Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Quoting Chambers

Are you a collector of quotations? The use of pithy quotes, taken from sources both famous and obscure, can spice and invigorate your conversation and writings. Classic collections of quotes, such a Bartlett’s and Oxford, continue to serve as standard references.

One of my most personally rewarding freelance editing assignments some years ago was to compile a categorized set of quotations from Oswald Chambers’ intriguing, in-depth devotional work. Treasures From My Utmost for His Highest, published as a coffee table-style gift book by Barbour Publishing, Inc., required months of studying Chambers’ writings. Chambers, a lecturer and chaplain, died of an illness during World War I. His famous devotional was taken from lectures he presented between 1911 and 1917. Those of you who have read My Utmost For His Highest know how challenging and intellectual was Chambers’ communication style and how amazingly relevant each statement he produced.

Some examples of what I derived in my compilation:

“Whenever we put other things [besides God] first, there is confusion.”

“We are sent by God to lift up Jesus Christ, not to give wonderfully beautiful discourses.”

“If we do only what we feel inclined to do, some of us would do nothing forever and ever. . . . Do now what you will have to do some day.”

“Patience is not indifference; patience conveys the idea of an immensely strong rock withstanding all onslaughts.”

“God’s way is always the way of suffering, the way of the ‘long, long trail.’ . . . If there is no strain, there is no strength.”

“It is in the valley that we have to live for the glory of God.”

“. . . . God is my Father, He loves me, I shall never think of anything He will forget, why should I worry? . . . [W]hat an impertinence worry is!”

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Weekly Folk Music Quiz (26may05)

If you’re listening to the zither-like kantele being played in its native country, you’re most likely in: a) Latvia, b) Kyrgyzstan, c) Finland, d) Ireland.

Weekly History Quiz (26may05)

Mary, Queen of Scots, was of what lineage? a) Campbell, b) Stuart, c) Tudor, d) Gravier.

Weekly Amusement (26may05)

A science teacher was guiding her sixth graders on a zoo tour. “Which of the animals we’ve seen so far today is a carnivore?” she posed to her class.

“I know!” said young Walt excitedly. “Leo the Lion is a carnivore.”

“That’s good!” the teacher praised. “Now, who can tell me the name of another carnivore here at the zoo?”

After a baffled delay, Anna timidly raised her hand. “What about Lucy, Leo’s sister?”

Island Mountains

Everyone knows the Republic of the Philippines is an island nation -- but do you know how many islands? Incredibly, the Philippines encompasses more than 7,000 (seven thousand) of them, spread across more than a thousand miles of the western Pacific between the Philippine Sea and the South China Sea. They’re the caps of an underwater mountain range. Naturally, it’s a mountainous habitat -- and yes, some of the islands are active volcanoes. In fact, they form part of the infamous “Ring of Fire,” the Pacific volcanic zone where many eruptions over time have claimed thousands of lives.

Most native Filipinos are of ancient Malayan descent. Spain held the Philippines as a colony from the mid-16th Century until 1898. (Remember the fabled Manila galleons laden with treasure for the homeland, harried along their routes by pirates of various stripes?). The Spanish-American War ended Spanish rule in 1898. After almost a half century as an American territory, the independent republic was established at the end of World War II.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Weekly Folk Music Quiz (19may05)

The vihuela was a kind of early Spanish: a) flute, b) harpsichord, c) cello, d) guitar.

Weekly History Quiz (19may05)

Who was king of England during the American Revolution? a) George III, b) Charles III, c) Charles IV, d) Richard IX.

Weekly Amusement (19may05)

What was Moby Dick’s favorite meal?
Fish & ships.

Weird Trees

Money doesn’t come from trees, but something almost as unlikely does: rubber. The tires on your car weren’t unwrapped from tree trunks, as it were, although their basic component originally was a milky fluid called latex, which is tapped from trees. Some rubber trees can produce up to four pounds of crude rubber each year. Most rubber tree plantations operate in Southeast Asia.

Rubber tires were developed during the mid-1800s by such inventors as Charles Goodyear and John Boyd Dunlop. Over time, experimenters learned to strengthen them with chemicals and fabrics. Auto tires today are made of both natural and synthetic or reinforced rubber.

Speaking of trees. . . . Did you know the ginkgo, considered sacred in China, is from a tree family that dates to the Mesozoic Era (roughly 65 to 240 million years ago)? Scientists refer to it as a “living fossil.”

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Weekly Folk Music Quiz (12may05)

Who was the Kingston Trio’s original banjo player and bass singer?

Weekly History Quiz (12may05)

Bernardo O’Higgins (1778-1842) fought for independence and became a dictator of: a) the Orkney Islands, b) the Republic of Ireland, c) the Transvaal in southern Africa, d) Chile.

Weekly Amusement (12may05)

Question: What brass instrument is twice the size of a tuba?

Answer: A fourba.

Isn't It GRAND!?!

If you’re planning a driving vacation this summer and the Grand Canyon (northern Arizona) is within your range, and you haven’t seen it yet, do it. I was there only once, when I was 10, and I’ll never forget our local sheriff stumbling in pebbles at the rail, grasping the bars for dear life, then bolting for the restroom. The good sheriff never was in real danger, actually. He and his family were traveling with ours (my father was a deputy and sort of his right-hand man, in our small hometown back East) on our venture to the West Coast to visit my brother Clayton. We also saw the Painted Desert, a ghost town or two, and the entire breadth of Texas, among other things. Of all our southwestern remembrances, the canyon stands out. It’s truly grand.

A few facts to stir your interest: The Grand Canyon is almost a mile deep and, at its extremes, 18 miles wide. We tend to think of it as a great gorge in a fairly level landscape, but the surroundings are anything but level. Remarkably, the elevation drops almost a quarter of a mile from the canyon's northern to southern rims. Formidable snows close the northern heights to tourists fully half the year.

If you have time to take the mule train downward or lunge through on a wild Colorado River rafting excursion, but all means do. But if nothing else, just go. Stand at the edge and survey God’s art. It’s a destination for individuals and families alike, and it’s for a lifetime.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Weekly Folk Music Quiz (5may05)

The important music collection Slave Songs of the United States was published in: a) 1760, b) 1797, c) 1839, d) 1867.

Weekly History Quiz (5may05)

The agency that ultimately became the Federal Bureau of Investigation originated in 1908 under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Justice. What was the early bureau’s name? a) Bureau of Detection, b) Department of Detection, c) Federal Detective Agency, d) no name.

Weekly Amusement (5may05)

“This cheese has holes in it!” fumed the tempestuous child.

“All right, then,” his mother said. “Just eat the cheese. You can leave the holes.”

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Derby Details

The upcoming Kentucky Derby, always run the first Saturday in May, is the most famous horserace in the world. More than 150,000 spectators attend the event at Churchill Downs in Louisville, KY, watching the planet’s finest 3-year-olds vie for the roses and a shot at the elusive Triple Crown. (The Preakness and Belmont Stakes are run later in the spring.) The derby is rich in history and lore. Among the more interesting facts:

* Meriwether Lewis Clark, grandson of famous explorer William Clark, started the Kentucky Derby in 1875.
* The racecourse originally was a mile-and-a-half long but later was cut to a mile-and-a-quarter (the shortest of the Triple Crown races).
* The first horse to win the derby was Aristides; the most recent was Smarty Jones.
* The fastest time recorded at the derby was Secretariat’s winning run of a fraction under two minutes in 1973.
* The first horse to win the Triple Crown was Sir Barton in 1919; only 11 horses have accomplished the feat.