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Thursday, June 09, 2005

"If by a "Liberal" they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people -- their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, and their civil liberties -- someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a "Liberal," then I'm proud to say I'm a "Liberal."" - John F. Kennedy


Ctrl+alt+del strip

Customer: Hey, my computer is broken. I need you guys to--

Assistant: Oh, sorry, we don't service Macs here.

Customer: Is this your first day or something? This isn't a "Mac", this is an Apple brand computer.

Assistant: Hehe, of course. You're still going to have to find a speciality shop. We don't service those here.

Customer: Why?

Assistant: Well--

Manager (offscreen): Ooooh how adorable!

Manager (clasping hands): It's a Fisher Price 'My First Computer'! Did your mommy buy that for you? We don't fix those here, but maybe you're ready for your first 'big kids' computer! Shall we ask your mommy if you're old enough?

Customer (angrily): You just lost yourself a customer.

Manager: Gasp! We just lost a customer we never wanted in the first place!

Customer: I'm leaving.

Manager: Not fast enough.


He Who Must Not Be Named has confidently claimed so far to me that:

- the trebuchet was used by the Romans (Even in my diminished state of erudition, I know that it was of course unknown to them. He probably mixed it up with the onager)
- ghee is lard (I am ashamed to admit that his brash confidence fooled me for a while, till I realised among other things that Hindus do not consume pork, and that many roti prata sellers are Indian Muslim)


Fidget Away Unwanted Pounds

"Take toe tapping. You can burn nine calories an hour just moving your feet.

Gum chewing? 11 calories an hour.

Simply standing up will help you burn 20 more calories.

In fact, doctors say if everyone spent two more hours a day on their feet they could burn an extra 350 calories per day, or up to 40 pounds a year."


Prayer Center -- Let's not talk about sex

"Though less famous than activists on the right, there has long existed a community of Christian leaders preaching social justice. Evangelical political lefties like Ron Sider, head of Evangelicals for Social Action, and Tony Campolo, a professor emeritus of sociology at Eastern University (and one of President Clinton's spiritual advisers), point to Christianity's history of championing social reform (nineteenth-century evangelist William Wilberforce's role in abolishing slavery in England is a favorite example) and frequently stress that the Bible has much more to say about caring for the poor than about eradicating sexual sin.

In modern U.S. politics, however, personal piety has proved the more compelling rallying cry for a variety of reasons--perhaps the most basic being that sex sells. "Sex always gets people's attention," says Marvin Olasky, godfather of compassionate conservatism and editor of the religious magazine World. Talk of sexual sin "goes to the gut," agrees conservative columnist Cal Thomas (who, in his younger days, served as vice president of communications for the Moral Majority). "It goes to the emotions, to feelings. It produces a visceral reaction." By contrast, issues like health care and homelessness, while arguably more pertinent to more people's lives, lack the same sizzle and, as such, are unlikely to capture the imagination of the grassroots, not to mention a drama-loving press.

As a bonus, says Thomas, opposing abortion and gay marriage generally has more to do with changing someone else's behavior than one's own. He points out that, as far as the decline of American culture goes, Christians are just as guilty as non-Christians when it comes to high divorce rates, out-of-wedlock sex, and rampant materialism. (Supporting data for this and similar trends can be found in Sider's book The Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience.) But addressing this embarrassing reality would involve too much self-scrutiny, says Thomas. "People would much rather watch a video of someone else exercising than go to the gym and do the sweating themselves," he quips.

Similarly, issues like poverty and racial reconciliation don't lend themselves as neatly to the same good-versus-evil, us-versus-them political paradigm as gay rights or judicial activism, the right's latest bugaboo. Sociologist Tony Campolo (who recently conducted his own spiritual sit-down with Democratic lawmakers) likes to quote from philosopher Eric Hoffer's 1951 book, True Believer: "Mass movements can rise and spread without belief in a god, but never without belief in a devil." Hitler had the Jews, and the communists had the capitalists, says Campolo. "I contend that it's easy to rally people around opposition to gay people. In the minds of many, they have become the devil that must be destroyed if America is to be saved."

... A century later, American evangelicalism's emphasis on free-will individualism, personal responsibility, and the paramount importance of one's personal walk with God predisposes many adherents to distrust government intervention in social problems like poverty. In researching their book, Divided by Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America, Michael Emerson and Christian Smith found that evangelicals are more inclined than nonevangelicals to blame an individual's failure to thrive on personal shortcomings--say, a lack of ambition or character--rather than on any systemic disadvantages."


I saw a girl wearing a top that said "SINGLE". I wonder if she gets picked up more often while wearing it, and if that's her aim.


Rahvin on my review of Tommy Seeback's Apache:

"I'm sorry I found this review so late. I loved it, I loved the video, the scantily-clad native American dancers. You made my day, and I am happy again. Thanks for this; if I ever suffer from cancer of the eye or the ear, I'll let you know."


Gay penguins won't go straight - "A German zoo's plans to tempt its gay penguins to go straight by importing more females has been declared a failure."
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