30 June 2007

First iReview

OK, I activated Steve Job's little plaything this morning and have been fiddling with it all day. Initial reactions:

Activation was pretty painless. I downloaded the update to iTunes and followed the instructions. Unlike many, I had no delay. My e-mail isn't working, though. I entered all of the POP information just as on my old Treo, but no joy. I'm going to get our IT guy to have a go at it on Monday (his payment - 15 minutes with my iPhone.....), as I am sure there is something I didn't set correctly. Besides, a weekend without e-mail can be pretty nice.

Pros:

The ergonomics of the thing are stunning! It is also..... beautiful. Just beautiful.

The setup of the main items is pretty intuitive and fairly easy. You know, Mac-like. It takes time, though - there are A LOT of things to set and tweak to make the iPhone yours.

The killer app so far, for me, is the Gogle Map / Google Earth combination. While amazing, still in it's infancy, IMHO. The next logical step is to link this up with GPS and navigation.

Phone quality is much better than my Treo. I can talk on the phone, clearly, while inside - not something the Treo handled at all well.

For you Acura owners - I got the iPhone to "Pair" through the 'Hands-Free Link', though I had to repeat the process twice. I had e-mailed Acura asking about iPhone compatibility last week but all they could tell me was they didn't know. My iPhone will still ring audibly when the Hands-Free rings. Another setting I got to correct, perhaps.

All of my Contacts in Outlook were imported without a problem. So were my Explorer Bookmarks, and my Outlook calendar.

Battery life seems pretty good. I played with the thing off and on all day and it only ran down around dinner. Six to seven hours (I wasn't really keeping track. Sorry.)

If you put one of the silicon protective "skins" on it like I did (I am a klutz of the first order), the iPhone will fit, snugly, in a Treo belt-case. That saved me 30 bucks, and the iPhone is a bit less conspicuous in a leather case with "Treo" on it.

Now for the cons:

This afternoon all my incoming calls were being sent directly to my voice-mail. No idea why, and I couldn't find a setting anywhere that made it do that. (What am I overlooking...?) Test calls seemed to go through OK tonight. Hmmm.

The EDGE network is SLOOOOOOOOOOOOW. I mean, my Treo's rump web-browser beat it hands down in load-times. Webpages seem to load most of the way and then Safari breaks for lunch or something. Frustrating. Both this problem, and the calls to voicemail, could be due to network overload - what with all of these new iPhone users doing exactly what I am doing.

This isn't really a "con" per se, but I haven't got the iPod part up yet. It is a bit more complicated than my little iPod Shuffle, so I need to wait 'till my daughter gets back from camp to give her 'ol Dad an iPod lesson or two.

The headphone jack takes a different plug than on my Shuffle's headphones, so the accessory cable in my car won't work on the iPhone. Grrr.

The glass front is a fingerprint smeared mess in about 30 seconds. I pretty well expected that. And if you answer the phone after working the yard in the heat of the day in the South, it'll be a sweaty mess, too. Keep a towel handy.

The camera takes pretty decent images, but does not seem to do video. Maybe there is (again) another setting I have to tweak?

Not enough third-party apps or ringtones yet. I am sure those will come with time and popularity.

That’s about it so far. More reactions later.

iAintWaitingNoMore.

This is an iPhone:

This is an iPhone on my desk:

Any questions?

28 June 2007

Thank God.

The Immigration Bill does not have the votes needed, and has effectively died in the Senate.

I think we need to deal with the issue of immigration, and especially illegal immigration, but this wasn't the way to do it. Bush and friends burned a lot of bridges for this legislation (including the one with me). If he knows what's good for him, and for the GOP in 2008, he will do some serious bridge-building in the next few weeks and support a realistic solution to the problem. It needs to be fixed. Now.

27 June 2007

How Long iCantWait.

Only a Mac geek would love this website.

And yes, I love it.

25 June 2007

Putting Free Speech To The Test, Danish Style. Again.

The folks who pine for the 12th Century will not be happy about this - some Danes burn Mohammad in effigy. I expect the same reaction as before.

Those crazy Danes. Don't they know that freedom of speech, like freedom of religion, does not apply when it upsets the 12th Century boys. While what the Danes did will likely cause the burning of embassies, nobody should get their hajib in a wad when the 12th Century Fan Club sees fit to call another Faith the sons of pigs and monkeys , engage in state-sponsored religious persecutions, shred religious texts, destroy religious icons, issue death threats, and threaten to destroy other’s houses of worship. Why? Because they are..... well, they are just better then us, that's why. (And they claim to understand science better than we do, too.)

Look, I do not like the desecration of an article Faith, anyone's Faith, or anyone calling for persecution of another based on their Faith. (I do not want to see a “Mohammad free” Denmark any more than I want to see a “Christian free” Saudi Arabia.) What these Danes did is dumb. I do not like this for the same reason I do not like people burning the American flag, or putting a crucifix in a bottle of piss and calling it art. To me, it's desecration. But, it is also speech, just like what I am engaged in here. So to ensure that my right to speak is equally protected, I oppose any move to ban flag-burning or objectionable art, or.... burning prophets. Like it or not, what these Danes did was speech, too. Dumb speech, maybe, but in a rule-of-law based, secular democracy, it is protected speech none-the-less. Or, should be. And I think the question this raises goes to the heart of the matter: how far will a rule-of-law based, secular democracy go to defend a principle of human rights? In the past, not very far - especially when the principle was threatened with violence. And that course only begats more violence, not less.


We must be clear here. Because they fear the modern world and freedom, what Radical Islamists want is submission to their way - a way back to their glories of the 12th century - and they are wiling to use violence to achieve it. They have intimidated most all moderate, secular Muslims into silence. They do not want a multi-cultural society built on tolerance and respect. They do not want to negotiate, or dialogue, or look for understanding. They do not seek common ground. And they don't give a damn about the Millennium Development Goals. What they demand is that we submit to their agenda alone or, at best, live as second-class citizens under their control. I, for one, will not do that. I live in the 21st century; I live in a Free Society; I am a Christian. And I intend to remain that way.

We Report. We Decide.

The idea that journalists think they know everything is not a new one. Michael Ledeen over at NRO's The Corner posts two quotes from an, um, earlier conflict:

"It appears we have appointed our worst generals to command forces, and our most gifted and brilliant to edit newspapers! In fact, I discovered by reading newspapers that these editor/geniuses plainly saw all my strategic defects from the start, yet failed to inform me until it was too late. Accordingly, I'm readily willing to yield my command to these obviously superior intellects, and I'll, in turn, do my best for the cause by writing editorials - after the fact."

- Gen. Robert E. Lee, 1863

And it wasn't just the loosing side that complained:

"I hate newspapermen. They come into camp and pick up their camp rumors and print them as facts. I regard them as spies, which, in truth, they are. If I killed them all there would be news from Hell before breakfast."

- Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman

I think a lot of Americans are of the same opinion.

Arrowhead Ripper. From the Inside.

Michael Yon has a new dispatch on the Battle of Baqubah: Drilling for Justice.

Anglican Report.

Anglican Report 29 is up!

And Off In The The Great White North.....

The Canadian Anglicans had a meeting this weekend, and the Current Unpleasantness was once again center stage. There was a lot of exercising of their polity (peace be upon it), and from it they decided 1) the blessing of same-sex unions isn't a problem, and 2) they will not (Big A) Authorize any Rites for such blessings right now. So the status quo remains. The Church can claim that they are complying with the Windsor Report by not Authorizing such Rites, but nobody in Canada is gonna get in trouble if such "blessings" continue. And they will. Nothing, has changed.

Looooong weekend.

Good morning.

We had a very busy weekend - my apologies for the lack of postings. And today is going to be very hectic at the office so postings will be light today.

22 June 2007

Weeks Prayers.

Please remember in your prayers this week:

Carole, John, Ellen, Anne, Jack, Peter, Shan, Earl, Pat, Betty, Georgie, Jean, Jerry+, Stacy, Charles+, David, George+, Melanie, Bruce, Cherrill, Jesse, Ken, David, Myra, Tammy, Toby, Keith, Lusila, Russell, All who serve in our Armed Forces, Katherine+, Rowan++ Fred++.

For the departed:
Anne, John, Nelson, Martha, Louise, Parsons, Margaret, James, Jessie, Manny, Raoul, Tapper, Kyle, Robert Sr., Robert Jr., Theresa, Mary, Jean, Don+, James C., All who have given their lives in for this Nation, and (today) Saint Alban.

Amen.

This IS NOT A Reflection About Naked Images Of Paris Hilton.

This is the 100th post since this one, and tomorrow this little experiment is one month old. So, I guess its time for a little reflection.

First - I am grateful to all you who are reading this, and hope what you find here enlightens, entertains, or enrages (pick any two). If you like it, please come back. And tell your friends. I am especially grateful to the other bloggers who have linked to something I wrote or commented upon. Thank you all. I really haven't had much feedback from readers, such as what you like or don't like, what is good or bad, helpful suggestions, offers of marriage, etc. Let me know if you wouldn't mind - just send an e-mail to: redstickrant@gamil.com. (You don't need to tell me I can't spell for shite. I know that. But I have a perfectly reasonable excuse - the diploma hanging on my wall is from here.)

Second – blogging is a lot of fun. And cathartic. Remember back in the Dark Ages (to me, the 1970s) when the best you could do was talk back to the TV screen? Nobody, other than the people in the room, heard you. (And they mostly thought you were a bit daft for talking back to a screen.) Well, now you really CAN talk back to the screen, and exercise (…three …four…. feel the burn…) the ‘ol First Amendment at the same time. So if you are likewise compelled, go get yourself a blog. It’s easy. Let me know you’re there and I’ll throw up a link. To steal a line from one of the greatest movies ever made: “It is so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up.”

Third – the number of shallow-minded sickos out there on the Web is huge. Huge. And they Google truly pathetic things like: “Naked Images of Paris Hilton”. Not that I would use this to my advantage by putting “Naked Images of Paris Hilton” in a post title to drive up my Sitemeter stats or Technorati standing…….

"Rum, Sodomy, And The Lash."

That was Winston Churchill's response once when asked what made the Royal Navy so formidable. And it seems to be what The Episcopal Church (tm) is counting on for greatness, too. Here is a fine example of their lash. So much for waging reconciliation, +Kate.

Brad Drell got in touch with his inner Buffet for the best description of their behavior: "Oh, why don't we get drunk, and sue".

You're Never Too Old To Have A Happy Childhood.

So I gotta get this. Nothing says father/son bonding like a tennis ball mortar.

Surrender or Die.

Michael Yon has a new post up from the Battle for Baqubah called 'Surrender or Die'. Worth the read, as always.

Money Quote:
"At the going rate, al Qaeda in Baqubah will soon have two choices: Surrender, or die."

I like those options.

20 June 2007

An Inclusion Too Far

This story has jumped into the mainstream media , and some in The Episcopal Church ™ leadership are realizing that an Episcopal priest who is also a practicing Muslim - and is allowed to be so by her Bishop - might be giving this “full inclusion” thing a bad name. I’m sure they're concerned the (check writing) folks in the pews could start asking some awkward questions when they hear about it. There are some pretty core Christan beliefs at issue. (Though, that hasn't stopped the leadership before...).

And if this is true (and I pray it’s not) it is doubly damning.
UPDATE: It appears it is true. Scroll down a bit.

Kudos to Chris Johnson for coining "Muslipalian"!

I'm Sure She Did It For The Children.

The former School Board President of the Orleans Parish Public Schools admits she took $140,000 in bribes from a local businessman to promote an educational software program. And you wonder why the system is a basket case?????????

But here's the best part:
While court documents did not name the businessman, an article in the New Orleans Times-Picayune quoted sources as saying it was Mose Jefferson, brother of indicted Congressman William Jefferson.

How unlucky can you get?

First, a lightning strikes a school on Monday, and now a plane crash today. Winbourne Avenue in Baton Rouge seems to be attracting a lot of things from out of the sky.

To Spin a Mockingbird.

I've stayed away from all of the Duke rape case mess since it is overexposed already and I really don't have a dog in that hunt. But this column in the Opinion Journal made a comparison between two alleged rape cases in the South that I think is worth noting. How much times have changed. And, how little.

Embrace the Shiny.

With house-cleaning in New Orleans over we drove to Houston last weekend for a “Big City fix”. We lived in a large city once before (Boston), and it’s nice to get back to all of that energy and excitement every once and a while. We photographed buildings, visited the MFA Houston, did some shopping, and relaxed a bit.

Houston always amazes me in its ability to be ever changing. Houston seems to embrace change and the future, while my home town, New Orleans, utterly shuns it and clings to it’s past. I remember when I was a child, folks in New Orleans were always putting down Houston (“it’s what happens when you give oil-field trash too much money”, etc., etc…..), and wondering why companies would ever want to leave the Crescent City for Houston (which they did - in droves.)

Seeing Houston with post-Katrina New Orleans fresh on my mind really brought up the contrast between the two, and made me realize that in order to survive as anything more than a quaint tourist destination (or worse, a tropical Detroit), New Orleans will have to do something that Houston seems to do without thinking – change. And that is, to my mind, the crux of the ongoing problem with New Orleans’ post-Katrina recovery – New Orleans doesn’t know how to change. Or even know how to understand change. When your tomorrow has always looked like your yesterday - and you wanted it that way – it’s hard to think about other options.

A friend got me to join a listserv for a New Orleans preservation group right after Katrina, and I have been stunned by the amount of resistance the group’s posters have to even the slightest bit of change. ANY building built yesterday is better than one built today or tomorrow. I got excoriated by a poster when I suggested that if a building is too far gone to save the owner should be able remove it and rebuild, and that the City should be able to demolish properties that have been abandoned for years. No way. To remove a building, no matter how far gone it might be or how architecturally insignificant is might be, is tantamount to cultural treason in their way of thinking. The past must be preserved at all costs. This mindset is borders on a pathological romanticism and nostalgia, and will be the downfall of New Orleans ever recovering fully.

Should we preserve were we can? Yes. Should we hold on to the exceptional and the significant? Absolutely. But change is inevitable. And in the case of New Orleans today, it is essential. You don’t need a plan – it will happen if you let it. The old joke I heard about Houstonians was is “if it’s shiny, they want it.” To most New Orleanians, if it’s shiny they want nothing to do with it. That needs to end. New Orleans needs to quit living in, and living on, it’s past alone. New Orleans must want a little shiny if it is to truly recover and prosper.

Happy Ice Cream Soda Day!

Really. The things you learn on the Internet.

19 June 2007

"I Have Always Relied on the Kindness of Strangers...."

Our very own Governor, Blanche duBlanco, is in Washington rattling a tin cup and hoping the Feds will bail out her (Long and Winding) Road Home program. And ICF got how much in management fees??

A Simple Question.

The Episcopal Church (tm) is arguing that no one has the right to define what constitutes Anglicanism worldwide, or to say who is, or is not an Anglican in good standing. If that is so, then does anyone have the right to define what constitutes Anglicanism in America (i.e., The Episcopal Church) or to say who is, or is not, an Episcopalian in good standing?

Just asking.

(and not expecting an answer)

More Michael Yon.

Michael Yon has posted his latest installment of 'Death or Glory' (part IV), including images. And he has a new article up, too: 'Be Not Afraid'.

Required reading.

18 June 2007

We're Committed to the Process. (wink! wink!)

Buried in here is this tidbit about how serious and committed The Episcopal Church's (tm) is to the development of an Anglican Covenant:

".....surprised and pleased with the depth of the responses to the questions in the study guide on a draft of an Anglican Covenant.

Among the responses, 201 came from the laity, 100 from priests and deacons, 64 from organizations and groups including General Convention deputations, 27 from parishes, and 18 from bishops. The stack of responses is about three inches high and they range from one-sentence replies to each of the guide's questions to 10-page replies.

The comments are meant to help Council create a response to the draft covenant at its October meeting in Detroit, Michigan.

"The drafting committee will be informed by these responses but will not be constrained by them," Ballentine said, adding that the sub-committee will urge the drafting group to consider stances taken by previous meetings of General Convention about issues that are now included in the draft covenant."


Wait a minute. Out of some 7,000 parishes we got... what? 27 responses? Out of some 2.3 million members.... 201 responses? And you're pleased with that?? I mean, nothing says "committed" like .0038 percent of your parishes responding.

Do As I Say, Not As I Do.

I thought The Episcopal Church (tm) leadership said making demands was a bad thing. You know, polity and all that. But not always - it seems to depend on who is making the demands. The Diocese of Pittsburgh responds to the Executive Council's demand. They must not understand your 'polity', Pittsburgh. Yeah, that's got to be the problem.

UPDATE: The Diocese of Fort Worth responds. Seems the Executive Council doesn't understand their polity, either.

Some choice.

Given the two alternatives, this Red Sox fan would choose to listen to the Yankees, too.

More Modernophobia incidents reported.

Two examples of tolerance and understanding, from the folks who think the 12th century is the place to be. Both deal with books:

Their reaction to author Salman Rushdie being knighted.

Their treatment of religious minorities.

I read Rushdie's 'Satanic Verses' when it came out just to see what all the fuss was about. OK read, but not memorable, and not best-seller material on it own, OMHO. It would have had much less of an impact if they had ignored the book years ago. As for the second incident, note that a Holy Book - a Bible - was reported desecrated. I'm sure TIME is sending reporters there as we speak, and Methodists will be justified when they riot.

What does this Episcopal priest, or the national leadership of The Episcopal Church (tm), have to say about the minions of the newest Islamic State burning a church? My money is on "not much".

God as architectural critic.

Folks commenting on your work is a daily occurrence for an architect. Everyone is a critic; you get used to it. But, a comment like this sure got my attention.

I guess He preferred our original center-courtyard design.....

iCantWait III

29 June is fast approaching. More good news.

16 June 2007

Cry "Polity!", and let slip the excuse of General Convention

The Executive Council of The Episcopal Church (tm) has finally responded to the requests made of The Episcopal Church (tm) by the rest of the Anglican Communion - and they told 'em to get stuffed. Well, not that directly. They spent several paragraphs talking about "polity", waiting for General Convention in 2009, and responding by not responding. Chris Johnson has done a first rate fisking of their "commitment" here, so no reason for me to blog about it.

Brad Drell thinks that there is more than a bit of paternalistic racism in the Council's response. I agree. The most vocal questioning of The Episcopal Church's (tm) current stands come from the Third World - especially Africa.

The Executive Council also claims to "support the process" of the development of an Anglican Covenant. Read that part carefully. They support the "process". Support for the actual Covenant itself? You gotta be flippin' kidding.

15 June 2007

A Hornet in the race

Indicator No. 35 that you're getting old. A guy you went to school with (and was younger than you) announces he is running for Governor. John is good guy, and if I recall he was a pretty good football player, too.

Week's Prayers

Please remember in your prayers this week:

Carole, John, Ellen, Anne, Jack, Peter, Shan, Earl, Pat, Betty, Georgie, Pat (2), Jean, Jerry+, Stacy, Charles+, David, George+, Melanie, Bruce, Cherrill, Jesse, Ken, David, Katherine+, C. Ray, All who serve in our Armed Forces, Toby, Keith, Lusila, Russell.

For the departed:
Anne, John, Nelson, Martha, Louise, Parsons, Margaret, James, Jessie, Manny, Raoul, Tapper, Kyle, Robert Sr., Robert Jr., Theresa, Mary, Jean, Don+, All who have given their lives in for this Nation.

Amen.

Indicted vs. Incompetent. Some choice.

My grandfather used to say that "LIFE magazine was for those who couldn't read, and TIME magazine was for those who couldn't think". Alas, this article in TIME may need a lot of thought.

The indictment of Rep. William Jefferson early this month surprised no one, not even the voters who elected him to a ninth consecutive term in Congress last year. But what caught many off guard was the breadth of the government's charges against the New Orleans Democrat, which now has everyone guessing who will emerge if the state's most influential African-American politician goes down. Many are putting their money on New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin.

Is that REALLY the best we can do???????? I mean, this guy is also running a big city in Louisiana. Pretty successfully, too.

Why stop at two?

The battle cry for those who started the Current Unpleasantness in The Episcopal Church (tm) seems to be "Full Inclusion!" OK. So what will they say when folks in this kind of arrangement want to be "fully included"? I mean, it's clearly in the Bible. And what about our Baptismal Covenant? Wouldn't that "dignity of every human being" thing we hear so much about these days apply here, too?

14 June 2007

Not good news....

It seems Hamas has taken over effective control of the Gaza Strip, and it is carrying out, um, justice:

After the rout at the security headquarters, some of the Hamas fighters knelt outside, touching their foreheads to the ground in prayer. Others led Fatah gunmen out of the building, some shirtless or in their underwear, holding their arms in the air. Several of the Fatah men flinched as the crack of gunfire split the air.

A witness, who identified himself only as Amjad, said men were killed as their wives and children watched.

"They are executing them one by one," Amjad, who lives in a building overlooking the Preventive Security complex, said by telephone. "They are carrying one of them on their shoulders, putting him on a sand dune, turning him around and shooting."

The killers ignored appeals from residents to spare the men's lives, said Amjad, who declined to give his full name, fearing reprisal."


I'm sure the UN will quickly be imposing sanctions and opening human-rights inquiries on the execution of prisoners. And, we'll see thousands protest in European cities, just like they did over Abu Ghraib, by nightfall.

Or not.

And the above looks like a great way for Desmond++ to get his wish.

Or not.

Pearl Jam, Icee dems, and brown runways......

I never did get Pearl Jam back in the day. Now, courtesy of collegehumor.com, I now know why.

Lots of other funny stuff there, too. It's lunchtime - so check 'em out.

13 June 2007

Three Score and Ten

Happy Birthday, Carole!

Death or Glory III

Michael Yon's latest in his 'Death or Glory' series is up.

He says, "These are perhaps the most interesting days of all to be in Iraq."

He is also putting up chapters from his earlier book 'Danger Close' on his site, so your reading assignment just got bigger.

Didn't the 'Fantastic Four' beat these guys back in the early 70's?

Sometimes life imitates art. But comic book art? It seems the "Bad Guys" (those folks that hate America because we question their repressive, authoritarian regimes and, y'know, promote evil stuff like freedom), well, they've never much liked that "Axis of Evil" name. So they got together in Iran the other day to do a bit of brand re-labeling, and are now calling themselves the "World Resistance Front".

I think Stan Lee may have some royalties due.

UPDATE: Hey, if they need an appropriate logo......
(Link fixed. Apologies)

12 June 2007

Two plus two equals..... Anybody? Anybody at all?

It seems Governor Blanco's (Long and Winding) Road Home Program has committed to pay out more than they have in the program. What?? And the shortfall may impact how much people get at closing. I'm sure this will be a comfort to struggling families trying to rebuild:

"The amount and availability of the award is subject to available funding at the time of closing."

Look - we know that the Governor's Office can't add. Duh. But what about the expensive managers she hired? Did they ALL graduate from Louisiana schools??

And we wonder why the Feds don't trust us with anything bigger than a used fiver.

iCantwait

It's official: June 29th. I'm there.

Brad Drell - This Shark Ain't no Squid

If you are following the Current Unpleasantness in The Episcopal Church ™, you should be reading Brad Drell. Remember that guy in the movies who charges the enemy machine-gun nest, alone and head on? Well, in this tussle that guy is Brad. A lawyer by trade, Brad is one of the few orthodox Anglicans still active on House of Bishops/Deputies Listserv, and he is about the only one still willing to challenge the 60’s era Liberation Theology worldview that dominates the majority opinion on the Listserv. Because the Listserv rules say that postings are private, as an observer I can not quote some of the unpleasant things I have read about orthodox Anglicans and their values. But suffice it to say that it is not what you would expect from Christians, and especially leaders of a Christian denomination.

Louisiana Conservative Dot Com

These guys have been nice enough to take an interest in this little site, so I will return the favor. Their writing is pretty good, one of 'em is a hockey fan (though, not a BRUINS fan), and they seem to have it together. We do diverge on our opinion of Fred Thompson, alas. (Hey, if we all thought alike.... where's the fun in that??) They're now on my blogroll on the right, so check 'em out.

11 June 2007

Anglican Report 28

For those of you who are following the Current Unpleasantness in The Episcopal Church, here is another installment of the Anglican Report. A podcast version will be uploaded soon.

Mandina's Closes in Baton Rouge

No. Say it ain't so. According to the Baton Rouge Business Report, Mandina's resturant shut their doors for good last Saturday at their their Baton Rouge location. One of New Orleans great neighborhood eateries, all of us New Orleans ex-pats were elated to see them open up here after Katrina. I'm very sorry to see them go.

09 June 2007

Follow me, and I will make you owners of empty buildings....

(Welcome Drell's Descants readers! Please pardon the mess round here; if I'd known you were coming I'd have cleaned up a bit. Or at least dusted. Feel free to poke around - I have some other posts on the Current Unpleasantness in The Episcopal Church (tm) that may be of interest.)

(And a special hello to the person (or persons) on TEC's Executive Council who read this during recent meeting.)

What? That sound? Oh, that's the sound of church pews emptying, which can only mean one thing - Bishop Katherine Jefforts-Schori, Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church (tm), has once again aired her views in public. But at least this time the damage is minimized - she said it to Bill Moyers on PBS, and we all know what their ratings are. And, she didn't bring up the Millennium Development Goals (peace be upon them).

Some choice excerpts:

BILL MOYERS: Well, many conservative, traditional Christians say that the homosexual life is not a holy life.

BISHOP KATHARINE JEFFERTS SCHORI: They would say that it's only holy if it's celibate. And I think we've got more examples out of Scripture even to offer in challenge to that.


But doesn't name any. And you traditionalists, not to worry; she does mention crucifixion:

BILL MOYERS: Is it fair to ask some aspiring gay or lesbian person who wants to become a Bishop, like Gene Robinson did in 2003, to wait?

BISHOP KATHARINE JEFFERTS SCHORI: Is it fair? No. It's not fair.

BILL MOYERS: But it's necessary?

BISHOP KATHARINE JEFFERTS SCHORI: It's a crucified place to stand.


So, being gay makes you.... more Christ-like? I had no idea. And what of those who disagree with her theological viewpoint?

BILL MOYERS: So you would concede that as people like you want to modernize the Canon, the tradition and the Scripture, the traditionalists who look back and say, "This is our sacred tradition," would not-- want to come along on that journey.

BISHOP KATHARINE JEFFERTS SCHORI: Absolutely. But I would take them back into that tradition to see within it far more complexity than they've been willing to admit.


See? We're just SO limited if we think this religion thing says what it says. Add some "complexity" and... presto! You can make it say whatever you want! Still got problems? A pesky sin or two remain? Throw in a little "context":

BILL MOYERS: If biology, as I understand it does, tells us that homosexuality is-- is a genetic given. And religion says homosexuality is a sin in the eyes of God, can those two perceptions ever be reconciled?

BISHOP KATHARINE JEFFERTS SCHORI: How do we come to a conclusion that it's a sin in the eyes of God?

BILL MOYERS: Well, you're the-

BISHOP KATHARINE JEFFERTS SCHORI: What texts do we read that-

BILL MOYERS: But you know, all of your adversaries say that it is.

BISHOP KATHARINE JEFFERTS SCHORI: Well, I would have them go back to the very sources they find so black and white about that, and ask what's the context of this passage? What was it written to address? What was going on underneath it that this appears to speak to? And I think we find when we do some very serious scholarship, that in almost every case, it's speaking about a cultural context that looks nothing like the one in which we're wrestling with homosexuality today.


And that Bible thing says it, too, Bill, not just her "adversaries".

Before any of you brand me as "homophobic", stifle it. I'm not. My Faith informs how I live my life, not how I tell others to live theirs. Homosexuality is the issue that those who want to bring about a post-modernist, sin-less, Liberation Theology, Christianity have chosen as their battleground. I oppose the issue within the context of religion, not the person. In the secular realm, I would balk at any effort to criminalize homosexuality in this country. I do not oppose civil unions for gays and lesbians. Why? Those are civil matters. So why am I opposed to them in matters of Faith? Because the Christian Faith says they are wrong, and we should never demand Faith conform to the same values we apply in our secular life. It always amuses me that those who oppose any intrusion of Faith on the values in the public square have no problem encouraging the values of the public square to intrude into Faith. Seems that the "wall of separation" between church and state only works one way for some people. Nor do I oppose homosexuals participating in Faith. God calls us all to be reconciled to Him. We should welcome say, two gay persons living together into our church as members in the Body of Christ as we would, say, two unmarried heterosexual people living together. But in both cases my Anglican Catholic Faith says that to express sexuality in that context is wrong. A Sin. And persons living in what Faith has said is a sinful way should not be leaders of that Faith.

08 June 2007

Death or Glory II

The second installment of Michael Yon's Death or Glory is up.

From his e-mail: "Our British brothers and sisters are relations to be proud of."

Delta - We hate to fly, and it shows.

OK, I’m going to rant a little.

This morning, we took our daughter down to the airport in New Orleans to catch a flight. It was a 6:30am flight so we were up.… rather early…. to get there on time. It seems that to get her where she was going she had to fly at the crack of dawn – layover, you know. (Her layover was as long as her flights.) For the record, I ain’t a morning person. Not at all. So making me get up at 3:00am because of layovers – well, we’ll call that Strike One.

We got to the airport and went to the Delta Airlines desk to check her in (she’s not old enough to fly alone). Once we got to the desk, we were told curtly that since this flight was actually with one of Delta’s Sky Partners, we had to check in with that airline. What?? I bought the ticket from Delta, I said. I’m a loyal Delta customer. She replied that it wasn’t Delta’s plane. I said I knew that, but it was a DELTA ticket. She said, sorry. Strike Two.

I’m looking at the clock and we’re running out of time. So we ran, and I mean ran, to the other end of the terminal to that airline’s desk. One there, the person at that desk was equally as friendly as the Delta person. I had to fill out a form since my daughter was underage, and I had to give name address and phone number of the person picking her up at the other end of the flight. “Camp counselor” and the name of the camp would not do. I had to know the EXACT person, or she couldn’t fly. We had asked Delta (remember them?) about this when we reserved the ticket, and they said it shouldn’t be a problem. Strike Three.

We finally got it sorted out (just in time), and she did make her flight.

I said all that to say this: Delta Airlines, if this is how you treat a loyal customer of more than 20 years, you deserve to go under. I called Delta because I expected good service. Silly me. Next time we fly, we’re calling these guys.

Week's Prayers

As is becoming tradition round these parts - prayers this week for:

Carole, John, Ellen, Anne, Jack, Peter, Shan, Earl, Pat, Betty, Georgie, Pat (2), Jean, Jerry+, Stacy, Charles+, David, George+, Melanie, Bruce, Cherrill, Jesse, Ken, David, Katherine+, C. Ray, All who serve in our Armed Forces, Toby, Keith, Lusila, Russell.

For the departed:
Anne, John (on the 50th anniversary of his passing), Nelson, Martha, Louise, Parsons, Margaret, James, Jessie, Manny, Raoul, Tapper, Kyle, Robert Sr., Robert Jr., Theresa, Mary, Jean, Don+, All who have given their lives in for this Nation.

Amen.

UPDATE: Add "All Delta Airlines personnel".

.644 vs. .466

AL East stats. OK, OK, I know. It's June - it won't last. But still......

Need more? OK.

For all you political junkies out there, here is a wonderful blog-fix for your addiction - the "crack young staff" of the Hatemonger's Quarterly. Enjoy.

07 June 2007

Sorry, Bill.

Goodness. How did I miss this? Ladies and gentlemen, the one and only Mr. Bill Whittle has a new post up, so go have a read. And check out his other stuff, too.

Isn't that what got him in trouble in the first place??

Judge freezes Congressman Jefferson's assets.

Turning the page. With a track-hoe.

As I said earlier, last Tuesday I went to New Orleans to witness the demolition of my parent’s house in Lakeview. We moved there in 1972 (from another house in Lakeview) and I lived there until 1979 when I went off to college. Here is the house several days before demolition:


Here is the house 90 minutes after they started taking it down:


This is the second house I have watched come down. My in-laws house, also in Lakeview, came down last November. I know this sounds bizarre, but it amazes me how fast a structure can come down. Yes, I know. I'm an architect; I should know these things. It's probably for the best, especially with all the memories tied up in the place. Slow deaths are always the worst.

Is it painful to watch? You bet it is.

I’m putting this up not because I want sympathy, or to imply that what our family has been though is a special case. (My folks were lucky - they had a second floor that did not get flooded and so had things to rescue intact. Not so my in-laws.) But what you see in these images happens all over New Orleans and the Gulf Coast hundreds of times a week. I’m putting this up to remind others that Katrina still isn’t over for thousands - there are many families who will have to do the same thing we did, and many more who are working to save their homes if they can. They need to be remembered. Pray for them.

Here's looking at us.

Via the Baton Rouge Business Report: LSU's Manship School of Mass Communication has released a survey of national opinions about Louisiana. All in all, not as bad as I figured. Really Good News: Harry Connick, Jr. is four times more recognizable as a Louisianian than Brittany Spears!

An Olympic Mistake.

It seems I'm not the only one who thought the new 2012 London Olympics logo was, er.... less than successful.

06 June 2007

Whew.......

It's been a loooong day. Apologies to my all my readers (two... three... four... Yep. That's all of 'em. -Ed.) for such lite fare. To make up for it, here's something to keep you amused.

More later. Promise.

Another Milblog

I added 'Countercolumn' to the milblogs blogroll on the right. Jason is one of the best milbloggers there is in my opinion. He's served in Iraq and remains a member of the Florida National Guard. Yes, I know, he's an... officer, but he's one I think this (former) NCO would have enjoyed serving under. And, he likes Irish music - so he can't be all bad. Check him out.

Worst. Logo. Ever.

The 2012 London Olympics Logo has been unveiled. Good God, that is ugly. They claim it is a stylized '2012', but it looks more like shards of broken glass flying right at you. Yeah, that's inviting. Come to London for facial lacerations! Seems viewing the logo has caused epileptics to fall into seizures, and I must say I can't blame them. It's a throwback to tacky 60's British 'Mod' at it worst - you'd half-expect to see Austin Powers next to it saying, "Yeah, Baby!!" (It would be a good logo for, say, the British Board of Dental Health.....) James Lileks has more to say about it.

UPDATE: For extra credit, read the press release in the link above. A classic example of self-important designer's marketing hooey. If you have to spend that much verbage to explain any iconic design, then the image you want to convey through the design is not readily evident. Therefore, the design is a failure. And, you know it.

The Longest Day

Do you know what happened 63 years ago today? Here's a hint.

05 June 2007

Understatement of the Week

It seems Governor Blanco's (Long and Winding) Road Home Program needs more, um, oversight. Ya think??????

I don't know what is worse: that the Governor’s Office of Community Development is STILL not tracking the performance of ICF, or that someone had to do a "study" to figure this out.

A more sober analysis......

Stephen Green of Vodkapundit is, as is his tradition, "drunkblogging" tonight's Republican debate live at Pajamas Media. As always, inciteful - and more lucid than some of the candidate's responses. Catch it while you can.

Obama - 'Quiet Riot' in the Black Community

That's what he said. Funny, I didn't even know they were back together. (rimshot!)

(Yeah. Like you didn't think it when you heard Obama's comment! -Ed.)

What a lightweight.

UPDATE: Will Collier at Vodkapundit had a similar thought, and earlier than I did. Great minds.... get followed by mediocre ones.

Long Day

Back from New Orleans. Will post more about the day, including observations and pictures, later. Right now I'm gonna get a drink and look around the 'Net a bit.

Ugh.

It's late and I can't sleep - tomorrow (now, later today) is not going to be fun (see earlier post). So I'm trying to think about something else by surfing around and looking for mindless stuff to blog about. Checked Technorati, and saw this little site got noticed yesterday by Louisiana Conservative Dot Com. I have no idea they found it, but I'm always appreciative of the interest. And no, Jeff, I'm not the same guy you asked about. I don't play with fire - but being an architect I do mess about with fire codes. (Fire-code blogging. Yeah, that'll peg the 'ol excitement meter....)

04 June 2007

Where's a circuit breaker when you need one?

Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs thinks he has seen what the Apocolypse will look like. 1,683 guitarists playing ANY 70's song would qualify in my book. (Pink Floyd and Talking Heads excluded, of course) I mean, dude; can you say...... "Freeeeeeebirrrrrrrrd"!?!

Tomorrow - the end of the beginning

Light blogging tomorrow, if at all. I have to be in New Orleans to observe the demolition of my parent's house in Lakeview, which was damaged by the Katrina flooding. This has been a long time coming, and is going to be very, very hard on all concerned.

Your prayers would be most appreciated.

Death or Glory

Michael Yon has a new post up: 'Death or Glory'.

According to his e-mail: "Glory is unlikely."

NOOOOOOOO!!........

Word is going round today that this may actually come to pass.

If the voters of this State do not know their ass from a hole in the ground, turn out the lights. We're doomed.

It's the ethics, stupid. No, wait......

I was in a meeting earlier, so this may be old news to some of you. Here is the actual indictment.

This comes none to soon as far as I'm concerned. "Dollar Bill" Jefferson is an embarrassment, and this State has too many of those holding public office right now. And it doesn't look good for he Democratic "Reform" Congress, either. Let's see how Nancy Pelosi spins it for the press. Should be interesting.

UPDATE: The spin begins. How to say nothing in two paragraphs.

"The Episcopal Church Welcomes You - Allah Akbar!"

Please tell me this is some kind of joke. (link is to a PDF, so scroll down a bit)

If it isn't, I'm sure 815 will be OK with it - until somebody lets Louie Crew know what Islam thinks about homosexuality. (Hint: They don't see it as a "gift", Louie.....)

UPDATE: I wonder how this fits in with her "What Islam has done for me is shed this light on Christianity and shown for me anew what a glorious way Christianity is” concept.

UPDATE II: Chris Johnson picks up a hammer and, well, nails it. As usual.

UPDATE III: Next thing you know, this guy will be hosting the 700 Club!

02 June 2007

We Don't Need No Faith; We're Episcopalians!

The Episcopal Church is shrinking fast. No wonder, if one of your Bishops writes a book telling everyone that Jesus Christ was not the Son of God, there was no virgin birth, no miracles, and no resurrection. Such things, he says, are the realm of the:

"...hysterically religious, the chronically fearful, the insecure, and even the neurotic among us."

Yeah, that'll keep 'em in the pews.

A rising tide lifts all... houses?

An interesting idea to deal with storm flooding - houses that float, including retrofitting existing houses to float. There have been several hunting and fishing camps in Louisiana built like this in the past to deal with seasonal flooding, and I understand they do work. My concern with the concept would not be water rising inches per hour, as it does with seasonal flooding, but with water that rises inches per second and wind-driven waves measuring several feet between crest and trough. These are dynamic forces that a typical residential structure, and especially an existing structure, are not designed to resist. I also am very suspicious of the $20,000 cost for the retrofit, particularly after seeing recent cost numbers on our projects in the area. But, the proposal was put forward an associate professor at the LSU Hurricane Center, so I'm sure they have considered these issues.

01 June 2007

12 O'Clock High!

There are still a few things I want to do before I die. This is one of 'em.

Yon's Latest

Michael Yon's latest dispatch is up. Friends are not always who you think they are.....

Comments

OK, comments have been enabled. I think.
Yep, they work. Fire away.

Be Prepared: It ain't just for Boy Scouts anymore!

November is a long way away this year. So be ready now, and avoid the rush.

UPDATE: I'm not the only one pointing this out right now. Instapundit has some thoughts on disaster preparedness, and some good links, too. I agree that preparation is not just for those of us in hurricane states, and that 72 hours of supplies is probably not enough. Also remember the other things besides supplies - planning how and when to evacuate, where to go, and having a point-of-contact outside of the disaster area in case you get separated or need help. Lessons learned from Katrina. Another lesson is to make sure you can text from your cell phone. Text messages take little bandwidth, and many people after Katrina were able to make contact via text message when cell calls wouldn't go through.

So THAT'S the reason...

Forwarded by a friend. Oh, how true.....

The real reason that we can't have the Ten Commandments in a Courthouse is that you cannot post "Thou Shalt Not Steal" , "Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery " and "Thou Shall Not Lie" in a building full of lawyers, judges and politicians.
It creates a hostile work environment.

Michael Graves and Humana

Michael Graves, one of the form-givers of 80's post-modernism, was honored at the 25th anniversary of his Humana Building. This was THE COOL BUILDING when I was in school, but 25 years on and it looks somewhat dated. I still love it's funky playfulness - something Graves' designs are known for.

I am glad to see Graves getting some recognition these days. He deserves it. He did his part to slay the dragon of pious modernism, which was a good thing in my opinion, and he did something that I think is even more important - he brought design to the masses. To the howls of many of his peers, Graves hooked up with Target to design everything from tea kettles to dog bowls, and helped reintroduce aesthetic thinking back into daily life. For that alone he should be honored.