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Archive for December, 2009

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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I was skeptical that a product with this low price tag could adjust to my glasses and required angle of vision and prove sturdy enough to qualify as a keeper.

I was wrong. Bike Peddler’s Take a Look eyeglass mirror does both.

It must be said that an eye-glass-attached mirror is not for every cyclist. Some body types—mine included—make it difficult to get a helpful angle of vision over the hunched shoulders of the in-action cyclist. A handle-bar-mounted mirror has some advantages here.

Yet the dexterity and light weight of the eyeglass approach has its compensating virtues. I’ve trained myself to glance up slightly and focus on an 11:30 clock position to gain security that no car or other cyclist is on my left flank before I pass or turn left. A little effort makes the ‘Take a Look’ an ally in the battle of the road.

It would be too much to call this a revolutionary product. Yet, price and capacity combine to make it a potential game-changer. Skepticism not firmly in my rear view mirror, I’m a fan.

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This stylish value-point bike helmet is all I expected at the mid-fifty-dollar price point and more.

I’m especially impressed with the snug and comfortable fit. Ventilation is adequate or better, though I have not yet summer-tested the helmet.

The Interval comes in a nice assortment of colors. I purchased the white one. I like the style very much.

A winner, without breaking the bike-gadget budget.

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This morning’s newspaper chronicles, in a manner of speaking, the movements of kings, princes, and their armies. Such human jockeying for power and the ‘outcry in the streets’, the end of which the psalmist longs to see, sound a constant beat in the rhythm of human affairs.

Yet there is, in the newsprint of a dying print medium, no similar register of dark, demonic forces. One is left to understand that powerful men and women make the world, plowing deep, bloody furrows by their unrelenting ambition. (more…)

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Though I tried on the highly-recommended Oakley Jawbones in my local bike store, I told myself I needed a few more months of serious riding to prove to myself the cost aligned with my commitment. Having drawn that rather philosophical line in the sand, I moved on to shop’s low-end alternative: the Tifosi.

Having now broken them in via cold-winter riding in Indianapolis, I can say that they are a comfortable, solid, and more than adequate armament for the cycler’s eyes. I attach an adjustable mirror to mine. The Tifosis provide a solid platform for this gizmo and do not shift at all on my head under the added weight. (more…)

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This handy little app is a marvel for finding out the nearest pharmacy, gas station, coffee shop, and a shortlist of other categories based on its discernment of your present location. Some categories display a bit of mysterious overlap. If you’re suffering from chest pains, however, your dash to the nearest ‘hospital’ might take you through a couple of veterinary clinics before you get to somebody who knows about human hearts. Nonetheless, a helpful little icon for your iPod screen!

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Non-Muslims who need to know the Quran could do worse than begin with M.M. Pickthall’s English translation, here formatted for the iPhone. Scholars and the pious debate the merits of Pickthall’s renderings, but this handy and inexpensive app opens the door to those less interested in the minutiae who benefit from having Islam’s most holy book a tap or two away.

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