Dispatches from Outland
A little song. A little dance. A little seltzer down your pants. Copyright © 2003 Roy M. Jacobsen.


Friday, August 16, 2002  

It appears that the problem with Blogrolling was too many links in a single blogroll. 50 seems to be the magic number.

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 10:09 PM
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Unjustified Snits Department: The Rev. Franklin Graham recently complained that Islamic leaders have not expressed any contrition over the September 11 attacks. The usual suspects have pitched a fit, however, William F. Buckley Jr. says "The charges by the Reverend Franklin Graham are not only justified, they are unanswerable."

You and I — because we are so intelligent (!), and so balanced morally (!) — know that what happened on September 11 can only be dismissed as a perversion. A perversion of something. But our concern is that our blissful sophistication in such matters isn't shared as widely as it ought to be. When we conquered Hitler, we denied the Germans the right to buy a copy of Mein Kampf. Should we ask the Muslim leaders to circulate only the University of North Carolina edition of the Qur'an?

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 4:30 PM
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Pardon Our Dust Department: I'm not sure what's the deal with my original Blogroll, but the new one I created is showing up. Since I've been meaning to segregate the blogs from other types of sites (e.g., the webzines, news sites, etc.), I'll be creating a couple of different blogrolls for that purpose. Won't happen overnight, but there you are.

The first addition to the Good Blog-rations list is Pray Naked Experience. Don't get started with smutty ideas; the point is the attitude we're supposed to have as we approach God. He can see through all the stuff we attempt to clothe ourselves with, so we might as well jettison all that before we start.

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 2:32 PM
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That's Good, But Don't Stop Praying Department: The Voice of the Martyrs reports that the Pakistani Supreme Court has overturned the blasphemy conviction and death sentence of Ayub Masih. Keep praying for Masih, as he faces death threats; Islamic radicals have tried to kill him twice during his six-year incarceration.

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 8:57 AM
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Thursday, August 15, 2002  

Unchained Goons Department: Several others have already noted the list of the Top Ten Funeral Songs (as reported by the BBC). What caught my eye was number 8, Unchained Melody (by the Righteous Brothers). I wonder if they had this rendition in mind.

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 1:06 PM
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Houston, We Have A Problem Department: Grrrr! First my Blogrolling links go AWOL, and now the comments have gone away. Maybe it's time to start paying for a blogging tool...

Update: And as soon as I posted the above, the comments came back. And who says whinging never does any good?

Anyway, until I get the Blogrolling issue corrected, I've pasted a quick-and-ugly list of links on the left. Did I mention that it was ugly?

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 12:53 PM
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Quirky Google Search Department: I came up as number 2 for the search string Ways on how to get rid of your ego. (I'm glad I wasn't number 1, because that would have given me an inflated ego, which is a bit contradictory, innit?)

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 12:44 PM
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Wednesday, August 14, 2002  

Please Stand By Department: I'm not sure if I've done something wrong, or if something's up with Blogrolling, but my links are AWOL. [Razzin-sagafrazzing-rippin-frippin....]

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 11:21 AM
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Donald's Middle Nephew Department: On Monday, I asked the question "When did the goal of education change from “developing good citizens” to “create cogs for the machine of business”?" Blame Dewey. (Not the duck.)

Chuck Colson, in his book How Now Shall We Live?, says that education has historically had two major goals: academic training and moral education. It wouldn't be accurate to say it's currently failing those two goals, because it has turned away from those goals completely. Teachers are being taught more about self esteem, ethnicity, gender, social equity, and the whole hodge-podge of politically correct, feel-good tripe, than they are about the subject matter they’re supposed to be teaching. For example, Colson quotes one language arts professor telling his teaching students that “More important than content or thinking [are] the students’ feelings. You are not there to feed them information but to be sensitive to their need for positive reinforcement, for self-esteem.”

Where did this come from? The focus of Colson’s book is on the impact of world view, that is, what are your answers to the questions “Who are we? Where did we come from? Where are we going?”

In terms of education, we can see how John Dewey adapted the Darwinian worldview to teaching. According to Darwin, we are not beings created in the image of God, with the fall of Adam stamped on our souls. No, we're merely organisms, biological machines, the product of natural selection. Ideas are not things that should be taught as being "right or wrong." On the contrary, Colson says Dewey “argued that ideas are merely hypothesis about what will get the results we want, and their validity depends on whether they work.” In other words, Dewey applied a purely pragmatic approach to education, stressing process over content. Dewey is the patron saint of modern "education," and this approach has suffused our school system from top to bottom.

More later.

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 9:16 AM
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Tuesday, August 13, 2002  

Good Eats Department: Paula made Lazy Day Duff for desert last night. Mmmmmmm. Blueberries.

Lazy Day Duff
Melt 1/4 pound butter and pour in 8”x8” pan.

Mix the following ingredients:
1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup milk

Pour the batter into the pan (don't stir). Sprinkle 2 cups of berries on top. (We usually use blueberries; if you use strawberries, slice them up first. You can sweeten the berries with a bit of sugar first if you want.) Bake at 375 degrees F for 35 minutes. Serve warm, with heavy sweet cream, whipped cream or (my favorite) ice cream.

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 3:54 PM
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Pulling The Wool Department: More on Philip Pullman's dreadful Dark Materials trilogy, this time from Greg Krehbiel over at Journeyman.

If Pullman's ideas were presented systematically in a philosophy class you'd laugh and move on to the next chapter. The danger of fantasy (as with science fiction) is that you have to suspend some of your critical faculties to enjoy the story, and then, while your guard is down, Pullman strikes his low blow.
(Link via Mark Shea.)

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 1:46 PM
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Picking At The Sore Department: Mentioning money in church is a perennial sore point for many people. "They're always after money," is a common complaint. Joel Miller offers the following at RazorMouth.com

Christians must tithe—especially when the church is hard up.
The church is God's beachhead in this world. Our job is to go forth with the Gospel and turn the place on its head. If the church is to fulfill its mission in this world, it needs the tithes of God's people. And if the tithes of God's people are going to more festive flings, he will not be amused.

God takes this issue very seriously. Just read Malachi, especially chapter 3.

Redaction note: I had originally cited chapter 6. There is NO chapter 6 in Malachi. I meant chapter 3, beginning at about verse 6. OK, /ben/, happy now?

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 1:34 PM
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Substance Over Symbolism Department: Karen Marie Knapp has some words for us from Joel.

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 10:14 AM
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Monday, August 12, 2002  

Education Department: Tish -- our first-born child -- is going to be starting her sophomore year in a couple of weeks, moving from being the top of the food chain at the junior high to being the small fish in the big tank of high school. (Prayers for her, as she has a heavy class load, and for Paula and I are appreciated.) So this morning we went to an orientation session and a meeting with her counselor.

When did the goal of education change from “developing good citizens” to “create cogs for the machine of business”? Ah, forget it. I’m not sure I want to go there today.

I did see something that me as funny (in both the “ha-ha” and “hmmm” senses) in the counselor’s bookshelf. (I have a habit of perusing the books wherever I see them. You can learn quite a bit about someone by what they have in their bookshelf.) On one shelf, I counted at least six books that had “self esteem” in the title. In an interesting coincidence [Nota bene: I do not believe in coincidence], in church yesterday, Pastor Hank’s sermon spent a good deal of time on the notion of “self esteem.” In short, it’s horribly over-rated in our society. Many people don’t suffer from a lack of self esteem, they have a falsely inflated self image. Yes, we are created in the image of God, which gives us several wonderful and unique characteristics. At the same time, all of us have inherited a depraved nature. What we need is a righteous, honest and clear self image. Then set that side by side with the knowledge that God loves us unconditionally anway.

I'll post more on this later.

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 4:47 PM
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