Re: George Michael Said It

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The thought is unpleasant to me, not so much because I wouldn't want to try out other people's religious practices, but because the thought of other people touristing mine* makes me uncomfortable. First because foreign religious ceremony tends to look superstitious, exotic, weird and goofy to outsiders. Second, and relatedly, I don't know how much you could really learn about a religion from dabbling in it for a few days. There's a reason why many religions lean heavily on tradition, and why they are often passed on from parent to child -- because religion and faith are strange and difficult things, and because they takes time to attach. It's not just about learning a few songs and prayers.

*Spoken hypothetically. I'm not a religious person, although I was once.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 12:02 AM
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A couple of Sundays in summer camp, a few counselors and campers would walk down the hill for church services. One week I joined in; I think it was my first year in camp, at the age of ten. It was no more boring than synagogue.

Labor activism brought me into a number of different congregations. I've found myself in churches on numerous occasions, often with workers speaking out about workplace injustices and organizing campaigns. I have a favorite priest, a radical Episcopalian Afro-Latino woman with whom I got to help run a civil disobedience arrest with once and who helped kick the ass of Wal-Mart in Inglewood.

I still haven't found an L.A. synagogue that's quite up my alley. The rabbi who married me just got her own congregation, but it's in Chicago.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 12:02 AM
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er, "they take time"


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 12:03 AM
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jms makes a good point too -- it's not quite the same as cultural day, when you have a bowl of matzoh ball soup or fried crickets or what have you and get a colorful print skirt. But I still think there's a way to do it that's sensitive, and many congregations do, e.g "we're pleased to welcome our brothers and sisters from First Bible Whatsit."

Ecumenical/interfaith practices are pretty well established between differing congregations, but I don't even know whose bat-signal to activate for more info. I imagine there are religious conservatives who would be very opposed to such a thing, not just because of the encouragement of open-mindedness but because the actual participation in others' services (or others' participation in theirs) would be outright blasphemy.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 12:07 AM
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If I went to non-Catholic services, would it be inappropriate to take along a big sign that read, "UR DOIN IT RONG"?


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 12:07 AM
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This was pretty much my mother's approach to religious education, actually. For most of my childhood we attended a Unitarian church (well, an off-shoot of the Unitarians, even more liberal and kooky). Once I hit 12 or 13 she started deliberately taking me to other places of worship or having me go along with friends (a synagogue, the Buddhist temple, Catholic church, and a few more mainstream Protestant sects (no mosque, but that's just because there wasn't one that we knew about)). It was followed up with some readings about the various faiths.

I was interested in religions, so it worked pretty well, but I did feel bad about being a religious tourist. Nonetheless, I think that most religions do want to attract new members, so there can't be too much to complain about if the tourists behave themselves and are respectful.

In the end it turns out I'm just not all that religious, though I do like ceremony.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 12:08 AM
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5: Or maybe: "ALL YOUR HOST BELONGS TO US"


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 12:09 AM
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We did this at my primary school and secondary school, I seem to remember. Not so much attend a session of worship, as visits to various places of worship: proper church, Catholic church, synagogue, but no mosque because it was the most honky part of the country.


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 12:10 AM
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REDEMPTION FAIL


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 12:11 AM
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proper church, Catholic church

UR DOIN IT RONG


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 12:12 AM
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I guess 7 only applies to Protestant services.

I did not attend a religious service until college. And that was as a non-religious tourist.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 12:12 AM
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I'm confused about what "honky" means in Martin's area of the world.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 12:12 AM
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I AM AWARE OF ALL INTERFAITH TRADITIONS


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 12:13 AM
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LET ME SHOW YOU MY THESES.
My theses: let me show you them.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 12:16 AM
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I still haven't found an L.A. synagogue that's quite up my alley.

k-sky, an acquaintance of mine whose alley might be close to your own, at least politically, once enthused to me about his synagogue -- I could find out for you if you are interested.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 12:19 AM
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14: So great. Why is that locution so funny? It blows the post-structuralist "x of y, y of x" completely out of the water.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 12:21 AM
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I know which synagogue you're talking about. I should probably go to that one. Maybe the problem is I don't really want to go to synagogue.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 12:24 AM
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6: What you describe is roughly what I had in mind, but this:

I did feel bad about being a religious tourist. Nonetheless, I think that most religions do want to attract new members

wouldn't be my idea. I actually didn't imagine this visiting of other places of worship without being raised in a particular faith myself. With no particular faith being spoon-fed to me, I might indeed feel (or have felt like) a religious tourist.

As for attracting new members, I would hope that this wouldn't be the idea: the visit wouldn't be a form of shopping around, though I suppose a conversion could result. I tend to think that a 13-year-old (guesstimating the appropriate age frame for this) isn't equipped to make up her or his mind. That would explain why I'm not much for organized religion in the first place, though.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 12:24 AM
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17: Wait, I'm sure you don't know this person. Is there only one synagogue?


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 12:27 AM
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JOHN 3:16


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 12:28 AM
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There is only one synagogue in L.A. that young, social-justice minded people rave about. Maybe I'll see if someone can bring me as a guest for yom kippur.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 12:28 AM
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JOHN 3:16

Hey, that was on the bottom of my Coke cup.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 12:29 AM
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18: I see your point, though I do think my mom was trying to show me that there were many paths that I could take if I were unhappy in our own church, and wanted to encourage the possibility that one might satisfy me more.

And 13 is the traditional age for becoming fuller members of most of the Judeo-Christian faiths, no? At any rate, I suspect that's why it was timed such in my case.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 12:30 AM
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Let me try that again...

Yes, jms, I'm curious to know which synagogue your young, politically close to me friend enthused about. I wouldn't be surprised if it's the one I'm thinking of.

Sorry, the first one was a bit dickish. I drove 600 miles today. To bed!


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 12:31 AM
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(I was desperately jealous of my cousin's bat mitzvah.)


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 12:32 AM
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21: Teo also mentioned something that sounded like needing an invitation. Tickets? You need tickets or an invitation to certain services in Judaism? I don't think they have that in Catholic church services. Not that there's anything wrong with it, obviously, but it's different.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 12:32 AM
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You weren't being dickish, k-sky, don't apologize. And you may be (are probably) right about the identity of the synagogue. Goodnight!


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 12:33 AM
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It's definitely weird. Basically, 90% of Jews go to services twice a year: on Rosh Hashana (new year) and Yom Kippur (day of atonement), which are ten days apart and called the High Holidays. Synagogues are swamped during these times, and often have to rent out bigger halls -- frequently churches -- to accommodate everyone who wants to be there. Some kind of reservation is required just about everywhere, and most synagogues make you buy tickets since it's their only crack at most of you.

All accommodate people under financial constraints, of course, but they can get serious about the ticket business. There's a joke about a guy trying to get into the sanctuary on the high holidays to tell someone about a family emergency, and the usher says, "You can go, but if I catch you praying I'll break your arm!"


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 12:38 AM
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if I were unhappy in our own church

Hard to see how you could be, much, except for having to go weekly in the first place. I can see it now:

parenthetical's mom: Honey, if you want to be more religious than this, here are some places you can do that.

parenthetical: Oh, okay, no, that's okay.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 12:38 AM
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29: I actually did rebel, in high school. I defected to an evangelical church. Take that, parents! I'll show you! I'll be CONSERVATIVE!

(It didn't last too long, and to be fully honest, was largely prompted by a boy.)


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 12:40 AM
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28: I was going to ask if it was due to overcrowding or standing-room-only situations, but feared it might be insensitive.

So going to sanctuary for one of the High Holidays is like going to a concert! Oh wow, do people scalp tickets?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 12:42 AM
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Also, 600 miles is a long drive in one day. k-sky should have gone to bed. It's late here as well.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 12:45 AM
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According to these guys, it doesn't ever happen quite like this.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 12:47 AM
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you don't have to ask twice. well, three times.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 12:47 AM
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When I went to Italy with my family in HS we happened to be in St. Peter's Square on Holy Saturday around the time people were lining up for the Easter Vigil. Some Anglican convert priest from the UK happened to strike up a conversation with y parents about what was going on, and we learned that one actually needed to get tickets to attend the Holy Week masses at St. Peter's. He happened to have some extras (I think he said he obtained them just by contacting some office, and some of friends couldn't attend), so he hooked us up. But yeah, other than that, no tix needed for Catholic Church.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 12:48 AM
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Wasn't there a job interview, k-sky? Or did I just dream that?


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 12:48 AM
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it was for a writing fellowship... please cross your fingers for me, I'll know in a week.

it woulda only been 500 miles (which is what I did on monday after the interview, LA to Tahoe) except we decided to duck over to SLO for dinner.


Posted by: sleeping k-sky | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 12:55 AM
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37.2: Love that restaurant. I miss home.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 12:57 AM
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I thought you were from the (a) valley, not the coast. Guess I was wrong.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 1:00 AM
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this isd whst i get when i toye wsiuthj my fngers crissedl.

gloold kucjk!


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 1:00 AM
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no tix needed for Catholic Church.

That's because they have all the moolah, and don't have square footage problems, probably. Though again, it's been a long time since I went, and honestly can't tell the difference much between the churches around here. It's not like they say: this one is Catholic! I could pretty much just go to any one if I wanted to, couldn't I? Christian ones, since I'd feel rude going to a non-Christian one without an invitation, not being a member of the family.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 1:02 AM
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39: Nope, I'm a coastal person sentenced to the Valley. Born in Santa Barbara and raised in the beach towns south of SLO. I miss the ocean so badly it hurts (cliche, I know, but true). I really need to go home soon.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 1:03 AM
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Oh, good luck, sleeping k-sky! Smile your way to sleep.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 1:04 AM
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That's because they have all the moolah, and don't have square footage problems, probably

Oy, parsimon. It's the Episcopalians that's got all the money.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 1:11 AM
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Oops. I can't keep 'em straight.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 1:14 AM
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It's not like they say: this one is Catholic!

Really? Round here they mainly do, and it isn't too hard to guess anyway.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 1:18 AM
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What if Catholic churches were named the same way as Protestant churches? "Jesus Christ Church of the Flowing Stigmata"?


Posted by: paranoid android | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 1:22 AM
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also, re the religious tourism thing, I really wouldn't mind, I suspect that most religions are just glad to get you through the door, no matter why.

(And, er, lots of religions are pretty keen on tourism: they call it pilgrimage. Which is a bit clever-clever, but still.)


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 1:32 AM
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46: Maybe so. I'm out of practice with the codes involved in guessing. I haven't paid close attention to churches for a long time. If it *looks* all full of spires and whatnot and is called Church of St. Mary, I'm going to guess it's Catholic, but around here they're all meh, so maybe they're something-or-other, I know not what.

Bedtime.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 1:36 AM
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"glad" s/b "desperate".


Posted by: wispa | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 1:37 AM
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re: 49

At least in the UK, if it's a piece of modernist/brutalist looking architecture, or has fancy modern stained glass, it's probably Catholic.* I'd imagine that doesn't apply in the US, where most things were built (relatively speaking) in the last 20 minutes.

* By contrast, if it's really really old it's probably C of E [in England].


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 2:45 AM
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51 is right. The Bristol Catholic cathedral looks like a refuse incinerator. "We used to have a much nicer one," I was told apologetically when I attended a wedding there, "but it was taken away during the Reformation". The wound is clearly still fresh.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 3:28 AM
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30:Same here, with slightl varitaions

2-3 years


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 5:27 AM
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||

1.) Good thing: This place has delicious food, and chocolate and Grand Marnier crème brûlée is a very good idea.

2.) Bad Thing: I just heard something on NPR about the Senate Finance health care bill which could make a post health-care reform world worse for me (and other vulnerable people.) It supposedly allows insurers to sell across state lines. I'm sure that that's being offered in the name of competition, but if they're not fierce about dictating minimum coverage requirements then people who have depended on states with consumer protections will be screwed. This report was followed by a piece about expanding the public student loan industry. Ben Nelson is violently opposed, because he wants to protect 1000 Nebraskan jobs. Never mind the interests of the nation--or even his own student constituents. What a way to come back from vacation.

3.) I'm thinking that I would't mind living in Montreal. The maritime provinces look gorgeous, but there aren't any jobs. I might have to become a healthcare refugee.

|>


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 5:57 AM
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My mom and I have tried out various churches on Easter--Catholic, Episcopalian. That's about as far abroad as we get. Catholic service sort of freaked her out, and she didn't understand why we couldn't take Communion, so we left early. On Easter!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 6:05 AM
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Bostoniangirl: Digby had a lengthy post on that very topic when the Baucus bill was first released.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 6:13 AM
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|>

54.3

1) Not sure if it is policy yet, but there was something about the Mexican government allowing it citizens resident in the US to pay premiums for Mexican insurance at a price less (maybe much less) than $1000 a year, which would then cover medical expenses in the US. It would be very expensive for Mexico, but apparently the money coming from the US-resident Mexicans makes it worth it.

2) Someone asked if the Canadian gov't might be willing to allow Americans to buy into the Canadian healthcare system, ay some price higher than Canadians pay, but much cheaper than American insurance.

3) Digby had to close down her comments yesterday, she said something nice about Obama and a commenter got obscene. The rage building up on the left is surprising even me. Emerson was active there yesterday.

|>


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 6:14 AM
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On the OP: my original thought was "Oh, swell, do more to enshrine organized religion as a positive, nigh-universal choice."

Can they at least be required to go do some bumper cars with athiests, too, or something?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 6:26 AM
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Bad Thing: I just heard something on NPR about the Senate Finance health care bill which could make a post health-care reform world worse for me (and other vulnerable people.) It supposedly allows insurers to sell across state lines. I'm sure that that's being offered in the name of competition, but if they're not fierce about dictating minimum coverage requirements then people who have depended on states with consumer protections will be screwed.

Actually, I believe the version of this in the Finance bill does have stringent requirements for coverage parity before selling across state lines is permitted, and that it's one of the less-bad things about that particular flabby bill. Someone here who has been following more closely can probably tell you more.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 6:30 AM
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I can't see it happening too widely in the States, mainly for fear of lawsuits and/or fundy parents going ape-shit. This is one area, arguably, where Britain's established church system works a bit better - not that I'm suggesting the US should go the same way. I get the impression there's a lot more comparative religion in UK schools than in the US, where schools seems to be afraid to touch that sort of thing with a bargepole and either steer clear of RE altogether or try to slip indoctrination into history and science classes.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 6:32 AM
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When I taught Sunday School at the local synagogue, we did a weekly field trip to various churches and to some different Jewish denominations. We were obviously "tourists" but we sat in the back and were quiet.


Posted by: emdash | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 7:11 AM
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58: nice one. I can see the timetable now:

RELIGIOUS AND CULTURAL EXPERIENCE
Thursdays,3-5

7 April: Baptist Christianity: visit First Baptist church
14 April: Judaism: visit Beth Israel synagogue
21 April: Catholic Christianity: visit St Michael's church
28 April: Islam: visit Suleymaniye Mosque
5 May: Orthodox Christianity: visit St Gregory's church
12 May: atheism: afternoon off, go home early, maybe hang out in the park, play a bit of basketball.

Wonder which one the kids would end up preferring?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 7:16 AM
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58: Bumper cars is great. I thought about the non-religious crowd, since I certainly don't have a dog in what you're perceiving as a proposed dog race.

I don't want more people to be religious, to be clear. I suspect that visiting a bunch of faiths would tend to eliminate or at least soften one's dogmatism about any particular faith. Of course, I have no proof of this.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 7:23 AM
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Ben Nelson is violently opposed, because he wants to protect 1000 Nebraskan jobs 1 Nebraskan corporation.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 7:41 AM
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Russian Orthodox services in a church with a good choir are really great. Megachurch Protestant services made me feel uncomfortable.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 7:56 AM
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For my confirmation class (elca lutherans) our pastor took the three of us who were to be confirmed that year to a Catholic service, a mosque, and a synagogue. He thought that we were mature enough at 13 to learn more about our outside world than what we had narrowly experienced through years of sunday school. I didn't and still don't think of it as "religious tourism" - we weren't shopping around for a new faith structure, and we were welcomed with open arms at all three of these places of worship. it was educational and helpful in understanding the large picture of "faith."

But like i said, he was lucky enough to only have to escort a few of us. I can't imagine trying to wrangle a horde of 13 year olds in an unfamiliar religious environment. Hell, in a familiar religious environment. Or ANY environment.


Posted by: ecksies | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 7:57 AM
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66: For my (Catholic) confirmation class, they shipped in a rabbi. He had to drive 3 hours each way.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 7:59 AM
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67: "Hi, I'm looking for a rabbi who'd like to attend a public demonstration of Catholic religious fervor? ... yes, they'll get to go home again after it finishes."


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 8:05 AM
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(I was desperately jealous of my cousin's bat mitzvah.)

It is sounding like () was raised in the Unitarian branch of a Jewish family. I am starting to think she and I have many similarities.

Not the least: Since you linked the "You can bring your girlsfriends, and meet me at the hotel...HOTEL MOTEL HOLIDAY INN!" song, I've heard it a half-dozen times on the radio, and it is totally one of the most car-danceable songs ever.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 8:08 AM
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68: The guy certain deserves some kind of dedication award unless he was already in town for something else. But I can't imagine why else he was in town. Anyway, it wasn't a public thing. confirmation is public, but the preparation is just a class session.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 8:10 AM
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It's probably like a bar/bat mitzvah class with fewer unpronouncable consonant clusters and nobody being related to Unitarians.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 8:16 AM
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My High School was founded in part as a fuck you to the Apartheid government of South Africa, intended to be an in-your-face demonstration that multiracial and multicultural education could work just fine (that's a vast oversimplification, but it's sufficient background to get to the main point). We had regular morning assemblies of the entire school, some of them just a talk by the Headmaster, and some a small religious service by a local religious leader. We had Catholic Priests, a couple of Imams, a Baptist missionary*, Some Baha'is, an Anglican priest, and a few more. There were Hindus and Sikhs in the community, but I don't recall any of them giving a service, most likely because those religions don't really lend themselves to that format. There was not, AFAIK, a Rabbi in the city, and there may well have been too few observant male Jews to form a quorum.

I have a vivid memory of one of the Imams giving a sermon in which he praised the martyrdom of Iranian youths who volunteered to clear minefields by running into them and detonating the mines (this was ~1986, during the Iran-Iraq war). Also vivid memories of the Baptist missionary, Brother Tim, tunelessly belting out hymns while mutilating the strings on his guitar. The Baha'is read translated scripture which was full of flowery imagery but never managed to actually make a concrete point as far as I recall. I think god is a flower and the faiths of the world are petals, or maybe god is a pomegranate and we are all seeds or something. God is most certainly some sort of plant, which is nice I suppose. The Catholic priest mostly hectored us about sex, as did the Anglican one. Brother Tim also hectored us about sex, but he at least had some sort of clue about what was actually going on in my peer group, so he got far more traction despite his aural violence against us.

It was interesting and enlightening, but the take home lesson for me is that pretty much all organized religion is nuts.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 8:52 AM
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there may well have been too few observant male Jews to form a quorum.

You need a minivan for an official Jewish prayer.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 8:55 AM
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73: Or a tank. (The one in the picture drives past me nearly every day on my way to work.)


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 8:58 AM
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Every Chanukah, there's a guy in my neighborhood who drives a minivan with a Menorah on the roof. I think the lights even work.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 9:01 AM
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72: That sounds great, and (at least in your case) appears to have taught an important lesson.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 9:03 AM
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It was interesting and enlightening, but the take home lesson for me is that pretty much all organized religion is nuts

This is gratifying, but it'd be nice if these proposed strategies could make it more explicit. Along the lines of the bumper cars with athiests, what if the time spent with each faith was proportional to their representation in the population? So one day at the mosque, one at the synagogue, a few at various churches, and then a week of instruction in how it's perfectly possible to be moral and happy with no faith at all?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 9:13 AM
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Shorter 77: grrr! Grrr! (Frowny, frowny.)

I think I'll shut up.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 9:13 AM
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Ah, ecumenism. You did so much to avert the Second World War.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 9:17 AM
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it's perfectly possible to be moral and happy with no faith at all?

To pick nits, everyone has a faith, or faiths, or faith-in-something. Just not always in the context of a traditional religion.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 9:22 AM
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To pick nits, everyone has a faith, or faiths, or faith-in-something.

He pretty clearly meant religious faith, not, like, faith that the sun will rise tomorrow.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 9:24 AM
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He pretty clearly meant religious faith, not, like, faith that the sun will rise tomorrow.

Yes, I know. But I don't want to bother to defend my statement, so I think I'll shut up.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 9:26 AM
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And yeah, I'm kind of thinking "but what about lack of religion as an option", but I have to admit the religion-related field trips in my high school humanities class were pretty awesome. (Except the lame "let's all go outside and stand in a circle and talk about the Goddess" one.)


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 9:26 AM
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82: I took it to mean that every act of moral reasoning is ultimately based on untestable assumptions, though some of those assumptions are highly individualized while others are part of larger systems.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 9:28 AM
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80-82: pick away!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 9:28 AM
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83: What does one study in a high school humanities class? I mean, aside from religions.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 9:28 AM
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I will laugh and laugh if I derail this thread into a discussion of epistemology.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 9:30 AM
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87: How will we know you are laughing?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 9:31 AM
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88: like so.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 9:36 AM
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80: That kind of statment always reminds me of this admittedly lame t-shirt http://www.zazzle.com/have_another_beer_tshirt-235922088889392265


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 9:40 AM
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By faith, I wasn't adverting to inductive reasoning, of the sort we all do just to spite David Hume. What Moby said about moral reasoning is part of it, but more generally I had in mind Tillich's sense of faith as one's relation to a matter of ultimate concern. Of course, morality can be (part of) such a matter.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 9:45 AM
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So, more teleology than epistimology. Sifu can remain glum-faced.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 9:49 AM
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And it should go without saying that religious behavior is pretty ubiquitous, even among atheists and agnostics. For example: the practice of solemnizing a meal by giving a toast and saying "cheers" and clinking wine glasses.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 9:51 AM
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Behavior hardly needs to be coupled to belief.

I don't agree that moral reasoning is necessarily based on untestable assumptions, but I hardly want to defend that as there might be an untestable turtle down there someplace that you philosophically grounded fuckers know all about.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 9:54 AM
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Behavior hardly needs to be coupled to belief.

I don't follow. Did I say it did?


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 9:55 AM
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95: you didn't. Probably what happened is that I missed the relevance of 93 to 91.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 9:56 AM
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"Religion" != doctrinal monotheism


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 9:57 AM
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re: 93

I'd resist calling that religious.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 9:57 AM
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Further to 98: Shaking hands when you meet someone is not religious behavior, for example.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 9:59 AM
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Kobe!


Posted by: Religious Behavior? | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 9:59 AM
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97: no, I get that. What I'm saying is that behavior like glasses-clinking doesn't seem to me like it needs to be tethered to anything I would remotely call religion, unless you're describing all social behavior as religious.

This might be one of those things where I have a vastly divergent and idiosyncratic frame-of-reference, at least in the context of unfogged.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 10:01 AM
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religion, religious, religulous.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 10:02 AM
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98: Agreed. Wikipedia says that it's rooted in libations, but it seems so far removed that by that standard everything is religious. (Which I guess doesn't contradict your point, but does make it kinda meaningless.) A better example might be an atheist saying "bless you" when someone sneezes or using religious swear words.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 10:02 AM
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I'd resist calling that religious.

Why do we do it? Tradition. But it must continue to have some value, do some work, for us to perpetuate it. We might say: it puts the universe in the proper disposition for eating dinner, or something. If you don't want to call this particular table-fellowship ritual religious, that's fine, but then I'd be interested in what you would call it.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 10:03 AM
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This might be one of those things where I have a vastly divergent and idiosyncratic frame-of-reference

No, it's probably me. I may even be wrong!


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 10:04 AM
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re:104

I'd use terms similar to those used by Tweey in 101 and Bave in 99. There's all kinds of habitual and/or social behaviour that we all do that aren't remotely religious, except in some crazily expansive sense of 'religious'.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 10:05 AM
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104: I don't get it. It has a social bonding role. When a sports team ends a huddle with a [ whatever it's called with the hands and the cheering ], is that religious?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 10:06 AM
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whatever it's called with the hands and the cheering

It's called a Hail Mary, right? Protestant teams call it a Praise Jesus, I think.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 10:08 AM
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107: It's called "slapping one another's buttocks", no?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 10:09 AM
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80:everyone has a faith, or faiths, or faith-in-something.

SB is denying that my nihilism is even possible! He is claiming it is inhuman!

We all know what the next step will be.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 10:10 AM
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There's all kinds of habitual and/or social behaviour that we all do that aren't remotely religious

True, but I wasn't referring to "all kinds" of social behavior, just one instance that seemed, to me, to fit the criteria.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 10:10 AM
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111: Why does it seem to you to fit the criteria?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 10:11 AM
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I don't get it. It has a social bonding role.

And we all know that religion has nothing to do with social bonding.

Wat?


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 10:12 AM
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The Notre Dame campus has a statue of a priest giving a blessing. The positioning of the hand/arm have lead to this statue being called "Father Fair Catch".


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 10:12 AM
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If you don't want to call this particular table-fellowship ritual religious, that's fine, but then I'd be interested in what you would call it.

I'd call it "social ritual." It isn't "religious" because there isn't--usually--any implicit or explicit appeal to the numinous or soteriological, the appeal to which seems to me to be a key difference between religious ritual and social ritual.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 10:12 AM
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Basically, Standpipe, if you're going to get all Tillichian about faith, it doesn't help your case to refer to social rituals that are in practice if not always in origin quite separate from any system of objects of ultimate concern. (Unless you want to say that all of sociology is really just the study of religious practices, which, I don't know, maybe that's Tillich's line.)


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 10:13 AM
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I'M IN UR TRADISHUNS
SACRALIZIN UR BEHAVIORZ


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 10:14 AM
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I'm clearly in the minority here, and I doubt I've thought this through enough to answer everyone's rebuttal. You may provisionally conclude that I'm wrong, and go back to sexing Mutombo.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 10:14 AM
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I suspect that most religions are just glad to get you through the door, no matter why.

The enthusiastic welcome we received at every place of worship my parents took us to visit definitely contributed to my heartfelt desire to stay far, far away. My unconscious interpretation was probably something like, "If this religion was any good, people would want to be there of their own accord, and they wouldn't have to recruit." This probably contributed to my adult choice to become a Quaker.

re the religious tourism thing

In general at Meeting, these people stick out like sore thumbs because they are so (relatively) overdressed.

We get a fair amount of visitors from the local colleges, and I know that because during the introductions they always stand up and say that their professors made them come. (They do try to word it a bit more diplomatically than that, but it does make one feel rather like a zoo animal.)


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 10:15 AM
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"system of objects of ultimate concern" is needlessly baroque there. My excuse is that I don't really know what I'm talking about.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 10:15 AM
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Populuxe and Bave are making sense.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 10:16 AM
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Someone ought to give Kotsko the batsignal.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 10:16 AM
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I'd call it "social ritual." It isn't "religious" because there isn't--usually--any implicit or explicit appeal to the numinous or soteriological, the appeal to which seems to me to be a key difference between religious ritual and social ritual.

Except that most social rituals are defining a social group, something that is usually nearly as numinous (or at least, untestable) as most religious beliefs.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 10:17 AM
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And we all know that religion has nothing to do with social bonding.

Of course it does. It's a fairly important subset. But then, there are behaviors that are pretty clearly "religious" in the broader sense (i.e. superstitious rituals, although I would argue those can be decoupled from religion as well) but aren't social, and there are behaviors that are pretty clearly social bonding that have nothing to do with religion (i.e. the post huddle tradition I mentioned in my comment).


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 10:17 AM
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Moby Hick is making sense.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 10:18 AM
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Except that most social rituals are defining a social group, something that is usually nearly as numinous (or at least, untestable) as most religious beliefs.

There is a large and growing scientific literature that relies explicitly on quantitatively identifying (and testing) social bonds. I'm not sure why you would call that untestable.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 10:18 AM
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Off to swim now. Laters!


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 10:19 AM
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How can you test it until it stops growing?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 10:19 AM
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I wish I knew fuck-all about this Tillich fellow. Then I'd be making sense, boy howdy.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 10:20 AM
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119: I was at a Quaker wedding once and they had us all sit quietly while the Holy Spirit moved us to talk. The Holy Spirit told me not to complain about how much US Air screw-up our trip there, so I sat quietly and thought that, what with all the Irish, it is probably good that Catholic services don't let just anybody talk.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 10:20 AM
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In general at Meeting, these people stick out like sore thumbs because they are so (relatively) overdressed.

Yeah, I once went to a Catholic mass at the cathedral in Salt Lake City and was the only person wearing a tie.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 10:21 AM
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126: There is a large and growing scientific literature that relies explicitly on quantitatively identifying (and testing) social bonds.

So, you have a test that will tell you if your partner really loves you? That your country won't suddenly pass laws that you find unconscionable? That your dad won't run off with a waitress and leave your mom and you living in an efficiency without airconditioning?

Everybody takes an lot of things that are not Faith on faith. Social groupings and the related can only be measured in the abstract. Rituals (formal and less formal) are very important for keeping people together through mutual reassurance.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 10:31 AM
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Someone ought to give Kotsko the batsignal.

I deleted a Kotsko batsignal last night toward the end of the other thread. It seemed unwise, somehow.

But Standpipe has gone! Just when we'd provided a thread of interest to him/her.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 10:34 AM
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re: 132

Yes, but taking things 'on faith' is really quite different from Faith.

The vast majority of the things we 'know' we know through testimony, or in all kinds of other ways that are 'on faith', but those are qualitatively quite different from 'Faith'.

I'm as happy as the next person to poke fun at vulgar scientism, and to point out the shaky foundations of much of what we think we know, but there is still a genuine difference of kind there.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 10:35 AM
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So, you have a test that will tell you if your partner really loves you?

In the aggregate, sure.

No, I mean, I get what you're saying. People live their lives according to untested (and, individually, untestable) assumptions and beliefs about the behavior of other humans and the physical world.

I just think that when you talk about those assumptions people make about their lives and the lives of others, those don't necessarily need to be causally linked to untestable, pre-rational first principles, but can instead be linked (again, in the aggregate) to empirically testable hypothesis about the origins and nature of human behavior. It doesn't mean that people are actually doing that as they're reasoning about them, just that it's possible.

That's all!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 10:38 AM
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134 implies making fun of 135, which is totally fair.

In the aggregate, maybe, with all the usual disclaimers, at some future, asymptotic point, is what I meant.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 10:39 AM
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I think the difference between knowledge and faith is similar to the difference between lies and bullshit.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 10:40 AM
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134: Yes, but taking things 'on faith' is really quite different from Faith.

Maybe, depending on the definition of 'quite'. However, either way, ritual would play a role in shoring up the foundations for belief. Which, I think, is why rituals very utilitarian activities like eating and drinking are nearly universal. And why I have to shell out $ for a card and flowers every February.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 10:46 AM
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Are you laughing and laughing yet, Sifu?


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 10:47 AM
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89 to 139.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 10:48 AM
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Reading 135 after the mention of vulgar scientism mentioned in 134 made me laugh just a bit.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 10:50 AM
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141: me too, me too.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 10:50 AM
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86: Art history, music history and theory, philosophy, theater, all that stuff that didn't fit elsewhere in the curriculum, or whatever the hippie stoner dude teaching the class wanted to talk about.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 10:56 AM
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69: I've heard it a half-dozen times on the radio, and it is totally one of the most car-danceable songs ever.

So, so true.

And alas, I wish I had been born into a mostly Jewish family but that was just a small branch by marriage.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 10:59 AM
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I'm thinking about whether it would be wothwhile to learn how to say "Please let me into your office so I can download and install a firmware update on your wireless router" in Italian, but I suspect it would be met with confusion and suspicion.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 11:02 AM
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My non sequitur killed the thread! Sorry, dead thread.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 11:26 AM
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Back to Sifu's point, well-taken, in 58 ("Oh, swell, do more to enshrine organized religion as a positive, nigh-universal choice.").

Stanley's clarification in 63 would be mine as well:

I don't want more people to be religious, to be clear. I suspect that visiting a bunch of faiths would tend to eliminate or at least soften one's dogmatism about any particular faith. Of course, I have no proof of this.

But it's also worth emphasizing what I take to be part of Standpipe's point, which is that structured, ritualized behavior is a central part of human life; a lack of any familiarity whatsoever with the patterns of people outside one's usual purview is a negative. That's the point of the field trips that I'm glad to hear some people were exposed to.

I certainly would have liked to have some of that before confirmation in the Catholic church, not unlike the kind of thing ecksies describes in 66.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 11:32 AM
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I suspect that visiting a bunch of faiths would tend to eliminate or at least soften one's dogmatism about any particular faith. Of course, I have no proof of this.

Yeah, I'm actually really skeptical about this. IME diversity initiatives often just provide grist for people's existing biases. So if you're already kum-bu-ya-ish, it will make you more so, and if you already think the rest of the world is a bunch of heathens, ditto.

Of course, I have no proof of this either.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 11:39 AM
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148 is a good point - my journey into outright atheism had a lot to do with the clash between kumbaya-ism and the dogmatism of my parent's church. It's essentially kumbaya-ism with a single bit flip: All religions are equally valid in that they are all bullshit.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 11:47 AM
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148: Even if you provide diverse experiences when people are 13? Or 11, or whatever? It's difficult to know at what age this would be appropriate or ideal, given that 13 is also awash in the whole incipient teenage angst/acne/puberty thing.

Maybe it should be age 10. All I was doing then was going swimming and biking in the woods and coveting my friend's crushed-velvet maroon bell-bottomed pants. And reading Nancy Drew.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 11:54 AM
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But wait: if you're already kum-bu-ya-ish, it will make you more so

If being kumbaya-ish means being sorta funky and down with everyone, kinda mellow and not really needing or wanting an imposed religious structure, well, what's wrong with becoming more so? The point of the field trips is not to test drive alternatives but to see what various people do, so that you're not, you know, completely in the dark.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 11:59 AM
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I wish I knew fuck-all about this Tillich fellow

Unless I'm misreading, you're saying that you know fuck-all about Tillich and wish you knew something.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 11:59 AM
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You think you know fuck-all. You know fuck-nothing.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 12:05 PM
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152: I think Sifu hasn't even reached fuck-all levels of knowledge. Some sort of negative knowledge, like what creationists have about evolution.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 12:12 PM
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I wish I knew what Witt means by being all kumbaya-ish. I'm shocked that she seems to have said that diversity training is a waste of time.

Maybe it's a statement about the way(s) in which it's usually done, in her experience.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 12:12 PM
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154: Ouch.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 12:14 PM
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||

Anyone following this Yale murder thing? Awful, awful. I hope that it's off the front of the NYT thing so I can ignore it and half-forget it, the way I usually do with these things (a similar one - a 4-y.o. kid disappeared from his yard and was found a day or two later in the neighbor's septic tank. At first the presumption was on the dad - the siblings were even removed from the house - then they realized that the kid could have moved the lid on the tank. Oh dear god).

|>


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 12:14 PM
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I had been, successfully until now, avoiding thinking about the septic tank think.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 12:18 PM
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The Yale murder has been giving me the screaming meemies for days.


Posted by: Amber | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 12:18 PM
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152: good point. I feel it serves to confirm the larger message of my comment.

154: epistemology!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 12:26 PM
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I feel it serves to confirm the larger message of my comment.

Keep fucking that chicken.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 12:30 PM
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158, 159: Being murdered and stuffed in a wall is a long way down the list of things to worry about. Kids wandering off and getting hurt, less so, but I keep telling myself that if childhood were as dangerous as it looks the species would have died out millenia ago.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 12:34 PM
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161 really has no point. It's just that "keep fucking that chicken" is such a phonologically delightful phrase that I had to use it somehow.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 12:36 PM
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I've had to consciously resist the urge to say "keep fucking that chicken" ever since I arrived at the office. This morning at home, though, it was all Molly and I could say to each other. (Which isn't really where you imagine a relationship going when you get married, but there you have it.)


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 12:41 PM
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I'm with Sifu. Atheist field trip! "I'm sure those churches were great and all, but now let's enjoy some god free goodness like setting off homemade fireworks."


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 12:45 PM
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164: You could say "keep chucking that ficken". People might think you're weird but probably not vulgar. Alternatively, "feep chucking that kicken" or "cheep kucking that ficken".

Not nearly as pleasurable, but it could help get you through your workday.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 12:45 PM
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||

In memory of Ogged's "You Cannot Do This" series (this one is more of a "You Should Not Do This", as with most things involving South African sports). Check out the last sequence of photos at the bottom.

|>


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 12:47 PM
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Being murdered and stuffed in a wall is a long way down the list of things to worry about.

Cancer and heart disease. That's what you want to focus on.


Posted by: beamish | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 12:48 PM
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167: My brain immediately went to the Hawaii Five-O Theme while looking at those pictures.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 12:56 PM
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164: You could say "keep chucking that ficken". People might think you're weird but probably not vulgar.

Unless you're in Germany, where they'd plausibly think both.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 12:56 PM
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One last thing on the topic of the OP. I raised it in the earlier thread in part because oudemia called me a "shiksa" there for not knowing how "feh" is pronounced.

It's funny, or weird, because of course, having been raised catholic in a military family, I did not have much interaction with jewish families. But I'm adopted, and from what my mother said of my bloodlines, I have enough eastern European in me that I could be Jewish in actuality, whatever that means.

I've mentioned that history before: I don't care to investigate. A friend not too long ago said that I could be tested to determine whether I'm Jewish! Now why on earth would I want to do that?

Religious affiliation is to my adult self a bit strange and mysterious (I am trying to be careful not to say "nuts", as some have, because these are sensitive waters): I don't understand it. Religious affiliation is situational, contingent, not destined, like preferring chocolates over strawberries, or liking neither.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 12:57 PM
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166: I'm waiting for a colleague to show up who I think would appreciate the video. If all goes well, we can start telling each other to keep fucking that chicken every day at work.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 12:57 PM
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172: We're all hoping it goes well for you.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 1:00 PM
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157

Anyone following this Yale murder thing? ...

The go to blog for the Yale murder.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 1:12 PM
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174: Jesus Christ, James, is that a fucking loathsome blog. First story "Another girl lies about rape." Second story: "Annie acted like a bitch to the wrong guy who got really pissed at her."

Not so much "go to" as "flee from."


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 1:17 PM
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174: For distasteful speculation, rather. I regret clicking your link.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 1:19 PM
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174: What a misogynistic and racist blog, JBS. That's some nasty shit there.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 1:25 PM
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171:I could be tested to determine whether I'm Jewish! Now why on earth would I want to do that?

Does Israel have good healthcare?

There really is no chance I have any Jewish forebears within a thousand years.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 1:26 PM
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177: Was that intentional? Like goatse for feminists?


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 1:30 PM
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When I'm in the back country, I always tie my food in a sack and hang the sack from a tree. Otherwise, Jewish forebears might be attracted to my camp.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 1:30 PM
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It occurred to me in reading bob's 178 that my "why would I want to do that?" might be read as something I would want to avoid for fear of acquiring some taint. Not at all. Just in case there was an ambiguity there.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 1:35 PM
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180: Throw in a ham and cheese sandwich and they'll leave it alone.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 1:36 PM
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Get tested to see if you're Jewish? What in the world would that entail?


Posted by: emdash | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 1:36 PM
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183: Checked for horns, duh.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 1:37 PM
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179: I think blindness to racism and misogyny is a simpler explanation.

181: Parsi has like 30 goddamn taints already.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 1:37 PM
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184: When my Dad met his first Catholic Nun (at age ~7) he asked her to remove her headgear so he could see her horns. Mortified my grandmother, who was with him at the time.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 1:39 PM
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169: Most people here are smart enough to avoid taking long skinny boats into that sort of waves. The camera tends to make waves look smaller than they are, especially from above, but I have enough painful experience in much smaller waves to know that I don't EVER want to be under the lip of anything like the waves in those pictures when it goes off.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 1:42 PM
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from the amazing blog JBS linked to

Also, once I found out the body was hidden in the wall, I correctly predicted that the killer wasn't black because an above average IQ was required to hide the body so well that it took the police so long to find it.
It is hard to be blind to that level of racism.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 1:45 PM
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Most people here are smart enough...

Facts not admitted into evidence.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 1:47 PM
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183: I don't know. I found the idea bizarre without needing to get into details. I'm secular that way.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 1:48 PM
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They can detect the Arian heresy now with a breathalyzer-type gadget. Marcionites are still safe.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 1:52 PM
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Presumably they were talking about genetic testing.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 1:54 PM
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So Sifu is right: practically everything's empirically testable, in the aggregate, of course, if you just wait long enough for scientific methods to work themselves out. There will be a test for Lutheranism some time soon, so no worries.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 1:58 PM
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There will be a test for Lutheranism some time soon, so no worries

Not a genetic test.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 2:01 PM
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194: Well, no, but so what? Tests are tests, soundly-gathered empirical data is evidence. Even just asking people: Are you Lutheran? might count as the gathering of data about people who are Lutheran, but that gets messed up with the issue of self-reporting, which we all know is the worst sort of data, so we'd really prefer something that didn't involve that.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 2:07 PM
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There are alleles common among ashkenazi jews, rare otherwise.

Essentially, ancestors from Galicia, or who married withing Jewish communities are sometimes detectable. But since many Jews "passed" by converting and then married non-jews, especially in Austria-Hungary and Prussia, it's hard to interpret the result.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 2:12 PM
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Perhaps you could analyze the anatomy and physiology of their brain to see if the belief structures it contained accorded with a minimal Lutheran set. Of course, that supposes that Lutheran beliefs are sufficient that be Lutheran. Does one also need to measure practice? Perhaps prayer frequency could be measured, with again neuroscience being used to determine whether the praying is being done properly.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 2:12 PM
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195: Without a DNA test, people might be unfairly convicted of being Lutheran and sent to potluck suppers that they don't deserve.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 2:13 PM
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The test for Jewishness --- you come in and the person asks you, "Why do you want to know if you're Jewish?" If you answer something like, "Well, I've always had a deep admiration of the Jewish people, etc, " The person interrupts you and says, "I'm sorry, you're not Jewish."

But if you answer, "Eh, why not?", then a rabbi comes out and congratulates you and immediately hands you a list of available Jewish singles in the neighborhood.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 2:14 PM
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The minimal set of Lutheran beliefs would have to be a peer-reviewed ISO standard, of course.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 2:15 PM
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197: I think that's the general idea. Neuroscience has your answers, in support of the sloppiness that is anthropology and sociology.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 2:21 PM
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157: I've been following the story, mostly because the poor woman's face followed me, via the various news media, from the office to my apartment to the gym and back all last weekend, and in one or two of the most-published photographs she resembled a friend of mine closely enough for the first cable news headlines to give me an ugly shock. Now I just feel the usual crumpled despair that accompanies "man kills woman and/or child" stories.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 2:25 PM
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There will be a test for Lutheranism some time soon, so no worries you betcha.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 2:27 PM
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200: put people in an MRI and offer them lutefisk.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 2:27 PM
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The concept of testing for religion reminds me of something I read the other day:

"The adherence to infant baptism is only one -- a very important one -- of many symptoms that the church is not alive and bold, that it is afraid to walk on the water like Peter to meet the Lord, that it therefore does not seek a sure foundation but only deceptive props."


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 2:29 PM
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It sounds like there's a high false negative rate. As a woman, you could only have the Common Female Ancestor Test done (for $345!), as you have no Y-chromosome. It seems they look for 4 markers in mtDNA, which are present in 40% of Ashkenazim and very rare in both non-Jews and non-Ashkenazi Jews. So even someone who is Ashkenazi would still have a 60% chance of not finding genetic evidence of this fact.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 2:29 PM
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The test for atheism isn't out yet, I hear, so it's hard to know what to believe.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 2:33 PM
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175 et al

Perhaps I should have given a politically incorrect warning but on the other hand what did you expect from a blog devoted to the murder.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 2:34 PM
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206: Plot for a science fiction movie: on a lark, or as a larking pantomime of old-fashioned premarital blood testing, a young woman in 2039 takes the automated "EveNA" test at her local corner MediCorp franchise, only to have the screen blaze a scarlet verdict "No Female Ancestor Detected." Explosions follow. I will take my $10M in the form of a bank check or bearer securities.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 2:37 PM
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209: call it "Junior 2: Manpocalypse Now"


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 2:39 PM
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The test for atheism isn't out yet

Something about an upside-down turtle.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 2:42 PM
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...what did you expect from a blog devoted to the murder.

"It struck me that a murder was a complex human event, but that murder stories, murder fiction, tended to simplify things into a whodunit where, once you knew who'd done it, what they'd done it with, and why they'd done it, that was the whole case solve, that was the whole concluded."

For some people, it seems, all one needs to know is who was murdered, so we can blame her for it.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 2:42 PM
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209: On the way, she meets a man with no belly-button and a scar on his side. (That's worth a percentage of the gross.)


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 2:44 PM
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213: No explosions, no points. Unless you are Megan Fox and wash my Ferrari.

/Michael Bay


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 2:47 PM
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214: At best, I'm a B-cup. Probably a bit hairier than Megan.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 2:48 PM
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"a blog devoted to the murder."

That's actually the creepiest thing about it. On the few times I have wandered over into right wing blogs, they often seem weirdly obsessed with violent crime stories, even when they have no bearing on any social or political issue.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 2:48 PM
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OK, this I actually found kind of interesting. It's the story of a New Mexico priest who found out through DNA testing that he was likely descended from NM's "crypto-Jews", of whom I had not heard until now.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 2:50 PM
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216: Yes. But rather more than that in this case -- and lightyears beyond "politically incorrect" -- it's rather obsessed with violent crimes against women and the way they brought them on their selves.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 2:51 PM
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|||

"...like a brutally triumphant Teuton drunkenly trampling the undergarment of the Vestal Virgins.."

New mouseover? Can anybody identify the author and what is being described?


|||


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 2:53 PM
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211: Something about an upside-down turtle.

You're so visual, text.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 2:58 PM
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218: It seems like it's really just about the Annie Le murder and how the media is covering up the evidence that she may have been a manipulative whore. That other post is the only one about anything else for weeks.;


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 2:58 PM
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It's essentially kumbaya-ism with a single bit flip: All religions are equally valid in that they are all bullshit.

You're obviously not using a two's-complement representation, then.


Posted by: paranoid android | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 2:58 PM
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People are so weird. Sometimes I wonder if they are worth the effort.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 3:01 PM
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223: Have you tried chickens?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 3:02 PM
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223: Try Pillsbury's new no-knead people. All the chewy crust, none of the existential futility.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 3:03 PM
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225: You forgot to mention the charming little giggle.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 3:06 PM
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226: Yes, "forgot"....


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 3:10 PM
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NM's "crypto-Jews", of whom I had not heard until now.

Well, teo's in Jersey now, so....


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 3:12 PM
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On the surfing kayak people: I was once on Lake Erie in my sea kayak on a day with choppy waves and a strong current due to winds (normally it's a pretty placid lake), and that shit was scary*. This stuff is unimaginable.

* And really hard to handle. It took me ~20 minutes to figure out how to actually go the direction I wanted, rather than be pushed by the waves into a cliff.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 3:21 PM
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Out here we're getting plenty of murder coverage multiplied by the Bee's love of everyone from the region. She's localish, you see. As is Jermaine Dye! Jerry Manuel! Larry Bowa! Dusty Baker! Etc!


Posted by: Mo MacArbie | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 3:32 PM
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220: well there's not a lot of audio coming from the upside down turtles. Though I've never listened closely . . .


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 3:37 PM
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216

That's actually the creepiest thing about it. On the few times I have wandered over into right wing blogs, they often seem weirdly obsessed with violent crime stories, even when they have no bearing on any social or political issue.

In this case I am pretty confident the primary motivation for covering the Yale murder was to attract traffic.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 3:44 PM
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216: And it worked!


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 3:51 PM
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231: They're saying: Psst: Fuck this shit. You all are far too concerned about the ground.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 4:26 PM
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234: does a bite to the ear count as communication?


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 4:41 PM
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Hopefully not sounds like this.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 4:43 PM
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somehow it always leads back to turtles having sex.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 4:58 PM
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Turtles all going down.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 5:00 PM
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235: Um. Yes? Though I hope I'm not myself being a snapping turtle here.

John S/earle had an article on some P. Bogh/ossian book against relativism in the NYRB recently -- I don't find it on their website -- which I read this morning, so I'm thinking, apparently somewhat crankily, about the ground.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 5:02 PM
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sometimes a turtle is just a turtle.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 5:10 PM
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thank god.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 5:18 PM
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On the other hand, sometimes a turtle is actually ZOMBIE RONALD REAGAN.


Posted by: paranoid android | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 5:24 PM
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thank god.

isn't this a little bit rude? A turtle biting me on the ear isn't usually mistook as a come-on. I'm not listening to any more turtles today.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 5:58 PM
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229: Within reason (


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 6:15 PM
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Let's try that again:

229: Within reason (less than gale force), wind and waves in open water are a lot of fun once you have some idea what you're doing. Big surf is a whole 'nother story, especially when you have umpty-thousand tons of white water dump all over you and toss you around like a rag doll, then come up gasping to see your kayak halfway to shore and another wave bearing down. And that's in stuff considerably smaller than in those pictures.

189: "Here" referred to Hawaii, not Unfogged, but point taken.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 6:19 PM
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243: my dear, I don't follow this at all. I'm distracted. You are cute, I'll give you that.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 6:23 PM
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Religious tests are unconstitutional.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 6:48 PM
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247: No! They're scientific!


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 6:54 PM
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Why does science hate freedom?


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 6:56 PM
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in the NYRB recently -- I don't find it on their website -- which I read this morning,

Which reminds me, very tangentially, that I have a box of several years worth of back issues of the NYRB (not at all complete, but mostly from within the last seven years), which I have been thinking about disposing of.

I would be happy to give away, rather than recycle them, if anybody here wanted them or knew someone that would benefit from them.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 7:00 PM
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246: hooray! off to swim find a way to get a turtle off my ear.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 7:00 PM
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Oh. Uh, I dunno? People want to know definitively who they are, I guess.

Perhaps they find it difficult to figure it out for themselves, or have lost the facility and the means to do so. But we continue to operate with an essentialist frame of reference. And rootedness is dreadfully important.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 7:04 PM
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252 to 249.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 7:05 PM
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250: Nick, I've been thinking of the same thing.

I'd suggest checking with any local activist network. Around here there's a bookshop not unlike what Frowner's shop in Minneapolis sounds like. I'm hoping they'd like the back issues. I'm not remembering where you're located.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 7:15 PM
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254: Thanks.

I could do that or, if I'm lazy, I can just donate them to the libraries magazine swap -- less targeted, but two blocks from my house.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 7:18 PM
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I'm not remembering where you're located.

Please provide coordinates in number of turtles from the bottom.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 7:18 PM
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255: The library magazine swap might be great, or it might be that they wind up pulping the majority. Hard to say. It is just paper.

But I feel it my duty to remind all how great it is to go to a cafe that has freely available excellent good reading material available! Here's your coffee, and check out the magazine table!


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 7:34 PM
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And as I mentioned once or twice, the availability of the reading material is important.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 7:35 PM
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Well, teo's in Jersey now, so....

There's nothing crypto about my Judaism... laydeez.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 7:43 PM
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259: [bubbe] What? With that goyishe punim? [/bubbe]


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 7:51 PM
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The whole idea sounds like someting my agnostic parents suggested to me several times when I was a kid. They were feeling a bit guilty about not exposing me to the possibility of faith. Both of them had been (father raised first Catholic then atheist by atheist Jewish parent, mother raised Catholic by devout Catholic parents) and felt that even though they had rejected it, it was a worthwhile experience. Now that I think of it, I've talked to other kids from atheist/agnostic families who got the same sort of offers.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 9:07 PM
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something


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 9:07 PM
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261: So I gather you didn't go through with it? Also: "raised first Catholic then atheist by atheist Jewish parent" lost me a bit. Could you spell that out a bit? It sounds pretty interesting.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 9:11 PM
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I am so glad I was away from this thread and missed clicking on that blog. Sorry you had to see it, oudemia and togolosh et al., but thank you for saving me from it.

148: Even if you provide diverse experiences when people are 13? Or 11, or whatever? It's difficult to know at what age this would be appropriate or ideal, given that 13 is also awash in the whole incipient teenage angst/acne/puberty thing.

I was thinking of the mandatory college-students-marching-off-to-Experience-Different-Congregations thing when I wrote my comment, and not really any more broadly than that, although I realize it sounded like I was being much broader.

I think I was probably between 9 and 12 when my parents were doing it. Was more or less harmless, although of course I was already a kumbaya kid anyway, so I think it had pretty minimal effect.

If being kumbaya-ish means being sorta funky and down with everyone, kinda mellow and not really needing or wanting an imposed religious structure, well, what's wrong with becoming more so?

Nothing; it's fine. Although I was meaning kumbaya as something more like "Everybody's religion or lack thereof is equally OK!" rather than a comment on whether the person herself was religiously observant or not.

The point of the field trips is not to test drive alternatives but to see what various people do, so that you're not, you know, completely in the dark.

Right. I think I leapt from there to thinking about the college classes, and the caricatured-but-not-entirely-false version of moral relativism that sometimes goes hand in hand with them.

If parents do it for their kids, that's a different thing. And I realize there was nothing in the original post about making it mandatory or lawful -- just an idea of an interesting, potentially valuable thing to do. Which it certainly can be.

In general I think American culture has a pretty wide (if uneven) strain of kumbaya-ism, and I generally think that's a *good* thing. We are in many ways remarkably decent as a live-and-let-live country. But as an individual personality thing, i think it breaks down into the traditional 20/60/20 split, with perhaps 20% of the population actively seeking out a diversity of experiences, 20% shrinking from and actively resisting the unknown/impure, and 60% not broadly caring either way. I don't think casual exposure -- whether by one's parents or as part of a more structured initiative -- does much to shift those percentages.

Being murdered and stuffed in a wall is a long way down the list of things to worry about.

Cancer and heart disease. That's what you want to focus on.

Have I already ranted here about those stupid "Tips for Women From A Police Officer" e-mail forwards and how I yearn to someday compile a list of realistic risks, with CDC and NHTSA citations, and spam it to the whole world? I'm sure I have. I was just thinking about it again the other day.

A friend not too long ago said that I could be tested to determine whether I'm Jewish! Now why on earth would I want to do that?

As far as I understand it, the primary reason people do it is to get tested for a few key diseases that occur disproportionately in people of Ashkenazi heritage. That one breast cancer gene has been discussed a little bit here, and somewhat more extensively at B's (IIRC). There are also some things that women planning to get pregnant get tested for, to know whether they and their partners are both carriers of a recessive gene that could be a problem.

There are, however, a not-insignificant number of old people who are absolutely consumingly convinced of, and obsessed with documenting, the "real" Jewishness, or lack thereof, of many film stars and other celebrities. Most of them appear to call the reference desk on Sunday afternoons when they are doing crossword puzzles, or after staying up late to watch a Saturday-night movie.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 9:18 PM
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YOUNG LADY, NOTHING YOU CAN SAY WILL PROVE THAT BRODERICK CRAWFORD HAD NO HEBREW BLOOD.


Posted by: OPINIONATED GRANDMA | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 9:20 PM
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I believe that AB's parents mumbled something along the lines of 261. I think it was more passive than that: "Sweetie, we think that, when you're old enough, you can decide to follow any religion you want." The unspoken part was, "But we will not remotely encourage you or inform you in any way."

She has some story about going to a Baptist service in Alabama after a sleepover when she was like 8 or 10, and the minister asking her if she'd been saved, or knew Jesus, or some crap. IIRC, she had no recognition of what the "right" answer was, and I don't think her friend helped her much.

It astonishes me how little cultural knowledge of things biblical and religious she has. I mean, I guess it shouldn't, but A. one of my social strengths is picking up on other peoples' deals, so it's weird to me that she wouldn't have picked up more of this stuff, and B. she was an English major, and I feel like biblical literacy is just part of that, just like knowing your Greek myths.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 9:22 PM
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call the reference desk on Sunday afternoons when they are doing crossword puzzles

I don't know why, but I love this image.

Which reminds me, there's a scene in Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, where Spencer Tracy calls the library, presumably to find out if his daughter's fiance is Jewish.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 9:24 PM
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My parents' version of "you can choose any religion you want as you grow up" involved going to no services at all. That and being warned about the various fringe groups handing out pamphlets and recruiting on the nearby campus.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 9:26 PM
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265: I guess it was inevitable that one of my patrons would show up here someday.

It astonishes me how little cultural knowledge of things biblical and religious she has.

Yeah, this kind of thing is funny to me. Mine comes from a short period of independently reading Bible stories as a kid (I came away with the opinion that God was a pretty violent fellow) and a long lifetime of absorbing various references.

But it often surprises me how few of my friends have this kind of background knowledge, especially since so much of it is one degree removed from the source material. You don't have to go trolling through religious books for this stuff; it saturates the culture.

(Where's RFTS? I bet she would know where it came from if I said that the other day I thought to myself, "It's been a Jonah day.")


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 9:26 PM
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My dad was born in 1938 to parents who were assimilated Jewish Poles. His dad from a fairly religious family, my grandmother from a lip service, attend synagogue a few times a year sort of one. Both parents became atheists as adults. My grandfather died on the first day of the war, later on my grandmother got false papers and raised her kids as Catholics during the war. She continued doing so for a few years after the war as her fear outweighed her atheism and professional advantage (She was a low level Party bureaucrat - religious observance was not a plus).


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 9:26 PM
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I don't know why, but I love this image.

Be a public librarian! Never mind those fancy-pants academics! Choose public libraries and you too can spend the next fifty years with a wonderful assortment of absolute characters.

It really is quite entertaining the baroque rules people will come up with for themselves about the "right" way to get answers to crossword puzzles. Also, they'll call you about opinion questions. I'm sorry, ma'am, that is not an empirical question.

Once I spent quite a while on the thorny question of exactly how likely it was that someone had contaminated her son-in-law's home with bedbugs. No, this was not for a crossword.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 9:29 PM
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My first job out of college was working for an educational publishing company. We were known as sort of old school (low on whole language, high on phonics -- this was 1992) and we often included bible stories (HT only) in the lower-grade anthologies. This pretty much got us shot by both sides. The religious folks *hated* that we were presenting the stories in a secular context ("You make it sound like Joseph could do magic! His power came from GOD!"). The -- I don't know what word to use here -- secularists? not quite . . . liberal ed. school establishment? -- whatever -- those people hated that we were including anything from the bible at all.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 9:29 PM
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We are in many ways remarkably decent as a live-and-let-live country.

This is one of the things I like about Pittsburgh. A dozen years ago a friend of mine (who had been, essentially, a bike punk here in the early 80s, when that scene simply didn't exist) likened Pittsburghers' attitudes towards gays as being essentially similar to their attitudes towards cyclists: "That's weird, but whatever. Doesn't affect me either way." I'd say that the city is far more supportive of both groups than they were then, but the underlying sense remains - that these people themselves may be rather conservative and old fashioned, but have no interest in being judgmental or prejudicial* about others just because they're different.

Of course, residents of actually-progressive and -tolerant places think this is weak tea, but I like the idea that you don't have to be surrounded by young liberals and old hippies to be free to be you and me.

* Not that they don't have prejudices. Our racism - ask me about it.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 9:31 PM
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I don't know, at an everyday level I don't think the Bible really is as present for lots of non-religious people as it is for religious (or formerly religious) people. My view is skewed by where I grew up, which probably has a lower level of mainstream religious influence in everyday life than elsewhere in the country, but my experience was that kids who went to church talked about going to church without saying much of what went on there. Meanwhile, most adults I've met don't talk much about religion at a Biblical detail level rather than general questions of faith or doctrine and ethics and politics.

I read about a quarter of the Old Testament in high school because I was curious and read some of the New Testament for a class on medieval Europe. That's about it.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 9:32 PM
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Witt, this library thing sounds intriguing. Do people call you up on the phone and give you random tedious work to keep you up all night? And there are books, you say?


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 9:32 PM
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And was it a case of purposeful contamination this old lady was worried about? Because accidental, well, I don't know what kind of company her son keeps.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 9:34 PM
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I was quite familiar with the Old Testament growing up, of course, but I knew virtually nothing about the New Testament or Christianity until I was probably in my teens. My mom has some cousins who, though Jewish, weren't really raised with any formal Jewish education, and they don't even know anything about the Old Testament beyond the most rudimentary basics. So yeah, I'd say it's pretty easy to grow up in this country without knowing anything about the Bible.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 9:36 PM
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Do people call you up on the phone and give you random tedious work to keep you up all night?

All day, but yup, that's the general idea. Except for the tedious part. If I had another six lifetimes I'd definitely make one of them be a full-time library job.

And there are books, you say?

Thousands! Although some patrons will buttonhole you to ask in a whisper if you think it still counts as reading if you get the audio book.

And was it a case of purposeful contamination this old lady was worried about?

Nah. She just wanted a level of certainty that is not possible to achieve. Yes, it's possible tha there was a bedbug in your suitcase, and that you carried it into someone's house. Yes, it's possible that if you did that, the bedbug then bit somebody. But the lack of bites is not definitive evidence for the lack of bedbug contamination. And so on.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 9:39 PM
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273 _attitudes towards gays as being essentially similar to their attitudes towards cyclists_

Mojsze goes to the local secret police office and tells the Captain he would like to emigrate to Israel. But why? You're old, you've lived here all your life, all your friends are here...
Because I'm scared of antisemitism, Comrade.
Now, Comrade Mojsze, you know that in the new People's Poland such a thing doesn't exist anymore.
I know Comrade, but there's a rumour going around town saying that all the Jews and all the bicyclists will be killed.
That's absurd, Mojsze. I mean why would anyone want to kill the bicyclists?
Yes, Comrade, that's what everyone says, but you see, nobody ever asks why'd they want to kill all the Jews.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 9:42 PM
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My mom used to do crosswords with only dictionaries/encyclopedias or specifically crossword-oriented references. She slowly started using search engines and now she turns to them immediately when she's completed everything she feels she can do without them.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 9:44 PM
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274: I've read the Bible through, and read most of the New Testament multiple times. I present as unreligious, however, so I used to have fun pawning the uber-evangelical Christians, to their amazement.

(This skill hasn't been exercised in quite some time so I think I've lost a lot of my biblical knowledge. Shame.)


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 9:44 PM
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pawning the uber-evangelical Christians

Do you ever come back to the shop and find out someone else has claimed them?


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 9:47 PM
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The random tedious work was an intended reference to my current situation, which is not at a library. Your calls sound pleasant; I cast no aspersions, no aspersions be cast.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 9:48 PM
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I mean to say that it sounds nice. Now I'm going to go hide in a bathroom stall.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 9:49 PM
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282: I'd sigh, but I hear Cryptic Ned doesn't like that.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 9:49 PM
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Awww, text, go home. The mean bosses and their tedious work will still be there tomorrow.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09-17-09 10:09 PM
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L'shanah tovah, everyone!


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 1:28 PM
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287: May you have a minivan this holiday.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 1:29 PM
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L'shanah tovah.

I ended up deciding to skip services and instead buy some apples at the Farmer's Market to go with the honey my mom sent me. A compromise, in a way.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 1:33 PM
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L'shanah tovah.

289: And welcome to the Bad Jews Club, teo!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 1:41 PM
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289, 290: If I had your mothers' emails.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 1:42 PM
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Ooh, teo, you're near the good apples. It's not too far out to Styer's Orchard, where they make mindblowing apple cider donuts.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 1:43 PM
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Shanah tovah, y'all.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 1:44 PM
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290: Thanks! Want to go out for some bacon?

292: Yeah, the apples I got are fantastic. There was one booth at the Farmer's Market that had apple cider donuts, but I didn't get any. I think all the places that had booths are in Jersey, though, so it wouldn't be that one.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 1:45 PM
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So, my googling-fu is weak. Would anyone care to explain to a lapsed Catholic why it's called High Hoilday Service?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 1:46 PM
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Because we play cards, of course.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 1:47 PM
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I don't want to ruin anybody's Rosh Hashanah plans, but no more masturbating to Irving Kristol.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 1:47 PM
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Because Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur (and sometimes by extension the period between them or there is some other even broader version I don't remember) are the "high holidays" or "high holy days," which is to say the big important ones.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 1:48 PM
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296 is very good.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 1:48 PM
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I should proofread more.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 1:48 PM
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sometimes by extension the period between them

There's a minor fast a couple days after Rosh Hashanah, and you're supposed to spend the entire span in slowly growing terror of God.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 1:50 PM
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some other even broader version I don't remember

Ends at Shemini Atzeret/Simchas Torah, and begins at Slichot, I think. That would make it about six weeks long.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 1:51 PM
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301: The Fast of Gedaliah! One of my favorite obscure fast days, mourning the assassination of a political figure from the sixth century BC(E).


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 1:53 PM
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301: Like middle age?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 1:53 PM
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I even fasted on the Fast of Gedaliah a couple of times. I used to have this idea of doing all the fasts, but I was never able to keep track of the ones related to the Siege of Jerusalem. They come at odd times in the winter and spring, and I would always forget about them.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 1:54 PM
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294: My father delights in reminding me that though our variety is vast and our growing season perpetual, California does not in fact have superior produce to New Jersey.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 1:57 PM
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Maybe we could start a Rasta version of Judaism in which High Holidays gets a whole different meaning (of course, we'll insist it was the original intended meaning).


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 1:58 PM
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307: Put the "hash" in Rosh Hashanah, as it were.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 1:59 PM
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We had a joint for Elijah (and a joint for Miriam, because the hosts were feminists) at the seder I went to a few years ago.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 1:59 PM
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307: The Rastas believe ganja was the first plant to grow out of King Solomon's grave.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 2:00 PM
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305: Were you really that Good a Jew or is fasting just a fun (or not-fun(?)) activity for you?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 2:00 PM
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306: Yeah, Jersey produce is really great. Only available locally, for the most part, too. I believe I've mentioned my strong support for New Jersey agriculture before.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 2:02 PM
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290: As for the bacon, sorry, no. I'm a Very Bad Jew, but not that bad a vegetarian.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 2:02 PM
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Sometimes I fast on Good Friday, but that's usually in the context of a tongue-in-cheek Easter-season "Who loves Jesus more?" contest with an ex-girlfriend.

Rereading the preceding paragraph, it occurs to me that I ought to get a hobby.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 2:04 PM
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311: A little of both I guess. I wouldn't say "fun," exactly (although as noted before I'm the guy who doesn't like fun), but I find fasting pretty easy, and fasting on the obscure fast days was a way to be bit distinctive in my religious practice without following any of the really difficult rules. Of course, this was in a context where being Jewish at all, let alone observing Jewish law, was very distinctive to start with.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 2:04 PM
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As for the bacon, sorry, no. I'm a Very Bad Jew, but not that bad a vegetarian.

But do you boil tofurkey in soy milk?


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 2:05 PM
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I also liked the historical aspects of the minor fasts. Much less soul-searching than Yom Kippur, but a lot more learning about obscure events.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 2:05 PM
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||
No more masturbating to Bill Kristol.
|>


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 2:06 PM
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Jesus. This is a bad day to be a Kristol.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 2:07 PM
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I've been doing the 'no meat on Fridays' thing for Catholic/heart disease/environmental reasons. I have found that I'm eating less meat on the other days now. When I first started, I'd just double my Saturday meat consumption.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 2:07 PM
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Wait, 318 retracted. I got bad information from a co-worker.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 2:08 PM
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I am going to go out on a limb and say that no one, in the history of time, has ever masturbated to, or in contemplation of, Irving Kristol.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 2:09 PM
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297 to 318.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 2:09 PM
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It's interesting how confused a google image search of "irving kristol" seems to be.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 2:11 PM
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I am going to go out on a limb and say that no one, in the history of time, has ever masturbated to, or in contemplation of, Irving Kristol.

I'm sure he had his own white-hot center, if you cared to lick him long enough.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 2:12 PM
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323: I thought I was reporting news, even in light of 297.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 2:12 PM
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Now praying for Billy Crystal.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 2:13 PM
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317: I always hated fasting. I never found it conducive to either soul-searching or learning about obscure events.

It just made me think about food.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 2:13 PM
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I thought I was reporting news, even in light of 297.

Ah. That certainly would have been uncanny.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 2:14 PM
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Remember that thread a little while ago about how much easier it is to not to something than to do something? That's how I feel about fasting.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 2:15 PM
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For example, I'm not going to go to services this Yom Kippur, but I'm still going to fast.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 2:15 PM
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Crystal Gayle should stay indoors, just to be safe.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 2:15 PM
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It's true that I hadn't actually seen 297, which might have allowed me to reach 321 before posting 318.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 2:16 PM
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316: Well, I'm not a vegan, if that's what you're asking.

My guess is that it's not a good idea to boil tofurkey in anything, but I could be wrong.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 2:16 PM
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No more masturbating to Crystal Pepsi. :(


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 2:23 PM
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313, 328: So, no meat at all, but not eating anything for a day is hard? My preference ordering would be reversed. Or maybe not. I've only done Catholic fasting (one meal, two snacks).


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 2:24 PM
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L'shanah tovah, peopoe.

I was about to make a comment very similar to 332, which indicates that great minds dudes who listened to pop music in the late 70s/early 80s think alike.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 2:25 PM
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336: Yes, I don't crave particular foods much, but I don't like feeling hungry.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 2:27 PM
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They take a unique approach at Van Ness. There, masturbation with condoms is required, three times a day.

"We have them masturbate so that they can create new fantasies without crystal meth," Watt says.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 2:31 PM
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Don't run away. I'm in rehab.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 2:33 PM
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You fucker. I was about to write "at least we still have crystal meth". And I don't have any condoms, so I'm stuck with the usual meth fantasies.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 2:34 PM
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It's Samuel Johnson's 300th birthday today.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 2:36 PM
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Like, I find this dentist who can repair my teeth.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 2:36 PM
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Happy birthday, Dr. Johnson!


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 2:37 PM
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342: But you still can't masturbate to him.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 2:38 PM
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345 also works for 343.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 2:39 PM
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300: There is no exception allowing masturbation on dead people's birthdays, AWB.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 2:39 PM
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It just now occurred to me that the thread title is not, most likely, an Arrested Development reference that I don't get.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 2:40 PM
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341: You chicken fucker.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 2:40 PM
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347 to 342. And to the Spartans at Thermopylae.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 2:40 PM
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[Slinks away to lunch]


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 2:41 PM
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339: You left out the part where they have to talk in group sessions about how their sexual fantasies change as treatment continues.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 2:49 PM
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339, 352: You're discussing an outtake from Infinite Jest, right?


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 2:50 PM
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353: Also, the place caters to gays, lesbians, and transgendered people, which makes it seem more like the premise to a porn movie.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 3:00 PM
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339, etc: I wonder if they enforce the rule against masturbating to dead people.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 3:04 PM
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Appropriate for this thread:

The very safe for work (no blood, no guts, no nudity) gut-wrenching horror of this Youtube music video from 1993.

Bad music. Bad hair. Bad video. Bad lipsynching. Bad lyrics. Bad everything. Very likely too awful for MST3K.

Warning: I am not responsible for any damage you sustain.

max
['My heart is open like an open book.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 3:12 PM
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L'shanah tovah, everyone. We're going to light candles, have a round challah, and then enjoy a lovely salad with grilled shrimp.

Oh, and give the babies a fruit they've never had before. (Figs.)


Posted by: emdash | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 3:37 PM
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Ah, yes, the Dawning Of The Figs. One of the most meaningful moments in the Jewish calendar.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 3:38 PM
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Mmm, figs.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 3:39 PM
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Update: Operation Apples & Honey was a smashing success.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-18-09 4:44 PM
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