Saints of clay

There's an intriguing report on the website of the Chabad-Lubavitch, the most prominent branch of Hasidism (a Jewish mystical movement with much in common with Sufism). A stop-motion animated film has been made for kids telling the story of Israel ben Eliezier (often called the Baal Shem Tov, or "Master of the Good Name"), the Lubavitch movement's founder who lived in 18th century Poland. One of the most unhealthy developments in modern Western … [Read more...]

“28 Weeks Later” a pleasure

Watched "28 Weeks Later" tonight with buddy and cousin-in-law's husband Usman in their Golumn-esque-jealousy-inspiring, hi-fi/wide-screen basement home theater. Aside from a few ghoulish touches (especially the grisly and truly gratuitously violent end of  the hero/villain's wife; what the @^&#@ was that about?!?), I found it extremely well done, and surprisingly pleasant for an action-packed and genuinely scary "zombie flick" (technically, they're not zombies, … [Read more...]

I admit it: I’m a SpongeBob SquarePants fan

I appear to be enjoying "SpongeBob SquarePants" considerably more than my one-year-old daughter. I actually don't mind watching it at all, as it is full of in-jokes for grown-ups. Take its theme song, which says of SpongeBob, "Absorbent and yellow and porous is he".  You have to appreciate such playful touches. So I'm a SpongeBob SquarePants fan.  Is that so wrong?At this point, Raihana seems to enjoy Jerry Falwell's favorite, "The Teletubbies", above … [Read more...]

The pants-changing epidemic

This is random, but I just saw that Allstate car insurance commercial for the umpteenth time with whatshisname with the deep, assuring-to-some-but-fake-to-me voice explaining, "We’ve all seen them: The Makeup Artist. The Dedicated Investor. Mr. Change Your Pants While Driving." Is there really a big problem on America's roads of men changing their pants while at the wheel?  Surely, radio station-changing is a greater cause of accidents.  Or how about cell phone usage?  … [Read more...]

GK Chesterton on rationality

A bon mot from G.K. Chesterton's Orthodoxy (which I've been listening to, since it's conveniently available in MP3 format) concerning scriptural interpretation and rationalism:"Everywhere we see that men do not go mad by dreaming.  Critics are much madder than poets.  [...]  Though Saint John the Evangelist saw many strange monsters in his vision, he saw no creature so wild as one of his own commentators." Many Muslims would take this observation as a witty vindication … [Read more...]