Nabobs of NABA

It was an experiment. The Initiative represented the government's interest in not only controlling the otherworldly menace, but in harnessing its power for our own military purposes. The considered opinion of this council is that the experiment has failed. ... The demons cannot be harnessed, cannot be controlled. It is therefore our recommendation that the project be terminated. ... The Initiative itself will be filled in with concrete. Burn it down, gentlemen. Burn it down and salt the … [Read more...]

Private property 3

Or: "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Road to Serfdom" OK, as promised, here's one biblical story/passage I find utterly bewildering: Genesis 47. This isn't the story of a villain, like the story of Ahab's murderous usurpation of Naboth's vineyard, but the story of Joseph -- one of the heroes, someone we're meant to read as a Good Guy worthy of emulation. Joseph, you'll recall from Sunday school or from Andrew Lloyd Weber, had been sold into slavery by … [Read more...]


From "What's My Line Part 2," Buffy the Vampire Slayer 2.4: XANDER: (reading about the Bugman assassin) OK, OK ... he can only be killed when he's in his disassembled state. Dis-assembled. That means when he's broken down into his little buggy parts. CORDELIA: I know what it means, dorkhead. From the President's press conference, May 31, 2005: THE PRESIDENT: I'm aware of the Amnesty International report, and it's absurd. It's an absurd allegation. The … [Read more...]

Private property (cont’d.)

If only to provide a new thread for the interminable discussion below, I thought it might be helpful to revisit a couple of biblical stories related to the theme of "private property." The first passage is a classic text that has shaped the Christian understanding not only of the meaning of property, but of the role of the state. The second passage, which I'll save for a later post, is a little-remarked-upon oddity that, frankly, I find baffling. 1 Kings 21 tells the story of King … [Read more...]


If you're in the Philadelphia area this weekend, you may want to check out a staged reading of "Cakewalk," a new play by Tom Minter. It's the very funny (and perhaps also very sad) story of a young man who finds himself pregnant (or, maybe, dying, depending on whether you view it as a fantastical story or a story about fantasy, or something like that): What do you do when you know you’re pregnant and everyone else thinks you’re not? Paul, a struggling twenty-something actor, r … [Read more...]

Car fish

One of the friends I sometimes borrowed a car from during college had put one of those fish symbols on it. This made me uncomfortable and nervous whenever I drove that car. I'm a relatively courteous and careful driver -- for someone who grew up in central Jersey, anyway, Driving in New Jersey is a Hobbesian war of all against all. Rush hour in central Jersey is actually about 18 hours long and is governed by two apparently contradictory rules: 1) don't worry, they'll move; and … [Read more...]

Thetomdelay waltz of treachery

Les Miserables was a success. The kids from VFMA were great onstage and a real privilege and pleasure to work with. One of the highlights of the show was our Thenardier, who borrowed a bit of shtick from Johnny Depp's Jack Sparrow. His scenes got even funnier for me, though, once I started mentally substituting "Thetomdelay" for "Thenardier." And you don't even need to change any of the other words: Master of the house / Keeper of the zoo Ready to relieve 'em / … [Read more...]


A few weeks ago, it was a beluga whale swimming 60 miles up the Delaware River to, of all places, Trenton, N.J. Yesterday, it was a bunch of buffalo on a tennis court in Maryland.I love these stories. This is a whole category of news: the Large Animals Where They Don't Belong story. Yes, yes, news as infotainment is a terrible thing. And the shrinking news hole in most newspapers really can't afford to sacrifice more column space for "human interest" chuckle-stories. But, … [Read more...]