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Je ne sais quoi

(34 posts)

The Best Final Episode Ever

Saturday··2007·09·15 · 1 Comments
If you weren’t a Newhart fan, you won’t get this. It won’t be even slightly humorous. Kind of like a lot of my jokes.

Say that Again?

. . . the armless man attacked her brother.“They got into a big confrontation, a verbal confrontation and a fist fight . . .” I know it’s not really a funny story, but an “armless man” in a “fistfight” just cracks me up.
Together for the Gospel 2008 was a great experience, one of the highlights of, oh, the last several years. But, as most of us know, high points are often followed by depressing lows. Such has been the case with me. Arriving home after a grueling but exhilarating week of fellowship and fun, giddy with excitement and fairly bursting with experiences to share with my dear readers, I began posting. I posted pictures. Then the comments came rolling in. Several readers who had been at the conference wrote in praise of my wife, who was surely deserving, but were rather less complimentary of yours truly. (One fine fellow said I looked like an Oxford professor, which I think was a compliment, but then I’ve never seen an Oxford professor, so I don’t know.) While she was described with such adjectives as “terrific,” “wonderful,” and “lovely,” I was pretty much ignored—at least until one character who shall remain nameless called me “weirdo,” and his progenitor, who shall remain hairless, besmerched my necktie. I wonder: does he even know how to tie a tie? I’ll bet he wears clip-ons. Sorry, I’m wandering. Anyway, you can probably understand, then, why my self-esteem might have been trampled on . . . that is, might on have been trampled . . . or something like that. (On top of it all, I’m still struggling with prepositions.) Then, finally, one kind lady—with impeccable taste—said I was a “sharp dressed handsome fellow.” I perked up. My wife said she was “just being polite,” but I know better. Yes I do. I read it again: sharp dressed handsome fellow. And again: sharp dressed handsome fellow sharp dressed handsome fellow sharp dressed handsome fellow. ZZ Top began playing in my head. They come runnin’ just as fast as they can . . . What? Oh, sorry, I was daydreaming again. Well, that was only the beginning. While it’s nice to be admired superficially, we all want recognition that is more than skin deep. We want to be recognized for our character and intellect, don’t we? Mine was coming. My blue funk was finally and completely dispelled when, on his very own blog, no less a scholar than Dr. Michael A. G. Haykin, a man with two—two!—middle initials, called me “brilliant.” Brilliant brilliant brilliant . . . So there. I guess my terrific, wonderful, lovely wife is lucky to have me.

Random Thoughts

Tuesday··2008·05·20 · 2 Comments
Economist and syndicated columnist Thomas Sowell occasionally titles his columnRandom Thoughts. If you’ve read those columns, please lower your expectations several degrees before continuing. These are just a few things that have crossed my mind in the past week or so. Some are thoughts inspired by conversations, others are just the fruit of a wandering mind. On singing: Rebecca shared a nice hymn on Sunday, complete with a performance of said hymn by Fernando Ortega. She commented that it was “one of the few versions I could find that was not sung in a breathy female voice.” She almost set me off on my own list of irritations with popular singers, but I saved it for you. Rebecca already mentioned breathy (kiss me, baby!) singing. I’ll add: growling, whining, moaning, groaning, panting, yelling, screaming, and any other vocal affectation. Please—sing with the voice God gave you. It might not be a great one, but trust me, it’s better than the one you’re faking. My most hated musical crime is poor enunciation. I’m not referring to the careless kind, although that’s bad enough. I mean the intentional kind, in which the singer pronounces words in ways he never would if he was speaking, because it’s cool. Come on, people. Get Hooked on Phonics. A serious offender on both counts (this is one of those “wandering mind” segments) is Bob Dylan. Some say he can’t sing, but we’ll never know; we’ve never heard him try. I’d call what he does a combination of whining and moaning. And he obviously has no respect for phonics. His fans, if any are reading this, are thinking, “Yeah, but man, can he write. He’s a brilliant lyricist.” Yeah, whatever; I’ve got some poems I wrote when I was in 9th grade and in “love” with a gorgeous 8th grade blonde that might impress you, too. There is no male gender, nor female. Male and female are not genders; they are sexes. Gender is described as masculine or feminine. How do you pronounce evangelical? Most say “ēvangelical”; some say “ĕvangelical.” As I’ve observe who says what, I think I’ve figured it out. It’s those uppity guys with “Dr.” in front of their names who use the latter pronunciation. The rest of us are right, but will never be published. Every time I go out, I see people, including adults, wearing sweats—in public. What is wrong with these people? It really is a sign of societal decay when people are more concerned with being comfortable than presentable. For my part, if I meet you in a public place (not a gym or a jogging path), and you are wearing sweats, I’ll assume you can’t be trusted with serious responsibility. After all, you didn’t even manage to get dressed before leaving the house. No wonder your kid can’t wear his cap straight or pull up his pants. Sometimes I don’t understand my wife. The other day, she told me a story that was supposed to be funny, about a Norwegian who, overcome with emotion, confided in a friend: “I love my wife so much, I almost told her.” What’s funny about that? I thought it was touching.

Friday Frivolity

Friday··2008·05·23 · 1 Comments
Just sign here . . . Would you believe . . . You paid attention during 100% of high school! 85-100%! You must be an autodidact, because American high schools don’t get scores that high! Good show, old chap! Do you deserve your high school diploma? Create a Quiz Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! If you only knew. Well, after taking that quiz, I took this one: Your Language Arts Grade: 100% Way to go! You know not to trust the MS Grammar Check and you know "no" from "know." Now, go forth and spread the good word (or at least, the proper use of apostrophes). Are You Gooder at Grammar? Create a Quiz Well, of course. This is one of the few things I’ve worked hard to achieve. It’s just part of being an obsessive pain in the

Left Behind?

This has to be the best scam I’ve seen in a long time.* The home page of explains the purpose of this “ministry”: You’ve Been Left Behind gives you one last opportunity to reach your lost family and friends For Christ. Imagine being in the presence of the Lord and hearing all of heaven rejoice over the salvation of your loved ones. It is our prayer that this site makes it happen. You’ve Been Left Behind will send your email message to up to sixty-two of your loved ones who didn’t make the rapture. Imagine how taken back they will be by the millions of missing Christians and devastation at the rapture. They will know it was true and that they have blown it. There will be a small window of time where they might be reached for the Kingdom of God. We have made it possible for you to send them a letter of love and a plea to receive Christ one last time. “But wait,” you say, “who will send the emails?” Good question. I wondered, too. Maybe they have a few volunteers on staff who have intentionally, sacrificially put off “making a decision for Christ”† until after the rapture. A risky move, for sure, but what an expression of evangelistic zeal and love that would be! But no, they’ve got it figured out: We have set up a system to send documents by the email, to the addresses you provide, 6 days after the “Rapture” of the Church. This occurs when 3 of our 5 team members scattered around the U.S fail to log in over a 3 day period. Another 3 days are given to fail safe any false triggering of the system. Okay, now that you’re hooked, what will this cost you? The cost is $40 for the first year. Re-subscription will be reduced as the number of subscribers increases. Tell your friends about You’ve Been left behind. Alright, what are you waiting for? Subscribe now! Get my re-subscription rate down! [Update 2014: Yes, six years later, the site is still up, and it seems they’ve gotten enough subscribers to lower the price to $14.95] * I am not mocking anyone’s eschatology here. I am ridiculing anyone who thinks God will be left short-handed when I’m gone. I’m pretty sure he’s got things under control. † I am definitely mocking preachers of decisional regeneration. They’re asking for it, and worse.

It’s not nice to laugh …

So maybe I’m not nice.

What I Did Yesterday

Wednesday··2008·07·30 · 4 Comments
This is not Myspace. I just wanted to get that cleared up right away, as I’m going to do something I seldom do: ramble about my exceedingly mundane life. I got up yesterday, came to my office, and posted to the blog at 7:26 AM, according to the time on the post. Then, cup of coffee at hand, I did my Bible reading. I’m reading Romans this month. It takes a little less than an hour every day to read it through. Then I went to the dentist. I don’t really mind going to the dentist. Pain doesn’t bother me much; if I can survive the initial shot of Novocain, I’m alright. The real pain comes through speakers in the ceiling. Forty-five minutes of Lionel Ritchie is a lot to endure. “Hello—is it me you’re looking for?” No, Lionel, it’s not; please shut up. I hate morning appointments. They really mess up my day; it’s hard to get going on anything in the afternoon if I don’t get a good start in the morning. I decided to spend the afternoon fiddling around with some small projects, some important, most not. I needed to wash Lionel out of my ears, so I started up Musicmatch Jukebox. I’ve become a big fan of audio Bibles, and have several translations, so I put up a playlist of—what else?—Romans. It’s the book of Romans in six different translations, interspersed with music. It’s twelve hours long, so because of the late start, I didn’t get through it all yesterday. In case you care, and I haven’t bored you to death already, it goes like this: Romans, 1599 GenevaCeltic HymnsRomans, KJVChristopher Parkening, Simple GiftsRomans, NKJVChristopher Parkening, Grace Like a RiverRomans, ASVPaul S. Jones & the Westminster Brass, Praise God in His SanctuaryRomans, NASBPaul S. Jones, Impromptu: Meditative Hymn ImprovisationsRomans, ESVHandel, Messiah My wife made some really good beer-battered fish (now that I think of it, I didn’t even ask what kind of fish) for supper. Later, before going to bed, we watched an episode of The Twilight Zone. Now, wasn’t that just fascinating?

Thirsty Wordle

Saturday··2008·08·02 · 2 Comments
I suppose this makes me a fad-following nerd, but here it is: the Thirsty Theologian “Wordled.” Actually, it’s just last month’s archive. For some reason it wouldn’t do the front page.

Some Saturday Stuff

But first, a message from the management: Earlier this week, a kind and astute reader informed us that our RSS feed was unable to be read by Internet Explorer. Shocked—SHOCKED, I tell you—to hear that IE had a flaw, we popped up our own IE and investigated. Sure enough, we got the same error message that our helpful comrade had reported. So, at great personal sacrifice, I rolled up my sleeves and, as Ross Perot used to promise he would do (but never got the chance, in spite of the efforts of a certain crazy relative), got under the hood and fixed it. Now even those of you still using IE can subscribe; so hurry, do it now! Click here! Never miss a single scintillating post! Now, back to our regularly scheduled scintillation. Planning on buying a motorcycle? Show your wife this, but not this (pardon the “music”).

Wordle the Word

Saturday··2008·08·16 · 7 Comments
Alright, I admit it: these are kind of fun. This time, I entered the books of the Bible, the New Testament authors, and every biblical synonym, adjective, metaphor, etc. for the Word of God that I could think of, and here it is: the “Wordled” Word. As you can see, it’s black & white. Can you think of any biblical words or phrases I could have added?
Matt Gumm has condescended to enlighten us to how he writes, and has asked us to reciprocate. These are the questions he asks, and, for what they’re worth, my answers: What blogging tools do you use?I type anything of any length in Word, because I’m fussy about stuff like smart quotes,* and Word is the most convenient way to get that formatting. If I want to save a document to somewhere other than the blog, I use Google Docs. That way, I can access it from any computer. I don’t use Google Docs to edit html (though that would be very easy and convenient), because it adds a bunch of it’s own code that means nothing to me, and I must micromanage every jot and tittle. Anyway, the special formatting I do is easy enough to type in myself, or add in the blog editor (Movable Type).How do you post?After #1 above, I select “Published” and click “Save.” Duh.How do you get your ideas?Sporadically. Most of my posts are just bits of “what I’m reading.” Whenever I have an original thought(!), I write about it. Most of these are discarded as lame or useless. Sometimes, like now, I write in reaction to someone else; but I generally avoid doing so.Who is your target audience?Me. That is, everything I post is the product of whatever I’ve taken in for my own benefit. I just post whatever is on my mind (see #3), and hope others will be edified thereby. Just lately I’ve begun using the blog as a discipline, à la Challies. I’ve blogged every day since June 1st. Forcing myself to put something out each day requires me to put something in first.What do you hope to say or accomplish with your blog?Good question. I’m not really sure why I started blogging. I love to read, and I’m happy to take in all that I can even if I’m the only one who benefits from it; but if I can pass it along to others, that’s even better. If I have one goal, it might be that I’d like to be one small voice, tugging Christians away from all that is new, and back to the ancient truths of the Christian faith. Rather grandiose, I suppose, but I that’s my burden. * I no longer use Word for smart quotes, em dashes, etc. because I’ve learned that blog software can get senile and replace them with ���. You might have seen that in other posts on this site. I’m slowly working through those posts and replacing those characters with html entities.

Augustine Wordle

A Wordle of Augustine’s Confessions. Confessions was written as a prayer. Notice the focus of the prayer, as shown by the dominant words: Thy, Thou, Thee, God. Augustine also was obviously not a typical fundamentalist or evangelical, or it would have looked more like this:

Someone call Al Gore …

Saturday··2008·11·15 · 2 Comments
It ain’t exactly new, but I think he’ll like this.

Speedy Saturday

Saturday··2009·03·14 · 2 Comments
1927 Bugatti Type 38Ah, Saturday—a nice day for a leisurely drive in the country (this will cost you ten minutes of your life). I’m sure there is something theological I could say about this, but it’s just not coming to me.

More Saturday Fun

Fun in North Dakota! If last Saturday was a bit beyond your budget, this might suit you better. Warning: not for the squeamish, not PETA approved.

Uforstandig Først

Wednesday··2009·04·01 · 2 Comments
Uffdah! Another lame April Fool’s Day gag! RSS readers won’t get it. Click here to see what you missed.
If your time is worth anything to you, anything at all, click “back” immediately. This post is certain to be a complete waste of time. Sometimes I have completely useless thoughts. I know, I know, hard to believe, but true nonetheless. Here is one I had last night: Arnold Dorsey changed his name, and I don’t know why. It is common knowledge that aspiring entertainers with unwieldy names often change them to something a bit more marketable. Some of them, we can understand. A few examples: Charles Buchinsky became Charles Bronson. Archie Leach became Carey Grant. Betty Joan Perske became Lauren Bacall. Frederick Austerlitz became Fred Astair. Doris Von Kappellof became Doris Day. Frances Gumm became Judy Garland. Issur Danielovitch became Kirk Douglas. Samuel Goldfish, tired of being picked on at recess by the other movie producers, changed his name to Samuel Goldwyn. No one has to ask why Marrion Morrison changed his name to John Wayne. Some are not so understandable; for example: I can’t imagine why Frank Cooper changed his name to Gary Cooper, but okay, whatever, po-tay-to po-tah-to. Ditto Julie Wells, a.k.a. Julie Andrews. But seriously . . . Why would anyone with a perfectly normal name like Arnold Dorsey, who was not trying to be funny (like Caryn Johnson, AKA Whoopie Goldberg), change his name to Engelbert Humperdinck? How does it happen that anyone contemplating a name change, says, “Hey, how about Humperdinck?” Unless I am wrong—and I am never wrong—this makes no sense.

I am not a Trekkie, but …

This post is utterly irrelevant to your life. Star Trek opened, I think, May 7, and it just arrived at our little theatre last night; which is a small price to pay for not living in NY or LA, or any other crowded city. Anyway, I didn’t go. I’ll gladly wait ’til Monday night, when the theatre will be the least crowded. In the meantime . . . I’ve always been down on people who see movies rather than read books. On one occasion, A Tale of Two Cities came up in conversation, and one illiterate cinemaphile commented, “Oh, that was a good movie.” It was only due to my advanced state of maturity that I kept my immediate reaction bottled up inside, where every good man keeps his emotions. Getting to the point, or nearer to it, at least, I avoid seeing movies based upon books if I haven’t read the book. What has this to do with Star Trek? Well . . . I have a son who has picked up this tendency of mine, and multiplied it. He wants the original in all things. Like me, he dislikes abridged and adapted works. But he goes a bit further. He won’t see a movie remake without first seeing the original. If, by accident, he does see the remake first, he acts as though he’s been defiled. So, getting to the point—really, this time—we’ve been watching Star Trek. Thursday night, we watched Star Trek: The Movie; last night, The Wrath of Khan. Tonight, whatever comes next. Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a hoot. I think I’ve had enough. I hadn’t seen any of the Trek movies before. The first was fairly mediocre, I thought. Khan was good. Before watching it, I felt compelled to watch Space Seed again. Even though I fell asleep halfway through, I felt I had met my moral obligation. The Wrath of Khan was much better than its predecessor. I did think it interesting that Khan remembered Chekov, who hadn’t yet appeared on the show at the time of Space Seed. Trekkies have no doubt argued at length about that, but it’s an easily-explained inconsistency, not really an inconsistency at all. So Monday I will see the new Star Trek. My expectations are not high, having already discovered a major contradiction just from watching the trailer. If you care to see what that is, compare the trailer to A Piece of the Action. I hope I’m not too disappointed. P.S. Yes, those are my Pez dispensers. Hands off.

Still Not a Trekkie

Saturday··2009·06·13 · 2 Comments
As I mentioned last week, the Mrs and me went to see Star Trek on Monday. I’m sorry to say I was not impressed. If I had never seen Star Trek before, and so knew nothing about it, I would have thought it was okay. As it was, it just did not ring true. My complaints: The problems begin early, when we are introduced to a teen-aged James T. Kirk. Young Jim steals a classic Corvette, drives it like a pro, and wrecks it. Of course we all know (don’t we?) that later in life, when it becomes necessary for Captain Kirk to drive a car, he doesn’t know how, having never done it. The creative minds behind the movie seemed to follow the philosophy currently popular among writers and directors, i.e., keep it moving fast with plenty of action, and no one will notice how thin the plot and/or how one-dimensional the characters. Star Trek was never predominantly an action show. It was a drama, focusing more on strategy than actual combat. This Star Trek seemed to major in cool fight scenes. Finally—and this one is just unforgivable—a Spock-Uhura romance? I could maybe overlook the movie’s other failings, but that was just stupid. Having grossed $226,428,402 (as of June 11), it is the third highest grossing movie of the last year, so I would guess an entirely unnecessary sequel will be coming. Sad, really.

Même (rhymes with phlegm)

Friday··2009·10·30 · 5 Comments
Sorry, nothing of substance here today. In lieu of actual content, I’ve taken a glance at my bookshelves and picked out my top three in three categories: living authors, dead authors, and publishers. These are not necessarily the tops in number of volumes, but in importance/value to me. Top Three of Three Top three living authors: John MacArthur Iain Murray Mark Dever Top three dead authors: John Calvin Horatius Bonar J. C. Ryle Top three publishers: Banner of Truth Crossway Hendrickson What are your top three of three?
His friends call him Will Yam Tube Eeyore naught two bee, that is the question: Weather ’tis no blur inn the mined two suffer Thus ling sand air rows of out rage us fore chin, O’er toot ache arms against a see of troubles, And buy up posing end them? Too dye: two’s leap; Know moor; and bias leap too seigh wee end The hart ache and the thousand natural shocks That flesh is air two, ’tis a consummation Devout lee too bee wish’d. Two dye, too sleep; Two sleep: perchance too dream: eye, theirs the rub; Four inn that sleep of death watt dreams may come Wen wee halve shuffle doff this more tall coil, Mussed give us paws: theirs the respect That makes calamity of sew long life; Fore who wood bare the whip sands corns of thyme, The owe press oars wrong, the prowed manse con tomb lee, The pangs of despised love, the laws delay, The insolence of office and the spurns That pay shunt mare it of the unworthy takes, Wen he himself mite his quiet us make With a bear bawd kin? who wood far dells bare, Too grunt and sweat under a weary life, Butt that the dread of sum thing after death, The undiscover’d con tree from who’s born Know traveller returns, puzzles the will And make suss rather bare though sills wee have Than fly two others that wee no knot of? Thus conscience does make cowards of us awl; And thus the native hew of resolution Is sick lead oar with the pail caste of thought, And enter prizes of grate pith and moment With this regard they’re currants tern a rye, And lose the name of action—Soft ewe now! The Pharaoh feel ya! Nymph, inn thigh orisons Bee awl mice inns remember’d.

A New Direction

Thursday··2010·04·01 · 9 Comments
If you missed reading this on April 1, this is what you would have seen. My biannual facelift wasn’t scheduled until June, but with Spring in the air, I’m in the mood for something fresh right now. This upgrade is more than just a new look. It represents a whole new mindset, one that is more positive, upbeat, and optimistic. I’m sure I’ve benefited in some ways from the reading I’ve done to bring you the content to which you’ve become accustomed, but really, enough is enough. Those old, dead theologians were good, as are the living who follow in their footsteps, but there comes a time to move on and embrace the present, with a cheerful eye to the future. So I’m leaving the past behind, and beginning a new journey. My traveling companions will be today’s prophets of hope. In the coming months, if you join me, we’ll be soaking up the optimistic wisdom of great contemporary thinkers like Joyce Meyer, Creflo Dollar, and Joel Osteen. I look forward to embarking on this new adventure, and sharing new insights with you daily. Will you join me?

Just for Fun: Square Poems

Tuesday··2011·04·05 · 7 Comments
Ever heard of a square poem? Neither had I, until today. A square poem is one which reads the same vertically as horizontally, like this example by Lewis Carrol. Composing a square poem is really quite challenging, and fun to boot. (If you think that makes me a nerd, it’s because you’re an illiterate boob. So there.) Here is my first attempt: The Lord is my shepherd. Lord, my God all merciful, Is God the sufficient redeemer. My all sufficient Savior be; Shepherd, merciful redeemer, be glorified. As poetry, it leaves something to be desired, I know. As prose, it’s not much better. Feel free to submit your own attempts. I myself will versify further in the comments.

Home from the Forest

Wednesday··2013·09·18 · 6 Comments
Monday, I tweeted about going to my first concert in almost thirty years since I went to see Steve Camp (give me a break, the ticket was free) back in nineteen eighty-something. On further recollection, it turns out that wasn’t true. My wife and I, back in the halcyon days of pre-parenthood, saw Michael Card and John Michael Talbot in concert (the latter remembered primarily for its excessive length and tediousness). Those were both more than twenty years ago, so perhaps you can extend a little grace for my befogged memory. So last night, we attended our first concert in more than twenty years, and were kept up past our bedtime, leaving me with somewhat abridged mental capacity this morning. Back in the day, as they say, I got up the next morning somewhat tired. Today, I am bone weary, leaving me with neither desire nor ability to produce anything. Blame Gordon Lightfoot who, judging by his tour schedule, must possess considerably more puissance than I—and that at seventy-five years old. I figure he owes me a blog post. The concert was outstanding, by the way. The first hour was mostly songs I had never or seldom heard before. The second hour opened with Sundown, included several of his bigger hits (including those below), and closed with Canadian Railroad Trilogy. On the way home, I suggested to my wife that we become Gordon Lightfoot groupies and follow him around for the remainder of the tour, but she apparently has different priorities. Go figure women. 1969 1974 2000

Might as Well Be Canadian

Sorry, no blogging today. Can’t be helped. Snowed in, you see. Hazen ND, 7am MST, March 31, 2014: 10°f, wind 20mph, snow 8″ (and still falling). Forecast: high 18°, low -2°, wind 30mph, snow 12–18″.

Suffering in the First World

I don’t know what’s worse: having my computer crash, or getting it back fixed and then having to restore all of my personal settings. Being a Calvinist, I naturally know that the whole mess not only works for my good, but was actually intended and ordained for my good. Wait, strike that. I don’t naturally know that (1 Corinthians 2:14). I know it because the Holy Spirit has taught me through the Word. Apparently, I am in need of more improvement (2 Corinthians 4:17). “The whole mess,” as I called it, did in fact work for good. Whether I myself am at all improved remains to be seen, but my computer has certainly been born again (though probably not “of the Spirit”). Yesterday after lunch, the Good Wife took it the eighty miles to C-Ram in Bismarck, where the fine folks there made the effort to rush the job so a return trip to collect it would not be necessary. Thank you, C-Ram, and thank you, Good Wife. Better yet, my little netbook, which has served me well these several years, and which I have grown to love, whose OS has been abandoned by its maker for systems that defy logic, left the house with a mere 160GB HD and 1GB RAM (not much now, big at the time of purchase for a tiny laptop) and returned with 1TB HD and 2GB RAM. That’s 8.3X the HD and 8X the RAM of the first enormous tower system I bought twelve-or-so years ago for the price of (and weighing about as much as) a good used car. Unfortunately, it had forgotten everything I had taught it, and misplaced the many nice tools I had given it, and so much time has been—and will be—invested in retraining and re-equipping. Fortunately, I had nearly all of my data backed up. Life is hard, but like Job, I shall persevere.
I have nothing today, so here is a picture of my sock monkey. His name is Calvin. He likes studying theology, shooting, and romantic walks on the beach.

Parlez-vous what?

Last week, I filed a post under the heading Je ne sais quoi. I was asked what that means. I’ll explain it to you just like I did to one of my beloved offspring a few years ago. “What does ‘je ne sais quoi’ mean?” “I don’t know what.” “No, I’m asking you.” “No, listen: I didn’t say, ‘I don’t know, what?’ I said, ‘I don’t know what.’” “Do you know what it means, or not?” “I do.” “Well?” “I don’t know what.” “Mom! Dad’s being difficult.” In other news, Who is on first.

Put on Your Party Hats

Today, March 1, is Saint David’s Day. It may surprise you to learn that the day has nothing to do with me. You are, however, free to celebrate it as though it does, even though I am mostly not Welsh, and somewhat less venerable than would be ideal. Saint David is the patron saint of Wales. As you no doubt are aware, canonization of non-martyrs in the Roman Catholic religion requires proof “that a miracle has taken place by his or her intercession.” “Proof” is apparently as subjective as any charismatic “proof,” that is, someone must claim it happened, and others who want to believe must believe it. Easy-peasey. Anyway, according to Wikipedia, His best-known miracle is said to have taken place when he was preaching in the middle of a large crowd at the Synod of Brefi: the village of Llanddewi Brefistands on the spot where the ground on which he stood is reputed to have risen up to form a small hill. A white dove, which became his emblem, was seen settling on his shoulder. John Davies notes that one can scarcely “conceive of any miracle more superfluous” in that part of Wales than the creation of a new hill. Not too impressive, is it? However, “David is said to have denounced Pelagianism during this incident,” which is exactly what I would have done, given the circumstances. The resemblance would be striking, if I looked anything like this.

Exercising My Spiritual Gifts

This morning, I was inspired by the metrical Psalms of my friend David Regier, and I’ve been waxing poetic this afternoon. This is the result. If you like it, thanks. If not, it’s Mr Regier’s fault. For your edification: My arrival at church was belated; I came with my stomach unsated. Like a ravenous creature, It drowned out the preacher, And so I was excommunicated. A teacher of systematic theology, Whose avocation was zoology, Catechized an equine, Which got into the wine, And now he owes an apology. The organist came to church late, While the ushers were passing the plate. To shorten the story, There was no offertory; In shame, he became an oblate. Preparing for Sunday’s potluck, Mrs Jones baked a luscious roast duck. It made enough gravy To feed a whole navy (The remainders filled Mr Jones’ truck). The youth pastor said to his wife, “This job is creating such strife. “The time’s drawing near, “I really do fear, “I’ll be running top speed for my life.” Semper Deformanda.

An Empty Netser

I bet you think that’s a typo. We just returned from a grueling day in the big city. The highlight of the day was seeing a server at Starbucks, bald as Kojak, in a hairnet. Rules are rules, I guess, and it’s nice to see them enforced evenhandedly. Also, I enjoy incongruity, so it made for a pleasant interlude in an otherwise difficult day. And that’s all I’ve got today. See you tomorrow, maybe.

Shipwrecked, Lost, and Gone to Pieces

For your edification: Then there is my Lord Boodle, of considerable reputation with his party, who has known what office is and who tells Sir Leicester Dedlock with much gravity, after dinner, that he really does not see to what the present age is tending. A debate is not what a debate used to be; the House is not what the House used to be; even a Cabinet is not what it formerly was. He perceives with astonishment that supposing the present government to be overthrown, the limited choice of the Crown, in the formation of a new ministry, would lie between Lord Coodle and Sir Thomas Doodle—supposing it to be impossible for the Duke of Foodle to act with Goodle, which may be assumed to be the case in consequence of the breach arising out of that affair with Hoodle. Then, giving the Home Department and the leadership of the House of Commons to Joodle, the Exchequer to Koodle, the Colonies to Loodle, and the Foreign Office to Moodle, what are you to do with Noodle? You can’t offer him the Presidency of the Council; that is reserved for Poodle. You can’t put him in the Woods and Forests; that is hardly good enough for Quoodle. What follows? That the country is shipwrecked, lost, and gone to pieces (as is made manifest to the patriotism of Sir Leicester Dedlock) because you can’t provide for Noodle! On the other hand, the Right Honourable William Buffy, M.P., contends across the table with some one else that the shipwreck of the country—about which there is no doubt; it is only the manner of it that is in question—is attributable to Cuffy. If you had done with Cuffy what you ought to have done when he first came into Parliament, and had prevented him from going over to Duffy, you would have got him into alliance with Fuffy, you would have had with you the weight attaching as a smart debater to Guffy, you would have brought to bear upon the elections the wealth of Huffy, you would have got in for three counties Juffy, Kuffy, and Luffy, and you would have strengthened your administration by the official knowledge and the business habits of Muffy. All this, instead of being as you now are, dependent on the mere caprice of Puffy! —Charles Dickens, Bleak House (Alfred A. Knopf, 1991), 160–161.

Pauline & Johannine Theology (sort of)

This is for the folks who like to squeeze biblical themes, however painfully, from popular culture.* The Beatles preach Romans 7, or something like that: * I don’t, because that would be stupid. This post is entered as evidence.


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