April 27, 2012

Hazardous Materials: G. A. Riplinger's toxic waste

I have mentioned offhand in the past that I do not own a paper copy of G. .A. Riplinger's influential KJV-only book New Age Bible Versions. I have, however, read the thing: in the early 1990s, a notable online fan of hers made a hypertext file of the book available on his BBS, presumably with the blessing of the author. (As a point of interest, that makes NABV the first ebook I ever downloaded; it would be about a year before I got access to the WWW and discovered Project Gutenberg.) Since I refuse to fatten Riplinger's wallet, the only way I will obtain hard copies of her books is if a) I happen to encounter them in a used bookstore, or b) a KJV-onlyist, concerned with this vital deficiency in my library, offers to remedy it at his own expense.

Well, this week, b) happened—though it wasn't a KJV-onlyist, nor was it NABV. An on-line acquaintance had two copies of Riplinger's more recent missive, Hazardous Materials (Ararat, VA: A.V. Publications, 2008), and offered one to me. It arrived yesterday, and I promised to give it a good home. Although I probably won't get to read it through for a little while, I did spend a few minutes last evening flipping through it. So this post is not a book review, but just a few first impressions based on a surface-level skimming.

April 21, 2012

I don' wanna work

Having a lazy Saturday watching war movies, I didn't leave myself enough time today to return to the Superman radio program and the continuing adventure of Chip Donelli's protection racket.

The busyiness of the Easter season always takes its toll on me for a week or so afterward. But fear not, True Believers! Hopefully the next instalment will "air" tomorrow evening, time permitting.

April 15, 2012

100 years of symbolism

On this day 100 years ago, the RMS Titanic, metaphor for man's arrogance in flaunting their technology in the face of Mother Nature, struck a piece of that aforesaid matron and sank in the North Atlantic, taking 1,500 people to a watery, symbolic end.

At least, according to Our Dumb Century, that's what The Onion's front page read on April 16, 1912. I laughed so hard I decided to appropriate it for myself when the time came.

I don't suffer from Titanimania the way many seem to. Heck, I assume all the teenage girls swooning over Leonardo di Caprio have grown up a little in the 14 years and change since James Cameron's blockbuster. Nonetheless, I decided to commemorate the occasion by watching movies—and no, not that one, in any number of D's.

First, A Night to Remember. It's such an innocuous title for a film about one of the greatest disasters in maritime history. But it's also one of the most historically accurate films about the Titanic. In fact, James Cameron liked it so much, he adapted some parts of it for his own epic. It makes a few minor historical errors: the ship is portrayed as sinking in one piece, rather than splitting apart as the stern rose from the water. However, to the filmmakers' credit, this was not known as the time. It wasn't until Robert Ballard's expedition to the wreck in 1985 that it was known for certain that Titanic lay at the bottom in two pieces.

Other than that, A Night to Remember looks great for a 1958 movie, in glorious black and white. The cast is made up of notable British actors (as you would expect for a British movie) that may be somewhat obscure for a North American audience, but there are a few familiar faces: for example, Honor Blackman (Goldfinger, The Avengers) and David McCallum (The Man from U.N.C.L.E., NCIS).

From the sublime to the ridiculous: 1980s Raise the Titanic. The US military has developed an impenetrable missile shield, but need a rare mineral, byzanium, to power it. The only known source of byzanium was from a Russian mine, extracted clandestinely in 1912 by American miners and smuggled to England to be shipped back to the States. Unfortunately, the miners had the bad luck to ship the byzanium on the Titanic. The Americans decide that the easiest way to obtain the byzanium they need is to raise the Titanic and float it to New York, hiring former Admiral James Sandecker (Jason Robards) and his special projects director, Dirk Pitt (Richard Jordan).

Raise the Titanic is often cited as one of the most notorious bombs in cinematic history: it made back only a fraction of its $40 million budget (a seemingly small amount in an era when movies routinely cost $200 million or more, but still a small fortune for 1980) and was nominated for Worst Picture in the first round of Razzie awards, in 1981. To be fair, the movie has a fair bit to commend it, including fair performances by stars Robards and Jordan, a beautiful model of the Titanic wreck used for effects shots, and one of John Barry's best musical scores. I like Clive Cussler's novels, but they're not high literature; they're adventure potboilers suitable for killing time on long trips. The movie version of Raise the Titanic is no different.

April 10, 2012

And now . . . this - Apr. 10/12

Transgender women will be allowed to participate in the Miss Universe beauty pageant next year, officials announced Tuesday, a week after they ruled a trail-blazing 23-year-old could vie for the crown this year. . . .

The move comes five days after the organization said that Jenna Talackova could compete in the Miss Universe pageant this year. Talackova, a Vancouver resident, underwent a sex change four years ago after being born a male. The advocacy group GLAAD called on the Miss Universe Organization to review her [sic] case, as well as open the competition to transgender women.

[Full Story]

What is the target audience again for a Miss Universe pageant? Because I really can't see the heterosexual male population tuning in to see half-naked dudes.

It seems to be a malaise of the so-called intelligentsia that they uncritically accept that someone is whatever they say they are; unfortunately, this malaise is percolating down to us unwashed masses. Nonetheless, a mutilated man is still not a woman. In time, will a DNA test become a prerequisite to a first date—assuming, that is, we won't get slapped with a human-rights complaint just for asking?

Here we go again . . . again

A Minnesota woman who discovered what she believes to be an image of Jesus in a potato chip said she considers it to be an Easter-time sign of hope.

Carol Isaak, 67, of Newport, said she was snacking on a bag of ripple-style Clancy's brand chips the night before Easter when she noticed a hole in the center of the chip had an unusual, but recognizable, shape, the St. Paul (Minn.) Pioneer-Press reported Tuesday.

Isaak said she showed the chip to her husband, Vern, and he immediately agreed the shape looked like Jesus Christ on the cross.

[Full Story]

Mmmm . . . salty and sacriligious.

The real problem with seeing Jesus on a potato chip is, of course, that it's too small to accommodate very many candles, velvet paintings and little statues of Mary.

April 08, 2012

No guilt in life, no fear in death

One more for the day. This is the debut recording of Keith Getty and Stuart Townend's "In Christ Alone," one of the most poignant hymns of the last decade (more or less), taken from the album of the same name by Margaret Becker, Máire Brennan, and Joanne Hogg (Worshiptogether.com 2002)—an album I love so much I pull it out every Easter. The videographer's sand art is a visually interesting accompaniment to the music.

That's all for now. Have a blessed Easter, everyone.

I know that my redeemer lives

If I've timed this post correctly, I will be singing this song with the church choir right about . . . now.

Where is thy sting, O grave?

A less-known, but still sublime, duet from Handel's Messiah:

It's ironic that we so commonly think of Messiah as a Christmas work: it actually premiered in Dublin at Easter in 1742. This was a benefit performance for, amongst other things, prisoners' debt relief. The funds raised secured the release of 142 prisoners.

Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!

He is STILL risen indeed

And a very good Easter morning to you all.

April 04, 2012


Spotted recently in the wild:


This unpronounceable and unmemorable letter salad stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual, Transgendered, Intersex, Queer, Questioning, 2-Spirited and Allies. Yes, really: someone actually thought this dog's breakfast was a necessity to include every variety of non-heterosexuality under the rubric of inclusivity.

Thanks to the wonder of postmodernism, however, the varieties of socially constructed gender identities are now near infinite. I will note, just for the record, that LGBTTIQQ2SA fails to be inclusive of the following groups:

  • deaf gays
  • lesbians of colour
  • people who prefer to hump stuffed animals