Thursday, February 26, 2009

Second Hiatus-from-Hiatus

First of all, no, I don't know yet. Sore subject.

Secondly, David Markham at UUA Way of Life asked me to articulate why I plan to vote for Hallman. I wrote up a list of reasons, posted it at his blog, monkeyed with it a bit, and here it is.

If you're in a hurry, just read reason numero tres because it's really the crux of my feelings on the two, though I don't back it up at all. The other reasons go into a little more detail on why I feel that way.

Here's my reasons. Your mileage, of course, may vary:

1. Morales seems to mostly want to carry on Sinkford's legacy and seems more focused on lobbying and other political work. I really don't think that's a great use of our time and I really resent that political statements are so constantly being made in our names. (My husband refuses to join a UUA church until they halt this practice, so he will probably never join.) I suspect Hallman knows that opinion is unpopular and she has not directly said she would rein a lot of that in, but just from hearing her talk about what she will do, my impression is that she will be much less inclined to toss around the words "Oh behalf of the member congregations of the UUA" than Sinkford has been.

2. Hallman's sermons are thoughtful and awesome and suggest that she really looks at things from a lot of different perspectives and has an understanding of the complexities of issues. I get a sense of slickness and of a tendency to oversimplify in a lot of what Morales has written that I fear will lead to more "There are people who see immigration issues the way I do, and then there are racists"-style declarations from the president's office.

(The Morales campaign seems immensely proud of one survey that they answered more carefully than the Hallman campaign did. The answers to that survey certainly make Morales look like a thoughtful guy and Hallman much less so. But that's one survey. When you actually read what the two candidates have written for their home churches, you develop the opposite impression. Or at least I did. Again, YMMV.)

3. I get a much greater sense of the spiritual and a connection to that which is greater than ourselves from Hallman. She does seems to regard this administrative office as somewhat sacred and I really respect that given the nature of the job she's asking for. Morales appears to be running for UUA Director of Marketing and Product Development for the North American Region.

4. I feel like Morales wants to grow the denomination but doesn't know why, while Hallman really has a sense of who we are. I think Hallman's ideas might attract fewer people initially, but those people will stay. Note how for all Morales' talk about growth, he has only added 300 members to his church. Laurel Hallman has doubled the membership of hers to over 1000 people, and growth isn't even her main focus. The man who keeps talking about growth hasn't done as much of it.

5. Various statements of hers suggest that she gets our polity in a way few UUA leaders do.

6. Someone whom I know very well and trust very much knows both Hallman and Morales well and says without reservation that Hallman's the one for the job.


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Hiatus from Hiatus

First of all, a few clarifications:

1. It's not the stresses of law school, which are considerable. It's a specific opportunity that would involve people who don't appreciate the blogging art.

2. No, I don't know yet about the opportunity and remain on pins and needles.

3. I miss blogging lots and am looking into options for having a ...gulp... livejournalish private blog that I would then invite 100s of people to read. I will think about it and will put up a post soliciting email addresses for invitations if I decide to go that route. I'm also working on a different blogging project that would be quite different in scope from the Chaliceblog. We will see.

4. I miss blogging lots and see a story and say "Hey, I should write about that" five plus times per day. It is painfully like when I used to be a reporter and then one day wasn't and still found myself following police cars and pulling out my camera at odd times.

5. I mentioned a long time ago that I am voting for Laurel Hallman, though I didn't make a big fuss about it. I can't imagine that you care, but on the offchance, here you go. As far as I can tell Morales shares most of the things I don't like about Sinkford. Hallman seems to have a very good head on her shoulders and I suspect she would focus on more of the things I'm interested in.

Also, I very much agree with Gini Courter when she writes: At this moment of possibility, Unitarian Universalism needs a leader grounded in our polity who knows that real growth will come not from having a thousand congregations listen to one leader, but from the work of a leader who listens to our thousand congregations.

I think Hallman is that listener. Neither of them is perfect, neither would be a disaster, though.

Ok, now the real reason I am posting today: If you have any interest at all in criminal justice issues Check this out and disseminate widely.

Major squick possibilities in the photographs, but people do need to know that forensic experts and medical examiners who just whore for the prosecution are very much a reality and that people sometimes go to jail for a long time on the basis of lies.

A summary of the story, without video, is here.

People, IRL and on this blog, have been known to ask me why I like and respect and listen to Libertarians so much given that some of them are obviously nuts.

Primarily it's because libertarians care about this stuff and work on it while liberals are so afraid of being seen as "soft on crime" that they won't touch it.

Miss you guys,


Monday, February 09, 2009

How many Southern Presbyterians does it take to change a light bulb?

For a variety of reasons relating to a new thing that might be happening in my life*, I might be shutting down the Chaliceblog fairly soon. If I shut down the Chaliceblog, I'm going to disappear from the blogosphere for awhile because I think that's the only way I can deal and I don't want to hang around your blogs like the retired coworker whom nobody wants to eat lunch with. I will still be available over facebook and e-mail and would love to hear from you because like any retired coworker I know I will be lonely. I will probably go back to commenting when I've gotten some distance.

I tested my resolve on this tonight by deleting 20 posts (some that I very much liked and a couple that had taken hours to write) at the request of someone else because that person convinced me it was the right thing to do. It hurt like hell, but I did it. I now know I can do it again.

In reality, the Chaliceblog's days were numbered the day I got into law school.

Mary-who-dances, after having been fired by a prebyterian church because she is a lesbian, once said to me "Not every change is a fabulous new opportunity, some of them just suck"

This change would be both. It would have wonderful aspects, but I would certainly mourn this blog. And it may not work out and a few weeks from now, I may pull a Nirvana and say "Nevermind" and delete this and go on, but I really care about you guys and didn't want to just disappear with no warning. That said, if I decide to do this, I'm going to move quickly.

So there you go.

who is going to take the opportunity to tell the UUA Washington Office that one of your number told somebody that the Chaliceblog drives y'all crazy and told that person not to tell me because it would give me too much satisfaction.

That person did tell me, and it was indeed immensely gratifying. Thinking about that makes a very sad person very happy.

* No, I'm not knocked up, and yes, theCSO and I are still very much married.


Just weird.


That's my (best friend's) boy!

Jana-who-creates reports the following conversation as they were walking into church yesterday

JWC: So, who's your favorite Nintendo character?

ZombieKid: I like Luigi, but I also like Wario.

JWC: Wario? Isn't he a bad guy?

ZK: He's really more of an anti-hero

JWC: Really? What's an Antihero like?

ZK: He's a jerk, but he's doing good things anyway and nobody understands that. He's misunderstood.

JWC: Can you give another example, like from Harry Potter?

ZK: Snape!


Ps. We all saw Coraline and liked it a lot. The 3d is especially cool.

Pps. At least every couple of weeks, this same child sends me an email with a blank subject line and only the words "I like cheese" in the body.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

So what are the rules on clergy dating?

I'm thinking about writing a fiction peice about a minister* and I'm curious.

What exactly are the rules for single ministers? Thanks to UUgirl's blog, I'm used to reading about this from the Clergy Sexual Misconduct angle, so I don't really know how it is done correctly and have the vague impression that meeting a significant other on the internet, maintaining a long-distance courtship and only bringing schnookums to church once the wedding ring is on her finger is the only really safe way to go about it.

Minister-dating seems so much more complicated than other careers with dating restrictions (e.g. Therapists-Don't. Professors-Wait 'till he graduates. Doctor-Don't ask while he's naked and if you date advise him to see somebody else for medical care)

Some questions...

How they met:

1. If Reverend Bob meets Jane at a non-worship event at the church, like she comes to a church bazaar looking for some furniture and they start talking as he helps her load a desk into her car, can they date?

2. If Jane is of the same faith but attends another local church of the same denomination, can they date?

3. If Jane attends Reverend Bob's church, resigns her membership and joins another local church and calls him up a month later, can they date?

4. If Jane is a member of Reverend Bob's church and he moves to a church in another city and they start e-mailing, can they date?


5. Can she come to the church bazaar and help out?

6. Can she come to church on Sunday? Occaisionally? Regularly?

7. I take it that she shouldn't join?

8. I'm kinda icked out by the idea that the girlfriend would find the guy being a religious leader sexy and probably won't write it that way. But that's probably grounds for dumping, yes? I mean, if she's wanting you to go naked under your robe or do it in the sanctuary?

9. Any other issues I haven't thought of?

*Not even sure it's a UU minister yet, but I'm assuming the rules are pretty much the same.

A famous name

I have never liked songs with my name.

Ok, in high school, a guy whom I thought was cute wrote the lyrics to the chorus of that "Suzy-Q, baby I love you" song, one line at a time, on a bunch of pages of my yearbook in the lower right corner so that one could flip through and read the song line by line.

That was ok. I mean, he didn't love me, he was just being silly, but it was still highly acceptable.

And "Goin' Over to Susan's House ('cuz I can't be alone tonight)" by the Eels is the only song with my name in it I actually like, and the song has very little to do with Susan and is hella depressing.

And then there's "A boy named Sue," and I don't know if that counts or not.

But I'm not a fan of say, "Runaround Sue," "Ol' Suzannah" and, goodness knows, "Wake up litte Suzy"

But they aren't particularly complimentary to the ladies being sung about, and they weren't written about me.

I guess that's the difference between my, at best, ambivalence about Susan songs and the reaction of the real Peggy Sue


I've been there.


These solitary hills have always been dear to me.
Seated here, this sweet hedge, which blocks the distant horizon opening inner silences and interminable distances.
I plunge in thought to where my heart, frightened, pulls back.
Like the wind which I hear tossing the trembling plants which surround me, a voice from the inner depths of spirit shakes the certitudes of thought.
Eternity breaks through time, past and present intermingle in her image.
In the inner shadows I lose myself,
drowning in the sea-depths of timeless love.

Giacomo Leopardi

One more on my pet social justice issue

Sorry, I try not to overdo it on the police raids stuff, but one more thing.

If I've said anything that made you interested in this issue and made you want to work to make a difference, the victim of the raid in the Washington Post story has started a facebook group called "Friends of Cheye Calvo" who are working to make some change.

I'm a member, and I'd love to see some of my pals involved.



A news anchor who deserves a promotion

I, for one, could not have just carried on with what I was saying as if nothing had happened.

That lady is in the right job.


Monday, February 02, 2009

My position has always been...

that non-cancer-stricken people should avoid smoking pot because it makes them annoying to be around on several levels, not because it is physically all that bad for them.

I think Michael Phelps is as good a bit of evidence as we're going to get for the second part of that opinion.


Sunday, February 01, 2009

See? I told you people she was awesome

Katy-the-Wise gets a shoutout on The Socinian

imagining the weirdness of Fausto showing up for Katy's sermon and wondering how they crammed that much awesomeness into a tiny church.

Quick *ahem* postmortem on the Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre and excursus about my sucky January

I am very slowly learning the lesson that other people just aren't as into mysteries as I am.

This year we had a crime scene that people could examine themselves and there was a trashcan there with some trash and a clue in it*, and as far as I know, nobody ever even looked through the trash.

Last year, two people got whodunnit and why. This year, something like a dozen people got whodunnit, but nobody got why.

Both years that I've written the MMDT, I've gone around for days worrying that the solution to my mystery will be obvious and everyone will get it and I will look stupid, and so far both years the day after the MMDT, I feel sheepish that so few people got it and that I should have left more clues.

Part of it is that I am used to writing mysteries on paper where:
1. All of the clues are literally inches from your nose
2. If you don't get it, you don't mind.

In a murder mystery dinner theatre, people don't actually look very hard for clues or question people very carefully, but it's sort of weird and awkward when only a couple of people figure something out, or when nobody gets it.

I'll probably write it next year, too. So next year I will make it a little easier, but not too much easier. Sigh.

I spent a lot less time on this year's MMDT because my January has completely sucked. I was really sick for a week or so, my work has been really stressful over the last few weeks and school is complicated as well.

I had a really unpleasant experience in class last week where we were doing Hudson v. Michigan and the professor asked about potential consequences to the police no-knocking one's house**. People said the usual answers "Embarassment, property damage, greater chance of violence." I raised my hand and said that the police would likely kill one's dog.

Everybody laughed like either they thought I was kidding or it was just a really stupid answer in general. The professor said something snarky like "That's a new one."

There was only ten minutes left in class at that point and I spend said ten minutes googling and arranging a set of links about police raids where dogs have been killed, often in raids where the police had the wrong house. I assembled ten or so of them, most of them from the last six months. For pure spite reasons, I put the family dogs killed in front of little children on top. Then I sent the links to my professor.

Knowing that I was right about the dogs and that my answer hadn't been stupid, I left the class head held high. Then I got into the car and burst into tears because, hey, 100 people had just laughed at me to my face and my professor had mocked me. I called a friend as I drove home and poured out my tale of unjustified woe.

As she listened to my sniffling, my friend gently pointed out that the professor probably hadn't meant it the way I'd taken it and the rest of the class probably consisted of people who had never had their houses searched by the police, having not grown up with younger brothers who tended to get them into that sort of situation. I thought about it for a moment and conceded that she was correct that the tone of the discussion made it clear that for most of the rest of the class, police raids are something that happen to criminals, not people like them. That's a pretty crucial difference in point of view.

The professor sent out my links to the entire class. In class on Friday, several people said things like "Wow, CC, I had no idea!" and went on about the brutality of some of these raids.

Damn straight.

Now for people who didn't get the point the first time, an innocent person's dogs killed in a police raid are on the cover of the Washington Post Magazine.

I wish I'd been wrong, though.

Anyway, I'm at work at 8am for a reason and have hours to bill before I sleep.


Ps. At noon on Monday, the small-town mayor who was a victim of the police raid that the post wrote about took questions on

*We did California vs. Greenwood in my criminal procedures class like three days ago.

**My theory is that just about every UU has a civil rights or civil liberties issue that they know most people don't care about but that they feel is vitally important and a moral necessity that we deal with. Police raids are mine.