Sunday, July 24, 2011

Newsflash: Another "House of David" Inscription Found!

Back in 2001 I was able to see the Tel Dan Stela (bearing the inscription "BYT DVD") in person at the Bowers Museum, located in Orange County, CA. It was there on loan from the Israel Museum along with some Dead Sea Scrolls to complement the main exhibition featuring paintings of David Roberts.

[Note: As the manager of my own archeological website, I can't resist mentioning the glaring error in The Israel Museum's stele page, where they render its translation according to the Arad "House of God" ostracon! As to this "matter", it is not "well"!]

Little did I know that just up the road in the city of Orange (4033 W Chapman Ave), another "House of DVD" inscription was on permanent display:

Apparently they have several copies, or possibly fragments, which are available for exhibition loans (rentals) or direct purchase (sales). I'll have to investigate...

G.M. Grena

Saturday, July 02, 2011

20 Seconds with Ann Coulter

Outspoken political commentator & popular author, Ann Coulter made a relatively rare public appearance last Thursday evening at the Richard Nixon Library & Birthplace in Yorba Linda to sell some books (current price online is about $20; ticket price for this event including the book was $32). Local radio station KABC broadcasted from the Library live during the John Phillips talk-show from 6-10 PM (including a webcast).

I enjoy reading her weekly columns published on her website, but have never read any of her books since I rarely read any books for pleasure (unless they contain photos of broken jar-handles). Her latest publication piqued my interest though, when I heard that it highlights otherwise-intelligent people who hold contradictory beliefs (bringing to mind theistic evolutionists, progressive creationists, & Judeo-Christian archeologists who believe in both God & "prehistoric" strata).

I arrived shortly before 5 PM, anticipating the usual freeway congestion. (Our roads are named "freeway", but like politically liberal people who claim to care about children while advocating abortion, the real meaning is "free-to-be-delayed-by-hours-along-the-way.") I didn't think I'd be able to get a parking space in the relatively small lot, but was surprised to see only about half the lot full. Likewise, only about a dozen people were lined up at the door.

This typifies the reason for America's decline, with the large number of people claiming to care about conservative values actually doing little to show support for them. Nowadays conservatism apparently means "Let's not exert any effort or cause any trouble." This especially indicts Orange County, which allegedly has a large conservative base. The place should've been packed. As I learned later, only about 750 attended. In fact I bought my ticket several days after the event had been announced, because as soon as it was announced, I assumed it would be sold out, so I didn't even bother checking till I heard that tickets were still available!

Why do I like Ms. Coulter so much? Is it because she's physically beautiful? No, there are plenty of beautiful women I can't stand. It's because she courageously defends her beliefs with logic, upholds them by her actions, & not only shows no fear when faced by the aforementioned people who hold contradictory beliefs, she actually enjoys the confrontation! As she said in response to a conservative attendee who complained about receiving hate-mail: "Hate-mail? That's a kick in the pants! That wakes me up in the morning!"

Oh, & though it should go without saying for any rational person, I enjoy hearing her give credit where it's due. When asked by another attendee, "Who was the most influential person in what made Ann Coulter, Ann Coulter?" she replied:

"Well, Jesus."

I established this blog to discuss royal/king things, so her answer makes this article qualified (Jesus being our supreme King), but just to be true to my rule, one of the radio hosts mentioned a former president (whom Ms. Coulter has written extensively about & against) as "king of brothels".

My main reason for attending was, if given the opportunity, to express to her in person how much it means to me for someone of her public stature to be stalwart against Evolutionism & atheists. That's something sorely lacking in pop culture, & should not be taken for granted, especially when so many conservative politicians stumble embarrassingly over questions about Evolution.

In a promotional interview earlier in the week, she said she'd be personalizing the autographs while greeting attendees during the breaks in the radio broadcast. So I gave some thought to what I would have her write, possibly something like "On behalf of the King" or "To the LMLK guy" or "To the author of Evolution Science", but I decided to just keep the personalization simple, & if I had the chance to speak to her, just express some specific heartfelt gratitude.

Since I was among the first dozen or so in line, I was able to choose a strategic seat in the very-long front row where it seemed obvious she'd be spending the most time. (The room was very wide, with the radio equipment on the side where we entered.) Not too long afterward, I noticed that as other people came in, they were carrying copies of "Demonic". I discovered that the staff had begun exchanging them for ticket stubs, so I left on my seat another book I had brought (to pass the time from 5-7 wisely), & went out to get one.

Upon returning to my seat, I noticed that these copies already bore a signature on the title page. At first I thought that maybe it was printed, but upon comparison with the people sitting next to me, it was indeed an original autograph. Alas, my hopes of meeting her seemed dashed, but as the room continued to fill, I was glad that so many people were attending that it was obvious Ms. Coulter would not have time to meet each of us & personalize the signatures.

Since I'm not a speed-reader, I read only the back cover & flap, then the index, which is extremely extensive. I like that! (Anyone who has either of my 2 books will know that.) I immediately zoomed in on one particular entry. In chapter 3, "Contradictions: You Can Lead a Mob to Water, but You Can't Make It Think", she lists 17 contradictory characteristics that define liberals including someone who:

"advocates unfettered scientific research and debate--but then, with no evidence, simply declares discussions about evolution and global warming closed"

The radio broadcast began at 6 PM, & we were informed that Ms. Coulter was attending a special reception (probably for the Nixon Foundation's donors), & would be out at 7. We were also told that she would be personalizing the books during the commercial breaks, & they distributed 3x5" index cards for us to write whatever we wanted her to sign. Woo hoo! Ms. Coulter entered promptly at 7 PM to an enthusiastic standing ovation. I had wondered how tall she was (she's usually seated during TV appearances), & had this question answered as she walked past me (about 5'8"-5'9"; with ~3" heels, she was about as tall as me at 5'11").

I was not able to find any photos on the Internet from the event except for the 3 I'm using here from John's KABC page. This next one represents the view I had fairly well (in some ways my view was much better than I can describe in public .... simply priceless):

As with most talk-shows, there were six several-minute breaks each hour. The ads for the event said she'd only be on from 7-9, but she ended up staying till 10. That afforded about 4,000 seconds for meeting the crowd (6x4x3x60). Since each signature lasted about 5-30 seconds, probably only about half the crowd took advantage of the opportunity to meet her. Go figure.

Because I was in the first row nearest her, I was about the 4th or 5th in line the first time she stepped to the small table adjacent to the radio show's platform. This had the advantage of her not being in too much of a rush, & in the most open/charming mood possible. That became more difficult for her as the evening progressed for 2 reasons:

1) The 4 elderly docents responsible for ushering the crowd & handling the books, were more concerned about being nice & proper than with accommodating Ms. Coulter. Another of the many qualities I adore about Ms. Coulter is her ability to make the most of her time, & her desire to meet everyone there. Unfortunately, some of the docents spent too much time explaining to people how to hold their index cards, thereby creating a "freeway traffic" jam that occasionally caused Ms. Coulter's table to be empty. She was ready to sign the next book, so instead of waiting for the docent to place it on the table, she proceeded to skirt the oblivious docent down the line till she encountered an open book, & just signed it. Every second mattered, a concept that undoubtedly baffled the docents.

2) Most of the people wanted to have their photo taken with Ms. Coulter, but they or the person accompanying them were not adept at using their camera. In one sense, this was funny; but in another, it ticked me off because they didn't have the courtesy of giving up after a few seconds, & getting out of the way so the line could keep moving. A docent should've been responsible for managing this situation, but instead the one who was there simply got in the way, serving no useful purpose. He abandoned his position midway through the evening.

Yet despite these annoying hindrances, Ms. Coulter greeted each person just as cheerfully as when you see her being introduced during her TV appearances. Big smile, & bubbly-but-humble "Thank you!" when complimented.

Here's what I recall about my brief-but-thrilling encounter:

[eye contact]

Me: I want to thank you so much for speaking against Evolutionism & atheists; it means so much to me.

Ann: Oh, you're welcome! Isn't it amazing? They never have an answer, do they?

[she looks down & begins signing]

Me: And thank you for visiting us tonight, especially in California, we are so not worthy of your presence...

[she finishes writing & looks up at me]

Ann: Oh yes you are! Thank you for having me here!

[on to the next fan]

G.M. Grena