Saturday, June 30, 2007

questioning talk

A new poll is out, showing Americans' dissatisfaction with the Iraq War. 77% say the war is going badly, and 40% want the troops to leave Iraq. Unless things turn around dramatically in Iraq in the coming weeks - unlikey - there's no reason to think these numbers won't escalate.

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

cookwear

Elaine Louie of the New York Times picks up on a trend that I had noticed occurring for the past year on the Food Network: low-cut shirts that show off a woman's, ahem, curves. Louie blames Nigella Lawson for starting this trend in 2000 when she was filming for her Style channel show Nigella Bites, but only recently have the other women of cooking shows adopted this style of clothing.

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'.

it's all in the name

For obvious reasons...

I like this ice cream.

avast, me hearties

I had the rare opportunity to see a film in an actual theater last night because (1) the kids were asleep and (2) the Wife gave me permission.
What did I see?

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Spiderman vs. the Batman

topsy turvy

Does it ever feel like your house is turning upside down?

if you're longing for cooler weather...

Simply look in your garden. You just might find a snowball.

he's no Scalito

Many conservatives in Congress are divided over certain issues, most notably immigration reform. It seems that the conservatives in the Highest Court in the Land are divided as well.

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.”

I'm still Karl Barth

Even after a year.

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.

Karl Barth

93%

Martin Luther

87%

Anselm

87%

John Calvin

67%

Jonathan Edwards

53%

Jürgen Moltmann

53%

Friedrich Schleiermacher

40%

Augustine

33%

Charles Finney

33%

Paul Tillich

27%

Which theologian are you?
created with QuizFarm.com

Desiring God book sale

If you haven't done so yet, stop by the Desiring God bookstore to take advantage of their $5 sale on all books. Today is the final day of the two-day sale. If you have trouble accessing the site, try again later - but don't wait too late!

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.

"Hi, I'm a Marvel." "And I'm a DC."

Leaning Tower of Pisa

The Leaning Tower doesn't lean so much anymore. It now leans like it did in 1838.
"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

the shtick of "Sicko"

Reason has a review of Michael Moore's Sicko:
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

Brownie is rated...

Online Dating
The rating was determined based on the presence of these words:
suicide (4x)
hurt (1x)

suicide among male veterans

Here's the conclusion of a study about the risk of suicide among male veterans:
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.

blast from the past 2

Back in 1989 during the spring of my senior year of high school, the drama department put on several performances of the musical Annie. I played the part of Drake, butler to "Daddy" Oliver Warbucks. Here I am during one of several musical numbers. Is this how I will look 25 years from now? Only time will tell, but hopefully it will be without the lipstick and rouge.

blast from the past

I'm quite certain several members of my family will enjoy this picture, taken in my house on February 12, 1989. The tallest guy is me. A trip to Disney World the previous December explains the Mickey Mouse sweatshirt - which I no longer have, BTW. The two girls were part of my church's youth group. Who is the short guy? One particular niece should be able to tell immediately.


spotlight on love

Enough talk of Paris - for now. If she truly wants to show herself in a new light, she needs to pay attention to things like this:


The dude in the video is my nephew in Panama City, Florida.

I suddenly feel so much better

She's free. Perhaps now the media will only give attention to her when she does something meaningful, and I don't think showing up at some party counts. I have my doubts, but one can hope...

the "Star" on mental health issues

The Indianapolis Star had some articles on mental health issues in this past Sunday's edition. If you live in Indianapolis (or maybe even if you don't) and you are concerned about the current state of mental health treatment (or maybe even if you aren't), you should read them.

Movies

Last week I mentioned that CBS was showing the updated list of 100 best movies as chosen by the American Film Institute. In honor of that listing, I want to bring attention to these links celebrating the art of film-making.

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.

Barack Obama's testimony

Dan Pulliam examines how the media has ignored Senator Obama's confession of faith. It would be interested to hear the testimony of the faith of the other candidates, and how they arrived at it.

5-Minute Counseling Technique

It's funny on TV, but so hard to practice the advice this therapist gives in real life. And, no, this isn't what happens when I meet with people.


(TY, Ray Fowler)

Monday, June 25, 2007

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Tower of Power


Last Friday, June 15, The Wife and I took the Sweet One to Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom in Louisville, Kentucky. The first ride we rode was one near the entrance of the park: the Tower of Power. To call it a thrilling ride is an understatement: you're taken up 177 feet into the air, then you drop suddenly at 54 mph and slow down just before your feet touch the ground. The Sweet One's face was absolute terror when the drop came. We knew it would be quite a ride when we entered it and after riding it, we knew we wouldn't make a return visit.

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.

It's not the years, honey - it's the mileage.

He's older, yes, but the hat still fits.

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

On the Road, 2

As I've said before, I'm reading through Jack Kerouac's classic work On the Road. I'm not really wishing to do a formal review of the book. I just want to give some impressions as I go along.

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.

it's a sunshine day


vote one, get one free

I read this article on the Clintons with interest, mostly because it's a story of one reporter, Carl Bernstein, relating his thoughts to another reporter, Alex Spillius, in the New York Sun.


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.

my sister, the photographer

My sister Joy has taken a stunning photo of the beach at sunset in Panama City Beach, Florida. She asked me to pass it along for you to see, and because she's my sister (and she lets me stay at her house in PCB), I've obliged.

Rate my photo, Click here

I didn't know until this day that it was Rosebud all along.

The American Film Institute has released a ten-year anniversary update to their list of 100 Years... 100 Films. Citizen Kane remains at #1, but there are many new films on the list, including The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring at #50.

The top ten:
01. Citizen Kane
02. The Godfather
03. Casablanca
04. Raging Bull
05. Singin' in the Rain
06. Gone With the Wind
07. Lawrence of Arabia
08. Schindler's List
09. Vertigo
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.

if you're a "Lost" fan, you'll love this

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

What would Jesus damn?

Read this. And don't forget to have your brain with you when you do.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

i want money, lotsa and lotsa money...

See? A president can be like an ordinary American when it comes to birthday presents - money is the best gift.

because he's not getting enough press...

Here he is: Britain's new favorite sensation.

tunnel vision


tunnel vision (?)
Originally uploaded by Good Brownie
Is it a way through?

Monday, June 18, 2007

hey, Jack Kerouac

I've just started reading a book widely regarded as an American classic, Jack Kerouac's On the Road. I've had it for over five years now, but like more than a few books on my shelves, I've never sat down to read it. Until now, that is. I'm putting off buying the latest Oprah's Book Club selection to give some time to this book. We'll see how it goes, and I'll certainly talk about it from time to time.

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?

"And despite living within an hour of Indy for most of my life, I've never been inside the Indianapolis Motor Speedway."

Jason talks racing... and Indy pride.

what will Bush's lasting legacy be?

Many people will be tempted to say "Iraq," but I'm willing to suggest that it will be this. It's important to remember that Bush has another year in power. It's improbable that another justice will step down during his remaining time in office, but not impossible.

Notice in the picture of the Supremes that Roberts doesn't wear anything to show distinction from the other justices, as Rehnquist did.

Strawberry festival memories

You remember that a few days ago I mentioned attending this event? Well, here's the proof I was there.
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

leave your faith at college orientation

Do undergrad students abandon their faith when they further their education? A new study suggests, perhaps not.
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.)

Schroeder's Drive-in


As you can see, they serve hamburgers. Dern good ones, too.

Spurs in 4

NBA Rookie of the Year LeBron James and his Cavaliers proved they were worthy of making it to the NBA Finals. However, they were no match for the San Antonio Spurs, who swept them in four games. The Spurs have won their fourth title in nine years. Can anybody say dynasty?

Bush at 29%, Congress at 23%

Our disapproval knows no bounds. We don't like the Republicans. We don't like the Democrats.

Bring back the Whigs!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Strawberry festival

For you Indianapolis readers out there (and there's a few - I know you exist), don't forget about the Strawberry Festival down at the Circle tomorrow. It goes from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM. I'll be there.

Discerning Reader

Tim Challlies has relaunched his website called Discerning Reader, which features book reviews of many Christian books that are in the market. If you're thinking about getting a specific book, you should certainly stop by to see if he's done a review.

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

Childhood is calling

My youngest daughter indulges in one of her favorite activities when she visits Grammy's house.

swing
Originally uploaded by Good Brownie

Ten tidbits

1. In honor of the upcoming Father's Day, the NY Times has a great article on sperm (yes, really!):
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

who to like

ExploreHuckabee.com - I Like Mike!
It's nice, isn't it? Very reminiscent of something...

help me, I'm in jail!

Fox News is reporting that Al Sharpton is meeting with Sheriff Lee Baca, the man responsible for letting Paris Hilton out of jail early. People, this has officially become a circus.

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?

it breaks the heart

This is what happens when you are a person who (1) combs the Internet in search of things with which to disagree, (2) believes you've found something the world (or at least, the people who visit your site) must know about, (3) refuses to act like a journalist by directly contacting the involved people, (4) breezily makes thousands of assumptions, and (5) forgets what happens when people assume.

"I am cut"

Cindy Swanson's talking about something that many teen girls - and even adults - are doing today: releasing emotional tension by physically mutilating themselves, or in other words, cutting. She has some links as well.

Blogging the Bible

David Plotz has finished blogging his way through the Old Testament.

a great review

Pastor Mark Roberts is reviewing Christopher Hitchens' God is Not Great, which is currently #3 on the New York Times best seller list.

the end of "The Sopranos"

I admit that I've never been a fan, and it's not just because we don't subscribe to HBO at my house. A show about a mobster with psychological issues just doesn't appeal to me, although on the surface it seems the show would given my chosen field of work. However, two bloggers I greatly respect were - are - fans of the show, and so I must give it some consideration, or at least a post in reference.

Poor Joe:
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

MTV again goes for the low road

I'm a child of the 80's, so I grew up with MTV. It wasn't in my house because my parents didn't get cable until after I graduated from college. I had plenty of friends, however, whose parents' home did have cable, so I was able to get my fill of videos. Yes, MTV - which stands for Music Television - was once known for the videos it played. My most subversive viewing occurred when I would spend Saturday night at a friend's home. At midnight, we would watch "Headbanger's Ball," which featured videos mainly by heavy metal artists.

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.

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!"
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.

(Thanks, Realty Blurred)

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Mo' Better Blogging

Justin Taylor, one of my favorite bloggers (I know - I have so many!), gives some helpful tips and links on how to be a better blogger.

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

"What I want to know is, Anderson gets more time with his panel than we get with ours... so, why?"


Poor Larry. There just aren't enough hours in the day, are there?

100 words every high school grad should know

Do you know them?

(Thanks, ALOTT5MO)

Emergence 2007

I certainly don't attend an emerging church, but I recognize that the "movement" - or whatever it is - is something that cannot be ignored. That being the case, I wish I could attend this event, if only to hear Mark Driscoll.
Visit Emergence 2007 online

Michael Moore's favorite books

I missed seeing Mr. Moore on Oprah today, where he was scheduled to talk about his new documentary Sicko (one of the few summer movies I really want to see). If anyone saw Oprah's interview with him, can you let me know how it went?

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.

Oprah's site lists more favorite books of well-known people, including New York's junior senator Hillary Clinton, actor Liev Schreiber, and TV cook/author Nigella Lawson.

come on, feel the noise

Barack Obama, while speaking at Hampton University, said the current presidential administration has done nothing to address a "quiet riot" among many African Americans.
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.)

like the corners of my mind...

Barbra sang about memories and how "what's too painful to remember we simply choose to forget." It seems that she wasn't too far off from how our memory works. Sometimes forgetting something can be a useful thing.

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

What the World Eats

Here are a few photos from what appears to be an excellent book: Hungry Planet by Faith D'Aluisio and photographer Peter Menzel. The first photo is of a Japanese family that eats sashimi, fruit, cake, and potato chips as a typical meal. Their weekly food bill from the grocery store? The equivilant of $317 American dollars.

This is the Aboubakar family of the African country Chad. They usually eat soup with fresh sheep meat, which cost $1.23 per week.

Is he being too sensitive?

No, my blogging friend, you are not.

Monday, June 4, 2007

unusual scholarships

There are a lot of scholarships for people thinking of obtaining a college degree. While most are pretty standard and depend upon high school grades, there are some unusual ones out there. How about a scholarship for a prom dress made out of duct tape? It's yours! Check it out.

I wish I had known about #5. I would have scored some extra college funds...

church signs

Doree Shafrir at Slate has a nice little bit on the history and evolution of church signs.

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

time at work

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

Nessie found!

Nessie, is that you? This footage from Scotland, taken earlier this week, is great, but the accents are even better than whatever it is that's making the wake in the water.

From phillyburbs.com:
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.

Can I leave my church?

If you haven't started reading Frank Turk's site, you really should. Frank's love for Jesus and His church is abundantly evident, and his writings show that he thinks a lot about the state of the church today.

One of his recent series tackles the question, Can I leave my church?

Is "Christianity Today" shilling for "Evan Almighty"?

It certainly seems that way to The Parish:
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.

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.
Somewhat related: doctored magazine covers