2007-04-18

BIBLE vs. DARWIN

First of all: it's me, Elke. Somehow my blog doesn't work so I post my entry with the help of Biggi.

Since our English test is about religion, we talked about this topic last Monday.
At first we looked at a caricature, where you can see a sailor who saws into the wall of a ship in order to rebuild it with a new board, which represents theories, made in Germany. But while he is sawing, the ship starts to drown because water - which symbolizes unbelief - runs into the ship.
This caricature tries to show that you can't change a belief with some new theories.
Afterwards we read an excerpt of "Inherit the Wind". It's about the conflict between those who take the bible literally and those who interpret it in a modern way.
According to a real occurrence in a trial in Tennessee in 1925, the authors Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee wrote a dialog between a man called Drummond, who is an enemy of fundamentalism, and a man named Brady, who is a defender of the bible. Like the real occurrence this dialog happens in a court. At first Brady wins the audience and the laughter over to his side, because he is very quick-witted and able to response in a funny way.
However Brady doesn't go into Drummond's questions and soon he isn't anymore able to give answers at all. Since Brady can't really defend himself against Drummond's arguments, also the audience is after a while not any longer on Brady's side.
After reading this text we talked about a commercial, which shows a monkey with a bottle in its hand. This commercial plays with Darwin's theories of evolution and that was supposed to be funny - but not everybody (I would even say nobody) has got the same humour like the guy who made this commercial.
At last we talked about two more caricatures.
The first shows a professor who forces his student to exchange her faith for a science, which is falsely called 'science'. This act is compared to a robbery.
In the second caricature you can see a professor as a captain of a ship called 'popular education'. He tells a sailor to heave the ballast overboard, whereupon the sailor throws the bible into the water. Because of the god-denying theories of evolution the ship heads for the rock of infidelity, where it will smash.

We'll see us tomorrow! Bye, blog-less Elke

2007-04-17

All this church is a stage !? (2007-04-17)

Hello everybody!
Now it` s my turn to write something about our lesson today.
In the beginning Miriam presented her myth:
“Persons” is an acceptable plural instead of people.
She told us that the normal plural of ‘person’ in conversation is ‘people’ and that ‘persons’ is normally found only on formal written notices.

Then we got a text of “The Christian Science Monitor”-website in order to practice translation. It’ s an article from April 9th named “All this church is a stage” written by Stacey Chase. This title alludes to the quote of Shakespeare’s Macbeth “All the world is a stage”.

First we looked at the photo on top of the first page and translated its caption. With Mr. Ringeisen explaining the unknown words we went on translating sentence by sentence. We also got the homework to translate the next few sentences.
What do you think about this article? Is it right to use church as a kind of stage?

I think this idea of making life more happen in church is good, but I don’ t know whether that goes over the top. Shouldn’t church be a space of reflection?

Would be nice to know your opinions about that! See you soon! (=

The EU from an American perspective

This time in TIME magazine: 20 reasons to love the EU.
Each of the twenty "reasons" is illustrated by a photograph, and the texts are mostly short and easy to read.

There is a syntax mistake in no. 2, "The French Countryside" (this particular text isn't terribly intelligent anyway). The first course member to e-mail me what the mistake is and what a correct version of the sentence could look like, gets a sweet of her choice (or a drink, if you prefer that).

2007-04-14

How cute: Knut

If you are interested in the new superstar at the Berlin Zoo, Knut, the polar bear, you can click through a 12-photo slideshow at the site of Vanity Fair.
They also offer a little movie that was made during the photo shoot with Annie Leibowitz, the star photographer: exclusive video.
Apart from boosting the magazine sales, the reason for bringing together Annie Leibowitz, Leonardo DiCaprio and Knut was the need for an attractive cover for Vanity Fair's current "Green Issue", an edition that looks at environmental issues, which is not a bad idea for a lifestyle magazine.
This index page for the Vanity Fair Green Issue gives you links to the magazine's articles plus numerous other links of ecological relevance.

2007-04-13

Religion in the News

Well, this may be something that you as an all-girl course are interested in. In an article by Jim Ellis, the Washington Post reports about "The Church For Men":
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- No hymnals. No pews. No steeple. No stained glass windows. And no women.
The Church For Men flips around the look and feel of worship and its leader says that's a good thing - guys are "bored stiff" in many churches today.
"We try to make it interesting for them. We meet in a gym and we talk about issues that mess men up," said 46-year-old Mike Ellis, the church's founder.
The Church For Men meets one Saturday evening a month, drawing about 70 guys dressed in everything but straight-laced shirts and neckties. The service features a rock band, a shot clock to time the preacher's message and a one-hour in-and-out guarantee.
Ellis' church is part of a national movement to reverse a long-standing problem. Studies show that men are less likely than women to show up on Sunday mornings, and now churches around the country are reaching out to men, teaching theology with a twist of testosterone in the presentation.

If you want to read the rest of the article, click here.

You may want to check out other articles on religious topics (considering that this is what we'll deal with in our next 'Schulaufgabe'):
Religion/Washington Post

If you're looking for something more advanced as far as syntax and vocabulary are concerned, look at this review of a drama production in the New York Times:
Bibles Thumping, Suspenders Snapping

Kurt Vonnegut, Counter-Culture's Novelist, Dies

In the New York Times obituary for Kurt Vonnegut, who died on 11 April 2007, aged 84, Dinitia Smith provides a kind of summary of his works. The main aspect and central point of his philosophy, she claims, was the necessity for kindness as the basis for peaceful life on this planet.
To Mr. Vonnegut, the only possible redemption for the madness and apparent meaninglessness of existence was human kindness. The title character in his 1965 novel, “God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, or Pearls Before Swine,” summed up his philosophy:

“Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you’ve got about a hundred years here. There’s only one rule that I know of, babies — ‘God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.’ ”


Another article on Vonnegut and his work:
God Bless You, Mr. Vonnegut
Here the author recommends "A Man Without a Country" as "a fine place to start". This collection of biographical essays was Vonnegut's last publication.
Here is a number of short excerpts for a first impression of his style:
A Vonnegut Sampler

The Guardian Unlimited quotes comments of other writers about Kurt Vonnegut and his work.

Here's a link to an obituary in the Britannica Blog.

2007-04-01

For Girls, It's Be Yourself, and Be Perfect"

If you want an inside look at an American high school, with special emphasis on how girls are doing, then have a look at this article in today's New York Times.
It's rather long, but I think you'll find it worth reading. Here's how it begins:
NEWTON, Mass., March 31 — To anyone who knows 17-year-old Esther Mobley, one of the best students at one of the best public high schools in the country, it is absurd to think she doesn’t measure up. But Esther herself is quick to set the record straight.
“First of all, I’m a terrible athlete,” she said over lunch one day.
“I run, I do, but not very quickly, and always exhaustedly,” she continued. “This is one of the things I’m most insecure about. You meet someone, especially on a college tour, adults ask you what you do. They say, ‘What sports do you play?’ I don’t play any sports. It’s awkward.”

And - in case you haven't found out yet: the NYT offers a very valuable service for its readers who don't have a vocabulary like the O.E.D. ... Just double-click on any word, and you'll be offered a dictionary definition of what it means. Try it, it's very handy indeed.

There is something else I can recommend. If you scroll down this article just a little bit, there is a sidebar at the left where the topmost item reads "Multimedia: "Amazing Girls". If you go there, you're treated to a slideshow with more than ten minutes of spoken commentary - the girls mentioned in the article speak about their school life (and their life goals in general). After listening to the introduction, click on "Begin", and then you'll hear what five girls are saying about their experience.