Thursday, April 27, 2006

Even though my friend Mr. Steve dogged on me in his comment (by paraphrasing Ezra Pound, no less!), I thought I'd quote him to see what people think about a new subject:

Intellectual Property is the new frontier. The web-gen thinks it's their manifest destiny to be able to do with all electronic content as they please.

Intellectual property is, as you might imagine, a perennial subject at the publishing house with which I work for (I'm an editor). We're ferocious about protecting content; I've known people to actually invoke the phrase "Cease and desist!" On the flip side, the junior-high confirmation class at my church--people on the verge of spiritual and ethical adulthood, right?--keep wanting to borrow my CDs so they can burn them onto their MP3 players. (Not all of them, of course; Generation Z doesn't seem to have developed a taste for Crowded House.)

It's like David versus Goliath. Wait, that's not quite right. It's like Luke Skywalker versus the Death Star. Oh--I don't like that either. Is it like Gulliver versus the Lilliputians? Someone give me an example that's more morally complex than these!

So my question to all of you is, how do we solve the crisis of intellectual property?

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Information Requested, So I'm Told

Here's the spam of the day, complete with not one but two references to lice. Sounds like a draft plotline for the soon-to-be-released hit film Barnyard:

A jersey cow beams with joy, because a pathetic pickup truck non-chalantly finds
lice on the fried judge. Any food stamp can knowingly bury the imaginative
burglar, but it takes a real pork chop to teach a fire hydrant over a lover. For
example, an often overpriced blood clot indicates that the class action suit
toward a deficit finds lice on a stovepipe inside a ski lodge. When you see the
skyscraper from the freight train, it means that an usually highly paid cheese
wheel goes to sleep.

Leave all this spam lying around, you're bound to get lice. Can you top it?

Friday, April 21, 2006

Thursday, April 20, 2006

What's My Age Again?

What do you think of this comment from Byron Spradlin, president of Artists in Christian Testimony?
We have left the AGE of the ORATOR and have entered the AGE of the

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Time Is an Occupation

Talking about time is difficult. Time isn't a commodity, I'm convinced. So I try to avoid language of "using" or "spending" time. But I wind up spending a lot of time figuring out how to use time in a sentence. Oops--I did it again.

So today I was reviewing some scribbles and noticed the phrase "how we occupy our time." I like that--it gets at the vocational nature of time: our time is not our own, and thus we are accountable for it. We inhabit it, we live and move and have our being within its borders.

Then I ran across "The Dry Salvages" (no. 3 of "Four Quartets") by T. S. Eliot. I'm going to linger on it a while. For the full piece, click here.

Men's curiosity searches past and future
And clings to that dimension. But to apprehend
The point of intersection of the timeless
With time, is an occupation for the saint—
No occupation either, but something given
And taken, in a lifetime's death in love,
Ardour and selflessness and self-surrender.
For most of us, there is only the unattended
Moment, the moment in and out of time,
The distraction fit, lost in a shaft of sunlight,
The wild thyme unseen, or the winter lightning
Or the waterfall, or music heard so deeply
That it is not heard at all, but you are the music
While the music lasts. These are only hints and guesses,
Hints followed by guesses; and the rest
Is prayer, observance, discipline, thought and action.
The hint half guessed, the gift half understood, is Incarnation.

Monday, April 17, 2006

That and a tax return . . .

Our federal tax return this year is four dollars--just enough to buy a small (grande? venti? picante?) cup of Starbucks. Lucky me, my wife started drinking coffee a week before tax day.

So, should I be more troubled that my tax return covers only a cup of coffee, or that a cup of coffee uses up my entire tax return?

Monday, April 10, 2006

All This Talk of Donald Miller

You wouldn't believe how many times I've had people gushing over Donald Miller, author of the admittedly enjoyable Blue Like Jazz. Today, however, I finally crossed over to groupiness. I sum up my devout effusion--my barbaric whomp, if you will--with one sentence from his article "Tolkien Was No Hobbit!"

I’m not trying to sound condescending, which means to talk down to

Ha ha! That's hilarious! I wish I'd thought of it. Mad props to Donald Miller.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Driving My Wife to Drink

This week marked fifteen years for me and my wife as a couple. And as of this week I can now say that I've driven my wife to drink.

Coffee, that is. Up till now she has resolutely refused to join me in the crack-den of coffee drinking despite all my wooing and enticing, despite the alluring smell of Southern Pecan wafting through the morning air in our house. The best part of my waking up has held no great attraction for her.

Until this week, that is. This week a client marched into her office, shoved into her hands a styrofoam cup of 7-11 French Vanilla cappucino mixed with decaf drip-brewed coffee, and ordered her to drink it. She complied, and instantly became a coffee groupie.

Since then she's been to 7-11 several times. I've driven her there once. I'm hoping to raise her standards over time, but at the very least, for our next fifteen years we can exchange the knowing glances that coffee drinkers exchange whenever milk is steamed.

Here's what Robert Banks says in The Complete Book of Everyday Christianity about coffee drinking:
Coffee is more than a beverage. . . . Coffee is a universal language, a
kind of multiracial, multilingual, multicultural Esperanto enjoyed by people
of all ages.

If you're a coffee drinker, please take a moment to welcome my wife into our global village.

Both Inspiration and Cautionary Tale: Excerpts from Middling

What follows is an excerpt from the Winter 2021 edition of Middling, my quarterly newsletter on music, books, work, and getting older. I'...