Marduk's Terror

Thursday, September 01, 2005

awilum.com

Marduk's Terror is now defunct. But, out of Marduk's ashes arises awilum.com--bigger, better, independent, newly focused, and better in every way. Come on over and visit.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Portrait de Charles Baudelaire, de profil en Chapeau no 2


Marduk's Terror is pleased to announce the recent acquisition of this etching by Edouard Manet to the private collection of Charles and Lori Halton. Details coming soon. Who says that evangelicals are cultural Philistines?

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Bias in Archaeology and Biblical Studies

When most people think of the bias of theologians, archaeologists, or people who engage in biblical studies, conservatives normally come to mind. But, as Colby Willen skillfully illustrates, bias resides not only with conservatives, but liberals as well. In the course of my PhD work (which I am truly earning--see discussion for details) I constantly am confronted with bias toward the Bible, events reported in ancient Near East documents, etc. Many people seem to have an allergic reaction with ancient documents and dismiss them with haste. But, on the other hand, many people accept every new finding or new hypothesis that seems to support the validity of the Bible before these novelties have been thought through and investigated. As for me, I'm with Colby--I'm a conservative skeptic.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Manditory Retirement Age

According to cnn.com Chief Justice William Rehnquist was hospitalized over a fever. This brings up an interesting issue: Should we have a manditory age limit for retirement? This might eliminate individuals from the workforce that have become a drag to operations because they increasingly miss work because of illness or are not able to perform up to standards. But, a manditory retirement age would also elminate many individuals who are exceptionally qualified for their positions and are still able to operate at a high level. Examples of exceptional geriatric leaders might be: Sumner Redstone-CEO of Viacom, 82; Rupert Murdoch-CEO of News Corp, 74; Donald Rumsfeld-SecDef, 73. These individuals have clearly distinguished themselves from much younger candidates and still add tremendous value to their organizations and society at large. Given this, there is a point at which a person's mental or physical abilities begin to dimish. This in no way dimishes their worth as human beings, but each individual should be attune to their own condition and voluntarily remove themselves from full-time work when they are no longer able to perform at the expected levels. Thankfully, we do not have a manditory age of retirement and our society greatly benefits because of it.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Free Tip

For all the two people who will ever view this site, here's a free tip for you--(for purposes of full disclosure, I NEVER trade off tips, please you don't either--make a trade because its a good trade, not because someone told you it would be a good trade). Think four little letters: BIDU. You're welcome.

Plates for Adad-Guppi Inscription

I am working on an essay concerning an inscription about Nabonidus' mother Adad-Guppi. The inscription is on basalt found at Harran--the city that housed the moon-god Sin (of which Adad-Guppi was the priestess). Anyway, if anyone out there knows where I can find some readable plates of the cunieform I would appreciate it. I found an article in Anatolian Studies, but the plates were really sub-par and I will most probably go blind trying to read them. I have a transliteration, but I desire the cunieform. Thanks.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Forbes' Moral and Financial Irresponsibility

Let me start out by saying that I love Forbes magazine. It provides thoughtful insights and interesting treatments of current events. Rich Karlgaard, the publisher, is fantastic and Steve Forbes has great ideas--chief among them--the flat tax. That being said, Forbes really dropped the ball lately. Forbes has joined America's second favorite pastime of compiling lists by assembling a list of a hypothetical personal budget that one would have to have in order to live "comfortably" in selected American cities. Of the countless moral and financial errors made in this list, here are some of the most egregious: 1) Out of an after tax income of $407,200 not one penny was earmarked for charity or any other philanthropic activity. 2) Out of the same $407,200 budget a paltry $4,100 is set aside for savings--less than 1% of one's after tax income. 3) The combined value of the primary residence and the vacation home (mortgaged to the hilt no less) is $4,500,000, or more than 11 times the after tax income. Forbes claimed that they did research with mortgage lenders to obtain figures for payments, but I wonder if a lender, even in this real-estate crazed market, would let someone leverage into that much house. So, if we consider the implied message of Forbes' budget we understand that no one can possibly be "comfortable" unless they pull in a yearly income in excess of $600,000, then those people who are part of the 0.3% of the US population who do then only spend their money in a completely self-centered manner, at retirement they have to sell their homes because they are flat broke because they haven't saved hardly anything, and the bank repos their properties at the slightest hiccup that life brings their way. Sorry Forbes, I love you, but you're completely out of your mind and soul on this one.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Hedge Funds Should Look East

The Wall Street Journal reports in an essay entitled, Why Hedge Funds Hunt for Animals, Search the Stars, that new hedge fund managers are having a hard time coming up with names for their startup funds that are not already taken. According to some estimates there are over 8,000 hedge funds and these fund managers seem to have a fascination with names derived from Greek and Roman culture. No wonder they're having problems, they are fighting over a narrow universe of terms. Why not blase a new trail and name your fund after Near Eastern themes? How does the Cyrus Fund sound? How about Hammurapi Partners or Rabu Capital? I think this idea has legs. If anyone has several tens of millions they would like to give me (with terms of 2% annual fee plus 20% profits) I'd be happy to implement this.