Sunday, July 31, 2005

My type of Vacation

We went to church this morning. (Linguist friend knew that if we went to his church where they were doing a service on Native American weaving, that he'd be reading snarkiness about it for months ahead, so we went to the church in the next town over and heard a politics sermon.)

Question: Politics sermon guy posited that "N" myers briggs types were liberals and "S" types were conservatives. I can basically see where this is coming from and am categorized correctly as an INTP moderate democrat, but am not sold. Should I be?

He did talk down to conservatives, but made an admirable effort not to, though he looses OKayness points for blatantly assuming that everyone in the room was a liberal. (Interestingly enough, he made the point that some "S" types did go to UU churches, but he didn't carry that one through to its logical conclusion.)

For new readers, I'm not a conservative, but I play one at work and have come to the conclusion that not all of them suck and that the best way to make real change in the country is to keep a dialogue going. If that dialogue includes namecalling and making a bunch of assumptions, real change is going to be that much harder to achieve. (Which, to sermon guy's credit, was the general jist of his sermon.)

Then my linguist friend and I went to the Toledo Museum, where we saw too much modern art for his taste and too much Christian art for mine, but both basically left happy campers. Now he has gone off to read or sleep. So I think I shall do the same.

Realizing that church, art museum, read, sleep probably describes the ideal INTP vacation day.

Grr. POS Pentium 2

Personal to the CSO:

Can we build linguist friend a new computer? I mean surely we have enough spare parts lying around...

fully expecting "Why don't you just actually listen to me when I remind you to pack the power cord for your laptop next time." as a pefectly justified response. But she thought she'd try.

Clarifying the Freedom Fighter post

The people who I'm calling freedom fighters are the people who percieve that there's a mass movement telling them not to use religious language.

Again, I recognize that outside of the blogsphere, there probably are people saying "Don't use it at all." Heck, I ran into one lady who gave me crap about a word I used in a lay sermon one time. She gave me static, I argued back, then we went for chinese food. (Sigh. That was a great church.)

But as far as the folks on the blogosphere are concerned, I feel like for the past week the conversation has been more like:

Religious Language fans: People should be able to use whatever term they think will work the best.

CC: Exactly, but sometimes religious language won't be the best term. I think Sinkford was wrong to try to market Christian language as something that's really going to resonate with people and that using it have this huge effect. I don't think it will work.

Religious language fan: Boy, I really hate it how people are trying to BAN religious language and tell Sinkford he can't use it!

CC: Not that I think anybody's listening any more, but for the record, that's not what I said.

I don't think Jeff and I and anyone else on the negative side of the debate has actually said "Don't use it." I think Jeff and I and anyone else have been pretty consistent on the "It just won't work" point.

But over and over I keep hearing "people are trying to tell Sinkford how to talk" or "people are trying to ban religious language." Maybe that's appropriate in a medium where people are actually saying this.

But as far as the debate here goes, this is a straw man.


Saturday, July 30, 2005

Am I leading people astray again?

I wrote in a post a few days ago that:

To be a UU is to reject the notion that justice will be provided in heaven so seeking it on earth is of relative unimportance. And to be a UU is to understand that, God or no God, humanity's duty is to take care of one another.

I normally preface things I say of this nature with "Well, I can't tell you what UUs believe, but I can tell you what I believe..." but I didn't this time.

I think these two points are pretty much generally accepted among UUs. But now that PG, a kickass blogger whom I respect mightily, has gone and taken me at my words, I'm a mite nervous with those assertions.

PG says my post makes (PG) think it may be somewhat exceptional among religions in explicitly prioritizing life on earth. I think this is accurate of UUism as I've seen it, but going around speaking for other UUs is not something I think we're supposed to do.

I know a decent number of theistic UU and Christian UU bloggers read TheChaliceblog, so I'm going to open this up to everybody. Educate PG (and CC for that matter) Would you guys say these statements are ones most UUs would agree with?

Not asking y'all to speak for everyone, but just to take an unscientific survey...


Why can't I scroll down? And what's with my name not appearing below my comments?

Yes, indeedy, these problems suck and they are common to everybody who uses my funky death template.

To clarify, the problem with the comments is that when you try to look at other people's comments, it's really unclear who has written what. The problem is solved if you click "post a comment." THat page looks normal. I hadn't been paying attention and hadn't realized how annoying this problem actually is. When I am back at home at my own computer, I will take another gander at it and try to fix it.

If anybody knows how to fix them on my end, please tell me. Otherwise, I suggest you sign your posts. If you want to scroll down and can't, try minimizing and unminimizing.



If you haven't read...

Norman Juster's The Dot and the Line:A Romance in Lower Mathematics, then you totally should. It's also a great romantic gift for the math person in your life.

Who just got a new sig file quote.

Random stuff

Random thoughts on my trip:

Last night I stayed up late finishing David Lodge's "Therapy," a perfectly readable but not life changing book about a British sitcom writer going through a midlife crisis. Expect weird little Britishisms to creep into my writing for awhile.

I've taken to wearing a lot of sweater sets. They're very Charlotte York Goldblatt and I think they help me get into the Republican ethos one needs for my work. I'm really messy, though, and had tossed sweater pieces all over my linguist friend's guest room. It sort of looks like Ann Taylor exploded. I'm such a sucky houseguest.

DC food really is expensive, isn't it? The food here is nothing. And the movie cost 9.25 for the both of us.

Hmm... At some point, we're going to Ann Arbor to visit one a bookstore that is similar to Edie's but, umm, better organized and less kindly priced. (One time, I was in a retro mood and bought an Ann Beattie novel at Edie's. At the register, we noticed it was signed by Ann Beattie. She shrugged and charged me a buck more. Another time I found a dictionary in her store marked $16 that I gently informed her was worth $150. She sold it to me for $16. Edie's rules.)

I've heard from two high school classmates in two days and neither of them are lawyers.
Weird. I got an e-mail that reminded me that I still totally owe Our-Hero-Charlie-the-Vanquisher and the new Mrs. a wedding present.

At this point, this post is just random stream of consciousness about my personal life, isn't it?

Oh well. I'll go back to solving the UUA's problems after my vacation...



Last night my linguist friend and I went and saw "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory." I should mention that there aren't a whole lot of movie options in my linguist friend's hometown. The best alternative was "The Island," which looks like one of those movies where after five minutes in the theater, you know that soylent green is PEOPLE.

I promised him a DVD of "The Island" if he would come accompany me as I lusted after Johnny Depp.

I am a champion luster when it comes to Johnny Depp and have been ever since What's Eating Gilbert Grape , I assure you, but even I had trouble lusting yesterday night.

He comes of as just so Michael Jackson It's hard to get hot for that. I mean, is Johnny Depp intending for him to look like Michael? It's a sort of offensive idea, yet the physical resemblance and the mannerisms Depp uses are too close to be an accident. And that big, beautiful playground that Willy Wonka has built all for himself and decided to share with just the right child. It adds a creepy tone to the movie.

But given how creepy Raold Dahl's work is, it's not a big surprise that the Dahl family has approved this version. (Dahl himself had hated the Gene Wilder version.)

Aside from denying me my lust-opportunities, it was a good movie. I am a huge Tim Burton fan and love how every movie of his creates it's own world. This is not London as I saw it when I was there, this is London seen through the eyes of an artist. (My favorite detail is that when Grandpa Joe (played by the naked guy from Waking Ned Devine) tells a story of something that happened decades before, flashbacks all show Grandpa Joe himself looking exactly the same. Why? Because Charlie is imagining them and that's the only way Charlie has even seen his Grandfather.) More recent Burton movies haven't been as good, but this suggests Burton may be getting his "Edward Scissorhands" groove back.

The script adds a weird little subplot giving Willy Wonka's backstory. Didn't like it. Something a little more faithful to the book would have been better. (Sentimentality about families is something I have long had an issue with Burton about. Burton loves it, I find it manipulative.) But at the same time, they fleshed out Mike Teevee and Violet Beauregard well. Mike is now a skeptical science-whiz kid who thinks he knows everything. (Mid-movie CC leaned over and whispered to her linguist friend "I think I was that kid") Violet is now a perfectionistic, pageant princess (Ok, they don't directly mention pageants, but she has a haircut like Anna Wintour and she's from Atlanta) with a room full of trophies for Gum-chewing and karate. This is a big improvement over their original characterizations as "the kid who likes TV" and "the kid who likes gum."

The Oompa Loompa dance numbers salute Bollywood and one Esther-Williams-style synchoronized swim routine. More to the point, the TV room is one giant tribute to Stanley Kubrick with visual references to a Clockwork Orange and more obviously 2001. The scene with the Walnut-sorting squirrels evokes "Willard" and that kicks ass. In general, this movie could be seen as a kid version of one of those horror movies where the people in the haunted house are picked off one by one.

Basically, it comes down to this:

If you liked the hokey Gene Wilder version, this movie will give you a serious case of the creepies.

If you liked the Roald Dahl book, this movie will give you a serious case of the creepies and you will love it.


Friday, July 29, 2005

General Blogosphere Snark

I just wrote a long, hilarious post rife with cheap shots that my linguist friend's POS pentium 2 just ate.

Here are the high points:

  • I'm taking a weekend vacation at my linguist friend's. (Was going to help Katy-the-wise move across town, but plans changed) I am hiding from weird stuff back in VA behind lots of books. I won't be posting as much because I am limited to the POS pentium 2 since when the CSO said "Don't forget to pack the power cord for your laptop" this morning, I said "uh huh," but didn't, you know, do it.

  • The people who are getting their UU Freedom Fighter rocks off by claiming that people are trying to "ban" religious language need to so seriously get a life. I'm sorry, I wrote this nicer the first time, but I am so frigging sick of hearing that I want to keep Bill Sinkford from speaking his mind. The list of things Sinkford has done that I find objectionable is indeed long, but using religious language isn't on it. I invite people to use whatever terms they think will work best for getting their ideas across. I've had an old atheist lady whom I adored give me hell for using religious language in a lay sermon. I argued right back and that was that. If you use religious langauge and someone gives you crap about it, you hereby have my permission to say "CC said to tell you that you can kiss my grits."

    That having been said, I don't think religious language always or even usually is the best language for getting our message across. I've stated why ad nauseum. Other people have disagreed and intelligently so. Read both sides, decide what you think and talk the way you think is best. If using a bunch of Christian language annoys lots of people and the people with whom Christian language resonates all turn out to be, well, Christians already going to the Christian church next door, then I did tell you so.

  • The UUAWO statement that basically says "We're not objecting to Roberts yet, but if he doesn't sound good to us, we're going to put out a STRONGLY-WORDED PRESS RELEASE. And we mean it!" is one of the DUMBEST things I've ever read. I'm sorry, I know UUs everywhere are delighted with their brave denomination's commitment to any social justice issue that boils down to "having an opinion," but that "thwack!" sound you're hearing is that statement hitting the trashcan of every elected official who received one.

  • The lady who wrote The article PB wanted comments on manages to both suck and be right on a lot of things. I hate it when columnists combine those two. Her tone is appalling, but the basic jists of her peice "fundamentalists make any religion suck" and "government support of religion just leads to insane uses of government funds" both seem right on to me. To take an example from our side of the pond, if the Boy Scouts want to not allow atheists, that's fine, but I don't see why they should be allowed special access to land that is paid for by atheist tax money.


Thursday, July 28, 2005

UUism's Good News.

Because I was asked...

(Caveats: Professionally, I am a party planner. I wrote this one a one-hour lunch break while shoveling down two day old pasta salad. Be kind. )

To me, the good news of UUism is that we are a voice of integrity of the mind and spirit in a world where integrity of any sort is talked about a lot more than it is practiced. To be a UU is to live an examined life.

I said things like “I believe in the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting” for years without thinking through what those words meant.

One of the finer things about UUism is not just that you have the freedom not to say things like that. It is that when you do say them you will mean them and you will believe them because your life has served as evidence that nothing else can be true. We are a community who ideally keep one another morally honest. To be a UU is to reject the notion that justice will be provided in heaven so seeking it on earth is of relative unimportance. And to be a UU is do understand that, God or no God, humanity’s duty is to take care of one another.

UUism’s good news is that religion wants to be free and that freedom and reason functioning together can bring one a spirituality nourishing to the intellect and the soul that lets you function as a whole. For me, relieving the tension of “God both universally loving and universally powerful, despite the evidence you see in your life that both could not possibly be the case” was a wonderful thing.

If UUism has bad news, it’s that we have work ahead of us. We can’t go to church every Sunday, “punch the God clock” and go home.

But the good news silver lining is that it is work ahead of US. We together form a loving, thoughtful community who approach these questions with together, keeping one another honest and sharing the insights that work for us.

Heard any better news recently?


Wednesday, July 27, 2005

CC's linguist friend comments on the "Language of Reverence" debate

"Obviously the only suitable candidates for the language of reverence would be late Greek, Hebrew or Aramaic. Of course, sanskrit would be a strong candidate, since that is the language of reverence for about, well, I'm not sure what the population of India is, and if I cut it in half so I'm just referring to Northern India, that would probably come out about right..."

He then suggested that in keeping with the "language of reverence" concept, we should ape the Muslims and have all the UUs learn the languages of reverence as he doubts the sources of authority would carry the proper impact in translation. He suggests we all start with late Greek and reccomends a thurough knowledge of Septuagint translation of the Old Testament and the Nestle-Aland reconstruction of the text of the Greek New Testament. For special terms in the "langauge of reverence," UUs should turn to Kittel's Theological Dictionary of the New Testament and Walter Bauer's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament. Of course, there is the fact that both of these books are translated from German so a proper appreciation of the terms requires that one should read the originals.

almost certain that he was kidding.

CC clarifies "watered-down UCC"

BITB was talking about the term "watered down UCC" as is was used on the Coffee Hour discussion as a potential future self for UUism. I wanted to clarify what I meant by it, so this is a copy of my post to BITB on the topic.

I was the one who came up with the term.

What I meant by is was that my perception, right or wrong, of the church that a lot of people are looking for is UCC, but with less of that ickypoo Christianity. Still theistic, still Christian-looking and Christian-sounding, but not explicitly Christian in the sense that the UCC is. We still worship some sort of free-form God and pray and all, and since we can agree on some loose conception of a God, we must have unity, right?

As a native liberal christian, I am most comfortable in "Christian-like" services that follow a Christianish structure and have Christiany hymns. I like stained glass and organ music and even take communion if my mother is watching. What I grew up with is what I'm comfortable with and used to. When the pagans put up the maypole, I freak out a bit. This isn't church! It makes me uncomfortable. But while I'm still not crazy about the maypole and the stares it gets from passersby, I do know what's comfortable for me isn't necessarily what's best. And when I see former evangelicals reaching out for the charismatic leadership of a UU minister I consider misguided (a real example from several years back IRL, but nobody I post with,) I can see how slipping back into comfortable patterns can undermine the new directions we may be trying to take our lives in.

I don't think aping Christianity more and more closely will give us the depth that people are looking for and I think that it speaks to the problem that the very people who are asking for more depth and asking what special gift UUism has to give to the world are the same people who want this. Freedom and Reason and following the holy even if it takes me someplace weird are enough for me.

And while I don't mind if they use whatever they consider reverent language themselves, I don't think they will find that getting everyone else to speak a "language of reverence" or more other trappings will really be enough for them. If they want to seek depth and think they can find it in Christianity, they have my blessing in their search. But I'm kind of working on my own search. And I'd like to use the words that reasonate with me to describe it, even if those words don't excite their imaginations. I don't fear Christian language. I use it when I think it is appropriate. But I resent the impliction that if I don't use the most obviously Christian terminology every time, what I really want is a social club.

I don't want a social club. But I don't want to be a watered-down UCC either. I think as UUism is now, there are good churches and bad churches, people who get it and people who don't. I want more good churches and more people who get it. I want to spread our good news.

But I don't think the path to spreading our good news lies in trying to come off as something we're not. Even if that something is a romanticized version of what we used to be or a romanticized version of a church we respect, but, you know, without the icky parts.


Shout out.

Transient and Permanent is a really good blog. I read lots of UU blogs and not only is his one of the best, his theological slant is different from that of any other UU blogger I read.

Good stuff. I reccomend.


Are UUs mean to kids?

Over at the Coffee Hour discussion, a couple of people have brought up that we UUs are apparently indifferent to our children and that children aren't given enough.

The odd thing is, I've always felt that RE was the big untouchable. I mean I've been to a few churches where there was literally no budget for adult RE, but you couldn't touch the kids budget without a "won't somebody PLEASE think of the children" style flipping out.

(But I'm one of those childless people who thinks kids are overall catered to a bit much, so this is something I tend to see in the rest of life.)

I'm actually working with teenagers at my church now as I get along with them a little better, but I'm not sure why I can't be indifferent to little kids of the whiny/screamy variety as long as I pay my pledge (a big chunk of which goes to RE) and show up for their service (which I've never really gotten much out of.) I directed a ton of little pageants as a kid, so I fell like I have to show up and clap, but on the whole, I feel for the Presbyterians on whom I inflicted endless performances of "Joshua and the Battle of Jericho," "Noah's ark" and, one time, "Moses" set in outer space. (OK, that last one was pretty cool.)

Given that likely as not kids aren't going to stick around anyway (I have few complaints about my own treatment in the Presby church, I just grew up to not be a presbyterian.) I'm not sure what more we should be doing and why further fawning over kids should be a big priority.


CC can't sleep

I know that the fact that CC is having some mild physical difficulty attributable to stress is just the shock of the year, but I thought I'd hop on here and report it anyway.

Oh, and I added an archive. Because sometimes I want to find my old posts and can't.


Monday, July 25, 2005

Fluff topic: Cast your blog.

If your blog were a movie, who would play you? Who would play the people in your life who show up as "characters" in your blog? Who would play your favorite other bloggers?

Living actors, dead actors, cartoon characters, whatever are all allowed.

Flattering your friends and family on their looks is allowed, but try to get someone who sort of has their essance.

I'll start with Chaliceblog characters, but will weigh in with ideas for other bloggers if this catches on:

CC: A cross of Meg from Family Guy (roundish, overly dramatic smart girl) and Tank Girl. (Actually, we could stop at roundish, overly dramatic smart girl, but I don't want to)

TheCSO: Dean Haglund from the X-files or Johnny Depp if I've had a few drinks.

The ChaliceMom: Blythe Danner

The ChaliceDad: Christopher Walken

My linguist friend: is difficult. Micheal Caine or maybe Spencer Tracy.

Oliver: is hard to cast, given that Steve Buscemi is too old.

Jennifer Beautiful: Resembled Julie Newmar in Jennifer's actress youth but is more of a Jeanine Garafalo now.

CK: Jennifer Aniston


More Cowbell!

BoC is playing a club near me in September.

Cool, huh?


Last trial post for awhile

The best part of today was that my parents' minister was coming to watch the trial. He preaches like William Shatner and when my mom told me he was coming, I started imitating him testifying:

What you've GOT to UNDERSTAND is that OLIVER is a GOOD KID. He's KIND to OTHERS and may someday MAKE something of himself.

Ok, you had to be there, but I was funny, I swear.



And I'm back at work.

Stomach is better, too.




Well, it's the morning of Oliver's trial. All night, my stomach felt like there was a thunderstorm going on inside it. Blame long-hidden family loyalty, blame the salmon at Silver Diner, I haven't the first clue.


He's a minor but not insignificant danger to society who did his best to make me miserable for many years but whose incarceration will really hurt my family.

At this point, I don't even know what to wish for.

So I'm wearing my most innocent-looking blue suit and making little bargains with my body (There can be no more throwing up after we take our birth control pill, deal?) like a mother with a misbehaving child and few emotional resources.

I showed up at my mother's door and she matter-of-factly suggested baking soda in my Dasani bottle.

Now she's barking at my other brother, saying into the phone "Of course you have to come. Your sister is really sick and SHE'S coming!"

Ever the good example.


Hey, want to see something appalling?

IF you're not in to the feminist/societal implications of the "Nanny fired for blogging" sotry, I don't blame you.

But if you are, or you just woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning and feel grouchy, check out what this incredibly hateful woman has to say.


Sunday, July 24, 2005


If the word peevish didn't exist, somebody would have to invent it to describe my current mood.


Ps. The new Sharona on Monk sucks.

Pps. "Medium" does an amazing job capturing family life. The psychic and her busband have a very similar dynamic to the CSO and me.

Reykjavik conference continues

Deep green walls in the kitchen with cherry-stained cabinets and black granite countertops.


Saturday, July 23, 2005

Sweet domesticity

Dull morning so far at the ChaliceAbode.

CC got up early and started working on a sexy adventure story she's writing for a friend. (CC sometimes writes sexy adventure stories to give her friends. Her biggest peice so far was a novella about CC, the CSO, the birthday boy and some of her pals fighting alongside an alien intergalatic asskicker/engineering professor to save her girlfriend and the birthday boy's girlfriend from an evil alien overlord. It included bar fights, love scenes with aliens and a happy ending where we're all millionaires. Can't argue with that.)

(It amazes even me what the CSO puts up with.)

Well anyway, CC is working on something sort of similar.

Also, the CSO and I are negotiating homeowner details (CC gets to paint the master bedroom deep blue and have white curtains and furniture if the CSO gets to install Japanese gadget toilets in the bathrooms.) It's like the Reykjavik conference in here, or would be if Reagan and Gorbachev had been laying on a futon.

I let him read over my shoulder and now we're arguing about who's who. (Not that I'm saying anything here, but somebody's pajamas went a little pink in the wash.)

Ah, the halcyon days of newlywed life...


Friday, July 22, 2005

How CC came to stop protesting

She protested a ton as a kid and teenager, but her "giant puppet" epiphany came when she attended a public meeting for the Savannah River Site in South Carolina. She was 23 and covering it for the local paper. The department of energy was there taking comment on a proposal to build new nuclear weapon parts. A flyer went around my church encouraging people to show up and protest.

The meeting was at 8. The protest was at 7:30. It was an all-out goofy protest with a guy dressed as Uncle Sam, various people dressed as dead people, etc. A few people going to the meeting stopped, shrugged and walked on. Mostly for the entertainment of their friends, the pageant continued. They acted out skits, they threatened doom, they packed up to leave.

The meeting was just starting and I asked why they were going. "Well, it's sort of late," one (admittedly old) lady said.

I swear, it was a protest a satirist would have invented. It just really happened and I was there.

"Um... Don't you want to actually SPEAK at the meeting?" CC asked.

"What's the point?" Someone else said.

It was then that CC decided that she had just witnesses an act of masturbation, yet somehow she was the one who felt dirty.

But she went in an watched the meeting where about half of the speakers spoke against the proposal, mostly justifying their objections by Jesus' calls for peace (It WAS South Carolina.) As private citizens speaking to public meetings go, they did well.

And not one of them was dressed as Uncle Sam.

who did twice march against the war in Iraq afterwards, but dressed in jeans and a tank top both times.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

CC goes all livejournal and puts up a sniffly post.

My day was sucky for reasons that were basically my fault.

While I've gotten through without any major fallout, I'm still wiped and not feeling like sharing my deal with protestors or anything else with the world tonight.

I do basically love my job and am usually pretty good at dealing with sudden curveballs. But recently I've been more distractible than usual and acting kind of burned out and pissy in several aspects of life. I suspect that my brother's trial on Monday is affecting me more than one with hard-won emotional distance likes to admit. I certianly hope so, because I'd like to get over this and one way or another, Oliver's stuff should be settled by Tuesday.

OK, enough of this. Posts on my inner workings don't tend to get many page views, so I might as well quit while I'm ahead.


That's my man...

CC is working on a big work thing with a 2 p.m. deadline, and may not get to posting anything this morning until it is done. But TheCSO posted this as a comment on the "Victoria's Dirty Little Secret" thread and I think what he has to say is absolutely worth discussing. I was a great one for protesting in my day (you see, since I'm the ripe old age of 27, it's no longer "my day"), and will tell the story of how I got dissillusioned from that probably later on today.

Till then,

I have a hard time supporting blackmail tactics, and that's basically what this group does. Their strategy with Staples, as I understood it, was basically to whine and protest and give Staples bad publicity until they caved. And they met with Staples management, gave them specific demands, and made it less expensive for Staples to comply with their ideology-driven opinion than to combat the bad press. On an issue that most of their customers really didn't care about.

I even basically agree with their goals, but I don't like their tactics and have a hard time supporting them.

The last thing we need is more whining, and "we're going to throw a calculated temper tantrum until this big company does things our way" sends the wrong message about the effectiveness of protest. It's not some grand gesture in the spirit of, say, the civil rights movement. It's about whining enough that it's cheaper for the company to pay their protection money (in this case, buying more expensive paper) than suffer the negative publicity inflicted by a small fringe group.

It's media-savvy PR blackmail, and effective PR blackmail at that. Let's just stop pretending that there's some sort of nobility to protesting here, and call it what it is - a bullying tactic used to shove a specific non-mainstream opinion down everyone else's throat. Now, whether that's appropriate is a very different question, and I'm not sure what the correct answer is. It's the one we should be asking, though.

Silver Lining

Anybody who Ann Coulter hates this much can't be all bad.


Wednesday, July 20, 2005

A question about "Great question!"

OK, I’m still fighting things out at FUUSE, and while things seem to be calming down, I continue to get emails and the occasional FUUse “pirate” message thanking me for being brave enough to ask questions and telling me not to fear, there are others on my side. (I have a side?) Even the people telling me I’m being too abrasive are praising me for asking questions.

(Most recently, a comment on the Victoria's Secret thread on this very blog praises me on my questions.)

I’m supposed to be flattered and of course, I am. One doesn’t get called “courageous” every day and I've been called that a few times recently. Trust me, I'm a black hole for applause of any sort, I'm happy. Yet overall, I’m also a little disturbed by this trend.

The first time I went to my current church, the sermon was on the annunciation. One of our ministers preached from the Denise Levertov poem about the annunciation, basically about Mary’s brave acceptance of God’s destiny for her. (If you’ve read the poem, you know I’m oversimplifying. But anyway…) On my way out the door, I told the minister who had preached that the “brave acceptance” theory didn’t really jibe with what was said in the bible. In the book of Luke, the only book that cares whether Mary consented or not, Mary doesn’t sound especially confident and her consent reads like the biblical version of “Well, you’re the boss.”

(Gentlemen of the heterosexual persuasion, if you ask a lady if she’d like to take the relationship to the next level and she says “I’m your slave,” make sure she’s just being kinky. Making love to someone who has you confused with the Holy Spirit can only lead to difficulty.)

I explained my issue with consent in the bible and how Denise Levertov doesn’t cite her sources on this insight into Mary’s thinking and the minister said “Read Denise Levertov.”

Uh… OK... I thought I said I already had, but whatever.

I’m about to walk off when the other minister says “but it’s great that you asked the question! You’re allowed to do that here!”

As I am still somewhat used to Katy-the-wise's extremely active sermon discussions, I’m afraid I gave him a look that basically said “Duh?”

CC never was one for making a good first impression, you see.

My point here, and I do have one, is that I’m a little disturbed that suddenly I’m getting complimented for doing what I sort of thought UUs were put on this planet to do: Refine things through reason.

Ok, I get how anybody asking questions about racism is likely to get called a "racist." Personally, been there done that, returned the t-shirt for store credit, but I'll admit that it isn't exactly an experience I would reccomend so if people are afraid of it, I get that.

But questions about bible interpretation? And the point of a protest?

Is asking people these things really so unusual?

Trying to live a good life so she can get to that discussion about heaven.

Those people with 500 cats

Slate did a story about the pathology of those people who collect hundreds of cats or dogs. Not really relevant to anything, but I thought it was a good read.


Depressing news of the day

Knocking over a dictator: At least arguably a good thing, though American troops dying always sucks.

Knocking over a dictatot, letting the people write a new constitution: Sounds great!

Knocking over a dictator, letting the people write a constitution that doesn't let the government tread on religion: Well, wouldn't be my preferance, but, hey, if that's what the people want...

Knocking over a dictator, letting the people write a constitution that doesn't let the government tread on religion, so Shiite women now can't get married without their families permission, husbands can divorce their wives by telling them "I divorce you" three times and basically all the civil rights Iraq gave women in the fifties that Saddam let them keep just might be revoked: Sigh. I did TRY to like this war.

Seriously, I am confused as to where we should proceed from here. My thinking is approximately:

Strong-Arming the Iraqis into putting stuff they don't want into their constitution: Sucks.
Letting them get away with putting women's rights several decades back: Also sucks.
Not having gotten ourselves into this mess or gone about it a very different way: Probably right, but not an option at this point.

Any other ideas?


Yep, the new Supreme Court nominee is quirky.

Here's the opinion where he goes after a twelve year old girl who ate a franch fry in a Metro station.

In the opinion, even he recognises that the situation sucks all around but says he has to go with the way the laws are written. You can't ticket a kid, you can only arrest them. And it was a zero-tolerance law. (Are zero tolerance laws EVER a good idea?)

But we at the Chaliceblog have never flinched from taking the cheap shot, so I'm posting it anyway. Tell all your friends.


Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Victoria's Dirty Secret?

Ok, I have big questions about this website, which is targeting Victoria's Secret for protests since they send out a lot of catalogs.

My questions:

  • Are we sure they send out that many? As I recall, one has to pay for the Victoria's Secret catalog (which I presume minimizes ordering by teenage boys.) I have trouble imagining a million people a day paying for a catalog and if they are paying for it, they likely aren't throwing it away. But I could be wrong. (OK, just checked At least one's first catalog is free. But at least they used to charge...)

  • Why Victoria's Secret? Sometimes the biggest, most famous business is easiest to target, but that doesn't make them the right people to target. If we're going after catalogs, why not Fingerhut, which sends out a ton of catalogs and exploits the poor to boot?

  • Must we effectively reduce the amount of sexiness in the world? Can't we protest a less sexy catalog? Sears, anyone?

Or maybe I've just been reading too much Spurlock watch. I heart Spurlock watch.

*CC chakes her head* Gotta stop hanging out with the kids from Cato.


Ps. While I'm feeling all contrarian and pissy, did anybody else read John Tierney this morning, about the poor bastard with multiple sclerosis that they put away for fake painkiller perscriptions? I assume that Tierney isn't telling full story. A jury putting away a guy with advanced MS who just wanted some painkillers doesn't ring true. But again, I could be wrong.

While legalized drugs has never been a hill I especially wanted to die on, this situation certainly sucks and we should probably be giving people the benefit of the doubt.

Philocrites: Mind-Mannered Blogger or Secret Identity?

Mild-mannered Philo is taking a well-deseerved break from blogging. But CC secretly suspects that he needs more free time to sneak out of his office, change into costume and fight crime around Boston as SUUperman.

I’m imagining the evil Mr. Mythter wreaking havoc on Boston, making people perceive wildly sentimental things, deluding people into buying lottery tickets, forwarding chain emails and voting for abortion notification bills. Then wha-ha! SUUperman slides in on his Reason Rocket Skates (since we all know that people can't really fly) and saves the day, refining beliefs through reason and kicking ass when appropriate.

Or maybe I’m just having a slowish day at work and feeling a bit imaginative.

Who, just so you know, doesn’t typically make a habit of imagining her fellow bloggers in tights. Well, maybe Gatheringwater…

A nanny gets fired for blogging

Hrmm. Well, it's another point the the "blog anonymously" debate...

Personally, I'm in the camp that is really appalled at the writer for doing this. I have an interaction in my own life where I feel like someone wants to feel bonded with me, but not really invest the time and attention it would take to actually bond with me. It sucks and if I were to write about our interaction here frequently and she read it and saw herself, it would no doubt infuriate her. (Though thankfully I don't know her from work.)

This lady wanted a lot of things emotionally out of her nanny and seems bizarrely upset that the nanny viewed her work as, well, work. (That having been said, I would never complain about my job in an extended and serious way on my blog.)

It seems clear to me that validating the mother's ego is not part of a nanny's job. But maybe unofficially it always has been.

As I've mentioned before, I'm no stranger to inadvertantly displaying unnattractive qualities on the internet. But that a writer could write this peice and not see (a) that she herself was now writing about the nanny, except to millions more people and (b) that the tools to psychoanalyze her all over it seems a shocking lack of self-understanding.


Ps. This post has changed extensively since Michelle commented on it. But I think her comments still stand.

CC hearts scientists

So she will be keeping an eye on this blog. A group blog written by five physicists and astrophysicists.

Too cool.


Anglophile all over again.

We took on the Romans, the Saxons, the Danes, the French, William Wallace, the Black Plague, the Roundheads, the Great Fire, Napoleon, the Nazis, and the Blitz, and we're still here. You terrorists are bloody amateurs.

A quote someone is attributing to a British guy in the wake of the London bombings.

Even if it isn't real, I'm going to pretend it is.


Exegeses, etc.

I’ve got the nature of meaning on my mind, partially because I’m still arguing at FUUSE about what makes an incident racist. Partially, though, my quandary comes because I’m reading For Your Eye Alone: The Letters of Robertson Davies.

I’ve learned a lot about my hero as a man from reading this. Apparently, he wrote to actors and actresses to praise their performances in plays he’d seen all the time. He also kept his friends for many decades ans was in his sixties writing to college friends. He liked his biographer but wasn’t completely comfortable around her. (The biographer edited this set of letters and chose several that noted his discomfort with her. In her position, I likely would have done the same.)

But the most interesting letters to me are the ones from ordinary fans. One person wrote to complain about anti-Semitism she perceived (and he answers her well, I think, pointing out in one case that to say a person looks Jewish is not in itself Anti-Semitism and in another that the Jewish character took advantage of an opportunity other people didn’t see, but didn’t cheat anyone and was no way deceptive.) people write to ask about where he gets his ideas. And lots of people write to tell him what his books meant. The funniest letter by far is from a chap quite convinced that World of Wonders was really about the life of the St. Paul.

As an undergraduate, I was rather taken with a guy who liked taking lit theory courses more than he liked doing his homework in them. In a clumsy smart girl attempt to curry favor, I wrote a couple of papers and heavily advised him on several more. (Memo to smart girls: This never, ever, works.) The professor would often say that they were looking for meanings in books that the authors themselves hadn’t perceived. At the time, I doubted that such a thing was possible and completely made up the contents of the guy’s papers. I wrote them in academic-eese and they went over well. But I thought that what I was writing was crap.

I still think that about those specific papers. And admittedly, I thought the St. Paul guy deserved a response less kind than Davies’.

But it’s obvious that our actions can have consequences beyond what we intend, and people can see, for example, a racial context in a harsh confrontation we have with someone of another race when we didn’t think of it at all. (CC is bad on this one and has an awful tendency to forget that people she knows are of another race. She likes to tell the story that she went to school with a guy named Miguel Montoya for eleven years and noticed as a high school junior that he was Hispanic.) Can our words have meaning beyond what we thought of when we wrote them? If a good friend who once loved a woman from France shows us a poem he wrote at the time praising the beauty of wonder of Paris, the connection seems obvious even if the writer denies it.

I can’t say that I’m thinking about where the line can be drawn as I’m convinced that there’s no line. But that’s what I’m thinking about these days.


Monday, July 18, 2005

Hitler Watch 3

Hey, check out this swastika-shaped building.


CC had underestimated the UCC

This resolution kicks ass.

Most people who read my blog know that I, in the general case, take a dim view of our church involving itself in politics. I don't want to hear about specific legislation or specific people from the pulpit, and I absolutely don't want any church money going toward/against specific people. (E.g. Right now many members of my church are involved in a campaign to keep a new highway from being built. I won't sign any petition you hand me sunday morning and when one of my committees wanted to give a group lobbying against the highway some of their money, I voted against it.)

I favor approaching the political issues we do deal with from a moral and spiritual context and keeping our focus as a spiritual community firmly on the big picture. If you want to do politics, go home and do politics, but sunday morning is for worship. We serve the holy first and our politics someplace after that.

But this statement is great. It focuses on the issue in a moral context rather than a political one and talks about the spiritual realm of the issue. And it is really nicely written.

My apologies for the UCC for my assumption that they would be as lame as we are and props to my linguist friend for saying "No, really, you should read this."

And rolled eyes to anyone who can read this statement and in any way say the UCC is sitting on the sidelines.


Saturday, July 16, 2005

Last few chapters

Finished the book on the way back from dinner.

The book takes a new philisophical direction that I hate and that I think undermines something that I thought was wonderful in the first five books. Those who read it and have read this blog will see that the change in direction punches a specific button of mine that I bitch about all the time here.

The big weepy ending did bring actual tears to my eyes.


Chapter 21

Well Tonks showing up looked like anything but an accident.

I'm going to dinner.


Chapter 20

If the defense agaisnt the dark arts job really is cursed, why do people want it so much?


Chapter 19

That was't a good idea, IMHO.


Ps. Luna as a sports commentator was a very funny concept.


Page 398

That could've sucked.


Chapter seventeen

page 372

I want a pensieve.


Chapter 16

(page 348)

Even I snickered like a kid when Ron opened his present from Lavender.

The last two books really have read like a critique on the Bush/Blair administrations.


Chapter 15


I've been to that party.


Chapter fourteen.


Quality of writing is, to be frank, not why I read these books. Yet I was really taken by the image of a depressed Hermione, sitting on the front desk of an empty classroom, dejectedly conjouring birds that flying around her head in a circle. Goodness, it sounds stupid when I say it like that, but I thought it worked.

Also, it is striking how they use the word "snog" for "kiss" in all sorts of contexts where one might define it as something a little further along if one didn't know what it meant. I guess that's going to fly over the heads of anybody who doesn't get it.


Ps. Told you so.

Chapter 13

(on page 278)

I am really enjoying getting Lord Valdemort's backstory.


Chapter eleven

One of the things that I like about this series is the general theme that obvious bad guys aren't the ones who will give you the most trouble. It's why I dont want the revelation in chapter two to be true and that theme plays nicely in chapter twleve, which had me making a few comparisions between Harry and YRUU.


Chapter eleven

Page 238

I know Hagrid isn't supposed to annoy me, but he does. Don't know why.


Chapter ten

Page 216

These books do have an irritating habit of taunting you with information that rowlign will give you when she damn well pleases but wants you to know that you're missing. As I mentioned a bit ago, it's less bad than it used to be, but it is still irritating.


Chapter nine

Page 193

The notes in Harry's book? And who adresses themself that way? Ok, I admit it. I'm intrigued.


Chapter eight



Chapter 7

See? Told you Ginny was cool. I like Luna, too.

Chapter 6

Page 128

If I were Harry, I would give marrying Ginny Weasely serious consideration. She seems really sharp, lots of fun and that would mean marrying into the Weasely family...


Chapter 5


One of the nice things about this book being about Harry as a teenager is that people talk to him. It was very irritating that the first few books had plots that basically turned on people not being straight with Harry. "Misunderstanding" plots of any variety irritate me.

Oh, and Fleur is right. Light gold bridesmaid dresses would make a redheaded bridesmaid look beautiful. In this sense she's more considerate than the Weaselys give her credit for.


Chapter four

80 pages in

Smile. This book is silly, but I'm still enjoying myself.


Chapter three

(Page 66)

This is my favorite scene with the Durselys ever as they get some comeuppance. Not cheesy slapstick comeuppance but actual "you guys suck for the way you treated Harry" comeuppance.

In many ways this first book is reading like the last book in the series should. I don't know why. But they've done things like have the two ministers review the events of the previous books and had Dumbledore actually talk straight to the Durselys.

I wonder if Mrs. Dursely' s experiences as a kid with the wizarding world will ever come into play.


Chapter 2

(37 pages in)

I don't believe that what appears to be true here is really true.

Ps. Anybody else suspect that Snape is a Vampire? I always have.

Chapter One

Chapter one
(19 pages in)

I heart the stuff about wizard politcs and beauracracy in the Harry Potter novels and it looks like this one is not going to disappoint me. Sucks about Amelia Bones. I wanted her to be the next minister of magic.


Liveblogging the new Harry Potter novel.

Someone actually hard core about this would've started at midnight.

But midnight is when you go for scrambled eggs after a play.

Eating barbecue-flavored soy crisps and reading Harry Potter requires a more civilized hour. Like 11:15 a.m

I'm stretched out on the Fugly couch now. Glass of c2 and bag of soy crisps waiting to refresh me.

Here we go. I won't spoil anything major, but will talk about little stuff and my own speculations.


CC sells out.

I'm willing to risk looking tacky if I can get free books out of it. So my wishlist is now on the taskbar,.


Ps. Yes, I know the comments feature has stopped showing people's names. Will monkey with it later. For now, y'all may want to sign your comments.

Friday, July 15, 2005

"Gee, by the time I was that old, I had two kids and a PhD!"

If people don't stop telling me how old/young 27 is, there will be difficulty.



Another thing to be bummed about.

I know grafitti is basically bad and usually sucks, but this guy was something special.

Innocence has died a bit more in Washington DC.



For what it's worth, it's my 27th birthday today

My linguist friend says I've now lasted longer than the Peloponnesian War.

I am cursed to be a giver of good presents. I'm the daughter who buys a complete CD set of "The Shadow" for a dad who liked old radio dramas as a boy. Our first Christmas, I asked the CSO what he wanted and he sarcastically said "a blowtorch." The antique brass blowtorch I found will be a minor pain on house moves for the rest of our lives. An old boyfriend's parents wouldn't let him have a Farrah Fawcett lunchbox in 1985, he got one for one Christmas in 1998. Spy museum membership on Valentine's Day for a gadget-loving husband? That's me. I have three or four presents lined up in mind for most of the people in my life, all of them quirky, fun and carefully tailored to the person.

Meanwhile, my family and closest friends have uttered a collective "It's your birthday? Oh, yeah... I'll totally get you something by next month or so. What do you want?" and I'm getting all bitchy about it.

I hate people who get all bitchy about such things.

Yet, at the same time, would it really kill my close amigos to send me a card?

(People who know me only from the internet, or people I don't talk to much and am really not all that close to exempted, of course. I just had a wedding where I got so many presents it felt vaguely like winning a game show. It's not that I want presents from the people I don't know well. It's the lack of effort from the people I do.)

Strongly suspecting that she will pull this post in a few hours, but feeling good to have gotten all that out.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Probably not the job for CC

But it might be the job for you. And hey, I'll buy you regular beverages if you give me the dirt about what's going on at the UUA...


OK, OK, I fixed the colors.

You can stop emailing me.


Her sins were scarlet and her blog was salmon...

A few minor blog changes

1. Dumped Haloscan. Far fewer people were using it.

2. Cogit8tions wrote me to suggest I use a different background color to make it easier to read. But I think my blog needs to be red because of my clever tagline. Perhaps one day I will have a sexy wordpress blog with a red backround behind a white page, but until then I'm remaining plain red. I know from a certain unpleasant incident involving a very manly congressman with very pink invitations that really there is no such thing as "light red." But I thought this was about as close as I could get before it started to look pink. Hope that helps.



I know reading and linking to the big bloggers is uncool. But Wonkette is writing about the program you can add to your "Grand Theft Auto" game that lets the protaganist have sex and I thought she was quite wonderful in what she had to say:

We've been hearing about this, ahem, plug-in for GTA for quite a bit now. It apparently interrupts the action in this brutually violent first person shooter by allowing the protagonist to do some hard core fucking. If the argument is that player see, player do, we would think this is a good thing. Let's face it, if the Trench Coat Mafia had gotten laid more, there'd be one less Michael Moore movie to suffer through.


The suckiest church website ever

BITB has started a trend of checking out church websites. Peacebang points to a nice one. And everybody and their mother is linking to some guy named Tony who wrote 10 easy ways to keep me from visiting your church because I visited your website which maintains that church websites must have neither photos of the church, photos of the minister, photos by amateur photographers, photos of flowers nor too many photos and must include pictures of at least one "normal person," which I assume means "normal" by media standards so "a young white person in the 95th percentile of attractiveness, Jennifer Aniston will do nicely."

What you write on the site is comparitively unimportant as long as you make it clear that you will feed the guy salvation in easily digestible chunks and help this guy and his pals walk the paved and well-lighted path to Jesus. Letting him figure your church out for himself is WAY unacceptable.

And don't worry about listing too many ministries, cuz, you're supposed show what you value through the pictures you choose. (It's amazing how everything that is wrong with our society manifests itself so neatly in some people.)

It doesn't violate ALL of Tony's rules, but the crappiest church website ever has to be the old site for Community Church Unitarian Universalist in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Available as a mirror site. Imagine. Leaving your old mirror site up for half a decade, much of the information out of date. Tony would die.)

But one night a really depressed grad student surfed by and found a church where things she'd believed for most of her life were actually in the sermons, sermons that were just plopped on the church's main page. (How terribly unfashionable!)

So she went to church.

That was fall. By spring, she'd named herself Chalicechick.


Response to Knuckles

Knuckles comments:

After speaking to some other folks about this whole bru-haha i was reminded that UUs can be real assholes. I've seen ministers give other ministers shit unaware that they were speaking to a colleague, I've seen UUs badmouth hotel staff because they could. Hell, I've treated older hippy UUs badly.

To which I say:

Come on! Like abusing Hippies of any age is actually wrong!


who is kidding, kinda sorta, no, she's not. Well, yes, she is.

Two questions about Jesus

1. Did he ever actually give his own money to the poor, or does he just tell other people to give money to the poor?

2. Does he ever forgive people who haven't asked him for forgiveness?

The first comes from a claim I read that I'd like verified, the second because I claimed it myself in an argument with my mother and I'd like to know if I was just making up stuff, right, or both.


Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Setup, schmetup

For the record, despite the fact that I'm FUUSE's Darth Vader on this issue (OK, a really white Darth Vader) I don't think it was a setup.

To be perfectly honest, when I was fifteen you would have found me out in the hallway hanging out and waiting for the ceremony to end and I might well have freaked out myself if I'd been hearing rumors of racial incidents and saw ushers kicking out some African-Americans.

And the world divides neatly into two categories of people (a) people to whom being sworn at means nothing and (b) people to whom it feels like big deal. I have a filthy mouth at times, but I NEVER directly say, for example, "fuck you" or "Back off, Bitch." Something like "I am so fucking tired" or "Stop bitching at me," rolls off the tongue. But somehow attaching the term to someone feels like a much bigger deal. I suspect people of these two varieties have trouble communicating when they get angry at one another and I get the sense that problem reared its head here.

The fact that we are all SO quick to judge when it comes to race is clear enough. The fact that FUUSE was fueling things by labeling the incident racist, then claiming it was the UUA's term when it wasn't, sort of speaks for itself.

But I think self-righteousness and confusion explain this a lot better than deliberate plotting. (After all, if they were smart enough to plan this, they were smart enough to execute it someplace where there were no African-American ushers around. A similar statement coming from a white usher would have seemed far less credible.)



A letter from an African-American Usher at GA that was posted at FUUSE

Dear Mr. Rickter:

I read your open letter to those who attended GA this year with special interest. You see, not only am I a person of color, but I was also privileged to usher for most of the large events.

I was one of the ushers at the Closing Ceremony, and therefore it was interesting to read about the incident that I witnessed first-hand. You stated:

"We have been disturbed by reports of other unfortunate incidents during General Assembly within our own Unitarian Universalist family, in which some UU youth of color were made to feel that they were not welcome. There was an incident outside the hall during the closing ceremonies at the Fort Worth General Assembly. Based on the reports of witnesses, the incident involved several UU youth of color, a UU adult who questioned their right to be there, provoking an angry response from the youth, a UU minister who intervened in support of the adult, and another white youth who defended the youth of color and verbally attacked the minister, who responded in like fashion with similar inflammatory language."

For whatever it's worth, here is what initiated that event.

I was ushering in the balcony and was greeting and handing out programs at the far right entrance. You will remember that many people came in after the program began, since many had gone to get dinner before it started. It was therefore not unusual that three young black persons walked in about 15 minutes after the program had begun. What was unusual is the manner in which they were dressed and their body language.

I have been a school teacher and school counselor for 25 years, so I know that, in the kid's vernacular, they were dressed in "gangsta'" fashion (low slung, oversized clothing, bandanas on head, wraparound sunglasses, even though it was evening, etc.). I must admit that my first thought (since they were not wearing their name cards) was that perhaps this might be local youth that might have seen some of our protests during the week and came to check us out. I had not seen them at any of the other programs.

Instead of looking for a seat, they stood in the walkway separating the lower balcony from the upper balcony and watched the program for about 10 minutes, then they began walking toward the center of the balcony. I smiled and them and offered them a program. Only one of the young men stopped and reached for one, after which he took two steps to follow his friends and made a big show of throwing the program on the floor. Then they proceed toward the next entrance, where this same young man asked that usher (Brenda) for a program, and proceeded to do the same thing.

At this point, my husband Jim (also an usher upstairs) went over to them and asked them if there was a problem. I later found out that the youth replied, "What's it to you, Man?"

The induction of the candidates was beginning, so Jim suggested that if they were not interested in watching the program, perhaps they should go out into the lobby so they would not disturb others. Although the three youth proceeded down the stairs to the lobby, another young man, (Brian Kuzma) came down from the upper balcony and proceeded to scold Jim for being a "Racist" and anti-youth. Jim suggested they go discussed this in the lobby since it was disturbing the audience. They went down to the lobby, and at this point, the young man who had been disrupive came in again at my entrance (without his friends). Again, he asked me for a program. Again, I smiled and said I hoped he would keep it this time. He mumbled something, took the program, pitched it to the floor, and proceeded toward the other usher.

At this point a woman who happened to be standing in the walkway came to me and said, "Those guys are obviously trouble-makers and need to leave."

I told her that Jim had already called the head usher on his radio and the situation would be handled. As we then turned to the center entrance, however, the young man had gotten another program from Brenda, and was now tearing it up and throwing the pieces down.

Mr. Rickter, I have worked with youth for 25 years, and I know when I am being "baited"-- so I knew that he was itching to be confronted, something I was not about to do. But the woman who saw all this walked up to the young man and asked him what his problem was. He replied, "Get out of my face, bitch." Another man overheard this, and so we all followed the youth to the lobby where Brian proceeded to argue with everyone that we were acting "just like the Fort Worth police." The woman and man kept trying to explain to him that it was the behavior of the young man (and not his race) that being called into question.

At this point, other young people that had been out in the lobby the whole time began screaming and crying that everyone was being unfair! Then, some of the youth sponsors, as well as people from the Planning Committee came on the scene, so I went back to my post where the ushers were being told to block people from going into the lobby until things were calm.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Overall, I 'd had such a wonderful experience at GA the previous days that the whole incident was like a splash of cold water. I was especially sad to learn that the young man who incited this was "one of us." I couldn't understand why he would choose to be unruly and disrespectful and disrupt the closing ceremony. I am told it was because he was harrassed during the week, but I cannot understand why he would feel that it gave him license to take it out on the whole group.

Believe me, having grown up as a person of color in Texas, I would be the last one to be an apologist for racist behavior. But this was not the case in this particular incident. The youth will need to understand that they, also, need to examine what I perceive as reverse racism, on their part. It was an unfortuante incident all the way around. As you say, I hope we can all learn from it.

Esther Ford, Member
Live Oak U-U Church
Cedar Park, Texas


Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Why no indictment for Novak?

Dana Millbank of the Washington Post says it's because Novak gave up his sources without a fight. (About 60 percent of the way down the page)

Hey, I'd been wondering too.


Ps. And yes, I loved people accusing Dana Millbank (whom I heart) of being both liberal and conservative and the similarity between his response here and my reaction to being accused of being both racist and reverse racist.

Umm... Sweet.

So TheCSO and I just closed on a house in the ninth most educated neighborhood in the country, at least, according to Money magazine.

But I find myself questioning the methodology of all this.

One of the three nicest places to live in America is in Jersey?

Come on...


Who knew?

Turns out Washington DC women dress a little frumpy.

Wearing an olive green pantsuit today with a black shell and black ankle boots.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Don't pee on America's leg and tell us it's raining!

Writer, UU, and all-around nifty dude Kurt Vonnegut has suggested Judge Judy for the Supreme Court. This is a really bad idea, I’m sure, for reasons that will come to me really, really, soon, I’m sure.



I got one! No wait…



Ps. The NY Post asked her about it. she didn't say no

More on public blogging

Jess, that hipster her, has been right on a trend in her posts about anonymous blogging. Now Atrios is talking about the subject. Kevin Drum at The Washington Monthly wrotes a nice analysis of the Chronicle of Higher Education peice about a search committee looking at blogs. (And doing a shitty job of it by making crazy assumptions.)

Oh, and if I wanted to tear another oriface into the "people post anonymously because they are cowards" argument I think I could do it rather completely using this as an example.

I wish for this poor bastard's sake he'd blogged anonymously.


The first *blush* of morning

Nothing starts a week off right like getting to explain to your boss why a guy named Mr. Gorsky might be very insistent about going by his first name.


That woman is so damn cool

Joan Jett on being a rock star.

Over-educated computer nerd, but she hearts Joan Jett anyway.

Does the internet have a mood?

If so, it's being measured here.

who just started a diet, so is in a bad one.

Another response to Jess.

This became long enough to really be a post of its own.

I think blogging about one's job is not a very good idea. As a general principal, I tell funny stories about work or, more often, hanging out with my coworkers in the bar afterwards, but I don't talk about it in any serious sense.
Thant having been said, there are lots of ministers, anonymous and otherwise, who do a great job of talking about it without saying anything that could cause them trouble.

I think giving people pseudonyms or at least nicknames is only courtesy to them. "Boy, I had a great time getting smashed on Tuesday with Bippo. We didn't get home until 4 a.m." is a different sentence from "Boy, I had a great time getting smashed on Tuesday with my good friend Derek Maxfield, we didn't get home until 4 a.m." for example. Even if you're secure in your job, Derek might not be secure in his. (Especially if he made a big mistake at work on Wednesday)

When blogging about one's personal life, one also runs across these issues. That my brother goes on trial for statutory rape and possession of kiddie porn in two weeks is not a secret. It has been in the paper, after all. I do find writing a few posts about the effect the case has had on my family to be appropriate. I'm still sorting through these thing and hey, maybe they can even be helpful to somebody else.

But I don't want to be the sort of person who writes "Bippo and I had the biggest fight this week. He's such a moron, I don't know why I even hang out with the guy. Let me tell you how stupid he is..."


Saturday, July 09, 2005

CC meets Peregrinato

When I meet someone in person that I only know from online, it is inevitably under weird circumstances. I met AP three days before my wedding when I hadn't had a solid night of sleep in what felt like months and chocolate in longer. I met Fausto and a whole bunch of other folks at the blog con the day after I had just had a fender bender that ruined my perfect driving record and though insurance covered everything, left me freaked out and weird for about a week to come. (We turned in the rental car and flew home. TheCSO doesn't drive but, bless him, understands "I'm too freaked to drive eight hours back, fly me home.")

Peregrinato's meeting is the champ. When I met Peregrinato, I had spent the morning sanding the blue trim off a house I was helping repaint as part of a church low-income housing project. My entire body was covered in fine blue powder. I fully expect him to blog "I have met CC. And she is a smurf."

But Peregrinato himself was a total joy to meet. He was laid-back and funny and, I hope he doesn't mind my saying so, only slightly less clueless about his occupational future than I am about mine. (This is hugely refreshing in a town where everyone knows where they are going and plans to get there pronto.)

And he's gonna try to get me tickets to an exclusive drag show. Squee!


A mud wrestling match I'd like to see.

So Steve is calling me a racist. Well, B-net regulars will recall that Gail used to say that I preferred black people to white people and was a traitor to my own kind.

You two fight it out and let me know, k?


Ps. Jason comments that it all comes down to how one sees oneself, though the point is that when you think for yourself, people will always see you however they want to anyway, I guess that deserves an answer. I see myself as a person muddling through these issues as best she can. I want to be fair but feel that treating people, to borrow BITB's term, as hothouse orchids is ultimately patronizing. I err on the side of assuming that people can handle life's bumps as erring on the other side is insulting and mostly I calls em as I sees em on a case-by-case basis.

I think the GA incident is a Thomas Hardy novel with no bad guys, but lots of immaturity and misunderstandings.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Life has bumps, no matter your color.

Philocrites has a post from Eric Posa, the staff chaplain the night of YellingGate.

Posa also assumes that the incident was totally about race and his post has your basic "We white people just don't know how clueless we are" tone.

OK, is there something here y'all aren't telling me that makes everybody so convinced that this is totally about race?

Because, hey, if the minister yelled a racial slur, chuck me a torch and I'll be happy to join the lynch mob.

That having been said...

If all we're talking about is a group of teenagers, justly or not, getting into a yelling match with an adult and some other teenagers being mistaken for staff, both of those things happened to me when I was a kid and no national organization felt they owed me an apology or an institutional soul-searching.

Kids get yelled at. Sometimes unfairly. That, my friends, is life. Life is not fair.

Is raising these kids to believe that race is the root of the issue every time they are cut off in traffic, every time the dentist says it won't hurt and it does, every time they get shortchanged at McDonalds, really doing them any favors?

I'm all for comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable. But hearing about these incidents does not afflict me, it irritates me. Our religion is tiny. There are homeless people in every city we could be reaching out to. Kids who can't afford to go to GA and then blow off the closing ceremony who might like tutoring or a nice meal or a scholarship.

And we are wasting our time and outrage on THIS?



The Modo Blog presents this definition of a moderate:

A moderate above all else believes that the integrity of the means--the constitution, beneficial economic incentives, international law--must be preserved in the face of any given end.

As a moderate, I want to believe that. It's pretty damn flattering to me in my glorious reasonableness.

But aren't there some partisans on both sides who believe that?



We hold these tooths to be self-evident...

I have a thing about people with nasty teeth. It started back when I was a reporter in South Carolina. I covered an antique tractor show (clich├ęd, I know, but it’s really where it happened.) I met a farmer from Lugoff, South Carolina, with a front tooth so nasty it was shaped almost like a crescent. The rest of his teeth were either missing or grossly misshapen. That man and his teeth are now permanently tattooed on my brain and I am mildy squicked just imagining the guy. Maybe it’s unfair. No doubt it’s sort of a classism thing, though I am unfazed by a lot of other symbols of a working class upbringing, but my brain does it whether I like it or not. People with really gross teeth are sort of scary to me. I don’t really want to be around them.

To be frank, I don’t know that I’m ever going to get over this tooth thing when it comes to meeting someone new. I can grow to love (and indeed have grown to love before) someone with ugly teeth, but it is an uphill battle.

Put charitably, I have a thing about teeth that I get over with time when it comes to individuals.

Put uncharitably, I’m a toothist.

I think that if someone with nasty teeth were in a job interview with me, I would work doubly hard to give them a fair shake because I know my problem is not theirs. At the same time, I don’t know that hiring someone with bad teeth for a job like mine where schmoozing is an important aspect would be a good idea at all. Even people who aren’t totally turned off by gross teeth would likely consider gross teeth unprofessional-looking.

We all have stupid biases.

My favorite college roommate swears that all girls named “Amy” hate her. If their waitress’ name is Amy, Melani says it is a dead certainty that waitress Amy will spill coffee on Melani and flirt with her husband.

All kinds of people, I might venture to say most people, would rather deal with a native speaker of American English with an American accent than someone with a strong foreign accent. Lots of people don’t like fat people. Or women who don’t wear makeup. Or women who wear too much makeup.

We all have these stupid biases.

When it comes to sexual attraction, we don't bat an eyelash if someone says "I really don't like blondes," though we may be uncomfortable telling the truth if we prefer to date whites . (Though we might tell ourselves that if someone were raised close-knit Italian Catholic, that's one more cultural difference the relationship would have to overcome and that being raised in a Hispanic family is likely to pressent similar issues.)

I’m tempted to write off the tooth thing as a quirk of my personality and ignore it. I’m NICE to people with gross teeth, after all.

But if we rewrite my paragraphs and replace the references to teeth with ones to race, I find myself instantly turned off by the person I’m describing. Judging people on race just seems so evil!

If racism was down to the point where it was just a quirk of a few people, then it wouldn’t be an issue any more than toothism is, I suppose. But it highlights that toothism really is something I should get over. (But how does one get over something like that?)

I think about my issue about teeth and our societal issues about race, and I just find the waters of fairness still muddier.


Thursday, July 07, 2005

How sensitive do we want to be?

Ok, remember when I said that I thought gay rights was a lot simpler than race relations?

This thing with the GA is a good example of why.

In my application for YRUU leader at my church, I was asked if I could be an enthusiastic advocate for YRUU. Feeling honest, I said that I thought I could do a great job advocating local YRUU, but I had big doubts about YRUU at a national level. I get this we can solve racism, but we can't get along with adults vibe that makes them seem like, well, a bunch of kids. I want them to be more.

My application was accepted, but yesterday I got an email from the youth leader, attaching the UUA's statement and saying "this is why it's important we continue to work on race issues."

Actually, I think this fuss indicates some very strange priorities on the part of the UUA.

First of all, as I told her, my issue is with YRUU's methods, not its goal. Eradicating racism has no greater fan than me.

But as far as the incidents described in the UUA statement are concerned, anyone who reads this blog knows that my husband was mistaken for a store employee just last week.

I surmised then that it was about his polo shirt or his knowledge of fish. Never occurred to me that it would be about race. I mean, of course not. He's white. The incident was only even worth writing about because the guy in the store also assumed he was gay and I found myself moving in on the both of them like one intent on protecting her property. I found my own instinctual behavior amusing.

So my husband is assumed to sell tropical fish because he's standing in the fish section and everyone just thinks it's funny but if people assume a kid standing outside a hotel is a bellhop, that's racism of such a degree that a national organization needs to craft a formal response?

And with the incident with kids hanging around outside the closing ceremonies, I find myself asking, since they WERE a part of GA, why weren't they IN the ceremony? It does sound like it got completely out of hand, but I find myself wondering if it didn't start with a bunch of kids in a group outside a formal ceremony getting louder than they realize they are getting. Teenagers do that, especially hyperactive teenagers of the sort inclined to skip ceremonies. I can recall being in loud and silly groups of kids, groups that were ultimately kicked out of someplace, several times from my own teen years. Admittedly, it was shopping malls and restaurants, but one would think loud and silly groups of kids would be far less out of place there than outside a formal ceremony.

Again, it got out of hand and it sounds like both sides behaved inappropriately. But was the minister really so upset because they were people of color? Or was the minister upset because GA is a huge emotional deal for a lot of people and he/she thought they were being disrespectful in some way?

I find myself sounding like my mother, who upon hearing my self-righteous complaints about how my right to giggle in the mall was violated, would invariably ask "what did you do to bring it on yourself?" Is this question appropriate here? I don't know. But I learned an awful lot by answering it myself.

So far, this UUA response has generated responses of "oh how awful" and some neutral responses, but I think the statement raises the question of how sensitive we want to be. The statement implies that some other things happened involving non-UUs that may have been more significant. If so, by all means, the UUA should have at it.

But it seems to me that there is no way we should be making such a big deal over the incidents described. I find myself irritated that The Blue Chalice accuses Sinkford of mentioning the Latino contribution to American society only under pressure since it was mentioned in the closing ceremonies rather than earlier. Are we THAT determined to think the worst of one another? I'm sorry, has Sinkford in any way been shown to have a problem with Latinos? If not, maybe it's more appropriate to cut Sinkford one inch of the slack that Enrique cuts the Mexican government's "We didn't mean to be racist, so it can't be racist" response to the stamp issue in his previous post.

Yes, we should be good to each other.

Yes, GA should be a place where people of all colors can feel comfortable.

Yes, we should set an example.

But I think we've gone WAY overboard here.


Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Another argument for having GA in Vegas

Cheap, good food that is subsidized by gambling.

Advice on law school admissions that also applies to graduate school

The irony of my linking to this is unmistakable given that quite a few of my reders have been to far more impressive schools than I have. But PG's post reflects everything I've heard at the second job.

So if you went to Harvard, you can skip this one. As the CSO noted during my last existential crisis over the fact that most of my friends' lives at my age had a lot more direction than mine has, I tend to "friend up."


Hmmm... Maybe my bosses will let me go as a professional development activity...

Brace yourself, kids.

New York is having a font convention.

The sad thing is, I really, unironically, want to go.

Well, sort of.


Ok, he IS the next Michael Moore...

Apparently, Morgan Spurlock can't get his facts right, either.

But he will have to get MUCH more annoying to join Anne Lamott, Nora Ephron and Moore on CC's hate list.


Church/State issues

I read Noah Feldman's NYT article in a chicken restaurant on Sunday afternoon. I was going to blog about it but I forgot then, so here this is now.

I am SO underwhelmed by what he had to say.



That she is making us look like ugly Americans is probably the least of Natalee Holloway's mother's worries.

But she is.

who wishes it were ONLY upset parents who couldn't grasp the meaning of "innocnent until proven guilty."

Moral Perspective Watch

Tracking Hitler in the news:

Hitler memorabilia is the big story recently with a big sale and a big theft.

Question: If this was say, civil war stuff, would it have made the news? The theft, maybe, but I'm inclined to think neither would have been a big deal. I guess Hitler still fascinates us.


Back in the blogging saddle

Well, my linguist friend is headed home and CC is back at work.

Didn't mean to quit blogging as much as I did, I guess I needed a vacation from more than just work.

A few things:

--Yes, as Kim asked in the comments and one person emailed, Fugly does come from "f'n ugly." Around the ChaliceAbode, we use it the term Chalicefamily fugly couch, which is a couch so durable as to be indestructable that manages to be too squishy for comfortable for sitting, too short to be comfortable for sleeping and the color of oatmeal with too much milk in it. CC has been voting to replace it and its equally appalling chair brother with a black leather sofa and a lovesac for sometime, but it is not our first priority.

By far the best thing about this couch is cheering:

Our couch ain't got no alibi
It's fugly!

--The CSO made the point this weekend that when Alberto Gonzales is not in a position where his career is dependent on sucking up wildly to President Bush, he's actually more liberal than a lot of people. I still find the man seriously icky. But TheCSO may be right. Fire away.

--Evan Bayh is indeed the hottest senator other than Obama, something I've been telling y'all for a month. Not that anyone so far has cared.


Sunday, July 03, 2005

Happy Sunday

I haven't been a good blogger this weekend but I've been a good hostess.

Last night I made an amazing spinach salad with salmon.

Today, I think I will pick up the report of the commission on appraisal, which should give me interesting things to blog about.


Saturday, July 02, 2005

CC becomes concerned that her brains may fall out

How can/should we talk about scientology?

If it's ok to dismiss ANY belief system as a wacky cult, it seems like it should be those guys.

But is it?

As many have pointed out, the virgin birth and the wise men and all is a lot to swallow, too, but finding out that a friend takes the bible somewhat literally does not reduce my opinion of the friend's judgement.

I think that finding out they were a scientologist likely would.

Is this intolerance or just common sense?


Buh-bye Brunette

I've been feeling uncomfortable in my own skin recently and I figured dying my hair red would help.

So far, I'm still feeling like a coiled spring, but I look FABULOUS.



Friday, July 01, 2005

.News-induced headaches.

I've been getting these headaches recently. I guess it's not so weird. Life is stressful.

But I noticed that as soon as my CNN Alert popped up and I read that Sandra Day O'Conner is retiring, the headache kicked in. I don't think body chemistry is supposed to work that way. Maybe it's psychosomatic.

REALLY wishing she hadn't used her last tylenol yesterday. Ah well. To CVS I will go at lunch.