Sunday, December 30, 2007

One more on Ron Paul

Lots of people think Ron Paul wants to get rid of public education.

I can't speak to what the man wants, but what he's campaigning for is to get rid of the federal DEPARTMENT of Education. He wants local control over education. He supports vouchers, but has not done anything toward getting rid of the public schools, just expensive (and Paul argues, unconstitutional) federal control over them.

I don't 100 percent support him in this, though I'd be hard pressed to say that public education has improved much since the ED was founded in 1980. Indeed, several of the programs I dislike most in the Bush administration go through the DOE (again, Paul argues, unconstitutionally so.)

In the comments on the previous post, Steve gives a link to Ron Paul waffling on Evolution. OK, so the man doesn't believe in Evolution or doesn't want to say so.

But, ummm, Ron Paul also says that federal control over the schools is unconstitutional. He doesn't believe in No Child Left Behind or the abstinance stuff the Bush administration spends so much money on, even if he believed in the philisophical underpinnings.

If Paul's waffling/disbelief/lack of gimp on the evolution issue personally is enough to lose your vote, OK. I can't argue with that and will freely admit that he's either not being rational or being a wuss bending to popular Republican opinion. I never said he was perfect. But if you're worried he might DO SOMETHING about his views, I have to say that I find that his repeated asssertions that federal control over the schools is unconstitutional is a pretty good sign he won't.

Also, I've heard the "some white supremacists like him, so even though I can't prove he's never done anything for them, he must be a bad guy."

Chris Matthews likes to tell a story about how he was campaigning for a candidate in Appalachia. This is a paraphrase because I don't have the story in front of me. Anyway, he was knocking on doors and he ran across an old lady who scowled at him skeptically.

"Your candidate is the one who wants to get rid of TV!" The woman said, "I'm not voting for him!"

Matthews shuffled his feet and gently explained that his candidate wasn't going to do anything to television, he wanted to get rid of the TVA (the Tennesse Valley Authority) a Roosevelt-era program that the candidate felt was no longer useful.

"Well, I'm not taking any chances!" the lady spat out. When reading this story, I always imagine the sound of a door slam here.

I'd really like to believe in the age of the internet, people aren't like this anymore. But the spirit of "I don't completely understand this, I just have a strong opinion" and "Sure they SAID X, but it's obvious they MEANT the much stupider and more evil Y" and "Why should I look up the actual facts when assuming good things about people I like and bad things about people I don't works just as well?" are alive and kicking.

Oh well.

BTW, if you'd like to have a look at the Candidate whom I actually support, take a gander at Bill Richardson.


Friday, December 28, 2007

CC rants about liberals.

(Admit it. You've missed this.)

So I'm just about to go home tonight when I get an email from a beloved Chalicesseur, who has breathlessly forwarded me that "Ron Paul met with White Supremacists" thing from a couple of weeks ago, declaring it "proof" that Ron Paul is NOT a good guy. (Emphasis hers. Ok, the scare quotes were mine. The capitalization was hers.)

Ok, first of all, here's the NY Times correction apologizing for relying on that peice of malarky.

If y'all have at any point forwarded the unverified smear, it would be good of you to forward the correction to the same people.

I'm pretty curious why "Oh, nobody's ever noticed that a Congressman who is running for President regularly meets with white supremacists" from one source, who happens to be a Nazi*, was so believeable in the first place, but several people I like and the NY Times believed it unverified, so I guess I'm missing something there.

If I sound crabby about this, it's because I'm really sick of the way liberals are treating the guy. No, he's not perfect. But I can't imagine why smearing Ron Paul is in liberalism's best interest given that IMHO he sucks least of all the Republican candidates, yet if he were the nominee lots of Republican voters would stay home on election day. I would say either one of those is reason enough to leave him alone, yet I'd say both are true and STILL liberals can't stop smearing him.

I mean, watch the man in action.

(No, seriously, do.)

Why are liberals so excited to tell lies about a guy who so obviously pisses off Mitt Romney?

Don't y'all have anyone better to attack than the only Republican who voted against the war? Hint.

who dislikes Richardson least of all the Democratic candidates, FWIW.

*I do not toss the term around lightly as a random smear. The guy whose words the NYT and lots of other people took as fact is an actual national socialist.

CC's amigos in the news

I was, briefly, a newspaper reporter in Barnwell, South Carolina. I was friends with the family in this article.


Wednesday, December 26, 2007


It doesn't seem very smart to me for a town where everybody is encouraged to drink too much and eat rich food to hide the bathrooms. But they totally do in Vegas. Literally every public bathroom that I have had the misfortune to need has been far away and counterintuitively located. Some bathrooms might be worth the wait, though, such as this one in "Paris."


For kitsch value and pure awesomeness, Paris' sprawling, indulgent, crazily excessive beauty is hard to top. The picture doesn't do it justice.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007


I have questions about this sign. Why are inexperienced strippers a good thing?

I mean, I totally get wanting a hooker her first night on the job. But why first-time strippers?




This is Fremont Street. It is quite reminiscent of the French Quarter.

Monday, December 24, 2007


Caesar's is kinda dark, so this may not come out, but they have a cigarette girl. I've never actually seen a cigarette girl before.


If they ever build a Washingtion DC casino, I hope they name the sports book "the situation room." That would be awesome.


This is the Flamingo. They have several huge swimming pools and many more hot tubs and don't care if you sneak in. Sucks that it's December.


Caesar's Palace is the size of Rome.


Makes sense if you think about it.


Is this a mediocre piece of art or an awesome laundromat sign? Ill live that to the philosophers...


They had me at "YES YOU".



Please advise: Is this couch as cool as we think it is? We are seriously considering buying it. The red looks orangey in the picture but is more of a tomato.


This is a "Bettor Safe," for those who lack the willpower to buy fur coats. You put a couple of hundred dollars in your pocket, lock your credit cards and extra money in the safe, leave your key in your hotel room, then play. When you win, put the winnings in the safe. When your play money is gone, stop gambling, go to your hotel room, unlock the safe and admire your winnings.

I'm still not gambling, but I admire the person who came up with this.


We're spending a big chunk of today off-strip. This mural is on the outside of Gambler's General Store.

The Chipaisle of gambler's general. I wonder if I could convince my YRUUers to do a casino_themed Murder Mystery night next year...


The only thing the ChaliceMom knows about Las Vegas is the following story:

Her former boss and his wife took a trip to Las Vegas. They weren't really gamblers. They saw a show, and when they came out, the wife needed to go to the bathroom.

There was a craps table near the ladies' room and the husband put down a few dollars while he was waiting. There was a line at the ladies' room, and by the time the wife came out' my mother's former boss was up $1,000.

So he took the money, he immediately bought his wife a fur coat, and he never even looked at the craps table again.

CC heard this story many times as a child. Her mother still admires the rewards of self control, and fur is still big in Vegas.


Everything in Vegas seems to take longer than it should. Perhaps this is the snippy Washingtonian in me, but I'm amazed at how long it takes to get seated, particularly when there are dozens of empty tables.

At check-in, we got stuck behind a group of half a dozen young people who had no id, no reservation, no apparent money and didn't seem to speak English. The clerk worked with them for at least half an hour, which is either amazing or terrible customer service, depending on whether or not you're me. Eventually, theCSO got into another line or we might still be there.

When we finally got checked in, we were told we'd been "upgraded," which in MGM Grand parlance means "tranferred to a tiny room with no bathtub." At that point it was something like 2am Virginia time, so I got on the phone and more or less begged to be transferred to a room with a bathtub.

They gave in and stuck us in the "MGM Signature" a business hotel behind the MGM Grand. The Sig is awesome and I would stay here again, though I was kind of taken with the Paris yesterday.

Sunday, December 23, 2007


This is what you see when you're sitting in the Star Trek restaurant and look up. I doubt the picture does it justice. It's really beautiful.


This is a view of "Paris" from the bus bench in front of the Bellagio where I have momentarily collapsed. I don't recommend walking from NYNY if you're headed to this part of the strip and you've been walking all morning. Caciatto took less time to walk to gay Paree...


This is the casino at New York, New York. NYNY is a pretty cool place. They have a magic shop that ZombieKid would love.




This wall was the coolest thing about the Mandelay Bay. It's the outside wall of a pretentious-looking restaurant called "Aureole."


I don't even like Asian fusion FOOD and the Mandelay Bay is an entire Asian fusion RESORT. It's kinda pretty in a blah sort of way, but I'd have moved on already if it weren't for the Shark tank that I'm on my way to see.


I love this sign.


One more from the Luxor. This is the giant glass pyramid outside.

(Item: I tipped the waitress $5 when she came back with my drink and she reacted like I'd paid off her mortgage. I guess real gamblers don't tip. Ah well. On to the Mandelay Bay...)


Egyptian décor hung with Christmas greenery. Heh.


I sat down at a slot machine in the Luxor so I could get a picture of this awesome carpet and a cocktail waitress instantly offered me a drink. Spiffy.


This is the Excalibur. It attracts many people with children. I'm pretty much walking through it on my way to the Luxor. I've walked at least a mile or two today and feel great.


If it's wrong to love this poster, I don't want to be right.


Well, he DID offer to buy me something sexy in Vegas...


This is my hotel. Originally, it had a "wizard of oz" theme (note resemblance to an Emerald City) but Vegas has gotten regrettably less campy. Also, at one point, one entered the place by walking into a giant Lion's mouth, but Asian gamblers were staying away from the casino because they thought entering a Lion's mouth was unlucky. So now they have a 35 foot brass lion instead.


The marriage of tackiness and beauty is one of the fascinating things about this place


A Vegas casino is essentially a very large Chuck E. Cheese that smells of cigarettes. This is the Trop, which is representative of what I've seen so far.

I love this town 1

Note roller coaster behind the faux statue of liberty.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Random thought as I pack for Vegas

I've got "How the Grinch stole Christmas" on in the background, and I have to say that the Who Christmas celebration at the beginnig does sound pretty annoying.

It would give me awful, wonderful ideas, too.

who suspects she also has garlic in her soul.

Friday, December 21, 2007

One more thought on GA boycotts.

I just finished fully thinking through the sort of people likely to boycott GA. The people who are quick to leap on a liberal-sounding bandwagon, not bothering to do the research or figure out who is at fault for the thing they are protesting before they start making their signs. Those are the GA attendees I hate anyway.

Meanwhile, the more thoughtful sorts will want to be there, fighting the battle on IAs, thinking carefully through the Peacemaking issue before voting on it*, working on the revision of the 7 principles**, and yes, maybe doing a bit to comment reasonably on the gay marriage amendment in Florida. I love people like this, and they make me happy to be a UU and they make GA energizing and awesome.

I'm sitting here delighting in the idea of a GA with proportionally fewer hippies. This might be the greatest GA ever. I am looking forward to it like never before.


*And voting against it, I hope.

** We could always, you know, get rid of them?

If you simply must protest...

I don't recall that I explicitly wrote about how embarassed I was at last year's Global Warming protest during the Unitarian Universalist General Assembly in Portland. Something about coming to someone else's city, a city that is better environmentally than many of the cities we live in, and holding a protest march just because we are there and we are UUs and UUs like to hold protest marches, really irritated me.*

I am only slightly more ambivalent about the people who are planning protests about the "government-issued ID" issue in Fort Lauderdale. While the theoretical basis for the protest makes more sense on its face, the regulation everybody's protesting comes from the Department of Homeland Security. It's not like the people of Fort Lauderdale had anything to do with enacting it. Indeed, they probably hate it since I'm sure all conventions hate it and it is probably bad for the local economy. (You think GA's coming back to Fort Lauderdale anytime soon? Neither is anybody else, I'm guessing.) So basically you are afflicting the afflicted by protesting as you snarl their traffic and yell at them on their way to work. They didn't get to vote on this, it was imposed on them by DHS, so annoying ordinary Floridians about it is just stupid.

But you know, there is an issue, arguably closer to the hearts of UUs, where the Floridians who have our values could use some help.

When you heard about the guy in Florida who murdered his children, his ex-wife and her lover, you may have noticed that he had custody of the kids despite his threats on his ex-wife's life. "Gee," you might have thought to yourselves, "what sort of crazy state looks at a choice between an unstable, murder-threatening, whackjob and a lesbian, and gives child custody to the whackjob?"

Duh? Florida.

Florida is, as far as I know, the only state in the union with a straight-up ban on gay adoption.

You know those Domestic Partnership benefits Disney gives that the Baptist church hates so much? Well, local governments and large universities have been following the trend. But now there's an anti-gay marriage amendment to the Florida constitution up for a vote that will stop the public sector institutions from offering those. That almost makes me want to draw up a sign. Well, almost.

So yeah, if you believe that protests can make a difference in this day and age, and I don't really, at least you can put your arguably wasted efforts toward influencing people actually making a decision about something important as opposed to further bothering people who had a decision imposed upon them.


* As a Washingtonian, functionally, I do understand why people come to my city from other places to protest things and I don't mind that at all. (OK, I don't mind it as long as protest groups clean up after themselves and refrain from blocking off streets and otherwise taking their righteous anger out on people just trying to get to work in the morning.) But yeah, if you're not going to be making an ass of yourself, come to DC. And let me know you're coming. I make a mean Chicken Marsala...

Thursday, December 20, 2007


One of my favorite things about the holiday season is secret santas and white elephant swaps. I don't know why, but finding silly little stuff for people with whom I might not normally exchange gifts makes me happy.

who smells like "Sweet Pea" scented bath products today thanks to her package from one of the secretaries.

Pluralistic Holiday Greetings

I usually put this as the quote on my email about now, but this year, I'm putting it here instead:

So, have a merry Christmas, a happy Hanukkah, a kwaazy Kwanza, a tip-top Tet, and a solemn, dignified, Ramadan. And now a word from MY god, our sponsors!

-Krusty the Clown

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


I spent most of yesterday on rereading a Ph.D. dissertation in German on the acoustic communication of chinchillas, and then spent time in the afternoon with a colleague and a student of his who is starting to work in this area and needed access to the results of the dissertation. I was going through with her, for instance, the acoustic description of what happens when mother chinchilla comes home to her brood after foraging for food, and gives the position call which indicates “Here I am!”, which is followed by the babies’ uttering another call which means ”Suckle!”, immediately getting down to business. The dry descriptions of the behavioral context of these acoustic productions have inescapable charm, although they are completely factual. Since all mammals have roughly the same numbers of heartbeats and breaths during a healthy lifetime, the lives of these small Andean rodents presumably have the same subjective length as our own; although chronologically their lives are shorter, their hearts and respiration function proportionately more rapidly than ours. That is part of the phenomenon called physiological time, an application of biological scaling which is sometimes used in order to generalize scientific findings across species.

During a break in my work with the student, I checked my e-mail and found a message forwarded by my former wife, a note from her college roommate describing the ongoing last days of the life of her husband of forty years, to whom she was introduced by my mother, who had an uncanny and embarrassing knack for such things. He is a fine man, a logician who somehow found a place for himself in aeronautical research, and produced an able son with his new wife in addition to the two beautiful daughters whom his departed wife had left to his care. Their long life together was happy, and they were the only mutual friends of my former wife and myself who maintained positive interactions with both of us after the divorce, for which I was deeply grateful. His present situation is such that I was reminded of Ms. Kitty’s recent discussion of theodicy, the issue of how an all-powerful and just God could allow such things to happen (I am not claiming that he does).Yes, the Job problem, and many others, of course. I do not weep often, but I wept last night.

Earlier this fall, I came across an old Loeb edition of the major Latin works of the Anglo-Saxon historian Bede (about 673-735 AD) in a Toledo bookstore, and since then I have browsed in it. Last night I was reminded of a passage in his treatise on the early history of the English church, which I found after a little searching. In it, Bede describes how the Saxon King Edwin of Northumbria consulted with his advisors and chief pagan priest to decide whether his kingdom should convert to Christianity, as urged by the Christian bishop Paulinus (d. 644). The events described took place about 627 AD or a little before. I have revised the published translation of the comment of one advisor of Edwin on the basis of the Latin text:

“King, for the comparison of our uncertain time to live, the present life of men on earth seems to me such, as if while you were sitting at table with your captains and thanes, in the winter time, for instance while the fire had been lit in the middle and the dining room being made warm, but outside everywhere there were raging storms of winter rains or snows, and one of the sparrows entered the house and flew through very rapidly, which when it entered at one doorway, it soon exited through another one. Which only during the time that it is inside, it is not touched by the storm of winter, but however once the brief time of good weather has passed in a moment, soon from winter it returns to winter, and escapes your eyes. Thus the life of men appears briefly; but of what will follow, or of what has gone before, we do not know at all. Wherefore if this new doctrine has brought us something more certain, it seems worthy to be followed.“

Of course, neither do I know any answer to this question, but I do know that we must value the birds, and beasts, and friends that we have, at Christmas and at other times. Have a good holiday season.

Oh eww...

Add Mike Huckabee's son to the list of people who suck.


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Ok, this time I *really* mean it about the prayers.

Because Constitutional Law is very hard and very boring to CC, who is usually a theoretical person but for whatever reason preferred her more concrete property class this semester.

Starts in five minutes. Eeek!


Monday, December 17, 2007


Because I want my Chalicesseurs to be wise in the ways of the internet, I'm letting you know that:

1. The customary blogger response to a functional cease and desist letter from someone who has no legal leg to stand on is to post the letter and make fun of it.

2. If you create something, especially in your professional capacity, and put your name on it, and I make fun of that thing and by-extension you, your name is public domain for the purposes of that fun-making, nothing in that situation is actionable from a privacy standpoint. If you don't believe me, look it up.

3. If I haven't said anything untrue about you, nothing I've done is defamation.

4. I'm a pretty benign person offline and actually have respected polite requests to remove someone's name before. But being a snotty bitch to me in your email is not the way to get me to behave benignly. If I do take your name off, particularly if you are a professional who should have known better, I am doing you a favor. The world doesn't owe you a free pass when you do a shitty job at something you're paid to be good at and rudeness is not the way to earn that pass.

5. At least for the moment, I'm not attaching a name or a post to this.


My billable hours for this month are doomed

because PG has directed me to the coolest website ever.

trying to decide if the world needs spectator ballet flats

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Want to know who you are? Check your wishlist.

Tis the season for people to bug me about updating my Amazon wish list. And I admit, it’s a good idea. I can be hard to buy for and while the thought does count for a lot, I do sometimes genuinely appreciate presents that go to the back of the closet.

However, even though the Buy Me Stuff I'm Cute link on my sidebar has linked to said wishlist for several years, I still feel awkward actually advertising to the world that I want somebody to buy me some ballet flats, black, size eight and a half, from Nine West.

It's like registering for my wedding, but without the fighting. My husband and I fought the entire time we registered for wedding gifts, a memory that is funny to me now. I like to imagine that our pictures are posted in some back room at Crate and Barrel.

This is not to say that I don’t argue with myself, because I totally do. (What is with my recent fondness for designer purses? Am I insecure about my status among some of the wealthy-looking and fashionable people I go to school with? Is it a sign that law school is turning me evil? I don’t want to be the sort of person who gets excited over designer purses. But I think I am…)

When I really get obsessive, I start to imagine the wishlist as a cultural artifact. Margaret-who-loves-pots could tell you a lot about a culture by their pottery. I would think my amazon wishlist would produce even more insights. What does it say about CC that she wants a silver bracelet, a video game where you pretend to play guitar, canned outlines of my spring semester classes and DVDs of Alfred Hitchcock presents? Am I a dork for digging this clock?

How much of me is captured in the tag cloud of interests Amazon has made based on my purchases:

Administrative Law Anthologies Brite, Poppy Z. CD Album Civil Procedure Dandy Warhols Davies, Robertson Dogs Erotica Gay Law Practice Legal Profession Literary Literature & Fiction Maron, Margaret Mystery Nonfiction One-L Political Punk Rock Property Research The Sims United States Women Sleuths

A lot of me, actually. The tag cloud captures a lot about who I am and who I want to be. OK, I never aspired to be a Poppy Z. Brite fan, but as I’ve written, her Liquor series surprised me with how awesome it was. And I do find it odd that religion and art aren’t in my tag cloud. But amazon still knows more about my interests than my mother does.

Ok, back to studying Con Law.


Stupid questions about the whole government-issued-ID-at-GA kerfuffle.

Given that GA tends to be held in what my mid-atlantic self views as weird corners of the country, doesn't almost everyone who attends GA fly to get there? Don't they need government issued ID to get on the plane?

As for the youth, at least in Virginia, if you're under 15 your mom or dad brings your birth certificate to the DMV, they fill out a form and pay ten bucks and you have government-issued ID. If you're 16 or older, you probably have a learner's permit and if you don't the procedure to get one is as simple as the one for the ID card.

I get that some un-documented immigrants* can't attend GA if government-issued ID is required, but honestly, I'd say the $300+ entry fee and the fact that GA is entirely in English would be greater barriers than getting ahold of a half-convincing fake ID, and the entry fee and English-language have been a fixture of GA since its

I guess what I'm getting at is "Enter, Rejoice and Come In as long as you have $300 and speak English" really THAT much more welcoming than "Enter, rejoice and come in as long as you have $300, speak English and have government-issed ID"?


* I've only known three people personally who were in America non-legally, and I know for certain that all three of them had drivers licenses.

**FWIW, the person in America non-legally whom I know best is British, has a drivers license and does have an extra $300, but isn't UU.

Thursday, December 13, 2007


On the weekend of Dec.1-2, Bishop John Shelby Spong, retired Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark, New Jersey, visited the First Unitarian Church of Toledo, Ohio. His visit convinced me that I shall have to become better acquainted with his work. My comments here are mainly based on eight pages of notes from his two Saturday lectures, with following question and answer sessions, and his Sunday sermon. Quotations are given verbatim from my notes, except for a change of one verb form. I estimate that First Church members constituted perhaps 100 of about 250 attenders at these events, indicating that Spong’s talks aroused wide community interest.
Spong’s talks took as background his recent book “Jesus for the Non-Religious”. His Saturday morning lecture focussed on the Bible, addressing an aspect in which many modern churches follow the Reformation, the exaggerated reliance on the Bible (sola scriptura) as authority, treated in a way which ignores the past two hundred years of critical and historical scholarship, and thus failing to interpret the Bible in terms of the places and times of origin of its various sections. The Bible has been terribly misused, he feels; it is based on many assumptions which we can no longer share, and cannot be the ultimate source of religious authority, he stated. As a reaction to a different source of authority, he referred to the concept of the “gap-filler God”, the notion that religion is relevant mainly to areas of scientific ignorance.
Spong recalled the Genesis creation-legend of Adam and Eve, and how the story of their disobedience had been transformed into a view of perpetual human guilt, original sin. Since the recognition by Darwin of human evolution, this interpretation of the creation-legend must be abandoned. Your “humanity is not enhanced by making you feel guilty,” he stated. The question then arises, “Can we retell the Jesus story in terms of modern knowledge?” If not, it is the death of Christianity, he felt.
In the question period, I posed a question in which I recalled Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s response to the “gap-filler” concept. He wrote in a 1944 letter from prison that “We are to find God in what we know, not in what we don’t know”, with further clarification that by this he implied the need to base religion on scientific knowledge as well as addressing specific human issues such as death, suffering and guilt. In his response, Spong elaborated about the person and situation of Bonhoeffer for the mostly lay audience, and the significance of his declaration quoted above. Spong himself was comfortable in his agreement with Bonhoeffer’s view.
In his Saturday afternoon talk, Spong pointed out that the beginning of the misuse of biblical traditions was not recent, taking as an example Paul’s distortion of the creation story of Genesis in his version of the concept of original sin. Spong was concerned as to just how religion is to be combined with science, and whether difficulty in doing so means that the age of religion has passed. Participation in organized religion has declined drastically in Europe, and the United States is anomalous in the Western world in terms of the importance given to religion in public life. What is the significance now of the religion which stems from the Jesus traditions, in a world in which background assumptions have changed greatly, he asked. Church life is seen by him as a complex in which first-century Jewish traditions about Jesus are combined with a liturgy which comes from the medieval Western world.
For Paul, he said, God was in Christ. But what did the term “God” mean at different times, and what is the significance of the liturgy meant to placate him? How much risk of not placating God are you exposed to if you change that liturgy? The tribal mentality in parts of the Bible in terms of which “God favors my guys” in opposition to other groups who have their own gods, is quite current in the modern world. With the emergence of monotheism, God is seen differently. Theism he sees as a human creation, but this very fact points out the possibility of a non-theistic alternative.
In turning to the traditions of the NT, Spong pointed out the coexistence of multiple different concepts of Jesus’s divine character (christology), partly incompatible, in the writings of the evangelists and Paul. For Jesus to be the personalization of God was different from the notion that he was the Christ or Messiah, anointed to be king of the Jews (a dangerous political claim under the Roman empire). The comparisons of him to Moses and Elijah bring in yet other elements. In an extension of this christological discussion, Spong injected deep personal interpretations of the relation of divinity to humanity, saying that “Humanity and divinity are not distinct categories. Divinity is a description of what human nature can be when it is fully human.” If these views are accepted, he felt, there must be new answers to the question of what it means to be a Christian in the twenty-first century.
Rather than asking whether the gospel stories really happened, Spong recommends that we should ask, for instance, why did the authors construct their stories thus to make Jesus the fulfillment of the Messiah stories? It may be unclear how he reconciles this with his membership in the Jesus Seminar, a group which in part of its work has aimed at the assessment of the historical value of the surviving traditions about Jesus. Both directions of inquiry have their value. On the other hand, he refused to be drawn into detailed discussion of the bodily resurrection of Jesus, stating “I’m not into certainty. I think Christianity is not into certainty.”
Responding to questions after his Saturday afternoon lecture, at times Spong was pessimistic about church organizations, stating in response to one question as to whether he saw successors coming in his direction of progessive Christianity, “I don’t expect the Church ever to be Christian. If you expect the Church to be Christian, you’ll be disappointed.” Later he elaborated in a more positive way about how he conceived the tasks of the church. “The job of the Christian church is to transform the world. . .” and to “help people become more human, and not to help them become religious.” He has mixed responses to those who have recently revived the 18th century Enlightenment attack on Christianity, among whom he likes Richard Dawkins.
In his sermon on the second morning of his visit, Spong acknowledged the coming of Christmas by discussing the birth of Jesus. This is treated only in the gospels of Matthew and Luke, not in the basic one of Mark. The divergent treatments in Matthew and Luke agree mainly in showing that by the time of their writing, Jesus’s paternity was an issue which had to be addressed. Spong, who is an advocate of women, handled this in the case of Matthew by considering the summary of Jesus’s genealogy in the first chapter, commonly considered the most boring passage in the Bible. Spong elucidated the significance of the four women before Mary referred to in Jesus’s genealogy: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Bathsheba. He pointed out the late and secondary character of the story of the virgin birth, stating that it apparently was not known to Paul. By the time of the gospel of John, the issue could be ignored.; John’s focus was on christology. Overall, Spong drew from the genealogy of Jesus in Matt. 1:1-17, not christological conclusions, but that “the love of God is sufficient to overcome any human frailties”. On a level of meta-interpretation, Spong’s sermon illustrated the significant conclusions to which one may be led by consideration of an apparently barren text on a critical and historical-literary basis, as suggested in his introductory considerations on the Bible.
At the beginning of his Sunday sermon, Spong had commented with amusement on the difficulty of finding a Bible in a Unitarian-Universalist church as he was preparing for his talk; he had to settle for the King James Version. When he caught sight of me at the lunch which followed his Sunday sermon, and came over to shake hands, I jokingly told him that he had asked the wrong person for a Bible, showing him the pocket Greek NT in which I had followed his discussion of Matthew. He seemed surprised but appreciative.
Before the sermon, I had awoken in the morning to the faint powder of snow that had fallen during the night, hearing echoes in my mind that I finally recognized as coming from a sermon by an unknown medieval Byzantine churchman whose work is wrongly attributed to Epiphanius (circa 315-403 AD), the Bishop of Constantia. I first encountered this work, which is both rhetorically skilled and learned, several decades ago when I was reading through all of the earliest Old Bulgarian texts (originally from the 9th and 10th centuries AD) and their Greek originals, which was an education in Greek Christian literature and thought. I was stunned when I came to the line in this sermon which reads: “I have taken up a pen, that I may sign freedom for the human race.” The sense of this text cannot correspond to a modern political interpretation. Instead, its context comes from Colossians 2:14, looking back to Paul’s view of the abandonment of Mosaic law as liberation, in Galatians and elsewhere. In the thinking of the sermon’s unknown author (called pseudo-Epiphanius), as in Paul’s view, it referred not to a political event but to a shift away from a broad theological point of view which they regarded as imprisoning the human mind and life.
Spong acknowledged that on various occasions he had been invited to join the UU movement, but he had declined to do so. He emphasized the long-term continuity of the Western Church, saying that “Episcopalians are Catholics who can’t speak Latin”. Like the scholar Erasmus (1469(?) - 1536 AD), who saw clearly the defects of the Catholic church of his time, but did not accept invitations to leave it to join the Reformation, Spong prefers to work from within, saying “You can’t change your church from the outside.” Further, he stated that “Any Christian tradition that believes it can no longer be challenged has already died”; some of his Episcopalian colleagues counter by declaring him heretical.
One member of First Church asked me at Sunday lunch whether my admiration of Spong meant that I had reached the same religious conclusions that he had. I cannot do so in a general way, because of many other issues that he did not address. If I did, then I would have to become an Anglican. I will learn more about some of Spong’s views by informing myself better about his publications. There may well be important limitations to his point of view. However, Bishop Spong probably has enough to deal with in his own role as a contributor to and advocate of progressive Christian thought. He has, after all, taken up his pen to sign freedom for the human race, not as part of the differentiation of Christianity from Judaism, but as part of a major further advance of Christanity beyond its traditional character, and that is enough of a task for anyone.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Amusing Anecdote, or not.

Sunday afternoon, I attended ZombieKid’s birthday party. Awesome child that he is, ZombieKid had picked a “Mad Scientist” theme, leaving Jana-who-creates making a robot-shaped cake and filling the goody bags with stuff from American Science and Surplus.

After the party, JWC, Smiley Dave, theCSO and I were cleaning up. Jana was telling Dave how earlier she was asking the group if someone had lost the fresnel lens out of his or her goodie bag.

She explained that she had pronounced “Fresnel” as FREZZ-nul, like Fresno. But one of the kids was very quick to correct her, explaining that the proper pronunciation was “FRAY-nul.”

“So,” I said, “Would you say that this kid was pretty Fresnel-retentive?”


Maybe you had to be there.


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Prayer request

On Saturday night, I will look back on my week and likely surmise that the question on Fausto's blog wasn't the toughest one I faced this week.

In exactly fifteen minutes, my property exam begins. Chalicessuers are invited to say prayers, perform rituals and make shouts out to the universe as their beliefs dictate.


Friday, December 07, 2007

Another answer to the "How's Law School going?" question

It's not THAT bad.


Christmas hits all at once.

In the last 24 hours, my life has broken out in Christmas. Yesterday Afternoon, the guy from the Court Reporting place we use sometimes came by with bottles of wine and I would say at least fifty bucks in fancy chocolates. (Item: They are the court reporters we use second most often and this morning the other paralegal and I really are asking ourselves what the court reporters we use most have done for us recently. Bribery really works when the people who make the business decisions are twentysomething paralegals, especially when everybody charges about the same so the clients don't care.) I drew my Secret Santa person for the office.

Last night was my last property class. (And I am so sincere when I write *sniffle.* I LOVED that class. I know nobody loves property, I did.) I ran around property class handing out invitations to my New Years Eve party and slipped one under the professor's door.

This morning, the other paralegal and I were trying to figure out who has whom for secret santa. She kept listing possible parings off on her fingers. Without missing a beat, I grabbed a pen and drew a diagram that would have made Stanley Kaplan's heart skip a beat. Our girl still knows a classic LSAT problem when she sees one.

I was looking at my calendar and I am taking only one official work day off for my VACATION. (Boxing day.) If I'm not an idiot, I will take Tuesday off to put final touches on my outline for my property final. Christmas Eve and Christmas day I have off anyway.

Again, presuming I'm not an idiot, I will take the day of the Con law final off and probably New Year's eve given the party that night. (Want to be invited to my party? Shoot me an email. I have invitations to mail for a lot of you anyway sitting in my bedroom unstamped, but I also have an email version of the invite.)

So assuming non-idiocy, I'm only working 15 days in December.

That is 75 billable hours assuming I work at an optimum level, achieving five hours even the day of the firm's holday party. (Item: I haven't worked at an optimum level thus far. And I'm writing a blog post now. And it's almost time for lunch...)

New Year's Eve is a Monday, so if I do my party preparations over the weekend I might work then. This weekend is property final weekend, and I also have three parties and invitations to two more that I'm not attending. Next weekend is Con Law Preparation weekend. One review session before then. Gotta buy at least a secret santa present before then. Will do lots of shopping online.

Two days after the con law final is my office luncheon. Two days after that I leave for Vegas and four days of deadly sins with my husband. (Pride=Staying in classier hotel than some, Lust=It's Vegas, Gluttony=8 dollar steaks, Wrath=We always fight at some point on vacation, Envy=Window shopping, Greed=Non-Window shopping. Sloth=Especially if I get that upgrade to a room with a hot tub.)

I will hate myself in May, when I am scrambling to make my hours for the half-year mark. But I will be out of school by late May and can work late again or a weekend. I forget that in real, non-student, life working all day Saturday is the exception, not the rule.

I really feel more relaxed and happy than I've been in a long time. Last Friday, Jana-who-creates took me out and we ate tapas and I had three delicious drinks and a sort of peace descended over me that has been with me all week.

I usually hate Christmas. It has depressed me ever since I grew up sufficiently that recieving presents wasn't the point of the holiday. Holidays with my family are impossible, so I have spent the last six Christmases with my in-laws. The ministers who read this column will sympathize with how I feel about Christmas with my in-laws because they know what it is to enjoy a party, yet on some level still feel they are working. It's not my in-laws fault any more than it's the fault of the well-meaning congregant who invites the minister to a cocktail party. It's the nature of the minister/daughter-in-law job.

This Christmas feels like the first one I've ever had that was totally on my own terms. In some ways, the crazy schedule I keep the rest of the year has given me permission to be selfish and demand alone time with my husband, a party with my friends, and lots of cheer.

I'm starting to realize why other people like this holiday so much.

Who can't wait to work on her property outline.

Awesomeness, right here.

The nine most badass Bible verses.

Hat tip to BITB


Thursday, December 06, 2007

So, CC, how's law school going?

It was snowing last night in my hometown of Northen Charm and Southern Efficiency, so I gave a girl in my property class a ride home. She was Ivy league undergrad, not that I pay attention to such things, so let's call her "Ivy."

She barely had her seatbelt fastened before she asked about my outline in exactly the tone one asks about the Redskins. The final is Tuesday. We're all like that.

"Well, I'm not writing it chronologically from scratch," I said. "I'm not much of a notetaker, so I'm using old outlines from friends and commercial outlines and what notes I have and combining them that way. I take an old exam for practice, tweak my outline, take another old exam, tweak, etc. I started at the exams from the early 90's and I'd like to get through all his old exams before Tuesday"

"Oh, Ok." She said. After a beat she added, "I took an old exam earlier. That stuff about Estates and Interests scared me. I emailed the prof, though, and I was so relieved when he said not to worry about it and things we didn't go over in class wouldn't be on the test."

"We didn't go over estates and interests in class?" I asked.

"You didn't know that?" She asked, openly horrified.

"Umm... No. I'm not much of a notetaker. When there were a bunch of questions about it on the old finals, I just assumed I hadn't taken notes for a couple of really important classes."

"So you've been studying all that Rule against perpetuities stuff? But he hasn't taught in class since like 2002. And it's impossible!"

"Oh, the rule against perpetuities isn't that bad," I said. "All it says is that a property bequest can't go on forever. You can, say, leave your house to your wife until she dies and then leave it to your son forever, but you can't leave it to your son 'til he dies, then his son 'til HE dies, then HIS son until HE dies and soforth. The common law rule is that estate has to vest within 21 years after the death of the last person alive at the time of the writing of the will to die. Fetuses count. Also, some states have a uniform code that says wills have a flat 90 years to vest. It's more complicated than that in places but that's the jist."

Ivy stared at me like I had sprouted tentacles. "You learned ALL THAT? But it's not on the test!"

"Ooops," I said. There wasn't much else to say. We were in front of her apartment anyway.

"I'm just sorry you wasted your time," Ivy said airily, climbing down out of the jeep.

We said goodbye. I drove away, realizing that I didn't think of it as a waste of time at all. It would have been more efficient to study only what's actually going to be on the test, but I kinda liked knowing that stuff. Besides, you never know when "indefeasibly vested remainder for life" is going to be the answer on Jeopardy.

I'm probably rationalizing here, but I have to say, that I drove home thinking that maybe there's a reason why I don't share the academic success of people like Ivy, but I'm so interesting to talk to.

Who is better at playing the game than she has ever been, but apparently still has a few things to learn.

2nd Notice: Things to do in Vegas that are awesome

Our Christmas trip is booked! CC is going on an ACTUAL VACATION.

Like, not visiting a friend and working at their house instead.

A vacation.

Not going to a convention or large meeting to exhaust herself.

A vacation.

No attending a graduation, wedding or any other event.


TheCSO and I do not gamble, but we're going to eat and drink (a lot) and go to shows with half-naked dancing girls. We're going to the Star Trek Experience and the Atomic Testing museum. (Still geeky on vacation.)

We're flying Jet Blue. We're staying in the MGM Grand. On the advice of smart people, I picked my hotel, then googled "MGM Grand Promotional code" and monkeyed around trying codes and codes plus or minus a number. Saved $130 that way.

Then, also on the advice of a smart person who knows Vegas, in the "Special Room Requests" section, I wrote "We'd like an upgrade if you have one. Make us an offer!"

So we will see how that turns out.

But anyway, we are open to suggestions of fun stuff to do. On the whole, we're kind of geekish. We wouldn't mind a show or two, but clubbing isn't usually our thing. We will probably do one or two really nice meals and cheap ones, so we're happy to have suggestions for either.

Ok, back to getting billable hours and studying for finals.

who just wrote "On Vacation but reachable on cell" on her office calendar for the one workday she is missing. Baby steps, Kids, a girl can't learn to relax all at once.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

An advice column that sounds familiar.

I've known several people who have the attude expressed by the letter writer here. And I never know what to tell them.

I want to say "Grow up! Quit sucking! People who base their egos on bitching about everyone else are yucky and nobody wants to be friends with them! Also, I've been listening to Radiohead since at least 1996 and I can assure you that plenty of other fairly mainstream people have, too."

But I don't.

I just kind of smile and nod and pray they are being ironic when they refer to people not like them as "normals," "mundanes" or what have you.


Sunday, December 02, 2007

I gave in and told theCSO what his anniversary present is...

so I can go ahead and say "Wahoo!" I'm going to Avenue Q tonight!

very excited.

It's that time again...

If you got a Christmas card from me last year and have moved, email me to tell me.

If you didn't get a Christmas card from me last year and want one, send me your address!

Chalicechick at gmail dot com!


Thursday, November 29, 2007

If it is wrong to love this music video, I don't want to be right

Hat tip to Peacebang

CC reality TV report

(I'm only watching two reality shows, so this will be short.)

America's Next Top Model- It is becoming very clear that Saleisha will win. The judges love her and are apparently totally unable to see the blantant fakeness of her asskissery. I was amazed at how happy I was that a girl who was merely bitchy won the challenge. For two straight seasons, my favorite model has come in fifth and been kicked off at the go-see episode.

Project Runway- The only way Sweet Pea could annoy me more would be if she were to tell the world she's UU. (Don't know that she is, but she seems like the type.) I'm rooting for Kit, partially because she reminds me of Veronica Mars.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Things that are hysterical at 3:00am when insomnia strikes

GreenPeace adopted a whale. Greenpeace had a contest to pick a name for said whale.

There are 30 remaining entries.

29 of them are spiritual-sounding and inspirational, referencing great people or spiritual ideas from other cultures. (I'm fairly idealistic as law students go, and even I wouldn't name a whale after Atticus Finch.) These twenty nine names range literally from "Aiko" - which means 'little love' in Japanese to "Yarrindi" - which means 'song' in the Wagiman Aboriginal language of Australia.

The other suggested name?

Mr. Splashy Pants.

Greenpeace's voting site urged me to vote for my favorite name and encourage my friends to vote for it, too.

Go for it, kids.


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

CC the Coke Fiend

It all started with a bottle of Dasani and a dull Civil Procedure class.

We were talking about work product and I was sitting there reading my spring water bottle. Hey, it said, look under the cap and text the code you find there to
"2653". Start saving for rewards!

Ok, I thought, I like rewards. I texted it in. "Congratulations!" It said.

I had three points!

Now go online and register! Start saving for rewards!

Ok, I thought. I popped over to register and took a quick look at the available rewards. There was a bitchin' designer purse for several thousand points. (CC has a weakness for designer purses.)


But the next time I had a coke product, I texted in the code. And when my housemate had a 24 pack, I asked her for the code. (That one was 10.)

A few weeks later I have 60 points.

And I can't pass a recycling bin without looking. I eye the diet coke bottle in my boss' hand, wondering if she would mind if I asked for the cap.

I'm becoming sort of weird about it.

So today, I decided to google "My Coke Rewards promotional codes" to see if they were giving away extra codes somewhere on the internet.

I got a promotional code worth a few points out of it, but I also got a disturbing revelation.

My Coke Rewards people are crazy.

There are passionate blog posts on the subject.

Message boards with hundreds of postings.

Over 100 ebay sales

Wow. I had no idea.

Sigh. I don't want to become one of those people. My habit will remain a casual thing.

At the same time, if anybody has a 24 pack of a coke product lying around...


A response to Peacebang's depression thread

PB reacted to this article and asked about depression/medication stories. She got lots of people who didn't like loosing the emotional extremes depression can bring.

I've mentioned before that my Dad is schizophrenic. He has never believed in medication. I should baldly state here that different people with different mental illnesses take their mental illnesses out on the people around them different amounts. (But yeah, I do hope that everybody in the "Brilliant sadness" chorus has examined the effect of the depression on the people they live with.)

Anyway, my Dad was beyond volatile when I was a kid. The things that set him off always seemed to have just enough of a pattern that figuring out a plan to never freak him out always seemed just out of mental reach.

Growing up with a Dad who was essentially human nitroglycerine made my thinking really, really Dad-centric. "How would my actions affect my dad?" was constantly on my mind. I to this day retain a large list of Dad reactions to various things, assembled when I was desperate to figure out why thing A upset him and closely-related thing B did not. I can remember sitting in front of the TV as a very small child, doing mental drills. Which commercial would set him off? Which one would be fine?

Depression was like having Dad in my head all the time even as an adult. It was a head full of nitro. It was having to spend ridiculous amounts of energy on not getting depressed. "Can't think about thing B, because it's closely related to thing A and I might set it off" is the basic pattern, but in my near three decades of life I'd spun off many variations.

The affect of medication for me was to take away the inherent volatility and give me a little bit of power over the situation. I am still sad over big things, but for smaller things or things that don't affect me, I can say "Boy, that's really depressing" without letting the depressing thing be the center of my life and attention for some undetermined period of time.

I am having to learn how to pay attention to things now, having spent a lot of time as a kid learning to keep things in my mental peripheral vision so I could look away quickly if they started upset me. It sucks, but it's progress.

A Yakov Smirnov voice in my head is saying "In Russia, depression has you."

No interest in going back to Russia, kids. None.


Friday, November 23, 2007


I haven't forgotten the Chaliceblog. I'm just busy studying.

And recovering from studying.

And planning to study more.

And reading books and taking a tape course about how to study more effectively.

I'm not saying that I won't post before my property exam on December 11, but I won't be myself.

who is thinking of how, upon hearing that I had brought my property textbook to Renn Faire, a friend of the CSO's said "I used to hate you because you got into GULC. Now I'm cured."

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Fausto's thought-provoking post

Check this out.

I have a response brewing, but it isn't ready yet.

And I forgive you if you skim the Gerard Manley Hopkins poem. I'm into Victorians, but he's a little much even for me.


Saturday, November 10, 2007

Wow, it's like the Chaliceblog, but in Finnish and set to music.

IMHO, the best part is about two minutes and twenty fiove seconds in.


Friday, November 09, 2007

Quote of the day

I have that personalized Google page that gives me a quote of the day. Today's quote is one of my favorites, from Neil Gaiman:

"It has always been the prerogative of children and half-wits to point out that the emperor has no clothes. But the half-wit remains a half-wit, and the emperor remains an emperor."

-From The Sandman


Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Oddly benign dream

Last night, I dreamed that the CSO and I won Weird Al tickets.

It was odd.

But pleasant.


Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Help CC decide

Is this as awesome as I think it is?


At least they didn't play "Imagine"

TheCSO and I went to see Across the Universe, or as everyone seems to call it "the Beatles movie" on Sunday. It probably won't be a surprise that the hippie-centric movie did not impress. Essentially as string of decent music videos to Beatles songs strung together with a plot that is ripped off of "Hair" but is still porn-movie-thin, it was an amusing way to spend two hours, but not much more.

TheCSO and I left it wondering if like, "the Wild West," "The sixties" will at some point become a standard movie setting that has little to do with historical reality. Seems highly possible. There were a few nods to the historical reality of hippies. It was very clear that the men ran the little activist group the female lead joins, leaving the women to do all the work and act as the moral conscience. But it did seem odd that the publically affectionate interracial couple didn't merit so much as a stare.

The main character, Jude, of course, doesn't really do anything for most of the movie. Things happen to him and one goes through the whole movie with him not getting a sense of who he is. Jude reminded me of a bit from Tempest-Tost, a Robertson Davies novel I like:

Cobbler pondered for a moment. "Well," he said, "I suppose if I were you -- that's to say a somewhat inert chap, half content to be the football of fate -- I'd go right on doing whatever I was doing at the moment, and hope the whole thing would blow over."

The celebrity cameos improve things a bit, particularly Eddie Izzard as Mr. Kite and the five Selma Hayeks (you kinda have too see it to believe it. But it was sexy.)

Toward the end, there is a weird sequence where Jude's girlfriend Lucy, who had broken up with him, is supposed to show up at a rooftop concert. Now, mind you, she doesn't know that Jude will be there. But when the cops won't let her in the door, the tone of the movie suddenly becomes somewhat tense. Jude expected her to be there! And she's not there! Does this mean she doesn't love him after all?

(CC thinks "Huh? Why would it mean that?)*

One would think any realistic person would just assume something came up and he could call her the next day, say "Hey, I came back from England for you because I was worried about you" and ask her out for coffee.

But reality isn't the point of this purely manufactured bit of drama. The point is her showing up at exactly the right time, so they can sing to each other across rooftops. The point is the image.

She makes it in the end, of course.

This is a silly, silly, movie.

And I have to mention my favorite moment, when Lucy-the-activist-hippie is fighting with Jude because he just wants to do his thing without doing a bunch of protesting. Lucy cries, somewhat hysterically, "I would throw myself in front of a tank if it would bring my brother home!"

And Jude says simply, "It wouldn't."

Damn right.


*Upon further reflection, I have to concede that I have known at least one hippie who was a great believer in imagining how something with her lover should go, and if her lover did not follow the mental script and it didn't go exactly the way she had pictured, assuming she wasn't sufficiently loved and creating drama about it. So maybe that part was realistic.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Any suggestions?

There are a couple of ladies in main office of the law firm where I work who will periodically send out mass e-mails with pithy religious sentiments and/or poorly thought out political essays.

These folks are not attorneys, but are the sort of staff who have a great deal of power to make your life suck if they decide they don't like you. I have a bad record of pissing people like that off, though I've managed to stay off of the radar screen at this job so far.

Today's email (A screed about how much the world hates us, what we should do to the terrorists, how we shouldn't give out money to people starving in other countries, and how we should deport illegal immigrants) ended with the words:

If you agree with the above forward it to friends...If not, and I would be amazed, DELETE it!!

I am tempted to do what I always do and heed the advice of the email and delete it.

But part of me would also really like these folks to stop it with the Jesus and the conservative politics.

I'm half tempted to use one against the other and email back saying that I follow the teachings of a carpenter who told us to take care of the poor. But that's not entirely true. And it would probably get me even more Jesus e-mails.

I'm also tempted to say that I find the emails sort of distracting and to please stop sending them to me. But I really don't want to cheese these people off. So maybe not making waves is the best idea.

Any thoughts?


Friday, November 02, 2007

So what if you don't like the UUAWO? What should you do about it?

In response to Hafidha's comment...

1. Politely start asking questions.

Do we really need it?

Can we point to any recent successes other than small amounts of publicity? (And I do mean small. According to Google news, the only publications that even noticed the "Quickly abandon Iraq and watch the Iraqis who trusted us get butchered" petitions were UU World and Bay Windows.)

How much does it cost?

Do the resources we spend on it really do anything other than make us feel good about ourselves? What could, say, Beacon House do with those resources?

Is it projecting the public image we want to project?

Is it truly representative of who we are as a denomination?

2. Talk up the issue among UUs and get them at least thinking about it if not talking about it themselves. You would be surprised at the number of UUs who have never even considered the issue of being welcoming to conservatives and moderates or how it must feel to have liberal statements made constantly on your behalf when you don't agree. Such people are usually pretty understanding when you actually explain the issue, but it just isn't something that occurs to most UUs.

3. Suck it up. Because UUs, particularly the sort who go to GA, are way too in love with the UUAWO to get rid of it, and nobody in the UUA cares what the moderates and conservatives think any more than the any elected officials actually care what the UUs think.

4. Pause to appreciate the irony of #3. Then go back to 1 and 2, keep thinking and keep talking and wait for the time when our voices make more of a difference. Because UUism is flawed, but is full of good people and is well worth sticking with and fixing.


Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Postage rate hike hurting UU World; UUA Washington Office too busy to do anything about it...

This pretty much confirms my negative impression of the UUA Washington office. (In case you don't want to follow the link, the post office has raised the rates for delivering small magazines to the point that publishing a small magazine will become financially unsustainable for a lot of independent publications. The UUAWO is too busy making statements about Burma to actually do anything about this issue, however.)

What is the point of having an office in Washington if they can't be bothered to look at an issue that impacts us and try to do something about it?

I've mentioned several times that one of my primary complaints about the UUA's political behavior is our seeming need to have a poor man's version of every liberal lobbying group out there. Of course, the big non-UU group is the only one anybody cares about, but hey, we get to feel good about ourselves. By handing over our "fuck the Iraqis who will die when the nation descends into anarchy, just bring the white people home" petition, we struck a real blow for peace!

Thus, it especially cheeses me off that the impact of this postage rate hike on independent magazines is a small issue that has not recieved a lot of press. For once, somebody might actually listen to us. But the UUAWO can't be bothered with anything that doesn't have them behaving like the religious arm of the Democratic party.

Though some of the crap they've pulled in the past has seriously irritated me, I've never asked if we really need a UUA Washington Office before.

I'm asking it now.


Saturday, October 27, 2007


CC had a great time at the party (and was the only Amy Winehouse there, although the wig got really warm early on and she took it off.)

FWIW, if you're looking for an eighties cover band, Burning sensation does not suck.

Especially when the lead singer is dressed as a robot.

who is back to studying now.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Well, that's good.

Genarlow Wilson freed.


Want to feel better about your spouse?

Click here.


Last-minute-Halloween costumes

So I'm Jana-who-creates' date for a Halloween party where her friend's band is playing and I found out today that it is a costume party.

My plan for Halloween parties this year was for theCSO and myself to attend as Voltaire and Mme DuChatelet.

But Mme DuChatelet isn't so great a costume on its own.

I tried to sell JwC on going as Molly Weasely and Bellatrix LeStrange, but no dice.

Anyway, suggestions welcome.

As far as I can tell, most halloween costumes fall into one of several categories

1. Slutty
2. Scary
3. Totally lacking in dignity. (E.g. dress in pink, put a shoe on your head, go as "gum stuck on the bottom of somebody's shoe")

None of these categories particularly rock my world.



1. Thanks for the love for my Molly-and-Bellatrix plan. But if my friend isn't into it, she's not. She's thinking of going as a robot.
2. PG is awesomesauce and will be invited to every Halloween party I ever have.
3. Since Halloween is all about slutty, scary and lacking in dignity, it seems only logical to go as Amy Winehouse. A black wig, some tacky jewelry and a bunch of fake tattoos would be easy enough to do. But I'm worried that I would be cold as her iconic look is ripped jeans and a tank top. Also, I go back and forth on whether it is in poor taste because I honestly expect her to drop dead any minute...

Thursday, October 25, 2007

She who works full time and goes to school responds to the minister quality-of-life discussion.

I mentioned yesterday that theCSO and I were plotting to sneak out of town for a long weekend in Vegas at some point.

I should clarify that between work and school, the earliest I could possibly get out of town is Thanksgiving or Christmas, and Thanksgiving would be really inadvisable because of finals week. GA and visiting theCSO's family for a few days at Christmas are the closest I've had to a "vacation" in the last several years. I will spend most of Saturday working on a paper, and possibly portions of Sunday after I teach YRUU.

I arrive at work at 8:30 and leave at 4:30 Monday through Friday. I'm due in class at 5:45, where I remain until 7:45 or 8:45.

If I have a doctor's appointment, I fill out a form asking my boss if it's okay for me to take two hours off and I get her signature.

I don't necessarily have to be cheerful and loving in the sense that ministers do, but I do have to be detail-oriented. If I make mistakes on a subpoena or if I don't fully understand what I'm writing down about the complexities of the commerce clause's impact on the Congressional power to tax and spend, then I will regret it. (And citations. Non-lawyers would not frigging BELIEVE the crazy method we have for showing which case we're getting an idea from. It's so complex that the samples we get from our professors and TAs regularly have mistakes.)

I will only be doing the work and school thing for four years. After that, I will be an associate at a law firm for another seven or eight years, assuming the most conventional path, and we know the crazy lives those folks have.

So I'm effectively booked up until I'm forty one.

Ok, I'm exaggerating slightly here. Summers will be easier, and I hear that the first year of law school is the hardest.

And this is the life I've chosen, and I don't regret it a bit. I'd rather be immersed in interesting work and have cool things to talk to theCSO about in the hour an evening we get together than do something boring all day and then just come home at five and Veg Out like lots of people do.

But seriously, it's tough all around. Lots of us have near-constant drains on our intellectual and emotional energy. Few of us are surrounded by people who understand what we go through and apply that understanding to their expectations.

Still beats ditch-digging.


Things that look weird when seen through a UU lens

It's funny how, as a UU, I tend to forget how despised atheists are. Among UUs, and indeed among my friends, being an atheist is perfectly acceptable, being a pagan is an adorable eccentricity, and being a Conservative Christian is the really unusual thing.

I don't realize that outside my social bubble, it doesn't work that way. For example, I nod along with my theistic friends' complaints that people think they are weird for believing in God so often that I tend to forget that it is illegal for atheists to hold public office in at least one place where I've lived. (Is this law unconstitutional? Sure. But it's not like an atheist is getting elected there anytime soon anyway so nobody's bothered with a test case.)

I first thought of this when I saw "Steven Pinker and Rebecca Goldstein, America's brainiest couple, confess that belonging to one of America's most reviled subcultures doesn't mean they believe scientists can explain everything" as the header on a story for Salon. Reviled subculture? Atheism.

That story sparked my interest, but I got busy and forgot about it. Today, again on Salon, a college student has written to the advice columnist asking for advice about how to "Come out" as an atheist to a family that won't accept it.

When I was a reporter, I was told not to let anyone know that I wasn't a Christian or a lot of them wouldn't talk to me. When you're a reporter, lots of people in town not talking to you will eventually cost you your job. I've known pagans who weren't even in the public eye who still had to keep their faith a secret for fear of employment consequences.

Anyway, I'm thinking about that today, and thinking about how theists in UUism frequently complain, essentially, "If I talk about how I'm a theist, people won't like me. If I preach about what I want to preach, people will complain because people like different things."

One would think being allowed to run for office would be some small consolation.


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Vegas travel advice

CC is pouting today because theCSO is in Vegas and having a blast and says that I totally have to come. He's willing to fly me out this weekend, in fact, but I really, really need to study.

So to make us both feel better, we're making plans to go to Vegas together at some point.

Suggestions of cool places to stay and stuff we need to do are welcome.


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Happiness Meme

(From Fishy.)

Six things that have made me happy recently.

1. Landlord-tenant law. There are times I feel like I don't understand anything, can't write a memorandum to save my life, can't take notes, and will surely end up flunking out and dancing for change in front of Wal-Mart. Then, I read about landlord-tenant law. I don't know why, but I like it. It's straightforward, and reasonable, and it's related to what my mom does for a living so I have something to attach it to in my head. It's taught by my Property professor. He lays things out really thoughtfully and logically. I just get it.

And that gives me hope.

2. My YRUU padawans and their enthusiasm when I put together my sheet of stories they should know from Genesis. I'll draw up a similar sheet for Exodus soon.

3. When I was lying on Jana-who-creates' couch and ZombieKid walked up:
ZombieKid: Do you and theCSO sleep in the same bed?
CC: Ummm... Yeah?
ZombieKid: Does he use you for a pillow?
CC: Sometimes a little bit.
ZombieKid: Do you use him for a pillow?
CC: I like to go to sleep on his shoulder, but sometimes it gets tired and has to move it.
ZombieKid: Sometimes I use Skunkeriena for a pillow. I wonder if she minds.
(Holding up the toy skunk to whom he is married)
CC: I'm sure she doesn't mind. She's a very understanding skunk.

4. I got to talk to a chatty forensic toxicologist today who told me lots of things I didn't know about how difficult it is to determine the degree of impairment when marijuana is involved. It was cool. My job has ups and downs, but I basically like it.

5. I don't have anything planned for Saturday. Like, at all. I'm thinking about eating breakfast alone, then going in to the office to read and work on homework. No pressure. Just a restful day getting things done. Introvert nirvana.

6. TheCSO and I almost never like the same TV shows, but we both love "Chuck." We watch it together and laugh together the whole time. There literally hasn't been a show we've watched together like this since the X-files.


Over and over I have seen how people think that someone leaving will have all these wonderful effects, and then when they do, problems rain down and they realize the person they didn't like had some value after all.

It's interesting to watch.

who is observing this pattern these days.

Monday, October 22, 2007

CC is gloomy today

Shall we cheer ourselves by watching Alan Rickman?

Yes, lets...