scrumptious monkey

so much more than an amp -- and yet, not.


Bee Caves Road -- or, I'm in hell...

I do NOT like to drive. I generally prefer to leave the driving to people who LOVE to drive. They tend to have the gift of a sense of direction, which makes driving.. you know... rather FUN, I should imagine.

Bee Caves Road. This is the name of a fairly extensive road the goes through the southern part of Austin. There is also an "Old Bee Caves Road".
And, I do believe, other Bee Caves Road(s) in other towns outside of Austin.
Or, that's my perception from the black hole pocket of hell I found myself in early Yesterday afternoon.

Having managed to get myself to, and back from, Church on Sunday; I decided I could -- with directions -- go the 3/4's of a mile to the HEB in this neck of the woods and pick up an application.

I missed the turn off road, ended up at the terminus of Far West which fires you onto MoPac -- and two hours later, having driven down AND THEN AROUND Austin, got myself back to the house shaken and slightly nauseous.

during the first quarter of my adventure, mucking around the Industrial Park-ville and otherwise dusty lonesome Bee Caves Road (with the David Byrne spoken lines from "Once in a lifetime" ringing in my head) I think I nearly escaped quicksand and Rattlesnakes. Had I literally been captured by "The Bees" and entombed in their caves as food supplement for larve, I wouldn't have been surprised at all.

If it had been possible to track my movements via GPS, the folks in the front office would have saved my adventure for the year end blooper reel.

I learned some interesting things about myself today.
1. -- I have an unnatural sense of direction. I will inevitably pick THE WRONG WAY and it's only by counter-action of inclination I make any semblance of transverse correction.

2. -- I can turn my truck around in places I wouldn't want to have to swing a bicycle. Good little truck. May it continue to compensate for my erroneous ways.

3. -- No matter how bad things are, or seem to be getting -- in the midst of it all -- Life Is Sweet.

Just pack a water bottle and toilet paper....
A compass and a map will be added to the arsenal, as well.


I'm sooooo five...

found this quiz over on Blueberry's Texas Oasis blog...

It was a bit of a fretful thing: only two questions with three choices each! -- but OMG have I been nailed.

your Enneagram type is FIVE.

"I need to understand the world"

Observers have a need for knowledge and are introverted, curious, analytical, and insightful.

I have friends who would claim I'm not analytical and I'm much too emotional... however it should be noted I am much, much less accessible emotionally to acquaintances than I am to the handful of people I consider friends.

How to Get Along with Me

• Be independent, not clingy.
• Speak in a straightforward and brief manner.
• I need time alone to process my feelings and thoughts.
• Remember that If I seem aloof, distant, or arrogant, it may be that I am feeling uncomfortable.
• Make me feel welcome, but not too intensely, or I might doubt your sincerity.
• If I become irritated when I have to repeat things, it may be because it was such an effort to get my thoughts out in the first place.
• Don't come on like a bulldozer.
• Help me to avoid my pet peeves: big parties, other people's loud music, overdone emotions, and intrusions on my privacy.
yep. reading this, all I can think of is my Val Serrie Award for "Being Impossible".
And if I'm irritated when I repeat things, it's because I know the person I'm dealing with is not able to hold things in their head due to their own demons and habits.
I hate having to waste my time with people who don't cherish and protect their brain cells, I just HATE it.

What I Like About Being a Five

• standing back and viewing life objectively
• coming to a thorough understanding; perceiving causes and effects
• my sense of integrity: doing what I think is right and not being influenced by social pressure
• not being caught up in material possessions and status
• being calm in a crisis
yes, all too true.

What's Hard About Being a Five

• being slow to put my knowledge and insights out in the world
• feeling bad when I act defensive or like a know-it-all
• being pressured to be with people when I don't want to be
• watching others with better social skills, but less intelligence or technical skill, do better professionally
lol. again, all too true.

Fives as Children Often

• spend a lot of time alone reading, making collections, and so on
• have a few special friends rather than many
• are very bright and curious and do well in school
• have independent minds and often question their parents and teachers
• watch events from a detached point of view, gathering information
• assume a poker face in order not to look afraid
• are sensitive; avoid interpersonal conflict
• feel intruded upon and controlled and/or ignored and neglected
oh my. Do tell. And who was following me around with a notebook all those wretched years??

Not that parenthood is an option -- and to tell the truth, I wouldn't want a parent like me, anyway...
Fives as Parents

• are often kind, perceptive, and devoted
• are sometimes authoritarian and demanding
• may expect more intellectual achievement than is developmentally appropriate
• may be intolerant of their children expressing strong emotions
hmmm in other words -- get a cat, Lilly. *-)

Austin, Rain, and a Dictionary of Republicanisms....

I was dreaming of rain and laundry last night. I blame Diz -- he put those Aimee Mann cliches in my head on the forum.

It's Saturday, and it rained all morning. I have been filling applications on line -- a disheartening thing, to be sure.

I suppose what I should do is go out and make a nuisance of myself until I'm either hired or arrested.

I still feel utterly lost as far as navigating the city, though.

cute email:

Have you been as confused as I have, about what exactly is being said in Washington? Now, finally, we get the help we need...
A Dictionary for Republicanisms

alternative energy sources n. New locations to drill for gas and oil.
[Peter Scholz, Fort Collins, CO]

bankruptcy n. A punishable crime when committed by poor people but not corporations.
[Beth Thielen, Studio City, Calif.]

"burning bush" n. A biblical allusion to the response of the President of the United States when asked a question by a journalist who has not been paid to inquire.
[Bill Moyers, New York, NY]

Cheney, Dick n. The greater of two evils.
[Jacob McCullar, Austin, Tex.]

class warfare n. Any attempt to raise the minimum wage.
[Don Zweir, Grayslake, Ill.]

climate change n. The blessed day when the blue states are swallowed by the oceans.
[Ann Klopp, Princeton, NJ]

compassionate conservatism n. Poignant concern for the very wealthy
(Lawrence Sandek, Twin Peaks, Calif.]

creationism n. Pseudoscience that claims George W. Bush's resemblance to a chimpanzee is totally coincidental
[Brian Sweeney, Providence, RI].

DeLay, Tom n. 1. Past tense of De Lie
[Rick Rodstrom, Los Angeles, Calif.].
2. Patronage saint
[Andrew Magni, Nonatum, Mass.].

extraordinary rendition n.! Outsourcing torture
[Milton Feldon, Laguna Woods, Calif.].

faith n. The stubborn belief that God approves of Republican moral values despite the preponderance of textual evidence to the contrary
[Matthew Polly, Topeka, Kans.].

free markets n. Halliburton no-bid contracts at taxpayer expense
[Sean O'Brian, Chicago, Ill.].

girly men n. Males who do not grope women inappropriately
[Nick Gill, Newton, Mass.].

God n. Senior presidential adviser
[Martin Richard, Belgrade, Mont.].

growth n. 1. The justification for tax cuts for the rich.
2. What happens to the national debt when Republicans cut taxes on the rich
(Matthew Polly, Topeka, Kans.].

healthy forest n. No tree left behind
[Dan McWilliams, Santa Barbara, Calif.].

honesty n. Lies told in simple declarative sentences--e.g., "Freedom is on the march"
[Katrina vanden Heuvel, New York, NY].

House of Representatives n. Exclusive club; entry fee $1 million to $5 million (See Senate)
[Adam Hochschild, San Francisco, Calif.].

laziness n. When the poor are not working
[Justin Rezzonico, Keene, Ohio].

leisure time n. When the wealthy are not working
[Justin Rezzonico, Keene, Ohio].

liberal(s) n. Followers of the Antichrist
[Ann Wegher, Montello, Wisc.].

No Child Left Behind riff. 1. v. There are always jobs in the military
[Ann Klopp, Princeton, NJ].
2. n. The rapture
[Samantha Hess, Cottonwood, Ariz.]
This is true because we have had recruiters mail, phone and even, believe it or not, stop by the house to see my 18 year old son. When I asked them to stop they said it was due to "The No Child Left Behind" bill passed by "W".

ownership society n. A civilization where 1 percent of the population controls 90 percent of the wealth
[Michael Albert, Piscataway, NJ].

Patriot Act n. 1. The pre-emptive strike on American freedoms to prevent the terrorists from destroying them first.
2. The elimination of one of the reasons why they hate us
[Michael Thomas, Socorro, NM].

pro-life adj. Valuing human life up until birth
[Kevin Weaver, San Francisco, Calif.].

Senate n. Exclusive club; entry fee $10 million to $30 million
[Adam Hochschild, San Francisco, Calif.].

simplify v. To cut the taxes of Republican donors
[Katrina vanden Heuvel, New York, NY].

staying the course interj. Slang. Saying and doing the same stupid thing over and over, regardless of the result
[Suzanne Smith, Ann Arbor, Mich.].

stuff happens interj. Slang. Donald Rumsfeld as master historian
[Sheila and Chalmers Johnson, San Diego, Calif.].

voter fraud n. A significant minority turnout
[Sue Bazy, Philadelphia, Pa.].

woman n. 1. Person who can be trusted to bear a child but can't be trusted to decide whether or not she wishes to have the child.
2. Person who must have all decisions regarding her reproductive functions made by men with whom she wouldn't want to have sex in the first place
[Denise Clay, Philadelphia, Pa.].

WA -- Anthony Burgess...

And what would you do with this diagnosis?...
It's the birthday of novelist and critic Anthony Burgess, born John Anthony Burgess Wilson in Manchester, England (1917). He had written several novels, none of which was particularly successful, when, in 1959, he began to suffer from severe headaches. He went to see a doctor and he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. The doctor told him he only had one year to live.

Burgess wrote five novels in that following year, the year he believed to be his last. The diagnosis turned out to be incorrect.

He's best known for his novel A Clockwork Orange (1962). It begins: "There was me, that is Alex, and my three droogs, that is Pete, Georgie, and Dim, Dim being really dim, and we sat in the Korova Milkbar making up our rassoodocks what to do with the evening, a flip dark chill winter."



Can everyone see this?

The lap top I'm using washes out most colors so that I have bright colors.. I've tried making resolution adjustments, and it's beyond my limited know-how. All hues of blue are either cyan or navy. *sigh* I couldn't read my own dang blog.
I just hate when that happens.

so now I'm pink. I loathe pink, but at least it's legible.



Click your Heels, Dorothy....

The question has been asked --
"How did you get from Connecticut to Austin, all-of-a-sudden-like?"

As much as I've always wanted to be in Austin I could never have done it on my own.

Explaining how it ramped up to getting onto a plane and saying goodbye to Connecticut... well, if you read through the whole blog you'll get the atmosphere of how someone could perhaps feel so disenfranchised and out of sync with their environs a change would be welcome: but the actual mechanics of moving the mountain...

One writer acquaintance said, "Of course there's a man, isn't there?"
ummm yes. and well... no.

The 20 year old neighbor kid smirked, "So you're living with S. now?"
No. I'm staying with him. You know, like a visiting cousin.

I have to blame people's lack of propriety and respect for integrity on the media slicking down a greasy trail of sex under every story, every motivation. There are people in the world who can do things from kindness.
Simple largess.

Not everyone who is better off is a greed-pig looking after his own trough and body slamming other pigs from theirs.

This happened fast. Much too fast to think about.

It started a few days before... Someone from the forum found my Aunt Aggie blog and read it -- and decided to write to me about it.
We exchanged a hail-load of emails, and I enjoyed writing to him: He's got a poetic quality to his thought forms and forced me to think in that metered form when I responded. I love poetry because in my writing of it I am able to access truths that are otherwise hidden from me. The correspondence was stretching my mental muscles in another direction; which is exhilarating -- my favorite sort of exercise: and I guess impressive to read?! lol.
A day or two after we started exchanging email, the poet said, "Hey, you have to meet my friend, he lives in Austin."
Well. "Austin" is a magic word. I like saying it, I like thinking about it.

Having said things and thought about things with the first guy that coalesced realizations in my mind, my natural scepticism about opening up to new people was on vacation. I said, "yeah, ok. introduce us."

Which was how I met S. M.

We'd literally exchanged 3 emails and spoke on the phone once, before he offered to pull me back into the world of the living.
"If you want a change, come down to Austin. I have plenty of room, and I can help you get on your feet."

"But... I don't have any money. I mean -- I have nothing."

"No problem. I'll get you a ticket. What's the closest airport to you?"
Not exactly getting whapped in the head with a magic wand, but pretty dang close.

Friends have commented on The Good Karma S. has coming his way for doing this: I was nearly a complete stranger, and there was no good reason to decide to help me; other than he could -- and I needed to be helped, if I would accept that help.

I've been in Texas a little over 3 weeks, and it's like stepping into a childhood I never had. Texas -- Austin -- is physically similar to where I'd spent my whole life -- except for palm trees and cacti in front yards that have seen little or no snow, ever. This is Winter in Central Texas: greener than New England, and warmer in every conceivable means from the winter I've always known.

photo courtesy Park Street, Antone's 1.31.06
Do I love it here?
Yes, I do.

Do I want to stay here?
without question, absolutely yes.

Can I pull it together?..

well I heard from the bookstore I interviewed with -- and she hired someone else.
I haven't had calls from other applications I've dropped off. (and I've politely checked on them. Maybe too politely? ugh. but like Harlan Ellison says, "When you need a job and hunger for one openly you never get hired because they smell desperation on you like panther sweat." Believe me -- I am acting as cool and nonchalant as my stomach acids will allow -- without actually leaping up and running out of my nose in a constant flesh eating terrified drip.)

I move into my apartment March 1st.
I have a Ford Ranger to drive myself around in for the next 6 months...
and I NEED to get a job.

Other than that -- things are better than they've been in...
well, any other time of my life. [see archives for details].


Time...and vision improvement.

Going to see EJ and Double Trouble was the highlight of the week.
Well it's the highlight of any week, isn't it?

I'm getting acid reflux straight into my sinuses over the job situation. Yeaaah, I'm trying to keep out of the bad reality (El Mundo Malo) and think happy thoughts, but I can't seem to let the bad stuff dissipate.

I've never really ever been alone.
Being alone is different for everyone. There are degrees of aloneless that do not enter into the feelings of loneliness that make people go and do things they detest with people they hate rather than have to face themselves alone.

That's never been my problem.
In fact, I enjoy my own company too much.

I remember reading Anne Morrow Lindberg's passages on shutting out the daily noise to hear yourself think; I know Virginia Woolf's creedo of having a room of your own to write in. I genuinely embrace being alone; even as I know it's a hiding reaction, a retreat from the demands of the world..

I'm just not good at being in the flow of things. It's overwhelming and horrible. Give me a rut, huh? Predictable parameters of variables.

That's more my thing...

I feel like I'm walking a beach; with no destination, no sunrise or sunset; just an endless beach between the mother ocean and a barren shore. Part of me says, "Stop walking. there's nothing here for you -- go back and be what you are where you were."

and the Contrary perpertual adolescent inside of me says, "keep walking, at least it's exercise."

I'm walking...

••••••••• ••••••••• ••••••••• •••••••••

New glasses...

so I haven't been driving for a while. I didn't need to notice my distance vision was deteriorating at the rate of popsicles in the desert.... Well, all I needed it for was to see if the leftovers were still edible from the back of the frige.

but driving? [cough] erm, no.

Saturday I sat down with a very nice eye doctor who told me the condition of my eyes.
After I regained consciousness, she suggested I get an optiscan, just for her sake -- wanted to try to see how much hemorrhaging was going on behind my dirty windows -- cataracts, dears.

well come on people -- I've been living like a cave wight for 5 years! Y' think "Light baaad, dark gooood" is a studied habit from the Zombie handbook? Heck no -- like all good Zombies (is that an oxymoron?) things just deteriorate to help with the process.

I mean -- who's gonna be scared of a brand new cave wight?
A Revenant that still thinks it's a normal human type creature?
More likely you'll pity them...

Me and Marvin the People Personality Robot -- we need some torque. Ugh.


posted on the forum...

for those who check here more often than there....

EJ at Antone's 2.17.06 w/ Ant B and Double Trouble

I've been hopping all day doing stuff away from the computer (not to mention the show finished up just slightly before one am!) BUT for those of you too far from Austin to make it to the show last night...

got to the doors at the tail end of EJ's sound check; He, Chris, and the Unknown Drummer were playing through "World of Trouble"... it sounded g-o-o-d even through the walls.

The doors opened at 8-ish (Antone's time). EJ was scheduled to play for an hour, 9:30pm to 10:30 pm, to be followed by Double Trouble with Malford Milligan, Mike Keller, Riley Osbourn, and EJ from 11pm to 1am. I assumed (rightly so) it would be a 45 minute set with the quintet, a short break and then a 45 minute set of the first five guys joined by EJ.

Eric came out with Chris Maresh and drummer Kyle Thompson at the appointed hour, smiled kindly at the crowd and after introducing Chris and Kyle, self effacingly announced, "We're just gonna jam a bit."...

I'd love to give you the full set list for this stuff, but the titles that Eric mentioned were mostly said to the '61 fiesta red strat he was playing -- they were communicating very VERY well, lemme tell you.

Except for the Bluesy "World of Trouble" most of the hour was pure Rock-Fusion; dynamic, expansive fusion jams that were clean, FAST, jaw dropping excursions up into the stratosphere. It was GREAT. I'd gone to see Holdsworth earlier in the week, but this was sooo much... MORE. Melodic, loose, different textures, and incredibly lyrical passages I could listen to over and over.

Chris was digging IN, next to Malford (who to be honest is in a class by himself) that boy was the hardest working sweat factory on stage that night.

The new guy....

O-M-G. Remember that name, Kyle Thompson. Holy Moley. His playing is like a melodic avalanche. If he were an engine, he'd be a V8.

oh. I should probably mention -- I got a lift to the show with Paula and Rob (that would be Paula of-the-front-of-the-line fame!) and staked out the front of the stage directly in front of Chris's pedal board. In fact -- if I was any closer, I'd have had to move back to get out the way or bump heads with him as he reached to adjust a knob.

wait -- it gets better...

so there's a break, and then at 11pm-ish, up comes Malford -- raring to git rowdy. I love Malford so much, and I'm standing right in front of him and I'm sure I was glowing if not throwing a beacon like a struck-dumb silly Lighthouse.

the first Double Trouble set list:

1. Medicine Man
2. Burnin Angel (written by Riley Osbourn)
3. Say One Thing (dedicated to Doyle II)
4. Blow Wind Blow
5. Ain't No Fun To Me
6. Change Is Gonna Come
7. Talk to Your Daughter
8. Palace Of The King
9. Everything I Do Gonna Be Funky
10. Shape I'm In (Not EJ's -- this one was *classic* R&B)

I'm telling you -- catching Malford Milligan, Mike Keller, and Riley Osbourn with Chris Layton and Tommy Shannon is worth the price of admission. If Eric Johnson is my "Favorite Artist" -- this line up with Double Trouble is becoming my favorite band.

Mike Keller is just -- superb. He looks like a 15 year old kid, and he plays like a 60 year old blues pro. He just shuts his eyes and the music flows out of his will.

Riley O is a consummate, commanding pro. I'd say that goes for all of them, but Mr. Osbourn comes across as the combat Unit "Sarge" if that makes any sense.

And Malford... what can you say about someone with the ability to raise his voice and channel every soul in the room...
I'll tell you -- everyone's concept of Heaven is highly personal: as to what might merit entry into it: I don't want to open up a theosophical brouhaha; but I'm pretty sure I get points towards passing through the pearly gates because I've been in the same room with M.M. and he made me feel better 'n half way there already -- if I see a few more gigs; I'm positive I will learn the whole route.

And the Double Trouble fellas themselves?...
They don't miss SRV a quarter of what he must miss them, I do believe.

so the band took a break, and I turned my back to the stage and sat on it; Paula's dear mate Rob brought me back a water (thank you Rob) and I sat and chatted with the folks around me... and realized I was sort of hemmed into sitting there. hmmmm....

Guys -- I'm a Big Person. I stand 5'10", and let's just say I DO NOT disappear when I turn sideways. The ladies standing directly in front of me as I sat on the stage were 5'6" tops. I was roughly 5'6" sitting.
so I sat there for the following set, with EJ and Double Trouble et all.

yeaaaah, 18 days in Austin and my considerable behind is sitting on the stage about four feet from Eric Johnson's Cowboy boots and red 335.
and it was cool. Not so much as a dirty look from security, crew, or a band member -- and the audience pressing against the stage seemed happy I'd gotten shorter, lol.
Double Trouble with friends and special guest EJ set list:

1. E Shuffle (an instrumental leading into)
2. How Many More Times
3. All Your Love I Miss Loving (EJ penned)
4. Once A Part of Me
5. For You Blue (also EJ penned, but I could be wrong)
6. Crossroads
7. Spanish Castle Magic
• encore •
Dontcha Know

this set list was scrawled on the back of the first Double Trouble set list: and the tape used to affix the first list to the floor was facing up -- so that Malford got it stuck to his shoe accidentally (and oblivious) -- and between Tommy Shannon gesturing, and ME grabbing it and smoothing it into place where it wouldn't be picked up by a passing shoe, the set list was around to be referred to by the performers.
hey -- I live to serve. =)

The first time I saw Eric "sit in" with Double Trouble was terrific, make no mistake: but you know -- this was better. Not just from my strategic viewing point: this time Mike "got dragged up" into sharing lead work on nearly every piece with EJ (the first time he'd more or less stuck to a solid rhythm-second guitar filling)
Yes -- this Mike Keller guy -- he's THAT GOOD he can go toe-to-toe trading riffs with E, the two of them grinning at each other for the sheer joy of making music together *At This Level*.

What a Night, What a Show.
Thank you Gentlemen!

from the Big Kid with the (Transcended) Happy Face staring up...


Mostly Harmless... sure...

EJ at Antone's tonight...

Ok. As I was drifting off to sleep last night my alpha floating mind fixed on a ridiculous, Through-The-Looking-Glass Fantasy.

What's to stop me from getting into my pickup truck, driving down to Antone's, walking up to Eric and the guys and saying, "Hi I'm from the forum; can I watch you all load in and do the sound check, and write about it for the forum? You can read it over and have final editing say before I post it. I know I'm curious as heck, and I bet the forum folks would find it interesting, too."

well actually my own inhibitions, for one. Because I'm really so great at just walking on up to people and insinuating myself into their situation -- and, oh yeah -- EXPRESSLY to write about it.

and of course -- there's 15 minutes of Eric's time confounded by having to politely say what amounts to, "Are you out of your mind, Lady?! okay -- who had the 3:30 Friday afternoon slot in the betting pool on when we'd have to scrap this nutcase into a box and ship her back to Connecticut?..."

Sure would be cool, though.
Not the outright rejection, I'm not a masochist and I don't REALLY look for painful situations to squirm in -- but taking notes; writing down my observations...

THAT would be cool.


DeskDrawer Exercise # 147...

many thanks Michelle Hakala for allowing the exercise to appear here.

Exercise #147: Self Knowledge

This quote caught my attention:
"We seldom see ourselves as celebrities, but we are, all of us - only our degree of exposure varies. You are admired and looked up to by someone." - Don Aslett, Clutter's Last Stand

Assuming this is true, think about it and answer this question. Who looks up to you and why? Show us an example.Word limit: 1200

Please use the subject line:
SUB: Exercise #147/yourname

This exercise, if looked at seriously, will make us take stock of who might admire us, and what they might admire us for. We all have skills and talents, but so often we dismiss them as unimportant.


augh! This one's going to be impossible. The first response was so great...
You all know what I think of what other people think of me, and the idea of someone actually admiring me -- looking up to me?! leaves me dumb-bunny-blinking-in-the-headlights stunned and blank.
My initial response:

I could tell you
Who my heroes are:
But me?

I'm nobody's hero.
Most of my life
I've been in

Hiding. Which
Suited my needs
At the time.

Not for me
Recognition and

Why would anyone
Chose to expose...
And so be opened

To misunderstanding?
I was turned inside
Out before I ever

Stood up; putting it
Into words that
Others can grasp

Without judgement;
being so exact with
Language to create

Myself in a reader's
Mind; without
Pity -- Just

Be there and under
Stood. Be there
And be

Then perhaps
I'll admire myself. But

I'm nobody's

and then there was that great first entry from S.F., which used a forwarded email to build on:
Quote Susan Frank:
This is the e- mail I received the other day:
Subject: One Word


Describe me in ONE WORD... just one word! Send it to me only, then send this message to your friends and see how many strange things people say about you! This could be fun! Just hit reply and send me my one word back. Then forward this message on to your friends (including me) Game On!

I found that a heck of a lot easier to write on!





now if you'll excuse me
I'm calling the guy,
who thinks I'm fantastic;
to enumerate "why".

I love these DeskDrawer exercises; but I guess I'll only write comments / CRITS for this one...

I did end up working out a reasonable submission -- Yay me.

word count:1052

I figured out a long time ago we all assess and use each other as building blocks for our self esteem. Human beings are social animals; we need to interact with each other (for better or worse); more to the point we crave connections with others who are similar sparks of light and love that we aspire to tend.

"I am Jo's Mother."
"I am Harry's Grandson."
"I am in love with David."
"I belong to Scoots and Moo; I am warm furniture to them."

It's the nature of the beasts that we are.

The hard thing to get over in this assignment is the self effacing,"aw shucks ah ain't nuffin special"; as has been mentioned by others,we are programmed to be modest and not brag about our accomplishments: and it is an accomplishment, to be looked up to by others.

Parenthood is a step into heroism I wll never know. A friend of mine left a comment on my blog about this:

"A friend with older children, all three at least ten years older than mine, said that parenting requires coming to terms with the fact that you are the hero in someone's life."

so scratch that easy out. (um hmmm spoken with the casual ignorance of a non-parent.)

Ive been thinking about this for a bit, and reading the other submissions; putting aside my first reaction:

I could tell you
Who my heroes are:
But me?

I'm nobody's hero.
Most of my life
I've been in

Hiding. Which
Suited my needs
At the time.

Not for me
Recognition and

Why would anyone
Choose to expose...
And so be opened

To misunderstanding?
I was turned inside
Out before I ever

Stood up; putting it
Into words that
Others can grasp

Without judgement;
Bing so exact with
Language to create

Myself in a reader's
Mind; without
Pity -- Just

Be there and under
Stood. Be there
And be

Then perhaps
I'll admire myself. But

I'm nobody's

After giving the exercise considerable thought, it turns out I'm admired and looked up to by so many people it's dizzying to contemplate.

First -- my family.

Although for most of my life I have wondered if I'm the cuckoo in the nest, or the lone surviving legitimate bird that's been run-over by cuckoos; my family unanimously considers me the brainiac of the lot. Though they'd rather attend a tractor pull than a poetry slam they have never belittled my tendency to read and write, and when they read what I've written ... well, I get a "that's really good" and a quick change of the subject.

What's funny (I hadn't thought of this for a while); when my elder sisters went back to school and enrolled in requisite composition courses at their local community colleges, I was the one who explained the assignments and drew them into getting their own words on paper. For a while I didn't feel like such a mutant; I felt useful and understood. Ok, ok the understood part might be stretching it a bit,but the useful part felt great.

Aside from being literate, I am also the funny one, and the Diffuser-of-Extreme-Reactions. My philosophy is, "There is nothing so dire or awful you cannot find the banana peel moment in it." I've been told by the hardest and the sweetest of the bunch that "things go smoother when you're around." Further, I was told, "You make the others less grating" -- although if that is by comparison...

It pays to not probe too deeply when it comes to family: Blood Is Blood, and much too easy to draw when sharp perceptions are raised in close quarters.
Speaking of which -- we aren't going to mention the gaping hole in my side where my husband used to be grafted; but if asked he'd speak well of me... Even now.

In all of my relationships I tend to keep contact with those who "Get The Joke". Not just the jokes I crack, but the Cosmic Comedy In Perpetuity. I have dozens of contacts through the web that (much to my surprise) have turned into great friendships in real life.

In fact -- life changing, relocating, astonishing opportunities have arisen from these web-based friendships that must have something to do with an observation recently shared with me that is the most stunning complement I've even gotten:

"The power of your pen has brought you love, and I expect it's done that all your life."

Thinking on that, I realized a number of people I'll never meet look up to me and enjoy my company when I'm nothing but words on the screen.

And then there's the other side of notoriety...

As a forum Moderator and part of management in MSN groups I've found that for every one person who admires and looks up to you for whatever reason or need they have that you seem to fulfill, there are two people who despise you and wish you ill -- not that it's personal, just that for a certain type of person it is easier to be negative towards someone who rubs you the wrong way than apply the brain power toward understanding what-it-is that rubs *you* the wrong way.

I don't take it personally, as I laugh at myself a lot: you know the saying:
"Blessed are we who can laugh at ourselves, for we shall never cease to be amused."
My personal amusement level is is set on scintillating simmer. [she chuckles splendiferously to herself.]

My friends admire my way with words, my agreeable disposition, thoughtfulness, and good sense of humor -- But it's easy to do things for the people you care about and want to share pleasant times with.
What works for me is being open to new things, honest with myself, and loving people "as is". I believe the more we love, the more we are loved: it's as sure as the tides, as easy to observe as the movement of the wind.

I guess I'm mostly admired for reminding people of stuff like that.

Healing Negativity

I have this groovy little thumb safe that I loaded with plain text files and brought with me on the diaspora. I was looking through it earlier today, and found this bit of sagacious advice I'd squirreled away...

makes a good blog entry, y'think?

Subject:AYAW2 response to question

"Please help me figure out how to get positive thoughts instead of these really annoying negative ones."

I don't know the nature of your personal problems, but I do know negativity is a soul clogging and joy stomping mortal mutation.

I met a Healer yesterday. We were both part of a book discussion group, and he and I ended up talking in a corner of the library after the group ended (for over 3 hours): and we would probably have closed the place -- having the librarians throw us the keys and tell us to lock up -- if commitments to other places to be hadn't been pressing. Now -- when I say we talked, I mean WE TALKED. This was not like meeting someone for the first time and getting to know them. This was like reuniting with a colleague you had done great things with; and just picking up where you left off.

I tell you this, because one of the things we discussed at length was the inhibiting nature of the emotion, Hate.

Hate is the root that poisons the soil. It is the well from which negativity, insecurity, inferiority, bigotry, fear, anger, cruelty... draw from. Hate is where depression arises. Seems surprising, because depression is a sort of slate blue-gray stillness, right? I used to think that hate drew from fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of being insufficient to the task of understanding. Fear of rejection. After considering fear though, I have to say it is both easier and more difficult to rationalize around fear and dismiss it -- deal with it in a coddling sort of way until you are ready to confront it. Fear is an individual, personal pain to heal. Almost makes it sound like a Chronic Disease, huh?

Hate, on the other hand, is an emotion with a solid form that you need to deal with. It is a thing that is right in your face and most of the people I know tend to be startled by the thought that they, mild mannered, calm, reasonable people that they are, are carrying a back breaking load of hate, weighing them down and shaping their subtle and physical bodies into boogeyman monsters only fit to inhabit a closet.

However, the good news is, Hate is a tangible block. You can get your hands on it and examine it. There are offshoots and roots sprouting out of this tumorous block that your mind and soul can work to sugically excise from your body. Hate is something that the VERY PROCESS OF UNDERSTANDING IT will start to kill it. Like sunlight bleaching mold away, the light of a thinking mind will explore Hate and dissolve it.

But it requires courage to look for the hate in yourself. It requires action, as opposed to experiencing another person's blatant display of hate and easily RE-acting to that: your own personal lump o'hate is completely your responsibility to deal with.

And it is THERE. Feeding on your soul. Making you small and mean and harsh and evil.

I wish I could help you work through this in person. Not that I have any magic, other than being a pretty good listener with an ability to bounce back a person's thought with a spin that promotes and propels the thought ball back into play.

write down these questions, and think about them. You don't need to have a concrete answer -- it fact, to do it correctly, the answers should be changable. It isn't a test and there are no competitions for the best answer.

Actually, there is a huge challenge here: You need to be ruthlessly truthful.

The answers you come up with, you never have to share with ANYONE else. You may be fortunate enough to find a healer or therapist (all healers are therapists, but not all therapists are healers) in your area who you might want to discuss this with: but it is far more important, and I hope worthwhile for you to discuss it with yourself.

What do you love? (easy one)
break it into People, Places, and Things.

What would cause your feelings to change about any of the things you love?

What do you see in other people that makes you angry?

What do you see in other people (around you) as a problem they are not dealing with?

Why is it you can see the problem so clearly; and the other person(s) seems oblivious to it?

Consider that the problem you see in another is actually a reflection back of yourself. Now, if it doesn't seem to hold an obvious connection or you feel it is not relatable at all to you, that is also valid. In exploring how it doesn't relate, follow the tendril of it into your own being.
Why and how is it that you know something and feel strongly about something that doesn't in someway live inside you?

What is the Hate that lives off of you?

Like I said, it can be pretty shocking to discover what is holding you back from being the person you love and know you can be.

This is just one way to deal with ridding yourself of negativity.
I hope it helps.
Love and Light


• SATSANG: EJ, Malford, and Double Trouble -- THIS Friday!!!

Am I suddenly uplifted and joy filled and dancing in my seat?!

oh yeah Baybee. Antone's, 2/17/06.

• Satsang is a Sanskrit word combining "satya" meaning "truth" and "sangha" meaning "group. " It describes a gathering of people for the purpose of spiritual truth. Satsang is often used when referring to a meeting with a guru or a spiritual mentor. During Satsang, participants read inspiring words, discuss its teachings, meditate, and find ways to bring this awareness into daily life.

While attending services or spiritual study groups can be thought of as participating in Satsangs, this practice can also apply to any group of people that are gathered to inspire one another and express the truth free from judgment. A Satsang can be a group of people that are gathered to sing, play, or listen to music. All that needs to be there is the intention to inspire one another and tell the truth. A Satsang can also be a support group, book club, yoga class, or meeting between friends for coffee or conversation. We don't need to be in a place of worship or supervised by appointed leaders to experience the truth. The truth can be found in every moment and it can be experienced with anyone. Spending time with someone who enlightens us can be as simple as visiting with a grandmother or talking to a best friend.

There is wisdom to be gleaned from being with people even when the gatherings are not specifically intended for personal improvement or spiritual transformation. Any occasion we are gathered with people who understand and support us can be a spiritual experience. While gatherings with the intention of communing with spirit are undoubtedly powerful and inspiring, getting together with people that uplift us by their presence alone is also vital to our well-being. When we recognize all the people we know that support and enrich us, our lives can become an extended Satsang.

I Corinthians 13

So on the blog entry just below this one, Dr. Howdy left a New American Greeting Card Version (NAGV) of the Bible verse -- which ticked me off on several levels.

1. -- The Language. Paul was a poet; and I dinna care if it was filtered through centuries of re-writes, the original is succinct and beautiful; hummingbird nectar for the soul. The "update" is plain dumbing down the lyrical spiritual.
I think it was Jung who said, "Blast the Fast Foodification of Life!"
Phred Jung, not Carl.

2. -- I'm a poet at heart. Something happened to me in the womb that put poetic nature RIGHT UP FRONT, where most other people have self esteem, ambition, rivalry, practicality, and worker bee hummmm. This ties into the first one, but stands alone; although I know the "judge" of what is good poetry and what is bad poetry is highly individualistic with dozens of variables for people (if they even bother to study poetry) to create their determinations: I would sooner have my flesh devoured by bacteria and my liver picked at by an eagle than seen a beautiful work of the mind rendered "Bleah" -- and THE ORIGINAL NOT GIVEN SO MUCH AS A NOD OF RECOGNITION.

3. -- what the blue bombazzoink did it have to do with my post?!

anyway, I was so miffed I located the better work derived from the original.
Point of fact -- this is one of my favorite written works of all time.

I left Dr. Howdy where he is -- you can click HERE to see the piece of dreck.

But Henry deserves a place on the front page -- so I've arranged my original comments here.
Hi Doc.

first -- that's a wretched greeting card version of I Corinthians 13. You should be taken out back and slapped with a copy of Henry Drummond's "The Greatest Thing in the World."

ok -- I'll do it myself.

first -- bear with me -- the KJV of the text:

THOUGH I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love, I am become as a sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not LOVE I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not Love, it profiteth me nothing.

Love suffereth long, and is kind;

Love envieth not;

Love vaunteth not itself is not puffed up,

Doth not behave itself unseemly,

Seeketh not her own,

Is not easily provoked,

Thinketh no evil;

Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;

Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

Love never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, Love, these three; but the greatest of these is Love.--I COR xiii.



EVERY one has asked himself the great question of antiquity as of the modern world: What is the summum bonum -- the supreme good? You have life before you. Once only you can live it. What is the noblest object of desire, the supreme gift to covet?

We have been accustomed to be told that the greatest thing in the religious world is Faith. That great word has been the key-note for centuries of the popular religion; and we have easily learned to look upon it as the greatest thing in the world. Well, we are wrong. If we have been told that, we may miss the mark. I have taken you, in the chapter which I have just read, to Christianity at its source; and there we have seen, "The greatest of these is love." It is not an oversight. Paul was speaking of faith just a moment before. He says, "If I have all faith, so that I can remove mountains, and have not love, I am nothing. "So far from forgetting, he deliberately contrasts them, "Now abideth Faith, Hope, Love," and without a moment's hesitation, the decision falls, "The greatest of these is Love."

And it is not prejudice. A man is apt to recommend to others his own strong point. Love was not Paul's strong point. The observing student can detect a beautiful tenderness growing and ripening all through his character as Paul gets old; but the hand that wrote, "The greatest of these is love," when we meet it first, is stained with blood.

Nor is this letter to the Corinthians peculiar in singling out love as the summum bonum. The masterpieces of Christianity are agreed about it. Peter says, "Above all things have fervent love among yourselves." Above all things. And John goes farther, "God is love." And you remember the profound remark which Paul makes elsewhere, "Love is the fulfilling of the law." Did you ever think what he meant by that? In those days men were working their passage to Heaven by keeping the Ten Commandments, and the hundred and ten other commandments which they had manufactured out of them. Christ said, I will show you a more simple way. If you do one thing, you will do these hundred and ten things, without ever thinking about them. If you love, you will unconsciously fulfil the whole law. And you can readily see for yourselves how that must be so. Take any of the commandments. "Thou shalt have no other gods before Me." If a man love God, you will not require to tell him that. Love is the fulfilling of that law. "Take not His name in vain." Would he ever dream of taking His name in vain if he loved Him? "Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy." Would he not be too glad to have one day in seven to dedicate more exclusively to the object of his affection? Love would fulfil all these laws regarding God. And so, if he loved Man, you would never think of telling him to honour his father and mother. He could not do anything else. It would be preposterous to tell him not to kill. You could only insult him if you suggested that he should not steal could he steal from those he loved? It would be superfluous to beg him not to bear false witness against his neighbour. If he loved him it would be the last thing he would do. And you would never dream of urging him not to covet what his neighbours had. He would rather they possessed it than himself. In this way "Love is the fulfilling of the law." It is the rule for fulfilling all rules, the new commandment for keeping all the old commandments, Christ's one secret of the Christian life.

Now Paul had learned that; and in this noble eulogy he has given us the most wonderful and original account extant of the summum bonum. We may divide it into three parts. In the beginning of the short chapter, we have Love contrasted; in the heart of it, we have Love analysed; towards the end we have Love defended as the supreme gift.


PAUL begins by contrasting Love with other things that men in those days thought much of. I shall not attempt to go over those things in detail. Their inferiority is already obvious.

He contrasts it with eloquence. And what a noble gift it is, the power of playing upon the souls and wills of men, and rousing them to lofty purposes and holy deeds. Paul says, "If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal." And we all know why. We have all felt the brazenness of words without emotion, the hollowness, the unaccountable unpersuasiveness, of eloquence behind which lies no Love.

He contrasts it with prophecy. He contrasts it with mysteries. He contrasts it with faith. He contrasts it with charity. Why is Love greater than faith? Because the end is greater than the means. And why is it greater than charity? Because the whole is greater than the part. Love is greater than faith, because the end is greater than the means. What is the use of having faith? It is to connect the soul with God. And what is the object of connecting man with God? That he may become like God. But God is Love. Hence Faith, the means, is in order to Love, the end. Love, therefore, obviously is greater than faith. It is greater than charity, again, because the whole is greater than a part. Charity is only a little bit of Love, one of the innumerable avenues of Love, and there may even be, and there is, a great deal of charity without Love. It is a very easy thing to toss a copper to a beggar on the street; it is generally an easier thing than not to do it. Yet Love is just as often in the withholding. We purchase relief from the sympathetic feelings roused by the spectacle of misery, at the copper's cost. It is too cheap--too cheap for us, and often too dear for the beggar. If we really loved him we would either do more for him, or less.

Then Paul contrasts it with sacrifice and martyrdom. And I beg the little band of would-be missionaries and I have the honour to call some of you by this name for the first time--to remember that though you give your bodies to be burned, and have not Love, it profits nothing--nothing! You can take nothing greater to the heathen world than the impress and reflection of the Love of God upon your own character. That is the universal language. It will take you years to speak in Chinese, or in the dialects of India. From the day you land, that language of Love, understood by all, will be pouring forth its unconscious eloquence. It is the man who is the missionary, it is not his words. His character is his message. In the heart of Africa, among the great Lakes, I have come across black men and women who remembered the only white man they ever saw before--David Livingstone; and as you cross his footsteps in that dark continent, men's faces light up as they speak of the kind Doctor who passed there years ago. They could not understand him; but they felt the Love that beat in his heart. Take into your new sphere of labour, where you also mean to lay down your life, that simple charm, and your lifework must succeed. You can take nothing greater, you need take nothing less. It is-not worth while going if you take anything less. You may take every accomplishment; you may be braced for every sacrifice; but if you give your body to be burned, and have not Love, it will profit you and the cause of Christ nothing.


AFTER contrasting Love with these things, Paul, in three verses, very short, gives us an amazing analysis of what this supreme thing is. I ask you to look at it. It is a compound thing, he tells us. It is like light. As you have seen a man of science take a beam of light and pass it through a crystal prism, as you have seen it come out on the other side of the prism broken up into its component colours--red, and blue, and yellow, and violet, and orange, and all the colours of the rainbow--so Paul passes this thing, Love, through the magnificent prism of his inspired intellect, and it comes out on the other side broken up into its elements. And in these few words we have what one might call the Spectrum of Love, the analysis of Love. Will you observe what its elements are? Will you notice that they have common names; that they are virtues which we hear about every day; that they are things which can be practised by every man in every place in life; and how, by a multitude of small things and ordinary virtues, the supreme thing, the summum bonum, is made up?

The Spectrum of Love has nine ingredients:--
Patience . . . . . . "Love suffereth long."
Kindness . . . . . . "And is kind."
Generosity . . . . "Love envieth not."
Humility . . . . . . "Love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up."
Courtesy . . . . . . "Doth not behave itself unseemly."
Unselfishness . . "Seeketh not her own."
Good Temper . . "Is not easily provoked."
Guilelessness . . "Thinketh no evil."
Sincerity . . . . . . "Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth."

Patience; kindness; generosity; humility; courtesy; unselfishness; good temper; guilelessness; sincerity--these make up the supreme gift, the stature of the perfect man. You will observe that all are in relation to men, in relation to life, in relation to the known to-day and the near to-morrow, and not to the unknown eternity. We hear much of love to God; Christ spoke much of love to man. We make a great deal of peace with heaven; Christ made much of peace on earth. Religion is not a strange or added thing, but the inspiration of the secular life, the breathing of an eternal spirit through this temporal world. The supreme thing, in short, is not a thing at all, but the giving of a further finish to the multitudinous words and acts which make up the sum of every common day.

There is no time to do more than make a passing note upon each of these ingredients. Love is Patience. This is the normal attitude of Love; Love passive, Love waiting to begin; not in a hurry; calm; ready to do its work when the summons comes, but meantime wearing the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit. Love suffers long; beareth all things; believeth all things; hopeth all things. For Love understands, and therefore waits.

Kindness. Love active. Have you ever noticed how much of Christ's life was spent in doing kind things--in merely doing kind things? Run over it with that in view and you will find that He spent a great proportion of His time simply in making people happy, in doing good turns to people. There is only one thing greater than happiness in the world, and that is holiness; and it is not in our keeping; but what God has put in our power is the happiness of those about us, and that is largely to be secured by our being kind to them.

"The greatest thing," says some one, "a man can do for his Heavenly Father is to be kind to some of His other children." I wonder why it is that we are not all kinder than we are? How much the world needs it. How easily it is done. How instantaneously it acts. How infallibly it is remembered. How superabundantly it pays itself back--for there is no debtor in the world so honourable, so superbly honourable, as Love. "Love never faileth". Love is success, Love is happiness, Love is life. "Love, I say, "with Browning, "is energy of Life."

"For life, with all it yields of joy and woe
And hope and fear,
Is just our chance o' the prize of learning love--
How love might be, hath been indeed, and is."

Where Love is, God is. He that dwelleth in Love dwelleth in God. God is love. Therefore love. Without distinction, without calculation, without procrastination, love. Lavish it upon the poor, where it is very easy; especially upon the rich, who often need it most; most of all upon our equals, where it is very difficult, and for whom perhaps we each do least of all. There is a difference between trying to please and giving pleasure Give pleasure. Lose no chance of giving pleasure. For that is the ceaseless and anonymous triumph of a truly loving spirit.

"I shall pass through this world but once. Any good thing therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer it or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again."

Generosity. "Love envieth not" This is Love in competition with others. Whenever you attempt a good work you will find other men doing the same kind of work, and probably doing it better. Envy them not. Envy is a feeling of ill-will to those who are in the same line as ourselves, a spirit of covetousness and detraction. How little Christian work even is a protection against un-Christian feeling. That most despicable of all the unworthy moods which cloud a Christian's soul assuredly waits for us on the threshold of every work, unless we are fortified with this grace of magnanimity. Only one thing truly need the Christian envy, the large, rich, generous soul which "envieth not."

And then, after having learned all that, you have to learn this further thing, Humility-- to put a seal upon your lips and forget what you have done. After you have been kind, after Love has stolen forth into the world and done its beautiful work, go back into the shade again and say nothing about it Love hides even from itself. Love waives even self-satisfaction. "Love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up."

The fifth ingredient is a somewhat strange one to find in this summum bonum: Courtesy. This is Love in society, Love in relation to etiquette. "Love doth not behave itself unseemly." Politeness has been defined as love in trifles. Courtesy is said to be love in little things. And the one secret of politeness is to love. Love cannot behave itself unseemly. You can put the most untutored person into the highest society, and if they have a reservoir of love in their heart, they will not behave themselves unseemly. They simply cannot do it. Carlyle said of Robert Burns that there was no truer gentleman in Europe than the ploughman-poet. It was because he loved everything--the mouse, and the daisy, and all the things, great and small, that God had made. So with this simple passport he could mingle with any society, and enter courts and palaces from his little cottage on the banks of the Ayr. You know the meaning of the word "gentleman." It means a gentle man--a man who does things gently, with love. And that is the whole art and mystery of it. The gentleman cannot in the nature of things do an ungentle, an ungentlemanly thing. The un-gentle soul, the inconsiderate, unsympathetic nature cannot do anything else. "Love doth not behave itself unseemly."

Unselfishness. "Love seeketh not her own." Observe: Seeketh not even that which is her own. In Britain the Englishman is devoted, and rightly, to his rights. But there come times when a man may exercise even the higher right of giving up his rights. Yet Paul does not summon us to give up our rights. Love strikes much deeper. It would have us not seek them at all, ignore them, eliminate the personal element altogether from our calculations. It is not hard to give up our rights. They are often external. The difficult thing is to give up ourselves. The more difficult thing still is not to seek things for ourselves at all. After we have sought them, bought them, won them, deserved them, we have taken the cream off them for ourselves already. Little cross then, perhaps, to give them up. But not to seek them, to look every man not on his own things, but on the things of others--id opus est. "Seekest thou great things for thyself? "said the prophet; "seek them not." Why? Because there is no greatness in things. Things cannot be great. The only greatness is unselfish love. Even self-denial in itself is nothing, is almost a mistake. Only a great purpose or a mightier love can justify the waste. It is more difficult, I have said, not to seek our own at all, than, having sought it, to give it up. I must take that back. It is only true of a partly selfish heart. Nothing is a hardship to Love, and nothing is hard. I believe that Christ's yoke is easy. Christ's "yoke" is just His way of taking life. And I believe it is an easier way than any other. I believe it is a happier way than any other. The most obvious lesson in Christ's teaching is that there is no happiness in having and getting anything, but only in giving. I repeat, there is no happiness in having or in getting, but only in giving. And half the world is on the wrong scent in the pursuit of happiness. They think it consists in having and getting, and in being served by others. It consists in giving, and in serving others. He that would be great among you, said Christ, let him serve. He that would be happy, let him remember that there is but one way--it is more blessed, it is more happy, to give than to receive.

The next ingredient is a very remarkable one: Good Temper. "Love is not easily provoked." Nothing could be more striking than to find this here. We are inclined to look upon bad temper as a very harmless weakness. We speak of it as a mere infirmity of nature, a family failing, a matter of temperament, not a thing to take into very serious account in estimating a man's character. And yet here, right in the heart of this analysis of love, it finds a place; and the Bible again and again returns to condemn it as one of the most destructive elements in human nature.

The peculiarity of ill temper is that it is the vice of the virtuous. It is often the one blot on an otherwise noble character. You know men who are all but perfect, and women who would be entirely perfect, but for an easily ruffled, quick-tempered, or "touchy" disposition. This compatibility of ill temper with high moral character is one of the strangest and saddest problems of ethics. The truth is there are two great classes of sins--sins of the Body, and sins of the Disposition. The Prodigal Son may be taken as a type of the first, the Elder Brother of the second. Now society has no doubt whatever as to which of these is the worse. Its brand falls, without a challenge, upon the Prodigal. But are we right? We have no balance to weigh one another's sins, and coarser and finer are but human words; but faults in the higher nature may be less venial than those in the lower, and to the eye of Him who is Love, a sin against Love may seem a hundred times more base. No form of vice, not worldliness, not greed of gold, not drunkenness itself, does more to un-Christianise society than evil temper. For embittering life, for breaking up communities, for destroying the most sacred relationships, for devastating homes, for withering up men and women, for taking the bloom off childhood; in short, for sheer gratuitous misery-producing power, this influence stands alone. Look at the Elder Brother, moral, hard-working, patient, dutiful--let him get all credit for his virtues--look at this man, this baby, sulking outside his own father's door. "He was angry," we read, "and would not go in." Look at the effect upon the father, upon the servants, upon the happiness of the guests. Judge of the effect upon the Prodigal--and how many prodigals are kept out of the Kingdom of God by the unlovely characters of those who profess to be inside? Analyse, as a study in Temper, the thunder-cloud itself as it gathers upon the Elder Brother's brow. What is it made of? Jealousy, anger, pride, uncharity, cruelty, self-righteousness, touchiness, doggedness, sullenness--these are the ingredients of this dark and loveless soul. In varying proportions, also, these are the ingredients of all ill temper. Judge if such sins of the disposition are not worse to live in, and for others to live with, than sins of the body. Did Christ indeed not answer the question Himself when He said, "I say unto you, that the publicans and the harlots go into the Kingdom of Heaven before you." There is really no place in Heaven for a disposition like this. A man with such a mood could only make Heaven miserable for all the people in it. Except, therefore, such a man be born again, he cannot, he simply cannot, enter the Kingdom of Heaven. For it is perfectly certain-- and you will not misunderstand me--that to enter Heaven a man must take it with him.

You will see then why Temper is significant. It is not in what it is alone, but in what it reveals. This is why I take the liberty now of speaking of it with such unusual plainness. It is a test for love, a symptom, a revelation of an unloving nature at bottom. It is the intermittent fever which bespeaks unintermittent disease within; the occasional bubble escaping to the surface which betrays some rottenness underneath; a sample of the most hidden products of the soul dropped involuntarily when off one's guard; in a word, the lightning form of a hundred hideous and un-Christian sins. For a want of patience, a want of kindness, a want of generosity, a want of courtesy, a want of unselfishness, are all instantaneously symbolised in one flash of Temper.

Hence it is not enough to deal with the temper. We must go to the source, and change the inmost nature, and the angry humours will die away of themselves. Souls are made sweet not by taking the acid fluids out, but by putting something in--a great Love, a new Spirit, the Spirit of Christ. Christ, the Spirit of Christ, interpenetrating ours, sweetens, purifies, transforms all. This only can eradicate what is wrong, work a chemical change, renovate and regenerate, and rehabilitate the inner man. Will-power does not change men. Time does not change men. Christ does. Therefore "Let that mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus." Some of us have not much time to lose. Remember, once more, that this is a matter of life or death. I cannot help speaking urgently, for myself, for yourselves. "Whoso shall offend one of these little ones, which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea." That is to say, it is the deliberate verdict of the Lord Jesus that it is better not to live than not to love. It is better not to live than not to love.

Guilelessness and Sincerity may be dismissed almost with a word. Guilelessness is the grace for suspicious people. And the possession of it is the great secret of personal influence. You will find, if you think for a moment, that the people who influence you are people who believe in you. In an atmosphere of suspicion men shrivel up; but in that atmosphere they expand, and find encouragement and educative fellowship. It is a wonderful thing that here and there in this hard, uncharitable world there should still be left a few rare souls who think no evil. This is the great unworldliness. Love "thinketh no evil," imputes no motive, sees the bright side, puts the best construction on every action. What a delightful state of mind to live in! What a stimulus and benediction even to meet with it for a day! To be trusted is to be saved. And if we try to influence or elevate others, we shall soon see that success is in proportion to their belief of our belief in them. For the respect of another is the first restoration of the self-respect a man has lost; our ideal of what he is becomes to him the hope and pattern of what he may become.

"Love rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth." I have called this Sincerity from the words rendered in the Authorised Version by "rejoiceth in the truth." And, certainly, were this the real translation, nothing could be more just. For he who loves will love Truth not less than men. He will rejoice in the Truth--rejoice not in what he has been taught to believe; not in this Church's doctrine or in that; not in this ism or in that ism; but "in the Truth." He will accept only what is real; he will strive to get at facts; he will search for Truth with a humble and unbiased mind, and cherish whatever he finds at any sacrifice. But the more literal translation of the Revised Version calls for just such a sacrifice for truth's sake here. For what Paul really meant is, as we there read, "Rejoiceth not in unrighteousness, but rejoiceth with the truth," a quality which probably no one English word--and certainly not Sincerity--adequately defines. It includes, perhaps more strictly, the self-restraint which refuses to make capital out of others' faults; the charity which delights not in exposing the weakness of others, but "covereth all things"; the sincerity of purpose which endeavours to see things as they are, and rejoices to find them better than suspicion feared or calumny denounced.

So much for the analysis of Love. Now the business of our lives is to have these things fitted into our characters. That is the supreme work to which we need to address ourselves in this world, to learn Love. Is life not full of opportunities for learning Love? Every man and woman every day has a thousand of them. The world is not a play-ground; it is a schoolroom. Life is not a holiday, but an education. And the one eternal lesson for us all is how better we can love What makes a man a good cricketer? Practice. What makes a man a good artist, a good sculptor, a good musician? Practice. What makes a man a good linguist, a good stenographer? Practice. What makes a man a good man? Practice. Nothing else. There is nothing capricious about religion. We do not get the soul in different ways, under different laws, from those in which we get the body and the mind. If a man does not exercise his arm he develops no biceps muscle; and if a man does not exercise his soul, he acquires no muscle in his soul, no strength of character, no vigour of moral fibre, nor beauty of spiritual growth. Love is not a thing of enthusiastic emotion. It is a rich, strong, manly, vigorous expression of the whole round Christian character--the Christlike nature in its fullest development. And the constituents of this great character are only to be built up by ceaseless practice.

What was Christ doing in the carpenter's shop? Practising. Though perfect, we read that He learned obedience, He increased in wisdom and in favour with God and man. Do not quarrel therefore with your lot in life. Do not complain of its never-ceasing cares, its petty environment, the vexations you have to stand, the small and sordid souls you have to live and work with. Above all, do not resent temptation; do not be perplexed because it seems to thicken round you more and more, and ceases neither for effort nor for agony nor prayer. That is the practice which God appoints you; and it is having its work in making you patient, and humble, and generous, and unselfish, and kind, and courteous. Do not grudge the hand that is moulding the still too shapeless image within you. It is growing more beautiful though you see it not, and every touch of temptation may add to its perfection. Therefore keep in the midst of life. Do not isolate yourself. Be among men, and among things, and among troubles, and difficulties, and obstacles. You remember Goethe's words: Es bildet ein Talent sich in der Stille, Doch ein Character in dem Strom der Welt. "Talent develops itself in solitude; character in the stream of life." Talent develops itself in solitude--the talent of prayer, of faith, of meditation, of seeing the unseen; Character grows in the stream of the world's life. That chiefly is where men are to learn love.

How? Now, how? To make it easier, I have named a few of the elements of love. But these are only elements. Love itself can never be defined. Light is a something more than the sum of its ingredients--a glowing, dazzling, tremulous ether. And love is something more than all its elements-- a palpitating, quivering, sensitive, living thing. By synthesis of all the colours, men can make whiteness, they cannot make light. By synthesis of all the virtues, men can make virtue, they cannot make love. How then are we to have this transcendent living whole conveyed into our souls? We brace our wills to secure it. We try to copy those who have it. We lay down rules about it. We watch. We pray. But these things alone will not bring Love into our nature. Love is an effect. And only as we fulfil the right condition can we have the effect produced. Shall I tell you what the cause is?

If you turn to the Revised Version of the First Epistle of John you will find these words: "We love, because He first loved us." "We love," not "We love Him" That is the way the old Version has it, and it is quite wrong. "We love--because He first loved us." Look at that word "because." It is the cause of which I have spoken. "Because He first loved us," the effect follows that we love, we love Him, we love all men. We cannot help it. Because He loved us, we love, we love everybody. Our heart is slowly changed. Contemplate the love of Christ, and you will love. Stand before that mirror, reflect Christ's character, and you will be changed into the same image from tenderness to tenderness. There is no other way. You cannot love to order. You can only look at the lovely object, and fall in love with it, and grow into likeness to it And so look at this Perfect Character, this Perfect Life. Look at the great Sacrifice as He laid down Himself, all through life, and upon the Cross of Calvary; and you must love Him. And loving Him, you must become like Him. Love begets love. It is a process of induction. Put a piece of iron in the presence of a magnetised body, and that piece of iron for a time becomes magnetised. It is charged with an attractive force in the mere presence of the original force, and as long as you leave the two side by side, they are both magnets alike. Remain side by side with Him who loved us, and gave Himself for us, and you too will become a centre of power, a permanently attractive force; and like Him you will draw all men unto you, like Him you will be drawn unto all men. That is the inevitable effect of Love. Any man who fulfils that cause must have that effect produced in him. Try to give up the idea that religion comes to us by chance, or by mystery, or by caprice. It comes to us by natural law, or by supernatural law, for all law is Divine. Edward Irving went to see a dying boy once, and when he entered the room he just put his hand on the sufferer's head, and said, "My boy, God loves you," and went away. And the boy started from his bed, and called out to the people in the house, "God loves me! God loves me!" It changed that boy. The sense that God loved him overpowered him, melted him down, and began the creating of a new heart in him. And that is how the love of God melts down the unlovely heart in man, and begets in him the new creature, who is patient and humble and gentle and unselfish. And there is no other way to get it. There is no mystery about it We love others, we love everybody, we love our enemies, because He first loved us.


Now I have a closing sentence or two to add about Paul's reason for singling out love as the supreme possession. It is a very remarkable reason. In a single word it is this: it lasts. "Love," urges Paul, "never faileth." Then he begins again one of his marvellous lists of the great things of the day, and exposes them one by one. He runs over the things that men thought were going to last, and shows that they are all fleeting, temporary, passing away.

"Whether there be prophecies, they shall fail" It was the mother's ambition for her boy in those days that he should become a prophet. For hundreds of years God had never spoken by means of any prophet, and at that time the prophet was greater than the king. Men waited wistfully for another messenger to come, and hung upon his lips when he appeared as upon the very voice of God. Paul says, "Whether there be prophecies, they shall fail" This Book is full of prophecies. One by one they have "failed"; that is, having been fulfilled their work is finished; they have nothing more to do now in the world except to feed a devout man's faith.

Then Paul talks about tongues. That was another thing that was greatly coveted. "Whether there be tongues, they shall cease." As we all know, many, many centuries have passed since tongues have been known in this world. They have ceased. Take it in any sense you like. Take it, for illustration merely, as languages in general--a sense which was not in Paul's mind at all, and which though it cannot give us the specific lesson will point the general truth. Consider the words in which these chapters were written--Greek. It has gone. Take the Latin--the other great tongue of those days. It ceased long ago. Look at the Indian language. It is ceasing. The language of Wales, of Ireland, of the Scottish Highlands is dying before our eyes. The most popular book in the English tongue at the present time, except the Bible, is one of Dickens's works, his Pickwick Papers. It is largely written in the language of London streetlife; and experts assure us that in fifty years it will be unintelligible to the average English reader.

Then Paul goes farther, and with even greater boldness adds, "Whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away." The wisdom of the ancients, where is it? It is wholly gone. A schoolboy to-day knows more than Sir Isaac Newton knew. His knowledge has vanished away. You put yesterday's newspaper in the fire. Its knowledge has vanished away. You buy the old editions of the great encyclopaedias for a few pence. Their knowledge has vanished away. Look how the coach has been superseded by the use of steam. Look how electricity has superseded that, and swept a hundred almost new inventions into oblivion. One of the greatest living authorities, Sir William Thomson, said the other day, "The steam-engine is passing away." "Whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away." At every workshop you will see, in the back yard, a heap of old iron, a few wheels, a few levers, a few cranks, broken and eaten with rust. Twenty years ago that was the pride of the city Men flocked in from the country to see the great invention; now it is superseded, its day is done. And all the boasted science and philosophy of this day will soon be old. But yesterday, in the University of Edinburgh, the greatest figure in the faculty was Sir James Simpson, the discoverer of chloroform. The other day his successor and nephew, Professor Simpson, was asked by the librarian of the University to go to the library and pick out the books on his subject that were no longer needed. And his reply to the librarian was this: "Take every text-book that is more than ten years old, and put it down in the cellar."Sir James Simpson was a great authority only a few years ago: men came from all parts of the earth to consult him; and almost the whole teaching of that time is consigned by the science of to-day to oblivion. And in every branch of science it is the same. "Now we know in part. We see through a glass darkly."

Can you tell me anything that is going to last? Many things Paul did not condescend to name. He did not mention money, fortune, fame; but he picked out the great things of his time, the things the best men thought had something in them, and brushed them peremptorily aside. Paul had no charge against these things in themselves. All he said about them was that they would not last They were great things, but not supreme things. There were things beyond them. What we are stretches past what we do, beyond what we possess. Many things that men denounce as sins are not sins; but they are temporary. And that is a favourite argument of the New Testament. John says of the world, not that it is wrong, but simply that it "passeth away." There is a great deal in the world that is delightful and beautiful; there is a great deal in it that is great and engrossing; but it will not last. All that is in the world, the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life, are but for a little while. Love not the world therefore. Nothing that it contains is worth the life and consecration of an immortal soul. The immortal soul must give itself to something that is immortal. And the only immortal things are these: "Now abideth faith, hope, love, but the greatest of these is love."

Some think the time may come when two of these three things will also pass away --faith into sight, hope into fruition. Paul does not say so. We know but little now about the conditions of the life that is to come. But what is certain is that Love must last. God, the Eternal God, is Love. Covet therefore that everlasting gift, that one thing which it is certain is going to stand, that one coinage which will be current in the Universe when all the other coinages of all the nations of the world shall be useless and unhonoured. You will give yourselves to many things, give yourselves first to Love. Hold things in their proportion. Hold things in their proportion. Let at least the first great object of our lives be to achieve the character defended in these words, the character,--and it is the character of Christ--which is built around Love.

I have said this thing is eternal. Did you ever notice how continually John associates love and faith with eternal life? I was not told when I was a boy that "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should have everlasting life." What I was told, I remember, was, that God so loved the world that, if I trusted in Him, I was to have a thing called peace, or I was to have rest, or I was to have joy, or I was to have safety. But I had to find out for myself that whosoever trusteth in Him--that is, whosoever loveth Him, for trust is only the avenue to Love--hath everlasting life The Gospel offers a man life. Never offer men a thimbleful of Gospel. Do not offer them merely joy, or merely peace, or merely rest, or merely safety; tell them how Christ came to give men a more abundant life than they have, a life abundant in love, and therefore abundant in salvation for themselves, and large in enterprise for the alleviation and redemption of the world. Then only can the Gospel take hold of the whole of a man, body, soul, and spirit, and give to each part of his nature its exercise and reward. Many of the current Gospels are addressed only to a part of man's nature. They offer peace, not life; faith, not Love; justification, not regeneration. And men slip back again from such religion because it has never really held them. Their nature was not all in it. It offered no deeper and gladder life-current than the life that was lived before. Surely it stands to reason that only a fuller love can compete with the love of the world.

To love abundantly is to live abundantly, and to love for ever is to live for ever. Hence, eternal life is inextricably bound up with love We want to live for ever for the same reason that we want to live tomorrow. Why do you want to live tomorrow? It is because there is some one who loves you, and whom you want to see tomorrow, and be with, and love back. There is no other reason why we should live on than that we love and are beloved. It is when a man has no one to love him that he commits suicide. So long as he has friends, those who love him and whom he loves, he will live; because to live is to love. Be it but the love of a dog, it will keep him in life; but let that go and he has no contact with life, no reason to live. The "energy of life" has failed. Eternal life also is to know God, and God is love. This is Christ's own definition. Ponder it. "This is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent." Love must be eternal. It is what God is. On the last analysis, then, love is life. Love never faileth, and life never faileth, so long as there is love. That is the philosophy of what Paul is showing us; the reason why in the nature of things Love should be the supreme thing--because it is going to last; because in the nature of things it is an Eternal Life. That Life is a thing that we are living now, not that we get when we die; that we shall have a poor chance of getting when we die unless we are living now. No worse fate can befall a man in this world than to live and grow old alone, unloving, and unloved. To be lost is to live in an unregenerate condition, loveless and unloved; and to be saved is to love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth already in God. For God is love.

Now I have all but finished. How many of you will join me in reading this chapter once a week for the next three months? A man did that once and it changed his whole life. Will you do it? It is for the greatest thing in the world. You might begin by reading it every day, especially the verses which describe the perfect character. "Love suffereth long, and is kind; love envieth not; love vaunteth not itself." Get these ingredients into your life. Then everything that you do is eternal. It is worth doing. It is worth giving time to. No man can become a saint in his sleep; and to fulfil the condition required demands a certain amount of prayer and meditation and time, just as improvement in any direction, bodily or mental, requires preparation and care. Address yourselves to that one thing; at any cost have this transcendent character exchanged for yours. You will find as you look back upon your life that the moments that stand out, the moments when you have really lived, are the moments when you have done things in a spirit of love. As memory scans the past, above and beyond all the transitory pleasures of life, there leap forward those supreme hours when you have been enabled to do unnoticed kindnesses to those round about you, things too trifling to speak about, but which you feel have entered into your eternal life. I have seen almost all the beautiful things God has made; I have enjoyed almost every pleasure that He has planned for man; and yet as I look back I see standing out above all the life that has gone four or five short experiences when the love of God reflected itself in some poor imitation, some small act of love of mine, and these seem to be the things which alone of all one's life abide. Everything else in all our lives is transitory. Every other good is visionary. But the acts of love which no man knows about, or can ever know about--they never fail.

In the Book of Matthew, where the Judgment Day is depicted for us in the imagery of One seated upon a throne and dividing the sheep from the goats, the test of a man then is not, "How have I believed?" but "How have I loved?" The test of religion, the final test of religion, is not religiousness, but Love. I say the final test of religion at that great Day is not religiousness, but Love; not what I have done, not what I have believed, not what I have achieved, but how I have discharged the common charities of life. Sins of commission in that awful indictment are not even referred to. By what we have not done, by sins of omission, we are judged. It could not be otherwise. For the withholding of love is the negation of the spirit of Christ, the proof that we never knew Him, that for us He lived in vain. It means that He suggested nothing in all our thoughts, that He inspired nothing in all our lives, that we were not once near enough to Him to be seized with the spell of His compassion for the world. It means that:--

"I lived for myself, I thought for myself,
For myself, and none beside--
Just as if Jesus had never lived,
As if He had never died."

It is the Son of Man before whom the nations of the world shall be gathered. It is in the presence of Humanity that we shall be charged. And the spectacle itself, the mere sight of it, will silently judge each one. Those will be there whom we have met and helped: or there, the unpitied multitude whom we neglected or despised. No other Witness need be summoned. No other charge than lovelessness shall be preferred. Be not deceived. The words which all of us shall one Day hear, sound not of theology but of life, not of churches and saints but of the hungry and the poor, not of creeds and doctrines but of shelter and clothing, not of Bibles and prayer-books but of cups of cold water in the name of Christ. Thank God the Christianity of to-day is coming nearer the world's need. Live to help that on. Thank God men know better, by a hairsbreadth, what religion is, what God is, who Christ is, where Christ is. Who is Christ? He who fed the hungry, clothed the naked, visited the sick. And where is Christ? Where?--whoso shall receive a little child in My name receiveth Me. And who are Christ's? Every one that loveth is born of God.

by Henry Drummond

First Published c1880

Now -- there's eloquence and versimilitude. Drummond by all accounts practiced his words, not just arranging them and dropping them on someone's blog for the warm fuzzy feeling he might get.

BTW -- I'm a Pagan.
If you're wondering how I can cope with all the Jesus shout out's in Drummond's text, I just substitute "Goddess", "Love" or "The Oneness".

If more Christians lived by Drummond's definition of the supreme good... *deepest sigh*

Go away kid -- and woodshed your writing skills, M'kay?

~ Lilly

••• My dear friend Ms. B left this as part of the comments:
Well, the comments can certainly take the original subject matter to a different place, huh?

I was just thinking about Corinthians 13, it seems to surface on Valentine's Day, weddings and funerals. I hate it. I hate it because my mother used to use it against me, as rock-solid proof that I didn't love her. There it was, in black and white, the definition of love from God Hisself, and my behavior was not up to snuff and that settles it. The ultimate guilt trip, especially for a young believer living in the Fear of God.

Of course, someone read it at her funeral. It comforts lots of people. Not sure why. To me it's like a boot in the face.

Oh yeah, and also hope the job search is going alright. :-)

# posted by Blueberry : 2/14/2006 12:47 PM

•••to which I replied:

Yes -- why the heck did that guy drop off Happy Camper Biblical re-write in the first place?

Did he read any blog entries?
of course not.

It's one of the few bible verses I have strong feelings about -- because it's so darn Pagan.
And what IS supposed to be at the heart of EVERY religion, IMO.

Your mother's major accomplishment as I see it, was having you.

You do realize that to use this passage perversely, the person turning it inside out is the primary example of lack of love? If she'd had the sensitivity to feel the smallest amount of anything outside of her own neuroses (and I AM being kind) she'd have been ashamed of herself.

What ever drove her to emotionally tormenting and twisting you like a balloon animal had to be worse than the stuff that leaked out onto you -- and I'm grateful I never had to be part of her calculating misery.

That you survived to adulthood and Mensch-ism: You deserve the love of just and decent good people around you, always.

oh, wait -- you're in Austin, you have that. =)

I do take special pleasure in the Drummond Address. The words are perfectly selected -- the logic and emotion ring with truth; I'm still a bit awed it was written over 225 years ago. I love this book -- it's been a big part of my life for 25 years at least.

It seems very few people even try to apply the words to their own lives... and when you do come across someone who Lives the Love, why is it those "parental voices" that SHOULD be cherishing and enthusiastic spit out derision and venom like a baby spewing pureed peas?

Love is not about guilt -- guilt is the antithesis of Love. Guilt comes from self hate -- and we're taught that by example.

Back in May of last year I pulled this book (and that's the whole text btw) for my reading group at the Library -- figuring they'd enjoy it's gentle message and poetic voice. I thought other READERS would enjoy it as much as I always had.

Anyway -- the reading group read it -- and hated it. I was stunned.
The reasons where:
several just "couldn't get into it"
two others said, "But the world doesn't work that way!"
another said, "Don't you think that's a simplistic view / rose colored glasses?"
and still another one wanted to focus on Drummond, not the book.

I thought -- 'Oh my gods -- nobody here will take the time to feel the book.'

Yet another example of being an odd duck, I guess.


# posted by Jeen Lilly : 2/14/2006 4:19 PM



Look. I am perfect for a job in a bookstore. All my regular readers here at SM know this. I can't help myself -- I seem to have some overriding protocol chip in my head that strikes up conversations with people who look like they need help finding a book, an author, or a clue.

I've picked up and filled out the Barnes and Noble application ... and I went on line to fill out the Borders application. They ONLY do online applications.

for those interested

holy moly -- their application has a second level psych screening that runs on for 37 pages. I can't imagine they have more than a handful of rational people who make it all the way through their gauntlet. And after all that -- you're only on file for 90 days.

Time to check out Half Price Books...