Oh, bother.

Sometimes, what you hope for can come to pass. The first line of the article is right on--I've missed Dunkin' Donuts ever since I got here. The hundreds of Asian-immigrant donut shops, for reasons passing understanding, don't make my favorite, raised chocolate-frosted with sprinkles. Mona and I joke about "going to New Orleans so we can eat at Dunkin' Donuts"--there was a store a block away from the hostel we stayed in.

I watched the first part of Porn 'n Chicken tonight, Comedy Central's first original movie. It's surprisingly good, and avoids the repetitive potty humor of South Park and its colleagues. It's about an underground college club that clandestinely meets to watch porn, eat fried chicken, and generally have a good time, I think for the right reasons. Eventually they decide to make a porn movie of their own, I think again for the right reasons. It reminds me of college, the way the friends and lovers interact. I'm not always sure Real Life® is an improvement...a friend from high school, having graduated from college a couple years ahead of me, told me, "The thing about Real Life® is, in college there's always people down the hall to play with, and after college, that's not there". There's a lot that's magical about the environment and the way everyone circulates and bumps into each other and connects and separates and re-connects, like an unreasonably complicated dance performed in the face of common stresses and common experience. In terms of lives colliding I'm not sure my life has changed that much, or if it's supposed to. Maybe that change, whatever it could be, would be a good thing somehow.

In any case, the movie is good. It's far from perfect, but it's Comedy Central's first movie, and the performances are sincere and fun-loving, as is the dialogue, I think, at least from my memories. It's sex-positive and thoughtful, and the world can always use more of both.

I did some logfile analysis the other day, and it turns out a lot of people are hitting this site; surprisingly a lot of hits on the technical documentation section, despite its being somewhat out of date. And at least one person has been reading my journal entries, but in no particular order. I didn't do any research on how people are getting here, although maybe that would be interesting (the logfile analysis program "analog" does some of that, by listing search keywords, but in general it doesn't give me the information I want). Mmm, data mining. Shout out to Mom and Dad!

Ever wonder what God and Jesus talked about?

Dude. We are so going to hell.

Sometimes I run into people who don't share my sense of humor. On one occasion, and while I'm sketchy on details I'm pretty sure it was after an a cappella performance, I added the epithet "from hell" to a noun that we were discussing, as one of my idiolectal ways of emphasizing something extraordinary--now I only use it to indicate something difficult, but at the time I simply meant that it was very large. The man, perhaps in his sixties, looked at me with an expression of incredulity bordering on horror...imagine the look of a devout Catholic if I took the paten and used it to eat my grilled cheese (without even troubling to bless the grilled cheese--while consecrated grilled cheese is probably still frowned upon [are you allowed to frown upon it if it's Transubstantiated, or do you just have to accept it as is?], I suspect it's at least a small improvement). For him, Hell was a place, a thing--ironically, a word to be treated with care similar to the name of Jesus. A thing of power, power both inherent and greater than us.

That's hard for me to identify with, since not only do I not believe Hell is a place, but I usually don't even find it a useful metaphor, except within the Christian context, where it's kind of obvious, part of the universe of discourse. Thomas Merton, although I don't think he came up with the idea, wrote a bit in New Seeds of Contemplation about Hell not needing to be physical pain; the sinner has cut himself off from God, and the lack of God's presence is fully torment enough, especially combined with the knowledge that the sinner has done this himself through his actions. To me this self-punishment points to self-salvation, and immanent divinity after that, but Merton was a vastly better theologian than I'll ever be, and has some nifty ideas about why God and/or Jesus is/are necessary for salvation.

Next week on Chris's Doctrine-Free Christianity Forum: "Resolved: Augustine Deserves To Get The Crap Beaten Out Of Him For Inventing Original Sin". Don't miss it!