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Monday, August 24, 2009


There is something enchanting about traveling.  Going to new places, seeing new sites, experiencing new things.  Ever since I was a little boy I wanted to fly in a plane.  It is still in the back of my mind as a life goal to learn how to fly. 

I never grow tired of boarding the plane, taking my seat, and looking out the window as the plane revs its engine.  I love sitting near the wings to watch the mechanics of the flaps or the tilt of the wings that guide our flight.  I am always amazed that people managed to build something that could fly.  I am even more amazed that people can travel, in mere hours, what would could take weeks or months in past centuries.

But....I easily grow tired of waiting in lines, going through security, and flight delays.  Don't get me wrong, I understand that security is necessary and the weather can really put a damper on your well-scheduled itinerary. 

Two quick scenarios regarding our flights to and from New York City this past week:
  1. As I was going through security, putting my shoes, wallet, cell phone, belt in one bin and then my computer by itself in another, I witnessed a girl with crutches go through the medal detector.  She was allowed to walked through the detector with the crutches (as she had a full leg brace), but then a security attendant had to put the crutches back on the conveyor belt to be scanned.  Then, another security attendant noticed the girl was still wearing her flip flops.  The attendant and two others left their positions to go grab her flip flops so they could be scanned as well.  I found the whole sequence amusing.  I felt extra safe knowing that three security attendants left their posts in order to make sure the girl did not have a bomb implanted in the foam of her flip flops.
  2. Weather delays in NYC really knock out the flight schedules for most of the country.  Due to the weather we would have missed our connecting flight.  So we were redirected to another airline and to another connecting airport.  Several more delays and a night spent in the ATL airport later, we finally arrived back home.  Despite these inconveniences, we still flew in the freakin' air!  Can you believe that!  A large metal vessel, carrying 100+ people still managed to leave the ground for a period of time and touch back down in another location with no problems except weather delays!


We are back from our vacation in New York City. It was a blast. Here are some observations:
  • a lot of people live and work in the city; then add tourists to the mix (no-brainer #1)
  • I quickly noticed how many people were engaged in conversations with other people. People were walking and talking, talking on park benches, standing at street corners talking. My initial, stereo-typed picture of New Yorkers with their heads down and ears plugged with an ipod was crushed. Granted, further south towards mid-town and the financial district you get more of the isolated individual swimming amongst the other thousands of people, but the neighborhoods are really unique and charming.
  • Public transit was easy and convenient
  • There were so many cool places to eat
  • the buildings are really tall (no-brainer #2)
  • Living in NYC is expensive (no-brainer #3)
  • NYorkers adopt a minimalist lifestyle in order to live in the city; I want to strive for this more and more
  • If I lived in NYC, I would visit the NY Public Library, the Met, and/or somekind of museum once a week
  • And yes, The Lion King was brilliant!
A vacation is NYC is awesome. A vacation in NYC while seeing friends makes it even better.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Mere the City

My wife and I are on vacation right now enjoying some rest and relaxation from work and summer class. The timing of our trip was perfect as we prepare for the upcoming months.

A very normal, southern vacation is to spend time at the beach, lake, or mountains (all of which we love and miss). However, for this vacation we are spending a week in New York City!

This city is electric. We are to be sure getting rest, but it is a different kind of rest. We walk all day, sweat in the heat, rushed to get on a bus or subway, and stay up late eating dinner on street side cafes.

I plan on writing more about our stay in New York City, but for now we are embarking on another the city.

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Death of Common Sense and the Quest for Ad Fontis

Last week my wife sent me a forward. I generally delete forwards, buts since it was from my wife I entertained the possibility. Below is the email as I received it:

Obituary printed in the London Times - Interesting and sadly rather true.

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has
been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since
his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be
remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:
- Knowing when to come in out of the rain;
- Why the early bird gets the worm;
- Life isn't always fair;
- and maybe it was my fault.

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more
than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in
His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but
overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6-year-old boy
charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended
from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for
reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job
that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly

It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent
to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student; but could not inform
parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses and
criminals received better treatment than their victims.

Common Sense took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a
burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to
realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her
lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death, by his parents, Truth and Trust, by his
wife, Discretion, by his daughter, Responsibility, and by his son, Reason.

He is survived by his 4 stepbrothers;
I Know My Rights
I Want It Now
Someone Else Is To Blame
I'm A Victim

Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone. If you
still remember him, pass this on. If not, join the majority and do nothing.

I think this is quite clever. Nevertheless, it was a forward and I kept to my philosophy of email forwards, which can be summarized succinctly:
  1. Read subject line and then delete
  2. On rare occasion, skim the forward, and then delete.
  3. Never forward such emails to your friends, family, or co-workers. If you send it to 10 people you never prove how much you love Jesus and you will never receive a check in the mail for your effort. Save the next person the trouble...just go ahead and delete the bugger.
Now back to the point of this post. The claim of the obituary is that it was printed in the London Times. I could never find any supporting evidence for this. Of course, countless hits showcase its reprinting on other websites. After another 5 minutes of searching for the source, two things popped up. One came from Anne Whitfield's blog (I have no idea who she is). She shares the same obituary as I did, but includes an updated note referring to the original author. She writes (taken directly from her blog):
2009 update: At the orginal time fo posting this article I didn't know who wrote it and simply found it online. Since then I have found the writer. She deseves the kudos for writing it.
Note from Lori Borgman: This piece was first published March 15, 1998 in the Indianapolis Star. It has been "modified" and "edited" by others and circulated on the Internet, even sent to me several times. Imagine my surprise to see it attributed to some guy named Anonymous. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I take having my work circulated on the web as a compliment.

The other came from a message thread on No, I didn't search through threads from this website--many thanks goes to google search for locating the page! One post on the thread included a link directly to Lori Borgman's blog with the original post!

The quest for Ad Fontis proved fruitful and enlightening. If anything, please take away two things from this humorous exericse.
  • Always seek to hear directly from the source.
  • Delete email forwards (if they are from your spouse or your mom, read them first...then trash them.)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

On this day...well on the day of my birth

As of this morning I am an uncle. My middle sister gave birth to a boy! I am pretty pumped. In honor of birth dates, I typed my birth date into Wolfram Alpha and got some of these results:
From the time of this post in reference to my birth date...
  • I am 27 yrs, 9 monts, 13 days (10148 days old)
  • share the same birth date as Johnny Carson (which I already knew), Weird Al Yankovic (which I didn't), Doug Flutie, Dwight Yoakam to name a few
  • the sun rose at 7:19 am (as of St. Louis...I was born in Kansas so it was close to that)
  • it was a Friday
I just share this because I thought it was kind of cool. Wolfram Alpha is a "computational knowledge engine." I have only played around on it a couple of times. The most extensive use of it was the other day when I was looking for rhyming words for a little poem I wrote to my wife.

Check it out and enjoy perusing all the possibilities of time-wasting, useless information...exactly the kind I like. I'm sure some of it is wife loved the poem!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Participate Actively

Next time you participate in a ceremony of some kind, take the mental note of:
  1. who are the parties involved?
  2. what is happening?
  3. what is being said?
  4. where are people standing?
  5. what sounds do you hear?
  6. where is your attention drawn?
  7. what is the focus? Or rather, what is the focal point?
  8. if vows are taken: please, please, please listen and take to heart what is being asked of you
I am of the opinion that my generation lacks a real understanding of vows. Too often they are merely words spoken as a technicality--just one obstacle in the way or a hoop to jump through. Rarely do we prayerfully consider them, boldly proclaim them, and resolutely perform them.

That last part is the toughest--"resolutely perform them." Thankfully, when thinking of the vows taken, let's say, at our wedding or baptism or ordination, we must remember that it is by our Lord's grace and power that enables us to perform them. We must rely on Him to sustain us. I find great comfort in that He remains forever faithful in the vows he takes.

Those Considered Worthy of Double Honor

I generally enjoy ceremonies (of all kinds)...weddings, baptisms, graduations (even though they are long), recitals (though they can be unbearable), the Lord's Supper, etc.

One reason I like ceremonies is that they involve so many different senses. Sounds: voices, singing, music, prayers, tears, claps, cheers. Visuals: people standing and sitting; people moving around; objects are being picked up, handled; and human interaction and communicative exchange through the various media present. Another reason is the shared history of the people present intersecting with the events of the past and the possibilities of the future.

Such exchange occurs on various levels: those administering the ceremony; the active participants within the ceremony; and the observers/witnesses (the role I most frequently partake) of the ceremony. Everyone participates.

My friend Penny's ordination into the ministry of Jesus Christ's gospel was no different. It was a beautiful and weighty experience to witness his vows for Gospel ministry.

The following link is of the audio of the ordination at Covenant Presbyterian Church on Aug. 2, 2009. Once at the site, click on the evening service. They recorded the whole thing, so you are welcome to listen to its entirety, but Andy Lewis' sermon begins at minute 20:16. The text was Proverbs 4:23; "Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life."

Penny and all those who are gospel servants are worthy of double honor. However, the Apostle Peter writes some sobering reminders for those considering pastoral ministry (1 Peter 5:1-4).

Although worthy of honor, Lord, let not Penny nor anyone seek honor as the motivation for service in your kingdom. May you be our ambition.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Super Note Card

I am a full-time student. Over the past year I have tried various methods at writing papers, and I have looked for the perfect application that holds all my research together: references, notes, thoughts, outline, sorting, and exporting to name a few. I use the Zotero plugin in Firefox, which helps tremendously with online research. It even has some syncing functions that help in exporting bibliographic information. But for me, it is lacking in note taking.

Also, these days at least, I have been doing more: writing, thinking about writing, and reading stuff about writing. Time will only tell if it is only a phase.

Well, I think I have found the product that I will use for research and developing papers. It also appears great for both fiction writing and screenplays. Here is the link to their website so you can do your own research. The application has a free trial download. The full version costs $29. Of course, there are plenty of other great writing applications out there, but I have found them to be semi-expensive and not what I need at the moment.

I am still testing the functions and features. The real test will come as the upcoming semester begins...and all sorts of projects await me. Maybe this product will help you in developing and organizing your writing projects.