Friday, October 30, 2009

Some more Creepy

The Uncanny Valley is the observable revulsion that humans feel when robots and other facsimiles of humans look and act almost like actual humans just a little too well They become "too real" but there's something just a little off that squicks you out.

The best example I've seen is the live-type animation used in The Polar Express -- the characters looks real, but not real enough, and in fact (to me) resembled animated corpses. Your brain initially thinks "oh! person!" and then something subtle (or not so subtle) about the face starts to make you uncomfortable. New video games often have this problem - the characters are rendered close enough to humans that you begin to really notice the not-human twitches and tics and movements and it is unsettling.

There is a really good gallery of images that trigger the Uncanny Valley "ick" factor -- it's interesting ot see which ones really make you cringe. (nothing gross, just some weird and creepy faces, don't worry).

My first exposure to this sort of effect was when someone sent me the link to a child pageant photo retouching website -- weird zombified freaky kid pictures for pageants. Eeeu. The site is worth clicking through (keep clicking "more" on each page) just to see how totally bizarre they are.

And for some truly fantastic CGI art (that may or may not fall into the Uncanny Valley), check out the gallery here. WOW.

Creepiest Pumpkin Ever

From Coastal Surfing, no idea where the original photo is from, but Creepiest Punkin EVAH!

Bwaaha! Beware!

I hope you will all stay far, far away from the demonic candy this Halloween season...Prayed over by witches, you know. And passing curses with each trick-or-treater.

Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network posted a blog by Kimberly Daniels recently that warns Christians to forgo celebrating Halloween because of its evilness. Daniels specifically calls out candy as a source of soul-molestation:
"During this period demons are assigned against those who participate in the rituals and festivities. These demons are automatically drawn to the fetishes that open doors for them to come into the lives of human beings. For example, most of the candy sold during this season has been dedicated and prayed over by witches."
Seriously, I thought this was a fine example of Poe's Law -- it was just so ridiculous and over-the-top that I thought it was a joke. It's not, sad to say. People are unbelievably ignorant of Hallowe'en history, and prefer to make up an anti-christian strawman for this co-opted holiday of Samhain. I can't believe anyone takes it seriously -- it's a secular holiday here, and has been for a very long time. Any demonic taint has been created by the overly-gullible

Of course, the CBN page linked above has been "removed" (oh, I wonder why!) but you should still be able to read the whole lovely screed from Google's cache.
Consider for a moment, though, just how batshit insane you have to be to be scrubbed from Robertson's website.

(and just edited to add: have they considered that if these hypothetical demons really wanted to have the most impact, they would curse christmas candy and christmas presents, and be drawn into all those nice christian holiday festivities. I mean, really, possessing candy at Halloween is for amateurs.)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Just a note

Two things about snow: 1) if you must go out and shake snow from the trees, wear a scarf and a hat with a brim and 2) it is impossible to see what two WHITE dogs are doing in the dark in the snow. They vanish entirely.

Most of the lovely snow will be melted by the weekend, though. Sigh.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Snow snow snow

Ha! Snow at last! And bunches of it! I have to admit I love the snow, when I can sit at home, all cozy and warm and don't have to go anywhere.

The Adorable husband, of course, drove down to Aurora to class today. He took E470 around and it was slippery enough that he slid off the road, through the median, across the two lanes of oncoming traffic (not that there was any, luckily) and into the ditch on the opposite side. He was able to drive back out, didn't even need a tow or anything, but WOAH! It took him an hour and a half for a normally 40 minute drive.

He has two days of class way down south -- last night, after looking at the weather projections (up to 2 feet of snow), I made him a hotel reservation about 2 miles from his class. I totally don't want him to be trying to drive home if it's supposed to keep snowing 1+ inches per hour all day.


Sunday, October 25, 2009

And so it goes

Just to let you know how our weekend is going -- the Adorable husband went to Veloswap yesterday and bought a new bike. Quite nice - a hefty commuter sort of bike (not a lightweight racing bike, and not a heavy-duty off-roader, sort of in-between), and once he brought it home and put it all together, off he went to test out the bike.

It has front shocks, so he figured he'd try riding in the field near our house.

Which is why, less than ten minutes later, it is back in the garage and we are off to buy new tubes for both wheels.

Goatheads. The little suckers are sharp enough to easily pierce the tires and puncture the tubes. He had to pick them out of the tire by hand before he could put in the new ones - the thorns are tough enough to go through shoes (tip: never wear Crocs in a field with goatheads).

That's just how things have been going. We're both crabby and snarky today.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Which one?

This flowchart is slightly offensive and rather funny -- of course it only covers a half-dozen of the thousands of options, but it does narrow the field a bit, if you were not-so-seriously wondering....

Thursday, October 22, 2009

122 below windchill

A friend of ours is currently at the South Pole - isn't that cool? He's scheduled to come back in November after four months in the cold and snow. One of the engineers also at the site has been posting a blog and videos - the one below is the walk from South Pole Station to the lab. It's rather long and a bit boring, but it definitely gives an idea of what the weather is like. Oy!

You can read the blog (not by our friend, but by one of the other engineers) at FreezeDriedEngineer

Sunday, October 18, 2009


I often post that I am lucky enough to have a spouse who is Very Handy. He can fix just about anything. In fact, when he can't fix something, I start to worry!

But he is BRILLIANT.

Case in point: we discovered yesterday that we have a substantial water leak in the basement somewhere -- the carpet in the workout area downstairs is in varying states of damp --> soaked across most of the room.

But we couldn't SEE any source of the water. It was somewhat obvious that it had to come from the utility room somewhere, but the floor was dry. There was no spot near the baseboard along any wall where the carpet was "more wet" to indicate a leak, there were no pipes in any of the other walls, no sign of water on any of the walls or baseboards, and the really, really wet spot was in the middle of the room. Huh? How?

We briefly thought that it was actually seeping up from the floor, but that made no sense at all.

So, we st up the fans to start to dry things out, to see if we could find the source o the problem.

Now, I have a really serious phobia about water in the house -- having lived in an old house with various leaks and weirdness, the sound of running water in the house freaks me out, and the thought that we had water from SOMEWHERE leaking into the basement made me very, very anxious. When the Adorable Husband simply shrugged and said we were doing all we could and had no idea what was going on...well, I mgiht have been a bit snarky, too.

So the Adorable Husband, after dinner, sets off downstairs to find the source of the problem - humoring me, of course. About an hour later, he emerges triumphantly from the basement...we have a humidifier on our furnace, which has a drain pipe that is wired to the drain in the floor. It was not "leaking" or missing the drain...but the drain itself was silted in and after about ten minutes, it filled in entirely, and the water runoff from the humidifier filled in the small depression and was wicked up by the carpet. It would only happen when the heat was on -- which it was quite often last week, but hasn't been for a week, and only when it twa son often enough to fill up the drain and overflow. We hadn't been down in the basement for a week or so, so the carpet has been sittig down there, soaking for a at least week, even though th eheat hasn't run in at least that long. Ugh.

We apparently hit the right combination of temperatue and furnace activity to cause the problem. I'm really surprised at the amount of water that travelled along a low point in the concrete and into the other room. Wow. Luckily, it is absolutely clean water, so I hope if we get it dried out, we won't have weird mold problems.

But Yeah! for patient, handy Adorable husband!


Rugby makes football look like a sissy game.

Even though they have a dance routine.

Another version here: All Black's Haka, and here: Rugby Dance

Friday, October 16, 2009

Good Life Lessons

"New Moon: Because what healthier lesson to teach teenage girls than that attempted suicide will make their boyfriends come back to them."

I've read the whole Twilight series, mostly out of curiousity because my niece was hooked on it, and all the internet buzz. Ugh. Not only are they ill-written, Bella is the mary-sue-iest Mary Seu Evah! -- but the message in the books: stalking and desperate neediness and control are good things is a bit worrisome to me. I can see why it appeals to the 13-year-old girl crowd, but to adults? If vampires float your boat, there are far better series out there for you.

And they don't sparkle.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Come Fly Away

If you watched television at any point today, you probably saw video of the runaway UFO-looking balloon north of Denver today. The story was that a 6-year-old boy had climbed into the balloon and it had taken off unexpectedly (whether he did it on purpose or not was the topic of much speculation). It careened from near Fort Collins down towards the airport, which shut down northbound flights, climbing as high as 13,000 feet before touching down in a field in Weld County.

I could see the helicopters just north of our house.

The kid was fine, btw. He apparently accidently set loose the balloon and hid in the attic of the garage, afraid of getting punished. Just about what I'd expect from a six-year-old who had just lost his father's experimental weather aircraft/balloon thing. I'm glad he's ok.

The news coverage was instant, constant, and inane. This is national news? This required every single idiot on Twitter to post about it? I'm sorry, but the first thing I thought was "oh, how horrible, I hope the kid is alright...." and then the immediately thought that this is simply Tragedy Porn.

You know, endless breathess coverage, interviews with anyone who has ever seen the family, footage of crying family members and endless discussions about the situation back and forth among the television crew and in-studio anchors, repeating over and over the few facts they know. This was fairly unusual-how often do you see a floating UFO balloon?--but the story affected no one but the family, possibly their neighbors, and the rescue personnel called out to respond to this possible emergency.

There might have been a frightened six-year-old in the balloon, and I can only imagine how terrified the family was...but to throw it up on television for a few hours and bring all other news and activity to a screeching halt is ridculous. Reminds me of the hours of live television coverage of the white bronco attempting to flee police at low speed. Really? This required all stations to cover it and live footage online and thousand and thousands of Twitter posts? (don't get me started on twitting, either, or tweeting or whatever they call it).

People glued to the television waiting with bated breath for the next moment's news. Watching people digging out of an earthquake, watching video of tsunamis over and over again. Hours and hours of video of a fire burning.

Tragedy Porn.

Or maybe I'm just a horrible curmudgeon.

Bigotry is Alive and Well and on the Bench

A justice of the peace in Louisiana has refused to issue a marriage license to an interracial couple. I thought we were a couple of decades past that kind of bigotry, but apparently not.
"I'm not a racist. I just don't believe in mixing the races that way," Bardwell told the Associated Press on Thursday. "I have piles and piles of black friends. They come to my home, I marry them, they use my bathroom. I treat them just like everyone else.
Um, no you don't. You classify them as "other" so you can avoid mixing them up with "your type". If you won't marry one of them to someone that they love, you clearly aren't treating them like everyone else.

And don't you just love the "I'm not racist....i have tons of black friends" defense? It's the first thing a true bigot brings up when they're called on their behavior. Oh, I don't hate gay people I have ton of gay friends! I don't hate mexicans, some of my best friends are mexican! Bah.

And he keeps defending the action! He seems to believe that we should allow bigotry to exist because to accept an interracial couple might offend someone? He really doesn't get that he -- in a position to enforce the law --has been breaking the law for years. I'm embarrassed that we still have people on the bench in this country who are such blatant idiots and racists. Everyone should be.

I hope he's disbarred or impeached or fired or whatever you do to Justices of the Peace. And sued.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Hello, Robot Sex Pillow

I really have no idea what to make of this, except that it's probably NSFW.

A body-pillow that changes shape and moves depending on how you hold it. Um, yea, that's for comfort only, I'm sure. Yeeeeahh. Suuuure it its. All it needs is a wakka-wakka soundtrack.


More Bible News

Claiming that all translations of the Bible except the King James Version are false and satanic, a pastor in North Carolina is having a book-burning for Hallowe'en. He's burning Bibles that aren't his precious KJV and whatever else his deranged mind considers "satanic" -- which includes books by religious authors who "have occassionally used Bibles other than the King James Version"

This guy is a loony-toon. He might be King of the Loony Toons.

I knew some religious fanatics were insane, but this one really takes the cake. It reminds me of the Texas legislator who proclaimed "if English was good enough for Jesus, it's good enough for me" -- isn't this sort of adoration of the Bible a sin? Bibliolatry?
According to the church’s Web site, members will also burn “Satan's music such as country, rap, rock, pop, heavy metal, western, soft and easy, southern gospel, contemporary Christian, jazz, soul (and) oldies.

“We will also be burning Satan's popular books written by heretics like Billy Graham, Rick Warren, Bill Hybels, John McArthur, James Dobson, Charles Swindoll, John Piper, Chuck Colson, Tony Evans, Oral Roberts, Jimmy Swagart, Mark Driskol, Franklin Graham, Bill Bright, Tim Lahaye, Paula White, T.D. Jakes, Benny Hinn, Joyce Myers, Brian McLaren, Robert Schuller, Mother Teresa, The Pope, Rob Bell, Erwin McManus, Donald Miller, Shane Claiborne, Brennan Manning (and) William Young.

Wow. I think he covered just about every evangelist who writes books, and the Pope. Must be nice to be so absolutely convinced of your own righteousness. (although, I do have to agree that Graham, Swaggart, Roberts, and some of the other televangelists deserve worse than having their books burned...evil people, the lot of them).

But book burning? Well, I suppose you can't expose your flock to any ideas that you haven't spoon-fed them. Can't expose them to any other ideas that might cause them to think. Can't expose them to a different interpretation of religion than your own, or you will lose control over them. Apparently this particular pastor is absolutely, 100% sure that HE is the only one with the right answers. Hah!

Burning books is an infantile, stupid way to suppress the ideas in them. It's counter-productive - you end up legitimizing the content that you are trying to suppress, while convincing the sane people around you that you are an idiot and harmful to society. I guess, though, that to this guy, ideas really are dangerous and should be squashed.

I can't believe that they lack even basic self-awareness and historical context to realize that they are co-opting something that is as strongly associated with fascism and totalitarianism as burning books they don't agree with. Perhaps that's the intent, though -- absolute, total control of thought and ideas in their congregation (and as many others as they can influence)

I am boggling at the idea that the KJV is the "one, true version", unsullied and correctm too. Um, no. It, like every single other translation of the Bible into English, has copyist errors, introduced errors (because of a political or religious agenda) and is a flawed historical document. Picking this one out of the several hundred translations is pretty damn funny. I'm sure that many of his congregation have no idea of the literary history of the Bible, and they surely don't accept the fact that it was written in a different language. (Yes, I've met people who believe the Bible was written in English - just a few, but even ONE is a bit frightening). I've also met a number of KJV "worshippers", who view this particular translation as the only acceptable one, who have no idea of the history and plan behind the translation. Sure, it's a good one, and wonderfully archaic and poetic, but "correct"? Please.

And the best part about all of this? They'are having barbecued chicken and "all the fixins" to go along with their bonfire of idiocy.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Costume Options for the Burly Guy

Check out the best Plus-size Halloween costumes for men, because "sometime between Star Trek 6 and Star Trek: Generations, Captain Kirk discovered gravy."


I also like the Tooth Fairy. Too funny!

Friday, October 09, 2009

Berit Update

I realized I haven't posted an update for a bit on Berit -- she was walking stiffly, and having some weird problems with spots in her mouth and on her belly, and the corners of her mouth were dry, cracked, and bleeding. Took her in to the vet on Monday for blood work and it came back that it's not a tick-born disease, her blood chemistry is fine, but her platelet count is about 1/4 normal.

So, she's not clotting well, and our vet told us to keep her quiet so she doesn't get banged up. She went back in today and we took more blood to test for some immuno-responsive stuff. It's possible, but unlikely, that she has systemic Lupus. Hopefully not -- she's pretty young.

But she's racked out by my desk, we have to wait another 24 hours before we can give her steroids (which should get things back in a more normal range) and she seems to be doing pretty well today. Not sick, really, just tired and still very itchy. Poor beastie.

Big Dog!

That is a really, really, REALLY big dog. Woah.

Oklahoma sucks

Oklahoma has passed a law requiring the publishing on a website the personal information about every woman who has an abortion performed in the state.

They're going to require women to provide, among other things, age, marital status, previous pregnancies/miscarriages/abortions, education level, race, residence, relationship to the father (but not any information about the father, of course) - not names (not yet). To what purpose is this data being made public? There is enough information here to identify someone from a smaller communities - its only purpose can be to bully women out of seeking an abortion and frighten doctors out of providing them. I'm not against collecting data - that helps provide the basis for programs and funding, but making it public? For what purpose?

What about the privacy of medical records? OH, don't worry - they're just collecting statistical data and, well, lookie-lookie, the identity and privacy of the father is not being reported. So, no harm, no foul, right?. I mean, we're only punishing those sluts who get pregnant and have an abortion, right? (In fact, the law was proposed as a measure to eliminate abortions based on the gender of the fetus - how that relates to this law, I can't figure out). What the fuck is wrong with people?

I wonder how they'd feel if a law was passed requiring that the identifying information about the father was also collected, or perhaps everyone who buys alcohol, or viagra, or perhaps tracking what church they attend? This law is simply an invitation for women to be abused and shamed by a bunch of narrow-minded religious zealots intent on banning abortion. Great approach, don't you think?

I suppose we can rely on red-state Oklahoma to pass some of the most backward, misogynist laws imaginable, and, while screeching about government getting it's hands out of their business, will give one tremendous fuck you to women in the state.


Thursday, October 08, 2009


If you're not familiar with Etsy, it's an online marketplace for crafters and artisans to sell their stuff. Some is fabulous (a lot of jewelry makers and fun t-shirts, for example) and some is rather horrifying.

This, though...THIS is funny. The Regretsy blog -- highlighting the weird, the wonderful and the simply odd.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Fully Conservative!

I can't decide whether to laugh or sigh over this one. Apparently conservatives over at the near-parody site, Conservapaedia (where they have started to define their own little reality, as opposed to the rest of the world, I guess) aren't happy with the Bible and have decided to rewrite it. (And no, this is apparently not a hoax nor a bad joke.)

That Jesus fellow was a bit too liberal for them. Too much 'give to the poor', 'care for your neighbor' and 'do unto others'. Nope! They want more support for the free market, less touchy-feely niceness, more condemnation, more paternalism, and more hellfire and damnation.

I shouldn't be surprised, I guess. Every single religious group wants to rewrite the bible/reinterpret the bible to fit their own views. That it took this long for "conservatives" to add their heavy-handed dose of moralism and politics to to the list is the actual surprise. I'm sure this version will emphasize their "family values", even if it means bastardizing the text to do so.

Where they got the idea that it was the "liberals" who wrote, edited, collated, and interpreted the bible, I have no idea. Obviously they aren't that knowledgeable about biblical (or world) history. But they want a Whole New Bible with all the 'bias' removed. Because, you know, two thousand years of biblical criticism, theology, and religious analysis have been totally wrong the whole time! Aren't you just quivering with excitement that a bunch of 'conservatives" have decided to FIX the bible?

What about the Biblical Literalists? Aren't the most conservative of the christian sects on the end of the spectrum that believes the bible is without flaw? And even if it is not inerrant, it is divinely they really believe that everyone is wrong and that rewriting it is necessary? Will anyone using another bible transation be considered an un-believer now, since the message is changed? So much for the Bible as a holy book with inspirational power, eh?

And, just to add a dose of hilarity to the process - -they aren't actually going to go back to the original texts...they are going to rewrite the King James Version of the bible to fit their lovely set of beliefs. I suppose it's like a meaner, less-accurate version than the Surfer Bible, when you come right down to it. A target for ridicule and mockery, nothing more.

And just look at the criteria! I had no idea that christians were clamoring for a "fully conservative" version of the bible. Can you even call that a bible anymore?

As of 2009, there is no fully conservative translation of the Bible which satisfies the following ten guidelines:

1. Framework against Liberal Bias: providing a strong framework that enables a thought-for-thought translation without corruption by liberal bias
2. Not Emasculated: avoiding unisex, “gender inclusive” language, and other modern emasculation of Christianity

Oh, yes, gotta make sure to preserve that paternalistic, opporessive male-dominated society. Them uppity wimmen are just causing problems left and right. (I'm curious where they are finding 'gender inclusive' language in any standard translation of the bible, except perhaps for humankind instead of mankind.) Is that what is emasculating? That we might say "humankind" or take the meaning of 'mankind' to mean men and women? Ok, let's go back to the sexist language of the bible and make sure to put women in their place - at home, as chattel. Oh, goody.

3. Not Dumbed Down: not dumbing down the reading level, or diluting the intellectual force and logic of Christianity; the NIV is written at only the 7th grade level

So, they should be reading in the original Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic and Latin, right? Admittedly, there are a boatload of "new age" translations of the bible that remove the purposely archaic and ponderous language of the KJV to make it more accessible to many people. It is dumbed down if it doens't contain the thees and thous and spakests? On what do they base the idea that a passage is "dumbed down"? -- just disliking the text is not reason enough. Well, ok, maybe it is for them. The KJV is already a primarily word-for-word translation, and the NIV is only slightly more understandable.

Anyone who has actually tried to read the bible in any of the original languages, or in a word-for-word parallel translation, would never say that the bible is 'dumbed down' and needs to be fixed. And, without understanding the very complex koine Greek (the original language of the New Testament), how can they possibly make any word changes based on the KJV alone? That is just dishonest and deceitful. But, truth doesn't seem to be the goal of this particular endeavor.

And, how insulting - the NIV is the 1978 translation of the Bible, long hailed as a very good translation, and is the most popular bible translation used by evangelical churches. I'm sure they'll be thrilled to be told that they are wrong.

4. Utilize Powerful Conservative Terms: using powerful new conservative terms as they develop; defective translations use the word “comrade” three times as often as “volunteer”; similarly, updating words which have a change in meaning, such as “word”, “peace”, and “miracle”.

Oh, yes. Because the original Hebrew and Greek texts used the wrong word. Words have specific meaning that can't just be discardes. That's staying true to the message of the original text. So this version is going to be specifically geared towards a conservative political and social agenda, no matter what the actual words in the original are. They don't really matter any more -- it's the way that they can be used and twisted now that are important. Gotcha. That sort of throws the infallibility and god's word part of biblical history down the tubes. And on what sort of scholarship do they base the comment "defective translation"? None, I'm guessing. I'm sure it's "We really want Jesus to say HATE here instead of FORGIVE, so we'll just change his words a teeny little bit...there! Now our social agenda has a biblical basis!"

This is the "goal" that is most objectionable, actually. What in the hell are 'powerful conservative terms"? Loaded code words? Why is the use of comrade - a venerable and context-appropriate word, objectionable? Because to the simple-minded it cannot mean anything except a left-wing label? Comrade and volunteer are not the same word and have very different meanings. What purpose replacing them except to skew the text?

5. Combat Harmful Addiction: combating addiction by using modern terms for it, such as “gamble” rather than “cast lots”;[5] using modern political terms, such as “register” rather than “enroll” for the census

6. Accept the Logic of Hell: applying logic with its full force and effect, as in not denying or downplaying the very real existence of Hell or the Devil.

Conservative religion is nothing without the opportunity to threaten your opponents with hell and damnation. The bible actually has very little to say about hell...they must be adding it in to fulfil their own fantasy. Kind of scary, actually. And, this really sort of contradicts number 8 below about 'adding shit in that wasn't there to start with'. Must be ok if its their stuff.

7. Express Free Market Parables; explaining the numerous economic parables with their full free-market meaning

Oh, because first century prophets were proponents of the free-market philosophy and Jesus was all for corporate sponsorship and wide-open capitalism. Well, that's obvious! How could we have missed that in the existing text?

8. Exclude Later-Inserted Liberal Passages: excluding the later-inserted liberal passages that are not authentic, such as the adulteress story

Um, inserted by who, exactly. What about the later-inserted passages that aren't so liberal, but that support their ideology...those are ok, right? These right-wing ideologs know better than the combined scholarship of the church history, what should and shouldn't be included? And we're talking about the collection of stories with possibly hundreds of authors, copied and rewritten hundreds of times with all the intention and unintentional changes that entails. THsi is like making a copy of a copy of a copy a thousand times removed and claiming that you have recovered the original meaning. What unmitigated arrogance.

9. Credit Open-Mindedness of Disciples: crediting open-mindedness, often found in youngsters like the eyewitnesses Mark and John, the authors of two of the Gospels

Ah, so we can pick and choose which bits of the gospel they want to believe, because all those other authors aren't as accurate as a purported eyewitness without much evidence and who wrote contradictory stories. Got it.

10. Prefer Conciseness over Liberal Wordiness: preferring conciseness to the liberal style of high word-to-substance ratio; avoid compound negatives and unnecessary ambiguities; prefer concise, consistent use of the word “Lord” rather than “Jehovah” or “Yahweh” or “Lord God.”

But they're not going to "dumb down" the bible, (see 3, above), just remove all that exceess, high-falutin' academic wordiness...complex ideas can rarely be expressed in simple terms, but these idiots are more concerned with the appearance of intellectualism than with actual accuracy. Hah. And what is "word-to-substance' ratio? I suppose that some of the more nuanced ideas might be a bit too dififcult for the Fox News cohort to grasp. They seem to want a soundbite bible, without any neccessity for actual critical thought or worry about shades of gray in interpretation.

They also don't seem to understand the reasons behind the different words and the ambiguities in the bible - preferring instead to gloss over the different authors, different ideas, different contexts to clarify their New Word for a simpler, more gullible audience.

What idiots.

It's not much different than the thousands of interpretatios and 'teachings' put forward by various churches, really. I've heard some really ridiculous and somewhat scary "meanings" attributed to bible verses by some people. So finally trying to codify your own "version' of the bible by publishing your edited, bowdlerized, "special" version isn't too far off. It's the next step, I guess - you can now claim the bible says anything you want, just rewrite it to say what you want and voila! Instant validation, espeically if you can still manage to claim divine inerrancy and the factual truth of the now-rewritten bible you just produced. How convenient.

Now, I don't take anything in the bible is anything more than allegorical myth, but I do accept that there is a historical body of scholarship that lies behind it. There are reasons that it says what it says, and contains what it contains, and you can evaluate the context, history, authorship, and concordance of the bible based on well-accepted criteria. As a work of literature, it has a long and colorful history. As a work of religious expression, it has been used and misused through history to rationalize and justify behavior, both good and bad.

I suppose that I should not be so upset over this particular revision - with several hundred bible revisions in English alone, the differences and changes are monumental already. I just recoil at the idea of rewriting it with a specific purpose in mind and presenting it as a 'corrected version' that fundamentally intends to change the content, not just the dialect, with very little scholarly input. It is as offensive an effort as expurgating classics, like rewriting Huck Finn to eliminate the racial content because it offended someone, or changing Shakespeare to eliminate "new" word usage, which are considered a gift to the English language. Neither of these things is improved by changing content, which is far different than translation. It's one thing to express the intent of the text in another language (even Cockney or Ska!) , quite another to change the meaning of the words without valid reason to.

logos (word) does not equal Truth, no matter how much you want it to (one of the suggestions is to replace the word "word" in the beginning of the Gospel of John, and replace it with "truth"). The rest of their "examples" on the website are equally specious. Shrewd does not equal resourceful, unless you intend to change the meaning of the passage. And only in the mind of a fanatic does using the word 'laborer' mean that the author has a socialist agenda. Tin-foil hat time, people. Get a grip.

Do we really need a more conservative message shouted from the pulpit? -- that's the way to create a Christian Taliban: don't question, don't think, just obey the hyped-up language and political ideals spoken from a religious leader. This rewrite seems to imply that every christian worshipping today needs to be more conservative, to combat some imagined flaw in society. And if you aren't that conservative, you are reading a dumbed down version (NIV) and not getting the 'real' message. That turns the tables a bit, actually - how often have non-believers heard "you're not reading it right. You don't understand it properly".

I think the bible has a lot of good ideas in it, and I think that using it as a guide for figuring out 'the truth' helps a lot of people. But combine the idea that 'we need to conservatize the bible with a political agenda' with the widespread acceptance of the bible as "gods words" - how many people will go along with the idea and shove the philisophy of the christian church even further to the right?

Hopefully, this farce will be rejected for what it is: a novelty, a boutique version of a book that is clearly recognized as a parody or amusing alternative version. Hell, the bible has been translated into Klingon and Elvish, there is a Rasta version and Surfer Bible and and Illumintaed Goth version. I think, though, that these translations are not trying to change the basic message, as the Conservapaedia version seems to intend. Hence, my complaint.

Well, maybe not the Klingon version. I can't imagine they're all into the Golden Rule.

Thursday, October 01, 2009