Saturday, February 07, 2004


Last night, with little planning, I managed to have a perfectly lovely dinner with Ole from Aperio here at the Westin in their Sports Bar. The waitress came over to ask how everything was -- both of said PERFECT so emphatically, I think we scared her -- but it was perfect. The big booths had a private TV where my kid could watch Sponge Bob Square Pants while we talked tech and the food was out of this world. Nachos, great salad with goat cheese, mahi-mahi and my secret favorite thing in the world that people who live in warm climates take for granted, but once the cool weather rolls in the Northeast disappears from the menu -- ICED TEA!!!

And did I mention ... it was my birthday and what a great birthday surprise to have dinner with this great new friend. Perfect ending to the perfect day.

San Diego

Got here. Just lovely, lovely, lovely. The view out my window at the Westin of San Diego Bay -- shiny bright blue water, battleships and sailboats, hacienda red tile roof houses and bleached white stucco apartments, palm trees with full heads of green hair.

And the warmth ... well, it was quite a day yesterday starting off in a blizzard on the runway in Boston watching them hose our plane down with slightly pink tinted de-icing liquid before we could escape the freezing breezes for this tropical paradise.

Friday, February 06, 2004

Anchors Aweigh

Words And Music: Capt. Alfred H. Miles U.S.N. and Charles A. Zimmerman (1907)

Anchors Aweigh, my boys, Anchors Aweigh.

Farewell to college joys, we sail at break of day-ay-ay-ay.

Through our last night on shore, drink to the foam,

Until we meet once more:

Here's wishing you a happy voyage home.

Stand, Navy, out to sea, Fight our battle cry;

We'll never change our course, So vicious foe steer shy-y-y-y.

Roll out the TNT, Anchors Aweigh.

Sail on to victory

And sink their bones to Davy Jones, hooray!

Stand Navy, down the field,

Sail set to the sky

We'll never change our course

So Army you steer shy-y-y-y

Roll up the score Navy

Anchors Aweigh

Sail, Navy, down the field,

And sink the Army, sink the Army gray.

Thursday, February 05, 2004


They can light the way.
They can look just right, right around sunset.
They can save you from a sinking feeling as night rolls in.
They can look lovely, after a lousy day.
They can make you look lovely.

They can be the perfect thing for a birthday party,
even an all-by-yourself quiet one.
Birthday candles, always just right.
And candles can make you make a wish.

Just Remembered

I had a dream I was drinking beer last night and it tasted so good.

Kick Back But Not For Long

I've been working so hard today and got two out of three deadlines hit, all before I leave tomorrow for San Diego. I somehow managed miraculously to pack yesterday -- THANK GOD -- and trying to pull together warm weather clothes (seriously buried in the closet) and sandals (wow!) and bathing suits on a winter's day was quite an exercise.

Now to run do about 15 errands, but at least I can get away from the screen for a while. My new eye is going to go on strike pretty soon, expected to work so hard, barely two weeks after surgery. Sorry eye guy. You've got a week hiding behind dark shades and sipping bright pink drinks coming up, so hang in there.

Something Fun

I want to blog something fun here. Be back soon to add it.

Wake-Up Call

I get the funny feeling there is a lot more that will happen between now and November 2004 and none of us has yet seen what this election will really be about.

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Gay Marriage At My CHURCH?

Massachusetts just ruled in favor of gay marriage and our church issued an "open and affirming" statement last year that the congregation supported in a nearly unanimous vote.

HOWEVER, what's it like when it happens in your back yard or your own church. Will we see a NIMBY backlash? Or should I say NIMC (Not In My Church!) backlash? I whispered to someone in the pew next to me, last year after the vote, "Do some of the older folks realize this means we'll be having same sex weddings in this very room?"

They may know sooner than later. I'm all in favor of it. It's a beautiful church and would be a great church for gay weddings.

Seitz Site

Just what the doctor ordered. So it ends up that Bill Seitz started a site -- actually a wiki -- exactly like I was wishing for below in my post about a Candidate "Cheat Sheet". Check it out. We could all add updates to it and create a very useful tool. Thanks Bill.

Other Smarties

Speaking of Clay Shirky being too smart, here's another list of smarties.

Dean Redux

I've been so damned busy and haven't had a chance to respond to Clay's excellent piece about Exiting DeanSpace, nor to David Weinberger's take on it (and many others' thoughtful responses) Clay's too smart, we need to stomp on his oyxgen tube, starve his brain a little so the rest of us bloggers can take a day off now and then.

I actually do more than sit around here eating bon-bons. I've been finishing up a few projects before I head to San Diego for the O'Reilly Conference.

I'll be back to talk about all this and about a bucking bronco I've been witnessing. This is going to be some helluva political summer. Can't wait to read the tea leaves for you.

BTW, I'll be working a Dean booth on Venice Beach this weekend. Hope to see you there.

The Culture of Male Narcissism At Work

Zuboff in FastCompany this month has a lot to say about how we ended up culturally East of Eden, I mean East of Enron.

Cheat Sheet

Dave points out the excellent table on CNN with JUST THE FACTS, M'AM from the yesterday's primary results. When political blogging and political journalism can be fact-based like this, then you're looking at something valuable. I need "cheat sheets" to help me cram for "the exam" -- voting. The web is made for this. I want journalists to provide this kind of information for the public -- set up a page for each candidate with bullet points on

-- Health Care
-- War
-- Economy
-- Education
-- Women's Issues
-- Gay Issues
-- Senior's Issues
-- Minority Issues

and pack it full of information. It would be especially useful for it to have quotes and links with DATES to public statements candidates have made about a given issue, and then another link to a contradictory statement they made more recently. Sidebars with voting records, etc. That would be good information.

I'm sick of all the horse race reporting. It's not about that.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004


So when do we really get the election results -- really late I guess with the Western states.

Elizabeth Hurley

Thinking of E women today. What's Elizabeth Hurley been up to I wonder.

Ellen DeGeneres

Isn't she great? Just the best and a good lesson in career ups and downs, as she is currently WAY UP.

Edith Piaf

Been listening to Edith Piaf in the car lately. If you don't know about her, start here. She was one of the most passionate French "chanteuses" -- torch singers -- the world has ever known. She shares the same attitude as the verses I blogged last Sunday -- 1st Corinthians 13 -- without love, you have nothing.

La vie, l'amour

Paroles: Michel Rivgauche. Musique: Robert Chauvigny 1960

La vie, la vie ça se trouve
Dans l'amour.
L'amour, l'amour ça se perd
Dans la vie.
La vie, la vie ça se donne
Par l'amour.
L'amour, l'amour ça se prend
Par envie.
La vie, la vie ça rêve
A l'amour.
L'amour, l'amour s'éveille
A la vie,
Car la vie, mais c'est l'amour.

Oui la vie, c'est l'amour
Et l'amour, c'est la vie.
Pas de vie, sans amour.
Pas d'amour, sans la vie.
Notre vie pour l'amour,
Notre amour pour la vie.
Mon amour, tu es ma vie.

La vie, la vie ça chante
Dans l'amour.
L'amour, l'amour ça crie
Dans la vie.
La vie, la vie nous donne
Tout l'amour.
L'amour, l'amour nous prend
Toute la vie.
La vie, la vie ça meurt
Pour l'amour.
L'amour, l'amour ça vit
Pour la vie.
C'est l'amour
Et c'est la vie...

Freedom FROM Religion

Tom Wolfe was on the CSPAN BookTV program on Sunday, talking about Mark Twain at the Mark Twain House Museum. During the Q & A period he talked about the era we are currently living in. He called it the Era of Freedom From Religion.

As is his style, he had a slightly irreverant tone and flippant attitude, but what he said made enormous sense. He started off by describing how America was founded by our forefathers seeking freedom of religion and freedom from the monarchy of Britain, then went on to talk about Freedom from Want under FDR, with some other stops along the way I missed and then came to the notion that in the last 20 years or so, the social fabric of the US is stretching a great deal and we are not in an Era of Freedom FROM Religion (read: religious guilt).

The notion is that church and your mother used to make you feel guilty when you broke moral barriers; i.e., if you stole something, you were fearful of your mother's (or father's) wrath and censure, so you didn't do that. As an adult in that same vein, the church could shame you into "good behavior" and you would not go around coveting your neighbor's wife or other sinful things which your neighbors might consider amoral.

He said that we are leaving behind the era of religion having a moral hold on most Americans. In 1970 he said an astronaut was given the right to go into outer space if he was divorced and BEFORE this, he was not. He went into a totally hysterical description of trophy wives and how now it's not only permissible -- to be a successful older Alpha Male who dumps his wife of 20 odd years for a babe -- but practically de rigeur and that the only real social discomfort it creates is the time it takes to find out how the new wife spells her name -- suggesting that girls with names such as Brittany may spell it as many as ten different ways and you must get it right and scribble it in your address book where the old wife contact information had once resided.

I think (and he did not make this connection) it's absolutely true that this Bush White House (witness this flap about Janet Jackson's breast, much less Ashbrook's weird bare breast covering activities) is all about trying to fight this freedom from religious morality and reinstate an antiquated notion of marriage, feminine virtue and all things "good" of course by THEIR definition. They find themselves in a Dantesque Hell of going to war with religious fundamentalists out-moralizing their endless moralizing. They deserve it. Ironically, Bush and his relgious right and the Moslem fundamentalists are more in alignment on religious issues than they might want to admit. Do we need their bosom burqua? Do we need their narrow view of marriage? Do we need their old time religion? I don't think so.

Talk About Exciting!

Rumor has it Joe Trippi may be at the O'Reilly Conference in San Diego! How terrific! I hope it happens -- I think he's amazing. And I'm wild about his wife Cathy too, hope she comes!

Last Night

I got a chance to do a reading of some of my "Alpha Male" pieces last night at a coffee bar called CopaCafe in Lexington. I do like reading aloud, although it can be semi-terrifying at times. No matter how well I know the piece, and I know my own writing fairly well, I have to make an effort to calm my nerves, read much more slowly than seems humanly possible (and even then there's a chance people will tell me I was racing along ... it's so unusual how that time warp exists when you're doing public speaking) and force myself to pause for people to take things in and the most annoying thing (of course, I love it secretly) not keep going when people laugh. The first time I ever read aloud and someone laughed, I found it so disarming. It was like being in a forest with animals making scary noises all of a sudden. I almost never expect people to laugh at things I write, even very funny things, as no one laughs when I read the stuff to myself in my own head and therefore I never really expect it.

John Irving was one of my professors in college and I used to hear him read his stuff quite a lot. He taught me a ton about reading aloud and he was top notch. He was a great fan of Dickens who did many public readings -- very entertaining ones from what audiences of the day reported -- and knew it as an art form different from writing fiction and more akin to theatre. Irving really knew how to pause and let people walk along with him, keeping a good pace in his reading. Pausing and stopping are so dramatic and important. Mark Twain was an amazing public speaker too. I heard Tom Wolfe talking about that this weekend on CSPAN and want to blog about it in more detail soon.

It was a fun evening. Thanks to all for coming out to listen to me. It was great to see you. Also thanks to all the other writers on the program, even more of a treat for me to hear all your great stuff.

Weinberger On Social Software

I was being a little flippant yesterday when I blogged that "David's wondering if he's hot or not" when he wrote this piece. Later I read the same piece on the grey and black and Harvardian crimson-colored Corante and had a different feeling -- as if this was a more serious venue and I should take his words more seriously there. So David, liked your essay very much and didn't mean to sound dismissive. When I go to Joho, I expect some joking, you know like "ho ho jo ho!"

Chopsticks Even For Ice Cream

I like Eric Gower's essay on why he likes chopsticks even for ice cream here. My son, being half Chinese, is getting hooked on non-stop chopsticks too and we have these insane competitions where we try to pickup un-pick-upable items with chopsticks and he usually wins.

He likes to steal my very tall cooking chopsticks (about double the length of regular dinner chopsticks) and do tricks with them, but I don't like him taking my kitchen tools, especially those and we get into a bit of a fight when he does that. My kitchen tools are HANDS OFF!

Read This

So is Meetup social software? I guess it is. And after saying software doesn't change anything in the post below, I will say Meetup has been there to support an emerging social networking experience, where it has provided an unobtrusive infrastructure to allow for that.

Meetup knows its place. It plays a background role to whatever people have in mind to meet about FIRST, similarly to Ebay playing a support role to people trading their junk and jewels. It is a servant to a social urge.

It has had a profound effect in political terms. Read this.

[Disclosure: I know several people who work at Meetup and know an advisory board member there. I've attended Meetup's for the Dean campaign.]

Dean And Social Software

Most of you have probably already read this great piece by Clay Shirky on Dean's Campaign. I think Clay makes an important distinction between the movement and the campaign.

In the same way, talking about Dean's third-place showing in terms of 'momentum' and 'character' the P/E and EBITDA of campaigns, may miss the point. Dean did poorly because not enough people voted for him, and the usual explanations -- potential voters changed their minds because of his character or whatever; seem inadequate to explain the Iowa results. What I wonder is whether Dean has accidentally created a movement (where what counts is believing) instead of a campaign (where what counts is voting.)

And (if that's true) I wonder if his use of social software helped create that problem.
The power of this "movement" back to democracy is something I referred to here as well in This Is Not A Political Campaign. I agree that Dean AND JOE TRIPPI in particular, tapped into a powerful desire of many disenfranchised voters to reconnect with democracy -- social movement yes, but I don't agree that social software was as big a player in the game as some might think.

Removing Joe Trippi from the Dean camp was all about that realignment -- away from "the movement" and back to "a campaign". It was a fearless 360 degree turn and it remains to be seen if Dean can decouple from that runaway freight train of democracy and ride the rails to a simple nomination as the leading Democratic nominee. I hate to rain on any social software parade, but I think the operative word of the two is SOCIAL, not SOFTWARE. When you think software is the important part of any radical change in the way people live -- no matter how exquisite and elegant that software may be -- you're focusing on the wrong story.

I often found the Dean campaign software a bit complicated in places. Call me crazy, but if it were willing to step behind the scenes and assume it's subordinate place in the story, that is, simple software simply facilitating social connection, it might prove even more valuable to the Dean campaign.

The mistake the Dean Campaign isn't making anymore is thinking software saves the world. People save the world and software can help people do that.

Effective Political Blogging

I'm looking forward to the panel I'll be sharing with Doc and Mitch and Cameron in San Diego at the Emerging Democracy Teach-In. Here's a bit of a schpiel about it.
Blogging is the voice of the revolution. Unscripted, bottom up -- blogging lets people on the ground tell their own stories -- while syndication technology gives wide readership and lets news and insights bubble up to the top. This session will teach participants the essentials of successful blogging. What works. What doesn't. How to track the conversation flow and measure the impact of your own contributions using tools like Feedster, Technorati, Blogdex and Daypop.
As for metrics and measuring and tools, I hope to leave some of that stuff to the men to discuss. I've got another angle entirely. See you there!

Monday, February 02, 2004

Last Laugh

You have to figure there's no one laughing harder than P. Diddy, Nelly and Kid Rock -- finding out they are are GOOD BOYS this morning and Justin Timberlake is the BAD BOY with the Feds chasing his white ass! Well, go figure.

David, You're So Hot!

I think David Weinberger is worrying about whether he's hot or not again. Now, David! It's not the way you wear your hat or sip your tea, it's the way you think!

Thanks Eric

I stand corrected -- yes, yes, JUSTIN Timberlake, not Jason, don't know WHERE I got that?!

Fleshbot Restores Janet's Missing Modesty

Leave it to Fleshbot to point us to the quickly Photoshoped pix of Janet Jackson, her breast nicely repurposed.

Kid's Jello

Great party last night and my favorite quirky thing was little containers of kid's red jello for dessert for grown-ups (among about 50 other desserts). I made deviled eggs and potatoe skins with cheddar and bacon.

Monday Morning

It is Monday. It is February. It is hard to wake up after last night's Superbowl.

Sunday, February 01, 2004


In case you were wondering about the Superbowl ads and what they cost and how many people were watching, check out the link. And in case you were wondering which ones I liked -- I only remember the Charmin ad which was funny as shit.

Bush Orders Justin and Brittney To Wed

President Bush signed into law today the Timberlake-Spears bill, which requires the two stars to wed within 48 hours to spare the nation any more unusual sexual highjinks. "I think these young people need to set a new moral tone for the nation, before they suffer a total Sodom and Gomorrah-like meltdown," the President said from the Oval Office. He has made the White House available to them for the wedding with the President himself serving as best man and Laura Bush undertaking the responsibilities of Brittney's maid of honor. "They are giving our daughters very bad ideas," Laura admitted.

Justin Can't You Wait Until The Post-Bowl Party?!

I once heard Janet Jackson on Oprah go into a long, drawn-out speech about why she liked nipple rings so much, I guess Justin likes them too.
"The two singers were performing a flirtatious duet to end the halftime show, and at the song's finish, Timberlake reached across Jackson's leather gladiator outfit and pulled off the covering to her right breast.

The network quickly cut away from the shot, and did not mention the incident on the air.

It was unclear whether Timberlake intended to expose Jackson's breast. "
Don't worry, Justin, we know how you feel. There's just something about a gladiator outfit. I've always been rather keen on tearing off Russell Crowe's, given half a chance.

Wow! We Won!

Vinatieri rocks! And as for the breast-baring incident ... funny part was only the WOMEN at the party I attended actually saw it! And the guys didn't believe it when we told them all about it! Bad time to leave the room for more potato skins!


Go Patriots! I know I blogged about seeing them come home in victory a year or two back and freezing to death in the process. Let me go see if I can find that link. Aha, here it is.


My new friend Rod is a damned fine cook and lets me in on some great recipes. I saw this via Joi Ito's site and then a link to Chanpon and thought you might like it Rod. The Breakaway Japanese Kitchen looks really delicious.

Love In Latin -- 1 Corinthians 13

si linguis hominum loquar et angelorum caritatem autem non habeam factus sum velut aes sonans aut cymbalum tinniens
et si habuero prophetiam et noverim mysteria omnia et omnem scientiam et habuero omnem fidem ita ut montes transferam caritatem autem non habuero nihil sum
et si distribuero in cibos pauperum omnes facultates meas et si tradidero corpus meum ut ardeam caritatem autem non habuero nihil mihi prodest
caritas patiens est benigna est caritas non aemulatur non agit perperam non inflatur
non est ambitiosa non quaerit quae sua sunt non inritatur non cogitat malum
non gaudet super iniquitatem congaudet autem veritati
omnia suffert omnia credit omnia sperat omnia sustinet
caritas numquam excidit sive prophetiae evacuabuntur sive linguae cessabunt sive scientia destruetur
ex parte enim cognoscimus et ex parte prophetamus
cum autem venerit quod perfectum est evacuabitur quod ex parte est
cum essem parvulus loquebar ut parvulus sapiebam ut parvulus cogitabam ut parvulus quando factus sum vir evacuavi quae erant parvuli
videmus nunc per speculum in enigmate tunc autem facie ad faciem nunc cognosco ex parte tunc autem cognoscam sicut et cognitus sum
nunc autem manet fides spes caritas tria haec maior autem his est caritas

La preeminencia del amor -- 1 Corintios 13

Si yo hablase lenguas humanas y angélicas, y no tengo amor, vengo a ser como metal que resuena, o címbalo que retiñe.
Y si tuviese profecía, y entendiese todos los misterios y toda ciencia, y si tuviese toda la fe, de tal manera que trasladase los montes,
y no tengo amor, nada soy.
Y si repartiese todos mis bienes para dar de comer a los pobres, y si entregase mi cuerpo para ser quemado, y no tengo amor, de nada me sirve.
El amor es sufrido, es benigno; el amor no tiene envidia, el amor no es jactancioso, no se envanece;
no hace nada indebido, no busca lo suyo, no se irrita, no guarda rencor;
no se goza de la injusticia, mas se goza de la verdad.
Todo lo sufre, todo lo cree, todo lo espera, todo lo soporta.
El amor nunca deja de ser; pero las profecías se acabarán, y cesarán las lenguas, y la ciencia acabará. 9 Porque en parte conocemos, y en parte profetizamos;
mas cuando venga lo perfecto, entonces lo que es en parte se acabará.
Cuando yo era niño, hablaba como niño, pensaba como niño, juzgaba como niño; mas cuando ya fui hombre, dejé lo que era de niño.
Ahora vemos por espejo, oscuramente; mas entonces veremos cara a cara. Ahora conozco en parte; pero entonces conoceré como fui conocido.
Y ahora permanecen la fe, la esperanza y el amor, estos tres; pero el mayor de ellos es el amor.

La Charite -- 1 Corinthiens 13

Quand je parlerais les langues des hommes et des anges, si je n'ai pas la charité, je suis un airain qui résonne, ou une cymbale qui retentit.
Et quand j'aurais le don de prophétie, la science de tous les mystères et toute la connaissance, quand j'aurais même toute la foi jusqu'à transporter des montagnes, si je n'ai pas la charité, je ne suis rien.
Et quand je distribuerais tous mes biens pour la nourriture des pauvres, quand je livrerais même mon corps pour être brûlé, si je n'ai pas la charité, cela ne me sert de rien.
La charité est patiente, elle est pleine de bonté; la charité n'est point envieuse; la charité ne se vante point, elle ne s'enfle point d'orgueil,
elle ne fait rien de malhonnête, elle ne cherche point son intérêt, elle ne s'irrite point, elle ne soupçonne point le mal,
elle ne se réjouit point de l'injustice, mais elle se réjouit de la vérité;
elle excuse tout, elle croit tout, elle espère tout, elle supporte tout.
La charité ne périt jamais. Les prophéties prendront fin, les langues cesseront, la connaissance disparaîtra.
Car nous connaissons en partie, et nous prophétisons en partie,
mais quand ce qui est parfait sera venu, ce qui est partiel disparaîtra.
Lorsque j'étais enfant, je parlais comme un enfant, je pensais comme un enfant, je raisonnais comme un enfant; lorsque je suis devenu homme, j'ai fait disparaître ce qui était de l'enfant.
Aujourd'hui nous voyons au moyen d'un miroir, d'une manière obscure, mais alors nous verrons face à face; aujourd'hui je connais en partie, mais alors je connaîtrai comme j'ai été connu.
Maintenant donc ces trois choses demeurent: la foi, l'espérance, la charité; mais la plus grande de ces choses, c'est la charité.

Love -- New International Version Bible

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames,
but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.
For we know in part and we prophesy in part,
but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.
When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.
Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face.
Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Love -- New American Bible

If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.
And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant,
does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered,
does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;
bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away.
For we know in part and we prophesy in part;
But when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away.
When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.
For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.
But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Love -- King James Version

1 Corinthians 13: Faith, Hope, Love

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.

And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;

Does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil;

Does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;

Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.

For we know in part and we prophesy in part.

But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.

When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Church Was All About Love

Church is perfectly UN-missable, and of course, I nearly missed it. I mean by "un-missable" that the whole thing is always so worthwhile and not to be missed, but I resist anyway. And this morning was no exception as it was all about love and was really wonderful, but still it was not easy to get there.

I was having a religious wardrobe crisis, as it's cold again and I was just so NOT in the mood to go out in the freezing breezes in nice looking clothes (read: suit, with skirt, stockings, heels which I usually wear) because you end up having that nasty cold wind blowing up your skirt and we're not talking Marilyn and the subway grate on a hot day here, we're talking evil wind of freezing needles of cold going right through you like 100 dart guns triggering. So if I can't look sexy and suited up for going to church, I get kindof down about the whole holy enterprise and get cranky , as I am still way more of a Californian than I like to admit. I realized I have to wear those "hide me" clothes that most New England women swear by -- the baggy navy wool sweater, the white LL Bean turtle neck and the black wool trousers, black suede clogs. Boring boring boring. Ugly, ugly, ugly. But in fact that's JUST what I wore. And I didn't feel very pretty so I hid upstairs in the church balcony where the parents with noisy children who behave like baby baboons hang out, coloring elictedly in the hymnals and making their parents looks terribly embarrassed -- as if I could care -- I was happy to hide out there.

But some damned fool -- I can't believe I said that -- some nice parishoner, actually probably the minister, decided this should be a communion Sunday where we all came UP FRONT to share communion instead of having it served to us. Great, thinks I, I have to come up front looking like hell.

I sure sound like I care a lot about what I look like, don't I? How vain. Well, thought I'd just admit it, right here, it being a sin and all. So something kindof flipped and I realized, nobody cares what you look like. God certainly isn't concerned about you not being on the pages of Vogue. And then the minister, Judy Brain, reved up her sermon and it was all about love and it was so good. One of those, cut away everything, nothing else matters, remember what's real and what's not sermons.

And I started to see things a little differently, that I was there to love the people who where there, and let them love me back. Not bad, not bad at all. Good deal and it doesn't matter what you look like. And she said something great about love being brave and one of the quotes she read was "I'd rather not be living if I can not live with love" and that certainly got me thinking. And a friend there is having a memorial service for his dad and the time and date was printed in the bulletin and I'm glad I saw it, so I can tell him I'm sorry about his loss. It was a great day to go to church.

Nun Of The Above

I was talking to Chris Locke yesterday which is surely one of life's big thrilling rollercoasters and I was talking to him about ... OH CHRIST ... yes, Orkut. I just remembered. I thought it was about something else and I did not want to write about stupid idiot poopy pants Orkut again, but here I go.

Anyway he was yanking my chain about how Orkut and I were MADE FOR EACH OTHER. That it's really fun like a party and what with me being so much the social director type, I was being sorely missed over there and why the heck was I being such a curmudgeon and not joining it.

And then I was telling him about a occupational analysis thing-a-bob test I took after college when I was flopping about trying to figure out what to do with myself and this weird test and it was apparently a serious test -- I took it at Columbia University's Vocational Guidance Center or some such esteemed institution. It came up with two occupations it said I would be extremely successful in. Here's the two jobs:

-- A cruise ship social director


-- A nun

This is the unfortunate kind of thing Chris Locke extracts from those willing to have telephonic intercourse with him, strange and unusual, often unspoken weird information, deep from the depths of some subterranean neural town dump of neural activity, way under both the conscious and the unconscious and you just have to go with it. I still have never figured out what set of traits I possess that BOTH these jobs require. I suppose they are all about rounding people up and getting them to smile while they play shuffleboard or say the rosary. One rounds up bodies, one rounds up souls.

This of course proved HIS point that I should join Orkut -- which was just where I did NOT want to lead the conversation. Then we were kidding around about other jobs I might have had and of course he said something about "nun of the above" and I said, "Wait, aren't all nun's literally of the above?" A discussion of nuns followed. I've always gotten off on nuns wearing wedding rings saying they are married to Jesus. Is there a point where Jesus becomes kind of a deadbeat husband and stops bringing flowers and you can't get him to put down the Wall Street Journal and actually talk to you at breakfast anymore?

Anyway, I was thinking about these professions and how I had once tried to join Club Med to be a "gentile organisatrice" or "G.O." which are their gung-ho camp counselors but that didn't happen and then I was thinking about being a nun. Not being Catholic proves to be a stumbling block for attaining job satisfaction down that path as well. So I am neither, the tests were just not helpful at all.

Instead I seem to be a writer, and Chris was right, I've turned into none of the above. But then this morning on email I was also chatting with Jerry who pointed out that my writing was obviously my strong suit and I should ditch my Superbowl Party today and stay home to write and it occurred to me from his comment that in fact, the reason my writing is any good at all is that it's part cruise ship social director in tone and part nun and it weirdly goes in both places. If you drop in here, you honestly never know if you'll find me wearing a wimple or a bikini. Or both.

And then one more email arrived from Euan, asking me ... you guessed it ... to join Orkut! Yikes!

Thing is ...

Thinking about losing my dad, losing my mom, odd word loss, strange verb to lose, strange phrase, losing people. Thing is ... they hardly seem lost. If anyone is lost, it is us, trying to understand their passing. But I do not find them gone. They are here and don't call me crazy to say so. Maybe they are made into lovely silk ribbons, long rolls of gossamer, slightly champagne color, wavering like smoke, shimmering like candlelight through your lively life and you find they weave themselves in and out of your mornings, your noons, your nights. How tricky they are to find their way into your daily day, glowing slightly, not ghostly, but they smile back in funny ways, they drop a tear here and there throughout the house, and beg one of you at unlikely times.

And as we go forward, we pray to have new friends acknowledge them very delicately, simply know that they were here and now gone, that they are embedded in our lives, these not-at-all-lost lovely people we just can't call on our cell phones anymore. Never lost, perhaps better found. And we need others to know they are present, and that we -- the schoolyard bullies of aliveness, living loudly in this noisy world -- need to shove over and make room for them, let them live in picture frames and out, let them breathe new life into all our new ventures, new babies, new houses, new loves, new days, tenderly whispering their blessings to us to just go on.

Twelve Degrees

It's morning and I don't want to get up, I'm in bed thinking of a few great conversations I had yesterday. I put on Nat King Cole, "Sentimental Reasons" and roll over, not wanting to get up. I'm thinking of my day. What I have to do. That gets me thinking less about yesterday, more about today. I'm thinking about beer. I'm still not drinking ... haven't had a thing since last ... October or November, I don't remember. Not wanting beer, but I have a task to take care of -- to make some warm beer cold.

I get up. In my bathrobe, I start the bath, lots of bubbles, lavendar bath gel, then shuffle barefoot into the kitchen to find a 12 of Rolling Rock beer and a bottle of Kendall Jackson white wine from a party before New Year's. I'm going to a Superbowl party later and it needs to get cold. I put a plastic bag around it. For some reason I'm keen on this plastic bag idea, having thought about it in great detail as I was lying in bed thinking about my day, the plastic bag is key, as I know if I put the beer outside to sit in the snow, it might get the cardboard beer box wet enough to fall apart if I don't put something plastic around it. I go to the livingroom, dragging the beer and wine, unlock the back porch door, it's so cold. I was thinking it would be about 30 today -- warm for us -- but this is not 30. My bare feet are blown by an icy breeze, they cower.

I shove the bag full of semi-booze out on the snowy porch. The teak porch chairs look like boney dinosaur carcasses, frozen and snowed over in their steps. They can't escape. Close the glass door. Lock it.

Flip on the Weather Channel -- 12 degrees -- that makes more sense. Full moon Feb 6 on my birthday. Nice. Leave the weather on in MUTE. Run into the bathroom to dive into a hot soapy tub. I do a jackknife from the high dive. Land with grace and agility in a lavendar ocean.