Tuesday, July 31, 2012


Biggest Olympic Surprises (so far)!

On Sunday morning, I saw someone interviewing Michelle Obama, who is attending the London Olympics. The interviewer's question was "What is the most memorable moment of these Olympics?" It seemed a little silly, since there was only one day of competition done at that point...

Still, my own favorite moment thus far is Honduras's 1-0 victory in men's soccer over Spain, which knocked Spain out in the preliminary rounds of the competition. Spain is the top-ranked team in the sport, while Honduras is somewhere down in the ranks. Olympic soccer teams are mostly composed of players under 23, but is still taken pretty seriously...

What's your favorite moment so far?

Monday, July 30, 2012


Our Haiku Winner: Ms. Carrie Willard!

There were some great entries for haiku Friday this week. However, there is one clear winner.

I'll just say... this was one of my all-time favorites. The topic was dumb things siblings do:

I would tell you, but
That would just open the door
To stories of me.

There is a sacred
Trust between us, a tight bond;
Sealed circle of trust.

Ha, ha! Just kidding!
He bleached his hair with Clorox!
Fried his little brain.

The dumbest part was
Not the bleach. It was telling
His big-mouthed sister

So, just who is this "Carrie Willard?" Let's find out...

Born in Flander's Hillock, Wisconsin, in 1992, she was born into a family of some note in that area. Her parents built and ran the only commercial establishment in Flander;s Hillock, which everyone called "The General," and which consumed the equivalent of three city blocks. "The General" was a combination restaurant/tavern/Episcopal church/grocery store/bowling alley/beet farm/adult daycare facility/colon massage center/shoe store/cupcake emporium. In a typical day, Carrie would rise at 4 to make the cupcakes, water the beets, stock the shelves in the grocery, wait tables for breakfast, wax the bowling lanes, assist with a 7 am liturgy, and wash out the stables, all before heading off to school.

Her doggedness extended to her studies, and she graduated at 11 from Flander's Hillock High and Bakery. She was sent off to the University of Wisconsin, where she graduated after three semesters. Then, at age 15, she began law school, though part of the first year was interrupted by her work on the International Space Station. By age 17, she had completed law school, married Neil Alan Willard, and given birth to the first of their 7 children.

All hail, Carrie Willard!

Sunday, July 29, 2012


Sunday Reflection: The loss of the small

My favorite neighborhood hardware store is closing. It may seem silly, but I feel a real sense of loss about it.

Bayer's was a place I went about once every few weeks. I bought lawn fertilizer, hardware to fix a toilet, a socket wrench, light bulbs, road salt, shovels, a rake, duct tape, cabinet hardware, about a million assorted screws and bolts, and they even sharpened the blades on my old-fashioned unpowered lawn mower. I knew where things were there, and usually ended up buying some stuff I didn't intend to buy when I walked in. It had worn wooden floors and a secret basement full of plumbing stuff.

So, what do I do now? Go to Home Depot?

That's what is happening in neighborhoods across the country, and has for the last century.

It's not just stores, either-- it's churches as well. The Bayer's Hardwares of the Christian world are fading, and what is left in many places is the Home Depot of faith: the Megachurch.

I can't condemn them; I don't know much about them. But something about them wards me off-- the corrugated metal buildings surrounded by parking lots, the signs which flash rotating messages, and the locations out on the edge of town. I haven't tried it; I know that it works for a lot of people.

I do know this: That if I do need a flange, and drive out to Home Depot, there will be a sadness deep inside of me.

Saturday, July 28, 2012


And the Olympics have begun!

Friday, July 27, 2012


Haiku Friday: Dumb things my sister/brother/parent/kid/friend did....

[click to enlarge the image]
Posted above is about my favorite warning sign ever, from Yellowstone Park. It apparently warns against standing on a geyser that is going off (the event depicted seems mild-- the exploding of scalding water succeeds only in knocking Doofus's hat off). My favorite detail, off to the left, is the alarmed little sister pointing at her idiot sibling.

So, let's haiku today about dumb things people do! I'll go first:

I saw this one kid
Try to skate with skate guards on...
Oh, wait-- that was me.

Now it is your turn! Make if 5 syllables/7 syllables/5 syllables, and the winner gets their biography posted here on Monday!

Thursday, July 26, 2012


Political Mayhem Thursday: Romney's short list

The presidential race looks to be neck-and-neck, which means that who Mitt Romney chooses as a running mate could prove to be important. My own hunch is that this is the type of decision that plays to his strengths, and that he will make a well-considered choice.

DC insiders seem to think that there are four people on the "short list," which would include:

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty,
Ohio Sen. Rob Portman,
Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan and
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.

It's an intriguing list. Portman is the most obvious choice if Gov. Romney is attempting to pick up a state with the pick, as Ohio is on of the most crucial swing states.

Of course, the short list can be leapfrogged by someone unexpected-- and it appears that this is exactly what happened when John McCain picked Sarah Palin four years ago.

Some people, though, implausibly contend that Romney "could pick anyone." Really? I don't think so. For example, that group would include:

Abby Van Buren
Charles Nelson Reilly
P.F. Chang
Derek Jeter
Sarah Palin
Buzz Lightyear
Boris Yeltsin
Bruce Springsteen
D-10, The Demon Diesel
Ivan Lendl

What do you think? Who should he pick, and what should his purpose be?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


The four unmistakable cities in the US

Recently, someone told me that there are four unmistakable cities in the US-- though he couldn't remember what they were, or what "unmistakable" meant. (He's kinda like that).

So, I will assume that "unmistakable" means a place unlike any other, and would advance these four as my answers:

1) New Orleans
2) Boston
3) Chicago
4) New York

What would be your answer, and why?

[bonus points if you can name the city in the photo]

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Penn State and Baylor

The extensive punishments meted out to Penn State by the NCAA were announced yesterday-- a $60 million fine, the loss of ten scholarships per year, and a ban from post-season play for four years. It was well deserved, for a school that was so enamored with football that it let awful crimes occur on campus.

A University should not favor football above all else. As Jesus taught, where your treasure lies, so does your heart (Matthew 6:21). A University, secular or religious, should not have its heart first and foremost in football.

HIdden behind the blockbuster news about Penn State was this little item:

Michigan wide receiver Darryl Stonum announced Sunday he is transferring to Baylor.

Stonum, who has one year of eligibility left, missed last season because of disciplinary issues.

He made the made the announcement on his Twitter account. Baylor has yet to confirm he is part of its football roster.

The Stafford, Texas, native was dismissed from the team prior to last season after his second drunken driving arrest and then violating his probation in 2010. He is expected to be eligible at Baylor as a graduate student in a program not offered at Michigan.

Stonum has 76 career catches for 1,008 yards and six touchdowns at Michigan. He broke the school's single-season kickoff-return yardage record in 2009 with 1,001 yards.


Monday, July 23, 2012


Haiku Winner: Susan Stabile!

Rennee, as usual, did great work this week, as did many others, but I was particularly struck by this straightforward (and entirely true) take by my friend and collaborator, Susan Stabile:

John Lennon is shot
at the start, and at the end
The Berlin Wall falls.

In between those two:
Challenger shuttle explodes,
gas leaks in Bhopal,

Pan Am Flight is bombed,
USSR launches Mir,
Titanic wreck found.

Klaus Barbie gets life,
and China kills students in
Tiananmen Square.

Susan quits law firm,
and becomes a Buddhist nun
living in Nepal.

There is something so stark about quitting your law firm and moving to Nepal as a Buddhist nun... but it is no more stark than the other things she describes: The explosions in the sky, red on blue; the moments in a courtroom; the end of communism at the hand of its subjects; and the death of an era at the edge of Central Park.

What she glosses over, though, is her career at the law firm, which focused on negotiating severance packages for corporate mascots. Her first client was Quisp, a small blue alien whose cereal was discontinued, who then recommended her to his friend who was facing a similar fate, Frankenberry.

It was only with her third client, though, that her expertise became well-known. She was working on a brief when none other than Fat Albert sauntered into her office, having been released from his position as spokesperson for the Lum's chain of restaurants. She won him the right to eat as much as he wanted for life at Lum's, a decision which eventually put them out of business.

Now, she is a beloved professor and expert on employee benefits law, as well as a fellow blogger. Congratulations, Susan!

Sunday, July 22, 2012


Sunday Reflection: Heroes

Reading this morning about Penn State's decision to take down the Joe Paterno statue, I was reflecting on the nature of heroes. People use the phrase "fallen heroes," which is odd, because we are all fallen, all flawed, all inadequate. There is no such thing as an un-fallen hero (with one exception, of course, to Christians).

One remarkable thing about the Bible is that it describes its human heroes as terribly flawed. Paul doubts and falters. Peter messes up again and again. David, of course, is presented like an action hero, but his worst moments (with Nathan) are also described. Noah saves human and animal life on earth, and then has a totally inappropriate celebration. Interestingly, unlike the contemporary story-telling method we see so often, in the Bible the heroes often first do the good thing, THEN the inadequacies are revealed, not vice versa. They are more like Joe Paterno than Harry Potter.

Of course, that does not mean that they aren't to be admired. Like any other fellow member of the fallen human race, they are imperfect, and it is fair to learn from both their good parts and their flaws. Perhaps it would be healthier if we would think of our more contemporary "heroes" in the same way.

Saturday, July 21, 2012


Hmmm.... Maybe this is working...

As some of you know, I've been back and forth to DC recently working on commutation... and now something is happening.

Check out this great new piece in the Washington Post from Dafna Linzer-- it's the stuff in the 2d half of the article that I find particularly interesting.

Dafna will be on MSNBC at 10:50 Eastern time (9:50 Central) to talk about some of what has been going on...

Friday, July 20, 2012


Haiku Friday: The 1980's

The music! The fashion! The terrible TV shows! Whew-ee, those 1980's were weird!

Here is my 1980's haiku:

Freeway Ricky Ross
Brought crack to all of So Cal
Did you know he's out?

Now it is your turn-- just make it 5 syllables/7 syllables/5 syllables. The winner gets their bio here on Monday!

Thursday, July 19, 2012


Political Mayhem Thursday: Christianity and the Constitution

I've been working on a piece that touches on the secular nature of the Constitution, and ended up doing more research than I probably had to-- but it was too interesting to stop.

First of all, the Constitution is clearly secular. It only mentions religion twice (prior to amendment): In the use of the phrase "year of our Lord," and in the provision which bars any religious requirement for holding office. There really isn't much to grab onto if you want to find Christianity there-- at least on the face of the document.

Second, the men who wrote that document were wildly diverse in their religious beliefs at that time. Some were devout; some rejected religious convention in fascinating ways. A few were seemingly disinterested.

Third, the Constitution was written in a "trough" in religious fervor in North America, between the first and second great awakenings. At that time, fewer than 20% of adults were church members.

Fourth, our primary markers that we look to relating to Christian influence on our government draw primarily when two eras when Americans were reacting to the excesses of Europe. The second great awakening, for example, was driven in part by the horrors of the French Revolution, and the ideas that propelled it. The second era, the 1950's (which was when "one nation, under God" was added to the pledge of allegiance) was marked by American rejection of Communism. In both eras, defining ourselves as believers also served to define what we were not.

Finally, all that said, it must be recognized that while the United States may not define itself as a "Christian Nation" in our key documents, we are a "Nation of Christians," in that there has always been a Christian majority in this country. Even the most Deist of the framers was profoundly influenced by the ideas of Christianity and were familiar with the Bible and its key stories. While there were no explicit Christian themes on the face of the Constitution, many lay beneath the document like the foundation of a house. Restraint, a wariness of power, and, of course, my favorite: Mercy.

I love that the Constitution contains that most Christian of virtues, in the Pardon Clause. Hamilton called that unilateral power what it was and is-- the exercise of mercy.

One can, and should, recognize that the Constitution is not a religious document. One should also avoid wrongly describing the framers as Christian activists, because the story is more complex than that. However, none of that countermands the presence of Christian virtue in the document, or the fact that the framers would have recognized it as such. Mercy is so central to Christianity, expressly in the form of pardon, that even Christ himself granted it (in John 8), and was denied it (by Pilate) himself before granting it to all (on the cross).

Clemency is not morally neutral; in ignoring it we bury from view our own best selves.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


The Konka

About twelve years ago, I purchased a 16", purple television for my office at Baylor. It was only $19 brand new from Amazon, plus shipping. The maker, according to Amazon, was "Konka." It is the shipping that was the catch-- the thing weighed a ton! It also only got PBS. I chalked this anomaly up to the fact that it was a Chinese television, so it was used to only broadcasting state-owned stations.

The switch-over to digital television doomed the Konka (it gets nothing now), but I can't bring myself to get rid of it. It sits on top of the bookcase of my office, available for re-use. Any ideas?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Stop, Speed Racer, Stop!

I'm kinda fascinated by this recent news out of Waco. Apparently, a local man (from the nearby town of Valley Mills) managed to lead local police on THREE high speed chases in just a few days. The third chase finally ended with him getting caught.

Here's the part that amazes me: The guy was evading the police in a PT Cruiser. For those who have never driven one, rest assured that it is one of the slowest, least responsive cars ever made. In fact, I recall a Chrysler executive explaining its lack of pick-up by saying "Well, yeah, but that's why we call it a 'cruiser.'"

[ps-- I just realized that my preceding sentence is among millions that contain both the name "Chrysler" and the word "recall."]

Monday, July 16, 2012


Haiku winner...

Our winner for this week is Jessica, who entered this haiku on the topic of internet advertising:

My Facebook ads
Will drive me to therapy
I'm not pregnant, Mark!**

**Zuckerberg. Not Osler.

What's not to love? It's referring to some goofy ad, and it uses a footnote! Plus, it absolves me of paternity.

Many of you may be wondering "who is this Jessica?" Good question!

Razorite Jessica first took the world by storm with her scathing critiques of the Waco social and dining scenes through her column in the local paper. "That Stinks!... by Jessica" ran in the Waco Regulon Bugler every Thursday, and always made for entertaining reading. Who could forget her short column on "Crickets" restaurant, which included the charge that "everything tastes like it was made with old bongwater," and noted that "good food rarely cohabitates with video games."

Moving on to the challenges of Houston, Jessica now is surveying and disparaging the restaurants, nightclubs, and Vespa rental facilities in that city. Congratulations, Jessica!

Sunday, July 15, 2012


Sunday Reflection: It is all God's

Today, just this picture I took on Friday. You can click on the image to enlarge it:

Saturday, July 14, 2012


Pickles' new plan

Pickles new plan
by: oslerguy

Friday, July 13, 2012


Haiku Friday: Internet ads

I am a little bit curious as to why the internet ads coming my way now seem to almost exclusively promote social welfare programs-- like telling me I am eligible for food assistance. I'm pretty sure I'm not actually the target demographic for welfare...

Let's haiku about internet ads today... I know you are seeing some!

Here is mine:

Poor Dave of St. Paul
Unemployed and hungry
What site did I click?!?

Now it is your turn. The winner gets a bio here on Monday! Just make it 5 syllables/7 syllables/5 syllables...

Thursday, July 12, 2012


Political Mayhem Thursday: $35 Million in Tax Money to Baylor to Build a Football Stadium

[click on the photo to enlarge it]

So, Baylor is building a new football stadium near campus to replace the one it already has in Waco, and looks set to receive $35 million in tax money to help build it (the total cost will be around $250 million). According to the Waco Trib, the money will come from the "Tax Increment Financing" (TIF) fund that is earmarked for development in central Waco. The previous largest gift from the fund was $2 million.

I have a few problems with this.

First, I remember a few years ago when the TIF Board turned down a request from the Rapoport Academy, a public charter school within the TIF zone. The school's request, for much less than $1 million, was to support the renovation of a building to use as part of the school's mission to educate primarily poor black kids in East Waco. I am utterly stumped as to why that project was less deserving that this give-away to Baylor.

Second, it is hard not to notice that many people involved with this giveaway is among those who are strongly opposed to President Obama because of his... spending tax money on stuff like health care and roads. I understand that view to some extent (we ARE living beyond our means), but not the hypocrisy in both holding that view and supporting this giveaway. Sorry, but if you want to give money from taxpayers to Baylor to build a football mansion, it undermines the moral authority of your profession that we shouldn't spend so much tax money on other things.

Third, where is the "economic development" for Waco in building a stadium that will simply replace another one, recently renovated, that is also in the city? If they were luring, say, TCU away from Fort Worth, that might make sense. But the people who will spend money in Waco when they come to a Baylor game at the new stadium are already doing so. Moreover, Baylor is not going to threaten to move out of town like a pro team. Why is it defensible to use the taxes people pay to fund a stadium for a team that is not ever going to move out of town and already has a stadium in Waco?

Am I wrong?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


Razor Quiz: Palin/Romney family member or IKEA item?

Hey, Razorites! Can you tell the difference between celebrity Republicans and value-priced Swedish furniture? Let's find out!

Below are twenty names. Ten are family names associated with either Mitt Romney or Sarah Palin, and the other ten are items you can buy at IKEA. Can you tell which is which? Click on the number preceding each name to find out the answer (no peeking until you have finished!):

1) Tagg
2) Billy
3) Kyla
4) Tripp
5) Kalas
6) Lenore
7) Margo
8) Tratt
9) Janette
10) Tripp
11) Mula (pronounced "Moolah")
12) Lenda
13) Jane Lafount
14) Orgel Vreten
15) Todd
16) Tral
17) Piper
18) Heath
19) Sparsam Low-Energy Bulb
20) Track


0-3: Putin, we see you!
4-7: Please start paying attention to either People magazine or the IKEA catalogue
7-12: Is that an Ektorp you are sitting on?
13-17: You're hotter than a fresh cup of Bryggkaffe Morkrost!
18-20: Mr. President, don't you have some commutations to consider?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Just up at the Huffington Post

This time on the "Politics" page... my solo piece on the Miller decision: Kagan's Elegant Principle: Children are Different.

Please comment on HuffPo or post to facebook (unless you are a hater-- in that case, post your thoughts here).


A great story from Chuck Treadwell

Neil Alan Willard recently tipped me off to a great blog post by Chuck Treadwell, the Rector at St. Paul's in Waco (apparently, the Episcopal world is a small one). Among other things, Chuck was kind enough to let me give the commencement speech (text here) at the St. Paul's school my last year there. His mother, Lu Treadwell, was both a neighbor of mine and one of my ministers at 7th and James in Waco. Shortly before he died, I also got to meet his father, William Treadwell, who was a wonderful Baptist theologian.

Here is part of Chuck's post:

When I was ordained a priest, my father, an ordained Baptist minister, preached at my ordination. When the time came for the ordination, the Episcopal clergy gathered around to lay hands on my head along with the Bishop. My father remained in his seat, because there is no agreement between the Episcopal and Baptist churches on ordination. Just before the Bishop said the words of ordination he stopped, removed his hands from my head, and motioned for my father to come over and lay his hands on my head as well. This was contrary to the teaching of both the Episcopal and Baptist churches. This was poor doctrinal theology, but it was perfect pastoral theology.

Monday, July 09, 2012


Our winner: Christine!

The was something subtle and wonderful here:

The sky is hazy
Return, Carolina blue
A hawk soars above

barefeet on pavement
ouch, ouch, blistering, ouch, ouch
tar upon my heels

She starts with "Carolina Blue" and ends with tar heels. Crazy good!

So, who is this "Christine?" After graduating from Miami University (Arizona), she moved to Gotham City and started working as junior forensic accountant for DA Harvey Dent. Her sterling work quickly led to her ascending to the top ranks of the law enforcement apparatus in Gotham.

As one might expect, she also began socializing with one Bruce Wayne, the owner of Wayne Industries. Rumor has it that he asked her to work on "Project Millennia," in which she had a lead role, and during which she received a small scar on her lower back shaped like a saber.

Then she moved to rural North Carolina and retired. The End.

Sunday, July 08, 2012


Sunday Reflection: Quiet

For about the next month, I am going to quiet my heart and my mind.

I am in a green valley between two hills of activity and thought. The last one, including two busy trips to DC, had me addressing four issues at the same time: Juvenile life without parole, the death penalty, federal commutations, and narcotics policy. Some of that work is still coming out-- including this piece with Jeanne Bishop, which ran on CNN on Friday. The next flurry, in the fall, will include (most importantly) teaching two classes, along with talking at Stanford (on abortion) and Valparaiso (on drug policy), doing the Trial of Christ in Virginia and California, and starting a very important project on commutation (which is still under wraps).

All of that, when I am in the midsts of it, engages my faith, and is about my faith. It's very active... and tiring.

For this month, though, I am going to be quiet and listen and hear God and others speak to me. There will be no one I need to convince or teach or debate.

To everything there is a season, after all.

Saturday, July 07, 2012


IPLawGuy looks for a sidekick...

Scott Paper
by: oslerguy

Friday, July 06, 2012


Haiku Friday: The Heat

Crikeys, it's hot! Even here in Minnesota, it is getting into the 90's, which creates visions of the Apocolypse for Scandanavians, apparently. Out east, it is really unbearable, and they lost power for many days in some areas, as well.

There is a lot to say about shimmering heat... what it does to people, how it always seems to surprise us, how it may be caused by RRL's smoking, as a metaphor... all of it. We're casting the net widely.

Here is mine:

I step out the door
And gasp a little; step back...
Maybe I'll wear shorts.

Just make it about 5 syllables/7 syllables/5 syllables, and the winner will get a bio here on Monday.

Thursday, July 05, 2012


Political Mayhem Thursday: On America

Earlier in my life, I went through a period where I spent a lot of time outside of this country. I loved exploring, and was especially fascinated by places with some evil lurking there-- I was drawn to spend time in South Africa during apartheid, England under Thatcher and during the violence of the IRA, and the Soviet Union in its waning days. I was never a supporter of any of the things those regimes stood for (at least at the time I visited-- Thatcher makes more sense to me now), but went to see what the truth was about those nations. It would be, I suppose, like going to North Korea now.

What I came away with was a deep and abiding appreciation for this country. It is a privilege to live here.

July 4 was a good chance to reflect on these things. What is it that you think is good about this country? To start things off, I am quoting below a comment that Marta put up here yesterday (which I found particularly moving):

To the only place on Earth that still inspires dreams and incites desires to make them real! The other day on the subway I saw a woman completely enveloped in a black burqa, just a sliver of shining eyes and deft hands handling a restless baby. Need I say more?

I was born some place else, but the person I grew up to be was meant to become an American. And I did and I am and I'm proud. And to prove it, I knew I became an American when I got into a vehement argument with a snooty European defending none other than American junk food (I didn't win but I scored a few good punches)...even though I think junk food is the most evil American invention, in fact I have no idea why America ever bothered with wars and weapons of mass destruction, when unleashing the fried Twinkies would have done the job just fine.
Happy Independence Day!

Wednesday, July 04, 2012


Quan Cosby = Good American

Happy Independence Day! This is one of my favorite holidays, because I am a true believer in the idea that it is a privilege to live in this remarkable country. We are a nation of individuals and grace, and today is a day to celebrate both.

One of my favorite Waco-area people is Quan Cosby, a receiver/returner for the Indianapolis Colts who was previously both a pro baseball player and a star for the Texas Longhorns (as shown above-- not that it isn't Quan who gets the penalty for "Excessive Celebration"). There are a lot of things to admire about Quan (i.e., his restraint in ordering at ridiculously good Mexican restaurants), but one of them is his work in and around his hometown of Mart, which is a small town near Waco.

Most recently, Quan hosted a free football camp in Mart (it's an annual event) and lured his new quarterback, Andrew Luck, down to help out. How exciting is that for kids in a place like Mart? He also took first-pick-overall Luck to visit some of his old friends who could use the help and encouragement.

Waco may be ungodly hot, suffer from poor air service, and forever be saddled with the Branch Davidians, but it does have a lot of people like Quan Cosby, and that may be more important than everything else.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012


What's happening in Waco?

As some of you know, I regularly check the news over at KWTX.com to keep up on what is happening in Waco and surrounding areas. Right now there is the usual mayhem (i.e., Local Man Injured in Ambush-style Shooting Outside Grandmother's Home), but also a very troubling business event.

For the past decade at least, Waco has been "served" by both Continental and American Airlines. Continental flew to Houston, and American to Dallas, and you would connect from there. I usually flew on American, which too often flew the worst aircraft they had, small propeller planes which seemed to break down a lot and for at least a year could not land if it was cloudy. Still, it was sometimes a better bet than trying to drive to the far side of Dallas to catch a flight directly out of DFW. Continental flew better planes often, and had a reputation for being more reliable.

Then United Airlines bought Continental, and has now announced that it will discontinue service to Waco. This is bad, but I fear it will get worse for Waco down the road.

Here's the thing: If I were running American Airlines, it would be very tempting to cut service to Waco as well. Before, the flights served to keep people from that market from switching to Continental/United. Now,with no competition there and DFW (dominated by American) the closest hub to Waco, there seems to be little reason to stay-- people who want to fly and live in Waco will probably just drive to DFW and take American anyways. Unless I am missing something, American does not get much out of continuing that route.

What a disaster it would be for Waco to lose all air service! I cannot tell you what an advantage it is for me to be in Minneapolis-- I live and work 15 minutes from a hub, and can get a direct flight almost anywhere. It matters, if you travel a lot, and people in business and the academy often do.

I'm sure the community leaders in Waco are working on this problem, but I'm not sure what they can do-- it is unlikely that another airline will come to Waco without huge subsidies which a community like Waco probably cannot afford.

Yikes! Waco deserves better.


What's happening in Waco?

Monday, July 02, 2012


Haiku winner: Neil Alan Willard!

I loved this haiku last week by Neil Alan Willard, who followed the theme (unlike some others... cough cough... Tyd) and wrote about Chief Justice Roberts. His haiku was wonderfully subtle:

Roberts, back in black,
knows Gilbert & Sullivan
is operetta.

The reference is to Chief Justice Roberts' predecessor, William Rehnquist, who added stripes to the sleeve of his robe based on costuming for Iolanthe, an operetta.

Neil Alan Willard knows operetta, too! Or, should I say, operetta knows him. The famous work "HMS Pinafore" is based on his early days as a sailor in the British Navy. Willard, of course, is not British-- he is a child of North Carolina, a graduate of Wake Forest, and the nephew of Fred Willard, who starred in the hit movie Spinal Tap. However, NAW thought that the first step towards Anglicanism would be a stint in the British Navy, so off he went.

Once aboard his assigned vessel, the Pinafore, NAW was entranced with the daughter of the ship's captain (a native of Wisconsin). As one might expect, there were many pratfalls and fisticuffs. They wrote a whole musical about it, in fact, including a scene at the North Pole, and another one in a hockey rink in Sauk Prairie. It's really good, and it is TOTALLY based on NAW's life. You should see it!

Sunday, July 01, 2012


Sunday Reflection: The Word

If you had to reduce the Christian faith to one word, what would it be?

Inability to make complex things simple?

For me, the word would be "humility." I think that the simple acknowledgement that there is a God is the start of it-- the idea that there is something greater than we are. Jesus, too, in nearly every lesson, taught humility and selflessness. Humility embodies his example, too, even to the point of accepting death.

What word would you choose?

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