Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The beautiful room is empty

This week's coolest thing on Internet is Blogger Play, which makes a slide-show thingy of pictures uploaded to Blogger pages. Sit back and watch the pretty pictures pass by. It is quite mesmerising.

This is what you learn about bloggers from their pictures: (a) they are not very interesting; (b) they have ugly babies.

On an unrelated but more interesting note, Edmund White has written a novel about Stephen Crane.

Photo from the blog of the Steffen family.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

One door closes, another one shuts

Bugger. Destiny NZ has departed.

I suppose I should be rubbing my hands in the tub of glee I keep by my desk, but the disbandment (or de-registering, as its spiritual leader calls the procedure) of the Destiny party gives me no pleasure. For a start, the departure from the political scene of His Grace the Bishop of Mt Wellington could lead to a severe deficit of LULZ. More immediately, however, I shall have to do some serious political analysis.

Politics is a funny game (although not quite as funny as Bishop Brian's press release, which obeys no rules of grammar or punctuation Known To Man). It seems only yesterday that Brian Tamaki, then but a lowly Pastor, was promising that his party would be ruling New Zealand within a few years.

1. And it came to pass that he was utterly wrong. 2. And there was much (a) wailing and (b) gnashing of teeth.

3. So Brian went forth and spoke with men of many flavours of Christianity, even with Anglicans. They spoke of forming a new party. And, although the Christians were followers of a man who, it is written, was born out of wedlock (and just out of Bethlehem) and whose earthly father was cuckolded by his real father, who was also Himself and some other guy called the Holy Ghost, and whose mother was conceived in Heaven, the party would be based on Family Values.

4. And Brian launched his party and saw that it was good.

5. And he anointed his servant, Richard Lewis, as Co-Leader of the Party. 6. Yet he did not telleth the other Co-Leader, Gordon Copeland, who learned it from the Media.

7. And there was more wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Here endeth the first lesson.

So we have a new Party, its Co-Leaders being one, Gordon Copeland, who clearly thinks the other, Richard Lewis, is an idiot. He is, of course, right. It is equally clear that Bishop Brian is running the show, although Copeland is the one with the seat in Parliament and the presumed support of the fundies from United Future.

Here endeth the clarity. Quite who are the other Christians is a mystery. Quite how Taito Philip Field will fit in, particularly if he is doing Time, is another. Whether anyone will vote for a party that includes Copeland, the Bishop and Field is a third.

It all makes about as much sense as the Trinity.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Chronicles of higher education

Let's say a mother finds an application to Duke University's Ph.D. program in English under her daughter's mattress. Obviously the mother is devastated. If she does nothing, in a year her daughter will be dressed in black and sneering in obscure jargon at the Thanksgiving turkey and Aunt Sally's cranberry Jell-O mold. Where can a concerned parent turn for help?
In the Chronicle of Higher Education,Thomas H Benton asks Is Graduate School a Cult? , an article to which Tom Coates refers in an essay on what you should know before starting a doctorate. I know of this because I followed a link on Hard News, in which Russell also links to my post about Art below. There will be more about Art on this blog soonish.

After all this linkage, I shall not link to my own post. Internet theorists at CERN believe that complex linking, borrowing and hat-tipping could lead to the creation of so-called strange blogs, which current theory suggests might be formed by links colliding in the tubes that make up Internet. Strange blogs, if they exist, could turn all links into anti-links (and vice-versa) which would make Internet collapse on itself.

Scientists at CERN invented the www, despite having no obvious interest in porn or cats. They used it to create the coolest thing on the planet.

Painting by Jackson Pollock, pupil of Thomas Hart Benton

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Teaching mamas and papas how to be a little cool

I am clearing out my bookmarks. Here, you can have these, free.

Three Lectures by Hans Bethe; in which a theoretical physicist talks to old folks about quantum physics.

The Web 2.0 Bubble "A semiliterate, dissociative, generationally correct vagueness permeates everything."

Green Food Meat is murdering the planet.

The joy of drinking: "She tells us that even the National Institutes of Health admits that what it calls 'alcohol readministration' alleviates the symptoms of both alcohol withdrawal and hangovers..."

Percy Grainger and Sadomasochism Barking mad

h2g2 The legacy of Douglas Adams

The Omnivore's dilemma "Wealth, abundance and the lack of a steadying, centuries-old food culture have conspired to make us Americans dysfunctional eaters, obsessed with getting thin while becoming ever more fat, lurching from one specious bit of dietary wisdom (margarine is better for you than butter) to another (carbs kill)."

Freethinking Ruins All Things The views contained in this essay are not necessarily those of the Fundy Post.

Rock's backpages Come on, read the noise.

Global warming, genies and torture Ponzi schemes as well.

Here's Belle and Sebastian:

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Education news

From the Globe and Mail comes this opinion about the funding of "faith-based" schools. The author, a graduate student at Columbia University's School of Journalism, has a compelling argument: I went to an Islamic school; it was crap; therefore Islamic schools should have public money. One might argue that the authorities should have closed down the school, which was clearly inadequate. The school didn't have hockey nets, so how could the students learn Canadian values? But the author doubtless would say such an argument would be "fanning the flames of hatred, division and religious intolerance," in a way which no faith-based school ever would.

The funding of religious schools is the hot issue in the Ontario provincial elections. Tory leader John Tory (yes, really) has promised $400 million to extend funding from the Catholic schools (who always seem to get the money) to those of other religions. The Liberals are arguing that the public system will suffer. Meanwhile the Quebeckers will have none of this tolerance nonsense.

Back in the Old Country, HM Government continues its policy of handing over the education system to the faithful. Here in New Zealand, merely discussing
the subject of religion in schools provokes "dissention, marginalising and possibly forced solutions," if Challenge Christian Weekly is to be believed.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Sunday News

Scientology, recognised in New Zealand as a religion, recognised in Belgium as a criminal organisation.

Educational charity which gave secret help to National during the last General Election whines about the Electoral Finance Bill.

British Columbia seeks second opinion on prosecuting the polygamists of Bountiful.

Another evangelical politician dies.

Perth man says "we should be like New Zealand."

Fundies leave United Future; leader relieved.

Canadian Anglicans investigate Greville Collegepriest.

Keith don't go to Toronto: Mennonite takes his children to Ontario for schooling.

Ontario Tory leader John Tory (yes, really) gets in tangle over teaching creationism.

Fundy Post auteur described as hipster postmodern atheist flaneur.

With thanks to Craig and Patrick

Saturday, September 08, 2007


Oh hai. I just thought you should know that the art debate which began here and on TBR, before transferring to NZ Conservative (where it faded out), now lives on at Not PC.

Pic unrelated but included so as not to offend readers who dislike cats, furries or motivators.

Friday, September 07, 2007

If you tolerate this, then your children will be next

Reader Eric Olthwaite objects to my posting lolcats on this blog, despite having posted pictures of his own cat on his blog.

I want readers to have a pleasing aesthetic experience when they visit this blog. So, if a cat won't do it for Eric, how about a furry?

Admit it, she's cute.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Anglicans go wild

Here's something you don't see often, an Anglican cult. The Community of Jesus, a bunch of mediaevalist Anglicans from Orleans, MA, had control of Grenville College, a private boarding school in Ontario. From the look of the Community's information-sparse website you would think they were no more than a bunch of hippies who like dressing up as monks and painting icons. But Ruth Buddington had a different experience, having been dragged there by her parents and subjected to somewhat challenging schooldays.

The rigorous environment of the school has been confirmed by a former administrator. Further allegations about the Community are made here, by an author who describes it as "a Toxic Community of Faith that was founded and funded by a Rockefeller and run by hard-drinking lesbians," which sounds rather endearing. However, everything has changed, according to this blog.

Grenville College, meanwhile, has closed, due in part to "falling enrolment." The college's Chair wistfully says,
The College will be remembered for its Gilbert and Sullivan productions, Sears Drama Festival participation, as well as Balloon Rodeo and a host of other family oriented events.
No it won't.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Things you need to know

The Great Blend was rad, as was Bill Direen.

Civil Unions may be older than we thought.

The world's largest cross has been proposed for Nazareth.

Flumaddidle has discovered the Diet Fork.

You can become invisible, as well as learning the art of seduction and how to keep a squirrel in your pocket.

The Republicans want rid of Senator Larry Craig.

A philosopher went into a bar; the barman said "why the long face?"

Catholics are going wild in Sydney

The New Zealand Diversity Forum interfaith discussion on religion in schools ended in confusion.

Lucyna has discovered that Marx was a Satanist, whilst her blogmate IM Fletcher has discovered This Godless Communism.

China is not for lovers but businesses love swingers.

Some Dutch royals edited their own Wikipedia entry.