Tweaking the blog

Thanks, everybody, for your kind words and what I think is a pretty successful launch in the Patheos big city (as someone called it).

The comments on the “introductions” post offered some suggestions, and I want to follow up on that. First, what is your opinion of posts that only show the first six lines on the main page and then you have to click “read more” to get the rest of them?

That’s the basic format Patheos uses and, I was told, for good reason. I guess when there are lots of posts on the front page, webcrawlers can get to them easier, visitors can browse earlier posts they haven’t seen yet, it looks better with the web design, and I don’t know what all.

I felt my posts were more long form, so I asked Patheos if they could make the text box bigger. They put a larger character limit, but that hid the formatting (paragraphs, block quotes) for some reason. Where it stands now is that we have formatting, long posts, and I said I’d put in my own page breaks.

But I don’t know. . . .Maybe there is nothing wrong with the six line teasers, though maybe I should change my writing so that I start off with a journalistic “lede” (journalese for “lead”), a snappy summary that makes you want to read on. You readers are the main consideration. Do you mind getting only six lines before you have to click “read more”? Or is that some of the only exercise you get and so you are all for it? (Let’s see if you mind this jump: [Read more…]

The new signature on our currency

President Obama has nominated his chief of staff, Jack Lew, to be the new Treasury Secretary. That has stirred some controversy. But what I worry about is his signature, which will go on all currency issues during his time in office:

[Read more…]

The Father of the Year. . .

. . .is Bill Clinton.

Clinton was named the “Father of the Year” by the National Father’s Day Council on Wednesday.

The group selected Clinton for his “profound generosity, leadership and tireless dedication to both his public office and many philanthropic organizations,” Dan Orwig, chairman of the National Father’s Day Committee, said in the announcement.

via Bill Clinton named ‘Father of the Year’ –

Profound generosity, tireless dedication to his public office and the rest of it are well and good.  But what do they specifically have to do with Fatherhood?  “Tireless dedication” to one’s work can well mean neglecting one’s children.  No disrespect to the former president, but his one daughter is all grown up now, so what made him such a good dad this particular year?

Who might be better candidates for Father of the Year?

A Cranacher could use some help

Michael Westfall is a longtime reader and commenter here.  His daughter Lidija is very sick and requires some special treatments.  She is a project for Give Forward.  The goal is to raise $5,000 by January 31st, and they are 73% of the way there.  Please give if you can at the link below.  From the site:

Six year old Lidija is a beautiful and sweet girl, who is loved by many. Two doctors have diagnosed her with Mast Cell Activation Disorder with gastrointestinal and renal involvement. She requires a special diet of a formula called, Neocate Junior, which is costing her family $35/day. They are also trying to have their daughter seen at NIH, Baylor or Mayo for medical treatment. Please do what you can and especially forward this message to anyone you know who may be willing to help.

Here  are the details of her story, and it’s a heart-rending read.

via Michael Westfall | lidijashope.


Introductions, all around

Here we are, at our new digs at Patheos.  For longtime readers wondering what has happened, read this explanation. For new readers, welcome to Cranach.

You can read about the blog, about me, and about our patron saint (if we had patron saints) Lucas Cranach in the various tabs at the top of the page. Suffice it to say for now that this is a “web log” in the old sense of interesting things I’ve found on the internet. Also that I am interested in all kinds of things, so that you will find here posts on current events, the arts, politics, history, technology, sports, books, movies, theology, and on and on. This is also a discussion blog. That is, college professor that I am, I like to pose questions, problems, and issues in need of thinking through, and enlist your aid in talking about them in the comment threads.

In the course of the more than six years this blog has been going, we have built up a virtual community of readers and commenters. They represent quite a range of personalities and perspectives, and though the discussions sometimes can get heated, there is an underlying friendliness and camaraderie for the most part. You get to know the different people who comment and look forward to seeing what they have to say. Sometimes the community has become more than virtual, as people some to interact with each other apart from just this blog, via e-mail or FaceBook or even in person.

The other thing you need to know about this blog is that I and many of the commenters are Lutherans. I keep insisting that this is not a “Lutheran blog” as such, as we have people of many different beliefs and no beliefs tuning in here. But Lutheran theology accounts for quite a bit of the things I blog about. Lutherans have a theology of culture: [Read more…]

The crimes of children

A six-year-old was suspended from the first grade in a D.C. suburb for pointing his finger like a gun and saying “pow.”  Alexandra Petri reflects on other crimes committed by children:

What about all the kids who get away, every year, with spreading “cooties”? Clearly, this is a threat of biological warfare. They should be expelled — then quarantined.

What about all the kids who climb into boxes and announce that they are rocket ships? This violates lots of building codes, and those crafts are clearly not spaceworthy.

What about the kids who simulate car crashes with their plastic cars? Cars are far deadlier weapons than finger-guns, and you need a license to drive them. Where are their licenses?

Do you know the number of innocent cruise ships, liners, and rubber ducks sunk by careless six-year-old children daily? It makes the regime of Pol Pot pale by comparison.

Hide and seek? Sounds Nazi.

What about all the kids who build block towers? Surely that’s a violation both of union rules and safety codes. Where are their helmets? Why aren’t they being compensated? How dare they do it on weekends?

What about all the children, six and older, who create Monopolies, control large swaths of Boardwalk, and charge onerous rates to hotel visitors? [Read more…]