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.