Sunday, March 31, 2013

 

Sunday Reflection: Easter


Once again, it has been a remarkable Lent.

There was a new realization for me this year; that the events of Holy Week are truly chaotic.  Jesus and his disciples come into town and take a donkey they don't pay for.  After that, Jesus basically promises that the city will be destroyed, then goes on to tear up the Temple, see his disciples arm themselves, suffer a violent arrest, and then he is tortured and killed.

It's really a disturbing story, in the end.

But then, after he is killed, the real miracle occurs.  He is Risen.

But... that's not all.  Only then does the deepest miracle occur.  Rather than wreak vengeance on his oppressors, he engages in simple, common acts of love.  He speaks the truth to some strangers on the road, and reassures the women who are mourning.  He waits alone on the shore in the very early hours of the morning.  As dawn breaks he goes fishing with his friends, and then makes breakfast.  The story ends there.  There is no climactic battle scene, no hero's parade, because this is something more than a movie.

This passage from John 21 is one of my favorites, because of the simple humanity in it.  Remember, as you read it, that the disciples have just been through that week of chaos, and are encountering someone who had just been tortured and executed:

When they had gone ashore, they saw a charcoal fire there, with lots of fish on it, and bread.... Jesus said to them "come and have breakfast."  Now none of the disciples dared to ask him "who are you?" because they knew it was the Lord.  Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and then did the same with the fish.

Simple, gentle, unexpected acts are the way to reconciliation, peace, and hope, even in the wake of great chaos.  That, too, is part of the example we remember today.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

 

The Trial of Jesus- Austin


Thursday's Trial at First Baptist Church in Austin, Texas was remarkable.  Over 400 people came, and it was broadcast to Austin, Waco, and San Antonio.  There was something especially good this time, which probably came as much from the audience as from anything that we did.  Roger Paynter and his church were exceptional hosts, and I think we will be hearing about this one for a while...

Before the trial, I had missed this great story from the Assoc. Baptist Press, which got some good quotes from Bill Underwood and Alan Bean.

Friday, March 29, 2013

 

Haiku Friday: Breakfast

I think breakfast can be the most poetic of meals.

Let's haiku about that today-- tell us what you eat, how it looks, maybe a description of your favorite breakfast ever... here, I will go first:

Pancake House, near home,
Bacon thick as summer heat
Coffee and best friends.

Now it is your turn-- just make it 5/7/5, syllable-wise, and related to breakfast!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

 

Political Mayhem Thursday: Sex at Baylor



A week ago, I got an anonymous message from a group at Baylor that is trying to foster a more open discussion of sexuality (and particularly the role in society of GLBT people).  They wanted me to write something for them, so I did, with the caveat that it could not be published anonymously, but only with my name attached.

You can read that piece here.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

 

IPLawGuy, Criminal Lawyer


Last night's trial at St. John's Episcopal Church in Boulder, featuring IPLawGuy, was pretty awesome.  We had wonderful witnesses, a great discussion afterwards, and several hung juries.   I believe that at one point IPLawGuy also referred to a Roman Centurion as a "feckless stump."

Really, though, it was an incredible pleasure to try a case with this wonderful longtime friend.  As I sat down after examining Peter, for example, he wrote down a word on a notepad and slid it over to me.  It said "Vipers."

I knew what he meant-- that I had forgotten to bring in that Jesus referred to the Pharisees as a "brood of vipers."  It was important and short and correct, of course.  That's what I thought it would be like, and it was.  Old friends can communicate that way.  It's a subtle and elegant thing.

Today... off to Texas!  It feels good to be going back to the Lone Star.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

 

A death.


Several years ago, shortly after I started this blog, I wrote a little piece about one of my colleagues at Baylor, Kristen Schroeder Simpson (as she was then known).  She was smart and fun and quick-witted, and students loved her class.

Yesterday, I got an anonymous comment to that post from 2006, saying just "RIP."  I didn't know what that was about, and almost dismissed it as spam.  Instead, though, I did a quick search and found that Kristin had, in fact, died at the age of 38.  Her body was found about a month after she went missing in Nebraska. A news report revealed that foul play was not suspected.

Her death is sad on many levels, many of which I do not know or understand.  Sigh.

I considered taking down that post from seven years ago about Kristin, but decided not to.  Even though that piece was written in jest, it held truths.  I described her (through hyperbole) as a person of many and surprising talents (which was true), someone who was capable of surprising you (also true), and that she influenced people in a wide variety of places and ways (truest of all).





Monday, March 25, 2013

 

It's Renee!



This was awesome:

Who is Silence? You
Silly-song;He slinks away.
Takes peace with him.

I am not Mistress
Of my fate...You are. You call,
Even hound me in baths.

Once in a movie
I put You in purse with beer.
That shut you up...good.

O you're good in pinch...
Car breaks down or hooligan
Threatens...Blessed GPS.

You are devilish when
Lost. I never lost my old
Phone--tethered to wall.

What's become of letters?
Missives of love,regard?
You abbreviate life.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

 

Sunday Reflection: Bill Smith

Not all moments are equal.  Last Sunday was extraordinary.

As I described here, I was able (through the kind invitation of Dr. Joanne Braxton) to give a sermon in the Wren Chapel.  I can't really fully describe that experience; it was a Holy Spirit moment just to be in that room.

It's a small room, and intimate. We were crowded together on facing benches.  Dr. Braxton directed the liturgy, and from the first moment you knew it would be something deep and powerful.  We did the usual church things-- sang and prayed and I preached-- but there was a hush to it all, a solemnity and joy all at once.

Part of that joy came from the people who were there.  As I described last week, there were people from each part of my life, from childhood to the present; many (though not all) of the people who know me best were in that small room, a cloud of saints, and we sang.

One of those people was Laurie Smith, who was my babysitter (not recently-- back when I was 8).  She is a gentle, wise, warm woman who lives in New York now.  She was such a model of grace to me in that moment in the Wren Chapel, because she was grieving.  Only weeks ago, she lost her young and talented daughter, Shana, an unimaginable thing.  Years ago, she lost her brother, Sandy, who taught me and every other kid in my town how to play tennis. After that service last Sunday, one week ago, she lost her father, Bill Smith, who died in a hospital in Richmond.

We were neighbors.  He was not just any acquaintance, but a neighbor, who cares about and enjoys and brings joy to the people who are lucky enough to be nearby.  He was exactly that-- and I have never known another quite like him-- someone who was always interesting and smart and funny.  As I wrote previously, I went to William and Mary in part because I thought it would help me become more like him and his brilliant wife Jane.

I reconnected with that family recently, when I started working with Craig Anderson and his church in Richmond (the Smiths had moved to Richmond after I started college).   Mr. Smith was the same as when he lived down the block-- someone who was always (in combination with his bride) the smartest, funniest, most joyous person in the room.

There was great irony in his name:  "Bill Smith."  It is about the most common name there is, something you might be assigned in a witness relocation program, but the person who bore it, in Detroit and Virginia and now in Heaven, was about the most singular, unique soul that I have known.  I miss him, and will, and am glad to have sung with him in an empty restaurant as the bartender leaned over the counter, smiling.






Saturday, March 23, 2013

 

In the Austin American-Statesman!






There is a great story today about our trial this week in the Austin American Statesman by Juan Castillo.  Here is an excerpt:

Christians seem to make a distinction between Jesus’ wrongful execution and the execution of criminals, in part, Osler said, “because Christians tend to see Christ as unimaginably good and capital defendants as unimaginably bad. (But) Jesus taught that, ‘When you visit someone in prison, you visit me.’ He didn’t say when you visit the innocent person.”

At the heart of the Christian faith, said Bishop, is the execution of a man who himself stopped an execution, that of a woman accused of adultery. In the Gospel of John, Jesus tells the crowd that he who is without sin should cast the first stone. The woman is one of the witnesses Bishop calls.
 

In 1990, Bishop’s sister, her brother-in-law and their unborn child were murdered in a home invasion near Chicago, a case that did not result in the death penalty. The murders only increased her opposition to capital punishment, she said.

“I understood the grief and loss of someone you love having been taken suddenly and violently,” Bishop said. “The way to honor my sister is not through more bloodshed; digging another grave will do nothing but create another grieving family like mine.”


 

You know who I miss on the Razor?



I miss Jon Swanburg's Mom.  Partly because of exchanges like this, following a post analogizing Jon Swanburg to a character in the Garfield comic strip:


Blogger Jonathan Swanburg said...

I appreciate you remembering the good old days and yes, Garfield would have changed everything except the PC induced disappearance. No matter how hard you try, nothing can stop it.

As a side note, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn my mother once dated Jim Davis.


Blogger Micah said...
Oh yes, that whole Meatloaf incident. I wonder who else she has dated.


Swanburg's Mom said...

I realize that Jon made his choice to attend Baylor Law after seeing a shirt announcing – Baylor Law where fun goes to die -- his blog indicates that this might be true.
I did not date Jim Davis but John & Bunny Hoest of Howard Huge cartoon fame did party at our home a time or two.



Swanburg’s Mom

Friday, March 22, 2013

 

I like that!

This little piece by Diane Jennings of the Dallas Morning News does a good job of summing up next week's project...

 

Haiku Friday: "Now can you hear me?"


In Williamsburg earlier this week, I saw the guy pictured above step away from his portrayal of Peyton Randolph (or some such character) and take a call on his cell phone.  Or, at least try to-- the AT & T service in Williamsburg is really terrible.

Cell phones are important parts of our lives.  Let's haiku about that-- the phones we have hated or loved, the problems they cause, the mistakes they have enabled...

Here, I will go first:

Once owned a brick,
Worked only once in a while...
Still, a miracle.

Now, you go!  Make it about 5 syllables/7syllables/5 syllables... and check out the competition as it rolls on!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

 

PMT: An Idea from Phil Steger re the Iraq War


One of the more remarkable St. Thomas students I have gotten to know is Phil Steger, who thinks and cares deeply about the right things.  He sent me this reflection, and gave me permission to run it here.  I welcome your thoughts.


A New Holiday for the Anniversary of the Iraq War

Ten years ago today the US invaded Iraq, according to a plan hatched by Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld and ordered by George W. Bush. I had spent the prior three years trying to prevent the war and the next five years trying to end it. I had been in Iraq just six months before. The country the US invaded was hungry and impoverished. Its currency worthless, its infrastructure in ruins, its children weak with sickness and malnutrition. Its sectarian and tribal rivalries, including Islamic extremists, ruthlessly suppressed by a brutal strongman the US once backed: Saddam Hussein. Its weapons programs destroyed by UN weapons inspectors. Its military brittle, underequipped, divided. Yet, war promoters in government and the media warned of Iraq's imminent threat to the rest of the world. They also promised, contradictorily, that invading and occupying the country would be a "cakewalk."

They were all wrong. The US ripped open Iraq's fragile fabric with no thought as to what to do next. No thought about security, reconstruction, reconciliation. No thought about the men and women they'd ordered to occupy a country they didn't understand. No plan for protecting the millions of Iraqi children dangling on the edge of life. And yet those responsible for the disastrous war and its catastrophic consequences paid nothing for their horrific misjudgment. Its architects and defenders retained their privileged positions--and rich salaries--in government and the media. All the costs were passed on to others: the 100s of 1000s of Iraqi dead; the 1000s of American dead; the maimed bodies and dismembered minds of surviving children and soldiers; the trillion dollar debt from the unfunded invasion and occupation. All paid by those least responsible for the decision to invade and occupy an already-broken country.

America needs a new holiday. Along with Memorial Day, Armistice Day, Veterans Day, and Independence Day, America needs a Contrition Day. A day when we remember that we make mistakes, and that these mistakes are most likely to occur when those in power are allowed to keep secrets and assure the American people to "just trust us" in matters of war and peace, life and death, and when those loyal few who raise questions are shouted down as traitors. A day to remember that when people in power make these mistakes, other people--innocent people, trusting people, honorable people--pay for them. If we would uphold American honor, then we must acknowledge its other half: shame. A National Day of Contrition would create the opportunity to recognize the national shame of an unjust, unnecessary war, recklessly undertaken, negligently planned, and incompetently administered by its planners, even if it was implemented by brave and skillful women and men in the military. Doing so would be a step not backwards into the past, but forward into a future where we collectively admit the possibility of getting it wrong and put more care into getting it right. It would be a step out of unacknowledged guilt and shame toward real reconciliation and strength.

And the date for this new holiday: March 19.


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

 

Back to Minnesota...


Today I am on my way back to the land of dancing rodents, Minnesota.  (albeit, rodents who know how to do their own laundry and can put together a pretty great music video.).

It has been a remarkable few days back in Williamsburg, and I am at a loss to really describe it all.  Yesterday, I had the opportunity to speak to Dr. Joanne Braxton's upper-level non-fiction writing class. I'm a little surprised by this, but I spoke for nearly three hours.  I know-- that's Baptist-preacher-on-a-bender territory, right?!?

It went so fast though-- in part because of the input and help of the students, and in part because of the inspiration of having both Prof. Braxton and Prof. George Greenia there for my talk.  

I have a lot to digest and brood over regarding this trip-- it was deep and real and powerful, all of it.  

Meanwhile, though... dance, Goldy Gopher, dance!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

 

Coming up today at William and Mary! And the world!



I've got three wonderful hours this afternoon to work with upper-level writers this afternoon at William and Mary, thanks again to the opportunity given me by Dr. Joanne Braxton.

In the larger world, my friend and hero of writing Dafna Linzer has been named the new Managing Editor over at MSNBC.com.  She's done a tremendous job the past year writing about presidential clemency in a way that has really changed the issue and how it is seen.  I can't wait to see what she does in the new job!  Stay tuned...

Monday, March 18, 2013

 

This is joy!

At the start of the service yesterday in Wren Chapel, Dr. Joanne Braxton said "This is joy."  That was a perfect description of what it was for me-- to have so many people in one small room who were my mentors, heroes and saints (Laurie Smith, Dr. Braxton, Tom Stanton, Craig and Lori Anderson, George Greenia, etc), and then to be a part of the spirit of that service...

At the same time, yesterday, the Waco Tribune Herald published this piece of mine about the Trial of Jesus upcoming in Austin on March 28.  Interestingly, it appeared on the same page as this hopeful op-ed about immigration from Baylor Prez Ken Starr.

Finally, how could anyone not love Lily of the Valley's haiku from Friday?:

He finally asked
Me to dance."Let's do the twist."
Succulent grapes ripe.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

 

Sunday Reflection: Into the mist


I'm in Williamsburg, getting ready for my sermon tomorrow in the Wren Chapel, pictured above.  It was built in 1732 as an addition to the oldest academic building in America.

Last night, I walked down through my favorite part of William and Mary's campus, the Sunken Gardens just behind the Wren Building.  It was a warm and damp night, and there was a mist rising up from the lawn.

I always loved that mist.  Sometimes I would sit on the steps and just watch it... it would be a still, small moment.  It would be there whether I saw it or not, but I would not see it unless I was willing to create that moment of still and quiet.

And that, my friends, is what I will preach about today:


Wren Chapel Sermon
March 17, 2013

Thirty-two years ago, I came here for college.  I arrived by myself, walking up the steps of Dupont Hall with a vinyl Sampsonite suitcase in one hand and a manual typewriter in the other.  I was entering a very different world than the one I had left in Michigan.

That world had been shaped by chaos.  My first memory is this:  When I was four years old, there were terrible riots in the city of Detroit, where we lived.  There were of 500 hurt or killed, and 2,000 buildings were destroyed.  Children were told to stay inside, of course, but you know what happens when you tell a four year old what to do.

Once I escaped, I ran towards the end of our block towards Warren Avenue, but when I got there I stopped cold.  The United States Army was occupying the city, and driving down Warren was an armored personnel carrier with solders atop it, guns out.  Terrified, I ran the other way.   The last part of that memory is feeling my mother's arms sweeping me up as she ran to me, wrapping me up in love and safety.

It was a moment of chaos, and that matters.  Not all moments are equal. 

The story of Lent, and particularly of Holy Week, is also a story of chaos.  Jesus enters the city triumphantly, but then everything goes crazy.  He tears up the Temple, is hunted down by the authorities, there is torture and death and even his own followers in battle with the authorities, as a slave is maimed.  It was a week that the world changed. 

Where did this chaos, all chaos, come from?  In part, the seed is within the readings for this week and last week.  When we read of the Prodigal Son, we heard a story of a man who felt, rightfully, that his hard work had been disrespected.  This week, there is the story of Mary pouring the oil on Jesus, with Judas objecting.

Judas, of course, is corrected by Jesus, before the whole group.  Shortly thereafter, he becomes a paid informant for the authorities, the one who is able to tell them exactly where to find Jesus at the most opportune moment.  Why Judas?

It was Judas for exactly the reasons that we chose cooperators or informants when I was a prosecutor.  We were trained to look for the person who felt disrespected, rightly or wrongly.  The chaos of Lent was driven by that simple truth; that those who feel unvalued often create chaos.

Is there a solution, a way to avoid this? 

Of course there is, and of course it is on the very pages of this book.  In today's gospel reading, it is striking that Jesus sees the roles of the two women.  He sees their lives, their work.  Dr. Braxton was a student of Gerda Lerner, the Mother of Women's History who died recently, and that was her genius:  She urged us all to look and see what women were doing, so we can make them a recognized part of history.

The solution to chaos is seeing, knowing, and caring.

In Waco, Texas, there is a school that is named in honor of Prof. Rapoport's parents, the Rapoport academy.  It was a wonderful oasis of calm in an area too often plagued by violence and chaos.  I visited there one morning on a school day.  As I walked down the hallway with the principal, she picked a pencil up off the floor.  Turning to a teacher nearby, she said "isn't this Shaniqua's pencil?" and handed it off.

What a remarkable thing!  They knew the students down to their pencils.  That is love we get from God, and what we need to give to one another.  That is the answer to chaos.

Of course, we need to create that calm where we see one another clearly.  My colleague Susan Stabile continues to teach me that. 

When I was here, and things got overwhelming, at times I would sit on the edge of the Sunken Gardens and watch the mist rise up.  It was beautiful and mysterious and good.  The Holy Spirit was there, I suppose, the Holy Comforter, a Mother's arms that wrap us up and make us loved and safe, as we must do for one another.

 

Sunday Reflection: Into the City



My dad taught me some important things, many (most, even) of them when he was not talking to me. For example, I remember him once railing at another artist who was doing most of his work out of a safe, nondescript suburban office park: "There's nothing there to challenge you! There's just driveways!"

He was right, I think-- cities (and in a different way, the wild) challenge us to be better. My own best ideas and writing comes from those times that I hole up in New York, for example. Cities mash us together, and we are all different; challenge is inherent in the process. I remember Eudora Welty once saying of New York something to the effect of "Everything there is difficult, but there are the brilliant moments."

So, is it a surprise that for that chaotic last week Jesus goes to the city? It fits, doesn't it-- the tumult, the crowds, the violence in the Temple, the crowds always present. That is the only place that so much could have happened, so fast and so true.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

 

Stuff is happening!



First off, you might enjoy this great article in the Boston Globe that urges a more active use of the pardon power, and quotes Marc Miller, me, Margy Love, and others.

Next, if you are in Virginia someplace, come to hear me preach in the Wren Chapel at William and Mary on Sunday at 11!  I received this kind invitation from Dr. Joanne Braxton, who was my English professor back in the day (I have described her here previously).

Down the road (well, about 10 days or so down the road), get ready for the Trial of Jesus on Tuesday, March 26 at St. John's Church in Boulder, Colorado (featuring IPLawGuy!) and then on Thursday, March 28 at First Baptist Church of Austin back in good old Texas.

Friday, March 15, 2013

 

Haiku Friday: Middle school


How bad can middle school get?  Well, that's me there on the right.

I really can't explain the haircut.  I think maybe it just took on the shape of the inside of my hockey helmet over the course of a long winter.

At any rate, let's haiku about middle school today.  It can be anything related to your middle school experience:  Dodgeball, clothes you wore to school, that one kid you knew who ate weird stuff, whatever.  Indulge yourself!

Here is mine:

Would have been better
Just to go live on a farm
For those two long years.

Now it is your turn!  I look forward to some illuminating entries.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

 

Political Mayhem Thursday: Pope Francis



There is a new pope, and among other things this was apparently the cause of an impromptu party over on the St. Paul campus of St. Thomas.

He has taken the name of Pope Francis, and has been serving as the Archbishop of Buenos Aires. He is the first Jesuit pope, and the first one from either North or South America, the first non-European pope since 741. Intriguingly, even though he is a Jesuit, he has taken on the name of the founder of another order, the Franciscans [Update: Susan Stabile properly notes in the comments that the choice might also refer to Francis Xavier or Francis de Sales].

What do you think of this choice? Does it matter who the pope is?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

 

Yesterday on HuffPo Live!



Yesterday, I had the interesting experience of talking in a new forum-- HuffPo live, the TV arm of the Huffington Post. I thought my fellow panelists were fascinating. Especially good was my fellow ex-federal prosecutor, Allison Leotta. She has written two great novels, Discretion and Law of Attraction, which overlap with some of the issues we discuss.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

 

D'oh!



This is why we here at the Razor don't employ off-duty Hooter's workers.

Monday, March 11, 2013

 

Dad!



This is one of my favorite haikus ever-- thanks, Dad:

My mother had a
Fear of inanimate objects
I did not listen

Cars break down at the
Farthest distance from our home
And I do not learn

Computers crash only
On unsaved stuff that is good
And I try again

Pens only leak when
They are stored in your good clothes
And when you arrive

I no longer fear
Inanimate objects, I fear
I have become one.

On a biographical note, I would just affirm the part about the cars and computers and pens...

Sunday, March 10, 2013

 

Sunday Reflection: Jeanne Bishop's Story



Today, Jeanne Bishop sent me this remarkable reflection to post:

Each Lent when we get ready to do the trial, something extraordinary happens. The Holy Spirit--which has been described as a still, small voice--turns into a loudspeaker, saying, Do this.

Three extraordinary things this past week:

Saturday: I met with 82-year-old Nicholas Biro, father of David Biro. Twenty-three years ago, the night David was arrested for shooting my sister and her husband and baby, Mr. Biro called. His voice sounded as if he had swallowed broken glass; he said how sorry he was for our tragedy, but that it couldn’t have been David who had killed them. It had to be a mistake.

I don’t remember my exact words to him—something about being in litigation soon and not being able to talk. But I remember what I didn’t say: how sorry I was that he would now be going through a tragedy of his own, the prosecution of his firstborn son for murder. I expressed no compassion. I hadn’t spoken to Mr. Biro since.

I called him to apologize for that. He was gracious and kind. We met for coffee, sat by a fireplace and talked. He has driven hundreds of miles every two weeks for the past 22 years to see David in prison. I told Mr. Biro of my change in heart about juvenile life sentences, that I had written to his son and would go to visit him. When we parted, Mr. Biro took both my hands in his and said quietly, “God bless you.” It felt like just that: a blessing.

Sunday: I met David for the first time, at Pontiac prison. That happened because of an apology, too. All these years, I have waited for him to admit he killed Nancy and Richard and say he was sorry. He never did. Then it struck me: I had spoken publicly about forgiving him, but I never told him. I never communicated that forgiveness directly to him.

I wrote him to say I was sorry for that. He wrote back, 15 handwritten pages, doing something I never dreamed he’d do: he confessed to the murders and apologized.

Walking into the prison on a sunny cold Sunday morning in Lent felt just right. Lent means “Spring,” and I could feel the start of something growing.

Thursday: I went to the Illinois Capitol to testify in favor of changing the law about juvenile life without parole, the sentence David is serving. The reform would give juveniles a chance to be resentenced and released some day. I knew that by doing that, I would be publicly taking a position opposite from the one taken by the only remaining members of my nuclear family: my mother and older sister. I knew they would be there in that hearing room, on the opposite side of the aisle. That prospect felt like a rock in the pit of my stomach.

I reached out for help to my saints—Craig A, among them—and they gave it.
The incomparable Susan Stabile wrote me before the hearing. I had asked her to give me a mantra, something to carry with me into that hearing room.

Susan wrote:

“From the prayer, the Anima Christi: Jesus, with you by my side enough has been given.
(Or, as it is phrased in Phillipians, I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me)”

That prayer hovered around me all day as I walked through the corridors of the Capitol: Enough has been given.

It flooded my heart as I approached my mom and sister before the hearing started, and we wrapped our arms around one another in a long group hug.

video

Saturday, March 09, 2013

 

Obama finally issues some pardons!


... but, according to the paper, at least some of them have been controversial.

Friday, March 08, 2013

 

Haiku Friday: Gadgets







We are surrounded by, and depend on, our gadgets. iPhones, Blackberries, iPads, music players... these and a thousand others populate our world and either delight or bedevil us. Let's haiku about them today!

Here is mine:

First-version Game Boy,
Like a giant brick of fun
I miss it's beep/bloops!

Now it is your turn... just make sure there is a gadget in there, and 5 syllables in the first line, 7 in the second, and 5 in the third...

Thursday, March 07, 2013

 

Just up on the Huffington Post...

Chaos and the Cheerleader. It's about cheerleaders and lent and chaos.

 

Political Mayhem Thursday: Rand Paul is Right



Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky has always been a favorite of the Razor, but up to this point that was pretty much because he is the man who brought us the Aqua-Buddha, back in his Noze Brother days at Baylor.

Now there is a new, and better reason to like him: His talking filibuster of the inevitable Senate confirmation of John Brennan as the new head of the CIA. Here's what I love about it:

First, he's gone old school and is doing a filibuster the right way, by talking aimlessly for days.

Second, he's got a good point. He is filibustering because Attorney General Eric Holder "refused to rule out the use of drone strikes within the United States in “extraordinary circumstances” like the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks." Rand Paul correctly responded that "our Constitution is important, that your rights to trial by jury are precious, that no American should be killed by a drone on American soil without first being charged with a crime, without first being found to be guilty by a court.”

What do you think?

Also, does anyone else think it is a little odd that pro wrestling figure Paul Bearer and Hugo Chavez died at the same time, and both were supposedly 58 years old? There is a certain surprising likeness...

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

 

Oh, yeah... I've stepped in THAT before!

Not long ago, I was whining about how dangerous it is to get Star Wars trivia wrong. Now President Obama has learned that lesson the hard way:




Tuesday, March 05, 2013

 

Rodman in North Korea



Dennis Rodman? Really? The American who gets to go over and meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un-- the only American who gets to do this-- is Dennis Rodman? His story certainly is interesting and sometimes admirable: He was too small to play basketball in high school, ended up eventually attending Southeastern Oklahoma South and then going on to play for championships with the Pistons and Bulls. He was one of the late bloomers I have talked about here previously. Still... all that, plus his stint as a wrestler, commissioner of the Lingerie Football League, and author of two autobiographies (the second is titled "I Should Be Dead By Now"), doesn't really make him statesman material. [I'd better note here that the Obama administration did not pick him for this task-- it appears that Kim Jong Un did]

For what it is worth, if there turn out to be future missions, it looks like Mason Reese is available:




Who else should we consider?

Monday, March 04, 2013

 

Hello, Scottsdale!



Last week's haiku was awesome, and I recommend it all. But while you are reading that, I'll be driving out to Scottsdale, based on Renee's haiku description:

The Rusty Spur Bar,Scottsdale,Az

Evilene toted
Margaritas in the dark
While cowboys panted.

She wore a black lace
Blouse cut low and tighter pants
Ronnie sang Hank.

I laid over in
Scottsdale for months.I craved his
Sweet words attention.

Old Mike sat at bar
And gave lonesome advice.
Young Kelland's: "Give in!"

It was a den of sin.
Dear God...let me in!
Rusty Spur beckons!

Sunday, March 03, 2013

 

Sunday Reflection: The Interview

Yesterday, as I was in Caribou Coffee getting ready for my talk today at St. Stephens, I sat at a table next to two men. One was young and black and one was older and white; it was a job interview.

It was, actually, a terrible job interview. The hiring guy asked several illegal questions (i.e., "are you married? Do you live alone?). The interviewee answered most of the questions with a question, rather that an answer. Both, somehow, seemed satisfied with the experience, though.

How much better would our world be if we had to randomly interview people who were very different than us, like Jesus did with the woman at the well, and honestly exchange our truths?

Saturday, March 02, 2013

 

Tomorrow at Church!



Thursdays talk at the 331 Club (pictured above) was a lot of fun-- one thing about talking in a bar is that you end up talking not only to whoever came to see you, but some folks who thought they were just going to a bar. I kind of like that.

Tomorrow, at 10:15, I will be speaking at St. Stephens here in Edina, on the topic of this article. I want to make it exciting, so I'm thinking about something along the lines of the video below. I have most of the pieces lined up, but does anyone out there know how to play the guitar and own a giant ice cream cone outfit? It helps if you are also Episcopalian.


Friday, March 01, 2013

 

Haiku Friday: Best Bar



Last night I got to talk about Guns and Kittens (among other things) at the venerable 331 Club here in Minneapolis-- a great bar with a wonderful crowd, including many of my students.

So what is your favorite bar? It can be actual, virtual, fictional (i.e., the Star Wars Cantina), or whatever. Let's haiku on that!

Here is mine:

Mine? Ye Olde Tap Room,
Half in Grosse Pointe, half Detroit
All of it awesome!

Now it is your turn... make us proud! 5 syllables/7/5, and it doesn't have to rhyme!

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