Wednesday, December 31, 2003

170 End of the Year Wrap-Up, December 31, 2003

I made a note in April: "Mice who lived in enriched cages with toys and wheels had far more neurons in a key part of the brain than mice in bare cages." So the one with the most toys really does win?

I made a note in August: "Free lance photographers earn 35% less than 18 years ago."

I'm still wondering about Richard Grasso. How many people would refuse a pay package for more than they are worth? He was fired for accepting his $140 million package--it appears.

I made this note in April: In my father's lifetime--there were 12 democracies when he was born and 121 when he died.

I must be ambitious in the morning when I take these notes because these are the books I noted and thought I would read, but haven't:
"Sudden Sea: The great Hurricane of 1938" by RA Scotti
"The five people you meet in heaven" by Mitch Albom.
"Betting on myself" by Steven Crist.
"Dogs never lie about love" by Jeffery Masson
"The Stones of Summer" by Dow Mossman
"Shelby Foote" by C. Stuart Chapman
"Doing our own thing" by John McWhorter
"An unfinished life" by Robert Dallek
"Escape from slavery" by Francis Bok
"Storyteller's Daughter" by Saira Shah
"The mind and the brain" by Begley and Schwartz
"The retirement savings time bomb" by Ed Slott
"Beyond the river" by Ann Hagedorn

Websites noted during the year, but still not checked:

Recipes copied and not tried:
Crab cakes
Spinach bacon deviled eggs
Creamsicle Cake
Rice pudding
Hot chicken salad
Crustless pumpkin pie
German apple cake

#169 New Year's Eve

These years come and go so fast. I haven't even made a list of problems to solve (my replacement for New Year's Resolutions) in 2004. We're debating about what to do. There is a jazz concert at church tonight beginning at 5:30. I could drop my husband at the door and park, we could attend the concert, and be home at a decent hour. He went to his men's Bible study group at 7 a.m. this morning, and that went well, and he's had a few walks around the grounds in the last few days.

The "children" will stop by tomorrow for turkey sandwiches and snacks, the makings of which I purchased today at Kroger's using someone else's loyalty card. I bought 4 tiny bottles of wine so we could toast the new year, and noticed that the check out slip recorded my birthday as October 10, 1910. Wow. Time is going faster than I thought, and I'm much older than I dreamed.

#168 The gift of Helps

Yesterday I visited a friend recently released from Dodd Hall at Ohio State Medical Center where she was in rehab for a fractured pelvis, sustained about three weeks ago when she fell in her kitchen while mopping the floor. We met in 1978 when she was the part time temporary Agricultural Librarian at OSUL and I was the part time, temporary contract agricultural economics bibliographer funded by an AID grant for a special collection on foreign credit. Eventually she became the Journalism Librarian and I became the Veterinary Medicine Librarian, fields in which neither of us had started, so we‘ve stayed in touch over the years.

Back to the visit. When the emergency squad arrived after her fall, they had to break in because she couldn’t move. So a repairman was there when I arrived who was creating a new door frame, and he will come back to hang a new metal door when it arrives. Finding good service people is always a headache, so Eleanor uses Angie’s List, which is how she found him. Homeowners support the list to receive recommendations and ratings of services in over 250 categories.

We chatted a bit with the young man as he was about to leave and gave her the bill. “Do you have someone to bring you food?” he inquired of Eleanor who was sitting in a wheelchair. “My church can bring you meals.” Although I and other friends had offered to bring in meals, I was stunned that a complete stranger had volunteered his church! My church is located across the field from her condo, and I don’t think we are set up to do that for non-members.

Turns out he attends a small Baptist church on the near west side of the city, gradually losing membership as people move to the suburbs, as his family has done. They are a wonderful, warm group, he told us. I should say so! They warmed my day.

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

#167 Wireless libraries

I just checked the Wireless Librarian Web Site, which tells which libraries in the U.S. are set up for wireless networks, and see that North Dakota has more sites than Ohio. The only public library in Ohio which has it is in Euclid, a suburb of Cleveland. Come on, Columbus, home of Battelle, Chemical Abstracts, OCLC, and Ohio State University Libraries*. The information mecca of the mid-west, home of the university with the great-grandmother of all automated library systems (LCS, now retired) is lagging behind. Maybe there are more, but they haven't alerted this site.

*The Law Library and Health Sciences Library at Ohio State do have wireless but are not part of OSUL.

Monday, December 29, 2003

#166 Girl meets God

Book club is meeting next Monday night and the selection is "Girl meets God" by Lauren F. Winner (Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2002). The one copy in OhioLink was checked out, so I've borrowed a copy from another member of the group. First chapter has held my interest. Study guide on the net helps. Having been a convert to orthodox Judaism, then a convert to Christianity, Winner has certainly put more thought and effort into her faith than most of us garden variety Christians.

#165 Meeting a champ

Ohio State 2003 football team captain and scholar Craig Krenzel doesn’t exactly have rock star status in Columbus, Ohio, but it’s close. My daughter was waiting in line at a store with Christmas purchases, when she recognized that Craig and another football player were in line behind her. After paying for her purchases, she turned her head and wished them luck in the Fiesta Bowl (where he led the team to the 2003 championship last year), and walked into a wall.

Sunday, December 28, 2003

#164 Lost and Found

In writing class about a year ago, the instructor asked us to go around the room and suggest words for two columns of information--what you might toss in the trash (junk mail, beer can, expired coupons, etc.) , and what you would place in a shoe box used for small treasures (postcard, baby teeth, dog tag license, were some suggestions). A third list was words describing a snow storm (log smoke, deep drifts, dead battery, etc.) I think we developed a female character from the first two lists and incorporated her into a winter story using words from the third list. Or maybe we did two stories. It’s been awhile, but that’s my recollection. Nancy Zafris was her name

While waiting for the children to descend on the nativity scene at church this morning, I looked at the next cubicle (there are four, gated like store fronts in a mall, two used for the library, and two to grow), and noticed the “lost and found” items were stacked on the shelves.

Adults (I presume)
3 umbrellas
2 casseroles dishes
1 glass pie dish
1 glass deviled egg dish
4 Bibles, NIV, Amplified
dark forest green knit head band
3 insulated metal coffee mugs for cars
Dr. Scholl’s moleskin package
Casio handheld calculator
Glasses case
Albuterol Sulfate Solution
1 red glove
1 pair of black leather gloves
Man’s white dress shirt, size 17 neck
Book, “The treasure principle”
Book, “Understanding the last days”
Book, “Pride and prejudice”
Book, “Bad girls of the Bible”
Book-of-the-month-club canvas bag
Ceramic white cherub
small notebook

plastic hippo
Spiderman activity book
Snowman sequined purse
Barbie purse
plastic baby bottle with nipple
toy plastic pliers
plastic turtle
“Very hungry caterpillar” video
Black plastic hair band
right athletic shoe, about size 8--really used
right black patent Mary Jane, size 3--brand new
Timex athlete style watch, Velcro band, working with correct date
Plush puppy, Dalmatian
Book, “Fall secrets”
Book, “Meet Kirsten”
3 jackets, various sizes and colors
White hair ribbon
Plastic purse
Hello Kitty music box
pink underpants size 8, Hanes
plastic turtle
clothe diaper, ca. 1963 style (pre-disposable)
four Bibles, children’s style, bright covers

I wonder what family stories, arguments, and upsets go along with these lost items? I’m not sure I could get a story out of this--real lists aren’t nearly as interesting as make believe lists. This is probably representative of most Protestant churches’ lost and found collections.

Saturday, December 27, 2003

#163 Killing the golden turkey

In Ohio, employers could be sued if an employee was injured in a non-work related auto accident and driving her own car if she didn’t have insurance to cover her injuries--called Scott Pontzer (85 Ohio St.3d 660). I was on a jury in such a case. It is referred to in one article as "the golden turkey" award because it even extended to family members of the employee with no connection at all to the employer. The Ohio Supreme Court recently changed all that in Westfield Ins. Co. v Galatis, 100 Ohio St.3d 216, 2003-Ohio-5849, according to a recent article. It now applies only if the accident happens within the course of employment. This brings Ohio in line with most other states.

The Columbus Dispatch today noted that a cow is not a car according to a recent 11th District Court of Appeals decision. A motorist tried to sue a farmer who had no liability insurance through the uninsured motorist clause of her auto insurance when she was injured hitting his cow. I couldn’t tell from the editorial if this odd law suit was because of the Scott Pontzer decision which had also been mentioned. I thought I could find this case through Google, but I actually found another Scott Pontzer case which involved a different cow and different motorist.

#162 Criminal SUVs

I saw a small headline in the paper yesterday, "Good Samaritan killed by SUV in hit-and-run accident."

Friday, December 26, 2003

#161 Cookies, pt. 1

I subscribe to the e-mail editions (easier to read) of Collector’s Newsletter because I like their amusing, home-spun stories and old fashioned recipe requests. Today’s was this one:


1 1/2 cups butter-flavor shortening
1 1/2 cups peanut butter
2 cups granulated sugar, divided
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
4 eggs
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 (10 ounce) package Milk Duds

In a mixing bowl, cream the shortening, peanut butter, 1 1/2 cups of the sugar and brown sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Combine dry ingredients; gradually add to the creamed mixture. Chill for at least 1 hour.

Shape 4 teaspoons of dough around each Milk Dud so it is completely covered. Roll balls in remaining sugar. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees F for 10 to 12 minutes or until set. Cool for 5 minutes before removing to wire racks.
Yields about 8 dozen
I don’t buy much candy, but didn’t remember seeing Milk Duds recently. But they are still around, and are named “dud” because the original shape didn’t work out. Working from and marketing their failure, the creators chose that name.

Cookies, pt. 2

My daughter made 120 dozen Christmas cookies. Not little, finger cookies, but big giant ones, and elaborately decorated. Placed on platters, wrapped in green cellophane, tied in silver ribbon, they were delivered to friends and family on Christmas Eve. I unwrapped mine and redistributed them into ziplock bags for freezing. If I eat one a day, they will last about 6 weeks. But today, I ate two. I'll try harder tomorrow. Yummy!

#160 The Good Patient

Comments overheard at the surgery clinic (rotator cuff) Tuesday and Wednesday between my husband and various staff members.

"Now, you will feel a little giddy, like you've had too much to drink."

"I've never had too much to drink."

"When you wake up you might feel like you have a hang-over."

"I've never had a hang-over."

"Are you allergic to any pain medicine?"

"I don't know; I've never had any."

"You could take Aleve or ibuprofen product--or whatever you use when you
have a headache."

"I've never had a headache."

“For awhile, use the bathtub instead of a shower, so you don’t get the shoulder wet.”

“We don’t have a bathtub.”

The Good Patient, pt. 2

When I helped my husband get ready for his first shower after surgery yesterday morning, I covered the incision with plastic wrap and taped it down with wide masking tape. The bathtub had been removed by a previous owner, but we have three showers.

In the afternoon after a big Christmas dinner, my daughter and I were cleaning up in the kitchen, loading the dishwasher and putting the left-overs away. I opened the drawer with the wraps--plastic and wax and foil.

“Honey, would you go up to the bedroom and get the plastic wrap?”

Her eyes got very wide. “I don’t even want to know,” she said and quickly left the room.

#159 Joe's double

I like Joe Lieberman, I really do. But he reminds me of Willie Tanner, of the 1980s comedy “Alf” played by Max Wright. Joe looks and talks like the TV/movie actor Max Wright. Same whiney voice, manner of speaking, body language. It is uncanny.

Alf may have a talk show. Not sure how this works when one person controls the puppet and another is the personality/voice. The comedy series was very popular in Germany, and used a German voice over, obviously.

Thursday, December 25, 2003

#158 Merry Christmas to All

Everyone had gone home with the new gifts packed away in the shopping bags in which they had arrived, beautifully wrapped. Deciding I would figure out my new laptop tomorrow, I sat down and clicked on the TV. To my pleasure, C-Span was running Book-TV, my favorite week-end program, even though it was Thursday. John McWhorter was discussing his book on discourse in American English, “Doing our own thing,” at the Clean well lighted place for books (apparently the name of a store with a whimsical name) in San Francisco.

"McWhorter details how cultural change is turning the English language upside down in America today, but he explains that it hasn't always been this way. He marshals an impressive array of examples to show that when Americans were comparatively less well-off and well-educated, they understood and appreciated speeches that would be far too intricate, too lofty in their ideas, and simply too long for modern audiences."

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

#157 The new notebook

I bought myself a new coffee-time notebook yesterday--a purple Miquel Rius (made in Spain) with about 5 sections tinted various colors. My other one, started in Oct. 2002, was all filled up and I was writing in the margins and on the index pages. I thought I could make it to the new year, but there were no clean spots left. I had it divided into 4 sections by general topics that interest me, but after about half a year, was writing everywhere.

Sometimes I start an essay, or a poem, and finish it at home. Mostly I jot down things I see in the papers (WSJ, USA Today, Columbus Dispatch) that I find interesting, and know I would forget by the time I drive home (1.5 miles).

Today I saw 55 shopping bags and boxes at Panera's ready for Christmas parties. The young assistant manager told me she had come in at 2:30 a.m. So I'll probably write something about that--like how the low carbohydrate fad is put aside for the holidays, but jotted it down in my new notebook to percolate for awhile.

The new notebook, pt. 2

Before I put the old one away, I looked for the careful list I made Friday about church events listed in the paper for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I was short on space and couldn't find it any where. Found a few notes about cat shows I didn't attend; a recipe for German apple cake I never made; a partial sentence about the Obetz zucchinifest law suit; a statistic from Ricoh, "up to 60% of white-collar time is spent managing documents" and my note wondering about the source of that statistic; numerous URLs to check at a future date, like I never checked. No list of Christmas programs.

So here it is in a nut-shell. I found brass ensembles, magnificent choirs, live nativity scenes, traditional, informal and rock special music, old fashioned hymn sings, a Latin mass service, a 1928 prayer book service, special family services, and communion at midnight.

But I also found three different churches offering free meals and fellowship, open to anyone who wanted to come. From the names and locations, I think they are African American churches. I think they've got the Christmas spirit.

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

#156 Thoughts at the surgery clinic

The rotator cuff repair had been suggested last February--but he needed his arm to close out his architectural practice. So this morning at 6 a.m. we arrived at the orthopedic clinic. He actually chose Dec. 23 because he figured it would be a good week to watch football!

Random thoughts at the clinic:
His heart rate goes up 5 points when I take his hand.
Normally a very quiet guy, he uses an entire day's quota of words in the 10 minutes after he receives the block.
My Starbucks cup has the "hot" warning in French, not Spanish.
There's a broken spot in the new tile floor--underlayment is uneven.
The attendant's name is "Angel."
The trendy decorator colors--purple, burgandy, rust, moss green, dark yellow ochre and aqua are the same we picked for the new veterinary library before I retired in 2000.
His chart says he is 157 lbs., 5'9". I need to lose weight.
His right shoulder is marked with ink, and he is asked 3 different times which shoulder will be repaired. It's good to be sure, I suppose.
In the waiting room, a young female patient arrives with her husband, her mother, her aunt, her sister and her grandmother. Maybe this is their Christmas?
The lobby is decorated in retro-50s blonde furniture with wide flaring arms--looks like a 1949 ad in a woman's magazine.
There are 3 television sets; 3 books on the shelves. A sign of the times?
At 9 a.m. they call me to recovery. He is eating ice chips and smiling.
We are home by 10:30.
Tomorrow the pain.

#155 Starting late, better than never

Penelope Fitzgerald’s “Afterlife; Essays and Criticisms” appeared on a top 10 books of the year 2003 list. One reviewer of the collection said she didn’t publish her first novel until she was 60, then became very successful before she died in 2000.

Another reviewer in the Washington Post commented about her: “Two grandfathers were archbishops; her father, Evoe Knox, became the editor of Punch. The extended clan included the illustrator Ernest Shepard, a brilliant World War II code breaker and the witty Catholic apologist and translator Ronald Knox. Little Penelope grew up in Hampstead, frequented Harold Monro's legendary Poetry Bookshop, met Walter de la Mare.”

So, I’m thinking she probably isn’t a role model for starting late, because she appears actually to have had an enriched early start.

Monday, December 22, 2003

#154 Missions accomplished

I left the house with a sack of used kitty litter, a library book, a grocery bag of 36 hamburger rolls for Faith Mission to be dropped off at the church, and about 50 Christmas cards for the mail box. Each item got to the correct destination. There is an angel of multitasking watching over me.

Sunday, December 21, 2003

#153 December 21st, a poem

Christmas will be here in only four days.
House is festive--we found the artificial poinsettia
in the attic with other mementoes of holidays past.
A big roll of wrapping paper--blue with snowmen--and scissors
wait on the dining room table for those final exchange gifts
we’ll take to Indiana, socks for a guy, gloves for a girl.
The decorative shopping bag waits for its next assignment.

Christmas will be here in only three days.
It’s always been a pagan holiday, but now it’s more so.
The cranky ACLU is just spinning its wheels in snow
because not even Christians can make it religious these days.
Mistletoe, holly, evergreen trees, candles, and Santa Claus,
feasting, caroling, office parties, gift giving and shopping.
It’s all worldly or completely secular, therefore legal.

Christmas will be here in only two days.
The early Christians scooped up local winter festivities
in a giant snowball, soft and white, and pronounced it holy.
The godly let the Angles, Saxons and Romans keep their ways.
People do not care who they worship if they have a good time.
Our Puritan forefathers tried to stamp out the revelry.
They were the nay sayers of yesterday, spoiling the party.

Christmas will be here in only one day.
Yes, there really is a new born babe, and a sweet young mother,
and angels announcing to shepherds in the fields, Peace on Earth.
But Rachel is weeping because Herod is killing her sons.
One baby lives on only to die on a cross for my sin,
including celebrating his coming rather than going,
his birth, not his death and resurrection.

#152 Traveling with Pilgrim, pt. 1

While returning from Indianapolis this morning, I pulled out my tape player and tapes and held them up to the heater on the dash. Left my briefcase in the car overnight at 27 degrees, every voice was verrrrrry slooooooowly telling me the story of Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan.

I had never read this Christian classic, so had checked out the dramatized version from the church library. A foreign language major in college, I was not required to take any English or American literature courses, and feel somewhat uneducated in my own language’s heritage. Pilgrim’s Progress is a classic for good reason--next to the Bible, this title has probably sold more copies than any other because it is completely understandable in any language, any era, any medium.

Bunyan endured twelve years of imprisonment for his faith, and during this time developed the concepts that appear in Pilgrims Progress which he released in 1678. Pilgrim’s Progress has absolutely no subtlety. It is an allegory, and the characters Pilgrim meets have names like Sloth, Faithful, Hopeful, Formalist, Timorous, Mistrust, Prudence and Piety, Flatterer, Ignorance and Atheist. No problem at all figuring out their role in Pilgrim’s journey.

The places he visits on his way the Celestial Kingdom when he gets off the straight and narrow highway are Vanity Fair and Lucre and a prison in the Land of Doubt. It was in the Land of Doubt that he and Hopeful are entrapped and imprisoned by the giant named Despair with “rats and bats, mice and lice” and they are beaten unmercifully and encouraged to commit suicide. Perhaps it was my imagination, but Bunyan seemed to spend more time and description on the dungeons and dragons of Despair than any other challenge.

Through the good Christians of Mt. Zion Church in Pensacola Florida, you can download in html, RTF, PDF or text file the complete works of John Bunyan. There is a Quick Time movie, Illustrated Overview of Pilgrim’s Progress by Judith Bronte with music on the web.

Traveling with Pilgrim, pt. 2

After writing about listening to this famous classic on tape while returning from Indianapolis, I suddenly remembered I might have a print copy. I looked in the obvious places, finally locating it in a small stack of books not pretty enough or sturdy enough to be displayed with my other old books. I had picked it up about ten years ago for a dime at a yard sale.

Its bibliographic details and provenance are: edited for school use by George W. Latham, published in Chicago and New York by Scott, Foresman and Company in a series called “The Lake English Classics,” in 1906. However, it still had a bookplate declaring it a part of War Service Library, of the American Library Association, stamped “Camp Library, Camp Funston, Kansas, presented by the faculty and students, Sioux Falls High School, Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The introduction is reprinted at Wholesome Words.

Saturday, December 20, 2003

151 Christmas in Indiana

Each year there is a new face at the family Christmas in Indiana. Sometimes it is a baby, a spouse, a significant other, a fiancé or someone who is a friend with no where to go. This year it was Isaiah, the grandson of our niece Julie. On our first date my husband showed me a photo of sweet little Julie, his niece, and now she is a grandmother. Unreal. Aren’t we too young to be great-great aunt and uncle? And we met Jennifer’s fiancé--after they finally arrived two hours late, having taken a wrong turn.

When our children were little, Christmas was always at my mother-in-law’s. Then as they aged and a houseful of company was difficult for them, it was all moved to Jean’s, my sister-in-law. A few years in the late 90s we went to Bob and Krista’s--the twins were babies then, and Aunt Roberta was in her early 90s. I still see her sitting by the fireplace with a lap robe in their family room. Then when Jean’s daughter Joan had four to keep track of and nice big house, it was easier, I suppose, to move the gathering to her house and everyone bring food.

I take along a couple of pies, a small suitcase for an overnight and wonder why I ever complained back in the early 70s that they never came to our house for Christmas. I must have been crazy, or else traveling with little kids was harder than I remember.

Friday, December 19, 2003

#150 Third Party Talk

“On both the Republican and Democratic sides of the fence, there is talk about third parties. Libertarians and many conservatives within the Republican Party are deeply frustrated with President Bush's budgetary profligacy and a number of other issues. The libertarians feel the war in Iraq has been a mistake and are gravely worried about the erosion of civil liberties under the Patriot Act. Conservatives support the war and are not too concerned about lost civil liberties, but they are deeply concerned about homosexual marriage, the failure to get conservative judges confirmed and other social issues.”Bruce Bartlett

Republicans aren’t that thrilled about the Patriot Act either, Bruce. Or how about the administration’s musings on being more inclusive about illegals, “who want to work and contribute,” rights for the undocumented worker .” Bush’s domestic spending is so out of control, that the election of a Democrat will make no differences on that traditionally Republican platform. It was the third party candidate that drew off enough Republican votes to get Clinton elected. Some Republicans probably remember that. And didn’t Pat Buchanan and some green candidates draw off some important votes for Gore in crucial precincts?

There’s no reason at this point to have a Republican president, except for the unborn babies of America who have fewer rights than butcher Saddam, than the illegal immigrants, than the gays who want to walk to the altar, than the crooks at Enron, fewer rights even than that sexual predator in Indiana who buried teen-agers in his basement. If it will keep one baby alive, one abortion clinic closed, one abortionist out of business, I’ll vote for Dubya. Reluctantly.

Thursday, December 18, 2003

#149 How to donate books, Pt. 1

When I was a librarian, this was my “dream donor:”
Contacted me with his offer.
Supplied a list of author/title/date.
I returned the list with my selection.
He brought the books in his clean, sweet smelling truck to the loading dock.
Unfortunately, dream donors don’t come along often. Usually it went like this:
Grandson about 50 years old showed up at the library.
Had cleaned out the hay loft of the barn.
Found grandpa’s old, moldy, dirty books from vet school in 1920.
Was positive these were of value because they were old.
Wanted staff to help unload his car, not very clean and not parked very close.
When I received a large number of book donations or had withdrawn them from service (called de-acquisitioning in library-speak), I was not allowed to sell them from the office/library. I sent them to the Friends of the Libraries Book Sale. But one year I had such a fabulous group of titles, I had my assistant run an author/title list which I sent to the various faculty members who were collectors of veterinary titles. That way they knew what to look for when they got to the sale (many thousands of books and hundreds of buyers), plus they could look up the bibliographic details ahead of time.

How to donate books, Pt. 2

Here’s what I would recommend for someone who loves his books, has treated them well, and wants to find them a loving home (you wouldn’t drown your kittens--books deserve the same care), preferably in a library collection.
Make an author/title list, looking at each book and sorting as you go (keep, don’t keep).
Say good-bye and thank them for their many years of service as you handle them the final time.
Send the list to interested parties (nieces, nephews, children, friends, etc.) with a deadline for response.
Delete selected titles if any are chosen and then send the list to the librarian of your chosen library.
Box up her selections and deliver the books either personally or by UPS.
Once you’ve got your list, you just might, if looking for something to do, go to to see the going rate for these titles, which will give you an estimate for your taxes (donation). I did this for a yard sale one summer, and placed the information inside the book. In all cases I got more than the $1 most hard covers go for at yard sales. One little railroad pamphlet turned out to be quite valuable. Most libraries will not give an estimate of value, but should supply you with a form that tells how many you donated.

#148 An irregular face

In watercolor class yesterday (Dec. 17) we did portraits. Each person brought in a photo to work from. One was using a photo of an Indian from a book; one was using a photo of her daughter; the instructor, Charlie, was using candid shots of his grand daughter; one woman brought in the movie poster with Russell Crow’s face; my husband had a color snapshot of Lindsey, our step-grand daughter; and I was working from a black and white studio photograph of a young woman.

Charlie first reviewed the face map concept. Draw an oval and divide horizontally, and vertically in halves. Most people draw the eyes too high--they are actually in that middle horizontal line. The face is about five eye-widths wide, and there is an eye width between the eyes. Divide the bottom half of the head in half again. The nose gets the top half and you divide that bottom half in thirds to find the lips and chin. Draw lines from the eyeballs down the cheeks and that is the edges of the mouth. The top of the ears line up with the eyebrows.

Of course, no one has a perfect face map. Charlie stopped by to see what I was drawing. He suggested that the face didn’t really fit all the mapping rules, since my drawing wasn’t really looking like the photo, although I was following the rules of mapping. The distance from the nose to the chin is irregular, he commented, longer than would be expected. And the lips don’t quite line up with the eyes. Before he could go much further, my husband said, “Do you recognize that person?” “No, I don’t.” “That’s Norma the first year we were married.” “Oh.” No more comments on the irregular face.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

#147 True and False in the same paragraph

The Wall Street Journal had an opinion piece today (Dec. 17) by a former Reagan official. He wrote something very true:

“If it were up to the U.N. or the E.U., or the editorial boards of most major American newspapers, Saddam would still be happily making palaces for himself and torture dungeons for his people.”

But in the same paragraph, same numbered point, he also wrote:

“America is the greatest force for good on the planet.”

Since we enabled Saddam and Osama bin Ladin when they were enemies of our enemies, that obviously can’t be a true statement. It might have been expedient at the time, but it wasn't a force for good in the long term.

#146 It’s a no-brainer

The Columbus Dispatch this morning carried an article about the new regulation in central Ohio that patient care workers can’t have artificial fingernails. I think other areas had this regulation sooner, but perhaps it is just now coming to the attention of the reporter. The CDC guidelines. The history of hand hygiene and infections in hospitals.

Any woman who has ever worn fingernail polish for a few days and then removed it, should know why. Oh, yuck, is my thought as the polish remover reveals the crud under my nails that I haven’t been able to see while wearing polish. However, with artificial nails the bacteria can’t be removed because it lives between the artificial nail and the bed of the real nail (which it eats away).

That regulation should extend to food workers. Every time I see a waitress or grill cook or buffet stocker with artificial nails--bright colors and imbedded designs--I know exactly that she has brought along about a million of her closest little friends--bacteria, many from the restroom she just used.

Apparently sixteen babies had to die in a neonatal unit in 2000 before someone wised up and did a study on the nails of the medical staff. Even then, there were the experts (probably trying to avoid a law suit) who said those babies would have died of something else, if not that.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

#145 After Abortion

This is an interesting blog. Whether you are pro-choice or pro-life, the writer has compassionate things to say. For instance, she found this comment by a reader lacking and added some suggestions:

"Many of my clients have felt regret after abortion that is as deep (as far as I can tell) as any regret they've ever felt. They then confess to Christ, ask for forgiveness, and know that Jesus forgives; and they move on, as they move on from other actions that they know are grave sins. Because all this is private and can happen in a moment (praying the Sinner's Prayer, for example, or responding to an altar call), I think it can look, to people raised outside this particular strain of Protestantism, less weighty and less of a relief of a terrible burden than it really is. These women speak very precisely about how they've dealt with their grief and moved on; but the way they deal with grief and regret over abortion is the way they would deal with grief and regret over any terrible sin. They give it to God and move on."

Interesting summary and history of Democrats for Life. Sadly, there used to be many--like the early versions of Clinton, Gore, Simon and Kucinich, who switched only recently.

#144 Major Pain

Major Pain is a nurse working in Iraq. She has some interesting observations and funny stories, like the Thanksgiving turkey (live) complete with pictures. Her brother, Bear, posts her letters at Magic in the Baghdad Cafe.

#143 Blog flog

One of my most loyal readers of this blog is my son (did I tell you he could identify all the letters of the alphabet before he could speak a word?). Last night he asked me why I hadn’t blogged about Saddam.

My husband told me about his capture when I walked in the door Sunday morning about 7:45 a.m., returning from the coffee shop. For once, I hadn’t turned on the news at 6 a.m., and apparently neither had any of the others I usually see there, because no one was talking about it. There are two reasons not to blog.

1) The first words out of my mouth were, “This is bad news for Democrats.” I thought that was too cynical and unkind to record here, but two days later they (except for Liberman) are proving me correct.

2) Every blog, pundit, and news outlet would be going on and on and on, I figured. I was right again.

No need to say anything, except why I’m not saying anything, except this, of course.

Later: It didn't occur to me to wonder what the BBC would say--we know it will always put the U.S. in a negative light. See this blog for more.

#142 Itty-bitty footprints

An article in e-Week today (Dec. 15, 2003) comments on the problem Campbell’s Soup is having with RFID tags on its Chunky Soup supplied to Wal-Mart. An RFID is a radio-frequency identification tag that is smaller than a grain of sand and destined to eventually take the place of the barcode, but with some significant differences--it just might continue tracking you after you’ve left the store with the item. Wal-Mart and the Department of Defense have set deadlines for companies to comply with supplying RFIDs. Wal-Mart accounts for 12% of Campbell’s sales, so they need to quickly find a way for that frequency to pass through liquid and not bounce off cans--although that isn‘t required--yet.

Current applications include tracking moving things--like boxcars, packages and children in theme parks who can wear little sensors so parents can be less personally vigilant.

The first big test for RFID will be for the 100 major suppliers of Wal-Mart to have boxes and pallets tagged by January 2005. And when Wal-Mart talks, all retailers listen. Wired covered this in November. The Department of Defense is requiring that its top 100 vendors must supply RFID tags on their pallets and cases by January 2005; the top 500 vendors must comply by July 2005, and all vendors (more than 10,000) must be on board by January 2006.

With deadlines like this from these heavy hitters in the economy, someone needs to quickly figure out how to deactivate these little guys once we leave the store. I won’t even use a loyalty card--I sure don’t want this kind of digital trail with its itty bitty footprints.

Monday, December 15, 2003

#141 What to call the guy in charge

Yesterday we had a congregational meeting to vote on a new pastor. The chair of the Call Committee was Paul Nordman, a man of subtle wit and great faith. He commented that throughout the call process, he had been called the Chairman, the Chair, and the Chairperson. He paused, and then noted that considering his surname perhaps he could be called Nordman, Nord or Nordperson.

#140 Abercrombie & Fitch of Columbus

Full page ad in USAToday--“100% filth, made in the U.S.A.” Isn't that sweet about a hometown company? It’s about their pandering “sex for teens” catalogs.

The ad points out that the 1998 catalog promoted drinking excessively. The 2002 catalog was selling thong underwear for 10 year olds. The 2003 Christmas catalog had 100 pages of nude models, including staged (I assume) group sex and an article promoting it. Even the title is suggestive, “The Christmas Field Guide.” Their stock has dipped 13%. Consumers have protested. Even an Urban Legend site on the internet confirms this, in case you think the group sex thing is a myth or rumor.

The catalog has been pulled, and the writer of this article adds, “A&F's CEO Mike Jeffries has for years sneered at those who complained about his quarterly's filth. Asking him softly to clean up his act didn't work, but big stick evidently did.”

Sunday, December 14, 2003

#139 The Family Film Menu of Choices

This morning I was browsing the TV listings for “Family Best Bet” featuring the movies with a Christmas theme. Family films aren’t very friendly to the traditional--a mom, a dad and a couple of kids--family. In fact, the term “family film” at any time of the year almost assures a plot with a single mom or dad, or a dead parent, or a deserting parent, a stand-in parent, or no parent showing up for any significant role in a child‘s life.

Here’s what’s available on TV this week in the Columbus viewing area :

Mr. St. Nick: Kelsey Grammer is junior Claus who doesn’t want to follow in Dad’s snowshoes. There is a Mama Claus, but I think the Latino cook provides more guidance.

Miracle on 34th Street: the 1994 version, but Mom is still a widow with the cynical daughter.

Mrs. Winterbourne: Ricki Lake in 1996 plays a pregnant single mother-to-be taking someone else’s identity.

Secret of Roan Irish: girl with dead mother and alcoholic father lives with grandfather, wants truth about a baby washed out to sea.

Babes in Toyland: Drew Barrymore in 1986 fights evil plot to take over Toyland--parents aren’t apparent.

Borrowed Hearts: Roma Downey, single mom, pretends to be executive’s wife.

The Santa Clause: Tim Allen, cynical divorced father playing St. Nick.

The week is offering two versions of a classic, the Christmas Carol, 1938 with June Lockhart as one of the children and her parents as Bob and Emily Cratchet and a TV adaptation (1999) with Patrick Stewart. So, we have to go back to an early 19th century story for a traditional family for the holidays.

Saturday, December 13, 2003

#138 Thinking about bodies--yours, mine and His

I’ve been thinking about bodies this Christmas season, a time we remember that God took on flesh and dwelled among us. These bodies fail us. I have a good friend wasting away from an eating disorder and a cousin who shot herself to death this week; I have another friend losing her sight from a piece of plaque that broke loose and went to her eye; another friend is in rehabilitation for a fractured pelvis; everyday my sister and I compare our aches and pains as we increasingly don‘t recognize our own aging bodies.

The Christian faith puts great stock in the physical body. We are told in the Bible our bodies are God’s temple, that God knew our tiny physical bodies while we were still in the womb, and we are told to take care of others’ physical bodily needs, too. The biggest reminder of the importance of the body is Jesus’ bodily resurrection--the tomb was empty and he‘d defeated death. And that's his plan for you and me, too.

I found this very nice prayer about bodies, which I’d like to share:

“A Prayer Lord Jesus, we praise you and thank you for all the blessings of this life, including the blessing of our bodies. We rejoice in our bodies, the wondrous way that we are put together, the complexity and grace of our physical selves. Forgive us when we abuse the good gift of our bodies, especially forgive us when we abuse the bodies of others.

We praise you . . . for the wonder of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead and for the promise that, by your grace, we also shall be raised. Help us to live today as those who know that great promise and live today in the light of it, following our risen Lord toward eternal life. Amen

Friday, December 12, 2003

#137 Correction on the pie crust blog

One of my earliest blogs (#3, out of order) was on how to make a good pie crust. I was thinking about it for several reasons. First of all, my niece Joan wants me to bring two apple pies to the Indiana Christmas, and second, my daughter requests one of those be the sugarless apple pie made with apple juice concentrate. Third, I’ve recently replaced my Pyrex glass 8 oz. measuring cup I purchased when I got married. However, there needs to be a disclaimer to that recipe I posted:

"2/3 cup peanut oil, 2 cups flour, 1 tsp. salt, 1/3 cup water. Gently mix."

I forgot to add in that blog that because all the markings had disappeared from my 43 year old glass measuring cup, I use the measuring cups for solids. 2/3 cup of peanut oil would be about 1/2 in a measuring cup for liquids. And the water would be 6 Tbsp of liquid.

I think we learned that in third grade and certainly in 4-H--how to measure liquid and solids--but I’d forgotten.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

#136 Wishing you a P.C. Holiday

On my mail run this morning I heard Glenn Beck (Clear Channel Talk Show Host, 610 here in Columbus) talking about RamaHanuKwanzMas. His way to suggest a P.C. holiday season.

A few years ago I got a "holiday card" from a library organization to which I belonged which sent greetings in every language except the English phrase, "Merry Christmas." I sent my complaint to the organization that it was ignoring English speaking Christians on their own holiday.

#135 Two really absurd items

Although they aren't related at all, a Republican proposal to take FDR off the dime and substitute Reagan and the complaint by France and Germany that they aren't going to get contracts to rebuild Iraq both seem to be beyond belief. FDR should stay put; coalition countries that took the risks should get the contracts. And they'd want our forces to protect them while they "help" with the rebuilding?

Tammy Bruce's column on following the money.

#134 Acknowledgements--a public thank you

“Librarians at The University of Texas, the Library of Congress, and the Newberry Library helped me to find out-of-the-way material, and a grant from the Sarah Scaife Foundation provided additional writing time…” Central Ideas in the Development of American Journalism

It warms my heart to read a dedication or an acknowledgement to librarians. Occasionally, a graduate student would mention my help (along with Mom, Dad, and Wife) in a PhD thesis. A romance novelist wrote a thank-you on the title page once for help in researching a feline disease, but that’s not the same as making it into the acknowledgements. A dog show researcher mentioned my help in one of his articles and by donating a large sum to my library (he was an alumnus). One woman brought in a huge box of bakery goodies because I helped her father, a retired veterinarian, learn to use the internet. And personal thank you notes were always welcome.

But my favorite acknowledgement was from Richard Horowitz in his book Hog Ties: Pigs, Manure, and Mortality in American Culture (New York: St. Martins Press, 1998), a book based on the "other job" he held part time for fifteen years as a hired hand on a hog/grain/cattle farm in southeast Iowa.

Professor Horowitz and I had an e-mail correspondence across the corn fields and prairies about his research. I never actually met him in person, despite the fact we had some really important swine researchers at Ohio State.

Still, not every librarian gets her name in a book about pig poop!

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

#133 Down the road in (nationalized) health care

Women with breast implants are hospitalized and visit physicians more frequently than women who have not undergone implantation surgery, according to a retrospective cohort study funded by the British Columbia Centre of Excellence for Women's Health in Vancouver, Canada. . . Breast implant surgery is not deemed medically necessary and is performed — and paid for — privately in the vast majority of cases. However, it appears to directly contribute to an increased need for public health care services among the women receiving these devices. Canadian Women’s Health Network Report

#132 Spending like it’s 1999

The Dow was at 10,000--the report. Maybe that’s good economic news and the tax cut will prove to be good. I’m certainly seeing more hiring signs.

But I do wish George Bush would stop spending money like a drunken Democrat (no name, but you know who I mean). In fact, his spending increases are far greater than Clinton’s on domestic programs for the same time period in office. This makes it difficult for Democrats to criticize him on domestic policy, since those are their pet programs, resulting in a fractured and lack luster campaign. Also, it is hard for Republicans to rein him in, since he is their guy. A responder to a Cato Institute paper says he “has become the "Mother of All Big Spenders."

I do think something needed to be done about prescription costs for the poor, but the Medicare plan just signed smells a lot like vote buying. No one seems to be happy with it, but Bush will get the credit rather than the Democrats who couldn’t have done any better. The government can’t do anything cheaper or more effectively than private business. My husband is on Social Security, and his Medicare + Medigap (private insurance) costs us about $176 a month, and it doesn’t include prescriptions. My policy, through my pension, costs me about $160 a month and does include prescriptions. Mine will go up considerably in 2004, but so will my husband’s. My husband’s plan is tax supported and still costs more than a private plan. Will private companies stay in the business if the government takes it over or makes it so difficult to make a profit?

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

#131 A celebration

It was our final class in the study of the Gospel of John. It was an evening of celebration, review and games. And a lot of laughter. My husband said, “Isn’t this more fun than Lutherans are allowed to have?” One of the optional final activities was to prepare an outline for another group to study John--senior choir, Sunday school, an adult small group, etc. I was very impressed by the creativity and talent of my fellow class members.

Patty said she did a study of “sheep and shepherd” and came up with six handwritten pages. For a young class she would incorporate the movie "Babe“. She brought in the video, explained the story to us, how Babe the pig, with a sheepdog foster mother, came to be good at herding sheep. Then showed a few minutes of the story where the male dog’s terrible experience trying to save the sheep destroys his own dreams of being the sheepdog champion. “He is not THE good shepherd, but he was a good shepherd who laid down his life for his sheep,” she explained. Her enthusiasm for her project, and a wonderful husky voice had the class mesmerized.

Another couple prepared a “cheer” for a young class based on John’s name, and we were their audience, raising our voices enthusiastically as Donna (a former teacher) led the cheer and husband Bob worked the flip chart. Another former teacher proposed an event for a children’s choir where they would reenact Jesus walking on water and the storm. Some children would be waves, some wind, some apostles, one Jesus and one narrator. Then she went around the room and handed out candy lifesavers to everyone.

But the evening had started on a very somber note with the announcement that Rick Allen our 2002 church council chair had died of a heart attack at age 47. The class was stunned that this vibrant young father had been taken so quickly with no warning. Rick knew and believed all the wonderful “I AM” statements in John’s gospel. And we know that today he is having more fun than we’re ever going to have on this side.

#130 How to give your child a longer life.

That was the headline in today’s Wall Street Journal in the health section. Immediately I thought, “you start with allowing *her to be born.”

Hippolyte has an interesting blog on “choice” and Planned Parenthood. He thought it was a joke when he saw the organization’s “Choice on Earth” Christmas card. They also had a similar "Choice" card in 2002. Choice, as he points out, is a code word for “kill” in this context (when used within a discussion of schooling, it means right wing conspiracy to give tax money to the Catholic Church). But what I found so interesting and very moving in the blog is his account of “once upon a time” he thought choice was OK too--that a baby was just some other impersonal collection of cells.

He concludes: "A holiday card that uses pretty designs to spread a message that is universally understood to refer to the killing of a yet-to-be-born child is completely disgusting. I predict society is waking up to this, and in time will look back on such brazen disregard with mystery and contempt."

Agape Press notes that Herod is alive and well at Planned Parenthood: "Herod the Great is most remembered for his decision to murder innocent children in his failed attempt to kill Jesus while he was still a baby. As the authors of the Life Application Bible say in their profile of Herod, "The murder of innocent children ... is a tragic lesson in what can happen when actions are motivated by selfishness" (p. 1645). Sadly, that lesson hasn't been learned by our modern culture. Millions of innocent children are the victims of a modern day Herod -- Planned Parenthood."

*More females than males, in all cultures, are aborted.

Monday, December 08, 2003

#129 TotallyAcappella Radio responds

I had a nice response from Loran Partigianoni of TotallyAcappella Radio (blog 123 ), who wrote:

Just in case you're not aware, we now have all (about 65 albums) of The Acappella Company's albums in our collection of albums. Hopefully, we'll have the last 26 albums added to our playlist before the end of this year. We've been busy adding Christmas albums for most of the last several weeks. The Acappella Company groups include Acappella, AVB (All Vocal Band), The Vocal Union and The Firemen. Other groups composed of former Acappella members that are on their website include X-Changed, Sweet Deliverance, and Watershed Worship. We have all of their music, too. You can request songs from our playlist, and search by artist, album or song title from the more than 3,000 songs.

Peace and Grace,
Loran Partigianoni

#128 Cancer with the experts

At Thanksgiving our daughter wore an open neck sweater with a small necklace, and our son mentioned that he could hardly see her scar.

In late October 1997 she had blood tests, an ultrasound, and a radioactive iodine scan of her neck to determine whether she was having thyroid problems. In addition to weight gain, she was having muscle cramps, kidney pain, extreme fatigue, etc. The doctor found a large goiter on the left side (hot) and a small nodule (cold) on the right of her neck. The cold ones are possible cancer sites.

She was diagnosed at that time with Hashimoto's Disease, an autoimmune condition that runs in families and causes hypothyroidism. Relatively rare in women her age (30), it is quite common in women over 50. The goiter was not visible nor were any of her thyroid tests abnormal. So these things are hard to detect.

She was to return to the endocrinologist for another check in 3 months. She did that, he performed several biopsies on the tumor tissue which were benign, but he was very concerned by how fast the goiter was growing and said it would need to come out because it was compressing her trachea (windpipe). She was developing hoarseness, breathing problems and some chest pain. Within the week she had met with the surgeon and had another scan, at which time it was discovered the large tumor had grown down into the sternum and the small one had also grown. She was scheduled for surgery in 3 days, which didn't give us much time to think about it.

By this time there were many players in the game: Dr. Olsen (her physician and employer who first suggested she needed the tests because her personality was changing); Dr. Blackman (endocrinologist specializing in thyroid); Dr. Shirck (surgeon); Dr. Blackwell (surgeon); and Dr. Anderson (oncologist).

On Monday, February 16, 1998, at 6 a.m. our pastor, our son-in-law’s brother and wife, and my husband and I met with our daughter and husband at the Hospital for prayer before she went into surgery. Her husband’s parents arrived later from Cleveland. Shirck did the surgery with Blackwell on call in case her chest needed to be opened. The surgery lasted 4.5 hours. She was in her hospital room by 2 p.m. A total thyroidectomy was done with no damage to her vocal chords and the parathyroid glands, which are very tiny and easily damaged, were in tact. Usually, they try to do a partial thyroidectomy because of the risks to those other two areas.

Papillary thyroid cancer was found, but not in either of the two nodules they knew about. It develops in cells that produce thyroid hormones containing iodine, and grows very slowly. This was encapsulated and completely removed along with 17 lymph glands. Pathology by Dr. Anderson revealed no spread of the cancer and nothing in the lymph glands.

She was declared cured, released from the hospital on Friday, and returned to work on March 2. Her husband took a week off and we helped out the second week. But then the "fun" began about what to do for follow-up. The clutch of doctors expanded. Her sister-in-law is a nurse, so her records were faxed to her and she knew an oncologist and an endocrinologist to consult. Her brother-in-law had a friend, an oncologist. Our daughter had more appointments with Dr. Blackman and Dr. Anderson, and of course, she saw Dr. Olsen daily at work.

The problem was whether to do an Iodine 131 scan with a follow up of radiation to kill any thyroid tissue found by the scan. Even with complete removal of the thyroid gland, there is still thyroid tissue in the body. The surgeon and oncologist (Shirck and Anderson) wanted her to do that to eliminate any return of the cancer. Her own doctor (Olsen) and the endocrinologist (Blackman) said the risk was so small, it was not worth the possible danger to the exposure of more radiation. She had already had 2 scans within 4 months. These scans apparently can cause cancer of the salivary glands and kidney (the kidneys have to clear all this radioactive material from the body and Hashimoto's Disease is hard on the kidneys) if there is over exposure. They can also interfere with future pregnancies because of the time needed to eliminate it from your body.

Dr. Olsen thought removing 17 lymph glands from her neck was overkill and because she had so many strep infections, he thought she needed them (although she hasn’t had a strep infection since removing the thyroid). The doctors also didn’t agree on when to do the follow up if she decided to have the scan. The endocrinologist said she must wait if she had it done; the oncologist wanted it within 30 days of the surgery.

It appeared to me we had the "slash and burn" guys up against "whole body" guys. Blackman (endocrinologist) had never had a patient who refused the scan/radiation who had further trouble. Anderson (oncologist) had never had a patient who refused it. Blackman said only 5% of papillary cancer patients have a reoccurrence, and only 1 out of 150 of those die because there are ways to spot it and treat it if it returns.

Her own doctor, who is not a specialist, but who hadn't been wrong about anything to that point, didn’t want her to have the further treatment. The other doctor in the practice who was out of the country, thought she should have it. The contacts of her sister-in-law said no; the contact of her brother-in-law said no. They were all so young and confident, those specialists, and I went to all those appointments with my daughter, and listened to them earnestly explain all this to her. She had an incredible knowledge about medical things and seemed to understand it all. (I didn’t.)

Even so, they all told her it was her choice! And she decided. No further treatment.

It’s been five years, moving close to six. She is cancer free, but still struggling daily with the right mix of medication to compensate for no thyroid. And we can hardly see that awful huge scar. But we remember--most assuredly we do.

#127 Preachers Corrupted by their Wealth

"Health-wealth" gospel, if you aren't familiar with the pitch, promises financial gain to the donor (or good health). Sometimes donors receive prayed-over trinkets for their money. Completely bogus, in my opinion, especially if you’ve read your Bible or history of the church. These ministries make the pre-reformation medieval churchmen with their schemes for accumulating wealth by bilking believers look like pikers and amateurs.

The St. Louis Post Dispatch ran some hard hitting columns in mid-November on the "health-wealth," "word-faith," "name it-claim it" preachers--Joyce Meyer, Benny Hinn, Marilyn Hickey, Creflow Dollar, the Crouches, etc. All have TV ministries, live in mansions, drive Mercedes and Rolls, own private jets, and keep their adult children within their ranch compounds and on their payrolls, all provided by the donations for “God’s work” from whoever believes that this is why Jesus died.

Most of the articles concerned Joyce Meyer, who lives in the St. Louis area and takes in about $95 million a year. At the bottom of the column discussing hers and others’ ministries are two click-to paid ads for her books and tapes! Now is that marketing savvy or what? Will her devoted fans be irate about the expose, see the ads, and send in even more money?

Then below her ads is an ad for a Christian news service with an article about where believers can send money at Christmas (obviously, not to any of the organizations in the Dispatch article). Before sending money, check out MinistryWatch.

#126 The Photographer's Eye

Why do we, The Visual Arts Ministry, work so hard to hang art shows at our church (three campuses)? Our vision statement. Everything at UALC has a link to evangelism, and that includes bringing the unchurched into the buildings. However, our members also enjoy the shows and one young mother stopped me yesterday and told me how important they think the shows are for their children (the largest hanging area is the main traffic corridor for Sunday School classes.)

Saturday Bob, Ken, Steve, Bev and myself became a lean, mean hanging machine, and hung a show with about 120 pieces on our Arakawa Hanging System. Then on Sunday we provided a reception, with the assistance of the Hospitality Ministry, for the artist to meet the congregation and visitors. You can see what we hung here at the artist's web page.

Also during Advent, we are sponsoring an exhibit of reproductions of the Italian presepio, which used small carved nativity scene figures in the eighteenth century, made by the Fontanini company in Italy and collected by two of our members, Margie and Dick. Each week the scene changes as the time of Christ's birth approaches. Yesterday more than 200 people stopped by the exhibit to talk to Dick about the display. Next Sunday members are invited to bring their own nativity scenes for display, and Dick will lecture on the meaning and significance of the collection.

In January we will be hanging a quilt show, and then in February another one-artist photography show. From memory I'm thinking we'll then display the art of children of Highland Elementary School on Columbus' west side, and in May, the Upper Arlington Art League will again hang its Spring Show.

Sunday, December 07, 2003

#125 Word of the Year vote coming soon

The American Dialect Society votes each year on “Word of the Year” and for 2002 it was “weapons of mass destruction” receiving 38 out of 60 votes, coming in ahead of “google” as a verb and “blog” which received 6 votes (both of which I use much more frequently than WMD) .

The next vote, on words for 2003, will take place Friday, January 9, 2004, at the American Dialect Society's annual meeting in Boston at the Sheraton Hotel. Possibly it is too late, but they say on the web site that nominations for words of the year 2003 are welcome anytime. Send them to the chair of the society's New Words Committee, Professor Wayne Glowka of Georgia College and State University, at

American Dialect Society sponsors the Dictionary of American Regional English (DARE). There is a link on the DARE site to the reading of material by people from various regions. In “Arthur the Rat,” I thought the woman from Wisconsin sounded best, but then I grew up in northern Illinois, probably within 100 miles of her.

Saturday, December 06, 2003

124 Mother was right--four letter words may mean you lack language skills

To write well in English, a knowledge of Latin is most useful--maybe essential. I had two years of high school Latin and have never regretted it (at least not after I was an adult). Apparently our shorter, earthy, and scatological words developed from the language of the Anglo-Saxon invaders, and Latin and French was the language of the upper class after the Norman invasion. Mixed together in all their diversity, they created the marvelously flexible and creative English language which no longer belongs just to the people of England, but to the whole world.

However, once in awhile I come across an English sentence that is so Latinized, I can hardly read it. Such is the sentence on p. 36 in "Wide as the Waters, the story of the English Bible and the Revolution it inspired" for which I needed my Second Ed. New International Merriam-Webster to read:

"At the time, the deaneries of Lichfield, Salisbury, and York, and archdeaconry of Canterbury (the wealthiest benefice in England), together with a host of other prebends and preferments, were held in absentia by foreign born cardinals and priests, who collected through their London agent twenty thousand marks a year for the papal treasury."
English words that pre-date the Norman invasion of 1066 have an asterisk. All others on this list are based in Latin or Greek or both.

*time--Middle English from Old English, tima, akin to Old Norse, timi, means a measurable period.

dean--comes from Middle English from the French from the Latin meaning chief of 10

archdeaconry--Middle English archedeken from Old English from Latin archidiaconus from Late Latin from Late Greek meaning a district or residence of an archdeacon, a clergyman who assists a bishop

benefice--comes from Middle English from Middle French from Middle Latin, beneficial from the Latin word beneficus, meaning favor.

host--Middle English from Old French from Late Latin from Latin hostis, stranger, an army, large number or multitude.

*wealthy--may come from the obsolete, weal, Middle English from the Old English, wela, or wel, meaning well, or prosperous (before the 12th century)

prebend--Old French from the Latin praebenda, from praebere, meaning to hold forth. The word means a daily allowance or meals. Stipend.

preferment--Old French from Latin, preferred, an act of bringing forward, a state of being preferred. Prefer can mean to point to a benefice.

in absentia--from the Latin meaning absent

foreign--Middle English, forein, from Old French from Late Latin from Latin, forus, meaning outside. Situated outside one's own country.

cardinal--Middle English from Middle Latin, cardinalis, from Late Latin meaning a hinge. In the 14th century meaning of basic importance or main.

priest--Middle English, preist from Old English, possibly modified from Late Latin presbyter (from the Greek), one authorized to perform sacred rites of religion

collect--from Latin, meaning to bring together into one body or place

agent--Middle English from Middle Latin from Latin word, agere meaning to drive, act or do.

*twenty--Middle English from old English Twen + tig meaning a group of 20.

*thousand--Middle English from Old English word, thusend, from a prehistoric Germanic language

*mark--Middle English from Old English, marc, probably of Scandinavian origin, similar to Old Norse--a unit of weight in silver or gold

*year--Middle English from Old English gear, akin to Old High German, jar, a period of 365 days.

papal--Middle English from Middle French from Middle Latin from Late Latin, papa. Means of,or relating to a pope.

treasury--Middle English from Old French word tresor, a place where wealth is kept.

So the Anglo-Saxon, the language of the Germanic barbarians (with the asterisk) who invaded the British Isles, was useful for swearing, cursing, naming common things like animals, counting money and time, but for just about everything else, Latin and French words needed to be imported by the Normans (originally were Vikings) when they invaded Britain in the 11th century (which is also the origin of both my maiden and married names).

#123 All a cappella

I’ve been enjoying a web radio station that is all a cappella, and this morning heard a delightful “Growing up with King James.” Having just read “In the beginning” and now reading “Wide as the waters,” both about the creation and influence of that Bible, I just had to laugh. So I googled the title, and found a web site for The Acappela Company with a link to the album with that song by the All Vocal Band. The album is titled, “What’s your tag say?”

Friday, December 05, 2003

#122 The night the cat died

The first Christmas at our daughter’s new home, the exterior outlined with lights, was lovely. Our son-in-law moved the kitchen table into the empty dining room and with the extensions, it seated nine easily. She prepared turkey and ham, several vegetables, lots of non-alcoholic wines and beer. With our son and our daughter's in-laws we had a full table.

About 5:00 p.m. our son got a call from the emergency room veterinarian where he had taken his cat in the morning. He had noticed that she'd been losing weight and had stopped eating. He asked me about it on the 24th and I said to call his vet immediately, which he did but couldn't get an appointment for her until the 26th. Christmas morning he could hear a rattle when she breathed and she couldn't jump up on anything. So he rushed her to a clinic on the northeast side.

When he didn't come back to the table after the call, I went into the family room and found him quietly sobbing with the vet on the phone. She had told him there was a 50-50 chance his cat couldn't live through the night--kidney failure. They had rehydrated her, but without functioning kidneys even that could kill her. He told her he'd call back. We talked a bit and although he first said he couldn't bear to be there, I told him I didn't think the pet he loved so much should die without him. So we made our apologies to our hosts and the other guests and we drove him to the clinic--he was so distraught I knew it wasn't safe for him to drive.

With no traffic, it was still a 30 minute drive to the emergency clinic. I will never forget the sight of this big man--190 lbs, over 6' tall--on his knees cradling the kitty he says saw him through everything the last 10 years--"all the shit"--as he so aptly put it. The IV had perked her up and she looked pretty good, but I could see she didn't try to crawl out of the blanket or off the table and didn't seem to respond to his voice.

He cried and swore and told her he was sorry. I dealt with this often in my job--people had a sick or dying or dead pet--horse, cat, dog, guinea pig--and they’d call for reassurance they have or are doing the right thing. But I'd never seen or heard anything like this. Or it was worse because my “baby” was suffering too. The vet was kind, told him he could wait, but he said to go ahead. When we got back to our daughter’s home, he had calmed down enough to drive himself home.

When we got home about 9 p.m. I called him and spent an hour on the phone with him. He was still crying, full of all the "what ifs," saying he'd killed his pet, wanted to talk to the vet, was afraid he'd done the wrong thing. He was very grateful we'd gone with him and touched that we'd petted her before the injection. When I talked to him the next morning, he was much better and was caring for his girlfriend‘s kitten, and said he was surprised that it was a comfort to him.

I told him that the Bible says nothing about animals going to heaven, but if in order to be perfect for him, his kitty will be there waiting for him, because we do know from scripture, that there is no sorrow in heaven. He’s had several cats and dogs since that Christmas Day of 1997, but none will ever take her place.

#121 Dump him

She was the morning, cheery part-time, counter assistant when I first met her at the coffee shop. An English major. We joked she was going to write the “great American novel.” She was excited about graduating from college, and even took some time off in June to travel to New York to check into grad school.

I’ve stopped asking her about her plans. She now has an official store name tag. She has a title. And responsibilities. Doesn’t smile as much. She, or her parents, probably spent $70,000 on her education and she is figuring schedules, taking complaints about spilled coffee, ordering supplies, training new college students to take orders and doing quality checks.

Some mornings I see her making furtive phone calls before 6:30 on her cell phone. The smile and bouncy step are gone. I suspect she has settled. She hasn’t settled for marriage instead of career or grad school--the way my generation might have done in the 60s. She’s not even a fiancée. No, I suspect it is “significant-otherhood.” Or maybe just shacking up, with no commitment beyond next week-end.

Dump him, honey. Move on. He doesn’t deserve your talent and sense of humor. Chase your dream. There’s plenty of time later for guys who will waste their lives and yours sleeping in.

#120 Classification theory

"Sorting things out; classification and its consequences” by Geoffrey C. Bowker and Susan Leigh Star (read a few chapters here) begins:

“To classify is human. Not all classifications take formal shape or are standardized in commercial and bureaucratic products. We all spend large parts of our days doing classification work, often tacitly, and make up and use a range of ad hoc classifications in order to do so. We sort dirty dishes from clean, white laundry from colorfast, important email to be answered from e-junk. We match the size and type of our car tires to the amount of pressure they should accept.

Our desktops are a mute testimony to a kind of muddled folk classification: papers which must read by yesterday, but which have been there since last year; old professional journals which really should be read and even in fact may someday be, and which have been there since last year; assorted grant applications, tax forms, various work-related surveys and forms waiting to be filled out for everything from parking spaces to immunizations. These surfaces may be piled with sentimental cards which are already read but which can’t yet be thrown out alongside reminder notes to send similar cards to parents, sweethearts, or to friends for their birthdays, all piled on top of last year’s calendar (which who knows, may be useful at tax time).

Any part of the home, school or workplace reveals some such system of classification: medications classed as not for children occupy a higher shelf than safer ones; books for reference are shelved close to where we do the Sunday crossword puzzle; door keys are color-coded and stored according to frequency of use.”

This is certainly a relief--I thought it was just me, a former cataloger, who sorts, classifies and arranges by size, price, theory, type, temperature, eye color, whim of the day, size of the electrical cord, frequency of use, but with a desk that looks like last year‘s tornado passed through. Now I know we all do it even without training at the University of Illinois School of Library and Information Science. I did make some paragraph breaks in the above quote--because this is pixels on a screen and not a printed book page lovingly held in your hands.

I have a system at the supermarket. Shop the walls first--that’s the fresh produce, dairy and the bakery. If you buy most of your food from the walls you automatically avoid a lot of processed food which increases your food bill as it saves time and adds calories. Getting my choices out of the cart is another problem, because I reclassify on the moving conveyor belt and have to move quickly as I add the balance in my head.

First all the taxables--often that can be a fourth of the total amount--soap, paper products, cat food, soft drinks, and what is known in the industry as “health and beauty.” Dairy stands together, liquid separated from solid, but sometimes by shape and weight. Fresh meats are together, and frozen items are strategically huddled together. Sale items, the two-fer and three-fer usually are attractively grouped so I can make sure the clerk catches the reduced price. Tagged sale items are put where I can keep an eye on them has the price appears on the screen.

These days my system doesn’t work all that well, but I still cling to it to bring a sense of orderliness to my day. First of all, fresh produce is now sort of in the “narthex” of the store--apples, pears and bananas greeting me as I take a cart. On the way out, the computers that figure my bill have another agenda--they scramble my carefully devised system--they can’t even subtotal what I purchased for charity so I have to take the clerk’s word for it that I purchased $19.95 for Cat Welfare and remember to note it on my bill.

Thursday, December 04, 2003

#119 Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson apparently doesn’t have a blog. I’ve looked. He’s in the public eye so often, perhaps it doesn’t matter. A Google search turns up about 14,000 possibilities if you enter those terms, but it is just others blogging about Hanson and the calm, sensible way he has of laying it on the line. He has about as much inflection and charisma as a weather reporter, but he’s always engaging because he presents his case meticulously. I’ve seen him on Book-TV several times and perhaps it is his training in the classics, but he does have a larger grasp of our current problems in the Middle East.

December 2003

November 7, 2003

November 3, 2003

September 28, 2003

September 15, 2003 (audio)

June 11, 2003

April 8, 2003

March 28, 2003 (audio)

‘Hanson has a lot more to say on many other subjects, among them the privileged Arabs, "driven to murder by hatred and envy," who are the real terrorists, and about the privileged Americans in academia and among the illuminati -- he cites "the likes of Mary Beard, Eric Foner, Frederic Jameson, Barbara Kingsolver, Arundhati Roy, Edward Said, Susan Sontag, Alice Walker, and a host of others" -- who "are not merely ignorant of politics, history and culture, but often downright immature, hysterical and inarticulate." As is so often the case, he is right.’ Washington Post, August 29, 2002

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

#118 Fairly traded coffee

I noticed an announcement in the newsletter from my home church (Church of the Brethren) that they are now using "fairly traded coffee" for the church social hour and events. The Inter-faith Coffee Program buys direct from the farmer. Then I saw in the WSJ that Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts and Procter and Gamble were also purchasing fairly traded coffee.

"By serving Equal Exchange fairly traded coffee at your place of worship, home or office, you can share fellowship with our neighbors in coffee-growing countries, making a difference in their lives while enjoying a delicious cup of coffee. Through the program, farmers earn a fair price for their products, receive affordable credit, and gain a long-term trading partner that they can trust. By pooling their resources in democratic cooperatives, farmers are able to invest in training, health care, and agricultural improvements in their communities. Every cup you serve helps these farmers as they build better lives for themselves and their families."

#117 Reading the Bible in English

I mentioned in blog #114 that we had 22 Bibles in the house. Now we have 23. Yesterday I bought Tyndale’s New Testament in paperback (Wordsworth Edition, Ltd., 2002). The English spelling has been updated, but the words and rhythm are original. I had printed off a few pages of a photocopy of an early edition from the Internet, and because I learned to read phonetically, I had no problem reading it aloud. The marginal notes of Tyndale and the introduction by Priscilla Martin enhance this new updated translation, for which Tyndale suffered and died.

In reading McGrath’s “In the beginning,” I learned that the use of thee, thou, thine and ye was already old-fashioned in 1611 when the King James version was completed. The archaic forms were continued because the translators were instructed to change only those parts of the older English translation that were inaccurate, so they included pronouns that were no longer in use, but which were not inaccurate.

Also, in 1611 use of the word “his” was just beginning to be replaced by “its” when referring to neuter nouns like cubits, or wood, or any inanimate noun. The translators went the conservative route, thus giving us some incredibly awkward sentence constructions not unlike what we have today with “his or her” following a singular noun describing people.

But most interesting was learning that the verb forms ending in “-eth” were most likely pronounced as “s” in the early 17th century. English isn’t phonetic in many words (through, tough, plough), and although the people were pronouncing “sayeth“ as “says” and “giveth” as “gives,” a hundred years later when the 1611 version really became almost universally used, no one corrected the pronunciation while reading. There are no recordings of how people spoke. The closest we have to English as spoken in the 17th and 18th century is our own Appalachian people in the U.S., since it is no longer spoken in England.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

#116 A not so funny analysis

I don’t think I knew that Jackie Mason was still around, let alone that the comedian could make political sense. I wonder if someone can get him on the Democratic ticket?

In commenting on Billionaire George Soro’s anti-Semitism, Mason says: “The ovens, grown cold over the last sixty years, are there, waiting only for a spark to be fired up. The only thing in this regard that is different now from then, is that now there is a State that Jews can turn to, that righteous countries can morally and practically support, a State that even if it were abandoned by the whole world could defend itself and be a haven for all Jews.”

Monday, December 01, 2003

#115 Dakota by Kathleen Norris

I’ve been reading Dakota by Kathleen Norris. (I’m listening on tape, actually.) Because her grandmother lived in South Dakota and she vacationed there as a child, she isn’t exactly an outsider. However, her education and Eastern upbringing make her somewhat suspect when she and her husband move there in 1974. Much of Dakota appears to be a diary--spiritual thoughts and meditations. Amazing how the printed page helps you figure that out--but a tape gives no visual clues. I find I miss them terribly.

She writes about doing writing workshops--for children, for women. The plains women who want to be writers have a problem because there are no secrets in a small town (sounds familiar, since I grew up in a small Midwestern town). Hard to disguise your characters. The women belong to so many activities--clubs, church groups, extension--they can’t find time to write. People who do write about the plains successfully, have usually moved away. One woman who was successful and got a column in the local paper, found she was completely ignored by her friends. Nor do they want to read novels by plains people who have left--Norris says they want lies (that must have made the locals happy).

Norris seems to spend a lot of time in a Benedictine monastery (don’t know where, but on the plains), but is a member of a struggling Presbyterian church in Lemmon. One tiny church named Hope near Keldron she served as a lay pastor. Texts about Advent are accepted there, she says--in town they are eager to get on to Christmas. Waiting is something they are good at. She is humbled and in awe--and describes little Hope Church as near the top in per capita giving among Presbyterians in South Dakota.

Outsiders (and she is one) are never really accepted, she says. But she understands how homesteading had this influence--the women particularly had only each other to help. Only the toughest survived--and they had a love/hate relationship with the plains--and that has been passed on.

The internet has come into common use since this book was written, and I’m assuming much has changed in the last 10 years, although not the geographic isolation. Some of the towns and churches she mentions now have web sites.