One of my favorite baseball blogs is that of Batgirl (less stats, more sass), a Minnesota Twins fan who, with her entourage of Batlings brings a refreshing twist to what is usually a dull and statistically obsessed landscape. Ms. Girl has a Close Personal Friend who has just released a new bookThe Shadow Thieves, which Ms. Girl recommends heartily. I just ordered a copy myself and look forward to seeing whether Ms. Girl's Close Personal Friend is as witty as Ms. Girl.
Now, this is recommended for grades 5-8 (i.e about ages 11-14) but that's what they said about Harry Potter, no? At the worst it might make a great gift for that awkward age niece or nephew, at best it could be a lot of fun, and hey, it's the first book of a trilogy, so there's more to look forward to.
Hmm, not much to report here. As my dad was away a lot it was great to see him, and he was always pleased to see us. The only real problem I can see looking back (and it still is to a degree, even at age 77) is his obsession with coal. He spent his entire career working open cast coal mines (that's strip mines for the Yanks). In England, open cast mining is actually a pretty good deal, because typically, the land that's mined is derelict farmland, and the laws of the land require extensive restoration, so farmers can actually benefit quite well, even though they lose the use of their land for a few years (making money off the coal, though, and hey, it's still better than being paid by the government to grow nothing.)
Early in his career my dad worked for big companies, but by the time he was about 50, he started to branch out, trying to put projects together with local investors. This is where things started to go wrong. These guys were always out for a quick buck, whereas my dad plans meticulously.
It's these plans that are at the heart of the problem. If we even dared to mention coal in the house, the briefcase would come out and all of a sudden my brothers and I were looking at the wrong end of a two hour dissertation on coal seams - how thick they were, where they were, how much earth would have to be moved to get at them, how many bulldozers, draglines and Drotts and trucks would be needed (open cast coal mining is a veritable Thunderbirds playground of big toys).
The funniest incident was probably the first time I brought Sue home to meet the family. We were all sitting in the living room, and the topic turned to coal. Sue asked what she thought was an innocent question, but we boys knew what was coming. One by one we made an excuse and left, leaving Sue listening to the extended dance remix of opencast coal mining 101. We even got to peek in through the living room door and smirk at her, as my dad was sitting in the chair behind it and couldn't see us.
So basically, there's a 43% chance that the choice of the Diocese of California (i.e. mostly San Francisco) will precipitate yet another firestorm in the Episcopal Church that will result in yet another wave of attrition in the Episcopal Church.
BTW, can anyone enlighten me on whether the term "monogamous bisexual" is actually an oxymoron or not?
I've seen the interesting urinal art piece
several places now, but nobody seems to be giving credit where it's due - the Sofitel five star hotel in Queenstown, New Zealand, so I thought I'd point everyone in the right direction, if you'll pardon my french.
Story here, with a link to a short news video clip...
"Of course, you’re going to get a lot of different opinions about what the true
church is. Because I was brought into Christianity in the first place by Telford
and the Duke mafia, I’ve mostly been exposed to the belief that the true church
is actually the whole body of Christendom, sadly fractured but still the Bride.
(Newbigin, whom I quoted earlier, was one of the big proponents of this.)"
"But the promise of the One whose Body you join is that His Body will be One and
is One, all appearances to the contrary. And so, we close our eyes sometimes and
pretend that all is well — if only to get through one more liturgy."
Very interesting stuff. The Anglican position, of course, is that all "branches" are part of the one great universal church, but even then one has to draw the line somewhere...
Any reasonable study of the interactions of people ought to tell you that anything - ANY THING - is only worth what someone else will pay for. If the world were a truly "fair" place, then people who grow, say, coffee, would get the fair market price for it - i.e. the highest price anyone is willing to pay for it.
The reason this method rarely works is not because of evil buyers who are trying to screw the last penny out of the growers, it's because of the interventions of governments and organizations that attempt to manipulate the system. Think of the European Union subsidies to big euro agriculture (wine lakes, butter mountains) - paying farmers NOT to produce anything.
Same in the US. The Environmental Working Group notes that US farm subsidies totaled $104 billion over the last ten years. That represents an enormous tilt in a real global economic fair trade system. It's actually a pretty small amount in terms of the magnitude of the industry here, but it's huge leverage against foreign growers.
I guess my basic point here is that any deliberate political intervention in a system, whether by governments or by "well-meaning" activist groups inevitably screws up the concept of "fairness".
I'll probably post the odd photo or two of house building progress, but for now I've put up a photo album (right sidebar) cunningly disguised with the title "House Progress" so you can see what's happened to date (mostly dirt moving and concrete pouring.)
For those of you not from the US it should be an interesting view of how houses get built here.
Only three months to go now...
Here's a photo of the model home master bedroom (very similar to how ours will be) - a view from the master bathroom across the master bedroom (ugliest bed cover EVER@!) to the other side of the "master retreat". That's a three sided gas fireplace that separates the main bedroom area from the sitting area.