Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Facebook Follies

It's been a real HOOT linking up with some of my compadres from the past, and Earnie has joined in the fun. Most people can't imagine one of us without the other, and so it seems appropriate- just wish FB would let you have double names on the headers. Like bacon and eggs. Or peas and carrots, or tweedle dee and tweedle dum- oh you get the idea....

This little distraction has helped make the long hours of analyzing texts a lot more bearable- as it doesn't require much and the ROI is substantial...


The iPod is Dead?
If what this writer projects actually comes to pass, I suspect it will be incrementally. I like the mic idea as I rely on my trusty digital recorder a lot. Camera, video, GPS, all sound good.

How about wireless earbuds as a standard feature as well?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


My Great grand uncle was the headmaster of the Baltimore orphanage/school where George Herman Ruth grew up. That is where he learned to play ball. Brother Pius was in charge there for many years, and was later affiliated with St. Joseph's Academy in Bardstown. My grandfather was named for him.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Bumped into this inadvertantly...

Wood, Hay, and Stubble 23:01:03

I am a pilgrim and a stranger A sojourner walking a pathway of danger
A citizen of a city above Nothing on earth can compete with this love
Nothing of earth can compete with this love.

What need have I of temporary crowns When the most precious one is the one I'll cast down
At the feet of my Lord when I bow at His throne. There in the place where I'll know as I'm known
There in the place where I'll know as I'm known.

Here where the greatest blessing is wanting Here where desire is a place for my haunting
I will hold loosely and I will go free Sure my possessions do not possess me
Sure my possessions do not possess me.

Wood hay and stubble do not withstand fire To build with them is not what I would desire
For fires are promised to all those God holds To clean, purify and refine us as gold.
To clean, purify and refine us as gold

Anthony Foster January 23, 2003

Part Deux

I like sunsets better than sunrises, bananas better than citrus, and have eclectic music tastes: bluegrass, classical, hymns, and folk music are faves. I don’t listen to music as much these days and have no idea why. I prefer live to Memorex and used to frequent the bluegrass concert circuit, tent camping along the way in a tent I designed and built as part of a design class. Just me, Earnie and a dog named Shep.

My favorite place to enjoy with my family is Bernheim Forest. I like to practice identifying trees by their leaves and bark.

Spiders and snakes don’t bother me a bit but rodents creep me out.

I am unable to watch gorey movies. Want to keep my mind as pure as possible, but that probably makes me ineffective in a real life scene. Even though slaughterhouses didn’t bother me as a kid.

Schmaltzy, sentimental songs make me want to puke.

I started wearing glasses in the third grade when my parents noticed I was creating pinholes to look through to read the attendance tallies on the wall at church.

I read Marvel comics exclusively as a kid. No DC or Archie for me, no way.

I read Greek but had many years of French, which I never use. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Maybe it'll come in handy if I ever move to Canada.

I have decided...

Despite the fact that autobiographical info smacks of narcissism, I have decided to post some info to Facebook. Hopefully it will be a bit light and breezy and not too self-concious. How else will people get to know you if you don't share?

So here we go with true confessions entry 1... (without getting TOO personal).

You’ll see trivia and significa interrelated here, or get the whole package at once on Facebook. Esoterica about Earnie will follow at some point in the near future.

A few weird --and not so weird things about me you need to know if you REALLY want to know me…

I once tried “Just For Men” and it turned my hair red, leading me to buzz my hair and shave my beard till it grew back. That was about the time I tried Rogaine and it made my hair smell like a pickle. It seemed like a good idea at the time. So take me as I am, au naturale.

I grew my first beard for the role of Lancelot in a production of Camelot in 1974, and have had a beard for all but a few weeks ever since. So I don’t own any stock in Gillette or Schick, needless to say. And yes, Earnie prefers the beard, which says something about my appearance without one.

I am a family history junkie. My most unusual ancestors are the guy president Andy Jackson’s wife ran away from to marry him (after Andy chased him into that cane brake with a butcher knife) and a grandma buried at Shaker Village where she lived out most of her days. And yes, the Shakers practiced celibacy.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

News from the Dark Side

North Korea continues its aggressive opposition to Christianity by executing one woman and torturing another. Their families are now imprisoned. Please pray for Christians in North Korea. The AP wire reports that 33 year old mother of three, Ri Hyon Ok was executed last month for distributing Bibles. North Korea, of course claims she was a spy and and accused her of “organizing dissidents.”

Another Christian, Seo Kum Ok was arrested and tortured and it is not known if she survived. The Bible has been banned in North Korea, which has “judged that Christian forces could pose a threat to its regime.”

You can keep up with what's happening in the Lion's Den at The Voice of the Martyrs.Never forget the darkness that is the daily reality for these Christians. As I prepare for worshipping in freedom this morning they are on my heart.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Rube Goldberg

Have you ever felt like you are trapped in the middle of a Rube Goldberg machine? Sometimes I do...wating for the next action that will elicit a reaction. The third law of thermodynamics seems to explain a lot in practical terms about the life we encounter on a daily basis. It is not to be confused with Fudd's law, which states,

One of the first projects _ ever had as an undergraduate fine art student was to design and build a Rube Goldberg machine for a design class. I threw myself into it and built a mighty contraption that covered about six square feet of space with about twenty interactions. It had to be dismantled due to the daunting size, and I wish I still had the plans I came up with. The intriguing thing, and the life lesson, is that it is still possible to design and set up some things in life and achieve a prescribed result. If you jump off a building you will go splat. So the natural forces of the world, though fallen, can be a helper to us along the way. Even entropy can work to our advantage. Sometimes things come off without a hitch in spite of the outside forces that want to prevail against us. It is up to us to make sure our designs are in accordance with God's best. It is good to remember that Proverbs 19:21 says "Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails."

Lately I have been collecting Goldberg related stuff on ebay. Since most of my hobbies end up turning into vocations, I had to choose something off the wall, and this is it. Much more fun than collecting vintage meat grinders or whoopee cushions.Check out the Rube here... and here.

A Day Well Spent

I had a chance to take a day off today and took it. I could have stayed at home and made progress on my research. I finished collecting the data yesterday and now it is time to start the content analysis. This phase of the work was a prolonged and daunting, even tedious endeavor. Instead I made a trip to the seminary campus to enjoy all the recent changes- the flowers were in full bloom and the trees are back to their former beauty after the ice storm cleanup of a few months ago.I must say that the additions and changes to campus are inspiring and aesthetically gratifying. Now we have lots of beautiful benches and places to gather. The new bookstore is beautiful and the cafe expansion was a pleasure to view as well. Since I entered the research phase of my degree I had not spent much time on campus. With the campus between sessions on a Saturday I had time to absorb the changes and renew my vision for why I am pursuing this degree. It was a great help to feel a part of the ongoing legacy of something much larger than myself. The time was well spent- I believe I’ll be able to start the next leg of the journey with a clearer vision than working all sequestered away in my home office can afford.

I was able to get a great deal (about 60 percent off) on a series of DVD's on our American Heritage by historian David Barton of Wallbuilders.

Then after lunch at Smokey Bones, we were off to explore The Summit. We discovered a Mitchell's Fish Market there- just like the one we enjoyed at Newport last year- you never know what will turn up when you start looking- we'll return there sometime when we get a fish craving. We had a tremendous rainstorm while there but enjoyed the beautiful flowers and music in their environment. It was a great day for window shopping...and getting in a good walk...

We ended the evening laughing ourselves silly watching my favorite Marx Brothers film- A Night
At The Opera
and were reminded again...There ain't no sanity clause...

Encouragement Appreciated!

We are seeing movement with both our home studies - state and private agency-toward adoption. We are excited about the potentials, but a little anxious as we have had so many dead ends on our search thus far. After going through the state training and becoming resource parents for the state, we have been approved for adoption of up to three children and are looking for a sibling group that we can help preserve instead of seeing them broken up. I just read an article in Southern's Towers publication about the resolution Dr. Moore made at the convention that was so well received. This is a point of deep conviction with us, and we are encouraged that so much is breaking at large with a spirit of adoption growing in our midst.

That brings to mind another point- the state systems involved in the adoption process...resolutions are one thing, but the need for streamlining and reforming the systems that govern adoption in our fair state must be addressed as well. I hope the Baptist community can be involved with this process. For every child we pursue there are scores of other families submitting home studies as well. We are hopeful that perseverance will prevail, but if anyone tells you it is an easy thing to adopt in this culture, please be wary.

Clunker Conundrum

Now I ask you…

When I first heard of the cash for clunkers news, I looked into it, all the while knowing that my two clunkers would not qualify, for like many Americans, I have historically attempted to drive vehicles that got good gas mileage. This was considered both a practical matter as well as duty and good stewardship. Neither have I ever owned a new car, always opting for used vehicles.

So the way I see it is that the bad stewards and the people who have driven gas guzzling autos without concern for stewardship are being rewarded with a program to give them cash and rebates to buy new cars, while the government subsidizes the car companies that were the worst stewards and produced the worst products. Now Ford, the company that didn’t take bailout money, has to compete against this double whammy of government subsidized sales of inferior products to people who never considered saving and conserving and thrift to be of value. What’s wrong with this picture?

Thoughts in the Presence of Fear

…the substitution of rhetoric for thought, always a temptation in a national crisis, must be resisted by officials and citizens alike.

Wendell Berry
Thoughts in the Presence of Fear

An important essay - that is even timelier today than when it was can read here…

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Harry Potter Spoilers- if that is possible...

It's been two years since the last Harry Potter movie, and in the meantime, my interest has waned. Nonetheless, I was curious to see how the sixth book in the series would be portrayed on the big screen, and I was not really surprised. The book it is based on is a sort of plodding, transitional piece that, in my estimation, could have been removed from the series and not missed.

The darkness of the story line is reflected cinematically in the shadowy, dreary imagery throughout. Time and again, wands provide the only source of light to dispel the encroaching darkness. This is especially true in the scene that replaces Dumbledore's funeral. Rumor has it that this will open the next movie.

There are several themes that were hinted at in the movie but were not fully explored- that of Draco's suffering for fear of his life and that of light overcoming darkness, the nature of trust, the trustworthiness of memory, and the pitfalls of celebrity both for those who attach themselves to it and those who are afforded it. Some images were left unresolved- such as the reason for Dumbledore's withered and burnt hand.The battle at the end of the book is no where to be found.

One of the problems with the movie is its dependence upon what went before and what will come. Obviously, if one has read the series, there was little to be surprised about. For instance, the shock of the non-resistance and "murder" of Dumbledore will lose its impact if one knows "the rest of the story." The movie starts with the supposition that one remembers how the fifth movie ended, inserting the viewer into the aftermath of the public revelation that Lord Voldemort is back. The detail that made the book tolerable is missing in many places in the movie.

Many of the reviews I have read lament the daunting task of depicting the books in another medium, but surely -isn't this is the very basic thing we expect from the multimillion dollar effort? Is it asking too much? In my opinion, the makers of the movie could have by means of memory devices or flashbacks filled in some of the blanks. Instead the movie cannot stand on its own merit, rambling through some considerably less important chapters and covering other parts of the narrative in seconds, such as the explanation and point of horcruxes. Altogether missing are symbolically important passages, such as the lament of the phoenix and, as already mentioned, Dumbledore's funeral.

Fans will fill in their own blanks with details from the memory afforded by the reading of the book. I'm not so sure it will make any sense whatsoever to a non-reader.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Bursts of Color

We have wild strawberries on the vine. And here is another web gallery of the flora adorning our homeplace...

Monday, July 13, 2009

Oldie but Goodie

I ran across this image sent by friends some years ago- it's still funny today..
Click Here for larger image.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Work then Rest

I worked hard yesterday to create an exercise space in my garage/ library area- I was pleased with the results. We picked some of the firstfruits of our garden last evening; and today visited Bardstown for a return trip to retake photos at the
Heaven Hill Distillery Bourbon Heritage Center display. Yep- that's right - this teetotaler has an interest in the history of distilling in Kentucky as half my ancestors were involved in this trade. My great grandfather was the first distillery supervisor at Heaven Hill and I shot pix of their historical display today.It is a top notch exhibition site and spared no expense in the display and graphic design.

Then we retired to Kurtz' Restaurant to tear up a chicken and have a little dessert- which served as supper as well...