My credo

Jul. 11th, 2008 10:36 pm
sylvar: (Default)
I tinkered with the look of my LJ tonight, and decided to use a style that allows custom text. Here's what I put there:

I believe in humanity: our indwelling capacity for good, our insatiable desire to make ourselves known to one another, our coruscating passion for knowledge, our ability to handle the truth, and our capacity for learning from really dumb mistakes.

I believe in humor as the universal solvent of ignorance, grief, and fear.

I believe in public libraries.

I believe in using intellectual property rights to establish a sustaining wellspring for the creative endeavors of others; I believe in the Creative Commons license.

I believe in putting final punctuation outside the quotes unless it was present in the original.

I believe in the Oxford comma.

I don't believe in rigid gender lines, violence as national economic policy, or any particular religion (though I'm congenial to many).

A friend of mine took a religious education class at a Unitarian Universalist church. No, seriously. One of the products was her own personal credo. This is mine.
sylvar: (Default)
I'm okay with that. 

Well, as long as it depicts God accurately:
sylvar: (Default)
Full mp3 here.

[ profile] cunningminx: Is Ivanova God?
Claudia Christian: I think we are all God. Honestly, if you wanna get all religious on me, I -- it was a very difficult thing for me to have to say that line, as it would be, I think, as difficult as it was for Kelly LeBrock to say "Don't hate me because I'm beautiful" in the Pantene ads ... honestly, I do think that there is God in everything and everyone ... we are all God.

I had to use ellipses; she's very rambly. But it's a fun interview.
sylvar: (Default)
I went to the Wal-Mart Supercenter in Wesley Chapel tonight with a shopping list including beer.  In the Valrico store, the beer is behind the soda, but not in this one.  So I asked an employee: "Pardon me, where's the beer?"

"We're across from a church and next to a school."

"Um... I'm sorry, I was asking where the beer is.  You know, like Michelob."

"We're not allowed to sell beer because we're across from a church and next to a school."

"But religious people don't HAVE to buy beer, and the schoolkids CAN'T buy it, and the teachers probably NEED it.  What gives?"

"It's against the law."

"???... Stupidest law ever.  OK, thanks very much."

It's bad enough that SuperTarget and Publix were closed today, but sheesh.  Preventing Wal-Mart from selling me a 12-pack of Michelob Ultra Amber is not only dumb, it's just wrong.  Who the hell do I talk to to get this law changed?!

I'm pissed because I can't get pissed.

(Well, okay, I have liquor, but jeez.)  
sylvar: (Default)
I gave blood today at the Methodist church. Apparently their 'method' involves walking right past the bloodmobile and into a building to sing songs about how nice it would be if people would occasionally do something that helps others. I wasn't there when the bloodmobile opened for donations, and I took my time afterward, and yet nobody else had donated before me and nobody else had come in by the time I left.

As I drove away, I asked a couple of Methodists walking from the parking lot toward the church if they'd please spread the word that I'd been the only donor so far, and after all, it's Lent. They looked at me kinda funny at that point; perhaps they surmised I wasn't one of them. Which makes me think that I should round up a bunch of agnostic and atheist people to get together and bum rush the bloodmobile at a yuppie church. I'd like to think that the clergy would take it as a challenge when they found out that godless heathens were saving more lives than their own flock...

And just to be clear, I'm a universalist (and, now that I've been exposed to the term, an apocatastasist) Christian, but I'm dismayed; my optimistic side hopes that everyone in that church gave blood on Good Friday and just isn't eligible to donate again.  My pragmatic side figures that it's time for some good old-fashioned shame to get churchies to open their hearts and veins.

Oh, and I've just requested In the Hands of a Happy God: The "No-Hellers" of Central Appalachia from iBorrow.  Sounded interesting.
sylvar: (He Is Risen (Pillsbury Doughboy))
I went to the Florida Blood Services bloodmobile, which was parked outside a theater. I figured I'd get movie passes instead of a t-shirt, and I was right; I got two passes, not good for special engagements. Certainly the best swag I've gotten for blood.

I tried donating by apheresis. The system takes whole blood, holds onto the red blood cells, and pushes the plasma and platelets back into me on the same line. It didn't hurt until the first cycle was ending; apparently the vein they picked wasn't terribly fond of having fluid pushed INTO it. I started feeling pain and pressure, and they quickly shut off the machine. I imagined the crook of my elbow swelling up like a cartoon hose, but I'm sure it was nothing like that.

They were able to use the portion of blood that I had managed to donate, but I have to wait the full four months before I can donate blood again. I'm not saying I would have gotten around to donating again, but I'd like to have had the option. Oh well, maybe I'll help someone out around Christmas.

Speaking of donating blood at Christmas: I was at a funeral a year or two ago, and one of the speakers (referring to the deceased, whose life was bound up with organ donation, both as a recipient and as a lifelong advocate and activist) said that Christ was the ultimate organ donor. Well, I tend to think He was the ultimate blood donor.

Anyway, I think giving blood ought to be part of the modern Christmas celebration, for anyone who chooses to regard Christmas as a religious observance. (Frankly, the Christmas I'm aware of is primarily a secular phenomenon.) I don't know how to make it happen. Maybe I should just put a bug in God's ear and hope God will nudge the Pope, or other influential people. So do I pray about it or just figure that God is everywhere, even on LJ?
sylvar: (Default)
I'm serious. I would like to be able to text one of the following messages and get the bible verse as a return message:

  • mic 6 8

  • kjv mic 6 8

  • niv mic 6 8

  • Micah 6:8

  • etc.

For those who don't recognize it (I didn't) --

He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.

I'm pretty sure I could write a Perl script (perhaps using Religion::Bible::Reference) that would take this sort of input and translate it into a query against, and perhaps parse the results to get the verse in question. But I don't know how to set things up so that someone could send text messages to my script and get a response by text message.
sylvar: (Default)
This is the best idea for celebrating Easter that I've seen in a long time, maybe ever. I wonder if I'll have the balls to participate? Probably not. That sucks.


Mar. 21st, 2006 01:03 pm
sylvar: (of course)
I spent my lunch break at a nearby cemetery as a volunteer photographer for Find-A-Grave. I figure it's interesting, it gets me outside, it serves others -- hard to go wrong there. I took dozens of photos but I've only uploaded a few so far -- that's time-consuming, I've found, and I'd rather get work done at the office and deal with grave photos at other times.

The interesting thing was that the wind was blowing a flowerpot so that it was starting to lean away, which would make the shot a lot easier to get. (I haven't moved anything left at a grave in order to take a photo. I'm not sure how I feel about that.) I prayed, "OK, God, just a little more wind and I'll get this shot." A few seconds later, the flowerpot hit a tipping point and was suddenly out of the way. I got the shot and said "Thanks, God, I got it." And a few seconds after that, the wind holding the flowers down subsided. The flowerpot returned to its original angle.

Sure, it can be explained entirely by reason. But as Brother Alwyn said (or will say in around 1,255 years, according to Babylon 5 chronology), "Faith and reason are the shoes on your feet. You can travel further with both than you can with just one." And aren't miracles all in the timing?
sylvar: (Ignatius J. Reilly)
Saturday morning we left without [ profile] jitterbug5bi5, to my disappointment. (It's okay, though; she had some fun this weekend too.) We got to Miami in time to see [ profile] loucheroo arrive at the party, and went down to Kendall for dinner with Dad and Fran. We were hoping to go back to the party, but since we were sleeping in Kendall (pretty much the opposite end of the metro Miami area), we realized that we'd just about have to turn around as soon as we got there so we could...

Drive to Stuart Sunday morning, have brunch, watch my brother-in-law Devin's confirmation, and listen to some jingo-fascist homily about how great it is that we live in a country where we have the freedom to move around the country, but warning us that we do not have the freedom to do what is wrong.

We found out too late that my dad was planning a bonfire for next weekend, so we could have gone to the party for a much longer time, then spent a bigger chunk of time with him the following week. That would have been a better plan. Oh, if I had a tribble for every missed opportunity...

So that was my weekend. How was yours?
sylvar: (Default)
WTF, mate?

Estimates have been made of tens of thousands of deaths from flooding that could overrun the levees and turn New Orleans into a 30-foot-deep toxic lake filled with chemicals and petroleum from refineries, and waste from ruined septic systems.

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