Friday, June 25, 2010

grapefruit mentos

Today we organized, prepared for the new arrival, went through tons of stuff, boxed and reboxed things, and in the process I browsed through old college compositions, Wagner articles and Ring paraphernalia, and — stopping the heart — Catherine found a cache of Grapefruit Mentos. Discontinued 2 years ago, and impossible to find now. Ahhhhh, Grapefruit Mentos!! I thought I'd tasted them for the last time.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Truett on Freedom

On Sunday, May 16, 1920, Dr. George W. Truett stood on the east steps of the Capitol and gave an address that summarized what was then the Baptist point of view — and still is among Baptists who know their history and doctrine:

That utterance of Jesus, 'Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's,' is one of the most revolutionary and history-making utterances that ever fell from those lips divine. That utterance, once for all, marked the divorcement of church and state. It marked a new era for the creeds and deeds of men. It was the sunrise gun of a new day, the echoes of which are to go on and on and on until in every land, whether great or small, the doctrine shall have absolute supremacy everywhere of a free church in a free state.

In behalf of our Baptist people I am compelled to say that forgetfulness of the principles that I have just enumerated, in our judgment, explains many of the religious ills that now afflict the world. All went well with the early churches in their earlier days. They were incomparably triumphant days for the Christian faith. Those early disciples of Jesus, without prestige and worldly power, yet aflame with the love of God and the passion of Christ, went out and shook the pagan Roman empire from center to circumference, even in one brief generation. Christ's religion needs no prop of any kind from any worldly source, and to the degree that it is thus supported is a millstone hanged about its neck.

If only we could hear him now!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

concert under the stars

Tonight (Thursday), I'll be performing with the estimable Ken Slavin Jazz Quintet, which will kick off the 2010 "Concert Under the Stars" series at the San Antonio Botanical Garden. Gate opens at 6 p.m. The show is from 7 p.m. to sunset (about 9:15 p.m.) Bring your own seating. Pre-order picnic box suppers from Central Market at 210-368-8686.

Should be a fun and satisfying evening. See you there.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

gender and bridges

From this otherwise unremarkable article on pronouns:

A Stanford researcher presented bilingual English-Spanish and English-German speakers with a picture of a bridge. In Spanish and German, unlike English, even some inanimate objects are referenced with gendered pronouns.

In Spanish the word for bridge is marked masculine (and thus referenced with a masculine pronoun); in German the word is marked feminine. The researcher instructed the participants to describe the photograph. Then an independent group of participants rated all of the adjectives the bilinguals had written as either masculine or feminine.

German bilinguals consistently described the bridge with more feminine adjectives (elegant, beautiful), and Spanish bilinguals described it with more masculine adjectives (sturdy, dangerous). Here’s the kicker: instructions were given in English, descriptions were written in English, and the photograph of the bridge was just that—a photograph. This suggests that pronouns might be important, not just to how we use language, but to how we experience the objects in our world (although, as dear Steven Pinker points out, “Just because a German thinks a bridge is feminine, doesn’t mean he’s going to ask one out on a date”).

Friday, June 4, 2010

mad about mustaches

Painting Hitler mustaches on your political enemy: liberals have done it, conservatives, anarchists, libertarians — and it's always infuriating. But you know who must be *REALLY* mad about it? Charlie Chaplin.