the last refrigerator blog entry

…for a very long time, I hope

Our story thus far…

Terry and I came back from our Southern California trip at the beginning of June to discover that the temperature in our refrigerator was rising rapidly. We had seen this before, and had to replace the compressor. We called the service contract company and they sent out the repairman. He said it was indeed the compressor. He ordered the compressor, it arrived quickly, and he returned. The compressor was damaged in transit. Useless. He ordered another one, which was backordered.

And now for the exciting conclusion:

The backordered compressor finally arrived, a week ahead of the date we were first given. The repairman came back for a third visit and spent ninety minutes working on the refrigerator, only to tell us that the line was blocked and to declare it “unrepairable.” I called the service contract company, and they offered us a very generous payout.

Terry and I went shopping at Best Buy, and after some considerable back and forth, selected a model. The sales person was very patient. There were a couple of considerations at work here. The first was the width of the refrigerator. When we did our kitchen remodel in 2007 the contractor built the space to size of the fridge we were buying, and while there was a little wiggle room vertically, there was none horizontally. That eliminated several models. Then there was the question of whether or not to get counter depth. When we did the remodel, the contractor told us that we needed to have a counter depth model. That’s why we had the refrigerator in the garage. We hadn’t owned it that long at the time, but it was deeper than counter depth, which, for reasons that in retrospect now make little sense, disqualified it for our remodeled kitchen.

As it turned out counter depth models are not as readily available as the deeper ones, and they are more expensive. The same logic as two door cars being more expensive than four door, I suppose. Standing there on the showroom floor at Best Buy we decided that there was no compelling reason that we had to have a counter depth model. We certainly had the room to accommodate the extra four inches. So we bought a Whirlpool model. The total bill was $30 less than the amount of the payout check that we are expecting.

It arrived on Friday, and I thought it was a brilliant idea to direct the installers to the French door in back, through which the new Whirlpool refrigerator would not fit. As it turned out, it fit easily through the front door, which is where we should have started. But they got it installed. It is working fine, and we have cubed and crushed ice as well as chilled water. The bluish LED lights are a tad eerie, but the side-by-side configuration makes finding and getting to things in the freezer much easier than when it was at the bottom. There is enough room in it that we might just be able to retire the refrigerator in the garage.

And that, I hope, is all I will have to say about refrigerators for a very long time.

Sacred Music Friday: Gloria Tibi

From Leonard Bernstein’s Mass, Gloria Tibi – John Cashmore as Celebrant. With thanks to Jane Redmont.

solar–it’s not that simple

I love having solar power. It saves us money. It’s good for the environment. And on the hottest days we are helping to reduce the strain on the grid.

But like anything else, it’s not all that simple. A portion of the standard electric bill goes for maintenance of the infrastructure. If you’re on solar you don’t pay that for every kilowatt hour you use as everyone else does, and so the cost is borne by those who don’t have solar. Here and Now on NPR had an interesting analysis of this recently.

Last year the legislature in California passed a bill that, while promoting the expansion of solar power in the state, also allows the Public Utilities Commission to permit electric utilities to charge customers a monthly fee for infrastructure maintenance.

I’m fine with that. We are trying to do the Right Thing. We are not trying to freeload.


The Paris Herald

ParisHeraldThe Paris Herald: A Novel
James Oliver Goldsborough
Prospecta Press (May 20, 2014), 304 pages
Kindle Edition $9.39, Amazon Hardcover $15.09

The Paris Herald is engaging reading for anyone interested in the newspaper biz. Although this is a novel, it recounts the history in the 1960s of the English-language newspaper The Paris Herald and its owner Jock Whitney. The book recounts his partnership with Katharine Graham of the Washington Post in his struggle to keep the paper alive, and the addition of a third partner, the New York Times, under “Punch” Sulzberger which resulted in the creation of the International Herald Tribune. In the course of the story we also see we see Charles de Gaulle and his key aides.

The book opens and closes with a newspaperman named Archer, but in between there is no clear protagonist. Rather there is an ensemble cast of publishers, editors, reporters, staffers, secretaries, wives, and mistresses.  It’s not clear to me how many of these characters are real and how many are fictional, but I suspect that most of them are based on real people.

The story starts to fall apart after the point in the narrative where the Times buys into the paper, but the portrait of Paris in the 1960s and the politics inside Europe’s English-language newspaper make this enjoyable reading.

I tried, but I’m not getting help

I wrote recently about my ambivalence about Amazon given their business tactics with respect to vendors who are not agreeing to terms that Amazon wants. I downloaded the Barnes and Noble Nook app for my iPad and eventually bought a book in Nook format. It wasn’t a big deal, the book cost all of ninety-nine cents, but it gave me a chance to try out the Nook.

At first everything was fine. The Nook remembered where I was in the book from one day to the next. Then one day while reading the book, boom!, I apparently tapped somewhere I shouldn’t have tapped and I was out of the book. And the Nook app didn’t remember where I was. No function like the Kindle’s sync to last page read. Nothing to get me back to where I was.


I would like to send some of my business your way, Barnes & Noble, but you have to provide me with a better experience.


#117084671 /

heaven and other beliefs

quoteI don’t know what happens when people die
Can’t seem to grasp it as hard as I try
It’s like a song I can hear playing right in my ear
That I can’t sing
I can’t help listening
— Jackson Browne, “For a Dancer”

I have had more than my share of death and mortality of late. When we were in Southern California at the end of May we learned of the death of my cousin’s husband. He had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer earlier in the spring and died not long before our trip south. We also learned that a young family member, barely into his thirties as best as I can calculate, has an auto-immune disorder that leaves him perhaps six years.

I was debating whether or not I really wanted to write about all this when I learned on Saturday evening about the death of our bishop’s husband in a bicycling accident. Bishop Mary’s husband shared my name.

Interestingly, the folks at Bible Study and Christian Life had a blog entry this past week about heaven. The author pointed out that the concept of heaven is not to be found in the Bible. He refers to the passage in 1 Thessalonians about the resurrection of the dead at the time of the Second Coming. Early Christians borrowed the concept from first century Judaism and believed the dead would be physically raised from their graves when Christ returned.

1 Thessalonians is one of Paul’s first letters and one of the earliest books of the New Testament. In the Gospel of John, which is one of the later books of the New Testament, we see a similar belief where Martha tells Jesus after the death of her brother Lazarus, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” This certainly must have been a reflection of the beliefs of the Johannine community at the end of the first century.

The idea of heaven arose later, made possible by the adoption of the Platonic theory of the soul.

When noting someone’s death many of my Episcopal friends on Facebook have been known to write, “Rest in peace and rise in glory.” This is a reference to that earlier belief. Whatever the reality is we have no way of knowing, but I find this a wonderful way to honor the one we have lost.

Sacred Music Friday: Joyful Joyful We Adore Thee

Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church. Sorry about the time counter.

Secular Music Thursday: Language of Your Love

Holly Near at the 1987 Philadelphia Folk Festival. One of my favorites.

our recipe database

I continue to add recipes to our Living Cookbook application. I’m up over 900 recipes now. Of course we’ll never come close to making all of them, but then who ever has made all of the recipes in The Joy of Cooking? And the real woman LivingCookbookwho was the basis for the character in Julie & Julia is certainly the exception in her quest to cook all of the recipes in Julia Child’s The Art of French Cooking, if she’s not simply one of a kind.

The point is that we have a wide selection of recipes to choose from, depending upon our inclination and mood. One of the great things about Living Cookbook is that it is a fully functional database, so I can search on whatever criteria I like. Recently I have added a lot of saved searches, so not only do I have searches by the main ingredient (halibut, sea bass, shrimp) and cuisine (Italian, Mexican, Middle Eastern), but I have searches by author (Giada, Marcela Valladolid, Rachael Ray), source (the Food Network program The Kitchen), and date.

Living Cookbook really is a useful part of my cooking routine.

on the Trinity

This past Sunday was the first Sunday after Pentecost, which is also Trinity Sunday. It means that, starting next Sunday, we’ll be seeing an awful lot of the color green until the first Sunday of Advent, which this year is 30 November.

Trinity Sunday is the only date on the Episcopal liturgical calendar (for Sundays at least) that is focused on doctrine. The thing is, there is no concept of the Trinity in the Bible. Yes, the lectionary for that day in Year A includes the Great Commission from Matthew, “baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” but that does not imply a doctrine of the Trinity. In his book How Jesus Became God, Bart Ehrman makes a strong case that in the synoptic Gospels Jesus never claimed to be God. (John, of course, is a different matter, but it is later and has a very specific perspective.) Certainly Paul had no concept of the Trinity. The idea of the Trinity as we know it today didn’t reach maturity until the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD, and that council, gaveled to order by the emperor Constantine, was as much political as theological in its intent.

It struck me on Sunday that the doctrine of the Trinity fails the Occam’s Razor test. It is more complicated that it needs to be. How about this? God exists. Jesus brought us a new way to understand our relationship to God and each other. Good enough, perhaps.

This is nothing new to my long-time readers, but I am that Arian who is part of a grand Trinitarian tradition. It is a contradiction I think I am going to stop trying to explain.