Saturday, June 28, 2008

PC(USA) in the Ditch

From Presyterians for Renewal:

The actions of the 218th General Assembly have made it clear that the PC(USA)’s compromise of the Gospel of Jesus Christ has reached an unprecedented level. It is clear that the PC(USA)’s confession of the Lordship of Jesus Christ and commitment to our Reformed confessions has (sic) weakened to the point that we can no longer assume a common framework of conversation. The pain of this realization has been used by God to clarify our next steps.

Read all of PFR's "Reshaping the PC(USA)" report on the current GA and what, finally, PFR proposes to do.

This action by a very faithful group of Christians in our denomination has really been long in coming.

You Carry?

I received an email from the private investigator we use, referring to this kidnapping in Hialeah. He linked to this pdf that shows a diagram of the kidnapping gang. He made this statement in his email: This is exactly why we carry pistols.

Friday, June 27, 2008

"Guns are a Feminist Issue"

I didn't say it, she did. (Be sure to read the comments.) Thanks, Glenn. (By the way, you should have seen my law partner Jane handle her .45 semi at the all day Hand-Gun Self-Defense class we attended a couple of Saturday's ago.)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

2008 Summer Book List

So many books I want to read!

Dugard, The Training Ground: Grant, Lee, Sherman, and Davis in the Mexican War, 1846-1848; reviewed in the May 16, 2008 issue of the WSJ, W8.

Borneman, Polk: the Man Who Transformed the Presidency and America; also reviewed in that issue of the WSJ.

Riley, Let Them In: the Case for Open Borders. Also reviewed in the May 16 WSJ issue, but on page A11. The author, Jason L. Riley, is a member of the WSJ editorial board. That board is "soft" on immigration, and the title of the book immediately indicates that point of view. I am pretty confused on this issue. I know that I am much to the left of Tom Tancredo, but I don't know just how to the left I am on this issue. Many Christians are over here where I think I am. The World Magazine editorial policy, for example, to the extent that I can perceive it, is over here.

Hague, William Pitt the Younger. William Hague is a prominent MP, a Tory, and at least at one point was considered in line to be the PM should the Tories assume power. He would have been the youngest PM since Pitt himself. I wanted to read this, because Pitt was such a good friend of William Wilberforce, and I want to read Hague's biography of Wilberfource that he wrote subsequently. (See below)

Hague, William Wiberforce: the Life of the Great Anti-Slave Trade Campaigner. This came out earlier this year. Carol and I saw Amazing Grace on DVD last night. We saw it in the theater when it first came out. It's a fine movie and even better the second time.

Fletcher, The Quest for El Cid. I am reading this now, and picked it up after reading Fletcher's Moorish Spain after our visit to Spain in April. I recommend both books.

Sides, Ghost Soldiers: the Epic Account of World War II's Greatest Rescue Mission. In my Saturday morning men's breakfast, we pass around books we have read, and this genre is a popular one with the men (two WWII veterans, one Korean War veteren). This one is on loan from one of those men.

The One Year Chronological Bible. Our Wednesday night men's Bible Study is reading this NIV edition by Tyndale House, and so I will continue with the readings through the summer. It has REALLY been interesting to read the Bible this way.

Keller, The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism. Tim Keller, that is. Sort of the Evangelical book de jour. But I read the first chapter already, and it is a fine book. It would be an especially good for a high school grad on the way to college or any bright young person, or middle aged person, or old person, although I don't know any old persons.

Flapper Valve OK?

This is a good video on dealing with a toilet that keeps running. If it's a flapper valve problem, then this video will help.

This video is from a website called Ask the Builder. It's a good one to keep in mind for DIY issues.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Coolest Clock EVER!

Check this out!

This one if for all those very tired mommies and daddies who have very wonderful children who keep waking up at NOT so very wonderful times (for example: 5:00 or 5:30, when everybody knows that it is not really morning until at least 6:30.)

And, before you ask, yes, we have indeed ordered one.

Alice is Running for Congress

Carol and I married just before my third year of law school at the University of Chicago began. With a little help from my parents, we worked our way through that year by being dorm parents for the law school's first co-ed dorm, my running the coffee concession in the law school lounge, and Carol working as a ward clerk at the UC Hospital. Our living quarters were an apartment on the second floor of the venerable "Burton-Judson" dorms (pictured), the floor where the women had their rooms. Our apartment consisted of three adjoining rooms, one of them a spacious living room with a fire place. We had our meals at the dining hall of the dorm, although Carol did some cooking in a toaster oven, and we had a fridge.

Alice Kryzan was one of the women who lived on our floor, and was a first year law student that year. She's running for Congress this year, and it's her first time running for office. She called me yesterday, raising money for her campaign (she said that the professionals who are advising her told her to call everyone she knows.) We had a great conversation after 35 years. She married Bob Berger, who was also a first year law student that year. She'll win.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Buying a Car in the Present Market

Joseph R. White writes a column in the WSJ entitled "Eyes on the Road." It deals with the auto industry and things automotive. In a column on June 10, he included the following:

There is a case [to be made] that consumers who want to buy into the next generation of transportation technology shouldn't buy a new car until 2010 or 2011. By then, General Motors Corp. has promised to deliver its hybrid-electric Chevrolet Volt; Nissan Motor Corp. has said it will begin offering electric cars; Honda Motor Co. and several European manufacturers have promised to launch in the U.S. new, advanced, high-mileage clean diesel cares; and Toyota Motor Corp. might have a whole family of hybrid vehicles based on the next generation of Toyota Prius.

Not that we buy new cars around our house.

First SECULAR eBook Experience (UPDATE)

Amazon's Kindle caught my attention months ago. The Kindle solves the problem of both book storage and book carrying, and at a certain intellectual level the price per book seems OK. It has other features that distinguish it significantly from other eBook readers and processes. But the unit itself seemed pricey, and one has to buy the unit to evaluate fully this way of buying and reading books. And, before investing this much, one needs to get familiar generally with the portable eBook market.

Glenn Reynolds posted recently on a new sci-fi novel entitled Fallen Angels. Reynolds reports that the book is available in an eBook format, and the eBook edition is available free at a site called the Bain Free Library. So I went over there and took a look at the Bain Free Library site.

Not only is Fallen Angels there and available to download without charge, but the site has links to various kinds of software that would turn one's internet device into a reader. I have a Palm Treo 680, and there is reader software to download without charge for that device. The site for that software is Mobipocket. Mobipocket not only has the software, but it is also a site that sells eBooks. There are many other sites that sell eBooks, as I learned when I googled "eBook." I also found that there is other reader-software for the Palm that will give one access to other eBook formats. I will post more on all that later. But how was it to read Fallen Angels on the Treo?

Not bad. Books are a sort of portal into another world - not books so much as the stories, the content, that the book conveys. If it really is the content and not the particular package, then an eBook on a Palm ought to work. And it turns out that it does work, at least for me.

There is a problem with memory on my Palm - the eBook in question and the Mobipocket software took up a lot of space, so I am going to have to address that if I get serious about the eBook alternative on the Palm Treo.

And I still like to hold the book in my hand, to see it on the shelf, to loan it or give it away. It will be a while before I get out of the life-long "tBook" (tactile book?) habit.

I would like to hear from you on your eBook experiences.

UPDATE: Now that I think of it, I have been using eBooks on my PDA for years, first with a Palm Pilot and, when a cell phone came out with Palm software, my Treo. What I've been using is Bible software by Laridian. I use it many times during the week, and obviously it has become so familiar I don't even think of using it as an eBook experience. I think Laridian will still give you the software and the KJV for free. I have that, plus the NIV, NASB, the NIV with some annotations, the RSV, and the ASB. Once you have a passage before you, you can switch versions quickly to see how it was translated differently. I also have their Bible dictionary. It has a great search feature. (Wow! I just looked at the Laridian site and they now have the NIV Study Bible notes available.)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

No, really, THIS is what I want for Father's Day


Thanks, Glenn.

All Things Digital

An overview of the WSJ's annual All Things Digital conference appears in yesterday's "Journal Report" section. Walter S. Mossberg and Kara Swisher of "The Mossberg Report" fame, a column I read faithfully, edited this section. There is a website for this annual conference.

In addition, Mossberg and Swisher write that "summaries of all of the nearly 20 sessions, complete with video highlights, are on our All Things Digital Web site, at" The videos include interviews of Jeffrey Bezos of Amazon, Susan Decker and Jerry Wang of Yahoo, and Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer of Microsoft. As to the latter couple, the pair discusses "their plan to best Apple with a new version of the Windows operating system." (Right. The only plan that will work for them is to buy Apple.)

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Early Father's Day Present

People were writing and calling about the "beautiful watch" that I got as an early Father's Day present. Here it is, an Omega Constellation, quartz variety. I really, really like it.

Carol has an Omega Constellation too, which I gave her for her birthday last year. It is smaller, of course, and has a white dial. I bought it at Buchwald Jewelers in the Seybold Arcade on Flagler Street in Downtown Miami. The Seybold Building is a famous old building in Miami, and its 10 floors are occupied by jewelry stores, watch repair shops, and allied retailers and wholesalers. The cream of the retail stores are along the Seybold Arcade, which is on the ground floor and runs across the block from the Flagler Street side to the NW First Street side.

I got to know the owner of Buchwald Jewelers 20 years ago. On the rare occasions I am able to afford to buy anything there, it is usually at the stainless steel edge of the product line; thus the watch shown above and thus a quartz movement. When I bought Carol's watch, I bought it on the basis of it being sold by Buchwald's, it was an Omega, which I had heard of, and I just thought it looked very nice. I had no idea what a Constellation was, but I did learn that there was a men's version. So after I bought Carol's, I read enough about them to know that I would like one myself, and so the Father's Day gift above.

In connection with finding the photo to paste on this post, I learned that the Omega Constellation has quite a tradition. There is a collector's blog here. (Don't be put off by the ugly "Frankenmonster" photo. A "Frankenmonster" is someone who makes fake Constellations by assembling various watch parts in Omega-like watch cases. There is a big problem with this, apparently, in Omega-land.)

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Dude, Where's my Sandpile?

A post we made over the Memorial Day weekend was the source of some consternation. Why was I spreading sand in my backyard? As I commented, it is an old Miami Springs custom to put yard sand on one's yard. No one really knows why, even though I wrote something about "organic materials" in the sand. (I just made that up.) You really don't have to know why. It's something you accept if you live in the Springs. And in this post-modern culture, well, that's simply OK now, isn't it.

As an update, we offer this video:

I Think I'll Take the Bus

Unless I'm flying El-Al.

From an article on airline security worth reading:

Fourteen years later [after Israel's Lod Airport massacre], the case of Anne Marie Murphy — prevented by Israeli security agents from boarding an El Al flight with seven pounds of explosives — makes the point. The pregnant, fair-skinned Murphy, who is Irish, was profiled and deemed suspicious. During secondary screening, agents discovered Semtex concealed in the lining of her bag. Without knowing it, the former chambermaid had been given a bomb by her terrorist boyfriend, a Jordanian named Nizar Hindawi, who was not on the flight. Hindawi was the father of Murphy’s unborn child.

The author indicates that Homeland Security may actually adopt some of the measures employed by Israeli security to keep airline passengers safe. Why do I think that whether they do will depend on the outcome of the Presidential election?

Friday, June 06, 2008

At the urgings of my husband...

I am going to write another post on diapers. Feel free to disengage at this point if you are not in the least interested. I am writing this for those of you who are. I have had several requests (from friends and from strangers too, actually) to share with them my thoughts on cloth dipes.

For anyone who is not certain they are interested, but is on the fence with this one, consider this from the money angle. Depending upon what type of cloth diapers you decided to go with, you could save anywhere from $1000 to $2000 over the course of the use of them as compared to disposable diapers (this is with 8 diapers a day as compared to an averaged price of the best selling disposables out there). That's serious cash, folks! Yes, you are paying for water and detergent, but you are not paying for the gas to have them shipped to the grocery store every week, nor are you paying for diaper cream (if you use a fleece or suedecloth type dipe), nor are you paying for trash bags/liners to throw them in over and over and over again. (AND you could use them for more than one, it's not so gross, although I must admit that I thought it might be. ) This is a real way to save some money, and to get cute, Cute, CUTE bum-covers for your babe.

I originally switched to cloth because I was praying about how I could be a better steward of the things God had given me and felt like he was leading me towards using cloth as a means to be a better steward of the earth (just so you know: I don't come down on my friends who don't use cloth. There are a million and one ways to try and be a better steward of the environment and no one can do all of them. I figure that we each respond to where God is leading and that may not look the same for all of us.) Anyways, i ended up LOVING cloth because it is so very much cuter than sposies ("disposables"), because I personally would rather have cloth against my own bum than paper (and so I assume would my children), because it was a fun way to teach my son his colors (he had red, black, navy, lime, olive, maroon, blue, green, yellow, white, turquoise, periwinkle, aqua, and orange), because it causes less rash on my daughter's oh-so-sensitive hiny, and because my son told me he preferred them once he was able to articulate it.

As far as what is out there now:
Here are some of my favorites:

In the covers category (what you put over diapers when you use either prefolds or fitteds or contours):
Swaddlebees ABC Limited Edition Wrap (this comes in many color combos: here's one of my faves)

And Bummis Super Whisper Wraps

In the All-in-Ones category (a diaper that is all one piece, like a disposable; no assembly or disassembly required):
Bum Genius 2.0 All in One (I use these with Honor and LOVE them)

In the Pocket Diaper category I have to have a small aside about Fuzzi Bunz.

aside: I used to recommend Fuzzi Bunz as my number one diaper. I love them and have used them with both my children. I used them with Aidan from 15 months on through potty training. He wore one set of diapers for over 20 months and now that Honor has grown, she is also able to wear that same set and they are still great. However, recently, Mother of Eden (the parent company of Fuzzi Bunz) remodeled or "improved" their diapers. While the fleece does seem slightly softer, and it is nice to have top stitching around more of the edges, I cannot see that any of the other changes were all that helpful. Now the diaper has more "gentle elastic" {read: fits larger (not helpful for my daughter who is on the thinner side of things)}. The tabs in the front "were made larger to give you a better grip" {read: pucker out since not all of the corners have snaps to hold them down (not helpful, just odd looking). However, they do still work quite effectively and my daughter cannot pull them off (something she is quite skilled at with disposables and with her Bum Genius which use velcro instead of snaps).

Now I have a hard time recommending Fuzzi's because the new ones just aren't as fabulous as the old ones (although they are still pretty darn good!)
Here's a pic of some old FBs:

and here's a new one:

Anyways, what pocket dipe would I recommend if I wasn't recommending FB's, I don't know. Possibly the Bum Genius 3.0 One-Size Pocket Diaper (which apparently fits from like 8lbs to 30lbs...or somewhere in that range anyway). I love the All-in-Ones they make, so I might be talked into trying their one-size pockets. It would certainly be an even larger money saver as you could buy all of your diapers in one fell swoop and never have to get any more until they were potty trained...the only real issue being that they are velcro and are therefore easily removed by tiny little eager hands (although no more easily than normal disposables which are also based on the same hook-and-loop technology).

If you look closely, you can see the same color snaps on the front of the diaper that are used to help the diaper change sizes (for lack of a better description):

Believe it or not, there are still so many things to say on this topic:
what are doublers? what kinds are there? when do you use them?
What do you do with your dipes after they are dirty? how/where do you store them?
what do you do with a dirty dipe when you are out?
what are the reasons why diapers leak if/when they do?
what might you need to do differently when using cloth dipes during naps or overnight?

But, I will not address these issues, at least not here. I am too tired, it is way past my bedtime, and I am absolutely certain that this post is already LONG ENOUGH!

I hope that this was interesting/helpful for the few of you out there who have recently been asking me about this. For anyone who is actually still reading this who does not fall in that first category, PROPS to you! and thanks for reading.

I DO have other interests in my life, I promise. It's just that this has come up a lot again recently and so I thought I would throw this out there.

In other areas of my life, I am about to embark on a very fun bible study with a neighbor and friend as we look into Genesis; I am about to read The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende for a book club, and I continue to enjoy our Apple TV.

Facebook Follies

You know how Facebook puts ads on the left side of your profile?

Today's ad on my profile is for a device that one sits in to be carried up a stair-case. It shows a nice, elderly gray-haired lady sitting in such a thing at the bottom of the stairs, getting ready for the lift.

Thanks, Facebook.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Father's Day

Yes, Carol, I know. I covered both Father's Day and Birthday this year with that beautiful watch I am now wearing.

But this would be for next Father's Day, if you want to go ahead and get that obligation over with.