Saturday, July 28, 2007

Drinks: Mad Housewife wines

I ran across the Mad Housewife label recently. I like the concept (and it is clearly a concept). The white zin is not bad either.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Email: Quality vs. quantity [EH]

I think that teacher has taken on a "business productivity" model instead of a "child's needs" model. She thinks jamming mounds of "learning activities" into a day amounts to learning when it's nurturing a child['s ability to learn] that does. It's the how, not the how much. To stretch a metaphor, force-feed a child ten fish and still he'll be hungry in a day or two but teach a child to catch one fish a day and he'll feed himself for life.

I used to allow typos in my emails (and esp. my chats) but that stopped while working for Schlumberger, where any single flaw might have bespoke of [editorial] idiocy.

Email: Inflatable Nativity scene [EH]

Inflatable manger and Santa scenes have been catching on in Texas over the past few years -- Kroger even has a big store display every year. Yes, it's incredibly more tacky than just one standalone plastic Santa -- but then that is the definition of plastic mass-produced kitsch, isn't it?

Email: Lola Heavenkisses?! [EH]

There are various forms of that [stripper names program] around but, like its many variants (for example, Unitarian names), they just pull something randomly out of a hat. I'd like something that played by some set of rules (like the Captain Underpants naming scheme) so you'd get the same thing twice using the same name.

Musings: "Now that's a phone"

(I've always said a true tech toy performs its amazing tasks plus it can make you a cup of java -- or a milkshake. So I guess tops even that -- but only if it's a microbrew.)

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Email: Netflix Support

Title request: Les Aventures de Tintin (1991)

Email: Netflix Support

Title request: Santa Who? (2000)

Email: Netflix Support

Title request: A Wrinkle in Time (2003)

Web: I Can Has Cheezburger?

If you don't know about lolcats yet, you should.

Web: Society for the Morning Impaired

A clever recovery-group-themed Web site from McDonald's promises a free McGriddle sandwich if you sign up. (I do not condone eating this most unhealthy of McD's breakfast items, though it is the only breakfast item my youngest child will eat.)

Question: Is the possessive of McDonald's "McDonald's's"?

Quotes: "Never wrestle with a pig" (Shaw)

"I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it." -- George Bernard Shaw

Typos: Anola [Enola] Gay

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Questions: Which comes first, attraction or love?

Poems: Doughnuts Learn

Doughnuts learn.
Police bear fear on their breath
Office workers fear an early death
Stay-home mothers treasure quiet
And fatties spurn their diet.

Doughnuts learn.
They just learn too late.

Copyright Steven Mark Deyo
July 29, 2006

Email: My Dog Skip [EH]

I've seen and reviewed My Dog Skip. Yes, I would like Mississippi. I love the old-timey touches and the drawl. What a cool story about Willie Morris [who spent the last years sitting every day at Brent's drugstore drinking cherry limeade after slipping "a little something from his flask into the cup"]!

Email: First kiss [LB]

I would just focus on my partner and discern if it is the right time.

Then... Go for it!

Tongue should only be an afterthought. It's a completely different kind of kiss and to decide that before [or even use it during] the first kiss is to be presumptuous (to put it mildly).

Email: Special and spiritual [EH]

[It isn't enough for your suitor to be] one of those guys who would love to be your helper and protector. Yes, you could (marry and) set up a home and get along well (he'll kill spiders, you wash the doilies). What's best for any couple [though] is a special and spiritual chemistry that says "We're exceptionally good together." The divorce rate would be much lower if most couples looked and waited for that -- instead of settling for "We're so-so, average-to-middling, or mediocre together." [It's essential to know what a mountain peak looks like so you don't settle in a valley or plateau.]

Press: Superstores figure it out - CU "One of the first things former editor Steve Deyo said to me in my brief tenure as his managing editor was 'Friends don't let friends buy from superstores.' The comment was in reference to my purchase of a computer from Best Buy [...]. Steve left me in charge a month after I came to this organization, so I never really got him to explain his comment. But my own experiences over the years on the job have helped me fill in the blanks. Superstores are historically poor in the service category, and service is the most underrated aspect of computing."

What I usually said in those days (though my ex did so anyway) is "Friends don't let friends buy Packard Bell [computers]"!

Web: A Silent Night movie

(sitting in my post queue since December 23)

New Agey but elegant if repetitive. Silent, peaceful, connection: I get it already. Moral of the story: Nothingness yields peace. Duh! Try finding peace through harmony, maturity, sacrifice, and love. Find peace through adding on more goodness, not taking away all sadness and strife. Or both... Works for me!

Email: The Thrill of the Chaste [DB]

Thank you for sharing this book excerpt [from The Thrill of the Chaste] with me! It's astonishingly insightful and well-written (though it has a few jarring bits) mainly because the author has the experience to know what she is talking about plus the integrity to face and discuss both sides of chastity (generally as well as personally) in an unflinching manner. I have nothing but the deepest respect for the author because I rarely see writing with this degree of candor and personal integrity among Christian writers. (Usually they seem to care more about formulaic prescriptions and chastisement than about forming or discipling a lifestyle of chastity.)

It's interesting that she [Dawn Eden, sounds like Penn Name] admits several times how women use sex as a way to plant a flag in their hope of winning a relationship commitment from men ("but by then, your hooks will be in too deep for him to change"). That, more than anything, is an indictment of premarital sex: When women give in to men's agenda (sex, to put it baldly), men do not have to (and very rarely will) accommodate women's agenda (love and commitment). Negotiation is Darwinian too!

With the wisdom of hindsight but also a bit of approaching-middle-age revisionism, she now sees casual sex as "a slimy slope." (Ex-smokers can become the most strident crusaders.) And it seems quite jarring, self-denigrating and bitter to conclude that men only see women as "a piece of meat." Male bashing that bashes oneself too -- eeww!

In the end, it seems, premarital sex and rushing towards marriage is about insecurity (esp. where excess weight is involved). Men have it no different, actually: Women expect them to be handsome, physically fit, prosperous (with a tidy retirement portfolio), witty, and romantic. I think it's a tough balance for anyone on either side of the gender aisle to balance what he or she wants against who she or he is.

When a company uses sex to sell its product, I've always asked "Can't the product sell on its own merits?" If we can all just be who we are, and become who God made us to be, I believe it can all work out in the end. This is not to say we should stop considering who might be a potential mate, but to trust God as opposed to excluding him (or praying to him in a codependent or self-serving fashion).

Meanwhile, the fruit of the spirit is self-control (temperance -- which is not strictly abstinence but knowing one's limits). I have always resisted boiling the debate down to the merely external and physical: premarital sex -- that is, genital stimulation and penetration (which some people do not need to reach the forbidden pinnacle). One's mind, emotions, and will have already become engaged long before one's vesicles become engorged.

It starts with the eyes, when you first see or meet someone. It moves on to the mind and the will, and this is the core of chastity: Each of us is responsible for keeping a lid on our passions. This is not to say we can never turn on the burner or allow a slow simmer. Boiling over is the danger (sin). That, and getting scalded.

Email: Partners and equals [EH]

Yes, it's wrong for men to act like jerks and impose expectations on women to be perfect or whatever, but my point is that men don't abide by women's expectations to be the same -- they just say screw-it-I'm-doing-what-I-want -- and women's problem is that they accept men's impositions on them and that's what makes them insecure. Anytime a person looks to others for his or her security they will not find it; you have to find it in yourself first.

The person who takes the initiative has the key. Do you think a man would sit by a phone waiting for it to ring? Do you think a man would risk letting himself be the last dance partner to be picked (become a wallflower)? (Nerds, yes.) Waiting for someone else to notice or ask you is depressing, whether you're a woman or a man. Only "losers" (that's man-talk with its ontological and logical circularity) act in a self-defeating or self-deprecating way -- and no man wants to be a loser. That's why men are about "winning" and taking the initiative; men are strategic. For all the flaws of men's competitive nature, you don't usually see them whining about being put-upon and overlooked.

This is why I say that a woman can and should feel free to do anything that a man can do -- in dating and marriage and ministry, not just in the workplace. However, this only works with a dating or marriage partner with whom one is equally yoked (tested and committed). It does no good for the woman's self esteem if she is in the driver's seat of a relationship when the man is willing to get by on cruise control or to let her do the driving. (What kind of a man lets his partner do all the driving? One who is competitive until he crosses the finish line but then is too lazy to defend his title or act like a winner, respecting his biggest fan.) The man needs to step up and take an equal seat in steering the relationship and continually improving it.

Winning is not about doing only what you want to do or feel like doing, or what you know (or think) you're good at; it's about doing your best at whatever you are responsible for and letting the chips fall where they may. A man wins when he leaves doing only macho things behind and begins doing manly things in a relationship with his partner and equal.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Poetry: El dulce sabor de una mujer exquisita

El dulce sabor de una mujer exquisita
Por Gabriel García Márquez

[...]Una mujer exquisita no es la más ardiente, sino la que vibra al hacer al amor solamente con el hombre que ama.
Una mujer interesante [...] es aquella mujer firme de carácter que puede decir NO.

Y un hombre, un hombre exquisito es aquel que valora una mujer así.

Email: Cross winks [EH]

ALWAYS report online members who cross their gender boundaries -- the service should reprimand or eject them (or you should leave [it] if they don't).

Email: Renewed again [CW]

I was away from the Catholic Church for [almost] 10 years, continually missed it and finally realized my issues were due to me not its teachings, which began to make sense again (even though I didn't want them to -- that sounds like God to me). People get skittish when they have good reason but I was ready to be renewed again. And if my sacramental experiences over the past year are any indication, I think the Catholic Church has grown a great deal in the meantime too (which I should have expected).

Email: Fish sticks [EH]

Fish sticks are not fish! Fresh fish is fish. I love blueberries and have had them fresh frozen off the bush above the treeline on Mount Cleveland in Glacier National Park.

Email: Stepmom [EH]

I've seen parts of Stepmom and it's on my list. (I watch chick flicks -- but usually chick flicks that have men in them. Terms of Endearment, I may see before I die, but it's not on my list yet.) Stepmom pushes all the right buttons for sure.

Email: Making luck [EH]

If you ever do the online thing again (and I'm not encouraging you at all), I'm sure you have female friends who could help you write a fresh essay.

You should get one interview for every 10 resumes you send out or there's something wrong with the resume.

It has been my observation that some women never have problems getting dates with gentlemen [online or in person] while others do. It is not about looks or body shape because we're not talking Barbies vs. Marthas here. (Every woman can be attractive in her own way.) So it has to be something the second group is saying about themselves, either in words or in attitude. Many say that we make our own luck. I believe them.

Email: See if he cracks [EH]

Whether you're online or meeting someone in real time -- are there ever het[erosexual] men at those pottery painting places, by the way? -- the key is to balance optimism at the possibility of serendipity with the reality that anything worthwhile takes time and attention.

Try not giving your phone number to a man online sometime and see if he cracks -- bad egg! Don't kiss on the first date -- or at least until it feels sincere -- and if he presses, he's a wolf! The gentleman -- if he soils himself with the tarpit that online dating seems to have become -- will always be gracious and kind. [Accept no substitutes.]

The other key, of course, is to resist falling back on what is familiar because it is easy. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, but no one ever gets a (first, second or third) bird in hand without reaching for it and hanging on.

Email: Love for all [EH]

My advice is to not worry about what you don't have so that it's a blessing when you receive it -- instead of a curse the whole time you don't have it.

Yes, I think everyone should be kissed and loved in this life. And I believe it can happen for everyone -- so long as each person does little to sabotage their own happiness. (Women or men who let themselves go to seed would be a good example.)

Email: Better alone [AD]

There's a Spanish proverb: Mejor sola que mal acompañada (Better alone than a bad match).

Email: Being surprised [EH]

I think it's best when people don't wish for what would be most convenient or comfortable for them but just pray for a partner who has good character and is truly compatible. We may be always be surprised -- I think God is like that.

Email: Dumb fantasy [EH]

It's the stupid men who think they can have it all -- [50-year-old fat oaf seeks waifish 20-something supermodel to hunt deer and clean fish --] but the definition of "fantasy" is "not gonna happen"!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Email: Netflix Support

Title request: Flatland (2007)

Email: Netflix Support

Title request: The Ring of the Nibelungs (2004)

Typos: Thank you for join [joining] LULAC

(From the subject line of the initial membership email from LULAC -- which does not itself spell out what LULAC stands for, that is, the League of United Latin American Citizens)

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Email: Simple faith is key [EH]

I never belittled your faith at all; in fact, I said that "simple faith" is as important as "full faith" -- because the love of a retarded child is as, or even more, precious than the love of a mature (albeit conflicted) adult -- and I am not equating theoretical with intellectual, I am saying theoretical is the opposite of taking things personally (objective vs. subjective). I am not arguing for intellectual faith and downplaying intuitive faith! They are two sides of the same coin. I am saying that people on either side of that aisle can mistake this discussion for something it is not -- because people tend to read their own predilections into a discussion rather than hear what was actually said. Just because it may be one person's gift to teach college does not belittle another's gift to teach children, and I wouldn't want the latter to be offended by the former. Nor would I ever use a word in a discussion that I thought the other didn't understand, to appear superior -- nor would I use the term "you people" -- on the contrary, I have full confidence in anyone with whom I would share this discussion.

To spell it out as clearly as I can, simple faith is 1 + 1 = 2 and this is always true in math. This is not to say that one cannot pursue the study of advanced mathematics (integrals, imaginary numbers, multiple dimensions, etc.). Anyone who teaches arithmetic to young children is a blessing to the children (and doubly so because it is children), just as anyone who teaches math to college-age students is a blessing to them. Simplified faith is Stephen Hawking explaining his theories in layman's terms -- which is necessary and welcome given the audience -- or any science journalist explaining scientific journal concepts in terms understood by the general populace -- which is what I have done throughout my career. (Education at any level is the only way to get the bigger ideas into the minds and hearts of a broader audience. [However, a simplified discussion cannot carry all the content that would satisfy scholars or experts.]) I am saying, however, that simplistic faith is anyone who says 1 + 1 = 2 is all there is to math, and anything more is not only nonexistent or unimportant but amounts to rebellion against God. I am against anti-intellectualism because it amounts to insecurity and a desire to control the lives of those who can do as well as those who can teach -- at whatever level God leads each individual. We can all stand to learn more -- that's the definition of lifelong learning.

Email: Count your blessings [EH]

I have never liked the term "damaged goods" and I would never let someone close to me use it of themselves.

I have warned you (and any other women I know) away from online dating for some time now, except for possibly eharmony (which I see has become full of opportunistic bums also -- and could be cleaned out if every woman they did wrong to would report them, because eharmony cares about the quality of its members and does eject members who act rudely or unethically). Again, stop licking your wounds and recounting all that has not worked out -- count your blessings not the curses!