Well, I've survived day 1 of 10 in the accelerated Hebrew course. That feels good. So far it is living up to the predicted time frame for study, but not exceeding it. That's good. It means I may keep my sanity after all.
In the mean time, my AT&T article over at OFB continues to plow away. It's showing up in more and more places, which is exciting. It's certainly the biggest piece I've written in half a decade and it is aimed squarely at becoming the most read OFB article ever. Count me as excited. I'm working on a follow up, trying to gather new material in what little spare time I have right now. Fun, fun, fun!
This was fun. Here's a free association meme.
I say … and you think … ?
Coverage :: Political
Cynical :: Obama
Gust :: Wind
Improvised :: Jazz
V :: Violin
Guests :: Odyssey
Brutal :: Beast
Grant ::Ulysses S.
Pull :: Push Technology
Streaming :: Audio
So, I was standing at the pump the other night, putting nearly forty dollars worth of gas into my little VW Bug. Next to the current cost is a little sign about how I could receive 5% cash back for my gas purchases with the Shell MasterCard. I've noticed Conoco-Phillips has a similar ad on their pumps as well. Admittedly, as prices go up, such an offer sounds enticing, and not necessarily a bad idea, given that I was already paying at the pump with my (non-rewards) credit card.
The problem with this card, like most rewards cards — at least the ones that actually offer decent rewards for something other than air travel — is that they are typically tied to one retailer. I am not a particularly loyal gas purchaser, so a card that offers a 5% rebate at Shell does me little good when I'm at Phillips 66. And vise versa.
I have no particular conclusion to draw from this, mind you. That was just my thought process as the gallons rolled in and the dollars rolled up.
But, I did come to one conclusion. Gas prices are not high enough. The pump was having trouble, so after I pulled in, I had to walk inside before it would agree to start. I then filled up an almost empty tank. During this entire process, another car waited behind me for my pump, and during that entire period of time, the driver let that car idle. That's right, he burnt $3.50 gas for the better part of ten minutes, as he waited while I went inside, stood in line, talked to a clerk, went back out and filled up my car. i hope he did not proceed to complain about the price of gas when he filled up his tank.
KMOX today featured Dr. Ken Chilton, director of the Institute for the Study of Economics and the Environment (ISEE) at Lindenwood University, on its program talking about global warming and what economists can tell us about that subject. Take a listen here. It is an excellent interview that is well worth your time.
Dr. Chilton is a mentor, a friend and a dear brother in Christ. I first met Dr. Chilton six years ago, when he happened to be the advisor on duty at Lindenwood taking care of working up a first semester schedule for freshmen business students — he helped me come up with my first semester schedule. I had the honor of being one of Dr. Chilton's students in a couple of classes, as well, one two years after that, and another a year later. The neat thing about this interview is it gives you a real taste of what he taught in his “Economics and the Environment” class (BA 383) in just twenty minutes. Now if only his complete lectures were online, but even this is an exciting opportunity for you to “meet” Dr. Chilton. Check it out.
I sent the following letter to KMOX's general manager, Dave Ervin, as well as CBS Radio's Dan Mason and Greg Strassell, after learning KMOX canned host Paul Harris in an effort to cut costs. Taking one of their best personalities off the air because AM radio's audience is shrinking and hence ad rates are dropping seems like a sure fire way not to improve revenue but to accelerate audience losses. Mr. Ervin's e-mail is publicly available, so I linked to it above. I encourage anyone reading this blog who is a KMOX listener online or on the radio to send him a note telling him this was a bad idea.
From: Timothy R. Butler
To: Dave Ervin
Cc: Dan Mason, Greg Strassell, Paul Harris
Subject: Paul Harris and KMOX's Future
Dear Mr. Ervin,
I have been a loyal KMOX listener for as long as I can remember. I grew up listening to Charles Brennan and Kevin Horrigan on “the Morning Meeting” when possible, and often went to sleep listening to “the Big Bumper,” Jim White. I am part of the younger demographic (I am 24) that is always said to be desirable to radio stations. To me, KMOX holds a mystique that places it with key St. Louis institutions such as the Gateway Arch and Ted Drews — KMOX is part of what makes the City of St. Louis great.
What makes KMOX itself great is its personalities, and the station suffered a lot over the last decade or so, especially after the launch of the station now known as KTRS and its initial draw of many favorite KMOX personalities over to its airwaves in 1996. Just a short time ago I was discussing with my family how it seemed that KMOX had finally returned to its former greatness by filling the entire lineup from the morning drive time through the evening with personalities truly of the caliber that the Mighty MOX was built on. One of the personalities that has been so important to this is Paul Harris, and I am incredibly dismayed to hear that he has been taken off the air. Frankly, the lure of satellite radio, online news and other media options like podcasts makes listening to AM radio less and less of an attractive option; it has been people like Paul Harris that keep me turning my dial to 1120 AM. During the day, I happily start my day with TI-AM and the Charlie Brennan Show, I enjoy Rush Limbaugh, and on the way home it has been a delight to hear Harris's unique, thoughtful spin on things as well. I do not agree with any of them all of the time, but I appreciate the quality and diversity of opinion that characterizes the KMOX lineup. This quality lineup has allowed me to turn on KMOX without the need to contemplate first whether something good was on — I knew there was something good on.
I realize that money is tight and that sometimes it is necessary to cut costs. But, Mr. Ervin, the way KMOX makes its money is through its listeners, and the reason we listen is not because KMOX is the only choice, but because it has been the BEST choice, precisely due to people like Mr. Harris. Without “the Paul Harris Show,” more than likely, I will not tune into KMOX in the afternoon. If Mr. Harris goes on another station, I will — for the first time — become a regular listener to a different local news/talk station. If he does not, I would rather find something good on my XM Radio than tune into “the Mark Reardon Show.” I have nothing against Mr. Reardon, but Paul Harris is in a different league. I presume that is why Harris was the one to go to the cutting block. But, if, in trying to cut costs, you lose more of your audience and thus your ad dollars, will this not make the balance book even worse off than before?
I realize it would be a difficult and unusual move to reverse a decision such as the one to fire Mr. Harris. However, I urge you to do just that. Prove to people like me, the listeners that make KMOX possible, that KMOX and CBS Radio actually care about their audience by bringing back “the Paul Harris Show.” KMOX as a St. Louis institution deserves to be preserved, and the only way it can be is to insist on the excellence that made it great. Excellence will keep your audience tuned in and patronizing your
sponsors into the future.
Timothy R. Butler
Sorry — I haven't had time to read comments or write anything. Today after class I was tied up with reading and (I'll admit it) frequent breaks to check in on CNN to see live election results. Exciting stuff. A bit disappointing that Gov. Huckabee didn't take Missouri (and missed it by a very narrow margin), but exciting that he pretty much stole the second place spot from Gov. Romney. Now, I'm off to bed. But, tomorrow, tomorrow…
Why do we talk about “thunder and lightning” when lightning comes before thunder? Shouldn't we instead talk of “lightning and thunder”? We don't want to put the cart before the horse, after all.
Okay, so we had seventy degree (Fahrenheit) weather — perfect for shorts — followed by sleet and snow, followed by major snow, followed by warmer weather, followed by rain, thunderstorms and hail, and now tomorrow we will hit sixty again. Logically, it is suppose to snow Tuesday.
Perhaps I'll get the shorts out for Wednesday, then.
The hat tip goes to WTM.
One book that changed my life: Hamlet seems like a good choice, although I could pick many, such as Economics in One Lesson, that also race to my mind. Hamlet, however, was my introduction to Shakespeare and as such one of the key books that firmly entrenched me in literature. Literature without Shakespeare… well, μη γινοιτο! May it never be!
One book that you have read more than once: Hmm… what shall I pick? Let's go with Mere Christianity and leave it at that, eh? Yeah, that sounds good, it is a book worthy of rereading and yet not an entirely obvious choice.
One book you would want on a desert island: WTM was smart in picking a whole series, I guess I should too. Well, how long am I going to be there? Something like his pick of Harry Potter might be good — I've been wanting to find time to read that. But, if I wanted to contemplate something for a long time, years even, perhaps Church Dogmatics, so I could finally master it. Ha!
Two books that made you laugh: The Collect'd Writing of St. Hereticus by Robert McAfee Brown and I Wonder What Noah Did with the Woodpeckers by Tim Wildmon.
One book that made you cry: Thr3e by Ted Dekker and Rumors of Another World by Philip Yancey. Perhaps not so much the books themselves, but the nerves they hit.
One book you wish you'd written: The Oresteia. If I could write like Aeschylus, I'd be happy. Alternately, let's return to Hamlet. Or, the Wasteland (Eliot). Or — why not go big? — how about Summa Theologica or Church Dogmatics?
One book you wish had never been written: I'll echo WTM and his friend who tagged him. Mein Kampf.
Two books you are currently reading: Just two? I'm in seminary for crying out loud! Ok, I'll mention two I'm reading for fun. The Historian, a delightfully exciting novel about Vlad Ţepeş (a.k.a. Vlad the Impaler, a.k.a. Dracula) that my cousin gave me for Christmas and the Merry Wives of Windsor, the return of the ever wondrous villain
One book you've been meaning to read: This World is Not My Home by Dr. Michael Williams. Dr. Williams told me about this book of his on the development of Dispensationalism last semester and my mother bought it for me for Christmas.
Tag five people: Ed, Eduardo, Mark, Christopher, Mike.
I do not think I've ever tried posting to my blog from my iPhone before. Now, I have. Wow, the possibilities are endless! But the night is not… So, good night.