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

Friday, November 01, 2002  

Brains Washed, Rinsed, And Pressed Department: Tony Woodlief reports on deprogramming his son.

Even worse than this subtle attempt at indoctrination is what produced the following statement from Caleb today as he handed scrap papers to the wife and me: "Look at me, I'm the mailperson."


"I'm the mailperson, Daddy."

"The mailperson?" I asked my wife.

"He has a tape that talks about different jobs like that. It must be on there."

"I want it out of my house."



"I hear you."

"So," I said to Caleb, "you're the mailman, eh? The mailman."

"Yep, I'm the mailman."

Take that, all you people who would trap the minds of our children in your insipid little utopias. Brainwash your own kids, if any of you bother to have them.

Way to go, Tony!

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 10:42 AM

Hot Off The Presses Department: The new issue of Hippocampus Extensions is up. Male and Female: The Image of God. Make it a point to go read it when you have some time. There's good stuff there.

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 9:06 AM

Thursday, October 31, 2002  

Diets And Bulls Department: In honor of Reformation Day and Martin Luther, Valerie brings us The Reformation Polka! Raise your beer steins high and sing along, everybody!

I particularly like the chorus (sung to the tune of "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!"):
Oh, papal bulls, indulgences, and transubstantiation
Speak your mind against them and face excommunication!
Nail your theses to the door, let's start a Reformation!
Papal bulls, indulgences, and transubstantiation!

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 10:51 AM

Wednesday, October 30, 2002  

We Got Links Department: I've added The Adarwinist Reader to the blogroll on the right. Share and Enjoy!

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 4:43 PM

Laughing At The Devil, Take Two Department: Turns out that Halloween as celebrated in America perhaps isn't so much an ancient Celtic festival as it is an American and (dare I say it?) a Christian invention. So say two authors cited in this Salon article. "It's often said that Halloween originates with the Celtic festival of Samhain (show off your pagan cred by correctly pronouncing it as "sow-an"), but it's hard to recognize the modern world's gleefully ghoulish festivities in what one scholar called "an old pastoral and agricultural festival" that marked the beginning of winter." One of the authors mentioned states that "there is no hard evidence that Samhain was specifically devoted to the dead or to ancestor worship."

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 3:56 PM

Saying What Needs To Be Said Department: Don't miss Jonah Goldberg on the late Paul Wellstone and that travesty they called a "memorial service." A couple of exerpts:

Everyone, Republicans and Democrats alike, say that Wellstone's most-admirable quality was that he was a tireless worker for what he believed in. That's fine. Doggedness and determination are wonderful things when in the pursuit of the noble and good. But, it should be remembered that doggedness and determination alone aren't necessarily admirable qualities.


I have my own theory as to why Democrats celebrate "passionate intensity," as Yeats would say, so much. Intellectually, the old liberal project is exhausted. Its arguments do not persuade, its numbers do not add up, its aims no longer seem achievable or worth the costs required. But some liberals, many of them hobbled by nostalgia, refuse to believe that this is true. They loved the romance and excitement of the New Deal or the Great Society so much, that they continue to sit in a nearly empty theater refusing to believe that the movie's over — even though the credits have rolled and the lights have come on. It's just an intermission, they insist. The second half will be even better — just you wait and see!

Go read the whole thing.

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 2:07 PM

Chain Link Department: Joshua Claybourn points out a dialog/argument about miracles that Mark Shea and Jody have been having. Josh points out that "Shea believes in a God, and that this God can and does allow miracles to occur", while Jody doesn't believe in God, therefore he doesn't believe miracles can occur.

This leads me to wonder about the chain of reasoning that's going on here. It seems to me that there isn't any real point in even discussing the miraculous with a committed atheist, because the atheist's thoughts on the matter can be reduced to a very simple statement: There is no God, therefore there are no miracles. Regardless of the evidence presented, the atheist has to argue that there is a materialistic explanation for an event, unless he's willing to at the very least leave the possibility of God an open question.

For an agnostic, the statement is similar: We can know nothing about the existence of God, therefore we can know nothing about miracles.

In either case, unless the atheist or agnostic is willing to question their premise ("There is no God" or "We can know nothing about the existence of God"), then the discussion will go nowhere.

What of the believer? It depends on how (and if) they've reasoned their beliefs. Some do begin from the premise that God is, and from that conclude that miracles happen. But for some people, the chain of reasoning goes the other way: they have started by observing that there are some events that have no materialistic explanation--that is, miracles occur--and from that they have concluded that God is.

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 9:48 AM

Laughing At The Devil Department: William Sulikresponds to Mark Byron's opinions on Halloween. (I won't try to summarize Mark's argument, because it won't do it justice. Go read it.) Bill says we should use Halloween as an opportunity to make fun of Satan. After all, he's beaten, and his rebellion against God is nothing more than a cosmic joke.

Bill quotes a Christianity Today article by Anderson M. Rearick III, who says:

Christians certainly may be leery of sharing anything with modern pagans and Satanists who claim Halloween as theirs. But who gave these individuals the right to claim the holiday? If they are Druids, they are celebrating Samhain, which is not Halloween but an even older holiday. As for Satanists, their calendar is a perversion of Christian seasons—there would be no Satanists if there were no Christians. Let them claim all they want. I give them nothing.

In my opinion, the all the days of the calendar are God's. Satan and his deluded followers may attempt to claim certain days as theirs, but I agree with Rearick's advice: "Christians should instead celebrate Halloween with gusto. If we follow the traditional formula of having a good time at his expense, Satan flees."

The furor over whether Christians should participate in Halloween seems to me parallel in many respects to the arguments over Harry Potter. Personally, I like Harry, so I guess you know which side of the Halloween thing I'm on.

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 9:00 AM

Tuesday, October 29, 2002  

Just Plain Icky Department: High Fashion or Halloween Costume? This lady looks just plain scary. The fashion designer responsible for this is just plain stupid. (But then I've had that thought about "high fashion" for several years now. Those people are wacko.)

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 9:19 AM

Monday, October 28, 2002  

Lead-Lined Litterbox Department: You can't make this stuff up, folks. Man fined over radioactive cat waste.

(Link via A Voyage To Arcturus.)

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 1:05 PM
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