Saturday, February 26, 2011

Religious but Not Spiritual

Spiritual tourism offers the benefits of wisdom derived from those who submit to authority and discipline and tradition without having to do so oneself.

Gregory Wolfe, Image Journal Editorial "Religious but not Spiritual"

Monday, February 21, 2011


In tribute to Alan Jacobs website here a two tree photgraphs from my achive.  The first is an ancient oak outside of Charleston, South Carolina and the second shows the fall foliage in the treeline next to the house.


G O S P E L  O F  T H E  T R E E S

A new web site by essayist, Auden scholar and Wheaton professor Alan Jacobs. Lots of leafy goodness with apt quotations to go with the photographs.

Fire Update

The fire on the mountain in the pictures below never came any closer to us.  High winds drove the flames up over the rigdeline, hopping Skyline drive and burning through Shenandoah National Park down into Rapahhanock County.  There is rain today, with sleet and snow predicted for the evening which should put an end to the burning.  Our local free paper, The Warren County Report, has online updates here.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Getting Closer . . .

Fire on the Mountain, the view from our porch.

High winds, dry conditions and a careless burn equals twenty acres in flames and spreading up into the Shenandoah National Park and Skyline Drive.  Friends and neighbors further down the slope are holding their breath, waiting to see if the wind changes.

Back To The Barn

More pictures of sheep and lambs from the morning feeding.

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P2180001.AVI (4581 KB)


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Some thoughts on e-readers from the Exile Bibliophile

I think I get it. I know, I'm probably the last blogger of the biblioblogosphere to talk about e-readers, but I think I just got it.

Obviously, I love books as things. The physical artifact. Paper, ink, boards, cloth, leather, all of it. I have not really understood the fascination with e-books. Until now. They seem pretty unsatisfactory, by and large, but are improving. I'll also admit I have an ereader app or few on my iphone. I use Stanza for books from Project Gutenberg (30K+ titles for free!) and MegaReader for access to books from (Over a million, all free!).

I've used it to read in line at the Post Office, etc., and occasionally for reading in bed when I've not planned well and my TBR pile has shrunk too low to suit whatever reading mood I'm in. I do not use it for my primary reading source, nor do I ever expect it to.

Enter a fantastic book I read this past week: A Book For a Sixpence by David Kaser. Kaser examines the history of subscription libraries in the US. This was part of the Beta Phi Mu chapbook series, which is a must-have for students of the history of the book. This is not exhaustive, nor does he make any claims of it being so. There were many places in Kaser's study that prompted me to ask questions that no one has yet found answers to. There is also a very good bibliography, index and a couple appendices listing known American circulating libraries before 1900. After a very cursory search through my limited records, I only found a few not listed in this 30 year old work.

Reading this book made the light come on. E-readers are the new circulating libraries! Sure, you get to keep the "book" longer, but you don't own it. Your subscription fee is the price of the hardware reader, then you pay for access to the text, not for the book itself.

You never own the text on an e-reader. Except when they're free, then no one seems to really care. But you still don't own it.

In this context, e-readers make more sense. When I try to equate buying an "e-book" (a chimera of a word!) with buying a book, I'm revolted. It doesn't add up. I "buy" an "e-book" and I have no or very limited lending rights, right of first sale is out the window, etc. However, when I consider using an e-reader as a 21st Century subscription library that merely grants access to works, it suddenly makes a lot more sense.

I know most of you have not struggled with this, nor have you sought any kind of justification for buying an e-reader or using one. I think however, I've finally found mine.

kindle, ipad, i-pad, nook, sony, comparison, history, amazon, subscription library, private library, rental library, membership library,

I received a Kindle this Christmas and it has risen to top dog among my many gadgets. In my trade I occasionally find myself stuck waiting for lengthy periods and the kindle, or the e-reader on my smart phone, has the advantage of being discrete and more easily carried in a pocket than even the slimmest paperback. The back lighting on the smart phone also makes reading in bed with minimal spouse disturbance possible. I am still a little uneasy about just what I am buying with an e-book. The perspective in this post helps a bit, though it does give one pause to pay paperback prices or greater to "borrow" a book in digital format.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Morning feeding February 10: A Gallery

We had a dusting of snow last night.  Here a few pictures from this morning's trip to the barn.

Breakfast down at the barn

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P2100007.AVI (1813 KB)


Tom Waits re-imagined via Brazil

Monday, February 07, 2011

Fatback and Foie Gras: Stuff You Gotta Eat in Barbados: An Amateur's Photo Journey

Susan and I went to Barbados last August. We didn't take part in any food festivals, but we did eat a lot of local food and hit a few fancy restaurants. The author here really does tell it like it is.

Morning Sky

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Morning Still Life: Cat and the kitchen table

Neil Gaiman's Journal: Once you've got a lamppost...

Author Neil Gaiman, his dogs, some neighbors and a lamppost in the woods ... You are never too old for Narnia or make-believe.

Friday, February 04, 2011


The big storm that hit most of the country this week missed us.  The last of the snow in this picture is hiding in those spots where the trees overhang or shadows linger for most of the day.  This picture was taken during the post storm porch shovel.  Our deck was built by the low bidder about 17 years ago and we do not subject it to more stress than we have to.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011