Welcome to the online home of Tim Challies, blogger, author, and book reviewer.

Tim Challies

Challies on FacebookChallies on Twitter

August 2005

August 28, 2005

Over the past few weeks I’ve noticed more and more girls (and young women) wearings shirts that look suspiciously like lingerie. You may have seen them too. I don’t know much about the world of fashion, so it’s entirely possible that people have been wearing these shirts for years. Perhaps you know the shirts I’m referring to. They have very thin straps and generally have the little plastic loops and things that are usually found on bras. The top of the shirt has lace and it extends only just to the belt line, so that if the woman moves her arms, it lifts to expose her stomach and lower back. I guess these aren’t a whole lot different from a standard tank-top shirt, except that they are obviously designed to look like lingerie. So what’s with these things? Any why would anyone wear them to church?

And while we’re on the subject of exposed stomachs and backs, what’s with those lower back tattoos? When women have a black tribal pattern tattooed on their lower back, do they not realize that in fifteen or twenty years it will be faded, stretched and distorted? Do they not realize how silly they will look in a decade or two?

I think I’ll quit ranting about fashion now. Don’t get me started on navel rings.

Switching topics, two days into the transition I’m still thrilled with Movabletype 3.2. I’ll post a bit more about the software later in the week. I have to say, though, that the Six Apart development team did some good work with the new version of the software. The independent developers who work so hard on plugins have been putting in overtime to add other great functionality.

And that’s all the time I’ve got for today. The son of some good friends is getting baptized a few minutes from now, so we have to drive across town and go down to the river. There is probably only one more outdoor baptism this year before the approaching cold weather forces us indoors!

God bless you this Lord’s Day. 

August 27, 2005

078521223X.01._AA240_SCLZZZZZZZ_.jpgI have long-since learned that when an actress launches a career in music it is best to avoid her album. Similarly, when a musician tries her hand at acting the results are usually painful. It seems the same is generally true when an author of novels tries his hand at non-fiction. So it was with some trepidation that I opened The Slumber of Christianity, a book written by Ted Dekker, an author known for his heart-pounding thrillers. This represents his first attempt at writing a non-fiction book. Thankfully, it turns out that he is a gifted writer who is able to express himself in either genre.

August 26, 2005

Powered by Movable Type 3.2I just finished upgrading to Movabletype 3.2. I’ve been looking forward to this version of the software as it allows some important new functionality. At the top of the list is trackback moderation, a feature that was sorely needed. It allows me to restore the list of trackbacks to the sidebar (a feature that I quite like but had to disable because of all the trackback spam I receive). The new Movabletype also allows some new plugins that I quite like.

Here are a couple of the issues that have been overlooked that are sorely needed:

  • WYSIWYG interface. Or something beyond only the bold, italic, underline offered now.
  • Media Management. I upload graphics all the time but MT offers absolutely no way of managing these after they have been uploaded.
  • Future Publishing. As far as I know this has not been adequately addressed. Amazingly enough there is still no way of changing the publication date of an unpublished post to “now.” Thankfully there is a plugin that addresses this.

Anyways, that is the new MT.

As part of my testing I’d love it if you could send me a trackback from your blog. I want to test out the new trackback spam filtering capabilities. So please, ping me!

August 26, 2005

I’m doing it now.

So if you get errors, just hang tight.

August 26, 2005

Today I would like to regale you with a story about my daughter. It is a true story, of course, and seems just frivolous enough to post on a Friday.

One day a couple of weeks ago when we were on vacation it was nearly dinner time and my daughter really wanted a popsicle. My wife told her that it was too close to dinner time and that she would have to wait until after we had eaten. But then my daughter pulled the trump card. “But Anna has one!” (Anna being my niece). Aileen, always the peacemaker, replied “Well, we are on vacation, so I guess you can be naughty.” Quick as a flash my daughter reached out and smacked Aileen. Aileen reacted in surprise. “What was that for!?” she shouted. My daughter, looking sad and confused said, “But you said I could be naughty!”

I guess the moral of the story is that children take words very literally. We could also extend the moral of the story to show the deep-rooted human hatred of authority. We probably should have punished my daughter, but as it happened we were laughing far too hard to do much of anything.

End of story. You may now resume your normal Friday activity.

If it just so happens that your Friday activity includes a visit to Amazon, why not read through some of the reviews I’ve posted there and, you know, hit that little “yes” button which indicates a helpful review!

Finally, I will probably be updating the blog to Movabletype 3.2 over the weekend, so if you experience some problems, ignore them and they will probably go away soon enough.

August 26, 2005

Today we will look at Canadian use of the English language. We have already looked extensively at that little word “eh?” so today we will turn to other words.

Canadians employ an eclectic mixture of British and American spellings. Consider the term “Tire Centre” - a place you might visit to buy new tires for a car. Consistency would dictate that we should refer to it as a Tyre Centre (using British spelling) or “Tire Center” (using American). Instead we strike the happy median, taking one word from each.

Take a look at the following quote, which I have once more taken from How To Be A Canadian by Will and Ian Ferguson, paying attention to the use of words. “Canadians write cheques for their colour TVs. They turn off the tap, eat porridge, put jam on their toast and gas in their trucks, and munch potato chips as they relax on their chesterfields.”

British English: cheque, colour, tap, porridge and jam (in the US it would be check, color, faucet, oatmeal and jelly).

American English: TV, gas, truck and potato chips (in Britain it would be telly, petrol, lorry and crisps).

Some difficulty arises with words that employ the letters “ou,” such as “colour” or “neighbour.” In formal writing, such as essays in high school or university, Canadians are instructed to maintain the British spelling rather than casting aside the “u” as do our American neighbours (or are they neighbors?). Similarly, Canadians are expected to employ the spelling “re” rather than “er” in words such as “centre.” In informal writing, Canadians tend to adopt an either/or approach. I generally use the American spelling of “ou” words simply to avoid spellchecker annoyances.

The Fergusons provide the following paragraph as a test for Canadian citizenship. Only a Canadian would be able to decipher most of the following:

Last night, I cashed my pogey and went to buy a mickey of C.C. at the beer parlour, but my skidoo got stuck in the muskeg on my way back to the duplex. I was trying to deke out a deer, you see. Stupid chinook, melted everything. And then a Mountie snuck up behind me in a ghost car and gave me an impaired. I was sitting there dressed only in my Stanfields and a toque at the time. And the Mountie, he’s all chippy and everything.

Here are definitions of the terms from the preceding paragraph as well as others you are likely to encounter in Canada:

2-4 (two four): a case of 24 beers.
bachelor apartment: a one room apartment with a small kitchen and a bathroom. Mostly just referred to as “a bachelor.”
back bacon: elsewhere called “Canadian bacon.”
Blochead: a member of the Bloc Quebecois.
brown bread: whole wheat bread.
butter tart: a single serving, sweet pie, often with raisins.
chesterfield: a sofa, couch, or loveseat.
chinook: an unseasonably warm wind that melts snow on the prairies.
chippy: aggressive or angry.
college: refers to either a post-secondary technical or vocational institutions, or to the colleges that exist as individual institutions within some Canadian universities. Most often, “college” is a community college, not a university.
deke: to fool. It is used especially in hockey to refer to a player who dodges around another.
donut: a cake snack with a hole in centre (ie doughnut). Also refers to spinning a car in circles as a recreational activity.
double-double: A cup of coffee with two creams and two sugars.
draught: beer that comes out of a tap instead of a bottle or can.
duplex: a building with two apartments.
garburator: a garbage disposal unit located beneath the drain of a kitchen sink.
ghost car: an unmarked police car.
Grit: a member or supporter of one of the federal or provincial Liberal parties (but not the Qu�bec Liberal Party).
homo milk: whole (homogenized) milk.
hoser: idiot.
impaired: an infraction for driving under the influence of alcohol.
Joe job: a low-status, low-skill task.
keener: an enthusiastic student, not necessarily a positive term.
Kraft dinner: Often shortened to “KD”, known elsewhere as “Kraft macaroni and cheese.”
loonie and toonie: Canadian one- and two-dollar coins.
may two four: the Victoria Day weekend which is celebrated the Monday of or following May 24th.
Mountie: a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (who are only very rarely mounted these days).
mickey: a small bottle of alcohol.
muskeg: a bog characterized by scattered and stunted evergreens.
Nanaimo bar: a confection named for the town of Nanaimo, British Columbia.
parkade: parking garage.
pencil crayon: elsewhere called a “coloured (or colored) pencil.”
pogey: unemployment insurance (the government recently changed this to “employment insurance.”).
Robertson: a Canadian square-headed screw or screwdriver. It is used in other countries, but is much more common in Canada.
skidoo: a brand name now used generically to refer to any snowmobile. Can also be used as a verb.
snowbird: a Canadian, probably retired, who spends the winter in the States (usually Florida).
Stanfields: men’s underwear. Used only rarely these days (the word, that is. Most Canadians still wear underwear, especially in the winter).
Timbits: a brand name of doughnut holes made by Tim Hortons that has become a generic term.
toque: a knit hat.
trousseau tea: a reception held by the mother of a bride, for neighbours not invited to the wedding.
washroom  bathroom, restroom. Bathroom is used only occasionally and refers to a facility that has a bathtub or shower.
whitener: powdered non-dairy additive for coffee or tea.
yogourt: a unique spelling of yoghurt which is used in both English- and French-Canada.
zed: the final letter of the alphabet.

There are a few distinctively Canadian swear words, as well, which I will mostly spare you. I did not realize that most of these words were used only (or primarily) by Canadians until I began to research this topic. The one that was often used to refer to myself and my friends as children was “s—t disturber.” Obviously this refers back to the days when people used outhouses. Mischevious children would sometimes “stir the pot” which would create a nearly-unbearable stench. They would often do this at outhouses outside of schools or churches. Today this terms retains some of its original meaning, referring to mischevious people (and children, in particular).

One difference between Canada and the US that is often noted in television programs concerns education. Americans tend to refer to “10th grade” whereas Canadians speak of “grade 10.” The terms freshman, sophmore, junior and senior are used only very rarely in both high school and university. A third year university student is more likely to say, “I’m in third year” than “I’m a junior.” Canadians rarely speak of “middle school” and are more likely to speak of “junior high” which includes grades 7 and 8. And Canadians do not care about cheerleaders or captains of the football team. High schools and universities are not likely to celebrate homecoming or prom. Instead, there are dances, formals and semi-formals. In general, Americans are far more serious about education than Canadians.

That is a brief introduction to some of the language you may hear when you visit Canada. Canadians employ a strange mixture of American, British words, along with a selection of words that are distinctively Canadian. Put it all together, and Canadians have a language all their own. It’s a fact, eh?

Other Facts:

Oh Canada

August 26, 2005

How Not To Do It.

“Three leaders at a Korean church in Sydney’s north have been jailed over the bashing of a female church member who did not attend regular services.

“Junior assistant pastor Chi Yeong Yun, 37, and bible study teachers Tom Chae-Yong Lee, 22, and James Kang, 21, from the Open Door Korean Church at Chatswood, pleaded guilty to assaulting 19-year-old Angela Kim in July last year.

“In the NSW District Court today, acting Judge Joe Gibson gave Yun, described as the architect of the plan, a 12-month jail term while Lee and Kang were sentenced to up to six months.

“All three had served some time in custody although were on bail in the leadup to the trial.

“On July 8, 2004, Ms Kim was kicked and punched by the three men at a park in Bobbin Head in Sydney’s north leaving her with extensive bruising to her arms, legs and buttocks.”

Read more here.