Saturday, December 31, 2005

Email: Losing limitations [AS]

Did you ever see Regarding Henry? Harrison Ford played a hard-ass attorney who suffers a head injury and mellows out so that his kids actually like him and he does the right thing by others.

I try to ignore my limitations as often as possible. Remember, the bumblebee doesn't know that it's impossible it can fly.

Email: Liberal media and litmus tests [AS]

I used to get 1,000 spam emails a day until I turned on my spam filters (aggressively). I recommend you consider taking similar measures. Now I get 12-15 a day. Another alternative is to use an address like janedoe2005 and change it each year; human beings should be able to figure it out, but spammers will be thrown off the trail.

I have no idea [yet] what a lagunillero is, and doesn't have it either. Lagoon is laguna and so my best guess is buccaneer; several Google references say Che Guevara called someone El Lagunillero (in the context of guerrilla activities).

I am with you on the pro-journalism angle -- because you and I both worked hard to ensure fairness and accuracy in our work, and the majority of journalists we know are hard-working and sincere professionals. It's a rabble-rousing rubric for conservatives to blame "the liberal media" -- because political pandering requires one or more enemies to rally against -- and the whole world becomes "liberal" when right-wingers believe themselves to be the "center." (Because they are reactionary by definition, conservatives predictably believe themselves to hold the only orthodox view, when they are in fact extremists who are far right of center.)

I believe in identifying one's hot buttons and learning to control them so they don't control you.

There have been litmus tests before Rush [Limbaugh] came along. A litmus test is a decision tree or flowchart that outlines your must-haves or can't-stands based on a handful of possible alternatives. (Will you accept [when dating] someone who doesn't drink, drinks socially, drinks often, or is an alcoholic?) It's not a litmus test for me, but I find a strong correlation for compatibility with women who are in business [management], the arts or esp. education (secondary level and above) -- as opposed to blue-collar jobs, for instance. I know certain personality types or backgrounds clash with mine (Brainiac + Barbie = Not So Good). I am open to serendipity and surprise, but I try to draw every lesson I can from experience too.

Email: Banter vs. tunnel vision [AS]

Banter is playful between partners or friends; recurring arguments are dysfunctional and sociopathic.

Bible studies are good for most people (so long as the teacher is qualified), however they are usually a painful experience for me (because the leader is often unqualified). I just refuse to attend Bible studies led by laypersons any more. Faith is no excuse for ignorance. I attend a number of congregations and denominations, because I don't believe in cultivating tunnel vision, esp. regarding faith in God.

Sounds like you encountered the classic trait of Catholic (or any) fundamentalism: Only-we-are-right-and-you-are-wrong. Jesus was not a Catholic (no matter what Catholics believe)! When anyone demands that you be open-minded -- when they will not -- run...

Friday, December 30, 2005

Religion: When conservatism kills

What kind of religion teaches married women in Africa that they must not use condoms, or refuse to have sex with their husband, even if they know he has been infected with HIV/AIDS? What kind of religion teaches that the wife must be faithful (not generally a problem) when the husband is known to be blatantly otherwise (and this is condoned)?

What kind of religion forces people to choose between faith and "salvation" -- and emotional and spiritual joy, not to mention the fullness of life itself?

Neologisms: ass-whollopered

Both Chase Bank and Randalls store locations are completely ass-whollopered when you view their Sugar Land locations on their websites; if you call each establishment, because the map is clearly jacked, real locations are actually miles from where the map depicts. Ass-whollopered is a blend of whopper-jawed (Southern, like cattywumpus, for skewed) and ass-whooping -- which is what these folks should get for having such poor location search technology, two months into the World Wide Web's 13th year.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Words: An F-word etymology

This extensive discussion of the F word also gives the word in many world languages.

(I'm posting this find after a ten-minute tear researching the word neak, as in "Neak off!" which is frequently used by Magda Szubanski's character in Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course, one of my youngest son's favorite movies. Neak turns out to be the F word in Arabic.)

Words: bug off, sod off

Aussie or Brit ways of saying f--- off (but not heterosexually).

Humor: figs in Afghanistan, kumquats in Kuwait

My high school honors math teacher (Bro. Walter Schreiner) used to say sometimes in response to a student's attempt at a proof, "Well, both my grandmothers are dead, but what does that prove?" Since then (for more than 30 years), I've been plying my own coined non-sequiturs: "What's that got to do with the price of figs in Afghanistan?" and "What's that got to do with the price of kumquats in Kuwait?"

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Neologisms: mediary

Short form of intermediary. Interestingly, the word is not in MW or AHED, though it is in Roget's.

Email: Comfort or style [CW]

It used to blow me away [in high school] during the morning rush hour to see all these women dressed to the nines but in walking shoes. Later I realized they were just being practical! Surprising to me since fashion-conscious women never seemed to be practical. (Fashion is always about form, not function, right?)

I think of you as a non-high-heel, comfort-shoe person even when you're not wearing an orthopedic boot. ;-)

Keep your eyes open! That's the sign of a true artist (or writer)!

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Email: Candor in online dating [AS]

It's been a peeve of mine for 30 years that people use the Internet for dishonest purposes. In fact, in the beginning, I had the notion that if everyone had to put their full name on everything they said and did, no one would say or do anything reprehensible on the Internet (as in print, when journalists put their names on their words to stand by them). However, where anonymity and stalkers abound (with fewer [legal] resources to date than the world of print publishing), caution is still the word of the day for the Internet frontier. I agree with you: "The Internet can be a great thing, if used correctly."

I suppose one of my leading [questions when dating online] is: Are you interested in me as a person, not just a potential dating partner? Because I don't want to date and consider a committed relationship with anyone who wouldn't want to know or communicate with me (as a friend) if we weren't dating. I'm interested in [a dating partner] as a whole person, not as someone who will fulfill a need or desire. In other words, I don't want to date anyone [who] meets, kisses (or dallies), and then moves on -- as it were, leaving a list of former dating partners behind like a trail of used Kleenex. I seek a dating partner who knows herself and what she wants, but doesn't make our acquaintance an all-or-nothing, what's-in-it-for-me transaction. Men do that often enough; I don't want a woman who does that too.

Email: No wenches with wrenches [SD]

Things are going better also because you (with God) are more in control. Letting the ship sail as a spindrift doesn't help; steering it firmly does.

Life business never gets "done" because we are never spiritually complete or fulfilled (the Greek word implies ["ripe" or] "mature" as with fruit). I am ready for whatever life presents to me, however. I am not afraid.

I like questions born of curiosity. Questions born of insecurity, not so much.

Girlfriends have the tendency to disappear and not want to remain a girl who is a friend. [People often say they want to marry their best friend; what kind of friend drops you like a wet Kleenex if you don't happen to be married?]

I am organized and have a good memory; all I seem to lack is time.

I'll just repeat that if you know me at all, you should know you won't get lost in the shuffle -- and the only thing that would "throw a wrench in things" is to keep fearing whether you are throwing a wrench in things.

Email: Single parent dating [SD]

The question is always, does a young child need to meet his parent's dating partner? The default answer to this question, with the child's best interests in mind, should always be "Not yet"; and it should require a very strong reason to counter that boundary.

Some people will ask information of you (birth and anniversary dates) because they do not write it down but need it at the time; others will ask it of you once to write it down and be responsible with that information for all time. You have only to deduce which of those types of person I am, and cease to be surprised again.

Email: A conversation endures [SD]

Every story has two sides when neither "side" cares about the truth, only themselves. When one person bends over backwards to give the other person every benefit of the doubt and goes to great lengths to be as fair, considerate, accommodating, and adhering to the truth as possible -- even at great personal cost to himself -- then I tend to trust that person's judgment more (as will others who consider it carefully too). Any major event in a person's past usually does have significance in the present and the future, so long as there remain questions to be answered and lessons to be learned. (No life trauma is immediately and completely digestible.) The only ones who prefer to leave things in the past probably either cannot or will not address the questions necessary in order to learn and grow; their emotional need for comfort is greater than their spiritual need to grow. I have not been saying the topic in question should be left alone in the past; I am saying (for a third time, in these exact words) it is not your concern. Boundaries.

If anyone knew how to tell when he or she has met the right person to love and marry as soon as they met that person, life would sure be simpler, huh?

Email: Fun and dating [AS]

Having a heart for fun is basically a healthy impulse (as opposed to a perpetual and exclusive obsession with obligation and duty). Fun should never compromise safety or one's values, however. My Christian college buddies and I used to say (to people who thought us so crazy that we must be "high"), "We are high on life -- we don't need drugs." Imagination and creativity (and a youthful naiveté) can do wonders for the soul.

I think we all test our limits, if we never had opportunity to do that as teens.

I don't know how business acumen translates to dating success, but I definitely think it can help. I think you have the right attitude: You just need one [suitable dating partner]. It doesn't matter if a hundred pass you by, if they weren't right for you; in fact, you should be happy to be dodged by all the misfires.

Email: Dating "best practices" [AS]

Those are scary words in themselves: "re-enter the dating pool." For those of us who believe in "best practices" dating (acting and treating others respectably), avoiding the "bottom feeders" is an important part of maintaining one's sanity.

Email: Tasks of technology [AS]

It's always one more thing with technology.

Email: Politics of entitlement [AS]

My only concern with Rush [Limbaugh] is not that he's ultraconservative and ultrapopular; he is not a journalist (verifying and delivering facts) but a demagogue (choosing and bending facts to incite sympathizers' emotions). Being trained as a journalist, I'm big on fairness and accuracy. On public radio, I like Jim Hightower (who skewers corporate greed) because I believe in people over profits (esp. when it costs the public jobs, health, security or prosperity). I think [Houston Mayor] Bill White has done a great job (serving the people is always more important to me than promoting one political party).

For me, entitlement is about providing a level playing field: Yes, many minorities in New Orleans waited for someone to rescue them instead of rescuing themselves; but many times, whites were allowed to "seek food" from stores while blacks were beaten by police for "looting." (Blacks or whites should have been equally allowed to take food and equally arrested -- not beaten -- for taking merchandise.) Similarly, it's been four months and dozens of N.O. houses have still not been checked for corpses? I don't think that would happen in Palm Springs.

I don't believe (as do many males) "having a toolbox is next to godliness."

Press: The hidden state steps forward

(The Hidden State Steps Forward - The Nation - January 9, 2006)

"Bush's abuses of presidential power are the most extensive in American history. He has launched an aggressive war ('war of choice,' in today's euphemism) on false grounds. He has presided over a system of torture and sought to legitimize it by specious definitions of the word. He has asserted a wholesale right to lock up American citizens and others indefinitely without any legal showing or the right to see a lawyer or anyone else. He has kidnapped people in foreign countries and sent them to other countries, where they were tortured. In rationalizing these and other acts, his officials have laid claim to the unlimited, uncheckable and unreviewable powers he has asserted in the wiretapping case. He has tried to drop a thick shroud of secrecy over these and other actions.

There is a name for a system of government that wages aggressive war, deceives its citizens, violates their rights, abuses power and breaks the law, rejects judicial and legislative checks on itself, claims power without limit, tortures prisoners and acts in secret. It is dictatorship."

Websites: World Wide Words

(recent posts listed on Michael Quinion's World Wide Words) "From pillar to post; three new books on jargon; Onshore offshoring; Lorinery; Malapert; Chock-a-block; Approximeeting; An before words starting with h; Mociology; Ninnyhammer; Lickety-split; Cassell’s Dictionary of Slang; Stoozing; Cento; Roger’s Profanisaurus Rex; Dark tourism; Esculent; Double possessive; Bioart; Guy Fawkes night; Garbage in, garbage out; To a T; Nut-crack night; Gone for a Burton; Four books on language; Namby-pamby; Cockpit; Fanboys and Overdogs; Incalescence; To be in someone’s black books; Scutching; The Meaning of Tingo; Shrink; Talking For Britain; Spatterdashes; Word Origins and How We Know Them; Extraordinary rendition; Vinolent."

Monday, December 26, 2005

Proverbs: I have *chocolate* so all is well with the world.

Proverbs: Do what you choose, choose what you do.

Music: Asylum Street Spankers

Austin's own "pop jug band," the Asylum Street Spankers, has hits like "Hick Hop," "Asylum Street Blues," and "That Persistent Itching" and lyrics that are not quite right for public radio. (Guadalupe Street used to be known as Asylum Street because it led to the state hospital, and Spankers refers to -- never mind...) Let's just say their musical style is broadly versatile (including the musical saw) and their appeal is international. Check 'em out! They're playing tonight at The Mucky Duck.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Lyrics: RENT - La Vie Boheme

To loving tension, no pension
To more than one dimension,
To starving for attention,
Hating convention, hating pretension
To being an us, for once, instead of a them
La vie Boheme!