Results Are In

A communique from the editorial offices at Fortress Press indicates that the title of my forthcoming book will be Faithful Interpretation, partly because it’s what the book is actually about, partly because they wanted to defer to my suggestion, and partly because it would mean changing only one word in the title design. (I didn’t hear about the subtitle, but that’ll come eventually.)

The End Is Near

Today’s my last class session of the term, and that’s an exam, so I’m pretty close to being done. I can grade exams tonight, depending on how my sermon is going and how much energy I have. Papers arrive tomorrow (they’ve already begun trickling in), and I have some leftover papers to evaluate from other degree programs, I have to write an evaluation of Frank (“ought to blog more. . . .”), but the finish line is in sight.

There’ve been big developments in Blogaria, with Jeneane landing an interesting client, Euan receiving a prestigious award, Dorothy’s a nominee, Frank’s been approved for ordination, and so on. Just consider me part of the Long Tail of congratulations and recognition.


— Years of serving in the priesthood today. I had Alice Cooper’s “Eighteen” running through my head once I remembered what day it was, which is both the wrong number and the wrong musical accompaniment to my anniversary, but it’s also probably the Alice Cooper song that I’m most ready willingly to permit into my imagination. . . .

Not Enough, and a Little Too Much

On this morning’s dog walk, the random five songs that my iPod offered for my morning listening pleasure were Bruce Springsteen’s “Jesus Was an Only Son,” Buddy Holly’s “Rave On,” Garbage performing “The World is Not Enough,” Emmylou Harris and Spyboy singing “Deeper Well,” and Parliament’s “Funkentelechy” (“You may as well pay attention; you can’t afford free speech”).

As I was listening to “The World is Not Enough,” I reflected (again) on the genre of James Bond theme songs. “TWiNE” is near the top of my list in that category, along with the early classics such as Shirley Bassey’s “Goldfinger.” The most recent entry, though — Madonna’s “Die Another Day” — would rank right up there except for the staggeringly banal exclamation about Sigmund Freud. Is there a remix that edits out just those four words? It would improve the song incalculably.

It would be funny how inflexible headphone wires get in subzero windchill, if it weren’t so hard to untangle them. Can’t do it with gloves on; and once you take gloves off, naked fingers gradually lose their dexterity. Add to that an immobilized right thumb, and a dog pulling on her leash, and the whole thing is simultaneously quite amusing and intensely exasperating.

Another Reason To Not Read This Blog

Tonight I made a soup for dinner. Since I’m not pure of heart, I used a dry soup mix from the cupboard; Pip and I evaluated the choices, and agreed that this one looked promising. I am very sad to say that we erred. The soup was thin and cardboard-y, and Pippa and I decided after a half bowl each that we would not require one another to finish — and Pip made a delicious tofu dip to tide us over.

This sort of post — personal, unabashedly mingled with more serious reflections — has occasioned a number of posts on the bibliobloggers’ blogs (it’s slightly amusing to be the subject of a series of blog posts explaining why people don’t read my blog). At the same time, I don’t begrudge my colleagues their diffidence. Online media offer every reader the opportunity to read what suits him or her, and every blogger the opportunity to link to what suits him or her. . . .

Tempest In A -Pedia

Dave has been calling attention to drawbacks in the openness of the Wikipediafirst in conjunction with the Adam “The PodFather” Curry vs. Kevin “The Humble But Firm Pioneer” Marks fiasco, then in conjunction with the more weighty problem of horribly slanderous allegations against John Siegenthaler.

Two consequences of these demonstrations: First, I think Rex Hammock is quite right that we should “use Wikipedia as a gateway to facts, not a source for them.” If one knows nothing about a topic, the Wikipedia can be a great place to start — but one absolutely ought not stop there. A lot of people with strong opinions have a great motivation to insinuate biased or erroneous positions into this ostensibly NPOV (“neutral point-of-view”) reference source, whereas people who know a lot about such things tend to have other things to do. I observed something of this when working on linking Wikipedia entries to a Disseminary project. Good place to start, but by all means, check it (I’m looking at you, GOE-takers).

Second, there should be a space for professional societies to maintain moderated local-pedias on their areas of demonstrable expertise. That would be a tremendous step forward, wouldn’t infringe on Wikipedia’s turf, and would provide much more reliable information. Someone set up the Disseminary with the bandwidth and some small stipends, and we’ll show you how to do it.

This Is My Question

People frequently ask me how I find time to blog. I will have completed this post inside two minutes — but last night Pippa and I spent four hours playing World of Warcraft, and really only just got our toes wet. So, my question is, how do people find time to play WoW?

Oh, and Mac users: How do you negotiate the chat interface? I find myself typing the slash-letter command, then deleting the slash, and the whole thing gets confusing.

December Stromateis

Chris pointed me to this amusing report on Slate’s slam on the Left Behind theo-cultural miasma.

Dorothea live-blogs this take on open-access academic periodical publishing, which I heartily endorse.

Jeneane and Halley both point to Susan Mernit’s lament that the SF Weekly could devote a long, insightful article to Craig Newmark of Craig’s List, which quotes various industry-leader types while avoiding citing any women. Hello?

World of Warcraft is marvelously engineered, but is no game for a pacifist (not that anyone’s surprised by that, but I’m confirming what one would expect). As one of my capacities therein is “healing,” I’m looking forward to finding a vocation as an in-game EMT.

Writers who use Unicode Greek now no longer need rely on Gentium (marvelous though it is) or whatever was loaded with their system software; the Greek Font Society has released a Greek Didot in regular, bold, italic, and bold italic. I haven’t kicked the tires myself, yet, but their PDF samples look very impressive (via Hypotyposeis, the long way around).

Can You Tell?

I stopped by the Apple Store this evening to pick up my first-string computer; can you tell from the way I blog? The retired TiBook performed well coming back after a year of inactivity, but the zippier, more powerful iBook (with all my files, applications, and system upgrades from the last year) is my Main Unit.

As to the much-anticipated outcome of the title sweepstakes — I didn’t hear anything today. We’ll have to wait, probably till Monday.

AIM Trouble?

Neither Margaret nor I can log in to AIM this morning (I tried both iChat and AIM proper), but I don’t see anything about a problem in the online news sources. Is anyone else having problems?

[Later:: Back online after a couple of hours.

The Nominees Are. . . .

My editor Neil writes to say,

I’m posing the “finalists” — not including “faithful subversion” — to the marketing-and-covers group. We’re under pressure to get this to the sales people yesterday so I’m asking for your indulgence — I’ll check e-mail later to see what the group finds the most marketable and will have to finalize tomorrow a.m.

Here’s what I’m sending:

(1) Practicing Interpretation / Reasoning Biblically in the Postmodern World

(2) Signs of Scripture / Practicing Biblical Interpretation in a Postmodern Age

(3) Biblical Sense / and Postmodern Sensibility

(4) Faithful Interpretation / Making Postmodern and Biblical Sense

What’s All This, Then?

While I was moderating comments on the “Name That Book” thread, I spotted some lunch-meat comments into which the bot had inserted a [rel] attribute that reads “itsok.” Recognizing that rel attributes aren’t necessarily legislated from on high, is there any organized backing for such an attribute? It seems on the face of it that the spammers are making a pitiable effort to communicate to a mark-up parser that their brand of comment is OK — but unless someone else (legit) is using that attribute to appease vigilant parsers, the gesture smacks of a desperate faith that the artificially-intelligent parsing engine can read English and will say to itself, “Hmmm, well, it’s not a ‘nofollow’ or a vote tag, and it says it’s OK, so I’ll just let it through.”