable) op-eds on the politicians. CNN is the official channel of choice on election night, with its careful calling of elections and relatively even keeled commentary. What media impacts me most? Print or electronic text — cold hard facts and such.

If Our Hearts Were Never Broken

By Tim Butler | Posted at 12:40 AM

“If our hearts were never broken, the world would be flat.” — Unknown

I really like this quote, it adds something meaningful to the idea of brokenness. And to the extent that I have felt brokenness over the past few years, it's nice to think that it wasn't for naught but for the building up of interesting geology in life. The question is how does one climb the newly formed mountains when they appear? Perhaps the pain was necessary to place those beautiful summits into view, but that same pain makes me fearful of trying to hike up them. There is a destination I should like to reach, but up is the only way to get there. At times, a flat world doesn't sound so bad.

That's not to say that's what I want. The reward, I suspect, it much greater this way. But what if I should fail? How do I know I even should leave base camp? I feel like I have one foot out of the tent and I'm just looking to see if there is ground enough to plant the other foot. It's only a few words that need to be said; the question is if they are said, what will come of them. Are they necessarily succeed or fail completely type words, or is there a middle ground of a soft landing to hope for if they fail? Can one ever reach the top when paralyzed with questions of failure?

Well, no. Eventually it is time to take a leap of faith.

Friday Feast

By Tim Butler | Posted at 11:33 PM

This week's Feast:

Appetizer: What was the last game you purchased?
A game I bought when I bought a Wii a few months ago, but the name escapes me.

Soup: Name something in which you don’t believe.
The Oxfordian Shakespeare.

Salad: If you could choose a celebrity to be your boss, who would you pick?
Tough choice. Alive or dead? Let's stick with a theme: Shakespeare.

Main Course: What was a lesson you had to learn the hard way?
That exegetical notebooks are black holes that consume time in such a way that progress slows while the speed of time increases. ;-)

Dessert: Describe your idea of the perfect relaxation room.
No phones. Comfortable chairs, a good picture window and lots of nice books. Perhaps a fire burning in the fireplace. Snow falling gently outside.

You Pick, I Write

By Tim Butler | Posted at 1:48 AM

I admit that asisaid has been a little lacking in meaty content lately. I have been letting my series on theological-literary criticism interactions lapse, and I have not touched my unsystematic systematic theology project in a few months either. Come to think of it, I also owe all of you another installment in my little fiction series, Wittenberg. (If you haven't yet seen the existing installments, all currently running asisaid series other than the lit crit one can be found in the gray box at the top of the front page entitled “Currently Running Series” — I'll have to add my criticism series there too.)

My excuse for all of this? School work and other obligations have left me feeling less inspired and energetic than usual to put my thoughts to paper. I do have thoughts on all of those things list above, as well as others, so if you have anything you'd like to see me write on — either continuing a series or starting afresh — mention it in the comments and I'll try to follow your requests.

Over at OFB

By Tim Butler | Posted at 12:48 AM

Well, since I've been a little slow posting here, let me mention what's going on over at Open for Business:

Continuing My Tradition: Fireworks Tent Reviews

By Tim Butler | Posted at 12:35 AM

I shall offer my last minute fireworks shopping advice again. If you are going to be out and about tomorrow and need some fireworks, don't just go anywhere. I recommend the following two stands this year, which have garnered praise from me previously:

  • Fireworks City, but not just any Fireworks City. In general, I don't recommend Fireworks City, but if you come over into St. Charles via I-70, and turn toward the former Noah's Ark restaurant (it still looks like a big boat), you'll notice two Fireworks Cities. One in the Noah's Ark parking lot, another between Noah's Ark and QuikTrip. That second one is the one you want to visit. The owner, and everyone else, is extremely helpful. If you should happen to talk to the owner (I do not know his name, I'm afraid), mention that you were referred by the seminarian who comes in there every year and has been slowly moving towards bigger fireworks and likes fountains.

This tent carries some of my favorites I've not even seen elsewhere, such as the Black Cat Reloadable Fountain and Black Cat Nuclear Meltdown. Also, if you are looking for something pricier but extremely impressive, checkout the Quadrific artillery shells. They are, as you might guess, shells with four separate breaks. Breaks are the neat effects you might see in a professional show that light up the sky in different shapes, such as a “chrysanthemum.” Also good are some of the Black Cat larger fountains, such as the “Mammoth Fountain.” They also have the best spinner (a wheel that is mounted to a pole) that I have ever seen — I cannot quite remember the name, but it has a giant eye on it — it's called wild eyes or something like that — and it lasts forever.

  • Red Dragon — the owner's name is Tim, so how can it not be good? ;) The tent is located off of Mid Rivers Mall Drive (which runs from I-70 to Hwy. 94); if you pass St. Charles Community College coming from Hwy. 94, it is a short distance further, off to the left, back in a field. There's another tent across the street, but don't go there, drive back to Red Dragon. Tim is very animated in his descriptions of fireworks and was quite helpful. Though I bought most of my fireworks at Fireworks City (actually, I must admit I bought most of them last July 5, for 50% at Fireworks City…), Tim recommended several that I had not heard of before that were reasonably priced. These included a $7.50 8 shot and a $5.00 cone that he says will shoot up 20 feet.

They have 2 Cool, which is one of my personal favorites, as well as a lot of others I've not tried but which sounded very good.

And, while you can't find it at either of these tents, if you visit others look out for Just Another Stinking Fountain (J.A.S.F.), the best fountain under $10, period. Maybe the best at any price. I first discovered it out in Washington, MO, one year. I know Fireworks Superstore out by Hwy. 100 and I-44 in Gray Summit has it. So does a small tent off if you turn off of Hwy. 94 onto Central School road and make a right at the school. It is located just a little ways down the road in a Huck's gas station parking lot. It is worth looking for J.A.S.F.

To Someone I Have Written

By Tim Butler | Posted at 9:08 PM

Sometimes I should just speak plainly, but I am too fearful to do so. Such a case happened this week; instead of saying what I wanted to say directly, I did so subtly. It might surprise some of you who see me in polemic mode on my blog, but I am often told I'm too subtle (I can be extremely, extremely subtle at times). Sometimes it does not matter, other times I regret terribly not saying something directly when I had a chance. Like I said, this was the case with someone this week (who may or may not see this, and who may or may not realize who I am referring to). I regret my lack of boldness, but even now am merely using this post as a less subtle, but still subtle message. I think the thing that makes me so regretful today is that it reminds me of another time I was too subtle almost precisely two years ago, and what I said too subtly then, I never had a chance to really say again.

So, I was kicking myself all day today contemplating this occurrence from the other day. “What if, what if, what if.” Between that and some other troublesome events, it seemed a melancholy day in many ways. I suppose it is the poet's curse (not that I claim to be worthy to wear the mantle of poet); one who dabbles in that type of magic known as words is like the prophetess Cassandra of Greek mythology, speaking things in ways that do reveal the intended meaning in one way or another but nevertheless are often doomed not to be picked up on. In some ways, I wish I didn't have the ability to be subtle, so I would have to just say what I should say when I should say it. Instead, I am like Fyodor Dostoevsky's Underground Man or T.S. Eliot's J. Alfred Prufrock, unable to quit making revisions so as to actually just say the thing. To make matters worse, I do not always pick up on subtlety returned to me, so sometimes, maybe the message gets through but I do not realize it. That is even worse. Maybe that is what happened this week. Maybe it did get through and it was politely ignored. Who knows. I don't.

Perhaps this is good; I overanalyze things, yes, but sometimes I analyze them correctly. Maybe there is good reason for favoring the subtle approach, and instead I'd be regretting not having used subtlety here now had I been direct. Sometimes, though, I wish life was a “Choose Your Own Adventure” where you could look and see how both choices turned out and pick the best one. But, of course it is not.

Well, even those this post is about a cryptic as any I have posted and really doesn't resolve my dilemma, I feel a bit better writing it out. No wonder I like Kierkegaard and, really, Barth; both were skilled at indirection, vagueness and subtlety as a method of writing. If only I could put it to such good use as they did! If you've talked to me this week, you can go back and read through the stuff to look for “the Da Butler Code,” I suppose. No promises it is worthwhile though.

The Slippage...

By Tim Butler | Posted at 1:20 AM

The meaning of this post was lost from the slippage of the signified from the signifier. That's all.

Spam Increases?

By Tim Butler | Posted at 10:43 PM

Has anyone else noticed increased blog spam? My filters, here-to-fore, were doing a good job of protecting me, but now I'm getting hit numerous times per day. I'm wondering if they've figured out how to get around my blockades or if there are simply more spammers trying to spam me.

Hopefully, I'll Be Around Tomorrow

By Tim Butler | Posted at 1:16 AM

I feel rather bad — I've not had time for much blog reading lately. I'm hoping to maybe spend some time catching up with y'all tomorrow. It just seems like time flies really fast at the moment. Tonight, though, I think it is time for bed.

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