April 30, 2003

This is an absolutely beautiful game. It makes you feel good.

This one has alot going for it too.

April 25, 2003

Question for politicians: "Is it anti-American to seek to use our democratic process to make the US an islamic state under Sharia? Do you have to repudiate the idea of an Islamic state in the US if you want to be a good American?"

I'm going to get some interesting google hits now.

I know how Sullivan and Santorum can both be happy. Santorum wants to preserve the right of the state to police private sexual morality, and Sullivan wants formal state disapproval of sodomy to be removed.

We could have the state issue sodomy licenses.

Requirments for granting of such licenses and conditions under which they could be revoked are left as an exercise for the reader.

April 24, 2003

Well the major portion of the triangle-shaped wall over my front door betwen the door and the porch roof is rotted and will need to come down. I've got one estimate for more than i'd like to pay and am looking inot other options. I'd sorta like to try doing it myself, but don't have alot of experience.

I wonder how, for instance, you take out a beam that is right under the roof and replace it with another without taking up the roof.

Any good books?

life imitates art.

(I wonder what the copyright implications of that are)

April 23, 2003

survey of weblog users here http://apps.ws.utk.edu/weblogs/

The current flap about my senator, Rick Santorum, is a display of the totalitarianism of the "rights" perspective in american politics, and the inability of any other mode of discourse to make sense.

April 22, 2003

Martin kramer is pretty hard on those academic archaeologists in their ivory towers.

April 20, 2003

I like playing Counter-strike alot, but have to avoid playing it when the kids are around. I tried calling it the "Daddy-fall-down" game, but they caught on to all the headshots and guns anyway.

So I wish I knew of a good PC game that had a theme that was kid-friendly, that the kids could get "into" a bit, but wasn't mind numbingly simplistic or tedious.

SimCity sorta fits that bill, since I can engage my daughter in "look, we can put the zoo right next to your house". I'd like something with a bit more action though.

Maybe consoles are where that kind of thing is found. I played some Crash Bandicoot at my brother's this weekend, and it was fun. The game is much more challenging when you have 5 kids in the room with you, your nephew constantly offering to do the hard part for you, and other kids walking in front of the screen every minute or so. The level with Crash in ball rolling around the trees was fun.

I was really impressed in Target the other day with a Giant Monster battle game that let you throw your opponenet into a building and knock it down while civilians run screaming in the streets.

April 17, 2003

URL news

Some of you may have had trouble reaching this site using http://members.bellatlantic.net/~vze2tmhh/. It seems to be working now, but I'm not sure how long that will be true. Bell Atlanctic is called Verizon, now, so it stands to reason they'd want to discontinue the old server name, and that's what I thought they did.

Please use http://mysite.verizon.net/~vze2tmhh/ to reach this blog for the forseeable future

Likewise the Lupine Nuncio is at http://mysite.verizon.net/~vze2tmhh/wolfeblog.html

John Derbyshire has a rather sanguine view of the looting at the Iraq Museum.

April 16, 2003

I have acheived my 15 minutes of fame.

I got an article posted on slashdot.

I learn so many interesting things each day. Like you know how we have the stereotype that chinese people (or asians in general even) will eat dogs or rats or just about anything?

In china, the stereotype is that it's the Cantonese who "eat anything".
"The Chinese joke that if an alien were captured in China, the Shanghainese would dissect for medical research, Beijingers would send it to the museum as an educational exhibit while the Cantonese would ask "which part of this creature can be braised in brown sauce?"
See, if you get your ethnic joke reduced down to the few poeple it actually applies to, it's not so offensive.

April 15, 2003

See what threw me in the article, which was full of standard hislopoid recountings of suspicously-similar-to-Christainity food and time practices, was that hot cross buns themselves were evidences of syncretism, because the "cross" with which they were marked was supposed to recall the X-symbol that cakes to Ishtar were marked with back in them pagan days. and he referecend Jeremiah 44:17 as "proof".

Now I think he actually meant to cite Jermeiah 44:19, which refers to making cakes for Ashteroth in her image. I also note that out on the web there are other claims that the cross-shape recalls the "Tau" for Tammuz that went on the cakes.

See, the problem is there is no functional way, at this distance, to tell the difference between these two scenarios
  1. Existing pagan pracies of a 40 day fast for tammuz, eating cross-marked bread and ham, and hunting for colored eggs being practiced by christain people who secretly think about how this stuff offers worship to their old gods
  2. Existing pagan practices of a 40 day fast, eating bread and ham, and coloring eggs being re-valorized with Christian content (40 day fast recalling Christ's fast, the cross on the buns recalling christ's cross, eating ham because breaking a fast with tasty food is fun, eggs as a symbol of ressurection, etc)
The only thing that might lend credence to the first scenario is the contuniation of superstitious views about the relevance of the easter related stuff. So if the christain peasants think that eating the first easter egg gives you many babies, or that a hot cross bun won't rot and will keep mice away, then that constitutes evidence that the Christain interpretation is implausible.

But peasants (and regular folk today) will pray to Jesus to give them babies or protect their harvests, and one may more charitably understand these superstitious beliefs about the use of hot cross buns and eggs as symbolized prayers. Ok, that's being pretty charitable.

Let's just say I don't really think anybody has any issue with the superstitious issue today. And its protestant hyper-anti-sycretism that's keeping these matters fresh in the mind anyway.

This article on the relevance of Iraq's artifacts starts out interesting, but then dissolves into a foul pit of syncretism hunting. What a wierd article.

This is the "ram in the thicket" in the collection of the Univeristy of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. It is the twin of one in the British Museum, and during the looting of the Iraq National Museum in Baghdad a third was lost. The American and British ones originaly supported a table.

Some reports indicate that Baath party members may have been responsible for the looting, not the mobs.

[I started this blog entry assuming the one in Baghdad was the twin of the one in the Penn Museum, but I'd forgotten that the other one was in the British Museum. The article above is rather vague about the Baghdad one: "Other treasures believed to be housed at the museum - such as the Ram in the Thicket from Ur, a statue representing a deity from 2600 BC - are no doubt gone, perhaps forever". But there has been no accounting of Iraqi artifacts since the first gulf war, and there was widespread looting of regional museums then too.]

I wonder what the relationship of the third piece is to the other two. (or is there even a third piece?)

An article on the conservation of this artifact is on the Penn Museum website. Right now the piece is part of a traveling exhibit, and will be at the Met in May.

Its relationship to the Abraham story is inconclusive. It was found in Ur. The dating of the artifact would place it as pre-abrahamic, but I'm not sure how accurate the dating of either the artifact or the Abraham story is. Its interesting to think that news of Abraham's experience might have gone back to Ur and inspired the piece.

The whole thing grieves my wife.

April 12, 2003


April 07, 2003

The typical answer to the issue of the lack of immediate death in Genesis is to specify a "spiritual" death that has taken place in the relationship between God and Adam and Eve. That this seperation from God's love constitutes the death. I don't really disagree with this, but note that it is typically taken in terms of a speicifed punishment for breaking the prohibition on the tree. I've alreasy become convinced that the statement "in the day you eat of it, dying you shall die" is in fact a neutral description of the effects of tree eating irrespective of God's permission to eat or not. (Keeping with the theological commonplace that the prohibition was temporary, and that Adam and Even would be granted that tree along with all other trees expansively offered in Genesis 1)

So when God does grant them the right to eat of the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, they will gain the gift thereof by dying. Following the pattern set for death already though, this will be the culmination of their existence towards maturation as the Images of God.

Adam and Eve sinning "jumps the gun" on God's plan for them (which involves eating the tree of life first, among other things) results in calamity.

What I strated to hit upon when writing my response to Tweet below was that there is an immediate death on a more "literal" level than the spiritual death of seperation from God.

Adam is told that when he eats it, he will surely die. Eve is not created as a seperate being at this time. After Eve is created from Adam, she is delcared to be "bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh". The one flesh relationship of Adam and Eve in a "ressurection" of the life that Adam had alone prior to his "death" in the creation of Eve.

What immediately happens upon eating the fruit is not any recognition that a death has occured in their relationship with god. It is a death of the "one flesh" relationship that existed between Adam and Eve. The sundering of "one flesh" is truly a death. Previously Adam and Eve experienced no shame in their nakedness, because why should one part of ones flesh have any lack of community with any other part. But since Adam-and-Eve is now dead, and we only have Adam regarding himself as seperate from Eve (and accusing her of being at fault, etc) in total alienation from each other, and they have to put barriers up over the place where they were designed to be joined.

What is an interesting to draw from this way of looking at the death that happens on the "day" they ate, is that this death fully realized completely derails the cultural mandate to fill the earth. I think we assume that the original sin merely impeded adam and eve in their relationship, and that the impedences mostly arise from the curses God puts on Adam and Eve. But note that God's word to Eve is unique. She is not addressed as the Serpent and Adam are "because you have done this".

She will have pain in childbearing, for certain, but she will bear children. And even though the one-flesh life of adam-and-eve is dead, God is going to stir up "desire" for her husband, though now that relationship will be characterized by domination rather than mutuality. I'll note in passing that this modifies the contemporary evangelical reading of Genesis 3:16 as parallel to Genesis 4:7 to the effect that the wife will have a sinful desire to usurp her husband but that generally the husband will prevail.


Jonathan Tweet is a game designer who has impressed me in the past. He offered an analysis of the story of the fall called Yahweh as Bully. One thing that stood out to me was his noting that the warning about death coming from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and evil is presnted more as a warning than a threat of punishment. Tweet thinks the warning was false. I don't think it's even humanisticly creditable that the writer of Genesis 1-3 would have intended to so communicate. So I posted this on his guestbook:
Thoughts on "Yahweh as Bully".

1. Genesis 1. God says every tree is for food.
2. Genesis 2. God says don't eat the tree because you will die.
3. So the prohibition is temporary.
4. Genesis begins in darkness and moves to light.
5. You're being much to literalistic about death. Genesis isn't. "Death" is the way to new & higher life
a. Adam is supposed to "dress and keep" the garden (beautify and guard)
b. Adam is ALONE, and NAKED. He needs a helper for this task.
c. God shows him all the animals. None is a suitable helper.
e. Adam learns he needs a helper
f. God makes "deep sleep" fall on adam, and takes a chunk out of him
g. This is a form of death, pre-fall. (Hebrew term for "deep sleep" is a different term than "sleep" plus and intensifyier. Comatose.
h. Marital life comes from "death" of old single life.

6. Now adam is supposed to guard the garden, which now includes his wife. But he is NAKED.
7. Biblically, nobody thinks of Knowledge of Good and Evil as a bad thing to have. Repeatendly it is a charcateristic of the mature person.
8. Adam and eve are "newborn", and need to learn patience.
9. Maturity comes through the "deaths" of daily life. Adam and eve can get KoGaE, but it will be by their death.
10. Maturity cannot come instantly *by defintion*.
11. "instant maturity" is an oxymoron. Even God takes a a whole week to get the world "mature".
12. "evil God keeping Adam and eve from instant maturity" is sophistry.
13. Maturity comes gradually, through daily existence.
14. When Adam and eve eat the tree, they go from being "bone of bone and flesh of flesh" to being alienated from each other. Adam-and-Eve DIE, and have to cover up the wounds of their alienation.
15. Receipt of KoGaE would be the culmination of the little deaths of patient service to God in the Garden.
16. Receipt of a robe of authority is the requisite gift needed from God.
17. Investiture is a prevalent theme in Genesis. (Naked adam, fig leaves, YHWH's animal skins, Noah's robe, Jacob dressing like Esau, Joseph's coat of many colors. Joseph's *investiture* as Pharaoh's advisor, etc)
18. YHWH drives them away from the previously offered Tree of Life to prevent Adam, now dead from Eve, and Eve now dead from Adam, from living immortal, but seperate lives, and failing to fulfil the mandate of filling the earth and ruling over it.
19. YHWH is not the philosophical power of the Greeks, but he is not the petty tyrant of the Greeks or your imagination either.

De script shun




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