Frankly, Good For the New York Times

The New York Times says it will charge readers for full access to its Web site starting in 2011, a risky move aimed at increasing online revenue without driving away advertisers that want the biggest possible audience. The potential pitfalls have made most other major newspapers hesitant to take a similar step. But after months of deliberation, the Times said Wednesday that it will use a metered system, allowing free access to a certain number of articles each month and then charging users for additional content.

Let’s face it, newspapers are dying because of the internet and it only makes sense that they charge some small fee for particular content. Besides, I’m very confident (read, positive) their charges won’t be as absurd as Ingenta’s, which, amazingly (read absurdly or grotesquely or wickedly or whatever term you like to denote highway robbery) is happy to charge over $40 for one essay that’s just 5 pages long!

[Honestly, that’s just stupid.  It doesn’t cost Ingenta a penny in postage for you to download an essay they already have in electronic format sitting on a server somewhere and yet they have the gall to charge a fortune.  I guess they’re having to pay all their peer reviewers…  I’d only pay that much if Dale came to the house and read the essay out loud to me.]

More Silly Science-olatry

Worshipers of science might want to consider tearing down their altars once they read this little gem on the dangers of sitting

Scientists are increasingly warning that sitting for prolonged periods — even if you also exercise regularly — could be bad for your health. And it doesn’t matter where the sitting takes place — at the office, at school, in the car or before a computer or TV — just the overall number of hours it occurs. Research is preliminary, but several studies suggest people who spend most of their days sitting are more likely to be fat, have a heart attack or even die.

Yes, who knew that people who sit all day put on weight????!!!!! Color me shocked!!!! And who could have known, without science to tell us, that fat people have heart attacks!!!! Heaven forfend!

But the icing on the cake is the last snippet… ‘or even die’! People who sit can die! Appalling. But I guess they forgot to take into account that people who lay down can die too and people who stand and people who walk and people who fish and people who float through the air on cotton candy rainbows…

The logic of science-olatry never ceases to amaze.

Total Depravity: The Murdering Pastor With a Mistress Edition

The star witness at the trial of a former Baptist pastor charged with murdering his wife in 2006 testified Jan. 19 that the accused planned the crime, hoping to make it look like a suicide, and afterward told his ex-mistress that he drugged his wife with sleeping pills and smothered her with a pillow.

Who is this Pastor?

Vanessa Bulls was the 27th witness to testify against Matt Baker. The graduate of Baylor University and George W. Truett Theological Seminary was pastor of several Baptist churches in Texas before his arrest in September 2007, 18 months after the death of his wife, Kari.

For some reason this story sounds familiar, like I saw it a few years back on CBS or something…

The prosecution rested its case at the end of the day Jan. 19. The defense began calling witnesses the morning of Jan. 20. Baker has denied killing his wife in several high-profile media interviews, including CBS News “48 Hours” and the March 2008 cover story of Texas Monthly.

Ah so that’s why it sounded so familiar. At any rate, just in case there are Parsons out there who don’t know it (and there appear to be a lot who don’t) – you’re not supposed to have a mistress… and you’re definitely not supposed to kill your wife. Both behaviors are totally depraved.

Now Here’s A Passage to Ponder…

Psalm 15:4 asserts that the one privileged to dwell in God’s presence is the one for whom, among other things

נבזה בּעיניו נמאס

[one] in whose eyes a vile person is despised…

Calvin remarks that the passage teaches that

… the children of God despise the ungodly, and form that low and contemptuous estimate of them which their character deserves. The godly, it is true, although living a praiseworthy and virtuous life, are not inflated with presumption, but, on the contrary, are rather dissatisfied with themselves, because they feel how far short they are as yet of the perfection which is required. When, however, I consider what the scope of the passage demands, I do not think that we are here to view the Psalmist as commending humility or modesty, but rather a free and upright judgment of human character, by which the wicked, on the one hand, are not spared, while virtue, on the other, receives the honor which belongs to it; for flattery, which nourishes vices by covering them, is an evil not less pernicious than it is common. I indeed admit, that if the wicked are in authority, we ought not to carry our contempt of them the length of refusing to obey them in so far as a regard to our duty will permit; but, at the same time, we must beware of flattery and of accommodating ourselves to them, which would be to involve us in the same condemnation with them. He who not only seems to regard their wicked actions with indifference, but also honors them, shows that he approves of them as much as it is in his power.

He’s probably right.  The word rendered ‘despised’ occurs here and 6 other times in the Hebrew Bible- Is 53:3 (2x), Jer 22:8, Dan 11:21, Mal 1:7, and 12.  None of these contexts indicate that the word means anything but something quite negative.

I guess it’s one of those many verses Christians will happily ignore without bothering to try to understand it.

I Wasn’t Going To Watch Anyway…

But now I’ve got yet another reason to abstain from watching the Grammy’s.

This year, Jackson will be a focal point of the show, with an unprecedented posthumous tribute. The Grammys will broadcast a 3-D clip the singer made for his hit “Earth Song,” a video that was to be integral to his comeback concerts in London in July 2009 — shows that never happened because of his June 25 death in Los Angeles. Usher, Celine Dion, Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Hudson and Smokey Robinson will perform alongside the clip, which Ehrlich says will be the first time an awards show will feature 3-D.

Yes, the focal point of the show. Maybe that crazy guy can interrupt the video presentation and tell him ‘Michael, imma let you finish in a minute but…’

Sure, Jackson was a talented guy but he was weird and did things that would make any other public figure lose face permanently.  Let’s all just move on…

[But we can’t, because our culture is sick and its worship of celebrity is just one of the symptoms].

Zwingli: On Understanding Scripture

Before I say anything or listen to the teaching of man, I will first consult the mind of the Spirit of God (Ps 85): “I will hear what God the Lord will speak’. Then you should reverently ask God for his grace, that he may give you his mind and Spirit, so that you will not lay hold of your own opinion but of his. And have a firm trust that he will teach you a right understanding, for all wisdom is of God the Lord. And then go to the written word of the Gospel … You must be theodidacti, that is, taught of God, not men: that is what the Truth itself said (John 6) and it cannot lie. — Huldrych Zwingli

ASOR’S 2010 Annual Meeting: Call for Papers

We are happy to announce that the UPDATED Call for Papers for ASOR’s 2010 Annual Meeting is now on ASOR’s web site and includes new Member-Organized Sessions that have just been approved by the Program Committee. This year’s meeting will be held at the Sheraton Atlanta Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia from November 17-20, and you can find full information about registration, travel, and accommodations on ASOR’s web site. We encourage you to register for the meeting and to book your rooms today!

The Program Committee has worked hard to develop a diverse offering of sessions. For those who would like to present papers, make sure to review the “List of Sessions for 2010” and begin submitting your abstracts for review and inclusion in the 2010 Annual Meeting.  We are also happy to announce that we are launching a new online system for Abstract/Participation Submissions.  You can access this new online system by clicking here.  The deadline for submission of abstracts is February 15, 2010.

On behalf of Elise A. Friedland and Andrew M. Smith II, Program Committee Co-Chairs, I thank you for considering becoming a part of the academic program. Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any questions or comments. I look forward to seeing you this November in Atlanta.

Best,
Kelley Bazydlo

ASOR Rocks! (It is awfully cool, even if ‘rocks’ seems a bit odd as a descriptor for a society of archaeologists…)

A Little Mid Week Chuckle

It’s Wednesday and you may need a bit of a smile- so perhaps this will do the trick…

What is it about the word ‘carpool’ this little scooter driver doesn’t understand?

And if that doesn’t cause a slight grin, will this?

Come on people, get dressed before you go out.  If it’s cold enough for a coat, it’s cold enough for pants, right?

And please, when you’re out at work, work safely!

And when your day is over and you have dessert… please avoid unhealthy snacks made out of human beings…

Efforts To Repeal New Hampshire’s Three Week Old ‘Gay Marriage’ Law

The Associated Press is reporting

Three weeks after the state legalized gay marriage, opponents are asking a House committee to repeal the law and let voters amend the constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman. The House Judiciary Committee was holding hearings Wednesday on the two measures, which many observers expect the House to reject when they are brought to the floor in the next few weeks. Opponents know their chances of success are slim, but they are looking to the November election in hopes Republicans will regain control of the Statehouse and succeed then in repealing the law.

If the groundswell of contempt over government ineptitude as evidenced in the sound thrashing of the Democrats in Massachusetts is any indicator, those Republicans in NH may be right. I guess we’ll see.  People may have reached their breaking point with a governmental system where the will of the people is ignored and the tyrannical rule of the minority has become the norm.

Royal Caribbean: Just Insensitive or Totally Depraved?

By now, most of us have seen and heard about the profound devastation and suffering wrought upon Haiti last week after a massive earthquake. So you’d probably think there’s no way that cruising tourists could have returned to frolicking on Haiti’s beaches mere miles from where people are trapped beneath the rubble of a decimated city. Unfortunately, you’d be wrong.

On Sunday, the Guardian reported that Florida-based Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines is docking ships at the “picturesque wooded peninsula” known as Labadee, which it leases on Haiti’s northern coast. At Labadee, passengers “enjoy jetski rides, parasailing, and rum cocktails delivered to their hammocks.” The British paper also reported that passengers can spend their time “shopping for trinkets at a craft market” while armed guards stand at the entry to the complex to guarantee their safety.

Yeah… ya know… that just doesn’t seem right. It’s, at best, grossly insensitive and at worse totally depraved. It’s like having a barbecue in your front yard and inviting all your friends over for a party while your neighbor’s house is burning to the ground.

I’ve never been on a Royal Caribbean cruise and I don’t think I’ll ever do it now. There’s just something rotten ‘in Denmark’.

Remembering Walther Zimmerli

On this day in 1907 Walther Zimmerli was born.  He

was Professor of Old Testament at the University of Göttingen, Germany, and one of the most important biblical scholars of the twentieth century. Among his many publications in English are Ezekiel, 2 vols. (Hermeneia; Fortress Press, 1979/1983), I Am Yahweh (1982), The Old Testament and the World (1976), and The Law and the Prophets (1965).

Three of his works are still in print and those which aren’t can usually be tracked down at places like Alibris.com or Powells.

He was really a tremendous intellect and though some of his ideas have fallen out of favor, he is one of those giants on whose shoulders we all stand and we can only see as far as we do because he came before us.

Haiti’s Triple Miracle

Amid the uncountable horrors of Haiti, a triple “miracle” was hailed yesterday as a 15-day-old baby, an elderly woman and a young woman were dragged alive from the ruins in separate rescues. The most extraordinary rescue of all was that of tiny Elisabeth Joassaint, who was found alive after spending nearly half her life without food or water in the remains of her home.

So reports the Times Online. Now all we need do is remove the “‘s around ‘miracle’ and we’ll have it right.  Good for the three of them.