Sunday, November 25, 2007

Pride and Thanksgiving

I am such a turkey. I was too sick to make Thanksgiving dinner, and I can't even describe how dreadful that was. I love Thanksgiving; I love to cook; I love to be with friends and family; I think it's a wonderful holiday.

I don't like to admit defeat, however - I was defeated. I couldn't do something I loved. Though mostly Irish, I am more Jewish mother than anything. I remember Thanksgivings as a child, and my mom taught me how to make so much great food - and even now, I want that food on Thanksgiving. This is not the time to start throwing dried apricots in the stuffing, or trying weird new things. I don't want strange; I want familiar.

Well, Publix (our supermarket) made our Thanksgiving dinner (though I did make my own pies - commercial pies are just so depressing). I watched carefully as guests put food in their mouths, wondering if they liked it, or were just being polite. Did they know they were eating food straight from the industrial complex? Were they sorry they came?

And suddenly, it dawns: Thanksgiving was all about me - and not about the holiday. So this Thanksgiving, I learned about the danger and deceit of pride. I almost missed a lovely time with people I care about because I was so embarrassed about the food, and how it would reflect on folk's opinions of me.

Our family and friends had a great time - and they enjoyed the food that had been prepared for them. Though I didn't prepare it, I reheated it with love.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Japan may kill white whale

Say it ain't so.

Evidently Japan evades whale hunting laws in the name of scientific research.

"Japan uses a loophole in International Whaling Commission laws to hunt around 1,000 whales each year in the Southern Hemisphere, ostensibly for the purposes of scientific research."

"Conservationists fear that Migaloo is so accustomed to whale watching and fishing boats, that he will be easy pickings for Japanese hunters."

Read the article here.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Interview and Kitchen Classroom

Two videos today: 1 - an interview with Alice Waters and 2- a look at the Edible Schoolyard kitchen/classroom and how the program works. Don't you just love her passion and intensity?

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Alice Waters' Edible Schoolyard

Few people inspire me as much as Alice Waters. Here she walks around the "edible schoolyard," a place where children learn about food: how it's grown, what it looks like, smells like, tastes like - and how much work it is to bring real food to the table.

She is a great evangelist for her movement - she wants children to know that real food, wonderful food, is neither fast, cheap nor easy. It requires hard work, love and respect. Tomorrow, an interview.

Oh, and there's a brief American Express Card commercial that precedes the video; don't let it scare you away.

Friday, November 09, 2007

I think Peggy Noonan is my hero

Hillary, you are no Elizabeth I - or Margaret Thatcher, or Indira Ghandi. Read Things Are Tough All Over: But Mrs. Clinton is no Iron Lady - Peggy Noonan's latest contribution to Opinion Journal.

Hillary is a whiny girl, which of course needs to stop if she's going to be leader of the free world. And if you think that Ms. Noonan is just a party drone - well then, you are wronger than wrong. She gets to the bottom of the problem that is Hillary: dynastic elite phony powermonger. We've had years and years of them.

Please, Lord, give us leaders who understands that they bear responsibility for the people under their care, and will one day give an account for the way they have ruled.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Wiener Takes All: A Dogumentary

Read this movie review in Variety about dachshund racing. Evidently weiner races are surging in popularity and this film takes a look at the phenomenon. However, as a dachshund mom I take issue with the sport. Long backs and short legs invite all sorts of spinal injuries - note the previous post about the paraplegic pup.

Oh, they are loads of fun to watch, and contrary to what you might think, dachshunds are fast. Ah, the beauty of a weiner dog in flight; quite a sight to behold. But don't race them - please.

The movie isn't playing in Huntsville, but please let me know if you see it!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Winnie the weiner top dog

"One morning in August, 10 days before her owner died, Winnie the dachshund lost the use of her hind legs.

Her owner, Janet Garlick, died Sept. 6 from complications of heart-bypass surgery. She never got to see how far Winnie would come.

Winnie, an 8-year-old dachshund, waits for a treat Friday evening at her home. Winnie, who lost the use of her hind legs in August, is the winner in the Longview News-Journal's second annual Pet Star Calendar Contest.

The rehabilitation has been slow, her new owners say, but with the help of a special wheelchair for dachshunds, Winnie now can run up and down the sidewalk, stand tall for treats and even play in the grass of her front yard.

"It took her about a month to get used to it and realize how to get around," said Kathrine Linton, who inherited the dog from her grandmother. "But now she just rolls. She gets around."

Winnie is winning fans across East Texas. The 8-year-old wiener dog has wheeled herself to victory in the Longview News-Journal's second annual online Pet Star Calendar Contest. In fact, Winnie rolled over the competition, receiving 300 votes more than the second-place finisher, a mini-Australian shepherd named Red."

The entire article here.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Media Ecology Course January 18-20

News fascinates me, and I check headlines all through the day (and sometimes night). It’s 10:46 on Saturday morning, and I click on CNN:
• Outbreak fears in flood-hit Mexico
• Solar wing fixed
• Missing teacher, student found in Mexico
• Sketches released of girl stuffed in box
• Iraq plans action against Kurdish rebels
• Man sues over loss of penis
• Couples say “I do” to green weddings
• Evidence in Nowak case thrown out
• Nancy Grace has emotional breaking news
• Talking Jesus doll stirs debate
• Obama: Cheney is “crazy uncle in attic”
• A-Rod wanted $350 million extension
• Seinfeld rips into Larry King

I would argue that three of those thirteen headlines are actual news items. What do you think?

In January, T. David Gordon (religion and philosophy professor at Grove City College) returns to Westminster for a weekend to introduce us to media ecology. Official title – Christ, Media and the Humane Environment: An Introduction to Media Ecology.

Course description: This conference explores how different media (orality, handwriting, printed type, images, and various electronic media) shape individuals and cultures differently, and why. Every particular medium not only carries a message/value, but shapes the message/value it carries, and shapes those who receive the message/value. How do we wish to be shaped? If God creates/shapes us for certain purposes, which media will assist in shaping us in accord with those purposes?

Four Sessions:
I: Biblical Foundations
A. Romans 12:1-2--Conformed or Transformed?
B. Genesis 1-2--Cultivating God’s Image and God’s Garden
C. Prohibition of Images in Decalogue: Monotheism Needs Language
D. The Present Challenge: Understanding How Our Media-Saturated Environment Either Contributes to or Detracts from Our Task as Cultivators

II: How We Know Shapes What We Know and What We Become
A. Overview of Media
1. Orality: The Primary Medium.
2. Chirography (handwriting).
3. Typography and Reading. Gutenberg
4. Photographic Media. Mass-produced images.
5. Electronic media and mass media (telegraph was electric but not mass)
B. Senses, Sensoria and Sensibilities.
C. The Medium is the Message (McLuhan) or the Metaphor (Postman) or the Environment (Gitlin)

III: Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Television.
New York : Viking, 1985, Neil Postman
A. The Typographic Era.
B. The Television Era

IV: How the News Makes Us Dumb
A. Walter Lippmann. Public Opinion (1922).
B. Daniel Boorstin. The Image: A Guide to Psuedo-Events in America.
C. C. John Sommerville on How the News Makes us Dumb: The Death of Wisdom in an Information Society.

Gotta go, someone has to check up on that Talking Jesus Doll...

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Talking Jesus doll stirs debate

Oy vey.

"The battery-powered, button-activated doll is able to recite a handful of different bible verses and the story of Jesus feeding the multitudes with five loaves and two fish. It also comes with a booklet giving parents tips on how to shape a child's faith."

"But Mark Linongello, who goes to Catholic Church, said anything telling kids about Christianity is good. "As a doll, at least they're getting to know Him," Linongello said."

How did you get to know Jesus? As an action figure?

"My Jesus doll teaches me Bible verses."
"My GIJoe just killed your Jesus doll."
"Did not."
"Did too!"

Wow, we want to know Jesus but we forget about weensy things like the second commandment.

Are the people who want Jesus dolls the same people who want the Ten Commandments posted?

Real soul for real people

My, my how I miss real soul music. I know, Amy Winehouse, blah, blah, blah. Watch the real thing - she's not 20 and she weighs more than 80 pounds. Her name is Sharon Jones and behind her are the Dap Kings. Watch, listen and weep. Go see her in concert. She'll be in Boston (Cambridge) November 9 and in DC December 15.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Be bald, be strong

Carl Trueman has done it again. Please, please read his "To Baldly Go" article for the Reformation 21 blog. He writes regularly a "Wages of Spin" column and they're always good.

But this is great. Don't try to be young again - after all, the Bible speaks to wisdom, and the blessings of age.

The opening paragraph:
"One of the strangest trends of recent years has surely been the extended adolescence of the Western male. A recent survey showed that the average age for video game players is now somewhere in the mid-30s; and the fact that trivia such as the result of a baseball match can generate passion and high blood-pressure more than the AIDS crisis in Africa, the problem of global warming, and world poverty, says something about the juvenile priorities of the most well fed, best educated, and financially comfortable generation in history. Not that enjoying sport is a bad thing; there is nothing like beating the Welsh again and again at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff to set my own pulse racing and to cause my chest to swell with English pride; but, as Pascal might have said, it is one thing for such entertainment to be a little light relief from the drudge of daily life; another for it to become a major diversion which allows us to avoid the really serious realities of adult life."

Good Taste Takes a Holiday

Read this fun article in the NYT.

"The Dining section asked dozens of chefs, cooks, nutritionists, bakers and recovering trick-or-treaters three questions about their favorite Halloween treats from the past, the present and from their fevered imaginations."

They asked "What did you most want when trick or treating as a child?" One response:

“I well remember my disgust whenever someone offered me a homemade brownie or, worst of all, an apple. Halloween is the high holy day of high fructose corn syrup. And if we can keep it to one or two such days, why not?”
Michael Pollan, journalist and author
“The Omnivore’s Dilemma”

Read the entire article. So what was your favorite Halloween candy?

"Unwelcoming" U.S. and tourism decline

What do you think about this? This article discusses the sharp decline in tourism since the 9/11 attacks. Visitors to our country feel unwelcome.

"Travelers around the world feel the US entry experience is among the world's worst," well, sure, if you come into NYC. Ever flown into JFK from overseas? It's the pits whether you're a tourist or a citizen. And I'm not sure if entry was a better experience before 9/11, or if people's perceptions colored their experience.

Thursday, November 01, 2007


Thank you Jim and Marianna for sharing this with us.

How Much I Owe

I think about heaven a lot - it sounds strange to say that I can't wait to be dead, but that's how it is. At a funeral years ago, Jason Shelton preached a sermon about heaven that was so powerful, we all wished we were there. To live is Christ, to die is gain. So I give you this beautiful poem by Robert Murray M'Cheyne (#545 in the Trinity Hymnal):

When this passing world is done,
when has sunk yon glaring sun,
when we stand with Christ in glory,
looking o'er life's finished story,
then, Lord, shall I fully know,
not till then, how much I owe.

When I hear the wicked call
on the rocks and hills to fall,
when I see them start and shrink
on the fiery deluge brink,
then, Lord, shall I fully know,
not till then, how much I owe.

When I stand before the throne,
dressed in beauty not my own,
when I see thee as thou art,
love thee with unsinning heart,
then, Lord, shall I fully know,
not till then, how much I owe.

When the praise of heav'n I hear,
loud as thunders to the ear,
loud as many waters' noise,
sweet as harp's melodious voice,
then, Lord, shall I fully know,
not till then, how much I owe.

Chosen not for good in me,
wakened up from wrath to flee,
hidden in the Savior's side,
by the Spirit sanctified,
teach me, Lord, on earth to show,
by my love, how much I owe.

Wednesday Night and the power of Skittles

I love Wednesday Night Fellowship! We share a meal together as a church family, and then we have classes: elementary kids study the childrens’ catechism, junior high studies Colossians, high school studies the Culture of the New Testament, and there are three adult class options – Genesis, Galatians, and The Heidelbeg Catechism.

The power of Skittles? A little background: my son Thomas memorized his catechism questions because he was rewarded with Skittles (thank you, Jamie Gildard). So I reward my kids with candy - yes, candy. Chocolate (my kids love dark) and sugar bombs (for Daniel) - whatever works. I am not above rewards, and after a long day there's nothing like a little piece of candy to say "well done."

I teach the fourth and fifth grade class, and I am convinced they are some of the smartest people in the church – they’re also squirmy and funny. Our curriculum is tied to the catechism, and this unit is “How Can I Know I Will Live Forever.” The idea is to instill confidence in children; not confidence in themselves, but confidence in Christ’s work on their behalf.

We begin the lessons with a simple truth: Adam and Eve are our first parents. Why is this so important? Because we need to understand the fallenness of our race; we need to understand our connection to each other as “related” and in the image of God; and we need to understand Adam and Eve’s special position.

So our class memorizes scripture (“Adam named his wife Eve because she would become the mother of all the living”) and talks about what it means to be a child of Adam. Every one in the class is a relative; we all share the curse of sin; we are all alike.

As there was a first parent, a first Adam, thankfully there is a second Adam. Our children know that He came to accomplish what the first Adam did not. I am thankful for Alyssa, Anna Katherine, Ashley, Caleb, Daniel, Jenny, Laura, Lucy, Rachel, the Rebeccas (one, two and three) and Sadie who remind me that to whom much is given, much is required.