Wednesday, February 28, 2007
More from Sister Toldjah, Outside the Beltway, A Blog for All
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Speaking of the sexuality section: why is it frequently located near the children's books? Several bookstores around Indianapolis are set up this way.
(HT: Mark Byron)
James Cameron was on Larry King's show last night, talking about his film. The transcript is here. Also on the program to discuss the film was Al Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
I'm mostly providing these links for myself so that I can follow-up on them when I have the time, but they are here for your benefit as well.
Calling the global warming threat a "moral issue," Gore said, "We have everything we need to get started, with the possible exception of the will to act. That's a renewable resource. Let's renew it."
What he should have said, specifically to the Hollywood crowd, was this:
My fellow wealthy Americans:
It is truly incredible to think of the amount of money represented in this hallowed room tonight. Why, George Lucas' bank account alone could fund the energy bills of entire countries for years to come, to say nothing of the piles of dough belonging to his pal Spielberg. So, just imagine the collective wealth of everyone here. It's really quite stunning.
It's also stunning to think about the amount of living space many people in this room occupy, especially those of you who are seated down front. Why, I was just reading in a recent copy of Architectural Digest about someone's house - no, I won't name who it is, even though I see the person here tonight - having 10,000+ square feet. And this person is the only one who lives there! And (s)he has an apartment in New York, too!! Can you just imagine the energy consumption?
What if we all committed to living in smaller houses, which would take much less energy to power and to heat? What if we had no more than, say, 3,000 square feet of living space? What that be enough for you? Now I know that this would mean that some of you would have to sell off some stuff - but, hey! You could give the money to environmental causes, to show that you're genuinely committed to my film!
And I know that some of you would have to live in "normal" neighborhoods with "ordinary" people living next to you. And some of you are concerned that the paparazzi would have easier access to you. I admit that's a concern for my friend Leo here, but some of you? Seriously, who cares about a picture of Alan Arkin mowing the grass, or Meryl Streep grabbing the paper in her bathrobe?
If you're truly concerned about the environment, be willing to make big changes yourself. Don't just expect those everyday Americans watching us right now to do it for you. And when you come to next year's Oscars, don't rent out some limo - carpool in a Prius!
Thank you. And good - I mean green - night!
Monday, February 26, 2007
I talked about the Oscars last year, so I suppose I should do so this year, right? As usual, I had to leave the broadcast early so that I could get to work. I couldn't play as close attention once I arrived at work and kept tabs on the broadcast through the Internet, but the show still seemed to go on forever.
How did host Ellen DeGeneres do? The best thing that can be said is that she wasn't controversial, unlike this past host. Last year's host, Jon Stewart, played to the TV viewer more than the audience; this year, DeGeneres did the opposite. She changed clothes several times, but never put on a skirt or dress.
The Departed was honored with four statuettes - including Picture - the most for any film this year. Martin Scorsese won for Director, and many believe his award was long overdue.
The Academy voted to give Michael Moore a statuette a few years back, so I guess they felt obligated to give one to Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth. He became the first vice president in history to narrate an Oscar-winning film. I wonder if Gore won by a lot of votes, or if the other nominated films should ask for a recount. Wait a minute, this is California, not Florida...
We had another year of winners getting the prize for playing real-life people. Forest Whitaker won for playing Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland, and Helen Mirren grabbed a golden guy for portraying Queen Elizabeth II in The Queen.
The only Oscar-winning film I've watched is Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. It won for Visual Effects.Here's the complete list of winners.
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Pinkberry’s original store has drawn the ire of its West Hollywood neighbors after nearly a year of parking dramas and lawns dotted with small paper cups bearing little pink swirls.
The company’s squabbles with the competitors that have sprouted around town have been the subject of fierce debate on Los Angeles food blogs and more than a dozen news articles in the local press. The rivals have plans to expand into Las Vegas and Florida. Meanwhile a company in Korea claims that it was the inspiration for Pinkberry.
Undeterred, Pinkberry has marched on with its own expansion, opening nine new stores in Los Angeles County over the last three months, and three in New York.
I worked at a frozen yogurt shop for two summers during my college years, 1990 and 1991. The Summer of 1990 seemed to be the heyday for yogurt, or at least it was in Dayton, Ohio. We often had lines outside the door, but there was never any violence. We did have a frequent customer who liked to wear bright-colored wigs, her favorite being a curly rainbow-colored one.
I promise to be honest with you, dear reader. Will I make it? Let's see...
One of my favorite bloggers, Pastor Mark Daniels, has a post about Lent and Ash Wednesday. If you live in the Cincinnati area and you have no church home, do visit his church - he has directions for you.
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
A couple who won a $2.6 million lottery jackpot and spoke of helping young people fight drug addiction and alcohol abuse are facing a lawsuit alleging they held four months of parties with public sex, fights and signs of drug dealing.
The city lawsuit against Elizabeth and Samuel Howard also detailed allegations of an assault on a neighbor, slashed tires and loud music. Samuel Howard, 54, denied the allegations. "I just feel like I'm a victim in the whole situation," he said Friday.
The police have responded to reports of parties 52 times in four months. The couple and their sons have a criminal history of thievery and drug trafficking.
Monday, February 19, 2007
It's time to remember the spiritual revivals that helped lead to the abolition of slavery in Britain and the United States; the black church's leadership during the American civil rights movement; the deeply Catholic roots of the Solidarity movement in Poland that led the overthrow of communism; the way liberation theology in Latin America helped pave the way for new democracies; how Desmond Tutu and the South African churches served to inspire victory over apartheid; how "People Power" joined with the priests and bishops to bring down down Philippine strongman Ferdinand Marcos; how the Dalai Lama keeps hope alive for millions of Tibetans; and, today, how the growing Evangelical and Pentecostal churches of the global South are mobilizing to addresse the injustices of globalization.
I believe we are seeing the beginning of movements like that again, right here in America, and that we are poised on the edge of what might become a revival that will bring about big changes in the world. Historically, social reform often requires spiritual revival. And that's what church historians always say about real revival — that it changes things in the society, not just in people's inner lives. I believe that what we are seeing now may be the beginning of a new revival — a revival for justice.
The era of the Religious Right is now past, and it's up to all of us to create a new day.
It may be too soon to tell, but we shall see.
Update: The folks at Get Religion have the same opinion I do: nice try, Mr. Wallis, but let's wait and see.
Neonatologists who cared for Amillia say she is the first baby known to survive after a gestation period of fewer than 23 weeks. A database run by the University of Iowa's Department of Pediatrics lists seven babies born at 23 weeks between 1994 and 2003.She has had some physical problems but doctors say her prognosis is "excellent."
Sister Toldjah has photos.
Related: Crisis pregnancy centers have become important enough to be discussed in the latest Time.
McCain also vowed that if elected, he would appoint judges who "strictly interpret the Constitution of the United States and do not legislate from the bench."Isn't this the phrase of choice among most conservatives? How a judge interprets the Constitution is a matter of opinion, of course.
The real question is whether McCain truly means this, or is he just pandering to the Religious Right and other prolifers within the GOP. He hasn't always been staunchly prolife. I'm sure McCain wants to court votes away from Mitt Romney. He also wants to take off his maverick coat in exchange for a more conservative one.
Sunday, February 18, 2007
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
- The Pastor: Not One of Us by Dan Edelen
- The Most Popular Myths in Science (HT: In the Agora)
- Ten Values of the Early Church by Jollyblogger
- Obama's Race Problem by Edward Blum (HT: J.T.)
- Sola Scriptura and the Proliferation of Protestant Denominations by Phil Johnson (Phil will have more on this topic, so visit his site regularly. If you don't already do that, why don't you?)
- Lord of Your Loneliness by Steve Camp
- Do stop behaving as if you are God, Professor Dawkins by Alister McGrath
- A Valentine from Richard 6.0, by RLC
- The Snow by Doug Masson - I hear you, Doug, I hear you.
I hearkened back to Scripture and more specifically to the life of Jesus Christ to think about a couple of Anna Nicole’s in Jesus’ day. I recall a woman of Samaria who had many men in her life (John 4:1-42), a woman of the city who was characteristically known as “a sinner” (Luke 7:36-50), and a woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11). Like the Samaritan woman, Anna Nicole had experienced many men in her life. Like the woman of the city, she prostituted herself for riches. Like the woman caught in adultery, she knew what it was like to be in a courtroom, being judged by others. Jesus was no stranger to the Anna Nicole’s of his day.
For all her gaudy excesses, there is in some of us--or there ought to be--the urge to treat Ms. Smith gently. Hers is a pathetic story, of ersatz celebrity, dead children and the pursuit of money, sex, drugs, weight loss and validation-through-litigation. That this pursuit was so thoroughly unembarrassed is a comment not so much on Ms. Smith's personal aesthetics as it is on human folly, U.S.-style, taken to its logical extreme.
(Photo from WTHR-TV)
To the family in Florida: Yeah, you may be laughing now, but tell me again how fun hurricanes are. We don't get those up here. We don't have excruciatingly hot and sticky summers, either. Also, no fire ants.
- Will Harry Potter live or die?
- GrandPre gives thoughts on "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" (Mary GrandPre has illustrated all the books)
- "How Will Harry Potter Die?"
Monday, February 12, 2007
As she made her first outing to New Hampshire as a presidential candidate last weekend, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton left her husband at home, yet she tried to tap his old political magic at nearly every turn.I'm not saying it's a bad thing and she shouldn't do it. I'm not saying that she thinks America is suffering from some form of memory loss. I'm just saying it's funny that she's hearkening back to the old two-for-one blue-light-special statements she made in 1992.
Mrs. Clinton, Democrat of New York, mentioned Mr. Clinton at least eight times on Saturday — at one point talking about “Bill’s heart surgery” to illuminate her own travails with health care bureaucracy — and a few times on Sunday, most memorably when she said of Republicans, “Bill and I have beaten them before, and we will again.”
For the first time in her bid for the White House, Mrs. Clinton directly laid claim to the legacy and popularity of former President Bill Clinton — and did so in a crucial primary state where her husband showed his resiliency in 1992, when he finished second despite weeks of troubles.
“It helps her because we know Bill Clinton and we love Bill Clinton. We know him and his foibles. We know he loves his Dunkin’ Donuts; we know his love for burgers,” said State Representative Patricia M. McMahon, a longtime ally of both Clintons. “It shows that she’s human, too, and appreciates her husband and likes him as much as we do.”
In his honor, I will direct you to this post by the eponymous Matthew Yglesias (love that first name!) on Lincoln, a certain ridiculous statement by Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol, and a modern-day senator from Illinois.
Speaking of Lincoln, if you haven't picked up a copy of Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer, get to your local bookstore now!
More on Lincoln:
- biography from the White House website
- biography from the Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress
- The Lincoln Institute
- Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.
- Speeches: Farewell Address 1861, First Inaugural Address1861, Gettysburg Address, Second Inaugural Address 1865, Last Public Address
- Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library
I will return to the Canyon someday, taking the trip with my own children just as so many have done with theirs. I will not, however, walk over this if it is there.
There are some things in life that you just don't do.
[Thanks, Pastor Mark, for linking to this post.]
Bourdain's show on Food Network, A Cook's Tour, still has a page on their site, even though it's been off-air for several years now. His current show, No Reservations, can be seen on the Travel channel.
Sunday, February 11, 2007
Carrie Underwood became the first American Idol alum to win Best New Artist; I thought James Blunt had that award wrapped up, but the voters thought otherwise.
Here's the complete list of winners.
I was pleased to see Gnarls Barkley's St. Elsewhere win the award for Urban/Alternative Music (for the ubiquitous Crazy). I bought their CD solely on the basis that it topped Entertainment Weekly's 2006 list of music, and I wasn't disappointed!
I strongly dislike bluegrass music, but it was nice to see fellow believer Ricky Skaggs win for Instrumentals.
Former president Jimmy Carter continues the line of political leaders gaining Grammys - he won Spoken Word Album for Our Endangered Values: America's Moral Crisis. Past winners in this category include Senator Barack Obama, former president Bill Clinton, and Senator Hillary Clinton. I guess this means that if you have been or want to be a president, and you record a spoken word album, the Grammy is yours!
Thursday, February 8, 2007
It would have been handy during my college days.
Moreover, given the increasing diversity of America's population, the dangers of sectarianism have never been greater. Whatever we once were, we are no longer just a Christian nation; we are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers.Update: "I take Christian faith seriously."
And even if we did have only Christians in our midst, if we expelled every non-Christian from the United States of America, whose Christianity would we teach in the schools? Would we go with James Dobson's, or Al Sharpton's? Which passages of Scripture should guide our public policy? Should we go with Leviticus, which suggests slavery is ok and that eating shellfish is abomination? How about Deuteronomy, which suggests stoning your child if he strays from the faith? Or should we just stick to the Sermon on the Mount - a passage that is so radical that it's doubtful that our own Defense Department would survive its application? So before we get carried away, let's read our bibles. Folks haven't been reading their Bibles.
The short answer: His Royal Purpleness was wireless, baby. It's not because he was wearing a raspberry beret.
Wednesday, February 7, 2007
Macon Mayor Jack Ellis has converted to Islam and is working to legally change his name to Hakim Mansour Ellis.So many questions arise from this. Why had he "been studing the Quran for years?" Was he merely curious? Was his Christianity unsatisfying in some way? Why is he Sunni and not Shia? If he didn't change "overnight," how long did it take? Why does he think being a Christian has something to do with it "feel[ing] right?" If it was truly "no big deal," why did he become a Muslim?
The mayor, raised as a Christian, said Thursday that he has been studying the Quran for years. He became a Sunni Muslim during a December ceremony in the country of Senegal, on the western coast of Africa. He said the religion originally was practiced by his West African ancestors before they were brought to America by slave traders.
Ellis said his decision was a personal one, though he understands his elected position breeds public interest in his choice. It was not something he decided overnight to do, he said. He will keep his last name the same at the request of two of his daughters.
"Why does one become a Christian?" the mayor said. "You do it because it feels right. It's the right thing for you to do. ... To me it's no big deal. But people like to know what you believe in. And this is what I believe in."
FYI: Hakim means "wise" in Arabic. Mansur means "victorious" in Arabic. (From Behind the Name)
This article from First Coast News (Jacksonville, Florida) has more information. The mayor, the first black man elected to the office in Macon, will change his name to Hakim Mansour Ellis; he will keep his last name in deference to his family (how nice!).
"It's a personal decision, a private decision as to how one worships. But I do understand that I'm not a private person," Ellis said. "But being the mayor of the city, I think people have a right to know what I believe in, that I am a man of faith, and the faith I'm now a part of is the faith of Islam."Ellis places much more emphasis on having an ancestral religion than anything else. Senegal was supposedly full of Muslims in the days before slavery, and Ellis' family came from Senegal, so he saw the need to affirm Islam. Why does he place so much importance on what his ancestors believed? If they had believed in Santeria or voodoo, would he have joined them then?
He now calls himself a Sunni Muslim. He made the switch, Ellis said, during his December trip to Africa. Rather than call it a switch, Ellis said it was like returning home.
"I went back to my roots I guess you could say," Ellis said. "I did convert to Islam in December of this past year in the country of Senegal. When I say, "back to my roots", Islam was in Senegal prior to the Africans being brought here as slaves."
Even though he switched religions, the mayor said he isn't ranking them.So.... why make the change? If one religion is just as good as another, why didn't he remain a Christian? Perhaps it would shock the mayor that fellow Muslims would disagree with him about the one-isn't-better-than-another thing. There are sites out there that clearly proclaim the belief that Islam is the only true religion.
"I'm not saying that one is better than the other," Ellis said. "We do believe that the prophet Mohammed was the last prophet as well as we believe Moses was a prophet."
Prior to the conversion, Ellis said he attended Unionville Baptist Church on Houston Avenue and before that Harvest Cathedral on Rocky Creek Road.I wonder what his former pastors think of Hakim Mansour Ellis now. Are they disheartened? Pleased? Did he talk to them about his conversion to Islam, or did they learn about it through this article? It is rather perplexing, but not surprising, that this journalist didn't probe deeper into the mayor's newfound faith.
More from Dr. Platypus
Tuesday, February 6, 2007
Have you checked out LaShawn Barber's other site, Fantasy Fiction for Christians? She writes frequently about the Harry Potter phenomenon, as well as other fantasy-oriented books and films like The Chronicles of Narnia. LaShawn's writings prove that she is a fan of the Harry Potter series, but clearly some people, like Laura Mallory, are not.
There is one thing that we can point to that helps to explain the nature of a person.
9 What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin,
10 as it is written: "None is righteous, no, not one;
11 no one understands; no one seeks for God.
12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one."
13 "Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.""The venom of asps is under their lips."
14 "Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness."
15 "Their feet are swift to shed blood;
16 in their paths are ruin and misery,
17 and the way of peace they have not known."
18 "There is no fear of God before their eyes."
Okay, you probably don't feel sad. But how difficult is it to run for the highest office in the land, lose, think about running again two years later, and come to terms with being something of a joke to a party that usually shuns its "losers?"
Monday, February 5, 2007
In Miami, where the Colts just won Super Bowl XLI, it's 68F.
71 degrees difference between where the Colts regularly play, and where they won the championship. Wrong on so many levels. Granted, the Colts play in a dome, so they never feel the frigid-cold weather, but still....
Mental health advocates are hailing last week's court settlement that will keep inmates with serious mental illness out of the maximum-security wings of Indiana prisons. But they and others say the state still needs to do more to meet the needs of mentally ill prisoners.
"The Department of Correction is being burdened with people that don't belong in the Department of Correction," said Edward Cohn, who oversaw the department under Gov. Evan Bayh and Gov. Frank O'Bannon, retiring in 2001. "They belong in a mental health setting. . . . The prisons were never established for that."
The settlement means no more windowless, 7-by-12-foot cells for some inmates who are among the state's most unruly, but whose illnesses make them a danger to themselves. The agreement also includes regular psychiatric evaluations of prisoners who remain behind.
The agreement between the department and the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana ends a suit brought in 2005 by three inmates. They all had mental illnesses and were confined in the Secured Housing Unit of the Wabash Valley Correctional Facility. (IndyStar)
His conclusion? "If the Christian religion is medicine for souls that are poor and needy than Osteen is a bottle of vitamins in an operating room."
Sunday, February 4, 2007
All that talk about Peyton being like Dan Marino - outstanding quarterback who never got a ring? That's so over...
Wasn't Prince great? But, what was with all that phallic symbolism? And what about that rag on his head?
(Picture: Indy Star)
Thursday, February 1, 2007
In 2003, the space shuttle Columbia disintegrates upon reentry into Earth's atmosphere. All seven astronauts on board perish.
In 1978, Roman Polanski flees the U.S. after pleading guilty to having sexual relations with a 13-year-old girl. He has never returned to American soil, because he would be immediately taken into custody if he did so.
"Black History Month" begins today.
Yes, I've seen her on all the cracker boxes. I've even bought a couple. Her presence on the box doesn't make my Triscuits taste better - they tasted fine already.