Monday, April 30, 2007

Scotty's remains in space

By Steve Shoup

TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES, New Mexico (Reuters) - "Actor James Doohan, who played the starship Enterprise's chief engineer Scotty on "Star Trek," finally made it to space on Saturday as a rocket with some of his ashes was launched in New Mexico.

Remains of the Canadian-born actor, who died two years ago at the age of 85, hurtled to the edge of space aboard a telephone pole-size rocket that blasted off from a desert launching grounds near Truth or Consequences."

Read the entire article here.

Thief betrays himself to get free beer

BERLIN (Reuters) - A German phone thief led police right to his front door when they called the stolen mobile to say he had won some free beer and he willingly gave his address.

"An officer called and said, 'You've won a crate of beer'," said a spokesman for police in the eastern town of Neustrelitz Friday.

"Then he asked where he lived so he could drop the beer off, and the guy told him. I think the man was drunk."

Read this article in the Miami Herald about online, anonymous confessionals.

Friday, April 27, 2007

If You Want to Know if Spot Loves You So ------- It’s in His Tail

Read this fascinating (well, for dog people it's fascinating) article in the NYT.

"When dogs feel fundamentally positive about something or someone, their tails wag more to the right side of their rumps. When they have negative feelings, their tail wagging is biased to the left."

Rostropovich Dies

"In 1991, when Communist hard-liners tried to topple the more open regime, Mr. Rostropovich went to Moscow to stand beside Boris N. Yeltsin. And two years later, during the siege of the Russian White House, Mr. Rostropovich, who was touring Russia again with the National Symphony, gave a free concert in Red Square, attended by 100,000 people. Originally planned merely as a gesture to music lovers who were unable to attend the formal indoor concerts, the performance was transformed into a show of support for democratization.

“Russians need to be reminded at times like this that they are a great people,” he told a New York Times reporter at the time. “Events disrupt things a little sometimes, but listening to this music is a reminder that there’s a great nation here.” His soloist for his 1993 Russian tour was Ignat Sozhenitsyn, a pianist and the son of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.

Mstislav Leopoldovich Rostropovich was born in Baku, Azerbaijan, on March 27, 1927.

His parents, Leopold Rostropovich and Sofiya Nikolaevna Fedotov, were both musicians, and his mother began teaching him the piano when he was four. When he was eight, he began to study the cello with his father, who had been a student of Pablo Casals, in Paris. In the mid-1930’s, the family moved to Moscow, where Mr. Rostropovich entered the Gnesin Institute. He made his debut at age 13, playing a Saint-SaĆ«ens Concerto in Slavyansk, Ukraine, and in 1943, when he was 16, he entered the Moscow Conservatory as a student of Semyon Kozolupov.

He also studied composition with Shostakovich, and continued to do so even after the Soviet authorities condemned both Shostakovich and Prokofiev for “formalist perversions and antidemocratic tendencies.” He later studied composition privately with Prokofiev, and although his compositions are not well known, they include two piano concertos, a string quartet and several solo piano works."

Read the complete article in the NYT.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

12-year-old boy beheads alleged spy...on video

"It's very wrong for the Taliban to use a small boy to behead a man," religious teacher Mullah Attullah told Reuters on Thursday.

"I appeal to the Taliban to please stop this because non-Muslims will think Islam is a cruel and terrorist religion.

"The Taliban do not follow the laws of Islam. They are taking advice from foreigners."

Read the Reuters article here.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Saving Free Speech and Jesus

Please read: Nat Hentoff's Saving Free Speech and Jesus: Religious and conservative groups support the 'Bong Hits 4 Jesus' banner under fire at the Supreme Court.

Mr. Hentoff is a splendid reporter and supporter of First Amendment rights. This article details the Deborah Morse, Juneau School Board v. Joseph Frederick case currently before the Supreme Court.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Holy Pregnant Cow!

BERLIN (Reuters) - "A pregnant cow being chased by police and fire fighters caused 25,000 euros ($33,900) of damage on a three-hour rampage through the German city of Hanover.

Uschi escaped from a farm late Monday and became increasingly violent as she encountered shocked drivers and pedestrians in the city.

Pursued by the farmer, television camera crews and 30 police and fire fighters, the Charolais cow lashed out at cars, benches, garden fences and whatever else got in her way during the 5-km chase, authorities said."

Article here.

Vatican views seem...Roman Catholic

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - The Vatican's second-highest ranking doctrinal official on Monday forcefully branded homosexual marriage an evil and denounced abortion and euthanasia as forms of "terrorism with a human face."

Read the entire article.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Sheryl Crow again

"I propose a limitation be put on how many squares of toilet paper can be used in any one sitting."

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Fruity cocktails good for you!

As John Calvin would say, "It's your lucky day."

From a Reuters blog:
"It turns out that a fruity cocktail is not only fun to drink, but may even count as health food, since adding the type of alcohol found in rum, tequila, etc. boosts the antioxidant nutrients in strawberries, blackberries and other colored fruit."

Am I looking for a research grant? Yes.

Read the whole story.

Friday, April 20, 2007


How providential that this April's Table Talk deals with grief.

"We pray that these resources, in some small way, will help you find comfort in the arms of our sovereign God and will help you look for the day when He will “wipe away every tear” from the eyes of His people who rest assured in the finished work of Jesus Christ (Revelation 21:4)."

Explaining Monday

Read Cold Standard: Virginia Tech and the heartlessness of our media and therapy culture by Peggy Noonan.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Children of Hurin

"The first complete book by J.R.R. Tolkien in three decades -- since the publication of The Silmarillion in 1977 -- The Children of Hurin reunites fans of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings with Elves and Men, dragons and Dwarves, Eagles and Orcs. Presented for the first time as a complete, standalone story, this stirring narrative will appeal to casual fans and expert readers alike, returning them to the rich landscape and characters unique to Tolkien.

The Children of Hurin, begun in 1918, was one of three 'Great Tales' J.R.R. Tolkien worked on throughout his life, though he never realized his ambition to see it published. Though familiar to many fans from extracts and references within other Tolkien books, it has long been assumed that the story would forever remain an unfinished tale. Now reconstructed by Christopher Tolkien, painstakingly editing together the complete work from his father's many drafts, this book is the culmination of a tireless thirty-year endeavor by him to bring J.R.R.Tolkien's vast body of unpublished work to a wide audience.

Having drawn the distinctive maps for the original The Lord of the Rings more than 50 years ago, Christopher has also created a detailed new map for this book. In addition, it will include a jacket and color paintings by Alan Lee, illustrator of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings Centenary Edition and Academy Award-winning designer of the film trilogy. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition. "

Buy it TODAY: The Children of Hurin

Amid Chaos, One Notably Restrained Voice

is the name of Alessandra Stanley's article in the NYT . She writes:
"The excruciatingly close-up and continuous coverage of the massacre helps explain why viewers are increasingly turning to Charles Gibson of ABC. When it comes to an anchor’s presence at a major breaking story, less can be more.

And particularly in the middle of so wrenching a tragedy, tone matters as much as content. Hurricane Katrina, even more than 9/11, emboldened television newscasters to fold themselves and their feelings into the story, and that has led to the Anderson Cooperization of the evening news.

Network anchors often behave as if they are the nation’s grief counselors. One reason that Mr. Gibson has been gaining in the ratings could be that he acts like the nation’s newsman."

It's very insightful - read it here.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Horses to be drugged for Stones gig

By Ljilja Cvekic
BELGRADE (Reuters) - "A plan to sedate more than 300 horses stabled at Belgrade's racecourse to keep them calm during a Rolling Stones concert there has enraged Serb animal lovers who are lobbying to have the gig moved to another venue."

Read the entire article here.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Who They Were

Read this great article in the NYT. It includes even more information. For instance, Librescu was also a Romanian Holocaust survivor.

What They Looked Like

This was Ryan Clark, 23. He was going to graduate soon with a triple major: biology, English and psychology - hoping to pursue a career in cognitive neuroscience. He volunteered with a community service group on campus and was an officer in the marching band.

He was the student adviser who died. When he heard gunfire, he ran toward the commotion; the gunman shot him.

This was Prof. Liviu Librescu, a researcher who taught aerospace and ocean engineering.

He died trying to save his students. When “the gunfire started coming closer. Librescu, 77, fearlessly braced himself against the door, holding it shut against the gunman in the hall, while students darted to the windows of the second-floor classroom to escape the slaughter, survivors said.
…classmates hung out of the windows and dropped about 10 feet to bushes and grass below - but Librescu stayed behind to hold off the crazed gunman.
Alec Calhoun, 20, said the last thing he saw before he jumped from the window was Librescu, blocking the door against the madman in the hallway.”

Read the entire article from the NY Daily News.

No More Car Keys

This article in the NYT "Car Keys Could Go the Way of Tail Fins" reveals a new auto trend: pushbutton starters.

Though I personally have never ever lost my car keys, I'm sure this will be a boon to others.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Under Arrest Update

This article is updated with more information. The woman "took more than 30 Tylenol and five 800-milligrams Motrins in an attempt to abort her 13-week-old fetus, according to police and court records."

From the article:
"The charge of second-degree self-abortion is a class B misdemeanor, carrying a maximum penalty of up to 90 days in jail. What does the law say?
Section 125.50 - A female is guilty of self-abortion in the second degree when, being pregnant, she commits or submits to an abortional act upon herself, unless such abortional act is justifiable pursuant to subdivision three of section 125.05."

Muslim Inmates Pray Facing West

Seriously. Dutch policemen (trying to be helpful, of course) painted arrows in jail cells so Muslim prisoners could pray facing Mecca.

"The faulty compass marks have been immediately corrected. It is a mystery for us how this could have possibly happened."

I'm mystified, too. When I screw up I have to say I made a mistake. Can't we just say we erred? I also was not aware that Dutch jails were so...sensitive to their prisoners' needs.


The latest whine and cheese in the church is the drippy (and please say this in your best breathy-spiritual voice): "I'm longing for worship to be...authentic."

From Carl Trueman's article "Where (or How) Is Authenticity to Be Found?"
"First, and most obvious: the psalms should have a central place in Christian worship, both privately and corporately. Martin Luther was once asked by his barber (or, as my kids would say, male hairdresser) how to improve his prayer life. Luther rushed home and wrote a wonderful little treatise on prayer (imagine that: the most significant and busy Reformer in Europe was yet so concerned for his people that he was eager to write a treatise for a barber struggling with prayer!). His primary advice in this work? Read the psalms privately, and if that does not help, go to church and listen to the psalms being sung in public worship. The psalms meet us where we are; and they take us from where we are to where we should be. That is authenticity for you."

Amen, brother. We sang Psalm 119:1-16 this morning; how 'bout you? Oh, and do yourself a favor. Read the entire article.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Happy Birthday Thomas

Thomas is 25 today - he's on the right, John's on the left - talking when he should be posing for the photo. Charlie took the picture at Big River in Chattanooga; one of those rare times when we're all together.

Friday, April 13, 2007

The Scoutmaster

Read a profile of Scoutmaster Walt Whitacre in the April 12 Huntsville Times.
Two quotes from Walt:
"There are some that are just interested in the program and having fun. That's OK. There is a lot to be gained just from being a participating member of the troop. However, my goals for all members of Troop 364 are to have the scouts learn self-reliance, teamwork, leadership and the meaning of personal commitment and responsibility."
"There are a lot of adults who are Pollyannas," Whitacre says. "The world is not going to treat your child sweetly or kindly. The world is a tough place. We've got to teach kids to stand up and have them say they are going to do what they say they are going to do."

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Are we sick yet?

I was fine until I saw this quote on Drudge: " 'Mother Earth is a living organism and when she gets sick we get sick,' Crow told a crowd at Southern Methodist University in Dallas during her kick-off performance Monday."

So are we sick because she is sick or are we going to be sick because she is going to be sick? Has she been sick and so we've been sick?

All because Sheryl Crow is doing a global warming tour. So what if baseball games are cancelled or moved due to snowstorms, and farmers are losing crops because of the cold.

When I was a child, our national fear was the Russian threat. Now we're afraid of the weather.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Southern Cookbooks I

Killing time at Barnes and Noble means catching up on my cookbook reading. Now mind you, I'm not a cookbook collector. I am a cookbook user; I am a cookbook aficianado.

The Lee brothers made their name providing beloved regional foodstuffs to southern expatriates (beginning with the search for boiled peanuts on Manhattan's Lower East Side), which led to writing assignments on southern travel and foodways.
The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook is fun, lovingly written and practical. Matt and Ted Lee understand the ties between southern people, geography, memory and food. The best southern cooks always write about the personal and emotional connection to their land and their people.
They're also reasonable. For instance, the book has two recipes for greens - one traditional and slow, the other modern and zippy - because we don't always have leisurely hours to while away simmering collards.
I'd buy it just for the fig preserve recipe. But you must love men who also bow the knee to real pimiento cheese.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Under Arrest

Read this very brief article about a New York woman who performed her own abortion. I think the arrest has to do more with abortion as medical procedure than abortion as moral wrong.

Not enough details to make the call right now.

CLARIFICATION: Charlie thinks my comments might lead you to believe that I think abortion is morally benign. That is not so.

What I meant to say: Abortion is wrong, but legal. Was this woman arrested because abortion is against the law, or because abortions are legal only if performed by a medical professional?

Back to Blogging

It's true, I'm back. The car accident 12/11 set me back more than I'd like to admit. So here I am, read me.