Monday, August 27, 2012

Gentlemen Lift The Seat

Most of us have seen this comment--or at least heard it said, if you are a male. IMHO, good manners also requires those who raise the seat to lower it before leaving--at least, in a facility shared with women. A famous story has Winston Churchill admonishing the Foreign Office, saying: "In this dispatch you have used every cliche known to the English language, except 'God is love' and 'Please adjust your dress before leaving." I have been observing different customs about the lid that typically fits over the toilet seat. In my family, this lid is only closed when the toilet bowl is used as a place on which to sit. (I often sit there when I am using my electric shaver.) After a flush, it is our practice to leave the lid up. Others close the lid after use of the facility. We have a different practice when there is a water shortage, increasingly frequent in California. When we have no visitors (durinng the day as well as overnight) we don't routinely flush after urination, we just lower the lid. This little ditty describes our system: "Yellow is mellow, but brown goes down".

Monday, August 20, 2012


Sometimes adult males can behave like stupid children. There is a "tradition" in baseball that if a player is plunked (deliberately or accidentally) it is the duty of the pitcher on the other side to retaliate, by deliberately throwing a ball at one of the members of the team responsible for the first "hit by pitcher". Of course, such thrown balls may permanently injure the player receiving one. I recently read of an egregious case. The team at bat had already placed runners at first and second base. No sensible pitcher would deliberately hit another batter, because that would load the bases, and make it much more likely that the batting team would score at least one run. The fact that this was obviously an accidental "HBP" didn't make any difference. The stupid tradition had to be followed, so that the next time the team that had caused the accidental hit came up to bat, one of the players had a ball deliberately thrown at his ribs. Sometimes the result of such retaliatory action is that the offending pitcher will be fined, hardly causing a blip on his bloated salary. In my opinion, the person who should be heavily fined is the manager of the retaliating team, who not only permits but often encourages such infantile behavior. Perhaps the only way to end this childish practice is to deduct one or more victories from the offending team's winning column.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Second thoughts

I have been working to edit and update some of my earlier blogs. One in particular caught my eye. It was called "Polyphony - and dissonance - in church". What I wrote was acurate as to my personal feelings, but in poor taste to share with anyone else. I mentioned three of my fellow parishoners - not by name, but that's not the point. Two of those people are evidently suffering from mental problems. My aural discomfort pales into pathetic insignifigance compared to the problems they are having. I regret my own insensitivity.

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Second Amendment

I find the Gun Lobby's distortion of the Second Amendment's original purpose one of the most damaging aspects of our country's history. Two centuries ago, when there could well have been a need for a militia, it made good sense that citizens had the right to "bear arms". To use this to justify AK 47s and the like is shameful. Many conservative jurists believe that we should consider the intent of the framers of our laws when interpreting them. This mantra is trotted out every time a court uses a "stretched" interpretation to accomplish the purpose intended by Congress. For once, I do look for a narrow interpretation. I believe that the second amendment justifies the possession of pistols and muskets by our citizenry, just in case we ever do need to call out a militia. The right to "bear arms" should not of itself permit the firing of pistols and muskets, of course, unless the user is serving in a the time. I see no justification for rifles, revolvers, or automatic weapons of any sort. Come on, you conservative justices, sitting for life on the benches of the highest court in the land! Be true to the intent of the framers of the second amendment! Muskets and pistols only, please!