Saturday, June 30, 2012



Let's say, not-so-hypothetically, that you have $8.37, and have decided to blow it on a movie? What should you see? Prometheus? Ted? That one with the bears?

Help me out here...

Friday, June 29, 2012


Haiku Mayhem Friday: The Chief Justice

I had a meeting yesterday morning at 1730 Pennsylvania Avenue, down the block from the White House-- it was fascinating to walk out into the aftermath of the health care ruling. Chief Justice Roberts surprised some folks! Let's haiku about him today... or, if you want, you can haiku about anyone named "Roberts."

Here is mine:

Chief Justice Roberts!
Second time you surprised me-
First: Quoting Acosta.

Now it is your turn! The winner gets a biography here on Monday.

Thursday, June 28, 2012


Political Mayhem Thursday: The Supreme Court's Health Care Decision

I've been in DC this week (Advocacy meetings/BBC interview/White House meeting/some movie screeing), and there is quite a buzz about today's expected Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act-- an opinion which reportedly is being written by the Chief Justice. What do you think they should decide. And (after the decision is announced) what do you think?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Panda Update!

Since I am on assignment in Washington, I have two things on my mind: Politics and Pandas. We can deal with politics tomorrow. For today, let's update our panda knowledge:

1) Like millions of others who just wanted to get Yahoo off their back for a minute, I got caught up watching their video series "Burning Love." Long story short: It's totally unrealistic. Most shockingly, in episode 2 (which you can see here), we find that the protagonist of this reality show is a not-so-bright guy named Mark. (I know, right? Just like me!) Anyways, he is living in a big house with several beautiful women and boots some out occasionally for reasons that aren't quite clear. So-- and here is the baffling part-- the first group he boots includes the lady in a panda suit! TOTALLY unrealistic.

2) Back in 2008, this blog (like everyone else) was caught up in the election match-up between Republican Grar the Giant Maverick Panda, and his liberal opponent, Argbf. First, you may remember that Grar's campaign promises included a pledge to stop his opponent from eating money and to be nice to cubs. And who could forget his slogan? "Grar best for president! Argbf end world through inexperience." Sadly, after losing the election, Grar ate several residents of the Woodley Park neighborhood and is now incarcerated.

3) Meanwhile the Argbf administration, as Grar predicted, has been beset with troubles. In the first two years, she tried to implement her four-point plan:

1) Not live in zoo, but in freedom
2) Use freedom to make world better
C) Institute a gradually progressive marginal-rate tax plan with the primary burden of this increase falling only on those making incomes which would place them in the top 2% of all earners
3) Live in peace with Woodley Park residents, eating only slow and fatter ones and then moving into slow, fat people's apartments
4) More bamboo

Sadly, only points C and 4 were achieved, and the economy has languished. Leaving the question... who will challenge Argbf in 2012?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Also today...

This letter went out to the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding the office of the Pardon Attorney...


Big News from the Big Court!

Yesterday, the Supreme Court struck down part (but not all) of the Arizona immigration law. That gobbled up a lot of the news cycle.

Buried beneath that story was another dramatic decision. The Supreme Court also issued its opinion in Miller v. Alabama, ruling that it is unconstitutional for a state to use a mandatory sentencing scheme which mandates life without parole sentences where the defendant was a juvenile at the time of the crime. This affects a lot of cases-- 29 states and the federal government have such sentencing schemes.

Unfortunately, initial reports (over the AP wire and elsewhere) said that all JLWOP sentences were struck down, but that is not true. Sentences where the judge or jury had other options available (such as life with parole) seem to survive this decision.

My commentary on this important can be found over at the motherlode of sentencing info, Doug Berman's Sentencing Law and Policy blog.

Monday, June 25, 2012


Haiku of baseball

What a week for haiku! They were all pretty autobiographical, so I don't think I need to embellish. Here they are, full of truth:

First we have this one from OsoGrande:

Bart Giamatti
said "Baseball breaks your heart,
and is designed to."

Baseball, though, is healing and connecting, too. I really loved this one from Demetra:

Daddy I'm here!
Behold the Green Monster
Spy it from heaven?

And timeless, too... as Bob put out there pretty eloquently:

I'm fifty-eight now,
But I can still name all of
The '64 Cards.

No other passion
No other hobby endures
Like baseball still holds.

And as Renee reminds us, it somehow always matters:

Wind blew on his farm.
Tasted dirt in his sandwich.
Wondered: Cards ahead?

Sunday, June 24, 2012


Sunday Reflection: Nuns on the Bus!

I'm pretty fascinated by the current "Nuns On The Bus" tour. Here is part of Bill Moyer's description:

They call it Nuns on the Bus. A bus filled with Catholic nuns rolled out of Des Moines, Iowa this morning, beginning a journey from the Midwest to Washington, D.C. to spotlight social justice issues and protest the House Republican budget, which slashes spending on safety-net programs such as Medicaid and food stamps. Along the way, the nuns will visit homeless shelters, food pantries and hospitals to highlight their own work on behalf of the poor, and call attention to services the nuns say will be “decimated” by the so-called Ryan budget. Their bus — of a type usually reserved for rock stars and their roadies (the driver dropped Dolly Parton’s name) — will also be taking the plain-clothed nuns to congressional offices in each state they pass through.

It's an image of Catholicism that is too often hidden-- in truth, Catholic social teaching, and Catholic social justice ideas, are complex and do not correspond neatly to either Democratic or Republican views.

I suspect that the image of nuns is changing right now, too-- from the tired hollywood image of stern schoolmarm to this new, more dynamic and modern image. In fact, here (among other places) we see nuns confronting the rest of us about poverty. Who saw that coming?

Saturday, June 23, 2012


Roger and Me

A few days ago, I got a call from Forbes reporter Daniel Fisher, who had some intriguing questions about the Roger Clemens verdict. You can see the results of the interview here.

I think Fisher raises an excellent point-- that jurors do seem skeptical in cases that are borderline, or where there is no real harm that can be identified. This is especially true when it is the weight of the federal government that is brought to bear.

Now where real harm IS identified, there is no such reluctance, as Jerry Sandusky found yesterday in being convicted of 45 counts (albeit in a state court).

Friday, June 22, 2012


Haiku Friday: Baseball

I'm proud to announce that our own IPLawGuy was featured in the Atlantic recently in an article on Baseball's Worst Fans. In fact, he is literally the poster child for poorly behaved fandom! I couldn't be more proud.

So, let's haiku about baseball. If you don't like the game, just use it as, uh, a metaphor for something else. (One good thing about the people on this blog is that I can just kind of assume that almost everyone knows what a metaphor is).

Here is mine:

It's Cubs vs.Twins!
Someone had to win, right? Right?
A beautiful day.

Now, you go! Make the first line 5 syllables, the second line about 7, and shoot for 5 on the third. The winner gets either their bio here on Monday or may submit a photo of themselves for publication.

So, write!

Thursday, June 21, 2012


Political Mayhem Thursday II: Fast & Furious and House Reps. v. AG Holder

The war between the Attorney General and some House Republicans over an ATF gun sting called "Fast and Furious" has gotten to the point where there may be a vote next week on whether or not to hold the AG in contempt of Congress.

First, of all, can we all agree that maybe it was a mistake to call the operation "Fast and Furious?" Catchy, sure, but a little problematic and a lot derivative... what's next, operation "Attack of the Clones?"

Many people, I suspect, know more about the controversy than about the actual underlying events. I recommend a very handy video recap that CNN has provided.

Who is in the wrong here?


Political Mayhem Thursday: Laptop mania!

As my students know, I don't allow laptop use in class. This video explains part of the reason why:

I do have reasons for banning laptops beyond simply avoiding competition for my students' attention. For one thing, taking notes by hand is an important skill. For example, when interviewing a client or an agent, there are many reasons you shouldn't (or can't) use a laptop-- for example, they aren't allowed in many jails. Moreover, it doesn't make much sense to erect a vertical wall between you and a client (or agent) as you are trying to build trust. The same is true in court-- you better be able to take notes by hand on the fly, rather than set up a screen between you and the jury.

Do you think laptops should be allowed in class?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


The Owls in France

[click on the image to enlarge it]

When my parents are in France, my mom sends letters describing their adventures with these tiny, beautiful pencil drawings at the margins: Two perfect cherries, a path through the orchard, young leaves on old vines... whatever it is that captures her on a walk that day, often. Above is one of those tiny drawings from their recent trip (they are back now).

I read those letters over and over, and savor the pictures. Such beauty in little things! It's wonderful to have had that perspective my whole life, and even as I try to create things on a large scale, I still need to look up and see the tiny, perfect things now and then.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


What's up with Pickles....


It's not all bad...

Sometimes television gets it right-- like when two good shows intersect:


The worst TV show ever

When I was a kid, my parents found my brother and I watching "Speed Racer" on TV. They were both horrified-- my mother by the violence, and my father by the terrible animation.

And that, my friends, makes it the worst TV program ever. Unless you have another idea....

Monday, June 18, 2012


Our winners!

I can't wait for the Olympics! And last week's haikus certainly helped me get excited. Here were two of my favorites... first, from MMM:

Cat toys, mouse quivers
An old game, yet it is fresh
Feline wins the gold.

I liked the way MMM took up the challenge of a new Olympic event, even though those fake mouse things kind of creep me out. Also, we had this from Desiree (aka the Green Momster):

Moved on to horses
Cheered with the Americans
Danced in the fountain

Sorry, but the phrase "danced in the fountain" is always going to be a winner.

Anyways, MMM and Desiree have only met once, at NatureCon 1999, where both had booths in the exhibitor's hall. Desiree was marketing her book "Mulch Mom," and MMM was selling cat hair from her personal collection. Since neither was too busy with sales, they enjoyed a fine lunch at "Don's Meatless Diner" and created a brilliant plan: MMM would contribute the litter box offerings from her several dozen cats, and Desiree would split the proceeds from her mulch business. Nearly, $3 million later, their collaboration is still going strong.

Sunday, June 17, 2012


Sunday Reflection: Father's Day

[Click on the picture to enlarge it]

This is an adaptation of my post from June 20, 2010-- it is all still true, and I have added a few additional truths, too.

I woke up this morning thinking about my dad. As I get older, I realize new ways in which I am like him, for better or for worse-- mostly to the better. Many of his best qualities I only aspire to, and am far from achieving. Here are a few of the things I received from my father, some of which are gifts I have yet to fully accept:

1) My father has the amazing ability to see beauty in all things, in all places. An empty lot is not an eyesore to be filled up; rather it a place to gather wildflowers, to marvel at a pheasant, through which to see a vista. To him, people and things are inherently imbued with meaning, and the challenge of life is to draw that meaning out, to hold it in one's hand and marvel at it.

2) He has a love for and acceptance of complex people. He knows their flaws, and loves them anyways. A life presented to him as perfect is suspect and false, but one with dents and bruises is real and gorgeous. He is drawn to those who struggle, and recognizes that this is a group that includes us all. When he wants to help people, as he often does, it is rarely to change them in a fundamental way, but to help them be the way they see themselves, so long as that is an honest view. That's how he loves things that are broken and flawed, like the City of Detroit, or me.

3) He says and does the unexpected. He does not have the filter of "what will people think?" I don't always know the source of his internal moral compass, but it is always there and often points in a different direction than the norm. In what I have found to be a guidepost for the best kind of impulse towards justice, his primary concern is for people who are not like him. He's not one of those dads who grumbles about the taxes he must pay as the nation's greatest injustice, but rather is passionate about the unfairnesses inflicted on those who do not have his advantages.

D) He had the strength to seek out and marry a woman, my mother, who was (and is) beautiful and intelligent and probably a little intimidating to many people. She was a professional, a scientist, and apparently a pretty good skier, and he had the good sense to woo her with his own beat poetry (including the infamous classic that began with the lines "Oh, building of glass and spinach/Dogs fornicate in front of the children...")

5) He accepts wisdom from all sources. Literally, a homeless man in the Cass Corridor can be as wise to him as Plato. He rarely drops the name of anyone famous, but often quotes the words and stories of the humbled. Of course, that means that he does what so many of us don't do-- he listens to the stories of the humbled.

6) He gives freely. Even when he himself has been in need, he sometimes seems blind to this while still giving to others.

7) He has never, not once, in any way, revealed a prejudice of any kind. Though he would not articulate it this way, I have never met another person who so clearly lived out the Quaker ideal of seeing the light of God in every person.

8) He creates constantly. It did not stop at a certain time-- creation, with him, is life, all of it.

9) He is ceaselessly optimistic about us all. When he sees a storm, it is always the "trailing edge"-- which is perhaps the best personal philosophy of all.

If you know John Shipman Osler, Jr., you know these things to be true. As my faith develops, I find that the lessons of Christ are often not so different than the lessons of my father, and that makes me love them both all the more.

Saturday, June 16, 2012


Good bust, but...

I was fascinated by this story about the arrest of several members of the Zeta cartel. Those arrested in the US (in Oklahoma and New Mexico) were charged with money laundering.

1) So... how hard was this one to figure out? Really? The lead defendant was the brother of the leader of the cartel, and they invested in race horses who had "cartel" in their names. Really. Could it have been more obvious? Maybe if they had named the horses "Cocaine Money Hauler" and "Mare-ijuana" or something like that.

2) How come this didn't get done a long time ago? It seems like the high-living brother of a cartel leader is someone we should have some real surveillance on if he chooses to live in the US.

3) Finally, as I have written elsewhere, I think it would have been far more effective to have done our homework and grabbed the money as it exited our country. That is how businesses fail-- cash flow and credit problems-- not because of a lack of doofy brothers.

Friday, June 15, 2012


Haiku Friday: The Olympics!

I figured that it would be a good week to link Political Mayhem Thursday with Haiku Friday, given that the London Olympics are coming up fast. I'll admit it: I love the Olympics. They have just the right combination of formality and goofiness-- the orderly processing/the crazy events-- that I love in almost anything.

Let's haiku about our favorite events. I will go first:

His head explodes!
Japanese Volleyball Coach
Is a little uptight.

Now it is your turn! Just make the haiku 5 syllables for the first line, 7 for the second, and then 5 for the third. You can (if you must) make up events that you wish were in the Olympics. The winner gets a bio here on Monday.

Thursday, June 14, 2012


Political Mayhem Thursday: It's Say-Something-Nice-About-The-Other-Candidate Day!

I've got a challenge for everyone today: Say something nice about the candidate for President that you don't support. So, if you a Romney kind of gal, say something nice about Obama. If (like me), you favor President Obama, say something nice about Gov. Romney. Here, I'll go first:

In 1998, the Organizing Committee for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City was dragged down in a bribery scandal. To move forward, they brought in Mitt Romney as the new President and CEO, and he did a spectacular job. The Olympics themselves were well-organized and successful-- the largest winter Olympics ever, with 10 more events than in the previous winter games. Not only were the games themselves pronounced by the head of the IOC to be "flawless," but the event generated a surplus of $40 million, which has been used to maintain the Olympic venues for use by the public. It was an unmitigated success.

I remember at the time thinking that Mitt Romney was a strong leader, and admired the work he did under trying circumstances. I can't understand why this is not more often emphasized in his campaign, as it is an experience that replicates many of the challenges a president would face.

Ok-- now you go!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


This just in... from People Magazine

I'm pretty sure this is the first time I have ever linked to People Magazine, but Kim Parke tipped me off to this very intriguing story there. It appears that country singer Carrie Underwood has come out in favor of marriage equality, in a very public way:

Underwood says it's actually her faith that's led her to support gay marriage. "Above all, God wanted us to love others," the recent CMT award winner said.

Not that she saw it (who knows?) but that was the heart of my CNN piece a month ago. That piece is still being read-- it's up to 16,000 recommendations on facebook, 8,500 comments, and is still garnering some interesting (and often depressing) email. It's a very complex issue, but I am heartened by the conversation that is going on. A lot has come out of that short sermon at Holy Comforter in Richmond back in May!

Meanwhile, I got my evaluations back from my spring classes at St. Thomas, and really appreciated them. There was some wonderful encouragement there, and some good advice, too. For both criminal law and criminal practice, I am planning some changes for next year, based on the feedback I am hearing. My weakest skill as a teacher is probably testing, and I am particularly struggling with writing good multiple choice tests for big classes. I'm going to do some research on better ways to do that, or find an alternative, so that Criminal Law will not be dragged down by test questions that too often approximate what Gordon Davenport once (accurately) described as a variation of the Hobbit game of "Guess what's in my pocket?"

For Crim. Prac., I think I am jamming too many exercises into the semester, and will probably eliminate one to allow for more individual feedback on the others, which I am shortchanging right now.

I hope that I am becoming a better teacher, and will keep trying to improve. After all, teaching students is the heart of my vocation, and I want that to be as good as it can be. I owe my students that.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Then and now

Raphael Saadiq (nee Wiggins)! Back in the day, he was doing this:

And now he is doing this:

I'm just sayin'... some people age well.

Monday, June 11, 2012


Haiku winner: The Green Pen

I'm a little disappointed that there was no haiku last week (on the topic of gardening) from The Green Momster, since it seemed to be right up her alley, but there were still plenty of quality entries.

For best single verse of haiku, I was most taken by this effort of CTL's:

Marauding bands of
Deer assail my plot by night
Like white-tailed Vikings.

Then, for the expand-o haiku style that seems so popular with the young people these days, both Renee and Christine had nice entries, but Christine's had a hummingbird in it:

I sit with coffee
Watching a kaliediscope...
green, pink, gold, white, blue

Morning sun washes
the faces of the flowers
butterflies drifting

Chirp, chirp, tickseed ripe
Gold Finches swoop from the woods
breakfast awaits them

A breeze rustles leaves
grasshoppers spit tobacco
stare with beady eyes

A hummingbird zooms,
stops, sweet nectar all around
sampling each like wine

Bees buzz just below
Pollen covered transports
Adept at their work

My cat is prowling
like a tiger, protecting
his territory

Beyond, green tendrils
holding misshaped ornaments
Snake toward the sun

This is what I grow
beautiful, each day, to me
My canvas of life

Not everyone knows this, but CTL and Christine have known each other for several years. From 2007-2010, Christine ran Toyota's secret lab in the North Carolina Research Triangle, where they were working on a prototype for a flying car. CTL, in his first summer while at Baylor, snagged an internship at Christine's secret lab. Toyota's plan (based on space missions) was to first have a dog fly the car, then a college freshman, and finally they would move on to human trials. Sadly, as the college freshman, CTL never got to try flying the car, as the dogs kept crashing them. It turns out they were using the wrong breed, as CTL pointed out repeatedly, but no on listens to the intern!

Sunday, June 10, 2012


Sunday Reflection: Story

In my work, I come into contact with political theorists and theologians and philosophers who focus on theoretical issues (importantly, this group does not include all theologians and philosophers). I hear them, I understand what they are saying (usually), but many times I feel no real connection to what they are saying. This has always been true. I am not one of them. What I am, really, is a teacher, and a prosecutor. I am tied to this earth in a web of stories, held in place by the gravity of narrative.

The divide between me and the theorists really has to do with story. In the same way that some people trust theory over the narrative of our lives, I run the other way-- no theory makes sense to me unless I can see it written in the lives of the people around me. Communism never became real, and so it is useless, a vehicle for tyranny. Post-structuralism? Literary theory? They just don't exist. They don't breath and live and hurt.

We do. Jesus did. That matters. If you believe the Christian narrative, it is significant that God never gave us a theory-- he gave us a story, Jesus's story. In turn, what Jesus gave us was largely stories, too, one after the other, because that is how he taught.

Saturday, June 09, 2012


Sad, but true

According to Politifact, here is the percentage amount the gross federal debt (which includes I.O.U.'s to Social Security) has grown under some recent presidents:

Reagan: 186%
G.W. Bush: 86%
G.H.W. Bush: 54%
Clinton: 37%
Obama: 34%

Of course, Obama (like George H.W. Bush) has only had one term in office. But how about Clinton-- he looks pretty good!

This shows something I had been saying for a while-- that (historically, at least) Republicans really do care about low taxes, but not so much about debt, despite all the present bluster. Of course, there is tension between these two things-- lower taxes means more debt, unless spending is greatly reduced (and neither party seems good at that).

Much of the debt accumulation in Republican administrations is due to military spending. Which, pretty much, tells us that if we want to reduce debt, military spending has to be a part of the solution.

Friday, June 08, 2012


Haiku Friday: Our gardens

[Check out my first TV appearance ever in this video, at 0:26]

It has been my dream to grow tomatoes. For ten years in Texas, I failed every year. My garden was part of the problem-- it was both shady and scalding hot, meaning that on jungle plants liked it there.

I think this might be my year! I bought the hardiest strains I could find at the Fulton Farmer's Market near here, and so far they are looking good-- just flowering now.

Let's haiku about what we plant. I'll go first:

Deep in my longing
Is the desire to raise up
Those tendrils of life.

Now it is your turn! Just make it roughly 5 syllables/7 syllables/5 syllables. If you win, I will print your biography right here on Monday! Ready, set... haiku!

Thursday, June 07, 2012


Political Mayhem Thursday: The Most Important Election!

Like others, I watched the recall election in Wisconsin very closely last night. Were people surprised by the result? Does it have national significance?

Looking ahead, I'm not sure that the presidential election in the fall is the most important thing we will be deciding in November.

For example, I think a decent argument can be made that the control of the House and Senate will be a more important decision than who becomes president. In part, that is because I think that (despite all the rhetoric) both Obama and Romney are essentially moderates. Romney, like Bush (either one) before him is running to the right of his true persona, and Obama is much more of a centrist than he is a liberal. In fact, his policies on a variety of issues have varied little from the preceding administration (which in some respects may be a good thing). In contrast, the Congress is very polarized, and who controls it will have real import on policy decisions.

Personally, I believe that in 50 years we may look back and see that the California referendum on the death penalty is the most important thing put to a vote in November, 2012. If California gets rid of the death penalty, a significant majority of Americans will live in non-death penalty states, and the trend of states rejecting the death penalty (five in just the last six years) will accelerate, leading to its demise.

What do you think?

Wednesday, June 06, 2012


Just up on the Huffington Post!

This latest piece on the sad letters I get, titled When the Atheists Are Right. As of Thursday morning, it was up on HuffPo's front page.


Recipe Time! Osler's Super-Surprising Chocolate Cake

It's recipe time at the Razor! Just in time for summer, here is my favorite summer cake recipe... and it packs a surprise!

2 cups white sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup pollen
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
4 tufts cat hair
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour two nine inch round pans.
In a large bowl, stir together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, half of the pollen, baking soda and salt. Add the eggs, milk, cat hair, oil and vanilla, mix for 2 minutes on medium speed of mixer. Stir in the boiling water last. Batter will be thin. Pour evenly into the prepared pans.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven, until the cake tests done with a toothpick. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Frost cake, adding the remaining pollen in "sparkle" patterns.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012


The Midnight Train Going Anywhere

Last Friday, I was in Washington for an important meeting. Important enough, in fact, that I felt the need for some psych-up music, so as I walked through McPherson Square, I turned my iPod to "shuffle."

What it delivered, out of thousands of possibilities, was the ubiquitous "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey. It worked-- the meeting went great-- but I still can't get over the goofiness of those lyrics. For example, there is this:

Just a small town girl
Livin' in a lonely world
She took the midnight train
Goin' anywhere.

The are small town girls. Some of them live in a lonely world. However, there are no "midnight trains going anywhere." First of all, this is a terrible transportation model for a railroad. Seriously? Go up to the ticket window, and they sell you a ticket for a train leaving at midnight to some undisclosed location? Not a good plan. Furthermore, it's pretty much contrary to the idea of a train, which runs on tracks. You know where the train is going because the tracks go that way. You really, really don't want to ride on a train that has left the tracks on a voyage to "anywhere," especially if that is a metaphor for being dead (which is probably going to happen when the train derails).

Next we have this:

Just a city boy
Born and raised in South Detroit
He took the midnight train
Goin' anywhere

City Boy, like Small Town Girl, has made the bonehead decision to travel on the derailing railroad. Beyond that, though, he is from "South Detroit." As we have discussed before, and is revealed by a quick look at a map, there is no South Detroit, because where South Detroit should be we find... Canada:

Moreover, it's a poorly-conceived plan to take public transportation out of the city of Detroit in the middle of the night. Silly Canadians!

Finally, we come to this:

Strangers waiting
Up and down the boulevard
Their shadows searching
In the night
Streetlight people
Livin' just to find emotion
Hidin', somewhere in the night

What the heck are "streetlight people?" And how confused are they if they are "Hidin', somewhere in the night" under a friggin' streetlight? If you want to hide, get AWAY from the streetlight, you dopey Canadian!
[Of course, the argument can be made under present circumstances that in Detroit it's usually pretty dark directly under the streetlights, since the city can't afford to power them]

So... maybe it was a poor choice of psych-up song.

It didn't matter though. I didn't worry about the lyrics in that moment. I was walking in a big city to do something good and worthwhile and real, a chance I never thought I would have. Don't stop believin', indeed.

Monday, June 04, 2012


Haiku Friday Winner! (Kind of)

There were some great haikus about divas last week. My favorite was Megan Willome's, which contained a subtle truth:

A diva lights up
a stage. When all goes dark she
can't find the exit.

But... the best poetry of the weekend, I thought, was this from Renee as she reflected on the life of Doc Watson: "Music like this gives us our backbone and our gait and a sense of the deep mellow that propels us through the moments of our lives when we cannot see or smell the sea."

So, what do we know about Renee? Well, we know that she has a real fondness for hats, and quite a collection. What many people don't know is the origin of many of the finest examples in her collection.

Renee worked for some 35 years as a flight attendant for Northwest Airlines, and began her career back in the days when both men and women often would wear hats while traveling. Of course, often the hat would not rejoin its owner at the end of the flight, and would be found by the winsome young flight attendant patrolling the vacated plane.

In that situation, when Renee would come across a particularly fabulous hat, she would make an extraordinary effort to return it. Using the flight manifest, she would identify the owner and then personally appear at their door, hat literally in hand. She would knock, the door would open, and a thrilled woman would see her beloved hat in Renee's hands. But... and this is in no small part due to the large, sad eyes beneath the jaunty Northwest cap... often the owner would insist that as a reward for such diligence and honest, Renee keep the hat.

Northwest always won a loyal customer, and Renee has some remarkable hats.

Sunday, June 03, 2012


Sunday Reflection: The saddest letter of all

Of the many letters I have received recently, this one is the saddest of all. Read the whole thing (the last paragraph is the heartbreak) and tell me what you think I should tell this person.

Prof. Osler,

I would say that I'm a pretty open person when it comes to the things we do as human beings. There are things that we do that are not pleasing to God or to our fellow man and then there are things that are just flat out wrong. In reading your blog I understand that you, like everyone else is entitled to an opinion. However, the bible clearly states that homosexuality is abomination. Not only is it abomination, God destroyed not one, but two cities because of it.

Now, we know that the scripture say's a lot about many other things and what is deemed sin and so forth. Yes, adultery is sin, killing, stealing etc. However, the sin of homosexuality is a sin that has a specific penalty for those who engage in the act and unlike adultery or the others, you're continually living in a state of sin. The very act of same sex marriage puts those who do it in a continual act of sin, thus pitting them against God, The Holy Spirit and Jesus.


Romans 1 18-28

I hope that your heart and mind will be enlightened and that as you grow and mature as a Christian you will see the full truth and NOT be lead astray by the winds of this time that we're living in. Be very aware of the fact that this is the time that many, many saints begin to fall away from the truths that God's word ministers to His people. The bible is also clear about that too;

Matt 24.

We are watching His words unfold before our eyes because when there is no repentance from sin, death and only death will take hold. And that's the difference. The gay world wants us to accept their sin. They want to be equals in terms of the benefits God gave man and woman. They want all the accolades and acceptances of a legitimate union, one that God created for a purpose. They want to accept parts of God's word, manipulate and discard the rest. But one thing that neither you or I or any court of human law can legitimatize is the gay position when it stands before the Lord.

Now, I don't hate or even judge those who live the lifestyle because I know based upon what the scripture says' that these things must happen for the Lord to come. The scripture makes reference to the Anti-Christ who according to the bible “Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all” (Dan. 11:37). So, this isn't something strange to me and its not something that I accept either. It is what it is and God will deal with all of us, when we are judged.

Lastly, I can speak on this subject very clearly as I am the Father of a child that has chosen the homosexual lifestyle. Even now as I'm writing you this email, my son is lying in a hospital bed dying from his acts of homosexuality. His Mother and I raised him to know Christ, but as a young man he took up this lifestyle against our counsel. Because of his lifestyle and nothing else, he is now facing death. Just know that our sins are forgivable and God is a gracious and loving God, but he is very, very clear about the penalties, especially homosexuality. We are saddened and heart broken that our baby son is going to die such a horrible death and is suffering because of his decision to live the homosexual lifestyle. But we also know and knew what God say's about the wages of sin. The wages of sin are DEATH.



Saturday, June 02, 2012


RIP Doc Watson

This week, we lost one of my favorite musicians-- Doc Watson. His music rests deep inside me, having first lodged there on long car trips with my parents, the road rolling by as Doc Watson sang...

Friday, June 01, 2012


Haiku Friday: Divas

Barbra Streisand!

Today I'm getting to do something I've always wanted to do. No, it's not being a diva, but I can relate.

Let's haiku about the divas, then, real and imagined. Here is mine:

My dad saw her often
Singing by a piano
Old School: Caucus Club.

Now it is your turn. The winner gets... well, you know.

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