Tuesday, October 31, 2006

In Which John Kerry Is Revealed To Be A Republican Secret Agent

It is rare and uncharacteristic that I would feel inclined to post anything of a political bent. Not because I'm not interested or concerned, because I truly am civic-minded. But such topics are covered exhaustively elsewhere in the blogosphere by people much more motivated and capable than I am.

However, this little brouhaha fascinates me. Its just so crazy. Its really more the human drama side of it that makes me wondrous. But as I watch this story unfold, I can't help thinking that maybe Karl Rove is the greatest political mastermind of our time after all. Could it really be a tactic in some brilliant and subtle Republican strategy to simply see to it that every now and then somebody sticks a microphone in front of this guy?

I bet the Democratic Party leadership is livid. Well, the best among them probably are, Howard Dean notwithstanding.

First, you have this:


which leads to:


followed quickly by:


and then everyone piles on:

http://www.drudgereport.com/flash3.htm (this link won't last long)

Update: Glen, of course, has the definitive Reader's Digest version to prevent you from having to wade through the junk above. Just in case it had crossed your mind to do so.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Winter Sky

It is so seldom that I take a picture of the sky that looks right...but this was what it looked like a couple of evenings ago when the present cold/wet front blew in.

Thursday, October 26, 2006


The Classmates.com website is tastelessly constructed, though its core idea is laudable. But, since I had paid for a three-month “Gold” pass status so that I could read my friend’s obituary (below), I decided to poke around a bit.

I came across a piece of good news that I haven't been able to shake out of my head just yet. A pair of my high school friends had posted the announcement of their engagement...some 27 years after our graduation. I know it sounds like some sappy chick-flick, but I can't help it, I think it is wonderful.

Kim and Michael dated in high school, if I recall correctly, but then evidently went their separate ways at some point. I know very little of their intervening lives, but I remember hearing that Kim had gone on to modeling school and presumably a career in that field. She married and has an 18-year old son. Michael, too, married and at some point moved to Houston and created a successful advertising career. Now, both divorced, it seems, they have found each other again.

This makes me happy for several reasons. First, because, in general, I'm a happy-ending kind of guy (not to imply that their marriage means its all over; that's not what I mean). At the end of my movies, I usually expect all the bad guys to be dead, and the hero and his girl to be riding off into the sunset. That’s not a lot to ask, is it?

Secondly, these were two really, really nice people when I knew them in school, and I'm just glad to see them blessed. Mike and I weren't especially close, but we had several classes together and I remember him as a smart, easy-going, solid guy with a good sense of humor. Kim was, and still is, extraordinarily beautiful, but she also had a warm, sweet, generous personality. She was the kind of girl that made a guy want to sit up a little straighter, watch his language, and try to behave a little more gentlemanly...just because.

My prayer for them is that they live happily ever after.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


One of my best friends from high school died last month. I found out about it serendipitously a couple of days ago. I impulsively clicked on the link in one of those Classmate.com spam-like messages that I normally delete without reading. At this website, the first thing I saw was a vaguely familiar name with an announcement referring to my friend’s obituary. He died of liver failure as a result of alcoholism. He was 48 years old and is survived by his 5-year old son, his long-time girlfriend, and numerous friends and family.

Lee was a year older than I was, but we became fast friends my freshman year and even stayed in touch regularly for the first few years post-high school, too. He was an extremely intelligent, personable guy with, even then, a rapacious appetite for life and pleasure, who held few inhibitions. Girls, and fully-grown women, loved him, although whether it was in spite of or because of his wolfish ways, I was never certain. Teachers were startled by his abilities, and he was a hilarious, bawdy companion. His home life was decidedly unconventional and largely unsupervised, although he was loved and supported by his parents. Lee was a non-conformist and an agnostic, but he was completely accepting of my own stumbling and uncertain emerging Christian faith.

Lee turned me on to Hesse’s Siddhartha, the writings of Carlos Castaneda, Kurt Vonnegut, Tolkien’s LOTR and many other literary works. Though he disdained the high school jock clique, he convinced me and several others in our merry little band to join the soccer club. At that time, in football-crazy Texas, soccer was not a normal mainstream sport like it is today and it was largely incomprehensible to most of our classmates, which, of course, made us cool. Our team was only reluctantly sanctioned by the school, our coach worked for free and barely spoke English, we had to pay for our own uniforms, and we were routinely beaten to a pulp. But we had the best time playing in front of our girlfriends and the occasional family members.

Ever a charming, silver-tongued rascal, Lee helped me talk my parents into letting me go to my very first rock concert (Genesis- the “Wind and Wuthering” tour) when I was 16 years old, an important milestone in my life. He also baked the brownies that we ate on the way, as I recall, and the less said about that, the better. Though not a musician, he always had the best taste in music, introducing me to Kansas, John McLaughlin, Ravi Shankar, Yes, Gentle Giant, Pink Floyd and many other interesting artists. He had wide-ranging interests and taste in art, music, science, and literature well in advance of his years. Even in high school, I considered him a renaissance man, and his intellectual openness to so many disparate disciplines made a lasting imprint on my own thinking. He taught me that it was okay to be interested in a lot of different things, that I could like whatever I liked, not just what I was supposed to like.

After high school, Lee went on to do a number of unusual things in exotic places. He attended my wedding in 1983. From the late 80’s on, though, we really didn’t keep up with each other much. I hadn’t spoken to Lee since the early 90’s, and then only briefly.

It makes me sad to know that he is gone.

Saturday, October 21, 2006


Astronomers have now identified and cataloged some 200 known planets, all within a distance of some 200 light years. Astrophysicists and other scholarly theorists have widely differing ideas about how big they think universe is, but one thing we know for sure…it is really, really big. The estimates range from “millions of light years” to “infinitely big”, so it is safe to say that the number of actual planets orbiting stars might well be in the thousands of millions, at least.

And, as I spiral slowly towards my point, how many millions doesn't really even matter to me. Among the defining characteristics of planets are that they are spheroidal, that they orbit a star, and that they exhibit some type of revolution, spinning more or less freely through space. Each of these planets, and even many sub-planetary bodies, regardless of their solidity and composition, shares a common feature. Their relationship with their sun creates, in virtually every case, a sunrise and its counterpart, a sunset.

One of the dumbfoundingly fascinating things about God, and one of His most God-like characteristics, is His omnipresence. He is, literally, everywhere, which is, in itself, an extremely hard thing to think about. According to Romans 1:19-20, God has made himself readily known to man through His creation. One of the things that I like to think about is what God’s creation tells us about Him. I think we can perceive, although barely understand, some things about God by looking at the created universe. I have always been curious to know the things He has certain concern for or in which he takes especial joy.

Throughout the universe, possibly even within our limited 200 light years of perception, there are sunrises and sunsets occurring continuously, overlapping and without ceasing. To the Lord, it is a constant unfolding and refolding of light and darkness taking place without pause or breath across the span of His creation. From this, I think it is a true thing to say that God likes sunrises and sunsets.

Most people have only seen the sunrises and sunsets that we have, one each daily, here on earth. There are a privileged few who have seen the sun rise and set from the moon. And there are some few telescope photos, some creative artist renderings of sunsets, real and imagined, from the perspective of a few of our other local planets. So, by far, the majority of sunrises and sunsets are happening in places that human eyes have never seen. And, in this life at least, never will see. They are for His eyes only, and they give constant testimony to His astounding power. He is not like us in so very many ways. But one thing we can deduce is that God likes sunrises and sunsets.

Here on earth, as I noted, we have one of each, every day. I very much like to try to get to where I can see either one or the other, sometimes both. There is just something special about it, affirming, peaceful, and freeing. And it is very good to know that I am not watching it alone.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Autumn Pastel

'Tis the season for fall photos.
This picture was taken through a semi-opaque portion of a stained glass window hanging.
This is a beautiful time of year in rural Indiana.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


Some things last forever, but most last only for a short while.

Do not blink because, in that moment while your eyes are shut, that baby who used to throw his head back and laugh uproariously as you scooted him around the living room in an empty Pampers box will change into the young man calling you from his apartment seeking counsel and needing encouragement as he tries to find his way through his sophomore year in college.

This is neither a good thing nor a bad thing…perhaps it is both at once. But it is certainly a true thing. Our time here is short and every day is important.

Some things that happen only occur once and then are gone, but other things appear to happen over and over.

Remember to show love and offer mercy to those around you. Everyone is just trying to figure out what the next step is. Help them. Helping others will help you understand important things about yourself. We are all in this together and no one has all the answers. Spend as little time as possible on the things that are least important.

Read from the book of Psalms. It doesn’t matter which one. The one you need to read will find you. Keep reading until it does.

Count your blessings. No, really, I mean it. With pen in hand, enumerate the things in your life that bring you joy and give you pleasure.

In times of sadness, frustration, pain, disappointment, and depression, let your mind remind you of the factual truth that your uncertain heart will forget or try to deny. Some things last forever, but most last only for a short while.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Like My Blog Is Impressed By Excuses...

...but this one is pretty good. My in-laws are in town from Texas so I'm like, uhm, busy and stuff. So, in an effort to distract you momentarily, here is a picture of one my aforementioned stupid dogs:
I know what you're thinking...you figured me for more of an Irish Setter or Labrador Retriever kind-of-guy. Well, you are right and I'm not happy about it. This annoying pipsqueek of a dog was thrown out of her previous home for numerous crimes and misdemeanors and came to live with us against my wishes and better judgement. She is an idiot and she has a brain the size of an acorn. Her name is Daisy. Yeah, I know, I know...she's cute as a button. Whatever.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Mac PowerBook Pro

I really, really, really want one of these. A Mac PowerBook Pro on which to write music. Loaded the way I want it, it rolls in at about $3500.

Hey, prayer is a powerful thing..it could happen.

Things You Don't Hear Every Day

One sure sign that I am too busy living my life to blog properly is when I post entries about the misadventures of other people's pets. That said, this excerpt below, from an email my brother sent me today simply cannot go unreported. The internet needs to know this, and now.

On a more somber note; Fiona ate a quite big chunk of a pair of my dirty
underwear. Well, as you might suspect, it dang near killed her. She had to have
surgery yesterday to remove it

And I thought my dogs were stupid. Well, my dogs are stupid, but still...

You know, when you have a personal blog like mine, not some important big-time Instapundit kind of meta-blog, but just a homey little plot in the rural backwoods of cyberspace, you take on a tacit obligation, an implicit moral responsibility to write about absolutely every interesting, unusual...or disgusting thing that happens to you and/or the people you know. Thats just the way it is.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

This Old House II

More progress...

There are two porches, big one on the south side and a small one on the north side. This first pic shows the southern porch and the bedroom windows above it all spruced up and primed for paint.

The north porch in the next picture is primed and ready, too. You can start to see the vision revealed in here. The brown-red hue on the porches and the guttering, complemented by the black eyelashes and bracings, really is going to look nice, we think.

Its not really an actual textbook Victorian color scheme, but our house, though built in that time, does not really reflect Victorian design values any way, so we don't care. Our goal is to preserve and enhance the appearance.

My hope is the guys will get done with the painting this week. My in-laws are coming up from Texas this week, probably arriving Friday. There is still a lot to do, but if the weather holds, it could happen.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Tommy Walker Concert

I have like 5 minutes to blog this which, well, begs a question, I suppose. Today is one of those days which starts at 5:00 AM after a 4-hour nap and careens at prestissimo tempo with scarcely time to gasp for air until well after sundown this evening. But thats not really my point.

Friday night I went with some friends to see Tommy Walker at Grace Church in Mason, OH (a Cincy suburb). It was an intimate gathering, really, of no more than 300 people or so, for an artist who has played in stadium venues around the world. It was an outstanding worship concert, and it really moved me. The Lord spoke to my heart through the music, directly leading me to some new ideas and convictions, gently reminding me, as well, of things He has told me before that I need to hear again.

I'll have more on this later.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

This Old House Part I

We are very blessed to live in an Old House. It was built in the 1870's and is located on a corner of my grandmother's farm. The property has been in our family almost continuously since the original homestead documents were issued by then Secretary of State James Monroe in 1815. It is an Italianate style 2-story home and the brick was made from the Indiana clay beneath the fields that surround the house.

As a kid, it was always "the rent house" that my grandparent's owned. At that time, it was inhabited by the Welch family. Sometime in the early 50's Bud Welch struck a deal with my grandfather, paying $50 a month in rent. And that was what the rent was for some 30 years. In the 80's the Welch's moved into town and the house was rented off and on to different folks, but it gradually began to fall into disrepair.

In the late 90's our family began to plan to move from where we then lived, in the Dallas, Texas area. My parent's moved up here first in 1997 and lived in this house for the first year or so. They supervised a big remodelling project that involved tearing down an old wooden summer kitchen and storage shed, and adding on a nice 2-car garage, a spacious family room area, and a new kitchen. Later, new windows would be added all around, and the upstairs would be completely remodeled.

For several reasons, though, the design of the Old House did not really suit my parents lifestyle. So in 1998, when my family moved here, it was decided and arranged that we would move in here. Ultimately, upon inheriting the adjacent farm that had belonged to my great-aunt, my parents decided to build their own house on the opposite corner of the family property.

Construction work currently being done here is a big painting project, designed by my wife and made possible by my grandmother. It is being done by Mangas Construction, one of the very finest construction contracting companies in eastern Indiana, owned and operated by a distant relative, Bill Pearson. These guys were really patient with us as Nancy experimented with both color and design to get the look right. It is a difficult job, really. Much of the wood guttering, jambs, and trim needed to be repaired, caulked, replaced, etc. before it could even be primed. And, like many houses of this era, it is extremely tall, with lots of detail work in very hard to reach places.

More pics and info later.

Listening: The Other Side of Something by Sara Groves. An exceptional songwriter and brilliant lyricist, this album has one of the most transcendantly beautiful performances of the classic hymn "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" ever done. This album was produced by Nate Sabin and Charlie Peacock.