Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Arggh! Blogger...

Now my blog is all messed up... it started last week, when stuff started going missing then reappearing. Today I tried to fix it by rebooting it, but lost lots of content and now have this goofy new look. Sigh.

Anyways, I'd better get over it, because at lunch I am talking about "Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory" with Susan Stabile and Chato Hazelbaker, then tomorrow with Teresa Collett about the marriage amendment in the morning and with Keith Ellison at 7 in the evening at Club 331.



The Superstorm (I love that name) has destroyed hundreds of homes that were built right on the beach along a variety of barrier islands-- basically, on sand bars that are meant to erode in storms.

Should they be rebuilt? Should the government insure them?

Also... what are you going to be for halloween?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


The Tempest

Last night, about 7 pm, I received this message from Razorite Marta in New York City:

How does one pray to someone who is not? I'm scared and I wish I could have had an answer the other hundred million times I've asked myself that question. I'm hunkered down in my ground floor apartment on a small island in the middle of East River, which is not really a river but a tidal channel that connects New York Harbor with the Long Island Sound. I sit here and I wish there wasn't a full moon tonight and that none of the other elements of the so called perfect storm would in fact align. I wish the power stays on, but the volume on my TV cannot possibly drown that dreadful sound of the howling wind, it just makes it worse...a false sense of safety. I turn if off and listen to the sound of pure fear and remember that even though I don't know how to pray, God is with me and it is that part of me that is always strong, even when I most certainly am not.

There was this, too, from 1611:

Where should this music be? i' the air or the earth?
It sounds no more: and sure, it waits upon
Some god o' the island. Sitting on a bank,
Weeping again the king my father's wreck,
This music crept by me upon the waters,
Allaying both their fury and my passion
With its sweet air: thence I have follow'd it,
Or it hath drawn me rather. But 'tis gone.
No, it begins again.

If you have an update from your own home in the zone of this storm, please put it in the comments section.

Monday, October 29, 2012


Winners! We have winners!

In the rhyming category, it's gotta be GED3:

While on the B-Line,
With an Outline for Hamline,
Osler's thoughts wander Porcine.

And in the non-rhyming sector, we have Renee:

Barrymore in a
Maroon silk smoking jacket
Seduced crowd with ham.

I have no idea what she is talking about, but it sounds great.

As is true with so many Razorites, there is a bit of history between these two, though neither may remember.

Back in 1994, Northwest Airlines had a special promotion, in which they hosted championship eating contests on the plane for the amusement of the passengers. On one such flight from Detroit to Houston, GED3 was the competitor (against one G. Walter Libble) and Renee was the flight attendant charged with filling him up.

As the crowd chanted his name, Renee brought GED3 several lobsters, a whole roasted pig, four football-sized potatoes, a loaf of bread, 17 or 18 jumbo shrimp, and a warm towel (which GED3 inadvertently ate, as well). Because Renee was charged with not only serving this feast but preparing it in the tiny galley, she arrived in Houston exhausted but somewhat intrigued by this half-man, half-beast they call... GED3.

Sunday, October 28, 2012


Sunday Reflection: Religion and Politics

I think maybe we are all a little sick of politics right about now (except perhaps the Waco Farmer).

Still, there is a question lingering with me: Why is it that politicians so rarely talk about their religion-- specifically, in terms of how their religion compels them to come out on issues? Outside of the topic of abortion, this rarely happens.

Let's consider two variables: Whether a politician is religious or not, and whether that same politician has his or her actions in elected office directed, in some way, by religious belief. There are four possible combinations:

1) Not religious/not motivated by religious belief

Certainly, some politicians fit this mold. Often, such actors are directed by non-religious principles, such as economic beliefs or ideas about the role of government. Certainly, this type of politician can have integrity, even in the absence of faith (so long as their secular principles match their actions), and be highly effective.

2) Not religious/motivated by religious belief

I know, I know... at a superficial level this combination makes no sense. However, I do think that many politicians are essentially not religious, but still act out of the tenets of a religion. This may be because their constituents expect it (they have a majority, shared faith), or perhaps because that candidate's lack of faith is... well, kind of a secret. I suspect this happens quite a bit-- that an officeholder loses faith in God (just as many others do), but cannot admit it or act like it because that would be political suicide. It is hard to conclude that such politicians have integrity.

3) Religious/not motivated by religious belief

These are the "two-sphere" people, who "check their faith at the door" when they go to work. What an odd position! If faith is the source of their principles, it is hard to see how such public servants can have any integrity if their actions are disjoined from their principles. I think there are quite a few of these in both parties.

4) Religious/motivated by religious belief

These officeholders make it clear what their faith compels, and act on it publicly. Obviously, this is a position of integrity; their principles match their actions. If we set aside the issue of abortion, this is a relatively rare occurrence.


Isn't it odd how the two positions with integrity, the first and fourth, so rarely appear in American life?

Saturday, October 27, 2012


Coming up on Thursday, Nov. 1: Me and Keith Ellison in a bar talking politics!

Really! Check out the details here.

Please come-- all are welcome. This is going to be a blast.

Friday, October 26, 2012


Haiku Friday: Ham! (and bacon, and pork loin....)

Today I will be off at Hamline Law School, speaking at this symposium.

I'll be getting there at breakfast-time. At Hamline. Which means-- knowing me-- that I will be thinking about ham. (Yes, I have certain similarities to Winnie-the-Pooh).

So, I might as well just go ahead and haiku about ham, right?

Out of the oven
I wait like a hungry feline
For that first sweet piece.

Now it is your turn! Just make it roughly 5 syllables/7 syllables/5 syllables and you will have earned the chance to get your bio here on Monday!

Thursday, October 25, 2012


Does government work?

My friend and colleague Chuck Reid just wrote an intriguing new post at the Huffington Post called Government Works.

Here is the heart of Chuck's argument:

To considerable extent, thanks to governmental oversight and involvement, enforcement and teaching, success has been achieved. Klan lynchings no longer routinely blot the American South; schools and employment must be open to all; the races live together in greater familiarity and harmony than ever before in American history. This is not to deny that much remains undone, or that the threat of racist recrudescence is past. But we must still acknowledge that we have made enormous forward strides and that without the resources of government such progress would have been unthinkable.

So much more can still be credited to government's good works. The silent spring Rachel Carson so painfully evoked, an eerie landscape emptied of songbirds by deadly pesticides, helped ignite an environmental movement that led to the creation of a regulatory regime that cleaned up the toxic pollutants all around us. American rivers no longer catch fire, as the Cuyahoga did in 1969; dozens of Americans no longer die in smog-induced temperature inversions, as happened at Donora, Pa., in 1948. At the state level, public university systems, such as in Wisconsin and California, charged no or only nominal tuition, educating a generation and building the human capital American society so desperately needed to sustain and replicate itself.

But all of this now seems as quaint as dirigibles or horse-drawn buggies. We no longer quest after greatness. Rather, we inhabit a petty, crankish, small-minded world, in which politics is dominated by grievance and resentment. Republicans have had thirty years to make perfect this message -- We demand lower taxes! What has government ever done for you? It merely gives those other people, those slackers, something for nothing! Shrink government and drown it in the bathtub!

I see his point. My own experience, of course, taught me something different-- in criminal law, more government at times has been the problem. Over-criminalization is a real thing, and a dangerous one.

What do you think

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Maplewood, Brad Brandon, Gays, and... Hitler!

Minneapolis News and Weather KMSP FOX 9
Last night in Maplewood, I spoke at a forum on the Minnesota marriage amendment. It was a great discussion, and a good forum. Sadly, despite sincere and lengthy efforts, they could not get anyone from the group in favor of the amendment, Minnesotans for Marriage, to show up.

That may be just as well, given that Minnesotans for Marriage has a "Church Outreach Director," Brad Brandon, who has been using a powerpoint (in his official capacity as a spokesperson for that group) that compares people against the amendment (like me) to Adolph Hitler.

The truly bizarre twist is that his larger point is that if the amendment doesn't pass, people who are against gay marriage will be criticized for their views and "silenced"-- a point he makes by trying to silence his opponents by comparing them to Hitler?


Oh, oh, oh! Donald Trump has something to say!

Donald Trump is claiming that he has a very very very big announcement to make today regarding President Obama. What might it be? Any guesses?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Oh my! Cal Tech on probation for NCAA violations...

Wandering the campus of Cal Tech last week, I happened to pick up the school newspaper, the Tech. Wow! What a bizarre read...

First of all, Cal Tech (ranked as the best university in the world) is on NCAA probation for athletic rule violations. Really. For a division III team that plays in a league with Pomono-Pitzer and Citrus College, it's a little hard to believe.

More inscrutable, though, is the Tech's humor page-- it's like a scrambled version of the Family Circus.

Then there is this: The Freshman class at Cal Tech includes "a blacksmith, an individual who created a measurement system consisting entirely of Froot Loops®, and a young woman from Iowa who designed her own wetsuit." I get the first two, but why in the heck is someone in Iowa even wanting a wetsuit? Hmmmm....

Monday, October 22, 2012


Haiku Winner: The Spanish Medievalist!

First to write, and my own favorite, was this reflection on autumn by the Medievalist:

Oh red maple tree!
High expression of autumn,
Announcing winter.

For one thing, it reveals something intriguing about our friend the Medievalist-- he's from Minnesota, where the red maples real do announce that winter is close behind. There are real seasons here, and they move fast.

The Medievalist studied at the University of Minnesota, where he had fair-to-middling grades, but one great talent: He made incredible tacos. Upon graduating with a C average, he opened his first business, aptly named "Taco Savant." It was located on a hot corner of Dinkytown, near the UM campus, and he soon branched out to 37 locations in Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota, Iowa, and Waco, Texas.

A mere five years after founding the business, the Spanish Medievalist sold all of the restaurants save the Waco location to Olson-Johnson Industries of Minnetonka for $37 million.

Now rich, he decamped to the remaining Waco location where a confused Baylor employed understood his taco-making abilities to reflect an academic aptitude for Spanish language and history, and he was hired as a full-time faculty member. Selling the last taco stand to the Fiesta family (who now operate it as "La Fiesta"), the Medievalist proved the confused Baylor employed correct, and now has risen to the top of his second profession.

Huzzahs, Spanish Medievalist!

Sunday, October 21, 2012


Sunday Reflection: Grace and violence

About a year ago, my parents were visiting, and my mom broke her hip. She ended up having to stay in Minnesota for weeks as she recovered, doing physical therapy and building up her strength.

She is tough, and strong. Despite her hip replacement, she worked on her recovery so thoroughly that last week she went for a 15 mile walk. When she got back, she sat down at her desk in the living room, the old folding-shelf desk where she has paid bills for 40-some years, and she wrote thank-you letters to everyone who helped her-- the doctor who did the surgery, the nurses, the people at the nursing home where she recovered-- telling them how much their work had mattered.

What a wonderful thing to do! Wonderful, and rare.

This week, in Los Angeles, I was driving past a large hotel. In front of the hotel one man was savagely beating another. The victim was lying on the ground, unconscious, while the other man was straddling him, MMA-style, and punching him in the head again and again as the victim offered no defense. With each blow, the victim's head was bouncing off of the pavement. A small crowd stood around, watching passively. One man was filming it with his phone; two blue-jacketed security guys from the hotel stood behind the scene, making little effort to intervene.

I'm certain that the beating (perhaps killing) had little to do with anything important. It probably started with a stupid comment or a dispute in a bar.

The tragedy is that the violent act is such an accepted part of our society, while the act of kindness is often hidden and unnoticed. As I waited for my plane, a boy sitting next to me was playing a video game that eerily re-created the violence I had seen on the street-- in our culture, such violence is entertainment for children.

In the end, I reflected on a simple, sad truth: That in our nation of Christians, following the teaching of Christ is as counter-cultural as it was in his own day.

Saturday, October 20, 2012


Tom Snyder interviews Iggy Pop...

... and it is awesome.

Friday, October 19, 2012


Haiku Friday: Autumn Memories

Traditionally, haiku often dealt with the seasons, and this is the right time to return to that tradition. In Minnesota, it is the heart of a real autumn-- a blanket of red and gold leaves, crisp air, and the unpacking of sweaters.

I think that fall, more than any other season, unlocks deep and meaningful memories, so let that be our topic for today. It can be from any fall of your life, about any event... just so long as it matters to you.

Here is mine:

New Haven Autumn
Stone buildings, red leaves, and dreams
My eyes wide open.

Now it is your turn-- just make it 5/7/5 for syllable count, and strive for the prize-- your bio here on Monday!

Thursday, October 18, 2012


Political Mayhem Thursday: Two moderates, toe to toe

I'll be honest: I think that the differences between the presidential candidates are being overstated. Both are actually quite moderate, based on their records in office, and probably would not differ that much as President, especially with a split Congress impeding any significant initiatives.

The two major differences I see would be (1) The Supreme Court justices they would pick, and (2) the tax policies they would pursue. I suspect there would be more divergence on the first of these than the second, and it does matter. I also have a greater fear with Gov. Romney that he would engage us in war too easily.

In many other areas, though, I suspect that hard-core conservatives would be as disappointed with a President Romney as hard-core liberals were with President Obama... and that may not be a bad thing.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Oh, Spam!

For some reason, in the past few months I have been getting tons of spam comments on the blog. Some are in Russian, others seem to just be a jumble of characters. Other times, though, I get something that is... close to right. For example, check out this submission from yesterday, in the form of a comment to a post titled "The Gift of Disappointment":

It's going to be ending of mine day, however before finish I am reading this fantastic paragraph to increase my know-how.
Feel free to surf my weblog : small cribs

Two short sentences, yet so much intrigue!

First, there is the apparent context of an internet enthusiast ending his day by reading my blog. In mid-paragraph, he stops to write me a comment about the fantastic-ness of said paragraph, which announces his intention to continue reading that fantastic paragraph right up to the end.

Second, somehow my ruminations on disappointment are going to increase his "know-how," raising the question of what he might be learning how to do by reading that paragraph. Be disappointed?

Finally, this mid-paragraph reverie concludes with a somewhat abrupt reference to his own blog, which seems to be dedicated to "small cribs."

And who doesn't want to find out more about small cribs?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012



Yesterday, CNN put up this piece of mine on two key elections, and it ended up on the front page of Google News (woo hoo!).

Also, this past Sunday the Waco Trib ran this piece about politics, influence and power.

I love writing-- and I'm getting to do it more and more. Best of all, though, to my mind, was something I didn't write-- this article about working with Teresa Collett.

Monday, October 15, 2012


Haiku Winner: Ang!

So many great sport legends... and some pretty darn good haiku last week. My favorite, though, was this entry from Ang:

Jose Cruuuuuuuz at bat!
Happy times spent with my dad:
Go, Houston Astros!

It might seem artificial to turn "Cruz" into two syllables, but not if you ever heard that crowd! They did exactly that.

What Ang is not telling us is the real excitement that revolved around her in 1981, a year in which the Astros made the playoffs. The Astros won games one and two, but the third game, to be held in Houston, was threatened by the incipient arrival of Hurricane Lydia, a class-4 storm headed straight for Texas's largest city.

Seeing the danger the storm posed to her favorite sport, Ang was able to divert the storm through and ingenious system of ducts, flibberdigibits, and funiculars.

Because of the success of these efforts, Ang was given a key to the city in 1999 by Mayor Ralph Sampson.

Sunday, October 14, 2012


Texas and Minnesota...

Back in Texas, I have this piece in today's Waco Tribune-Herald. It's based on the sermon I gave last month in Menomonie, Wisconsin.

Meanwhile, St. Thomas put together this wonderful profile about the way my work interacts with that of my friend and colleague Teresa Collett.


Sunday Reflection: Fully God, Fully Man, Fully Confusing

In the past year or so, a lot of things about the Christian faith have become clearer to me. The trinity, for one thing-- the mysterious concept of the Holy Spirit has become much more real and meaningful.

Another idea that has often confused me-- the idea that Jesus was both fully God and fully man-- became clearer this week.

Among many other things (it was a busy week), I gave a colloquium talk on Thursday to other members of the faculty at St. Thomas. I was talking about commutation, based on this paper.

When I was done, Rob Vischer asked a great question: Isn't what I was describing as mercy fundamentally different than the mercy described in the Bible, because Jesus was (as part of the trinity) both maker of the mosaic law and then the giver of exceptions.

In a way, he was exactly right-- of course we cannot replicate that, because we are not the Creator.

In another, though, it is fair to look to the gospel stories as an example of how we can show mercy to one another. Jesus was a man, and sometimes a very vulnerable one. His duality, God and Man, lived out the two Great Commandments. He showed us both how to love our God, but also how to love our neighbor-- and part of that was by showing mercy.

It must be a part of our lives, this mercy to one another, because if it isn't we cannot survive very long, or very well.

Saturday, October 13, 2012


Also, who names their child "Blob?"

I'd like to return, briefly, to my all-time favorite TV commercial (above). Here is the question for all Razorites-- the three characters in the spot (Blob, Super Sugar Bear, and SSG's Girlfriend) all have different regional accents. Can you answer the following four questions?

1) Where in Super Sugar Bear from?
2) How about his Girlfriend?
3) Where is Blob from?
4) And in what part of the country is this particular ad set?

Friday, October 12, 2012


Haiku Friday: Old Time Athletes

Former Detroit Lion Alex Karras died this week. He was one of the old-school athletes who played in a different age-- back when pro athletes often had second jobs in the off season, lived in middle-class neighborhoods, and lived out their lives with often terrible injuries.

When I was a kid, hockey great Gordie Howe owned the rink in the next town over. I would sometimes play hockey or go to free skating at Gordie Howe Hockeyland, and if you goofed around it was possible that Gordie Howe would come out and yell at you.

So, let's haiku about those old-school guys this week. Here is mine:

Alex Karras, then
Post-game, Lindell AC
Eating a burger.

Now, you write one! The winner gets a bio here on Monday. 5/7/5 for syllables... but we're not too picky here at the Razor.

Thursday, October 11, 2012


Political Mayhem Thursday: Diversity and Affirmative Action

The arguments yesterday in the Supreme Court about affirmative action have me thinking about these tough issues and the value of diversity. It is, truly, a hard question.

Many, many years ago, I left Grosse Pointe to start my freshman year at William and Mary in Virginia. When I got there, I found a fascinating mix of people who challenged one another in complex ways.

Race aside, there were three large blocs of students at William and Mary:

1) A big group of students from the DC suburbs, most of whom had excelled at very good public schools.

2) About 35% of the class was comprised of out-of-state students, who usually had better credentials than the in-state students (because of a limit on the number of out-of-staters admitted). Among this group, out-of-state women were the most qualified of all, because there were many more female applicants.

3) Of the remainder, many were from smaller Virginia communities (Richmond, Lynchburg, Staunton, etc.) and were from the more affluent families in those areas.

4) Because many more women than men applied to W & M, and they wanted to keep a gender balance, the women were much more qualified.

There were people of various races from each group.

The challenges between groups were intriguing. For example, the Northern Virginians suddenly were among people even better at school than they were (the out-of-staters). The smaller-city people were from less egalitarian areas, and came off as snobs to some of the others. The out-of-staters did not know the customs of Virginia, and sometimes were unintentionally rude. The best students and the student leaders were often women, and the men (especially from smaller towns in Virginia) were in some cases not used to that.

This diversity was a direct result of two kinds of affirmative action: That favoring Virginia residents (which disfavored me), and that favoring men (which benefitted me).

The results of this affirmative action mattered. It made all of us better. The Northern Virginians were made better students by the challenge of smart kids from Ohio and California and Maine. The out-of-staters learned the ways of a new culture. The smaller-town Virginians became more flexible socially. We all became comfortable with women as leaders in all types of positions.

I benefitted from that diversity, and I am still thankful for it. It made me a better student and a better person.

However, it was not, for the most part, the racial diversity, attained by affirmative action, that the Supreme Court is going to rule on this term, in a case out of the Univ. of Texas's law school. It was affirmative action that favored men and Virginians.

Is affirmative action worthwhile? Who benefits from it?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


Ooooh! A clemency music video!


Patient Bear Waits Patiently

So, I was waiting to post today until a piece I have on CNN comes up online, but it's still not there... sorry about that.

Of course, the Razor should not be one's only news source. Fashion, sure, but not news.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012


The Importance of the second dancer

I really liked Desiree's recent post over at The Green Momster on dancing and environmentalism. I particularly liked her point about the important of the second dancer. People who know me well know that one of my pet peeves about education is that there is too much "leadership" training, and not enough "follower" training. Of course, people who know me well also know that I can be a pretty cranky follower!

There are no known videos, fortunately, of me dancing. This is as close as you can get (and it also shows me being a crabby follower!):

Monday, October 08, 2012


Haiku Winners: NAW and PTC!

Our short form winner is PTC (who I can only assume is Pickles the Cat), for this so-true gem:

Obama? Romney?
Where will I find the answer?
I'll just check Facebook!

In the long-form category, the winner is St. Stephens' own Neil Alan Willard, with this entry:

“A country lawyer”
was Sam Ervin, senator
during my childhood.

A long time ago
I shared a cubicle with
Jesse Helms’ son. True.

Bush and Dukakis:
“The Grapple in the Chapel”
Wake Forest debate.

At my little red
church, Carroll Campbell, Senior,
would talk of Junior.

The daughter called me:
“Mom wants a priest to visit.”
John Lindsay had died.

Walking the dog on
“DOG” Street, we saw “Liddy” Dole
leaving the old church.

Williamsburg’s former
mayor died. I preached, mentioned
his pet flying squirrel.

Tim Kaine: “I will al-
ways consider it the high-
light of the weekend.”

At Bruton Parish
Senator John Warner met
me in the churchyard.

My wife’s first night out
after the baby was born —
she met Al Franken.

Politicians and
babies: Edina’s mayor
met ours at breakfast.

And here is a video to tell their story:

Sunday, October 07, 2012


Sunday Reflection: The Dangerous Animals

This piece is cross-posted over at Sojourners.

This week, thousands of churches will host a “blessing of the animals” to coincide (more or less) with the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi. I’ve been to several of these, and what I remember best is a lot of barking, bored cats, and uninspired sermons. Most commonly, the sermon follows something like this trajectory: “My Mom/Grandmother/Elderly Friend has sweet little dog. She loves the dog very much. The dog loves her. That dog is the presence of God in her life.” This is followed by a round of not-completely-affirming barks and mews.

The problem is not that this all isn’t true — I’m sure that it is, including the last part. The problem is that it does too little to recognize the complex power of animals in God’s creation, or even in the life of St. Francis. The Saint, after all, engaged the dangerous animals, too, and most famously blessed a wolf.

In Genesis, the animals came first; they arrive on Day Five, while we are not created until Day Six. It wasn’t just the lap dogs that were created on that fifth day: God not only creates “great sea monsters” but surveys it all and declares it “good.” The pages of the Bible then overflow with dangerous animals. There are dragons, evil serpents, the wolf in the parable of the good shepherd, and even the demon from the pit in the book of Revelation, described as “The Beast.”

It’s too easy, though, to simply think of the domesticated animals in the Bible (the sheep, the donkey ridden by Jesus) as good, and the wild animals as evil. There is something, after all, to the fact that C.S. Lewis chose a wild and decidedly dangerous carnivore, a lion, to represent Christ in the Chronicles of Narnia.

The wild animals, unlike the tame ones, are beyond the line that divides the known from the unknown. It is a line that Jesus transgressed regularly and in a singular way — by walking on the water, for example, and in transcending death. Peter tries to cross that time line between land and sea, but he sinks. We are not God.

The phrase “… and the lion will lie down with the lamb” is not actually in the Bible; it is at best a rough approximation of Isaiah 11:6. The power of that image, though, draws from the trampling of the line between wild and tame, known and unknown — it is our reconciliation with God.

This year, again, I will be in church as the dogs and cats and fish in bowls are brought to the altar to be blessed. I won’t make the mistake, though, of thinking that God is like that sleepy cat or priest-sniffing dog. We do not own and control God. God does not do what we want. Rather, God, if he really is a God, is largely unknown to us, glimpsed briefly through the trees.

Does it matter, though? It might.

If God was pleased with his creation of sea monsters and those wild things, I would imagine there is little good in their destruction. We live in a time where the wild spaces are almost gone, and we glimpse the dangerous animals not through the gap between trees but behind the bars of a zoo. There is a part of creation that is nearly gone, and all the lap dogs in the world cannot make that right.

Saturday, October 06, 2012


The Return of Tanner Underwood

Several months ago, I wrote about the accident and injuries to Tanner Underwood, back in Texas.

This week, a wonderful thing happened-- Tanner finally came home, and the whole town of Lorena, Texas came out to meet him:

Friday, October 05, 2012


Haiku Friday: Biden to the rescue! And everything else re politics

Now that the President kinda messed up the first debate, they are counting on Joe Biden to come to the rescue in the upcoming vice-presidential debate.

Everything is suddenly more interesting!

So, you can write about anything you want as long as it has to do with politics. You can even haiku about President Clinton!

Here is mine:

Biden party bus
Rocking to the debate site
Oh, no... Stockdale II?

Now it is your turn! Just make it five syllables, seven, then five. If you win... your bio here on Monday!!!!

Thursday, October 04, 2012


Political Mayhem Thursday: The Debate!

So... what didya think of last night's presidential debate? Most think the edge goes to Romney.

For much of the debate, I found myself wondering what was going on with the President-- he seemed distracted and tired. He's usually good at these, but he was not last night. It might be that he simply did not focus on it, or prepare well enough, or that there is some international event going on he has had to deal with-- but probably the former.

Or, if you don't want to talk about that (which seems to be the case), what do you make of this letter in today's Minneapolis Star-Tribune? I'm not Catholic, but have heard some Catholics express this viewpoint while others vehemently disagree:

I find it utterly amazing that so many so called Catholics are so utterly hostile to Archbishop John Nienstedt's request asking for funds to support the marriage amendment. If you are Catholic, chances are that what the church believes and teaches about marriage should come as no surprise to you. But the ridiculous anger and blatant disregard for authority are embarrassing to those of us who actually stand with the church. If you don't want to have to obey the bishops of the church, leave. It's that simple. Better fewer and more faithful Catholics than pews full of Judas Iscariots who could care less, or worse, who are actually enemies of the faith.


Wednesday, October 03, 2012


Just up at God's Politics!

I've never done anything for the Sojourner's publications, though it seems like a good fit for me. So, this morning I cobbled together a piece on animals that they just put up on their "God's Politic's" blog, titled Remember the Dangerous Animals.

Check it out!


Uh-oh, American Airlines...

You know how you can tell things are bad at an airline?

When stories about their flights start to use the term "Kafkaesque." Here is the start of one such piece, from the New York Times:

You, American Airlines, should no longer be flying across the Atlantic. You do not have the know-how. You do not have the equipment. And your employees have clearly lost interest in the endeavor.

American has been a lousy airline for a while now. Too often, the same dynamic appears: The employees hate the company, and take it out on the customers.

I have been complaining about AA for at least five years, but now it appears that I have a lot of company...

Tuesday, October 02, 2012


A dream realized, followed by disaster

This past weekend, one of my life goals was finally accomplished-- I met Goldy Gopher. He starred in my favorite video, taught me how to do my laundry, and is a man-about-town (er, gopher-about-town) here in Minneapolis.

Anyways, I was at a cross country meet, and saw that there were some problems with the course layout, so I brought it to his attention:

He nodded gravely, and then headed over to discuss this with the meet officials:

Goldy raised the matter with them:

There was some confusion...

This ended badly, with the Gopher being thrown out of the event:

I am, of course, deeply troubled about the whole thing, especially given Goldy's unfortunate history with St. Thomas professors.

Sorry, Goldy!

Monday, October 01, 2012


Haiku Winner: Renee!

Renee writes great stuff every week, but I gotta spread the love around. Still, the story in this one was special even within her oeuvre:

Freddie's Chinese Food
Dinner for 6,Cantonese
Mrs.Ng cooked heaven.

Bar-be-que pork,dipped
In hot mustard,then sesame
Seeds,Almond chicken.

Summers, sis and I
Had waitress jobs.She flirted
With Fong,lobbed salt at me.

Chopsticks not forks flew
Clicked like castanets,shrimp
Bread goldyellow,hot.

Exotic fare for kids
Whose father stood on Great Wall
He would not return.

Little known (until now) was the effect this experience had on Renee's later work. As a flight attendant for Northwest Airlines, some passengers knew a wonderful secret: They only had to whisper "I want a number 11" to Renee at mealtime and await something wonderful. Because, indeed, she would disappear into the galley and make Freddie's famous #11, the mustard-fried pork.

Of course, it was kind of a mess, and took her out of commission for a while, and the other customers were jealous as they were served rubbery chicken, but for those few special people... well, flying was worthwhile.

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