Sunday, June 29, 2008

Mercy Is Wasted on the Unremorseful

At dinner tonight, we played a few cards from a game called Table Topics. One of the questions to come up was, "Which is more important, justice or forgiveness?" My answer: it depends.

Why? Because sometimes, justice precludes forgiveness; and sometimes, forgiveness is justice.

An example: I knew a family once, shattered by the perfidy of someone in a position of trust. To this day, one member of that family thinks that another member of the family is "unforgiving" because of the grudge they bear the betrayer. I happen to disagree. The particular wolf in shepherd's clothing in question not only failed to show any regret for his actions, but as nearly as I can tell, has since moved on to even richer pastures for the plunder of innocents.

Asked for my opinion on the matter, I offered this: even God demands that we ask forgiveness, because even God understands that mercy is wasted on the unremorseful.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Campbells Holding Our Own

In terms of the frequency of our name, that is. If you go here, you'll find an interesting analysis of the shift in the demography of the US.

Step aside Moore and Taylor. Welcome Garcia and Rodriguez.

Smith remains the most common surname in the United States, according to a new analysis released yesterday by the Census Bureau. But for the first time, two Hispanic surnames — Garcia and Rodriguez — are among the top 10 most common in the nation, and Martinez nearly edged out Wilson for 10th place.

Campbell, I'm happy to say, climbed three spaces.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Who Said What

I had thought about titling that last post, "Hell Hath No Fury . . . " But upon looking up the quote, I learned, oddly enough, that it didn't originate where I thought. Even better, I found that a number of other "quotes" I thought I knew well, also didn't come from the sources I was accustomed to crediting for them. While I recognize that the internet overfloweth with bad information, and only at great risk should anyone consider it the last word on anything, I've found over the years that, with regard to matters other than political biographies, sites such as Wikipedia are generally fairly reliable.

I hope the same may be said of Wikiquote, from which the samples below come. With that in mind, and the caveat that I've not done the personal research to confirm the validity of even the examples I'll offer, here are some tidbits from a page dedicated to some of the most frequently misattributed and misquoted "quotes." When you have a little time to kill, you might peruse the page simply for the fun of it.

  • "Just the facts, Ma'am." Never actually uttered on Dragnet.
  • "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned." Not from Shakespeare.
  • "Only the dead have seen the end of war." Not from Plato.
Admittedly, many of the quotes listed on the page are not misattributed, but only "misquoted," in that they are paraphrases, capturing the meaning of the original, if not the exact wording. Still, it's an interesting page on which to kill a few minutes and learn a few things.

Half Carat Wedding Set - $350

I offer you this, from craigslist, as the funniest thing I've read in at least the last month, all the more so for knowing that it's true. You find it here, as the text for an ad under the same title as this post, offered by someone whom I really hope I never seriously piss off.

Soon to be ex-wife selling half carat diamond wedding/engagement set that had been custom designed years ago back when scum sucking bottom dwelling lying cheating duplicitious irrational spouse was putting on the dog and pony show of charm and good behavior. Buy this ring for your soon to be better half and put some good juju on it. I never want to see it again. Diamond has three occlusions in it (jewelry-speak for flecks o' carbon) and those pretty little baguettes that frame it. One baguette missing from some years ago (see picture. Note: must have had better sense to get lost early before all hell broke loose). Bands are fused together with little gold beading on the inside of the ring to keep it from rolling round and round that finger. Ring is size 5.5 but a jeweler can expand or shrink the band to fit the finger of your beloved. Contact me for serious inquiries only and CASH ONLY. Please do not waste my time as I am still in the anger phase of recovery. My soon to be ex-husband spent close to $2000 on this ring when he bought it unless he was lying about that, too. Appraisers told me it was worth $500.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

On "Doing More with Less"

The office is like a ship with a gaping hole in the hull, and I am like a fatalist crewmember. Recognizing that all the frenzied bailing in the world will not match the flow of water in, I have settled into a steady bailing, unconcerned really. I will step off onto a raft on 18 July (or straight into the water if I have no job yet), but either way, I will float or swim away from this institution that has systematically gutted its crews while simultaneously making it harder and harder for those left to get anything done. The peripheral demands on time, in the form of ancillary training, nitnoy paperwork (most of which is digital and hampered by user-unfriendly interfaces that someone convinced the govt would be more efficient) and network roadblocks masquerading as protections but which, in the end, eat up far more hours across the force than any hacker attack ever has or likely could. In terms of cost-benefit analysis, I remain convinced our own Information Assurance folks are our own worst enemies. Meanwhile, institutional denial is rampant. "These aren't the droids you're looking for."

It is a good time to retire.

". . . of their own volition, they stayed with the ship until the very end, steadfastly playing light, airy music to help keep passengers calm while the available lifeboats were loaded." (Source)

Friday, June 6, 2008

"Misogyny Is Like Jazz . . .

. . . women know it when they hear it." So says Daily Show correspondent Kristen Schaal, as she laments that, "The media treats Hillary Clinton like a Hooter's waitress."

If you don't understand satire (in all of which, there is more than a small element of truth), then for heaven's sake don't click on the video--you have no business watching anything from The Daily Show, ever.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Manageable Chaos

My posts have been erratic at best lately, but I have more excuses to choose from than any man needs. A friend asked today how things were at my end. Slightly edited, here's my response:

I think the best description of everything on my end is "manageable chaos." I have both my girls and all the animals (two dogs, one cat, one goldfish) until next Monday. My nearly ex is in California for the week.

So the youngest daughter and I ferried three animals from the other place to mine last night, with her balancing the goldfish bowl in her lap and me trying to keep the cat from pouncing onto the dashboard while the newfy looked to be in a trance in the back seat. I don't think she likes vehicular travel, which is good--if she paced, even the Jeep would rock from side to side. Gotta love that window-rattling bark though and the fact that you can feel the house shake when she runs to investigate something. Better than ADT.

Manageable chaos because each night requires a re-evaluation of the setting of curfews I can live with and my daughters not chafe at overmuch. And because the house is for sale (I may actually be praying for no showings this week). And because when I scheduled the husky's surgery, I hadn't expected to be stabling the horse for the week, so I have to find a way to keep the 100lb+ Clydesdale "puppy" from licking or tearing out the stitches on what I used to think of as a full-sized dog, but who now looks like a grey, black, & white Alfa Romeo (would have said MG, but can't imagine one in those colors) parked next to a black Hummer. And because each day brings my last day in uniform closer, so there are the constant tasks that accompany ending a marriage, ending a career (via self-service online outprocessing--I frequently wonder what would happen if I just refuse to do it all myself, but probably not something I'm going to try), starting a career, setting up the end-of-career hoopla, selling a house, setting up a web for a charity, and constantly harassing the bad guys.

Manageable chaos through most of which I wear a permanent smile which is both genuine and inexplicable. Not because I can't explain it, but because I choose not to. I keep thinking of that great moment in The Turning Point (the first movie I spent the money (which I had little of as a freshman cadet) to see more than once at the theater) where Leslie Brown, playing the daughter, responds to an invitation to discussion from Shirley MacLaine, playing the mom, with something like, "I don't want to spoil it." Spoil is the wrong word. It's simply that trying to describe or explain some things is an exercise in exploring the futility and limitations of language.

And manageable chaos because sleeping girls have no retention when you wake them to tell them anything, thus my daughter's panicked text ("Where is your dog?!") when she realized around lunchtime that the husky was missing. No recollection of my waking her this morning to ask whether she preferred the newfy inside or out ("Outside please.") because I was taking the husky in for surgery ("Okay. I love you. Have a nice day."). "I don't remember that at all." :-) I'm going to start carrying my digital recorder in my pocket. Besides, who knows when I'll have a great idea like "Feed mayonnaise to tuna fish." (See Night Shift, for that and other equally memorable moments, like Michael Keaton's explication of the word "prostitution". >-) Honestly folks, I only saw this movie once and long ago, I swear, but when you see a movie during a SAC alert tour, the best lines get lots of mileage in the ensuing days of pseudo-incarceration.)

And thanks to the wonder of YouTube, here's that explication of "prostitution" which I last saw in 1982. :-)

And better still, it's not the "Feed mayonnaise to tuna fish" scene, but you can get the idea:

Sunday, June 1, 2008

President Visits USAFA

I missed it because I was on leave to bring my daughter across the country from her first year in school. Then again, had it not been for that, I'd have taken leave to miss it. Ever since singing with the Merced Barbershop Chorus at a George Sr. campaign stop, back around 1988, I've been somewhat averse to any function with more than one or two guys walking around in suits and sunglasses and with their hands inside soft briefcases slung over their shoulders. I'm sure they just don't want to lose their place in the magazine they were reading before the event started, but that many dedicated readers in one place tends to make me nervous. Well-informed people tend to have strong opinions and if a fight breaks out about whether Southern Living or Cottage Living has the final say on eventually putting Shabby Chic to bed, I don't want to be caught in the middle of it.

But catching up on The Daily Show during my dinner tonight, I couldn't help but think maybe I'd missed something after all.