26 December 2007

QotD for 26 Dec., 2007

(from a lengthy essay on Anglican polity at The Daily Episcopalian)

...the alternative to the rule of law on this side of the kingdom of heaven is not grace, but the rule of men (and I use the gender-exclusive term quite intentionally), men who equate their prejudices with God’s word, their ambitions with God’s will, and their agendas with the tradition of God’s Church. Polity and canon law are the security of God’s people against the wrongful exercise of power. --- the Rt. Rev. Stacy Sauls, Episcopal Bishop of the Diocese of Lexington

[thanks to DC at The Questioning Christian]

21 December 2007

What Does Your Latte Say About You ?

What Your Latte Says About You

You are very decadent in all aspects of your life. You never scale back, and you always live large.

You can be quite silly at times, but you know when to buckle down and be serious.

You have a good deal of energy, but you pace yourself. You never burn out too fast.

You're totally addicted to caffeine... but you like to pretend like you aren't!

You are responsible, mature, and truly an adult. You're occasionally playful, but you find it hard to be carefree.

You are complex and philosophical, but you are never arrogant.

14 December 2007

Baby's First Mythos

Baby's First Mythos is a book that blasts your child's soul as it teaches them their ABC's and 123's by illustrating them with Lovecraft's Elder Gods.

I. 'I' is for "Iä! Iä! Cthulhu ftaghn!"

Update: An entry on the book over at Geek Parenting.

City of God Appeal Hits $5K

After only 14 days, the appeal to send funds for the work of Christ the King Anglican Church in the Cidade de Deus neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, has exceeded $5,000 in donations!

Come on, folks - there's still 11 days left until Christmas, and every little bit helps. For the cost of a few lattes at Starbucks or a lunch out, you can make a real difference. See the posting below for details on how to contribute.
Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me. ---Matt. 25:40 (NRSV)

06 December 2007

The Great 2007 OCICBW Christmas Appeal

The Mad Priest over at Of Course I Could be Wrong and That Kaeton Woman have gotten together to help support a very worthy cause this Advent season.

Fellow blogger and seminarian from Rio De Janeiro, Luis Coelho, has for past year, worked on placement at Christ the King Anglican Church in the Cidade de Deus (City of God), one of the most (in)famous, impoverished, and dangerous neighborhoods in the world. Luiz writes:
We intend to be a place where all are welcome to be free, especially in the Cidade de Deus (City of God) neighborhood, where poverty, violence and hunger are so well-known. And in order to live this Gospel of liberation and reconciliation of the entire world through Christ Jesus, we also seek to integrate the Church with society, through several social projects. Our mission is bold: to say that Christ is the King is to say that love has the last word in the midst of this world of calamities. However, we are sure that, with Him, we are victorious.

Thanks to some folks at St. Paul's, Chatham, there's a way to donate funds to Christ the King with no administrative costs, other than the cost of transferring the money. Simply click on:

to make a donation via Paypal. Or send a check made payable to "The Episcopal Church of St. Paul" to:

c/o The Reverend Elizabeth Kaeton
The Episcopal Church of St. Paul
200 Main Street
Chatham, NJ 07928

Please write "City Of God Appeal" on the memo line.

We may not be able to bring the Christ Child gifts at the manger, but we help some of the poorest kids in Rio get a decent meal from the church kitchen, or to receive just one present on Christmas Day. And all for the cost of a weekly Starbuck's habit, or a few dinners out...

UPDATE: There's a letter about this from Luiz over on Fr. Jake's. Go thou, and read.

03 December 2007

QotD for 3 Dec., 2007

Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well- warmed, and well-fed.
--- Herman Melville (1819-1891), American novelist, short story writer, essayist, and poet.

29 November 2007

QotD for 29 Nov., 2007

In today's comic on goats.com, two bad guys return to their job after a brief coffee break:
Thug 1: "I always feel vaguely guilty about going to Starbucks"
Thug 2: "We'll burn down a Wal-Mart after and restore balance to the Force."

26 November 2007

QotD for 26 Nov., 2007

The Universe doesn't care what you believe. The wonderful thing about science is that it doesn't ask for your faith, it just asks for your eyes.

From this xkcd comic by Randall Munroe. As a humorous, related link, see the report by SF author John Scalzi on his visit to the Creation Museum in Petersburg, KY.

21 November 2007

My Totally Opinionated HDTV Review

Just took delivery of our new HDTV, a Samsung HL-T5087S and already love it. It's a 50" DLP projection set with the new LED light engine (no expensive incandescent bulbs to replace, and no rotating color wheel), goes up to 1080p resolution, and has plenty of inputs (3 HDMI, 2 component, etc... incl a VGA input for a PC :) Image is very nice on the HD channels from the Verizon FiOS service, and it does a good job displaying standard definition TV, too.

If you want a good, readable introduction to what's going on with HDTV equipment these days, you could do a lot worse than start with the Oct., 2007 Buying Guide from PC Magazine. But here's my even shorter, take-home message:

IMHO, the highest image quality with HD sources is to be found in the best grades of LCD flat panels from companies like Sony, Samsung, and Sharp. But the larger sizes of these displays (say, greater than 42") are still rather expensive and they do less well with standard definition signals. The title of "best bang for your buck" in larger displays still belongs to projection technologies like those from Samsung and Mitsubishi which use TI's DLP chips. Plasma is still the brightest and does better with signals containing lots of fast motion, but the sets are heavy, don't work well at high altitudes (above 7000 ft) and, to me, still look rather "grainy." But remember, everyone's eyes are different, so after having consulted information sources like the buying guide above, please go look at these for yourself.

However, in my house, the LED light-engine DLP sets from Samsung get a big thumbs up! Recommended.

09 November 2007

What's Your Eschatology ?

What's your eschatology?
created with QuizFarm.com
You scored as Moltmannian Eschatology

Jürgen Moltmann is one of the key eschatological thinkers of the 20th Century. Eschatology is not only about heaven and hell, but God's plan to make all things new. This should spur us on to political and social action in the present.

Moltmannian Eschatology












Left Behind


But I also scored the same as a Preterist and almost as high as an Amillenialist.

[tip o' the hat to Pseudopiskie]

02 November 2007

Term of the Day for 2 Nov., 2007

Martha Mitchell Effect:
The process by which a psychiatrist, psychologist, or other mental health clinician mistakes the patient's perception of real events as delusional and misdiagnoses accordingly.

Psychologist Brendan Maher named the effect after Martha Beall Mitchell. Mrs. Mitchell was the wife of John Mitchell, Attorney-General in the Nixon administration. When she alleged that White House officials were engaged in illegal activities, her claims were attributed to mental illness. Ultimately, however, the relevant facts of the Watergate scandal vindicated her.

30 October 2007

The Fastest Windows Vista Laptop

PC World magazine tested several laptops for a recent issue, and came to the rather interesting conclusion that the fastest one for Windows Vista is...

The Apple MacBook Pro.

The fastest Windows Vista notebook we've tested this year is a Mac. Try that again: The fastest Windows Vista notebook we've tested this year--or for that matter, ever--is a Mac. Not a Dell, not a Toshiba, not even an Alienware. The $2419 (plus the price of a copy of Windows Vista, of course) MacBook Pro's PC WorldBench 6 Beta 2 score of 88 beats Gateway's E-265M by a single point, but the MacBook's score is far more impressive simply because Apple couldn't care less whether you run Windows.

Ironic, eh ?

[via Scot Hacker's foobar blog]

25 October 2007

My Eucharistic Theology

Eucharistic theology
created with QuizFarm.com
You scored as Zwingli

You are Ulrich Zwingli. You believe that bread and wine are symbols of the absent Jesus. You believe in interpreting Scripture reasonably.













Note, however, this is just a quiz for general amusement. I'm not at all a strict Zwinglian. Matter of fact, I differ from him, and towards Luther, in the belief that God's new Gospel covenants to humankind are unconditional. "...you are sealed by the Holy Spirit in Baptism and marked as Christ's own for ever. Amen." (BCP 308, emphasis mine)

[via Eileen]

24 October 2007

Pacific Garbage Patch Twice the Size of Texas

It strains credulity, but there's a heap of floating garbage, consisting mostly of plastic trash, floating in the Pacific between San Francisco and Hawaii that's twice the size of Texas and weighing in at some 3.5 million tons!
The patch has been growing, along with ocean debris worldwide, tenfold every decade since the 1950s, said Chris Parry, public education program manager with the California Coastal Commission in San Francisco.

The garbage is being trapped by the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre, "a swirling vortex of ocean currents comprising most of the northern Pacific Ocean. It is located between the equator and 50º N latitude and occupies an area of approximately ten million square miles."

17 October 2007

QotD for 17 Oct., 2007

From a column in the Daily Californian on marriage equality...

I suppose all we’re left with is the religious or moral objection. Some churches frown on homosexuality. Well, rock on. I’m not here to tell any faith how to do its job. But, conversely, religion ought not to tell democracy how to do its job. Against gay marriage? All right then, refuse to sanction those unions within your faith community. But religious objections are insufficient to dictate public policy to a pluralistic, secular society. --- Scott Lucas, Why Not Marriage for All?, 15 Oct., 2007

(emphasis mine)

12 October 2007

If You Get This, You're Over-Educated

And Jesus turned to the theologian and said, “Who do you say I am?”

And the theologian promptly answered, “You are the eschatological manifestation of the ground of our being, the kerygma of which we find the ultimate meaning in our interpersonal relationships.”

And Jesus said, “…huh?”

[via Mary Sue at the Order of Santa Ignora]

10 October 2007

The (Evangelical) Chickens Come Home to Roost

Sara over at the Orcinus blog has a fantastic post up about...
A study released last week by the Barna Group, a reputable Evangelical research and polling firm, [which] found that under-30s -- both Christian and non-Christian -- are strikingly more critical of Christianity than their peers were just a decade ago. According to the summary report, Barna pollster David Kinnaman found that the opinions of non-Christians, in particular, had slid like a rock in that time frame.

Dare I hope that it might actually be a sign that the 30-year long train wreck that has been the "Christian" Right is finally loosing steam ?

Go thou, and read. Me ? I'm going to go ask forgiveness for the sin of schadenfreude. And boy have I been wallowing in it since I read this! ;) (take that, all you Dobsons, Robertsons and Mohlers of the world)

02 October 2007

An Easy Pork Roast Recipe

A comment thread over at Mad Priest's got me thinking of what to do if you find yourself with a pork roast and need dinner that night. I put several links there for some Latin American recipes, but here's the simplest of all:

  • a boneless pork tenderloin roast

  • a jar or two of your favorite Mexican salsa

  • a crockpot

I start with one of those Armour boneless pork tenderloins (either plain or southwest seasoned) from the supermarket and usually cut it in two or three big pieces so they'll fit in the crockpot. Put a bit of lard, bacon fat or oil in a heavy skillet, heat, and sear the outside of the pieces of roast until they begin to brown. Then place the meat in the crockpot, cover with the salsa, and cook for 8 hrs or so - until the meat is basically falling apart. Remove, shred the meat with a couple of forks, and serve as a taco filling with warm, fresh tortillas. Goes well with cold, Mexican beer. Vegetarian Posole or borracho beans make a nice side dish.

If you really want this to be yummy, substitute something like Cervantes Red Chile Sauce from New Mexico for the salsa. Mmmmm...MMMMM!

27 September 2007

United in Homophobia

The Rev. Giles Fraser, vicar of Putney and lecturer in philosophy at Wadham College, Oxford, UK, reminds us that after the Episcopal Church's HoB meeting in New Orleans, the US bishops have bent the knee to the will of the bully.

Unfortunately, for all its sharp prophetic witness, the Achilles heel of the Episcopal church is its snotty-nosed Anglophilia. Establishment liberals have only so much bottle.


26 September 2007

Select-A-Candidate Quiz

WQAD, channel 8 in Moline, IL, has a great on-line quiz up that uses responses on specific topics from all the presidential hopefuls to steer you towards the candidate that best matches your views.

It's no surprise that all my close matches were Democrats, but the closest was Chris Dodd - a candidate I've barely heard of ;)

Go try it. The results might surprise you, too.


You know that God-shaped hole we're all supposed to have in us ?... ;)

19 September 2007

LOLCatz Meets the Elder Gods

If you're not an H.P. Lovecraft fan, this may not make a lot of sense (not that this has ever stopped me before ;)

[via boingboing]

18 September 2007

What is Repentance ?

Repentance is a topic often hammered upon by conservative folks in my church, but the way they approach it is fundamentally flawed. It's always presented as a sort of effort or force of will that us awful "liberals" somehow fail to make (faithless, moral weaklings that we are).

But our gospel reading last Sunday actually points us in quite a different direction. In it, we heard the parables of the shepherd and the lost sheep, and the woman with the lost coin from Luke 15, as well as, in my case, a recap of the story of the Prodigal Son. And here's the take-away message:

Repentance is about us being the object of a searching God, one who loves us and desperately wants us to be found again. It's about grace. It's not about efforts we make on our own behalf, as we're imperfect humans and those will, always, be imperfect efforts (not that it's not important to make efforts to be better people - but that's not "repentance").

The bible-thumpers have got it all wrong. The idea that all we need is to exert our God-given force of will to repent isn't proper repentance at all - it's Pelagianism. It denies God's grace and elevates human will in its place...

[I'd like to thank the Rev. Michael Merriman of my parish, the Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration in Dallas, for his sermon on this topic that incl. the comment in bold face above. He really hit it out of the park! Any inspirational insights can be credited to him, and any misunderstandings in what I've written here are purely my own.]

14 September 2007

A Great Cuppa

A month or so ago, I emailed several tea-drinking friends asking if they could suggest a good brand of everyday, British black tea. A certain Mad One said he thought I might like Yorkshire Gold and I was finally able to give it a try yesterday (found that they carry it at the local Whole Foods Market).

Regardless of the title of his blog, he was perfectly right. This is a practically ideal, "drink it everyday" tea. Great taste and brews up stout enough to take milk & sugar without being too rough and acidic. And if you don't have a Whole Foods Market close by, I've seen it offered via mail order on sites like The British Shoppe (and you can stock up on some Branston Pickle, H.P. Sauce, Liquorice Allsorts, and McVities Digestives while you're there :)


10 September 2007

Photoshopping Old Posters

There's a great set of photoshopped versions of old propaganda and advertising posters up over at Worth100. Some are on the verge of NSFW (I almost picked the pole dancer to show y'all ;) but you'll find several gems there.

Just the sort of thing that's right up a certain Mad One's alley...

[via boingboing]

05 September 2007

Bad Armadillo...Bad

I've just approved about 30+ comments for my blog which have been hanging fire since Aug. Sorry for the wait, but I plead time-crunched insanity as we both moved and went on vacation that month.

My email inbox is so clogged I may never catch up :/

But I promise to try & keep up with it better now... Mea culpa, mea maxima nissan stanza. (shamelessly nicked from the Rev. Eliz. Kaeton)

Cory Doctorow on Free E-Books

There was quite a dust-up recently in the SF writers community when a VP of the SFWA sent a take-down notice to an e-text website and, in a rather bogus manner, invoked the DMCA. If you need background on the situation, author John Scalzi has a good summary.

However, one of the authors the SFWA VP claimed to represent is Cory Doctorow, who open sources all his fiction and lets anyone distribute and share it on a non-commercial basis. Doctorow has also "expressly forbidden SFWA from representing him in matters of copyright." (Scalzi article). This was not a smart move on the SFWA's part. Cory Doctorow has, in the hugely popular website/blog boingboing, one of the largest bully pulpits on the Internet and he's not afraid to use it.

Now Doctorow has published the thoughtful essay Free(konomic) E-books on the topic of giving away free, electronic copies of his works that is well worth reading:
Many of us have assumed, a priori, that electronic books substitute for print books. While I don't have controlled, quantitative data to refute the proposition, I do have plenty of experience with this stuff, and all that experience leads me to believe that giving away my books is selling the hell out of them.

Update: SF author Jerry Pournelle offers his take on this in his Sept. 4 column at Chaos Manor Reviews. He disagrees with Doctorow on a number of points, but you gotta give Pournelle props - he's been at this game a long time.

24 August 2007

Mommy, this water burns!

Johnny was a chemist's son,

But Johnny is no more.

What Johnny thought was H20

was H2SO4.

It's also available as a t-shirt. And yes, I am a geek - thank you very much ;)

21 August 2007

What Kind of Liberal are You ?

How to Win a Fight With a Conservative is the ultimate survival guide for political arguments

My Liberal Identity:

You are a Reality-Based Intellectualist, also known as the liberal elite. You are a proud member of what’s known as the reality-based community, where science, reason, and non-Jesus-based thought reign supreme.

[thanks to Dennis, who's the same sort of Liberal I am :) ]

14 August 2007

QotD for 14 Aug., 2007

A belief that man was made for the creeds and not the creeds for man is idolatry. I think a belief that one has access to the 'plain' meaning of scripture is arrogant, and not as much making a God of the Bible but of one's own interpretive abilities.

--- commenter "Harry" on Fr. Jake's blog

24 July 2007

Your Harry Potter Alter Ego Is...

Mine is one of my favorites, Remus Lupin:
You are a wise and caring wizard and a good, loyal friend to boot. However sometimes in an effort to be liked by others you can let things slide by, which ordinarily you would protest about.

But according to the quiz, I'm equal parts Albus Dumbledore (both 70%) and almost Harry himself (65%).

[thanks to Peacebang]

Press Button, Receive Bacon

Ahhh, so that's what it means! ;)


[via History of the Button]

19 July 2007

Headbanger's Ball

A certain comment thread over at Eileen's got me to thinkin' about loud music, esp. after Pisco mentioned a Def Leppard tune.

So your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to name a favorite piece of music that you like to play at louder-than-is-prudent volume. The kind of song that, when you hear it come on the radio while you're in the car, you holler, "Turn it up!" Extra points if said piece of music has no redeeming social value or "message," and would irritate any self-appointed guardians of the public morality. I'll start us off with:

ZZ Top - My Head's in Mississippi

17 July 2007

QotD for 17 July, 2007

The very logic of evangelicalism drives it inevitably towards a cultic fundamentalism

Michael Hampson, in
Last Rites: The End of the Church of England

[thanks to the Rev. Eliz. Kaeton on Telling Secrets]

13 July 2007

What a Blog Isn't

The internet is a megaphone. It can amplify a voice, and reach across a country. It can unite those who are apart, and incidentally, make a group seem much larger. It can forge new connections that never would occur otherwise, share information, and facilitate strategy.

But it cannot wipe a tear, or make you dinner, or speak in a quiet voice outside in the moonlight. It cannot see a wry shrug, or hear a laugh, or feel a brief silent touch of support on your shoulder. It does not notice your frown, or sense your discomfort. It can't tell when you just want to be together in companionable silence, when you are hungry, when you are lonely.

Certainly, share knowledge and ideas by the internet. But don't forget those ideas are about and affect real people. You will not change minds with a megaphone. You will change them face to face, with human witness.

--- commenter "IT" on Fr. Jake's blog


12 July 2007

Our Lady Bird

Lady Bird Johnson died peacefully yesterday at the LBJ Ranch at the age of 94.

Lady Bird Johnson embodied all that is beautiful and good about the great state of Texas...We are proud to have known her and, like all Texans, are the better for it.

--- Texas Gov. Rick Perry

She was a woman of courtesy and courage alike. While her husband, Lyndon, could be brash, she was benevolent. While he could be tough and hard-charging, she epitomized style and grace. Together, they were a formidable pair...It never mattered where the Johnsons lived, Lady Bird was always a Texas rose.

--- Sen. Robert Byrd, West Virginia

Being an Austin native born in the early 1960's, I find myself, perhaps not unexpectedly, greatly saddened by her passing. Everytime I drive along a Texas highway bordered by wildflowers, I'll think of our Lady Bird.

My heart found its home long ago in the beauty, mystery, order and disorder of the flowering earth.

--- Lady Bird Johnson

May she rest in peace and rise in glory.

10 July 2007

05 July 2007

Must. Post. LOLCatz.

Aaarrrgh. Eileen has corrupted me. Can't. stop. myself.

02 July 2007

Where You Get to Believe in Physics

You've all heard the stories. Big natural disaster, loss of life and property, and the religious turn to their leaders for explanation. And instead we get garbage like this [via the Mad Priest]. Another example is when we heard a sermon (not at my current parish!) just after the big earthquake & tsunami in Indonesia a year or two ago. The priest said he thought the destruction & death was the result of "living in a sinful, broken world."

In the comments to the posting at the Mad Priest's, I found:

There was a wonderful series of interviews with church leaders a few years back after a swath of hurricanes went through Honduras. All were asked "Why these terrible storms." The local evangelical church leader said, "God is punishing the people for their waywardness." The Italian incumbent noted, "God is testing His people." The Episcopal Bishop (Leo Frade, now in Florida) said, "It's hurricane season."

--- the Rev. Br. Tobias S. Haller (BSG)

Doncha love it ?! It's like my t-shirt says, "The Episcopal Church: Where you get to believe in dinosaurs" (and, I'd hasten to add, "where you get to believe in physics, too." ;)

29 June 2007

Three Former Leaders of Exodus Apologize

As the "ex-gay" ministry met nearby in Irvine, CA, they cited the psychological harm they caused through their activities.

Three former leaders of Exodus International, often described as the nation's largest ex-gay ministry, publicly apologized Wednesday for the harm they said their efforts had caused many gays and lesbians who believed the group's message that sexual orientation could be changed through prayer.

You can read the entire article over at the LA Times website.

[thanks to Jared from Scribere Orare Est]

28 June 2007

Texas Flood

Pray for us here, as there are eleven dead in Texas floods, and more rain expected [via CNN.com].

Well theres floodin' down in Texas....all of the telephone lines are down
Well theres floodin' down in Texas....all of the telephone lines are down
And I've been tryin' to call my baby....Lord and I can't get a single sound

Stevie Ray Vaughan's Texas Flood

How Open Minded Are You?

Well, since Eileen seems to be on a blogthings kick today...

You Are 72% Open Minded

You are a very open minded person, but you're also well grounded. Tolerant and flexible, you appreciate most lifestyles and viewpoints. But you also know where you stand firm, and you can draw that line. You're open to considering every possibility - but in the end, you stand true to yourself.

27 June 2007


Is there anything which smells better than bacon frying in the morning ? (esp. if you're out camping ?) Do you miss the way bacon used to taste ?

Well fear not! The best bacon available can be yours. The New Braunfels Smokehouse has their Comal Co. sliced bacon available to ship anywhere, and it's even on sale right now (as of June, 2007).

The Smokehouse has been a mecca for me since childhood, when we timed our trips from Austin to visit my grandmother in San Antonio so that we'd hit New Braunfels for breakfast. The town is in that part of central Texas called the Hill Country, which was settled by German immigrants in the 19th cent., and the whole area is known for its excellent smoked meats and sausages.

So do your Atkins Diet a favor, or just pamper your inner carnivore, and head on over to the Smokehouse for some sublime bacon, smoked sausage, jerky, or other meaty treat.

25 June 2007

How Republican Are You?

You Are 12% Republican

If you have anything in common with the Republican party, it's by sheer chance.
You're a staunch liberal, and nothing is going to change that!

[via MoCat]

22 June 2007

The Five Things I Dig About Jesus Meme

Eileen tagged me with the latest blog "meme," Five Things I Dig About Jesus.

1. Those tagged will share 5 Things They Dig About Jesus.
2. Those tagged will tag 5 people.
3. Those tagged will leave a link to their meme in the comments section of this post so everyone can keep track of what’s being posted.

So here goes, I dig that...

1. Jesus was fully human, as well as fully divine. That gets overlooked way too often.
2. Jesus was a radical ! As opposed to the religious hierarchy of his day (the Pharisees), the occupying foreign power in the region (the Romans), and to the "we want a warrior king" expectations the Jews had of the Messiah.
3. Jesus spent an awful lot of time telling us things that are in opposition to the modern day Religious Right. Like "judge not, lest thee be judged," and "take care of the poor, the widow, the orphan" (Ooooo! a social gospel! how awful ;)
4. Jesus had a sense of humor.
5. Jesus spent so much time showing outsiders that they weren't excluded from the Kingdom. Prostitutes, the chronically ill, tax collectors...heck, he probably even welcomed Lberals! (mercy!)

OK, I tag:

Fr. Jake
Fr. Bill Carroll
Jared Cramer
Fr. Mike from my parish ;)

21 June 2007

Hillary Equals France ?

New rule: conservatives have to stop rolling their eyes every time they hear the word France. Like just calling something French is the ultimate argument winner. "Aw, you want a health-care system that covers everybody and costs half as much? You mean like they have in France? What's there to say about a country that was too stupid to get on board with our wonderfully conceived and brilliantly executed war in Iraq?"

---Bill Maher in Newsweek International's
Hillary Equals France

You need to read the whole thing. It's a wonderful screed by the comedian behind Comedy Central's Politically Incorrect.

18 June 2007

QotD for 18 June, 2007

In the spirit of the Mad Priest's Thought of the Day posts, may I offer...

With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.

---Steven Weinberg,
Nobel Prize winner (Physics),
in The New York Times, April 20, 1999

12 June 2007

How Nerdy are You ?

I am nerdier than 96% of all people. Are you a nerd? Click here to find out!

96% scored lower (less nerdy).

(sigh)... But at least I clean up fairly well ;)

[via Eileen]

09 June 2007

QotD for 9 June, 2007

I am particularly unconcerned with the sexual activities of my fellow human beings as long as nobody is being hurt. But the fact I have just eaten a chicken sandwich at the same time as somebody died of starvation scares the shit of of me.

--- the Mad Priest

29 May 2007

Cognitive Hazard Zone!

Being a reader of various religious and political blogs, I'm often drawn back to resources like the Logical Fallacies pages on Wikipedia for references to refute the distressingly poor quality of argumentation I encounter.

I've now found a new favorite - 26 Reasons What You Think is Right is Wrong. Which, besides being quite readable and entertaining, has the coolest warning sign ever ;)

[via By the Way]

25 May 2007

Photoshopped Children's Books

Something Awful's Photoshop Phriday has some hilarious images of fake children's books. Like this bit of H.P. Lovecraft, illustrated by Richard Scarry!

Certainly not for real children, or the easily offended...

[via boingboing]

14 May 2007

But Not the Sinner ?

One of the most common canards of the AAC/ACN and their fellows on the Christian Right is that, when confronted by people of which they disapprove (gays, liberals, uppity women), they really “only hate the sin, not the sinner.”

It's always been my experience that such people use this as a way to “hate” and still feel clean afterwards. Now, the Rev. Br. Tobias Haller has posted a penetrating entry on this topic with Enough of Hate:

It is impossible to “hate the sin” apart from the sinner, as if sin had some reality apart from the desires and actions of fallen human beings, as if you could somehow extract the sin from a person and vent your purifying fury upon it. Such a notion is very far from the Gospel. What is worse, those who begin by “hating the sin” in this abstract way soon will come to hating the sinner in a concrete way, as indeed they must, since the one cannot exist apart from the other. And when those who legislate what is sinful have sufficient power, we have seen what results: the auto da fé was intended to save the souls of those repentant heretics being burned alive.

Amen, Amen, Amen - What I tell you three times is true.

[with thanks to Fr. Jake]

08 May 2007

We Gots Cooties

There's a truly excellent summary of the "current unpleasantness" in The Episcopal Church over on the progressive blog Future Majority entitled Cooties! The Future of American Christianity and Politics. Colorful, hilarious, and just nails the whole thing dead-on.

Recommended - not only for "church-y types," but any young (or young at heart) person with more than two neurons to rub together. If this is characteristic of the political stance of the Millennials, then I'm feeling a lot better about the state of things to come.

[via the Rev. Ann Fontaine]

07 May 2007

Great Flat-panel Monitor, Great Price

I just got done unpacking and setting up my new NEC 90GX2 19" flat-panel monitor this weekend.

This thing is fantastic. Best display quality of any desktop flat-panel monitor I've ever used. And I'm picky - used to exclusively go with higher-end Sony CRT monitors for my eyes' sake (I have to wear reading glasses for close-in work).

The screen has a glossy finish like some of the more recent notebook computer displays that really helps with brightness and color saturation. Matter of fact, it's probably too bright out-of-the-box. I've also encountered no problems with reflections on the glossy screen, which isn't any worse than many decent CRT monitors, though YMMV. 700:1 contrast ratio and a fast 4 ms pixel response time make it great for gaming and watching DVD movies as well as std computing tasks.

1280x1024 pixel resolution, both analog (VGA) and digital (DVI-D) inputs (both cables included), and a USB 2.0 hub. NEC makes rock-solid equipment, and this was priced like the high-end gear it is just a few months ago ($450+). But the current price on Amazon is less than $220 + free shipping.

You owe it to yourself to have a look at this in your local computer store, but like I said - Amazon seems to have the best price right now. Highly recommended.

02 May 2007

Secular Humanist Revisionist

In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own.

--- Thomas Jefferson, letter to Horatio G. Spafford, March 17, 1814

It's not news that something smells about the IRD-funded organizations like the AAC/ACN and their religious right brethren. The Founding Fathers knew it over 200 years ago.

[via today's cartoon on I Drew This]

01 May 2007

Elephants Never Forget

Except, maybe occasionally, when testifying to Congress...

[via goats.com]

27 April 2007

QotD for 27 April, 2007

Man is a credulous animal, and must believe something; in the absence of good grounds for belief, he will be satisfied with bad ones.

---Bertrand Russell

24 April 2007

17 April 2007

Six, Weird Things About Me

Woo hoo! Finally got tagged with the "Six, Weird Things" meme by someone, so I can stop sitting over here in the corner, pouting & feeling left out ;) Thanks, Dennis.

And as others have noted, it'll be a chore to restrict myself to just six...

  1. I'm a native Texan, yet I'm not any sort of redneck, gun-nut, or Republican. I also purely can't stand mainstream Country Music. Like the late Molly Ivins, "I dearly love the state of Texas, but I consider that a harmless perversion on my part, and discuss it only with consenting adults."

  2. I'm a Myers-Briggs INFP personality type, which, I suppose, makes me weird for a guy. Yet I'm quite happy with this state of affairs and couldn't care less if this makes me less "manly" to some people. As a matter of fact, I find that whole, shallow, "all this and a big cup of fizzy testosterone" idea of masculinity to be highly annoying.

  3. I'm an cradle Episcopalian, and love our traditional liturgy, but I'm about as far away from believing in a theistic, "personal" God as you can get and still be considered any sort of "Christian." I suppose I'm as much a panentheist as anything, and The Episcopal Church is one of the only, mainline churches who'll have me. If they ever change their mind about that, I'll just have to jump right in to the UUA.

  4. For a supposedly cultured, intellectual person (much less an Episcopalian), it's weird that I dislike wine. Well, except for sweet stuff like some German white wines, port, etc... Now good beer, on the other hand, is the nectar of the gods. But good beer, mind you - none of this watery, American junk. Stouts, porters, German hefeweizens, etc... that's the stuff.

  5. I'm mildly obsessive about keeping important things like my keys, wallet, cell phone, etc... in the same, exact place in my house when I put them down. It bugs me to no end to not know "where my important stuff is" if it's not on me.

  6. I get a bit distracted and testy if I'm denied Internet access for too long (say, more than a few days), but will happily go much longer without things like TV or newspapers.

Let me think now... I'd love to see answers to this from Rev. Susan, that Kaeton woman, the Mad Priest, and Bill Carroll :)

13 April 2007

How Do You Experience the Holy ?

Me ? I'm a Lover :)

Find your own place on the spiritual spectrum with the explorefaith Quiz. Explorefaith is a wonderful website I discovered today whose editorial board includes such notables as Michael Battle, Marcus Borg, and Barbara Brown Taylor.

We are a community of faith dedicated to sharing our beliefs and experiences with anyone seeking answers to spiritual questions. Launched in 1999, explorefaith.org is a non-profit organization with a growing list of Partner Churches that support its mission and development. Explorefaith.org and its associates are deeply committed to ongoing spiritual formation for people of all ages and all backgrounds, living in countries around the world...We celebrate diversity and respect the insights that can be gained through the wisdom of different denominations and religious traditions. Modeled upon the Episcopal approach to Christianity (open, experiential, ecumenical, emphasizing grace, forgiveness, and God's love), Explorefaith.org displays an openness to, and appreciation of a broad range of ideas, and a concurrent belief that through Jesus Christ we can experience the heart of God.

12 April 2007

QotD for 12 April, 2007

On the versions of the proposed "Anglican Covenant"* from various neo-con sources within the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion:

A Covenant of the sort being proposed has to do with enshrining as normative within the Anglican Communion a specific theological perspective as the only theological perspective.

Similarly the proposed Covenant provides a legal mechanism for discipline and exclusion as the solution to theological difference.

Neither of these things are Anglican.

And that, gentle readers, is the whole thing in a nutshell.

*(warning: oxymoron alert)

09 April 2007

What Kind of Nerd are You ?

What Be Your Nerd Type?
Your Result: Literature Nerd

Does sitting by a nice cozy fire, with a cup of hot tea/chocolate, and a book you can read for hours even when your eyes grow red and dry and you look sort of scary sitting there with your insomniac appearance? Then you fit this category perfectly! You love the power of the written word and it's eloquence; and you may like to read/write poetry or novels. You contribute to the smart people of today's society, however you can probably be overly-critical of works.

It's okay. I understand.

Science/Math Nerd
Gamer/Computer Nerd
Drama Nerd
Social Nerd
Anime Nerd
Artistic Nerd
What Be Your Nerd Type?
Quizzes for MySpace

Hmmm... I do love books, but I've always thought of myself as a computer/science geek (the anime thing fits, too - far better than the drama nerd category, IMHO).

[via Elieen]

04 April 2007

QotD for 4 April, 2007

"A literalist interpretation of Scripture tells us that God is a rock that sent a bird to cause a virgin to give birth to a loaf of bread. And this is supposed to be an improvement on obtaining a chiseled code of conduct from a flaming shrubbery in a cloud. If a literal understanding is all that is required for faith, then I'm a yellow ducky."

--- Rabbi Ben Sylva

[via the Rev. Nigel Taber-Hamilton]

28 March 2007

What Art Movement Are You ?

You Are Romanticism

You are likely to see the world as it should be, not as it is.
You prefer to celebrate the great things people do... not the horrors they're capable of.
For you, there is nothing more inspiring than a great hero.
You believe that great art reflects the artist's imagination and true ideals.

27 March 2007

What's Killing Christianity ?

"Liberalism is not 'killing' Christianity. What is 'killing' Christianity is the lack of ability of Christian churches in general to respond to issues in our society that have always been there, but now, in an era of fast communication, are much more evident and also issues that have developed in the last century, due to other understandings regarding science, psychology, sociology and politics, environment, sexuality, etc..."

--- Luiz Coelho,
in a comment over on Fr. Jake's

23 March 2007

How Do You Know When Fox News is Lying ?

Their lips move.

You need to get this t-shirt before their lawyers show up...

22 March 2007

QotD for 22 Mar., 2007

"If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality."

--- Desmond Tutu,
Nobel Peace Prize winner and
retired Anglican Archbishop
of the Province of Southern Africa

16 March 2007

Global Rich List

How rich are you? >>

I'm loaded.
It's official.
I'm the 10,881,975 richest person on earth!

That puts me amongst the top 0.18% richest people in the world - and I'm nuthin' but middle-class. Boy, that'll get you thinkin' about the UN Millennium Development Goals...

To see what one person can do about this, visit the ONE Campaign.

[via Eileen]

09 March 2007

Republicans are People, Too.

Nicked from the Mad Priest, who nicked it from Ellie, who got it from...?

08 March 2007

Ammo for Switchers

Over on Valleywag, Nick Douglas has 42 Reasons Normal People Can Switch to Macs.
Are Macs just for hipster designers? Not at all! Maybe you've wanted to switch to a Mac, but you were afraid it wouldn't work with your Office files. Maybe you can't convince your parents they won't lose their vacation photos. Maybe your boss thinks Macs are toys not meant for serious adults. For all those cases, here are 42 reasons that normal people can switch to Macs.

QotD for 8 Mar., 2007

Technology changes the way we view social problems. Older mechanical technologies make us see the world as deterministic, knowable and manipulable. New emergent technologies like the Internet teach us that control is an illusion, the universe is out of control and laughing at us, and that the more we watch and control, the more problems we have.

--- Cory Doctorow

[via boingboing]

05 March 2007

Evangelical Environmentalists, eh ?

There's been a lot of brouhaha lately about how the Christian Evangelical movement is broadening it's focus to issues like social justice, the poor, and the environment.

I've always thought this was just a bunch of window-dressing (or as we in the South like to say, "puttin' lipstick on a pig"). And now a recent article in the Washington Post reminds us that the concept of Christian Evangelical = extremist social conservative is alive and well:
Focus on the Family founder James C. Dobson and other conservative Christian leaders are calling for the National Association of Evangelicals to silence or fire an official who has urged evangelicals to take global warming seriously.

[via the Mad Priest]

02 March 2007

Maryland Boy Dies from... Being Poor

A twelve-year-old boy died of a toothache Sunday.

A routine, $80 tooth extraction might have saved him.

If his mother had been insured.

If his family had not lost its Medicaid.

If Medicaid dentists weren't so hard to find.

If his mother hadn't been focused on getting a dentist for his brother, who had six rotted teeth.

By the time Deamonte's own aching tooth got any attention, the bacteria from the abscess had spread to his brain, doctors said. After two operations and more than six weeks of hospital care, the Prince George's County boy died.

I know my readers could find any number of people upon which to place blame for this. But the fact is that we killed this child, all of us, for not having the national will to create a universal health care system that could cover even the simplest things.

Shame. Shame on all of us.

27 February 2007


One of my favorite SF authors, Eric Flint, has a clear, well thought-out editorial up on why Digital Rights Management (DRM) drives piracy, instead of preventing it:

I would think the point is obvious. Pirates rob bullion ships, they don't rob grain ships. Electronic copyright infringement is something that can only become an "economic epidemic" under certain conditions. Any one of the following:

  1. The product they want—electronic texts—are hard to find, and thus valuable.
  2. The products they want are high-priced, so there's a fair amount of money to be saved by stealing them.
  3. The legal products come with so many added-on nuisances that the illegal version is better to begin with.

Those are the three conditions that will create widespread electronic copyright infringement, especially in combination. Why? Because they're the same three general conditions that create all large-scale smuggling enterprises.

Go read the whole thing in There Ain't No Such Thing as a Free Lunch.

[via boingboing]

UPDATE: From boingboing this morning, "Reps. Rick Boucher and John Doolittle's FAIR Use Act would remove some of the entertainment industry's most draconian anti-innovation weapons and chip away at the Digital Millennium Copyright Act's (DMCA) broad restrictions on fair use. Take action now and tell Congress to help restore balance in copyright.

26 February 2007

QotD for 26 Feb., 2007

"The word 'rational' has been strongly abused of late times...He who begins by loving Christianity better than truth will proceed by loving his own sect and church better than Christianity and end in loving himself best of all."

--- Samuel Taylor Coleridge

17 February 2007

Walking Apart

Last Friday, at the meeting of the Primates of the Anglican Communion near Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, seven archbishops refused to receive Holy Communion with their fellows due to the presence of the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church. These lofty princes in purple, led by Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola, cited rubrics from the Book of Common Prayer as the reason for the snub:

Ye that do truly and earnestly repent you of your sins, and are in love and charity with your neighbours, and intend to lead a new life, following the commandments of God, and walking from henceforth in his holy ways; Draw near with faith

The Rev. Br. Tobias S. Haller, BSG, has an excellent blog entry up entitled Those Who Walk Apart, which clearly explains:

the utter inversion of the principles of repentance and forgiveness (that is, it is only in one's own power to repent and forgive -- to demand either of others is not a Gospel value!)

contained in the "reasoning" of these appallingly self-righteousness church leaders.

14 February 2007

QotD for 14 Feb., 2007

"A logically consistent Evangelicalism (if this is not an oxymoron) cannot allow for alternative points of view (or it collapses)."

--- Prior Aelred, St. Gregory's Abbey, Three Rivers, MI

09 February 2007

Canonical Partnership with Linspire

Two of the most popular, Debian-based desktop Linux OSes have decided to share technologies between the two distros. The partnership between Canonical (home of Ubuntu Linux) and Linspire will result in changes like Freespire 2.0 (due in April, 2007) being based on Ubuntu, and future Ubuntu releases having access to proprietary software (e.g. DVD players, media codecs) via Linspire's Click 'N Run (CNR) service.

There's a FAQ avail on the Freespire wiki with more info.

08 February 2007


cartoon from www.weblogcartoons.com

Cartoon by Dave Walker. Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons.

Yeah, that's pretty much how I feel about gambling. Esp. the most popular forms - slot machines & video poker.

05 February 2007

Molly Ivins

Everyone's no doubt heard of the passing of quintessential Texas humorist Molly Ivins. The Houston Chronicle has a few of her many, tasty quotes available here, and there are many more in this entry from About.com. One of my absolute favorites was from her response to a speech by presidential hopeful Pat Buchanan to the Republican National Convention in 1992:

Many people did not care for Pat Buchanan's speech; it probably sounded better in the original German...

May she rest in peace, and may light perpetual shine upon her.

08 January 2007

I (sorta) Built a New PC

Right before the Christmas holidays, my homebuilt 2.4 GHz P4 box went belly-up. Most likely a bad motherboard, but I was just tired of messing with it.

So I scavenged almost everything I could out of it and started hunting around for the current price/performance breakpoint in "Intel-based" PCs. Turns out that title belongs to the very inexpensive 64-bit AMD CPUs like the Sempron. Ended up with an Asus Vintage AE-1 "barebones" system from Directron - one of my favorite PC parts suppliers.

One of the big advantages of doing business with Directron is that they'll assemble & test any PC components you purchase for a very reasonable fee. So I had them drop in an AMD Sempron 3400 and 1GB DDR400 RAM in to the AE-1, test it, and ship it to me. I then added my DVD burner and AGP video card myself and badda-boom, new computer. Both WinXP and Ubuntu Linux installed easily (had a minor work-around with Ubuntu & the SiS190 ethernet chipset on the AE-1 motherboard, but nothing serious), and for just over $300 I have a small, speedy and quiet new system.