Monday, July 18, 2005

Tom Tancredo - In the lead for Stupidest thing said this year?

In case you didn’ hear, one of our Colorado Congressmen, Tom Tancredo (R) implied, in a “hypotetical scenario” that maybe we should have plans to bomb Mecca should a U.S. city be nuked.  No, really…

I didn’t get clued into this today until I checked Hugh Hewitt’s website and found out what Rep. Tancredo said.  Beyond dumb.  Just plain stupidly silly.  Tom, here are a few major things to consider:

1) Mecca is a holy site to Muslims in a way that no Christian city can be or should be.  The closest connection is the orthodox Jewish appoach to Jerusalem and the land of Palestine.  But that is a tiny minority within worldwide Judaism. The Haj to Mecca is one of the five pillars of Isalm to all of the world’s 1 Billion Muslims.

2) The United States military includes thousands of Muslims soldiers.  Are you seriously suggesting they should be ordered to bomb one of their two most holy sites?

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Posted by Christopher on 07/18 at 10:45 PM
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Christopher’s Manchester Weblog - Summer 2005 - Days 21-24 - Heat, Diet Coke and Headbashing

Another story from time in Manchester

Well, its Thursday evening and time to check in with another post. I will do at least one more, covering Friday and maybe, depending on the trip home, one for Saturday.

Basically its been a quiet week here in Didsbury. I have spent much of my time revising chapters one and two (coming along splendidly Dr. N. says), making copies of articles (which I really do mean to read), and sweating.  I mean really sweating, as all week it has remained in the 80s, which for here is stifling.  This afternoon finally the clouds rolled in and it dipped down into the mid 70s, but with 75% humidity.  I took runs both Tuesday night and tonight, and cannot get over how hard it is to get cooled down when the heat clings to your body.  Give me dry heat!

Because of the heat I had to do something I had never done here before.  I got a haircut (sorry Kirk). My hair had grown so thick so quickly, that I was sweating from my hairline, so off I went Monday afternoon to get a haircut at a “Gentleman’s Grooming” shop. It was the most unusual haircut I ever had.  The man who cut my hair looked like a David Beckham wanna-be, and he didn’t so much cut my hair as, well, beat my hair into submission. Picture Riley Beagle going after a bone or your dental hygienists cleaning the plaque off your teeth.  This man attacked my head with scissors and a razor, taking great swathes of hair off (and I think some of the scalp and bone).  He just about gave me a concussion.  If he had been smoking he would have fit the classic picture of a 1970s Liverpool steel worker, banging away on some molten steel. All I could think is on weekends he must be a football hooligan.  He asked me what I thought of the cut: “Its great…really…really great.” I paid and dashed away, with less concerns about a sweaty head but having to go to the toilet and check for bruising right away.  Say it together everyone, “I will never get my hair cut in England again!” On the bright side, most of my hair is no longer Fanta Orange. 

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Posted by Christopher on 07/18 at 01:40 AM
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Thursday, July 14, 2005

Christopher’s Manchester Weblog - Summer 2005 - Days 19 and 20 - On Conference Calls, Goats and Hair

Closing in on time to go home…

Well time for a quick fill-in on the weekend past…

Friday’s Conference Call

First, back to Friday afternoon.  I forgot to tell you about my first conference call done while not in America and via the internet.  Clint Dunham, my dear friend, had hooked me up with Vonage before I left the States and that has allowed me to avoid having to buy calling cards and being stuck calling Tanya from the sauna known as the NTC phone booth.  This entire trip I have called her from the relative serenity of my bedroom, while propped up on my bed with pillows and lounging in my shorts and t-shirt. 

So, I participated in a very important and serious conference call on Friday for the Money and The Navigators group that is looking at forming resourcing communities to support the international work of the Navs.  All went well for the most part, except for the fact that when I get excited (me?) I tend to speak louder and closer to the microphone, evidently giving my the sound quality of the teachers on Charlie Brown. 

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Posted by Christopher on 07/14 at 10:01 AM
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Christopher’s Manchester Weblog - Summer 2005 - Days 14-18 - Fanta Orange, British Accents and Chine

More on life in Manchester in the summer of 2005.

Well, its been almost a week since I wrote to you all, and its finally time to catch up on what has been going on here.

For the most part with me, being sick, resting, watching the rain fall (in torrents sometimes), revising my thesis, photocopying articles, and reading have been what I have been doing.  Not too exciting huh?  Now you know why I have not written before now.  That having been said, a few things I noticed in the course of daily life here this week…

Food Products – The UK must have become the repository for all those old food products we used to have in the US, but no longer do (because they are hideous, ineffective, etc.).  There are times when I have expect to see a Woolco’s and a Shakey’s Pizzareia over here.  But, given the, em, British taste on things, there are a few products you might recognize:

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Posted by Christopher on 07/14 at 09:56 AM
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Christopher’s Manchester Weblog - Summer 2005 - Days 11, 12, and 13 - Buses, noise and communion

More on my summer in Manchester

Since it was a holiday weekend where you all are at (definitely not here, trust me, other than “Good Riddance to bad Colonies” day), I thought I would combine the last few days into one message.

Friday

Having several sets of errands to work through, I decided to make Friday a day to get out and about.  I haven’t traveled much in Manchester via the bus this time, so today was the day.  And what a day for the bus.

First to downtown to check on a few items.  The ride down was uneventful, but I was fortunate enough to come downtown on an arts day.  So all along one boulevard of the walking mall there were all these artists setup to sell their latest “masterpieces.”

Now, I am no art critic (well, we all are…but you know what I mean) but all I can tell you is that I think the critics of postmodernism are correct.  They say that when a culture loses the concept of truth that buetey has to follow.  Based on the artwork on display Friday, their case has been proven.  I mean my gosh, I wouldn’t even give this artwork to my worst enemies, or even to Dallas Seminary (an inside seminary joke for those interested).  Hideous?  Not quite the right word.  Pedistrian? No, that is too soft.  Lets just use the ancient Latin word – Bleech!  I mean, Alethea with her paints does better work.  And, strangest of all, people were buying this stuff. The thought occurred to me that if I had been smart, I would have packed a few of A.N. Morton’s finest in my bag and I probably could have made a small fortune on Friday. 

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Posted by Christopher on 07/14 at 09:54 AM
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Christopher’s Manchester Weblog - Summer 2005 - Days 8,9, and 10 - Tyndale, the Trip Home and Launda

Return to Manchester…

Well, its been a few days, largely because of the lack of email.  So here is the catch-up on everything beginning with Tuesday:

Tuesday

You would think that still being under 35 that all the running around on Monday would not have left me in bad shape at all for Tuesday.  You would be wrong.  Meant to wakeup at 645 so I could pop down to Starbucks to use their internet connection, but 6:45 came and went, and I finally leaned how to use the snooze button on my alarm clock.  Finally at 7:30 I figured it was now or never if I was to make breakfast. 

One of the many things that I forgot to take with me on this trip was my good razor.  So I bought a packet of cheapie razors at Boots. The reason I discovered they were so cheap is that they were single blade razors.  All I can is that it’s a good thing my platelet count is up these days, or I would have found out how good the ambulance services are in Cambridge. After much blood and even more cursing, I was shaved, showered, and dressed and on my way to breakfast.  I would have worried about the appearance of my scarred and still bleeding face but, this is Tyndale, where the folks with doctorates dress like bums and the grad students look like they are trying to impress someone (which, we are of course).  I think the green tie I was wearing took the focus off of bleeding.

Breakfast was a non meat affair!  It also was devoid of anything nutritious.  I believe I now the derivation of the term “continental breakfast” now.  If you come to Cambridge from the Continent, you wont have any money for anything other than a roll and a croissant. 

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Posted by Christopher on 07/14 at 09:53 AM
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Christopher’s Manchester Weblog - Summer 2005 - Monday June 27 - Day 7 - Going to Tyndale

Day 7 - Academic Conference!!!

Well, good news is that I woke up today, so the Codeine and chloroform didn’t kill me.  Actually, slept quite well.  Ate breakfast and packed my bags. Today I had to carry the small army on my back again, so it was a long walk to the Tube and then to Kings Cross.  This time I got to the take the train direct to Cambridge.  Nice and easy trip.  Boy was the train crowded.  I guess there are lots of workers who live in Cambridge and work in London, and many people who just go to Cambridge “for lunch.” Hmmm. 

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Posted by Christopher on 07/14 at 09:49 AM
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Christopher’s Manchester Weblog - Summer 2005 - Saturday and Sunday - Days 5 and 6 - Travelingman

Days 5 and 6 here…

On the Road Again

Well, Saturday and Sunday were days of travel, so I need to fill you all in.

East Didsbury to Manchester Piccadilly Train Station

I have gotten so tired of being late, running to make things, that I turned over a new leaf on this trip.  From now on, I am getting to places early – so there will be no more travel problems (at least that’s the theory).  Friday night I packed my bags for the trip (my backpack and two smaller bags, weight approximately 327lbs).  Got up bright and early
Saturday at 5am, showered and was out the door at 5:40.  My train from East Didsbury to downtown I thought left at 6:26, so I was giving myself almost 45 minutes to make a 20 minute walk.  Took a little longer, so I didn’t arrive until 6:05.  Realized then that the train didn’t come until 6:39.  Okay, more of a buffer than I really needed, but I was safe and
sound waiting for my train.

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Posted by Christopher on 07/14 at 09:40 AM
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Christopher’s Manchester Weblog - Summer 2005 - Days 3 and 4 - Fashion Updates, Cues and Hot Water

Days 3 and 4 of this summer’s trip

Thursday and Friday were relatively quiet days, so I though I would just combine them into a single entry…

British Fashion Update

Several of you wanted an update on English women’s “fashion.” As you may know, for the past several years the “in-thing” has been to show as much midriff (the bellybutton for those of us who don’t use midriff in polite conversation) as is humanly possible. I am glad to inform you that the bottom of shirts and the top of pants have risen slightly since last year!  This is particularly good news since the London Times just had a very long article about the fact that waistlines among the Brits, especially women, have continued to expand.  This years fashions seem to have changed to accommodate this growing problem.

However, I am sad to inform you that there is clearly a fabric shortage crisis here in the United Kingdom. There clearly is not enough fabric to go around for this change in lengthening the bottom of shirts and the top of pants.  This crisis has called for radical measures. Given the clear dearth of cloth, they have added this additional fabric to cover the “bellybutton expression area” by taking it from elsewhere in the shirt.  As you might have guessed…

This year’s fashion focus is to show as much of the “white meat” of the woman as possible while not yet qualifying for a “Page Three” pictorial (for those who like me had never heard of “Page 3 girls,” these are the women who pose topless on page 3 of many of the newssheets here, for no other reason than to…actually I have no reason why there are nude women staring at you opposite an article about the Tories continuing search for a new party leader). 

Thursday I took my first trip to downtown since arriving, and from the time I stepped onto the train I knew that the fashion change was not an isolated one.  Teen girls, college women, professionals, mothers, and literally every women who is not a Muslim it seems in this city, has adopted the “ready for breast feeding” clothing.  To give you a picture, image a sharp V cut that goes down to near the diaphragm, while using as little material as possible to connect the shoulder with the rest of the top.  There you go…they fixed the midriff while using not one bolt more of cloth!  Those ingenious British designers.

As I walked through the city all I could think of was that Barbara Walters, who started a nationwide furor among the Lactavists (breast-feeding women who are proud of it and militant) because she commented about how inappropriate it is to feed on the plane would have passed out if she walked the streets of Manchester.  Mind you that none of these women were actually feeding a baby (as you well know from previous weblogs, no one has children in this country), but they were ready for the occasion. 

In case you are wondering…no, undergarments for the topside of the female body seem also to be out this year….again I can only surmise a fabric shortage.  If you are wondering if this creates any temptations for a man far from his gorgeous wife for four long weeks, let me assure you.  These are still English women.  Temptation is not a problem, as it wasn’t when I was being blinded by the bellybuttons the past two summers. 

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Posted by Christopher on 07/14 at 09:38 AM
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Christopher’s Manchester Weblog - Summer 2005 - Wednesday June 22 - Day 2 - Professors and Birds

Another update, this time from day 2 in Manchester

Wednesday marked my first full day in Manchester, which meant the joys of being awoken at 4am by the birds that don’t seem to realize that sunrise and time to wake-up are NOT the same thing.  As short as the days are in the winter here, the summer days more than make-up for it.

I don’t know if you knew this, but the idea for daylight savings time came from an Englishman.  Back in 1907 this man was up at dawn, overseeing deliveries, and realized that here was all this wonderful sunshine (as rare an English commodity as good teeth), and everyone was in bed instead of out enjoying it.  So he proposed and parliament passed a change to the time, moving wakeup “time” back an hour.  What it means in Manchester is that finally gets dark after midnight, which means that it doesn’t get dark here at all each day (does that make any sense?).  Personally, in Colorado Springs I love daylight savings time…in Manchester I could only love it if given a slingshot to convince the birds to leave my window til a godly hour comes!

Actually, it is very weird to walk the city at night (as I do on my late night constitutionals) and see people out eating and drinking and talking, in outdoor cafes, at 10:30!  The Brits really do love both their sunshine and their chance to celebrate.  I do wonder though it all this late night activity explains why everything in the city seems to run a bit sloooowwww here in the summer.

So, I met with Dr. Noble, my erstwhile professor and mentor for my doctorate.  He is currently reading for the first time the entire Pannenberg Systematics, so he was full of questions for me.  I had mailed him the first four chapters a week ago Monday, which meant that they arrived here Tuesday about an hour after my lengthy trip from the airport ended.  Got to love the postal system that says, “International Express - 2 to 4 days.”

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Posted by Christopher on 07/14 at 09:36 AM
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