Monthly Archives: October, 2010

Friday Fives

Can you guess I’m on a new “blog every few days” plan?

October 1: In the Museum

  1. What is the best painting you’ve ever seen in a museum or art gallery? I got to see Rembrandt’s Night Watch at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. That was especially cool because it’s huge–about ten feet tall!
  2. What was the most interesting display you’ve seen in a museum setting? I think it was at that same museum trip that we saw a photograph of a woman crouching over a toilet, smoking a cigarette. The photo was hung on the wall over a urine-colored, hard plastic toilet. It was odd.
  3. Have you ever been to a Children’s [sic] museum? If so have you been as a child and/or as an adult? If so did you find it more interesting as you were older? I don’t think I have. I remember going to a petting zoo near my grandma’s old house once, though.
  4. What is the most important thing you learned in a museum? I don’t know. Then again, I’m not sure what the most important thing I learned in school was, either.
  5. What is your most memorable trip to a museum? Well, it looks like that 7th grade trip to Amsterdam stuck with me pretty solidly!

October 8: Disney

  1. Have you ever dressed up as a Disney character? Come to think of it, no.
  2. What was your favorite Disney movie growing up? Like all 80’s babies, I loved The Little Mermaid, but I also liked Beauty and the Beast a lot.
  3. Which Disney character can you relate to the most? I think I liked Beauty and the Beast because I subconsciously identified with Belle. She liked to read.
  4. Have you ever been to a Disney theme park? I went to Disney World twice when I was little.
  5. When does someone become “too old” for Disney? I hope never!

October 22: The Friday Five (trippy…)

  1. Do you just do every week’s Friday Five or do you read other people’s entries as well? Back when I actually did them every Friday, I routinely read other people’s answers. I’m more likely to read them when they’re copied and pasted into the comment itself, but I only ever leave links. I’ve always thought that’s because I have to reformat the questions in order to display them properly on my blog, but now that I’m typing this out, I realize that they’d probably transition fine. LJ accepts HTML in comments. Hmm….
  2. If you do read, why; and if you don’t, why not? I just like reading things other people write. It makes my world feel a little smaller. (That’s a good thing.)
  3. How did you come to know about the Friday Five? I’ve been participating since back when it was its own site. I think I read someone else’s answers (ironically, I think they were posted in an LJ), and then I jumped on the bandwagon. It looks like I’ve been doing them (or trying to) since I started my blog in 2002. Yikes.
  4. How many Friday Fives have you done since you joined the communityBlogs didn’t really have categories and tags in 2002, so there’s no easy way to go about counting.
  5. What do you like most about The Friday Five? I like the opportunity to write about something completely unexpected. Sometimes I get to share things about myself I never would have thought to share. It’s not as organic as non-meme blogging, but it’s just as valid.

October 29: Ten Years Ago

First of all, I would like to note that I feel like a dinosaur because I was actually not a little kid ten years ago, so I have answers to these questions that do not involve, say, Barney.

  1. What were your three favorite songs ten years ago? Let’s see, I was fourteen and midway through the ninth grade. I definitely loved *NSync, but I think I was done with the Backstreet Boys. I had a brief obsession with Robyn. I think I thought she was much more popular stateside than she actually was. I liked anything Top 40 enough to get on the radio back then. There wasn’t nearly as much rock/pop and country crossover then. I did like a little Shania Twain, though.
  2. What songs or groups from ten years ago did you love then, but don’t like anymore? I won’t like: I still love *NSync. Other than that, I don’t think I listen to anything now that I did then.
  3. What songs from ten years ago did you love then, still love now, but haven’t heard in a long time? If I haven’t heard them, how am I supposed to identify them now? I have loved 80’s music pretty much forever, so I suppose a lot of 80’s songs would qualify.
  4. What songs or groups from ten years ago did you not like then, but do like now?
  5. How has your taste in music changed in the last ten years? I discovered Switchfoot as *NSync’s popularity died down. As a matter of fact, I wore my handmade “i like switchfoot.” shirt out to do errands today and chatted with the guys at the post office and the Chevy dealer about them. Fun times.

Oh, Come On, Now!

I encountered yet another grammatical heartbreak at work today while researching group flight rates.

"You're" instead of "Your"

“You’re” and “your” are not the same thing! If you made it past elementary school, you should know this. This from JetBlue makes me almost more upset than I am at Delta for delaying me several hours twice in the same month.

That is all.

Friday Five: Technology

Two posts in two days? Oh, my. This could be another temporary stint of regular blogging.

  1. Do people contact you on your cell or house phone more? I haven’t had a “house” phone since I left for college six years ago. I sometimes feel weird about only being able to give my cell phone number, but I have to remind myself that I still have the flexibility to not answer a call if it’s not a good time to talk. I get very few unsolicited calls, anyway.
  2. Do you call or e-mail your friends/family more? Neither. I communicate with my friends mostly through facebook, supplemented by phone calls, and in-person visits. I really only connect with family via phone calls; I email only my mom. When I have something to say to my friends in long form, I still write actual letters, the kind that need stamps.
  3. Does your cat/dog/bird/baby/stuffed animal have a livejournal/e-mail/myspace account? I don’t like pets, I don’t have kids, and I think I cut my stuffed animals down to about five. None of them have email because that’s just creepy.
  4. What do you think will replace the internet? I have no idea. Maybe nothing we can even conceive of yet. Think about it: we still have TV, which has been around forever and has managed to integrate itself with the Internet now. On the other hand, who ever though people would even want communicate from computer to computer?
  5. How do you feel about VHS’s not being made anymore? They were never all that awesome because they degraded so easily with repeated use. That said, I am also the proud owner of a dual-deck DVD/VHS player. Sometimes a girl just needs to watch Ghostwriter or Return to Oz.

A Call for the Serial Comma

I recently read Eats, Shoots & Leaves. I am reasonably sure that I have owned the book since I was an undergrad, but I didn’t get around to reading it until now because (a) English teachers have no time to read, and (b) it was on the top of a stack of books, which was convenient since I still lack bookshelves in my new apartment. Though it was very British and neither as informative nor hilarious as I’d hoped, it was a worthwhile read.

Just after I’d finished, a blog acquaintance of mine who is also named Lindsay posted about her social media grammar wars. Later that day, I reasoned that the serial comma is most certainly necessary.

serial comma needed for "Craig & Dean Phillips"!

When Philips, Craig, and Dean become just two people, you know you need the comma. I don’t care if they don’t use it officially. Neither does the movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit–but it ought to!

Americans on Religion

I would be remiss not to comment on the Pew Forum’s ubiquitous religious knowledge survey. First of all, I think it’s awesome that they put some of the questions online for those of us unlucky enough not to be called.

(That’s right; I said “unlucky.” Along with my unusual loves for grammar and paperwork comes a love of being surveyed. I am willing to give my opinions to anyone who asks for them, especially if there’s free stuff involved. I’ve considered joining a survey-taking website, but I have never actually done it.)

Considering my line of work, I was eager both to take the online survey and to read further into the full study. I am proud to report that I only got one question wrong. I get confused sometimes by which countries are predominantly Muslim, which are hugely Hindu, and which are split.

As I was reading the actual survey (PDF link), I was struck by two things. First, I was impressed at the Pew Forum’s method of asking religious knowledge questions interspersed with general knowledge questions to avoid surveying only people who are interested in religion. I did better than most of the sample because I work in religion; I have a professional interest in knowing about my own religion and others. Second, and rather more egocentrically, I realized that most people will simply walk away after seeing the headlines. Very few people will take the time to dig into the background information.

That means, of course, that very few people will note the oversampling done in the survey. Am I the only one who’s never heard of oversampling before? Basically, to avoid getting groups of people whose data is too statistically insignificant to report (which is what usually happens with atheists, agnostics, and Jews), you purposely interview more people from those groups. The Pew Forum called extra Jews, atheists, and agnostics. Hmm. You think any news writers worth their salt would at least mention that the survey gave extra attention to those groups even if they believed that such attention didn’t affect the conclusions. (I’m not totally convinced that it didn’t.) I also find it interesting that the Pew Forum did not oversample Muslims so that their data could be reported. Is that reflective of the popular tension regarding Muslims in America? Are atheists somehow more interesting to study?

Finally, I was surprised to note that most people in America believe restrictions on religion in public schools are tougher than they are. Again, I have a personal bias as a former public school student and as a former Catholic school teacher, but I still would have thought the public knew more than it did about “separation of church and state.” Of course you can talk about the Bible as literature! During my first year, I taught from the same textbook series I used in the ninth and tenth grades. (It was strangely empowering.) I knew I would have no problem teaching the Book of Ruth because I was in a Catholic school, but I noted in the back of my mind that it would be entirely appropriate for a public school because there’s so much to learn about ancient Jewish culture from the story of Ruth and Boaz. No unconstitutionality there.

Now, if we can just get people to stop thinking that President Obama is a Muslim, we can make some real progress.

Signs

Forget catching up. I hate doing it, even when it’s all the ZENIT posts about the Holy Father’s visit to the UK. I’m jumping right in on this one. (Maybe it’s time for an October resolution to blog more? Those always work out so well for me.)

At 5 p.m. Mass tonight, Fr. Jaime asked us if we remembered the fourth grade. I had to think for a second, but eventually I remembered that year, and living in Japan, and Mrs. Clark. Then, reading about God breathing the breath of life into Adam during the creation of man in Good News about Sex and Marriage just now, I thought back to our pageant. I don’t think we called it that, but that’s what it was. Maybe there were some skits, but it was mostly recitations of poetry. I had “The Creation,” by James Weldon Johnson. I don’t remember how it began [link added later], but it ended, “And God blew into him [Adam] the breath of life. And man became a living soul.” Very relevant to my reading.

Finally, I remembered the costume my mom made for me. I could tell that the speaker wasn’t God, and how would I have dressed up like Him anyway? We settled on a big white bed sheet, purchased for the occasion, and my mom sewed sleeves into it. It as very simple and very white. It only occurs to me now that what we’d dreamed up was a rough approximation of an alb. Even before I made my way back to God the first time, He was leaving signs for me.

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