Hermits Rock

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Sharp as a brick


Old notes


Should We Talk About the Weather?


This land is our land


What K said…


Population 351

What’s happenin’ black!

Family drama.


House finches

A month ago a pair of house finches built a nest in our begonia. I’ve been monitoring the chicks’ progress.

Barack Obama’s Hidden Agenda


Imperial Hubris


While we were in Chicago last week, K walked down to Navy Pier. I like this shot she got of a window frame bisecting a seagull.

Cost Deficient

Flood 2



Steve King is Beautiful

Great Horned Owls




I am trying to resist interpreting as symbolic the fact that Clinton exaggerates in order to excuse her own exaggeration, but it is awfully hard.

If you want to understand America

Without doubt religion is indeed in the United States, and the history of religion in the U.S. reveals much about the nation. Moreover, religion directly affects a significant cross-section of Americans’ attitudes and behaviors. The problem, however, is that there is no single attitude or behavior—indeed, there is no set of attitudes and behaviors—that one can point to and say, “You acted that way because you are an American believer!”


This weekend marked the first time in months that the weather was nice enough to walk around the neighborhood. Emerging from the melting snow were silent remains of the January 4 caucuses, which already seem so very long ago


It is hard to believe, but the resident songbirds have already begun singing their territories.

Feb. 6, 1805, 1806

All is suck.


In The Walrus Deborah Campbell has a fascinating essay about Dubai.

tip of the hat…

What am I, chopped liver?


I almost lived here

Kicking Ass & Taking Names

Let’s see, how many games have I won? which poor souls have I utterly destroyed?

Job Talk

In professional development, for example, there’s a cottage industry of consultants, often hired by district superintendents and curriculum developers, who promise easy-to-implement systems for analyzing curricula, creating good teachers out of bad, and ultimately raising student test scores.

An observation about fighting

U.S. Deaths in Iraq As of Today

3,680 + 1,000 + a smattering of journalists ≅ 4,700

False Cause

About a mile into my jog tonight, when I had a view of the southwestern sky, I saw a thunderstorm approaching.

August Flowers

August flowers.

Dead President Personals

Except for the niggling fact that Thomas Dewey wasn’t a president, the best Independence Day post on the Web is at Unfogged.

Caturday!: Domestication Edition

Following a report in Science, a Times story unravels the genetic history of the domestication of cats.


Early this morning, the sun shining at just the right angle through the trees and the window for its rays to to show in the air, Bingley sat on the edge of the desk, trying to catch dust motes.

Backyardblogging: Deer Edition

An eventful morning in the ongoing saga of our backyard was preceded by a strange evening.


Either the hummus, or the baba ganoush, or the combination of the two at our local falafel joint, where I ate lunch yesterday, disagrees with me such that it makes my skin smell.


Checking bibliographies sucks.

On the other hand…


My neighbor’s iris bloomed today.

“Scott Horton’s work at Harper’s is brilliant.“http://harpers.org/archive/2007/05/hbc-90000022

Amelia Earhart...

The things you learn from PBS....

Sunday Birdblogging

Our feeders have been rather fun to watch this week.

Backyard Birdblogging

Our feeders have been a great success this spring.

“she left me”

Both in replying to the concerned e-mails I received in response to yesterday’s post and in the clarifying update, I’ve written some version of “K left me” several times since yesterday. Every time it felt like an odd phrase, a euphemism that, for a euphemism, is both direct, in the sense that it says exactly what it means, and meaningless, in that it doesn’t convey anywhere near the personal, emotional upheaval that it signifies.


Normally, the water from the coffee machine in which my tea now steeps isn’t hot enough to burn my lips and tongue when they touch it. The fact that my lips are smarting right now tells me the water is hotter than normal.


In the loo just now, a man was brushing his teeth over the leftmost sink.

JH wins

For posting the 5000th comment since Hermits Rock catapulted into the modern age!

You’re a kitty!

Busy today, but not too busy to know inspiration when I see it.

Optiva No More

Tonight the membership voted, 806–631 , to overturn October’s vote that changed the name of the credit union to Optiva. For now, the name will remain the University of Iowa Community Credit Union.


Ice today, snow tomorrow; I hope this is the last big storm of the winter.


Describing Taste


It’s sometimes really disappointing to realize you were right all along.

I take it back

Beards, mustaches, eyelashes, and all other facial hairs are not good places to store frozen breath. Especially eyelashes.


Some immediate responses to the State of the Union address.

Winter Running Facts

Two things that are true about running in the cold.


Our bird feeders finally attracted some birds today.

Slide Show Semantics

The projector is still new in my church, and each effort to incorporate slide shows into both liturgy and pedagogy is a test. There have been unforeseen consequences. I suspect my church, for a number of reasons unnecessary to lay out here, also represents a peculiarly free use of the media.

After listening to Terry Gross interview J. Franz, I have a question about his personality.

Iowa news

Everything you ever wanted to know about waterlogged ceilings, Girls Gone Wild, Ragbrai, and Transcendentalist meditation.

Since it only somewhat fits with the theme of this rant… Where a great proportion of the people are suffered to languish in helpless misery, that country must be ill policed, and wretchedly governed: a decent provision for the poor is the true test of civilization.
James Boswell’s Life of Dr. Samuel Johnson


A snapping turtle layed eggs in our yard, and I have pictures!


A short, initial analysis of a debate on wealth and Christianity.

Behind the Broken Door

Given all you have learned about our domestic space these past six months, can come up with a credible explanation for how the door pictured in this post was broken?

What fifth graders like

A non-exhaustive list compiled from my current temp job. Updated! 4/13, 4/12, 4/11

Saturday Drive

This afternoon we drove to Maquoketa Caves State Park, where I hoped to catch a few more glimpses of spring.

(In)Comprehensible Iraq

It is clear, and clearly unfortunate for Iraqis, that, if Iraq does indeed want peace, it will get no support for it from the United States government.

I Like Children's Church

Children’s church insists that a congregation’s kids are vital to the congregation’s worship.

Last Tuesday plans for Crystal Bridges, the Wal-M-Art museum in development in Bentonville, Arkansas, were submitted to the Bentonville planning office.


Good luck, dear students walking home after last call! This is a night you’ll wish you didn’t leave your coat at home.


In which I offer up a list of links in lieu of anything better to say.

saving greg from wandering eyes

laura battiferri will not pursue you with bedroom eyes, nor will da vinci’s lady with an ermine


Random House has published the forthcoming Author’s Note to A Million Little Pieces in which James Frey distances himself from his book’s character.

Mountebank Birthday

Benjamin Franklin is to be lauded for being one of, if not the greatest American inventor, but not because he made the pot-bellied stove, nor because he invented bifocals, nor even for his hand in the making of the public library, or Pennsylvania University, or the public fire department.

Arkansas Report

All my fears of last week and last month were built out of a paranoia that I think came to being due to absence and distance.


The third season of Nip/Tuck closed Tuesday with two episodes (or one two-hour episode shot as two) that—in case anyone had any doubts that this wasn’t the case—demonstrated why the series casts the nets of sexual identity further than any other show on television—and almost as far as real-life, in its most extravagant moments, manages to cast it.

Temp non-Agency

The report, Nonstandard Jobs, Substandard Benefits examines the practices of employers to hire workers under nonstandard terms in large part in order to avoid costs such as health care and retirement plans.

40 acres, no mule

Kilauea. Lava. Ocean. Steam. Cool. Heh heh. Shut up, Beavis! This is important!

About Writing

Of course, guessing what our readers want or expect is part of what writing is about. Writers will choose to fulfill, challenge but confirm, or reject outright readers’ expectations for what they produce. What they choose will please some readers and it will alienate others, and that is one of the few certainties there is about writing.