working shit out

Not even sure why I'm posting today.
The funeral's gonna be Sunday the 25th; doors open at 2, service at 7, end at 8.

Had a dream last night, but I think it was a my-brain kind of dream instead of the other kind. It involved an evil-elf sort of character and rooms with teleport doors, some of which worked while others didn't. Plus dream-politics that gave me very specific but non-rememberable ideas of what was going on and what I was supposed to do about it.

Me and Dave, Fey and Meg all went to the funeral home to make specific arrangements yesterday, and Dad's best friend went with us. That guy is one cool guy. The only comparison to what him and Dad must've been like back in the day, to end up such good friends, is Hawkeye and BJ from MASH. Except they had guns, sneakiness and other dangerous tools instead of surgery. And yes, Dad would've been Hawkeye, except taller and fatter and not in a hospital. Damn right not in a hospital.

Afterwards the four of us young'uns went to the medical examiner's to view the remains before they got cremated. They wheeled the body up in front of a big glass window, with a sheet covering all but the feet and head. Dad had asked Pearl to be sure and insist on seeing the whole thing. We ended up not doing that, though Pearl felt bad about it after. But I think it was important, for more than the visuals, and it was the right thing to do.

I wish there was a way to put it in words so I didn't have to say you have to see the empty body of somebody you love to know the feeling. But I did the reading-people thing, sent the probe out or whatever, and when it got all the way to the middle it just stopped. And for a couple seconds all I could see was matter, just a big pile of matter sitting on a slab with no person in there. Then the faculties of my brain kicked back in, making me remember what his face looked like when he was still behind it. In case anyone was curious, he died wearing an expression best described as grim determination. I would have been surprised to see anything else.

And it makes me annoyed at the usual practice of prettying up the dead bodies' faces and trying to put expressions on them for open-casket funerals. Maybe for people who don't read people or who need a really strong stimulus to get the grief reaction over the hump, it's necessary. Maybe otherwise it'd be way too creepy and the funeral-goers would feel all embarassed in their finery. I dunno. We already knew he'd left. But the old man's Catholic name was Thomas, because he doubted everything, and wanted to see what was there with his own sight. If we hadn't done the same thing there we'd've sorely regretted it. I'd rather have seen him that way, is what I'm saying, than made up in some dogawful fakery whose sole purpose is to make people cry who didn't like him all that much or barely knew him.

That's something I really respect about Dave's reaction, by the way. The politics of this whole funeral business really pisses him off. People who were on bad terms with Dad or hated him or whom he didn't like or respect suddenly showing up and wanting absolution from us in his name. Dave thinks it's a bunch of bullshit, and Dad probably would have too. But when the shit annoys him I talk about social groups and Marcel Mauss, about aegis and how feeling responsible is shit but being responsible matters. And turn to the people and smile, and smile, or look concerned and grieved when appropriate. Makes me want to say shit about live vultures and dead lions and the relative tastiness of vultures.

But the phone's ringing and if I'm gonna hide out at work, I'd better start working.

this old man came rolling home

I promised Dave I wouldn't hurt myself with trying to post too much at work today, but I have to put in something.

Dad took his life this weekend.

We think it was Sunday or maybe Saturday night, because he'd called Dave's cellphone on Saturday afternoon to say my tax refund check came in. To Dave he said "I only call with good news."

His friend Ed found him, which was a mercy to me. Ed and his wife had been in the neighborhood showing some apartments (Ed's in real estate), and he decided to pop upstairs to check on Dad, since he'd been worried about him lately. Ed, much shaken up, stayed to be grilled by the cops on everything he knew about Dad and the circumstances surrounding. Barbara, waiting outside, had everyone from the neighborhood come up to her with their Dad stories: "Oh, I rode the bus with him," or "He used to say hi to me when I was walking my dogs," "He was such a smart, funny guy," and so on. Another mercy.

By the time we got there, the crowd was gone. There were only a couple of cop cars and the medical sedan--not an ambulance, nor a hearse, just a car with a wide area in back and the seats taken out. Dave had come in on the train with me. Amber called him, after Ed called her, just as I'd been getting ready to come back from the weekend. So I wasn't alone when I saw them wheeling his body out over the curb and into the back of the medical sedan, Dave was with me when the detectives ushered us upstairs with a cautionary word about the dead-body smell.

They asked only a few questions, and showed us the note he'd left open on his laptop. They said I could see it and I wanted Dave to see it, too. Bastards took the laptop, though, so I can't give people the full text until they give it back. The reason for this was that it mentioned he had some other "save as draft" emails that he wanted me to email out for him before the cops got there. I assume the things were just final messages to relatives and friends, and he put that in there just to mess with them on the off-chance I didn't get to send them out for him.

Dad's note said among other things that he'd had another TIA, which is a mini-stroke, and really, really didn't fucking want to end his life in a hospital. But that he loved us and was proud of us and hated to leave us with a mess on our hands.

The days since then have been a barrage of phone calls, well-wishings, people stopping by and our attempts to plan a funeral and figure out what elements to include in the service. I intend to say to several more people this week while getting hammered with them while we all reminisce and cry, "The funeral is politics. This is religion." As Dad always used that word--your religion is the things you choose, the people you choose to love.

He was the greatest horrible old man I'll ever know, a man larger than life, whose death made the world smaller. Even miserable, crippled, old and a little freaked out from being poor and in pain all the time, he still made a profound impact on every life he touched. Everyone who was a little uncomfortable with him or had painful issues with him or just couldn't get him out of his funk enough to come visit them is now coming to us for answers. And I realize he was a shield against the world, for me and my sisters and everybody else he knew. Like I said to Ken, he was never one to run from a good fight. But like Dad always said, not every game can be won. You've got to pick the games you play.

hail to the works of water and fire

Wow. What a day. I'd tell you all about it, but I've gotta hit the bathroom and then jet. Maybe I'll have posting time later tonight.

MiƩrcoles con los Amigos Invisibles vol 7.

9:24am-11:45pm yesterday. New personal best!

Which I can tell you with roughly minute of thought is 14.35 hours. Side effect of having all the managers do their departments' punch edits by hand, on paper. Person punches in at 8:24, wasn't scheduled until 9, punched out at 3:30. They cross out the wrong "in" time and write the correct one. That takes away 36 minutes, but in order to represent that in decimals, I have to convert from base 6 to base 10. It's easier to make a whole new number than to subtract: I just count on my fingers to learn that 9 to 3:30 is 6.5 hours. But for those cases where the change is not so straighforward, I have all sorts of things permanently embedded in my brain now. Ten minutes is .1666... of an hour, three minutes is .05, six minutes is .1, besides the ones most people could tell you, like that fifteen minutes is .25.

Side effect of working as an accountant? Getting less bad at math! I wish I could say I planned it all in advance, but I'll sure take advantage of the career path I randomly ended up in!

Whenever I stay really late like that, I punch out on the kitchen or dining room computer so I get the little paper slip from the Squirrel printer. Then, if it breaks my previous record, it goes up on the fridge like a kindergartener's prize doodle. This time I was so pleased with myself (and so groggy) that I stole fridge-word-magnets from all the other stuff me and Dad have up there to make the following haiku:

late night at dumb job
tested my philosophy
but I so aced it

I showed Dad a printout of part of the description of my yesterday dream. Seemed only fair. Yesterday morning, when I told him stright up I had a dream about ghosts, he said "you know I was about to travel last night, and I'd gotten, uh, some things prepared, you know" but then had thought wiser of it and gone to sleep instead. So this morning when I was gonna give him the printout I said "well, you'd pulled the boat up to the wharf, and I sort of borrowed it, so I figured it might have gone somewhere you'd recognize."

When I said "pulled the boat up to the wharf", though, he gave one of those astonished starts, like you would if somebody on the street came up to you and called you by your AIM or Warcraft name or something and was all, "Hey, how's it going?" Ah, invisible-stuff-doing people are all the same. Nobody, no matter how much nifty crap they've done, is ever 100% certain they're not just crazy and making it all up. Guess I stumbled on the exact image he was using for the facility of that movement. Good to know. :D Not that I have designs in the area. I have no desire to go OOB anywhere with a physical analogue. Mindspace is dangerous enough!

He thinks the "swamp" might not refer to a literal swamp, but maybe instead the internal bog of persons who were consumed by appearances in life and neglected the development of their inner selves. This would make sense, since I would imagine dead soldiers would have stronger bonds with each other even as ghosts than this bunch appeared to. Heh. I'm no Dante, but maybe I could come up with some sort of poem illustrating What Happens to Dead Jerks.

Want to say more but am bored and short on ideas. Maybe I'll go find something to read.

#@$^#$%&^@#$%@#$% ADP!

Submitted the paydata batch twenty minutes ago.
Already called Dave for the evening.
Where are my goddamn reports? I want to know that the new tip entry system works to that I can go home secure in the knowledge that the front of house staff will not form a mob around my desk with pitchforks and torches!!!

Here is my current Windows Media playlist. Though many of the files were legitimately purchased by my predecessor Matt through iTunes, I obtained all of these otherhow. Yarr. In no particular order, all hail the shuffler:

Jack the Ripper (White Stripes)
Human Behavior (Bjork)
Atlas (Battles)
Joga (Bjork)
Who Is It (Bjork)
Tiny Rubberband (Moby / Butthole Surfers)
Ultrasonic Sound (Hive)
Black Dog (Led Zeppelin)
If I Could Talk I'd Tell You (Lemonheads)
Into Your Arms (Lemonheads)
Skulls (Lemonheads)
Hey Ya (Outkast)
Haunted (Poe)
Lemon Meringue (Poe)
Precious Things (Tori Amos)
Destroying Angel (Sneaker Pimps)
I Miss The Girl (Soul Coughing)
St Louise Is Listening (Soul Coughing)
Kitchen (Lemonheads)
Great Big No (Lemonheads)
Cactus (Pixies)
Levitate Me (Pixies)
Vamos (Pixies)
Conquest (White Stripes)
Catch Hell Blues (White Stripes)
You Don't Know What Love Is (White Stripes)
Rag And Bone (White Stripes)
Everything Goes To Hell (Tom Waits)
Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground (White Stripes)

Going home now. Left main boss a voicemail. My hands are clean.

were you aware...

that I am still at work, and expect to be here for at least a couple more hours?

I might get another day off out of it though. Not quite sure how to feel about that.

Tuesdays With Abhorrent Fiends vol. 34

Last night I had a dream with ghosts in it.

Now, I know this is more properly subject matter for a "Miercoles con los Amigos Invisibles" entry. But I feel like writing about it now, so we'll see how that goes. Dad thinks it could very likely have been ghosts rather than expressions of my unconscious, but allowed as it's hard to be sure with things like this. Besides which, beings don't tend to communicate unless they have something in common to communicate about. So maybe these were angry, pouty ghosts, who figured I'd listen. I've been feeling happy and confident lately, so my frustration and anger are present but on the back burner so to speak. It's damn easy for me to understand what I'm frustrated about right now though. What I don't understand is why I'm so happy! XD So maybe the dream was me happening to contact persons whose frustration and anger were much more powerful and things they hadn't been able to deal with for one reason or another. Emotional content can be symbolically interpreted either way, as straight dream or as communication. Makes for further pondering, is all.

Earlier parts of the dream I don't remember; I've been having non-remembered dreams lately that seem to address my impatience and frustration with my life situation.
After that, I was getting into a boat. Plain boat, either unpainted or paint worn off by time, no oars, no other passengers. The water the boat was about to go across felt like a lake or large river, an inland body of water. Trees could be seen on the opposite bank in my peripheral vision, but in the direction of "forward" as I got into the boat there was lack of perception. Twilight, dusk/dawn sort of lighting.

When I got there, lighting and background trees and such were the same, but the place was definitely a swamp. There was a sort of camp hastily or poorly made, with crappy tents that were completely failing to not fall apart and gradually sink into the mud. There were people; the tents were their places but they didn't think of them as home. They didn't like them and believed it was unfair and horribly unjust that they were there in the stupid crappy tents in the nasty disgusting swamp.

There was one representative person-image whom I was looking at most of the time. Beneath other characteristics which I'll get to in a minute, he appeared male, caucasian, adult but not elderly. He had reddish-brown hair, short, kinda curly, beard along the jaw. I don't think it mattered to them, but I didn't get any sense of non-maleness from anybody else there. They didn't seem very differentiated at all in their misery. Oh! And everything was greyed out there. I mean, yes, I was seeing in color, there just wasn't anything colorful. It reminds me, now I think of it, of the weird rot forest where I met my the little girl in the treehouse. The scene looked flat and grey because nothing was alive enough to grow. (Even if someone was alive enough to complain. ^_^;; That still counts where I come from!)

They were all horribly diseased. There were lesions all over their skin and where there weren't lesions the skin looked black and blue and sallow. I got info packets of other stuff, though these did not show up as sensory data. Which I think was intentional on the part at least of tour-guide-fellow, otherwise I would have been so out of there. Like the weather--when it wasn't raining it was unbearably hot and the mud was always sticky and sucking and trying to pull them down and drown them. There were stinging, biting insects everywhere and they couldn't escape them. The groundwater was all muddy and just had different bugs in it, the rain was too drizzly and the wrong temperature to be refreshing. Their disease (diseases?) made them feverish and delirious and terribly, terribly thirsty, and itchy and ache all over. As they got weaker, too weak to try to re-pitch their tents or swat the insects that bit them or wipe the mud off their faces, their feelings of unfairness and outrage and homesickness and self-pity got stronger and stronger. Until those feelings were the only things left in their spirits as they sank into the mud and suffocated on it.

If they were real ghosts and not expressions of my frustration with stuff, maybe they were Vietnam vets. It'd make sense given all the imagery. Man, it would suck to bring a death-circumstance like that along with you, and not have anything left in you that would help you remember how to be something else. How to be the person who fought and struggled and bonded with others to the point of getting there as a team, but not even knowing how to band together to get out of there as a team! How much would it suck for you and your buddies to be ghosts together and not even remember each other well enough to want to help each other out of the memory of the horrible swamp? To be so focused on staying alive enough to complain that you can't even remind your friends, who died with you, "hey, guys, we may be dead, but at least we're alive enough to complain!"

I dunno what, if anything, they were hoping I could do to help. Maybe just being somebody alive from elsewhere and seeing what was happening to them, making a story out of it, can give their situation enough different substance that they might have an idea of escape. An idea of a hope of escape, rather, which is even more difficult in its way to get ahold of than the hope itself.

The things you find while looking for a new avatar pic!

This was a balm upon my soul.

A person tells stories about how the guardian saint of the Chicago Transit Authority--namely the Large, Angry Black Woman--repeatedly saved them from disaster.

Go on, read it. I'll wait.

While I'm waiting I'll just read about the Windy City Rollers. Ah, roller derby. One of the few cases where "all-female sport" doesn't sound like an oxymoron AND is still hot...
Also, advance tix are only $15 a pop and it's a short train-and-bus ride from home.

I Ching: it's a thunder over mountains time.

Out of bordeom (and frustration with a Saltation chapter that still hasn't posted!) I backread May entries from '07, '06 and '05.

Which lead me to a very nice I Ching online that I had used in May '05.

To sum up the below, when there is a thunderstorm on the mountainside, little birdies seek shelter! Re-twig your nest edges and hunker down, young Skywalker! If you try to shift the hub or lobby the decision-maker, it is you who will be left shiftily cooling your heels in the lobby!

The I Ching online's version of this advice is as follows:

62. Hsiao Kuo / Preponderance of the Small

---- ----
---- ---- above Ch^en The Arousing, Thunder
---- ---- below K^en Keeping Still, Mountain
---- ----

The Judgement

Preponderance of the Small. Success.
Perseverance furthers.
Small things may be done; great things should not be done.
The flying bird brings the message:
It is not well to strive upward,
It is well to remain below.
Great good fortune.

The Image

Thunder on the mountain:
The image of Preponderance of the Small.
Thus in his conduct the superior man gives preponderance to reverence.
In bereavement he gives preponderance to grief.
In his expenditures he gives preponderance to thrift.

The Lines

() Six in the second place means:
She passes by her ancestor
And meets her ancestress.
He does not reach his prince
And meets the official.
No blame.

porn ethics, playfulness, and pouting.

Despite Roger's encouragement I have decided not to make the assumed-identity phonecall which would put me in control of the crazyperson's message board. Talking to a crazyperson on the phone is bad enough. Committing to spend my precious, precious internet time adminning for a bunch of psychotic (well, not so much in the technical sense), bigoted lowlifes is a poor use of my bandwidth.

However I made the most amusing little cut-and-pastey image in paint which depicts Tony's "great porn dragon". It's an artist's rendering of the dragon from Revelations, with a suitably caricatured Jewish face replacing one of its heads and a crude MS-Paint-ified phallus, pouncing upon a naked chick who is very stereotypically white. And then it has some inflammatory words, Tony's pic, and says he "approved this message." I'd post it here but I like to keep my frontpage Safe For Work. Half the reason I'm not back on my board right now is I wouldn't resist going to my thread and I do not want that pic in my browser window when I'm at work. Viewing anything that constitutes porn on a work computer is a fireable offense most places.

The whole rhetoric of the crazyperson site, though, provoked a most agreeable discussion about porn back at the ranch. There is general accord regarding how sad it is that most porn is made with the assumption that you've got to remove love and tenderness along with your clothes if you're screwing on camera. True, it hasn't been all that long since the segment of the population who doesn't go in for religious sex-guilt-flailing gained prominency. Equally true, there are lots of people who are so messed up in the head about sex that they can't get turned on without a massive shame element.

But porn shouldn't encourage people's guilt feelings about sex! Sex should be celebratory! I am most indebted to Dave for his finding of what non-fail-infused porn there is to be found, or things that possess a modicum of fail which is ameliorated by other good qualities. I think if I were in funds it would be worthwhile to own the entire Nicole Sheridan & friends softcore DVD collection. Playfulness is a part of sexuality that can build a bridge out of shame and into good and happy places. There is great playfulness in, to pick an example completely at random, Bikini Pirates. Highly recommended.

The absence of playfulness can do strange things to a person. Look at Dad, for example. I have been exhorting him--scolding, even--on the subject of playfulness a lot lately. It makes me have diffuse, generalized anger towards all parents who make their chidren Greyfaces, persons incapable of play or who feel constrained from it by massive guilt. Most, I imagine, do it unintentionally, by not paying attention to the effects of their parenting because they are distracted in various ways. It also does make me frustrated with Dad. He has gladly spent years of his life on the solving of every problem he could name, global and personal, mundane and magical, except the big glaring hole in his psyche where there ought to be laughter and silliness. Wut?!?

Of course I also have a big glaring hole in my psyche, in the area of Let's Fighting! I do not like battle, confrontation, argument, what have you. Not that I'm totally incapable of it--once you've frozen up the first couple times you get to learn you can react. But if "seeing how things are about to move" in the basketball or flying flock of birds sense is the root of fire magic, then battle is its heart. And as it is my goal to become well-rounded and proficient in the use of all four elements, this is a thing I need to address. I have been saying this for years.

It has come to my attention in recent months that my problems with fire have to do with my problems with water. This makes sense if we're thinking about water and fire as "horizontal" and earth and air as "vertical". If the heart of fire magic is battle, the heart of water is drama, that emotional current in an interaction that captures and holds one's attention. Again, and it always bears repeating, no thing can exist in the world-we-know without partaking of all four elements. So it's easy with a little thought to understand the "water" element of an argument or the "fire" element of an advertisement. They exist in a dialectical relationship, each edge of reality constantly tumbling back against the other.

But to acknowledge that I have serious, hobbling issues with the fight side of that dialectic, means I have to acknowledge I have problems with the drama side as well. You can see it in the way I present myself, the way I interact with people. Very much with the dry wit and keeping everything at arms' length emotionally, the semi-androgynous professor-type who doesn't get upset about anything. The anti-drama and non-fighting persona. Which is all very well and good for most aims in ordinary life, but for one who aspires to magery it is a serious fucking handicap. It is a safe and comfortable interaction paradigm to hide behind. Because I have deep-seated fears about all horizontal magics, these things that take place between living creatures in the same mode of being. Most principally, air magic is for dealing with "cats" and poems and times; earth magic is for dealing with trees and elevators and taigs. But fire and water magic are for SCARY HUMANS WHO WANT TO EAT YOUR BRAIN AND SOUL.

Meh. I have been getting better at using water magic although it is still not comfortable for me. Nor am I so totally incapable of the little works of fire as I used to be. But it is still a thing that makes me pouty and growly, and really honest-to-dog nervous in the pit of my stomach. (Just thinking about it theoretically makes me the nervous!) Which, knowing how spiritual growth tends to go for me, is a sign that this is definitely something I'm about to be able to make progress on. I never get pouty and sulky until the solution to a problem is practically in the bag.

bah, it's the same song I always write, but the words are different.

[we will]

the nursemaid with her flaming sword
that points in all directions
one day she will grow grayed and bored
and crave her own protection
what saves us floats between our lips
to kiss their intersection

we recognized each other once
and will again, will again
our dry, cracked souls
will soften, soak and fill again
we will again

the hound that chased us from the lawn
where grass was always greener
will find new sidewalks to piss on
and we will be the cleaner
life is a bitch, she's hungry
you can't feed her till you've seen her

we recognized each other once
and will again, will again
our dry, cracked souls
will soften, soak and fill again
we will again

the tiny voice that sings behind the words
and makes them clearer
the girl inside this woman's heart
is learning not to fear her
my prize is not to gaze within
but turn into the mirror

we recognized each other once
and will again, will again
our dry, cracked souls
will soften, soak and fill again
we will again, we will

strange headfellows

So here's a pretty pickle.

Some Republican nazi-humper who failed to win a nomination in the red, red state of Indiana was mentioned over at You Are Dumb the other day. In search of a larf I went over to his forum to see what infiltrations were there to be macked. Instead the guy posts, "Call me at my law offices sometime and I'll set you up with admin privileges!"

Which was rather clever of him, between caller ID and the ability of most lawyers to ferret truth out of merehumescum in casual conversation. I could outmatch him verbally and call him from a payphone...but is it worth it? The selfpic on his website gives me the jibblies. And he believes a conspiracy of evil Jews (as opposed to nice ones--whom, he protests far too loudly, really do exist) in control of the porn industry constitute a fulfillment of some of the end times prophecies in the book of Revelations. Being able to spew that kind of rhetoric in a texty box is one thing; adlibbing it hunched over a payphone is quite another.

It comes back to a question I've been pondering recently. Which, among the values I currently espouse, is of an excellence great enough to merit real action?

My commitment to Operation Mindfuck has been existent but weak ever since my teenagerhood. I think all teenagers yearn to be part of OM, or some form of it, wherever they find themselves. I do better at instigating creative order, a skill more prized by people likely to pay me money than admired by fellow worshippers of chaos. I became a Discordian because I need it, not the other way around. Which is why I've no intention of inviting others into a Cabal which principally exists to prevent me from going the boring, evil kind of crazy.

Besides which, I've got other projects that need doing.

Learning to play stringy thing for one. I wonder if I can ask Mom if she has a spare bass she's willing to part with. I hear bass lines in my head more easily than guitar chord sequences. (Granted, I should practice guitar anyway to make my fingers smarter. I couldn't find the tabs I'd written out for [where home is] last night, which annoyed me!) But just some instrument I can carry in my hands and manage to play while singing. My songs have been getting technically more interesting, which means more difficult to play, and I have got to catch up at some point.

Working on Anatomy of Trust for another. I have enough now to build a skeleton. A real, honest-to-dog skeleton of a book. With things in their proper logical order and everything. I could institute a new notebook and put it all together in one place. Such a notebook 2.0 would be the ideal prep for a program of research to fit my theory in with the limping sprawl of modern psychosocial science.

Giving good crits to Roberta for a third. Having a real human being who gives me reams of her poetry and seems sane and willing to listen to good notes could be a rush beyond compare. If I could just get off my sweet malingering ass and actually write the damnthings up.

Then there are the things which are not projects, but have sacredness for different reasons. Being an awesome girlfriend to Dave, a good sister to Fey and Meg, a patient and supportive daughter to Dad, an employee who is an asset to a hopefully non-dying restaurant.

Sigh. At least this list of things I care about will come in handy come birthday time, when persons of all sorts love to re-evaluate themselves. In my case with an only slightly higher level of insane scrutiny than is the norm. Hang on to the stick for dear life, stack the stack of spinny, loudly argumentative plates on top, and see if it balances. What everybody does in choosing the paths they will follow.

Tuesdays With Abhorrent Fiends vol. 33

Quote of the week:

"I find it difficult to envisage a mathematical theory of mother-love, and I doubt the world would be a better place if some misguided genius were to formulate one."

~Ian Stewart, Does God Play Dice?: The New Mathematics of Chaos

This was originally my response to Amber's comment on my last post, "now you know what I did last night." However as it went on and on I realized it wouldn't be fair to Amber to make her read that whole durn thing in a tiny comment window. In addition, twouldn't hardly be fair to me to start a new Tuesdays all over from the start when I had a perfectly nice one brewing right here.

I've been reading Lackey's "Music To My Sorrow", and I've become quite fond of Hosea Songmaker, the Bard from the Ozark hills. Definitely putting an accent into the stream of consciousness feeding into my wordmaker. Regional diction is a tough thing to use well and Lackey doesn't usually attempt it, but it works well in the book. An eBook a week when you're stuck up a creek, with your foot in the hole in the bottom...yeesh, I better write a song soon. All this prose is making me limerick!

Yay! You read it and commented on it!
Trust me, I did not seriously expect anybody to respond in kind. ^_^;; Is to mental health like the kind of crazy weightlifting bodybuilders do: requiring of needless lifestyle changes, fiendishly impractical and bound to make one's presence slightly off-putting to those who don't share one's fetish.

I shall repay your kindness by making fun of your grammar!

Look who forgot which "they're" she was using:
"but their should be effort to make a good fit."
And isn't this a revealing change of narrative voice:
"they might want to do some self examination to see if they are really being honest with myself."
:D Tee hee hee. But is understandable also; you were describing your own position vis-a-vis congruity of declared values with actual behaviors. I am quite fond of saying that when it comes to personality construction, each of us is our only hard data set.

Yes, I also disapprove of choosing a profession of religion where there is a sharp contrast between that religion's dictates and one's own values. Dishonesty, as we were discussing on the phone yesterday, is a waste of valuable energy! (Besides being a great naughtiness, I know.)

But I like being able to delineate the different pathways of choice. What, for example, about the person under duress, whom necessity prevents from being able to commit suicide or otherwise escape? There is, I think, in this and other cases, an honorable use of a path that would otherwise be morally distasteful, and a waste. One can choose even so great a dishonesty as the only hope of offering confusion to the enemy.

(Hey, confusion to the enemy ain't original, but it occurs to me it'd make a great motto in Latin. Y'know. Could put it on letterhead and everything.)

How I read it, Amber, when you say you have a strong desire for ethics, is that you have warm fuzzy feelings about codified ethics. You want everybody on your team to be playing by the same rulebook. And it'd be raather convenient if the rulebook was something everyone could get out, riffle through, point at, say "SEE?!?!!" and effectively end an argument.

Part of what disgruntles me about Catholicism is the concentration of the authority to definitively interpret in the hands of a centralized clerical bureaucracy. (Hee hee, clerical is a pun.) Yes, it does limit the temptation of the average congregant to use their interpretive mettle to cow and undermine their fellow Christians. It also robs the serious convert of an important dimension of the intended relationship with God.

And if you rebut, "Well, Protestantism must be more to your liking then," you'd have me on structural grounds. The problem there is cultural. Various branches of Protestant culture in America have veered into such wild tangles I wouldn't trust a practicing psychologist to get out of them in one piece. (Granted, your run-of-the-mill psychologist has rather poor social skills. Jerks.) So finding one of the good churches out of a hat would take some major sorcery. In the technical sense.

And I've been to good churches. They bore the bejesus outta me.

*collapses giggling*

I still say the written dogmas of a faith should be maybe the second or third step in the process of choosing a religion. We agree that it is better for individuals to engage in behaviors which match their declared values. Could we not generalize this judgment, and say it is also better for the behaviors of a group to match both the spirit and the letter of their stated goals? Perhaps the best thing to do in such a case would be to join the religion anyway, and try to wrest the behaviors and vision of the group back into its more appropriate form. (The would-be reformer type, but the better kind.) Which is an exhausting and life-altering path. To my eye, the congruity of one's personal values would have to be exceeding close to be worth such a choice.