So in reading back over old log entries I came across
about the "Repent America" people who unfurled a banner at some sports event
about how homosexuality is sin and they had to be removed by security
before the crowd could beat them up, and I went over to the Repent
America site to see if they were still there (they are) and I clicked
on the links some, and then I wrote them this note out of the kindness
of my heart:
It seems odd to me that the page that I get to if I click on "All
others enter here" (i.e. the page designed for non-Christians) is
all about the Ten Commandments, and assumes that the reader believes
that the words in the Christian Bible are true. Presumably many,
even most, of the people who click on that link don't consider
your bible to be an authority; so citing the Ten Commandments to
those people seems kind of beside the point?
Just a friendly thought... *8)
Right away I got back an automated "we got your note" note, and
not long after I got back this:
"Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we
might be justified by faith." (Gal. 3:24)
"Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath
shewed it unto them." (Rom. 1:19)
Serving the King, Michael Marcavage
Now at first (and in fact still) I thought that it was the height
of irony that when I wrote to point out that Bible quotes aren't
a very good way to communicate with non-believers I should get a
reply consisting entirely of Bible quotes.
But those quotes really are about what great teaching tools
scripture makes, so they're not irrelevant (and therefore
perhaps not bot-output).
Of course since they are themselves quotations from scripture, anyone not
already in the choir is going to think they're discountable as
self-promotion (ref, as always, Kissing
Hank's Ass), but presumably Mr. Marcavage is more or less
forbidden from thinking that way.
Which is nice, actually; the thought that the Bible (at least as interpreted
by these neophobic literalists) contains lousy PR advice is comforting in
these troubled times.
(Whoa! The story quoted in that old log entry refers to
Mr. Marcavage as the Director of Repent America; so
this isn't just some little webmaster being funny or anything.
one aide in the meeting said. "There is a valid case that the provisions
in this law undermine the Constitution."
"Stop throwing the Constitution in my face," Bush screamed back.
"It's just a goddamned piece of paper!"
I've talked to three people present for the meeting that day
and they all confirm that the President of the United States
called the Constitution "a goddamned piece of paper."
Good thing that can't possibly be true, eh?
War on Christmas Part II: Pope vs. Materialism
Pope Benedict warned today against rampant materialism
which he said was polluting the spirit of Christmas.
The Reuters article doesn't mention which of his gold-embroidered robes,
stoles and jewel-encrusted hats and crucifixes the Pope wore while making
his statement from his treasure-filled Vatican palace.
Meta: some Washington
Post thing that we recently commented had, when we went back to it later,
a sidebar with this content:
Read what bloggers are saying about this article.
For the Record
In My Defense
Log -- David Chess
Full List of Blogs (179 links) ...
Pretty scary. (In fact it still says that today, including the link
to us; I wonder why we're in the three of the 179 that they decided
to feature? Our worldwide fame? Our devilish good looks?)
The other day someone who will never come here
entered into an old input box:
THIS WEBSITE IS SO WEIRD!
OK WELL I AM GLAD I WILL NEVER COME HERE!
IT SAID SOMETHING ABOUT THE 3RD AMENDMENT
BUT I GUESS NOT! OK WELL EMAIL ME BACK AT
I don't think I'm going to email zack (because well you never
know), but I do thank him (or his puppeteer) for the kind words.
(The Third Amendment is all about clams.)
to stop filesharers from stealing hotel bandwidth
Edit: For those calling BS, I'm a network security engineer
and I do security design work, penetration testing and social
engineering work for a living. Yeah, it was kind of a mean thing
to do, but some of us need to do real work from the hotel instead
of download music. Plus, I possibly saved the guy from getting
busted by the actual RIAA. Maybe someday I'll post my story about
pretending to be a comcast tech and walking some guy through
troubleshooting a router which was giving my home connection
problems for over 3 months. It was magically fixed the next
day after he put in a faulty ATM interface ticket. :)
(It was a pretty mean thing to do; although it makes a funnier story
this way it probably would have been better for the universe overall
if he'd just called the guy and talked it over honestly.)
From Susie Bright:
The future is Now.
More spam has arrived! For a change!
A recent favorite (in its entirety, minus uninteresting mail headers):
From: Mikayla Correa <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 14 Dec 2005 10:35:03 +0000 (UTC)
square asteroid larvae
Turbans! Square asteroid larvae!
Must remember this for next November!
(Or maybe we can have a practice WoMiFiWriMo in January or something.)
(I've gotten a bunch of spam today, in fact, with randomly
generated subject lines and content, consisting of either random
words like that or random one-line aphorisms, with no actual
advertising or trojan horse content or anything.
I can't imagine the purpose; maybe someone just testing out a
spam channel or something?
In other spam, Portia Winrow replies to Cruz Buch on
the subject of "Re: gosh skeletal",
and other people reply to other people on
"pussycat electrostatics" and "viatic hobbledehoy",
as well as "A finish in polish wainscot" and
(another favorite) "I work the nauseous esoteric".
Do you too work the nauseous esoteric?
"Kimberly Hunt" seems to have joined "Maddie Lathe" on the
list of names that spammers somehow associate with some of
our email addresses.
Kimberly doesn't have the skewed exoticism of Maddie,
but we welcome her to our psyche nonetheless;
Fans of the Sims stories should check out
the list, 'cause I've
probably added to it without mentioning it here.
Highlights are that Joan
Danvers has graduated from college, and
the Townie Project
has moved into Casa Townie.
Also, some fanservice:
A reader points out:
Science is the human activity of seeking natural explanations
for what we observe in the world around us. Science does so
through the use of observation, experimentation, and logical
argument while maintaining strict empirical standards and
healthy skepticism. Scientific explanations are built on observations,
hypotheses, and theories. [...] According to many scientists a core
claim of evolutionary theory is that the apparent design of living
systems is an illusion.3 Other scientists disagree. These standards
neither mandate nor prohibit teaching about this scientific disagreement.
(Strikethrough text to be deleted; italic text to be added.)
It's so embarassing!
I was listening to BBC World Service on our local NPR station this
morning, and they had a piece about the recent Kansas School Board
actions on evolution and intelligent design and stuff.
You could just hear the amusement (the politely smug but in fact rather
gleeful amusement) in the voices of the announcer and the reporter
at the antics of these backward Colonials.
Can't Kansas just secede or something? Then they can all
save their immortal souls / wallow in ignorance, and the rest
of us can burn eternally in Hell / raise children with at least
half a clue.
For the sake of full disclosure, I'll point out that a more complete
quote from the
full document is:
Science is a systematic method of continuing investigation, that uses
observation, hypothesis testing, measurement, experimentation, logical
argument and theory building, to lead to more adequate explanations of natural
phenomena. Science is the human activity of seeking natural explanations for
what we observe in the world around us. Science does so through the use of
observation, experimentation, and logical argument while maintaining strict
empirical standards and healthy skepticism. Scientific explanations are built on
observations, hypotheses, and theories. A hypothesis is a testable statement about
the natural world that can be used to build more complex inferences and
explanations. A theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the
natural world that can incorporate observations, inferences, and tested hypotheses.
So there's still a definition of science in there, and talk of
observation and hypothesis testing and all.
They've just removed that pesky "natural explanations" term,
the full report goes into at great and thoughful length)
"naturalism" is just this controversial secular worldview
that we wouldn't want to force upon our impressionable
children, since there are viable alternatives to
naturalism like literalist Christianity,
the Flying Spaghetti Monster,
the Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus, and so on.
Thanks so much for putting all this thought into these
But if you could please do it in some other country
to avoid future embarassing BBC reports? (Not to mention
economic catastrophes due to a workforce that's confused
Probably about the latest novel,
a very kind reader writes:
Yes, lovely, clipped and sharp and Sunday-stay-in-bed-languid,
pungent like topiary at nightfall on the day the gardener's been
busy with his secataurs.
I want a red vellum copy to read in Elysian Fields to babies whose
ears are glazed over by sleep, to lovers whose ears are glazed
over by love, so that I can greedily horde the wasp-honeyed
words of Divertimento all to my mine own ears and lips.
I'm considering having Cafe Press Books make me a physical
copy of the novel, but I don't know if they do red vellum
A generous spammer writes:
Subject: Jolly Holiday Christmas - Please get me this
Dearest Old Claus,
I am wishing for the gift box too, and since these are not genuine, they
can get me two if they want. We are not talking a lot of money here. I mean
who wants to get another stuffed lizard?
Who, indeed, wants to get another stuffed lizard?
"I can't imagine living anywhere else."
"I don't know. Whenever I'm in a big city, I feel like
I'm on edge all the time. If I actually lived there,
I think it'd take a long time for that feeling to go away."
She just looked at him for a long moment.
"Why would you want it to go away?"
I was planning to take the day off anyway (have to use up
more of the year's vacation days), but the kids were happy
in that way that only kids on a snow day can be.
There were other kids in and out, or our kids off somewhere,
pretty much all day, and we have a mysterious vaguely
fort-like shape in the snow outside under a tree.
(And one of the kids is crashing around with a friend
upstairs, and one is out and needing to be picked up
eventually, even now at nine pea em).
I eventually got the snowblower going and did the
driveway that way, with enough detail work by shovel
afterwards that I felt at least a little of that nice
cold and tired and sweaty feeling that snowblowers threaten
to drive into extinction.
(The Dangers of Efficiency.)
On our fancy Ajax toy,
Bring on the abstruse Web geekery!
Forget spam subjects . . .
. . . and Sims.
But, but, but ... we like obscure Web geekery!
But there are so many weblogs and websites
and things that do Web geekery!
We pride ourselves on being the market leader in
spam subject lines and Sims and Iris Chacon (and Irish Bacon)
And web geekery sometimes too.
(And broken koans.
And of course viewing Yahoo webcams without permission.)
We'll let this reader sum it up:
Ajax. It's not just for kitchen sinks any more. No, wait ...
On the other hand, readers write all sorts of other
things via the Ajax toy.
Here are a couple nice ones, semi-randomly snatched from the
stream, both perhaps about Mia:
She could not stop the lovingness.
It perfused her, visceral, at times
tangible. The object of her lovingness did not wish to be so...
she had long ago accepted that. Any sane person would just open
up their telomeres and let the lovingness unravel off the ends,
gather like lint and blow away. That's what any sane person would do.
She had this thing for flashlights, something about the way
they could just be sitting there useless, taking up space
then suddenly push the rubber button and they provide instant
illumination... especially the new electromagnetic ones.
(I'm pretty sure I saw that first one briefly on Metababy,
too; I'm not sure what that means.)
How about just one spam subject line?
Subject: The World's First Nativity Set Kids Can Touch
Yeah, that's certainly a breakthrough!
People are really tired of the usual intangible
Subject: craftsperson lebanese Scribe Malonek
Subject: Dear nadia Elva Schaffer
Subject: Re: vulva
Subject: I drive a greenback
Subject: Re: And forget an torchlight drachm
Subject: An explain to mycology propitiatory
Subject: Not drink of devalue
Subject: Re: legofmutton Phxarmaceuticcal
Hey! Who let those in here?
(They are good, though.)
See also this
related image (or not, if you value your sanity).
All sortsa new Sims stories posted;
you can go over there and read them.
One image I'm going to post here:
From the Sims 2 / Doom crossover! *8)
(In case it's not clear, that's a Sims 2 snapshot, with Doom-derived
floor and wall patterns. I really need to take one with a Sim in
it, don't I?)
From HTML o' the Day, a
thing to look at!
"Tramps like us ... and we like tramps!"
Yes grapes, and lemons and well, oranges, and
you who can write the rings off married women's
fingers and off Saturn too.
All very nice, and I think kind.
I have to admit being especially fond of
"with bath", because I can't think what it
might mean (I do love a mystery).
In the same input box, but I suspect on the subject of the
"World Microfiction Writing Month" that I suggested that week
and then completely forgot about until now (well, except for
that one time in the car, but that was very brief):
Or NaNoNanoWriMo, if you want to include the month
And here's my entry: "There was a malaise about her, a sadness
that others felt as a weight, or a weariness, as she passed, and
it caused them to think of a time in their lives when hope had
drained from their spirit, and breath came slowly."
NaNoNano, that's funny!
I think we'll stick with WoMiFi for now to avoid
confusion though (we can mention NaNoNano in the FAQ).
The entry is good;
now can you do it on twenty-four different
days in the same month?