Monday, February 28, 2011


I know they're a controversial group. I should know; I reaserch and write about them and related groups. I'm not dealing with any of the controversial things in this post. I'm more interested in vitality. Religious relevance and vitality can be imperfectly measured by creativity.
I think some elements of this religion stifle creativity, but you cannot listen to this song:
and tell me there is no faith and vitality among them.
I'd inbed it in this post, but that function has been disabled. Enjoy the music!
And another:

Westwood, Lassen County, CA - Winter of 1915/16

Westwood, Lassen County, Winter. Uncertain Date

Lumber Crane, Westwood, Lassen County, California - c. 1930

Pixie Warrior is set in this little town. This is a later photo by the Eastman Studios.

Sunday, February 27, 2011


A ratty set of books. Rare. I want! I NEED!

My research budget is very low. This means I purchase things after giving it as much thought as possible. I have located two items I want. I found a bound year of magazines that I want deperately. Instead of the usual one hundred fifty dollars, its about twenty-five dollars. I may be able to do that.

My problem is this: I've also found a four volume commentary from the 1840s that's really, really scarce and key to my research. It's at auction with no bids and a start of about fifty dollars. This will be much harder to raise.

I'm scrounging for things to take in to sell. I really need that set of books. ... I'm obsesive when it comes to my books, but little girl's shoes come first.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Cobalt and White - Translucent and Gorgeous

Ida Rentoul Outhwaite

Margaret Tarrant

Adding, Subtracting and a Pixie's Snit

Well, it’s nice to know that someone misses me! Thanks for checking, Widder. I’ve just been really sick. But … I wrote this post … and then never typed it up, choosing to sleep instead.

Here it is, belatedly:

My writing partner added a new chapter to our outline, and writing the first draft will fall to me. I only grumbled a little; it’s my fault after all. I found something new. The ‘new’ logically pulls some scattered bits out of other chapters into one topic. I started on it last week, though so far the writing is kicky. When I’m sick the grammar bird flies up to the power lines and stays just out of reach, plopping nasty bits on my head.

The new chapter will chronicle the evolution of three doctrines among the adherents of the principal religious group we’re considering. (I know this isn’t at all interesting to most of you, so I’ve posted some pretty and interesting pictures. Feel free to stop reading and go peek at them.)

The final destiny of “the Saints” was an issue among readers of the principal journals. A major doctrinal shift occurred between 1872 and 1882. This has been ignored – it is easy to overlook – by researchers. In 1881 a shift in understanding of the Koine Greek word “parousia” resulted in a sharp division between interested parties. The editor of one of the principal journals discovered the Holiness movement, adapted bits of it to his doctrine and presented it as a major step into the light. These guys claimed originality for stuff everyone knew wasn’t new.

While all of this was happening they were shaving off doctrines as well. Followers of a man named Thurman who had a Brethren background pushed for foot washing as a Christ-ordained practice. Trinitarians were made uncomfortable in 1881 and responded with a cranky article in their magazine in February 1882. Sabbatarians pushed for Sabbath keeping, and editors of two of these journals pushed back.

This is all very interesting (to me, if not to you), but it is secondary. Our most important work has been re-identifying the sources of Russellite theology. (Okay! No offense meant. I’m not using the term as a pejorative.) For various reasons – lack of curiosity; a Russell-centric view; no access to original documents – most writers connect it to Millerite Adventism. The connection is a logical one and derived from something Russell wrote in 1890 But it is also a wrong-headed one. There is a disconnect in understanding. What his reader in 1890 would know, more modern readers do not so they have reached misguided conclusions.

Modern writers have lost sight of the separations and distinctions between Literalist and Adventist theology. They are significant. Understanding them clarified much that has made hoary-headed researchers lose their hair. (Hi Bruce!)

So we are “subtracting’ conclusions previously drawn by many – including ourselves. Millerite Adventism owes its life to William Miller and his closest associates. Literalist belief owes its vitality to Vetringe, Ernesti, Hooker and a host of British commentators extending back to the 17th Century. There are a few Germans in the works too. German theologians are so umm elusive. Most of you have never heard of and don’t care a whit about these guys which is just fine as long as you put up with my occasional discursiveness on the perils of historical revisionism.

As I was saying …. Each had a distinctive and conflicting doctrinal system. Writers have lost sight of the distinctions and conflict, lumping them all under the heading of Adventism. This is a serious mistake, the origins of which are found in a failure to consult the original sources and an easy laziness that prefers a broad though inaccurate label to carefully crafted research.

Handling a tempremental pixie is difficult. It’s best not to handle them at all. We have teeth you know.

“You shouldn’t have worried. I just needed to eat. I am pregnant. I needed Meat … fresh meat. I was hunting.” She smiled at him, and the now quite sharp points of her teeth testified to how Momma hunted.

I wished to fly to him and bite him well and let him die of pixie bites. I do not know if it was because I was maturing, or because I was more intent on listening to Father work on Fred’s mind, but I did not do so.
– Pixie Warrior by umm me.

Consider what follows to be my Pixie Snit of the week. ….

When Nelson Barbour: The Millennium’s Forgotten Prophet was near publication, one of Bruce’s associates asked him not to publish it because it would undermine the belief that his religion was ‘the truth.’ This was and is nonsense. The only thing it undermines is historical ignorance.

I did not anticipate how strong partisan feeling was after one hundred and fifty or so years. There are opposers of the principal descendant religion who write and speak utter nonsense to support – I suppose – their disaffection. Some supporters have a paranoid fear of investigation and withhold vital documentations. Both extremes are morally wrong. This is not a universal condemnation of either group. Partisans on both sides have, though sometimes cautiously, sent us vital documentation without expectation that we will support a faction, point of view or controversial voice.

There are a few who want us to come over to their side, to “expose” various parties, their beliefs and practices. I’m hard to contact, purposely so. Bruce has a more public face and is usually the one to receive the letters, emails and really obnoxious phone calls.

There is nothing anyone can say that will persuade us to a partisan view. Our party’s platform is historical accuracy. We won’t go on your podcast, write for your nasty and mindless internet board where disgruntled former associates bleed out ill considered anger. If you’re hurt, angry, disappointed, want to justify yourself or have other issues, that’s really not our business – and we don’t want it to be our business.

The best light under which the true faults and best assets of any religion can be examined is historical accuracy. So as historians we’ve become equal opportunity smackers. If you wrote it, even if you’re someone one of us knows and likes (Hi Carolyn!) – and it’s off the mark, you may find it noted at least in a footnote if not in the main text. It’s not about you. It’s about accuracy.

There are a few writers who, though presented as experts, are little more than liars – sometimes of the most egregious sort. I admit to being less patient and less academically “correct” when dealing with that sort. Fortunately, my writing partner is good at toning down what I write while letting he have my say.

I’m willing to take the blame for this:

“Some considerable nonsense has come from the pen of Ralph Orr, one time editor and writer with the World Wide Church of God (Armstrongites). Orr asserted that Wendell predicted the return of Christ for 1874 and that he was responsible for the 2520 year count for the Times of the Gentiles. He says that after the failure of 1874, Wendell “replaced” that date with 1914. None of this is true. Gomes and Bowman suggested that Wendell provided a Seventh-day Adventist influence. This piece of utter nonsense should bring a sense of shame to the authors and their publisher Zondervan, though it probably does not. Wendell’s influenced Russell only in the two ways he mentions, awakening Russell’s interest in prophecy and satisfactorily answering his questions about the injustice of the endless torment doctrine.”

Saturday, February 19, 2011

I should never post when I'm this tired ...


Okay, so I got that off my cute little chest. (Isn’t that a nice way of describing my pitifully small 28A’s?)

I’ve been home from work for an hour now. In that time I’ve managed to drink one cup of cold coffee, read two emails, chat online with some friends, scold someone via a complaint form and decide that I’m really, really tired. I had a good night at work though.

My little feets hurt though because it was also a busy night, and I was umm busy standing on them – that is until about 2 am. I think it’s my black shoes, really. I should probably ditch them. When I wear them, my feet usually are kinda sore by the end of the night. Anyway … as I was saying, it was a good night. I got to hold a really cute and happy baby too.

I think I’ve said somewhere on here that I like babies. That’s probably a good thing, since I’ve made a few. We had a very late in the night arrival. Baby’s mommy was harried and frazzled. I stepped in and offered to hold her bright-eyed cutie while she took a toddler off to the potty. Oh, she didn’t leave me with her kid. Her husband was there but taking care of registration and such. It was fun to hold a smiley baby again. The bad side is that I’m always left with a slight touch of Baby Fever, but good sense prevails and it dissipates by the time I’ve given them back to their mommies.

Life does have its irritations though. Two of them made it to my list of “Are YOU totally ridiculous” things. We have a new employee who says ‘hundert.’ Do you have any idea how much hearing ‘hundert’ irritates pixies? Especially THIS pixie? It’s hun-DRED. NOT ‘hundert.’ Where in the name of Vanilla Wafers and Hot Tea does the pronunciation ‘hundert’ come from? I have been nice about it. I haven’t corrected him or hit him with a dictionary or anything – yet.

Okay, so that’s a minor irritation; well, it is until you hear ‘hundert’ for the hundredth time. Then there is that nasal spray commercial on the radio! Dear LORD and little Rabbits! Yes, I know the woman who’s all stuffed up and tries the spray is supposed to have a pleasant, appealing voice …. BUT the word is not no-wez. It’s nose … as in Know-s. Got it?!

So you’re reading this and thinking, “She’s a pronunciation Nazi!” And you’re probably muttering under your breath something like, “Remind me to check a dictionary before I actually speak to her.” Well … it’s not as if I pulled out my trusty radio shooter and killed my car radio or anything. But please! Make her say nose just once! Instead of no-wez. Anything but no-wez.

I wrote endlessly day before yesterday. Yesterday I just read, and the reading paid off. I re-read something I’ve read a dozen times before, and finally the light dawned. Chuckie (Charles to you, I’m sure. But I’ve been researching his life for ten years and we’re on a nickname basis now, even if he’s been dead for nearly a hunDRED years.) … as I was saying, Chuckie says right there for anyone to read that his belief about a doctrine called restitution as it relates to the final home of “the saints” was modified in 1880. Now I did not know this. I did not get that at all until yesterday. This little bit of enlightenment will change two chapters a tad. I’ll re-write the one today. The other chapter exists only in outline form, so that’s only a minor problem. Re-writing the existing chapter will be more work intensive because I also found an article in an Indiana religious newspaper that illuminates the whole issue.

Remember back a few posts I said that I was asked to write a wicked fairy story …. Umm I mean a story about wicked fairies? I’ve been thinking it through and have a good beginning and a great ending. The trouble is my wicked fairy, he of ill repute and bad intentions, keeps turning out too nice. The heroine turns into the nasty one. I may go with that. It might work. It’s just not where I intended it to go. I’ll think it through a few more times.

My thought for the week is directed toward my oldest daughter. I hope she marries a really nice man and has a daughter exactly like herself. From where does she get that bossy stubbornness? Certainly not from me! I don’t share my treasured attitudes with anyone else! She probably got it all from her dad or by osmosis from her friends.

My Aunt Shirley and Uncle Bruce are having their thirty-ninth wedding anniversary toward the end of next month. They’re a funny couple. I really enjoy them.

I found a book we need. I don’t think we have the money for it, though it really isn’t very much as that sort of thing goes. It’s fifty dollars. I just don’t have it, and what little we have in our budget is already committed to other things. I might be able to come up with part of that money by selling a few things. I don’t know though.

What I found is a volume of a magazine published from 1802 to about 1825. I have never seen it quoted by anyone who researches the same topic. An Adventist historian named Froom referred to it in his history of the prophetic message, but no one has connected it to the groups we research. I don’t know why not, because there is a significant connection. I’ll do what I can. I know Bruce doesn’t have the money to spare. So if I want this, I’ll have to come up with the money somehow.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Slavic Bible - Bound in Silver.

Very dramatic binding. Very rare. I stole this photo from ebay. I wish this was mine, but it's not.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Another version

A song of farewell ....

When it comes to saying farewell, English is fairly limited. Other languages have a variety of parting wishes that extend from a cognate to “fare ye well” to “God be with ye” or “until we meet again.” These all have an element of hopefulness. Some goodbyes are not hopeful.

This has been a period of more permanent goodbyes. These are not the sort of parting meant by our ancestors’ original God be with ye. They’re simple, mostly quiet partings from friends who find my slow decline to be rather more rude than sympathy arousing. Some have simply walked away. They don’t call. If I see them in a social setting, they’re polite but find a reason to leave quickly enough. For some, more than you might think, my dying has been too slow. I have news for them, I do not intend to go into the darkness willingly or quickly or quietly. I have things left to say and do, things to write and think, and scores to settle with the wicked.

If you liked me when I was well, you should like me now. If you don’t, then it is time to part, and I do not mourn the loss. If I am not worthy of your notice on my bad days, then you're not worth my attention on my good days.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Egypt - About 1905

Photos by Reiser. Reiser, whose first name is unknown to me, had a studio in Alexandria. He took portrait photos that were often very artistic, and he published post cards. These are from post cards.

Many of his post card photos were exploitive as were those of the German photographers Lenhert and Landrock. However the Reiser studios in Alexandria also employed a woman photographer who was available to photograph "secluded" women.

Most of the photos are undeniably well done.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Gambling is prolly bad.
Oogling offends some people
Ooze is just nasty.
Don't you agree?

But we run our cars off refined ooze. So
Yes, it's not all bad.
Egad! look a the time!

Finding lost shoes is hard.
Or not.

Well ...

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Read, Listen ... enjoy

Lots new here, guys. Two guest posts that came on the same day. I put them both up! They're too good not to. I couldn't decide on which to delay, so here they both are. One is about music and the other about Westwood, the little town that serves as back drop to Pixie Warrior. There's also a longish post by me ... Comments would be nice. I'm addicted to blog comments.

and then ...

… Start with this ….

… give it a new beat …

… and you end up with two spectacular classics.

I think I was born into the wrong era.

Guest Post! (I got them all at once and how cool is that?)

Radio Luxembourg Towers - 1939

If music be the food of love...

A guest post by Occasional Reader, a man of mytery and attainments!

There is a certain period in most peoples’ lives when music becomes all important. You can often tell a person’s age by the tunes and lyrics they know inside out. These bring back memories of happy days – or at least different days. In my work I visit many retirement homes – the visiting sing-along entertainers still lead with songs of the last World War. In ten year’s time, they will all be Elvis impersonators!

Before I even hit my teens, my life revolved around Radio Luxembourg. It was realistically the only commercial station available to people in Britain. The BBC had the monopoly and its tastes in popular music reflected the age of those who ran it. It was also tied up in knots by musicians’ unions which meant that recordings were rationed and music was more often than not – “live”. Or “dead” – depending on your point of view. But Radio Luxembourg was a commercial station – “208 on the dial” – that broadcast popular music to Britain – even though its programs were taped in Britain, flown out to Luxembourg, then beamed back to its hungry UK audience. It was before the era of transistor radios, but I had a valve portable wireless the size and weight of a large brick, that could be snuggled under the bedclothes with me.

The only time that music took a back seat was on Sundays when a variety of religious groups bought time for their individual messages. They included one of the splinter groups from the religious history the owner of this blog researches.

Only now, looking back, do I see how my taste in popular music was shaped. A lifelong interest in folk music – people like Pete Seeger – started with a series of live programmes by the Weavers in the mid-50s. I heard Seeger and audience do Wimoweh and I was hooked. Still am. Different companies bought airtime on Luxembourg, so you heard stuff you just wouldn’t have heard anywhere else. For the benefit of Shael’s Scots ancestry, there was a strange program called Scottish Requests – which started with a bowdlerized version of Scotland the Brave – “sit ye in your easy chair, for your program’s on the air”... Then the Capitol Show introduced me to Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee and (some contrast) Gene Vincent and the Bluecaps. As Vincent’s career nosedived in the States he came to Britain – first in 1959 – and I saw him perform on a number of occasions, and wrote articles about him for small circulation fanzines. In his prime, before drink got the better of him, he was one of the most exciting rock and roll performers of all time. And in my misspent youth I saw most of them.

Also on Capitol came the Kingston Trio. In their day they racked up gold disc on top of gold disc for album sales in the folk style. Later we realised that their harmonies were perhaps a little too slick and their patter too rehearsed. Nik Cohen gave the best put down when he said (quoting from memory) that they had the ability to get hold of an old blood and death ballad like Tom Dooley and make it sound like a song by Shirley Temple! Still – they introduced a huge swathe of the college crowd to folk music, who were then ready to lap up Dylan and Baez and the 60’s folk protest movement when it came along. I saw the Trio too on the only occasion they visited my country. I bought all their discs on vinyl, and courtesy of Bear Family Label of Germany have them all on CD and iPod today.

As a spin-off from the Trio, when they disbanded, John Stewart went solo and I followed his career through over forty albums down to his death in 2008. Some were straight folk, some were rock (he teamed up briefly with Fleetwood Mac), some were pop (he wrote Daydream Believer for the Monkeys) plus hundreds of quality singer-songwriter tracks – it became the soundtrack of my life. My poor daughter was subjected to Stewart tapes as we drove to and from school for years, but grew up to teach music and sing herself, and now does Stewart numbers in folk clubs and on YouTube. When visiting clubs – having heard how bad some of the others are – I have even plucked up sufficient courage to sing a Stewart number myself. Some of us will just not grow old gracefully.

But really it all started with a valve portable radio, snuggled under the bedclothes, and the delights of Radio Luxembourg - 208 on the dial. As did a lifelong interest in radio drama. But that’s another story.

Guest Post - Memories of Westwood, Lassen, California

Baseball Game - 1918
Quincy v. Westwood
Glen Snook, a minor character in Pixie Warrior was a real person. He played for the Westwood baseball team.

Ronald agreed to write this for me. Westwood is the setting for much of Pixie Warrior, and though Ronald lived in Westwood much after the year Sha'el was born, this is a really fun memoir of Westwood as it was. Read and enjoy!

Remembrances of Westwood

Pine. Pine. Pine. Whenever or wherever I smell fresh-cut pine I am back in Westwood. The mill, the log pond, the train dumping logs into the water, everything - it all replays like a video in my mind's eye.

I moved there in the fall of 1946 as a first grader. My mother Dicy, my sister Judy, and I lived with my grandmother, Gertrude Kelley Sillix. She had a small house on the other side of the log pond from town. It had a picket fence around it to keep the dog in. To get to school I had to cross the pond on a wooden catwalk. Half-way over there was a slight turn and a light, which came on at night. I remember seeing snow flakes slowly fallingin the darkness of early evening one night as we went back home. Many mornings I remember frost on the wood planks that formed the catwalk – and vague feelings that I might slip and fall into the water.

The one thing that really scared me was the bull. It was tethered to a stake in the ground along the path that led home. From the end of the catwalk to a small embankment there was a stretch of low ground with good grass. That's were it grazed. After I went up the embankment, I was safe. But every day I had to pass that creature whenever I went to and from school. The school was across the pond over in town. It was a one-story structure painted red with white trim. Every morning, we began the school day by walking out of the building to the flag pole. There we would all stand and sing My Country 'Tis of Thee.

When not in school I would explore the environs accompanied by my grandmother's dog Rex. One day we went to the north end of the pond where it was marshy and the water was very shallow. I jumped from one large clump of grass to another trying to keep from getting my shoes wet. Another day, along the side of a road cut, I found my first arrowhead. It was a primitive elongated shape, not at all like the three-sided ones a person would expect to see on an arrow.

The biggest sight of all was the mill - with the smoke stacks and a conveyor belt pulling the logs up to be cut into lumber. The logs were guided across the pond by men who jumped from log to log. They wore boots with metal spikes on them and steadied themselves and moved the logs with long poles.The logs were dumped into the pond from railroad flatbed cars. When the sides dropped the logs fell off and entered the water with enormous splashes of water. However, the biggest memory of all wasn't what I saw, but what I could smell - pine scent night and day!

Nearly 50 years later, my wife, children, and I returned to Westwood. Some things were the same, but many, many things weren't. First, the mill was gone and so were the log pond and the catwalk. I couldn't find my grandmother's house. Surprisingly, where there had once been a bull, there was now a horse. At least the grass was still good for grazing. The one highlight was the grade school - unchanged and still painted red. Thank heavens for that! But there was no more pine scent - unless I closed myeyes and traveled back to 1946. That's the only way you can really go back.

Ronald Wadsack

4 February 2011

Conferences, Wicked Cars, Incompetent Clerks, and the Wizard of Oz

Well … I’m back. I’ve had the same bad headache for several days now, but it’s not been totally incapacitating.

Lots of things though … On the disappointing side, the history magazine for which we wrote the article on George Washington Stetson has decided to stop publication. This is sad on two accounts. It’s the only magazine covering our area of interest, and it was well done. However, the principals also run the annual CoGGC history conferences and asked my WP to present our research on Stetson, even offering to defray some of the travel expense.

Bruce is too ill to do that. However, there is the possibility of a video conference. There may be several other alternatives too. It’s nice to have your work recognized as important and interesting. The conference is Sept 22-24, at North Hills CoG in Springfield, Ohio. I hope something can be worked out because the Stetson research is important to many groups descendent from the originals. In the 1870’s believers congregated around key publications, each with its own viewpoint. There was overlap and give-and-take between them. There are four main ecclesial bodies still existing that derive from this confused mixture that have a stake in Stetson’s history. Of these, the only one actively perusing information is Church of God – General Conference.

One group (which I’ll politely leave unnamed) has a strong interest in not pursuing Stetson’s history. They are more interested in perpetuating a religious myth so that the founder of their principal magazine can appear to be divinely guided. In the 1980’s and 1990’s they undertook extensive research, even sending out a researcher to interview Stetson’s remaining family. They have a very nice collection of Stetson material, including a small card that says a “brother in Pittsburgh” has offered 1000.00 to anyone who can prove that hell fire exists. None of this made it to their principal “history” book. Stetson is noted in three or four sentenced and dismissed. If you have to minimize key parts of your history to perpetuate a myth, then you really aren’t writing history at all.

One descendent group is loosely called the Bible Student movement. Many of these have the same issue. They find a religious myth more comfortable that solid fact. However, there are some who really are interested and who are actively pursuing this history. We have received key documentation from some of them. This stands in contrast to the larger group which does not willingly cooperate with anyone, even if their work is largely supportive. Of course, we’re not writing to support anyone; we’re writing to tell an untold story as accurately as possible. That seems to make them very, very uncomfortable.

Stetson found a place within the Advent Christian Association, now the AC Church. This was a compromise for the sake of organization. He saw them as more adept at caring for the spiritual needs of those earnestly expecting the near return of Christ. As with the larger group I’ve so politely left unnamed, they’re more interested in perpetuating a myth. This is self protection. I understand that. But it means that they do not produce good solid history because they’d rather not address uncomfortable issues.

Okay, enough of that. … I was invited to write a “wicked fairy story” for an anthology. I’m not sure I’m up to that right now, but I have an idea I’m thinking through. What if there was a fairy valley in the foothills of the Oregon Cascades? What if a writer, who just might be an attractive thirty-something woman, rented a cabin there to put the final touches on her new book without distraction? What if the meadow with all its pretty and large-winged butterflies attracted her, and what if they weren’t butterflies at all, but sharp toothed, blood-lusting, demon-spawned fairies? And what if she’s rescued by an overly tall man, who is not what he seems?

So, I may or may not write that. We’ll see. I have to decide soon.

Now, on to the adventure of the reluctant auto … I’m not in love with my car. I hate the thing. Consider me a Luddite who would rather ride a donkey than drive a car. I’m saving my pennies for a new one – well for a better used one than the nasty Oldsmobile I drive. I want a Mercury. Yes, I know they don’t make them anymore, but I want one. Or an older Cadillac. … All this is off the point.

I’m driving home. It’s way early in the morning, about four am, and I’m tired, and I’m cranky from work. I stop at a convenience store to get gas and a coffee. I get back in my car and turn the key only to hear a weak bing, bing, bing. It was such a sick noise; it sounded as if someone were strangling an alarm clock and the clock was on it’s last breath. Idiot car will not start.

I get out my trusty cell phone. (Did I mention that I hate cell phones too?) and call Knobby Knees, waking the poor soul up. “My car won’t start,” I say.

“What time is it?” he mumbles.

“Never mind the time,” I say. “My car won’t start. I need to be rescued.” I say that with a mixture of imperial princess and damsel in distress attitude. It always works. Pixies know these things.

“Where are you?” he asks.

I tell him.

“I’ll be there as soon as I can.”

Twenty minutes later K. Knees pulls up. He does all the mysterious guy things that start a reluctant car: Hoods go up; Cables are attached and wiggled a bit just to be sure; A frown is passed off onto reluctant car. “Start it,” he says.

I turn the key. The car goes “vroom!” And I drive home, followed by sleepy eyed K. Knees.

So, he says, “We’ll get a new battery in the morning.” And we go snuggle away my distress. Actually we did a lot more than snuggle, but you don’t need all the kissy, licky, smootchy details.

I wake up about ten am. Kids are romping, Coffee is made. I’m cranky. Coffee is poured. I sip. K. Knees smiles. “Better?” he asks.

I make a noise that’s between a grunt and a growl.

“Have another cup,” he says solicitously.

With coffee circulating through my blood vessels, I get dressed and we go off to Auto Zone. They have the battery we need at a cost somewhat lower than anyone else. The AZ boy tests the battery and the alternator, which is a roundish gizmo turned by a belt that does some electrical thing for a car, and pronounces the battery on its last legs. We buy a battery.

Now we don’t have time for Knobby Knees to install it. He has to work most of the weekend, so we take it over to Ralph. Ralph is a mechanic who works out of his garage. Twenty dollars and a half hour later, my car is supposed to be cured. K. Knees and I go off to buy some essentials. Phone rings. Ralph says, “The new battery? It’s not new. They sold you a return.” And he explains how he knows. He also says, “It won’t hold a charge.”

Ralph returns the battery for us and wrings an admission out of Auto Zone that they did indeed sell us a battery returned as defective. Nice people, huh? Guess who will go to Walmart next time.

So, my car is back running, and I hate it less than before - At least minimally less than before. To assuage the feeling of being tortured by a mechanical device, I talk K. Knees into taking me by the Goodwill Store for a comfort shopping experience. He agrees without undo argument. (He doesn’t like the place.) I found a nice sweater for daughter 4 and two books. The most interesting of the books is volume one of the Krazy Kat cartoons from the 1930’s.

It’s near time for Mr. K.Knees, husband to a pixie, father to pixie children, annoying Scot, singer of off-key songs, he of wry humor, to go off to his office and ponder mysterious drawings and such. We return home. Dau 1 is in her bed covered up to her neck with a quilt for no discernable reason and watching a video on her lap top. (She’s supposed to be writing an essay for school.) Dau 2 and 3 are playing Jenga which is one of the worlds most pointless games, but it keeps them entertained. Dau 4 is wandering aimlessly upstairs. After a few moments she sticks her head down the stairs and says, “Where are my pink shoes?” I look up and say, “By the back door, where you left them.” “Oh,” she says and thumps down the stairs. Dau 5 gives me one of her endlessly tight hugs. “Read to me,” she pleads.

So … I do. We’ve been reading through the Oz books. We’re on book three.

And how has your life been?

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Uncivilized Savages: Pakistan and Rape

And dear heart Pakistani men, if you decide to threaten my life again for posting these links, just remember that my blog records your location, isp and IP address. You all be havin' a really nice day.

Plain Papers, Students, Janet Reid's Contest

Soooo … Here I am, back. Again. With a huge headache. That’s never fun. But I still am bouncing on the happy side. I’m teaching four classes this semester. One is sparse. Who ever made the online catalogue put a seventy-five dollar fee on the class. There is no fee, but as you can imagine, that limited enrollment. They have that fixed now, and we’re open to late sign-ups.

I’m very pleased with this crop of students. I have AP high school and take your breath away smart middle school students. I had a conversation with a sixth grader in my critical reading class that I would have been surprised at when I taught in a university setting. America meet your future Best Selling Author! Or what ever he chooses to be. I have him in my writing class too.

And there’s an eighth grade girl … I gave the class their major project which involves writing and polishing the first chapter of a novel. This is, as you readers who write know, not the easiest project for inexperienced writers.

So … she comes up to me after class and says, “Miss de Vienne, would you mind if I only wrote the first chapter and the prologue this week?”

Would I mind! I told her that I was looking for her best first draft of as much of a chapter as she could produce this week.

So she replies, “So, I don’t have to write the prologue now?”

“No, dear,” I say.

I have her in my critical reading class too. I didn’t have students this bright and eager at the University level. This is going to be a fun … and challenging semester.

Oh, and I have a young girl who collects rocks but in no sort of organized way. She just picks up what she likes and puts them in a cloth sack. We’re adapting her interest to her major project. And I have a Junior who was in Africa last year. Instead of a novel, we’re adapting her assignment to her desire to write a memoir of her time in Africa. Flexibility matters. I bend lots of rules to stimulate a student’s interest.

One of my daughters takes classes with one of my new writers. I’ve met her before. She’s a very sharp-witted young woman.

Then there's other stuff. … My writing partner asked me to find the roots of a bit of theological speculation. It’s a major doctrine for one of those most central to our new history book, and it persists in the antecedent groups. I spent hours looking for it in Millerite belief (it’s not there) and in One Faith belief (not there either), finally shelving the project. Sometimes if you just let it go and follow other trails you get led to what you seek by a back trail, and this is what happened.

I’ve been looking for a usable copy of Trotter’s Plain Papers on Prophetic and Other Subject. This was first published about 1854 and revised in the early 1860’s. Finding later printings is easy. They’re also “revised” by other hands than Trotter’s and of no use to me. We didn’t want to spend the fifty or sixty dollars usually asked for one of the two early editions. Now, understand, Trotter was a Brethren writer. The Plymouth Brethren are on the fringes of all this but were influential. This is usually overlooked. Even the principal theological periodical of the largest of the descendant bodies rejected Brethren influence on grounds that reflected ignorance of their 19th Century roots.

Anyway … you still following me here? … A copy showed up on ebay. I emailed my partner. My partner negotiated with the seller and we bought the book using donated funds. We paid comparatively little for it and it’s a suitable edition – the 1860’s revision. So it came. WP calls me up. WP says, “It’s here. Shirley’s driving down this morning. Where should she meet you?”

Silly question. He absolutely KNOWS that would be at the south-end Starbucks, where we will fritter away the most significant part of an hour over coffee, an apple fritter and gossip.

I do not know how that man can restrain himself. Shirley shows up and the book is still in the mailer. I’d have ripped that open on receipt! But he knows me well, and I’ve always liked to open packages. When I was little they used to wrap up everything, just to watch me open stuff. Apparently I put on quite a show as a child.

So, now, this package has so much tape I can’t rip it apart. Fortunately, I have my trusty little pen knife on key chain thing, and zip! It’s open. …. And … yes I rudely thumbed through it right there. … on page eight in all capital letters is the statement of belief I’ve been stalking! Now cold hard reason suggested that this belief was probably from the British Literalist movement, or maybe from one of the British Millenarians. But reason is not proof. Here it is! Tada!

This has ramifications beyond merely identifying the theological trail. (It would be wrong to say “source of this doctrine,” because the true source is the New Testament. But there is a strong doctrinal divergence among Christians, and they divide up in three ways. It’s not at all interesting to most of you, but there it is.) This bit of historical background puts one more nail in the coffin in which we intend to bury the belief that the primary influence on this person was Millerite Adventism. That’s such a wrong belief! And it’s almost universal because no one seriously researched this.

I find that puzzling. While I think we’re good researchers and adequate historians, there are others out there who have more resources and who are certainly better writers then we are. Any one of them could have followed the same trails.


I enter Janet Reid’s hundred word contests occasionally. ( She had one a while back and never posted the results. And here I sit, waiting with semi-bated breath to learn that I didn’t win again!