Not that much of a stretch

Found on a future bookshelf, thanks to the fine folks at Wired:

Dianetics Revisited: the Truth About Scientology.

Check the author. (Use the sideways view at BookOfJoe if you need help.)

Hee hee hee.

Especially funny is its placement a few books down from The GTDism Reader: The Last Testament of the Prophet David Allen. (Merlin Mann, are you listening?)

Also good: the byline on Look Young Forever.

Friday Random 10: Not on a damned plane edition

I can’t stop grinning. This may be because I arrived home after 2 am this morning because of delays flying back from my business trip in Milwaukee and therefore am operating on a massive sleep deficit. But it may also be because of the juxtaposition of “Hey Ya!”, “Word Up” and “The Rubbers Song.” Heh.

  1. Louis Armstrong, “2:19 Blues” (Louis Armstrong of New Orleans)
  2. Elvis Costello, “You Turned to Me” (North)
  3. Neko Case, “Knock Loud” (Canadian Amp)
  4. Shannon Worrell, “Jefferson’s Lament” (The Moviegoer)
  5. Neko Case, “Things That Scare Me” (Blacklisted)
  6. Cameo, “Word Up” (Word Up!)
  7. OutKast, “Hey Ya! (Radio Mix)” (The Way You Move/Hey Ya! [single])
  8. New York Chamber Symphony, Gerard Schwarz (Richard Strauss, composer), “V. Le Trophée” (from Divertimento (after Couperin) (Schoenberg: String Quartet Concerto/Strauss: Divertimento)
  9. The Postal Service, “Against All Odds” (Against All Odds [single])
  10. The Pharcyde, “The Rubbers Song” (Stolen Moments: Red Hot + Blue)

In memoriam: Peter Southwell-Sander

I received an email today indicating that a dreaded moment had come: the Reverend Peter Southwell-Sander, member and adjunct staff of Old South Church and husband of senior minister Nancy Taylor, passed away Wednesday night. I didn’t get a chance to know Peter well, but I mourn his loss, and what I do know about him makes the loss the more painful: Anglican minister, author of books on Puccini and Verdi (!), satirist (!!), baptizer of one of Mick Jagger’s children (??!?!?), and to the end of his life a tireless proponent for the inclusive welcoming nature of God’s love—and the need to translate that into this world for the poor and marginalized all around us.

Nancy and Peter were a model of grace in the face of a long struggle. I mentioned their long dance together earlier in the week; now I believe he dances free of pain in a better place, and I hope that Nancy has some peace after their long shared struggle together.

It’s not opera, but the music that is in my mind now was written by another Briton who found a home in a different religious tradition:

Alleluia. May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.
Remember me O lord, when you come into your kingdom.
Give rest O Lord to your [servant], who has fallen asleep.
The choir of saints have found the well-spring of life, and door of paradise.
Life: a shadow and a dream.
Weeping at the grave creates the song:
Alleluia. Come, enjoy rewards and crowns I have prepared for you.

Lost post: Blogging from 41A

Just found a post I wrote on my transatlantic flight last Friday, June 2, that was never posted, and thought it still was worth reading:

Interesting that on a Lufthansa flight, on an Airbus plane, I am using an in-flight Internet service from Boeing. Somewhat less interesting but more frustrating is that it is as slow as molasses. I am currently experiencing the joy of synchronizing my corporate Outlook account over this slow connection and it’s excruciating. It’s like giving yourself a paper cut and waiting until you bleed to death.

I had an uneventful last night in Munich. My business for the last two days had me at the Munich airport hotel, the Kapinsky, a nice if expensive facility (in room Internet: 20 euros/day; free WiFi provided by what must have been a single router with approximately the same range in coverage distance as your average American Idol pop singer shows in emotion. It was slow in the morning and impossible by the afternoon. Why is it that an $89/night hotel in rural Ohio provides free wireless Internet that works, while a luxury hotel anywhere in the world provides sub-par service and makes you pay for the privilege? Is there a theme emerging here? Am I turning into a Johnny One-Note? Maybe so, but over the last ten years the Internet has inched closer to being an indispensable utility for me, like electricity or conventional telephones, while at the same time hotels and the companies that provide their services remain in the dark ages. At least Lufthansa and the Boeing Connexion service have a technical excuse–they are providing their Internet service over a satellite connection where the base receiver is moving at 600 mph. (Though I should note that conventional satellite-based high speed Internet services provide speeds as much as 100 times greater.)

At any rate, I did something shameful last night. For the first time in eight years of international travel, I had an American fast food meal in a foreign country. (The horror.) My excuse is that our conference wrapped up at 4:30 and I spent the following two hours resolving last minute discussions with our business partners, then had to climb onto back to back one hour calls with the US at 7 pm. With the half hour before the first call, I had to find food quickly, so I took the path of least resistance and grabbed a chicken sandwich from the Burger King outside.

At least I made up for it the previous two nights. My first day in Munich I spent the afternoon at our corporate offices downtown, then headed back to the Marienplatz and a meal of wursts, kraut, and Dunkelweiss at the small Augusteinerbräu beerkellar in the shadow of the Frauenkirche. And the food on Wednesday night was quite good, if absurdly filling.

I’m always torn when I come to Munich. I would love to be able to stay another few days to explore the countryside and the city and practice the language, but at the same time I cannot wait to return home.

Time to save PBS and NPR again

Looks like the majority Congress is back with a big knife for Elmo again: the House Appropriations subcommittee on health and education funding voted to whack 23% from the PBS and NPR budgets next year. Wish they would have thought of the “economic responsibility” argument when they were handing out tax cuts like candy.

Sign the MoveOn petition if you feel (as I do) that noncommercial broadcasting is still important and relevant, and worth paying for.

The Great CD Lossless Ripping Project: Final Tally

After nine and a half months (!) of progress, two hard drives with a total of three-quarters of a terabyte of usable space, and over a thousand CDs, my project to rip all my CDs to losslessly compressed digital files is finished. There are other projects ahead, metadata updates (I have over two thousand tracks in my library with no year, for instance) and ripping obscure vinyl to name two. But the heavy lifting is over.

How heavy was the lifting? Heavy enough that I prepared a separate page with all the statistics and charts. But here’s the summary:

  • Tracks: 13,978
  • Total time: 42 days, 2 hours, 40 minutes, 51 seconds
  • Disk space: 312.81 GB
  • Artists: 1081
  • Albums: 1029

Would I do it again, knowing what I know now about the time involved and the effort? Yes, in a heartbeat. I’m learning more about music all over again just by listening to things that I hadn’t pulled out in months, thanks to the ability to listen via shuffle (yes, life is random). Plus I can start reclaiming some space from the mass of disks that consumed a massive corner of my basement (don’t worry, they were elevated above the flood stage).

The Academical Potemkin Village?

Tin Man wrote a few weeks back about the planned extensions to Mr. Jefferson’s University. The impetus for Tin Man’s post was a generally good New York Times Magazine article that generally avoided the easy story angles, though there were flavors of architects, both sophisticated and moronic, vs. Virginians both reactionary and preservationist. I was particularly delighted to see the author’s reaction to both Hereford College, though I have to say that Darden is not nearly as grim as he painted it—certainly better than Sloan’s modernist gray architecture. Perhaps the author should have visited Darden during a barbecue. But the description of Hereford College is dead on:

What’s the alternative? Many of the university’s modernists point admiringly to Hereford College, a complex of undergraduate dorms designed in the 90’s by the New York architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien. “There’s an engagement with the landscape and a compositional playfulness,” says Daniel Bluestone, a professor of architectural history at the university. But I found Hereford, which is home to some 500 students, as depressing as Darden: an off-kilter arrangement of towering brick slabs, their slitlike windows resembling gun ports in World War II pillboxes. Unlike the Lawn, which on that same morning was full of students sunbathing and tossing Frisbees, the quad at Hereford was devoid of any life.

The one point missing from the article, though, was the violence that has been done to the Grounds by other well meaning architects, for example Gilmer Hall and the so-called New Dorms. With that context in mind, it’s kind of understandable that we would be a little cautious.

But I continue to be nervous about the overall layout and how the neighborhood to the south will be affected. I think the Glee Club House is immediately to the south of the circular amphitheatre at the end of the terrace. But the lack of a map overlay of the existing neighborhood, even through the extended images on the Arts and Sciences web site, makes it hard to tell.

Happy 35th Anniversary


Continuing the festschrift in honor of my parents’ 35th wedding anniversary, as started on my sister’s blog:

…erm, well, no one could possibly have said it better than my sister did. But I’ll just say this: When I think about how two unpretentious farm kids from opposite sides of the Mason Dixon line managed to raise a pair of liberal city kids like us, I thank heaven that they didn”t kill us before we reached maturity. Our continued existence is tribute to their supreme patience and skills as parents.

But I will second many of the thoughts that my sister raised in her post. And I’ll raise another one, borrowed from a powerful sermon that Dr. Nancy Taylor preached last December at Old South:

When my husband and I were married, our friend who officiated at the wedding spoke of dance as a metaphor for marriage. He described marriage as a way of moving in synchronicity with another. He said that to love and cherish each other for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, was a kind of dance. For the dance to flow, each partner must be keenly sensitive to the moves and moods of the other.

Nancy and Peter continue to be an inspiration to me as they dance the slow dance at the end of Peter’s life.

I only know one other couple who has anywhere near that grace. That couple danced their first dance in North Carolina over 35 years ago, in a church music conference. They danced their way into each other’s families…as challenging as that must have been for someone whose families had always been in the remote valleys of North Carolina and in the Mennonite farmlands of Pennsylvania. They danced their way through 35 years: through NASA and music lessons and church music and ultimately retirement, of drawings and PTA meetings and ballet and soccer and orchestra. Of MGs that were never quite finished in the garage. Of back deck barbecues, vegetable gardens, church potlucks. Of making music together. And they’re dancing now, probably on the deck of that house overlooking the Smokies. Hopefully after a good dinner.

Thanks, Mom and Dad.

Alcohol free at Erdinger

Me in front of the big Alcohol-Free Erdinger truck outside Munich

One thing I forgot to highlight in my discussion of our visit to the Erdinger brewery was their product line, which is a lot more diverse than I had previously realized. In addition to the fact that they are currently the leading producer of wheat beer in the world, they also have a number of other products, including a slightly lower alcohol, low-CO2 version of their wheat beer designed for consumption in nightclubs, and an alkoholfrei version (see picture to right).

When I was a snotnosed punk, new to good beer and full of sneers for all things bad beer, I didn’t understand the point of alcohol-free beer. Why not just drink a Coke? I thought. Now I think I get it better, thanks to the experiences of some friends and family members who can no longer drink the full-alcohol variety. If one of the big points of beer is the taste, why should NA beer drinkers be limited to just a few different flavors? In fact it seems that a number of German breweries produce at least one NA flavor, including Erdinger, Paulaner, Clausthaler, and others. I didn’t get a chance to taste Paulaner’s version so no detailed tasting notes this time. But the picture is fun at least.


I don’t know why it took a month for me to notice, but my favorite independent rock station (outside of the one that works at in Richmond), KEXP in Seattle, started a blog last month. Like the station itself, the blog is highly eclectic, a mix of straight-ahead promotion, coverage of in-studio events, station news, MP3 blogging, and general silliness. They’re not shy about pointing to their listeners either, though I think I would have to point to this live account from the Goldfrapp in-studio appearance under any circumstances. Alison Goldfrapp made me blush, indeed.