Monday, July 31, 2006

i always feel so good when i get a completely geektastic idea.

today, i got the most geektastic idea ever, and i'm making it into a shirt.
apparently they moved interview notification day to friday.


Sunday, July 30, 2006

so, tomorrow's the morning of truth. tomorrow, the interviews are released for the early on campus interview week.

let the gallows humour begin.
*world series of poker update, including day 1a and as far of day 1b as has occurred*

the good news: phil hellmuth busted out today--my only complaint is that the monkey didn't bust him out. tiffany williamson also busted out today--i'm all for women in poker, but she's a donkey who makes women in poker look really, really bad. and michael mizrachi busted out yesterday. phil ivey, however, has a lot of chips as of a few minutes ago, as does chris ferguson. mike caro is doing pretty well, too...i heart the mad genius, he's so funny to watch. humberto brenes is also still alive; he's also hysterical. and, david sklansky survived day 1a...that's awesome--do you see why?

the bad news: dan harrington busted out yesterday. howard lederer busted out today. ron jeremy (yes, THAT ron jeremy) also busted out...that would have been so funny to see him at the final table. doyle and todd brunson both busted out today. also, i don't think they're letting mikey the chimp play in the main event...that's sad, i was looking so forward to the monkey.

anyway...two more Day Ones to go. can we say "poker marathon"? i only wish it were on TV, live. i wouldn't leave the living room.

Saturday, July 29, 2006


Dirt Cheap is selling stuffed, talking Dirt Cheap Chickens.

i MUST go to Dirt Cheap and buy one. now...they're CHEAP! CHEAP! FUN! FUN!

Friday, July 28, 2006

today it begins...the main event.

good luck to all the players i like, to all the players who amuse me. good luck to steve dannenmann, to ellix powers (if he's playing the main event...i doubt he is, but if he does, more power to him).

good luck to howard lederer, to phil ivey, to doyle brunson, to dan harrington, to greg raymer, to chip reese, to jennifer the many i'm forgetting, the real class acts who know how to win and do it with class.

good luck to mikey the chimp as well. may you bust out the jerks and the idiots. may you bust out phil hellmuth for being a jerk, may you bust out aaron kanter and michael mizrachi for being donks.

shuffle up and deal.
the circuit: i don't think i'm ever going to listen to anything else at work again. i recommend this to any poker junkies out there, and i feel like a moron that it took me so long to discover this show. the hosts are amusing (and two of them are poker pros, gavin smith and joe sebok), they have all the top poker stars on their show, and it's a great mix of serious poker talk and all-out insanity.

i highly recommend the Steve Dannenmann episode. have i recently mentioned again that he is my hero? because he is.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

last night was fantastic.

chris, chris and i went to pub trivia out at jackson's. there weren't a lot of people there, so they only did two rounds instead of three. the way it works is that the winner of each round gets a bar tab, and second and third place get a scratch-off lottery ticket. the bar tabs this week were $10...usually it's $15, but again, not very many people there so they lowered it.

first round was awesome. we won the bar tab that round. there was one question that absolutely stumped us--apparently there were NINE previous capitals of the united states. we got...four of them. i hadn't known there were that many...but, apparently, the following cities have all been capitals of the united states:

* philadelphia, pennsylvania (1774, 1777, 1778–1781, 1781–1783, 1790–1800)
* baltimore, maryland (1776–1777)
* lancaster, pennsylvania (1777)
* york, pennsylvania, (1777–1778)
* princeton, new jersey (1783)
* annapolis, maryland (1783–1784)
* trenton, new jersey, (1784)
* new york city (1785–1788, 1789–1790)
* washington, d.c. (1800-now)

we got the three no-duh ones amd baltimore. anyway...despite bombing that question, we still won the round, and got ten bucks off our beer. that was pretty sweet.

second round was the really amusing one. we didn't do as well on that round as in the first one...but then again, it appeared that no one did. one of the questions was who bought out sears last year. i was racking my brain--i should have known who it was, but i couldn't think of it. chris suggested kmart. i said it couldn't be that--of course, it was. sigh.

that question was the difference between second and first--we lost the round by fifty points, and that was a hundred point question. so, instead of a ten dollar bar tab, we got a scratch-off lottery ticket.

that lottery ticket was a $17 winner.

go us.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006



i love the state of iowa.
take that, MPAA.

you knew this was going to happen one of these days--they'd be dumb enough to sue someone with gobs of money, ready to take them to court.

good luck, and Godspeed, Shawn Hogan. fight them hard.
someone found my blog by googling the phrase "i give shaw muffin".

that makes my day. that's absolutely awesome. ♥

(and i'm still so sad that the "shaw sucks" website is gone. it really was one of the funniest things on the internet.)

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Gets A Shiny Thing: Card Player Magazine. it's a gold mine of insightful articles about poker, and many of their columnists like to preach the gospel of Dan Harrington (whose books on tournament poker are just amazing). i'm tempted to buy a subscription as soon as i have some money.

Does Not Get A Shiny Thing: Mother Nature, powered by AmerenUE (or, vice versa?). i still don't have electricity. sigh.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

boy meets girl on J-Date. boy buys girl dinner. girl asks if she should pay half. boy says no, he'll pay. girl doesn't ask boy out for second date. boy starts sending creepy emails and making creepy phone calls.

this guy is an asshat who has no clue how dating works.
i wish i could say that i've done what i wanted to this weekend...mainly, a ton of laundry. i can't say i've done that--and this time, it's not my fault for being a lazy bum.

the power is still out.

it went out wednesday, and stayed out. the power crews were hindered, and more people lost their power, as a result of another storm on friday. my neighbourhood is still a mess of fallen trees and fallen branches.

at least the heat has broken a little bit, which is better than nothing. thursday night was horrific...i took a cold shower that felt so good for about two minutes, until i stepped out, back into the hundred degree heat and thick humidity.

yesterday, however, was only eighty-five, and far less humid. after a few days of hundred degree heat, eighty-five felt like about seventy-five. i can't say it was objectively wonderful, i still wished it were much cooler, but it was better than it was. my apartment doesn't feel like a boiler-room anymore.

it's still frustrating. the only modern conveniences i have are running water and a little booklight that i purchased at radio shack on friday, after work. it was enough of a wild goose chase finding that booklight. after work, i took the bus up lindell, out near lindell and sarah...there's a schnucks, a walgreens, a radio shack...basically a big old strip mall on one side of the corner, and a walgreens across the street. i checked walgreens first, and all they had was a flashlight that you had to crank to make work. it didn't provide much light, and it was almost twenty dollars. no dice...i'm desperate, but i'm not that desperate to blow twenty dollars on a light i had to crank. then, i went to radio looked futile--the salesperson even looked in the back and could not find flashlights--but then i found a display of booklights on my way out. they were small, they were fairly cheap (six bucks or so), and buying one would allow me to read, and allow me to navigate my tiny little apartment. i'm so glad i bought it, so i have a little light.

the last few days have been a game of where i can go for as long as i can to beat the heat, bask in some air conditioning. friday night, i stayed at the spyglass for way too long. i love the's not too busy, the drinks are cheap, the people who work there are nice, and it's close to my new apartment--walking distance. that's where i went to beat the heat last night, too...whatever i said about the money i'm saving in rent on my new place all going to kayak's, strike that. it's probably all going to go to the spyglass instead.

now i'm sitting in a coffeehouse, taking advantage of the air conditioning and the internet. i was up really early this morning, went to church, and then came over here. all in all it's been a good day, although i wish i could go home and there would be power.

i'm sorry, this isn't very insightful, it's just a long rant about how much it sucks that my power is still out. i've been incommunicado for days, and i can't think of anything interesting to say, i can only bitch. i guess it says something not-so-good about me, that i can't live without the modern convenience of electricity without it affecting me like this. it would be a little better if it were not july...if it were march or april, or october or november, sometime when it was cooler. the only other time i've been out of power this long was after hurricane fran, back in 1996. i got used to it, and even enjoyed it for a while...i was a little sad eight days later, when it came back. i can't remember how, or why. now, being out of power, i can't see myself getting sad when it comes back--only elated. this storm wasn't quite the same experience as the hurricane was...maybe it was because this storm lasted only a few minutes, whereas we waited and waited for days, knowing the hurricane was going to come, then it spent an entire night ravaging the area, and then we got up and surveyed the damage. this time, it was quick. it blew through over the course of an hour or so on wednesday night, as everything fell to pieces. i didn't know it was coming, i napped through the first part of the actual storm, and i was oblivious to its seriousness since, while it was going on, i was in a place that never lost power. i feel very alienated from this experience, whereas i felt at one with hurricane fran. maybe therein lies the difference.

Friday, July 21, 2006

i wanna.

"a chimp is capable of playing poker at least as well as phil hellmuth, jr., if not better."

pleeeeeeeeeeease let that monkey knock out phil hellmuth. that would be hysterical. mike matusow would also be acceptable, because he would be almost as funny. aaron kanter or chris moneymaker would be acceptable, because they both really, really suck at poker. but, phil hellmuth getting knocked out of the world series of poker main event by a chimpanzee? that would be pure comic platinum.
so it's been a crazy couple of days since i last posted.

wednesday afternoon, i finally moved into my new apartment--finally! i picked up the keys that morning, and then chris and i got a u-haul to lug all of my stuff over to my new place. i'm so excited about it--it's my own, and i don't plan on moving out until i'm done with law school. it will be the first place i'll keep for more than a year since i lived in raleigh. i also got to keep my bed that i bought when i started law school--again, it's the first bed i've gotten to sleep in for more than a year since i started college. moving into my place was so much easier than moving out of my old place, steps to carry stuff out of! as opposed to having to carry everything down the stairs, and down the street, and up the stairs, and into chris' spare room...we carried the stuff down to the u-haul, drove it to my place, parked right outside the door, and brought it in. there are no steps at my building--genius!

i had a couple of worries when i moved in. first, the key that the landlord gave me did not work. we could move the stuff in, since they had left the door to my unit unlocked, but i needed a key so i could lock the place when i left. luckily, they sent a maintenance man right over, and he had a key that worked. between when i called the maintenance man and when he got there, i also realised that my stove did not work. oops. that got fixed too...they had apparently unhooked the gas from the stove when no one was living in the unit, and as soon as he hooked up the gas, it worked.

once that was all set, i was lazy the rest of the afternoon. i watched some tv, took a nap, and got ready for trivia night. but, while i was napping, a storm blew through st. louis. it was a freak storm--instead of coming in from the west as most storms do, it blew down from the north. (never seen that before!) usually, dark red is the colour on a news radar denoting the worst storms--not this time. they had to bust out two different shades of purple to denote storms that were worse than the dark red cells. we didn't get a lot of rain or lightning from it--but we got wind. we got lots of wind. tree branches were down all over...near chris' place it was mostly little ones, and he didn't lose power. (little did i know, until yesterday afternoon when i returned, that lots of large branches were down near my new place, and even whole trees.)

trivia was a washout wednesday night. we drove to jackson's, but found out that it was closed--for lack of power. basically all of dogtown was knocked out. we drove to u-city, thinking the loop would still have power--part of it did. we wanted to grab dinner at blue hill, but even though the bar was open and the lights were on, they had closed their kitchen and shut off the air conditioning. (no thanks.) driving was treacherous--many traffic lights were out, parts of the roads were blocked by branches and was anarchy.

it's friday morning, and power's still not back in a lot of places. i don't know if my power's back on or not. i know it was out yesterday...i went back to my place yesterday afternoon after picking up some little apartment essentials...pots, pans, a hamper, stuff like that. i was looking forward to my air conditioning, only to find that my power was out, and there was no AC to be had. it was still out as of about nine thirty last night. (that was frustrating, as everywhere else near me had power...just my little block was out. there were places i could see from out my back window that had power! just not my block.) i stayed at chris' place last night...but i can't do that this weekend, since he's out of town. i really hope i get my power back...some lights and some air conditioning would be really, really nice. otherwise, my grand plans of setting up my new apartment this weekend probably won't work out so grandly.

Monday, July 17, 2006

you start to think there's no justice in the world, and then you read this. pure poetic justice.

Friday, July 14, 2006

quick quiz!

what would you do if you looked like michael jordan?

a. find a niche market for michael jordan impersonators
b. use it to pick up chicks
c. change your look or dress a little bit if you didn't feel like looking like michael jordan anymore
d. take the compliments nicely and move on with your days
e. sue michael jordan and phil knight for $416 million apiece

i didn't know i had a legal right not to be "harassed of looking like michael jordan." go figure.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

said by Bill Sinkford, president of the Unitarian Universalist Association, at General Assembly:

"Every expert who looks at us from the outside, reminds us that we are a faith community of tremendous coherence. That we share so much. And demographics tell us that the average Unitarian Universalist is a very identifiable animal: white, middle to upper-middle class, terminally over-educated, Birkenstock-wearer, Prius-driver, and still upset that Jeb Bartlett's second term has ended."

the comment about jeb bartlett's term definitely amuses me. i only wish. :)

but, on a more serious note, i have noticed that most of the people at church strike me as extremely educated...and extremely white. i agree that it would [as in the context of the comment] be a good idea to discuss ways to broaden the membership--broaden the ways that people could hear about unitarian universalism, and
decide if it's the religion for them. i don't know much about publicizing religious communities...if it should be done like publicizing many other things, with signs and stuff, or more subtly, as my gut instinct is telling me right now.

it reminds me of a discussion i had with another person at church, a week and a half ago, who was telling me with enthusiasm and interest the seminars he went to at General Assembly about getting the word out that unitarian universalism exists, and what it is all about. we discussed for a while about how speaking publicly about a community of faith is getting such a bad name, thanks to the religious right. they speak so publicly about their churches, in a sense of "believe what i believe, or you're going to hell." it crosses the line from publicity across to intrusion, to coercion. that kind of publicity would not sit well with basic unitarian ideology--the idea that people can take responsibility to discover, act on, and continue to build on and refine a faith that makes personal sense.

but, the idea of getting the word out about the idea of unitarian universalism makes a lot of sense to me. it goes beyond the desire to have a more racially and socioeconomically diverse church community. it touches on an idea i read in the challenge of liberal religion, a book i read earlier this summer about unitarian theology. it discussed an idea, that i found a lot of truth in, that people often have two "religions": their personal religion and their church religion. there's the faith their church teaches, in which they go to ceremonies and services every week, or few weeks, or few days, in which they observe, but may not agree with a lot of the teachings in. then, there's the personal religion, the compendium of religious ideas and teachings that the person agrees with and finds meaning in.

sometimes, the two are substantively equal: the religion observed at their chosen house of worship is well-mirrored by the religion that the person believes and observes day in and day out. sometimes, the two are not even close to equal. the person may still go to the house of worship due to habit, or family tradition, or one of a million other reasons, but the church religion and the personal religion are not substantially similar. sometimes, people realise this, reconcile or simply live around the duality somehow, and keep going to the old church.

but, sometimes people realise the difference between their personal religion and their church religion, and want to find a new place where both intersect. that's where i think getting the word out about any religious community can be a good thing. if it's not done in a proselytizing manner, but rather by saying "this is who we are, these are the basic tenets of the religion, come investigate if you're interested", then a religious community can become more expansive, just by people knowing about it and coming in, if they feel their personal religion and that church's religion would fit together well.

i don't think there's a race line, or a socioeconomic line, in the faith that inherently makes unitarian universalism less attractive to people who aren't white and aren't able to wallpaper their bedroom with advanced degrees. ideologically, i think it is the opposite, a very inclusive religion, one that emphasizes and nurtures each individual's search. but, many people won't know that, won't consider it as something that may fit their personal religion, unless they find it somewhere on their search. evangelism is one thing, i'm not for going out there and asserting that unitarian universalism is the true way, or everyone's personal religion--that would be intrusive and patently against everything the religion stands for. but, there's nothing wrong with some publicity, giving the church a little more public presence somehow, and inviting people to come by if they are interested.
you know that little studio i was raving about yesterday?

well, it's mine! minemineminemineminemineminemineminemineMINE!!!!!!

i can move in next wednesday.


Tuesday, July 11, 2006

today's a good day. not only are my classes all set, but i have an appointment tomorrow morning to look at an that i wouldn't have to share with anyone else, a little studio that's walking distance from school, and walking distance from the loop. i really hope i like it, because even though i'm still open to sharing housing, having my own place would be optimal. i could have people over whenever i wanted to, i could put whatever i wanted in it...i don't really need that much space, but i love the idea of a place that i can just call mine.

i also like the walking distance thing a lot. i can walk to school, i can walk to the delmar loop (which would me no more expensive cab rides, long walks, or bumming rides when i'm drinking at the delmar lounge until 3am, as i inevitably end up doing!), i can walk to the metrolink, i can walk to the little public library...

wish me luck.
i got into pretrial! i got into pretrial!

*dances around*

this means my schedule for next semester is ALL SET! :D i'm taking:

Evidence (because, come on. i have to. otherwise, no trial classes for me...and that would make me a sad nicky.)
Pretrial (because it's fun. duh.)
Antitrust (again, not planning on being an antitrust lawyer--but it's Professor Ellis! he was my torts professor this year, and he's absolutely amazing. this class will be extra fun because not only is the professor awesome, but i convinced Chris to take it with me.)
Environmental and Land Use Litigation (i'm not planning on being a land use lawyer, but apparently Prof. Mandelker is a land use law deity, and i'm all for a seminar that makes me do briefs and oral arguments instead of academic writing.)
Estate and Gift Taxation (come on. it's Professor Moore. he's just cool.)

all in all, it looks like it'll be a good semester--i got the classes i wanted!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

generally, i can't stand adam carolla. he accused everyone who had any sort of sexual predilictions of having been abused as a kid. it was horrific.

but then he left to do a morning radio show. i've not listened to it, but i swear...i think he just redeemed himself.

this is bloody brilliant. he hangs up on ann coulter. she called into the show an hour and a half late, tries to pass the buck, and he just shuts her down in short order. it's gorgeous.

more people should hang up on ann coulter.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

yikes. i can't believe it's OCI time again.

i'm not even done with my job this summer, and here i am, already trying to get a job next summer. it feels wrong somehow.
i tried posting a really long meme here, but apparently it doesn't work very well on blogger. if you want to read it, it's posted here, on my LJ mirror.

Friday, July 07, 2006

eric mentioned a very good point in his comment, about how difficult it is to assume goodwill in fundamentalist evangelism. i agree, it's difficult. but, it's not that hard to fathom why many of the rank and file may be meaning well with it. they believe that their specific religion is the one true path to salvation, and they want to get that out to everyone else--it's their responsiblity to witness, and save as many people as possible. a few are receptive. many are not. they see it as their duty.

still, i think there is a fundamental chasm between finding a deep responsibility to try and convert others to a faith, and reflecting that in governmental policy. they can witness on their own time. there is nothing preventing them from talking to people on the sidewalks, passing out tracts at the park, publishing letters in the paper, or posting opinion pieces on the internet. some may blow them off, some may stay to chat. if a convert decides that school should involve prayer or religious teachings, the convert can put their child in a religious school, or attend a religious college themselves. the convert can decide to live a life in accordance with the religion's tenets.

but, it hardly seems consistent with the idea of freedom of religion to pass the buck to the government, to work to get the government to do a forcible version of witnessing for that faith. it's impersonal. it infringes on the rights of people who decide not to listen to those who say that evangelical christianity is the one true faith. a separation between church and state does not prohibit evangelicals' free exercise of their faith--up to and including large-scale witnessing projects. the only thing it prohibits is an overlap between the church, the instrument that works in the interests of its faithful, and the state, an instrument that ought to work to protect everyone's interests as best it can.
baby steps. baby steps.

i swore earlier this summer that my goal was to pull myself together, make life coherent again.

i'm not there, but i'm inching closer. i've got a few things figured out, i've got a few things not figured out yet. some things are still rocky, some things are the same, and some things are not quite as scary as i feared.

i still don't have a new apartment yet, and that's still stressing me out. i still don't have much money at all...but with my summer salary, of course, that was perfectly expected, right? i need to get my stuff together for job interviews for next summer...get ready for OCI, and figure out where i'm going to apply on my own. i don't know yet what i'm going to take instead of jury instructions if i don't get into pretrial. i also still need a new pair of pants.

but, some things are there. i have secured funding for another year of law school. my jobs are going well--especially the clinic, i'm actually feeling like i'm doing good things for my clients, not letting them down as i feared i would. i'm doing my part to organize law school orientation, getting the activity fair together. i am singing...every week at karaoke this summer, and also in the church choir come fall. i am reading voraciously for fun, enjoying my nights when i don't have to study for class. i'm spending lots of time with chris...and he's being so wonderful, dealing with me and my crazy mood swings this summer. i don't know what i'd do without him.

the still-undone seems insurmountable, but i also wonder how i got as far as i have on the few things that i have gotten done.

baby steps. baby steps.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

reason #764 why you should not buy your college degree from an online degree mill:

anyone who buys a degree there and realises it opens no doors deserves whatever comes to them.
i see religion itself as a very personal thing. if you get some edification, some connection, from faith, then it can be a very good thing. if you don't get any particular edification from it, then you don't have to pursue it. faith doesn't work for everyone, and especially no particular faith works for everyone. i admit this is a very humanist way of looking at religion...but it's the only way that makes sense to me. i resent the idea of another person telling anyone who to believe, or how to believe. i resent the idea of a person trying to claim that one or two particular books are the only ones that can be, or have ever been, or will ever be, divinely inspired. it is a personal choice, involving what motivates something higher inside you. it can be practiced in a solitary manner, or as part of a group, but every person in that group, ideally, should be deriving something profound from their participation.

for my part, i believe there's a higher power out there, one who speaks to different people in different ways...i see this God as being more personal than the purely deist conception of God, the finger that set it all in motion, but definitely not a being that sees science as a cruel trick, a cruel test of faith. he helps people along...but whatever finger he had in creating the world, he used an order generally discoverable by the scientific method.

my thoughts on the matter, however, are neither here nor there with respect to anyone's faith, anyone's religion, anyone's existence but my own. why am i musing about how personal and singular i think religion is? i do it fairly frequently, but this time it is because of a very disturbing photograph i saw:

the first few times i saw that, i thought it had been photoshopped...finally, when i saw it in eric's blog, i realised that it wasn't--that it was actually a statue. a huge evangelical church in memphis put up that statue.

i respect their right to put up the statue, and i respect their right to find meaning in that symbolism. but, it's hard. it's really hard. a crying statue of liberty holding a bible and a cross? one of the central tenets of my idea of religion is that it is personal. flowing from that is my steadfast belief in the separation of church and state.

government is not the source of higher meaning. government is organized society...i will pull out that phrase again, american democracy is supposed to exist "by the people, for the people." it wasn't created for the christians any more than it was created for members of any other faith. government is a set of institutions that exists to ensure that people can live safely and practically. it is government's place to protect citizens' life, liberty, and property. the government can stop people from killing and stealing. the government can build roads, provide welfare and job training, run prisons and police departments--in other words, do things that help its citizens with their worldly needs in organized society.

but, as soon as one asserts that government is a christian government, they are asserting that it is is no longer the government's place to protect citizens' liberty. people of any given faith are free to practice their faith in a society such as ours was designed to be--a secular government with no instituted restrictions on people's exercise of religion. but, as soon as the government takes on the characteristics of one faith, promotes one over all others, anyone who does not believe the faith promoted--establshed, if you will--by the government loses that liberty to free exercise.

i just cannot find conscionable or responsible a worldview that takes away from people the right to fully follow the faith that edifies them unless they somehow fall into the category of people who find meaning in the chosen government faith. i'll just say...i have my own interpretation as to why the statue of liberty in that statue is crying.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

the new church bulletin came out...i adore my minister. what she wrote in this month's bulletin definitely shows why, extremely well. it is infused with the beauty of unitarian universalism as a deeply personal (as opposed to institutionalized) faith, and also has a liberal sprinkling of humour.

“We offer a democratic way of being religious together, of sharing in reverence and wonder. We are inspired by the example of prophetic women and men, by wisdom drawn from the world’s religions, by Jewish and Christian reminders to respond to God’s love by loving our neighbors as ourselves, and by humanist teachings which counsel us to make use of reason and science. Warned against idolatries, together we seek the balanced growth of mind and spirit, knowing that human creativity does not flourish unless both realms come together.”—Rev. John Buehrens, for President of the Unitarian Universalist Association

That’s a pretty good thumbnail sketch of who we are as religious liberals. Describing our way of being faithful and faith-filled is not all that hard. It is simple, direct, inspiring, and good for the long haul.

Some people want to believe that unless a religion is harsh and abrasive it won’t be very effective. They are put off by our lack of rules and dogma. Harsh and abrasive is great if you are looking for a scouring powder, harsh and abrasive is great if you are trying to get rid of a pesky bathtub ring. But harsh religion has never done anything but make people smug and mean. Having a lot of rules and taboos has never made a religion great.

Some people think that unless a religion is as complicated as a Rube Goldberg device, it’s no good. Complicated is great if you are trying to program a VCR; complicated is fine if you are fixing a recipe clipped from Gourmet Magazine, but a complicated religion won’t do you much good when you are called upon to make split second moral decisions. If you are a Unitarian Universalist, all you really have to do is remember five little words—love your neighbor as yourself. Even those of us who can’t find our car keys most of the time can remember those five little words. Simple is better.

Some people even believe that a religion is great if it asks you to check your brains at the door, suspend your doubts and take everything on faith alone. Faith alone is good if you are inclined to buy prime real estate in the Atchafelaya Swamp; faith alone is good if you are planning to take the advice of one of those “psychic phone friends” that advertise on TV. But for most of us, the cultivation of healthy doubt is essential to our well-being. Doubt is no enemy of faith, but it is the foe of hocus-pocus.

Some people even believe that a religion can be measured by the extravagant promises it makes about future rewards—the old pie in the sky when you die. Extravagant promises are great, if you are buying a lottery ticket, or waiting for the Publishers Clearing House to ring your doorbell with a fat check. But I want to believe that living a moral, ethical, spiritual life in the here-and-now is its own reward. We UUs believe in being “good for nothing,” that is to say, we believe that the ethical life is its own reward.

That’s why I’m a Unitarian Universalist. It’s straight forward and uncomplicated, skeptical but not cynical. It teaches that there is nothing wrong with using your head when it comes to matters of belief. It preaches salvation through the cultivation of a good character, and faith as faithfulness to a moral and ethical path. What could be easier? Or harder?

Love and Shalom, Suzanne

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

albert pujols is only 26 years old.

yes, that albert pujols. baseball player, st. louis cardinal, tearing up the major leagues albert pujols. is 26.

that scares me. he's only three years older than me. he's...albert pujols. and i'm just me.

i need more four day weekends like this. i'm completely lazy, completely unproductive, but i love it. it's nice to have time to sit, twiddle my thumbs, and not have to worry about much of anything.

i know i should be productive, doing something, but it has been so easy to put out of my mind this week. too easy, probably.

i wish i had something more profound to say about it. i don't. i'm just savouring the fact that it's five p.m., and i'm still lounging about in my pajamas.

Monday, July 03, 2006

i'm by no means a fashionista. but, i do have something in common with everyone else with an interest in not getting hauled off for indecent exposure every day: i wear clothes.

specifically, i enjoy wearing jeans. they're comfy, they're practical, they go with almost anything in my wardrobe, and they look good.

now i'm mad.

i went out to try and find a pair of jeans. i went to several stores. i went to target first--you'd think that target would have a pair of jeans, right? wrong. they have all sorts of jean skirts, capri pants, and a few token pairs of black slacks for work--but no jeans whatsoever. i was very confused.

i kept store-hopping...i walked from store to store, shopping centre to shopping centre, in the ninety-five degree heat. i'm home...covered in sweat, sunburned, guzzling gatorate like it's the nectar of life--and i have no jeans to show for it. i found one rack of jeans the entire day. it was a rack of tapered leg jeans, which i refuse to wear. (i have thunder-thighs as is. i don't need a pair of jeans to make my thighs look even bigger!)

i didn't think i was asking for much--a plain, basic pair of jeans, boot-cut or flare leg. i can usually find a pair that fits that bill. apparently, not. apparently, if all your pairs of jeans decided to kick the bucket in july, you're out of luck.

sigh. i'm mad.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

okay people. i'll make you a deal.

if Stu Ungar wins the world series of poker this year, i'll eat my hat. and pay you a million bucks. and then jump off the top of the hancock building.
happy canada day!!!!