Welcome JT Eberhard to Patheos!

JT Eberhard, formerly of FreeThought Blogs and the Secular Student Alliance is moving to Patheos today!And given that he's already lit into Timothy Dalrymple before he moved, I imagine it will be a high-spirited housewarming party.  So, before the punch bowl gets overturned, I would like to propose a toast (not that kind!).JT did great work for the Secular Student Alliance.  (And, honestly, for Christians as well).  The kind of tradition that needs to graft itself onto the public schools … [Read more...]

7 Quick Takes (8/31/12)

--- 1 --- The Paralympics are happening, and interesting links abound!  First up, this promotional video for the Games:The BBC has a good rundown of the differences between the Olympics and the Paralympics, including some explanations of how some sports are modified.  For example: One of the most important aids to the blind swimmer is the tapper. Standing at each end of the pool is a person holding a long pole with a soft circular ball on the end. As the swimmer approaches they are tap … [Read more...]

Sondheim Symposium [Sequence Index]

In the summer of 2012, I threw the best birthday party ever when I bribed all my friends with pizza and cake in order to get them to watch a Sondheim double feature.  First, we watched Company, Sondheim's concept musical about marriage, and then we saw Passion, which has a linear narrative but still manages to be a lot more disorienting.  And then we had an argument.Since Company was, at the time of writing, available on Netflix instant play, I invited blog readers to watch along and cont … [Read more...]

Let Augustine Move Up a Weight Class

augustine restless heart

I got to see Restless Heart, the new Augustine biopic last night.  It's not yet in theatres, but community groups can do special showings, and I was lucky enough to snag tickets to the one sponsored by St Anthony of Padua Church here in DC.  (You can put in a request to host a showing or see the list of upcoming events here).  Here's the trailer:The trailer is super dramatic, but large parts of the movie are just people in period clothes standing around talking to each other... which is j … [Read more...]

The Virtue of an Almost Right Solution

Square Peg in a Round Hole

Earlier today, in my final Sondheim post, I was writing in praise of the grotesque.  This post is on the same topic, but I'm code-switching a bit and doing it a more analytic, not aesthetic framework.  Over at LessWrong, there's a great illustration of how positive bias works: I am teaching a class, and I write upon the blackboard three numbers: 2-4-6. "I am thinking of a rule," I say, "which governs sequences of three numbers. The sequence 2-4-6, as it so happens, obeys this rule. Each of you w … [Read more...]

Teaching Fish the Word for Water

In the last Sondheim Symposium post, I talked about Giorgio struggling with Fosca's implacable love.  If his reluctance to accept her unconditional love parallels the flinch away from grace, does it follow that Fosca is a Christ-like figure?Probably not.  For a while after I saw the show, I suspected her of ostentatious humility.  In fact, I hoped that some of her prostrations were insincere.  She was starting to remind me of the awful, self-abnegating image of love on display in "Unworthy of … [Read more...]

“Nobody human can stand all that everlasting affection!”

The quote is from Company, the subject is Passion, as the Sondheim Symposium goes on. This installment includes spoilers for 1984.At the climax of 1984, Winston is broken by the tortures in room 101. The moment that anihilates him and represents victory for Big Brother is the moment where he cries out: Do it to her! Do it to Julia! I don’t care what you do to her, but do it to her! Tear her face off! Do it to Julia, not to me! Do it to Julia! Not me! If this is betrayal, we might assume tha … [Read more...]