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luddite, meet phone

30 January 2005
For someone who considers himself a bit of an über-geek (I'm subscribed to the /. rss feed, I read more than two dead languages, and I've been known to use foot notes in personal correspondence, among other things...) I've always been something of a Luddite when it comes to cellular phones. I starkly refused to purchase a camera phone. Why on earth would I want one of those things when I have a real digital camera?

The last time I got a cell phone, I figured, get the freebie, what difference will it make?

Sadly, a big one.

I finally got fed up and decided to replace my phone. Alas, my only options for phones that weren't guaranteed to self destruct in three months were (a) camera phone, (b) camera phone, or (c) camera phone. Ergo, I now own a camera phone. Meh.

However, the phone did come with a hella sweet feature that I've decided I do really like (and yeah, I know this is way old technology that's been coming out on phones for years, but I'm a cellular Luddite...). My new phone as a voice dialer. Schweet!

(Oh, and I did use the camera to take a picture of my housemate's cat to replace the crappy wallpaper graphics the phone came with.)

i've got to be brain damaged...

29 January 2005
I swore up and down I wasn't going to TA this term. 'I don't have time,' I said. 'I'll have too much work with my two seminars, my thesis, and my other class,' I said. 'I don't really need the extra cash,' I said.

Yeah. Then the email came.

At least I had the common sense to turn down lecturing.

ED315: Philosophy of Education, here I come.

aw, i wanted to go to tashi station....

28 January 2005
The faithful /. readers in the viewing audience will have no doubt noted this release concerning the opening text for Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith.

Dude, as long as Jar-Jar doesn't become a Jedi, everything's gonna be okay...

spongebob church pants

26 January 2005
A friend of mine, UCC pastor, and PTS grad just sent me an instant message with these links:

SpongeBob is accepted by the United Church of Christ.
SpongeBob goes to church.

I'm not thinking about defecting or anything, but mad props to the UCC.

(If you need background for this seemingly random posting, go here.)

(And if you haven't noticed, there's a directly proportional relationship between the number of times I post in a given day and the amount of work I'm avoiding...)

i want it! gimme gimme gimme!

This is abjectly frivolous, completely unnecessary, and otherwise totally lacking of any socially redeeming qualities. Ergo, I want it. I could care less that it's a backlight keyboard with a diamond plate base. What I love is that it comes with a user installable skull and cross bones key. YAR Matey!

cook it granny!

And I quote:

Mrs Tabram, a former chef, said: "I suffer from depression, whiplash in my neck and back pain. I went to bed and the next morning I felt so much better. I didn't know what I had taken so I asked my friends. They said it was cannabis.

"But I don't like smoking so they said I could cook with it."

But Northumberland Police were tipped off and twice raided her house in May and June last year.

They seized 31 cannabis plants growing in her loft and another one from her hallway table.

She said: "When the police came to my door I invited them in. I told them to look in the loft and I offered them some tea and biscuits."

Okay, while I'm not advocating the use of illegal drugs (realizing my sole ethical objection to marijuana stems from it's illegality: cost of human life in smuggling, not regulated for purity, etc.), you'd think the Northumberland police would have better things to do than go after 66 year old grandmothers... besides, you've got to admit, Patricia's one hip granny (though I do have my doubts about 'cannabis casseroles.')

i've got to work on my blog...

25 January 2005

I'm positively jealous. Kevin, my fabulous cousin Merrin's husband, has a blog (linked on the right hand side of the page). I was hanging out at Panera, killing time before a doctor's appointment, using their free WiFi and decide to see what's going on in blogdom. Lo and behold, I'm denied access to Kevin's blog.

I'm seriously behind here. I really need to get some more scandalous material posted... I mean, you know you've made it when Panera bans you...


24 January 2005
Half of me want to post this article in its totality. But I won't. Just go read it at the Advocate.

i just threw up a little...

Damnit, Audrey, why did you have to go and do this?

Audrey Tautou is one of my absolute favorite actresses. Everybody loves Amélie. But she also was fabulous in L'Auberge espagnole. Now, she's gone and decided that it would be a good idea to be a part of Ron Howard's new project, the cinematic adaptation of the DaVinci Code.

I know that some of you that read my blog are Dan Brown fans. He does write good brain candy. However, as someone training to be a medievalist, I'm here to tell you, his history sucks. If it were just fiction, that would be fine - but he tells people at the beginning of the book that what he presents as fact is fact, and it's completely and totally bogus. There was an excellent piece in the New York Times last year on this subject (unfortunately, it's in their paid archives and I'm too cheap to go pay for it). The BBC also had this to say on the book. The problem is, people read this book and because he's presented it as well researched, folk believe him. As a scholar, I find that wholly irresponsible and ethically unacceptable.

Aside from that, it's the same damn plot as the book he wrote before, Angels and Demons. (Yeah, I read it. But it was while I was doing CPE and I needed the brain candy.)

Okay, it's a book, why am I so bummed about this? Besides, it means that Audrey gets a major career boost playing opposite Tom Hanks (who has been known to make crappy yet publicly acclaimed cinematic adaptations of otherwise good books).

Yeah, I'm a snob. But at least I own it.

floppy monkey

22 January 2005

After two weeks of finals and final papers, I'm done.

There are 10 to 17 inches of snow coming between today and tonight.

I'm planting my rump on the couch and not moving for at least the next 8 hours.

Monday, it's back to class.


feline conspiracy...

20 January 2005
I know cats don't like baths. I know this. Nevertheless, they smell much better when they're bathed on occasion. Ergo, los gatos de casa numero 13 got bathes on Tuesday night. Digit and L'haiim (someone whose Hebrew is better than mine can correct my transliteration) did much better this time around. The last time we bathed Digit, he screamed constantly. This time round he just mewed once and looked pathetic.

That said, Digit has been extracting his vengeance for two mornings in a row now. Yesterday at 6 am, he woke me up with the kitty gift that keeps on giving, a hairball. This morning, he came tare-assing into my room at 6 am and was going bonkers all over me and my bed playing with a rubber band. When I took the rubber band away so I could sleep for another hour, he fussed at me for quite some time.

I think Digit knows I hate mornings.

As long as he stays away from my coffee, everything's gonna be alright...

great quotes from condo 13

17 January 2005
"God forbid I should ever bugger a cork." - E.

And no, I'm not going to give you any context.

it's the little things you miss...

So when I got my nose pierced on Saturday night, it didn't really occur to me that I'd be showing up at church on Sunday morning with a fresh piercing that might be a little red (which it wasn't). However, I did spend the 30 minute drive to church thinking of quippy responses to (what I thought would be) the inevitable "Dear Lord, what have you done to your face?" That said, nobody noticed or if they did, they didn't say anything (perhaps under the auspices of "not encouraging him..."). I felt deprived of my chance to be a smart ass. Alas...

So, I'm going to air them here:

1. My glasses kept slipping down and I needed something to catch them.

2. I'm working up to setting off metal detectors with my face.
3. I'm always losing my keys, and now I've got a place to hang them.

4. I had a leak.

promised pictures 1

15 January 2005

Here's the head on view

promised pictures 2

And in profile...

not what tom jones had in mind

Okay, I've never doubted that my country is whack. Yesterday, I was colossally pissed off with Tom Ridge. Today, if anyone were looking for evidence of instutionalized homophobia in the US, they need look no further. Using sources secured through the Freedom of Information Act, a story released on the BBC today reported that the US Military at one point looked into making a gay-love bomb. Something tells me, this is not what good master Jones was thinking of.

Does this make me a WMD?

In other news, I got my nose pierced this evening. I'll post pictures as soon as I get some taken.

who's the axis of what now?

14 January 2005
Sadly, I was not surprised to learn Tom Ridge's feelings about torture. Nevertheless, this disturbs me to the core. We must remember, however, that the United States has condoned torture for years. The School of the Americas at Fort Benning, GA (now the "Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation") has trained foreign soldiers in torture tactics for a very long time. PLEASE read the BBC article linked at the top of the post and take some time to browse the SOA Watch's homepage. The problem of torture at the hands of Americans goes far beyond Abu Gharib. This, among other reasons, is why our foreign policy makes it difficult for us abroad and why much of the world is angry at the United States.

I'm sure this has landed me on some list somewhere, if I wasn't already on one. Frankly, I don't give a damn. I know that the vows taken at baptism differ from denomination to denomination, but in the Episcopal Church USA, there are five vows taken:

Q: Will you continue in the apostles' teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of the bread and in the prayers?
A: I will, with God's help.

Q: Will you persevere in resisting evil, and, whenever you fall into sin, repent and turn to the Lord?
A: I will, with God's help.

Q: Will you proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ?
A: I will, with God's help.

Q: Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?
A: I will, with God's help.
(The Book of Common Prayer, 1979, pages 304-305. Available online here.)

This last question holds true because we profess to be made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). Under no circumstances whatsoever is torture acceptable, especially for people who claim Christianity, for, as our Lord has said, "Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me." (Matthew 25:40, NRSV)

Don't even get me started on WMDs.

If your French is decent, you should read this too.

Lord, have mercy, for we are sinners in your sight.


13 January 2005

culinary ramblings

I believe I have stumbled on a fairly good method for preparing French beans that arose out of my own puttering about in the kitchen. My problem is, when left to my own devices, I never measure. So, all the measurements are sheer guesses. So - if you like French beans, give this a try and give me some feedback on the measurements.

1/2 lb. French beans
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp. sesame oil
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 c. chopped raw walnuts

Wash the beans and snap off the ends. In a hot skillet, add sesame oil and garlic. Sauté until the garlic gets toasty - this shouldn't take long if your skillet is friggin' hot, which it bloody well should be. Add beans, sauté for a minute and a half max. Deglaze with soy sauce. Sauté a bit more then add butter and lemon juice. This will brighten the dish and give it a nice gloss. When the butter has melted and the beans are coated, remove from the heat and stir through the walnuts. The beans should crunch when you eat them. You want them hot all the way through but not flaccid. The good news is that because French beans are really skinny, it doesn't take much to bring them to temperature.

I've served it with Chinese food. Tonight I served it with a savory quiche and a baby spinach salad (made with heirloom tomatoes, a mild goat's milk blue cheese, red onions that had soaked in lemon & lime juice for about 30 minutes - it takes the edge off - and more chopped walnuts). It worked really well both times.

Give it a go and let me know what you think.

mac poop

12 January 2005
First of all, props to K. for the schweet phrase.

Secondly, from the world of iCovet - there is the new Mac mini and the iPod shuffle. It seems that ol' Steve-o is out to democratize the world of Mac. Soon, we elitist assholes will have lost all the computational high ground. While the socialist in me absolutely delights in this new found product availability and access to a higher order of computing for the masses will no doubt be of soteriological significance, it seems Apple is out to undermine the sanctimony afforded by their 3% market share. Alas. It seems I will have to search elsewhere if I wish to preserve some false sense of the moral high ground.... oh, wait, I'm still a vegetarian!

(Emotional vegetarians need not apply.)

Yeah, J., that last one was just for you.

hard answers

10 January 2005
Several people in the past few days have asked me what "the churches" are saying about the earthquake and tsunami. On NPR this morning, there was a survey piece on different religious responses to the disaster. Sadly, the only two Christians to be interviewed were, in my view, theologically bankrupt. One invoked a theology of God's judgment and vengeance seemingly without concern or reference to the incarnation and crucifixion of our Lord. The other's response positively offended me. He maintained that the tsunami happened to spur Christians, and him in particular, to repentance. This, coupled with the various folk in the media accounting for the disaster by suggesting it would be God's judgment on all sorts and conditions of folk left me greatly saddened.

Rather than ranting and raving, I would instead offer the words of one much wiser than myself. If you haven't read it yet, do take the time to read this article by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams.

hizell yizeah


I'm freaking done.

Okay, I'm not 100% done, I've got a little paper left and some thesis work, but I'm done with the two big nasties. But 195 footnotes and 48 pages later, I'm done.

If you'll excuse me, I need to go frag something.

product endorsements

09 January 2005
If you're theologically minded (or an Austin College graduate), go buy this book right now:

In Praise of Christian Origins: Stephen and the Hellenists in Lukan Apologetic Historiography. New York: T&T Clark, 2004.

The author, Dr. Todd Penner, gave me a copy over Christmas, and while I've not read it in toto (yet) I've been reading bits and chunks and it's definitely worth a read.

Oh, yeah, and I get mentioned in the acknowledgements (page xxxi), so that's hella cool.

self-indulgent tripe

The only problem, I've discovered, with actually having a blog is that one is all of a sudden faced with the pernicious compulsion to actually say something of value. This may largely be a function of being an academic, though I must remind myself that I started this thing precisely because it's not academic. So, having deleted two previous rants on nothing in particular, I give you, without further ado:

Why I Like Monkeys

I'm well aware that monkeys are somewhat disgusting, poo-flinging beasties. I'm not even all that keen on going to the monkey house at the zoo. Why? Quite simply, the monkey house at the zoo never smells of anything but monkey poo. That said, how can you not like the word "monkey?" Say it with me. "Mon-key." "Monkey." "Monkey."

It's fun to say. And the idea of 'monkey', the Platonic Form if you will, is particularly appealing. While I'm certainly not going to sign up for mutual grooming any time soon - no, I'm not eating your lice, that's just gross - there are definitely times I've found myself wanting to swing from branch to branch, howling my happy little head off. (It's that or editing another paper... this is not a difficult choice.)

I think I mostly like monkeys because they can get away with doing what our charming friend in this photo is up to.

Okay, enough with the monkeys. I'm going to go eat some leftovers and get back to the salt mines (finish editing my paper that's due tomorrow).

changes to the page

07 January 2005
In another fit of procrastination, I decided to change the page within the first 24 hours of its existence. The most significant addition would be the "Links" section, which will, no doubt, elicit commentary from some. I therefore offer the following justification/explanation/disclaimer:

I'm well aware of the cognitive dissonance created by putting links to Anglicans Online and Penny Arcade right next to each other. I like it, so deal.

That having been said, to borrow a line from Matt, I'm happy to add a link to your blog/page, "if I deem you worthy..."

Speaking of Link, I needs me some rupees...

(Hey, it was that or a really lame Gauntlet joke.)

selling out or buying in... whichever...

06 January 2005
I never understood the point of blogs. I have friends and family who have them and enjoy them. I enjoy reading them. I never could conceive of a reason why I would want one.

I have found my reason.

For, pardee, ye han ofte tyme herd telle
How that a frere ravysshed was to helle
In sprit ones by a visioun;
And as an angel ladde hym up and doun,
To shewen hym the peynes that ther were,
In al the place saugh he nat a frere;
Of oother folk he saugh ynowe in wo.
Unto this angel spak the frere tho:
'Now, sire,' quod he, 'han freres swich a grace
That noon of hem shal come to this place?'
'Yis,' quod this angel, 'many a millioun!'
And unto Sathanas he ladde hym doun.
'And now hath Sathanas,' seith he, 'a tayl
Brodder than of a carryk is the sayl.
Hold up thy tal, thou Sathanas!' quod he;
'Shewe forth thyn ers, and lat the frere se
Where is the nest of freres in this place!'
And er that half a furlong wey of space,
Right so as bees out swarmen from an hyve,
Out of the develes ers ther gonne dryve
Twenty thousand freres on a route,
And thurghout helle swarmed al about,
And comen agayn as faste as they may gon,
And in his ers they crepten everychon.
He clapte his tayl agayn and lay ful stille.
This frere, whan he looked hadde his fille,
Upon the tormentz of this sory place,
His spirit God restored, of his grace,
Unto his body agayn, and he awook."

Summoner's Prologue 1675-1703, The Canterbury Tales
Now, when I set out to write my term paper for my Chaucer course, I was well aware that by choosing to write on Chaucer's Satanology, I would be delving into some fairly foul stuff. I knew I'd have to write on this passage. Frankly, I think the passage is funny. Disgusting, but funny. Penny Arcade funny: tasteless, intelligent, and side-splittingly funny.

The problem is, when you try to write about something that's funny in an academic way, all the humor drains right out and you're left feeling like you've just escaped the company of 20,000 Chaucerian mendicants in a very tight space.

All of this is to say, my brain is fried and my housemate is writing a paper on the knowledge of God, so she's pretty fried too. Solution: complain to the entire internet. Hey, why not? Besides, this is a fantabulous way to avoid actually doing work.

I'm off to poke a badger with a spoon...