THE INTERNET MONK SATURDAY BRUNCH
”It is talk-compelling. It puts you in a good temper, it makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings, it sweeps away the worries and cobwebs of the week.”
Sorry to keep harping on the solar eclipse from last Monday, but there remain a few silly examples of Christians and others making use of the heavenly phenomenon that we have to report before we close the topic.
DEUX EX MACHINA
The image above, supposedly of the solar eclipse, was posted by Dan Asmussen. In a Facebook post, he raved “Best photo so far … Not sure anyone can top this one!” His post was shared more than 1.7 million times. Of course, many Christians jumped on this magnificent “evidence” of a sign in the heavens — the eclipse had produced the sign of the cross!
Snopes.com, however, discovered that Asmussen’s image was created in 2011 from an image on Obsidian Digital, from the website DeviantArt. Obsidian Digital changed the orientation of the original image of the eclipse by using software to turn it on its side for the cross effect, Snopes explained. As RNS commented, this once, “God” truly was in the machine.
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DON’T WASTE, RECYCLE!
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ONE FINAL BIT OF ECLIPSE MADNESS
I’m not sure this needs any comment. Here is Jim Bakker’s take on the eclipse:
God came to me in a dream and said I should tell the world that I am plunging the world into darkness to remind people I’m still mad at the Obama years,” said Bakker on his online radio show. “Obama legalized witchcraft, sexual deviants getting married and schools started teaching transgenderism.
Bakker said it would take eight years of Donald Trump for America to “get right with God.”
I think it’s time to move on along to something a little less crazy and strange…
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COSPLAY AT GEN CON 50
Some of the costumes folks wore last week here in Indianapolis at the 50th Gen Con convention:
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WHY ARE EVANGELICALS SCARED OF WOMEN’S BREASTS?
Jonathan Aigner reports:
According to the Charlotte Observer, Amanda Zilliken was nursing her 4-month-old daughter on the back row of Elevation’s stadium-style seating when an usher illumined her with a flashlight, directed her out of the sanctuary and into [the bathroom].
The volunteer told her that she was welcome back to her seat, “as soon as she was finished.”
Hurt, angry, and humiliated by the experience, Zilliken approached other staff and volunteers after the service, but they were less than supportive.
Elevation did release a statement on the incident, stating that they have no official policy against breastfeeding women. They added: “We have several designated areas for nursing moms at Ballantyne specifically – one private to allow pumping and it’s close to the auditorium for convenience and the other in the actual baby area with a TV to allow mothers to still be part of the worship experience.”Disappointingly, they did not explain why this particular mom was directed to the place where human waste is eliminated.
Aigner mentions other instances he read about where similar, humiliating instances occurred in churches. Then he launches an eloquent defense of welcoming mothers and their babies into church and not forcing them to leave public spaces to nurse.
You see, my beloved wife is my hero. After nine months of nurturing his sweet little life from the inside, she began doing the same after his birth. While recovering from the major surgery involved in his delivery, she gave more of herself to feed him as often as he needed. Through pain, tears, exhaustion, and spit up, she sustained him on her own for the first months of his precious life.
It was the most selfless, beautiful relationship I’ve ever witnessed. Determined, patient, pure love. I don’t think there could be a clearer illustration of Christ’s love and grace for his church.
So I find it despicable for a representative of any church to try and squelch that relationship, to guilt a mom for feeding her child, to show her the door as if she’s engaging in some sort of histrionic lactation.
He concludes the article by citing an example when the Pope himself, at the Sistine Chapel, openly gave permission to women to feed their babies when hungry. In fact, in the history of the church, some of the most beautiful artistic images of Mary and Jesus portray her suckling him at her breast. In fact, here is a page with twenty such renderings of Mary breastfeeding our infant King. One of the venerable names given to Mary traditionally is “Our Lady of the Milk.” This may have roots in a 4th century grotto in Bethlehem. It is considered sacred because, it is said, while the Holy Family took refuge there before their flight into Egypt, Mary was nursing Jesus, when a drop of milk fell to the ground, turning the cave white. To this day the Franciscans maintain a shrine there called the Milk Grotto. Its centerpiece is the Blessed Virgin nursing the infant Jesus.
And what shall we say of this painting, “The Miraculous Lactation of St. Bernard”? The artwork depicts the spiritual nourishing of St. Bernard of Clairvaux by the milk of Our Lady. He had a legendary mystical experience in which he prayed before a statue of the Madonna and Child, asking her, “Show yourself a mother” (“Monstra te esse Matrem”). The statue came to life and and squirted milk from the breast onto the Saint’s lips.
Evangelicals may laugh and deride such mysticism, but in my view it portrays a spirituality and view of life much more natural and human than the kind that thinks some kind of holy trauma will occur if they allow nursing in church. Sheesh. Grow up.
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Fascinating article at LiveScience, even for someone as clueless about mathematics as I am.
Scientists recently decoded a clay tablet from ancient Babylonia that dates to around 3,700 years ago, and found that it contains the oldest trigonometric table in the world.
The tablet, discovered in the early 1900s and first interpreted in 1945, has long fascinated mathematics scholars, but they were puzzled by its description of triangles, which researchers recently linked to a type of trigonometry.
These ancient mathematical inscriptions predate the earliest known evidence of trigonometry — thought to have originated around 120 B.C. with Greek astronomer Hipparchus — by approximately 1,000 years, the researchers reported in a new study.
This finding suggests that the Babylonians, not the ancient Greeks, were the first to study trigonometry — the mathematics of triangles — perhaps using it in architectural calculations for constructing pyramids, temples and palaces, the study authors wrote.
…Thousands of years ago, mathematicians in Babylonia used a base 60 numerical system rather than the base 10 system that forms the foundation of modern arithmetic. In the study, the authors used the ancient base 60 system to demonstrate how scribes would have arrived at the numbers that were chiseled on Plimpton 322.
“The tablet not only contains the world’s oldest trigonometric table; it is also the only completely accurate trigonometric table, because of the very different Babylonian approach to arithmetic and geometry,” Mansfield said.
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ANOTHER REASON TO NOT CHECK YOUR PHONE WHILE DRIVING
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LESSONS OF A BUTLER
At Bloomberg, Brandon Presser writes a riveting piece about how he an accepted an offer from New York’s Plaza Hotel to join its team of butlers, describing a few of the lessons he learned doing the job. At the Plaza, he writes, there is “a coterie of 10 servicemen (and one woman!) who trot around the property’s 20 floors day and night, making sure 282 rooms’ worth of guests feel like royalty.”
Over my short tenure, I delivered laundry to Middle Eastern princesses and fetched lobsters out of wishing wells—and listened to colleagues delight in the oddities of their jobs, from fielding requests for Viagra or comforting a weeping woman over spilled blueberries. Serving the world’s rich and famous, it turns out, plumbs the depths of an alternative universe that readily embraces the absurd without even batting an eye. And that was only the beginning of what I learned.
…One butler told the story of how he was asked to replace all the furniture in a suite because the guest didn’t like the color blue. Another was sent off to scout the city’s reliquaries for a justice of the peace trophy—a prize for a newly minted lawyer. Another arranged for a live tarantula flown in from Africa to be served as a meal. Of course, butlers always deliver with a straight face.
Here is his description of one of the twelve lessons he enumerates in the article:
Another common request for the butler team is to draw baths with a signature blend of salt, oil, and roses—especially during the colder months of the year. But the butler’s duties aren’t necessarily complete once the tub is full. Bal, the Plaza’s resident bath-time specialist, said that 95 percent of the time, he’s asked to remain within arm’s reach as bathers suds-up. Most of them, he said, want more hot water or scented oil, and are happy to keep him on hand while they relax in the nude. He is often left to pull the plug from the drain, elbow-deep in leftover water.
It gets weirder. One of my butler colleagues at a previous job in London was asked to ship in and set up a guest’s order of fresh oysters in the bathtub. He diligently filled the tub with ice and laid the oysters out, only to discover that the guest wanted the oysters placed in the tub around his soaking body. Eventually, the client seemed satisfied: He purchased the room next door for his butler so he’d always be near.
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AND THEN THERE’S THIS…
Yes, this is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen…
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GREAT SATIRE (note: this is satire)
There’s a wonderful satire piece at Laughing in Disbelief, satirizing televangelists, the Trump administration, Southern Baptists and otherwise ugly Americans. The piece brilliantly satirizes them all.
I feel the need to let you know that this is satire, because, well you know, enough people thought it wasn’t satire that Snopes was obliged to put up a page reporting that it is, indeed, satire, at least temporarily assuaging the holy furor of non-satirical, clueless about satire, satire-averse white Southern Baptist American Christians and other Church Ladies everywhere. Apparently, they failed to notice that the satirical article itself gives repeated clues and links that say over and over again, “This is satire, this is satire!” And that the site itself is known as a satire site. And that its name, “Laughing in Disbelief,” is a pretty good clue in and of itself that this site will probably include humorous articles that may include satire.
At any rate, here is part of the satirical article people apparently complained about, not getting that it is satire:
Reykjavik, Iceland – This island nation situated in the North Atlantic took a monumental leap forward today by passing legislation banning American televangelists. [click the link to see if this is satire.]
The Icelandic Psychological Defense Act (IPDA) takes effect immediately. No American televangelist may set his or her foot in the small nation of 330,000 souls. No programming by such people may be shown on Icelandic television or played on the radio.
Genesis of the Icelandic Psychological Defense Act
Like most of the world, Iceland is watching the United States of America with growing concern. President Trump won the election in part by blowing demagogic dog whistles so loud even racist German Shepherds across the Atlantic could hear. Many in Iceland wondered if he could’ve won without the support of conservative churches and their faith-based flocks hoping for the biblical apocalypse?
The answer is obvious.
Prime Minister Andrew Kanard touted the IPDA while soaking in one of the many hot springs the country enjoys:
We in Iceland value our relationship with the United States of America. It is a great nation with a history they should be proud of. Currently, however, they seem to off whatever medication their doctor prescribed for them. Iceland wishes to support our friend in need. In that spirit, we are sending teachers over there to educate and assist rural communities infected with ignorance and superstition. What we will not do is allow ourselves to be invaded by that ignorance and superstition which is propagated by televangelists.
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THIS WEEK IN MUSIC
During this week in 1970 £3 would have bought you a ticket for several days of pretty good music — or if you waited until fans tore the fences down, it was all free! It was the Isle of Wight Festival, sometimes called Britain’s “Woodstock.” An estimated 600,000 people attended, topping the 400,000 who partied in the rain in New York. Among the notable performances were Jimi Hendrix’s final U.K. concert before his death a few weeks later. But IOW’s finest moment came when The Who played what may have been their best set ever. Here’s how one person remembers it:
Probably the most magnificent set I have ever seen was perpetrated by The Who. Townshend ambled on stage throwing off waves of channeled energy that were probably just a tiny bit more apparent to those at the front of the stage . Certainly the best little band ever, they were happy , they were together and they were amazing . From two o’clock to after five in the morning they stormed their way through Tommy, some new numbers and the prodigious rock medley that wound the whole thing up. Sometimes you really do come across an experience that will not allow itself to be said in just a few words on paper . For me The Who played what could only be the best set that they’ve ever done , but that’s only for me.
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A CALL TO PRAYER AND SYMPATHY
Please keep in mind those being affected by Hurricane Harvey today and intercede for them to the One who calms the seas.