We'll Meet Again

My friend and former professor, Theo Plantinga, died last week. I suspected this had happened when I noticed in the site data that someone had come to my blog by searching for his name and "obituary". He was only 61, but had prostate cancer.

I am most grateful to Theo for his frequent warmth and kindness to me, and his intellectual and moral support in my philosophical studies. He had a terribly rare kind of good humor and lack of pretense that was nevertheless full of conviction and socially refined. He was broadly and well read, and his breadth of life experience, and depth of reflection will always stand as an inspiration for me. When I was living in Amsterdam for grad school, his correspondence was a real comfort and help.

I first met Theo as my adviser in my single year at Redeemer University College in Hamilton, Ontario where I finished up my BA in philosophy in 2002-2003. I thoroughly enjoyed his courses in Asian and Aesthetic philosophy. I was happy to attend his wedding (he was a widower and married again), and help him move some things to a new place. We would often discuss ethical issues and the church.

More than once we also commiserated about institutional "officialdom," as he called it. In his last few years especially, Theo was treated shamefully by certain administrators at the college. He deserved better than that, and was an example of Christian charity and principle to the end.

I feel I had much more to learn from him. His development of the CPRT index, the "reading room" and a reformational movement history were particularly promising. Steve Bishop has more of Theodore Plantinga's writings linked here and here. David Koyzis has the public announcement here.


Experiment, part 8

I watched the fireworks from the diner window. The waitress told us they were from the neighboring town's country club. I hadn't known there was a country club, or that you could see the fireworks from the diner, but it turned out quite nicely.

This American Independence Day I want to offer you several readings. First, in case you missed it, check out this little manifesto.

And in keeping with the above, here are two reviews of a slightly larger and more recent manifesto: 1, 2. Highly recommended.

And since Ron Paul is out of the presidential running, we will be voting for one of his supporters. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it's true: you do not have to choose between evils (or between baddest and worser, if you're squeamish about calling spades). You can hold your head up and vote with a clear conscience for Chuck Baldwin. You even have a second option (after Baldwin) for a conscientious vote, but the philosophy of the Constitution Party is preferable.

This is a campaign worth joining too.


Experiment, part 7
now updated with photo and annotation in last paragraphs

I stained a little more of the deck with a friend, but it began to rain. So we cleaned the house instead and had a late lunch. If you can do your chores with a friend, I highly recommend it.

As I've largely cut my own hair for the past 17 years, I'm thinking about going to a real barber to get my hair cut. I'll let you know what comes of this wild idea.

This evening was spent in conversation. Sometimes these evening-long conversations are like debates, sometimes they are like dances, sometimes they are like dadaist literature, and sometimes they are like diplomatic missions. Tonight I have no confidence that anything I said was taken seriously, and am almost sure my pleas will be forgotten. I really have mixed feelings about it, but the feeling of disgust is prominent... or maybe it's resignation.

Tonight I stopped by my parents' to exchange cars with them because I have a wagon and they needed to transport some stuff. Anyway, as I approach the door my mind is deeply occupied by profound sundries... I lift the key to the lock, and out of the bottom corner of my vision a mass of shining black skirts to the left. I gaze down, and in a single moment a rush of adrenalin floods me as I stumble backwards into the rocking chair on the porch. I completely lose my breath; I mean it has utterly gone out of me from shock. Finally my higher brain functions kick back in and I realize I am face to face (or toe to face) with a (four foot?) black rat snake.

For a while neither of us move as I regain my composure and decide that since I almost stepped on him, and he surely saw me coming, if he was going to strike then it would be done already. So I take a few steps and unlock the door and go in. I grab my parents' camera and go out the side of the house and around and snap a few photos. Then I find some info on Pantherophis obsoletus. Wikipedia still has him mis-taxonomied as a sub-species of Elaphe obsoleta.


Experiment, part 6

I had a hard time falling asleep last night. Which reminds me: did you hear the one about the agnostic dyslexic insomniac? He would lay awake all night wondering if there really was a dog. Eh-hem. Yeah so, this morning I hit the 15 minute snooze about 8 times. For you math wizzes, that's 2 hours of unproductive half-sleeping. I'll never do it again. Thanks for hearing my confession.

A friend's car broke down, so I drove out to the parents' and borrowed Dad's car battery recharger. Alas, it looks like an alternator problem. This evening consisted of two very long conversations and shrimp&veggie kabobs minus the kabobs.

Spend some time with this one. Scroll down for audio links.


Experiment, part 5

I met up with some friends to see (yet another) flick. It's just that time of year. I can't decide at this point if it dealt with profound issues in any depth, or just referred to them somewhat less than superficially. I'll get back to you on that (not a promise) after more reflection.

I had a coffee "Italian ice" drink which amounted to a regular blended ice coffee drink as far as I could tell. I worried about how much high fructose corn syrup it contained between small bursts of brain (and belly) freeze.

I read about Obama's (apparently reversed, now 'pro') position on "faith-based initiatives," and at some point (not a promise) I'll have to explain why the whole idea is a horrible one no matter how you slice it, despite the fact that it is nearly the only present-day federal policy in the U.S. significantly influenced by certain neocalvinists. I really have an axe to grind about this. Can't you wait?

In any case, speaking of celluloid... Were you aware that I and this blog were mentioned in an American Dialect Society listserve message* about the use of the phrase "honest to blog" in the film Juno? Hilarious!

*For the historical record, I first conceived of the title in December of 2002 and thought I was being superbly clever and original. Although little exploited so far, I thought of the title "honest to pod," just after I discovered podcasting in January 2006.