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Showing posts from March, 2011

Letterman will need some new jokes tonight!

One less audience member to hiss at him.

On the other hand, less venom in his monologues.

They caught the Bronx Zoo cobra.

HT: Drudge

You're fired, Donald!

The Donald has been making noises about a run for the Republican presidential nomination next year.

He can stop. After this, he falls back into the pack of whack jobs and candidates who can be easily written off as whack jobs whose nomination would only ensure Barack Obama's re-election.

HT: Drudge

ADDENDUM: Yeah. Whack job- although sadly, the part about presidential puckering does have a great deal of truth to it.

Bummer! GMX to ruin Mail.com

It was many years ago that I started collecting Mail.com email addresses. With domains like baptized.com and minister.com and even (through NHL mail) blackhawksfan.com, they were irresistable.

Unfortunately they used the buggy Outblaze software and interface, and there was effectively no spam filtering at all. I was very excited when, a couple of years ago, Mail.com started using AOL Webmail's excellent software, interface, and filtering system. If it had not been for the fact that I've used slow library computers so much since then, I would have used it a great deal more; with the exception of Gmail, AOL Webmail may be the most reliable and best-filtered in the business.

Unfortunately, though, it seems that the German outfit GMX- which already runs a buggy and poorly-filtered webmail service of its own- has acquired Mail.com, and is in the process of re-ruining it. Already the available domains have been cut back, and the process of migrating existing accounts to the gimpy G…

The most important Biblical discovery since the Dead Sea Scrolls?

Archaeologists have discovered a 2,000 year old, wirebound codex which may impact biblical studies more profoundly than any such discovery since that of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

The codex contains a map of ancient Jerusalem, bearing a cross at what is believed to have been the location of Jesus's tomb.

Some of the speculation concerning this book (including the notion that it is, or contains, the "sealed book" referred to in Revelation) seems to be  a bit overheated. But it will be fascinating to see what light, if any, it sheds on the history of the passion of Christ and on early Christian beliefs and practices.

Let's get a few things straight about Libya

1. Limited bombing and cruise missle attacks on selected targets over a period of days does not constitute a war.

2. Those on the Left who criticize President Obama's measured and humanitarian response to Khadaffi Duck's onslaught against his own people need to get a life.

3. Those Republicans who are silly enough to be trying to tie Mr. Obama's hands in this matter are out of their ever lovin' minds.

Mercury Messenger sends back first picture

Here's our first view of the planet closest to the Sun, Mercury, from NASA's new orbiter:


HT: Drudge

15-6-2

Marian Hossa scored an overtime goal last night to give the Hawks a 3-2 road victory over the Red Wings, and solidify their grip on the last playoff spot in the Western Conference of the NHL.

The Hawks have gone 15-6-2 in February and March after having barely played .500 previously. As is often the case even in bad years, they have pretty much owned the Wings all season.

They play Boston tonight in another huge game. They're getting hot at the right time. We shall see what we shall see.

"Wasn't Joan of Ark Noah's wife?"

I recall once reading in a book of actual statements from student papers collected by a teacher that "Martin Luther died a horrible death. He was excommunicated by a bull." Another student quoted in the book identified Joan of Arc as indicated by the title of this post.

Uwe Siemon-Netto herein reflects on the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, and on the need for a return to an awareness of history (and geography).

The only encouraging thing about the picture he paints is that it seems that it's not only American young people (and adults) who are clueless in these areas.

Meanwhile, The Onion reports on a related matter.

Infamy!

Goose Island, the Chicago microbrewery whose beers have deservedly grown in popularity to the point where it is becoming a national brand, has been sold to Anheuser-Busch.

According to Goose Island, the reason for the sale was that demand for its beer vastly exceeds its capacity to produce and market  it. As a national brewer, Busch already has that capacity.

Links to Harry Carey aside, Anheuser- Busch is best known for its connection to the evil St. Louis Cardinals, the Cubs' arch-rival in the National League Central.

The CEO of the St. Louis-based brewer says that every effort will be made to build a brewery in Chicago.

Sometime in the future.

Cityview's "progressive" bigotry

No, a "bigot" cannot properly be defined as "someone who is winning an argument with a liberal."

But when I saw a button a few years ago that made that claim, I had to smile. It appealed to my inner Rush Limbaugh- the naughty little boy in me who cannot resist something that gets a rise out of a group of people who, as a group, are notorious for lacking a sense of humor. It's the same part of me that led me, when I was a seminary senior (and a registered Democrat at the time, having voted for Walter Mondale two years before- in fact, having been a delegate to the Democratic State Convention- and destined to vote for Michael Dukakis two years hence) to display a poster featuring a military parade in Red Square with the caption: "Russia: Visit us before we visit you!" on my dorm room door. The reaction of my humorless and intolerant Far Left classmates was priceless.

It was the same phenomenon that gets Rush his ratings. Our friends on the Left never…

Sex and the single Christian

Here is an able re-statement by Joe Carter of First Things of what the genuine- and biblical- Christian sexual ethic has to say to the unmarried.

It should be said that there probably was never a time in American history- and maybe in human history- in which most people did not engage in pre-marital sex. But if Christianity's- and Western society's- traditional formal committment to pre-marital chastity is hypocritical, it has been truly said that hypocricy is the tribute which vice pays to virtue. If most people haven't actually practiced pre-marital abstinence down through the years, it becomes all the more interesting that its mores have paid such elaborate lip service to it.

The other day I was in my favorite English/Scottish/Irish/Welsh pub here in Des Moines (well, OK- the only pub in Des Moines which consciously caters to folk whose forebears come from everywhere in the British Isles, but still one worth noting; the Royal Mile received an award from Esquire magazine…

Liberal "Bible scholars" claim that the Old Testament left out Mrs. God

University of Exeter theologian Francesca Stavrakopoulou and J. Edward Wright of The Arizona Center for Judaic Studies and The Albright Institute for Archaeological Research say that Yahweh's wife, Asherah, was 'edited out' of the Bible.

Asherah is actually mentioned numerous times in the Bible- but in terms which hardly support the thesis that orthodox Yahwism was polytheistic, as Stavrakopoulou, Wright, and Aaron Brody of the Pacific Institute of Religion (among others) imply. She is usually presented as the consort, not of Yahweh, but of His arch-rival for the allegience of the Israelites, the idol Baal. The female deity- doubtless thought of as Yahweh's wife by certain polytheistic cults among the ancient Israelites, just as Baal himself was often conflated with  Yahweh- is consistently depicted in the Old Testament as an idol, the worship of whom was opposed by the orthodox. Ahab was said to have "provoked" Yahweh by building an altar to the alleged &qu…

In case you wondered.

Venezuela's zany dictator, Hugo Chavez, says that capitalism is to blame for the extinction of life on Mars.

Then why do they call it "the Red Planet?" Huh? Huh? Answer me that, Hugo!

Ok. I know. You're going to blame it on the Republicans, aren't you?

Well, if not, the zanies in the media probably will. It sounds like something that Des Moines' editorially extreme alternate weekly, Cityview, would gobble right up, anyway.

Way to go, Mr. President (please note sarcasm)

According to the head of the Federal Reserve, the United States is teetering on the brink of insolvency.

The Obama administration has dug us a deficit bigger than that created by all the other presidential administrations combined.  Democrats in the habit of tsk-tsking over the Bush administration's spending should reflect that the deficit for February of this year alone was bigger than that for the entire year of 2007,

And the Left wants to keep spending...

HT: Drudge

Maybe it was a bad batch of Guinness...

... but Thursday night, after I finished my corned beef and cabbage and was nursing a pint of the Black Stuff, within five minutes I heard "Hey, Jude" performed on the bagpipes and "The Lumberjack Song" from Monty Python sung by an Irish tenor.

My dinner was eaten at a pub featuring "Black and Tan stew," which is about the equivalent of celebrating Jewish New Year by featuring cold Gestapo soup.

Just sayin'.

Sláinte!

My paternal grandmother's family, the Fishers, came from Downpatrick in County Down, Ireland. Downpatrick (in Gaelic, Dun Padraig- "Fortress,or Stronghold, of Patrick") figures prominently in the history of St. Patrick's mission to the Irish, and is where he is buried.

In Dublin, the capital of the Republic of Ireland, there are two institutions which bring the name of St. Patrick into association with another name commonly associated with this day: Guinness. Founded in 1759 by Arthur Guinness, the brewery at St. James Gate (Gheata Shan Séamuis) uses water from a well once used by St. Patrick himself to perform baptisms. And the Guinness family had a stained glass window installed in St. Patrick's Cathedral, the seat of the Irish primate. On it are inscribed a rather appropriate portion of Matthew 25:35: "I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink."

I myself will raise a Guinness or two while enjoying my corned beef and cabbage tonight- and perha…

The return of the Irish snakes, and the pagan version of the shamrock

Maewyn Succat, the the British son of a pagan Roman official named Calphurnius and the grandson of a Christian priest, was kidnapped at the age of sixteen by Irish pirates, and made a slave. His captivity seems to have been rather gentle; he was employed as a shepherd.by a Druid priest, Milchu, who treated him well.  During his long days watching the flock, he meditated on the Christianity that seems not to have been especially important to him in earlier years.

He finally managed to escape. Once back in Britain, he had a vision in which an angel disclosed to him the Vox Hibernicus- the Voice of the Irish- calling him "noble youth" ("noble" in Gaelic is "padraig") to return to the land of his captivity and convert his former captors to Christianity.  He changed his name from Maewyn ("Warlike") to the adjective the Vox Hibernicus had applied to him- Padraig- and was ordained a priest, consecrated a bishop, and given the official blessing of the …

This is one American who is losing faith in his fellow citizens

In the wake of 9/11, the United States went to war in Afghanistan in order to oust the Taliban-led government which enabled and sheltered Osama bin Laden and al Quaeda.

The Taliban was ousted and a deeply-flawed but marginally viable government was installed. But unlike our ancestors, Americans have short attention spans, and seem to lack the resolve and backbone to do what we have to do for the cause of freedom and make it stick.

As portrayed at the end of the wonderful Tom Hanks film Charlie Wilson's War, we had originally turned our backs on our Afghan allies once the Soviets were ousted from Afghanistan, allowing the Taliban to establish itself in the first place. We started to lose interest once again once the Taliban had been turned out of power- with the result that the Taliban staged a comeback. The deterioration of the situation there was heralded by great publicity provided by the liberal media. As a result, support for the war plummeted. We even elected a president w…

Farewell to the Tenth Doctor

While this is old news to people in much of the civilized world, here in Darkest Iowa we just saw "The End of Time," the final David Tennant Dr. Who episode, on Sunday night. Our local PBS station has been showing Tennant re-runs for months in order to broadcast this episode during its fund-raising week.

I just thought I'd be remiss in not noting this, and thus bidding farewell to what most Whovians consider the greatest of all the Doctors- including even Tom Baker, who for some reason that alludes me is generally regarded as the archetype.

There will always be a special spot in my heart for my first Doctor- the Second Doctor, Patrick Traughton, whose adventures I followed at ten thirty every Sunday night during the first part of my tenure in my first parish in suburban St. Louis. I'm rather fond of John Pertwee, who succeeded Troughton, as well. And I'll always regret that circumstance prevented me from seeing as many of the episodes featuring the Seventh Docto…

Hawks 6, Sharks 3

The Hawks scored five goals in the second period and beat San Jose last night, 6-3.

The victory was the defending Stanley Cup champions' eighth in the last twelve games, and snapped a three-game losing streak. It leaves them all alone in fourth place in the Western Conference.

Every game from here on out is huge. All are against teams with winning records, and most are against fellow participants in the very clogged race for the last six or seven of the eight Western Conference playoff spots.

Uh-oh.

The recent Blackhawks winning streak is history. They've now lost three in a row, though both their shootout defeat at the hands of Tampa Bay Thursday night and this afternoon's overtime loss to the Caps did each earn the Good Guys a point. On the positive side, the champs did tie the game with 38 seconds left on a Jonathan Toews goal after pulling the goalie on a power play late in the third period.

The Hawks aren't far from where they need to be. Mainly, they need defense and penalty killing- not goaltending; Corey Crawford has been just fine. Keep in mind, by the way, in viewing the stats to which the link above leads that Crawford has only been the Hawks' starting goalie for a little more than half the season.

But tomorrow nights's home game against San Jose is huge. All of the Hawks' remaining games are against teams with winning records, and they're in the midst of a run of games with the  four or fiveother teams that are pretty much lumped together …

A whole lot of shakin' goin' on

At 2:15 PM local time on December 16, 1811, a massive earthquake traditionally estimated above 8.0 on the Richter scale struck the New Madrid Faul, located midway between Memphis and St. Louis.

There were some two thousand aftershocks, four of which have also been historically believed to have been stronger than 8.0. Some experts today believe that most were in fact not quite that strong. The largest of them, in any case, all occurred on February 7. 1812. This dip-slip quake caused the Mississippi River to run backward (with consequences depicted on the above, on the left), cracked walls in Boston, and rang church bells in Montreal. It is believed to be the largest earthquake ever in the contiguous United States. Alaska has experienced more powerful ones still.

Bear in mind that for every point on the Richter scale, the force of the quake is multiplied by ten. The earthquake which caused the tsunami which has devastated the coast of Japan- and moved that coastline by eight feet- was …

Sign of the Times

VIctor Frankenstein and Ash Wednesday

What can a writer  do with another writer's  novel- one that's already a classic? How does one improve on such a masterpiece? And why try?

Curiosity led me to want to read novelist Dean Koontz's Frankenstein novels quite a while ago. I finally gave it a whirl about ten days ago- and last night, I finished the fourth and most recent of them, Lost Souls.Koontz's answers to the questions posed in the first paragraph are that he updates the legend to the present day- not by making the whole story contemporary but by picking up where the story left off. and bringing it up to the present day. In doing so, he makes a powerful and cogent comment on the direction in which our society seems to be heading.

The premise of the novels is that Mary Shelley actually merely wrote down a story she had heard somewhere- a story that was fundamentally true, although the events actually took place in Austria rather than in Transylvania. Victor Frankenstein- the real Victor Frankentstein- …

Datsuk has noticed

Puck Daddy has an interview with the Red Wings' Pavel Datsuk in which he says this about my Blackhawks:

They are one of the leaders in the League now. They're in the Top 5. They did have a very tough beginning of the season, because it is very difficult to start a season after winning the Cup. There was a lot of attention the media paid to them. Teams were playing different against them because everyone wants to beat the Cup winner. They also had so many changed made during the offseason. On top of that they had a very tough schedule to start off the season. It all takes its toll. But right now they're back to where they should be. While there's an element of whistling in the dark here that I freely admit- you don't lose the number and quality of players the champs did to Bill Wirtz's pet salary cap without suffering a falloff in the overall quality of your team- I think Datsuk is right.

At least I hope Datsuk is right.

I'm about to watch the Hawks play Flo…

Reality check

It's a sad commentary on the intellectual honesty of the cultural Left that it has to be pointed out. But the ELCA, Lisa Miller, and others in denial are wrong.

The Bible really does condemn homosexuality.

Nor is there really any legitimate question about that fact.

It just goes to show that Dr. Goebbels was right: if you repeat an obvious lie often enough, people will believe it.

HT: Real Clear Religion

Here come the Hawks!

The defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks beat Carolina 5-2 last night for their seventh consecutive victory.

The Hawks ratcheted it up a notch in the third period, the stanza where they've had trouble all season, blowing open a close game.

The Hawks are finding themselves at precisely the right time- not only to make a run at a good seed in the playoffs, but to make it two in a row.

A fifth Stanley Cup banner would look awfully good in the rafters at the UC.

ONE GOAL!

It's official: the sky is falling

The highly politicized scientific establishment has made it official: the world's sixth mass extinction may be underway- and it's all humanity's fault.

Remember the days when you could trust what scientists said to be the quantifiable truth, instead of an agenda-ridden attempt to advance an ideology?

Remember, to quote novelist Dean Koonz, when science "was about truth instead of power?"

Remember when the very definition of science was the pursuit of truth wherever it led- precisely without an agenda?

Alas, science has given way to Scientism- and in a post-modern age such as ours, in which there is widely supposed to be no such thing as truth, "truth" inevitably becomes, as Nietzsche maintained, nothing more or less than the will to power.

Probert and Fleming had CTE

Blackhawks tough guys Bob Probert (left) and Reggie Fleming (below, right)suffered from CTE- the same syndrome fear of which lead Bears great Dave Duerson to take his own life a little over a week ago.

CTE is a dementia that comes from repeated blows to the head, such as those suffered by boxers, football players- and, it seems, hockey players. Hockey players suffering from the syndrome, however, tend- like both Probert and Fleming- to be those who played at least part of their careersbefore the NHL instituted its requirement that players wear helmets.

The syndrome- which often involves personality changes, memory loss, depression, and other symptoms similar to Alzheimer's Disease and other dementias- can only be positively diagnosed on autopsy. Probert, who died of heart failure, left instructions similar to those Duerson gave in his suicide note: to make sure that, after his death, his brain was studied for what it could teach medical science about the consequences of repeated br…

Hawks appear headed for the playoffs

The Blackhawks- who have won five straight games, and are finally geting things together- moved into fifth place in the Western Conference last night with a win over Minnesota.

The top eight teams in each conference make the playoffs. In other words, if the season ended today, the Hawks would get their chance to defend the Stanley Cup after all, despite a season that started off very, very discouraging indeed.