Fort Lamar

I rode down to Fort Lamar today to finish what I started on Tuesday afternoon. There wasn't a whole lot to see, but it was nice nonetheless.

Fort Lamar was the site of the battle of Secessionville during the Civil War.

I went on the self-guided tour of the Fort, and I was a little disappointed to find that the wooden tower of the "Tower Fortress" is long gone. In fact, nearly everything seems to be long gone except for a couple of small man-made hills that are the remnants of artillery positions.

I did see plenty of trees and a bird's nest.


Little blue painted lines

Lately, I've noticed thin lines of blue spraypaint on the roads--especially on James Island and Sullivan's Island. What gives? (click the picture for a bigger image)


How to ruin a perfectly good day

These are scary times for Gamecock football. Every big school with a coaching vacancy appears to be making a beeline for Steve Spurrier.

I hope he's telling the truth when he says that he plans on staying in Columbia for many years to come, but I can't help but worry that he'll jump ship.

One one hand, I don't believe that he came to USC for the money. As I recall, he requested a smaller salary than they offered. Plus, he's doing a good job of building an excellent program. I submit as evidence the fact that we hung in there with teams that used to pound us in the past.

On the other hand, if he's dreaming of national championships, it's possible that he'll be more successful in some other place with more um... renown.

Alabama rumor mills continue to spill their venom, such as this blog from MiketheEyeguy. And Eyeguy does make a good point. Why on Earth is USC's Super King Air flying back and forth between Teterboro? I can't find any recruits up there, but there is a nearby coach named Schiano up there. Is USC looking for a replacement?
However, Joseph Person, and Ron Morris of The State continue to write articles that say Steve's staying.
I just hope Joe and Ron know better than Mike.

11/30/06 Update: Good news, Super Steve is getting a raise. Maybe that'll hold the Spurrier-snatchers at bay.


Random thoughts while running to Fort Lamar

I got some new running shoes this past weekend. So, I decided to do some running this afternoon.

I wanted to run to Fort Lamar Historic Site on James Island. Google maps said that it would be about a 3.5 mile run each way. I should have checked the mileage before I left, but I didn't think to check it until I got back home after dark.

I ran along Secessionville Rd, then turned on Fort Lamar Road until I reached the park. I'm still not sure what's there, because it was getting dark as I arrived, so I immediately turned around and ran back to my starting spot. I miss Daylight savings time.

I have a love/hate relationship with running. I never look forward to it, but I always feel better afterwards.

While putting one foot in front of the other, I started thinking about the civil war.

I don't know very much about the Civil War, but it still intrigues me. I often wonder why nobody had made significant advances in technology between the Revolutionary war and the civil war--everybody was still packing gunpowder and lead into poles with triggers on one end.

I also wonder what gives the right of one people to demand that another people remain joined as one nation? I don't think it deserved a war, but I'd hope that with cooler heads, a simple vote could have settled the matter.

Although I'm very pleased that slavery was abolished quite some time ago, I remain sympathetic to the cause of the Southern states. When I read articles, hear stories, or watch movies, I'm always rooting for the guys in gray.

Fort Lamar
was the site one of the few Confederate victories in South Carolina.

There aren't really any Civil War movies that I like to watch more than half way through because I know how they're going to end, and there aren't very many that make champions on the southern states.

I've always wondered, "Why do I like the gray side better than the blue?" Maybe it's because I like to root for the underdogs, even I if know they're going to loose. Maybe it's because I like they way they talked.

Or more likely, maybe it's because I hope General Lee's troops will win because my home was their home. My ocean was theirs. These rivers, hills, swamps, and forests were theirs too at one time.

One that same note, major general William T Sherman was a tyrant of the worst sort. After scorching much of Georgia, he methodically cut through South Carolina, and burned, attacked, and raped everything he saw as best he could. I don't even think I'd approve of his great-grandchildren if I knew them. Frankly, I'd be tempted to spit at them.

While some may argue that his scorched-earth tactics may have saved lives and shortened the war, particularly those of Union soldiers, I remain convinced that he was a sick dude. And the land he raped more than a hundred years ago is my home.

I'm sure that Native Americans love the story of Colonel Custer's defeat almost as much as they hate the story of the Trail of Tears. Surely they don't waste time celebrating Columbus Day. I certainly don't.

And I'll be celebrating Sherman's life about the same time that the grandchildren of Hiroshima throw a party for the crew of the Enola Gay.


posted by Josh M on 6:48 PM under


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There are two ways to make the national news. Either do something extraordinary, or do something extraordinarily stupid.

Today, I'd like to recognize two extraordinarily stupid events.

  1. Alabama football snobs have fired a solid head coach. No props for the big red algae on this one. Shula brought some respectability back to Alabama, and they're embarrassing themselves by firing him. I hear that they're supposed to be good next year, but I'll be rooting against them.

  2. South Carolina's finest have hit the headlines because some redneck shot his friend over a $20 bet. Congratulations, you're retarded.
And I'd like to recognize two extraordinary events that probably won't make national headlines:
  1. Torrence Tank Daniels, the only player from Harding University to play in the NFL, made a great tackle on special teams for the Eagles last night. I'm sorry I missed the game. But at a time when the Eagles fans are throwing in the towel, I've decided I have a new favorite team. I'm happy to see such a good guy from a great school play so well. Congrats to Tank and Courtney.

  2. Happy Birthday to Amber! My favorite girlfriend, partner in crime, and ice cream eating champion turns twenty-something today.



Looks like we'll be driving home in the cold rain later today.

What happened to sunny and 70 degrees? This is starting to feel like an Arkansas Thanksgiving.


posted by Josh M on 12:41 AM


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The 2 dumbest things I've heard in a while

  1. Before today, I thought only middle management could make remarkably stupid decisions. Now, it appears that school administrators have gained the upper-hand. School waits to call police about a bomb.

  2. Charles Rangel (D, New York), incoming chair to the House Ways and Means Committee, plans to introduce legislation to re-introduce the draft. I think I'm more interested in hand-to-hand combat with this guy than with Iraqis.

    Good job, democrats. Why bother doing useful things with your new power?


Ultimate Frisbee

Today had to be a good day.

City of Charleston Ultimate Frisbee tournament. My team won out for the title of "competitive league champions." Woo-hoo! It feels good to be a winner, and it's nice to get a free T-shirt just for winning.

Free T-shirt: In fact, there were extra t-shirts, so I grabbed one of them to give to Paul. Unfortunately, all that was left was an extra large. So, anybody who can wear an extra large t-shirt take note: I have a free t-shirt if you want it.

Sometime during that span, the Gamecocks won as well. It's always good to know the cocks can get a solid win against the SunBelt conference leader.

Finally, I've decided to try the best of the Charleston, SC barbecue joints. I'll write more on this later, but here's the grades thus far:
Bessinger's, West Ashley: C-
The Hickory Hog, John's Island: B-
JB's Smokeshack, Johns's Island: A
Momma Brown's, Mt Pleasant: TBD
Sweatman's BBQ, Holly Hill: TBD


Friday's Ramblings

1. I made a last-ditch effort at getting a Playstation 3 today. Costco sold all of theirs via their website at 11AM EST. I can only imagine how many people were competing for those little machines, but it had an effect like a Denial of Service attack. Their website took so many hits that the whole thing crashed at about 11:05, and it's still down as I type. Whichever Costco Exec came up with that idea needs to be fired. It was a hassle, and their website is wiped out. I bet that's the last time they try something like that.

2. I found a fun sarcastic church video on Youtube: MeChurch


Playstation 3

The laws of Supply and Demand combined with the law of "You can have it cheap, or you can have it now, but you can't have both" have produced a crazy phenomenon called "people will pay way too much for this stuff."

Namely, people are paying way too much for Playstation 3's on eBay. The going price seems to be about $2000 to 3,000 to have the first Playstation on your block.

People wanting Playstation 3's right now can pay up, or wait outside BestBuy for a couple of days. I was hoping to join the Playstation craze in order to make some spending money, but it looks like that's going to be difficult.

I had a chance, but I would have needed to stand in line from Noon Thursday until 7AM Friday morning. Judging by the eBay auctions ending now, I probably should have done it.

I talked to the first 2 people in line at BestBuy in West Ashley. They were college students planning on buying two: one to sell and another to keep. Their camping adventure started at 10AM Wednesday in order to be first in line for the 7AM Friday opening.

On Wednesday night, they witnessed a police officer attempting to shoot a car after a traffic stop gone wrong; and endured torrential rain and wind huddled in a corner between BestBuy and a book store. Oh, and some guy said he was going to come back and shoot them all because they wouldn't save his place in line.

On second thought, I think I'm going to enjoy going to sleep in my bed tonight under warm blankets, clean sheets, and no bullets.


Optical Illusions... they're only fun if you see it

One of those optical illusions, and it's satisfying to the last drop.

Directions: Remove your mouse from the image above. Focus on the black dot in middle of the image for twenty seconds. Keep focus on the dot while you move your mouse back over the image.
Props to whoever came up with this:


Sunday bites

I had a lecture about "Sunday Bites" today.

Somebody with a Sunday Bite has a mandible that is actually too small compared with the rest of their head. When your mandible is too small for the rest of your head, your teeth don't quite line up correctly. Small mandibles are actually fairly common, but people with Sunday Bites unconsciously make up for their lack of mandible by moving their mandible forward when they bite down so that the teeth line up as if the mandible were actually normal size.

Apparently, they're a little hard to recognize at first because the person appears perfectly normal at first glance.

In order to elicit the disorder, a dentist has to "deprogram" the muscles so that the mandible can be positioned in it's correct closing position. Deprogramming makes the muscles "forget" what they've been trained to do so that the jaw will move to it's designed position.

What strikes me is that attaching the prefix "Sunday-" to something is synonymous with "fake."

It seems that our superficial Sunday faces (I'm smiling cause I'm miserable), Sunday clothes (Play dress-up if you love Jesus), and Sunday cheer (I'm really happy that you're fake-happy too) aren't the only evidences of the failures of the church.

Maybe it's time for a few Sunday Deprogramming services. It seems heretical at first, but the more I think about it, the more I like it.

Or, maybe we can just keep tolerating Sunday faces., Sunday clothes, and Sunday cheer.

Speaking of Sunday faces, can you tell a fake smile from a real one? Try the Spot the Fake Smile survey from BBC science. I was mediocre, at best: 12/20. How about you?


posted by Josh M on 2:38 PM under ,


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I don't want to sound like an Alabama fan, but...

I think it's interesting to listen to SEC football fans. Mostly because they have 1 of 3 dispositions.

1. "We have a really good program, but we just don't seem to have the players or the coaches to be the national champions like we deserve"This is probably the most annoying type of fan. This opinion is almost exclusively reserved for Alabama fans.

2. Tennesee, Georgia, FL: "We're the best team in the country, but we just can't seem to get it together this year and be the best at anything."

3. Miss State, Vandy, Ky, and sometimes USC: "Maybe this will be our breakout year." Maybe so. Maybe this might be a bad to say that I think next year might be a great one for the Gamecocks.

Gamecock fans probably fall into all three of these categories. We don't quite have the players to be champions, we have been screwed on a few too many calls, and we've lost way too many close games.

Close game list:
Arkansas, yeah, we owned them after a dreadful first half. A couple of BS calls from SEC refs didn't really help either.
Tennesee: I'm still lost as to how we lost that one. Oh, and the SEC doesn't call pass interference for Sydney rice.
Auburn: SEC doesn't believe in calling Pass Interference for Sydney rice
Florida: Owned them in every aspect of the game. How do you lose in field goals and PAT's when you have one of the best college football kickers in the country?

Way to go Steve Spurrier. Ron Morris at the The State doesn't seem to be a big fan of yours , but you were right. I'd take ACC or Big anything ref's over these SEC guys. I'm guessing the SEC would have harsh things to say in private to their refs over some of the calls, but you beat them to it.


Dirge of the left hand

Formerly titled: "Ode to the left hand"

I've been left-handed ever since I had two hands and preferred one over the other.

I wish I wasn't. It's been an annoyance ever since I can remember. Mom tried to make it less annoying growing up. One of my favorite memories was the "Left Handed Store" in Underground Atlanta. I don't remember going to the store or anything about it, but I do remember how cool it was to realize that everybody else didn't expect the metal spiral rings to grind into their hands.

In second grade, my teacher had some less than flattering comments about my left handedness. Maybe you could call them left handed compliments. Hearing things like, "that's ok and for a left handed person, it's a really good cursive "f." My handwriting has never been good, and I don't know whether to accept fault for being lazy, blame it on right-handed writing traditions, or to blame sorry teachers.

In first grade, my class had no left handed scissors. After wrestling with those crazy paper benders, I finally gave up on the advice of my teacher and made do with my right hand. Honestly, it was retarded at first, but I eventually learned to adapt and use right handed scissors.

Right handed desks have been the scourge of my educational existence from the very beginning. Some retarded, left-brained engineer mass produced the cheapest piece of right handed crap and placed it in what seemed like every single classroom in South Carolina. The small ones were the worst.

Being left handed isn't all that bad. Because I'm in a minority, I've been forced to learn the backwards way of doing lots of things. Your right-handed can openers aren't great, but I've learned to use them. There isn't a left-handed power tool in existence today, but I've sorta learned to use them too. Your keyboards, your mice, tv remotes, dinner place settings, traffic patterns, and manual transmissions have all been bearable. I took some time to learn to use them right handed and moved on.

Dental school has brought up entirely new challenges. Frequently, people try to show me things backwards. I don't mind so much when they take a moment to let me try to make sense out of what they're doing.

But now I'm angry. Absolutely livid.
Last friday I took a test that asked several right handed operator questions. I missed them all. My right handed professor never saw a single thing wrong with lecturing right handed, providing right handed information, and only asking right handed questions.

Ever since then, I've oscillated between livid anger and not-so-livid anger. I'm tired of being angry about this, tired of wasting time thinking about it, and tired of wondering if right will win. But I'm convinced I'm standing on solid ground on this one.

Over the weekend, I decided to walk into the dean's office and file a petition to have my disability formally recognized. Then later over the weekend, I decided to calm down and wait and see how things worked out.

Should I really have to claim a disability?


Webcam of the week #8

One of my all-time favorite cities: Greenville, SC. It's the un-New York and this place wins this week's web cam award because G-ville has put some serious time, talent and $, into creating the best downtown I ever saw. Yup, it's clean, green and tons of fun.

The shops, restaurants, and parks are all rockin' and I'm done talkin'.

Downtown G-ville from the Hilton

A fool's brain digests philosophy into folly, science into superstition, and art into pedantry. Hence University education.
- George Bernard Shaw


Top 3 Blogs that I wish existed

Blogging has become my favorite way to catch up with friends and family, learn some some new ideas, and evict some thoughts from my head.

I read this as part of my introduction to blogging, and I have to disagree with my brother a little.
The best bloggers are not educators, preachers, and stay-at-home moms. Rather, they are the most common bloggers.

Although I already spend too much time reading blogs, I always wish there was a little bit more out there. So here are the top 3 blogs that I wish existed:

  1. James H Murphy: Preacher (aka grandad), author of works like "The bad boys of west texas," "The Settlement of Childers," and "Happiness is just another self-help book away." I'd like to pick this preacher's brain a little more often.

  2. John Fortner: Educator, your classes made me mad, but I think I'm ready for more. You're a little crazy sometimes, but I think I like it. Won't you share some thoughts with me in a format that doesn't cost $300/hour?

  3. Random Federal prisoner: I'm a little curious about somebody's perspective when they're pretty sure what they'll be doing a few years from now.
Maybe Philip was right. Preachers and educators probably do make for the best blogs, but a prison blog might be most exciting of all.


Believer's guide to finding a church home

I'm up late cramming for Pathology. I think I'm going to cancel my Thursday night events--except for the free dinner of course. I'll do anything for free food.

One of the primary goals of pediatric dental care is for every child to have a "dental home" early in life in order to head-off as current and potential diseases as possible.

One of my Charleston goals was to find a church home early in my stay in order to grow a few roots.

I've seen plenty of books about church growth. Let me rephrase: I've seen plenty of book covers about church growth. But I've yet to see a guide about how to find a church home. But I'd like to find both by age 25.

I never really found one in Searcy. I tried, but I was never successful. Although the big Searcy churches had the best worship experiences, I detested going to Downtown because I knew I'd never be able to contribute. After 4 years, I got nearly nowhere.

I always dreamed of going to a church that wasn't Harding-asized, but they were always far away, and I was too drowsy, busy, or unmotivated to be consistent enough to feel a part of those churches. I'd usually wake up late and go to Downtwon because it was the most convenient choice that started later than the rest.

I thought finding a church home would be easy once I moved to Charleston, but it hasn't been easy at all. In fact, it's been very frustrating. I expected to find more progressive churches. Or at least some progressive churches or christ. I thought briefly about giving up on the ol' CofC, and while I don't have any real problem with that, I preferred to think that there was a CofC somewhere out there where I could fit.

Truth be told, I'm still not sure if I fit in my Holiday Inn church of christ. But it's right in the middle between me and Amber. And as time goes by, I'm beginning to like the people there more and more. Maybe with time (and a picture directory) I'll feel more at home. Or at least, missed when I'm out of town.


How would you spend $340,000,000,000?

I should be studying for my Thursday pathology final, but I decided to be un-patriotic on this election day.

I'm well-known to be cheap. Really cheap. Some have even called it "Murphy-cheap." I'm careful how I spend money, I track what I spend every month with Quicken, and my friends make fun of me for it.

Right now I'm in a mood for a game, so let's play good news, bad news, good news.

1. Good News: I got a great deal at BiLo today.
Although BiLo tries to make me use a privacy invasion card (They call it the Bi-Lo Bonus Card), I like to shop there. This past week, they had a great special: 2 frozen pizzas, breadsticks, a six-pack of coke, and ice cream for about $10. I call it the student's "clog your arteries special." I just can't imagine a cheaper, faster way to get Atherosclerosis.

2. Bad News: Kia's are cheaper than bombs, and maybe we should have bought off Iraq instead of Bombing it:
Today, I started wondering how much money we've wasted/spent on the military action in Iraq.

Naturally, I googled "how much cost of war iraq," and it was easy to see that a few other people have asked the same question. Perhaps the US government could have a use for quicken.

According to, the US has spent about $340,572,742,503 (as of 11:26pm EST today). And to think I thought that the only number around here that was about to turn into an infinity sign was my student loan balance.

If the population of the US is about 300,000,000 people, then that means we've spent um... my Excel calculations say that's about $1135.24 per American citizen or about $4500 per family of four in order to remove Sadam and have him sentenced to death by hanging.

Slighty more disconcerting is how much we're spending in Iraq for each Iraqi. According to the CIA World Factbook, Iraq's population is about 26.7 million people. Given that $340 billion price tag, the United States has spent roughly $12,734 per Iraqi citizen. More info on cost of the war here, here, and here.

At that rate, why didn't we just buy them all Kia's to be our friends?

Maybe that gazillion dollar balance could have gone towards lowering my out-of-this-world tuition at MUSC. $340 billion could make for something like 24 million 4 year scholarships, ya know.

I don't believe in leaving on a bad note, so here's the good news.

3. Good News: I've never had a real job and haven't paid any substantial taxes, so maybe it's somebody else's money that we've been wasting all this time... sort of.

So how would you spend $340,000,000,000?


posted by Josh M on 11:22 PM


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Football Championship

1. Amber, Aaron, and I went to watch the Gamecocks play on Saturday night. Halftime looked like a disaster. Amber made me promise we could escape the cold if the cocks went down by 40 or more. And with the way they were playing, I was worried we might have to leave early. The 3rd quarter was about as exiting as any I ever saw. The 4th was nearly the most exciting I ever saw--with the exception of an interception and a couple of Arkansas 3rd down conversions.

Many thanks to Aaron for sweet talking one of his girls into hooking us up with a parking pass.

2. Since the team I love to watch can't wina championship (or just a single game it seems), I figure I'd best make the best of winning games with the teams that I play with.
The MUSC intramural flag football championship game was Sunday afteroon, and my 2nd year CDM class put a hurtin' on some more trash talking med students.

I know it's not a big deal when nerds are good enough to beat the nerdier nerds at flag football, but it still feels good to win.

Is winning flag football at MUSC like winning the [inappropriate]? (I'm going to need to censor myself here) Moving on...

3. Winning always comes at a price. During a kickoff return, I think I did something bad to my right shoulder. In light of this recent injury, I'd like to take a moment to be thankful that it was my right shoulder.

Conveniently, I am left handed. Not so conveniently, everything on this planet is still made for right handed people.


Webcam of the week #7

Cancel my trip to Africa. I saw all the elephants I ever dreamed of at the mala mala game preserve.



One and a half thumbs down for the last post. Even I got bored after trying to think about it. As an apology and sign of good faith for those who may have wasted time reading it, I'm trying again...

I don't like making dentures very much. I thought I'd love it, but it's just not all that exciting like I expected. So far, I don't really like the Fixed Pros faculty all that much either.

But today was special. John L has starting wearing his military issue BCG's while doing labwork. That would be the official term for his safety glasses he picked up at officer training this summer. (for more on BCG's see here and here)

Shortly thereafter, 60ish year old, fomer military, Dr. K disappeared for a few minutes, returned, and said to John. "You're not the only one with Birth Control Glasses. The old ones were even worse." I found that hard to imagine.

Maybe I do like the Fixed Pros faculty. It's probably just Dentures that I don't like.

On another note, if you sign away your life to the military, BCG's come free. But they're only guaranteed to work as long as you're wearing them.


Which has higher meaning?

This has bothered me since this summer's sailing adventure.

Which has a higher meaning? A short generalization or a detailed explanation?

  • 1. A generalization about a topic:
    It seems to me that both the very knowledgable and the very foolish frequently use generalizations.
    • Generalizations represent a shallow perspective because a "rule of thumb" might be the only thing somebody knows about a subject. This person probably learns the rule of thumb from somebody who actually knows what they're talking about.

    • However, somebody with a thorough understanding of a subject can sum up a vast quantity of seemingly unrelated information into one simple answer. Although these seem like simple answers at first, they are often the result of a great deal of thought.

  • 2. A complex, detailed explanation
    • Shouldn't anyone who thoroughly understands a topic be able to provide a detailed explanation? And shouldn't the detail add to the argument?
So which means more? Which is worth more? Rules of thumb or details?


posted by Josh M on 12:31 AM

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