Friday, March 31, 2006

Friday Pet Blogging | Clash!

You Milo & Otis fans must be doing a great job with those healing thoughts flowing to our boys. Milo has a lower bacteria count. And although there was a slight (yeah ... slight) mishap with some medication for Otis, it's all sorted out and he is doing well, too. Poor Mrs. Brainwise has been at the vet's office -- taking one cat or the other for a look-over or a urine test, or just to pick up new medicines -- each day this week except Friday. Yes, I mean today. And I know this day is just beginning, so there is every possibility that she may yet make that drive and rack up a first-ever five in a row. (Lest you think I am slacking off in the vet duties, you should know that Mrs. Brainwise's office is really close to the vet's office. My office is ... well, it's really out of the way, but I have offered to help out in this regard.) But you came here for cat pics, right? Well, here is photographic evidence that, as they heal, the boys continue to be playful:

Fight Announcer: "And Otis lunges, attempting to pierce Milo's defenses and ... Oh! That's gotta hurt!"

It is a joy to behold.

More Pet Blogging
  1. See the Friday Ark, featuring a compilation of today's pet blogging posts, over at The Modulator.
  2. Check the M&O Archives for previous Milo & Otis appearances (currently up-to-date through Sept 2005!).
  3. Carnival of the Cats, coming at you every Sunday.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

A Travel Guide for Fans of "The Da Vinci Code"

You just knew someone had to do it, right? Someone was going to find yet another way to make some money off of the DVC ("The Da Vinci Code") phenomenon. This time, instead of trying to hawk new theories, or bust Dan Brown in fallacies, someone (Fodor's, to be precise) has assembled a travel guide to help you track down all the wonderful sites mentioned in the bestselling novel. Fodor's Guide to the Da Vinci Code: On the Trail of the Bestselling Novel (Fodor's Travel Publications; edited by Jennifer Paull and Christopher Culwell) has a list price of $14.95 and is promoted as a book that 'delves deep into the locations, people, historic events, and landmarks that populate the gripping thriller that has captivated the masses.' The book features:
  • Photographs of related artwork and key story locales
  • A travel section featuring unique suggestions on where to go, stay, and eat for Da Vinci Code disciples who want to take the ultimate self-guided tour
  • City maps and floor plans
Want to check it out? Borders has an excerpt from the book about Rosslyn Chapel. The excerpt includes some nice photos:
Rosslyn Chapel exterior
I don't know if I'll buy it, but I wouldn't turn down a copy ... that is, y'know, if someone wanted to send me a small gift. Maybe ask me to review it. (But, hey, no pressure!)
Now that Fodor is on the case, how long before before there is a backpacker's guide to "The Da Vinci Code" sites from Lonely Planet?

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Quotable | Rewrite

Because words are imperfect, every generation rewrites itself." --Deng Ming Dao (365 Tao)

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The Leviticus Gambit

Jazz, host of Running Scared and frequent contributor to the Middle Earth Journal, nails the hypocritical blather surrounding the latest round of anti-gay legislation (you know, all that stuff that just says no to same-sex parents). As mentioned in the comments over there, the supposedly well-meaning people behind this legislation have no true concern for children. If so, they would not be so opposed to seeing an abandoned child extending the family of a loving and stable partnership. No, the only concerns they actually have are for a rather narrow and legalistic interpretation of their desert god's codes. Go read the post.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Friday Pet Blogging | The Saturday Edition!

Last week I mentioned that we still need healing thoughts for Milo & Otis. Please, keep those thoughts flowing to our boys. There have been some findings (doc's working overtime). And we are trying some new medications, which seem to be doing a pretty good job. Last night, the boys played much more like their old selves. In fact, Mrs. Brainwise thought they were practically smiling all through their wrestling sesson. And guess what? Milo pinned Otis! Here are the pics I should have posted yesterday:

Milo says: "Come hither..."

"...cuz I needs me a belly rub."

More Pet Blogging
  1. See the Friday Ark, featuring a compilation of today's pet blogging posts, over at The Modulator.
  2. Check the M&O Archives for previous Milo & Otis appearances (now updated through Sept 2005!).
  3. Carnival of the Cats, coming at you every Sunday.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Friday Pet Blogging is Delayed

Sorry folks. I know it's disappointing, but today's pet blogging entry has to be delayed until later today, or possibly tomorrow. I just didn't have a chance to upload any new pics yet. At least you know I'm working on it. And that's a good thing, right? Right!? (Please, oh please, agree with me). Of course, the Friday Ark is in full swing without Milo and Otis. And you can check out some our boys' previous entries. Update [03-25-2006]: It's posted!

This Week in "God"

Stories of faith and irreverence, the latest vitriol from crazy Pat Robertson (he's complaining about radicals!), crazy angels, and more ... it's time for another installment of This Week in "God"! First up, we get touched by "his noodly appendage"...
Church That Reveres "Flying Spaghetti Monster" Finds Growing Following By Jim Beckerman The Record HACKENSACK, N.J. -- Unlike a certain other religion in the news, the First United Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster doesn’t object to cartoon depictions of the supreme being...

...In some pictures, He is shown reaching out to confer the blessings of life and happiness with what church members like to refer to as His “noodly appendage.” Flying Spaghetti Monster could be the next big thing on the pop culture menu...

[ Full Story ]

How do you pick a 'Secretary General' for a group like this...?

Rabbi Calls for 'UN of Religions' By Danny Wood BBC News, Seville Monday, 20 March 2006, 03:53 GMT

The Chief Rabbi of Israel, Yona Metzger, has called for the creation of a world body with representatives from the major religious groups.

Rabbi Metzger was addressing the International Congress of Imams and Rabbis for Peace in Seville, Spain... The imams and rabbis at this conference, which opened on Sunday, say the world is in crisis and it is time they acted to restore justice, respect and peace...

[ Full Story ]

Now, on the surface, this seems to be a pretty good -- perhaps even overdue -- idea. But note that he is calling for representatives from "major religious groups." Aren't some of those "major religious groups" responsible for most of the problems they want to address. And didn't some of those "major religious groups steal traditions or ride rough shod over earlier, indigenous religious expressions? Perhaps the "major religious groups" -- and then the world -- would be better served if they looked to some of what they consider to beminor religious groups. Some of those minor religious groups are already organizing, and probably have much to teach their bigger brethrens. There is the World Congress of Ethnic Religions for example. Athiest sells soul to priest; he gets to keep it but must do homework ...

Atheist: Church isn't a bad place Suzanne Sataline / Wall Street Journal Sunday, March 19, 2006

He sold his soul on eBay to evangelical, who has him critiquing sermons and services.

A few weeks ago, Hemant Mehta posted an unusual item for sale on eBay: a chance to save his soul...

...When the auction stopped on Feb. 3 after 41 bids, the buyer was Jim Henderson, a former evangelical minister from Seattle, whose $504 bid prevailed. Henderson, 58, wasn't looking for a convert. He wanted Mehta to embark with him on an eccentric experiment in spiritual bridge-building. Mehta's mission: attend 10 to 15 services of Henderson's choosing and then write about it for Henderson's Web site,, whose professed mission is "Helping Christians be normal." "I'm not trying to convert you," Henderson told Mehta. "You're going there almost like a critic. ... If you happen to get converted, that's off the clock."

[ Full Story ]

I like the fact that some of the reviewed priests actually appreciated Mehta's criticism. But I'm not surprised that most of them blew it off.

Crazy Pat is at it again, this time documenting the "101 most dangerous academics in America."

Pat Robertson on College Professors: "You know some of them are killers!" March 21, 2006 Pat Robertson calls liberal professors “racists, murderers, sexual deviants and supporters of Al-Qaeda”

Crooks and Liars has the video of Pat Robertson in another one of his "moments."

Hat tip to People for the American Way for their coverage.

[ Full Story ]

C'mon, Pat, you really have to face the truth: No professor in America is a more dangerous radical than you!

From the "You should have seen the one that got away!" department...
'Angel' Claims He Killed Devil African Eye, via, South Africa Mar. 22, 2006 Zinkie Sithole Nelspruit - "I have killed the devil. He is dead. I killed him on February 18 this year," says Seuntjie "Mortalman" Nhleko, who claims to be an angel.

The 22-year-old, who lives in Zwelisha outside Nelspruit, said on Wednesday: "People say I'm crazy, but I hear God's voice inside me that tells me that I have a special purpose."

Nhleko said his rebirth as "Mortalman" took place on February 4 last year. "While I was praying, I heard a voice that told me not to be afraid. "It told me I would change forever and that all the people in the world were my children, including Jesus," he said.

[ Full Story ]

Nietzsche proclaimed, "God is dead," way back in 1882. So I suppose it was only a matter of time until someone finally offed the devil (only took 124 years). But here's what I don't understand: If Mortalman actually succeeded in killing the devil, and Satan is no more, then ... what exactly explains the fact that Dick Cheny is still sucking down oxygen? Hey, I'm just asking!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Fire Thunder Defies South Dakota

Cecilia Fire Thunder, Oglala Sioux Tribal President (and former nurse), has decided to defy the South Dakota's proposed abortion ban. And it's a damn good thing she's challenging these smugly self-righteous politicians, too. Her plan is to open a Planned Parenthood on reservation land. You see, Fire Thunder this boils down to a matter of sovereignty -- and the State of South Dakota has no jurisdiction over the Pine Ridge Reservation. But this action also goes a long way toward protecting women's rights and traditional Native American health practices. For example, here is something that I don't think many people consider:
[T]he word "abortion" is not in any indigenous language, but the practice of terminating a pregnancy to preserve a woman's health is part of basic medical knowledge and was traditionally a decision left to the woman. -- Charon Asetoyer, Native American Women's Health Education Resource Center
You can get more details and pertinent links over at Jason Pitzl-Waters' The Wild Hunt Blog: Tribal Sovereignty vs. Christian Patriarchy. It's all worth reading. (Thanks for posting on this, Jason).

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Quotable | Soul At Odds

What is madness but nobility of soul at odds with circumstance? -- Theodore Roethke, poet (1908-1963)
Today's quotable comes from Roethke's best-known poem, In A Dark Time. For more samples of his work, dig into the following URLs:

Friday, March 17, 2006

Friday Bacon Brothers Blogging

Mrs. Brainwise and I live in a little town with a great location for live music: the Sellersville Theater 1894! And last night, we saw the Bacon Brothers. Now, I had heard of them before. And, while I knew they had a number of albums out, I did not own a single recording by them. Oh, I had never heard a negative review, and I caught some of their TV performances on venues like TODAY and such. So, without any background info or experience to predispose me one way or the other, we decided to take advantage of this "name" act being within walking distance of home. Damn. What a great show. Made all the more enjoyable with our great seats, right down near the stage at "cabaret" table #5 (seating chart) The Bacon Brothers are talented multi-instrumentalists (with brother Michael jamming on the cello for three tunes, and Kevin splitting his time among guitar, bongos, tambourine, and harmonica). They were fun, had a great backing band, and just really rocked the house. So much so that we ended up buying their new album. The few photos I took last night are on my Flickr pages. Use this composite image as a link to the set:

Bacon Brothers in Concert

Friday Pet Blogging | Sick Kitties :(

I'm just going to parrot what Mrs. Brainwise posted in her own online journal:
Healing thoughts are needed but again for my boys. Milo and Otis are both dealing with raging bacterial infections in their plumbing systems. Our vet is working overtime to help us figure this all out but it just keeps getting worse. The boys are both on medication but it is only halting the infections so that they aren't suffering horribly. Our next step is probably an internist, who can hopefully get us some answers and some solutions. I fear that we will have gone through all we did and they will have to be put down. The infections just don't get better - only worse. It is very sad and my boys just don't deserve it (but then who really does deserve to be sick). Anyway, any healing thoughts you can send along would be most appreciated.
This would not be a Friday Pet Blogging post without a photo or two, so to help you focus on the recipients of your prayers (should you be so inclined to offer up a healing thought or prayer to the god/dess of your choice), here are our sick little boys:



::::: Sigh ::::::

More Pet Blogging
  1. See the Friday Ark, featuring a compilation of today's pet blogging posts, over at The Modulator.
  2. Check the M&O Archives for previous Milo & Otis appearances (now updated through Sept 2005!).
  3. Carnival of the Cats, coming at you every Sunday.

Explaining My Absence...

I noticed last night that the blog went down. Even though I could logon to the Blogger system, and I could create/edit posts, nothing was getting published. Hel! The blog wasn't even visible. For the two or three of you who stumble over to this URL every now and then, all you got for your troubles was a "no access" error message. But it wasn't my fault: Blogger went down, but not for everyone. Well, to be more accurate, one of Blogger's filers went down, and that affected many different blogs. You can read about it here if you're interested. The important this is we're back! The new This Week in "God" is up, and soon a Pet Blogging entry will be posted as well.

This Week in "God"

This week: old carvings, a druid fraternity, the Middle East, "God's fossil," and St. Patrick. Let's start with this "rocking" Roman god...
Carving of 'northern god' found BBC News Last Updated: Saturday, 11 March 2006, 16:00 GMT A 2000-year-old carving of a so-called "northern god", adopted by the Romans for protection and good luck, has been uncovered in Northumberland.

Rock art image of Cocidius
The image is thought to be that of Cocidius
The 40cm high figure, holding a shield in one hand and spear or sword in the other, was discovered near Chesters Fort on Hadrian's Wall.

Experts say the find is exciting as it helps shed light on how people used local idols for protection. The carving is thought to be that of Cocidius, a Romano-British warrior god...

[ Full Story ]

A fraternity for Druid's celebrates its first anniversary...
Student organizes his own alternative fraternity By JULIA O'MALLEY Anchorage Daily News Published: March 13, 2006 John Wilcox, a 'super senior' at the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA), was denied membership in Sigma Epsilon last year. And so, Phi Omicron Delta -- UAA's first and only local fraternity -- began and will celebrate its one year birthday in the fall.

...The fraternity, now officially a corporation, has about 13 active members, a secret handshake, and a raucous tradition of attending UAA sporting events with body parts painted green and gold. The brothers are seeking recognition from the university, which doesn't have provisions for a local fraternity. Wilcox explained the idea was to create kind of an anti-fraternity, eschewing flowery secret oaths and partying in favor of a stripped-down brotherhood concept almost like a support group...

[ Full Story ]

Security, Religion, and Politics of two tribal peoples with equal claims on ancestral lands...
Two Narratives: Reflections on the Israeli-Palestinian Present Speaking of Faith by American Public Media March 9, 2006: An Israeli Perspective March 16, 2006: A Palestinian Perspective

As Israel prepares for a critical election and Hamas forms a Palestinian cabinet, we explore the difficulty of reaching resolution in a land that its inhabitants, on both sides of the conflict, consider holy. Our guests in this two-part series, Israeli and Palestinian, identify deeply with the story and suffering of their own people. They are also individuals who from across tumultuous recent history have reached out to the other side. They find themselves embittered at the failure of the Oslo peace process, reeling from recent events, and uncertain about the future. We explore their unresolved questions and despair, and probe the deep longing for peace that remains within each of them and how they are imagining a future within new political realities.

Evolutionary psychologists in the God-killing business (sort of)...
The God Fossil By Julia Reischel Article Published Mar 9, 2006 (Posted by Science & Theology News March 16, 2006 Most Americans who accept evolution think God created it. These scientists think they can prove the opposite.

Since the 2004 publication of their experiments, Bering and Bjorklund have been ignored by all but a small group of theorists and experimental psychologists. And talking to Bjorklund, the more cautious of the two, you'd never think that their findings are any threat at all to traditional religion. "Humans have evolved this tendency to look for explanations, to look for causes," he says in a characteristically dispassionate way. "This ends up giving meaning to life. It forms how we think about the world. Religion and spirituality emanate from it." But Bering, now a professor in his own right at the University of Arkansas, sounds ready to burn down a cathedral. His hunger for the answers to his mother's questions barely sated, his goal is nothing less than to prove to the world, once and for all, that God is a "cognitive illusion" — a figment of our imaginations...

"We've got God by the throat, and I'm not going to stop until one of us is dead."

[ Full Story ]

And in honor of St. Patty's Day, read about the real St. Patrick. Oh, but maybe you should try your hand at the Beliefnet St. Patrick's Day quiz first, and see how much you already know...
The Real Saint Patrick Author Maire B. de Paor Interviewed by Manya Brachear Posted Mar 17, 2006 @ Though shamrocks and snakes weren't part of his ministry, the saint touched hearts across a spectrum of beliefs.

Kidnapped as a teenager, Patrick was smuggled to Ireland and enslaved. He became a shepherd and prayed for his release for six years. Once freed, he returned to evangelize his pagan captors. Until recently, many believed Patrick was a barely literate rustic. In her book, Paor seeks to uncover the true "poet and apostle" Patrick as revealed through his two major literary works, the Confessio and the Epistola. During her first visit to the U.S., Paor talked with Beliefnet's Manya Brachear about the life behind the legend...

[ The Interview ]

Thanks for stopping by. I have not had much feedback on the This Week in "God" feature, so I don't know if my regular readers (all two or three of you) like it at all. Does it take up too much space? Would you prefer to see each story in a separate post, if only to make it easier to comment on them individually? Let me know your thoughts. I would like to make this a regular thing here, and I am interested in dialogue about the stories.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Quotable | Path

The path to our destination is not always a straight one. We go down the wrong road, we get lost, we turn back. Maybe it doesn't matter which road we embark on. Maybe what matters is that we embark." -- Leonard, in the 1993 Northern Exposure episode "Rosebud" (written by Barbara Hall)

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

What Would MacGyver Hack?

I saw a great T-Shirt design today:
What Would MacGyver Do?
I'm thinking the usual paper clip, chewing gum wrapper and duct tape just aren't going be enough in this situation. Anyway ... I saw the MacGyver design over at The Unofficial Apple Weblog where Damien used it as the graphic for his post entitled Secrets of an Apple Tech Support Guy. In this post, he provides an interesting tid bit about translucent cases and suggests a few tools that qualify for the "never-leave-home-without-it" designation. I already have most of the items in my handy dandy toolkit, but I have to admit that I'm almost convinced that I need something called Apple's Black Stick. Do you have one?

Friday, March 10, 2006

Quotable | Alive!

Try as much as possible to be wholly alive, with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell and when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough.

-- William Saroyan, (1908-1981) American author whose stories celebrated optimism in the middle of trials and difficulties of the Depression-era. Saroyan worked tirelessly to perfect a prose style, that was full of zest of for life and was seemingly impressionistic. The style became known as 'Saroyanesque.' His memory, style, and works are celebrated by the William Saroyan Society.

This Week in "God" | More Entries

Here are a few interesting stories I missed in today's earlier presentation of This Week in "God"...
That Hasidic Reggae Singer By Michael Kress,

Matisyahu is hip, black hat and all, but is he just a pop-scene oddity?

It will probably always be surreal to me that Matisyahu--the suddenly ubiquitous Hasidic reggae artist--is getting mainstream play on the likes of MTV and "Jimmy Kimmel Live" and write ups in Rolling Stone and Entertainment Weekly. He's hip, even with his black hat and lyrics about Hashem and mashiach. Don't know what those words mean? You're far from alone. But spitting lyrics incomprehensible to 99% of the public hasn't slowed Matisyahu's march from sideshow act to commercial success story. (For the record, Hashem is a term for God, mashiach is the Messiah.)

[ Full Story ]

Man, that Matisyahu is the 'Dox, yo! (Or something like that.)

Plaintiffs say Air Force recruiters told to use religion as tool By Patrick O'Driscoll, USA TODAY Fri Mar 10, 7:06 AM ET

A vocal critic of Pentagon policies on religion in the ranks filed court papers Thursday alleging that an Air Force recruiter in New Mexico was asked "to use Jesus Christ as a recruiting tool."

Michael "Mikey" Weinstein, a 1977 graduate of the Air Force Academy, filed suit against the Air Force in federal court in Albuquerque last October. Weinstein and four other plaintiffs allege illegal proselytizing by evangelical Christian chaplains, officers and cadets at the Air Force Academy and throughout the service.

[ Full Story ]

I can just imagine the recruitment posters:

Jesus wants YOU to join the USAF!

Meanwhile, back at the New Age Rec Center...

How to Do Yoga With Your Soul By B.K.S. Iyengar From "Light on Life" by B.K.S. Iyengar (reprinted at

If you do yoga postures correctly (no cheating allowed), the practice can bring you closer to God.

In asana [yoga postures] and pranayama [breathing] practice, we should have the impression we are working on the outer to get close to the inner reality of our existence. This is true. We work from the periphery to the core. The material body has a practical reality that is accessible. It is here and now, and we can do something with it. However, we must not forget that the innermost part of our being is also trying to help us. It wants to come out to the surface and express itself...

[ Full Story ] [ Yoga: How-to ] [ Choose a Class ]

This Week in "God"

Assorted stories about {insert appropriate god(s) here} -- or belief in {deity} -- from various sources. And not necessarily presented in chronological order.

Altared Spaces By Joseph Gallivan Issue date: Tue, Mar 7, 200

Enrique Ugalde goes down on one knee and scoops up a precious necklace. It was given to him after he studied with a Huichol peyote shaman from Mexico — not an easy guest list to get on. Ugalde leans in and places it on the top level of his three-tiered altar.

A few minutes before, the altar was an old computer desk he found at the Goodwill bins for $10. First he covered the desk with a cloth he had lying around. Then he added a few glass-cased devotional candles and hid one of his surround-sound speakers underneath it. Sage smoke rises into the folds of the white parachute that covers his ceiling, and he gets to work...

[ Full Story ]

100 Dublin priests accused of abuse since 1940 Owen Bowcott, Ireland correspondent Thursday March 09 2006 The Guardian 350 children in one archdiocese affected. Church may sell property to pay compensation.

The full extent of child abuse scandals threatening the Roman Catholic church in Ireland has emerged in a study by the archdiocese of Dublin which reveals that more than 100 of its priests have faced paedophile accusations since 1940.

[Full Story]

Witches return to German forests Mail&Guardian Online - 10 March 2006 04:40 PM Original Posting May 12, 2005 Walther Rosenberger | Berlin Witches have returned to the German forests, dancing naked in groups under the full moon and calling to their gods. The covens vary in size and in how seriously they take their calling, but the numbers are rising, particularly amongst the young. Their religious ideas are described as "pagan" rather than Satanist, and many of the older practitioners have a history in the environmental movement, where they learnt a passionate love of nature. In some cases this has led on to a belief in the natural powers of the forests. The women are convinced they can work magic. "The witches' scene is experiencing a powerful revival," says Lutheran theologian Hansjoerg Hemminger. He says the covens range from "girlie witches" to the so-called "Wicca" covens. Wicca is an old Anglo-Saxon term for a group of witches. Christian theologians are inclined to see the latter as a manifestation of a new heathen movement. The women tend to be members of associations like the Pagan Federation or the Stone Circle...

[ Full Story ]

Put religion under the microscope Connected.telegraph Daniel Dennett Filed: March 7, 2006 Like other animals, humans have built-in desires to reproduce and to do pretty much whatever it takes to achieve this goal. But we also have creeds, religions and faith, and the ability to transcend our genetic imperatives. We often find human beings setting aside their personal interests, their health, their chances to have children, and devoting their entire lives to furthering the interests of an idea that has lodged in their brains.
Religious symbols, under a microscope
'People may well have come to love religion independently of any benefits it provides them'
This fact does make us different, but it is itself a biological fact, visible to natural science, and something that requires an explanation from natural science. How did just one species, Homo sapiens, come to have the extraordinary perspective that religions can give to people's lives? My view of the evolution of various features of religion is definitely just a theory or, rather, a family of proto-theories, in need of further development. In a nutshell, this is what it says: religion evolved, but it doesn't have to be good for us in order to evolve. (Tobacco isn't good for us, but it survives just fine.)...

[ Full Story ]

Neighbors object to Scientologists' offer to buy 1912 building Charlie Goodyear, Chronicle Staff Writer Thursday, March 9, 2006 San Francisco's North Beach, the city's bohemian quarter, has said "no" to chain stores through zoning laws to preserve the quirky, colorful character found in its cafes, clothing shops, bookstores and nightclubs. Now, some merchants and the supervisor whose district includes North Beach are eyeing a new land-use restriction to block a real estate acquisition being considered by the Church of Scientology, whose religious marketing practices strike some as inconsistent with the neighborhood's live-and-let-live ways...

[ Full Story ]

Friday Pet Blogging | iPurr

Today's pic is not a Photoshop bit. Mrs. Brainwise snapped an image of Otis behind the window screen, with the afternoon sun behind them both. Could this be an outtake from Otis' audition for the next iPod ad?

iPod ... iPurr ... Feline Fine!

Otis would like a Nano for his birthday, if anyone's keeping track.

More Pet Blogging
  1. See the Friday Ark, featuring a compilation of today's pet blogging posts, over at The Modulator.
  2. Check the M&O Archives for previous Milo & Otis appearances.
  3. Carnival of the Cats, coming at you every Sunday.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Could This Be Historical Four-Play?

Or is it a four-ay into the past? Maybe it's just me, but this seems like a story more suited to The Onion than The Daily Mail. Even the photo looks suspect to me. But I have to tell you ... I get tired just looking at them.
Time-warp family who walk on all fours by BEN FARMER, Daily Mail 08:31am 7th March 2006

An extraordinary family who walk on all fours are being hailed as the breakthrough discovery which could shed light on the moment Man first stood upright. Scientists believe that the five brothers and sisters found in Turkey could hold unique insights into human evolution...

[ Read More ]

Be sure to keep an eye out for the documentary, called The Family That Walks On All Fours. According to this article, the program is supposed to air on BBC2 on Friday, March 17. As far as I can tell, my cable company doesn't carry the channel. So I am hoping someone here can help me out by taping the show for me.

The Loch Ness ... Elephant??

If anything, this just encourages more expeditions to the Loch.
Elephant theory in Nessie search BBC News Monday March 6, 2006

Unexplained sightings of the Loch Ness monster could have been elephants enjoying a swim, a scientist has said. Neil Clark, curator of palaeontology at Glasgow University's Hunterian Museum, spent two years researching Nessie. He said they could have been circus elephants, as fairs visiting Inverness would often stop on the banks of Loch Ness to give the animals a rest. The trunk and humps in the water would bear similarities to some of the most famous Nessie photographs...

Elephant Theory.

...Asked whether he believed in the Loch Ness monster, Dr Clark said: "I do believe there is something alive in Loch Ness."...

[ Read More ]

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

New Beastie!

Deep sea scientists have found discovered a new crustacean in the South Pacific that "was so distinct from other species that they created a new family and genus for it." You know what? I think I would be Running Scared if I saw this furry critter:
AP Photo of Kiwa hirsuta -- hosted at
Man, does that thing look like it escaped from the prop table at Land of the Lost or what?

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

One Year Anniversary

My father-in-law passed from this world a year ago. The day after his passing, Prophet or Madman stood as a simple tribute to the man who raised my wife. In many ways, it feels like he never left. But in hundreds of subtle ways -- perhaps thousands or more for Mrs. Brainwise -- his absence is still painfully felt. But that is the way with grief. It is a journey with no end, but the bearing of it comes to be less and less of a burden as we work our ways through it. Carrying what we can, when we can, and asking others to share the burden when appropriate. So on this day, I salute my father-in-law and his life -- he was a good man who walked with honor. Dad, I raise you and your name up for all who have ears to hear:
Frið to you! Frið to your ancestors! And Frið to those you left behind!


You can safely assume that you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.
--Anne Lamott, writer (1954- )

Friday, March 03, 2006

This Week in "God"

Assorted stories about {insert appropriate god(s) here} -- or belief in {deity} -- from various sources. And not necessarily presented in chronological order. First up, armed students...

Supreme Court allows Sikh daggers in school By Randall Palmer Thu Mar 2, 12:32 PM ET OTTAWA (Reuters) Multiculturalism and religious freedom trumped safety concerns in a Canadian Supreme Court decision on Thursday that will allow orthodox Sikh students to carry traditional daggers to school.

In its decision, the court noted that Sikh orthodoxy requires the wearing of the daggers, known as kirpans, even though they are banned from airplanes and some courtrooms....

[Full Story]

The kirpan is pictured here; and you can read about it and other Sikh requirements here and here (much more detail). I wonder if there are other groups who could make a case for carrying a blade as a religious obligation. For example, Heathens (AKA: Asatruar, Odinists, etc.) hold the writings of the Hávamál in high regard (Hávamál means "Sayings of Hár"or "Sayings of the high one"). And stanza 38 seems to advise people to go armed when going about their regular business:
Leaving in the field his arms, let no man go a foot's length forward; for it is hard to know when on the way a man may need his weapon.
The Hávamál, which is believed to have been written around 800CE, is far older than Sikhism, a fairly modern religion (500+ years). And the basic tenents and practices of Heathenry were well-established long before any of it was written down, which makes it older still. But I'm willing to bet that the Sikhs have a slight edge in Western courts if only because they are more established (read: "accepted") and because they are monotheists.

OK ... on to the next story! Updated 03/06/2006: Apparently, the original story was a hoax. Many thanks to Agora who posted a comment so that we could properly update this posting. We have more deadly zaniness regarding those dastardly Danish cartoons...
Cartoonist's Daughter Hunted bothered by 12 Jihadists 6 to 8 girls Agora (

[Agora collects a bunch of entries regarding this story. Agnora has the full story here, and analysis here]

"A group of Moslem males have tried to get at the daughter of one of the 12 cartoonists who drew the cartoons of Muhammed at her school. The political spokesman of the Liberals, Jens Rohde, revealed this during an interview with TV-Avisen while explaining his and the Prime Minister’s attack on the business community in Denmark, charging that they have put profits over Freedom of Speech."

"Four weeks ago, 6-8 Moslem girls showed up at the school of the daughter of one of the cartoonists, asking for 'the daughter of the cartoonist who had insulted their prophet'. They were turned away at the door."

:::Sigh::: That's a really beautiful and peaceful reaction from adherents of a beautiful and peaceful religion. What?! A journalist was misquoting information and accidentally blamed Muslims for the whole thing? Hmmmmm ... does Jens Rohde work for the Bush Administration? (Oh, and my bad for my earlier comment on the misinformed story. I was duped too!)

And speaking of cartoons...
Radford University Campus cartoon draws backlash By GREG ESPOSITO, The Roanoke Times © February 28, 2006

Cartoons depicting Jesus in a Radford University online student magazine have created controversy just weeks after Danish cartoons of the P rophet Muhammad touched off violent protests throughout the Muslim world. In his "Christ on Campus" comic strip, sophomore Christian Keesee has satirized what he sees as the hypocrisy of some churchgoing students, the greed of some televangelists and the commercialization of Christmas, among other things, in 12 cartoons he's published on Radford's Whim Internet Magazine. He has made his points with images of a cartoon Jesus being stabbed by Santa Claus, playing poker with other religious figures - including Muhammad - and punching a heckler who referred to him as a "glorified Easter bunny." Those depictions have sparked anger among many students, both Christians and non-Christians, and concern among administrators...

[Read More]

If you want to see those cartoons, click here. But only if you really, really want to see them. And only if you have something resembling a sense of humor. Oh, and only if you are not easily offended. And if you ignore all my warnings, and you get all offended after viewing them, please do not complain to me. Thanks. From one backlash to another ... Apparantly, some people in Nevada are so enamored of Intelligent Design that they want their constitution to legitimize (er, I mean, allow for the teaching of) it:
Nevada proposal raises evolution questions By Brendan Riley, Associated Press Writer

CARSON CITY, Nev. --A proposed constitutional amendment would require Nevada teachers to instruct students that there are many questions about evolution -- a method viewed by critics as an opening to teach intelligent design...

[Full Story]

Nevada is a bastion of hard science, right? Right??

And for our final story, we'll tone the rancor down a bit while an exile visits home...
Brother Thây: A Radio Pilgrimage with Thich Nhat Hanh Speaking of Faith by American Public Media

March 2, 2006: Forcibly exiled from his native country, Thich Nhat Hanh is currently visiting Vietnam for the first time in nearly forty years. In 2003, Speaking of Faith took a radio pilgrimage with Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh at a Christian conference center in a lakeside setting of rural Wisconsin. Here, Nhat Hanh discusses the concepts of "engaged Buddhism," "being peace," and "mindfulness" with host Krista Tippett.

Download (mp3, 53:18) | » Stream (RealAudio, 53:00) | » Podcast

Thanks for stopping by. Let me know if you like This Week in "God" ... and maybe I'll make it a regular thing.

Friday Pet Blogging | Radiating his Kingly Vibes

I don't think I've provided an update on Milo, who followed his brother's lead and needed PU surgery to correct his own urinary tract issues. But I'm happy to report that, for the most part, Milo is doing well. Aside from the shaved-fur evidence of scans and surgeries, doesn't he look simply regal atop that radiator?

Milo surveys his kingdom...

...And, lo, he deemed it good ... and then promptly took a nap!

Milo's fighting a slight infection right now, but at least he's not blocking.

More Pet Blogging
  1. See the Friday Ark, featuring a compilation of today's pet blogging posts, over at The Modulator.
  2. Check the M&O Archives for previous Milo & Otis appearances.
  3. Carnival of the Cats, coming at you every Sunday.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The Death of Handwriting?

Stuart Jeffries of the Guardian Unlimited ponders the rise of computers and email ... and what that might mean for handwriting:,,1709128,00.html Although I do have a few areas where I still exercise my handwriting prowess, I must admit that the majority of my own writing is heavily skewed to keyboard activities.