High Trust Coffee

The university coffee shop sells beans, bagged snacks, and cups as well as the usual high-test brews and baked goods. When the shop closes, the displays of nibbles and cups stays out. No one messes with it, no one fingers the goods, unless it is to read the back of the bean-bag for description and then put it back. Because that’s just how it is. The student union is a high-trust environment. And no one wants to mess that up, so the students police themselves. Yes, there are cameras, and security on occasion, and it’s never smart to leave something valuable laying out to tempt the weak (or the gods of spilled liquids), but while I was there all day, no one bothered things that didn’t belong to them. Continue reading


The Citadelle Museum, Canadian, Texas

My folks and I drove two hours each way to go to a little art museum in the northeastern Texas Panhandle. This was the second attempt. The first time, we didn’t know the museum was closed for Christmas and New Years. Then we tried to go before school started and the weather intervened (8″ of snow on narrow, winding roads.) The third time was the charm. We got to see the Rembrandt etchings.

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Oh Come Thou Shoot of Jesse’s Tree…

“O come, o come Emmanuel,” or “Veni Emmanuel” to use the original name, includes a series of descriptions of Jesus. One that hearkens back to the book of Isiah is “shoot of Jesse’s tree.” Today we use it as a metaphor. Medieval art took it literally, and one of the things I did this summer was take pictures of various Jesse Trees.

Out of Jesse shall come a branch…

This choir-stall is a very simple depiction of the idea, and comes from the Cistercian Abbey of Maulbronn. As you can tell from the fragment of sign, it dates to around 1450, so it is Renaissance. Continue reading

Dog in the Car: A Rant

So there I was in traffic, waiting for the light to change. The SUV beside me caught my eye. The driver had her window down a little, and was letting a lap-dog stand on her chest and the steering wheel, looking out the windshield.

Later that day, I did a double take because it appeared that a mastiff was driving. No, but he was leaning across the driver, peering out the open window. Continue reading