You've found Father McKenzie. But are you really looking for Eleanor Rigby?

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Moonleyting (update #3)

After achieving his goal of ensuring the re-election of the fahscist Bush and Howard juntas, Mark Steyn was permitted by Karl Rove and the Project for a New American Century to take a well-earned sabbatical. So, instead of featuring two or three new op-eds each day, SteynOnline has lain fallow since the second week of November:

For personal and family reasons, this website will be on hiatus for a while. My thanks to all of you for sending our readership rocketing during a wild election year, and especially to those who contributed comments, song parodies and psephological analysis. Please click on the mastheads at right for plenty of good reading material from my eminent colleagues around the globe. See you again soon. Mark

However, it seems you can take the boy out of the Internet, but not the Internet out of the boy. While putatively lounging on some St-Tropez beach with his wives, his sons, his menservants, his maidservants, his cattle, his goats, and the alien that dwelleth within his gates, Steyn has been sneaking off late at night to smoky Internet cafes to upload his more recent thoughts:

(1) "Species come and go -- and so do we" (London Telegraph, 13 December 2004)

(2) "An Englishman's home is his dungeon" (London Telegraph, 14 December 2004)

(3) "Purrs of self-satisfaction" (The New Criterion, December 2004)

(4) "In praise of 'Jesusland': Whatever their faults, America's Christian fundamentalists are a lot smarter than Eutopian secularists" (The Spectator, 18 December 2004 -- free registration required)

(5) “Say ‘Merry Christmas’ while you still can”, The Telegraph, London (21 December 2004)

(6) “Americans have their holidays in perspective”, Chicago Sun-Times (2 January 2005)

(7) “American stinginess is saving lives”, The Telegraph (London) (4 January 2005)

(8) “On tsunami’s shore”, The Washington Times (4 January 2005)

(9) “Broadway’s Last Good Time: Cy Coleman (1929-2004)”, 295(1) The Atlantic Monthly (January/February 2005), pp 210-11 [requires paid subscription]

(10) “Polygamy? It makes good tax sense”, The Telegraph (London) (28 December 2004)

If that's a "hiatus", I'd hate to see Steyn on black filtered coffee.

But Steyn hasn't even had the decency to link to these on his official homepage. I had to find them by setting the All-Seeing Lidless Eye of Minas Googhûl to alert me whenever it trawled by the phrase "by Mark Steyn". You can run, but you can't heyd from the Eye.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Pope Defends Nativity Scene

The Pope defending the nativity - in Italy? Sounds a little strange but in these politically oppressive times almost anything might happen. The heart of the matter:

Recently, several teachers in northern Italy announced their decision not to set up Nativity scenes in their schools this year, ostensibly out of respect for religious pluralism and to avoid offending non-Christians.

Hmm. Yes. Shall we expect the Saudi Arabians to put a veil over the mosque at Mecca to avoid offending non-Muslims? Or the Thais to put away their gold Buddhas to avoid offending non-Buddhists? On that topic, we know what hppened when the Taliban took a dislike to other culture's religious symbols - witness what happened to the Bamiyan Buddha. But then of course, iconoclasts will always be with us, so it might be better to be safe than sorry.

What do you get when you cross an iPod with a walkman?

A retropod of course! Although the men in suits at Sony are not impressed...

....Consumers likely will be misled and deceived into believing that Sony is somehow connected with the iPod personal stereo when in fact it is not. Moreover, they will be misled into thinking that Sony is backward in its design of products and is going away from miniaturization, as the size of the tape player housing is quite large by today's standards....

Genocide 2008

From The Onion...

Nigeria Chosen to host 2008 Genocides

Annan said he first noticed the full genocidal potential of soon-to-be embattled Nigeria in September, when the Niger Delta People's Volunteer Force threatened to shut down oil production.

"With so many poor and powerless people involved in messy, years-old conflicts, the situation is likely to be ignored long enough for things to get really ugly," Annan said. "And, of course, the slow-to-move, ineffectual UN will do everything it can to help shepherd Nigeria into a combined religious, political, and economic disaster of horrific proportions."

...which is interesting considering the post I received recently from the youthmultimedia gruppe identifying a flm about the tragedy / travesty that was Rwanda in 1994, in a film called Hotel Rwanda.

I once worked with a soldier who served in Rwanda as part of the Australian contribution to the UN peacekeeping contingent. He was an excellent operator but basically, he didn't want to talk about it. I am pretty sure he must have been present at the Kibeho massacre. The only story he was willing to tell was about Rwanda was the one about a Landrover 110 rolling over and one of the occupants receiving the barrel of a Steyr rifle impaled through the thigh - ouch!

Monday, December 20, 2004

Bob Geldof vs Osama bin Laden

I have been listening to the radio a bit lately and as it nears Christmas time, there's no need to be afraid - because there is always the obligatory playing of the Band Aid classic from 1985 "Do they know it's Christmas". Probably not, as my mother used to say, as they are mostly Muslim. The song spawned an even bigger Bob Geldof' contribution to solving the problem of the Ethiopian famine, the mega event of 1985 known as "Live Aid". The US contributed too, with a flakey "We are the world" single by "USA for Africa" but the big man about town at the time was Sir Bob.

Now all this stirred a spark of pride and hope in humanity and gave the West a nice feeling that $70 million could be raised to help the porr starving Africans.

So what happens when there another "similar" situation just a couple of years later (1992- 1994) in neighbouring Somalia, the US launches Operation Restore Hope. Surely a debacle of Clintonesque proportions beeing played out on the world stage. Inspired by visions of starving Africans and in support of a lame-duck UN effort, the US goes at it hammer and tongs and gets a shellacking for its efforts. Nothing like seeing the bodies of your troopies being dragged around downtown Mogadishu to keep the home fires burning. See Blackhawk Down to find out what I mean. The US leaves, tail firmly between legs, mission unaccomplished. And apparently RPG rockets fired by the Somalis were supplied by none other than Osama bin Laden.


"It cleared from Muslim minds the myth of superpowers," Osama bin Laden said of Somalia in his interview with ABC News journalist John Miller in May 1998.
"The youth were surprised at the low morale of the American soldiers and
realized more than before that the American soldier was a paper tiger and after
a few blows ran in defeat."

So... Bob Geldof inspires Live Aid for the relief of Ethiopia...inspires the UN/US relief of Somalia...inspires Osama to go the full Monty and attack the "paper tiger" that is the US. September 11, here we come. Next stop, Iraq.

And this is ignoring the UN "hands free" approach to Rwanda in between times.

When will rock stars learn to pull their heads in and save us all from their whiney, needful pleas to save the starving? If it wasn't for Bob Geldof, we wouldn't be in this mess we're in now. Bob, it's time to pull on the old rocker t-shirt and get up on stage one last time. This time, it's "Dead Aid". Conspiracy theory? You bet!

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Political Puppets

And speaking of AU-THOR-I-TAH:

`...The film stars all marionettes that make up Team America, a secret task force that infiltrates terrorist organizations and makes a big find when they discover a dictator who has a weapon of mass destruction. The movie is largely a satire of Jerry Bruckheimer films. "... We really realized that Bruckheimer films are musicals. They take Aerosmith songs and put them against montages..." said [Trey] Parker...`

-- Jerry Katz, "Team America: World Police Set Visit!", (17 August 2004)

After Team America: World Police, I wouldn't give Matt and Trey much hope of securing the rights to any Aerosmith songs for future Parker/ Stone productions.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Deicide dropped from Pullman adaptation

The forthcoming Hollywood adaptation of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy is to sacrifice many of the film's anti-religious sentiments in an effort to avoid a backlash from America's Christian right.

Director Chris Weitz has upset fans of Pullman's Carnegie-winning books after he admitted in a website interview that the books' Authority - a malevolent but feeble deity - will appear in the planned films as a representation of "any arbitrary establishment that curtails the freedom of the individual".

The fans may not be happy, but Weitz, who made American Pie and About a Boy, reportedly has the full support of Pullman.

Yes...must avoid offending the Christian Right. otherwise you'll find yourself lying dead in the street after cycling to work with a knife in your chest pinning down verses from 1 Corinthians 13. BTW, "de-deifying" Pullman is a little like "de-ringifying" Tolkien - it kind of removes the raison detre of the whole anti-Christian saga. Perhaps the director can substitute an apple pie for the central theme, and see how his goes down. Stiffler - be warned!

Thursday, December 09, 2004


From the SMH:

Dripping with stars and dummies ... that's the new waxwork nativity scene devised by Madame Tussauds.

The London wax model emporium has unveiled its Christmas special, with Australia's Kylie Minogue hovering above proceedings as an angel.

Actors Samuel L. Jackson and Hugh Grant join Irish comedian Graham Norton as the shepherds.

But England soccer captain David Beckham and his wife Victoria have been cast in the roles of Joseph and Mary, while Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair, the Duke of Edinburgh and US President George W. Bush are the three wise men.

Graham Norton? Who on earth is that? (I like the line "He is a stranger to political correctness but manages to get away with murder because he is so utterly charming". Perhaps Sam Newman or John Laws could learn a thing or two.)

Steve's post below shows that Australian Prime Minister John Howard is no "right-wing social engineer". Now, we learn, George W Bush is not a theocratic zealot either:

Bush didn't make abortion an issue in his campaign except in condemning partial-birth abortion - a position most Americans share. He would have preferred to avoid the same-sex marriage issue, but the Massachusetts Supreme Court forced his hand. And it was John Kerry, not Bush, who made stem-cell research a political issue.

It may be true that religious conservatives helped Bush win re-election. And while some evangelical leaders have expressed their expectation that Bush will act promptly on some of their pet issues, others have been more temperate...

The bland truth is that Bush is unlikely to deliver on religious conservatives' expectations in any dramatic or immediate way simply because it isn't his style. As Michael Gerson - Bush speechwriter and policy adviser - puts it, Bush is an "incrementalist." And as such is misunderstood by both his allies and enemies...

Neither Bush's personality nor his ideology meshes with the profile of dogmatic social engineer. On stem-cell research, for example, Bush basically split the baby down the middle...

(-- Ouch! Metaphor wince!)

...funding research on existing stem-cell lines, but withholding funding for new research that would destroy human embryos. On same-sex marriage, Bush supports a constitutional amendment to define marriage as between one man and one woman, but supports some form of civil union to extend legal protections to same-sex couples.

Bush surely has been honest about his religious conversion, from hard-drinking frat boy to leader of the free world, but his message isn't quite on the level on glossolalia. Millions of Americans have changed the direction of their lives through spiritual growth, and other American presidents have been far more "religious" in their public conduct.

Jimmy Carter taught Sunday school while he was president. Bill Clinton toted his personal Bible to church. During the recent presidential campaign, John Kerry frequently affirmed his Catholicism.

Bush's invocations of God, meanwhile, are never gratuitous but are appropriate to context - a funeral, or prayer breakfast, or the finishing touch on a State of the Union address: "God bless America." Hardly the rantings of a theocrat.

One can find other references to God, most notably in Bush's articulation of what is surely the central narrative of his presidency: "Freedom is not America's gift to the world. Freedom is the almighty God's gift to every man and woman in the world." Again, this is not rain dancing. Such is the seed that grew the United States of America.

In other words, the notion that Bush is imposing his religious beliefs - or that he is going reshape America in the image of some fundamentalist fantasy - is a bum rap. Indeed, some close observers of the Bush-evangelical dynamic predict that Bush will have caused more consternation than consolation among his conservative Christian brethren before the first year of his second term is up...`

-- Kathleen Parker, "Bush the un-zealot", (8 December 2004)

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

"... When I Fight Authority, Authority Always Wins..."

I predicted something like this (while lurking at Mark Shea's weblog) months ago -- that the film version of Phillip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy would radically tone down the anti-religious preaching of the books. There are, it seems, no atheists in box offices:

`The Hollywood adaptation of Philip Pullman’s trilogy His Dark Materials, in which two children do battle with an evil, all-powerful church, is being rewritten to remove anti-religious overtones. Chris Weitz, the director, has horrified fans by announcing that references to the church are likely to be banished in his film. Meanwhile the “Authority”, the weak God figure, will become “any arbitrary establishment that curtails the freedom of the individual”. The studio wants alterations because of fears of a backlash from the Christian Right in the United States. The changes are being made with the support of Pullman, who told The Times last year that he received “a large amount” for the rights...'

-- Sam Coates, "God is cut from film of Dark Materials", The Times (8 December 2004)

Think of it as payback for the de-deification of CS Lewis in Shadowlands. (Rumours that God was removed from the script as the result of a threatened ACLU lawsuit cannot be confirmed.)

You can hardly blame Mr Pullman for choosing the better part of valour. It's not as if attracting the anger of fundamentalist and traditionalist Christians (although ISTM that the God depicted in Dark Materials owes more inter-testamental Judaism than to Christianity) would result in a mere boycott of cinemas and loss of dollars. Instead, it could put PP's very life in danger. Who can forget the horror when Martin Scorsese was stabbed to death in 1989 for his perceived "blasphemy" in directing The Last Temptation of Christ? Or the time Andres Serrano was burned at the stake in 1997 for submerging a crucifix in urine? I won't even begin to discuss the atrocities that were inflicted on Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice by crazed vicars -- atrocities described by the then Archbishop of Canterbury as "grievous, but regrettably necessary for the cleansing of all who shall profane the holy name of Jehovah".

I'm uncertain how far film-makers can simply switch villains without thereby "compromising the integrity of" (wonderful phrase, that) their material. Consider The Sum of All Fears, book versus film. Or compare the 2004 Manchurian Candidate with the 1962 original. Change the villains from Chinese Communists to global capitalists and you immediately reverse the film's message -- from "Let's have a chuckle at these paranoid 1960s Cold Warriors spotting fantastical Red plots in every corner" to "Don't you realise that the big corporations can control our minds through implanted chips?"

Now that it's become theologically kosher for good Christians to go see the Dark Materials movies, I want to open debate over the casting thereof. Foremost: who shall play Mrs Coulter? (Not to be confused with Miss Coulter -- one is beautiful yet utterly compassionless, the other...). Pullman himself has nominated Nicole Kidman, but I cast my vote for Marina Sirtis. Like Mrs C, Marina combines Mediterranean background with a refined British accent; she fits the books' physical description; and, as Star Trek: Nemesis has shown, she can alternate her normal sweetness and innocence with bloodcurdling sadism when the script requires.

That's because it doesn't take a rocket scientist...

Under the stewardship of the country's most powerful religious figure, Iraq's fractured Shiite Muslim majority has closed ranks and produced a unified list of candidates for the parliamentary elections set for Jan 30.... The names of the 240 candidates will be released later this week, said Hussein Shahristani, the nuclear scientist charged by Sistani with organizing the list....

- Anthony Shadid and Karl Vick, "Candidate Slate Shows Shiites Closing Ranks: Sistani Backs List for Parliamentary Vote", Washington Post (Tuesday, 7 December 2004), page A-20.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

It's beginning to look a lot like...

From The Herald-Sun on Sunday...

HOW scary that we've bred - or imported - so many people so angered by Christmas that we no longer dare use the word in public. But why do we cave in to them so easily?....What is odd is that this vandalism - or what the United Nations would call "cultural genocide" - is done in the name of "tolerance", as approved by our multicultural commissars, when it actually shows an intolerance that's manic.

I say "let Christmas be Christmas". Shout it out loud and proud from your rooftops. We are everywhere...

What would Jesus advertise?

Some discussion on the youth multimedia list generated from an ad made by the United Christian Church (USA) but refused broadcast by the media bad guys at CBS, NBC etc etc

Original Post:
WOULD JESUS BAN THIS AD? John Nichols, The Nation The United Church of Christ wants to spread a message of respect and inclusion for all. But the mainstream media won't let them. Watch the ad that that the networks found too "controversial" to air.

My response:

I can't speak for CBS or ABC or the UCC for that matter. After watching the ad, it's probably possible to read the accusations into it,although I found the associations between the images and the meaning derived bythe networks fairly subtle (call me ignorant but when I see a woman put her arm around another woman and hear the voiceover "wherever you are on life's journey", it doesn't make lesbians spring to mind).

What I would like to point out is "about" section of the rest of the site (

Some areas of interest:
1. The United Church of Christ publishes The New Century Hymnal—the only hymnal released by a Christian church that honors in equal measure both male and female images of God.

Although see for an alternative view

2. The UCC's Golden Gate Association ordains the first openly gay person in history as a Christian minister: the Rev. William R. Johnson.The ordination of the first lesbian minister follows soon after. In the following three decades, General Synod urges equal rights for homosexual citizens and calls on congregations to welcome gay, lesbian and bisexual members.

An alternative view on this "first" may be understood by considering the Episcopalian's efforts on this front and the response of the rest of the global Anglcan communion (see

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Battlestar Lilektica

James Lileks nails the Larsonverse in two paragraphs:

[…] I watched the first episode of Battlestar Galactica’s new season. Not something I ever thought I would look forward to, given how much I loathed the original. I mean, if you were eight years old and watched it in your Underoos and have great love for it because it was part of your childhood, that’s fine. Sad, but fine. At the time we quasi-adults thought it was stupid, and an obvious ripoff of The Genius Of George Lucas. (In retrospect, they just showed us what Lucas probably would have done if he’d had to produce a weekly series.) I watched the two-hour special on Sci-Fi [cable channel] only because Ronald D Moore was connected to it. He could re-envision My Mother the Car and I’d watch it. (In his version, the “mother” would be some sort of holographically stored personality matrix based on the character’s dead mother, loaded into a GPS program to humanise the user interface; he buys a new car, hears his mother’s voice. As the season goes on the computer program based on his mother begins accessing emotions and memories the software writers did not intend to include, but were unintentionally added to the matrix due to the program’s cross-correcting synaptic relay duplication algorithms, or something like that. In Moore’s hands, it would be believable and touching.)

Anyway. The new series has not yet broadcast here in the states, but it’s coming. Bottom line: Yes. Yes, indeed. It’s very good. Even the Courtney-Love-as-Starbuck thing works. The slogan for the show: "The World is Over". And that’s exactly how it feels. The show has a pervasive ache to its tone and timbre, and I applaud all involved. I can only hope that the people behind the 80s version of Buck Rogers watch it and soil themselves in shame. If Twiki ever went up against Jar-Jar I’d root for the Binks. Which says a lot. To be exact, it says “bidi bidi bidi”. Meesa hate that. […]

My own two reasons for being pleased that Ronald Moore is the man behind this third-millennium re-imagining of Baa Baa Black Sheepon are --

(a) firstly, that Moore (and Berman, Piller and Braga) helped rescue Star Trek from its Roddenberryian self-indulgence to make it a real drama. (Gene himself, being the rational scientific humanist that he was, spat the dummy over the script for Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country because it dared to depict Starfleet officers using "dirty tricks" and covert ops).

(b) secondly, that I predicted this as long ago as 1997. Before the dark times:

Projected highlights from the forthcoming TV spectacular Battlestar Galactica: The Next Generation

1. The narrator's introduction ("There are those who believe… that life down here… began out there… ") has been altered by replacing "brothers of man" with "brothers of one".

2. Colonial Warrior uniforms are no longer caramel-brown, but a fetching pastel blue, with 6-cm-high white skivvy collars and no pockets. Capes (now maroon) are attached with velcro instead of with Barry-White-strength gold chains. Furthermore, Fleet uniforms are now complete re-designed approximately every 2.3 yahrons in the hope that, by adapting, they can defeat the Cylons.

3. The Warbook computer screen in a Viper's cockpit has replaced green-screen DOS with Windowons '95.

4. John Colicos plays a smirking villain with a Ming the Merciless-style goatee.

5. The Fleet rediscovers its long-lost ship, the Pegasus.

6. Muffit is programmed to evolve itself into a real flesh-and-blood daggit. In sympathy, Dr Wilker activates its long-dormant tree-marking chip.

7. Citizens of the Twelve Colonies no longer devote their lives to the accumulation of cubits, but instead to seeking out new nouns ending in "-on".

8. Count Iblis is found living in a wrecked spaceship on a desolate planet populated by ear-dwelling, mind-controlling bugs.

9. Sidearms are no longer pistol-grip but, instead, resemble TV remote-control units.

10. Adama lives on as a holographic computer program who emerges, projected from his time-vault, at 25-year intervals to explain why the Fleet should have found Earth by now.

11. Cylons now have the ability to adapt in battle, and can no longer be slaughtered in waves using the same simple Viper manoeuvres.

12. Due to pressure from the Colonial Health Commission, Starbuck has abandoned his cigarons for a nicotinon patch.

13. The Ships of Light reappear, and a guy named "John" puts the Galactica's crew on trial for the crimes of humanity.

14. Colonial Warriors find late 20th-century Earth and, to save the planet, must rescue two whales in time to help thirteen teenagers win their baseball game.

15. Actual battle scenes are now limited to a maximum total of 59 seconds per season.

16. Cy (now the Galactica's security chief) lectures his unruly son, Cy-II, that "Cylons do not risk their honour by varying their vocoder tone."

17. Upon his promotion to Captain, Colonel Tigh shaves his head to get that mean-mutha/ Othello look.

18. The voice of the Galactica's shipboard computer sounds suspiciously like that of Glen A Larsen's wife.

19. Apollo makes a cameo return as a crusty old admiral.

20. Cassiopeia goes about in a figure-hugging red jumpsuit, and interrupts all her socialatorial sessions by asking at regular intervals: "The important thing is, how do you feel about this?"

21. Pyramid card games in the Warriors' quarters now include Stephen Hawking as banker, but are still interrupted by red-alert signals.

22. At least once per episode, at least one member of the Quorum of the Twelve reminisces about some wild stunt Adama pulled off while a young recruit at the Fleet Academy.

23. Starbuck has put on 40 kilos and grown a beard, but still manages to score the most nubile space maidens.

Mind you, 1997 was also the year when my response to the Hollywood sci-fi news teasers was "Great! Lucas is making another Star Wars film! That'll be excellent!" and "Uh-oh... They say some horror movie schlockmeister from Nizzillind wants to film Lord of the Rings... I can see it now: it's going to be awful, a cross between Legend and Once Were Warriors..."

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

PM is no right-wing social re-engineer

Intersting article from today's Australian - Howard on abortion.

Howard is a secular political pragmatist. He goes to church but he never uses religion to justify his policies nor does he invoke God to claim superior wisdom. When he stopped the Tampa Howard didn't claim to have God on his side.
He differs from George W. Bush – and Howard sees himself as being different.
Critics who claim that Howard is part of the religious Right don't comprehend


In this sense Howard is not a right-wing social re-engineer, as claimed by
his critics. The Left progressives have trouble grasping this because
re-engineering is the essence of their own politics. ..

Read more

Monday, November 22, 2004

The Star Wars Liturgy (again)

Found, in sympathy with the now-apocryphal Star Wars Liturgy, the
Minneapolis Creed (tongue in cheek, of course!)

The Minneapolis Creed

We believe in Justice Mother,
the all inclusive Maker of good self esteem.

And in Jesus,
The only name we recognize from the Bible
He was conceived in an alternative committed relationship
And became person.
He was crucified, died, and was buried.
On the third day his ideals were raised in the minds of his friends.
He “Ascended” into “Heaven” and sits there with the heavenly Parent
But since there is no judgment, he shan't be back.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, Sophia.
She serves as a great rationale for whatever we want to do.
With the Parent and the Child she is used for furthering our agenda.

We believe in one church, as long as it agrees with us,
One baptism for the extinction of sins.
We look for the conversion of those less enlightened,
And a life of full inclusion of all who agree with us

Living the Questions

Just been put onto by the Youth Multimedia list. As an alternative to Alpha . . I don't think so. Unless you want to breed a generation of liberal heretics.

And the contributors! Shelby Spong! "Tex" Sample! Nancy Ammerman! To quote Obi Wan's assessment of Mos Eisley spaceport would be to generous.

From the resource itself:

After searching in vain for a number of years, it was clear that in order to offer a practical tool for attracting, educating, and equipping thinking Christians, something new would have to be created.

Keep searching guys! Pity about all of those "non-thinking" Christians out there. They can just put up with the Bible.


The Emperor of The Republic of the United States of the New World Order confers with his opposite number, His Holinesss Archpatriach Vladimir X of the New European Confederacy, in an attempt to re-unite the forces of Christendom following the great 1000 year schism.

Free Image Hosting at

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Akin on Anakin

Great. So now, as well as the infamous "Death Cookie", Jack Chick's going to give Catholics stick about the "Death Rarebit"...

And speaking of Rome's billions of mind-controlled bondslaves, I saw this intriguing piece today by following a link from Jimmy Akin's blog, which in turn I found by following a link from Mark Shea's blog.

Here's Akin:

Lucas has said that the new trilogy is much more like what he envisioned the first trilogy, but he didn't have the tech (or the money) to make it the way he saw it.

Not everything Lucas says in this regard is true. He makes it sound as if the story of all six movies was clear in his mind when he made the first, and that patently isn't true -- at least if you read the original scripts (also available in an easier-to-use book form). Lucas had all kinds of stuff in the originals that indicate his vision of the story changed in midstream -- repeatedly. Yet the original series ended up clicking in a way no previous movie trilogy had.

Despite the alterations to the plot, I think that Lucas is telling the truth when he says he originally imagined a much more lush, detail-rich universe for the original trilogy, yet for budgetary (and non-budgetary) reasons, he ended up cutting it way back.

As the years have passed, he has now begun adding back the missing detail, in the "Special Edition" of the original films that was released in theaters, in the Extra-Special Super Chocolate Fudgy Edition that has now been released on DVD, and most notably in the films of the current trilogy.

As he's added more detail, fans of the original series have been complaining, and loudly.

There are some circumstances in which adding detail hurts a work of art, situations in which less is more.

That's the message fans of the original Star Wars movies have been sending to Lucas, but he doesn't seem to have gotten the message.

And here's the main piece, by Andrew Rilstone:

... George Lucas stands revealed as one of a long and illustrious line of artists who has dedicated himself to ruining one of their great works—because they have totally failed to recognize what made it so great.

The draft versions of Star Wars, particularly The Adventures of the Star Killer are fair to middling sci fi fantasy adventures. They would have made decent 70s movies, to file alongside Logan's Run and Zardoz and forget about. Star Killer contains lots of mumbo jumbo and made up politics and a huge weight of backstory. Lucas—then if not now a skilled storyteller—had the sense to surgically remove all that material, and leave nothing but the bare skeleton of the story. Ever since, he has regretted cutting up his baby, and is now engaged in re-instating as much of the lost material as he possibly can. But he has completely failed to realize that it was precisely the 'cutting back' process that made Star Wars such a classic movie.

Star Wars works because almost every extraneous detail has been removed; so that we end up with something almost abstract. We might recognize it as an abstract diagram of the structure of stories even if we had never heard of Joseph Campbell. The word 'archetype' is over-used: it might be better to say that the Star Wars characters (Hero, Villain, Hero's Helper) its settings (Desert, Jungle) its back story and its tropes (Old Republic, Evil Empire, The Force) are vast, broad generalizations. If the backstory were to be sketched in this abstract quality would evaporate. But this is precisely what Lucas's intention seems to be: to turn the Old Republic from an abstract icon of a golden age into a generic city full of squabbling politicians; to turn Obi-Wan from the Hero's Mentor into a movie character; and to turn the Force from a brilliant symbol of religion into a bit of Dungeons and Dragons cod mythology...

Great stuff. Read it all. Right now. But what in Grapthar's Hammer is "cod mythology"?!!

Criticism No Reason For Murder

And now back to the Islamofascists (as Mark Steyn calls them) or Islamocommies (as George Pell calls them).

Of course, the reasons for this discrepancy are all too obvious and expose the hypocrisy of the cultural and political Left while underlining the dangers Western culture faces from Islamic extremism. For in the sophicates' world view, only certain religions – chief among them Christianity – are approved targets.

Meanwhile, Islam, which is as much a political system as a religious one and is predicated on the idea that the state must always be subservient to religious law, is given victim status and rendered immune to criticism.
The discrepancy is the leftist media's differing responses to the murder of Van Gogh vs the re-election of George W Bush. History repeats itself - another Van Gogh suffers for his art. Perhaps Don McLean could pen another tune to mourn the death of an artist...

In 2003 George Michael recorded "The Grave," from McLean's "American Pie" album, as a protest against the Iraq war. McLean said he was proud that Michael chose his song. "We must remember that the wizard is really a cowardly old man hiding behind a curtain with a loud microphone," he said at the time. "It takes courage and a song to pull the curtain open and expose him."

Asked if he took any flak for his political expression, McLean said he has taken criticism for a long time, and recalled the time that someone threw a hardhat at him for something he said onstage in 1969. He remains critical of President George W. Bush's Iraq war policy.

"Things are so out of control in America," he said. "I'm so depressed over things. Everybody was so cowed by all this march to war and all this flag waving and this insanity."

Virgin Mary on Toast

Not from The Onion(!). . .as reported in The Australian

Diana Duyser, 52, of Hollywood, Florida, screamed and almost fainted as she chomped into a grilled cheese sandwich 10 years ago because she saw the face of
the Virgin Mary staring back at her.
"I yelled for my husband Gregg and he couldn't believe it neither," Mrs Duyser said yesterday.
The toasted likeness sits - a bite out of its bottom left corner - surrounded in cotton wool in a plastic box. But now, after a decade of watching over the Duysers from her crusty caryatid, Mary is on the market to the highest bidder on eBay.

The inspired punters on eBay have got into the spirit of things, too.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Islam is the new communism: Pell

Here's the grab from the ABC website

Australia's top Catholic is again embroiled in controversy, this time over a speech in which he suggested Islam was the new communism. Cardinal George Pell, the Archbishop of Sydney, told the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty in the United States, that secular democracy encourages an intolerance of religion. In that vacuum, he says, some in the West may turn to Islam like many turned to communism last century.

This is what they actually have of Pell - just a scrap, really:

The small but growing conversion of native Westerners within Western
societies to Islam carries the suggestion that Islam may provide in the 21st
century, the attraction that communism provided in the 20th, both for those that
are alienated and embittered on the one hand and for those who seek order or
justice on the other. The past century provided examples enough of how the
emptiness within secular democracy can be filled with darkness by political
substitutes for religion.

The ABC throws in a few comments by Keysar Trad, the spokesman for the honorary Mufti of Australia, and Professor Gary Bouma is an Anglican Minister and Sociologist at Monash University (also the UNESCO Chair in Intercultural and Inter-religious Relations, Asia Pacific).

Both don't seem to get what Pell is saying. Both latch onto the fact that the Commies are godless, the Muslims ain't, so Pell has got it wrong. They think that Pell is discussing a false analogy, and they fail to see what he means.

Pell, of course is addressing those members of democracy who feel "revolutionary" - both the oppressed and those who seek freedom for them. Communism, and its left-wing christian offshoot, liberation theology, also appeals to those who feel oppressed or those who seek a righting of social wrongs. Islam offers the same.

In its militant, "Mecca" form (as Phil Jensen so rightly puts it), Islam offers the opportunity to bring all under the banner of Allah - a religious politico-social revolution if you will. Sharia law and all that. And in its compliant "Medina" form (hat tip to Phil again), where Muslims are in the minority, it is a strong voice for justice and tolerance - of Muslims, of course.

Read your Koran - both aspects are there. What the critics fail to see is what is staring them in the face the whole time. The very nature of Islam has these two aspects, and Pell has identified them both.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

How the West was Won

In the post-election washup there has been a strong meme that the US election was handed to George W because of the votes of the religious right in Ohio.

typical of this whinging mindset is the article by Phillip Adams in Tuesday's Australian (Fire and Brimstone on the Road to Armageddon)

This has been addressed in The Values-Vote Myth, but there are plenty in the commentariat willing to take on the subject of religion and politics.

From the Courier-Mail's Paul Gray's Religious Revival:

Religion had never been dead and buried at all, but had simply become invisible to a particular class of Westerners who no longer wished to see it – or at least, to see it as anything more than the common fantasy of the feeble-minded.

Through Mark Shea, the work of Jonah Goldberg of the National Review:

But what offends them so much about religion is that it is a source of authority outside — and prior to — politics. What has offended the Left since Marx, and American liberalism since Dewey, is the notion that moral authority should be derived from anyplace other than the state or "the people" (conveniently defined as citizens who vote liberal). Voting on values not sanctified by secular priests is how they define "ignorance."
And its echoed in the views of Ron Suskind "Mr Reality Based Community" (as opposed to my "Unreality-based commuinity over here) that used to be avialbale on the NY Times website but can be had by a look at the ABC's Lateline transcript:

A lot of it is about these sweeping issues, in some ways, Maxine, and I maybe could finish with this, is that if you really step back you see what's being debated in America are the very Enlightenment era principles upon which this country and other Western democracies are founded.They're being debated in this election.The questions, you know, now so fierce will end in some outcome and then action.Certainly George Bush is a man of action. He will act with whatever mandate he has and it may be a mandate from faith-based community. Same for John Kerry. That is what's being discussed in America now.The bedrock upon which Western democracy, liberal democracies like yours, ourselves, in Europe, are based.

Reminds me of a poster I saw on Protest Warrior:

Monday, November 08, 2004

Cuts boths ways

From the ABC's AM progam this morning:

JOHN SHOVELAN: The growth in the number of people voting on moral issues was second only to the increase in those who voted on national security.
Evangelicals are driven by two key issues – opposition to gay marriage and a desire to overturn a woman's right to abortion in the case Rowe versus Wade.

Just love that turn of phrase. How about: Evangelicals are driven by two key issues - support for traditional marriage and the right to life. Or this one: Small 'l' liberals are driven by two key issues - support of gay marriage and a desire to allow unrestricted access to abortions.

It all depends on your point of view. In the interest of balance, could the ABC alternate its perspective every second report, so that a more fair and accurate portrayal is offered?

Sent to the ABC

Aussie Media - A Temple of Adulterous Pagan Prostitutes?

An analysis of an analysis of a rebuttal of a misrepresented story ... phew!

Keeping watch on Media Watch

Dean Jensen challenges inaccuracies

Media Watch: For Heaven's sake, Phillip :: 25/10/2004

This prblem will not go away until transcripts of the tapes recorded at the speaches are made available (and sure to go on sale at Matthias Media!)

The Values-Vote Myth

Excellent article from the NY Times (c/- reading Tim Blair) which identifies why the media are now all over the religious right like a rash - and why our side should have won!

Every election year, we in the commentariat come up with a story line to explain the result, and the story line has to have two features. First, it has to be completely wrong. Second, it has to reassure liberals that they are morally superior to the people who just defeated them.

Friday, November 05, 2004

The Courier-Mail on CNN!

Finally - affirmation from our American cousins that our local rag is worth quoting:

Former ANZUS treaty adviser Professor Ross Babbage, who has just returned from defense briefings in the U.S., told the Queensland state-based Courier-Mail newspaper that new fighting tactics and cutting-edge communications would be tested in Australia.

From CNN - the news organisation that brought you Gulf War I and II - now comes - Professor Ross Babbage.

What a great time for Australia! Our resume...

1. Joined US-led Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force with "pre-deployment" option
2. Helping develop US Joint Strike Fighter program
3. Role in US missile defense shield project
4. Threaten "pre-emptive" strikes against Indonesia and other SE Asian nations
5. Purchased 50+ US Abrams tanks for "seamless integration" into US deployments
6. Scrapping F-111 to be replaced by US-type F-18 Hornets armed with cruise missiles
7. Collins class submarines refitted torpedo tubes to accomodate bigger, heavier US torpedos
8. Mentioned in Dispatches by Osama bin Laden
9. Identified as intended targets by Bali bombers
10. All of this of course NOT INCREASING OUR LIKELIHOOD AS A TERRORIST TARGET according to Zander Downer

Recalls Midnight Oil's US Forces...

Evangelical cornerstones

From the ABC's AM program (re: Bush):

The turnout of Pentecostals, Evangelical Christians and conservative Catholics, was the cornerstone of his victory.

Dr James C Dobson, the founder of Focus on the Family and a powerful Evangelical Protestant leader, said that when a White House official rang to thank him for his help in the campaign, he told him that many people believed the country was on the verge of self destruction, and through prayer and the involvement of millions of Evangelicals and mainline Protestants and Catholics, God had given the country a reprieve.

He went on to tell the official, the Bush administration now needs to be more aggressive in pursuing those values, or it will pay a price.

Interesting reading. But I wonder where the Austraian media was during the US election campaign? All I remember reading and hearing about was Iraq, Iraq, Iraq, a little bit of economy and nothing of what apparently has "won" the election for George W - the christian vote. Is it because the Aussie media deliberately dismissed this as an irrelevant sideshow? It apparently was a hot topic in the US, as exit polls ondicated. Australian media outlets used the same dismissive tactic with Family First, surprising the politicians, pollsters and pundits, as Gary Morgan attested.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Lego Bob Catter Jr

Care of Tom

A picture tells a thousand words really.

Free Image Hosting at

Indy 300 pic

Finally got a pic from my video I took of Day 1 of the 2004 Gold Coast Lexmark Indy 300.

Free Image Hosting at

It's a formula 3! Click for big!

Scenes from the life of Dr Martin Luther

Beliefs get in the way

Peter Scruby, of Hamilton, writes in the Letters section of The Courier-Mail on Wednesday November 3:

How can Health Minister Tony Abbott be objective about abortion with the strong Roman Catholic beliefs he holds? When an ABC radio interviewer asked Abbott if he had spoken to Prime Minister John Howard about medicare funding of late-term abortions, he refused to answer to the point of absolute silence.Why? There's no doubting his intelligence, but I worry religious beliefs may override other considerations in the abortion issue.

Mr Scruby, how can you be objective about Tony Abbott with the strong anti-Catholic beliefs you hold? I am no apologist for Tony Abbott, but why should he have to disclose to the ABC the Prime Minister's confidential view? There is doubting of your intelligence, and I worry your intolerant attitude towards Catholics may override other considerations , such as allowing all sides the chance to be heard.

No young conservative evangelicals using mobiles phones

Witness the witlessness of media commentary of the US election results. While trying to explain away why Kerry didn't win (When he should have, of course! - Why are people so stupid to vote for Bush?), the answer is apparently, always, "Evangelical Christians":

On SBS News, Assoc Prof Elaine Thompson asserted, "There are increasing numbers of young people voting Democrat, and in turn, conservative evangelicals voting Republican".

What? There are no young, conservative evangelical christians? Do the young always vote Democrat? For that matter, do evangelical christians always vote Republican? Only if they're white, it seems.

An ABC radio reporteer in Boston, "Mobile phone voters supporting Kerry are countered by evangelical christians voting Bush."

Yup. No evangelical christian uses a mobile phone. They use semaphore, heliographs amd smoke signals.

Same on ABC's AM program this morning, "evangelical christians",

In Ohio, in the south of the state, it was the Evangelical Christians that effectively locked up that state for President Bush. Republicans really, they got the on-the-ground machine working and they excelled and outstripped the Democrats, and that was one of the big surprises of the election.

TONY EASTLEY: And a lot of that was put down to the religious right?

JOHN SHOVELAN: The Evangelical Christian Movement, yeah. ... in the heartland, along the Mississippi River corridor, Iraq was the fourth issue.
It was moral values out there that was the number one issue, and that's where the significance, of course, of the Evangelical Christian vote was felt.

and in The Courier-Mail, "evangelical christians" again (quoting Karl Rove's ability to mobilise)

It's almost as if the media are astonished that this group even have the right to vote. How dare they impose their voting preferences on us?

There's more than just the return of a right-wing incumbant with an increased majority in common between Australian and US elections - our governments also share the support of the christian right.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Do "UCA" resemblance here...?

"The Windsor Report Feels Your Pain" via Tom

Rick Ritchie

The Anglican communion's newly issued Windsor Report appears to have been written by apprehensive conservatives in damage-control mode. Meaning, it looks like it could have been drafted at an LCMS synodical convention. The report, which many had hopes would firmly address the crisis brought on by the consecration of a gay bishop, does claim that the request for the report to be drafted preceded that consecration. It also states that "in some instances the request by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Primates for an absence of developments or pronouncements which would make the work of the Lambeth Commission more difficult has been ignored." I take this to mean that the report actually does more than it was asked to do. And the more consists of suggestions for the different Anglican bodies to covenant together to avoid future possibilities of schism.


I am saddened....Wait a minute! I've never been saddened in my life! That's a disingenuous bureaucrat word. (Never trust anyone who uses the word 'saddened'.) Gak! I am sick-to-death of church documents like the Windsor Report. And I don't think it's primarily a reflection of the people who write them. I think it's a reflection of the kind of culture in which we find ourselves, and the kinds of expectations placed upon those who write such documents. They are asked to perform the impossible. And they make an heroic attempt. But the time is later than they imagine.

Imagine if the letter to the church at Thyatira was written by the same people who wrote the Windsor Report. Instead of "I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess," we would read:

"Many in your congregation are bewildered by the nature of sexuality in our broken world. We have heard the emotions of alienation of both Jezebel and those who feel alienated by those who tolerate her. We call for a healing process where all can move on a journey together of discovering what communion means."

Perhaps this sounds more Christian that the Revelation to some. But there is a danger in trying to be more Christian than Christ.



You see it on the stickers and the campaign materials across the internet, but you can't actually get there in the middle of a knife-edge elction - why not?

Visit and find out:

You are not authorized to view the 2004 election results.

You might not have permission to view the results ofthe 2004
presidential election using the credentials you supplied.

If you believe you should be able to view this directory or page,
please try to contact the CIA or the FBI by using any e-mail address or phone
number that may be listed on the
home page.

You can click
Search to look for conspiracies by Michael Moore.

HTTP Error 403 - Forbidden Presidential Election Results

Mark Steyn on Saved

A film yet to hit the shores here in Aus - although I did see Mandy Moore selling here wares on the Today show. Quote from Mr Steyn:

USA Today called it ‘irreverent’ and ‘subversive’. Au contraire, if you wanted to be irreverent and subversive, you’d have set it at American Eagles Wahhabi Madrassah and had great sport with the pseudo-hip imam. But, though
deriding Christians is obvious and risk-free, it still depends for its effectiveness on a passing acquaintance with the subject-matter, and there’s little evidence of that .... It’s hard to be genuinely funny when you’re so determined to patronise
your own characters. So we get wall-to-wall white-bread Christians who are
witless, superstitious, shallow and insensitive.

Read the rest of the review for more. I saw this movie previewed on Aus. TV a little while back and had a sneaking suspicion its intent was to paint the traditional redneck jocks and teen bitch cheerleader girls beloved of US adolescent B-movies as bigotted Christians. And guess what? Instead of revenge of the nerds, and the quiet girl with glasses who is really, we have gays, single moms, Jews and cripples as our sympathetic characters. Someone get a life, quick.

Abortion, Childcare and paid Maternity Leave

Saw Sarah Madison (spell?) from the WEL speak on Seven's Sunrise this morning (Nov 3), complaining about the helicopter incident and drawing a line to Tony Abbot. Koche seemed to dismiss any connection, but Ms Madison was adamant. Quote from memory was something like, "Women need access to abortion, childcare and paid maternity leave and the current Federal government is eroding these rights".

This surprised me in an number of ways. If I understand the issue correctly:

BEFORE the child is born...if it is
a) wanted, then paid maternity leave should be provided
b) unwanted, then abortion should be provided

These are of course to provide for the welfare of the mother (and partly for the child) in (a) and solely for the mother in (b). I don't think it can be argued that you are proving for the welfare of the child by aborting it.

AFTER the child is born then child care should be provided. A natural consequence of (a) above. This is of course to provide for the welfare of the child. Or maybe the mother, so that she can return to full-time work, or maybe both, so that her wages may provide a better standard of living for her and her child.

BUT the Right wing Tony Abbot and his ilk are having none of it. He says, "NO" to abortion, "NO" to paid maternity leave and"NO' to increased child care.

My thinking is both the same, and different (and I think more consistent).
NO to Abortion (it's hard on the little ones)
YES to Paid Maternity Leave (helps mum and bub)
YES to Child Care (helps mum and bub too)

If the child within is to enjoy the benefits of Paid Maternity Leave and State Sponsored Child Care, abortion is not an option. Why sustain what you have allowed to be destroyed? Be consistent. Either the child is an object, a chattel, a possession or it retains its own distinct identity separate from its mother's will for it. On the one hand, the individual reserves the right to choose to abort if she sees fit, yet on the other if the child is "wanted", society as a whole is expected to pay. I don't think so. WE have an obligation as a society to see that its most vulnerable members (pregnant women cnsidering abortion) have the full weight of society's care and support to enable them to carry the child to term and access acceptable child care arangements.

Welfare mentality? Yes. Economic rationalist? No.

Show us your brain

Apparently a helicopter crew were photographed flying above the Indy 300 on the Gold Coast on October 23 carrying a rude sign (see it here).

This picture was snapped by an onlooker in an apartment building overlooking the Indy, and anonymously posted on the Professional Pilots Rumor Network site.

And now the site is apparently "down" [thus... We have to close this site temporarily while we perform essential maintenance. Please try again later. Sorry for any inconvenience.] with the following message:

As these are anonymous forums the origins of the contributions may be opposite to what may be apparent. In fact the press may use it, or the unscrupulous, to elicit certain reactions.,

Bad luck for the PPRN - the flyboys' fun has been spoiled by one of their own. Lesson: Never post anything online that you wouldn't want to see on the front page of the newspaper, with you as the author.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Does God Endorse George W Bush?

From MSN Slate

Abortion rate worries Abbott

Tony Abbott here starting an issue (or actually restarting one of his favourites). Very interesting to see he handled the interview on the ABC's AM program:

1. Avoiding guaranteeing that there wouldn't be a change of Government policy on the issue
2. Refused to be drawn on an actually time for the lateness of abortions in terms of number of weeks
3. Declined to discuss whether or not he had talked about the matter with the PM
4. No comment (actual silence) on whether discussions with the PM was "too sensitive" for him, or whether any work was being done in his portfolio on the issue of abortion.

And what DID he say?

"...I certainly share the concerns that many people have about the number of abortions that are taking place in Australia today."
"...but I think a debate has started in the community and let's see where the debate goes."
"...I think a lot of people in the community have similar concerns."
"...let's see where this debate develops"
"...Well I think there is a debate developing in the community and let's see where it goes."

I think the ABC's reporter, Matt Brown, had his radar locked on target when he suggested, "Has this been a subject, this important issue, an issue in which you're trying to build a constituency for change?"

Yes, Mr Abbott, you are certainly trying to build a constituency for change. These comments seem to come out of the blue. Why not just come out and say that you have a passionate anti-abortion agenda, than seem to hide behind thealready ongoing debate between pro-choice and pro-life. What has prompted this renewal of focus on abortion? Tony, reveal you mind to us. How else are you going to build support?

Abbott, Abortion and Christianity in Australia

The link is a bit stale but it still underlines the role that Christians can have in public life, and in particular, in government. Best quote:

Firstly, is there a helpful role for the particular views of religious people in public life? In thinking that there is not, Australia is on the extreme end of the international spectrum. Australia was formed in the white-heat of the European Enlightenment, and we inherited its most radical version, which says that the only valuable aspects of any religion are the bits everyone can agree on. (So Aussie pundits will tie Islam into knots to try and fit it into their Enlightenment-shaped suitcase.) But Abbott’s speech asks whether Christians make a unique contribution that only they can give. Secularists in Australia, who reject Christian thought, need to explain why they are so willing to enjoy the contributions of past Christian thought (such as Abbott hints at in the opening comments above).
And as per the website request, this message has been brought to you as ..
“a briefing paper by Andrew Cameron and Tracy Gordon of the Anglican Diocese
of Sydney’s Social Issues Executive. To access this free weekly briefing, send
your email address to .”

Monday, November 01, 2004

Ros Suskind on faith-based vs reality based communities

Saw this on Lateline - and just caught the end of it.

A very good analysis in the main, although I don't think Mr Suskind really understands Christianity - he's "standing on the outside looking in" so to speak. I'm afraid I have to beg to diifer on his conclusions as well.

Now see here

Natural born heirs

John Edwards, as a candidate for the US Vice-Presidency, has to be consitutionally eligible to serve as President should John Kerry one day cop a batch of tainted Botox. But would John Edwards' children be eligible to follow their father into the White House in three decades' time? What would Shakespeare say?

Friday, October 29, 2004

Download Fahrenheit 9/11

From a guy called "Marc Perkel" who calims he is "the most dangerous mind on the internet". Let's hope he stays there. He's not a real video wiz either, asking the ever-so-friendly internet community to " ... help in converting video formats". Sure, any time! And he posts a lovely link of "Bush flipping the bird!" with the comment:

"I'd like to see christian conservatives explain this!".

AS IF giving the finger is as harsh as invading another country on a flimsy pretext in order to be seen to be doing something a bout "terrorism". I've yet to see a reasonable explanation of THAT. Mr Perkel, a sense of persepctive, please. Our current leader of the opposition called our Prime Minister an "arse-licker" regarding his relations with the US. And a former PM called our own country "the arse end of the world". Undoubtably, Christian conservatives in Australia voted for both men in droves. Sorry, Mr Perkel Flipping the bird is quite tame.

BTW Fahrenheit 9/11 here

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Frank Devine on Family First

Interesting Reading from the Friday before last's copy of The Australian:

However, I am persuaded to look tolerantly on Family First by the way sections
of the media and the fashionable Left have been squeaking and clutching their
skirts, like neurotic virgins frightened by a flasher, over the party's very

Nice turn of phrase, although I would deplore it in critics of causes that I admire! ad hominem attacks are just not my bag, baby, although thaey may raise a smile or two. Take note members of the Uniting Church:

The displays they've been giving of cringing and waving sprigs of garlic at
the religious Right betrays their hypocrisy, since they have never felt the need
to ward off the politically activist religious Left, in the form of the Uniting
Church and rebel Catholic clergy and nuns – mainly men and women in their 50s –
who have bestowed on the church its own Woodstock generation

The Uniting Church politically activist religious left. Hmm. Flakey doctrine, heretical hierachy, social justice fanatics. I wonder what percentage of Uniting Churchers voted Green?

Scotland is a foreign country

Another nail in the coffin of American Geographic education! According to Terry Brown of Clark County, Ohio, Scotland is a foreign Country. Don't tell the Scots they have autonomy . . .

(From the ABC's AM program)

TERRY BROWN: Well, as I first read it, I thought, 'Boy this is a piece of junk', and then the more I got to reading it the more I got to realising, 'Hey this is very serious', you know, that there's someone in a foreign country – this one came from Scotland – is trying to persuade me, or my son, or this household, how to vote. I was offended by it, to be very honest with you.

FRAN KELLY: You were offended that someone from another country thought it
was their business?

TERRY BROWN: Exactly right. There are a lot of people lost their lives in this country in foreign wars to preserve the right for a sacred vote, and by golly, I'm going to tell you what – I support that. Foreign people shouldn't try and influence what happens in the United States.

Nice comeback, Terry. It's OK for the US to influence what happens in those foreign parts, and to kill those foreigners "over there" (and lose one's life in this country - the US(!)), but for them to take an interest in how you vote for your President? Nah, they can just stay over there in those foreign places and get killed by the good old Yankee boys. More power to ya.

Monday, October 25, 2004

So "Rocky III" was really a Coptic Pope 1570 years ago...

From Fr Richard John Neuhaus' "Public Square" column in First Things (October 2004) [scroll down].

[…] Good as New, a Bible version produced by John Henson of One, an organization dedicated to “establishing peace, justice, dignity, and rights for all”, along with the “sustainable use of earth’s resources”, and to challenging “oppression, injustice, exclusion, and discrimination” while accepting “one another, valuing their diversity and experience.” So you can see that One is a Very Good Thing. Endorsing Good as New, which also includes the non-canonical Gnostic Gospel of Thomas, Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, says he hopes it will spread “in epidemic profusion through religious and irreligious alike.” The epidemic he wishes upon the masses changes original Hebrew and Greek names into modern nicknames. Peter becomes “Rocky”, Mary Magdalene is “Maggie”, and Aaron is “Ron.” Henson deftly refers to demonic possession as “mental illness”, and references to the “Son of Man” become “the Complete Person.” Mark 1 in the Revised Standard Version (RSV): “And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens opened and the Spirit descending upon him like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son, with you I am well pleased.” ” Good as New: “As he was climbing up the bank again, the sun shone through a gap in the clouds. At the same time a pigeon flew down and perched on him. Jesus took this as a sign that God’s spirit was with him. A voice from overhead was heard saying, “That’s my boy! You’re doing fine!’” In 1 Corinthians 7, St Paul says, “Now concerning the matters about which you wrote. It is well for a man not to touch a woman. But because of the temptation to immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband.” That was then, this is now. The same text, so to speak, in Good as New: “Some of you think the best way to cope with sex is for men and women to keep right away from each other. That is more likely to lead to sexual offences. My advice is for everyone to have a regular partner.” Later in the chapter, the RSV has this: “To the unmarried and the widows, I say that it is well for them to remain single as I do. But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to be aflame with passion.” Good as New: “If you know you have strong needs, get yourself a partner. Better than being frustrated.” […]

The All-Seeing Lidless Eye of Minas Googhûl...

It is ask-ed of Our venerable brother:

Still wrestling with this one to figure out what it means. Tom got the message as a "Google Alert". I wonder why I didn't get one?

Answer: You need to sign up for these alerts at Google, under"News Alerts". They're free, and extremely useful, although you have to delete a lot of them. I personally recommend you set your preferences to "News and Web" and "As It Happens". (Of course, if you have different preferences, they are valid).

Indy 300 2004

Went to Indy on Thursday.

A real focal point for degeneration - and the Qld State Gov poured $11 million into this dissipation this year alone.

I would estimate the crowd was about 90% male, and the 10%female were promo girls paid to be there.

The guys got drunker and sleazier as the day progressed.

Please, take your Indy somewhere else!

(And I'm still cutting the video I took - might post a shot here soon)

Make a new website by Strong Bad!


Finally got a listing at Blogs4God


I know, I'm sooo bad. I've been spending all my time on my new job in North Carolina. Fear NOT! I have a huge stack of submissions I get to go through each day for the next couple of weeks that should give you a steady stream of new guys (and gals) on the blog. Here are some very patient people who've been waiting to have their questions answered. Why not visit them and show them your love by answering their call:


Who in the heck is Father McKenzie? Certainly not these playful pundits.



Still wrestling with this one to figure out what it means. Tom got the message as a "Google Alert". I wonder why I didn't get one?

Friday, October 22, 2004

Get More at Moore

Just catching up on this incident (it happened in May!)
This post is all about the demise of the Evensong choir at Sydney's St Andrews cathedral. and it being replaced with students from Moore Theological College:

Parents in tears as choir's 130 years of tradition wiped out

A group of young Bible scholars being groomed by Dean Jensen would take over the cathedral on Sunday nights in the coming months, Mr Moroney said. The group would be bringing in its own ministry and contemporary music. The new
congregation, called The Bible Talks, had outgrown its Sunday night venue at
Sydney Boys High School and the cathedral was eager to make "a change of
direction in style".

From a letter writer to the SMH:

I am a member of the second (all-adult) choir at St Andrew's Cathedral. We are an ecumenical group, a few, like me, being Catholics. Since the installation of fundamentalist clergy, we have been subjected to preaching which is anti-gay, anti-Catholic, in fact anti- most other hues of Anglicanism.

There has even been verbal abuse of choir members by a minister. Now we, like the 130-year-old boys' choir, are being largely dumped from singing at services. Evensong will be replaced by guitars and clones of the incumbent Calvinist-style clerical gentlemen. I wonder how long rank-and-file Anglicans will tolerate what is being done to their beautiful cathedral.

From Ann Ramsay, radio annoucer at Sydney's 2MBS-FM who hosts a show called Evensong:

And also I have to say, please, could these students that come from
Moore College tell us something really important when they give us the
sermon... Well I think you want 10 minutes of something that you can grasp
and come away with and think about. I don't think you have to go through the
various verses of the Old Testament, taking 1-6 one week, and 6-13 the next. Anybody can read a Bible.... I think they're taught at
Moore College that they've got to talk for 20 minutes. I have to say I think
it's rather boring, and it shouldn't be boring, it should be inspiring.

I finally found a website covering just exactly what is going on at St Andrews. BTW, I was just there maybe a month ago now on a Wednesday night and heard one of Phil Jensen's sermons, which IMHO was excellent, and quite a treat when on holidays. The Bible Talks website is here:

The Bible Talks is a bible believing, evangelical, christian church that is committed to teaching the good news of Jesus as found in God's word, the Bible, and to encouraging each other to live our lives according to what we have learned. Free parking is available under St Andrew's House. Enter via Kent St.
Sad but true too many people who feel they are committed christians lose sight of Christ and focus on the customs and traditions of their religion. While it is nice to have cathedral choirs and such these must not be allowed to get in the way of the gospel. Christianity is not abpout singing nice songs or performing religious rituals. For example, I read about a description of a Year 12 student artwork depicting two siblings washing dishes painted like a religious icon. "The ritual of washing the dishes was a religious experience for me". Get the point?

I find it even more interesting to see Phil Jensen using his Two Ways To Live series as a springboard for a 6 week sermon set. I have used this resource and found it very helpful, however, I always begin with, "Ladies and Gentlemen . . . there are Two Ways to Live". This inevitably builds up the excitement of the moment (LOL).

On and on go the ABC and the SMH about the Jensen brothers and the cathedral - it seems that what these media outlets love to do is take a little cup of controversial tea stirred up into a storm. Maybe the media would prefer a tame church that bit its tongue, sat on its haunches and bided its time while the world went to ruin, so they could then turn to it and demand why it isn't doing anything or why it doesn't have any answers.

Christiany: Boring, untrue, irrelavant? Hardly.

Response from Bernard Zuel

I sent a copy of the previou posts to the Sydney Morning Herald. Bernard Zuel, author of the article about the POlyphonc Spree, offered me this reply:

My reference wasn't to Peter Jensen being a "stodgy old pulpitthumper who prefers pointy hats with buckles and abhors buttons as a sign of vanity". It was connected to the decision by Jensen to cut the Sunday night Evensong tradition at St Andrews, including the choir, and replacing it with a gathering and talk or somesuch. It's a story which got plenty of coverage as choirmembers and their parents complained etc so I figured some of our readers would remember the incident and connect it to the story I was writing about this strange old choir.


Bernard Zuel

You can read more about the trashing of evensong through the SMH's letter pages here

Unfortyunately I can't get hold of an original article as the SMH charges for the privelege. But there's always Google to help overcome such obstacles.

Even more Evensong complaints can be read here, from Ann Ramsay, a 90-something-year-old announcer at Sydney's 2MBS-FM, who also has complaints about Moore. Fuel for a new post.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

The Polyphinc [Killing] Spree

Article from the SMH about a fab new group called "Polyphonic Spree". Interesting enough in itself, but the article itself begins:

It could be Dr Peter Jensen's worse Evensong nightmare. Here they come in identical robes, singing songs of praise, wonderment and celebration in uplifting tones. All 25 of them in this choir-cum-band known as the Polyphonic Spree. This is a choir most definitely visible.

Why the implication that Peter Jensen be offended? the SMH is rather obviously constructing the leader of Sydney's Anglican as a stodgy old pulpit thumper who prefers pointy hats with buckles, and abhors buttons as sign of vanity. Ha-ha jokes at the expense of the Archbishop of Sydney just don't cut it, I'm afraid. Imagine a similar slur aimed at the Imam of the Lakemba Mosque. This is hardly cutting edge journalism, but is rather low-brow stuff better kept for the tabloids . From the SMH comes liturgical laughter, aimed at a religious leader (Christian, conservative, evangelical) near you.

Anglican obsession - a rejoinder

Hi Andrew

I think it is I who had a skewed memory of the numbers. It was some time ago - actually when the Interim Report on Sexuality came out (pun!) and Michelle and I went Church hunting for a while before returning to the mother church (StD's)

Obviously if there is a split then there will be sharp divergence of opinions in both groups - the reason why they split in the first place!

In terms of loyaties etc, of course our first loyaty is to Christ. But as I heard another Anglican say (again on the ABC), there is a tendnecey to desire unity above all which is of course a false god.

Liberalism as I understand it appears even earlier than the 50's - the late 19th Century I believe - and has played around with ideas such as the 'historical' Christ etc. The horrors of the first world war should have nicely done away with the supposition that everyone is basically good.

In any case denominations for me are really a much less accurate means of understanding where a person is coming from theologically than they used to be. I remember recently visiting a cemetery in Casino (NSW), and finding people were variously buried in parts of the cemetery labelled "catholic", "methodist", "presbyterian" etc (although the methos and the pressies were co-located, perhaps implying a future unity?).

Movements like liberalism or evangelicalism tend to cut across denominational boundaries - although within Anglicanism there are the "highs" who tend to be liberal and Anglo-Catholic and the "lows" who tend to be evangelical (in my experience). I wouldn't think that dissolving and reforming along theologically lines would be very helpful. I imagine more likely following splits there might be "Federations" or similar of like-minded churches. Both streams obviously would claim to inherit the traditions, customs and beliefs of their forefathers - strange for both liberals and conservatives!

In the UCA as I read it, it is the parishioners and parish ministers who tend to be much more theologically conservative than the church hierachy. This has been explained to me in terms of ministers who are theologically liberal are generally not suited (by self-selection or otherwise) for parish work, while those of a more traditional, conservative bent are (and are also a better match for their conservative congregations). What are your views on this issue?



Anglican obsession - Reply

A reply to my post from Amdrew Demack:


The Presbyterian lady you talked to had a skewed memory of the numbers ... Two thirds of Presbyterians joined the Uniting Church, one third continued / did not join.

Certainly the leftovers were more conservative than the Presbyterian Church had been previously.

From conversations I've had over the years with ageing radicals such as Bob Griffiths and Noel Preston, it would seem to me that this conservative/liberal issue has been on-going within the protestant church for at least this last half century, and probably longer.

And its true that conservative protestant Christians of any type -- whether UC, Anglican or Baptist -- often feel closer to their conservative brethren in other denominations than they do to the liberals of their own stripe.

But would we all be happier / more united / less likely to squabble if instead of UC, Anglican and Baptist instead we had the Bible-Believing Protestant Church of Australia and the Progressive Protestant Church of Australia?

I don't think so.

Perhaps its human nature (part of our fallen-ness?) to need an "other" to define ourselves against. There would still be squabbling.

I might conclude by quoting one of the recent works of the prophet Paul Simon (found for me by Google, I couldn't do this from memory)

"We celebrate the birth of Jesus on Christmas Day
And Buddha found Nirvana along the Lotus Way
About 1500 years ago the messenger Mohammed spoke
And his wisdom like a river flowed
Through hills of gold
Wisdom is old
The Koran is old
The Bible is old
Greatest story ever told

Work 'em out"


-- Andrew

Monday, October 18, 2004

ABC Anglican obsession

It seems the ABC is obsessed with all things Anglican - they even have a reporter in London filing briefs on what's happening as a report from an Anglican Commission is expected.

Does the ABC see Anglicanism as a kind of "national church" that it has a mandate to report on, or is an obession with all things queer the reason why the GayBC monitors the Church from the old Dart so closely? Perhaps they take their cues from the Beeb, and follow the trdaitionla suit. Maybe the Jensen bros. are the closest things to national celebrities who get any air time in the UK (apart from Kylie Minogue). Maybe the ABC wishes it could produce an Aussie "Songs of Praise" but just can't sem to muster the courage to beg the government for a few more pennies (although I thimk Johnny would be up for it, if you ask me).

In anycase we have the stereotypical ABC story of "conservaive Anglicans feud with Liberal Anglicans over something gay" . Read all about it.

What caught my ear was this line:

"So it appears the split may more be a case of the liberals leaving than the conservatives forming new allegiances."

This reminded me of a conversation I once had with a Presbyterian (who shall remain nameless (I have forgotten her name!)) whom I met once and was discussing the perseverance of the Presbyterian saints considering all were to have been subsumed by the 1977 merger of the Congs (-gregationalists), Methodists and Presbyterians in the Uniting Church.

She described the merger as the best thing that could have ever happened. The Uniting Church absorbed all of theirliberals, leaving them with a two-thirds majpority who were committed to traditional christianity.

Perhaps there is a future direction for the Uniting Church in Australia - do Anglicanism a similar favour.

Diamonds aren't forever - Star Wars is

From the Star Wars Homing beacon, on the destruction of sets to make room for more sets, also predsetined for destruction:

Continues Hajdu, "It's a shame, but it doesn't matter because it's been created. The set has already been captured on film or on tape. It exists forever."

Right. That's why the Ancinet Egyptians made movies instead of pyramids. And why Walt Disney is in cryogenic freeze instead of in a cartoon. And why George Lucas and his movies will ultimately join the sets in the big industrial bin in the sky.

From the confessing Evangelical

Cross post c/- Tom . . .

The Church of England is advertising for nominations for the next Archbishop of ork. Think I'm going to start a write-in campaign for the job to go to Phillip Jensen, especially given the recent news report in the Guardian in which he was misreported as describing Rowan Williams as a prostitute. That would liven up Primates' Meetings and General Synod no end.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Clasic stuff from the Euro-trendies

Those Europeans - too clever by half!

Check out the row erupting in Brussles over the appointment of Rocco Buttiglione as Europe's justice and security chief.

Mr Buttiglione infuriated the European parliament when he said at his confirmation last week: "I may think homosexuality is a sin but this has no effect on politics, unless I say homosexuality is a crime."

Mr Barroso (European Commission president) said it was important to distinguish between a person's beliefs and the policies they would implement.

A bit like the Archbishop of Canturbury, eh?

Phil did not call the Archbishop a prostitute

Read his letter for yourself. I wonder if this one will hit the airwaves after coverge in The Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian, and on your ABC?

Probably, and sadly, not.

In my speech I described the situation where holders of high office in the Church of England publicly subscribe to the Church’s official set of beliefs but privately pursue a different set – while still in the pay of the Church. That is what I described as the prostitution of ChristianMinistry.

Evangelicals call Williams a prostitute

Evangelicals [Phil Jensen] call Williams [the Archbishop of Canterbury] a prostitute [of a theological and intellectual nature].

See the artcile from the Guardian here

Conservative evangelicals flexed their muscles yesterday by denouncing the Church of England and its leader, the Most Rev Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, as sinful and corrupt, and threatening to refuse to recognise the authority of liberal bishops.

Phil Jensen goin' off, eh?

According to the ever-reliable Sydney Morning herald, Dean Jensen lays into Prince and church leader . . .


He condemned Archbishop Rowan Williams for his liberal views about homosexuality..."That's no good. That's total prostitution of the Christian ministry .... "He should resign. That's theological and intellectual prostitution. He is taking his salary under false pretences."


The Very Reverend Philip Jensen . . . attacked Prince Charles as "a public adulterer" and Kings College Chapel as "a temple to paganism" for selling recordings of its famous choir in the ante-chapel.