Friday, April 30, 2004

Books of Influence: The Comic Book Years. Now, I don't want to mislead you into into thinking that I was an intellectual child -- far from it. My favorite reading was comic books. Yet there are some stories that really stood out and I still think about from time-to-time. For example:

  • In Green Lantern #61, the story "Thoroughly Modern Mayhem" is about the evil in us all. Golden Age Green Lantern Alan Scott returns home to find his house ransacked -- it's the final straw, so he uses his powers as the Green Lantern to wipe all evil from the face of the earth. Every single person on the Earth vanishes, including Scott. Hal Jordan, the "main" Green Lantern goes looking for his buddy Scott and finds Scott's Earth depopulated. He has his ring take him to Alan Scott and he finds Scott on an alternate world, along with everyone from earth, in a state of suspended animation. Jordan wakes Scott and they realize what a mistake they've made and send everyone back.

  • In Superman # 236, "Planet of the Angels" Superman is given a challenge by 3 angels to cross the gates of hell and rescue Batman, Jimmy Olson, and Lois Lane. Ultimately, he realizes that the three angels are intergalactic thugs and the three devils are intergalactic police. Moral -- appearances are deceiving. Or, for the biblically literate, Satan comes disguised as an angel of light.
  • Books of Influence I, Childhood. Thanks to Cap'n Yip, I've been thinking back to those books from childhood which have had an influence on me. First and foremost, a book I still own and look at from time-to-time, was the Time-Life book on Mathematics by David Bergamini. This book introduced me to Zeno's paradox, the Klein bottle, Fermat's Last Theorem, probability, perspective, calculus, numbers and showed that mathematics is more than just accounting.
    Heads Should Roll. Seeing the pictures of the US torture and reading the quotes ("We had no training whatsoever" -- Sergeant Chip Frederick - a reservist whose full-time job is as a prison officer in the US state of Virginia) leaves me extremely angry. If true, these men and women should face extreme penalties. Not only those directly involved, but I say take it up the chain of command. Brigadier General Janice Karpinski should be subject to a full court martial and I'm not sure I would stop there.

    I'm thinking that the chairman of the military Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Richard Myers, should resign.

    Thursday, April 29, 2004

    Answer. On April 16, 1962, Archbishop Joseph F. Rummel of New Orleans excommunicated Leander Perez, Jackson G. Ricau, and Mrs. B.J. Gaillot, Jr. for continuing "to hinder his orders or provoke the devoted people of this venerable archdiocese to disobedience or rebellion in the matter of opening our schools to all Catholic children." In other words, these three public officials disagreed with the Archbishop over the desegregation of schools and each was publicly excommunicated and forbidden access to the Roman Catholic sacraments.

    More here and here.

    [Thanks to Paladin for the tip]

    Wednesday, April 28, 2004

    Who are Leander Perez, Jackson G. Ricau, and Mrs. B.J. Gaillot, Jr. and why does John Kerry have reason to fear them?

    Tuesday, April 27, 2004

    Ethical Bootlegging. I've written before about the ethics of bootlegging. Doug LeBlanc looks at the issue of music swapping here (although can we be sure it's not a sneaky way to dwell on "righteous fox" Jaci Velasquez? [vbg]).

    I'm pretty clear on the notion that file swapping to avoid buying a disc is stealing. I don't buy the notion that it's okay to rip off Christian artists and their music companies for evangelistic purposes is somehow okay. Yet, what about my particular vice -- trading (not selling) bootleg concert discs?

    What about those, like I have done, who post low-quality .mp3s to get exposure for an artist? A 96kb .mp3 isn't good enough to burn to a disc and listen to, but it's good enough to get the flavor of a musician.

    Some other notes -- there have been artists in the past who have encouraged this practice -- evangelistic copying -- Keith Green comes to mind, along with Steve Taylor and Larry Norman (at times). So I'd say check with the artists to see.

    Also, what about out-of-print records?

    Here are a couple of other stories on the issue:
    Praise God and pass the music files - NYTimes
    Gospel Pirates - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

    If you don't have qualms about bootlegging and are interested in this Recycled Sounds is a good place to look for folks who trade bootleg discs of Christian artists.