Beautiful Day

It seems as though Pippa’s feeling somewhat better after her nasty bout of hives.

The sky is clear, a lovely blue.

I had a clarifying idea this morning. It would be better if it were about Matthew’s Gospel, the ostensible topic of the book I’m supposed to be working on, but it was such a lovely idea that I’m cherishing the moment anyway.

It’s St. Nicholas Day, which means that twenty-one years ago tonight I was ordained to the priesthood.

Kazpah organized a “Strange Beverage Taste-Off” at Google (otherwise known as “the company that badly needs a theologian-chaplain”) and posted the results.

An Advent Calendar of the wrapping-paper from oranges.

The Whole Schmeer

I’ve added the whole series of performance video clips from the Desperate Measures show last Friday. In case anyone prefers not to navigate over to YouTube to select performance clips one by one, I’ll paste in the embedded frames in the extended part of this post. I have a fair amount to learn about video editing, but at least now I know more about what I don’t yet know.

For viewers unacquainted with my family, Josiah is the tall young man in the black suit with an orange shirt.
Continue reading “The Whole Schmeer”

What’s That Ringing In My Ears?

So evidently there was a rumor going around that AT&T would offer a special data-only plan so that hearing-impaired iPhone owners could use their phones for data only. This makes sense, it’s a reasonable accommodation, all to the good. But the rumor was only that — no such plan exists, which is a shame. But, they’re working on it, which is good.

Take a step back, though, and what I see is that there exists a huge demand for a data-only service — demand so intense that AT&T anticipates fending off potential customers by requiring medical certification — that AT&T has already decided to thwart. Got that? Eager would-be customers for a service AT&T already plans to offer, whom AT&T has decided it will not serve. Perhaps Mordac, denier of information services, has been promoted to AT&T’s marketing department.

I suspect that this approach is just what Google has in view (according to Harold Feld’s analysis) — the kind of dog-in-the-manger corporate strategy that thinks it can determine what customers should be allowed to want. Time to circumvent the whole dunderheaded system.

The Destroyer

Micah called my attention to this story on AppleInsider, which notes that the Apple-NBC feud has culminated in the iTunes Music and Video Temporary Licensing Outlet dropping all NBC-produced programming. Good luck to NBC, trying to make money by requiring users to run Internet Explorer, download the NBC proprietary media player, and maintain the latest .Net framework (as a result of which, they can watch their purchases for 48 hours before they’re automatically deleted, and they can’t watch them on any handheld device apart from the CPU to which the file was originally downloaded). And you get to pay extra for all that grooviness!

But the money line comes from NBC’s Jeff Zucker: “We know that Apple has destroyed the music business — in terms of pricing — and if we don’t take control, they’ll do the same thing on the video side.” Yup, “pricing” — that’s what defines music and video.

Michael asked, the other day, what I thought about the Amazon Kindle — I promise I’ll get back to that, but first go to Michael’s place and download his album, happy xmas, x is here. ’Tis the season.

Live — From Vermont!

Josiah elicited permission from all the members of his troupe, so I have begun uploading selections from the November 30 concert by Marlboro College’s Desperate Measures. The title sequence for the first clip — “I Can See Clearly Now,” fortuitously — is protracted to cover the joggling that ensued when a late-arriving audience member plopped down precisely in front of my carefully-rigged camera.

I’ll upload more later, but you can follow links to the YouTube pages for succeeding songs: “Torn,” “King of Spain,” Save Tonight,” and “Zombie Jamboree” (so far). Share and enjoy!

Clueful in St. Paul

Take a look, if you’re so inclined, at Working Preacher — a site chock full of helpful materials for preachers, all offered free and without intrusive digital restrictions. The site is underwritten by Luther Seminary’s Center for Biblical Preaching, for which all the sermon helps and essays and commentaries serve both as support material and extremely valuable public relations.

I’m not sure who masterminded this move; a number of people at Luther are extremely technologically savvy (of course, Mary is my hero in this respect, but I don’t mean to neglect numerous colleagues, students, and friends of all sorts who work at Luther these days), and several years ago I harangued several participants in this project about a Luther adopting this same approach for a different resource. Cheers to Luther and the Center, though, for making a profoundly clueful, web-aware move.

Safe Home

I’d make a big point about being here to stay, except Margaret is flying down to Durham to check in with her committee and to support her friend Sarah through the last stage of her prelims. Pippa and I, anyway, are here for a reasonable chunk of time.

On our drive to Vermont on Friday, we passed a sign that caught Margaret’s and my attention — something about a gluten-free bakery. Since Margaret hasn’t eaten any gluten (willingly) for twenty years or so, patiently watching as her family wolfed down pasta, pastry, sandwiches, and sundry other goodies, we observed that a stop on the way back would be well-deserved. So on yesterday’s return trip, we pulled in at Sherry Lynn’s Gluten-Free Bakery, which is actually not so much only a bakery as an honest-to-goodness restaurant.

We entered and looked warily around, at which the proprietor came up and greeted us warmly. “How much of this is gluten-free?” Margaret asked cautiously. “Everything is gluten-free,” he said firmly; “Which one is the celiac?” We indicated Margaret. He reached into a display case and grabbed a pastry. “Try this. It’s an apple cider fritter.” Margaret beamed; it was delicious, and the texture was just right — not all crumbly, as are the products of so many gluten-free recipes.

The food was terrific, but what was greatest of all was Margaret’s exhilaration at being able to order any [vegetarian] thing she saw. She wept — honest. We brought home some baked goods, and wondered how many more times we could rationalize driving all the way to Vermont.

Measures Up

Desperate Measures rock Vermont

Si estimated that forty people or so would come to the concert last night — that’s already more than ten percent of the student body of Marlboro — but when the Desperate Measures strode confidently onstage to begin their concert, almost every seat in the auditorium was filled, making the attendance somewhere around 110. With an eager audience crowded into the venue, the stakes were high, but the local heroes did not disappoint. Bouncing through a program of a capella standards and fresh arrangements, the Measures delighted the house from beginning to (all-too-soon) end.

Zombie Jamboree

Dropping the artificial journalistic tone, now, we were thrilled and proud and excited by the evening in tons of ways. First, of course, we were very impressed that Si pulled this group together, devised some of the arrangements himself, rehearsed the group, and brought off a very creditable show. His talent and initiative shone, and that felt great. Second, we were touched at how visibly and unaffectedly proud he was of us; he acknowledged our family several times during the performance, and the group sang “Happy Birthday” to Pippa in the middle of their set.

Happy Birthday

The performance itself was excellent; I have it on somewhat wobbly video, which I’ll post to YouTube once Si gets approval from the rest of the group. After the show, and the enthusiastically-demanded encore, we provided doughnuts and cider for the forty people we had expected to show up — quickly gobbled up by the hundred! The audience included the President of Marlboro, who took time to have a wonderful talk with us, praising Josiah to the skies and tuning in attentively to Margaret’s and my academic pursuits.

Out of Encores

It was a very, very special evening for Margaret and me as parents, for Pip as a sister, and for Josiah as a performer, an organizer, a student, and especially as a cherished son and brother.

Brother and Sister