Hugging the Overdue Library Book…

…because I can’t possibly let it go!  Well, that wrapped up the one and only week at the ‘new’ job.  That wasn’t even enough time for Bilbo & co. to get from Hobbiton to the Goblin Gate.  But I shan’t feel guilty; I did my best, such that the management threw all they had at me to try to get me to stay.  At least I know I left because I wasn’t right for the job (or it wasn’t right for me), rather than because I *couldn’t* do it.  Misery, weepy evenings and sleepless nights, Lord-willing, are a thing of the past.  Perhaps the next adventure will be closer to my favourite flavor (rather an ugly mixed metaphor, but I had too much for lunch, and there’s more blood going to my sore tummy than to the creative part of my brain).  For more on yucky tummy distendedness (as well as rottenness and bloating in general), see Persius’ Satires.  For literary reflection on turbot (fine dining), see Juvenal’s Satire 4 (that’s a bit misleading, but it’s worth reading, so I won’t edit it).  Perhaps it is time to brew a digestif — liquorice & mint tea.  Blergh. 

The autumn sun shines golden, the air is crisp, fresh and earthy, and there are cheery chubby pumpkins in the shop windows.  And yet the trees are offensively behind; Reformation day is Thursday, and then it is November.  What if we have no autumn?  Gasp.  I’m going to put the kettle on. 

It is wonderfully tempting to continue to be frivolous today.  I begin to think that this locale would be most useful as a signpost, directing people to the writing of more informed and wiser folk; I certainly wouldn’t flatter myself that my pop-culture recommendations would be taken seriously (especially in the realm of music!), but I’ll take the opportunity to make some anyway.  Recommendations for today:  

Film: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Television: One Man and his Dog

Music: Tina Turner, “Simply the Best”

How ludicrous!  Most people offering recommendations on such things would provide reasons, justifications, or vehement defence.  I won’t do that; these things need no excuse. 

On the church-going front, the well-known (at least in some circles) mega-church pastor in the Carolinas has finally been featured in the local news.  And why? for what?  For building a house bigger than that owned by the one and only Harrison Ford.  “In Pastor S—-‘s house are many rooms; if it were not so, NBC news would have told you…”  But his name isn’t on the deed.  Is anyone surprised by this or any of the other little not-so-straightforward details?  Facts are stubborn things, as John Adams once said, and right will prevail, as Henry Tunstall once said.  And flapjacks deserve more recognition than tiramisu, as I once said.  Fluffy hunk of nothing, tiramisu–worst dessert ever invented.  And thus it was. 

 

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Alien (Legal)

It is strange, to feel as though one is being discriminated against, especially when those surrounding the ‘one’, who are doing the discriminating, are seemingly unaware that they are doing so.  In this day and age, when everyone is supposed to be open-minded, tolerant, and ‘non-judgy’ (or at least, you should act like it, even if you’re rather stuffy and judgmental in heart and/or mind).  Because there is no crime greater than intolerance.  And yet, it happens that some people are (sometimes unwittingly) rather ignorant bigots.  The assumption, even in a crowd of complete strangers, seems to be that there is ideological conformity, if not total uniformity, amongst ‘educated’, and mostly functional, young people.  Thus, things get said which might not otherwise, if speakers were made aware that ideological opponents and dissenters are not (obvious) whackos.  For example, let there be a premise q that is, “Mr MacGregor ought to stop persecuting rabbits.”  In our fictional world, all those who agree with this believe themselves not only to be a majority, but believe that anyone who disagrees must be warped (after all, who wouldn’t be on the side of cute, fluffy bunnies?), immoral, perverse, ignorant, and probably has an extra limb growing somewhere as a ‘tell’.  In the midst of a group of strangers (we’ll say they’re a new book club meeting for the first time), the subject of Mr. MacGregor comes up; not only are those in favor of the premise quite animated about the issue, and not only do they express vehement disagreement with their opponents, but readily, openly question their opponents’ character and principles, and even their intelligence.  Before too long, this (apparent) majority in the group descends from criticism to personally derisive comments, like, “I’d hate to meet one of those rabbit-haters in the street; they probably hit people with glasses on”; or, “I bet they think the world is flat, or something ludicrous like that; they must be stupid to disagree with premise q!”  Naturally so!  None of them, however, notices the one or two people shifting uncomfortably, who is/are secretly thinking, “Well, Mr MacGregor doesn’t grow his vegetables for rabbits to dig up”, or, “Perhaps he should look for humane methods to keep them out, but I certainly don’t oppose him trying to protect his garden.  But I don’t dare say anything, because everyone will jump on me and call me a horrible person.”  This kind of atmosphere does not foster good-will, productive dialogue, or free exchange in the so-called ‘Marketplace of Ideas.’  It also doesn’t foster critical thought, because it encourages people to demean opponents, think of them as intellectual or moral inferiors, and thus to disregard their arguments without even hearing and considering them.  If a position can’t withstand scrutiny, it’s certainly not worth having; but a position should be considered equally worthless if one does not hear the arguments against it in good faith and with an open mind, even if a critical one.  And if in the end, a person is not persuaded, it’s not often that an ideological opponent is actually a moron or villain.  Of course there are exceptions, but we’re talking about run-of-the-mill ‘decent’ folk.  People really ought to be careful, because company could be more mixed than they expect (the anti-q folks probably don’t have faun-ish horns on their heads, so you don’t know who they are), and offence and intimidation (even unintentional) ought to be avoided.

“[Mark] had never before known what an Idea meant: he had always thought till now that they were things inside one’s own head.  But now, when his head was continually attacked and often completely filled with the clinging corruption of the training, this Idea towered up above him — something which obviously existed quite independently of himself and had hard rock surfaces which would not give, surfaces he could cling to.” —That Hideous Strength, CS Lewis

Babylon

When you start training at a new job, you don’t tend to feel wildly over-dressed in a simple (but nice-ish) blouse with plaid skirt and tights.  Presentable, but definitely on the casual end of business-casual (if that means what I think it means).  Fortunately I was one of two who showed up *not* in shopping-with-the-girlfriends clothes, so my discomfort was minimal.  Also didn’t expect the kind of informal atmosphere that, after a while, encouraged off-colour jokes, swearing, confessions beginning with, “One time when I was drunk I did x”, and talking over the supervisor… Never have I been in such a pool of recruits!  A fascinating display of silliness, pontification…igncalskjda;l (further gripes removed).  All in all, they seemed pleasant enough, but if I thought the job itself was going to be the key factor in the ‘fish out of water’ experience, I was wrong.  It’s going to be getting along with these folks, and having the proper measure of grace (especially for that one fellow who expresses such bitter disdain for everything that’s important to me).  Ah, well, I’m hardly there to please him, and I’m sure the inverse (converse?) is also true.  I daresay some people in the room won’t like ME!  *sigh* Living like a civilised and patient person, with conviction, in this world is so difficult.  This is more of a mission jungle than a mission field, but that’s more than enough reason to stick around, God help me.  In the interest of avoiding causing offence, I won’t give any details; let’s simply say that the session was wild.  Just one point of interest: after a couple of folk returned from the break with ‘fast food’, one person in the room remarked that (s)he did not eat ‘processed’ products.  Fair enough!  This person, however, when earlier asked what (s)he liked about a town I will call Aea, had replied, “All the cheap alcohol.”  But (s)he does not ingest processed food.  Interesting.

“But we urge you, brothers, to [love one another] more and more, and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your own hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders, and be dependent on no one.” –I Thess. 4:11b-12

Where to begin… a Preface

On the eve of starting a new job, with the encouragement of a friend, here we hesitantly, waveringly begin a new project.  An outdated podcast of a discernment ministry plays in the background, the coffee is now cold, the writer remains in the very fluffy dressing gown, and it’s still raining (in the lovely city that once was B—–, that is not surprising).  I am not sure whether blogging is for me, as, while *I* find my own ideas entertaining, I also know full well that I am both ignorant and prone to silliness & complaining (whinging!), and thus have little to offer the blogosphere.  Perhaps it would be best, then, to chalk this endeavour up to needing a hobby, rather than listeners or readers.  This will be as the tagline suggests–a miscellany of thoughts, gripes (legitimate?), and commentary from a Christian who learns anew day by day just how little she knows.  So don’t say I didn’t warn you, if you’re still reading; I believe that what is worth knowing can be known with certainty, in spite of what some on the Po-Mo spectrum claim.  Nevertheless, I don’t flatter myself that my (hopefully informed) opinions are earth-shattering, worth reading, or in themselves dying to be shared online (“Oh please, please, Ekkles, share me!  I MUST BE LIKED!”).  And while I recognise my own ignorance, I do know something, and I want to speak with wisdom on things that I believe are important.  There is too much, there are too many issues, too much of history, to speak with authority and expertise on everything.  But many things are worth learning about, there are sides that are worth choosing, and grounds that are worth standing on.  I don’t claim to know much about more than a mere few things.  But I do think I’m right, so that’s something.  It would be dishonest, and a disgusting and flabby show of false modesty, for me to say I’m not sure of anything.  I am sure of things; just not sure anyone cares (who am I, after all?  My greatest day-to-day achievements are making edible dinners!).  And with the world as busy as it is, and people so addicted to posting photos of their breakfasts on Facebook, again, I don’t flatter myself that this blog will interest folk.  But that’s all right; my squeaky Canimal Nia will stand by me, and indulge my need to write.  Perhaps it is best now to try to be productive… is Neptune being purposefully diminished in Valerius Flaccus, or has Val just shrunk the cast of the divine machinery for the sake of simplicity?  He could also have been simply lazy, which I refuse to believe!  Finally, the rain has stopped.  Cheers.