Posts Tagged ‘Jesus

12
Feb
16

2.12.16 … Maybe what is good about religion is playing that the Kingdom will come, until—in the joy of your playing, the hope and rhythm and comradeship and poignance and mystery of it—you start to see that the playing is itself the first-fruits of the Kingdom’s coming and of God’s presence within us and among us.” ― Frederick Buechner

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2016 Labyrinth Walks (Walk 3/40), Sardis Baptist Church – Charlotte:

Talking to my mom and labyrinth walking do not mix well. So no pics today …

My thoughts are focused on this Buechner reading …

What’s Good About Religion? February 12 FOR A WHILE THE dean’s office made an exception to the rule about required church. The edict was handed down that a student might attend a religious discussion group instead, and those groups were scheduled to take place before church in order to prevent boys from attending only so they could get a little more sleep on Sunday mornings. For that reason only the most radical dissenters attended, and it was one of those—a lean, freckle-faced senior—who turned to me once, thin-lipped with anger, and said, “So what’s so good about religion anyway?” and I found myself speechless. I felt surely there must be something good about it. Why else was I there? But for the moment I couldn’t for the life of me think what it was. Maybe the truth of it is that religion the way he meant it—a system of belief, a technique of worship, an institution—doesn’t really have all that much about it that is good when you come right down to it, and perhaps my speechlessness in a way acknowledged as much. Unless you become like a child, Jesus said, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven, and maybe part of what that means is that in the long run what is good about religion is playing the way a child plays at being grown up until he finds that being grown up is just another way of playing and thereby starts to grow up himself. Maybe what is good about religion is playing that the Kingdom will come, until—in the joy of your playing, the hope and rhythm and comradeship and poignance and mystery of it—you start to see that the playing is itself the first-fruits of the Kingdom’s coming and of God’s presence within us and among us.”
― from “Listening to Your Life: Daily Meditations with Frederick Buechner”

A few that are interesting or funny:

Earth, Hubble Telescope:  Beautiful Earth shrouded in clouds, taken from the Hubble Telescope..

image

 

Jason deCaires Taylor, sculptural installations that inhabit the ocean floor, sculpture gallery;  Jason deCaires Taylor has created a series of sculptural installations that inhabit the ocean floor. http://bit.ly/1o59CKG

 

Why do Christians fast? – Pittsburgh Theological Seminary:

Why do Christians fast? Here are four reasons for fasting.
In the Ash Wednesday Gospel reading, Jesus says “when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that your fasting may be seen not by others but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (Matt 6:17-18). Notice that Jesus doesn’t say “If you fast . . .” The implication is that Jesus’ disciples will fast. Aside from teaching his disciples to fast humbly and not call attention to themselves, Jesus does not give explicit instructions about how and when to fast. Even the why seems to be taken for granted in the Gospels. During this season of Lent, as many Christians practice some form of fasting, I think it may be helpful to consider some of the reasons why the Church has practiced fasting over the centuries.

Source: Why do Christians fast? – Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

Gravitational Waves Detected, Confirming Einstein’s Theory, NYTimes.com

A team of scientists announced on Thursday that they had heard and recorded the sound of two black holes colliding a billion light-years away, a fleeting chirp that fulfilled the last prediction of Einstein’s general theory of relativity.

That faint rising tone, physicists say, is the first direct evidence of gravitational waves, the ripples in the fabric of space-time that Einstein predicted a century ago. (Listen to it here.) It completes his vision of a universe in which space and time are interwoven and dynamic, able to stretch, shrink and jiggle. And it is a ringing confirmation of the nature of black holes, the bottomless gravitational pits from which not even light can escape, which were the most foreboding (and unwelcome) part of his theory.

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2016/02/12/science/ligo-gravitational-waves-black-holes-einstein.html?smid=fb-nytimes&smtyp=cur&referer=http://m.facebook.com

Budha, Jesus, bizarreComics: one more …

image.

01
Aug
13

8.1.13 … aspirational places … the south … vacations … food …

Hot U.S. Cities, jobs, culture, Southern and Modest Sized, The Daily Beast, lists:  A few of my favorite places made the list …

Call them aspirational cities, or magnets of opportunity, but the urban areas attracting today’s ambitious citizens are most likely Southern, culturally vibrant, modest sized, long on jobs, and short on traffic, write Joel Kotkin and Wendell Cox.

articleinserts_aspcities1

A city at its best, wrote the philosopher René Descartes, provides “an inventory of the possible.” The city Descartes had in mind was 17th-century Amsterdam, which for him epitomized those cities where people go to change their circumstances and improve their lives. But such aspirational cities have existed throughout American history as well, starting with Boston in the 17th century, Philadelphia in the 18th, New York in the 19th, Chicago in the early 20th, Detroit in the 1920s and 1930s, followed by midcentury Los Angeles, and San Jose in the 1980s.Yes, the great rule of aspirational cities is that they change over time, becoming sometimes less entrepreneurial, more expensive, and demographically stagnant. In the meantime, other cities, often once obscure, suddenly become the new magnets of opportunity.

via Hot U.S. Cities That Offer Both Jobs and Culture Are Mostly Southern and Modest Sized – The Daily Beast.

Washington National Cathedral, Darth Vader, random:  I assumed this was an internet hoax … 🙂

DarthVader

The Star Wars Villain on the Northwest TowerIn the 1980s, while the west towers were under construction, Washington National Cathedral held a decorative sculpture competition for children. Word of the competition was spread nationwide through National Geographic World Magazine. The third-place winner was Christopher Rader, with his drawing of that fearful villain, Darth Vader. The fierce head was sculpted by Jay Hall Carpenter, carved by Patrick J. Plunkett, and placed high upon the northwest tower of the Cathedral.

via Washington National Cathedral : Darth Vader.

recreational mountain climbers, firsts, Moses, Jesus, Elijah, Empedocles,  King Philip V of Macedon, firsts :  Moses, Jesus, Elijah, Empedocles … religiously motivated peak experiences …  King Philip V of Macedon … who?

Moses climbed Mount Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments and ascended Mount Nebo (Jordan) to gaze on the land he would never reach. Jesus took three disciples to a mountaintop to commune with the ghosts of Moses and Elijah. Empedocles, the ancient Greek philosopher, climbed the active volcano Mount Etna on Sicily and leaped into the flaming crater in 430 BC. According to legend, he intended to become an immortal god; the volcano ejected one of his sandals turned to bronze by the heat.

But these religiously motivated peak experiences cannot be described as enjoyable or recreational.

For what may be the earliest summit experience undertaken for pleasure we can look to the ancient Roman historian Livy. King Philip V of Macedon’s mountain climbing expedition was undertaken to admire the spectacular view from Mount Haemus in Thrace, a high peak (ca 7,000 ft) in the Balkan Mountain Range of  Bulgaria.

via Who Were the First Recreational Mountain Climbers?.

Bon Appetit’s August Issue, music playlist, marketing, BA Daily: Bon Appétit, Spotify:  So I think this is interesting marketing  … does it enhance BA or Spotify?

Last month was for grilling and all its excesses; August is for taking a (slightly) healthier turn. Go for simple preparations, fresh produce, the odd indulgence (ice cream sandwiches, anyone?), and a killer soundtrack. This one, ideally.

1. My Kind of Fast Food (p. 16)

Descendents, “I Like Food”

Like the idyllic summer lunch Adam Rapoport describes in his editor’s letter, a perfect meal can still be a quickly assembled one. Ditto a punk anthem.

2. The Chill Zone (p. 25)

EPMD, “You Gots to Chill”

All you need is our recipe, an inexpensive ice cream maker, and 10 minutes. And maybe Erick and Parrish’s advice: “Always calm under pressure, no need to act ill. Listen when I tell you boy, you gots to chill.”

3. One-Dish Wonder Woman (p. 28)

Madonna, “Express Yourself”

Drew Barrymore likes an eclectic soundtrack in the kitchen. The other day, she poured a glass of champagne and blasted Madonna’s “Express Yourself.” Exactly.

4. The Return of the G&T (p. 30)

Merle Haggard, “Misery and Gin”

Country-music great Merle Haggard knew it: Any reason to drink a Gin and Tonic is a fine one.

5. The Foodist (p. 34)

Meklit and Quinn, “This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)”

Andrew Knowlton’s road-trip mix ends with the Talking Heads classic. Mix things up with Meklit and Quinn’s summery cover.

6. Shop the Crop (p. 46)

The Beets, “Now I Live”

Beets–delicious, dark red, cancer-fighting beets!–deserve a second chance. So do the Beets.

7. A Cooler Cookout (p. 50)

Tullycraft, “DIY Queen”

The best way to enliven that backyard meal? Do-it-yourself condiments.

8. Seattle Shines (p. 58)

Mother Love Bone, “Chloe Dancer/Crown of Thorns”

He probably gets this a lot, but Bar Sajor chef Matthew Dillon isn’t the first person with his name to have a starring role in Seattle. Twenty-two years later, the best thing about the Matt Dillon-starring movie Singles is its grungy soundtrack.

9. A Day at the Beach and Dinner at the Sea (p. 66)

JEFF The Brotherhood, “Mellow Out”

These Nashville garage rockers sing a lot about chilling out. That cold corn soup with lobster salad is a good place to start.

10. Virgin Territory (p. 78)

Holopaw, “We Are the Virgin Snow”

However you like your virgin cocktail in the summer–heavy on juices, hard on bitters–you’ll want it winter-cold.

11. Red Green & Gold (p. 80)

Guy Clark, “Homegrown Tomatoes”

There’s a reason Nashville great Guy Clark liked to introduce “Homegrown Tomatoes” as a love song. (The tomatoes, obviously.)

12. The Vegetable Revolution (p. 88)

R.E.M., “You Are the Everything”

Use a mandoline to cut those veggies paper-thin. Use a mandolin to cut to the heartstrings.

via Bon Appetit’s August Issue, Set to Music: BA Daily: Bon Appétit.

lists, The Best Summer Getaways,  Pawleys Island SC, Summer Destinations | OutsideOnline.com:  One of my favorite places … love the description.  🙂

pawleys island pawley's island south carolina myrtle beach

Thank God for Myrtle Beach. While the crowds pack its rowdy shoreline, the Hammock Coast—just 20 minutes south—remains pristine. Five rivers converge on eclectic villages, cypress swamps, and black-water rivers. Grab a kayak (rentals, $35) and paddle two and a half hours to the 9,200-acre Sandy Island nature preserve, an island that’s home to maritime forests and black bears. Refuel with shrimp and grits at Quigley’s Pint and Plate back on the mainland ($16.50) and set up your beachfront campsite at Huntington Beach State Park (from $17).

via The Best Summer Getaways: Pawleys Island, South Carolina | Summer Destinations | OutsideOnline.com.

Louisville Hot Spots , Garden and Gun:  Something new to try in Louisville KY!

Big Four Pedestrian & Bicycle Bridge

This onetime railroad truss bridge has been updated to create a car-free path across the Ohio River. The ramp to Indiana isn’t expected to be open until October, but you can take in river views with access via the on-ramp at the Louisville waterfront. louisvillewaterfront.com

via Louisville Hot Spots | Garden and Gun.

The Care-Package Wars , summer camp, parenting, Bruce Feiler, NYTimes.com:  Anyone else feel like our generations has really screwed up the parenting thing?

In almost every way, the camps were exactly as I had romanticized them. Except one: care packages are now strictly banned. In camp after camp, directors described how they had outlawed such packages after getting fed up with hypercompetitive parents sending oversize teddy bears and bathtubs of M&M’s.

And they’re not alone. Across the country, sleep-away programs of all sizes are fighting back against overzealous status-mongers.

Not taking this in stride, parents have turned to increasingly elaborate smuggling routines, from hollowing out Harry Potter books to burrowing holes in tennis balls to get their little dumplings a taste of the checkout aisle. We have entered the age of the care-package wars, where strong-willed camps and strong-willed parents battle over control of their children’s loyalty and downtime.

via The Care-Package Wars – NYTimes.com.

interactive map, A Month of Citi Bike, graphics, The New Yorker:  Wow, love this “interactive graphic!”  Can’t wait to ride a Citi Bike.

Here are some highlights from the map:

A commuting pattern first emerged in our data on Tuesday, June 11th, when bikers travelled to a central corridor, which begins in midtown Manhattan and moves south, through the Flatiron District and down to the Financial District. The bikes arrived in this “workplace” area at around 9 A.M., and they remained there until around 7 P.M. The next day, an evening-commute shape materialized, with bikers moving toward certain residential neighborhoods: the East Village, the West Village, and Williamsburg. The pattern fell off somewhat on Thursday, but it returned the following week, and thereafter grew increasingly distinct, with workdays attracting bikes to the center of the city.

Temperatures and precipitation also influence bike use, so the map displays weather information alongside bike movement. For instance, the weaker commuting pattern on Thursday, June 13th, can be attributed, in part, to colder temperatures and over an inch of rain.

It’s possible that the Citi Bike system may be too successful for its own good. As the program becomes a more popular method of commuting, the workday leaves some areas bereft of bikes, making it more difficult for those with reverse or off-hour commutes to participate in the program. Citi Bike crews do redistribute the bikes, but the empty areas on the map show how challenging it is to balance their availability across the stations.

On weekends, the commutes are replaced by patternless, recreational movement, in which bikers meander around the city. The continuous weekend use also results in more over-all activity than Citi Bikes see on weekdays. Greg Estren, who compiles data on Citi Bike, calculated that over the six-week period from June 8th through July 19th, there was ten per cent more station activity on weekends than on weekdays.

July Fourth was a bikers’ holiday. As the night grew dark, Citi Bike members pedalled to the Hudson River to see the fireworks.

via Interactive: A Month of Citi Bike : The New Yorker.

Baja Lobster Roll, recipes, OutsideOnline.com:  I am stuffed right now, but if one of these were placed in front of me, I probably could find room.

lobster lobster roll ditch plains Cincinnati senate senate chicago Little Market American Brasseri

What’s with the abundance of lobsters? It’s the culmination of decades of smart conservation efforts, like strict size limits, that have created one of the most sustainable fisheries in the U.S. “We’ve had a strong plan in place for over 100 years,” says Patrice McCarron, executive director of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association. “In some ways, we’ve been a victim of our own success.” We’ll eat to that.

Want to make your own lobster rolls? Try this delicious recipe from the Little Market American Brasserie:

BAJA LOBSTER ROLL (makes two sandwiches)

Chipotle, cabbage slaw, lemon

CHIPOTLE MAYO

1 piece chipotle pepper in adobo

1 egg yolk

½ tbsp. lemon juice

1/8 cup water

1 cup canola oil

Procedure:

1. In a blender, combine chipotle, egg, lemon juice, and water, blend till smooth

2. Slowly add oil on medium speed

3. Adjust seasoning

SLAW

1/8 of a head Napa cabbage, shredded

1/8 of a head read cabbage, shredded

1 small carrot, julienned

LEMON VINAIGRETTE

2 tbsp. lemon juice

1 tbsp. white wine vinegar

½ shallot, minced

6 tbsp. canola oil

Procedure:

1. Combine first lemon juice, white wine vinegar and shallots

2. Slowly emulsify oil with a blender

3. Adjust seasoning

FOR THE ROLL

2 New England style lobster rolls

½ tsp. chopped tarragon

½ tsp. minced shallot

4 oz. cleaned, chopped, fresh Main lobster meat

¼ cup of the mixed slaw

2 tbsp. chipotle mayo

1 tbsp. honey

2 tbsp. lemon vinaigrette

pinch of salt

Procedure:

1. Butter the cut ends of the roll and griddle till golden brown

2. Mix the slaw with the chipotle mayo, honey and salt

3. Mix the lobster with shallot, tarragon, lemon vinaigrette and salt

4. Slice open the griddle bun, making sure not to slice all the way through

5. Fill with the slaw first and place the lobster mix on top

via How to Make Your Own Baja Lobster Roll | Adventure Travel Guide | OutsideOnline.com.

 

01
Mar
13

3.1.13 … the act of rereading a book is partly about remembering the you who paged through it the first time, and comparing that version of yourself to the one dipping into that book again …

high school classics, YA literature, entertainment, The Atlantic Wire:  Rereading books from my YA era is something I’ve always found to be insightful.  While studying for the bar at 25,  I reread Madeleine L’Engle’s trilogy centered on A Wrinkle in Time, which at that time had become a quartet (and I read the 4th book).  When I read them to my children, the quartet had become a quintet …

If the act of rereading a book is partly about remembering the you who paged through it the first time, and comparing that version of yourself to the one dipping into that book again, the classics that we read in high school offer endless possibilities for rediscovery, for looking at ourselves then and now. That’s part of what makes Kevin Smokler’s new book, Practical Classics: 50 Reasons to Reread 50 Books You Haven’t Touched Since High School, so much fun. His homages to 50 titles, including Pride and Prejudice, The Great Gatsby, The Bluest Eye, The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, and even The Scarlet Letter (he writes, “I don’t like it either,” but argues for rereading it nonetheless), offers a truly enjoyable trip down one’s personal memory lane of books. It’s also a love letter to the act of reading, to continual learning, and to making an effort to slow down and savor the good books in life.

Not all of the works Smokler writes about fall into the category of Y.A., or, for that matter, are even books (and his book, of course, is intended for grownups). There are William Shakespeare plays and Emily Dickinson poems and even the fantastic David Foster Wallace essay, “A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again.” Many of the books he reconsiders, for instance, To Kill a Mockingbird and The Catcher in the Rye, while not explicitly intended for teens by their authors, have been huge hits among that readership. The Phantom Tollbooth is widely considered a book for younger readers, and A Separate Peace and The Bell Jar—the latter of which a friend told him, “is for teenage girls what On the Road is for teenage boys”—are surely read most by people under 20. But more than whether the books are Y.A. or not, the idea of reading what you read then to know yourself better now is part of why I started the Y.A. for Grownups column in the first place. I wanted to reevaluate books I’d read as a kid with grownup eyes … and I did that, but I also developed an appetite for new Y.A., and a desire to look at what it means to read those books in “reverse,” as an adult. So, I was eager to talk to Smokler about his experience of rereading so many high school classics, and to find out what he gained in the process.

via The Case for Rereading the High School Classics – Entertainment – The Atlantic Wire.

Y.A. for Grownups, Kevin Smokler, Books, Publishing, Y.A. Fiction/literature: How had I missed this column …

But more than whether the books are Y.A. or not, the idea of reading what you read then to know yourself better now is part of why I started the Y.A. for Grownups column in the first place. I wanted to reevaluate books I’d read as a kid with grownup eyes … and I did that, but I also developed an appetite for new Y.A., and a desire to look at what it means to read those books in “reverse,” as an adult. So, I was eager to talk to Smokler about his experience of rereading so many high school classics, and to find out what he gained in the process.

via The Case for Rereading the High School Classics – Entertainment – The Atlantic Wire.

Malcolm Muggeridge, Jesus, rereading, ChristCare:  My ChristCare group is indulging me by reading/studying a book I read in high school, Malcolm Muggeridge’s Jesus … the group is journeying with me.  🙂

Tim Cook, Apple, AAPL: 😦

On Wednesday afternoon, Apple CEO Tim Cook addressed investors and the media at the company’s annual shareholders meeting. It was the sixth time in the last five months that Cook has made something like a public appearance; and it is also the sixth time in the past five months that Apple’s stock (AAPL) has closed down after Cook appeared.

Consider this: The last six times that Cook has put himself out there, Apple’s stock declined afterwards. It’s a streak that dates back to October 2012, when Cook introduced the iPad mini, and it is a trend that has gone unbroken for about five months now: When Cook appears, AAPL goes down

via The Last 6 Times Tim Cook Has Talked, Apple’s Stock Has Dropped.

Queen Elizabeth, ex-IRA leader, historic handshake, iconic images, picture is worth a thousand words:  OK, again  I saved this during my sabbatical from blogging … but this is a very significant picture …

June 27, 2012

In a meeting symbolizing the end of years of enmity between British rule and Northern Ireland republicans, Queen Elizabeth shook hands Wednesday with a former Irish Republican Army commander.

Martin McGuinness, now a deputy first minister of Northern Ireland and a member of the pro-republican Sinn Fein party, was a senior IRA member in the years of sectarian violence. During that time, the group was responsible for blowing up the yacht of Lord Louis Mountbatten, the queen’s cousin, killing him and three others while they vacationed off the coast of Northern Ireland in 1979.

The once unthinkable handshake took place away from media eyes — apart from one camera crew — behind closed doors at a charity arts event in Belfast, witnessed by the queen’s husband, Prince Philip, and leading politicians including Irish President Michael Higgins and Northern Ireland’s first minister, Peter Robinson.

The seemingly mundane greeting was widely heralded as a turning point. Peter Sheridan, host of the event, told reporters, “It’s a huge act of reconciliation, you cannot underestimate how important this is.”

via Queen Elizabeth, ex-IRA leader share historic handshake – latimes.com.

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27
Feb
13

2.26.13 … paper or plastic? …

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2013 Lenten labyrinth walks, Myers Park Baptist Church:

IMG_6117 IMG_6120

IMG_6129

IMG_6125  IMG_6131   IMG_6123

I almost did not walk today …  but decided there would be days when I definitely  could not walk,  so at 10:10 PM,  I walked. It was  42° and foggy. It’s nice that the labyrinth at Myers Park Baptist is lighted.
As i walked I thought about the TMBS  Proverbs lesson  from earlier today  at First  Presbyterian Church. I loved Kirk’s use of advertising to demonstrate our folly!
Paper or plastic? I learned something new …
Blessings!

Ben Affleck, Argo, Rolling Stone, CIA,  Fake Sci-Fi Flick, Wired Magazine: Two interesting  articles …

QA: Ben Affleck on Directing ‘Argo’ and Surviving Hollywood | Movies News | Rolling Stone

How the CIA Used a Fake Sci-Fi Flick to Rescue Americans From Tehran | Wired Magazine | Wired.com.

Kickstarter, Oscars, shoutouts:

The begging and scraping that goes into getting a film financed is rarely mentioned among the glamour and triumph of the Academy Awards.

Not so with the short documentary “Inocente,” which became the first Kickstarter-funded film to win an Oscar.

Co-directors Andrea Nix and Sean Fine praised the crowd-funding website to reporters backstage. They said it helped them generate community involvement as well as dollars.

Nearly 300 people donated $52,000 through the site to fund the documentary chronicling the life of a homeless teenager in San Diego.

“It’s a great new outlet for films, and especially for documentary films,” Fine said.

via KICKSTARTER GETS OSCAR SHOUTOUT.

Waltz, Hathaway, Supporting Oscars, WSJ.com: What did you think?

The Oscars got under way with edgy humor and a surprise win on Sunday.

Host Seth MacFarlane, the creator of the animated series “Family Guy” and last summer’s hit movie “Ted,” sought to tread a careful line between respect and comedy as he opened the show with his trademark brand of bawdy humor.

He enlisted William Shatner, playing Captain Kirk from “Star Trek,” to show a series of offensive skits Mr. MacFarlane performed in an alternate future. In them, he made fun of famous actresses for their frequent nudity, re-enacted the alcohol- and drug-filled movie “Flight” with sock puppets, and propositioned Sally Field, nominated for her role in “Lincoln.”

The star-filled audience, which initially reacted hesitantly to jokes about Mel Gibson and Chris Brown, seemed to warm to Mr. MacFarlane as he mixed his “fake” skits with musical numbers more in the tradition of past hosts like Billy Crystal.

via Waltz, Hathaway Win Supporting Oscars – WSJ.com.

FiveThirtyEight, Oscar ballot:

Batting .500

FiveThirtyEight’s Oscar ballot — after getting off to a fairly inglorious start by choosing “Lincoln”‘s Tommy Lee Jones instead of “Django Unchained”‘s Christoph Waltz for Best Supporting Actor — got back on track with Anne Hathaway’s win for Best Supporting Actress.

via Live Coverage of the 2013 Oscars – NYTimes.com.

Nora Ephron, Oscars 2013:  Miss Nora Ephron … When Harry Met Sally | Nora Ephron’s Best Film Moments | NewsFeed | TIME.com.

 Searching for Sugarman, Oscars 2013:  Congratulations to Searching for Sugarman on winning the Oscar tonight for Best Documentary!

This true story epitomizes the multifaceted and wonderful relationship between South Africa and the USA! Have you seen it yet? What did you think?

via Facebook.

favorites, Twitter, oscars 2013:  And this was my favorite tweet from last night …

Richard Dreyfuss @RichardDreyfuss

I always dreamed that the score of one of my films would be used to play people off at the Oscars. We did it, Steven! #oscars2013

9:15 PM Feb 24th

ChristCare, Malcolm Muggeridge, Jesus: The Man Who Lived, Beethoven Missa Solemnis – Agnus Dei, YouTube:  I loved starting a new study with my Christ Care group …

Agnus Dei – Beethoven Missa Solemnis – YouTube.

Biography of Malcolm Muggeridge – Christian Classics Ethereal Library.

04
Dec
11

12.4.2011 … FPC’s sanctuary looks beautiful! I love this old church … in the right place this Second Sunday of Advent …

FPC, Sunday School, Dr. Greg Snyder, history, archeology, Jesus, Josephus:  First in Sunday SchoolDr. Greg Snyder led our discussion of  the historical and archeological evidence supporting Jesus’ birth, ministry and death.

“Preparing Room: The Birth Narrative in Context”

This class will explore the first century Palestinian (social, political, economic and religious) context in conversation with the birth narratives of the synoptic gospels.

Dr. Greg Snyder (M.A., MDiv., PhD.) is currently a professor of Religion at Davidson College. Dr. Snyder teaches courses on New Testament history and literature, non-canonical gospels, Roman Religion, and the History of the Bible in America. His research interests include the social history of religious and philosophical groups under the Roman Empire; the results of this study are gathered in his book, Teachers and Texts in the Ancient World (London: Routledge, 2000). Dr. Snyder is also a co-editor of In Search of the Early Christians: Selected Essays of Wayne Meeks (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002) and has published several articles.

via First Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, NC.

historical …

In his writings, Josephus mentions the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the Herodians. He mentions Caiaphas, Pontius Pilate, John the Baptist, Jesus (twice) and James the brother of Jesus. He also mentions the Essenes – the strict religious sect within Judaism that founded the Qumran community, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. In fact, Josephus says that he spent some time with the Essenes. This is how he describes it (Cited by Carsten Peter Thiede in ‘The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Jewish origins of Christianity.’):

When I was about sixteen, I wanted to gain first-hand experience of our different movements. There are three: first, the Pharisees, second the Sadducees, and third the Essenes – as I have noted frequently. I thought I would be able to choose the best, by learning about all these schools. Thus I steeled myself for the task and studied the three courses with some effort.

In book 18 of the Antiquities, 63-64, the text of Josephus as we have it today says:

About this time there lived Jesus, a wise man, if indeed it is lawful to call him a man, for he was a performer of wonderful deeds, a teacher of such men as are happy to accept the truth. He won over many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was the Christ, and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the leading men among us, had condemned him to the cross, those who had loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again on the third day, as the prophets of God had foretold these and ten thousand other wonders about him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct to this day.’

In fact, this text is a bit too much of a good thing for our purposes. It seems unlikely that a Jew such as Josephus would have written some of the things in this passage. Most scholars today agree that it has been altered by early Christians seeking to ‘improve’ it. It seems more likely that Josephus originally wrote something like this:

About this time there lived Jesus, a wise man, for he was a performer of wonderful deeds, a teacher of such men as are happy to accept the truth. He won over many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. When Pilate, at the suggestion of the leading men among us, had condemned him to the cross, those who had loved him at the first did not forsake him; and the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct to this day.’

via What the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus says about Jesus Christ.

Archeology

  • tomb containing ossuary of Caiphas
  1. Limestone bone box size of microwave.
  2. Inscription in Aramaic
  3. High class ossuary
  4. Knowledge of greek ?  Evidence that more knew Greek.
  5. Mortality rates … 40 of 63 in Caiphas tomb under 12.
  6. Miriam – body had greek coin in mouth. Greek custom … Pay to cross to afterlife.
  • Yechohanan’s remains
  1. Crucified nail in bone
  2. Romans there. Crucifixion roman.
  • Deep oppressive ubiquitous roman presence?
  1. Romans content to leave status quo as long as taxes flowed back to Rome.
  2. Most roman presence in cesaria except in pilgrimage times .. Passover.
  • Herod the Great
  1. Josephus has pages about him
  2. Sarcapoghus of Herod the Great
  3. Herodium –Theater with VIP box painted walls (Prepared for Mark Anthony); also friend of Cesar Augustus .. Helpful in conquer Egypt
  4. Grest builder:  cesaria, Masada, herodium, temple in Jerusalem
  5. Caught in vice: Jewish vs Greco roman. Romans eagle above entrance to tomb
  6. 5 wives.10 children very conniving.
  7. “Rather be herod’s pig than his son!”In his advancing paranoia, he was continually writing to Rome for permission to execute one or two of his sons for treason. Finally even his patron and friend Augustus had to admit, “I’d rather be Herod’s pig than his son.” It was not only a play on the similar sounding Greek words for son and pig, but a wry reference to the fact that pork, at least, was not consumed by Jews.via History of King Herod: Why was he called Great? — Bill Petro.
  8. Death and everything unraveled …Judea carved up among 3 sons ..
  • Slaughter of the infants .. Tintoretto painting
  1. Josephus – Herod rounded up and killed young men on his death
  2. But slaughter of infants very similar to Moses.
  3. Birth narrative theologically motivated … Literature
  • Interesting tidbit … Netzer, archeologist,  died at site.

JERUSALEM — Ehud Netzer, one of Israel’s best-known archeologists who unearthed King Herod’s tomb near Bethlehem three years ago, died on Thursday after being injured in a fall at the site. He was 76.

Mr. Netzer was leaning on a wooden safety rail on Monday when it gave way, sending him tumbling 15 feet. He was taken to Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem with critical injuries and died there.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the death “a loss for his family, for scholars of Israel’s history and for archeology.”

Mr. Netzer, who was professor emeritus of archeology at Hebrew University, had led high-profile digs across the country and helped educate several generations of Israeli archeologists.

After three decades of research, he was the pre-eminent expert on Herodium, a fortified palace complex that Herod built atop a small mountain near Bethlehem when he ruled in the decades just before the birth of Jesus. Herod, the Rome-appointed king of Judea from 37 to 4 B. C., was famed for his monumental structures, including the Second Temple in Jerusalem, the desert fortress of Masada near the Dead Sea and Herodium.

via Ehud Netzer, Archeologist Who Unearthed Herod’s Tomb, Dies at 76 – NYTimes.com.

FPC, Rev. Roland Purdue, worship: The sermon, “A world Whirled and Staggered,” …

Notes:

  • Isaiah 7:10-14 (RSV)10 Again the LORD spoke to Ahaz,11 “Ask a sign of the LORD your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven.”

    12 But Ahaz said, “I will not ask, and I will not put the LORD to the test.”

    13 And he said, “Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary men, that you weary my God also?

    14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, a young woman shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Imman’u-el.

    via Isaiah 7:10-14 “Again the LORD spoke to Ahaz,…” RSV – Online Bible Study – Online Bible Study Tools.

  1. Staggering things but no one aware of anything in particular.
  2. Ahaz pious and refuses to test God
  3. isaiah: God give sign if you will trust in Lord
  4. Women give birth all the time? Probably child born of Ahaz or Isaiah … Isaiah known for naming children prophetically.  Probably of Isaiah.
  5. Ahaz refuses
  • Matthew 1:18-25Joseph Accepts Jesus as His Son18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about[a]: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet[b] did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

    20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus,[c] because he will save his people from their sins.”

    22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”[d] (which means “God with us”).

    24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

    via Bible.

  1. 7 centuries later
  2. After Jesus birth and death, Matthew and Christian community take the Isaiah prophesy
  • Peace candle only God’s gift allow us to enjoy that peace
  • Salvation among us because of Gid’d gift
  • Gift uniquely bundled up on a child
  • Since birth of Jesus no child ever the same.
  • Time to be responsible adults and reach out to the children ours or another. Say to child that they are a sign of God in your life.

Nobel Prize, economics, macroeconomics, Great Recession: Fascinating …

 “If it’s a prank,” she whispered, “they’re doing a pretty good Swedish accent.”

At the same hour, near the campus of New York University in Manhattan, Thomas J. Sargent was already wide awake. He, too, had received an unexpected call.

Stockholm was on the line. The two men, intellectual sparring mates for more than 40 years, had won the Nobel in economic science. (They are to collect it on Saturday.)

And yet, in this time of economic angst, with the fate of the euro and the course of the global economy uncertain, these two Americans have reached the pinnacle of a profession that, to many, seems to have failed miserably. The financial crisis of 2008-09, the Great Recession, the debt mess in Europe — few economists saw all of it coming. For all its elegance, modern macroeconomics seemed to provide little help when the world needed it most.

Today, solutions to our economic troubles, from onerous government debt to high unemployment, remain elusive. And the field of economics, like Washington politics, seems as polarized as ever.

Mr. Sims and Mr. Sargent neither prescribe cures nor forecast the future. Nor do they deal in the sound bites of talking heads on cable TV. They are reluctant celebrities, men whose work can baffle even Ph.D.’s.

So it comes as a surprise, not least to Mr. Sims and Mr. Sargent, that these two now find themselves thrust into an uncomfortable spotlight. Conservative voices, like the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal, have claimed them as their own. The men’s work on economic cause and effect and the theory of rational expectations — which maintains that people use all the information available in making economic decisions — proves that Keynes had it wrong, these commentators say.

It would be a provocative thesis — if it were true. But Mr. Sims and Mr. Sargent say their work is being misread. Both, in fact, are longtime Democrats who maintain that government can, and should, play a role in economic affairs. They stand behind many recent policies of the Obama administration and the Federal Reserve. They even have some ideas about how European governments might defuse the running crisis on the Continent.

They won their Nobel for “their empirical research on cause and effect in the macroeconomy,” in the academy’s words. What that means, in part, is that they have done some serious math. Today, ideas they largely formed in the 1970s and ’80s help shape the thinking inside the Fed and on Wall Street.

via Nobel Winners in Economics – The Reluctant Celebrities – NYTimes.com.

 

movies, J Edgar, biopic, history:  Always fascinated by K Edgar hoover … want to see J. Edgar (2011) – IMDb…. was he gay?

Sitting in front of Hoover’s grave in Congressional Cemetery (an inspired touch) Schwarz argues that in the movie, “Mr. Hoover was portrayed as an individual who had homosexual tendencies and was a tyrannical monster…That is clearly not true.” To prove his point, Schwarz mentions that the real Hoover wrote personal notes to his agents to mark births, deaths and anniversaries. For Schwarz this is clear enough evidence that Hoover was not an administrative monster with no social life. But it is the same love of rules that also implies to Schwarz that there was no chance that Hoover was homosexual.

Schwarz’s belief is based on the notion that Hoover condemned extra-marital affairs and anyone who was homosexual was considered a “security risk.” (Although if Armie Hammer was your assistant you might bend the rules, too.) For Schwarz, there is no way a man who condemns homosexuality could possibly be gay. Apparently he has chosen to ignore the many former Congressmen and religious leaders who put the lie to that belief and is also completely unaware of the human capacity to protest too much.

via Ex-FBI Agents Angered by Clint Eastwood’s Portrayal of J. Edgar Hoover as Gay in New Biopic | Entertainment | TIME.com.

Ayn Rand, yoga, lululemon, mash-up:  Interesting mash-up!  And that is the first time I have used that term!  Atlas Stretched: What Ayn Rand, yoga, and lululemon’s new shopping bags have in common. – Slate Magazine.

The great appeal of yoga is that you are doing something selfish and virtuous at the same time. You are sweating and suffering and honing a “watchful mind,” but also taking a break from your daily burdens and acquiring fantastic-looking abs. And that’s the genius of Ayn Rand: She made egoism the ultimate good. What Christianity labels as the unfortunate consequence of original sin, Rand saw as man’s natural and best state. (Interestingly, while Ayn Rand’s atheism bothers conservative evangelicals, it seems to bother some of them less than does yoga, which they view as paganism parading as a health movement. John Galt, at least, would have shared their hatred of Obamacare.)

— Slate on the Who Is John Galt quasi-meme and what Aynd Rand and yoga have in common

via curiosity counts – The great appeal of yoga is that you are doing….

‘Leonardo da Vinci’ , National Gallery in London, travel, museum exhibits, London: I want to go, I want to go …

Despite all the madness Mr. Syson, who is leaving the National Gallery to become curator of European sculpture and decorative arts at the Met in January, has a message he hopes the exhibition is delivering: Realizing that Leonardo has recently been prized more as a scientist than as an artist, he wants the public to see how painting was actually central to the master’s way of thinking. Judging by the show’s popularity, that point is getting across.

“I don’t mean to sound like a mystical priest, but on some level these paintings communicate soul to soul,” he said. “Great art does work on people in mysterious ways.”

via‘Leonardo da Vinci’ Blockbuster at National Gallery in London – NYTimes.com.

 Great White,  Wilmington NC, North Carolina:  dun-dun! dun-dun! dun-dun-dun-dun-dun-dun-dun, da-na-na!

This is a great PR opportunity for the Iphone 4s – a Massachusetts man captured HD footage of an 18-foot Great White shark off the coast of North Carolina over the weekend. Matt Garrett and friends were 25 miles off the coast of Wrightsville Beach on a day fishing trip when out of the deep the shark came.

The footage is as stunning as it is chilling, particularly given the calm waters on that sun-filled day.

“Off in a distance we saw two big fins sticking up in the water. We thought it was a couple Atlantic Sunfish or two dolphins. As the two fins approached a little closer, we noticed it was a giant shark.” Garrett said.

Watch the video for all the details and think twice before you surf in Hatteras again.

via Incredible Great White Footage Captured off North Carolina – USATODAY.com.

Davidson College, Davidson basketball:  Talking points …

One of the main points of emphasis on this year’s Wildcats’ team has been to make the game go as fast as it can go.

via Davidson sets fast pace, keeps Furman on the run | CharlotteObserver.com & The Charlotte Observer Newspaper.

David Foster Wallace, academic resources: Want to know what it would be like to have David Foster Wallace as a professor? Check out his English 102 syllabus …  I had to check out who he was  …

David Foster Wallace, whose prodigiously observant, exuberantly plotted, grammatically and etymologically challenging, philosophically probing and culturally hyper-contemporary novels, stories and essays made him an heir to modern virtuosos like Thomas Pynchon and Don DeLillo, an experimental contemporary of William T. Vollmann, Mark Leyner and Nicholson Baker and a clear influence on younger tour-de-force stylists like Dave Eggers and Jonathan Safran Foer, died on Friday at his home in Claremont, Calif. He was 46.

A spokeswoman for the Claremont police said Mr. Wallace’s wife, Karen Green, returned home to find that her husband had hanged himself. Mr. Wallace’s father, James Donald Wallace, said in an interview on Sunday that his son had been severely depressed for a number of months.

via David Foster Wallace, Influential Writer, Dies at 46 – Obituary (Obit) – NYTimes.com.

Book cover. Click to enlarge.

 

Annotated pages . Click to enlarge.

Annotated pages from David Foster Wallace’s teaching copy of C. S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Harry Ransom Center.

A small but significant portion of the David Foster Wallace archive represents his teaching career, from his graduate school years through to his work as a faculty member at Pomona College in the years before his death. Wallace not only had high expectations for his students, but took his own role as a teacher very seriously. Syllabi, paper topic handouts, quizzes, vocabulary lists, heavily annotated teaching texts, and other documents dating from the late 1980s to 2008 are represented in the collection. Shown here are assignments and books representing various periods in his teaching career.

via Teaching materials from the David Foster Wallace archive.

Kodak, brand, “creative destruction”:  Kodak was the best … I remember the first time I bought Fuji film!

Kodak Brownie and Instamatic cameras were once staples of family vacations and holidays — remember the “open me first” Christmas ad campaigns? But it may not be long before a generation of Americans grows up without ever having laid hands on a Kodak product. That’s a huge comedown for a brand that was once as globally familiar as Coca-Cola.

It’s hard to think of a company whose onetime dominance of a market has been so thoroughly obliterated by new technology. Family snapshots? They’re almost exclusively digital now, and only a tiny fraction ever get printed on paper.

Eastman Kodak engineers invented the digital camera in 1975; but now that you can point and click with a cheap cellphone, even the stand-alone digital camera is becoming an endangered species on the consumer electronics veld. The last spool of yellow-boxed Kodachrome rolled out the door of a Mexican factory in 2009. Paul Simon composed his hymn to Kodachrome in 1973, but his camera of choice, according to the lyrics, was a Nikon.

It’s not uncommon for great companies to be humbled by what the Austrian economist Joseph Schumpeter called the forces of “creative destruction.” Technology, especially digital technology, has been the most potent whirlwind sweeping away old markets and old strategies for many decades. Changing economics and global competition have reduced behemoths of the past, such as General Motors, into mice of the present.

via Kodak’s long fade to black – latimes.com.

Great Recession,  European Financial Mess:  Help …

Much like our own recent housing crisis, the European financial mess is unfolding in a foreign language. It is the lingua franca of financial obscurity — “sovereign credit spreads” and other terms that most people don’t need, or care, to know.

Yet the bottom line is simple: Europe’s problems are a lot like ours, only worse. Like Wall Street, Germany is where the money is. Italy, like California, has let bad governance squander great natural resources. Greece is like a much older version of Mississippi — forever poor and living a bit too much off its richer neighbors. Slovenia, Slovakia and Estonia are like the heartland states that learned the hard way how entwined so-called Main Street is with Wall Street. Now remember that these countries share neither a government nor a language. Nor a realistic bailout plan, either.

Lack of fluency in financialese shouldn’t preclude anyone from understanding what is going on in Europe or what may yet happen. So we’ve answered some of the most pressing questions in a language everyone can comprehend. Though the word for “Lehman” in virtually any language is still “Lehman.”

via Translating the European Financial Mess – NYTimes.com.

Chelsea Clinton: Very enjoyable article … I wonder why she named her dog “Soren” [Kierkegaard]?

OVER a series of casual dinners at neighborhood restaurants near her Flatiron District apartment in the spring, Chelsea Clinton began talking to a couple of longtime friends about something she’d been mulling for a while.

It was quite an assertion from someone who — despite the very public profile of her parents, one a former president and the other the current secretary of state — had lived most of her 31 years at a far remove from the spotlight.

And in her most high-profile move so far, she has taken a job with NBC News as a special correspondent, contributing to the network’s “Making a Difference” franchise. On Dec. 12, Ms. Clinton will make her first appearance on the prime-time newsmagazine “Rock Center With Brian Williams,” with a segment she developed about a nonprofit organization in Pine Bluff, Ark.

As she headed to the airport in Little Rock, Ark., on Friday evening, after filming her NBC segment, Ms. Clinton discussed in a phone interview her decision to take on a more public role. “My parents taught me to approach the world critically, but also to approach it with a sense of responsibility,” she said.

Mr. Mezvinsky, a former Goldman Sachs banker, will soon start a hedge fund with a friend. The couple’s apartment, shared with a miniature Yorkshire terrier named Soren, after the philosopher Soren Kierkegaard, is said to be overflowing with books. On the phone from Arkansas, Ms. Clinton talked about her husband’s continuous support and their habit of talking “about everything, almost sometimes ad nauseam.”

via Chelsea Clinton, Living Up to the Family Name – NYTimes.com.

Newt Gingrich, Maureen Dowd: scathing!

NEWT GINGRICH’S mind is in love with itself.

It has persuaded itself that it is brilliant when it is merely promiscuous. This is not a serious mind. Gingrich is not, to put it mildly, a systematic thinker.

His mind is a jumble, an amateurish mess lacking impulse control. He plays air guitar with ideas, producing air ideas. He ejaculates concepts, notions and theories that are as inconsistent as his behavior.

He didn’t get whiplash being a serial adulterer while impeaching another serial adulterer, a lobbyist for Freddie Mac while attacking Freddie Mac, a self-professed fiscal conservative with a whopping Tiffany’s credit line, and an anti-Communist Army brat who supported the Vietnam War but dodged it.

“Part of the question I had to ask myself,” he said in a 1985 Wall Street Journal piece about war wimps, “was what difference I would have made.”

Newt swims easily in a sea of duality and byzantine ideas that don’t add up. As The Washington Post reported on Friday, an America under President Gingrich would have two Social Security systems — “one old, one new, running side by side” — two tax systems and two versions of Medicare.

Newt’s the kind of person whom child labor laws were created to curb. He sounds like a benign despot with a colonial subtext: Until I bring you the benefits of civilization, we will regard you as savages.

He’s Belgium. The poor are Congo.

via Out of Africa and Into Iowa – NYTimes.com.

15
Oct
11

10.15.2011 … RIP, Dr. Partin, a most beloved Davidson professor … and missing my prematurely empty-nester friends Bob and Joni … not fair you get a fall week at the beach without us!

Dr. Malcolm Partin, RIP, Davidson College faculty:  So many friends consider Dr. Partin their favorite Davidson professor.  Rest in peace, Dr. Partin. I never had Dr.Partin but his  “Catherine the Great” lecture was well-known in Davidson lore  … and everyone would try to get in to hear it.  I listened in once.  🙂

During the funeral service, the Rev. Jody Seymour had reminded us all of Malcolm’s insistence that people made history, not social forces like the economy and political ideology. And the people in attendance to celebrate Malcolm today at Davidson United Methodist Church were a living history of Davidson.

It is tempting to think in a crowd like this of the Davidson of yore—”old Davidson” as someone else in the receiving line said. It is a comforting thought, in its way, attached as it is to more youthful days. Look, over there are Sam and Ava and John and Missy and Will and Sue and Hansford and Earl and Leland…. Of course, Leland. I’ve never laughed as much as I did when Malcolm and Leland would get on a roll. I hear Leland laughing even now in the receiving line, sharing happy memories of his friend with all who reach out to shake his own hand.

This is a solid group of good people, I think, and I’m honored to be in it. And when I back up a few steps (away from some very delicious homemade cookies), I see that there is no real distinction here of old or new. Just flow, here we all are right now. You never jump in the same river twice, and that. Someone is always arriving or leaving. It is Davidson in its terquasquicentennial glory, the Davidson of people who’ve gone before for nearly 175 years and who are here now and who are yet to come here, that matters….

via Daybook Davidson » Malcolm Overstreet Partin: May 24, 1936–October 12, 2011.

He engaged students with anecdotes and insights, inviting them to join him in discovery of two centuries of triumphs and tragedies that ultimately helped explain their own circumstance in history. He began one segment by saying, “Dig in your heels now, because we’re about to tackle the ‘Eastern Question’ in all its dreadful splendor…”

The benevolent dictatorship of his classroom was balanced by his behavior outside that personal domain. Students stopped by his office regularly in the afternoons for conversation and help, and he frequently dined with them. “He’s a friend an confidant who takes time to know you as a person, and not just as a student,” wrote one admirer.

via Davidson College News Archives.

empty nesters, kith/kin:  I hate experiencing the empty nest vicariously! Missing my prematurely empty-nester friends Bob and Joni … not fair you get a fall week at the beach without us!

Constitution, Second Amendment, Gene Weingarten: Enjoyed Weingarten rewrite of the Second Amendment … look forward to reading more of his rewrites!

The old version: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

What a mess! It’s got mangled syntax, extraneous punctuation, and, above all, mealy-mouthed caveats and qualifiers. If you are going to allow arms, allow arms.

My new Second Amendment:

“You have the right to bear arms, including but not limited to handguns, tommy guns, assault rifles, bazookas, zip guns, grease guns, blunderbusses, howitzers, flamethrowers, grapeshot cannons, shoulder-mounted surface-to-air missiles, medieval-style catapults that can launch a putrifying, disease-ridden horse carcass over a castle wall, and Al Pacino’s ‘lil’ fren’ from ‘Scarface.’ This amendment should not be construed to rule out ordinarily, non-lethal devices that might be weaponized, such as plowshares, pitchforks, and handheld, riled-up roosters.”

via Gene Weingarten: Get me rewrite – The Washington Post.

history, Great Depression, Great Recession:  Is history repeating itself?

Toward the end of his book, Allen sums up the mood of the country. By 1939, people were weary of hard economic times, but they were also weary of Roosevelt’s endless experiments. Many modern historians believe that Roosevelt’s biggest problem was not that he’d done too much, but that he’d done too little — that the Depression required a response bigger than even Roosevelt’s New Deal. Implicitly, Allen agrees with that.

Still, he writes, “Despite all the miseries of the Depression and the recurrent fears of new economic decline and of war, the bulk of the American people had not yet quite lost their basic asset of hopefulness.”

He concludes: “A nation tried in a long ordeal had not yet lost heart.” When our current long ordeal finally ends, will we be able to say the same?

via The 1930s Sure Sound Familiar – NYTimes.com.

The Phantom Tollbooth, children’s/YA literature:  Did you like The Phantom Tollboth?  It’s 50!

It’s a commonplace of scholarship to insist that children’s literature came of age when it began to break away from the authoritarian model of the moralizing allegory. Yet “The Phantom Tollbooth” is an old-fashioned moralizing allegory, with a symbolic point at every turn. Milo finds that the strange land on the other side of the tollbooth is sundered between words and numbers, between the land of Azaz the Unabridged, the King of Dictionopolis, and his brother the Mathemagician, the ruler of Digitopolis. The only way to reunite the kingdoms is for someone—why not Milo?—to scale the Mountains of Ignorance, defeat the demons, and release the banished princesses of Rhyme and Reason from their prison. (They were banished because they refused to choose between words and numbers, thereby infuriating the kings.) Along the way, each new experience makes funny and concrete some familiar idea or turn of speech: Milo jumps to Conclusions, a crowded island; grows drowsy in the Doldrums; and finds that you can swim in the Sea of Knowledge for hours and not get wet. The book is made magical by Juster’s and Feiffer’s gift for transforming abstract philosophical ideas into unforgettable images. The thinnest fat man in the world turns out to be the fattest thin man; we see them both. We meet the fractional boy, divided in the middle of his smile, who is the “.58 child” in the average American family of 2.58 children. The tone of the book is at once antic and professorial, as if a very smart middle-aged academic were working his way through an absurd and elaborate parable for his kids. The reality is that when Juster wrote “The Phantom Tollbooth” he was a young architect in Brooklyn, just out of the Navy, unmarried and childless, and with no particular background in writing or teaching, working out a series of jokes and joys for himself alone.

via Norton Juster’s “The Phantom Tollbooth” at 50 : The New Yorker.

Breast Cancer Awareness, “pinking of America”:  Too much media hype  … does it do any good?  Actually pinking seems far less pervasive this year here in Charlotte.

THE Dallas Cowboys just got “pinked.”

And not just the Cowboys. The entire Cowboys Stadium here. Pink is everywhere: around the goalposts, in the crowd, on the players’ cleats, towels and wristbands.

In case you haven’t noticed, October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, when the entire nation gets painted pink. This is also when “pink” becomes more than a color: It becomes, for better or worse, a verb.

In marketing circles, “to pink” means to link a brand or a product or even the entire National Football League to one of the most successful charity campaigns of all time. Like it or not — and some people don’t like it at all — the pinking of America has become a multibillion-dollar business, a marketing, merchandising and fund-raising opportunity that is almost unrivaled in scope. There are pink-ribbon car tires, pink-ribbon clogs, pink eyelash curlers — the list goes on.

via In the Breast Cancer Fight, the Pinking of America – NYTimes.com.

piracy:  Modern piracy is not glamorous … makes you rethink 18th century piracy.

SOMALI pirates can be persistent. They have attacked the Maersk Alabama, a container ship owned by an American subsidiary of Denmark’s Maersk Line, no fewer than five times, most recently in May. In the first attack, in 2009, the captain was held hostage until the US Navy rescued him. Then Maersk put private armed guards on the ship. Since then, it has successfully repelled all boarders.

Maersk says it is only arming a few ships plying the pirate-infested waters off East Africa. But the practice is spreading rapidly among shipping firms despite the cost, which can run to $100,000 per voyage for a four-man team. That is because the number of attacks, off Somalia and elsewhere, has kept growing despite the strengthening of naval patrols (see chart). The European Union’s NAVFOR task-force, NATO warships and other navies patrol the waters off Somalia, but this has only pushed the pirates out into the open ocean, extending their attack zone towards India’s coast and as far south as Mozambique’s. This has forced the shipping industry, its insurers, and the national and international authorities that oversee them to accept that private armed guards are a necessity.

viaPiracy: Prepare to repel boarders | The Economist.

politics, what ifs …:

Hillary Clinton is going to swap jobs with Joe Biden at some point between now and the 2012 election, okay? I can just tell.

Yes, I understand that I should rightly be embarrassed for making this claim. But no, it’s not because of the obvious fact that both Biden and Clinton have repeatedly claimed that they want no part of such a swap, or that there isn’t any indication that the White House would do such a thing, or that even if the White House and Biden and Clinton wanted to it would be treated by the media as a fundamental sign of desperation and by their opponents as a sign of weakness. It’s not because of the unambiguous absence of any compelling reason to make a change like this. And it has nothing to do with the fact that such a change-up would not result in a single needle being moved in the White House’s favor.

via Here Are Some Thoughts I Had For America!: This Week In Pundit Pontifications.

iPhone 4S, SIRI, LOL: OK I laughed … Shit That Siri Says STSS

violence, Christianity:  Interesting analysis … an issue that has come up several times recently.

There was a simple lesson we learned that day: skepticism is good; because life is far more interesting and complex than our assumptions would have us believe, especially those assumptions about other people.

But at a deeper level, what we learned was our faith is a resource, the deepest of deep wells. It is not only a tool for coping with difficulties, but it provides some sense of both meaning and direction.

That is where I’d like to address the question for this panel today. And as a way to talk about what Christianity says about peace, I’d like to do so from the side by answering this question: What is the Christian response to violence?

There are typically two answers to this question from the Christian tradition that many of us would be familiar with.

First, there is what is known as the “just war” theory, first developed in a Christian sense by St. Augustine in the 4th and 5th centuries. Without going into too much detail, it is the theological rationale that there is such a thing as permissible violence, but within a very clearly prescribed set of circumstances that limit behavior during war and also limit the reasons for going to war. In short, the good must outweigh the bad.

Second, there is pacifism, which roots itself in Christ’s teaching to “turn the other cheek”. It had its proponents in the early church, and has continued as a Christian way of thought. We know it best in the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., who employed it as both a strategy and a way of life.

But in both cases, what is not an option is revenge. It is not a Christian value. There is no justification, from a Christian perspective, for getting even.

Listen carefully to Jesus’ response to the crowd: “Do you think these suffered in this way because they were worse sinners? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish as they did.”

In that, I hear Jesus issuing a warning: lives lived without repentance – without the humility and honesty of acknowledging wrongdoing – are destined for tragedy. And not in the sense that either Falwell or Robertson might believe.

Repentance is, after all, a turning to face God. It is a shining of light on that which is shrouded in darkness. It is painful, but it is restorative. Before anything else, there is the need to confront our brokenness, our imperfections, the evil we harbor within ourselves. And repentance is not confined to the individual. It is a collective responsibility. How are we complicit? How do we participate in systems which allow violence to flourish?

It is my conviction that it is the asking of these difficult questions that begins the Christian path to peace. It is the moral consequences of the answers that give us direction.

via What Is the Christian Response to Violence? Reflections for an Interfaith Panel « i feast therefore i am.

Louisville KY, river cities:  I love this description of Louisville!

I love cities on rivers. They always remind me of the great Raymond Carver poem, Where Water Comes Together With Other Water … and the lines “I love the places where water comes together with other water… They stand out in my mind like holy places. . .”

The mighty Ohio River from our hotel room

Louisville isn’t quite holy, but it is a quiet, likeable city of beautiful old brick facades, lots of fountains, and the KFC Yum! stadium, picturesquely situated on the banks on the mighty Ohio. Our hotel room overlooks the river, where we can watch coal barges floating by, loaded up with great mounds of black grit. When I drove in Monday night, I missed my turn and ended up driving across the river into what I thought was Ohio but was actually Indiana (and yes, I am directionally and geographically challenged).

via My new Kentucky home. | What Gives 365.

‘The Rosie Show”: I am not sure I will ever like Rosie again … she just got mean and ugly …

On the premiere of her show on Monday, Ms. O’Donnell performed a mock cabaret number with her own lyrics to “The Night Chicago Died.” (“Remember my problems on ‘The View’/I told Hasselbeck a thing or two.”)

She also discussed rehab with Mr. Brand, a former drug addict, and breast cancer with Ms. Sykes, who caught hers early and is in full recovery. But serious issues don’t get in the way of what Ms. O’Donnell does best: amiable, free-floating conversation that seems unscripted and unpretentious.

“The Rosie Show” is an OWN program that doesn’t ask viewers to look inside themselves; it just entices them to watch.

via ‘The Rosie Show’ and ‘Oprah’s Lifeclass’ on OWN – NYTimes.com.

White House, President Obama, BlackBerry messages,  Solyndra, Executive Privilege:  New area … blackberry communications … Solyndra is getting bigger …

President Barack Obama won’t be sharing his BlackBerry messages with House investigators seeking communications about Solyndra, the White House told Hill Republicans on Friday.

White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler told House Energy and Commerce Committee leaders that they should still be happy with the trove of Solyndra-related documents they’re getting from federal agencies including DOE, the Treasury Department and the Office of Management and Budget.

But Ruemmler said the investigators’ request for all internal White House communications about Solyndra — dating back to the first day of the Obama administration — “implicates long-standing and significant institutional Executive Branch confidentiality interests.”

Obama had to fight his lawyers just to be able to become the first president to use a BlackBerry, and so far no one has successfully gotten access to the messages.

via White House won’t turn over Obama’s BlackBerry messages on Solyndra – Darren Samuelsohn – POLITICO.com.

Google, Steve Yegge,  “Jerry Maguire moment”:

I’m not sure if Yegge interrupted his fervent writing spree to assume yoga positions, as Jerry Maguire did, but his memo about Google+ shook the tech community as much as Maguire’s memo shook the fictional sports agency world.

The only difference: Yegge does not seem in danger of being fired and forced to start up his own tech company with a spunky sidekick/secretary. (At least not yet). But his missive left me cheering for Yegge, imaging a Hollywood symphony swelling to a crescendo when I reached the final line: “But we’ve gotta start doing this right.”

To recap for the non-tech-obsessed: An engineer at Google, Yegge poured out his angst about the struggling Google+ on Google+. His diatribe was meant for Google employees only, but even Yegge can’t figure out how to use the platform and he mistakenly made it public. He took it down, but nothing dies on the Internet, so copies are still posted all over Google+. (He also has an archive of long posts around the Web, most amusingly “Stevey’s Drunken Blog Rants” about his time at Amazon.)

His Google+ post is a fascinating glimpse inside the world of one of the largest tech companies. It’s long, but worth reading — even if you don’t understand half the tech jargon (I write about the Internet, and there were parts I stumbled over). By the time you reach the end, you’ll be cheering for Yegge too.

While there’s plenty for the tech crowd to enjoy (especially the inside gossip on Amazon and CEO Jeff Bezos, or “Dread Pirate Bezos,” in Yegge’s words), what stuck out to me were the simple rules he laid out for thinking about how a company should be run.

In fact, I’d go so far as to say, for all his complaints about the company, Yegge does a pretty great job making Google seem like an incredible place to work.

via Google engineer Steve Yegge has his Jerry Maguire moment – BlogPost – The Washington Post.

 ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ Coming Out, Web: Way too public to me.

LIKE a lot of people who post videos of themselves on YouTube, Kristina Cecil wants the world to know a few personal facts:

She is an avid hiker.

She is a Minnesota Vikings fan.

She is a member of the United States Air Force, which is the fulfillment of a lifelong dream to serve in the military.

And she is gay.

“It’s really nice to say that now, because the whole ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ has been repealed,” Ms. Cecil, a 22-year-old with short-cropped blond hair and a tattoo on her right arm, said excitedly to the camera. “I’m just really happy to say that I’m gay, and I’m an American airman.”

Ms. Cecil’s on-screen declaration, shot in her disheveled bedroom, is one among a wave of coming-out videos posted by gay soldiers on YouTube in recent weeks. With National Coming Out Day this past Tuesday, less than a month after the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy was repealed, the genre of military coming-out videos gained force this week.

via After ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ Coming Out on the Web – NYTimes.com.

Philip Johnson, Glass House, architecture, design, icons, bucket list: Glass House is on my bucket list … but isn’t a glass house counterintuitive to the idea of a house?

The architect Philip Johnson’s Glass House is one of the most important icons of modern architecture. For nearly five decades, Johnson and the art collector David Whitney lived in the 47-acre grounds in New Canaan, CT, sculpting the landscape and adding new buildings.

In 2007, two years after both men had died, the site opened up to the public as a National Trust Historic Site.

via Is Philip Johnson’s Glass House The Most Beautifully Designed House In The World?

social media ads, politics:  clicks = votes ….

The other problem with television: Live viewers are diminishing rapidly. A recent poll by the advertising company SAY Media reported that one in three voters had not seen any live television during the previous week. And politicians want to go where the conversation is.

Romney, for example, records short video messages and pushes them out on social media sites, including Facebook and YouTube. “You need to have digital embassies on every one of those sites,” Moffatt said.

Whether this form of advertising will be effective, or whether it will fall prey to the same arguments Malcolm Gladwell made about the efficacy of social media influencing world events (he disowned Twitter’s role in the Arab Spring), remains to be seen. There have been no major studies proving the success of online political advertising.

And in social media, all users — not just politicians — wield influence. New tools are allowing voters to tout their favored politicians. Votizen launched an endorsement tool last month on Twitter and Facebook to help people publicly vouch for candidates — and solicit their friends to get behind them.

via Will clicks on social media ads translate into votes? – The Washington Post.

pictograms, graphic design, Jesus, LOL:  Famous lives in minimalist pictograms!  Even, Jesus!

From Milan-based creative agency H-57 comes this brilliant series of minimalist pictogram posters for the life-and-times of famous characters, both fictional and historical, from Darth Vader to Marie Antoinette to Jesus — part Isotype, part Everything Explained Through Flowcharts, part something entirely and ingeniously its own.

via From Darth Vader to Jesus: Famous Lives in Minimalist Pictograms | Brain Pickings.




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