24 December 2007

Gifts and Plums and Blessings and Roads

We had clear roads and clear skies for our trip to Kansas. Only had some rain in Kentucky/Illinois last night (Saturday).

Having a good chat with the in-laws now. Will have 'Christmas' with them tomorrow and then head out to Colorado tomorrow afternoon.

Had a fruitful month at the store. Many blessings abound from the Lord--surprise gifts and provision from him in spite of (1) not feeling like I'm a good seller or (2) not feeling like I got a fair shake at time on the sales floor. (But, as the manager says, reality is perception, but that is not always reality.)

18 December 2007


We live in a consumer culture. We are accustomed to getting what we want when we want it. Is this right? Is this proper? Is this biblical? I don’t think so!

I’ve spent the last 2.5 years with not much spending money. I am used to not buying things, and when I come into some spending money, I don’t know what to do with it! I know that my desire to procure and consume is empty—that buying and consuming is not a satisfying process. When I consume and buy, I want to consume more! It’s a deep pit, my desire to procure, and feeding it only makes the pit deeper!
Now that I’ve been fasting (definitely not a self-imposed fast, though!) from shopping for these years, I’m learning more about the customers in my store. Some want to buy, buy, buy; some want to shop for new kitchen stuff because they just re-did their kitchen and now their old pots and pans look dingy; some bought cheap pots and pans, burned them or warped them, and want to invest in good quality replacements. So many people, with so many reasons to shop—but we are all consumers.

Now it’s popular to be green, to be recyclers. But why do we buy more stuff that’s ‘green?’ Why don’t we just buy less stuff? (Remember the Three R’s? Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle?) We’re not reducing, have you noticed? We’re encouraged to buy efficient lightbulbs, to turn down our thermostats, to combine errands to save gas, to buy products with less packaging, to buy local products—but not to simply buy less stuff!

There’s a little grocery store out here called Aldi—do you all have an Aldi where you live? It’s great! I love it! You have to bring your own bags, though, or buy theirs. So we (of course) bring our own bags because I don’t want to buy a bag. That’s silly.

I just got back from a quick little trip to Wal-Super-Store. I bought 7 things, and they gave me three bags. We have enough grocery bags at home already, so we’ve taken to throwing them away. I realized…that’s part of the consumerist culture! It’s convenient for the cashier to bag my new stuff and help me get out of the store quickly, but here I am using three bags I don’t need and will only throw away at home.

So how about an experiment for me? I’ll do at Wal-Super-Store the same way I do at Aldi. The cashier will put my new stuff right into my cart and I’ll bag it myself in my pre-used grocery bags before I leave the store. I’ll consume three fewer bags and let someone else consume them. It’s three fewer bags in a landfill, at least.

17 December 2007

Twelve Days Interpreted

If you, like me, hear incessant Holiday Muzak, here is something to consider while the Twelve Days of Christmas plays:

"From 1558 until 1829, Roman Catholics in England were not permitted to practice their faith openly. Someone during that era wrote this carol as a catechism song for young Catholics. It has two levels of meaning: the surface meaning plus a hidden meaning known only to members of their church. Each element in the carol has a code word for a religious reality which the children could remember.

The partridge in a Pear Tree was Jesus Christ.

Two turtle doves were the Old and New Testaments.

Three French hens stood for faith, hope and love.

The four calling birds were the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

The five golden rings recalled the Torah or Law, the first five books of the Old Testament.

The six geese a-laying stood for the six days of creation.

Seven swans a-swimming represented the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit; Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership and Mercy.

The eight maids a-milking were the eight beatitudes.

Nine ladies dancing were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self Control.

The ten lords a-leaping were the Ten Commandments.

The eleven pipers piping stood for the eleven faithful disciples.

The twelve drummers drumming symbolized the twelve points of belief in the Apostles' Creed."


Taken from WonderGirl and the Sift.

11 December 2007

Article (With Citation!) of Funny Metaphors

You may have read some of these analogies around the internet. No, I'm sorry, high school students did not write them. They're from a metaphor/simile contest. Here's the actual news article (and citation!) they came from. They are funny! Read and chuckle.
These are the results from Week 310 of The Style Invitational, published March 14, 1999:

Report From Week 310

in which you were asked to come up with lame analogies. The line separating painfully bad analogies from weirdly good ones is as thin as a soup made from the shadow of a chicken that was starved to death by Abraham Lincoln. And so we had to create a separate category to honor those entries that came too close to actual literature to qualify as "bad." Here they are:

He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant and she was the East River. (Brian Broadus, Charlottesville)

Even in his last years, grandpappy had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long, it had rusted shut. (Sandra Hull, Arlington)

The door had been forced, as forced as the dialogue during the interview portion of "Jeopardy!" (Jean Sorensen, Herndon)

Shots rang out, as shots are wont to do. (Jerry Pannullo, Kensington)

He regarded death with hesitant dread, as if he were a commedia dell'arte troupe and death was an audience of pipe-fitters. (Brian Broadus, Charlottesville)

The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work. (Malcolm Fleschner, Arlington)

Now, back to the gloriously bad analogies.

Sixth Runner-Up: The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while. (Malcolm Fleschner, Arlington)

Fifth Runner-Up: "Oh, Jason, take me!" she panted, her [body] heaving like a college freshman on $1-a-beer night. (Bonnie Speary Devore, Gaithersburg)

Fourth Runner-Up: He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either, but a real duck that was actually lame. Maybe from stepping on a land mine or something. (John Kammer, Herndon)

Third-Runner-Up: Her artistic sense was exquisitely refined, like someone who can tell butter from I Can't Believe It's Not Butter. (Barbara Collier, Garrett Park)

Second Runner-Up: She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up. (Susan Reese, Arlington)

First Runner-Up: It came down the stairs looking very much like something no one had ever seen before. (Marian Carlsson, Lexington, Va.)

And the winner of the Smorked Beef Rectum: The knife was as sharp as the tone used by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Tex.) in her first several points of parliamentary procedure made to Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Ill.) in the House Judiciary Committee hearings on the impeachment of President William Jefferson Clinton. (J.F. Knowles, Springfield)

Honorable Mentions

The ballerina rose gracefully en pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant. (Jennifer Hart, Arlington)

The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because of his wife's infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a formerly surcharge-free ATM. (Paul J. Kocak, Syracuse)

The dandelion swayed in the gentle breeze like an oscillating electric fan set on medium. (Ralph Scott, Washington)

It was an American tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with power tools. (Brian Broadus, Charlottesville)

Her lips were red and full, like tubes of blood drawn by an inattentive phlebotomist. (Greg Dobbins, Arlington)

He felt like he was being hunted down like a dog, in a place that hunts dogs, I suppose. (Russ Beland, Springfield)

The lamp just sat there, like an inanimate object. (Nanci Phillips Sharp, Gaithersburg)

You know how in "Rocky" he prepares for the fight by punching sides of raw beef? Well, yesterday it was as cold as that meat locker he was in. (Alan S. Jarvis, Fredericksburg)

He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up. (Susan Reese, Arlington)

She was as easy as the TV Guide crossword. (Tom Witte, Gaithersburg)

Her eyes were like limpid pools, only they had forgotten to put in any PH cleanser. (Chuck Smith, Woodbridge)

She grew on him like she was a colony of E. coli and he was room-temperature Canadian beef. (Brian Broadus, Charlottesville)

Her pants fit her like a glove, well, maybe more like a mitten, actually. (Chuck Smith, Woodbridge)

She walked into my office like a centipede with 98 missing legs. (Jonathan Paul, Garrett Park)

It hurt the way your tongue hurts after you accidentally staple it to the wall. (Brian Broadus, Charlottesville)

Her voice had that tense, grating quality, like a first-generation thermal paper fax machine that needed a band tightened. (Sue Lin Chong, Washington)

Outside the little snow-covered cabin, a large pile of firewood was stacked like Pamela Anderson. (Meg Sullivan, Potomac)

A branch fell from the tree like a trunk falling off an elephant. (Jonathan Paul, Garrett Park)

Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two other sides gently compressed by a ThighMaster. (Sue Lin Chong, Washington)

The painting was very Escher-like, as if Escher had painted an exact copy of an Escher painting. (Joseph Romm, Washington)

Fishing is like waiting for something that does not happen very often. (Jim Seibert, Falls Church)

They were as good friends as the people on "Friends." (Katie Buckner, McLean)

[one metapor deleted here]

He was as bald as one of the Three Stooges, either Curly or Larry, you know, the one who goes woo woo woo. (Bob Sorensen, Herndon)

The sardines were packed as tight as the coach section of a 747. (Tom Witte, Gaithersburg)

Her eyes were shining like two marbles that someone dropped in mucus and then held up to catch the light. (Barbara Collier, Garrett Park)

The sunset displayed rich, spectacular hues like a .jpeg file at 10 percent cyan, 10 percent magenta, 60 percent yellow and 10 percent black. (Jennifer Hart, Arlington)

And Last: Joe was frustrated, like a man who thought his claim to fame was occasional appearances in a weekly humor contest, but in fact is known to millions as a stupid high school student who writes unintentionally humorous bad analogies. (Joseph Romm, Washington)

Taken from washingtonpost.com (14 March 1999) http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/03/16/AR2007031600738_pf.html

10 December 2007

Word of the Day 12/10

This is one of my most favorite words ever!! Yay.
per·spi·cac·i·ty /ˌpɜrspɪˈkæsɪti/ [pur-spi-kas-i-tee] –noun
1. keenness of mental perception and understanding; discernment; penetration.
2. Archaic. keen vision.

[Origin: 1540–50; earlier perspicacite perspicācitās sharpness of sight, equiv. to perspicāci- (s. of perspicāx sharp-sighted; see perspicuous) + -tās -ty]

Synonyms 1. shrewdness, acuity, astuteness, insight, acumen. See perspicuity.
Antonyms 1. obtuseness.

"perspicacity." Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1). Random House, Inc. 10 Dec. 2007. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/perspicacity

Recent Email Conversation, or, It Amazes Me what People Actually PAY for!

Subject Line: A Gift Idea for You?


Me: Wouldn't you LOOOOVE this calendar??? Wow. Just--wow.

Her: *Gasp!* How did you KNOW?! I NEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEED that!! Oh please oh please oh pleeeeeeeeeeeease!

Me: I laughed till I cried. I'm in the public library now and am laughing (inside) but also outside with my hand over my mouth. Even just his name is sick. Mister Winkle. I think I threw up in my mouth a little.

Her: yeah, pretty much. showed it to my aid and she was like "aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaawww, he's so cuuuuute!" uh. ok. i guess.

A Little Bit of Linkage

Bob recently posted about acceptance and that homey feeling. Why don't we Presbyterians excel at this very necessary skill?

Also, these photos are interesting. I especially think you'd like them, Bobbo.

06 December 2007

Commentary on Holiday Music

I'm a little tired of the saccharine nature of the Holiday Music. I understand that the secular songs are nostalgic for a lot of people, but I'm tired of chestnuts roasting (pop!pop!pop!), sleigh bells jingling (ring-ting-tingling too), presents on the tree (if the fates allow), and so on, and so on, and so on.

I make an effort to listen to the good music--that is, the hymns. But I've noticed that it's the same few hymns that are played, almost to the exclusion of all the others: Joy to the World, Hark! the Herald Angels Sing, Silent Night, O Come all Ye Faithful, and the occasional Away in a Manger. These are all good hymns, but I miss all the other hymns that are also good. I guess these few hymns are also nostalgic and background-y. Nonetheless, I intend to keep listening to the words of those hymns. At least the saccharine is mixed with real sugar, and it might do me some good.

Song du Jour for 12/6

"Frosty the Snowman"
Length of Shift: 8.5 hours
Number of times heard: only 5!

05 December 2007

Song du Jour for 12/5

"Little Drummer Boy"
Length of shift: 4 hours
Number of times heard: only 2

Of the Father's Love Begotten

Of the Father’s love begotten, ere the worlds began to be,
He is Alpha and Omega, He the source, the ending He,
Of the things that are, that have been,
And that future years shall see, evermore and evermore!

O that birth forever blessèd, when the virgin, full of grace,
By the Holy Ghost conceiving, bare the Savior of our race;
And the Babe, the world’s Redeemer,
First revealed His sacred face, evermore and evermore!

O ye heights of heaven adore Him; angel hosts, His praises sing;
Powers, dominions, bow before Him, and extol our God and King!
Let no tongue on earth be silent,
Every voice in concert sing, evermore and evermore!

Christ, to Thee, with God the Father, and, O Holy Ghost, to Thee,
Hymn and chant with high thanksgiving, and unwearied praises be:
Honor, glory, and dominion,
And eternal victory, evermore and evermore!
--Aurelius Prudentius, 5th century

03 December 2007

One Quick Post on the Front End of This Week

...though I will be updating you on the Songs du Jour, of course.

Number of shifts this week: 6.
Number of papers to finish by Wednesday: 2.
Number of papers to make better (if time permits) by Wednesday: 1.
Number of Dev Psych classes left this semester: 0.
Number of tests left to study for: 0. (I'm going to opt out of the exam because I am awesome.)


Coming, sooner or later: a post (or a series of posts) concluding for myself my time in Dev Psych, and a post about the Madrigal Dinner (our 4th in a row together! yay!) which rocked as always.

See ya...