Saturday, August 31, 2013

It's Been Almost Forty Years, But This Sure Sounds Familiar

Official: Ship carrying Marines arrive in Med

Yep, whenever the politicians and diplomats fail, a bunch of highly trained young men [and now women] have to fix it with their perspiration and their blood.  Someday in the future those who survive will get an indifferent, yet polite, "thank you" from some civilian who spent his or her life safe.

Thus, warriors throughout history have learned to be content with their own company.

I See That The Civic Program To Boost Hartford's Nightlife Is Working Out

A 21-year-old East Hartford man was shot and killed after a fight inside the downtown Hartford nightclub Up Or On The Rocks.The fight broke out inside the Union Place bar after 12:30 a.m., as it was closing, police said. It moved outside, where the man was shot in the chest.This is the second fatal shooting this month that resulted from a fight inside the bar.

If only our diocese had some association with the city of Hartford that would give them a platform to speak out about the illegal use of guns and the civil causes of violence.  Oh, wait....

Really, New York Times? Hmmm, I'm Guessing The Rules Change According To Which Party Is In The White House

Otherwise, it would be "No Blood for Oil" or something.

Bomb Syria, Even if It Is Illegal

After the September 11 atrocities, a prominent bishop spoke about how we should "Bomb our enemies with love" and send the "war-mongering Republicans" a Christian message.

I can't find any bishop saying anything similar now.  It's at moments like this when I wonder why the church leadership sees our global mission in such a narrow light.

Relax, Let The Professionals Handle The Guns

Man to Sue Police After Being Shot While Walking Home Holding His Shorts

The best quotation: "You can add black underwear to the list of things cops might mistake for a gun."

Useful News

Top 5 Reasons Why Vegan Diets Are a Terrible Idea


Saturated Fat is Not Bad For Your Brain, and You've Been Lied to

Friday, August 30, 2013

I Heard The Sound Of Dozens Of Diocesan Committees Imploding

World Federation of Scientists changes its policy: “Climate change in itself is not a planetary emergency.”

A Bicentennial Celebration Of Note

The Battle Of Lake Erie

Friday's Church: Daytona Beach Drive-In

Yep, it's a former drive-in movie theater converted into an outdoor church.  If you tune your car's radio to 88.1, you can hear the preacher, as seen from the balcony in the photo.  Holy Communion is dispensed by a platoon of sacred ministers from car window to car window.  They have a large congregation with a collection that enables the church to operate without difficulty.  Hmmmm....

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Relax, Let The Professionals Handle The Guns

Rival campers who opened fire turn out to be sheriff's deputies

Somebody Get Him An Assault Vest And Parachute

Obama Is Willing to Go It Alone in Syria, Aides Say

Since they haven't said anything about this, I'm assuming the House of Bishops are going to hit the silk with him.  "Stand up, buckle up, shuffle to the door; jump in the sky and shout 'Vox Populi, Vox Deo'."

[Actually, it's "...shout 'Marine Corps!'", but that doesn't fit the notoriously pacifistic clergy.

Well, they're pacifists when it's a Republican in the White House.  They get terribly butch when it's a Democrat.  Maybe they're too busy working on their anti-violence campaign, like our three bishops are.

Yeah, I would think war was violent, but what do I know?]

There Will Be No Living With Her Now


We talk with Amanda about what to wear around NYC, her first 9W experience and much more!

Thursday's Biblical Recipe: Mulukhiya (Middle Eastern Chicken and Greens Soup)


2 frozen packets (1 lb. each) mulukhiya
1 onion, cut in half
½ tsp. salt bay leaf
4–5 cardamom grains
6 large boneless chicken breasts
olive oil
15–20 garlic cloves, crushed
1 Tbsp. dried coriander
1 Tbsp. lemon juice

Place the frozen packets of mulukhiya into a pot of boiling water. Stir until completely thawed. In a separate pot, boil the onion, salt, and bay leaf; toss in cardamom tied in a muslin bag; then add chicken and cook until tender. Remove chicken, cut into small strips, and fry in olive oil. Throw out the bagged cardamom, as it has done its job. Mash the onion and throw it back into the soup, bringing it to a fast boil. Add the now-thawed mulukhiya and simmer for about 5 minutes. Do not overcook, as this will make all the leaves sink to the bottom of the pot; it is essential that they remain floating at or near the top. Mix together the crushed garlic and the dried coriander and fry it in olive oil until it is golden brown. Add to the boiling mulukhiya and simmer for 2 minutes. Stir in lemon juice. Serve in bowls while piping hot.

Makes 4 normal sized servings of approximately 218 calories per cup.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

As The Kids Say, This Guy Brings The Boom

Our country dangles on the precipice of starting a third World War. We are on the verge of a completely unnecessary conflict where the United States will fight along side Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood. This, in another day and age, might earn the crown as the Most Controversial Story of the Week. But we’re in the year 2013, and this is America, so a young pop star’s dance moves on an MTV awards show have predictably overshadowed the prospect of global chaos and bloodshed. I wrote about Cyrusgate myself, simply making the rather obvious point that pornographic sexual degradation and confusion are interwoven into virtually every facet of our society, so it’s a bit absurd to randomly erupt with shock and outrage at one comparatively minor manifestation of our collective cultural rot.

Plus this: "Seriously, only morons listen to garbage like this. Really."

Warning: There is possibly the presence of pungent language.

Sgt. Chesty XIII Retires Today; PFC Chesty XIV To Take His Place As Official Marine Corps Mascot

That's XIII on the left, in camouflage, and XIV on the right wearing dress blues.  Congrats to both.

Update: Chesty XIV has been promoted to Lance Corporal.  Disconcertingly, it means he and I are of the same rank.

Wednesday's Art: "Storm over the Sea of Galilee" by Rembrandt

This has always been one of my favorite works, completed in 1633.  I saw it at the Gardner Museum in Boston when I was fifteen and it was very striking.  I'd like to see it again, but it was stolen in 1990 and is probably lost forever.

Just for fun, Rembrandt painted himself into the work.  He can be seen in the approximate middle of the boat wearing a hat that is distinctly un-1st century.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Relax, Connecticut Has Gun Control

Upon police arriving at the scene at around 3:40 p.m., DelaPaz fled the scene on foot. When he was apprehended, police say he resisted and injured the leg of a responding officer. After being detained, police found a Sig Sauger P239 handgun, a set of brass knuckles and a voter registration card in DelaPaz’s bookbag. DelaPaz gave multiple false names before his identity was determined. Police say DelaPaz is a convicted felon.

Should I mention that not only are felons not permitted to own or otherwise posess guns, but they can't vote, either.  There ought to be a law against that, as well.  What's that?  Oh....

The Only Thing Worth Reading About Millie Cyprus (or whatever)

Most of the media backlash focused on Cyrus’ crass opportunism, which stole the show from Lady Gaga, normally no slouch in the foot-stamping look-at-me department. But the real scandal was how atrocious Cyrus’ performance was in artistic terms. She was clumsy, flat-footed and cringingly unsexy, an effect heightened by her manic grin. How could American pop have gotten this bad? Sex has been a crucial component of the entertainment industry since the seductive vamps of silent film and the bawdy big mamas of roadhouse blues. Elvis Presley, James Brown and Mick Jagger brought sizzling heat to rock, soul and funk music, which in turn spawned the controversial raw explicitness of urban hip-hop.

Tuesday's Wave

"Here is a paradox, that no one can seek the Lord who has not already found Him. It is your will, O God, to be found that you may be sought, to be sought that you may more truly be found."
... Bernard of Clairvaux

Sunday, August 25, 2013

An Update To A Previous Posting

A recent history of hate-crime hoaxes

This Week's Feasts

August 27: Thomas Gallaudet [1822-1902]
Thomas Gallaudet
Galludet's mother was deaf, and his father, Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, was the founder of the West Hartford School for the Deaf.  Galludet was ordained an Episcopal priest, after serving, like his father and mother, as a teacher to the deaf.  In 1852, he established St. Ann's Church in New York, with liturgies especially for deaf persons and offered primarily in sign language.  Galludet University is named for him.

In recent years, to appease political organizations for the deaf, Galludet's student, Henry Winter Syle, the first deaf priest in the Episcopal Church, has been added to the feast day.

O loving God, who willest that everyone should come to thee and be saved: We bless thy Holy Name for thy servants Thomas Gallaudet and Henry Winter Syle, whose labors with and for those who are deaf we commemorate today; and we pray that thou wouldst continually move thy Church to respond in love to the needs of all people; through Jesus Christ, who opened the ears of the deaf, and who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

August 28: St. Augustine of Hippo [354–430]

From the Stanford Encyclodpedia of Philosophy:
One of the decisive developments in the western philosophical tradition was the eventually widespread merging of the Greek philosophical tradition and the Judeo-Christian religious and scriptural traditions. Augustine is one of the main figures through and by whom this merging was accomplished. He is, as well, one of the towering figures of medieval philosophy whose authority and thought came to exert a pervasive and enduring influence well into the modern period (e.g. Descartes and especially Malebranche), and even up to the present day, especially among those sympathetic to the religious tradition which he helped to shape. But even for those who do not share this sympathy, there is much in Augustine's thought that is worthy of serious philosophical attention. Augustine is not only one of the major sources whereby classical philosophy in general and Neoplatonism in particular enter into the mainstream of early and subsequent medieval philosophy, but there are significant contributions of his own that emerge from his modification of that Greco-Roman inheritance, e.g., his subtle accounts of belief and authority, his account of knowledge and illumination, his emphasis upon the importance and centrality of the will, and his focus upon a new way of conceptualizing the phenomena of human history, just to cite a few of the more conspicuous examples.

Wow, Stanford can really kill off any interest in a subject, can't it?  Suffice it to say, Augustine, along with Aquinas, are considered the two greatest philosopher/theologians of our tradition.

Lord God, the light of the minds that know you, the life of the souls that love you, and the strength of the hearts that serve you: Help us, following the example of your servant Augustine of Hippo, so to know you that we may truly love you, and so to love you that we may fully serve you, whom to serve is perfect freedom; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

August 31: Aidan of Lindisfarne [?-651]

St. Aidan

Monastic founder, bishop, and miracle worker known for his kindness to animals...Aidan was born in Connaught, Ireland. Tradition states that his birth was heralded by signs and omens, and he showed evidence of piety as a small child. Educated at Leinster, Aidan went to St. David monastery in Wales. He remained there for several years, studying Scriptures, and his presence saved St. David's from disaster. Saxon war parties attacked the monastery during Aidan's stay, and he supposedly repelled them miraculously. In time, Aidan returned to Ireland, founding a monastery in Ferns, in Wexford. He became the bishop of the region as well. His miracles brought many to the Church. Aidan is represented in religious art with a stag. He is reported to have made a beautiful stag invisible to save it from hounds.

 O loving God, you called your servant Aidan from the peace of a cloister to re-establish the Christian mission in northern England, and endowed him with gentleness, simplicity, and strength: Grant that we, following his example, may use what you have given us for the relief of human need, and may persevere in commending the saving Gospel of our Redeemer Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

September 1: David Pendleton Oakerhater [?-1931]

Oakerhater [on the left wearing the deacon's stole] was the first American Indian [Cheyenne, actually] to be ordained in the Episcopal Church.  He was a deacon, never a priest, and is of great importance to all tribal people who are baptized Christians.  A considerable amount is written of him, with his official website [yes, he has one] to be found here.

A fine quotation from The Rev. Mr. Oakerhater, "Men, you know me. You remember me when I led you out to war. I went first, and what I told you was true. Now I have been away to the East, and I have learned about another captain, the Lord Jesus Christ, and he is my leader. He goes first, and all he tells me is true. I come back to my people to tell you to go with me now in this new road, a war that makes all for peace and where we never have only victory..."

O God of unsearchable wisdom and infinite mercy, you chose a captive warrior, David Oakerhater, to be your servant, and sent him to be a missionary to his own people, and to exercise the office of a deacon among them: Liberate us, who commemorate him today, from bondage to self, and empower us for service to you and to the neighbors you have given us; through Jesus Christ, the captain of our salvation; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

I've Been Wondering This Myself

Why Is the Golden Age of Television So Dark?

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Look! The White House Has A New Puppy!

CNBC: Unemployment rates rise in most US states in July

Reporters never used to fall for that kind of distraction before.  Journalists, on the other hand, are much, much easier to manipulate.

Yes. Next Question, Please.

Are atheists mentally ill?

I'm being insouciant, as is the author of the article, up to a point, but enjoy this quote:
A vast body of research, amassed over recent decades, shows that religious belief is physically and psychologically beneficial – to a remarkable degree. 
In 2004, scholars at UCLA revealed that college students involved in religious activities are likely to have better mental health. In 2006, population researchers at the University of Texas discovered that the more often you go to church, the longer you live. In the same year researchers at Duke University in America discovered that religious people have stronger immune systems than the irreligious. They also established that churchgoers have lower blood pressure. 
Meanwhile in 2009 a team of Harvard psychologists discovered that believers who checked into hospital with broken hips reported less depression, had shorter hospital stays, and could hobble further when they left hospital – as compared to their similarly crippled but heathen fellow-sufferers. 
The list goes on. In the last few years scientists have revealed that believers, compared to non-believers, have better outcomes from breast cancer, coronary disease, mental illness, Aids, and rheumatoid arthritis. Believers even get better results from IVF. Likewise, believers also report greater levels of happiness, are less likely to commit suicide, and cope with stressful events much better. Believers also have more kids.

I Think I've Heard Part Of A Similar Story Once

Ohio Man Declared Dead Comes Back to Life

Ah, Babylon



Mid- and large-sized companies overwhelmingly expect health-care costs to increase under Obamacare—and most are eyeing possible changes to their health insurance offerings because of a looming excise tax for pricier plans under the health-care reform law, a new survey of employers finds.In fact, 40 percent of 420 companies surveyed by Towers Watson said they will be changing their insurance plans' designs in 2014 in light of the coming excise tax as well as to control employee-related health costs.


UPS to drop 15,000 spouses from insurance, cites Obamacare

Despite the vain wishes of non-theists, government cannot be a god.

Not A Bad Idea; I Could Have Used One When I Taught High School In The 1970's

Eastern Shore professors to get bulletproof whiteboards

And, In The Academic Paradise That Is Oberlin College

This is more common that one realizes, as I hear similar stories from former colleagues about incidents such as this occurring at many other schools and colleges, albeit on a less spectacular scale:
The progressive insistence that America remains a deeply racist nation occasionally takes on an air of desperation, transmuting itself in its more difficult moments into the perverse, almost infantile, asseveration that if America is not sinful, it should be. On rare occasions this instinct spills over into straight-up mendacity, which is exactly what happened this year at Oberlin College, whose long nightmare of “campus racism” — swastikas, profane attacks on Black History Month, and even a sighting of the KKK — culminated in the predictable revelation that the whole affair had been a nasty hoax perpetrated by an overzealous Organizing for Action volunteer. 

Worse, the website Legal Insurrection, which smelled a rat from the beginning, confirmed that “school officials and local police knew the identity of the culprits, who were responsible for most if not all of such incidents on campus, yet remained silent as the campus reacted as if the incidents were real.” 

Fake hate crimes, which occur primarily on college campuses, are a peculiar feature of American life. Hoaxers operate on a bizarre premise: If evidence to support their political claims isn’t available when they need it to be, well then, they’ll just have to “find” some. Deep down, the hoaxer knows that his fellow citizens are racist and terrible; he knows that the downtrodden are suffering at the hands of people unlike him; and he knows that there is “so much more work to do.” And so, if his campus isn’t beset by the disgraceful bigotry of which he knows everyone is secretly guilty, then he’ll have to invent some against which heroically to fight.

Depends. Is She At A Tailgate Party?

Madonna Flashes Her Grill In Rome -- How Ridiculous Is This?

[Because people bring gas and charcoal grills to tailgate parties.  Get it?  Never mind.  If you don't know what a tailgate party is, put down the New York Times, turn off NPR, and go to a football game.]

Well, The Western Churches Certainly Should

The West Should Offer Asylum to Egypt’s Copts

Friday, August 23, 2013

Friday's Church: A Stave Church

While the number is dwindling, there are still quite a few stave churches in the higher reaches of the Nordic countries.  From an old pamphlet that I found in my travel drawer:
A stave church is a medieval wooden Christian church building. The name is derived from the buildings' structure of post and lintel construction which is a type of timber framing, where the load-bearing posts are called stafr in Old Norse and stav in Norwegian. Two related church building types are also named for their structural elements, the post church and palisade church, but are often also called stave churches.

Once common all over northwestern Europe, most of the surviving stave churches are in Norway. The only remaining medieval stave churches outside Norway are ones dating to approximately the year 1500 located at Hedared in Sweden and one Norwegian stave church that was relocated in 1842 to the outskirts of Krummhübel, Germany, now Karpacz in the Krkonoše mountains of Poland.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Good Advice For Young Adults

Don't Make the Mistake of Skipping Weddings & Funerals -- You'll Regret It Later

When One Uses His Power And Influence To Disseminate Misinformation Designed To Garner Personal Wealth, It's A Form Of Misconduct

At least it is in The Episcopal Church.

The Hill: A Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) expert says Al Gore goofed during his widely circulated Washington Post interview on global warming.Gore, noting stronger storms fueled by climate change, told the paper “the hurricane scale used to be 1-5 and now they’re adding a 6.” But in fact there’s no new scale, the Union of Concerned Scientists representative said on Thursday.

This is Al Gore's mansion.  Well, the mansion in California:

This is his mansion in Tennessee:


He owns two other mansions, as well.  Each seems fully equipped with a couple of SUVs, too.

When the people who tell me we're in a climate emergency start acting like we're in an emergency, then I'll be ready to take them at their word.  Otherwise, it's merely the wealthy and powerful using the media to manipulate me into increasing their wealth and power.  Historically, such behavior results in an equation best captured by "France + 1789".

Thursday's Biblical Recipe: Manáish with Goat Cheese and Black Peppermint Tea

This week's recipe is for a bread that was common at feasts such as one would have at a wedding in Cana, upon the return of the prodigal, or in Gethsemane when the archetype of the holy meal was established.  Zaatar is the only "exotic" ingredient, I think.

  • loaf of flat bread
  • ½ cup (or more, if needed) olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. zaatar
  • 2 Tbsp. sumac
  • goat cheese
  • black peppermint tea

  • Preheat oven to 300°F.

    Cover a loaf of flat bread with olive oil. Sprinkle zaatar and sumac over the oil. Bake the bread for about 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve with a fresh, spreadable goat cheese and a pot of black peppermint tea.

    Yield: 6-8 servings

    Tuesday, August 20, 2013

    And, In The Gun Control Paradise That Is Connecticut

    Four shot outside Hartford nightclub


    A teen was shot and killed in a drive by shooting in New Haven on Thursday night.


    Three shot to death in one week in Hartford

    Gun control laws only control the law-abiding; criminals and lunatics, by definition, live outside of the laws.

    And, In The Gun Control Paradise That Is Chicago

    Five people were wounded in a hail of bullets from an automatic weapon in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood Monday evening.Police and several ambulances converged at Wilson Avenue and North Sheridan Road Monday evening, following the shooting, which occurred shortly before 6 p.m. at a bus stop in front of the Uptown Baptist Church.

    This Seems Only Fair, Since More And More Govt Types Are Screaming For Churches To Be Taxed

    For the latest evidence of the town-gown divide, look no further than New Jersey, where earlier this summer residents of Princeton banded together to sue the prestigious school in their backyard. The residents argued that Princeton University, which boasts the largest endowment per student in the country, should no longer be entitled to its tax-exempt status because the school makes money—from its scientific patents, ticketed concerts, on-campus eateries and more. The Ivy League school is operating like a business, the plaintiffs say, so the tax code should treat it like one.

    Now That's A Dumb Headline, And From The NYT, No Less

    Infertility Less Likely in Women With Children

    A Form Of Sexism That Will Never Be Seriously Addressed

    Across the country, schools are policing and punishing the distinctive, assertive sociability of boys. Many much-loved games have vanished from school playgrounds. At some schools, tug of war has been replaced with “tug of peace.” Since the 1990s, elimination games like dodgeball, red rover and tag have been under a cloud — too damaging to self-esteem and too violent, say certain experts. Young boys, with few exceptions, love action narratives. These usually involve heroes, bad guys, rescues and shoot-ups. As boys’ play proceeds, plots become more elaborate and the boys more transfixed. When researchers ask boys why they do it, the standard reply is, “Because it’s fun.”

    According to at least one study, such play rarely escalates into real aggression — only about 1% of the time. But when two researchers, Mary Ellin Logue and Hattie Harvey, surveyed classroom practices of 98 teachers of 4-year-olds, they found that this style of play was the least tolerated. Nearly half of teachers stopped or redirected boys’ dramatic play daily or several times a week — whereas less than a third reported stopping or redirecting girls’ dramatic play weekly.

    Because The Media Is Non-Theist And The Church Leadership Gets All Their Info From Them

    Relax, Let The Professionals Handle The Guns

     photo BSCioNnCIAAadPJ_zps25e2714d.jpg

    Yesterday, politicians and police in New York chest-thumped about the guns they intercepted coming into the city.  In so doing, they violated four of the most foundational rules of gun safety.  Namely,

    1.  The gun is always considered loaded, even if you're sure it isn't.  Nevertheless, the guns on parade at the press conference were pointed at the audience.

    2.  The safety is always on unless you are about to fire.  Not so much with the NYPD.

    3.  The bolt is always open when not in operation or safely stored.  The NYPD chose to close the bolts.

    4.  Guns are not to be displayed with the magazines in place.  [Magazines are what the politicians and media kids call "clips" when they're feeling all butch and guns-sy.]  That one, too, the NYPD decided to ignore.

    In response to some questions about this from a gun safety instructor, an NYPD official representative asked, “Is it your assertion that NYPD and that those officers that handle firearms don’t know what they’re doing?”

    I would have said, "Yes", and referred the officer to this Google buffet.

    If I had violated even one of those four rules, not only would I have failed to qualify with a firearm but Gunnery Sergeant Jackson would have kicked me in the rear end so hard I would still be able to feel it.

    Ordinarily, I wouldn't care how maladroit the NYPD was with guns, as I don't have to live in that city. But, law enforcement, we are told by politicians, is the only viable protection we should have as a society.  If they can't handle even the simplest and most commonsense rules of gun safety, why should I take the politicians at their word?

    Tuesday's Wave

    “Men are moved most by their religion; especially when it is irreligion.” - G.K.Chesterton

    Sunday, August 18, 2013

    But Politicians, News Readers, Episcopal Bishops, And Hollywood Movie Stars Tell Me That We're All Doomed

    New peer reviewed paper shows only 36% of geoscientists and engineers believe in AGW

    How dare they ask actual scientists for their opinion!  I suggested the other day that we could really make a dent in the carbon footprint [that's a stupid term, by the way] if all of the bishops of the Episcopal Church would refuse to fly for one year.  Yeah, that means no conferences in New Zealand, the African continent, the Southern Cone, etc.  In other words, nothing for bishops to talk about in their sermons, meditations, newsletter articles.  Face it, take away the exotic travel and a bishop is just another tedious, overpaid bureaucrat.

    You can imagine the enthusiasm with which my suggestion was met.

    You Cannot Break The Narrative! What's Wrong With You, CDC?

    CDC Releases Study on Gun Violence: Defensive gun use common, mass shootings not

    Not A Surprise At All

    In the early 1980's I carried $30,000 in student loans for a seminary education.  It took over a decade to pay them off.  This was to earn the degree that gave me the right to interview for a job that paid, in those days, $17,000 annually.  The costs for a seminary education have, like those in secular higher education, continued to increase and far out-strip the rate of inflation.  Three years of theological education now costs $129,000; the average starting salary for clergy in 2012 was just under $40,000.

    Yeah, I think I just passed out for a moment.

    Anyway, here's what's happening:

    Student Loan Crisis Fueling Clergy Shortages
    August 20: Bernard of Clairvaux [1090-1153] Abbot and Theologian [and a poet, too].

    From a family both pious and military, Bernard entered religious orders as a reformed Benedictine [or Cistercian] at the age of 23, the beginning of forty years of life in cloister. Theologically, while he was as doctrinaire as any of his 12th century contemporaries, he presented some foundational ideas that were later to be embraced by the Protestants in the early days of the Reformation.  More of him may be found by clicking the paragraph below:

    Bernard was able to accomplish many things; one of his greatest achievements took place after the death of Pope Honorius II in 1130. A disputed election of the new pope caused a schism in the Church. Both Innocent II and Anacletus II were claimed to be the new pope. Catholics took sides and neither side would give in. Bernard traveled from one country to another to talk to church leaders in an effort to end the rift. After eight years of preaching and negotiating, the schism was finally ended. That was thought to be Bernard's crowning triumph.

    O God, by whose grace your servant Bernard of Clairvaux, kindled with the flame of your love, became a burning and a shining light in your Church: Grant that we also may be aflame with the spirit of love and discipline, and walk before you as children of light; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

    Saturday, August 17, 2013

    The Next Time Some Bishop In The Episcopal Church Starts Pranging On About How We Need To Be Environmentally Responsible, Remind Them Of How Many Overseas And Long-Distance Trips They Take Per Year

    Why does air travel get left out of the mix when we’re talking about reducing our carbon footprint? One could argue, because cars matter more -- they’re the largest single contributor to climate change in the transportation sector. Air travel accounts for about 10 percent of all carbon emissions in the U.S., versus 36 percent for passenger cars -- and some of that is air freight.

    However, the majority of flight departures and air tonnage seem to be passenger travel, not freight. And although many car trips are hard to avoid, given 60 years of infrastructure development, a lot of the air travel is unnecessary -- and concentrated among the so-called one percent.

    I Should Have Been A Writer

    Because in the 21st century, you can publish pure gibberish and make millions from it.  To wit, someone called Bethenny Funkmaster [or something] wrote a book of "healthy living advice" that includes such nuggets of sagacity as:

    Man, that's just Tolstoy combined with Conrad rolled in some Marquez; a veritable turducken of lyricism.


    I was sitting with three other clergy recently. I was the youngest one present, although not by much. We each have been ordained for over a quarter century. We were speaking about changes since those days early after our ordinations. While there was discussion of shifting congregational demographics and the diminishing standard of dress by those attending funerals, we agreed that what has changed the most is the manner in which young people [those under the age of 30] view the sacrament of Holy Matrimony.

    In the past decade or so there has been the development of the "It's My Special Day!" school for brides. While the wedding day is certainly one of importance for the bride and groom, the vast bulk of bridal literature makes it clear that, on her wedding day, all things on earth, and apparently in heaven, take their place behind the bride and her dress, her cake, her needs, her wants, her very being. In this brave new reality, only the bride's mother may bask in the close illumination of the Princess/Goddess. The groom often becomes a handy prop, more like his figure on the wedding cake than a living, breathing human with as much vested in the moment as the bride.

    Needless to say, Jesus isn't on the guest list.

    In the past few years I've worked with a bride whose appreciation for those invited, and bearing gifts, was such that she was two hours late to the liturgy in order to get her hair just perfect, another who was a mere ninety minutes late [I remember that one because it was a hot, humid afternoon in a 75 seat church without air conditioning into which 150 people had been crammed], and another so consumed with reception planning that she was still talking to the caterer on her cell phone as the bridal procession began. When her cell phone, which was in her father's tux jacket pocket, rang during the exchange of vows, her dad looked at me with the most helpless expression I think I've ever seen on a homo sapien.

    I once had a couple come by the office to discuss having their wedding at the church. As this is one of those seminal moments in the lives of young adults, I always find their early trepidation and mutual concern touching. Of course, it was a little more difficult to appreciate this moment since the bride-to-be brought her mother along instead of the groom. Mom clearly wanted to have the wedding at our parish because it was convenient to the location of the reception. When the sacrament takes a backseat to petit fours, you know this is going to be a church wedding only because that was the chapter in Martha Stewart's wedding book that the bride-to-be liked the best.

    Still, I knew the groom was a colleague's son and, even though it appeared that the bride was in the early stages of transformation into the Princess/Goddess of the "It's My Special Day!" school, I agreed to begin the process with them. They began pre-marital counseling with an ordained professional, filled out the pre-requisite paperwork, were given our music director's name and number, and scheduled the date for their wedding.

    We never heard from them again.

    I gather that they are to be married in some non-sacramental structure somewhere near the site of the reception. Apparently, Princess/Goddesses don't deign to notify mere clergy and musicians of changes in their schedules.

    It's just as well, as it was clear that this was not going to be a moment of sacramental solemnity or eternal promise, anyway. First, the bride desired that a "poem", read and composed by a friend of hers, be inserted into the Book of Common Prayer's nearly 500-year-old liturgy. I've sat through these before. When placed in juxtaposition with the artistry and wonder of Christian scripture, a friend's incomprehensible "poem" makes "Roses are Red and Violets are Blue" look like a model of layered literary meaning and sophisticated construction. Second, the bride wanted to be able to compose her own vows. Presumably, the groom was to do so as well, although I thought maybe the bride's mother was going to write his.

    If you wonder what that's like, let me offer this actual example of offal:

    Minister: Will you take her as your wife? Will you love her all your life?

    Groom: Yes, I take her as my wife, Yes, I'll love her all my life.

    Minister: Will you have, and also hold Just as you have at this time told?

    Groom: Yes, I will have, and I will hold, Just as I have at this time told, Yes, I will love her all my life As I now take her as my wife.

    Nice, huh? I really feel the Holy Spirit working through that exchange. Maybe Dr. Seuss did the pre-marital counseling. How about this:

    "I promise to make your favorite chocolate-chip pancakes on Saturdays."

    Or at least until we're older and our cholesterol is too high.

    Here's an exchange that really elevates the occasion:

    Groom: I choose you to be my wife. In front of our friends and family gathered here I promise to love and cherish you throughout the good times and bad times. I promise to try to remember to put down the toilet seat and to replace the toilet roll when it finishes. I promise to remember this day with love and roses. I will love you always.

    Bride: I choose you to be my husband. In front of our friends and family, I promise to love and cherish you through every obstacle that may come into our path. I promise to learn how to change a tire and how to refill the windshield fluid when it runs out. I will comfort you when your team loses and drink beer with you when they win. I will love you always.

    I think the Christian martyrs may have thought twice about their sacrifice if they knew that silly youngsters and a mercenary bridal industry would attempt to turn their witness into witlessness.

    I appreciate that Jesus worked his first miracle at a wedding. He changed water into wine to enrich the celebration of the entire community and so that all had something in which to share. It would become the metaphor for his entire ministry and its realization through the cross.

    Given what some brides, er, couples, wish to do with contemporary church weddings, I think they may have thought that Jesus was at Cana of Galilee to perform some magic act as part of the entertainment.

    Meanwhile, In Egypt

    Christian churches across Egypt stormed, torched

    The office of the Presiding Bishop had this to say: "   ".
    Capitalism: This chart shows what Bono is talking about

    This Is Getting To Be A Strange Century

    Marriage Is the New Middle-Class Luxury Item

    Begone, Proles! American Royalty Requres Guns For Protection, Your Schools Don't.

    White House responds to “Gun Free Zone” petition – politicians need armed security

    Kudos To An Upper Middle-Aged Athlete

    First Ohioan to swim across Lake Erie chased an endless horizon through rough, cold water

    Surfers Aren't Looking Too Good These Days

    The new face of SNAP? Food stamps buy lobster for surfer and his buddies


    Surfing Is So Calm And Peaceful

    Jamie O'Brien punches Ricardo dos Santos at the Billabong Pro Tahiti Trials

    Friday, August 16, 2013

    It's A Quiet Day, So I Sent The Admin Home Early, Will Spend The Afternoon Casually Visiting Folks, And Now Will Post A Photo Of My [What Else?] Laughing Granddaughter

    Friday's Church: The Shell Church in Huntington Beach, California

    Ah, California.  Yes, it's a church in a former Shell gas station.  It's still around and, though rather plain on the inside, enjoys an enthusiastic congregation.  Plus, they left the Shell logo in place as a nice evocation of the ministry of The Great Fisherman.

    Thursday, August 15, 2013

    Off today at a very important [?] environmental conference on Connecticut's pleasant shoreline. Standard calls will be returned tomorrow; urgent calls as soon as possible.

    Thursday's Bible Recipe: Lamb and Couscous

    This may be the most common recipe of the 1st century, somewhat adapted to modern tastes [Craisins? Really?].

    1 large package of couscous
    ¾ cup boiling water
    2 lb. lamb, trimmed of fat and cubed
    olive or sunflower oil
    1 tsp. turmeric
    1 tsp. allspice
    ½ tsp. ground cloves
    4 Tbsp. honey
    2 cups fresh chives, diced
    4 cloves garlic, crushed
    1 tsp. black pepper
    ½ tsp. salt
    ½ cup dried cranberries or craisins
    juice and rind of 1 lemon
    small bunch fresh parsley, chopped

    Preheat oven to 450°F.

    In a large bowl, mix the couscous with boiling water and wait for about 10 minutes. Whisk with a fork, cover, and set aside. (If the mixture seems dry, add a bit of hot water, 1 Tbsp. at a time, until it appears fluffier.)

    Place lamb cubes into a large frying pan and brown, brushing them with olive or sunflower oil while constantly turning over the cubes. Sprinkle on turmeric, allspice, and ground cloves and continue to cook on a low temperature for about 10 minutes, all the while brushing the cubes with oil. Slowly pour the honey over the meat, increase the temperature, and cook for about 5 minutes, making sure that the meat is done but not burned.

    Remove the lamb and set aside in a large, covered serving bowl. Saute´ the chives, garlic, pepper, and salt in the juice remnants (if very little juice remains, add a bit of hot water and 1 tsp. oil and continue) and cook for 5–7 minutes on a moderate heat. Stir in the dried cranberries (or craisins) and the lemon juice and rind; then mix in the couscous. Pour the couscous mixture over the lamb and toss in the chopped parsley. Turn out onto a large cake platter and serve.

    Makes approximately 4 normal servings at 430 calories per.

    Wednesday, August 14, 2013

    Hartford Would Prefer That Investors Stay Out Of The State, Thank You

    Connecticut is ranked 50th among the states for economic growth, the number of small businesses is shrinking more rapidly than in 47 states, the state just raised taxes by 1.8 billion dollars and that still won't be enough to maintain the overgenerous, underfunded state public pensions, Barron's rates the state as the worst in the union for investment, and don't get me started on the quiet but staggering growth in costs associated with probate court.

    That, plus the loss of hundreds of more jobs at Pratt and Whitney; Ruger building its new plant, and its 400 new jobs, in North Carolina, and the capital's daily paper has a shrinking circulation, a sinking budget, and waning influence.

    So, naturally, the city government would take the following action:

    Council Passes Resolution Opposing Koch Brothers’ Takeover Of Hartford Courant

    Wednesday's Art

    "The Good Samaritan" by Eugene Delacroix, completed in 1852.  It may be viewed in London's Victoria and Albert Museum.

    Tuesday, August 13, 2013

    Soon, If You Want To Buy Even Just One Shotgun Shell For Skeet Shooting, Connecticut Will Demand You Be Trained In Gun Safety By Official Instructors

    You know, like this guy:

    Gun safety instructor SHOOTS one of his students by accident while demonstrating how to use a firearm

    So relax, and leave the guns to the professionals.

    'Bout Time. Y'Know, Feminism And All.

    After nearly 50 years of feminism, men want to go Dutch.Nearly two-thirds of them — 64 percent — believe women should pay for their share of dates, a survey has found.  And 44 percent of men said they would drop a woman who never chips in, according to the findings reported at the American Sociological Association’s annual meeting in Manhattan.

    Just When I Thought The 21st Century Couldn't Get Any More Absurd, I Read This Headline

    Rodeo clowns asked to take ‘sensitivity training’

    It's A Bad Headline, Which Is A Shame, As I Thought It Was A Much Better Story Than It Turned Out To Be

    Man asked to clean up after dog pulls gun

    Tuesday's Wave

    There are some defeats more triumphant than victories. ~Michel de Montaigne

    Sunday, August 11, 2013

    If You Know History, You Are Less Likely To Be Exploited

    So, from the government's point of view, this is an ideal decision:

    National Civics, History Tests to Disappear

    Anglican/Episcopal Person Of The Week

    Jeremy Taylor [1613-1667] -  In the years between 1633 and the ascendancy of the Puritans in 1645, Taylor was a Fellow of two Cambridge colleges and chaplain to Archbishop Laud and to King Charles. Under Puritan rule, he was imprisoned three times, and forced into retirement as a family chaplain in Wales. After the Restoration, in 1661, he became Bishop of Down and Connor in Ireland. 

    Taylor wrote many works of theology, but they can be best summarized by this quotation he once offered to one of his students: "A religion without mystery must be a religion without God."

    O God, whose days are without end, and whose mercies cannot be numbered: Make us, like your servant Jeremy Taylor, deeply aware of the shortness and uncertainty of human life; and let your Holy Spirit lead us in holiness and righteousness all our days; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

    Another Broken Narrative

    I seem to recall, in the aftermath of our state's shooting spree tragedy, a few timid souls mildly challenged Hollywood about their rampant use of gun violence as plot devices in contemporary entertainment.  This seemed reasonable, in light of the fact that a brace of stars and starlets were posting videos scolding those of us on the outside of their bubble not to be violent and not to be permitted what appears to be a Constitutional right.  After all, entertainment is where one may find the most egregious and soul-twisting examples of gun, knife, power tool, and kung fu death grip violence.

    When challenged, I recall some greasy auteur getting rather exercised about the question and responding that television shows and movies don't encourage violence.  Well:

    From 'Breaking Bad' to worse: When TV shows inspire wicked crimes

    Saturday, August 10, 2013

    This Is Highway Robbery! [Sorry, Couldn't Resist]

    Russian man accused of stealing an entire road

    I Don't Think This Was Meant To Be Seen By The General Public

    Political consultants write a booklet on how to exploit the deaths of innocents to further an ideology. Ah, secularism.

    The booklet explicitly urges foes of the Second Amendment to abjure rationality in favor of the argumentum ad passiones, or appeal to emotion. "When talking to broader audiences, we want to meet them where they are," the authors advise. "That means emphasizing emotion over policy prescriptions, keeping our facts and our case simple and direct, and avoiding arguments that leave people thinking they don't know enough about the topic to weigh in." 

    The do's and don'ts are consistent with this advice. "Examples of power language" include: "It breaks my heart that every day in our country (state or city) children wake up worried and frightened about getting shot." "Just imagine the pain that a mother or father feels when their young child is gunned down." "The real outrage--the thing that makes this violence so unforgivable--is that we know how to stop it and we're not getting it done."

    You're Not Allowed To Say That, It Breaks The Narrative

    Girls commit dating violence as often as boys, studies show

    It's Estimated That Half Of The US Public Has Violated A Law Without Even Realizing It

    One In 25 Americans Was Arrested In 2011

    Really, Bob? In Church?

    A 10th woman has come forward to 10News to accuse San Diego Mayor Bob Filner of sexual harassment. Renee Estill-Sombright said the incident occurred at the La Jolla Presbyterian Church in June. It was an incident that she described as creepy.

    Rocky Colavito's birthday cake.  If you have to ask "Rocky who?", I feel sorry for you.

    Something's Happening To My Oldest Surf Buddies

    Dolphin strandings, deaths seen off East Coast waters

    Give Me Five Minutes

    How Did Rich Connecticut Morph Into One Of America's Worst Performing Economies?

    Here's a gem:
    • Connecticut ranks #50 – the worst — in annual economic growth.  According to the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis, Connecticut’s economy contracted for the second year in a row.  “Connecticut is the laggard,” reported Connecticut Department of Labor economist Daniel Kennedy.

    Mr. And Mrs. Government Didn't Do So Well This Time

    Actually this is a painful story to read, so please be advised.

    State Seizes Two-Year-Old Child From Parents Because They Smoked Pot, Child Dies in Foster Care

    Friday, August 9, 2013

    Unique Churches: St. Edward's, The Cotswolds, UK

    St. Edward's was originally built in the 11th century, but reflects the complicated Christian history of England in its evolving design and appearance.  It was added to in the 15th century and renovated in the 17th and again in the 19th centuries.  It is known for its north entrance, which is flanked by two ancient yew trees that have found themselves merging with the building itself, a nice evocation of how the natural and the human-made are united for greater purpose by God.

    More about the church and its parish may be found here.

    Thursday, August 8, 2013

    You Mean Higher Education, Denuded Of An Active And Real Chaplaincy, Would Act In An Immoral Manner?

    "A failure to act ethically, and a failure to show compassion"

    I'm Arranging For My Audition

    Serpent-handling pastors to star in 'Snake Salvation' reality show

    God's Grandeur At Work

    Sun Will Flip Its Magnetic Field Soon

    Art Horn Writes An Interesting Letter. He Uses Facts, Too, Which Are Rather Unpopular When Speaking Of Climate Or Weather

    Art Horn Letter to Connecticut State Department of Agriculture

    Thursday's Biblical Recipe: Grilled Mackerel on a Stick [John 21:1–14]

    • ⅓ cup sunflower or sesame oil
    • juice of 3 limes
    • 1 Tbsp. tarragon
    • 1 tsp. salt
    • 1 tsp. paprika
    • 2 lb. fresh mackerel or sea bass, cut into 1” chunks
    • 2 large onions, cut and separated into small wedges
    • 12 small truffles [Good luck finding/affording these, so feel free to omit].
    • 4 ripe tomatoes, cut into thirds
    • 1 green pepper, cut in pieces
    • 1 yellow pepper, cut in pieces
    • 3 limes, cut in half
    • basmati rice and capers

    Concoct a spicy marinade of sesame oil, lime juice, tarragon, salt, and paprika. Place the fish chunks in a large dish and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours.

    Skewer the fish, alternating with wedges of onion, tomato, truffle, and green and yellow pepper. Place over hot flame or coals, turning frequently, for about 6–8 minutes, being careful not to overcook the fish. Serve on a bed of basmati rice and capers, and sprinkle with lime juice squeezed by hand.

    Makes 4 normal servings.

    While what we call mackerel was not present in the Sea of Galilee, a fish closely related was. This is an approximation to what Jewish families of the Galilean region would be eating, and what the resurrected Jesus shared with his disciples on the cited occasion in the Gospel of John.
    With the basmati and capers, a serving would contain around 347 calories.

    Of course, in the 1st century, the whole fish, head and all, would be served on the stick and not sliced, either.  I'm told they're tastier with the head still on.

    Wednesday, August 7, 2013

    Relax, Let The Professionals Handle The Guns [And Tasers]

    An 18-year-old skater was Tasered to death yesterday by Miami Beach Police officers after they caught him tagging a building.

    He painted some graffiti you see, so he had to die.

    Yeah, I'd Rather Not Be The One To Answer That

    Will These Wetsuits Actually Deter Shark Attacks, or Just Encourage Them?

    Given what they look like, I'd rather not wear one, anyway.

    "Why, Exactly, Did We Leave Poland?" Or, Relax And Leave The Guns To The Professionals.

    A disturbing trend in law enforcement: Heavily alarmed assault teams sent after emaciated fawns, WWII veterans in walkers, and unarmed college kids buying bottled water

    A group of state Alcoholic Beverage Control agents clad in plainclothes approached her, suspecting the blue carton of LaCroix sparkling water to be a 12-pack of beer. Police say one of the agents jumped on the hood of her car. She says one drew a gun. Unsure of who they were, Daly tried to flee the darkened parking lot.


    It took no fewer than nine crack commandoes from the Department of Natural Resources plus four deputy sheriffs to swoop down on the Society of St Francis in order to euthanize a fawn.

    and now,

    First they tased him, but that didn’t work. So they fired a shotgun, hitting him in the stomach with a bean-bag round. Wrana was struck with such force that he bled to death internally, according to the Cook County medical examiner.“The Japanese military couldn’t get him at the age he was touchable, in a uniform in the war. It took 70 years later for the Park Forest police to do the job,” Wrana’s family attorney, Nicholas Grapsas, a former prosecutor, said in an interview with me Thursday.

    He chose not to take his medication, you see, so he had to die.

    Wednesday Art: Type [Eve] Meets Ante-Type [Mary] In Christian Art

    It's entitled "Fall and Rise Again"

    Sunday, August 4, 2013

    She's Spiritual, Not Religious

    This Is A Brilliant Example Of Clever Advocacy

    This Week's Lesser Feasts

    August 7:

    John Mason Neale [1818-1866] - Neale founded the Sisterhood of St. Margaret, an early convent of nursing nuns in the Anglican [Episcopal] Communion, specifically of and for the Church of England.  However, his greatest contribution was as a composer of hymns, of which this is but a partial list:

    A great and mighty wonder
    All glory, laud and honor
    Alleluia, song of gladness
    Blessed city, heavenly Salem
    Blessed feasts of blessed martyrs
    Brief life is here our portion
    Christ is made the sure foundation
    Christian, dost thou see them
    Come, Holy Ghost, with God the Son
    Come, ye faithful, raise the strain
    Creator of the stars of night
    Draw nigh and take the Body of the Lord
    For thee, O dear, dear country
    Jerusalem the golden
    Jesus, Name all names above
    Let us now our voices raise
    Light's abode, celestial Salem
    Now that the daylight fills the sky
    O blest Creator of the light
    O God, creation's secret force
    O God of truth, O Lord of might,
    O sons and daughters, let us sing
    O Trinity of blessed light
    O what their joy and their glory must be
    O wondrous type! O vision fair
    Of the Father's love begotten
    Sing, my tongue, the glorious battle
    Stars of the morning, so gloriously bright
    The day is past and over
    The day of resurrection
    Those eternal bowers
    Thou hallowed chosen morn of praise
    To thee before the close of day 

    Grant, O God, that in all time of our testing we may know your presence and obey your will; that, following the example of your servant John Mason Neale, we may with integrity and courage accomplish what you give us to do, and endure what you give us to bear; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

    August 8:

    Dominic [1170-1221], the founder of the Dominican Order of monks and nuns, originally established as a religious community based on the vow of poverty and the exercise of the intellect, and officially known as the Order of Preachers.  Three times he was offered the post of bishop, and turned down each in order to continue a life that was simple and without the opulence that had become associated with episcopal authority.

    O God of the prophets, you opened the eyes of your servant Dominic to perceive a famine of hearing the word of the Lord, and moved him, and those he drew about him, to satisfy that hunger with sound preaching and fervent devotion: Make your church, dear Lord, in this and every age, attentive to the hungers of the world, and quick to respond in love to those who are perishing; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

    August 10:

    Laurence [?- 258] was one of the seven deacons of the congregation at Rome, those who were in charge of administering the church budget, especially for the care of the poor. In 257, Emperor Valerian began a persecution aimed mostly at the clergy and the laity of the upper classes, the goal of which was the seizure of church property and elimination of Christian "meetings".  Pope Sixtus II and most of the clergy were summarily executed.

    The Prefect of Rome, knowing that Laurence was the principal financial officer, promised to set him free if he would surrender the wealth of the Church. Laurence agreed, but said that it would take him three days to gather it. During those three days, he placed all the money at his disposal in the hands of stewards, and then assembled the sick, the aged, the poor, and the widows and orphans, presented them to the prefect, and said, "These are the treasures of the Church."

    This was not well-received by Roman authority and Laurence was martyred with creative brutality.

    Almighty God, you called your deacon Laurence to serve you with deeds of love, and gave him the crown of martyrdom; Grant that we, following his example, may fulfill your commandments by defending and supporting the poor, and by loving you with all our hearts; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

    Saturday, August 3, 2013

    No Surprise, Really. I've Owned Four Hondas.

    Ferrari owners hate driving, Honda owners love it, Volvo drivers are most miserable

    At Least Someone Is Trying To Teach Them

    Ford’s Vibrating Shifter Teaches Simpletons How to Drive a Manual

    Breaking News

    Wales joins the International Surfing Association

    One Of The Things I Miss The Most In This Brave, New 21st Century Are Small Town Newspapers

    They are, alas, fading into oblivion due to the realities of a changing market.  The best thing about them, other than the pictures of common, uncomplicated life, were the marvelous headlines.  For example, my favorite from the 1970's was "Man, 90, Dies".

    Tim Blair, an Australian journalist, enjoys them, too, and relates a brief list:

    • Oven removed from home
    • No flood warnings for North Somerset
    • Smug swans attack Dalmatian
    • Mystery of wheelchair left in Shoreham pub
    • Road stays open
    • Man Found Nailed To Bench
    • Elderly terrified by food fight
    • Woman found in Germany
    • Guides delighted with their rubbish award
    • Goldfish catch sparks debate
    • Youth Found In Phone Box With Fork
    • Cat hops into delivery van

    Archaeological News

    Team examining Gulf shipwreck discovers 2 other wrecks

    Friday, August 2, 2013


    Of course it's important to read the great poets and novelists. But not in a university classroom, where literature has been turned into a bland, soulless competition for grades and status.

    Yep, We're Working With The Vatican To Erase Poverty; Something You Won't Hear About On The Conventional News

    The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, is in talks with Pope Francis about a new initiative that would link the Anglican Communion with the Vatican in the fight against poverty.
    I think I saw this somewhere.  Was it the local senior center?  Can't recall.

    Stories Like This Are Getting Too Easy To Find, But Here We Go Again. Relax And Leave The Guns To The Professionals, Part Whatever

    An eyewitness recorded cellphone video of a Santa Ana police officer shoot and kill an unarmed 22-year-old homeless man at a shopping center earlier this week.

    He called her a name, you see, so he had to die.

    Summer Shark Story II

    A 15-year-old girl has died after a shark “bit her in half” while she was swimming in the Indian Ocean.

    Elsewhere In Cleveland, Some Clown Keeps Three Women As Prisoners In His Home For Ten Years And The Police Don't Notice

    Cleveland Police Disciplining 75 Cops After An Unarmed Couple Was Shot 137 Times

    Need I say it?  Ah, what the heck: Relax and leave the guns to the professionals.

    A True Hero, And About Time She Was Honored

    Statue of Korean War horse Reckless to be unveiled at Marine museum in Virginia

    Everything Is Losing Its Charm For The Same Reason

    By pandering to our shrinking attention spans, modern surf films are losing their charm

    You Could Feel Free To Let That One Go Extinct

    Scientists work to protect rare Canadian lizard that shoots blood out of its eyes 
    I'm watching TV news and realized that "baby bump" is a stupid term.  That's all.

    The New York Times Continues To Distinguish Itself In The Field Of American Religion [And Pop Culture]

    NYT struggles to distinguish Voltaire, Spider-Man and Jesus

    This is the third occasion this year when the NYT has revealed itself to be staffed by dullards.

    It's As If One Has Something To Do With The Other

    Even as audiences shrink, ticket prices hit a high

    How Else Would He Do It?

    One step at a time, man walks across United States

    By Definition, Yes

    More Top Officials Have Graduate Degrees From Oxford Than Any Public University in the United States: Is the Administration elitist?

    There's Something Wonderfully "Cleveland" About This

    Man wants Browns pallbearers so team 'can let him down one last time'

    American Stupid, Politician Edition

    Rep. Corrine Brown: Bible tells us to provide food stamps

    It's not all sharks and headfirst trips to the bottom that should worry you while surfing

    While surfing is not particularly dangerous, spending lots of time in an unpredictable ocean, with Lord knows what swimming below and around you, and reefs, rocks, sandbars, and sharp, pointy surfboards all in play, the possibility of an unpleasant death always lurks. Here are five weird ways that your next session could be your last.

    I've Never Had A Cat That Would've Let Me Get Away With This

    A KITTEN has almost died after its owners fed it a strict vegan diet.The horrific case at a North Melbourne animal hospital has prompted a warning about the dangers of people "forcing ideologies" on their pets.

    The Decline Of American Education

    In the early years of the 20th century, the students in Bullitt County, Kentucky, were asked to clear a test that many full-fledged adults would likely be hard-pressed to pass today. The Bullitt County Genealogical Society has a copy of this exam, reproduced below—a mix of math and science and reading and writing and questions on oddly specific factoids–preserved in their museum in the county courthouse.

    A Valid Question

    Of these, the third is the most controversial because it implies that authentic Christianity is not sufficiently liberal or tolerant for the modern age and that there were few or no pre-modern liberalizing trends within Christianity itself. There’s much historical and scholarly evidence to support the latter, much of which has been published in Acton’s Journal of Markets and Morality over the years. But the larger question is: What has happened to this Christian basis for liberalism over the succeeding centuries? Or to put it another way, while Christianity may have provided fertile soil for modern liberalism, has liberalism returned the favor?

    Yes, But No One Gets Elected Or Maintains Political Power By Being Concerned About Foreign Christians

    We are living through one of the largest persecutions of a religious group in history.

    No Surprise To Me

    Feeling good after a day at the beach? Study proves benefits of spending time near the ocean

    Either Archaeological Or Forensic News

    White man's skull has Australians scratching heads

    One Of The Last Pieces Of Surfing's Innocent Days Is Now Dashed

    This really bothers me, and it apparently bothers Mead, too.

    Ultra-wealthy Southern California residents have just won a victory in the battle to impose their social preferences on the poor. The neo-puritan landowners of Newport Beach, worried about their “asthma and allergies,” have convinced air-quality regulators to make it impossibly hard for the public to use the beach fire-pits that have lined California’s coast for half a century. Sixty fire pits in Newport will be removed, and local officials can now ban them entirely if they decide “that the fires are causing a nuisance.”

    New Feature: Unique Churches. This Week, It's Trinity Episcopal Church in Boston

    Trinity Church

    The architect was Henry Hobson Richardson and it was completed in 1877.  The entrance seen in the photo is meant to evoke the Trinity with its three doors and portals.  It is a feature that many subsequent churches sought to copy, to better or worse affect.

    Thursday, August 1, 2013

    Archaeological News


    Regrettably, This Is True In Churches, Too

    Men -- the new second class citizens

    Ask Any Reporter In An Unguarded Moment And He/She Will Tell You That "Religion" Stories Are The Ones They Try To Avoid

    "Is fraud a religion story? Not necessarily. Is Planned Parenthood a religion story? Not necessarily. But what about the larger issue of the problems mainstream media have covering abortion and other social issues related to religion? Is it worth noting here, for instance, the very odd lack of coverage of Planned Parenthood’s recent settlement over fraud allegations? 

    You wouldn’t probably know it from media coverage...."

    You Mean Academics Don't Have All Of The Answers?

    But, but, but, they're so smart.  I know because, when I was one of them, that's what we told ourselves.

    From Horace Mann to President Obama, and legions of politicians and educators in between, education has been heralded as the great equalizer, an institution that can balance (if not undo) racial, ethnic or other inequities that separate segments of society. 

    If higher education in the United States ever fulfilled that role, it is doing so less and less, not more, as time passes. 

    That is the stark and in many ways distressing conclusion of a report released today by researchers at Georgetown University: “Separate and Unequal: How Higher Education Reinforces the Intergenerational Reproduction of White Racial Privilege.” 

    The report's assertion that African-American and Latino youth -- especially those from low-income backgrounds -- are underrepresented at the nation’s 468 most selective four-year colleges and overrepresented at the 3,250 open-access two- and four-year institutions will probably surprise few; that’s a circumstance of long standing.

    Over 40% of the increase in tuition costs over the last generation has been to fund "diversity" programs and their various deans, directors, and staffs.  That was money well spent, eh?

    Also, is "intergenerational" a real word?