суббота, 9 сентября 2006 г.

September 09, 2006

Saturday, September 09, 2006
Open thread
Busy today. Yardwork, schoolwork, etc.


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Friday, September 08, 2006
Why I didn't date in high school - or, for that matter, most of college.
Forty years ago this very day, the National Broadcasting Company put a new show on the air.

Space...the final frontier.

These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise.

Its five-year mission:

To explore strange new worlds.
To seek out new life and new civilizations.
To boldly go where no man has gone before.

I discovered Star Trek around 1980 or so. WAVE-3 out of Louisville would play it at 11am on Sunday mornings. Normally, I would be at church, but this morning I was home sick. Mom had the TV on channel 3 for some reason and left the room. I saw this...this show about space. It had bad acting, cheap special effects, and sometimes awful dialogue.

I didn't care. I was hooked.

Soon we had a VCR, and the tapings began.

I did own a technical manual or two, but I *NEVER* had the costumes. Nor have I been to a convention. I laugh at people who enjoy it, well, a little too much. But the laugh is a gentle one, because I too enjoy the show. In spite of the acting and effects, here was a show that was hopeful about mankind. In the middle of the Vietnam era, that must have indeed been a powerful message. In today's times, it is just as powerful - and just as important.

So, happy birthday, Star Trek. May your true fans never get a life. Live long and prosper.


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Friday Animal Blogging
Meet Nickie:

Nickie is a friendly, female tri-colored hound with a streak of independence, but that does not stop her from loving special attention. She could use a new home with children eight years and up as well as enough space in which to run and put her hound-nose to good use. She is very affectionate, laid back and loves to cuddle on the couch. Often, Nickie acts quite silly and gets along well with other dogs, if they are the right dog. Please meet this special girl.

To adopt Nickie or another wonderful pet, contact the Second Chance Animal Center on historic Route 7A at the northern end of Shaftsbury, VT.


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Gubernatorial Debate
I only caught bits of it, and since I'm seeing all three candidates tonight in Pittsfield, I'll have more to report then. (Full disclosure, as always: I support Deval Patrick.)

Here's how the editorial writers at the Globe called it:

Lehigh: Winner - Patrick (narrowly), Loser - Reilly (big time)

Jackson: Winner - Not Reilly, Loser - Reilly

Unfrozen Caveman Columnist: Winner - Gabrieli, Losers - Reilly, Patrick (c'mon, did you really expect Mister Terrorists-Have-Dark-Skin to support a black guy? It's telling the lengths he went to to put Patrick down.)

Joan Vennochi: Winner - Gabrieli, Loser - Reilly


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Thursday, September 07, 2006
The best laid plans o' mice and men gang aft aglay.
Dr. Cahn is under the weather, so I'm NOT going to NYC today. This is not huge, as we can still talk about the project over the phone and via e-mail, and I do have enough to do here to keep me busy. Still, I was looking forward to it.

IF (and this is a big IF) I can put something together, I'll post a Theory Thursday later in the day.


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Open Thread
Since I'll be on the road today, talk about anything.

Also - if you have questions you'd like to see answered in Theory Thursday entries, put 'em here.


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Wednesday, September 06, 2006
School Daze
My second year of tenure-track work begins today, and not even Jeff Jacoby's pointless warmongering drivel can spoil my mood.

Y'all have a good day.


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Tuesday, September 05, 2006
Food for thought
Catherine Peterson, the director of ArtsBoston, gives the Boston arts community (and all other arts communities, including North Adams) something to think about.


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Feel Good Story
I salute you, Pat Brayman of Florida Baptist Church. Keep playing.


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Monday, September 04, 2006
I've updated the blogroll. These are blogs I read every day (with a couple of exeptions). Also, I've added the best football blog I've ever seen, Kissing Suzy Kolber.

Also - on Yahoo! News, this morning, a story about labor and Labor Day in Jawa Girl's hometown of Middletown, OH. Full disclosure - her father is a retiree from AK Steel, so we've been following the dispute with interest.


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Schedule for the week
It's a crazy week here, with the beginning of class and a trip to NYC to meet with my dissertation advisor. This is what you can expect:

Any posting tomorrow or Wednesday will most likely be in the early afternoon.

There will be no Theory Thursday this week, as Thursday is when I'm meeting with Dr. Cahn. (I guess technically it WILL be a Theory Thursday, but not a blogged one.)

I may post early on Friday, I may not. It'll depend on what time I get back from NYC.

Carry on, then.


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Thank a union
If you have today off - heck, if you have ANY days off - thank a union.


// posted by Wes @ 8:53 AM |||Comment (1) | Trackback (0)
On this day in 1955, John K. Flinn married Linda A. Williams. To that union, four children were born: Betsy, David, Brad, and Wes. Now the family includes four children-in-law, six grandchildren, and about ten animals scattered throughout.

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad.


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Sunday, September 03, 2006
Sunday Religion Blogging
What of martyrdom?

Martyrs and non-martyrs have been in the news lately, with the release of the two Fox News reporters (and that may be the only time I've typed "Fox News" without putting "News" in ironic quotes or misspelling "Fox" as "Faux"; that debate is not germane here - it's not even Tito) who recanted their previous religious beliefs and stated that they were now Muslim in order to avoid being killed. The right side of the blogosphere has almost immediately turned from "We hope they make it home safe" to "Cowards! They should have been willing to die!" With expressions like that, I can't tell if they're Christians or Klingons.

The three major Western monotheistic religions all have a long tradition of martyrdom, though the contexts are quite different. Those of us with a strong faith often think we'd be willing to die for that faith, but would we really? Different branches of Christian theology say different things, though most agree that martyrdom, while potentially a very noble action, is not an instant guarantee of Heaven. In my own tradition (Church of Christ), for example, if you have an as-of-yet unforgiven sin on your soul (and it can be relatively minor) when you die, you are not (most likely) getting into Heaven - even if you died in the act of defending your faith. It should be noted though that preachers are always quick to say no one can say anything is 100% certain, but making sure you're up to code is vitally important as the Church of Christ does not hold to "once saved, always saved."

Maybe it's because of this upbringing that I'm not sure martyrdom should be something that is fetishized. We want strength in our fights and our beliefs, to be sure, and of course I give the utmost respect to someone who died because they refused to recant their beliefs. I just can't stand for the idea that mass-scale martyrdom (and yes, that includes suicide bombers, for those of you on the right side of the aisle who are calling me an apologist for terrorists) is somehow a path to salvation.

Yes, it is true (if the books of the New Testament are to be believed) that many of the early Christians faced serious persecution and death for their belief, but historically those were because of political, not religious reasons. It was easy for Nero, Diocletian, and other Roman emperors to blame this small sect of rabble-rousers for the political problems facing Rome. (As an aside, this is a compelling argument for making sure that wall of separation between church and state stays put.) The Jews have been dealing with the same thing for millenia. Yes, religion has figured into the martyrdom, but more for the idea of "the other" than the actual acts of the religion.

If someone held a gun to my head and told me to recant or die, I don't know what I'd do. The reporters lived, and now can recant the recanting (if they so choose, of course). And while I would be willing to lay down my life for my wife, my friends, my family, my country, and yes, my faith (though in what circumstances, I don't know), I would rather work toward a world where that was unnecessary.