captpackrat: (Bishop)
2014-09-18 08:35 pm
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Holy Family Shrine

I took some photos of the Holy Family Shrine about 4 years ago.  I've got a better camera now, and it was a nice day, so I figured I'd go and take some more pictures.

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captpackrat: (Bishop)
2010-08-11 06:45 pm
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Holy Family Shrine

Those of you from Nebraska no doubt recognize this place.  If you've ever driven on I-80 near Gretna, you've probably seen it; it's such an unusual piece of architecture, out in the middle of nowhere, it's impossible to miss.

I've been here before, but without a good camera.  I finally got around to going there with my "A" camera and taking some pics.  Click on the pictures to see them full size.

Entrance to the visitor center.  It's cut directly into the side of the hill.

Fountain in the visitor center.  The water flows around the spiral, drips into the pool below, then flows down a stream cut into the limestone flooring towards the chapel.  Once the steam reaches the chapel, it flows inside, splits in two and runs along the two rows of pews before forming two pools in front of the altar.

The front of the Holy Family Shrine.

To the left of the main walkway is a shaded grotto containing a statue of the Virgin Mary.  In this photo, the front of the Shrine is visible in the background.

Interior of the Shrine.  There is some sort of hologram in the center window.  The Holy Family appears to float in mid air.  Unfortunately, a camera with a polarizing filter kind of ruins the effect.

Detail shot of the trusswork.  Biggish file.

Closeup of the crucifix.  The strange object in the lower window is part of the cross outside.  You can also see the strange effect that the polarizing lens has on the holographic upper window.

Back side of the chapel.  For some reason, the hologram shows up just fine from the outside despite (or perhaps because of) the polarizing filter.

Two views of the cross behind the Shrine, facing the Interstate.

Detail of the cross.  Large file.

Overall, it's a nice place to visit, even if you're not Catholic (I'm not).  It's very peaceful and quiet, despite being just a half mile away from the hustle and bustle of the Interstate.  Admission is free and visitors of any faith are welcome.
captpackrat: (Bishop)
2010-06-09 05:02 pm
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Christianity, according to the Internet.

Jesus was cool, but his fan club sucks.
captpackrat: (Bishop)
2010-03-09 12:29 pm
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How religious is your state?

The Pew Research Center has released the results of a nationwide poll asking people about the importance of religion in their lives, frequency of attendance at worship services, frequency of prayer and belief in God.

The most religious state by far is Mississippi, which ranked first in all 4 categories.  New Hampshire and Vermont scored dead last in belief in God and importance of religion, Maine scored lowest in frequency of prayer, and Alaska had the poorest worship attendance.  (I wonder how Sarah Palin's fans would react knowing she was governor of one of the least religious states in the Union.)

Nationwide, 71% of survey respondents had an absolute certainty in their belief in God, 58% pray at least once daily, 56% say religion is a very important part of their lives, and 39% say they attend religious services at least once a week.
captpackrat: (Bunny morning)
2009-09-19 05:49 pm
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Thoughts on Lapism

Lapism isn't a religion in the usual sense, there's no specific deity to be worshiped, no teachings on the afterlife and no divinely inspired holy book.  There is no clergy, no idols or icons, no proselytizing, no tithing and no formal prayers.  Rather it's a form of transhumanism, a movement that uses science and technology to improve humanity.  Lapists have their bodies genetically transformed into anthropomorphic rabbits.  The alteration isn't merely cosmetic, the changes include modifications to the brain to reduce aggression and increase sociability.  The rabbit form also acts as social reinforcement; people expect a rabbit to be peaceful and gentle so that stereotype and peer pressure help insure that this remains true.  The transformation is quite expensive (the actual price isn't mentioned in the stories, but from various comments I'm guessing it's in the $100,000+ range) and while it is reversible, the process to be returned to human form is substantially more expensive.

Now the question I put to you, dear readers, is would you undergo such a procedure?

You would have a new body, shaped like a humanoid rabbit, with fur and claws and buck teeth, with increased strength, speed and agility, improved senses of smell and hearing and faster reaction times.  On the other hand, your brain would be altered, slightly tweaking your fight-or-flight response towards fleeing and increasing your need for physical contact with other Lapists (hugging, snuggling, etc).  You would also be strictly limited to a vegetarian diet, the mere thought of eating meat would make you ill.  You would also likely be forced into considerable debt to pay for the transition.  You would then have to wear this new form for the rest of your life, with people stereotyping you and judging you and your actions based on it.  You'd even be expected to take a new name.  And it's lapine only, you'd have no other choice in species.

Would you go through with it?
captpackrat: (Bishop)
2007-09-15 07:56 pm
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For those times when you need a little extra help....

The patron saint of computers and the Internet is St. Isidore of Seville.