Sunday, 29 August 2010

Why I Love Living With Vaulting

Vellum (searching for antacid tablet): okay, step one-
Vaulting (from the other room): cut a hole in the box?

Language and the Mind

Twitterer @mwidner pointed me in the direction of this NYT article, called "Does Your Language Shape How You Think?" by Guy Deutscher, an honourary research fellow at the School of Languages, Linguistics and Cultures at the University of Manchester (UK). He's just released a book on the same topic, which I'm now quite interested in reading, called "Through the Language Glass: Why the World Looks Different in Other Languages".

My favourite part was this:

...some languages, like Matses in Peru, oblige their speakers, like the finickiest of lawyers, to specify exactly how they came to know about the facts they are reporting. You cannot simply say, as in English, “An animal passed here.” You have to specify, using a different verbal form, whether this was directly experienced (you saw the animal passing), inferred (you saw footprints), conjectured (animals generally pass there that time of day), hearsay or such. If a statement is reported with the incorrect “evidentiality,” it is considered a lie. So if, for instance, you ask a Matses man how many wives he has, unless he can actually see his wives at that very moment, he would have to answer in the past tense and would say something like “There were two last time I checked.” After all, given that the wives are not present, he cannot be absolutely certain that one of them hasn’t died or run off with another man since he last saw them, even if this was only five minutes ago. So he cannot report it as a certain fact in the present tense.

Imagine what the world would be like if this were true of all of us. Instead of saying "god is like this" one could only ever say "I believe god is like this", and instead of saying "you're going to hell", they'd only be able to say "I believe you're going to hell".

"That is sinful" becomes "My culture views that as sinful".

I think it would be a positive change.

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Generational Differences II

"Maybe it's because we've been hopelessly coddled and our brains, with their flaccid synapses, have been massaged into thinking we could land our dream job at 23. Or! Maybe it's because the world changed, and it doesn't make sense to start a family at 24 in the shadow of $15,000 in debt with a thimbleful of jobs that don't provide health care or the promise of stability." [emphasis mine]

The Atlantic has a brilliant response to all the garbage about Millennials. Short answer: It's the economy, stupid.

Thursday, 26 August 2010


Ash Wednesday posted this, from here: an article in the guardian called "I'm an atheist but this anti-Catholic rhetoric is making me nervous". It's worth a read, though not living in the UK I can't tell whether these people are really over-the-top with their anti-Catholic rhetoric or not. He cites Richard Dawkins calling Catholicism "the second most evil religion" in the world, and wonders about the first.

Is he overstating the case? Citing Richard Dawkins as an example of over-the-top anti-Catholic rhetoric is, after all, a little like citing the works of Stephen Hawking as an example of modern scientific thought. Two or three years ago, I'd have sided with the anti-Catholics. Bear with me on this, I'll explain.

I had always viewed Catholicism as a religion, a large and often unwieldy version of Christianity, which, at present and I believe to the detriment of its followers, preaches against the ordination of women, preaches the sinfulness of homosexuality, hides pedophiles rather than bringing them to justice, and asks its followers not to use condoms or, indeed, any method of birth control save abstinence.

Yet despite my reactionary views (which I have, unfortunately, at times allowed to become private dogmas for reasons I'll get into in a minute) Catholicism does do a lot of good in the world, and I firmly believe that the vast majority of Catholics are not the bigoted old white men that continue to enforce the socially retrograde policies. I think the article in the guardian does a good job of pointing out that Catholicism is, in fact, made up of real people, and not the caricatures many of us allow ourselves to form whenever we hear about the latest sex scandal or the equating of the ordination of women with pedophilia by the Vatican.

See, I have always viewed Catholicism as the Big Dog, and the rest of the world as the underdog. This is, in part, why I allowed myself to form these caricatures. It felt as though I wasn't doing any harm because Catholicism was so big that it was like tossing pebbles at a brick wall. It wasn't until recently that I realized that some parts of the world (the US, the UK) have long histories of persecution of Catholics. Did you know that at one time (1732) it was simply illegal to be Catholic in the colony (not yet state) of Georgia? And that the KKK were not only anti-African-American, but also anti-Semitic and anti-Catholic? Plus I heard a rather disturbing rumour just last week that Catholics in North Korea sometimes just "disappear" in the night.

Individual believers in the Roman Catholic version of Christianity have, I think, a pretty hard time of it, and are not the megalithic force "the Church" had always been in my mind.

I myself will never be a Catholic. Taking my cues from Paul Tillich, and his "The Courage To Be," I view myself (at present) as a kind of christian-existentialist-agnostic. Raised as an Anglican, I still light a candle in every cathedral I visit. I can recite the Lord's Prayer and the 23rd psalm from memory. If I get married, I'll probably want to do so in the presence of a minister (though for the rest of the trappings of weddings I have no great desire).

But I now view Catholics in a different light than I used to. Not only do they have to struggle with questions of faith, but the truly faithful also often have to struggle with questions of dissent, which, not really belonging to any church, I have never had to do.

Vaulting made a good comment to me as I was writing this post. She's a confirmed atheist, and she still believes that we should let others believe as they wish. She blithely figured that if we don't let them venerate who they like, they'll probably just start killing those they don't -- and as a student of history I can see her point.

Does this mean I'm going to stop railing against the problems with Catholicism as I see them? Hell, no. I will always be a firm believer that being gay isn't a sin, that discrimination against women is morally wrong, and that the teaching (and official sanction) of the "ABC" method of preventing AIDS would prevent more suffering than just the "A" method (Abstinence, Be faithful, Condom use). Like Stephen Fry said in his Intelligence² debate on whether or not the Catholic Church is a force for good in the world -- despite an 8 minute speech about what is wrong with the organization itself -- he says:
I have no quarrel and no argument and I wish to express no contempt for individual devout and pious members of that church. It would be impertinent and wrong of me to express any antagonism towards any individual who wishes to find salvation in whatever form they wish to express it.
But I'm still going to press for what I see to be improvements in the message the organization sends to its members and to the world. Is this an example of "hate the sin and love the sinner" turned back on itself? Maybe. I'll have to think about that.

As for the anti-Catholicism, to return to my initial point, I suppose I still support peaceful opposition to the Catholic Church's policies, but I would advise those who would, as the guardian article does, to respect the worth and dignity of all people, regardless of their choice of religion.

Tosh.0, or, Another Sign of the Impending Apocalypse

First, let me say this: I'm way too young to be doing "get off my damn lawn! kids these days, grumble grumble" rants, but wow.

On the advice of some of Vaulting's smaller family members, I didn't flip past a tv show called "Tosh.0" the other day. Yesterday in Time magazine I read that he is now second in popularity on Comedy Central only to South Park (that, in itself, says something, I suppose). But while South Park is offensive to all and in a generally comedic way, the five minutes (that was all I could stand) of Daniel Tosh were nothing like it.

A brief rant follows:

Let me say this right now: the disgusting, hateful, misogynistic screed that came out of that man's mouth genuinely astounded me. Funny? I could hardly believe he could say those things in public. I thought I'd heard some awful things on Fox "news" in the past week about Islam, but my guess is if you got Mr. Tosh on the subject he'd come up with something worse. I am, in no uncertain terms, disgusted by the man. All I can hope is that the five minutes I saw were the five minutes he went off the rails into horrific bigotry posing as humour, but somehow I doubt the likelihood of that.

That's enough of that.

Can you believe my parents wouldn't let me watch the Simpsons, growing up? I'd rather the kids were watching South Park than this.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

What Has Been Seen...

...cannot be unseen.

Rod Blagojevich and Justin Bieber have the same hairstyle. Why has no-one else noticed this?

Now that, my little trolly friend, is an inane blog post.  

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

The Kobo Has Landed!

If you've been following my new-fangled twittering, then you may already know this. I'm a Linux user, and I took a big chance, getting an e-reader today. It's called a Kobo, and out of the box, it doesn't exactly play nice with Linux, specifically Ubuntu. But you can make it work. OH YES, you can make it work.

(That's said in a triumphant tone of voice, by the way)

If you don't like to hear little boys geek out about their new little toys, then maybe this isn't the post for you. But Karl: Fellow Ubuntu user, this might pique your interest a little.

So out of the box, what it does is twofold: first, it'll charge; second, it'll ask you whether you want to install in Windows or Mac OSX.

You see my issue.

So I thought, well, I don't need their software, I'll be fine with open-source. But here's the thing: you kinda DO need their software. Well, a little. If you want to buy new books you do. The reason? DRM. I suppose if you want to strip the DRM from your purchased ebooks (not impossible, I'm told, though I've never tried) then you won't need their software. But if, on the other hand, you want to read, say, the latest Stephen King book without being at odds with the DMCA (which, frankly, is just hard to do. I mean everything is illegal here. Boy.) then you need their software.

Guess what isn't released for general use? Their Linux version.

Guess what I got? Their Linux version. Found it online. If you're a Kobo user, who uses Linux, and you hate running their software through a Windows emulator like WINE, then leave a message in the comments and I'll get you the .deb file. It works in Ubuntu 10.04, anyhow.

But the problem with their software is that it only lets you read things that you buy (or download for free, they do have a lovely selection of out-of-copyright books from Project Gutenberg) from Kobo. And I wanted to read some things I'd gotten from Google Books. Maybe some JSTOR articles. So back to open source, and enter Calibre.

I'd read that Calibre, an open-source ebook management program, had gotten Kobo compatibility working, but try as I might, I couldn't convince it to recognize my reader. Long story short, the version of Calibre you download through Ubuntu's Synaptec Package Manager is an OLD OLD version, and you have to go to their website and get it by using the terminal commands provided there.

And boy does it work. Not only does it read epub format, you can just drop .pdfs on there (JSTOR articles, anyone?) and go to town. I liked it before, but now? Now I officially love this little thing.

The detriment (and you'll find it true of all e-ink devices for now) is the delay between page turns. I'm no speed-reader, in fact I'm downright slow at it, so it doesn't bother me a bit. But Vaulting? Hates it. I have a friend in the publishing business who's the same way. For them I'd suggest an iPad or, you know, paper. For now, it's keeping me from printing out all those JSTOR articles, and giving me a reason to read a lot of out of copyright material.

For tonight? A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur's Court.

Monday, 23 August 2010

Generational Differences

Welcome to the "new" warfare, ladies and gentlemen: Generational.

Just for reference, when I talk about Gen X and Millennials, typically I mean that if you grew up thinking New Wave was cool you're Gen X, and if you got into rock after Soundgarden broke up, you're probably a Millennial. To put it another way, if you grew up thinking Divo were cool, you're Gen X; if your first introduction to Divo was via Weird Al Yancovic, you're a Millennial.

Historiann has a good post up called And your music... It's just noise! about the current wave of articles by Real Journalists (you remember them, right? the people polishing the brass on the Titanic?) about how OMGWTFBBQ the new generation is coming and it's going to Screw Up The Baby Boomers Something Fierce. You should go read her post, maybe read a couple of these articles.

Just to give you an idea of their tone, they're named "What Is It About 20-Somethings?", "Generation Y Bother?" and (the more flattering, I suppose) "A Generation Collision Is Coming". The basic theme is that people in their 20s right now, that's Millennials*, are super-different (my term) from Baby Boomers, don't like to put in the hours of hard work to move up the ladder, want more from their employers than just a paycheck, and won't stand for hierarchical bull$hit based on time served rather than ideas and innovation.

I have two things to say about this: One, they're a little bit right. Two, they have only themselves to blame -- hey there, Baby Boomers, we're your kids, and your culture taught us everything we know.

To the first thing, I say a little bit right, because I do empathize with some of the depictions of my generation. Tom Downey writes, "Advice to put in your time and work hard so you can move up the ladder means nothing to this generation. That approach is based on a monetary contract. If management only gives a Millennial a paycheck, the company's return will be limited to the task performed." Ruben Navarette, Jr. writes that "they [Millennials] tell reporters and survey-takers that they want to be assured they won't spin their wheels in a dead-end job."

Amidst all the generalizing of a generation and judging from the outside, one thing sticks out to me: the fact that not one of the writers got around to noticing the lessons they'd been teaching their own kids.

As I was growing up, one thing became stunningly obvious to me over the years: once upon a time there was a magical land where people could work for one company their whole lives, feel that even if their part was small they were still a part of something larger, and feel as though if they gave their company their loyalty that that loyalty would be repaid -- by the time I was born that land had turned to so much ash under the constant radiation of greed.

My father, a professional in IT, went through probably a dozen jobs as I was growing up, with the concomitant fear of poverty, or at the least of the whole family being uprooted and moved to new places. What I saw was a man who got up every morning, dressed as though he were going to church (though we stopped going ourselves when I was young) went off to work early and came home late, working the whole time. Now he doesn't wear his Sunday best every day, but the rest hasn't changed. He still works hard, he still "puts in his hours" -- getting to work at an ungodly hour just so that he can get some work done before someone comes in and wastes his time (my description, not his. My father is, if nothing else, extremely polite and respectful).

My father received awards for his hard work. He ran projects and received high commendations for their efficiency and the cost savings. We still have the certificates he was given at ceremonies (even a little plexi-glass trophy, too). Yet time and again, the company he worked for would be eaten by another, someone with seniority would be given his job, and he would be out looking for another one. One company he worked for decided it didn't need a Canadian branch to its IT department any more, and so they fired them, to a man. My father was a VP at that time, and it still counted for nothing.

No, what growing up in my household taught me about work was one thing, and one thing only: companies want nothing from you but the bottom line. They have no sense of loyalty, and you should pay them nothing but what gets you, personally, somewhere. Always be looking for a better opportunity elsewhere, because your current employers will, without compunction or guilt, fire you if someone cheaper comes along.

And this is my second point: a lot of us grew up in households like that. While Baby Boomers' parents may have worked for one company for their whole lives, Baby Boomers themselves largely tried and failed to do so themselves, mostly because loyalty to workers went the way of all things non-profitable.

I'd be lying if I said part of the reason why I'm interested in academia is not the idea of a field where there still (for the time being) exists such a thing as tenure -- a commitment on the part of the employer not to fire you, because you have proven you work hard and well and are an asset to the organization.

And this ties in, I suppose, to the ongoing "what about tenure?" discussion that is a perennial favourite on IHE and the like. For what it's worth, here's my two cents: not everyone deserves tenure, but to have it as a possibility for years of hard work and dedication -- not a right, but a possibility -- is something that ALL professions should adopt.

Because right now, there's no reason for any Millennial to do anything but think of hirself in the business world. We're nothing if not a product of (y)our generation.

*I prefer that term, which is derived from those who graduated from High School in the year 2000 or later, over Generation Y, which is derived rather dim-wittedly from the fact that Y comes after X.

Sunday, 22 August 2010


Victory! Vellum has joined the dark side. Follow him on Twitter, MedievalVaulting.

(if you missed it, I'm Medievaulting)

Also, check out's 60 Tweeters for Medievalists. Hours of entertainment and procrastination.


Saturday, 21 August 2010

For Those Of You Following The Story...

A certain founder of a certain website that shared many a state secret (and has many more to share yet) had a warrant released for his arrest on "rape" charges today -- I use the scare quotes because just a few hours later the warrant was cancelled as baseless. Just another in a long line of dirty tricks pulled by the U.S. Military.

Go on, pull the other one.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010


You can now follow me on Twitter, since I'm sure you've all been anxiously checking the blog for the next scintillating update. Or if you just want more Twitter friends. Either way.

(also, why doesn't medievalvaulting fit into the Twitter name window? Medievaulting is a kinda-sorta-not really clever alternative, but doesn't quite have the same ring.)

Still working on Vellum. Maybe he'll join the dark side next week.


Sunday, 15 August 2010

"Help me, Víga-Óbívan Kvæggansson; you alone would dare to avenge me"

Ever wondered what popular movies would be like as Icelandic sagas? In Old Norse? Well, I can't help you with Fight Club, but the Tattúínárdœla saga should provide weeks of entertainment.

Saga told in both Old Norse, for the serious scholars, and in English, for the Norse wimps like myself.

But Lúkr took Artú’s bloody cape and there found the message written by Princess Leia. He began to read it. “I am no runemaster,” he said, “But these words say, ‘Help me, Víga-Óbívan Kvæggansson; you alone would dare to avenge me.’ I don’t know how to read any more words, because they are written poorly and hastily. What is this?”

Artú pretended not to speak Norse, and asked in Irish, “What is what?”

Friday, 13 August 2010


Sorry, I had to post this. I had no idea. Prepare to have your minds blown.


I had no idea.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled Friday night activities.

Image (not of a beewolf) courtesy Wikimedia user Alvesgaspar, via Arthropoda.


Thanks for all the helpful responses to my "I was just fired. What?" post. Unfortunately, I worked in an "at will" state, so they were absolutely within their rights to dump me with no notice. The state I live in requires that they pay me through the end of my salary; the state I worked in, however, only requires they pay me for my worked hours.

The only right I have is to be paid within 72 hours. That was Wednesday. I have no paycheck. I'll be filing a complaint with the Labor Board this afternoon.

And, alas, there was no contract. For a few hours, I thought that perhaps because they accepted my resignation as offered back in June, that might constitute some sort of contract... but no.

So, after a few days to feel sorry for myself (and it was a rough few days - I ended up being an alternate for the jury I was on, and in my absence, they turned an absolutely horrible and wrong verdict that I still feel ill about. And then Vellum was very ill for a few days.) and relish in the fact that the museum's many problems are no longer mine, I'm back on the job hunt. The only good thing to come out of this firing is that I am now eligible for unemployment. Whoo! I haven't filed yet, as my second job has come through in a valiant show of support and is letting me work 4 days a week instead of my previous 1 day, but that ends this week, so as of next week, I will hopefully be on the dole.

And on that thought, here are some more cheery things to make you smile.

The Improvised Shakespeare Company.

The Alot. If you don't follow Hyperbole and a Half, you should.

The coolest site you'll see all month. At least, as far as I'm concerned. Radical Cartography features maps and graphs of a variety of cool things: city transportation systems, both real and ideal; building heights in NYC; New York as the center of the world (which, I'm sorry to say, is how I view the world. London, no problem. Melbourne? You must be joking); counties named after presidents; and then, of course, your standard stats, including population density, crime, pollution, income, etc. Take a few minutes to look through; it's very cool.


Wednesday, 11 August 2010

The Other Side Of The Equation

Just a brief follow-up to the MAA situation. I'd read (as I'm sure we all have) quite a bit in support of a boycott of the MAA since their decision not to remove the meeting from Arizona, but today in my feed were two pieces from scholars whom I respect on why one won't quit the MAA, and why the other won't even sign the petition. They're worth the read, if you haven't seen them yet.

Monday, 9 August 2010

This is how we repay dedication

So I was fired yesterday.

For those keeping track, I had 2 weeks left, as agreed upon in my 8-weeks' notice back in June. Instead, I was informed at 4:30 yesterday afternoon that my services were no longer required, and I was to be out of the museum as quickly as possible after the close of business (5:00).

30 minutes' notice. That's got to be some sort of record for dismissal without cause.

The official excuse is that the museum is all but in foreclosure, and the bank informed them that if they didn't immediately fire all employees, the bank would repossess the building.

.... so when your business is floundering, the people you owe money to tell you to get rid of your only means of making money?

(Also, having seen the documents from the bank, I can tell you that they have another month before the bank provides the 60 day foreclosure warning. I was only there for another 14 days. I'm going to call BS.)

More than the excuses, however, was the sheer asshattery of the situation. I was handed a print-out of an email sent from a board member to his significant other, who then forwarded it to another email address. I was given 30 minutes' notice to clear out my office and remove any of my belongings - which included items on sale in the gift shop, lighting which Vellum had provided for the exhibit, and items on loan which were to be returned upon my departure.

I was insulted for daring to be upset with the situation. The board member assigned to make sure I didn't steal anything informed me that I would never make as much as I was making there ever again. I just laughed. What do you say to that? I was being paid slave wages - barely enough to subsist on - and devoting everything I had to the museum. I worked 6 days a week for that museum. I worked a second job to remain at that museum. I spent $1400 on exhibit materials, and was only reimbursed for half of that - because I wanted the museum to succeed.

I could have done temp work for a year and made more money, working fewer hours, with less stress.

She implied that I should be grateful to have been paid for so long. "Being paid the agreed upon salary is not a privilege," Vellum helpfully informed her. Apparently one of the board members was subsidizing my paycheck for the past few months. And? I did not ask him to. He did not have to. On behalf of the museum, I thank him. On behalf of myself, I shrug. If he wanted gratitude, he shouldn't have fired me. And perhaps should have paid me on time.

I was harassed for checking the safe for my belongings. I was harassed for daring to be offended at their offer to let me stay on as a volunteer. I was harassed for being offended that they would throw me an elaborate going away party but not provide me with more than 30 minutes' notice that I was being dismissed. I was harassed for daring to have jury duty on short notice last week.

Ultimately, I should feel some sense of triumph. In the end, I win. The museum will be closed within a matter of months, if not weeks. Without me, there is literally no one to run the museum. I have been in control of absolutely everything there for the past year: they don't have passwords to the email accounts or the website; they don't have the current membership list; they don't know the first thing about the exhibit or the artists in it; they don't know how to sell the items in the gift shop; they don't know where anything is kept; they don't know who's lent the museum artwork in the past, nor do they know where to find the information for current lenders; they don't know how to answer the visitors' questions. They are absolutely in the dark, and they don't even know enough to ask for any of this information.

So I win. Everyone knows that I kept that museum alive for a full year longer than it should have lived, and everyone will know that because I was dismissed, the museum closed. But all I feel is depressed that all my hard work was so summarily dismissed and disregarded. I worked hard to keep the museum open, keep visitors coming through the door, and keep them happy and impressed. I worked hard to generate exhibits with no budget. I worked hard to make the museum the best it could be with nothing to work with. But because I didn't pull $400,000 out of my ass, I failed.

I created a detailed instruction manual on how to run the museum, with all the information a stranger could require to effectively manage the museum. But this manual sits, ignored, on my computer, because I was only given 30 minutes to turn over my keys, and the reins, to the museum. I couldn't possibly have any information that they would need. I couldn't possibly provide anything the museum requires.

People suck.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Jesus H Tap-Dancing Christ What Is Wrong With People?

This has been circulating on the interwebs today and previously. I fully thought it was a joke until I visited the website.

Be warned: this is going to be a rant. Feel free to skip down to the next outrageously bigoted image.

< rant >
Yes, that's right, children: stay away from the nasty, dangerous atheists, because they might try to convince you that your woman-hating backward-thinking sky-god isn't real, and that the world is older than 6000 years (which we all know is blasphemy). Why is it that people are so insecure about differing viewpoints from their own? Especially around children? Oh That's Right: because without indoctrination and claustration, people might actually have the ability to think for themselves and not follow nutjobs like these guys around like sheep!
< /rant >

Breathe, Vellum, Breathe...

Ranting aside, the reasons this upsets me so much are legion:

First, ANY view that is so fragile as to necessitate hiding children from non-believers is obviously flawed. Take this from someone who studies the devil -- Christianity's fears of the convincing powers of non-believers are overrated. Just look at the still burgeoning numbers of lunatic-fringe right-wing cult-like Christian sects. If people will believe that, they'll believe anything.

Second, the trope of the grumpy atheist is so incredibly offensive I don't even know where to begin (and before you start pointing to me as an example, I'm not an atheist -- I'm just incensed by stupidity).  I have a number of friends who don't believe in any kind of god, paternalistic sky-god or otherwise, and you know what? They're awfully pleasant folks. They love, laugh, and tend to be less judgemental of others than most lunatic-fringe Christians I've met. In fact, I'd go out on a limb and say most of the atheists I know are better Christians than most Christians. How do you like them apples?

Disclaimer: I know plenty of non-lunatic-fringe-Christians, too, and they're also awfully nice folks. It's the ones who think an all-loving omnipotent being is going to torture you for eternity after your death (yes, that's right, all loving) because he's also a jealous and vengeful god and you didn't follow him correctly, it's those ones who give everyone else a bad name. The problem is, they're the ones who shout the loudest, so you can hardly think over the calls of "God Hates Fags" when you walk down the street. (That was hyperbole, but you get my reference).

I think I've digressed into ranting again. *sigh*

You know the thing is, maybe all the atheists they know are grumpy because people like these make them so. Nothing ruins my day like people telling me that the way I live my life is inherently wrong and that I need to be more judgemental of others to appease a curiously silent god. I'm willing to bet that if they opened their minds to -- what's that? not possible you say? well I'll keep trying.

You never know, maybe they're not so --

Jesus H. Tap-Dancing Christ what is wrong with these people? What incredibly bigoted, uneducated people. How can they justify this insulting caricature of Hinduism? Oh, that's right.



< /rant > Again.

Is anybody reading good enough with image editing software (and possessed of enough free time) to make some clever pro-tolerance versions of these for me to post up? I'd be much obliged.

Oh, and those images are copyrighted to "OBJECTIVE: Ministries" and are being used here under the Fair Use doctrine as an Editorial.

I'm off to drink less coffee now. :)

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Why I Haven't Weighed In

You've heard about the MAA's decision regarding Arizona, and everybody who's anybody has an opinion. Mine is this: that must have been a very hard decision to make, and you couldn't pay me to be Robert Bjork right now (even though I fully wish I'd written at least half of his books myself).

Things I've been thinking about while reading other people's reactions to this: the people who run the MAA have a lot of responsibility, not only to the continued existence of (what appears to me to be) an organization in particular danger of losing its relevance, but also to the representation of its members in society at large. Does that first extend to possibly damaging the future of the organization through the loss of a substantial sum of money? Does that second extend to representing the political and/or social views of its members? Should they make a stand in this way, or in some other way? I don't know.

What I do know is that no matter what they did, they couldn't win.

So that's why you couldn't pay me to run the MAA.

At least we got lucky and the "show me your papers" section of the law has been suspended pending further judicial review. I love the ACLU.

Sunday, 1 August 2010


Vaulting mentioned our sojourn to the fair the other day -- my first American country fair. So, of course, I took photos. :)

More after the jump break.