October 30, 2006

Scholars enter the real [wheel] world

So, tag this as bizarro. My mother-in-law calls us tonight to tell us she saw our church history professor from Brite Divinity School Mark Toulouse on Wheel of Fortune today.

Apparently they're running a Best Friends Week in Dallas and he teamed up with colleague Ethics and Black Church Studies professor Stacey M. Floyd-Thomas. I can't wait to see them at SBL-AAR. The ribbing will be unending, I'd presume. Kuddos to them. Here's a nice bit from the contestant interview:
Contestant: "We'll probably travel and use the money to fund a joint research and writing project."

I'm sure the producers thought this was just the most interested answer that they'd ever heard to that quest... *snore*

Update: I received an email from Mark, and as it turns out, they auditioned intentionally as a way of exploring their common interest in American pop culture in relation to religious values. From my brief conversation with Stacey when I met her last year, I'm not surprised. She strikes me as very talented and dynamic. And what better way to study pop culture than to experience it? From a Fort Worth Star-Telegram article of August 26, 2006:

When the pair auditioned for Wheel's 'Best Friends' week, several episodes of which were taped Friday at Nokia Theatre for airings in late October and early November, they had an academic interest in mind. Both are professors at TCU's Brite Divinity School with an interest in religion in popular culture, and they saw an opportunity to experience a pop-culture sensation from the inside (their game is scheduled to air Oct. 30 on KTVT/Channel 11). 'We thought it was really important to have a better perspective of the phenomenons that we study,' Floyd-Thomas said after the taping.
Mark said to me in his email, "We’re working on a book on popular culture in America, and grabbed the opportunity to experience it firsthand. I’d have to say, it was a very different experience." I bet it was.
Still, Mark's a smart man... I would rather see how he'd do on Jeopardy.

Update: Mark's brand new book is available for preorder: God in Public: Four Ways American Christianity and Public Life Relate. Author's copies arrived this week, so should be available soon. I'm going to have a look at it at SBL-AAR. When I read bits on public life, whether books or newspaper editorials, I'm often struck by a lack of portability. Epitomes of the life of the greater public are so contextualized... so many of us really do live in entirely different worlds.

October 26, 2006

Noah Video File Available for Download

The previously mentioned Noah Video is available as a 17 mb mp4 file zipped right here for your use. Apparently, it makes suitable classroom fodder. The file should be available there for at least a few months.

The thing has been watched on YouTube some 2,400 times so far.

October 23, 2006

iWriter-creating study tools on an iPod

I have resisted temptations to enter into the iPod generation. I did find this app worth mentioning. The new iWriter is a cross-platform app for creating educational supports for distribution to students to use on an iPod. The initial templates include a syllabus, quizes, and lecture notes. You create it, you distribute it, others use it. For more info, check out the flash demo.

October 17, 2006

Library Porn

I ran across this blog post drawing attention to a book of artistic photos from inside libraries around the world. I find the sample photos that he posts quite good. He refers to the photography collection as "porn for book nerds", which amused me.

As I looked through the samples, I found myself wondering which libraries I would include a shot from inside. I suppose, we all have views from inside libraries we would find as top candidates. I also suppose that most of those shots would be chosen not for asthetic reasons, but for sentimental ones. I for sure would include a photo from inside the Herzog Augustus Library in Wolfenbüttel. Would enjoy hearing your nominations in the comments. You can purchase the book and find out more about the author, Candida Höfer, here.

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October 03, 2006

Quicksilver Actions for Accordance

After some work, and feedback from others, I can make available to a wider audience a set of Quicksilver Actions that interact with Accordance. I have maintained from time to time a script database called InterCord which uses Mac OS X technologies to enhance the inter-application experience with Accordance. Problem is, I rarely find the time to polish the scripts and such enough so that they'll work on other's machines.
Well, if you are a user of Quicksilver and Accordance, you'll love these. If you don't yet use Quicksilver, this may convince you. Essentially, this bundle of Quicksilver Actions enables you to do things like pull the selected scripture reference from a document and have QS paste the text into your front document, or otherwise process it. The actions also allow you to use any text and display a search for it in any Accordance tool of your liking.
What's that? You're reading a PDF or a web page about the proximity of Shechem to a mountain pass? Just highlight shechem and in 5 or so keystrokes you can have Accordance to the front, displaying Shechem in a Map window. I'm not kidding you.

Or, want to quickly, insert the text of Psalm 20 into your current document. It's a all right at your fingertips, and true to the beauty of Quicksilver, never taking your fingers off the keyboard. Such a workflow becomes pure muscle memory.

The Quicksilver Actions are now a part of the whole Accordance Script Library. You can download it in the downloads section.

There are many more options. Have a look at the detailed ReadMe file here:
Accordance Quicksilver Actions ReadMe
You may download these Accordance Quicksilver Actions here:
Accordance Quicksilver Actions Download
If it ever happens, I'll get more of the InterCord modules ready for public consumption. Next step will be to release the Automator Action... the Word plug-in... and generic versions of these scripts that can work from anywhere--the script menu of any app, including the slightly less powerful Launchbar or Butler. I have all these working OMM (on my machine), it just takes so much time to get them ready to work on others' machine as well with minimum heartache.