Saturday, October 30, 2010
Friday, October 29, 2010
“Where’s what?” her husband mumbled around a mouthful of toothpaste as he leaned his head out of the bathroom.
Dainty things were flying around the room as she dug through the third drawer of her dresser. “My socks! Where are they?” she shouted exasperatedly.
He stepped out of the bathroom, wiping his face with a towel that barely hid his amusement.
“Top drawer. You have plenty of socks. Get dressed or we’ll have to drive into town separately.”
She twirled around and faced him, trying her best to look fierce as she raised herself up to her full five foot one height. A slightly padded bra clenched in one hand and a lace-trimmed camisole in the other.
“I WANT MY PINK SOCKS”
He couldn’t resist chuckling at her. As mad as she was, she was a comical sight, wearing a white blouse with a Buster Brown collar and a pair of low cut bikini briefs.
“Which ones? You’ve got more than one pair.” He could see her brow creasing and decided to act concerned, although he was sure he knew which ones.
“The light pink pair with the darker pink pattern in them.” She had moved on to his side of the dresser now. She only looked briefly in his bottom drawer where the toys were kept.
“I give up! I think it was those damn thieving fairies again. They are always taking stuff just to irritate me.”
“Could be” he replied kind of non-committally and straightened his tie in the mirror. “I’ll get the car started.”
He ran downstairs and made sure that the socks in question were stuffed deep into the trash bag. They were covered in gunk where he wiped up a mess, changing the furnace filter yesterday.
When she jumped into the car, he smiled at her and said, “See you are as pretty as ever, even without those pink socks.”
“I guess so” she sulked. “Damn thieving fairies.”
He laughed and agreed. “Yep, damn fairies. Want me to stop for coffee?”
Thursday, October 28, 2010
I read a book on the psychology of sex, well finished it anyway. In summary, people can find anything at all in the whole world and in outer space sexually attractive. It’s a kind of displacement, though often harmless enough. Think of it this way: I like pretty shoes. They make me feel pretty. Wearing them is satisfying. Knobby Knees thinks that cute shoes on me little feets are just one of the hottest things since burned toast. So there you have it: The difference between a fashionable Pixie and a Scotsman with a mild paraphilia.
I’ve just started re-reading Flora Thompson’s books. I am always startled at just how good she was. If you haven’t read her three Lark Rise/Candleford books, you really should find them and do it. You’ll get lost in them. And you’ll go back again and again to re-taste a bit of the past.
I keep looking for really nice copies of the first editions, but, so far, I haven’t found any I can afford. I have the illustrated version done in the 1980’s. It’s a gorgeous book.
… So, I’m about ready for a nap. I wonder how much of a nap I’d get if I wore my pretty new shoes past Mr. K. Knees. Scots are so easily led …
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Through the back door (that is via email to my writing partner) came other things. Yes, yes guys – I read all the emails too. You aren’t really surprised are you? Either one shares with their partner or the team effort collapses. One of those who writes to my WP is very controlling. He sees me as a “lose cannon.” I’m certain he is not used to an educated woman with strongly expressed viewpoint. The education level in his religion rests at what in the USA would be trade-school. I have no count of female PhD’s among them, but I can assure you it is very low.
I can live with that view. I mean I can tolerate him thinking I am without restraint. I dispute it though. I know very well what I’m doing. Words have meaning; they’re tools. I know how to use them for effect. It’s my job, my stock in trade.
Another of those who compulsively reads our research called my comments on their rape policy a “mindless diatribe.” I’m not totally certain he knows what diatribe means. Perhaps he should consult a dictionary. Ad hominem is not a refutation. Resorting to name calling undermines one’s proposition. As I’ve shown, I’m open to your refutation or explanations. I’ll give you a voice here.
The thought behind these “private” emails is that a strong-willed man should be able to control a mere woman. My writing partner should be able to control me, right? This says more about them as individuals and about their religion than I could say in a professional paper. It speaks more clearly than anything I could hope to write.
One of them suggested my comments called into dispute our claim to objectivity. As far as I know, we made no such claim, nor would we. What we claimed was honesty and a desire to be as fully accurate as possible. I know no objective historians, and I know a whole bunch of them. I know some of the best (Hi Michael! How are things in Ancient Greece?) and some of the worst. (You don’t seriously think I’m going to suggest a name in this context, do you?) There is no animal of the genus Historius Objetivus. Everyone approaches their research with a point of view. A good historian will be open to a shift in point of view if the evidence suggests it. Bad historians won’t be.
He’s mistaken our claim to have no agenda but accuracy for a statement of objectivity. Objectivity doesn’t exist. Accuracy can. We are as painstakingly accurate as we can be. This has meant many rewrites and revisions. If we didn’t care, this book would be finished and I’d be writing about Pixies.
Now, both of the people I’ve mentioned here have taken to visiting this blog. One I like as much as you can like any anonymous blog visitor who doesn’t comment much. The other I pity. I think he doesn’t understand what the Bible really says about the relationship between men and women. I don’t see him as malicious, just afraid and unable to frame a cogent and coherent reply. In his case it is probably better that he doesn’t try. I think he has a considerable amount of maturing ahead of him. He’ll probably be a late bloomer.
My post on rape policy went around the net as if it were a minor brush fire. Some showed up here from a posting somewhere else, some from email links. None of them posted a reply or refutation. I’m not here to please anyone but myself. I’m not your servant, and I’m not my writing partner’s lackey. I’m an equal partner in that enterprise.
I realize that some of those who visit our blog come from a very controlling religion. It is their choice. They may believe as they wish, and I will not fault them for it. I have very little pick at their doctrines anyway. It’s practice and policy that gets them into trouble. For instance, they’re now in a heap of trouble off in California because some of their clergy abused two dissenters. The two didn’t frame new doctrine but refused to allow what they saw as financial manipulation of a private corporation. I don’t think that was the intent (the legal papers filed in Federal District Court, 12th district turned up in a search). But church authorities view themselves as beyond question. So now they’re being sued, and they may lose because they failed to exercise good sense.
I know one of these people in a casual sort of way. He graduated from the University of Michigan, is well spoken and as a college educated clergyman is a rarity among them. But he is also authoritarian and blinded by his perceived authority. Boys, this is bad news. The only person that stands between a Christian and God is Christ. If you accept Christianity, this is the standard. A steward is not the owner. (I’m sure that last sentence will puzzle my non-Christian readers, but these guys know what I mean.)
And as long as you’re visiting my blog, you should know that few here share your faith or believe anything like you do. I have pagan readers, non-religious readers, a Buddhist, one’s probably a wiccan, though I’m not sure. Not every one here shares your moral system. You may well see things you do not like. I do not censor posts here unless they’re extreme. If you continue to visit – and you are welcome – be aware that this blog is for my friends. They include historians, writers, artists, teachers, a young man from Australia, people interested in mythology, and two literary agents. You come here knowing that this is open to many points of view, no matter what my own may be.
Monday, October 25, 2010
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
I am prompted to comment about your broadside against a certain religious organization. You have received a copy of a confidential book which made you angry. Your feelings are well expressed, although one wonders why someone chose to send it to you? Big wooden spoon perhaps?
Anyhow, on specifics – rape is a crime and if someone suffers that they have every right to go to the authorities. And any person who knows someone in that situation, should never deter them from doing that, and should provide what support they can. I think you will find that is the official stance of the organization in question. (And I write as someone who has personally gone with someone to the police to give support. Their organization had to wait until the trial was over to avoid any suggestion of perverting the course of justice, and only after legal process ended could deal with the accused internally. In another local case, their “clergy” were praised in the newspaper, because when matters came to light they told the perpetrator that if they didn’t go to the authorities, they would do so.)
If you examine the context of the quote I assume the subject matter is what is called a judicial committee. (I have not seen the book in question). Whether you like it or not, first century Christians made judgments about congregation members on moral matters. 1 Corinthians was all about judging a member who had been immoral, and they were expelled from the congregation. They changed their ways and 2 Corinthians is all about them being welcomed back. For NT views on fornication see 1 Corinthians 5:9-11, for judging members see 1 Corinthians 5:12-13, for men being judges see 1 Timothy 3:1-7, for expelling ones viewed as a danger see 1 Corinthians 5:12-13 again, for helping those in need see 1Thessalonians 5:14. (References all from Paul – another subject!)
To work out what is what must have required good judgment in the 1st century for said believers, and requires the same today for those who take these texts literally. That is why the organization in question provides training for its “clergy” – and the book you received is being released at one such seminar. You may feel this is woefully inadequate and they have no business etc. but they aren’t quite as out on a limb as you assume.
Now I know you may sincerely take issue with the above, but those references are what the NT says. Modern organizations claiming a Bible base feel a duty to uphold these ideals – however anachronistic it might seem in 2010. So fornication and adultery are viewed as sin. People don’t have to join, but if they do, they know in advance what is expected – backed up by a raft of Bible quotations these groups take literally.
But what if, in such a case, a person claims it was not consensual sex, but rape? Which also means they are making a very serious accusation against someone, which cannot be ignored? As the offending quote stated – “One who was raped would not be guilty of pornea”. Obviously not, and that is the main point of the quotation. Fornication might be viewed as sin, but rape is a crime. Hence the need for good judgment. That is what the quote appears to say. Also in trials there have been cases of allegations thrown out because of doubts in a jury’s mind. There have also been false claims of rape - I can think of one in my country where the accuser was eventually jailed – although obviously this is rare. And I would agree that the quote about UK law now recognizing that delay in reporting is not evidence of invention must be taken on board. The offending paragraph in the book you quoted appeared to quickly run through several possible scenarios to take on board by any presented with such accusations. Perhaps the UK ruling, had it come out earlier, might have been reflected in the exact wording? I don’t know.
Obviously, I understand you feel the clergy in this case are unqualified to make any judgment whatsoever. Maybe you have other reasons for that view - but the first base in any such case would be to seek advice, point someone in the direction of the authorities, and give a victim support.
Sincerely An occasional reader
Dear Occasional Reader,
I appreciate your response. It takes some courage to engage a peeved pixie, and you’re explanations are clearly written. However, words have meaning. The paragraph stands on its own. It’s the entire paragraph. There are no context issues.
Yes, the Bible sets standards of behavior, and if one claims to be a Christian then one binds themselves to them. There is, however, no basis in Scripture or in the history of anti-Nicene Christianity to presuppose a formal judicial committee existed in individual congregations. Within the verses you cite from the letters to the Corinthians is the suggestion that ostracism of the offending man was an individual matter of good judgment. His conduct was notorious. There was no private examination of witnesses, but an awareness of an infamous act. So while 1 Corinthians 5:2 (as confusing as the Greek grammar may be) suggests some formal removal from fellowship, it was based on the public and evident proof. That this was something less than the formalized judicial hearings that characterize your religion is suggested by the grammar itself. Paul writes not to a body of elders or clergy, but to the entire congregation as a plurality.
The denouement shows that this was less than a formal act; that it was the decision of individual conscience. Paul writes again, saying: “The rebuke given by the majority is sufficient for such a man.” (2 Cor. 2:6) Some translators render the text so as to suggest a congregational vote on expulsion. That may be within the meaning of the original Greek, though that is open to question. If it is, your procedure of private, secretive, testimony is not Scriptural. If it only means that the majority of the Corinthian Christians ostracized this man over his notorious and repugnant behavior, then we’re left with the standard of individual conscience. In either case, what you do does not meet a New Testament standard.
Now, down to the issue of rape: As you say, you haven’t read the book, and I haven’t read the references cited at the end of the paragraph. Fair enough. Without taking the time to see where those references go, I’m still left with the plain words of the paragraph which suggest that you presume guilt. Even if you felt compelled to expel someone because they got pregnant (You do realize the Old Testament does not sustain expulsion for out of wedlock pregnancy in and of itself?), using as a test the time it took to come forward is nonsense. There is an irrational feeling of shame that accompanies rape. Only a man who knows no shame would think otherwise. So she didn’t tell you or your bunch. This is not in any circumstance a test of honesty.
Neither are the other criteria presented in this paragraph. I hope I have the good sense not to walk naked down Skyline Drive at midnight. If I did, it would not be an invitation to rape. Bad judgment does not transmutate rape into fonication. Mental disposition, circumstances and personality do not prove guilt. Your hierarchy is suggesting an irrational and unworkable test. Because the tests are irrational and meaningless, any decision made on their results would be flawed and sin.
Do people lie? Yes. Is the possibility of someone lying so enormous that you must grill a rape victim as to all the bloody circumstances? How would that be righteous?
I don’t know you personally, though since I read the contact logs on both blogs I have a fair idea who you may be, and I cannot address your personal qualifications. I believe you are a good-hearted, earnest man. But your Church’s education system does not train your elders to any sort of acceptable standard. I may like many of you, and I know my share of your elders. Most are likeable, good seeming men. But the Biblical ignorance among your eldership is profound. The training you receive is in organizational procedure and your scriptural education is haphazard at best. You have the fame work for a sound education, but you do not use it. There is a strong anti-intellectualism among you that hurts you and yours. Your new guide warns that you are spiritual guides and not trained counselors. The warning is well put, but I suggest that you are also not sound spiritual guides if for no other reason than that you are poorly trained.
The doctrine I see as scriptural is (if one prunes off all of your odd historicist interpretations of the last 100 years) not all that different from yours. What is dramatically different is that those with whom I worship reject the paranoid secrecy that has characterized your religion for the last half century, and we hold the Biblical standard of individual acts and responsibilities where you see Christianity as a tightly ruled collective. Your religion sees chaos in individual responsibility. I see sin in a dictatorial determinism.
This bit of direction on rape is an example. It fosters an unnecessary intrusion into a wounded person’s heart. It leaves them vulnerable to more hurt. It is, in fact, the frame work for a second rape, an emotional rape. This is wrong.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
"Women who delay making rape allegations because of 'shame and guilt' will no longer be penalized in court.
Appeal Court judges made the landmark ruling yesterday. They decreed juries may be told that a genuine sex attack victim is sometimes slow to report an incident because of the trauma she has experienced.
The decision was hailed by [government] ministers as an 'important advance'. They believe it will raise the numbers of rapists convicted, by tackling myths about rape.
During a rape case any delay in reporting an assault is usually highlighted by the defense as evidence of a complainant's untruthfulness.
The judgment was the latest move in a battle between Labour ministers anxious to secure more guilty pleas and judges and lawyers reluctant to pile pressure on juries.
It follows a call last year from Solicitor General Vera Baird for juries to be given written instructions to 'dispel myths' about rape. She welcomed the ruling yesterday.
Miss Baird said: 'This is an important advance. It is a rape myth that a victim of sexual assault will always scream for help as soon as she is able and if she does not, she must have made the whole thing up.
'The court has taken the opportunity to tackle this myth, on the basis that judges are better aware from their court experience that many reasons, including trauma, fear and shame may make a victim unable to complain for some time.'
She added: 'This is likely to contribute to improved fairness in rape trials where the conviction rate is now increasing but is still unrealistically low.'
In the Appeal Court judgment yesterday, Lord Justice Latham, sitting with Mr Justice Mackay and Mrs Justice Dobbs, said that 'the fact that the trauma of rape can cause feelings of shame and guilt which might inhibit a woman from making a complaint about rape is sufficiently well known to justify a comment to that effect'.
The judges were deciding an appeal by 43-year-old John Doody, convicted at Wolverhampton Crown Court last year of raping a woman.
After the final assault, police were called but the woman did not complain of rape for another two days."
That was from the Daily Mail. Now. let me ask you this: If secular courts, social workers, police officers, prosecutors and even slimy defense attorneys recognize that many women delay reporting rape through shame and for similar reasons, why does a major American religion fail to see this? What IS wrong with you people? And how, in God's name, can you defend this?
Don't you understand that some women never, ever report the rape or don't do so for YEARS. Only a totally sexist fool would see a delay as indicating a probability that the victim was fabricating!
Come on! Where is your manhood. You lurk here! Defend this - if you can.
From Saving Grace"
Many people wonder why it takes victims so long to contact the police after being sexually assaulted. Victims say there are many reasons. One is fear of future assaults or other forms of retaliation. It is common for an assailant to threaten the victim. The assailant is often in a more powerful position and can ‘back up the threat’ – a male assailant is usually physically stronger than the female he is victimizing. Physical restraint, hitting, or strangulation may have been used to subdue the victim so that they believe the assailant’s threats of future violence. If the assailant is an employer – or has influence over the employer – then the assailant can easily convince the victim that she will lose her job if she tells anyone about the assault. The more ‘power’ the assailant has, whether physically, financially, institutionally, or by virtue of being a celebrity, the more leverage that the assailant has to keep the victim quiet. It is no wonder that an estimated 75% - 90% of sexual assaults are never reported.
Another reason victims do not report sexual assaults is society’s backlash against victims. Most sexual assaults are committed by someone the victim knows. In other words, victims typically move in the same circles, have the same friends, go to the same church, shop at the same stores and live in the same neighborhoods as their assailants. The beliefs about sexual assaults in these micro-cultures are well known to the victim, since she is a part of those cultures. If the prevailing belief is, ‘fast women get raped’, then the victim knows she will be blamed for the rape because by definition she must be ‘fast’ and brought the rape upon herself. Woe be to the victim who accuses an international celebrity of sexual assault – all the beliefs about rape, from all the cultures of the world, come down on her head.
Read the above and tell me why, in view of your policy on rape, any woman would approach you? The way your religion is set up, if an unmarried woman turns up pregnant you presume she was guilty. You would doubt any claim of rape. I guess you know your people best. ARE they a bunch of liars? Guess so ... Or you wouldn't take this approach. I do not see Christianity in your approach to this matter. I see an attempt to control, to exert the influence only God should have on others.
You, sirs, need to reconsider your approach to rape, bringing it into the modern and informed age.
“One who was raped would not be guilty of pornea. Discernment is needed in considering claims of rape, taking into consideration such factors as the mental disposition of the person, the circumstances that led up to the incident, and any delay in reporting.” – Shepard the Flock of God, pages 59-60.
In what way is any woman obligated to report a rape to a clergyman? Where in the Bible does it say that? What business is it of yours? Do you know how reluctant many women are to report even to civil authority? This is insane! It’s a wicked usurpation of divine authority.
In what way is any group of men competent to asses a raped person's “mental disposition”? Do you mean to say that if you don’t like a woman’s “attitude” then she is probably lying and guilty of “pornea” or fornication? What kind of moron are you?
The thought behind examining “the circumstances that led up to the incident” is morally repugnant. Explain to me exactly what circumstance turns rape into “pornea”? Even standing naked or nearly so on a street corner is not an invitation to rape.
The person who wrote this is stupid. This is wickedness institutionalized. Those who adhere to this advice sin against God and any woman they ‘judge”. They should be held up to scorn, their actions publicized, and they should be hauled off to court where their qualifications can be examined. My Loving Lord and little rabbits! None of these men have the slightest training for this. (Think a bunch of janitors and window washers playing at being clergy.)
You think of yourselves as men “with spiritual qualifications”? Oh please!
Sunday, October 17, 2010
So ... I'm on the phone with my writing partner. It's early, about 7:30 am, and we're busy discussing ideas for my article on Methodist influneces on Zion's Watch Tower adherents. It has a 5000 word limit. I'm a blabber-mouth in person and on paper. So I'm mentally pruning this down, and getting ideas from the old guy. What I really want is for him to co-write the thing.
He is talking to me and his wife at the same time. It makes for a confusing conversation. She's pasing messages to me through him. (It's not as though we don't phone each other every day, you know. Shopping is important business!) So he finally says to her:
"Are you going to make me some breakfast?"
"No," she replies. "You ate breakfast."
"That was at 4:30 this morning. It doesn't count."
"Why did you eat that early?"
"Starving a fat man is just unkind," he says.
Somewhere, some day, I'll find a place for that in a story.
Saturday, October 16, 2010
I never sleep well because of the pain and because the underlying health issue gives me a lower than normal body temperature. So I’m chronically cold, even in the summer. However, I also live with little insane creatures. They alter reality, try their best to confuse and misdirect me, and conspire to deprive me of sleep.
So, I head off to bed, right? That would be yesterday evening. “Y’all be good now,” I say in my own way. That involves stern looks, hands on hips, and maybe a cookie as a bribe. “And mind your Dad!”
I head off to my work room and crawl under my quilts, beating the pillow into some semblance of submission and get as comfy as I can. I really hurt so that’s not too comfy.
I don’t know ‘bout you, but my brain does a mass nonsense buffer dump when I am approaching sleep. It’s as if I start to dream prematurely. This isn’t unwelcome. It’s a sign that sleep in near, and sometimes an interesting bit of clarity (call it a Eureka! Moment) shows up. I’ve just passed a thought that was mildly irritating (Okay, so you wrote all that, but there is no reason for her to do any of those things.) and was off into some confused thought about socks and my blue sweater when my youngest creeps into the room. She’s good at creapering. (yes, yes, I know that’s not a word.)
I usually call her Dau 5 on this blog. I cannot tell you her real name. Let’s call her Annie which may be short for Anastasia, but remember I can’t tell you her real name and since it is Anastasia, I’ll disguise that with “Annie.” Got it? So, Annie sits on the corner of the bed. My eyes reluctantly open. She’s flopping off her shoes (and I’m thinking: “You know you’re not supposed to wear your shoes in the house!) and pulling off her socks.
Without a word, she crawls over me, wiggling under the covers and snuggling up. She grabs a handful of pajama top (Remember the body temperature thing? I’m cold. I wear nice snuggy jammas, the kind with feet.), pulls closer, smiles faintly and is out. I mean out! Her little hand relaxes and she’s in deep snooze. Me? I have to start my let’s get the pixie to sleep routine all over again.
So I wiggle my butt, rearrange my pillow, wiggle my feet and sigh. “Come, blessed sleep, come!” I whisper.
It is not to be. I hear THUMP, THump, Thump over my head. Then I hear, skip, skip, skip coming down the stairs. That would be Dau 1, the oldest. She’s sixteen. I carry a huge cudgel when I take her anywhere. She got gorgeous Bengali hair (so darkly red it’s black unless the sun hits it.) She a pretty young woman. I can tell she’s trying to be quiet when she reaches my work room. I hear her sit at my desk and then hear the tippy, tip tap of the keyboard on my computer.
“What are you doing?” I mumble.
Printing something out for school. That’s what she says. “I’m out of ink,” she explains.
“You’re way too loud,” I mumble.
“Sorry,” she says.
The printer cycles up and starts printing. Why are printers so loud?
“I’m going now,” she says quite unnecessarily.
“Check my alarm,” I say. I use a computerized alarm, and she’s been known to turn that thing off inadvertently.
She checks it.
She walks off quietly until she is maybe ten steps out of my room and then the Thump, thump starts again.
I start to drift off. I am almost in the other world that sleep represents, that troubling place of other life, other thoughts, other deeds. But I’m aware of someone standing by the bed. I do not need to open my eyes to know who. This would be Dau 2. Dau 2 (Let’s call her Liz) is first born but not oldest. (Do you find that confusing?)
I need not ask her what she wants. She’s following her “I need to check on my mom” routine. She’s my self-appointed caretaker and sometimes thinks she’s my mother. I hear her sit in my high backed chair. I look long enough to see her nestle into the chair, rest her head on her hand and close her eyes.
Goodie, I have two – Count them. Two – Sleeping daughters and I’m still awake.
At some point I pass the veil between full wakefulness and sleep. I’m in that state where one is aware but not really at home. It’s an irrational state, a condition where if rationality is needed it must be fought for. I feel myself drifting into the black, but I’m called back by a heavier tread. This would be husband.
Husband whispers, “Liz … Liz … You need to go to your own bed.”
Liz mumbles. I think she says, “Yes, Dad.” But I’m not sure. She doesn’t move.
He urges. She mumbles. He finally surrenders. She can sleep in the chair until her sore neck sends her to her own bed.
He kisses my face, pats my butt and says, “Sorry. Do you need me to take Annie?”
I shake my head. He leaves. And finally I drift off into sleep.
Good research, boys, that's what it's all about ... and connecting the dots. I'm reading a pile of articles by a guy named Stetson. Good writer, in a cranky old man sort of way. As far as I can see, no researcher in our field has read them.
The bad boys from Brooklyn are back on our history blog, but they didn't use the official ISP. I promised not to bring me sloop around and cross the T off their stern and fire me guns if they didn't use the "official" ISP. But I didn't promise not to throw rocks. ...
Are they so dense as to think that merely switching to a commercial ISP (in this case Roadrunner) is enough to disguise their visits? You leave a trail. It leads to your front door. STOP IT. Shoo! Go away!
As far as the chubby, bald-guy's tease goes. Let them figure the rest out. They can read it all in our book when it's finished.
We still have thousands of pages to read. Key figures - Meyers, Storrs, Stetson, Barbour, both the Reeds, Thomas Wilson - all show up in this material. The clues were there to follow. No one followed them. Not my fault.
One thing that really interests me, though it will be no more than a footnote in the book is who H. V. Reed's daughter was. Ever read Arsnic (umm i mean Arsenic) and Old Lace? She wrote it.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
John Williams, born Glasgow, developed the vaccine against smallpox.
Alexander Graham Bell, born in Edinburgh, invented the telephone.
John Logie Baird, born Helensburgh, invented the television.
John Boyd Dunlop, born Scotland, patented the pneumatic tyre.
Mrs Keiller, born Dundee, invented marmalade.
Charles MacIntosh, born Glasgow, patented the raincoat.
John Loudon MacAdam, born Ayr, invented tarmac road surface.
John Chalmers, born Dundee, invented the adhesive stamp.
Robert Louis Stevenson, born Edinburgh, wrote the world famous book treasure island.
Patrick Ferguson, born Scotland, invented the breech-loading rifle.
James Simson, born Bathgate, was the first man to use chloroform.
William Symington born Lanarkshire, was the first man to propel a boat by steam.
James watt, born Greenock, Scotland, invented the modern steam engine.
Alexander Fleming, born in Ayrshire, Scotland, discovered penicillin.
Kirkpatrick MacMillan, born Thorhill, Scotland invented the bicycle.
.... and Knobby Knees, born Invernes, is an iventive kisser ... [insert blush and giggles here]
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
My history class is supposed to create a display for the main school display case. I'm prompting my students to bring family-history items. I'll pad the rest with my own junk.
I've been looking through a box of old papers and photos and found a promissory note from 1891. The note was for thirty dollars payable in gold coins. I think I'll include that. I found a World War I patriotic pin too. It's an old fashioned pin-back with a small cloth flag attached. I'm not sure what else I'll include. Knobby Knees thinks I should include a fancy carpenter's plane. I might.
I want to get this finished by next Tuesday. I'll look at this stuff with a more critical eye tomorrow.
I seriously wish I didn't hurt all the time. Hurting is distracting. It uses too much energy.
I spent over an hour on the phone today. One of my former students calls when she's in the mood. She took a history of Christian ethics class from me ages ago. At the time she was transitioning from being a Catholic (unfortunate experiences with a priest) to one of the "high expectation" sects. She's affiliates with neither group these days, but has concerns related to both.
I can't tell her what to do or believe, of course. I wouldn't want to do that even if I had the power to persuade her. We talked about the sexual rules associated with her last church. That church has an obvious conflict over the sexual practices of married people going on behind the scenes. When one adopts a pharisaical spirit, one promulgates minute rules. The Bible (she still believes the Bible) says little about the sexual practices of married people. It condemns extra marital sex and bestiality. What married people do is left up to married people. That was my only point today. I cannot see stressing over rules that cannot be found in your guide to belief. If you are a Christian, then the Bible is the sole rule of faith and practice. If your religion makes rules that pass beyond what is clearly said (or not said), then how have they remained in the spirit of Christ?
I've read that church's statements on sexuality. They are conflicting and confused to say the least. Some of the reasoning is seriously flawed. As an example (close your eyes and skip this bit), from their point of view you're not allowed to umm lick. Because lesbians and homosexuals engage in certain practices, they are homosexual practices, and that's bad. The flaw here is in the premise. I'm not going to discuss alternate sexuality. It's a non-issue with me as long as you leave my goats alone. But the presumption that gays and lesbians invented their "methods" is unwarranted. How do you know that Adam and Eve didn't discover all these things?
Within the available historical documents, those who engaged in the more colorful aspects of sexual expression were heterosexual. The emphasis in contemporary inscriptions is on male and female pleasure as expressed through oral sex or in other ways. Were there gay boys and girls then? Certainly. But (hey, I told you to close your eyes! It's not my fault you're still reading) the flawed conclusion of these sectarians is that if it can’t make you pregnant it isn't holy. Did not Abraham sport with Sara as a husband plays with his wife? Get a grip guys, you're interfering with people's private lives. That's not your place. That's God's place.
There is an unfailing tendency of religious hierarchies to impose personal preference on their congregants as if they were speaking with God’s own voice. This is sin.
Off the top of my head... and to be read out loud with many flourishes and pacing across the stage....
The Pixie Sneezed, and her healer doth wheezed that she had a cold in the head.
Unicorns blessed her, turtles undressed her, and Knobby Knees put her to bed.
With a spoon and a ladle, as soon as he was able, into her, chicken soup he fed.
An impatient patient, our Pixie sprung skyward, spilling chicken, and hubby, and bread.
Quoth she, “I am well. T’was merely a spell, and a fairy under her heel, was dead!
Monday, October 11, 2010
Anyway ... I'm reading an article by Jan Stilson this morning. I've never met Jan though my writing partner sometimes exchanges emails with her. She's an excellent writer and researcher. And this is a helpful article. I already passed along an observation that derives from this article. I may email her myself today. Obviously she knows things I need to know too.
Jan was librarian at Atlanta Bible College once upon a time. Atlanta Bible College is run by The Church of God - General Conference. Confusingly there is something called "Churches of God, General Conference" too. Think of it this way the guys with the singular name are on my good-guys list, they guys with the plural name are not.
My tenant - the woman who rented the little apartment area we fixed up for gramma - got married. So we now have three people living in that space. Her husband has a small boy. He's very cute and my daughters adore him. This doesn't keep my renter from being a ditz. She broke the washing machine last night. It's not serious. The little switch thingie that depresses when you close the lid got lose and it wouldn't drain. Knobby Knees fixed this once before. She slammed the lid down when she closed it and broke the switch. He patiently told her she couldn't do that and not expect it to break. At least this time it was only lose.
So I'm talking to her about it, and she says, "oh and my shower doesn't drain right." And I'm thinking, "Dear, clean the hair outa the strainer sometime, okay?" K. K. will look at that today. We're committed to having them in there until mid year, next year. I already want her gone. Funny thing is, I'd just as soon her new husband and little boy stayed. I like them. And he's only half a ditz.
IF I have to crawl under the floor while K.K. works on the drain, we WILL have words.
Sneezing Pixies are on my mind.
My printer is back up and working as it should.
My oldest daughter wants a new lap top. Silly girl.
I have student assessments to finish today. I don't want to do them.
I found a good sized agate. It's pretty.
I need to get into storage and find a box of books. I have bound issues of Emerson's Magazine from the 1850's in storage. I need them for a project. I hate getting in there. Somewhere in there is a small wooden box with pins from the Apollo-Soyuz mission. If I see it, I'll snag it too. I may sell those. They're the Russian mission pins, a gift from ... well ... a Russian. He is now dead, and I'm not a space-pixie.
I'll do that later today.
I'm snippish. or is that snappish. It's a medication problem. I know it is. Doesn't mean it's any easier to control.
One of the people that appears in our work-in-progress (that's WiP to the cognocenti) is an American clergyman named Covert, William R. He was a nut case, litterally. I found a series of articles by him published in 1915. I'll have to go back and rewrite a bit of one chapter. I've delayed doing that because there is more than one William Covert, and I wanted to confirm that I had the right man.
A sense of the holy and a bit of insanity sometimes go hand in hand. Scary, huh?
I fully understand the apostle's conception of Satan as the prince of atmosphere. Satan is demented, driven so by a lust for power. We breath his air. Insanity permeates the world.
One of these days I'll finally learn my lesson and stop lending out books. They're way too hard to retreive.
I'm really sick today. I've declined a lot in the last year. I fight this with more strength than I knew I had. Today, I'd just surrender, except this demon of ill health takes no prisoners. I've had one small seizure after another. They pass over me in waves. At least I have today off too.
Three days off in a row have been nice. Tomorrow I get back to work and remain at it for six tedious days. I think I mentioned a day or so ago about our "new hire." Stupid young man. There is no excuse for stupid. Being uninformed is excusable. Being mistaken is excusable. Being stupid is a life choice. It's not excusable.
I need to re-qualify with my pistol next month. (for my deputy pixie thingie) But dead-eye pixies should have no trouble. They give you three chances. You'd have to be a pretty miserable shot to need three chances.
Speaking of deputy pixie stuff, I'm told I'd look nice on a horse. The sheriff's mounted posse thingie is interesting. But guys, while I'm not afraid of much, horses intimidate me. And yes, I know you'd find some gentle nag and all I'd have to do is look gorgeous for a ride in a parade, but let me say this: Forget it buster!
Find a nice fire truck for me to ride in. I did that once. It was fun.
I tried to scan a letter from Nutcase the third, Emperor of France, to my great great great (I think it's only three greats. I'll have to check) gramma. It's so faded and fragile I gave that up. A cousin wants a copy. I'm afraid they'll only get a photo copy, and a very dark one at that.
I’m running out of things to say. Oh, no I'm not. I scolded a relative yesterday. They probably deserved everything I said, but now I'm feeling guilty. I'll do my best to repair any damage today. No need to tell you what it was all about. She has issues. She transfers to herself things that happen to other people and then believes she should step in the middle. This is a bad idea, of course. She's always in difficulty over this. At her age, she should have learned better.
K. K. was nice and snuggly last night. Comes from sleepin' with a hot blooded pixie in a room with the window open to the cold night air. This was nice.
I broke a serving bowl yesterday. Now my nice set of four is reduced to three matched bowls. I hate dropping things. They don't make these anymore or I'd go buy another one. They're not antique or anything. Just nice bowls that I like.
Okay, that's about it.
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Friday, October 08, 2010
Thursday, October 07, 2010
I like my room. It’s just hard to keep it in order. Somewhere on this blog is a photo of a tiny bit of it. I have no interest in posting more photos, besides I can’t seem to make my camera work consistently. But I can tell you about it.
My desk faces an east window. Outside is a dogwood tree and garden space. In the summer and early fall I keep that window open. Right now it’s drizzling outside and a bit gloomy. I keep my working files on my desk. To my left are four large three-ring binders with photocopies of relevant material. At the moment there are two disorganized piles of papers. I’ll organize them today. Almost always there is a nice green coffee mug at hand and a pile of CDs with additional files sit to my right. A small figurine sits next to a stand alone hard drive. It’s a baby pixie; she’s playing with her toes.
To my right is the South-East corner. Two book cases fill that corner. The nearest to my desk houses a mixture of things: Nancy Drew first editions with dust jackets, other old children’s books, a case of CDs with many, many photos, a large collection of 19th Century essays and short stories. There are nine large archival binders with ephemera and booklets. Stuff. Just stuff. I also have bits of things on the shelves. Three large and rather old German beer steins are on the top shelf. Second shelf down has a large silver medal in a stand. This is a bit of glory form my past. A magic lantern slide from something called The Photo Drama of Creation sits there too. A figurine of a goat and a pre-World War 2 bronzed donkey, a souvenir of the Grand Canyon are next to each other. A very nice cobalt blue and gold leaf vase sits on the next to the top shelf.
There are two small silver items; a large pewter mug from the Great Eastern Railway (from 1900) sits next to them. Two family photos are there too.
The next bookcase over filled almost exclusively with Greek and Hebrew texts, Bible translations, dictionaries, some language textbooks I used in college. The bottom shelf houses eleven albums from my stamp collection.
Next, on the south wall, comes a double door. This is entry into the family room. Some of my bookcases spill over into there, but I’m not going to describe it today. On the other side of the door is the area I’ve shown before. It’s some different from when I photographed it, but not radically so. Right now there are two piles of books that need to be shelved. Off to the right in the photo area are two book shelves. One contains publications of one of the religions I research. The other is fantasy and science fiction. There are four large bookcases down the short hallway at the back. They’re arranged in Pixie brain order: Classics, period fiction, and stuff. There are photos and prints on the wall, some fairly nice. Three of them were gifts and I’m protective of them. They were more than a little expensive.
Directly behind my desk is all fantasy and science fiction. A few of these are signed by authors I know or have at least met. (Hi Terry, and um Terry and ummm Terry number three.)
The wall takes a bit of turn in. There we find a book case filled with odds and ends of history; some of these books are very rare. Some are not. It’s a wild mixture.
Next to this bookcase is a mid Victorian era table. Pretty stuff and a lamp, mostly. Some North West Coast bead work from the late 19th Century, some arrow heads, and some other odds and ends sit on it too. The lamp is one of my “treasures.” Its Fenton glass. I think it’s gorgeous. Then there is a long wall of books. More books related to groups I research, some common and some not. Books of photos. A huge area of miscellaneous theology and archaeology.
The wall turns again. This is the North wall. Period fiction is here. A door follows. Then a small case of really scarce religious items, some in archival folders. Then the east wall again. History books mostly. A queen sized bed. (I get sick a lot. If I have a seizure, this saves me from trying to climb stairs.) Next to the bed is a curio cabinet that serves as a night stand. A vintage green-glass lamp, a pewter pitcher from the 1600’s and an art glass pitcher sit on top. Next to my bed is a small case of women’s history, myth, legend, and what ever has attracted my attention recently. Some pill bottles sit on the top.
A bookcase extends out from the wall, making a semi-wall between my desk and the bed. This is all theology. Smallish commentaries on top. More extensive ones as you work your way down. A. T. Robertson, M. R. Vincent; Lang’s Commentary, Clarke’s Geikie, stuff. Probably about 400 books on this shelf. And that takes us back to my messy desk.
Now there are eight more bookcases in the next room. They house bound periodicals, western history (Yippee yi yaaa ridem cowboy stuff), a set of 9th Edition Britannica bound in dark leather, and modern classics.
That’s it mostly. Best I can do without taking a new photo. And I’m not taking one when it’s this messy. Just add in my bits of pretty things. (A pretty export plate from Germany [about 1850], a really nice piece of Adam’s Pyramid Glass; a display case with bits of vain glory [medals and bobs and such], some diplomas on the wall, pretty pictures, and family photos. Three oriental rugs I inherited from me gram.
There are some framed bits of family history. This includes the Mecklenburg-Schwerin military merit cross, some Swiss shooting medals, my grand father’s World War 2 medals, (those would be American, just in case you’re wondering) and just things. My great great grandfather’s sword used to be displayed here, but I’ve put it in storage. A silver serving bowl marked USN sits on a shelf, and next to it is a Belgian pin fire revolver used in the Civil War.
That’s my work environment. It’s usually pleasant, sometimes filled with chattering children, and right now it's as messy as it gets.
I'm deep in the middle of a distracting historical puzzle. Don't you hate it when more than one person has the exact same name? And it's important to know who is who ... or is that who is whom?
And then there is dear Hiram V. Reed who is so obscure that I feel as if I'm beating my head against the bricks. Why Couldn't he have been as famous as his wife? or daughter?
My neck hurts, my eyes hurt, my whole little body hurts. Not a nice night for me. I'm glad to be home.
On second thought, I don't think the March (posted below) does what I want. I liked it yesterday. Today it is annoying.
The "Take Away" is a radio show produced by NPR and the New York Times. Right off the bat you know it's liberal, a bit stupid, poorly presented and annoying. Listen to it a while and you find that the bump music is poorly chosen, the presenters are inept and clueless and that the show fails in dozens of ways. Stupid show. You'd be more informed and better entertained by listening to a snoring sleep-walker who talks in their sleep.
Dau number 5 is just odd. When I came home (4:30 AM) she was sprawled under the dinning room table hugging a pillow off her bed and a huge blue bunny. Such a puzzling child.
My work room is a mess again.
I have another nasty shift tomorrow (well, now, tonight). It wouldn't be so bad if I didn't feel so very badly. We have a new employee. I did not hire him, but I can see that sooner or later I will fire him.
I found a penny tonight. It would have been nicer if it was 100 dollars. But at least I found a penny.
Did I say that I hurt? Oh yes, I did. Well I really, really hurt.
I've been reading about human reactions to scents - smells both nasty and nice. I'm not sure anyone knows anything about that. It all looks like guess work to me, even if it may be educated guess work.
I wish I had some freshly baked bread and butter. Doesn't that sound good?
I really need to clean my work room. I'll do it later today.
Okay, I am now going to bed. I am so tired I don't even care if this makes sense or if any of it is misspelled. so Thupp!
Wednesday, October 06, 2010
Tuesday, October 05, 2010
I see her as greeted by pixie, urisk and half-pixie in surprising ways. No need to detail all that in this post, but part of that would be music. I mentally hear triumphal music, but played pixie style.
I’ve listened to more march music today than I care to remember. I think I’m down to two marches. One of them I’ll adapt to the story. But I’m open to suggestions. Triumphal music? Got any ideas?
Apparently the internet disease that haunted this and the history blog has gone away. My writing partner is afraid that I hit an innocent party with a brick. If so, I’m mildly sorry. But given previous activity, I’d just as soon no one breathing ever signs on from that IP address again. Any “innocent” person from that source who wants to read the research had their chance. Bruce offered one of their hierarchy the entire works, all the rough draft chapters, all the notes, all the photos – everything. He said, “NO” most emphatically.
I am sympathetic to much of that organization’s doctrine. I am not sympathetic to extreme and paranoid secretiveness. Most religions large and small maintain open archives. None that matter have “secret” text books for their schools. Every college text book I ever used is available for public sale. If a religion feels compelled to have secret, inner-circle text books, then there is something wrong with the mental processes at work. Christianity has no secret doctrine or practice. Are you Christian or not?
Recent events have diminished my sympathy for the current hierarchy and their practices. I would have difficulty maintaining balance if we were writing the more recent history of this organization, say from 1966 onward. However, the era we’re documenting really is not the history of this organization alone, but is the shared history of several existing groups. Any problems some may see with an accurate, documentable, and fully-told history of this era are not my concern. I pity those who would who would sustain a myth at the expense of truth.
Realistically, I am aware that their visits have not stopped. There is no need to detail how I know. (A princess needs some secrets.) But I do know. As long as they don’t leave a comment and don’t sign on with the organizational IP, I see those visits as the acts of an obsessive compulsive clique, and not the organized effort of a religious institution. I can live with stupidity. But I can assure you that if anything at all comes my way, on the Internet or off of it, that is organizationally connected and you’re responsible, you will not like the result. This means you leave Bruce alone. No pastor’s visitation, no letters to his church, no more on-line searches. Leave it guys, and I won’t beat you with a club. Fail to leave it, and I’ll introduce you to a pixie princess’s dark side.
“Think you’re pretty tough, huh?” she asked.
“Yes … I do.” He nodded more to himself than to her.
Her eyes narrowed. Hands went to her hips. Her wings coloured an angry red. “Be out of – say what is the name of this place, anyway?”
He unfolded a large map.
She raised her eyebrows.
“Says here this is some place called Summer House Point, Wales.”
“Ah,” she said. “Well, be outa Summer House Point, Wales, by high noon or there’ll be hell to pay.”
“I don’t believe in hell,” he said flatly.
“Dolt! Of course you do. Just not fiery hell. Get it right, buster! … Anyway be gone, Churl, or I’ll uncurl your hair, untie your shoes, file appropriate complaints with appropriate agencies, post mean blog comments, generally hold you and your children up to ridicule and eat your pie whilst you’re not looking. Got it, bub?”
He nodded, but she could see the disbelief in his eyes.
“Think of it this way,” she said. “You don’t believe in me. I believe in you, but think you’re an annoyance – kinda like an ugly bug. I squish bugs. They die and they don’t have to believe in me for me to squish ‘em.”
“At high noon, then,” he said. There was a challenge in that, but she noted that he backed away instead of turning his back and walking off.
He jumped to that and hurried.
“Retromingious troglodyte,” she muttered. “One can presume doubtful mitochondrial heritage too.”
Saturday, October 02, 2010
"To strain out hair, mostly."
big pause ... "So, it's not to keep me from going down the drain?"
"You're way too big to fit down the drain."
"Liz said it was to keep me from going down the drain."
"And you believed her?"
"No ... umm Not really."
He sent along (I think we call that forwarding) an email from one of his blog friends. It was flattering. I can be flattered .... go ahead, say something nice. I'll listen. He wrote to what-his-name, saying: "I quickly perused the beginning posts in Rachel’s blog and got a feel for her writing and fiction. She is that interesting combination of person and wordsmith from whose fingers the words flow as she types – not many can be so fluent. Her intelligence comes through clearly – conversations with her must be enjoyable." Now there is a man who knows how to flatter a pixie princess! How nice.
Next someone will try bribery. Ahem ... Let's think in terms of Steak Dianne and Chocolate Suicide Cake. Maybe a bit of champagne, a trip to Paris (France, not Texas), some cute shoes. ....
Say ... that reminds me ... Did you ever notice those flashy-light shoes kids wear? I really love those. Now I'm small. I think I said that before on this blog. Me cute little feets are small too. (Is that a tautology, a redundancy, umm a what? I forget what's what with those terms) I wear a size 2 and a half, essentially a child's shoe size. I like cute shoes and I've been eyeing these sparkly light shoes for just niegh umm naye umm 'nigh on to .... nearly forever. I bought some. And are they fun or what?! I wore them to work and managed to entertain the staff and an endless stream of guests.
So ... now, I don't talk about more serious stuff on here too often. I'm on the sickish side with an inherited health issue. I get blinding head aches. ... And they've been getting worse. Nasty things. So ... 'm on the phone with Dr X, and I'm sayin', "Doc, I'm getting worse. This is about as much fun as dating an IRS agent on a school night."
Doc X peruses my "file." I thump my foot against the side of my desk cubby (what do they really call that area where you shove your legs? The desk hole?) in impatient agitation.
"Humm," he says. "Did you have your eyes examined after the medication change?"
Now sometimes my memory ain't the best. I know this. But ... I KNOW he never said, "dear pixie, this medication change may effect your vision. Go get your peepers checked."
"Umm, no," I say. "Was I supposed to?"
Big pause. "Yes, you should do that."
So yesterday I'm off at Dr. Y the Eye guy's place. "Humm," he says. "When was your last eye exam?"
"Probably sometime near birth," I say. "I don't remember."
So he does the flip the lenses test thingie where you read charts and such. And finally, vwalala (Voilà) he says, "With the medication change your eyes have improved. You need less powerful peeper helpers." Hopefully this will mitigate the headaches some.
Books. ... Yes ... we have books. As in I went Goodwill Store shopping again. It was either that or buy a ridiculously expensive dress. I bought the cheap books instead. ....
Nice finds. Spectacularly fun things:
1. Revised Statutes of the United States .... get this guys ... 1844. Ever see Corpus Juris Secundum? Long huge endless set of law books that restate federal law. This little gem is the 1844 equivalent. It's 196 pages total. We should return to a Federal Code of 200 pages total. Several gems in there including an 1836 law banning the sale of spirits in the Capitol building because our ancestor's representatives were drunken louts and someone wanted them to stay sober while they legislated. Imagine that.
2. A really nice Age of Fable, an 1877 printing with steel engravings.
3. Hero Tales from American Life, 1902 edition. Almost like new.
4. First American edition of Loti's The Story of a Child. Also nearly as new.
5. Two volumes of the Time-Life mythology series from way back when. I now have a complete set.
6. The Boy Scout Aviators, 1920.
7. Margaret Frazer's The Hunter's Tale. YOU SHOULD read one of her medieval mysteries. You just should.
Cute shoes! A way of life!