Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Trinity Western University opens new campus in the basement of the Number 5 Orange?

Here's a very unserious discussion about whether a proposed promotional photo for the very christian Trinity Western University makes the campus look like "a haven of harlots".

Oh my goodness, Ben Bogard (look down three posts) was right!

"You know, I have a jacket that shouts mild depression and ennui. Go figure."

thrifty cent is a new and funny blog about amusing thrift store finds. This blogger is a genius at finding the eye-popping at thrift stores, such as the Marxist board game Class Struggle.

My last "what the...?" find at a thrift store appears to be the main part of a tea pot. It's in the form of a sheep, and when the tea pours, the liquid appears to be coming out of the sheep's mouth!

Monday, November 28, 2005

Just another day in the CFL

Colby Cosh on yesterday's Grey Cup game:

Edmonton Eskimos 38, Montreal Alouettes 35 (OT). Let me be the first to say it: the question is not whether this was the greatest Grey Cup game ever--the question is whether it was the greatest football game ever, period.

Well, I went to the game and I disagree slightly. The first half was a little dull, as neither team could move the ball consistently. The second half and the overtime made the game one of the top five Grey Cups of all time.

As long as we talking about opinions, I would say that this game compares to the Grey Cups in 1976, 1989, 1994 and 1996 for excitement. I think, though, that the 2005 Grey Cup is particularly special to Colby because his beloved Eskimos won the game. (For a similar reason, the 1994 Grey Cup, which the B.C. Lions won by the margin of a late Passaglia field goal,remains my favourite Grey Cup of the two games that I have seen in person.)

I'd certainly agree, though, that a neutral observer might see the 2005 Grey Cup as the best ever. My mother, who was there with me, could hardly talk at the end of the game because she was so excited.

Colby, though, had the advantage of seeing the game on TV. I was on the other side of the field from the two moments that he cites in the post. I didn't have the benefit of colour commentators explaining why A.J. Gass' offside penalty in overtime was so brilliantly timed, for example.

Anthony Calvillo's attempt to throw two forward passes in the same overtime play,only to have the second one dropped in the end zone was just bizarre to watch. It was something I had never seen before, and I have to wonder if the "no two forward passes in the same play" rule is one of those obscure rules that no one ever thinks about. Would the ball have been ruled dead if Calvillo had run for a touchdown instead?

At any rate, Colby is right to write that any Grey Cup game that can make my mother almost pass out from being over-excited, is a great one.

One last note. Did Colby notice the loud boos when Paul Martin came in to do the coin toss? They were certainly the loudest boos that I heard during the game, but the jeers may not have come across as that loud during the CBC telecast.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Sister Aimee tries for a rhetorical figure-four leglock

Speaking of Aimee Semple McPherson, here is a link to a 1934 debate between the faith healing evangelist and Baptist minister and radio preacher Ben Bogard. The subject: Does God do miracles today as He did in the days of the apostles?

I wouldn't agree with Rev. Bogard that the Pentecostal churches of his day were full of "fallen girls" , but the debate itself is interesting reading.
Will you listen to Sister Aimee, or will you trade for what's behind door number three?

I think that TV critic Rick McGinnisovereached a bit when he recently compared Oprah Winfrey to Aimee Semple McPherson.

Surely all that Oprah has done is steal the concept of the old Queen For A Daytelevsion show? The popular 1950s TV show allowed a studio audience to pick that day's lady with the saddest story and shower her with fabulous merchandise.

If Oprah is recycling TV ideas to beat the band, why compare her show to Sister Aimee's efforts to do new and unusual things through her ministry?

I think that McPherson would be a little dismayed by the comparsion.

Thursday, November 24, 2005


Here's a website that has materials about the Jesus People movement of Christians of the 1960s and 1970s.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Now she's putting heaven to rights

I should note that medical missionary Jean Buchan, an Order of Canada member who I profiled in The Report magazine several years ago, died last spring.

Brave lady, she.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

It's supercalafajalistickespeealadojus!

Courtesy Mr. Lee Hartsfeld, a discussion of the song Supercalafajalistickespeealadojus, which includes a unique legal defense from the Walt Disney Company.
The square dance version of Jingle Bells, four-armed Santas and other fun.

MP3-posting blogger Lee Hartsfeld is posting a lot of unique and unusual Christmas records. My mom, who likes Christmas a lot, might enjoy following the link.

I think that my mom should download "Lawrence Joy and Wilbur Waite's Pokeberry Promenaders'...square-dance-with-calls version of Jingle Bells entitled Massachusetts Mixture" and use it on her telephone answering machine around Christmas time.
Jordan Bateman elected, demands recount

Now that Mr. Bateman has been elected, I guess that makes me the H.V. Kaltenborn of his Langley Politics website. (As soon as those rural precincts come in, Dewey is going to be elected. It's far too soon to call the election for Harry Truman...)

Well, I don't *live* in Langley, so that was an educated guess on my part.

That's my story and I am sticking to it.


Saturday, November 19, 2005

Wait a second, no wonder Jordan lost. These people voted in alphabetical order...and this guy is dead!

I don't want to spoil the party, but I think that Jordan Bateman will just miss being elected a Langley Township councillor.

But I worked as a Chicago Tribune headline writer during the 1948 US presidential election, so who can say?


If my guess is wrong, though, I'd be happy.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

It was a dark and stormy night

Kathy Shaidle has been tagged with the latest meme contest. It challenges bloggers to take the fifth sentence of their 23rd post and turn it into a short story.

In my case, it would be "posted by Rick", which I could turn into the lyrics of a mambo song more easily than the start of a story.

Kathy, in response, posts her first poem "Contacts with Trotskyites."

Looking at my posts near my 23rd post, I see that there are few fifth sentences in these posts as my posts tended to be short. The closest valid fifth sentence of a post is: "Many of B.C.'s non-Vancouver papers have small staffs, so they tend to concentrate their resources on what is important to their readers." I don't have a post idea, I have the winning opening sentence of the next Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

I cannot tell a lie, I fisked him with my little hachet

I'm surprised that someone has taken on the persona of George Washington to do George Washington's weblog.

Watch for a post complaining about how uncomfortable wooden false teeth are.
Well, Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore
Or how your correspondent "fell into a burnin' ring, er, tunnel of fire" :)

You may recall that a few posts ago, I was wondering about the lyrics of a 1950s pop song. Specifically, I was wondering what "She did the chicken in the middle of the floor" might have looked like.

Well, after recently attending a charismatic Christian religious meeting in Vancouver, which featured a "fire tunnel", I think that I may know. :)

Charismatics, as you may know, believe that the Holy Spirit works today as He did in the days of the book of Acts. Some of these manifestations can be speaking in tongues, or being "slain in the Spirit" (being prompted to faint due to God touching your heart in some way). One technique in the more "out there" edges of charismatic practice is called a "fire tunnel". In a fire tunnel, ministers and prayer team members form two rows facing each other. Those receiving prayer walk between the two lines, allowing those praying to lay hands on them and pray for them to be blessed.

I was at the meeting for another reason that didn't pan out as I had hoped. After a good message (I attend a church with Pentecostal leanings, so I am not averse to trying to glean Biblical truths from charismatic ministers), they announced that there would be a "fire tunnel" at the front of the auditorium. Not seeing any
baskets of snakes for the assembled worshippers to pick up and play with nearby, I decided that it might be interesting to look and see what was happening. (Once a reporter, always a reporter. Although I may not be working in journalism for the time being, I expect that my "news nose" will never lose its sense of smell.)

I got in the line-up as it snaked up and down the aisles of the church. I noticed one young lady about four or five people in front of me. She seemed a bit inebriated, but I knew that she certainly had not been drinking. She was doing half-twirls, and then falling to the ground giggling. She kept bending at the waist. It all looked involuntary on her part, but she had a big smile on her face.

I mentioned to another lady beside me "You know, I think the tunnel is supposed to be down there at the front." She just smiled.

We eventually meandered our way down to the front on the auditorium. I entered the tunnel. At first, it was relatively calm, with people gently laying hands on me as I walked past and saying things like "Fresh fire." and "More Lord".

As the tunnel progressed, those who were praying seemed to build in intensity. I noticed that people further in front of me were starting to be bent backwards or forwards for some reason. Others were slumping to the floor.

As I got toward the end of the line, the pray-ers were doing things like jumping up and down like pogo-stick users. One guy roared in my face, and I just laughed a bit back at him, only to feel a lady blowing on my face. I could tell this, infortunately, because I felt a drop of spit fall on my face.

As that demonstrative young lady that I had seen earlier went around to the back of the line for another go, I stayed down in front to watch, as people went through. Now the pray-ers were hopping, moving back and forth and jumping up and down. It reminded me of the toga party in the movie Animal House without the liquor and debauchery.

Finally, the prayers went into the line themselves and the tunnel collapsed into itself with groups of twos and threes of people laughing or crying softly.

The evening was wrapping up, and as I was leaving, I saw the young lady who could not wait until she was in the tunnel. "I hope that you were blessed," I told her. "It looked like you were having a lot of fun." She said "Thanks!", and I left.

At the other side of the auditorium, the young lady caught up to me. "Hey," she said. "Can I pray for you?"

"Okay, but why would you want to do that?" I said.

"Freely you have received," she smiled, "Freely give."

So, I let her bring me back to her friends, and they prayed for me. The young lady prayed that my hunger for God would be satified and that He would touch me.

"Do you feel warm or hot?" she asked. (Warmth is often a test amongst charismatics to see if the Holy Spirit is working on someone.)

"Yes, I feel a little hot," I said, "but I am wearing my jacket." I felt a little bit like Dan Akyroyd's character in The Blues Brothers when John Belushi's character has his revelation from the Lord in James Brown's church. [Belushi is bathed in sunlight while Aykroyd is reduced to asking "What light?"]

Looking back at all this, I am grateful for that sympathetic young lady's sweet intentions that I should be blessed too. If I were to think like my old Report colleagues Colby Cosh and Kevin Michael Grace, I would also have to ask myself if I was laying myself open to empty emotionalism.

I do have one thought, though. So often faith is an intellectual thing, where the mind observes a set of moral principles. That said, men are beings that feel, with hearts and emotions.

For faith to work it has to touch both the mind and heart.

So, when people are looking for a light at the end of their tunnel, I'm not surprised if they happen to look for this light at the end of a "fire tunnel".

Friday, November 11, 2005

Oldworthy, not newsworthy

Back in my Report magazine days, one of my editors used to point out that my news hooks were too old by saying that I could have written the opening of my story as "Earlier this decade..."

In that spirit, I am getting around to giving my own responses to that "book post" that bloggers were kicking around in the summer.

1. Total number of books that I have owned:

The last time that I counted, when I was in high school, I had about 1,200.

The last time that I moved, my mother said "I wish that I had never taught you how to read." :)

2. The most recent books that I have bought:

--The New Mystics by John Crowder.
--At The Tomb Of The Inflatable Pig by John Gimlette (if I can't get to Paraguay, I might as well read about it.)
--McPhersonism by Robert Shuler (The fourth edition of a book that was self-published in 1924. A cool find, as I had been looking for this critique of Sister Aimee for a long time. Only $12 US too :) )
--Four Days in November by the staff of the New York Times. (If I had bought the New York Times on the day after the JFK shooting, I would have needed a wagon to carry my paper around. I'm *still* not finished the stories published on November 23rd. :) )

3. The last book that I read:

I am about to finish How We Got Here:The 1970s by David Frum.
The last book that I completed was Cobb: A Autobiography by Al Stump.

I'm going to change question number four, because I can.

4. Books that I would like to have written myself:

I don't know why other writers didn't have this idea. Here are two that come to my mind:

Berlin Diary by William Shirer

When you think of Nazi Germany, you are tempted to think of the Nazis coming into power, flipping a switch to Nazify the population, and then starting the Second World War. It wasn't that way. Berlin Diary documents the slow process of the Nazis taking control. I also got a feeling of how difficult it was for Shirer to do his job, and be a good foreign correspondent in that situation.

The Faith Healers by James Randi

You may fairly ask why I like this book when I am a somewhat devout Christian who acts on his belief that prayer can help people to be healed (It would be fair to say that I am no longer a complete cessationist). That said, I can get righteously indignant when faith healers do not act with honesty and integrity. (As we are serving the Lord when we try to help people be healed, we must exhibit His character when we minister.)

The church should be taking out its own trash.

I liked the cloak-and-dagger exploits in this expose too, such as dressing a man up as a woman in a faith healing meeting, or catching Peter Popoff listening on a radio earphone to his wife who was helping him to fake words of knowledge.

Can you tell that I miss my old job? ;)
Three bumps for the Miscellanist

Say, my blog has just turned three!

Quiet day for me. Doing laundry and cleaning my room in fits and starts. But if you are looking for somehing fun to read, Tim Blair is marking the 30th anniversary of the sacking of Australian P.M. Gough Whitlam.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Meet God's cat, too

There is a site devoted to Jennifer, aka The Lord Thy God.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Mercy, me

I'd like to commend this archival article from Christianity Today. It mentions my friend Toshi, who has a mercy mission to help Vancouver prostitutes.