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Problematic Holidays

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 7:17 PM

     Now there are several major problems with a holiday like this one, all of which serve to make it a very intolerant day. First, it purposely excludes those who aren't thankful. It's enough to make the complainers in society develop a persecution complex. Is it fair that we can exclude the sincerely ungrateful from this day?

     It gets worse when you consider the clear lobbyist influence in the holiday. Thanksgiving isn't named “Turkey Day” just for grins. Clearly, there was a payoff from those peculiar poultry producers that forced the heaping of even more intolerance onto that late November day.

     There is no doubt that hog and cattle farmers are willfully and unfairly excluded from this “holiday.” Who ever heard of carving the Thanksgiving Roast Beef? I assure you that anyone trying to promote such as concept would not be successful.

     If this hasn't demonstrated the problems of Thanksgiving, I cannot image what would. However, before you lose hope, let me say that I have a suggestion on how to repair this truly horrible mess. This is my official proposal to rename the fourth Thursday of November the “National Day of Thankful or Unthankfulness” with the new nickname of “Any Meat or Poultry Product Day.”

     Sadly, Thanksgiving is not the only politically incorrect day of the year. Clearly we have a problem with Independence Day too. This day is loaded to the brim with exclusionistic practices. It starts off with the nickname “Forth of July,” which completely ignores those folks who prefer to celebrate on a different day, say July third or maybe January thirtieth.

     It gets worse too. This is a day that blatantly ignores the fact that other countries did not obtain independence on July fourth - perhaps they never have at all. How is a Tibetan citizen going to feel if they were here on Independence Day? I think they'd feel excluded.

     Furthermore, how can we forget the British? I can hardly imagine that they can think anything other than depressing thoughts on the day we celebrate attacking them. I doubt the Canadians feel much better either, after all, our Revolution could be interpreted as us saying we didn't like being part of the same empire as them - a thought that surely causes every Canadian on the border to dread the sounds and festivities they hear from their southern neighbor. The only way we can resolve these problems is to rearrange the entire day.

     To wrest away this cold hand of intolerance, I propose that before the celebratory fireworks, the nation have an hour of mourning. The first part will be so that those in occupied countries can join with us, then the second part of the hour can be for mourning the British defeat in the Revolutionary War. Also, rather than flying an American flag, each house will be assigned a flag from another country that has declared independence at some point. We surely don't want to infer our independence is any better than anyone else's, and this new flag protocol will insure this never happens.

     Finally, to insure that no families with pyrophobia are forced into their houses, fireworks should be prohibited. One fireworks display can be filmed from the middle of the ocean, allowing people to watch them on TV. This will allow them to enjoy the display of fireworks without offending anyone. To insure that people who don't like certain colors aren't bothered when watching the display, only the natural color of the sparks will be allowed.

     With plans like those I have presented, I hope you can see how much better things can be. I trust with measures like these, everyone will soon enjoy improved holidays. Although, we must be careful not to exclude those who dislike holidays, so my plan may require a bit more improvement. After all, we wouldn't want to exclude anyone.

When not wasting time in his blog, Tim Butler is Editor-in-Chief of Open for Business. You can reach him at

Originally published December 12, 2002. © 2002 Timothy R. Butler

Christmastime is Here!

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 1:20 AM

If anything, it shows that MWS is not just a good singer, but he also has an amazing nack for composition. The whole album flows together, and his piano playing is excellent (as usual). The CD is lively, happy, and serious all at once. Here's some of the lyrics to Christmastime (the song):

Ring Christmas bells Ring them loud with the message bringing
Peace on the earth
Tidings of good cheer
Come carolers
Come and join with the angels singing
Joy to the world
Christmastime is here again

Happy Thanksgiving!

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 2:14 AM

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving with lots of Turkey, Mashed Potatos, Pumpkin pie, and family… I sure did. That in itself is worth being thankful for. :-) And with that, let the Christmas season begin…

Favorite Books?

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 12:29 AM
  1. Religion On this one I'd probably pick the Case for Faith. It's an excellent book even though it is a bit tough to get through at times.
  2. Politics I'd probably pick President Bush's A Charge to Keep (very good!)
    although Rush Limbaugh's The Way Things Ought to Be is quite good as well.
  3. Technology Just for Fun: The Story of the Accidental Revolutionary (Linus Torvald's book)

  4. Other Economics in One Easy Lesson by Henry Hazelitt. This is probably the
    best piece on economics I have ever seen Hazelitt's work is a masterpiece.
  5. Science The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan. It's witty, interesting, and somehow manages to connect the stories behind apples, tulips, cannibus, and potatoes. Very interesting, although it does take an unfortunate pro-evolutionary stance. Still, it's a good “thought book.”

Something to think about...

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 9:07 PM

The class is about witnessing to those that are members of the other world religions. Nothing to startling there. What is startling is that the missionary who is speaking at our church is a missionary in the sense of the word we normally think of - that is, he has traveled to a different country to do missions. Only this time, we didn't send him somewhere, he came to us from somewhere.

It's weird. A country that was (and still is) the largest supporter of missionaries in the world, needs missionaries sent to it. It seems the ABF leader is from Kenya where approximately 80% of the population is Christian… more than we have here in the U.S. Sadly, some surveys indicate that fewer than 30% of Americans have Evangelical Christian beliefs.

It seems that what secularizing forces haven't done, the mainline denominations have done for them. The decay in our major denominations, has in effect, snatched defeat out of the jaws of victory. A country decidedly Christian by choice, is loosing that Christianity through the very churches that brought it here. How sad.

There isn't much we can do, but if nothing else, we should pray about it. This is a clear and present danger - but with the power of prayer, all things are still possible.

Improved Journal

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 8:54 PM

Yes, I've done some more minor adjustments. Nothing terribly noticable mostly - a few design tweaks that probably no one will notice. However, while I was at it, I added XML/RSS headline support to the code too.

Now, if you aren't familar with RSS, its a format pioneered by Netscape and Userland (yes, the same Userland of Radio Userland fame). Awhile back, Netscape wanted a convenient way to include syndicated headlines in their My Netscape site. Well, the predecessor to RSS (RDF) was the creation, and soon lots of sites adopted it. In fact, for a time, any site could be included in My Netscape because of this. My Userland sprung up later on, and they ended up pioneering much of what would become the RSS standard.

Alas, My Netscape moved back to a proprietary system - so now only a select few sites are included in its catalog - and My Userland bit the dust in an effort to move everyone over to Radio Userland. All is not lost though, some sites, such as my company's still offer portals that use RSS, and places such as Slashdot use RSS headlines too. Finally, many desktop news aggregators such as KNewsTicker (included with KDE) and Radio Userland offer RSS support.

The great thing about RSS is, even though some of the major support is gone, literally thousands of sites still offer channels. In fact, every PHP-Nuke, PostNuke, or Slashcode powered site automatically comes with RSS output support. That includes sites such as Open for Business and (bias alert: the first site is owned by my company, the latter is sponsored by it).

Anyway, now Tim's Journal can enter the arena as a proud supporter of this wonderful open format. You can find my RSS file at

It works: Come and Comment

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 1:00 AM
The result? Well among other things, now you can comment on my entries, should you so desire. Here's the scoop on everything that is new:
  • Full-fledged commenting system with “Remember Me” support (uses cookies to remember your name, location, etc.).
  • MT-style navigation bar inside individual entries, allowing you to easily move chronologically through the journal.
  • Cleaned up front page, which mimics the style used by MT as well as Slashcode, PHP-Nuke, or SAFARI. Basically, it displays the first paragraph or two of the text, and then lets you go to a seperate page to read the rest. Additionally, the “table of contents” has been removed.

I may add a bit more over the next few days. If time permits, I should add XML RSS syndication very soon. Well, enough from me for now… but now that you can, why not comment?


By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 10:39 PM

How Can I Live?

I stand mired in this sin
sights fixed on that mornful mount
I see you there, dying for me
I see you there, dying for me
I stand on the mount, how can I see you
as struggle in my sinfulness

As the thunder shakes the sky that day
I can't help but wonder how
How can I live, as I see you die?
How can I live, as you give your life for me?
Lord, you are the one, the only one
Yet you lived on this earth to die for me
And all I can ask is
how can I live when you died for me

All praise to the LORD God almighty, for He is the truth, for he is the first and the last. Thank-you Father for your faithfulness to your children throughout all of history, thank-you for your faithfulness with me.


By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 8:32 PM
So I would understand if you were out of patience And I would understand if I was out of chances

But your mercies are new every morning
So let me wake with the dawn
And when the music is through, or so it seems to be
Let me sing s new song

      —Nichole Nordeman, Mercies New

I haven't posted any screenshots on my screenshot page yet, but my GTK and KDE apps now look very nice together. How? With the ultra-amazing its-about-time-someone-did-this theme known as Geramik. Geramik is a GTK 1.x theme that looks almost the same as KDE's Keramik. But wait… there's more! In addition to looking like KDE's new default widgets, it also does color matching by basing its color on the .kderc's color settings. Thus, while it isn't a great theme for GNOME users, it is amazing for KDE users.

I did a write-up on it here on OfB.


By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 11:32 PM

Kevin Hartwig has another really interesting piece over on the Sakamuyo Network. In it, he notes the over-emphasis of numbers in today's Church. I think he strikes on something that can be expanded to an even larger concept: placing goals ahead of the Gospel and of the Church body.

Too often, it seems, we are so worried about the goal, the means really do seem justified. However, the church should be careful not to alienate or hurt members on the way. At my church, during Stewardship month (November) we often use a plan and sermon series known as We are Family. That's important… we are family, and we shouldn't ignore that fact when working on stuff.

Whether its raising money, or finding new ways to promote the local church, we should insure that our attempts don't tear apart the existing family in an attempt to “adopt” new members. While no one would intentionally do this, it is something that still happens way to often.

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