June 2008 Archives

Dilbert.com - Branson

Even cartoonist Scott Adams vacations in Branson.

ThinkGeek :: Wi-Fi Detector Shirt

Detachable decal on the front of the shirt shows 802.11(b) and 802.11(g) signal strength with glowing bars. (Via Conservative Intelligencer.)

OSCN: The Cleo Epps case

A judge injured by a car bomb, a bootlegger murdered: This appeals court document tells the story of Albert McDonald and Tom Lester Pugh, the August 1970 attempted murder of Judge Fred Nelson and the November 1970 murder of Cleo Epps.

Tom Monaghan Ave Maria Development - Portfolio.com

Tom Monaghan's dream of a Catholic town in southwest Florida is endangered by the collapse of the housing market. (Via Crunchy Con.)

Pyromaniacs: George Carlin, and us

Dan Phillips on Carlin: "'I sort of gave up on this whole human adventure a long time ago,' he said a couple of years ago. 'Divorced myself from it emotionally. I think the human race has squandered its gift, and I think this country has squandered its promise. I think people in America sold out very cheaply, for sneakers and cheeseburgers. And I don't think it's fixable.'

"Here you see a man who is confronted with the disaster which autonomy has brought on our race. Carlin sees some of the bitter fruits of man's rebellion against God. He longs for redemption. He sees that it will not arise from within us. Yet, like the classic definition of insanity, he has no prescription but more of the same. He was raised Roman Catholic, and probably thought (alas, wrongly) that this exposed him to Christianity, to Christ, to the Gospel. Thus he often expressed contempt for religion. Rejecting the fake, like so many he was inoculated against the real item. Thus apparently Carlin never seriously considered the actual cure whose absence he would later feel so keenly: Jesus Christ, the only hope and redeemer of mankind (John 1:29; 1 Timothy 1:1)."

Measuring Urban Development Intensity

How might a New Urbanist Smart Code be applied to Tulsa? Heloisa Ceccato Mendes's project for her Master's Degree in Architectural Urban Studies at OU-Tulsa, in which she analyzes Tulsa's density, zoning, and land use using the New Urbanist concept of the transect -- the graduated range of land use from urban to rural. Lots of maps and illustrations.

news from me - George

Mark Evanier remembers George Carlin: "Someone should say that he had just about all the gifts that a great comedian could have. He had a wonderful speaking voice and, when necessary, he could do characters and impressions and even verbal sound effects. He didn't do a lot of physical comedy but every now and then, he'd do a little...just to let us all know he could if he wanted to.... Onstage, he often came off as cranky, angry and contemptuous of the entire human race. Offstage, he was a decent, friendly guy to everyone...and one of those comedians who never felt he had to "perform." Nor did he stand on his celebrity."

Bring QuikTrip To Oklahoma City!

Former Tulsan is Hotzi deprived. Ain't that right, Lamar? (Via Irritated Tulsan, who is tantalizing the QTinOKC guide with photos of QT food.)

Tulsa Food Blog - Tulsa restaurants casually reviewed

"Tulsa restaurants casually reviewed by normal everyday people who live to eat."

Creative Minority Report: Photo Essay of Obama by Objective Press

"The heavens opened and the Spirit descended upon Obamessiah like a dove...." (Via Crunchy Con.)

The Mundaneum Museum Honors the First Concept of the World Wide Web - NYTimes.com

"In 1934, [Belgian librarian Paul] Otlet sketched out plans for a global network of computers (or "electric telescopes," as he called them) that would allow people to search and browse through millions of interlinked documents, images, audio and video files.... Although Otlet's proto-Web relied on a patchwork of analog technologies like index cards and telegraph machines, it nonetheless anticipated the hyperlinked structure of today's Web.... Otlet's vision hinged on the idea of a networked machine that joined documents using symbolic links. While that notion may seem obvious today, in 1934 it marked a conceptual breakthrough." (Via Ephemeral Isle.)

Finding Jesus At A.A. « Jesus Shaped Spirituality

At Alcoholics Anonymous and Alcoholics for Christ meetings, Michael Spencer observes, "community was pursued and community happened. It was clumsy and awkward, and sometimes it wasn't at all pretty. It could make you wince. But it was the real deal. People opened the door of their real lives, let some of the ugliness out, and everyone respected and loved one another through it all. Not what we Christians call community, which is an orchestrated ritual of convincing ourselves we've done a lot of things we actually haven't come near doing.... The Gospels are full of the awareness that God knows the whole story of the woman at the well and the tax collectors by the roadside. He knows it all, and loves us in Jesus with a fierce, unstoppable love."

Norman Rockwell Saturday Evening Post art

From 1916 to 1975, including covers and story illustrations. (Indirectly via Crunchy Con.)

Home Organization Tips | Kiss My Gumbo

"Because life is too short to stress over a mess."

BaylyBlog: Iranian brother tortured for baptizing Muslim converts...

"On May 31, house church leader Mohsen Namvar was arrested by eight police officers in his home in Tehran, Iran. According to Compass Direct News, 'The officers confiscated a number of Namvar's personal belongings including his computer, printer, CDs, books and money. He was given no official explanation for the arrest, and his current location is unknown.'... Pray for Namvar's release. Pray that he will act as a faithful witness for Christ during his detention. Pray that his wife and children will rely on the Lord for comfort and strength."

JOLLYBLOGGER: It's a Sin to Create Your Own Sin

Ben Arment says, "It's a sin to make up your own sins." (Which is to say, to make up your own rules and define any violation of them as a sin.)

internetmonk.com: Principles For Breakfast

Three good and five bad aspects of "of the practice of turning texts or topics into principles as the primary methodology for preaching." "...the wording of principles can reinterpret or define scripture in a way that is very different from the actual meaning. Explaining a passage should help the hearers to understand the words of scripture rather than replace the words of scripture, and possibly replace the meaning of the passage."

Small-town motel search - SmarterTravel.com

Looking for lodging in Lookeba? If you can't find it on the big travel websites, try municipal and chamber of commerce websites for your destination. (Sometimes state tourism sites have catalogs of available lodging, too. And Google Maps can sometimes turn things up that no one else can.)

Business | West Texas: `Geographical Center Of Nowhere' | Seattle Times Newspaper

Rule, Old Glory, Knox City, Swenson, Jayton: "It lies north of Interstate 20 within a triangle connecting Wichita Falls, Abilene and Lubbock. Fewer than 25,000 people live in this phantom state within a state, many on small farms and larger ranches where the earth yields few crops and a relative trickle of Texas crude oil. There are no tourist attractions, no daily newspapers, no TV stations. Jobs are scarce, health care is erratic, the population is aging and declining."

Bacteria that eat waste and poop petroleum « the good city

"The best byproduct of high fuel prices has been the opportunity to discuss issues like New Urbanism, sprawl and our nation's exclusively automotive transportation network. But what if oil supplies suddenly blossom? If peak oil is a myth, or if it can be averted, will our hopes for renewed cities be in vain? I hope not. Although it seems some New Urbanists are almost happy that oil prices have gone through the roof, we should not place all of our bets on that happening. Our arguments in favor of true, good cities should be able to exist even with dollar-a-gallon gas."

Ephemeral Isle: 50 Years On

David Szondy reviews The Way We Will Be 50 Years from Today: 60 Of The World's Greatest Minds Share Their Visions of the Next Half-Century: "The predictions themselves are pretty predictable with nothing being put forth that would disturb a cocktail party at Berkley, CA or Islington N1.... The only thing that really unites these essays is not what they predict, but what they don't. There is a lot about global warming, but not a word about mass migration or the demographic time bomb that the civilised world faces. Exotic diseases gets a look in, but not free trade. And the sort of emphasis on manufacturing and serious industrial scale technologies that once dominated predictions now give way to lean and green. But the most disturbing lack is that there is scarcely a mention of terrorism and none at all of the war we are currently fighting against the Jihadists; a war that by any reasonable estimate we will be fighting for at least another generation."

Tennessee Center for Policy Research: Energy Guzzled by Al Gore's Home in Past Year Could Power 232 U.S. Homes for a Month

"Since taking steps to make his home more environmentally-friendly last June, Gore devours an average of 17,768 kWh per month -1,638 kWh more energy per month than before the renovations - at a cost of $16,533. By comparison, the average American household consumes 11,040 kWh in an entire year, according to the Energy Information Administration."

ShoeboxBlog: Funny, but NO

Rejected greeting cards:

"You'd be the sugar in my coffee if you'd let me have sugar. Or coffee. Happy birthday to the one who cares! Almost too much!"

"I still can't believe someone like you chose someone like me. Were you drunk? Happy Anniversary"

Marginal Revolution: Time travel back to 1000 A.D.: Survival tips

Many interesting tips (over 300 comments!) on how to cope, prosper, or even change history at the turn of the 2nd Millenium. (Via Mister Snitch!)

Google Video: Ricky Gervais - Microsoft 1

Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, creators and writers of the BBC series The Office, did two satirical training videos in 2004 for Microsoft UK, with Gervais reprising his role as David Brent and Merchant as his long-suffering interviewer. Part 2 is here. (More about the videos, and the controversy over their unauthorized release, here.)

YouTube - Washy Ad Jeffy

Catchy tune for memorizing the names of the U.S. Presidents. (Via Club for Growth.)

New Haven's 19th century phone book heads for auction block -- Newsday.com

1878 directory for the first commercial telephone exchange, made from carriage bolts, teapot lids, and wire. "It advised callers to speak slowly and distinctly, greet the person on the other line with 'Hulloa!' and end the conversation with 'That is All.'" (Via Ace.)

Is America's suburban dream collapsing into a nightmare? - CNN.com

"[Arthur C. Nelson, director of Virginia Tech's Metropolitan Institute,] estimates that in 2025 there will be a surplus of 22 million large-lot homes that will not be left vacant in a suburban wasteland but instead occupied by lower classes who have been driven out of their once affordable inner-city apartments and houses. The so-called McMansion, he said, will become the new multi-family home for the poor."

PortableApps.com - Portable software for USB drives

No installation required: The GIMP, Firefox, Thunderbird, OpenOffice.org, VLC Media Player, 7-Zip, and more: The handiest open-source PC software, set up to run from and save your data to your USB thumb drive.

Star Trek Inspirational Posters

Voyages of the Starship Argus: "HARCOURT FENTON MUDD: Don't hate the player, hate the game." "DIPLOMACY:
Words don't always solve problems. Sometimes you just have to punch an alien in the face." (Via Ace.)

Now Possible: Robin Rather

One of a number of "stories of people who successfully refocused their lives."

Do We Really Need a Few Billion Locavores? - Freakonomics - Opinion - New York Times Blog

Is eating more local food really less costly and better for the environment? (Via Mister Snitch.)

Pyromaniacs: Christian citizenship out loud: another perspective?

Should Christians restrict engagement with the culture to evangelism? Dan Phillips thinks not: "Now, let me say first and clearly that the very best thing a Christian can do for the health of his nation is to grow in godliness, and to disciple others to Christ for all he's worth.... But by this same token, this will also necessarily mean Christian involvement in civil life. Why? Because God isn't segregated. He has something to say about every area of life.... So what is the Christian to do? Is he to clutch those truths to his breast, and let his country go to ruin as he coyly refuses to tell it anything except how to be saved? Is that love for his neighbor?"

"Before you hit send on that next email, perhaps you should run down this list, just to be sure." See especially item 17, item 23, item 28, and item 36. (Via Mister Snitch.)

Crunchy Con - Rod Dreher - Edwina Froehlich, hero

The founder of La Leche League died Sunday: "Froehlich co-founded La Leche League with a group of neighborhood women in Franklin Park during the late 1950s, teaching other mothers how to nurse their infants at a time when doctors promoted formula and breastfeeding rates were reportedly near 20 percent." Interesting that formula feeding flourished about the same time as urban renewal.

U.S. Highway Ends: maps and terminus photos

Another bit of road geekery: Maps showing historic and present-day alignments of U. S. Highways, and photos from where each road ends. (Via Dustbury.)

U. S Highways: From US 1 to (US 830)

For the road geek, a complete guide to the U. S. Numbered Highway System, past and present.

Daily Kos: OK-Sen: Baseline poll

Inhofe 53, Rice 31: Markos Moulitsas Zúniga (who insists on spelling Inhofe with an extra "f") commissioned a poll for the Oklahoma Senate race between likely nominees Republican U. S. Sen. Jim Inhofe and Democrat State Sen. Andrew Rice. Zúniga is hopeful that Rice will be able to outperform Obama in the state. (McCain leads Obama 52-38.) He notes that the DSCC may send 10 workers to help Rice.

MY URBAN KVETCH: "Know When to Walk Away"-My Last Jewish Week Singles Column

Esther Kustanowitz bids farewell to her column on the single life: "My four years writing this column seem commensurate to an academic degree in relationships, yet somehow I'm ABD [All But Dissertation], and without the coveted 'M.R.S.' degree. Perhaps I need to concentrate on field work, move beyond the theoretical into the actual. This column has been the longest relationship of my life. But I can't marry a column. The transition will be one of the hardest things I've had to do, but I think that it's time."

Pulpit Magazine: The Gospel and Politics - Part 2

"Today's evangelical political activists seem to be unaware of how much their methodology parallels that of liberal Christians at the start of the twentieth century.... Evangelical activists in essence are simply preaching a politically conservative version of the old social gospel, emphasizing social and cultural concerns above spiritual ones....The political strategy becomes the focus of everything, as if the spiritual fortunes of God's people rise or fall depending on who is in office. But the truth is that no human government can ultimately do anything either to advance or to thwart God's kingdom. And the worst, most despotic worldly government in the end cannot halt the power of the Holy Spirit or the spread of God's Word."

Steeple Chase: The Church Hoppers go to church so you don't have to | LEO Weekly

First of a 10-part monthly series in which two young writers visit and review church services for the Louisville Eccentric Observer. (Via Get Religion.)

San Diego Reader | Sheep and Goats

Matthew Lickona reviews a church service each week for San Diego's alt-weekly.

What if they're not smart enough? | Dallas Morning News | Rod Dreher

"Globalizers of the left and right keep saying that American workers have to be re-educated and retrained to compete in a world market in which manufacturing jobs move overseas. But what happens to workers who lack the cognitive abilities to do the higher-level 'knowledge' work the new economy requires of them?" And see a response to the column from a business consultant who works in the construction industry: "[Industry leaders] found one of the problems is that high school counselors keep encouraging kids to go to college" -- thus misdirecting young people who would thrive in hands-on work but won't succeed in college.

Crunchy Con - Philistine critic confesses her shame

Rod Dreher remembers sharing a cab with two well-known film critics after a screening: "It was a very violent film of some sort, as I recall, and the thought occurred to me as we rounded Columbus Circle -- I do remember that part vividly -- these people don't have children. They could analyze the film more coolly than I -- who was not a father yet, but who would be in a few months -- in part because they didn't imagine, or didn't seem to imagine, what it would be like to raise kids in a society where lots of people had their moral imaginations informed by eviscerations and the like."

Iraqi Sheik Offers To Take Fight to Bin Laden - June 9, 2008 - The New York Sun

Sheik Ahmed Fateh Khan al-Rishawi, who was part of the tribal rebellion against Al Qaeda in Anbar province in Iraq, offers to help make the same thing happen in Afghanistan: "Al Qaeda is an ideology. We can defeat them inside Iraq and we can defeat them in any country." He has written a "study on Afghanistan and its tribes for the deputy chief of mission at the American embassy in Kabul." (Via Ace.)

The American Spectator: Map Quest

A review of Mark Stein's How the States Got Their Shapes: "How come Michigan has that whole separate section that's actually attached to Wisconsin? Why does Delaware exist and why isn't it just part of Maryland?"

Ace of Spades HQ: I Count Dead People votes.

"I Crave the Flesh of the Living -- and I Vote!" Connecticut journalism class turned up 8,558 dead people on the state's voter rolls, and more than 300 had voted since passing away. Somehow I don't think this is what G. K. Chesterton meant by "the democracy of the dead."

Mailbox Map Mashup: (TULSA, OK) USPS Mailbox and Post Office Locations

Click on a marker on the Google map, then click the link and find the address and pick-up time for mailboxes all over Tulsa. (You can search for other cities across the country, too.)

City Comforts, the blog: What am I missing about New Urbanism's Transect?

I find it puzzling, too, but some comments to this entry are helpful. (And one commenter, Sandy Sortien, proposes two additions to David Sucher's Three Rules for generating urban streets: Minimal breaks in a block face and at least two stories.)

The Social Affairs Unit - Web Review: Vive Ma France

Gallia divisa est in at least two partes according to Lincoln Allison, admirable and not so much: "My France is la France profonde, a bastion of rugby and la petite commerce; it believes in Travaille, Famille, Région. It is not to be confused with the France of l'etat, of Paris, trade unions, politics and intellectuals."

ToddSeavey.com: Retro-Journal: Picking the Lesser of Two Evils in Early 2004

Seavey writes to his fellow libertarians: "In an idealized right/left political world (which is not the one we live in, admittedly), the right has an obnoxious but short list of things it'd like to control -- basically, some aspects of sex (that are largely unpolicable anyway) -- while the terrifying, blandly totalitarian list of things the left would like to tax, regulate, or otherwise control is literally endless: There is simply no form of human behavior, from telecommunications to medicine to home-building to car manufacture to the use of food coloring, that the left does not see as benefiting from increased regulation. The left is where libertarian hopes, weak at the best of times, go to die. If readers want to do me a favor, in fact, vow never to speak sympathetically of the left in my presence ever again."

JCPA U.S. Policy-Robert Kennedy's 1948 Reports from Palestine

RFK on the scene a month before the birth of Israel: "Under the supposition that, at the finish of the [British] mandate, this was to be their national state, they went to work. They set up laboratories where world-famous scientists could study and analyze soils and crops. The combination of arduous labor and almost unlimited funds from the United States changed what was once arid desert into flourishing orange groves." (Via Little Green Footballs.)

The Audacity of Death - WSJ.com

"According to Barack Obama, Gianna Jessen shouldn't exist." Miss Jessen, 31, was born alive after an attempted saline abortion. Had the abortionist been present when her mother went into labor, she would have been killed. Obama twice voted against recognizing the personhood of babies born alive after attempted abortions. Jessen says of Obama, "I really hope the American people will have their eyes wide open and choose to be discerning. . . . He is extreme, extreme, extreme."

Daniel Allott writes, "And [Obama] promises, 'the first thing I'd do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act,' which would overturn hundreds of federal and state laws limiting abortion, including the federal ban on partial-birth abortion and bans on public funding of abortion."

Pruned: Hyperlocalizing Hydrology in the Post-Industrial Urban Landscape

Cool idea: Using curb extensions and landscaped patches to absorb and filter stormwater runoff before it gets to the sewers. Lots of diagrams and photos. (Via City Comforts.)

Digital Forensics: 5 Ways to Spot a Fake Photo: Scientific American

How experts spot clones, analyze eyeballs, and decipher camera fingerprints. (Via Little Green Footballs.)

Elbert Hubbard Quotes

"A failure is a man who has blundered but is not able to cash in on the experience." "Genius may have its limitations, but stupidity is not thus handicapped."

Carrie: The Current Cinema: The New Yorker

Funny, snarky take on Sex and the City, the movie: "there are four of them--banded together, like hormonal hobbits, and all obsessed with a ring... superannuated fantasy posing as a slice of modern life... their gallops of conspicuous consumption seem oddly joyless... All the film lacks is a subtitle: 'The Lying, the Bitch, and the Wardrobe.'"

Atlas Shrugs: Obama's Mythical Intelligence

Yes, says Atlas reader Carolyn, Barack Obama was president of Harvard Law Review, but, no, his undistinguished year does not justify the aura of brilliance which everyone assumes Mr. 57 States possesses. (Via Ron Coleman, whowrites of Obama and Bill Clinton, "But neither of them can in any way be credited as having demonstrated a genius for anything other than achievement of that ambition.")

Field of Schemes: StL stadium chief: Replace dome, or lose Rams

Pro sports extortion never ends: "[S]o-called 'state-of-the-art' clauses in stadium deals are a nightmare for cities, and a boon to team owners. The only thing the people of St. Louis are getting in exchange for their $36 million a year (plus $30 million in renovations currently underway) is the presence of a football team for 30 years - thanks to that well-placed clause, though, they're now facing another round of stadium blackmail when the paint is barely dry from the first one." The Cincinnati Bengals lease requires installation of "any new technologies in use by 14 other NFL teams, up to and including 'holographic replay systems.'"

Notable & Quotable - WSJ.com

Czech President Vaclav Klaus answers "no" to the four fundamental questions of global warming. "But to argue, as it's done by many contemporary environmentalists, that these questions have already been answered with a consensual 'yes' and that there is an unchallenged scientific consensus about this is unjustified. It is also morally and intellectually deceptive."

Crunchy Con - "Real England" and reactionary radicals

The elitism of crunchy conservatism isn't all bad: "For example, elitist tastes in coffee and beer in the US taught the masses that there is a such thing as better coffee and better beer -- and now it's easier to find both." Perhaps the same will be true for better urban design.

Detroit News: Time runs out for Tiger Stadium

Sad. Tiger Stadium was a great place to watch a ball game. I saw an exciting 7-6 Tiger win over the Yankees there in 1988, a highlight of a "rust belt tour" of five soon-to-vanish ballparks in the Great Lakes states. Of the five, only Wrigley Field is still in use.

Slublog: The Shops - a set on Flickr

Slublog's classic Photoshopped political parodies, as seen on Ace of Spades HQ.

a second chance: My Way Sunday: Tony stories #3

Jim tells the latest in a fascinating series of stories about "Tony," a vending machine distributor he knew in years past who had interesting "connections" and gave Jim a glimpse into the underworld.

The Comeback Id: Politics & Power: vanityfair.com

In a fascinating look at Bill Clinton in retirement, former White House Press Secretary Mike McCurry says this about his former boss and the new media: "All of this stuff, the blogging and the YouTubing and the way in which everything is instantaneously available: I tell you, until you get out there and are actually dealing with the consequences--having what you just said as you were walking out the door [all over the Internet], that's brand-new to him." (Via Rod Dreher.) UPDATE: Conservative Intelligencer adds: "The Clintons were OLD MEDIA darlings. Clinton mesmerized America with his magical BS during a time when both the Internet and Republican alternative media were in their infancy. The Clinton song and dance was a simple one -- stonewall tough questions and then lie, lie, lie. It worked more often than not. The Clinton magic doesn't work any more because we're in a New Media era."

Yet Another Small Town Moment: Sgt. Schultz was right...Deutsch Lebensmittel ist wunderbar!

An old KFC building in Lawton is home to an abundance of German delicacies at the German Quick Stop Restaurant: bratwurst, knackwurst, weiner schnitzel, wurstbroetchen, leberkaese, spaetzle, sauerkraut, and strudel

Pyromaniacs: Spurgeon: Read fewer blogs, more Scripture

"Sermons and books are well enough, but streams that run for a long distance above ground gradually gather for themselves somewhat of the soil through which they flow, and they lose the cool freshness with which they started from the spring head. Truth is sweetest where it breaks from the smitten Rock, for at its first gush it has lost none of its heavenliness and vitality."