Anti-Statism, Relativism, Prosperity Gospel, etc.

So I took a trip to Myanmar this week. I’ll blog about it later. In the meantime I have a bunch of tabs of stuff I’ve been meaning to share and I’ll have to just dump them w/o much comment because they’re slowing down Firefox.

  • The Atlantic: “Did Christianity Cause the Crash?” by Hanna Rosin. Short answer is No, it didn’t… but the name-it-n-claim-it prosperity gospel probably contributed a little at least.
  • “Who’s Afraid of Relativism?” by Carl Raschke – summary & review of the first two chapters from Merold Westphal’s book Whose Community? Which Interpretation? Raschke is expectedly excellent:

The term “relativism” nowadays is routinely and indiscriminately used as a handy synonym for “postmodernism” by Christian and cultural mossbacks in the same way that “deconstruction” is taken as the first thesaurus entry for nihilistic devastation of the entire legacy of Western culture.  Pondering the “relativity” of the symbolic order – Einstein’s special and general theories notwithstanding – is generally regarded in these same circles as akin to taking a puff of Ouachita Gold and then inhaling.  That is, it is the first tragic slip on the slipper of the slippery slope to reprobation and incurable insanity.

  • The A.V. Club is trying to sum up the past decade. One of their lists is “The Best TV Series of the ’00s” wherein Arrested Development is somehow not #1 and NBC’s The Office bribed someone to earn an entry. I remain unimpressed by Judd Apatow’s TV work (I did like most of Funny People though, fwiw).
  • They’ve also got a big 50-entry list of “The Best Music of the Decade” which I will say is not the worst list I’ve ever read. Arcade Fire got robbed, of course, losing out to Outkast and (FFS!) Kanye; “this is an outrage” “how dare they” et cetera. No My Morning Jacket at all. Zilch. Actually, with all due respect to Win Butler & Jeff Tweedy, I may have to give my vote to “Best Album of the Decade” to Mr. Lamontagne for “Trouble.”


1. Thanks to everyone who sent me birthday wishes. I am shocked to see 3-0 bearing down on me. 

2. Congrats to my little brother Kraig for getting engaged to Laura last Saturday. He will be the first Cole to get married and nobody’s surprised.

3. Kraig & I took the GRE on Wednesday. That test is hard as hell. I had two goals: get a 700 on the Verbal section, and/or a combined total of 1200+. I made one of these goals. Kraig and I were both happy with our scores so that’s excellent news.

4. It’s -10° outside. My moustache instantly freezes if I venture out.

5. Please remember that my phone does not have texting capabilities. I’ve gotten a couple messages recently and, alas, cannot read them.

6. Win Butler and his crazy band put out a DVD called Miroir Noir that is pretty awesome. It’s mostly Neon Bible material with 2 Funeral songs. I highly recommend this if you can get a copy. Here’s a teaser:

Architecture in Helsinki

do not be confused. this is not a crustacean.Hey hey you crazy, cold-sored crustacean-lovers, it’s Wednesday and you know what that means: I get to rave passionately about music that none of you care about, want to like, or even bother downloading! Alright! Today’s song is by Architecture in Helsinki, a group of Aussies who appear to wish they were from Finland. Their latest outing, In Case We Die, is reminiscent of get-happy indie pop like The Polyphonic Spree, sharing their tendencies for large theatrical bands and similar to the shout-a-long songs of The Arcade Fire or The Hidden Cameras. I haven’t listened to this album straight through very often yet so I’ll semi-randomly offer up this little gem: Architecture In Helsinki’s “It’s 5” (3.18meg .mp3).

So why is there sugar in my hair and sugar coming through my car vents? Motta, Sarah – any ideas? I need to stop hanging around such ill-mannered ruffians.

TIME’s Lev Grossman writes this week on nerds being hip: The Geek Shall Inherit the Earth. It’s always funny to me how many geeky/gaming/computer terms end up in common language. Now I’m even hearing decidedly non-nerdy socialites say “woot” (technically, “w00t”), a term originally from the fantasy RPG Everquest. When players were excited to find a stash of items or food they’d exclaim “Woo-hoo, loot!” Now it applies to everything, such as “w00t i pwned my exam this morning.” Where do you rank on the geek hierarchy? While I’m at it, just wanted to send out a huge YIFF YIFF to Remy.

Speaking of total dorks, check out these amusing pictures of people photoshopped as anime/manga characters and read an interview with America’s favorite physicist nerd Stephen Hawking. Ahoy dorks-turned-emos: article on LiveJournal’s creator Brad Fitzpatrick.

Mindless, boredom-breaking flash violence: Sin City shooter. If you’re still bored, tell Stewie what to do. Input enough actual commands and you’ll unlock the Kill Lois sequence.

The picture above was either going to be of the giant squid everyone’s skeeting over or, as you can see, a two-headed turtle recently found.