Friday, September 30, 2005

Linguist Friend writes: RECUERDOS DE ALCALA

The New Testament is sometimes an object of negative
feelings or ambivalence to modern liberals, more rarely of active interest, but
most who have spent much time on the Greek New Testament know that the modern
editions have in their distant background the figure of the Renaissance
humanist Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536), whose first edition of the Greek NT
appeared in Basel in 1516.

Recently, however, one of my undergraduate acoustics
students took my breath away (no, not that way). She came into the lab
wearing a sweat-shirt from the University of Alcala (de Henares) in Spain, a city located a little east of Madrid. Borrowed and inauthentic sweatshirts, of course, are
routine, but on questioning, not only had she studied at the Spanish university
in question, but she also was generally aware of its significance in the
history of scholarship. The point is that the printing of the first, Alcala,
edition of the Greek New Testament, the fifth volume of the Complutensian (the
Latin name for Alcala is Complutum) edition of the Bible in the original
tongues and with translations, was concluded on Jan. 10, 1514, two years before
the publication of Erasmus’s edition. Kurt and Barbara Aland (KA: 1915-1994)
give it about ten lines in their contemporary Text of the New Testament,
but it deserves more. This neglect is recent: Bruce Metzger’s Text of the NT
gives it respectable coverage, and the great Textkritik des Neuen Testaments
(II, 1902) of the Leipzig scholar Caspar Rene Gregory (1846-1917, born in
Philadelphia and killed on grave-registration duty in the German army in a war
even deadlier and stupider than any now in progress) gives it much fuller
attention, while we owe the late Victorian scholar F.H.A.Scrivener (1813-1891)
a careful study of its NT Greek text, aside from others to be noted

The Alcala edition of the Greek NT was edited by a
foursome of scholars. The work was at least nominally headed by the classical
scholar Jacobus Lopez de Stunica (Astuniga), together with Fernando Nunez de
Guzman, Demetrius Ducas from Crete, and Antonio from Lebrija near Seville. The Greek text and the Latin Vulgate text were presented side by side on each
page. The last of the five Old Testament volumes (1-4, 6) was completed on July
10, 1517. The OT included Hebrew, Septuagint, and Vulgate texts, and the
Pentateuch had an Aramaic paraphrase with a Latin translation printed at the
foot of the page. The edition was approved by Pope Leo X on March 22, 1520, but
it was not available for purchase until 1522. The price in Rome at that time
was 14 ducats, according to an early source cited by Gregory. It is usually
stated that only 600 copies of the set were produced. A second edition was
published in 1569 by Plantin in Antwerp, and in the nineteenth century the work
was reprinted several times.

The identification of the Greek manuscript sources
used for the Alcala edition is virtually limited to observed partial
resemblances to known texts as noted by Mill, Scrivener, and F. Delitsch, while
those manuscripts used by Erasmus are at least partly known and sometimes still
bear his written instructions to the printer. According to Scrivener’s
collation, the Alcala edition deviated from the standard Elzevier edition of the
Greek NT of 1624, a descendant of Erasmus’s edition, in 2777 passages. Now we
see why the Alcala text had very limited critical influence. Its textual
sources were unknown, and it deviated in many readings from the standard, more
available, and much less expensive Basel edition, which had a six years’ head
start to make its mark.

But, an issue not touched on in usual discussions
of this edition is, why did it happen? It is generally recognized that the
enterprise was sponsored by the Archbishop of Toledo, Cardinal Francisco
Ximenez (or: Jimenez) de Cisneros (1437-1517). Ximenes was at times in his
later years the real ruler of Castile. The project was undertaken in 1502 in
honor of the birth of the future emperor Charles V (1500-1558), who sent Ximenes
into retirement as soon as he came to Asturias in 1517; Ximenez died
immediately in circumstances that arouse suspicions of poison. In many
respects, the organization of the Alcala edition provides a much stronger model
for modern scholarship than did the work of Erasmus, basically a one-man
operation which as he said was precipitated rather than edited in the course of
the Basel printer Johannes Froben’s successful effort to beat the Alcala
edition to publication and market. Ximenes had undertaken the edition at his
own expense, organizing a group of scholars to carry it out; the cost is said
to have eventually amounted to some half a million ducats. The modern value
of the ducat is irrelevant; if one makes the modest assumption that the 14
ducats which the set cost in Rome were the equivalent of about $ 300 for 6
volumes, then the project cost about $ 11 million dollars, and that may be an

Although it is stated in the preface and dedication
of the work that manuscripts used were loaned by Pope Leo X from the Vatican library, Leo became Pope only in 1513, when the work must have been at an advanced
stage. It must have previously depended on other manuscript sources which have
not been identified. It is tempting to think that it would have changed the
course of scholarly history if the great fourth–century uncial manuscript Codex
Vaticanus (B) of the Greek Bible had been among the manuscripts loaned by the
Vatican (it appears in the Vatican Library’s catalogs at least since 1481), but
it is unlikely that its text-critical superiority would have been recognized
among the flood of late readings which were current in the Greek NT manuscripts
available at the time. Ximenes also founded at his own expense the University of Alcala de Henares (founded 1500, opened 1508), recruiting outstanding faculty
from Bologna, Salamanca, and Paris, thus creating an institutional context for
his Bible project.

The reader who has experience with early Greek
printed books will be struck that the typography of the Complutensian New
Testament does not follow the practice of most early Greek editions, which
apply combinations of letters (ligatures) nearly as extensively as the
minuscule manuscripts on which the early printings were based. For this and
other reasons its Greek text appears more typographically modern and is more
clearly readable than many printings which are chronologically later. Metzger
has useful notes on this aspect of the work. Frederic Kenyon stated that
Erasmus made use of the Alcala edition in his own definitive edition of the
Greek NT of 1527, especially in the Apocalypse, for which the single manuscript
source he had originally used had been deficient. Kenyon regarded the Alcala
edition as “the parent of the textual criticism of the printed Bible.”

The Bible project of Ximenez pointed the way that
has become standard for such major projects in the modern age. He provided
funding, an institutional context, a cadre of scholarly co-workers, access to
source materials, and a time frame free from pressures to go to market with an
unready product. Erasmus would have been lucky to work in this situation, but
refused an invitation to do so when it was offered. One may doubt that he would
have tolerated the ethos of contemporary Spain. On the other hand, the
dependence of the Alcala Bible project on the resources and generosity of a
single benefactor pointed backward; it has been a positive step for science and
scholarship to acquire institutional sponsorship.

“Out of the mouth of infants and nurslings you
have prepared praise” (Ps. 8.3, LXX). Don’t ignore what it says on your
students’ sweatshirts, although it should not always be taken seriously.

Linguist Friend

TV blogging: The refuge of the overworked.

I woke up at 5 this morning prepared to pack for a trip.

Instead, I popped on the Tivo and finally saw the Veronica Mars season finale.

And I am hooked for a whole 'nother story arc.

If you liked Buffy, for the love of God watch this thing. I don't market CSI to you people because I know you know what it is and either you like it or you don't. But when quality entertainment shows up on UPN, the world should be notified.


Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Case Dismissed

The girl who accused my brother is in a mental instituion and is refusing to testify.

Case dismissed.

Back to work.


14 hour day yesterday

And today is not looking much better.

Weird story.

I show up at my event yesterday and my brother Oliver walks by with a vacuum cleaner. It turns out he's working as a temp and by some awful coincidence had been hired as a temp by the club where I was throwing my fundraising party.

Oliver seemed to think it was hilarious.

"Which room are you in? I'll do a crappy job on that one."

My big worry was that he would be serving food in my room, and I had an unpleasant few minutes where I pondered whether to ask to have him switched for somebody else, and if there was a way I could do that without making him look bad.

But it turned out he was just toting stuff around.

Still, that wasn't good because I wanted a little easel for a sign I had with the candidate's name on it. I had to ask three different people to bring me one and when it came, Oliver carried it out and said "Here's the easel you've been bothering people about."

He disappeared.

Later, the catering manager came up to apologize.

Oh, crap.

"He probably woulnd't say that to anyone who wasn't me. He's my kid brother."

"You're still a client," the catering manager said. He gave me a long look.

"I had a rough childhood," I said lamely. The catering manager laughed.

"There's one in my family, too." He said, and whisked away.

The ChaliceRelative did not blame me, but did make sure I knew how awful it was that Oliver had been fired by the temp agency and well as the club.

My mother wants to know how I could have gotten my brother canned. Her big idea is that he should look for a new job on Thursday as his trial is today. Dare to dream, Mom.

The congressman's wife said kind things about the staff. I'm going to pass on her kind words to the catering manager in an email this morning and tell him no hard feelings.

I'll post the verdict as soon as I know it, but I'm not going as I have to work.


Sunday, September 25, 2005

Why newspaper columns bug me so

This is something I've been reflecting on recently. Keep in mind that I'm not a newspaper reporter/columnist, and neither am I much of a blogger. This is the perspective of someone who is primarily a consumer of media.

I can't stand newspaper columns and editorials anymore. They feel inherently preachy now. I didn't feel this way before blogs, but now I find myself annoyed at how it can't be commented, it can't be linked. I've become so used to being able to argue back, in a public forum, when someone gets facts wrong, or when I have additional questions about apparent logical fallacies.

It also bugs me when comments are tightly moderated online, though not as much. I understand the need to keep trolls away, and to keep conversations from getting dragged down into certain (usually political) topics that don't add anything to - and often detract from - the original discussion. At least there, I could always post somewhere else (say, here) about it. In print, that's hard to do.

I'm not saying that everything should have a comments section. I think that many editorials, for instance, are better off with no comments section than with a poorly moderated one. And hard news, for instance, definitely shouldn't have comments at the primary source. That's what blogs are for.

In print, though, it feels like the author is TRYING to make it hard to rebut them, or even to engage in a dialogue. I know it's a limitation of the medium, and usually not a direct consideration for the author, but it feels that way to me. Choosing to write in a print medium IS choosing to write in a medium where it will be more difficult to criticize you, and that does have some bearing. If editorial writers and columnists wouldn't get basic facts wrong, this wouldn't bother me so much.

On a somewhat related note, check out Regret The Error - it's a fascinating blog compiling editorial corrections for (mostly print) media.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Linguist Friend writes: Two Roads in a Wood

During my early childhood in south-east Virginia, we lived across the street from the artist J.J.Lankes, whose woodcuts illustrate several of the early volumes of poetry by Robert Frost. I barely remember Frost’s visit to Lankes in my childhood, when Lankes brought him across the street to meet my father, at our house on the red clay banks of the James River, but I do recall how Frost sighted at the weather up the great river, five miles wide near its mouth. Lankes’s woodcuts were widely hung on the darkish inside of his modest house in Hilton Village, and my family ended up with a number of them framed.
Today I see few references to Frost, who was a presence in Boston when I was an undergraduate student and I learned how to read literary texts from his former Amherst colleague and friend Reuben Brower. Of course, he is perhaps most (if not best) known for his poem “The Road Not Taken” of how two roads diverged in a wood, and he had to choose one. It is less known how far those roads took him, how not long before his death he traveled to Russia in autumn of 1962, met with Khrushchev, and left his traces on Soviet literature. One Lithuanian poet, Eduardas Mezelaitis, who visited Frost at his home in America, published the following verses in the afterword to a Soviet anthology of Frost’s poetry in Russian translation, published only a few months after the poet’s death in January of 1963. :

The poet reads, looking at the fire,
A poem of a man and of a road.
He’s at that age, when people are not joking
When they pronounce the words “end of the road”.

He speaks the words quite cheerfully and simply,
As if he sees them far past the horizon,
His verses going on their way alone,
Far beyond the life of any man.

Frost could be destructive in his personal relationships, and somehow I have come to feel that, even in his most famous poem, the poet got the geometry of the situation wrong. Clear divergences in the form of arbitrary decisions and choices in life are relatively rare, but it is convergences that can raise hell with things. When the two paths converge, each carrying a human, that is a classic problem of poetry. I tend to think that his poem would have been more convincing if it had been something like:

Two roads converged in a yellow wood,
Joined hands to take a walk together,
I came on one, my friend the other,
We made our common way the best we could.

You have to write the rest for yourself, of course.

Linguist Friend

(Did somebody just rewrite Robert Frost? And people think I'M cheeky... -CC)

I'm liking this guy less and less, kids.

Form The Jewish Week article theCSO found

Rabbi Boteach, calling from Utah, said he is closer to the Mormons, and a greater defender of Mormons, than any other rabbi, “but they alienated their foremost Jewish apologist in the whole world.”


1. If one bad experience with a few members of a religion turns you against that entire religion, you were probably a bigot before the bad experience happened.
2. If you think another religion needs you as its apologist, you are a bigot AND a patronizing asshole.


Conversations with lobbyists

I just had the following conversation, which I am repeating word for word except for the redacted stuff.

CC: Hi, (lobbyist’s name,) it’s (CC) from (CC’s firm). I was calling to see if you were coming to our breakfast for (Congressman A) on the 27th.

Lobbyist: We don’t have any money for him, but we might do your reception for (Congressman B) later on in the week.

CC: I’m afraid (Congressman B) isn’t one of our clients.

Lobbyist: But, (CC), aren’t you with (CC’s firm’s big competitor)?

CC: Nope, I’m with (CC’s firm)

Lobbyist: Oh, yeah, sorry. I wasn’t thinking. Anyway, we can’t come to the baseball game.

CC: How about the breakfast?

Lobbyist: Sorry, we don’t have any money for him this cycle.

And we rang off.

I swear, talking to me must be like that sometimes.


Again with the Rabbi...

Response to Paul W.'s response to the CSO

1. If you run a company where your employees can start planning and publicizing a charity event on your time, please, send me a job application. Where I work, we have this funny rule about doing charity work on your own time.

2. To a radio station, airtime IS money and he certainly doesn't mention offering to pay for that out of his pocket. He makes it clear that instead of talking about what he was being paid to talk about, he was publicizing his event. My company has printing equipment. If I run off 1000 posters for my charity event on their equipment while I'm being paid to do other things, aren't I pretty much doing what this guy was doing?

3. Does the Rabbi at all mention doing anything to satisfy legal liability? Or was the radio station just supposed to cross their fingers and hope that nothing happened and they didn't get sued during an event that they were sponsoring against their will yet had no control over? (e.g. If the station had asked the rabbi to run FBI background checks on all the refugees and all the adoptive families, do you really think he would have listened? Sure sounds like he would have just done what he pleased and just written a column about how they were trying to stifle his good intentions. But if some refugee family was taken in by some squirrelly guy and their teenage daughter got raped, for example, the lawsuit would be against the station.)

4. If you think the station manager could have turned this into positive publicity and I do too, why didn't the rabbi just run it by his bosses? Do you think there might be a reason? It's weeks later and there are still refugees who need homes. Even if getting permission HAD delayed things a few days, he would still be doing a lot of good. And with the station's support, he probably could have done an even bigger event. I think there's a reason he did this behind his bosses' backs.

5. Let's look at one way he could have written this peice:

"Boy, the corporate assholes at my old job sure sucked. They had some rule about getting permission from your boss before starting a big project. They canned me for doing charity work on their time. All they care about is money!"

Yet he chose to make this about Mormonism and Mormons hating black people.

Do you think it's possible that there is more to this than we're hearing?

It sounds to me like this guy doesn't just have a problem with authority. He seems to have a problem with Mormons. That might be why he didn't trust them enough to run this by them, but that also makes this situation of his own making.

I really doubt this is the only problem this guy has ever had with Mormons since he got so hateful so quickly, and I really doubt he wanted his bosses' permission because that would have taken control of the event away from him.


The CSO on the fired radio rabbi

Started out as a response, but is really a post of its own. What we're talking about is this situation.

I completely agree with CC on this one. The issue is not the worthiness of the cause, it's that he didn't ask permission and get approval first. Radio hosts generally DON'T have signature authority. I don't know about the big names - maybe some of them have some sort of purchasing authority or show production slush fund. I do know that most hosts have to get approval for anything that costs the station money.

Clear Channel would have canned him just as quick, for exactly the same reason. Maybe their PR department would have done it in a more sensitive way, given how he's been able to spin this, but I don't see them keeping someone who goes and runs unauthorized events around. MAYBE if they were a Big Name host or something.

I really don't see the station owner's religion playing into this at all. This was a completely corporate, completely secular sort of decision. It even has that clumsy corporate feel to it.

What more deeply bothers me is the mindset that one should not be punished for breaking an unjust rule. I see this frequently - someone will argue that it's not fair that they're being punished for doing "the right thing". Nevermind that what they believe is "the right thing" is illegal or against a clearly stated policy.

It's Civil Disobedience Lite - all the self-righteous smugness, without any of those pesky consequences. And there seems to be a related idea that it's okay to violate the rights of others to do "the right thing", and that it's THEIR problem if they don't like you doing it.

Now, I am a 'tax, then spend' liberal - I support extensive social and infrastructure programs, along with sufficient taxation to fully cover the expenses of those programs. And I am fine with taking someone's money for those programs through taxation, because we have a political process that makes doing so a decision made by society in general. (While imperfect, it's reasonably close - unlike vigilante takings of any sort.)

What I am NOT okay with is the idea that one can, say, use their company's resources to run a charity event and then act like it's the company's fault for not being happy you did so.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

CC plays Devil's Advocate

Yes, the story about the Rabbi fired by his Mormon bosses (let's say it again kids, MORMON, because goodness knows the story repeats it about once a paragraph...) has me a little skeptical. I know I'm supposed to go "Oh, those bad mormons," but my event planner soul has me asking questions like:

"If this generated more calls than anything else the station had ever done, what other station resources was it using?" (At least plenty of airtime, no doubt)

"Did his gathering have all the proper insurance and paperwork? If not, could the station have been liable if something had happened?"

"Would it really have been all that much trouble for this guy to call the guys upstairs and tell them what he was planning?"

I realize that on its face, this situation sounds like the evil Mormons mistreating this guy, but I know that if I started planning a charity event on company time and using company resources without approval from my bosses, I, too, could probably get fired. And I don't really think that is unreasonable.


Linguist Friend writes: Golden Anniversary

Early this morning, after I finished reading Bart Ehrman’s post-Schweitzerian portrayal of Jesus as an apocalyptic prophet over a calming cup of tea, I reflected on the development of my acquaintance with the subject, and realized that I had read through the Koran several years before I read the Christian gospels, much earlier than I became familiar with the Greek NT. That reading of the Koran took place just over fifty years ago, in the summer of 1955, and in the fall I made the acquaintance of the Universalist minister Mounir Sa’adah in his second capacity of teacher at a small Vermont boarding school. From Mounir, an Arab Christian from Damascus and educated in Beirut, and as fluent in French as in Arabic and English, I received my first systematic introduction to European history and philosophy, and later he would bond me in marriage with a wife who had been one of my high-school classmates (Mounir, the glue lasted only thirty-one years, and gradually dried and fragmented).
It was perhaps unusual to learn of European culture from an Arab, but by no means unprecedented. In fact, the West owes its identity to a considerable degree to the role of Islamic (some would say Arabic) civilization in transmitting Greek science and philosophy, as well as its own contributions, to Europe. This is an odd story. The Arabs who spread Islam from Spain to India in the 8th century found in Persia major institutes for the translation of Greek texts. Following this example, Arabic leaders founded major translation institutes in Damascus, in Baghdad, in Cairo, which created an almost comprehensive corpus of Arabic translations of the major works of Greek science and philosophy. Absorbing and building on this, Islamic science and scholarship (Islamic because it included the work of Arabs, Persians, Turks, etc.) became the glory of the medieval world. There is no doubt that the Arabic-speaking world was by far the most scientifically advanced of a thousand years ago (see Toby Huff’s “Early Modern Science”). Whereas at this time the largest libraries of Europe would contain 250 books, the public library of Baghdad contained 40,000 volumes when it was visited by the Persian physician Ibn Sina in the 11th century.
Western Europe had been cut off from Greek learning by the decline of knowledge of Greek in the West; its learning at the best was Roman. (Think of a Europe without Aristotle, without Homer.) Initially, it was from contact with Arab scholarship in Spain, in Sicily, and in northern Africa, that Western Europe gained access to Greek science and philosophy, as well as original Arabic thought, through Latin translations of Arabic texts including Arabic versions of Greek originals. The West never adopted the sensible Arabic procedure of the creation of major translation institutes, so this effort was spotty and sometimes translations were reduplicated. But this was the impulse which brought the European intellect to life after seven centuries of slumber, and lead to the intellectual ferment and foundation of European universities in the Renaissance of the twelfth century, wonderfully portrayed by Charles Haskins in a classic book that I recently reread.
The timing was crucial. The primary acquaintance by Europeans with Arabic sources started after the reconquest of Toledo in Spain, a center of Arabic learning, from the Arabs in 1085. By the time the Europeans gained access to the original Greek texts, together with first-hand knowledge of Greek literature, history, and art, Islamic science and scholarship were in decline, from the 13th and 14th centuries. Nevertheless, it is no exaggeration to say that the West owes its greatest single intellectual stimulus to its acquaintance with Greek and Arabic science and learning in the creation of the twelfth century renaissance. From the world of Islam, early Europe learned much of what it needed to be itself.
This story lends great irony to recent events. The gentle and learned Saudi doctoral student (the son of a local historian) who recently finished a distinguished doctoral dissertation with me was kind enough to participate with me in a discussion of this history at our local UU fellowship. But important questions remain in this story. Why did Islamic culture not become the basis of modern science? We might consider this at a time when short-sighted policies blight the education of American students, and important research must be done in other countries because religious influences stifle scientific thought in the USA, which certainly was one of the causes of the decline of Islamic science. But, even after fifty years, I recall the following lines of the Koran, in which the emphasis is on the value of learning:
“Read, in the name of the Lord who createth,
Createth man from a clot,
Read, and it is thy Lord the most bountiful,
Who teacheth by the pen, teacheth man that which he knew not.”
There is, and always has been, another Islam from what is in the newspapers.

Linguist Friend

CC thinks as she gets dressed

Wouldn't it rock if we as a society got together and declared "Natural fibers are more comfortable and feel better, yet we collectively just don't have time to iron. So henceforth, we will not judge one another on the wrinkled state of our clothes and a skirt that you just pulled out of the dryer and hung up will be acceptable for business."

OK, it would rock if we as a society got together and said a lot of things, but that one is foremost on my mind this morning.


Tuesday, September 20, 2005

CC chats with God

It flunks, yes, but to even have attempted the ultimate Turing test is sort of cool.

Me: I've always thought that religion was a you-pays-your-money-and-you-takes-your-chances sort of thing. Care to give me a hint how to bet?

God:I am a Christianity. How far is that?

Me: If you're Christianity, you've created a lot of good things, but done a lot of harm. Come to think of it, that probably IS true of God.

God: I am well respected as an AI. You seem uncertain. That is something I haven't heard of.

Me:God is an AI? That's a little Neal Stephenson for my taste.

God: I have a lot of faith in him, but I never heard he was an AI. I'm glad you're impressed. Makes sense to me.

Me: If God is an AI, who was the programmer?

God: Some things will always be a mystery


Ps. If you think most politics sites could be improved with a little more nudity, may i suggest another quirky link. (not boss safe)

DHL is a terrible, terrible company.

Do not use them ever.

FedEx is the epitome of anti-union corporate evil, but they get the dang job done.

Eight packages went out yesterday overnight to addresses less than 50 miles from here. Five of them arrived less than an hour late and without hassle.

Of the remaining three:
  • One almost didn't arrive because it was sent to a floor with offices but no obvious receptionist and for delivery guy to knock on a door would have meant lifting a finger. But I called about that one and he went back.
  • One arrived three hours late.
  • One of them still hasn't arrived.* Said packages contain tickets to a baseball game that starts in less than four hours.

And now DHL customer service says their tracking system is down.

I've had it.

Tell all your friends.


*I got a call from DHL saying that late/hassle package numero tres had arrived a slim two and a half hours before the first pitch.

Linguist Friend writes: Pirates of Lake Erie

Yesterday I was well into the second lab of the course in acoustics that I teach for our undergraduates, demonstrating how one could look at a voltage signal in terms of the wonderfully deep and unifying mathematics of Joseph Fourier, for students who have forgotten most of the mathematics that they learned in the small towns of northwestern Ohio that feed our local university. Suddenly I realized from a computer monitor display that someone of the students had recorded and analyzed an acoustic speech signal, longer and much more complex than the simple vowels that I had asked the students to look at. When I commented on this, one of the students piped up “It’s “Talk like a pirate” day! You record something too!”. Lo and behold, I realized that a theme of which I knew mainly from the comments of CC and Fausto had penetrated a region better known for its annual tractor pull contest.

This was but another testimonial to the unifying effect of the Internet in spreading cultural themes through very indirect routes. This should not be a great surprise. “Talk like a pirate day” on September 19 is not very old. The Socinian gives more background than I could dredge up and does a better job than I could of hosing the mud off the vital information. But I do wonder what routes this pirate idea has traveled through. It is fascinating, when realizes, for instance, that rulers’ names and horse-racing terminology current in the Mitanni kingdom of Upper Mesopotamia, of ancient Syrian small states, and of the Kassite dynasty of Babylon in the period 1700--1400 BC are in an early form of Sanskrit, the classical language of ancient India. It leads to an exploration of links in cultural history and the early movement of the Aryan peoples that could not otherwise be clearly demonstrated. “Talk like a pirate day” in demonstrating the expanding vitality of such currents of cultural diffusion also reminded me that our students, although not nearly as well educated as those of Singapore (which means something like “Lion City”, simha-pura, in Sanskrit, by the way), have their delightful moments.

Linguist Friend

(Item: Linguist Friend is a linguist, but he’s also a laryngeal physiologist. This has just never been relevant to anything I’ve written about him, so it hasn’t come up here. And somebody going "Arr!" in to his acoustical equipment is an idea that has CC laughing as she types this. -CC)

Monday, September 19, 2005


Nah, mates, I'm finding that I'm not especially into it either this year, but it be talk like a pirate day, and talk like a pirate day must be respected.

hoping ter get more into the spirit of things as the day passes.

Robertson Davies to the rescue

Taching YRUU I find myself on the old person side of this one for the first time. It's still true.

The young are often accused of exaggerating their troubles; they do so, very often, in the hope of making some impression upon the inertia and the immovability of the selfish old.

Robertson Davies, Tempest Tost.


Ps. Down .8 of a pound this week. Sigh.

Yes, I meant it about the religious wing of the Democratic party

Peacebang replied and people got interested again. Sorry this is appearing on the RSS feed over and over. If I knew how to get around that, I would.


The first time I went to a UU church, I was asked to sign a petition against the death penalty.

At the time, I thought it was sort of cute and the little old lady who handed to me seemed delighted at my good liberalness. It would be several years before I would decide I had a policy against signing any petition pushed at me during coffee hour. Took longer than that to decide that I am not voiting for any church committee giving church money to a group lobbying for a political issue.

I’m sure I liked the first political sermon I heard.

Clyde Grubbs makes sure to get in a little dig about how I haven’t been a UU all that terribly long. True enough. It’s only been five years.

But guess what?

Even after five years, I’m just tired of it. The emails from my denomination telling me where to rally against Bush’s court nominees, petition after petition, hearing about the evils of the Republicans in discussion groups, during joys and concerns and from the pulpit.

I like a good sermon about values, the sort of values our politics are based in. But I’m sorry, when I come to church and find that the sermon is a skit about the Patriot Act written by people who either don’t understand it or willfully lie about what exactly it says, I am, to use Peacebang’s phrase, coming for bread and being fed stones.

Maybe it’s because I’ve only been here for five years that I can still tell the difference,


Sunday, September 18, 2005

A sentance I really thought I'd never say:

"Boy, did Shatner ever deserve that Emmy!"

Congratulations, Captain Kirk

(Seriously. If you haven't seen Boston Legal check it out. It's really funny stuff.)


"Squee!" doesn't even begin to cover it

I ran into my wedding photographer sort of out of the blue today.

There was much fawning and gushing as she told me that she pulls out my pictures to show potential brides how beautiful a candlelight wedding can look and that mine was one of her favorite weddings of last year.

She also said that the note the best man had written that I passed on to her was still up in her studio.

Lots of wedding photographers have fawning notes from happy brides.

Elaine may be the only one on the planet to have a not from a best man reading:

"You're so pretty,
Ian's so pretty,
I feel pretty!
Your photographer kicks ass!"

And she does.


Linguist Friend writes: More than Human?

When I was a child, I was puzzled that my father was able to communicate knowledgeably with both of the outstanding groups of technical professionals who worked in the region of south-east Virginia where we lived, researchers in aeronautics and designers of ships (his original profession). His overlapping insight was a puzzle to me, because at that age I could not see that both fields are based on fluid mechanics, so that fundamental knowledge of one field led to considerable understanding of the other.
Later on, when I went to college in New England, I encountered other intellectual aristocracies, at a university at which benign inter-student competition stemmed from the fact that almost each student had been the best in his high school. However, such competition was not always the case. I recall clearly that when returning to my freshman dorm from breakfast one morning, I noticed that in one dorm near my own, one student near his first-floor window was dictating a paper to one of his fellow-classmates, while a third one was busily typing up the previously dictated pages. I realized after a few inquiries that this student had been able to impress his classmates with his quality so profoundly that they were willing to subordinate themselves to him, at least for this project.
This idea of personal superiority is at once tempting and in conflict with some of the basic values of Western civilization. Concepts of the superman have been developed by thinkers as mutually contradictory as Goethe and Nietsche. Personally I suspect that, to the contrary, the inspiring thing about those who achieve greatly is not that they are superhuman, but that they are entirely human, and suggest previously unrecognized human potential.
The science fiction writer Theodore Sturgeon in the early 1950s added other dimensions to this topic in his unforgettable novel More than Human, in which he described the interactions within a small group of people, outcast children differing in race, sex, age, and gifts (telekinesis, etc.), each of whom contributed one significant part to the whole, and how the group dealt with the world or failed to do so. No doubt Sturgeon had a philosophical motif, but the novel works profoundly as literature. The significance of the individual gifts and value of different individual humans, of course, emphasizes a basic aspect of Western civilization.
This point is distinct from just winning. The cult heroes of American civilization have become the businessman and the lawyer, and the main rule of the game is in terms of the bumper–sticker "the one who dies with the most toys wins". In this spirit, America has been transfixed by Roberts' candidacy for the Supreme Court as a superb example of the advocate who wins the argument (for his employer, let us not forget, rather than as a matter of personal conviction). However, to win an argument is not the same as to answer the question or to solve the problem. That requires a deeper understanding, more like the ability to understand the laws of fluid mechanics and manipulate them creatively to make possible the flight of a mass of twisted metal. One should not mistake the skilled and successful manipulator of known solutions to problems, or the advocate for those solutions, for a thinker who recognizes or conceives and answers fundamental questions.
The role of the Supreme Court is fascinating because it goes far beyond that of the technician. It is at once highly technical and potentially highly creative, both legal and philosophical. I was reminded of that recently in thinking of the contrast between Roberts and the Harvard freshman (a math major, actually) recalled in the second paragraph above. He is Laurence Tribe, formerly Harvard Law School's Tyler Professor of Constitutional Law, and since 2004 Loeb University Professor. As a specialist in and scholarly contributor to constitutional law, he has often been named as a potential liberal candidate for the Supreme Court. Among other things, the law is an implementation of and response to human values that are central to religion, so that religion cannot remain indifferent to the events in our society which focus on it so profoundly. Today's leading New York Times editorial (9/18/05) states that Roberts has not yet demonstrated qualities that show him a convincing candidate for the position for which he has been nominated.
Comparison to Tribe, simply as a single example of possible alternatives, underlines that

Movie dream blogging

Yesterday, I was at a ropes course with YRUU folks were we had to drink bottled water because the well was having problems.

Also, I read a page about faking one's own death.

These are the only reasons that I, for one, can think of why I would have dreamed an entire CSI episode about a research scientist played by Hugh Laurie, who fakes cancer, sues the lab that fired him, then fakes his own death to escape.

Ironically, The CSO and I had a small confusion over who was supposed to be paying the DiurectTV bill so I haven't even watched TV in more than a week as we work out the logistics of getting it reconnected.

Perhaps my brain feels I'm suffering from Grissom withdrawal.


Saturday, September 17, 2005

It's official: Giftwrap is midtown

Got a fruit and vegetable basket hand-picked from the Berkley farmers market from Cecily-with-a-calling last week and in my excitement to get at the mangoes ignored the bitchin' bag the basket was wrapped in.

Was looking at it this morning and noticed it was not just a cloth bag, but was indeed a "wrapsack," which is apparently a cloth bag that is tracked on the internet so you can see where it has been.

As the first person to register said sack, I got to name it (Abe Froman) and give it a lifetime aspiration ("I've already been from the west coast to the east coast. Now I'd like to go back.")

Too freakin' cool.

My Christmas giftwrap budget just went up big time.


Very late retreat blogging

Last night theCSO and I were up very late talking to our newest set of couple friends. (Yes, we have achieved couple friendom. Everybody is cool with everybody else. This has been unseen in our social lives since Jennifer Beautiful broke up with her husband Emergency Backup Mark. We hearted Emergency Backup Mark because he could sit at one end of the table and solve the world's problems with theCSO while CC and Jennifer Beautiful could discuss girl stuff like whether Kennedy was the last US president to really understand economics.)

Anywho, she was up very late and is spending today taking a bunch of YRUUers through a ropes course. She has been doing a bunch of stuff with YRUU kids, including some memorable nights at the retreat sitting up talking about clothes, cute boys and how weird parents are. (And after awhile, CC let the kids discuss THEIR interests...)

I did take a break from doing YRUU stuff to go to a creative writing workshop where we were doing a sort of writing-as-therapy thing. In general, asking CC to write about herself is like putting her in a pulpit or taking her to a sushi buffet. But I think I actually wrote some neat stuff. Here's two samples of what I wrote, prompt first:

Introduce yourself

Hello, a pretty conventional greeting. I'm a pretty conventional girl, or at least I try to be. I wasn't always, once sub-conventional, but I've improved a lot recently. I can pass.

How do you do? I'm proper, you see, raised in McLean riding horses and all that. For awhile I dressed in self-consciously torn, dirty sneakers, trying to be hipper. But now I've embraced who I am. Torn, dirty sneakers are one culture, leather pumps are mine.

Oh, I'm much the same, and yourself? Used to, people would ask how I was doing and I would say "fine." But I noticed that sometimes I was lying. So now I say "Much the same." It's funny and it's always true.

Mighty fine weather we're having. How 'bout them skins? I'm sometimes uncomfortable in social situations, but I try not to show it. I brazen my way through with conventionalities...

I'm Suzyn, by the way I spell it funny and have since I was a kid. It's spelled the normal way on my birth certificate, but Susan Smith is awfully dull, don't you think? There's such a thing as too conventional.

But enough about me, how about you?

Talk about the concept of idleness


Goodness, don't scare me like that!

I'm not good at idleness, not good at downtime. To me, the prospect is scary.

When I imagine free time, I imagine trouble and unpleasant thoughts whooshing in like the red sea to fill the void.

Our minister talks about mindfullness. I fully admit that I suck at it. I can't sit through Joys and Concerns without checking my blackberry for new email.

But as scary as the concept is, surely I do relax sometimes. I watch "House," I read trasky mysteries, God knows I talk on the phone.

But being idle? Truly idle? Sitting-there-contemplating-the-world idle?

What do I look like, the Dalai Lama?


Ps. I am fascinated with the concept of faking one's own death. For ideas on survival afterwards, click the link.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

I need some smoked salmon pinwheels with caviar, stat!

CC's work life is heating up and will remain crazy for a couple of weeks, so she has decided to mix things up by inviting her two best pals TheCSO and LinguistFriend to post on some of the truly fascinating things they talk to her about.

Their opinions don't necessarily reflect mine. Indeed, we argue all the time. TheCSO and I once spent much of a party at Chris-who-makes-it-happen and Hazel's house arguing over the causes of the war of 1812. By some miracle, we were invited back.

Anyway, have fun.


CSO, prepare yourself, you're getting a night at the theatre

While checking out the Kennedy Center website for potential shows for clients to take lobbyists to (translation: working), I discovered that Christine Baranski is coming to the Kennedy Center in March as the title character in the new production of Mame.

The Kennedy Center does indeed sucketh mightily in CC's opinion. (We got a giant gold head of JFK. We classy! And the architecture? Don't even get me started...)

But I cannot frigging wait to see Baranski, who has kicked ass in everything I've ever seen her in excepting that one Saturday Night Live episode that I'm trying to block out.

Any UU Baranski fans want to make an evening of this? Scrambled eggs and dessert at my house afterwards...

who really does think that an evening of Christine Baranski and dessert with me is worth traveling to DC from whereever you live.

Why does the gene pool suddenly feel so...dirty?

Probably because Britney Spears and Kevin Federline have now successfully reproduced.

It's a boy, born late last night.

Sorry for the celebrity gossip, kids. CC slept kinda funky and has a really bad headache and this is all she's capable of this morning.

who is mostly posting this because she is aware that at least a few people, CSO included, check her blog to ascertain her mood before dealing with her, so she might was well let them know to batten down the hatches.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

OK, never liked him, but now he's on the hate list

Chronic whiner Garrison Keillor has always been a foe of CC's. He's just so self-satisfied and hokey. Very much the guy at the party who stands next to the carrot sticks so he can feel popular when people get hungry.

And one time, in front of her minister the ChaliceMom decided to repeat a whole bunch of jokes about Unitarians Keillor had made in a clear attempt to plead for her minister's approval. It was so deeply lame and the minister did have the decency to look uncomfortable. Not proud of this but, CC changed the subject by telling a joke about Baptists. Both mother and minister roared. Presbyterians love a good Baptist joke.

Anyway, I was reluctantly defending Keillor's right to free speech a few weeks ago, but apparently he doesn't give a damn about anyone else's.

What a punk.


Tuesday, September 13, 2005

How to make CC terribly uncomfortable IRL

Matthew writes in the comments on the "Democratic Party" post.

We attract people not so much through theology, but through cultural and political identification. As one UU minister of my acquaintance is fond of saying, "Why would a Republican *want* to be a UU?" Unfortunately, he has a point. When we eschew religious depth for a kind of tribal us-and-them cultural and political identity, we lose the elements of religion that transcend partisan politics.

For the record, CC in real life is not nearly such a firebrand as she is in writing. She's actually a bit shy around people she doesn't know well and when she hears people on Sunday morning insulting Republicans as a group, misstating facts, and in general doing the sorts of things she would jump on you for here, she just stands there uncomfortably for a moment, then silently creeps away. She actually talked to a minister once about some political things the minister had said from the pulpit that basically oversimplified something. The minister was sweet and apologetic about it, but CC was still very embarassed and probably won't repeat the trick.

My big concern is political things UUs do as a church and in worship. If you personally want to insult Republicans as a group, that's your business. But we've probably lost some good members to moments like some I've experienced.

who for whatever reason has defended Christianity to near-strangers, but can't quite do that for Republicans, perhaps because she has been a Christian but never been a Republican.

Hmm... Why does this sound like a problem waiting to happen?

UUs insistent on doing their own thing should probably conform a bit at next year's GA, seeing is how the city of St. Louis is cracking down on jaywalking.

In a fabulous coffee hour dicussion on the race issues at GA (that I'm not contributing to because Fausto seems to be making my points more articulately than I could there. Besides I've kind of said my peice ad nauseum.) Joel says he's never seen the sentence "The Republican party is a party of high ideals and intentions; a racist cannot be a true Republican" in a UU context. Well, now he has.

Yeah, there are a lot of sentences I've never seen in a UU context that I'd like to see. But I'm the one who wants to put "Births, deaths and marriages: It's just that simple" on a shirt and wear it during Joys and Concerns, so it's possible I'm a bit of a crank.

The conversation below kicks so much ass that I'm going to keep bumping the time up so it remains the second post on the blog. We haven't had so much fun here at the Chaliceblog since I insulted "Imagine." (Sidenote: In the "Imagine" discussion somebody mentions that each generation has its own anthems. My generation is so musically balkanized that I have trouble picking one out for us. But I know what the rebellion song that did it for me was. 2 Live Crew's Banned in the USA came out when I was 12 years old. It was the first rap record I ever heard that sampled extensively from news coverage and it has a message that still stirs my civil libertarian heart today. And my parents? Hated it. When it comes on the radio today, I still get misty-eyed and turn the music up. I now listen to Bach and I still think "banned" is a hell of a good song.)

up .2 pounds this week, but deserves more. That retreat food is a killer.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

When she says "cranky" humanist, she ain't kiddin.

I'm back from my retreat and refreshed mentally, though after lots of yoga my body feels like it has been hit by a Goddamn train.

So I will respond to y'alls very response-worthy posts later. But I have read them and I am thinking about them.


Thursday, September 08, 2005

They don't have WiFi? You're kidding, right? Right?

The brand new sleeping bag L.L. Bean monogrammed with my married initials is rolled up and ready to go. The backpack I carried my stuff across India in has been repeatedly Febreezed to reduce the impact of the time my cat peed on it. The car is full of ridiculously expensive gas.

I'm ready to go on a retreat.

When I gave the forms to my boss, asking for a few hours off on Friday afternoon so I could hit the road for northern Maryland early, she sort of snickered at my explanation of why I needed them.

"YOU are going camping?"

"It's a retreat," I said with all possible dignity.

I am a little concerned that if I don't have blackberry service, this will be a weekend without the internet. I'm honestly unsure when the last time I had one of those was. When our network is down here, I decamp to Panera. But I'll have my laptop, so I can write at least.

It is a bit disquieting to me that if the CSO needs me, he might not be able to reach me until Sunday. (TheCSO does not do retreats. Places without air conditioning violate the CSO's appearance rider, as do Unitarian Gatherings with an unduly number of hippies. He calls GA "Granola Assembly.")

So that's my excitement. Feel free to email and text me after Friday afternoon. If we're lucky, I'll respond.


Confessions of a (sometimes) Asshole Contrarian

JField has a spiffy post on the contrarian tendency among some UUs. He cites as an example those who wanted to "knock Cindy Sheehan down a notch."

As someone who commented on Cindy Sheehan, I do have to say that once one's child is dead, I doubt one can be knocked down any more notches, even if that were a desirable thing. I pretty much ignored her until people in the UU community started calling her a "prophet."

That probably makes me a classic asshole contrarian by JField's definiton as I wasn't interested in writing negative things about her as a political figure until she became popular.

I can look back on this and see a pattern, especially politically, I can within the last few years easily recall speaking out against enthusiasim for Howard Dean, Bill Sinkford, and John McCain. A lot of this comes from me being more conservative than the average UU (which says a little, but not much) and a big believer in keeping lines of communication with the other party open. Howard Dean's insults really make the liberals cheer, but they only entrench conservatives against us. This is not the way to make a better world. Sinkford seems determined to turn Unitarian Universalism into the religious wing of the Democratic Party. McCain is a cool guy, but until you've really read up on his political views, don't vote for him.

Excepting my objections to the study action issue, which come from its focus on sitting on our asses talking about morality rather than actually helping people, I only really see this tendency when we're talking about politics. The fact that the UU blogosphere was mostly Christian for most of the time I've been posting (though things are looking a lot more varied these days) didn't have me railing against Christianity.

So looking at the way I do it, I think it comes basically from a fear of bandwagons. Perhaps it is our outsider status itself that creates this fear, but I don't think I'm the only UU who gets nervous when people in large groups start to passionately agree on something as such people have a tendency to carry things too far. I don't have an issue with Cindy Sheehan herself, but I don't want us to get so excited about her antiwar message that we adopt her anti-Israel message. Sinkford seems like a nice guy, but he should do his politics on his own time because they don't seem to be growing our churches much and I'm sick of being made to feel like a heretic for not signing petitions at coffee hour. That the commission on appraisal report strongly implies that social action is the only way to live our faith out in the world suggests to me that the Sinkfordist tendencies have stained our thinking. I hope it doesn't take too long to get the stain out.

Anyway, I do see what JField is talking about, but I'm not entirely sure that it's a bad thing. And besides, Servetius was certianly a classic asshole contrarian, so perhaps UUs come by it honestly.


Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Work Stories

Two things happened to me at the office this morning that seem worth commenting on:

1. The Chaliceboss comes in and asks for one of my postcard-style invitations. I hand her one and ask why she needs it. She says she’s designing a postcard for something and wants to measure it and use the same size. I said that my invitations are 5.5 by 8.5, but that I send them first class with a .37 cent stamp. To qualify for a postcard rate, the postcard needs to be 4.25 by 6. And I realized that I’m the sort of person who knows postal regulations off the top of her head. And I don’t quite know what to think about that one as if my high school class had elected somebody "Least likely to know about postal regulations" that person might have been me.

2. Our office runs a mail shop, and the mail shop employs adults with Down Syndrome to fold and stuff the mail sometimes. Today, I took my normal 10 a.m. trip to the break room to decide which Lean Cuisine I want for lunch. I don’t know why I always do this, but I always do. I want to know two hours in advance.

A lady with Downs Syndrome is at the microwave, trying to pull a freshly-microwaved TV dinner out.

”Ow!” She says, pulling her hand away. She immediately reaches for it again “Ow!” she says and reached out a third time, “Ow!”

“You might want to give it a few minutes to cool off” I say simply.

“OK!” She says.

And it occurs to me that I am like this in so many aspects of my own life that I can’t even judge.

So I fill my water glass and head back to my office

Salmon with Basil today, thanks for asking.

Moments that don't suck

Monday, still freaked out by Katrina stuff but well-aware I needed some air, I walked Stupid Dog two miles or so to the post office and two miles or so back. When I arrived at the post office, there was no one around. I put Stupid Dog's leash around the thing where you tie the ropes on the flagpole and gave him some water. I bought some stamps, mailed my stuff and was leaving when I happened to notice that the American Flag was still at full mast.

Not their fault. I don't think the order came until Rehnquist died. Wasn't that Saturday night?

I was cognizant of the fact that I did not remotely resemble a post office employee, yet I was never one for leaving well enough alone. So I walked up to the flag and undid the ropes. Just then, a car pulled up and a suspicious-looking old guy watched me as I lowered the flag. I think he thought I was stealing it.

It put it properly at half staff and he looked up at it and crisply saluted.

We waved at each other, smiling. He put something in the mailbox and drove off. I took stupid dog's leash and headed for home.

It was a nice moment.


Monkey Mind, bitching about Paul Krugman, etc.

Can't sleep.

I'm having a wandering around, talking on the phone, trying not to eat sort of night.

The DirectTv signal is being funky so the Tivo missed "House." Damn. I was just talking about Dr. House's hotness with my co-workers today. None of them get my attraction to smart and troubled guys. Mmmm... Love troubled.

So I've got a vintage CSI on in the background as I type and pace around.

Most of the blogosphere is still buzzing about Hurricaine Katrina, blaming various people and institutions. To our credit, I have yet to see anybody present an idea as dumb as Paul Krugman's contention that the root of the issue is George W. Bush believing that big government is evil. (You're not selling me on the idea that the man who thinks that a federal standardized test is the solution to public education's problems doesn't believe in big government. Bush LOVES big government. How not paying attention do you have to be to confuse the NeoCons with the libertarian wing of the Republican party? The libertarians I can stand.)

My favorite comment was Perigrinato's, a simple posted prayer.

I really have been trying to follow Pam's suggestion and not read about it. And it's working. I'm not as depressed. I'm getting over it. Should I be getting over feeling bad about thousands of people, most of whom are still suffering and will be suffering for a long time? Conversely, just because I lived there for awhile, what right have I to make their drama my own. I feel for them, but I don't want to be like those people who got all freaky over the death of Princess Di.


Sucks that Gilligan died.


Monday, September 05, 2005

Diva Diet Tips

I try not to post too much about dieting, but I'm just back from walking stupid dog 4.6 miles so diet and exercise are on my mind.

I usually eat when I'm bored, so recently I've been trying to exercise when I'm bored. Stupid Dog gets walked a lot and I can safely ignore my cravings because I leave my money at home, because really, I'd look weird walking the dog and carrying a purse.

I always dress cute to walk the dog, in shorts or preferably a miniskirt. An encouraging smile is an encouraging smile.

(Another Diva diet tip: When you go out and plan to eat dinner but don't know where you will, don't carry cash. Even better, if you have an AmEx card only carry that one. They don't take AmEx at the burger joints (or at least most of them) and if you end up going someplace nice, you won't order the burger and fries because only a punk would eat a burget at a fish restaurant or something. You'll be poor, but thinner.))

who noticed that Stupid Dog's reaction to the yappy dogs on the corner is to give them a look that's like "What's your problem?" and keep walking. He's a good dog.

Ps. Non-Dieters, why not buy some cookies from Peter. and help him pay for a new server.

Day of Goofing Off

The CSO is still at Dragon Con with his best friend Peter. I'm starting to think I should have gone, but frankly, if I wanted to hit on Neil Gaiman (and seriously, who doesn't?) then I can catch him at the National Book Festival the weekend of the 24th. (Hmm... Maybe I'll hit some used bookstores for NG first editions and get him to sign some. That could make Edie a happy lady. But it would involved actually going to an event down on the mall. I rarely go to things that don't offer free smoked salmon.)

So today I'm shopping or going to an art gallery. The Hirchhorn has a show called "Visual Music" that I should probably see, though the National Gallery is doing Winslow Homer and he doesn't do much for me. Conversely, I could add to my ever-expanding collection of sweater sets.

hmm... Maybe I'll head for the gallery, but try to do both.

Available on email if you want to say "hi." (Yes, being in this house alone from Friday through this Wednesday has gotten to me. For no rational reason since I've been on the phone half the time.)

ps. Down 3.4 pounds this week and got into my wedding jeans with some writhing on the bed.

CC bows to superior snark

This guy is awesome.


Indrax's blog

Indrax is my new BFF since he fixed the comments HTML on my blog.

So I'm plugging his blog:

Read this. It rocks.

OK, ONE more

Anne Rice, or as we call her here at TheChaliceblog, "Nora Ephron with fangs," is bitching about the government's response.

I hate it when people are both tacky bitches and right.


Ps. On Wednesday I was still in shock and Jennifer Beautiful and I were having dinner. She said "Now, why do you hate Nora Ephron so much?" and I recounted my reasons with much glee. She said it was far and away the happiest I'd looked all night. Ah, the healing power of bitching.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Posting about stupid stuff

OK, even Linguist Friend is getting tired of my being depressed. (In his physiology work, the man writes papers with titles like: Dynamic Properties of the Posterior Cricoarytenoid Muscle, yet I think me being depressed is boring him. Go figure...)

Anyway, so when it comes to the situation these people are in and my own neurotic little reaction to it, I vow to henceforth practice the long lost art of keeping my yap shut.

So until another UUism topic suggests itself (we're about due for some Joys and Concerns snark, but I'm not in the mood,) I'm going to find some lighthearted stuff to post about such as amusing crimes.

Ps. One more comment: The Rev. Lyn Ogleby of Shreveport has put out the call for clothes and personal hygenie items (especially new underwear and sneakers)

Ship them on to:

All Souls UU church
9449 Ellerbe Road
Shreveport, LA 71106

Done! Now this is me, shutting yap on that subject.

Another reason why Walmart is not the great satan

Just sayin'


Water communion.

For me, it was too soon. Naturally, they mentioned the disasater and the destruction water can cause, but still, all the quotes about how spiritual water is were a little much,

But I'm taking this harder than most people, and everyone else looked fine. So maybe I'm being oversensitive.


Kinda says it all, don't it?


Rehnquist died

So we get another big battle over justices.


Saturday, September 03, 2005

One more downer from CC

Yesterday, I decided that giving money to the Red Cross might not be the way to go. After all, they have hideous overhead and will spend a quarter of my money on commercials, right? SO I checked Doctors Without Borders.

Doctors without Borders isn't doing anything in New Orleans because they are handling all the suffering in the rest of the world, which is huge and intense.


Under Pam's orders as a psychologist (a reaserch psychologist who used to watch rats have sex, but a psychologist just the same,) I'm not allowed to watch the news until further notice.

So this blog should get cheerier soon. I know moody is a pain in the ass to be around, and probably to read, so I am trying to get over it. I gave serious consideration to taking a weekend trip, but in the end I just couldn't justify the expense to myself. But my church's retreat is next weekend, so that might be helpful.


Friday, September 02, 2005

I went to this church for a year.


I've already offered a place to stay. If there's anything you can do to help these folks out, please do it.


A National Day of Brooding

Last night when the CSO was reading up on the logistics of disaster, every time he’d walk into the room with more fascinating information, I wanted to be like the piano player in an old western and dive behind the furniture.

Yet today at work as CK goes on about some junk about her roommates, her discussion of stupid stuff feels abrasive as well?

A city where I used to live is in ruin and every time I think about it I want somebody to declare a “National Day of Brooding” so we can all ponder in silence.

Yet ironically, it is only when I distract myself from brooding for awhile that I write about it and really start to deal myself, and after the CSO tells me how the Bush administration is at fault for some things but busing people out wasn't as practical as it sounds (the only real way to get the people out would have been loading them on to cattle cars and one can imagine Jesse Jackson's reaction to that...), I can talk to the CSO about housing somebody or do anything else that resembles dealing and trying to do what I can to actually help people out.

It would feel good to me, but it isn't the way to go at all.


Thursday, September 01, 2005

Cool People who go to Community Church Unitarian Universalist in New Orleans.

-An older couple married just a few years ago, the wife an artist and sculptor who made a weird little sculpture that's on my knickknack shelf, the husband a man named Ernie who sings a version of "Old Man River" that will have you crying.

-An old guy Republican who worked his way up from being poor who will tell you that in every conversation.

-A cranky Yankee old lady who was hell during the budget meeting every single year but worked incredibly hard for charity.

-A really cool guy who resembles Mark Twain and has an act worked out as a Mark Twain impersonator.

-An MtF transsexual who really needed a new shot in life, anything but this.

-A little old lady with a foreign accent who would proudly announce that her sexy shoes were "fuck me pumps."

-A spiffy humanist math professor

-A choir directer named Mignon whom theCSO and I never even knew really all that well, but who was so beautiful and so talented and so cool that we decided that if we ever had a girl child we would name her "Zoe Mignon Webb" because we wanted her to be cool and how could a kid with a name like that not be?

I'm not asking for prayers here, because I don't know that they will do any good. I really do believe that God who may or may not exist works through us and that people are saved not through divine action but by other people and the societal structures we create.

The primary way we support those societal structures is money.

Do it for Ernie.