Thursday, December 30, 2004

Two One Wo/Man Shows

I went to a One-Woman show last night. It was Murmur Theater Company's production of Pamela Gien's The Syringa Tree. The woman who played 24 characters was Kelli Chaves (she was the one who played Jane Bennet in the Haymarket Theatre's Production of Pride and Prejudice, if you happened to attend that). It was directed by Jeff Little, a graduate of Hastings High School (he was the one who played Mr. Bingley--on a side note, the man who played Mr. Darcy showed up to watch the performance, and, oddly enough, the main character Ms. Chaves played was a girl called Elizabeth, or, more frequently, "Lizzy.")

I really enjoyed her performance--I thought that she did a good job moving back and forth between so many characters. Furthermore, the role must have been exhausting, because she went for 90 minutes without an intermission, mainly playing a hyperactive 6-year-old girl. The whole thing reminded me of the Benny section of Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury, both being heavy stream-of-consciousness told by a child. They did the show twice in Lincoln (read a story in the Lincoln Jounal Star here), but through special circumstances we were fortunate enough to get it to come all the way to Hastings.

Now, I know that that much of my story isn't interesting, but this One Woman show provides a nice transition into a man who is putting on a One Man version of the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy movies--it looks pretty funny (you can see a video clip here). He also has done a One Man version of the Star Wars Trilogy (see a video clip here). He does a pretty good Gollum for a Canadian.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Illness and Philosophy

Apparently the late nights of blogging and movies have caught up with me. I came down with a cold/sore throat yesterday and spent today on the sofa. Thankfully, a DVD I ordered arrived in the mail, giving me four hours of quality entertainment while I blew my nose and guzzled Gatorade.

The DVD was "The Question of God," a PBS program that aired last September. I read about it in the newspaper, but somehow missed the program on TV. Thankfully, Amazon supplied me with my very own copy of the four hour, two part series.

"The Question of God" is based on a Harvard professor's class in which he presents the spiritual and atheistic worldviews, as seen through the persons of C.S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud. The program is a quality production, and mixes documentary on the lives of Lewis and Freud with a discussion panel that examines the issues involved in each segment. The documentary segments are particularly good, and include live actors playing the roles of Lewis and Freud, taking their quotations directly from the work of Lewis and Freud. In this way, the documentary creates a dialogue between Lewis and Freud on God's existence and related issues.

Anyway, I'd highly recommend the program to anyone interested. You can learn more about it here.

Gollum and Gifts

Some people did a complete psychological and psychiatrical diagnosis of Gollum's problems for the British Medical Journal. It's a pretty funny read.

Also, in case you were ever foolish enough to think that those offers for free iPods could be legitimate (what idiot would think that?), you should probably read this article from the New York Times. Tricksy spammerses.

So, it seems that those of us who do not yet have iPods will just have to get them the traditional way: wait for our birthdays, and, if necessary, strangle good friends. (Hey Andrew--want to go fishing sometime?)


Monday, December 27, 2004


It's after 1:00 and I can't sleep, due to naps, inactivity, and copious amounts of chocolate. Since I haven't made a substantive post in, oh, two or three weeks, I figured I'd give it a go. Please forgive any incoherencies on account of the time.

Another Christmas has gone. Once again, I was nearly oblivious to the season until the day before, although I did get my shopping done about four days beforehand...a new record. Christmas seems to be the one time of year that I get to spend massive amounts of time with my whole immediate family, which I very much enjoy. This Christmas involved a late Christmas Eve viewing of several episodes from the fifth season of The Simpsons, which my brother brought home with him. Christmas Day involved the obligatory gift exchange. To my delight (albeit unsurprised delight) I received the complete works of Francis Schaeffer, Will Durant's "The Story of Philosophy," and Richard Tarnas' "The Passion of the Western Mind," among other things. This gives me plenty of reading over break that will hopefully help me to begin generating honors thesis ideas, a primary goal for my break. Other Christmas Day activities included "Master and Commander," "Big Fish," and a five hour, five nation, Risk game that ended in a draw. I enjoyed "Master and Commander" much more than "Big Fish," probably because of my Russell Crowe bias, the historical early 19th century setting, and the interesting war vs. nature theme.

I'm halfway through "The God Who Is There" and am enjoying it very much. Although sometimes Schaeffer could stand to organize his thoughts better, the content of the book (relativism's emergence in Western thought) is very interesting. It's especially helpful in seeing the role 19th century philosophy played in paving the way for the relativism that's widespread today. Having read some of Hegel, Kierkegaard, and Nietzsche last semester, this book helps place them in the proper context of the development of modern thought.

Schaeffer's book causes me to consider doing my honors thesis somewhere in the philosophy/theology of the 19th and early 20th centuries. A possible focus is German theology during this period. I haven't thought much beyond this, but Barth has been on my mind this semester and especially now.

Okay, I'll try sleeping again.


Saturday, December 25, 2004

Pure Fantasy

In case you're interested, someone has created a list of every deviation Peter Jackson took in his movies from J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings books. I'm glad that I'm never this obsessive-compulsive.

Furthermore, Apple's Trailers site has recently put up a two minute trailer of the upcoming Chronicles of Narnia movies, which will begin with The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. (Note: this isn't a theatrical trailer, but more of a "making of" trailer, although it does look like they have included very small clips of things that might be from the movie.) If you generally liked what the filmmakers did with the Lord of the Rings series, it looks like you will enjoy this: the same people are doing the special effects, and it's being filmed in New Zealand. Disney is also in on the deal, but that will probably simply mean deeper pockets rather than an over-childrification of the films. It's supposed to come out December 9th, 2005, so that will (hopefully) be an enjoyable Christmas activity next year.

By the way, which Narnia book was your favorite? I personally preferred The Magician's Nephew because the whole creation thing at the end was so cool, but I suppose a good case could also be made for The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, or for The Last Battle. The other ones were good, but compared to the big three (at least, the big three in my mind), they were little more than fillers.

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Merry Christmas!

This is the original version of Charles Wesley's poem that was subsequently turned into the hymn "Hark! the Herald Angels Sing." The man seriously knew how to write poetry.

Hark, how all the welkin rings,
“Glory to the King of kings;
Peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!”

Joyful, all ye nations, rise,
Join the triumph of the skies;
Universal nature say,
“Christ the Lord is born to-day!”

Christ, by highest Heaven ador’d,
Christ, the everlasting Lord:
Late in time behold him come,
Offspring of a Virgin’s womb!

Veiled in flesh, the Godhead see,
Hail the incarnate deity!
Pleased as man with men to appear,
Jesus! Our Immanuel here!

Hail, the heavenly Prince of Peace!
Hail, the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings,
Risen with healing in his wings.

Mild He lays his glory by,
Born that man no more may die;
Born to raise the sons of earth;
Born to give them second birth.

Come, Desire of nations, come,
Fix in us thy humble home;
Rise, the woman’s conquering seed,
Bruise in us the serpent’s head.

Now display thy saving power,
Ruined nature now restore;
Now in mystic union join
Thine to ours, and ours to thine.

Adam’s likeness, Lord, efface;
Stamp Thy image in its place.
Second Adam from above,
Reinstate us in thy love.

Let us Thee, though lost, regain,
Thee, the life, the inner Man:
O! to all thyself impart,
Form’d in each believing heart.


Friday, December 24, 2004


This time, it wasn't my fault.

For the past few years, I have started a more shameful Christmas tradition than spiking eggnog: endlessly playing the current "NCAA Football" video game for Xbox (now in its 2005 edition, although it uses the season schedules and players from the 2004 season). The first year my brother and I had an Xbox, we bought the 2003 version and quickly developed a physical addiction to the game. I was so appalled by my lack of productivity over the break, though, that I vowed never to play that devil game again. That vow, of course, carried little weight when the next Christmas came around.

For Christmas 2003, I gave my brother "NCAA Football 2004" as a gift; I ended up playing it more than he did (aren't I a selfless gift-giver?). The 2004 version, of course, only further entrenched me in the cycle of addition: playing--feeling shame--vowing never to play again--picking up the controller for just one more game--etc...

Although there can be no excuses for my behavior, there certainly are reasons: this game simply rocks my socks off. The graphics are amazingly realistic (in fact, when you play at Memorial Stadium, you can see Oldfather Hall looming over the east stadium). The coaching responsibilities now not only include play-calling, play-making, recruiting, and working to keep a contract, but the 2005 version has now added disciplinary responsibilities to a coach's job description. Also, there's nothing like getting a freshman phenom and playing him through his senior year, watching him grow and mature into one tough football player. I sometimes have a tough time graduating my seniors.

But even so, I really didn't want to play football this Christmas; I had a reading list, and I wanted to work on various other projects I hadn't gotten to during the past semester (and things I probably won't get to during the next semester). Furthermore, my brother has recently gotten really into Halo (and the new Halo 2), so I didn't think he would be too interested in playing football; I really didn't think he would be too interested in buying "NCAA Football 2005." Unfortunately, due to a series of unfortunate events, my Christmas break productivity was not meant to be.

You see, a couple of weeks ago, my dad dropped our TV on the Xbox, damaging the TV and destroying the Xbox. Fortunately (or perhaps I should say "unfortunately"), our warranty on the Xbox covered such accidents (with about three weeks to spare), and Best Buy replaced our gaming console. With the Xbox, though, came two sample games: one being a tennis game that I refuse to touch; the other, quite anti-serendipitously, "NCAA Football 2005."

So what am I supposed to do here? How could I possibly avoid creating the Lincoln College Cardinals and beginning to take them from a B-rated team to a national championship team? The crowd noise alone at Bird Cage Stadium seems to be sufficient proof that my coaching skills are needed.

But is this round of addiction my fault? I cannot possibly see how it could be; after all, I wasn't the one who dropped the TV.

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Thursday, December 23, 2004

Slashdot Recap

Slashdot has had several really good (and common-interest) posts over the past few days. I was simply too lazy to post each of them individually, so here is a little of the "best-of" from the past week:


Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Male Bond-ing

(Nervously blogging with my laptop actually on my lap.)

Some highlights from Sunday evening's Goldeneye Party and Monday's Lord of the Rings Extended Edition Marathon (yes, we watched every extended edition version in one day, one after another):

  • On Sunday night, taking a break from murdering each other on the Nintendo 64 console in order to debate the relative merits of Calvinism.
  • On Monday morning, remembering (from when we roomed together) the joy of having to wake Andrew up after being awoken by his alarm clock, which he had instinctively turned off in his sleep.
  • Creating a hypothetical drinking game where participants would take a drink every time Sam and Frodo exchange a "knowing look." (Note: we neither participated in this game nor do we encourage anyone to participate in this game, because participants are almost sure to die of alcohol poisoning--unless, of course, the aforementioned participants are elves.)
  • My incessant comparison of every particularly ugly orc to Ben.
  • On the Taco Bell run for lunch, my trying to explain Shakespeare's use of puns and how he used words whose meanings have changed since his time; my example: "conceive" meaning "to understand," to which the entire car proceeded to give examples of all the ways in which we still do use the word "conceive" to mean "understand."
  • The "Breaking of the Fellowship," when Grant had to leave some time during Return of the King.
  • On the drive back to Hastings, Ben's saying, "I think it's really dark out because it's so cloudy," to which I said, "Ben, I can see the moon and several stars. Look, there's a constellation," to which Ben responded, "Oh, crappy."
  • Andrew's comment about the movie marathon:
    "I don't think we'll do that again."
    "Oh, we may yet, Mr. Frodo. We may yet."

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Thursday, December 16, 2004

Interview with Piper

Here's an interview with John Piper that Joel linked to from his blog. It's a great interview that explores Piper's formation as a pastor and an author.


Friday, December 10, 2004

Ben's Soulmate

We need to watch Ben so that he doesn't get to this point. I suppose, though, that it might already be too late.


Thursday, December 09, 2004

Public Service Announcement

For those of you interested, the Boy Meets World Episode where Cory and Topanga get married will be on tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. Central Time on the ABC Family Channell. I'm only reporting this because, if you were used to watching the series on the Disney Channel, you would probably not have seen this episode (I observed the Disney Channel skip this episode at least four times in its iterations through the Boy Meets World Series and instead go straight to the Honeymoon episode).

I should probably note, however, that Boy Meets World scholar Vivian Reed, whom I greatly respect because of her deep insight into Boy Meets World, does not like this episode. But, although I usually agree with Ms. Reed's analysis (which I consult quite frequently), I only partially agree with her this time; I think that she goes a bit over the top. As I recall, the show was not the best episode of the series (an honor that goes to one of the Fourth Season episodes, most likely An Affair to Forget or Chick Like Me), but it certainly wasn't as bad as she makes it. In any case, it is certainly an essential component of Boy Meets World, an episode that no one who considers him/herself to be a fan can miss.

This public service announcement is provided in part by support from readers like you.

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Wednesday, December 08, 2004


Tonight was Dining Service's annual Christmas Dinner. I probably shouldn't have gone (I have a Christmas party for ASUN where there will be another full meal; I should note, though, that I didn't eat much already), but Dining Services makes the best prime rib in the entire world.

So, after they cut me off this beautiful piece of meat, I said, "Well, hello gorgeous!" Apparently, though, I had modulated my voice level about as well as Ben does. So, the whole room was laughing, and I was really embarrassed because I had only meant my prime rib to hear what I said.

I guess nothing's sacred anymore.

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We incorporated!

Actually, I'm somewhat confused. I found this site, and I guess we're rich. Does anyone have any idea what the heck this is? I mean, I haven't received any money from this yet--if I did, I would certainly already have my Boy Meets World DVD set. But I still don't. But that's another story.


Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Blues Clues Sings the Blues (sorry, 'blues' worked better than 'indie-pop')

steveI laughed out loud when I found out that Steve Burns released a solo album. Yes, this is the Steve from Nickelodeon's Blues Clues. Apparently he got tired of children's television and decided to move on to more challenging pursuits, such as indie rock. He's become good friends with The Flaming Lips and is currently touring with them.

Somehow this doesn't surprise me at all. I always pictured Steve as one of those guys who went home from work and spent his evenings trying forget his day job.

I'd feel sorry for the guy if he wasn't already loaded from the TV show. I mean, how do you ever gain credibility on the independent music scene if you were that guy with the "Handy Dandy Notebook"? I can just picture the hecklers at his shows yelling, "Eh, Steve! Play the "Mail Song"!

I haven't heard the album, so I can't speak for the music. Maybe I'll have to sit down in my Thinking Chair and have a listen.

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Sunday, December 05, 2004

Aristotelian Robots

Her name is Yoshimi - she's a black belt in karate
Working for the city - she has to discipline her body -
Cause she knows that it's demanding to defeat these
Evil machines - I know she can beat them -

Oh Yoshimi
They don't believe me
But you won't let those
Robots defeat me
Oh Yoshimi
They don't believe me
But you won't let those
Robots eat me

Those evil natured robots - they're programmed to
Destroy us - She's gotta be strong to fight them -
So she's taking lots of vitamins - cause she knows that
It'd be tragic if those evil robots win - I know
She can beat them


On another note, Aristotle writes, "Happiness, then, is not found in amusement; for it would be absurd if the end were amusement, and our lifelong efforts and sufferings aimed at amusing ourselves" (Nicomachean Ethics X.6.1177a).

Good advice that I could stand to heed more often.

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audioI discovered a new, cool, online program a couple weeks ago. AudioScrobbler is a free program that tracks all the music that you play on your computer and creates charts, etc. that show you (and others) what you listen to and how much of it. All you have to do is create an account online, download a plugin for your media player of choice (iTunes for me) and you're good to go. Once you have a substantial amount of music tracked, the program shows you other users with similar musical interests (even giving you a percentage of similar music) and recommends similar artists based on what others are listening to.

AudioScrobbler is an open-source project that claims to put no spyware on your computer. Also, it doesn't read the source of your music (mp3, CD, 8-track) so you don't have to worry about them handing over a list of your stolen music to the RIAA. (Not that that would be a problem for any of us, right? RIGHT???) So, it's pure, fat-free, low-carb fun.

If you'd like to take a look at my stats go here.

They've been working on the program for the last week or so, so things have been a bit sketch. It's up and running now, but they're hoping to make it much better in the next few weeks.

And yes, Jacob, SlashDot has reported on this, and no, Jacob, I'm not going to start reading SlashDot because of that.


Saturday, December 04, 2004

The Music

New additions to my music:

Don Chaffer and Waterdeep - Whole 'Nother Deal: Waterdeep's last studio release. I've been meaning to buy it forever, and Waterdeep finally made all their CDs available for download (at the low price of $7.50/CD) so I got this one at last. Great album that feels more like Live at the New Earth than Everyone's Beautiful and has some serious funk influence.

Waterdeep - Sink or Swim: Why I never picked this up earlier is beyond me. Slower than a lot of their stuff but seems very good.

Bright Eyes - various songs: Picked up some of this on recommendation from a friend. Definately "slit-your-wrist-rock" if ever there was such a thing, but it has its moments.

Red Hot Chili Peppers - various songs: Mostly their later, more melodic stuff.


The Friendly Skies

(I wrote this on Friday, December 3rd, sitting in gate K7 at Chicago’s O’Hare airport.)

I had forgotten how much I enjoy traveling. I have everything down to a science, from where I park at the airport (the North Long-Term Economy Parking lot, generally somewhere near the E1 or E2 markers), to what I drink from the in-flight beverage selection (Ginger Ale). I have learned the odd things I have to remove from my person in order not to set off the metal detectors (my shoes), and the metal objects that do not set off security detectors (my belt with its metal buckle). I just had lunch at my favorite place in the American Airlines section of O’Hare (Burrito Beach—cheap, filling, and very good).

On the flight from Omaha to Chicago, I flipped through the in-flight magazine, enjoying the ever-present “It’s Just Lunch” dating service advertisement (mainly, I just enjoy the freaky-looking women who serve as directors in the company—seriously, their eyes make them all look possessed). I even enjoyed being made to feel stupid by the Mensa quiz; I did not, however, enjoy being made to feel stupid by the packaging of my in-flight snack. Stupid “Open Here” packages…

My all-time favorite thing to do when I fly, though, is to read the Sky Mall Magazine, which is sort of like a catalogue of infomercial products (probably mainly composed of the rejects of late-night television). Wanting to share my enjoyment of this with you, I went through the catalog and made awards for the products. Here are the winners in their various categories:

  • The “Most Tacky Kitchen Appliance” Award: “Pop-Up Hot Dog Cooker: Like a pop-up toaster, this unique kitchen appliance prepares two hot dogs and buns in minutes. Simply drop hot dogs in the center basket, and the buns in the two warming chambers on either side…Crumb basket removes for cleaning. $49.95” I bought my microwave for the same price. I can cook more than hot dogs in my microwave. Furthermore, my microwave doesn’t often cause people to mock me mercilessly.
  • The “Just When You Thought You Couldn’t Get Any Lazier” Award: “Our regulation [golf] putter has a fishing reel, so you never need to scramble after your practice putts again….$49.95” Not only can you now waste time by practicing the art of putting while you are supposed to be working, but you no longer need to exert that extra energy by walking across the room to retrieve your golf balls! You just reel in your putt, which also makes you think you’re actually fishing AND golfing at the same time!!!
  • The “I Treat My Pets Better Than I Would Treat Human Beings” Award: “The Lightweight Pet Stroller: This lightweight stroller is as easy to push as a baby carriage, and keeps pets safe, ventilated, and shaded. Designed for dogs and cats up to 25 lbs. and especially house cats and older dogs with joint ailments….$129.95” $130 to take your dog out for fresh air? I bet, though, that PETA buys these in bulk.
  • The “Where The Crap Do You Live To Justify Buying This?” Award: “The Extended Reach Insect Vacuum: Pests are suctioned by the 14,000 rpm motor and drawn into a sealed disposable cartridge through a flexible nozzle that reaches windows and corners easily….$49.95” Honestly: how many of these can they possibly sell?
  • The “Most Unbelievably Useless Object” Award: “Hug your HugOO: Soft, cool, squishy HugOO pillows are designed for nothing more—or less—than making whoever hugs it [sic] feel better….$24.95” Instead of HugOO (which doesn’t make any sense whatsoever), why don’t we call this “The Desperate Person’s Pillow”? By the way, this is the first (but not last) incurrence of a plurality disagreement (shifting from “pillows” to “it”).
  • The “Best Attempt at Word-Play” Award: “Persnickety kitties (aren’t they all?) prefer water that’s constantly filtered & aerated!...$39.99” I can only imagine the sort of green-eyed monster that would have followed Shakespeare had he read this while he was toying with such frivolities as Hamlet and King Lear.
  • The “Saddest Attempt to Start a New Christmas Tradition By Getting People to Buy a Stupid Object” Award: “The Traditional Christmas Pickle: In Old World Germany, the last decoration placed on the tree Christmas Eve was always a pickle, with the parents hiding it deep in the boughs. The lucky child who found it on Christmas Day was blessed with good fortune and a special gift from St. Nicholas….$7.95” Golly gee, I wish my family had done this every Christmas! I mean, I could sure have used some good fortune a special gift from St. Nicholas…
  • The “This Needs To Be Reviewed By An Editor Before Going To Press” Award: “Holiday Good Luck And Health Begins [sic] With A Peppermint Pig....$15.95” – This wins on two counts: not only does it feature subject-verb disagreement, but it also exhibits a textbook example of an extraordinarily unappealing hook.
  • The “Best Product to Increase Automobile Accidents” Award: “Your Passenger Seat Is Now Your Office: Everything you need for increased productivity can be strapped to the front passenger seat with the existing seat belt. The ingenious workstation features a slide out writing surface…with clipboard that pulls close at hand while the non-skid top keeps your computer or planner from sliding. File Master model includes a hanging file section that faces the driver for easy access….$159.95-179.95” – Can they get sued for this?
  • The “Bar None, Absolutely, ‘Who Comes Up With This Stuff?’, Biggest Waste of Money” Award: “A place to rest valuables: Our flexible leather valet is welcome at home and out on the road. The base is 4” x 6”, so there’s space for a watch, wallet, rings, and change. Two side compartments hold pens and glasses. Thanks to a flexible lead pad sandwiched between full-grain leather, the valet folds for packing. A great gift for travelers or those who empty their pockets on the nightstand at the end of each day!...$49.95 [!]; Optional Monogram: $3.95” Who would pay $54 to have a little leather pouch exclusively used to store spare change at the end of the night?
  • The “Worst Use of A Latin Suffix” Award: “Surprise the alumni in the family with slipper clogs that sport their college’s logo [sic]!” Say it with me: “Alumnus is singular; alumni is plural…”
  • The “If You’re Stupid Enough to Buy this Product, You’re Stupid Enough not to Know the Definition of ‘Humongous.’” Award: “…Humunga Tongue is sure to elicit giggles: Cat got your tongue? Imagine the fun you’ll have at the park when you and your favorite pooch play with Humunga Tongue (named after humongous which is slang for very large). Made of non-toxic natural rubber, it’s actually a ball with a long fake tongue attached. Just throw it; when your dog retrieves Humunga Tongue, giggles are sure to follow….$9.50; SAVE: 2 or more just $8.50 each.” I assume that the “giggles” to which the author is referring are either those of people who are openly mocking the person who would buy this, or those of people openly mocking the person who doesn’t know the meaning of “humongous.”
  • The “Product Most Needed to Care for Ben” Award: “End urine marking & vertical scratching naturally: Comfort Zone with Feliway, developed by leading veterinarians and behaviorists in Europe, ends urine marking and vertical scratching in cats by mimicking natural pheromones.” We’re mainly concerned with Ben’s urine marking, but his vertical scratching has increasingly become a problem.
  • The Alchemy Award: “Vintage Express Aging Accelerator Ages Beverages 10 Years in 10 Seconds! The Earth’s magnetic field aligns liquid particles much like tiny compass needles. This alignment is destroyed during the manufacturing process. Traditional slow aging realigns the particles, but is an expensing, time consuming process. Vintage Express uses sixteen Neodymium magnets to accelerate the natural aging process by exposing beverages to a powerful replication of the Earth’s magnetic field. Vintage Express ‘opens’ the flavor or a bottle of wine in only five minutes, and dramatically improves the flavor of Scotch, Whisky, Bourbon, Tequila, Vodka, or any liquor in as little as ten seconds!...$49.95” Uh huh…Sure (wink!).
  • The “Too Many Exclamation Points” Award: “Get Lost! You Can’t! You’ve Got This ‘Talking’ Navigator As Your Co-Pilot!” – No I Don’t! No I Won’t!
  • The “Who Uses Gorillas To Protect Their Vehicle?” Award: “If You Can’t Have A Real Gorilla Protecting Your Vehicle, This Is The Next Best Thing!” I suppose I’ll just stick with my real gorilla.
  • The “You Mean ‘Moronic Readers’?” Award: “Ultra-Thin Electronic Dictionary For Serious Readers:…Define difficult words while you read…A terrific resource for avid readers and travelers.” The reason this product won this particular award was that the example definition shown in the product’s picture is for the word “outstanding.” I’m sure, though, that the product also defines the word “humongous.”
  • The Oxy-Moron Award: “You Can Fire Up This Compact Electric Grill Just About Anywhere!...Just plug the Veranda in…” Judging from the intelligence level of this particular catalog’s clientele, I wonder how many people have brought this grill into the wilderness, only to be unable to find an electric outlet.
  • The “Best Gift For My Mother” Award: “Keep 18 pairs of shoes handy” My mother is the only person I know who would need 18 pairs of shoes “handy.”
  • The “Just What Every Home Needs” Award: “King Tut Life-Size Sarcophagus Cabinet.” I was just thinking the other day how lifeless my dorm room looks without a life-size sarcophagus.

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Friday, December 03, 2004

Shuffling off to San Antonio

Well sports fans, I am making my final preparations to leave for the weekend to go to San Antonio, TX. I am a member of the board of directors of the American Institute of Parliamentarians, and we are having a board meeting for the weekend down there. It should be a pretty good time--I really like the people on the board, and I am starting to feel as if San Antonio is my home away from home (I've been there twice in the past year or so, and I will be going back in July). The River Walk, great Tex-Mex food, temperatures in the 60s and 70s (although it is supposed to rain)--it shouldn't be too bad at all. Oh, yeah...I guess I do have to sit through board meetings.

Still, in a group of parliamentarians, board meetings can be quite an adventure. First, everyone in the room knows Robert's Rules of Order really well--you never know what parliamentary maneuver you are going to see. Second, our president this year is truly an artist as far as presiding goes--it almost chokes me up watching him handle motions, points of order, votes, and anything else that comes his way. We have joked about selling tickets to come watch him at our annual session this year as a fundraiser. I mean, I'd buy a ticket...

But, this means that I'm probably going to be out of commission in the blog world for the weekend. I don't really know the internet capabilities of the hotel we're staying at, but I will certainly take my laptop and my wireless ethernet card. I guess we'll see. Have a great weekend, and be sure to get a good jump on dead week!


Thursday, December 02, 2004

It begins

The ramparts that have so long protected my Gmail account (that is, my super-secrecy about the address on unsecured channels) have been breached: I have begun to receive my first pieces of spam. On one hand, I'm now able to let go of the breath I've been holding since getting the account some time in September. On the other hand, I think I now know something of what Adam and Eve must have felt (although surely on a much lesser scale) as they looked back on their old, safe, and free home to see nothing but forbidding cherubim and a sword of flames.

So, that's the era I now enter: the era of receiving everything from flames to advertisements for supplementing supplements, signs pointing to nothing more than innocence forever lost.

The culprit? My preliminary investigations have left me with but one suspect: The Facebook, where I posted my Gmail address instead of my Yahoo! address (, where I already receive around 100 pieces of spam a day, and which I will give to anyone for any reason whatsoever.

Therefore, I must be all the more vigilant in protecting my Gmail address. I have changed my Facebook profile. I am considering lobbying the legislature for a law to prosecute those who pervert e-mail. It is high time to cry "Havoc!" and let slip the dogs of war.

Still, I fear that all my efforts may be for naught. I shudder to think that the war-tables have been suddenly turned: it is now I who fight the uphill battle, storming their ramparts, tousling on their turf. Even so, this epic struggle must be fought not only for our generation, but for all epochs to come.

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More Late Nights But No Late Papers

I just finished the first draft of my Hebrew Bible paper that's due tomorrow at noon. I still need to edit it, but I'm not anticipating any substantive changes. And I'm tired, so I'm going to sleep for a bit before going about this.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Late Nights and Late-Canaanite Ostraca

It's true: I'm different than Jacob. I've come to the conclusion that I do my best work not in the morning, not in the afternoon, not even in the early evening, but late LATE at night. It's currently 2:00 and I'm feeling energized in the research for my Intro to Hebrew Bible paper on the historicity of the conquest narrative (Joshua/Judges). After being demoralized by the Anchor Bible Dictionary's 20 some page article stating that the biblical account is pretty much all lies, I've discovered a wonderful lecture by K.A. Kitchen of the University of Liverpool. The lecture tears down one-by-one the Dictionary's arguments against the conquest. And it's humorous at points as well. For example:

"That there is 'no archaeological evidence for an exodus' is true only in the very narrowest sense, that no Ramesside, Late-Bronze, Hebrew work camps have been found suddenly abandoned in the East Delta, complete with Late-Canaanite ostraca [pottery-sherds w/ inscriptions] saying 'I hate Ramesses!', or 'Let's go with Moses!' Nor have we any right whatsoever to expect evidence of this kind."

That Kitchen! What a guy...

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