You are currently browsing the monthly archive for February 2018.

As long as lawmakers and courts insist that what James Madison had in mind with the Second Amendment was unlimited weaponry for the likes of Nikolas Cruz and Adam Lanza, we’re going to have to hit the gun lobby and its pals in the pocketbook. Some of the scummiest of those pals are the people who use the airwaves and internet to claim that these killings are hoaxes.

I’m happy to note that some of the worst sites generating and promoting fake stories–Gateway Pundit and InfoWars, for example–have no actual advertisers. Gateway Pundit advertises one religious pamphlet by the site owner’s twin brother, and InfoWars sells a brain supplement (hold the jokes, please) and a toothpaste, fluoride free, of course, that seem to be manufactured by InfoWars. Breitbart appears to have no remaining advertisers. But some other sites do get advertising money from actual companies. So I took a few minutes today to breathe deeply, overcome my nausea, and tell these companies what I think about that.

——————————————————————————————————————————-

(NOTE: Earlier, I had the wrong e-mail address here; it was the support address for a company that distributes Berkey Water systems, and is not in charge of advertising decisions. The below address is the manufacturer’s.)

To: Customerservice@berkeywater.com

To the chief executive of Berkey Water Filter Systems:

I was appalled to read articles on NaturalNews.com promoting the idea that the survivors of the mass shooting in Parkland, FL, are actors and that the entire event is a fake staged by gun reform advocates. Accusing traumatized, injured and murdered children of fakery is about as low as public so-called debate gets.

I notice that you advertise there, and I hope you will immediately withdraw your ads and stop supporting this revolting site with your money. I am posting this letter on my blog and will post your reply there when I receive it.

Sincerely,
———————————————————————————————————————————-
To the directors of Food Rising:

I was appalled to read articles on NaturalNews.com promoting the idea that the survivors of the mass shooting in Parkland, FL, last week, are actors and that the entire event is a fake staged by gun reform advocates. Accusing traumatized, injured and murdered children of fakery is about as low as public so-called debate gets.

I notice that you advertise there, and I guess your partnership with the author, Mike Adams (the “Health Ranger”), is very close since he engineered your grow boxes. Maybe you are a one-person operation and he is it, for all I know. If that is not the case, and you are in fact dedicated to food innovation, I hope you will immediately withdraw your ads from NaturalNews.com and stop supporting this revolting site with your money.

I am posting this letter on my blog, sermonsinstones.com, and will post your reply there when I receive it.

Sincerely,
———————————————————————————————————————————-
To the owners of Zeta Clear,
The website therightwingextremist.wordpress.com specializes in “articles” such as the claim that the slaughter of schoolchildren in Newtown, CT, was a fake. Apparently it is not horrible enough to make such a claim, and add to the unimaginable suffering of the parents and other loved ones of these children, so the author prints one child’s name over and over with the ridiculous assertion that his death was a hoax, simply because a Pakistani mourner of the children killed in Peshawar, Pakistan, expressed solidarity by posting his photo alongside those of some of the Peshawar victims. Simple explanations have no effect on the cruelty and willful obtuseness of “The Right Wing Extremist.”

I notice that you are his sole advertiser. I hope you will immediately withdraw your ads and stop supporting this revolting site with your money. Accusing traumatized, injured and murdered children of fakery is about as low as public so-called debate gets.

You claim you will respond to phone calls and e-mails, but you don’t actually post an e-mail address. So I am calling you and also posting this letter on my blog, sermonsinstones.com, and will post your reply there when I receive it.

Sincerely,

Advertisements

I don’t want to become another bullet journal user who blogs about bullet journaling, but the same sorts of questions about “bujo” (as it is mercifully abbreviated) keep popping up among my friends, and in case anyone is interested, I thought I’d put my take on them somewhere less ephemeral than a Facebook post. The moral of this post is: do your own thing.

For the basics on bullet journaling, I refer you to Google, though with a pinch of salt, because there are some “explanations” out there that I found confusing, including the originator’s. Here’s what I’ve culled, taking what works for me and leaving what doesn’t.

The actual bullet idea, with its potential complex key of “done,” “delegated,” “events,” tasks,” etc., leaves me cold. Yes, I need a list of the things I need to do, and some direction to myself indicating when to do them and whether they are done; that’s easily done with an empty square for to-dos, an arrow for “moved to a future date,” and a checkmark for “done,” for the most part. The hardest thing about any organizational system, for me, is keeping up the daily discipline of looking at my previous to-do lists and dealing with every single item: forwarding it to another day, delegating it, deleting it, whatever. No system will do that for you, if you, dear organizationally-challenged friend, share this difficulty. It just has to be done. I find a handwritten list less intimidating than an electronic one, for whatever reason, so “bujo” has that in its favor.

The big “ahas” for me are the index and the all-in-one-book approach. The index I see in most bullet journal sites, oddly, is not an index: it is a table of contents, arranged by page number, not alphabetically. This is more than a quibble over correct terminology. The book is already organized by page order (and if the journal doesn’t come with page numbers, I add them, several at a time in a down moment). What I really want is an index: a couple of pages at the end of my book (or the beginning, whatever), in which I can go to “B” and immediately find out which pages will have “Board agendas,” or to “S” for “sermon notes,” or “J” for “journal.” I don’t get the point of a table of contents, but if it works for you, hey, go for it.

The beauty of the index is that it makes a notebook encompassing a jumble of different things workable. After years of carrying a journal and a planner and a sketchbook and having lots of miscellaneous stuff like “song list for CD for friend’s baby” stuck in the back section of one or the other of them, the bullet journal approach of all-in-one was a revelation. I already tended to put my sermon notes in my journal. Such is the seamless nature of my minister mind, in which an interesting idea I’ve been pondering morphs into the sermon for that service five weeks from now. I felt obscurely wrong about this, but it was (to use an overused term) an organic development out of the way I think, so I kept doing it. Bujo just patted me on the back and said, “Right, there’s no reason to have separate books for those two things, and lots of reasons to have just one.” Thanks to the index, I can actually sort out the journal pages from the sermon jottings, if I ever need to. The same with all those lists. Shopping. Gift ideas. Tracking habits. Lists of 100. Everything.

. . . Well, not everything. I plan weekly and daily in my bullet journal, but I keep an electronic calendar; I have a lot of repeating events, and our administrative assistant schedules some of my appointments, so a cloud-based calendar works best for me. When I make my weekly, handwritten plan, I consult the online calendar, and in addition to writing out my schedule for the week, I note “MITs” (Most Important Tasks) and other items I’d like to do/buy/remember on the page for that week. Some things that I track, I track elsewhere, because there’s a good system for them elsewhere: water and exercise on Fitbit, books on Goodreads (though I certainly keep a list of things to read in my bullet journal, because it’s quick and easy to write them the moment I think of them, whereas it’s cumbersome to open my phone, open Goodreads, and add them there; I transfer them now and then using a desktop computer). And I carry a separate sketchbook. I seldom feel a need to combine my drawing-life and writing-life, and I’m picky about paper for both of them, which have very different paper needs. But I know some people’s bullet journals are also their sketchbooks.

Speaking of paper needs, here’s what to consider for your journal. We all have different preferences. Just think about:

  • size (small enough to carry easily, big enough for comfortable writing)
  • binding (something that doesn’t fall apart and that you find comfortable; for example, despite the advantages of spirals, I don’t like the way they dig into my writing hand for half of the pages, so I never buy them)
  • marking (lined, plain, grid, dot)
  • opacity, which matters if you like gel pens, fountain pens, and markers.

. . . Which I do. And that’s something else I like about the bujo craze: the permission to get arty with my to-do list. Silly, right? Why do I need permission? But like the mixing of journal and work writing, I had a “shouldn’t” in my head that bujo kindly kicked out: I “shouldn’t” “waste” time drawing or doing fancy lettering. Why the heck not? For some people, layouts like these are intimidating, but for me, they’re inviting. A little time spent color-coding my daily list, or delineating sections of the week’s plan with washi tape, or writing the header of my “dreaded list of lots of little things” in a horror-movie-poster font, is my lure to do the planning. It’s fun. And it helps make me want to look at my journal, which is half the battle each day.

Answer: The number of days after InfoWars host Alex Jones published his “final statement” asserting that the killings at Sandy Hook were a hoax (11/18/16) that Donald Trump appeared on Jones’s show to praise his “amazing reputation” and promise him, “I will not let you down” (12/2/16).

Each year for the season of Lent, since 2011, I have undertaken three spiritual practices: one subtractive, one additive, and one giving.

This year, as I have done a few times before, I will subtract social media: no Facebook or Twitter. (I’m not cool enough for Instagram, so nothing to give up there.) It’s good for my soul.

For the additive practice, I’m participating in #UULent’s photo-a-day practice. This is in direct contradiction of my subtractive practice, since I’ve proposed to my congregation that we post our photos on the congregation’s Facebook site–sharing a spiritual practice really helps it stick. However, I think it’s in the spirit of my social-media fast if I do nothing on Facebook other than post my photos and look at others’. I’m also encouraging folks to post selected photos (only their own) on the bulletin board between rooms 9 & 10 at UUCPA. When I did this (spottily) a couple of years ago, Barb Greve was someone I knew mostly by reputation and occasionally running into him at installations or ordinations, but currently, we are working together at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto, so using a resource he created is extra special.

Last year I did art every day, and I would love to do it again, but along with the daily photo it seems too much. I’ll see.

And I always choose a cause to which to give money, and this year it was easy to choose: Black Lives of UU. The UUA has committed to raising $5.3 million for BLUU, and individual contributions are part of that work, so this is my mite. You can contribute yours at the BLUU website. I am excited, occasionally even hopeful, about the UUA’s renewed commitment to shift us away from the dominance of white culture and help us shake off the effects of white supremacy, and it will take thousands of us to realize this commitment.

My friend Dan Schatz teased me about my tiny little strike against procrastination, but darn it, it works. I have stuck with it and gradually added two other habits. One is taking something downstairs whenever I go, since most of our living space is upstairs and there’s always something: compost for the bin, a jacket to hang in the closet by the front door, books we’ve finished reading. I adopted this from the nurses’ rule, related by Ian McEwan in Atonement, of never walking down the ward empty-handed; there’s always something to dispose of or deliver.

The other is putting away my clothes and shoes, even my pajamas, whenever I change. I don’t always keep up 100%, but I haven’t had a great big accumulated pile of shed clothes to put away for a year or two now.

Next post: my version of bullet journaling. If I don’t watch out, this is going to turn into a Personal Organization blog, which would be a joke of cosmic proportions.

Enter your e-mail address to receive e-mail notifications of new posts on Sermons in Stones

Follow me on Twitter

Links I like

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: