Saturday, July 23, 2005

Email: Self is not a four-letter word [SD]

“Sin is being self-centered instead of God-centered” is a typical evangelical formulation -- that is, dualistic (black or white, God or self, good or bad, sinful or holy). Billy Graham has probably been saying that for 50 years, not to mention previous generations of preachers and Bill Bright’s Four Spiritual Laws written some 35 years ago.

Rhetorical contrast works well in preaching (Jesus: “You are either with me or against me” or “You must love God and hate yourself”), however, lay believers tend to get confused about the practical distinctions between being self-centered or selfish and appropriately tending to oneself. I finally have had to tell some Christians, “So then you shouldn’t eat or sleep or shower, because that’s being selfish.” Anyone who flies in an airplane knows that you put on your own mask before helping others with theirs. Now if there were only one mask, yes, you give it to your child; but western Christians are forever creating or perceiving dualistic choices out of things that were never mutually exclusive in the first place.

Evangelicals have an especially keen, cultic eye for spying divergences from their dogma and excluding “unbelievers” from their community. Catholics (except the most conservative) tend to be better at searching out, including and building on others’ commonalities.

Websites: Why you should worship a librarian

Find out Why you should fall to your knees and worship a librarian.

Weblogs: New definition of media literacy

(via foe romeo)

"I really like this definition of media literacy, as noted by The Shifted Librarian during Henry Jenkins' Pop Culture and Learning talk at the Games, Learning and Society Conference:

* the ability to critically assess information gathered from multiple sources
* the ability to appreciate works from many different aesthetic traditions (give them vocabularies for what they?re already consuming)
* an understanding of the contexts within which media are produced, distributed, and consumed
* the ability to express your ideas through a range of media (which kids already do)
* the ability to assess which media is most appropriate for a given purpose (cell phones vs. text messaging vs. camcorders, etc.)
* the ability to meaningfully participate in collective intelligence community
* the ability to think in multimodal terms (multiple levels of interpretation; the videos of Tokyo Park show more than just sound, audio, or text would)
* an ethical framework for thinking about our freedoms and responsibilities as communicators"

Weblogs: The Rules and The Big Other

(via Dictionary of Concepts)

'Rule Girls' are heterosexual women who follow precise rules as to how they let themselves be seduced (accept a date only if you are asked at least three days in advance etc). Although the rules correspond to customs which used to regulate the behaviour of old-fashioned women actively pursued by old-fashioned men, the Rule Girls phenomenon does not involve a return to conservative values: women now freely choose their own rules -- an instance of the 'reflexivisation' of everyday customs in today's 'risk society'. According to the risk society theory of Anthony Giddens, Ulrich Beck and others, we no longer live our lives in compliance with Nature or Tradition; there is no symbolic order or code of accepted fictions (what Lacan calls the 'Big Other') to guide us in our social behaviour.

Lacan called this objectivised knowledge -- the symbolic substance of our being, the virtual order that regulated intersubjective space -- the "Big Other". [Tot., p. 254]

The Lacanian "Big Other" does not designate merely the explicit symbolic rules regulating social interaction, but also the intricate cobweb of unwritten "implicit" rules. [Tot, p.141]

Websites: Phrasebook smorgasbord

(unlikely phrases from real language phrasebooks via The Metaverse)

Berlitz Russian for Travellers

I can't do the cha-cha.
Ja ne umeju tantsevatj cha-cha-cha.

I want a specimen of your urine.
Ja vozjmu u vas mochu na analiz.

I'd like to buy a pair of binoculars.
Ja khotel by kupitj binoklj.

I'd like to go to a Komsomol party.
Ja khotel by pojti na komsomoljskij vecher.

Berlitz Portuguese for Travellers

Why are you laughing?
Porque está a rir?

Must I swallow them whole?
Devo engoli-los inteiros?

Say It In German pocket dictionary

Drive us around for one hour.
Fahren Sie eine Stunde herum!

Use insecticide.
Gebrauchen Sie Insektenvertilgungsmittel.

Vietnamese Phrasebook 1976

Take me to the Protestant church.
Dya toi den2 ña3 thu3 Tin5-Lañ3.

There will be no trouble.
Khong sao duu.

I like to sleep a lot.
Toi thich ngu4 ñieu3.

Say It In Swedish 1979

Have you something more attractively furnished?
Har Ni något som är trevligare möblerat?

Let's take a walk around the botanical garden.
Låt oss ta en promenad i botaniska trädgården.

Penguin Polish phrasebook

What do we pay for the children?
Ile placimy za dzieci?

How does the heating work?
Jak dziala ogrzewanie?

The villa has been burgled.
Bylo wlamanie do willi.

May I have peas instead of beans?
Czy moge, prosic' o groszek zamiast fasolki?

Harrap's Greek phrasebook

I'm absolutely knackered.
Eímai ptóma stin koúrasi.

He swims like a fish.
Kolumpáei san delfíni.

Barron's Spanish at a glance; Burgess & Bowes Midget Dictionary

I have the highest card.
Tengo la carta más alta.

Is your husband here?
¿Está aquí su esposo?

I want the latest edition with gilt edges.
Deseo la última edición con cantos dorados.

Fingertip Chinese

Do you eat this?
Nî chi zhège ma?

I play the clarinet.
Wô lá danhuángguân.

The countryside looks very poor.
Nóngcun kàngqîlái hên píngqióng.

Get by in Welsh 1979

Cricket is a silly game.
Gêm ddwl yw criced.

Don't pester the girls in the next tent.
Peidiwch â phoeni'r merched yn y babell nesa.

She has excellent breasts.
Mae bronnau ardderchog da hi.

Setswana-English phrasebook 1979

What year is it?
Ke ngwaga wa bokaye?

Is this the first time you marry?
A ke gônê o émang?

Hawaiian phrasebook 1906

Such is the fashion now.
O ka paikini ia i keia wa.

She also remarked that I ate greedily.
Ua hoopuka pu ae la oia, he pakela ai au.

It is true, you are wise and we are foolish.
He oiaio ua naauao oukou a he poe hupo makou.

I had yams and fish for two days, and then I ate fern roots.
He ape ne ka i-a ka'u no elua la, a mahope ai au i ka hapuu.

Are you not ashamed?
Aohe ou hilahila?

Lonely planet

Carry me, slowly.
Malai bistaarai bhoknuhos.

Where was this cheese made?
Yo chij kahaan baneko ho?

How many years will you stay in Nepal?
Nepaalmaa kati barsa basne?

Hippocrene Chechen-English/English-Chechen (1997) (supplied by Mark Wise)

Is the bridge still standing?
Tsun t'okhal doodush t'ai hintsa lattash dui?

Don't shoot!
Gerza ma tooghalah'!

Can you take me to the minefields?
Minii aaree yolcha vugar vari ah'so?

Somali Handbook (Dunwoody Press, 1992) (supplied by Mark Wise)

Do you have any valuables?
Wax qiimo leh ma sidataa?

Do not be afraid
Ha baqin

I won't hurt you
Waxba kuu dhimi mayo

Put your hands over your head!
Gacmaha madaxa saar!

Are the snakes here dangerous?
Masaska halkaan khatar miyaa?

We must bury her
Waa inaan duugnaa isaga

Handbook of Gaelic Phrases and Sentences (1939) (supplied by James Campbell)

We shall troll along the coast.
Ni sinn sgrìob suas ris a' chladach

Are you feeling spry to-day?
A bheil sùrd math oirbh an diugh?

Weblogs: Twerpette and four-letter words

(I added this to a previous post but thought I should expand on it as a current post of its own.)

Note to the (always self-appointed) values police: Journalists have faith and children too. Being a faith-based weblog, Twerpette's policy is to dash-out four-letter words out of consideration for our younger readers as well as corporate bad-word filters, except in cases where this would cause confusion, especially in posts dealing with word use and language. For example, in one post, displaying s--- would not have been helpful, since s--t could be snit or spit or..., and besides, the post dealt with the actual usage of that word. Rest assured that we needn't deviate from displaying motherf---er, however, should the usage be employed in the original citation and unavoidable in order to convey the essential message.

Email: Trust in the Lord [SD]

I don't know what [a believer] can do beyond giving 100% then trusting all to him [God] all the time; meanwhile everyone around [the believer] keeps saying, "You know, you need to give the Lord 100% then trust all to him all the time" because no one knows [his] heart or listens (apparently) to [his] words. No one can understand the mysteries of the Lord or his timing; but at least let's not blame the believer for not having sufficient faith, trust and surrender.

I sing that scripture all the time:

"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not to thine understanding.
In all thy ways, acknowledge him, and he will bring it to pass."

Mary Sue Dobbin and others sang it on the first Servants of the Light album 30 years ago. That album also had the only song the Lord ever gave her to write:

"I am the vine, the vine
Ye are the branches
He that abideth in me and I in him,
The same bringeth forth much fruit,
For without me, ye can do nothing."

Email: As the teen chooses [SD]

I would do as much as I could to help him [your son] frame how he should make his decision. Teens are more susceptible to manipulation and need help understanding how to make a free decision for their own reasons. Only after doing all I feel the Lord would want me to do, would I feel comfortable trusting the Lord and my son to whatever happens. But that's me. I'm glad he has a good head on his shoulders. So did I at that age, really. It's just that as adults, we know more about the context of such decisions (we have a greater experience or understanding of the possible consequences) and we want to make sure our children have the benefit of that knowledge. It's true we cannot and should not make such decisions for our children; they need to make them on their own and discover what works. I mention Halliburton and KBR because they are doing all the civilian hiring for the rebuilding effort in Iraq.

Again, when I say I was busy, it is an explanation for that moment in time, not a statement that I normally am too busy or never will have time. Hear what I say, not what you think I say. ;-}

Weblogs: If God is real, why are there so many idiots?

(via Randomize)

"If I may be so bold, testing one's faith based on the blow-hards that fill so many of today's pulpits and radio stations is like getting stock tips from that shouting bald guy on TV (the one that looks like a severely-caffeinated version of Dr. Phil).

It's entertainment, pure and simple, to keep the minds of the weak voting Republican and living some traditional of the straight, narrow, and tithing.

Try this for a nice change of pace:

* Turn off the radio.
* Read the Bible (conveniently available on CD) and let it speak for itself without the intrusion of your memories of people trying to interpret it for you.
* Pick up a few non-fiction books by C.S. Lewis (any of them) or one of the other great Christian apologists who actually studied the Bible longer than it takes to get a feel-good 'pastoral care' degree from some random Bible college.
* Try to find a congregation of Christians who don't check their brains at the door.
* Find other bloggers who struggle with faith and are honest about it. Example: Messy Christian.
* Don't give up. Test everything. Hold on to what is good, ignore the rest."

Friday, July 22, 2005

Neologisms: neophrasm, periphrasm

A neophrasm is a newly coined phrase. A periphrasm is a circumlocutory phrase. (A periphrasis is the process of circumlocution while a perphrasm is the actual phrase used.)

Languages: Langmaker website

Langmaker is a website for the submission of English neologisms and constructed languages (the current number is 1,414 but my own would add a dozen). (More on this later, in another weblog I'll start when I find time.)

Neologisms: inna-gadda-da-meantime

(More of a neophrase -- neophrasm? -- really, which I have used for years.)

Musings: Panning a filmmaker's "personal letter"

(I know Craig Brewer meant to tell an inspiring story about Tequila, the country stripper who gets bitten by the creative muse -- a thing we should all experience -- during what we would loosely call the production of his first movie, a low-rent black-and-white video crewed only by Brewer and his brother-in-law, set in a seedy Memphis bump-and-grind, and called -- what else? -- The Poor & Hungry. However, my take on this maudlin play for publicity for his new movie is twofold: I don't see the connection, and I could not care less about Tequila or any of his movies.)
This is when I met Tequila.

She was country as all get-out, with freckles running across her tiny nose, and a twang that would turn Loretta Lynn's head. She eagerly volunteered to be our boom operator (and if there are any boom operators reading this, let me tell you, watching little Tequila hold that boom over her head, wearing her clear high-heel pumps, and bright orange bikini, was a sight to behold.)

When we were packing up our gear, Tequila came up to us, excited and sad. "Y'all comin' back t'morrow?" she asked. "Cuz I can hold the pole s'more for ya."

I saw it in her eyes. She had been bitten by the creative bug.

For many of us, creative expression and collaboration with others is nothing new. But we must never forget that there are many in this world who've never been asked to express themselves with movement or words or paint.

Regardless of our given circumstances, we are all entitled to contribute a verse. It is our right as human beings. A right that belongs to you, to me, and to a country stripper named Tequila.

I hope you enjoy the film.

Craig Brewer
Writer/Director of Hustle & Flow

Musings: Musharaff, what the hell...?

So Pakistani president Pervez Musharaff says the terrorism problem is in England, not Pakistan, when three of the four July 7 bombers had Pakistani ties? Isn't that the same thing as a pro-life group saying the problem (babykilling) is at an abortion clinic, not with the bomber of the clinic or his sympathizers (so therefore the clinic had a bombing coming to it)? Isn't that like George Bush saying, as some do in Texas, "He needed killing"? Such comments are so political as to be more than clueless to the truth and bordering on reprehensible.

Proverbs: It's not either/or but less/more

As in Star Wars: "Be mindful of the future ... but not at the expense of the present."

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Musings: Problem solving vs. problem anticipation

I believe the same skills that contribute to creative and effective problem solving also contribute to creative and effective problem anticipation -- which is to say, imagining and planning for negative eventualities in order to prevent them from happening. Security professionals do this all the time. In fact, the lack of any such planning generally means that something bad can and will happen in the future. So I often find myself not only telling clients where they stand, but where they are realistically at risk. It's never so much "Build it, and they will come," as it is "Build it right, and they will keep coming."

Vignettes: Appreciation for what I don't do too

While I was special projects lead with a major corporation in 1999, team members came to rely on me for solving every technical problem that came along. ("The network's down!" "Let's go tell Steve!") Because creativity can go both ways, I began telling them, "You appreciate me for what I do here, but you also need to appreciate me for what I don't do."

ZM asked me to introduce him to SR, who was new to the team. I did, quite professionally (as always), but later told ZM, "Now what I didn't say at the end was: 'By the way, S ... Z has the hots for you!'" ZM immediately blushed and exclaimed, "Thank you! Thank you! I am a happily married man!"

Vignettes: Mischief not indulged

MG's phone rang; his wife was calling while he was down the hall after a dinner run. I didn't answer and say "Oh, he's at the titty bar again."

Considering all the things I could do ... I'm a pretty well-behaved guy.

Websites: The Zompist Phrasebook

(via Desbladet and others, The Zompist Phrasebook translates the following English phrases into Russian, Italian, Danish and Dutch)

I wish to complain.
It's better in the States.
How much is that in real money?
Don't you speak English?
Do all your maids smoke?
I'm coming, you silly runt!
How do I get Letterman?
If you go to the USA, you'll find that a dime is a lot of money.
There's a corpse on the bed. Please change the sheets.
Has your nose always been that way?
I may be drunk, but tomorrow morning I shall be sober, and you will still be ugly.
Stupid uncultured lout.
I would very much like to meet you again when you are sober.
No, I've always enjoyed simple-minded ethnic humor.
That's not all! I have two more photo albums!
I love you, will you marry me?
Girls with big mazongas usually can't rhumba so well.
You're very pretty for a foreigner.
All right, all right, let's meet your parents.
What a stench.
Where can I find the dissidents?
Your country has such lovely dirt.
I bet those machine guns are fake.
Are all of your jails this filthy?
Could I see some merchandise that the rats haven't found?
Follow that car.
Slow down, you cretin!
My wife fell overboard about ten miles back.
Where can I rent a camel?
Officer, this is an outrage.
Oh, sure, you're going to shoot me, right?
This is the third time I've told you, so listen up this time.
Could I have some clean water?
Can I have fries with that?
Waiter, there's a fly in my soup.
You call this beer?
Have you ever considered that we might be insulted because you haven't learned English?
If I died tonight I'd be saved, but you would burn in hell.
Has there been any real intellectual life in your country since Saltykov-Schedrin [Croce, Kierkegaard, Erasmus]?
Die, rat bastard.
We kicked your ass in World War II.
Learn to read, monkey boy.
Qool, dude!
I don't know if this is a troll or if you're just stupid.

Lyrics: Creed - Higher

Although I would like our world to change
It helps me to appreciate
Those nights and those dreams
But, my friend, I'd sacrifice all those nights
If I could make the Earth and my dreams the same
The only difference is
To let love replace all our hate

Lyrics: South FM - Claudia

dear claudia,
you should try not to sleep with your best friend's boyfriend
you've come so far since that time when you let your first boy in
and you do it so carelessly
as if you had no self esteem
a victim of apathy
but you don't care what people say about you
i will let you in before you break yourself

Internet: You might be a Lutheran if...

(via the entirely droll Old Lutheran website) only serve Jell-O in the proper liturgical color for the season. didn't know chow mein noodles were Chinese food.

...when someone mentions red and green (in terms of Christmas), you immediately think of a battle over hymnals.

...during the entire service you hold your hymnal open but never look down at it.

...during communion you hum the hymns so you can see who's at church that Sunday.

...rather than introducing yourself to a visitor at church, you check their name out in the guestbook. think Garrison Keillor's stories are totally factual. have your wedding reception in the fellowship hall and feel guilty about not staying to help clean up.

...a midlife crisis means switching from the old hymnbook to the new one. forget to put water in the baptismal font but never forget to put water in the coffee pot.

...the pastor skips the last hymn to make sure church lasts exactly 60 minutes. make spaghetti at your house with the little macaroni noodles because they're not so messy then. don't make eye contact when passing someone in the hall because you think it's impolite.

...your choir believes volume is a fair substitute for tonality. don't know what was sooo funny about dat movie Fargo then. response to someone jumping up and shouting "Praise the Lord!" you politely remind him or her that we don't do that around here. think a meeting isn't legitimate unless it's at least three hours long.

...peas in your tuna noodle hotdish add too much color. make change in the offering plate for a ten. think butter is a spice.

...the church is on fire, and you rush in to save the coffee pot. have more than five flavors of Jell-O in your pantry. know what a "dead spread" is. talk to someone else and look at their shoes first. have more than three friends whose first names have the letter "j" as the second letter (Hjalmar, Bjorn etc.).

...the only open pew is up front, so you volunteer to shovel the sidewalk.

...Ole and Lena are really the names of your relatives. know what a Lutheran Church Basement Woman is. give a party and don't tell anyone where it is. think hotdish is one of the major food groups.

... is one of your bookmarks.

...your five-year-old recites the Old Testament books as Genesis, Exodus, Lutefisk...

...someone asks you after church if there's any "decaf coffee" and you laugh because you KNOW that if it doesn't have caffeine, it can't be coffee! [Amen!] think anyone who says "casserole" instead of "hotdish" is trying to be uppity (or maybe even Episcopalian!). think the term "Jell-O salad" is redundant. freeze the leftover coffee from fellowship hour for next week.

...when you were little you actually thought the Reverend's first name was "Pastor." think you're paying your pastor too much if he gets a new car for the first time in eight years. hear something really funny and smile as loud as you can. takes 10 minutes to say good-bye.

...doughnuts are in the official church budget.

...they have to rope off the last pews in church so the front isn't empty.'re watching "Star Wars" in the theatre and when they say, "May the force be with you," the theatre replies, "and also with you." tap a church visitor on the shoulder and say, "excuse me, but you're in my seat." doodle on the back of communion cards. can say the meal prayer all in one breath.

...Bach is your favorite composer just because he was Lutheran, too. hesitate to clap for the church choir or special music because "it just wasn't done that way in the old days."

...your church library has three Jell-O cookbooks.'s time to change a lightbulb and the left side of the aisle begins a debate on "change," while the right side of the aisle musters five volunteers--one to hold the bulb, and four to turn the ladder. laugh out loud while reading this list, and relive your childhood at the same time.

... you think the four food groups are coffee, lefse, lutefisk, and Jell-O. can actually come up with responses to this. actually think the pastor's jokes are funny.

...the bumper sticker on your car says, "Legalize Lutefisk!"

... you pronounce the word Lutheran "Lutern." hear requests preceded or followed by the phrase, "If it's not too much trouble then..." know all the words to the first verse of "Silent Night" in German but can't speak a word of it. carry silverware in your pocket to church just in case there's a potluck dinner. have an uncontrollable urge to sit in the back of any room.

... P.M.S. is defined as "Post Merger Syndrome."

...your house is a mess because you're "saved by Grace" not by works.

...the doilies underneath the Thanksgiving flowers make nice snowflakes at Christmas. think the communion wafers are too spicy.

...your mother reminds you often that she wishes you'd studied the organ.

... you dress up as your favorite reformer for Halloween.

...your mother could give any Jewish mother a run for the money in the guilt department. think lime Jell-O with cottage cheese and pineapple is a gourmet salad. think that an ELCA Lutheran bride and an LCMS groom make for a "mixed marriage."

...Folgers has you on their Christmas list.

...your congregation's first two operating rules are "Don't change" and "Don't spend."

...your LCMS pastor refers to St. Louis as "the holy city." Thanksgiving you serve lutefisk and try to convince your kids it's really turkey.'re at an evangelistic rally and you actually manage to raise your hands waist high.

...the only mealtime prayer you know is "Come Lord Jesus." and your family of six squeeze into the last pew along with the 140 members already sitting there.'re 57 years old and your parents still won't let you date a Catholic. the close of a memo it states "Peace be with you" and you respond "and also with you." notice that Kool Aid stock shoots up during the Vacation Bible School season. wonder why bread and wine are used for Communion instead of coffee and donuts. are referred to as the frozen chosen!

...Commandment #11--If it's never been done that way before, don't do it. consider lottery tickets a serious investment. make your hotdishes with cream of mushroom soup and your salads with Jell-O. sing "Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus" while sitting down.

...a line item in the trustee's budget is "coffee maker maintenance." think tuna hotdish is a gourmet meal.

...your idea of an affirmation is "This is most certainly true." feel guilty about not feeling guilty.'s 110 degrees outside and you still have coffee after services.

...change means wearing your brown suit instead of your blue suit to church. read your Catechism and start arguing theology with yourself because no one else is around.

...the most mail you receive all year is from the Stewardship Committee. take your grandfather to McDonalds for breakfast and he asks for a large order of McLefsa. win $10 million in the lottery and decide to throw a party and money is no object, so you advertise in the church bulletin, rent the parish hall, and ask all of your friends to bring a side dish or salad.

...every time something changes, the old way was better. hold your family reunion in the church basement.

...a capital fund drive is needed to finance the new one million cup coffee urn. serve Jell-O as a vegetable.

...your biggest fund-raisers are bake sales instead of bingo. can't have a meeting without having a meal. refer to your trip to Minneapolis as a pilgrimage.

...sharing the peace during the service takes more time than the sermon.

...all your relatives graduated from a school named Concordia. count coffee among the sacraments.

Musings: Gotta love those Brits

With no time to write a historical brief on Britain's exemplary contributions to Western society and stability, I lend plaudits to their "stiff upper lip" and sturdy resolve on the day of this second bomb attack in London. Terrorists make one fundamental miscalculation: Faith is always stronger than hate. God bless England, and God save the queen.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Weblogs: AnnoyoPundits

(via Brown Bag Blog)

"Neologisms are such a delicate art. Alas, the internet does not lend itself to delicacy.

Thus we end up with such smuodgy words as Instapundit, Polipundit, Electablog, Blogebrity, Econopundit, Econoblog (both the original and the Wall Street Journal’s ripoff), Idiocentrism, the unimaginative Conservablog, the unpronounceable Eduwonk, the unforgiveable Professor Pollkatz, Liblog (which sounds like the front half of the Vulcan “howdy”), Scarleteen, Feminary, Truthout, PrestoPundit, Baldilocks (who despite, or arguably because of, her politics is cute as a button), Islamicate, Negrophile (which invokes an unformable office worker joke), and a dozen other cutesy names formed from words that were never meant to be smuodged together.

What is it with these bad attempts at catchy marketing? Even tongue in cheek, half of these sound like such un-adultish desperate pleas for attention and run together like that all of them sound, frankly craptarded.

Sure, it’s a jungle out there, but not so much for the dangers as for the cacophony."

(Conflations are not neologisms! I do like Feminary, Scarleteen and Velveteen Rabbi though.)

Neologisms: anhygrous and hypoosculatory

If udor is Greek for "water" and anhydrous means "water-less," I could stretch the case for a neologism that means "hug-less": anhygrous.

Of course, an anhygrous person would be severely at risk for becoming hypoosculatory ("under-kissed").

Weblogs: QTVR of moon landing with archival sound

(via Boing Boing)

"Today is the anniversary of the first human footsteps on the moon. While they were there, Apollo astronauts took panoramic photos with Hasselblad cameras. Hans Nyberg has stitched them together into 360-degree QTVR panoramas, along with sound files from that mission."

Weblogs: TV dinner inventor Gerry Thomas dies

(via Boing Boing)

Oh, man, the guy who invented the TV dinner died today too.

What next? Ray Kroc or Dave Thomas? (Oops.)

Weblogs: I think they're playing our ringtone

(via Davenetics)

"I just saw a morning news report on this tech/relationship company called One Key Away.

Here's the twist. You answer a series of questions online and then show up for a mixer where you are given a small gadget with a series of lights to wear around your neck. When you approach another mixer attendee, both of your gadgets present a color: Red means there will be challenges if you date, yellow means you both share a typical match and green means you could be in business.

I am assuming that if no one is in range of your device the lights turn off and one of two things happens. If you are a woman, the gadget sets itself to vibrate. If you are a dude, the device can suddenly be used to control the televsion behind the bar."

Lyrics: A Perfect Circle - People Are People

People are people
So why should it be
You and I should get along so awfully

I can't understand
What makes a man
Hate another man
Help me understand

Forelyrics: Nik Kershaw - Wouldn't It Be Good

Anytime you can predict something, I think it means that thing (or an understanding of it) is already inside you -- or that you contain it.

Are you ever able to foretell, presage or anticipate what a song's lyrics will be, a full (or most of a) line before they're sung? (You must have never heard the song before, of course.) This happens often to me with pop, rock, or gospel music. (Anticipating rhymes like Lord/adored and love/above can tell you where the next line is going, but sometimes to a poet, what comes in between is just as obvious.) Here is my most recent example, heard just now on a team member's mix (with anticipated portions in [brackets]):

Wouldn't it be good to be in your shoes
Even [if it was for just one day]
And wouldn't it be good if we could wish ourselves away
Wouldn't it be good to be on your side
The grass [is always greener over there]
[Wouldn't it be good if we could live without a care]

Antilyrics: Savage Garden - Truly Madly Deeply

until this guy falls down on me

(other misheard Savage Garden lyrics are at Am I Right)

Antilyrics: Til Tuesday - Voices Carry

oh hush, don't go downtown, Bush is scary

(other misheard lyrics have been submitted at Am I Right)

Trivia: Everything there is to know about the spork

Just in case you want to know, the spork is descended from the "runcible spoon" mentioned in Edward Lear's poem "The Owl and the Pussycat."

Trivia: Ready to beam you up, Scotty

Actor James Doohan has died (peacefully) at 85. Alongside William Shatner as Capt. James T. Kirk, he played Montgomery (Scotty) Scott, chief engineer of the U.S.S. Enterprise in that great western-in-space, Star Trek. (I suspect he also inspired the trend in Scots-accented characters such as Shrek and Fat Bastard, played by Mike Myers, and broguish characters in nearly every comedy and animated show that airs today.) His trademark line (usually in response to the captain's request for high warp speed or a cold restart of the warp engines after taking enemy fire) was "I canna do it, Cap'n! I've got to have tharty minutes!" Of course, Capt. Kirk's trademark line was "Beam me up, Scotty."

Trekkies everywhere will weep for the much-beloved Scotty, who reprised in a surprise role for one Star Trek: Next Generation episode where the crew found he had jury-rigged and stored himself in a transporter pattern buffer until he could be rematerialized and rescued (which turned out to be 75 years later). Without stretching the metaphor, we believe that Scotty has now beamed up to a better place, to a paradise beyond the imaginings of terrestrial science fiction (even with ILM special effects). Heaven was ready to beam you up, Scotty. May the chief engineer of all engineers give you the grand tour.

Words: execrable [MW]

(I like to use this one. It toys with excrement but is basically a fancy way to say damnable.)

Main Entry:    ex·e·cra·ble
Function:    adjective
1 : deserving to be execrated : DETESTABLE <execrable crimes>
2 : very bad : WRETCHED <execrable hotel food>

Main Entry:    ex·e·crate
Function:    transitive verb
Inflected Form(s):    -crat·ed; -crat·ing
Etymology:    Latin exsecratus, past participle of exsecrari to put under a curse, from ex + sacr-, sacer sacred
1 : to declare to be evil or detestable : DENOUNCE
: to detest utterly
- ex·e·cra·tive  /
-krA-tiv/ adjective

(It also adds new meaning to the term chief execrative officer -- Ken Lay, for example.)

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Humor: Designers who swear

Whether the four-o'clock deadline is ten minutes away or they've sliced open their index finger with an Xacto blade, pre-digital designers knew how to swear with the mildest of them:

"Oh, crop!"
"Oh, sheet!"
"Sweet mother of a straight-edge to hell!"

Now with computers, it just isn't the same:

"Good gauss!"
"I just can't take any moire!"
"Oh, render me with null Goraud shading!"

Technology: Windows on Treo 700 is fake

(via Gizmodo)

The rumors and photos of Windows supposedly running on a Palm Treo 700 are not true, according to latest wisdom. What gave it away? More than the iffy logo, the counterfeiter used Photoshop to erase a Treo 650's antenna but not its shadow!

Design: Toyota Sera

(via Gizmodo)

From Japanoid (not available in the U.S.), the Toyota Sera with gull-wing doors.

History: Apollo 11 Lands on the Moon

I'll never forget watching mankind's greatest peacetime technological achievement 36 years ago. Take time to commemorate the moon landing on July 20, 1969 and to thank our lucky stars for Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins' heroic voyage.

Buzz Aldrin on moon

Weblogs: Basilica

(via Heather Voss)

"A student [of mine] picked up a book from his home city library sale. Due to my vocation [as a theology professor], he thought that a mystery about the Catholic Church might be the way to go. Basilica was tough to get into, but there was a point about 25 pages in that turns it into a good read. It was pretty entertaining. Definitely not the best written book I’ve ever read, but entertaining. Montalbano’s writing style is a little choppy and every once in a while I lost him.

Bottom line: Montalbano traveled with JP II so he has some insider info. His imagination is good and he travel[s] through some pretty complex plots. Not a 'run out and buy it now' but if it’s on a shelf somewhere or handed it to you, definitely something light to read."

Neologisms: sodium bifurcate

For years, I have used the fake chemistry name sodium bifurcate (when reading product ingredient labels out loud and the like).

Email: The ides of war [SD]

Moms will worry. You have to trust that you have raised him well, and that he takes in all the love and advice you have for him between now and then... and then the rest is up to God. My brother Dave went to Kuwait in the first Gulf War (Army Reserves) and came back just fine (as I believed he would). I don't think Little George has the same sense that Daddy George did about what war involves though.

"Rambling" is not a problem. Say what you want... No preconditions from this side of the fence...

Monday, July 18, 2005

Weblogs: Kitten with a Pearl Earring

(via Candace of Chapterhouse)

Kitten with a Pearl Earring

Humor: Just the facts

He: " the client is thinking all kinds of nasty thoughts about us."
Me: "...and they don't even know the facts!"

Humor: Hoisting capacity

I am editing a page that categorizes hoisting capacities as "low-speed clutch" and "high-speed clutch" but omits the strongest and fastest class of hoisting capacity, which is "by his own petard."

Internet: Singing with the Lutherans

(via The Pietist)

Singing with the Lutherans
by Garrison Keillor
I have made fun of Lutherans for years -- who wouldn't, if you lived in Minnesota? But I have also sung with Lutherans and that is one of the main joys of life, along with hot baths and fresh sweet corn.
We make fun of Lutherans for their blandness, their excessive calm, their fear of giving offense, their lack of speed and also for their secret fondness for macaroni and cheese. But nobody sings like them. If you ask an audience in New York City, a relatively Lutheranless place, to sing along on the chorus of Michael Row the Boat Ashore, they will look daggers at you as if you had asked them to strip to their underwear. But if you do this among Lutherans they'll smile and row that boat ashore and up on the beach! And down the road! Lutherans are bred from childhood to sing in four-part harmony.

Proverbs: When a relationship ends, what hurts most is not letting go

Musings: People want what they want

The reasons people give for their intentions and decisions are often misleading, because they carry only a casual connection in logic or common sense. All things being equal (or, at worst, completely stripped down), the best explanation for a person's choices and actions is usually naked inclination. We can make water run upstream with dams, locks and dredged channels (all good things); but when these fail, or are absent, water will always run downhill (a good thing to keep in mind at all times).

With more time I could give more examples, but the closest one in mind is when a couple discussing their division of labor agrees that the man will do certain "manly" tasks (such as mow the lawn). They may believe in traditional gender-based roles or simple practicality; the woman may even be better than the man at a given task. (Perhaps, like BC, she grew up on a farm where her father taught her to fix anything mechanical, and enjoys it.) No matter what the rationale, however, if the man wants to perform a certain task and the woman prefers to avoid it, the argument "Well, I'm the man of the house" works immediately; no contest.

Dialogues: Imaginary means imaginary

Q. "Who is that person you mentioned in Dialogues? And why such personal questions?"
A. "Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, but in my book, an imaginary conversation always means just that. Dialogues are partly based on the sum of my life's experience with many persons, but they are conversations that never happened with any one specific person. Dialogues are "deep calling to deep" within me; they are the questions and answers that I seek, and imagine that others seek as well. They might come to me in a dream if I were asleep, yet they come to me intuitively and often unbidden while awake."

Humor: Word nerd "jokes"

My sense of humor is sometimes too academic for most (99.9%) people. Try this one-liner I just came up with:

I'm doing so much mending, I feel like a mendicant.

(Translation: I'm so under the weather, I feel like a homeless person.)

For the karma meter maids, I've had Phil Collins' song about compassion toward the homeless on my mind since yesterday afternoon:

"Oh, think twice, it's just another day for you and me in paradise..."

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Dialogues: Why I do the things I do

I learn languages quickly because I have a gift for them in addition to an active inner dialogue. (Sometimes I think I could stage a whole play in there.)

Since I've had a lot of experience with people who are overly critical or who are just pushing their agenda without considering mine, I've decided to add a new category to my weblog called Dialogues. A combination between the Socratic Dialogues and Conversations with God, Dialogues presents imaginary conversations with a person who doesn't yet understand my modus operandi, especially regarding personal boundaries. Here is the first of my Dialogues, with Q. denoting the interrogator and A. denoting the respondent:

Q. "Who writes this Boobs thing that you mention on your weblog?"
A. "You mean a weblog called Boobs, Injuries and Dr Pepper?"
Q. "Yes. Who is she? Where is she? Do you write to her? Do you know her? Do you date her? Have you slept with her?"
A. "I have no idea what her name is; she doesn't give it on her weblog. (Few do.) I don't know her or anything about her besides what you can read in her weblog. She's just funny -- earthy and funny, esp. her riff on insurance customer calls. Honestly, I don't know her, nor do I think about it." [Silence on remaining questions]
Q. "Well, boobs isn't a good word to have on your weblog. It's not particularly Christian, is it?"
A. "It's a better and milder word than perhaps every alternative, unless hers or mine were a medical weblog."
Q. "She uses four-letter words."
A. "...and...? Boob is a four-letter word."
Q. "You know what I mean. Bad words."
A. "Words are sounds with connotations of meaning. They are only bad if we make them that way."
Q. "Well, I don't like it."
A. "Point well taken; your opinion counts. However, I didn't link to her weblog specifically to please you; I did it to please me -- and anyone else who shares my sense of humor and whimsy."

Websites: Straight Talk about Graduate School

Straight Talk about Graduate School - Dorothea Salo: "For those considering graduate school, I intend this to be helpful advice and a series of necessary warnings. For those in graduate school who hate it, I want to offer support, validation, and strength, as well as a few hints for getting out of their difficulties. For those who have left graduate school, I hope I convey understanding and camaraderie. For those who teach in, advise in, or run graduate departments, I intend this as a reprimand and a challenge to do better."

(Dorothea and David Salo are the academics' academics and I am pleased to link to their website and weblog. Dorothea's essay is articulate and accurate at great length, and I recommend it to anyone who is, was or would be a participant in the academic life.)

Weblogs: Kudzu rocks! (Does not! Does so!)

The Comics Curmudgeon - Kudzu: "In today's American religious climate -- where most people don't go to church, and the fastest growing churches are large 'nondenominational' generic Protestant churches -- where else but in Kudzu can you find jokes about the different religious sensibilities of Baptists and Episcopalians? Where else can you pick on the quirks of the Methodists? The church league baseball/basketball/bowling/whatever installments are even better. I keeping waiting for a 'one hand clapping' joke about the crowd whenever Preacher Dunn's team plays the Zen Buddhists, though it never comes."

(Joshua Fruhlinger is a fine curmudgeon and I love his weblog, because I’ve read the comics daily since I was six and I wrote a master’s thesis on Doonesbury. That said, I beg to differ: Kudzu rocks, in my opinion and those of my closest friends -- though subtly, like James Thurber rocks. I have to say many people go to church -- esp. in the South where I am now a transplant -- and many of those are Baptists and Episcopalians. Kudzu satirically pegs the ins and outs of ecclesiastical life just as Dilbert does of corporate life. By the way, I miss a wonderful strip called Wildwood, set in the woods and populated by animals, including a pastor bear and his assistant pastor fox. Oh, and the one-hand-clapping Kudzu strip finally appeared last week.)