Geza Vermes, Biblical Scholar, Passes Away

I learned from Mark Goodacre’s blog that legendary Biblical scholar Geza Vermes passed away this week. Like many, I first encountered Vermes in the massive and important Dead Sea Scrolls in English, the most widely available edition of the Qumran texts. Later, I read some of his more controversial work on the historical Jesus. I [Read More...]

Government Grabs Church Land for Road Project

Not far from where I live, the Diocese of Camden (New Jersey) just lost 6 acres from one of their cemeteries in a government land grab under eminent domain, and for far less than the asking price or the assessment: New Jersey invoked eminent domain to grab the land for a highway project, and offered the [Read More...]

A Legend Has Died

Ray Harryhausen was one of the heroes of my youth. His visions of monsters and mythological creatures brought my dreams to life, and there are sequences from Jason and the Argonauts and the Sinbad films that are as vivid in my mind’s eye as memories from life. Computers may make things look better and more realistic, [Read More...]

Tobit, And Tamerlan: The Dignity of Burial

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No one wants the body of marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev. His uncle Ruslan, who seems to be the only sensible member of the family, finally stepped forward to claim it, saying “A dead person needs to be buried.” Meanwhile, a petty tyrant named Robert W. Healy, City Manager of Cambridge, intends to block any attempt to bury this killer [Read More...]

Under the Weather

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Last week was finals and work, and this week is being sick. Yay me! Sorry folks, things are going to be light around here while I cough up interesting things. Since I hate leaving you with nothing, I want to share two of my favorite things: Dolly Parton and Led Zeppelin. I’m too weak to [Read More...]

Streamageddon: Your Netflix Queue Just Got Shorter

Mayday is Doomsday for lovers of classic films on Netflix. Today, the Warner/MGM library of classic films–the stuff I actually watch–vanished from the service. My queue was 49 films lighter this morning, and I’m feeling a little grumpy about it, particularly since I was preparing to cut my cable TV at the end of May. [Read More...]

Best Game Soundtrack of the Year

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I have to put in some more time on Monaco: What’s Yours Is Mine to really get a good sense of it, but so far I’m lovin’ it. It’s been in development for years by Andy Schatz and his Pocketwatch Games: a team smaller than the one responsible for the credit scroll in Bioshock Infinite. It has a [Read More...]

Is This the Voice of Alexander Graham Bell?

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The Smithsonian thinks it is. They’ve been using imaging technology to listen to unplayable experimental recordings by non-destructive means, and accidentally hit upon this snatch of audio, in which the speaker says, “In witness whereof—hear my voice, Alexander Graham Bell.” You have to click the link the hear it, since I can’t embed it, but [Read More...]

Dungeons and Dragons and Demons and Dopes

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So last week I shared a little video on Facebook, adding some mocking comments. Here it is: Oh Pat. PatPatPatPatPat. What are we going to do with you, you crazy knucklehead, you!? I decided, at the time, not to post it here because it gives Pat Robertson a kind of credibility and importance he’s never [Read More...]

SimCity (2013) [Game Review]

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Note: From time to time, I just do straight-up game reviews with some content info for parents and occasional critiques of religion in games. And, yes, I still owe a final review of Bioshock Infinite, which I finished a couple weeks ago. I’m still mulling it over. SimCity (2013) EA/Maxis Format: PC: $40-$60 (OSX version [Read More...]

Really Old Medieval Cookbook Found

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Researchers have discovered a collection of recipes written in Latin by monks of Durham Cathedral in 1140. Some are calling it the oldest such collection of the Middle Ages. Many of the dishes sound like they would work on a modern restaurant menu. Faith Wallis, an expert in medical history and science based at McGill [Read More...]

“I Hope He’s In Hell”

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I’ve been reading and hearing variants of the words in this headline since Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev* was killed in a gun battle with police. Since the capture of his brother, Dzhokhar, I’ve also seen various sadistic fantasies about how he should be treated, each more lurid than the last, all of them steeped in blood and [Read More...]

Because What I Always Look For in a Quality Adult Beverage Is …

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… an interactive bottle. What is this I don’t even– (Emphasis added so you can really savor the marketingspeak.) The Heineken Ignite interactive bottle is born from Heineken’s ambition to develop an idea that would create a memorable Heineken experience unlocking the power and possibilities of mobile innovation and technology. To match our ambitions we [Read More...]

And The Darkness Has Not Overcome It

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By now you’ve heard the name of Martin Richard, the 8-year-old boy killed in the Boston Marathon bombing yesterday. This is Martin: This picture filled my social media and news feeds this morning, and it just hit me in the gut. My wife is a sacrament coordinator, and Martin is dressed in his first communion suit and [Read More...]

Death for Gosnell? Or Mercy?

Robert George addresses something that’s been on my mind as well. As surely as I know that the sun rises, I know that, if found guilty, Kermit Gosnell deserves the death penalty for his crimes. We know very little about the psyche of Dr. Gosnell. His keeping of souvenirs certainly suggests that he took some [Read More...]


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