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

Friday, October 24, 2003  

500 Lawyers At The Bottom Of The Ocean Department: I try not to despise lawyers as a group. I really do. But then I read something like this, about a small woodworking tool company that's packaging a master jig with an EULA (that is, and End-User License Agreement).

...the Stots license says TemplateMaster may be used “in only one shop by the original purchaser only” and that “you may not allow individuals that did not purchase the original Product (to) use the Product or any templates produced using the Product…”

A FAQ document on the Stots website explains that the license is necessary because “the purpose of the TemplateMaster is to clone itself. Therefore we are verifying your honesty that only you will use the tool and you will not be passing it around to others to use for free. It is exactly the same as the ‘shrink wrap’ agreement that comes with almost all computer software. Please help us fight ‘tool piracy’.”

OK, I'm going to start licensing Dispatches from Outland. Let see...

"This Dispatches from Outland Reader License Agreement is a legaly binding agreement between you (you) and the publisher (me) of Dispatches from Outland (this weblog). By reading this weblog, you agree to be bound by the terms of this agreement. This weblog is licensed to you, the reader, for your personal reading only. If you quote or link to this weblog in your weblog (your weblog), you hereby assign all rights of your weblog to me." Eh. Maybe not.

If you really want an earfull on this, check out the conversation over at Slashdot.

By the way, the headline is from the joke: What do you call 500 lawyers at the bottom of the ocean? A good start.

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 9:16 AM

Wednesday, October 22, 2003  

Don't Try To Confuse Me Department: Theologian Guy makes a connection between something his Greek professor says and the recent announcement by [ahem] Rev. Gene Robinson (the gay bishop) that he'd only step down if God told him to.

Folks, this is the "whispering Jesus" my professor Carroll Osburn often talks about in our advanced Greek class. This is the "I've got a direct line to God" kind of theology in which God tells people to do things, regardless of what God might have already said about it in Scripture.

Maybe I'm twisting scripture here, but I can't help but thinking that when Jesus quotes Abraham (in the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus) as saying "'If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead," he was talking about this sort of thing.

God speaks through a number of means, including the Bible. If Robinson was not going to be convinced by Scripture, or by the clear teaching of nearly 2,000 years worth of church leaders who take their direction from Scripture, then he "will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead." He's made up his mind.

But then again, perhaps God will have a word with him.

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 9:18 AM

Come On FHQWHGADS Department: James Lileks noted some things he likens to curious blips on the radar.

As you may have read - not in newspapers, heaven forfend - a large portion of the blogworld has been crippled by attacks on the company that hosted a pro-Israel website, and the attacks are coming from servers that host Al Qaeda groups. This makes me uneasy; there’s something else going on here, I think. It’s like hearing reports from Alaska radar stations of peculiar blips on the screen. Someone’s testing something.

What do we call these guys? Script Qiddies? Haqers? How about: Jew-Hating Gynophobic Devil Pawns, or JHGDPs for short? (Pronounced: Je-hig-dip.)
I think StrongBad would like that last one.

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 8:38 AM

Monday, October 20, 2003  

Holy Places Department: So what's the big deal about a rabbi visiting a synagogue? It's not simply the fact that this synagogue houses tomb of the prophet Nahum, although that's pretty amazing. It's not the setting, although the fact that this takes place in the Iraqi village of Al-Kosh is striking. What moved me most about this story was the emotional reactions of the rabbi, and that of the villagers, who are Syrian Christians.

By this time, the Christian citizens of Al-Kosh had called the caretaker – a man who lived next door. He unlocked the front gate and the synagogue began to fill with men, women, and children. They asked my translator who I was and what I was doing. He explained that I was a rabbi from the American Army, and that I wanted to pray in this ancient place.

The elders were surprised, but there was a smile on their faces. Somehow they felt that something holy was going on. They quickly told all the children to be quiet and leave because a Jewish holy man had come.

[. . .]

As we prepared to leave, they asked us if there was anything we could do to restore the synagogue. We told them we could not. But would a Jewish house of worship in the middle of their village be welcome?

Their answer gave us hope in humanity. They said they would be honored to have such a holy place restored to its original condition. They felt it was a national treasure. The caretaker told us that as long as God granted him life he would defend the holiness of the place. As he said this, the other villagers nodded in agreement.

As the man said: go read the whole thing.

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 11:14 AM
support outland!