Monday, July 31, 2006

alt.muslim. Here's a story on the Seattle shootings from an American Muslim point of view, on an interesting website reflecting that perspective. The story alleges that the shooter had coverted to Christianity recently and had been in a Bible study. The story contains nothing about how his family had reacted to the "conversion".
For real? One of the guys at my Bible study is selling this "fuel catalyst" that purports to enhance fuel mileage. He's having a rough time. There have been a lot of "fuel additive" myths over the years. My friend certainly believes in it. I wonder.
By the yard is hard, but inch by inch is a cinch. Not a bad way to look at things. But isn't this what David Allen preaches? Close an open loop by identifying it and then determining the "next thing" to get it done.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

One simply amazing shooting demonstration. Especially if you like shotguns.

Or if machine guns are your preference, there's this.

Thanks to Carnival of Cordite (#67) for all of this diversion, this and the prior two posts.
Cocked-and-locked. Nothing like getting ready for Sunday morning worship by reading (and writing) gun posts. I probably fit every Christian fundamentalist stereotype ever dreamed up by the people who run NPR. (Although I prefer pro and college footbal to NASCAR.)

Anyway, I do not carry a semi-automatic, but instead a revolver. That's a safe thing for a beginner to do.

However, I am interested in semi-automatics. My friend Jack has a Glock as his service weapon, a 1911 from his Navy days, and a Walther PC something as his backup. I have shot them all, and they are much more comfortable to shoot than my little .38 special. My friend Joe also has Glocks but he swears by his Sig P220. This past week, I have been talking to him over the air on how the semi's fire, particularly how the safety mechanisms work.

This link discusses the merits of the 1911's safety system. The 1911 is a design that goes back to the beginning of the 20th century, and to this day the merits of the design continue to drive the market. I would like to own one.
Speaking of Israel. Just what do the IDF folks carry?
"You're a Muslim, angry at Israel? Hi, I'm an American, legally carrying". I have to admit that when I read of the outrage in Seattle I wondered how it would have been different had one or more of the women who were killed or wounded carried a concealed handgun. Glen Reynolds points to this post by Armed Liberal that makes this connection too, as others apparently are. I will let you read and trackback on that post, but there is one point that AL makes to which I can testify from personal experience.

The point is about gun safety. I am now used to carrying - you do get used to it. But I never forget where the weapon is at any given time. I'm one to missplace keys, cell-phones, remotes, but I never forget where that revolver is. I have just two places where it goes, other than my pocket, a place at home and a place at the office.

AL makes a point about training, and I agree with that point, but I challenge his analogy. In making the point that owning a gun makes you no more competent to handle a gun that owning a piano makes you a pianist, I think he plots the learning curve too high and too steeply. You cannot become licensed without some training, usually by an NRA certified inistructor. Its not all that extensive, but it is enough to get you started, and you should go to a range for about a half hour of shooting once a month. I would love to go to one of those schools that AL mentions (and hope to some day), but in the meanwhile, I am going to put the thing in my pocket and go to work. It doesn't take up as much rooom as a piano would, and I'm not thinking of Carnegie Hall.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

The Official Mr. Davidson Competition Blog (Subtitled: May 2007. Are you past your prime?)
can be found here. Started by the inestimable Hayes Trotter, and to which yours truly will be contributing.

You can be sure that there will be many taunts and references to Pavel in my posts.

But remember, unlike Davidson, "Kettlebell training is extreme but not elitist."
"The Instant Productivity Toolkit". A review.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Icon Watch. I met Brendan Byrne the other day. What an impressive man!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

"Our mother Jesus". Thus intones the Episcopal Church's presiding bishop elect, as that church unwinds fast.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Chew on this. Now and then the Europeans get something right.

Monday, July 24, 2006

In case you hadn't noticed
(man, that could really begin so many posts . . .)

Mary's returned from a blogospheric hiatus. Since we're expecting many many posts from her post in Kenya, I'm glad to see that she's getting back into the swing of things.

Especially since she's posting multiple pictures of her uber-cute nephew, the first grandchild, and all around great guy, Aidan. She's putting up pictures very similar to this:

Though I suggest you go over to see for yourself.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Having a fine time here in Miami.
Yesterday we all had breakfast at the beach, in what is becoming a Stokes Family tradition. We had pancakes and turkey bacon, mmmmmmmm. Aidan liked both. And on his fourth lifetime visit to the beach, Aidan decided that he really liked the ocean.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Someday/Maybe. One of the David Allen mind-sweep lists is the "Someday/Maybe" list. As he describes it, "This is the 'parking lot' for projects that would be impossible to move on at present but that you don't want to forget about entirely." One of the David Allen coaches, Meg Edwards, whom I have mentioned before, writes about this list. Here is a partial list that I can come up with this morning:

1. Digitize the scrapbook fodder. I have several boxes of pictures, correspondence, and other memorabilia from my parents' house and from our own family. I would like to have the space that those boxes take up. I would like to have what they contain arranged and cataloged. I would like to think that none of it gets lost or deteriorates into something illegible. I am waiting for the method and the time to scan all of that into something that will be more permanent.

2. Make systematic the collection of client asset data for my estate planning practice. I talked to Walter and with one of his colleagues several years ago about developing a program that would enable a legal assistant to obtain from a client essential information on the client's assets so that I can help him understand what he has, what will happen to his assets if he dies owning them in their present death-direction posture, and what he needs to do to change the death-direction of his assets so that it conforms to the client's overall estate plan. Once upon a time, I thought estate planning was mainly about avoiding estate taxes. Then I began to think that it was really about "family policy", that is, what are the client's goals about the death-direction of his assets, given what he knows about the needs and abilities of his loved ones. Those questions remain important, of course, but we properly address none of these issues unless we learn the facts, not only about the family (the people) but also (and especially) about the assets. I say "especially" not because assets are more important than the people, but because the collection of the essential information on assets is difficult and time-consuming and is an aspect of estate planning that practioners are inclined to neglect.

3. Break the 20 wpm CW barrier. I want to be able to read Morse code in my head at speeds well in excess of 20 words per minute. It simply takes practice, which means it takes time. CW ("continuous wave") is a very simple and efficient way of communicating via the airwaves. Many people believe it to be obsolete. I don't think it is obsolete, but I don't much care whether it is or not. It's just fun.

4. Understand the electronic circuit. I have done the reading, but I just don't get it yet.

5. Read all of the Great Books.

6. Explore voice recognition software again. I tried this out about 7 years ago, and it did not seem possible. The software has been improved. This project may be closer than "Someday/Maybe".

7. Move near my grandchildren. Sigh.

8. Get Admitted to the Texas Bar. This is related to item 7, above.

Look for updates on this list. What a relief to write these things down.

And what's on your Someday/Maybe list?

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Not turning aside to the right or to the left. Sometimes I get a scripture or piece of scripture in my head, similar to how a tune finds its way in there and starts rattling around. One of those scriptures that lately invaded is Deuteronomy 5:32, the chapter where the Ten Commandments appear. The verse states in the NIV: So be careful to do what the LORD your God has commanded you; do not turn aside to the right or to the left.

Why turn to the right or the left, except that distractions appear? It is difficult enough to know where we should be headed, and it is such a blessing when God gives us a vision. But that is only the beginning of the battle, because in getting there I am so distracted by less important matters. This applies to the great visions and to the small visions, such as the vision of what I need to be doing today.

With regard to the matter of daily distractions, I liked this article by Meg Edwards, one of the David Allen coaches. As I read it yesterday, the "left or right" scripture fragment that had been intruding into my consciousness appeared brightly. Does it sound trivial to bring Deuteronomy 5:32 down to the level of "what am I to do today"? Maybe it is less trivial if I put this question in the way we were recently admonished to ask at Montreat, "What is Jesus doing in my world today and how shall I be involved in that work?" This begins to make "Getting Things Done" part of a plan of action beyond the trivial.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Preach it, Dave! I'm back into David Allen. (Not that I really left.) The margin notes that GTD includes are often on target. This one I like especially:

Time is the quality of nature that keeps events from happening all at once. Lately it doesn't seem to be working. - Anonymous.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Today's My 60th Birthday. Along with some cool flip-flops (Reef), Mary gave me a birthday card with the following picture from Far Side:

I don't get the picture (the card must have been on sale) but the flip-flops are nice.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

From Our Second Amendment Department. This from Instapundit.
Simply fascinating. Paralyzed man uses chip in his brain to control computer.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

S. Florida Islam and Political Correctness. The Miami Herald reports that Governor Bush asked a local Black pastor to resign from the Broward Judicial Nominating Commission over opposition that the pastor had joined to a zoning change that would have facilitated the construction of a mosque in the pastor's neighborhood.

According to the article, the pastor had labled Islam a "dangerous" religion and said that we had been at war with Islam since 9/11. He did resign, however, and remarked that he still "loved" Governor Bush.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Sean and I. On our way home from Montreat last week, Carol and I drove by Columbia and met Sean for lunch. It was like meeting one of the family!

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Families and Quirks

Macon, Morgan and I saw Danielson last night at Emo's. (Props to Sean for the life-enriching hype machine)

I recommend "Did I Step on your Trumpet"

Old Timerz opened the show followed by Jad Fair.

Several years ago I busted into Emo's about thirty minutes late for what I expected was an Agnostic Front show. It took me a minute to catch my bearings; instead of a-melodic noise coming from a band of thugs, I heard a-tonal noise coming from some crazy with a nylon-stringed guitar. I was a week late to see Agnostic Front. Instead I saw Daniel Johnston.

Jad Fair reminded me of Daniel Johnston. Apparently, my memory served me well. Neither compelled me to buy anything from them.

Danielson was great. Two drummers, a marimba, a hammond organ, a bass and an acoustic guitar - each player in a handmade uniform - uniform as in everyone was wearing the same thing except for their name patches.

Monday, July 03, 2006

All American Girl
George Patton has got nuthin on this gal! (Also here.)

Things I like
about the beautiful game:

1 - you can see cultural differences in the play of the national teams. Brazil plays like they're dancing, Germany plays quite workman-like, England bombards the defense with arcing balls and slashing runs, Australians are supremely tough and (by and large) do not "dive."

2 - plays are dynamic, organic and have time to develop. When a goalie rolls a ball out to his defender to take up the field, that is the beginning of the offensive play. Unlike in basketball where you're already three passes before you can shoot, in soccer you're probably 50 passes away before the actual shot comes. But each pass is important in moving the defense around to the offense's whim. When a game has been recorded, one of my favorite things to do after a goal is to rewind the game and try to discover where that play began. Usually it began way on the other side of the field.

3 - there's a mixture of "hardness" and "softness" in game play. Ball & player movement flows around and through the defense, with the defense dynamically shifting to compensate. If the defense is too "hard" at first, the offense will simply flow around it. If the offense starts out "hard," the defense will simply stiffen and meet "hard" to "hard." (You could also think about this in terms of "confrontation" and "subtle redirection.") What the offense and defense both want is to force a confrontation on their terms.

Generally, at the end of the offensive work a "hard" shot is generated. A direct confrontation between shooter and goalie. The defense is generally working to set up a "hard" confrontation such that the offense won't be able to flow around it. So, often the defenders will redirect the offense to the outer corners of play, forcing the offensive player to eventually turn and confront the defender.

This third point doesn't seem to be inherently beautiful, but it's beautiful to me as I watch the game move from fluidity to sharp action and back to fluidity. It reminds me of a martial artist who flows around their opponent until the opportunity to strike presents itself. Then suddenly the master who's seemed so ethereal suddenly becomes rooted and is punching/kicking you with all kinds of hard.