Inherent Vice trailer

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Power, Politics and the Missouri Synod

Power, Politics, and the Missouri Synod: A Conflict That Changed American ChristianityPower, Politics, and the Missouri Synod: A Conflict That Changed American Christianity by James C. Burkee

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This isn’t quite the book I was looking for. I wanted an overview of the Missouri Synod spilt and Seminex. This book was a detailed – almost painfully so – look at the conservative side. It becomes somewhat depressing to read of the infighting, posturing, politicking and mudslinging.
Still there are some interesting insights on the connections between confessional purity and anticommunism. This book makes me want to read some of George Marsden’s work on fundamentalism.
Meanwhile, if someone can recommend a general overview of the Missouri Synod/Seminex crisis, I would appreciate it.

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Civil War letters posted

I have posted five letters written by my great-great uncle during the Civil War.

The letters were written by Francis A. Pettibone, who apparently lived in the Solon, Ohio, area before the war. After the war he married and settled near Ashtabula, where he practiced law. His son Edwin married my great aunt Rosalynd “Rose” Raible, and they settled in Rocky River, Ohio.

The letters are posted here. I used Twitter Bootstrap 3.0 for the layout and effects.

Feedback is welcome; please use the comments field below.

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Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon

Telegraph AvenueTelegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

TA is a novel about endings and beginnings: the end of vinyl records and the independent record store; the end of midwifing; the end of funk and prog rock. And perhaps, more hopefully, the end of racism (Barack Obama makes a cameo appearance as a then-unknown state senator). It’s a moving book about the passage of time, which is vividly “telegraphed” with a character known as Mr. Nostalgia.

We live in an age of ephemera. Telegraph Avenue neither celebrates nor laments that fact. It just documents it. The cover of the book is designed like a record. And through the hole in the record you see silver. Now I don’t want to overanalyze this – and I know the author isn’t necessarily involved in the cover art – but that silver looks to me like a CD.

Telegraph Avenue doesn’t seem to be making a huge splash. The libraries I frequent each have plenty of copies on their New Releases shelves. The reviews on Goodreads and Amazon have been pretty tepid. Perhaps we can hope for a competent director to make a movie based on the book. It’s extremely filmable and might get people to appreciate what a wonderful story it tells.

I’ve never read anything else by Michael Chabon but I will now. I loved this book. It’s sweet, funny, well-written. Writing a book with almost all African American characters is a risky effort for a white guy.I believe Chabon pulls it off. The voices strike me as authentic and without stereotype.

One more thing: it’s nice that 40-somethings are getting their own coming of age literature. There was Super 8, which perfectly captured what it was like to be 13 in the late 70s. Now we have this. At one point he mentions “some movie where a shark-toothed devil doll was biting Karen Black on the ankles.” I totally remember that movie.

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Mark Bowden on modern warfare

The Finish: The Killing of Osama Bin LadenThe Finish: The Killing of Osama Bin Laden by Mark Bowden

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Aside from a lengthy digression about the evolution of Obama’s foreign policy views, this book moves quickly and tells the story well.

The Finish seems to complete a kind of trilogy that began with Black Hawk Down and continued with the Desert One section of Guests of the Ayatollah. The running theme through all three is the heroism of America’s armed forces – tempered by the dangers of overconfidence in military technology.

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Anatomy of a Verizon bill updated

I previously described my Verizon bill. Here’s how it shakes out with my LG Enlighten.

Month Minutes Texts
Sept/Oct 397 7,819

Here’s the breakdown.

Nationwide TLK&TXT Share 1400 $ 100.00
5 lines @ $9.99 $ 49.95
2 GB Data plan $ 30.00
Verizon Wireless surcharges $ 11.13
Taxes, governmental surcharges & fees $ 11.93
Total $203.01

One complaint: While I do love my Android powered smartphone,  the 2 GB is way more than I need. There just aren’t that many times that I’m not near a internet-connected computer. And when I’m not, I’m probably driving.

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Fall photos with curve and level adjustments



Original pictures on Flickr

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Big Day

Twenty five years of marriage and fifty followers on Twitter

@cruelcoulter now has 50 followers on Twitter

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I guess it’s safe to throw this stuff out…


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