27 December 2008

QotD for 27 Dec., 2008

There is nothing so secular that it cannot be sacred, and that is one of the deepest messages of the Incarnation. ---Madeleine L'Engle

[from Ellie via the Mad Priest]

24 December 2008

QotD for 24 Dec., 2008

I'll bet when we elect our first gay president, he doesn't invite an avowed racist to deliver the invocation. ---Scot Hacker

23 December 2008

HOWTO: Install KeePassX for Ubuntu 'Hardy'

KeePassX is a cross-platform application that can store various bits of useful information like passwords, software license keys, account numbers, etc... in an encrypted database. It is available for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux, and the database it keeps is portable between these platforms.

The packages for Windows and OS X look pretty straight-forward, but installing it under Ubuntu 8.04 'Hardy' this morning was an unexpected pain. Here's how to do it:

  1. goto the KeePassX downloads page and grab the version under "Linux...Ubuntu 8.04 (Hardy Heron)" labeled "DEB binary package v0.3.4 (x86)".
  2. edit your /etc/apt/sources.list file to enable the 'backports' repositories.
  3. use the Synaptic package manager and install the following: libqt4-core libqt4-gui libqt4-dbus libqt4-network libqt4-script libqt4-test libqt4-xml libqt4-assistant libqt4-designer libqt4-opengl libqt4-svg (you'll probably get all of these, plus a few more, as dependencies once you mark the first few for install).
  4. then launch the gdebi package manager by double-clicking on the KeePassX '.deb' file you downloaded in step 1 and click the 'Install' button.

KeePassX should now install w/o any dependency-based errors and show up in your "Applications..Accessories" menu.

I suspect much of this libqt-based nonsense would be moot if you run the KDE version of Ubuntu named 'Kubuntu,' as KDE itself depends on the Qt libs. But this is how I got it to install under GNOME on the std. Ubuntu 8.04.

Search Lifehacker.com for tips & tricks on using KeePassX, and the orig. Windows version KeePass.

16 December 2008

IE Users Should Switch

The Times of London reports Internet Explorer users warned to change browser over security fears:
Microsoft admitted today that a serious flaw in security has left all users of Internet Explorer, the default web browser for most people, vulnerable to attack from hackers.

The loophole allows criminals to commandeer victims’ computers by tricking them into visiting tainted websites that steal passwords. Computer users are advised to switch to an alternative internet browser, such as Firefox or Google Chrome, to be certain to avoid hackers who have so far corrupted an estimated 10,000 websites.

Here are the links to the Firefox and Opera web browsers. Microsoft has also has a security advisory on TechNet if you're, you know...insane enough to stick with their products...

Or for sweet heaven's sake, dump all this nonsense once and for all, and get a Mac :)

UPDATE: Microsoft issues a temporary fix.

08 December 2008

Good Manners on the Inter-tubes

Scalzi reminds us of a key bit of netiquette in The “Bcc:” Field is Your Friend.

I was reminded of this a short while ago when I received an email from a blogging friend with a CC: field chock-full of addrs for other folks - among them another blogger who hadn't chosen to share her email addr with me (not that I'd asked, it's just never come up).

So make Ms. Manners proud and go read dat :)

30 November 2008

QotD for 30 Nov., 2008

Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what is right. ---Isaac Asimov, in The Foundation Trilogy

26 November 2008

QotD for 26 Nov., 2008

In an entry on boing boing about how CNN is struggling to find a way to report on the continuing financial crisis, Dale Dougherty suggests:
It's like a war and we keep losing ground each day. In the place of casualties, we have falling stock indices but it's hard to show the real damage. There's only so much you can do with oversized charts to tell a story. The war on terrorism featured a real enemy. We've just never been able to find them, no matter who goes after them. (Maybe it's not so different.) Campbell Brown ("No Bull, No Bias") should say that what the capitalism's finest did to themselves and to us was worse than any terrorist could have imagined. [emphasis mine]

25 November 2008

We're Number One! (in Gun Ownership)

From Thomas P.M. Barnett's blog:
Here's the top five: US at 89 small arms per 100 people, Yemen at 55 (a gun-&-knife-toting culture without peer), Switzerland at 46 (who knew?), Finland at 45 (still expecting the Russians), and Serbia at 38 (just got in the habit, I guess). ---source, the Swiss 2007 Small Arms Survey, 28 Oct., 2008

OK, yeah, I know - the U.S. has a unique culture. But more small arms per capita than freakin' Yemen for cryin' out loud ?! Sheesh... feel safer, do ya ?

24 November 2008

15 reasons Macs are Still Better Than Windows PCs

APC, the longest running computer magazine in Australia, posts a list of why Macs are still better than Windows PCs:
I long ago stopped actively seeking out Mac vs PC discussions (partly because Macs are now PCs -- so the argument is more about Mac OS X vs Windows vs Linux than a proprietary Mac architecture vs an x86 PC architecture), but I still find it confounding that after all these years, people still don't know the basics of the upsides of Macs and OS X...

So here's my answer. Note, despite what I said above about the argument really being between operating systems these days, I've looked at Macs as a hardware and software combination in this article, pitted against regular PCs running Windows.
---APC Web Editor Dan Warne

The full article is here. Some of my favorites are:

  • Apple seems largely to be lameness free.
  • Apple doesn’t load the system up with crap.
  • More useful apps out of the box.
  • Still no need for additional security software.

Plus one of my own - the power and stability of Unix married with the most well-designed personal computer user interface experience on the planet (so far).

19 November 2008

Someone Over There Finally Gets it

Great Googly-Moogly! there's finally a Republican willing to talk publicly about the elephant in the room:
[T]he evangelical, right-wing, oogedy-boogedy branch of the GOP is what ails the erstwhile conservative party and will continue to afflict and marginalize its constituents if reckoning doesn't soon cometh.

Simply put: Armband religion is killing the Republican Party. And, the truth -- as long as we're setting ourselves free -- is that if one were to eavesdrop on private conversations among the party intelligentsia, one would hear precisely that.
---Kathleen Parker, conservative columnist for the Washington Post, in Giving Up on God

13 November 2008

QotD for 13 Nov., 2008

There's a post over on the Friends of Jake which mentions a reaction the Marriott Corp. had to the possible threat of a boycott over the Mormon Church's backing of the anti-gay Proposition 8 in the Calif. election last week (the Marriott family are Mormons).

The comment thread veered off onto a discussion about a situation "that led to the artistic director of the California Musical Theatre in Sacramento resigning because he, as a personal choice, gave money to the Prop8 campaign."
For the guy in [Sacramento], of course the community and actors can decline to participate. But you may be unaware that there has been a media witch hut out here on this guy, which I find is WRONG.

I find your argument about behavior vs. belief to be semantics. Gays firing conservative = conservative firing gays. Neither is right. Individuals can decide how they want to behave, but witch hunts are ugly and unjustified. WE ARE BIGGER THAN THIS.

I am not unaware of the irony that I am lecturing Christians about this.
---commenter and blog admin "IT"

(emphasis mine) Indeed, a layer of irony thick enough to insulate an iceberg... :/

I wonder why it's not more obvious to the average American how "Christianity" has become the elephant in the room of our culture wars ? How supposed followers of the Jesus of the Gospels are the primary obstructions to peace, justice, and civil rights in modern, Western culture.

10 November 2008

Who's Left for the GOP ?

The post-Bush-Rove Republican Party is in the minority because it has driven away women, the young, suburbanites, black Americans, Latino-Americans, Asian-Americans, educated Americans, gay Americans and, increasingly, working-class Americans. Who’s left? The only states where the G.O.P. increased its percentage of the presidential vote relative to the Democrats were West Virginia, Tennessee, Louisiana and Arkansas. Even the North Carolina county where Palin expressed her delight at being in the “real America” went for Obama by more than 18 percentage points. ---Frank Rich, It Still Felt Good the Morning After, in the New York Times

With the Republicans alienating so many different groups of Americans, who's really left for them ? Will they find the courage to dump their cherished base of social conservatives and evangelical right-wingers to appeal to regular, centrist-leaning voters ? Or will they succumb to the nattering of their fringe and become the minority party of the Limbaugh / Hannity / Dobson wingnut crowd ?

[thanks to PJ for the link to Rich's article]

05 November 2008

The High Road

Obama Pictures and McCain Pictures
see LOLPolitics pictures

Who's Your Base ?

Pondering the effect that yesterday's election will have on the Republican Party, I'd like to propose an hypothesis: The Democratic Party is positioned far better to become a "Centrist" party appealing to most Americans. And one big reason is just who makes up the "base" of both parties.

1. While the Left has its share of extremists, these folks don't make up the Democratic base. Our base overwhelmingly consists of people who are centrist to moderately left of center. And if you can tear yourself away from right-wing talk radio and actually use your brain, you'll also see that leaders like the Clintons, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi are all pretty moderately left to centrist in their political philosophies.

2. On the other hand, the Republican base is almost completely made up of extremists. The Pro "Life" bunch, NRA fanatics, way-out-there evangelicals, the Limbaugh-Hannity black helicopter crowd. And Republican politicians spend so much time & energy pandering to this bunch that they completely alienate centrist to moderately conservative voters.

What do you think ?

03 November 2008

The Conservative Freak Show

I've been wondering when the (somewhat) thinking part of the Republican Party would start to distance themselves from the 'conservative' freak show that is their so-called 'base'. And nowhere is this gobsmackingly ignorant nonsense in fuller bloom than in rural America.

Witness the essay One conservative's case for Barack Obama. Fair warning: this is a full-on screed packed with bad language and a worse attitude. And no, it doesn't represent the views of this blog's author. But it is interesting in that it handily illustrates the cracks that are bound to appear in conservative politics if Obama is elected President and the Congressional elections become a rout for the Republicans.

For a more thoughtful, readable, and vastly more sympathetic, look at conservatism in rural America, see Joe Bageant's excellent Deer Hunting with Jesus: Dispatches from America's Class War.

31 October 2008

The Last Word on Palin

Jan in San Francisco shows us her sentiments exactly. Nice Photoshop job, too ;)

[tip 'o the hat to the Mad Priest]

30 October 2008

The 4-Variable IQ Test

Your result for The 4-Variable IQ Test...


15% interpersonal, 20% visual, 25% verbal and 40% mathematical!

Brother-from-another-mother! Like mine, your highest scoring intelligence is Mathematical. You thrive on logic, numbers, things representing numbers, and sets of things that are sets of other things, with numbers nowhere in sight. You probably like the online comic called XKCD, and if you don't, check it out.

You probably knew you'd score "Mathematical" as you took the test, and mathy types are usually super-high scorers on this axis, and low on the others. Why? Because you (we) yearn for math.

Anyway, your specific scores follow. On any axis, a score above 25% means you use that kind of thinking more than average, and a score below 25% means you use it less. It says nothing about cognitive skills, just your interest.

Your brain is roughly:

15% Interpersonal




Matching Summary: Each of us has different tastes. Still, I offer the following advice to the world.

1. Don't date someone if your interpersonal percentages differ by more than 20%.

2. Don't be friends with someone if your verbal percentages differ by more than 25%.

3. Don't have sex with someone if your math scores differ by over 40%. You might kill them.

Take The 4-Variable IQ Test at HelloQuizzy

28 October 2008

Supporter Shouts the 'N' Word, Palin Ignores It

I knew this was gonna get caught on video at some point, given the character of the Republican Party's base...

Palin hears rally attendee call Obama "n-word" during speech, keeps on truckin'

Anyone surprised that she didn't stop and say anything ? Well ? Anyone ?

:: crickets ::

Early Voting

In the spirit of Grandmère Mimi's earlier post, I wanted to announce that I've voted, too. Early voting in Texas extends to the end of this week (up until four days before the general election), and the polls open at 7 AM. You don't even have to go to the normal polling place for your precinct. I voted at Christ United Methodist Church at Coit & Parker in Plano, and they made it very easy. Plenty of space, lots of voting machines, and no lines at all - recommended!

And casting my vote for Senators Obama and Biden made me feel better about a Presidential election than I have in a long time. Also voted the Democratic ticket for U.S. Senator with Rick Noriega, and for U.S. Representative with Tom Daley. Both are up against Republican incumbents who, inexplicably, enjoy great popularity in this part of the state. I hope Republican Senator Cornyn is vulnerable this election, but who knows. Sadly, I suspect Daley will have a harder time against Sam Johnson for Texas' Third District.

24 October 2008

QotD for 24 Oct., 2008

When I became a Christian, I was naive enough to believe that if I worked hard enough on spiritual practices and worshiped God with all my heart, all my mind, all my soul and all my strength, I would miraculously get a personality transplant and become a sweeter, nicer, and better person than ever before. That didn’t happen...I’m still ornery, angry, impatient and judgmental. God hasn’t taken that from me. It seems that God takes me as I am, and invites me to accept that I am loved as I am. This is called my particular struggle; to accept grace. Well, I don’t like grace, because I can’t control grace; it is freely given. So I wrestle with God over this. “Give me a personality transplant! I say, as I wrestle. “Change me!” And God flips me over and pins me there and says, “Change yourself if you want. But whether you will or not, I will love you and I will call you my child.” ---the Rev. Victoria Weinstein (a.k.a. "Peacebang") in a sermon to Church Hill United Methodist Church, Aug. 3, 2008

23 October 2008

The NYT Isn't a "Journalistic Organization"

According to John McCain's chief strategist Steve Schmidt, this little, city newspaper you might have heard of (The New York Times) is "not by any standard a journalistic organization."

Oh really ? I suppose that, by his standards, the New York Post and Fox News qualify ? :/

See Ben Smith's blog entry Schmidt attacks the Times for details.

20 October 2008

Quote of the Season on the Last Presidential Debate

Every time McCain spoke and Obama spoke afterward, it was like watching a polite grandson trying to find a way to disagree with his senile, formerly heroic, about-to-lose-it grandfather. ---BC Woods in the comment thread from the Final (Thank God) Debate Comment Thread over on Scalzi's blog

13 October 2008

Really. Just Stop.

Obama Pictures and McCain Pictures
LOLNews & Politics on Pundit Kitchen

QotD for 13 Oct., 2008

The fact that you oppose abortion doesn’t necessarily mean that you are pro-life. You can be anti-abortion and still be killing people by the millions through war, through poverty, and so on. ---Archbishop John Onaiyekan of Abuja, Nigeria, in the National Catholic Reporter

[tip o' the biretta to the Mad Priest]

10 October 2008

Ignorance is Bliss ?

The things that has always alarmed me most about the right wing Republican/conservative/FOX News-watching types is how they wear their own IGNORANCE as a badge of honor! I can't get my head around the notion of how unashamed they are of their own ignorance. It used to be that abject stupidity was something to be embarrassed about. Is it somehow now HIP these days to be a total dumbass? Did I miss the memo?

It's even worse when Republican politicians stoop to cultivate the least intelligent amongst us. Why is it that the Republican party seems to consist solely of the top 5% of America's wealth holders and the lower third of the IQ spectrum with NO ONE in between?
---Richard Metzger, on BoingBoing in If It Walks Like A Duck...

A bit over the top ? Sure. I know Republicans who aren't wealthy and have IQs above room temperature. But the oh-so courted and endlessly discussed "base" ? That pretty much nails it.

Click thru the link above. Or heck, just watch CNN like I did this morning. And if you're not a bit scared by what that implies, then you're not paying attention. I mean...we're about to try & choose the next president based upon the levels of ignorance, animosity, and flat-out hatred you see ?

09 October 2008

What Breed 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.

[Tip of the hat to our beloved Grandmère Mimi]

06 October 2008

QotD for 6 Oct., 2008

So, although I strongly believe in the maximum possible freedom, I also believe in community and in responsibility to that community. Not only is no man an island, but no man is self-made. Some people are just good at forgetting all the people who helped them get where they are. ---Charley Reese, former conservative columnist for the Orlando Sentinel, on why he's not a Libertarian.

03 October 2008

The VP Debate in One Sentence

Palin’s answers do not lack confidence, they lack coherence. ---Bill Schneider, CNN Senior Political Analyst

02 October 2008

11 Myths About Sarah Palin

Rolling Stone magazine presents 11 myths about Sarah Palin, along with the facts behind each, in The Truth About Sarah Palin. Here are some excerpts:
1. THE MYTH: "She took the luxury jet that was acquired by her predecessor and sold it on eBay. And made a profit!" — John McCain, at a campaign stop in Wisconsin

THE FACTS: No one bought the jet online. It was eventually sold through an aircraft broker — at a loss to taxpayers of nearly $600,000.

2. THE MYTH: "I told the Congress 'Thanks, but no thanks' on that Bridge to Nowhere." — Sarah Palin, convention speech

THE FACTS: Supported the infamous pork project in her 2006 run for governor, even after Congress had killed the bridge; derided its opponents as "spinmeisters." Reversed her stance a year later — but kept the money, doling out the $223 million in federal funds to other pork projects throughout the state.

Lies, and the lying liars who tell them...

30 September 2008

QotD for 30 Sep., 2008

Religion, uncontaminated by power, can be the source of a great deal of private solace, artistic inspiration, and moral wisdom. But when it gets its hands on the levers of political or social authority, it goes rotten very quickly indeed. The rank stench of oppression wafts from every authoritarian church, chapel, temple, mosque, or synagogue – from every place of worship where the priests have the power to meddle in the social and intellectual lives of their flocks, from every presidential palace or prime ministerial office where civil leaders have to pander to religious ones... --- Philip Pullman

How to Wake Up the Electorate

Oh, so that's what it takes... ;->

29 September 2008

QotD for 29 Sep., 2008

On the failure by House Republicans to sufficiently support the bailout plan that was voted on today:
There are lots and lots of reasons not to like this bill. But most of those reasons are Democratic talking points. The GOP alternative proposal was borderline illiterate.

I’m writing this in haste, without a lot of reflection. But the whole way this has played out has been something of a watershed moment for me. There is only one party in Congress that thinks we are in a financial crisis, only one party in Congress with a functioning leadership.
--- Noah Millman, on The American Scene

Maybe there is a silver lining to all this, if the GOP completely falls on its face. Cold comfort, I know...

26 September 2008

Leadership! That's What It Is!

Some quotes from around the blogosphere about Sen. McCain's decision to "suspend" his campaign (except for those anti-Obama attack ads that continue to run, and his interview with Katie Couric at the same time he was telling Letterman he was unavailable, and the speech he gave this morning at some conference in NYC, and...) and to get out of the scheduled debate this evening:
To suggest that McCain’s decision to come to Washington affected that to any extent is to suggest that because someone chooses to walk in front of a parade already assembled, they are thereby leading it. --- John Scalzi

McCain reminds me of Dilbert’s boss–he’s not needed to fix the problem, it’s not his job to fix the problem, and he has no idea how to fix the problem. Nonetheless, he’s going elbow his way in there and spray Leadership all over it. --- "EarBucket"

Because, you know, the other 98 senators and 435 representatives can’t do anything on their own; they need McCain and Obama to drop everything and run back to Washington to lead them out of the wilderness. If I were a senator or representative, I’d be insulted by McCain’s implication...What, they don’t have telephones in the McCain campaign? --- DG Lewis

Brave Sir Robin ran away — bravely ran away, away… --- "John H."

25 September 2008

Vote for McCain! Another Vote for McCain!

When Al Jean, executive producer and head writer of The Simpsons was asked if Homer was for Obama or McCain, he replied:
It's time for a change, so he actually is going to vote for Obama. So he goes to vote and it says one vote for McCain, he tries to hit it again and it says two votes for McCain and then he hits it three times and there are three votes for McCain. The machine starts trying to kill him and it says, "must warn President McCain."

Bwahaha! :D

17 September 2008

QotD for 18 Sep., 2008

The oil industry has a 50-year lease on the Republican Party. And they're drilling it for everything it's worth. ---Al Gore, former VP of the U.S.

"We're stuck with dirty, expensive energy because the oil and coal lobbies are spending hundreds of millions to block real change." See the latest ad from We Can Solve it for details.

Palin Contradicts Palin

As part of an effort to beat back the investigation into whether Governor Sarah Palin fired Alaska's public safety directory Walt Monegan because he refused to dismiss a state trooper involved in an ugly divorce with her sister, Palin's attorney filed papers on Monday claiming that Palin fired Monegan because of his "outright insubordination" regarding policy and budgetary matters. The problem with this explanation: it directly contradicts Palin's own story.

Read the whole thing at the Mother Jones magazine blog in Palin Contradicts Palin on Troopergate Explanation.

15 September 2008

Obama Starts Playing Hardball

The Atlantic's Andrew Sullivan points out the first Obama ad that plays hardball with the fact that McCain has lied, and continues to lie, in McCain's Dishonor. While John Scalzi addresses the issue in his usual trenchant manner with Lie to Me.

Come on, folks. Obama was a Chicago pol before anything else. Did the Republicans really think he couldn't spell "hardball" ? I hope this is the start of Obama trusting his gut again, instead of listening to some of the people of questionable competence working in his campaign...

Hurricane Ike

Bp. Lambert of the Diocese of Dallas has heard from Bp. Dena Harrison, Suffragan of the Diocese of Texas, that:

- Their offices in Houston do have power.
- They assume their church in Orange, TX is under water at this time, but have had no official report.
- Trinity Church, Galveston has extensive damage including a hole in the Tiffany window above the altar.

Bp. Lambert is still awaiting a call back from Bp. Macpherson from Western Louisiana to get an assessment of their needs. They did have evacuees at their camp over the weekend, but many have left.

He asks that anyone who wishes can contribute to the “Hurricane Ike Fund,” making your contributions payable to the Diocese of Dallas. They will forward those funds to the bishops of the diocese of Texas and Western Louisiana so they may address the needs of the people in the diocese who're affected. Donations can also be sent via Episcopal Relief & Development.

14 September 2008

Lipstick on a Pig

The last word on that "Lipstick on a Pig" nonsense can be found in today's Sinfest comic.

'Nuff said ;)

QotD for 14 Sep., 2008

Likewise, in the particularly contentious ranks of theologically minded Catholics, or perhaps in the polemic-weary ranks of mainline Protestantism, there are those who have surrendered the label of orthodoxy to conservatives, either because they no longer have the energy to protest or because they have concluded that the whole idea of orthodoxy — correct doctrine or right belief — is too encrusted with questionable notions to be worth defending. --- Peter Steinfels, The Audacity of Claiming the Last Word on This Word, the New York Times, 13 Sep., 2008

[hat tip to The Mad Priest]

11 September 2008

McCain's Ads are Lies.

In the last few days we have seen a disgusting descent into the worst sort of sleazy "Swiftboat" politics. Isn't it time for campaigns to get called on this kind of garbage ?

watch on YouTube | digg story

10 September 2008

What a Doll!

Hey look, there's even a Caribou Barbie doll out now! ;)

More Palin fun here.

09 September 2008

The Loving Mallet of Correction

Scalzi applies the Loving Mallet of Correction to some of the more hysterical Democrats who're freakin' out over Sarah Palin and the post-convention bounce in the polls for the GOP:
Take a nice, deep cleansing breath, center yourself, have some tea, and get a g*ddamn grip. It’s going to be a long two months and if you’re all going off the rails at the slightest hint that this election is not, in fact, a pro forma coronation, it’s going to be even longer still. And you know what? As long as the next two months will be for you, it’ll be nothing like what the next four years will be like if you don’t calm down, get your sh*t together, and fight like you mean it. So settle down. Get some perspective. Focus. ---John Scalzi in A Previous Message Repeated, Slightly More Forcefully

05 September 2008

Jesus Was a "Community Organizer"

Shirts and bumper stickers available on Cafe Press.

QotD for 5 Sep., 2008

You wouldn't drink caffeine-free Red Bull just for the flavor. So why would an intelligent woman vote for a female politician opposed to women's rights ?" --- L'il Sis in the webcomic Diesel Sweeties

"But hey, she's a Hockey Mom just like me!" Yeah, right. And if you buy into all that "I know feminists are bad 'cause I'm conservative & religious" stuff, perhaps a reading of The Handmaid's Tale is in order.

27 August 2008

QotD for 27 Aug., 2008

To all those who respond to any amount of outrageous behavior by the TSA, the Dept. of Homeland Security, etc... with "If you aren't doing anything wrong, what do you have to hide?," I offer:

If one would give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest man, I would find something in them to have him hanged.
--- Armand Jean du Plessis, Cardinal de Richelieu

20 August 2008

QotD for 20 Aug., 2008

New occasions teach new duties,
Time makes ancient good uncouth;
They must upward still and onward
Who would keep abreast of truth.

--- James Russell Lowell, Hymn 519 in the 1940 Episcopal Church Hymnal

From back in the days of 1940. When, uh... hippies, feminists, gay rights activists, and other radical reappraisers ruled The Episcopal Church, right ? ;)

[tip 'o the hat to Allen Mellen for the reference]

15 August 2008


As seen on a t-shirt

Haikus are easy
But sometimes they don't make sense

11 August 2008

QotD for 11 Aug., 2008

When I climb up on the cross, it's sacrifice. When you put me up there, it's murder. --- the Rev. Alta Gracia Perez, the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles

I offer this to all the so-called "Windsor Bishops" in TEC, and to any General Convention delegate who voted for B033 at GC2006, to reflect upon...

24 July 2008

QotD for 24 July, 2008

"homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching"

Not at all.

Rather "homosexuality is incompatible with 'traditional' Academic theology (from Alexandria) and its FAKED late modern translations"
--- the Rev. Göran Koch-Swahne, Church of Sweden

18 July 2008

Help Save Totoro's Forest

The Totoro no Furusato
(The Homeland of Totoro) Foundation
was created for the purpose of preserving the urban forest of the Sayama Hills near Tokyo.

"Located about 24 miles from the Tokyo metropolitan area, in an area overlapping Tokyo and Saitama provinces, Sayama is a lush hill of greenery, encompassing 8650 acres...The vast woodland area, which includes two reservoirs, Lake Sayama and Lake Tama still maintain an old-world charm. Seen from above, the Hills resemble a small green island in the middle of a metropolis."

Sayama Hills is known as the inspiration for Hayao Miyazaki’s beloved anime My Neighbor Totoro (Tonari no Totoro), and the foundation was named in honor of this, with Miyazaki being one of the original donors.

With more and more pressure from the surrounding cities, Sayama Hills is in danger of being lost to always increasing urbanization. To help, contact them at the email addr shown on the website above, or consider participating in the fundraising efforts of the Totoro Forest Project - an art auction to be held this Sept. at Pixar Studios in Emeryville, CA by a group of acclaimed artists in the fields of animation, comics, and illustration.

17 July 2008

QotD for 17 July, 2008

A poet who reads his verse in public may have other nasty habits. ---Robert Heinlein

(/me waves and grins at his literary friends PJ and the Doxy ;)

14 July 2008

Obama an Elitist ?

Hey! Guess who called Obama an "elitist" ? ;) Lynn Forester de Rothschild. Also known as Lady de Rothschild.

Author/blogger John Scalzi lays down the (well-deserved) snark here:
Anyone who lives on a 3,200 acre estate that features an entrance hall “notable for its large paintings by Thomas Gainsborough, George Romney, and Joshua Reynolds” loses the ability to criticize anyone else in the entire goddamn universe for being “elitist,” particularly a dude who while growing up got to experience the joys of a food stamp dinner.

Yeah, I got problems with Obama. Serious ones - especially since his "let's tear up the Fourth Amendment" vote on the odious FISA act. But great Googly Moogly! There are some Hillary supporters who are so far out there, you couldn't spot them with the Hubble Space Telescope...

10 July 2008

QoTD for 10 July, 2008

I just still can't wrap my brain around the...worldview where feeling excluded because you're disagreed with is — in your mind — the equivalent of other folks being excluded because of who they are. --- the Rev. Susan Russell

So please forgive me when, the next time some neo-con "Anglican" starts whinging about being excluded, I make the rub your fingers together gesture for the "world's smallest violin playing just for you."

7 Songs You’re Diggin’ Right Now Meme

Eileen has done tagged me with this:
List seven songs you are into right now. No matter what the genre, whether they have words, or even if they’re not any good, but they must be songs you’re really enjoying now, shaping your summer. Post these instructions in your blog along with your seven songs. Then tag seven other people to see what they’re listening to.

Sounds like fun! So here they are, in no particular order...

  1. Closer To The Heart - Rush

  2. Migra - Santana

  3. My Head's In Mississippi - ZZ Top

  4. Ain't That A Shame - Cheap Trick

  5. American Woman - Lenny Kravitz

  6. Twist Barbie - Shonen Knife

  7. Into The Great Wide Open - Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

I'll also tag PJ, along with Wormwood's Doxy, IT, and Padre Mickey :)

09 July 2008

Happiness is a Warm...Experience ?

An insight from Kevin Kelly of Whole Earth Catalog and Wired magazine fame:
If you want to buy happiness you are much better off buying an experience rather than a thing. That's because a thing like a car, new clothes, or cool gadget will always wear down, break down over time, while an experience, like going to the Galapagos, or a great concert, will only improve over time. You'll always have it (Paris, bunjee jumping, that meal) forever. In the long term an experience delivers more happiness per dollar.

Oh, and warm puppies (and children) are experiences, not things.

02 July 2008

Yep, He's a Politician (Surprise!)

I’m fundamentally unsurprised to discover that Barack Obama, who has been in politics for a number of years, is a politician. And a politician who wants to win as big as he can. --- John Scalzi

Scalzi's clear-headed blog entry on this is well worth your time...

23 June 2008

This is "Orthodoxy" ?!

In a discussion thread over on the Thinking Anglicans website about the ongoing GAFCON conf., commenter Ford Elms sums the whole "orthodox" Anglican mess up quite nicely:
Would anyone care to explain to me how Scripture as the sole authority in the Church, the Real Absence, denial of Baptismal regeneration, Subordination of the Son to the Father in the Trinity, PSA as the main, if not only, understanding of the Atonement, and any of the other heterodox ideas taught by people like Jensen, can be called in any way, shape, or form "orthodoxy"? Seriously. They keep referring to "the faith once and for all delivered to the saints" while practicing a form of Christianity that would be utterly unrecognizable as Christianity to anyone born more than 600 years ago. Whether or not it represents a better discernment of the will of God for His people is immaterial. It could well be right, but how in the name of God can it be called "orthodox"? --- Ford Elms

"How ?" indeed...

20 June 2008

Probable Water Ice on Mars

A press release from the Phoenix Lander mission at the Univ. of Arizona says:
Dice-size crumbs of bright material have vanished from inside a trench where they were photographed by NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander four days ago, convincing scientists that the material was frozen water that vaporized after digging exposed it.

W00t! Best day ever for planetary science in our solar system!

19 June 2008

The "Destruction of Marriage" Amendment

Author and blogger John Scalzi has a very clear-headed take on the proposed anti-gay marriage amendment to the state constitution of California up on his blog at Destroying Marriages to “Protect” Marriage. Scalzi deftly brushes aside all the fluff & spin around this issue and lets you know precisely what the results would be:
What this means is that if the initiative passes, then likely thousands of legal, actual, state-recognized and sanctioned marriages will disappear overnight. Thousands of loving couples will be forcibly removed from the legal state of marriage, not because they have chosen to do so, but because others have decided that they shouldn’t allowed to be recognized as having a marriage. I imagine it will be single largest forced annulment action between married couples in the history of the United States. This initiative will unambiguously, concretely and irrevocably destroy marriages. This initiative murders marriages.

Naturally, this initiative is called the “California Marriage Protection Act.”

Go thou, and read.

18 June 2008

QotD for 18 June, 2008

From the article Former SBC Leader Declares Denomination in 'Free Fall' over on Ethics Daily:
You know why we don't win the lost? Because we don't like them. They are different from us. We don't care for them. We have no real love for them. --- Jimmy Draper, former head of LifeWay Christian Resources and SBC president, 1983-84

A rather blunt statement that illustrates one of the things I like least about conservative evangelicals, whether they're Baptists, AoG, "conservative Anglicans," or members of the local, nondenominational megachurch - their sheer dislike for anyone who's not just like them. Everything seems to revolve around who they dislike and what they disapprove of.

It truly shocks and puzzles me how one can read the Gospels and yet get to a place like that...

[hat tip to Dan over at Culture Choc]

17 June 2008

QotD for 17 June, 2008

There's a whiff of the lynch mob or the lemming migration about any overlarge concentration of like-thinking individuals, no matter how virtuous their cause. --- P.J. O'Rourke

13 June 2008

M..M..M..My Sharona

Heard this quintessential tune from The Knack on the car radio at lunch today. Luckily, it's been a number of years since 1979 :) so I was able to crank it up and bop along to the opening riff and not actively gag at the rest of the song.

And guess what ? Not only is the Sharona in the song a real person (which I think most folks already knew), but she's on the web* as a real estate agent in Los Angeles. Too weird.

*Note: didn't link to the main page, as it plays music (guess what?) with no apparent way to turn it off. Bad web developer, BAD.

11 June 2008

QotD for 11 June, 2008

The (neo-con, Republican) counterrevolution is over. For 40 years the radical right has sought to uproot and overturn the American domestic and global order created by centrist liberals of both parties between the 1930s and the 1970s. Liberalism has survived, while the right is not only defeated but also demoralized, dispersed and diminishing. --- Michael Lind, Whitehead senior fellow at the New America Foundation, in the article Relax, liberals. You've already won

09 June 2008

Unexpected Benefits of Train Travel

Nine Unexpected Benefits of Trains is up over on the ecogeek blog, and it's an interesting read. No nagging! Legroom! Seats that actually recline! and...
If you want to pee, go pee.. There’s never a time on a train when you can’t stand up and do whatever you want. And that includes having a nice lunch in the dining car, which is what I’m going to go do now.

I really enjoyed a train trip my (then soon-to-be) wife and I took from Chicago to Dallas years ago, though certainly a plane ride would've been much faster. But for trips under, say, 250 miles or so, it looks like you won't loose anything but aggravation.

Maybe those proposed high-speed rail lines along the Trans-Texas Corridor are an even better idea than I thought.

04 June 2008

Rock and Roll as Fast Food Burgers

Okay, I know this stuff is like the fast food burgers of the pop music world, but...

Journey has a new album! Time to queue them up on the old iPod along with some REO Speedwagon and Boston ;)

never walk away.mp3 - Journey

[and a big "whoa, dude!" to John Scalzi for the news]

QotD for 4 June, 2008

Barbecue sauce is like a beautiful woman. If it's too sweet, it's bound to be hiding something. --- Lyle Lovett

30 May 2008

QotD for 31 May, 2008

Charitable feelings are of no use
without acts of charity.
Compassionate feelings are of no use
without acts of compassion.
Loving feelings are useless
unless they lead to acts of love.
The Priest and Levite may well have felt sorry
for the wounded man
as they steered a course past him,
and the Samaritan who stopped to help
may have been muttering
under his breath
at the inconvenience
the whole time.
How they felt
was immaterial to the wounded man.

--- the Rev. Br. Tobias S. Haller, BSG

[via In a Godward Direction]

29 May 2008

QotD for 30 May, 2008

When I say that X seems to be true, I want that statement to be coherent with our observations of the reality that God wrought, not just with the reality I conjure in my head. --- D.C. Toedt

Ahhh yes, good ol' Reality Based® Theology. Something the American Church could do with a lot more. For add'l such goodness, visit D.C.'s blog The Questioning Christian.

27 May 2008

Classical Music LOLCatz

more cat pictures

Subtle (for a change) LOLCatz humor with that tinge of intellectual eliteness that only classical music can impart ;)

22 May 2008

Remixed Political Poster Art

This and other great political remixes of retro poster art at the Old American Century.

19 May 2008

Send Allie to Lambeth

Yes, you've all probably seen this on her blog, or at Grandmère Mimi's* , but in case you haven't...

Allie's Goin' to Lambeth

But our Allie has had a run of poor luck lately - car crash & a dead laptop on a student's budget. So if you can spare some cash to help her make this trip, it'd be a bona fide Good Thing®. And come on, wouldn't you rather see her go than quite a few bishops you could name ?

Send your contributions to:

Alicia Graham
c/o Grace-St. Paul's Episcopal Church
3715 E. State Street Ext
Mercerville, NJ 08619

*(if you're a fellow Episco-blogger and aren't reading Mimi's stuff, you should)

16 May 2008


My new, favorite food-related vice ? Dark chocolate covered, dried cranberries from Dilettante Chocolates of Kent, WA. And with all the antioxidants from both the dark chocolate and the cranberries, it's practically health food.

Yeah, that's it...health food.

Found 'em in the candy section of my local Wal-Mart, no less. (yeah, I know, I know...)

14 May 2008

Stuff White People Like

In case you're not reading Dan's excellent blog Culture Choc (and you should), he pointed his readers to one of the funniest sites I've seen in ages:

Stuff White People Like

Here're a few examples. Don't have a mouthful of your favorite beverage, or you'll lose a keyboard ;)

#1 - Coffee. White people all need Starbucks, Second Cup or Coffee Bean. They are also fond of saying “you do NOT want to see me before I get my morning coffee.” White guys will also call it anything but coffee: “rocket fuel,” “java,” “joe,” “black gold,” and so forth. It’s pretty garbage all around. If you want to go for extra points - white people really love FAIR TRADE coffee, because paying the extra $2 means they are making a difference.

#2 - Religions that their parents don't belong to. White people will often say they are “spiritual” but not religious. Which usually means that they will believe any religion that doesn’t involve Jesus...Mostly they are into religion that fits really well into their homes or wardrobe and doesn’t require them to do very much.

#11 - Asian Girls. 95% of white males have at one point in their lives, experienced yellow fever...White men love asian women so much that they will go to extremes such as stating that Sandra Oh is sexy, teaching English in Asia, playing in a coed volleyball league, or attending institutions such as UBC or UCLA.

09 May 2008

No Frozen Chosen

Best quote I've heard yet about the Rt. Rev. Gene Robinson, Episcopal bishop of New Hampshire and the first openly gay man to hold such a position in TEC:

I admire Gene Robinson greatly. He exudes his faith, not with the arrogance of the Professional Bishops, but with the serenity and confidence of a child. No frozen-chosen upper class episcopalian would have been nearly as effective as the First Honest Gay Bishop as a sharecropper's son with the cadence of Kentucky in his voice. --- commenter "IT" over at Fr. Jake's

(and the fact that Fr. Jake's "resident atheist" can see this, while so-called faithful Christians still spew the most incredibly foul things about Bp. Robinson, should give any Episcopalian pause)

07 May 2008

Hillary, You're Done. Really.

I got a nice, big Clue Stick here, and it's got author/blogger John Scalzi's name on it next to "Made by..." Go read It’s Over, Hillary. Let it Go, right now.

Extra points for good use of LOLCatz.

Clue Stick! Apply directly to the forehead!

An Elegant Linux

Got all excited a week ago, as my favorite Linux distro, Ubuntu, had finally released their latest long-term support version - 8.04 "Hardy Heron." My enthusiasm quickly flew south when I found the Live CD wouldn't even boot on my bog-standard Dell E520 desktop (a model that Dell itself sells with Ubuntu preinstalled). Further reading on the Ubuntu support forums revealed numerous complaints about not booting, poor performance, etc... Very disappointing.

So I turned to an Ubuntu derivative from a group of primarily European developers named Linux Mint that I'd previously experimented with on my laptop. The latest Linux Mint is based off of Ubuntu 7.10 and installs & runs like a charm. The Linux Mint team has also done an absolutely smashing job with the interface design / configuration, choice of std. applications, and audio/video codec support. Beautiful, elegant, and it. Just. Works.

High recommended.

(Oh, and yes - I know I haven't posted in a while. Life was just extra busy in April :)

07 April 2008

Give It 4 Good

"Because I take seriously Christ's admonition that 'where your treasure is, there will your heart be also' (Matt. 6:31), and

"Because I believe reaching out in compassion to the extreme poor around the world is more important than propping up an economy based on unsustainable consumption.

"I am donating all or part of my 2008 tax rebate/economic stimulus check to not-for-profit organizations that support the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.

"Instead of spending it, I am Giving It For Good."

My check's going to Episcopal Relief and Development, how 'bout you ?

[via Episcopalians for Global Reconciliation]

24 March 2008

QotD for 24 Mar., 2008

During one of Adlai Stevenson’s presidential campaigns, a supporter allegedly told him that he was sure to “get the vote of every thinking man” in the U.S., to which Stevenson is said to have replied,

Thank you, but I need a majority to win.

14 March 2008

Vacation Mode

We'll be on vacation next week, so if you don't see any on-line activity from me, that's why ;) I shall return, having been refreshed at Hot Springs, Arkansas and having communed with the spirit of The King at Graceland & eaten my fill of BBQ in Memphis, Tennessee.

Until then, I leave you with:

Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine. --- Sir Arthur Eddington

I See Dead Pixels

[via xkcd]

11 March 2008

Obama and "Experience"

“Suppose you had to choose between two Presidential candidates, one of whom had spent 20 years in Congress plus had considerable other relevant experience and the other of whom had about half a dozen years in the Illinois state legislature and 2 years in Congress. Which one do you think would make a better President? If you chose #1, congratulations, you picked James Buchanan over Abraham Lincoln.”

From the article How Good Are Experienced Presidents ? over on the Electoral Vote Predictor site, which tracks political polls for U.S. federal elections. The entire article is well worth your time...

[via Scalzi's Whatever]

07 March 2008

Oh Hai, Iz Eatin U Now

If you get this, you are more than a casual Lovecraft geek ;)

[via LOLThulhu]

06 March 2008

QotD for 6 Mar., 2008

Conservatives pride themselves on resisting change, which is as it should be. But intelligent deference to tradition and stability can evolve into intellectual sloth and moral fanaticism, as when conservatives simply decline to look up from dogma because the effort to raise their heads and reconsider is too great. --- William F. Buckley Jr.

See The Collected Controversies of William F. Buckley over at 10 Zen Monkeys for more...

Rest eternal grant him oh Lord, and may light perpetual shine upon him.

25 February 2008

Making Garfield Funny

Hah! Someone finally figured out how to make that hoary, old comic strip Garfield funny - take out the cat!

Without the eponymous main character, it becomes "a journey deep into the tortured mind of an isolated young everyman as he fights a losing battle against lonliness and methamphetamine addiction in a quiet American suburb." ROTFLMAO!

[hat tip to Scalzi's Whatever]

21 February 2008

QotD for 21 Feb., 2008

I've heard the reasons for opposing civil marriage for same-sex couples. Cut through the distractions, and they stink of the same fear, hatred and intolerance I have known in racism and in bigotry. --- U.S. Representative John Lewis

[tip of the hat to the Mad Priest]

13 February 2008

QotD for 13 Feb., 2008

Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Give a fish a man, and he'll eat for weeks! --- Takayuki Ikkaku, Arisa Hosaka and Toshihiro Kawabata, Animal Crossing: Wild World, 2005

07 February 2008

The Belief-O-Matic

Yeah, it's an oldie but a goodie - Beliefnet's Belief-O-Matic, a personality quiz about your religious and spiritual beliefs.

Me ? 100% Unitarian Universalist and in the mid to upper 90's for both Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants and Liberal Quakers, plus a fair amount of Buddhism and Secular Humanism. No surprises there :)

05 February 2008

QotD for 5 Feb., 2008

If you can't do something smart, do something right --- Shepherd Derrial Book, a character in Joss Whedon's Firefly, played by Ron Glass

29 January 2008

QotD for 29 Jan., 2008

In honor of the (apparent) departure of the Rev. Matt Kennedy from the Episcopal Church, I offer the following...

Orthodoxy is, in the Church, very much what prejudice is in the single mind. It is the premature conceit of certainty. It is the treatment of the imperfect as if it were the perfect. --- Bp. Phillips Brooks, 1835-1893, noted U.S. clergyman and author, and former Episcopal Bishop of Massachusetts.

24 January 2008

How To Be Emergent

The Ooze, a website which itself is dedicated to the "emerging church movement," has posted an hilarious, tongue-in-cheek article called Walk Like an Emergent.

Go have a look. Really. If you're a Gen-X or Y, even somewhat-progressive Christian, you know some of these people :D

[tip o' the hat to Mary Sue over at the Order of Santa Ignora]

17 January 2008

May I Take Your Order ?

Seems that intrepid blogger Jon Rahoi found himself in a restaurant in China where they'd saved some money by doing the English menu translation themselves.

I can't remember laughing so uncontrollably in a long time. Tears were actually running down my face before the end :)


Menu Translation: Black Bowel and Cowboy Leg.

Comment: Black bowel and cowboy leg? Add candlelight and you have yourself a date!

15 January 2008

QotD for 15 Jan., 2008

"My country, right or wrong," is a thing that no patriot would think of saying except in a desperate case. It is like saying, "My mother, drunk or sober." --- G. K. Chesterton

14 January 2008

and marked as Christ's own for ever...

While the Anglican World Turned...

On the way back from attending a funeral for my Aunt Jo in San Antonio this weekend, I stopped by St. David's in downtown Austin for the 11:15 service yesterday morning. As a stranger in their midst, I was warmly welcomed and felt right at home in this beautiful, historic (1848!) and bog-standard, mainstream Episcopal parish.

I was baptized at St. David's over 47 years ago and, of course, yesterday was one of the days specially appointed for baptisms in the church calendar. At the request of the usher, I was honored to be asked to read aloud one of the prayers for the people (which were read by various people, standing all througout the congregation - a wonderful touch):

Teach them to love others in the power of the Spirit. (BCP, p.305)

And me just some, lone visitor in the pews! ;) I'm certain no one there knew how touched I was by being asked to participate, but it sure helped me get past all the current "Episcopalian brouhaha" and remind me why I love this church so.

Then we took communion, sang some more hymns, were blessed and, after shaking the rector's hand & thanking him, I walked out renewed into the bright, late morning sunshine of my hometown...

(Note: St. David's rector, the Rev. David Boyd, graduated from Nashotah House in 1984 - I wonder if our Fr. Jake knows him. And any of my church-going friends are definitely encouraged to visit St. David's if you're ever in Austin. It's a lovely, warm & welcoming place - their rector and vestry should be proud ;)

11 January 2008

Meme of the Day for 11 Jan., 2008

Got tagged by Eileen, so here goes...

- Link to the person that tagged you. (done)
- Post the rules on your blog.
- Share six non-important things/habits/quirks about yourself.
- Tag six people and at the end of your post, link to their blogs.
- Let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

1. I'm a Southern boy and know that certain dishes are meant to be finger foods (e.g. fried chicken, ribs). But having me eat with my fingers, and esp. licking them off (Mmmmm...BBQ saaaaaauce), drives my wife nuts. I do it anyway.

2. Being a bit absent-minded, I tend to do things like always put important stuff (wallet, keys) in the same spot in the house everytime, always park in the same general area when visiting the local mall, movie theatre, etc... Saves much anxiety on my part.

3. I find Wal-Mart to be an incredibly tacky & depressing place, and it's almost painful for me to patronize one. I felt this way even before finding out about their predatory business practices, lousy treatment of their employees, etc..., and will go to some length to avoid shopping there. I am, however, quite fond of discount stores like Target and IKEA.

4. Don't like Italian food. Matter of fact, I'm not fond of any food containing tomatoes. However, I will eat almost anything from various Asian cuisines at least once, incl. some pretty weird stuff (try "Beef with Bitter Melon" on for size sometime).

5. I'm hooked, not just on coffee in the morning, but on good coffee. At home, we buy beans and grind our own before we make it. When traveling, I'll go to quite a bit of trouble to at least find a Starbuck's vs. drinking (yech!) Folgers or some swill from the local convenience store.

6. I'm a middle-aged, middle-class, straight, white, Southern male who has absolutely no interest in NASCAR, Major League anything, hunting, fishing, conservative Protestantism, or Republican politics.

OK, so I tag PJ, Grandmère Mimi, Fr. Bill, the Doxy, Kristin, and DP :)

04 January 2008

QotD for 4 Jan., 2008

I will not vote for Ron Paul under any circumstances. Sorry. The fact that I might agree with him on one or two things doesn't mean I'm keen to have an abortion-banning white supremacist alternative-medicine quack in office. --- Rusty Foster, founder of Kuro5hin

02 January 2008

Where Are You Politically ?

You are a

Social Liberal
(68% permissive)

and an...

Economic Liberal
(21% permissive)

You are best described as a:

Strong Democrat (21e/68s)

Link: The Politics Test on Ok Cupid
Also: The OkCupid Dating Persona Test

Not quite sure of the ultimate accuracy of this, as I'm nowhere near a real Socialist*, and I'm much more "socially permissive" than this lets on - An ye harm none, do what thou wilt and all that. But a fun quiz with a decent amount of questions :)

* (I suppose my support for a decent std of living for everyone combined with a desire for universal healthcare ala Canada makes me a pawn of the dreaded Socialists ;)