Monday, January 24, 2005

Mild chuckle

Fortunes you would not want to get from a cookie:

1) You will soon need the services of a good lawyer.
2) Avoid carbs. (Hope you didn't already eat me!)
3) The person who shared this cookie with you got the bigger half.
4) Help! I'm trapped in a fortune cookie factory!
5) Oh... Dear.
6) People dislike you for reasons other than your personality.
7) Your constitution is not well suited for Chinese food.
8) Copyright 1987

For anyone expecting a higher caliber of joke: Sorry! I am very busy!

Friday, January 07, 2005

What is Bioethics?

For anyone who is curious, here are some links describing what bioethics is all about:

Bioethics at Penn
President's Council on Bioethics

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

This is what I have to live with...

Last night Bill and I were joking around and he said I've become much less gullible since the days when I bought things that were "as seen on TV". I said "what are you talking about?" He said, "well that topsy-tail thing". And I said "first of all, it's not a topsy-tail, and second of all, I used it just this morning when I wanted to keep my hair dry while taking a shower. Then he listed other stuff that I had to "defend". Then finally, he said, "and that do-it-yourself lobotomy kit"! I was like "huh?" and he says "don't tell me you forgot?!!"


Anyway, in other news, I am going to be taking a course at Penn starting next week in Bioethics. I am very excited about this, but it's going to be a lot of work. Also, Bill just got a big promotion about a month or two ago (which involves extra time at work with no subsequent pay raise - arg). So it's going to be a busy spring. I am trying to figure out how I'm going to get it all done. Aside from work, I have

a) Small Group Ministry facilitation
b) Teaching 8th grade Sunday School
c) (maybe) Teaching OWL for 4th-6th grade over a 6-week period
d) Updating the web site for our fellowship
e) Pastoral care commitments (nursing home visits, etc.)
f) Household chores
g) Coursework
h) Spending time with Callista (guess I had to throw that one in...)

Oh, was I supposed to spend time with Bill too? We had some interesting jokes about that which I will refrain from posting on my blog, but you can probably get the idea...

Saturday, January 01, 2005


Ooo! I still have time to write another entry!

I guess I have to say I'm a fan of Anime. I don't ususally think of myself that way. Bill is REALLY into it, so when I compare myself to him, I'm relatively uninterested. But there are some series that I really appreciate, not only because they are good stories, but because they're refreshingly different.

A few that I really like:

Azumanga daioh
The Slayers (especially the character Lina Inverse)
Spirited Away (and other stuff by the same director like Totoro and Castle in the Sky)

And while these 4 stories (and characters) are extremely different from each other, they all have something in common that I really like: the main characters are women/girls, they are all well-rounded characters and they all have more important goals than pining after a man. (In Azumanga daioh, there's only one distinct male character, and most of the time, everyone is trying to get away from him because he's creepy and perverted.) In "The Slayers", the main character is a type I have never seen a woman play in any American movie or T.V. show. She's tough, not really "good", not particularly "sexee", but very quick-witted/street smart and wins the day every time.

I don't think of Anime as some kind of bastion of feminism. First, there is big-time sexual objectification of women and girls (though I haven't yet decided if it's worse or the same as most Western stuff). Second, the series that I highlighted here are a few among tons of different series (talking about Anime as a genre is like talking about Hollywood film as a genre). Third, I have occasional "sexism-detector" type issues even with my "favorites".

On the other hand, there are aspects that are nice just because they're different, from a feminist perspective in particular. I remember a discussion on the Ms. Boards where some people were suggesting that powerful or independent or "wild" women in movies (or Western stories generally) are always cut down to size in SOME way. Even, when you think about it, in movies like "Thelma and Louise" or "The Piano". In fact, in the midst of that discussion, no one could think of any movie where a woman was both independent and powerful (or gained independence in the course of events) and did not a) become romantically attached to a male main character (with the distinct sense of losing her independence), b) die tragically, c) have a comeuppance of some sort, or d) act as a sort-of side character with little real significance.

"The Slayers" series in particular turns this pattern on it's head. And I loved watching that. It made a difference for me, even as an adult, watching a silly show, to see myself and my own possibilities differently. It's almost like having a nutritional deficiency of a particular vitamin and then being presented with a food that's mostly junky but just so happens to also have that nutrient your body really needs. And the shows I mentioned are also quite enjoyable in and of themselves, not just feminist soap-boxes.

A Chance to Blog

OK - it's finally a quiet New Year's Day morning. We let Callista stay up really late so now she's sleeping in. So I can... blog!

I do have a bunch of things I've been wanting to put up here. First being some "UU Absolutions" that I wrote. Apparently, in the back of the UU Hymnal, there are Confessionals (a sort-of prayer where you admit you've done wrong), but no Absolutions (in Christianity, this is where you are assured of God's grace and the fact that Jesus died for your sins). The challenge in such a piece of writing is to have it be spiritual but not specifically God-based, and yet possibly be meaningful to someone who's world view is God-based. Also to not be completely wishy-washy and meaningless. Bonus points for making reference to the natural world. So with that in mind, I had a creative burst of energy (or maybe it was a muse) and came up with a few. I won't argue that these are brilliant. But probably blog-worthy.


1) No matter what we have done, no matter how terrible an act we have committed, we can always make the choice here & now for the good. We can turn our souls away from darkness and towards the light. Today's right action may seem like very little when compared to our past failures, or to the failures of the world around us. But the choice of one tiny raindrop in a gigantic thundercloud is part of the universal choice that ends a long and painful drought. This kind of choice is the essence of humanity's salvation.

2) Let us learn to accept our own flaws, so that we may find a way to accept the flawed nature of others. Let us not give up on ourselves or on humanity; let us cling to the hope of a better path, a wider vision, and a truly open circle of love and acceptance for all creation. Let us believe it to be possible.

3) My will is smaller than the web of life; my will is smaller even than its impact on my being. My will cannot change the past, nor can it alone transform the cosmos. My will is weak; I am often a mere channel for what comes to me, passing on to others that which was passed on to me. There is no blame for the smallness of my will: it is simply the truth. But my will is not nothing. Through my will I can, in even one small action, open wider the channels of kindness and love. Through my will I can choose to hold back the flow of hurt and pain. This is my opportunity at every moment.