Monday, February 26, 2007

Myrtle Beach Moment, No. 5

This notice appears on the playground at the YMCA in Myrtle Beach.
If I'm reading this correctly, it seems that supervising parents have to bring some appropriate play with them, but they need not worry about it before the school is closed.
Furthermore, inappropriate play is OK before the school is closed; however, I cannot tell if the inappropriate play is OK with or without parental supervision, only that it is allowable during hours of school operation.

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Saturday, February 24, 2007

Ancient thoughts on developing craft and skill

"Don't worry that no one recognizes you;
seek to be worthy of recognition."
- Confucius, Analects 4.14

"Do you see a man skilled in his work?
He will serve before kings;
He will not serve before obscure men."
- author unknown*, Proverbs 22.29

*In the book of Proverbs, "The third collection (22.17-24.22), entitled 'the words of the wise,' is a compilation of thirty instructions probably modeled on an Egyptian source, the Instruction of Amen-em-ope, probably dated ca. 1000 BCE." -- The Oxford Companion to the Bible

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Ash Wednesday

Excerpts from an Ash Wednesday service at Trinity Episcopal Church in Myrtle Beach:

Remember, oh man, that thou art dust, and to dust thou shalt return.
The Imposition of Ashes
The sacrifice of God is a troubled spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
Psalm 51:18
For the love of God is broader than the measure of the mind;
and the heart of the Eternal is most wonderfully kind.
Hymn by Frederick William Faber
And so Lent begins.

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Monday, February 19, 2007

At local Hooters, beer goggles aren't enough

Two Hooters locations here in Myrtle Beach, and another in North Myrtle Beach, have added full-liquor bars, joining 51 others nationwide. Until now, Hooters served beer, wine, wine coolers, champagne and soft drinks.

Of course, the move to liquor makes perfect sense. Beer-drinking men are so well-behaved around busty girls in short shorts, why not let them get drunk quicker?

I talk about the Hooters' development in this week's Beerman column: .

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Myrtle Beach Moment, No. 4

And does your children know grammar?

I shot this photo on S.C. 9 a couple of weeks ago, so perhaps someone has corrected it by now.

Of course, true to Baptist habit, Riverside Baptist Church is located barely a tenth of a mile from Ridgefield Baptist Church.

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Monday, February 12, 2007

Thought for the Week: the immortal word

Isaac Asimov's defense of the written word:

"Consider, for instance, Hamlet's great soliloquy that begins with 'To be or not to be,' the poetic consideration of the pros and cons of suicide. It is 260 words long. Can you get across the essence of Hamlet's thought in a quarter of a picture -- or, for that matter, in 260 pictures? Of course not.... Pictures will not do; they will never do. Television is fun to watch, but it is utterly and entirely dependent on the spoken and written word.... There is a fundamental rule, then. In the beginning was the word (as the Gospel of John says in a different connection), and in the end will be the word. The word is immortal."

(I found this quote in Fit Bodies, Fat Minds by Os Guinness.)

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Friday, February 9, 2007

This wine is a real Bitch

The wineries have run out of wine names.

Think I'm kidding? Allow me to introduce Bitch, a 2005 Barossa Grenache from Australia.

Note to the fellas: This is the kind of wine women buy for themselves and for their girlfriends. Do NOT buy this for any woman from whom you seek affection, say such as on Valentine's Day.

I have a few more things to say about this Bitch at .



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Biological research v. ancient philosophy & religion

I recently read an article in The American Scholar online about the way literary theory has tried to kill-off the love of good stories.

The article, available at, spend most of its time making a biological and evolutionary argument against the assumptions of (what is alleged to be) the dominant literary-theory ideas in university English departments.

I loved the challenge against theory, and the way it was done, yet I struggled with the reductively biological view of humans that supported the challenge.

I emailed the link to a group of friends, and after some of them had a chance to read it, I offered them these thoughts:

I'm actually still holding out some hope for metaphysics to make a qualified comeback. The article's author gave reasons why we have customs -- so our species can keep its signals clear. Confucius would have said that the Tao was pre-existing and transcendent, and we are at our best (keeping our signals clearest) when we correspond to it via proper customs.

The Stoics were similar, with Logos (universal reason) in place of the Tao, and proper reasoning as the expression of the presence of Logos instead of customs. Before the Stoics, Socrates seemed to think we could dialectically get to something that was true and pre-existing (maybe similar to Logos), and sought to trim away the unclear signals (artifices) of the species, and died for it.

Jesus presented the Law and the Prophets as the transcendent standards, and then added a human-relationship element to them -- hate is murder; love; forgive -- and died for it. I'm unfamiliar with the Hindu and Buhddist teachings.

But the point being, in light of these ancients, it's hard for me, just being the thing that I am, to reduce the transcendent points of reference of these ancients to the outcomes of biological trial-and-error over a kijillion years. One book I read actually mapped the commonality in moral and ethical teachings across Norse, Babylonian, Confucian, Judaic, Greek, Christian, Egyptian, Roman, Hindu and Anglo-Saxon cultures -- a real skewer in the "local" of theory, huh?! To what do we assign this unity among diverse cultures?

Well, I readily acknowledge that the strictly biological view, which one might call reductive in light of the ancients, is exactly where the expertise is, where the cutting-edge thinking and research is happening, and it is very compelling. We just keep peeling away at the brain through scientific advances. People still read these ancients, yet research constantly recasts them, constantly fosters new questions. So I remain,
Colin Burch

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Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Myrtle Beach Moment, No. 3

Thursday through Saturday,
you're just lucky to be here.

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Monday, February 5, 2007

John Berryman & The Hold Steady

Brandon Stosuy says rockers The Hold Steady are channeling the late poet John Berryman in this article:

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Thought for the Week

The world is full of broken people who think they're surrounded by whole people.

- Greg Garrett, from Crossing Myself: A Story of Spiritual Rebirth

I finished this book yesterday; it has been an outstanding read. To give would-be interested readers a sense of where Garrett is coming from, he draws much from Anne Lamott, Martin Luther King Jr., Thomas Merton, and Walker Percy, with guest appearances by Donald Miller, Kathleen Norris, and Dennis Covington. Even with these influences, Garrett's book is a personal story with a sense of urgency and desperation that eventually finds resolution in a sense of peace that no reader will be able to miss.

I recently emailed him, asking for his help in one of my projects, and he declined, but for good reason: he has several other book projects underway. From what he wrote, it seemed like most of those projects were nonfiction, but with some big fiction awards in his background, including the William Faulkner Prize, I have to think he'll get back to stories soon enough.

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