Friday, May 20, 2011

7 Quick Takes: Volume 42

The idea of 7 Quick Takes Friday comes from blogger Jennifer Fulwiler, who hosts it weekly at her site, Conversion Diary.


For the next few weeks, my class schedule is going to be a little heavy... so the blogging will be light. Bear with me — I'll be back on track soon with the random assortment of controversy and weirdness you've come to expect.

In the meantime, we have 7 Quick Takes for your Friday enjoyment:


In this week's episode of Adventures in Academia... last weekend my friend Amber crossed the stage at Eastern University and received her diploma in Community and Clinical Counseling. Congrats, Amber!

Even though it's only been three years since I made the journey of hoods-and-handshakes across the stage, I'd somehow forgotten the odd, druid-like robes worn by master's degree recipients... until I looked at Amber's graduation pictures.

Compare the middle gown to the other two and you'll see what I mean:

Seriously, what's with the sleeves on the master's gown?
They're like pockets... one for your phone, and one for a travel pack of Kleenex in case you get teary...


While I was looking for pictures of the master's gown, I ran across the blog of a woman who draws paper dolls and outfits for them, including one celebrating her master's degree:

from Liana's Paper Doll Blog

(Liana's work is great, but if you're wondering who looks this shapely in their cap and gown, the answer is nobody. The real gown is a shapeless black sack with a zipper. And druid sleeves.)


Last week, I mentioned the handmade Mothers' Day accessories one misses out on when one's offspring is old enough to graduate from college. But so that those who did receive lovely handmade accessories of the yarn-and-pasta or shoelace-and-bottlecap variety don't feel too sorry for me, here's my Mothers' Day gift:

"Good for
1 lunch/brunch
1 flat of annuals
Many hours of labor
in yon garden."


Once again, the NPR blog Krulwich Wonders amazes: check out this completely cool pendulum video.


So, according to some, tomorrow is supposed to be Judgment Day.

I mentioned my thoughts on this prediction back in January, so I won't repeat them here. Besides, plenty of others have weighed in on it. (I appreciated Jason Boyett's article in Relevant.)

But no-one's written on it quite like my friend Sam Carbaugh, in his journal comic.


Boba Fett. Accordion. Zelda theme. Could it get any geekier?


And while we're on the subject of people's weird tricks at public transportation stations:

Happy Friday, friends!


Friday, May 13, 2011

7 Quick Takes: Volume 41

The idea of 7 Quick Takes Friday comes from blogger Jennifer Fulwiler, who hosts it weekly at her site, Conversion Diary.


Blogger was down for a while yesterday and today, and I had pretty much given up on this week's 7 Quick Takes.

Until I saw my friend R. had done a 7 Quick Takes post late this afternoon, despite Blogger's long nap. And she mentioned me in her post, and directed people over here.

And now I'm doing the blog equivalent of tidying up the living room when unexpected company comes over. Welcome, visitor! Don't mind the piles of textbooks and term papers all over the place...


Speaking of textbooks and term papers... last week, my son completed his bachelor's degree.

This week, I started the first class for my PhD.

It's all a little surreal.

Not unlike Princess Beatrice's wedding hat.

The hat mocked 'round the world. Photo: Star and Style


Yes, that was my attempt at being current. And also distracting you from realizing the full impact of the previous statement.

But you, dear reader, are no dummy. It won't take very many posts about late nights and high-test coffee and parallel parking for night classes in sketchy downtown neighborhoods before you realize I'm just babbling. (Kinda like right now.)

But probably better to babble about that stuff than about my actual classes, huh?


So, last Sunday was Mothers' Day. (Note the apostrophe placement, indicating plural possessive, since the day is in celebration of more than one mother. You're welcome.)

That morning in church, I admired one woman's lovely accessory. It was a necklace made of a length of white curling ribbon, strung with a single bead. And by bead, I mean empty toilet paper roll decorated with multicolored marker. And she wore it proudly atop her outfit.

For a brief moment, I was a little jealous that I didn't have a necklace made of curling ribbon and an empty toilet paper roll. I guess it's one of the things you lose when your offspring is old enough to graduate from college.


One of my favorite bloggers, Melanie (a.k.a., Big Mama), wrote about her daughter's Mothers' Day gift of a day at the spa. And she also got her pick of great accessories, including bottle-cap necklaces!


I loved this article:

Breaking this cycle between the poles of anti-intellectualism and intellectual elitism requires a generation who will refuse the temptation to overreact on either side (like on comment streams, for starters!). We need a generation who will persistently commit to keep the two greatest commandments bound together. Love the oppressed and marginalized neighbor… but on the foundation of robust, theological thinking. Love God with all the mind… but turn the pages of books with hands calloused from serving our neighbors.
Andrew Byers, Is Christianity Anti-Intellectual?


I'm not much for reading bestsellers, whether fiction or non, but when two trusted friends recommended this book, I had to pay attention.

And then the movie trailer came out:

Oh my. Of course, I love stories about strong Southern women. (The ever-quotable Steel Magnolias is only the tip of the iceberg.) But this... Southern fiction, written by a woman, set in civil rights-era Mississippi... and the central character is an idealistic writer hellbent on drawing attention to injustice? Wow. This hits on all cylinders.

(Plus, her hair is what my hair wants to be when it grows up. Not that it really matters to the story, but that's a nice little bonus for me.)

After my summer classes are over, I'll be reading The Help.

And I guess you know where I'll be when the movie comes out in August.

Happy Friday, friends!


Friday, May 06, 2011

7 Quick Takes: Volume 40

The idea of 7 Quick Takes Friday comes from blogger Jennifer Fulwiler, who hosts it weekly at her site, Conversion Diary.


This weekend, my favorite offspring is graduating from college. Of all the commencement ceremonies I've ever attended or participated in, I have a feeling this one will be the most meaningful.

And I expect to be hoarse by the end of the ceremony. I'm just that self-restrained.


Speaking of self-restraint, I don't often blog about my son. Truth is, he's awesome, and I'm his biggest fan (though there might be a couple of people who would cagefight me for that title). Also, he's extremely quoteable. But I try not to be one of those moms.

I try. I'm not always successful, because he says stuff that begs to be captured.

Like during Easter dinner, when he compared our plates to the hotel in Inception.

It might help to know we have three sets of dinnerware; we were using the plates that are nicer than our everyday stoneware, but aren't so fancy that they can't go in the dishwasher. (Give it a minute...)


Just because of my little adventure in not-fact-checking.

(Not that quote verification was the real point of that post, you understand. But I probably earned a midnight visit from the Ghost of Journalism Classes Past, who would likely resemble my Basic Reporting professor.)


Tim Keller recently gave a great interview on ABC News This Week, discussing religion and politics. (He even mentions sex, completing the trifecta of topics you're never supposed to talk about in polite dinner table conversations.)

In seven minutes, he captures some excellent and challenging thoughts:


This week, Rachel Held Evans is hosting a Rally to Restore Unity on her blog as a fundraiser for Charity: water. Tuesday's guest blogger Chad Gibbs describes the virtual rally as being “just like a real rally, with signs and guest speakers, but without the porta potties.” Check out Chad's post here: Calvinism, Celtic, and Us vs. Them.

And check out some of the other contributing bloggers while you're there. Some of my favorites are there, as well as some new discoveries. Plus, Mason Slater (The March to Keep Disunity Alive) and Jonathan Sigmon (Rally to Maintain Division) play Stephen Colbert to Rachel's Jon Stewart.


Also over at Rachel's, she's got a terrific post on unlikely friendships: "As part of the Rally to Restore Unity, I asked some of my favorite writers and thinkers to respond to this prompt: “In three to five sentences, tell us about a meaningful relationship you’ve maintained with a fellow Christian who doesn’t necessarily share your theological or political views."

Among the contributors to this roundtable discussion was a man whose work I've really appreciated, Scot McKnight. Coincidentally, Dr. McKnight is an alumnus of the university from which my son will graduate this weekend. He also happens to be this year's commencement speaker.


And since it's been a little chilly this week, we'll wrap up with this video of a four-person knit blanket:

Happy Friday, friends!


Monday, May 02, 2011

After the dancing in the streets is over

A mass murderer is dead. And I'm at a loss for the right response.

Some are rejoicing and calling it justice.

Others are saddened over this reaction.*

It makes for a complex cocktail of emotions.

Interestingly, Osama bin Laden's death occurred on Yom HaShoah, or
Holocaust Remembrance Day. (Like other Jewish holidays, Yom HaShoah moves around on the calendar from year to year; this year it happened to fall on May 1.)

And bin Laden's death came just after the death anniversary of another mass murderer. Sixty-six years and one day earlier, the man who masterminded the Holocaust took his own life.

I'm guessing there was gleeful rejoicing in the streets when Adolph Hitler died. It's a natural reaction.

But that gleeful rejoicing displays a disturbing facet of our humanity. When I see and hear the exulting over bin Laden's death, what it reminds me of most is the rejoicing in the streets of Afghanistan immediately after 9/11.

I'm hoping we can move on from the exultation and figure out something better to do with our post-9/11 emotions.

It seems to me the Jews have the right idea on Yom HaShoah: commemorate the event, celebrate the heroes, remember the victims.

Maybe if we come up with a similar observance, there will be no room for hate-filled exultation at an enemy's death.

Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that. Hate Multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., The Strength to Love, 1963 **

* Check out these thoughtful articles:
The Trouble with Exultation by military wife Kara Withee
Bin Laden & Beyond by Rabbi Arthur Waskow
Celebrating a Death by Paul Brandeis Raushenbush
How Should We Respond to the Death of Osama bin Laden? by Jim Wallis
Osama Bin Laden at the Nexus of God's Justice and Man's by Jonathan Fitzgerald
Osama is Dead. Now What Should I Feel? by Fr. Peter-Michael Preble
The Christian Response To Bin Laden's Death by Rev. James Martin, S.J.
Should Christians Celebrate the Death of Osama bin Laden? by Jonathan Merritt

** In an earlier edition of this post, I used a quote that was partially spurious. Although I agree with it, it seems "I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy" is not, in fact, a quote by Dr. King.

Lesson learned: always do a little research before reposting quotes from Facebook.