Thursday, March 31, 2005

Ken Myers' thoughts on Terri Schiavo. If you can stand to read one more thing about this subject, you must go here for an excellent essay by the publisher of Mars Hill Audio.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Because I was bored.

I've got some stacks, too. Enjoy.

Bumper Sticker Politics:
Spotted on a vehicle in Charlotte: "Frodo Failed. Bush has the Ring."

So, Bush = Sauron, the Dark Lord. Then I suppose that:
  • Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Rove, [insert neocon here] = the Nazgul?
  • Republicans as Orcs?
  • The spread of Democracy as the "Shadow"
  • John Kerry = Frodo?
  • Bill Clinton as Gandalf?
  • Hillary as Aragorn?
  • Reid/Pelosi as Pippen/Merry?
  • Gore as Gollum?
This could make a funny spoof. Hello, Amplifier?
I saw my first PSP yesterday in a coffee shop. It was way cool, but did't seem at all to me to be an iPod killer. We'll see, I guess.

In the meantime here are two interesting articles on the latest Mac stuff:
Return of the Mac
All the best hackers I know are gradually switching to Macs. My friend Robert said his whole research group at MIT recently bought themselves Powerbooks. These guys are not the graphic designers and grandmas who were buying Macs at Apple's low point in the mid 1990s. They're about as hardcore OS hackers as you can get. More.
Then there's
What's Next for Apple? which has as part of it a slideshow of Apple Gear We Hope to See.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Everybody deserves another chance
Hey, just because you've raped, stolen, lied, looked the other way while people were murdered, and engaged in graft (to name a few things), is no reason why you shouldn't have control over the Internet.
I wonder why we're not hearing more of this in the MSM?
They said "Help is on the way."
And, darn it, if those crazy Democrats weren't right all along! Finally, they're sending in someone who has proven, in his long career, that he can really make things happen. I just wonder where he's been this whole time?
Do you need more reason to move to Miami Springs?
Eat Your Heart Out, Austin!

THE festival.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Because You Demanded It

Below are some cds that I've stacked. Too often, I'll stack cds and then unstack them without regard. There is no FIFO or LIFO method at play here. The result is that I have no idea how previous stacks of my cds were composed. I will know how these were stacked.

If you choose to play my game, I'll make you a mix cd with the cds you can name in these pictures.

Good luck, we're all counting on you.

Outsourcing the Drive-in Window. McDonald's Corporation has in mind to out source the drive-in window, using a call center.

I think the fast-food experience will be seriously compromised without drive-in (a) delay; (b) unintelligibility; (c) lack of courtesy, and (d) getting your order wrong.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Put down those kettlebells and join me for a jog.

I have just signed up for the 2006 Miami Tropical Marathon next January and would love to have some company for the run, even if just for the first half. I'm planning on doing the Galloway plan, so there should be plenty of time and air to enjoy the views of Biscayne Bay along the way. Free lodging and a delicious pre-race dinner will be available at the Stokes home for all who care to join the festivities.

For those interested in my progress so far, I am currently running at 4/1 intervals at an easy 10 min./mile pace. I made my longest run in recent days, about 7 miles (70 minutes), on Thursday in Austin around town lake (I'm not in this picture, it's just for reference).

Now it's back to the hilly roads of Winston-Salem. I will update you as events warrant.
Aidan - New and Old

For those of you who are wondering about Aidan's personal hygene and dancing ability, Aidan has a NEW VIDEO!

It has come to my attention, though, that there are people out there, people who really ought to know better, who have not seen all of his previous videos. In fact, there are some people who haven't seen any of Aidan's videos. This is a problem, and I'm not the only one who thinks so.

Listen, none of us want Mr. Vader upset with us, so here are all of Aidan's videos listed from oldest to newest. I strongly urge you to do the right thing and watch these. Do it for the kids.

Aidan Born (3:12)
Aidan Comes Home (2:11)
Aidan Yawns (1:40)
AWS Cribs! (4:26)
Aidan @ 13.5 Weeks (1:24)
For Anna Scott (3:13)
Aidan at 5 Months (1:42)
I'm Too Sexy (2:02)
All are in Quicktime format. If they don't play automatically, don't give up! (Remember what Darth said!) Instead go here to get the player.

Are all of these "funny"? No, of course not: life is not always "funny". Are they all "high quality"? No: we're not about "slickness" or "over-produced-ness", these things take us away from our film "roots". Are they all "small"? Yes - that way when we sell the "Special Edition" DVD with the large screen versions you'll still buy it.

UPDATE: A number of folks asked me if I sped up, looped or otherwise used any movie magic in the scenes where Aidan is "dancing" in the bathtub. Other folks hypothesized that Kellsey or I was moving Aidan's legs off camera to make him dance. The truth is that there was no movie magic or leg moving. Aidan really does dance around like that in his tub! He kind of shimmies around, then looks at you with a did-you-see-me-dance grin, then goes back to his serious look of don't-bother-me-I'm-dancing-&-splashing! Also, each time it cuts back to a different dance scene, it's a different time. I haven't repeated any of the scenes in the video.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Military Blogs

Amy Weber, one of my staff, has a brother, Ben, who shipped off last month to Iraq with the Marines. He is one of the only folks over there trained to drive one of the brand new Cougar Hardened Engineer Vehicles (totally cool pictures and flash videos here).

Of course, his mother worries about him. A mother's worries, though, would only be exacerbated if the only information she had about current events in Iraq came through the MainStream Media (MSM). Thankfully, the MSM isn't the only game in town with information on what's happening in Iraq. In fact, there's a whole lot happening over there that's actually good news. So, for the sake of Amy's mom, here are a few Military Blogs that will probably have other, more constructive, news on what's happening in Iraq. (These are listed in the order of their ranking as "Best Military Blogs for 2004".) Of course, there is sad news to report as well, and both the good and the sad appear in these blogs. But the news is more balanced and more personal than what one gets in the MSM.


Citizen Smash

Froggy Ruminations


2Slick's Forum

Blogs of War

Marine Corps Moms

Also, if you missed it, a Private in a British Army convoy was awarded the Victoria Cross last week. As reported in the Guardian:
A young soldier has been awarded the Victoria Cross, the highest military honour, for bravery under fire in some of the fiercest, and largely unreported, engagements between British forces and insurgents in south-eastern Iraq.

Private Johnson Beharry, 25, is the first soldier to receive the VC since the Falklands war in 1982 and the first living recipient since 1969, when two Australians were given the award for action in Vietnam.
I was reading some of the military blogs today and discovered that it's standard US Military practice that, when encountering an ambush, they continune to drive forward and fight into the ambush, rather than stop, back up and often get tangled up in their own convoy.

K&K readers are encouraged to pray for Ben and his safety in Iraq!

UPDATE: Because Ben is a Marine! And don't you forget it!
Austin Air Guitar

Do you need more reason to move here?

The Austin Air Guitar Competition happens annually, like SXSW.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Schiavo. Regardless of how well the system is designed, it very often comes back to the individuals in it. In this case, the key player was Judge Greer, who saw as "clear and convincing" the testimony of Michael Schiavo that Terri would not have wanted to live under the circumstances in which we find her. Judge Greer believed Michael Schiavo. Of all the judges who had the opportunity to consider this case, only Judge Greer was in a position to assess Schiavo's credibility. No one else in the system was in that position or otherwise empowered to do so. So Judge Greer's ultimate finding of fact, that Terri would not have wanted to live that way and that she would have refused nutrition and hydration, was substantially beyond review. The system accords such dignity to such fact finding.

It is important to note that among all of the judges who looked at this case, from Judge Greer up the state system to the Florida Supreme Court, from the federal district judge up to the justices on the US Supreme Court, only Judge Greer is elected in the way that most politicians are elected. All of the other judges are protected from the will of the majority either in significant part (the state appellate and supreme court judges) or absolutely (the federal judges).

I don't like the result, but the system still works. If the people of Pinellas County, the county in which Terri chose to live, don't like what Judge Greer did, then they can vote him out.
Been too long but I'm back posting at Coast & Crown!

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

How Fast is your DSL? Go to and click on "speed meter". Give it some time to run the test. My friend Joe tells me that if you have DSL Lite the range should be between 185 and 256. If you have DSL Extreme, something in the 700s.
Hooray for Mary! Before Christmas, Carol and I took the plunge and bought a new desktop computer. Not any desktop, but an Apple G-something, with the really big screen. We also ditched the dial-up and subscribed to a DSL line. The G-something stayed in the box until the kids all arrived for Christmas, and then Walt-Make, somebody younger anyway, put it all together and got us on the air with the "Airport Express". Even the Sewells seemed impressed when they arrived for Christmas brunch. (I think it was the big screen.)

Walter had brought with him his new wide-screen HP laptop and with no wires got on the internet through our wireless port. I lusted after the lap top, which is a commentary on the direction that lust takes as one approaches 60 years of age.

So when we visited Walter and Morgan in Austin in early February, he took us to Frye's, and I bought an HP laptop like his, except that, since I'm the Dad, I got it with more memory than his. Memory gets more and more important as one approaches 60 years of age.

Back home the thing just didn't work. Carol, who is indefatigable when it comes to getting things to work, especially things that I can't get to work, spent hours and hours trying to make the HP light-up with the Airport Wireless. It got to the point where either we went to counseling or she put the thing down. Having bought the Apple G-something with the big screen, signed up for DSL, and bought the HP laptop, we couldn't afford counseling, so she put it down and it sat and sat and sat, until Mary arrived last weekend.

She fixed it. She also saved her parents' marriage, and, yes, maybe I'll go to Austin again.

Not only that, she made it so that we can run the printer from both the G-something and the HP lap top, and run them without wires to the printer from either computer. Amazing.

But she did get the Eagle Award, after all.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

I Eat Emo Pansies for Breakfast

"I will windmill kick you in the face"

check out "The Annoying Hardcore"
'Culture of Life'
The Schiavo case shows that it's about more than abortion (WSJ Editorial here).
A Straw in the Wind? Nissan will be exporting automobiles made in MA to China. See a report here.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Terri Shiavo - Right to Life?
President Bush signed emergency legistlation this morning to allow Terri's parents to ask a Federal judge to prolong Terri's life. Up until now, this matter was handled in Florida's State courts, where the Florida Supreme Court has ruled that Terri's husband can remove her feeding tube, which will certainly bring about her death in a matter of weeks.

So, does Terri have a Right to Life?

Peggy Noonan argued Friday (here) that the Republican-led congress should intervene, exactly as they have done, on the side of life. Her primary rationale is political, though her reasoning is also moral (how can it not be?; Emphasis mine):

At the heart of the case at this point is a question: Is Terri Schiavo brain-dead? That is, is remedy, healing, physiologically impossible?

No. Oddly enough anyone who sees the film and tape of her can see that her brain tells her lungs to breathe, that she can open her eyes, that she seems to respond at times and to some degree to her family. She can laugh. (I heard it this morning on the news. It's a childlike chuckle.) In the language of computers she appears not to be a broken hard drive but a computer in deep hibernation. She looks like one of those coma cases that wind up in the news because the patient, for no clear reason, snaps to and returns to life and says, "Is it 1983? Is there still McDonald's? Can I have a burger?" ....

But in the end, it comes down to this: Why kill her? What is gained? What is good about it? Ronald Reagan used to say, in the early days of the abortion debate, when people would argue that the fetus may not really be a person, he'd say, "Well, if you come across a paper bag in the gutter and it seems something's in it and you don't know if it's alive, you don't kick it, do you?" No, you don't.

So Congress: don't kick it. Let her live. Hard cases make bad law, but let her live. Precedents can begin to cascade, special pleas can become a flood, but let her live. Because she's human, and you're human.

Indeed, Let her live!

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Pics from my day in Austin

Popped the camera in my pocket this morning on my way out the door.

Just another Saturday in Austin. Thought I'd share some of it with you all.

Here's the album
$3 that could end up being $30

Give these a listen; I recommend going ahead and buying the songs and then the albums.

Jon Dee Graham
"Twilight" from The Great Battle

Milton Mapes

"Tornado Weather" from The Blacklight Trap

Li'l Cap'n Travis

"Bar Full of Fans" from ...In All Their Splendor

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Interpreting the Constitution
Sean and I have an ongoing discussion about the Supreme Court of the United States, which kind of goes like this:
Macon - They're ruining the Constitution!
Sean - Ok, but, what do you mean?
Macon - Ummm, well, see, there's this stuff I've read, and, well, just trust me on this one.

And really, my position comes from all the dinner table conversations with Dad and reading First Things, both of whom's opinions are far more educated than mine and whom I respect very much. But the reasoning is complicated and I haven't "owned" it enough to be able to articulate to Sean's satisfaction. Sean, as a thoughtful person, has an appropriately high benchmark for "satisfaction". :-)

But now, it's all over, because Justice Scalia himself explains what I've been thinking all along here. Three Bad Fingers transcribed a speech Justice Scalia delivered at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars on March 14, 2005, and broadcast by C-Span. Seriously, you should read the whole thing, including the Q&A which followed the speech and which also is transcribed by Three Bad Fingers.

Some favorite quotes
from the text of the speech:
I am one of a small number of judges, small number of anybody: judges, professors, lawyers; who are known as originalists. Our manner of interpreting the Constitution is to begin with the text, and to give that text the meaning that it bore when it was adopted by the people. I’m not a strict constructionist, despite the introduction. I don’t like the term “strict construction”. I do not think the Constitution, or any text should be interpreted either strictly or sloppily; it should be interpreted reasonably. Many of my interpretations do not deserve the description “strict”. I do believe however, that you give the text the meaning it had when it was adopted. . . .

Now, in asserting that originalism used to be orthodoxy, I do not mean to imply that judges did not distort the Constitution now and then, of course they did. We had willful judges then, and we will have willful judges until the end of time. But the difference is that prior to the last fifty years or so, prior to the advent of the “Living Constitution”, judges did their distortions the good-old-fashioned way, the honest way, they lied about it. They said the Constitution means such and such, when it never meant such and such.

It’s a big difference that you now no longer have to lie about it, because we are in the era of the evolving Constitution. And the judge can simply say, “Oh yes, the Constitution didn’t used to mean that, but it does now.”

So it is literally true, and I don’t think this is an exaggeration, that the Court has essentially liberated itself from the text of the Constitution, from the text, and even from the traditions of the American people.
And from the text of the Q&A:
Justice Scalia:. . . I didn’t say that if there is to be an evolution of standards under the Eighth Amendment, it’s up to the legislature. No, the legislature can’t change the Eighth Amendment. I’m saying the Eighth Amendment means what was cruel and unusual and unconstitutional in 1791 remains that today. The death penalty wasn’t, and hence it isn’t, despite the fact that I sat with three colleagues that thought it had become unconstitutional. Executing someone under eighteen was not unconstitutional in 1791, so it is not unconstitutional today. Now, it may be very stupid. It may be a very bad idea, just as notching ears, which was a punishment in 1791, is a very bad idea. But the people can change, the people can eliminate those stupidities if and when they want. To evolve, you don’t need a constitution. All you need is a legislature a ballot box. Things will evolve as much as you want. They can create a right to abortion. They can abolish the death penalty. They can legitimize homosexual sodomy. All of these things, all of these changes can come about democratically. You don’t need a constitution to do that. And it’s not the function of a constitution to do that.

[Question:] Mr. Justice Scalia, what do you think has caused the emergence of the Living Constitution doctrine? What were the forces in society, were there pressures that were not responded to by the legislature? What caused the emergence of this new doctrine?

Justice Scalia: I don’t know. Perhaps the question should be: how did we get away without having it develop much sooner. I mean it’s enormously seductive to a judge. The Living Constitution judge is a happy fellow. He comes home at night and his wife says, “Dear, did you have a good day on the bench?” “Oh, yes. We had a constitutional case today. And you know what? The Constitution meant exactly what I thought it ought to mean!” Well of course it does, because that’s your only criterion. That’s a very seductive philosophy. So it’s no surprise that it should take the society by storm. And it is the same thing for the man or woman in the street: to know that everything you care passionately about, whether it’s abortion or suicide, or whatever you care passionately about, it’s there in the Constitution. What a happy feeling. That’s what causes it. And that’s what makes it hard to call the society back from it. It’s tough medicine.
I'm not kidding, if you've ever wondered about just how it is that some of these judges make the decisions they do, you should read his whole speech.
Huge props to National Mustard for the link!
UNC Study Compares Mormon Teens to Conservative Christian. Mormons seem to come out ahead, except in some, perhaps crucial, respects. (But careful, the researcher's name is "Smith".)

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Some Pre-Easter Week "Passion" Reflections
It cannot be ignored that many men have suffered grievously, most grievously, in the course of world history. It might even be suggested that many men have perhaps suffered more grievously and longer and more bitterly than did this man in the limited events of a single day. Many who have suffered at the hand of men have been treated no less and parhaps more unjustly than this man. Many have been willing as He was to suffer in this way. Many in so doing have done somethig which, according to their intention and it may be in fact, was significant for others, perhaps many others, making a redemptive change in their life. . . . The suffering of man may be deserved or undeserved, voluntary of involuntary, heroic or not heroic, important for others or not important for others . . . . But [suffering] has in it as such something which in its own way is infinitely outstanding and moving . . . .This is true of the passion of Jesus of Nazareth, but in so far as [Jesus'] passion is a human passion, it is not . . . basically different from that of any other human passion. If we single out this human passion above others, we may be able to see and to say something which is noteworthy as such, but we shall not be helped forward a single step towards an understanding of what this occurence is all about.

The mystery of this passion, of the torture, crucifixion and death of this one Jew which took place at that place and time at the hands of the Romans, is to be found in the person and mission of the One who suffered there and was cricified and died. His person: it is the eternal God Himself who has given Himself in His Son to be man, and as man to take upon Himself this human passion. His mission: it is the Judge who in this passion takes the place of those who ought to be judged, who in this passion allows Himself to be judged in their place. It is not, therefore, merely that God rules in and over this human occurrence simply as Creator and Lord. He does this, but He does more. He gives Himself to be the humanly acting and suffering person in this occurrence.
Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics, vol IV, I, pp. 246 - 248.
Balanced Newsweek Column on Bush's Foreign Policy. Fareed Zakaria's article entitled What Bush Got Right makes interesting reading, despite its MSM setting.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

SXSW '05: An Insider Perspective part 2

Here we are on the eve of the music portion of the fest: 1368 bands on the official bill. But there's no telling how many shows will be played unofficially--probably as many as there are officially. I expect to see Pedro The Lion twice at free (unofficial) shows and I should see them one additional, free time as Headphones (their alias). They are also playing both as PTL and Headphones at official showcases. Milton Mapes is also playing two free shows in addition to their one showcase, also, if that gives you any indication of how much music there is around here.

**the insider perspective**
It's a bit drizzly and cold outside, so I'm glad to be in here. I'm nursing a Jamba Juice Razmatazz with a protein boost. I had a good workout at the gym today. I'm working my way up to the fabled difficulty of 25 on a scale of 1-25 on the elliptical machine. I sweat at 15 today for 30 minutes. The kettlebell off-days find me on the elliptical machine. Dishonorable, yes, but it won't be once I get to 25.

Some old-school Unashamed is making the speakers rattle on my Aiwa mini-stereo. The CD player hasn't worked since high-school, but the AUX jack let's me blast some iPod magic.

**Thus concludes another inside look at SXSW '05**
Lindsay Harris Crawford goes way back in Sewell Family lore. She went to High School with Kellsey, was a bridesmaid in our wedding, is a fellow X-Files, ALIAS & LOST fan, and introduced us to the pop-television love/satire site Television Without Pity (where we first learned the term "snark"). She also makes an appearance in the comments of this fair blog, though she tells us she lurks more often than she comments.

"Yeah, but," you may ask, "what has she done for us lately?"

Well, actually, on her family's brand new blog, Crawford House, our humble blog takes top billing in the blogroll. (A snarky kind of person might note that there are only two blogs in the blogroll. I mention this because, lacking folks who make snarky comments here at Kith&Kin, you might never have noticed.)

Welcome to the blogosphere, Crawfords! Might I suggest linking to, or creating your own Handy HTML sheet? It's helped the more bloggoreticent around here to include links and pictures in their posts.

Let the deuling baby pictures begin.

And speaking of lurkers, please don't be shy! Stokes Kith & Kin are really nice people, even if we voice our opinions, well, vociferiously. (I'm especially talking to you, Jud & Joel.)
Charles H. Townes, 1964 Nobel laureate in physics and inventor of the laser. Read here what this Berkeley professor says about science and religion upon being awarded the 2005 Templeton prize. Read one of his books, such as How the Laser Happened.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Stanley Grenz Goes Home
Dr. Stanley Grenz, a theologian, professor, and, in his church, guitar-playing worship leader, passed away on Saturday. If you haven't heard of him, you ought to consider picking up and reading some of his books. I don't agree with all of his theological positions, but after reading Brian McLaren's euology, I'm pretty sure I would have liked him. In fact, the way Brian describes Dr. Grenz's integration of theology and worship, his humility, and they way in which he responded to his critics, I think there are many ways I would like to be like Dr. Grenz.
From the "No Joke!!" Dept. Study shows media election coverage harder on Bush the Kerry.
SXSW '05: An Insider's Perspective

The non-music portion of SXSW is underway, but not much has changed for me inside the Amplifier office. There aren't any windows here, so I'm not sure how things look out there. It was pretty when I came in.

I'll keep you posted.
Amplifier makes an appearance at SXSW

Jordan Stone was the undisputed star of the evening at tonight’s South by Southwest Web Awards ceremony, taking the stage repeatedly to accept awards in an unprecedented 3-category sweep.

The Amplifier corporate site was first to be recognized, winning the award for best Business/For-Profit website.  Amplifier President/CEO Joel Bush accepted the award with designer Stone by his side.  Bush was characteristically subdued in his remarks, briefly thanking SXSW for the honor before declining a celebratory shot of Jagermeister proffered by MC Laura Swisher (NBC’s “Last Comic Standing”). . . . In an interview taped following the ceremony, Joel Bush gave full credit to Stone for the accolades that the Amplifier site has won.  Stone, however, credited Amplifier and Bush for fostering creativity and allowing him to develop such unique and noteworthy sites.  “Because you know, most of what’s out there on the Internet sucks,” he told reporters.  “It’s really all just BS.”

Sunday, March 13, 2005

This week
Aidan turns 5 months old! To celebrate, The Stokes Family - Charlotte created this video for your viewing pleasure.

Before you mention it, yes, we know this is a "first child" kind of thing: Six videos! But we're having a whole lot of fun here. :-) Perhaps the next (Lord willing) child won't get as many videos. Frankly, we have no idea if they will or not. (We'd like to think they will, but, again, we have no idea what the future holds.) But to not enjoy making another video of Aidan because the next one wouldn't get as many is like staying inside on a sunny day because you're afraid that tomorrow it might rain!

We're working hard here to let tomorrow's worries take care of themselves. :-)
Black Genocide.

SOURCE: February 19, 2005 issue of World Magazine.
"The Holy City"

Today during Van's message, he referred to the two "next-life" scenes in the movie Gladiator, the first in which the protaginist is a visitor. He returns from his first death experience to wreak vengence. When he dies again, he goes back to that place and stays, having completed his vengeful mission. Van remarked about how washed out the colors were in that idea of heaven; he contrasted those scenes with a vision of a Christian heaven full of rich colors beyond our present comprehension. (He could have said more, of course, about how the protagonist is a sort of anti-Christ, but that wasn't what the sermon was really about.)

I have often thought of the difference between the "Elysian Fields" of Greek mythology, the abode of the blessed at death, and the Christian idea of heaven, an image that I think is much more of a reality than a metaphor, the idea of a holy city.

Palm Sunday comes in a week. As I was growing up in a big, downtown Baptist church full of music, on Palm Sunday Bob McAfee, the choir's top tenor, would often sing Waverly's "The Holy City", to celebrate Jeus coming into "old Jerusalem" on a donkey, with the Hossanahs filling the air. In some other year, the entire adult choir would sing a version of that song arranged for choral music. I just loved it.

To a post-modern ear, the song probably sounds a little hokey. It has a big piano part, with the pianist banging up and down the keyboard, rather like that figure on the Muppets who would pound away at the piano with Miss Piggy squeeking away. And then it has dramatic percussive changes; the dynamics build from a pianissimo to a crezcendo. It repeats the chorus or refrain three times, and the trick for the singer is not to reach a climax until the last time the refrain is sung. The singer simply wants to pound that refrain the first time he or she can get her voice on it. Finally, the song tells a story, a wonderful story about a city that anyone can enter, that has no energy problems, a city that God inhabits with his people, a place that goes on forever.

Think of what it means to have heaven as a city. It means specialization, it means networking, it means friends, it means a sort of time line, it means communication, it means process, it means growth and change without losing the essence of the City. I will take that over boring Elysian Fields any day of the week. Here are the words (but be sure not to miss the very end of this post).

Last night I lay a-sleeping
There came a dream so fair,
I stood in old Jerusalem
Beside the temple there.
I heard the children singing,
And ever as they sang,
Me thought the voice of angels
From heaven in answer rang.

Jerusalem! Jerusalem!
Lift up your gates and sing,
Hosanna in the highest!
Hosanna to your King!

And then me thought my dream was changed,
The streets no longer rang,
Hushed were the glad Hosannas
The little children sang.
The sun grew dark with mystery,
The morn was cold and chill,
As the shadow of a cross arose
Upon a lonely hill.

Jerusalem! Jerusalem!
Hark! How the angels sing,
Hosanna in the highest!
Hosanna to your King!

And once again the scene was changed;
New earth there seemed to be;
I saw the Holy City
Beside the tideless sea;
The light of God was on its streets,
The gates were open wide,
And all who would might enter,
And no one was denied.
No need of moon or stars by night,
Or sun to shine by day;
It was the new Jerusalem
That would not pass away.

Jerusalem! Jerusalem!
Sing for the night is o'er!
Hosanna in the highest!
Hosanna for evermore!

I also found an MPG of the song, sung by a very Irish tenor. If you go on iTunes and search for "The Holy City", you will see a number of ways people sing this song. But I like the way this Irishman does it, and I hope you do. (Actually, I checked, and the singer is not an Irishman at all. He's a Hobbit. Which is perfect.)

Finally, I get to sing this song in church this coming Palm Sunday, just like Bob McAfee used to do when I was a kid. I am unembarrassed to say that I just can't wait!

Saturday, March 12, 2005

A Fanboy Moment
Today's theme is firsts, apparently. First SK&K incursion to National Mustard (does this make us "insurgents"?), the first external reference to the SK&K blog, first Stokes in the latest Whole Foods in Austin, and now, my first ever published email at Ann Althouse's blog.

She posted on the subject of bumper stickers, their usefulness, and the kind of people that apply them. During one of the many long runs that I ran with Dana while we were training for our never-to-actually-be-run marathon, I developed this idea that bumper stickers, regardless of the content, only delivered binary information: they told you that you were either "in" or "out". (My role as co-runner with Dana was the-guy-who-talks-to-distract-you-from-the-pain-of-running.) So if you got the joke, agreed with the message, or understood the reference you were "in". If you didn't get it/agree/understand then you were "out". (Possible corollaries: (a) each additional bumper sticker you add, you increase the information throughput by an order of magnitude, or (b) each additional bumper sticker you add, you increase the emotional message, "you're really 'out'," by an order of magnitude.) I emailed my theory to Prof. Althouse in a moment of gosh-maybe-she-might-care inspiration, and apparently she did! I also mentioned the fact that my only decal is the Despair "Frownie" emoticon :-((tm).

I really enjoy reading her blog, btw. She posts on all kinds of things, including law. She's also inspired me to post a sketch of mine, as she posts her own sketches from time to time. In particular, it's fun to read her blog as she lives in Madison, WI (and posts pictures), which I visit almost every summer as it's the home of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, my current employer.

Speaking of other blogs, Sean Meade, the editor of Thomas P. M. Barnett's blog (of The Pentagon's New Map fame), would really like the last in this series of hypothetical bumper stickers created by The Armchair Philosopher. While I won't speak for the Sean's reaction to the rest of the list, I can tell you that I thoroughly enjoyed most of them.
More from "Crime, Deterrance and Right to Carry Concealed Handguns."

The potential defensive nature of guns is indicated by the different rates of so-called hot burglaries, where residents are at home when the criminals strike. Almost half the burglaries in Canada and Britain, which have tough gun control laws, are ‘‘hot burglaries.’’ By contrast, the United States, with laxer restrictions, has a ‘‘hot burglary’’ rate of only 13 percent. Consistent with this, surveys of convicted felons in America reveal that they are much more worried about armed victims than they are about running into the police. This fear of potentially armed victims causes American burglars to spend more time than their foreign counterparts ‘‘casing’’ a house to ensure that nobody is home. Felons frequently comment in these interviews that they avoid late-night burglaries because ‘‘that’s the way to get shot.’’ [footnotes omitted.]

I've managed to upload the enire PDF of the article "Crime, Deterrance, and Right-to-Carry Concealed Handguns", Lott and Mustard, Journal of Legal Studies, January 1997,

Did I violate a copyright?
There and Back Again

Well, it's quite a spectacle, this new Whole Foods Market. The IKEA of grocery stores, if you will. I'm not sure of the IKEA stores you've been to, but Epcot Center could fit inside Houston's IKEA. (the world's biggest IKEA, by the way)

To be clear, it's four stories of subterranean parking garage. The grocery store is one story. (There are corporate offices in the levels above the store.)

It was fun to walk around, accept my complementary bottle of sparkling cider, and consider the crab-stuffed calimari. Knowing when to say when, I bypassed the wine tasting bar and the beer tasting bar. XsteadfastX

I purchased a slice of pepperoni pizza; Morgan, a slice of vegetarian with pesto sauce. I drank sparkling blueberry juice; Morgan, orangina.

It was crowded, for sure.

I intend to go back in some Tuesday night, after SXSW, at around 9:30 and see how it is that someone might buy groceries from this place. I'm not sure that I saw anyone buying groceries.
Stokeses On The Seven Seas
Over a year ago, Sean introduced the Stokes Kith & Kin to blogging, and for his trouble got a slew of Snarky-Stokes-Commentary, liberally spiced with conservative leanings, on his own blog, Interact. Barbarian Hordes that we are, we were unafraid to carry on our own conversations within his comments section.

And now the virus has spread.

Tom & Company's blog, National Mustard (in the blogroll as "Tom's Blog") was recently broadsided and boarded by Stokes Kin in a compelling post comparing EM Forster and CS Forester. This is noted and lamented in a later post.

Stokes Kith, I invite you to join us in our boarding party!
Terri Schiavo's Last Days. The judge in Penellas County Florida, Judge Greer, who originally determined that Terri Schaivo (1) is in a "persistent vegetative state" and (2) would have refused nutrition and hydrataion in such a circumstance, has ruled that her feeding tube be withdrawn on March 18. This after years of litigation first initiated by her husband. (He initiated the litigation not immediately after she was stricken but only years later, when it became convenient for Mr. Schiavo to recall some casual remarks that he said Terri, who had been raised a Catholic, made about end-of-life issues.)

The chorus of protest against Judge Greer's original ruling approaches a crescendo, and arrayed against the chorus are the usual suspects, including but not limited to the mainstream media, the judiciary, substantially consisting of the lawyers now in their 50's who grew up during the 60's, and the ruling organs of the legal profession, similarly dominated.

The Vatican agrees that "extraordinary means" should not be employed to prolong life, but its spokesmen insist that "food, water, and warmth" are "ordinary means", not "extraodinary means". To withdraw "ordinary means", then, is euthenasia in the Vatican's view. It is important to note that a Vatican spokesman this week specifically refers to the Schiavo case.

In legal circles over the past few months, I have attended three speeches by judges and lawyers defending the concept of an "independent judiciary". The Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Court spoke on this subject at a general meeting of the Dade County Bar Association about two months ago. A few weeks later I heard David Boies, the NY trial lawyer who represented the government against Microsoft in the anti-trust case and Gore against Bush in the Presidential election cases, speak on the same subject. And two weeks ago I heard the Associate Justice, Sandra Day O'Connor, give a similar speech. The frequency with which I am hearing this sort of thing, and reading about it, indicates that the ruling elites see themselves under significant pressure from the the electoral majority as the decisions of the judiciary seem to be increasingly unpopular, a judiciary that relies on the endorsement by MSM as a sort of bulwark, a bulwark that itself has taken some severe hits in the past few years.

Jeb Bush and his allies in the Florida legislature have not given up. Go to to see the latest developments in the Florida legislature. (This website has a number of other good resources, including PDF copies of Judge Greer's orders, appeals court decisions, briefs and other materials.)

And an effort is mounting in Congress as well. One of them is a bill that would extend the right of habeas corpus to people in Terri's situation. How ironic that our legal system takes such care before it allows the execution of the death penalty on convicted murderers, and yet it directs that Terri be killed on the basis of hearsay evidence from an unfaithful husband who finds her existence inconvenient.

I don't know whether Terri will be killed. (I fear that she will.) But I think that her case may have far reaching consequences on the way we deal with the judiciary. I think the alarm in which the ruling elites view the pressure on the judiciary is appropriate.
The Pieces Fall Into Place for Mary's Move To Austin
Ann Althouse brought to my attention the fact that Whole Foods in Austin completed their new Landmark Store located on 6th and Lamar. She writes
There's a real appreciation for beauty at Whole Foods. The health theme is not medicinal and puritanical as it is in old fashioned health food stores. Shopping at Whole Foods causes you think of eating well: it's easy to see and feel drawn to things that are both healthful and delicious. That is so helpful! In an ordinary supermarket, you feel torn between the good-for-you and the junk food. You transcend that dilemma at Whole Foods. And the people who work there enhance the experience. Supermarket workers usually seem weary and act like they don't even see you, in the hope that you won't ask for anything. Old fashioned health food store workers tend to channel the puritanical theme of the place or to act as though they're too evolved for the work ethic. Whole Foods employees tend to be alert and friendly and knowledgeable -- and not in a phony or annoying way. And that's not just by chance. They have an excellent training program and a real conception of what they are about. They richly deserve their success.
She links to Richard Lawrence Cohen, an Austinite, who asks:
What do you demand from your grocery store? Do you demand a 1,000-space, four-level parking lot with specially designed escalators that your shopping cart can go on? Do you demand your choice of five separately themed cafes, one for salads, one for meat, one for pasta, one for pizza and charcuterie, and one for seafood with your choice of any fresh catch, your choice of cooking method, and your choice of sauce? How about a four-tiered fountain of liquid chocolate the size of a large wedding cake, into which an artsy young woman continually dips strawberries and cookies. . . . How about grinding your own nut butter (honey-roasted cashew?) and eating it at an outdoor plaza on any kind of bread you can imagine, from blueberry pecan to hempseed to striata? I think you should also demand a walk-in beer cooler with an attendant in a ski parka, and a glass–fronted meat aging room, and a coffee roasting machine roasting varietal beans from 8 am to 10 pm seven days a week, and a cheese counter where you can taste any of 600 kinds of cheese and get a friendly, well–informed lecture on the rind–washing process or the strains of blue–veining bacteria. Do you demand chipotle–marinated buffalo kebabs, or lime–and–basil–marinated tilapia filets, or a smoked salmon sandwich as big as a softball? Do you demand a Putumayo Records listening station decked out as a red London bus? Or perhaps a natural cosmetics section that could swallow up several Body Shops. And of course you must demand a Willy Wonka–style candy factory where the kids can watch their own candy being made before they pop it into their gaping, quivering mouths. Are these among your needs?
Then this is the store for you!

Thursday, March 10, 2005

The Best Man for the Job is a Wo-Man.

This is from a Workforce Week article Carol received commenting on the firing of Carly Fiorina as it relates to the number of women in top management.

"A recent Catalyst study of 353 Fortune 500 companies reveals that companies suffer when there is a lack of women at the top. The data shows that from 1996 to 2000, companies with the highest representation of women in top management achieved 34 percent to 35 percent better financial performance (as measured by return on equity and total return to shareholders) than the companies with below-average female representation."

This is the link to the full article.

I commented on Carly in an earlier post.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Support the Mapes

As their erstwhile Merch Table Attendant, I strongly commend to you the new album from Milton Mapes.
.Asymmetry.. The head of Boeing got bounced last week (early this week?) because of a "consensual" affair with a Boeing employee. He was separated. She divorced. He had been called out of retirement a year and a half ago to deal with the mess at that great, but scandal plagued company. (He is 68, had been the CEO, had retired cum laude, and had been asked to come back and help.) He was doing a good job. But his ability to lead depended on his moral heft, and this indiscretion compromised him. Out he goes.

And then there's Bill . . .
National Mustard. See the sidebar under "Non-lawyer" blogs for Tom's blog from Kyoto, Japan, which is fun to read.
What were they thinking?

Some big news recently came from Wake Forest not related to its basketball standing in the ACC. It involves their choice for new president: Nathan Hatch. Hatch will come to Wake after serving as Provost at Notre Dame. He graduated from Wheaton College and is, according to press and blog accounts, an Evangelical Presbyterian. This is surprising news for a school that has all but scrapped its Baptist heritage in favor of a more secular academia. Perhaps these winds will blow southward to that better school down the road...

Tuesday, March 08, 2005


...the intervention of the Holy Spirit is not dependent on man and his choice, any more than the revolutionary character of the Christian situation depends on man. It is not because men choose Christ that they become Christian, it is because Christ has chosen them. It is not because Christians choose to go out into the world that they work there, it is because Christ sends them there. They are not revolutionary because they feel the urgent need for revolution; it is for another, independent reason....The situation of the Christian is revolutionary for other than intellectual or self-chosen reasons: it is revolutionary of necessity, and it cannot be otherwise so far as Christ is acting in his Church. This situation is part of the work of the Church in the world, and it is true to say (as a simple fact) that during the greater part of its history the Church has, indeed, been in a revolutionary situation....Here the concern is not essentially to change the form of the State, or of an economy, but the very framework of a civilization....

Jacques Ellul The Presence of the Kingdom (from the chapter Revolutionary Christianity)
Darfur Genocide. Go to this website to read Elie Weisel's remarks on the atrocities in the Sudan. You can find your way from there to a webpage that will send Condi Rice, Kofi Anan, and your senator and representative a letter asking them to do something about the outrageous situation.
The Cost of Gun Control.

"Using cross-sectional time-series data for U.S. counties from 1977 to 1992, we find that allowing citizens to carry concealed weapons deters violent crimes, without increasing accidental deaths. If those states without right-to-carry concealed gun provisions had adopted them in 1992, county- and state-level data indicate that approximately 1,500 murders would have been avoided yearly. Similarly, we predict that rapes would have declined by over 4,000, robbery by over 11,000, and aggravated assaults by over 60,000. We also find criminals substituting into property crimes involving stealth, where the probability of contact between the criminal and the victim is minimal. Further, higher arrest and conviction rates consistently reduce crime. The estimated annual gain from all remaining states adopting these laws was at least $5.74 billion in 1992. The annual social benefit from an additional concealed handgun permit is as high as $5,000."

-From Crime, Deterrance, and Right-to-Carry Concealed Handguns, Lott and Mustard, Journal of Legal Studies, January 1997.

Monday, March 07, 2005

The A-B-C Approach to fighting AIDS

See this interview of Harvard Professor Harold Green concerning the present status of the AIDS fight in Africa and elsewhere.
Defensive Gun Use. Check out this website.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Is there life after film school?

Obviously there is for gifted people like Laura Dunn, but what about all those other people. See this
comment on the blog.
Irony? Hypocrisy?

What's a Christian doing with a Concealed Weapons Permit and talking about self-defense?

I am confronted by an attacker. It will be he or I, and I have the means and the opportunity to make it him. God has blessed me with the knowledge of himself through Jesus Christ. It certainly does not appear that He has yet blessed my attacker in such a way. Shall I let him take my life as part of my Christian witness?

What if the attacker is confronting my wife or my child? Is the answer different?
What's World Vision?

Tim Stafford has written two great articles on World Vision, its history, structure, and mission, on Find it here.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Lessons Learned from the Tyler, TX, gunfight.

See these comments from a gun-toter.
"The Bias Against Guns."

Here is the Amazon review of a recent book on guns by John Lott, who wrote the Article to which Scott links.

Following up on his controversial study More Guns, Less Crime, economist Lott argues that widespread gun ownership prevents crime. He cites survey data and news reports to argue that the fear that victims might be armed strongly deters criminals, and that guns are used in self-defense or to ward off criminal threats about 2.3 million times a year. Because they impede law-abiding citizens' access to guns, even mild gun-control regulations-assault weapons bans, "one-gun-a-month" laws-actually increase crime, according to Lott, while right-to-carry laws lower crime and help prevent (or violently terminate) terrorist attacks and "rampage" shootings. Even measures to keep guns away from children, like "gun-free school zones" and "safe storage" laws that require guns to be locked away, are misguided because children need guns for self-defense (he cites news reports of kids as young as 11 gunning down criminals). The benefits of untrammeled gun availability are clear, Lott insists, and only the anti-gun bias and selective reporting by the media and government officials have kept this fact out of public consciousness. Lott supports his bold claims with elaborate statistical analyses that tease sometimes small effects out of the welter of factors that influence crime rates; there are lots of graphs and tables, and much space is devoted to scholarly discussions of statistical methodologies. Many readers will find these sections rough going, but Lott's provocative thesis is sure to stir interest among second-amendment stalwarts and gun-control supporters alike.
What Kind of Handgun? Lindsay asks what kind of handgun do the experts recommend for self-defense. My reading to this point indicates that there are several opinions. I think, though, that this quote from Chris Bird's The Concealed Handgun Manual is a good place to start:

"Like many things in life, a handgun is a compromise. It is the least-effective firearm for self defense. Except at very close quarters-at arm's length-shotguns and rifles are much more effective in stopping a drug-hyped robber or rapist intent on making you pay for his lack of social skills. A handgun is the hardest firearm to shoot accurately, and, even when you hit what you are shooting at, your target doesn't vaporize in a red mist like on television."

(I would heartily recommend Chris Rice's book. Its in its fourth edition, and I found it to be very informative and well written.)

But Rice does not necessarily recommend carrying around a shotgun or even using that weapon as the main weapon for home-defense. Basically, he seems to say that you acquire the biggest gun you can shoot accurately under the circumstances. By "biggest gun" he would mean that gun that has the most powerful stopping power. If you live out on a farm and can see the bad guy coming from afar, then you would use a deer rifle with a scope, provided you could shoot it accurately. But if you are traveling on MetroRail in a business suit, then you would probably pack a S&W Model 340 Airlite Sc in a .357 Magnum caliber with a high impact round that will flatten out quickly when it hits flesh so as not to completely penetrate and hit people behind the bad person. Its a tiny gun, that is light to carry, and, therefore, kicks like a mule. It is no fun to shoot at a gun range. But by being light and tiny, one is more likely to carry it. And in a confrontation where someone is about to do you mortal harm, one doesn't notice the kick because of what the adrenilin is doing to your body as you acquire the target.

The handgun I mention is a revolver. There are good arguments for a semi-automatic. But for beginners, the revolver appears to be the gun of choice. Plus, it can lay on the shelf for years and be picked up and used immediately, according to what I have read, where a semi-automatic (also called an "automatic") requires care and feeding to prevent a jam. On the other hand, the S&W I mention has only five rounds. The automatic has a clip with more than that in it, and it is much easier to reload if you have a spare clip. On the other, other hand, if you can't take care of the situation with five rounds at close quarters, its probably too late.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Good Samaritan Gun Use has this article regarding the defensive use of handguns. It recounts the tragedy outside a Tyler, Texas courthouse where 2 people were murdered and 4 more wounded and the heroism of Mark Wilson, a licensed concealed handgun permit holder whose actions are credited with saving at least one life, though losing his own.

An interesting read in light of Paul's own journey.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

GTD: Interlude
I haven't finished working my way through Getting Things Done yet. I still have several chapters to finish, but my workflow and office patterns are already significantly changed.

For one thing, I have taken a quantum leap backwards in technology. Before GTD, I'd been struggling to move towards a totally digital lifestyle. I still would like to get there someday, but in order to help me get my workflow under control, I had to abandon the use of my PalmT for anything other than Calendar & AddressBook functions. I also began to print off my emails (at least the first page) if they involved any greater than two minute action on my part. Don't misunderstand me (especially those of you who buy my Xmas presents): I love technology! But I love it as much for the Function as for the Form (pretty Macs!), and the tech wasn't helping me Get Things Done.

In part, the reason for going backwards is that seeing a physical representation of what I need to do helps me to understand the volume of what needs to be done. That's why I've started printing off the first pages of actionable emails. All these actions were hiding in my computer and I was blissfully ignorant of them, until they were past due and I got in trouble. So now they're printed and live in the ASAP files I mentioned in a previous post.

What's the result of having all these folders filled with physical papers? Well, for one thing, I don't feel as bad about telling people "Sorry, I can't do that." It's easier to do because I now know that if I were prioritizing properly, I would never get to it, and if I did get to it, it would mean that I hadn't prioritized properly and would pay for it down the line in other work not done.

Another thing is that I find it easier to stop working when I'm not supposed to be working (eg: when I'm vacationing). All that needs to be done is in a box on my desk, and I can walk away from that pretty easily. Conversely, I'm able to start working quickly by picking up a folder and working on a NextAction that I've put in it. For example, my "read me" folder has been getting fatter & fatter over the past month, but I was able to pick it up and stick it in my bag on the way out the door to Colorado. Rather than pick up a magazine at the airport, I read all the way through it on the way out to my vacation.

Finally, the physicality of my current system helps me focus on what my real Not Getting Things Done problem is: Me. Being on the computer or using another tech device is an end in and of itself for me. The internal reward (pleasure and enjoyment!) of getting my work done is diminished when I'm using tech because I'm already getting an internal reward from simply using the tech! But when there's no nifty technology mediating the work I need to do, I am again confronted with the need to have the discipline to look through my ASAP work and then get to working on it.

The good thing about discipline is that over time it can be learned and developed. (The bad thing about it is that it only happens "over time".) This is where I am in the GTD process, though: working on the discipline of looking through all my work and choosing what to do next. This hard thing to do is easier when everything is in front of me and not hiding in the virtual space of my technology.

How will I get back to the future, technology wise? Eventually, I hope to have developed the discipline to fearlessly look through what needs to be done. After that, then I'll be more comfortable in having multiple places to look through, and will go back to not printing off my emails.

I also hope to be able to use my Palm for more than it's calendar and addressbook applications. (I already sparingly re-introduced the digital dictation application as an on-the-fly InBox.) I haven't figured out what needs to be digital and what needs to stay physical in my own GTD process, but that's a parsing to do on a different day. (I do have to say, though, that I am more than a little attracted to the simplicity of this solution of integrating GTD and a PalmStyle device.)

Previous GTD post

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Signing off on Wal-Mart. Today I am cancelling the $13 per month DVD plan at Wal-Mart. Its a great deal, exceptionally cheap and convenient. Which is the problem.

The problem is "displacement". I actually watch the videos, at a rate approaching 2 per week. That's 3 hours of waking time. That's not good. I have books to read; budgets to consider; articles, blog posts and poems to write; clients to serve; other ministries to pursue; friends and others to whom to listen and listen carefully; music to enjoy and to make; plants and trees and flowers and ideas to to grow; prayers to offer; thoughts to think; a small, still voice to detect; and conversations with fascinating people to begin. Time for this is displaced by someone else's idea of reality. And with many of those folks I probably wouldn't think of having dinner. Why spend time, quality or quantity, with people with whom you wouldn't want to share a meal?

So, sorry Bentonville, I'm outa here.