Weekly Meanderings, May 25, 2013

If the earth had a ring like Saturn…

The best ice cream parlors in the world — where there’s Blue Bell in Texas and don’t forget the piazza parlor in San Gimignano.

Mal Green on preserving one’s reputation: “The seemingly relentless litany in recent church history of high-profile and no-profile Christian religious leaders being caught in the act of spectacularly transgressing some aspect of their own Judeo-Christian moral code has got me thinking that the Christian obsession (explicit and implicit) with protecting one’s reputation in the eyes of the Christian and secular establishment could be misguided…. But, sitting in that church a few weeks ago, I was impressed that Jesus has a different view on reputation. Luke 15 opens with the mutterings of religious leaders complaining about the company Jesus kept. Jesus proceeds to tell three stories about three people who place more importance on looking out for something or someone that is lost than on sticking with what is already safe. It is this Jesus who is concerned for those who are lost who calls me to put relationship over reputation. I suggest that, when we think about relationship and reputation, a close reading of the gospels leads to the conclusion that Jesus didn’t worry about his reputation amongst his family, friends, religious institutions and society.”

What are your principles on this?

Always wondered about this: what did they drink in the medieval age? Tim O’Neill: “Contrary to what is found all over the Internet on the subject, the most common drink was water, for the obvious reason: It’s free. Medieval villages and towns were built around sources of fresh water. This could be fresh running water, a spring or, in many cases, wells. All of these could easily provide fresh, disease- and impurity-free water; the idea that water from these sources would be the causes of disease and so had to be made into ale or beer is fanciful. Where water was more likely to be contaminated, largely by tanning, slaughtering, or dying facilities, was in larger towns. But since medieval people were not idiots, they dealt with this in several ways. There were ordinances on where tanners and dyers could operate so that water for domestic use could be drawn from rivers and streams in the town to ensure the water was clean. And there were fines for contaminating areas of streams used for household consumption.”

Your State bird and what it should be.

Many writers today manipulate the market, or do their best to manipulate the market, when it comes to sales. How so? Recently  an informed friend told me a well-known book by a by-this-deed about to be and now a well-known Christian writer made it to the NYTimes list because a donor bought 100,000 copies to distribute so the numbers would put him on the NYTimes list. Others want everyone to buy the book on the same day so the numbers will look better than they are. Marketing and publicity have their places, but we are all called to integrity in these matters. (The book dealt quite a bit with cutting back in our lifestyle choices.) Anyway, I like this piece by Karen Spears Zacharias:“Despite popular mythology, I didn’t get into the writing business to get rich. I didn’t even get into this business to have a New York Times bestseller, although I fully expect that will happen one day. (I live by hope, remember?) I got into this writing gig because I believe it is God’s call upon my life. To quote Mr. Miller, it gives my life meaning. But my life had meaning before I ever knew there was a writer lurking within me.  Relationships are the only things that we will carry forward into eternity with us. I think that is the thing that bothers me most about Kickstarter. In a very real way, it takes the relationship-building element out of the work we do. Like with all forms of social media, a person’s virtual circle of friends, is, as virtual suggests, somewhat  artificial. It’ s not that I don’t value the need to raise money for projects, it’s the absence of the personal relationship that bothers me. If we can solicit all the money necessary to create our art by clicking a button, rather than sending a hand-written note or sitting down to have a face-to-face conversation with someone, then haven’t we in essence taken the relationship-building out of our work? Sure, Kickstarter is more efficient than the rather intimidating, and, yes, too often humbling way of the past. At it’s core, Kickstarter is a great tool of capitalism and the American way….”

I think it’s far easier to stay away, pardner.

John Kass, Chicago Tribune writer, probes why the IRS scandal is the Chicago Way… read the whole essay, he’s got quite the ending.

Kris and I have no idea what Tumblr is but this fella does: “NEW YORK (AP) – As a teenager, Tumblr CEO David Karp would canvass the streets of New York City’s Upper West Side, offering to build websites for local businesses. After his freshman year of high school, the precocious, computer-savvy kid decided to drop out altogether to devote more time to his passion for technology. A few years later, Karp built Tumblr – the wildly popular blogging forum – from his tiny childhood bedroom, hunched over his laptop with bags of Tostitos. And on Saturday, the 26-year-old technology wunderkind returned home to inform his mother that, in a game-changing transaction, Yahoo was buying Tumblr for $1.1 billion.”

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