Sunday salmagundi

Sunday salmagundi December 23, 2012

Turner Classic Movies does the year-end obituary reel better than anybody else. The Academy ought to just borrow this for Oscar night.

• Call it solidarity, call it justice, or common decency, or the Golden Rule, or karma, or fear of karma — but whatever you want to call it, don’t even think about going to McDonald’s on Christmas day.

• It would be really neat if Esquire made it possible to read Charlie Pierce’s blog without their website freezing and crashing one’s browser. About the only good thing I can find to say about Esquire’s website is that it’s very slightly more reader-friendly than their abominable mobile site for Kindle.

• #progGOD: A host of thoughtful responses to Tony Jones’ latest question: “Why an incarnation?

The Englewood Review of Books collects the “Worst Christian Book Covers of 2012.”

• The Obama administration takes action to save children’s lives — and in this case it’s not about gun control. (Soot kills quietly, but it kills.)

• “I’m not a gynecologist, but …” said the conservative male judge. And then it got worse. Much, much worse.

• Here’s a recent headline from Religion News Service: “Contraception opponents hail DC court ruling.” Who are these “contraception opponents”? One is Wheaton College, whose president has said he thinks that the pill causes abortions. (It doesn’t, but his biology department is not free to correct him.)

White evangelicals are turning Catholic on birth control. In 10 years, the transformation will be as complete as it is with abortion. In another 20 years, who knows — celibate clergy? Transubstantiation?

Matt Yglesias on Apple TV — anybody else going this route TV-wise? How’s that working for you?

Lord lift me up, and let me stand / By faith on heaven’s tableland …

• Mark Kleiman offers “Thirteen theses on cannabis policy.” It’s a brief, thoughtful rundown of the issues involved in prohibition/legalization. And it made me think of Hal Incandenza.

• Blasphemy laws are always themselves blasphemous. Free Alber Saber.

• Your tax dollars at work: “The grand chamber of the European court of human rights unanimously found that Mr. el-Masri was subjected to forced disappearance, unlawful detention, extraordinary rendition outside any judicial process, and inhuman and degrading treatment.”

• “The Queen James Bible” seems like a product without an audience. Those who currently regard the Bible as an anti-gay textbook won’t read it. And those who don’t, don’t need it. But I do like the cover.

• Sad to see Shawn Smucker’s farewell blog post. He’s stepping away to focus on his non-blog writing instead of writing for us, for free. That’s inexcusably selfish, but if it means we may see more books and articles from Shawn, then I guess we’ll have to accept that. (Smucker’s new book, How to Use a Runaway Truck Ramp, is available in paperback and for Kindle.)

Rhetoric Race and Religion is a terrific group blog. It just got even better.

• A semi-serious examination of a semi-silly question: How do they grow grapes for wine in Westeros? “For wine you need grapes, and for grapes you need something Westeros does not have: Reliably changing seasons.”

• Hair clinic promises to give bald men Big Bangs.

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