Saturday, December 31, 2016

Spot On

James had this as part of a larger collection and commentary over at I Don't Know, But...

Rogue One and Star Wars

Not very impressed.  I don't see many movies, so perhaps there are more intricate and interesting battle sequences, but it was by far the best that I have seen.  However it is attached to a plot that doesn't excite me much. The moral ambiguity is played up rather intentionally.  We skip from locale to locale, character to character, in the first part of the movie, and I pretty much root only for the little girl, and then again for her later when she has grown.  It is cool when Inigo Montoya falls in love with her.  The droid has a personality we haven't seen before, that's nice.  The blind oriental Jedi and his sidekick were over-the-top but more refreshing than not.

We went to my son's afterward and his daughter Emily wanted to watch Episode IV immediately to connect the pieces.  I am surprised at how little I like any of it now, given how taken I was with the originals as they came out. Perhaps the Hero's Journey had been neutered too much in the 1970's, goodness only appearing tongue-in-cheek or in antihero form, so Luke and Leia seemed more inspiring than they do now.  The weak effects and fake scientism are more obvious now.  The original movies may have relied more on the novelty of the effects than I realised at the time. Luke whines. Too many plot inconsistencies and inexplicable actions.

I watched IV-VI avidly.  I disliked Episode I, and understand that it is eliminated altogether in the watching of the series in the Machete Order IV, V, II, III, VI. But I'll have none of it anymore.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Economic Downturn

I am not good at predictions, so take this with a grain of salt. Yet I'll have a go at one for 2017 anyway.  Despite the recent euphoria, we are still headed for a significant economic downturn based on debt, rent-seeking, and gaming the system to transfer risk from the decision-makers to the citizens. I find David Stockman and Nicholas Nassim Taleb quite persuasive on this. Partisans will blame either Obama or Trump for any problem regardless of the data, but we credit and blame presidents far too much for our economy.  We apparently prefer symbolism and reframing.  1. Congress is twice as influential as the POTUS   2. Political solutions take almost two years to take effect, so we are forever late in our timing of who caused what  3. World events are a greater influence - much greater - than president and Senate and House together. 

Hope I'm wrong.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Wyman Family Christmas Letter - 2016

We are concerned that this year's letter is not up to the entertainment level of previous efforts. This might be due to an erosion of writing skills. More ominously, we might be becoming more boring. Hopefully, that is temporary. We might have a definitive answer for that Christmas 2017.
Everyone Moves But Stays Where They Are.
David and Tracy are fixing up their house of 30 years in preparation for moving…nearby.                    
Jonathan and Heidi are house-hunting  -  nearby.
Ben’s new job is in the opposite direction on I-45, at First Methodist in downtown Houston, but he’s still living in Spring.           
Kyle was going to move big-time by going active duty in the army, but elected to simply change jobs and stay in Goffstown instead.
Chris is tiring of Norway, and saving his money in order to move to…well, he doesn’t know yet.    For now, still in Tromso.       
JA and Jocie bought a house, so it looks like they may be in Nome a while.
Change/No Change.  Lots of rumbling, same landscapes.
About Those Coydogs
After learning that the New England hybrid (coyote/wolf/dog) is not that large a specimen and that our local batch doesn't band together, I am no longer that worried about encountering them in the woods with no one around.  I still carry the bear spray (we have one back there somewhere), but I'm thinking ticks and other insects are more of a danger.  Especially as they have sent me to urgent care twice. 

Tracy Graduated, David Is Being Discharged
Tracy retired at the end of the school year.  There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth from both teachers and students, who spoke of her kindness, her remembering everyone's name year over year, and her memorable storytelling and lessons. David is retiring from the hospital January 1 - we'll see if everyone there is quite so distressed about that. Perhaps. Tracy is already volunteering at her granddaughters' schools and tutoring the children at New Life Home For Women And Children. David will return to the hospital part-time after taking January off.
A Year of Change
After bringing Jocie and her five-year-old daughter Aurora home at Thanksgiving last year for our approval (like we were going to say no), John-Adrian married Jocie this year in Las Vegas. Everyone but Chris, who has a lot more distance to cover, made it to a small but beautiful wedding with just family and a few friends from Alaska. Only 48 hours in Sin City, which was plenty for Tracy and David, and way more than enough for Heidi.  It was... interesting. Their daughter Quinn Elena Wyman arrived in October, perhaps the first Romanian-Filipina child in history.  Tracy got to go to Nome twice this year, once in July and then to help out with the baby. She much prefers too much sunshine over too little.  JA and Jocie bought a house, and here's the interesting part:  John-Adrian, whose experience with farming was brutal in Romania as a boy, swore he would never grow a vegetable.  He now proudly has a garden and built a greenhouse.  We gave them precious topsoil as a wedding present.
She Considers A Truck And Buys It. Proverbs 31
Vehicle-shopping has usually been mutual, and time consuming.  But this summer, Tracy was retired and had more time. I did a lot of the online research, but in the end, she did the deciding, the checking, the bargaining.  For a truck that she's not ever going to drive. Not her comfort zone, but changing circumstances take all of us to new places.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Recounts and False Electors

This theory is backed up by good scientific evidence, of course.

Notes on Jumping To Conclusions

Printed text is supposed to be a representation of speech, but that is only half-true.  In no language are the written and spoken forms identical.  Some formal documents, such as proclamations or contracts, the gap between the written and spoken is large. Correspondence, memos, comic book, and playscripts come closer to everyday speech, but each has its own conventions. Even so, when we read something we assign a tone to it, because that is how our brain processes language.  WTF? Might be understood angrily, or might be understood humorously, but when we read it, we assign at least some spoken tone to it.
Curiously, it is hard to go back to hear a different tone in a text once your brain has assigned one.  Once you have read the breakup letter from your now ex-girlfriend, there will be sentences that will be difficult to reinterpret with a different emotional valence.  This occurs even over the phone, and because of changing environments, live conversations are not fully exempt from it. Correcting, overcorrecting, denying, and explaining are what young lovers seem to talk about all the time, particularly when things start going badly.

Decades ago, when memos became common, getting the tone right was often a problem.  People felt they were being ordered around rudely or not fully answered. Some writers picked up the proper music for the form, inserting “pls” or “?” or informalities to lighten the tone, but there is still ample room for offense even now, years later.  This process was repeated as voicemail, email, texting, and social media came on.  Each has its own problems.  Sometimes a simple re-explanation is enough when one seeks clarification.  “When I wrote ‘now’ it wasn’t because I thought you were slow or wouldn’t do it.  It’s because when I sent you there last week it didn’t start until afternoon.” Oh, okay fine.

Yet sometimes no amount of explanation suffices.  When the whole department receives an email there is sometimes discussion about what the tone or subtext is, and even reasonable explanations aren’t accepted.  “I don’t buy it.  I think she’s telling us we’d better shape up or heads will roll, and she has a few heads in mind already.” Or, the fourth paragraph of that letter from Tina doesn’t seem to admit of any other interpretation.  It says what it says, you think. Tina’s assertion that it doesn’t mean quite what you think it means seems merely evasive.
Those are the observations, and I’ll bet many of you can expand on them, give better examples or exceptions, or correct my impressions.  Go for it.  I am still assembling the data here. This is hardly a novel set of ideas, but I haven’t been intentional about thinking them through until now, so I may miss wildly.

More fascinating to me now that I have the basics down on the page are some questions which arise.

1.      1.  I am critical of others for jumping to conclusions on tone and finding it difficult to back off, but this is something I do as well.  Are these related? Are those who jump also those who find it hardest to jump back?  Are they more likely to be irritated by others jumping?
      2.  How much of our jumping to conclusions is jumping to the wrong tone?  People who expect that others generally talk down to them certainly hear that more frequently.  I wonder if that is even broader.  When we read a news story about a riot, are we hearing the sound of rioters’ voices, of policemen’s voices, of neighbors’ or children’s, or even people who will probably talking for the cameras later, way in the back of our heads and drawing conclusions from those voices before content?  Is voice the mechanism for prejudices? (Or were voices the original foundation of our leaping, even though they have long faded?)

3.     3.  I have said that jumping to conclusions is a common mistake of the intelligent.  They get rewarded frequently and punished seldom.  The quick of thought jump to correct conclusions about many small things all their lives.  Arbitrarily, 90%. When they miss, they can out-argue the other few present much of the time, even when they are wrong. Over 50% of the time anyway.  That doesn’t leave many times out of a hundred when they get have to swallow it. That’s been my theory until now, anyway.  This leaping goes wrong as questions become more difficult and ambiguous.  The smart person may leap correctly on only 75% of harder questions, and no better than 50% on ambiguous ones.  Yet they still automatically think of themselves as one who is quickly right 97% of the time and act accordingly. (Insert Taleb)  Perhaps that is not the mechanism, or not all of it.  Perhaps there are people who cannot reassign tone, intelligence having little to do with it.

      The moral of the story is Don't try and be funny on the internet.


Sometimes I just want to ask some people "Is there any liberal cliche that you don't believe?"

I'm sure you know conservatives out there about which the same might be said.  I can think of a very few.  I'm not sure that's a fair comparison however, as conservatives seem to have strong subgroups, and an unusual number of people who are locked in to a few key points.  Paleocons dislike neocons; libertarians aren't always comfortable with social conservatives; not to mention all the people who have particular hobbyhorses, like tax protestors or schismatic Catholics, who are more likely to be offshoots of the right than left. Though sometimes it's admittedly hard to tell. Conservatives almost always have some area where they dissent from not only the societal Conventional Wisdom, but the conservative CW as well.

I hope that I can remind myself to avoid cliches.

Thursday, December 15, 2016


Maggie's Farm had an article from The Atlantic about Globalisation not being as useful to America as it once was. 

It put me in mind of the logic puzzle The Prisoner's Dilemma.  

Wednesday, December 14, 2016


Interesting distraction.  Blogger tells me I could make about $11/month with AdSense on my blog.  I'm thinking that's about $0.11/month for the privilege of irritating each of my regular readers. I refuse to do this.  So don't think you aren't loved.  You are loved at least eleven cents a month's worth.

Outside my office door today, co-workers complained that Trump is bringing in the KKK with his cabinet appointments, and worried with all this Russian influence that we are headed for a dictatorship.  Both have graduate degrees, and are people with whom I have discussed Kafka or the Peloponnesian War, or pressures on Sami culture within the last week. Here is the interesting part that is not often noted in the conservative press.  They both giggled over saying parts of this.  I don't think it was nervous laughter by the sound of it.  I think it was the joy of reciting the Great Secrets of Their Tribe.  They liked bonding and agreeing over this.  Not so hard in a human services agency to find other liberals, sure, but I think this desire to connect - not just to exclude others or demonstrate tribal acceptance, but the simple human need for contact and reassurance is what drives them.

If you really thought we were headed for a dictatorship, or that the KKK was suddenly being empowered in America you wouldn't laugh about it, not even nervously. Therefore, I conclude that something else is happening.  I am reminded of CS Lewis's shock at hear soldiers  during the war say offhandedly that they thought they were being propagandised, and the sins of the Germans exaggerated.  They thought the rich were all lying to them anyway. Lewis wondered at this.  How could men go to die for a country they thought this corrupt?  I think he missed a bit of the understanding of people talking cynically like this. They are trying to show that they can't be fooled, that they can't be take in.  They see through it all.  Their cynicism is only at 1% this strength, but they fear to be seen as a fool.

Something similar is happening with my friends outside the door, and with hurting liberals in general after this election.  Anyone who really thought the KKK was taking over would be taking up arms. They actually only believe a milk-and-water version of this, whatever they say. They want to believe they've still got it right, and the good people around them agree with them. (As they were outside my door and speaking loudly, apparently my disguise is still working.)  They still vote as if they believed the extremity of bad things about their opponents, they still speak that way, and there is a part of them that thinks it might be true.

But not the part that controls their actions.  They don't move to Canada, they just laugh that it would be a cool idea.  They don't start organising groups of trained opposition, not most of them.

The infographic that has been making the rounds about the bias and complexity of news sources (can you imagine that Bethany of Graph Paper Diaries shared an infographic?) is interesting.  First the good points, and they are real.  I have seen liberals circulating this with some amazed and curious comments.  If the general idea that some of their sources are better than others, and conservative sources vary in complexity penetrates at all, I am very pleased. Most will fade back to their previous reading.  Yet if even a percentage get it...

Secondly, it is a good exercise for conservatives for similar reasons.  I disagree with the specifics, but the general idea that some sources need to be held at arm's length is a good one, and recognising that some sources that lean left are still valuable (I personally like The Atlantic) is important.  I opened back my FB follows a month after the election and unfollowed almost all of them again in 48 hours.

However, the specifics are wrong.  In an effort to make a tidy graphic, facts got butchered. The huge difficulty is assigning any semblance of neutrality to that line down the middle.  They are more balanced than HuffPo.  But they are about even with Fox (or sometimes worse), which is presented as a highly biased source.

Let me give evidence.  Today I went over to Volokh Conspiracy at the Washington Post.  First point, yes they do carry VC, and good on them.  They have George Will and some other more conservative columnists.  But let's look at the sidebar of "most read" articles that they would like me to click on. Whenever you go to a WaPo article you get these.  I consider them revelatory.

1. Ethics Experts warn that Trump is 'courting disaster.'
           Okay, let's imagine the headline "Ethics experts warn that Obama is 'courting disaster.' Now or in 2008 or whenever.  What brand publication on the right of the infographic would publish that? NRO and Instapundit would not be that vague with the emotive term 'ethics experts.' We're talking Drudge, Breitbart, Red State here.

2. Trump is Threatening To Wreck Our Democracy.  Blame the Republicans Who Are Looking The Other Way. 
           Okay, " Obama is Threatening To Wreck Our Democracy.  Blame the Democrats who are looking the other way." That fevered "wreck our democracy" stuff only comes off the conservative clickbait sites.  Fox doesn't touch that stuff, never mind the top-of-the-chart complex ones. So the Opinion page of WaPo has some elements reminiscent of The Blaze. Great. Though to be fair, The Blaze doesn't carry anyone like a George Will of the left.

3. 'Real America' is its own bubble. 
           So compare to 'Elitist America' is its own bubble.  This one is better.  It clearly shows that WaPo slants left, but you might certainly see that second headline in a more complex conservative source like NRO, Commentary, The Federalist - as well as the clickbait sites. Biased, but not necesarily nasty.

So for openers from these three, WP leans left and sometimes even wanders into unsavory clickbait headlines.

4.  Review of Rogue One - exempt from this discussion

5. If We Had Taken 'Gamergate' Seriously, We Might Not Have Had 'Pizzagate'  
              If we took…idk, Trayvon Martin?, Sarah Palin? Black Lives Matter? Blue Lives Matter? Who’s what here?  That one is too much of a “huh?’ for me to reverse accurately.  Are they saying if we censored or punished people on the internet then conspiracy theories will be stopped in their tracks?  This has a clear left bias, in picking up the SJW fave of Gamergate and tacking it too the outrage du jour of Pizzagate, but I can't make an equivalent because I'm not quite sure what they're saying.

I'm betting those other sources down the center strip - NYT, NPR, AP, Reuters, etc - don't fare any better when you stack them up

I will repeat one of my general observations:  The rhetoric of the mainstream left is the same as the rhetoric of the fringe right.

Monday, December 12, 2016

The Ruin of Mankind

Grim just linked to a Vox article on Donald Trump's financial conflicts-of-interest.  I didn't read it, but I can easily see how they would be Legion. Yet Grim points out an odd paradox - as conflicts-of-interest increase, they might tend to nullify each other. (Note also how this mirrors foreign policy - helping anyone in the ME inconveniences two other friends.  Or international charity - giving food puts local agriculture out of business. Tradeoffs, all is tradeoffs.)

But how like Vox to focus only on money as a possible hidden motive.  The entire literature of mankind is taken up with humans who are evil for other reasons, or good men who are tempted and fall for other reasons. Status, power, honor, admiration, security, revenge, romance, adventure, lust - these are the stuff of our myths.  Is there a Greek drama focused on money?  Does any villain of Shakespeare court damnation because of cash?  Even a stereotype like Shylock has other things happening. The Arthurian legends and the Siegfried legends have reference to gold as a motivator, a synechdoche for wealth.  And yet these are not merely greed, for the beauty of gold and its timelessness are also in play.

Chaucer makes fun of the greedy, and Moliere not only wrote "The Miser*" but had other such characters, all comic.  Dickens had evil/humorous moneygrubbers. Does anyone think Darth Vader could be bought?

Is there a tragedy in literature built around simple greed?  The apostles tried to pin that on Judas, but closer examination makes him more complex. There must be one, but I am not thinking of any. Speaking of the Biblical testimony, BTW, the insistence that the love of money is the root of all evil is one reason I am not quite a literalist. Expositors try to find ways to make that so, but it just isn't. Paul is making a poor generalisation here, as the love of money is not the only temptation.  (See Commandments, Ten.)

I invite readers to think through their own reading.  Isn't this focus on the greedy as the main villains much more common in the modern era?

*Anecdote:  William and Mary performed "The Miser" my freshman year. (As an aside, Glennie Wade, now Glenn Close, played Frosine.) The actor playing Harpagon mixed up a line in rehearsal, saying "That man is trying to steal my daughter and seduce my money!"  After we all did a double-take and laughed, the director told him to keep it in, assuring him that Moliere would have preferred it had he thought of it.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Baby, It's Cold Outside

If you aren't familiar with the song, the lyrics are here.

I've never much liked the song, especially as it gets put into the Christmas rotation on radio just because of coldness.  I am one who never liked Santa songs, nostalgia songs, or winter songs mixing in with actual Christmas Carols, but I have made my peace with that, because I want to share Christmas celebrations with others. But this one is pretty far afield even by Holiday Song standards. It's a seduction song.

Yet I had to find it ridiculous that some couple from Minnesota tried to rewrite the lyrics in a fashion which emphasises consent.  If you sent your children to Christian schools or ever got stuck with bad Sunday-School curricula you've seen this sort of lyric: strained, didactic, prissy. Let's work Jesus into this popular song somewhere. Yeah the kids will think that's the bee's knees, Grandma.* Let's work female empowerment into this song.  Woman, O-o-oh Wo-o-oman.  Have you got FREEDOM on your mind?  (Maybe you have to be a baby boomer to see how lame that was.)

The whole mess did kick off some interesting thoughts for me, though. When people were trying to guess song-titles at the department Christmas party, one of the young women was trying that lyric on the initials to see if they fit.  It was that evening I saw the story about the bowdlerisation, and so forwarded it to her and commented when I brought sample puzzles the next day.  Her office-mate, a nice young woman who has a bit of SJW in her, said "It's a little rapey." Well, yes but no.  Yet even beyond the intrusion into Christmas there is something I didn't like about it.

Terms of endearment are strongly cultural, but I have never liked "baby," and referring to a woman as if Beautiful is her nickname, rather than saying she is beautiful just rubs me wrong. So for reasons that likely go back to mid-20th C class associations I'm already not liking this guy. He's a manipulative jerk.  A snake.  On the other hand, she's getting a lot of chances to just say no, but she's throwing out lame excuses instead. The attitude in my era was "No! means No, but 'No, because...' means Maybe." The more she talked about it, the more she want to be talked out of it. BTW, the reference to "what's in this drink?" in its era could only mean alcohol, not some date-rape drug. (If there were any chance it had meant the latter, it wasn't getting onto "The Ed Sullivan Show."  Trust me on this.) This looks a little different to us now, in an era when full disclosure is expected. But not entirely different.  As with the manipulative statements and weak protests above, the boundaries were fuzzy, but there were boundaries. Blasting a woman with large amounts of disguised alcohol was low, and probably criminal, even though everyone knew that prosecution was going to be difficult. You'd cut a friend off forever for that.  But spiking drinks just a little was not universally regarded as unfair.  Women were taught to be alert for the possibility.  In my own circle, encouraging a woman to have more alcohol was acceptable, but any sort of trickery was not.  It was just out.

It wasn't class in the financial sense, as the guys I knew who regarded treating secret alcohol with women this way tended to be richer, if anything.  Hell, it's Dean Martin singing the song, right? Yet there was some class distinction of "decent men don't do this." So taking one thing with another, rapey isn't the right word, but it's not crazy. 

*Not to say that it can never be done.  "Pharaoh, Pharaoh" is fun. But that's a complete rewrite, not a doctoring of a few words.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Boston Pops

We went to the Boston Pops, joined by the Metropolitan Chorale tonight, and they have a marvelous arrangement of "The Twelve Days of Christmas" which includes numerous musical jokes.  You can find that here.

I was surprised at how many of the vocal arrangements were SAB instead of SATB, with the bass line being carried by the cellos (or sometimes the double bass).


It's an ill-defined term I have gotten tired of reading, especially from conservatives.

Friday, December 09, 2016


Like a lot of conservatives, I am not deeply impressed by Trump's post-election actions, but I am heartened by how absolutely insane and irrational his opponents have gotten. Three people with voices rising and necks tightening today angry at "Trump supporters who couldn't see it coming that Donald was going to appoint people from Goldman Sachs."  All three are Hillary/Obama supporters and it never once occurred to them that they were in far deeper.

We may not get good political changes or financial changes.  But we may get good cultural changes.  Crazy people doubling down is seldom a good cultural dominance strategy. Everyone is laughing at Trump for being so ridiculous as to respond to an SNL parody.  I think they don't get what is happening.  They are right, of course.  A president should not stoop to engage that. (It is somewhat similar but still different when Obama or Hillary engage in SNL humor. Double standard, sure, but still, being humorous, even unfairly, is not the same as complaining about humor). And his complaint that it's just not a good imitation and it's not that funny sound lame and petty.

But that will stick.  Late night TV is losing viewers, and the erosion of even a single narrow demographic that says "screw it" with sink some shows.  SNL will hold out longest, but you watch - 18 months from now their numbers will be down as well.  They think they have entered a target-rich environment with a president easy to make fun of. But it's going to be the same ten* jokes repeated endlessly, and the line "that's not really all that funny" will creep into more and more heads.

It occurred to me while commenting elsewhere that Trump is not going to change even if his base abandons him, as other politicians would. So the counter-Trump Democratic plans that seek to turn voters away from him are going to completely miss the point. The only thing that will happen is that the people opposed to him will become even more opposed, more shrill, more crazy, more angry at all those other stupid people who just don't get it.  

Jon Stewart is saying some interesting things that neither his critics nor his audience expected, and no one is interested in what Stephen Colbert is saying anymore.  Who's next, John Oliver?  Cultural change is coming, but I don't know where it goes.

*Make that five jokes.

Other Christians

I am in one of those phases when other Christians are puzzling me.  A work friend, a wonderful woman of around 60 who I have known for years said.  "We're doing a study on The Secret Place Of The Most High."  I thought it must be a new book or audio series.  She has always been "into prophecy," and those works often have odd titles like that.  But no, she and her evening Bible study at church are studying that topic. "Aren't you interested in knowing what the secret place of the most high is?"

Well, frankly, no.  It seems to be a poetic statement that means more in its original context than here.  Looking it up, it is sometimes synonymous with "shelter" or "hiding place."  Lovely stuff, really.  I can buy into that image of God as shelterer, rescuer, protector.  I have sought that myself at times, especially in dark hours.  But that's it.  I don't see it as meaning anything more.  I wonder if the word "secret" suggests that you are going to learn a secret about God that most people don't know. I mistrust such things.  They often go hand-in-hand with a fascination with prophecy in the sense of interpreting world events.  They smack of gnosticism, an unhealthy trend.

The small group that I am in has chosen to study - well, I won't name the writer.  But it's a sort of evangelical mysticism about knowing the will of God that claims to be entirely biblical but just seems like cliches to me.  I see all around me that lots of Christians like this approach.  Very nice people, very sincere.  But they seem to be speaking a language about knowing God that only they understand. Being skeptical, I always think "if this method were so much better, wouldn't this crew just stand out in the churches as the great saints who bore much fruit? Wouldn't even a 1% increase in God-contact just blow everyone else out of the water, to those who had eyes to see?"  Yet it is not so.

I will risk a judgement that is probably unfair to many, even if there is some truth in it in a general way. They seem to evangelise well for mysticism, to others who also like this sort of Presence of God focus.  The people who like this approach see those who articulate their love for it as very inspiring saints.  But that's not the same thing as evangelising for the faith as received, or understanding Jesus. Mysticism has an honored tradition in church history (though I will note, not much in the New Testament), including some who bore much fruit. It may simply be my lack that I don't get it, a flaw of fear or intellectualisation or something. But I've been at this for a while and I have to say I don't see more fruit - and maybe less. Plus, I can at least imagine that it chases some seekers away who don't see any Jesus in it or can't relate.  Can we talk about whether we lose more than we gain with this?  But the complaint that worries me most is that it is simply a waste of time.

I read up on how Jesus prayed, and I think attempts to equate his actions with Quiet Time or being "present" with God are forced. His approach to knowing the will of the Father isn't quite the same - not the same words, not the same focus.  They are accurate enough that you might not notice that they are only half-truths. Yet I think they are.

Full Disclosure:  Whenever we get even close to that sort of God as Reverie I think of the book Hinds Feet On High Places, an appalling book that was popular when I first became a Christian. Listening to people enthuse about it almost pushed me away into some back row of the church, so I can perhaps too-easily imagine someone walking out the door altogether.  I see it still has 5 stars averaged over 1,000 reviews at Amazon.  There is a type of Christian who clearly loves this stuff.  I'm just not one of them, and I don't understand those who do. I am also deeply suspicious of their absolute assurance that they are on the right track, and if they have not yet obtained, it is because they haven't done enough of this. Nothing seems to cause them to wonder if they might have it wrong.

You know how that last worries me.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Harder List

One of my dreams is to be that guy in the nursing home who, when the church youth group comes around to carol and asks if I have any favorites, requests "Once In Royal David's City," just to watch them blanch.  The answers to the first batch are coming up shortly.

Answers to this batch, now here

26.  CROAOFJFNAYN_______________________________________________________
27.  IBTLALLC_____________________________________________________________
28.  OLTOBHSWSTL________________________________________________________ 
29.  SBRAYLITLSIG_________________________________________________________
30.  RATCT_________________________________________________________________
31.  IBHFC_________________________________________________________________
32.  WWYAMCWWYAMC___________________________________________________
33.  IHTBOCD______________________________________________________________
34.  FTSWAJHS_____________________________________________________________
35.  JOSNLYETW___________________________________________________________
36.  GKWLOOTFOS_________________________________________________________
37.  UOTHRPOJGOSC_______________________________________________________
38.  GRYMGLNYD__________________________________________________________
39.  IHABCWY______________________________________________________________
40.  CICTGIGF_____________________________________________________________
41.  IDWALFC______________________________________________________________
42.  HWCA-W______________________________________________________________
43.  ITMWTOTY____________________________________________________________
44.  CSBSDIHS______________________________________________________________
45.  HTHASGTTNK_________________________________________________________
46.  OTWOIF_______________________________________________________________
47.  AIAMNCFAB___________________________________________________________
48.  AWHHOHSSOTP________________________________________________________
49.  ITBMFWMM___________________________________________________________
50.  OCOCE________________________________________________________________
51.  STNWTTLL____________________________________________________________
52.  ISTSCSIOCDOCD_______________________________________________________
53.  AFTROGWYFOATE_____________________________________________________