Jewish date: 26 Marḥeshwan 5770 (Parashath Ḥayye-Sarah).
Today’s holidays: Saint Day of Frances Xavier Cabrini (Roman Catholicism), Feast of Osiris (Thelema).
Worthy causes of the day: “Save BioGems: Take Action: Save Yellowstone's Beloved Wolves” and “Earthjustice: Take Action: Taking the Wrong Path on Protecting Right Whales”.
Image of incompetent warlord Lord Asriel (depicted by Daniel Craig) via WikipediaTopic 1: Chapters 26-29 of The Amber Spyglass (His Dark Materials, Book 3) by Philip Pullman. I was wrong about the quantum entanglement bomb being an irrelevant incident. Pullman may be incompetent when it comes to theology and physics, but he at least has talent in writing fiction. Dead shaman John Parry instructs Will to amputate the hair from Lyra’s head from where Mrs. Coulter snipped away a lock and stuff that hair into another world. He does so, and the explosion reportedly damages the entire structure of worlds, though we have yet to see the full effects of this yet. Will also cuts a hole into another world to let ghosts commit suicide, which they gleefully do. (Apparently the concept of an afterlife which doesn’t suck to the point of self-delusion or suicidal behavior has escaped Pullman. “It’s a wonderful thing to go into oblivion” is not a good message to put in a children’s book either.)
Meanwhile, Mary Malone has an out-of-body experience, Magisterium assassin Father Gomez is still on the loose and an implied threat to Mary, and Metatron attacks Lord Asriel’s fortress. Keep in mind that Pullman has the Authority reportedly senile and Metatron being an insane megalomanic holding the real reigns of power. As I have noted already, attacking Lord Asriel is a bad idea. Since Lord Asriel plans on letting his enemies come to him and attack him (with no plan B ever mentioned), all the Authority and Metatron have to do is stay away from Lord Asriel’s fortress and let the mortal contingent of the rebellion die of old age. If Lord Asriel does get tired of waiting and goes to the Authority and Metatron, then the rebels will be out in the open without an imposing fortress for them to hide inside of. Instead, Metatron takes the Authority’s mobile headquarters, the Clouded Mountain, AKA the Chariot (an Ezekiel reference) to Lord Asriel’s fortress and attacks. The fighting so far has not had much of impact on either side. However, the dæmons of Lyra, Will, and their Gallivespian friends have shown up at Lord Asriel’s fortress, and where I left off reading, Lyra, Will, and the Gallivespians were trying to get through the carnage in an effort to reunite with their dæmons.
Also: Come to think of it, Pullman has gone out of his way to make Metatron doubly incompetent at fighting a war. Barring just staying away from Lord Asriel, Metatron could easily land the Clouded Mountain on top of Lord Asriel’s fortress and press it down, literally crushing the rebellion out of existence. This avoids those messy, time-consuming battles which Pullman seems intent on dragging us through and sends a message to everyone who hears about it that rebelling against the Authority and Metatron is a fatally bad idea.
Topic 2: “Sudden jihad, or inordinate stress at Fort Hood?”: Daniel Pipes notes that the Fort Hood incident is not the only one in which a Muslim attacked non-Muslims in the West. A long list of examples going back to 1990 is included, including explanations given at the time which sound more like excuses than actual reasons. Noted is a popular aversion to blame any violence on Islam, regardless of what the violent offender actually practiced or claimed.
Topic 3: Just to end on something a bit upbeat: “The anti-swine flu holy water dispenser”. Someone invented an automatic dispenser of holy water which, like automatic paper towel and soap dispensers, knows when someone’s hands are in the right place to receive holy water. This eliminates the need for contact between a font and the worshipper, thus eliminating a route of contagious disease transmission. This is a good example of something sensible religious people, whatever religion they follow, need to do: take into account how our universe actually works in religious practice. Remember: there is (probably) no religion in which sharing harmful germs is a virtue.
Peace and Shabbath shalom.