Saturday, July 30, 2005

Weblogs: Continuing to improve my vocabulary

So Many Books - July 27, 2005: "Maybe it's coincidence or maybe Italian writers like to use uncommon words. I've been working my way through Giorgio Manganelli's book of short stories, All the Errors, and find that he, like Eco, knows how to use a language. Here are some of the words I have had to look up:

* ubication. The quality or state of being in a place; local relation; position or location; whereness. '...would then comport my further transformation into one of those beasts I define as awake by virtue of their ubication in sleep's interior.'
* senescence. The condition or process of deterioration with age; loss of a cell's power of division and growth. 'The ailing Throne resists with all the power of senescence.'
* sapid. Having strong, pleasant taste; (of talk or writing) pleasant or interesting. 'Their form as Shadow, accompanied by no intervening body nor by any sun, and uniquely comprehensible as a mode of dementia, cautious and sapid...'
* pinguitude. Fatness; a growing fat; obesity. 'Vegetable pinguitude gives it harbor from Triangular rancors.'
* lacustrine. Of, relating to, or associated with lakes. ' is conceivably extraneous even to the concept of a sea, or at any rate of waves, no matter if fluvial or lacustrine or of any other body of water,...'
* eructation. A belch. ' is thus an orifice, and gives ceaseless issue to eructations...'
* otiosity. From otiose. Lazy; indolent; of no use; ineffective; futile. '...the Dream awakes; seeing its own otiosity, which has nothing to do with nothingness...'
All these words from a slim book of 158 pages and I'm not even done with it yet! I still have 30 pages left to read.
I can only conclude, if you want to get smarter, read Italian authors.
Word definitions courtesy of and my fabulous Mac Tiger widget which uses Oxford American."

(In Spanish, ubicacion additionally implies basing or grounding oneself in the essential information.)

Weblogs: You mean like a pink triangle?

the christian agnostic - You mean like a pink triangle?: "The Christian Coalition has a great idea - make gay people wear a warning label!

'(New York City) The leader of a conservative Christian lobby group says that gays should be required to wear warning labels.

?We put warning labels on cigarette packs because we know that smoking takes one to two years off the average life span, yet we ?celebrate? a lifestyle that we know spreads every kind of sexually transmitted disease and takes at least 20 years off the average life span according to the 2005 issue of the revered scientific journal Psychological Reports,? said Rev. Bill Banuchi, executive director of the New York Christian Coalition.'

Sorry, kids, Hitler beat you to it:

'It is not the first time gays have been told they should wear labels. In Nazi Germany gays were forced to wear the pink triangle to differentiate them from other internees at concentration camps.'

If there are any illusions left that these right wing religious bigots want nothing more than our total destruction, this should dispel all of them. They recommend praying for us - I recommend we do the same for them. I do believe grace is stronger than any evil and we must pray that God?s grace, peace and joy will overtake all of these people -- take them by storm -- and they have no resistance to God?s love for all people.

Lord, hear our prayer!"

Weblogs: Do we want to know everything or don't we?

(via The Huffington Post | The Blog) "Not everyone in the Times building is on the same page when it comes to Judy Miller. The official story the paper is sticking to is that Miller is a heroic martyr, sacrificing her freedom in the name of journalistic integrity."

Suspicions about Judy Miller's lack of journalistic integrity are mounting high (not just being piled-on high). I've always supported the journalistic privilege of the Fourth Estate and as a journalist would be willing to go to jail on the principle myself. However, if Miller is guilty of what Arianna and others are extensively documenting -- that is, trumping up false pretenses for the war in Iraq and then outing a CIA operative for personal motives -- then she should be thrown in the clink with the key dropped in the drink. All of this story must be uncovered, despite the aspersions it casts on the reputation of the Times. The truth is the truth -- all of it, not just the expedient or politically convenient parts of it.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Humor: Don't let those tapes throw you!

My first job out of college was with the Pillsbury computer department. One day I was gathering an armload of computer tape canisters -- yes, it was that long ago -- when the whole stack flew out of my arms and clattered all over the floor -- just as my boss and his boss passed by. Ever the friendly mensch (who had probably seen this happen before), JM smiled and said, "Don't let those tapes throw you!"

Humor: Do the easy ones twice!

My team lead just told a team member about to leave on a trip: "Do the easy ones twice!"

Musings: NumNuts candy

I wonder if Nestle or Mars would like to market my proposed new candy: NumNuts -- chock full of nummy nut goodness!

Musings: Proposing a food porn industrry

Phone sex? Yuck! Glamorous lies exploiting 'nad-addled men who can never disprove a word. Well, I'm not really proposing the establishment of a food sex industry, but I am proposing that restaurants start giving us what we want: A luscious-sounding hostess who will almost pornographically describe the menu offerings over the phone in a successful inducement to draw us in for a meal, a repast, a sumptuous banquet that we can touch, smell and taste is every bit as delectable as promised. Like the articulate gay waiter at our table, but female and sexier. Date partner is optional but risky.

Perhaps she should work in the privacy of her home or boudoir as she purringly plies the restaurant's wares: "I'll bet you'd like my duck l'orange with saffron pilaf on the side and a fruit cup of scooped melon balls, wouldn't you, big boy...? Ooh, I can tell you want it... And the grilled vegetables are drizzled with lemon butter and spices that will just make your tongue come alive..."

Food porn. Fantasies for real men.

Trivia: I am The Hobbit

You're The Hobbit!
by J.R.R. Tolkien
All you wanted was a nice cup of tea when some haggard crazy old man came into your life and told you it was time to do something with yourself. Now you're all conflicted about whether to stick with your stay-at-home lifestyle or follow this crazy person into the wild. While you're very short and a little furry, you seem to be surrounded by an even greater quantity of short folks lately. Try not to lose your ring, but keep its value in perspective!

Take the Book Quiz at the Blue Pyramid.

Music: Gerard Victory biography

I just stumbled across Dr. David C.F. Wright's biography of the impressive Irish composer Gerard Victory (1921-1995), which he summarizes in this manner:

"What we have in Gerard Victory is a largely unknown but distinguished and prolific composer. He has nine operas, nine works for solo instrument and orchestra, much choral and vocal music, chamber music and songs to his name. Above all, he has a marvellous and unfailing capacity for communication to which all his works testify."

Music: Cheers theme complete lyrics

Singing the blues when the home teams lose it's a crisis in your life
On the run 'cause all your girlfriends wanna be your wife
Wouldn't you like to get away?

Making your way in the world today takes everything you've got;
Taking a break from all your worries sure would help a lot.
Wouldn't you like to get away?

All those nights when you've got no lights, the check is in the mail;
And your little angel hung the cat up by it's tail;
And your third fiance didn't show;

Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name,
And they're always glad you came;
You want to be where you can see, our troubles are all the same;
You want to be where everybody knows your name.

Climbing the walls when no one calls; you've lost at love again.
And the more you're down and out, the more you need a friend.
When you long to hear a kind hello.

Roll out of bed, Mr. Coffee's dead; the morning's looking bright;
And your shrink ran off to Europe, and didn't even write;
And your husband wants to be a girl;

Be glad there's one place in the world where everybody knows your name,
And they're always glad you came;
You want to go where people know, people are all the same;
You want to go where everybody knows your name.

Internet: Are you a Democrat, Republican or Southern Republican?

(I care not which you may be, this is funny.)

Are you a Democrat, Republican or Southern (esp. Texas) Republican?

Here is a little test that will help you decide.

You're walking down a deserted street with your wife and two small children. Suddenly, an Islamic terrorist with a huge knife comes around the corner, locks eyes with you, screams obscenities, praises Allah, raises the knife, and charges at you.

You are carrying a Glock .40 caliber, and you are an expert shot.

You have mere seconds before he reaches you and your family.

What do you do?


Democrat's Answer:

Well, that's not enough information to answer the question!

Does the man look poor! Or oppressed?

Have I ever done anything to him that would inspire him to attack?

Could we run away?

What does my wife think?

What about the kids?

Could I possibly swing the gun like a club and knock the knife out of his hand?

What does the law say about this situation?

Does the Glock have appropriate safety built into it?

Why am I carrying a loaded gun anyway, and what kind of message does this send to society and to my children?

Is it possible he'd be happy with just killing me?

Does he definitely want to kill me, or would he be content just to wound me?

If I were to grab his knees and hold on, could my family get away while he was stabbing me?

Should I call 9-1-1?

Why is this street so deserted?

We need to raise taxes, have a paint and weed day and make this happier, healthier street that would discourage such behavior.

This is all so confusing! I need to debate this with some friends for few days and try to come to a consensus.


Republican's Answer:



Southern Republican's Answer:

BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! click.....(sounds of reloading).


Daughter: "Nice grouping, Daddy! Were those the Winchester Silver Tips or Hollow Points?"

Email: He likes it [PD]

There's more to "liking" than unqualified praise. Qualified praise counts too!

Humor: The System Administrator Song

A la Adam Sandler, Wes of wrote and performs The System Administrator Song at a help desk conference in Las Vegas.

Trivia: Blue heron house call

The blue heron was sitting on the front lawn when I came home last night. (He flew off in the headlights.)

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Poetry: Gerard Manley Hopkins' birthday

(via AnamTuras at Yahoo Groups, this from The Writer's Almanac, July 28)

It's the birthday of the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins, born in Stratford, England (1844). He was born to a family of High Church Anglicans. He converted to Catholicism and became a Jesuit priest. He preached in the slums of Manchester, Liverpool, and Glasgow. Working among poor people, he felt that poetry was too self-indulgent. He burned his early poems, but eventually he grew out of it. He sent his written poems to his friend Robert Bridges, who published them after Hopkins's death.

Gerard Manley Hopkins spent the end of his years in Dublin as a professor of Greek and Latin, teaching classical languages to students who didn't care for them, and he hated his work. He hated grading papers since so many of his students had failed their exams, but he tried to fight off his depression, and his last words before he died were, "I am happy, so happy."
"Pied Beauty" by Gerard Manley Hopkins

GLORY be to God for dappled things?  
  For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;  
    For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;  
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches' wings;  
  Landscape plotted and pieced?fold, fallow, and plough;
    And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.  
All things counter, original, spare, strange;  
  Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)  
    With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;  
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
                  Praise him.
"God's Grandeur" by Gerard Manley Hopkins

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs --
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

Ads: Anything with opera in it

I hear ads sung to opera all too often -- that is, I wish I didn't have to hear any at all. The lyrical challenge of writing yet another ad to the bowdlerized tune of one of humanity's greatest musical compositions seems to tempt ad makers to do their best, but it always falls on its bum like a corpulent chaunteuse with vapors -- that is, shows ad makers to be utter hacks with little or no artistic sensitivity who have sold their humanity in order to shill, shill, shill.

Weblogs: No more AO-Hell

(via BuzzMachine, a reminiscence by Jeff Jarvis on the Old Days -- which people should hear -- about what it was like before cell phones and the Web)

Websites: Jesus of the Week

I just ran across Jesus of the Week. See this tattoo of Christ on a member of the Clean Pate Club!

Websites: Writerisms and Other Sins

(via 43Folders, noted SF author C.J. Cherryh presents a lengthy article on cleaning up your English called Writerisms and other Sins: A Writer's Shortcut to Stronger Writing)

Trivia: I am the book of Proverbs

You are Proverbs
You are Proverbs.

Which book of the Bible are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Ads: You're a Mitchum man

Here is another ad that just begs the question: What are they talking about...?

A Hotmail ad showing a computer keyboard and mouse says "If you've got attachments that could get you fired... You're a Mitchum Man. Mitchum. With you all the way."

Weblogs: Those wacked-out fundamentalists

(via Worship Naked) "She?s sold on the notion of generational curses and that I have these, too, along with the demons. Apparently, the two go hand in hand, you see. And if you?re a generational curser, this is your life verse:
'... for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sins of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me'.'

Never mind that the whole verse and the surrounding context actually says this:

4 'You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand {generations} of those who love me and keep my commandments.'

That?s Exodus 20: 4, 5, and 6, peeps, not just a part of verse 5, which is the entire basis for the GC philosophy. The passage is, obviously, the Ten Commandments. It?s talking about idols."

(The poster goes on to describe the spooky exchange with this woman where she completely zones out as he explains the true scriptural perspective on the questions of demons and generational curses. My comment: Actually the blank stare or "deer in the headlights" look is the "freezeup" that comes when a person's cultic or in-group teachings are contradicted and they not only don't know what to think, but they have been manipulated into forgetting how to think, at least in that area. Read up on the mind control or thought reform techniques employed by religious and other leaders that turn active, willful beliefers into passive, parroting followers -- start with Twisted Scriptures by Mary Alice Chrnalogar or Releasing the Bonds by Steven Hassan, they're on Amazon.)

Weblogs: If you can't act, behave!

(via Worship Naked, a drama camp director presents a rundown of the types of drama brought on by kids and parents -- implying, of course, that kids learn their bad or good behavior from their parents)

"Finally, perhaps best of all, there?s always the Kid With Grace, the truly talented one who didn?t get the part she?d hoped for, because, much as you?d like, you can?t give every kid the lead, can?t make every theatre dream come true. So where can one find this Kid With Grace? Well, she?s the one on the phone with me now, listening as I offer her her choice of two other parts, neither the part, but still oh-so-important. And she?s the one hiding her disappointment with a poise belying her tender years. And she?s the one who breaks your heart when, again, you ask which part she prefers and she says, 'Well, which choice would make it easier for you to do the best possible show? That?s the part I want.'

Come to think of it, dread is not the right word. Not the right word at all."

Weblogs: Being nice to fundamentalists

(via Worship Naked)

"I tried to be delicate. I?m so good at delicate. Watch me try to tippy-toe:

'Well, Joey, I would exhort you to spend some time studying the whole of Scripture to see if it bears out this practice of deliverance of believers.'

Oh, yeah. Tippy Toe.

That this actually came out of my mouth was a meeeracle, considering that this is what first popped into my head: 'Yes, we do! !?#$&!! This isn?t a debatable issue. This is extra-biblical c-r-a-p! Walk away before you can?t see or think straight anymore, you cotton-headed ninny muggins!!'

(And 'cotton-headed ninny muggins' comes from? Anyone?)

Now that I think of it, I can?t believe I passed on yet another prime opportunity to call someone a cotton-headed ninny muggins. I?ve had a spate of ?em lately.

That?s it. The next one who comes my way is gonna hear it.

I?m Tippy-Toed out, America."

Weblogs: The "gayification" of NASCAR

(via The Political Teen, see The Daily Show video of Samantha Bee's interview with conservative Greg Wallace on the Fructis-sponsored "gayification" of NASCAR; Wallace debriefs us on the experience on his own weblog, What Attitude Problem?)

Weblogs: Michael Carlson and his credo

(via Power Line, an epitaph for a soldier who attended my alma mater) "This past Jan. 24 Army Sgt. Michael Carlson was killed in Iraq. As a high school senior at St. Paul's (parochial) Cretin-Derham High School, Carlson wrote the moving credo that the Wall Street Journal published on its editorial page [in May]." (via the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Michael Carlson's credo follows)

I was born in Wisconsin. We lived in a town called Webster, on a road called Lavern Lane. Since then many things have changed, but many more remain the same.

We no longer live in the country; we only go to church once or twice a year, and we no longer struggle to make ends meet. Today we live in the city, but we still have a junkyard, and my dad still works 16 hours a day, every day. Today I am a man, not a 7-year-old child. There are still cars everywhere; we own over 90. About 20 of them still run and 12 of those we store in the city. No, we don't have a parking lot. What we do is borrow our neighbors' unused stalls for fixing their cars and doing other little things for them.

I admire my father more than any other person on this planet, not for being a mechanic or a tough guy but for his ambition. For 30 years, he has gone to work every day, come home, gone to the garage and worked more hours. I don't know how he does it but I do know why. He does it for us. He wants my brother and me to have everything we need and most of what we want. Lots of people say that the best way to learn is by the example of others. Well, then I have one of the best teachers on how to be a man [and] how to treat others. I mean, he is not perfect by any means, but is anyone really perfect? I think that he is pretty close.

Sometimes I wonder if my dad ever thought of college. I wonder if he is happy. I sometimes even feel sorry for him. What I mean by that is that I look at him and I see a guy who has spent his entire life working. That is what he does. He works. If my mom never brought up the idea of a vacation, he would never think [about taking one]. He would work to the day he died. I love hard work, but how do you go to the same dead-end job every day knowing that you will be doing it forever?

Every now and then, someone who had my dad fix his car will stop by and need something, and every time I talk to them they always start talking about my dad's work. They compliment him on paint jobs he did 20 years ago that still look like they are brand new. That reminds me of another trait I have taken from my dad, besides my hard work ethic. "If you are going to do a job, do it right the first time, because a job not done well is a job not worth doing," so the saying goes. I take that personally. If someone has an honest complaint about my workmanship, I will bend over backwards to make it right. If people are going to pay you good money to do something, you had better do a darn good job. That is why I usually work alone. Then, if there is a problem, I know whom I can blame.

My dad hasn't taught me everything, though. A lot of it I have learned on my own. I've still got a lot to learn, but I have figured out things like how to deal with people I don't like and those who don't like me. I've also learned why, when cutting a frozen bagel, you cut away from yourself. I have the scar to prove it. My dad calls this type of learning "the school of hard knocks." Some of the knocks are harder than others.

I love sports. I love football, wrestling, weight-lifting, skiing and hockey. I love the thrill of competition, the roar of the crowds, the agony on the faces of your opponents as the final seconds tick off the clock. However, I don't want to do it as a profession. I think it would be fun for a little while, then it would get boring. I guess the point that I am trying to make is that when I am on my deathbed, what am I going to look back on? Will it be 30 years of playing a game that in reality means nothing, or will it be 30 years of fighting crime and protecting the country from all enemies, foreign and domestic?

I want my life to account for something more than just a game. In life, there are no "winners" -- everyone eventually loses his life. I only have so much time; I can't waste it with a game. I want to be good at life. I want to be known as the best of the best at my job. I want people to need me, to count on me. I am never late; I am either on time or early. I want to help people. I want to fight for something, be part of something that is greater than myself. I want to be a soldier or something of that caliber, maybe a cop or a secret service agent.

I want to live forever. But the only way that one could possibly achieve it in this day and age is to live on in those you have affected. I want to carve out a niche for myself in the history books. I want to be remembered for the things I accomplished. I sometimes dream of being a soldier in a war. In this war I am helping to liberate people from oppression. In the end, maybe there is a big parade and a monument built to immortalize us in stone. Other times I envision being a man you see out of the corner of your eye, dressed in black fatigues, entering a building full of terrorists. After everything is completed, I slip out the back only to repeat this the next time I am called. I might not be remembered in that scenario, but I will have helped people.

I guess what I want most of all is to be a part of the real world, not an entertainer. I want to have an essential role in the big picture. I want adventure, challenge, danger, and most of all I don't want to be behind a counter or desk. Maybe when I am 100 years old, I will slow down and relax. Until then, I have better things to do.

Websites: Sodaconstructor builds models

Sodaconstructor can provide plenty of constructive play.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Weblogs: Have I told you about my childhood pet, Babe, The Blue Ox?

(via Rake's Progress) "The nearly 100-year-old poet Stanley Kunitz, in comix form, relates the story of his childhood pet, Bob, a bobcat on whose back he used to ride. That's right."

Weblogs: Nice guys and bitchy women

(via Bitch Ph.D., an extended reflection on the four types of "nice guys" and four types of "bitchy women")

Trivia: I am 50% weird

You Are 50% Weird

Normal enough to know that you're weird...
But too damn weird to do anything about it!

Music: John Reuben - Nuisance

i'm not trying to be a nuisance
i just think we can do better than this
that was simply my two cents
you can you can take it or leave it

See and hear a clip from the video.

Words: pusillanimous [MW]

(pusillanimous, or small-souled, is the etymological opposite of magnanimous, or large-souled)

Main Entry: pu·sil·lan·i·mous
Function: adjective
Etymology: Late Latin pusillanimis, from Latin pusillus very small (diminutive of pusus boy) + animus spirit; perhaps akin to Latin puer child -- more at PUERILE, ANIMATE
: lacking courage and resolution : marked by contemptible timidity
synonym see COWARDLY

Email: Beyond Your Best seminars [LC]

Who sponsors the Beyond Your Best seminar? Because if it's a series of classes, just be wary of anything that sucks you into an "in group" with progressively deeper teachings. In fact, be wary of anyone who uses manipulation or coercion to get you to start or continue a series of teachings. (The only thing about manipulation is that, by its very definition, you usually are not aware that it is happening.) I'd be happy to discuss it with you since I do have experience with that sort of thing.

Is this book by the authors of the Beyond Your Best you know?

Beyond Your Best

Or is this the series (which the website describes just esoterically enough, with no other real information, to make me wonder)?

Beyond Your Best

Ken Blanchard, Stephen Covey and others offer similar courses that are well-established.

Email: No one label describes me [KF]

I think having a business (esp. real estate or technology) can be all-absorbing unless you have other reasons and pursuits outside of work. It's called "getting a life."

I am a progressive yet fairly traditional Catholic-turned-Protestant, ultraconservative-turned-liberal with respect for and an open mind to all other faiths insofar as they ring true, explain things, or "work." This pretty much comes down to my belief that Christ is the fullest revelation of God's truth and love, however, God's truth and love are present in all creation; we just need a tacit or explicit relationship with God to intuit or to discern it (a task which fundamentalists [of any faith] and many evangelicals prefer to eschew). Most evangelicals will swear by C.S. Lewis's Mere Christianity; but have they read his Poetry as Theology, much less all of his other works? I am also progressive so I follow the latest discoveries in quantum physics as well as consciousness and information processing theories; most believers would be amazed at how these would validate their belief in God, if they had the patience to listen and the imagination to perceive it. No, I haven't read Conversations with God or The Celestine Prophecies or The DaVinci Code (or any of the Harry Potter books) yet, though I plan to, of course. You can't speak about anything intelligently (or at least responsibly) without reading what you are discussing!

Proverbs: Always safe, never sorry

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Weblogs: J.R.R. Tolkien on sex

(via SBC chief Albert Mohler's Weblog, July 25, 2005) "Beyond this, Tolkien demonstrated a profound understanding of male sexuality and the need for boundaries and restraint. Even as he was often criticized for having an overly negative understanding of male sexuality, Tolkien presented an honest assessment of the sex drive in a fallen world. He argued that men are not naturally monogamous. 'Monogamy (although it has long been fundamental to our inherited ideas) is for us men a piece of "revealed" ethic, according to faith and not to the flesh.'"

Weblogs: Q is cool

(via Mike Pahl's The Stuff of Earth) "Q is a really cool letter these days. Way cooler than its neighbours, the respectable R or the tight-lipped P, or even that snaky S. Q is it. I don't recall Q being this cool since my Sesame Street days, back when it sponsored a few episodes.

There is, of course, the hypothetical lost document Q that works alongside Mark as the two primary sources for Matthew and Luke in the Two Source Hypothesis. That's been cool for a long time now. Then there's the equally elusive Star Trek Q, clearly one of the coolest science fiction characters that's ever been thinked up. And now there's the new ultra-thin phone/email/Blackberry wannabe Q from Motorola. (Interestingly, the announcing Chief Executive of Motorola is a certain Ed Zander--I thought Ed Sanders was a Q skeptic...?)

Q is cool. Way cool."

Weblogs: An American obsession

(via Pesky Apostrophe) "Last night I finally got my box of books in the mail from Amazon and immediately started reading A Mind of Its Own: A Cultural History of the Penis [by David M. Friedman]. I?m learning all sorts of interesting things. For instance, I didn?t know that the Bible was so full of references to making an oath by putting the hand on the penis. Bible translators exchanged the word 'thigh' for 'penis' in, Jacob?s children sprang from his thigh. And, something I hadn?t considered, 'testify' comes from the Latin testes. So when you testify under oath, you?re paying homage to the ancient practice of men taking an oath by placing their hand on a penis, most of the time not their own. And that?s kind of funny when you think about [it]. Who are most homophobes? Most of the ones I know are conservative religious types who constantly go around trying to prove their manliness and saying stuff like 'my word is my bond' and bullshit like that. And the idea of another man touching their penis is so stressful and yucky to them...yet it was common practice for quite some time, even in the Bible which informs their lives.

Websites: Latin phrases

(via Scattered Thoughts of A Former Skeptic) Yuni has collected 1800 Latin words and phrases.

Weblogs: He's an Okie

(via Max Johnson's O Tempora, O Mores! for my Okie friends) "I first moved to Oklahoma from California 15 years ago. I have resisted completely embracing being an Okie. However, I am now Okiefied. I have become hooked on Red Dirt music. This music has come from the Oklahoma and Texas bar scene. Many of these bands have come from Stillwater (I won't hold this against them). My favorite band at the moment is Cross Canadian Ragweed. They hail from the same town as Garth Brooks. However, these guys haven't sold out (yet) to commercialism. I still can't believe that my soul music loving self has become hooked on music with its roots in country. What's next, a love for all things okra?"

Websites: Gargoyles, the backstory

(via Blog in the Fog) Gargoyles originated as grotesque waterspouts intended to frighten away evil spirits. The word "gargoyle" means "throat" and is related to "gargle."

[MW] Etymology: Middle English gargoyl, from Middle French gargouille; akin to Middle French gargouiller

News: Hotel beds get nasty

CNN reported that hotels are short-sheeting their laundry schedules to save money (oops -- they say it's to be environmentally friendly). Hyatt now only washes bedsheets once every four days; Marriott and La Quinta, every three days. Sheraton and EconoLodge wash bedsheets every day. To be fair, all hotels claim they will wash guests' sheets every day if asked, but that less than 10 percent do so.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Websites: Mr. Picasso Head

Make your own Picasso drawings at Mr. Picasso Head.

Humor: Talk Like A Pirate Day

Sept. 19 is Talk Like A Pirate Day, ha ha.

Weblogs: Bean there

Vitamin Q - a temple of trivia and lists: "Types of bean:
speckle / rattlesnake / fazolia / Peruvian / winged / Kenyan fine / canaria / Swedish / forellen / October / fava / yellow Indian woman / cannellini / black valentine / lablab / saluggia / mung / Goa / Tolosana / kidney / tepary / Roman / Lima / trout / rice / pink / mortgage lifter / Great Northern / wren's egg / bayo / calypso / butterscotch / pole / yellow wax / soy / Appaloosa / bonavist / green / maicoba / garbanzo / broad / yin yang / sieva / vallarta / crab-eye / azufrado / string / Boston / horse / fool / navy / prince / sugar / coco blanc / haricot / dermason / tongues of fire / hyacinth / Bobby / locust / turtle / Indian / catjang / Maine yellow-eye / Nile / fava / tarwi / red ball / curry / bolita / shelly / adzuki / marrow / pea / borlotti / eye of goat / Manila / Burma / whippoorwill / flageolet / lupini / dot / Egyptian / runner / yardlong / red / French / peanut / carioca / velvet / scarlet emperor / devil / Jackson wonder / feijao / lupini / European soldier / molasses face / Habichuela / white / snowcap / anasazi / Jacob's cattle / shellout / yellow / fordhooks / jack / chili / four-angled / Windsor / butter / chiche / brown speckled cow / red-eye / black-eyed / Madagascar / orca / rosecoco / Yankee / Christmas / lamon / beautiful / snap / Johnson / pinto / cranberry / Thai / calico
Source: various (inevitably, some of these names are variant names of the same bean)"

Weblogs: Lights! Camera! Dustpan!

Vitamin Q - a temple of trivia and lists: "Some TV and film animal actors:
Rin Tin Tin (after the death of the original dog) was played by son Rinty II and Flame, Golden Boy Jr on TV, with Hey You and Bearheart as stand-ins
Keiko was the name of the real whale in Free Willy
Diefenbaker (the husky in Due South) was played by Lincoln and then Draco
Eddie (Frasier) is played by Moose
Clyde the orang utan in Every Which Way But Loose was played by Manis; the orang utan in sitcom Mr Smith was CJ
Katie and (the imaginatively named) Monkey were the two capuchin monkeys who starred as Marcel in Friends
In London soap opera Eastenders, dog Wellard is played by Kyte; early dog characters Willy and Roly took their names from the dog actors
Flash, the basset hound from The Dukes of Hazzard was played by Sandy
The Littlest Hobo was played by London in the original movie, then by another dog of the same name (it was also the dog's character name) in the early TV series; subsequently palyed by various Alsatian dogs, including Bo and Toro
In the 1990s film adaptation, Black Beauty was played by a horse named Docs Keeping Time
Lassie was played in the first films by a collie named Pal; most 'Lassies' have been male, since they are bigger
TV's talking horse Mister Ed was played by Bamboo Harvester
Flipper the dolphin was played by Mitzi and, later, others including Cathy, Suzie and Bebe
Hart to Hart's mutt Freeway was played by Charlie
Toto in The Wizard of Oz was played by a terrier called Terry
Source: various"

Weblogs: Finn fare

Vitamin Q - a temple of trivia and lists: "In recent weeks Italian leader Berlusconi and his French counterpart Chirac have both made derogatory remarks about the food of Finland, suggesting it is the worst in the EU. Having done a bit of research, Vitamin Q reckons they are very wrong:
rye crispbread ? a Finnish staple, along with coarse breads made from oats and barley
kalakukko ? pasty filled with fish and pork
grilled lampreys ? small, eel-like fish, a favourite dish in the Western town of Pori
ravut (crayfish) with dill ? a summer dish
reindeer - smoked reindeer meat is eaten all year round; reindeer stew, served with mashed potato is a Lapp favourite; poronk?ristys is a popular dish of fried reindeer meat
sianlihakastike ? a thick meaty pork gravy
black pudding with lingonberry sauce ? popular in Tampere (sauces made from rowan or cranberries are also popular)
kaali??ryleet ? cabbage leaves stuffed with minced meat, vegetables and rice; kaalipiiraka is a cottage pie-style dish using similar ingredients
makkara ? sausage is hugely popular; raisin, saltwater and onion sausages are all regional variants
tippaleipd ? a sweetmeat of pastry strands traditionally eaten on Mayday
Lindstr?min pihvi ? a beef and beetroot burger served with spicy sauce
pulla ? sweet bun eaten with coffee
Karjalan piirapat ? pasties filled with rice or potato
Kainuu chowder ? a winter soup made from burbot, milk and potatoes is a speciality
willow grouse ? delicate tasting game bird eaten in the North
prune pastries ? eaten at Christmas
lihapyorykoita ? beef meatballs served with cream
fish ? salmon, vendace or herring served in aspic or with sauces and boiled potatoes; smoked fish, especially salmon is common
Janssonin kiusaus ? an oven dish with potatoes and anchovies cooked in cream; silakkalaatikko is a similar meal with herring
hernekeitto (pea soup) ? popularly served throughout the nation on Thursdays (a throwback to when filling foods were eaten before fasting on a Friday)
m?mmi ? a malty treacle pudding eaten at Easter
mokaja ? hearty spiced stew of beef and root vegetables
burbot roe and blini ? Finnish twist on a popular Russian dish
chilled cranberries with hot toffee sauce ? delicious sounding dessert; cloudberries are popular in the North
crepes ? giant crepes served with berry jams are popular, as are oven-cooked pancakes (kraupsua)"

Internet: Cool Japanese cell phone

(via Peter Payne's J-List, a website and mailing list on Japanese popular culture)

One of the benefits of living in Japan is having access to cool "keitai denwa," which is Japanese for cellular phones. The three main providers of cell phone service in Japan are giant NTT Docomo, KDDI's stylish au, and European-owned Vodafone, and they duke it out in the marketplace trying to provide the best service area, phones and unique features. NTT is the Microsoft of Japan, and their phones are all top of the line, however you sure pay for the privilege of using them. I much prefer the stylish phones that au makes, and recently upgraded my phone to the brand-new W31T, a slim unit which sports Bluetooth, 2.4 Mbps remote web surfing, support for Qualcomm's Brew applications, a camera so good I've thrown away my digital camera forever, a mini-SD card slot, and a web browser that can display websites intended for PCs. Although it's only been 8 months since I've upgraded, I was floored by all the new features that hadn't been in existence when I checked in last time, including a phone with a TV receiver in it, a waterproof "tough phone" with stylish plastic guards, a phone with stereo surround sound speakers, and more. And of course they all play music like the iPod.

Weblogs: Long live Suck

(via Dixhill) A loving paean to, perhaps the best website design site ever.

Weblogs: I have lost all faith in the American banking system

(via Ursus Arctos) A check written for the Greek symbol pi is cashed for $3.14 by someone who endorsed the check as Woodrow Wilson.

Humor: Toles on Rove

(via Miniver Cheevy)

Cartoonist Tom Toles weighs in on the Rove defense.

Weblogs: Danica McKellar

Miniver Cheevy: "Via Collision Detection, I learn that actress Dan[ic]a McKellar -- who played Winnie Cooper on The Wonder Years and has since turned up as speechwriter Will Bailey's sister Elsie Snuffin on The West Wing -- is also a mathematician. The real McCoy: she has a proof published in an academic journal."

(Her website even has a section on math tutoring. By the way, the math proof -- if you read it (via PDF) -- mentions the "Potts and Z models.")

Weblogs: Fear and Loathing in the Blogosphere

(via The Daily Blatt)

A summary of the many literary and artistic visages of the late Hunter S. Thompson -- inspiration behind the Doonesbury character Uncle Duke for three decades.

Internet: 101 Tom Swifties

(via The Volokh Conspiracy and compiled by Mark Wutka, who has also cadged an excerpt of The Pearl as it would have been written if John Steinbeck were from Queens, plus six twisted takes on the Taster's Choice commercials)

1. "I've had my left and right ventricles removed," Tom said half-heartedly.
2. "I think my tires are bald," Tom said warily.
3. "I hate milking cows," Tom uttered.
4. "I put all my money into an IRA," Tom said interestedly.
5. "I don't think that leprechaun is telling the truth," Tom implied.
6. "I think that wasp is in pain," Tom bemoaned.
7. "I took out the trash," Tom said literally.
8. "This dinner is made from young calves," Tom revealed.
9. "I cut my dog's toenails too far," Tom said quickly.
10. "You're burning the candle at both ends," Tom said wickedly.
11. "I hope I can still play the guitar," Tom fretted.
12. "I feel like a big black bird," Tom crowed.
13. "My tongue feels numb," Tom said distastefully.
14. "I want to renew my membership," Tom rejoined.
15. "My grape juice has fermented," Tom whined.
16. "Don't try to pull the wool over my eyes," Tom said sheepishly.
17. "Stop your sniveling," Tom decried.
18. "Someone removed all the twos from this deck," Tom deduced.
19. "I just love power failures," Tom said delightfully.
20. "It's 3 a.m.," Tom said mournfully.
21. "Thanks for shredding the cheese," Tom said gratefully.
22. "I love Velveeta," Tom said craftily.
23. "It's two, two, two mints in one," Tom said certainly.
24. "Who was pope before John Paul I?" Tom asked piously.
25. "The river has gotten rough," Tom said rapidly.
26. "You can't go faster than the speed of sound," Tom said mockingly.
27. "I'm as busy as a bee," Tom droned.
28. "Those ants will never get in here," Tom said defiantly.
29. "Please put some folds in these trousers," Tom pleaded.
30. "Why do you want me to act like Gilda Radner's husband?" Tom asked bewilderingly.
31. "I have plenty of do's but no don'ts," Tom said dauntlessly.
32. "I have forgotten the german word for 'four'" Tom said fearlessly.
33. "Someone stole my wheels," Tom said tirelessly.
34. "Hallelujah," Tom said handily.
35. "I just won 1000 dollars," Tom said grandly.
36. "All that's left are the front and back," Tom said decidedly.
37. "Where can I find a copper figure of Lincoln?" Tom asked innocently.
38. "I only have 8 bits," Tom said bitingly.
39. "My sign is cancer, what's my horoscope?" Tom asked crabbily.
40. "What's in the middle of an egg?" Tom asked eccentrically.
41. "Venus de Milo is a beautiful statue," Tom said disarmingly.
42. "I'm covered in blood," Tom said readily.
43. "I've found the pens used to sign the civil war surrender," Tom said pensively.
44. "I think someone electrified the corridor," Tom said haltingly.
45. "There are tiny bugs in the dust," Tom said mightily.
46. "Hey, Vern! Knowhutimean?" Tom said earnestly.
47. "I unclogged the kitchen sink with a vacuum cleaner," Tom said succintly.
48. "My clothes are pressed," Tom said ironically.
49. "What's that reddish stuff on the cannon?" Tom asked rusticly.
50. "How come my clock only makes 'toc's?" Tom asked mystically.
51. "I hate playing craps," Tom said dicily.
52. "Who is the vice president?" Tom asked allegorically.
53. "I tripped over the lamp plug," Tom said cordially.
54. "Who commanded the confederate army?" Tom asked generally.
55. "Can I go look for the holy grail again?" Tom requested.
56. "There's the dog star," Tom said seriously.
57. "I've discovered the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything!" Tom said fortuitously.
58. "Quick, Della! Phone lieutenant Tragg! Mr. Mason's been kidnapped!" Tom said perilously.
59. "I'm as strong as a sled dog," Tom said huskily.
60. "You look like a goat," Tom kidded.
61. "What comes before cocious?" Tom asked precociously.
62. "I'm building up my muscles," Tom insinuated.
63. "I hate metal on my teeth," Tom said abrasively.
64. "What's the capitol of North Vietnam?" Tom asked annoyingly.
65. "So this is where they make movies," Tom said studiously.
66. "May I introduce the family Stone?" Tom asked slyly.
67. "I'd give that hornet a 10," Tom said beratingly.
68. "I won't be on time," Tom said belatedly.
69. "Hi, Laverne," Tom said surely.
70. "I'd like to teach the world to sing..." Tom said coaxingly.
71. "My voice is deep," Tom said basically.
72. "I don't trust that pickle," Tom said deliriously.
73. "Who is married to the queen?" Tom asked achingly.
74. "I count three horizons," Tom said horizontally.
75. "Who roomed with MaryAnn on Gilligan's Island?" Tom asked gingerly.
76. "That bird is sick," Tom said illegally.
77. "I'm impotent," Tom said softly.
78. "Paint it blue again," Tom said reassuringly.
79. "Wanna buy a halibut?" Tom asked selfishly.
80. "Take sominex," Tom said sleepily.
81. "This is my favorite chinese soup," Tom said wantonly.
82. "I'm going up," Tom said innocently.
83. "Is your name Timothy or Russell?" Tom asked timorously.
84. "How do you like your martini?" Tom asked drily.
85. "I love the dodgers," Oliver said artfully.
86. "That ball was right over the plate," Tom said strikingly.
87. "The PH is too low," Tom said acidly.
88. "Do the japanese vote for politicians?" Tom said erectly.
89. "Let's blow up these paddies," Tom said derisively.
90. "Unto thee," Jesus said verily.
91. "I've locked onto the target," Tom said insightfully.
92. "Nay, nay, and again I say nay," Tom said hoarsely.
93. "All my efforts were for nothing," Tom said naughtily.
94. "What a grand dam," Tom said coolly.
95. "Good afternoon, Ms. Huston," Tom said angelically.
96. "The Nina, the Pinta, the Santa Maria, and the Titanic" Tom said forbodingly.
97. "You must have a lottery in Georgia," Tom said zealously.
98. "It doesn't smell anymore," Tom said distinctly.
99. "Many thanks, Monsier," Tom said mercifully.
100. "I already showed you how to do that," Tom said tautly.
101. "My hair's been cut off," Tom said distressfully.

Email: Us vs. them [SD]

By the way, when I said evangelicals have a "cultic" sensitivity to differences and tend to exclude others from their community, I meant a number of things that a theologian would have inferred.

Lay persons find the word "cultic" to be emotionally charged, but theologically it means "sectarian" or even just "in group." Cliquish. Us vs. Them: Clear delineations between who belongs and who does not; an implicit (unwritten) understanding about trusting insiders but not outsiders; and yes, open to admitting new members, but only under existing rules. Conservative Catholics bear the same tendencies. Mainstream Catholics and mainline Protestants largely do not.

Like fundamentalism in all its forms, the us vs. them mindset is probably about being conservative, entrenched "true believers" and "defenders of the faith." Perhaps this defensive mentality is valid and necessary at certain times and seasons. (It certainly was under Roman persecution.)

Email: Baby steps [SD]

Do what I first did long ago: When you go into a restaurant, decide where you would prefer to sit, and ask if you might be seated there. Any time you can think ahead, think of or for yourself, and ask for something specific that you want, is good progress.

For many people, "looking out for number one" comes naturally; for those who have had that bred out of us, it's healthy to get back in touch with it. It's not like we're going to run out and stage a hostile corporate takeover or anything. "Aslan is on the move" -- and none of us are meant to be toothless subjects.

Baby steps, yes, but now and then, anyone can conceive of and execute a grand leap, true?

Just go to and get started. Name your weblog and you're up and running in five minutes.

Email: Strong communications [SD]

Yes, communicating "strong" at times is just how I am. I am learning it is not always how other people are. Oh well! It is my unique contribution and it does not work to tamp or muzzle my soul in order to be more acceptable to everyone. Let like souls mingle, as it has always been. Actually I have mellowed significantly over the years and I do dial myself down as a rule. (Remember the wild-eyed poet declaiming the moon in Peggy Sue Got Married? I try not to be that spontaneous and emotive in mixed and esp. corporate company.) :-}

I am all about listening to other people's differing points of view. The trouble is that people tend to be one thing or another, and so assume that I must be or believe in one thing and not the other; yet I can probably take anyone's stance and argue for it better than they can in a debate. It's the Thomistic and Lewisian and nonpartisan thing to do, because then you know you are being fair to all sides.

Email: Caffeine saturation [SD]

It was a poetic exaggeration anyway. I imagine cartoons of people [wearing] those sippy-hats with the tubes running down to their mouths... Or even with IVs running down to their arms...

Email: Windows Home PC [SD]

Well if the [CD] software is not yet installed, that would explain why it didn't work...

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Email: Boundaries breach [SD]

You are much more likely (if the past is any indicator) to have your boundaries broached than to broach others'. It's not really in you to do that. So yes, recognize it [an offense] for what it is, and stand up for yourself in the face of it. Hoo rah!

Email: Communication and dialog [SD]

I do sometimes communicate things strongly; this is my desire to communicate things clearly and directly, which some people are not used to. It's probably the same way with insecure men who feel "emasculated" by a "strong woman" (read: a woman who has an opinion and [without drama] simply speaks it out loud). I agree with everything you say, and I feel that I am saying so -- just adding to it -- so I'm not sure where the problem lies. Either I'm communicating clearly or I'm not. [You decide. After all, communicating means connecting.]

When I say "the evangelical point of view" I am not badmouthing evangelicals! I am describing evangelicals. This is what they really believe and say. Watch and listen. Sometimes I can hear something and say, "Wow, that's a perfectly typical Lutheran (or Catholic or Baptist) statement or point of view." For instance, you just wouldn't have a Lutheran saying that the Pope is infallible. Catholics would simply never advocate adult baptism over infant baptism. This is never saying one or the other stance is right or wrong, but you can't discuss the issues at hand until you describe what you see and hear. Anything else is just bandying with buzzwords and trading in generalizations. I don't believe generalities ever reach any meaningful accord or resolution without digging into specific examples. Experience really does come before (if not apart from) dogma.

Of course I can't speak to your inner motives unless you share and discuss them, but it has been my experience and observation for the past 30 years that people do take things personally out of fear of rejection. (Actually, I've been debating ethics and theology for longer than that.) I don't believe that any one person should or needs to be in "charge" of any conversation; if both parties have equal respect and status, then dialog becomes an ebb and flow between two, never a broom-pushing competition where one aims to beat the other.

Email: Working in a fishbowl [SD]

It's funny how many people think or work better with music, noise or distraction in the background. I've done fine with that when working in newsroom and fishbowl settings, but it's not my natural inclination and often now it's harder than working in silence. Doing mindless work is perfect for listening to music, of course; often it gives me much-needed energy (esp. if I'm on my second eight hours of the day or my blood caffeine level is already saturated).

Email: Therapeutic pursuits [LS]

[Doing schtick,] I like to put a twist on the classic line of "Hello, tall, dark and handsome!" by saying "Hello, tall, dark and mentally deranged!"

Fixing up a house can be wonderfully therapeutic. I would be good at contributing to and helping execute a redesign or update, but given all my other interests, I doubt I would ever be the primary instigator. (I just caught an autobiographical program on J.K. Rowling where she confessed that she didn't clean house for four years, and I thought: So that's what I'm doing wrong [as an author]!)

When I dated more in the beginning, I just called women by where they were from (Miss Santa Fe, Miss Needville, Miss Katy) so my friends could keep them straight. I can see how names [for your failed first dates] like Mr. Stinky would be therapeutic though. I think it really helps to process an experience and put it in perspective when we can put it into words -- ideally, with a healthy sense of humor.

So many men do throw a hissy fit over their wives' purchases. I suggest couples just agree on a budget and ground rules and then each partner can make free decisions within those boundaries.

When you described the enjoyment of being totally single and then buying a leather... chair ... Let's just say my mind was going somewhere else before you set me straight. (I think too fast for my own good sometimes.)

Email: Shania Twain - If You Wanna Touch Her, Ask! [SD]

Yeah, women like that romantic stuff, don't they? ;-) Men just want to cut to the chase. They could stand to learn from the process of getting to know a woman as a person and a friend and, later, a partner. [Shania sings about touching a woman's heart; men dream of touching... Never mind.]

Shania Twain - If You Wanna Touch Her, Ask!
Let me let you in on a secret
How to treat a woman right
If you're lookin' for a place in her heart
It ain't gonna happen overnight
First you gotta learn to listen
To understand her deepest thoughts
She needs to know you can be friends
Before she'll give you all she's got

Email: Keeping God in the picture [SD]

I do pray internally and externally all the time; I just [no longer] make a big deal of it. Prayer is part of life, not something you step out of the stream of life to do (even if you think you are not doing so, but are). The implication that many make when a person has faced difficulty for some time is that he must have something wrong with him (that the many would like to adjust). It is a common mistake in spiritual discussion to "try to fix the other's problems" as opposed to just being present and listening as a [compassionate] fellow human (as the cross-denominational, Stephen-Ministry-like, Benedictine-inspired Community of Hope outreach training teaches).

Without God, we are not nothing... We are something... Just less than we are with God [(which is a lot)]. (Again, the fundamentalist all-or-nothing thinking that is useful for pointing out the boundaries of the horizon but not for describing the realities of human life.)

Email: Self is not a four-letter word [SD]

I don’t feel that I said or implied you were illiterate at all. We all have a first time when we hear something, and like scripture, it may speak to us specially at any time we hear it later in life. (No one remembers everything perfectly and since we grow as we go, we gain new perspectives and revelations -- or new perspectives and revelations gain on us.) To the contrary, I assumed you were interested in and capable of understanding more about that particular phrase, so I took you in my confidence and shared with you what I knew and had to say about it, treating you as an equal. You may accept or reject what I say or think at any time. You are not the one who should (be) reject(ed) yourself. I am not the standard here; you are not the standard here; we are both equals before God.

You have a healthy definition of self-interest (personal care) vs. self-centeredness (conceit and pride). God wants us all to look out for our own lives; seeking our own shelter, sustenance, survival, health and happiness is certainly acceptable (and necessary). You can’t play by the rules unless you play on the team (or is that vice versa?). Chicken or egg. Something like that. I caught a good TV preacher for a minute this morning (before sticking with an autobio on J.K. Rowling for most of an hour) who said that our bodies are God’s, so (these are my conclusions now) we are stewards not owners; we are leasing with a balloon payment... (OK, enough metaphors for now, this doesn’t seem to be my day for them.) Yet there is a selfishness that cuts one off from others and esp. from God; it is this “I am a king unto myself” that we recognize as selfishness, as opposed to legitimate self-care and self-interest (preserving our physical, emotional, intellectual and financial integrity). Yes, it absolutely and ultimately comes down to the Golden Rule: Treat others as you would treat yourself if you were them.

I don’t know what your “evangelical” thoughts are beyond what you share with me. Again, I am speaking of “evangelicals” in general, not specifically addressing you. I have no idea if you think this or that way unless you say so. There is nothing wrong with evangelical Christianity that isn’t wrong with Catholic Christianity or any other kind of faith: It is human and prone to missteps and oversights. If I point out to you that the staircase you are about to descend on has (from my experience) a goosy step that may trip you up, I am not criticizing you, I am trying to help you (as I would do with anyone). A critic is not an outsider, he is generally a member of the community who seeks to help others see vital nuances they haven’t noticed yet. Listening improves on ignorance; this is why church services have a sermon or homily and at almost any public function, a speaker addresses the audience. Why do so many people take things personally? Fear of criticism or rejection, I suppose. What does it take to hear and dialog with equanimity, I wonder? (Food for thought.)

Email: Boundaries and blogging [SD]

Some people violate others' boundaries because, as you know from Pia [Mellody], they have failed to form proper boundaries through their incomplete emotional development as a child. It's like [this]: If you are not taught proper table manners, you may be a slouch; but if you were raised by wolves, you will be absolutely slovenly. Yes, life would be so much easier if we all had no flaws... Yeah.

I do not advise you to write a weblog that forms a sort of online diary about your work situation. People get fired for things like that. Read any of the articles that the major newspapers and magazines have had on weblogging in recent years to see how careful you need to be about what you put in there about friends, lovers and so on. (People do. Yikes!) I carefully edit what I publish to (hopefully) only be general information of interest to others in my own words; never personal details, personally identified, or using another's words.

You do whatever you need to grow. As will I.