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coolest band name this week

27 April 2005
The Exploding Toads.

In other news...

Final papers suck.

our lady of the potato chip

21 April 2005
For those of you that haven't heard, apparently the BVM has given up on apperitions in food products to appear on an underpass in Chicago. (Be sure to click the "in pictures" link.)

Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of the BVM; but I definitely think that the Blessed Virgin and our Lord have better things to do than appear on fish sticks, oyster shells and underpasses.

So here's my question (and do use the comments feature to sound off on this...): What do you think the next item/location/food product/animal will be to sport a miraculous image?

the bike, day 1

Rule 1: If Mr. Testosterone says it's a good idea, it's not.
Rule 2: If you haven't ridden a bike in 12 years, don't try to start riding again just like you (think) you used to.
Rule 3: If you chose to ignore rules 1 and 2, ride alone.
Rule 4: If you chose to ignore rules 1, 2 and 3, it's your own damn fault.

springtime, in new jersey

20 April 2005

Ah, spring in the state of New Jersey (well, at least until tomorrow when it gets cold and rainy again...).

"Whan that Aprill, with his shoures soote
The droghte of March hath perced to the roote
And bathed every veyne in swich licour,
Of which vertu engendred is the flour;
Whan Zephirus eek with his sweete breeth
Inspired hath in every holt and heeth
the tendre croppes, and the younge sonne
Hath in the Ram halfe his course yronne,
And smale foweles maken melodye,
That slepen al the nyght with open eye-
(So priketh hem Nature in hir corages);
Thanne longen folk..."

Seriously, I left home at a quarter of eight with the intention of running a quick errand, grabbing a cup of coffee (and a donut, mmm... donut...), getting to the library by 8:30 at the latest, and having time to grab a couple of books before I had to be at work at 9. This seems more than reasonable. In theory, the whole bit should have only taken about 30 minutes, so I allowed another 15 for traffic and New Jersey. That was, needless to say, quite thwarted.

I never got my errand run, never got my coffee, wound up eating my lunch for breakfast while I was sitting at a dead stop on Quakerbridge Road, and got to work at 9:30. Alas.

boy meet bike

18 April 2005

This afternoon, after test riding around ten bikes for the better part of an hour and a half, I bought one, a Trek 7200. I rode all sorts and kinds of bicycles, but after talking to the guys at the shop about my commuting needs, this is the one I wound up getting.

The surprising thing is this isn't the most expensive bike I test rode. It wound up being quite a middle of the road bicycle and I rode the whole range (of course, when you wind up adding a helmet, a bicycle lock, a floor pump, a kick stand, a cargo rack, and a bottle cage, you've paid for the next bike up).

What really surprised me is that I wound up really liking the suspension, both on the fork and on the seat.

I can't wait to pick it up... they're not going to be done putting all schtuff on it until Thursday at lunch. But hey, I'll get some good riding in this weekend.

It's amazing what a $38 fill up at the local BP will lead one to...

I got to work this morning to find out that the bosslady and her husband (both of whom are pretty serious cyclists) both bought 7200s this week as well. Now, I'm feeling not only eco-friendly and sanctimonious (gay vegetarian on a bicycle? looney left, here I come...) but über-validated. Apparently, the 7200 has a pretty good reputation as a solid bit o' bike.

cat 1, shirt 0

We bathed the cats again. Today's lesson is: don't wear your favorite shirt while bathing a cat that really hates to be bathed.


17 April 2005
Those of you who know me are no doubt well aware of my two recalcitrant addictions:
  1. Ice Cream
  2. Coffee
While it doesn't do a darn thing for #2 (though the pint glass full of iced coffee currently in my hand does), the good folks at Ben & Jerry's are having a free cone day (April 19 from 12pm to 8pm). And yes, there is indeed a Ben & Jerry's in Princeton.

Thanks to Kevin for calling this to my attention. (Although I do go in for much of "the political bohonkus they represent," but that's only because I'm a big ol' honkin' socialist.)

quote of the week

16 April 2005
"Just because I'm willing to do morally questionable things with Photoshop at the drop of a hat doesn't mean that I'm utterly bereft of any sense of ethical social action."

good, bad & promises

The bad news is, I'm swamped with a metric crapload of work because it's the end of the year, therefore there will be relatively little blog action for the next couple of weeks.

The good news is: I've finished my thesis (thanks in no small part to the generous editing help of E.).

The promise is: The blog will resume its regularly scheduled programming in a couple of weeks and I hope to move to my own domain and redesign the page.

book endorsements

12 April 2005
So we all know that "A Sop in Wyn" is a massive PR and advertising revenue generating machine. (It's also known for a remarkable and mysterious lack of sarcasm and occasional dry humor...) At any rate, this Thursday, the Rev. Dr. Christine M. Smith is going to be speaking and preaching for bglass Week 2005.

Dr. Smith is the author of several books on preaching, all of which are worth a read:
I picked up a copy of Preaching as Weeping, Confession and Resistance earlier today and am finding it a worthwhile and good read.

(I also bought the TBA out of her books, so if you want them, you'll have to Amazon it.)

...and altar boy?

11 April 2005
Wow. Eddie Izzard really is a prophet.

I give you Pope Man. You realy have to follow this link. The "calzoncillos de castidad" are worth it.

(As far as I can tell this isn't a spoof since it's from Reuters...)

mmm... yeah....

08 April 2005
It's a red Swingline kinda day.

While it's definitely not a malfunctioning fax machine, the color printer at work has definitely earned my ire. To be fair, it's not just color printer, it's also Micro$oft Word. It took no less than a hour and a half to correctly print one double sided page with one color image. Why? For the following reasons:
  1. Word reformatted the pagination.
  2. Word inserted random characters.
  3. The printer's image quality was atrocious.
  4. Adobe wouldn't cooperate.
  5. The printer decided to print documents that were two days old, instead of the current print job.
Mmmm.... technology.

Damn it feels good to be a gangster.

it's all true

06 April 2005
You know you're in graduate school if...

...you regularly reformat PDF files so the print out will be small enough for your high capacity stapler.

...you're grateful that 400 of your 500 pages of reading for next Tuesday are in modern languages.

...you don't work for the library and you have more than 20 call numbers memorized.

...you pick your job(s) based solely on how much study time they allow for.

...you've used footnotes in personal correspondence.

...you've studied while cooking, eating and washing up.

...you've studied while on vacation.

...you've planned at least part of a vacation around a visit to a major library.

...you've taken a vacation to catch up on your studying.

...you've traveled more than 60 miles to attend a 45 minute lecture, more than once in a given week.

...you spend more money on photocopies than on food in a given day.

...you special order caffeinated breath mints to get rid of your coffee breath and to give you that extra boost to get through the last hour of that seminar.

...you find yourself explaining out of state geography according to the floor plan of your school's library.

...you have more than one running joke with your friendly, neighborhood reference librarian.

...people are jealous of your study carol.

...the library security guard stops you to ask if you're okay because he hasn't seen you in two days.

...the security guard at a neighboring library stops you to ask if you're okay because he hasn't seen you in two days.

...you get annoyed with English because it's not an inflected language any more.

...you've thought of translating this list into more than one language.

...you've actually translated part of this list into another language, just for kicks.

...you find yourself quoting sources when a retail person asks you a simple question.


04 April 2005
Tonight, bglass (the lgbt organization at PTS, of which I am co-moderator) sat down for dinner and fellowship with another group of folk with diverse feelings about lgbt ordination/same sex union issues. There was an incredible amount of open-heartedness, candor, and good-will in the room. Everyone there really worked towards engaging every other person in the room as a genuine human being with genuine interest in setting aside theological differences, bickering and divisive behavior. The prevailing question of the evening was "What can we do together?" It was an evening in which many (if not all) of us had to step well outside our comfort zones to engage the Other as bearer of the imago Dei.

In short, it was a remarkably grace filled evening.

One of the things that I think really made the evening work was that everyone around the "table" was willing to really listen - everyone really wanted to know how we could create a meaningful, safe space for real dialogue and prayer.

For me, the most powerful moment was speaking openly, honestly and theologically with people who disagreed with me and neither of us were on the defensive. In some sense, lgbt folk are always coming out - we're always working against the assumption that we're heterosexual. For those of us that are "out," every time we meet someone new, we have to "come out." All of my friends and all of bglass know I'm gay. The folk of my parish in Jersey all know I'm gay. I'm fairly certain a good chunk of the history department and a good chunk of the Sem knows, if only because we live in a very small community. What this translates to is, most days, when I come out to someone, it's because I'm engaged in a pastoral/theological discussion with someone who is opposed to the full inclusion of lgbt folk in the life of the church and I'm determined to not let that person leave without having to put a real face on the issue. That's draining. Tonight was way different. Tonight, I was one of only two out folk amongst almost 20 folk talking about how we can live together as a church. And the cool thing is, folk really listened.

For all of my (well earned) cynicism and bitterness, events like tonight give me real hope. Instead of division, there was a legitimate desire to find ways we can minister together. I am, for the first time in a very long time, left with a profound sense of hope for our Church.

Deo gratias.

O God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, our only Savior, the Prince of Peace: Give us grace seriously to lay to heart the great dangers we are in by our unhappy divisions; take away all hatred and prejudice, and whatever else may hinder us from godly union and concord; that, as there is but one Body and one Spirit, one hope of our calling, one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of us all, so we may be all of one heart and of one soul, united in one holy bond of truth and peace, of faith and charity, and may with one mind and one mouth glorify you; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
(Book of Common Prayer, 1979, page 818)


01 April 2005
According to the Episcopal News Service, Diocesan Digest of 31 March 2005:
James Tramel, an incarcerated man who was ordained an Episcopal deacon while in prison, was due to be released last week until California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger reversed the decision despite recommendations from the state's parole board. Bishop William Swing of California, who had planned to celebrate Easter services with Tramel, criticized the decision during his Easter Day sermon saying that "Governors of California are 90-pound moral weaklings when it comes to restoration of human beings..."
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Tramel was 17 years old when he and a classmate, David Kurtzman, retaliated after a group of Tramel's friends were provoked by local gang members. Trial transcripts reveal that Kurtzman attacked a sleeping homeless man, 29-year-old Michael Stephenson, in downtown Alameda Park, stabbing him to death as Tramel watched and did nothing. Tramel was found to be the ringleader and sentenced to 15 years to life for second-degree murder.
Tramel was scheduled to be ordained as a priest at Grace Cathedral, San Francisco, in June 2005.
The full story of the Rev. James Tramel is available here from the ENS.

Among the things said by the Rt. Rev. William E. Swing said, was this:
All of this business of talking up values on the one hand and instilling fear on the other works in politics. But not on Easter. The popular values of our country would be shocked by Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. Jesus said, “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.” [Matthew 5:7] For this and other radical ideas about the poor and hungry, Jesus himself was brought before a governor. And fear? Politicians inject it like steroids. Yes, fear mobilizes greed for a while, but ultimately it is toxic to the system. The fear system ends up as a prison with a governor. And no one wants that, not even our governor.

What is so great about the mystery of resurrection? It produces a tiny, indestructible ingredient in your body. Though everything is breaking down, sagging, and prey to some lethal ingredient, there is a world-conquering joy — thin, weak, tiny, but a solid hope that my Creator will claim me, whatever the cost. Jesus is our code name for this, spelled out in flesh, spilled out in blood, sprung out of an empty tomb. We will never get the details right. What is clear is the inextinguishable holy fire that has been lit in our hearts. Resurrection is a joyful community of hope that transcends the fear of crucifixion. Resurrection is new life. I have seen it, felt it, believe it, and I invite you into the Risen Life.
The full text is available here.

Now, I would leave you with only a bit of commentary from our friends over at goats.com.