Monthly Archives: June 2008

Two Up

Our neighborhood has added two new citizens in the past few days: Hope and Andrew Benko have a new daughter Harper, and Jordon and Wendy Cooper (and Mark!) have a new son (and brother) Oliver. Wendy and Hope both had some prepartum medical stress, but it sounds as though they’re doing well, and the kids look wonderful.

Lawn Ornaments

I’m putting lots of goodies that we don’t want to move out on our front lawn. Please make us an offer, as low as “I’ll take it away.” I’m not putting the rather large television out front, but we want to deaccession that, too.


The wonderful Dave Rogers — who doesn’t let our frequent, persistent disagreements stand in the way of kind beneficence — recently did me two big favors: He sent me a copy of Mary Chapin Carpenter’s Between Here and Gone album, to which I have listened straight through once and sporadically thereafter, and he referred me to the utility that time and OS transitions could not kill, CopyPaste Pro. CopyPaste has been around so long that I remember a thrill of excitement when I first saw their icon in color. Now I’m trying to compare CopyPaste with ScrapX, a much happier situation than a week or so ago when I had no replacement for the late lamented Scrapbook.
Thanks very much, Dave!

In Lieu Of Real Bloggery

Two pictures: the first, yesterday‘s breakfast entree. It didn’t have ham mixed in, but I’m baffled about how they made something that looked like this.

Breakfast In Ohio

Are those straight-ahead eggs? Are they faux eggs? Reconstituted real eggs? Were they prepared some arcane way? They weren’t bad — they tasted okay, and although the texture was weird, it wasn’t unpleasant. It was just spooky looking at them.
And then —

Seabury Memory

The famous sign from Seabury’s entry zone.


We’re in Evanston; we arrived at a little after 3 o’clock, and modulated directly into packing and sorting. I’m stunned by the celerity with which Margaret shifted gears — it was like a movie stunt driver.
On the other hand, I hate moving more every time we do it, plus I’m coming off a weekend dominated by a memorial occasion for my father, so I’m being moody and beastly and grouchy and less helpful than I ought.
All that being said, anyone who wants some random furniture should definitely come by our place. We’re giving it away; we haven’t received a cent back from anyone so far as I know (unless Si is pocketing payments on the side).

And More

Here is the family as we gathered at dinner yesterday evening. Susan’s brother Dave brought his wife Sandi; my cousin Alison came from Massachusetts, as did Aunt Carol; Uncle Rich and Aunt Kaye, from New Mexico; Susan, her son Brad, and Matt O’Riley live in Pittsburgh; and our far-flung offspring. Mom was there in her heart, and ours; and Dad will always be with us.

Dad's Family

Everyone’s dispersing now; Pippa and Margaret and I will see how far we get to Evanston this afternoon, with no pressure to push all the way.
(Later: Arrived in Maumee, Ohio. Evanston tomorrow!)

Remembering Saturday

We’re on our way over to my Dad’s house, to have brunch with Susan, with my sister Holly, with Uncle Dick and Aunt Kay, Aunt Carol, and Susan’s brother and his wife. Nate and Pip are already with us; Si and Laura H. will arrive in a few hours, weather and air travel systems willing.
At 2 o’clock, we’ll re-gather at Chatham, first to deposit my father’s ashes at a designated location, then to participate in a memorial event for him.
It’s good to be with family. I wish we had a different reason.

Road Signs

At a rest stop in central Pennsylvania, we saw the following beverage coolers, side by side:

Request  Permission

The questions that spring to mind jostle for sustained attention. Is this a Cupertino that substitutes “concept” for “counter”? (That would seem to be contradicted by the half-visible sign that says “Purchase @ Roy’s. . . ,” rather than “@ any register.”) It seems extraordinary, though, that both signs would have the same inadvertent error. OK, so the signmaker thought it made sense to “pay at a concept.” Why does one say one can pay, and the other say “please pay”? Whatever the details, I’m hard at work on a new concept at which people will gladly pay.

Ten Days On The Road

Driving to Monroeville today. Tomorrow we move to the fancier hotel in Pittsburgh; Saturday is the memorial event for my Dad. Sunday is “shuttle people to the airport” day, and Monday we head to Evanston.
[Later: Arrived safely in Monroeville; we’ll check out as late as we can, and head into Pittsburgh in the afternoon. In a bit, we’ll go to the indoor pool, then dine, then wach movies and relax.]

Lists and Puzzles

The Futurist’s ”2008 Modern Rock 500“ raises all sorts of conundrums. The obvious ones include, “By what earthly criterion does ‘Blister In The Sun’ (enjoyable as it is) count as a top-ten selection apart from, say, ‘Top Ten Violent Femmes songs’?” Everyone will have some of those I-can’t-believe-it bafflements, and I can take those in stride. Mostly.
The second order of bafflement arises with the question, “What work is the modifier ‘modern’ doing in that list?” Note that among the “modern” selections they list we find David Bowie’s “Space Oddity,” from 1969 — so “modern” here isn’t an oblique way of saying “recent.” Since both the Beatles and the Stones could plausibly be included based on chronological criteria — but are not — I infer that “modern rock” means something idiosyncratic in this usage: “the sort of music that WOXY and comparable stations play, whether recent or not, whether generically distinct or not.” But that seems weird to me.

Maligned Vocation

Margaret and I were listening to Marketplace on the radio last night, and we noticed that a reporter referred several times to “preaching.” He was not, however, honoring the practices of skilled orators; he was using the verb “preach” unambiguously in the sense “harangue,” or “scold,” or “wheedle for nefarious purposes.”
Most readers: imagine how it would feel were you to know that your vocation were synonymous with its worst manifestations? Even lawyers and politicians don’t suffer the same obloquy; however many lawyer jokes we may tell, “practicing law” doesn’t convey chicanery, nor “legislating” influence-peddling. Maybe “used car sales” comes closest to “preacher” in this regard.
Friends, I’m a preacher. Next time you’re tempted to use “preach” in a solely-pejorative sense, please recall some preacher you respect (perhaps not I, but the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King? William Jennings Bryan? Fidel Castro? Ronald Reagan?).

Worthwhile Procrastination

Yesterday’s Language Log provides a useful analytical light on a pervasive conceptual confusion. Evidently John Prescott says that he has problems with English grammar, when LL’s more careful examination of his remarks shows that he devises grammatically-correct statements that make no sense. Admitting that you don’t understand grammar makes you a regular bloke, though; stuck-up prescriptivists have given clear expression a bad name. Admitting that you can’t think straight or utter a coherent though, however, tends to give even casual voters reason to hesitate before reelecting you.
I suspect that a similar dynamic affects preaching; in homiletics as well as in politics, it’s quite possible to make oneself popular (perhaps even attract a positive reputation) while speaking utter gibberish.