Monday, December 28, 2009

Browns Game

Yesterday, I went to the Browns/Raiders game in Cleveland with my brother Jim. I haven't been to a game since I went with my friend Robert in fourth grade or so. I just want to say, Cleveland fans are AWESOME! Every time our defense is out there on third down, the whole stadium is barking. It's so cool to be a part of it. I loved sitting next to the dad and his son who were cuddled under a blanket drinking mountain dew, though the guy above them shouting obscenities to some Oakland fans was a bit much at one point. There were two Oakland fans sitting behind us, and I'm not sure they knew what football is. They seemed confused about the rules, and how exactly you got a first down. But that didn't keep them from talking as if they knew what they were saying. "Give him a cortisone shot he'll be fine!" she said. "Did you see him push the other guy like that? Where's the flag ref?!" He said about the Cleveland line protecting Derek Anderson. All in all, it was an awesome game, the snow started coming down in the fourth and I wasn't even cold. (Thanks to the toe warmers that Jim gave me.) And, I found out that if you get a funnel, and fill it with mustard, it fits perfectly into your soft pretzel, turning the food you're eating into the condiment holder for that food! Yeah, I'm brilliant. Oh, and we won. Because Charlie Fry sucks, and Jerome Harrison is an absolute work horse.

I know people only come here for the pictures, so here are some photos I took at the game. (Jim has really nice seats.)

Here's a shot with Eric Wright in it. He's my second favorite Brownie.
(Cribbs is my favorite of course.)

Here's Wright apparently not getting fouled as he fails to make an interception in the endzone. After the play, they said that his left foot was out of bounds. Gee... I wonder why.

In case you missed why Oakland's Routts (no. 26) was ejected from the game... here it is.
Why does this get you ejected from the game, but the previous photo isn't even a penalty? Hint: The guy in the brown shirt is a QB.

Here's Harrison's TD. If you could see a game clock, it would tell you that there were 14:15 left in the first quarter. It was crazy how quickly we got on top, and then never lost the lead.

Here's Eric Wright practicing his air pogo while David Bowens shows off his interception.

And finally, a shot of Jerome Harrison Mohamed Massaquoi catching a TD. (OK Jim, he's alright.)

Ok, so I didn't take those pictures. I got them from ESPN. But, it was fun pretending.

Thanks Jim for a great Christmas present. I really had a blast at the game!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

1 Kings 1:13-17

There's a little verse in Kings that struck me today. Here's my quick translation of 1 Kings 1:13-17 (Don't take this translation for more than it is, it's not an attempt at a great translation, I just want to get the point across):
Now, Hanah was praying in her heart, so her lips moved but she wasn't making any sound. Eli [the priest] saw her and took her for a drunkard. He said: "How long are you going to be making a drunk of yourself? Put your wine away!" She replied, "No my lord! My soul is distraught. I haven't had any alcohol at all! It is because I am so distraught that I have been pouring out my soul to God. Don't take your servant for a base woman, I have prayed for so long because I am have been injured so badly." Eli replied: "Go in peace. God will give you whatever you asked of him."
The reason I liked this verse so much when I read it today was because I can imagine myself in Eli's shoes. There I am: High Priest of Israel, sitting in my cool chair in God's living room, when I realize some drunk lady has been over there slobbering drunk drooling all over the golden lampstands for an hour now. I feel like I let it go long enough, let's be honest, she's starting to scare people away. So, I trudge out of my golden chair or whatever it is, and walk over to this bleary eyed woman and say "Hey! Y'old drunk. Wrap it up! How long are you going to sit there blabbing away like that?"

That's when I find out I'm a complete stuffed shirt tool-bag, and this lady is completely, emotionally, viscerated. Rather than coming across as a representative of God's love, rather than trying to help this poor injured woman, I re-victimized her with a snap judgement and a terse, self-righteous slap in the broken heart.

Knowing that I screwed up that bad, what do I do? Do I say, "I'm so sorry. I completely screwed up here, I thought you were... oh man. Sorry."

Nope. I buy her forgiveness by saying cheap and easy like, "Oh... well... God will give you whatever you've asked for."

And what's Hannah's response? (v. 18) "May your servant find favor in your eyes." Oh man... just when I thought I was home free, she goes and humbles herself to me! I'm the one that should be apologizing... geez. I better go back and sit in my chair and hope God doesn't send fire out from that burning cow over there to kill me right now.

In short, I read this little thing today, and it struck me how much like Eli I am. I love this little interaction. I have to play around with it some more, this is just my first response to reading it in Hebrew, but it's just so freaking human.

And, it's even more interesting to me right now that God ponies up to Eli's offer.

Of course, I'm reading myself way too deeply into this. I'm not saying that's what Eli was thinking or doing, just that I can see myself responding like Eli did, and my response would be ugly. Hopefully I'll learn something from that.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Driving Home from Beaver Falls

Today, Rach and I drove from Beaver Falls to Chicago with Norah in the back seat. I'm pretty sure it was the best drive I've ever had. Even when I count up all those fabulous road trips I took in college, this was just something different. We listened to Sufjan Steven's Christmas Album, or just had the radio off, and drove the four hundred miles from Beaver Falls to Chicago. We decided to leave early, and take farm roads in order to skip long lines at the tolls on the state borders. We didn't leave as early as we wanted, so we missed alpenglow (when the sun just barely comes over the horizon), but when we got on the farm roads in PA it was magic hour, and the sunlight was digging into the clods of dirt and broken corn stalks. I only had to say "How pretty!" to Norah a few times before she started in on her own. For about twenty minutes, every little bump we crested Norah would say "So pretty!" (Or "Careful!") It was awesome.

When we got onto the turnpike in Ohio, I zonked out for a while and woke up somewhere on the other side of Toledo. We took a pit stop, and I took over driving for a while. When we got close to the Ohio border I decided to take the farm roads again, and man am I glad I did. It was just so nice to drive down those side roads watching the cows graze in the rain next to shattered remains of soggy brown barns. When we got back onto the highway in Indiana, Rach fell asleep and Norah just sat in her chair in the back singing quietly to herself and I kept the radio off. The rain kicked up a notch and Norah started laughing when the trucks passed.

Then, she shouted "Josh!"

and I responded: "Norah... I'm daddy."




"No Norah, Daddy."


That woke Rachel up, and she said "Norah, all done. No! Stop picking!"

Then Norah giggled, and Rach squeezed a dollop of lotion onto Norah's finger.

The rest of the drive consisted of increasing Chicago traffic and a breif screaming interlude. But even with the fifteen minutes of screaming baby, it still goes down as one of my favorite road trips of all time. I'm still not sure what it was about the drive, but it was a really fun day for me.

Friday, October 30, 2009

No, I'm not dead.

Ok, every now and then I take this incredibly long hiatus from blogging. It's not that I don't have anything interesting to blog about, a ton has happened since my last post, it's just that I've been INSANELY busy with school this quarter. I really don't even have time to post right now, but I've started feeling guilty. You know, like when you haven't used your favorite mug in a while, and you think it's starting to get lonely? That's how I feel about my blog sometimes.

So, here's the update on the Joshua.

I'm trying to learn three languages at once.
Part of me wants to stop the post right there because I think it would be funny. And it would also almost be accurate. Trying to get the finer nuances of Hebrew vowel changes, while also learning Akkadian, and trying to self-teach German well enough to pass two translation exams... yeah. I'm pretty much up to here with the accusitive case. This whole learning lots of languages thing, and learning the rules behind languages reminds me of just how artificially we learn new languages here in the states. So many times when I'm reading something in Hebrew, I'll think to myself, "Wait! That's breaking the rules!" I forget that people who actually speak these languages fluently, are largely ignorant of the rules. For example: Let's say someone calls you on the phone and says, "Is Joshua there?" (Assume your name is Joshua) Do you think to yourself, "Ok, I need to construct a sentence consisting of the first person singular nominative independent pronoun used predicatively to the third person nominative neuter singular independent pronoun" before you say "It's me." And when you say, "It's me." Does anyone say, "Wait a minute! You just used the first person singular OBLIQUE independent pronoun! You can't do that! You're supposed to say 'It is I!'" No. No one says that, because when you know a language fluently, you don't care about the rules anymore. You just talk. I'll never be at that point with any of the languages I'm studying, (because they are all dead languages, and no one speaks them any more) but every now and then, I have to remind myself that these things are organic, and though we use rules to understand them, that doesn't mean the texts have to obey the rules all the time. And when they don't obey the rules, we get really cool passages.

Anyway, that's a very, very involved discussion regarding the fact that I'm trying to learn three languages right now. (Which no one, and I mean no one, should ever do.)

Now that I didn't just stop at "I'm trying to learn three languages at once." I realize that I don't really have anything else to talk about. Because that's pretty much the only thing I've been doing since the last time I posted. Which means that for over a month now, this blog has discussed nothing other than the fact that I'm learning different languages.

Which means if you're still reading, you must really like me. Thanks.

P.S. Rach and Norah are great. We're going to Madison this weekend for Halloween where we'll hang out with Tim, Marisa, Jim, Charlotte, Jeremy and Truman! (Oh, did I mention my big brother had a baby? Geez... I'm the most self-centered jerk sometimes.)

More on all that later, as I'm almost certain no one is reading anything this far down.

Okay. Bye.

Seriously. You can go now.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Frontyard Games

When we were kids, we used to play some messed up games in the front yard. There are three that I remember in particular, and can't remember exactly how to play them. I don't know why, but I'm suddenly curious. The first one I found online, but can't find the other two. Does anyone know the games I'm talking about or how to play them?

The first one was called Witch in the Well and was basically tag with a ton of backstory. At first, all I remembered was the first of the Dad's lines, which I googled and found the game here.

It involved a short play followed by a game of tag. In the first scene, a few of us were on the porch and one person was hiding behind the bush near the street. One of the kids on the porch played the role of "Dad." He would turn to the others and say, "I'm going to town to smoke my pipe, I won't be back till Saturday night, so don't get into the brown sugar and butter." Then that kid would walk away and everyone on the porch would freak on pretend brown sugar and butter. When Dad got back he'd ask what you were doing and everyone would say "Ah.... er.... nothing! NOT A THING! Etc..." Dad would ask to check your hands and say "Dirty! Dirty! Dirty! Go wash them in the well!" You everyone walks to the well, and just when you get there the person hiding at the bush, who is playing the part of the witch, jumps out and everyone runs back to Dad. They tell Dad there's a witch in the well, and he goes to check it out.

I think in our games, when Dad got back to the well, the witch jumped out and there was a game of tag, but the website I found this on had another short play at the well. I think I remember us having a dialogue with the witch, but I can't remember it so I'll just put up what that guy used to say:

Dad says to the witch, "What are you doing in the well?"
The witch replies, "Smoking a pipe."
Dad asks, "Why are you smoking a pipe?"
The Witch answers, "To make ashes."
"Why are you making ashes?" Dad says,
"To sharpen my knife." the witch answers.
Dad finally asks, "Why are you sharpening your knife?"
The witch screams, "To CUT OFF YOUR HEADS!"

And then everybody runs for it. Whoever gets back to base first, plays Dad in the next round, and whoever gets tagged by the witch, is the Witch the next time. The game goes on like that forever, with the same lines repeated every time.

The second game was called Colored Eggs. I don't remember how to play that one at all, but I know there was some wolf involved who asked what colors you were and a game of tag.

The third game I don't remember at all, but I remember it involved saying "Mother May I?" Any ideas?

And if you played any whacked out yard games, tell me about them!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009


Rachel and I went to Madison on a whim last Sunday and stayed there for Labor Day. We had a lot of fun just chillaxing with Tim and a very, very pregnant Marisa. I don't know how she stands up, let alone does everything she does. She's nuts.

Anyway, because our camera hasn't been working, we haven't been able to post many pictures up on the blog. Tim, on the other hand, not only has a functioning camera, but has a very nice, functioning camera. As a result, we have some fun photos from the weekend that I figured I'd post here. The first is currently my favorite photo of Norah to date. It sort of sums up the goofy zany personality she's been developing. I seriously love hanging out with the little girl. She's just so fun, and she's getting to be more and more of a clown every day. She's just a ham. Anyway, here are the pictures.

Here's that goofy face I was telling you about. Tim thinks she looks like Grandpa here. Ha!

When I first put this on her, I was surprised she didn't just rip it off. Then, she did.

Pick a hand! Any hand!

This cute moment was a second before Norah grabbed Rachel's hair and started pulling like she was trying to yank a horse out of the mud.

She thinks it's funny if you rub your hair in her face. Apparently she also thinks it's funny if you rub your mostly bald scalp in her face.


One of her many moments of tackling an adult. Norah's new favorite game.

I see you!

Tackling an adult again.

After writing this I found out that my Brother and Sister-in-law who we went to see in Madison, just went to the hospital because her water broke. Which means, I'm about to have a niece or a nephew! Yippee!

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Almost School Time!

I have no idea what this says. But someday, I will.

I'm wrapping up my first summer of Daddy Day Care, and I must say it was more fun, and more draining that I thought it would be. Spending a large portion of the day talking to someone who can't say more than one word at a time, eventually made me thirsty for grown up discussion. Luckily for us, this was also an incredibly busy summer.

Norah has started talking more, and is officially at the stage in life where she repeats everything she hears. Which means when Norah drops something, or falls over, she says "Osh!" Which I'm pretty sure is her mimicking our attempts at self censorship. We don't say the whole thing, but we tend to catch ourselves at just the last syllable. Pretty much makes you feel like the world's worst parent. Oh well...

I also have made a full year now of being a vegetarian. I bring it up largely because I'm watching someone cut up the grossest looking fish I've ever seen on PBS. I don't know who this lady is, but even if I ate fish, I wouldn't eat that thing. It looks like a construction worker dropped it into an ash pit, dug it out with a shovel, and then drove over it. "Does this look like a sunset on the beach to you?" She just said. No miss. No it does not.

Anyway, Summer is winding down, and I'm trying to prepare for what looks like it will be the craziest Fall in my life. It's going to be as busy as a Nascar pitstop, but I'm excited for it to start.

I remember feeling this way when I was in elementary school, like I couldn't wait for school to start again. And I like feeling that way again. I'm excited to dive back into learning Hebrew, hopefully by the end of this year, I'll have a much better grasp on the language. I'm also going to take a class on Akkadian, which makes me both nervous and super excited. (The picture at the top of this post is a photo of a clay tablet written in Akkadian.) In addition to Hebrew and Akkadian, I'll be taking a class on the Biblical book of Amos, and sitting in a class on Ancient Mesopotamian Literature. That will be a pretty full schedule, but I'll also be applying for PhD positions at a handful of places, and filling out my petition for PhD work at the U of C. So, I should know where we're going to spend the next five [read eight] years by March of 2010. In between all of that, I'm trying to teach myself German so that I can pass a reading test this fall. If I don't pass, then I pretty much can't apply for a PhD anywhere. So I really have to make that a priority.

So, while it's been a pretty casual summer, I'm going to pay for it in just under 3 weeks. It's about to get pretty nuts around here for me. I feel like I'm in a canoe in a deep calm river of water, heading toward a sixty-foot raging waterfall.


Thursday, August 27, 2009


Angry face.

I saw a link on CNN to a website called "Personas" developed by MIT where you can go, type in your name, and find out what kind of person the internet thinks you are. (You can try it for yourself here.)

So, I went and typed in my name and the results started pouring in. As I watched, I noticed a quote from one website that made me a little angry. Part of me was mad, because the quote was mean, but I was a more upset because it was true. And, let's be honest, nothing hurts more than when someone successfully points out one of your faults.

The full quote was: "Don't ask for help from friends like Joshua Elek who are completely incapable of being helpful when they see an opportunity to be funny."

See? Isn't that mean? And, isn't it worse that it's also kinda true? Wouldn't you be ticked off if someone said something like that about you on the Internet? Especially if you sort of agreed with it? Well, I was ticked. And I was going to find out who said it.

So I went to Google and searched for "Joshua Elek completely incapable of being helpful" or something like that, and hit enter. The results popped up and, boom. There it is, the exact quote... ON JR'S BLOG.


So, now I'm sitting at my computer thinking... JR? JR Rozko? JR ROZKO?! Why the hate man? Why you gotta be bashin' me on your blog for all the world to read... what did I do? You big mean jerk! I even helped you move! Who do you... Grrrrrr.....

Well, the quote wasn't right there on the page when I got there. So, I scrolled down through the post to find out what he's talking about. When did I refuse to help my good buddy JR because I wanted to be funny? Gotta see why Junior's all ROASTIN' me on his blog.

Eventually, I found the quote. It wasn't in the post. It was in the comments section, and JR didn't write it after all. In fact... it was me. I wrote it.

Oh. Duh.

Sorry JR.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Order of Creation

Notice the curios lack of a watch on either of God's wrists.

My friend Jay just pointed me to an online Bible app at It looks pretty neat and allows you to actually post little bits of commentary on verses that other people can read. (I still prefer The Unbound Bible for the record... just because it has the scholarly stuff that I need.) I started at Gen. 1, and noticed a note by someone claiming that the Day/Evening language in Gen. 1 supports the literal seven day creation timeline. So, I wrote a little note to explain why I disagree with that position, and figured I'd toss it up here for someone to discuss if you're feeling particularly geeky. Here's what I had to say about the order and timeline of creation in Genesis 1 and 2.

Often people consider the "evening/morning" language in Genesis 1 to be evidence that creation took place over seven twenty-four hour periods. There are certain issues with a literal reading of the creation account however. These problems do not imply that God was not responsible for creation, but they do point out that a literal reading of Genesis 1 requires a symbolic reading of other texts.

Gen. 1 can be read as a literal account of the creation of the world, only if Gen. 2 is not read as a literal account of the creation of the world. Let me show you why I say that:

The order of creation in Gen. 1:
Day 1: Day and Night (1:3-5)
Day 2: Sky and Sea (1:6-8)
Day 3: Land and Plants (1:9-13)
Day 4: Sun, Moon and Stars (1:14-19) [ignore the problem of plants growing before the creation of the Sun for now.]
Day 5: Sea creatures and birds. (1:20-23)
Day 6: Wild animals, then human kind. (1:25-31)
Day 7: Rest (2:1-3)

If we just read Genesis 1, there is no problem. Maybe God made everything just like this, in seven twenty-four hour periods. There is the issue of plants growing before the creation of the Sun, but we'll table that for now. So, according to Genesis 1:25-31, humankind was created on day 6, AFTER the plants, and wild animals were created.

The problem with this arises in Gen. 2:5-7. There we read that "no shrub of the field had yet appeared on the earth and no plant of the field had yet sprung up..." (2:5) Then, in 2:7, God creates man. After creating man, God plants a garden in Eden (2:8), creates all the living creatures (2:19), and finishes by creating woman (2:20-22).

So according to Gen. 1, plants are created, then animals, and humans are created last. But according to Gen. 2, Man is created, then plants are created, then animals, and woman last.

The NIV recognizes this problem, and does a little trick to the Hebrew that most people would never recognize. The Hebrew in Gen. 2:8 reads: "ויטע יהוה אלהים" or "wayyitta Adonai Elohim." The NIV translates that: "Now, the LORD God had planted..." The problem is, the verb "wayitta" is written in what is called the waw-consecutive, which is used to explain the order of events in a story. By using the waw-consecutive, the Hebrew is expressly saying that the planting happens AFTER the creation of Adam. The NIV's translation "Now, the LORD God had planted..." implies that the Garden was planted BEFORE God created Adam. In other words, the NIV's translation directly contradicts the Hebrew grammar in order to support a preconceived theological position on the text. In Hebrew it is clear that in Gen. 2, God creates Adam, and then plants a garden, and then places Adam in the garden, and then creates the animals, and only THEN does He create Eve.

Whether or not you understand all the scholarly mumbo-jumbo is not important. What is important is that in these verses, the NIV is altering the Biblical text in order to support a theological position, instead of altering their theology to align with the Biblical text. Some people may see what I'm writing here and assume that I'm trying to undermine the Bible. I'm actually trying to do the opposite. I'm trying to respect the words of the Bible, and form a theological position from what the Bible says, instead of changing the words in the Bible to fit my theological position.

So what do we do? Do we throw out the whole thing? Do we conclude that all the Bible is a lie, and it's all just fairy tales Jewish Mommies used to tell their Jewish Babies? Of course not. When we look at the text for what it is, and refuse to distort it so that it conforms to our preconceived notion of what it is supposed to be saying (which I claim the NIV is doing), we are made to ask why it is written as it is. Why do Genesis 1 and 2 provide different orders of creation? When we ask that question, we begin to see that God is less concerned with using the Bible to explain the order of creation, or exactly how long it took Him to do it, and more concerned with telling us that it was He who created everything. Humans were made first, humans were made last... whatever. 7 days, 700 billion years, who cares. The point is, God did it.

Note that if you disagree with everything I've said, and maintain that the order in Genesis 1 is the literal order of creation, then you still have to explain how light existed and plants grew before God created the Sun, Moon and stars. But, when we put the Bible before our theology, and read Gen. 1 and 2 as they are written instead of as we want them to be written, we find this discrepancy. And once we see it, I think we are forced to accept that the Bible wants to tell us not HOW everything was made, but WHO made it. And fortunately for us, when we read the creation account in that light, that pesky question of how plants grew before the creation of the Sun, doesn't really matter any more.

Oh, and just a note because I did read a quick blurb on someone else's comment. While the English uses the definite article in front of the days, (as in "The first day... the second day...") the Hebrew is actually lacking the definite article. A more accurate translation of the days would be "Day one... Day two... etc." But that's minor.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Better than Bible Gateway


I'm in a Biblical Studies program, so I have to read the Bible a lot. Often, when I need to copy and paste portions of the Bible into a paper, or just for study, I go to Biblegateway provides a large number of translations, but does not include the RSV or the NRSV, versions which I prefer to the NIV/TNIV. So, I went shopping around and stumbled on this amazing Bible website. Strangely, I can get the RSV, and NRSV at The Unbound Bible, but I cannot get the NIV. Maybe there's some Coke vs. Pepsi thing going on with with two translations, whatever.

The reason this website is so great, is that I am able to examine the text in four different versions all at the same time. And I don't have to rely on translations either. There I can find the BHS with and without vowels, the Septuagint with and without accents, as well as with and without verb parsings. They have the Leningrad Codex, the Aleppo codex, and the Peshita, along with a myriad of other translations. Though it may be missing the NIV, the versions that it does have vastly outweigh that omission.

In short, if you're leading a Bible study and want to use the NIV because of its simplicity, or if you're just looking to examine a bunch of different English translations together, then go with (But keep in mind, you'll be missing out on one of the best English translations to date, the NRSV.) If you want the scholarly tools, then definitely check out The Unbound Bible. (Oh, and the best thing about The Unbound Bible, is that the Hebrew copies and pastes right into Mellel, with perfect pointing. You just have to change the font to the SBL Hebrew font and it works great... now if only Times New Roman would learn how to point Hebrew...)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Queen Norah

I have this bad habit lately of staying up waaay later than I need to. Basically, Rach goes to bed around ten, and that's when I realize that I can read whatever I want, and play whatever video game I want and watch Law and Order on Netflix for as long as I want, so I go hog wild and party like it's on sale for $19.99 every single night. As much fun as it is to stay up late in a quiet apartment reading and playing games and watching TV until 3 am every night... I always seem to forget that Norah doesn't care how late it was when I went to bed, she's getting up at 7:00 no matter what.

So, I woke up today, bleary eyed and smacking myself in the head while Norah sat in her bed saying "Down. Down. Down. Lilly. Lilly. Down." until I went and got her out of bed.

So, I poured two bowls of cereal, one for me and one for Norah; and I and threw some Tea on. (I've been drinking a lot of tea lately. Largely because it just seems like a hassle to make one cup of coffee.) Rach took off for work, and I decided that Norah and I were going to have a crafty day.

Norah and I have several different kinds of days. There are adventure days, where we go "Bye bye" in the "Stower." There are park days, where we go see the "buhds" in the "pahk" there are home days where we sit at home and play with blocks. There are learning days where we practice the alphabet. And then there are craft days, when we play with some home made playdough, or color, or make paper dolls, or just crinkle up paper and throw it around the apartment.

Today, I decided, would be a craft day. So, I took a diaper box out of Norah's closet, and made a little crown for Norah. I decided it needed some jewels, so I cut out some green circles, and gold circles, and some white diamonds, and put Norah's crown on. She thought it was hilarious, and kept tipping her head down and staring me down. That's when I decided to make her a scepter, and tied her blanket around her shoulders. That's pretty much all she needed to be Queen Norah, and we played around for the rest of the afternoon as Queen Norah and Squire Dad.

Our camera broke, but I did manage to grab a few photos with our Mac, so I figured I'd toss them up here. They're on Facebook right now, so I thought I'd toss the captions under the pictures here as well.

Princess Schmincess... I'm the QUEEN!


I now pronounce you... CHIMICHANGA!

Um... yes. Now I shall eat a popsicle.

As you can see, we had a lot of fun. When Norah finally took a nap (at 12:00) she had me put the crown on her teddy bear, and then... (here's the best part) she napped until FIVE! Yeah...

Maybe tomorrow will be another craft day.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Norah's Animal Sounds

Before we start, you should know that my dad, and Rachel's dad look like twins. Norah calls my dad "Poppa" and Rachel's dad "Pappy" but, as I'm sure you'll understand, she sometimes gets confused. My dad says that they don't look that much alike. But I disagree, and in order to prove my point, I made a little animated gif for you... hopefully you'll understand Norah's confusion:


On to the post: Norah has been learning her animal sounds lately, and we decided we would make a video of her doing them. Whenever I post videos like this, I worry that I'm posting a something that only the child's parent wants to see. I think of those shows I saw when I was a kid where the dad calls the neighbors over, sets up the slide projector and starts narrating through the slides like Ben Stine in Ferris Beuller's Day Off. I try to jazz these up and cut out the boring parts so they're not too grueling to sit through. But still, I think these videos are probably the 21st century equivalent of the boring slide projector show... so grab a shrimp cocktail and enjoy.

The following video is Norah showing off her family names and animal sounds. Oh, and in case you don't know, "Molly" is my parent's dog, and she is in the picture with my dad (Remember? He's "Poppa.") She just learned how to say Molly and she's pretty proud of herself. And we taught her a few animal sounds that are a bit, well... weird. Hopefully you'll understand.


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Can I buy Europe on Pump 4?

Okay, I swore to myself a few days ago that I wouldn't post stupid links any more...

which is why I feel it's okay to post this link. I laughed so loud I had to shush myself so that I wouldn't wake Norah up. The guy's response to this is perfect. I mean, just when I thought my school loans were piling up... check this out.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Big Girl Bed

Until tonight, when it came time for Norah to go to sleep, we'd put her in a pack-and-play, or in her crib. Both of those devices are really just pretty words used to describe roofless baby-cages. When you put your kid to bed in the crib, you know she's not going to do anything for the rest of the night, except maybe vomit on everything in a twelve foot diameter. But, at least she's safe. At least she can't get out and rummage around through her books or tear her alphabet poster off the wall and stomp on it like an enormous cockroach. She's not going to do a nose dive off of the foot board and go crashing face first into the radiator cover, because she's surrounded by teeny little hippos and bunnies and froggies in her pretty little baby-cage.

Tonight, everything changes. Norah's in her big girl bed for the first time, which means Rach and I are anticipating not sleeping very much at all tonight. I'm trying to put myself in her shoes, and well if I were Norah, and tonight was the first time in my life that I could finally get out of bed and do absolutely anything I wanted in my room all night long... well, you can bet I'd take advantage of my first night out of the slammer. I'd probably tie all my stuffed animals together, rip the pages out of every book I own, and climb as high as I possibly could onto my bookshelf to see if I could jump onto my bed from there.

I'm hoping we tuckered Norah out well enough, but I'm fairly certain she'll be up and rousing around her room at three in the morning. And you know, the more I think about it... I can get up and wander around my room at any ungodly hour... why don't I take advantage of that? That's it. I'm totally going to make a fort in the bath tub at four in the morning, why haven't I thought of this before now?


P.S. Does anyone know how annoying it is to have a misquito bite on the underside of your chin? Sucky.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Ten Things I Hate About Commandments

Okay, as someone who wants to eventually become a Hebrew Bible scholar, I think this is hilarious. However, if I did not want to eventually become a Hebrew Bible scholar, I would think this is *&(*ing Hilarious. Enjoy.

(P.S. Thanks to Carl Hansel for sending this to me!)

Monday, June 29, 2009

Norah's Purple Bike

When I was a kid, I had a dream one night that my parents had bought me a purple bike. When I got up, I didn't realize it was a dream, so I tore down the stairs and into the kitchen. I wolfed down my breakfast and said "Ok! Can I go ride my purple bike now?!" My mom looked confused and said "What purple bike?" So I reminded her of how she had bought me a purple bike, and we had put it next to the garage last night before I went to bed. She told me that it must have been a dream. Knowing that she was joking, I asked again, and she let me run out to the driveway. I ran next to the garage, and sure enough, there next to the garage, were the garbage cans. Just where they always were. No purple bike. It was a dream all along.

Why am I telling you this? Well, you should know that my friend Annette and her roommate have two cats. When Rach, Norah and I go to their apartment, Norah always runs into their bedrooms, lays on her belly, lifts up the bed skirt, and says "Meow! Meow!" Because the cats always hide from Norah under the bed. Then, this weekend, we went to my sister-in-law's baby shower in Madison at their friend K.C. and Todd's house. K.C. and Todd also own two cats. So, for most of the time that I was there, Norah was running around the house, looking under tables and pointing at curtains saying, "Meow! Meow!" What can I say? The girl likes cats.

So, I'm telling you the story about my purple bike, because ever since Norah woke up this morning, she's been walking around the apartment looking under ever piece of furniture we own saying "Meow! Meow!" And the only explanation I can think of, is that she had a dream last night, that we got a purple cat.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


It's father's day, and I can't help but think of Neda's father and the video of him screaming while his daughter bleeds to death on a street in Tehran. She was shot and killed by a government paramilitary man who was hiding in a nearby building simply because she was in the street, protesting. It is deeply saddening. Now that I have a daughter, I can't help but think of the emotions I would be feeling if I were him. I imagine I would be erupting inside, with nothing to throw my anger on. While I'm not certain what to think of Moussavi, he is not the saint he's being painted by some media outlets, I am glad to see that the people of Iran are proving that the sovereignty of a dictator can be forced by the hand of the people he rules. Maybe, Neda did not die in vain. But no matter what her effect may be on this revolt, I can't help but feel deeply sad for her father on father's day. To think, earlier today, I was sitting at the table sharing my bubble tea with Norah; and this man is half a world away, probably with his daughter's blood still under his fingernails, weeping. Sorry, I don't mean to be ultra dramatic or anything, I just can't stop thinking about it.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Finish one year of Grad school: Check.

I'm done with my first year of Graduate school

And let me say how excited I am to have had the luxury to study this stuff for a whole year. I love my program and love the things I'm studying. I really can't wait for next year to come around so that I can get knee deep in it again, so I'll be working on a paper and brushing up on my German over the summer. I really do love this crap.

Oh, and just so everyone knows, when I got in to take my test today, guess what passage I had to translate? That's right: Genesis 22.

Can I get a "What! What!"

Now... on to video games.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

The Akedah Gen. 22

This 17th Century painting of the Akedah by Caravaggio is my favorite representation of the event because more than any other painting that I know, it shows the fear that Issac must have felt, and the force of Abraham's hand on his neck shows how serious he is about doing it. That, and it looks like the angel is wearing a latex glove. Which is funny.

Tomorrow marks the one year anniversary of our moving to Chicago, and on Monday, I will finish my first year of my Master's program. In honor of both of these, I wanted to post what I think has been the most interesting passage I've examined this year. It is called the Akedah because the verb used to say that Abraham "bound" Issac is עקד (pronounced: ah-KAD). The chapter is incredibly interesting for a number of reasons that I won't go into right now. Instead, I wanted to toot my own horn a bit, and give you my translation of the chapter. Mind you, this is the product of one year's worth of Hebrew, so don't put too much theological weight on this translation, because it's probably wrong in a myriad of ways.

Here you go:

Genesis 22: 1-19
(1) And after these things God tested Abraham. He said to him "Abraham."

Abraham replied "Here am I."

(2) And God said "Take your son, your only one, whom you love, Issac, and go to the land of Moriah. Go up there to offer a burnt sacrifice on one of the mountains that I will say to you.

(3) Early in the morning, Abraham saddled the donkey and he took his two attendants with him, and Issac his son. He split the wood for the burnt offering and he arose and went to the place that God had said to him. (4) On the third day, Abraham lifted his eyes and he saw the place from afar.

(5) Abraham said to his attendants, "You remain here with the donkey, but let the boy and I go over there. We will worship, and then we will return to you."

(6) Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on Issac, his son. He took in his hand the fire and the knife; and they went out, the two of them together.

(7) Issac said to Abraham his father, "My father,"

Abraham replied, "Here am I, my son."

And Issac said "Here is the fire, and the wood, but where is the sheep for the burnt offering?"

(8) Abraham answered "God will see to the sheep for the burnt offering for himself my son." And they went, the two of them together.

(9) They entered the place that God had said to him, and Abraham built an altar there. He arranged the wood, and then he bound (ויעקד) Issac, his son, and placed him on the altar above the wood. Then, Abraham reached out his hand, and took the knife to slaughter his son.

(11) Then, an Angel of the LORD called to him from the sky saying "Abraham! Abraham!"

and Abraham replied "Here am I."

(12) The angel said "Do not reach out your hand to the boy, and do not do anything to him, because now I know that you fear God, because you did not withhold your only son from me. (13) Abraham lifted his eyes, and he saw a single ram stuck in the thicket by its horns. Abraham went, and took the ram, and he offered it as a burnt offering instead of his son. (14) Abraham called that place "`Adonai Yir`eh" [The LORD saw ], which is why it is said today on the mountain "`Adonai Yera`eh" [The LORD is seen].

(15) An angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time from the sky (16) saying, "By myself I swear, declares the LORD, that because you did this thing, and did not withhold your only son (17) I will surely bless you and I will greatly increase your offspring so that they are like the stars of the sky, and like the sand that is on the shore of the sea. Your offspring will inherit the gates of his enemies. (18) And by your offspring, all the nations of the world will bless themselves, because you obeyed my voice."

(19) Abraham returned to his attendants and they arose and went together to Beer-Sheba. Abraham dwelt in Beer-Sheba.

There are a few interpretive choices I have made, like saying "Answered" or "replied" instead of just "said" And choosing to include the name of the speaker in some cases where the Hebrew just says "He said" (Not "Abraham answered")

I also must admit that I don't really know the best way to translate verse 14. I have it translated here as saying "That is why it is said today on the mountain, "The LORD is seen" instead of "That is why it is said today in the mountain of the LORD, "He is seen" or "That is why it is said today "On the mountain of The LORD there is sight." all of these translations are possible in the Hebrew, as far as I know, it's a pretty confusing verse becasue certain grammatical constructs are all possible, and they all make sense. So the choice is really based on your historical analysis, and I chose my interpretation because I think this was writen by E in the Northen Kingdom, and therefore would not have worshipped on the Mountain of the LORD in Jerusalem. Of course that doesn't mean this is correct, that's just the reason I did it the way I did.)

I'm sure I'll read this a while later and think, what the heck were you reading? That's not what it says at all!!! But, at any rate, this is what a year of Hebrew got me, and I'm pretty psyched about it.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

One more week

In one week, I'll be done with my first year at U of C. It's been a really amazing year, I can't believe all that I've learned. I am really excited to stop classes so that I can sit and wait for the world to stop spinning long enough for me to reflect on where I am relative to where I began. This summer should be good for that. (In between trying to go through Hebrew Grammars, teach myself German again, and write a paper that I can use to petition to PhD programs.)

Anyway, I'm not writing about any of that today, because I have to work on a paper that is discussing an Assyrian incantation to protect someone who has received an omen that portents the destruction of his household. Instead, I've decided to tell you that this morning, Norah is running around the apartment while Rachel cleans everything in sight, wearing her pajamas, gold colored sandals, and swimming goggles. That's when you realize that all this academic stuff is neat, but really, all I want is to be a kid again so I can run around the apartment in my pajamas wearing golden sandals and goggles.

(Our camera is broken so I had to take this picture with the computer. But you get the idea.)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Ever have one of those days where you are walking around, and it's gorgeous outside, and everything is right in the world, and then you suddenly just feel like it all falls apart? Not that everything fell apart by any means, but today, for whatever reason, I'm just feeling like I'm in over my head. This program is so chalk full of incredibly brilliant people, and some of them are so freaking good at this stuff, that I am just feeling a little bit out of my league. I know that I can do this, and I'm not fishing for compliments or anything, I'm just trying to get it out there. Sometimes, you just don't think your going to last very long swimming with the sharks.

I'll get over it, and I'll translate a few more chapters of Genesis today, and work on a paper on Gen. 14, but sometimes (and I imagine most people feel this way every now and then) I just feel like I've fooled someone, there's no way I'm smart enough to be here, doing this, no matter how much I love doing it.

Now I'm nervous that everyone's going to leave comments about how I AM smart, and I CAN do this. I know I am, and I know I can. It's just... one of those days.

Ok. On to translating.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Goodbye Mr. Lambdin!

Today, at 9:40, I closed the cover of Thomas O. Lambdin's Introduction to Biblical Hebrew, and I won't have to open it again until September!

Needless to say, there has been a spring in my step all day long.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Akkadian Magical Incantation

I'm taking a class on Ancient Near Eastern Myth and Magic this quarter, and we just got into the texts on Magic. And, since this spell I just read was so similar in it's subject matter to the previous post, I figured I'd let you read it. It's called:

Against Flatulence
Wind, O wind!
Wind, you are the fire of the gods.
You are the wind between turd and urine.
You have come out and taken your place
Among the gods, your brethren.
So next time you're on a hot date accidentally blast one out, instead of looking all embarrased, you can just say this spell, and everything will be okay. Who knows, maybe it even helps prevent skid-marks!

This is from Foster's translation in: Benjamin R. Foster. Before the Muses: An Anthology of Akkadian Literature. CDL Press: Bethesda Maryland, 2005. p.973. (I figured I'd cite it since I copied the whole incantation down, I want to make sure I don't violate any copyrights or anything.)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Charmin Bears

So there I am, hanging out on the couch with Rach, watching some TV just minding my own business, when one of those disgusting Charmin commercials comes on.


You know the commercial I'm talking about, the one with the cute little teddy bears, out in the woods with bits of toilet paper stuck in their butt hair?!!!

What the heck? Wha... who? Whekaeonaiodi ae!?!?!?

Ok... two questions:

What advertising agency said to some company exec, "So yeah, then we do a close up on the shredded bits of crusted nasty old toilet paper stuck in its butt hair."

And more importantly, what company exec said "Good idea! Here's thirty thousand dollars."

What the @#$%!! is Charmin thinking? Those commercials are probably the A-number-one-single-most disgusting things I have seen on TV. I'd rather watch a thousand condom, KY, tampon and douce commercials back to back than sit through one more Charmin commercial with a close up on the butt hair.


Sunday, May 03, 2009

Things I said on my Walk Yesterday

Norah didn't nap well yesterday morning, which was unfortunate because I still have to translate three chapters of Genesis for Monday's study group. But because she wasn't sleeping, and because it was such a nice day, I decided to take her over to the play ground, and then walk to the grocery store. She loved swinging in the swing, and managed to walk up to the slide all by herself! But the walk to the grocery store was probably the best part. Rather than describe the walk, I figured I'd just list some of the things I said on the walk to give you a feel for how it went.

"Okay Norah, it's time to go to the store now."

"No, that's not our big wheel. Ok, let's go"

"Look a bird!"

"No, don't eat that... yuck YUCK! Ewww... Ok. See, oh sick."

"Yeah, that's what you get for putting dirt clumps in your mouth."

"Oh did you find something. Ok, thank you."

"Um, you just gave me a bee."

"No, that's not our house."

"Okay, but we can't run out into the street okay."

"No, that's not our car, we can only open our car."


"Norah, that bush has pricklies on it."

"Ok, stop smacking at the bush."

"No, that's not our house."

"We have to hold hands crossing the street."

"Can you say Hi!"

"Now I think that bush has pricklies too. Don't swat at it."

"No, Norah, we're going to the store, not the restaurant."

"You can't pick that rock up Norah, it's part of the sidewalk."

"Oh, did you find another stick!"

"Okay, here we are. Let's get in the cart."

The walk back was much less interesting because my brother called from Europe and needed me to check something out online. I knew it would take forever for Norah to walk home, so she went up on my shoulders and I carried the groceries. But, she was not happy about being up there so for the whole walk home I was basically pumping out one arm while using the other to keep Norah on my shoulders while she ripped at my glasses and smacked my head and screamed. As I passed families on the sidewalk I tried to look normal, but sometimes you just gotta do what you've gotta do.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Norah, Bible Stuff, Business.

We went to see a specialist yesterday about Norah's small vocabulary. Rachel and I weren't terribly concerned about it, and I don't think we are extremely worried now, but we did learn that she seems to be having some trouble. She should have a larger vocabulary right now, and she should be more closely mimicking our words, but she seems to be having trouble planning. Basically that means that she is vocalizing the sounds before she shapes her mouth to make the sound she wants to make. The result is saying "ah" instead of "ba" because she doesn't put her lips together first. It's not that she can't put her lips together, just that she's not thinking about it enough to do it. It's not a terribly alarming thing, and she'll probably catch on quickly, but we are now spending a lot of time hanging out sitting on the floor with her saying "Norah, can you get the ffffffffffffffffffffffffffone.?" It's a little wierd to be talking like that, but hey... if it's what she needs, then it's no trouble.

Other than that, I'm still working through my last quarter of the first year of my M.A. I'm really excited about the stuff I've been learning this quarter. I'm taking my Hebrew course, so I'm still learning the language. (We will actually finish the grammar next week.) On top of that I'm taking a class on the book of Genesis and another class on Ancient Near Eastern Myth and Magic. So right now I'm getting to study the stuff I want to study for the rest of my life. It's pretty much the best thing ever.

Right now, I'm working on a paper comparing the Myth of Atrahasis to the eleventh tablet of the Epic of Gilgamesh, and the flood account in Genesis. Right now, I'm basically focusing on the divine motivation to destroy the earth by flood. Both the Mesopotamian accounts and the Gensis account claim that the divine motivation is peturbance. But while the Genesis account claims that God was peturbed by sin, the mesopotamian accounts claim that the gods are peturbed with noise (and over-population.) I think there's something there that could inform us about the Biblical understanding of God compared to the Mesopotamian concept of god, and I'm working on looking into that.

So, most of what's going on in my life. Sorry I haven't posted in so long, but I assume that no one really cares about the stuff I'm studying, and right now, that's really all I have to talk about. Then I realized, the stuff I'm studying is probably the most interesting stuff in the world... so I figured I'd go ahead and say a word or two about it.

That's all for now. I'll post again when I can... thanks for sticking around through the sparse updates!!!

And as a special treat:

I'm pretty sure my labelling is correct here. I haven't done any in-depth study on these things yet, so I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure I'm right here. The stylized tree and the solar [sun/shamash] disc is particularly interesting to me, because some people are equating the stylized tree with the Tree of Life in Genesis, and some have said that the Hebrews adopted the solar disc as a symbol to represent the Hebrew God. I'm not terribly persuaded by either position, but I haven't studied them a whole lot yet either so... take it or leave it.

So there you have it! I'm getting to the point where I can look at those ancient Sumerian/Babylonian/Assyrian cylinder seals, and know what I'm looking at! Just so long as I don't have to read the Sumerian or Akkadian... that comes next.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Facebook Friends

It finally got to the point where I was friends with people on Facebook, and had no idea who some of them were. It wasn't such a big deal, but then I realized, I never read about what's going on in the lives of the people that I actually care about, because the status updates page was always flooded with statuses from people who I don't really care about. It's not that I'm a jerk (okay, maybe it is) it's that I was friends with so many people from the past who I know I won't maintain any kind of relationship with, and a LOT who called me a bleeping-bleeper every weekend for three years at WJU. So, I went through and deleted the friends I thought I'd never talk to again.

Unfortunately, something went wrong. I realized when I was finished that I wasn't friends with Rachel any more. So... I must have done something wrong. All that to say, if we are no longer facebook friends, it means I either thought we'd never talk again, you used to slam beers in my face every weekend and call me a blankety-blank-blank, or I accidentally deleted you and I'm still friends with the kid who slammed beers and swore at me.

I guess it wasn't that helpful afterall.

Friday, March 20, 2009

2nd Quarter: D-U-N!

Take THAT! Peter Brown!

Remember that paper I was telling you about? The one that no one would want to read, or read about? Well I'm done with it, and that means I have officially finished two quarters! That means, just 4 more and I have my M.A. And just 22 more quarters and I'll have my PhD. ;)

I would love to chat about all the things I've learned, but I want to keep having people visit my blog. Instead, I'll just include my favorite line from the paper you see up there. It goes like this:

"He wasn't just an emaciated-carnival-freak-side-show-monk, he was an emaciated-carnival-freak-side-show-monk who could heal dragons."

Monday, March 16, 2009

NBC Kings

Hats off to the makers of NBC's new show "Kings." I'm not one to say that I think something on TV was good, but this was a show that kept me saying, "Wow. They're really doing this."

I've read a few reviews already, and I'm surprised to see how few people are catching the immense use of symbolism in the movie. Everyone gets the "David vs. Goliath" thing, but few people seem to understand that this show is not just an allegory to the story of the Bible's King David from 1 and 2 Samuel; this show IS the story of King David set in contemporary times. In case you missed it, here are some of the analogues I found tonight:
  • (TV) Silas = Saul (Bible)
  • (TV) David Shepherd = David the shepherd son of Jesse and King of Israel (1 Sam 16:11)
  • (TV) David Shepherd's brother Eli = Eliab son of Jesse, brother or David (1 Sam 16:6)
  • (TV) Reverend Ephrem Samuel = Prophet Samuel (from Ephraim) who anoints King Saul and King David. (1 Sam 1:1, 1 Sam 1:20, 1 Sam 10:1, 1 Sam 16:13)
  • (TV) Reverend Samuel says to King Silas "Because you rejected God's command, he has rejected you as King" = Prophet Samuel says to King Saul "Because you rejected the Lord's command he has rejected you as King" (1 Sam 15:23)
  • Reverend Samuel's pre-Goliath appearance to David Shepherd = Prophet Samuel's pre-Goliath appearance to David son of Jesse (1 Sam 16:12)
  • (TV) Shiloh = The place where God's word was revealed to the prophet Samuel (1 Kings 3:21)
  • (TV) Six brothers of David Shepherd = 7 brothers of David (1 Sam 16:10)
  • (TV) David's friend Nathan = Prophet Nathan? (2 Sam 7)
  • (TV) Goliath = Goliath (1 Sam 17)
  • (TV) Gath = Hometown of Goliath (1 Sam 17:23)
  • (TV) Shoulder mounted Rocket = Sling (1 Sam 17:49)
  • (TV) Silas' daughter dating David Shepherd = Saul giving daughter Merab to David (1 Sam 18:17)
  • (TV) Jack Benjamin, son of Silas = Jonathan son of Saul of the tribe of Benjamin (1 Sam 9:16, 1 Sam 13:2)
  • (TV) Historian saying "And it happened that" = Very common Biblical Hebrew narrative "vayehee" sequence which translates "And it happened that"
  • (TV) Silas' commanding officer Abner = Saul's commanding officer Abner (1 Sam 14:50)
  • (TV) David Shepherd, Piano player = David son of Jesse, Lyre player (1 Sam 16:16)
  • (TV) Homosexual Jonathan = One interpretation of "Jonathan's soul became bound up with the soul of David; Jonathan loved David as himself... Saul's son Jonathan was very fond of David." etc. (1 Sam 18:1. 1 Sam 19:1)
  • (TV) Silas promotes David to Captain = Saul promotes David to "chief of a thousand." (1 Sam 18:14)
There are more, but I wanted to point out the ones that jumped right out there. I'm surprised that the producers managed to write a story that felt new enough that many critics did not see all the biblical allusions right away. It seems as though the writers are really trying to do a modern rewrite of the Biblical story of King David. They're not trying to allude to it, they're not trying to bring in subtle details and make a new story of it, they're writing the story of 1 Sam. as if it happened today. And I think they're doing it quite well.

All that to say, if you missed Kings, check it out. Yes it is grandiose, but it's a story about the most famous King of Israel, one of the most famous Kings of all time. It should be grandiose. Critics are wrong in critiquing the show for overreaching. It's supposed to feel grandiose, it is recreating epic Biblical stories. Silas has to be a King, and wierd things like butterflies lighting on David to coronate him should happen as signifying God's selectin of David over Saul. These aren't cheesy moder devices of lazy writers, they are an attempt to couch Biblical narrative in modern images, and it's fun to watch.

Oh, and if you watched it and saw any symbolism I missed, go ahead and include it in the comments... I'm curious to hear what people found that I didn't pick up on. I'm particularly curious to hear what people thing Crossgen represents...

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Tim Heads

I feel like I haven't been good at updating, because I haven't been good at updating. So here's a quick one for you.

1. My quarter is almost over. Classes were amazing, and really hard this time. I had a lot more work than usual, and am still trying to grind my way through what they say is the hardest part of Hebrew. I'm done on Friday.

2. Rach and I are thinking about getting a dog. We'll see. I want a Border Terrier, but I think they're too expensive. We'll see.

3. Norah still is not talking. I hope she starts using words soon, I don't know when I should start to worry, but the doctor was worried months ago, and she hasn't really made any progress since then. We'll see.

4. My brother Tim has a new website, much to his chagrin I'm sure... though I realize I don't really know what that expression means. (Warning, some of the images might disturb more sensative viewers, and one or two probably wouldn't make it on broadcast TV.) Some of his old friends from work put this little thing together, and well, I thought some of you might enjoy it. Spread the word, let's get 10,000 Timheads by the end of the month... c'mon! We can do it!!!

5. I have to go study some more. Bye now!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Awesomest Fort EVER!

This afternoon, I decided to break down the couch, slide over the table and the rug, tip some chairs, drape blankets,, and make a fort. It was pretty much the best thing that's ever happened in my whole life. (Ok... that's not entirely true.)

Anyway, because the fort was so incredibly awesome, I decided to document it so I could show you the righteous awesomeness that was happening in Apt. 507 today.

Check that out! Isn't that the best thing you've ever seen? Oh, and in case you're wondering, yes, it does take a full ninety degree turn. Go ahead, you can say it... "Whoa."

Here's Norah entering the Eastern door.

Here she is hanging out in the middle

And here she is popping out of the South door.

Don't worry... Rach got to play as well.

That's really all I have to report on. If you want, I could talk a long time about the paper I'm writing on Simeon Stylites. But I'm guessing there are two, maybe three people who read this thing who would care even a little bit. Maybe I'll throw up a link to the paper once it's written.

Saturday, February 14, 2009


I just saw this on the cover page of CNN today. Which is awesome, because that mummy is in the building that I go to school in every day! I actually popped down after class on Thursday to check it out. HOW COOL! Man, I love this stuff. Here's the article.

Darwinism vs. Creationism

Pious Fictions

I read an article in NPR today discussing a law that was recently passed in Louisiana which protects teachers who want to raise doubts about Darwinism. I think the typical response to such news is that Louisiana is in the Bible-Belt, and therefore the schools in Louisiana are now free to be a little more religious. But I think that's the wrong way to look at it. I think the Louisiana ruling is actually more in line with the goals of science, because it permits questions. The fact that there are laws that make it illegal for teachers to question something worries me.

I don't want to get into my beliefs about Darwinism. I think that, like many such debates, the reason for the disagreements are largely semantic. Intelligent Design arguments are largely viewed as synonymous with Creationism. Similarly, Darwinism is largely equated with Evolution. I want to say that Intelligent Design and Creationism are actually antonyms, and that Darwinism is not synonymous with Evolution. By separating these terms, I think reasonable, critical, scientific debate can once again continue. Let me show you what I mean by defining the four words more clearly.

Evolution is the belief that species change over time. Breeding and natural selection can result in changes in an animal's genetic make up that are severe enough to result in animals that are significantly variant from their parent generations.

Darwinism is the belief that all species underwent evolution, eventually resulting in what is known as speciation. Breeding and natural selection resulted in such dramatic differentiation that one species became a new species. Therefore, all life originated from basic genetic material that was generated through purely natural means, and all speciation visible in life on earth was the result of natural selection and natural evolution without any intelligent oversight.

Notice that not all Evolutionists are Darwinists, but all Darwinists are Evolutionists.

Intelligent Design finds major gaps in Darwinism, and concludes that Darwinism is improbable to the point of being a mathematical impossibility. Because current science only accepts Darwinism as the explaination of speciation, Intelligent Design theorists posit that there must be some intelligence orchestrating the the mechanisms of Evolution.

Creationism accepts Genesis 1-3 as literally true. God created the world in 6 days. Dinosaurs never lived. A man was made out of mud, and his wife was made out of his rib, and everyone else came from them.

Notice that Creationism is actually opposed to Intelligent Design because it denies the methods of Evolution. These are not two sides of the same coin, they are two contradictory beliefs. We're not talking apples and oranges, we're talking apples and galaxies.

The problem is that everyone who believes in Intelligent Design and everyone who believes in Creationism agree that there is a God. So, they are painted with the same brush. Similarly, everyone who believes in Darwinism believes in Evolution, and these two are then painted with the same brush. The fact of the matter is Intelligent Design is much closer in it's beliefs to Darwinism than it is to Creationism. But still, when Darwinism and Creationism fight, Intelligent Design is always the collateral damage. The sooner science accepts that Intelligent Design is divorced from Creationism, the sooner we'll stop having to write silly laws that make it illegal to ask questions.

Oh, and in researching to write about this, I found this little gem. It's about a society that actually still thinks the earth is flat.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

I love Jesus but I Drink a Little

I saw the following clip from the Ellen DeGeneres show the other day and, well, I was laughing out loud so hard that snot flew out of my nose and splattered on the computer screen. So, you've been warned.


Sunday, January 25, 2009

Lookie what I found.

I found this on the Interweb and couldn't not post it.
The end.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Professor's Email

I just received the following email in response to the way we said Stigmata in class on Tuesday:


στίγματα (stigmata) is the Greek plural for στίγμα (stigma). There is an accent on the Iota (i) in the singular and plural forms, which shows how it should be pronounced. No more stigmaaaata please.



In case you're wondering, that means: yes, I am officially studying something no one cares about. And in case you're wondering, when you talk about Stigmata (that thing where people suddenly manifest the wounds of Christ), apparently you should say "STIGmata, not stigMAta." Oh, don't do a google image search for Stigmata. It's gross. You've been warned.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Second Quarter

HOLY COW. (Get it? Holy cow...?) This quarter started out CRAZY. I am taking a class on Asceticism right now. (Asceticism is basically the religious practice of reducing your consumption of worldly comforts. Examples would be fasting, long periods of meditation, monastic silence, etc...) It's pretty intense. I'm reading about three books a week for the class, but I've enjoyed the readings so much that it's really been an enjoyable experience. Basically the readings are what are known as Hagiographies. That's a big word that means a book about the life of a Saint. The first was Athanasius' book on St. Antony. The book is filled with demon fights, out of body experiences, healings, and raising people from the dead. After that, we read "Sayings of the Desert Fathers", and "Lives of the Desert Fathers", both of which are about the monks who followed St. Antony out into the Egyptian desert. Basically, if you thought Antony was cool, these guys are awesome. There are just as many demon fights, but you also get crocodiles who eat themselves, black smiths who see demons, monks who can pull loaves of bread out of thin air, and lots of flying. Then, we read the life of St. Francis of Assisi by Boethius. Not as many demon fights, but St. Francis talks to animals, there's some more flying, trips to holy mountains, healings, raising people from the dead, and a handful of pope rebukes. We also read a book by Carolina Bynum called "Holy Feast Holy Fast" that was pretty interesting, though was a somewhat one dimensional examination of women during this time. But you still get cool stories about women eating scabs and getting puss stuck in their throats because in order to alleviate the suffering of others, they would eat it. That was the reading for the first two weeks, so I think you can tell it's keeping me busy.

I'm also taking Hebrew again, and I'm starting to feel more comfortable with it. We still haven't gone any further than the Qal forms (for those of you who know anything about Hebrew) but it's still interesting.

I'm also taking New Testament with Margaret Mitchell. In case you're wondering just how cool that is, her name is on the back of my Bible. That means that someone edited a study Bible, and then asked her what she thought about it. So yeah, she knows her stuff, and as an added bonus, she loves the material. She is so excited to talk about the New Testament every week, I'm really blessed to be in the class. So far the topics we've discussed are fascinating to me. We've basically been asking questions about Paul this far. It's an interesting examination, I'm glad to start the Intro to the New Testament by looking at Paul instead of Jesus, not that I'm opposed to looking at Jesus first, its just that this is my second intro to the New Testament class, so I'm glad to mix it up a bit.

Until yesterday, I was also taking a class on German, but the class was structured to go through all the German grammar in six weeks. And the lectures weren't lectures, basically we would get together and go through worksheets for three hours. So, I'm going through the book with some other people who dropped the class, and I'm not taking it any more. That means that I'm only in three classes now, and I'm glad for that.

I don't really have time to write much more, and since I'm pretty much only doing school and nothing but school, that's really all I have to talk about. I have so many thoughts in my head about my school right now that I don't really even know where to start. So, I'll just leave it at that.

Finally, in an attempt to keep people reading my blog, I'll post some pictures of Norah.

What can I say? It was -20 last week.

Who loves bubbles? I DO!

This is Norah's fishy face. If you're really lucky, she does this and it means she wants a kiss.

This will be Norah's Album cover as soon as she learns some words, and starts playing music that our neighbors won't hate us for playing. (Right now, all she does is slam huge metal bowls on the floor, and I'm pretty sure the people who live beneath us hate our guts.)

And finally, this is one of my favorite pictures to date... just because she looks so sweet! This is the Norah we all know and love. Man, she's awesome.