Saturday, July 10, 2010

Unity Joke

Thanks to Toby Sumpter.

A man is walking down a bridge and sees another man standing on the railing. Naturally, he yells over "What are you doing?"
"I just can't take it anymore. I'm going to jump."
"Don't you believe in God?"
"Yes, but it's just not enough anymore."
"Are you Catholic?"
"Me too! Reformed or Arminian?"
"Me too! Presbyterian? Reformed Baptist?"
"Me too! Amillenial, Postmillenial, or Premillenial?"
"I am too! Weekly communion?"
"This is amazing! Robes or no robes?"
"No robes."
"Jump already, you stupid heretic!"

You can only be so unified.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Courting Employment

I am officially hired as a night EVS worker at the hospital as well as a cabinet-maker during the day, and I've got enough yard work lined up to live off of, so all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well, to quote the Mystic and not the infinitely superior Modern. Ten points to anyone who names the two authors referred to.

And now for sleep, that opiate of the soul...


Zechariah and Esther

This is a theory I've been working on. I'm hesitant to publicly declare it, so I decided to hide it safely away where none may find it.

It started when I was trying to figure out the significance of different types of trees in Scripture. I finally decided to just pick one type and try to track it, seeing if there are any patterns, etc, and the type I picked was myrtle. Initial results were rather scattered, but a fact that interested me was that the Hebrew for myrtle was also a name: Hadassah.

Then, ages passed, things that should never have been forgotten were eternally lost (like my keys), Gollum picked up a ring and I read Zechariah about three weeks after reading Esther: whose name in Hebrew is of course Hadassah.

Now, a great deal of my theory is dependent upon the dates for these two books, so let it be said from the outset that I believe Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther to have been contemporaries, and I think they were shortly preceded by Zechariah. I won't be defending that here; have fun tracking it down if you want.

My theory in brief: the events described in Esther were a fulfillment of the prophecies of Zechariah 2:6-13.

The ramifications of this (so far as an interpretation of Zechariah is concerned) aren't really all that great, but are kind of interesting. First, Zechariah and Ezekiel are strongly linked (Ezekiel 36's new covenant and Zechariah 3's High Priest is one of the more obvious correlations), so if this link is carried forward, it would quite possibly link the armies of Gog and Magog to the Agogite (from the Amalekites) son of Esau, Haman (see Ezekiel 39:11: Hamon-Gog and Haman are obviously very similar linguistically). Second, the "wall of fire" that the Lord will be around Israel in Zechariah 2:5 is exemplified by an arrogant, pragmatic pagan ruler.

There is more there, but I need to buttress the theory before I build it any higher.


Wednesday, July 7, 2010


I finally realized, while listening to mind-numbing lectures on every possible hospital procedure, that Goodreads has a "Blog your review" option. So, uh... Yeah. Sorry about that.

No, You are On Jesse's Blog

Yes, I am reviewing Twilight.

Twilight (Twilight, #1)Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I read this series in four days, and am still regretting having listened to all those whiny teenyboppers. Poor prose, but readable, poor plot, poor characters, and more than just kinda stupid. I think my pastor described them as something along the lines of "cartoonish porn for the woman's emotions" and that's not a bad way of putting it.

Theoretically, the whole vampire thing started out with syphilis: the virginal girl destroyed by her deadly yet seductive lover, which is another reason that absentee fathers should prescribe these to their twleve year olds. Well, at least the public school system is protecting otherwise defenseless children by promoting illiteracy: go government.

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Book 2 of Infinity

New Moon (Twilight, #2)New Moon by Stephenie Meyer

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

In this book, she's depressed, and nothing happens, then she rides a motorcycle and Jake gets a growth spurt, and it ends. Oh, and Jake's a werewolf, if you hadn't figured that out by page ten of the first book. Hadn't thought it could be more boring than the first. I was so very wrong.

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And She's Still Being Published?

Eclipse (Twilight, #3)Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I'm not going to bother reviewing these any more.

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Finis, Satis, Nimis: So She Writes A Sequel

Breaking Dawn (Twilight, #4)Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

At least this one had an almost fight scene.

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N. D. Wilson's Past Misdemeanors

Right Behind: A Parody of Last Days GoofinessRight Behind: A Parody of Last Days Goofiness by N.D. Wilson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Oh wow. This was one of the most delightfully hilarious books I've ever read. Written by a postmillenial author (who is an astonishing author as well as my rhetoric teacher) in response to the Left Behind series, and it is amazing. He makes fun of the prose:

"Buff sat by his window in business class and watched the sun come up like a single tooth in a bleeding gum."

He makes fun of the inherent gnosticism:

"Then he has finally turned his back on this world of matter and all things evil. He has jumped right out of the corruption that matter entails... He has reached the enlightened world of Forms where there is no jewelry but spiritual jewels, where dentures cannot go, where everyone is naked. He has been raptured..."

And he had way too much fun writing it (unless it was his co-author, Mr. Sock, the "renown prophecy expert...who for the last four decades has been carefully predicting the beginning of the apocalypse as always within the next four years. Sadly, Mrs. Sock was never seen after a tragic washing-machine journey in 1988...")

"'Haddie (the Whore of Babylon) was enthralled. This man had ideas.'

'Ninety-two percent of each of your country's arms will be destroyed. The other eight percent will be given to me personally. The keys to all the tanks and jeeps will be mailed to the following address...
'Lastly for now, the headquarters of the United Nations is no longer in New York. The entire building, and even the delegates, shall in one week be moved to the city of Babylon. It is currently only a Kurdish trailer court, but I think if we move there, others will follow.

'I would once again like to thank you for choosing me as your Antichrist. I will do...'

Haddie's phone rang.
'Hello?' Haddie said.
'Haddie. This is Buff. Do you still wanna warm the bed of the Antichrist?'
'Did you see him on TV?'
'Yes. Isn't he gorgeous?'
'He looks like a small carpet salesman, but that's your call... He'll be at the Manhattan Comfort Inn for another week... Haddie, he's an evil man.'
'Yes, but so cute.'
'Haddie, he asked me if you wear scarlet.'
'I love scarlet, especilly if he does.'
'Haddie, the man laughed and said, "The smoke from her goes up forever." '
'You know that I smoke.'
'Haddie, he wants to make you the Whore of Babylon.'
'I'm no prude.'
'He wants you to live in a trailer court with him.'
'I'll talk to him about that one, but I'm sure that it's a mere stepping stone...' "

It's just great.

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R. L. Dabney

Evangelical Eloquence: A Course of Lectures of PreachingEvangelical Eloquence: A Course of Lectures of Preaching by Robert Lewis Dabney

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

So far it is enjoyable, if a bit dry. Nothing really remarkable prose-wise, but content has a few notable issues.

First, his classification of oration is somewhat odd--it doesn't include poetry or anything that we would consider "just for fun." "The immediate end of eloquence is to produce in the hearer some practical volition."--page 30. "The end, I repeat, of every oration is to make men do."--page 34 But, if you just insert "sermon" for each "oration," it works out pretty well.

Second, he doesn't (and this surprised me, considering his uncompromising nature) consider it appropriate for a sermon to alienate. I understand this as a general rule, and I'm sure he just doesn't qualify it, or maybe I just haven't reached the qualification yet. Whatever. Just keep that in mind.

Third, and this was the big one for me, is that when speaking of the Sabbath, he seems to do what we all too often do--separate the week into secular and spiritual (page 42). The week is not ours with the Lord's Day being God's. The week is God's, and the Lord's Day is for us to renew the covenant that we broke over the week, and then start serving God in a new week. This is something that he lived correctly, but apparently taught wrongly, as it wasn't a big concern for his day. It is for ours.

Fourth, and this was an ouch, he seems to think that humans are rational, which we generally aren't: "How shall the heart be reached, except through the head?"--53. Generally, we should ask, "How shall the head be reached, except the defenses of the heart be superseded?" We don't use logos to affect a change in pathos, but vice versa.

However, it has so far been excellent, with a great wealth of invaluable teaching.

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Potter: Hallows

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7)Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Best of the Potter books by far. It does show that there is no such thing as pure evil, only good twisted beyond repair. Requires three pages of a review or none at all, and since I'm lazy, guess which one you're going to get.

The most annoying things about it are 1. We never really get to know the main character's wife: she's still a throwaway character, and 2. Why on earth doesn't she give the Defense Against the Dark Arts position to Harry? Oh well.

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Moby DickMoby Dick by Herman Melville

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Tweakeresquely garrulous--how many tiles on the roof of that house two doors down? Let me tell you!

Great story, kinda skim the book.

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The Complete Works of Oscar Wilde (Collins Classics)The Complete Works of Oscar Wilde by Oscar Wilde

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wilde's poetry leaves a good deal to be desired, but is generally enjoyable and occasionally profound.

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More Books

Rebecca's DaughtersRebecca's Daughters by Dylan Thomas

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Just great fun.

"You wouldn't say 'Bo' to a goose!" "Of course I wouldn't. What an absurd thing to say to a goose."

"And now, gentlemen, like your manners, I must leave you."

"After that night he spent tied up in a ditch..."
"A very distressing night for Sir Henry."
"Yes, very. And it wasn't even a ditch he knew."

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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Two Books

Point of Impact
Stephen Hunter

This is the book that the sermon called Shooter, starring Marky Mark of the Funky Bunch was taken from. Of course the book is better, but more than that, the book isn't bad at all. A lot of fun, and a one-two day read for sure (about a five hour read).

The Most Brilliant Thoughts of All Time (In Two Lines or Less)
by John M. Shanahan (hooked on phonics fame)

The author is arrogant, repetitive, and careless in his citations (he attributes a quote from Ovid's Amores to Cato and enters the same quotes in multiple locations throughout the book). He apparently never thought anyone would read it cover to cover, and I wish he'd been right.

Just a tip: if you're writing a book called "The Most Brilliant Thoughts of All Time," you probably shouldn't quote yourself, and you really shouldn't quote yourself twelve times, but if you're going to quote yourself twelve times, you should really make sure that they're all new quotes: not ten quotes with two repetitions. And seriously: how do you quote yourself more than Chesterton, Bierce and Shaw combined? Ouch.

Wodehousian Fun