December 18, 2017

Saturday Ramblings 12-31-11

One more day. One more day in a year that has been, well, shall we say, interesting? We are celebrating the last day of 2011 here at the iMonastery with a day-long party. The ladies all brought spice cake, and the guys put forth mulled wine. Then we all looked at that and said, “What are we doing? It’s New Year’s Eve!” A quick trip to the neighborhood market produced chips, salsa, ice cream and twelve packs of Coca-Cola (and one two-liter for the Synonymous Rambler, who insists on Pepsi). Hey, we may be iMonks, but we still have good taste. Well, except perhaps in the matter of the scraps we leave lying around the place. But even those are now swept up and presented here as a heapin’ helpin’ of Saturday Ramblings.

If you were to pick the top religious news story for 2011, what would it be? See if your choice is among Christianity Today’s picks.

And while you have a copy of CT in your hands, turn to the page with the top books of 2011, ala Christianity Today. How many of these have you read?

What country has more than twice as many Catholics as Italy? Are there more Pentecostals, Charismatics or Evangelicals worldwide? What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow? You’ll find the answers to these questions (well, the first two, anyway) and lots more information about the global state of Christianity in this latest study by the Pew Forum.  (And was that an African or European swallow?)

Is morality merely a chemical reaction? According to this scientist and author, it is. Oh, you bet you will read more about this on these pages in the coming weeks.

What should we be doing for our brothers and sisters in the Middle East, especially those in Iraq? The war in that country (you heard about the war over there, right?) has forced half of the Iraqi Christians to flee their country. What is our responsibility to those who no longer have a home to go home to?

Rambler Adam Palmer has opened this can of worms by drawing our attention to this article. I wonder how many will suffer in Illinois as Catholic charities withdraw from offering help to those in need because of all of this.

Here we go again. Just what we need: another 40-day Christian campaign, this time using the Bible as its centerpiece. The campaign is being led by—oh, if you can’t guess by what I’ve said, where have you been?

Just what any presidential candidate would want: an endorsement by Ted Haggard. It’s not so much who he is endorsing that is a hoot, it’s why he is endorsing who he is endorsing. I love presidential campaigns right about now. More fun than a barrel of howler monkeys.

The Synonymous Rambler pointed out the Jesus Toaster to us. Now, to all of our amazement, the Christian Post wants to know if maybe these kinds of products—they call them “Christian Kitsch,” I call them something with a bit more of a kick—might possibly be harmful to the presentation of the Gospel. Next, I suppose, the Christian Post will want to know if a bear in the woods is a Catholic. Oh, and I for one can’t wait to see the Higher Power surge protector.

Happy last week of the year birthday greetings go to Howard Hughes; Ava Gardner; Steve “Red Green” Smith; Woody Shaw; Humphrey Bogart; Rod Serling; Gary Sandy; Jimmy Buffet; Carl Rove; Annie Lennox; Mao Tse-Tung; Richard Widmark; Phil Spector; Marlene Dietrich; Cokie Roberts; Mortimer Adler; Stan Lee; Edgar Winter; and Mary Tyler Moore.

What? You’ve never seen the Red Green Show? Don’t you know this is why Philo T. Farnsworth invented the TV in the first place? Watch this bonus video and see if you’re not hooked! Enjoy–and Happy New Year!

[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=niegc7QcilM’]

Comments

  1. I believe Rick Warren does a 40 day theme for spiritual growth every year. It’s not entirely a bad idea, even though somewhat Methodist in flavor. My church does a 40 day focus every year called Lent. However, the Purpose Driven Dudes have GOT to stop with the cheesy alliteration, it’s killing me. Oh, and the silly one liners: “Man, you should BE a living Bible. You’re either a Bible or you’re a libel.” Lord, have mercy.

    • +1

    • David Cornwell says:

      I’m curious as to how Rick Warren’s 40 day theme is a little Methodist in flavor? In all my years of being a Methodist I do not remember any thing of this sort. But I’m from a different area, so inform me please! In retrospect Methodists have done some strange things, but I’m not aware of this one.

      • I’m referring back to where the name originated: with all their “methods,” which, I believe, were all aimed at practical sanctification. It’s the “ABC” to personal holiness. I imagine the UMC is not quite as focused on that these days, as many of the “method” pushers probably left with the holiness and pentecostal movements or something. But generally, using creative techniques to becoming a better Christian is a Wesleyan idea.

        • David Cornwell says:

          Over the years the method madness of the UMC has turned into an organizational obsession. Committees, boards, commissions, conferences, etc. are now the “method.” Or so it seems to me. When I was 23, and attending school in DC I got into trouble over a talk I gave concerning this. But I wanted to cause trouble, so I had a kind of warped satisfaction.

        • With Rick Warren everything has to be a campaign or “purpose driven” If Christians need a purpose to be continually told then they really don’t understand their faith. Christianity is not that complex; many fundagelicals make it complex…

          • That’s not the half of it. I’ve been to the Purpose Kingdom. They had a bridge built to reach the campus across some sort of little canyon, and the name of the road? You guessed it: Purpose Drive. I went to Warren’s Alma Mater (CalBaptist) for a visit when I was looking for a grad school for music. They had a shrine in honor of him in the bookstore area (on the far end away from the Piper book club) including a life-size cardboard cutout of the King of Purpose himself giving another one liner. I hope you’re sitting down: “The purpose of life is a life of purpose.” I’m glad he’s there to tell me these things. I think it’s not so much that Warren makes the faith complex, as that he makes it ambiguous. I would say that God’s purpose is the meaning of life, as in, thy kingdom come thy will be done, but leaving it at “purpose” allows people to co-opt God’s purposes with their own, such as church growth. Purpose driven pens, purpose driven clocks, purpose driven journals, purpose driven screen savers, purpose driven coffee mugs, purpose driven Christmas…. if I say PD one more time IM is gonna have to pay a royalty!

            I could rant some more, but I have to go do some laundry. Those purpose driven socks and underwear ain’t gonna clean themselves.

          • Good rant, Miguel.

    • Miguel, nothing that Warren does is “Methodist.”

  2. Red Green – purdy dang funny.

  3. So what’s the deal with tounges?

  4. Christianity Today does about as well with their lists as Rolling Stones does with this. In either case, who cares?

  5. How many of Christianity Today’s top books of 2011 have I read? None. How many am I likely to read, ever? None. However, my reading list for next year does include Milton’s Paradise Lost, Tozer’s The Pursuit of God and James’ The Varieties of Religious Experience, so I think I’m in good shape.

    And I didn’t need another reason to not vote for Newt Gingrich, but thanks all the same, Ted.

    • I’m with you Ray. None of the authors on the CT list have been dead nearly long enough. I’m pretty reluctant to read most living authors, with a few exceptions, none of which were on the list.

    • David Cornwell says:

      There are a couple of books on the list that I might read. But one title struck me: “Did Adam and Eve Really Exist; Who They Were and Why You Should Care.” Well, I don’t care. The story is what is important to me in this case. It tells me all I need to know about the Fall. We always try to improve on the old stories. They do not need improving. To me this is an example of what is wrong and what is irritating about evangelical theology.

    • My goal is to read Homer’s Illiad and Odyssey this year. I think evangelicals are taught to avoid reading the classics, one of many commonalities among the great writers is that they were brought up reading the classics. It is no wonder Evangelicals can’t write.

    • Hey Ray…voting for Newt will give voters access to a male escort while living in denial about being gay.

  6. Gee, I thought I would have read at least one book on CT’s list, but nope, I did not.

    Red Green…I love him! Such great characters on the show. I love “The Man’s Prayer” that gets prayed at Possum Lodge meetings: “I’m a man, but I can change, if I have to, I guess.” 🙂

  7. Kelby Carlson says:

    THe only book on that list I’ve read is Horton’s systematic theology, which was excellent

  8. I like the story about the Catholic Church. Waaah! You are persecuting us by not awarding us a contract! Waaaah!

    • Yeah… my thought was why not go private? Why do they have to have federal funds?

    • Its the “us” vs. “them” mindset from a Catholic perspective. I guess its just a part of Christianity….

    • To my knowledge, there will be no suffering. First of all because due to George W. Bush’s policy of concentrating on getting children out of foster care and into adoptive homes, there just aren’t that many foster children anymore, nothing like in the 80’s anyway. Also, in 2007, the Catholic Diocese of Chicago lost its license to provide foster care due to an insurance problem. There was scrambling at that time, but enough private religious and secular providers were found. With that experience, and background, there was sufficient supply in the Diocese of Chicago (the largest by far).

      The biggest fear was that there would not be enough supply in southern IL. The Catholic Charities split there from their diocese and formed a new charity with the same staff, Christian Social services of IL. So no suffering there either.

  9. Thank you for the wonderful start to my day. I’ve just returned from the marathon hunting trip to my family’s home and then the drive to the in-law’s for Christmas dinner. I could have combined the two if I had only seen Red Green’s video earlier.

  10. Jeff ~ as my grandmother used to say, “You are daft”. Which is British for …uh…Crazy?? Anyway, we love you precisely for that reason. Thanks for all the effort you have put into informing us AND making us laugh this past year. Especially as we know it has been one tough year for you.

    Hey ~are we going to have a chance to vote on our Favorite Saturday Ramblings Video of 2011???

    • By the way Jeff, one of my favorite quotes attributed to Martin Luther is “A man has as much laughter as he has faith.” So, as I suspected, you are a man of great faith.

  11. Regarding the “morality molecule”…even if the release of oxytocin boosts our warm fuzzy feelings and makes us kinder and gentler, what does that say regarding morality? Absolute jack, IMHO. The Creator uses many tools to make our mind~body~soul work together for His glory. Oxytocin is important, just like every other hormone that comes from the pituitary gland, and who are passed along by neurotransmitter chemicals. As a nurse, the more I learn, the more I see how we were ALL “fearfully and wondefully made”!

  12. I rarely read “Christian” books anymore because so many are so trite, shallow, and just plain silly.

  13. Charles Fines says:

    Interesting that Christianity Today’s top news story was the Rob Bell firestorm but nary a nod in the booklist. There is not one book in all the winners or runners up that interests me in the slightest. After 35 years of patronage with Christian Book Distributors I increasingly find it difficult to find any gems. I’m not sure if that shows my pattern of growth or a stultification of the bookseller. Maybe both. I turned a significant corner with them when they offered Rob Bell’s book prepublication and then withdrew it when the uproar began. I just ordered Bell’s Nooma series from then at ten cents on the dollar so I guess it all works out.

    The year 2011 will be remembered by me as the year I finally dove into N.T. Wright and don’t expect to come out any time soon. What an extraordinary gift from God to a church whose candle has been sputtering and threatening to go out for far too long. At this point I find Tom Wright far more important to proper understanding of the message of Jesus than Tom Aquinas. Check with me again in a year.

    • My final post and ramblings at the IM for the year!! I’ll see you next year guys and gals. But I want 2012 to be a John Piper and Mark Driscoll free year!! I don’t want to hear about why a woman should endure mental abuse in a marriage or physical abuse for a night.

  14. Rebekah Grace says:

    On the Ted Haggard front, I have to share this:

    Have any of you seen the commercials for the upcoming new t.v. series, “Celebrity Wife Swap”? Mostly you see clips of Gary Busey in them, but the one I caught last night had a list of names. That’s right……Ted Haggard will be on.

    In regards to everything that I COULD say about it…..I will say one word and one word only…..

    REALLY?

  15. Yes, election season can be funny, but I’m usually more saddened… it generally makes the evangelical wilderness less inhabitable and harder to walk through (or be around) and – how do I say this nicely but those whose religion is ‘americanism with a dash of Jesus’ generally look and sound dumber during these times…

    By about this time next year I’ll be so sick of american evangelicals, I’ll be fighting off the temptation to throw it all out the window and become an agnostic – But I do have hope that God will have mercy on me and I’ll experience a fresh touch of the real Jesus (not the american one) and I’ll be able to carry on through the wilderness.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      The election season has been going on since the day after the last General Election. I’m getting “Witnessed” to about Politics Politics Politics Politics Politics to the point of being followed into the toilet stall to be lectured.

      Anyone know of one-way Super Saver fares to Ponyville? Because My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is getting to be the only place you can get away from Politics Politics Politics.

      • For me I take refuge in the land of railroads and model trains. You don’t hear about politics in that context. I’m dreading this year…

    • David Cornwell says:

      “I’ll be fighting off the temptation to throw it all out the window”

      Maybe throw up out the window too.

  16. Matt Purdum says:

    I think that was an allusion to “Rhinoceros” by Ionesco, wasn’t it?

  17. i think the Jesus Toaster a great gag gift…

    but what caught my eye in The Christian Post was this article:

    Noah’s Ark Theme Park Suffering From Lack of Donations

    seems funds are just not ‘flooding’ in as expected…

    {other puns, quips, word plays enthusiastically encouraged} 🙂

  18. Hi, I know this doesn’t apply to today’s article, but I did not know where to post my question. I visit this site often, and really connect with much of the postings. Can anyone recommend a book for me on hope, encouragement, etc. that is not of Joel Osteen like teaching as I am a 45yr old follower who is really struggling to find myself, connect with God, and overcome lifelong demons (depression, anxiety, etc.) that have kept me in bondage and prevent me from living life as opposed to enduring life everyday. I have read Brennan Mannings books which have really touched me. I am looking for a book that gets to my heart and soul. Should anyone have any recommendations, you can email me. In Him, Mark

    • If you are suffering from depression, see your doctor. I am not saying that you should not read books that encourage your faith, but your first stop should be your doctor. Please.

    • Mark ~ first of all I completely agree with Donalbain. Get to your doctor and discuss your depression honestly. I wouldn’t do the anti-depressant thing as I thought I could” tough it out with Jesus”. Once I finally got on one I was a new person. It helped me tremendously. We are not just spiritual.

      Having said that I would recommend:

      “The Spirituality of the Cross” by Gene Edward Veith, Jr.
      “The Screwtape Letters” by C. S. Lewis
      “A Place of Healing” by Joni Eareckson Tada
      “When You Can’t Come Back” by Dave and Jan Dravecky
      “Dearly Beloved” by David Wilkerson
      “Spiritual Depression” by Martyn Lloyd-Jones (He was a medical physician and pastor. This one is heavy and does contain older language which can be hard to wade through. However very informative.”
      “Paul” by Walter Wangerin, Jr. (This is a Biblical novel but to me it is unforgettable and “got to my heart and soul” as you said.
      “Safely Home” by Randy Alcorn (Fiction but gives you a more rounded view of Christianity and beautifully “counters” some of the American teachings of the Gospel. I read this at the beginning of every new year to try to keep my priorities straight.)

      Of course the Psalms are the classic writings to read when struggling with depression etc. Brutally honest and sets one free to pour out fears, prayers, thoughts etc. to God.

      Also Randy Alcorn’s website has some articles on his own struggle with depression. And I am sure Chaplain Mike could weigh in on this with some recommendations.

    • I second what Donalbain said. See your doctor first and get a diagnosis. Many times depression is treatable medically. God desires that we care for our whole being. Once you do that, if you are still interested in a good book on the hope of God’s presence and care for us in all circumstances, in addition to some already listed, I’d recommend C.S. Lewis’s “A Grief Observed.”
      Peace.

    • Mark there is no shame in seeing a doctor. Please do….you’ll thank yourself. We are not neo-reformed who will tell you that it is due to lack of faith (though I have none…) but your health comes first. See a doctor. Have your depression be treated by a qualified medical professional.

      • Trust me, I’m a Doctor. Depression is usually a biochemical abnormality. There are many meds to treat it. I’ve been there and done that.. Of course you will still need Jesus!

    • I second all the above comments, Mark. Another book I’d recommend is “Disappointment with God,” by Philip Yancey — or anything by him. He’s real.

    • I get what Mark is saying. It seems like Christians can’t have a positive message without faulting to the side of Peele-Osteen positive thinking, which is a happiness dependent upon perfect human performance. Is there an alternative? As someone once said, Christians tend to measure the amount of their sanctification by length of the droop of their frowning faces. Then there are people like Piper, whose image of God would make anyone depressed. There seems to always been this tension between Christians who think that you have to run around with a stupid toothy grin on your face no matter what happens, and those who think that Christians should always be serious and morose. None of this lends to good mental health. There is no question that someone struggling with clinical depression should seek medical help, but there has to be a better message, one of hope and courage, one of absurd peace, of grace under pressure, in spite of who we are or what is happening around us, that can accept oneself even when he or she doesn’t feel happy or hopeful. Rather than suggest another book, I think this topic needs further discussion – without immediately jumping to the medical trump card. We don’t need more principles; we don’t need more doctrines. We need the gospel.

      • This may be a place to start – one of the best Christian songs that I know of (if the link is permitted):

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_azpRey8Cs&feature=results_video&playnext=1&list=PLDE9F2D03F38F5EEA

      • Dumb Ox ~ Since going through my own dark pit of depression my own opinion is that the chemical imbalance is basically caused by the American lifestyle of EXCESS. The best critique on this subject in my thinking is actually an “older” book titled, “Future Shock” by Alvin Toffler which was published I think in 1970. I read it before I became a Christian but it came strongly back to me as I struggled through my darkness. He examined just about every facet of society from science to education to medicine and on and on. But what he said about depression came back to me big time. He said that, whereas the common cold was the reason most people went to the doctor at that time, IF our society continued on the frenetic path it was pursuing, in 30 years the reason would be depression. Depression would be epidemic. Why?? Insanity basically. Too much work, worry, stress, the pace of life, speed, not enough sleep etc etc. So his prediction in this area was right on target. It is well worth reading or re-reading.

        And unfortunately one place we used to be able to go for peace, comfort, centering etc. was the church. Now the church has become one of the most stressful experiences of people’s lives. It has matched or surpassed the insane excess of society in general. Unfortunately, for the sake of my health most of all, I had to leave my mega-church as I could no longer endure the turmoil, lighting, LOUD music etc. I have learned to listen to the Lord of Peace and come apart and rest awhile. Just not in a church.

  19. My impression is that the science involved in identifying the “morality molecule” is fatally flawed, confusing cause with effect. What Dr. Zak needs is a third group of amoral people for reference and a mulligan on the first experiment. 🙂

    I shudder to think what will happen if a “God particle” and a “morality molecule” were to collide. It could prompt another 40-day book from the Sage of Saddleback…or, perhaps, spawn an Apostolic Church of the Quantum.

    To Jeff, Chaplain Mike and all at iMonk …thank you so much for what you do here, and mega-blessings in the New Year!

  20. While I haven’t read any of the books on the list I was happy that there weren’t any “40 days of….” or “10 steps to…” type books. A little reformed-slanted perhaps but at least covering serious topics.

  21. Haven’t read a single one of the books on CT’s list. There may be some good ones, but the work weeding through the ones that are the result of the latest fad or marketing scheme to find them is no easy task. I have read some Annie Dillard, some Frederick Buechener, some Brennan Manning, some N.T. Wright and some Dallas Willard over the past year or two. Didn’t regret any of it. That’s more than I can say for most of what seems to be popular in the Christian market these days.

    • “I have read some Annie Dillard, some Frederick Buechener, some Brennan Manning, some N.T. Wright and some Dallas Willard over the past year or two. Didn’t regret any of it.”

      Me too, John (except for Frederick Buechener and he’s on my list to read).

  22. I’m surprised that Tim Tebow Bill Mahar firestorm wasn’t mentioned… You can read about it on CNN…

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/12/29/bill-maher-takes-on-tim-tebow-and-feels-the-wrath/?hpt=us_c2

  23. How many just cringe the fact that it is a Presidential election year which means that the Christian BS detector that many of us have will go through the roof? You know that we’re going to hear so much about the following:

    -Supreme Court
    -End Times crap regarding Obama
    -Christian discrimination by hand of the current administration
    -Last best time to reclaim our Christian heritage. (where the barf bag!!)
    etc…

    Get ready its going to start!! Maybe 2012 is not a good year to explore Christianity….

    • Look on the bright side — every candidate the Religious Right puts up comes crashing down in flames. Bachmann, then Perry, then Cain, then Gingrich (Gingrich?!? Really, people?). And now Santorum’s poll numbers are rising, not because he’s a plausible candidate, but because he’ll all they have left.

      Enjoy the fun the next few months listening to fundagelicals talk themselves into voting for a Mormon in November, Eagle. I know I’ll be enjoying it …

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Bachmann, then Perry, then Cain, then Gingrich (Gingrich?!? Really, people?). And now Santorum’s poll numbers are rising, not because he’s a plausible candidate, but because he’ll all they have left.

        Except for TEH MORMON (TM)… (Big kicker from 2008; Romney was the GOP candidate most in tune with “Traditional Family Values” and the most electable, yet I remember all the Christianese Political Action Types going for his throat denouncing That Godless Mormon Cult. The following January, the Obamanation of Desolation was enthroned in the White House.)

        And “Godly Gingrich (TM)”? Local morning drive-time radio has said that the GOP’s choice in the primaries is between electability (who has the best chance of beating Obama) and Purity of Ideology, and right now Purity of Ideology is winning.

        Enjoy the fun the next few months listening to fundagelicals talk themselves into voting for a Mormon…

        I suspect it’ll be one of those “Oceania Has ALWAYS Been At Peace With Eurasia, Comrade” moments, with additional God-talk.

        And Mormons are a religion that ORIGINATED in America, so how can you be more American?

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      -End Times crap regarding Obama

      Well, all the media are going gaga over Nostradamus/Mayan Calendar 2012; why not a Christianese knockoff? (It happened with The Jupiter Effect in 1981, where an astrological conjunction EotW made the jump into Rapture scares.)

      -Christian discrimination by hand of the current administration

      i.e. “When you see The Obamanation of Desolation Enthroned in the White House…”

      -Last best time to reclaim our Christian heritage. (where the barf bag!!)

      Take Back America; Build a CHRISTIAN (TM) Nation, Traditional Family Values, bla bla bla…

    • The problem is that American Christianity does NOT have a BS detector to detect the lies with which candidates are leading them by the nose. As an example, Obama is taking grief for signing into law the National Defense Authorization Act, which permits the detention of American citizens, but this bill was drafted by prominent Republicans. It was rightly opposed by the ACLU and swallowed hook and sinker by conservatives. This is shameful and embarrassing. As Bonhoeffer stated, when will the church say the right thing at the right time?

      • Dumb Ox…the sad part is the many Christians have spent their “capital” waging the culture wars. Many don’t listen to “Christians” anymore. Had it not been for that they probably could have done something.

  24. Just for the record, Red Green got his start in my home town of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada!

  25. Also am one who has not read any on the CT book list. But I have read some of Kenneth Bailey in the past and would recommend him to anyone interested in understanding Jesus’ culture.

    Dana

    • I just finished Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes by Kenneth Bailey, and I too found it phenomenally informative and interesting. He´s very compatible with the IMonk ideologies, and in fact, his books are largely one scholar´s attempt to pluck Jesus out of modern American Evangelicalism and put Him back among the people and culture in which He originated. Bailey´s book on Paul is on my list for next year.

      • I’ve read a couple of Bailey’s books. I have the Paul book in the to be read stack. He’s a great read if you are interested in the middle eastern underpinnings and assumptions likely to be present in the parables. Also, he provides a really good analysis of the literary structure of parables. I also have the Groothuis book on apologetics in the list and I’ve read one or two others on that list. I was surprised that the list contained books that are considered academic and not just popular drivel. I don’t agree that the only good writer is a dead writer. That demonstrates an unpleasant prejudice of a sort.

  26. Ah, Red Green … Possum Lodge has been part of my life for years. Now — double points for any Due South fans out there …

  27. I think my reading list is the anti-Christianity-Today list. I’ve read Dawkins “The God Delusion” and really enjoyed his narrative style and followed that up by reading “The Greatest Show on Earth” (which is like an expansion on Darwin’s “On The Origin of the Species”, which I’m currently working on ), then “The Magic of Reality” which is an excellent beginning science text. Also learned a lot of myths in it. I just got “The Selfish Gene” the 30th year anniversary one.

    Also Sam Harris “Letter to a Christian Nation” and “Lying”.

    I’ve started on Hitch’s “God is Not Great”. I finished Sean Faircloth’s “Attack of the Theocrats”.

    Oh, and I started the year by reading “Mere Churchianity”

    And in between I’ve read a lot of fiction by Charles Todd, Håkan Nesser, and Wilkie Collins.
    And I am so grateful for ebooks! It keeps my home from getting filled floor to ceiling with books!

    • Yay for Wilkie Collins! Who are the other two? I’m always looking for good fiction.

      • Nesser wrote a series of books that have Detective Van Veeteren as the main protagonist. He writes in Swedish and they are translated.

        Charles Todd wrote some detective stories that feature Ian Ruttledge who is a survivor of WWI and part of the Lost Generation. He has returned from the Great War with shell shock and one of the manifestations is that he is “haunted” by a soldier, Hamish, who he had to have executed. I believe there are also some books with a nurse from the Great War as a protagonist, but I have read none of those.

        • I haven’t read any Wilkie Collins books. Do you, Damaris and cermak_rd, have a favorite of his to recommend?

          • Well, “The Moonstone” is regarded as one of the very first detective stories. However, I really liked “The Woman in White” and the “Haunted Hotel”.

          • Thanks, cermak_rd.

          • I also liked “The Woman in White” the best, with “The Moonstone” a close second.

          • Thanks, Damaris. I have two books I am waiting for through interlibrary loan and then I may venture into reading at least one Wilkie Collins book.

    • Hey I forgot Janet Reitman’s book, “Inside Scientology” and Lisa Randall’s book “Knocking on Heaven’s Door”. That last one prompted me to get Quantum Physics and String Theory for Dummies (yes, those are real books!)

  28. Possum Lodge oath: “Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati” (When all else fails, play dead)

    You can be a member of the International Possum Brotherhood and get your very own Possum Lodge crest at redgreenshop.com

    Note that, “the Lodge Crest is a must-have for any Lodge member who`s committed or should be.” 😉

  29. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    Here we go again. Just what we need: another 40-day Christian campaign, this time using the Bible as its centerpiece.

    “Five-year Plans and New Deals
    Wrapped in golden chains;
    And I wonder
    Still I wonder
    Who’ll stop the rain?”
    — Creedence Clearwater Revival, 1970

    • I dunno HUG… when I think of another 40 Day Campaign I think Pink Floyd “The Wall…”

      We don’t need no “education”
      We don’t need no mind control….. 😯