Archive for March 2nd, 2013
A worker directs the removal of a Tyrannosaurus Rex dinosaur from a lorry at Twycross Zoo near Atherstone, central England…15 dinosaurs will go on display at Dinosaur Valley, a new attraction at the zoo.
According to the Huffington Post, Robertson, 82, stated on Monday that one should always pray over sweaters purchased from the local Goodwill in order to prevent demons from entering their house. It was a response to an email from a viewer named Carrie.
“I buy a lot of clothes and other items at Goodwill and other second-hand shops. Recently my mom told me that I need to pray over the items, bind familiar spirits and bless the items before I bring them into the house. Is my mother correct?” Carrie asked Robertson. “Can demons attach themselves to material items?”
Generally, one would respond to a question like that with a resounding “no.” But for Robertson, this was a perfect opportunity to discuss the way second-hand clothes promote the Devil’s bids for the souls of all good Christians.
After hearing Carrie’s question, Robertson responded with the story of a Filipina girl who had purchased a ring second-hand. Apparently, a witch had invoked demonic spirits into the ring, and the object began somehow tormenting the girl until she prayed over it…
While Robertson admits a demon-possessed Goodwill sweater might be unlikely, he closed the statement by saying that, “Hey, it ain’t going to hurt anything to rebuke any spirits that happened to have attached themselves to those clothes.”
Especially if you’ve never gotten beyond the cave-dweller level of superstition.
That’s not just an emotional reaction to this silliness, it’s a bit of an educated analysis of Robertson’s flavor of Christian fundamentalism. We’re getting pretty close to the lowest common denominator of animism when you have to concern yourself about evil spirits living in a $5 second-hand sweater.
Cedar Waxwing: Ben Thomas, 2012 GBBC 1st place photo
From Antarctica to Afghanistan, bird watchers from 101 countries made history in the first global Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC), Feb. 15-18.
In the largest worldwide bird count ever, bird-watchers set new records, counting more than 25 million birds on 116,000 checklists in four days — and recording 3,138 species, nearly one-third of the world’s total bird species. The data will continue to flow in until March 1.
Building on the success of the GBBC in the United States and Canada for the past 15 years, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Audubon and Bird Studies Canada opened the count to the world for the first time this year, powered by eBird, a system that enables people to report birds globally in real time and explore the results online. Bird-watchers are invited to keep counting every day of the year at http://www.eBird.org
Hurricane Sandy: The weather system that caused Sandy’s landfall also blew some European birds to North America, and evidence of this is still showing up in GBBC results. The colorful, crested northern lapwing was reported in Georgia, New Jersey and Massachusetts during the GBBC.
…A red-flanked bluetail has wintered at Queens Park, Vancouver, and was also reported in the GBBC for the first time. This British Columbia bird has been drawing bird-watchers from all over the United States and Canada hoping to see this rarity. This little thrush is one of the only birds in the world with a striking blue tail and is native to Asia: the other GBBC report of the red-flanked bluetail this year was from Japan.
RTFA for interesting stats. Visit the ebird site.
When you can, join in next year and help build knowledge at the grassroots level about the feathered critters who share this planet with us.
An Italian restaurant with Italian words in the menu – how dangerous!
They are known as the language police, a unit within the regional Quebec government that seeks to protect French from the rising tide of English. It deploys inspectors to rein in recidivist anglophones, take on big corporate transgressors such as Guess, the Gap and Costco and conduct spot checks to follow up thousands of public complaints.
Now, however, zealots in the Office québécois de la langue française…may have gone a step too far in picking a fight with an Italian restaurant known for its celebrity clientele including Bono, Rihanna, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jerry Seinfeld and Robert De Niro.
After a five-month investigation into an anonymous complaint, Massimo Lecas received a letter from the board telling him that his establishment, Buonanotte, had broken the law by including the words “pasta” on the menu and “bottiglia”, the Italian word for bottle, instead of the French word bouteille.
Outraged, Lecas posted the letter for 2,500 of his Facebook friends to see. In doing so, he unleashed a political tempest over one of the most sensitive topics up for debate in the province. The outcry has forced the Quebec government to rein in its language inspectors, ensure exceptions to the rules are made for ethnic food and restaurant menus and order a review of how it handles public complaints. Anglophones and the many ethnic communities that call Quebec home are now celebrating a victory. French-language advocates and Quebec separatists, meanwhile, see signs of a campaign by a cabal of English-speakers in Quebec and across Canada to undercut what they view as the only tool to ensure that French thrives.
Lecas, who was born and raised in Canada’s second-largest city, and who also speaks French, does not hide his linguistic frustrations. But he says this episode is no sinister plot. Rather, it is a perfect storm propelled by social media.
“I think that when they circled the word pasta that was the sensitive spot,” he said. “It wasn’t an anglophone thing so right away the francophones jumped in [to support the restaurant] because it was an Italian word…”
In the meantime, Quebec premier Pauline Marois is introducing a bill to apply French-first laws to small companies and to prevent towns and cities where the majority of the population is francophone from also offering services in English.
Her government’s rallying cry that French remains threatened so long as it is surrounded by the cacophony of English voices in North America is undiminished. And in a period of severe cutbacks, Quebec’s recent budget included one notable increase: the yearly allotment for the language police.
The populist side of nationalism is no less elitist than bigoted. Extending the ban on English creeping in from the surroundings to every other language is logical only in the mind of politicians whose career is built upon Francophone fears. It also demeans the growth of education and understanding natural to people who feel they have something to contribute to the larger world.
The Parti Québécois is demonstrating its willingness to perpetrate the subjugation it says it fears.