Friday, February 29, 2008

Out and about: the week in review

On Sunday we went to church and were blessed by a wonderful sermon from Pastor M. on the holiness of God and by a great anthem from the choir on the same topic: "No word but Holy, that's what I would say if I were asked today to convey Who You are, no word but Holy." Notice that the anthem is addressed to God, not to the congregation. I like that about our church; we know Who the real audience is. After church we drove to Canton and ate Chinese food. Canton, Georgia, not Canton, China. I had roast pork egg foo yung; Ellie had a spicy shrimp dish. I had hot and sour soup; Ellie had egg drop. There were no fortune cookies. Unfortunately.

On Monday I drove Ellie to her appointment at the knee surgeon's office. While we were out and about we stopped to eat lunch at The Square Bagel in Marietta, one of our favorite "hole in the wall" places. For the record, the bagels there aren't square. Our friends Adam and Ruth K. named their restaurant The Square Bagel because it is located just off the square in downtown Marietta. Adam and Ruth have two other restaurants also, the Parkside Grill in Woodstock, and Poppy's Pizza in Acworth. In his spare time, Adam is a certified housing inspector and plays on an adult baseball team. How he finds the time and energy to do everything he does and still look as young as his son is a mystery to me. I consider a day successful if I can find socks that match.

We chatted with Roberto, Adam's Brazilian Pentecostal waiter, about his new grandson and he asked in turn about our children and grandchildren. Then we dug into our lunch. I had the turkey melt with a potato pancake, and Ellie ordered a Rachael, which is just like a Reuben except that a Rachael is made with pastrami instead of corned beef. I heard a familiar voice a few tables away and it turned out to be Wanda C., a friend we hadn't seen in several years. Wanda used to play the big Allen organ at Mt. Paran Church in Atlanta. She is past 80 now, and after being single for several decades she got married again about a year ago. We met her new husband, whose last name is Fields. He pointed out to us that his wife is now W. C. Fields, and we all had a good laugh. (Younger readers, you can read about W. C. Fields in Wikipedia or ask your grandparents about him.)

On Tuesday Ellie and I, out and about again, went to St. Joseph's Hospital in north Atlanta to visit Jackie M., the friend with the new aortic heart valve. We were able to spend a little time with her in intensive care, and then we visited with her husband and two daughters, Elaine H. and Tammi M., in the family waiting area. We learned that Elaine's son-in-law Chris, Elizabeth's husband, is about to be deployed to Iraq for the second time.

On Wednesday we were out and about for the fourth day in a row, paying some bills in person at the mall and others by mail at the post office. Our daughter-in-law called in the afternoon to inquire whether we could have lunch together one day soon, and we are looking forward to that. In the evening I was the rehearsal pianist at choir practice.

On Thursday we took Jethro to get groomed, picked him up two hours later, then went to two more doctor appointments. Dinner was out again, with the regular Thursday gang of senior citizens.

Today, Friday, we had lunch (Mexican) with our daughter-in-law (Tennessean). In the evening we attended a surprise birthday party for another friend, Walter T., who was celebrating his fifteenth birthday. Sixty years, but fifteen birthdays, because he was born on February 29th and his birthday comes along only once every four years. Walter is a multi-talented man, and he and and his wife Margaret are an ecumenical movement in themselves. Walter grew up Methodist; Margaret grew up Southern Baptist. He was an Eagle Scout and a Captain in the Army Reserve. He earned a bachelor's degree in geology from the University of Georgia and was awarded a master of divinity degree from Emory University. He has pastored United Methodist and Evangelical Presbyterian churches in Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi. Currently, he is chairmen of the Department of Bible and Systematic Theology at a small Christian university in Atlanta. Oh, and he sings tenor in the choir at our church, a Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee) congregation, where Margaret serves as choir director. The leaders of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church denomination say Walter (and, by extension, I suppose, Margaret) is (are?) serving "out of bounds." I don't know anything about that, but it feels like home to me. By the way, a good time was had by all at the party.

Early tomorrow, Saturday morning, we will be making the three-hours-plus drive over to Birmingham to help celebrate the seventh birthday of our youngest grandson, Sam. Then we'll come back home and start all over again.

Retirement has turned out to be a very busy place indeed. I don't know how I ever found time to work. Our calendar is already filling up for next week and the week after. I just hope I can find enough socks that match.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Thoroughly Modern Metaphors

Someone asked the following on another blog: "If Paul says those who are in Christ are a new creation, why are there so many old creatures in the church? Why is this going on?" I would like to tackle this subject from the perspective of someone who is an older person (66 years old), but not an old creature (in the 2 Corinthians 5:17 sense).

The answer that springs to mind is an obvious one, but not the only one. Being "in Christ" and being "in the church" are not the same thing. If you sit in a garage, does that make you an automobile? If kittens are born in an oven, does that make them chocolate chip cookies? To my anabaptist way of thinking, this is the disagreement I have with covenant theology (and also with what used to be called "the universal fatherhood of God and universal brotherhood of man crowd"). Our natural offspring are not just automatically part of God's flock. People who have been sitting in church all their lives out of habit or family loyalty but have never made a conscious decision to follow Christ or ask Him to be their Savior are like the kittens in the oven. Even if somehow they manage to look like chocolate chip cookies, they will never taste the same.

I don't think all roads lead to the same place; I don't think we're all headed for the top of the same mountain from different sides. If I get on a train for Los Angeles sincerely believing that I have boarded a train for New York, it doesn't matter how sincere I am, I'm going to end up in Los Angeles, not New York. Unless, of course, I change trains. We can change trains with our last breath.

I know this must sound horribly modern (meaning old-fashioned) to all the emerging and postmodern folks, but it's what I believe.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Science, schmience...

I like to read JesusCreed, the blog of Dr. Scot McKnight, a professor at North Park University in Chicago. Sometimes I surf to other sites from there. The other day I found myself at someone else's blog reading a lively discussion of creationism versus evolution. Someone who views evolution as a scientific fact and not a theory made the following statement: "Even the Bible must give way to reality." I couldn't resist. I jumped into the fray. Here's what I wrote:

"Really? I'm admittedly an old guy (66) so my opinion may not be worth much to you young whippersnappers :) , but it would seem to me to depend on what you mean by "reality." I grew up in a mainline denomination with very liberal theology. At age 20 I became a super-funda-menta-listic-expi-ali-docious dispensationalist/cessationist anabaptist. By 35 I was no longer dispensationalist or cessationist and had turned into a raving charismatic. I married someone who began as Eastern Orthodox and ended up Pentecostal Holiness. Oh, and my mother was Jewish. All of these are "realities" and all of them have played a part in who I am now, someone who is still thoroughly evangelical but somewhat postmodern and listening to the emerging conversation. I said all that to say, I believe just the opposite of the statement above. Reality must give way to the Bible. We don't really have a handle on what "reality" is. For example, the Bible says in I Thessalonians 5 that man is spirit, soul, and body. Can you scientifically prove or disprove the spirit or the soul? Neither can I, but they're there.

"But back to the topic of creation vs. evolution, I really don't know how long it took God to create everything. Maybe six days. Maybe millions of years. My eyes tell me millions of years. But my heart tells me it could have been six days. If Adam was created in the way the Bible indicates, then on the first day he existed wouldn't he have appeared to be 20 or 30 years old (with or without a navel)? The earth could also have been created with signs of great age also, such as the fossils, if God chose to do it that way. I'm not saying He did, and I'm not saying He didn't. But it's possible. God likes to hide himself so that we can find him. Jesus liked to speak in parables so that his hearers wouldn't understand. He said so Himself.

"All I'm saying is, whatever your opinion, don't be so cocksure about it. When a voice, possibly the enemy of your soul, whispers in your ear, "Are you going to believe the Bible or are you going to believe your own eyes?" that indeed is the question. That is the crux of the whole matter. I choose to believe the Bible even when it seems to contradict my own eyes. I have heard that dogs don't have color rods in their eyes, so they see everything in black and white. Does that mean there is no color? If you're a dog, yes. If you're not a dog, no. Everything is not always what it appears to be."

The evolution guy didn't agree, of course. He said, "I don't think putting the bible before common sense is a virtue. This is a conversation killer because there is no way anyone can reason with someone who believes this. Basically, I can show you something but you won't believe it even when you see it. If my opinion is that heliocentric theory, that the Earth orbits around the sun, is true, why can't I be 'cocksure' about that? Aren't you also cocksure about it as well? Yet, it wasn't long ago that Christians were just as 'cocksure' that everything revolved around the Earth. That is, until scientists like Galileo forced them to believe their own eyes and not the Bible." Later, in another post, he said, "There is as much hard evidence for Yahweh as there is for Allah. We know though that evolution is as solid a scientific theory as gravity, if not more so."

Well, just for the record, I'm Yahwehcentric, not heliocentric. Job 26:7 says, "He stretches the north over an empty place, and hangs the earth upon nothing." So much for gravity. And what keeps the earth from falling? The evolution guy would probably say centrifugal force. Hebrews 1:3 says, "He upholds all things by the word of his power." And as for the earth orbiting around the sun, I'm convinced that the flat disc we live on is balanced on the back of a gigantic tortoise. Just kidding. :) But that idea was once "scientific fact" and then Copernicus was "scientific fact" and now Galileo is "scientific fact." Does anyone see a pattern here?

Friday, February 22, 2008

To everything (turn, turn, turn) there is a season (turn, turn, turn)

I saw my first jonquils and daffodils this week. Usually the bright yellow of the forsythia bushes is the first sign of winter's retreat, but not this year. I also saw the pink blossoms of a couple of flowering peaches. Next will come the creeping phlox and the tulip trees, or magnolia soulangiana, as the botanists say. The fescue has stayed green all winter, but the Bermuda sod is still dormant and brown. For the first time in several years, Atlanta has had a wet winter.

I know a little poem; it goes like this:

Spring has sprung, the grass has riz --
I wonder where the birdies is?

Well, this week I also heard the birdies for the first time since they left last fall. Oh, we have had Canada geese honking and big, black crows cawing all through the winter months, but I'm talking about songbirds, the real deal. I haven't really seen any of the birdies yet, not even a robin, but I hear them chirping in the treetops nearby. My neighbors' bluebird houses and purple martin houses and feeders full of thistle seeds for the goldfinches are awaiting this year's crop of new arrivals.

Winter may finally be ending. But February isn't over yet. And there's still March. Of course, it really isn't spring in Atlanta until the dogwoods and azaleas come out. I can hardly wait.

In case anyone cares, part of the title of this post is from Ecclesiastes chapter 3 in the Bible, courtesy of King Solomon, circa 1000 B.C. The rest of the title (the part in parentheses) is courtesy of Pete Seeger, circa 1950-something A.D. Both parts were popularized by The Byrds, circa 1965.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

De Profundis, or maybe Day Profundis

Today a friend of ours underwent surgery at St. Joseph's Hospital in Atlanta to have the aortic valve in her heart replaced with one that came from a pig. This is the same operation that Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist Lewis Grizzard had a few years back and then wrote about in a book entitled They Tore Out My Heart And Stomped That Sucker Flat. Lewis wrote several books over the years and for my money their titles were the best thing about them. For example, one of his books was called Shoot Low, Boys, They're Riding Shetland Ponies and another was called Don't Bend Over In The Garden, Granny, You Know Them Taters Got Eyes. I went to the hospital and sat with our friend's husband and daughter during the hours they spent in the surgical waiting room. I'm happy to report that the operation was a resounding success. I had almost forgotten what rush hour in Atlanta is like, but today brought it all back.

Before I went to the hospital, I drove over to Woodstock to tend to the morning needs of Sharpie, my son's two-year-old black Labrador. Sharpie's needs are pretty basic; they include being fed, being petted and talked baby talk to profusely, and being let outside to run and do the things every dog has to do. This evening, after I returned home from the hospital, I drove back over to Woodstock to take care of Sharpie's evening needs. These, oddly enough, are very similar to his morning needs. More than very similar. Actually the correct phrase is "indistinguishable from." I get to do this through Saturday because my son and his family decided to go on a quick vacation to Clearwater, Florida, while the schools around here are closed for five days for mid-winter break. Unplanned vacations are possible in my son's family because he and his wife are self-employed fauxers of doors and are able to set their own work schedules. You might not believe it, but fauxing of doors is very big in upscale neighborhoods hereabouts, almost as big as owning black Labradors. Unplanned dog-sitting and visits to hospitals are possible in my own family because my wife and I are both retired.

The point of this post is to remind us, one and all, that life is what happens to you while you are making other plans. Or, put a little differently, as life goes on, life goes on.

This is probably my most profound post yet.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

"Why, oh why, oh why, oh, did I ever leave Ohio?"

No, I haven't flipped out, I'm just singing nonsensical songs today (with apologies to residents of Toledo, Cleveland, Cincinnati et al) to clear the cobwebs away. My brain is frazzled today, because I've been working on gathering tax information ever since my last post. Finally I got all the material together, and then I discovered that there are websites that do free electronic filing. I entered everything into one of them, but before clicking on that final "Send" I suddenly wondered how said site's calculations might compare to what Ye Olde Trusty Turbo-Tax might produce. So I am in the process of re-entering the data into Turbo-Tax to find out. If the results turn out to be identical, I'll file through the freebie site, even though I will have had to pay for using Turbo, but not their filing fee. Then, at least, next year I'll have had some prior experience about making my decision instead of just leaping blindly into the dark.

Tomorrow is my second son's birthday. He will be 42, which, as all readers of Douglas Adams's The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy know, is the answer to life, the universe, and everything. I have two other children whose ages are 40 and almost 44. I mention these facts because a friend who reads this blog told me recently that I must hate my children, because I never mention them, just my grandchildren. I hereby do aver, affirm, state unequivocally, and solemnly swear that I do not hate my children. So help me God. You can say you read it here first.

Speaking of grandchildren, Elijah, who just had a birthday also, will be going on a week-long trip to Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia in a couple of weeks with a group of schoolchildren. Sam will be seven on March 2nd, which is also the birthday of his great-aunt Mary in Orlando. Sawyer and Ansley have birthdays in May, Matthew's birthday is in September, and Noah's is in December. I don't know why I remember people's birthdays; I just do. In fact, I have so many birthdays hanging around in my brain that they make tons and tons of the aforementioned cobwebs. That's why I have to sing songs like "Why, oh why, oh why, oh / Did I ever leave Ohio?" when I do my taxes. And, in case you are wondering, cobwebs in the brain are absolutely nothing at all like bats in the belfry. You can quote me on that.

Some day my taxes will be done, and my sanity will return. From my mouth to God's ear.

"Mairsy doats and dozey doats, and liddle lamsy divey...."

Friday, February 15, 2008

The taxman beckoneth, and I don't want to think about him today

I really have nothing to write about today, but there's something about having a blog that draws one to the keyboard and screams, "DO SOMETHING ALREADY!" And so one does. The first thing they ought to teach in Journalism 101 is this: if it ain't on the paper, it doesn't exist. And the second is like unto it: Once it's on the paper, it's out there for everybody to see, baby, so it had better be good.

As Paul Harvey used to say, Page Two. Maybe he's still saying it; I just haven't heard him lately.

Yesterday was St. Valentine's Day. No moonlight and roses for us. We spent three hours in the afternoon sitting in the automotive department at Sears having new tires put on our eight-year-old car. Romantic, huh? We joked that I gave Ellie two Michelins for Valentine's Day and she gave me two Michelins. I am old enough to think that tires ought to cost about thirty dollars. These cost more than a hundred dollars each, plus the installation and balancing and front end alignment and a new rod whatchamacallit thingy and road hazard warranty (and labor, let us not forget labor) made the total come to seven hundred and fifty dollars. As in $$$$$. That would have bought a forest of flowers and many, many mushy cards and enough chocolate candy to pave the entire Sears parking lot. My beloved settled for a safe ride home in a vehicle with an odometer reading of 211,234 miles. Jethro was waiting for us in the laundry room and happily settled for a doggie treat. I am a blessed man, and I know it.

We did go out in the evening, but not as a couple. As a group. Every Thursday is "old gang night" with a group of friends from church, so we shared our Valentine's Day dinner with Hugh and Jean and Kate and Carolyn. Esther and Patrick and Sharon and Rosemary weren't able to attend this week. But a good time was had by all. Hugh spilled soup on his shirt, so it wasn't a total loss. I don't know why, but it reminded me of the bit in Shelley Berman's first comedy album way back in the sixties about having spinach in his teeth and also that wherever he sat in a restaurant, it always looked as though he had been passing the food up through the tablecloth. One gets one's jollies where one can.

This afternoon is the final session with Cindy, the physical therapist, on Ellie's new right knee, which the orthopaedic surgeon pronounced "absolutely perfect" on Tuesday. Lest we be carried away with rejoicing just yet, however, we also now have a firm date for the surgeon to perform his skills on her other knee: March 31st. That is why I said up in the title of this post that the taxman beckoneth. I have to buckle down and just do the taxes in the next week or so, because there won't be an opportunity to do it later.

I'm exhausted. I hope my Muse is happy.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Here's to you, Abe

Today, in case you didn't know it, is the 199th anniversary of the birth in 1809 of Abraham Lincoln, our sixteenth president. You might have heard of him. His image is on our one-cent coin and also on our five-dollar bill. He is known for the Emancipation Proclamation and the Gettysburg Address and his Second Inaugural Address and the Lincoln-Douglas Debates and for having been assassinated at Ford's Theater by John Wilkes Booth in Washington, D.C., one April night in 1865. The second largest city in the state of Nebraska is named after him. In Washington, D.C., thanks to a sculptor named Daniel Chester French, there is a very large statue of him behind the spot where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., gave his famous "I Have A Dream" speech in 1963. Lincoln is often referred to as Abraham Lincoln of Illinois, even though he was born in Kentucky. He was the child of a woman named Nancy Hanks who died young, the lover of a woman named Anne Rutledge who also died young, and the husband of a woman named Mary Todd who went insane toward the end of her life. Oh, yes, and one other thing: at a time when the direction of the United States veered toward destruction, he saved the Union. If it weren't for president number sixteen, we might not currently be selecting president number forty-four.

I mention all these things because I encountered a grand total of one, yes, one reference to Abraham Lincoln today, on Garrison Keillor's "Writer's Almanac." Everywhere else, silence. When I was a boy in New England, Lincoln's birthday and George Washington's birthday were both school holidays. Later, when my family moved to one of the states of the Old Confederacy, Washington's birthday was still observed as a school holiday, but no one paid any attention at all to Lincoln's birthday. Sore losers, I guess. Nowadays, neither Washington nor Lincoln is honored personally, only a vague general category known as Presidents on a day that means absolutely nothing to anybody except merchants who put their wares on sale and worker bees who get a three-day weekend.

So while we still can, while there's still time, before he recedes into oblivion altogether, here's to you, Abe. We owe you one.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Last night was awesome!

A get-together For Elijah's twelfth birthday was held at his house last night. It was unlike any birthday party I have ever attended before. First we had hamburgers. Then Elijah sat on a stool in front of the fireplace and the rest of us gathered around the room. Elijah's dad (my son) began by explaining that his dad (me) was of Jewish heritage, so they thought it would be good to usher Elijah into young manhood by letting him select the male figures who have been significant in his life and then asking each man to write a letter to Elijah on this milestone birthday. After my son read his own letter, the rest of us came up one by one, stood by Elijah, and read our letters in front of the entire group. [Mine is in the previous post.] From time to time my son would read a letter he had received from someone who couldn't be present that evening. All told, around 20 letters were read. It turned out to be a very emotional occasion for almost every man there, and also for Elijah. Each and every letter was meaningful, and each letter was presented and taken seriously. Six ladies were in attendance also, and three or four children. Elijah heard words of encouragement from his Dad, both grandfathers, his uncles, his children's department pastor, his Sunday School teacher, his football coaches, his camp counselor, fathers of some of his friends, a variety of people. We ended in prayer for all four members of Elijah's immediate family. Then we ate birthday cake.

Many tears were shed during the evening. A lot of grown men got awfully choked up. I'm sure everyone who attended will remember the evening for a long time. Elijah's parents are going to put all of the letters into a binder for Elijah to have so that he can read them any time he wishes. Each man was asked to continue mentoring Elijah by spending one day with him during the coming year. Elijah is going to keep a journal about the things he learns this year from these mentoring experiences and what each man has meant to him. Another get-together is planned one year from now on Elijah's thirteenth birthday.

More Christians ought to do this sort of thing with their young people. It felt very ancient, and very sacred. This was a spiritual occasion. It was a God thing. Maybe the Jewish people with their Bar Mitzvahs are on to something.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Elijah turns 12

Tomorrow, February 9th, is my oldest grandchild's birthday. Elijah will be 12. His mom and dad have asked that as many male figures in Elijah's life as possible take time to write a letter to him on this occasion. It's hard to know what to say exactly to a twelve-year-old. It reminds me of a verse in the Bible, "I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now." Anyway, I did my best. Here's what I wrote:

Elijah,

I wanted to write to you as your twelfth birthday approaches and tell you how proud Nana and I are to have you as our grandson. It seems like just yesterday that you were born into this world and we became grandparents for the first time. A few weeks before you were born, I had a heart attack. I remember saying to Nana on the way to the hospital, “The devil is telling me I’m not going to see my grandchildren.” But the devil has always been a liar, and we believed God for my healing. So you see, just by being born, you were a great confirmation to me of the power and love of God. You are already well on your way to becoming the fine young man we have always known you would turn into. Any family would be fortunate to have you in it, but ours was the family that received that blessing.

You know, of course, that nothing really happens by accident to a Christian. God is always leading you and guiding you, if you let Him, and molding you through your experiences into what He wants you to be, into what He had in mind for your life when He decided to create you. We don’t know yet what you are going to do in life or where life may take you, but if you remember to seek the Lord and His will in everything you do, you will avoid many of the traps and pitfalls that trip up young people nowadays. One reason God has set us in families is so that we won’t be alone and so that we will have the help and support of people who love us.

The key is to be aware that God’s help is always available. Listen for His voice. Sometimes He will speak to you through His Word, the Bible. Sometimes He will speak to you through the advice of family and friends. Sometimes you will hear Him speaking in a “still, small voice” deep inside your heart. Everyone you meet in life is not going to be your friend. Some people may actually hope you fail. Some people may just want to relieve you of your money. Always ask God to give you wisdom and discernment and to guide you on your path. There is a television commercial out now in which this guy goes to a store to buy a big, expensive television set and he is overwhelmed by what he sees. The music then swells up to let us know what is going through the guy’s mind. It’s also what the people who made the commercial hope we will be persuaded to think: “I want it all! I want it all! I want it all! And I want it now!” That sounds very childish to me, like something the enemy of our souls would say. The Holy Spirit might instead be whispering, “Flee youthful lusts.” That is why I said to listen for His voice. I don’t want to rain on your parade; I hope you enjoy your teen years to the full. I just want you to learn to think about things in a way you might not have thought about before. That is part of becoming a man.

I hope you have a great birthday and many more happy birthdays in the future. Your life will be changing rapidly over the next few years. Besides football games and basketball games, there will be things like cars and girls and college. And almost before you know it, you will be an adult with a family of your own. Maybe one day you will write a letter like this to your own grandchild. That is also part of being a man, to see your children and your children’s children and to thank God every day for them. Each and every day is a gift from God, Elijah, so try to make every day count. One way I make every day count is by praying daily that the Lord will lead you and guide you, will keep you and protect you, and will pour out His abundant blessings on your life.

Love,

Grandpa Brague

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Super Bowl? What Super Bowl?

In the interest of full disclosure, I am revealing today that I don't care one fig about professional football. I do like to stay familiar with what goes on with certain college teams, but even then only after a fashion. I'm not a rabid fan of any team except the ones that include my grandsons. I certainly don't care what the Boston Patriots and the New York Giants are doing to one another tonight out in Arizona. I'm sure the results will be available in the newspapers. Even the youth pastor at our church talked about the Super Bowl in his remarks during today's worship service. I guess that makes our church culturally relevant. But I don't have a dog in this fight.

I'm sure this decided lack of interest on my part marks me as practically un-American in certain circles. That's too bad, but unfortunately it can't be helped.

Instead, I leave you with a passage from the Bible to ponder: "...and exercise yourself toward godliness. For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come." (1 Timothy 4:7-8, NKJV)

Friday, February 1, 2008

Early to bed, early to rise...

Today, four days ahead of what the mainstream media has been calling "Super Tuesday," Ellie and I went to the local public library and cast our votes in the Georgia presidential primary. I really like advance voting, which is not the same thing as voting absentee. (Voting absentee means you plan to be out of your precinct on voting day. Voting in advance means you can be anywhere you like on voting day, even at home.) At my age, I don't want to stand in long lines any more than absolutely necessary. We were in and out of the library in very short order today. Given the predictions of a heavy turnout on Tuesday, the folks who wait until then to vote probably won't be as fortunate.

Now, if only some bright inventor out there can come up with a way to do advance checkout at the supermarket.