Johnny Hart, R.I.P.

Cartoonist Johnny Hart died yesterday, the AP reports:

ALBANY, N.Y. – Cartoonist Johnny Hart, whose award-winning “B.C.” comic strip appeared in more than 1,300 newspapers worldwide, died at his home on Saturday. He was 76.

“He had a stroke,” Hart’s wife, Bobby, said on Sunday. “He died at his storyboard.”

I have many fond memories of looking at the funny pages of the newspaper on Easter Sunday to see how Hart would pay tribute to the resurrection of Christ. Each year, in his “B.C.” comic strip, Hart confounded the politically correct and in newspapers around the world acknowledged the risen Christ. The comic that ran this Easter, the day after his death, was no exception.

He will be missed.

Blogs For Life

I’ll be in attendance tomorrow (Monday, January 22) at the second annual Blogs For Life conference. This is a conference hosted by Family Research Council — a place I’ve been known to frequent during the workweek. The lineup for the conference looks to be stellar, with Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS), Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA), Bobby Schindler (brother of the late Terri Schiavo), and Ramesh Ponnuru (editor at National Review and noted author of The Party of Death) all scheduled to appear.

The event will be webcast live “on the internets” by FRC, which you can access by visiting www.frc.org on Monday. For a schedule and more information, follow this link.

2007 Prognostications

I’m neither a prophet, nor the son of a prophet. If I were, these would be my predictions for 2007:

  • Britney Spears will introduce a new underwear line that is certified child labor–free. As a matter of fact, “Invisible” — as the line will be called, will be labor–free altogether.
  • Against my better judgment, I’ll become a Washington Nationals fan.
  • Gov. Mitt Romney will become the frontrunner for the Republican 2008 presidential nomination, and Sen. Barack Obama will be the Dem’s early hyped hope. Former California gubernatorial candidate Gary Coleman will enter the race with a strong showing as an independent, and will hint at a Todd Bridges VP nod.
  • Novelist Dan Brown will release a new bestseller called The Bar Code, in which he claims that UPC codes are “the mark of the beast.”
  • The telegraph and fax industries will merge in an attempt to give the Internet a run for its money.
  • Contrary to hype that we’ve all heard before, a new Indiana Jones movie will not be filmed this year.
  • Donald Trump and Rosie O’Donnell will settle their public publicity feud once and for all in WWE cage match in Atlantic City. Trump will be pummeled like a trailer park in a tornado.
  • In June, postmodernists — having become institutionalized — will break off and become post–postmodernists. By August, they’ll have realized the double-negative and revert to once more being called modernists.
  • In the same vein, the “emerging church” will see the need to emerge from itself. This new movement will be known as the “splurging church,” and it will teeter on the verge of bankruptcy.

That’s my prognostications for 2007. I hope you’re not keeping score…

Best of 2006

Today is the one day of the year where it’s proper to use that annoying “see ya next year” joke, and what better way of ending out a banner year than to follow the tradition of years past (2004, 2005), and list a few of my “bests” from A.D. 2006:

Best Novel (read in 2006): It’s a toss-up this year between two very different but equally grand novels: A Confederacy of Dunces, by John Kennedy Toole, and The Children of Men by P.D. James. Dunces is by far the funniest novel I’ve ever read, and James’ work (which has just been released as a feature film) is remarkable in its use of literary device to both draw attention to current issues facing mankind and to appropriate spiritual themes.

Best Nonfiction: David Wells’ No Place for Truth: or Whatever Happened to Evangelical Theology. It’s more than a decade old, but it still captures quite well the current state of evangelicalism, its deficiencies, and the key ingredient that’s missing.

Best Movie: Like last year, I didn’t make it out to the cinemas that much (I think that M. Night Shyamalan’s The Lady in the Water was the only one I made it out to see on the big screen). For the titles I saw on DVD, the quality of selection was pretty sparse. I did, however, spend much of the summer watching a different film noir selection each week. I saw many of the classic greats, including the 1949 Orson Welles classic, The Third Man, which as a 57 year-old film takes the honors for my best of 2006.

Best TV Show: If it had actually aired this year, Lost might get the nod for best TV show. But since ABC thinks it can stay on top with only 6 “Best. Episode. Ever.” spots, it gets demoted a bit in my book. Also demoted is House, which — while it still has good characters — has resorted to unnecessary plot gimmicks. These demotions notwithstanding, I’ll have to go with The Office as 2006’s best. There’s never been another show that does awkward better, and awkward is in.

Best Reality TV Show: Ever since the 33rd season of Survivor, I’ve pretty much given up on “reality” TV. Then, I got cable and discovered The Discovery Channel. Two of its recent shows have kept me and my wife riveted: Man v. Wild with the inimitable Bear Grylls, and Everest: Beyond the Limit — a harrowing record of this year’s expedition.

Best Comment Left At TruePravda: That will have to go to Ron Lowe’s successful attempt at outdoing my eulogy for Dr. Ronald H. Nash. In fact, the position of Lowe’s comment and my post should probably be reversed!

Best Quote: (from the ultrasound tech) “I’m 99.9% sure it’s a girl!”

What are your 2006 bests?

Christ as Enmity

Popular Christmas sensibilities most often portray the Christ as a helpless baby. This we should not forget, as it reminds us how the almighty God took upon flesh. Jesus was a man — the son of God. If he had not his humanity, Christ could not have satisfied the wrath of God on the cross.

Yet for many, the baby Jesus lying in a manger never grows up. The safe, baby Jesus demands little more than an occasional diaper change, or a rocking to sleep. Lest this Christmas season cause us to forget, let’s remember that Christ served not only as nativity, but as enmity.

I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and her offspring;
he shall bruise your head,
and you shall bruise his heel.
[Genesis 3:15, ESV]

This “helpless” babe became the adversary of all that is evil.

That’s one reason my favorite piece of Christmas music is George Frederick Handel’s Messiah. It not only looks at the nativity, but ends having shown us the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, who shall reign forever and ever.

Merry Christmas, and may the Christ that is babe, enmity and king reign in your hearts.

Redesign 2006

I hope everyone has had a happy Thanksgiving, and one more thing you can be thankful about is that I’ve finally redesigned TruePravda from the ground up.

My last full redesign was two years ago. I made a few gradual aesthetic improvements during that time, but nothing major. This design is the fourth incarnation of the blog since it began in April 2003. The previous version looked like this:

the days of yesteryear

I’ve still got a few kinks, improvements, and addtions to iron out, but that’s half the fun. Let me know if you see anything that’s awry. One major change is that “On the Side” items will now show up in the main RSS feed, as well as in a search. The site is also a little more mobile-device friendly now.

Coming soon is a photo gallery — even sooner than that is a major announcement tomorrow.

Stay tuned, and enjoy the new design…

The Eleventh

Riding by the Pentagon on the way to and from work lends a new weight to the Eleventh of September. While it pales in comparison to actually living through the events firsthand, there’s something about seeing that building on this day that’s heavy.

Let us not forget.

Labash Does YearlyKos

We bloggers often suffer from symptoms of self-importance — that vile disease that deludes us into thinking that everything we write is on the same level of significance as, say, The Declaration of Independence. If self-importance really were an illness, few would be more afflicted than the folks over at DailyKos.com.

Weekly Standard senior writer Matt Labash visited DailyKos’ first-annual convention, YearlyKos. What resulted is the funniest article I’ve read in a long time, “Riding with the Kossacks.” Read it now.