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Archive for December, 2009

We’re a family of dogs, cats, people, and multiple stories. Peace and harmony depend on each of us staying where he or she belongs.

Enter the Orvis Hardware Door Frame Containment Gate. We use this exceptionally well-built pet gate at the bottom of the stairs that lead from the ground floor to the second. Dogs belong below, cat above, people on both.

The product is sturdier than anticipated. WIth a little practice, those of us who enjoy movable thumbs are able to let ourselves through the gate with a full load of laundry in one arm and just one hand for gate operation. Over the years we’ve owned many ‘dog gates’. This one is the best.

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For mostly sentimental reasons, I have an attachment to HP printers. I do wear them out with some predictability. When the time came to replace my recently defunct all-in-one model, I moved up to the wireless version of the OfficeJet 6500.

After a frustrating start, during which it seemed I had joined the legions of (user-group-savvy) customers who were frustrated with an initially slow wireless connection, I have settled down to a life of tranquil satisfaction with my 6500.

I use the scanner and printer regularly, though not the fax feature.

The first thing to note is the exceptionally low price of all-in-one printer/scanner/copier/fax units in general and the low barrier to entry into the world of HP quality. Simply put, you get enormous capacity at a very low price. Now the business model has evolved in the direction of hitting you hard for printer cartridges, so there is a sticker shock to be suffered, albeit a delayed one.

The OJ 6500 produces truly fine print quality. It sets up and meshes well with my MacBook Pro. I have not had paper jam issues, which strikes me as an improvement on previous generations of printers and all-in-ones.

Aesthetically, I find the mostly-black-clad unit to be quite handsome.

I can’t imagine a potential buyer with home or small-office needs going wrong with the HP OfficeJet 6500. Pay the premium for the wireless version and you won’t regret it.

It just does what it says it does, providing quality at a very modest price.

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The biblical drama bends an ear to the ground, straining to detect the cry of innocent blood, spilt into the soil by callous hands who seem too often to have got away with murder. The biblical anthology’s meta-narrative squirms and frets before the unresolved dilemma of the innocent victim, his voice muffled if not stuffed out, his death too often unobserved. A bullet in the head in some Polish wood, a prisoner’s last breath given up while even his guard is too bored to notice, the hasty grave-mound hoed out in some forgotten field.

Yet the first assassin—a fratricide, no less—learns in the book of Genesis’ Ur-drama that the blood of his murdered brother cries out from the soil into which it has flowed. Flood narrative and Torah ritual prescription both reckon with the enduring value of human life, blood standing in as visual, liquid condensation of the life for which it is essential. One barely gets started in the gospel narratives of Christ’s passion before the impact of innocent blood once more jolts the conscious. (more…)

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The proverbs teach, more often than not, by laying beside each other parallel realities that normally pass unnoticed. Practical wisdom resides in the similar patterns that link what we customarily consider independent realms of life, nature, and the like.

Take pressing, for example, as Proverbs 30.33 does. The New Revised Standard Version is to be commended for consistently translating the three-times-present Hebrew word miyts as pressing. Other translators have felt the need to overcome the potential monotony of the thing and so have risked obscuring the neat parallel upon which the proverb depends.

For as pressing milk produces curds,
and pressing the nose produces blood,
so pressing anger produces strife.

Pressing a thing that might otherwise be left alone consistently produces a result that, by most angles of vision, is not inherent in the thing itself. Pressing is thus transformative, whether for good or for ill. (more…)

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When the weather turns chill but not yet icy, it’s time to get out these Louis Garneu full-finger cycling gloves. I reckon them useful down to about 30 degrees. Below that and you need sturdier stuff.

The EX-Z pulls on easily and provides good comfort. They are well-constructed and should last a few seasons, use limited to their weather window.

Nor will the break the bank.

After a few months of acquaintance, mine feel like old friends.

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Really cold-weather riding calls for warmer stuff than the Louis Garneau Stopzone shoe covers. But rainy weather and your garden-variety start-of-winter stuff will be cheerfully warded off by thise waterproof covers.

They pull nicely over shoes, leaving the business parts of the underside of them uncovered so they can get on with their work. A zipper and a velcro strip makes sure the product stays where it belongs. Durabilty seems reasonable and the $25 price is smack in the value category.

A good thing for tender toes.

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The biblical proverbs do not deal in sentimentalities. Concrete practicalities are the order of the day in this compendium of well-processed counsel.

So pragmatic is the tone of the discourse and so few the references to God and the liturgy he is assumed to require that some scholars have reached for the adjective ‘secular’ to describe the kind of wisdom that in these pages makes its offer.

Still, that turning back to which the more familiar word ‘repentance’ refers is hardly absent, as life lived by this counsel is life worked out in YHWH’s very presence:

If you have been foolish, exalting yourself,
or if you have been devising evil,
put your hand on your mouth.

To exalt oneself is the cardinal sin of the wisdom or ‘sapiential’ literature. It is arguably the spring from which poisoned waters make their long, liquid journey downstream. To devise evil is more generic. It too suffers by its association with arrogance, becoming almost its synonym. Devising evil is the implementation, one might say, of the arrogant heart’s self-exalted posture. (more…)

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