Evening descends on the place

evening-descends.jpgIt is the last evening of this turn of the calendar, and it need not have any special significance. But not surprisingly we cannot resist looking back — as, really, we should every day (but this we do resist!) of the year.

At this time last year I was in another place, watching the sunset from another vantage point. It was very pretty from there, but it was not the right place.

I have been in a lot of places. I have had a lot of places. Perhaps this one  is the right place.  (The picture at left is, as the one I link to above was at the time, the late afternoon view from my office window.  The new one overlooks 42nd Street in Manhattan, but barely.)

But of course there are places that are not only identified by zip codes, and these are the places we really are, no matter where our mail goes. I have been a lot of places in 2007, including ones I thought I would never be in again, and ones I never dreamed I’d be in at all. Sometimes I struggle to understand why God — one of Whose Hebrew names, Ha-Makom, best translated as “the Omnipresent,” literally means, “the Place” — has led me to some of them. Undeniably, however, I am far richer not only for having been to them, and out of them, but for this wondering, too.

I am grateful that there has always been a place for me. Some people would do anything to have a place, a real place, of their own tonight, notwithstanding their mindless reveling or pointed pondering. And because of my journeys this year from place to place, my heart is with them, in ways I could never have known.

Perhaps, in fact, this is the answer to not only my wondering, but my wandering.

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Another narrow bridge


Walkway over FDR Drive

Originally uploaded by Ron Coleman.

Walkway over the FDR Drive to the East River, sometimes one of my favorite places, at around 50th Street.

The color chain

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Rabbi Meir used to say: How is Techeles [blue color used in Tzitzis] different from all other colors? The Techeles looks like the sea, and the sea looks like the sky and the sky looks like a sapphire stone and the sapphire stone looks like the Throne of Honor (of the Almighty).

Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Chullin 89a. One of the leading orthodox lecturers on Jewish thought, Rabbi Yissocher Frand, explains why we are given this relatively long chain of association: Because we all must take one step at a time. Brilliant color and light can stimulate us, inspire us, and like all things that compel the soul make us want to absorb them and transcend. We are swept up by beauty and want to meld with it. This after all is a kind of love.

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Unchained melodies

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WARNER BROTHERS goes copy-protection free with DRM-less MP3 downloads at Amazon. This is a good trend.

A technological war of attrition can be very costly. (Click on the pic, by the way — it really is a marvelous Unchained Melody.)

UPDATE:  Huh-boy.  See here for the update.

The Eagle has not landed…

Ok, so maybe my participation here isn’t quite as thrilling as Neil Armstrong’s moment, but hey, I’m still excited. 🙂

I’ve followed Ron’s comments on Dean’s World for a while, as well as occasionally dropping by here. He has impressed me as someone who thinks hard about things before opining.

Recently Ron invited me to start blogging on “Likelihood” for various reasons, including the fact that I’m very much not a carbon copy of himself.

So. For those not familiar with me from Dean’s World or my own Gantry Launchpad, I shall offer some form of resume. I suppose a good first step would be here. The tone seems a touch dramatic to me, now, but I have no reason to retract any of those statements.

I shall elaborate one the above precis. I am not a minarchist, nor am I a libertarian, as I significantly deviate from both philosophies. There are some things government does well, or at least more effectively than the private sector. I, for one, would prefer not to live in a city where law enforcement or the courts are run by private enterprise.

Perhaps some correspondence with Ron would be illustrative; from an email I sent to him:

Just to clear things up, I am a Independent dedicated specifically to neither conservatism, libertarianism, nor minarchism. I am strong on 2nd Amendment rights, illegal immigration (although Michelle Malkin regularly makes me ill on this topic) and the supremacy of local government.

On the other hand, I can’t stand PC foolishness, hate speech, or people who want to tell me what to drink, eat, or think.

I can also understand (and can sympathize with) the origin of pacifism and anti-war sentiment in this country, even though I think the leading Dems (yes, I’m talking about that jackass from Nevada) are wrong.

BTW, people who blame FDR for the expansion of the Federal government are off-base; they should blame LBJ and Nixon. Yes, I said “Nixon.” 🙂 That bad boy had more to do with the extension of modern government of any president besides Johnson.

Now. You tell me where I land, politically.

I’ll just take a moment here to thank Ron for this opportunity, and I hope my work here will live up to his (and your) expectations.

Succesful launch!

I’ve convinced Casey Tompkins, who has maintained the Gantry Launchpad (a Large Mammal!) blog since 2004, to contribute to this blog, now that he’s once again up to posting regularly.

Why? Because I need help keeping the momentum up. And he’s good! He’s wrong on some things, too, so that will make me look even better. And he’s a lot better with a slide-rule than I am.

I think I get a mazal tov.

Attorney Ronald D. Coleman