28 April 2010

More on offshore drilling

The NYT article about how the Coast Guard plans to burn up the oil spill is running underneath a banner advertisement ... for offshore drilling and underwater pipelines.

If, for some reason, you so desire, you can hear more from "the people of america's oil and natural gas industry" at this website.

Spin, Baby, Spin!!!

The Department of the Interior has finally approved a plan for a private company to build a large Wind Farm in Nantucket Sound. The payoff is not that tremendous -- an array of turbines over an area the size of Manhattan will only be able to generate about 75% of the electricity needed by the metropolises of Cape Cod, Nantucket, and Martha's Vineyard. But it seems like a step in the right direction. And while I am sympathetic to opponents' concerns about disruptions to tourism, boating, and aviation, I also feel reasonably sure that we'll never end up having to set the windmills on fire in order to keep them from poisoning our food. Given the choice, I'd love to expand offshore wind farms rather than offshore drilling for oil. (The best choice, of course, would be to use less electricity.)

19 April 2010

Engagement Rings

If you're reading this, you in all likelihood have heard already that Heather and I got engaged this past week. We're really thrilled about this change, about moving forward with wedding planning, and about our life together!

A lot of folks have been curious about our decision to both wear engagement rings. Apparently this places us on a high rung of the egalitarianism ladder. Unlike many of the things we do in life, we actually weren't trying to make a big statement with this; it just seemed like the natural thing to do. The thought process went something like this:
  1. Whatever we get, we want it to be either recycled or conflict-free.
  2. We don't feel too compelled to get an engagement ring with a gemstone in it.
  3. Do we even want to mess with engagement rings? (Yes.)
  4. Why? (To be a visible sign of our engagement.)
  5. Then let's both wear something!
Eventually, I came across this design (above) by Beth Cyr, who is in Athens, Georgia. I guess they're probably designed to be wedding bands, but we needed a matching set of something interesting. The design has a single leaf, and is made of recycled silver. We're very pleased.

We've struggled a bit to explain why we both have engagement rings in a way that doesn't disparage couples who do things the traditional way. That's certainly not our intent. But I've been glad for the opportunity to spark a lot of conversations about marriage customs. My hope is that the most interesting question in people's minds might not be "Why would a man wear an engagement ring?" but, "Why not?"

09 April 2010

Poem for spring

I don't usually take the time to read the poems in The New Yorker, but this one caught my eye a few weeks ago because of its biblical reference. It may have been more appropriately read when it was published (the March 22 issue), because since then it feels as if we've bypassed Spring and landed squarely in Summer.

The poem's title is "Ecclesiastes 11:1," which reads: "Cast your bread upon the waters, and you will find it after many days."

Ecclesiastes 11:1

We must cast our bread
Upon the waters, as the
Ancient preacher said,

Trusting that it may
Amply be restored to us
After many a day.

That old metaphor,
Drawn from rice farming on the
River's flooded shore,

Helps us to believe
That it's no great sin to give,
Hoping to receive.

Therefore I shall throw
Broken bread, this sullen day,
Out across the snow,

Betting crust and crumb
That birds will gather, and that
One more spring will come.

--Richard Wilbur

08 April 2010

Conference pride

(I try to confine my blog posts to a few categories: news/politics, interesting theological tidbits, sermons I've written. Please forgive this week's parade of posts related to college basketball.)

In the early part of the last decade, while I was an undergraduate, it felt as if the ACC represented the cream of the crop in college basketball. But by the middle of the decade, it became increasingly clear that the Big Ten and (later) the Big East were superior, at least in terms of their NCAA tournament performance. But now that Duke has won the 2010 title, take a look at the last ten champions:
2001: Duke
2002: Maryland
2003: Syracuse
2004: Connecticut
2005: UNC
2006: Florida
2007: Florida
2008: Kansas
2009: UNC
2010: Duke
In the last decade, the ACC has produced more Final Four teams (9) and more champions (5) than any other conference. Perhaps most remarkably, 19 out of the last 23 Final Fours have featured either Duke or UNC. While all this speaks more to the reliable excellence of Duke and UNC than to the overall strength or depth of the conference, it's a good bit of evidence to keep in our back pocket in case we lose the all-important ACC-Big Ten challenge next year.

Go here to see the history of Final Four appearances.

06 April 2010

Things that don't help our reputation.

If you harbor any stereotypes about Duke students, there's a chance they are true.