discussion in a bar turns to the question of the next pope’s nationality.
And it includes names.
discussion in a bar turns to the question of the next pope’s nationality.
And it includes names.
that I stand there with the awful truth rattling around in my head–that which I only admit even to myself only rarely. Sometimes the class dynamic is such that I could teach the class drunk or sober, I could teach new material or review material that I know is problematic, I could be a hard-ass or totally relaxed, and the result in each case would be the same: a complete waste of time.
Really, I walk out of some lessons thinking I wasted my time and their time together. A class of twenty — that’s fifteen man-hours down the tube.
And I wish I could put all the blame at students’ feet. After all, it’s only human not to want to fess up to your own failings. But truth is, I waste as much time as they do sometimes. The trouble is, I only realize that _after_ the time has been wasted. (Nice passive attempt to avoid responsibility.)
The upshot is that there’s always tomorrow’s lesson to make up for it. But sometimes tomorrow’s schedule looms instead of sitting there passively.
An idiosyncrasy of turning relatively high in Google searches for a “hot query” is that you receive this kind of email:
Hello! I came across your site while browsing google for sites with content related to “Numa Numa”. My name is Henri Duong and I am the Sr. Media Buyer for the (ASN) Ad Serving Network and we are looking for an elite group of publishers that can deliver quality US traffic.
Out of curiosity we are currently looking for these minimum requirements and would like to know if your site qualifies to be a part of our network opportunity in remainding Quarter of 2005 and ongoing.
- Alexa rankings under 100K or can maintain a minimum of over 30K US impressions a day with at least 5K unique visitor traffic.
- Current creative ad sizes that we are buying include: 720×300 pops/ 300×250 cubes/ 728×90 banners other banners can be served on a case by case basis.
- We pay a CPM basis for creatives with net 30 payment terms.
Please contact me for further details if you are interested and fall in these categories. We look forward to serving you with the Ad Serving Network.
With an average lately of about 1,500 hits a month, I certainly don’t qualify. But since I was sent a generic “Dear Publisher” letter, I didn’t write back to tell Mr. Duong how flattered I was.
Would you give up half of what you own now for a pill that would permanently change you so that one hour of sleep each day would fully refresh you?
The older I get, the more inclined I am to answer this question in the affirmative. Sleep is only truly pleasant when you’re not forced to put a premature end to it with an obnoxious screech from the alarm clock. Otherwise, I’m fairly neutral about sleep (especially since I almost never remember my dreams) and am positively annoyed by it when I can’t shake the initial grogginess of waking up — those days you’re sure you would pay to be able to stay in bed.
In conversations, do you tend to listen or talk more? (Additional questions: What are you looking for when you converse with people? What kinds of things do you normally discuss? Are there other things that would be more interesting to you?
I’m not sure that I feel I don’t have enough time; it’s simply that I think it would always be a good thing to have more time. Right now, I have a great deal more free time than Kinga because of the nature of my teaching job (not to mention all the damn breaks we get) and fairly hefty project Kinga’s been working on. No kids, either.
The idea of having an additional five to seven hours a day brings all kinds of wonderful thoughts to mind: think of all the books I could read, all exercise I could do, all the time I could spend with friends.
As far as sacrificing half my belongings, the only qualm I would have is that I would be very hesitant to agree if someone else chose which of my things to take in payment. Take all my CDs, (almost) all my books, my clothes, furniture — neutral objects that can be fairly easily replaced. Yes, I know books are hardly “neutral” objects, but I have very little sentimental attachment to them when compared to the glass paintings Kinga and I received for wedding presents or selected old letters from my naïve youth or the cast-iron skillet that my mother gave me which was her mother’s and so on.
My motivation for saying “Yes” also derives from the simple fact that as we age, time seems to move faster. That’s probably because each year represents a smaller percent of our lives. When I was ten, a year was ten percent of my life; when I was twenty, it was five percent of my life; how that I’m over thirty, it’s only a little over three percent. By the time I’m a grandfather, a year will be a mere one and a half percent. That explains why summer seemed endless when I was in grade school, while now the entire school year passes in a flash.
Lastly, considering my non-theistic views, I’m not inclined to believe there’s any sort of life after death, so the more time I get here, the better.
I never thought I’d complain about too many breaks, but I always find myself doing just that during the second semester of a Polish school year.
Basically, the beefy part of the Polish school calendar ends with Christmas break. Because the two-week Christmas break does not coincide with the completion of the semester, it marks the beginning of the on-again, off-again season of the school year.
This is how it’s playing out this year:
Put all that together and it’s clear why the last day of school is 24 June.
Regarding the fact that more atheists tend to read Christian apology than vice versa, Nina commented,
There is no reward in keeping an open mind to atheism, whereas we atheists (I’m not including you here, I noted your rejection of that concept as well, though I don’t understand where that places you) are given plenty of incentives to open up to the possibility of a God. I would be curious whether you have talked about this with Poles? And if so, how have they reacted?
I’m not so sure that there isn’t a “reward in keeping an open mind to atheism.” I recall a sort of relief I felt when I finally admitted to myself that I didn’t believe in much of anything, perhaps something like the peace Christian converts say they feel when the “accept the Lord.”
Could it be that others might feel the same if they “let go” without the “and let God” addendum? Perhaps.
But I guess Nina is right — if someone really believes something, what does she stand to gain in doubting it, especially when it’s something beyond proof, like religious faith.
In rural southern Poland, the notion of being a non-believer seems to be virtually unimaginable. If the subject of religious belief comes up, I general start broad and wind my way down, from “I’m not a Catholic” eventually, if pressed, to “I don’t have any positive belief about any diety.” “I can’t imagine my life without God,” is a common reaction, and that is probably more ontologically true than the speaker imagines. It’s like imagining life without, say, breathing.
Religion — rather, Catholicism — is so deeply infused in the Polish highlander’s culture and worldview that it is as natural as a blue sky.
Sure — you can imagine the sky’s red, but what for?
America, it seems, is lagging behind Europe in the Numa Numa video craze.
The song it’s based on, O-Zone’s “Dragostea Din Tei,” was the hit of the summer in Europe, but largely unknown in the States, I think.
I wrote about playing the Numa video at a party and as the comment invitation asked, “Who in the States has heard this nonsense?” It turns out that a friend had heard the song because she’s dating…a Frenchman.
My friend Gruby (Polish for “fat,” though he’s not) in Warsaw sent me the link to a Hungarian site that had the video in early January. My first reaction: “Gruby’s brother!” Indeed, they do look similar, but Gruby assured me that it wasn’t.
Since the song had been popular here in Europe, I didn’t need to make any assumptions about the music. The boy in the video, though, I assumed to be Hungarian.
I wasn’t the only one to make such a connection: Bob at I Am A Christian Too thought it was Hungarian techno.
The upshot of all this is that because the lad in the video is in fact not Hungarian but a Jersey boy named Gary, I’m getting hundreds of hits from Google, Yahoo!, and MSN.
So — a Romanian pop group makes a song that a Jersey boy named Gary lip-syncs to, which a Warsaw-Pole sends to an American living in southern Poland, who in turn ends up getting tons of hits from the States because America has finally discovered the Numa video…because his name too is Gary.
And waste an entire year of my life? How can anything be called “perfect happiness” if we don’t remember it later? “Without memory, our existence would be barren and opaque, like a prison cell into which no light penetrates, like a tomb which rejects the living,” wrote Elie Wiese inl his Nobel Lecture.
Question 35 Would you give up half of what you own now for a pill that would permanently change you so that one hour of sleep each day would fully refresh you? (Additional questions: Do you feel you have enough time? If not, what would give you that feeling? How much has your attitude about time changed as you’ve aged?) Answers due 25 February Class dismissed
I am, admittedly, in love with memory. Obsessed, at one point. Willa Cather wrote in My Antonia, “Some memories are realities and better than anything that can ever happen to one again.” It could have been a summary of my general view on life at that time, many years ago, when I was unsure of the future and only certain that the past had often been wondrous.
I was so worried about forgetting something, and I soon found that in fact I remembered insignificant details about things that my friends perhaps didn’t even notice.
Once I sat in horror as a friend told me that not only could she not remember what we’d talked about in a conversation six months earlier, but she couldn’t even remember having the conversation. It was not a lighthearted talk about who’s going to make it to the World Series — it was a discussion of our entire friendship up to that point. “And she can’t remember it?!” I lay in bed thinking that night, unable to understand how it was possible.
What would be the good of a year’s experiences that would leave no mark upon us? In many ways, we are our memories:
How much of what we are, what we know about ourselves, is really true? We are merely the sum of viewpoints, and human memory is treacherous and inconsistent.
Ilan Stavans, On Borrowed Words: A Memoir of Language
Learning is memory, especially learning from mistakes. But we don’t just learn from our unhappy memories, and so the notion of a year spent that leaves no memory is absolutely horrifying to me.
It’s a year spent completely drunk. When drunk, we’re often perfectly happy; the next day, we often don’t remember our antics. Take that and multiply it by 365 and you get Question 4’s “one year in perfect happiness.”
But what is meant by “perfect happiness?” I’ve always tried to act as if happiness depending on me, not on other people. “How I choose to react” and similar notions. In other words, for a middle class guy like me, happiness is around every corner. I really lack nothing materially–food, clothing warmth–and so what is there to be unhappy about? That statement reveals quite a bit about my experiences, I realize.
Happiness has also included the thought that, when I look back on a given moment, I’ll still be happy — no regret, in other words.
Second, what is meant by “remember nothing?” Does it mean I would immediately forget every moment as soon as it passed? Or does it mean that I would accumulate a year of memories, then suddenly they would vanish? Either option seems horrible to me.
This question is somewhat shallow, I must admit, because I can’t think that anyone would answer in the affirmative. Even without the extreme view that the present moment doesn’t really exist and instead is something trapped between what was and what will be, the present moment is so brief that it represents an atomically small percent of our lives. Much more of our lives are spent remembering the past or planning the future than living the moment.
Perhaps that’s the trick, having your Book of Questions cake and eating it too: make the most of the moment. It’s easier said than done.
My mother-in-law says that when he was young, Kamil, her brother’s son, used to run everywhere and jump off of everything.
His jumping in particular paid off. Now he’s on the first squad of the Polish national ski-jumping team, and he recently participated in his first World Cup event.
He finished in seventh place. That was two places higher than Polish hero Adam Małysz, three-time world cup winner.
Of the surprising win over Małysz, Kamil’s father said,
In all this happiness, we mustn’t forget that beating Małysz was an accident. Adam is a great competitor who had a little weaker day yesterday, and Kamil made the most of it.
According to his trainer, Kamil has the best technique of the entire squad. “A real pearl,” summarized nation team trainer Heinz Kuttin (Source: Onet.pl).
At our August wedding, it was Kamil who casually reached down to grab my thrown tie.
The bumping, swaying motion of the bus was, as usual, rocking me to sleep. I was returning from Nowy Targ, the nearest Polish town, fighting sleep as I usually do on busses in Poland.
Ironically, a town in Slovakia is about fifteen kilometers closer, but not as accessible by bus.
In front of me sat a mother and her child, who looked to be two years old. About halfway home, I glanced down to notice one of the child’s mittens had fallen on the floor. I reached down to pick it up, then leaned a little over the seat and was going to address the child. “You lost something, didn’t you?” And then the mild panic struck: is this a boy or a girl? Wrapped up tight for winter, the child was androgynous, with only a face visible. So I said nothing, and simply gave the mitten back to the mother. Rather, she noticed I was holding it and literally jerked it out of my hand. Odd experience.
I didn’t say anything to the child because I didn’t know the child’s gender, and that is essential if you’re speaking to someone in Polish in the past tense. Polish verbs are curious because their past tense forms are gender specific. “I took” for a man (wziałem) is different than “I took” for a woman (wziałam). Not _terribly_ different, but different nonetheless.
If I were to say to a little boy, “You lost something, didn’t you?” the “lost” would be “straciłeś,” whereas for a little girl it would be “straciłaś.”
The verb endings for males are:
For females, however, they are:
My father-in-law always does this when he asked Kinga and I where we went, if we’d disappeared for a few hours one Sunday afternoon. “Gdzieście byli?” he’d ask, taking the “ście” ending from the verb and throwing it on “gdzie,” or “where.”
Vivi asked “So, when you are talking about mixed company (ie a man and a woman), does it default to masculine, like French?” Short answer: yes.
Will the madness never end?!
Returning to the androgynous mittens’ story, my wife informs me that people make such mistakes all the time, with the mother usually correcting them. So I could have just chosen a gender and let fly.
Question 120: Would you accept $10,000 to shave your head and continue your normal activities sans hat or wig without explaining the reason for your haircut?
Admittedly, I sort of cheated with this question, because for years I’ve been all but shaving my head. The reason I give is pragmatic: it’s less work.
For a while, I was in fact shaving my head daily with a razor, which took about fifteen minutes a day, so the “pragmatic” excuse doesn’t hold. I suspect my male pattern baldness plays some subconscious role. The less hair I have, the less visible my growing circle of skin at the crown of my head.
I did have a friend once who, when I suggested he cut his hair similar to mine, reacted with such revulsion that one would think I’d suggested something more drastic and permanent — say, tongue splitting or something. In my youthful naivety, I kept contending that it was a vanity issue, but I see now that it is much more than that.
Our hairstyles speak before we open our mouths.
Along with clothes, they often construct entire personas before the individual even begins speaking. Rather, _we_ do the persona-constructing on the basis of the hair and clothes.
Fight it though I may, such are the stereotypes and
clichés I unconsciously create, and I suspect it’s not just me.
But it’s not just bad assumptions we make based on hair. That’s why the fashion industry exists — to help people make the assumption about us that we want them to make.
Hair and fashion are non-verbal communication. The question is, do we want it to be intentional or unintentional? After all, that’s the primary difference between being a slob and not.
It’s the communication aspect that gives the dimension of “Let me think about it” to the question. If it didn’t include “without explaining the reason for your haircut,” it’s a simple question: most everyone would agree.
“What? The do? Oh, some idiot agreed to pay me ten grand just to shave my head.”
For those interested in continuing and posting in a week on another question: Question 4:
If you could spend one year in perfect happiness but afterwards would remember nothing of the experience, would you do so? If not, why not? (Further question: Which is more important: actual experiences, or the memories that remain when the experiences are over?) Thoughts posted 18 Feb.
Then we can counter the visual communication of our shinny head with the verbal explanation. The “without explaining” means that our bald heads alone are the explanation.
For the sake of fairness, then, I’ll change the question to make it more applicable to me: “Would I shave the fashionable, boy-band-type verticle stripes into my eyebrows for $10,000 without any sort of explanation?”
The answer: most definitely not.
As a teacher, I unfortunately have to worry to some degree about my image. A slob does not garner respect, and so I wear a tie every day. Similarly, a balding man in his early thirties trying to look fifteen years younger would bring about, I suspect, unwanted effects, to say the least.
On the other hand, I’ll be leaving this school in a matter of months, so in the long run, it’s a moot point.
The will to believe. Choosing to believe. Avoiding error. Seeking truth.
It all seems so simple from the outside.
I once chose to believe. At a point in my life, I went through the motions, hoping unconsciously that I could cultivate a belief (like a gay friend I had who was vaguely attracted to a girl, a feeling he hoped to “cultivate” into bisexuality) and knowing that I was fooling myself (much like my gay friend eventually admitted to himself).
And I did try. I wrote in my journal about belief and faith and the wonder of God’s love. I talked to friends at university about the marvel of forgiveness and what God did for us through Jesus. I prayed.
In early 1995, I began acknowledging in my personal journal the doubts I was having.
What is this thing, Christianity? It is the worship of a Jewish carpenter who lived two millennia ago. It is a religion based on a book, allegedly written by God’s inspiration. Was Christ more than a radical social reformer? Were his miracles more than a fictional construction of the gospel writers?
No matter how much I want to believe, to feel the fervor that others experience, I cannot.
Could Christ be the creation of a codependent society? The ultimate father-figure who provides the love a fleshly father should give?
The lingering adolescence in my writing style aside, I was filled with clichés. Perhaps that was the problem.
Another few weeks passed and a faculty member of the college I was attending died from cancer. During the memorial chapel, I scribbled the following in my journal:
Death — and my thoughts are again turned to religion. God is such an abstraction that I read about him and never feel him; not even death brings any real, any substantial emotion of which God is the source. The only feeling I get is doubt. Is that from God?
Doubt from God? It doesn’t seem possible, but from a liberal theology, it makes some sense. After all, if we can have Harvey Cox in The Secular City saying that God wants us to outgrow him and the whole “Death of God” theology of the sixties, why not divine doubt? Descartes, turned on his head.
Still later, again from my journal:
I find myself thinking of the whole God issue still. I am frustrated by the whole thing. I sit now in the library and just a moment ago I looked up at Rev. [Smith] and peered at his forehead, wondering what was in his mind, what books, what learning, what lectures. But mainly what beliefs. He firmly believes in God. He would stake his life on it, I would imagine. Yet that means nothing to me. No matter how important God is to him, God is still a mere abstraction to me. He’s a blurred, hazy idea, and little more than that. I can read Barth and Schleiermacher until I’m sick of them and yet it makes God no less concrete. I don’t believe in God. Not in a personal, substantial way. I read theology, talk about Christian ethics and doctrine, yet I don’t really believe in the basis of it all. It’s not that I am an atheist. It’s not that I choose not to believe in God — I just can’t believe in God.
Many Christians would read that and respond, “You read only theology? What about reading the Bible?” Indeed — what about reading the Bible? The more I read, the less I found that I liked. &(insetL)I learned in graduate school that “Schleiermacher” means “veil maker” in German. Appropriate, most seem to think.%
Doing produces believing? Yes, and no. From my personal experience, I see that for me it was impossible. But I was “playing” (for lack of a better term) in the Protestant tradition, and there’s not much “doing” there. The “smells and bells” for the Catholic tradition bring all the senses into ritual. Indeed — who can really talk of Protestant “ritual” or “liturgy?” Perhaps that’s why charismatic churches are so attractive to some — full body contact.
Yet the ritual can be without meaning — empty repetitions. Jesus, according to the Gospels, found that in first century Judea.
It does seem to reduce down to the will. People choose to believe often by choosing not to challenge those beliefs. I’ve always found it odd that it seems more non-believers read theistic apologetic than believers read The Case for Atheism. It’s tempting to be smug about that, to say that, “Well, that just shows we non-believers are more open, more willing to challenge our worldviews.”
I’m not sure how I’d explain it, though.
Most everyone knows Pascal’s Wager, drawn from a single paragraph in Pensées: belief in God is, in short, the safest bet. (“Read more on the Wager.) It’s interesting that people still apply it in earnest.
Most recently, I’ve heard Catholic philosopher Peter Kreeft use it in his 1995 Texas A&M Veritas Forum lecture.
One of the objections is the supposed inability to chose one’s beliefs. Pascal foresaw such an argument:
You would like to attain faith, and do not know the way; you would like to cure yourself of unbelief, and ask the remedy for it. Learn of those who have been bound like you, and who now stake all their possessions. These are people who know the way which you would follow, and who are cured of an ill of which you would be cured. Follow the way by which they began; by acting as if they believed, taking the holy water, having masses said, etc… But to show you that this leads you there, it is this which will lessen the passions, which are your stumbling-blocks.
Action precedes faith. Praying, meditating, going to Mass, all lead to faith. Crazy as that might sound, Pascal might indeed have a point. Polish writer Czesław Miłosz made the same point in The Captive Mind:
The Catholic Church wisely recognized that faith is more a matter of collective suggestion than of individual conviction. Collective religious ceremonies induce a state of belief. Folding one’s hands in prayer, kneeling, singing hymns _precede_ faith, for faith is a psycho-physical and not simply a psychological phenomenon.
Every Mass Catholics cite the Apostles’ Creed in one voice:
I believe in God the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth:
I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord; Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; He descended into hell; on the third day He arose from the dead; He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit; the holy catholic church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and life everlasting. Amen.
“I believe; I hear my neighbor beside me state that he believes; I am aware that my neighbor in front of me believes — we all believe. We all support each other in these beliefs.” That’s what I hear behind the words.
In that believing environment, which must be at least similar to Pascal’s environment, willing yourself to believe seems not only possible, but almost inescapable. Even as a “staunch” non-believer, I feel sometimes that tug toward belief, that desire not simply to fit in for the sake of fitting in, but to have what the parishioners around me seem to have.
There are two kinds of views on religion, wrote William James in The Varieties of Religious Experience:
For those who seek truth, the choice is obvious — bet on God. I’ve always been more the type to avoid error.
One of the most popular websites – judging by the number of comments – is Michele. It doesn’t take long to figure out why: her blog is not about herself exclusively, but also asks engaging questions, like a good host.
Gregory Stock beat her to it, though. I first discovered his Book of Questions (Amazon) when I was in high school. As one Amazon reviewer’s son said, “This book doesn’t have any answers, but it sure does make you think.”
The Book of Questions is just that: a book of engaging, sometimes provocative questions. From the introduction:
This is not a book of trivia questions, so don’t bother to look here for the name of either Tonto’s horse or the shortstop for the 1923 Yankees. These are questions of a different sort — questions about you. They are about your values, your beliefs, and your life; love, money, sex, integrity, generosity, pride, and death are all here. Some of the questions are indeed “heavy,” and some of them are almost jocular, but they are all mentally stimulating.
Rediscovering it on my bookshelf a few days ago, I realized that this is basically a blogger’s idea book written before the advent of the Internet, let alone blogging. It includes questions that, when honestly answered, could improve any blog, especially one like MTS that is growing staler by the day.
What I propose, then, is this: simul-blogging (the term, from my perspective, started at “Ocean”:http://ninacamic.blogspot.com/) to answer selected questions from Stock’s book. This would be different than merely commenting, as participants would not be initially influenced by others’ thoughts. Instead, we all write about the same question at roughly the same time, with a given date for publishing it — something along the lines of “Marginal”:http://marginal.typepad.com/ And “Fallible”:http://www.fallible.com/ do, but on larger scale.
Any takers? To begin with, perhaps something on the lighter side, banal even:
Question 120: Would you accept $10,000 to shave your head and continue your normal activities sans hat or wig without explaining the reason for your haircut?
My own answer will be posted on Friday 11 February. If you join in, paste the question at the top of your post, then leave a comment for Monday’s entry with a link to your answer.
A wise woman once wrote,
I, too, am saddened by so much of what I read in blogs, and comment threads are even worse. It’s as if writers are grabbing the mike and running to the stage without having once practiced the song they are about to force onto the audience. At first it seems funny and then it just seems sad, desperate, irresponsible.
Raging, inarticulate personal attacks in comments and posts are becoming all too common.
There are blogs that are devoted just to criticizing other blogs. And it’s not just attacks because of political views, but attacks based on, well, anything that doesn’t suit the “reviewer.”
There are also bloggers who go around biting ankles in comments.
Regrettably I’ve done both. This post is what’s left after all the spittle has been wiped away and people began talking civilly.
“It’s easy to tear down than to build up,” said my mother (though I suspect not just mine), and the truth of that is becoming more and more evident in blogs and comments. A few examples show the childish creativity we employ (and I’ve included my own comments in this list):
There is a full range of personal attacks and libel here. There are subtle jibes:
There are not so subtle jabs:
There are nuclear strikes:
And at least one hinted at something much bigger than a personal attack: “Have fun in Poland, hope you aren’t Jewish.”
Some of these comments were catalysts for others in the list, so it’s easy to see how things can spin out of control.
We attack; we get attacked; we retaliate more viciously than we were attacked; one of our friends sees the tangle and jumps in to help — soon it’s a playground brawl.
The problem is that the blogosphere is messy. It’s part of the aptly called “the web,” so it’s inherently difficult to track everything down and find out who indeed did start. By jumping in, as I have foolishly done, we may end up attacking the attacked when we should have turned our backs on the whole mess and gone to hang out at the swings.
“If you can’t say anything nice…”
Another problem is that the internet is essentially anonymous, and thus emotionally free:
People have no hesitation at being ugly over the internet simply because there is no cost to them. There is no personal investment to online discourse. The lack of personal interaction allows people to be as ugly as they want to be…which is often pretty ugly (Robert Fenton)
It’s like the crank calls my friends and I used to make back in the eighties when there was no caller ID and we were simply voices on the other end of the line. We can create whole personas on the internet, complete with false pictures, names, stats — everything. And in that liberated, new “us,” some of us show the darker, more immature sides of ourselves more often than we do in person. We’re all split personalities, as role theory points out, but the online personality can have a bit uglier voice than the others.
“I always think it is a shame when people stoop to personal attacks on other people, no matter what the medium” (Renee). My crank calls were never not so vitriolic as some of the things I’ve seen in comments.
In the end, it’s obviously better to sit back and watch the cat fights than to get involved. Sound advice for myself, a bit too late.