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Archive for the 'Personal' Category

A Macintosh Reality Check?

6th February 2007


I use both a Windows-PC and a Macintosh every day, but in my heart of heats I am a Macintosh devotee. My brother, who is a Windows nerd and knows my love for Macs, sent me a link to an article entitled, “I hate Macs.” The article reflects on the current Mac TV ads, which I gather recently begun being aired in the UK.  The article humorous, though totally baseless, of course! :-)

Posted in Macintosh, Personal | 2 Comments »

Ultimate Bible Quiz

3rd February 2007

Gee… I’m so smart! I took the “Ultimate Bible Quiz” and got 100%! (Of course, as a professor of biblical studies, if I took the test and didn’t get 100% I probably wouldn’t advertise it on my blog!!)

You know the Bible 100%!

Wow! You are awesome! You are a true Biblical scholar, not just a hearer but a personal reader! The books, the characters, the events, the verses – you know it all! You are fantastic!

Ultimate Bible Quiz

(HT to my student who just started a blog: Scotteriology)

Posted in Bible, Humour, Personal | 2 Comments »

I’ve been Blurbed!

20th January 2007

Sorry for the self-indulgence, but this is way too cool. I just noticed from Kevin Wilson’s Blue Cord blog that I have been “blurbed” on the back cover of a new edition of Mary Douglas‘s In the Wilderness: The Doctrine of Defilement in the Book of Numbers (Journal for the Study of the Old Testament Supplement Series, 158; Oxford University Press, 2001; Buy from or

As far as I am aware, this is my first blurb.


Here is a close-up of the quote:


The blurb is from a review I did of the first edition of the book in the Toronto Journal of Theology back in 1994. I imagine it would be fine to reprint the review here, but I should check with the journal first.

Posted in Bible, Numbers, Personal, Reviews & Notices | 4 Comments »

24: Jack is Back!

14th January 2007

As you could probably gather from my Third Annual Ralphies Post, I don’t watch much TV. When I do get into a show, I am rather religious about it. So far this year I have been watching Battlestar Galactica faithfully and catching the occasion episode of House. But tonight, Jack is Back! The two hour, two day, season premier of 24 begins tonight on Fox and I already gave notice to my wife that she will be tucking in the kids tonight (and tomorrow night as well).

Jack is back. Sweet.

UPDATE: I just noticed that Mark Goodacre has linked to a news article that sees Jack Bauer as a Christ figure:

What would Jack do? Tune in to ’24′
TV: Watch for a miracle as Christ-like parallels continue in premiere

This is even better. Now I can appease my conscience by telling myself I am doing research for my religion and popular culture class!

Posted in Personal, Popular Culture | 1 Comment »

Third Annual Ralphies – Second Annual Codex Edition (Best of 2006)

30th December 2006

Welcome to the Third Annual Ralphies — Second Annual Codex Edition. Following the example of Ed Cook (see his posts on music, film and books), traditionally a number of other bloggers follow suit and offer their own “Ralphies.” This year Mark Goodacre and Chris Brady has thus far compiled (or at least started to) some of their favorite music, books, and films of 2006.

What follows is my own list. While I have tried to honour Ed’s template, I find it difficult to narrow lists like these down to one top pick, so I have includes some runner-ups.

Best SONG of the year: Hmmm.. this is a tough one. I, like Ed, quite like Gnarls Barkley‘s Moby-esque song “Crazy” (From St. Elsewhere; Watch on YouTube; Buy from or, though I’m not sure it is quite “Song of the Year” material. The same goes for the new U2 song (with Greenday), “The Saints Are Coming” (From U218 Singles; Watch on YouTube; Buy from or, as well as The Killers song “When You Were Young” (From Sam’s Town; Watch on YouTube; Buy from or

tunstall.jpgWhile this may surprise some, my best song for 2006 is KT Tunstall‘s “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree” (From Eye to the Telescope; Watch on YouTube; Buy from or This is a very catchy song, though what makes me pick it as my best of 2006 is my respect for her musical abilities. Make sure to watch the live version.

The best Canadian song of the year is the Barenaked Ladies, “Easy” (From Barenaked Ladies Are Me; Watch on YouTube; Buy from or

Best CD of the year: While all of the songs noted above are on good albums, I would probably have to vote for The Killers, Sam’s Town as my best of 2006 (Buy from or since there are a number of excellent songs on the CD.

Best MUSIC VIDEO of the year: I really like the Red Hot Chilli Peppers video for “Dani California” (From Stadium Arcadium; Watch on YouTube; Buy from or Watching it is a flashback through all the rock and roll fads from the 50′s to today — and the song isn’t half bad as well!

the_departed.jpgBest MOVIE of the year: This is always tough one for me. Like Ed, there are many movies I enjoyed (e.g., Nacho Libre, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, X-Men: The Last Stand, Mission Impossible III, Flags of Our Fathers, and even Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby was worth watching just for the “Dear Lord Baby Jesusâ€? scene!), but they’re not really “Film of the Year” material.

In terms of movies released in 2006, my vote for best movie of 2006 would be The Departed (Martin Scorsese; IMDB; Buy from or This is a great gangster film and all of the actors had great performances, especially Jack Nicholson. Second runner up would be Casino Royale (Martin Campbell; IMDB), which did for Bond what Batman Begins did for the Batman franchise last year.

Honourable mention goes to Thank You for Not Smoking (Jason Reitman, 2005 [I watched it in 2006]; IMDB; Buy from or In addition, I found Blood of My Brother: A Story of Death in Iraq (Andrew Berends, 2005 [I watched it in 2006]; IMDB; Buy from or to be quite interesting for its portrayal of life in Iraq.

Best KID’s MOVIE of the year: I tend to watch a lot of kid’s films with my children, so I thought I would add this category. It would be easy to pick Cars (John Lassiter; IMDB; Buy from or, Over the Hedge (Tim Johnson; IMDB; Buy from or, Ice Age 2: The Meltdown (Carlos Saldanha; IMDB; Buy from or, or even Curious George (Matthew O’Callaghan; IMDB; Buy from or

Instead of any of those movies, I’m picking Hoodwinked! (Cory and Todd Edwards; IMDB; Buy from or as my favourite kid’s movie of 2006. I found this deconstruction of Little Red Riding Hood quite amusing. While some have slammed its animation as cheap, I kind of like the minimalist CGI animation — after all, it is supposed to look like a cartoon isn’t it?!

Worst MOVIE of the year: This is an easy one for me this year. I mistakenly rented Black Dahlia (Ulli Lommel; IMDB) thinking it was Brian De Palma’s The Black Dahlia (IMDB; Buy from or Never before have I appreciated the significance of a definite article! Lommel’s film was a B-film at its worst. Calling it a “B-film” is an insult to other B-Films! This straight -to-DVD movie truly was one of the most vile, disgusting films I have ever (partially) viewed. I didn’t finish watching it and was quite appreciative when the video store let me exchange it for a different video free of charge.

Best TV SHOW of the Year: Since we are talking about the entire year, I have to include 24 (Fox) as one of the best shows on television. I am looking forward to January 14, 2007 when this year’s season begins. That being said, top honours goes to Battlestar Galactica (SciFi). I love science fiction and I find this new series quite well-written.

protest_against_god.jpgBest NONFICTION BOOK of the year: This is a tough one since I have read quite a few non-fiction books this year. My top pick is by fellow Canadian, William S. Morrow. His book, Protest Against God: The Eclipse of a Biblical Tradition (Hebrew Bible Monographs 4; Sheffield Phoenix Press, 2006; Buy from or is a fascinating study of why the biblical tradition of lament or protest against God was suppressed and marginalized.

While I can’t say that I have read it cover-to-cover, the top biblical commentary in 2006 is Ralph Klein’s commentary, 1 Chronicles (Hermeneia; Fortress, 2006; Buy from or This is a superb commentary on this often neglected biblical book.

If I look outside my primary areas of research, then I would pick U2 by U2 (HarperEntertainment, 2006; Buy from or as one of the best of 2006.

Best FICTION BOOK of the year: I haven’t read a tonne of fiction this year, but I would say that Anne Rice’s Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt: A Novel (Knopf, 2005 [I read it in 2006]; Buy from or was one of my favourites (see my post on it here). I also read a number of novels by Dean Koontz, which I found to be guilty pleasures.

Well, that’s about all I can muster right now, so I’ll see you at next year’s Ralphies!

Posted in Best Of, Film, music, Personal, Popular Culture, Ralphies, Reviews & Notices | 1 Comment »

My Messy Desk

29th December 2006

I have inherited my father’s messy desk. When I was in my teens, I actually bought my father a little plaque that read, “A Clean Desk is the Sign of a Sick Mind.” (When my father died, I looked everywhere for the plaque, since I figured that I could use it for my own desk! For those wanting to see a picture of my desk, see my previous post on this subject here)

The New York Times has an article that highlights the benefits of mess. The article, “Saying Yes to Mess,” is written in response to the “National Association of Professional Organizers” (!) dubbing January “Get Organized Month.” Here’s an excerpt:

An anti-anticlutter movement is afoot, one that says yes to mess and urges you to embrace your disorder. Studies are piling up that show that messy desks are the vivid signatures of people with creative, limber minds (who reap higher salaries than those with neat “office landscapes�) and that messy closet owners are probably better parents and nicer and cooler than their tidier counterparts. It’s a movement that confirms what you have known, deep down, all along: really neat people are not avatars of the good life; they are humorless and inflexible prigs, and have way too much time on their hands.

This is exactly what I have always believed! Sweet… now I don’t have to bother clearing off my desk!

(HT Ian’s Messy Desk)

Posted in Humour, News, Personal | Comments Off

Christmas Dinner Was A Success

26th December 2006

Well, Christmas Day has come and gone and everything went quite well — if I do say so myself. Christmas morning we spend alone, just my wife and the kids. The first thing we do after the kids wake us up at a reasonable time is read the Christmas Story from Luke and Matthew together and pray. Then we open stockings together. After that we had breakfast (I made French Toast). Then I had to get the turkey in the oven for supper — and it was only after that that we opened presents (yes, we’re cruel parents — we make our kids wait to open presents!).

As I mentioned in a previous post, I had pretty much my entire family over for dinner. The turkey turned out perfect as did the rest of the fixin’s. I made a cranberry apple stuffing out of three types of bread and even included turkey sausage — it was quite nummy. I made fresh cranberry sauce, though I forgot to get the candied ginger this year (Doh!), so it was plain. I whipped my garlic mashed potatoes until they melted in you mouth. Besides the standard cooked carrots, I also made some garlic fried green beans with mushrooms, onions, and slivered almonds. For dessert I had made three types of pie: pumpkin, apple, and cranberry apple.

All in all it was a great time with family. I enjoy putting on a spread like this for family and friends.

I trust you and yours also had a great Christmas and/or Hanukkah.

Posted in Christmas, Personal | 1 Comment »

Student Evaluation Feedback

21st December 2006

Now that final grades have been submitted, I received a copy of my student evaluations (typed and collated so I don’t know who they are from). The comments were typical (I’m great, they loved the classes, etc. :-) ), though this one comment stood out:

Tyler is a great humorous teddy bear of Biblical knowledge. He is filled with joy, laughter, and Hebrew.

I’ve never had it put quite that way before!

Posted in Personal, Teaching & Learning | 1 Comment »

Marking Done – Grades Submitted – Need Sleep

16th December 2006

Ah, nothing like the end of semester marking push to put someone in the mood for Christmas! Be that as it may, I am now finished (in more ways than one!). Marking is done; grades have been submitted. I am actually ahead of the game this semester since final grades are not due until this upcoming Friday. This is quite the accomplishment for me since I am usually one of the last professors to hand in grades.

Now I must turn my attention to a number of other important tasks before the next semester begins, including a number of blog posts that are needing some attention in my drafts folder.

Posted in Personal, Teaching & Learning | 2 Comments »

Anne Rice’s Adolescent Jesus

13th December 2006

rice-christ_the_lord.jpgI received a kind email the other day from the novelist Anne Rice. It appears that she came to my site looking for information on recent manuscript finds in Israel and wanted to convey thanks for my “interesting articles on many subjects.”

In turn, I thought I would put a plug in for her latest work, Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt: A Novel (Knopf, 2005; Buy from | Buy from I recognize that for the blogosphere this is old news (the book came out over a year ago! That’s like eternity on the ‘net!), but it is a novel worth reading.
Christ the Lord is an engaging novel written from the perspective of a seven year old Jesus returning to Nazareth with his family after living in exile in Egypt to escape King Herod’s clutches. Writing a book about the adolescent Jesus was quite the departure for the author who made her mark on the literary world by writing about vampires, but the novel is wonderfully written and well-researched. Rice draws from a wide array of sources for her inspiration, including, of course, the canonical gospels (which are admittedly sparse on the topic of Jesus’ adolescence), but also apocryphal works like the Infancy Gospel of Thomas, scholarly understandings of first century Palestine, and traditional Catholic teachings. The result is a compelling coming of age story.

That being said, this is a work of historical fiction and you shouldn’t base your theology on it (for example, one problem that Michael Pahl notes — and I agree with — concerns her portrayal of Jesus’ strong messianic consciousness; others would include her use of apocryphal material).

If you are interested in more information about Rice’s novel and potential film plans, you can check out her site.

Posted in Personal, Reviews & Notices, Theology | 1 Comment »