Quote of the Day, 12/17/08

12/17/2008, 7:00 am -- by | No Comments

“As a reader, I finally knew what I wanted to read, and as someone now yearning to become a writer, I knew exactly what I wanted to try to write: narratives of steep verbal topography, narratives in which the sentence is a complete, portable solitude, a minute immediacy of consummated language ”” the sort of sentence that, even when liberated from its receiving context, impresses itself upon the eye and the ear as a totality, an omnitude, unto itself.” — G. Lutz

Jokes of the Day, 12/16/08

12/16/2008, 7:00 am -- by | No Comments

How do you stop a robot from destroying you and the rest of civilization?
You don’t.

Why was six afraid of seven?
Because seven was a robot.

“Waiter! Waiter! What’s this robot doing in my soup?”
“It looks like he’s performing human tasks twice as well, because he knows no fear or pain.”

J.A. Boyd

One Hundred Words (38)

12/16/2008, 1:53 am -- by | 2 Comments

Every season has its own walk.

Spring is life, a barefoot romp, all pirouettes and ronds de jambe through chartreuse grass and soft, fresh mud.

Summer treads too lightly — sandals along a beach, tracks soon wiped clean by the trailing tide. Silent, calm, and consistent.

Autumn clomps: through leaves and sticks in hiking boots, loose gravel scattering, a hearty give-and-take with the earth.

But winter. Winter is a shuffling stagger, bent into a harsh gale, clinging to equilibrium. A prisoner’s gait, condemned, pained, proud. Craving contact. Each step could start the slip. Every stride presages the fall.


Three Links (Vol. 15)

12/15/2008, 11:25 pm -- by | No Comments

Michael Totten is an independent journalist who travels with various American units in Iraq, and reports from the front lines at a time when most of the media have forgotten those still exist. Routinely fascinating stuff.

— In an article from the indispensable First Things blog, Michael Linton compares the liturgical calendars of the church and the nation. Sketching out such key dates as Super Bowl Sunday, Halloween, and Mother’s Day, he concludes that while the traditional church calendar “commemorates the saving work of God through history, our American calendar celebrates money.” He admits this isn’t exactly a stunning insight, but the question remains: “If ”” or perhaps better, when ”” we run out of money, what will keep us together?”

— I’ve done way too many of these little quizzes lately. 115 countries isn’t bad though, right?

Quote of the Day, 12/15/08

12/15/2008, 7:00 am -- by | No Comments

“Great perils have this beauty, that they bring to light the fraternity of strangers.” — V. Hugo

Catlike Presidential Reflexes!

12/14/2008, 6:25 pm -- by | No Comments

An angry Iraqi journalist threw his shoes at President Bush today, yelling, “It is the farewell kiss, you dog.” The footage shows that al-Maliki tried to protect him from the second shoe. According to news reports, some of the other Iraqi journalists “stood up to apologize.”

Here’s the video:

Said the US pool report: “The president was at no point injured and he brushed off the incident. ‘All I can report is it is a size 10.'”

December’s Tract: Revealed!

12/13/2008, 12:00 am -- by | No Comments

How does Chick promote this tract?

If you picked “Funny, campy, over-the-top,” you’re a winner!!

Yes or no, turkey?!

©1984-2008 Chick Publications, Inc. Reprinted without permission as fair use (parody).

The Year in Review (Part Two)

12/12/2008, 12:00 pm -- by | 2 Comments

Read part one here!

In politics, one of the largest April Fool’s Day hoaxes in history is pulled off, when an American negotiator suggests beginning a trial placement of Patriot missiles in Poland, then ships a half-dozen missiles with instructions to place them in a corner of each round silo. Chaos ensues as teams work around the clock for several days to accomplish the impossible. President Bush later apologizes, admitting privately that he completely understood the confusion.

In other news, the international space station was rocked by a gust of wind from Earth after Britney Spears’ 16-year-old sister Jamie Lynn is found to be pregnant, and the entire population of the United States screams, “SHE HAS A SISTER?!?!?”

In more entertainment news, world-renowned artist Robert Indiana, famous for his LOVE sculpture that first appeared in 1966, returned to the public eye. His original sculpture — described at the time as groundbreaking — consisted of the letter L, followed by an O canted to the right, standing over a VE. In April 2008 he followed up that success with a HOPE sculpture, consisting of an H, followed by an O canted to the right, standing over the letters PE.

It only took him 22 years to come up with this brilliant follow-up. I hope he had a part-time job or something. Meanwhile, “Hannah Montana” caused a stir when she appeared in a photo shoot, wearing only a blanket, canted to the right, standing over nothing at all.

In the world of sports, the NHL playoffs got underway; the Philadelphia Flyers beat Washington in the first round on the strength of Danny Brière’s offense and the stellar goaltending of Marty Biron. Go Flyers!

The Presidential primaries continued to drag on, and Barack Obama\’s campaign took another hit when his pastor, Jeremiah Wright, released a new book: The Racially Tinged Rantings of Jabez. Obama vowed to stick by him. Only a few days later, however, Pastor Wright referred to Obama as a “politician” in a TV interview, causing Obama to denounce him and completely disassociate himself from the church. Hillary Clinton won Pennsylvania and lost North Carolina, but stayed in the race, claiming that she could “galvanize the white vote.”

In personal news, my family attends our nephew’s wedding in New York in a beautiful stone church built in the 1800s, with a reception at the historic Carriage House restaurant. It is a beautiful ceremony with the groom and all his groomsmen wearing tuxedos and flip-flops. For me, the highpoint was still when several of us discovered the letters on the sign outside the reception hall could be rearranged to read “Pirate Lion & Oxen Camp.” And they were.

In sports it was disclosed that Roger Clemens apparently carried on a decade-long affair with country singer Mindy McCready, starting when she was still in her teens. I detest this guy more and more every time I hear his name. Meanwhile, my beloved Flyers closed out their second-round series against the Montreal Canadiens on the strength of eight goals from forward R.J. Umberger. Every long-time fan knows what this means: Umberger will be the first player traded in the offseason.

Meanwhile, in the NBA, Carmelo Anthony was arrested for DUI and the Nuggets flamed out in their series against the Los Angeles Lakers. In baseball, the Yankees’ first season in a dozen years without Joe Torre at the helm began with a slump, while Torre’s new team, the Dodgers, stood five games over .500.

Summer 2008 began with a nationwide scare reminiscent of Attack of the Killer Tomatoes!, as people all over the country were sickened by salmonella poisoning purported to be from fast-food tomatoes. The outbreak was later traced to Mexican jalapeno peppers, but somehow Attack of the Killer Jalapenos! doesn\’t roll off the tongue as well, and never got the press coverage it rightly deserved.

Other than that, it was business as usual across the nation; gasoline climbed to over $4 per gallon, the big auto companies suffered devastating losses, the West Coast raged with wildfires, and the Midwest dealt with massive flooding again — all of which, of course, was President Bush\’s fault. Meanwhile, Obama captured enough delegates to claim victory in the Democratic primary, but Hilary Clinton refused to concede until a deal was worked out to include delegates from Michigan and Florida. Eventually, she still lost and had to go home — to Bill Clinton.

In entertainment news, the nation mourned the passing of Tim Russert and George Carlin. Carlin\’s death reminded me of one of his early routines, where he talked about what a great thing the two-minute warning is in football. He went on to say how nice it would be if life worked that way. In his fantasy, an angel would come down just before you die, blow a whistle, and give you two minutes to get everything right. I guess he knows now that it doesn\’t work that way. In sports, the Flyers were eliminated in the conference finals by Pittsburgh, who then lost to Detroit in the Stanley Cup finals. The Boston Celtics won the NBA Championship.

Quote of the Day, 12/12/08

12/12/2008, 7:00 am -- by | No Comments

“Man never thinks himself happy, but when he enjoys those things which others want or desire. “ — A. Pope

Bweinh! Goes to the Movies — Four Christmases

12/11/2008, 2:00 pm -- by | 1 Comment

I went to the movies with my girls last week over Thanksgiving break, and we saw Four Christmases, the latest (with Fred Claus) in the ongoing series of Vince Vaughn holiday movies. Maybe he\’s trying to corner Christmas the way Will Smith has hijacked the Fourth of July.

Anyway, I was hoping to like it — really, I was — but there was just something off. I sensed no onscreen chemistry between the two stars; as a matter of fact, they did not appear to fit together at all. Maybe it\’s that I just don\’t care for Vaughn, but imagine Bob Hope and Lucille Ball in It\’s a Wonderful Life, and you might get a sense of how uncomfortable I felt.

The plot was sadly relevant and timely, I suppose. I like to enjoy holiday movies, though; having to watch the protagonists visit four sets of parents, the aftermath of two divorces and remarriages, is not exactly something to warm the heart. And then! To have them ALL be completely dysfunctional, even dangerous, was just too much to swallow.

And the story? Predictable and boring. Slapstick has never appealed to me; I prefer depth and an actual storyline for my characters to explore. These two looked like they were just counting down the minutes until they could get to the end of the movie and go home. Funny, I know exactly how they felt…

It gets a 3 out of 7 on the Bweinh! scale: a hearty Eh!

Devotional Excerpt of the Day, 12/11/08

12/11/2008, 7:00 am -- by | No Comments

“Living as we do in an imperfect world, we make our peace with its broken realities ”” sometimes we make our peace too easily. We begin to expect that we, too, will reflect its values. We begin to think that a bit of conspicuous consumption here, a degree of profanity there, a wandering and lustful eye here, a bit of sloth there, that all these things are normal, just part of being a person. It is and it isn\’t. It is normal, but it is far from the abundant life God has for us. And so Jesus asks us as well ”” ‘Do you want to be healed?'” — from Rev. Mike Jordan’s Advent devotion series. Check it out every day!

Here Comes Santa Claus

12/10/2008, 9:30 am -- by | No Comments

For those of you fed up with Christmas commercialism, I\’d like to take you back to a simpler time, a nicer time — when songwriters knew how to keep things in perspective.

I recently ordered a book on the stories behind the songs of Christmas. While I was perusing the titles, I was shocked by some of them. But after all, the cover did promise I\’d discover a “deeper appreciation for these melodic messages of peace, hope and joy that celebrate THE BIRTH OF JESUS.”

And so I present Here Comes Santa Claus (w/m Autry/Haldeman):

Here comes Santa Claus, here comes Santa Claus,
Riding down Santa Claus Lane.
He doesn’t care if you’re a rich or poor boy,
He loves you just the same.
Santa knows that we’re God’s children,
That makes everything right.
Fill your hearts with Christmas cheer,
’cause Santa Claus comes tonight.

Well, here comes Santa Claus, here comes Santa Claus,
Riding down Santa Claus Lane.
He’ll come around when the chimes ring out,
It’s Christmas morn again.
Peace on earth will come to all
If we just follow the light
Lets give thanks to the Lord above,
’cause Santa Claus comes tonight.

Quote of the Day, 12/10/08

12/10/2008, 7:00 am -- by | No Comments

“And as the moon rose higher the inessential houses began to melt away until gradually I became aware of the old island here that flowered once for Dutch sailors’ eyes — a fresh, green breast of the new world. Its vanished trees, the trees that had made way for Gatsby’s house, had once pandered in whispers to the last and greatest of all human dreams; for a transitory enchanted moment man must have held his breath in the presence of this continent, compelled into an aesthetic contemplation he neither understood nor desired, face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity for wonder.” — F.S. Fitzgerald

December in Chick Tracts

12/9/2008, 11:51 pm -- by | No Comments


©1984-2008 Chick Publications, Inc. Reprinted without permission as fair use (parody).


Joke of the Day, 12/9/08

12/9/2008, 7:00 am -- by | No Comments

Morris and his wife Esther went to the state fair every year. Every year Morris would say, “Esther, I\’d like to ride in that helicopter.”

Esther always replied, “I know, Morris, but it’s fifty dollars — and fifty dollars is fifty dollars.”

One year they went to the fair, and Morris said, “Esther, I\’m 85 years old. If I don\’t ride in that helicopter now, I might never get another chance.”

Esther replied, “But Morris, fifty dollars is fifty dollars.”

The pilot overheard and said, “Folks, I\’ll make you a deal. I\’ll take both of you for a ride. If you stay quiet the whole time, I won\’t charge you! But if you say a word, it\’s fifty dollars.”

Morris and Esther agreed, and up they went. The pilot did all kinds of fancy maneuvers and daredevil tricks, but not a word was heard from his passengers. When they landed, the pilot turned to Morris and said, “By golly, I did everything I could to get you to yell, but you didn\’t. I\’m impressed!”

Morris replied, “To tell you the truth, I almost said something when Esther fell out, but fifty dollars is fifty dollars!”

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