My iGoogle homepage now has the left-hand column. I like it (though not everyone does). It lets me interact with my mail or my reader without having to open a new window. (Click on an item in the left column and the main window is devoted to that application, without navigating away from the page.) I can now share items in my Reader without having to actually open Reader -- great time saver. I tend to browse through my google homepage, so this is actually useful to me. I can skim through e-mail and delete items quickly. Pretty nifty.
I have lots of time to think while I'm riding on the van and here's a few thoughts:
• Small towns are good places to live, but so often get bogged down on quality-of-life issues that appear to cost too much money to deal with. Clay Center has one of the oldest Carnegie Library buildings in Kansas, a swimming pool that was built during the Depression, and an aging movie theater that has been partially restored. All of these things need attention, but we seem to lack the collective imagination to visualize a way to deal with them. The theater is in private hands, but run mostly by volunteers and is used by the community for concerts and events, as well as movies. But the library and the pool are public buildings and yet can't seem to find the funds needed for improvements or (in the case of the pool) rebuilding. I think part of the problem is that these facilities are not streets or water plants and so are assumed to be "optional." Believe me, if you want to keep families with children in your town, a pool and a library are not optional. And maybe neither is a functional theater.
• I've watched the debates this year. They haven't helped me make up my mind about who I'm going to vote for. I know which way I'm leaning, but I still feel conflicted. This is the ugliest election I can remember and I'll be glad when it's over.
• There are some Covenant bloggers I follow regularly, for example Randall Friesen, Brad Boydston and Scot McKnight. Now I've added Eugene Cho to that list. (Actually, I've read him for a while, but I finally got around to adding him to my google reader list.) He always has thoughtful, insightful comments about faith and living it out in this world.