This sounds like fun, especially when accompanied by alcohol (or massive quantities of caffeine): The One Thousand Blank White Cards game. (via Caterina)

Rules are simple: 1) Draw (literally) five cards to start, and then on each turn 2) Play a Card and then draw (literally) a card. The rest is left up to the imagination, including the object of the game.

Here’s a pretty imaginative deck, just to give you and idea.

Anyone for a rousing game? Sounds like an evening of creative, useless fun.

Head in the Clouds

My current book I am using for Lectio Divinia is Aldous Huxley’s Perennial Philosophy. It’s one of those dense books where one page inspires a full day’s thought at minimum, so I may be talking about it for a few months hence.

It is an attempt to glean a “Perennial Philosophy,” a term coined by mathematician, philosopher (and Catholic convert) Gottfried Leibnitz, from the writings of the world’s mystical traditions. This is like the “common watertable” of spiritual truth I was referring to a few days ago. I am feeling a real draw toward the Unitive right now. Maybe it’s because the world seems to be falling apart, I dunno.

Anyway, expect me to bore you with a few tidbits along the way. There’s this one point about the natures of God that my mind is wrestling with — about the possibly unpleasant side effects of worshipping only limited aspects of God — that I want to write about, but I can barely grok the concepts themselves, much less find the words to describe my thoughts about them.

That is the benefit of spiritual blogging. Having to come up with concise words facilitates understanding. Not that I am particularly concise, but I am downright terse compared to Huxely.

I identify with Huxley in a way. It’s evident that he was torn between the world of ideas and the “real” world he was “missing out” on by having his head in the clouds all the time. I’m so there. Here’s a poem he wrote that I present as exhibit A:

The Life Theoretic

While I have been fumbling over books
And thinking about God and the Devil and all,
Other young men have been battling with the days
And others have been kissing the beautiful women.
They have brazen faces like batering-rams.
But I who think about books and such –
I crumble to impotent dust before the struggling,
And the women palsy me with fear.
But when it comes to fumbling over books
And thinking about God and the Devil and all,
Why, there I am.
But perhaps the battering-rams are in the right of it,
Perhaps, perhapsÂ…God knows.

— Aldous Huxley

How to lose interest in a movie in the last ten minutes.

We went to see, for lack of more appealing options in the time slot we had available, “How to lose a guy in ten days” last night. Clever premise — a lightweight snack of a romantic comedy that derails in the last ten minutes. Take my advice and catch it on cable or video.

In it, Kate Hudson’s character drives her new boyfriend nuts by being clingy, showing up at his office, leaving 17 messages on his answering machine, talking incessantly about “the relationship,” and not letting him watch sports.

Yes, you guessed it. It’s a documentary.

You've Got Class (action, that is)

If you’ve ever, even once, purchased a pre-recorded Music product from a retail outlet in the years from 1995-2000, well surprise surprise, you’ve been screwed. However slightly.

Apparently the major music retailers got caught price-fixing, they’ve been successfully sued in a class action suit, and you’re in the class.

You can identify yourself as a claimant in the class by going to musicsettlement.com and being counted. No actual proof of purchase is required. The deadline is this Monday, March 3rd. So, chop chop.

You won’t get rich. Chances are you won’t get a check large enough to merit a trip to the bank. Awards are to be no more than $20/person. And that is reduced as the number of claimants increases. So don’t tell anyone, okay? ;)

This reminds me of Douglas Hofstadter’s Luring Lottery, where the prize was $1,000,000 divided by the number of entrants. It’s an exercise in social cooperation, because the rules said that you contribute as many entries (free) as you want, so you can improve your own chances by reducing the payoff for (yourself and) others. A truly altruistic person would either enter only once or not at all to keep the overall benefit of the game high. Hofstadter was betting that peoples’ greed would override their collective altruism. Hofstadter won his bet — the winner was awarded a few thousandths of a penny.

This settlement is a bit like that except for one key difference. Yes, you can only “enter” once, but the biggest difference is that if the individual payoff gets low enough (less than $5), the whole pot goes to charity. That’s the outcome I’m hoping for. I’d rather see the money go to charity than get a check for $5.13 in the mail. But, still, $5.13 is $5.13.


Praise the wet snow

falling early.

Praise the shadow

my neighor’s chimney casts on the tile roof

even this gray October day that should, they say,

have been golden.


the invisible sun burning beyond

the white cold sky, giving us

light and the chimney’s shadow.


god or the gods, the unknown,

that which imagined us, which stays

our hand,

our murderous hand,

and gives us


in the shadow of death,

our daily life,

and the dream still

of goodwill, of peace on earth.


flow and change, night and

the pulse of day.

— Denise Levertov

Thanks Chris.

Waking Life

This is so cool. Somewhere between fandom and “too much free time” this guy has put together a bang-up tribute site to Richard Linklater’s Waking Life. An animated movie that, upon repeated viewings, is fast becoming one of my all-time favorites. He’s got the script from all of the philosophical ramblings organized by character. So now you can read the movie. Very cool indeed.

Here’s my favorite quote from the movie, from the animated character played by Linklater himself:

“There’s only one instant, and it’s right now, and it’s eternity. And, it’s an instant in which God is posing a question, and that question is basically, “Do you wanna be one with eternity, do you want to be in heaven?” And, we’re all saying, “Nooo thank you, not just yet.” And so time is actually just this constant saying “No” to God’s invitation. I mean, that’s what time is. It’s no more 50 A.D. than it’s 2001. There’s just this one instant, and that’s what we’re always in. …This is the narrative of everyone’s life. Behind the phenomenal difference there is but one story, and that’s the story of moving from the “No” to the “Yes.” All of life is like, “No thank you, No thank you, No thank you.” And then, ultimately, it’s, “Yes I give in, Yes I accept, Yes I embrace.” I mean, that’s the journey. Everyone gets to the “Yes” in the end, right?”

Lifelong Questions

At the end of this conference sponsored by Time Magazine, Ray Kurzweil, everybody’s favorite positive extrapolist, predicts that coming biotech advances will allow him to live to be 1,000 years old.

This reminds me of what Ian Pearson, British Telecom’s in-house futurologist, told me a coupla years back. It went something like, “We may be the last generation that has to die. I can’t tell you how much that annoys me.”

Such speculations leave me wondering how long I really *want* to live. How long, as a faithful Christian, *should* I live? Are we made to cling to this life? Remember that whole “dying to self” thing? Will we have to actually *choose* to go to heaven?

Part of my life goals, though, has been to live into the upper quadrant of whatever the life expectancy bell curve is for my demographic when I am old. I don’t want my survivors to feel cheated. I want them to be assured by my long life and that it was “my time” to go. But what do we do when faced with the freedom to indefinitely delay our “time to go,” our own natural demise?

And, as a matter of social justice, just how large should we let the “Longevity Gap” get? How much longer should the faithful Christian seek to live than the poorest in our world? We Americans already enjoy a lifespan longer than those in the developing world. The world’s poorest people, many children actually, die young for lack of access to the most basic medical technology such as $.80 measles vaccinations and basic nutrients. How much worse will this gap get when we among the richest populations have access to new life-extending technologies?

Granted, Kurzweil, as usual, is being wildly optimistic. And, as usual, the press seizes on the wildest and most sensationalistic prediction at the conference. But it’s a possibility that we ought to consider. When we start mucking with life and death, we are also mucking with our concepts of redemption, judgement, and the afterlife. What would Jesus do?

Hera Fan Club

Gwen wanted to be an Aphrodite but is a Hera instead. She waxes poetic on the Hera archetype:

“I walk through the playground and little kids I don’t even know slide over towards my legs like little flesh magnets, my big hips their umbrella. Stray cats see me and meow for scraps. Dumb dogs lick my hands. If you know me in real life, you know I’m followed around by a single word, repeated over and over. “Mom. Mom. Mom.”…. Sometimes Hera longs to venture from her hearth for a moment — to go to a movie or maybe even to a bar. She glares at Aprhodite on the television screen. Sighs and flips through a magazine. Skims through a story about some asshole turning some girl to a swan, a lute, or a damned linden tree. Hey, Target’s having a sale on bed sheets tomorrow.

Hera yawns and falls asleep against her throw pillows that smell like the shoes of little boys.”

I know first hand that there are men who adore Hera. Mortal men who think Aphrodite to be as unattainable and insubstantial as a wisp of steam. Who want their goddesses to have substance, gravitas, and hips to rest their eyes on. Who wonder why Hera puts up with Zeus’ antics. Who wish Hera would give a mere mortal a chance. We should form a fan club.