The Biggest Plot Hole in Harry Potter

Back in the Fall of 2005, shortly after the publishing of The Half Blood Prince, I read the Harry Potter books for the first time. Needless to say, the masterful story telling and the compelling and complex plots blew me away. Since then, I have been a constant fan of the Harry Potter Series, and I reread the books at least once a year (currently, I have read the entire series 8 times over). Yet in spite of my love and devotion for the series, there is one major plot hole that I’ve never been able to wrap my mind around, and all of it revolves around the entrail-expelling curse.

For those who are not as familiar with the Harry Potter world as I am, this curse is only mentioned once when Harry and the Weasley’s are visiting Arthur at St. Mungo’s. On page 487 of The Order of the Phoenix, we see the following sentence, “The walls were of paneled oak, and there was a portrait of a rather vicious looking wizard on the wall, captioned Urquohart Rackharrow, 1612-1697, Inventor of the Entrail-Expelling Curse.”

Thus, in the world of wizards, there is a jinx that will literally make someone crap his or her pants, and even though the knowledge of this curse has existed for hundreds of years, no one in the books ever uses it. How is that possible? Wouldn’t making your enemies crap their pants be a better curse that jelly legs or bat bogies? Wouldn’t the entrail-expelling curse be the perfect way to gain the upper-hand in a duel?

I’ve spent multiply hours trying to figure out a solution to this conundrum, but nothing provides a satisfy answer. Even if we assume that the curse is complex and hard to perform, that doesn’t explain why Hermione never used it. Multiply times in the series, we see that Hermione is capable of performing all kinds of advanced magic. So in book 6, when Ron was being the world’s biggest prat, how come Hermione attacked him with birds and asked out Cormac McLaggen when she hypothetically could have made him crap himself every time he was in the company of Lavender Brown? Even if we assume Hermione couldn’t use this curse, what about Voldemort and all of the death eaters? Surely making someone expel their entrails should have appealed to their cruel and sadistic natures. Hell, it probably would have coupled with the Cruciatus Curse perfectly.

Unfortunately, the only conclusion that I was able to come up with was that J. K. Rowling included it in the series as a joke while failing to grasp the magnitude of such a curse. Alas, I suppose I’ll never know unless I happen to encounter Rowling in person someday… 

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The Six Types of Starbucks Customers

Earlier today I came across a somewhat witty blog post describing the 6 type of customers who go to Starbucks, and it made me remember the good old days when I was a smarmy barista at Starbucks. While I’m sure the many people who frequent Starbucks found the article to be amusing, I found it to be a little lacking. Hence, I wanted to add to it and offer a view from the other side of the counter. So here are the six types of people who go to Starbucks from the perspective of a former Starbucks Barista.

1. The Person Who Does Not Know What They Are Ordering

Admittedly the world of craft coffee can be a little confusing, but this person is just way behind the curve. Whenever people like this come up to the counter, they are usually accompanied by an ominous cloud predicting misery for the poor souls behind the bar. They might ask for a cappuccino when they really want a latte, or they might ask for a Frappuccino without realizing that it’s a cold drink. These people are some of the most frustrating to deal with because they typically don’t admit that they need help, and when you make the drink that they ask for, it will always be your fault when it’s not what they wanted. On the bright side, since the barista typically has to remake their drink, it’s pretty easy to find retribution by slipping them decaf. While the official policy of Starbucks is “Just say yes,” the typical policy of actual baristas in this situation is “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.”

2. The Person Who Thinks You’re Incompetent

These people are a thorn in the side of every barista they encounter. Whenever they place their order, they waste the register’s time by over annunciating their drink, and when they’re waiting for their order, they stare down the barista making their drink with something similar to the Lazy Eye in Fievel Goes West.

lazyeye

 
The most annoying thing they do, however, is when they take off the lid to inspect the drink. Personally, I’m inclined to believe that they’re actually hoping something will be wrong just so they can criticize someone. If you’re this type of person, the best thing you can do is frequent a variety of stores rather than just one. Because once you incur the wrath of a barista, you’ll never get the drink you actually asked for again. Trust me, baristas have long memories, and while you may not be able to tell, he or she will be maniacally laughing once you’re gone.

3. The Person Who Names Their Own Drink

These people think that they are clever, but in actuality they’re not. They typically have a favorite drink that they order all the time, and somewhere along the way they start referring to it a certain way. While this isn’t a problem if you only go one Starbucks, it becomes problematic when you break up your routine and visit a different store. If you fall into this category, Starbucks baristas everywhere have this to say to you, “I do not know what you’re talking about, nor am I required to know what you are talking about. Nicknaming your drink will get you nowhere in life.” Whenever these people visit Starbucks, the baristas just roll their eyes and curse the darkness.

4. The Regular Who Always Tips

As far as the baristas are concerned, these people are saints. They could ask for something utterly ridiculous, and we would probably give it to them at a discounted price. These people never have to wait in line and will be loved by all. Honestly, there are very few things a Starbucks Barista won’t do for a good tip.

5. The Regular Who Never Tips

These people are beyond infuriating. They want to be friends with their barista, but it’s like the tip jar doesn’t even exist. Unfortunately, these people are typically too nice to intentionally mess up their drinks. So if you’re a nice person, you can rest assured. If you’re not a nice person… well, hopefully God will have mercy on your soul. If you fall into this category, you might notice that your barista drops quite a few hints regarding the tip jar, and if you have ever felt a weird pain in your back, it’s probably from the imaginary dagger we used to stab you when you ignored our hint for the hundredth time.

6. The Person Who Grabs The Wrong Drink

These people are the scum of the earth, and words cannot describe how much we hate them. If you ever grab the wrong drink by accident, here’s what you should do: never go back to that Starbucks again. That may seem extreme, but, trust me, it’s for the best. As I said earlier, baristas have long memories, and you’ll unfortunately be forever remembered as the person who ruined that poor barista’s day (this isn’t a metaphor. We’ll still be talking about how much we hate you years later).

Chances are baristas everywhere will love me for posting this, but categories 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6 will hate me. Personally, I’m okay with that though.

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Politics and Swing Issues

When it comes to politics, my view can be summed up in one phrase, “All men are created equal.” This belief was once considered to be self-evident among the American people, but now it’s a belief that’s widely ignored. When it comes to politics and American life, I believe that all men should be considered equal. Therefore, I believe that abortion should be illegal and gay marriage should be legal, not the other way around.

 I am sure that I am now hated by the majority of the American people for making such a statement, but if you look past your conviction, your passion, and your rhetoric, then you should be able to understand what I am trying to convey.

 The vast majority of Democrats are pro-gay marriage and pro-choice, and the vast majority of Republicans are anti-gay marriage and pro-life, which means that people like me are forced to choose between two swing issues or to join the ranks of the Independents whose votes rarely matter. While I believe that the homosexual community should have the same rights as other American citizens, they are clearly outspoken and well defended by many. The lives of the babies who are aborted before they have chance to cry, however, are never given a chance to plead for justice, and that’s why I am a Republican. 

So if all men are created equal, then why are unborn babies the exception? Can we really justify abortion by claiming that they have yet to fully develop or by claiming that a woman should be allowed to choose if she wants to support the life she helped to create? I suppose that some might say that we are doing the unborn a favor, that we’re saving them from a life of hardship. We could say that the potential birth defects will make their lives miserable. We could say that the absence of parents will make their lives unnecessarily hard. We could say that their mothers’ choice is more important than their lives. But what are the implications if we do? If we say that birth defects will make their lives too hard, then how are we any better than the Nazis who strived for genetic perfection? If we say that a lack of parents will make their lives to depressing, then what does that mean for us if we rather kill them than love them and care them ourselves? If we say that the choices of others are more important than their lives, then we are really saying that all men are created equal except for you. That’s why I am a Republican, and that’s why I’ll always vote for this swing issue even if others claim that it’s pointless. If all men are created equal, then I can’t live with the implications if I deny that right to others.

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The Hell of Twilight

Stephen King once said that Twilight is about the importance of having a boyfriend; nevertheless, I have read the series three times over. As I have stated before, I’m a sucker for fantasy fiction.

Twilight has often been criticized by a plethora of people for its poor grammar, predictable story, and shallow characters, yet, far from praising it, I want to critique Twilight for a different reason. In my humble opinion, Twilight is hell on earth.

For those who are unaware, the whole story of Twilight revolves around Bella and Edward’s love for each other, which is a love that will never end because they will never age and never die. While the prospect of eternal love may sound like heaven, it is actually why I consider the prospect of Twilight to be hell. Now, don’t get me wrong; in real life I’m actually a hopeless romantic. It’s just that there’s no one on earth that I want to be married to for eternity.

Marriage is a great blessing given to us by God, but what is an even greater blessing is our marriage to the Lamb of God. Jesus Christ is the only one worth loving forever. The Holy Spirit is the one that makes each day better than the last. God the Father Almighty is the only one who can make eternity worthwhile.

That is why, in the light of eternity, we should be living for death, rather than idolatrously living for life. The greatest joy in marriage comes when you die and are ushered into the marriage supper of the Lamb. Therefore, in the world of Twilight, where their love never fades, where their love never ceases, I have to ask, what is the point if it will not lead them to something better?

 “Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out,

            ‘Hallelujah!

            For the Lord our God

                        the Almighty reigns.

            Let us rejoice and exult

                        and give him the glory,

            for the marriage of the Lamb has come,

                        and his Bride has made herself ready;

            it was granted her to clothe herself

                        with fine linen, bright and pure’—

            for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.”

(Revelation 19:6-8 ESV)

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The Reality of Spiritual Warfare

I imagine that many of you have come across the image featured below at some point in time during your perusal of the Internet.

Image

Usually, I try to pretend that Christian subculture doesn’t exist, but every so often I come across something so irritating that I find it hard to keep silent and inevitably break my golden rule of not provoking intellectual arguments on the Internet.

Before I say anything else, however, I would like to point out that there’s no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Hence, my friends on Facebook shouldn’t feel ashamed if they were one of the people who “defeated Satan by sharing that photo.”

Spiritual warfare is an important part of Christian life, yet I feel like we either trivialize it, or we ignore it (both of which are foolish, but I’m going to focus more on the former).

In First Peter 5:8, we receive a serious warning describing the dangers of spiritual warfare. The Bible states, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”

The Devil is seeking to destroy you, and he’s not a sissy as that photo makes him out to be. Satan is not afraid of the Bible; he knows it so well he can twist it and corrupt it in order to lead you towards sin (Matthew 4). So Why would he swoon like an old lady with fainting spells because you have a Bible near you? Additionally, Satan is not afraid of us. Two Thousand years ago, Satan attempted to lead the Son of God away from righteousness, and if the Devil tempted the Word made flesh, why would he be afraid of approaching a follower of the word who has yet to be perfected?

You cannot defeat the Father of Lies simply by posting a picture on the Internet. The only way to overcome Satan is to look to the cross and admit that Christ’s actions are the ones that really matter, not yours. You are not validated because you read the Word of God. You are validated because you are the dwelling place of the Spirit of God.

That photo claims that Satan will try to prevent you from reposting it, but personally, I believe that Satan has something much more devious in mind for that photo. Either he’ll convince you to repost it and thereby think that you have nothing to fear, or he will use something trivial and stupid to make you think that he has nothing to do with your Christian life. Honestly, I’m not sure which one is more dangerous.

 “Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers.” –James 1:16

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Tattoos and Christian Liberty (In Response to Relevant)

I’ve read quite a few “Christian” articles on tattoos, and, typically, the overwhelming majority errantly claims that people with tattoos are sinners who are gambling with their salvation by doing something so appalling to their bodies, which is why I put parenthesis around the word Christian.

However, today I happened upon an article from Relevant Magazine on tattoos that actually merited a response. In his article, Matthew Lee Anderson essentially argues that Christians should refrain from getting tattoos (or at least be very hesitant about getting them) for the sake of Christian unity. All in all, it wasn’t too bad of an argument; except for the fact that Anderson failed to realize that Christian liberty goes both ways.

In his article, Anderson stated, “The purpose and goal of Christian freedom is love and unity, which sometimes may mean joyfully relinquishing desires for the sake of others. Tattoos should not be occasions for asserting one’s rights against others, but of listening, learning and seeking the unity God has brought in Christ.” I wholeheartedly agree with Anderson that Christians should seek to relinquish their desires for the sake of love, but why do those with tattoos always have to be the ones to relinquish? It’s not like I’m going to drag a fellow Christian into a tattoo parlor, so why should other Christians be able to drag me out of one?

I have a tattoo on my arm and a tattoo on my chest. The one on my chest reminds me of the work that God has done in my heart, and the one on my arm reminds me of the eternal hope that I should live my life by. So how exactly do those tattoos distract others or myself from the glory of God? I’ve only had the tattoo on my arm for a couple of days now, yet I’ve already had quite a few conversations with complete strangers about the gospel when they ask me what it means. How many times have you had a Christ-centered conversation with others that was started by your unblemished skin?

Ultimately, we have to ask ourselves what brings more glory to God? A group of Christians who are similar in almost every way, or a group of Christians who are so diverse that only God could have brought them together? I believe that in the latter we see true Christian freedom and unity.

Sidebar: This is not my main point, but it really annoys me when people play the translation card. It is widely regarded in biblical academic circles that the NASB and ESV are the two most accurate English translations of the Bible in existence. Additionally, when it comes to Revelation 19:16, they say exactly the same thing. Therefore, I’m going to trust the opinion of the scholars who were ordained by God to translate the Bible for hundred of millions of people over some statement by an obscure scholar who I had never even heard of before he was dredged up to support an opinionated view. (Sorry if that sounded antagonistic. I mean no offense to either Anderson or Osborne.)

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Beer and Theology

In addition to loving theology, I am very fond of beer. Some might think that’s a little contradictory, and some might even call me a sinner for it. However, beer and other forms of alcohol has played important roles in the history of the church. Martin Luther in particular was notorious for it. One of these days I might find the time to write about the correlation of Alcohol and Christian life, until then, you can find an excellent series of post on the topic at my friend’s blog.

So what’s the point of this particular post if I’m not going to talk about theology? It’s simply to share the list of my 50 favorite beers. Enjoy… If your conscience permits.

(Note: The list is arranged alphabetically by brewery, and the numerical placement does not imply that #1 is better than #50. Also, I tried to keep the list balanced with a variety of ales, IPAs, and stouts in order to appeal to the masses. Further information about particular beers on the list can be found at Beeradvocate.com)

  1. Bell’s Hopslam
  2. Bell’s Two Hearted
  3. Bell’s Oberon
  4. Bell’s Amber Ale
  5. Bosteels’ Triple Karmeliet
  6. Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA
  7. Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA
  8. Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron
  9. Dogfish Head Burton Baton
  10. Dogfish Head Pangea
  11. Dogfish Head Red and White
  12. Dogfish Head Raison D’Etre
  13. Dogfish Head World Wide Stout
  14. Dogfish Head Midas Touch
  15. Dogfish Head Chateau Jiahu
  16. Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout
  17. Founders Backwoods Bastard
  18. Founders Dirty Bastard
  19. Founders Pale Ale
  20. Founders Red Rye PA
  21. Founders Imperial Stout
  22. Founders Double Trouble
  23. Goose Island Sofie
  24. Great Lakes Commodore Perry
  25. Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald
  26. Green Flash Hop Head Red
  27. Left Hand Fade to Black
  28. Left Hand 400 Pound Monkey
  29. Left Hand Good JuJu
  30. North Coast Pranqster
  31. North Coast Old Rasputin
  32. North Coast Scrimshaw
  33. North Coast Brother Thelonious
  34. Ommegang Three Philosophers
  35. Ommegang Hennepin
  36. Rogue Juniper Pale Ale
  37. Rogue McRogue Scotch Ale
  38. Schlafly Pumpkin Ale
  39. Schneider Aventinus
  40. Southern Tier 2x Ipa
  41. St. Bernardus Tripel
  42. St. Bernardus Prior 8
  43. Stone Oaked Arrogant Bastard
  44. Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous
  45. Stone Cali-Belgique
  46. Stone Ruination
  47. Three Floyds Dreadnaught IPA
  48. Three Floyds Pride and Joy
  49. Three Floyds Robert the Bruce
  50. Three Floyds Gumballhead
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