Bible Commentaries Online

If you are on a budget, but wish you had shelves packed full with classic biblical commentaries (of a Protestant persuasion), look no further than Classic Biblical Commentaries (of course) at Genesis through Revelations and all the opinions of dead white guys your little heart can desire.


In Which Scientists do not Recommend that We Eat Food

“…We should understand and engage with food and our bodies in terms of their nutritional and chemical constituents and requirements – the assumption being that this is all we need to understand.” This reductionist way of thinking about food had been pointed out and criticized before…but it had never before been given a proper name: “nutritionism.”…

The first thing to understand about nutritionism is that it is not the same thing as nutrition…It is not a scientific subject but an ideology…The widely shared but unexamined assumption is that the key to understanding food is indeed the nutrient. Put another way: Foods are essentially the sum of their nutrient parts…

Since nutrients, as compared with foods, are invisible and therefore slightly mysterious, it falls to the scientists…to explain the hidden reality of foods to us. In form this is a quasireligious idea, suggesting the visible world is not the one that really matters, which implies the need for a priesthood. For to enter a world where your dietary salvation depends on unseen nutrients, you need plenty of expert help.

– Michael Pollan, In Defense of Food, pp. 27-28

In Which Men do not go Mad by Dreaming

Imagination does not breed insanity. Exactly what does breed insanity is reason…Perhaps the strongest case of all is…that only one great English poet went mad, Cowper. And he was definitely driven mad by logic, by the ugly and alien logic of predestination. Poetry was not the disease, but the medicine; poetry partly kept him in health. He could sometimes forget the red and thirsty hell to which his hideous necessitarianism dragged him among the wide waters and the white flat lilies of the Ouse. He was damned by John Calvin; he was almost saved by John Gilpin…

Critics are much madder than poets…Though St. John the evangelist saw many strange monsters in his vision, he saw no creature so wild as one of his own commentators…

Poetry is sane because it floats easily in an infinite sea; reason seeks to cross the infinite sea, and so make it finite. The result is mental exhaustion…The poet only asks to get his head into the heavens. It is the logician who seeks to get the heavens into his head. And it is his head that splits.

– G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy, pp. 18-22.

In Which You May Own Handguns in DC

Today the Supreme Court of the United States declared in a 5-4 split opinion that the Second Amendment prohibits blanket handgun bans by the Federal or State government, and the right to “keep and bear arms” is not in any way tied to involvement in State militias. This of course effectively overturns the Washington, D.C. handgun ban (thus allowing law-abiding citizens to protect themselves), though it does leave in place other gun-control laws such as firearm registration (which is fine with us).

The case was District of Columbia v. Heller, 07-290. You may read about it here.

In Which Bill Gates Hates Microsoft Products as Much as You Do

The following is an internal email from Bill Gates to various minions about his experience attempting to download Moviemaker from the Microsoft Website in 2003, as published by

—- Original Message —-

From: Bill Gates
Sent: Wednesday, January 15, 2003 10:05 AM
To: Jim Allchin
Cc: Chris Jones (WINDOWS); Bharat Shah (NT); Joe Peterson; Will Poole; Brian Valentine; Anoop Gupta (RESEARCH)
Subject: Windows Usability Systematic degradation flame

I am quite disappointed at how Windows Usability has been going backwards and the program management groups don’t drive usability issues.

Let me give you my experience from yesterday.

I decided to download (Moviemaker) and buy the Digital Plus pack … so I went to They have a download place so I went there.

The first 5 times I used the site it timed out while trying to bring up the download page. Then after an 8 second delay I got it to come up.

This site is so slow it is unusable.

It wasn’t in the top 5 so I expanded the other 45.

These 45 names are totally confusing. These names make stuff like: C:\Documents and Settings\billg\My Documents\My Pictures seem clear.

They are not filtered by the system … and so many of the things are strange.

I tried scoping to Media stuff. Still no moviemaker. I typed in movie. Nothing. I typed in movie maker. Nothing.

So I gave up and sent mail to Amir saying – where is this Moviemaker download? Does it exist?

So they told me that using the download page to download something was not something they anticipated.

They told me to go to the main page search button and type movie maker (not moviemaker!).

I tried that. The site was pathetically slow but after 6 seconds of waiting up it came.

I thought for sure now I would see a button to just go do the download.

In fact it is more like a puzzle that you get to solve. It told me to go to Windows Update and do a bunch of incantations.

This struck me as completely odd. Why should I have to go somewhere else and do a scan to download moviemaker?

So I went to Windows update. Windows Update decides I need to download a bunch of controls. (Not) just once but multiple times where I get to see weird dialog boxes.

Doesn’t Windows update know some key to talk to Windows?

Then I did the scan. This took quite some time and I was told it was critical for me to download 17megs of stuff.

This is after I was told we were doing delta patches to things but instead just to get 6 things that are labeled in the SCARIEST possible way I had to download 17meg.

So I did the download. That part was fast. Then it wanted to do an install. This took 6 minutes and the machine was so slow I couldn’t use it for anything else during this time.

What the heck is going on during those 6 minutes? That is crazy. This is after the download was finished.

Then it told me to reboot my machine. Why should I do that? I reboot every night — why should I reboot at that time?

So I did the reboot because it INSISTED on it. Of course that meant completely getting rid of all my Outlook state.

So I got back up and running and went to Windows Update again. I forgot why I was in Windows Update at all since all I wanted was to get Moviemaker.

So I went back to and looked at the instructions. I have to click on a folder called WindowsXP. Why should I do that? Windows Update knows I am on Windows XP.

What does it mean to have to click on that folder? So I get a bunch of confusing stuff but sure enough one of them is Moviemaker.

So I do the download. The download is fast but the Install takes many minutes. Amazing how slow this thing is.

At some point I get told I need to go get Windows Media Series 9 to download.

So I decide I will go do that. This time I get dialogs saying things like “Open” or “Save”. No guidance in the instructions which to do. I have no clue which to do.

The download is fast and the install takes 7 minutes for this thing.

So now I think I am going to have Moviemaker. I go to my add/remove programs place to make sure it is there.

It is not there.

What is there? The following garbage is there. Microsoft Autoupdate Exclusive test package, Microsoft Autoupdate Reboot test package, Microsoft Autoupdate testpackage1. Microsoft AUtoupdate testpackage2, Microsoft Autoupdate Test package3.

Someone decided to trash the one part of Windows that was usable? The file system is no longer usable. The registry is not usable. This program listing was one sane place but now it is all crapped up.

But that is just the start of the crap. Later I have listed things like Windows XP Hotfix see Q329048 for more information. What is Q329048? Why are these series of patches listed here? Some of the patches just things like Q810655 instead of saying see Q329048 for more information.

What an absolute mess.

Moviemaker is just not there at all.

So I give up on Moviemaker and decide to download the Digital Plus Package.

I get told I need to go enter a bunch of information about myself.

I enter it all in and because it decides I have mistyped something I have to try again. Of course it has cleared out most of what I typed.

I try (typing) the right stuff in 5 times and it just keeps clearing things out for me to type them in again.

So after more than an hour of craziness and making my programs list garbage and being scared and seeing that is a terrible website I haven’t run Moviemaker and I haven’t got the plus package.

The lack of attention to usability represented by these experiences blows my mind. I thought we had reached a low with Windows Network places or the messages I get when I try to use 802.11. (don’t you just love that root certificate message?)

When I really get to use the stuff I am sure I will have more feedback.


In Which We Declare War on the Front Lawn

Condo-living has made this sort of a moot-point for me at this juncture, but architect Fritz Haeg’s Edible Estates concept is such a good one that I must share now, and once we get the coveted place in the ‘burbs, we’ll let you know from experience how it goes.

The general idea is that front lawns are a waste of space and energy, of little aesthetic value, and can even have an isolating, anti-communal effect. They consume resources and time, and yet return no practical or social benefit (unless you count “having the best lawn” bragging rights).

Mr. Haeg has suggested that we get rid of our front lawns and replace them with productive gardens. His first prototype front-garden in Salinas, Kansas now produces everything from strawberries and peaches to Swiss chard and green chilis. And, according to the homeowners, “We probably met more of the people on the block, and had more interaction with them, because of the garden”. And while the owners say they spend about the same amount of time weeding and tending their garden as they did mowing and fertilizing the lawn, that time spent is much more rewarding and communal. After all, its much easier and pleasant to chat with family or passing neighbors as you harvest green beans than it is to holler over the roar of the lawn mower.

The front-garden not only makes useful a formerly useless space, but also changes for the better the life of a family and even to some extent the community at large, creating a nurturing, productive, aesthetically satisfying space that gives people the opportunity to reconnect to the seasonal rhythms of labor and harvest that our good God has given to us.


In Which We Give You the News in Brief

I apologize for the summer hiatus. Back in the saddle again. Here are my favorite news items of the day:

1. We are Economic Drama Queens

2. Update Your Music Collection: Buy Vinyl Records

3. Python Boy!. I know I showed something about this kid before, but the visuals are in many ways better on this video.
Here’s What that Burmese Python is Capable of

4. And finally, A Blast of Hot Air from France