7 Quick Takes (11/15/13)

--- 1 --- I can't decide if I want to roll my eyes at the sheer number of [X] Hall of Fames that exist or to feign approval until the eventual creation of a Hall of Fame Hall of Fame, in which you can see scaled down miniatures and blown up photos of the best niche museums.  I discovered the existence of the Toy Hall of Fame this week, when they inducted two new toys: chess and the rubber duckie.    The news story says that honorees are chosen "on the basis of several factors including ico … [Read more...]

All Parenthood in a Day

In his memoir Living by Faith, Dwelling in Doubt, Kyle Cupp tells two interwoven stories: the development of his Catholic faith and the death of his daughter Vivian, who was diagnosed in utero as being unable to live for much more than a day after her birth.The story is harrowing to read. Cupp doesn't sugarcoat the grief he, his wife, and their son experienced, but he also shows how they kept looking for opportunities to show Vivian and each other love.  He writes: I came to the conclusion … [Read more...]

Knock Knock. Who’s There? A Wedding… I think

  The NYT Weddings section recently reported on a new trend for marriage officiants: marketing themselves for their entertainment potential rather than any particular ministry.  One popular officiant is the Kenny Kramer, who inspired the Seinfeld character of the same name. The bride’s parents squirmed. Seconds later, Mr. Kramer, who prefers not to be called the Rev. Kramer but rather Irreverent Kramer, pronounced the smiling couple husband and wife, and after they kissed, he reminded them of h … [Read more...]

Science Fiction is a Compliment

The Pope is talking about science fiction!  Well, not Pope Francis, though it's hardly out of the realm of possibility.  In a letter to professor Piergiorgio Odifreddi, an Italian mathematician and prominent atheist, Pope Benedict XVI said the following: Science fiction exists, on the other hand, in the ambit of many sciences. That which you explain about theories concerning the beginning and the end of the world in Heisenberg, Schrödinger, etc., I would designate as science fiction in the good … [Read more...]

Mormons, Genre Fiction, and (No) Full Frontal Snogging

In Mark Oppenheimer’s most recent column in the New York Times, he speaks to a number of Mormon authors to try to figure out why so many of them write genre (F/SF) or young adult fiction. One of the first hypotheses is that members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints prefer to eschew the darker themes of literary fiction: “When I was an English major, then getting a master’s, most of the literary fiction I read was tragedy,” said Ms. Hale, whose “Princess Academy” was a Newbery Ho … [Read more...]

Choose Your Own Genre Adventure

Christian H of The Thinking Ground, and the inspiration for the question about genres in this year's Turing Test, has put together an online quiz to figure out "which genre would give you the most opportunities to express your worldview and explore the questions that you find most interesting."  Here's how he describes it:In general, I tried to make questions about the kind of beliefs you have--what the beliefs are about, how you think about them--more than what your opinions are. After all, … [Read more...]

7 Quick Takes (11/8/13)

--- 1 --- This week, I got to make a donation to Against Malaria in honor of the Unequally Yoked readership.  Back when I got my flu shot, I asked any of you who were contributing to herd immunity to sign the flu shot honor roll, and I'd donate $5 per immunized reader, up to $100.    You guys made quota, and I'm delighted to have made the donation today.  And, if you didn't sign up in round one, but have since gotten your flu shot, I'll donate up to an additional $50 if you brag about your vir … [Read more...]