Tuesday, October 31, 2006


What better day than Halloween to post pictures of the graveyard where Edgar Allen Poe, that inimitable master of the macabre, is buried? HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

I've had a fascination with Poe ever since reading The Tell Tale Heart and The Cask of Amontillado in high school, seeing The Fall of the House of Usher and later memorizing The Raven . . .
"and my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor shall be lifted . . . NEVERMORE."
I never imagined I would have a chance to visit Poe’s gravesite, but thanks to Dan and Rohaizad I had that chance this summer – thanks guys for providing reason to go to Baltimore (the US premier of your wonderful musical) and for the tour and time together the next day – great stuff! (So, how do you celebrate Halloween in Micronesia?)

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Laughing on Glory's Side

And with your final heartbeat
Kiss the world goodbye
Then go in peace, and laugh on Glory's side, and
Fly to Jesus
Fly to Jesus
Fly to Jesus and live!

It's hard to believe it's been two years today. We're missing you Dad and thinking of you, but we know you've flown to Jesus and are laughing on Glory's side!

"Untitled Hymn" lyrics by Chris Rice 2004

Friday, October 27, 2006

Life Exists and You Are Here

Life exists

and identity.

The powerful play of life goes on, and YOU may contribute a verse.

I'd been thinking for a while of writing about poetry and its place and why it touches me so deeply - wanting to help others be so profoundly touched. I was watching "Dead Poet's Society" last night, and I was so struck by the following lines on so many levels that I want to write it down for myself and my readers.
We do not read and write poetry because it is cute.

We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race, and the human race is filled with passion

Medicine, law, business, engineering; these are noble pursuits, and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love; these are what we stay alive for.

To quote from Whitman:
“O me, O life of the questions
Of these recurring.
Of the endless trains of the faithless.
Of cities filled with the foolish
What good amid these,
O me, O life?”
"That you are here.
That life exists
And identity.
That the powerful play
Goes on,
And you may contribute
A verse."
"That the powerful play goes on, and YOU may contribute a verse."

What will your verse be?

Walt Whitman 1819-1892
Dead Poet's Society (1989) written by Tom Schulman; directedy by Peter Weir

Thursday, October 26, 2006

"Real"ity Check

WARNING: This post contains material which the surgeon general has determined to be a health hazard to math-phobes due to its EXTREMELY FRIGHTENING nature. (Then again we are only 5 days away from Halloween, so perhaps this can serve as a good fright warm-up!)

I'm talking about "real" again. This class is abstraction built upon abstraction in the form of the theory needed to bring rigor to the underpinnings of the calculus.

Does anyone reading this see the above notes as concrete?

The reason I titled this post "reality check" is because the author of this textbook needs a "real"ity check. Here is a sentence from the text that made me laugh out loud:

"A thorough understanding of these topics on the real line will prove invaluable when they are encountered in MORE ABSTRACT SETTINGS."

Um . . . if this isn't abstract, what is it?!

And to think my algebra students ask me where they are going to use ALGEBRA in REAL LIFE!

PS Antonio, the last time I posted about "real" you asked why I only included a "sentence" rather than a "paragraph." Here's your paragraph, and here's a little pop quiz to keep you sharp. What does the "paragraph" here prove?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

All Things

I have many favorite trees. Rocks, trees and water have always been very restorative to my spirit. In contemplating them, I find myself ministered to in very specific ways.

I've watched the progress of this little tree over the course of many years, and I had always felt sorry for it, for what it had to overcome to grow, for the fact that it had been bent by the presence of the huge boulder in its way, for the barren place on which it is growing, for all its obstacles.

It finally dawned on me that as this tree grows, it is going to push that boulder over! It is this little tree that is going to triumph! This reminds me of Philippians 4:13

I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.

Semi-related comment: this boulder reminds me of La flèche de Zénon by René Magritte.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Bee Buzz

So, are you one of those people who can't stand to see "Rite" in the name of a company or "lite" on food packaging, or are you one who spells "night" as "nite." Do you prefer "thru" to "through" or does it make you want to tear your hair out? Is "enuf" enough, and is "enough" too much?

With the advent of instant messaging, people are moving more and more towards simplified spelling - very simplified. Do you think "u" will eventually replace "you" or that "r" will replace "are?"

Are you aware such changes have taken place all along? Do you wish we could go back to "dialogue" rather than today's accepted "dialog?" Do you prefer "colour" or "color," "behaviour" or behavior," "shoppe" or "shop?"

There are those that advocate a total overhaul of spelling in the English language. Usually there is a spike in articles about this issue around the time of the National Spelling Bee. Here is what one had to say:

Those in favor of simplified spelling say children would learn faster and illiteracy rates would drop if words such as "bomb," "comb" and "tomb" were spelled the way they sound. Opponents say a new system would make spelling even more confusing.

Eether wae, the consept has yet to capcher th publix imajinaeshun.

When "say," "they" and "weigh" rhyme, but "bomb," "comb" and "tomb" don't, wuudn't it maek mor sens to spel wurdz the wae thae sound?
Studies have been done that show that children in countries whose languages are more strictly phonetic learn to read faster than children learning English, yet so much meaning in words is in their roots, prefixes and suffixes. What would we lose and what would we gain in making sudden radical change? How would this impact individuals who already know how to read and write? Would all literature suddenly have to be republished with the new spelling (and at what cost)?

Yet we do now spell "doughnut" as "donut." "Centre" and "theatre" have reversed their final letters. In losing their u's, have "honour" and "labour" lost their "use" too, or are they still just as "useful?" Is anyone upset by the changes that have already taken place?

I, for one, am not ready for a spelling overhaul, but if you are all for it, you are in good company. Past proponents of this change include: Andrew Carnegie, John Dewey, Teddy Roosevelt, Benjamin Franklin, Daniel Webster and Mark Twain (and this was LONG before the advent of IM'ing!).

Wat du u theenk? Wae n bi posting ur comment.

Hav a gr8 day!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Friends are Friends Forever

"Friends are Friends Forever" (Michael W. Smith)A great thing in life is how true friends can pick up right where they left off even if they have very different lives than 20+ years ago when they met in college, even if they live thousands of miles away, even if they see each other very infrequently. Whenever they get back together again it's like they've never been apart. It’s also cool to be able to support each other in prayer, which too reaches across the miles.Another great thing about true friends is that you can generate so much fun just by being together you can experience that incredible emotion of laughing so hard you nearly pee!

Those are the good times!

Thanks for the good times! Thanks for being there in the bad times! Thanks for your recent prayers!

Thanks for everything buddies!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Locating Atlantis

Atlantis: myth or reality?

There are actually scholars on both sides of the debate. The origin of information about Atlantis is in the works of Plato. Some think he created the idea of Atlantis (a thriving culture that was destroyed through the wrath of the gods) merely as a literary device to prove a point, but others scholar contend that the way Plato writes of Atlantis indicates fact not fiction. This is because his writing incorporates far more detail than would be necessary for a mere literary device and also because he has the characters in his writings (called Dialogues) refer to the story of Atlantis as "genuine history."

Well, whether fact or fiction, where would this "lost continent" have been? There is much speculation. The Mediterranean Island of Crete has been mentioned as a possibility because of the sudden disappearance of the Minoan culture there. The Mediterranean Island of Santorini, which was destroyed by a catastrophic volcano has also been suggested - as have the Bahamas, at whose surrounding ocean floor massive stone walls have been found.

The Bahamas just seem too far from the ancient world to be a possibility, and Crete and Santorini don't seem to make sense according to Plato's writings. Plato writes that Atlantis was beyond the "Pillars of Hercules" (what we know as the Straits of Gibraltar - the entrance to the Mediterranean). From Plato's geographical perspective, it makes sense that something "beyond" the Straits of Gibraltar would have been in the Atlantic Ocean ( . . . hmm, check out the name), not inside the Mediterranean. If you sail away from the Mediterannean and head west, you encounter the archipelago of the Azore Islands. This is another site that has been the focus of speculation, and, of course I have personal reasons for leaning towards this location. Could these islands (one of which is pictured here) be the mountain peaks that remain of Atlantis?

Literary device or history? You decide.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Get Real!

My posting pace has certainly slowed in the face of my studies! I'm about to head to campus for my first mid-term in Real Analysis (affectionately known as "Real").

In a few hours I will know for sure whether or not I "get real!"

As I've studied, I've actually come to have a favorite line from my notes, that I'm sure you would love to know about. Here it is:

I've always used the fact that math is a language, often quite a foreign language, as a way to reassure my own students that I understand what they are going through and to encourage them in how to approach it. Here is proof positive that math is a (foreign) language. It's a good thing I LOVE languages!

Now it's YOUR turn to "get real!" Try to translate that line. Oh, come on, give it a try. I won't test you on it! Click on comments to see the translation into English.