Archive for December, 2008|Monthly archive page

Hey, Remember When Printable Pages Were, Um, Well, You Know, Printable?

Alas, the ineluctable, glacial creep of advertising into the remotest corners of our lives continues unabated. I have noticed lately that  “printable” pages of articles online are including more and more ads, images, and html-encoded text (which not all printers can handle equally well). Where is the public outcry? Why this injustice? This visual scattershot utterly contravenes the purpose of the “printer-friendly view.” Furthermore, these pages were my one remaining boon from the overcommercialization of the web. I would even often link to them directly from here or on Facebook because they provided a much cleaner and unobtrusive viewing experience. But now, even while I’m reading these articles in my bed at home, I am confronted with the latest ad for Viagra, or whatever wares these evil companies and their internet minions were flogging the day I printed them off.

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Avery Dulles Passes On to His Reward

I just read that Avery Cardinal Dulles, S.J., died this morning. His work—ecumenical, thoughtful, profound, and always charitable—has been as important for Protestants as it has been for Catholics, and his death is a sad loss to the church on earth.

The Best Book Title of the Year

Goes to

Alphabet Juice: The Energies, Gists, and Spirits of Letters, Words, and Combinations Thereof; Their Roots, Bones, Innards, Piths, Pips, and Secret Parts, Tinctures, Tonics, and Essences; With Examples of Their Usage Foul and Savory

by Roy Blount Jr.

from the fine folks at FSG

I Never Told You the Answer!

I almost completely forgot! The answer to my little guessing game  last week about my tagline—although I assume the people who would know it knew it right away and the people who didn’t know it but cared to know it googled it (verbed!) and the people who still don’t know probably don’t particularly care to know at all—is Calvin and Hobbes. Here’s the context:

Calvin: I like to verb words.
Hobbes: What?

Calvin: I take nouns and adjectives and use them as verbs. Remember when “access” was a thing? Now it’s something we do. It got verbed.

Calvin (next frame): Verbing weirds language.

Hobbes: Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding.

The Obligatory Yearly Advent Reminders Are Rolling In

See here and here. This really does feel like it’s starting to become a habit. Here is a brief list of the things you will hear (or have perhaps already heard) this Advent season (or was it last year?):

Happy New Year! (The church’s new liturgical year starts at the beginning of Advent, the bearer of the news thus will have aptly demonstrated his or her liturgical savvy.)

The season of Advent is a fast season, not a feast. (That means no making merry! That goes for you too, there in the back row! And go put on a hair shirt!)

Christmas (as a season) doesn’t actually start until Christmas morning. (So no singing carols during Advent!)

This is of course metadiscourse, a discourse on the discourse. A focus on the Christian season of Advent rather as opposed to the orgy of consumerism that Christmas has become is, I think, a healthy corrective, and I’ve been the bearer of all this news at one point or another. Much of it, however, seems to have just as much to do with naive excitement about “liturgy”—as the latest church-marketing novelty—as it does with a true return to the traditional practices of the church (though I will note that both of the authors of the instances cited in this post demonstrate a healthy ecclesiology and are worth reading).