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

Friday, January 17, 2003  

The Mysterious Case Of Links For The Linkless Department: Bene Diction reminded me that it's been far too long since I've done this.

Pew-Fellows (Words on what matters) is our first stop on Who Links Who's list. Ben questions why some equate the willingness to kill someone with patriotism, and Josh has an article with the intriguing title "When Jesus Prays for Unity, Nothing Happens. There's a handful of guys ("All of our writers are old enough to drive, but not old enough to drink. They live in Virginia.") posting interesting stuff over there

I have to confess that I picked Proved by Fire based solely on the name of the blog, but Michele captured my attention with entries about depression and Chapstick, words and phrases sneaking into her language, and what God is teaching her about the power of prayer. (Huh. I could use some lessons in that last one.)

Mmmmmm. I love the smell of fresh blogs in the morning.

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 9:05 AM

Ooooh! Aaaaah! Department: One of the websites I check daily is NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day. Today's is a beaut -- a shot of the Bubble Nebula filtered to the red end of the spectrum.

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 8:43 AM

Now Even Bloggier Department: New blog in the roll this morning: bloggedy blog. Stop by and offer Andrew Careaga some support in his fight to get his royalties.

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 8:34 AM

Thursday, January 16, 2003  

Link Me, Baby! Department: Lilac Rose has kindly mentioned my comments on Sheryl Crow. Good blogger! Have a link!

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 3:56 PM

Calling Things By Their True Names Department: Do you question whether North Korea should be called part of the Axis of Evil? Bene Diction points to a report on MSNBC about labor camps in North Korea (and I wonder if "death camps" would be a better term), and asks:

How, surrounded by the comfort of the things we have accumulated, do we grasp the reality of reports like this? How do we take a phrase such as '20 thousand people' and put a face, pain, loss, despair and the reality to this? How do we keep from being desensitized and find ways to help? How do we stand against such profound dehumanization?
How can we look evil in the face and not see it for what it is? How can we not call it what it is: a sin against God?

Yet we have people like Eung Soo Han, press officer at South Korea’s U.N. consulate, saying, "It is a very unfortunate situation, and our hearts go out to those who suffer. We hope North Korea will open up its country, and become more actively involved with the international community in order for the North Korean people to be lifted out of their difficult situation."

Excuse me? An "unfortunate situation?" A "difficult situation?" The North Korean regime is engaged in the most heinous crimes against their own people: murder, torture, false imprisonment, slave labor, rape, forced abortion, gassing and poisoning, and that's not an exhaustive list. And the strongest language this person can come up with is "unfortunate situation?"

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 10:37 AM

And It All Changes In A Moment Department: Yesterday I was going to post about my eldest daughter, Tish. She's a deeply sensitive sophomore, and she's had a few rough days at school. I'm not sure how or exactly when it started, but she says that she's been having some trouble relating to her school friends. (She has two sets of friends, really: school friends and youth group friends. The youth group friends have all the same relational and fun aspects as her school friends, but the spiritual dimension makes a world of difference.)

Anyway, one of the things that's been bothering her is how her school friends are changing so much. She said she's probably changing, too, but what she's noticed is that they're becoming more "profane" (that's how she described it). More swearing, more dirty nasty talk. And yesterday, she was feeling particularly bad, and nobody really noticed. (She mentioned the main character from the movie The Princess Diaries: "I feel like Mia, when she said 'I'm invisible, and I'm wet.'")

I went through similar times, especially in high school. I felt like there wasn't anyone my age I could relate to, especially on a spiritual level. So I was getting ready, waiting for a good time to talk to Tish about how God uses times like this to teach us to cling even more tightly to him, because no matter how close we get to people, they will eventually fail us, but God never will.

And then, this morning, we learned that the older brother of one of Tish's friends went through the ice while snowmobiling on the river last night. They haven't recovered the body yet. Tish seemed OK when she first heard the news, because she really didn't know the brother. But she was getting teary when I dropped her off at school. Like I said, she's deeply sensitive. She hates to see anyone hurting; she feels it almost as intensely as they do. And she hates to hurt.

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 9:06 AM

Wednesday, January 15, 2003  

Good News/Bad News Department: An announcement that will be viewed with excitement by some Christians, and aprehension by other Christians: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix will be published on June 21.

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 9:19 AM

[Not] Deep Thoughts Department: Sheryl Crow offered this <fe>gem</fe> at the American Music Award ceremony:

I think war is based in greed and there are huge karmic retributions that will follow. I think war is never the answer to solving any problems. The best way to solve problems is to not have enemies.

Other bloggers have already fisked this statement nicely, but I thought I'd add an observation.

We can apply Crow's <fe>logic</fe> to many areas of life. This could indeed bring about a heaven on earth, which we can say comes by not having hell on earth.

The best way to avoid cancer is to not develop tumors.

The best way to get rich is to not be poor.

The best way to stay healthy is to not get sick.

The best way to stay thin is to not get fat.

The best way to live forever is to not die.

Gee, Wally. Why didn't I think of that?

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 9:00 AM

English Usage And Misusage Department: We received a coupon flyer from a national women's clothing chain that has a store in the local mall. A couple of the coupons offered a discount on "Any Jean" and "Any Trouser."

Gee, Wally. Right now I'm wearing jeans, which are a type of trousers. If I were to cut them in half vertically, so only one leg was covered, would I be wearing a jean, or a trouser? I suppose I'd need a suspender to hold it up.

English is peculiar. I'm wearing pants -- plural -- but it's just one item. So why isn't shirt a plural noun? And if there were ever a clothing item that should be plural, it's bra.

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 8:33 AM

Monday, January 13, 2003  

Bobblehead Department: There is no significance at all to the fact that I was dreaming about Bee Gees bobblehead dolls only a few days before Maurice Gibb died.

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 7:28 AM
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