How do you say something slightly nasty, nicely? Two stories, one about an actress that is nasty; and the other, well, it is also about an actress and, unfortunately, it too is nasty. Miriam Hopkins was more than an American actress. She was highly regarded for her intellectual prowess and for her friendships with many of the country’s intellectual elite. As a result, many actors felt it was their duty to upstage her at any opportunity. For instance, an anonymous starlet, whose prominence was more the result of her looks than her talent, once bragged, “You know, my dear, I insured my voice for fifty-thousand dollars.” Hopkins replied, “That's wonderful. And what did you do with the money?" That was nasty. Ilka Chase was also a celebrated actress, but she also was a fairly-successful author. Green with envy, many of her rivals disliked Ilka and believed she was a fraud.
What’s in a name? Consider these twelve weird American town names (I’ll not mention any towns in Maryland or in Pennsylvania; Maryland, because no one here will laugh at a town named Accident, and Pennsylvania, because this blog is rated PG-13). Here are my top twelve strange town names. We have Boring, Oregon; No Name, Colorado; Why, Arizona; and Why Not, North Carolina. There’s a Yum Yum, Tennessee; a Ding Dong, Texas; a Zig Zag, Oregon; and a Good Grief, Idaho. And let us not forget, Bugtussle, Tennessee; Fink, Nebraska; Nothing, Arizona; and last, but not least, my favorite, Bitter End, Tennessee! Names are funny things. Our question today concerns the name, Immanuel. We are trying to figure out the identity of the Immanuel spoken of in Isaiah 7:14. I argued in the last post that it is Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz (Isa. 8:3). Matthew seems to say it is Jesus (Mt. 1:23).
The famous American painter, Robert Rauschenberg once said, “An empty canvas is full.” I think he was crazy, but I am not a big fan of minimalism. But even though I am not now nor ever have been a member of the minimalist art movement, I am a huge fan of a minimalist experiment conducted by Bell Labs in the 1970’s. In 1971, Leon Harmon wanted to identify the least amount of visual information a picture may contain and still be recognizable. Harmon took a picture of Abraham Lincoln and divided it into 200 squares with each square shaded a different intensity of gray. The picture is very blurry, very gray with a few darker blobs and consists entirely of blocks; but as soon as you see it, you know that’s Lincoln. Honestly, it is shocking how little information one needs to identify someone in a picture. Here’s today’s question: