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Backstory:

A year and a half ago, this happened. Last month, there was a three day trial where the defendant was found guilty of especially aggravated kidnapping, aggravated burglary, aggravated robbery, etc., etc. [Admittedly, the actions of the men involved did not constitute what we traditionally think of as kidnapping, but they did fit the legal definition of the term and thus they were charged with it.] The trial was quite a bit harder to process and manage than I was expecting. It was dramatic, and I am appreciative of those who came and sat with us during those days.

Today there was a sentencing hearing in which the defendant could have been sentenced to a minimum of 15 years in prison (with no chance of parole) up to 25 years–just for the kidnapping charge. Other sentences could have been stacked consecutively on top of that, leading essentially to life in prison.

In the end, the defendant was sentenced to 16 years. It will be a hard road for this man, and my family will faithfully remember him in prayer.

Below is what I asked of the court today. During sentencing, the judge said he had only heard three other Victim Impact Statements in this vein in his career. My purpose sharing this is a desire to edify the saints, including those facing life as victims of crimes. My purpose in court was to prop open a door to show forth Christ, now and later I hope.

Letter:

Your Honor,

My name is Ryan Boomershine. I am the headmaster of a private school here in Nashville. I am the father of Karsten Boomershine who was the most direct victim of the crime that is being punished here this morning.

Mr. Vaughn led his friends into my home and committed these crimes. It was my son’s head that gun was directed toward. It was my wife and four other children (ages 3-9) who played and worked innocently steps away from this crime.

Uncharacteristically of me, I was pretty emotional while the verdict was read to the courtroom at the conclusion of this trial. I wept. But I don’t believe that my tears were for my family. They were for Mr. Vaughn. He gave up a lot of good things when he made the decision to right wrongs on his own. He lost access to his son (born a couple of days after this crime), to his family, to the freedom to come and go. The four men implicated in this crime have altered my family’s life a little bit. They have altered their own lives substantially. They have married themselves to solitude and darkness and captivity.

I am glad Mr. Vaughn was caught. I am glad he was tried. I am glad he was found guilty. Truth was made plain during the trial.

Generals Housel and McGregor [the Assistant District Attorneys prosecuting the case] have my highest commendations for their work seeking truth. Ms. Simmons has relentlessly pursued my family’s comfort in many ways in her role as an advocate for victims. Their work was a great comfort to us.

My compassion for Mr. Vaughn is very strong and has been since the day this happened. I said so the following day in a TV interview and meant it strongly then. I mean it strongly now.

I am for the punishment. The crime was egregious and should be punished. But I am also very much for the opportunity for Mr. Vaughn to have the opportunity after the punishment to pursue peace and productivity in this community.

For the last year-and-a-half, my intent has been to ask the court for the lightest possible punishment. My understanding is that the law says that the minimum punishment is 15 years. My family is comfortable with that. I call upon the Court to extend mercy to Mr. Vaughn in giving him the lightest sentence possible, almost.

I am grieved that Mr. Vaughn is not repentant. The story that he told on the witness stand was fable. It is presumptuous for me to assert, but I don’t believe one person in this courtroom believed his testimony, even himself. His willingness to lie under oath is a mockery to absolute truth. I don’t know why Mr. Vaughn conjured this story, but God is not mocked. Nor was this jury of his peers mocked by his lies.

Your Honor, I forgive Mr. Vaughn. I forgive his kidnapping, his assault, his burglary, his lies. Not only do I forgive him, I welcome him. He is welcome in my family’s home. He may pass into my home, eat in my home, be safe in my home.

Your Honor, it is my family’s preference that you sentence Mr. Vaughn to a minimum sentence plus 1 or 2 years–the extra years being added for the blatant lies he told. I believe a maximum or consecutive sentence would be crushing. My hope is that he would receive this correction humbly, that he would hear in me an earnest desire for his good, that he would commit his prison term to pursuing righteousness that is found only in Christ. I would welcome the opportunity to assist him, get to know him, and aid him in this.

“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.” [Titus 2]

May Jesus Christ be praised.

Now:

There are three more defendants whose fate needs to be determined by trial(s) or plea bargains. Pray that this season would end soon and that due process would be speedy.

The anecdote says that when Spurgeon was robbed while away from home that he came home and expressed thankfulness that a) his life was spared, b) the robber didn’t get much and c) “I’m thankful to God that I was not the robber.”

Last Wednesday, the second day of this year, I was working at my desk at school when Christie called me on my cell. She said a jumble of things [in my mind] but also something close to, “some men just came into our house…they put a gun to Karsten’s head….and put him in the closet.” She was also able to confirm that at least one item was missing and they had attempted to take the TV. I was her first call, so I ran to the car, raced home and talked to 911 the whole way there. I beat the police, and as I entered home, Karsten obviously had a jumbled dread of emotions on his face.

Karsten is our oldest. He is 10, and he was enjoying his last morning of Christmas break by playing with Legos on the living room floor when a knock came to the door. Christie was heading up the stairs to tend to the running water (a tub being filled for Bear’s bath), and she told him he could answer it. We live in a busy house with many guests and neighbors at our door throughout the week; sometimes even when I come home, I knock and wait at the front door. When the door was opened, a man with a gun presented himself and asked Karsten who was home. There were two masked and gloved men with him. Karsten told him that his mom was upstairs. He covered Karsten’s mouth, put the gun to his temple and marched him about 12-15 paces to a closet and deposited him inside. For 3-5 minutes, the three men (ages 17-20) went through the downstairs of our home trying to disconnect the TV, taking our iPod, and turning the radio on the docking station to a rap station.

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Karsten’s heart was pounding in the closet. He couldn’t hear the intruders, but he expressed very high concern that they would head upstairs where his siblings (ages 9, 7, 4, 3) and mama were. His emotions were racing. He described that time, not as primarily fearful for himself, but a strong sense of “I can’t believe this is happening here, happening to us.”

The men left with a slam of the door and raced to the car where a waiting 15-year old was in the rear seat of their car. The gunman drove away and out of our subdivision.

Just after I arrived home, the police descended on our subdivision. It was a harrowing time of details and shock, reporting and telling, fingerprinting and rehashing. And the police were great. Metro Nashville Police were highly esteemed in our eyes, but now much more so. They were kind and thorough and were gracious with our whole family.

Because of Karsten’s very detailed description of the men and a neighbor’s very exact description of the car, the four were caught within an hour, the iPod and gun (with a 33-bullet clip) were recovered, and have all admitted to being involved in some way. The DA is seeking a whole host of charges, perhaps including aggravated kidnapping for each of the four involved (TN law does not exclude the one who didn’t come in the house).

There is a definite gravity to this event in our lives. We were immediately and intensely thankful. We were thankful that God had spared Karsten’s life; our precious son still lives! God had kept our other little ones upstairs. He had kept the bad guys downstairs. He had allowed the bad guys to be consternated and leave sooner than they had to (they said they were not in the house that they meant to be in). We appreciate what sort of tragedy may have come last week and how different our lives almost were. We appreciate that there was a quarter of inch pull between life and death and that God controlled even that quarter-inch of space.

At the same time, we have slept well every night since. We have resolved together that God is King, even outside of church. In the moments after the police left, Karsten found his shoulders in my squeezing hands, and we were face to face with me telling him plainly and slowly that, “No one can hurt you. No one in this world can touch or harm you without God’s permission.” I quoted Spurgeon to him, saying, “The God who has been sufficient until now can be trusted to the end.”

We have been so loved this week. We have received encouragements and prayers and Scripture and texts and calls from the world over. In the midst of the trauma, we have received this very special dispensation of overt love that have made all the creaky pains seem lighter. Karsten has been fantastic. He has met two very competent, professional and compassionate District Attorneys, a wonderful victim advocate, an amazing arresting officer, a hilarious CSI, two of Nashville’s finest detectives, and a whole precinct (practically) of caring officers and sergeants. He has been prepped and sworn in for two different hearings already but has not been called to testify, though we are pretty certain he will need to do so in the future, perhaps many times. He has been interviewed on TV, and I’ve turned down two other interviews because that one was hard enough for him.

Today’s hearing was especially hard since it was a packed courtroom with the oldest two defendants present, many family members of the defendants, a news team, a whole gaggle of court crew and 15+ police officers waiting to testify. We were told he wouldn’t be needed and then were told in the middle of it that he would be brought in. He was calm (and a little bemused about the loose tooth that was hanging from his gums that he wasn’t ready to pull out today), but I was trembling for him today. In the end, the D.A. said she didn’t need him.

It has been a whirlwind, though, mostly of happy graciousness. That man did not pull the trigger. Those men did not go upstairs where our other three boys and little girl were. We are safe. We are warm in our home together. We can sleep in peace.

We are lucky. We live in this corner of the world where we can live softly with high birth rates, heated blankets, electronic amenities, soft-serve yogurt on every corner…. We live in a part of the world where crime still shocks us and calls us to the realities of a fragile and desperate world. I don’t deserve five healthy kids. They are a grace. I don’t deserve the Gospel love I’m shown each day either, but we have a good God with a perfect Son who made a perfect atonement for my trouble. He solved and healed my woes. And now I can’t look on these other things as my own. I’ve written this before, but Christie and I will recite on occasion what we know is true: “These kids are not ours; they are God’s. He gave them; He can take them. Nothing is too good or should be too close for our God to take.”

My sympathy for Vaughn, Birdsong, Kelly and Spears is high. While I want the judicial system to do its work on them and want them penalized, I want them to know the freedom that I feel. And the freedom is not a result of my lack of leg irons and handcuffs and steel bars. My freedom comes because I know the truth of the Gospel, and I believe the plain truths of Ecclesiastes, that you can have nothing in this world–no freedom, no people, no things–and life can still be rich.

I am fortunate; I have my child and my family is whole. The four defendants are fortunate–I was shopping for home defense shotguns 22 hours before they intruded my home; and, if I were home, I would have been steps away from a pistol. For this, I am thankful that I was not home. I want the gun, but the stories are so much uglier when the guns are used.

Unapologetically, this trauma has been good for our family. It’s not that we wish it on others, are glad it happened or want it to happen again. But it allows all of us to see God’s steady, close protection and care of this family. One day, every knee will bow and every tongue will declare His Lordship; and the excess and bounty will drip from our mouths and saturate our sight. May He preserve us to better declare His story to others.

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But I, through the abundance of your steadfast love,
will enter your house.

I will bow down toward your holy temple
in the fear of you.

Lead me, O LORD, in your righteousness
because of my enemies;
make your way straight before me.

For there is no truth in their mouth;
their inmost self is destruction;
their throat is an open grave;
they flatter with their tongue.

Make them bear their guilt, O God;
let them fall by their own counsels;
because of the abundance of their transgressions cast them out,
for they have rebelled against you.

But let all who take refuge in you rejoice;
let them ever sing for joy,
and spread your protection over them,
that those who love your name may exult in you.

For you bless the righteous, O LORD;
you cover him with favor as with a shield.
(Psalm 5:7-12)

[This post is a follow-up to the question I posted today on Facebook about whether I should read the Harry Potter series.]

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Alright. Thanks all for your input today. I was not calling for divisiveness, but I knew that saying “Harry Potter” would bring you all out in full flourishes. You did great.

Just a couple thoughts and then an answer…

  • Yes, it is! The “magic” in Harry Potter is the same thing as the magic in Narnia and LotR. Accepting it in one and rejecting it in another is a problem.
  • You all don’t know many of each other and didn’t see that some of you were speaking tongue-in-cheek for part of the time at least.
  • I’ll be writing/speaking more on it in the next school year, but let us be really clear that the Bible has many, many objectionable elements in it, much more varied than Harry Potter. The Bible as a movie would be rated R in parts. The matter is how those elements are treated. Condemning a work because it contains something you don’t like isn’t just cause. The fact is that there must be conflict, there must be something that makes everything ugly and need redemption. That’s what makes a story good. Conflict/problem is what makes every story not a documentary/infomercial (and even documentary is enhanced by conflict).
  • If you’re struggling with people enjoying Harry Potter, I think that I Cor 8 should be your guide.
  • If you’re struggling with people being offended by Harry Potter, I think that I Cor. 8 should be your guide.
  • For meat!? For Harry Potter!? Are we willing to make mincemeat of the bonds of Christ? Don’t!

I don’t need to write a response, because one has already been gracefully and beautifully written. I read it last summer, and it helped swing me over to officially be willing to read/listen to the series (not sure I’m interested in the movies, but we’ll see if it’s convenient to watch them).

The fact is that “we turn to stories and pictures and music because they show us who and what and why we are.” (Madeleine L’Engle).

The best position I’ve read on the matter was written by Andrew Peterson. He said in part,

Let me be clear: Harry Potter is NOT Jesus. This story isn’t inspired, at least not in the sense that Scripture is inspired; but because I believe that all truth is God’s truth, that the resurrection is at the heart of the Christian story, and the main character of the Christian story is Christ, because I believe in God the Father, almighty maker of heaven and earth and in Jesus Christ his only begotten son—and because I believe that he inhabits my heart and has adopted me as his son, into his family, his kingdom, his church—I have the freedom to rejoice in the Harry Potter story, because even there, Christ is King. Wherever we see beauty, light, truth, goodness, we see Christ. Do we think him so small that he couldn’t invade a series of books about a boy wizard? Do we think him cut off from a story like this, as if he were afraid, or weak, or worried? Remember when Santa Claus shows up (incongruously) in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe? It’s a strange moment, but to my great surprise I’ve been moved by it. Lewis reminds me that even Father Christmas is subject to Jesus, just as in Prince Caspian the hosts of mythology are subject to him. The Harry Potter story is subject to him, too, and Jesus can use it however he wants. In my case, Jesus used it to help me long for heaven, to remind me of the invisible world, to keep my imagination active and young, and he used it to show me his holy bravery in his triumph over the grave.

The full article is called Harry Potter, Jesus and Me.” Please follow the link and go read it. Every word. It is seasoned with grace and addresses the wide array of problems that were brought up today. It will be an encouragement to the proponents, also.

Thanks for taking part.

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Karsten will be 10 next week. As a first-born, as a boy, as a son, he is a treasure to us. As much as Christie and I love kids, adore babies, and intensely love those early years, I am eager to watch Karsten begin tackling some of life’s issues and taking on more of life’s load. I think he’s ready.

He has an immensely thankful and thoughtful heart. He loves his siblings actively. He considers the lilies. He is becoming quite the proficient soccer and chess player. He is an astute student who loves the act of learning.

As we learn to honor and promote ceremony and milestone, Christie and I decided last summer to honor our children on their 10th birthday with an event to remember. I read Raising a Modern Day Knight to help with some ideas. Beyond the back story, Lewis had a lot of good ideas for making much out of the stages of life by acknowledging them and honoring them. We believe that our sons will never become men by accident. We need to purpose to actively and artfully teach them.

One of my favorite lessons learned from the book was the value of adding community to the event. We remember because of ceremony/pomp/surprise/magnitude. The act of enlisting community adds a whole synergism of values, sobriety, and depth. It takes lessons beyond, “that’s just dad talking.” It adds a depth of friendship that the lonely never know. It expands his spiritual and moral resources.

So Christie and I resolved that each of the kids will get a trip away on their tenth birthday, and we will do something else to honor them largely at their 18th birthday, perhaps. The goal of this event isn’t to be a vacation or a release. It’s a sort of initiation trip, not into adulthood or even into teenager-hood, but more of an initiation into higher expectations and capacities.

Karsten is turning 10 on May 4th, and we look forward to a simple party with him then. He doesn’t know the dates but we have tickets to fly to Boston and spend most of one week there together this summer. We arrived on Boston as a destination together over months of discussion (the second runner-up was Denver/the Rockies). We will be able to see a great storehouse of spiritual and historical sites in a small geographical area and will be able to even take in a Tigers/Sox day game at Fenway on Memorial Day! I’ve led tours in that area four times and am eager to show him what is there. He loves the Revolution, has learned much more about it this year in school, and he is eager to see so many of these things firsthand. As an honor and benefit, my dad will be joining us, too. [A super-added bonus is that we have free airfare and housing.]

As a way of adding community to the trip, I have asked Karsten’s uncles, Grandpas, pastor, and a couple of special friends who love Karsten to participate by writing a letter to him. I’ve assigned those twelve men topics to address, such as, A Man Works Hard, A Man Plays Well, A Man Serves, A Man is Pure, A Man Worships, A Man Treasures the Word, and A Man Does Hard Things.

My goal will be to disperse these letters for Karsten to find in NH and MA as we visit the sites. I am pretty sure that I can make it happen for him to find a letter in the steeple we will climb of Old South Presbyterian Church on the banks of the Merrimack River in Newburyport, MA (George Whitfield’s church). I think I can get a pilgrim or two to hand him a letter at Plimoth Plantation, that we can find one hidden in the grate at the monument at Dorchester Heights overlooking Boston from the South, one on his pillow every night when we return to the house and, well….I have lots of ideas and am fearless about enlisting help (I will even try to get the Governor’s Office to help). The surprise of finding them will heighten the effect.

I’m sure this collection is something that Karsten will treasure for life. I hope that the experiences of the trip as I craft them and encounters with these letters will give Karsten a keen vision of his life and especially that, from this point forward, life is going to be different!
Dostoevsky’s writes toward the end of The Brother’s Karamazov:

“I want you to understand, then, that there is nothing nobler, stronger, and healthier, and more helpful in life than a good remembrance from our childhood, when we still lived in our parents’ house. You often hear people speak about upbringing and education, but I feel that a beautiful, holy memory preserved from childhood can be the most important single thing in our development. And if a person succeeds, in the course of his life, in collecting many such memories, he will be saved for the rest of his life. And even if we have only one such memory, it is possible that it will be enough to save us some day.”

You and I will insert the Gospel into this and then, I think, agree wholly. Karsten has accepted the truth of the Gospel and is still learning about its power and reality. There is much that we can do together to influence and encourage the man he is becoming and add to his reservoir a history of happy and holy realities, remembrances and encouragements.

When we come home from the trip, Karsten will be presented with an album of the original letters from these men (he will be finding copies along the way). If you, reader, would like to include a letter of advice to a 10 year old, Christie and I would be happy to add it to the album. Karsten is young, but he has a keen understanding. I hope that these letters on the whole will not be over-simplified, but written to Karsten and the man is he becoming, not the boy he now is.  If you have no idea what to write, I have a list of topics that you could peruse. The soft deadline for these is May 20th.

Purposeful, Gospel-centered parenting is a hard plowing. Christie and I are still toddlers at it, but we do hope that by doing some planning (and sometimes some saving) we can well lead our four little boys and one little girl gracefully through the stages of life.

The big deal is that our children are not ours. They are God’s. Christie and I look each other in the eye and say this out loud from time to time. We get to oversee them for some time and then give them over to His service. If that time is 16, 18, 21 or whatever, we need to work to have them ready. If Jesus wants them now, we want to be ready for that, too. So we will keep reading, praying, planning and weeping over them, getting to know them better, seeking to hook their hearts to the glorious hope in Christ. The work is laborious [have you met Knox?], rapturous [if your little girl greets you when you get home like my little girl does when I walk in the door each time, you get it], intense, serious and rewarding. We are wholly inadequate and hopeless out of Christ.

So, we get back to it now…back to our counting stars and sand, little feet and little hands…counting joys.

It’s a rather corny/gamey/commercial format, but it’s still awfully interesting.

Good Work Well Done

“The Church’s approach to an intelligent carpenter is usually confined to exhorting him not to be drunk and disorderly in his leisure hours, and to come to church on Sundays. What the Church should be telling him is this: that the very first demand that his religion makes upon him is that he should make good tables…Let the Church remember this: that every maker and worker is called to serve God in his profession or trade–not outside of it… The only Christian work is good work well done.

Dorothy Sayers

Got Windex?

From the “seemed like a fun idea at the time–and still does” department:

It’s 6:15a. I’m in my office and my tongue is ready; I’m already thinking about my lunch today at Swanky’s Taco Shop, where I’ll meet up with a friend. I’m pretty excited, because I’ve tasted it before, and the flavor can enchant my senses a month later…as can other foods.

At home, I think Christie and I do a good job of remembering that our children are not ours. They are God’s. We have them for a very limited time and that these 18 years with each of them are fleeing. It really hits home when we will take down the crib today or tomorrow. My Dad made it; we love it. After 5 kids, it’s in beautiful condition, and and we’re not expecting  to see it again until we set it up for our first grandson in 15-20 years [Karsten would be breaking a 7 generation (at least) streak if he has a girl first].

When I’m in school vision mode, I usually have enough gumption to mention how we are building this school not just for our kids but for our kid’s kids. People like the idea usually, but don’t know what I mean. I need to do a better job teaching them.

I love the story of New College Oxford’s oaken beams. The founders had a long-term (500 year plan) that I hope was on purpose. The stories are sketchy and inconsistent though.

Now Jeff Bezos (founder and CEO of Amazon.com) is part of a big project…a really big project. It’s a 10,000 year clock. Here’s a one-page website that shows the work being done: 10,000 Year Clock.

The clock should make us remember to stop wasting our life today dabbling in fleeting joys and inanity. Invest in eternal things: like schools, like kids, like missionaries, like big ideas. Yes, by all means play your video games, watch your baseball and hone your corn hole skills, as part of living today. But God and people live forever. Invest in them.

Apologia — At the same time, let’s be clear: you are not wasting your life if you don’t have a 500 year plan or aren’t involved in a 10,000 year project. But you must be remembering what things really last. Ecclesiastes gives us very simple instructions (set in a bigger context) for enjoying life: “Go, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart, for God has already approved what you do.”  Solomon says that these simple things are God’s gift to us. That which your hand is doing is what is best for today. Do it heartily as unto the Lord.

To rear our kids to be learners and thinkers requires skills well-beyond information retrieval. We as moderns with our high-powered phones often feel well-educated because the facts we need are so close by; mere seconds of typing and waiting separate us from knowing all sorts of truths. I have more than once replied to an innocent fact-wondering family member or friend who asked a simple question, with a flick of my phone-filled wrist and a caustic,  “Is my Google better than yours?” From the Chronicle of Higher Ed yesterday,

When it comes to the materials of learning, we should impress upon students the importance of carrying these materials around in their own heads.  Facts about the Civil War, scientific laws, poems by Emily Dickinson . . . these are not just items to retrieve when a situation calls for them.  They are rightly part of a youth’s character and sensibility.  The Gettysburg Address isn’t just a text on the syllabus to be invoked at test time.  The cadences and assertions should be internalized forever.

The danger of Google is that it’s so convenient that it turns the materials of history, science, literature, art, and politics into information, not learning.  In a Google-ized classroom, we lose the practice of education-as-formation.  And the more we let search engines function in student work, the less we can expect that students will remember our instruction once the semester ends. — Google Memory 

We have already left the abacus, the cubit, the slide rule and the butter churn behind. We have found efficiency in new things, and that’s ok. Today we have hard talk about what we must perhaps give up tomorrow (paper books, cursive, multiplication tables, spelling lists, fossil fuels!) and to educators, it hurts to say too much.

Technology is coming, and that’s ok.  But tech is replacing our knowledge-level, utilitarian hardware. It cannot replace our logic or rhetoric skills that make us more fully human, or at least give us the opportunity to do so. Technology is primarily efficient, not beautiful (though it be shiny).  Technology cannot instill virtuous childhood. A search engine cannot cultivate a child’s mind; it can only deliver the seeds.

A water wheel cannot grow crops, make bread or even grind wheat. It’s sole job was to receive product and deposit product. In so doing, it moved other parts. The water wheel did a great job doing what it was supposed to do. It was a great technological feat that saved lots of labor (though there were probably purists who continued to sell hand-threshed or oxen-ground wheat in the specialty stores). It came and went.

Our knowledge retrieval systems will come and go. 150 lb. encyclopedia sets came and now they are long gone. Google is here and will be replaced tomorrow with something better.

But let us not confuse these methods of retrieval with what they are not. They are not education, and an education that concerns itself primarily with facts and fact objectives and pounds towards its testing deadlines is missing the great bulk of what education truly is.

I was looking on Google Maps Street View to find the hotel we stayed at in London in 2004 [I wasn’t bored, I had a reason]. I don’t remember the name of it exactly, but could find it in a second on a map. So I was using Street View and Street View has taught me that the hotel was probably bought and remodeled and is no longer a hotel. But as long as I was there, I took a gander around and re-found this ancient plaque that was on the opposite side of the street and a few doors down from the hotel. It made Christie and me guffaw out loud when we saw it.

You can view the plaque here in this link.

And now follow this link to see a close-up picture I took in 2004, to show you what the plaque said. It’s just one word that makes the whole thing worthwhile.

No, TBAP isn’t dead. Just sleeping while it’s master toils and spins, toils and spins, toils and spins. The end of the madness is coming. Routine is coming. Rest is not coming, just routine. And routine allows for some productivity…and occasional opportunities to post. Please wait.

But I did want to post this in preview of upcoming regular postings again.

It’s a great story, a great problem, and I am almost tempted to offer the solution to her. Here’s a wonderful story…

A Canadian woman’s house is collapsing under the weight of the 350,000 books.

 

Work Hard!

The harder you work, the better your neighbors can eat!

The Art of Letterpress

Old ways were good, too.

[vimeo 22639018]

HT: 22 Words 

Magnificently Awful

You have probably never experienced a worse church website that someone was so wholly dedicated to build. It starts off creepy and as you proceed it waxes worse and worse to the point where you hope that May 21st really is the end of it all.

Take a big breath…now enter:

Evangel Cathedral

A fun story from the Smithsonian about the public disassembly of Lincoln’s watch.

A hush fell over the room as the watchmaker halted his work. A partially-dismantled pocket watch that once belonged to President Abraham Lincoln gleamed in his hands. He looked up from his task and pushed a visor, fitted with magnifying glasses for detailed work, up onto the top of his head. “The moment of truth has come!” he boomed. I waited, perched on the edge of my seat, for a verdict—was there really a secret message inscribed inside the watch? And if so, what did it say?

A Secret Message Inside Lincoln’s Watch

Hero of the Revolution

On this day in history…

[A] woman who distinguished herself in the Revolutionary War was 16-year-old Sybil Luddington. On the night of April 26, 1777, a messenger rode up to tell her father, a colonel of the local militia, that an attack was about to take place on Patriot munitions stored at Danbury, Connecticut. The messenger and his horse were too exhausted to carry the alarm further, so Sybil volunteered. She rode 40 miles that night, spreading the alarm to the surrounding militia.

— A History of US, Book 3, Teacher Guide, p. 49

Incoming Bookumentary

My favorite book is getting a documentary, and I am excited. Notes from the Tilt-a-Whirl is loved and hated and incredibly difficult to explain and understand.

Click here to give the book a $10 chance. It has interesting reviews on Amazon. Feel free to start with the 1 star ones.

Life Saver

Christie’s second-cousin is a retired physician. He is Dr. Larry Miller of San Antonio, TX. He is a gracious and kind man who has lived a full and adventurous life.

One of his many contributions to the world is his invention of a sort of medical drill for inserting an IV. It’s called the EZ-IO. Wikipedia says about the EZ-IO that, “It is used by 90 percent of US advanced life support ambulances and over half of US Emergency Departments , as well as the US Military, and is available in over 50 countries worldwide.” I think it’s available in space, too.

A few months ago, Larry and his company donated drills and needles and hands-on training and took his invention to Haiti for the first time. Here’s what it looked like.

Until I can figure out why my links aren’t posting: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SB6l8CCpn8w

 

150 Years Ago Today

The Civil War began in earnest 150 years ago today at Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor (SC). (Click pic for more info).

The conclusion of the war will be announced later (hopefully).

Hee-Haw Reruns

I watched Hee Haw (in syndication) some as a kid. It only slightly occurred to me why everyone was laughing. But now I live in Nashville.

Innovation + Desire

The Middle Tennessee Futbol Club (and most other Youth leagues in America are playing this morning) and already have pretty great fields, but this is a good story about those who wanted to play but couldn’t.

The recent Disney release is spectacular…good for the whole family. Secretariat was more than just a good typist, he awed the world with his speed. Here is the actual last race being run…don’t watch if you don’t want to be spoiled by the ending.

Reagan called Qaddafi the “Mad Dog of the Middle East.” This clip is from the 1986 U.S. bombing of Libya.

This is a shameless copy/paste job from a forwarded email. I have never done this kind of blog post to you, and I am a little miffed I’m willing to do it today. I just thought it was hilarious. The captions (not mine) add a lot to the already funny photos.

These are makeshift helmets made by the Egyptians while fighting in their current internal conflict. Gotta protect the old melon from rocks that your buddies are throwing at you.

Your classic 1979 Tribottle helmet  a must in any type of combat


A late 80s boxhat. The dude next to him doesn’t appear too sure of its effectiveness.

A Renaissance period piece of brickwear teamed with a black and cream scarf. Chic

I’m not sure that tuna sandwich he is about to lob is gonna cause too much destruction. Old school 60s broken bucket helmet. I love the fact he needs to lift it up to see does he spend the rest of the time walking into things?? Also – it appears all Egyptian men throw like girls.


Textbook saucepan with comfy chinstrap teamed with a protective life jacket/body armor combo. This guy hates pain!


I literally have no idea what this is. 


And the landslide winner by 100 miles. This clown is going to war with 2 hot dog buns strapped to his ears and a kaiser roll cellophane taped to his forehead. Natural born muslim suicide bomber material.

…thankfully. And it’s not just the theologs doing it.

The Smooth Hacker

This plan has so many sinister applications. If someone less smooth/bold and more serious took hold of it…we might have less paid propaganda (commercials) and more free propaganda (“We are taking over the earth. You are now ours.”)

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