Friday, June 28, 2013

Friday Spam Report

Just glanced at my spam folder and saw two messages. The subjects were "Seduce any Woman" and "Expanding Flexable (sic) Hose". I don't know if they are related or not....

Thursday, June 27, 2013

"There's no argument at all"

Hey, Pikkumatti, is that Elvin Bishop doing the intro and playing guit?

Holy Russia?

Commenter Judge373 shared an interesting letter with me titled "Appeal by Metropolitan Hilarion on the celebration of the 1,025th anniversary of the Baptism of Rus". I read the whole thing; it's interesting, though has somewhat strange language with regard to Holy Russia. I imagine this is sort of short-hand for the Russian Orthodox Christian tradition, encompassing the corpus of the Russian Orthodox belief and practice through the 1000+ years of it's existence. Judge highlighted some of what he called the stranger statements.

"As sons and daughters of the Russian Orthodox Church, we are all citizens of Holy Russia."

"If we truly wish to spread the Orthodox Faith in America, we must look to our roots and drink of the pure fountain of Sacred Tradition that is Holy Russia."

"Today, America has need not just of Russia, but of 'Holy Russia', for it is only this Russia that represents true spiritual wealth;..."

"Russia is necessary to us and dear to our hearts as a firm bulwark of the true Faith on earth."

What to make of this. It doesn't disturb me too much, although I agree it represents a strange choice of words. Perhaps not a majority, but I would estimate somewhere around half of American Christian leaders, American Catholic clergy included, make an attempt at simple and ecumenical language in their missives, even when it is addressed to their own flock. At any rate, I plan to keep it in my back pocket for the next time a non-Catholic Christian accuses the Catholic Church of jargon overuse.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

"Delightfully understated yet playfully demure"

View from your overrated wine cellar.

My kids have discovered Ernest movies... so share the wealth!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The reason we watch

I catch my fair share of sports viewing on the tube, and a few games live over the course of a year (including our underachieving-but-always-entertaining local eleven).  Every once in awhile I wonder what it is that draws me to watch, even if I don't have a particular interest in the outcome (as in the NBA and NHL playoffs this year).

This is why:  In last night's Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals, Andrew Shaw of the Chicago Blackhawks took a puck to the face during play in the first period.

Down goes Shaw -- down goes Shaw -- down goes Shaw.  But not for long.  Here is a view of Mr. Shaw in the second period after getting his cheek and the corner of his eye sown up:

And yes, he played after that, and played well.  For those who didn't watch, the Blackhawks came from behind in the last minute-and-change to win the Cup.  And if you took one (e.g., a puck to the eye socket) for the team along the way, you earn the right to do this (and to express your joy in whatever salty language you wish ---  the video is very NSFW):

With blood dripping down his face from the stitches that aren't quite staying closed.

Mr. Shaw reminded me why I watch.  It is to see excellence displayed -- sometimes in the form of well-developed talent, sometimes in the form of well-coached teamwork and strategy, and sometimes in the form of sheer courage and will.

P.S.  Mr. Shaw's favorite phrase in his Stanley Cup acceptance speech above (vulgar as it is) gives me very fond memories of my homeland in the North.  Pure joy.

UPDATE:  The above Cup-skating video was taken down.  This could turn out to be a whack-a-mole exercise, but here's another video of it:

Watch soon -- video of this could quickly end up in the ether.

UPDATE 2d:  A nice background story on Andrew Shaw, including that he was afraid to tell anyone about his broken hand at age 11 so he could keep playing hockey.

Argent: Hold Your Head High

Monday, June 24, 2013

All I need will be mine if you are here

Musings on a "Third Way"

Allow me to relate a small part of my weekend musings here. I recently received a short yet hysterical email which tacitly accused me of using a pseudonym so as to conceal my identity. But as I've said before, Pauli isn't a pseudonym; it's a nickname. Most people here know my surname and generally where I live. These things are not hard to figure out if you read enough of the blog and follow the links, and I often send emails to readers—and sometime would-be readers—which reveal my actual name. I'm really not worried about people discovering it.

Some bloggers who are in the habit of using their full name are a bit obsessed with those who choose not too. They'll talk about how pseudonymity encourages excessive carelessness and insensitivity when expressing opinions due to an immunity from any consequences. Others advocate the importance of pseudonyms, and how they facilitate free speech which is otherwise gagged for fear of repercussions. The false dichotomy that some of these bloggers perpetuate is that you're either boldly announcing in neon your name, address, what parish you belong to, how many kids you have and pets you own, etc. or you are living a double-life, hiding behind a wall of deception and hurling bombs from the pseudonymous online bunker you've constructed.

A third way avoids both the neon and the bunker. You could call it the "nickname way" if you feel you must call it something. This way of presenting your ideas is probably not available to someone who writes for a major media company or is a published author. If you are already a public figure when you start a blog, and you don't have an established moniker, then you might be perceived as using a pseudonym unless you use your real name. And you'll probably be expected to identify yourself anyway, being a public figure.

Here's the thing: most of us aren't public figures or columnists and we'd rather not have the trouble that goes with that. If you get interviewed by the local rag because you found a lost puppy does that make you a public figure? No. If you speak up at the town council meeting about bad zoning decisions does that make you a public figure? No. If you witness a crime and give a recorded testimony to the police does that make you a public figure? No. Then why should running a free online newsletter, AKA a blog, give you all the responsibilities and burdens of being a public figure? It doesn't, and if you think it does, you might want to check your ego, man. Or woman.

None of this is to say that I'd be necessarily against someone going ahead and going the anonymous/pseudonymous route. That may be harder than people realize, as we know from recent blog history. Like I've said before, there's enough info within the pages of my blog to "out" me for who I am. Just be aware of this fact: nobody cares.

And here's another interested point to consider. The most pseudonymous commenters on my blog, people like The Man from K Street and our own blogger Pikkumatti, are some of the best commenters on the site, and they never indulge in scurrilous attacks or over-the-top accusations. Likewise for our first-name bloggers and commenters like Keith, Kathleen, Diane and Silicon Valley Steve. These anecdotes agree with the latest statistical findings on this topic, by the way.

A Litany for the Little Way of Ruthie Leming

Whatever you do, just read this review.

If you left home for somewhere far away, read this book.

If you left home to "make it" in the world, read this book.

If you left home because you hated it there, read this book.

If you suffer, or ever have suffered, read this book.

If you've ever wondered whether there is any cosmic meaning in suffering, read this book.

If you need to forgive someone, or if you need forgiveness, read this book.

If you love a person or a place but struggle mightily with *liking* him, her or it . . . read this book.

If you wonder whether, indeed, you can go home again, read this book.

If you wonder how you can make where you are now "home," read this book.

Just read this book.

It's not a review really, but I love it. It's great for what it is. I can't help it; I have a soft spot in my heart for buck naked propaganda.

The reviewer, James Freeman, obviously sees the book as a literary Swiss Army Knife. I like how he imperiously adds, "Just read this book" at the end. For all the dummies reading it who haven't gotten the message yet. I thought the last line was sort or unnecessary since "If you suffer, or ever have suffered" is sort of a catch all for, you know, humanity.

Too Fine!

Take a little trip.