Archive for September, 2007

Dogs and Heaven, Part One

September 29, 2007

Her name was Jenny and she was a fine animal. She was a border collie and we nicknamed her Jennifer Dimaggio because, just like Joe Dimaggio, she was always there when the ball came down. Dimaggio caught baseballs in his glove and then tossed them back from out in centerfield so the game could continue. Jenny lacked arms and opposable thumbs, so she caught the tennis ball in her mouth and brought it back personally.

As she trotted toward me, she always looked up at me with a little sparkle in her eyes which said, “I caught it. Of course I caught it. I always catch it. That is what I was made to do.”

Her sister is a pretty good ball player too but even when I tried to throw the ball directly to her, Jenny often would intercept it. It was never clear to me whether Jenny always knew in advance where I was going to throw the ball or whether she just had me trained to throw it where she planned to be. All I know for certain is that she was beautiful and I miss her.

She gave us no notice when the time came for her to die. I doubt that she had any notice either. We had been to the mountains, just Jenny, her brother Romeo and me and had had a fine ball game. The next day she was fine too, but sometime during that night she went outside to the backyard, curled up in a hole that the dogs love to nap in and died. Alone. She hadn’t been sick, wasn’t old and so it was an anguishing surprise to find her dead that next morning. I have no idea why she died when she did. All I know for certain is that she was beautiful and I miss her.jenny-hike-2005.jpg

She should have lived for several more years – as should I. Once, when I was younger, I assumed that by this time of my life I would have formed a coherent idea about death, the hereafter and theology. But it hasn’t worked out that way. Death’s timing, like the universe, seems arbitrary and capricious.

My earliest doubts about heaven and the hereafter and theology began with a question about dogs. A Sunday school teacher told us that dogs don’t go to heaven. I remember thinking, “Well, then I’m not going either.” Now, older and better educated, mostly I expect death to be a step into oblivion. Born in a culture of scientific materialism, nothing else really seems logical. But sometimes, as when I think of Jenny, I sure want there to be an afterlife. I want to believe. I’d like to see her again. I’d like to throw the ball for her again.

That is her in the photo, headed up into the forest ahead of me and I want to believe that she is up there waiting for me. But all I know for certain is that she was beautiful and I miss her.


Religion in American Law and Politics, Part IV

September 27, 2007

I’ve been taken to task for beginning this series about Religion in American law and politics without first disclosing the true rule of law about religion laid down by the First Amendment. After some thought I decided two things: first, I should disclose, as succinctly as possible, that rule; and, second I should do it in as few words as possible. That led me to Walter Dellinger’s marvelous “Five Minute Constitutional Law” course. Here, in its entirety, is Professor Dellinger’s statement of the Religion Rule:

Establishment of religion is really simple: government prayer, bad; private prayer, good. (The only hard cases come when a citizen uses government property or public funds for religious purposes, and the facts make it difficult to tell whether it’s the government or the private citizen actually making the religious choice.)

There you have it. But please, stay tuned for all the other great stuff that is coming. Abraham Lincoln is next and we’ll eventually get all the way up to this year’s Supreme Court term which begins next Monday. We’ll end with a discussion about whether the United States is a “Christian Nation” or not.

Ken Burns, George W. Bush and War

September 25, 2007

Yet another letter for George W. Bush has arrived here by mistake. We’re getting enough of these that we have started a new category over on the right entitled “The Flying Derricks” since that is the name of the ranch from which they come. As always, we have made no changes in the letter. We continue to take perverse delight in reading the President’s mail without a warrant since he reads ours.


To George W. Bush
President of these United States
September 23, 2007


Well I see you snookered them congresspeople. That was pretty clever the way you handed Iraq off to that General. Congresspeople can be counted on to genuflect to generals even if the general is an idiot and it don’t look like Petraeus is an idiot. Too bad you didn’t find him earlier. He might have been able to do something other than crash land the plane which is all there is left to do now.

I do love watching the Democrats sputter while you lead the Republicans around by the nose. ’Course the Republicans are going to regret it come election time. Ole Pete Domenici stopped by for a visit last time he was in the area and I up and told him that the old days when he could say one thing in Washington and another at home are long gone. Remember what Lorenzo Chavez said about Pete? Said, “It’s a good thing he became a politician. He isn’t smart enough to be a lawyer.” Ole Pete isn’t looking any too good is he? I sorta hope he hangs it up and goes home. A man ought to be able to spend his last days in a place where he can see the sunset.

But George, I do wish you’d stop calling yourself a “war” president. It just calls attention to the fact that you got us into Iraq because you wanted to, not because you had to. And, of course, its bad luck for you that that Ken Burns fella releases his WWII epic right in the middle of you having to punt the war on down to the next president. Makes you look a little like a wolf pup running home to Mama. But, at least, you ain’t running home to Papa so them gol-darned liberals can’t laugh at you about that. On the other hand, I doubt that we’ll ever see “George W. Bush by Ken Burns.” (That’s a joke boy. Don’t get all het up.)

Besides when you call yourself a “war” president you sound like you think that dust-up over in Iraq is a good war. Ain’t no such thing boy. When your pappy and me were fighting WWII, we saw war first hand. You know I’m basically a good hearted ole boy but when I got in my bomber and we headed for Germany I got to hoping that every bomb I dropped fell on a pregnant German woman. War brutalizes a man and makes him blood crazy. Folks that call WWII a “good” war just don’t get it. That war was forced on us and we didn’t have a choice and we all got behind it but that didn’t make it a good war. No sir. It was awful. A lotta brave and good people died some awful deaths.

Talking about deaths, I was gettin out of the pickup the other day and something fell down out of the sky and hit me on the forehead. I looked down and, for a second, couldn’t recognize what I was looking at. It was a decapitated pigeon. No head at all. My first thought was, “Headless pigeons can’t fly.” But then I realized I had interrupted a hawk’s meal. Least I guess it was a hawk. Coopers Hawks and Peregrine Falcons are about the only birds I know of for sure that will bite the head off a bird afore it eats it and I haven’t seen any Peregrines yet this year. Some usually fly through but it seems a little early, especially since its been getting warmer and warmer down here for years.


Hondo Blane
Owner, Chief Cook and Bottle-Washer
The Flying Derricks Ranch

ps. Don’t know as you ever met Ulmer Beatty. He was a marine in the South Pacific in WWII. (You oughta read With the Old Breed by E.B.Sledge. Tells what it was really like in the Pacific in WWII. Read him and you know what a bunch of dead bodies smell like. That is what war is, a bunch of dead bodies.) Anyway, Ulmer used to come down here and help me get in the wood for winter. Man, he did love to cut wood. He was down here once and we had a few too many one night after working all day and he told me about the time he had been in a fox hole with another guy and that other guy’s head just exploded all over Ulmer ’cause the guy got shot. Ulmer couldn’t get that out of his mind all the way till he died. Ain’t no such thing as a “good war.”

Religion and American Law and Politics, Part III

September 23, 2007

We ended the last post in this series with Thomas Jefferson suggesting to James Madison that they should devoutly pray for Patrick Henry’s death.  This tongue-in-cheek comment by Jefferson reflected his and Madison’s frustration with Henry’s attempts to tax for religious education and to enshrine a particular religion as the state religion of Virginia.  They did not want a State religion in America. 

Which brings us to the Founding Fathers.  What were their religious views?  As we progress through this survey please remember two things: first, this is a lowly blog, not a detailed treatise on American history; Second, the Founding Fathers were practical politicians.  As practical politicians they were not above using religion and public professions of religion in order to achieve and exercise power.  Many presidents and other political leaders, knowing that most of the population either is or professes to be religious, use that knowledge for practical ends.  President Kennedy frequently attended church during his presidency; yet when one of his sisters – who presumably knew him well – was introduced to an author who proposed to write a book about Kennedy’s religious beliefs, she remarked, “That will be a very short book.

About half of the Founding Fathers were nominally Episcopalian or Anglican.  Most of the rest were Protestants of one kind or another. But all were children of the Enlightenment which enshrined reason over all else. Jefferson, Franklin and Madison were Deists who believed in a single God operating in the world through providence.  They accepted Jesus as a great moral teacher but did not believe he was the Son of God.  In that sense, they were not even nominally Christians.  With only months left to live Franklin wrote a letter in which he said that he doubted the divinity of Jesus but added, “. . .though it is a question I do not dogmatize on, having never studied it, and think it needless to busy myself with it now, when I expect soon an opportunity of knowing the truth with less trouble.”

Jefferson was more explicit, once spending several evenings in the White House scissoring out of his copy of the New Testament everything he found to be supernatural.  Of the Holy Trinity he wrote, “Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them, and no man ever had a distinct idea of the trinity.  It is the mere Abracadabra of the mountebanks calling themselves priests of Jesus.”

George Washington was a practical man as well.  He wrote, “And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion.”  That was an idea that all the Founders seem to have held; that religion is necessary to instruct the populace in morality and to hold together a functioning society.  None were above using public religious ideas to advance their causes even if their personal beliefs were less religious.  One scholar of whom we will hear more has concluded that Washington “appears to have thought religion a useful tool in leading his troops and later, his nation.” [Jon Meacham in American Gospel, p-77.]

Nor is it beyond reason to suspect that Jefferson was also using religion as a tool when he wrote in the Declaration of Independence that the new nation was going to assume among the powers of the earth, “. . .the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them. . . .”  Jefferson – and Franklin and John Adams who reviewed and made changes to Jefferson’s draft – may have had a different idea of God than many of his contemporaries and most Americans since have thought.  One of the “Founding Fathers” of the Enlightenment which so heavily influenced all the Founding Fathers of the United States was Baruch de Spinoza.  Spinoza, a pantheist, held that Nature and God are one and the same.  No white flowing bearded God existed for Spinoza; there was only Nature.  So when Jefferson wrote about the laws of Nature and Nature’s God he may have been going as far as he dared in espousing his own personal religious belief which was far closer to Spinoza’s philosophy than anyone noticed.  Evocations of God are a common thread throughout our political history and Jefferson and the other founders were not above such practical politics.


About the two paintings.  The first is the committee of five, Jefferson, Adams, Franklin, Livingston, and Sherman presenting the draft of the Declaration of Independence to the Second Continental Congress painted by John Trumbull.  The second painting, by Howard Chandler Christy, is a representation of the signing of the Constitution.  Seated in the center of the portrait are Hamilton, Franklin and Madison.  Washington, well you don’t me to tell you which one is Washington.

The United States Senate, Impotent and Irrelevant? Part II.

September 22, 2007

“The Senate of the United States is the only legislative body in the world which cannot act when its majority is ready for action. A little group of willful men, representing no opinion but their own, have rendered the great government of the United States helpless and contemptible.” Woodrow Wilson

Presidents have not always found filibusters as much to their liking as does George Bush today. Wilson was apoplectic about the Senate filibuster that was holding up ratification of Wilson’s beloved Treaty of Versailles and he was on the war path against it. The Senate responded with the first version of its current Rule 22 which, as we discussed in the last post, is the prominent procedural device to cut off debate and stop a senator from reading recipes to the Senate as Huey Long once did during a filibuster.

As practiced today, Rule 22 allows “procedural” filibusters. Actual floor speeches going on for hours and days and weeks are not required. The minority party may conduct one without the bother of an actual filibuster on the floor. But the Majority Leader can require an actual floor filibuster if he so chooses but, with a single exception of one night, Harry Reid has not thought the Iraq war of sufficient importance to inconvenience senators with an actual filibuster.

In addition to requiring an actual filibuster the Majority Leader has another formal tool at his disposal to stop one. Apparently Harry Reid is no Lyndon Johnson. When Johnson was Majority Leader, Senator Strom Thurmond led a filibuster attempting to stop the Civil Rights Act of 1957. Johnson simply refused to send any other business to the floor of the Senate which forced the filibuster to continue non-stop indefinitely. Eventually, the Civil Rights Act of 1957 got its vote. It passed and President Eisenhower signed it into law. Although not much of a law, it was a beginning of the end of de jure racial segregation in the United States, at least in the voting booth.

The United States Senate, Impotent and Irrelevant?

September 21, 2007

This week the United States Senate has failed to pass a number of bills which the majority of Senators – and the majority of Americans – favored. A bill to ensure that detainees have the right to habeas corpus, another to give full representation in Congress to the District of Columbia and another which would have promised to our soldiers fighting in Iraq that they would get to spend as long stateside as they have in Iraq all failed because of the necessity of a super-majority vote just to cut off debate in the Senate. Today a bill requiring a troop pull down failed for the same reason. .

No matter your position on the war in Iraq, you’ve probably noticed how impotent and irrelevant the United States Senate has become. Accurately reflecting the enormous and growing political divide in the country – exacerbated by the Bush Administration – the Senate seems unable to accomplish much of anything. It takes 60 votes to even get a vote on any issue which the minority party wishes to stop. That means that no piece of legislation can even get to the President for a veto unless a super majority of 60 senators agree to allow a vote.

That is the result of Senate Rule 22. Passed in 1917 at the urging of President Woodrow Wilson to stop a filibuster on the Treaty of Versailles, the rule sets forth the only way the Senate can stop unlimited debate. Three-fifths of all sitting senators (Sixty, today),whether present or not, must vote in favor of a “cloture” motion to cut off debate. A minority of 41 senators can stop any piece of legislation, including I should add, a bill to fund the war in Iraq. (But not a budget bill for the war, only an appropriations bill; but this is only a blog, not a treatise on the U.S. Senate so I won’t go into that now.)

As with so much of our law and political rules, Senate Rule 22 comes to us via the United Kingdom after invention by the French. In the House of Commons and the House of Lords a simply majority vote is all that is required to stop debate on legislation. At first Rule 22 required a two-thirds vote, the same required to overturn a presidential veto. That was amended in 1975 to the current requirement. “Cloture” votes are seldom successful. Filibusters delayed enactment of anti-lynching laws, civil rights laws, federal judges and have given us some excellent entertainment: Jimmy Stewart filibustering in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, the excellent portrayal of a filibuster in Allen Drury’s Advise and Consent and The Stackhouse Filibuster (39th episode of The West Wing)are good examples. In real life, Strom Thurmond holds the record of a little more than 24 hours on his feet when he led the 1957 filibuster against a civil rights law. Thurmond broke the previous record of 22 hours and 26 minutes held by Wayne Morse (I-OR) protesting the Tidelands Oil legislation. Morse later became the only senator to vote against the Tonkin Gulf Resolution. In 1946 Southern Democrats and Republicans blocked a vote on a bill proposed by Democrat Dennis Chavez of New Mexico that would have created a permanent Fair Employment Practices Committee (FEPC) to prevent discrimination in the work place. Senator Chavez, a close ally and poker playing friend of President Truman, was forced to relent after weeks even though sufficient senators were in favor of the bill to pass it.

Ironically, Rule 22 has sometimes – as now – created something the Founding Fathers greatly feared: An unchecked Executive branch. President Bush can do pretty much whatever he pleases in Iraq because he knows the Senate Democrats lack the 60 votes necessary to even bring bills to a vote.

There are ways to stop a filibuster even without the sixty votes. Harry Reid may tolerate them. Lyndon Johnson didn’t. More on that next time.

The Golden State Modeled

September 14, 2007

If you’ve read the “About” section of this blog you’ll know it is named after the Rock Island Railroad’s great train, The Golden State. You’ll also know this is not a blog about trains.  Nonetheless, when our namesake comes up, it only seems fair to mention it.  And, as you can see, there are even a few model trainers in Omaha, Nebraska who remember.

That was the paint scheme when the Rock Island first went to streamlined, diesel powered trains.  Even I am not old enough to remember that paint scheme.  By the time I came along the consist of the train was usually a mixture of plain Rock Island cars and Southern Pacific cars with red stripes along the top.  The engines; however, kept the same red/maroon/silver paint scheme.

And aren’t you glad you asked?  You did ask, didn’t you?

Religion and American Law and Politics, Part II

September 12, 2007

In today’s Washington Post is a short piece by a Professor Jacques Berlinerblau in which he quotes one of Fred Thompson’s applause lines from his stump speech.  Thompson says, “We still get our basic rights from God, not government.” Berlinerblau also quotes from Al Gore’s biggest mistake, Joe Lieberman, who said during the 2000 election, “Freedom of religion does not mean freedom from religion.”  (Nothing personal against Senator Lieberman.  Gore’s VP pick should have been then Senator Graham of Florida and Al Gore would still be living in the White House.)

Professor Berlinerblau then goes on to identify some of the ways evangelical Christians are willing to use the power of the state to curtail individual liberties. That these statements are illogical is irrelevant, as Berlinerblau notes in his piece, which you can read here.

The two political utterances lead us back to the question we started exploring in the first post of this series, “What is the role of religion in American politics and law?”  Practical politicians of every sort have been invoking God and Jesus since before the founding of the Republic.  It is good politics. The majority of all voters since the founding have been professed Christians of one stripe or another. It may be good politics but it is bad law, as we shall see in a later post in this series.

In the meantime, we turn our attention to the religious beliefs – or lack of beliefs – of some of the Founding Fathers.  Some were overtly Christian.  John Jay and Patrick Henry come to mind.  Henry was an Episcopalian who, at one point, attempted to ram a bill through the Virginia legislature that would have made Episcopalianism the official religion of Virginia.  He was stopped in this effort by James Madison, Thomas Jefferson and their political allies.  John Jay, the first Chief Justice of the United States, also was an Episcopalian.  During debates on the state constitution and state bill of rights for New York, Jay proposed several amendments to the religious tolerance clause which would have curtailed the rights of Catholics unless they swore allegiance to the state and not to the Pope or the Catholic Church.  Jay lost that effort.

And now I am going to take you off the trail for a little side trip.  Strictly speaking, this side trip is irrelevant so I won’t be offended if you quit reading now and come back for the next post in this series.  You won’t have missed anything important.

Reverend D. James Kennedy recently died and I heard a replay of an interview with him marking the occasion.  Kennedy was the founder of an evangelical organization called “Reclaim America for Christ.”  He began the interview by quoting John Jay to the effect that Jay thought that we should only elect “Christian rulers” to political office because this was a “Christian nation.”  That made me curious.  The citation to that quote is to a letter Jay wrote on February 28, 1797 to Jedidiah Morse, who was the father of Samuel B. Morse.  (Also irrelevant, but a fun tidbit.)  Jay’s papers are available on line and here is a photocopy of that letter. jay-to-morse-p-1.jpg  jay-to-morse-p-2.jpgJay’s handwriting is almost as bad as mine but I don’t see that language anywhere in the letter.  However, as you see, the letter is full of strike outs so it is possible that what we are looking at is a draft and that Jay rewrote the letter adding the statement about this being a Christian nation but, if he did, I can’t find it.

Patrick Henry also is quoted by some as having said that the nation was founded on the “gospel of Jesus Christ,” but no one has ever found a record of his having said it and it appears no where in Henry’s papers or recorded speeches.  We do know what Madison and Jefferson thought of Henry.  During Henry’s attempt to pass a bill in the Virginia legislature taxing all Virginians to support Christian churches, Jefferson wrote to Madison about Henry, “What we have to do I think is devoutly to pray for his death.”

Now, let’s see if I can get us back to the trail. . . .

Religion and American Law and Politics, Part I

September 10, 2007

Recently I got one of those emails that circulate from time to time decrying the fact that our children don’t get to pray in school. You know the type of email I’m talking about, one that is upset that homosexual, pedophiliac Wiccans are guaranteed free speech but our children can’t pray or learn about Jesus in school.

There are perfectly good reasons, both legal and practical, why there is a wall between Church and State in this country. They arose from our history and the polyglot nature of our society. They must be pretty good reasons too because they have withstood remarkable onslaughts in our history.

It is beyond the scope of this blog or its author’s knowledge to deliver a detailed history of religion in American public life and law. Nonetheless, a few highlights ought to illuminate the debate. And what a debate it has been and continues to be. The last Supreme Court cases on the subject were decided in June, 2005 and resulted in 149 pages of text and nine opinions from the justices. At issue were displays of the Ten Commandments inside Kentucky courthouses and outdoors on the grounds of the Texas capitol grounds. By a 5-4 decision the Court held the Kentucky displays unconstitutional and by a 5-4 decision held the Texas display constitutional. Go figure.

We’ll start with the metaphor of the wall between Chruch and State in this post and then move on to the Founding Fathers and then do a quick survey of the law and politics which have swirled around the issue since the Declaration of Independence down to our own time in later posts in this series.

The metaphor of the wall between church and state originated with an Anglican minister named Richard Hooker. richardhooker.jpgIt was picked up by Roger Williams, James Burgh, and Jefferson; then used in a Supreme Court opinion in1947. Hooker was a remarkable Anglican priest who lived from 1554 until 1600. (Izaak Walton, the same Izaak Walton who wrote The Compleat Angler, was his biographer. Walton was a bait fisherman so is somewhat suspect in the eyes of this fly fisherman but we’ll let that pass.)

As I said, Hooker was remarkable. In 1585 he delivered a sermon defending Theism – the idea that the way to God is through faith and revealed works. There was nothing unusual about that. What was unusual was that he also said in the sermon that God could and would save those who did not understand or agree with that idea. Christians, he observed, should concentrate on what united them, not what divided them. This caused an uproar in the Calvinistic churches of the time for it meant, among other things, that even Roman Catholics might show up in Heaven. This was too much to swallow and an eruption ensued. The eruption led Hooker to publish his masterpiece, an eight volume work entitled Of the Lawes of Ecclesiastical Politie. In it he noted that there were good monarchies and bad ones, good democracies and bad ones, good church hierarchies and bad ones. What was important was the piousness of Christians. The Bible, he wanted his readers to remember, was written in a specific time under specific historical circumstances and was to be interpreted accordingly. “Words,” he wrote, “must be taken according to the matter whereof they are uttered.” Most importantly for the yet unborn American Republic, he argued for religious tolerance, inclusiveness and reason.

He greatly influenced John Locke who quoted Hooker frequently in his own work. Locke, of course, greatly influenced our own Founding Fathers. Hooker’s belief that the Church and the State ought not be too wrapped up in each other’s affairs is summarized by his metaphor of a wall separating the two. The metaphor was picked up by Jefferson and other American religious thinkers but was not embodied in our organic law until 1947 when Justice Black wrote the opinion of the Supreme Court in the case of Everson v. Board of Education of Ewing Township. We will have much more to say about that opinion but we leave you for now with a quotation from the majority opinion:

The ‘establishment of religion’ clause of the First Amendment means at least this: Neither a state nor the Federal Government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion over another. Neither can force nor influence a person to go to or to remain away from church against his will or force him to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion. No person can be punished for entertaining or professing religious beliefs or disbeliefs, for church attendance or non-attendance. No tax in any amount, large or small, can be levied to support any religious activities or institutions, whatever they may be called, or whatever from they may adopt to teach or practice religion. Neither a state nor the Federal Government can, openly or secretly, participate in the affairs of any religious organizations or groups and vice versa. In the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect ‘a wall of separation between Church and State.’


You have to love a man like Richard Hooker who begins an eight volume masterpiece with these words at the beginning of Volume One, Chapter One, “Those unto whom we shall seem tedious are in no wise injured by us, seeing that it lies in their own hands to spare themselves the labor they are unwilling to endure.” Hooker’s sermon can be found here. To get to the sermon you have to Click on “CHRISTIA Library by Author,” then click on James Kiefer,” then scroll
down to “Hooker’s Polity.” You will get to four items to click on, which will give you the complete text of the Preface to THE LAWS OF ECCLESIASTICAL POLITY, and (in three parts) White’s abridgement of the remainder of the LAWS. Scroll down further, past “Hooker’s Polity,” and you will come to “Works by various Authors, submitted by James Kiefer.” The last item in the list under this heading is Hooker’s A LEARNED DISCOURSE OF JUSTIFICATION, described on the screen as “Justification (and Invincible Ignorance) by Richard Hooker.Click on this and there is Hooker’s famous sermon. There will be a test.

Cities and Men, Part II

September 8, 2007

The last page of this month’s Audubon Magazine has a photo of Los Angeles, taken by David Maisel, a photographer from San Francisco. It visually highlights the issues facing humanity by our urbanization. See Cities and Men, Part I. Within the area encompassed by the photograph live 3,000,000 or so human beings and unknown numbers of other life forms. Maisel calls his photos, which are presented as negatives, “shadowlands” and he wonders if any space exists in Los Angeles [or other urban areas over the earth] that can be a psychological refuge or sanctuary for the humans who live in those cities. According to Maisel, the built up area of Los Angeles now covers an area larger than Ireland.

One photo may be worth a thousand words. Here is a thumbnail of the photo.oblivion.jpg You can see samples of his work at his web site here or in his book entitled Oblivion.