Thursday, July 21, 2005

On Vacation

I'm off with a couple of friends in one of these (Cessna 182R) to fly to the annual AirVenture gathering in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Route will have us refueling in Ogden, Utah, then spending a couple of nights in Rapid City, South Dakota to see Mt. Rushmore. After that, a refuel in Minnesota, then to Oshkosh, which is the busiest airport in the world during this event. Plan is to be back on August 2.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Come On, All We're Asking You To Do Is Burn A Little Incense To Caesar.

Canada. What's it good for? A disturbing post over at The Anchoress.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

A Heartfelt Post

Cartoonist Doug TenNapel tells of his time at the San Diego Comic Convention. Some good melancholic meaning-of-life writing.

Education Professors Came To School On The Little Bus

Thomas Sowell illustrates the complete lunacy of the education establishment, illustrated by how they answer some simple common sense poll questions. Somehow they have failed to "discover" the right answers.


Take something as basic as what teachers should be doing in the classroom. Should teachers be "conveyors of knowledge who enlighten their students with what they know"? Or should teachers "see themselves as facilitators of learning who enable their students to learn on their own"?

Ninety two percent of the professors of education said that teachers should be "facilitators" rather than engaging in what is today called "directed instruction" -- and what used to be called just plain teaching.

The fashionable phrase among educators today is that the teacher should not be "a sage on the stage" but "a guide on the side."

Is the 92 percent vote for the guide over the sage based on any hard evidence, any actual results? No. It has remained the prevailing dogma in schools of education during all the years when our test scores stagnated and American children have been repeatedly outperformed in international tests by children from other countries.

Our children have been particularly outperformed in math, with American children usually ending up at or near the bottom in international math tests. But this has not made a dent in our education establishment's dogmas about the way to teach math.

What is more important in math, that children "know the right answers to the questions" or that they "struggle with the process" of trying to find the right answers? Among professors of education, 86 percent choose "struggling" over knowing.

This is all part of a larger vision in which children "discover" their own knowledge rather than have teachers pass on to them the knowledge of what others have already discovered. The idea that children will "discover" knowledge that took scholars and geniuses decades, or even generations, to produce is truly a faith which passeth all understanding.

I'm grateful that I got through the public school system when they still believed in teaching.

We Can't All Get Rich Trading Hats On An Island

I liked this column about our current financial situation. Food for thought.


According to The Economist, homebuyers in Los Angeles are relying on their homes to increase in value “by a whopping 22% a year over the next decade”. This would push the median price per house up 800% to well over $3 million, while at the current rate of increase the median family income would only rise to around $54k.

Consumers are now relying on their homes to make up for static or falling incomes, and to provide them with a comfortable pension in their twilight years. These same consumers may soon be rudely awakened from their dream of ever increasing property prices and financial instruments. They may soon awake to a stark reality indeed. If so, how might they react?

Firstly, they will realise the need to stop spending and start saving (as former generations once did). For example, in tough times young people may choose to move back home to save rent (if their parents will have them back) rather than choke on a large mortgage.

Secondly, they will begin to par back or eliminate spending on non-essential services they can do themselves or do without, such as mowing their own lawn, doing their own housework and laundry, passing up on pampering facials, massages, manicures and so on.

Thirdly, loans will be paid back (or in many cases repudiated) as people strive to get out of debt. If house prices stop rising, or (Heaven forbid!) actually begin to drop, there will be Hell to pay… not to mention the possibility of rising unemployment, rising interest rates, rising oil prices, rising cost of living, etc, etc.

Fourthly, a severe slump in financial instruments will mean fewer paper shufflers will be required leading to an increase in lay-offs. Meanwhile, a downturn in the residential building industry will ultimately see builders and their trades-people chasing work with further lay-offs to follow. The past several years have been a bonanza for mortgage brokers, bankers, builders and retailers of household hard goods… but the fact remains that historically low interest rates have brought forward future production resulting in massive overbuilding which may take a decade to work off. The party was great, but the hangover is going to be a doozy with the prospect of many lean years to come!

As Eric Fry warns in Rude Awakening ( …”housing-related industries have produced a whopping 43% of the nation’s total net sector employment growth… any slackening of real estate activity would slow employment growth in the industry. Indeed, this massive job-creator could become a job-destroyer.” Some analysts even credit the housing asset bubble with adding as much as 2% to overall GDP. Clearly then, a collapse in house prices would severely impact upon economic growth.

Monday, July 18, 2005

The Great Frame Job

Gosh, Dems, I'd enjoy being sold up the river by you if you'd just frame it right! Right Wing News has more.


There are three reasons that Democrats love the concept of "framing" so much.

The first is that there is something to it, it's not all hooey. You can take a rock, put it in a box, and sell about 3 of them by calling it "A rock I found in my back yard," or you can do what one man did, take that same stone, name it "The Pet Rock," and make millions. How an issue or product pitch is framed does make at least some difference.

The second thing that excites Dems about "framing" is that it doesn't require them to abandon any of their ideological goals. The idea being that the public hasn't rejected their policies, it's that the Dems just haven't been able to find the right "frame" for them yet.


Third, Democrats have a tendency to believe that most Americans are gullible idiots and view "framing" as an easy way to trick them. Don't take my word for it, just read what George Lakoff had to say about it:

"According to Lakoff, Democrats have been wrong to assume that people are rational actors who make their decisions based on facts; in reality, he says, cognitive science has proved that all of us are programmed to respond to the frames that have been embedded deep in our unconscious minds, and if the facts don't fit the frame, our brains simply reject them. Lakoff explained to me that the frames in our brains can be ''activated'' by the right combination of words and imagery, and only then, once the brain has been unlocked, can we process the facts being thrown at us.

This notion of ''activating'' unconscious thought sounded like something out of ''The Manchurian Candidate'' (''Raymond, why don't you pass the time by playing a little solitaire?''), and I asked Lakoff if he was suggesting that Americans voted for conservatives because they had been brainwashed.

''Absolutely not,'' he answered, shaking his head.

But hadn't he just said that Republicans had somehow managed to rewire people's brains?

''That's true, but that's different from brainwashing, and it's a very important thing,'' he said. ''Brainwashing has to do with physical control, capturing people and giving them messages over and over under conditions of physical deprivation or torture. What conservatives have done is not brainwashing in this way. They've done something that's perfectly legal. What they've done is find ways to set their frames into words over many years and have them repeated over and over again and have everybody say it the same way and get their journalists to repeat them, until they became part of normal English."

See? The American people aren't "rational actors" and they don't understand "facts." Instead, the population is full of drooling morons who have to be taught to believe the right things by their liberal betters. But unfortunately, the evil Republicans have gotten to the sheeplebots first and have rewired their circuits...for EVIL!

Of course, Lakoff and all the Democrats who are getting so excited about "framing" are missing the tinfoil hat wearing, talking donkey who's sitting in the middle of the living room asking if anyone else thinks the Bush Administration hired Osama Bin Laden to knock down the Twin Towers:

It's the ideas, stupid!


What the Democrats who're latching onto "framing" don't get is that you can take a big old mound of horse cr*p, put a layer of icing on it and call it a chocolate cake, but you aren't going to fool many people, and those you do trick aren't going to be real happy with you after they take that first bite.

Lots of other great stuff in the post.

The Religion Of Peace

Begotten in violence. Spread by violence. Practicing violence. Failing to object to the practice of violence.

Good column by Diana West.


Without it -- without its fanatics who believe all civilizations are the same -- the engine that projects Islam into the unprotected heart of Western civilization would stall and fail. It's as simple as that. To live among the believers -- the multiculturalists -- is to watch the assault, the jihad, take place un-repulsed by our suicidal societies. These societies are not doomed to submit; rather, they are eager to do so in the name of a masochistic brand of tolerance that, short of drastic measures, is surely terminal.


[W]e...prevent ourselves from looking full-face at the danger to our way of life posed by Islam.

Notice I didn't say "Islamists." Or "Islamofascists." Or "fundamentalist extremists." I've tried out such terms in the past, but I've come to find them artificial and confusing, and maybe purposefully so, because in their imprecision I think they allow us all to give a wide berth to a great problem: the gross incompatibility of Islam -- the religious force that shrinks freedom even as it "moderately" enables or "extremistly" advances jihad -- with the West. Am I right? Who's to say? The very topic of Islamization -- for that is what is at hand, and very soon in Europe -- is verboten. A leaked British report prepared for Prime Minister Tony Blair last year warned even against "expressions of concern about Islamic fundamentalism" (another one of those amorphous terms) because "many perfectly moderate Muslims follow strict adherence to traditional Islamic teachings and are likely to perceive such expressions as a negative comment on their own approach to their faith." Much better to watch subterranean tunnels fill with charred body parts in silence. As the London Times' Simon Jenkins wrote, "The sane response to urban terrorism is to regard it as an avoidable accident."

In not discussing the roots of terror in Islam itself, in not learning about them, the multicultural clergy that shepherds our elites prevents us from having to do anything about them. This is key, because any serious action -- stopping immigration from jihad-sponsoring nations, shutting down mosques that preach violence and expelling their imams, just for starters -- means to renounce the multicultural creed. In the West, that's the greatest apostasy. And while the penalty is not death -- as it is for leaving Islam under Islamic law -- the existential crisis is to be avoided at all costs. Including extinction.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Ace Nails It

What a great post by Ace!

Read it all, here's an excerpt:

Liberals are simply not serious about intelligence, warfare, or national security. They can pretend all they like; they can bloviate about bioweapons detectors in subway tubes and more inspections of cargo containers 'till the cows come home in an effort to show they're "serious" about defending this country.

We don't believe them. And when I say "we," I don't mean just conservatives, I mean the majority of the American voting public. Too frequently they give themselves away, too often they accidentally let the pretense fall a little too far down and let us see their real beliefs.

They're not serious. They are against war even in the most dire of circumstances, and they're against any of the dirtier parts of intelligence-gathering. They cannot come right out and admit they oppose war and covert operations on principle, so they simply object to every conceivable part of warfare or covert ops or interrogation in their details.

Then they can claim they are not reflexively anti-this or anti-that, they're just very outraged by this particular practice.

Trouble is, they're outraged by every particular practice of war or intelligence-gathering.

It's like saying you have nothing against Western omlettes, except you despise eggs, loath ham, destest green peopers, and find onions gob-smackingly vile.

And also-- you're not too crazy about the toast and orange juice they give you on the side. And that you frankly find toast and orange juice "unAmerican" and "contrary to the spirit of our living Constitution."

Let's stop talking of eggs and ham and such and just admit you're anti-omlette.

And let's stop f*cking about with these transparent pretenses and just have you admit, finally, you're against war or America doing anything meeeaaan to defend herself. You're not bothered by the particulars; you object to the very fundamentals. You are not outraged by specific practices; you're against all practices on principle.

But liberals know they can't admit their real beliefs. And hence this fifty-year-old Kabuki.

Ace is on a major roll. See also this. And this, in which Ace says, "Want to know "what's the matter with Kansas?" Want to know why you keep losing, Paul?

The public understands that Republicans want to fight terrorists, but Democrats only want to fight Republicans."

The Wisdom Of Tiemann

Good round-up post and analysis over at Peeve Farm.


You know what? To the American public, for whom the news is a story that unfolds over the course of years rather than hours, Iraq isn't this writhing chimaera of moral equivalence that it's been dolled up as by Michael Moore and the MTV scene; it's not about IEDs and speeding Italian reporters and plastic turkeys and tote boards listing how many WMDs have been found and of what type and whether any of them have Osama bin Laden's autograph on them. It's about Gulf War 1. It's about Kuwait. It's about SCUDs versus Patriots. It's about no-fly zones. It's about Clinton firing in cruise missiles. It's about the comedians of the 90s who urged us to worry more about Saddam Hussein than about stained blue dresses. And it's about mass graves. Lots and lots of mass graves.

We knew, in our collective souls, by the evening of 9/11 that the face of the Middle East would have to change, and that we'd be the ones who would have to do it. We sat down to somber dinner imagining the grim job ahead of our military, the one we knew we'd ask them to undertake. We knew that routing some medieval theocrats from a comically faraway country in the mountainous outskirts of the old Soviet world wasn't going to be the end of the story begun with those planes and those fireballs and those falling monoliths. We knew a lot more countries than just Afghanistan were going to have to learn to fear the living crap out of us. And Iraq, we knew, was a damned good place to start.

Pretty Intense Essay

By The Anchoress, about secularized Jews.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Now That's An Apology

Pretty remarkable mea culpa from Molly Ivins (second half of column) via Peeve Farm, who has a good post about it.

apology excerpt:

CROW EATEN HERE: This is a horror. In a column written June 28, I asserted that more Iraqis (civilians) had now been killed in this war than had been killed by Saddam Hussein over his 24-year rule. WRONG. Really, really wrong.

The only problem is figuring out by how large a factor I was wrong. I had been keeping an eye on civilian deaths in Iraq for a couple of months, waiting for the most conservative estimates to creep over 20,000, which I had fixed in my mind as the number of Iraqi civilians Saddam had killed.

The high-end estimate of Iraqi civilian deaths in this war is 100,000, according to a Johns Hopkins University study published in the British medical journal The Lancet last October, but I was sticking to the low-end, most conservative estimates because I didn't want to be accused of exaggeration.


There have been estimates as high as 1 million civilians killed by Saddam, though most agree on the 300,000 to 400,000 range, making my comparison to 20,000 civilian dead in this war pathetically wrong.

I was certainly under no illusions regarding Saddam Hussein, whom I have opposed through human rights work for decades. My sincere apologies. It is unforgivable of me not have checked. I am so sorry.

Giant Hornets Are After Our Precious Bodily Fluids

And now for something completely different (follow the Ace Of Spades link where you'll find the link to the movie):

Giant Hornets: Nature's Little Zionist Imperialists

Today is apparently random link day.

With a Martin Sheen-sounding ominous narrative, and music by turn martial and tragic, giant hornets invade and slaughter a nest of bees.

Like the narrator of this feature says, "It wasn't even a battle. It was a massacre."

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

We Give Star Wars III For You! Cheap Price.

Via Ace Of Spades, we have this curiosity. Apparently a Chinese bootleg of "Revenge Of The Sith" (or is it "Backstroke Of The West") features English subtitles translated back from Chinese subtitles.

Nice Paragraph

Found this in a middling John Stossel column:

I did have had a wonderful time on Air America's "Morning Sedition," with a host who was furious that government doesn't stop Americans from eating too many Big Macs. I treasure the moment of silence that followed my saying that government that's big enough to tell you what to eat . . . is government big enough to tell you with whom you can have sex.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

War Of The Worlds

Well, I just got back from seeing War Of The Worlds. Man, oh man. Man, oh man. That is one scary, realistic movie. Don't see it if you are squeamish or easily disturbed, and absolutely, positively don't take any little kids, unless you fancy paying for a shrink for a few years (due to the apocalyptic emotional intensity and imagery). Otherwise, check it out! You've never seen anything like it. The special effects are frighteningly real, as is the acting and the human response to the situations (violent riot scenes, hysterical panic, etc). One heck of a sci-fi roller coaster ride, and very true to the spirit of the H. G. Wells classic (I assume; I haven't actually read the book).

Unclear On The Concept

Some folks just don't seem to understand "majority rule" (except when they're winning, of course). David Limbaugh opines on this odd misunderstanding.


Washington Post columnist E. J. Dionne Jr. asked in a recent column, "Should a temporary majority of 50.7 percent have control over the entire United States government? Should 49.3 percent of Americans have no influence over the nation's trajectory for the next generation? We are deciding whether one ideological orientation will hold sway over all three branches of government … Today's Republican majority, based on Bush's 50.7 percent of the vote in 2004, has no inherent right to exercise near-total control over that 'most powerful branch.'"

I have written before that liberals seem to be arguing that the president should effectively compromise his judicial appointment power by choosing not just conservative judges, but liberal ones in proportion to the percentage of popular votes John Kerry received.


Now E.J. has come along and validated my conclusion. And as I read it, I'm still incredulous that someone of his supposed stature could put this in print. Our Constitution doesn't require the chief executive to dilute his agenda commensurate with the votes his opponent received. It's up to elected members of the opposition party to advocate their party's agenda.

The answers to E.J.'s questions are these: No, a relatively narrow majority (nor an overwhelming majority, for that matter) does not have an inherent right to exercise near-total control over the "entire U.S. government" or "that 'most powerful branch.'" It is entitled to precisely that amount of influence it is able to muster under the Constitution. Under the Constitution, the president is entitled to appoint judges, and the Senate has the advice and consent power.

Senators of the majority party are not required to push their agenda with only 50.7 percent intensity. It's an adversary system -- they may promote their views with 100 percent of their energy, and it is up to the minority party to advocate their dissenting views.

Monday, July 11, 2005


From this Doug TenNapel post (which gives evidence supporting the quip):

"A conservative is afraid that you won't know what he believes, while a leftist is afraid that you will know what he believes."

Some Natural Theology

A couple of good, meaty posts here and here.

Once Again, Restrain Yourselves, Before We Have To Do It For You

Kind of a slow day out there in blog land. But Ace of Spades comes through, commenting on the Friedman article I'd also linked here.


Friedman hits the politically-correct notes about what a tragedy it would be were Western governments forced to essentially quarantine Muslim populations due to the murderous viral epidemic running through them, but...

Sometimes selfishness is reason enough to act.

True enough, an end to Muslim immigration to the West would impose hardships on many Muslims seeking little more than an adequate avenue for economic success. But there are other hardships that must be considered as well-- the hardships we all experience when our daily lives are disrupted -- or, more than disrupted: snuffed out like a candle-flame by a blast of explosive-driven shockwave wind -- due to our continuing attempts to do the "right" thing rather than the "easy" thing.

But we will not persist in doing the "right" thing if we do not sense some serious attempts in the Muslim communities to do the right thing as well. If Muslim communities continue to softly support these murderers, the easy thing to do will in fact become the right thing to do.

Even us backward, racist conservatives do have some attraction to the liberal dream of different races and religions living in harmony and forging a better future together. But this is looking more and more like just that -- a dream, and only a dream -- and if Muslims cannot or, more likely, will not restrain their most vicious thugs and butchers, than the non-Muslim host populations will feel less obligation to restrain their own most selfish impulses.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

A Checklist For Those Who Want To Be Da Man

A friend of mine runs a blog called Rub-A-Dub. He's made a list of important safety tips. It's pretty good. Here's a sampler:

#1 Always open doors for women.

#2 Saying "tall", "grande", or "vente" when ordering coffee makes you 1/16 less of a man

#8 Wearing capri pants in any situation that does not involve riding a Vespa scooter along the mediteranean coast with a woman you just met riding behind you makes you 1/3 less of a man.

#9 Wearing capri pants in the above described situation makes you 1/8 less of a man.

#10 If the tailor asks "above or below?" the correct answer is "above"

#11 If the drink is a martini and the bartender asks "up or over?" walk out.

#15 When dealing with angry people stay calm and do not show fear.

#17 A dull knife is an accident waiting to happen.

#18 You should not own a dog that needs to wear a sweater.

#19 "You da man" went out when the dot-com bubble burst.

#20 Pie is okay for breakfast.

#21 Do not complain about the food at Denny's. You should have known better.

#22 Neither George Washington nor Abraham Lincoln went to college. Unless you've done greater things than they, don't tell people what degrees you have.

#26 Do not befriend men in suits who wear pinkie rings.

#27 When you are in a meeting in Vegas with clients of your firm and an old Italian man wearing a pinkie ring refers to your boss as "Little Joey" it is time to consider looking for a new job.

#28 When police say "anything you say can be used against you in a court of law" they are telling the truth.

#29 When ever you are in court, for any reason whatsoever, the only person you should trust is your own lawyer.

#33 Ordering a caramel machiato diminishes your manhood by no less than 10%

#34 Tuck in your shirt and buton your cuffs.

#35 Do not ridicule anyone's religion unless it happens to be Scientology or Astrology.

#36 Be helpful to foreigners.

#37 If you are a Christian you must turn the other cheek when someone strikes you, but it is wrong to invoke the cheek-turning rule when you see the innocent (other than yourself) being attacked.

#39 Only windsor knots.

#43 Call police officers "sir" even if they are only 1/2 your age.

#44 Do not say "scrumptious"

#46 It is not girly to send thank you cards.

#47 It is girly to send thank you cards with butterflies or flowers printed on them.

#48 Riding a motorcycle makes you 15% more interesting.

#49 Do not inflate adjectives. If someting is merely pleasant, do not say it is amazingly fabulous.

#50 Going to see a movie is the worst possible first date.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Toil And Trouble

The American Spectator has a great article about the real estate bubble, written by a successful real estate investor, who gives 8 good reasons why it is, in fact, a bubble.

Is A Certain Longstanding Interpretation Completely Bogus?

Ace of Spades highlights something very fishy about the whole "All you have to do to be a citizen of the United States is to be born on its soil" assumption. It appears to be completely invalid, both according to the Constitutional text, and the intent of the author. Well, like that means anything. But, hey, you know?

Reform Or Be Reformed

Good Thomas Friedman column in the NYT. Instapundit has highlighted the meat of Friedman's argument:

Because there is no obvious target to retaliate against, and because there are not enough police to police every opening in an open society, either the Muslim world begins to really restrain, inhibit and denounce its own extremists - if it turns out that they are behind the London bombings - or the West is going to do it for them. And the West will do it in a rough, crude way - by simply shutting them out, denying them visas and making every Muslim in its midst guilty until proven innocent.

And because I think that would be a disaster, it is essential that the Muslim world wake up to the fact that it has a jihadist death cult in its midst. If it does not fight that death cult, that cancer, within its own body politic, it is going to infect Muslim-Western relations everywhere. Only the Muslim world can root out that death cult. It takes a village. . . .

The Muslim village has been derelict in condemning the madness of jihadist attacks. When Salman Rushdie wrote a controversial novel involving the prophet Muhammad, he was sentenced to death by the leader of Iran. To this day - to this day - no major Muslim cleric or religious body has ever issued a fatwa condemning Osama bin Laden.

Also pertinent to illustrating just how kind and gentle we've been with the Muslims so far (compared to what we could have been doing) is this two year old Derbyshire piece.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Clearing The Air

Cardinal Christoph Schönborn has some interesting things to say in a NYT op-ed piece.


EVER since 1996, when Pope John Paul II said that evolution (a term he did not define) was "more than just a hypothesis," defenders of neo-Darwinian dogma have often invoked the supposed acceptance - or at least acquiescence - of the Roman Catholic Church when they defend their theory as somehow compatible with Christian faith.

But this is not true. The Catholic Church, while leaving to science many details about the history of life on earth, proclaims that by the light of reason the human intellect can readily and clearly discern purpose and design in the natural world, including the world of living things.

Evolution in the sense of common ancestry might be true, but evolution in the neo-Darwinian sense - an unguided, unplanned process of random variation and natural selection - is not. Any system of thought that denies or seeks to explain away the overwhelming evidence for design in biology is ideology, not science.

Consider the real teaching of our beloved John Paul. While his rather vague and unimportant 1996 letter about evolution is always and everywhere cited, we see no one discussing these comments from a 1985 general audience that represents his robust teaching on nature...


Just got in the door from a week-long trip visiting a friend in Norman, Oklahoma. Quite a place, that Oklahoma. Very friendly people, an almost totally empty unspoiled landscape, and quite peaceful. Not a single blue county in the entire state. The folks are not rednecks; the state is sort of a southern version of Minnesota, that is, plenty of nice, unassuming, genuine, straight-ahead people. The place is exceedingly religious (scripture verses on full-sized billboards paid for by private citizens were a frequent sight) and patriotic (also evidenced by many billboards).

We visited several top-quality attractions. First, the Wichita Mountains, which is an unusual island (the rest of the state has more of a humid southern feeling) of southwest-style mountainous terrain full of stunning landscapes, as well as plenty of wild (and happy) bison, longhorn cattle, elk, and prarie dogs. And in the Wichita Mountains is a place called Holy City where they do passion plays every year. All of the buildings and sets are made out of red granite boulders, and the place was built by the federal government (the WPA, to be precise), in the thirties. Imagine that! A religious display built by the government! Didn't they know about the wall of separation under FDR, and what a threat to the Republic this was? Those Democrats were such theocrats!

Another great place was the National Cowboy Museum, which I'd rank up there with the world's greatest museums. In addition to the various displays (including an excellent history of movie Westerns), there is an annual art exhibition called Prix de West. I was stunned by the quality of the paintings there; I'd thought that the classical style of realistic painting was dead, but the exhibition was full of absolutely breathtaking modern masterpieces depicting western themes. In terms of pure visual splendor, I found it to be the equal or superior of any art museum in the world.

Oklahoma City itself has a redeveloped warehouse district called Bricktown, which is quite similar to San Antonio's Riverwalk. Very nice. Finally, there is a place called "Outdoor World", which is a gargantuan store for outdoorsmen. The place has to be seen to be believed. The inside is sort of its own museum with dioramas, entire themes for the different departments, and the elegant feeling that you are inside some kind of gigantic National Park lodge.

On the Fourth of July, we were able to head out just twenty minutes before the fireworks, find a good place to park, and meet up with a bunch of my friend's new Southern Baptist acquaintances all before the spectacular display began (you try doing that in the Bay Area; if you want to see the best show, you better get there a couple of hours early, expect a couple of hour traffic jam to get home, and good luck finding your friends, all of this assuming of course, that the fog doesn't roll in to obsure the whole thing).

Good stuff. This is a great country. I find it very therapeutic to get off the coasts and into the middle now and then to see the "Heart of America".

Oklahoma sure hit the spot.