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February 13, 2009



PBS kicks off its spring series "The Tales of Charles Dickens" this Sunday evening, with the first installment of Oliver Twist. After that come David Copperfield, Little Dorrit (the one I'm really excited about), and The Old Curiosity Shop. The complete schedule is here.

If you don't mind a little more shilling for my pet project, I have a preview posted at Dickensblog, and every Sunday night from now through May, I'll be discussing the movies over there. If you watch any or all of them, I'd love for you to drop by and share your impressions!

Meanwhile, as we're on the subject of classic literature and its spinoffs, Austenmania seems to have taken a creepy turn. As Lori Smith mentioned to me in an e-mail chat, Friday the 13th seems a peculiarly appropriate day to mention this bit of freakiness.

(Image courtesy of PBS)

February 11, 2009

Why Worldview Matters, Installment 27: Soft Drinks

Cow I just so didn't need to read about the idea that some Hindu nationalists came up with to combat Coke and Pepsi. The purpose, evidently, is "to cleanse India of foreign influence and to promote  . . . Hinduness."

Like Chuck says, "Worldview matters."

Read it here, if you dare.

I really ought to stop skimming the Drudge Report.

(Image courtesy of Food Safety Central)

February 10, 2009

Daily roundup

February 02, 2009

Daily roundup

There Is More Than One Way to Get to Heaven

Clouds In a recent Pew Forum poll, 65 percent of the respondents believed there was more than one way to get to heaven.

I now have irrefutable proof that they are right. Where did I find this proof? Why, on that bastion of truth, the Internet. The one invented by Al Gore, who tells the truth no matter how inconvenient.

You can go here to reserve your own spot in heaven . . . . .but you’d better hurry. According to this site the place is filling up fast.

They claim, “It is now possible to enjoy your sin filled life and buy your way into Heaven." All you have to do is go to the website and for a mere $15.95 (plus $2 for shipping) you can purchase the “All Access Travel Kit,” which includes:

  • "A heavenly issued certificate of reservation registered in the Book of Light™
  • "A First class ticket to Heaven. Why walk those stairs when you can fly?
  • "The Official Heaven Identification Card (laminated) so you can get around without getting hassled.
  • "Heaven 101 mini informational guide. Don’t be a victim of culture shock. Get acquainted with the land.
  • "All access VIP pass (laminated). This pass will grant you access to “VIP exclusive areas” including the Land of Milk and Honey and Thug Mansion, where all the elite get together and kick it."

Continue reading "There Is More Than One Way to Get to Heaven" »

January 30, 2009

Daily roundup

January 28, 2009


Since The Swedish One has opened the door, we may as well just declare it German Video Theme Week, so I can post this. (Explanation here.) We need a blog category for "Awww, that is so CUTE!"

January 21, 2009

And now, a little ditty

Fey Palin Last week, Big Hollywood's Tim Slagle wrote,

I have a friend up north, who was raised by hippie parents in the back of a school bus. She is now a proud graduate of the University of Minnesota, with a degree in women’s studies (and has been unemployable ever since).

I suggested that perhaps she might be encouraged by the nomination of Sarah Palin on the Republican ticket. That the Party of old white men actually nominated a Woman to run for the office of vice president. That a lot of Republicans I knew were wishing Sarah was at the top of the ticket. Certainly the choice of a woman should allow Feminists to swell with pride — another ceiling had been broken.

She laughed at me. “How could you vote for Sarah Palin? Don’t you watch Saturday Night Live? If you saw Tina Fey impersonate her, you’d understand how ridiculous it is to even suggest that she could ever be President. Did you see Tina Fey? I’m going to send you some links!”

It's been quite some time since I wrote a poem, but that anecdote inspired the following verses.

Continue reading "And now, a little ditty" »

January 16, 2009

’Star Wars’ retold

Because it's Friday. (Maybe we ought to have a whole category for "Star-Wars-because-it's-Friday-humor." I don't know why this stuff makes me laugh so hard -- it just does.)

Star Wars: Retold (by someone who hasn't seen it) from Joe Nicolosi on Vimeo.

H/T Cinematical

January 15, 2009

Love Thy Neighbor’s Dried Fish

Picture 644 Loving their neighbors must be tough for these New York nuns, as they are up against a popular Filipino delicacy called tuyo (salty dried fish). According to the article, the nuns are suing a Filipino couple for cooking tuyo and another popular dish, tinapa (smoked dried fish). Both have a strong "foul" smell that all Filipinos love.

I’m Filipino, and this was a dilemma at our house too. We gave up on the dish some time ago out of courtesy for others. We can’t cook it indoors because it will stink up our condo and clothes, but can't fry it outdoors either because it will offend our neighbors (as happened with our next-door Filipino neighbor who fried fish last summer).

What do you think of the story and what would you do? Is this a racial issue, an ethical issue, or just an issue of respect?

(Image © 80 breakfasts)

December 31, 2008

It wouldn’t be the New Year

. . . without Dave Barry's annual roundup. Enjoy, and have a happy New Year!

December 30, 2008

Fractured Christmas carols

Taken for a Ride
(To the Tune of "Sleigh Ride")

Just hear that cashier jingling,
Ring ting ting-a-ling, ooh!
That will be 16 dollars
For three bananas for you.

Come watch our dollar falling
While friends are bawling "Boohoo!"
Because it's 16 dollars
For five green olives for you. . . .

There's much more where that came from, over at the Reader's Digest site.

December 23, 2008

Create your own hideous Christmas sweater

Sweater Got those last-day-at-the-office-before-Christmas-vacation blues? You could always kill a little time enhance your productivity with this useful exercise. (Be careful if you go scrolling through their gallery; some people's sweaters are not quite family-friendly.)

If you want to save your sweater, it looks like the best way is to e-mail it to yourself. Then post the link in our comments section so we can all enjoy your masterpiece!

December 18, 2008

And They Thought Wrong...

Thinking they'd caught a fiendish tree logging scheme in progress, one group of campaigners called police in to investigate the crime scene. The crime fighters in Subkowy, Poland found the culprits, but haven't charged them. Find out why at Uncommon Descent

December 17, 2008

Where the Sidewalk Ends: Apocalyptic Edition

Apocalypse Offline, we've just been discussing the impending end of the earth.

The latest news is that the earth may have a hole--not in the ozone layer, but in its magnetic field. We're not kidding -- read here. And we thought the asteroid was bad news. Our good friend Roberto keeps us informed of these things, spreading the holiday cheer we all so desperately need.

It seems we're not alone in bracing for either a) the Apocalypse or b) as Roberto likes to say, not the start of The End Days, but a whole bunch of really crappy ones in a row. (Roberto, it seems, has been reading The Great Mortality: An Intimate History of the Black Death, the Most Devastating Plague of All Time by John Kelly. He highly recommends it.) Hollywood is pretty sure it's about to happen also. Between the new movies 2012 and Knowing, we're actually a little late around here in getting on the apocalyptic band wagon.

So in hopes that you'll be well prepared and also prepare your children well for what may be everyone's last Christmas, I've worked up a little recommended reading list, BreakPoint style. Here are a few titles to put under the tree or use at bedtime:

  • Goodnight Moon, and Other Stories of Impending Nuclear Holocaust
  • Who Moved My Planet?
  • The Monster at the End of This Book (includes your own envelope of anthrax powder)
  • Chicka-chicka-atomic-boom-boom
  • Horton Hears a Hypercane
  • Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See? (I See Pestilence in 2023)

While you're at it, you might want to go ahead and order a set of rapture preparedness cards for your church or home. They're really a must-have.

(Image courtesy of Evermotion.org)

December 16, 2008

From the weird file

Garminnuvi660 This gives a whole new meaning to "seek and ye shall find." Think of all the time the Wise Men could have saved.

December 11, 2008

In need of a little inspiration?

How about starting off the morning with "40 inspirational movie speeches in 2 minutes"? (Actually, they're not all speeches, so it's more like "inspirational moments," but why quibble?) By the time you've heard from William Wallace, Aragorn, General Patton, Henry V, Senator Jefferson Smith, Captain Picard, and Fozzie Bear, you might not even need that morning coffee.

(Via Cinematical)

December 10, 2008

Daily roundup

December 09, 2008

Re: Wheezing: A Christian Art Form

Time for a little wheezing...

December 04, 2008

Mr. Crock Pot Saves the Day

Crock_pot Because my wife is having a difficult pregnancy, I was unexpectedly commissioned to take charge of preparing meals for my family. Thanks to Kim Moreland’s suggestion, I decided to give our crock pot a second chance at life. The device was raised from the dead after three years in the kitchen appliance cemetery (our bottom kitchen cabinet).

Now it’s my best friend, the gadget I hold dear this season of festive meals and potlucks. The crock pot has become a great sidekick in serving good-tasting and low-maintenance meals for my family, and that to me is a great way to save the day.

I just discovered I’m not alone in my affection for the kitchen wonder. Check out the Crock Pot Love Letter from Stuff Christians Like.

(Image via Stuff Christians Like)

I’m Glad Somebody Gets It

How_to_talk_to_girls The relationship advice from an up-and-coming author includes this sage suggestion: "Don't think girls are gross." Still, what are the odds that his work contains more wisdom than 95 percent of dating books on the market?

(Image © HarperCollins)

December 03, 2008

Wheezing: A Christian Art Form

Laughter Not enough consideration is given to the several passages in the Scripture that deal with laughter. When old Sarah was told that she was going to have a child in her dotage, she laughed out loud. But God had the last laugh, though, when little Isaac was born. And what does "Isaac" mean? "Laughter," of course.

Another example comes from the gospels, when Jesus sends his disciples out for the first time on their own. They perform a few signs and wonders and excitedly rush back to tell their master. In what some say is the only time the gospel writers express Jesus' hilarity, we are told that he laughed uproariously, saying that he saw the devil fall from the sky while his disciples were out trying their hand at declaring the Kingdom of Heaven being at hand.

I am reminded of the good tonic of laughter just about every day at work when hearing (from halfway across the room) the wheezing laughter of fellow Pointer Allen Thornburgh. No matter how gray the day, Allen can be heard having fun with someone, and remarkably, it always seems to be work related. Such bursts are contagious and make even those of us who aren't in on the joke smile as we go along our day.

So find something to laugh about today. Laughter is one of God's best gifts for dispelling the gloom that the devil loves to have us imagine is enshrouding us. That's when he gets us, of course. And that's precisely the time to punch our way out of it with a good, strong guffaw.

In the meantime, wheeze on, Thornburgh!

December 02, 2008

Eat a Good Meal and Help the Homeless

Coffee_cup Ever try to help someone and end up doing exactly the opposite?

A few winters ago, I walked past a homeless woman jingling her cup outside of a bookstore. I walked into the bookstore, browsed for a while, and then, conscience-twinged, walked back out into the cold to drop some spare change into the lady's cup. I knew something was wrong when I didn't hear that "plunk" sound. Halfway out of earshot, I heard the woman yell after me, "That was my drink!"

Since then, my friends--those who were with me that day, and those who weren't--haven't let me forget my charity gone wrong. I'm happy to provide a laugh at my expense, especially when I can use it to point out the fact that most of us haven't the foggiest about how to really help the homeless.

This year, I think I've got a better idea than ruining someone's latte. How about going out for a delicious meal?

If you live in Washington, D.C., or Baltimore, you have access to two little cafés known for their delightful menus and altruistic excellence. Both the Dogwood Deli in Baltimore and New Course Restaurant and Catering in Washington, D.C., help homeless men and women get back on their feet by teaching them to cook.

So, to keep from becoming like me and repeating my little cup incident, have a good meal instead.

. . . And he’ll tie up the phone

Thanks to Pastor Michael Easley for passing along another tribute to the longsuffering families of pastors, from the people who brought you the "Before He Speaks" spoof.

December 01, 2008

Daily roundup

November 28, 2008

It wouldn’t be Black Friday

Lawn_zombie2 . . . without Dave Barry's gift guide.

(Image © Bob Eighmie for the Miami Herald)

November 26, 2008

Over the River and Thru the Woods...

You know, if women ran America, Thanksgiving would take place on Friday, and we'd have Thursday off to grocery shop, vacuum, iron the big white tablecloth, make cranberry sauce and pies, polish the silver, set the table, and make sure we had enough serving dishes to hold the vastly expanded menu items. But SOMEBODY decided we should celebrate on Thursday instead--which means we women (and it usually is women) have to try to jam in all the above-mentioned labor after work on Wednesday. I'm often up until midnight making preparations.

Not that I'm complaining. After all, it's much easier than Christmas preparations, which start the day AFTER Thanksgiving....

One for the ’DUH’ Files

"A Japanese zoo puzzled by its lack of success in getting two polar bears to mate has discovered the reason -- both are female."

November 18, 2008

Stuff Christians will REALLY like

Maineagle Congratulations to Jon Acuff on the news that Zondervan will be publishing the book version of his beloved website Stuff Christians Like! It'll be a long wait till 2010, but I know it will be worth it.

And I know all my fellow fans will join me in hoping for a cover illustration of a worship eagle.

November 17, 2008

Puppy Love?

It seems Natalie Portman and Rashida Jones's pre-election public service announcement was prophetic. America's votes have been tallied and apparently this is all we really care about. (Warning: Some videos at site contain material not suitable for children.)

MSNBC totally agrees. The post-election aftermath has gone to the dogs.

What do you think of the dog-craze? Is it more of a sign of post-election stress disorder--we seriously need some stress relief? Or is it just a sign that American interest in politics--when it's all said and done--really is about this deep?

November 14, 2008

Daily roundup

November 13, 2008

The long arm of the law

Gavel In my 33 years I'd managed to evade it thus far, but it finally showed up in yesterday's mail: the summons for jury duty. I called and managed to get it postponed till the end of December, which will coincide (mostly) with my vacation, so you won't have to worry about -- or anticipate, as the case may be -- my suddenly vanishing from the scene.

Just for the heck of it, I was Googling "jury duty" and came across this list of helpful tips, which includes the following:

If you do not wish to be seated on a jury panel, come to the courtroom laden with as many preconceived notions and unwavering opinions as possible. . . . Make sure that you go into jury duty acting as though you know everything before even hearing the case—the more stubborn you can appear, the better.

I am so off the hook.

But this got me wondering, does anyone here have any interesting stories to share about doing (or weaseling out of) their civic duty?

November 06, 2008

Because we could use a little comic relief . . .

The Ugly Couch Contest.

November 03, 2008

Daily roundup

October 31, 2008

Reformation rap

Well, I guess this is one way to celebrate Reformation Day . . .

(H/T The Corner)

Halloween timewasters

Black_cat Whether or not you celebrate the holiday, you can indulge in a little cat bowling, pumpkin carving, or cat mazes.

(Second timewaster via The Corner)

October 30, 2008

The truth about government

This says it all, I think.

October 27, 2008

A Monday morning laugh

Thanks to Anne and her husband for this. No, it's not real, but it's hilarious.

October 21, 2008

Smile for the Day

I have no idea who Hansell B. Duckett is or was, but his words made me laugh this morning:

"What this country needs is more free speech worth listening to."

Amen, Hansell, amen!

Sarah on SNL: How did you rate her appearance?

Snl_palin If you missed the most recent Saturday Night Live, you can catch Sarah Palin's appearance here. Frankly, I admire her courage for doing the show given its left-leaning cast and writers, and I think she showed a great sense of self-deprecating humor. How about you? 

(Image © NBC)

October 20, 2008

Vote for us and we’ll bring you an international incident!

Does Joe Biden even listen to himself?

October 16, 2008


Inspired by Andrew Ferguson's article "Twits on Parade" in the new Weekly Standard, I've begun a limerick (in the spirit of the immortal "A tooter who tooted a flute)":

A twitter who twitted a tweet
Heard his tweet had been deemed indiscreet.

. . . And I'm stuck. Someone want to help out?

(It's interesting, by the way, that articles about Twitter keep bringing up bathroom-related examples of tweets.)

October 10, 2008

What Goes Around ...

Fey_palin I always thought Tina Fey looked more like Sarah Palin than Sarah Palin did. Well, now it's Palin's turn to look more like Tina Fey than ...

I guess this is what happens when we have double trouble on our hands.

(Image © NBC and AP)

October 09, 2008

Chinglish Signs

The grimmer the news, the more I feel a need to laugh. These English translations of Chinese signs fit my mood to a T. So, enjoy!

(Note: Occasional vulgarity.)

October 08, 2008

Daily roundup

October 06, 2008

Redemption explained

Well, not exactly. But hey, it's a start.


Does blogging (or listening to political candidates) ever make you feel this way?

"I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant." -- Robert McCloskey

My pet penguin

Penguin When I was around age 8, my parents talked of moving to Alaska, to which I agreed on one condition: that I could have a pet penguin. Luckily for them, we didn't make that move or I would have been one unhappy second grader, learning that penguins are at the South Pole, not the North.

Now, it seems my childhood dreams of cuddling up with Chilly Willy could come true. An unusual number of young penguins floated north to Brazil this year. The fact that any young penguins ever wind up on the shores of South America was news to me. Maybe their ice caps are melting, or if Roberto's right, maybe they're the advance scouts, sent to spy out the land they're poised to take over soon.

(Image © International Penguin Conservation Work Group)

October 02, 2008

Debate preview

Tongue in cheek. Sort of. (Come on, Andy, it's a little funny. ;-) )

Fun with computers

Anykey The intelligence, efficiency, and effectiveness of corporate bureaucracies is demonstrated by the fact that James Lileks -- James Lileks, wizard of the blogosphere, of Internet radio, of Twitter, of forms of technology not even known to us mere mortals -- was made by his employers at the Minneapolis Star Tribune to go to computer training. And they wonder why newspapers are dying. At least he got a few good blog posts out of it while he was supposed to be concentrating assiduously on the basics of pointing and clicking. ("Two hours in a conference room looking at a Powerpoint guide to clicking the SEND button isn't exactly hell, but it's a fine preview of purgatory.") Go here, here, and here.

Elsewhere, speaking of Twitter, Gene Weingarten tries to figure out the merits of that inexplicably popular activity:

At the top of the Twitter home page is a box that asks "What are you doing?" And all the, um, Twits are happy to respond, sometimes almost minute by minute. Here's one: "Am watching movie. Eating a snack." Here's another: "Received confirmation that sewage backup is now covered on my renter insurance." Here's another: "Gonna take a nap. I feel feverish." Here's another: "Went to the bathroom." Okay, that last tweet was by me. I wanted to participate, too.

Computers and their related follies are perhaps the best example of the old saw that if you don't laugh, you'll cry.