Steven Riddle: January 2009 Archives

From the New White House Site


I stopped by the White House site to assure our new President of my continued support in prayer and my continued opposition in matter of policy where I sincerely believe him to be wrong. While there, I found this little statement about gifts sent to the White House and thought it sends exactly the right signal to the whole country:

from the White House Web Site:

While President Obama, the First Lady, Vice President Biden, and Dr. Biden appreciate your thoughtfulness, they request that instead you look to your local community for opportunities to assist your neighbors in need.

In all probability, other presidents have probably done the same, but I have never felt quite so moved to visit. Obama's thoughts on the most vulnerable among us fill me more with fear than with hope; however, if the world is to be changed, I have to start helping sometime, and this seemed as good a time as any.

Bookmark and Share

For the past few days, I have been using a friend's car to get to work. She doesn't have the wonderful satellite radio I listen to, so I'm stuck with the local stations and programming. When I got into the car, it was tuned to a relentlessly, almost fearsomely cheerful Christian radio station. The past few days they've been telling me everything wonderful about the Obama inauguration and the "classy way" that George Bush and family left the White House. (I should note that these people are probably not big Obama fans--hard to say, but that would be my guess.)

This kind of cheerfulness, particularly in the morning--which, I believe, should only be experienced as a matter of staying up until dawn, never a matter of rising to greet it--would normally be enough to drive me out of my mind.

But this morning, getting out of my car, I thought, "Why not?" Why not look at all the good things in the world and celebrate them in preference to dragging myself and others down with my relentless carping and complaining. That isn't to say that I need to like everything. I don't need to, and no matter what kind of pep talk I give myself, I won't. But it does mean that there needs to be a fundamental attitude adjustment--I need to stop looking for things to not like. It's a habit that I probably developed in college as we did all of our lit studies. You were taught to dissect a work and see what things worked together and what didn't, but no one ever taught real appreciation for a work of art. Instead it was a kind of weighing of things you liked against those you did not with a judgment at the end.

No one has to like everything. No one has to like all parts of any given thing. It is a service to alert people to things they may not like, but it is not a service to go out and look for things they may not like. I don't do that consciously, but it is a tendency I fight all the time. I am the anti-Christian radio station--relentlessly downbeat.

That said, not much of it comes through here, mercifully--and I will take pains in the future that less of it does so. Why? Because, "This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it." Not just rejoice, but be glad--appreciate the good things of each day--the moments when we can become aware that God really is with us. We rejoice in His presence and we are glad in the goodness of the world. Yes, newsflash for Catholics with Calvinist Tendencies (CCT for short) the world is Good. As part of creation, it cannot be otherwise. But the world is also fallen and so there is a large share of bad things that take place in it. The Christian Radio Station seems to understand this--while relentlessly cheerful and supportive, it nevertheless announces the need for blankets (we're having a cold snap here (praise God--natural mosquito control)), food for food pantries, and worker for soup kitchens and homeless shelters. The world is a fundamentally good place where bad things can happen because of people. People who, like the world, are fundamentally good but who choose to do things that fly in the face of God and the rest of humanity. Humankind is not "utterly depraved" by the fall, even though we cannot through our own mertis achieve salvation.

The fundamental goodness of the world and of the people in it requires our attention, our nurturing, our time. I can choose to look for what displeases me and thereby satisfy some difficult and distorted itch--giving in to that fallen side of my nature. Or, I can choose to see the goodness, beauty, and glory with which creation is imbued, while not turning away from the ugliness people and natural evil (disasters, etc.) can cause. Acknowledging the imperfections of the world does not mean dwelling on them (the tendency I've cited before). It can be done while still looking beyond them to the grace that gives them life and purpose.

Bookmark and Share

As I reflect on this day I am thankful, profoundly thankful.

I am personally thankful that despite all of my predictions about those small-minded enough to keep him out of office on the basis of skin color alone, we as a nation showed ourselves to be on the way to overcoming judgment on the basis of unavoidable personal characteristics. I'm not happy about the election overall, but I must admit that a small candle of hope and joy was kindled by the fact that a person of color could be elected to the highest office in the land.

And more importantly, when driving to the Magic Kingdom this morning with Sam and quizzing him on why I was home to do this the following occurred:

"Do you know why I'm home today to take you to the Magic Kingdom."

"Because it's Martin Luther King day."

"And why is Martin Luther King important?"

"Because he made it possible for brown people to live with white people and so we could become a family."

That really touched my heart. I explained that courageous people could do this before MLK and the like, but that it took a great deal of courage to defy social convention that way--courage I'm not certain that I have. However, in most places today, this is a relatively easy commitment to make.

But there's nothing to bring home a celebration like making it personal. And so, my thanks for the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, a flawed visionary and a man of peace, encouraging all to look past the surface and to see the shining dignity of each human being whether black, white, yellow, red, Christian, Jew, Muslim, gay, straight--all human, all worthy of love and made worthy of love by the love invested and lavished by our Creator and Father.

Thank goodness someone had the courage to stand up for what is right and is only now beginning to be accepted as normal. His lessons should be the lessons we internalize and examine as we look to other groups who are fighting injustices and difficulties. We can't paint all with the same brush, but we do well to look beyond the individual configuration and to determine what is just and what is right.

And perhaps, for those who read Ms. Vowell's book, reviewed below, we might do well to internalize a little of Roger Williams's teaching regarding laws about the first table or any table.

May God continue to raise up courageous leaders who will fight the good fight for the underprivileged, the disenfranchised, for those who have no voice of their own. It is far too easy to dismiss and forget that we are visited by Grace in the persons of those who surround us every day. We need to begin to see the grace and act on it.

Bookmark and Share

Wordy Shipmates--Sarah Vowell


Let me start by unapologetically offering up what I hated about this book:

(1) The author couldn't seem to stay on task
(2) The author offered me opinions on everything from William McKinley and Andrew Jackson to George Bush, in no case making a substantive effort to document or supplement any of her at-odds opinions with substantiation.
(3) The author fails to distinguish between a still-born child and a "fetus." (Of course, we know the reason for that).
(4) And finally, the author is one of those feminists with a chip on her shoulder--shown in this case by the grievous hurt she suffers every time she looks at a magazine subscription card which has only one designation for a male, but three for a female--none of which can be viewed positively in her opinion. (So why not just refuse to designate a title? )

Okay, I've outlined the very worst features of this well-written, incisive, and often hysterically funny history of the early New England Colonies. Ms Vowell starts with the founding of Massachusetts Bay by non-separatists and takes us up through the banishing of Anne Hutchinson, with some asides that go a bit further into the 17th century.

What is charming about the book is the sincere respect and love Vowells has for her subject even as she deplores some of the horrors they were capable of committing. She is moved and comforted by the vision of John Winthrop in the wake of the fall of the towers.She is angered by the unjust treatment of Anne Hutchinson (although one could say that discretion is the better part of valor, and once her case was won before the court, a truly wise person would know enough to go back to midwifery and general discontent fomenting.)

Ms. Vowell takes us through the founding of Massachusetts Bay and Rhode Island. She recounts the horrors of the Pequot war and King Phillip's War, and dissects some of the pressing theological issues of the day. I think she's a little off-track siting Ms. Hutchinson as spiritual founder of the new evangelical protestantism, as her antinomian stance is more akin to Quakerism, and actuality. (Ms. Hutchinson taught the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and apparently Calvinists of the time preferred the beside-dwelling of the Holy Ghost.)

Ms Vowell is a lively writer. I can't speak to her historical accuracy as I know relatively little about this time, so I defer to the scholars on the accuracy of her work. One point that is perhaps a little vexing is the annoying propensity to stray away from the subject. I suppose as a radio talk-show commentator, there is a bit of a tendency built in, but Ms. Vowell's subjects are so fascinating and what she is recounting so little known and understood, that it is more than a little annoying to see pages and paragraphs taken up in a diatribe about a "woman's healing garden" near a memorial to Anne Hutchinson. Such space were better devoted to Ms. Hutchinson herself.

So with the annoying little details noted above, this book still comes out very high on the must-read list for anyone interested in Early American History. I would have loved to have heard more about Anne Bradstreet and other Puritans of the time--but that too would have been beyond the scope of this little volume. A delightful work which one could peruse in an afternoon. Get it and enjoy it around the little annoyances.

Bookmark and Share

An election is always difficult for those whose candidate has not succeeded. This is particularly true in the last election when the stakes seemed so high. For the unborn they are high indeed.

And yet, if Obama is a principled, thinking man, as his supporters argue, and if he is indeed a man to be president to "all of us"--those who voted for him and those who did not--as he has promised, the time for carping and complaint is over and the time for engagement has begun--at least until the man has an opportunity to take office and give us a sense of how he intends to occupy it.

This man, for good or ill, is now our president for at least 4 years. His ardent supporters expect things from him that no man yet has ever been able to accomplish, and there are early signs that Obama is significantly aware of this. Washington will continue to be politics as usual.

And yet, I do think that the man about to enter the office is of quite a different sort than what we have become accustomed to over twenty years of mismanagement and duplicity. He is something of a cypher--the product of his own propaganda machine-- and so it is difficult to discern how he will serve the people of the United States. By his own words, it seems clear that he will serve the weakest and most vulnerable among us very poorly indeed.

That is a matter for two courses of action. The first is prayer--each of us should be storming heaven each night praying for this man and this congress that will shape the years ahead of us. Rather than complaining and throwing up our hands in disgust, it is even more imperative to become involved in supporting the causes of good and opposing evil. To this end, we also have incumbent upon us the responsibility to make clear to this obviously intelligent man that as leader of the free world, he does not have the luxury of having any "question that is above his pay grade." (This was his famous response to people questioning him about the morality of abortion.) It is now part and parcel of his job to wrestle with each of these questions and to deal with it with integrity and with something more than a lick and a promise. Because if he is to lead us all, he must lead a divided country and he must come to some terms with that division that does not simply dismiss half of its constituents. Will he do this? I suspect not. But without the combined effort of prayer and engagement, it seems certain not to happen.

I was very pleased in this last election when both California and Florida voted to define marriage in the traditional way--Florida within its state constitution. (That's not such a big deal as it may sound--apparently the FL State constitution can be altered on a whim--a few years back we inserted an amendment about conditions in pig-pens.) I was pleased not because I support the causes themselves. I was pleased because at a time when the American people expressed their disgust and aggravation with the present regime and voted for some sort of nebulous and unreliable "change," they also sent a clear message that they are not interested in the entire agenda. We do not wish to have an agenda crammed down our throats. There needs to be a time of discussion with real engagement and real listening rather than talking past each other and dismissing points as though no points have been made. We need to hear what the people who support marital rights for gays have to say and on what they base their reasoning and argument. We need to recognize that both sides have not so much reasoned with one another as they have fumed at one another. Is the "slippery slope" argument against the validation of gay rights reasonable and logical? If the matter is a matter of sin, is it also a matter for legislation? Must everything sinful also be illegal? It is not presently so, etc.

Obama is our president for the next several years. Perhaps through our prayers and through our frequent (let us say constant) vigilance and willingness to inform the government, perhaps we can bring about some of the justice we seek and some of the real change that he has promised--change that is meaningful, right, and which makes us a stronger nation, more dedicated to the principles upon which we were founded and more dedicated to doing always what is right, not what is convenient. We must acknowledge that we are likely to see much good as well as much bad from the next administration. There is little that is unmixed. We will need to pay attention to everything that he says and does and we will need to react to it, not with the nearly senseless vituperation I have seen in some quarters but with constant reasoning and argumentation.

[note: I am dissatisfied with this entry because it fails to capture the spirit of what I'm trying to say. I guess in part that I am arguing that we have now assumed the character of the "loyal opposition." Rather than doing what seems to be the case in recent politics, carping and tearing everything down, it seems we would better serve everyone by engagement and active amd thoughtful conversation. We may not achieve all of our goals, but we can hope to maintain the infamous Washington gridlock that keeps us from progressing too rapidly in the wrong direction.]

Update: entry altered for accuracy. Obviously, this statement proved untrue, and I must have misunderstood my source in reading: "His buckling on Rick Warren is just one such sign." This statement has been removed. Mr. Warren spoke at the inauguration, there could have been no buckling. My sincere apologies.

Bookmark and Share

I finished the book a day or so ago, but have been distracted with many things.

For those of you who have been tempted to read Georgette Heyer, but feared becoming entangled in the sticky strands of Regency Romance, this may be the book for you. More mystery and comedy of manners with a romance tacked on around the edges, this book seems like a practice or a "light" version of some of Ms. Heyer's exquisitely plotted mysteries.

A young woman coming from London is met at the coach stop by the representative of a man she presumes is the husband of the woman who hired her as a governess for her children. As it turns out, this man wants something entirely different--he wants the young woman to marry his good-for-nothing cousin so as to remove from the highly suspicious minds of neighbors and friends any sense that he might be after the cousin's fortune. As it happens, the cousin is stabbed in a brawl that night and news comes that he lay on the point of death, which galvanizes the action of the story, for the young woman, Elinor, is persuaded to marry him.

The story zooms on from there with spies, papers, hidden passages, nocturnal visitors, murder, and one of the most obnoxious dandy's on record. Every turn of the slight plot is amusing and entertaining, and the resolution, while a trifle long-winded is most satisfactory. Ms. Heyer played her hand well enough and cleverly enough to have me guessing whodunit, even though to the casual reader it is perfectly obvious. (It's what happens when you apply the conventions of one genre to another.)

As I noted the romance is slight, referred to perhaps three times directly--the romantic leads having improbably few scenes together to uncover their mutual attraction. But again, this wasn't the main point of the novel, and as a result there is no disappointment or frustration with the denouement.

If you are not an inveterate romance reader and you'd like to find out why such critics as Michael Dirda and Margaret Atwood praise Ms. Heyer's work, this may be the chance for you. Not so sparkling and witty as Venetia or Powder and Patch but none the less a whirlwind of intrigue and a well-written historical novel The Reluctant Widow may provide insight as to why Georgette Heyer is sometimes compared with Jane Austen.

Bookmark and Share

On Adolescents and other things


from The Reluctant Widow
Georgette Heyer

Elinor had not consorted with adolescents for six years without learning when it was useless to perservere in the attempt to convey to them ideas that were wholly alien to their minds and she now made no further effort to bring Nicky to an appreciation of her own sentiments. She agreed that it would have been a shocking thing to have missed spending a week in almost continuous alarm; and was rewarded by his telling her with impulsive warmth that he had known all along that she was a right one. He then did what lay in his power to undermine whatever fortitude was left to her by recounting with embellishments, John's theories on the murder of de Castres.

Georgette Heyer conveys an utterly delight sense of place and time. For those of us not really part of the regency world or its contemporary counterpart in the regency romance, some of the words, ideas, and everyday articles are a bit confusing and may require research. I had to spend a minute or two discovering the true nature of a pelisse and what exactly hartshorn was (though I had guessed well enough by looking at the word.) at to this clocked stockings and any number of other appurtenances of a bygone world and you might have the formula for incomprehensibility. But not in the deft hand of Ms. Heyer, whose writing is lucid and, at times, lovely. It really is a pleasure to spend some time with her.

Bookmark and Share

Obama--The View from a Child


The other day while riding home from dance class, the subject of Obama came up and Samuel shared some desultory comment along with a long sigh and the name said almost as an imprecation.

"What wrong with Obama?" I asked him.

"Well, you know," he answered rather defensively.

"No, I don't. Why don't you tell me."

"Obama wants to kill babies." Ah, at last, the problem. In this I could see his staunchly republican mother's hand at work.

I said, "Sometime people are very misled. They think that what they are doing is a good thing for everyone. But they have been deceived by Satan and see and think things that are not real."

"Like mirages. I know."

I continue, "Obama has not yet taken office. We may not judge him in these ways. Additionally, the office of the President (if not the man--although I didn't say this to Samuel) is worthy of respect. We must give him a chance."

"But he wants to kill babies." You can't deny the simple logic of that.

"Is that a reason to dislike him and say bad things about him? Isn't a more appropriate response to pray for him so that God might guide him and prevent some of the things he says he'll do?"

"Oh, yeah."

"So rather than saying bad things about him, what must we do with respect to the man who will become President Obama."

"We must pray for him."

"And what must we pray for in particular?"

"That he not be allowed to kill babies."


Isn't it amazing the way children catch on so quickly? I certainly have no great fondness for Obama, but then, neither had I for the other candidate, and I can't say that I'll be sorry to see the present President leave office. Nevertheless, the office of leadership deserves my respect, my loyalty, and above all my prayers for guidance, strength, and a willingness to speak out in truth at all costs. This last is not a commodity in abundance within the world of politics. I dread what Obama may do upon assuming office, but the truth of the matter is neither I nor anyone else knows for certain what this might be, and now is the time for prayer--to earnestly implore God to change the mind and heart of the man who will be the next leader of the United States. Given that his whims will be essentially unopposed, let us pray that they are more often breezes from Heaven rather than draughts from Hell.

Bookmark and Share

Further the Deponent Need Not Say


from The Reluctant Widow
Georgette Heyer

'Again you relieve my mind. I brought my vinaigrette with me, of course, and Crawley knows how to revive me, but I confess I should have been excessively loth to have slept under the same roof with a coffin. My sensibilities have always been extremely acute, and I dare say I should have suffered a spasm. But now, unless I should have take a chill on the drive, I do trust we have nothing to dread. It is not to be, I collect, a lengthy cortège?"

Bookmark and Share

Some Liturgical Thoughts

| | Comments (5)

A couple of points before I begin--first, it's amazing the way Satan finds things to distract us during Mass. You'll be sitting there and suddenly, wham, this thing pops into your head that you can't seem to dislodge. What follows is my attempt to dislodge it so it doesn't hijack another Mass.

Second, I think it's important to note two things about the commenter. (1) I am not an expert on liturgy. (2) I am not particularly conservative when it comes to liturgical matters.

Yesterday as we celebrated the last day of the Christmas season I was looking at the nativity and at the priest behind the Altar (normally he is seated off to the side where the nativity set is presently) and it occurred to me how language can be so easily manipulated to further any given agenda. Particularly what occurred to me was the way Vatican II was presented to me as I entered the Catholic Church--and of that one particular liturgical innovation. It was presented to me as, "The priest no longer stood with his back to us, he turned around to face the congregation." This was presented as a triumph of civility and sanity.

Yesterday it occurred to me that there are no (or at least few) creatures in nature wherein the head faces the body. Generally the head and the body face the same direction. It would be evolutionarily counterproductive to always be looking at where you've been.

So, how is it a triumph to have the head suddenly face the body--the priest face the congregation? If he is leading us, shouldn't he be focusing our attention in the appropriate direction rather than facing the other way? How do we form one body of Christ with our head turned around and gazing back on us?

I don't feel strongly about this--I can understand the arguments on the other side. And I've never given much thought to the matter, mostly because when it is presented to me, it is packaged up with a lot of other extraneous items that do not necessarily have the same import--the Mass in Latin, the use of Chant, etc. (Again, not that I feel particularly strongly about either of those items except when they are used as goads and whipping rods. They just don't have the same importance as being one body and one people before God, with the Priest acting as Head in persona Christi.)

So there you have it--a summary of my distractions. Nothing important, nothing earth-shattering, nothing even particularly innovative or thought provoking. But I think it would be nice to have a Mass spoken or sung in English with the Priest at the head in the appropriate way. I wonder how I would react to such a thing. I wonder if I would be just as distracted at that as I was at these unwelcome intruding thought? Perhaps the first time, but afterward, I think it would be welcome. I don't honestly know.

Bookmark and Share

A Pair of Observations

| | Comments (1)

There are times in thinking when one line of thought leads is some odd way to another. So it was the other day as I was thinking about who knows what and it occurred to me that it takes some of us an entire lifetime to learn to say, "Yes." Others seem to grasp the point much earlier in life. St. Therese leanred "Yes" very early on. I have not yet done so. Learning to say yes, mean yes, and live yes--what a formidable task. But it is all made possible through love:

"Many waters cannot destroy love,
for love is stronger than death. . . "

It is only on the tenuous bridge of love that humanity crosses from one generation to the next. We cannot cross in any other way, but looked at today it seems so much more tenuous than it ever has. Surely this is mere chronological bias--surely. All times must have seemed this way to the people living in them. After all, how many times did God have to tell us that the right thing to do is to give some food to the hungry. Surely our own innate human understanding should make this a point that needs no further reinforcement from a supernatural agency? And yet, when it is not said and repeated constantly, the vast majority of us tend to fall back on "I, me, mine."

Anyway--you can see how thoughts start in one way and end in another. And I am intrigued by the thought that love is that slender bridge, the rope bridge across the chasm that looks at any moment like it might be swept away, and yet which, because of its Foundation, is more solid than the rock it is anchored to. And yet, we trust it so little. Or perhaps we don't, but there are those among us who look at it askance.

Bookmark and Share



So well known, it is nearly trite. And, of course, it is quite untrue--however, it is a nice reminder when we need help staying the course--when the choice is anger or despair, at least anger gives us the momentary energy to continue on.

William Ernest Henley

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud,
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

Bookmark and Share

A View from the Future


For, I hope, your amusement, an observation I made last night:

I am in the process of reading The Reluctant Widow by Georgette Heyer in paper and Too Many Cooks by Rex Stout on Kindle. As I write that last sentence I cannot be be amused at the thought that if these words survived into some future age, there would have to be a small annotation next to the word "kindle" which read, " a rather primitive device for electronic reading. Paper refers to the archaic practice of printing on processed tree pulp with inks of various composition. Leaves of this material were bound into the original volumes called 'books.' some of these can still be seen in repositories and museums around the world.

* * * * *

Thus we come to the end of the threat of Montag and his ilk. Not that we don't have enough internal threats to make literacy something of the past--already it too much trends that way; however, mere burning will no longer be sufficient to supress what becomes unpopular.

Bookmark and Share

KIndle Notes

| | Comments (5)

What I hate about my Kindle:

What I find annoying about my Kindle:

Lack of documentation
Lack of support for large libraries (both chip size and folder structure) C'mon people, I can only carry around about six thousand books on my 2 gig chip and it slows the system to a crawl on boot-up. Need a more efficient means of storing books so that it doesn't have to scan the whole library on every boot up. But then I pause to reflect that I am not the target audience for the Kindle. There are only a few of us who wish to carry their entire libraries on the Kindle. I would gladly take and convert all of the Gutenberg, even if I don't read all of them within my lifetime.
Lack of proper support for PDF (possibly coming down the line--If so, the Kindle then also becomes a reasonable repository for sheet music and other delights available only through PDF.

What I Like About My Kindle:

Too long a list, but let's highlight a few. Yesterday I read over at TSO's that he doesn't care to make marginal notes or "dialogue" with a book. On the other hand, this is one of my favorite things in the world and the Kindle makes the transcription of passages and appending side notes remarkably easy. (It would be better if one could better edit the passages included on the Kindle itself--but really that's a trivial matter).

I love being able to open up to wherever I am in each of the twelve books I'm reading at the touch of a button. No retrieving book, hoping the bookmark is still in place, scrambling through pages, etc. Just now I'm reading Doyle-A Study in Scarlet, Dickens-Bleak House, Stout-Too Many Cooks, James-The Ambassadors, Jean Plaidy-The Reluctant Queen, (I do have to say that I'm seriously annoyed by Amazon and book publishers for not making Georgette Heyer more readily accessible via Kindle--so I'm stuck reading The Relucant Widow in paper), and several others.

I've converted about 1,000 books to Kindle format, though some not particularly elegantly.

And my chief annoyance is at Amazon for not pushing hard enough to expand the range of digital texts available. Really, there's absolutely no reason for ANY new release not to be available. Everything is printed via Electronic Files nowadays. (Well, perhaps not Everything--but the vast majority.)

This is the beginning of the Kindle rants. Perhaps more later.

Bookmark and Share

Signs of the Times

| | Comments (1)

Just a personal note that might set the scene for you:

I often get up and get dressed largely in the dark because I leave early and Linda is still asleep.

Yesterday, I followed this routine.

Now, you need to know that before Christmas I purchased a very comfortable pair of Rockport shoes that were semi-dressy to wear to a business event. For Christmas I received the casual version of said shoe.

And yes, somehow the two pairs were in close juxtaposition so I arrived at work wearing one brown show and one black shoe. (After all, once you've put them on, who really looks at shoes?)

Having gotten here and started to walk into work, I discovered my error. Did I go home and change shoes (a fifteen minute ride?)

Certainly not. I went through the day in my two-colors of shoes and except for the person I actually showed it to, no one appeared to notice at all.

(We work in a building with a lot of designers, so this kind of thing is something that would not go uncommented on--very likely with favorable connotations.)

Anyway, that's kind of my life these days--one black shoe and one brown shoe and walking down the street anyway!

Bookmark and Share

Not a review at this point, merely a note to say that this is current reading material. And what more can you ask for from a book: mistaken identity, assault with deadly effect, a furtive wedding in the reaches of the night, a reluctant widow in a house filled with secret passages, secrets, and people she doesn't even know. In all, a delightful, unlikely, and very amiable mix to while away a few hours of pleasant reading.

I'll let you all know more when I've finished. But I have to hand it Sourcebooks--they're doing a superb job of bringing the Romances and historical novels of Georgette Heyer back into print, and it is most welcome to an audience that has lacked a consistent backcatalog for some time now. I look forward to each month's new offerings.

Bookmark and Share


| | Comments (4)

Seems that blogging had been light the last few months and it has. Most probably directly related to the stress I'm feeling at work and in life. And yet, the stress is not decreased by not writing and so, I continue to increase my own stress in a never ending cycle.

So, I'll try to be more aware and make more time for writing.

First, I'd like to respond to one comment I've received and half respond to another which I have deleted.

A very conscientious and kind-hearted person wrote to me requesting that I say nothing bad about The Shack as it might be the only encounter some people have with God. While I sympathize with the intent, I must say that I do not see this blog serving the needs of those seeking God. That is not to say that such are not welcome, but I rather doubt that the first place they home in on is a peculiar blog with a Latin Name that lies in the obscure outskirts of the mainstream Catholic Blogs. If so, I stand corrected and delight in that hitherto unknown and un-looked for audience. Thank you.

That said, I don't think The Shack is a best-seller because it is converting thousands. Rather, I think a lot of people of faith are reading it to bolster their own faith and fire their own spiritual lives. This is laudable. And people will do this whether or not I say that it is bad writing--just as my own review of The DaVinci Code did nothing to stem the tide of best-sellerdom.

As to the second response--suffice to say that I've received a number of comments in recent days about my own inadequacies as a reviewer, a person, and a thinker. While all of these things may reflect some truth, I allow those to stand that come with a real name and a real address so long as the language is not to inflammatory. However, when such comments come from anonymous sources, they are worse than useless and they reflect more upon the courage of the person making them than upon me. I've never claimed to be a particularly deep thinker in matters of theology or even literature. However, I do love literature and do reflect upon it in my idiosyncratic fashion. Nothing says that these reflections are true, valid, or particularly worthwhile. Nevertheless, because I care for good writing, I will continue to make such points as occur to me. And I will continue to delete posts that while perhaps making good points about the inadequacy of my thought do not come from people who are willing to correspond or communicate on the matter.

I won't say I don't mind being insulted--everyone does to a greater or lesser extent. But I will not tolerate being insulted by those who lack the courage to post under their own names or to leave information about where they might be communicated with. This form of behavior is just short of vandalism and shall be treated as vandals should--all memory of their actions shall be eradicated.

Hopefully more on more pleasant topics later.

Bookmark and Share



About this Archive

This page is a archive of recent entries written by Steven Riddle in January 2009.

Steven Riddle: December 2008 is the previous archive.

Steven Riddle: February 2009 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

My Blogroll