QC-L Version 4.0

Yes, welcome to my lair of evil thoughts and incorrect speech where I don't let go and move on and I talk about whatever I please. On a blog no one ever tells you to shut up. If you don't like what I say, just go elsewhere.

This blog now has a new background and a new theme. It is also using a remotely loaded style sheet. That is a first. It is lush, heavy, and uses a background that has a theme I have never used here before, though I have used it for pressies. Let the show go on! It always does anyway. And yes, we are powered by Blogger.

I am putting a temporary illustration here until I have a logo for this design. Watch this space.

temporary illustration


The Backfile: this blog's archives.

Ajayu, home of my story, The Sneezeweed Chronicles. Yes, I do fiction.

It will have Oneiro, my own little role play.

Unfettered Soul, my flagship site.

The Silk Purse, my play pretend Brainstorms.

Failed Messiah Religious news never sounded so good.

New York Times. Read the news and be smart.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

by Eileen Kramer

I guess I am serious about trialling the new community of closed boards. It is giving off a fair number of trouble signs. It amazes me when I get to one of my MSN Groups like the Friendship Garden how much safer I feel. No I can't talk about everything but no one will ask me about everything either, and people don't think it's cool to be mean for no reason. Good natured teasing is one thing. Good natured teasing, however is frequently used as an excuse for pile on or death of a thousand cuts and other nasty intellectual games. It is so nice to be in an atmosphere where the does not happen and can not happen.

As for the board where the Brainstormer resurfaced, I can't figure that place out. I endured one negative comment, but that is not the story. Sometimes silence says more than words. There is nothing going on. There has not been a post for more than a week on any other topic except a word game. There are long intervals of several weeks to months where posts go missing. What happened? I wasn't there to see it. Were posts pulled? It is possible. Were users run off? Was there a fight? It wasn't my fight. I've made a good many fights in my day, but I wasn't there to make this one if indeed there was a fight.

If there wasn't a fight, there might have been a death, but there is no sign of that, no classic bereavement posts. Perhaps there was a scandal but it has been well hushed up.

Well as of tonight, I have no where to write my Neopian essays or advertise them. I'm going to ask if I can do so at the new board. We'll see how that goes. I think I need to keep writing my essays and stories and publishing them. I've got four chapters of a Green Island Tale up. I'm making NP but not the way I used to and that is OK. It is good to be out of the rat race. That is the nicest "what's next" there is.

I am hoping tonight to have spirit contact with Merib. It is his ilachi. I'd like to take a moment to wish him a happy one. I'd also like to remember him when he was alive. Merib Cosih is Dr. Matt Merkeley who founded the mailing list Netdynam@maelstrom.stjohns.edu to which I fled after being kicked off an elite private mailing list. I did not know in those days to stay out of elite private places. Now there are many nonelite private places and those are the places for me. Merib gave me a fair hearing and brooked no bullshit. He was and is a friend who came in to my life when the time is right and is still in my life. As a spirit who trains sherashis he is the best if one wants traditional training which I sorely needed. I hope I see you tonight, Merib. And Merib, I will write to Netdynam in rememberence of you. Someone has to do it and it should be me.

OK, I went to the doc's yesterday and he says that dumping is just part of the aftermath of diverticulitis. I am officially Queen of the Trots whether I like it or not and I ascend the throne several times a day. Otherwise, I am fine. I can keep eating people food. I even ate a peeled apple tonight. Hey that's a fresh apple folks. It is my second peeled apple. My intestines are singing away but the tune is muted. There is simply nothing for them to drop right now.

I'd like to write about work, but I feel like I'm breaking confidences all over the place when I do so I'll leave that out.

I went and bought stockings and new printer ink tonigiht. The printer now prints in color and black and white and for the first time in years. It was very easy to put the printer ink in. The bad thing was that the color and black ink cost me over sixty dollars. I will watch how much I print. I know who used up the color cartridge the last time around and he is up in Utica right now, thinking of excuses for not coming down. The latest one is pretty good. It is a courier job.

Now that I have ink I can print out my Will to Live which is a Living Will from Right to Life. Yes, that's where my sympathies lean as far as euthanasia is concerned. OK, this is prgamatic folks. I am single. I am going to be an old sick woman some day without a lot of support. I am going to be easy pickings which is why having health care proxies and a living will will mean no one can starve me to death because I am a scuzzy sick old lady. No one wants to end up old and infirm. We just do. It's fate. If it's going to be my fate, no one is going to starve me to death. Of course I did not have a living will at age twenty-five which was how old the late Terri Schiavo was when she collapsed. What twenty-five year old has a living will and advanced medical directive? Luckily I've lived to be forty-two so I'll have some protection. There are advantages to living to be older.

Well tomorrow morning I have a shrink's appointment....I believe. Yes, I do and no April Fool's. I get to tell him some good stuff from the left side of the blog and also about my diverticulitis. I am first in the batting order. I guess I set the tone for the whole day for him. He doesn't really do that for me. I won't be able to junk food like I usually do on shrink days so I packed my lunch. Hopefully I won't have to take a dump while at the shrink's. If I do, I know where the can is. I am very grateful I don't work one of those factory jobs where I have to ask permission to use the facility. Our bathroom near reference row leaves something to be desired, but hey, I'm in there, I do my business, and I leave. Right now my weird unhappy guts are squeezing on nothing. I hope they stop soon. When you've dumped your brains there is nothing left.

Monday, March 28, 2005

by Eileen Kramer

I ended up with another closed board community under my belt. I'm going to trial it. I got it by word of mouth so it can't really be a true vengance setback.

I am glad I did not go to Cafe Utne after I got kicked out of Brainstorms. I am glad because the place, or at least the boards I like there, feels like a ghost town. This is not my fault. It happened during my long absence. One can't be blamed for something one did not do. I was not there. I couldn't do anything.

The Brainstormer who is on one of the boards at Utne has not posted anything since his one post and neither has any body else. I have no idea what has happened or why the place has become so quiet.

I ought to get back to playing Neopets. That place is always jumping. My poor pets must be absolutely ravenous. Feeding them up some time tomorrow when I get tired of catching up on work will be a bear.

By the way the new forum is also slow on a lot of its boards. LOTH may become the site for my Neopian samizdat or links to it. There are LOTHlings who are Neopians and the LOTH boards are no slower than Cafe Utne. I also have a more amicable (though my relationship to those running Cafe Utne is actually decent) relationship with the powers that be at LOTH. I am after all State Director for Georgia.

When my head gets a bit unscrambled, I'm going to do the rest of that batch lot of birthday cards for my region. No one told me what to do as state director, but I know that birthday cards are an important part of things.

When it comes down to it I really do like the way ladies groups honor the basic niceties of life. They are not frills. They are grease that keep the wheels going, so it's grease 'em up and roll. I would miss the niceties if they were not there.

I know all of this is going to sound self-contradictory, but being sick for a week has left me pissy and anti-social and self absorbed. There I said it first. One of the reasons I did not tell my ladies groups that I haven't been well is that I don't want to thank everyone for a pile of e-cards. I don't even want to open a pile of e-cards. My energy level just isn't there.

I go back to work not all well. My bowels are still not moving the right way. I end up with the runs in the morning and impacted a lot of the other time and a bit sore. This is nothing like last week's mega pain levels. I could walk four miles Friday night. My mobility is back. As for rebuilding my diet, I don't know thing one. I don't even know if I am tolerating what I am eating. What horrible fate awaits if you don't "tolerate" something? I am going to ask tomorrow morning.

I suspect I'll just work, eat, and sleep for the first few days. That is how it usually is. I am hoping to walk to the doctor's for my Wednesday morning appointment. I am scaird of what will happen when I run out of antispasmodic. I think not being on the antibiotics any more is a good thing. I hope the pain does not return.

I am waiting up now so I can take my last dose of meds and get a cold black cherry soda. Yes, I am in the mood for a night cap in the worst way. I've got to get back to being grateful that I can work and walk and basicly function. If I occasionally make a b-line for the throne to dump a load so what. No one sees your turds but you.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

by Eileen Kramer

OK, it is time for a mast head! Raise it up where all can see! Shout it out loud and proud! It was worth it to be kicked out of Brainstorms. It is worth it to be who I am, do what I do, and say what I said though God knows I was way too polite until then end when I gave them all what for. I should have stopped being polite a lot sooner considering the results it got me. My play pretend Brainstorms rocks and it beats the pants off the original. Shout it out loud and proud. Passion and joy beat coolness and irony any day of the week, and passion and joy are the order of the day here!

Wow it always feels great to write up that mast head. I really missed doing that while I was sick. OK, taking care of business is not vengance. I decided that a long time ago, but I did get out a ton of birthday cards for LOTH and I also cleaned up the RAOK guestbook that ought to have been more of a mess.

I am trying to figure out a way to deal with the censorship on the Nothing But Neopets Forum. I could go back to read it and just hope future posts don't get pulled but I'm not keen on being on read only. I want to get my writings about Neopia to a wider audience so I went to see if my Cafe Utne membership was still intact. It was and is but there are problems.

First, the problem that might be a problem doesn't rate. I have not been active in the Cafe for so long I have no investment there and hence nothing to lose. Second, the Cafe or at least the parts I remembered and liked move at a snail's pace. My play pretend boards move so much faster. One can get very easily spoilt by playing pretend. The problem with coming in to someone else' space is that if you post like gangbusters, you turn in to a hog. No one likes a hog. Hogs can easily inadvertently break mores. When people have a space they regularly inhabit they get picky about it. Besides that if the board is slow with no new posts in several days, how often do people stop by and read the thing? I don't want to stick my essays and links to my fiction down a hole. I guess the upshot is that I can't ever go home again. As for the first problem, it can pretty much play out any way it pleases. This one is not worth fighting for.

Also good news: The LOTH boards have been back up for several days. The board system at LOTH is much larger than the one at RAOK. It also allows different areas for different topics. It too moves slowly but I have a good idea who the readership is and I may be able to get permission to post my Neopian essays there. LOTH's membership is entirely female and includes mothers.

Actually my dream is to write a piece on Neopia for the Atlantic Monthly. The Atlantic's boards are attractive but the adience is small. Actually my next piece will be an essay rather than another story chapter. The essays are kind of like taking notes. From these I may get a bigger article. I can dream, can't I?

Well I have one more day of leisure and than back to work. The bottom of my gut hurts right now. Wait, it quieted down. It is sore, but I am not in any where near the kind of pain I was in last weekend. I'll need to take antibiotics in a bit and then I can go to bed. I did not nap this afternoon. I meditated but no nap. That is a good thing.

The food diary now has a new untolerated: item, Minute Maid Lemonade. It must be an additive in there that doesn't like my gut and I swear the stuff tasted like citrate of magnesia. Blech.... There are also four new tolerated items: cooked vegetables (roasted ones rock!), kavli (crisp rye wafers. Yes, crunchy food!), and small amounts of olive oil. Oh and let's add in tofu. It is great to enjoy vegan suppers again. They are so much less gloppy and so much more tastey. I can't wait until I can eat my first peeled apple.

I also figured up my fiber and I'm getting around 15g per day. This has to increase to 25g at least. I may be pushing things too fast so I may not be able to add more for a while. A high fiber has food that tastes so good on it. Yeah, I have my appetite back and no I'm not psyching myself up. Whole wheat bread is delicious, plain or soaked with egg yolk or vegetable drippings/liquor. Kavli are divine. Roast vegetables are great. Grilled tofu (I bought boxes of the stuff) is great and I like cinamon applesauce but hope to get my hands on a real live apple soon. I also want to nibble raw pea pods, carrots, parsnips etc... I have to get more veggies to roast in my wonderful roasting pan. I think I'm still doing the primate Fancy Feast thing but that is all right. My vet would approve. So too would my doctor.

The world is not IBS friendly and it's not diverticulosis friendly either, since the diets for both are about the same (no nuts and seeds for the diverticulosis folks but otherwise high fiber low fat). I did a piece on this for Ladies Advance. In an IBS friendly world, sandwiches would be available on one hundred percent whole wheat bread or rolls, there would be salads coantaining fresh veggies or fresh veggies and dip. Fresh fruit would be a dessert choice and the fruit would be of good eating varieities. Red delicious apples, banannas, and antique oranges don't cut it. There would be pasta salads made with whole wheat pasta, brown rice, bulghur. Kasha would sometimes appear as a side dish. None of this is a major lifestyle change in a home kitchen. These are all ordinarily available in the supermarket type foods.

I get antibiotics at 1am which means I also get my antispasmodic. That means in half an hour the sore gut won't be sore any more. Anyway, this is minor league soreness, more pressure than pain. I wonder if I am transitioning too fast. I am going to ask the nurse a very dumb quesiton on Monday. How do I know if I don't tolerate something. I suspect I am tolerating everything I believe I am tolerating, but I need to make sure.

Thannks for putting up with all this gross sick talk. If you get bored, you can always read the left side of the blog.

Friday, March 25, 2005

by Eileen Kramer

I don't feel like a mast head tonight, but don't worry, it will return. LOTH's boards are back up so this blog is back in its two column format. Construction on Thadea's team for the Golden Elite is at a stand still. The RAOK guestbook needs doing.

At least the avatars kept the New Southern Hemisphere scored. Scoring a comp from a sick bed though I get dressed and go out for walks (I think I can have light exercise. Think of it as work hardening.) is a new experience. I think the putting to bed tonight was much better than the setting up whcih had a glitch. This is an off weekend for both ZOID and web leagues so I can do what I please.

I am anxious to make more graphics, sig-tags, and the like. PSP 5 doesn't cut it though I used some of the techniques I learned with more advanced versions to make an image for my pencil which I won at ZOID. Hey self voting pays off.

NBN Forum and I are through. They pulled two posts and I think that is disgusting censorship and yeah they're a private organization and can censor all they please. I need to go somewhere else to talk about Neopia. When you censor you are damage and I'll route around you as fast as I can. Well the obvious candidate is Cafe Utne where they never purge members. It is moving slowly, but it is still there. Neopets really plays too slow on the home computer and I am getting frustrated with how much time it takes to put up a Neohome.

I have some Neopian style fiction at my Neopian Samizdat site. I also have a random number generator there too. This lets me roll for a prize that I then go to buy for myself. It's always something I want. That makes it fun. I also know I don't make my pets sick that way.

I wonder if I'll ever play as much Neopets again now that I've been sick. I know it is fairly easy to set up a substitute for Neopets minus the eleborate economy. It would be better even if less glitzy because it would be run with the membership's interests in mind. If this sounds like classic site fighting reforms, you have hit the nail right smack on the head. I'm not doing that tonight. I am returning to work Monday unless I sneak in over the weekend and do a few things to catch up so everything is not a mess when I return. OK, that is it.

At least I am blogging again.

OK here is the explanation of why I have been missing for so long. On Monday I was diagnosed with diverticulitis. No more pepitas, crunchy peanut butter, nuts from the oneg table at schul etc.... I am on tons of medication and a soft diet that is transitioning to a high fiber diet. So far I'm about a quarter of the way there. The antibiotics have killed off all my gut flora and left me with a slightly upset stomach, but there is no way I could have been sitting up here writing blog this time last week. I've sort of come full circle.

So far here is my food diary. I can tolerate the following: herbal tea, most fruit juices and juice drinks, apple sauce, V-8 and probably tomato juice, boiled eggs, borscht, butter milk, and some creme soups, usually cheese soups. And noncaffeinated soda is fine too. I can also eat whole wheat bread with absolutely no problem. Foods I can't tolerate are the following: mayonaise. Foods that deserve a second shot are: cooked vegetables. I think I just ate too much too fast tonight.

The next step is cooked vegeables. I may roast my carrots and anise and keep them in the roaster. The trick is to eat just a little at a time, and I am pig so this is no mean feat.

I was also able to walk for a whole hour today. This means I am getting stronger. When I can walk to Publix on Macon Road and back (two miles each way) I will be strong enough to go back to work. I'm going to try for that tomorrow.

So you want to know the whole story. Well even if you don't you are going to get the whole story. It started at 4pm on Thursday. I had been junk fooding so I thought the incredible cramps were irritable bowel howling and screaming. I made a bee line for the break room and curled up in a ball on the couch. I managed to get the pain down to where I could do some urgent work. Friday morning I wasn't any better. Saturday I found out I could not walk twenty minutes back from campus without taking a squatting break to ease the pain. I could hardly eat. I hurt too much. Nothing happened to the food when it went down, I just plain had no appetite. I could not walk. It took several rest breaks to make soup on Saturday, for which I had no appetite. Saturday night I called my colleague/supervisor, Erma. She brought gingerale which was a godsend. She wanted to give me a laxative. I said "no." My mother taught me to be afraid of them. She also wanted to take me to the emergency room. I said "let's wait until morning." I wanted to sleep in my own bed now that I could sleep without writhing in pain. That was teh right decision.

Sunday afternoon I ended up in the emergency room. The GI cocktail they gave me did nothing to my descending colon, and the emergency room doctor suggested a laxative since the x-rays showed a bowel full of you know what. Well since it hurt like the worst menstrual cramps to bear down and I wasn't eating, what did any one expect would be there. Besides being constipated doesn't hurt like that. They suggested a whole bottle full of citrate of magnesia, and Erma got me the poison which she swears by. I drunk the poison and the results were predictable.

There was one problem. I woke up Monday morning in the same pain as before. I called my doctor and got seen late Monday afternoon, got my diagnosis and three prescriptions, two anti-biotics and an antispasmodic. The pain is eighty to ninty perecent gone. According to the internet sources, I have a "mild" case since I could get well at home with oral medications. Some people with this can't keep anything down. I have a seventy-five percent chance of making this my one and only attack ever. That is the second goal.

The first is to get off the soft diet and on to a high fiber diet. Directions for me might be different for me than a person on the typical American diet. I was on a fairly high fiber diet when all this hit. It will still take roughly a week to transition and then it is going to be so strict it won't be funny. NO MORE JUNK FOOD. NO MORE CAFFEINATED DRINKS Giving up crunchy nut butters will be hard. There is going to be a lot more tofu in the house. Does your body forget what it has habitually eaten? I wish I knew?

I wish I had better news than sick news. Sickness and invalids are the most boring people on earth. Thankyou for putting up with reading this. I'm too beaten down to be sick of being sick.

Monday, March 14, 2005

by Eileen Kramer

OK, it's too soon for a mast head but I feel like one. I feel every bit as NOT at home in my inbox as I did when I was on the original Brainstorms. That is good. It means I haven't looked elsewhere and I have my pretend Brainstorms to fill in the gap. Way to go.

I feel empty tonight. I made a pile and blew an even bigger pile on Neopets. I am pretty much ready to start saving to build my Neohome. The furniture is all bought and on display in my store, Cassini. That should feel good, but it feels like a big let down.

There is a serious question about Neopets: What next? My tonu, Bballfan_104735 is now level seventeen and painted. Once she passes level twenty she will become more expensive to train. That means I have to watch how often I take her to Coltzan, and soon my other pets will be having the same problem. Right now I can train them at Captain Threelegs' Swashbuckling Academy but I'll probably be training them in something other than level because I want to do it while it is still relatively inexpensive. Now what happens after your pets become god like.

What happens at the end of the road? There is an end of the road. There is only so much one can do. Seeing the end of the road or a bit of it tonight feels sad.

Now on to schul news. I voted NO on rehiring the rabbi. I did not do it because I dislike his cheap shot sermons but if he gave different kinds of sermon, I might have said YES. He is, however, who he is. That is not the reason I voted NO.

I had a front row seat at the special meeting that preceded the dinner. I got to watch Bitch (Yes, she is the schul president) explain that the schul is broke. We do not have the money to pay the rabbi. Of course if we want a schul, we can agree to an eight percent or more dues raise. We can also agree to a three hundred dollar assessment in addition to our dues raise to be assessed over a two year period. That is a whopping $150 per year. My dues are currently about $138 per year. Bitch was proposing a 100 percent plus increase. Also because this was a "special meeting" our bylaws said we could not discuss the dues increase. We would discuss it in May. To say yes to rehiring the rabbi under these conditions was saying yes to signing a blank check or doubling my dues. I in all good conscience was not sure I wanted to pay this money and if I did not want to pay the man's salary, I had no business voting to rehire the rabbi. I voted no. It was my pocketbook and my head that spoke in the end.

Of course, there are a lot of unanswered questions. If we are running in perpetual and bleeding debt, a very good reason for not paying more dues because it is the nongambling equivalent of chasing one's losses, what business do we have rehiring a rabbi we can't afford? Yes, kids need to be bar and bas mitzvahed but we live in the era of the World Wide Web and Internet. Some form of distance education should be possible. Jews do not need a rabbi to run services. The population is shrinking as people leave the area, at least as Jews do. NonJews are flocking in. The congregation is greying. I'm sure there are young and single Jews in Columbus. They don't touch our schul with a ten foot barge pole.

Of course synagogues are famously unfriendly to single adults and those who are less well off. During the meeting I heard about a syangogue in Atlanta that charges $1250 a year to the brother of one of the members, a young man who works for FedEx. I wonder why the young man didn't go find himeslf another schul or maybe even a church. Raising dues can drive away members. It may do that to me.

Also all my milk of human kindness for the rabbi turned mighty sour. At the meeting I learned he makes twice as much as I do. The fancy suits and smooth manners and aristocratic pretensions are a bit more than a front. Cheap shot sermons pay very well indeed. How dare any one ask someone who makes half of what the rabbi makes to double her dues to support someone who makes twice what she makes in the style to which he has grown accustomed.

I could go on. I am disgusted. I guess I am going to services on Friday. At what point does one give up on fellowship. What kind of fellowship can one have with people who feel they need to rely on a professional to enhance their faith. What kind of fellowship can I have with people who support the running of their schul into the ground.

Five to ten years from now there is a very good chance this synagogue won't be around. I will effectively be schul less. They will blame it on a greying congregation. I will blame it on an emphasis on family, tradition, and big bucks that drove away all but the most tenacious young, poor, and single folks. I will also blame it on financial mismanagement. I shouldn't pour one red cent down this dirty hole of a schul. Even if I pay the dues increase, there is no way to get the schul back on to steady ground. They'll just come asking for more or close up and there went my contribution.

Also I'm a single adult. I go to services. That means I help make minyans on slow nights. Also I don't put very much demand on the schul. I don't have children needing to be bar or bas mitzvahed. I am nice and healthy so no one has to visit me in the hospital. I have no family here so no rites of passage. There is a reason my dues are low (besides name your own price). To raise them is to have me subsidize all the others who take more out than they put in. Oh this is getting disgusting. I'm sorry. This even makes me sick to write. I can imagine how it must feel to read this garbage.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

by Eileen Kramer

This afternoon at 5pm there will be an affirmation and coronation for the rabbi at my schul. I am going there to bear witness. His contract will be renewed. They love him. They are the people who matter. Were it not for them, I would loathe and despise the rabbi. I don't loathe and despise the rabbi as a human being. He does what he has to do. He is a musician and the world is full of starving musicians. The rabbi has been able to sing for his supper well into his old age. There are not many who can boast of that. One must admire success.

I don't want that to come out like a back handed compliment. Simply put, the rabbi has a tough row to hoe. Columbus is a tough town to keep your post in as a rabbi at our schul. Those who call the shots in our congregation consist of families that have lived in Columbus for several generations. They are southern Jews which are quite different from egana menchen which is what I am even though my people are from the Baltic Countries. Southern Jews are another species. I'm not sure where they fit in and neither are they. We deal with marginalization. Most Christians don't even figure Jews into their world view. Being invisible has its problems. Also many of the folks who run my schul are wealthy and established in this last outpost of Judaism for nearly a hundred miles in any direction. They are assimilated in some ways differently than I am. I am fourth generation American so that makes me in some ways very assimilated but my people did their assimilating in and around New York City for the most part. A lot of the surrounding culture I absorbed was Italian. Jews and Italians get along well etc... That is a topic for a different blog.

My rabbi has to keep the movers and the shakers in the congregation on his side or he is out of a job. The movers and the shakers want to feel special becuase they are Jewish. They want to forget how much they have assimilated and they want to feel good about being Jewish. Out comes the time honored job keeping cheap shot sermon. The rabbi's tactic every Friday night is to hold up a good guy and a straw man. The good guy is the hero of the piece with which we were supposed to identify and the straw man is the one we are supposed to despise. We all are supposed to end up on the same side. This is a classic glurge tactic by the way, but it doesn't always work. More than once I've been on the wrong side.

And sometimes, as at Friday night's sermon, the whole thing just comes out all dead wrong. The rabbi's good guy Friday night was the baroque ensemble. You don't get more high class than a baroque ensemble and the selfless musicians all played different instruments in harmony. That is what we should all be doing as a society. Who can be against that. Well with some thought, I can but we'll get to that later.

Now let's bring on the bad guys. These are the Christians who want to put the Ten Commandments in the courthouse in Kentucky. They lost their battle in Alabama. Who could possibly be for those yahoos. Who could side with them. The rabbi had a good one. Well, he had such a good one that he overreached his argument and made it religious. The Christians who want the Ten Commandments in the Court House are really PAGANS! That is my rabbi's dirty words. They use the ten commandments like a graven image, an icon. Pagans value things. We Jews know to value time because every second is precious. We value life. What do they value?

The rabbi also mentioned that the image of Moses at the Supreme Court building in Washington shows him with only the last five commandments, the nonreligious commandments. Uh oh.... the Rabbi's argument starts to unravel here so let me pull this thread. The last five commandments contain two religious injunctions: Thou shalt not commit adultery and Thou shalt not covet. Adultery is wrong, but it is a private matter and most people would not want it criminalized. We don't live in a theocracy. And as for coveting, it is the root of capitalism and consumerism. It is OK to covet and want as long as you use legal means to obtain. There are many who believe greed is good for the economy. There are only three nonreligious commandments. No, I did not catch the rabbi in this until yesterday. It even got by me.

But lets look at the rest of the argument. Putting the ten commandments up in a court house is a political statement that one believes that the government and religion (whose religion???) should get closer together. It is not a pagan act of worshiping an icon. The political statement is a bad statement. Forget using it to bash Christians which is what the rabbi did. The whole congregation was busy bashing away after the sermon. The Christians don't use quite the same translation as we do so they don't get it right and anyway they believe in Jesus which means they violate commandments number one and two (I am the Lord God who brought you out of Egypt. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.) etc.... What happened to playing in harmony?

Well Christian bashing is easy. It makes Jews feel good about who they are by putting other people down. It is also a cheap shot that teaches us nothing. The fact is in Conservative Judaism, the graven image commandment is fairly relaxed. Our sanctuary dowstairs has pictures of a rabbi in tallit and a woman lighting shabbos candles and other religious scenes. It is Jewish motel art but so what. It could be considered a graven image. I wonder what the rabbi would say if a congregant kept a caligraphic framed copy of the ten commandments over his or her bed for comfort. Would he tell them to take them down. What about mezuzot in doorways, the classic Jewish icon. Oh how I wish I had asked that in schul? I have been drawing scenes from the Purim story when I draw at work. I think the rabbi would say that is OK. And what about other political icons such as the American flag? Christian bashing side steps the whole graven image/assimilation issue.

It also side steps another issue. It is important to keep the Ten Commandments and most religious expression out of the government, because none of us wants the government messing with our schul except to give it tax free status. If we want to bash Christians in our walls (I don't like it but others do. Personally I prefer the uncensored copy of the siddure which has in the aleinu prayer the fact that the nations of the earth bow down to gods that are vanity and nothingness. That was taken out to please European royalty during Medieval times.) we can go for it. If the Christians in their church next door want to say Jews are all bound for hell if they remember we exist at all, they can say it too.

Nobody has to play in harmony. That is what homes, houses of worship, and private property is for. Nobody has to play in harmony, least of all the harmony set by the government. I could buy my uncensored siddur from Artscroll, and they could sell it to me no questions asked. My colleague, Rachel, and her husband who is a Baptist minister have the ten commandments on their lawn. That is their right. I don't have to like the fact that this is the Christian translation. The government does not have an approved translation for the Ten Commandments any way. It's a cacaophony out there, and I wouldn't have it any other way. I am going to see my cheap shot dealing rabbi reannointed and God bless him.

And yes, I do think Christian bashing stinks, but not because we should all try to get along. As I said above, Christian bashing teaches us nothing about who we are except we are not them. The fact is we all Jew, Christian, Moslem and Wiccan cook in the same rancid stew in Columbus. We are all tainted the same way. It takes a bit of soul searching to figure out how you are tainted and what is part of a unique Southern Jewish heritage, what is unavoidable, and what you have to change. Looking at the part you have to change is what the Christians call "being convicted in your sin."

Fortunately, Jews don't do too much wallowing in the conviction part. One of the really attractive features of observant Judaism is that it is a religion of doing. If you are eating bar-b-que, even if it is just the chicken, you are consuming treif. No one makes you do this with a gun pointed to your head. You can stop. If you are eating bread without washing and making hamotzee, well start washing and make the blessing. Yes, it takes more work than bashing Christians and you have to bash yourself a little bit, but the way that leads closer to God is there. Start walking one step at a time.

Unfortunately, the way out of sin does not interest (Who? We are sinful because we aren't doing certain actions and are doing others? That's what they would say!) the movers and shakers of the schul. They want it easy. They want to feel good. They have what they want. At 5pm today, the renew what they want for another year. This is the only traditional Jewish synagogue within a hundred miles of where I live. Jews do not schism. I do have the tools for home worship when I get really disgusted. I also believe though that fellowhsip, even this fairly rotten fellowship, is important. I believe in obedience to religious authority. Also synagogues are anti-Brainstormish hierarchical groups and so I pay my dues and go to services. I will be down there at 5pm bearing witness, and I think I will vote, ableit quite cynically to keep the rabbi. Our congregation needs and deserves him.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

by Eileen Kramer

So where did the two column format go to? It is taking a break. The reason is that the boards at LOTH are down due to either a hacker or a technical glitch. Without any where to do transcribes, there is no reason to separate transcribable material from the rest of the blog.

This blog will probably return to a two column format, once the LOTH blogs are up and running. Now where have I been and why wasn't I blogging. The first reason is that my keyboard had had it and it had turned to moosh. I have a new five dollar keyboard from the same place that Lou got the old five dollar keyboard and I am typing away like a demon. Woo-hoo!

The second reason is that about a week ago, my online life turned chaotic in a very good way. I had what may be the mother of all vengance victories. Actually vindication is more like it. I am not sure I am out of the vengance business. I am preparing to destroy all my illegally obtained MP3's. All I can say is good riddance. I believe in intellectual property so it is time to get the stolen junk off of my machine. I have stopped using and I need to see if I can really live without it.

OK, masthead time. It was worth it to be kicked out of Brainstorms. It is worth it to be who I am, do what I did, and say what I said though Lord knows I was way too stinking polite until the end. It was worth it to talk loud and proud. I still have my blog, and my play pretend Brainstorms which beats the original any day of the week.

I've been playing a ton of Neopets and really need a faster connection at home. I can also use a newer computer, but the A drive and CD drive on this machine are both sour and they appear to be in a proprietary case. I need to talk to some computer people and see about getting new ones. It is under a hundred dollars to make these repairs and it is necessary whether or not I upgrade this computer.

I went to schul tonight. I went even though I don't like the rabbi's feel good sermons. I still want to be a pagan every time I listen to him. Pagans that I know at least don't go around bashing other religions. Most of the religions and individuals the rabbi bashes are fellow monotheists. I have yet to see him taking a Wiccan, Santero, or Hindu to task. I did do some reading on Cuna/Kuna Indians and found out they were/are quite superstitious. I still want to try some mola style art on PSP.

I have about three quarters of the furniture I need for my Neohome. My store is fast turning in to a gallery. I discovered several fast games and now can make close to 8000 NP per day even if I get no lucky events. That is a lot of NP. I wonder if I could last the three months required to make a 800,000NP. I would like to paint Ephraim orange in the worst way. I also would not mind painting him gold. The brush is retired but it will still work if you can get one. A sixty percent increase in earnings ability is nothing to sneeze at. I love doing the numbers. My other Neopian trick is pound surfing. It means lots of reloads and that incresases the likelihood of a positive event. That is just my guess.

I haven't worn my Neopets shirts yet and I have not spent my birthday money. The tax papers hang from a nob in the dining room, and the kitchen is a mess. It is just a question of where do I start?

At work, my class takes a two week break due to Assessment Day and Spring Break. That means I can get all rusty for teaching. Next week, hopefully, we get to put Chris, the new librarian who started work on Monday, out on the desk. Chris is having an open house party tomorrow at his place way out in North Columbus. He is going to pick me up at 11:30am. I bought him a house gift after schul. It is a green and yellow croton plant that is now on top of the refridgerator so Hertzel, my cat, won't eat it.

Hertzel is sleeping in his secret nest which is no secret. When I went to visit him, he looked up at me and made one of those pretty kitty yawns. He is so sweet and irresistible. When I had a terrible nightmare, he comforted me this morning. I woke up too paralized with fear and too sick with revulsion to get out of bed. Hertzel crawled under the covers and snuggled right up to me. I put an arm over him, and the whole bed vibrated with his purring.

For those who don't know, I was more or less off from work today, due to having finished an eleven day week. Sometimes one just needs a slow day to get one's head together.

Oh and the first tulips are blooming here in Columbus along with the narcissus. The spring flowers are beautiful, except they come out way too early. By the time it is late spring, real spring flower season, the spring flowers will be long gone. Also I don't think tulips overwinter very well here. It is just too warm. Hyacinths and crocuses don't make it at all.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

by Eileen Kramer

I finally started Collapse today. Since the book was reviewed in the Wallstreet Journal, this is a VENGANCE VICTORY. I will read the book when I am on desk. With my varied and extensive online life, I find it hard to find time to read, yet I find reading very soothing.

OK, now for something Neopian.

Romancing the Throne

Being an adult on Neopets has its advantages, including a whole bunch of human capital no money can buy. I can plan out projects, and now that I'm done painting my pets, it is time to build a Neohome. I read up on Neohomes on Nothing But Neopets. I found out how much each room will cost as well as the land. All in all a three room house with gold walls (Yes, I am extravagant or is the word invidious?) in Tyrannia (home of that great multitaskable game, Tyrannean Miniature Golf, costs about 25,000NP. That is five days labor at games and is quite doable.

Of course what is the point of a house if you do not furnish it? I did not ask all the young Neopians whose houses are largely unfurnished. I went out to view the selection and price of furnishings. I quickly learned a dirty secret. It will cost several hundred thousand NP to adequately and thoroughly furnish even a modest dwelling. Fortunately, one can buy furniture one piece at a time. This means I am nearly always broke or close to it. I save and blow it and save and blow it. Tonight I got a real bargain on an orange coral bed. This item often sells for over 25,000NP. I got it for 12,000NP by haggling with another adult woman on the trades and auctions board.

So far I have four pieces of furniture and two stained glass windows. These are a cconut toilet, a coconut bathtub, a cconut sink, and the orange coral bed. I will get screen shots of all of this up here. Anyway, the toilet was the first and most expensive piece of furniture. It cost me 35,000NP. Most coconut toilets sell for 50,000NP or more. I apologized profusely to the Shopwiz for all the times I kicked him and cursed him out. I also bowed down at his feet except jubjubs have no feet.

Well it took a few days to save up for my conconut toilet so I set up a toilet fund and posted it as a sig file but I did not want to write "toilet." I guess this is the American in me. Besides coconut commode is alliterative and "saving a load for a coconut commode" rhymes. My sig line had my fund 32,000/50,000NP and then "Coconut commode fund...for real."

Well some poor kid begged me to buy something in his store because he saaw that I at the time had 32,000NP. I politely sent him a bag of sugar but he asked what gave. "What's this commode business anyway?" he asked. I explained that I was saving for a coconut toilet which I was just then lucky enough to find at a bargain basement price, or as bargain basement as it gets. I explained that I had been saving for a coconut toilet, the king of commodes.

The odd thing is I really don't have a toilet obsession. If coconut commodes were less expensive I would buy several. I have four Neopets and four petpets and that is a lot of going to the bathroom. Well most neohomes don't even have one toilet. My pets when they get their solid gold residence should count themselves lucky that I included the plumbing. I think coconut is the best style for bathrooms. I guess that makes me a collector, but I really don't have a toilet thing.

I know I don't because I never was interested in toilets on other virtual worlds, though I admit to having built at leaast one bathroom on several MU**'s. I think the toilet even flushed. Active Worlds was toilet central. Right near my area (in the days when it was reasonably priced. I'd love to go back but who has the time) was a field of toilets built by an unknown man. The toilets would bounce you around if you touched them so it was kind of cool, but they were all there for what amounted to several miles spaced out over the flat green plain, plain white porcelain thrones, hundreds of them. Compared to the gentleman who built a field of comodes, my modest little coconut throne is just not that big a deal.

And yes, it's back to not buying anything except potlatch items for the next few days. That is fine with me. I tell myself that now. I know that in the end, I'll have one of the few extensively furnished neohomes because I started with the furnishings first.

And yes, I wonder "what next?" which is why I am relieved that this project will take several weeks to complete at least. I mean, I build the house. I build up the pets. I paint the pets. What next? What is left? I do intend to read to the pets and give the books that they have already read to Haldis who has the other account. I may also give her some codestones or dubloons from time to time. This will enable her to get her pets trained and educated. She can not earn any money but I can give her anything I want. Part of me also wants to build a tuskaninny gallery in honor of Shanti who is now a strawberry tuskaninny and formerly a white grundo. There is still plenty to do for a while and I guess that is good. I do wonder where it will end.

In other news, Thadea will be making a team called Z is for Zeppelin for the Golden Elite. She made two team graphics and Haldis will hopefully get cracking with the colored pencils. Is my plate too full or what.

I watched a colleague today give a Rite of Passage lecture in front of a room full of nurslings who were polite and who packed the house. It was a pretty good lecture very reminiscent of the Notorious Note Taking Lecture at Cornell. Do they still have that, I wonder.

I groomed an order and readied two handouts and survived teaching class number eight. Don't ask how the students found their way to the library. We are all used to having class in Lenoir. Someone had erased my white board signage and I had to put it back up again. That was fun. I got to borrow all the pretty white board markers from the chemistry secretary's office. They are so generous in there. It is people like that who make a whole day.

I drank Coca-cola with lime at the lecture. It is a new flavor. I thougt it tasted pretty good. It will probably be a while though until I drink it again. Wild cherry pepsi rocks but all that stuff rips up my gut due to IBS.

Tomorrow I face a big pile of grading. I also have to flip over my course and update the CALA web page. I probably should look at updating the reference web page as well, but that is back burnered. I need to flip two handouts on Google Scholar in to html. They have screen views so this will be a time consuming project. And yes, this was the end of day two of an eleven day week.

Tonight I went to pay the rent at the landlady's. On the way there, a big dog came out of its yard. It's stupid neglectful owners had just let it outsdie to pee and had not bothered to walk it. Who cares about pedestrians. The big nasty German sheperd barked and growled. I screamed "Bad Dog" I screamed for help. I hoped the owners would hear. I started to pry loose my purse that was wedged under my backpack straps. I needed a weapon and I was going to flail my purse at the brute's face if he attacked me.

Then along came an angel on wheels. A motorist diverted the dog so I could get away and then pulled into the driveway of the jerks that let out the vicious thing without a leash. He honked his horn. When I came back up the street, the dog was no where to be seen. I guess the dummies who owned him took him in.

Dogs should not roam loose. Say that three times fast. There is a leash law in Columbus for a reason. My cat Stingie was killed a little more than five years ago by two dogs just let out to pee by uncaring owners. Tonight I was menaced by an unleashed curr. And no, your dog is not territorial. Your dog is not so sweet! Your dog is a big unruly, nasty, vicious beast. Why you want to own such an animal is beyond me but hey....there are people who don't like cats. It's your job though if you want to keep a big nasty dog, or one of the little yappy nasty dogs, to keep the thing under control. That means in your yard, in your home, or on a leash.

People use the streets to get from here to there. Not everyone drives. Some of us even run errands in the evening after work. Some of us run errands after it gets dark. Pedestrians have the right to walk in the streets unmolested and unharassed by Fido.