Fun/Entertainment: February 2004 Archives

Dogs' and cats' diaries

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I generally don't find anything anyone forwards to me funny, and I detest many of the dysfunctional behaviors involved in forwarding to everyone you know such mass volumes of unsupported (and usually false) information and stuff that's called funny that really isn't, contributing to band width problems, causing to people to pray fervently for problems that never existed or have long since ended, and leading to all manner of false beliefs. Most forwards I receive lead immediately to a vist to snopes.com to see what's wrong with it, which leads to a response to everyone who had received the message to tell them what's wrong with it and why not to keep perpetuating this stuff.

This one excerpting the diaries of a cat and a dog is quite good. It's a good thing I ran into it on a blog, because I might well have deleted it if it had been sent to me by email. There really is something to this, though we had plenty of cats who were outside more than the dogs.

EXCERPTS FROM A DOG'S DIARY

8:00 am - OH BOY! DOG FOOD! MY FAVORITE!
9:30 am - OH BOY! A CAR RIDE! MY FAVORITE!
9:40 am - OH BOY! A WALK! MY FAVORITE!
10:30 am - OH BOY! A CAR RIDE! MY FAVORITE!
11:30 am - OH BOY! DOG FOOD! MY FAVORITE!
12:00 noon - OH BOY! THE KIDS! MY FAVORITE!
1:00 PM - OH BOY! THE YARD! MY FAVORITE!
1:30 PM - ooooooo. bath. bummer.
4:00 PM - OH BOY! THE KIDS! MY FAVORITE!
5:00 PM - OH BOY! DOG FOOD! MY FAVORITE!
5:30 PM - OH BOY! MOM! MY FAVORITE!

EXCERPTS FROM A CAT'S DIARY

DAY 752 - My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects. They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while I am forced to eat dry cereal. The only thing that keeps me going is the hope of escape, and the mild satisfaction I get from ruining the occasional piece of furniture.

Tomorrow I may eat another houseplant.

DAY 761 - Today my attempt to kill my captors by weaving around their feet while they were walking almost succeeded, must try this at the top of the stairs. In an attempt to disgust and repulse these vile oppressors, I once again induced myself to vomit on their favorite chair...must try this on their bed.

DAY 765 - Decapitated a mouse and brought them the headless body, in attempt to make them aware of what I am capable of, and to try to strike fear into their hearts. They only cooed and condescended about what a good little cat I was...Hmmm. Not working according to plan.

DAY 768 - I am finally aware of how sadistic they are. For no good reason I was chosen for the water torture. This time however it included a burning foamy chemical called "shampoo." What sick minds could invent such a liquid? My only consolation is the piece of thumb still stuck between my teeth.

DAY 771 - There was some sort of gathering of their accomplices. I was placed in solitary throughout the event. However, I could hear the noise and smell the foul odor of the glass tubes they call "beer.." More importantly I overheard that my confinement was due to MY power of "allergies." Must learn what this is and how to use it to my advantage.

DAY 774 - I am convinced the other captives are flunkies and maybe snitches. The dog is routinely released and seems more than happy to return. He is obviously a half-wit. The bird on the other hand has got to be an informant, and speaks with them regularly. I am certain he reports my every move. Due to his current placement in the metal room his safety is assured. But I can wait; it is only a matter of time.

Cleaning House

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I want to get my page to load more quickly (eventually, at least) by removing some of the graphics and other fun stuff from my side column, but I don't want to lose the stuff I've got there, so I'm putting some of it in a blog entry, as I've done with fun stuff that didn't fit in the side column.




Which Fantasy/SciFi Character Are You?

What part of the Body are you?
Congratulations! You are the heel. You often feel trampled on but reassure yourself that the church wouldn't be getting anywhere without you.


"God will not suffer man to have the knowledge of things to come; for if he had prescience of his prosperity he would be careless; and understanding of his adversity he would be senseless."
You are Augustine!
You love to study tough issues and don't mind it if you lose sleep over them. Everyone loves you and wants to talk to you and hear your views, you even get things like "nice debating with you." Yep, you are super smart, even if you are still trying to figure it all out. You're also very honest, something people admire, even when you do stupid things.

What theologian are you?
A creation of Henderson

The Next Testament

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Cullen Murphy speculates about what sort of literature produced today might go into something like what the Bible now is if they were to be compiled into a great work that could serve a similar purpose for people of the future. I think some of his analogues are pretty far from the purpose of the original, and he's got some glaring omissions (Tolkien, the U.S. Constitution, a few key modern philosophers, of which he has none listed at all). Also, he's assuming secular society would be producing this. Some of the works are remotely religious, and perhaps Emily Dickinson's parallel with the psalms is adequate for that, but there's nothing really theological to be an equivalent of Romans or Ephesians.

One of the problems is simply that nothing really parallels biblical works. The closest thing we have to the Song of Songs would be smutty romance novels, except those are far removed from the spiritual significance applied to the Song of Songs by the typology of love themes in the Hebrew scriptures. There's never been any literature produced that's even close to what the Gospel of John is up to. It's simultaneously a story, an argument, an extended teaching, and a set of overlapping and interactive metaphors and other poetic imagery. Those who have tried to do such things have failed to produce anything quite so magisterial, and they usually have no spiritual significance whatsoever. We would need tales of the past heroes of the people but also accounts of the failures, and these would need to be constructed so as to be making a theological point (or at least something like one). Then there's also the issue that literature today would have to include more than just the printed word. Would things like Star Wars, Saturday Night Live, Friends, Gone With the Wind, Seinfeld, Cheers, X-Men, Sesame Street, Survivor, and Wheel of Fortune be in it?

Despite all this it's interesting to think about what literature of our time fills some of the roles that biblical literature filled for the ancient Hebrews and early Christians. For what it's worth, I think the biblical literature itself fills many of those roles for contemporary Christians as it is and in a way better than anything else could, but that misses the point of what's being done here. It's an attempt to find what represents the culture of today in a way that the Bible represented cultures of the past. That misses so much of what the biblical books are all about, though.

This is a good one. The questions seem totally unrelated to biblical characters. I hate these things when you can almost predict how it's going to go, but this one has little of that.

You are ELIJAH!
Which Old Testament Character are you?

brought to you by Quizilla

Negative Duration

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Apparently in France "until death do us part" allows for some counterintuitive conclusions. A French woman just married her boyfriend. The French president had to give special permission for this marriage to take place. Why? He's been dead for over a year. Yes, that's right. This woman just married a dead guy. I wonder how "until death do us part" would function in this kind of marriage.

Usually we measure the length of a marriage as the time interval between the ceremony and the death of the first one to die. If we did that in this case, the length would be about 17 months, since that's the interval between his death and the ceremony, ignoring the fact that the death was before the ceremony instead of the usual order. Once you factor in the backwards order, it would be -17 months. However, this can't be right either, since the marriage wasn't even existent during those 17 months and continues onward even now.

The following two claims seem to follow:

1. We're moving away from the end of their marriage, since it ends with the death of the first one to die, which would be him.
2. We're moving away from the beginning of their marriage, since it begins with the ceremony.

In some sense its length must be increasing, since we're moving away in time from its beginning. However, we're getting further away from its end, since that was in the past. The only way I can interpret this is that their marriage has negative duration, and it's getting smaller (by getting a higher magnitude and in that sense getting larger). This can't be right, though, for too many reasons to list. One is the issue of when we stop saying the marriage's length is getting smaller (or greater in magnitude). Will it keep going after she dies? Surely not.

So maybe her death is the important one. But that can't be right either. If his death doesn't end the marriage, why should hers? The only reason I can think of is that he was already dead when it started. But then why think that he should be able to enter into the contract in the first place?

I wonder if this is bad enough to say that describing her action as a marriage is already contradictory. It's certainly bad enough to say that it's going to be incredibly difficult to sort through all the implications without changing one of our fundamental notions about the effect of death of a married person on the status of their marriage.

Visited Countries

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This is less interesting than some people but probably more interesting than most. Unfortunately, Barbados doesn't show up very well. Aside from Kazakstan, which was just a 10-minute drive-through, I've spent more time in any of these than I have in most of the states on my U.S. map. Barbados and Ireland were a week each, Germany and Uzbekistan were something like 6-7 weeks each, and Canada probably adds up to at least a couple weeks when you combine the various visits. The U.S. is going on three decades. For obvious reasons the 5-6 other international visits I had weren't on the map (4-5 sovereign Native American nations and the United Nations building in New York City).



create your own visited country map
or check our Venice travel guide

Update: I've added a new map, since the old one stopped working, and I've updated the link to the Visited States post, since that one got deleted accidentally during a change in location for this blog.

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