31 August, 2005

Harry Potter for Nerds


John Granger has written another piece on the Alchemical Skeleton of Harry Potter.

I personally think that Alchemy does its level best to turn Christianity into a mystery religion, which doesn't make sense with the whole 'truth shall set you free' thing.

That being said, many of Granger's theories have come to pass in regard to the books thus far. There is a lot of further talk dissecting the books along these lines at Harry Potter For Seekers. Much of it makes my head hurt, but it is fun for those days when you want to immerse in Potter Arcana beyond 'shipping and slash.

In a semi-related note, the geekworld is speculating about book 7 being released either on 7/7/07 or 7/31/07 (Harry's & Jo's birthday)

Just What The Heck ARE You, Anyway?

A.C. Kleinheider, lazy man that he is, asks me the $64K question:

What is a Mennonite anyway?

So here's the more-information-than-anyone-needed answer, which I've moved out of the comments section, because if I spend more than five minutes on it, it's a full post.

1. Mennonites are Christians.
We believe in the diety of Jesus, His death, resurrection, and atonenent for sins. Our doctrinal beliefs are very similar to Baptists in most respects.

2. Mennonites are Anabaptists
Mennonites are one of the sects of protestantism that sprung up to advocate adult baptism. Other Anabaptist sects are the various Baptist churches, The Campbell Church of Christ and our much-noticed cousins, the Amish.

3. Mennonites are Pacifists
Like the Quakers, Mennonites are considered one of the Peace Churches. Don't ask me how I reconcile my support for the Iraq war with my Mennonism, because it is a long and complicated story that involves my ultimate decision to believe that there are some things worth dying for. And those things would include the freedom for people in other countries to worship as they choose. My Anabaptist ancestors were historical martyrs to their faith. I feel that it dishonors part of the spirit of our faith if we are willing to die for creed but not for kin.

4. Mennonites believe in The Church In Action
You will see spontaneous and organized charity from Mennonites, as we believe the best practices of charity are in helping our kin. Many other churches believe in what is commonly called "storehouse tithing". That's where you give your tithe to whatever church you attend which that church then spends as it sees fit. Mennonites believe that any gift to anyone in need is the basis of the true practice of tithing. Many Mennonites don't even meet in a church building, electing to instead spend the building money on outreach.

5. There are several different types of Mennonite.
Old-order Mennonites are often confused with Amish, because they have similar Plain ways. ("Plain" in this context means the rejection of modern conveniences and styles of dress.)

I am an Evangelical Mennonite, which (oddly enough) was once refered to as "Egly Amish", since we got our start from a dude named Henry Egly, who founded the "Defenseless Mennonites" in Berne, Indiana. So, we're enough like the Amish in our beliefs as to have carried that nickname for a hundred years or so. We've elected, however, to not adopt the Plain tenets of other Mennonites.

6. Mennonites differ from Catholics
From what I know of Catholicism, the main difference is of course our belief in Adult Baptism by immersion versus infant sprinkling. We also disagree with Papal Authority, the Bishopric system of the Catholic Church and the focus on the Church Edifice.

7. Mennonites Know How To Cook
There's no way anyone will go to a Mennonite gathering and come away hungry. If you walk away hungry, we've not done our duty to show you the Lord's gift of Hospitality. It's a cultural thing that often involves chicken, pie, scrapple, hot potato salad corn and cheese.

8. Mennonites Are All Over The World

but they are sparse in Nashville. The one we attended met only in the evening so that the few members would be able to have their children meet with youth groups at larger churches on Sunday morning.
Tim and I now attend First Baptist simply because we felt the call to a downtown church with an active ministry on all levels.

I hope that answered some questions. Ask away if there are others.

At least I blogged about more than Gay Hobbits today.

Katrina Relief

As we have been for hundreds of years, Mennonites will be at the forefront of relief for victims of Katrina. I've donated to MDS for years, and know them to be a caring, compassionate and efficient charity.

The High Price Of A Husband

I'm married. Happily.

My husband is a cyclist, and Labor Day Weekend for him means the last Century of the season. For the uninitiated, that means he will be riding one hundred miles on his bicycle. That also means that we will not be going to Dragon*Con.

I'm fine with it. Really.

I just realized that these last three posts really unveil the depths of my total geekitude to the world at large. Wow. Good thing I decided to not post my thoughts on Susan Polgar. People might think I was a nerd.

Hobbittses Holiday

I will be spending my Labour Day (sorry, Patrick) LABOR day weekend watching the entire extended edition LOTR trilogy. I figure this is good for about 20 hours of pure fun.

I love these movies, but I'm trying to figure out how to not fall asleep during the looooong sequences with Merry, Pippen and Treebeard.

Queer Eye For the Hobbit Guy?

Spleenville assembles the data and breaks the bad news:

Elijah Wood just might be a little bit gay.

I should clarify: This is only bad news if you are one of the three girls who is in the love with him and hasn't already figured out that the mere fact you are a 9th grader in East Gimcracky lets you out of the marriage pool for ol' Lije. For the rest of us, who care not one whit about the sexual preferences of strange men under 6 feet tall the whole thing is merely amusing.

30 August, 2005

He Found Him In Mombassa, In A Barroom Drinkin' Gin

Nothing at all to say.

Just love that line.

White Girlz Rap

I write about my conversion to rap music over at Glean Dean's new group music blog Tangled Up In Blue. All music, and technically no politics. Given the fact that we all seem to be Dylan Maniacs, I imagine some allusions to politics might be made. Or Not.

Check it out. It's fun.

29 August, 2005

Making A Stand for The Stand

Mel is reading The DaVinci Code. Poor thing just couldn't take the relentless societal pressure. Her opinions are her own, of course (and usually good ones) but she did say something that triggered that spark in my brain.
...I'm not convinced it is a modern day classic, not any more than a Stephen King or Tom Clancy

Common wisdom seems to hold Entertainment Fiction in a hermetically-sealed, seperate bag from Literate Fiction, with the twain not only never meeting but (judging from many pieces of Literate Fiction I've read) not even cross-pollinating. If you read it in the airport or at the beach it isn't a Truly Good Book. Anyone who knows me for more than five minutes is usually treated to a tirade about how this is so very wrong and very elitist and Anna Karenina sucks. (That story is told much more efficiently, but no less annoyingly, in that stupid Doobie Brothers song.)

Leaving aside Female Suicide By Penis Substitutes and returning to actual Great Literature for the moment, allow me to humbly submit The Stand by Stephen King. Forget all you know about Molly Ringwald and the guy who played Max Headroom . Let the miniseries, with its hamhanded use of Blue Oyster Cult recede from your mind.

This book is a masterpiece descended directly from the great Epic poems of Homer and grandfathered by A Canticle For Leibowitz. We are introduced to dozens of fully-realized characters who react to extraordinary circumstances in ordinary ways. This has always been the hallmark of Great Literature, from Aeschylus to Zora. Grace notes from The Grapes Of Wrath can be seen as those characters who survive the initial apocalypse press toward their climactic fates. In fact, this description for Grapes can be equally applied to the entirety of The Stand.
...depicts the lives of ordinary people striving to preserve their humanity in the face of social and economic desperation

I would argue that by moving the Joadian struggle to a more stark and abandoned post-apocalyptic world, King creates a realm where humanity is truly challenged by eternity. The dust and poverty of Grapes transmutes into the ash and abandonment of The Stand, leaving the characters to react to God on a grander scale. God, a remote and useless presence in so much of what passes for Great Literature in the latter half of the twentieth century, is a fully-realized presence in The Stand. More importantly for the human audience is the presence of true faith and action. Not since Pilgrim's Progress has there been as exacting a picture of the mystical journey undtertaken by the ordinary faithful.

And, you know, The Stand is just fun to read. I realize that many times that is a cardinal sin in the annals of Literary Thinking. We've come to view our Great Books as the brussells sprouts reading we must do before we can escape into the pudding world of the books everyone is actually buying and enjoying. I love that King has done what Joyce could not. He created a masterpiece for the masses. Kind of like those guys Shakespeare and Dickens.

27 August, 2005

Touching My Own Breast In the Movies

Okay. I'll lay even money that I'm NOT the only woman who had to see if it felt even remotely like a bag of sand.

(Answer: It doesn't.)

26 August, 2005

Should Christians Apologize For Other Christians?

We had a healthy debate about this a few days ago over at Jason's , and the thought has still been bouncing around in my head.

Christianity has existed for about 1972 years, give or take a decade or so. In that time there have been all manner of folks claiming the Cross as their standard and using it to justify their worldly behaviour. In all these years there have been many more attributing all manner of illsto Christians.

As a believer I am firmly rooted in the opinion that I must apologize profusely for any wrongs I committ, knowingly or unknowingly. Matthew 7:16 emphasizes that we are known by the fruit of our actions, and I've had many a rotting fig dangling.

I still can't shake the idea, though, that it's judgmental and kind of gossipy to apologize for other Christians' malfeasance. "Hey you, I'm sorry that Johnny McSaved and his uncontrolled lust for goats gives The Faith a bad name!"

To me, that just looks like telling tales out of school. In some cases, it even means that people end up showing their ignorance about historical events as they fall over themselves to make nice for Christ.

he did apologize for “the missionaries who landed in Mexico and came up through the West slaughtering Indians in the name of Christ.”

which missionaries were those? the conquistadors did that, but the missionaries... did a great job of actually reaching people where they were

For the most part, we're enthusiastic about our Saviour and ourGreat Commission duties. That's a good thing. But are we so busy mote-busting our brethren that we carry the wrong message? You tell me.

Ultimately, these folk said it best: The CHURCH is not our model...Jesus is.

25 August, 2005

And The Geek Shall Inherit The Earth

Get your position here

Is Firefly Really That Good?

Many of my blogfriends (you nerds know who you are) are way off into Firefly.

It aired two or three years ago on Fox and was cancelled pretty quickly. I don't remember hearing anyone talk about it, and now with the movie coming out, I'm feeling the pressure to get involved.

I love space movies, and have ever since I was 6. I also love Westerns. As far as I'm concerned, Silverado is one of the best movies made. Ever. I used to say there was no such thing as a bad Western until I saw this pretentious piece of revisionist drivel.

Honestly, though, folks. Is combining a Western with Sci Fi a good move? Should I try to get my hands on the boxed set and get a feel for the thing or should I just let this particular fanboy train pass me by?

Props For My New Favourite Restaurant

Kay West reviews Bistro 2one5 this week.

Tim and I first ate there in March of this year, and have been back several times since. Other than their waitress telling us we ordered too much food the last time we were there, we've always enjoyed it.

I was unaware they had recently introduced an Artisan Cheese Plate. I think I shall go back. Cheese holds a very specific power over me. If you decide to go, I recommend either the Spinach Pistou pasta or the Eggs Benedict with Crab Cakes.

Fred Phelps Is Not A Christian

Hat Tip : Kathy Shaidle.

Fred Phelps and his group actually do not refer to themselves as Christians.

File this under 'thank God for small huge favours'.

Beware The Idiot March

The Scene has a great story about Perry's time in Mexico.

Am I the only one who thinks this guy is a menace?

24 August, 2005

You Fat Bastard

Nashvillians are in a tizzy over this article which lists Tennessee as having the fifth-highest rate for obesity. Blake Wylie extrapolites a political philosophy from the data, while Sarah Moore draws her own conclusions.

I am fat. It's not a secret once you've seen me in person. (Sorry, you'll have to take my word for it. I don't generally allow my picture to be taken.) I have been on nearly every diet in the world. I am not lazy and I don't eat like a pig. I work out strenuously during the times when my body will allow me to. I go to McDonalds about once a month. If I had my way I'd be thin so that people wouldn't look at me with disgust when I unload my grocery cart and waiters would stop telling me that I've ordered too much food in their restaurant. I don't generally care what others think of me, because I don't have that much time. There are occasions, however, that I'd like to not be sneered at simply for existing.

Weight prejudice in this country seems to be escalating. People are using the new cudgle of 'health concern' to wield this fancy exclusionism. While they pretend to be the equivalent of a sweet grandma reminding you to take your sweater on a fall day, they are really disseminating the twin evils of classism and appearance prejudice. Overweight is presumed to be growing (ha!) problem, based on flawed and inflated statistics.
In most cases, this problem has been wholly manufactured in order to increase interference in the personal lives of free Americans.

In my own case, I was fat before the statistics changed. I'm just as fat now, but technically I'm fatter. Maybe now I'll spend my money on one of the diet companies that sponsors the hype.

23 August, 2005

The Real Cost Of Robertson's Remarks

About 10 years ago Tim and I had a legitimate reason to visit the campus of Regent University, where Pat Robertson is safely ensconsed. It's a nice campus down in Virginia, not far from Norfolk Naval Base. The grounds are beautifully kept, and the only overt sign of Robertson's fiefdom are the large satellite dishes used to beam The 700 Club to televisions everywhere.

Contrast that with the Richardson Families. These Mennonite missionaries
have committed their lives to answering God's call to Venezuela through New Tribes Missions. These couples, and others like them, have moved to Venezuela to translate Scriptures for various tribes, plant churches, and provide medical care. A quick read-through of the prayers page for Venezuela shows the hard and rewarding work these people have in bringing the Gospel to people who hunger and thirst for righteousness. There are many.

Yanomami tribe, Venezuela (April 19th, 2005): Nine Yanomamis hiked eight days through the jungle to ask for a missionary. Their desperation was evident to missionary pilot Steffan Pyle. Pray that God will send laborers.

When Robertson, safe on the other side of the television camera, makes careless remarks he jeopardizes this very real work. He also jeopardizes the lives of these missionaries, as well as the lives of the tribespeople with whom they live.

We are called to be in this world, not of it. Advocating murder seems to definitely cross that line.

Render Unto Chavez

Pat Robertson wants us to kill Hugo Chavez.

Pat calls himself a minister of the Gospel. You know, the gospel where it says "while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us unless we held a differing political ideology from the church leaders."

Or maybe it's the gospel that says "greater love hath no Man than he who encourages the assasination of people he doesn't agree with."

Or maybe it's the gospel that says "don't worry about the log in your eye...just ignore it and advocate the murder of others."

You know, I'm not a big fan of Hugo Chavez. I think the man is twisted evil. But I don't get to make the call on whether he lives or dies, because my God License hasn't yet come in the mail.

Someone should point Pat to Hebrews 6:6

ETC: Cesar to Hugo. I have Cesar Chavez on the brain. Must be all of the grapes...

Things My Daughter Will NEVER Be Allowed To Wear

We went to dinner at Caeser's last week and saw a girl about 11 or 12 wearing a t-shirt that said

"If it weren't for BOYS, I'd drop out of school."

Stellar parenting, folks.

22 August, 2005

How My Husband Ruined Miles Davis

When it comes to Jazz, I tend to prefer piano over trumpet but I do like a lot of Miles Davis.

Tim plays the trumpet and loves Miles. So, naturally, he made this song his ringtone.

Now whenever I listen to the album I want to shout "Honey, your cell is ringing."

(I, on the other hand, had the good taste to make this my ringtone. I'm such a tough broad...

21 August, 2005

The Road To Hell Is Paved With My Hair

One of my bridesmaids has cancer. She's been fighting it off and on for 5 years now, with mixed results. She called on New Year's Day this year to get caught up, and fill me in on her bone marrow transplant. We went through the usual discussions–how much weight we put on over the holiday, how many people from High School turned out to be gay–and got around to hair. Joan has always been one of those friends who likes to make suggestions for improvement. Every woman has a friend like this, who means well. At least they better, because if they didn't you'd want to back a van over them. "That may not be your best color" etc. Her suggestions have invariably led in my case to firming undergarments and breast-enhancing sweaters. ("Be proud of what God gave you up top, and hide what He stuck you with around the middle.")

I was sure when we got to hair I'd hear the latest about pixie cuts and pageboys and perms. (If it begins with a 'p', I don't want it done to my hair) To my surprise, she told me that I should keep growing it out.

"You've always had beautiful hair, Kathy." I'm paging through the TiVo menu on 'mute', so that I can have part of my brain distracted from what is surely a Personal Improvement Talk.

"Thanks." Man, I miss the be-doop sound of my TiVo.

"I think you should grow it out and then donate it to Locks of Love. They use it to make wigs for cancer patients."

As this is a charitable cause which takes little (read: no) effort on my part, I thought it sounded relatively painless. I was up for it.

"I know you love Little Women. You can be just like Jo March, and donate your hair to a good cause." Wow, I feel good about this conversation....

"Yeah, I'm just like Jo. Amy told her that her hair was her One Beauty." (I've always wanted to slap that pickled-lime eating prima donna.)


At that point, I figured I'd go ahead and do it anyway. I was just hoping that she wouldn't get my hair.

In the movie of my life, you'd see me over the next eight months in a variety of hysterical positions. Waking up in the middle of the night by pulling my own hair; snagging brushes in butt-length tangles; collecting an endless variety of hair ties. I own scrrunchies, thick rubber bands, thin rubber bands, barrettes and banana clips. You know those scenes in movies and tv shows where a male character wistfully holds his wife's 'before' lingerie up to the camera, and then whips out some whale-size pregnancy panties? That's how I felt when I could no longer wrap my cute purple Turbie Twists around my wet hair. They have been gradually replaced by heavy bath towels. I couldn't even use the cute yellow ones because Quinn has claimed them .

By Thursday I'd had enough. I finally went to be shorn of my Charity Locks and get back to some decent length hair. I figured that if nine months is long enough to grow a baby it ought to be good enough for a head of hair. Proudly I sit in the stylist's chair, whip off the scrunchie and announce my intentions.

"Honey, nobody is gonna want this hair. It's too damaged."

It thrilled me to discover that my one beauty is too damaged for charity. I decided I'd delay the part where I get Backslidden and wallow in self pity long enough to finally Get A Decent Haircut. I'm pleased to report that I no longer look as though I make my living selling vegetarian chili in the parking lot of a Dead Show.

And Locks of Love takes Visa.

19 August, 2005

No One Saw This Coming

You scored as Nerdy Girl.

What type of girl are you?!!
created with QuizFarm.com

These quizzes are fun, but I must admit that I am puzzled as to why I would want to know if I were a Natural Vampire. More to the point, I don't assume that were I said 'Natural Vampire' I would need a quiz to figure that out.

Dogs Named After Dylan Songs Tend To Be Eccentric

Or so I generalize. Six years ago this Sunday Tim and I decided to get a dog, but we couldn't agree on which breed we wanted. We'd talked about it for years, two of which were spent on waiting lists for a Bernese Mountain Dog. On one hot and crazy day we made the decidedly unSolomonic decision to get one of each, which in the long run is a smart move. Two dogs will keep one another company and their weight stays down with a constant playmate to chase after. Plus, it just rounds out our eccentric family group nicely.

Quinn is an American Eskimo. And he is a freak. He can open every interior door in our house, understands what the letters T-R-E-A-T spell and has spent the last three months hunting a lizard he once saw under the hosereel in the backyard.

The worst part of it is that he likes to be ornamented. The first three weeks that we had him he insisted on wearing a cat collar that had a little bell. In one of my daily dogabuse rituals I draped a yellow towel over his back.

He seemed to think it looked pretty, and kept it on. For two hours. Now, whenever he sees a yellow towel, he sticks his neck out and asks to have it put back on.

Lacy, remember when I said one of our dogs was Village People-y? Well, this would be him.

(P.S. This is my happy post for the day. I think.)

Mennonites In The City

A Mennonite reflects on Catholicism and what it means to the modern Church.

I understand the priesthood of all believers to be—and I rely on my practical understanding rather than doctrinal dictates—the notion that we all administer, embody and mediate the presence of God to one another. The great mystical privilege and responsibility of the priestly role is decentralized.

It is often hard to explain the Mennonite view of Christianity to people who persist on seeing us as merely buggy-driving hippies. This piece explains it nicely.

18 August, 2005

Inspired by Cindy Sheehan

I've been inspired by recent events. There is a powerful world figure who owes us all a few answers. This person has recently made many decisions that the many of us don't agree with and has issued several statements that are half-truths at best. We honestly don't know what to believe. To make matters worse, this world figure–whose goal in life seems to be to become rich off the backs of the common man–has decided to take a SIX MONTH VACATION. I've had enough.

I think I am going to go to Edinburgh and sit outside J.K. Rowling's house. I want answers. We were promised that we'd find out what happened in Godric's Hollow. Did we? No. What about the Missing 24 Hours? Where are those? The world has waited for a resolution to the Ron, Hermione, Harry and Ginny questions, and we have yet to receive a solid, clearcut answer.

Harry Potter fans, join me at Camp Muggle. We are owed the truth.

Hot Christians In Print

Christian Fiction is the latest lifeboat for the financially beset [article requires purchase] U.S. publishing industry. This can only mean one of two things. Either we will start seeing quality Christian Fiction in the marketplace, or readers will have to get used to mediocre trade paperbacks with 16pt double-spaced type.

Step into any Christian bookstore or mosey over to the Religious Fiction ghetto in a mainstream bookstore and pick up any random piece of Christian fiction. Ninety percent of the time you will get:
1. Large type
2. Double spacing
3. Low page count
4. Continued story through multiple volumes, requiring seperate purchase.

I haven't figured out if this book design structure is due to the primary demographic skewing older or because there isn't that much book to these books.
If you plan to jump on the bandwagon, here are some suggestions from a Conservative Christian Bibliophile to help you with your writing.

The Thoene Rule Christians aren't generally mentally subnormal as an overall group. We can handle more complex characterizations and plot structures.

The Livingston Hill RuleMost of us are aware of the existence of sex, drinking, card-playing and cable television. Most of us partake of at least two of the four activities at some point in our life. Don't shy away from making your characters real, but please feel free to avoid the word 'tumescent'.

The Jenkins LaHaye Rule If you have one story to tell, try to fit it in one book. I get that your publishers would rather stretch it out to a multi-volume series but readers catch on. It's a shoddy practice and makes your carefully crafted work look simplistic.

The Peretti Rule Please avoid writing a book about the Sins of the Community turning into a tangible beast/serpent/dragon unless you are absolutely certain that you can pull it off. Hint: you can't.

The Holmes Rule Bible characters had interesting lives. Not all of them necessarily require you to rewrite their story in long form.

The Holmes Rule Part II: Rivers Clause It is also not necessary to 'reimagine' Bible characters in a different time period or setting. If you find your outline summary containing the sentence 'It's the story of Abednego, but set on Alpha Centauri' you may want to try again.

I spend thousands of dollars a year on books. In the last five years I have spent a grand total of $32.95 on Christian fiction. I'd like to see more of my money go in this direction, but please meet me halfway. To paraphrase Hank Hill: Make Christianity better. Don't make fiction worse.

Nun Protests Filming In Church

Kathy Shaidle links to this story about a nun protesting the filming of scenes from The DaVinci Code.

Her objection?
'I know the bishop and dean argue it is fiction - and it might even be brilliant fiction - but it is against the very essence of what we believe.'

The Bishop's response?
'We are not often given an opportunity to enter such an arena, and this was an opportunity we needed to take in order to preach the Gospel.

I'm still not quite sure exactly how they intend to do that. Maybe the bishop will stand in the background with a "John 3:16" poster.

17 August, 2005

When Extreme Makeover Home Edition Turns Ugly.


In a suit filed Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, Charles Higgins II, 22, and his four younger siblings say that the producers took advantage of the family's hard-luck story and promised them new cars and other prizes to persuade them to participate in the program, first broadcast on Easter Sunday, March 27.

The Higgins children say that after both parents died within weeks of one another in 2004, they were taken in by Firipeli and Lokilani Leomiti of Santa Fe Springs. The suit claims that the Leomitis used the children to increase their chances of being selected for the program.

Letters About Literature Contest

The organizations that sponsor the Southern Festival of Books is having a Letters About Literature Contest. The email I received this morning says in part:

The contest invites students to write letters to authors-living or
dead-explaining how their works affected them personally. The contest has three competition levels. Level I is open to readers ingrades 4-6, who are asked to write letters of 100-250 words; Level II isopen to readers in grades 7-8, who are asked to write letters of 250-500 words; Level III is open to readers in grades 9-12, who are asked to write letters of 500-750 words.

There are any number of cash and prizes for the winners. The Deadline is 12/1/05.

If you know any young people, let them know about this opportunity.


There are any number of jokes that can be made about a person suffering from a migraine, not the least of which is the whole PITA comment. I've had migraines and cluster headaches since I was 11.

This article states that only one in twenty sufferers is receiving preventative treatment.

Part of the problem is that many people, perhaps half, don't realize they have migraine headaches, said Dr. Frederick J. de la Vega, a neurologist with Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla in San Diego. "People will say they have a sinus headache, but that's basically just a layman's description of the headache they have."



Lileks this morning on the present issue in Crawford, TX.:

But if one still needs to understand the rationale for the Iraq campaign at this point, then one is willfully obtuse. Note: getting answers with which you do not agree still constitutes getting an answer.

Free Books

Tom directs to an Utne Reader Article on Libraries .

This being the Utne Reader, there is quite a bit of stuff (and nonsense?) about de facto censorship in the modern library. What they appear to mean by this is that the community doesn't use its funds to acquire, catalog and display a wide array of niche materials.
Ask young people about libraries. Do they expect to find recordings by indie bands or periodicals like Maximumrocknroll, Punk Planet, Venus, or Razorcake? Ask new immigrants. Can they find recorded music or community papers in their languages? Ask Neo-Pagans. Can they read Reclaiming Quarterly, PanGaia, and newWitch?

While it's perhaps regrettable that our libraries do not retain shelter publications for every varied interest under the sun, the fact is that funding is limited. Most library patrons aren't aware that a large number of new-release popular materials are actually rented from a clearinghouse. If you see a green sliptag under the plastic-wrapped dust jacket, the book is not owned by the DCPL system.

One of my favourite pastimes at my old job was reading this magazine. You'd be amazed at the amount of time and energy spent by modern acquisition librarians as they tailor collections to the needs of the community which funds them.

UPDATE: I couldn't remember the name of the rental program, so I asked the Library. It is called McNaughton and their website is very interesting, if you happen to be a library geek.

16 August, 2005

On The Salvation Of Little Girls

Today I ate a piece of green-apple flavoured candy by mistake, and the taste reminded me of the time I watched my cousins respond to 23 altar-calls in a row.

Even though the three of us were cousins, and born within eight months of one another, we had nothing in common. Jen was tall and coltish with long red hair. Cherrie was as petite as Jen was tall and she reminded me of those tiny women who play Peter Pan because they won't break the wires. I, on the other hand, was a wire-breaker even at nine. Like Jen I was tall, but unlike her it could never be described as willowy. I had one of those Lolita bodies where the breasts rise early from the extra-yeasty dough and the hips start to curve. Our mutual grandmother, who had acquired our three parents by various (possibly nefarious) means decided that it would be good for us to go to camp together.

This camp, sponsered by her church, was set somewhere between vast fields of Indiana corn and was fully acceptable to any parent who didn't want their daughter exposed to dangerous ideas like boys and the wearing of pants. Having grown up with two brothers and several pairs of pants, I thought this was both overly strict and completely unnecessary. That aside, it was free and a chance to bond with The Other Cousins. I got on famously with the girls on my mom's side of the family, and really enjoyed the children of my dad's older brother. These two girls, however, were strangers to me and I was slightly afraid of them.

I didn't need to be too scared. Once it was established that Jen liked Starbuck and Cherrie liked horses, I figured the worst part was over. If I had to share my Richard Hatch crush we would have been in for a rocky week. I knew I was meant to be in charge, because not only did I have much better taste in men, I had also been to church camp. They, however, were both heathens, insofar as they both said "Oh My God" and didn't go to church. Jen's dad was some sort of travelling evangelist who dresssed as a pirate and carried a ventriloquist's dummy. I figured that while this might be a fine church pedigree in an ordinary person, the fact that the dummy was clearly the spawn of hell negated any bonus gold stars she may have gotten.

I was so wrong.

Other camps had teenage counselors who had fun make-up kits and Seventeen magazines stashed under their bunks. This all-girl Hallelujah Hothouse had tongue-clucking matrons staring down forty with hard-edged eyes. Mrs.'Think Of Me As Your Jesus Mom' Counselor started our warm mutual relationship by telling me she had known my father when they were kids and that I needed to wear a slip. Well, I had my own mom who would have laughed herself silly at the thought of a nine-year-old girl playing softball in a sundress in the first place.

Jen and Cherrie, on the other hand, appeared to have outfits you couldn't see through and were thus modest angels in comparison to the Nine Year Old Boobie Girl.

The fun continued as we had each of our multiple chapel services. Having been raised in a denomination that holds firmly to the controversial once-saved-always-saved position, I was in for a treat. It appeared that each service would not end until the pastor was satisfied with the Soul Quota. I comforted myself by counting the number of girls (87) and dividing it by the number who responded to the first altar call after fifteen minutes of badgering and 30 verses of 'Just As I Am'. Christian Story Problems! If nine girls are saved after one altar call how many services will it take before all present are enrolled in the Book of Life? I figured by Wednesday morning we'd be in the clear. Especially since I was already saved and hadn't yet, in my brief life, forsaken the Cross. Silly me. I hadn't reckoned on Arminism. When the same thirteen year old with long brown hair was saved in the first three services on Monday I began to cotton on. I also began to realize that I would need some form of amusement during the long prayer sessions. Herein is the origin of my 'any purse I buy must be big enough to hold a paperback book' rule. This book, about a beautiful girl who goes to Hollywood, becomes a prostitute, kills a man where he stands and winds up drunk in the New Orleans gutter was my best friend that week. The fact that it was a Christian Romance (she gets saved after the drunken gutter thing) meant that I didn't feel AS guilty. Then again, my usual bored-during-church reading is not as innocent as you would think.

Jen, who I think was probably sick of playing second fiddle to a wooden puppet, realized that there was some celebrity status surrounding the newly saved after each service. Other girls clamoured to know how it felt and you didn't get yelled at for having your elbows on the table at the next meal. Cherrie seemed destined to follow. All I ever did was read and write short stories about Richard Hatch in my Mead book, so Jen was the decidedly more attractive leader. Thus began the world's most protracted and dramatic conversion process. Each demand for sinners brought them to tears. Sometimes they would slip quietly out of the pew and down to the front for a quick prayer. Other times they would cry out from their seat and bring various counselours scurrying to our seats for urgent prayer. I figured all that mattered was being saved the first time. If they wanted the cool factor of repeated salvation it was no skin off my nose. Although I did picture God the Father holding back a rainstorm with one hand and annoyingly turning toward Indiana with a frustrated 'Not These Girls AGAIN!' What I hadn't considered was that next to the Aimee Semple MacPherson twins I looked like the original heathen. By Wednesday night, when everyone else had been to the altar at least once, proving the near-accuracy of my elementary math skills, I had unknowingly become the Mission Project for the entire camp staff. Keeping in mind that I was already saved and really enjoying my romps through the old testament in my Children's NIV , I was blissfully unaware of the impending crusade.

It began with a map to hell. Fully illustrated, it looked like a demonic CandyLand board game, with demons and flames all over the bottom of the page. The top part of the path led to heaven, natch, but you had to walk through The Cross. My counselor–suddenly willing to overlook my comparative state of undress–led me through the steps. When I assured her that I was already saved she insisted that it couldn't be true. I told her I accepted Christ after seeing a filmstrip about a Parable (earthly story, heavenly meaning. *ding* turn to next picture...).

"When was this? We didn't have any filmstrips this week." I started to suggest that perhaps that would have livened it up a bit and made things shorter. After all I was saved at the end a six minute audio visual presentation featuring squirrells. There had been no yelling about hell and definitely no choruses sung. Discretion being the better part of valour and the Hell Map being very convincingly drawn I decided to not press my luck. I thought she might give me a " Go Back Three Spaces" card.

"I go to a Christian School. It was in Kindergarten during Bible Week." (Yes, all weeks are technically Bible Week at a Christian School, but it only this one featured a new filmstrip every day. Most of the time we just got flannel graph.)

"Honey, that was a long time ago. You have backslidden since then." Her non-painted fingernail moved south on the curvy roadmap to illustrate what she meant.

"I don't think so. We don't have beer in our house." Seriously, that's what I said. The only time I ever heard about backsliding, it involved someone either drinking or playing cards.

The next night, in our evening devotions after final service she tried a different tack. Apparently the powers that be had decided to take my salvation on faith. Next came something I'd never heard of in my life.

"Honey, you need to be Sanctified." She explained the process of sanctification. I couldn't see how it differred in any way from my understanding of the Salvation I'd already experienced. Since it seemed to have already been taken care of by the Lord and it would make her happy to say she had an unblemished conversion record, I agreed to become sanctified. Little did I know that I would have to write a letter to my pastor about it. I have never felt like a bigger fool. I'm not given to sending letters to the Pastor. It seems a little Pauline. At nine years old I thought he had bigger fish to fry. But by this time my cousins had been saved a further six times and the heat was on. I sent what must have been the most bizarre letter, detailing my reasons for attending this decidedly non-Mennonite camp and informing him that I had jumped through an unnecessary Wesleyan hoop.

The next day was our last, and it was almost like the counselor had read my mind. We were going to have a movie in our closing service! A movie! I hoped it would have something to do with spaceships, but wouldn't mind if it featured a horse or a raccoon.

Since it was a movie and not held in the chapel we were allowed to bring treats. I spent the last of my weekly money on what must have been two dozen Sour Apple Jolly Ranchers. I hated this flavour, but Jen assured us it had something to do with catching boys. In between her salvations, my redheaded cousin was the most sex-mad person on the planet. Every discussion led back to the Rome of kissing boys, taking to boys, holding boys' hands. After choking down hundreds of these foul and nasty candies that week it occured to me years later that she was probably confusing them with the whole Green M&M rumour.

Our movie turned out to be–I know this will come as a shock–a cartoon about the salvation message. Some little boy built a boat, lost it on the pond and later came across it in a shop window. He saved up his money to buy the boat back. I cried through the entire second half as the little boy did chores all over the house to earn his boat money. Sticky green saliva mixed with tears in the back of my throat and I was miserable. I was also mad at the little boy for not putting his name on his boat. The whole thing seemed ridiculous and unfair. As bright as always, my cousins mistook my tears of frustration for a spiritual breakdown and urged me to come to the front with them for the week's final altar call.

I didn't go. Twenty-five years later I'm still saved (and sanctified). Both my cousins seem to have fallen a bit away, and I sometimes wish they'd gotten the Hell Map. Regardless, I steer clear of Sour Apple flavoured anything. Don't you just hate sense-memory?

14 August, 2005

Justice & The Hatchet-Man

I like Chuck Colson. I really do. He has become a strong voice for Christianity in the modern world. I don't agree with everything he says, but I will defend his right to yadda-yadda-you know the rest.

He's part of the misbegotten rally going on today in the Sanctuary of Two Rivers Baptist Church. I'm not going because I believe it violates the sanctity of the house of God, and I'm not protesting on the grounds because I don't want to stand on McGavock Pike in 98-degree heat waving a homemade sign that makes me look like I failed basic Graphic Design and spend my free time growing hemp in the laundry room. I'm not cut out for on-site protesting.

I am, however, a big ol' glutton for punishment, and have been checking in on the live-blogging. While meta-blogging is equally silly in its own right (instead of looking like a hemp-grower, I look like a friendless drunk) I just had to point out a tiny thing to my primary reader. AKA my husband.

Ed at Captain's Quarters points out that Mr. Colson said:

3:14 - Chuck Colson says he can't understand why the New York Times considers this so controversial. All they want to see is justice, not money or power. The message of justice has always been central to Christianity. He said he thanks God that Martin Luther King fought for justice 40 years ago ...

All due respect to Chuck–I really do like him–he is on thin ice. Christianity is also about Grace. You know, the kind of Grace that happens when you only serve seven months of your one-to-three year sentence.

Shakespeare WAS a Poet

I was wrong. I admit it. Today in Sunday School Homeroom I told Jim and Wilburn that 'Far From The Madding Crowd' was a phrase which Thomas Hardy borrowed from an English Poet which I believed was either Shakespeare or Ben Jonson.

It drove me nuts all through church, because I knew the poem, but couldn't think of the next line or even the name. The same thing happened to me while watching Lost and seeing Charlie's tattoo. It read 'Living Is Easy With Eyes Closed.' I grew more insane through the episode, trying to figure out the song– which I knew in my gut–and the next line. I call these my 'Perth Amboy' moments, after this scene from James Thurber's hysterical More Alarms At Night

"Listen," I said. "Name some towns in New Jersey quick!" It must have been around three in the morning. Father got up, keeping the bed between him and me, and started to pull his trousers on. "Don't bother about dressing," I said. "Just name some towns in New Jersey." While he hastily pulled on his clothes--I remember he left his socks off and put his shoes on his bare feet--father began to name, in a shaky voice, various New Jersey cities. I can still see him reaching for his coat without taking his eyes off me. "Newark," he said, "Jersey City, Atlantic City, Elizabeth, Paterson, Passaic, Trenton, Jersey City, Trenton, Paterson--" "It has two names," I snapped. "Elizabeth and Paterson," he said.

Thankfully, Mr. Gore's Invention has saved me from destroying myself and those around me.

A good lunch, quick car trip home and dash to my basement office and trusty Google later I find that the poem was Thomas Gray's Elegy Written In A Country Churchyard. Neither Shakespeare, nor Ben Jonson, but I was at least correct about the poem part. And I did remember the rest of the stanza.

Far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife,
Their sober wishes never learn'd to stray;
Along the cool sequester'd vale of life
They kept the noiseless tenor of their way.

Tim of course insists that 'Shakespeare' is the copout Trivial Pursuit answer, but I really did think it was his.


P.S. Strawberry Fields Forever: Misunderstanding all you see

13 August, 2005

Mega Churches Part II

It's so comforting to find other people out there who hold like opinions. Like the editorial's author I watched my home church shed its denominational name, replace its cross with movie screens, its baptistry with a band and its pulpit with...nothing. The pastor, who dresses in casual attire, just walks around. He has a lavellier mike now.

This leaves the surface-level seekers who are looking to plumb new spiritual depths for the first time, but for whom the church instead wastes time crafting pop culture analogies and brewing espressos, as the meat-and-potatoes churchgoers. They'll come on Sundays in search of significance and find it in the same place they do the other six days: in "stuff," in "things."
In Europe, mass religious apostasy left its churches people free, but the American megachurch could bring this irony: We, unlike the Europeans, have people in our big, empty churches.

Hat tip: NiT

The Great Raid

I like war movies. In Harm's Way, The Longest Day, Bridge On The River Kwai and countless others have been long-term favourites of mine. There are many reasons to like a war movie aside from the cathartic passivity that comes from seeing things blown up. A good war movie provides the entertainment of watching superbly executed strategy. A great war movie tells the stories of the warriors in such a way that allows the film to serve as a metaphor for life and the human condition. A poor war movie feels the need to bang the viewer over the head with the twin messages of "War Is Hell" and "Sometimes The Bastards That Run Life Make You Fight For Something." This is usually accomplished with a voice-over. Something along the lines of "the boys that were on that beach were ordinary men." You know you're in for a BAD war movie if the voice-over mentions a wife/mother/twin babies. Generally the audience for this type of flick knows full well that there are beloved families and devoted golden retrievers Back Home. It insults our intellegence to so maudlinly state the obvious.
The Great Raid will forever serve as the exception that proves the Voice Over rule. Bookended by a spoken narrative featuring newsreel footage from the Pacific Theater and a mention of a protagonist's wife, this is nevertheless one of the best war movies I've seen in years. It is perhaps the best one released in my lifetime. Other than two brief criticisms of FDR and Douglas Macarthur–which I find remarkably easy to live with–the film plays as a war movie should. It outlines the mission objectives clearly and concisely, presents heroes and villains and creates a suspensful dramatic tension about the mission.

This week was the 60th anniversary of the nuclear attacks on Japan. Monday is the 60th anniversary of V-J day. Both the blogosphere and the MSM have been full of hair-shirt reexaminations of Fat Man and Little Boy. From our safe and well-espresso'd offices it is easy to wonder about the decisions made about the particular boil on Roosevelt's arse that was the Pacific Theater. It is apparently also easy to forget that these decisions were made by worn and weary men who saw more grief and torture in five years than many of us will see in our lifetimes. This movie, without bearing the cudgel of revisionism, allows its intelligent audience to meditate on these questions while showing us that sometimes true valour and compassion require sacrifice.

12 August, 2005

The Left Is Right. This War Is All About Oil.

Proof here.

Stagger Lee

From Mark Steyn:

My favourite moment in the Lord of the Rings movies isn’t actually in any of the movies, but in one of those ‘the making of’ documentaries that appears on the DVD. It’s the scene where Saruman gets stabbed by Grima Wormtongue, and Lee explains to director Peter Jackson that the backstabbing sound isn’t quite right, because in his days with British Intelligence during the war he used to sneak up and stab a lot of Germans in the back and it was more of a small gasp they made. Jackson backs away cautiously.

I love these guys who were in British Intel in WWII. Somerset Maugham, Christopher Lee...it's cool. Flamboyant art types make for the best Intel stories.

11 August, 2005

"These People"

Now I see where Perry March got the Jerk Gene.

March's father said he didn't know anything about Madrigal's claim but found it hard to believe.

"They moved, but they left the house owing money? I doubt that," the older March said. "I never heard anything about that. To my knowledge he doesn't owe any money. I didn't hear that. You know, these people have stories."

What a special family.


I took advanced studies computing back in 1981. My school considered typing to be an integral part of computer class. It could have been because we had only a few computers at the time; I doubt it was because Mrs. Miller was a big hacker. So, I signed up thinking I would dive instantly into the forefront of programming, and instead spent nine arduous weeks learning how to type.

I don't think I've ever been more grateful for being made do something I didn't want to do. I can now type a good 80 wpm if I want to, and I spend most of my waking life at a keyboard, writing either for fun or profit.

This would have been Mrs. Miller's dream keyboard. She was an old-school business teacher who rapped knuckles and refused to allow long fingernails in her class. Imagine not having to rap my knuckles for looking at the number row.

My Favourite Athiest

In spite of the fact that I disagree with her religious choice, I've always loved Camille Paglia. She and I see many things in a similar light. Further evidence here.

CP: The thing is there is an up- and downside to those things. On the one hand it’s producing a kind of antiseptic writing, a certain kind of polished professional writing, and on the other hand people who are interested in writing in this period of media and the web and so on, they find it very sustaining to go to a place to meet other people who are similarly interested in it. That’s the upside but the downside is that to be a good writer you can’t just study writing. You have to live, OK? That’s the problem. The best writers have drawn from actual experience, have had some experience. What experiences do people have any more?

RB: [laughs] Shopping.

CP: Yeah, shopping. This is why I think literature, post-Plath, has drifted into a compulsive telling of any trauma that you can find in your life. Prozac—“I’m taking Prozac” or divorce or diseases or whatever. Endless kvetching. It’s a style of telling of woes and the potential range of literature is being neglected and part of my crusade now is—

Read the rest.....

Another Reason I Don't Have Kids


(hat tip: Kathy Shaidle)

10 August, 2005

Celebrity Welfare

Yep, I've been spending my lunch hours watching Pauly Shore and Kathy Griffin. As much as I say I don't care for reality television, I get sucked in by one or two things every summer. Last year it was the poor Amish In The City kids. This year's theme seems to be watching people who were marginally famous a decade or so ago trade on their names for freebies.

I used to work in marketing and licensing for a local company. Our dream was to have Oprah use one of our journals or photo albums in her giveaway show. Since I don't have the best track record with Oprah, the job of placing our product fell to someone else. The closest we ever got was having Barry Zuckerkorn put in an appearance at our Scrapbooking booth. The right celebrity endorsement can mean millions in sales. In our low-margin, Wal-Mart appeasing world it's possible for those sales to be the single thing keeping the doors open.

Something tells me, though, that if I were a furniture craftsman I would not be cajoled into giving Kathy Griffin a custom leather sofa at cost on the off chance that it will appear in a future issue of Bored Supermarket Shopper Weekly. I also wouldn't replace the carpet Sam Kinison vomited and crapped on, no matter how much love I felt from Mitzi Shore.

Department of Redundancy Department

More work for my church this week. I love doing this stuff, believe it or not. Today's work will be painful, though, because I'm working on the Men's Fraternity brochure.

It's a worthwhile organization, and I support their work. I just wish the name weren't so repetitive. I just wish the name weren't so repetitive.

09 August, 2005

Not A Drop To Read

My TBR Pile was once four or five books stacked on my "nightstand" (tv tray beside the bed). Then it was a tottering dozen stacked in a column on the floor. I am now convinced that the books are some form of smythe-sewn/permabonded tribble. They're everywhere. No matter how many I read, I never reach the end. The library has joined in the conspiracy, and like a histrionic stepsister, they must be dealt with first at all times. Those books have places to go, people to entertain. My bought-on books are the long-suffering spaniels, who wait patiently for their turn of the page. Arthur Schoepenhaur said "To buy books would be a good thing if we also could buy the time to read them." Wise, witty, wonderful Arthur! What pith! And yet I'm still afflicted with this curious disease.

What's worse than the disease itself is this most awful side-effect which I like to call "ungrateful malaise" or "um" for short. "Um" is the sound I make as I sit in front of the shelves and try my darndest to pick the next read. Do I feel like ingesting the humourous travails of a single woman in her midthirties as she tries to date a rock star? Um.... Would I rather find out who is chopping up Catholic redheads in the Lake District then summarily dumping their body parts in rubbish bins? Um... How about a period tale about the early days of the Stock Market? Um...how about something serious so that I will sound erudite when someone asks me what I am reading?

(Does this happen to anybody in real life? Are others wont to come up to them in supermarkets and shoe stores to ask what they're reading? "Since you've asked, I've been tucking into The Rise And Fall Of The Roman Empire these days, Jerome!")

I am currently stuck in an UM phase right now and it's frustrating as all hedoublehockeysticks. I can only read the Harry Potter series twice a year–May for my Birthday, October for Halloween–and if I read another Atlantis-is-really-hidden-under-Lake-Titicaca book I might just beat up the next ruggedly handsome archaeologist/freediver I meet.

Does ANYBODY have any book recommendations? I'll even go out and buy another one. Heaven knows it'd have company.

Image (c) Colin Thompson

Angelheaded Hipsters Are Annoying

I was born in 1970. I don't remember the year of my birth; my earliest memories are from 1971, inside a hospital crib recovering from a death that didn't take. Other memories are dim in scope but colourful in detail, with the clearest recollections from 1973 onward.

I am Generation-X, through and through. Much as I love the bare lyricism of Howl, I get tired of Boomer crap. I get tired of eating the leftovers from that drug-soaked, self-involved culture. I dread paying the Social Security for people who wanted to Drop Out during their turn at bat, but now expect the society they loathed to make good on a promise they themselves mocked. This blog strikes a wild chord in me. The
Boomers may have

burned cigarette holes in their arms protesting the narcotic tobacco haze of Capitalism

yet now they want us to pay for their burn treatment.

Hope In A Sea Of Doubt

If you are like me, then sometimes you feel as though you haven't quite measured up to the life you expected. You may not have the greatest job, the nicest house, smartest kids or Mr. Right. Everyone else's Christmas letter with their beautiful family standing in front of the Range Rover with their dog, Rover, is cause for anxiety.

I have good news. If you suffer from these feelings of inadequacy--the ones that make you seriously consider, if only for a moment, certain spam emails--then hope has arrived.

Pauly Shore has a new series on tbs. I love Pauly Shore. No one else makes me feel as though I've gotten my life together.

08 August, 2005

Nahtazu. Really.

Talk about your pixie dust.

Cats & Forklifts

Lileks is back. Thank God.

07 August, 2005

Goals In Life Are Important

Tim W. at Mother Tongue Annoyancesgoes into detail about bumper sticker inanities just in time for the start of a new school year.

In the same vein, I have to say that I am increasingly bemused by the message sent by Nashville MTA and other service vehicles. Several buses and equipment trucks are driving around town with "Zero Accidents is My Goal" or "Safety Is My Goal."

AAACK! Shouldn't a goal be something that one works to achieve as opposed to something that one presumes is a natural state of being? I'm all set to get a t-shirt which reads "A Beating Heart Is My Goal." (Although some of you who disagree with my politics probably think it's about time....)

Jesus, Part II

I'm answering the various questions I've gotten about this post in the comments section.

Hogwarts School Of Move On Already

When I was in High School there was a guy from my church who was actually famous through most of the northern half of Indiana. He played Dungeons and Dragonsavidly, often giving over entire weekends to the game. I know this isn't uncommon, and I confess to having gamed with his group a time or two myself. However, this guy went to work and classes as his character and was excused from activities for several weeks due to an injury he suffered. In character. More specifically, he himself was not injured, yet his character was. He walked with a limp for months because of the assault to his in-game persona. When I would tell people my home town, alma mater or planned college, I would invariably get a "Do you know Avid Gamer Guy?" His legend grew, and the apocrypha surronding his actions grew with it. Before long I was hearing tales of him being excused from the army because he showed up for his enlistment physical in character. To this day people in my hometown talk about him offering his character's service to the FBI and CIA.

In my mind this man will always serve as the benchmark for taking involvement in fantasy too far. In the thirty-two years of my evolution to nerdqueen status* I have had several personal geek milestones of my own. I've spent hours typing BASIC games into my Commodore 64 from the back pages of PC Magazine. I've been eaten by more grues and tormented by more Frobozz Wizards than most people. I've dressed up to see Star Wars movies and had a crush on Mr. Spock. I've fallen in love with Sherlock Holmes the person as well as the body of work and I've seen CATS four times. I started hanging out on the "Net" via VAX in 1989, back when it was all geeks in UseNet fighting over glass flow, and grieved when September came to the webworld without leaving. My first date with my husband was to the Rocky Horror Picture Show, where I went costumed as a female Riff-Raff.

I will not, however, repeat NOT wear a black armband in mourning for the character who has died in the latest Harry Potter book. I'm sad that this character has taken the tumble over the Wizarding Reichenbach Falls and I'm kind of sorry that this character will not be in future books. I get that most of the people who are doing this are teenagers and have to make their own nerdly pursuits, what with BASIC being out of vogue and all. I just can't see dressing in "morning" (as the promoter of this idea suggests) for a literary character. Although those of you who are may want to use it to try for an excused absence from gym class. Worked for Avid Gamer Guy.

05 August, 2005

Jesus Had Amazing Fashion Sense

The comments to this post over at Nashville Truth are intriguing. Cole Wakefield of Christian Dissent makes the interesting assertion that Jesus was a Progressive. Time for the other side to volley that Jesus was Conservative.

Brothers and Sisters in Christ: please. We know this. Jesus is the Son of God. He came to Earth at arguably the most perilous times in political and governmental history. Whole nations of people were slaves, including those to whom He chose to be born. Yet, amazingly enough, this Man did not choose to practice politics. He did not chose to lead the Zealots in revolt, even though He was invited to. He said plainly "Render Unto Caeser". Politics is politics. Jesus knew that. He knew it would, like the poor, always be with us as a condition of our humanity. He came to release us from these conditions, not perpetuate them. He most certainly did not come to be the perpetual trump card in our petty squabbles about taxation and adjudication.

Peter is probably universally agreed to be the strongest-willed and most independant-minded of the Twelve Apostles. After Christ's resurrection, the Lord said "Peter, do you love me?" then with Peter's answer in the affirmative--"Feed my sheep." That faith and those instructions are the Rock upon which He built His Church. Our love for God should be practiced in meeting the spiritual and physical needs of those sheep. That's it. That's Christ's command for His Church. Feed the sheep. Not "vote in the primaries" or "subscribe to Mother Jones." Let's all just take up our cross daily and follow Him as we are led. The rest is vanity.

It's Not The Sale Of Sacrifical Doves, But Something Tells Me

if He were here, some tables might be overturned.

S-Town Mike weighs in with yet another "outsider" POV on Justice Sunday.

It's A Gateway Drug, You Know

Blogger Midnight Cheese gives a pretty good reason for distributing OS X free to the masses.

04 August, 2005

Hot August Days: August 5

I was talking to Tom on the phone. I told him that I had to think of something that made me happy for my blog. I did not say it in a happy voice. I've had a long day. After I hung up I went to iTunes to browse the music store.

I'm happy now.


This album is on iTunes, baby.

You can front all you want about how they suck. Their music is for wimps, etc. But I challenge anyone who was a teenager in the 80s to not feel their heart rise above a bad algebra grade when those piano chords come crashing into "Don't Stop Believing". Come on, admit it. When you broke up with that Sophomore Year boyfriend, didn't you play "Seperate Ways" over and over and over? Yes. You did.

You also dedicated "Open Arms" to the next guy....

Yeah, Journey makes me happy. If only because I'm glad as heck that I'm not 16 anymore.

My Brother's Linker

My brother Tom has a blog. I am linking to it in spite of the fact that he disses TiVo.

ETA: He says that I stole the Star Is Born soundtrack from the Allen County Public Library. That ticks me off. I bought that album at Wooden Nickel. The only thing I kept too long from the Library was the biography of George Lucas. That's the book the Library Police came to our house to get. I also unintentionally forgot to return this video to Chronister's drug store. But I paid $39 for it, so hah.

BSOD Has New Meaning

According to an ad on another blog, I could own a computer with the same AMD4 chip Lucasfilm used to create Star Wars.

I think I'll pass. I'm not looking for a computer that:

1. Makes no d*mn sense.
2. Takes too long to load programs
3. Has an overly simplified structure that omits details critical to operations
4. Puts me to sleep.

Look, Honey, I'm Not The Biggest Nerd Out There...

Carnival Of Gamers, Vol. 5 is up.

Quinn Giggles

Since my last happiness was so lame, I'm posting an extra one today.

I love it when my dog giggles.

Jagermeister + Decongestant=zzzzzzzzzzz

It's 1:00pm. I am still floating around my office like a zombie, and I can't get any real work done. The only thing I can think of that makes me happy today (other than bed) is the heat. That's a bad sign. I'm not even within Mazlow's hierarchy. I'm still in the elementals.

To what do I owe this muzzyheaded frug? No, it's not the utter confusion wrought by libertarian politics and conservative Christianity. It's NYQUIL. Specifically, the dose I took eighteen hours ago. Like a second cousin with a gambling addiction and bad personal hygiene it stays longer than you want it to and the effects of its visit linger on. At Writer's Workshop they will tell you to write when you are compromised. While this explains a heck of a lot about James Joyce and Patricia Cornwell, I don't feel that it helps me personally.

Is it too early to go back to sleep?

Hint: It's Not Threesomes With Twins

Check out the latest podcast to hear what makes Big Orange Michael feel like Fonzie...

The Legend of Justice Sunday

Whoever this commenter is (and I have my suspicions), he or she is hilarious.

Hot August Days: August 4

I've accepted the challenge to post one thing per day that I enjoy.

My August 4 pick:

The heat. I love the heat. I love the way that it surrounds me and relaxes the tension in my muscles. I love the way that forces a sense of calm out of everything. I think in another life I was a lizard.

03 August, 2005

That'll Teach Brittney to Take A Sick Day

Follow, and contribute to, the continuing saga of Brittney, Father Guido Sarducci, an odd incarnation of Emmanuel Lewis and Martin Short over at NiT

A Very Perry Christmas

Perry March has been arrested. Maybe now we'll finally find out what he did with the body.

Yeah, I've already made up my mind. If I go missing and my husband is whining a few days later about four grand in the bank in my name, lock him up.

If I go missing and leave behind my children, and my husband keeps those children from my parents, lock him up.

If I go missing and my husband moves to Mexico to start shady land development companies, and a shiny happy new family, drive down to Mexico, haul his hindquarters back up here and lock him up.

He's Still Alive?

Who knew?


The lonely young pups at MySpace.com aren't happy about the Murdoch buyout. There's a lot of buss and fother about censorship, but I think the bigger concern is that the Evil Soulless Corporation may charge them.

"It's something we're very concerned about," said Scott Swiecki, 34, of Tempe Ariz., who's a member of the MySpace group "Faux News" as well as another group that combines the Murdoch name with an expletive. "There are a lot of counterculture people on MySpace. My concern is Fox will add fees and censor content."

I guess no one wants to pay $5.95 to make friends with Bear from Davis, California and Boru, The Mushroom King of Sacramento. What's this world coming to?

Send A Writer Overseas

Local author Eric Wilson is headed to Romania for a cultural exchange program. He's currently on the lookout for sponsors.

I looked for lawyers to send overseas, but there weren't any.

Orson Scott Card Contemplates Harry Potter

Orson's thoughts on how Harry Potter affects the publishing business are very interesting.

Keep in mind that while many millions of dollars are being earned this weekend by the rush of Harry Potter sales, almost none of that money will be earned by bookstores -- not directly, anyway.

It's a tough life in bibliophile land.

How Will I Die

Blame Lileks and Jason for going on blogatus. This extra blogtime has led to my rapid succumbation (new word?!?) to the inanity that is Quiz Farm. Thanks, Roger Abramson for being the carrier.

This is apparently how I will die:

You scored as Bomb. Your death will be by bombing. You will probably be an innocent bystander, not doing anything wrong and not a person who was targeted at, just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

How Will You Die??
created with QuizFarm.come>

Comforting in these particular times, no?

How Rex L. Camino Led Me Into Poverty

Poor sweet Rex L. Camino, with his suave Dean Martin ways and Murfreesboro charm was just trying to participate in the challenge. Little did he know that this post would drag me into degredation, poverty and the potential expenditure of every penny I have saved up for my children's college education.

Who knew you could buy music from the Smithsonian's files?! Seriously, this is like a dream come true for me. As much as I hate to furtherLydia's suppositions, I'm afraid that I must admit that I've spent the last twenty minutes listening to pure Israeli vocalized prayers.

Rex, I hope you're happy.

02 August, 2005

Hot August Days: August 3

I've accepted the challenge to post one thing per day that I enjoy.

My August 3 pick:

My weeping willow tree. Willows have always seemed a bit magical to me, with their gracious height and elegant tendrils. A neighborhood friend of mine in childhood had a house that backed up to a small creek, with three of these trees planted along its banks. We spent hours having picnics and playing with dolls in the cool "rooms"created by the low-hanging branches. Ever since then it has always been my dream to have one of these trees planted at my home. We planted this one for Tim's birthday five years ago, soon after we moved here. I was sure that we wouldn't ever get to experience the tree in its full glory because, unlike annual bedding plants, a tree takes awhile to get truly majestic. That's where God comes in.

This willow has grown at an unbelievably rapid pace, so much so that our neighbors frequently come to look at it. A geologist hired by our HOA last fall confirmed that we planted the tree over an underground spring. It has grown to unbelievable glory while preventing our neighbors' yards across the street and as many as three doors down from flooding. It's also prevented (or delayed, but we hope for the best) several sinkholes from forming in the area.

That, to me, is the wonder that is our Heavenly Father. To take a sweet childhood memory from a girl in Indiana and use it to not only bless people with unbelievable beauty but also safeguard their homes is something that only He would think of. That is my definition of Intelligent Design at work.

Rob Us! Rob Us! Rob Us!

Tonight is our Block Party for Night Out Against Crime. Everyone in my neighborhood will be there. Leaving our houses untended. And vulnerable to crime.

I find it ironic.

Bolton: The Hidden Story

Frank J. has behind the scenes coverage.

01 August, 2005

Hot August Days: August 2

I've accepted the challenge to post one thing per day that I enjoy.

My August 2 pick:

My Lifeglobe goldfish aquarium. It brightens up my office so much, and adds a touch of nature to the computer. I realize it's just a screensaver, but I get a big kick out of being able to derive a high level of joy from something so simple.

Smackin' Down the Mav!

Wow. I guess Tom Cruise ain't Bogie!

Houses Of The Unholy

Brittney's doggin' on Angus & Zep.

That is super uncool.

Tim Is Venti Happy!

The evil, soulless corporate giant is building a location in Hermitage!

Now we don't have to visit the evil, soulless corporate giants in Green Hills, Hickory Hollow and Brentwood to get our fix!

See, Lydia, civilization is encroaching on us out here in the 'Tage Mahal!

Sorry, Lord

This bugs me.

Christians have every right to have a political opinion. I believe Jesus tacitly agreed to this when he told us to "Render unto Caeser." I also believe that he emphasised that Caeser and God were seperate entities. Preaching poltics from the pulpit is a bad idea.

Quite frankly, I worry that this type of thing will cost churches their tax-exempt status.

And yes, I am a born-again Christian with conservative political beliefs.

I'll Buy This One

You scored as Drama nerd.

What's Your High School Stereotype?
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Yeah, It's a Monday

Not quite sure how I feel about this:

Pirate Monkey's Harry Potter Personality Quiz
Harry Potter Personality Quiz
by Pirate Monkeys Inc.

Not that they're wrong. I just don't like my fictional counterpart all that much.

ETA: Better descriptor of INTJ. I especially liked this part:
INTJs are known as the "Systems Builders" of the types, perhaps in part because they possess the unusual trait combination of imagination and reliability. Whatever system an INTJ happens to be working on is for them the equivalent of a moral cause to an INFJ; both perfectionism and disregard for authority may come into play, as INTJs can be unsparing of both themselves and the others on the project. Anyone considered to be "slacking," including superiors, will lose their respect -- and will generally be made aware of this; INTJs have also been known to take it upon themselves to implement critical decisions without consulting their supervisors or co-workers. On the other hand, they do tend to be scrupulous and even-handed about recognizing the individual contributions that have gone into a project, and have a gift for seizing opportunities which others might not even notice.

Yep. That's pretty much me, as I'm sure you friends, family members and co-workers will humbly attest. (Tom, be kind. I'm the brutally honest twin!)