What's on my mind.

30 April 2007

Courage vs. Cowardice vs. Inaction

Prepare yourself, it's a long one.
I read Shadowhelm's post about atheism and followed it to Atheist's Wager's. Just now I want to talk about what I felt I had to comment on and the response. (I'm surprised that I care enough about it to want to write this but I do. And this isn't really on topic of the original post, so I'll write it here). The comments (some line breaks removed):
Klej Society said...
...(First part removed because I don't think on topic for this post)...
-The Strength and Courage shown by our NY Firefighters and Police Officers
-The greater sense of Unity among Americans
-The Strengthening of Local Communities
-The Dedication to our fellow citizens shown by nearly all Americans at some level
And so you see that only from Disaster, Only from Pain and Suffering do things like Hope, Love, and Courage have any meaning.
For what would Love mean, if there was no Hatred? What would Courage mean, if there was no Cowardice? And what would Happiness mean, if there was no Pain and Suffering?
April 17, 2007 9:02 AM

Marciepooh said...
to kleg society:
Strength and courage are shown by firefighters, police officers, military personal, EMTs, and others EVERY DAY - they don't need a disaster.
Greater sense of unity? What America are you living in? That lasted about a week.
Strengthing[sic] local communities - eh, maybe, some. But why'd it take the deaths of so many?
Dedication to our fellow Americans? WTF is that?
The opposite of love is not hate it is indifference. The opposite of courage isn't cowardice but inaction. I'll give you the happiness one.

April 17, 2007 9:28 AM
Klej Society said...
Here's a direct quote you just made:
"Strength and courage are shown by firefighters, police officers, military personal, EMTs, and others EVERY DAY - they don't need a disaster"
So How then do they show courage? Because I'm pretty sure it takes a fire to have a firefighter show courage! But I guess that's just my idea.
And Yes the opposite of Love is hate and the opposite of Courage is cowardice, indifference and inaction are the middle grounds!
Love and Hate, Courage and Cowardice are extremes, and Indifference and inaction require neither of both parts,
April 17, 2007 12:54 PM

Maybe I spoke to quickly. Maybe I just wanted to be 'short and sweet' and, therefore, didn't fully explain exactly what I meant; I will now. I think Kleg Society and I were actually talking about slightly different things (and I pretty much knew that when I commented). I hoped that KS would think about love and courage in a different light. Don't think he did.

Love/hate/indifference - the first too require that one cares, indifference means you don't care.

If one is capable of caring enough to hate then one is capable of love. Love can exist without hate. Love can be experienced without having experienced hatred. Indifference is the lack of emotion about a person, idea, or situation. It can mean one doesn't know about it or that one knows enough to care but doesn't. Indifference is not the opposite emotion to love or hate, neither is it a middle ground. It is more like the third corner in the triangle.

Courage/cowardice/inaction - the first too require judgement on the part of the observer, inaction (or action), generally, doesn't imply judgement (one either moves or not). Yes, firefighters need a fire (or other emergency situation) to demonstrate their courage. But I think many individuals exhibit a quite courage, by simply showing up for work everyday. Firefighters, police officers, military personnel, and some others agree to go into dangerous situations. They are courageous whether it that courage is ever tested in a way you and I can see because they choose to put themselves in harms way for others. There is a luxury when one is only responsible for one's self; one can make courageous decisions because no one else depends on you. Actions can sometimes seem courageous or cowardly to an observer but we don't know everything that goes into making the decision. For example, a single mother will act in the best interest of her children, even when her children are not present. She may hide rather than confront a burglar, hand over her purse rather than fight, or not sign a petition to avoid putting her job at risk. No, inaction is not exactly the opposites of courage, but who am I to judge the actions of another.

An aside: Newborns know whether they are loved or not without knowing hatred. Newborns can "fail to thrive" if they are not held enough. If the the baby "thinks" the world is indifferent to him, he won't eat, grow, or ultimately live. As individuals, many of us would not have survived our infancy if we had been cared for indifferently. A caregiver doesn't have to hate a baby for her to give up, just not care.

P.S. - I'm not cut out for posting on controversial threads. I generally dislike book length comments (although understand if you feel strongly about a topic, just don't make it a habit). I also hate being misunderstood, sounding preachy, and being nit-picky (all things I get to do here!). AND my feelings get hurt way too easily. SO I guess I'll just keep reading and occasionally do a trackback.

Land of Milk and Honey (maybe)

I've now read a couple of things about Colony Collapse Disorder in bees. (hereand here) I think the Independent went a little overboard and forgot that correlation does not equal causation but I still have a couple of questions. Maybe you readers out there can help me out.

I guess I never thought about how crops get pollinated. Corn gets helped out by teenagers (who are taking the place of wind). I've hand fertilized a couple of bell peppers. But on the whole I just figured that the natural insect population took care of most of my fruits, nuts, and seed (and "vegetables" that are really fruits). From the articles I gather that there are large hives that are rented by farmers to come pollinate their crops? WOW! Is that right? How exactly does that work? Do bees not get disoriented when the hive gets moved like that?

Why honey bees? One article noted that honey bees are not native to North America. Do they mean the ones we use for honey production or are there no native honey producers? If so, why do so many crops rely on honey bees? Are there no native insects that would do as well (albeit without the fringe benefit of honey production)? All plants native to North America would have adapted to native pollinators here(although NA is a big place). I've got to tell you that I'm not sure I've every seen a honey bee in my yard but I have lots of other bees and wasps. My holly bushes will have a bumper crop this year (hopefully so will my garden!). The bugs I've got work out pretty well.

One interesting suggestion in a comment on the green-living blog I read was that part of the problem was lack of genetic diversity. I gathered that the honey bees are artificially inseminated and lack diversity. The commenter said her bees were wild pollinated and seemed to be doing better than some neighbors. If the industry is using AI, why are they not insuring genetic diversity? Dog breeders have learned but bee keepers haven't? (not sure that's the best analogy, but...) Or is the bee breeding industry just waking up to the problems of inbreeding? in that case, maybe they should read some history (Egyptian pharaohs or European noble families in the 19th century) or diseases and disorders common in pure breed dogs

Just a few questions.

Be kind to your 6-legged neighbors - they are your friends!

26 April 2007

Weekend Assignment #162

Weekend Assignment #162: Reincarnation is a fact and you are going to come back as some type of animal. What kind would you prefer and why?

Extra Credit: Do you think you have good Karma or bad? Do you believe in Karma?

I have to agree with John that coming back as a house cat would be pretty sweet. However, since the bonus question is about karma I will assume we are talking about Hindu/Buddhist type reincarnation and it is a cyclical thing (i.e. you keep coming back, hopefully, building better karma through good actions and moving closer to nirvana each time). In that case, as a cat you would have to do something to create good karma. This means you would have to like your humans or something else that would make the sweet life a little less sweet.

I think coming back as a butterfly would work out fairly well. Assuming you survived to hatch, you could be eaten as a caterpillar (neutral to good for the karma). Assuming you survive the larval stage and pupal stage, as a butterfly, or pretty moth, by merely existing you can bring a smile to someone's* face (building good karma), fertilize flowers (good for karma?), and possibly feed a bird, spider, lizard, etc(neutral to good for karma). This is the easiest way I can think of to get closer to nirvana, just being pretty.

I don't really believe in karma (because I don't believe in this type of reincarnation) but I agree with John that what goes around, comes around. I try to be nice, polite, friendly because I want people to treat me that way. You can't expect people to be nice to you if you're always an SOB.

*Grammer note: should that be "some one's" face? Or is "someone's" correct?

Shoe size does not correlate with much...

...except height and hand size.

John Scalzi posted a photo on Whatever of himself with a bookstore owner(?), Duane Wilkins, from his first book tour stop. I don't think John gets asked about his high school basketball days. Although I bet Duane does.

The youngest of my brothers (standing 6'5") avoided playing basketball as an organized sport (but played at the house) because, Mom and I think, people assumed he played and was good. I'm not kidding strangers would ask him if he played b-ball and were surprised when he didn't. Just because someone is tall, they are not automatically good at basketball. Luckily tall girls aren't assumed to play. Even though I (5'11") was taller than most of our state championship team. People are weird.

John does have hobbity feet. Keep scrolling, the pics down...yeah, almost...There, see?

On a completely different note - Check out Kleeblatchen. I've long wished I was fluent in another language. I took German in high school and college, so that's the language I've continued to learn (a little bit). So, if you know German come on by and critique my grammar and vocabulary or just chat about the weather auf deutsch.

23 April 2007

We are Hokies

...but not Iraqis.

Last Tuesday, during a rundown of the headlines on Morning Edition, there was, of course, a headline about the shooting at VA Tech. There was also a headline about 30 Iraqis being killed in a car bombing in Baghdad.

I don't want to make light of the tragedy at VT or the loss that the families and friends of the victims but more Iraqis die every day due to equally senseless violence. (Does violence really ever make sense?) There are a lot of reasons we, as Americans, mourn more for those students than for the of Iraqis.

School shootings are rare. The students are "like" us. It was close to home. (I grew up in VA and have been to many of the towns and schools mentioned in memorial stories.) School shootings are random (or at least seem so). In contrast, car bombings and other IEDs attacks are common in Iraq; "they" aren't Americans (although I went to school with a number of Iraqis); Iraq is far away (and many Americans can't find it on a map); and the violence is part of a war.

Last Thursday I was on the Samford campus for their Earth Day. About noon there was a memorial held nearby for the VT victims. Where are the memorials for all those killed in Iraq, or Darfur, or who die for lack of clean water, who starve to death, who are killed in gang violence? No one holds mass memorials for these people because there are too many, too often.

It is easy to empathize with people we feel are "like" ourselves. Easy to become numb to the on going horrors and dwell on the new one. This is human nature. But we should aspire to more.

My heart goes out to all who are suffering loss, all who have been hurt, all who have been made afraid by the actions of another...but I can't afford to give much.

18 April 2007

Is it a boy or a girl?

Interesting post on Whatever, apparently John managed to write a sexless character. "Anyway, the answer to "What Sex is Sam Berlant?" is: Dunno."

I haven't read TAD yet but I gleaned a few things from the post: Sam is never referred to by a singular pronoun. It started accidentally and John continued because he realized he'd gotten that far without "discovering" the gender of the character or sexual orientation of Archie. It wasn't important to the story. Kinda cool that lots of people never noticed.

Just to warn you about ambiguous names, a couple of family stories -

Years ago, when my dad was young his father always called him Bobbie. (Don't know if Grandpa was Bob or Robert) When his sister, Roberta, got to high school she started going by Bobbie (uses Bert now!). Meanwhile, Dad has graduated and joined the Army. One evening my grandfather answers the phone and tells the young man that "no Bobbie isn't here. But hopefully he'll be able to hitch a ride home this weekend." The poor young man was undoubtedly very confused as to why his girlfriend(?) needed a weekend pass. And where was she that she was hitching a ride home? It all got sorted out eventually.

Much later, when I was a tall, gangling, not quite 8-yr old my brother decided that he was going to join the school orchestra and play the double bass. He was a rising 7th grader. Mom had contacted the orchestra director at the intermediate school and arranged to rent one of the school's basses for the summer, so Pat could start learning how to play. Not being old enough to be left alone, I had to ride along. When we got to the school Pat had something on his hands and Mom sent him to the bathroom to wash up. We went on into the band/orchestra room. Mom introduced herself. Mrs. Winder looked at me and with fear in voice asked "is this Pat?" Mom assured her that I was his younger sister and Pat would be right in. I remember she looked very relieved. I was tall for a rising 3rd grader but very short for a bass player (the school didn't have any 1/4 or 1/8 sized basses). Pat was plenty tall. (I got tall enough and switched from cello to bass in 8th grade.)

Almost forgot this one (yes, I posted then edited). I've eaten lunch with my little sister at school a few times. The kids have a lunch account (no bullies stealing lunch money!). When the lunch lady rings up the lunch the kid punches in their code and the appropriate amount is deducted. On the registers screen the child's name pops up "last, first" style. We have a long last name and only the first 4 letters of her first name show up. Those four letters spell a common boy's name. I don't know if the lunch ladies don't notice most of the time because they are moving so fast or if it happens whenever there is a new cashier but when I've gone through line with her the lady said "wrong number, dear." My sis puts her number in again. "No still wrong. What's your last name? I'll look up your code... Oh, that was the right number." Trust the 3rd grader who has punched in the same code almost every school day since kindergarten.

13 April 2007


Mimi Smartypants was writing about her experience on the bus the other day. A young mother didn't know what day her child was born because "he was born real late at night..." (Yeah, I'd have snickered to myself, too. Come on, it's like the second or third most obvious (and often asked) piece of information about your child. Sex, age/birthdate. That's what everybody asks.

But it reminded me that I did have two birthdays. Sort of, really not just multiple birthday parties in the same year. This is really Mom's story (I don't have a clear memory of all of this and wasn't present for some) but she's not here just now. You will have to deal my imperfect memory of family stories.

I was born premature and the docs spent a weekend trying to stop labor. (Yes, she was in labor for ~72 hours.) When Mom's body decided that I was going to go, no matter what, it was pretty late on Monday. But I liked it in there (warm, snugly, private - what could I ask for?). So they had to do a C-section . Mom was out cold. First cut wasn't big enough, so they cut the other direction. (She bears a literal cross for/from me.) Mom starts hemorrhaging; I'm losing blood; my lungs collapse.They wheel me out and transfer me to another hospital with a NICU and patch Mom up. An exciting time was had by all.

(Now the part I'm not sure I remember correctly but it makes a good story) By the time anyone got around to writing up a birth certificate it was well into the next day and that was the date written down. Dad knew when I was born because he got to see my wheeled by (I opened my eyes and looked at him and he knew I was a "keeper") and that was before midnight. Later my parents went to the court and got my birth certificate corrected. Because, damn it, I'm a Monday's child fair of face not a Tuesday's child full of grace. (Right!;)

Make a long story short - there could be a legitimate reason for confusion involving birthdate. But no reason it should still linger nearly two years later. And no, my mother's never reminded me of the long hours she was in labor or the cross she bears or tried to use them to make me feel guilty.(:o) I can't believe you would think that;)

10 April 2007

Monday Photo Shoot, Answers

Answer's to Monday's Photo Shoot:

1 - fern leaf fossil in clay, from a core (Pottsville formation (LPenn.), Black Warrior Basin, Brookwood, AL)

2 - conglomerate in a core (Pottsville Formation (LPenn.), Coosa coalfield)

3 - a band of garnets (reddish brown spots) in (primarily) quartz (Farmville Metagranite, Lee County AL)

4 - plastic rainbow slinky
5 - good 'ol fashion metal slinky
6 - the "grill" on my computer
7 - my sweater, which I was wearing because with our cold snap following the turning off of the heat in the building it is effin' cold in my office!

Monday Photo Shoot

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Get Close, Part III

This one's becoming a perennial favorite here for the Photo Shoot -- and as it happens the last time I did this theme was exactly a year ago. So let's do it again!

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Take a picture of something in extreme close-up -- so close it's hard to tell what you're looking at. Ask people to guess. On Thursday, reveal what you've photographed. The only catch: If you've done this before, no reusing old pictures. Get close to something new.

These are all things are found on my desk, admittedly it is not exactly the average desk. #5 is on a co-worker's desk down the hall. Know what they are? Leave me a comment.




Good luck and I'll let you know the answers Thursday afternoon!

06 April 2007

Online dating?

A friend sent me a link to a dating site for science geeks (and some others). She their ad that asked "Are you a free radical?". It actually looks like an OK site. I haven't given much thought to internet dating before. Beyond, I don't want Harmony.com to tell me that I don't match with anyone.

The bio-profile looks OK, but the thought of the 50 word "mini-profile" scares the shit out of me! Try to sum up "you" in an attractive way and suggesting what you're looking for in two lines - ain't easy!

I think part of this terror is because online dating (and meeting people in general) plays into all my insecurities. I'm not smart enough, not interesting, not articulate, not pretty, not funny, not sane enough; I listen to the wrong music, read the wrong books, watch the wrong TV shows; I'm too neurotic, too quiet, too sad, too lazy, too worried, too weird; I'm too me.

On of the reasons given for this site's existance is that many of "an intellectual bent" find it hard, after college, to find "that certain microbe." (I do love the metaphors (analogies?)) I didn't even feel like I fit-in in college, much less found a "microbe" to have a "sybiotic relationship" with. To be perfectly honest, that guy I wrote about a few posts back has been my only boyfreind. Mariah Carey may be able to count the guys she's slept with on one hand but I can count the guys I've dated (even once) on one hand.

Guys don't scare me. I'm usually more comfortable with guys than girls. I think, part of that is my lack of a social life since HS and being in a predominately male field - when I think of girls (women) I think of the girls I went to school with (mostly bitches - then again, we were teenagers). Another part of it is that I have 5 brothers (all older), one older sister, and a SIL for 26yrs. I only grew up with one brother around (the rest lived 500+ miles away). We hung out and played together all the time. Except for a couple of years when it was WAAAAY uncool to have his little sis around, and even then that mostly just meant he put on a show for his friends (not that it didn't hurt).

I kind of know/understand how the average guy thinks; with women I'm always worried about hidden agendas, fakie-ness and second guess eveything. I do that less with guys. The up shot of it all is I don't meet many people. Hard to get a date if one never meets new people.

A blog is like a therapist you don't pay!

05 April 2007

Weekend Assignment: Your Pen Name

Weekend Assignment #159: You've decided to become a writer under a pen name. What pen name do you choose? Because, after all, writers use pen names all the time -- sometimes to maintain anonymity, sometimes to start a new career when their writing career under their real name has crashed and burned, and sometimes just because they want a different name than the one they were born with. You can assume any of the reasons for taking up a pen name. (No fair using a name that's taken: Your pen name can't be "Steve King" or "Jonathan Grisham" or some such.)

Extra Credit: Using this Anagram Maker, share an amusing anagram of your name.

I've actually used Rose Archer and Archer Rose to post some really bad poetry (mostly haiku) at Poetry.com. I think the second sounds better. It's a combination of my middle name and my mother's maiden name. I used it to avoid embarrassment; also, my niece had some good stuff posted there (don't seem to be up anymore) and I didn't want family members looking for her poems to read mine. I only posted a couple of regular poems but I'd submit entries in to the haiku contest often - at least until I was out of school and no longer had access to the Internet all day long.

Anagrams of my name...hmmm...Good thing I can cheat. I'm lucky I have a total of 20 letters in whole name and a selection of vowels. I had lots of choices. Here are some favs:

RE: INCARCERATE MY MOLLS (don't ask why)
SIR MOLL, MERRY CETACEAN! (really, they should have a holiday)
I, ANCESTRALLY, COM EIRE, MR. (It's true, if missing a letter.)
CELERY - IT MORNS CARAMEL (caramel dipped celery...mmmm...)
TELL SORRY, MACRAME NICE! (as long as it's not an entire dress)
ARCANE CELERY RIM MOLTS (Have you been practicing, Harry?)
and my favorite

W/O my middle name, I liked this one (didn't read as many):

04 April 2007

Awesome Sister

Shout out to my sister - the Black Belt!!!!

Here she is wearing her new L2 black belt (no white stripe on this one, babe!), last night at Tae Kwon Do. She may be 8, but she can kick your ass.

03 April 2007

Spring Photos!

I'll get off my soap box for a few days. Something non-political.

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Blossoms and Blooms

The budding season of spring is bursting out all over the Scalzi Compound, and I expect in most other places, which has inspired what I think will be a cheerful Photo Shoot for us all:

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Take a snap of some of the latest blossoms and blooms near you. If for some reason it's still too chilly where you are, one, you my sympathy, and two, go ahead and use a picture from your archives. But everyone else should go out and take a fresh picture if they can. Let's see what spring looks like here in 2007.

Favorite so far:

Daffodils and forsythia are sure harbingers of Spring but it has been warm for some time down here in Alabama (getting some real spring-like weather right now) so we've had all kinds of blooms and blossoms. I've taken a bunch of picture. Check 'em all out here:
Spring photos

BTW, Digital photography - no worry about wasting film, no having to remember to take the film in (got some from 2 yrs ago), no paying for shots that look like crap,... LOVE IT! Best Christmas present to myself, EVER!

02 April 2007

Open Letter

I'm going to have this letter sent to a service man/woman but thought I'd post it as an open letter, too, so more people can read it. It's not very long.

Dear Soldier,

Thank you. Thank you for volunteering to serve our country. Thank you for all the sacrifices you make. Thank you for serving whenever and wherever called. Mostly just - thank you.

Please know that despite my misgivings about the war in Iraq, I support you and your comrades. Despite my disappointment at the actions of some individuals, I am proud of you and our military. America may be divided about the current war but it is (almost) unanimous in its support of military personnel.

You are all in my thoughts and I pray that you will come home safe and soon.

There is a lot more I could say but that pretty well sums it up.

Supporting the Troops

This Doonesbury is a prefect example of political rhetoric and how it can piss me off.