7 things @ 9 o’clock (8.31)

1. OK, I just learned two new phrases: “ideomotor effect” and “Chevreul’s Pendulum.” Next time I tell my Ouija Board Story I’ll be able to use more specific scientific language.

2. Hail to thee, Lee Beaumont of Leeds, England. This is brilliant.

3. The story of Saul of Tarsus “makes for a heck of a good read,” says Unification Times columnist Mark Kellner. “It does, at least, when told by Jerry B. Jenkins, whose novel I, Saul … debuted this week. A page-turner that blends a modern romance/thriller with a dramatized account of Paul’s life before and after the ‘road to Damascus’ experience, there’s enough here to catch the attention even of those largely unfamiliar with Paul’s story.”

My guess is that being “largely unfamiliar with Paul’s story” may be a prerequisite for reading I, Saul. And it will probably be a consequence of reading it as well.

4. The West Memphis Three are free, but many others accused in the Satanic Panic that arose in the late 20th century remain in prison. Oh, and American politics continues to be shaped primarily by partisan loyalties determined solely on the basis of opposition to Satanic baby-killers. Because morally serious people all want to save children from evil cultists with dinosaurs in the swimming pool.

5. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will be officiating at the wedding of John Roberts. (Wait … what?)

6. Drunk History did a pretty good job with the story of Mary Dyer (NSFW).

7. In honor of what would have been James Coburn’s 85th birthday, allow me to point out that you can watch all of Our Man Flint on YouTube. They don’t make ’em like that any more.

"Please do not feed the trolls. Flag, hush, ignore."

And his own received him not
"Teh people who should be scolded are the ones who vote for whoever their pastor ..."

Romans 13 and the Gettysburg Address
"https://d1ia71hq4oe7pn.clou...Without boobies, tits, or asses, etc? How can you be first without those?"

And his own received him not
"The Boss (Boob+Ass) https://uploads.disquscdn.c..."

And his own received him not

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Baby_Raptor

    RE #3 But the important question is…Will there be cookies?

  • *fans himself* My goodness. Did it suddenly get warm in here?

  • Cathy W

    I seem to recall that Paul was proud of never having had cookies. Perhaps he was diabetic?

  • Sue White

    I wonder if all of Paul’s dialogue is going to be lifted from Bible verses.

  • kookbusters



    the end of effective social movements

    how we won the James Randi Million Dollar Paranormal Prize


  • Fusina

    That’ll be the best writing in the book then…

  • Otrame

    Well the ideomotor effect may be responsible for some Ouiji movements, but I suspect that quit a bit is caused by people who are doing it on purpose. It is extremely easy to do. I used to do it routinely, get everyone all excited about what ever narrative I came up with and then tell them what I had been doing. It was not malicious. I wanted to encourage them to be less gullible.

    Why, yes, I wasn’t the most popular girl in high school. How did you guess?

  • Otrame

    Also: Coburn was so freaking cool.

  • otrame

    Now that I’ve read the “I. Paul” story in the Uni Times I see that Jenkins has not only stolen the title from “I, Claudius”, He has also stolen the idea of switching between the search for ancient stuff and what happened in the past related to that ancient stuff from Michener’s “The Source”. Well done, there.

  • I wonder if Jenkins would see it as competition to his attempt at re-chronicling Paul’s life. :P

  • Marshall

    #1, follow the link’s link to wjh.harvard.edu/~wegner/conscwil.htm; there’s a whole bunch of links to articles on problems with the sensation that your “self” does things. This will keep me busy for a while.

    Your Brain: It Knows More Than You Do!

    So of course the Spirit World doesn’t manipulate the pendulum. Ha ha, just kidding. Hey, what happened to the dinosaurs in the pool??

  • Winter

    I suspect the quality is closer to “I, Weapon,” an utterly wretched novel from the 70s I found in the library as a teenager. All I remember of it is alien kangaroos, a human subspecies named Ungor (something similar, anyway) for the sounds it makes when mating (it was kept as slaves when Earth was conquered), a breeding program to create the perfect human living weapon, and something about a planet-sized alien potato. I may be misremembering some of this after nearly fifteen years. I don’t say this lightly, but it’s even worse than “Battlefield Earth” and the “Mission Earth” series by Hubbard.

  • MikeJ

    Far too many of the plans to get revenge against telemarketers involve just being cruel to people stuck in shitty jobs. Bravo for #2 coming up with a way to punish the business responsible instead of the working stiff.

  • Anyone else seeing the “End Bible Poverty” ad? Speaking as a Chrisitian, could I strongly suggest they worry about REAL poverty first

  • Daniel

    Here we go…
    “Saul of Tarsus’s mind was on a sect he’d never touch…”

  • Lori

    planet-sized alien potato.

    If I knew an emoticon for eyebrows raised up near one’s hairline I would type it now.

  • arghous

    Well, Peter had a vision about cookie dough, “Rise, Bake, and Eat”, and began to share yummy cookies with all, including the Glutenites. But then, some from the Antileveners group came, and Peter began to separate himself from the Glutenites. Even Barnabas was led astray, and avoided Fig Nazarethtons, so Paul had to rebuke Peter to his face.

  • banancat

    Didn’t many of them then accuse you of lying when you revealed it was you all along?

  • Winter

    Like I said, I could be misremembering things. I’m very sure that alien potatoes were important in some way, and that some sort of planet-sized organism was part of the later plot. Running them together is at least a funny possibility. Unfortunately, the library got rid of their copies at some point, though it’s no great loss. Speaking of which, I don’t remember seeing their copy of “Battlefield Earth” lately, either.

  • Amaryllis

    Well, that’s not an entirely unusual device, is it? Or a bad one; A. S. Byatt used it effectively with Possession, and… oh, there must be lots of others, but I can never remember examples when I need them.

    Or maybe my brain melted when I mentioned Byatt in any connection with Jenkins.

    “the novel’s modern protagonist, a seminary professor named Dr. Augie Knox,”

    Augie Knox? As in St. Augustine and John Knox? You’ve got to be kidding me.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Someone else mentioned it a couple posts ago. It’s a pretty offensive idea, yeah.

    If you have an ad blocker installed, I’d suggest just blocking that particular ad.

  • Kubricks_Rube

    This isn’t quite the same thing, but John Updike’s very funny Memories of the Ford Administration switches between a narcissistic historian’s reminiscences of the 1970s and his unfinished biography of James Buchanan (through whom he channels his own defensiveness about how he’s perceived by friends and family).

  • BaseDeltaZero

    Planet sized alien potato. That is just…

    Planet sized alien potato…

  • DreadPirateZed

    I must be missing something here – but what’s the context for the SDA logo? I read all the linked stories (well, as much of the Jenkins stuff as I could stomach, anyway) but I don’t see how the SDAs come into any of it. (I’m an ex-Catholic and ex-SDA, so I’m always intrigued by any references.)

  • It’s another “7 things” post, and Fred tries to find pictures that refer to seven in some way.

  • Flagged as inappropriate.

  • Splitting Image

    This looks like a good time to plug Joseph Heller’s book “God Knows”, which was an epic retelling of the story of King David. David is aware of the version of his story in the Bible but his attitude is that God is entitled to his own opinions but not to his own facts.

    Fans of Heller (“Catch-22”) will not be surprised that I consider “God Knows” to be a tad better than “I, Saul” is likely to be, but if you’ve never read any of Heller’s work, now might be a good time to dive in. It would be the perfect antidote to LaHaye and Jenkins.

  • Amaryllis

    I’ve never read Updike, for some reason. But anyone who can wring some humor from the Ford administration (that doesn’t involve Mr Ford falling down the steps, that is) is doing well.

    You know, another thing occurs to me: don’t we keep having these discussions about how “Moishe” and “Eli” (and later, Jesus himself) are such terrible conversationalists because LaJenkins thought it wrong to put words into the mouths of “Bible characters?” So how is he going to write a whole novel– or half a novel– about a Bible character? Is the protagonist of his novel never going to be allowed to speak, or think anything that wasn’t written in the Epistles? That’s.. going to be … different.

    Or maybe those qualms have been dismissed as so last century.

  • Kubricks_Rube

    But anyone who can wring some humor from the Ford administration

    That’s part of the joke though. The narrator is supposed to be discussing Ford but focuses entirely on the state of his marriage, affairs and work situation in the 1970s instead (along with the unpublished Buchanan biography).

    YMMV on Updike in general. His work has a reputation for misogyny which I can’t say is entirely misplaced but (depending on the book) it’s more character driven than author driven.

  • Wednesday

    I don’t know, I find a planet-sized alien potato less implausible than the Giant Space Baby at the end of 2001. Especially since I’m still not sure if the GSB came back to earth to destroy Earth, to save Earth, or to bear witness to its destruction.

  • Wednesday

    I’m seeing it too. I tend to get my revenge against bad ads by clicking on them, thus transferring funds from them to Fred.

    Important safety note: I have Adblock and Ghostery configured so that they only whitelist Slacktivist and a few other sites, so that any places clicking on ads will take me to doesn’t get to stick trackers on my computer.

  • Wednesday

    If that’s the case, I wonder if all of his dialog will be lifted from Bible verses Paul actually wrote, as opposed to the euphemistically-named deutero-Pauline letters (ie, the ones written by other people pretending to be Paul).

  • Amaryllis

    Yeah… after I posted the above, I went and looked up the book. And was reminded of why I’ve never gotten around to Updike.

    I’m sure he writes well, but I don’t think he writes for me.

    One (NSFW) impression of the way those years looked from the other side:
    “You’re good,” he said. Hell, I wasn’t taking a typing test,
    I was fighting to live in a dying world.
    I was throwing myself away, an offering to wildest space,
    surrender to the mind’s dissolve, the body’s electric light,
    nerve endings firing like exploding stars.
    “You’re good,” they all said:
    you’d think somebody was doing a survey.
    Girls say yes to boys who say no, and then
    your professor asks if you’re wearing underwear,
    when you meet for your conference on the poetry of Yeats.

    – Cynthia Huntington

  • DreadPirateZed

    AH! Thank you. Usually I find some connection between the picture and one of the stories… and now I realize that I’ve just been inventing those connections, because “7” is the connection. Was my face red!

    In other news: what’s the answer to the great question of Life, the Universe, and Everything?

  • Lori

    Fair enough. Although IMO “less weird than 2001” is a pretty low bar.

  • FearlessSon

    I tell them I would have gotten away with it too, if it were not for those damn kids and their dog.

  • P J Evans

    what is 9 times 6?

  • A Kaleberg

    I think someone described John Updike as about oral sex in the suburbs. (I don’t have the citation.) I read a little of his work in the New Yorker when I was a teen. It think that capsule description sort of works. I never read his later stuff with minivans.

  • 54.

  • arcseconds

    Interviewer: You’ve never written anything as good as Catch-22 since, though.
    Heller: Neither has anyone else.

  • Ashton

    I was wondering the same. I clicked on this post because of the logo. I’m often interested in things relating to Adventism. I grew up in an Adventist family but am now an atheist (I kind of was all along, I just didn’t want to admit it to myself). What do you consider yourself now DPZ? I always like “meeting” other former SDA’s.

  • DreadPirateZed

    I’m an atheist, but not a Dawkins-style atheist; I figure that other people’s belief or unbelief is (mostly) none of my business, as long as they don’t make it my business – e.g. creationist textbooks in schools, theocrats/theonomists/etc.

    I sometimes ask myself why, as an atheist, I read the Slacktivist every day – and don’t read, for example, The Friendly Atheist (unless Fred posts a link to him!) I seem to agree with Fred on more things that I disagree with… which seems odd, no?

    I came up with a statement of my philosophy a while back that I’m fairly pleased with:
    I try every day to do right; I try to improve my understanding every day of what IS right; I fail every day and fall short of my goals, but I try again the next day. I fail most often by simply forgetting that those ARE my goals. If I do right, I don’t expect to be rewarded after I die; if I do wrong, I expect my punishment to end when I die. “Existentialism with a human face”, that’s me.

  • DreadPirateZed

    Well, in the very next episode of “7 things”, Fred posted a link to Zen Pencils and called it out in the text of the post – so I retroactively don’t feel like quite such a fool for not seeing that all of the pictures are 7-related; they aren’t, necessarily. I still feel silly for not getting the “Seventh” connection of this one, though.

  • I know why I don’t read FriendlyAtheist… because I got a little tired of the comments section piling on anyone who claimed the slightest hint of Christianity, regardless of context, as being a horrible person who ought to be terribly ashamed of their own sheer stupidity. Far too many atheists there seem to carry around a strawman of what every Christian is like and proceed to prop it up and beat the tar out of it every time someone so much as makes an allusion to God, Jesus or scripture, even if it’s in support of the consensus.

    I mean, sheesh. You’d think they’d want to pick their battles a little more carefully…

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    “It does, at least, when told by Jerry B. Jenkins, whose novel I, Saul … debuted this week. A page-turner that blends a modern romance/thriller with a dramatized account of Paul’s life before and after the ‘road to Damascus’ experience, there’s enough here to catch the attention even of those largely unfamiliar with Paul’s story.”

    My guess is that being “largely unfamiliar with Paul’s story” may be a prerequisite for reading I, Saul. And it will probably be a consequence of reading it as well.

    Jerry B Jenkins, GCAAT, has already screwed up royally trying to tell the story of Paul in a near-future persecution dystopia setting, why should he be any better in a historical setting? Check “Soon” over at Heathen Critique if you want to know about REAL bad Bible Fanfic attempts at SF (with all the F-ups we’ve come to expect from the GCAAT).

  • DreadPirateZed

    True dat. I feel a lot more at home in the comment section here than there. However, as an atheist in US society, I’ve quite often felt pretty embattled – so I can sorta understand the attitude over there. Sorta. Not enough to emulate it, nor enough to want to hang out there.

  • I do know the feeling. I started out as a casual Christian and eventually wound up wavering between atheism and deism before I realized that defining myself as the antithesis of Christianity was only making me bitter and unapproachable, so I definitely understand having a kneejerk reaction to religion. The problem is that such a raw nerves perspective causes more hurt to the one who holds it than to the people they actually despise, and hatred in general is often useless if it doesn’t lead in a direction which improves the situation — which spitting vitriol at good people who support the same causes most definitely does not do.

  • stardreamer42

    It’s by Charles W. Runyon. (Which is a relief — this is not an author I’ve ever heard of.) There’s a fairly comprehensive review on Goodreads. It’s also available on Amazon.

  • I picked that book up by chance in a second hand shop a couple of weeks ago, and am looking forward to it.