28 April 2011

Snippets of Really Important Stuff

The Royal Wedding

Several thousand of the Fellowship across the sea have worked for weeks and are working all night to ensure peace, security and safety for that idiotic extravaganza. They are in our thoughts tonight.

This Damned Election

The State Journal today quotes some academics who predict an ultra-low turn out in the governor’s election of 14 May 2011 due to something they are calling “voter fatigue.”

It’s fine to sit back on one’s ass and analyze how bad things are. But it’s better to suggest some improvements. THIS ELECTION IS IMPORTANT. If “We the People” let down, some nebulous “they” win, and we’re not in charge any more. And there are more loyal Mountaineers than there are dishonest bastards. There's more of us than there are of them.


Seldom do I hit any wireless access other than my own servers. Downtown the other day, I was working in the café and the window of available networks came up. (No, I don’t know why. My HAL9000 laptop does lots of things for reasons unbeknownst to me.) One wireless network was cleverly named: “geturownfuckinginternet”

Clear communication, I do so love it.

Book Rec.

I’ve run across a short and inspiring little book by historical novelist Steven Pressfield: Do The Work. It’s a simple tome on burning through the crap of life that holds you back. On Amazon, it's cheap in hardcover and currently free for Kindle.

Faster Food, Simpler Life

Today as I was waiting on a hearing, I stayed in the café working. When I’m in a hurry, I will stop at McDonalds for their breakfast fare, to the tune of 7 bucks or so. Today, I ordered breakfast from Jeri, the proprietor, for $4. Cheaper, healthier (lots less grease), and I feel like a dumbass for stopping at McDonalds - ever.

[Note to Roger from Bridget the Dog: You ARE a dumbass, but I’m not going to bury you in the backyard. Yet.]

Dragon Naturally Speaking

I accidentally ran across an excellent feature of this most useful voice recognition-dictation program. You can spell stuff phonetically (alpha-bravo-charlie-delta, etc.)


The funeral of Ron Dilly, who attended our church, was held today. I accord him what I consider high praise: He was a man’s man.

Watch Crystals

I’m death on watches. Possibly it’s secondary to clumsiness but I prefer that it’s a product of getting my hands dirty. In any event, I’ve found that the material used to protect the screens of ebook readers, PDA’s, etc., makes a good protector for a watch crystal.

A Grumpy Bull-Moose

Yes, I am, especially tonight. I can live with that.


23 April 2011

Easter Meditations

Good Friday Meditation

Note: At Central Christian Church, we do "meditations" on the 7 last statements of Christ on the Cross. I did one this year. This is the most intensely personal stuff I post.

“Father, Into your hands I commit my spirit.”

That’s really the whole point. If you do the top 10 list of the questions of human life, or especially the fears of humanity, that’s number one.

Now what, God? Am I OK? Can I commit my spirit into your hands? Our hearts this night are so saturated with a 2,000 year old sorrow which is still here and now.

Our love for this man Jesus is a deeply personal thing. Through this man, we encounter an ultimate, painful passageway and we are afraid to look. No, what I really mean to say is that I’m afraid to look.

Into your hands, God, can I commit my spirit?

That’s reason this building is here, these bricks and mortar. If we didn’t have to worry about that one, wouldn’t this be a great place for townhomes or a dentist’s office or even a big open field where ageless children would play in an endless summer and never skin their knees?

We are sad tonight. We are sad for this man, the Son of God, whom we love, who experienced agonies for which we literally don’t have words, and then who walked willingly right through the passageway, across the doorstep of Death, committing his essence to his Father, to our Father.

I think tonight about the very end of a rock opera written in my youth, Jesus Christ Superstar. At the very end, the climax, there is a choir of discordant voices and every instrument is screeching and the tenor who plays Jesus cries out “Father! Into your hands I commit my spirit!” And at the instant that last syllable is spoken, sounds simply cease in the theater. There’s a sudden, an instantaneous flood of quiet. After a minute of this most profound nothing, a few strings start very softly and very slowly playing the melody from The Garden of Gethsemane.

God thy will is hard
But you hold every card
I will drink your cup of poison
Nail me to your cross and break me
Bleed me beat me kill me take me now -
Before I change my mind

And everyone leaves silently. The rustle of our now ridiculous going-to-the-theater clothing is all that’s left. Maybe we feel a little stupid being humbled by actors, but there you have it, we are.

A rock opera – that’s a place we find Truth? Why not? Jesus was talking to his Father. And was he talking to us? I’m sure not the authority. I hesitate to interpret anything. Every bearded nitwit since Job’s friends has spoken the Truth of God. They have, it says so right there on the label.

Lord ,I want to know the Truth. No, Lord, I NEED to know YOUR truth, straight from you, straight from your son. I know it’s inconvenient. I know it’s pretty selfish to expect Truth from someone right when they are dying, but I need to know.

I tried to avoid all this. I didn’t want your Truth, God, I didn’t need your truth, I could have lived without your truth, and I really preferred not to think about your truth in the bloom of this corporeal life, before my hair turned grey and my joints hurt. But you didn’t let me alone. You threw these ... people ... at me. My wife, my mother, my brother Billy Reid, that pesky Norton, and this effervescent guy Josh, and then you brought me to the people in this place. They treated me with love and accepted me and I don’t know why. Maybe it’s like the problem the Indians had at Plymouth Rock, the immigration laws just aren’t strong enough here.

And you repeated the words of your Son until I listened.

“Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” Of course it’s a message. I’m so stupid ever to have doubted that. Lord, you prove to me every night as I sit quietly. I listen to my breathing when I’ve exhaled and I’m not ready to breath in again. And I listen to my heart. As it slows there are little slices of time between beats. And between breaths and heartbeats, I find the quietest time of all. And then there’s this spark, I don’t know where it comes from, you I guess, and I breathe and my heart takes a beat and I’ve passed through a doorway. My spirit has always been committed SOMEWHERE. You kept telling me it was You. I just didn’t listen.

Jesus also said, “Let not your heart be troubled.” In that, and in these last words, “Into YOUR hands, I COMMIT MY SPIRIT,” I think I hear Your message:

“Relax, this is really not such a big deal. Of COURSE I’m committing my spirit, my essence, all that exists of me, to my Father in Heaven. You will too, Roger. I’ve told you: I’ll be back, and I’ll take you there myself.”

Problem for the Morning

I picture tonight some centurion hitting the sack thinking, wow, what a weekend, these nutsy Jews! At least tomorrow, it'll be back to normal. And I picture someone waking him early in the morning: Boss? Boss!? We have a problem . . .


19 April 2011


Parking Incompetency

Ford Motor Company is aggressively advertising models with its computer-assisted automated parallel parking system. Pull up somewhere in the vicinity of a parking space, and the computer finds it, measures it, and neatly tucks your car into the space.

Years ago, we were speccing out a rescue truck which was going to run about 15 tons fully loaded. An early question arose as to whether the chasis would be specced with a manual transmission or automatic transmission. It was a short discussion. The unanimous feeling was that if someone does not know how to drive a manual transmission, they should not be driving a big, heavy emergency vehicle anyway.

In that spirit, people who cannot parallel park need to turn in their drivers licenses. To slightly paraphrase dirty Harry, “People should know their limitations.”


Yes, I know I can be a bit of an enfant terrible now and then. I do try to hold down those unfortunate predilections ‘round the holy precincts of the church. Meaning that slathering sarcasm, babbling barbs and asinine asides are done internally, rather life a first-person narrator relates his/her own thoughts. (John Mortimer in his Rumpole stories did that so marvelously.) My internal observer got a workout last week when a fellow asserted that baptism specifically by immersion was an absolute prerequisite to salvation of the soul and so forth and that lacking this necessary experience, no matter what other experiences, beliefs or relative merits an individual might have, he/she was, at the very least, Darned to Heck.

By the way, our denomination is not nearly so doctrinaire. It’s a fairly large tent including lots of variations of Christian belief.

My whimsical thoughts, later expressed in private, are that if the Bible mandates baptism by full immersion, it certainly does not support the use of baptismal fonts with filtered and chemically cleaned water from the municipal waterworks. Rivers, that’s the way it was done in biblical times! And so, I’m thinking that we should all adjourn down to the West Fork of the Monongahela, whatever the weather, to observe this most ancient of Christian traditions. And then, the pastor informed me that some of the genuine early Christians also used pits dug out in caves as baptismal fonts. I suppose that’s okay too. I need to go looking for caves.

Robert E. Lee Apocrypha

The following comes from Robert E. Lee: A Biography (1995), by Emory Thomas. Shortly after the end of the Civil War, Lee attended a church service in Richmond. The invitation to come forward to the rail for communion was given.

"A tall-well dressed, black man stood and strode to the rail. There followed a pregnant pause. According to one witness, "Its effects upon the communicants was startling, and for several moments they retained their seats in solemn silence and did not move, being deeply chagrined at this attempt to inaugurate the 'new regime' to offend and humiliate them...". Then another person rose from the pew and walked down the aisle to the chancel rail. He knelt near the black man and so redeemed the circumstance. This grace- bringer, of course was Lee. Soon after he knelt, the rest of the congregation followed his example and shuffled in turn to the rail...Lee's actions were far more eloquent than anything he spoke or wrote." (Thomas, p. 372.)

The Do-Rag Rag

One of the reasons that I do so love the law is that it adequately adapts to the changes in society even in culturally blurring in times such as these. As an example, I offer information regarding a modification of standard practice before the Circuit Court of Marion County. For as long as I remember, one must remove ones hat in Court. As of this week, the “do rag” will now be considered a “hat”, meaning that it is an article of clothing that must be removed when the wearer is in the court room. I must confess, I got considerable enjoyment from questioning the presiding judge closely so that the supporters of my unfortunate client would be sure to comply fully with the letter and spirit of the new rule.

All in the name of a bit of harmless fun round of the Marion County palais d’ justice.

Pippa passes.