Of the Ecclesia Anglicana

Part 1 in a continuing series about the Anglican faith.

The “Anglican Church” is a collection of churches worldwide that are “in communion” with the See of Canterbury (The Church of England). How the Church of England came to be is an exciting story in itself.

It’s a common mistake that is repeated in textbooks and classrooms everywhere: most of us were taught that England’s King Henry VIII wanted to get a divorce from his wife Katherine of Aragon. The truth is, Henry sought an annulment from her. In case you don’t know the difference, a divorce is a legal instrument that ends a marriage but an annulment is a legal declaration that a valid marriage never took place. Back in Henry’s day, it was quite common for the Roman Catholic Church to grant such annulments – especially for Europe’s royal families.

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Guide to Columbia House DVD Club

“Psssssst! Hey buddy! Want brand-new, shrink-wrapped, first-run DVDs for only $7.79? Come on, the first five are free!”

No, it’s not a drug dealer or gangster selling DVDs that “fell off a truck”. It’s just Columbia House. It seems as if everyone in America has been a member of Columbia House (hereafter referred to as “CH”) at some point in their lives. Many of you might have taped a penny to a postcard that had “stamps” for the vinyl albums you wanted – or maybe cassettes or even 8-tracks! Many of you might have a bad taste in your mouth from those days, and I can’t say that I blame you. As Homer Simpson once said, “the first five were only a penny… then they jacked up the price!!

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Odd Asian Products

Back in 2002, I decided to take a trip down to Buford Highway. Buford Highway is an area in Atlanta often disparagingly called “Chambodia”, which is a combination of the name of the city part of Buford Highway runs through (Chamblee, pronounced almost like the wine Chablis, only with an m and without the pretentiousness) and (of course) Cambodia. The area used to be populated by mostly middle-class folks that worked in the nearby GM plant. As an aside, the somewhat popular 70s band Atlanta Rhythm Section wrote a song called “Doraville”, about one of Chamblee’s neighboring towns. The song touts the good ol’ boy mentality and the reassuring comforts of the town: “Doraville, touch of country in the city/Doraville, it ain’t much, but it’s home“.

How things change! In the early 1980s, the white folks moved out and the Asians moved in. It’s what passes for a Chinatown in Atlanta, although that’s not entirely accurate. Not only did Asians move in, but so too did Mexicans and other Central and South Americans, which is why this same area is also sometimes called “Little Tijuana”. Go figure! Anyway, I picked up a lot of stuff and here are some pics of the BEST of the lot.

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See? I’m Not Crazy!

For years, conservatives railed against what they called the “liberal media”. The liberals were strangely quiet about it… that is, until the birth of Fox News. Now they lampoon the idea that a “liberal media” even exists. Imagine my surprise a few days ago when MSNBC published this list of political contributions by journalists. There are dozens upon dozens of names on the list, and guess what? Most of them have a “D” by their name! Surprise, surprise surprise! In fact, if you remove the few names on the list from “known conservative” publications like the Washington Times or New York Post, and if you remove the names from journalists so high up on the food chain that they feel compelled to give to both parties… what you have left is a sea of Democratic campaign contributions.

Come on folks – you can’t tell me that a bunch of people, 85-90% of whom contributed to the Democratic party, can’t make up a “liberal media”. That just doesn’t make any sense! So read the list and tell me what you think.

For the record, I’m a registered Republican, but am actually more of a Libertarian. I was actually a card-carrying Libertarian for several years, but got sick of being lonely on election night. In any case, I’d side with fiscal conservatives of any party before I’d side with the socially liberal ones.

My Letter to Fox

From 2004, when Fox canceled Wonderfalls:

Well, Fox has done it again! I have been a loyal viewer of the Fox Network for years, mainly due to their edgy comedies and “non-stuffy” dramas. Of course, my loyalty has been tested for the past couple of years, as Fox seems determined to become the “bad reality TV channel”. I enjoy a lot of their footage-based reality shows like World’s Wildest Police Chases and World’s Stupidest People Caught on Tape, but some of the “original” reality shows they offer – like Who Wants To Marry A Gay Midget Millionaire? and When Animals Attack Magicians – just push the envelope into bad taste instead of edgy television.

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Guide to Buying and Selling on EBay

EBay and other online auction sites are great places to find rare and collectible items, clothing, electronics and a million other things. But even the eBay website itself will tell you… caveat emptor: buyer beware. You as the bidder enter the auction place with visions of buying things for pennies on the dollar. The sellers know this and work it to their advantage. Certainly there are bargains to be had, but if you’re not careful you’ll end up paying more than retail for an item. Case in point – I once bid in an auction for a copy of this book. It is not rare; in fact, it can be bought at just about any Barnes and Noble or Borders anywhere for $6.99. But someone decided to top my bid and paid $8.50 for it, plus $2.00 shipping – that’s $10.50 for a used $6.99 book. I paid $7.47 with tax the following day at my local B&N and didn’t have to wait 5 days to get it.

Anyway, since I understand online auctions like some people understand poker, I’ve decided to whip up a quick buying and selling guide that distills my years of experience in online horse-trading. Tips for buyers are immediately below. Scroll down to see the tips for sellers!

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All About Screen Resolution

Do me a favor, will ya? Minimize this window and right-click on your desktop. Select “Properties” and then click on the “Settings” tab. OK, do you see a slider on the left hand side of the window? It’ll probably say something like 800×600, 1024×768, 1280×1024 and so on. Slide it back and forth and see your screen resolution. When you’re done playing, click “cancel” and come back to this page.

Here’s why I asked you to do that: your computer’s monitor is a fixed size. Statistically, it’s probably 17″ or 19″ across diagonally, but it could be a bit smaller or larger. Whether you have an “old school” CRT monitor or a “new school” LCD monitor, it’s all a piece of glass that can’t be made any larger or smaller.

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RANT: Court Martialing The Colonel

It’s been a while since I’ve “gone here” with you, but I won’t waste time with fancy introductions:

The KFC restaurant at 6813 E. Wilkinson Blvd. in Belmont, NC is the WORST FAST FOOD RESTAURANT I’VE EVER BEEN TO! And I’ve been to 3 continents and a communist country!! Yes, this KFC is worse than the Burger King on North Avenue in Atlanta. Worse than the Long John Silver’s in Rock Hill, South Carolina. Worse even than the McDonalds on the Getreidegasse in Salzburg, Austria. Whyfor, do you ask?

Well, for starters the staff simply cannot get even the simplest orders correct. As you probably know, I moved to Belmont in January of 2003. Since then I have visited this store approximately six times. And not once has our order been filled correctly. Lisa and I typically get some kind of “meal”, which is a bucket of chicken, a few sides and a quantity of biscuits. But even on this level it’s not correct. The coupon says “6 biscuits” and we get 4 instead. The coupon says “3 large sides” and we get 2. And strangely enough, all the screw-ups are in their favor!

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Well, I’ve become addicted to yet another British TV show. The show is called Most Haunted and it is quite similar to the Sci-Fi Channel’s Ghost Hunters. Given the long history of TV producers on both sides of the Atlantic stealing each others ideas, it’s probably safe to say that Ghost Hunters is based on Most Haunted. In any case, the premise behind Most Haunted is simple – a film crew and a “spirit medium” visit a supposedly haunted site and record the events of a night spent there with green “night vision” cameras. I’ve seen about eight episodes of Most Haunted to this point and not much happens aside from the occasional noise and ex post facto video evidence of paranormal activity, such as shots of books on the floor after a spirit has supposedly pulled them off a bookshelf. The show itself is a bit of a set up, really. Think about it – here’s a film crew spending the night sitting in the dark in some four hundred year-old house in the English countryside. It’s no wonder they hear things. Lots of houses make noise, especially once they pass the century mark. And any person in an unfamiliar setting – especially one there for the premise of finding ghosts – is sure to interpret any sound as something out of the ordinary. Also, many of the “psychic” types the show uses – mediums and whatnot – lack credibility, even for people of their profession. This isn’t because they’re “quacks” per se, but because of the locations Most Haunted visits. It’s not hard to imagine that a medium could be compromised – consciously or not – by investigating a building he or she might have read about back in school. For instance, Most Haunted once visited the Chatham Dockyard, which at one time was the Royal Navy’s most important shipyard. It was hardly surprising then that the show’s main medium – colorful character named Derek Acorah – was “contacted” by the spirit of Peter Pett, who just happened to be the commissioner of the dockyards at the time of the Royal Navy’s most humiliating defeat ever. One might think that the show would hire an American or Canadian medium to take some of the possibility of cheating out of the loop. But alas, they never called me for that suggestion. Also, the show’s mediums sometimes “channel” spirits from several hundred years ago that speak modern English remarkably well; as you might know “English” from the 13th or 14th century was markedly different than it is today. Perhaps the earliest a current English speaker could go back in a time machine and still be understood by people of the day would be around 1550, yet Derek can “channel” people from 1400 that speak as plainly as a Londoner today.

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