Friday, July 26, 2013

Extreme Word Makeover: Naughty

If I had to nominate a word in the English language to receive the "Extreme Word Makeover" award, that word would be naughty.

How its fortunes have changed!

Originally, it stemmed from the word "naught", meaning "nothing".  As in, having nothing, worth nothing, needy.

I still consider the mainstream meaning of the word naughty to be "wicked, evil, or morally wrong".  But it seems that the word has rehabilitated itself quite nicely in recent years.

Now it seems to be a largely positive adjective.  Which seems more exciting or interesting to a modern hearer:  "librarian" or "naughty librarian"?  "Vicar" or "naughty vicar"?  The word now seems to be used to jack up the noun which it modifies.  And, far from rendering that noun as "naught" as it once would have done, it now seems to enhance the thing.

I suppose that there are two reasons for this.  One is the increasing popularity of moral wickedness itself.  Or if not of the actual wickedness, then an openness to be honest about loving moral wickedness.  The term "wicked" itself is now one of approbation, we must realize.

The second reason, I think, falls squarely in God's lap.  The old idea was that God would eventually bring workers of naughtiness and the naughty deeds themselves ... to naught.  But He is patient (not to say "slow") about this work, and so we sometimes forget that, indeed, there is nothingness and void which eventually awaits the naughty person, the naughty deed.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Knowledge vs Loudmouth Factor

I developed this graph to capture my observation of how people behave in bodybuilding gyms.  As expected, my data shows that the biggest loudmouths in the gym are those who know the least about bodybuilding.

When I posted this on facebook, someone rightly observed that this has application well beyond the confines of the bodybuilding gym.  It is probably true at your work, your church, your car club, your neighborhood pub, and in many other places!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Bodybuilding Contest Dieting and the Separation of Powers

I believe that the concept of the Separation of Powers finds its greatest sanction in the Biblical verse Isaiah 33:22, where the three branches of government are listed explicitly:
(For the Lord is our Judge,
The Lord is our Lawgiver,
The Lord is our King;
He will save us);
Here, of course, we find the powers unseparated, since God can be trusted to wield all three types of power simultaneously.  It is not so when men attempt to govern themselves, which is why we need the "checks and balances" which the Separation of Powers ideally provides.

Just how necessary the Separation of Powers is was brought home to me by considering my current attempt to create my own pre-contest bodybuilding diet and to enforce that same diet on myself.

Creating the diet is a Legislative function:  I "lay down the law" concerning what must and must not be eaten each day.  Enforcing (following) the diet is an Executive function.  When, for previous contests, I had hired contest prep coaches, those coaches were the Legislative Branch for me.  Their word was law; I merely had to execute.  However, now that I am making my own dietary law, it is not so easy.  Because the same one who is charged with executing the law (me) is able to re-write the law at will.  This is not so good.

This morning, I yearned for some tasty waffles, with butter and syrup.  They were not to be found within the dietary law I had laid down for myself yesterday.  Had I still been operating under a Separation of Powers situation, I would not have thought of failing my coaches by eating waffles; my only job would have been to execute the plan.   But, because I now hold both powers, I had a strange lack of zeal to execute the non-waffle-eating law, and a forceful temptation to re-write the law.  I did not do so, but the danger was present.

In any case, the Judicial Branch will be seated behind a table in the front row of the bodybuilding venue when I compete on September 28, and they shall most surely pass judgment on my efforts between now and then.