Pop-up blocker. Earthlink is providing a free browser plug-in that blocks those annoying pop-up ad windows. Actually, it blocks all pop-up windows, which could potentially be a problem since not all pop-up windows are advertisements. But they’ve done a very nice job of getting around that difficulty. Each time a popup is blocked, you hear a quiet clunking sound. If it was a window that should have popped up as the result of clicking a link, you can get it to pop up by clicking on the link again. Or you can allow pop-ups for a particular click by holding down the control key. The whole thing works pretty well. It’s free, but only to Earthlink users.
St. Louis An uneventful ten-hour drive to get here. Best part was that I was able to put in some time on the Mars Hill Audio tapes and CDs that had been piling up, as well as getting a start on listening to R.C.’s 12-part “Road to Emmaus” study, which I have the honor of reviewing for the next issue of ETC.
St. Louis is one of the few major cities for which I have no clue about what sort of local eating might be good. Just as well, I suppose, since my schedule here won’t leave much time for recreational dining. I was fortunate enough to find a grocery store near the hotel that carried Stubb’s BBQ sauce, one of the sauces on the short list for serving at the feast, so I bought six bottles of that. When I get back from St. Louis, I’ll have to be running the smoker for three straight days to make enough brisket for the feast.
Swamped. Weblog entries will be sporadic this week; preparation for the Uniting Church and Home conference in St. Louis is taking more time and resources than I had expected.
Race week. This is the week that 160,000 NASCAR fans make their way to Bristol for the biggest race of the year. It is held at is a huge raceway, rivalling a professional football stadium, about ten minutes away from our house. The raceway sits idle for nearly all of the year, but this event makes up for it.
Locals who have little interest in racing do their best to stay home and off the roads. Or they schedule their vacations for this week, since it can be very lucrative to rent your home for use by race fans. I had to drive in the vicinity of the raceway today. The traffic isn’t miserable yet. And the sight of thousands of RVs and tents covering every square foot of meadow for miles around made it worthwhile.
Modern fascism. Does the state exist for our sake, or do we exist for its sake? Put another way: who does your child belong to, your family or the state?
When we went to pick up Debbie and Elizabeth at the hospital, the nurses insisted that we not leave because they hadn’t had a chance to run either a hearing test or a PKU test—both of them “required by state law,” of course. No matter that we had no interest in having those tests run. No matter that the doctor would be running the PKU test in two weeks at his office. No matter that the doctor had just been there fifteen minutes earlier, examined mother and baby, and signed all the discharge papers. Eventually they begrudged us a phone call to the doctor. Five minute later they present a clipboard with a form to sign, stating that we were leaving the hospital “against medical advice.” Against our doctor’s advice? No, against their advice. We signed it, and then they said we could go.
As we left, a nurse walked with us out the door and to the car. To wish us well? No, to make sure that there was a proper car seat for Elizabeth. And to make sure that we knew how to strap her in properly. I don’t know which was more insulting—that they thought it was necessary to see for themselves rather than taking our word for it, or that they thought we would be so submissive to “state law” that it was sufficient to send along a forty-something female nurse as an enforcer.
Walker Mountain Sessions. I like Jonathan’s weblog quite a bit. It is focused, much more so than the weblog you are reading right now. The focus is unusual—I can’t think of another weblog, or another periodical, that explores the territory that Jonathan is exploring. I like that the posts are so tightly written—it lends weight to the points made, and reassures me that Jonathan values the time I’m taking to read them. And the writing is courageous—there are no IMHOs used to soften points, or to blur responsibility for making them.
I’m hopeful that as he continues to build on the foundation he’s laying, other webloggers (and webloggers-to-be) will be inspired by it to venture away a bit from the meditative narcissism that dominates the genre right now.
Gratitude. Back in the early days of his stand-up career, Steve Martin used to come out and say to the audience, “I’d like to thank each and every one of you for coming out to see me perform tonight.” And then he would proceed to point at each and every one of them, saying “Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, ….” I don’t know if he actually thanked each and every one, but it sure took awhile.
Don’t think that just because I’m not responding to each and every word of congratulations that we’re not grateful. We’re quite grateful. But we’ll limit our public display of gratitude to just one blanket thankyou, right here and right now. Thanks to you all, from Debbie, Chris, Maggie, Matthew, Elizabeth, and myself. Those of you who are reading this, please pass the word along to those of you who aren’t. Thanks.