Friday, June 30, 2006


Okie judge gets stiff sentence

The Associated Press

BRISTOW, Okla. —

A former judge could be sentenced to four years in prison after being convicted of exposing himself by using a sex gadget while he presided over trials.

Read all about it from the Cushing Daily Citizen.

Read more about the penis-pumping judge.

Neither Oklahoma nor any other red state has anything approaching a "moral high ground." What a mess.


Thursday, June 29, 2006


God save this honorable court

But, boy, how times and presidents have changed!

Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, 2006

By Warren Richey | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

WASHINGTON – In a landmark decision restricting the president's powers during wartime, the US Supreme Court has dealt the Bush administration a severe blow in its push to prosecute terrorists in military tribunals. ...

"I want to find a way forward," Bush told reporters. "I would like there to be a way to return people from Guantánamo to their home countries, but some of these people need to be tried" in court.

Read all about it.

Cherokee Nation vs. State of Georgia, 1831

From RoseNet.

Cherokees occupied lands in several southeastern states. As European settlers arrived, Cherokees traded and intermarried with them. They began to adopt European customs and gradually turned to an agricultural economy, while being pressured to give up traditional homelands. Between 1721 and 1819, over 90 percent of their lands were ceded to others. By the 1820s, Sequoyah's syllabary brought literacy and a formal governing system with a written constitution. In 1830--the same year the Indian Removal Act was passed--gold was found on Cherokee lands. Georgia held lotteries to give Cherokee land and gold rights to whites. Cherokees were not allowed to conduct tribal business, contract, testify in courts against whites, or mine for gold.

The Cherokees successfully challenged Georgia in the U.S. Supreme Court. President Jackson, when hearing of the Court's decision, reportedly said, "[Chief Justice] John Marshall has made his decision; let him enforce it now if he can.

President Jackson, when hearing of the Court's decision, reportedly said, "[Chief Justice] John Marshall has made his decision; let him enforce it now if he can."

Read all about it.

Read the decision.



Dobson's Last Stand?

The silly "Defense of Marriage" Amendment got clobbered in the Senate like Custer did at the Little Big Horn. Was it James Dobson's Last Stand?

Well, no, certainly not -- but if the Dems gain ground in Congress this fall, it might've been the *best* stand Dobson can expect for the foreseeable future.

This is one of those cases, I think, where political checks and balances and the labyrinth of the constitution-making process is doing just what it's supposed to do: slow down rash judgment, and cool down overheated feelings.

Read Dobson's analysis of the vote, and the larger political situation, here. It's a piece he wrote for eeeviilll CNN. The gall it takes for him to compare what essentially is an anti-freedom stance with William Wilberforce's work to end slavery is astounding.

A kudo to Focus on the Family for actually linking to the original, since it includes both positive and negative comments from CNN readers.


Wednesday, June 28, 2006



How bad have I got it? Hoo hoo. I bought this here book at the grocery checkout line to read to Ice-T!

It's just about a year now since Bird walked in with a pitiful little kitty, scrawny, eat up with fleas, with a shoulder injury from a street fight and declared, "God gave us a cat!"

Indeed. Ice-T has been a constant companion for Dr. ER lo, these past several months of homeboundness, as she recovers from a broken hip and other maladies. And I continue to be embarrassed at how hard I have fallen for the critter.

My bleeding heart ...


Tuesday, June 27, 2006


The case for flag burning

A Realtor hawking her services placed small flags in the yards of every single house in my neighborhood. I like it. My blood is as red as my neck. It's the alleged LEADERSHIP of this country that sucks, not the nation itself.

And I will burn that flag if I want to -- period -- in protest, or to represent the purification and purging of anti-American, anti-liberty laws that I think this country needs.

Read about the Case for Flag Burning, from the Los Angeles Times.

Oh, by the way: God bless the New York Times.


Monday, June 26, 2006


No nation is the Kingdom of God

(gracEmail) Middle East perspective
Edward Fudge
Jun 25, 2006


A gracEmail subscriber asks: "What is your biblical perspective on the Middle East situation -- the tension between Israel and the Palestinians, the militant Muslims?"

In general, I have the same biblical perspective regarding the Middle East that I have about any other part of the world. I do not believe that the modern political state of Israel has any special standing in God's eyes and I do not see it as the fulfillment of any particular biblical prophecy -- concerning either the restoration of the people of Israel and Judah to their ancient homeland or concerning their "resurrection" by a supernatural spiritual enlightenment and conversion. The prophets foresaw a society in which every participant personally knows and obeys God. Present-day Israel does not fit that biblical description. Instead, it is home to an overwhelming number of secular Jews and to a surprising number of atheists. If these prophecies are to be literally fulfilled, they await a fulfillment some time later than the present.

I do firmly believe that as a nation and as individuals, we should in every situation and circumstance seek justice, promote peace and work to relieve human suffering. That ought to characterize our attitude toward Israelis and our attitude toward Palestinians. Many Palestinians are Christians and so are our brothers and sisters. Bombing and terrorist acts are always wrong but not every Palestinian commits those acts or approves of them. Israel is sometimes in the right and sometimes in the wrong. Terrorists and murderers (Muslims or otherwise) are always wrong. We can "pray for the peace of Jerusalem" and at the same time hold the Israeli government to a righteous standard.

It grieves me when our nation takes actions based on what I believe are motives other than promoting justice, peace and helping the truly needy. It grieves me when our government supports foreign rulers who deny their people religious freedom -- Saudi Arabia being one prime example. However, that is what nations have always done because no nation, including ours, is the Kingdom of God.

Copyright 2006 by Edward Fudge. Permission hereby granted to reprint this gracEmail in its entirety without change, with credit given and not for financial profit. Visit our multimedia website at

Friday, June 23, 2006


ER summer reruns!

Dr. ER and I are G.T.T. tonight through Sunday to visit her folks.

The peach crop around Charlie, Texas, -- map -- got hailed out, I hear, so the pickings there will be mighty slim. Sad news, indeed. I was lookin' forward to fixin' up a famous ER Peach Cobbler.

An old Western store in Wichita Falls, Texas -- map -- The Cow Lot, is closing later this summer. I'll go by and shake the hand and pat the back of the ol' fella who's run it for probably 50-something years. Might pick up something while I'm there. I need some boot socks.

And I'll make a run to Archer City, Texas -- map -- to Larry McMurtry's bookstores, in his hometown. Which brings up the reruns. Last time I was there, I met the man.

The reruns:

McMurtry: Page 1.

McMurtry: Page 2.

McMurtry: Page 3.

See y'all later.


Thursday, June 22, 2006


Apocalypse now! Right now! You hear us? Right. Fricking. Now. NOW! Right NOW! NOW, NOW, NOW, NOW, NOW! Right Now! Now, now, now! Apocalypse now!

By Louis Sahagun
L.A. Times Times Staff Writer
June 22, 2006

For thousands of years, prophets have predicted the end of the world. Today, various religious groups, using the latest technology, are trying to hasten it.

Their endgame is to speed the promised arrival of a messiah. For some Christians this means laying the groundwork for Armageddon. ...

In Iran, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has a far different vision. As mayor of Tehran in 2004, he spent millions on improvements to make the city more welcoming for the return of a Muslim messiah known as the Mahdi, according to a recent report by the American Foreign Policy Center, a nonpartisan think tank. ...

Conversely, some Jewish groups in Jerusalem hope to clear the path for their own messiah by rebuilding a temple on a site now occupied by one of Islam's holiest shrines. ...

Then there is Clyde Lott, a Mississippi revivalist preacher and cattle rancher. He is trying to raise a unique herd of red heifers to satisfy an obscure injunction in the Book of Numbers: the sacrifice of a blemish-free red heifer for purification rituals needed to pave the way for the messiah. ...


Read all about it.


Wednesday, June 21, 2006


Pentagon to Sen. Santorum: Not so fast

Headline: Report: Hundreds of WMDs Found in Iraq

Fox News
WASHINGTON — The United States has found 500 chemical weapons in Iraq since 2003, and more weapons of mass destruction are likely to be uncovered, two Republican lawmakers (Sen. Rick Santorum, R, Pa., and Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Mich.) said Wednesday. ...

Asked why the Bush administration, if it had known about the information since April or earlier, didn't advertise it, Hoekstra conjectured [is that a verb now? -- ER] that the president has been forward-looking and concentrating on the development of a secure government in Iraq.

Offering the official administration response to FOX News, a senior Defense Department official pointed out that the chemical weapons were not in useable conditions.

"This does not reflect a capacity that was built up after 1991," the official said, adding the munitions "are not the WMDs this country and the rest of the world believed Iraq had, and not the WMDs for which this country went to war."


Offering the official administration response to FOX News, a senior Defense Department official pointed out that the chemical weapons were not in useable conditions.

"This does not reflect a capacity that was built up after 1991," the official said, adding the munitions "are not the WMDs this country and the rest of the world believed Iraq had, and not the WMDs for which this country went to war."

[NO SHIT. Try again, San(ctimonious)orum.]

Read all about it (that Faux News will let you see).



Greatest inventions

No, not the microwave oven. Not the Internet.

The two single best inventions of my lifetime (which commenced May 1964) are the percent change calculator and precooked bacon! :-)

What are your favorite advances in civilization?



Wild 'Iraqi Indians' with IEDs?

Worth pondering:

"The vast expanse of desert territory that has been annexed to our domain within the last few years is peopled by numerous tribes of marauding and erratic savages ... making war the business and pastime of their lives, and acknowledging none of the ameliorating conventionalities of civilized warfare. Their tactics are such as to render the old system almost wholly impotent.

"To act against an enemy who is here to-day and there to-morrow ... carrying devastation, rapine, and murder in his steps; who is everywhere without being any where; who assembles at the moment of combat, and vanishes whenever fortune turns against him; who leaves women and children far distant from the theatre of hostilities, and has neither towns nor magazines to defend, nor lines of retreat to cover; who derives his commissariat from the country he operates in, and is not encumbered with (materiel); who comes into action only when it suits his purpose, and never without the advantage of numbers of position -- with such an enemy the strategic science of civilized nations loses much of its importance, and finds but rarely, and only in peculiar localities, an opportunity to be put in practice.

"Our ... army, scattered as it has been over the vast area of our possessions, in small garrisons of one or two companies each, has seldom been in a situation to act successfully on the offensive against large numbers of these marauders, and has often been condemned to hold itself almost exclusively upon the defensive. The morale of the troops must necessarily be seriously impaired, and the confidence of the savages correspondingly augmented. The system of small garrisons has a tendency to disorganize the troops in proportion as they are scattered, and renders them correspondingly inefficient. ...

"No people probably on the face of the earth are more ambitious of martial fame, or entertain a higher appreciation for the deeds of a daring and successful warrior ... The attainment of such reputation is the paramount and absorbing object of their lives; all their aspirations for distinction invariably take this channel of expression. ... This idea is inculcated from the earliest infancy. It is not surprising, therefore, that ... the young man who, as yet, has gained no renown as a ... warrior, should be less discriminate in his attacks than older men who have already acquired a name. The young ... should, therefore, be closely watched when encountered on the Plains."

-- from "Indian Fighting," in The Prairie Traveler: A Hand-Book for Overland Expeditions, by Randolph B. Marcy, captain, U.S. Army (Bedford, Mass: Applewood Books, 1988; reprint, Washington, D.C.: War Department, 1859), 200-201, 205-206.

Setting aside questions surrounding the morality of the war in Iraq ...

Do they even teach the experiences of the old Indian fighters in the war colleges anymore???? Did the military learn NOTHING in the nineteenth century worth remembering today?


Tuesday, June 20, 2006


Yankee test (Dixie test)

My score: "97 percent Dixie -- is General Lee your grandfather?"

Take it, y'all! Then tell us'ns how y'all scored!

-- ER


Say goodnight, Dan

Dan Rather was an early hero of mine in the news business.

One of his first jobs in the media was at a gospel radio station in Texas. My first job was at a gospel radio station in Arkansas.

He's a Southerner. I'm a Southerner.

Our news values are very similar. Be skeptical first and always. Afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted. Patriotism means questioning authority.

Stuff like that. Stuff the right wing castigates, foolishly, as unAmerican.

Now, he's going out to pasture for real, I reckon. Vaya con dios, Dan.


Monday, June 19, 2006


Nonharmonic biblioconvergence

I got three books today from three different friends, Christian brothers on way different faith paths -- or at different places on the same path, however you see it -- from me and from one another.

A conservative charismatic sent me Ann Coulter's "Godless: The Church of Liberalism."

"I can't believe that book is in my house," Dr. ER exclaimd upon seeing it.

I told him I'd be glad to read it -- if he bought it and got it to me. He did. So I will hold up my end of the bargain: I will sit with a trash can next to the chair and alternately read, and hurl, and read, and hurl. Then I'll review the book here.

To say she has a rapier wit doesn't come close to accuracy. But that's the only difference between her and most other best-selling blowhards.

For one, I reject her premise right off the bat. "Liberals are godless." Untrue. Many, probably most, are religious skeptics and that's a different thing. So, Ann basis her book on a lie. Nice. More anon, after I've read more than the 12 pages I've read.

A moderate-liberal Presbyterian friend sent me "The Tao of Willie: A Guide to the Happiness in Your Heart," by Willie Nelson with Turk Pipkin.

It's just gonna be a hoot, I can tell from glancin' through it.

An Eastern Orthodox friend gave me "For the Life of the World: Sacraments and Orthodoxy," by Alexander Schmemann.

Deep thoughts.

In order, it'll be Coulter, Willie, Schmemann.


Sunday, June 18, 2006


Go see "Cars'!

Best, funniest, sweetest movie of the summer, if not the year: "Cars."

Great animation. Great story. Great Route 66 backstory. Great soundtrack, including "Real Gone" by Sheryl Crow, which starts like this, and I soooo own up to it!

I'm American made, Bud Light, Chevrolet
My momma taught me wrong from right
I was born in the south
Sometimes I have a big mouth
When I see something that I don't like
I gotta say it!

It's a racing story, of course. Cool cameos by Dale Earnhardt Jr., Darryl Waltrip, Richard Petty (and Mrs. Petty!), and I think even Humpy Wheeler.

You don't have to be a NASCAR fan to dig this movie, but if you *are* a NASCAR fan, it's even better.

It's a sappy story of personal redemption, too, which shows that Disney still has something of its old soul left.

Go see it.


(" ... I *hate* it when ... cartoons make ... my eyes leak," he muttered.)

Friday, June 16, 2006


Creationist-evolutionist dialogue

We join a conversation in progress over at ELashley's place, Pocket Full of Mumbles.

ER writes:

Solomon, [in response to a blustering fundie] re: "I'll never get why you're so threatened by evolution."

In a nutshell:

If there were no perfect creation, then there could be no Fall; if no Fall, then no need for a savior; if no need for a savior, then the Gospel is a joke and Jesus was either a liar or a lunatic.

That is the fundamentalist line of thinking -- but to be honest, I don't know many fundies who actually articulate it that way; evolution just feels icky to them.

HOWEVER, some of us see that evolution does *not* bankrupt Christianity, and that the main thing Jesus saves us from is ourselves, and that following Jesus itself can be seen as an extension of evolution, since by doing so we become fully human, which we have to do before we can become fully spirit. That's not a very good explanation. Sorry.

There's a section of a book I have at home that explains it much clearer. I'll try to input it tonight or tomorrow over at my place.

Read it all here. (Note that the post started out having nothing to do with evolution. See ER tell a bad joke! See a fundie in full-throated rant! See ER lose his cool! See the host shut down the comments!)

Here's what I was talking about. It's presented as a dialogue between two old college pals, Janet and Linda, whose faith journeys over the years have taken divergent paths. It's from pages 115-122 of The Phoenix Affirmations: A New Vision for the Future of Christianity, by Eric Elnes, a United Church of Christ Pastor -- here's the church, in Scottsdale, Ariz. -- who reserves all rights. Buy it here. (He's the pastor of the CrossWalk America people.)

[Janet is speaking.]

"I just don't understand what the big deal is over teaching biblical truths to our children. It seems that every time people of faith try to open their mouths about anything these days, we come under attack. We live in a country that supposedly honors freedom of speech, but that seems to mean freedom to say anything you like other than speak God's Word. The Bible clearly says that God created the heavens and the earth in six days. People of faith don't want secular humanism passed off as science in school."

Linda felt her temperature rising. She was offended that Janet would assume that only creationists are "people of faith." She wanted to tell Janet that she would no more want her children taught that God created the world in six days than that the moon was madeof cheese. But something told her to bite her tongue. If Janet believed in a literal reading of Genesis, it was not because she was simple-minded. She decided to explore further.

"Do you believe it's possible to believe in both God and evolution?"

Janet hesitated a split second and then replied, "I know that some Christians think that it doesn't matter if the earth is a thousand years old or billions, but this isn't a trivial point at all. The Bible is God's Word. If you can't trust Genesis to be literally true, then how can you trust the rest of the Bible? ..."

[Linda replies] "Our salvation hinges on what believe about Genesis?"

"You don't understand, Linda," Janet replied anxiously. "There is a connection. But it's not as simple as losing faith in Genesis and automatically losing salvation. Genesis teaches that God created a perfect world. Adam and Eve lived in Paradise. There was no death or judgment because there was no sin. Then, the Bible says, Adam and Eve turned their backs on God by eating forbidden fruit. At that moment, sin entered the world. Amd with sin came death. Humanity came under God's judgment and curse.

"So" Janet continued, if the evolutionists are right, or even the so-called intelligent design people, then death was in the world before Adam and Eve's sin, for millions of years. This would mean that God created death; that death isn't punishment for sin but actually part of God's design."

[Linda replies] "What would be wrong with that?"

"If God intended us to die from the beginning," Janet answered, "then God isn't a God of love. God's a sadist. If 'survival of the fittest' is God's law and trillions of innocent animals and human beings have to suffer horrifying fates because of it, how could God be compassionate?"

"I've never understood it this way, Janet," Linda responded. Janet's views were completely different from her own, but instead of choosing to rebut them, she asked to hear more. "What does this have to do with salvation?"

"This is all about salvation," Janet replied. "Death is the result of God's judgment on sin, not part of God's plan. As long as there's death in the world, all Creation is under the judgment. There's no way to be saved. But the Good News of the Gospel is that Jesus Christ came as the first sinless soul since Adam. As God's son, he was the only man born into the world since Adam without the guilt of sin or judgment. By dying innocently on the cross, Jesus took the judgment that should rightfully be ours upon himself. By rising from the dead, he conquered death and sin forever! From that day until now, salvation has been possible for anyone who believes in Jesus as Lord and Savior."

"So," Linda replied slowly to make sure she was understanding everything, "you're saying that if evolutionary theory is correct, then Jesus' death on the cross is meaningless. And if death isn't connected to sin, then resurrection isn't connected to the ovdercoming of sin."

"Exactly," said Janet. "Which means we're stuck in our sins. There's no salvation, only judgment. To me that makes God look a lot like Satan."

"Wow," exclaimed Linda. "I had no idea creationism was so connected to so many other beliefs. It sounds like you don't agree with the theory of intelligent design either, since death would have been part of the world before Adam and Eve too."

"You got it," said Linda. "It really makes me abgry that the news media are painting these intelligent design people as creationists who are just trying to cover up their beliefs. It shows that they haven't even taken the time to understand our views. What they don't realize is that ID is just as big a threat to the Gospels as out-and-out evolutionary theory. In fact, it's worse. It's like trying to deny the Gospels but sugar-coating it with a lot of God talk." ...

At this point, Janet was feeling a bit guilty that she'd been doing all of the talking. "So what's your view? How can you call yourself a Christian and not believe that Jesus is your Savior?"

"I do believe Jesus is my Savior, and I have to confess that it hurts me when I hear people suggest that I can't possibly be a 'true believer' or believe in Jesus as my Savior if I think the world was created in more than six days."

"I'm sorry if I contributed to that," said Janet. "I know you're sincere about your faith. You took the time to listen to me explain my views, so now I'm all ears. How can you reconcile your beliefs against God's Word in the Bible?"

"Personally, I've never found that doubting certain claims in the Bible sets me against finding God's Word in it. In my experience, I've grown to love Scripture more since I realized that I don't have to take it all literally. ... To me, it's far more complicated to run intellectual circles around all the differences between [the separate Creation stories in] Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 than to acknowledge that we're reading two different stories that both have something meangingful to say. If I'm not threatened by the fear that everything will fall apart over even one contradiction, then reading Genesis this way seems perfectly natural and unforced. I tried to reconcile the two stories. I really did! But my head was spinning from all the complicated and unlikely assumptions I had to make. Then I realized that even if I could hold together all these swirling assumptions, I'd still have to come up with all kinds of theories about why carbon-14 dating is incorrect and why scientists for the last two hundred years are all wrong. To me, many people's 'plain and simple' reading of the Bible is anything but plain or simple."

[Janet replies] "I'm not sure I agree, but tell me where you think salvation stands if death is part of God's plan rather than being the result of sin."

[Janet says] "Actually, I don't read the story of Adam and Eve in the same way you do. I think the writer is telling a supremely good story about human growth and development that happens naturally and our response to it."

"Are you denying the reality of sin then?"

"Not at all. In fact, I think the story of Adam and Eve tells us quite a bit about how we experience sin. Adam blames Eve for eating the fruit, Eve blames the serpent, and both were hiding from God to begin with. To me, that's the writer's way of showing us that sin alienates us from God, each other and the rest of God's creation."

"So you think that death is part of God's original design -- something that God felt was good from the beginning?"

"When I read other passages from the Bible, I find lots of affirmation about the goodness of God's Creation. And I mean God's present Creation, not the one before the supposed Fall.In some places, like the Book of Job, even the scarier and deadlier qualities of certain animals are praised for revealing God's glory. Jesus himself talked about finding God in Creation. When I look around me, I just don't see that the presence of death challenges God's goodness. If there wasn't death, our whole ecosystem would break down. Without death, God's blessing to 'be fruitful and multiply' would become a curse. Bringing life into the world would overrun the whole planet."

"But if God approves of death," Janet pressed, "how is Christ our savior?"

"I think there's real evil in the world, but evil isn't what causes death and pain. Evil may use death and pain -- and anything else, including love -- as instruments. Jesus reveals a God who became flesh, suffered and died for the life of God's Creation. When I look at the world, I see that death and resurrection are built into the very order of things. Jesus reveals that death and resurrection are part of God's goodwill and intent from the beginning. Part of the reason I consider Jesus my Savior is because he shows me that I can trust the basic pattern rather than fight against it. And not just in a physical sense."

"What do you mean?"Janet queried.

"You know my life. There have been some incredibly painful periods. When things have gotten crazy, I've turned to Jesus with faith, trusting that all things can be made new. Life can be raised out of the worlst situations." ...

[Janet] now sees that those who have another view are not all seeking to dismantle the Christian faith but may be sincere believers. She assured Linda that she would never again speak of "people of faith" as if the designation applied only to creationists. On the other hand, while Linda continues to feel teaching the biblical Creation stories should not be part of the science curriculum, she now feels they should be taught in certain classes dealing with the literature of Western civilization. She also realizes that if the debates between Creation and evolution are to ever have hope of moving beyond their current dysfunctionality, the focus must shift from basic science to basic theology.

I think this is a remarkable dialogue. The last stence bears repeating and deserves meditation:

She also realizes that if the debates between Creation and evolution are to ever have hope of moving beyond their current dysfunctionality, the focus must shift from basic science to basic theology.



Thursday, June 15, 2006


Quo: Radio Open Source

Quid, from previous post:


I'm a producer for a public radio show, Open Source, We'd like permission to read from your blog on our show tomorrow. Please email me and I can further explain.

# posted by Chelsea Merz : 5:35 PM

They are doing a show about what was being said in the blogosphere on Tuesday June 6, if I read it right.

What was the hot topic of the day at ER's site? The war(s)? Politics? Nominees for additions to the Christian Canon? What Christianity should do with homosexuals? No!

Barbecue! "Air ribs! Meat from heaven!" (Although I did also plug CrossWalk America the same day, I'm pretty sure it's the ribs that they're interested in.)

As I say, some days are more erudite, some days are more redneck!
# posted by Erudite Redneck : 7:25 AM

Zounds! Something good has already come from this Yankee drifter who drifted in here yesterday, Chelsea Merz! I've gone and done it now! Downloaded iTunes, so I could get a podcast of this show! That'll put a little high-tech in my redneck!
# posted by Erudite Redneck : 7:57 AM

From the Radio Open Source site:

Open Source is a conversation, four times a week on the radio and any time you like on the blog. We designed the show to invert the traditional relationship between broadcast and the web: we aren’t a public radio show with a web community, we’re a web community that produces a daily hour of radio.

Majorly cool.


Wednesday, June 14, 2006


Birdsong in my heart!

By The Erudite Redneck

One of my biggest regrets is that while I'm a stepdad, I am not a biological father. That might be because I couldn't handle the inevitable separation.

Bird and her Yankee Beau -- and their canine family, Apollo the greater and Fenway the lesser -- are coming on Saturday. I miss my Bird so much I can't stand it if I think about it very much, or for very long, so I don't.

It occurred to me this morning that there is a grocery sack in my heart filled with Bird stuff!

Let me explain. In the top of my closet in my office at home is a grocery sack filled with a coffee cup that says "World's Greatest Dad," one of my dad's old straw hats and a few other items that have remained in that sack untouched except for one time since he died in March 1989. I think I took the items from the bag in March 1999, then put them back, where they have remained since.

Last November 25, everything changed between Bird and me and her mama, when Baby Bird finally and forever, and clumsily, of course, chucked her Babyhood and declared her independence.

It has resolved itself, to be sure, but things are different, and apparently they will be different from now on. It still hurts. So I leave certain Bird feelings in a grocery sack-shaped hole in my heart.

It also occurred to this morning that those of you who are biological parents can know, in a way that I cannot, the kind of love that God has for us. I can guess at it -- but it's just a guess. My love for Bird is just as real, but is different.

Some people might believe that my situation actually more accurately reflects the relationship between the Creator and we creatures who are reconciled with Him by our feeble attempts to follow Jesus. Some see the reconciliation of salvation as a kind of adoption, because of a heavy emphasis on "separation" because of "original sin."

There's nothing wrong with that kind of thinking, although I don't quite see things that way. Nowadays, the foundation of my relationship with God is His immutable love for me -- not *my* decision to accept His grace, or anything else I've done.

His love for me, and my relationship with Him, are as unalterable as the biological relationship between a father and a child or a mother and a child. Because I do not have such a relationship with anyone, that's one more thing I have to accept by faith.

It's not too hard, though. Because the love I have for my Bird -- my hopes and fears and concerns and impatience, the sense of loss I feel with her gone, the joy I feel at something as simple as a text message or forwarded e-mail, let alone a full message from her to me (rare, since she, not unreasonably, calls her mama first) -- the love I have for my Bird makes me laugh, and cry, and yell, and pout, and makes me HUMAN in a way that no other relationship with any other person on earth does.

That makes me think that when we stoke our relationships with God, it makes him GOD in a way that nothing else can -- and that sounds like part of a Psalm, or mabye like a word from one of the prophets. The idea sure didn't originate with me.

I only imagine what it would be like if Bird were flesh of my flesh. What I imagine is it would cripple my heart to see a baby Bird of my own flesh declare her independence.

And as soft as my bleeding heart is already, I don't think I could stand it.


Tuesday, June 13, 2006


Lesbian brain science (final)

First, refresh your memory.

Lesbians' brains.

Lesbian brain redux.

Lesbian brains clarification.

Now -- and sorry it took so long ...


By Dr. ER

These data support our previous results about differentiated processing of pheromone-like stimuli in humans and further strengthen the notion of a coupling between hypothalamic neuronal circuits and sexual preferences.

The above line I take straight from the end of the abstract in the original article. Here’s what I take from this and the overall article:

1. Humans process pheromone-like stimuli differently;

2. These researchers have found similar results in previous studies;

3. These results strengthen the idea of a relationship (which they call “coupling,” which almost seems like a loaded phrase, if you know what I mean) between hypothalamic neuronal circuits and sexual preferences.

Here is what the article does NOT say:

1. The hypothalamus is the place in the brain where sexual preference can be found. No, there’s no big light that turns on in the hypothalamus when a gay man’s being turned on by another man.

2. That you can smell a gay man or woman if you’re gay.

3. That pheromones alone determine sexual preference.

People like to take things, even science writers, and cut them down into basic pieces of readable information. I’m not surprised that when, confronted with some of the questions, Dr. Slavic said that, no, that’s not what their study indicated. But it’s not as simple as Dr. Throckmorton wants to make it, either.

By the way, I love the use of Butanol as a control; I used to use that as a control scent in insect species back when I got my hands dirty in the lab.

Here’s my point: Neither The AP science writer nor Dr. Throckmorton were correct in their assertions about the findings. The AP writer didn’t show an “agenda” either, his was just what happens when you try to take something complicated and make it simple. There was nothing wrong, per se, in what he said; it just wasn’t complete with all the caveats and wheretofores and disclaimers that would have come with a longer piece.

Dr. Throckmorton didn’t ask his questions in both formats; his questions of the researcher could only end up with one answer. It would be like me asking the researcher, “so, old so and so says that your research proves that lesbian women smell different than straight women.” The researcher’s answer would be, “no, that is not what our research says (nor does it say that they smell “differently,” by the way). It is always easy to ask someone what a particular study does NOT say than it is to ask what a study does say. Think about the steps involved in the scientific method and how few and far between actual theories are.

And now, let me posit my own thoughts about pheromonal control of behavior --informed only in part by the reading of the article. My own experience goes beyond mammalian behavior to the insect world as well, where plant pheromones (called kairomones) play a large role in stimulating certain behavior from certain species of insects).

To put it simply, pheromones cause behavior, suppress behavior or have no impact on behavior. In some cases, pheromones cause a synergistic behavioral reaction -- they impact the smeller and the smellee in ways that would never occur had this particular smeller and smellee not have come together. They behavior that emerges (or does not) is in the nose of the smeller and the smellee, to put it simply.

There’s obviously some relationship that women have to other women where pheromonal influence of behavior is concerned (take the alignment of menses, or, to make ER happy estrus). [Meaning, I just prefer the term "estrus"; might be a farm thing. --ER.] Menses alignment IS a behavior, though its alignment isn’t under voluntary control.

It’s more interesting to me that plants and insects have developed this symbiotic relationship -- kairomones that call out to certain insects “pollinate me!” and then certain insects have a receptor that allow them to sense the kairomone and say, “hey, baby, I’m a-comin’ to pollinate you!”

If such a relationship, so elegantly construed, happens in the plant and insect world, why not believe it happens in the mammalian world?


Saturday, June 10, 2006


Canon fodder

By The Erudite Redneck

Welcome to a meeting of the Council of Redneckus Erudicea. Welcome to followers of The Way of Jesus. Welcome to others, as well! Peace unto y'all.

Our task: To entertain nominations for additions to the Christian Canon of Scripture.

God is still speaking! He has been speaking to believers through the voices and writings of other believers since before the Council of Nicea. There is no reason, short of human hubris, to insist that He has been quiet since.

Despite my whimsical introduction, this could become a meaningful post. Manual comment moderation is "on." That means that I will dust off my old bouncin' boots and evict anyone who attacks any other one present in these proceedings, including myself.

This is no regular Saturday afternoon-evening gatherin' at the Erudite Redneck Roadhouse. This is meant o be a meeting of hearts -- and minds.

I believe the Canon will remained closed in our lifetime -- but not because I believe it is necesarrily complete -- and no way do I believe it is inerrant and infallible. The Bible is no totem to me. I worship God, not the Bible. I try to follow Jesus, the living Christ, not the static stick-figure Jesus of the King James Version of the Bible. Not that there's anything wrong with that. :-)

So, think about it. Pray about it. What should be considered?

It need not be an explcitly "Christian" writing or song. It probably should have Jesus and His way at its heart, whether or not His name is expressly invoked. Jesus Himself spoke of His "other sheep," I take that to refer to followers of His way who do not necesarrily know His name.

I nominate an epistle, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Letter from Birmingham Jail.

I nominate a gospel: The Gospel According to Mary Magdalene.

I nominate a hymn: "What a Friend We Have in Jesus."

Dr. ER nominates a psalm: Max Ehrmann's Desiderata.


Thursday, June 08, 2006


Furs-things-furs Friday!

I'm a little early. Eh.

Ice-T, King of the ER household!

Bailey, Land Otter! Lord Regent of the Back Yard!

We loves our critters!

(Not pictured: Riker, Viceroy of the Back Yard!)


(P.S. Be thinking: What would you add to the Canon of Scripture? But keep yer Canon powder dry, for the next post ... )


MPAA gets an 'F' -- for 'foolish'

Narrow focus draws 'PG' rating for Baptist-backed film.

Read all about it from Terry Mattingly of Scripps Howard News Service.

This is so stupid. But, does anyone really pay attention to the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) anymore anyway?)


Tuesday, June 06, 2006


Air Ribs! Meat from Heaven

What's yer favorite barbecue joint?

This one, the County Line, is now, officially, mine, since they have opened up a joint less than a mile from the house, with a decent bar, to boot!

Tonight's repast was a three-rib meal with Gerrman-mashed taters and slaw -- with leftovers. The doc had a smoked peppered turkey salad, and I had a couple of right-fine margaritas while I waited to git it to go. Dude.

My other faves include Bedlam Barbecue in Oklahoma City, the Bar-L (RIP) in Wichita Falls, Texas, and Wild Horse Mountain Barbecue south of Sallisaw, Okla.



CrossWalk America in OKC

Change the Face of Christianity in America

If you could change the face of Christianity in America, what would be different about it?

Would it be more compassionate? More in touch with everyday life? More justice-oriented? Would the kind of Christianity you embrace include Jesus’ authentic welcoming of diverse people and viewpoints?

CrossWalk America is part of an emerging Christian movement -- one that joyously embraces the love of God, neighbor and self (Jesus' core values).

We stand for:

openness to other faiths

care for the earth and its ecosystems

valuing artistic expression in all its forms

authentic inclusiveness of all people -- including God's lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender (lgbt) community

opposing the commingling of Church and State

promoting the values of rest and recreation, prayer and reflection

embracing both faith and science in the pursuit of truth

If you share in the spirit of these beliefs - Welcome Home! We invite you to read the Phoenix Affirmations and explore our website for additional ways to get involved. (Full version of Phoenix Affirmations here.)

CrossWalk America will be in Oklahoma City to talk about their sojourn at 7 p.m. Wednesday night here. I plan on being there.


Monday, June 05, 2006


'Build each other up'

A reader writes!

I was reading in 1 Thessalonians today -- shock, I know, that I was in a New Testament book : ) -- and I came across something that made me think of you (in real life and as ER the blogger).

It's chapter 5, verses 10 and 11: "He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing."

It occurs to me, in my own behavior toward you as my friend (as as ER on the blog, not to mention all your ERcoloytes) that I far too often focus on the things that we disagree about, as it pertains to walking out our faith, than I do on the fact that we share a common faith and love for the Lord.

I was convicted today of not nearly doing enough of what Paul is talking about here --- encouraging others I know share my faith. I've told you before, but it bears repeating, the Holy Spririt has used you more than you know to remind me of the compassion and love of Jesus -- and how I am to spread that every bit as much as I preach the Truth. Thanks, again, for that.

An interesting ER blog post, if you're not feeling particularly creative today, would be to post this Scripture and challenge your readers to say encouraging things about each other, particularly those who don't often see eye to ideological eye. That would make for some fascinating reading.

Glad you're my friend,

Anonymous Friend

So let it be written, so let it be done.

Thanks, Friend.

I'll start.

To those on the Christian Right: When we tear into one another, I always try to remember that we still agree on one thing, the most important of all:


And that's it. Because we don't agree on much *about* Jesus even. But, as Bill Gaither wrote:

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus
There's just something about that name
Master, Saviour, Jesus
Like the fragrance after the rain
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus
Let all Heaven and Earth proclaim
Kings and kingdoms
Will all pass away
But there's something about that Name.


Saturday, June 03, 2006


Erudite sorrows, redneck remedy

Dang. Big Academic Press has rejected my book proposal -- unless I want to add a few more chapters. That doesn't surprise me in the least, but it's disappointing anyway.

I may or may not rework it and reubmit. I might submit it as-is to another press -- one still interested in publishing monographs of fairly narrow scope rather than probable moneymakers.

And Scholarly History Journal has rejected my article -- unless I want to rewrite it and resubmit, which does surprise me since I've done that once already.

Now, I'm afraid *not* that Scholarly History Conference will reject my paper proposal I sent in a couple of weeks ago, but that it will *accept* it. Right now, I feel like an imposter.

Sigh. Who'm I kidding?

Academic eggheads aren't interested in work that appeals to a broad audience. They just don't. They like to feel special, even if it means creating their own tiny false universes where they sit around and take turns staring at one another's navels. Outsiders need not apply -- and if everyday people think they're out of touch with reality, then that's all the better since it reinforces the myth that academic elite "thinkers" are somehow "smarter" than the average bear.

Makes me want to sell all my dang books, my microfilm reader, all the film I've accumulated and just give it all up.

Before I do that, I think I'll fire up the grill and do some barbecued chicken. Grilling, hangin' with the dogs, smokin' a stogey -- that rarely fails to improve my mood ...


Thursday, June 01, 2006


Don't forget: Fox News sucks

There. I've brought the level of discourse on this blog right down to the level of Faux News' believability.

Surely if there was any marginally believable way for FOX News to accuse Congressman John Murtha of having personally murdered innocent Iraqis in Haditha for the sake of political gain, Sean Hannity and Michael Reagan would have done so last night (5/31/06) on Hannity & Colmes. They are clearly so desperate to change the subject away from what actually happened in Haditha and the likely cover-up that followed, that they can’t say enough bad things about Democrats in general and John Murtha in particular.

Don't forget Newshounds. They watch Fox News so we don't have to!



Giblets and other adult beverages

Last night, I was trying to remember the name of the drink that has gin (or vodka) and lime juice.

"Hey, Dr. ER! What's that drink that has gin (or vodka) and lime juice? A giblet?" Of course, I reached into my mind, such as it is, to retrieve "gimlet" and picked up "giblet" instead.

But it got me to thinking. What would a drink called the Giblet have in it?

Hmm. I'd say 2 parts gin (or vodka) to 1, or 2, parts chicken bouillon, with a dash of Tabasco, half-dash of worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper. Garnished with a jalapeno-stuffed olive and celery stick.

What do y'all think? Makes me think of the bullshot.

Name *your* poison. What's your favorite adult beverage? What's your favorite cocktail for anytime? For summer? Winter?

If you don't imbibe, then name your non-poison!


Hot weather, ice-cold Miller Lite. Cold weather, port.

Anytime, Beefeater or Hendricks martini with bleu-cheese-stuff olives, sprinkle of pepper. Anytime, George Dickel, rocks. Anytime, but rarely (since Dr. ER can't stand the smell of the stuff), Dewar's scotch (white label), rocks.

Wine, red, shiraz, white, whatever.

Favorite odd drink: oyster shooter, which is a shot of vodka, tomato juice, horseradish, pepper, Tabasco and a raw oyster.

Favorite non-alcoholic drink: sweet tea, RC Cola or milk.


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