Friday, May 31, 2002

new bible translation

But yesterday's NIV was just fine. Why do we need Today's NIV?

It actually reminds me a lot of the debate over the KJV Bible. I think a lot of this is simply objection over the language flow rather than objection over the doctrines, though that makes a good smokescreen. Just ask the KJV-only crowd.

I'm not a Greek scholar, so this has to be viewed as the offhand perspective of a scantly informed layman:

The English language has changed in the past thirty years; a fair amount of that has been driven by the desire to eliminate sexist language (political correctness), but the change has happened nonetheless. It used to be that the word his was an accepted gender-neutral possessive pronoun for people; i.e., "Everyone should study his Bible" was not viewed as sexist since his was understood to include men and women.

That is no longer the case, because we have been conditioned as a society to look at his as masculine only, and to say his or her or their when we want to be gender-inclusive.

In this light, a Greek, Hebrew or Aramaic text that uses the masculine form of a noun or pronoun (or the equivalent in the appropriate lexicon) as the generic form as well would not be accurately translated with a masculine English word.

Let's say the Greek word for men is used in a gospel to describe the number of people listening to Jesus preach. It's reasonable to assume there were women present as well; by that reasoning, it's a better translation into contemporary English to say 5,000 people than 5,000 men.

This is a fairly consistent trend at least. Like the New International Version, the Revised Standard Version was updated a few years ago, to reflect the evolution of the English language.

Many evangelical groups mislike the translation because of its "liberal" bent. The translation reflects an academic or scholarly bent rather than a faith one, with the result that many O.T. passages that in the original languages reasonably could be interpreted as prophecy do not pass that muster in translation. Isaiah's famous prophecy, "The virgin shall bear a son" is rendered "The young maiden shall bear a son," for instance.

Again, I'm not a Bible scholar and the only Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic I know are fairly basic words familiar to many English speakers, so I'm probably not doing the arguments credit.

Perhaps when I take over the world, I can make koine Greek, Aramaic and classic Hebrew required languages alongside English, so we can eliminate the need for translation anyway. (I have to admit, gaining even a modicum of insight into the translation process has made me understand a lot better why devout Muslims don't consider a translation of the Quran to be adequate for study or understanding.)

Honestly, any time you're dealing with a translated work, if you don't know the original language, it's best to have multiple translations in order to get the best sense of the original. That's why I have copies of the NIV, RSV, KJV and some Catholic Bible I don't remember the name of (which is so badly done that I chiefly value it for the Apocrypha)*. I used to have a copy of the NKJV but haven't seen it for ages, although Natasha has an NRSV and we also have a Haitian Creole Bible and a French Bible. Not that I read much French anymore.

*We're talking about a really bad translation here. Rather than converting cubits to standard, for instance, the "translators" substitutef the standard measurement for the ancient one, with the result that Goliath is about seven feet tall....

Have me stuffed and mounted when I pass on

When I die, I'd like to be stuffed and mounted by a taxidermist. Perhaps they could even set me up so that whenever someone shakes my hand, candy comes out of my mouth.

All kidding aside, I do want to have all my viable organs removed and given to people in need. I hesitate to go for cremation, though. Why? Because my Grandmother Ergood was cremated when I was 20, and it's a little hard to get that closure when you're dealing with a box of cremains and not seeing the person's body.

One of the more interesting means of burial I've read about is what they call "air burial." The Motilone Indians in Colombia leave their dead spread out in a tree house for the birds to come and carry the deceased off to heaven. Maybe we could try that.

On second thought, definitely go with the taxidermist.

Saturday, May 25, 2002

ender's game

Warner Brothers has made a deal to bring Orson Scott Card's prize-winning series of science-fiction bestsellers "Ender's Game" and "Ender's Shadow" to the bigscreen, according to CNN.

I haven't read the original short story, but as I recall, I found the novels pretty dull. The only bit that I did find interesting was Card's two variations on the story of the woman caught in adultery. (Not sure, but I think that was in "Speaker for the Dead.") It was interesting enough I used it in staff devotions at school, though I can't say the other teachers found it as thought-provoking as I did.

Friday, May 24, 2002


"My parents had seventeen kids, and named them all Wilkinson. Once they found a name they liked, they just stuck with it. It was hardest on the girls, I think."
-- Wilkinson the Rat ("A Game of You," by Neil Gaiman)

Thursday, May 23, 2002


"My great-grandmother was a strong woman. She buried three husbands, and two of them were only napping."

"Instead of getting married again, I'm going to find a woman I don't like and just give her a house." -Steven Seagal

"The problem with the designated driver program, it's not a desirable job. But if you ever get sucked into doing it, have fun with it. At the end of the night, drop them off at the wrong house." -Jeff Foxworthy

"If a woman has to choose between catching a fly ball and saving an infant's life, she will choose to save the infant's life without even considering if there is a man on base." -Dave Barry

"My Mom said she learned how to swim when someone took her out in the lake and threw her off the boat. I said, 'Mom, they weren't trying to teach you how to swim.'" -Paula Poundstone

"A study in the Washington Post says that women have better verbal skills than men. I just want to say to the authors of that study: Well, duh." -Conan O'Brien

"Why does Sea World have a seafood restaurant? I'm halfway through my fish burger and I realize, Oh my goodness. I could be eating a slow learner." -Lynda Montgomery

"The day I worry about cleaning my house is the day Sears comes out with a riding vacuum cleaner." -Roseanne

"I think that's how Chicago got started. A bunch of people in New York said, 'Gee, I'm enjoying the crime and the poverty, but it just isn't cold enough. Let's go west.'" -Richard Jeni

"My parents didn't want to move to Florida, but they turned sixty, and that's the law."
- Jerry Seinfeld

"Bigamy is having one wife/husband too many. Monogamy is the same." -Oscar Wilde

"You can say any foolish thing to a dog, and the dog will give you a look that says, 'My God, you're right! I never would've thought of that!'" -Dave Barry

"When I die, I want to die like my grandfather, who died peacefully in his sleep. Not screaming like all the passengers in her car." -Author Unknown

Advice for the day If you have a lot of tension and you get a headache, do what it says on the aspirin bottle "Take two aspirin" and "Keep away from children"

"Oh, you hate your job? Why didn't you say so? There's a support group for that. It's called EVERYBODY, and they meet at the bar." -Drew Carey

Tombstone, Ariz., has some great epitaphs, like:
"Here lies Lester Moore
Took three slugs from a .44
No Les, no moore."

"Before you criticize a man, walk a mile in his shoes. That way when you do critize him you are a mile away and you have his shoes."

Tuesday, May 21, 2002

civil servants

When I rule the world, I'm going to require that public servants actually try to be helpful and courteous when they deal with the public. In fact, I'll give them extra points for being brave, clean and reverent.

When a person who has lost his job tries to claim unemployment benefits, he will be treated at a minimum like he is a number, rather than the standard "nuisance" treatment now afforded. People who are down on their luck will not be treated like they are taking advantage of the system and frowned upon, and even those who are trying to take advantage of the system will still be treated with a modicum of respect: a pleasant smile, a firm handshake, an informal and friendly tone rather than a harsh or judgmental one.

Public employees who cannot perform at these basic levels of civility -- the New Jersey DMV, toll booth workers, and N.J. Family Care representatives, to name a few of the more lost causes -- will be deported to Toledo, Ohio, or Bedford, Pa., where they should fit right in or at least be out of the way.

father's day, down to earth

This Father's Day, I just know I'm going to get that e-mail.

You know the one I mean. It's the inspirational story about a father who found himself surrounded by nine children when his wife died. Over the next 20 years, this poor widower started up his own business to avoid leaving his children with someone else, kept his family together, and single-handedly raised them all into fine, upstanding citizens, and then quietly passed away after his last child was on her own.

It's a good story, I suppose, and for some people it captures the spirit of Father's Day in a Horatio Alger sort of way: the Super-Dad, who towers above the crowd, acting as a moral and spiritual compass to his children and making lesser fathers feel ashamed of their failings.

Well, if people want to find inspiration in that sort of father, let them. I don't do much traffic with larger-than-life icons, to be honest, which is why I'm going to spend my Father's Day thinking of the man in the white jacket and the tousle cap.

That man, of course, is my own father, all six feet of him. I think of him as wearing those clothes because those, to me, represent what being a father is all about. Those are the clothes he used to wear when we walked the dog together at night.

We talked about a lot of things during those walks. What we talked about doesn't matter as much as the fact that we did talk. In a time when "making memories" was the rage for raising children amid the hustle and bustle of high-power careers and success, my father set a standard no trip to the Grand Canyon or the Statue of Liberty ever could equal, just by spending time with his children.

Like many other men, my father had trouble relating to his children, but that never stopped him from trying. When we went on camping trips, my father always went along, even though he hated camping. And when we got involved in an activity — soccer, Scouting, even our newspaper routes — my father was always as involved as we were.

Most fathers' stories aren't as spectacular as the one in the mass-forwarded e-mail I've seen too many times, but their efforts are no less important to the children they raised. This Father's Day, I'm going to call the man with the white jacket and the tousle hat, and I'm going to tell him how much I love him.

And then I'm going to get my own son, and we're going to walk the dog.

Wednesday, May 15, 2002

money-making idea

I think I'm going to copyright the letter E and charge people for the right to use it.

Plus, I'll be able to use my newfound influence on Sesame Street to limit the appearances of Elmo.

wedding bloopers remembered

It's been a few years since my wedding, but some of the mishaps still spring to memory today, and I find them amusing perhaps in a way I was unable to appreciate at the time. Some of them even made it into a Brothers Grinn mailing about wedding portents of ill omen:

For starters:

1. My wife tripped on her way up to the altar.

2. My parents were 40 minutes late for the wedding, and they had the rings.

3. We forgot to go outside for the rice-throwing until after our pictures were taken.

4. The DJ at the reception forgot to announce everyone who was in the wedding party with the result that my brother-in-law was skipped.

5. We failed to include all the lyrics for one of the worship songs in the bulletin.

6. We arrived late to our reception because the photos took longer than expected (even though we made a valiant effort to have them taken before the ceremony). When we arrived, our guests had eaten all the appetizers, and when we were notified that the food was ready, we completely forgot about proper protocol.

7. Without making any announcements about lunch being ready, without telling people the order they should go in, the entire wedding party went up and got lunch. Three bites into lunch, I realized we had forgotten to have Mark -- the minister of the church we attended -- say grace.

I walked over to his table and before I could say a word, he told me, "Don't sweat it. You're not the first person to forget grace on his wedding day."n

Tuesday, May 14, 2002

'attack of the clones'

I won't be at the theater Thursday night.

Although I do plan at some point to see "Attack of the Clones," I'm in no particular hurry to see George Lucas disgrace the Star Wars franchise this time around. Besides, I just saw "Spider-Man" with an 8-year-old friend of mine, and have pretty much exhausted my quota of time I can spare for movies with two 2-year-olds in the house.

I probably won't see "Attack of the Clones" until it's out on video.

Monday, May 13, 2002

job search

I'd like a job that pays about $40K a year, or more. It needs to involve some mixture of writing and editing, or I'll go insane. It doesn't have to be for a Christian ministry -- I actually haven't done that since I was a missionary, and see working in the "secular" world as advantageous in many ways -- and there is no way under God's blue heaven I can see myself working for Benny "Little Jehovah" Hinn or another of his ilk, given various biblical injunctions about having nothing to do with such men.

A lot of flexibility otherwise. Big Idea's H.R. department called my resume "impressive," but immediately followed up that word with the conjunction "unfortunately" and the independent clause "we have no jobs that match someone with your interests and skills," even though I had applied for a position that did match those skills and was posted on their web site.

But I'm not bitter. (The fiends.)

As for technical writing, I've done some on a free-lance basis. While I won't say it's the best way to spend an evening (or even an afternoon), it beats the pants off seeing my kids go hungry. I would do it if I could get a job doing it.

thunder wipies?

Late Sunday afternoon we were getting ready to take Natasha out for Mother's Day dinner, when Evangeline decided to entertain us by dancing to one of her favorite children's songs, which she also performed for us:

Ring arounda rosies
Pocks fulla posies
Wa-shes, wa-shes
All fall down!

Cowsy meadows
Buttie cups!
Thunder wipies,
All stand up!

Thunder wipies?

Tuesday, May 07, 2002

'the hulk'

There's a "Hulk" movie coming out next summer.

I liked "The Hulk" TV show at the time, though I'd have to agree it wasn't exactly faithful to the character as created by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee. There were a number of cosmetic changes -- David instead of Bruce, a research physicist instead of a scientist working on nuclear weaponry for the military -- but the biggest flop has to be making Banner the main character instead of the Hulk. That transformed the story from an adventure story into a late-20th-century morality play on the topic of the week, with a dose of "The Fugitive" thrown in.

Still, the show did affect the comic in at least one way. During Peter David's 11-year stint on the comic, he explained the Hulk's invulnerability. He isn't really invulnerable; it's just that he regenerates his body tissues exceedingly fast, particularly when he's angry -- which of course is why the Hulk also gets stronger the madder he is. That was something David Banner discovered in one of the episodes where he actually married the woman guest star of the week before she died.

'the hulk'

I liked "The Hulk" at the time, though it wasn't exactly faithful to the character as created by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee. There were a number of cosmetic changes -- David instead of Bruce, a research physicist instead of a scientist working on nuclear weaponry for the military -- but the biggest flop has to be making Banner the main character instead of the Hulk. That transformed the story from an adventure story into a late-20th-century morality play on the topic of the week, with a dose of "The Fugitive" thrown in.

Still, the show did affect the comic in at least one way. During Peter David's 11-year stint on the comic, he explained the Hulk's invulnerability. He isn't really invulnerable; it's just that he regenerates his body tissues exceedingly fast, particularly when he's angry -- which of course is why the Hulk also gets stronger the madder he is. That was something David Banner discovered in one of the episodes where he actually married the woman guest star of the week before she died.

superhero movies

I read a decent article in the Star-Ledger two Sundays ago about how movie studios finally are wising up on how to adapt comic books to the big screen. Most superhero movies either have played up the action to the exclusion of intelligence (like "Judge Dredd" or "Blade") or have played up the campiness, like the Superman movies or the third and fourth Batman movies.

"X-men," despite its flaws, actually treated the subject seriously. Bryan Singer played into the notion of superhero qua outcast because of their differences, and tied it into the fear many teens have of being different. Haven't seen "Spider-man" yet, but I'm told it does the same thing. They also eliminated some of the comicbookish stuff like the silly costumes, and replaced them with more realistic outfits, ones you actually could picture people going outside in.

It was an interesting take on the movies, though I'd have to differ with the article's contention on one point: I don't think "X-men" was the first movie to do it properly. "Unbreakable" did a much better job.

Monday, May 06, 2002

jar jar must die

You know you hated him. I know I did. In fact, aside from some kids I know who like anything they see, I'm hard-pressed to think of anyone who liked Jar Jar Binks. (Besides George Lucas.)

So let's just say, for the sake of argument, that in "Star Wars: Episode 3," Darth Lucas gives in to mounting pressure and kills Jar Jar off. How do you think it should be done?

My personal preference? Picture an opening scene to the movie in which there is a gathering of various people from the first two movies, with the standard throw-ins from the original trilogy, all assembled in the foreground. They're talking about something serious, relevant to the plot of the movie. In the background, Jar Jar is eating a piece of fruit the size of an apple. It gets caught in his throat. No one notices. He starts to choke. Everyone else starts to file out of the room to the next scene change, while, still unseen and still in the background, Jar Jar collapses and dies.

I love it when a plan comes together.

problems in a faraway galaxy long ago

Watch "A New Hope" some time and you may notice a few interesting things about the characters and the way they interact, that just don't make sense.

For starters, when they're on Yavin IV and the rebels are getting ready to go up against the Death Star, Luke begs Han to stay and help them in the fight. His exact words are "They could use a good pilot like you. You're turning your back on them." Yet all we've seen Han do so far is to walk around the ship, man the gun turrets against some TIE fighters, and get caught in a tractor beam. How does Luke get the idea that Han is a good pilot, and why doesn't he ask Chewbacca to help, since he presumably was flying the Millenium Falcon while they escaped from the Death Star.

I've tried to rationalize this a couple ways. Bear with me:

1. Luke is a starstruck farm boy, and easily impressed by Han's swagger. Luke has never been off Tatooine at this point. He's never even heard of the Force before, and what he knows of Obiwan Kenobi is that he's something of a mad hermit, yet he still gets impressed by Obiwan pretty quickly and decides to rush off into outer space with him. He's blown away by the thought that C3PO and R2D2 have been with the rebellion, and is smitten immediately with Princess Leia.

His assessment of the Falcon and his initial reaction to Han could easily spring from insecurity; i.e., here's a guy who made the Kessel Run in under 12 parsecs, a guy who's been to more planets than Luke has brain cells, what can I say that can compare with that? So he gets aggressive and tries to show how much he knows.

It turns out that Luke is a good pilot, but I'd suggest that he has little basis for that claim since all he's flown has been his landspeeder and perhaps some other sort of hovercraft. If the Force -- and Han Solo -- weren't with him, Luke would have been toast.

The movie also suggests that wookies are not especially well known in the empire -- Han has to tell Threepio about their reputation for ripping people's arms out of their sockets when they get mad -- so it could be a case of xenophobia or mere unfamiliarity with wookies that leads to the slight. Or Luke might just be racist.

And let's not forget the possibility that Luke has yogurt for brains. He certainly didn't demonstrate much mental prowess in the movies that I can think of. It was probably all he could do stop from drooling onto his lightsaber.

2. We really don't see the entire flight in either direction. It's possible that Han did a fair amount of flying then as well; in any event, he did get them away from Tatooine, didn't he?

Another interesting question: After the Battle of the Death Star, Han, Luke and Chewie all come forward in some sort of award ceremony at the rebel base on Yavin IV. Han and Luke get medals, while Chewie just stands around and makes growling noises. What's up with that?

I think in one of the adaptations -- it might have been the Marvel Comics adaptation, or the novel -- there is a note made to the effect that Chewbacca was too tall for Leia to put a medal around his neck, and that his medal was awarded separately. But surely it wouldn't have been hard to hand him the medal, wouldn't it?

One also could assume that wookies don't like medals or other outward adornments for religious, social or hygiene reasons. (Most of the other species wear clothes, but even on Hoth, Chewbacca walks around naked. It's just a good thing for the ratings that certain things don't show through that fur.)

It's also impossible that wookies aren't regarded as intelligent creatures. No idea what the basis for this would be, but they simply could be advanced animals or something similar. There's a lot we don't know about Lucas' Galactic Empire for the simple reason that he's never thought it out that fully.

It could be that wookies are discriminated against, and the dialogue on its own does suggest that.
But the possibility also has occurred to me that there could be some sort of institutionalized prejudice against wookies as well. Are they regarded as less advanced than the humans in the empire? Are they less evolved? Chewie seems to be a decent pilot, marksman and mechanic, so I'm not sure about that, but it's an intriguing line of reasoning that probably never occurred to the Emperor when he first drew up the series. (In fact it probably still hasn't. Lucas' main gift is his timing, not his storytelling or artistic vision.)

Also, have you noticed that Chewbacca never gets subtitles for his lines? I guess it's for dramatic purposes. You usually can get the sense of what Chewbacca and Artoo are saying by the reactions and comments of the others around them. But since Greedo and Jabba are actively threatening the heroes, it's important we understand what they're saying faster than reacting to context allows us.

What I found rather amusing when my wife and I watched the Star Wars trilogy last year is that the subtitles aren't really necessary. Greedo and Jabba are speaking English, the same as the human characters, but with accents or something done to alter their speech, like sounds omitted.

I'm serious! Listen closely to the characters as you read the subtitles, and you'll notice the words match. There are consonants missing or something was done to the voice, but the speech recognizably matches the subtitles. I noticed the same thing years ago watching the Sean Connery movie "Medicine Man." At least on the old "War of the Worlds" series, they reversed the audio so it sounded utterly alien. (Or at least like backmasking.)

Friday, May 03, 2002

spiritual awakening

I was almost 18 at the time, the summer between high school graduation and the start of college. At the time, I would say I was pretty much an atheist. As has been said before, "He who has been forgiven much loves much."

My church -- my parents' church, actually, affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA) was running its annual trip to Alaska to teach vacation Bible school. I'm not really sure why I signed up for the trip since, like I said, I wasn't that convinced of God's existence/relevance. I suppose you could say that I wanted to believe, but I hadn't found any reason to. Something like that, anyway. I certainly wouldn't say I was actively seeking anything at the time.

Since it was a church trip, I figured I should do something to "fit in" with the other teens who were going, and so I picked up a copy of Stryper's album "To Hell with the Devil." It was loud, it was metal, and it was decent music to listen to. I later would discover that of the 18 teens on the trip, only two were what you would consider evangelical or born-again Christians. Most of the others just wanted the vacation to Alaska and a few were openly skeptical/hostile to the faith.

One of the pastors even corrected me after I committed myself to God for saying that you need Jesus to get into heaven. (Shocking to some, I suppose, but the PCUSA isn't widely known for its orthodoxy. One of the church's publications made the claim some time ago that worshipping a male savior is detrimental to a woman's spiritual growth. But I digress.)

Anyway, this was mid-July 1988. I don't know the exact date, because we were at a camp in eastern Pennsylvania for the training period, which ran a week before we actually made the trip up to Alaska. It was late at night in the cabin, I was going to sleep listening to the tape on my Walkman.

It's been so many years I don't remember the order of the album, but I do remember a few of the highlights. One was the song "Honestly," which functions on two levels -- as an expression of love between a couple, but also as an expression of the unconditional love God feels for individuals. The other was the song "Free," which is probably the closest they came to an altar call in their music. I don't remember the lyrics, but it essentially puts you with the choice: Follow Christ, or don't, but make the choice because you can.

And so there, on the floor of the cabin by my bunk, alone with God and my tears, I made the choice to follow. That was nearly 14 years ago, and I've stuck by that decision as I've followed Christ through college, to the missions field, through poverty and comfort, and through a few different churches and jobs.

I know a lot of people dissed Stryper because they didn't have the nice "proper" image the church expects Christians to have, but I say nonsense. They're accountable to God for how they present themselves, and I've gotta say that even though they looked pretty silly, I probably wouldn't have given them a chance if they looked "proper" like all the IBM Christians in a Jack Chick tract or the Big Hair people, or the other powerful- and proper-looking people on Christian TV. Christianity's a religion for losers and outcasts after all, not for the wealthy and in crowd. But I digress again.

I don't listen to Stryper any more, but that's not because I've had an epiphany that heavy metal and Christianity don't mix or that Christian rock is of the Devil, as some people believe. My tastes have just mellowed as I've aged, and I listen more to artists like Mike Card, Keith Green, John Michael Talbot and Steve Taylor. (Plus Jimmy Buffet.)

Similarly, my faith has changed as I've matured. I no longer bill myself as an evangelical, although my doctrine corresponds on all the essential points. As I've grown in understanding of Scripture, I've become more concerned with how the church reacts to the disenfranchised and how we seek power and influence. I prefer just to say that I'm a Christian, but if you absolutely must put a label on me, say that I subscribe to liberation theology.* (Or "Danger! Radioactive material." That would get more interesting responses at parties anyway.)

* As with any other movement, "liberation theology" involves a broad spectrum of attitudes and personalities. At its extreme, yes, there are louts who advocate violent overthrow of governments. My take on it is a bit more moderate than that -- I believe that the gospel has a special relevance to the poor and disenfranchised and that following Christ involves actively helping those people by being involved with them.

Thursday, May 02, 2002

nothing dies on the internet

And as proof, I offer this Star Trek parody, written by yours truly my sophomore year of college. (That would have been in 1989-90.) There have been times I've done ego searches for things I wrote and posted to the Usenet, but I never was able to find this one. Until yesterday. It's not very funny, admittedly, but I wrote it on a lark after someone posted a football message on rec.arts.startrek.

"Eason is benched"

[Lt Worf stomps up and down the Enterprise corridors, very angrily while Wesley follows him all over the place, acting like an annoying brat.]

Wesley: Gee, Worf, it's almost my bedtime, how about that? When I was really little Mom used to read me bedtime stories. She used to read me stuff like Trigonometry for Three Year-Olds and Quantum Physics Made Simple. My favorite one was written by Captain Scott, on warp drive and how it could be improved, like the new quadratic drive on the Enterprise.

Worf: (hitting communicator) Security to holodeck 5. Hostile enemy detected inside, executing program #1-800-555-2929, "Cabbage Patch Kids Record Collection."

Wesley: (still talking)... he said there might be some potential in trilithium crystals, provided we adjusted the flow through the osculatory valve by about 5 Ramazidians, and...

[Security arrives, there is a massive shoot-out in Holodeck five in which little pieces of cabbage go flying everywhere, even out into the corridor where they dissolve in little sparkles of light. At last the dangerous pre-schooler is apprehended and escorted by security to the brig. Worf emerges from the holodeck.]

Wesley: (still talking)... which I think is complete nonsense, since everyone knows abstract pigs don't secrete mathematical cows. But anyhow, Worf, what sort of bedtime stories do Klingons read their children?

Worf: Klingons do *NOT* read bedtime stories.

Wesley: But you must do something before you go to bed!

Worf: (Nodding) Klingon parents dip their children in boiling oil before they put them to bed.

Wesley: (shocked) Boiling oil? Oh my gosh! Why?

Worf: It relaxes the nerves, helps the children to sleep more easily.

Wesley: Boy, Worf, life on the Enterprise must sure seem dull to you with Klingons used to all that.

Worf: I'd prefer the oil.

[scene shifts to show the Earth orbiting the sun, and we hear Picard's voice begin to speak those well-known words...]

Star Trek V: The Final Frontier...

Wait a second. That's the wrong season's opener. You're supposed to show a galaxy.

[scene changes to a galaxy toward which we begin rushing alongside Haley's comet, which was blown way off course by the US military in 2063, when they thought it was an incoming Soviet missile.]

[Picard's voice begins again.]

As I was saying, The Final Frontier...

These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise, her ongoing mission, to seek out new -- hey what happened to Saturn? That's not my starship!

[scene now shows the old Enterprise, NCC-1701 in orbit around one of those orange planets TOS was so noted for having an abundance of.]

[Kirk's voice now kicks in.]

Kirk: To seek out new life, and new civilizations...

Picard: Hey, what are you doing here? This is my show! Get out of here, you relic!

Kirk: Relic? Who are you calling a relic? You're a lot older than me, buddy!

Spock: (Observing as the two captains argue, one eyebrow raised. Then, noting that the credits are beginning, speaks.) To boldly go where no man has gone before.

Pulaski: Hey, that's sexist! It should be, "Where no *one* has gone before!"

[The argument continues as the opening credits roll. Over the ST:TNG music we can distinctly hear shouts of "Upstart!", "Baldie!", "Antique", and a few rounds of phaser fire. The credits at last end, and we see the TNG Enterprise warp off into space.]

Advertisements for reruns from TNG's first two seasons.
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is playing tonight.
If you use Crest toothpaste, your teeth will look nice.

Picard: Captain's Log, Stardate 3456.789: Hmmm... I wonder what the chances are of that happening -- never mind, Data.

Wesley: (to Riker) ... and you should have seen him, Commander Riker, he was incredible! I thought for sure Worf had had it when that intruder threw "There Was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Smurf" at him!

Riker: That reminds me, where is Worf? We was due up here fifteen minutes ago.

Data: Unknown at this time.

[Worf stalks in, very mad. When Wesley says hello, he growls back, stomps up to his duty station, and pounds his fists onto the control console. A dozen photon torpedoes are fired and travel on into space where they will eventually meet a large gathering of B'nga'Low Attack vessels about to invade the Federation, and obliterate them. However, this is in the distant future, and does not concern us.]

Troi: Captain, I sense great anger.

Picard: (very concerned) Where is it coming from, Counselor?

Troi: I am not sure, Captain, but it seems to be coming from this bridge.

[Everyone is staring intently at Troi, and only Wesley notices a blinking light on his control panel.]

Wesley: Captain Picard, there's something you should know...

Picard: Quiet, Wesley. Troi is trying to isolate the source of this anger.

Wesley: But Captain, I...

Riker: Wesley, be quiet. Wait until the captain gives you permission to speak. A good officer always obeys his captain's orders.

Wesley: But... but...

Worf: No "buts." Sir, request permission to kill the boy.

Picard: (seriously considers it) ... denied, Lieutenant. I'd have to explain it to his mother.

Troi: It seems to be coming from Worf...

[All turn to look at Worf whose teeth are clenched in anger, and whose eyes are roaring with rage.]

Picard: Are you sure? I don't want any more false alarms.

[Suddenly, the ship rocks violently as a barrage of phaser blasts hit it.]

Picard: What was that?

Wesley: A Borg ship just opened fire on us, Captain.

Picard: Why didn't you tell me when it came in range, ensign?

Wesley: I tried, sir, but you wouldn't let me.

Riker: Wesley, a good officer would always disobey his captain's orders if the ship were threatened.

Wesley: But... but...

Worf: No "buts." Sir, request permission to kill the boy.

Picard: A most tempting offer, lieutenant, but one I am afraid I must decline. Wesley's demise and the Borg ship will have to wait. We have an important crisis on our hands. Would everyone please come into my ready room?

[Scene change. They are now inside the ready room, about to have a conference.]

Picard: Mr. Data, do you have any idea why Lt Worf has been so angry?

Data: It could be he has reached the Toyz'r'us stage of his adulthood.

Picard: What does that entail?

Crusher: Every time an adult Klingon male faces some life-threatening crisis, he must play a ritual game of football, with his closest friends and family.

Data: Might I suggest, sir, that the Borg ship only fifteen hundred miles from the Enterprise overrides any ritual game we might otherwise play for Worf's benefit?

Picard: (snorting) Hah! That's easy for you to say! You don't sit directly in front of a man bordering on psychotic behavior who has access to the weapons lockers.

Riker: Besides, in the event that there are hostilities, we'll need Worf at his best.

Picard: (starting at a loud noise) Eh? Someone's firing phasers? Who?

[They emerge from the ready room to discover Worf has destroyed the Borg vessel with the phaser battery used in "Q Who."]

Picard: What is the meaning of this attack on an enemy ship?

Worf: I got sick of these conferences, and decided a little positive action was needed, sir. So I destroyed it. Sir.

[Picard wears one of those looks as if to say we've got to do something before this gets out hand.]

William Shatner appeared on Arsenio Hall three weeks ago.
A TOS rerun of "Where no man has gone before" is on next.
Joe Isuzu pulls another sneaky on the guys at Honda.

[The bridge crew is assembled in Holodeck Five, which has been set up to resemble a 20th century football field.]

Data: But why is my position called "quarterback?" Would not "ballthrower" be more appropriate, as I am to throw the ball?

Geordi: I don't know, Data.

Data: And why do we call it a "touchdown," when I do not have to touch the ball down to the ground in order to score?

Geordi: I don't know, Data.

Data: Why do we have an engineer who seems to know so little about things outside his area of expertise?

Geordi: I don't know, Data.

Wesley: So, Worf, what kind of football are we going to play? Two-hand touch?

Worf: Klingons do *NOT* play two-hand touch. We tackle.

[The teams soon split up with Riker, Wesley, Geordi, and Crusher on one team. The other team is Picard, Data, Tasha, Worf, and Troi.]

Picard: Why do we have a dead woman on our defense?

Data: It would seem that one of the writers, when posting to rec.arts.startrek, made reference to putting Tasha on defense.

Picard: That's a very weak defense. Perhaps we should surrender.

Worf: Klingons do *NOT* surrender.

Picard: (overshadowed by the gigantic Worf) I see your point, Lieutenant. Perhaps I spoke in haste.

[The game begins with Riker's team kicking off to Picard's. Worf catches it and rushes forward. Wesley gets in his way and Worf plows him under, leaving him to hang on to Worf's leg. At last Worf trips over Wesley's head and the ball stops on the fifty yard line.]

Troi: Captain, I sense great pain coming from Acting Ensign Crushed.

Data: Surely you mean Acting Ensign Crusher?

Troi: No, I mean acting ensign *crushed*, and don't call me "Shirley."

[The game continues some more, until the two teams are tied in the fourth quarter. Worf has crippled members of both teams, and the ball now sits on the 30 yard line on the fourth down, with Picard's team in possession.]

Picard: Time out!

Data: Has anyone seen my arm? I seem to have lost it when Worf thought I had fumbled.

Troi: Why don't you have Geordi look for it with his VISOR?

Data: He lost it when Worf tackled him.

Picard: (waving his arm to dismiss the small talk) We'll find your arm in due time, Lieutenant. All we need is a field goal to win, so --

Worf: Klingons do *NOT* punt. Sir.

Picard: Then --

Worf: We shall go on to a glorious victory, and crush their spirit forever! We shall score a touchdown!!

Picard: But, Worf --

Worf: Data, I will run straight through to the goal post and you will pass it to me. Captain, you will run out to the right and yell "Here, Data" when you are clear.

Picard: But --

Worf: Time in!!!!

Troi: Captain, I sense great frustration.

Data: Three Point! One Four! One Five! Hike, hike!

Riker: (who was trying to block Worf): AIIIGGGHHHH!!! MY CHEST!! I THINK YOU BROKE A FEW RIBS!!

Worf: Only a few? I must be losing my touch.

[He goes and breaks the rest of them for good measure.]

Picard: (now in the clear) Here, Data!

Data: The Captain's commands outweigh Worf's. Hence, I will throw it to him.

[Data passes the ball to Picard who stands there dumbfounded. Wesley, who was trying to cover Picard intercepts and runs all the way back to his goal post and scores the winning touchdown for his team as the clock runs out.]

Worf: Sir, request permission to kill the ensign.

Picard: (Without hesitation) Granted.

[Worf draws a phaser and shoots Wesley who glows bright red and disappears in the tradition of TOS]

[Back on the bridge... ]

Picard: Now, Mr. Data, if you will get us out of here. Warp Three. Well, Number One, what did you think of our treatment for Mr. Worf's problem?

Riker: (From inside body cast) I think it worked quite well, sir. There's no solution like removing the problem. I think the whole bridge will be better off now that *he's* gone.

Troi: Captain, I sense great satisfaction.

Picard: It's something we should have done back during "Encounter at Farpoint." Stupid brat.

[Suddenly, there is a flash of light and on the set appears... ]

Gene Roddenberry: Now you know how much I liked Wesley, Picard. You can't get rid of him *that* easily. (waves his hand)

Wesley: Wow! What a great football game, huh, Worf?

Troi: Captain, I sense great anger building...


stardate: saturday morning

No idea who wrote this. To my knowledge it predates the Usenet, and therefore the World Wide Web as well. First saw it myself in 1988 as a college freshman. I am sure it is much older than that. But it remains one of the most creative Star Trek parodies I've ever seen.

Let us suppose the Enterprise is doing some sort of research mission to an unknown planet. I think the Captain's log would be worth a look:

Captain's Log, Stardate 54324.5: Starfleet Command has directed the Enterprise to do a preliminary exploration of planet --- in advance of a full research team. Scanners report the atmosphere to be breathable, but are receiving confusing readings with regard to life forms. I am beaming down with a landing party composed of all our chief officers except for poor Scotty.

Supplement: Redshirt Riley has received a head injury, apparently while exploring under a high rock shelf. He reports only hearing a loud sound and jumping before being struck. After examination by Dr. McCoy he has been judged capable of continuing duty.

Supplement: We have encountered an alien creature on this planet. While it does not itself seem menacing, a unfortunate occurrence took place when it was present. Specifically, on my orders Lt. Sulu withdrew his phaser. The creature disappeared leaving a puff of smoke, immediately following which a loud noise was heard next to Sulu. Sulu fired, hitting Ensign Chekov. Oddly enough, although Sulu's weapon was set to stun, Chekov was also covered with a black powder similar to soot. Mr. Chekov has been sent back to the ship for examination and quarantine.

Stardate 54326.2, Mr. Spock reporting: Tricorder readings indicate that the creature we encountered earlier is constantly moving at great speed over the surface of the planet. We have encountered the creature once again. In an attempt to slow the creature for study, I attempted to fire on it. The creature, however, appeared to move faster than the phaser beam. Regretfully, the beam struck an outcropping of rock above the Captain's head, causing it to break off and fall. Although it appears that several tons of rock fell squarely on the Captain, he was driven straight into the ground but apparently not seriously injured, though stunned. The Captain has been beamed up to Sickbay, leaving me in command of the research party.

Captain's Log, Stardate 54342.1: The creature is still at large on the planet surface. While Mr. Spock continues to lead a research party I am currently at work with Mr. Scott on an Acme Pressure Cooker for our lab, for when the creature is finally apprehended.

Captain's Log, stardate 54342.3. The strange occurrences that have dogged the landing party since our arrival at this planet have led me to believe that the creature is in some way directly responsible for them. Mr. Chekov and I have both been declared fit for return to duty, though Dr. McCoy has entered in his medical log that he feels we should be kept under observation.
Mr. Spock has constructed a device which he suspects should be able to counteract the creature's incredible speed as follows: We have placed a dish of birdseed out in the open, with several signs pointing to it. The dish is atop a cleverly concealed trap door, which will open when any weight falls on it. The creature will then travel a slide, eventually being deposited in a cage constructed of sheets of transparent aluminum. We will then be free to analyze it at our leisure. Meanwhile, I have forbidden all beaming down to the surface of the planet except on my or Mr. Spock's direct order.

Captain's Log, supplemental. The plan failed. The creature was indeed lured by the birdseed, as expected. It sped to the dish, consumed the bait, and sped off without setting off the trap. Mr. Spock is as puzzled as I, and has begun tests to discover the flaw in the design. I have sent out three search parties to see if we can box the creature in, one headed by Mr. Sulu, one by Mr. Chekov, and one by Sociologist Xontel.

Captain's Log, stardate 54342.8. Sociologist Xontel has been temporarily incapacitated. In pursuing the creature, he and his men somehow managed to cross the place where Mr. Spock's trap was set just as he completed the corrections to it. The trap was sprung, and all four of my men were suspended for a moment in mid-air, puzzled, just before they fell into the cage we constructed. We are now trying to release them with phasers, as the lock was inadvertently smashed by the impact from Sociologist Xontel's foot as he fell. I consider this a major setback. Mr. Spock considers it "fascinating."

Captain's Log, stardate 54343.4. In an all-out attempt to stop the creature once and for all, I have had a phaser rifle beamed down from the Enterprise. The creature has behaved in an extremely cunning manner, yet I am unsure whether this is a sign of actual intelligence. Lt. Uhura has been unsuccessful in her attempts to raise Starfleet Command. Meanwhile, Mr. Scott informs me that our dilithium crystals are deteriorating at an alarming rate. He has juryrigged a system that will prevent the decay for a time, but it is imperative that we find new crystals soon.

Captain's Log, supplemental. Mr. Sulu reports high energy tricorder readings from an area of the planet in which the creature has not yet been sighted. He has taken a small party, including Mr. Spock, to the high-elevation spot from which the readings emanate. I have begun to analyze the creature's movements. It seems to travel consistently over a set path. Perhaps we can corner it in a tunnel it seems to pass through frequently.

Captain's Log, stardate 54344.7. Mr. Sulu has located a cache of ACME dilithium crystals atop a high cliff. Regretfully, while collecting them, the edge of the cliff broke off, and he and Mr. Spock plummeted several hundred feet to the ground below. Strangely enough, they both survived the fall with no more than raising a cloud of dust on impact, although they did pass the chunk of rock on the way down and end up completely buried. A rescue excavation has commenced, and they should be safe shortly.

Captain's Log, stardate 54344.9. Mr. Spock has beamed up to the ship with them to assist Mr. Scott in their installation, as he foresees compatibility problems. Back on the planet's surface, Mr. Chekov led seven men into the tunnel in an attempt to capture the creature in transit. A loud BEEP, BEEP was heard, and Chekov aimed the phaser rifle and commanded his men to spread out. I wish to state for the record that I would have acted similarly, and that Ensign Chekov should in no way be held responsible for the unfortunate circumstances arising from the unexpected appearance of an old Earth-style freight train. He has been beamed back up to the ship with minor injuries.

Captain's Log, stardate 54345.1. Dr. McCoy has beamed down with a hypo containing a mixture of kyranide, tri-ox compound, Scalosian concentrate, a theragram derivative, and some other items he found in unmarked containers in Sickbay. By injecting a small amount into each member of the landing party, I hope to be able to deal with the creature on its own high speed terms.

Captain's Log, supplemental. The latest experiment to deal with the strange creature has failed. As Dr. McCoy was injecting a measured dose of the compound, it abruptly appeared behind him and uttered a loud BEEP, BEEP! Dr. McCoy, understandably flustered, accidentally pressured in the entire contents of the hypo into his arm. A full security team is in pursuit of him, waiting for the effects of the drug to wear off.

Captain's Log, stardate 54345.2. I have ordered the landing party transported back to the ship. The new dilithium crystals have been successfully installed. On my responsibility, the ship is preparing to engage main phasers to attack the creature, which continues on its semi-erratic course across the planet's surface.

Captain's Log, supplemental. This is a warning to all other starships that may pass this way. Do not approach this planet! The illogical events occurring here are too much to overcome with simple science. If you have heard the events transcribed in the rest of this log, you will learn that this creature is nearly undefeatable. We channeled full ship's power through the phaser banks. Theoretically, the creature should have been destroyed; however, the energies were too much strain for the ACME crystals. The full force of the phasers backlashed over the Enterprise, engulfing her completely. At first, the only noticeable effect was a complete failure of all systems save emergency gravity and life support. Then a web of black lines spread through the Enterprise's superstructure. Next, the ship began breaking up, piece by piece, falling through the atmosphere to land on the surface of the planet. When the ship had collapsed entirely, my crew was left hanging in space for a short time, and finally each of us began to fall to the planet below. We have no theories on how any of us survived, but every crewmember has reported nothing more than a sense of uneasiness, followed by the realization that they were several hundred miles up in the air, a sinking sensation, and then a gradual drop: first the feet, then the body, and finally the head, usually wearing a resigned expression of perplexion. We are attempting now to communicate with the creature in the hopes that it will prove intelligent. Perhaps we can communicate our peaceful intentions to it. Mr. Spock has constructed a crude rocket launcher from the wreckage of the ship, and with this we hope to send the recorder marker up into space, where hopefully someone will find it. Captain James T. Kirk, of the United Federation of Planets, Captain of the Starship Enterprise, recording.

Wednesday, May 01, 2002

testimoni mwen

Mwen konveti a 1988, le mwen ale a Alaska avek Legliz Presbyterian (E.U.). Le medi d'Jwile, mwen bo Stroudsburg ou Wilkes-Barre pou preparasyon, non? Le sa-s, mwen pa Krityen; mwen ta di mwen menm te un atheist. Men akoz mwen ale avek un gwoup krityen (mwen te kwe sa), m te achte un kaset d'mizik pa Stryper, "To Hell with the Devil." Mwen di a mwen menm, "Si mwen gen a kaset konsa, se un bon bagay paske lot moun ki se krityen va agzepte mwen, non."
Mwen jwen pliske pase mwen egzpekte. Anpil anpil anpil.

(A pita, mwen ta appran te genyen de krityen evanjelik. Kek lot moun pat konsidre you menm krityen nan veritas men te vle un vakasyon gratis bo Alaska; lot moun, mwen pa konnen sa yo te kwen. Bondye konnen.)

Enben, un nuit, mwen koute byen koute a kaset la. Li egzplike evanjel byen: se chwa mwen si mwen vle kwen nan Jezikri, ou si mwen vle fe anyen ave l, nan chan "Free." Li pale tou, nan chan "Honestly," sou gran renmen Jezikri genyen pou mwen.

Mwen pa konnen poukisa mwen reponn tankou mwen te fe-a, men Santespri travay nan ke mwen, and devan kaset fini, mwen sou pie mwen yo, mande Jezi padonnen mwen, mande li entre ke mwen and tounen senye ak savo mwen an.

Anyway, I understand my experience is a little unique in this regard, since many people seem to come to the Lord with somebody else actively leading them in the "sinner's prayer" after sharing the gospel with them in a marathon session, but I still have to shake my head when people like Mr. Jesse or Jimmy Swaggart try to claim that Christian rock music is of the Devil.

I never would have gone to a church to hear the gospel, and you still aren't going to find me at a Billy Graham crusade, but Stryper -- a band that confounded the wisdom of this world -- was able to reach me because it tied into the culture I was a part of.

if you're expecting ...

May I suggest you consider the name "Gomer?" In addition to being biblical (mentioned in the book of Hosea), it also has the advantage of being a unisex name, since Gomer is the name of Hosea's wife and also a famous member of the U.S. Marines.

I can suggest several other names. My chief recommendation after Gomer would be Quagmyra, but there are many other names I can think of, broken down into the following categories:

Bible names
Poitphar's wife (Genesis 39:37)
Lo-Ruhamah (Hosea 1:8)
Jael (Judges 4:21)
Jezebel (1 Kings 16:31)
Dorcas (Acts 9:36)
The Woman Caught in Adultery (John 8:3)
Lucifera (just call her Lucy, and with any luck she won't catch on)

Literary names
Eowyn ("Lord of the Rings")
Arwen (LotR)
Galadriel (LotR)
Cosette ("Les Miserables")
Isabella ("Measure for Measure")
Rosalind ("As You Like It")
Pippi Longstocking ("The Adventures of Pippi Longstocking")

If you're a Star Trek fan, consider:

Or you could go with the old Puritan idea of naming children after everyday objects: Cotton, VCR, Cease-and-desist letter; name her after your favorite font, like Helvitica Condensed Black; or even make her middle name a string of musical notes in B Major. Or maybe the Hebraic use of meaning in names like "Hammer-of-God Johnson" or "Boy you have a big nose" Smith.

weaving's elrond

I thought Jackson's depiction of Elrond was interesting, although this might have been affected somewhat by the casting choice of Hugo Weaving. (Say it together now, "Welcome to Rivendell, Mis-ter Baggins.")

Tolkien's Elrond was a wise and far-seeing elf who was removed from the events of Middle-earth because the time of the elves was past, and men were now coming into their own. By contrast, Jackson's film presents Elrond as an embittered immortal who sees humanity as in decline rather than rising to take its place. He even seems surprised by Frodo's decision to take the Ring, rather than the reaction he had in Tolkien's book.

And really, who didn't see "Fellowship of the Ring" and picture the scene at Mount Doom as something like this?

Elrond: I was there the day the strength of men broke, Gandalf.

[flashback as Elrond urges Isildur to throw the Ring into Mount Doom and Isildur
Elrond: Fine. Have it your way. [He picks up Isildur and tosses him
and the Ring in together.
Or, better yet, Elrond tosses Isildur in, but
decides to keep the Ring, which is beautiful to his sight. "I was there when the
strength of men broke, Gandalf, when they refused to give me the Ring, my

One can almost imagine the eldar all jockeying to get the Ring from Isildur while resoundly denying having any interest in it. Perhaps Isildur lost the Ring when Galadriel tried to seduce him and steal it from him in his sleep ...