The real spirit of Christmas

hearth and fire at Xmas

  Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.Calvin Coolidge    … [Read more...]

Mark your calendars!

A brother in the Society of Jesus

  I'm very pleased to announce that, despite an extraordinarily busy schedule and after much back-and-forth about crowded calendars, Dr. Guy Consolmagno, the official Vatican astronomer, has agreed to come to Provo, Utah, for one or more lectures under the auspices of The Interpreter Foundation. But his visit is more than a year off. If you have a calendar extending out that far into the future, please mark the date of Saturday, 12 March 2016, on … [Read more...]

Mosiah 23

Teichert Alma WofM

    Alma's anti-monarchical stance in today's reading, Mosiah 23,  is quite striking.  It's plain that Alma had been horrified by King Noah, by the power of a morally depraved king to drag those around him down.  His experience in that king's court fundamentally affected his political views. In just a short time, when Alma appears in Zarahemla, he'll become a key advisor to and ally of King Mosiah. I don't think it's coincidental t … [Read more...]

My endorsement of Daniel Boyarin’s book

From Boyarin's back cover

  Neal Rappleye calls my attention to the back cover of Daniel Boyarin's The Jewish Gospels, which I reviewed very favorably back 14 June 2012, and helpfully supplies the photograph above. I hadn't been aware of this.  Obviously, the printing that I first read didn't have my response on its jacket.   … [Read more...]

A pet peeve regarding the Taliban

A warrior for the Taliban

  No, no.  Nothing so trivial as their bombings and killings and oppression of women. I'm talking grammar here.  Something really important. In Arabic, the equivalent of the English word student is طالب or taalib.  (The t is a dark one, unlike our normal English t, but I can't represent that here.)  The Arabic plural of taalib is "broken," as the Arabic grammarians say.  It's tulaab (طلاب). Taalibaan or taliban طالبان‎), "students") is … [Read more...]

Christmas Cheer 2

A fantastic story

  An absolutely wonderful story.  Nearly nine minutes long, but please -- please -- take the time.  You won't regret it: http://viralcharge.com/housekeeper-gets-great-surprise/ And, if viewing these videos really helps to raise more money to do more things like this, then, please, share this far and wide. We all know people like Cara, who deserve more than life has given them.  We probably can't do what Prank It Forward did for her.  B … [Read more...]

Today, in Romney-related news

Mr. Obama at work

  Governor Romney asks the Republican Party not merely to oppose President Obama's immigration decree but to actually wade in and permanently clarify U.S. immigration policies, for everybody's sake: http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/romney-permanent-clarification-immigration/2014/11/27/id/609929/?ns_mail_uid=5388816&ns_mail_job=1597451_11282014&s=al&dkt_nbr=lnutkp3y And he's still riding high in polls of Republican … [Read more...]

The League of the Fearful, Strident, and Narrow-Minded

Harvard from the air

  Some years ago, one of my weirder and more obsessive anonymous critics presumed, online, to analyze and lament my mediocre taste in literature, drama, music, and the arts generally.   To the best of my knowledge, he's never met me, been in my home, looked at my library, or attached a transmitting ankle bracelet to my leg, and he undertook his cultural/intellectual critique either before or not too long after I had launched this blog (which, in any event, needn't be taken a … [Read more...]


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