Saturday, April 30, 2005

So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish

Roger Ebert gave Hitchhiker's Guide two stars; I am going to go ahead and give it another half-star on top of that. I enjoyed the movie, but I do have some issues with it. I know that Douglas Adams had begun work on the screenplay before his death in 2001. I think I know where Adams left off and Karey Kirkpatrick (the other screenwriter) took over. At any rate, I'll probably see it a few more times, if only on DVD.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Pointless Conformity

The state where I was born and raised finally succumbs to peer pressure.

I'm Not Going to Panic . . . Yet

Roger Ebert only gave Hitchhiker's Guide two stars. He does, however, admit to having little familiarity with the books.

Librarian Wanted

When the papal conclave began last Monday, I decided to re-read Dan Brown's Angels and Demons, the only novel I have read that is about a papal conclave.

Angels and Demons describes in detail the Vatican Archives, which main character Robert Langdon must visit to find an obscure book by Galileo and records of artwork that the Vatican has commissioned.

The United Methodist Publishing House library could learn a great deal from the Vatican Archives.

Over the past few months, I have become one of the UMPH library's few regular visitors. As I have searched for books relevant to my work, I have stumbled upon a handful of books from the early nineteenth century. At the Vatican Archives, two-centuries-old books might be kept in rooms where the oxygen levels were controlled and where the books would not be exposed to white light. Those who are granted access to these works might be required to wear gloves and to use special tools to avoid tearing or leaving skin oil on pages. At the UMPH library such works just sit on shelves in open air, under flourescent light.

Granted, the official archives of The United Methodist Church are not kept at the Publishing House but at Drew University in New Jersey. The official archives are tended to by a staff of professionals. And, granted, I have yet to stumble upon an original work by John Wesley, Francis Asbury, Philip William Otterbein, or any of the denomination's other founders.

Still, today I was searching for The Way of Holiness by Phoebe Palmer, an important work in the history of Methodism. According to our card catalog (and it is an actual card catalog), we have two copies: one from 1846 and one from 1850. I was unable to find either copy on the shelves. Maybe they were given over to the archives; maybe they are among the pile of books that have been returned and not checked in (a pile that includes every book I have checked out in the past five months); maybe they are lost. At any rate, these are very important books, and someone needs to know where they are.

I don't know who is in charge of the Publishing House library. As far as I can tell, no one is. I can only hope that we can find a way to take care of these historial treasures that are hidden in our building.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

In Case You Had Doubts About Spontaneous Combustion

Required Reading for Tennesseans

I hate to pick on my senator, but this Nashville Scene editorial elegantly explains how Dr. Frist has failed to represent his constituents in the Volunteer State by going out of his way to secure the support of ultra-conservative religious leaders in preparation for his inevitable 2008 run for the presidency.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Happy Birthday, Grandma

I'd like to say happy birthday to my grandma, Dorothy Gross, who turns 88 today.

Something for Church Geeks

Sarah Arthur, of Walking With Frodo fame, introduced me to Lark News. Lark is like The Onion, but it deals entirely with the church. (You might have to be a church dork to catch some of the humor.)

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Protect Tennessee's Most Vulnerable Citizens

I'm running late on this, but if you live in Tennessee and are concerned about cuts in TennCare, fill out this form, customize the letter, and send it out to the state's legislators (this morning if possible).

More on Justice Sunday

I should have mentioned that my Senator, majority leader Bill Frist, played a disturbingly central role in Justice Sunday, an opposing-Bush's-nominees-is-un-Christian rally. Frist—in addition to his leadership role in the Senate and his ability as the Senate's only doctor to diagnose medical conditions outside of his specialty area using only a four-year-old video of the patient—has presidential ambitions. As someone who has had Dr. Frist as a Senator for five years, I'd like to say to the rest of the country that Bill Frist is probably not a good choice for president. He would best serve America by returning to medicine.

In other Justice Sunday news, The Nation had an interesting article on the event's emcee, Tony Perkins.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Has Soylent Green Become a Reality?

Read this article and let me know whether or not you think that eating the rice in question would amount to cannibalism.

This Is Getting out of Hand

Yesterday was "Justice Sunday," an event coordinated by several "Christian" leaders who feel as though God is eager to have all of Dubya's judicial nominees approved. In actuality, less than 5% of Bush's nominees have been blocked by filibusters (a total of 10); the others have been approved. I can understand why Bush's opponents would complain; I cannot understand what his supporters are so upset about. As Bill Clinton told Katie Couric, 40 of his nominees to Courts of Appeals were blocked by Republicans, far more than have been blocked by Democrats during the Bush administration. I would argue that the Senate (whether by a majority vote or a filibuster effort by a substantial minority) has a constitutional obligation to reject some of the president's nominees and not simply to approve them all on partisan grounds.

Of course, I have come to expect politicians and pundits of all political persuasions to find something to complain about in every situation. I am offended, however, when they start speaking on behalf of God, Christians, or "people of faith." The idea that Christians should unquestioningly support judges who consistently rule a certain way on matters of sexuality and reproduction is absurd. For one, many faithful Christians disagree on issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage or civil union. Even some Christians who oppose abortion do not accept the extremist views of some judges nominated for the federal judiciary and the self-proclaimed "pro-family" advocates who support them. Secondly, Christians must also be concerned with how these judges rule in cases related to healthcare, children's wellfare, or corporate misconduct or in instances where new DNA evidence casts doubt on a verdict.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Wikipedia: The Pinnacle of Human Achievement?

When ranking humankind's accomplishments, Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia may seem out of place next to putting someone on the moon, the invention of the printing press and moveable type, or Beethoven's Fifth. Maybe it is. Or maybe it is greater than all of the above. Wikipedia, I would suggest, is a utopian experiment that has worked.

Wikipedia is the most comprehensive, available, and accessible source of information in human history. It is updated constantly; and for the most part Wikipedia is a credible source of information. But Wikipedia does not pay writers, researchers, or experts to write entries for their encyclopedia. Anyone with Internet access can edit or contribute to Wikipedia. Any person with the time and the desire can delete an entire entry and replace it with information of his or her own. Any individual who is willing can create a new entry on any subject imaginable.

When I first realized what Wikipedia was and how it worked, I had doubts. Could I trust an encyclopedia that can be manipulated by anyone? The free Internet reference library leaves itself open to "web terrorists" who might delete entries or post false information. But Wikipedia maintains integrity and credibility despite leaving itself completely vulnerable. The site's contributors are vigilant and dedicated enough to fix errors as they arise and to undo the work of pranksters.

Wikipedia's contributors are anonymous volunteers. Since contributors are not credited nor compensated, their indentities and credentials are unknown. Wikipedia's success relies on thousands, even millions, of people who are willing to take the time to write and edit encyclopedia entries on their area(s) of expertise. The free web encyclopedia covers a broader range of subjects than a conventional encyclopedia (for example, Mike Mullins highly recommends the entry for Internet phenomenon) and is more up-to-date (for example, I checked the entry on Pope Benedict XVI less than two hours after his election was announced and found a thorough account of his career and the circumstances of his election).

I have personally been contributing to the entries for the Evangelical United Brethren Church and the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. I know something about the denominational forebears of The United Methodist Church, so I'll contribute some of my knowledge. Of course, readers have no way of knowing what I have contributed and what has come from other Wikipedia enthusiasts.

Wikipedia proves that people can be productive without being motivated by compensation or recognition. It is a current-day manifestation of the parable of the workers in the vineyard (Matthew 20:1-16): Everyone does what he or she can, when he or she can, and everyone benefits equally. Wikipedia is an example of human cooperation untainted by economic or political ideologies. Wikipedia may be the greatest thing that we, as a species, have ever done.

Friday, April 22, 2005

This Could Be a Lot More Difficult Than the Taco Bell Boycott

Union Theological Seminary recently joined a boycott of Coke. According to president Joseph C. Hough, Jr., “This recommendation came with considerable evidence that firms associated with Coca-Cola have been engaged in actions that violate basic standards for human rights and environmental safety in countries outside the United States.” An organization called Killer Coke alleges that the soft drink company is implicit in the murders of union leaders representing workers at Coca-Cola bottling plants in South America.

This boycott hasn't gained nearly a level of support comparable to the Taco Bell boycott that ended earlier this year. At the moment, I'm afraid to do any further research on the topic. Giving up Gorditas was manageable; giving up Coke, Diet Coke, and Sprite along with the dozens of other fine Coca-Cola beverages may not be possible.

I Still Have Reservations About the Chili Meat

CNN reports an interesting new twist in the finger-in-the-Wendy's-chili story.

Springfield Awaits

Much of this material was mined from a February 12 post on Josh by the same name.

Wednesday night, Reggie Miller played his final regular season game. In case Hall of Fame voters have any doubt about whether to check Reggie on their ballots when he becomes eligible and to place him alongside his sister in the Hall, allow me to help you out:

  • Reggie is currently 12th on the list of the NBA’s all-time leading scorers, having recently passed future Hall-of-Famer Patrick Ewing and NBA legend Jerry West (whose silhouette is featured on the league's logo). Every other player in the top 25, aside from Adrian Dantley (#17) is a current Hall-of-Famer or a lock to join when he is eligible. Critics might argue that, among the top 25, Reggie has the second lowest point-per-game average. On the other hand, Reggie is fourth among that bunch in games played, which is a testament to his longevity and consistency.

  • Reggie is the game’s all-time leader in three-point shots made, with 2,560. Dale Ellis is second with 1,719, and only three players in history are within 1,000 three pointers of Reggie Miller. (Granted, Reggie also leads in three-point attempts by a rather large margin.) And more than any player in history, Reggie demonstrated how the three-point shot could be used to execute late comebacks and clutch victories.

  • On the subject of late comebacks and clutch victories, Reggie is best known to casual fans for making big shots in big games. SportsCenter has run many highlight reels made up entirely of Reggie’s clutch performances, all of which include his legendary 8 points in 18.9 seconds to beat the Knicks in a 1994 playoff series.

  • Reggie is 7th all time in free throw percentage and has hit 2,000 more free-throws than anyone else in the top 30. He is also 11th all time in free throws made, although he has fewer attempts than anyone else in the top 15. This year, at age 39 and in his final season, Reggie once again led the league in free throw percentage.

  • Reggie is 6th all time in minutes played.

  • Never a slacker on defense, Reggie finished his career with 1,504 steals, just outside of the top 30 all-time.

  • Finally, and most importantly, Reggie turned the Pacers into a perennial contender (well, this year aside). Growing up in Indiana during the days of Bird and Magic, I didn’t realize that the Pacers were an NBA team in the same way that the Lakers or Celtics were NBA teams. I assumed they were somehow minor league. Before Reggie, a good season for the Pacers involved getting a seventh or eighth seed (back when the Eastern Conference only had 11 teams) and being blown out in the first round of the playoffs. Now, the Pacers have made the playoffs in 14 of the last 15 seasons. (They have only missed the playoffs three times in Reggie’s 17 seasons leading up to this one.) In 8 of those seasons they had home court advantage for at least one round, in 6 of those seasons they made it to the Eastern Conference finals, and they took the Lakers to game six of the 2000 finals. Though Pacers fans will want to forget this season, we have no doubt they will be competitive in years to come. And we owe this transformation largely to Reggie Miller.

  • Thursday, April 21, 2005

    Sharpening My Backyard Skills

    I must boast that I successfully cooked foil dinners outside on the charcoal grill without burning or under-cooking anything or catching the deck or any of the plants on fire. I was even able to start the charcoal without using lighter fluid. (Foil dinners at the Tinley house include Gardenburgers®, diced potatoes, carrots, onions, green peppers, and portabello mushrooms.)

    Better yet, the onions I planted a couple months ago are still alive and are actually growing. (My past vegetable gardening efforts have yielded only three bell peppers, each about the size of a human thumb.) The tomatoes, on the other hand, are struggling. Still, I look forward to the harvest.

    Connecticut approves gay civil unions

    . . . without being forced by the courts. The bill also defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman, so no one needs to get worked up about redefining marriage. Since the debate over whether same-sex couples should wed won't be resolved anytime soon, other states should follow Connecticut's example so that the families of gay or lesbian partners can have some legal protection.

    Wednesday, April 20, 2005

    Do We Really Need State Governments?

    This Nashville Scene editorial paints a less-than-flattering picture of the self-proclaimed defenders of the Tennessee family. To quote the Scene: "If lawmakers are going to stick their noses where they don't belong, they at least should make sure their noses are clean."

    Jeffords Announces Retirement

    I try not to complain about people like Tom DeLay and Rick Santorum because I do not live in the states they represent. (That said, I might not complain about my senator, Bill Frist, enough. For example . . . .) I support each state's right to select it's own elected representation, even if some states' choices baffle me. But when you feel as though your own legislators do not represent your interests (as I often do), you tend to support representatives from your party, regardless of state. That leaves me, an independent, with one representative in the Senate: Jim Jeffords from Vermont (one of the handful of states I've never even been to). Today Jeffords announced that he will not seek another term in 2006.

    In 2000 Jeffords was elected as a progressive Republican; but with the GOP shifting further and further to the right, he soon left the party and became an independent. (In so doing he gave the Democrats a one-seat majority in the Senate . . . for less than two years.)

    Fortunately, Congressman Bernie Sanders, also an independent, has expressed interest in Jeffords's seat. People of Vermont, help me out.

    Tuesday, April 19, 2005

    Segregation in the New South

    I find it humorous yet disturbing that the paper-recycling bins at my workplace are labeled "white paper only" and "color paper only." While The United Methodist Publishing House goes out of its way to support diversity and inclusivity, we did inherit this building (through denominational mergers) from the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. On The United Methodist family tree the MEC South might be described as the racist uncle. The church split from the Methodist Episcopal Church in support of a bishop who, through marriage, became a slave owner. In less than 30 years the vast majority of African Americans in the MEC South left to join the church's northern branch; to join the African Methodist Episcopal Church or the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Zion; or to found the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church (later the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church).

    Granted, I've oversimplified a bit. By the time the MEC South joined with other Methodist denominations to form The Methodist Church in 1939, it had turned from many of its past sins. And as much as we pride ourselves on being progressive when it comes to matters of race, other Methodist denominations have been guilty of excluding people based on race or ethnicity or looking away from problems like slavery and segregation.

    Yet, I've found that The United Methodist Church is good about acknowledging and repenting of mistakes it has made in the past, and the church has certainly made a commitment to diversity that is reflected by the denominational slogan "open hearts, open minds, open doors," and a UM T-shirt message, "I believe when you truly embrace diversity, you embrace God." It would be nice to think that our biggest problem with diversity now is the recycling bins, but that would be shortsighted.

    I should get back to the project I'm doing on church history; but that should give you something to think about when you recycle.

    Monday, April 18, 2005

    Why Is Get Fuzzy My Favorite Comic Strip?

    Today, for example, Bucky uses the line, "It's on, baby. It's on like a Baptist's V-chip."

    Sunday, April 17, 2005

    My Manufactured Environment

    I remember from my Environmental Ethics class at the Divinity School a philosophy that once took hold in Europe in favor of entirely manipulating, manufacturing, and taming the environment, essentially replacing all wilderness with gardens.

    I found this line of thinking a little interesting but a little ridiculous. Then I became a homeowner. Wilderness is not an option in the cul-de-sac. In suburban neighborhoods one is expected not only to tame one's property but also to decorate it.

    So Ashlee, Meyer, and I spent most of the day yesterday digging up the mess of monkey grass that had taken over much of the flower bed in the front yard, replacing the layers of soil that came up with the monkey grass with fresh dirt, planting flowers and smaller sprigs of monkey grass, and mulching. The front-yard garden, thanks to one day of intense labor, looks good. At least, it looks better than it has since we've lived at 1109 Sommersby Court.

    Philosophically, I'll never understand why we go to such lengths to landscape our yards; but I'm happy with the results.

    Saturday, April 16, 2005

    The Best Movie Based on a Nick Hornby Book?

    Last night, Ashlee and I had a rare opportunity to see a movie. We decided to gamble on Fever Pitch. Neither of us were convinced that Jimmy Fallon could carry a movie; and, while the movie is based on a book by my favorite author, Fever Pitch is a memoir about Hornby's obsession with the Arsenal football club in England. Though he draws parallels between his relationship with soccer and his relationship with women, the book includes no Drew Barrymore character.

    We had worried in vain. The movie was good. Very good. Without hesitation, I will place it above High Fidelity and About a Boy as the best movie based on a Nick Hornby book. (I will say, however, that Fever Pitch is my least favorite of Hornby's books, though I still found it an enjoyable read.)

    High Fidelity was OK, but stories that are told in the first person and rely heavily on the main character's thoughts don't always translate well to film. Also, "High Fidelity" is the name of an Elvis Costello song; in the book Rob, Barry, and Dick share their lists of the top 5 best Elvis Costello songs; for some reason Elvis Costello is not mentioned in the movie. And unlike Fever Pitch, I think High Fidelity lost something in the Americanization. As it were, High Fidelity is my favorite Nick Hornby novel.

    About a Boy is the one movie based on one of Hornby's books that stays in England. It stars Hugh Grant, who is just about perfect for the role. It's a good movie; but having read the book, I was upset by a key difference between the novel and the screenplay. The book is set in 1993-94, the title character discovers Nirvana (the band, not the state of enlightenment), and Kurt Cobain's death is a major turning point in the plot. The film is set in the early 00s, the title character discovers hip hop in general, and no voice-of-a-generation-type celebrity dies (or is mentioned). Since Kurt Cobain's death was an important part of my life story, I was disappointed by the omission, especially since About a Boy was the only of the three movies for which Hornby wrote the screenplay. (I have also wondered whether the title alludes to the Nirvana song "About a Girl.")

    Personally, I think that How to Be Good (Hornby's most recent novel) would make a great film, if the writers stay true to the book and if the filmmakers keep it in the U.K.

    I think Hornby would be pleased if I made lists ranking his books and the movies based on them, so:

    Nick Hornby books
    1) High Fidelity
    2) How to Be Good
    3) About a Boy
    4) Fever Pitch

    Movies based on those books
    1) Fever Pitch
    2) About a Boy
    3) High Fidelity

    Age Group Basketball

    I last played basketball against an opponent who was significantly younger than me ten years ago. Drywall was taking a break from recording at Rubber Room Studios, a home studio in the Indianpolis suburb of Lawrence. On our break we ran into three pre-teens playing basketball down the street from the studio. Since there were three of us (two of us were 18, the other 17), we challenged them to a game. And we lost. (I assure you, however, that it was a close game.

    This morning, as I was breaking from some intense yard work, I shot some baskets with our ten-year-old neighbor, Maria. Before long, her six-or-seven-year-old brother, Nick, came out and challenged me to a game of one-on-one on their eight-and-a-half-foot goal. Nick was young enough and small enough, that I had complete control of the game and tried to give him as many opportunities to score or steal the ball as possible without making it look like I was letting him score or steal the ball.

    As we played, we came to an agreement that I should not dribble the ball low to the ground or between my legs, but should be lax enough in my dribbling that Nick could legitimately challenge me on defense. The high, slow dribbling style I adapted allowed Nick to make some key defensive stops and get back into the game. Then, coming off an easy rebound, I decided to give Nick (who was putting on the pressure) a chance to force a turnover. Unfortunately, by bouncing the ball high and in his general direction, I bounced the ball right into his nose. And, his nose started bleeding.

    So, we ended the game, I got Nick a wet washcloth, and, as soon as his nose started bleeding, he hopped on his bike and rode away.

    This deed will require penance.

    Friday, April 15, 2005

    If You Were Planning on Declaring Bankruptcy, Do So Now

    I'm not an economist, but I would go as far as to say that the bankruptcy bill that just passed the House, has already passed the Senate, and will almost certainly be signed into law by the President, is immoral. Not surprisingly, the Republicans have written and pushed through a bill that blatantly favors credit card companies and the extremely wealthy at the expense of the ordinary American. (The ordinary American tends to have money problems from time to time, for various reasons.) And, not surprisingly, the Democrats failed to put up a fight. (73 Democrats voted for the bill.) This study, shows that about half of all bankruptcy filers file because of medical expenses.

    Additional resources:

    A column by conservative columnist Debra Saunders opposing the legislation

    A blog post on the subject by former North Carolina senator John Edwards

    A blog post from Professor Elizabeth Warren of Harvard Law School

    Thursday, April 14, 2005

    For Basketball HOF Voters

    So you know, Reggie Miller just passed Jerry West and moved in 12th place on the NBA's all-time scoring list. Reggie ranks ahead of greats such as Patrick Ewing, Larry Bird, and Charles Barkley.

    Reggie also broke the 1,500 career steals mark recently. If he can get six more steals in the Pacers' final five games he will finish in the top 30 among the league's all-time steals leaders.

    Define "Sanctity of Marriage"

    This local story offers some anecdotal evidence that the crusaders against same-sex coupling are ignoring the real threats to marriage.

    On the Aforementioned Study on Homosexuality in Sports

    I was pleasantly surprised that such a large majority of those surveyed say that they would not have a problem with their favorite athletes coming out of the closet.

    Curiously, while 86% of respondents are OK with gay male athletes, only 78% are OK with female homosexual athletes. I would have assumed the opposite. What's going on with that 8%?

    I was interested to learn that 61% of respondents believe that "homosexuality is a way of life that should be accepted by society." I would have guessed 60-40 the other way.

    And while those surveyed are overwhelmingly supportive of or OK with homosexual athletes, a significant majority guessed that an athlete's career would be damaged if he or she came out. Interesting.

    (Sure, this hardly counts as "analysis." This might be a good time for the four or five of you who read this to post some comments.)

    Frist, DeLay to Push the "Sick Pope in America" Act

    I enjoyed this Fabricator column from the Nashville Scene.

    My Cubic Wisdom Debunks 1 Sex Gods

    Gene Ray of Time Cube fame (the self-proclaimed "wisest human") is speaking at Georgia Tech tonight. I suspect that some undergrads who have spent too much time surfing the web and not enough time studying are behind the booking, but I kind of wish I could be there.

    If you are not familiar with Time Cube, visit Time and familiarize yourself. Then visit this parody site that automatically generates new Time Cube-esque prose each time you load the page.

    (I must thank Mike Mullins for introducing me to Time Cube and keeping me posted on developments.)

    A Milestone, of Sorts

    As I was checking my e-mail, I noticed that the number of items in my "Deleted Items" folder has reached 1,000. Maybe I need to empty that folder.

    Wednesday, April 13, 2005

    On Behalf of Reggie, Naomi, Rivers, Curtis, and the Two Strays That Hang Out in My Yard

    Are cats . . .

    difficult to control?
    a menace to houseplants?
    blanketing my furniture with gray fur?


    Do they deserve to be shot?


    NBC Survey: Homosexuality in Sports

    I found the results of this survey intriguing. I'll offer my analysis when I get the time.

    Tuesday, April 12, 2005

    Kids Today

    Think this kid was influenced by video games? . . . Maybe Tomb Raider?

    Monday, April 11, 2005

    Playing the Feud—Verona-style


    From the Florida Times-Union:

    6 shot as romance ignites feud

    Like present-day Montagues and Capulets . . . sorta.

    Sunday, April 10, 2005

    Don't Panic

    I've been looking forward to the Hitchhiker's Guide movie for about a year now, but I'm not sure what to make of the trailers I've seen. The TV spot doesn't even present the film as a comedy but as a cheesy big-budget sci-fi flick. One of the theatrical trailers I've seen (on the Internet, because parents of one-year-olds don't get out to the theaters much) gives a similar impression, though it has twice as much time as its televised counterpart to convey the essence of the film. Below is the best trailer I've found. (Granted, I haven't searched much).

    Hitchhiker's Guide QuickTime Trailer

    (If you don't have QuickTime and need more options, go here: IMDB Hitchhiker's Guide Trailers.)

    Still, no ad for the film that I have seen features "42," towels, or Marvin, the "paranoid android." (I'm guessing that the robot featured in some trailers is Marvin, but they give no indication that he is an android who suffers from severe depression and low self-esteem. As it were, Marvin is voiced by Alan Rickman of Dogma and Harry Potter fame. So, if nothing else, you can look forward to his performance.)

    Of course, I'm still going to see the movie.

    Don't panic.

    Thinking With My Fingers

    (As opposed to "thinking out loud.")

    I'm pretty good at coming up with ideas; I'm also good about initiating projects based on these ideas. Seeing these projects through to completion, unfortunately, is something I rarely do. The following are the major non-school, non-work projects I have completed in the past five years:

  • Adelaide, Illinois (15-song album, 2003): Though I prefer playing and recording with a band, I do think that Adelaide is the best album I have ever recorded. The songwriting (particularly the lyrics) and singing on Adelaide are far superior to those on NBC's On the Dance Floor or Three Hit Combo's of Pop and Science. I am also very fond of the arrangements, the mix, and the sound quality. Of course, this project took nearly two years to complete and only involved two persons (myself and Zach Collier). Zach was very accomodating; the project took so long because I worked on it only sporadically and sometimes went months without recording. I performed and arranged all of the music, and the only instruments used were a piano and an electronic keyboard. Production-wise it was very simple.

  • Josh (website, 2000): This blog is an extension of a project that began as "Adelaide, Illinois: The Electronic Home of Josh Tinley," located at (The current homepage is found at In the past 4 1/2 years I have redesigned the site three times (though much of the current site still uses an old design) and have posted several short stories and simple non-fiction pieces, most of which has been poorly edited. For much of the site's history it was updated only occasionally, though for the past six months I have been adding content at least every few days.

  • On the Dance Floor (novella, 2001): I wrote On the Dance Floor chapter by chapter on in 2000-01. (Between 1997 and 1999 I had attempted writing the story on four occasions, three times as a screenplay and once as a stage play. I completed a short version of the screenplay in the summer of 1999, but didn't know what to do with it.) Like many of my web writings it was poorly edited. When the internet version of the book reached completion, I edited the entire piece (again, poorly) and self-published the print version of the book with the help of Office Max. (A couple of the pages ended up being out of order.) My story of a dorky college student who finds that he has an alter-ego and an uncanny knack for dancing while trying to impress a girl and who ends up in a heated turf battle with the girl's boyfriend, renowned dancer Johnny Smooth, failed to attract the interest of publishers. I did, however, narrowly avoid being scammed by a literary agent.

  • I suppose I could also count the handful of short stories, church songs, and Nashville Scene articles; but I wouldn't consider any of these "major projects." (Some of the Scene pieces were quite involved and required a great deal of research, but I had well-defined parameters to work within and some assurance of payment going into them, so I count them as work-related.)

    I'm going to take a break now. Then I'll tell you about everything I started and didn't finish.

    To be continued

    Wednesday, April 06, 2005

    More Than Meets the Eye

    This is disturbing.

    Saving Daylight, Losing Sleep

    I don't know if I will ever get used to Daylight Savings Time. Having lived much of my life in Indianapolis, I did not know DST for much of my childhood and adolescence. Indiana is one of two states not to observe DST. My first real clock-changing experience came when I was in college in Evansville in 1995. (Evansville is in Indiana but, because it is a hub city for parts of western Kentucky and southern Illinois, observes the time-keeping practices of neighboring states.) Now I've been playing with clocks for a decade, and I still can't adjust to that lost hour in the spring. I've overslept (granted, only by a half hour or so) every day this week, and I don't feel remotely rested.

    I understand the reasoning behind adjusting the clocks to get an extra hour of daylight. I do not, however, understand why we switch back and forth every six months. Why don't we just shift time zones so that we are always on the time schedule that gives an additional hour of daylight? Why turn our clocks back so that, during the winter, the sun sets at 4:15?

    Anyway, the powers that be in Indiana feel a need to return to Daylight Savings Time. Mike Mullins, my source in the Indiana legislature, has been keeping me abreast of the debate. Here is a list of articles from

    Monday, April 04, 2005

    Stolen Baby Formula Hitting Black Market

    If you've ever had to buy baby formula, you'll understand why this is happening.


    More Than Just a Heartbeat

    Since my last post, Terri Schiavo died, the pope died, and I had a chance to read (well, skim) the cover story from this week's Nashville Scene. (See the link above.)

    The subject of the Scene's lead story is Paul House, a Tennessee death-row inmate who is obviously innocent based on new DNA evidence, but whom the legal system maintains is guilty. Actually, seven of the fifteen judges on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals are convinced of House's innocence. The other eight have sided with the state, presumably for political reasons. The state has refused to re-evaluate its case; I would guess that the state's motive is also political. I won't bother you with an analysis of the evidence; the article does a pretty thorough job.

    Assuming House was falsely convicted, he has been denied 20 years of his life. In those years Paul House has developed MS and, unless the Supreme Court intervenes, he will soon be transferred from his wheelchair to the electric chair. Sadly, House is not the lone Tennessee death-row inmate convicted on questionable evidence; but I don't have time to go into the stories of Philip Workman and Abu-Ali Rahman.

    Elected officials, church leaders, and others put forth an extraordinary effort to prolong Terri Schiavo's life. For Schiavo, life consisted of a beating heart, breathing, and some rudimentary brain functions. While her living in a persistent vegetative state for so many years makes her death no less painful for loved ones who wanted to preserve her life, I don't know that she was truly denied life when her feeding tube was removed. Paul House, on the other hand, has been denied twenty years of life. Even if his conviction is overturned, the criminal justice system will have taken significant steps toward "killing" House, leaving him aged and ailing, having lost some of his best adult years. Where is the public spectacle for Paul House? Where is the pro-life crowd?

    I am glad that Pope John Paul II died while his capacity for living was fleeting. What if he had been left alive but lifeless? Until his final weeks, the pope, though suffering, truly lived. He performed his duties and relished his life until he could do so no longer. I think that, in so doing, JP2 proved that life is more than breathing; more than a heartbeat.