Thursday, December 28, 2006

What does submission mean ...

A friend of mine, Pistas3, has made some comments about Paul's writings being pro-women when read as intended. She has been a little busy (I asked her almost seven years ago it seems for a longer comment ... but graduate school and life happen to us all), but I found a similar scholarly analysis:

In fact, Ephes. 5.22 is elliptical, and so when Paul gets around to saying "wives to husbands as to the Lord." and so on, he is presupposing the meaning of submission enunciated in vs. 21--namely that that wife's submission should only be offered in the context of mutual submission. When the husband is exhorted to love his wife as Christ does the church, this is another form that mutual submission takes in Christ.

Mutual submission in Christ is what submission means, not one to the other.

So, how are we doing ...

Well, other than wanting to see more friends more often (things get so busy), this is probably the best Christmas we've had. Now, if we can only catch up with the Greens (and my thanks to the people who sent me the phone number for Billy Joe -- your e-mail address bounced when I sent a thank you note to you, but I had a great talk with him and he gave me Bob Smith's number to [I think, I had the strangest dream and woke up with Bob Smith's number on my telephone's saved number list]).

Our Christmas letter follows. I think we got them all mailed (they were in the kitchen when we had our fire, and I still worry ...).



is at BYU. A

Neuroscience Major

Rachel is now in first grade

with Soccer, Girl Scouts, Judo

Piano, Earthsavers, Book Buddies

Chess Club. Mom tired. Steve is still

at St. Paul Travelers. Happy man. Skinny

man. He lost 75 pounds. In Judo too. His

Mom and Dad moved in down the street. Bought

a house and started major renovations. Win still doing

Anesthesia. Chairs Landscaping project for elementary school,

chairs Ward Activity Committee. Girl Scout Leader. Very Tired




That was our family Christmas letter. I got Win to approve it when she was very tired, later, on reading it again, she laughed when she realized I was talking about her being perfect and gorgeous, then realized I had sent that out to everyone we sent cards to (though we lost too many addresses in a PDA crash and the fire).

I'm so grateful to have gotten through a Christmas without the memories overwhelming us or another tragedy striking and to have a living, happy seven-year-old in the house, and Heather home for the holidays.

Another blog by a parent in grief.

Monday, December 25, 2006


Well, it is the "real" Christmas morning and everyone is still healthy and breathing.

Sometimes you just need to be grateful and to breathe.

Sometimes there is nothing more that you can really give or that you really need.

Christmas with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square

almost as good as Christmas at home with my sleeping baby (ok, she is really seven years old now, but she is sleeping like a baby).

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Books.

Each Little Bird That Sings (Golden Kite Honors (Awards)) by Deborah Wiles (Hardcover - Mar 1, 2005) -- a story of death, life and transition, about a ten year old girl whose family owns the town's funeral home when death visits her. As a reviewer said "The book could easily have turned cutesy or, 190 degrees the other way, overly morbid. That it is neither of these is something just short of a miracle."

For a time when you need someone else's grief and someone else's humor.

We had a lot of books for Christmas at our house. (Yes, we had Christmas a day early because of work and other issues).

May you have found a good book for Christmas, to bring Christ and his hope back into your life.

I'd love to have the suggestions of any visitors of good books.

Friday, December 22, 2006

I didn't know that was what they really meant

"Birds, I've missed birds. I knew they flew south for the winter, but I didn't know that was what they really meant -- that they would all be gone."

When the birds fly south for the winter from Dallas, it means the geese fly over head and the ducks leave, but lots of birds are still to be found. In Utah, my daughter discovered that when the birds go south for the summer they all go south, leaving a land completely barren of flying things.

Yes, Heather is back from BYU for Christmas, Rachel is now seven and still alive and it has been a wonderful day.

When they told me that when I got older I'd be happy with simple things, I didn't know that was what they meant.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Only girl in the chess tournament, youngest too.

Rachel went to her first chess tournament. She was the only first grader from her school, the only girl at the tournament. Small, just three schools teams (I think, may have been four), Swiss style tournament. She came in sixth place and her team took first place.

I'm pleased as punch, to use the old saying, and it was a great day. I had to skip a test for Judo, but Rachel is more important. I'll have next year, but this was her only chance to be the only six year old in a chess tournament, her first, and to bring home a trophy (different trophies for sixth through first place).

Friday, December 15, 2006

Peacetalk 101 -- Elgin's Advent Story

Another book by Elgin, about someone who found hope in the Christmas Holiday after falling into the deepest of despair. Read the reviews and the sample chapter on-line to decide if it is for you.

Peacetalk 101 (Paperback)
by Suzette Haden Elgin
(5 customer reviews)
29 used & new from $6.00

What other books can you think of that preach hope to people who face despair?

For more on Elgin visit or her blog at

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Patricia A. McKillip, reprise


I just read her Alphabet of Thorns -- just when I really needed a book of that sort. It brought me joy.

So I decided to look for more about her on-line. Found things that Google didn't provide me before, such as the link above.

Alphabet of Thorn
Alphabet of Thorn by Patricia A. McKillip (Hardcover - Feb 3, 2004) - Bargain Price
Used & new from $6.99
In Stock

Is what Amazon had to say. I'm afraid I paid about that for a trade paperback,
but I'm glad

If there are books that have helped you or given you comfort when you needed it, please mention them in the comments.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Seasons of the heart, emotions and time

Christmas season brings up such a flow of emotion in almost everyone. The vitality of emotion also causes everything driven by emotion to surface, as well as emotions. Grief, joy, love, sorrow, gratitude and resentment all rise on the same tide.

At the same time, in grief, there are separate seasons of the heart, driven by events, by memories, by anniversaries and by the passage of time. Sometimes they coincide with the physical seasons and the ebb and flow of holidays. That is especially true in my life.

I find that if I allow everything to rise, to flow through me and into me and to become a part of me (which it already is), then I am me for the season, and can encompass the joy of it along with the sorrow, the sweet as well as the bitter. To be one makes me whole.

May you be whole this season, healed by the light that is in Christ.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Normal does not equal desirable. Or even survivable.

Normal does not equal desirable. Or even survivable.

That is a great line. So many things in grief are "normal" and yet so many people do not survive them.

God bless all of you, each and every one. May normal for you be desirable, and may the season bring you joy.

Christmas Program (by Win Marsh)

Christmas Program December, 2006

6:30 pm – Santa set up in overflow area

7:00 pm – Dinner service begins with Bishopric offering opening prayer

7:15 pm – 15th Street Starts (Singing group, beautiful harmonies)

7:30 pm Lights Dim

Vance Bryson in chair with microphone.

Picks up scriptures and starts to read

Read Luke Chapter 2, Verses 1-5

Mary and Joseph walk into the room from back entrance. Both look tired. Joseph is helping Mary who is obviously pregnant. They have a lantern.

“Oh Mary, we are finally here in Bethlehem. Now we just need to find a place to stay. “

looks at him and nods. She walks as if she is exhausted.

“ I’m sure you feel better after a rest. (Pause) I see an Inn right over there. Do you think you can go just a little farther?”

Joseph and Mary present themselves at the door. There is an Innkeeper outside sweeping.

Innkeeper #1:
“Don’t even ask. Every room is full. The hall is full. There are absolutely no rooms left. Try my brother’s place across the way. He still had a room available this afternoon.” Innkeeper waves them off towards the other side of the cultural hall.

Mary and Joseph walk on to the second door. They knock.

Joseph: “Your brother told us that you might have a room.”

Innkeeper #2:
“ I did have a room. A terrible room. But even it is gone now. There have been so many people arriving today that there just isn’t anything left in town. Even my own house is rented out. My family is staying with my cousin.”

Mary and Joseph slowly walk away. Walk through diners towards other side of cultural hall.

“O Little Town of Bethlehem

Joseph knocks on third door.

Innkeeper just waves them away.

Innkeeper stops and watches them walk away.

Mary and Joseph slump their shoulders and walk slower and slower. Innkeeper watches, pauses, calls them back.

Innkeeper #3: “Come back. You won’t find rooms tonight. There is no room in my inn – or in any other inn tonight in Bethlehem. I do have a stable. We could put down some clean straw and a couple of blankets. It is the best I can do for you tonight. It is safe and out of the wind.”

Mary and Joseph look at each other, nod and go back to the innkeeper. They are led out the door.

Vance: Read Matt Chapter 2: Verses 1-9

Young Men enter through back doors singing “We Three Kings” and travel out through the doors closest to the stage.

Vance: Read Luke Chapter 2: Verses 8-12

Shepherds are gathered with their animals. Angel appears. They follow angel across the room to the door closest to the stage.

“Away In A Manger”

Curtains open: Nativity Scene

“Silent Night”

Curtains Close

FireTruck at the Marsh House

Rachel thought it was the neatest thing ever. Myself, I'm not a big fan of stove fires breaking out while I'm not in the house, and I'd have been happier if the doors throughout the house were closed instead of open, but the turkey got its last revenge ...

The fire department dropped by, used their blower to evacuate smoke, confirmed things were at a non-toxic level, gave Rachel a tour of the fire engine (it was really neat) and were properly buff and heroic. We've a lot of laundry left to do, but I washed the counter tops and floor and then Win did it again.

I'm grateful it is over and that everyone is OK. I'm also grateful it wasn't my fault. Better to be mildly amused and helping out ...

It is a wonderful morning.

Automated spammers ... amazed beyond belief

My website,, had the following for last month:

2528 1.60% 45399 3.30% /Guestbook/guestbook.cgi

That is twenty-five hundred hits plus on a cgi script that doesn't do anything on my website and that has no external links to it. All of those by spam robots.

I've gone from a mild distaste for spam, to a real dislike of it, to being stunned beyond belief at it.


# Hits Search String

1 501 10.11% swords
2 131 2.64% mediation
3 118 2.38% adr
4 88 1.78% fallen angels
5 79 1.59% alternative dispute resolution
6 79 1.59% what makes a hero
7 44 0.89% death of a child
8 44 0.89% real swords
9 40 0.81% loss of a child
10 34 0.69% que es la comunicacion
11 25 0.50% oni
12 22 0.44% heroquest
13 22 0.44% wing commander
14 20 0.40% adr dispute resolution
15 20 0.40% shared custody
16 19 0.38% necro
17 15 0.30% divorce law in texas
18 14 0.28% mediation statistics
19 14 0.28% wolf man
20 13 0.26% joint physical custody

As long as the following statistic remains true, the site remains up:

8 375 0.24% 212 0.87% /living/sloss.htm

In spite of spam, some good is being done.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Understanding vs. endorsing

I once made the mistake of responding to the question "how can x group be so blind or so stupid as to not ..." The response to explaining why the mistake was being made was so harsh I left that group. There were too many members who could not separate understanding from endorsing, explaining from believing (though one person remarked that I was continually making the mistake of explaining both sides of an issue and thereby irritating people who had chosen one side or the other).

Understanding is not endorsing. Much like a refusal to talk is merely a choice of communication strategies.

"We do not talk with terrorists" or "we do not talk with criminals" seems silly when you ask the person saying it "So, do you mean you do not communicate with them?" Not only that, but most police departments have found that they get better law enforcement and achieve their goals better when they communicate with, usually by talking with, those who have taken hostages or committed other crimes. It would amaze many people to learn just how much good police work is done by talking.

It would amaze many people how important to good police work understanding is.

The police are the last to endorse crime, to intend to give in to criminals. Yet, they are the first to understand and to communicate with criminals, given the chance.

Understanding is not endorsement, communication and talk is not surrender.

Responsibility v. Caprice

A while back I read an essay that contrasted communities of duty against those of choice. It was interesting, and from a liberal perspective made the first argument against gay marriage that made any sense to me (not that it was convincing, but at least it made sense), but in trying to understand, it missed the point.

The point is not that some people have communities and relationships formed by duty and some that are created by choice, but that some people are responsible and some people appear to be ruled by caprice and whim.

There may be some issue of duty in terms of family members caring for family members, but it is more about being responsible. There may be some duty in members of the church caring for each other, but it is more about love and responsibility. The same is true of those who participate in the children's medical clinic we have locally. I guess some one who volunteers feels a duty, but mostly they are just responsible and they chose compassion.

The network of relationships that forms any community has a great deal of choice, but it is founded on responsibility, not duty. It is not as if there is some lifeless, drudge filled "red" state of mind driven my grudging duty that should be juxtaposed against the glorious freedom of choice and the blue light of freedom.

Rather, many people see it as a choice between being responsible and being ruled by caprice and whim. Aesop got it. Bruce Hafen understood it (see his "love is not blind" speech). But until someone understands that what is going on is perceived as a clash between responsibility and arbitrary caprice rather than a clash between duty and choice, they will not understand and will only insult instead of engage.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Rachel, I think that's cheating ...

Though darn inventive ...

My six-year-old created an alphabet code (one where you replace letters with various numbers). Nothing big, except she invented the idea herself. She then wrote a message in her code.

My wife asked her what she was writing. "The difficult spelling words." Yes, she planned to remember the complete code and translate from the numbers back to words for the difficult first grade spelling words ...

We broke it to her that her plan was probably cheating, not to mention harder than just learning the words (her code wasn't strictly alphabetical and did not include all the letters, only the ones in the words and a few more that she really likes).

Creative little kid though. I sure do love her.

Rhythms of Communication: The Universal Language

There are certain communication patterns that are hardwired into human infants. Every child, well before they can speak, if they can hear, speaks the universal rhythms.
  • The pattern of encouragement ("good boy, yeah");
  • The staccato "no, no, no" pattern;
  • The comforting rhythm ("oooh");
  • The happy "look at that honey" pattern; and,
  • "Watch out" or beware.
Is there a universal grammar for human beings? Is more than this set of rhythms innate? I do not know. But even the deaf, for whom sounds must be touch (rather than the famous "sound is touch at a distance") speak this language, hear and feel and see the patterns, when they are children, before they know words or signs or even that they really are.

When the angel appeared to the shepherds, I wonder what rhythm he or she spoke "Fear not" to -- Angels say that so often it must be universal too.

December Morning ...

Memories haunt me in December. Intensely sometimes, not at others, all the more so with a six-year-old in my life again. With any luck, this December will pass and the echoes will pass with it.

I often save things to read for times like this. One thing I saved was an oral history of Philip M. Flammer, a professor I dearly enjoyed when I was younger. It did not fail me, and I really enjoyed it (you can too, as a call to BYU can get you a photocopy of Richard Poll's interview of Philip Flammer in the Joint Oral History Project).

I'd still like to find him (I got the history trying to find him through BYU just after he retired) to tell him just how much I appreciate things he taught me that stayed with me through my life.

Even in this December.

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.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Blog traffic, history, themes and posts

That is the history of how my blog traffic has gone. Some things draw a lot of attention (e.g. the Shangri-la Diet) and some things draw very little attention or readership (e.g. grief). You would think I would blog more on dieting and less on grief, but anyone can write or blog on dieting. There is a method, it is free, easy and it works.

On the other hand, there aren't that many people blogging about grief, and when someone is in need, it is worth blogging to be there for them.

On a related topic, life, grief and reality, I've been thinking about what it means that we are eternal. I've even been thinking what it would mean if we were only as old as the last ice age.

I meet people in their 80s and 90s who look at changing the sheets as something that happens every half hour. In November they are planning for next year's Christmas. Yet, I remember what it was like to be a young child and to have Halloween coming up and to think Christmas was forever away.

I can imagine someone who is a thousand years old, who sees Christmas coming so fast that it is the same as I think of sleeping tonight. How fast must even sixty or seventy years seem to someone who is ten thousand years old?

At that point, no matter how intense emotion seems now, no matter how long it seems to last (and it seems like forever sometimes), how intense is loss, how long does it really last if it is temporary?

I can see someone who is ten thousand years old saying that everything terrible anyone can experience in this life "is but a little moment" and that while it is significant to those who experience it, we perhaps over rate the importance of whatever sorrow, loss or mishaps we have in our brief lives.

I look at the standard of living I have now, and I look at the Sun King of France, and I prefer my life to his. Were things unfair then? Yes, but I suspect that anyone in the Kingdom of Heaven will prefer their life to the life I lead now. They will probably see as much difference between my life and the lives of others in this era as I see between the lice on the Sun King and the lice on one of his peasants.

Less, perhaps, if they look at life the way many game players look at game experiences and choices. For a game, for experience, for learning and perspective, people prefer vastly different lives for their characters than any of us would choose for ourselves. Yet, to our eternal selves, we are the characters that they lead or play in order to learn, have experience and gain perspective.

Which blends religious retrospective with grief themes, something that draws the least attention of anything I write, yet is what I find the most meaningful.

day labor, 60 pound jackhammer, thoughts

ultrasonic ringtones are neat because most people can't hear them. Two years ago, I could still hear tones in the 14K+ range. Now, I'm fifty, and I've discovered I cut off around 8K. That means that ultrasonics used to run teenagers off of spaces in the mall don't work on me (but they aren't aimed at me anyway), but it also means that instead of putting her cell phone on silent, my daughter can just use an ultrasonic ringtone and I won't hear it or be bothered. The same is true of most of the people who teach her in school. A 22K ringtone is one she can hear and none of the "adults" can.

Ok, on to the topic I was going to blog about.

As my parents continue to work on their house, we had to take out all the flowerbeds. One, they were already pretty much out (except for the bottom layer of bricks and the concrete footer), Two, the dirt had to be lowered to keep the termites from coming back.

I'm not sure who it was that decided that a 16" footer was necessary. But that means a jackhammer and a wheelbarrow.

After a day of that, someone at church mentioned the day labor station in town. Legal workers, at $8.00 an hour, who work very, very hard. We paid them more, and a tip, and fed them, and felt they earned all of their pay. They also ran that jackhammer faster than I had.

I appreciate that illegal labor gets talked about a lot, but it made me feel very humbled to meet such hardworking legal workers, two of many lined up for work, eager to work very hard for not very much.

This weekend I just moved a lot of bricks and other trash to the trash pile. Win mudded walls, installed cabinets and laid tile. A friend said I'd better watch out or a fiery chariot would be showing up to take her to heaven while we all stayed behind. My parents are grateful for her efforts and I'm impressed.

I'll blog more later, just have been very busy.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Some useful or interesting links

I need to blog about responsible communities vs. communities of whim, but I've been busy with kids and life and my parents moving in three houses down. Learned how to use a sixty pound jackhammer, have been practicing maintenance (i.e. how to not lose or gain any more weight for a while as my body gets used to missing about half of its current mass), lots of work going on at work.

I was also going to write a post about how my dad evacuated a burning barracks in Vietnam, he got a medal for that, which was taken away (bottom line: it was the "colored" barracks and he is white and therefor had violated an unofficial segregation order by doing something when the morter round that hit next door started that barracks wing on fire). Of course my dad is the real hero to me in my life. I just couldn't think of more to say than what I've said.

I'm also nearing the one year point on my diet experience, and getting much too close to Christmas. Mentally, I know that a child getting ready to turn seven and Christmas are unrelated to disaster, but there is so much emotional resonance going on that it is difficult.

Last time the world seemed so happy is when it all fell apart. A summer of windsurfing, warmth into the late season, so many days with my girls and the first year my law practice really seemed to have come together, I'd never been happier or more secure feeling, as if the entire world was on track. Last time I felt at all physically fit or together too.

At least I feel more sympathy for people who engage in superstitions. Emotion is a hard master to escape some times.

I'll blog again when I'm freer from it.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Hometeacher, hero, life saver ...

Some time after the Tet offensive, in Da Nang, a "home teacher" whom I'll call "Bob" (a "home teacher" is an LDS lay member who visits with other members, Bob was a military guy just trying to cheer up other guys in the service) was in "the swamp" with the air force guys there. All day there had been so-called pressure on the perimeter. South Vietnamese soldiers had responsibility for guarding the perimter at that point, with the U.S. Marines responsible for responding to any serious threat.

The Air Force's MMS was there, with a light colonel in charge. That light colonel and all of the officers and master sergeants had been "redeployed" (i.e. they had evacuated), but everyone else had been left behind. The marines were not taking any action or moving in to reinforce the perimeter guards, and the colonel's last order had been for all the general enlisted guys to stay put, or else.

As things got bad, Bob could have left, but he felt responsible and he was a shooter, so he moved into one of the two machine gun nests and started laying down suppressing fire. It wasn't long before Bob realized he was the only person firing back at North Vietnamese who were getting much closer . The perimeter guards had all faded away, the U.S. Marine Corps was not responding to calls, claiming they would not move until and unless they had orders or were under attack themselves, and the Air Force guys, bless their hearts, lacked combat skills or training.

At this point, the perimeter was overrun. The breech was serious where the MMS (missile maintenance squadron) was concerned, though easily contained to that area, almost as if it was intentional (easily contained breaches are good for medal counts in the counter-attack as it makes everyone look like a hero who drives the enemy out). If Bob got out now, the rest of the guys would probably be in the casualty count. If he stayed, he expected that most of them would be able to get out before he was, err, neutralized, but he couldn't expect the marines to help or to relieve him. He stayed put and kept up a steady rate of fire.

As I said, Bob was a shooter. He was also lucky. Nearby ROK marines from the Tiger Battalion noticed the problem and unilaterally, without orders and without allowing communications to stop them, counter-attacked before Bob went into the neutralized column. He had burns on his hands and face; even with more than one assault rifle to work with, his rate of fire had been high enough that the weapons were burning hot. He had first and second degree burns, though he was lucky enough to heal without scarring. The Korean colonel, Lee, was awarded a silver star and sent home because of his complaints over Bob's court martial (which was later cleared off of Bob's records).

BTW, Robert Oaks served in the area as the same time as "Bob" who home taught my dad, there in the swamp. I don't know if his term of service in Vietnam overlapped with this particular event.

As somewhat of an epilog, right after that happened, the first shirt checked out two grenades. The guy in charge of the inventory that shift gave him thermite grenades (those will burn a hole in something, but they don't blow up) and sure enough, the light colonel ended up with two holes very near him -- some property damage, but nothing fatal.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

LDS Heros -- My brother Daniel, on the Alcan Highway 1968

We were stopped to camp for the night and my brother heard someone cry out for help. A little kid had fallen in a stream and was being washed away. Daniel dove in and rescued the kid. As he pulled the kid out, the kid was crying about his shoe that was lost, so Daniel dove back in and rescued the shoe too.

Dan was born in 1957 and it was 1968 or 1969 when this happened, so he wasn't much more than a kid himself.

But this incident pretty much catches Daniel, who never does anything by half measures, risk his life to save your little brother, then back in to save his shoe too.

He is still that kind of guy.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

What if we really are all equal?

If we really are all equal, and if we really are supposed to love and care for each other, then my right to be offended at my bishop is about equal to his right to be offended at me. My duty to reach out to him is the same as his duty to reach out to me.

I take it literally when I am told that we are all children of God. We are all children. It is important to think of others as children who need to be treated kindly, no matter who they are. I thought a lot about that in church today, and have been thinking on the topic for a while.

One other thing that I've thought about, in different ways, was the topic of today's lesson in church. It was on being followers, and I've been thinking on that. To follow and support leaders it is important that we be:

thoughtful in relation to problems

One of the most important gifts we can give others who deal with us is the comfort of predictability, so that they know what to expect from us. Yes, I want someone who can be reliable, but I would rather have predictability, because without it, I can not rely.

Next, reliability is so important. At work things would break down if we could not rely on each other.

Being cheerful helps so very much. If I ask someone for help, or just talk to them, and they are cheerful and pleasant, it makes life so much easier. It lightens my day. When combined with kindness, it provides a sort of safety, a type of comfort, a level of peace that is important.

Finally, when dealing with problems, it helps so very much if people have invested themselves in some thought. Not "I don't have any chairs in the class room" but "I need to set up forty chairs, could you help me set them up." If we ask leaders for help doing something rather than just reporting un-thought problems to them, it makes life easier for them.

All five of those things are also things we strive for when we work with others as equals. To let them know where they fit and what they can expect. To be treated pleasantly and with kindness, and finally, to be informed of problems in an action oriented way rather than a passive whine, makes life so much easier and a task so much more pleasant.

We would do it for our equals. If we can do it as followers, we can be better children of God and fellow citizens of Christ.

Shangri-la Diet, Ditto Foods, Hydration and Calcium

I think I've hit the last on what I have to say about the Shangri-la Diet. I was looking at things from March and realized that I was hoping to reach my goal of 172 by September 13. My weight on September 14 was 167. Now I'm on the maintenance end of the diet my weight is between 167 and 169 and has been there for a month.

Three things that seem important, and that are easy to miss or forget are the concept of "ditto foods," keeping hydrated, and getting enough calcium in my diet.

The calcium is easy when I'm at home, because I eat a lot of yogurt. On vacations I end up not eating as much yogurt and that makes a difference. I seem to gain weight when I'm either not eating yogurt (or taking calcium supplements) and to drop back down to my stable weight when I do.

The next is hydration. Even now, when I've finished my meal, I'll feel like eating something until I drink enough fluid. I get the water I should be drinking and the hunger goes away. Staying hydrated is very important. Too many diets, focused on short term, temporary weight loss, use dehydration as one of their stock tricks. But for long-term, permanent weight loss, dehydration is an enemy. For short term weight loss, it is a trick, a fraud, a temporary waste of time.

Finally, "ditto foods." A "ditto food" is a food that is the same, time after time, usually flavor dense and calorie dense. The classic "ditto food" has to be alcohol or ding dongs. Since I don't drink and am allergic to chocolate, neither affects me, but I've realized that calorie and flavor dense foods that are exactly the same, time after time, those foods will move my set point up. It is interesting to watch what people do in order to be able to eat chocolates or fudge. I think of the times I gained large amounts of weight and they were always times I was eating a diet heavily balanced (or not) by ditto foods.

The Beneke variations on the Shangri-la Diet are really methods for avoiding any ditto food elements in your diet as are the protein smoothies.

If I had a final trouble shooting comment, a final bit of advice for someone who was seeking to tweak things on maintenance, a last bit of advice, it would be to eliminate ditto foods, stay hydrated, and make sure that not only do you get enough protein and vitamins, but that you get enough calcium as well.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Identity Theft

Well, much to my surprise, the telephone calls I was getting were not from a boiler room trying to steal my identity, someone already had. However, my insurance and the police are on it now.

Arghhh. The poor person at PayPal sounded so sad. I felt bad for them.

I'll post more, about something worth posting about, later. I've more certified letters to send.

Dominant v. Competitive

My first child, Jessica, was very dominant. It would not be unusual to find her playing with six or seven kids in the neighborhood, all of them playing a game they did not like because she wanted to play it, even though most were older than she was. But she was not very competitive at all. Winning was not important to her. Nor was dominating other people, she just did it, but it wasn't important to her.

My youngest is very competitive, she really wants to win, but she doesn't seek to dominate at all. It has been interesting to watch her in sports, since she isn't interested in dominating (though she does want to be friends with everyone), but she does want to win.

Has made me think a lot, wondering what kinds of differences her sisters would have made in her life had they been here to share it. It has also gotten me to thinking and looking at people in groups and on the bloggernacle, and seeing the two behaviors (seeking to dominate and competing) as two very different things.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

LDS Heros -- Early 60s

I thought I'd post the stories of some real heros who were also LDS.

I'm starting with the very early 60s in Newfoundland. Pre-Cuban Missile crisis, in Canada.

There was a SAC (pronounced "sack") base there. Active, with all that means. An alert went out, either a broken spear or a broken arrow (the terms will make sense in a moment). An experimental external carry air-launched thermonuclear device was being ferried through the base and someone pushed the wrong button, thinking they were jettisoning an external fuel tank.

Instead they had armed and released (on the ground) a fusion weapon. It was cycling, attempting to acquire a target. At some point very bad things would happen.

A perimeter was established. The problem was, of course, that there was no way to evacuate. Of course the weapon might just take off, but it could detonate in place as well. They needed two men to disarm it. One to disarm, the other to make sure the "safety" equipment (the nerve gas in the weapon designed to prevent tampering with it) didn't kill them.

They could only get one volunteer. As the other guy said "I've got a family." The Mormon guy said "I have a family too, that's why I'm doing this."

Now Newfoundland has a lot of wind and if you take the right precautions, nerve gas diluted by wind and blown away from you won't necessarily kill you quickly, the drugs you can take can slow it down sometimes. If you get lucky, you might even disarm the weapon without setting the safeties off, if you don't, and work fast, you have a chance at disarming the weapon before you die.

The risk was high enough that every man who worked the perimeter was given a promotion.

The LDS guy lived, and they told him that living was more than enough for Mormon. Any more and they might have to acknowledge the weapon had been there, and that had the potential for embarrassment.

My Dad thought the guy might be bitter about the difference in treatment, but he only said "you know, I still have a family." He was sealed to that family later in the Los Angeles Temple, and I'm sure he received his true reward.

But he was a real hero, even if somehow he was the one guy on duty at the time who did not get a promotion.