Saturday, June 30, 2007
I listen to talk radio from time to time - right wing talkers, of course, because that's all we have here in the middle of Indiana. The usual suspects - Laura, Hannity, Savage, Jerry Doyle - have all spoken lately about the will of the people in regards to immigration reform. They say that since so many people are against amnesty, the president and Congress should listen to them and enforce the immigration laws currently in place. If the numbers continue to climb, and more than 50% of the population want our troops out Iraq, will they still talk so freely about the will of the people?
Friday, June 29, 2007
The married Rachael Ray. The married Giada de Laurentiis. The now-single Sandra Lee. The lesbian-with-a-partner Cat Cora. They've all worn this type of clothing. They call the clothing "light-weight, easy to move in." Nigella wears clothes to not "look like Mama Cass." Of course, the Food Network does have its share of ladies who are of a certain age, and certainly don't wear tight-fitting shirts. Paula Deen and Ina Garten come to mind. Wait... okay, they're the only ones that come to mind.
These days, it's not just the steak that's sizzlin'.
Thursday, June 28, 2007
It’s not every day that one Supreme Court justice, even one as rhetorically unrestrained as Justice Antonin Scalia, characterizes another justice, let alone the chief justice of the United States, as a wimp and a hypocrite.
Yet Justice Scalia did something very close to that, not once but twice, in separate opinions on Monday. As a result, he has served to lift the curtain a bit on the differences within the powerful five-justice conservative bloc that has marched in lock step through much of the term, bent on reshaping the law and, in several important areas, well on the way toward doing so.
In the campaign finance case, he accused Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. of “faux judicial modesty” for writing an opinion that in Justice Scalia’s view effectively verturned the court’s 2003 campaign finance decision “without saying so.” The clear implication was that the chief justice lacked the courage or honesty to overturn the precedent openly as Justice Scalia himself would have done.
“This faux judicial restraint is judicial obfuscation,” he said.
And Justice Scalia was scathing in his criticism of an opinion signed by Chief Justice Roberts that limited, but did not completely abolish, the right of taxpayers to go to court to challenge government expenditures that promote religion. Justice Scalia would have gone on to shut the courthouse door completely, not simply limiting but overturning the precedent that the new ruling invoked.
“Minimalism is an admirable judicial trait,” Justice Scalia said, “but not when it comes at the cost of meaningless and disingenuous distinctions.”
|You scored as Karl Barth, The daddy of 20th Century theology. You perceive liberal theology to be a disaster and so you insist that the revelation of Christ, not human experience, should be the starting point for all theology.|
Which theologian are you?
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I've added Sex and the Supremacy of Christ, What Jesus Demands from the World, and God is the Gospel to my library. These books join Desiring God, Taste and See, and Future Grace on the Brownie bookshelf.
"It has straightened a little bit more than we expected, but every little helps," said Prof John Burland, an expert in soil mechanics at Imperial College London, who was the only British member of the 14-strong rescue committee.
He said the tower was still "very slightly moving" towards being upright, but that it had stabilised.
The tower, which has been leaning almost since building work first began in 1173, was closed to the public in 1990 because of safety fears. The 183-foot tower was nearly 15 feet off vertical and its structure was found to have been weakened by centuries of strain.
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
As with much of his previous work, Moore's latest film is, by turns, touching, naïve and maddeningly mendacious, a clumsy piece of agitprop that will likely have little lasting effect on the health care debate.
Ah, well. I still plan to see it.
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Veterans in the general US population, whether or not they are affiliated with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), are at an increased risk of suicide. With a projected rise in the incidence of functional impairment and psychiatric morbidity among veterans of the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, clinical and community interventions that are directed towards patients in both VA and non-VA healthcare facilities are needed.
I guess this is another part of President Bush's legacy.
100 Most Memorable Film Moments
Many of my favorite movies made the list. Casablanca's final scene between Ric and Ilsa, Raiders of the Lost Ark's Indy shoots his sword-wielding nemises, Vader tells Luke who his poppa is in The Empire Strikes Back, The Third Man's revelation of a living Lime... What is #1? I'll leave that for you to discover on your own. My absolute favorite is #9, the moment Taylor discovers where he's actually been the whole time in Planet of the Apes.
20 Great Modern Movie Cameos
David Bowie certainly made that piffle of a movie Zoolander a little more cooler with his contribution. I don't need to explain to you what a cameo is, right? It's when a big name movie star (or some other such person) appears in a movie which no one expects him/her to. There - I just explained it.
1,000 Films to See Before You Die
No, I really don't need to see American Pie.
Monday, June 25, 2007
Sunday, June 24, 2007
We were shocked to learn that less then a week later, a 16-year-old girl's feet were severed while on this ride. Our thoughts and prayers are with her and the family.
The photograph is one I took shortly after we exited the ride.
The site also announces that Bridget Jones's dad is in the cast. Hilarious line in the casting note: "Broadbent joins recently announced cast-members John Hurt, Ray Winstone and Cate Blanchett, as well as Shia LaBeouf and Harrison Ford in the making of the next Indiana Jones adventure." Wait... Harrison Ford is in this movie? No kidding!
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Sal, the narrator of the book, decides to travel cross-country from New York to California so he can meet up with his friend Remi. Remi has promised an outstanding voyage in the Pacific on a freighter. After a false start that leads him nowhere but back to New York, Sal is on his way. He spends the night at an anticipated city - Chicago. I love Chicago, so I'm anxious to read about what Sal does there. Sal describes his first walk around the city:
The wind from Lack Michigan, bop at the Loop, long walks around South Halsted and North Clark, and one long walk after midnight into the jungles, where a cruising car followed me as a suspicious character.I stop reading. "...bop at the Loop." What is Jack talking about? Is "bop" some kind of drug reference? I decide to get up off the couch and head to the computer so I can do research. I find on entry on "bebop" in Wikipedia:
Bebop is a form of jazz characterized by fast tempos and improvisation based on harmonic structure rather than melody. It was developed in the early and mid-1940s. It first surfaced in musicians' argot some time during the first two years of the Second World War. Hard bop later developed from bebop combined with blues and gospel music.Ah, jazz. A musical form of which I'm sadly ignorant. I don't even have a Miles Davis CD.
If Americans elect Senator Clinton as president next year, they will also be re-electing her husband, according to the author of a new biography of the former first lady.
Carl Bernstein, one of the reporters who broke the Watergate scandal which brought down President Nixon, told the Daily Telegraph that the couple would operate a joint presidency in which President Clinton would advise on policy and tactics as well as act as troubleshooter.
"There is no question in my mind it would be a co-presidency because he has better judgment than she does on most political matters. He would be a constant presence," Mr. Bernstein said.
Bernstein isn't saying anything shocking here. We can guess how Hillary's presidency would be because of her infamous comparison of Bill's presidency to a two-for-one special. Bill would have an extremely unique role if Hillary wins the White House: a former president who is the spouse of a sitting president. How could he not be intimately involved?
As a couple, they feel the last years of his presidency were wasted by the Monica Lewinsky affair and his failed impeachment, and that they have unfinished business, particularly on health reform and restoring America's standing in the world.
"As a couple?" Please. What about as a nation? I think most everyone saw Bill's final years as "wasted" because of his scandalous behavior. Again, Bernstein offers nothing shocking or even interesting with this view. What's more interesting is the notion of "unfinished business" - that the Clintons believe that they're the ones who have to fix America, to make it right again. Unfortunately, Spillius doesn't allow Bernstein to further his ideas about that.
The article notes that Bernstein worked on his book for eight years, which means he started researching Hillary when she ran to be New York's senator. The article doesn't say how Bernstein decided to finish his book - why not spend another year on it to see how her run for the highest office plays out? Perhaps Bernstein thought this would be the prime time to sell his book - if Hillary doesn't gain the presidency or even the nomination, the book likely wouldn't sell as well.
Even Carl Bernstein realizes that timing is a very important thing. As one of the reporters who revealed the Watergate scandal, he knows that well.
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The top ten:
01. Citizen Kane
02. The Godfather
04. Raging Bull
05. Singin' in the Rain
06. Gone With the Wind
07. Lawrence of Arabia
08. Schindler's List
10. The Wizard of Oz
I was shocked to discover I've only seen 40 of these films in their entirety. I've seen bits and pieces of many of the films, though. A couple years ago, I started to watch Annie Hall but I just grew bored with it. I've decided to give it another chance, though.
Of the films on this list that I've seen, there's only one that I absolutely hated: Pulp Fiction.
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Monday, June 18, 2007
For now, let me just give a little quote. This is what Sal, the "voice" of the book, says after two of his friends meet, form an instant connection, and take off together down the street.
But then they danced down the street like dingledodies, and I shambled after as I've been doing all my life after people who interest me, because the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes "Awww!"I'm purposely avoiding reviews and websites devoted to On the Road. I don't know if the above quote is one that many people like, but I think it says something about not just the character of Sal, but of the viewpoint of many people. Naturally, I'm most interested in those people who are "mad to be saved." What do they believe they need to be saved from?
Notice in the picture of the Supremes that Roberts doesn't wear anything to show distinction from the other justices, as Rehnquist did.
Oh, yes. The Works - strawberries, shortcake, vanilla ice cream, and whipped cream - was incredibly delicious.
Those Cathedral Women know how to make a mean dessert.
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Whether the source is God and Man at Yale or any number of more recent studies, the conflict between a college education and the faith that students bring to campus (secular campuses at least) is well accepted. The more you pursue a higher education, the more likely you are to abandon your faith — at least that’s what conventional wisdom holds.
“Actually we’ve just been wrong about this for quite a while,” said Mark D. Regnerus, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Texas at Austin and one of the authors of a new study that suggests students who attend and graduate from college are more likely than others to hold on to their faith.
A perceived sense of practicality seems to be holding sway:
Regnerus said that what the study suggests — and his personal experience confirms — is that while there are plenty of non-religious professors around, they aren’t trying to discourage any students from practicing their faith. “Of course there are some who are hostile to religion. But they don’t teach that. They teach their discipline,” Regnerus said. The attitude, he added, is: “Whatever I think about evangelicals, when I go to teach quantum physics, I teach quantum physics.”
More broadly, so many students are in pre-professional programs, Regnerus said, that they are focused on practical matters much more than on wondering whether God exists. As a Christian who earned his undergraduate degree at Trinity Christian College, Regnerus said he spent a lot of time talking about philosophical issues in college, but that’s not the norm for many undergrads these days. (Christian colleges in recent years have experienced a boom, in part from students who don’t want to become secular, or whose parents don’t want them to become secular, and Regnerus said his study doesn’t contradict that belief. Because there is a decline in religious connection during the college years — looking at religious and secular institutions together — those at religious colleges are less likely to experience that decline.)
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
From the site:
120,000 new books are published each year. Ten thousand every month. 1.5 billion books per year are consumed within America alone and yet even this totals only 35% of the books that are sold worldwide. How can anyone hope to navigate the seemingly infinite number of books available?
This is where we come in. Discerning Reader is dedicated to helping you find, read and enjoy good books.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Human sperm are extremely compact, and they’ve been stripped of a normal cell’s protein-making machinery; but when cast into the forbidding environment of the female reproductive tract, they will learn on the job and change their search strategies and swim strokes as needed.
2. Adrian Warnock switched to an Apple Macbook.
3. Just like me, Pastor Mark Daniels just doesn't care for Tony Soprano and his families.
4. Joe Carter, inspiration for this ten tidbits post, is promoting the ONE Vote '08 campaign, an off-shoot of the ONE campaign. Among other things, he believes they have an actual plan and the right priorities are in place.
5. Pastor John Hay plans to ride his bike to work twice a week this summer. I'm glad he can do it, but it's a little more difficult for me. I work the midnight shift, and I occasionally need my car to drive to other hospitals.
6. 50 tips for grocery shopping.
7. If there are Christian churches, why does America have orphans?
8. Michael Spencer sees a dire situation in the Southern Baptist Convention, which is meeting this week:
It is safe to say that at no time in Southern Baptist history has there been less confidence in leadership, and the infighting among leadership shows no sign of abatement. In the era following the so-called conservative resurgence, conservatives are now sub-dividing over theology, style, labels, speaking in tongues, discount landmarkism and, of course, Calvinism.
9. Like Oprah, Cindy Swanson is promoting a book club.
10. Hitchens vs. Hitchens.
Monday, June 11, 2007
Life in prison hasn't been all bad for Paris. She got to talk to Barbra Walters:
"I used to act dumb," she told Walters in the phone conversation. "That act is no longer cute. Now, I would like to make a difference. ... God has given me this new chance."
Hilton told Walters how terrible her initial three days in jail were.
"I was not eating or sleeping," she said. "I was severely depressed and felt as if I was in a cage. ... It was a horrible experience."
You were in a cage, Paris. That's what prison essentially is. We shall all see what you do with your "new chance."
Are you fascinated or repulsed by this story? Either way, what do you think this says about you?
I've dedicated seven years to The Sopranos. I've spent 85 hours watching one of the most morally and emotionally ambiguous serial narratives in modern times. I waited through a painfully long 16-month hiatus to find out how the series--one of the great works of pop culture--would be resolved. And tonight I sat through another 55 torturous minutes of waiting for the ending only to have my dedication and patience rewarded with…a non-ending ending.Wow. I hope I don't feel that way when we get to the final episode of Lost.
Yes, I do get the A&E channel, which shows sanitized reruns of the show. No, I will still not watch it.
Friday, June 8, 2007
Since the 90's, MTV has increasingly turned from playing videos to reality-based shows. They had an excellent beginning in The Real World, which focused on the trials and tribulations of seven people who live together for several. The first few seasons, especially the third one set in San Francisco, showed "real" people who were concerned about such issues as racism, equality, and sexual matters. However, RW has gone downhill since the Las Vegas season, in which three cast members "hooked up" in a hot tub within hours of meeting each other. Since then, each season has shown the same thing: drunkenness, sexual exploits, and arrests.
I recently read an article about how MTV is wanting to produce a reality series set on Martha's Vineyard. This ad spells out what MTV is looking for. (At the time I wrote this post, the top of the website featued a photograph of numerous geriatric persons walking on a track. These people are definitely not part of MTV's demographic.)
The Music Television channel, known to young America as MTV, is looking for young African-Americans to participate in a Vineyard-based reality show called "The Bluffs." The aptly titled show would document the lives of black youth while they swim, party, and work their way through a summer in Oak Bluffs. Locals say it could shine a positive light on the Island town, or bring even more publicity to the already overcrowded summer resort.Notice that it's looking for the same group of people routinely featured on RW, ones who would feel completely at ease drinking at a frat party. The twist is that they are wanting African Americans for the show, not just the usual drunken white people. The article also describes the type of people who vacation on Martha's Vineyard: "Oak Bluffs has traditionally been a summer vacation resort for wealthy, successful African Americans, among them politicians, artists, entertainers, and writers." I'm sure we'll see plenty of self-styled entertainers, and very few politicians, artists, and writers.
According to the casting call, which is featured on a number of casting web sites and blogs, MTV is looking for young African-Americans planning to spend this summer on Martha's Vineyard.
"MTV News & Docs is casting for a new pilot documentary called 'The Bluffs,' which gives an up-close and personal glimpse of African-American young adult life on Martha's Vineyard," the listing reads. "Maybe this is your first time to summer at the Vineyard with your prep school friends. Maybe you'll be working on the island while hanging with your sorority sisters or frat brothers. Maybe you live there. Maybe you're a summer regular. Whatever the situation or story, we want to hear from you!"
(Thanks, Realty Blurred)
Thursday, June 7, 2007
Some of the big tips:
- Be yourself
- Write less
- Write to be scanned
- Use common keywords
- Link a lot
- Don't tease with titles
- Allow exceptions
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
Poor Larry. There just aren't enough hours in the day, are there?
Anyway, I went to O's site and saw a link to Mr. Moore's favorite books. I thought, This should really be interesting, so I decided to check it out. Here there are, then:
- 1984, by George Orwell: "But the part that isn't discussed much is about the leader who convinced the people that they were in dire threat of being killed by an enemy who was essentially invisible. The leader made a pact with his people that if they gave up freedom and civil liberties, he would protect them. To see Americans so willing to give up their rights to privacy and freedom of expression because of a terrorist threat is a crazy thing to me. " Bush: the cause of all bad things.
- Johnny Got His Gun, by Dalton Trumbo: "Trumbo's novel about a wounded soldier is a very powerful antiwar statement." Of course, it helps when nations other than the U.S. refuse to start wars, but that's not always the case.
- Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, by Dee Brown: "It's not surprising to me that in a country born of racial genocide, the issue of race is still an open wound on the American soul. We haven't dealt with it. And we owe it to ourselves to do that in our lifetime."
- Rules for Radicals, by Saul Alinsky: "The beauty of the book—and I live by this to this day—is that we will never accomplish anything as long as we, those of us who are politically active, separate ourselves from the mass of people. I see the Left doing this constantly."
- The Soft Revolution, by Neil Postman and Charles Weingartner: "The thing I like about this book is the idea of using the tactics of judo to make changes."
- How Children Learn, by John Holt
- Fit From Within, by Victoria Moran: "I think it's important that we take care of ourselves mentally and physically. All the things I want to do, well, they don't mean anything if I'm not here to do them. This life is a gift, and to reject that gift or abuse that gift is not human and not worthy of us. "
Interesting choices, to say the least. I'm surprised that he didn't list this book.
The first-term Illinois senator said that with black people from New Orleans and the Gulf Coast still displaced 20 months after Hurricane Katrina, frustration and resentments are building explosively as they did before the 1992 riots.
"This administration was colorblind in its incompetence," Obama said at a conference of black clergy, "but the poverty and the hopelessness was there long before the hurricane.
"All the hurricane did was to pull the curtain back for all the world to see," he said.
Obama's criticism of Bush prompted ovation after ovation from the nearly 8,000 people gathered in Hampton University's Convocation Center, particularly when he denounced the Iraq war and noted that he had opposed it from the outset.
How often do these so-called riots occur, Senator?
"Those 'quiet riots' that take place every day are born from the same place as the fires and the destruction and the police decked out in riot gear and the deaths," Obama said. "They happen when a sense of disconnect settles in and hope dissipates. Despair takes hold and young people all across this country look at the way the world is and believe that things are never going to get any better."
And this is all because Bush has been in charge since January 2001? I really don't think so. Naturally, Obama has to have somebody to blame, and I suppose Bush is the easiest target for the Dems.
(An addition: If you haven't figured it out, the post title is a reference to Quiet Riot's biggest hit. Sorry about the bowdlerization of the song title, but this being the type of blog that it is, I'm not going to go there.)
Whether drawing a mental blank on a new A.T.M. password, a favorite recipe or an old boyfriend, people have ample opportunity every day to curse their own forgetfulness. But forgetting is also a blessing, and researchers reported on Sunday that the ability to block certain memories reduces the demands on the brain when it is trying to recall something important.
The study, appearing in the journal Nature Neuroscience, is the first to record visual images of people’s brains as they suppress distracting memories. The more efficiently that study participants were tuning out irrelevant words during a word-memorization test, the sharper the drop in activity in areas of their brains involved in recollection. Accurate remembering became easier, in terms of the energy required.
Blocking out a distracting memory is something like ignoring an old (and perhaps distracting) acquaintance, experts say: it makes it that much harder to reconnect the next time around. But recent studies suggest that the brain plays favorites with memories in exactly this way, snubbing some to better capture others. A lightning memory, in short, is not so much a matter of capacity as it is of ruthless pruning — and the new study catches the trace of this process at it happens.
“We’ve argued for some time that forgetting is adaptive, that people actively inhibit some memories to facilitate mental focus,” as when they are trying to recall a friend’s new phone number or the location of a parking space, said Michael Anderson, a professor of cognitive neuroscience at the University of Oregon.
Dr. Anderson, who was not involved in the new research, said it was "important new work because it maps out how this is happening neurobiologically.”
But what about when you get older, and you can't remember where the keys are?
The findings should also reduce some of the anxiety surrounding “senior moments,” researchers say. Some names, numbers and details are hard to retrieve not because memory is faltering, but because it is functioning just as it should.
Ah, good to know. Of course, those senior moments are sometimes an indication of something more insidious at work.
Tuesday, June 5, 2007
This is the Aboubakar family of the African country Chad. They usually eat soup with fresh sheep meat, which cost $1.23 per week.
Monday, June 4, 2007
I wish I had known about #5. I would have scored some extra college funds...
Church signs don't always have a pithy spiritual saying. Sometimes the sentiment is flat-out secular, such is this one put up on the Indianapolis southside just before a particular football game:
Saturday, June 2, 2007
American workers, on average, spend 45 hours a week at work, but describe 16 of those hours as “unproductive,” according to a study by Microsoft. America Online and Salary.com, in turn, determined that workers actually work a total of three days a week, wasting the other two. And Steve Pavlina, whose Web site (stevepavlina.com) describes him as a “personal development expert” and who keeps incremental logs of how he spends each working day, urging others to do the same, finds that we actually work only about 1.5 hours a day. “The average full-time worker doesn’t even start doing real work until 11:00 a.m.,” he writes, “and begins to wind down around 3:30 p.m.” (NY Times)
Well, if you're like many people at work, you spend at least part of your time in nonwork-related activites, like reading, playing games on the internet, or... blogging.
A few companies are taking the concept of “watch what I produce, not how I produce it” even further. At the headquarters of Best Buy in Minneapolis, for instance, the hot policy of the moment is called ROWE, short for Results Only Work Environment.
There workers can come in at four or leave at noon, or head for the movies in the middle of the day, or not even show up at all. It’s the work that matters, not the method. And, not incidentally, both output and job satisfaction have jumped wherever ROWE is tried.
In other words, what looks like wasting time from where you sit, could be a whirl of creative thought from where I sit. And, with due respect to Mr. Gilbreth, all the energy that’s been poured into trying to force everyone to work at the same pace and in the same way — it seems that’s the real waste of time.
Of course, not everyone can do this. It's nigh impossible to slough off at work in a hospital setting, especially if you're a doctor or nurse. My work is entirely client-driven: if there aren't clients to see, I have no work to do. Of course, many people in the Indianapolis area have been in crisis mode lately, so I haven't had too much downtime.
Friday, June 1, 2007
The Scottish media is skeptical of Nessie stories but Holmes' footage is of such good quality that even the normally reticent BBC Scotland aired the video on its main news program Tuesday.
What are cryptids, of which Nessie is one? Go here.
One of his recent series tackles the question, Can I leave my church?
I received the latest issue of Christianity Today this week. I admit to being a bit confused at first. Front and center under the normal CT banner was Steve Carrell dressed as Noah, surrounded by animals and backed by an ark. At first I thought, "Finally, CT is getting serious about popular culture and they're doing a cover on religious films." Then I opened the magazine and saw the real cover inside the advertisement. I finally noticed the word "advertisement" above and to the right of the CT banner on the cover. The entire cover, front and back, was an ad for Evan Almighty mocked up as a CT cover.Somewhat related: doctored magazine covers
It's not unusual for magazines to wrap their product in an ad. Books & Culture does it pretty regularly, and they are CT's sister publication. Usually though, B&C is advertising for subscription renewals or gift subscriptions. The ad is obviously an ad; even the paper stock is different. The CT ad though is a different matter. Am I worried that someone will be fooled into believing this is the real cover? No. Am I quibbling? Possibly. Is this that big a deal? Maybe not. But blurring the line between advertising and content is an ongoing problem with magazines.