Saturday, November 30, 2002

Judge Keith. Here is a link to the obituary for Judge James Keith, whom I mentioned below.

Friday, November 29, 2002

The Puritan Myth. A good article that ran in several newspapers across the country the past few days points out the myth popularized by Mencken that the Puritans lived with "the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy" is a flat-out lie. Sample quote:
Despite academics' efforts to set the record straight, Puritans continue to be cast wearing drab clothing, when in fact they often wore colorful outfits for their era. They're portrayed as teetotalers, when records show they consumed large quantities of beer, rum, ale and alcoholic cider. They're blamed for burning witches in Salem, even though convicted witches were usually hanged, not burned, and with less frequency and more due process of law than in Europe.
I recommend reading the whole article.

Wednesday, November 27, 2002

Song. About a month ago, I mentioned a song by Steve Taylor, Over My Dead Body, written in Warsaw in 1984, written about Grzegorz Przemyk a Polish Youth Worker slain by the Communist government. A friend of mine has posted it on-line in .mp3 format. You can download it here (scroll down).

Tuesday, November 26, 2002

What were they thinking? Volokh co-conspirator Stuart Banner, in a brief post that could easily be overlooked, asks:
It wasn't so long ago that people owned other people as slaves, women couldn't vote, and so on. We all have a list of past practices that seem appalling today. A century or two from now, our descendants will likely think the same about us. Some of the things we do will seem shockingly inhmane. Our great-great-grandchildren will scratch their heads and wonder "What were those people thinking?" But which of our practices are the ones they'll criticize?
My guess would be our treatment of children. From the societal support of abortion on demand, which the generations will rightly condemn as "how could they just kill developing humans?" to the sexualization of children (see the Tom Petty quote below), I think in many respects we've failed our children.
Life and death... My wife called and let me know the mother of a close friend of ours passed away last night. This was not unexpected -- in fact, my wife took care of their daughter yesterday so that the couple could be with her at the hospital. Since the daughter was sick, my oldest watched our kids while I was at work (since she's on Thanksgiving break, this was do-able). My wife said that when she called the church to update them, she found out two other members of the congregation had also passed away last night. One of those was a true Virginia gentleman, James Keith, who I first met when I interned at Fairfax Legal Aid in 1980. Judge Keith had just retired from the court and was working part-time as a volunteer for Legal Aid -- he was very respected and he imprinted himself in my mind's eye as the proto-type gentleman jurist. The following is a brief description of his life, from the Virginia State Bar:
James Keith was born and raised in Warrenton. Because of his own father's untimely death in early middle age, the senior Keith attended VMI on scholarship and then went on to Harvard Law School, graduating in 1935 and moving to Fairfax to join his uncle's law firm. Like many Harvard graduates during World War II, the senior Keith was assigned to the U.S. Intelligence Service and then returned to his legal practice after the war. In the 1960s, Mr. Keith became a judge of the Fairfax Circuit Court, where he presided until his retirement in 1979.
Years later, after law school and several moves, my wife and I joined as members of Truro Church in Fairfax and I was delighted to see the Judge there with his bride -- what a charming couple they were. She passed away after a long bout with cancer -- talking with the Judge's son at church a few weeks ago, I knew it wouldn't be long. He said that the dementia was pretty bad, but he was thankful for the lucid moments.

As I said, this man was a gentle man and I was honored by my fleeting time with him.

Life, life.

Another friend of ours is putting out calls for platelets and plasma for a young girl -- I'll be spending some time doing that in the next few week. Platelets can be given every five days, it just takes about three hours at a time to do so.

Thank you all for understanding my continued absences from here.

Sunday, November 24, 2002

Magazines and Masons. I'm not excited about either the Newsweek or the Time magazine cover for this week. I'd give the nod to Time for its LOTR theme, but I just don't like the busy picture. I saw the LOTR2 preview before Harry Potter and the Chamberpot of Secrets (opps, hope that's not a spoiler) and am looking forward to this one. I really liked Chamber and will have to write more about this sometime.

In the meantime, I'll give you a link to an article noting that the Archbishop of Canterbury-designate has questioned the “compatibility” of freemasonry with Christian teaching. I've expressed my opinion elsewhere -- I think it was in comments to Dr. Byron's blog -- that the freemasonry issue doesn't bother me -- I'd put it on a par with gambling. I'm actually more troubled about (+)AofC's involvement with the druid ceremonies.

Last -- our sermon today was based on, you guessed it, What Would Jesus Drive?