Thursday, November 30, 2006


Ok, I haven't the slightest idea of how to make this work correctly. What I'm trying to do is post links to some grapeseed oil, some protein powder (if you can't find a Whole Foods or a Central Market in your area), and nose plugs.

Thought I'd toss in the camera I use and the camcorder I just bought in case anyone was curious.

I'm back dating this so it doesn't get in the way of posts that might interest someone or be useful. So no, you didn't miss this post, I just buried it.

If anyone has a good on-line source for extra-light olive oil, be sure to let me know. The source I had quit shipping, though I find that I can buy it just fine at SAMS or COSTCO.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Coherent writing on grief, good ideas.

Suzette Haden Elgin wrote the following in an essay on grief and other things. She said it so much better than I could have:

Last night I read Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking, the book she wrote after the sudden death of her husband. Not an obvious good choice for someone like me, in whose extended family there has been so much sudden death; still, I have always enjoyed Didion's books and I wanted to read this one. And it turned out to be a good thing, because she wrote about something that I haven't seen written about before -- it may be a staple of memoirs, for all I know, but I haven't seen it before -- something that it did me good to read. Which brings me to this post. "On most surface levels I seemed rational," Didion says on page 42, but she explains at length and in detail, over the course of many chapters, that she was in fact not rational at all, she was just going through the motions of being rational while being quite mad.

This got my attention because it is precisely what was true of me when my first husband -- Peter Haden -- died suddenly and without warning at age 29. I went through the motions of being rational while being quite mad. Over the years since then I've wondered now and then why somebody didn't notice what was happening and take some sort of action to look after me; reading Didion, I suppose that it must have been because "on most surface levels I seemed rational."

Read the whole thing. It left me inarticulate, but it is so very well written, as are many of the comments.

For something completely different, yet on the same theme, if you feel overwhelmed in the holiday season, try a fondue meal for Thanksgiving or Christmas (kind of like we do Chinese food for Christmas Eve).

We do group meals with friends, but if you can't cope with having other people, try fondue.

Naiah has a great essay on how to do it: Our fondue Thanksgiving

Well worth considering.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Joy, Hope, Faith at the end of random thoughts

The South has a beautiful climate and rich soil, but slavery ruins any soil -- Brigham Young
Made me think that may be why (in part) the South is so wonderful now, because slavery is so far behind. It really is great to live in Texas.

How a parent discovered that her child was not being taught math properly in school:

"When my oldest child, an A-plus stellar student, was in sixth grade, I realized he had no idea, no idea at all, how to do long division. ... so I went to school and talked to the teacher, who said, 'We don't teach long division; it stifles their creativity.' -- The New York Times
Most jobs suck at least as badly as taking care of (your own) home and children. There are a lot more bookkeepers and factory workers in the world than there are economics correspondents for international newspapers.
Asymmetrical Information
My own grandmother used to go pick up the mail driving a ponycart pulled by a matched pair of young deer from her father's deer park.
Ozarque ... and Ozarque
... and Ozarque

Do I agree with any of the above quotes or thoughts? I don't know, just that they are thoughts that give my reflection. I take joy in the time I spend caring for my own children and am thankful, among so many things, to have two of them home for Thanksgiving.

I was reading the first true "current grief" blog I've run into ( / see also an entry at another blog ), and realized how grateful I am to be able to fit more into my life than grief and to know, day to day, joy, hope and faith.

This day, in the midst of everything, I am grateful and thankful.

Friday, November 17, 2006

On ethics and professional life

The excerpt below links to a very well written essay:

When lawyers speak with envy or admiration about other lawyers, they do not mention a lawyer=s devotion to family or public service, or a lawyer=s innate sense of fairness, or even a lawyer=s skill at trying cases or closing deals, nearly as much as they mention a lawyer=s billable hours, or stable of clients, or annual income.

It is very difficult for a young lawyer immersed in this culture day after day to maintain the values she had as a law student. Slowly, almost imperceptibly, young lawyers change. They begin to admire things they did not admire before, be ashamed of things they were not ashamed of before, find it impossible to live without things they lived without before. Somewhere, somehow, a lawyer changes from a person who gets intense pleasure from being able to buy her first car stereo to a person disappointed with a $100,000 bonus.

He is correct when he states "Research has shown that, with the exception of those living in poverty, people are almost always wrong in thinking that more money will make them happier."

It is too easy to be seduced by material things.

I've been thinking about that. Most of my career I did not track billable hours as much as we do now. Where I work, the demands are modest. But I deal with people all the time who work on the same files as I do (as co-counsel or as counsel for co-defendants), and I'm learning, as well as learning about my own weaknesses.

It is important to keep good examples in mind, of those who saw the better way.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Stereotype deficit, my Aunt Mary, etc.

I grew up without stereotypes. My grandfather quit his first church over his pastor joining the KKK and that kind of attitude just kind of kept in the family.

That came up again when someone was talking about crazy Irish Catholics. I've got an Irish Catholic Aunt. When I think of Irish Catholics I think of dependable and hard working people you can trust and like. There may have been alcoholics in the family, but not my Aunt.

Kind of like when I think of Hispanics or Latinos. In my mind it is (hardworking) Hispanic, etc. It probably isn't fair, but in my experience in the non-academic world (I've never been a real academic so I can't say for academia), the Blacks and Hispanics I've known were a little more competent than the average, a little harder working. Ok, many of them were a lot harder working.

The problem comes up when I have to deal with stereotypes. Instead of them making sense to me, most cause a cognitive disconnect. A friend of mine said it was simple, I suffered from a stereotype deficit. Blame it on your Aunt Mary he said, she shouldn't have been so reliable and hard working and I'd have been fine.

Thanks, I said, I'll keep her just the way she is.

On page 124 of Lewis Mehl-Madrona's _Narrative Medicine: The Use of History and Story in the Healing Process_, the author describes....

"the experiments of psychologists Claude Steele and Joshua Aronson, which involved black and white students answering questions from the Graduate Record Examination, the standardized test used for entrance into graduate school. When the black students were asked about their race before answering questions, the number of questions they answered correctly was cut in half. This is an example of a master narrative of American culture that says that blacks are not as smart as whites and don't deserve to succeed. When the psychologists asked the black students if it bugged them to be asked about their race before the test, they answered, 'No,' and added that they just didn't think they were smart enough to be at the university."

[References for the research mentioned: "Stereotype Threat and the Intellectual Test Performance of African-Americans," by Claude M. Steele and Joshua Aronson, on pp. 797-811 of the _Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 69 (1995); "Thin Ice: 'Stereotype Threat' and Black College Students," by Claude M. Steele, on pp. 44-47 and 50-54 of the 2/99 _Atlantic Monthly_.]

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Forgiveness is no favor

Forgiveness is no favor. We do it for no one but ourselves. We simply pay too high a price when we refuse to forgive.

Can we afford to hold to self-destructiveness and why?

Someone shared that thought with me recently and I found a variation of it on the web. But it is one I've long believed (and have posted about before).

The reason "the greater sin" is in the person who does not forgive, is that failing to forgive is the only way anything bad done to us can harm us beyond the walls of the world. We forgive not to help others, but to save ourselves.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Real love means service and kindness

It is interesting that originally, Eve was created as a "help meet" for Adam -- i.e. one who was his equal. In the mythline, it is only in the imperfect world that "thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee." (Genesis 4:16). If you've ever known a girl who dropped all of her friends every time she had a new boyfriend, or a woman who put the latest man ahead of family, children and everything else, in a pathological fashion, you've seen this in action.

There are a number of texts that take this one step further, telling women that if they desire to escape an imperfect state, the first thing they have to do is agree with God not to follow men or listen to them or heed them when the men are wrong and not heeding the Spirit of the Holy One. What has always interested me is how often those receiving or passing that message along get it as women are to obey men. cf Unrighteous Dominion in Marriage.
"A man needs to understand that his power to influence his wife or children for good can only come through love, praise, and patience. It can never be brought about by force or coercion"


"Remember that neither the wife nor the husband is the slave of the other. Husbands and wives are equal partners, particularly Latter-day Saint husbands and wives. They should so consider themselves and so treat each other in this life, and then they will do so throughout eternity."
If you intend to seek perfection in an imperfect world, then it is important to seek to return to equality and love, where to lead is to serve and love, as Christ did, rather than to command and to act in equality and help rather than in dominion (or in being dominated). Of all relationship advice, especially for men, the advice that real love means service and kindness and care is the most important advice I can think of in aiding us to escape the pathology of an imperfect world and in returning to grace.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Anger at God

A friend gave me this short essay or comment:
We all experience times when we feel angry with God. Perhaps, in the past our reaction to this anger has been to pretend it did not exist, denying our anger to God and to ourselves. or, perhaps we reacted to it by giving up on prayer entirely. As we seek to to recover with God's help, neither option will work.

We must go ahead and express our anger, but we must also keep talking to God. The anger passes, answers come, and we find that we have drawn closer to God through this experience. We clarify issues, we express our feelings honestly, and we communicate in a very tangible way with the higher power that we need.
Grief and loss cause anger. I know people whose anger is larger than they are and that they can not deal with. Everything else they have been able to cope with, to accept and to integrate, except for their anger with God. Anger with God may be even more damaging to the heart than bitterness, especially because it creates such blockage and is so far beyond our grasp.

But knowledge is a start, though it seems that in many ways, all of grief is just a start.

Terms of Service, Spam and Trolls

Sitemeter is neat. It tells me (if I care to look) where visitors come from* and when they post, etc.

That also means that it is quite possible to cross link the time of a post by a troll or a spammer and follow-up on it. Since I've had some that were annoying enough, and since I've been thinking about a TOS statement anyway, here goes with my favorite, with thanks to some inspiration.**

By reading or posting here you agree to the Terms of Service that govern this site. You agree than any commercial spam, or any trolling, contractually obligates you, your assigns, licensees, privies and employers, and anyone you work as an agent for or who provides you internet access, to pay liquidated damages benchmarked by the highest per incident amount for copyright infringement (currently about $250,000.00) or the amount in the parenthesis prior, whichever is greater.

You agree to binding arbitration and to venue and jurisdiction in Collin County Texas using an arbitrator of my choice residing in the venue and jurisdiction.

You also agree to prejudgment execution including transfer of urls and domain names used in spam by you or your agents. You agree to full arbitration of all issues, including the authority of agents to post spam for you and authorize the transfer of domain names used in spam as an immediate remedy prior to the arbitration ruling. Any spam or troll posting includes a grant of a power of attorney by the poster and any person said may be an agent for to execute any and all steps to pursue remedies, including drafting on bank accounts or access to credit or transfer of domains.

Infliction of extreme mental anguish is to be presumed, and a stipulation that such is actionable in tort is also agreed to by all posters who spam or troll, even though such will also stipulate that if same is pursued in tort rather than contract that it was unintentional (though intentional if pursued in contract) though culpable that same is not to be discharged in bankruptcy and that rather than be renewed, as a judgment may need to be to keep from going dormant, all awards are permanent and do not go dormant.

All posters also agree to allow my use of their posts (and to transfer copyright to same) by virtue of posting here, so as to allow blog book publication and similar use without compensation beyond the satisfaction of having posted and having had the post published.

Yes. I dislike spammers and trolls.

* Sample:

Domain Name ? (Educational)
IP Address 137.165.213.# (Williams College Campus)
ISP Williams College Campus

I picked the sample because it is completely innocuous, someone visiting for SLD information that I am glad to have shared.

NOTICE TO SPAMMERS, COMMENT ROBOTS, TRACKBACK SPAMMERS AND OTHER NON-HUMAN VISITORS: No comment or trackback left via a robot is ever welcome at Three Years of Hell. Your interference imposes significant costs upon me and my legitimate users. The owner, user or affiliate who advertises using non-human visitors and leaves a comment or trackback on this site therefore agrees to the following: (a) they will pay fifty cents (US$0.50) to Anthony Rickey (hereinafter, the "Host") for every spam trackback or comment processed through any blogs hosted on, or, irrespective of whether that comment or trackback is actually posted on the publicly-accessible site, such fees to cover Host's costs of hosting and bandwidth, time in tending to your comment or trackback and costs of enforcement; (b) if such comment or trackback is published on the publicly-accessible site, an additional fee of one dollar (US$1.00) per day per URL included in the comment or trackback for every day the comment or trackback remains publicly available, such fee to represent the value of publicity and search-engine placement advantages.

Note, I asked the author for permission to use, emend and copy this and he said yes, though my use is currently limited to a footnote to reflect inspiration.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Shangri-la Diet, maintenance

There are several ways that you end up at your ideal weight, and keeping it, on the Shangri-la Diet.
  • Glide to a stop
  • Tweak to a stop
  • Gentle cycle
  • Additional Push
Gliding to a stop happens when you continue using the same amount of oil as you started with and you eventually quit losing weight at about the spot you want to stop losing weight. Every month on the diet with the same amount of daily flavorless calories, you will lose less weight. Some people pretty much plateau out permanently where they want to stop.

Tweaking to a stop comes when you hit where you want to stop, but you are still losing weight, so you adjust the amount of calories you use to push your set point down. Seth Roberts did that (in fact he lost about 10+ pounds too many before he got the balance right).

Gentle cycling is what I'm doing now. I'm not sure where I would glide to a stop, I know it is close to where I'm at, but I'm practicing letting my set point drop and then pushing it up with various ditto foods, gaining and losing the same four pounds over and over again -- I've been doing that for the last two-three months. There is an endless supply of ditto food, even without eating chocolate (I'm allergic to chocolate).

Additional push is what Tim Beneke did and others are doing. They glide to a stop at a higher weight than they'd like, so they use various forms of flavorless calories or altered spicing methods to push their set point lower than the normal calories alone would do it. A simple method is once you have an amount of oil and have lost as much weight as that will take you to, you then start taking in a second dose of flavorless calories using flavorless protein such as Designer Whey or NutraSoy (available in bulk at Whole Foods and similar stores -- very inexpensive).

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

A return to joy

I blog about a number of things, but I thought I'd also blog about the return of joy.

Grief is so terribly wearing, like a gray sandstone fog, to the point one sometimes feels that there will be nothing left. Often it breaks things, things that have been part of one for years, like my friend who suddenly could not sing after the death of her youngest child, or my inability to continue in Shotokan Karate after practicing it for years.

Grief is one of the reasons I am a litigator and not a mediator.

While everyone warns you that the pain never leaves you (much like David O. McKay's wife talking about the pain of losing her son still piercing her when she was in her eighties), they fail to tell you that joy returns too.

I have a lot of joy in my life. I really enjoy my work, it is so precious to walk my daughter to school every morning, and I take joy in my wife.

So, among all the other truths about grief, the light in the fog is that there is also a return to joy.