Pope John XXIII was a saint. He opened the Vatican II Conference to allow people of all faiths to attend and watch the proceedings; this had not been done before. He was open to the possibility of women in the priesthood; he was willing to remove all barriers to use of birth control as a compassionate way for families to control the number of children they had and alleviate poverty. He had been a parish priest and a parish bishop; even as a cardinal he would go buy his own groceries and invite people to come home for dinner, and listen to them talk about their lives. Everywhere he went, he tried to be more inclusive; he listened; he welcomed people, welcomed discussion, welcomed scientific discoveries. He embodied what Paul wrote: 'When the Spirit makes you free, you are free indeed.'
Pope John Paul II was not a saint, by any rational measure. He suppressed women's roles within the church; he covered up the sexual misbehavior of church officials at all levels; instead of opening windows to other faiths he closed them, and he narrowed access to the church within its ranks. By turning his back on the thousands of women who were ready, trained and able to be ordained as priests -- they had met all the requirements that men must meet -- he forced the closure of parishes for lack of priests. His stubbornness, anchored in the times and customs of World War II Poland, resulted in the exodus of Catholics to other churches, other faiths. It might be possible to say that by his actions -- and lack of action -- and attitudes and prejudices -- he immeasurably enriched the Episcopal Church and Anglicanism in general, Quakerism, and many of the pagan faiths, by sending them good people who followed their consciences. But that came at the cost of depleting the church he was supposed to be caring for of thoughtful, caring people who could no longer in good conscience go along with what he did. His canonization comes at the political behest of wealthy, powerful people who are even further to the right than he is, as a way to endorse their wish to force the church back to a time before John XXIII opened its doors and windows and leaned out to wish joy to all.
So. Both are to be canonized this coming Sunday.
Saints are made through a process. It is notable that much of the process was waived in the case of John Paul II; his candidacy was hurried through.
[I am thinking of 'Beauty', by Robin McKinley, and her Cathedral of Forgotten Saints: Saint Frog, Saint Bat and so on. I would rather see my childhood dog Pat canonized, or Simba the Magnificent, my Maine Coon cat, than John Paul II. Both are far more worthy; both were kind to all regardless of gender or sexual preference. Neither one allowed anyone nearby who was smaller or weaker to be abused, and defended them against any who tried.]
I hope that Saint John XXIII will 'spend his heaven in doing good on earth', as St. Theresa said she would do. And I hope that John Paul II will listen to John XXIII... and shut up, because he's already done enough harm that affected people I care about.
To the simplest questions: What is my name?
Who am I? Where is home? Only a dearth
Of meaning, or a flood of facts -- the same
Thing in different sounds, all expressing
Images, feelings, meanings that exist
Beyond words, speech, writing -- all repressing
The vivid reality. But persist
We do, in stumbling sound and feeble phrase,
To try to find a way to share this clear
Knowing, this immediacy that plays
Throughout this body, upon this sweet sphere:
I am who I am, and who I will be
Dances on the Milky Way's eternity.
I love many parts of my job; I am aware of how incredibly privileged I am, and how unlikely that the next few generations of academics will have the privileges that the current generation has (and there needs to be a similar study on how adjuncts, instructors, i.e. not tenure track, use their time).
But damn, one of the things that pisses me off the most if the overt expressed contempt of many administrators and staff on my campus about how lazy and unproductive faculty are.
I'm way, way behind on all social media. I've peeked at Facebook and Twitter a few times, and started reading my Dreamwidth reading page a couple of times, but I keep getting interrupted before I get very far and not getting back to it again for days. So I'm sure I've missed lots of news from lots of folks. Declaring pants bankrupt.
Mom came home from inpatient physical therapy rehab a week ago ... and promptly developed yet another UTI. But my sister ordered some home UTI test strips, so we didn't have to wait until she fell again or her next appointment to find out, this time. So she's moving slowly and thinking slowly this week (which in turn makes things much more stressful for me), but a course of antibiotics has been started. And there's been a smidgen of progress on the five-months-and-counting "get Mom seen by a urologist" project. So there's that.
We need more help here than just me. Mom needs more help. We've spoken to one outfit, but still need to work out how to pay for it. We know about one program for financial assistance so far (because Dad was in the USAF).
In the meantime, I've been exhibiting my usual lack of ability to gauge my spoons reserve -- doing too much one day (because my to-do list is scary-huge and stuff needs to get done) and then being a wreck for the next two. Monday I had to get blood drawn, and ran a few errands while I was out. Sheepie reminded me to stop after each errand to judge how tired I was getting. I felt pretty good until forty minutes after I got home and stopped doing stuff, and then my body said, "nope, nope, that was too much, falling apart now." Makes it hard to stop in time when the too-much signal has that much lag. Today I'm taking Mom to appointments this afternoon (composing this on her phone in the podiatrist's waiting room) and going to HCB rehearsal tonight -- despite yesterday not having been quite enough recovery time from Monday -- and then I have my own appointment tomorrow to see my doctor. So hoping Mom does well enough that I can get enough rest tomorrow night and all of Friday, to be in decent shape for our concert on Saturday. (Details in a previous DW entry.)
In a similar vein, I finally found out when my cousin's wedding is (in New York): the day before our gig at the Green Man festival (see same previous DW post), which might be doable if I'm not the one driving to NY and back, but is still going to be a strain. There's a lot going on (considering the downtime I need between activities, my calendar is as scary as my to-do list). Time is broken.
So: hanging in there, too much to do and too few spoons / too little time. Worried about Mom-care and money (hers) to pay for help. Trying to make sure I'm well enough for upcoming gigs. And hopelessly behind / out of touch. Wish me luck.
 If unfamiliar with the phrase, Google "bankrupt my pants".
 "Time is what keeps everything from happening all at once."
Of course, it's also 3rd in a trilogy where I haven't read the other two books -- it's a book I have to present on for a library booktalk -- and I'm sure that doesn't help. I was able to parse the plot that had come before just fine, but felt like there was a lot of character development that would've felt more meaningful with more setup.
Part of the problem may be that I'm not very interested in, and tried to write a fantasy novel entirely without, long journeys through the wilderness and nobles doing politics. (My issue with politics in fantasy is a bit like my issue with science in hard science fiction: you can deal with it at a simplistic level and get everything wrong, or you can deal with it at a sophisticated level and be kind of boring and pedantic, and it takes a really brilliant writer to not fall into either of those.)
You want to record one of my stories? Go ahead. Do it.
(I'd like a copy before it's posted to an archive. And if you are not sure how to pronounce something, ask me.)
Life's too fucking short for me to stop people doing something that makes them happy.
This is a movie set in DC that is *filmed* in DC. And looks like DC. [As opposed to, say, Die Hard 4, which was filmed in Baltimore and looks nothing like DC. Or True Lies, which takes enough liberties with Georgetown that M Street merchants might well complain. ( details )
For whatever reason, any bad mood I'm having is instantly lifted and temporarily repelled from the moment I hear the first bars of this:
The singer's offer in the first verse, I'll buy you six bay mares to put in your stable, six golden apples bought with my pay, is odd enough to make the whole song fantastical, personal enough ("bought with my pay" - this is not inherited wealth) to make it intensely romantic to me. The drumbeats of the refrain are a call to action and to leave maundering behind to follow him.
For this weeks Project Censored Show on Pacifica Radio, Mickey Huff is joined by special guest and co-host Dr. Deepa Kumar. The topic of the show is Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire, from the national insecurity state to drone wars and beyond in the 21st century. They’ll be joined by Dr. Arun Kundnani, author […]
When They finally let me read Naked Lunch, I agreed that it was a masterpiece—a magnificent collage of widely varied but almost always brilliant imagery held together by striking wit and a morbidly fascinating sensibility. I think it also was his One Book. Later works didn't add to it, and made it more obvious that he did not like women. At his worst, he called the whole sex a "mistake" and wrote books like The Wild Boys fantasizing about slaughtering them all and all the men who'd been contaminated by them (not unlike a Halloween movie). At best, he tolerated them.
Call Me Burroughs, by Barry Miles, is an excellent and thorough bio. It reinforces my view of the three Beat Generation superstars: Ginsberg was a saint, Kerouac was a turd, and Burroughs was a sicko. We read much about his mental adventures in Scientology and worse.
And it leaves us with a familiar problem: What do we do about great work by horrible people? I can't even decide whether the craziness is mitigating or exacerbating. At least Ezra Pound never said that the Jews were specially created by evil insects from space.
[Χριστος Ανεστη! Happy Easter to everyone of my Faith -- Christ is risen! (For folks who are cuious but don't keep track: it's Easter in both calendars today; Western and Othodox Easter coincide this year.)]
"If your salvation was dependent on your ability to read and understand scripture, Jesus would have been an author." -- Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience
When Elder Care Hurts: Caring for Elders who have been Abusive or Neglectful.
I know from my own experience that the final illness and death of the abuser is a wrenching process, no matter how much healing you've done.
This is a really fun game to play, actually, if you play it with people who you're on a similar footing with -- my roleplaying group was pretty well-matched although some of us could remember the early days of arcade games better than others. But if you play it for long enough, it's very apparent that it's reifying a canon of "geek" that's centered on a geek culture that has been really exclusionary.
It asks you to name Arnold Schwarzenegger movies and Monty Python movies and Douglas Adams novels and Kurt Vonnegut novels; heck, I don't remember one question about manga or anime, and that's certainly as "mainstream geek" as old arcade games. Someone whose experience of being a geek came from reading Ursula LeGuin and Octavia Butler and watching wuxia movies would have been shut out.
If you look at the dust-up over whether you can be a "real fan" without reading or appreciating Heinlein, I think ... a lot of people are really invested in a definition of "geek," or "fan," that means we all have the same common reference points. And those common reference points are really important to people, or at least, that's the only plausible explanation for people who insist on quoting and requoting Monty Python long after it's stopped being funny. (They're important to me, too, or I wouldn't have gone to see Thor 2, which I thought was a pretty bad movie but showed up just enough on Tumblr that I felt I was missing out by not seeing it.) But it's not an accident that those common reference points usually end up being things that are made by white guys, you know? And then people end up recycling a canon of "mainstream geek culture" with lots of the diversity filed off.
I'll keep playing Geek Battle. I have fun when I play it. But it sucks that it plays into the idea that some people are better than others at being geeks, and it sucks that it puts a veneer of objectivity onto a really subjective, and biased, vision of what a "real geek" should know.
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CHECKOUT PERSON: So, that'll be £16.48.
MARN: (long pause) What happened in 1648? I thought it was the Spanish Armada. But that sounds like it should have been in 1548.
CHECKOUT PERSON: Yeah, that's definitely the Tudors. It was under Henry, wasn't it? The Mary Rose and all that.
MARN: I thought it was Elizabeth. Didn't Philip of Spain send the Armada because he wanted her to marry him?
CHECKOUT PERSON: Well, what you've gotta remember is, Spain as such didn't exist at the time. There were, like, two or three different states there, and then you've got the Holy Roman Empire making things more complicated...
(discussion continues for a while)
More of this, please.