July 30, 2007

Lyric of the Week

Filed under: Music — Bob Gifford @ 7:18 pm

Looking for Answers, by Susan Tedeschi.  And it’s not about love lost, or at least not in the superficial sense.

How many times must I sit here and tell you goodbye
How many times must I sit all alone and cry
How many times must I ask mercy on me
How many times must I beg to be free

Well I’m lookin’ for answers, lookin’ for answers that nobody knows
Well I’m lookin’ for answers, lookin’ for answers that nobody knows
Well I’m lookin’ for answers from above not from below lord

How many times must I learn to live
How many times must I learn to love to give
How many times must I get down on my knees to pray
How many times must I pray did you say

Well I’m lookin’ for answers, lookin’ for answers that nobody knows
Well I’m lookin’ for answers, lookin’ for answers that nobody knows
Well I’m lookin’ for answers from above not from below lord

Lord I love you in so many ways
Lord I love you each and every day
Now is the time when I must ask you why
Why must we live and why must we die

Well I’m lookin’ for answers, lookin’ for answers that nobody knows
Well I’m lookin’ for answers, lookin’ for answers that nobody knows
Well I’m lookin’ for answers from above not from below lord

July 26, 2007

Safety vs. Status on Airplanes

Filed under: Random Stuff — Bob Gifford @ 7:53 pm

For those of us that spend much of our work life waiting for and sitting in airplanes, an item of note. Popular Mechanics has looked at the data to see which airline seats are safest:

Where detailed seating charts were available, we also calculated survival rates for various parts of the passenger cabin. Again, the trend was clear: The rear cabin (seats located behind the trailing edge of the wing) had the highest average survival rate at 69 percent. The overwing section had a 56 percent survival rate, as did the coach section ahead of the wing. First/business-class sections (or in all-coach planes, the front 15 percent) had an average survival rate of just 49 percent.

So when the “experts” tell you it doesn’t matter where you sit, have a chuckle and head for the back of the plane.

Of course for frequent travelers, there is a lot of competition for, and cache associated with, seats as far forward as possible. Not only are free first class upgrades awarded based on frequent flyer status, but most airlines reserve seats in the front of coach for their Platinum customers. I don’t know why we all want to sit in the front of coach so badly — the only advantage is being able to get off the plane faster, which is certainly a plus, but not that big of a deal. I suspect for frequent travelers (myself included) it’s a subconscious drive for a visible sign of status, along the lines of “sure, I’m sitting here in coach with all these once-a-year vacation flyers, but I’m not like them — I’ve got an aisle seat in row 8!”

So now am I going to start requesting seats in the back of the plane instead of the front? No. Again from the Popular Mechanics article:

[O]nce your seatbelt is firmly fastened, relax: There’s been just one fatal jet crash in the U.S. in the last five-plus years.

So I’ll indulge my striving for visible signs of my airline status. But if I’m forced to sit in the back of the plane, and the plane crashes, I’ll be laughing my head off for the 10 nanoseconds while I’m still alive and those suckers in the single digit rows are already toast.

Digital Business Strategy Lives!

Filed under: Blog Housekeeping — Bob Gifford @ 9:44 am

I have been struggling to find the right configuration of blogs, blog content, and audience. I started this blog to combine personal non-work blogging with the work-related blogging I had been doing at Digital Business Strategy. However, I’ve decided that isn’t going to work. Here’s the full text of my post over at Digital Business Strategy explaining my new approach/rationale:

I’m Not Dead Yet!

I’m rethinking my decision to retire this blog. My personal blog, Ergo Dubito, has provided me an outlet to write about personal, non-work-related stuff, and that’s great. Except lots of people out there in the IT blogosphere don’t really care what I think about the latest Harry Potter book. Come to think of it, most of my friends outside of work don’t really care if there’s a Linux civil war in the making. So, while a single blog allows me to write about my entire life, as the fully integrated life-work balanced person that I am, it’s not so reader-friendly.

So I am going to resurrect this blog for work, and maintain Ergo Dubito for things outside of work. Two blogs, two marginally overlapping audiences, one author. I’ve ported my IT-related posts over here, and will remove them from Ergo Dubito.

One change though — the url for this blog has been digitalbusinessstrategy.com, which is not only long, but also has three ‘s’es in a row. I’ve always had a secondary url, dbstrat.com, redirecting to digitalbusinessstrategy.com. I’m going to switch them, so dbstrat.com is now the primary url, inspite of the fact that it sounds like database strategy instead digital business strategy. It’s shorter. Previous links will still work, but dbstrat.com will be the default.

July 25, 2007

Harry Potter

Filed under: Culture and Media — Bob Gifford @ 7:51 pm

I, like many millions of Americans, have been reading the latest and last Harry Potter book. I just finished it, and yes, it does justice to the preceding six books, and then some. It’s a tear-jerker, at parts tragic in that wonderful Romeo and Juliet kind of way, but it all turns out well with a series of revelations that tie together the entire series.

For those like me who have never been true Potter fans (as in fanatics), tying together the entire series requires recalling details from previous books that are at best a dim memory. And it also takes a lot of exposition, much of it revealed in various ways by already-demised characters. But that’s the nature of the task J. K. Rowling faced, and she accomplishes it admirably.

And if you’ve heard that some of the good guys die, well, it’s true — can’t have tragedy without some good death scenes. But don’t worry, it’s all to the good.

So now all that’s left to look forward to in life for Potter fans are the two yet-to-be-released movies. Besides that, your life’s over.

July 13, 2007

What Would Luther Do?

Filed under: Random Stuff — Bob Gifford @ 8:35 pm

Every once in a while, USA Today comes out with something that belies its reputation for only delivering “McNews”. An editorial in today’s issue is one of those pieces. Mary Zeiss Stange asks a simple question regarding the debate over gay clergy in Protestant denominations: what would Luther do?

Like his role model Paul, [Martin] Luther was a product of the social prejudices of his time and culture: a time when the concepts of homosexuality as an “orientation” or a “lifestyle” were still unheard of. But would the man whose break from Roman Catholicism involved a revolutionary rethinking of the role of sexuality in human relationships take such a negative view of homosexuality today? Most probably, given the way his theological mind worked, he would not.

Very timely given the latest in the ELCA.

Understatement of the Month Award

Filed under: Random Stuff — Bob Gifford @ 8:34 pm

From the Washington Post:

The Vatican said Tuesday that Christian denominations outside the Roman Catholic Church were not full churches of Jesus Christ. Some Protestant leaders responded that this would hurt interdenominational dialogue.

Ya think?

(h/t.)

Jesus Says: Don’t Be A Dick

Filed under: Church,Politics — Bob Gifford @ 2:42 pm

Via Andrew Sullivan, some Christians apparently aren’t big fans of the Constitution:

Ante Pavkovic, Kathy Pavkovic, and Kristen Sugar were all arrested in the chambers of the United States Senate as that chamber was violated by a false Hindu god. The Senate was opened with a Hindu prayer placing the false god of Hinduism on a level playing field with the One True God, Jesus Christ.

In response, John Scalzi tells us “Jesus Says: Don’t Be A Dick”:

Some people really and truly believe that what Jesus wants is for them to be dicks to everyone who isn’t their particular, mushy-headed stripe of Christian…I think it’s fair to remind them of a number of things:

1. Whatever the rationale, they’re being dicks.

2. At no point in the Bible does Jesus say “be a dick in My name.”

3. Lots of other Christians seem to get through life without feeling called upon to be a dick in the service of Christ.

4. Indeed, when many of these Christians discover to their dismay that they’ve been a dick about something, they will frequently fall to their knees and say, “Forgive me, Lord, for I have been a total dick.”

5. And He does.

6. That’s a hint.

Read the whole thing — it’s hilarious, and it has a rather poignant theological point. Classic.

July 9, 2007

What Would Luther Do?

Filed under: Church — Bob Gifford @ 7:16 pm

Every once in a while, USA Today comes out with something that belies its reputation for only delivering “McNews”. An editorial in today’s issue is one of those pieces. Mary Zeiss Stange asks a simple question regarding the debate over gay clergy in Protestant denominations: what would Luther do?

Like his role model Paul, [Martin] Luther was a product of the social prejudices of his time and culture: a time when the concepts of homosexuality as an “orientation” or a “lifestyle” were still unheard of. But would the man whose break from Roman Catholicism involved a revolutionary rethinking of the role of sexuality in human relationships take such a negative view of homosexuality today? Most probably, given the way his theological mind worked, he would not.

Very timely given the latest in the ELCA.

July 6, 2007

Pastor Schmeling Forced Out

Filed under: Random Stuff — Bob Gifford @ 1:38 am

Some bad news, I’m afraid. From the Reuters report:

An appeals panel in the largest U.S. Lutheran body has ordered a gay pastor removed from his ministry because he is in a sexual relationship with another man, officials said on Thursday.

The decision from the Committee on Appeals of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is final in the case of Pastor Bradley Schmeling of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Atlanta.

[…]

That policy will likely be challenged and could be revised at the church’s annual meeting in Chicago next month, but even if it is changed Schmeling would not automatically be reinstated since that usually requires a separate process that can take up to five years, a church spokesman said.

[…]

A disciplinary committee which presided over Schmeling’s trial earlier this year ruled that he should be allowed to remain on the clergy roster until after the August meeting to see if the church changes its policy.

That same panel said the policy of allowing gays as pastors but forbidding them to have sexual relations is “at least bad policy, and may very well violate the constitution and bylaws of this church.”

But the Committee on Appeals in a decision made public on Thursday ruled that the disciplinary panel did not have the power to keep Schmeling on the roster pending the convention, and ordered him removed immediately.

Pretty cold to over-rule the disciplinary committee and remove him immediately. So now the Churchwide Assembly next month has a choice — change the bylaws of the church to allow gay clergy, or tell a congregation that they may not call the pastor of their choice and remain in the ELCA. Hopefully this will bring the assembly to see the error of its vote in 2005.

More at Lutherans Concerned.

July 4, 2007

Some Quotes for the Fourth of July

Filed under: Politics — Bob Gifford @ 3:26 pm

[T]he English in 1689…established perhaps the first true government of laws. At least it was the first modern government of laws, for since the fall of the Roman republic all governments, constitutionally not just de facto, had been governments of men. William and Mary may not have wished to be mere “figureheads,” but a constitutional monarch need not be that. He can be a president who rules with great power, so long as he obeys a law that is other than his own will, or whim. In a government of men there is no law that is superior to the will, or the whim, of one or more men. In a government of laws there is. That is all there is to it.

– Charles Van Doren, A History of Knowledge, p. 300

Whether ours shall be a government of laws and not of men is now for Congress and, ultimately, the American people.

– Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox, October 20th 1973, upon being fired by President Nixon

I felt the punishment was severe.

– President Bush, defending his commutation of Scooter Libby’s jail time

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