Tarry for the Nonce

September 28, 2006

But What Makes the Book True?

Filed under: Religion — lmwalker @ 4:30 pm

I find one sentence in the Quran article perplexing:

They’ve found that most Muslim suicide bombers are in fact students of the Quran who are motivated by its violent commands making them, as strange as it sounds to the West, “rational actors” on the Islamic stage.

Why should that sound so strange? Speaking as a Catholic, I know that my holy book applauds martyrdom and – had I the full perspective on Truth that I ought – my earthly life should not be more important to me than my eternal one. Intellectually, I understand this truth and – if push came to shove – I would hope I’d have the strength to abide by it.

(That being said . . . my faith specifically disallows me both suicide and the killing of another person, so it would be inexcusably wrong for me – as an individual – to take another life unless I was placed in a necessitous position to save the life of myself or others. Just so we’re clear on that.)

But I’m not in the least surprised that the more focused students of Islam find suicide a rational course of action. Islam – like Christianity – believes in the eternal and since these students have reasoned their way through a faith that says that the highest honors and delights await martyrs in the afterlife, why should we be astonished when they try to achieve it?

Ow! My Eye!

Filed under: Science — lmwalker @ 4:21 pm

I only skimmed the article, so I’m not sure why a weightless surgery would be an advantage. It seems to me that the parabolic flight would make the surgical instruments fly hither and yon.

Nonetheless, it’s cool that we can do it.

The Civilized Way to Dissent

Filed under: Politics — lmwalker @ 4:20 pm

Does anyone really care that 7-Eleven, Inc. has dropped Citgo as their gasoline supplier?

Citgo Petroleum Corp. is a Houston-based subsidiary of Venezuela’s state-run oil company and 7-Eleven is worried that anti-American comments made by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez might prompt motorists to fill-up elsewhere . . .

Instead, 7-Eleven, which sells gasoline at 2,100 of its 5,300 U.S. stores, will now purchase fuel from several distributors, including Tower Energy Group of Torrance, Calif., Sinclair Oil of Salt Lake City, and Houston-based Frontier Oil Corp.

The speculation is that they were worried about a boycott, which is not an unreasonable concern. Frankly, I probably would have boycotted them, simply because I don’t have much investment in my gas supplier and I don’t much care for Chavez. I was – at one time – a loyal Shell customer, but that ended after they forced the mom-n’-pop Shell stations out of business so they could focus on their sleek, overpriced megastations. Now, I don’t care where I get my gas, so long as it’s cheap.

But back to Venezuela: if they want to diss us on the international front, I see no reason to fund their efforts.

September 26, 2006

Fluffy Mackerel Pudding

Filed under: Anecdotes — lmwalker @ 2:52 pm

I’ve posted these in the past, but they delight me afresh: Weight Watchers Recipes from 1974!

Some brave souls have attempted them.

And if, perchance, those images have not convinced you to swear off food in its entirety, check out the Gallery of Regrettable Foods, particularly the Cooking with Dr. Pepper and The Other Other White Meat.

You even have the opportunity to visit The Institute of Official Cheer.

(Hat tip to Chris Edwards.)

A Contrast

Filed under: Politics — lmwalker @ 2:47 pm

A decidedly unpresidential Bill Clinton embarrassed himself on national news.

A decidedly poised Condoleezza Rice continues to enhance my admiration of her:

  • On Iran: “There isn’t a particularly good, direct way to neutralize the Iranian threat.”
  • On Iraq: “You’re never going to have a just Sunni-Shia reconciliation if you don’t have a political system in which the interests of all can be represented – and that’s what Iraq represents.”
  • On Pakistan: “The future of Pakistan, as [President Pervez] Musharraf and his people fully understand, is to de-radicalize elements of the population.”
  • On the Middle East conflict: “It would help to have a moderate force in the Palestinian territories and to have the beginnings of rapprochement with Israel and the rest of its neighbors.”
  • On the Far East: “I would like to see an improvement in Japanese-China relations” . . .

She also said Clinton’s claims that Richard Clarke – the White House anti-terror guru hyped by Clinton as the country’s “best guy” – had been demoted by Bush were bogus.

“Richard Clarke was the counterterrorism czar when 9/11 happened. And he left when he did not become deputy director of homeland security, some several months later,” she said . . .

Rice cited the final 9/11 commission report to substantiate her claims, while Clinton relied on Clarke’s book as the basis for many of his rehashing the events leading up to the Sept. 11 attacks . . .

Transitioning to the global war on terror, an animated Rice questioned, “When are we going to stop blaming ourselves for the rise of terrorism?” . . .

In Latin America, home to outrageous Venezuelan bomb thrower Hugo Chavez, Rice said the U.S. approach is to “spend as little time possible in talking about Chavez and more time talking about our positive agenda in Latin America,” including several trade agreements.

I really admire her directness and simplicity. It’s almost . . . presidential.

September 22, 2006

What’s Money Got To Do With It?

Filed under: Entertainment — lmwalker @ 10:14 am

Last night, I saw Pretty in Pink last night for the first (and probably last) time.

Wow, she chose the wrong guy.

September 19, 2006

Don’t Call Me Violent, Or I Will Kill You!

Filed under: Politics — lmwalker @ 3:46 pm

So . . . if I understand this correctly . . . last week, in a speech about the complement of faith and reason, Pope Benedict XVI referenced a dead theologian:

The Pope had referred to criticism of the Prophet Mohammad by 14th century Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Palaeologus, who said everything the Prophet brought was evil “such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.”

So, in response to the suggestion that any followers of Islam might have coerced others with violence, outraged Muslims have:

  • bombed churches and more churches
  • Palestinian gunmen fired shots and hurled fire-bombs at five Christian churches in the West Bank and Gaza Strip yesterday . . .

  • executed religious
  • Gunmen shot dead sister Leonella Sgorbati and her bodyguard on Sunday outside a children’s hospital in north Mogadishu where she had worked since 2002.

  • called for the execution of the Pope (even in London)
  • “Whoever insults the message of Mohammed is going to be subject to capital punishment.” [Anjem Choudary] added: “I am here have a peaceful demonstration. But there may be people in Italy or other parts of the world who would carry that out.

  • and declared war on Christianity
  • We shall break the cross and spill the wine … God will (help) Muslims to conquer Rome … (May) God enable us to slit their throats, and make their money and descendants the bounty of the mujahideen.”

Misha Voloshin makes a couple good points about the furor, including its portrayal in the press.

Ahoy, Matey!

Filed under: Anecdotes — lmwalker @ 3:32 pm

Today is international Talk Like a Pirate day.

Avast, ye lubbers.

September 13, 2006

Call Letters WMAN

Filed under: Politics — lmwalker @ 12:53 am

I’m not sure what to think about the all-women talk radio network.

Greenstone Media, a radio company whose founders include social activist Gloria Steinem and actress Jane Fonda, has launched an all-women, all-talk network across the United States.

Steinem said the network, which is run by women, aims to provide an alternative to current radio talk, which she describes as “very argumentative, quite hostile, and very much male-dominated.”

This network “has a different spirit. It has more community. It’s more about information, about humor, about respect for different points of view and not constant arguing,” Steinem told Reuters in an interview.

With Steinem and Fonda at the helm, I’m not expecting truly balanced and thought-provoking discussion. In fact, I would presume that this will become some sort of floofy Lifetime-like venture, or a self-congratulatory diatribe about how much better an all-girl station is now that those pesky men are out of the picture.

Of course, if they take the time to engage people like Eileen Byrne or Michelle Malkin, or even Camille Paglia, I could be proved entirely wrong. Heck, maybe they could add a dash of Ann Coulter – just to spice things up.

But as it stands, I don’t think that Gloria Steinem has entirely thought this through. Were I attempting to promote female aptitude and dignity, Barbarella would hardly be the first person I would consult. Or the last. Or anywhere in between.

Just Another Aspiring Director

Filed under: Entertainment — lmwalker @ 12:34 am

Well, that LonelyGirl15 mystery lasted all of five minutes.

It turns out the people behind the wildly popular website lonelygirl15 are not studio executives, Internet moguls or, as some suspected, Satanists. Instead, they are aspiring filmmakers who met at a mutual friend’s birthday party in April . . .

The lonelygirl15 story began early this year, when Beckett hatched the idea of creating a mystery story online, one that could roll out small mock-confessional bites in real time . . .

The videos were shot on a shoestring at the bedroom of a home “in the Greater Los Angeles area,” said Goodfried. Contrary to Internet speculation that the videos were all shot at once and rolled out in drips and drabs, the team revealed that each installment was filmed only after the previous one had been posted. The intent was to allow fan response posted in the comment section of lonelygirl15’s YouTube and MySpace pages to determine the direction of each subsequent episode.

Clever that. It’s too bad they couldn’t keep it quiet a bit longer.

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