Shocked and Amazed

Shocked and Amazed Magazine
According to their website, Shocked and Amazed is the only periodical dedicated to sideshows and variety entertainment.


Philippe Petit balances Oscar on his chin

Philippe Petit with Oscar on chin

Philippe Petit with Oscar on chin

Man on Wire won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature this year. The subject of the film, Philippe Petit, leapt up on stage while the filmmakers were giving their speeches. When it was his turn, he said he wanted to “thank the Academy for believing in magic” as he vanished a coin that he was holding in his hand. Then he reached for one of the Oscar statuettes and proceeded to balance it on his chin. How many other jugglers, unicyclists, wire walkers and magicians have held an Oscar at the Academy awards? I’m sure he would have walked a tightrope over the heads of the audience if they had let him. Watch the Oscar antics on YouTube.

Apple opens store in Greensboro

What do all these states have in common?

West Virginia
North Dakota

I’ve been trying to detect a pattern. At first I thought it was that John McCain won these in the 2008 presidential election, but Barack Obama won Vermont. Then I discovered that none of these states have an Apple retail store. I believe Obama said in his campaign that he promised to put an Apple Store in West Virginia if he won the election.

Crowd gathering for store opening

Crowd gathering for store opening

Apple opened a retail store yesterday at 3320 West Friendly Ave in my hometown of Greensboro, NC. Based on my count of the stores on the list on the Apple website, there are 208 stores in the U.S.A. About 390 people were waiting to get in when the store opened at 10:00 to the cheers of Apple employees decked out in their Apple t-shirts.

What do the heavens declare?

Psalm 19:1 “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows his handywork.”

How people respond when they look at nature depends on what they’ve been taught about the natural world. Depending on their world view they might see a mountain as a beautiful sculpture formed by an unseen hand or they might see it as the product of unimaginably powerful forces acting over incredibly long periods of time. As humans we tend to anthropomorphize and equate movement and change with a kind of life: Rivers run, trees sway, mountains grow, the wind blows, vines climb. What do the stars say about God, if he exists?

Brooklyn, Queens and a bridge

I crossed the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge for the first time today after picking up a load on Long Island. The bridge connects Long Island and Staten Island and was the longest suspension bridge in the world until 1981 when the Humber Bridge in England was opened. To reach the east end of the bridge I drove through Queens and Brooklyn on I-495 and I-278. These highways run through the most densely populated areas I’ve ever seen. There were numerous buildings whose second or third stories were level with the elevated roadway and only a few feet away. Can you imagine living with the continual rumble of traffic outside your window? I passed mile after mile of row houses, brownstones, shops, office and apartment buildings. It seemed as though every building had at least one wall entirely taken up by an advertisement. Some of the larger buildings had signs ten stories tall. There were neighboorhoods that had incredible quantities of graffiti on every fence, wall and overpass. Traffic was so heavy it took me two hours to drive forty-five miles. As I approached the west end of Long Island the buildings became taller and newer and through the gaps I could see the hazy skyline of Manhatten. I’ve got to go back someday when I can stay longer.

As you can see through my dirty windshield, there are many trees in Brooklyn.