Sunday, 30 September 2007

links for 2007-09-30

posted at 9:21 AM in links
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Saturday, 29 September 2007

links for 2007-09-29

posted at 9:20 AM in links
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Friday, 28 September 2007

No liberty without virtue

Laura Ingraham, Power To The People:

Our Declaration of Independence reminds us of the “unalienable rights” that are ours to enjoy: “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” These rights are dependent upon one another for survival. We often forget that we have been “endowed” with these rights by our “Creator.” How seldom we think of Him and our duty to Him as we exercise these precious rights.

In this age of widespread human embryo destruction, abortion, euthanasia, and cloning, how can we credibly protect the right to life? What is liberty? How do we exercise it without encroaching on the rights of others? And what does it mean to pursue happiness? Is that just a permission slip to indulge our every appetite? Is it a free pass to super-size our meals, wallow in porn, and swell our coffers, regardless of the impact on others?

Too often we have believed that “freedom” means that we have no duties or responsibilities to others. That “anything goes” mentality may appear to be empowering, but it is not. Instead, it creates a sense of anarchy that makes most Americans very unhappy.

The Founding Fathers did not risk their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor so we could become spoiled, pampered, narcissistic, and focused solely on our own pleasure. An ordered society was the Founders’ goal—a place where we could live our lives in limitless possibility—but only if we fulfilled our obligations. They wanted us to have the liberty to tap into our creative powers, for our own good and for the good of our countrymen. This is the pathway to true happiness. But that society is only possible if we, the people, have a shared set of values, a common set of beliefs that bind us together. The Founders did not view liberty as a license, but as a sacred responsibility to be used for the good. They understood that liberty cannot be separated from virtue.

posted at 10:52 PM in God , liberty
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Thursday, 27 September 2007

links for 2007-09-27

posted at 9:21 AM in links
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Wednesday, 26 September 2007

My last five songs

Tom tagged me, asking I note the last five songs I’ve purchased. Since I don’t often purchase individual songs, my list will mostly contain my favorite songs from the last few CDs I’ve purchased.

  1. “Once Bitten Twice Shy” — Great White
    Tried out the new Amazon MP3 store and got this. It’s the only Great White song I’ve ever liked, so why bother buying an entire album to get it?

  2. “Disarray” — Lifehouse, Who We Are
    I really like the way this song kicks off the album.

  3. “Every Man” — Casting Crowns, The Altar and The Door
    I love the reminder this song gives me that everyone needs the salvation God offers in His Son, no matter who they are.

  4. “Dirty And Left Out” — The Almost, Southern Weather
    Because what’s a rock album without a ballad? And boy, have I felt this way at times.

  5. “Long Live the King” — Aaron Shust, Whispered and Shouted
    Shust builds this song perfectly. I don’t usually associate the words “anthemic” and “fist-pumping” with worship music, but this one gets the blood moving.

I don’t really like “tagging” folks and propagating Internet memes—gee, I guess if I really feel that way, I should stop participating in them, shouldn’t I?—but I confess, I am curious as to the last five songs purchased by Brent, Nathan, Michael, Wes, and Raena. (If you don’t feel like blogging your response, lady and gents, feel free to leave it in the comments.)

posted at 1:02 AM in music
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Tuesday, 25 September 2007

links for 2007-09-25

posted at 9:20 AM in links
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Monday, 24 September 2007

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Civics Quiz

How well do you know your history and civics? Find out with this Civics Quiz, courtesy of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute. Leave your results in the comments.

For the record, I missed two of the sixty questions. (Yes, sixty. Get over it. They’re multiple-choice.) First was number 19; it’s been a long while since I’ve read The Republic. Second was number 36; honestly, this was the first I’d heard of just-war theory. How did you do?

[With thanks to Michael for the quiz link.]

posted at 11:21 PM in learning , liberty
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So here I am, vocalizing

Jeff Ventura:

What’s interesting about Windows -> Mac switchers is that they typically feel a need to vocalize their experience in one way or another. That’s pretty remarkable, because it means that somehow Apple knows how to make evangelists out of users. I’m not sure any other company on earth does it as effectively. Apple’s installed base isn’t just an installed base: it’s a field marketing department.

[…]

Aside from very specialized computing tasks, there is literally very little reason to own a dedicated Windows machine anymore. I’d proffer that for the great majority of users, a Mac would work just fine if they do a modicum of research and go into the move with an open mind and the understanding that the Mac != Windows and there will be a learning curve. After that, it’s all good.

posted at 12:42 AM in Macintosh
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Monday, 17 September 2007

links for 2007-09-17

posted at 9:20 AM in links
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Sunday, 16 September 2007

For my typophile homies


[Via Lee on IM.]

posted at 8:54 PM in fun , type
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Apple: The not-so-premium brand after all

Wherein I shamelessly plug my favorite computing platform.

DealMac has a post where they put three systems in a head-to-head-to-head competition for specificationss and price. The systems? The Sony VAIO VGC-LS37E All-In-One Desktop PC, the HP TouchSmart IQ770 Desktop PC, and Apple’s iMac. The verdict? The iMac comes in cheaper than both of the PCs, and it trumps them both in the specs department. Not to mention the iMac is the best-looking of the three, and you get to use the best operating system in the world, instead of Windblows Windows.

So answer me again on why you’d want to use a Windows machine? Avoid the heartache, people—believe me, with a spouse insisting on bringing a new Dull in to our household, for her use, I’m well acquainted with the heartache—and just buy a Mac.

posted at 3:44 PM in Macintosh
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links for 2007-09-16

posted at 9:19 AM in links
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Saturday, 15 September 2007

The death of common sense

American Digest:

3. Scenario: Jeffrey won’t be still in class, disrupts other students.

1957 - Jeffrey sent to office and given a good paddling by the principal. He returns to class, sits still, and does not disrupt class again.

2007 - Jeffrey is diagnosed with ADD and given huge doses of Ritalin. Becomes a zombie. School gets extra money from state because Jeffrey has a learning disability.

[…]

6. Scenario: Pedro fails high school English.

1957 - Pedro goes to summer school, passes English, goes to college.

2007 - Pedro’s cause is taken up by state. Newspaper articles appear nationally explaining that teaching English as a requirement for graduation is racist. ACLU files class action lawsuit against state school system and Pedro’s English teacher. English banned from core curriculum. Pedro is given a diploma anyway but ends up mowing lawns for a living because he cannot speak English.

There are six others, but I’m sure you get the general idea. Be sure to read the comments as well.

I recall being paddled in fifth grade by the principal. A classmate, and neighbor who rode the same bus as I, was bullying some younger kids during recess, holding a rubber ball, which they had been bouncing against a wall, out of their reach. I confronted him about it, and he puffed up, demanding to know what I was going to do about it. My response was to deck him in the nose.

A random teacher hauled both of us off to the principal’s office. I told him what I saw, and didn’t blanch from what I had done. I got paddled, but so did the bullying classmate. I can’t speak for him, but I’m certainly not the worse for it. It was the only fight I ever got in throughout all my years of schooling, if you can even call it a fight.

posted at 9:24 PM in that's life
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There are reasons it’s called “faith”

My friend Brandon has a great post today that got me to thinking, and in thinking, smiling.

The walk of faith is not a stroll but a journey. And each one of us walks a different path. Some days that path is familiar and we are excited and hopeful. Other days that path is and dark and we tremble with the deep fear of unknowing. There are days for praise and there are days for fear and doubt and sometimes those two things seem to happen all at once.

[…]

So take courage today! If you are excited and hopeful - rejoice! If you are scared and tired and full of fear - take heart! Do not fear the unknown - seek Him! And embrace the tension of walking ahead. For even the unknown can become familiar when we hold onto the One who knows what lies ahead.

We truly serve an amazing and awesome God!

posted at 8:10 PM in God
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links for 2007-09-15

posted at 9:18 AM in links
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Friday, 14 September 2007

An excerpt

TROUBLESHOOTING GUIDE FOR TIMECORP’S VH3928-MODEL TIME MACHINE:

Problem: You are stranded in the past without plutonium to provide the 1.21 jiggawatts necessary to power your De Lorean’s flux capacitor.

Solution: We at TimeCorp cannot stress enough the differences between real and fictional time travel. Authentic time travel is an infinitely more complicated and intricate process than its whimsical cinematic counterpart. You will need at least 4.3 jiggawatts of power.

posted at 12:09 PM in fun , travel
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What American accent do you have?


What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Midland
 

“You have a Midland accent” is just another way of saying “you don’t have an accent.” You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Missouri) but then for all we know you could be from Florida or Charleston or one of those big southern cities like Atlanta or Dallas. You have a good voice for TV and radio.

The South
 
Philadelphia
 
The Inland North
 
The Northeast
 
The West
 
Boston
 
North Central
 
What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz


Nothing really surprising here. Though I was born in Mississippi, and I grew up in Baton Rouge, I do not have the country-Southern flavor of speech so many of my relatives have, nor is there a hint of Cajun to my tongue. (Note to the oblivious ones out there: Just because people are from Louisiana doesn’t mean they all sound like they just stepped off the pirogue in the bayou.) Many people have expressed surprise, upon learning of my heritage and upbringing, that I do not, in fact, retain a discernible accent.

“[A] good voice for TV and radio.” Hrmmmm. Tom, remember that podcast idea…?

posted at 11:17 AM in fun , that's life
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Life now has meaning

According to the rules laid out in Punk Rock Dad, my punk rock name is:


(Are you ready for this?)


(Are you sure?)


(Really?)


(Okay, you’ve been warned…)


Larry Leprosy.

posted at 10:42 AM in fun , non-fiction , parenting , read
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Thursday, 13 September 2007

links for 2007-09-13

posted at 9:20 AM in links
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Wednesday, 12 September 2007

links for 2007-09-12

posted at 9:19 AM in links
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Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Patriot Day

Day of Terror: A September 11 Retrospective

“September 11, 2001, was a defining moment in American history. On that terrible day, our nation saw the face of evil as 19 men barbarously attacked us and wantonly murdered people of many races, nationalities, and creeds. On Patriot Day, we remember the innocent victims, and we pay tribute to the valiant firefighters, police officers, emergency personnel and ordinary citizens who risked their lives so others might live. After the attacks on 9/11, America resolved that we would go on the offense against our enemies, and we would not distinguish between the terrorists and those who harbor and support them. All Americans honor the selfless men and women of our Armed Forces, the dedicated members of our public safety, law enforcement and intelligence communities, and the thousands of others who work hard each day to protect our country, secure our liberty and prevent future attacks. The spirit of our people is the source of America’s strength, and six years ago, Americans came to the aid of neighbors in need. On Patriot Day, we pray for those who died and for their families. We volunteer to help others and demonstrate the continuing compassion of our citizens. On this solemn occasion, we rededicate ourselves to laying the foundation of peace with confidence in our mission and our free way of life.” —President George W. Bush


“[A]s we approach the sixth anniversary of Sept. 11, there are suggestions that we should begin to forget the worst terrorist incident in America’s history. Recently, a front-page story in The New York Times suggested it is becoming too much of a burden to remember the attack, that nothing new can be said about it and that, perhaps, Sept. 11 ‘fatigue’ may be setting in.

[…]

“9/11 forces us to be serious, not only about those who died and why they died at the hands of religious fanatics, but also so that we won’t forget that it could very well happen again and many of today’s living might end up as yesterday’s dead. That is the purpose of remembering 9/11, not to engage in perpetual mourning. The war goes on and to be reminded of 9/11 serves as the ultimate protection against forgetfulness. Terrorists have not forgotten 9/11. Tape of the Twin Towers is used on jihadist Websites for the purpose of recruiting new ‘martyrs.’

“What’s the matter with some people? Does remembering not only 9/11 but the stakes in this world war interfere too much with our pursuit of money, things and pleasure? Serious times require serious thought and serious action. In our frivolous times, full of trivialities and irrelevancies, to be serious is to abandon self-indulgence for survival, entertainment for the stiffened spine.

[…]

“Not to remember 9/11, is to forget what brought it about.” —Cal Thomas


“Last week The New York Times carried a story about the current state of the 9/11 lawsuits. Relatives of 42 of the dead are suing various parties for compensation, on the grounds that what happened that Tuesday morning should have been anticipated. The law firm Motley Rice, diversifying from its traditional lucrative class-action hunting grounds of tobacco, asbestos and lead paint, is promising to put on the witness stand everybody who ‘allowed the events of 9/11 to happen.’ And they mean everybody—American Airlines, United, Boeing, the airport authorities, the security firms—everybody, that is, except the guys who did it.

“According to the Times, many of the bereaved are angry and determined that their loved one’s death should have meaning. Yet the meaning they’re after surely strikes our enemies not just as extremely odd but as one more reason why they’ll win. You launch an act of war, and the victims respond with a lawsuit against their own countrymen. But that’s the American way: Almost every news story boils down to somebody standing in front of a microphone and announcing that he’s retained counsel…[T]hose 9/11 families should know that, if you want your child’s death that morning to have meaning, what matters is not whether you hound Boeing into admitting liability but whether you insist that the movement that murdered your daughter is hunted down and the sustaining ideological virus that led thousands of others to dance up and down in the streets cheering her death is expunged from the earth

[…]

“On this sixth anniversary, as 9/11 retreats into history, many Americans see no war at all.” —Mark Steyn

posted at 9:52 AM in disaster , national security , quote
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links for 2007-09-11

posted at 9:18 AM in links
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Monday, 10 September 2007

Currently reading

  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – J.K. Rowling (hardcover)
    Yeah, yeah, yeah. I’ve only read the first Potter book once before, way back when it was released. So now I’m going through the whole series. And does anyone actually buy the paperbacks of the Potter books? Have parents actually made their children wait a year after each novel is released so they can buy the paperback because they’re that…thrifty?

  • Blood Meridian – Cormac McCarthy
    Does this man ever use quotation marks to designate dialogue?

  • The Hunters – W.E.B. Griffin
    The third in the Presidential Agent series, following By Order of the President and The Hostage. The paperback won’t be out until December, so if you must read it now, nab the hardcover.

Apparently I’m in a fiction mood at the moment, and a widely varying one at that. Fantasy, western, and modern thriller. Yes, I am a man with many sides…

posted at 10:42 PM in fiction , read
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links for 2007-09-10

posted at 9:19 AM in links
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Saturday, 08 September 2007

Don’t Suffer the Little Children

Tony Woodlief:

The constrained vision indicates that world harmony and universal satisfaction are mirages. People are innately selfish, and they’ll always desire more goodies. This means that tradeoffs between competing wants are inevitable. My wife and I therefore forbid our children to use the word “fair.” Parents still in the thrall of the unconstrained worldview are prone to manipulation by their kids, who like little human-rights lawyers insist on fairness as an imperative. And don’t get me started on the damage that an exaggerated sense of fairness and entitlement has done to public schools. In our house things are much simpler: That last piece of cake had to be divided somehow, and in this imperfect world your brother got the extra frosting. Deal with it.

While the unconstrained worldview teaches that traditions and customs are to be distrusted as holdovers from benighted generations, those of us with the constrained view believe it’s good to make our children address their elders properly, refrain from belching at the table and wear clothes that actually cover them. Mr. Sowell noted that some benefits from evolved societal rules can’t be articulated, because they’ve developed through trial and error over centuries. This reveals the sublime wisdom in that time-honored parental rejoinder: “Because I said so.”

It’s not surprising, then, to see Mr. Sowell approvingly cite Edmund Burke’s observation that traditions provide “wisdom without reflection.” This is lived out in our house by the dictum that parents are to be obeyed first, and politely questioned later. That seems oppressive to parents with the unconstrained worldview, who want to nurture Junior’s sense of autonomy and broad-minded reasoning. It’s awfully useful, however, when Junior is about to ride his bike into the path of an oncoming car. Obedience may be a dirty word in progressive schools and enlightened parenting circles, but it saves lives.

[…]

I sometimes speak to groups of high-school and college students, and I have taken to disabusing them of the feel-good notion that they can do anything they want so long as they are passionate about it. Intentions, as Mr. Sowell observes, mean very little in the constrained worldview—and, besides, individuals are neither equal nor perfectible. This means that some of us will dig ditches for a living, especially if those certain someones, who know full well who I’m talking about, don’t stop shooting spitballs at their brothers and get back to their math workbooks. Firmly in the constrained camp, I’m less concerned that my children self-actualize at an early age than that they learn a trade and get out of the house.

And since I’ve gone and quoted about half of the piece, you should just go and read the whole thing.

posted at 1:42 PM in parenting
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Friday, 07 September 2007

“That word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

In between the yummy dinner of homemade chicken fajitas, and the Jello-provided chocolate pudding for dessert, I perused the front page of today’s Wall Street Journal. Above the fold was a puff piece on Al Franken’s senatorial run* in Minnesota, and it included this tidbit, “… the bane of conservative talk-radio” in describing Franken.

Webster’s defines “bane” as “a source of harm or ruin; curse”. Such is what I always held “bane” to mean as well. So I sat and thought, after having read those words, that while one might be able to argue that Franken has harmed conservative talk radio, I cannot imagine it has been to the extent of earning the the moniker of “bane”. He certainly hasn’t brought conservative talk radio to ruin, not now when it is stronger than ever. Therefore one might surmise that writer June Kronholz and her editors at the WSJ either, (a) don’t have a twelth-grade education, or (b) don’t know how to type “www.m-w.com” in to their web browser address bar.

A better description of Mr. Franken’s relationship to conservative talk radio might be “source of material”, or, if one were feeling generous toward Mr. Franken, “adversary”. (Mr. Franken can thank my friend, Mr. Lawson, for that one.)

One might also note Ms. Kronholz’s mention of Mr. Franken’s short-lived career at Air America: “He left that gig in February.” She fails to include words to the effect of “…due to lack of ratings and lack of revenue.”

Mr. Franken may be a lot of things to conservative talk radio, Ms. Kronholz, but “bane” is not one of them. Please choose your words more carefully next time, noting that Webster’s also has a thesaurus.**


*Subscription may be required to read.

** (A “thesaurus”, Ms. Kronholz, is a volume used to find words of similar or antithetical nature.)

posted at 8:56 PM in politics , writing
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Wednesday, 05 September 2007

We all have our burdens


Crackberry/iPhone IM conversation

Love you, Amy and John!

Oh, and I love you, sweetheart!

posted at 3:42 PM in fun , iphone
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Tuesday, 04 September 2007

MarsEdit 2

My favorite blogging client has now been revved to version 2. I’ve been using MarsEdit ever since original developer Brent Simmons rolled out the 1.0 product, and I’ve been very happy with it. A couple of months ago, I began beta-testing new owner Daniel Jalkut’s upgrade of the client, and wow, was I ever blown away. Brent never really had the time to devote to MarsEdit, what with the popularity of NetNewsWire, and Daniel has definitely taken MarsEdit to the next level.

One thing I’ve noticed, being on the beta test lists of a few independent and small-shop Mac developers, is the level of responsiveness from those developers. You’re talking directly with the individual responsible for the product, not some project manager or mid-level flunky who really doesn’t get what’s going on with the application. Daniel is no exception, encouraging great participation from those on the beta list, and he always maintains a professional, and very friendly, attitude. It sounds like the the upgrade release is a hit so far, and no wonder, because MarsEdit 2 is a great product.

Great job, Daniel!

posted at 1:32 PM in Macintosh , web/site
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links for 2007-09-04

posted at 9:19 AM in links
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Monday, 03 September 2007

ATPM 13.09

The September issue of About This Particular Macintosh is now available for your reading pleasure.

Former staffer, and still good friend, Raena Armitage provided us with a fun cover this month. Thanks again, Raena! If Rob didn’t already have my undying friendship, well, by the power of Greyskull he has it now, managing to work our behind-the-scenes discussion of the new college football season in to this month’s issue. (I confess, this is one reason why you’re not seeing my iPhone review this month.)

Wes covers the big story of the Mac blogosphere from last month, the outing of Fake Steve Jobs, as well as iPhone-related AT&T issues, the iMac refresh, the new Apple keyboard, the latest addition to the iWork suite, and something having to do with brandy and lobster. Regarding that last, maybe our Wes has been sniffing too much newspaper ink at work or something.

Mark laments the Microsoft-blinders of myriad IT professionals, who don’t quite get that not everyone uses Windows, much less Internet Explorer. And speaking of Microsoft, Mark wonders if there might not be some new measurement of time coming forth. If you’ve ever needed a fancy tile graphic, Lee’s got the lowdown for you in this month’s Photoshop For The Curious, so you can knock it out without having to resort to talking to Crunch, the neon-blue mohawked graphic designer with the spike through his cheeks who blasts emo rock from his cubicle.

ATPM reader Jennifer Curry was kind enough to share some shots she took in 2004 from Australia’s Great Ocean Road. These are some breathtaking views of The 12 Apostles and the London Bridge rock formations. Thanks so much, Jennifer! More and more, the swing dance hall offers naught but misery for Cortland, while Todd suffers iPhone temptation. We’re also given a handy guide to online forum denizens.

Matthew explores the under-the-hood utility Cocktail, which, last time we checked, was not a Tom (Maniac) Cruise vehicle. Ed covers Curio 4.0, while Eric dives in to my feed reader of choice, NetNewsWire 3.0. ATPM’s official flight deck officer, Chris Lawson, isn’t suitably impressed with the radioSHARK 2, while Linus puts Snapz Pro X through its screen-capturing paces. Finally, Wes looks at the online, free-form information manager Stikkit, which doesn’t even require a Mac to use, just a web browser. Preferably one which is not from The-Company-Which-Shall-Not-Be-Named. (Sorry. I’m currently reading through the Potter series for the first time ever. Apparently, it’s having an effect.)

As usual, this issue of ATPM is available in a variety of formats to suit your wants, desires, and needs.

posted at 1:22 AM in Macintosh
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Sunday, 02 September 2007

On being a wall

Tony Woodlief, author of the great Raising Wild Boys Into Men:

Sometimes as a parent you feel like a wall. One side of you is hard chipped stone. The side facing these little ones is smoothed, its cracks spackled as best you can manage. Sometimes your child will run a finger along one of those cracks, and when he does this you know you can go on standing, no matter the weight, until he is strong and ready to beat back the world with his own muscle and bone and faith.

posted at 11:44 PM in parenting , quote
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Saturday, 01 September 2007

links for 2007-09-01

posted at 9:19 AM in links
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