. . . having children and struggling to survive are what's "natural." Leaving your family for escapist, sterile sex is literally "unnatural." Heath Ledger does a fine piece of acting as the taciturn, conflicted Ennis. But Michelle Williams as his hurt, rejected wife makes a powerful case for family values.
The Lord bless thy going out and thy coming in
All is well with the house deal.
As it turned out, everything was always well. My swing loan was right on track, and all I had to do was go to the bank today and sign for my money. My only real problem was that the banker hadn’t called me as promised on Saturday, so I worried all weekend that something was wrong.
There’s a parable there, I suppose. “Cast no thought upon the morrow,” and all that. The difference here is that trusting God involves trusting… well, God. Trusting my banker is not the same thing at all.
Brother Moloch, his wife and the Oldest Niece were in town today, and the real estate agent met us at the house so I could show it to them. The sellers were there, doing a final clear-out, and we were able to talk about the place. They seemed pleased with me as a new owner, surprisingly enough. The wife was a little teary, because this was the house she grew up in, and she’s saying goodbye to it. Been there. I can sympathize.
I don’t know the Hebrew meaning of the passage, “The Lord bless thy going out and thy coming in, from this time forward.” My personal interpretation, for whatever it’s worth, is that it refers to the changes of life. We leave one stage, one place, and go out of it. We then come into a new situation, in God’s timing and providence. There’s sorrow in the going out and joy in the coming in (or there should be). We need to learn to see both sides of the door as places where God is present and guiding us.
The verdict from Moloch and family – great house. Hope you can afford it.
Me too. Me too.
Today: A festival of substandard writing
It’s raining today. It’s January 29. I’m in
As the IQ tests say, “Which one of these things does not belong with the other two?”
Nothing more to report on the house situation, since my last comment on my previous post.
(Howls of delight from the galleries)
Today in church we sang a Praise Song that contained the following immortal lines:
“Holy words long preserved
For our walk in this world.
They resound with God’s own heart.
O let the ancient words impart.”
Listen, song-writers – having your heart in the right place is great, but if you’re going to write songs that will be inflicted on Lutherans who are standing when they’d rather be sitting for twenty minutes every Sunday, try to put the words in a form that makes some sense.
Nothing in heaven or earth merely imparts. I’m sure there’s a technical term for the kind of verb “impart” is, but I don’t know it. What I do know is that nothing just sits there and imparts. Things impart other things. Love can be imparted, and wisdom. So can sweetness or understanding. I suppose I could imagine a situation where cubicity and inarticulacy (I like that last word; note yesterday’s post My spell checker doesn’t red-line it, so it must be a real word. “Cubicity”, on the other hand, isn’t) get imparted.
You might as well say that a pipeline is “transporting”. “What are you transporting in this pipeline?” you ask the engineer. “Oil? Water? Natural gas?”
And he replies, “No, we never put anything into it. We’re just happy that the pipeline is sitting there, transporting.”
No wonder the world thinks we’re morons.
Not that their lyrics are any better nowadays.
Douglas Gresham is the son of a woman who was both a noted poet and the author of perhaps the most vividly composed book on Christian morality ever written, Smoke On the Mountain.
His father was William Gresham who wrote Nightmare Alley, which did pretty well in its time. And he had C.S. Lewis himself for his stepfather.
Judging from this book, it doesn’t appear that much of that skill rubbed off, I’m sorry to say.
One must make allowances for the fact that the book seems to be aimed at the twelve-year-old demographic. This is apparent from the style, though I can’t see that it’s been marketed that way.
But the talking down and endless explanations get tiresome, and the occasional use of slang will only serve to date the book more quickly. Word choice and grammar are sometimes poor as well, and
On the other hand, in spite of stylistic weaknesses, having Douglas Gresham’s testament to the things he observed, and heard from “Jack” himself, while they lived in the same house is worth any amount of minor irritations. It was particularly interesting to hear Lewis' account of being wounded and crawling back to his own lines during the battle of Arras.
The CD enclosed with the book, featuring a half-hour interview with
Why is giving not a priority for most Christians? The answer is that obligation alone is not enough to create in us a vision for investing in others. So, what is? "The desire for rewards," [Gotthardt] answers. God has promised great reward for those who give freely and generously out of a changed heart and life. In other words, the ultimate investment should be in heaven, for from heaven comes the ultimate reward.- phil
I suppose it’s right and proper that any major transition in life should be accompanied by large quantities of sturm und drang, weeping and gnashing of teeth. The change from one manner of living to another seems to demand some minimum amount of pain. When one goes in for dental work or a minor operation, and it’s all over before we realize it and almost doesn’t hurt at all, isn’t there just a touch of disappointment? “That’s all I get? How will I tell my friends harrowing stories about this?”
No fear of that kind of disappointment in connection with my house purchase.
About a week and a half ago I called my investment banker to arrange to liquidate some (most) of my assets so I could make a down payment when we close this Tuesday. She told me we’d have to dip into the annuities, and it would take about three weeks to get that money.
“Then I can’t get it in time for closing?” I asked.
“No,” she answered. “I think we can do it.”
So I trusted her. Major mistake.
She told me a check would be coming. When it hadn’t shown up by last night, I called this morning to ask how things stood.
She told me I couldn’t expect the money yet. It takes about three weeks. “I told you that,” she said.
In her defense, I’m not sure she intended to mislead me. During the conversation she made one surprising statement that I felt I had to question, and I learned that she’d meant the exact opposite of what she said. Her problem appears to be mere inarticulacy.
So what could I do? She referred me to a personal banker, who was very cheery and told me she thought she could get my line of credit increased this very day. She would call me back.
When I called her office around 4:00, I learned from her voice mail that she’d left at noon.
So I called my real estate agent, who suggested I call the mortgage banker who’s doing my mortgage. I did that, and he told me (on the callback; I had to leave a message) that he’d try to get me a line of credit through his bank, but he couldn’t close it out before Monday afternoon.
When I got home Banker Number Two called me to tell me that I was in the Final Approval Stage, and that she’d probably have final word tomorrow some time.
So I called my realtor again, and he called Banker Number Three. I think they’ve put the second loan on hold.
But I don’t think I’ll sleep tonight.
When I came back into my apartment after putting clothes in the washer tonight (the last time, God willing, I’ll have to put quarters in the apartment building machine), my phone was ringing. I was too slow to catch it.
Whoever it was didn’t leave a message.
I suppose I ought to assume that if it was really important they’d have left a message.
But if that assumption was correct it would be the first correct assumption I’ve made since this process began.
Oprah: Well then why did you say you didn't have Novocain? Because, you know, the last time I went to the dentist, my dentist said that could not have happened. And I said, 'Oh no. It happened. He told me it happened.' So, why did you do that?The Chicago Tribune says The Smoking Gun "initially" raised questions about Frey's Little Pieces, but in truth some reviews of questioned shortly after its release--the NY Times review, for one. In a preview for Amazon.com's Fishbowl, Bill Maher talks to Stephen King about being a writer and his new book, Cell. They wrap up their nine minute conversation discussing Frey's memoir, and King says he knew it was baloney when he heard that Frey was an alcoholic and drug addict yet was recovering and writing about it all on his own. King says, "Alcoholics and drug addicts lie about the weather just to keep in practice. . . . Once you discover he has lied about one thing, Katie bare the door--it's probably all lies."
James: I mean, once I talked to the person at the facility about it, you know, the book had been out for nine months. We'd already done a lot of interviews about it. . . Since that time I've struggled with the idea of it . . ."
Oprah: No, the lie of it. That's a lie. It's not an idea, James. That's a lie.
My country, 'tisn't me
My country, 'tisn't me
I should apologize for misspelling Gene Edward Veith's last name in yesterday's post. I'll correct it as soon as I've posted this.
In my ongoing effort to singlehandedly exorcise all fallacies from our common life, I link you to Roy Jacobsen’s Dispatches From Outland blog, where he talks about the fact (melancholy but true) that the beloved old story of the frog in the kettle (which, in case you’ve been living under a rock or in North Korea, says that a frog placed in a kettle of cold water will allow himself to be boiled alive if you raise the temperature of the water gradually), is simply not true. Frogs don’t do that.
We’ll have to find a different paradigm. Or icon. Or whatever the frog is best described as.
It was ridiculously warm today. The temperature rose almost to 50º (that’s Farenheit, for our foreign readers. I don’t know offhand what it is in Celsius, and I’m too lazy to look it up).
I drove out to Sam’s Club to pick up candy for the campus bookstore. We do a thriving little sideline in empty calories to keep the young people fat and placid as we brainwash them. Once I dreamed of running a candy store, and now I do, sort of.
As I was preparing for the trip I kept reminding myself, “Remember to take a check.” This was because Sam’s doesn’t take any credit cards except for Discover. If I drove off without a check (it’s been known to happen) I’d be a broken link in the supply chain, and all my fellow capitalists would make hooting noises at me and throw paper wads.
I remembered the check, but forgot my shopping list.
It seems as if with me it’s always a choice of two evils. There isn’t room in my head for two thoughts at once. If I remember one thing, I’ll forget something else. “Write notes,” efficiency experts tell me. That’s great, but as we’ve seen above, a list (for me) is just one more thing to leave behind on my desk.
It occurred to me, meditating on this, that this may be a characteristic of societies too. I had in mind one particular either/or – self-image vs. patriotism.
Yes, I’m suggesting that high self-image may be inconsistent with patriotism.
The traditional human attitude, I think, has gone something like this: “I am not perfect. I, personally, know I have many faults. But my group – my tribe or my caste or my country – we are magnificent, best in the world!”
I’m toying with the idea that, ever since Freud taught us to try to feel better about ourselves, we’ve lost our need to find personal meaning in the groups to which we belong. In the Middle Ages the ideal was the knight who was willing to die for his king. Today the hero is the rebel who won’t conform to the hypocritical rules of the larger group, whether it’s a business, a school or a nation.
I thought that
But I’m not sure. What Europeans believe, if I read them right, is that their civilization is essentially evil and deserving of death (they are, accordingly, killing it off). They hate
It’s a theory. I don’t insist on it.
Today was a mild day, graced with sunny skies above (where sunny skies are frequently found in these parts). When I got to the office I realized, to my horror, that I’d left my sack lunch at home. A little later, down in the main office, I asked the cafeteria guy what was on the menu for lunch today, as I’d need to eat lunch there.
“A bunch of us are going out for pizza today,” the bookkeeper put in. “It’s Jim’s (the Bible School dean's) birthday. You could come along with us.”
This, dear friends, is Heaven’s way of revealing to us that the diet we’re on needs to be moderated, just for one day.
That afternoon we had cake in the break room. The dean of the seminary said to the Birthday Boy, “You were 5’ 11” when you graduated from
“Yeah,” said Jim, who stands about 5’9”. “But then I got married and settled down.”
The new receptionist began to laugh and had to bend over the break counter to keep from collapsing on the floor. She is a young woman with a keen appreciation of Norwegian humor.
That’s the kind of fun we Lutherans have, folks. Don’t you wish you were Lutheran too?
Everybody seems to be writing about Benjamin Franklin today, even though his birthday was back on the 17th. JunkYard Blog notes that his frequently quoted statement that “Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither” was originally a much more “nuanced” thought. Gene Edward Veith at World Magazine has a thoughtful post on
“Ah,” you think. “The sad old story once again. The ignorant religious people opposed inoculation, while the enlightened scientists were for it.”
Well, no. In fact it was the other way around. The scientific establishment was dead set against the radical, dangerous practice of inoculation. It was the clergy (mostly Calvinists) who supported it.
Later in his life
In 1735 I lost of my sons, a fine boy of four years old, by the small-pox…. I long regretted bitterly, and still regret that I had not given it to him by inoculation. This I mention for the sake of parents who omit the operation, on the supposition that they should never forgive themselves if a child died under it; my example showed that the regret may be same either way, and that, therefore, the safer should be chosen.
Eidsmoe speculates that this traumatic experience, demonstrating that men of faith sometimes know better than men of reason, may have shaken Franklin’s faith in the Enlightenment and softened his long-standing opposition to Calvinism, though it probably did not make him a personal Christian.
In any case, when he was 73 and living in Paris,
Not as good as being a Lutheran, of course, but progress. Definite progress.
The alien virtue
Today I had a meeting with the board of the Georg Sverdrup Society. I’ve agreed to be the editor of their Newsletter and Journal. Georg Sverdrup (as I’m sure you’re all aware) was one of the two founding fathers of the Lutheran Free Church, predecessor to the church body that employs me. He and his friend Sven Oftedal more or less invented congregational Lutheranism.
And we all know how successful that’s been.
On the other hand, we are a growing church body. Not many American Lutheran groups can say that anymore.
When Sverdrup and Oftedal first published their radical ideas on church government, people scoffed. “You have to have episcopal rule to guard against heresy,” they said.
Today the American Lutheran church bodies that went the episcopal route (at least the Scandinavian ones) have mostly been subsumed into one large denomination that embraces heresy with all the canny discernment of a three-year-old with a gold card at Toys ‘R Us.
And we “undisciplined” free Lutherans still hold to the Faith.
Draw any conclusions you like.
C.S. Lewis notes several times in his apologetics that Christ taught no new moral ideas, and that that’s as it should be. I agree with him generally, but I have one reservation.
One thing I’ve noticed in my historical reading – particularly my study of the Vikings – is the importance of Pride in most pre-Christian and non-Christian societies. What is for Christians the greatest sin was in most cultures the greatest virtue. Read Beowulf. Beowulf isn’t shy about proclaiming his own virtues and victories as loudly and as frequently as possible. He taunts his enemies and jeers them in their destruction.
I don’t know about the Far East, but I believe that Jesus was the first moral teacher in the
We often hear people object that western civilization wasn’t really very Christian, even in its heyday.
Considering how hostile the west was originally to Christ’s humility, I think it’s remarkable it became as Christian as it did.
There are a lot of people who think you have to write fast and get a lot of novels out there or readers won’t remember you. I get the marketing logic of that, and maybe its good advice if all you care about is making money, but I think it’s a bad plan for a Christian. We need to be the ones who are excellent at what we do, so the others will see and be drawn to the truth. And it takes time to tell the truth well. Even people who claim to get a novel done in two or three months, if it’s a good novel, they’ve already put in months or years of thought and research and just plain living in order to be able to write it that fast. . . .
GH: Do you have a pet peeve having to do with this biz?
AD: People who write below their abilities in order to crank out tons of books and make a buck. Especially Christian authors who do that. Outsiders judge us for it, and make fun of us for it, and it makes Jesus look bad. We of all artists on earth should be the most concerned with doing our best possible work at all times. We of all people should write with all our hearts, as if writing for the Lord and not for men.
Dale Cramer is doing some of the best Christian fiction work today, writerly-wise. His Levi’s Will is a masterpiece.
Book Review: River Rising by Athol Dickson
Sometimes it’s great to be proven wrong.
Just a few days ago I commented on the low quality of CBA (Christian Bookseller’s Association) fiction. Most commenters concurred that CBA authors weren’t generally producing anything that would be looked at twice by a “real world” publisher, or even by a discerning secular bookstore customer.
About the time I wrote that, I received a copy of River Rising from Bethany House Publishers. One of their promotional people had offered to send it to me, and since I’d never been offered a review book before I accepted it, not expecting much.
I was very pleasantly surprised.
In fact, I have an idea I may have just read a classic in the making, a book our children and grandchildren will read and love.
The story is set in southern
The town amazes him. It’s not like any other place he’s ever been. Whites and blacks coexist on nearly an equal footing. Blacks look whites in the eye, and no offense is taken. There’s no legal segregation.
And yet… something is wrong. The racial harmony is enforced by “Papa” DeGroot, a rich old white man who controls the town. But up close Papa seems to be less than the genial patriarch he claims to be.
Also there’s an ongoing mystery. Occasionally – every few years or so – a black child is kidnapped and never seen again. It happens rarely enough to draw little attention, but too often to be accidental.
And when another black child disappears from the Infirmary, Rev. Poser goes out to search for her himself. What he discovers then is a horror he has never dreamed of, as well as the answer to the secret of his parentage.
There’s a supernatural element to the story. Miracles happen when Rev. Poser prays, although they seem to fail him when he needs them most. As he enters upon the greatest suffering of his life he must wrestle with temptations and doubts he’s never imagined.
The book climaxes with a massive flood that washes out the town and its secrets. Dickson leaves the reader with a challenge and a question for the conscience. Black readers and white readers alike will come away with much to pray about.
Buy this book (or at least keep it in mind for when it comes out in paperback).
The veteran horror writer says he got the idea for his new novel while watching a beautifully dressed woman standing outside a New York hotel, talking on her cellphone. What would happen, he wondered, if she suddenly received a message telling her to kill people? "I cruise the landscape, looking for things that would make people nervous," he says.
He doesn't pretend to know whether his fans will buy his ring tones. He did try to convince his publisher to record a ring tone that consisted solely of Mr. King saying, "Don't answer it, don't answer it." But Scribner rejected the idea, he says.
Adventures in retail
I have no thoughts today, so I’ll just tell you what I’ve been doing. There is no lesson in this, no moral, just the unvarnished truth about life in the sordid, half-lit world of a
The first surprise was a call from my Oldest Niece before I left for work. The O.N. is in
The important thing, though, is that she’ll be around to help me move sometime next month.
After all, what’s the point in having a younger generation if you can’t exploit them for cheap labor?
I have a theory that the major cause of juvenile delinquency is the abolition of child labor. Want to solve the gang problem? Round up the kids and put them to work in sweatshops, picking oakum or operating pneumatic hammers or something. Pay them a quarter an hour. Crime decreases, the demand for illegal immigrant labor decreases, poor families get an income supplement, and corporate profits rise. What’s not to like?
(I’m kidding. I’m kidding.)
My work day was interrupted by a farewell dinner for one of our receptionists, a lovely young woman who is going away to do mission work in
In the bookstore it was one of the busiest days of the year. The Spring Term at the
My part in the well-oiled educational machinery is to make sure the textbooks are ordered and ready for sale. That duty is complicated by the fact that instructors (with some blessed exceptions) are reluctant to actually divulge what books they want. And I, as you’ve doubtless noted, am not one of the Bulldog Breed. Hounding people for information is not among my one or two strengths.
Added to this was the fact that I didn’t know how many students would be enrolled in each class until late last Friday. I planned to order books on Monday, and it was on that day that I looked at the calendar and realized that classes start on the 23rd, and that’s too fargledy soon!
So I got my orders out, knowing that some of the books would come in too late. Fortunately a lot of book companies ship fast, and the first books actually arrived on Wednesday. More came in yesterday, and yet more today.
But that doesn’t mean I can just price them and shelf them. Oh no. I have to know what the complete invoice amount is, including shipping and handling, before I can determine our retail price (we like to sell below suggested retail, to help our students out). Many publishers only put a packing list in their cartons. The actual invoice or statement will be along, oh, whenever they get around to it.
So I’ve been making calls to publishers, asking for invoice amounts. This works well with all but one or two, particularly a publisher which shall remain nameless (except that its name starts with Z). They have fully automated customer service with no option to speak to a human being at all.
Anyway, I’ll be going in tomorrow on my own time to try to make things as ready as possible come Monday.
At least it’ll keep me from joining a gang.
Cambridge, U.K.-based Plastic Logic recently announced development of the world's largest plastic display — 10 inches diagonally — that can render active images.
The display, which currently has the resolution of a normal computer screen — 100 pixels per square inch — and four levels of gray scale, could help usher in durable, paper-like screens that can be attached to small electronic devices such as mobile phones and then rolled up and tucked away when not in use.
The reusable, plastic, local newspaper with daily downloads may be on the horizon. - phil
The search for “mean”-ing
Today was overcast, with temperatures suspended like a jellyfish just below freezing. We got some snow, and more is forecast. It was an interesting kind of snow – it accumulated in little round pellets, like what you brush off the corners of certain kinds of Styrofoam packing.
I performed a manly act today. I’ve determined that the demands of householding will call for some adjustments in the lifestyle to which I’ve grown accustomed. One expense that stuck out of my budget like a stubbed toe in sandals was my cable TV bill. So I resolved to make a clean break and not have cable at all in the new house. I called to cancel today.
I had the shakes afterward, like an alcoholic at an Intervention.
That’s an exaggeration.
But the image of Bilbo Baggins giving up his Precious did cross my mind.
Expect more book reviews from me in the future.
Speaking of cable TV, last night I was employing that medium when I heard somebody using the word “mean” in the sense of thoughtless cruelty.
I began to meditate on the word “mean”, and you, Gentle Reader, shall have the benefit of those deep thoughts.
You’re familiar, I’m sure, with the use of the word “mean” to signify a lack of kindness in a person. You’re probably also familiar with “mean” in the sense of “average” as in, “the mean temperature”.
But did you know that those two senses derive from the same original meaning (meaning! Get it? I kill myself sometimes.)?
In past centuries, when someone said that a man was mean, what they meant was that he was average.
This is puzzling to the modern mind, because we think of average as being not so bad.
But in centuries past the assumption was that the nobility was where the society’s store of virtue reposed. People of high status were assumed to be better than the hoi-polloi who did the menial work and paid the taxes, who got drunk on cheap wine and carved one another up with knives. If one gentleman said to another, “Your behavior is mean,” he meant that he wasn’t living up to the standards of his social class (like a churl or a villain, which mean respectively, “common man” and “village dweller”).
Later on a new social order evolved, and common people, getting educated and aspiring to better things, started applying words like “gentleman” to themselves (C.S. Lewis comments on this somewhere) and applying the word “mean” to behaviors they considered beneath them.
This was a great turning in history. Lewis complains that it spoiled the word gentleman, since we already had the term “good man”, and “gentleman” lost its original precise meaning without really adding to our stock of useful words. He has a point. But the social phenomenon by which common people aspired to more moral lives, more refined pleasures and more lofty ideals provided the environment (perhaps the only environment) in which republican democracy could thrive.
The Socialists had a word for this development. They called it “the bourgeoisie” and they despised it. They considered the bourgeoisie the great enemies of their movement.
They were right too.
I know we don't pull in many comments on BwB, but some blog have reams of comments and email. There's also the feedback you can't see, the kind expressed by loss of readership. Newspaper editors should be familiar with that.
The most response on any subject of 2005 came from a column on Edward Klein's embarrassing (for him) biography of Hillary Clinton, when angry readers ignored the facts and took out their political frustrations on me, a few on the phone.
Bloggers aren't exposed to that sort of accountability. If and when I turn to writing a blog, I promise to stick to the traditional standards of accuracy, proper grammar, attribution, but I'll leave out my phone number.
I ask you sir: is it a wonder that many “serious readers” are turning to blogs instead of shallow writing in the “established media” such as your own?
Can you honestly say, Mr. Hoover, that articles about the physical weight of books (“Weighing in on novels by the pound” Sunday, October 30, 2005) are what “serious readers” are looking for? Maybe they turn to you to get reviews of books like “Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World's Worst Dog” (Sunday, January 08, 2006). Perhaps they turn to you for your lists, sir, such as your article “Collections, anthologies and stuff” (Sunday, October 09, 2005), that included such serious “stuff” as Calvin and Hobbs cartoons.
Thoughts under the influence of phlegmaticness... er, phlegmaticism, er, forget it
Don’t know what’s wrong with me. I’m not feverish, and I’ve been sleeping fairly well (for me). I’m not aching or physically weak.
But I dragged today. I had to keep refocusing my mind, as if the set screw were loose. I got work done, but it took a major investment of energy to get me out of Neutral. I get these spells sometimes.
I’ve been meaning to write about a book I started reading a few days ago. It was written by an author who’s pretty high on the Christian Bookseller’s Association lists right now, and judging by the covers I thought he might be somebody I’d enjoy.
I won’t tell you his name, because I didn’t like the book.
I liked the premise. The author’s heart is clearly in the right place, and parts of the story were handled well.
But he overwrites. He doesn’t trust his own craft enough to let the story tell us how to react. He has to make sure everything is absolutely clear, and provides all kinds of reassurances at the beginning so that sensitive readers may know that everything will be OK in the end.
His dialogue’s OK, except when he starts talking about God. Then suddenly it reads like a Sunday School paper.
I had to put the book down. Couldn’t go on. I think the author has talent and is likely to improve as he works. But for now he isn’t ready for prime time.
The awkward and shameful thought crosses my mind: I’m better than this guy, but he’s got a market and I don’t.
Surprised to see that coming from me, aren’t you? No self-deprecating little joke about how I’d probably have a publisher if I deserved one. Nope. On this I’m relatively confident – I know how to write a decent book, and I can do it better than most of the people working in CBA today. I’ve played in the big leagues, if only as a second-stringer.
So what should I do? Aim at CBA and see if I can knock ‘em dead in the minors? Or hold out for another mainstream publisher?
I should insert a self-deprecating joke here, but I’m too beat today.
“The time has come,” the Walrus said,Remark, praise, or rebuke at will. :D
“To talk of many things:
Of shoes—and ships—and sealing wax—
Of cabbages—and kings—
And why the sea is boiling hot—
And whether pigs have wings.”
Ironically, after eighty pages of talking about the values Oprah represents and the influence she exercises, Nelson admits, “I don’t know what [Oprah’s] personal religious beliefs are.” The point seems to be that nobody needs to know. . . . She’s talented and generally provides wholesome entertainment. But don’t confuse it with the faith. By Nelson’s own account, many people are turning Oprah and TV into their own personal gods of self-fulfillment. And that’s the kind of “religion” that does far more harm than good.If I understand Centuri0n's point, the question silently shouting is why is this a CBA book? Because it comes from Westminister John Knox Press, I suppose. - phil
Curses, memed again!
Michael at The Euphemist has tagged me (and Phil) with the following meme. I’m generally receptive to these things because they relieve me of all obligation to think up a topic. My considered responses follow.
4 Movies You Could Watch Over and Over
4 Places You Have Lived
4 TV Shows You Love To Watch
4 Places You Have Been On Vacation
4 Websites You Visit Daily
4 Of Your Favorite Foods
4 Places You Would Rather Be Right Now
4 Bloggers You are Tagging
As for her ostensible subject, not only does Dowd have nothing new to say about men or women but, for all her exertions, she manages to miss one of the most disturbing changes in postfeministAmerica: the feminization of the news. Perhaps she is being modest; she is, after all, its founding genius.from Kay Hymowitz' review of Are Men Necessary? When Sexes Collide by Maureen Dowd, Commentary Magazine
This reminds me of a photo I saw of a bookstore (I think) which organized its books by color for a short time as a tribute to Adobe Systems.Lady: Excuse me, but I'm looking for a book.
Store chick: And?
Lady: I don't remember the title or author, but the cover is purple.
Store chick: Our purple books are downstairs.
Lady: They sent me up here.
Store chick: We're sold out of purple books. You want something in a yellow?--Barnes & Noble, Brooklyn Heights
Not a coffee table book
The other day I was processing books in the library and I picked up a book called Organic Chemistry Made Ridiculously Simple. It seems to be a school textbook intended to employ the approach of the successful Dummies books. And of course, I think we all agree, no Bible school library is complete without at least one text on organic chemistry.
I looked inside the back page and found a list of other books in the series. One of them caught my eye: Acute Renal Insufficiency Made Ridiculously Simple.
Not when you get to my age, bud.
I doubt any of us need another review of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe (LWW) by an unprofessional blogger, but I said I would do it, and I make an effort to be a man of my word. I should make a stronger effort to avoid giving out my word.
In short, I enjoy the movie--great acting and wonderful imagery, probably will buy the DVD. I think the professor is my favorite secondary character. Lots of cinematic details are smart and fantastic; but the movie as a whole disappoints me. It seems to run on basic
For example, I don’t mind the essence of the scene on the frozen river, a little heightened suspense having a confrontation with the wolves; but the words put in Susan’s mouth make no sense. Susan has read books, so she should have some understanding of smooth-talking villains, besides the fact that this villain is a wolf whose fellow wolf is holding Mr. Beaver in his mouth. Why in the world would Susan argue that Peter should lay down his sword and trust it? It’s something done only in the movies. Of course, what Peter actually does works only in the movies too.
Also, some of the dialogue, even when taken from the book, falls into formula. It reminds me of
“Here’s looking at you, kid.”
“Why’d you say that, Rick?”
“Because it’s something I say, sweetheart. It’s in the script. Now shut up, and get out of here.”
Several lines in LWW strike me this way. Not most of them, but several—maybe more toward the end of it, because I walk away feeling their effect. Maybe I should chalk it up to being a kids’ flick. But I don’t want to. - phil
It's easy to write a bad haiku
A great one, well it is not so
This li'l hack will have to do
Because I'm no Edgar Allan Poe
If all the trees in all the woods were men;Warms the heart, doesn't it? I think I'll return to pushing pixels around the screen. - phil
And each and every blade of grass a pen;
If every leaf on every shrub and tree
Turned to a sheet of foolscap; . . .