Saturday, August 13, 2005

Weblogs: Do we marry the right person?

Pontifications - “Do we marry the right person?”: "'No man, however truly he loved his betrothed and bride as a young man, has lived faithful to her as a wife in mind and body without deliberate conscious exercise of the will, without self-denial. Too few are told that?even those brought up ?in the Church?. Those outside seem seldom to have heard it. When the glamour wears off, or merely works a bit thin, they think they have made a mistake, and that the real soul-mate is still to find. The real soul-mate too often proves to be the next sexually attractive person that comes along. Someone whom they might indeed very profitably have married, if only ?. Hence divorce, to provide the ?if only?. And of course they are as a rule quite right: they did make a mistake. Only a very wise man at the end of his life could make a sound judgement concerning whom, amongst the total possible chances, he ought most profitably to have married! Nearly all marriages, even happy ones, are mistakes: in the sense that almost certainly (in a more perfect world, or even with a little more care in this very imperfect one) both partners might have found more suitable mates. But the ?real soul-mate? is the one you are actually married to. You really do very little choosing: life and circumstances do most of it (though if there is a God these must be His instruments, or His appearances).' -- J. R. R. Tolkien"

Trivia: My Christian traditions are...

Rank: Item (Percent)
1: Methodist/Wesleyan/Nazarene  (100%)
2: Anglican/Episcopal/Church of England  (93%)
3: Pentecostal/Charismatic/Assemblies of God  (87%)
4: Lutheran  (72%)
5: Roman Catholic  (72%)
6: Eastern Orthodox  (69%)
7: Presbyterian/Reformed  (59%)
8: Church of Christ/Campbellite  (58%)
9: Congregational/United Church of Christ  (58%)
10: Baptist (non-Calvinistic)/Plymouth Brethren/Fundamentalist  (54%)
11: Baptist (Reformed/Particular/Calvinistic)  (51%)
12: Anabaptist (Mennonite/Quaker etc.)  (38%)
13: Seventh-Day Adventist  (38%)

Christian Traditions Selector

Weblogs: OMG it's Betty Butterfield

(via Anglo-Catholic Ruminations) "That amusing fictional character, Betty Butterfield, has updated her archives of over-medicated, alcoholic humor. As usual, the clips having to do with religion are much, much funnier than those dealing with other subjects. Listen to Betty recite the Salve Regina in Latin at a Cursillo weekend, watch her make a confession, and make amusing Anglican observations in her two Episcopal videos."

(If you though SNL's Church Lady was too tame, follow this link to plenty of clips of Chuck Knipp in drag.)

Prayers: "Therefore will I trust you always" (Merton)

(via Path to Priesthood because I haven't yet found where I've stashed this, one of my favorite prayers by Thomas Merton)

"MY LORD GOD, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone."

Press: The Christian Paradox - Harper's

The Christian Paradox: How a faithful nation gets it wrong - Harper's: "Only 40 percent of Americans can name more than four of the Ten Commandments, and a scant half can cite any of the four authors of the Gospels. Twelve percent believe Joan of Arc was Noah?s wife. This failure to recall the specifics of our Christian heritage may be further evidence of our nation?s educational decline, but it probably doesn?t matter all that much in spiritual or political terms. Here is a statistic that does matter: Three quarters of Americans believe the Bible teaches that ?God helps those who help themselves.? That is, three out of four Americans believe that this uber-American idea, a notion at the core of our current individualist politics and culture, which was in fact uttered by Ben Franklin, actually appears in Holy Scripture. The thing is, not only is Franklin?s wisdom not biblical; it?s counter-biblical. Few ideas could be further from the gospel message, with its radical summons to love of neighbor. On this essential matter, most Americans?most American Christians?are simply wrong, as if 75 percent of American scientists believed that Newton proved gravity causes apples to fly up.

Asking Christians what Christ taught isn?t a trick. When we say we are a Christian nation?and, overwhelmingly, we do?it means something. People who go to church absorb lessons there and make real decisions based on those lessons; increasingly, these lessons inform their politics. (One poll found that 11 percent of U.S. churchgoers were urged by their clergy to vote in a particular way in the 2004 election, up from 6 percent in 2000.) When George Bush says that Jesus Christ is his favorite philosopher, he may or may not be sincere, but he is reflecting the sincere beliefs of the vast majority of Americans.

And therein is the paradox. America is simultaneously the most professedly Christian of the developed nations and the least Christian in its behavior. That paradox?more important, perhaps, than the much touted ability of French women to stay thin on a diet of chocolate and cheese?illuminates the hollow at the core of our boastful, careening culture."

Websites: The top 50 most influential churches

(via The Country Parson)

The Dallas and Houston metro areas made the list seven times, with the usual suspects (Caldwell #43, Jakes #8, Jones #31, Osteen #5, Shook #17, Young Jr. #4, Young Sr. #33), while the Twin Cities metro area made the list twice, also with the usual name recognition (Anderson #12, Piper #19).

Weblogs: Why no news?

Episcopal Princess: Why No News?: "Okay, so here is my question. Why wasn't the Episcopal Youth Event (EYE) covered by Episcopal News Source? I have only found one mention of it at all and it was during a 'Weeks Ahead' update. Other than that there was no coverage at all. Why is this? This was a gathering of 1,300 Episcopalians from around the world, a gathering of youth. that only happens once every 3 years and there was no mention. Is it not considered important enough? And if it is not is it because it was a gathering of young people? This church gives great lip service to young people but does it really live out that lip service? Do we walk the walk or just talk the talk? You might be able to tell that I am just a little bit irritated by this and I am."

(In general, I think all mainstream denominations give very little attention to "youth" and "singles" -- while probably giving more than twice as much attention than both combined to all prior ages -- that is, pre-junior-high. The evangelicals beat us on this but only because they "go nuts" in every direction possible! However, I'd advise waiting a bit longer than the same week for coverage. In fact, what's to keep you from suggesting coverage? Reporters can interview attendees quite easily.)

Trivia: I am the archangel Rafael

Rafael. You're most like the ArchAngel of Healing.
You want people to shape up, and you nag. But
you mean well, and you're well loved despite
it. Or because of it. You bring the donuts
even as you tell people to eat more veggies.

Which ArchAngel are you most like?
brought to you by Quizilla

Weblogs: Credo

The Church of the Holy Skepticle: Credo:
"* I believe that it's highly unlikely that life is a product of chance.
* I believe that the codification of the indescribable has led to the most hideous attrocities that this world has ever experienced.
* I believe that lavend[e]r and frivolous language are highly underused.
* I believe that Jesus of Nazareth got it right. But that that doesn't make him God.
* I believe that an effort to try to explain the experience of the divine will always fall short and that small minds will always try to attach some meaning to life, which, if the meaning exists, is less than poetic in the literal sense, and if it does not, is simply sublime.
* I believe that the actual is actually referential.
* I believe that any attempt to categorize experience, including this one, is more like a third grader trying to draw 'Advancement' than something walking forward.
* I believe that ritual and poetry are twin sisters.
* I believe that people are good in crisis and horrible in habit.
* I belive that more people should use the third person plural for collective nouns. (i.e., The jury WERE undecided. The orchestra WERE flat. Your family ARE cunts.)
* I beli[e]ve that the idea of the Holy Spirit is the best concept we've had for 'God' so far, so long as we continue to connect rather than create nomenclature.
* I do not know about the life to come. No one does.
* I believe we should stop talking about these things in fact."

Weblogs: Tonight, I walk the labyrinth

Buddhepiscopalia: Gallycat's Abbey: "O God of many paths, I stand before this labyrinth today, metaphor of my journey to you. In the Western world I have been taught that `the shortest distance between two points is a straight line,' and being an impatient person, I am uncomfortable with waiting. I have often modeled my journey to you on the straight line. But you, God of infinite patience, have shown me there is another path, a curved path. On this path, my anticipation is heightened as I approach the centre, only to be led out again to the periphery. But this path more closely resembles life itself. On this path, if I just put one foot in front of the other, it may seem at times as if I am not approaching my goal, while in fact, I am drawing closer all the time. But you are a God of surprises and mystery, and I don't control the path. The labyrinth is a symbol of my surrender to mystery, trusting, not knowing for certain, that the path which curves in and out, again ultimately leads to the Centre, which is You."

(I love to pray the labyrinth.)

Email: Spiritual priorities [VI]

Try putting first things first. I put my priorities in the following order: health, spirituality, livelihood/career, family/home, pursuits/education, social/outreach. This is because you must have health in order to keep living and do anything else in the first place; spirituality gives your life a higher purpose and direction; you need to earn a living or you can't get food and shelter or care for your family; pursuits (study/education) help further your life direction; and having a social life and outreach (church/ministry/community service) helps you stay grounded and give back to others.

Many Christians would prioritize differently -- God, family, church, work, self -- and that is fine for the big picture in altruism, but we are called to be martyrs every day, in little ways and over the long haul. We can't live an entire life always putting ourselves last; at the very least, we end up dividing that rule into halves, because we do make sure we get enough sleep and so on over the long haul.

Of course, practically speaking, I do follow those priorities: Ignoring my already-met basic needs (sleep, food, shelter), I give myself to God each day; if my child needs food and there is only enough for one, I will go hungry; and so on. We all know what to choose when there is a really clear-cut choice between one or the other. But in most of modern life, where we can have all of these things at once -- health, faith, income, family and so on -- then I think it behooves us to humbly recall the order in which the Lord gave them to us. I'm still working these ideas out. What do you think?

Many authors besides Allan Loy McGinnis in The Romance Factor say what they say against idealizing romantic love because they believe divine love must come first. And I agree, esp. among people of faith. Yet again, this is not an all-or-nothing battle: The options are not faith-only or romance-only. Faith should come before romance, but in a healthy person's life, each one nurtures and feeds the other -- in the same way that having had loving, caring parents nurtures and feeds our relationship with God as our heavenly paterfamilias. Nor does each one come wrapped in a trim, unchanging package; parental love, faith love, and romantic love will continue to inform our hearts and each other throughout our lives. I'm not suggesting which is which, but think of these three as a comfortable pair of shoes, a walking stick (or a canteen), and a compass; you wouldn't want to be on a journey without any one of these. And the blessing of it all is that we don't have to lose one to keep the other.

Email: Terrestrial vs. celestial eyes [SD]

Yours is a good attitude to have: "I don't need a knight in shining armor to rescue me. I am a self-reliant woman." However, my point is that almost every woman I have ever met says the same thing -- but acts to the contrary. Secretly, many women seem to want respite, a retreat, a rescuer. (Some confess it straight out.) This is OK, because women (married or divorced with children) really do end up taking care of most of the details of family life, on top of their jobs -- and they desire to be in a real relationship more than men (who tend to desire someone to take care of their needs more than an authentic relationship and all that entails). It just throws me for a loop at first (until the truth becomes apparent) when someone says one thing but truly intends another.

You are right to see men and woman as complementary, made to complement not oppose each other. It's not just being critical of another but being dualistic instead of pluralistic: narrowing the choices down to one or the other of two, instead of two or more of many. I believe much of life is intended to be additive, yet many people see it as subtractive; as either/or instead of both. People really would be happier if they could learn to think "out of the box."

For example, Bruce Lee studied all martial arts and concluded that teaching one style or another, not only limits teacher and student to that one style, but an ever narrower, codified and soulless version of that style (when preserving "tradition" becomes more important than discovering and reinventing the soul of the style, not to mention all styles within the sport of martial arts). He eventually came to teach "No way as way; no limitation as limitation" because he sought and found the truth and the soul of martial arts wherever it was to be found, not where people said or expected it to be found. If he were a preacher, he would have been truly Christ-like: speaking against the ingrained orthodoxy of the Pharisees and telling any who had ears to hear and would pay the cost of discipleship, "Let me show you a higher way."

I call all of this being terrestrially bound vs. being celestial bound. Where are your eyes? Where are my eyes? Life is not about us without God, and faith is not about God without us; but a faithful life is about us together with God.

Yes, I think we all agree that criticizing another hurts and is bad. Amen, preach it, sister. But I think you are speaking of negative or destructive criticism, born of pettiness and mean-spiritedness. There is a constructive criticism that looks to the betterment of the other: "speak the truth in love." The word critical simply means discerning (Greek kriseis, "to divide"). I do agree that making a negative criticism (shooting someone down) should not be allowed without a positive suggestion to replace it. That's like telling the pilot to stop flying the plane, without offering a replacement pilot; we're not enemy combatants [in a dogfight], we're all [passengers] on the same aircraft.

Risk-taking is something you will learn over time. Every choice in life has risks; some more than others. You will be prepared to take risks as you learn more about what those risks are, and about trusting your own judgment in each situation you find yourself.

There are other ways to make decisions than your own intuition, much less equating that with the leading of the Holy Spirit. There are many ways the Holy Spirit leads! Just be open to learning more ways to live and make choices, and it will gradually become apparent to you.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Email: Friends and life [Ch]

Ufda! is a Swedish term common in Minnesota that means Oof! or Whew! or Yowza! (oops, that's another Swedish term).

I think at this stage in our lives, friends just get into meatier problems. I'm not maxed out now but for a while there I was last year. Right now I think we're all busy with certain things (moving with one friend, lawsuit with another, career with me) so we're just dealing with our own stuff rather than talking about it a lot. Do you give your friends a hard time? I hope it shows that you feel affection for them.

No, I haven't yet found (that is, met and recognized) she-who-will-be-mine. It's certainly not going to happen fast!

You seem to be saying that you're going through or losing friends lately because you're not giving them enough attention? I'd say that real friends understand when you're busy now and then, but those who come and go too easily don't have the stuff of true friendship inside them. Just so you can focus on what's important in your life.

Politics: I am passionate, not political

If you read the sum of my postings on Twerpette (I know -- who has time?), you will learn that I am neither a Republican (though I used to be) nor a Democrat (though if I chose to commit, that's the only realistic choice).

Go figure: Is it my lot in life to be a Republican in Minnesota and now a Democrat in Texas?

Yet I have always stood apart from the parties. I am a social conservative who happens to be an independent progressive. I care about the issues, not the parties. I'm fine with the status quo, unless I see something wrong that needs to be addressed. I once described my political leanings as not conservative or liberal but "into the wind."

I don't care whether it's the Republicans or the Democrats who commit sins in the White House (and let's not be selective about what we call sin when the national eye is on our party's candidate). I don't want anyone committing sins in the White House! If you ask many patriotic Americans, Bush's lying for oil and sending thousands to their deaths is a greater sin than Clinton's adultery and cigarlingus. I don't want lies of any sort, from any candidate or official.

I don't care if the Democrats or the Republicans fought and won World War II or started McCarthyism or started or inherited an economic recession. I want our politicians to stop pointing fingers and to work together to clean up their messes.

Can you imagine baseball fans who were more interested in whether their team or their league won than whether a really great game of sportsmanship played out for their enjoyment? (OK, bad example.) Perhaps group loyalties are inbred to our species. Certainly they are useful (if often extraneous) to many endeavors.

All I ask is that we embrace our loyalties when they help the goal, and set them aside without prejudice when they run counter to our common patriotic goal.

Politics: Ken Mehlman on CNN

I caught RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman sitting for his first time with Wolf Blitzer on CNN. He was good. Same old they're-all-bad-but-we're-all-good message that is never true when members of either political side try it, but very smooth.

He even said "We welcome the debate" over John Edwards. And that's all I really wanted to hear from the RNC chairman -- some admission of humanity and cooperation, esp. after all the Bush administration's dissimulations, stonewalling and refusal to admit any mistake, error or weakness, and after all the mouthy Republicans who for years now have made patriotic public debate tantamount to being a commie pinko fag.

I don't want us to return to the isolationism of the early 1940s or the McCarthyism of the 1950s, the last time the Republicans tried to bury America's head in the sand. (It was the Democrats who fought and ended World War II.)

Ads: Dr Pepper again

Boy, those ditwads doing the ads for Dr Pepper are really on a run, if stupidity were an Olympic sport. A beautiful blonde (think Reese Witherspoon) is on a romantic date with a handsome guy (think Fred Savage) who is saying he just won the lottery but wants to keep working at the children's hospital, then professes an emotional connection with her... Meanwhile all she can do is sip her Dr Pepper as his professions of sincerity become her ditzy-headed mantra "Mah-nah-mah-nah" (to the tune of "Doo-doo-doo-doo-doo"). Tagline: Dr Pepper is so good, "you'll get lost in it."

So here is a guy who is offering her everything any woman has ever wanted, and she's oblivious? Nothing is that good. Besides, anything that would turn you into a bobble-headed ditz probably shouldn't be trusted.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Media: Ads Gone Wild

The Girls Gone Wild commercials have sadly become a cultural icon. They spawn and multiply on late-night cable TV channels like shimmering salmon, but with a moral depravity that still shocks much of America. (Note: I am not so much against commercially available nudity as the par-tay culture that encourages young girls to treat themselves as empty-headed tits-and-ass party favors and, more dangerously, to dance lasciviously in various stages of undress in what amounts to be the most orgy-prone environment imaginable: hotels full of teen boys tanked on alcohol during spring break.) Now the commercials have shamefully begun to appear during prime-time hours on non-cable stations. When will it stop?

America is great for its freedom. Yet freedom should not be an excuse for immorality. The two should not even be in the same boat, or the Islamist fundamentalists win their point: "You see? Freedom leads to immorality. America is corrupt. We are justified to kill them all."

America needs to fight for freedom for its citizens, and to encourage the spread of freedom wherever democracy and human rights will flourish. Yet America should also fight against the spread of public immorality such as Girls Gone Wild. With freedom comes responsibility, and that includes not working to undermine the freedom that many have given their ultimate sacrifice to preserve.

Let me add that the fight should originate in the church pulpit, not the legislature. Morality begins at home. It would sure help if the FCC would get off its butt and do its job though.

Media: Hymns on Fox

I saw a hymns CD commercial on Fox. Now let me say that I love hymns -- "It Is Well" is my favorite -- and I would be happy if hymns CDs were advertised on every channel on air. However, this hymns CD commercial seems to be exclusive to Fox, which implies that its makers deem no other station worthy of advertising to Christians, much less being watched by them.

Complicit in this fiction, Fox willingly wraps itself in the American flag and the cloak of righteousness, as if to imply that it stands uniquely as a "Christian" TV station. Nothing could be farther than the truth, however, if you look at all the immoral schlock that Fox has been notorious for carrying over the past decade. (Comedies regularly slap Fox for its low programming morals.) Rupert Murdoch cares only about profits, and that is his motivation for courting the conservatives with one hand, even as he culls profits from the mullet-and-weenie-wrap-recipe crowd with the other.

Names: Amegy

I puzzled and verbally sneered at this new bank name, Amegy, when I first saw it on a Houston billboard. However, I was not going to propound on it here until I spoke yesterday with MM, who feels the same way and whose husband has an account there.

Amegy. The name makes an intelligent person's face crinkle and ponder, "What the heck...? Where did that come from...? How did they cobble that one together, and from what...?"

If I may, Amegy probably owes its debt to Dynegy, which would have been a construct from the Greek words dynamis (power) and ergos (work); except Dynergy sounds, well, nerdy; hence Dynegy.

Also if I may, it helps that corporate names don't have to mean anything, even if they have a genuine linguistic pedigree. So long as a name sounds catchy, a faux, partial or even (in the case of Amegy) cadged pedigree will do every time. With invented names like Xerox the clear winners in the trademark competition for uniqueness and memorability, Dynegy and Amegy fill the bill. (For the record though, Amergy would suck wind worse than Dynergy.)

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Humor: The Onion | Horoscopes

The Onion | Horoscopes:
"Scorpio: (Oct. 24-Nov. 21)
You will be honored by the mayor of your city for your continued restraint in not expressing your feelings through poetry, song, interpretive dance, or ultra-large-scale fiber art.
Sagittarius: (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)
In this cruel metaphysical polka of life, it sometimes seems like for every step forward, you take one step back, two hops to each side, and do a twirl.
Capricorn: (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)
Your relations with the natives continue to blossom, largely because your rather clever translator refuses to tell them precisely what it is you're saying."

Press: Servant of all [MST]

Star Tribune - Servant of all: "He expresses disappointment over the Catholic Church's role in promoting civil and gay rights. He believes celibacy among priests should be optional. He is ardently opposed to the war in Iraq and leads parishioners in weekly protest marches on the sidewalk in front of his church.

At age 79, the Rev. John Brandes, pastor of St. Boniface Catholic Church in northeast Minneapolis, is hardly a retiring personality. And though he is nine years past the typical retirement age for priests, he is not yet ready for full-time R&R."

(Father John used to be my exasperating ultraliberal pastor when I lived in St. Paul. Now I say God bless him!)

Email: Balancing friends [Ch]

I think we all get challenged by balancing all our friends, esp. as we add new ones and esp. if they have more than the average number of problems (health, finance, relationships). I think the key is to learn how much you can really do and also to be sure to keep your own sanity.

Band Names: Singapore Dweebs

(This came up in a discussion with SL about who writes bicycle-assembly manuals.)

Quotes: "There are three types of baseball players" (Lasorda)

"There are three types of baseball players: those who make it happen, those who watch it happen and those who wonder what happened." -- Tommy Lasorda

Monday, August 08, 2005

Trivia: Construction shoos blue herons

I-10 is getting not just an extreme makeover; this is more like sex-change surgery on steroids. Two lanes highway and two lanes feeder road each way is becoming 12-20 lanes across (with its widest expanse of 530 feet to fall just west of me at Bunker Hill).

At least I know the back ways in and out of Hedwig Village. However, not to be outdone, construction crews are digging up the bayou trace that runs south from I-10, inside Campbell and then alongside my property. In other words, they've blocked the water, dug a four-block-long 30-foot trench within 100 feet of my bedroom and will soon start laying giant concrete culvert pieces before they sod the whole thing over. (If I were British, I'd make a bitter joke just there.) So what will I miss? The blue herons hunting for minnows (or possibly snakes) along the embankment. (Sorry I said you were not-so-great herons, guys.) They'll still hunt along the greener, deeper trace where it runs past Spring Branch Public Library; just not outside my back door.

Here is a pre-construction TerraServer aerial view of my immediate area with another of the trace as it runs east then north.

In related research, I learned the wikipedia even has a page on Hedwig Village and that I am living in the fourth-wealthiest zip code in the country. Yow!

Arts: Two Houston "green" art shows (Aug. 20 deadlines)

Hello Again! Juried Exhibition
Posted by:  Heather Gibson, 281.335.7777,
Deadline:  August 20, 2005
HELLO AGAIN! is a Juried Exhibition of works employing some (or all) recyclable material, or one or more found objects. Accepted works will be on display August 25 through September 23, 2005. Up to three works may be submitted. There is an $8.00 fee per entry. All 2-dimensional works must be installation-ready with mat, frame glass or plexi and a hanging device in place. All 2-dimensional works must not exceed 6x6 feet, and all works must be light enough to be carried by two people.
Location:  The Arts Alliance Center at Clear Lake, 2000 NASA Parkway (across from Johnson Space Center) , Nassau Bay, Texas 77058, US
Web link:

REBART (Recycled Bike Art ) Show
Posted by:
  Karla Kinstler,
Deadline:  August 21, 2005
If you are creative and can work with old bicycle parts, you're who we are looking for! The REBART (REcycled Bike ART) competition is open to anyone and everyone. All you need to do is create a work of art made of at least 75% old bicycle parts that is able to be displayed outdoors indefinitely. Don't have any old bikes laying around? No problem--just go to any Houston County drop-off site. They'll have a pile of old bikes there just waiting for you to dig through and recycle into a work of art.

Purchase awards will be as follows: 1st place - $500; 2nd place - $400; 3rd place - $300; 18 & under - $150. Local artists will judge the competition, and all winning pieces will remain on permanent display in Houston. The there is a small entry fee. The early entry deadline for receipt of the entry fee and description of your piece is July 30. Entries will be accepted until the pieces are to be delivered to Trailhead Park in Houston on August 21 and 22, but the entry fee is slightly higher after July 30.
Location:  Houston Nature Center 215 W. Plum Street, Houston, MN 55943, US
Web link:{6686A359-ED06-4E12-96B3-360EAAC284EA}&DE={814E

Proverbs: The wrong word is "anal"; the right word is "purist."

Proverbs: The wrong word is "diehard"; the right word is "purist."

Trivia: I be liberal, yo

Your Political Profile

Overall: 20% Conservative, 80% Liberal

Social Issues: 75% Conservative, 25% Liberal

Personal Responsibility: 0% Conservative, 100% Liberal

Fiscal Issues: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal

Ethics: 0% Conservative, 100% Liberal

Defense and Crime: 0% Conservative, 100% Liberal

Words: battery [MW]

Main Entry: bat·tery
Pronunciation: 'ba-t(&-)rE
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural -ter·ies
Etymology: Middle French batterie, from Old French, from battre to beat, from Latin battuere
1 a : the act of battering or beating b : an offensive touching or use of force on a person without the person's consent -- compare ASSAULT 2a
2 a : a grouping of artillery pieces for tactical purposes b : the guns of a warship
3 : an artillery unit in the army equivalent to a company
4 a : a combination of apparatus for producing a single electrical effect b : a group of two or more cells connected together to furnish electric current; also : a single cell that furnishes electric current (a flashlight battery)
5 a : a number of similar articles, items, or devices arranged, connected, or used together : SET, SERIES (a battery of tests) b : a usually impressive or imposing group : ARRAY
6 : the position of readiness of a gun for firing
7 : the pitcher and catcher of a baseball team

(Technically, your store-bought AA, AAA, C and D batteries are actually standalone power cells, while your car battery connects a parallel series of internal cells to produce a true battery. Also, Ben Franklin coined the term battery from the word battering, which is what an electric shock felt like, since the chief use of galvanic cells and batteries in pre-industrial days was for entertainment. Query: If zapping became an Olympic, endurance, or extreme sports competition, would its athletes be known as shock jocks?)

Journalism: Peter Jennings, 1938-2005

Peter Jennings, a lion of the journalism profession, has passed on after battling lung cancer.

Born in Toronto, Canada, to a news anchorman, Jennings hosted a children's show at age 9 and began his reporting career with ABC in Saigon at age 26. As head anchor at ABC, his reputation as a tough enforcer of the highest professional standards was backed on the other side of the coin by his genuine affection and concern for others.

Jennings loved the news and followed it every day to his last. He once said during an interview, "I've been trying to discover America ever since I came to America. Every journalist does."

Peter Jennings loved the world and all that was happening in the world every day. That is why he was a lifelong journalist, and one of the highest caliber.

Media: Dove's Campaign for Real Beauty

You've got to give kudos to Dove (the soap, not the chocolate), a division of Unilever, for its Campaign for Real Beauty, now appearing through TV commercials and the Web.

I haven't seen the TV spots yet, but LK tells me one involves a line of women in blonde wigs filing in, forming a circle, pulling off their wigs (revealing women with hair and races of all types) and flinging them in the air. (Message: We reject the Barbie doll stereotype.) Another involves an older woman telling younger men regarding her age, "We don't miss you at all." (Message: We reject men's adolescent values and objectivization of women.)

I have seen the website, and it commendably rejects the use of models to show "real women" of "real beauty." Health information, beauty advice and other material supporting the campaign appear to be excellent, with extensive visitor participation designed into the website (and a crosslink to

Unless current trends are reversed, we seem to be on a path to realize the worst fictional fears of recent generations in cinema and literature -- The Stepford Wives and worse. I hope and expect that nearly every woman outside of L.A. will join me in saying that I cannot praise Dove highly enough for taking this courageous and much-needed stand.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Technology: Computers and bugs

Despite dramatic trends in the development of computer technology in terms of processing power, miniaturization and cost economies, the Wikipedia article on computers illustrates that they have yet to reach the complexity of one insect brain -- and they aren't projected to approach the complexity of one human brain until 2025.

No matter how "realistic" you think video games have become, remember that computer graphics pioneer Alvy Ray Smith said about 20 years ago, '"Reality is 50 million polygons per second."

Gibberwocky: pervonious

Gibberwocky: nattercate

Questions: Imperfection or hypocrisy?

Which would you choose to accept, in yourself or in others: imperfection or hypocrisy?

If a person has good intentions but poor execution, that's imperfection. We are all imperfect at various times.

If a person has good beliefs but bad actions, that's hypocrisy. (The church treasurer who steals on the side.) Alternately, if a person has bad beliefs masked by good actions, that's hypocrisy. (The church lady who says, "I'm not saying this to offend you, but..." and then proceeds to intentionally offend you.)

I think we all need to accept imperfection as part of the human condition, and work within its limits (while never accepting them as written in stone). But do we need to accept hypocrisy? It is part of the fallen human condition (less than the given), so it need not be written in stone (contrary to those who indulge in it).

In the movie Contact, Tom Skerrit's character stabs Jodie Foster's in the back to win an unprecedented diplomatic appointment. After expressing his surprise that she even attended the event that her intergalactic discovery enabled, he said, "I wish we lived in a world where things didn't happen like that, but unfortunately, we don't." Her response: "Funny, I always thought the world was what we made it."

Relationships: Love vs. lust

It is very difficult to find people who understand (and will admit) the difference between love and lust. Here are a few litmus tests off the top of my head:

If some or any one (of a given group, such as redheads or cowboys) will do, it's lust.
If only one (person in particular) will do, it's love.
If it's about your needs, it's lust.
If it's about your partner's needs (unless fulfilling them is about your needs), it's love.
If your religious teachings or moral precepts say one thing and your actions say another, it's lust.
If your words and your actions align, it's love.
If you say one thing yet do another, it's lust.
If you have recently experienced or are currently experiencing emotional trauma, if you are unsure of or unable to explain the full scope of your moral values, or if you want to but are not always able to say or do the loving thing -- then you are on your way but have yet to arrive and familiarize yourself with the territory of love.

Love has integrity. Lust spurns it.
Love knows what is the right thing to do.
Love does not know the outcome of all paths -- but it knows how to keep its footing in difficult terrain.

Email: Speaking vs. writing [SD]

Speaking in person has its benefits (one is immediacy) while speaking in email has its own (one is mediacy: any time you write -- whether in an individual correspondence or for the mass media -- you get to mediate, or process and present, your thoughts more carefully than just spouting them out in real time). Each person has a greater or lesser facility with one or the other, yet I think the trick is not to focus only on one's strong suit but to develop one's skills in all forms of communication -- and then to use them appropriately, whatever the need or setting.

Email: Dominance and control [SD]

By dominant I meant overpowering (which is why I said it can only happen when one partner is being a total control freak). By the way, your ex has no business asking your opinion on his life or edicts -- that is yet another ploy to keep you in his orbit and control. It was good for you to see and say that his goal is total control. Now just learn to separate yourself from it so it no longer affects or impinges on your own orbital mechanics.

Definitely listen to classical music if you used to do so before your marriage went south. It is a part of your soul that was lost and you should find again.

Email: Breaking expectations [SD]

Thanks for your understanding. All I ask is that you take me as I am, not as others you have known have been. It seems only fair.