Mrs. Tate of Starkville, MS

Sweet citizen of Starkville heading for the biscuit shop. When she was younger, Mrs. Tate would raise money every year to make up the amount needed after fundraising for the local school to take kids on a trip to D.C. In two days, she would be able to pick up enough aluminum by herself to raise about 600 bucks. She still walks everywhere and still collects cans. Now, she buys a load of Christmas presents to bring to a children's cancer hospital in Jackson every year. Mrs. Tate introduced herself as "The Black Santa Claus" when she first met Ann. She is very important for Starkville, Mississippi, and once told me "I really love all the crazy people who walk up and down this road." That road is North Montgomery, the central North/South road that runs through Starkville.

A photo posted by barlowjon (@barlowjon) on

Centipede Pseudopods

I Think I Like a Speckled Axe Best

I put the Twitter app back on my phone. I realized that I’m not getting news anywhere else. I even missed the Biola U conference and had no idea about the Delta State shooting until days later. But I learned the habit of reading my kindle app instead of Twitter, so I think the trick was useful.

I’ve tried on countless pairs of dress shoes to find a replacement for my black wingtips that have holes in the sole. Nothing really has worked out. One of the nice men’s stores in Starkville has only split-toe oxfords! I wanted to try on cap-toe oxfords and maybe some more wingtips that were less ornamented than my Florsheims. I finally ordered some today from Amazon that I hope will work out okay. The last ones I ordered arrived and looked very cheap, so I had to return them. I wear my dress shoes six days a week, for about 9 hours a day, almost every week of the year. So it makes sense to buy some decent shoes. I wish I could do the “shoe rotation” thing, but that’s an advanced technique of manhood. Imagine owning two pairs of black shoes at the same time! That’s like exercising regularly or scheduling haircuts regularly. Really, who can be expected to keep those kinds of standards up?

Alright, gotta run. Eli has invented a board game he wants me to play.

Saturday Doings

Today I finished demolition in what will be the master bath. Lots of pink insulation, and though I took all proper precautions, I’m still a little itchy as I drift off to sleep here. I also have nearly finished all the trim work in the hall bathroom. I had turned attention to other things long enough and I wanted to put all that to bed. It feels overly trimmed to me, probably because bead board + chunky baseboards + moulding is a lot, visually, but it is nearly done. In the process today I used my table saw for the first time – the one I bought at the habitat for humanity store for fifty bucks. It was amazing! I don’t have the gates or guides or fences or whatever they’re called, so I used clamps and some true lumber and ended up with good results. I had to do some intricate stuff to trim around the tub.

Ann worked in the yard and baked bread and made three wonderful meals and ran errands. It was a beautiful day in the 70s. She was wearing a badass tank top, black jeans, and boots all day like Sarah Connor would wear.

Last night a great band, Local Natives, was playing in Starkville. But it started at 10:30, so Ann and I passed. I love their music but sheesh, 10:30?

I deleted Twitter from my phone and look, I’m blogging again. So maybe that’s the trick. I still read Twitter in my computer browser, but not on my phone. It has been almost a year since I left Facebook and I have not regretted it. 

I also put a new battery in our old car and hooked it up to a trickle charger to keep it from going the way of the previous battery. We rarely drive it, but we’re keeping it for a college bound Barlow to drive in the near future.

I started my bug collection finally. I mounted three large grasshoppers last weekend. I hope to get some green cicadas soon. Before I started the collecting I saw them all the time, of course.

All right, nighty night. Hafta rest up for a southern Presbyterian worship service.

Gethsemane Soporific

When the disciples were supposed to be praying at Gethsemane (Matthew 26) it probably sounds to modern ears like they’d all be praying silently. Easy to fall asleep, right? But ancients prayed aloud, almost assuredly, just as ancients probably read aloud (Acts 8:30). The disciples should have been hearing each other pray and supporting each other in wakefulness at the request of their master, Jesus. They gave tacit approval to each other to fall asleep, a failure of community. We fall in community just as we will all be redeemed as a community.

Southern Expressions

Here are some expressions / terms I’ve heard (in the wild) lately. I was (very) familiar with some of these, but a few are new to me:

“He was such a good lawyer he could get a charge of sodomy reduced to following-too-closely.”

“Boy, I’m gonna slap you naked and hide your clothes.”

“Boy, I’m gonna jerk a knot in your tail.” (variation: “in your head.”)

Dragonflies described as “snake doctors” and a myth that when they fly near you it is important to close your mouth because “if he sees your teeth, he’ll sew your lips shut.”

Independence Day

Happy Fourth of July, dear American readers. I hope you get a chance to eat something grilled, drink something brewed, and watch something sparkly. I plan to do this as well.

Last year I wondered aloud about fireworks-show hermeneutics. I wondered if the choreography and timing of a fireworks show is akin to the choreography of dance. This year, I found some links to fireworks effects terminology and a fireworks glossary. So now we have the foundational terminology in order to accurately describe a hermeneutics of fireworks. Perhaps if the practitioners of fireworks aren’t trying to “say” something, then there’s no need to interpret them. We can interpret the reactions of the audience (reader response) and so forth. But until fireworks has its Picasso, we’ll never know what could possibly be said by fireworks. What if the music used were Bulls on Parade by Rage Against the Machine? Would that be a different experience than watching shells burst to the 1812 Overture? Could we have an ironic fireworks show? What if all the shells exploded at once instead of in a finale (this has happened recently)?

How could we portray America via fireworks artistry? Maybe one municipality’s fireworks contractor could confiscate money from everyone in the crowd and then sell bonds to other municipalities to buy bigger fireworks and then pay only the interest on the loans with the crowd’s money… Would that better represent an American-style fireworks show? Eventually the service on the debt, from year to year, would exceed the “take” from visitors to the fireworks show. At that point, the fireworks contractors could just print some municipal money to buy back the bonds and keep the mess going for a few more years. Then, when the situation becomes absolutely untenable, the contractors could disallow private fireworks ownership and confiscate fireworks from everyone who buys from roadside stands. And then they could put on a show for a few more years with those fireworks. Eventually they’ll have to gather everyone for an ostensibly great fireworks show, and then just send in the contractor’s private army to arrest everyone and ransom them for additional funds. Eventually, people will stay away from fireworks shows, so compulsory attendance will be instituted. Home brewing of fireworks will need to be quashed. Schools will begin teaching children about the evils of private fireworks ownership and the good of municipal fireworks shows. Kids in the poorer parts of town will be imprisoned at a greater rate, and their ransoms will pay for the fireworks shows in the nicer neighborhoods. Ah, but surely this example is far-fetched. Surely no rational human being would pay admission twice in the first place. Or allow the renewal of the fireworks contractor’s contract from year to year. Surely the town’s aldermen would get fed up and audit the fireworks manufacturer. Surely the other municipalities would stop buying the bonds. Surely the imprisoned poor people would nullify jury verdicts. Surely…

Post-Yardwork Julep

Finish something worthwhile in the yard.

Take a shower.

Don boxers and a white t-shirt.

Take an ice tea glass and fill halfway with ice.

Add three fingers of gin.

Fill with cold orange gatorade to within one centimeter of the lip.

Add the juice of a quarter lemon, then jam the lemon down below the ice.

Stir and drink slowly while the ice melts slightly.

Dreher’s Latest

From Dreher’s Christianity’s America Problem

Business as usual is over, church people. There will be no “taking our country back”; you will be lucky if our country’s fast-emerging culture doesn’t take our faith away from our kids. Don’t you doubt it. If you have been the sort of Christian who equated Christianity with the American way of life, you had better rethink that, and fast.

It pains me to think about how quickly this happened. And we are trying to fight back with electoral politics when we won’t even use real wine in communion, or commune every Sunday, or chant the psalms every Sunday, or build Christian schools. I need to cuss about this.