Summon the Heroes

It’s almost time for the Olympic Games which means it’s time to bask in the glory of John Williams’ Olympic music. Here’s my favorite of his Olympic Themes: Summon the Heroes from the 1996 Atlanta games.

Your Grandpa’s Lawnmower

Looking to save money, reduce your carbon footprint, and get some exercise? Seems that most Americans are, which is why I want to take a moment to plug my cheap, environmentally-friendly exercise companion: my reel lawn mower.

No more $4 gas. No more exhaust. About twice as much physical effort to keep the grass looking nice. All in all, it’s a change I’d highly recommend, especially for urban and suburban dwellers with small lots.

Pecan Pie

I enjoy Pecan Pie as much as the next guy, but I sometimes find it cloyingly sweet. Tomorrow, the great town of Amo, Indiana is having their annual Fish Fry, complete with pie baking contest. I’ve entered the following recipe: Pecan Pie with Guinness Stout. The Stout adds great flavor and cuts sweetness a bit.

1 9 inch pie crust (made from scratch, of course!)

4 eggs
11 oz. dark corn syrup
2 oz. molasses
7 oz. granulated sugar
1 t vanilla extract
2 T butter, melted
3 oz. Guinness Extra Stout (other beers are good too. Oatmeal Stout is great if you can find it!
6 oz. whole pecans

Beat eggs throughly. Add corn syrup, molasses, sugar, vanilla, stout. Mix very well. Add pecans and transfer mixture to pie shell. Bake at 350 for 45 or so minutes.

Another Point 2.0

Ok. I’m back to mass transit. Couldn’t resist.

From Ezra Klein comes this passage: Incidentally, I keep forgetting to point out that though millions of Americans have switched to public transit in response to rising fuel costs, the number who have is almost certainly a very small fraction of the number who would like to. If all you’ve got in the pantry is a cookie, you’re not going to an apple. There’s a tendency to look at the relatively small proportion of the country that uses public transit and assume that those numbers accurately express consumer preferences. But consumer preferences are governed by viable options, and in most areas of the country, public transit isn’t a very viable option. Indeed, it doesn’t even exist. But as you see from Portland, DC, New York, Boston, and others, when folks can take the train, they often do. And given that we all agree that taking the trains is environmentally and economically preferable, we should give them that option.

Read the rest here.

Another Point

One more note on the lack of public transportation in the greater Indianapolis area. This fall, Indianapolis International Airport (soon to be H. Wier Cook Airport again?) will open a nice, new terminal replacing what is, in my experience, the most depressing airport terminal in the country.* Anyway, the new terminal will welcome travelers to our fair city for such big events as the NCAA Men’s Basketball Regionals in 2009, NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four in 2010 and a football game of some sort….I can’t remember….it’s suppose to be super, though, in 2012. This is in addition to the Race and the many national conventions that take place downtown each year.

All these people coming to Indy soon, and when they fly into the new terminal, they have only one way to get where the action is: by car. Granted, they can choose to rent a car and pay for expensive gas or they can take a taxi and pay for high gas with cab fares set to increase 62%. Surely, a light rail system connecting, at minimum, the airport and downtown Indy makes good sense, financially, evironmentally and socially.

*I can make such a claim, having flown into, maybe, 10 other airports. :)

Markets

Heard a report last night on NBC about the historic levels of ridership on the nation’s light-rail systems. Many cities have seen double-digit increases in the percentage of riders over the last several months. I wonder why Indianapolis wasn’t mentioned? Oh! that’s right! Indianapolis doesn’t have a light-rail system. We’re constantly being told there’s “no market” for public transportation here. Every time the highways get congested, our forward thinking leaders huddle together and declare “more roads! wider roads! more parking lots!” With all the government subsidized pavement, how can anyone claim with a straight face that the “market” favors single-occupied vehicles?

To be honest, Indianapolis was mentioned in the report….as one of the largest cities in the nation without viable public transport.

A Historic Night (With Pictures!)

I’m pausing tonight to write a few words about the current campaign. I find it interesting to think about tonight’s events in these terms – when my parents were born, it was illegal for African-Americans to vote in many Southern states. Tonight, I’m watching election returns come in that give Barack Obama (a name Spell-Check doesn’t recognize!) the delegates needed to become the Presidential nominee of the Democratic Party. Politics aside, it’s a wonderful night – proof, that though we still struggle, it seems the better angels of our nature are continuing their advance.

A couple of months ago, Sen. Obama came to Plainfield; I sat front and center, second row. So, permit me now this moment of quasi-sentimentalism. Here are some pictures of the event.

No Other Gods Before Me

“Their theology of right belief and practice is a hard, judgmental and unforgiving one. That kind of theology is our form of incest in these times. It is our idolatry and our insanity. Legalism is its cult. It should hardly be necessary to say, but I will anyway, that by “legalism” I mean a theology that puts itself above Christ and above the principles of love of God and neighbor. Legalism is not a loving interest in the body of Christ that is concerned with everyone’s spiritual and physical welfare; it is an overriding obsession with its own power over other people. Just as the love for one individual which excludes the love for others is not love, love for one’s own theology that is not part of one’s love for the body of Christ is not love, but is, rather, idolatry.”

Via A Prodigal Blog