Thursday, June 29, 2006

File Under:
How Many Doctors Does it Take to Remove a Lightbulb?

I guess I should issue a warning for this story.

It involves a proctological nightmare. And also a prety good reason to stay out of prison.

From Rueters:

"Mohammad, who is serving a four-year sentence for making liquor, prohibited for Muslims, said he was shocked when he was first told the cause of his discomfort. He swears he didn't know the bulb was there."

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Kingdom Coming or Kingdom Divided?

A few weeks ago, I heard an interview on Fresh Air with Salon's Michelle Goldberg, author of Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism. The book's website describes the work like this:
In Kingdom Coming, Goldberg demonstrates how an increasingly bellicose fundamentalism is gaining traction throughout our national life, taking us on a tour of the parallel right-wing evangelical culture that is buoyed by Republican political patronage. Deep within the red zones of a divided America, we meet military veterans pledging to seize the nation in Christ's name, perfidious congressmen courting the confidence of neo-confederates and proponents of theocracy, and leaders of federally funded programs offering Jesus as the solution to the country'’s social problems.

With her trenchant interviews and the telling testimonies of the people behind this movement, Goldberg gains access into the hearts and minds of citizens who are striving to remake the secular Republic bequeathed by our founders into a Christian nation run according to their interpretation of scripture. In her examination of the ever-widening divide between believers and nonbelievers, Goldberg illustrates the subversive effect of this conservative stranglehold nationwide. In an age when faith rather than reason is heralded and the values of the Enlightenment are threatened by a mystical nationalism claiming divine sanction, Kingdom Coming brings us face to face with the irrational forces that are remaking much of America.

The interview with this soft-spoken, well-reasoned author disturbed me. One, because it was an uncomfortable view of a population I belong to at some level; that is, I am a Christian whose politics are informed by his faith. But there was something else that I couldn't quite put my finger on. I wondered if Goldberg wasn't missing something. You see, I do believe Jesus offers us solutions to social problems. That's because I believe Jesus offers us what each one of us desperately needs at our cores: reconciliationon with the Creator.

However, I also believe that faith and reason are not mutually exclusive, and that my Christian worldview is not part of an irrational force intent on remaking America. Is there no room in Goldberg's America for faith and reason? For Christianity and the Enlightenment? For belief and tolerance?

Today, I found this article on Slate. It gives me hope. It also reminds me of why I prefer Slate to Salon.

Friday, June 23, 2006

File Under:
Clemency, Feline

A Bridgeport, Connecticut judge has ordered a cat to permanent house arrest. A cat. For being dangerous. Because he has claws, is sneaky, and doesn't take well to the Avon lady, apparently. Clearly, Connecticut isn't South Jersey.

Lewis - dangerous, but safe.

File Under:
Occupational Hazards

When I was about 12 years old, I had a paper route for about five months. I was always afraid of the big, loud, dogs. But the threat of being attacked by a suburban alligator never even occurred to me.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Turning the big one-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh

My friend Carson! informs me that my one billionth second will be coming up on July 12th. More precisely, I believe it will be sometime between 7:09:40 a.m. and 7:10:39 a.m. I know, I know -- I don't look a second over 986,745,992.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

File Under:
O Art, Where Art Thou?

If I were the artist in this story I think I'd be pissed. This is kind of like having your cover page submitted as your entire entry in an essay contest.
"It is accepted that works may not be displayed in the way that the artist might have intended."

As a not-altogether-unrelated note (proudly displaying things that aren't there), I have a perfect record of no comments on any post on this non-archived view of my blog.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

File Under:
Not Without MySpace

It's not that I hate It's that I despise This doesn't help change my opinion.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The right wrong number?

My wife told me about a funny thing that happened to her last Friday.

As background, you should know that there is all kinds of yucky road construction happening on US 23 near I-94, and then construction projects that have been going on for a while on I-94 near US 23. Naturally, if you can avoid those areas, you do.

My wife had just been online looking up the best way to avoid the construction, as we had a meeting to attend in that direction in the evening. (It was on our way to this meeting that she told me this story.)

Not long after she had consulted Mapquest, she received a call on her cell phone from some guy who said, "I don't know if this is the right number. Can you tell me if the construction on 23 South goes past I-94?"

Now, I don't know why this is, but had I received the phone call, I would have first told the caller that I was not who he was trying to reach, but I would be happy to do my good Samaritan bit and tell him what I knew. My wife, on the other hand, was happy just to tell him what she knew about the construction. He then asked her about an alternate route on Carpenter Road, and she was able to give him advice. He hung up, figuring that he had just spoken with the helpful woman at the Department of Transportation or some such place. I think that's so cool.

Me, who hesitates...

Every springtime when all the flora is in riot, I think about taking pictures. Of course, I usually think about this as I see something striking as I'm driving by -- say, a splash of purple flowers against the stoic grey side of an abandoned storage shed a few blocks from my house.

I thought about this Friday night, as I passed by said contrast of vivid living color and monochrome on Maple Road, and I told myself once again that springtime in Ann Arbor is fleeting, and I'd better hurry up and get around to taking that picture if I'm ever going to do it, because less hardy petals are already falling from plants in my front yard. I promptly forgot about it.

However, the next morning I was reminded about it again as I drove on a wet road past orange cones, a fire truck, and an empty spot on the side of the road where an old storage shed and a sprouting, defiant plant with purple flowers used to be. Apparently, the AAFD had a training session that morning.

Monday, June 05, 2006

File Under:
Your Belly's Unbloused.

A roadblock has been set for young women trying to seduce alter altar boys. (Actually, I really think this is great. The whole midriff baring, low-cut jeans thing is a big pet peeve of mine.)

p.s. This is my hundredth post! Do I win something?

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Almost too painful to look at...

A hand-written sign at my favourite ice cream and donuts place in Ann Arbor.

Impressive, no?