"Life was meant to be lived, and curiosity must be kept alive. One must never, for whatever reason, turn his back on life." -- Eleanor Roosevelt (b. 1884-10-11, d. 1962-11-07), preface to The Autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt (1961)
[Χριστος Ανεστη! Happy Easter to everyone of my Faith -- Christ is risen! (For folks who are cuious but don't keep track: it's Easter in both calendars today; Western and Othodox Easter coincide this yea.)]
"If your salvation was dependent on your ability to read and understand scripture, Jesus would have been an author." -- Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience
"Rather than thinking of it as 'cleaning my apartment', I like to think about it as "ferocious battle against entropy." -- Emily Finke (@seelix), 2014-04-14
"Sometimes when you sacrifice something precious, you're not really losing it. You're just passing it on to someone else." -- Mitch Albom
[Or maybe to everyone else? (Thinking of the holiday my faith observes today.)]
Relatedly: "White shooter = mentally ill. Black shooter = criminal. Muslim shooter = terrorist. It's in the AP style book, I think." -- @billmon1, 2014-04-13
"Speaking purely as a developer, I handle requests to
add a 'gender' field the way I treat requests to add a 'race'
When anyone complains I'm being PC, I'll tell 'em that I'm too busy to add another 'if' statement, don't take it personally." -- Reginald Braithwaite, 2014-04-13, two tweets -- clicking either should make both visible if you scroll up or down far enough. (Thanks to @tjathurman for retweeting this where I'd see it.)
Latest addition to our HCB, that is) performance calendar: We're playing at the Bostwick Heritage Festival in Bladensburg, Maryland, 4 May (the web site says 1PM - 4PM but the email the band got says noon to 5PM, and we'll be playing in the earlier part of that). Free admission. This looks like a smallish event, with period craft/trade demos, tours of Bostwick House, craft vendors, etc. Come on out for the afternoon and get a bit more War of 1812 history.
A reminder about the other gigs coming up fairly soon:
The second day of the Green Man Festival, also in Greenbelt, Maryland, Sunday, 11 May (Mothers Day) at 4 PM. (That's close to the end of the festival, so get there a lot earlier than that to check out the rest of it.)
From "Spring Cleaning Ritual on the Eve of the Full Moon Nisan" by Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb:
"On the eve of the full moon
we search our houses
by the light of a candle
for the last trace of winter
for the last crumbs grown stale inside us
for the last darkness still in our hearts."
(quote found by way of Velveteen Rabbi, 2014-04-13)
To all of my friends who are celebrating the week of Passover starting tonight, a joyous festival to you!
From the Quotation of the day mailing list, 2014-03-17:
"We can't live in a state of perpetual doubt, so we make up the best story possible and we live as if the story were true." -- Daniel Kahneman, psychologist.
(submitted to the mailing list by Mike Krawchuk)
[I think this quotation makes him sound like a phenomenologist, but judging from the laziest of Google searches, that doesn't seem to be the school he associates himself with.]
"The apostrophe is the most powerful punctuation mark in grammar. It is far more muscular than the exclamation point, which has become so diluted by overuse in digital platforms that people feel compelled to use it in triplicate, if not greater multiples, to give it heft. The quotation mark needs a partner. The period is a lonesome little dot at ground level, a loose penny on a sidewalk. The semi-colon suffers from a confused personality and keeps showing up in the wrong places. But the apostrophe is elegant and kingly. It uses its graceful, airborne curve to define unquestioned ownership. It anoints possession." -- Tom Verduci, 2014-04-08 (thanks to aliza250 for bringing it to my attention)
"[...] as a Hearer, he is fascinated by their chaotic, extraordinary individuality. Nowhere does he find the communal engrams, the shared world-views like those any Tyrenni Father transmits to his young. These beings seem to have had no Fathering; even these mind-experimenters have no real communication. Each is utterly alone. They are aliens to each other." -- from Up the Walls of the World by James Tiptree, Jr. (1978, Berkley Publishing Corp.; ISBN: 0-399-12083-1) -- Giadoc, a Tyrenni, comparing the humans he has just met to his own race.
"In the thesaurus, the antonym of honesty is lying, and the opposite of arguing is agreeing. But in the minds of teenagers, that's not how it works. Really, to an adolescent, arguing is the opposite of lying." -- from "Learning to Lie", by Po Bronson, New York magazine, 2008-02-10 (quoted passage appears on the fourth of five pages in the web version of the article)
"it's actually kind of funny(?) that emoji has done more for correct unicode support than, say, the existence of non-americans" -- @eevee, 2014-04-06
"There are no problems we cannot solve together, and very few that we can solve by ourselves." -- Lyndon Johnson (b. 1908-08-27, d. 1973-01-22; US President 1963-1969)
From the Quotation of the day mailing list, 2014-03-14:
"You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions." -- Naguib Mahfouz, writer and Nobel laureate.
(submitted to the mailing list by Mike Krawchuk)
Playing piano is like politics [...]. The secret is not letting your left hand kniw what your right hand is doing." -- Col. Chet Kinsman, CO of Moonbase, in Millennium by Ben Bova (1976, Random House, New York)
"Fortuna multis dat nimis, satis nulli." ("Fortune gives too much to many, enough to none.") -- Marcus Valerius Martialis, Epigrams, Volume III, Books 11-14. (via goodreads)
I'm still trying to get the hang of this "tell people about gigs before the last minute" thing. Here's what's coming up next for The Homespun Ceilidh Band.
We're playing our annual spring concert at the Greenbelt Arts Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, on Saturday, 26 April at 8:00 PM. ( reservations) Adults $17 / Children $12 / Seniors, Students, and Military $14. I'm pretty sure there'll be no snowstorm the night before to scare people away from this one. ;-)
The following month we'll be back in Greenbelt again, on the plaza above the arts center, for the Green Man Festival -- the festival is both days of that weekend; we're performing on Sunday, 11 May (Mothers Day) at 4 PM. (That's close to the end of the day, so get there a lot earlier than that, and check out the rest of the festival!)
In not-band-related news, Mom will be coming home from rehab on the 16th. I'm trying to get in-home care lined up by then.
From The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan:
She squeezed his hand. "Don't lose hope, Frank. Rainbows always stand for hope."
She made her way toward the back of the store, leaving Frank alone.
"Hope," Frank grumbled. "I'd rather have a few good weasels."
Happy Cheese Weasel Day!
It seems that attitudes toward criminals have changed substantially since I was a child. It may be that I am wrong, because I was largely sheltered from contact with those sorts of people until I met Laura, but it seems that, when I was young, one was a criminal, or one was an honest citizen, and the demarcation was well drawn. Today, most people break laws and don't think much of it, perhaps because of the odd things that have come to be illegal. But the result is that the line between law-abiding citizen and hardened criminal is much softer than it was.
[...] When I was much younger and much more naïve, I thought that the line between legal and illegal stayed close to the line between right and wrong. Well, either I was living an illusory life then, or everything has changed now, so that when the two lines intersect it seems only momentary, transitory, coincidental.
Or, more likely, it is because when I do what I must to survive, I am, technically, committing crimes; yet how can what I do be wrong, when it is only what I must do? Still, perhaps this is a justification that has been used by scoundrels ever since the class has existed; I do not know.
-- John Agyar, narrator and protagonist of Agyar by Steven Brust (1993, Tor / Tom Doherty Associates, Inc., New York, NY; ISBN 0-312-85178-2)
From Waiting for the Galactic Bus by Parke Godwin (1988, Doubleday, New York):
That plus the old Plattsville brainwash bullshit, Charity remembered honestly. Save yourself for marriage and marry as soon as you can, before you know anything at all, let alone how to love. By the time you do, it's worn out as the car and the furniture. "Jeezooee, I was dumb, Woody. Anything worth doing takes practice, doesn't it? Like playing the trumpet."
Sure. If you've never been bad, how do you know when you're good?"
"Or being a doctor even roller skating. But they expect us to be good at love right off."
That one true love stuff never did much but sell houses and diapers and keep dummies like me off welfare as unwed mothers. There's no more one true love than one true song to sing or dress to wear. Totally ridiculous, but so was I for buying it.
[italics in original]
[Reminder: Thursday is Cheese Weasel Day!]
"'This is the same old story,' [James Whitehead] says. 'The kind of transition that trans people are talking about is very similar to the journey of faith through darkness and desert that people have been making for thousands of years.' He has found, in his teaching and writing, that when he describes trans experience to Catholics in terms of a spiritual journey, a light goes on, and they get it." -- from "A nun's secret ministry brings hope to the transgender community" by Nathan Schneider, 2014-03-02, Al Jazeera America
From the Quotation of the day mailing list, 2014-03-11:
"My life was saved by Rock'n Roll. Because it was this kind of music that, for the very first time in my life, gave me a feeling of identity, the feeling that I had a right to enjoy, to imagine, and to do something. Had it not been for Rock'n Roll, I might be a lawyer now." -- Wim Wenders, director.
(submitted to the mailing list by Mike Krawchuk)
People be calling cars and ships and America 'she' but when a trans women asks for female pronouns people be like no" -- Ribbi, February 2014
"The child I babysit sometimes is 5 years old. Last time I went to take care of him I noticed he has this awesome painting of the moon in his bedroom. He told me his mothers friend painted it. After he told me the artists name he then explained to me 'She used to be a boy but she didn't feel good so now she just takes medicine and it helps her to be a girl. She feels better'
"It's literally that easy to explain it to kids."
-- [attributed to tumblr user gay-mo about a year ago, but I couldn't find it, nor anything else from that long ago, in her tumblr]
"The arts in every field -- music, drama, sculpture, painting -- we can learn to appreciate and enjoy. We need not be artists, but we should be able to appreciate the work of artists." -- Eleanor Roosevelt (b. 1884-10-11, d. 1962-11-07), My Day (newspaper column) 1958-11-5
"'X is much more serious, so why protest about Y?' is like saying 'I clean my teeth, so why should I change my underpants?'" -- Adrian Bott (@Cavalorn), 2014-03-22
"I knew, as everyone knows, that the easiest way to attract a crowd is to let it be known that at a given time and a given place some one is going to attempt something that in the event of failure will mean sudden death. That's what attracts us to the man who paints the flagstaff on the tall building, or to the 'human fly' who scales the walls of the same building." -- Harry Houdini (b. 1874-03-24, d. 1926-10-31) [via Wikiquote]
[A calendar note: 31 March (a week from today) is the Transgender Day of Visibility.]
From the Quotation of the day mailing list, 2014-03-09:
"Without slides, the participants go further off-script, with more interaction and curiosity." -- Andrew Askew, assistant professor of physics at Florida State University, on the banning of PowerPoint presentations at a regular physics forum.
[ <a href="http://www.symmetrymagazine.org/article/march-2014/physics-by-hand</a> http://www.symmetrymagazine.org/article/march-2014/physics-by-hand</a>] </p></blockquote>(submitted to the mailing list by Terry Labach)</p>
From Red Dwarf: Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers by Rob Grant and Doug Naylor, 1989:
As always at crisis times in his life, Rimmer asked himself the question: 'what would Napoleon do?'
Something French, he thought. Probably munch on a croissant, and decide to invade Russia. Not really relevant, he decided, in this particular scenario.
"I battle depression, anxiety, Avoidant Personality Disorder & 2 Impulse Control Disorders. I'm the neapolitan ice cream of crazy ... but you guys make me feel normal. Which I guess I am, in a way. Seems that all the best people are fucked up somehow. #depressionlies" -- Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess, in two tweets 2014-03-13
"Some people make the argument that sexual orientation is a choice and therefore, we can discriminate based on the fact that the LGBT community has made these choices. If I concede the underlying question and agree that sexual orientation is a choice, then it leads me to my second question -- 'How is this not like religion?' Religion is a protected class in our society. No business owner is allowed to refuse to serve Catholics, or Baptists, or Adventists. But religion is a choice. The supposed difference is that we believe that religion is such an important decision, so wrapped up in our conception of who we are as human beings that we need to protect the choice of religion from discrimination. Why can the same not be said for the LGBT community? I think sexual orientation can certainly be described as a choice made that is so germane to someone's identity that it deserves protection from discrimination. In fact, I think a strong argument can be made that sexuality may be more ingrained than choice of faith. After all, I remember when I chose to be Adventist. I have no idea when I chose to be straight." -- Jason Hines, 2014-02-27
"A large part of mathematics which becomes useful developed with absolutely no desire to be useful, and in a situation where nobody could possibly know in what area it would become useful; and there were no general indications that it ever would be so. By and large it is uniformly true in mathematics that there is a time lapse between a mathematical discovery and the moment when it is useful; and that this lapse of time can be anything from 30 to 100 years, in some cases even more; and that the whole system seems to function without any direction, without any reference to usefulness, and without any desire to do things which are useful." -- John von Neumann (b. 1903-12-28, d. 1957-02-08), "The Role of Mathematics in the Sciences and in Society" (1954)
We've gotten word from Jammin' Java that the roads in Vienna, VA or pretty much clear, and tonight's gig is definitely on. @JamminJavaMei tweeted a couple of links mentioning us. I gave a young man from down the street money I couldn't really afford to shovel the driveway because I really couldn't afford the spoons to do it myself this afternoon either, with a gig to play tonight. All I have to do is brush the snow off the van and stick instruments in it.
Did I mention here that Mom fell again, a mere 26 hours after she got home from the PT rehab that she went to after her previous fall? I know I talked about it on FB and Twitter. She came home with another UTI, became symptomatic several hours after she got home, and was too weak to get into the van to go to her doctor the next afternoon, landing in the driveway. Well the hospital has a pattern -- keep her for three days so that she qualifies for having Medicare pay for an inpatient PT rehab stay, and send her off to a rehab facility for a few weeks -- but treating each UTI and each fall as an isolated incident just means the standard script becomes a senseless cycle: hosptial, rehab, hosptial, rehab, rins, repeat. Every tech and every nurse I've spoken to at the hosptial has agreed that this is bad, and that she needs to see a urologist. (At the appointment she was going to when she fell, the #1 thing on my agenda was to ask her doctor for a referral to a urologist. I've been trying to make that happen for 2-3 months now.) This afternoon when I was speaking to her current nurse on the phone (who has a voice delightfully similar to John Waters), he asked the doctor there about this and the doctor also agreed ... but she said that it couldn't happen in the hospital for some reason, and had to be an outpatient thing. Okay, if she can stay un-UTI-weakened long enough for us to get her to a urologist ... So the current plan is to schedule an appointment with a urologist near the rehab facility she's being transferred to this afternoon, and have me or one of my siblings (probably me since I'm closest and have time available during weekdays) take her out of the rehab facility to go to that appointment.
'Cause the current pattern is nuts.
In the meantime, let's see whether this rehab facility can do any better at feeding a diabetic a somewhat-reasonable-for-diabetics diet. The last place mostly fed her high-carb stuff, and then gave her insulin every day. (If nothing else, it'll be easier for me and Mom's local friends to visit, having her on this side of the bay. The downside is that even so I'm not going to be able to get out to see her as often as my sister can when she's at the rehab place in Centreville.)
As I mentioned underneath today's quote of the day, I made a Storify out of the most recent (last night) queerness-and-faith chat on Twitter. The back story is that we've been doing these weekly chats regarding the intersection of being religious and being GLTBQ, under the hashtag #qfaith (for queerness+faith). The big chats are Sunday evenings starting at 6 PM Eastern (but people occasionally mark tweets of interest to the group with that hashtag during the week as well).
Yesterday's chat (topic: "Labels -- What do you use? How do they identify you?") was a livelier chat than usual -- and with more non-Christians present and speaking up, which I hope is a trend, since from the outset our intent for #qfaith has been to be a meeting of minds among religious LTBGQ folks of all sorts.
I did a Storify of last week's chat (on fasting) as well.
If this looks like your cup of tea, well as I said we do it every Sunday at 6PM Eastern Time. To read along, just search for "#qfaith" on Twitter and refresh every so often to catch the newest tweets. If you want to join in, you'll need a Twitter account -- just remember to include the #qfaith hashtag in the tweets you want to be part of the conversation.
(And if any of you know how to get Storify to sort a conversation in threaded order, showing what tweets are replies to what, please go ahead and redo this better! Better yet, show me how to do that.)
"Names and attributes must be accommodated to the essence of things, and not the essence to the names, since things come first and names afterwards." -- Galileo Galilei (b. 1564-02-15, d. 1642-01-08)
(I wish I'd thought to schedule this quotation for before last night's
"Physics is really nothing more than a search for ultimate simplicity, but so far all we have is a kind of elegant messiness." -- Bill Bryson, A Short History of Nearly Everything
"We can connect to G-d through fasting, but can reach much higher levels though physical enjoyment!" -- Rabbi Lawrence Hajioff, February 2012
On being reminded that Monday is the 17th: "St. Patrick's Day is the day after Purim? The whole province is going to be drunk!" -- realinterrobang, phone conversation 2014-03-13 (I hope I've remembered her phrasing correctly, but I'm not certain that I have.)
A joyous holiday to my friends celebrating Purim starting tonight!
"Pointing out privilege is not oppression. It's making oppression visible so that it can be dismantled." -- @charolem, 2014-03-04
"[Penance] does not mean sacrifice and self denial in the first place, but a 'change of heart,' a victory over sin and a triving for holiness. The sacrifices of fasting and self-denial are only means and signs of this spiritual penance. If people understand this well, they will not put the main effort in Lent on technical feats of abstaining from pleasures (which sometimes make them proud or vain), but in sincere contrition, prayer and humble fight against their faults." -- Fr. Francis X. Weiser S.J.
Gregorian: 2014 March 05 (Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent
in Western Christianity)
Julian: 2014 February 20 (third day of Great Lent in Orthodox Christianity)
Hebrew: 5774 Veadar 03 (or 5774 Adar II 03)
Islamic: 1435 Jumada I-Ula 03
Persian: 1392 Esfand 14
Indian: 1935 Phalguna 14
(Western Easter and Orthodox Easter fall on the same day this year -- 2014-04-20 in the Gregorian calendar)
"Feed the babies
Who don't have enough to eat
Shoe the children
With no shoes on their feet
House the people
Livin' in the street
Oh, oh, there's a solution
Time keeps on slippin', slippin', slippin'
Into the future
Time keeps on slippin', slippin', slippin'
Into the future"
-- Steve Miller and Steve McCarty, "Fly Like an Eagle", 1976 (from the album Fly Like an Eagle, The Steve Miller Band)
[Folks in places that start Daylight Spending Time terribly early, such as most of the US: I hope y'all remembered to adjust your clocks this morning.]
 Well, in what way is time "saved"? And some of the arguments in favour of using it deal with merchants' hopes consumers will take more time to shop, so ...
 As I've stated before, I'm in the "I don't care how many hours away from Universal Time we are, but pick one offset and stick with it year-round" camp. So starting early is just one more detail piled on top.
From "A nun's secret ministry brings hope to the transgender community" by Nathan Schneider, 2014-03-02, Al Jazeera America:
Hints and echoes of what we now speak of as gender transition lie scattered throughout Christian tradition. An Ethiopian eunuch is the first person baptized in the Book of Acts, and the third-century theologian Origen castrated himself after reading Jesus' remark about those "who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven." Stories of ancient ascetics recall women "surpassing" their gender through spiritual advancement, or by simply disguising themselves as men. In the Middle Ages, St. Joan of Arc was executed for refusing to stop cross-dressing; legends circulated of a female pope, also named Joan, who was also killed for gender-bending. Medieval mystics sometimes referred to Jesus as a mother and saw visions of milk dripping from his breast. The Catholic Church as a whole, led by a hierarchy of costumed men, is traditionally referred to as She and as the Bride of Christ.
The resonance goes beyond appearances. "Catholic tradition is all about the dignity of the human person," says Edward Poliandro, an advocate for LGBT Catholics and their families in New York City. "Transgender people have a particular prophetic mission just to live and to challenge society simply by saying, 'I'm a person.'"
Though I'm not a Catholic, I got a lot out of this article. I encourage y'all to read it. A little under six thousand words (5737 words according to the Unix 'wc' utility, five chapters, 20 pages with all the big chapter-break photos), and well told.
[To my friends who celebrate Shrove Tuesday with flapjacks, enjoy your pancakes!]
[For my fellow Americans (and America's fans): today in 1789 the Constitution of the United States went into effect with the first meeting of Congress under it.]
"Nonsense wakes up the brain cells. And it helps develop a sense of humor, which is awfully important in this day and age. Humor has a tremendous place in this sordid world. It's more than just a matter of laughing. If you can see things out of whack, then you can see how things can be in whack." -- Dr. Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel, b. 1904-03-02, d. 1991-09-24)
"Some people regard private enterprise as a predatory tiger to be shot. Others look on it as a cow they can milk. Not enough people see it as a healthy horse, pulling a sturdy wagon." -- Winston Churchill
Today is National Update Your Damn Profile Day. How long has it been since you last edited your profile on various services you log into?
"It's strange then that so few right-wing blowhards become school teachers, given their endless bitching about how overpaid and easy that career is." -- Mike_G, Raw Story, comments [thanks to realinterrobang for quoting this earlier]
Navigate: (Previous 50 Entries)