General: July 2005 Archives

The state of things

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Sorry to those of you who had to wait all day to see your comments posted. I was away from the computer most of the day, and so approval had to wait until very late last night.

Welcome to those of you who've found this site for ths first time through the profile in this week's Urban Tulsa Weekly. Wish I had more new content for you today, but once again, I'll be away from the computer most of the day. Feel free to browse. On the right-hand side of the page you'll find links to BatesLine's monthly archives, going back to the inception of the site. You'll also find a list of Tulsa and Oklahoma links, including several other bloggers who write about local news, among other things.

G. W. Schulz's 4,000-word profile of yours truly is the cover story of this week's Urban Tulsa Weekly.

It was a pleasure to get to meet and talk with G. W. over the last few weeks. I've enjoyed his work in UTW, and it's an honor to be the subject of a profile by him. His hiring is a part of UTW's increased coverage of local news, and it's an important step in that paper's evolution from a collection of entertainment reviews and ads to a full-fledged alternative weekly.

I may issue a few clarifications or corrections later to compensate for my failure to answer as clearly as I might have, but for now, I'll just encourage you to read it. I'm very pleased.

Thanks to reader and frequent commenter W., who informed me that there was a problem with using a TypeKey account to post comments without waiting for moderation.

When I changed the name of the Movable Type comments script in a futile effort to defeat comment spam, I neglected to let TypeKey know of the change, so TypeKey couldn't associate my blog with my registered key. Thus the "site hasn't signed up for this feature" message. It's fixed now. Comment away!

John Brown's body

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Brian at Audience of One has posted an interesting historical sketch of militant abolitionist John Brown and how his life and death radicalized the debate over slavery in the United States. Brian closes with a few discussion questions:

Look at Brown's life and actions. Was he a hero or a common criminal? Do the ends justify the means? When is it morally acceptable to do the wrong things for the right reason? Think about our own modern-day examples. Think about the line between right and wrong. Just think about it.

Brian gives his answers to his own questions here, then raises another: "So what is an ordinary man or woman to do when they see an injustice that appears to have no hope of being corrected through the democratic process?"

(In between those two items, Brian has a tribute to Tulsa native and legendary singer and songwriter Leon Russell.)

At the grand old age of 20, Jamie Pierson finds that all the tumblers on the combination lock of literature are falling into place:

As I get older, Iím finding that the books, and music as well, that left a foreign and confused taste in my mouth, that gave me the idea that most ďliteratureĒ was not all it was cracked up to be, are finally making sense. Itís like a code has been cracked, vision clearing, as muddied words and sounds that I know must hold meaning, gradually and unexpectedly do. Itís a most ďdeliciousĒ (as my Bamma would say) feeling of finally being admitted to a club. Is it just because Iím older now? Or did I pass through a magic portal somewhere? Did something I do or endure make the scales drop from my eyes?

Partly it's age -- just as it takes time for your taste buds to develop an appreciation for strong and spicy and subtle flavors, it takes time before your intellectual taste buds are ready for stronger stuff. (With an eight-year-old and a four-year-old around the house, we have frequent reminders that what we grown-ups find delicious is too spicy or "smells bad.")

Partly it's experience. You read something at 12 and think, "How could he be so stupid?" You read the same thing again at 42 and think, "Oh, Lord, I remember being that stupid."

Unfortunately, you can have experiences by 20 that allow you to understand the darker side of human nature, as presented in a biopic of Charles Bukowski:

I turned my face away from the screen. Tears, a sob, fought to come out. I couldnít see that, couldnít take it. I think I gasped when he kicked her, said ďnoĒ horrifiedly aloud. Whenever I see fighting like that, raised voices and names called, a face with that look that tells you all sense has left its owner and all there is is hate behind it, whether itís real life or just a movie, oh god, Iím back there. Back in that bedroom, that apartment, those hissing, crushing words. This is why I donít see a lot of movies, like, story movies. And why I donít see them in theaters. At home, I can turn it off, walk away, distract myself until that part is over. But there, in that dark and full theater, I was pinned in those memories until the clip was over.

Sounds like she has a story to tell, when she's ready, and when she does it'll help someone else connect with a part of his own past, just as seeing this film helped her connect with a part of hers.

It's like Paul said to the Corinthians:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

Not up to writing anything new today, but I did a bit of tinkering with the links section of the sidebar, adding and organizing Tulsa-related links. There's a special section for folks who blog about Tulsa news -- folks who post on local stuff at least on a regular basis -- and at some point I will probably add a section for other Tulsa-based bloggers. Check it out.

A few changes

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There should be some new content ready for you in the morning, but in the meantime, I'll mention a few changes you may notice.

I've added a header with links to information about the recall election to the top of the page.

I've had to moderate all comments, because of a storm of gambling-related comment spam. If you're registered with TypeKey, you can post your comment immediately, otherwise it'll have to wait until I approve it.

The Blogs for Terri link has been moved to the sidebar, just above the blogroll. Blogs for Terri continues to be updated with news of right-to-life cases similar to Terri Schiavo's.

Dinner and a movie

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Had a kid-free night tonight, so the missus and I saw a movie and had a nice dinner out.

We went to Circle Cinema to see Ladies in Lavender, starring veteran British actresses Judi Dench and Maggie Smith -- a nice little film with both funny and poignant moments, and lots of beautiful music and lovely Cornish seaside scenery. We decided on the spur of the moment to see this movie simply because of the two stars, and it was fun to watch with no idea of how the movie would unfold, without even the exposure to the minor spoilers you can pick up from the briefest synopsis.

As we started to look for a place to eat and wondered what would be open at 9 p.m. in midtown, my wife said she'd like Thai food. We ended up on Brookside (note to out-of-town readers -- that's South Peoria Avenue between 33rd Street and 51st Street) and to our pleasant surprise found that Brookside Lao Thai Restaurant was open until 10. We had the spring rolls, scallops with drunken noodles, and green curry chicken. Delicious, reasonably priced, good service, nice atmosphere.

We took a little stroll to walk off supper. Brookside was surprisingly active at 10:30 on a weeknight. A small crowd was listening to live music in Shades of Brown coffeehouse, Harleys were lined up in front of Crow Creek Tavern, and many other bars and restaurants were open and busy.

We stopped to look at the menu at Table 10 -- which included "Beef on Wick" as a $10 sandwich plate. That's another name for beef on weck, the tasty Buffalo, N. Y., speciality -- thin-sliced roast beef piled on a caraway-and-coarse-salt-encrusted-roll, drenched in au jus and smothered in horseradish -- which I and my sinuses enjoyed frequently during my time in western New York State a year or so ago. (If you're new to BatesLine since February 2004, click on that last link -- it's a nice tribute to the medicinal properties of the sandwich.)

Quick round-up

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I have been busy today with work and with staving off a barrage of comment spam. The spammers were smart enough to see through my latest strategem, but to its programmers' credit, Movable Type seems to keep up with the most current list of open proxies and holds comments from questionable sources for my approval. (Unfortunately, a couple of real commenters often turn up as false positives -- sorry, W. and John Owen Butler -- I approve your stuff as soon as I see it. Remember, you can always bypass comment moderation if you're registered with TypeKey.)

(Speaking of blog technology, after a few glorious days of actually working, BlogRolling's recently updated feature seems to be broken again.)

Here's a quick round-up of items of interest elsewhere.

Marsupial Mom has started telling the story of her journey from the Word of Faith movement to Calvinism, through the influence of a book and a blogger. I like what she says about Reformed theology: "It's like drinking Folgers all your life and then discovering Starbucks for the first time. At first sip it's a little strong, but once you get used to it, there is no going back." Indeed -- writing that once seemed profound now seems weak and watery. (We go to church with MM and her husband, Swamphopper, and it's always a highlight of the day to chat with them after Sunday services.)

The Downtown Guy writes that Oklahoma City is simplifying zoning downtown to encourage development. The plan is to reduce the number of zoning districts covering downtown and near downtown from 15 to two -- a downtown core district and a downtown traditional district. Please note -- the reformed ordinance establishes design criteria for downtown, and a Downtown Design Review Committee to review every development proposal in the rezoned area. The aim of the design criteria is to ensure that new downtown development is urban and pedestrian-friendly.

John Hinderaker of Power Line takes a contrarian view of the Kelo decision in a column in the Weekly Standard. Wish I had the time to respond in detail -- I think he misunderstands what motivates the opposition to the use of eminent domain for economic development. For one thing, I haven't seen anyone write anything trashing Pfizer in making the case for the plaintiffs in Kelo, but Hinderaker writes that the "Pfizer-bashing started at the top," beginning with Justice Thomas's dissent.

Speaking of Kelo, David Sucher of City Comforts continues to serve up a lot of food for thought on eminent domain for economic development, including an account of the phenomenon of "blight by condemnation", and word of the town of Cheektowaga's (that's near Buffalo, New York) plan to "revitalize" a working-class neighborhood by demolishing it.

Christianity Today's weblog has many links to stories about Billy Graham's overly-generous words for Bill and Hillary Clinton. Franklin Graham says his dad was just joking, and spokesman Mark DeMoss says, "I would say virtually everybody present in the park in New York would have taken it largely in jest." Well, no.

These compilation posts always end up being a lot more work than I planned on, but it is fun to see the bizarre juxtaposition of words and phrases in the Technorati tags at the end of the post. (My Technorati tags still aren't being picked up by Technorati, by the way. Are you listening, Technorati?)

On the radio in a few hours

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My regular Monday morning chat with Michael DelGiorno on 1170 KFAQ was postponed until Tuesday this week because of the holiday, so tune in this morning at 6:40 CDT, or listen online live or every three-and-a-half hours thereafter for the next 24. (You'll have to download the Surfer Network application the first time you try to listen.) Undoubtedly the recall election will be the foremost topic, but I expect we'll also be talking about the surprise meeting to extend the airport noise abatement program, looking ahead to the ethics report for the pro-recall forces, due by close of business today, last week's Bartlett v. LaFortune poll, and, if there's time, some observations from my family's visit last week to Little Rock, and some things we can learn from that city. I also hope to introduce the radio audience to prosecutor Lance Salyers, whose firing last week is another example of the cost of standing up for what's right.

Speaking of Lance, be sure to follow his blog for the latest developments. And be sure to read what Charles G. Hill of Dustbury, Joel of On the Other Foot, and Don Singleton had to say about the situation.

(UPDATE 10/25/2005: Lance has taken down his blog, so I've removed the link.)

I'd write more, but we spent the evening at Bell's Amusement Park for their Independence Day celebration. As we left the park after the fireworks had ended, the four-year-old said, "I just can't get enough of Bell's Amusement Park on the 4th of July." She rode every ride she was tall enough to ride -- including the ferris wheel, which bugs Mommy because of heights, and Himalaya, which gives Daddy the whiplash. The eight-year-old finally agreed to a trip on Zingo, the park's wooden roller coaster. It left him laughing, but not enough to want to go again just yet. He took countless rides on Pharoah's Fury and Super Round-Up, and it's a good thing that he's now big enough to ride by himself, so that Dad doesn't have to go every single time. (There's a lot to be said for having kids when you're still young enough to keep up with them.) The fireworks show was spectacular, and it was fun to see it close up, close enough to have some of the fireworks debris drift down on us. After the fireworks, we let the kids have one last ride on Himalaya and the Scrambler before heading for home. For bedtime reading, I read the Declaration of Independence to the eight-year-old, and he was inspired enough to change his plan to listen to Riders in the Sky sing "Jingle, Jangle, Jingle" on endless repeat all night, and instead has the musical "1776" in the CD player.

Backblogged again

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There is a pile of stuff I need to write about here, but I'm not going to get to it tonight. Besides the Little Rock trip, a big part of my week has been spent providing assistance to Tulsans for Election Integrity as we enter the final 10 days before the recall election. (Don't forget about tomorrow morning's rally and volunteer event -- Walk and Talk against the Recall -- getting organized from 8:30 to 9:00 a.m., at Johnson Park, 61st and Riverside.) And I've still got some family stuff to take care of before heading off to bed.

There's one story in particular that I want to tell you about, but I want to take the time to get it right. It's about someone who was, I believe, wrongfully fired for something he wrote in his blog. Stay tuned -- more about that tomorrow.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the General category from July 2005.

General: June 2005 is the previous archive.

General: August 2005 is the next archive.

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