Archive for December, 2009

How much are you willing to sacrifice to get what you want?

Thanks to Dr Ng for the amazing video.

The strange and roundabout way

Didn’t occur to me before: God could have picked a girl from Bethlehem (where scripture says the Messiah will be born). Instead, He choose young Mary from Nazareth and made her travel all the way to Bethlehem. A most tiring journey but one that proclaims the higher purposes of God. Below, a poem by John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org

Mighty Mercy

Why did He choose a northern maid
From Nazareth, who had to trade
Her Galilee for Judah just
To get Messiah where He must
Be born? A strange and roundabout
Procedure for a God, no doubt,
Who values His efficiency
And rules the world from sea to sea!
Why not a girl from Bethlehem?
Well half the girls in town would stem
From David’s line. And carpenters
Aplenty there could bear the slurs
And gossip on a virgin got
with child, who blushed and said she’d not
Once kissed her man this whole year past.
Why not? Because God’s power is vast,
And in one little virgin birth
His sovereign joy and mighty mirth
In saving us from evil bent
Could never, never rest content.
Instead He turned and set His sight
To spangle Rome with all His might;
And took a girl from Galilee
To magnify His sovereignty.
And made the Roman king conspire
With God, to serve a purpose higher
Than he or any in the realm
Could see—a stroke to overwhelm
A few with faith and cause their heart
To know the truth, at least in part,
That, though God loves efficiency
And rules the world from sea to sea,
He does not go from here to there
By shortest routes to save His fare.
He’d rather start in Galilee,
Then pass a law in Rome, you see,
To get the child down south at length,
And magnify His sovereign strength.
God rules the flukes of history
To see that Micah’s prophecy
Comes true. Why did He choose a maid
From Nazareth? Perhaps she prayed
That endless mercy might abound
And take the longer way around.
The mighty mercy we adore
As we light advent candle four.

Find us at Canaanland


Sunday Morning tees are now available at Canaanland bookstores throughout Malaysia. Just in time for Christmas. Addresses here, if you don’t already know where they are. Thanks to all the friendly peeps at Canaanland for your support!

Methuselah’s 968th birthday

Altogether, Methuselah lived 969 years, and then he died. Gen 5:27

Mathuselah is the oldest person mentioned in the bible. He passed away just before the beginning of the great flood. According to Rabbi Rashi, the Holy One delayed the Flood in honour of the 7 days of mourning for the righteous Methuselah. Incidentally, the latter was also the grandfather of Noah. The same Noah who obeyed God and built the ark that saved him and his family. Imagine the atmosphere during his (Mathuselah’s) birthday parties.

“For the 100th time – your classmates are too dead to come for your birthday party and no, they won’t be attending the reunion too.”

“Grandpa says he needs a fire extinguisher to put out all 968 candles.”

“Your insurance agent called – actually, more like your insurance agent’s great great great great grandson. He wants to talk to you about the premiums again.”

“Noah’s wife is allergic to animal fur? So what’s the problem?”

“Heard he begins every morning with coffee and obituaries – same thing he’s been doing for the past 900 years.”

“Gah! Look at the mess the guests made! Imagine if we had like a huge flood just to wash everything away.”

The Mathuselah tree. The oldest known non-clonal organism still alive, at the ripe young age of about 4,841 years old. It is the oldest known individual tree in the world. Find it in the Inyo National Forest, California, USA.

Christmas gift ideas

With Christmas around the corner, I thought it might be fun to shop for various bible personalities.


After his unexpected journey in the belly of a great fish, JONAH could used a life-sized Toys ‘R’ Us dingy by Micheal Johansson. Price available upon request.


JUDAS, treasurer of the Lord’s apostles, will need something to cart off carry the loot. Bag of money, $10 from Three Potato Four.


For NOAH, something to make the ark look pretty. Singing in the rain shower curtains, $20 from Amazon.


For ELIJAH – who called on the Lord to send fire from heaven – something for his study table. Light bulb from Dropular. Price available upon request.


Old LAZARUS spent four days in the grave before jesus raised him up. Some bling to go with his new status, perhaps? Delfina Delettrez skeleton hand bracelet, $30,420 from Luisa Via Roma.


For the Apostle JOHN, author of Revelations, who saw the end of the world and the beginning of a new one. Everything is OK poster by Amos Kennedy. $35.


Wire frame 10″ letters. $8 each from Urban Outfitters. For the builders of the Tower of Babel, all of whom could speak a new language as soon as the project was completed.


Brainy bathing cap for King SOLOMON the Wise. From atypyk. Price available upon request.


I’m guessing here but when PETER denied the Lord three times, he probably didn’t want his photo taken and tagged on Facebook. Don’t tag me in this photo t-shirt, $24 on Cafe Press.

And finally, for gift ideas that look good on just about anybody with a body, there’s always Sunday Morning tees. Sorry, couldn’t resist the plug.

Protecting your ideas

For the benefit of all those thinking of or have already started a creative enterprise, and are paranoid about their ideas being ripped off in China. An enlightening article by marketing guru Seth Godin.

How to protect your ideas in the digital age
Seth Godin

If we’re in the idea business, how do we protect those ideas?

One way is to misuse trademark law. With the help of search engines, greedy lawyers who charge by the letter are busy sending claim letters to anyone who even comes close to using a word or phrase they believe their client ‘owns’. News flash: trademark law is designed to make it clear who makes a good or a service. It’s a mark we put on something we create to indicate the source of the thing, not the inventor of a word or even a symbol. They didn’t invent trademark law to prevent me from putting a picture of your cricket team’s logo on my blog. They invented it to make it clear who was selling you something (a mark for trade = trademark).

I’m now officially trademarking thank-you™. From now on, whenever you use this word, please be sure to send me a royalty check.

Another way to protect your ideas is to (mis)use copyright law. You might think that this is a federal law designed to allow you to sue people who steal your ideas. It’s not. Ideas are free. Anyone can use them. Copyright protects the expression of ideas, the particular arrangement of words or sounds or images. Bob Marley’s estate can’t sue anyone who records a reggae song… only the people who use his precise expression of words or music. Sure, get very good at expressing yourself (like Dylan or Sarah Jones) and then no one can copy your expression. But your ideas? They’re up for grabs, and its a good thing too.

The challenge for people who create content isn’t to spend all the time looking for pirates. It’s to build a platform for commerce, a way and a place to get paid for what they create. Without that, you’ve got no revenue stream and pirates are irrelevant anyway. Newspapers aren’t in trouble because people are copying the news. They’re in trouble because they forgot to build a scalable, profitable online model for commerce.

Patents are an option except they’re really expensive and do nothing but give you the right to sue. And they’re best when used to protect a particular physical manifestation of an idea. It’s a real crapshoot to spend tens of thousands of dollars to patent an idea you thought up in the shower one day.

So, how to protect your ideas in a world where ideas spread?

Don’t.

Instead, spread them. Build a reputation as someone who creates great ideas, sometimes on demand. Or as someone who can manipulate or build on your ideas better than a copycat can. Or use your ideas to earn a permission asset so you can build a relationship with people who are interested. Focus on being the best tailor with the sharpest scissors, not the litigant who sues any tailor who deigns to use a pair of scissors.

The dowry

Fat David by Scholz & Friends

Now Saul’s daughter Michal was in love with David, and when they told Saul about it, he was pleased. “I will give her to him,” he thought, “so that she may be a snare to him and so that the hand of the Philistines may be against him.” So Saul said to David, “Now you have a second opportunity to become my son-in-law.”

Then Saul ordered his attendants: “Speak to David privately and say, ‘Look, the king is pleased with you, and his attendants all like you; now become his son-in-law.’ “

They repeated these words to David. But David said, “Do you think it is a small matter to become the king’s son-in-law? I’m only a poor man and little known.”

When Saul’s servants told him what David had said, Saul replied, “Say to David, ‘The king wants no other price for the bride than a hundred Philistine foreskins, to take revenge on his enemies.’ ” Saul’s plan was to have David fall by the hands of the Philistines.

When the attendants told David these things, he was pleased to become the king’s son-in-law. So before the allotted time elapsed, David and his men went out and killed two hundred Philistines. He brought their foreskins and presented the full number to the king so that he might become the king’s son-in-law. Then Saul gave him his daughter Michal in marriage. 1 Sam 18-26

***

David: Hey you! See any Philistines around here?

Gath: Philis …? Philistine?! You’re talking to one, bro. Born and bred in this fine country!

David: Gath?

Gath: David?

David: My man!

Gath: Giant-killer David! What can I do for you today, buddy? Anything you want, it’s yours!

David: Now that you mentioned it, I need a small favour …

***

Saul: What do you plan to do with all these Philistine foreskins, my daughter?

Michal: I was thinking of making a necklace.

Saul: A n-n-necklace? Like, to … to wear around the neck?

Michal: Yes!

Saul: Uh…

Michal: Well, not for me – I’d look silly in it!

Saul: Oh, thank G0d!

Michal: It’s for you and mom.

 ***

Minstrel: David! We were just thinking of composing a new song for you.

David: I love songs! What’s it like?

Minstrel: This one is called ‘Fetcher of foreskins’

David: Catchy.