Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The Blogscape of the Blogs in Blogdom

I often wonder when we can say that we are in a blogationship. Can I consider you a member of my blogmunity if you just blog around my blog but never comment, are you part of the blogiverse if you don't blog a blog of your own? Can you be part of my blogosphere or blogmunity if I am not part of yours? I know, it isn't exactly mind bloggleing, or blogolutionary, but I still wonder, when does a blogmunity happen? Are there blogationship rules in blogtopia? Blogger me, I just don't know.

Monday, May 29, 2006

What's in a name?

What is in a name? Would not a rose by any other name (stink-weed for instence) smell as sweet?

Okay so I just googled myself and the only instance where my name referred to me was a Greek message board. Go a little farther and a few blogs show up, but I found that there are three major people with whom I share a name:

1. A character in the Vin Diesel D-movie, A Man Apart, I think that he is a DEA somethingorother.

2. A 32 year-old DJ and webmaster from Austrailia, who seems to be one of the friendliest people out there, based on how many of his friends talk about him on their blogs.

3. and a 59 year-old ex-triathlete who fell out of his tree while bow-hunting.

With whom are you sharing your name?

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Love, Forgiveness and Sleeping in Church

My favorite ancient wise man is Abba Poemen; why? The stories about him are almost always about grace lived out in our day-to-day contact with other people. Religious leaders are generally too happy to persecute and not nearly happy enough to practice grace; Poemen is consistent in resisting judgementalism and embrace acts of grace, but he never takes such grace as freedom do mistreat others.

An Ancient Story:

Some old men went to Abba Poemen and asked, "If we see brothers sleeping during the common prayer, should we wake them?"

Abba Poemen answered, "If I see my brother sleeping, I put his head on my knees and let him rest."

Then one old man spoke up, "And how do you explain yourself before God?"

Abba Poemen replied, "I say to God: You have said, 'First take the beam out of your own eye and then you will be able to remove the splinter from the eye of your brother.' "

Friday, May 26, 2006

Storm Warning

No, not Storm from the third X-Men movie; though, I have to say that they had the character say some pretty dumb stuff. No, I'm talking about the thunder and lightening that is supposed to impinge on Boise over the entire three-day weekend. I'm just warning you that I can't afford to take chances, so I'll turn off my computer at the first sign of lightening.

I know what you're thinking, "How am I going to live without Ty's blog?¡" Well, I'll tell you how: by being good stoics and toughing it out. You can go to a movie or art museum, I know it cannot give you the joy of one of my blog entries, but that is okay, you just need something to distract you from the pain of your loss¡

In the meantime, I'd like to know what you are reading now. When I was in Junior High I had insomnia, as I did these last three weeks, and I read more than a thousand pages-a-night. Books were like drugs for me; I made a deal with Jeff Haug to borrow an entire Sci-Fi/Fantesy series from him and I read one or two books each night. I read about 40 of my dad's Louis L'Amour books and a few Zane Grey westerns too, but I got tired of them, I read all the Readers Digest Condensed Books that didn't look too depressing, I read Green Mansions, and Jane Eyre and a few Dickens books, and I never got more than a few hours sleep; my best friend kept asking me if I was on drugs because I was always half asleep.

Now I've been battling insomnia, but I haven't been reading any more than usual. I just finished a great book, The War for Palestine and I'm re-reading Robert Jordan, I also have the classic, Orentialism by Edward Said, which I just started, and I finished a Star Wars novel last week (it was kinda' bad but I've read 50-something Star Wars books, so I can't quit now, it's an addiction); I almost forgot, I'm re-reading the graphic novel Kingdom Come. So what have you been reading, what are you reading right now, and what do you plan to read in the near future? Also, what do you want to have read but are unwilling to spend the time to read?

Time for a haircut

Warning: gratuitous DBZ post - I am probably the only person in my blogmunity who cares about, or understands the following frivolous post:

Whenever I look in the mirror in the morning and I look like this , I know I need a haircut. The last two weeks I've been looking like that, but I had hoped that I was learning to go Super Saiyan, but, try though I might, I can't even manage Kaiō-ken times four, so I guess it's time for the scissors.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

LOST and found

First: Locke is alive; Walt had to leave because he is growing too fast; Yes, Desmond's partner was Said's teacher; no, I thought it was a good ending.

Next: Tabitha always does this so I guess it's okay. How come I never see this on the American news? Are they hoping that all we will see is a mad dictator over in Iran and not the people fighting for freedom. Are they afraid that we will see that they are just like us? . . . I hope not . . . it may just be that they think nuclear bombs sell more papers than marches for freedom do . . . I guess greed is god to newspapers now. They were supposed to be searching for truth, but they found that it was easier to make money.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Unacknowledged Prejudices Part One

About one year ago: Here I am again, worshipping with one of the most caring and wealthy congregations in the United States. Here I sit, beside my good friend and roommate. The stadium seating leaves bruses on my arm; my friend is half-again as large as I. We talk about race and gender in church and they give money to projects designed to help minorities; I am proud of that. Not only that but they donate their time to helping the homeless; I'm proud of that too.

These are, by all accounts, good people . . . at least to people of average stature. I look around. There are only three people in the panorama of my vision, halfway back in this two-thousand member congregation, who are either naturally large or overweight (the others have been driven off); too big for the seats, worked in-between the arm-rests, inch-by-inch, they painfully observe the severe asceticism pressed on them by the thoughtless architecture of a church who would be mortified to see this through my eyes: through the eyes of a friend who empathises with pain. But shouldn't anyone who immitates the Messiah empathize with those in pain?

I ask several people in the congregation, but they say things so like what many say about African-Americans and education, or Arabs and racial profileing, or Mexicans and the language barrier . . . "It isn't like we intended for it to be discriminatory. We are going to build a new building, so we decided that we'll wait to buy new seating." Perhaps this translation will help clarify the situation: "We never thought about avoiding discriminatory architecture (except for the handicapped, legally we have to do that). Currently, we think our new building is more important than doing what is right. When we build that, then, we'll do what is right." Others said, "We could put in benches in a section." Translation: "We can let the fat people have their own section."

I don't want to throw stones, they are a wonderful and generous congregation . . . a wonderful and generous congregation, when it comes to people like them. I love them and I like them, and I'm proud of many things that they do, but I am ashamed of their seating. They bemoan the small numbers of racial minorities in their midst, but they never thought about their exclusion of people of larger stature.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Poetry: Emotional Depth is Un-Christian ¡

Before I start my comments, you ought to go look at Curt's post Biblical Illiteracy in Christian Music and Ryan's post, Christian Rock, because I don't want to just rehash their posts.

First, let me say that I have two problems with the Christian Music I heard as a kid and the stuff I heard at Pamplin Music, in churches (esp. non-liturgical churches) and, recently, on worship and praise albums: bad poetry, the greatest crime (for me) and bad music, which, I'm sure many of you abhor. so, since I have no significant knowledge of music, I'd like to talk about bad poetry and good poetry. I apologise to those of you who sang in those groups . . . I still enjoyed what you did . . . I just think that one aspect of your work was not as fully developed as I think it should be.

What is the purpose of poetry? There are various appropriate answers:

1. to function as works of art (thus avant garde poetry)
2. to carry out a stylistic function of genre humor (cf. limericks etc.)
3. to carry out a stylistic function of ancient historiography, myth or epic (not that these are really different in significant ways)
4. to emphasize something (thus its use by biblical prophets)
5. as a memory tool (cf. Psalm 119)
6. as a formal aspect of address to the gods or to God
7. to communicate emotions deeper than words alone can convey (the Psalms are full of this --13 is my favorite)

Let's sort these out. 1 is appropriate as long as it is a secondary function of the piece; 2 may be of use in a sermon, but is out of place in what we commonly refer to as worship or praise; 3 might be useful if we were constructing liturgical prayers, but, as its traditional length and content tend to preclude it from musical recitation, it is not a common option; 4 is also appropriate as a secondary function and would serve the preacher more readily than the musician; 5 would, again, be useful in a liturgical framework, and outside the high-church as a carrier for theology; 6 is essentially the only purpose which Christian music seems to claim for its art; 7 is, it seems to me, the most appropriate and necessary function of poetry.

I am not saying that there is no place for the shallow "we love God YAY!" songs, happy-clappy is good until you are 12. Once you begin to have problems in your life, though, happy-clappy just doesn't cut it. Go back and read the Psalms; there are more psalms that deal with true hardship and unresolved feelings of abandonment than there are naïve, all-is-right-with-the-world psalms. I overlooked all this the first time I read the Psalms. I was really just reading as a spiritual discipline, so I wasn't looking too closely at the content. Then I randomly picked a Psalm with which I was unfamiliar and which was short in order to memorize it; the psalm I picked was 13 (this is from a 10 year old memory, so it might not be exact):

How long, O LORD,
Will you forget me forever?
How long must I struggle with my thoughts
and every day have sorrow in my soul?
Look on me and answer!
Give light to my eyes or I shall sleep in death.
My enemy will say, "I have overcome him."
And my foe will laugh when I fall.

[This is just a guess, but the following may be something written after the problem is resolved, since it doesn't fit the tone of the rest of the piece]

But I trust in your unfailing love,
My heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing to the LORD because he has been good to me.

I then asked, "why is that in there? I mean, I feel like that, but how can that be in the Bible? This guy is questioning God." In my studies since then, I discovered that one of the chief identifying characteristics of people of God; one of the characteristics of Jesus (in the garden/at Calvary), is a willingness to question God, while never losing faith in him (and, often, never getting answers). How many songs do you hear that do that? There are a few, but more, like It is well with my soul avoid the issue of the apparent betrayal by God (Jesus on the cross anyone?) and just move right on to reconciliation to the way life is without ever laying it on the line. My friends, only praying that way, only singing that way, just ain't Christian. People who look like Jesus would pray like Jesus did, "My God . . . MY GOD . . . WHY did you LEAVE me?" It is okay to pray, "Not my will but yours be done." But ONLY . . . let me emphasize this . . . ONLY ONLY ONLY if that prayer is honest!

We should never be afraid to share or pain and anger with God and, in fact, the Psalms, which have served as the prayers of the gathered people of faith, both in Israel and in Christianity for at least FOUR THOUSAND years, are filled with these prayers. I beg of you Christians, especially those who are able to write songs, write songs of disillusionment and lament as well as songs of joy. God is not an idol to be manipulated by our lies, God is bigger than that. If a friend (or a child) was angry with me, I would be okay with that friend if they were honest with me, even if it hurt. I would rather hear it than have them treat me like everything was great when, inside, they are falling apart because of their anger at me, just or unjust. I would be a bad friend if I was not okay with that, and God would be a bad god (yes small-g) if he were not okay with that. I'd be willing to walk up Mount Carmel on this one.

If you are interested in understanding this more fully, or if you want me to change my mind, read Walter Brueggemann's Psalms in the Life of Faith, then read the book of Psalms again, then Lamentations, Jeremiah, Isaiah, then skim the Brueggemann book again, then read the book of twelve (all the smaller books of prophets: Hosea through Malachi), then you can complain to me if you think I'm wrong. BTW: you shouldn't read Job again until you understand it in the context of these other books.

The Christian group from my era that most fully explored this was Church of Rythm on their Album, Not Perfect; I especially liked the song "Life is worth Fighting for," even if the title does end in a preposition. Unfortunately, they were not together for long, and the Christian music world was not greatly influenced by their work (at least at the time).

I look forward to hearing your songs.

Other blog posts of interest: Jamie's blog and Witherington on Poetry

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


I am rather pleased with myself for cracking the code to blog design. I still have a few problems to solve (Like bullet point spacing), but all-in-all, I'm pretty happy. Please go and look at my other themes and tell me if you like them (if you don't, tell someone else;p):

Gina's French-architectural design
Blogum Nemo Legit's British Museum Library theme

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

RE: Lisa's post: Grey's Anatomy and morality

Lisa posted about last night's finale of Grey's Anatomy and several people questioned the moral compass of the show, so I began to write a post, realized that it was getting too long and then transferred it to my blog. Here is what I wrote:

Okay, so I, like you, cried at Grey's Anatomy last night, questioned their use of selfishness, and shook my fist at the Television, but I came to the conclusion that they are not necessarily promoting the selfishness which they portray.

I come to this conclusion by following the plot lines of several of the immoral or unethical actions portrayed and realized that they are not unrealistic about the consequences of selfish actions: Izzy looses what little time she might have had with Denny (a guy who seemed really likeable to me, though I understand the creepy vibe too) because she steals his heart (not in the "in-love" sort of way but in the psychotic- girl- who- schemes- to- steal- a- donor- heart- from- a- guy- with- a- family- even- though- the- guy- that- she's- stealing- it- for- doesn't- want- her- to sort of way); they let us know about the guy who would have gotten the heart and his family (though they could have made it a bigger point); the guy who wears the greasy badger on his head (just kidding --I know you love his hair) winds up being the biggest jerk in the universe because he cheats on the prettiest woman on the show (what kind of guy can even look away when she is around?) because he's too selfish to let Meredith- the- emotional- vacuum (all her feelings suck like a Hoover, the little leech) have any kind of closure (he'll never get cancer --big jerks never get cancer); beyond which, they portray the continuing devastation wrought by Dr. Picken's affair, even though it took place before the timeline of the show;as for the whole George sleeping with that whorable woman, how does it look like that is working out for him? they don't cover up the consequences of adopting a sexual relationship because of convenience, but they let us know, even before the break-up, that both parties are suffering/ will suffer for their selfishness, even though she may actually be in love with him; they also, through the story of Izzy and Denny, give us a lesson on why medical ethics takes some of the stands that we might question.

Because of those, and many other points of plot, I would say that to call the show immoral or to say that it reinforces selfishness, is like saying that The Scarlet Letter (the book, not that thrice condemned piece of cinematic putressence) was glorifying adultery.
The act of elevating consequences of transgressions, rather than insulating the audience from these consequences, turns the show into an American parable, which illustrates the here-and-now consequences of our selfish actions.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Elmo the way he should be

As I always say (in elmo's voice): Ty wants to see elmo drawed and quartered! Ty wants Elmo to get lots of parper cuts and then fall in a vat of lemon juice! Ty wants Elmo to camp out on a nuculear testing site!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Cease and desist

Dear Mr. Robertson:

It has come to my attention that you have been using my name in ways inconsistant with the limited permissions which I granted you. Please cease and desist immediately or I will cease all direct contact with you and will apply for an immediate injunction restraining your conduct in my name. At that point all communication shall be directed to my lawyer.

I recognize that you claim that you were acting as you believed I wanted, but I want to remind you that you missed or misread several key passages in my memoirs, letters, sermons, and works of history. This misreading was so thorough and consistent that it constitutes a purposeful manipulation of my words for your own purposes.

Finally, your actions, reportedly done in my name, being abhorrent and malicious, also constitute both a breach of the contract that you made with me to be my mouthpiece, and a clear defamation of my character. Cease and desist immediately. A public apology is appropriate and necessary. Please arrange for such at your own expense.

Please comply with my requests promptly and fully,


Adonai Eloheka (the Lord your God)

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Just Because I'm a Nerd

I was so riveted when I watched this that I think George Lucas should let this kid take over his operation. Maybe when he takes over he will remake Episodes I-III.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

I binged tonight

First, I'm going to leave the html code that you can use to insert a sarcasm mark, with a link to the sarcasm mark article in Wikipedia (<B><A HREF="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarcasm_mark">¡</A></B>) at the top of my blog so that those of you who have my blogg linked will always know where to find the sarcasm mark and so that those unsuspecting people, on the blogss of whom you post in sarcastic tones, will be able to find out what a sarcasm mark is and begin to use it themselves.

Second, I binged tonight. I made oatmeal cookies this afternoon. I had an extra batch of cookie dough, and I binged.

HA! I caught you! You thought that I binged on cookies huh? Nope, I didn't binge on cookies or cake or alcohol or coffee or Dr. Pepper, though any of those would be a sensible choice for a binge, being unhealthy and all. No, I couldn't be that normal. I'd like to say that I'm this way because I'm too punk rock for something so normal. In a way that's true, I mean, punk is all about non-conformity, or it is supposed to be, but all the punks I've met are just like all the other punks in their club, so I think it's all a line, but really, I try to be just who I am and nothing more or less.

I rebelled more against the rebellion that I saw in the people who made my life miserable in Junior High than I ever did against my parents. I never got a tattoo or a piercing or dyed my hair blue . . . if I ever did dye my hair, I'd probably choose blue . . .But most of my reason for not doing those things is that I think 99% of the people out there who do all that . . . most people who never claimed to be punk and/like Arwen and Tabitha are excluded from this criticism-- I'm not saying that they have done those things -- I just think that they seem like people who are genuinly themselves . . . any way, 99% of the people I see with major tatoos and piercings and Mohawks and brands and those big, ugly canisters people are sticking in their earlobes that arn't earrings, most of those people are . . . how do I put this kindly?¡ P-O-S-E-R-S! Yeah, most of them are so into impressing other people with how different they are that they're really just proving to the rest of the world that they're just peer-pressure junkies like all the other clones.

Alright, so I'd like to say that that is why I didn't binge on normal binge-fodder, but I'd be lying. No, I binged on the least bingable item from the post-taco dinner table . . . and I can't say for certain why I chose it, but if I had to venture a guess, I'd say it was because it was in a bag, and a bag, as everyone knows, is easier to carry than a bowl or a plate . . . that's right, people, I binged on lettuice. I ate three quarters of a bag of shredded lettuice, when I could have eaten cookie dough. <SHAME>

Sunday, May 07, 2006

The Sarcasm Mark

I, as I have mentioned previously, am obsessed with linkis to Wikipedia. Last night I tried to link to a Wikipedia article only to discover that no such article exists. I was therefore compelled to write an article and post it on Wikipedia. So in lieu of my regular post, I have decided to direct your attention to the Wikipedia article I wrote last night. Please feel free to edit it or to suggest edits, I know that the first paragraph needs work and I wanted to credit James with the parenthetical method, but I had trouble finding the example on his blog, so I used my own because I knew where to look (but perhaps the type James used is slightly different because, if I remember correctly, he pointed out the absence of the mark as a method of declaring its pressence, very post-structuralist of him, isnt it?).

My Most Recent Post

Okay, Gina told me to explain, so: We've discovered that the Phrat-boy scoietal structure has a standard set of characters and some of these have predictable names. The most common is a Chad: chad wants to be cool and popular and so he is overly friendly and drinks too much; next is a Chip or a Chipster: a Chipster wants to be remembered, so he speaks of himself in the third-person, urinates on your lawn, and streeks across campus from 10 pm to 4am; finally we have the Biscuit. The Biscuit is mild-mannered and shy until drunk, then he earns the name, The Biscuit by displaying his . . . plumbing . . . . Since he never remembers his drunken escapades, the Biscuit has no idea how he got his name, unless a Chipster fills him in.

I said all that to say this: Africa has a country named after a phrat-boy, you can't make that up . . . but you can make up names for a few neighboring countries.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Changes in Africa

This evening I randomly went to africaguide.com and was shocked . . . SHOCKED I tell you, to discover that the name of Niger has been changed, but more shocking than the change is the name which they chose. Click the map to see it for yourself . . .

In related news: Libya is considering changing its name to The Biscuit

Monday, May 01, 2006

In the News

It has come to my attention that many of you (at least Rush and Gina) think that I am funny when I rant about something that is relatively unimportant. Good news: There will be rants tonight! But first . . .

[Sorry about the delay in my posts, kids, I My-Spaced out for a few days and then a storm destroyed our cable modem so the internet was down for a while. I found some of my best friends from the past, some of whom I haven't really talked to since Junior High. I've invited them to come and visit us here at The Blog I Never Use, so, be nice, hide the dirty socks, and use your fork, not your fingers, except you, Shark Dog, super-spy hackers without opposable thumbs are exempt.]

Gina and I went to V for Vendetta this weekend and I cried. I didn't cry because Evey is tortured, or because Gordon is beaten, or because Evey's parents are taken from her when she is a child. . .
. . .I cried because George Lucas is such a bad director that he made Natalie Portman appear to be a bad actress in Star Wars Episodes I-III. In those movies you often want to shout, "FER CRYIN' OUT LOUD . . . Smell the 'cheese', stomp on your own foot, put glass in your shoe, have someone kill your rabbit, I don't care how but, please . . . PLEASE show more emotion than than Agent Smith with a dozen Botox injections!" . . . I digress . . .

In almost unrelated news: Construction on the Freedom Tower, a replacement for the World Trade Center, began in New York City. Does anybody else see the problem here? THE NAME people. I'm all for freedom, but Freedom Towers sounds like "The PEOPLE'S Republic of China", It sounds like some V for Vendetta/ 1984/Brave New World name, intended as either irony or falsehood, not to say that it is, it just sounds like that. Why don't we just name it "Fascists- Trying- to- Sound- Like- We're- Not Tower." If they want to name it Faulty Towers, however, I'm all for that.

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