Month: February 2006

Field Trips

Remember my rant against school field trips? Here’s a story that corroborates my view. Excerpt:

A 12-year-old visitor to the Detroit Institute of Arts stuck a wad of gum to a $1.5 million painting, leaving a stain the size of a quarter, officials say.

The boy was part of a school group from Holly that visited the museum on Friday, officials say. They say he took a piece of Wrigley’s Extra Polar Ice gum out of his mouth and stuck it on Helen Frankenthaler’s “The Bay,” an abstract painting from 1963.

Just leave the little animals at home. If some of them have a genuine interest in art, they’ll find a way to get to the museum. … Read the rest

Creative Writing

A page of creative writing prompts. When I first heard about it, I snickered, but after checking it out, I think this could be a great page for young writers who want to practice. The important thing to know about writing is, you have to do it. The act of writing brings its benefits, but if you have nothing to write about, the act never gets started. This page could really help. I’ll plan on keeping it on hand for my kids, when they get a little older.… Read the rest

Kaufmann

Friction makes the mind sharper. The youthful Chesterton became a Christian after reading all the avant-garde heretics of his day and concluding, “These guys are idiots” (loose paraphrase–GKC didn’t use such disrespectful words).

The problem with reading heretics, though, is the temptation to see things their way. I don’t know what to say about that, except that perhaps you’re better off not reading them. But even if you want to take the risk, the next question is, “What to read?” Ideally, you’d find an honest atheist who asks honest questions or makes honest assertions . . . in a manageable number of pages. Few people want to read an entire book devoted to anti-Christian ramblings.

Anyway, all of this is an intro of sorts to this 1959 essay by Walter Kaufmann that I recently found online, “The Faith of a Heretic.” I’m a little bit acquainted with Kaufmann’s work, and he strikes me as an honest man. It also appears that Denis Dutton–a humanistic atheist–likes him. Dutton runs the Arts & Letters Daily page, and I think he’s an honest thinker.

Anyway, if you want to sharpen your mind without spending too much time, you may want to check out the Kaufmann article. It might test your faith a little, but I think it’ll test your mind more and make you into a better Christian thinker.

Disclosure: I haven’t read the essay closely yet, much less sat down and grappled with Wally. I’ve skimmed through it, though, and it looks like the perfect piece to generate friction.… Read the rest

Bosnians Gone Wild

A teenage Bosnian entrepreneur has been caught selling films of female athletes showering that he recorded on his mobile phone.

The 14-year-old, from Banovici, unnamed due to child protection laws, filmed the women who played for the town’s local basketball team from a small maintenance room above their showers.

He then sold pictures of the wet and naked women for £1.50 each, distributing them via text message.

Link.

Bosnia is 40% Muslim. You’d think naked pictures of Muslim girls who normally keep their faces covered near men would fetch extra money on the Internet. You’d also think it’d catch the lad a vigilante death sentence. You’re probably better off taking naked pictures of a daughter in the Gambino clan. … Read the rest

Get Smitty

For nearly three decades, hip-hop relics such as vinyl records, turntables, microphones and boom boxes have collected dust in boxes and attics.

On Tuesday, owners of such items–including pioneering hip-hop artists such as Afrika Bambaataa, DJ Kool Herc, Grandmaster Flash and Fab 5 Freddy–will blow that dust off and carry them to a Manhattan hotel to turn them over to National Museum of American History officials.

The museum, part of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., is announcing its plans to embark on a collecting initiative, “Hip-Hop Won’t Stop: the Beat, the Rhymes, the Life.”

Link.

Wow, quite the coup for hip-hop, except I didn’t even know it existed back in 1976. Surely, they didn’t call it “hip hop” back then, if it even existed. It was called “rock-n-roll” by 1956 (less than two years after Bill Haley’s “Rock Around the Clock”), but wasn’t hip-hop called “rap” in the 1980s and early 1990s? If it was called “rap” or something else, did it really exist as “hip-hop”? Am I sounding like William of Occam?

I don’t claim to be a hip-hop expert (and if I was, I’d deny it), but a quick search reveals that none of the four “artists” listed above are singers. The first three were DJs, who pioneered “scratching” and junk like that. Freddy was a music video director.

They refer to some these “artists” (like Eminem) as “geniuses.” I don’t know. They’re clearly clever, but genius? I’ll always have a hard time with that.

“Get down on dat Smitty/
Gonna stab in you da drawers/
Gonna bitch slap yo sista/
Gonna also slap dem whores.

Cuz I … Read the rest

4 billion

“Analysts predict that the number of global mobile phone customers will double to four billion in five years.”

That’s from the New York Times. That’s remarkable (there are only 6.5 billion people in the world). That also sucks (note: employ proper British usage of the term, not the vulgar Wayne’s World edition–this blog is urbane, remember?). I like access to a cell phone, but the 24/7 availability is annoying.

Though not all the time. I love it when a client sits in my office, his cell phone rings, and he takes the call. My clock is ticking at an hourly rate. I love watching the more astute clients, who, after a minute, say, “I gotta call you back. I’m at the attorney’s. This is costing me money.” Some don’t even wait that long. They answer the call, immediately say “I’m at the attorney’s,” then hang up. I don’t hear enough to know whether they’re talking to their wife or mistress.

I’m also curious to see where all this cell phone goes when it comes to etiquette, especially the subtle stuff. Five years ago, it would’ve been outrageous to hang up on a person by simply saying “I’m at the attorney’s,” click. Today, it appears to be acceptable. Among people who use the cell phone regularly, a whole new sense of polite and rude is cropping up with regard to phone etiquette. There’s little doubt that the phone etiquette will spill over into non-cell phone etiquette, possibly in the form of a willingness to interrupt and be interrupted. We’ll see. It’ll be an interesting transformation to watch. … Read the rest

Beckham

Soccer superstar David Beckham, whose mental agility has been questioned before in the British media, has said his six-year-old son’s maths homework leaves him baffled.

The England captain and Real Madrid midfielder was forced to call on his wife Victoria, a former member of the Spice Girls pop group, to help their son Brooklyn with a school assignment because the footballer found the sums too difficult.

Link.

I’m not going to tease a six-year-old who’s having troubles with addition, but a lot of things can contribute to a child’s intellectual inability. It’s not, in other words, always a lack of intellectual rigor. What could be causing “Brooklyn’s” problems? You’d think, with a former Spice Girl for a mom and a dad who revels in his celebrity status among homosexuals, the kid would be pretty stable.… Read the rest