Sunday, February 27, 2005

More Useless Personality Quizzes

What book are you?

I am Ulysses. According to the site

"Most people are convinced that you don't make any sense, but
compared to what else you could say, what you're saying now makes tons of sense.
What people do understand about you is your vulgarity, which has convinced
people that you are at once brilliant and repugnant. Meanwhile you are content
to wander around aimlessly, taking in the sights and sounds of the city. What
you see is vast, almost limitless, and brings you additional fame. When no one
is looking, you dream of being a Greek folk hero."

Which Personality Disorder Do You Have?

Which Personality Disorder Do You Have?
brought to you by Quizilla

And as long as we're on the subject,
*I am a Meyers Brigg personality type INFJ (heavy on the I, but right in the middle of the F/T split, so that I might sometimes test INTJ or INXJ but I lean more to the F);
*my "What Poem Are You?" result was "Sonnet";
*my "What Kind of Pirate Are You?" result was "Captain";
*my "Are You Male or Female?" result was that they were either 85 or 87% certain I am male;
*my sun is in Scorpio, my rising sign is Gemini, my moon is in Virgo, I have a lot of stuff clumped in my 5th and 6th houses, and so on;
*I was born in the year of the Rooster (maybe being a natural-born Cock explains my "Are You Male or Female?" test result?);
*my birth name numerology comes up to an 11;
*my "colors" are Autumn;
*on "style" type tests I always either score tops in the romantic/poetic/ethnic/creative section (they call it different things in different tests) or tie that section with the "classic" section;
*I really like tart gum and lemon juice.

Mildly Cute

Father Sibley over at A Saintly Salmagundi called up the New Jersey SPCA to ask why they weren't starting a campaign against chocolate Easter bunnies, since surely ripping the heads off "live" bunnies promotes animal cruelty more than eating road kill candy. You know, I'd wondered the same thing myself when I heard about the complaints made by NJSPCA and others against Kraft's gummy Road Kill candy, but I didn't call. Good for him.

I also like his picture of Mary wielding a big stick.

Friday, February 25, 2005

"Why Pregnant Women Are Targeted", a story at ABC's site, ends with some advice :

But some experts say there is something women can do to protect themselves
from male assailants during pregnancy: At the very start, they should be wary of
the men they become intimate with. Controlling behavior should be seen as a
warning sign.

"Be careful about who you decide you're going to have children with. Be
careful about the person you decide to make long-term decisions with," Brown
[Pat Brown, the head of a criminal profiling agency] said. "Sometimes we, as
women, don't make the best decisions about the people we decide to have a child
with or rush into a relationship too quickly and get pregnant too quickly."

Finally someone has said it in public! Be careful who you get involved with. Don't fuck just anybody. Sex can have bad consequences as well as good. Think it over. If you have gotten involved with someone you shouldn't, break it off before there's a pregnancy.

I know there is a lot of other things I could comment on in that article--a lot of sad things about the way we think about pregnant women and babies in our society, the rise of selfishness, etc.--but I think this is important. Someone dared to suggest in public that maybe we shouldn't have sex with or marry just anybody who catches our fancy. This is radical thinking nowadays.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Prophets Up To Here

I'm currently working on a "Read the Bible In a Year" plan. (Why? There's large chunks of the Bible I've never read, I like learning, St. Jerome said ignorance of scriptures is ignorance of Christ, and, besides, scripture reading is indulgenced and I figure I need all the help I can get.) The reading for Lent is all the prophets except Isaiah, who gets read during Advent. I'm currently ahead of schedule. And thinking the prophets are truly penitential reading. Except for the enjoyable book of Daniel, it's just bitch, bitch, bitch all the time. A little of it goes a long way, so I'm not sure I'll do this plan again; I may make a point of reading some of the prophets during Lent in the future, but not all in one go again.

I may not have enjoyed his book, but I must say I feel some sympathy with Jeremiah. He doesn't sound as if he always (or ever?) wanted to be a prophet; while his complaining about Israel's faithlessness may get old, his complaints about his calling seem heartfelt. I especially like his comment about how he's sometimes told himself he would stop talking about God, only to be driven to it again by a burning inside. I understand that feeling. In my own experience it was thinking, not talking, but the frustration at not being able to simply drop it must be similar.

Kathleen Norris' book Cloister Walk has a bit about hearing Jeremiah read in a Benedictine monastery in the mornings. She says it really gets you going--better than caffeine. I liked the bit where she says something like, "monks aren't accustomed to hearing themselves compared to camels in heat, but they took it pretty well."

For Your Listening Pleasure and Edification

Being one of those multi-tasking female types, I like to listen to things while I'm on the computer. Often it's something from EWTN's audio resource pages (some people deride low-budget religious programming as "talking heads shows", but the good thing about talking heads shows is that an audio file of them doesn't leave anything out); sometimes it's music; and now it may be a public television lecture from WGBH in Boston. I only found their site a few days ago and have already listened to writers talking about P. G. Wodehouse, Emily Dickinson, and C. S. Lewis as well as a couple of other talks. So far I've only looked at the poetry and literature section but I'm optimistic about the contents of the other sections. One caveat: sound quality. I found one lecture with a bit of an echo--not too annoying--and one lecture that was barely listenable.

Thinkin' About Sex

The Curt Jester links to a short piece by Claire Barshied in Touchstone telling how Being Human, an anthology of literature released by the President's Council on Bioethics, led to her rethinking sex and contraception.

The Galway Kinnel poem Barshied mentions is a sweet one I remembered hearing years ago. It can be heard online here
(and possibly elsewhere.)

Friday, February 18, 2005

A Tribute to CeT

The New Pantagruel has an article about the now defunct magazine Caelum et Terra--a tribute of sorts.

I found Caelum et Terra's website during my conversion. I have a bit of a hippie-ish, earth mother aesthethic myself, so the Caelum et Terra folk don't seem strange to me. I responded to their beliefs in the importance of beauty and the need for religion--if it is to mean anything--to inform one's whole life and to suffuse the culture. There is a lot to think about in CeT's articles, whether you come to them with the same outlook I did or not.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Menstrual Leave

An Australian union is trying to get Toyota to give its female workers "menstrual leave"--twelve paid days of it a year.

Two points:

1.) If your periods are giving you so much pain you have to call in sick, you have a medical problem and need to see a doctor. And if you do not in fact have a medical problem and you are claiming you can't work through a little discomfort, then you are, in fact, a wuss and a whiner.

2.) WTF is going on? We've only just had an MIT professor have a highly publicized attack of the vapors when Harvard president Larry Summers suggested that maybe--just maybe--innate differences in the sexes may explain why there are fewer women at the top levels of science. Nancy Hopkins could hardly bear what she was hearing and had to leave lest she faint, and since then she has had to be apologized to again and again; whether Mr. Summers was required to bolster his apologies with flowers and chocolates remains unclear. What is clear is that here we have an MIT professor letting the world know that women (or one, at least) are too delicate to withstand an open airing of ideas and that in Australia we have another group saying women can't work while they're having their periods. What's next? Segregating men and women in the workplace so that no woman ever need be offended by an overlong glance in her direction by a man? What about paid hot flash leave? PMS leave? Or "my boss likes the other employees better than me and that makes me feel undervalued and ugly" leave? Give me a break.

Which Medieval Personality Type Are You?

It's probably a symptom of the modern infatuation of people with themselves, or maybe it's just a function of my INFJ personality type, but whatever the reason, I'm a sucker for personality quizzes. Here's a fun one:

I am a Melancholic. The description isn't exactly flattering, and I prefer to refrain from commenting on how accurate the description is. For wholly unrelated reasons, you understand.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

A Year Without TV

When my husband and I moved to this town (from a larger town and one we like much, much better) approximately a year and a week ago, we decided not to get cable here "until we catch up on our backlog of unwatched DVDs" or just "for a while". We still haven't. So except for the Simpsons Halloween special, which a friend brought over, and except for catching a few minutes of CNN here and there in public places and a ghastly three or so hours of Cartoon Network programming viewed (not necessarily heard) while waiting in an emergency room, I have seen no TV for over a year. And you know what? I haven't missed it. I wouldn't have minded seeing footage of some of the news stories this past year, but that was always so mild a feeling that it can't even be classified as regret.

Sound and Fury Signifying a Recommendation

While I was convalescing, I spent one afternoon curled into fetal position, watching a Macbeth DVD I picked up a while back. This DVD is the televised version of a Royal Shakespeare Company's production. It was directed by Trevor Nunn (who also directed what may be my favorite Shakespearean movie, his 1996 Twelfth Night) and features the talented Ian McKellen and Judi Dench.

This is the best Macbeth I've seen (that includes several filmed versions and one live performance.) The cinematography--if you can use that word for a TV production and not just for movies--is amazing. The film opens with a cinemagraphic bit that makes shadows look like a human eye; it is almost as if the viewers are being drawn into that eye (think "mind's eye", "eyes are the window of the soul".) Nunn chose to use black and white and make everything happen in a small circle so everything is close-up. Darkness surrounds the actors. All of this creates a feeling of near-claustrophobia. In other words, this is an intense film. And it works very well; the play is pretty intense to start with and Nunn's staging only emphasizes that. Costuming is simple and there are few props; there is nothing to take the viewer's focus away from the characters.

The acting is good across the board, but Dench deserves special mention. As Lady Macbeth, she has fewer lines to work with than McKellen (Macbeth) does, but she succeeds in conveying Lady Macbeth's degeneration very well. The sleepwalking scene might feel abrupt executed by a lesser actor (remember we see Lady Macbeth seemingly coping and attempting to help her husband at the banquet and her very next appearance is the sleepwalking scene), but Dench uses her face and movements throughout to convey her character's inner turmoil so well that the viewer has no trouble believing in her torment having led her to sleepwalk and compulsively relive the crimes she's participated in.

I plan to watch this one again.

I bought my copy at an actual real live store--I believe it was Reel Collections--but the DVD is available at Amazon:

"To have a right to do a thing... not at all the same as to be right in doing it." (Chesterton)

A new credit card aimed at poor people is released in the UK.,1456,1411444,00.html

"...the typical interest rate on the new Vanquis card will be 49.9%, but for
some customers the company judge as high risk, it will be 69.5%... The card also
has an annual fee of £19."

I favor capitalism as infinitely preferable to communism or socialism, and I think free markets are, generally speaking, a good idea. But moral people police themselves. And I can't help but regard the above as immoral.

Cue The Hello Dolly Theme

Auntie Suzanne has been sick, but is back now.