Saturday, December 31, 2005

Blog-naming Contest


Calling all creative friends o' Ron: I need your help.

I am in the midst of a project setting up a Worship Resource blog for the Presbyterian Church. It will be a "collaborative collection of resources and commentary for those who plan and lead Christian worship." Before we can go further, we need to decide on a name.

The committee in charge have had some good discussions about titles, but the majority of them are rather, well, blah. Boring. Blandly descriptive -- like the stuff that comes after the colon in a dissertation title. For example: "WorshipResources." Or "Worship4Life." Or "ResourcesforWorshipPraxis."

What I think we need is a name that's got a little pique, a little zazz, a little - how do you say - je ne sais quoi. Brainstorms in that direction have yielded a couple obscure options: "Plucking Heads of Grain," "HolyThings," "From Ur to There," and "WikiOrdo."

These aren't bad, but they're not so good, either. The lead name at this point is "WorshipHelps" -- which has some interesting complexity of meaning. And yet...

I suspect that the right folks can rise to the challenge of coming up with a name that splits the difference between sexy and soporific. I know if any group on the planet can come up with good stuff, it's all of you. All suggestions welcome!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Christmas Songs that Never Caught On

From a good friend of mine, Todd Kleinhuizen, comes this hilarious holiday list...

-------

It is once again the holiday season. The airs of familiar Christmas carols and songs waft through our homes and the store aisles From time to time, a new tune breaks out and takes its place among the old favorites, but hundreds of others have fallen upon the holiday scrap heap, dumped along with the ribbons, bows, broken tree lights and uneaten fruitcakes. Here are a few of those titles:


“The Second Noel” This blatant attempt to capitalize on the popular original with a lame sequel rightly fell flat.

“Reindeer Droppings On The Roof” Although this was a cute story song in the tradition of “Twas the Night Before Christmas” and “Rudolph,” the mild scatological reference proved off-putting and the song failed. Its signature line: “Plop, plop, plop go the reindeer droppings on the roof/ hear the plop-ploppings midst the clip-clop clopping little hooves.” CBS wouldn’t touch the proposed clay-mation special.

“The Twelve Gauge of Christmas” There was simply too much cold steel and not enough warm fuzzy in this misguided NRA effort to bring firearms into the glow of the Yuletide season with a twist on the familiar “Twelve Days of Christmas”. Similarly ill-fated was “Billy’s Christmas Glock.”

“No Fur In My Stocking, Santa!” Nobody wants an angry Christmas protest song, so this PETA offering had about as much chance as the Christmas goose. PETA has now focused instead on promoting versions of the more established “Friendly Beasts” as its holiday anthem for animal rights awareness.

“The Nog’n Toboggan’” The B-52’s laid this egg in the wake of their “Love Shack” success more than a decade ago; alas, the Egg Nog reference was largely lost on the young target audience, most of whom also said, “it doesn’t have a good beat and you can’t really dance to it.”

“Break Forth Oh Christmas Wind” The writer of this lovely song and lyric had his heart in the right place, so much so, however, that he failed to note the obvious flatulence double entendre in his song. He died an embittered man in a Schenectady nursing home in 1973.

“Angels ‘n Elves Sing Noel” Focus on the Family and other Christian groups quickly squelched this attempt to meld secular and religious Christmas traditions in song. This casualty of the culture wars will likely not be sorely missed. A sample lyric:

There’s a spot in Santa’s sleigh for a manger and some hay
Ho, ho, ho, ho, ho in excelsis De – O –O!

“Hot Haggis Christmas Morn” This ill-conceived offering had no chance. First, not that many people in this country know what “haggis” is. Second, those who know what haggis is and might somehow otherwise think fondly of it would be hard-pressed to imagine eating it before noon, much less first thing Christmas morning. A truly “offal” song.

“Ain’t No Chimney On My Double – Wide (A Trailer Park Christmas)" This country number just didn’t conjure up the kind of Currier & Ives images that folks favor during the holidays.

“Something Smells Like Christmas” Smell, for some reason, is not among the senses that people are eager to memorialize in song. While there are surely many pleasant smells to associate with the Christmas season, somehow the phrase “something smells” just never leads to a happy place. So, “It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas,” yes; “Something Smells Like Christmas”; no.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

From the Archives

I don't know if anyone noticed, a few days ago I changed the little icon that shows up when you access this page from the generic "blogger" icon (what is this called anyway) to one unique to Theologiggle.

I have the one that appears in your browser (you could call this the ruminant-derriere or "rumierre" for short) and I also have this one below from my old computer backup CDs. This was after the Riestra's time, but I'll give you one guess whose head this depicts.



As I recall this became the show logo that year and we even made t-shirts out of it. I had some other files from the show, unfortunately in PageMaker 5 format.

Anyway, we should vote on whether to use the "rumierre" or "combover" icon, let me know what you think.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Idaho Legislature recognizes Napoleon Dynamite

The Idaho Legislature, in an effort to recognize the producers of the film "Napoleon Dynamite" (Jared and Jerusha (!!) Hess), have adopted resolution #29. You can read the full text of resolution #29 here. Here are a couple of tidbits.

WHEREAS, the Preston High School administration and staff, particularly the cafeteria staff, have enjoyed notoriety and worldwide attention; and
WHEREAS, tater tots figure prominently in this film thus promoting Idaho's most famous export; and
...
WHEREAS, Tina the llama, the chickens with large talons, the 4-H milk cows, and the Honeymoon Stallion showcase Idaho's animal husbandry; and
WHEREAS, any members of the House of Representatives or the Senate of the Legislature of the State of Idaho who choose to vote "Nay" on this concurrent resolution are "FREAKIN' IDIOTS!" and run the risk of having the "Worst Day of Their Lives!"
...

Friday, November 18, 2005

Much Delayed August Photos

I finally got around to uploading the pictures I took during our trip in August. They are here on the Kodak Gallery web site. I hope this link works as planned.

I also found out today that MIT is once again at the cutting edge of some fascinating research. Here is the paper, On the Effectiveness of Aluminum Foil Helmets: an Empirical Study.

Phil

Thursday, November 10, 2005

I am not making this up...


Though I kind of wish I had thought of it first. Yes, it's the "Light Speed Study Bible" [photo courtesy of Christianbook.com]
Their promo text follows:
The Light Speed Bible offers a study program that can empower anyone with at least seventh-grade reading ability to read every word of the entire Bible in 24 hours or less-with good comprehension. Or if readers want to start with the New Testament using the Light Speed Bible strategy the average time it will take to read every word and phrase from Matthew 1 through Revelation 22 is about five hours. Furthermore, these total times include not just one but three passes through the entire text--an experience that will transform lives through exposure to the whole Word of God.
Wow, why didn't we think of this before? Now we can get that pesky task of reading the Bible taken care of, once and for all! And not just once, but three times--that's got to be more than most pastors in your denomination, right?
As Hank Hill says, "Bobby, you need to be lectured all afternoon..."

Saturday, October 29, 2005

A Long Time Ago, In a Seminary Far Away





Here are a couple of old pictures from the very beginning of Theologiggle. Jana and I had been married about 13 weeks, instead of 13 years. How time flies.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Academicisms

OK, so the neologiggle post (see below) didn't go over so well, but I'm not deterred. I have another linguistic challenge for you logophiles. Background: Today a friend of mine here (my fellow PTS grad Eric Jacobsen) and I were discussing the word precis as an example of an "academicism" -- i.e. obtuse words whose clever use raises one's score on the academic credibility scale.

So this week's challenge is this: can we devise a list of 50 such words, the persistent use of whicbh are sure-fire signs that the one employing them is a registered denizen of the ivory tower. The criteria are:

1) Words must be obscure
2) They must be hard to spell and / or have a pronunciation nuance (so you
can correct people)
3) They must have a perfectly good 'common' synonym.

Have fun!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Panoramic Photo of the Beach

Hello! After fiddling with some different tools for a while I have generated a Javascript based Panoramic Beach Photo from a series of images I took back in August. When you get to that page you can click and drag left and right to see the full image. Here it is in miniature.



Ah, the heady days of summer. Digging in the sand. Splashing in the water. Lathering on our SPF 80 sunblock....

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Jake-a-lope

A visit to the Natural History Museum of LA County this weekend led to the discovery, in the hands-on Discovery Room, of a new species of Rienstra: the Jake-a-lope.

Neologiggle

The English language already has among the largest vocabularies of any language in the world, but hey, we could always use a few more words. A new book by a guy called Adam Jacot de Boinod collects cool words from other languages for which there is no equivalent in English. A review of the book in the British paper The Independent lists a bevy of good ones. Our favorite so far is "the stoic German term Torschlusspanik, meaning 'the fear of diminishing opportunities as one gets older.'"

So here's a challenge for Theologigglers everywhere: Let's make up some new words for things that really need words to describe them.

Here are a few definitions we've made up that need words to go with them:
  • a verb to describe obnoxious parents cheering maniacally on the sidelines at their childrens' sporting matches (hyperhuzz?)
  • a noun for the noises early-risers make that disturb people who are still sleeping (somnturbation?)
  • a verb for the sermonic technique of answering questions nobody in the congregation is asking (pedanticize? But that isn't really "new" enough - it's just a morphologism)
  • A noun for the sneeze that is on its way, but hasn't arrived quite yet (this one should probably be of Germanic derivation)
OK, now it's your turn.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Perfection through Science

In the same vein as Ron's radio post, Popular Science recently had a series of articles about people of the future. What kind of medicines will we take, will we have longer, better lives, etc. As part of the series, they had a "contributing troubadour" who produced these two songs.

Better
I Feel Fantastic

Hopefully these will stay around a while.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Mr. 80-SPF Sunblock Wearer

As fall begins falling, many of us find that those summer days of baking in the sunshine are just a fading memory.

For others, it's part of everyday life.

And for the latter, there's this.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Our Harry Potter musings

Hi all,

I have finally figured out how to post -- welcome to the 21st century! -- so I am uploading the notes from our Harry Potter disscussion last month. Below please find all of our wild theories! It was so fun to brainstorm all of these, with ideas flying fast and furious. I know I've forgetten some, so please add what you remember.

(The disclaimer is that I haven't edited the notes or made them pretty in any way. You have been warned.)

--Jana


Snape: Snape is a good guy whose final loyalty is to Dumbledore and the good side. Here's a possible scenario for the night James and Lily were killed: Snape overhears the prophecy. Now Snape is torn. He hates James, but admires and possibly loves Lily. He might have done the half-blood prince thing just to impress her. He doesn’t know where the Potters are. He finds out that Pettigrew is the secret-keeper, plays up on his cowardice and promises that Pettigrew will be V’s right-hand man. Snape learns where the Potters are and goes to the Potters to warn them.

James doesn’t believe him, and they’re having a huge argument about it when the knock comes and it’s V. James does the brave thing and stupefies Snape and throws the invisibility cloak over him. Snape is humiliated by this – he never had the chance to choose to be brave, which is why he explodes so insanely when Harry calls him a coward in book 6. So Snape is forced to watch as James is killed. After James’s death, the immobilization spell is lifted, and Snape has the chance to show himself and save Harry and Lily. He chooses not to, and watches while Lily dies and Harry is attacked. Snape sees the whole thing from under the cloak.

Now Dumbledore – who had rec’d an owl or something from Snape, telling him that the Potters were in danger – comes in. He has those special vision powers where he can see people under invisibility cloaks, so he sees Snape and removes the cloak.

And at the end of book 6, what happens on top of the tower is that Dumbledore mentally/telepathically tells Snape that Snape must kill him to prove his loyalty to Voldemort. The hatred and revulsion that crosses S’s face is self-hatred for what he has to do. Dumbledore sees that having Snape retain his identity as a double agent is far more valuable to the cause than his individual life.

BTW, this theory that Snape and Dumbledore were at the Potters’ house that night explains how D got James’s invisibility cloak to save for Harry and eventually pass down to him.


Horcruxes:
We know for sure:
• The book (destroyed)
• The ring (destroyed) – technically Slytherin, but really represents V's own family
• The locket – Slytherin -- stolen from Voldemort by Regulus Black; then re-stolen by Mundungus Fletcher when he pilfered lots of stuff from the Black house –it was in that roll-top desk but no one could open it
• The Hufflepuff cup – we have no idea where this is

The Ravenclaw horcrux: Whatever it is, we think that Luna Lovegood and her dad will be the key to finding this. Like, maybe the Ravenclaw fondue pot or chafing dish has been in their family for years. :-)

Dumbledore believes Nagini is a horcrux, which would explain the psychological connection b/w V and the snake. But if that is true, we don’t get the full 4 houses of the school, do we? If Nagini is NOT a horcrux, then we’re looking for a Ravenclaw thing and a Gryffindor thing.

Ideas for other horcruxes:

Harry’s scar – we can’t figure out the mechanism by which this could happen. But H is mentally connected with V through the scar. Scar is going to be the last word of book 7. Did V imprint a part of his soul in Harry when he tried to do the curse? This would explain the last line of the prophecy, that neither can live while the other survives. A small part of Harry will have to die when he kills V.

Harry’s wand – This is the only companion wand to V’s. Was the wand left in trust with Ollivander? Interesting that O disappears almost immediately after V realizes that there’s a campaign afoot to find and destroy the various horcruxes. This theory fits V’s own ego. V would never have suspected that another wizard could possibly be great enough to handle that twin wand.

Peter’s new hand: The one that V created for him in the graveyard. Now, Peter is pretty unreliable, so this doesn’t quite make sense, but bear with us. Here, Cedric’s murder would be the death that made the horcrux creation possible. What’s cool about this theory is that Peter may finally get a chance to prove why he was once in Gryffindor. Dumbledore once predicted that the fact that Harry had saved Peter’s life will come back to haunt Voldemort sometime in the future. Maybe Peter will decide to cut off his own hand for Harry to destroy it (like he cut off his old hand for V). At any rate, Pettigrew has to show some reason for his Gryffindor ID before the end of the series.

The tapestry in the Black house.


Misc thoughts: we think that Dumbledore’s memories are in the Pensieve for Harry, including his memory of that night his parents were killed. Maybe he leaves the Pensieve to Harry in his will, along with several bottles of memories – maybe Fawkes as well.

Jacob’s theory is that each time you make a horcrux, it gets more and more difficult, b/c there’s less of a soul to work with.

Possible idea -- has Harry saved six people's lives? It would be neat if, by the end of Book 7, Harry will have saved as many lives as Voldemort made horcruxes. Ultimately, the magic that is generated through saving the magic # of lives would be more powerful than the magic created by splintering a soul the same # of times. We know that Harry has saved the lives of Ginny Weasley (Book 2); Peter and Sirius (Book 3); Arthur Weasley (Book 5) and Ron Weasley (Book 6). That's five. Who might we be forgetting? Wait, there's Fleur's sister and Ron in Book 4. Hmmm.

At some point at the end of book 7, Harry will have to make a choice to trust Snape despite all his personal feelings and mistrust.

Dobby will reveal important info about the Malfoy family. (Like maybe that they’re vampires!)

We think that V sent Snape as the lackey to kill Regulus Black. But Snape couldn’t do it, and he gave sanctuary to Regulus. Maybe Kreacher went with RB to get the locket, because only one fully grown wizard can cross the lake at a time. This would explain Kreacher’s secrecy and protectiveness about certain objects in the house. Maybe RB had ordered Kreacher to bring the locket back into the house and keep it safe.

Dawn thinks that Ludo Bagman drank too much of that lucky juice (Felices whatever) during his Quidditch days, which is why he’s always gambling too much now.

Hiding Places for Horcruxes:

That scene in book 6 where V goes to D for the DDA job. They both know there’s no future there and V doesn’t even really want the job, so why did he come all that way? Maybe he came all that way to hide a Horcrux in D’s office somewhere. It’s not Godric Gryffindor’s sword, but could it be something else?

Another horcrux may be hidden in the secret chamber at Hogwarts. It’s well-protected from outsiders, and it extends all the way back to the school’s founders.

Another hiding place could be V’s father’s childhood home, where he killed the Muggle man Frank.

We think that after all their travels in Book 7, Harry, Ron, and Hermione will have to return to Hogwarts at the end for a final showdown. Armageddon with wands.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Geeks Only Need Apply (EOGE)

For the person who wants ... less, here is a keyboard that is completely blank (no labels on any keys).



It is called Das Keyboard, but I thought it could be called...PoMoKeyBo. (Cue groans).

Phil

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Early morning theology

I'm having to get up quite early in the morning these days to squeeze in a bit of extra time to work on a paper that has a looming deadline. But to adapt a quote from a famous Theologigglian of yesteryear, "I'm not much of a theologian at 6:00 in the morning. At 6:00 in the morning, I don't even believe in God. In fact, at that hour, I'm not sure I exist."

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Hair Club for TV Preachers?

Sketch idea we had:

Man with enormously large hair and other suitably flashy TV preacher accoutrements smiles a big smile and says,
"You know, I didn't always have hair like this. I used to have the most ordinary hair around (picture of man with normal hair). I dreamed of starting a TV ministry, but thought, "how can I do it with such ordinary hair." Then I joined the Hair Club for TV Preachers. . .
Now I can preach powerfully, annoint for healing and even baptize in my new hair (suitable pictures for each phrase) . . .

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Birthday bashing

Hey super-friends, check out the post here to find out about Deb's birthday gifts...

(You also need to know that now she's officially 40 and I'm, well, not yet, I've started to call her "old lady." She retaliates by calling me "cabana boy.")

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Stereo Pictures and Annoyance Level

Just to let everyone know that we made it back to Kentucky yesterday evening, a bit tired but an uneventful trip home. Jerusha watched her videos most of the day, and we made it back in time for a few minutes of playtime before bed. Tomorrow is the *BIG DAY*, Jerusha's first day of first grade at her new Catholic School, Saint Agatha.

Someone asked if the stereo pictures could be posted. The answer is yes and no. Here is one way to do it, perhaps almost as annoying as a popup ad.



I need to get offline now, time for Jana to start sucking on the coffee stirrer that is our pathetic internet connection.

Phil

Friday, August 05, 2005

Looks like they made it


Theologiggle veterans (and monster Manilow fans) Jack Brown and his wife Sharon and their son David joined us last night for a fabulous Chicken Pomodora dinner.

Set a course for adventure


We spent a chunk of yesterday afternoon in a friends' boat out on Spring Lake. Pip and Jerusha got a kick out of sitting in the captain's chair.

In our boat conversation we all decided that should the weather start getting rough, and our tiny ship should be lost, we would surely die in very short time on the desert island were it not for Mr. Phil. We're persuaded that he could make a nuclear reactor out of coconuts and beach sand.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Boy Band Love

Wish I thought of this. More than a silly song--it's a formula for sure-fire pop success. Original T'Ger Jack Brown put us on to this.

Last year's invitation

Memories...

"There's a monkey on my back and it's called Peanut Butter Me Up with my good friends Ben & Jerry."

Ticket to ride

These are the tickets for the first Theologiggle back in '92. It was a benefit for the Heifer Project, hence the animal butt theme.

How it all started

Reunion


This week (Aug 1-7) is the 9th annual Theologiggle reunion. This year held in beautiful Grand Rapids, Michigan. Woo hoo. We've had much fun so far pretty much just doing nothing. Well, we did have a raucously good time at our Harry Potter Symposium. Lotsa theories, no answers. Not yet.

The photo is of two of the three glam gals heading off to see PoMoBo.