Saturday, September 17, 2005

Weblogs: Lamentation

Tim Youmans, Anabaptist Monk: Lamentation by Dr. Clyde Fant:
"How like a widow sits the city once so beautiful!
She weeps bitterly in the night, with tears on her cheeks,
Because there is none to comfort her.
She stretched forth her hands, but none came to her;
They heard how she was groaning, but none came unto her.
In her streets the flood bereaves;
In the sodden houses it is like death.
The leaders and elders of the city have fled, but the poor are trapped within her levees."

(Click the post title link to read the whole moving poem.)

Weblogs: Daily affirmations for bloggers

"+ When I post under an assumed name or funky handle, I can get in closer touch with my Inner Sociopath.
+ I have the power to channel my perceptions of my enemies into ever-soaring levels of suspicion and paranoia.
+ I assume full responsibility for my posts, especially the good ones that are just links to someone else's.
+ I no longer need to punish, deceive, compromise or reveal either the extent of my blogging or the URL of my secret blog where I post the truth about my co-workers' bodily functions. Unless, of course, I want to stay employed.
+ At either Indymedia or Little Green Footballs, most of what I post would be considered normal.
+ I honor my grammatical flaws, for without them I would have no writing style at all."

(Click the post title link to read the whole entry.)

Weblogs: X-Wing from Paris metro tickets

(via All Things Christie)

(Click the post title link if the picture does not display.)

Weblogs: A serendipitous round-up

A Serendipitous Intention: "Do you ever wish you had an online catalog of your books? Okay, so maybe you don’t dream of one, but it sure would be nice, right? Now there is LibraryThing, a web application that serves this exact purpose. As a bonus it even works well with Delicious Library, one of my favorite programs. If you are interested in following LibraryThing you can subscribe to the blog."

(Delicious Library, for Mac OS X, helps you catalog your books, music, and movies by scanning the bar code with a Firewire video camera, then uploading catalog information and integrating with Address Book for loans, thus letting you run a one-person library.)

"We all make typos, right? If you are smart, you know that you can benefit from other people’s typos on eBay with Fat Fingers. I have yet to find anything, but then again I’m not a big eBay fanatic at the moment."

(I searched for Tolkien and Fat Fingers found 71 misspelled items on eBay.)

"Also on the web, there is a cool reverse dictionary that helps you find the perfect word. You have no idea how useful this will be to me. I am always thinking of meanings and can never find a word that matches them."

Weblogs: For hypersensitives everywhere

A Suburban Mom Like No Other "It's here. I have come to that wonderful phase of my life where I no longer care what people think of me or my choices.

Sensitivity can be a very good thing; it makes you kinder, more compassionate, more considerate of other people's feelings. It alters your behaviour, for the better because it's unbearable to feel the guilt of having hurt someone, or the shame of not helping when you were able. But sensitivity has a price. It makes you sticky. Every little unkind word, every injustice, every sad story sticks. And it's hard to live like that. Ad no matter how hard you try, you just cannot brush it off. You can say you don't care, but you do. You can try to forget, but you can't. You can even decide not to be affected, and you will be. Because even that decision will have its own cost. And really, who wants to be an asshole anyway. [...]

And then a miracle! By age or by choice or by Divinity, I know not which, the dream of the sensitive person everywhere materialized in my life: it occurred to me that I don't care, not in a self-esteem affecting way anyway, what people think of me anymore.

But, and this is the miracle part, I can feel this way while still caring about other things. I get to keep the good parts of sensitivity without all the bad.

I wish the same for you."

Weblogs: Viacom Outdoor plays joke on McDonald's

Adrants - Marketing and Advertising News With Attitude: "Either a serious case of spiteful humor overcame the Viacom posting crew or human stupidity, as it so often does, reared its uneducated head with this odd placement of a McDonald's billboard directly beneath a childhood obesity billboard. All we say is thank God for the proliferation of digital cameras so we can revel in the oddities and wonders of advertising."

(Click the post title link if the picture does not display.)

Weblogs: Ad campaign tells boys to control testosterone

Adrants - Marketing and Advertising News With Attitude: "A recently launched California ad campaign, called My Strength [is not for hurting] with taglines such as, 'So when she wanted me to stop, I stopped,' and 'So when I paid for our date, she didn't owe me' is encouraging boys to eschew the usual boys club silence and become more active in preventing sexual assaults and reporting them after they occur."

Weblogs: "Dang! Which one is th' fellers' can?"

(via The Adventures of Accordion Guy in the 21st Century)

(Click the post title link if the picture does not display.)

Weblogs: Canine ingenuity

(I haven't had time to speak of Molley's antics, but this describes her to a T -- as in Twerpette.)

AKMA’s Random Thoughts: "This morning, I was struck yet again with how absurdly foolish our small Bichon Fris�can be. On our morning walk, she cowered submissively for the half block as a Doberman approached, then barked and leaped at the Doberman as it walked past us. I apologized — the Doberman could have swallowed Bea whole without even noticing. Then, as if to adjust her standards, she tried to pounce on the next dog we saw, a miniature poodle that walked by us (again after crouching in submission). The poodle was actually Bea’s size, but the poodle was behaving herself.

With all this manifestation of her diminished capacity, I reflected that she had no problem at all with what seemed to me an impressively abstract problem. When she’s on the leash, whenever we pass a tree, street sign, lamp post, or whatever, she always walks on the same side as I do.

The leash hangs behind her head, so she doesn’t have visual stimulation telling her she’s tied to me. I’ve never scolded her or deliberately given training relative to tree navigation. The concept of “connectedness” is pretty fluid and elusive. Yet even though she would walk out in front of a moving car, though she would challenge a Doberman, though she treats her red doggie toy as a great threat to family security, yet she understands not to try to walk around the opposite side of a tree when she’s on a leash. Strange dog."

Weblogs: Music and the future

AKMA’s Random Thoughts: "As flash storage gets more capacious and less expensive, the worth of lossless (and eventually, at denser-than-CD quality) recordings increases. We can easily foresee, say, 100-GB flash drives (roughly the size of the iPod Nano) filled with CD-quality recordings. That’s what, 150 albums worth of recordings? 3000 audiophile-caliber selections? If you devoted eight hours to listening, seven days a week, it would still take you almost three weeks to hear your whole collection. [...] We’re extraordinarily near a watershed in our listening culture."

Weblogs: Passwords, On storage for later retrieval and use

(Here's what I do: Keep my passwords in password-protected file; thus I always have a current list to refer to or print if necessary. I don't use the same password for everything, for security reasons; I prefer a creative variety to a predictable monotony.)

A Librarian's Guide to Etiquette "If you have trouble remembering your lengthy list of username-and-password combinations for all of your work-related websites (never mind your Blogger username, which you're used to just logging you in automatically, until one day, it doesn't...and you have to dig really deep to remember it), you have two choices: 1) keep a Word doc with all of your passwords, and risk having some bottom-feeding co-worker run up the Dialog tab on your login or 2) use the same password for everything. Just make sure it's not a stupid password like '69librarian69' because the IT guys have access to all that stuff and they'll gossip about you."

Weblogs: Copy Editor Wanted

A Perfectly Cromulent Blog: "Did you know the letters 'O' and 'P' are right next to each other on a keyboard?

And did you know how easy it is type a 'P' instead of an 'O,' especially when you're a self-taught typist like me?

And do you know what the word 'superheroes' becomes when you commit exactly that error?

Good thing that review hadn't run yet. And why the hell is 'superherpes' in my MS Word dictionary?"

Weblogs: Shitting your pants, The appropriateness of

A Librarian's Guide to Etiquette: "The availability of free online books from Google makes it absolutely appropriate for librarians to shit their pants.

Seriously. Quit your job. Move to the woods. Learn to live off the land."

Gibberwocky: empidion

Gibberwocky: peridean

Band Names: Flirtin' Turtles

Friday, September 16, 2005

Email: AOL Support

[This is irrelevant to my question too, but AOL later responded to say that webmail can be accessed via]

So you're saying Mac users can't access using Internet Explorer, AOL Explorer, Netscape Navigator, or Apple Safari -- even though your website says they can use Safari, but it doesn't work -- and the only browser that will work for Mac users is Firefox. Well, I figured that out two days ago. Thanks for the glacial, thrice-off-base, and ultimately elliptical response.

How far the entrenched browsers have fallen, that the world's largest ISP now accepts only version 1.06 of the newcomer instead of its own or its licensed browsers!

> ----------original message----------
> That's not what I said [that your answer solved the problem].
> I said (in my first email) that I had to do something completely
> out-of-the-box because your website is not working.
> I said (in my second email) that even your instructions (in part) failed to
> work as well.
> Please read what I said and fix your website!
>> ----------original message----------
>> Thanks for your information, all of which I knew and have tried or did not
>> apply, except for the alternate AOL sites which I had not thought of.
>> However, if I may bring to your attention that this URL "does not exist on
>> this server":
>>> ----------original message----------
>>> When I got to in MSIE (latest version for
>>> OS 9), it says the technology is old and to use Firefox or
>>> Safari. So under OS X I got to using Safari
>>> and I get the same message. I can only get to the AOL
>>> and AIM upgrade pages by selecting a link at the
>>> bottom of the page.

Language: Paco Peco [Spanish]

(I remembered parts of the Spanish tonguetwister "Paco Peco" from Terry at Twin City Institute for Talented Youth, so I Googled the rest and found a whole page of Spanish trabalenguas.)

Paco Peco, chico rico,
le gritaba como un loco
a su tío Federico.
Y éste dijo: Poco a poco,
Paco Peco, ¡poco pico!

Email: My sincere appreciation [MS]

Without spending too much time explaining what should be plainly visible: Yes, my appreciation for you is sincere (not perfunctory). I don't think about it, analyze it, or worry about it. It just is -- as it would be, I think, for anyone who knows you.

Email: A man explains men [SS]

JD is cheerful and sweet (you notice that right away) and that always gets men's attention. But she is a wise and spiritual person too.

I'm not the type to be embittered by a bad experience; and besides, every experience is mixed. You don't want someone who blames others instead of facing his own responsibility first; sees things in only black or white instead of grays (because all grays come out looking black, and that includes almost all of life) not to mention colors; or describes himself as or acts like a confirmed bachelor (as so many do).

I think the interest in your availability (if I may say so) is less based in knowing who you are as a unique woman and more in the male ideas of conquering new territory or (to put it crudely) "fresh meat." So many men perk their eyebrows when they hear about a divorced or separated woman; you don't want to go near these guys -- or anyone who knows nothing about you as a person, but is interested in you only because you are biologically a woman [and "fresh on the market"]. (I'll wager he's not interested that you are intellectually, emotionally or spiritually a woman.) Since you say you're holding your cards close, you will probably see through insincerity and make wise choices; but I've spoken with so many women who haven't, that I just want to put the warning out there. Who better to understand and explain the good as well as the bad side of men but a man?

I [think everyone] seek[s] the warmth (emotional, spiritual, intellectual, physical) of intimate companionship. It is my sincere hope that everyone can [find it], at some point in their lives.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Feasts: St. Hildegard von Bingen (Sept. 17)

(by Darrell Grizzle of Blog of the Grateful Bear via AnamTuras)

This Saturday, Sept. 17th, is the feast day of Hildegard von Bingen -- not Celtic, but many have been inspired by her mystical writings.

In the last several years, several CDs of her music have been released. Here are three of my favorites: "Vision" (Angel Records) combines the beauty of female voices with contemporary settings of Hildegard's music; a more traditional rendition, the very moving "Canticles of Ecstasy" by Sequentia (the Cologne Sequentia Ensemble for Medieval Music); [and] "Lux Vivens (Living Light): The Music Of Hildegard Von Bingen" by Jocelyn Montgomery, is a CD which features a video you can play on your computer.

Prayer for the feast day of Hildegard (traditional language):

O God, by whose grace thy servant Hildegard, enkindled with the fire of thy love, became a burning and shining light in thy Church: Grant that we also may be aflame with the spirit of love and discipline, and may ever walk before thee as children of light; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, liveth and reigneth, one God, now and for ever.

Feasts: St. Ninian of Galloway (Sept. 16)

(by Darrell Grizzle of Blog of the Grateful Bear via AnamTuras)

This Friday, Sept. 16th, is the feast day of Ninian of Galloway, Bishop, Missionary to Scotland (A.D. 430). You can read about this Celtic Christian, and see a picture of St. Ninian's Cave, [by clicking on this post's title link].

Prayer for the feast day of Ninian (traditional language):

O God, who by the preaching of thy blessed servant and bishop Ninian didst cause the light of the Gospel to shine in the land of Britain: Grant, we beseech thee, that, having his life and labors in remembrance, we may show forth our thankfulness by following the example of his zeal and patience; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Music: Canty - Flame of Ireland

(by Carl McColman via AnamTuras via Shewings)

Canty - Flame of Ireland: Medieval Irish Plainchant for St. Brigit

If you love medieval chant and have even a mild interest in Celtic spirituality, here's a must-own recording of four women singing a Matins service for the feast of St. Brigit of Kildare (February 1, the Christianised holiday of Imbolc). Reminiscent of the work of the American quartet Anonymous 4, this recording offers a glimpse of what a Latin prayer service sung in an Irish convent a thousand years ago might have sounded like. The service itself combines traditional elements of Christian worship (such as the Venite, Psalm 95) with a variety of unique antiphons, canticles and readings that celebrate the mythic life of Brigit. The liner notes provide English translations of the Latin text, so those of us who are philistines can fully appreciate the powerful evocations of the Divine Feminine: "The King of Heaven had regard / To the handmaid of low estate / Of whom he brought forth Brigit / The noble child / The appearing of this child / Many portents / Did foretell, prefiguring / Great joy to come / By night her mother's cot / Was all ablaze with light / Which presaged the merits / Of the infant in her womb." The vocals are nothing short of splendid -- when you listen, give this CD your full attention and be prepared to be transported into another world. Finally, note should be made of the use of the wire-strung harp to accompany the four women's voices. Although the instrument as used in this recording was played improvisationally, it is based on a mounting body of evidence that the harp was used as accompaniment in medieval religious music.

Books: Where Three Streams Meet

(by Carl McColman via AnamTuras via Shewings)

Where Three Streams Meet: Celtic Spirituality
by Sean O Duinn, OSB

I bought this gem at Eason's wonderful bookstore on O'Connell Street in Dublin; it doesn't appear to be readily available in the USA although you can order it through O Duinn is a monk of Glenstal Abbey and a lecturer on Irish heritage at the University of Limerick; this book presents his lovely and poetic vision of how Irish spirituality represents an weaving together of neolithic, pagan, and Christian traditions (hence the "three streams" of the title). The book begins with chapters devoted to teasing out the elusive identity of the Celtic world, as the author considers lifestyle, customs, politics, ancestor-worship, and the gods and goddesses of the ancient Celts. His chapter on the concept of "neart" is especially illuminating and important for anyone interested in magical, shamanic, or healing dimensions of Celtic wisdom. From there O Duinn goes on to consider specifically Christian dimensions of Celtic spirituality, looking at Irish understandings of the Easter Mystery (and its relation to Bealtaine), traditional Gaelic prayers and intercession for the dead, and the intersection points between the cycles of nature, the Celtic sacred year, and the Christian liturgical calendar. It's a wonderful book that demonstrates how a thoroughly Christian sensibility can coexist symbiotically with the rich nature mysticism of the Celtic world. Highly recommended.

Quotes: "neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but right" (MLK)

Cowardice asks the question, "Is it safe?" Expediency asks the question, "Is it politic?" Vanity asks the question, "Is it popular?" But, conscience asks the question, "Is it right?" And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but one must take it because one's conscience tells one that it is right. -- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Raves: Mozilla Firefox

I have finally taken time to upgrade everything, including my web browser.

Speaking in general, as a technology writer of 21 years, I have used (and sometimes taught) almost every software product in existence; this includes every web browser in almost every version. Yes, I have tried them all, and like LK, I am a big fan of Mozilla's Firefox.

For one thing, it is fast. For another, it displays every page with crystal clarity, exactly as the designers intend. Go ahead and compare, and you'll see just how shabby Internet Explorer has become.

Firefox is open source and free, so it is a good model to see how Linux and other free software efforts may eventually break the Microsoft megalopoly. Or so we can hope.

Proverbs: That's life. Pass the chocolate.

Humor: Chocolate bars

A survey asked me: What kind of chocolate candy do you eat?

That is like asking what kind of water do I drink, what kind of air do I breathe, what kinds of words do I speak.

All of them, you idiots!

I couldn’t say that, so I put: Everything.

Then I thought: No limits.

Then I thought: No holds barred.

Finally, I put: No bars held.

I’m not sure they will get the joke -- but that’s life. Pass the chocolate.

Press: Movie-plot threats - Wired

(by Bruce Schneier, via Cryptogram via Wired)

We need to defend against the broad threat of terrorism, not against specific movie plots. Security is most effective when it doesn't make arbitrary assumptions about the next terrorist act. We need to spend more money on intelligence and investigation: identifying the terrorists themselves, cutting off their funding, and stopping them regardless of what their plans are. We need to spend more money on emergency response: lessening the impact of a terrorist attack, regardless of what it is. And we need to face the geopolitical consequences of our foreign policy and how it helps or hinders terrorism.

These vague things are less visible, and don't make for good political grandstanding. But they will make us safer. Throwing money at this year's movie plot threat won't.

Email: Web marketing [KF]

I did guess it was an opt-in newsletter, and once I did, I softened my initial opinion of it considerably. The thing is that very few people really know anything about Internet marketing. It's like regular marketing only more obscure because its focus groups are in real time: You either get business or you don't. The lab is the market.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Travel: New Ulm, Minnesota

At noon we all went to watch the Glockenspiel, a 45-foot clock tower with 37 bells and 12 moving figurines (yes, I read the plaques) in downtown New Ulm that plays three times a day since 1980. The figurines include a lacrosse-playing Indian and a bricklayer to satisfy the Native American and Bricklayers Union lobbies (I'm kidding), while the rest of them include several dance figures in elegant German (Bohemian) dress. By the way, New Ulm remains "the most German town in America."

Next, we found we couldn't climb to the top of the Herman the German monument (110 feet) because it had closed on Labor Day.

Next, the boys and I enjoyed a historic home turned art gallery and explored a German gift shop before visiting The Sausage Shop for a snack, then heading to the August Schell brewery. Schell's is the second-oldest family-owned brewery in the nation, and we got to see and learn more than my first tour about 12 years ago. They observe old-world brewing methods (following the German Purity Code of 1508) and sell t-shirts that read "If your brewery is surrounded by 14,000 thirsty Germans, you had better have really good beer." (My favorite is their 1919 brand root beer though.) Schell's beer is only available in the five-state upper midwest region, sad to say.

The home of Wanda Gag (illustrator of Millions of Cats) will be a worthwhile stop for another time.

Email: Oh, be wan! [KF]

Oh I haven't even begun trying to be amazing. This is me at my most wan and understated. ;-)

Travel: Minnesota praise and peeves

Midwest has wonderfully large leather seats with adjustable head and foot rests.

Airport wireless Internet will cost you, and you can find no tech support after business hours in a major metro airport like MSP. I sat all night (waiting for a red-eye flight), writing and queueing emails as if it were a decade ago, because only one person covers the phones at night, and no personnel I could find were aware that wireless Internet access was available, much less a wholly different thing than the credit-card-operated kiosks in the business center, which I could not reach during the graveyard shift.

I have vowed not to stay in a Microtel again: They have walls and halls that relay every thump-thump-thump (and especially every CRASH!) that the building endures from overly energetic guests (who were legion in my case). I called to get at least the people above us to stop making the walls and windows rattle, but you could hear every conversation in adjacent rooms and halls (plus aforementioned sound effects).

Email: Baseball and beer [SS]

I don't think they have ale at baseball stadiums. I wouldn't even go so far as to call stadium beer a pilsner!

9/15: I stand partially corrected. In this day and age, dome stadiums offer Heineken, Corona and other mass-produced brands. Would that they offer microbrews and foreign brands however!

Ads: Drugs on TV

Forget the blatant pandering of Viagra and its ilk to the video-glazed masses (as in one commercial, where crowds of men and women leap, cavort and "boogie down"); take any drug commercial and you have a panoply of psychology to study for a decade of college mass communications courses. Let's baldly summarize, amalgamate and read between the lines of the statements from just a few ads:

I was becoming so decrepit, I couldn't enjoy diddly-squat with my spouse or grandkids.
My pharmacist said I don't have to be so glum.
So I bugged my doctor about this drug and now my life is fine.
Life was a boring expanse of ennui but now everything is hunky dory.
Now my kids don't mumble behind my back any more.
My wife not only looks at me but now she beams at me adoringly, and this isn't even a Viagra ad.

Proverbs: Stinginess and scrupulosity may not be sins, but they're not God's will, either

Press: More Kids Being Home-Churched - The Onion (satire)

September 14, 2005 | Issue 41€37

BIRMINGHAM, AL—A new trend in the religious upbringing of children has recently emerged in the heart of the Bible Belt. "Home-churching," the individual, family-based worship of Jesus Christ, is steadily gaining in popularity, as more parents seek an alternative to what they consider the overly humanist content of organized worship.

Norville Tucker, who moved his family to the woods outside Shelby, AL in 1998 to "escape the damaging cultural influences of urban Mobile," is widely credited with pioneering the home-churching movement. Tucker said he was inspired to home-church when his 10-year-old son Macon returned from Sunday school singing a lighthearted song about Zacchaeus, a tax collector befriended by Christ, and then later recited the parable of the Good Samaritan.

"I couldn't believe that the liberal elite had infiltrated even the study of our Holy Scriptures," Tucker said. "It was bad enough that my youngsters were being taught evolution in public schools, but when I discovered they were learning to embrace foreigners and Big Government in Sunday school, I drew the line."

Home-churchers create their own services, emphasizing close readings of Old Testament books led by a parent, and sermons that often exceed two hours. Proponents of home-churching argue that, when handed down by family members, biblical teachings take on a more direct, personal meaning. Additionally, they say home-churching reinforces familial bonds.

"When I open the Good Book and begin to preach, my kids associate all the things they learn about—the floods, the plagues, the impalings, the threat of eternal hellfire—with their daddy," Tucker said.

Many home-churchers say they chose to worship at home because they objected to "licentiousness" within the church social structure.

Chattanooga, TN's Judith May MacAuliffe, who home-churches her family of five, said her frequent complaints about modern church music and coed potluck dinners fell on deaf ears for years. It was only after she discovered that the evangelical summer day camp in which she enrolled her eldest daughters emphasized Frisbee and horseback riding that she made the move to private worship.

"We don't need these born-again evangelists watering down God's fearsome judgment," MacAuliffe said. "It sickened me to think that young Christian boys and girls were sharing canoes, watching occult videos of bewitched talking vegetables, and arranging pieces of macaroni into suggestive patterns in a so-called 'wholesome' setting."

MacAuliffe added: "By separating my children from sinful elements, I can finally teach the lessons of Leviticus in peace, without all this 'let he who is without sin cast the first stone' nonsense."

Critics of the home-churching movement argue that its practitioners deprive children of a well-rounded religious education.

"An untrained theologian is not equipped to address the thornier questions of morality," said Rev. Lawrence Case of Grace Methodist Church in Homestead, FL. "Home-churchers often make their own interpretations of complicated biblical instruction such as 'knowing' daughters, or whether eating a rock-badger is as sinful as eating a regular one."

Home-churchers like Pottsville, AR's Othniel Beebe say that in an increasingly secularized world, "Home worship is the only safe worship."

"My kids don't have to understand everything in the Bible—I don't claim to," Beebe said. "But it ain't my place to question God's will. As long as my Caleb grows up understanding pestilence, sin, massacres, and to eternally fear the wrath of our Lord—and not this warm and fuzzy 'universal brotherhood' crap—then I've done right by Jesus."

Language: Certainly

Rev. David Smith taught me in college that whenever someone uses the word "certainly," they are almost always asserting an opinion. I have seen this to be true almost every day since then. See if you do too.

Journalism: News from Iraq

Although I disagree with this non-professional's assessment of what is news, and that news services are the problem, this is a great story of what our soldiers are doing.

Email: Minnesota vs. Houston [KF]

Yes, north of Houston is woody and green. (I didn't link Lake Livingston to the Piney Woods, though any Texan knows they are connected; and The Woodlands and even Conroe are connected in turn; but these are still not Houston proper.) Flying over Houston vs. flying over the Twin Cities is an esthetic experience that differs by order of a magnitude (ten times the difference). Yes, no snow in Houston; and I tell Minnesotans the same every time. Every state or city we call home has tradeoffs; I was only comparing one set. It's good to be proud of your home -- and I am getting there, set by set, even if some will never top off in comparison.

Language: Tyampa

The boarding pass checker at my Milwaukee airport gate just said "Tyampa, Florida" over the PA. I wondered if MAD-TV's "phshah" lady is in the neighborhood, but I don't think she has half enough makeup.

Email: Creamed corn test [MG]

How [a couple knows they] are compatible has something to do with how simply and seamlessly [they] demonstrate real affection and care for each other. As my brother Scott puts it, "Does she pass the creamed corn test? Is this the person I can happily feed creamed corn to" when she has lost her teeth and can no longer see me very well?

With women it seems to be "if you cared, you'd change" (cajoling), whereas with men it seems to be "shoulda woulda coulda" (controlling). Either way induces guilt and is essentially immature or manipulative, just in different ways.

Musings: Why men flip

It's a testosterone thing; you wouldn't understand, so don't ask much less complain about it. Men don't want to waste time; they prefer to stay on edge, get in thick of things, be hands on; they want to see and want to do, and now; taking the slow path to anything is anathema. Being male means flipping; you can't have one without the other. So if you're grateful to have a man in your life, channel flipping seems a small price to pay, right?

Email: Dater, know thyself [SS]

Separated people usually need time before they consider a relationship -- even though they think they're ready at the time. [Questions to ask yourself:] Are you seeking a platonic friend or romantic partner? Short-term or long-term? (I know; it seems so complicated!) Good kisser or great kisser? (I know it sounds funny, but men and women really must have an answer for this, because they "settle" all the time.)