February 27, 2008

Podcast Drama: Saving Our Imaginations

(yeah, I know it's not Monday. It FEELS like Monday.)

A little while ago, I Twittered an article about the fall of radio, in which the writer said "Podccasting is the new radio." And I've been reading a lot of stuff about what radio can do to survive, should it survive, etc. So when I got the link to this article, I was REALLY curious.

I love this quote:

Every time we add a dimension to our performances and recordings, we not only add to the creator’s workload, we also — in an important sense — limit the audience’s experience.

THAT is what I like about radio -- I can use my imagination. It is, as they tell me, the "theater of the mind."

It started with books -- then we added the audio for radio, and people no longer had to imagine the voices and sounds. Then we added visuals, so we didn't have to imagine what the scene and characters looked like. It's hard to go backward -- I think that's a big part of why people don't read as much now; they don't have the imagination for it.

So podcast dramas like Pendant Audio, Decoder Ring Theatre, and others, are helping us recover our imagination.

Our imaginations need stretching. So you OWE it to yourself to listen to a podio-drama or two. Decoder Ring updates every other week, so there's a new show due on Saturday. Pendant has a bunch of different shows, so if you subscribe to all of them you should have at least one a week. They do some fan shows (DC superheroes like Batman, Superman, Supergirl, and Wonder Woman), but I really enjoy the original stuff. I just started listening to the Texas Radio Theater, and recommend them as well. Their shows are all original, though some are tributes to old-time radio programs (like Flash Gordon and Sherlock Holmes).

There's plenty out there. Go expand your mind, and use your imagination!

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February 25, 2008

Book A Week Announcement

Yes, I'm late with this. And I really don't have a good excuse -- the book was done on time, even!

The announcement is that I have decided to migrate all the Book a Week stuff to my new blog, The Pew Reviews. Yes, I've tried something like this before, and I didn't stick with it. But I think this time it will work, because I've got a master plan. And no, I'm not telling you the master plan yet. If you pay attention to what goes on here and there and on the podcast, you'll figure it out eventually. Although if you read this old post, you might get an idea.

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February 22, 2008

28 Years Ago Today

February 22, 1980. A day that will live forever in history, especially for hockey fans.

Do you believe in miracles?

{edit -- it's not Al Michaels, but it's a great commentary. AND it's got every US goal scored in it.}

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Church Super Bowl Parties are GO

The NFL has bowed to the pressure. After a PR nightmare resulting from it's decision to not allow churches to show the Super Bowl on anything larger than 55", the NFL has decided to let churches hold their Super Bowl parties.

The league looked really stupid, I think, when it decided to allow sports bars to show the game on whatever they wanted, but not churches. It showed a lot of people exactly what the NFL valued, and who they wanted for customers.

They didn't think about the fact that many people have church on Sunday evenings. They didn't think about the fact that if churches had their parties, people would be watching who wouldn't otherwise.

Or maybe they did, and this reversal is a bit more pragmatic than people are thinking it was to begin with.

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February 21, 2008

Priorities and Worship

One well-known worship group he had spoken with was asking over $35,000. $35,000! To play worship music! I have a family of four, and I don’t make that much money in 2 years, let alone 2 hours of playing music that is supposed to be for God. I could send 467 goats to Kenya for that much. I could provide a month’s food and clothing to 1,000 AIDS-affected orphans in Africa for that much. I could just pay off all credit card debt for 10 families in America, totally changing their lives forever, for that much.

What’s wrong with our priorities when we’ll pay $35,000 to have a worship band come and play music to bring us closer to God, but we won’t give a couple extra bucks to the waitress to show her that God cares about her hard work? Are our priorities so out of whack that we’ll let orphans die, widows waste away, and working class parents work night and day just so we can enjoy a relaxing couple of hours in the presence of God?

I’m less ticked at the bands than I am at ourselves for allowing them to be made into rock stars. I’m sure Chris Tomlin doesn’t want to be your idol. I’m sure Matt Redman doesn’t want your worship. Why are we giving it to them?

From The Blah Blah. Go there and read that one, if you can without feeling completely convicted. Especially if you're in a band.
more...

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February 19, 2008

Scapegoats, Video Games, and Cowboys of All Ages

There's always one.

There's always somebody who is ready to take advantage of a tragedy to further his own pet issue. Jack Thompson's pet issue is the evils of video games, and he's off on his hobby horse again.

more...

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February 17, 2008

Gosh, Darn -- Charles Barkley Doesn't Like Me.

Sir Charles Barkley has decided to weigh in on religion. Not sure what qualifies him to make this kind of pronouncement, but nobody asked me, and so he did. We're not real Christians, we conservatives, because we judge others. We're too judgmental.
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February 14, 2008

Prayers Up for Dr. Mohler

Just heard this a few minutes ago (h/t to Bart Barber)

R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, will require additional surgery after a scheduled colonoscopy on February 11 revealed a tumor in his colon. An initial biopsy indicated that the tumor is pre-cancerous and further tests are to be scheduled, along with surgical options.

Mohler, 48, underwent major abdominal surgery in late December

{edit} Just read the SBTS press release on this, and Dr. Mohler is also withdrawing his name from consideration for SBC President. “I have decided to give my greatest attention right now to addressing this new challenge and to ministering to my wife and children. This is clearly not the right time for me to accept this nomination. I have asked my good friend Robert Jeffress not to proceed with nominating me for president of our Southern Baptist Convention this year."

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February 13, 2008

Honesty: The Best Policy

{hat tip to Justin Taylor}

From the Jan. 4 issue of First Things

Luke Timothy Johnson, New Testament professor at Emory University, has openly admitted what few liberal Christian defenders of homosexuality will: "I think it important to state clearly that we do, in fact, reject the straightforward commands of Scripture, and appeal instead to another authority when we declare that same-sex unions can be holy and good. We appeal explicitly to the weight of our own experience and the experience thousands of others have witnessed to, which tells us that to claim our own sexual orientation is in fact to accept the way in which God has created us."
emphasis added

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February 11, 2008

Book A Week: Week 5

The book this week is going to be Hacking: The Art of Exploitation by Jon Erickson. The book arrived today -- I'd forgotten I'd emailed the PR person to get a review copy. The other book I got today is That Sweet Enemy: Britain and France - A History Of A Love-Hate Relationship, but it's over 700 pages, so I doubt that one's going to be a Book A Week selection.

My review for Hacking is going to be posted at Blogcritics. I didn't really get it through BC, but I've made the contacts at No Starch Press and O'Reilly because of Blogcritics, so I really feel that my reviews of their stuff should go to BC first. I'll post a link here, just as I did with An Incomplete Revenge, and offer a few comments here as well.

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My Video Ipod

I managed to fry the 1st generation Nano that my mom got me a couple years ago at Christmas, so I had to get a replacement. Got the new Gen 3 version -- complete with video capability.

Now, I've always mocked the idea of watching video on an iPod. At a time when TVs seem to be getting bigger and bigger, why would I want to watch TV on a 2" screen? But, I figured, now that I can do it, I should see what all the fuss is about.

And now I understand.
more...

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February 10, 2008

Book Review Link: An Incomplete Revenge by Jacqueline Winspear

My review of this book at Blogcritics.

I really do enjoy this series. I got the third book to review, and grabbed the fourth when it was offered. Then I found the first two in the series in a single volume (actually, my wife found them and got them for me last year to read at the beach). The characterization is quite good, even though Maisie Dobbs seems almost to be a walking anachronism because of her progressive attitudes. Winspear does an incredible amount of research on these books; even the attitudes of the people ring absolutely true to life.

If you enjoy mysteries, or if you enjoy novels set in 1930s England, you should look into the Maisie Dobbs series. I got started just out of curiosity, but they are on my "must read" list now.

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Book A Week Announcement

OK, this week I was reading Abrahamby Bruce Feiler. I say was because on Thursday, I laid the book down, and now I can't find it. So I re-read a book that I finished not too long ago, and will be posting a link to that review (it's a book I received through Blogcritics, and they get the exclusive on those books). Hopefully I'll find Abraham so I can finish it -- it's a great book, as are Feiler's other books.

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February 09, 2008

WOW!!!

I've managed a post every day this week. Yay me!!!

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Baptist Lent

So, Baptists don't really do Lent. But I'm not most Baptists -- I tend to be a "high-church" Baptist, and I do a little something for Lent, Maundy Thursday, Advent -- all those "traditions of men" that my fellow Baptists tend to shun.

This year, I'm doing something different. In the past, I've given up some food item or other, and it's lasted about ten days. Once I was going to give up the Internet, and that lasted ten minutes. And part of the point of the whole thing is to seek spiritual improvement, grow closer to God.

So this year I've been following a Lenten reading list that I found. It's designed to really get you to think about how the early Church lived and believed. While I don't agree with everything at that site in general, I think it's valuable for us to read a bit of the history of Christianity. The reading is broken down into manageable pieces, so each day's reading should only take about fifteen minutes. And much of it is stuff that I've wanted to read anyway.

You can download the whole thing, schedule and readings, from the site in PDF format. It's a big file, but you can just print out the part that you're reading that day, OR you can just read it on your computer. And the PDF isn't date specific, so once you download it you've got it to use every year. So, to coin a phrase, "Tole, lege!"

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February 08, 2008

Dobson Endorses Huckabee

The only problem I have with Dobson endorsing Mike Huckabee is that he really isn't endorsing him. Dobson is trying to keep his "followers" from heading to McCain faster than you can say "Focus."

A Dobson endorsement back in, say, November may have helped the Huckabee campaign out. Unfortunately, Dobson was too busy trying to prove he wasn't a Mormon-hater, and cozied up to a candidate with shaky (at best) pro-life credentials. Now that Romney is out of the race (and face it, he's out because of the bottom line. Romney's a businessman, and he isn't going to pour money into a losing campaign.), Huckabee is Dobson's only choice -- especially after the things he's said about McCain.

Welcome to the bandwagon, Mr. Dobson. Too bad you're here too late to actually make a difference.

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February 07, 2008

An Open Letter to the GOP "Elite"

Dear Ruling Class,

Many of you are wondering what's happened in the primaries. You're wondering why Mitt Romney is gone. I can't give you all the answers, but I can tell you why I didn't support him -- and a lot of it is your fault. more...

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February 06, 2008

Trying Something New

I've been trying to get my RSS feed for this blog to post automatically to my Twitter account. Two tools that I've been trying to use are inaccessible right now (figures). But I found something else that I want to try.

I found a tool called Twit This, which gives me a button at the end of each post to allow readers to add it to their Twitter feed. So I'm trying it out on this post, just to see if it's any good.




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February 05, 2008

Book A Week: Week 5

The book this week is Bruce Feiler's Abraham. I have read Walking the Bible and Where God Was Born already and enjoyed them, even if I don't always agree with Feiler's conclusions. I'm looking forward to reading this book (which is actually the second book in the sequence), especially after hearing the interview with Feiler on Speaking of Faith.

And I will have this one done by Sunday. In fact, I'm off tomorrow, so I may have it finished then!

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Book Review: Infamous Scribblers by Eric Burns

The first thing that struck me in reading this book is how similar the beginnings of American journalism and the beginnings of the blogosphere actually are.

In the beginning, you have Benjamin Harris and his Publick Occurrences both Foreign and Domestic (1690). Four pages long, poor formatting, little space between stories -- no headlines. And the first edition was also the last -- Harris' writing was so inflammatory that the colonial government in Boston shut him down. Harris is the forefather of many bloggers who seek to increase readership (and subscribers) by being as outlandish as possible (coughDrudgecough). Unfortunately, there was no freedom of the press back then.

But if Harris was the Drudge of the early colonial period, then John Campbell and his Boston News Letter was the cat blog. Long lasting just because of it's inoffensiveness, Campbell's effort was also excruciatingly dull, and typically included reports of each shipment that came into Boston Harbor.
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