Parting shot
A couple of things worth reading

Mid-Week Miscellany

This might become a regular feature. Or it might not.


First: Marianne posted, in a comment, a link to this story about two young American Muslims on a road trip visiting 30 mosques in 30 days (second link is to their blog, if you want to read more). It's a very refreshing counterbalance to the ugliness that's been going on for the past few weeks now from both sides of the Cordoba Initiative controversy.


Speaking of Muslims, I meant to mention, in that same comment thread, the first conversation (and one of the few) with a Muslim I ever had. It was in the late '70s or early '80s, at a party, but I've remembered it because it struck me. The Muslim was a young man, probably an engineer or something of that sort, as this was in Huntsville, Alabama, which is full of techies. He was engaged in a friendly debate with an atheist, and doing a great job of it: earnest without being aggressive or hostile, and very perceptive in his delineation of the difference between a world with God and one without it. Any Christian would have been very much on his side in the debate, as I was.


Here is physicist Stephen Barr taking on Stephen Hawking's recent unfortunate venture into theology.


Related, Amy Welborn reports on a debate between Christopher Hitchens and the strange and interesting David Berlinksi. I think she sums up Hitchens pretty well:

My basic impression of Hitchens in regard to religion is that for whatever reason, even though he debates and debates and scribbles, in the end, he refuses to seriously engage theism.  He has his points, mostly historical and social, to which he returns again and again, but he doesn’t address the origins or persistence of the spiritual impulse in humanity, he doesn’t address the question of meaning or transcendence. From what I have read and now heard, what Hitchens has to say about religion is not that much different from one of my 16-year old smart aleck high school students, but with a lot more historical references thrown in.


One more from Amy Welborn: why the introvert remains just slightly on edge as long as there is anyone else at all in the house. Well, not why exactly—just an excellent description of the phenomenon: "the lurking fear of distraction." This is a partial explanation of why I haven't written any more than I have over the past 40 years or so--only partial, mind you. Some people can shut out everything around them when they're working--Walker Percy apparently could. Some can't.


Kevin McCarthy, RIP. I didn't recognize the name, but he was the lead in the original Invasion of the Bodysnatchers, which is my favorite of all the old '50s sci-fi/horror movies. There must be strangers in town. No kidding.



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Not entirely sure what I clicked on, but suddenly the blog looked like this.

I *think* that would be something weird going on in the browser. http is not a real tight protocol, and browsers try to keep charging ahead even if what they're getting from the server doesn't make sense. Could be that some bit of data from the server never made it to the browser, resulting in visual crackup.

It's the same page I would get if I pasted the url into google translate and asked it to put it into Chinese. Only I didn't do that. I was emailing with someone in China shortly before visiting the site, so it's either a bizarre coincidence, or quite a scary one.

Yeah, those block thingies are what the browser (and lots of other programs) will display when it gets stuff that's supposed to be text but isn't, which is what it would think of Chinese characters if it wasn't set up to handle them.

It just so happens that I started reading Jack Finney's Invasion of the Body Snatchers about four hours ago, before seeing this news.

I've never read it. That sounds like a wonderful way to spend a leisurely day (or part of it--I suppose it's pretty short). Maybe I'll have one sometime.

Oh right - you're not seeing what I'm seeing (my browser is set up to do Asian fonts - I see Chinese characters).

I've put a screenshot on Facebook. It is very odd.

I have a similar problem with my Blackboard assignments. I don't have some of the fonts that my teacher uses, so some of my assignments come to me in the Greek alphabet.


Well, AW almost has me convinced that I'm an introvert.


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