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.