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Archive: 30 January 2004

Maps and Miracles

Last week I asked for suggestions regarding a good book on the conservative perspective, and to date, I’ve had six responses.  Three were from conservatives making suggestions (none of which overlapped), two were from liberals recommending books they liked, and one was a request to share whatever I learned.  I would, except I don’t feel like I know enough to make any recommendations.  On the other hand, Valdis Krebs has created an interesting map of recent top-selling books in this area (spotted over at Brewed Fresh Daily).  Check out the white paper, which details the methodology for creating the map.  He doesn’t list Red, White & Liberal, but a quick check of its Amazon “also bought” list reveals that it links up with four red dots and one blue dot on Valdis’ map.  Interesting…

I just noticed that Matt Haughey lists meyerweb as a blog he reads, which is really rather cool.  I should return the favor, as I do drop by there every now and again.  I also notice that he has never visited Ohio, and is apparently of a mind to undertake a major road trip to fill in the voids in his lifetime itinerary.  Maybe I can get him to drop by for some tea and crumpets… or maybe some really good sushi, tasty Ethiopian, possibly some great chicken ‘n’ waffles.  Note that I’m not in any way responsible for the sites to which I just pointed; I sometimes think that there’s an inverse correlation between the quality of a restaurant’s cuisine and that of its Web site.  We can only hope the same is true of WWW2004, because the both the current and previous conference sites have been… substandard.  Sub-standards, in fact.

<sigh type="weary" />

Speaking of food, which I was, we’ve recently discovered halloumi, a truly miraculous Cypriot cheese that is a touch expensive but oh, so worth it.  You can literally put the stuff on a skewer and grill it without it melting, and the taste is if anything better than just eating the cheese straight.  The texture is amazing; the taste, divine.  If halloumi had been the manna dropped for the Israelites after they left Egypt, they’d never have left the desert.

And that leads me to a question I’ve always had, but never had answered to my satisfaction.  We’re all more or less familiar with the concept of a miracle, even though one can stretch its meaning around a bit.  But let’s take as a basis the definition that a miracle is a divine action in the mortal realm, a supernatural act of God.  Good enough?  Okay, here’s the question: what is the antonym of the word “miracle?”  The results from an online thesaurus weren’t really satisfying; they expressed either an absence of miracles, or else simple bad luck.  Neither of those is quite what I’m after.  In other words, if God performs miracles, what does the devil perform?  (Sorry, “atonal symphonies” is two words.)

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