Tuesday, June 24, 2008

And I threw away my cold fusion plans 'cause I thought there wasn't any money in it.

Back to the Future references are always welcome. My favorite part:

"We must travel to the past in order to fix our future," said Mr. Obama at a press conference. The road to our future lies in our past. And so we must go back. To the future."

The forgotten trilogy, Back to the Future.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Your Global Food Issues Update

Yes, We Will Have No Bananas, says the New York Times. I don't know what makes me sadder, the fact that we're supposedly going to lose our bananas or the fact that we already lost a better banana.

Part of me finds it hard to believe that after millenia of trade caravans crossing land and sea for exotic products, we're going to revert back to eating what grows nearby. It's hard to see that trend reversing in any significant way. I'd like to hope we'll be shipping bananas to Mars someday, rather than our colonists eating what they can grow from the local water sources.

Will we call it a "colony," though? That sounds so, imperialist.

A friend of mine has a talent for integrating his features into the faces of other people. How does Drew do it?

This picture might not mean anything to you if you don't know Drew, but it's downright creepy for me.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Garfield Minus Garfield

I stumbled upon a website called "Garfield Minus Garfield" where they take garfield comics and just remove the garfield element, making them all about John Arbuckle. haha, I thought it was worth a chuckle :-)

Mostly because Garfield sucks ass out of a rhino.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Don't Panic

You may be aware that I dislike the proliferation of the word "organic." I often don't know what people mean when they say that an organization or process is organic. And I often suspect that they don't know what they mean, either. Organic is just in the air nowadays.

Which made me appreciate this quote from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Arthur Dent has just been told that as a human being, he is an organic part of the vast computer program known as Earth:

"Well," said Arthur doubtfully. He wasn't aware of ever having felt an organic part of anything. He had always seen this as one of his problems.

As the Kinks said, "Arthur we know and we sympathize."

Monday, June 09, 2008

I call for a ban

I hereby call for a ban on a certain genre of commercial. You know the kind: some organization wants to tout the speed of their service, which they represent by showing something completely unrelated to their service moving at high velocity. Perhaps the service is internet access, depicted as a free-fall down the side of a building. I think I've even seen a bank depict their service metaphorically as a ride in a turbojet car across the Bonneville Salt Flats.

Marketers, just so you know, the metaphor is dead. Deader than Julius Caesar. Not that it was great to begin with. Our hearts don't start racing when we fail to experience delays in checking our email. Sorry, but we're spoiled.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Kevin Vanhoozer, call your office

Apparently we owe our cubicled existence (in part) to Reformed theology (HT: The Corner). Excerpts:

Max De Pree, one of the most important figures of both the cubicle revolution and its theories of management, hails from a place far from California in almost every possible way. The little community of Zeeland, Michigan is home to the Herman Miller office furniture company, about 5,000 people, and more than a dozen Dutch Reformed churches. De Pree spent most of his career as an executive at Herman Miller, the company his father founded. Under the leadership of Max and his brother Hugh, Herman Miller sold the first office cubicle, the Action Office, in 1968.

. . . .

If the California version of equality and freedom at work took its inspiration from communal farms and the remnants of hippie spirituality, De Pree’s version was straight Midwestern Protestantism. A member of the Reformed Church in America, De Pree told a reporter in 1986, “Each of us is made in the image of God. And if that’s true, then you cannot make the assumption that some of us are uncommon, and some of us are common.... We are all uncommon.”

I mention KJV because of his connections to Reformed theology (in the Dutch tradition*) and his exhortations to Christians to be intentional about creating culture. I guess it goes to show that culture creation doesn't always go right, even if your theology is correct.

Then again, Mrs. Chaka is about to move from a no-walls and barely-a-desk "workstation" to a real cubicle, and she's pretty happy about it. So maybe the cubicle is an improvement.

*In my mind at least, the Dutch stream of Reformed theology is more well-known for its embrace of the creation as good and its focus on the imago Dei and common grace than for its take on predestination. See Plowing in Hope, He Shines in All That's Fair, etc.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Links and My Honor

In the fall, the New Living Translation Study Bible will be available. You can look at sample pages here. Sean Harrison, the editor of the project, is blogging here.

In other happy news, I have been reconciled with the public library. There were a few tense weeks there when they wanted to charge me to replace a damaged book (it was like that when I checked it out, I swear!). I just found out that they believe me and are waiving the charge. It's a great relief. My honor is restored. Seriously, it depresses me for weeks when someone refuses to take me at my word. The infamous U-Haul incident 2007 haunts me to this day. Sure, I understand that you deal all day with people who lie and scam, but this is me!

And now I shall go swimming, if I can find the sunblock.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Killing Time in Suburbia

My eyes are strangely shaped. Most people who wear glasses can get new lenses at Lenscrafters in an hour. My lenses have to be made on the space station. Or somewhere else where it takes a week to get them.

Having gone to Lenscrafters for the fifth week in a row (I told you my eyes are strangely shaped), I had an hour to kill while they put the new lenses into the frames. So I wandered around, sampling the suburban retail delights. I browsed Williams Sonoma. I hit the three clothing stores that were conveniently placed right in a row: American Eagle, the Gap, and Banana Republic. It was like scaling the retail chain of being. The customer service scaled up too: At AE, every employee was busy folding clothes and talking on their cell phones. At the Gap, they were friendly but passive; they greeted me only when I entered their zone. At Banana Republic, the greeting came before the front door closed behind me. After I grabbed a couple pairs of pants, an employee swooped in to ask if she could start a fitting room for me.

I'm most comfortable with the Gap style of assistance. If I was actually going to spend money, I'd probably like the Banana Republic style, but as it is, it just makes me feel guilty. All that love and attention, and I'm just toying with them.

I tried on hats in the last two stores, too, under the inspiration of this article (HT: Joe Carter). Have you ever seen me in a hat? I look pretty darn goofy. It has something to do with my tiny head. I wear a child's baseball cap, for example, and my head still doesn't fill it right. According to this website, though, I should be looking for a porkpie or a trilby in green, gray, or brown. I'm more interested in the trilby, largely because I now think porkpie is the ugliest word in English. I mean, just say it a couple times. Porkpie. Porkpie. Ick.

Also, dadshats.com says that the porkpie is associated with ska, and I don't want to be associated with ska.

(But I can't help it. I love ska. I just don't want to be associated with it.)

Speaking of music I enjoy, this song makes me happy.

I find the video slightly disturbing, for reasons that aren't clear to me. Maybe it's the fact that the line "I give you my jelly" is played over the image of someone who looks like a preteen girl.

More than you wanted to know, probably.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Fundamentalist Features

Remember our old friend, "taking the Bible literally"? Well, he shows up again in this article from CNN (HT: Cramer Comments). As Cramer says, "Breaking news: not all evangelicals are intellectually inferior Neanderthals!"

I love the picture though. I wonder if Getty images has a file just for "Evangelical Worship Services." Must feature at least one hand raised and something that identifies the setting as rural.

Here's another survey question for you: What does the epiteth "Bible-thumper" mean? It's obviously pejorative, conjuring up the image of a preacher emphasizing a point by striking the Bible in his hand. But do you qualify as a Bible-thumper by virtue of how you physically treat the Bible? How you speak about the Bible? By citing Bible verses (from memory!) to support an argument? Gentle reader, what would you have to know about someone in order to call him or her a Bible-thumper?

According to this article, fundamentalists are a subset of evangelicals; they're the ones who interpret the Bible literally and believe in six calendar days for creation. Which would put a lot of people in the fundamentalist camp who wouldn't accept the label. I would guess that if you surveyed the members of the Evangelical Theological Society, for example, a strong majority of them would qualify as fundamentalists under this definition. Probably a strong majority of churchgoers in "evangelical" denominations, too.

Which brings us to Piper's list of reasons why he doesn't take potshots at fundamentalists (HT: JT), the best of which is the last one.

Update: According to USA Today, the entire Southern Baptist Convention, every last one of them, interprets the Bible literally (HT: JT).

And it turns out that critics of The Shack are bothered by the idea that "salvation is as free to all as an open bar at a party." Let's talk about The Shack, it's critics, and reporters who understand neither in our next post.