Let Sleeping Babies Lie

This one somehow survived sleeping next to Momma and Daddy. Oh, the Humanity!

This is primarily about junk science and only secondarily about child rearing.  Always happy to argue about either one, though.

21 years ago, when our first was born, read up on the issue of the family bed, and discovered a rat’s nest of bad science, that, sadly, has shown little improvement to this day. This article gets huge points for including a critic (even if they tuck him in the last paragraph, waaaay down past where USA Today readers are likely to read).

 An accompanying editorial in the journal by pediatrician Abraham Bergman of Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, says that the “evidence linking bed sharing per se to the increased risk for infant death is lacking.” Bergman suggests that “equal time” in physician-parent counseling “should be given to the benefits of bed sharing,” such as “more sleep for the parent” and “easier breastfeeding when the infant is nearby.”

The real issue in all the studies I’ve ever seen is that there are no controls at all – they simply add up death statistics from SIDS – itself a rather poorly understood and broadly defined cause of death – and other infant deaths and draw broad conclusions that aren’t really in the data, and then make specific recommendations way out in front of the scientific headlights. Specifically:

– the general numbers don’t tell you anything about the physical and mental health of the parents or the baby, or the parents’ sobriety and stability. The obvious question that very nearly answers itself: does it make a difference in the incidence of infant death if the baby is healthy and sleeps with a happy, healthy, sober married couple, versus an  unhealthy baby sleeping with an unhappy, unhealthy, drunk or stoned couple just shacking up for the time being?

– how about the kind of bed? Does it make a difference if the baby sleeps with Mom and Dad in a king sized bed with a light blankets, versus on the couch with a pile of pillows? Or a twin bed in a freezing room with huge piles of blankets?

– what is the total risk, here, anyway? If we are talking a tiny risk (and we are) then even a 100% increase in risk  – your baby’s chance of dying of SIDS is TWICE as much! – it is STILL a tiny risk.  Sort of like my risk of being eaten by sharks is massively increased if I, you know, swim in the ocean – and yet, it is still so tiny as to be ignored by any reasonable, non-bleeding person taking a trip to the beach.

From this gross oversimplification and wanton disregard for proper scientific protocol, Science! concludes that it is bad for babies to sleep with their parents? All parents under all conditions? Hey, are you anti-science or something? Get that baby out of your bed!

The real question that needs to be answered: Is there any increased risk to my healthy, happy baby if she sleeps in a nice big bed with her happy, healthy, married parents? If so, is this increased risk significant? If it is significant, does it outweigh the obvious benefits? If science doesn’t have the specific answers to this specific case, science needs to refrain from making any recommendations.

So, we went ahead and let our babies sleep with us, for the reasons Dr. Bergman mentions above, as well as the enhanced bonding you get. It was a great experience all around. One of the first things you find out is that, as a healthy adult in love with your baby, there is no chance you’d roll over on them – the baby’s presence nearby triggers a greatly enhanced awareness of them. Awake or asleep, you just know they are there, a result you could pretty much predict from natural selection for a species with comparatively few and high-value offspring.

And, yes, you do get more sleep when you’re not jumping up to feed the baby all the time. Finally, the insane – INSANE – idea that you will spoil a baby by showing it too much affection, that you need to let her cry herself out in order to, I dunno, toughen up a 1 month old for her future life in a cubicle someplace is, EVIL. To listen to your own infant child cry and not respond as ever fiber of your being wants you to is torture intended to deaden you and your child’s humanity. Not to put too fine a point on it.

Yet, gullible, well-schooled people are strongly inclined to listen to the doctor even when what he says makes no sense. They will be intimidated – hey, it’s a doctor telling them this! Then, because of the trauma often involved in actually carrying out the baby-sleeps-on-her-back-in-the-cradle-ONLY dictum, and that it’s not only OK, but a positive good to let them cry it out, parents will defend it with vigor, as to acknowledge that they are wrong means they have done ill to their baby and are Bad Parents, which is an intolerable thought to be fought off at all costs.

If doctors are going to insist on these sorts of gross lifestyle changes, they should be prepared to give reasons that stand up to informed inspection. Otherwise, going with the wisdom of the ages – virtually every human baby ever born slept with its mother (at least) across all history and cultures except our own – is the reasonable thing to do.

Mostly, this whole shared bed causes SIDS thing is a monumental piece of junk science used to scare parents at their most vulnerable point – so I hate it.

Perhaps You Could Fact-Check with Your Precocious 8 Year Old?

“This time, for sure!”

Now, I make mistakes all the time. Even in print. But if I were writing a science article, like this one, I might fact check a little. Amidst the untethered  speculation and foreboding that make up most of the article, there’s a simple bald assertion: that the moose is the largest land mammal in North America. Pretty sure that I, as a somewhat precocious (and totally obnoxious) 8 year old, would have raised my hand: bigger than bison? I think not! Yep: bull moose (mooses? Meese?) run to about 1200 lbs; wild male bison push 2,000 lbs.

Oh, wait – they did fact check: with a government agency that has the wrong facts. So, the State of New York Department of Environmental Conservation puts out informative web pages for the good citizens of the Empire State (and on their dime), that – you’ll be totally shocked – contain wrong information!

So, to recap: this is a minor error in the big scheme of things, but an obvious one. This article contains some actually worrisome information – that moose are dying off a bit faster than usual. IF it is in fact ticks that are killing them, and IF more ticks survive in mild winters than in cold winters, THEN it MAY be that milder winters are contributing to the decline in moose population. And it MAY be that human activity has contributed to milder winters, but that’s another can of worms.

That’s a long string of conditionals, without even including how one goes about counting moose in the wild so as to establish a baseline and yearly population totals – which seems like it might be really hard to do with any accuracy.

However, the main point here is not, as was once said of the Jesuits, to produce the live cat*. Rather, it is just so annoying that science reporters (and state web pages) are both so slapdash and so evangelically certain at the same time.  Science is careful and circumspect. Science! is neither.

*Accuse a Jesuit of killing 3 men and a cat, and he will triumphantly produce the live cat.

Small update: I wondered how one goes about counting wild moose, as they inconsiderately live out in places where it’s difficult for humans to get about and easy for moose to hide.  See, if you can’t count them accurately – follow me here – it would be impossible to accuraely estimate whether the population is growing, falling or staying the same.  Yet the article gives numbers impressive in their implied accuracy:  moose are down 25% a year!

Then there’s this nugget from that NY site above:

DEC biologists estimated that there were about 500 to 800 moose in New York State as of 2010. However, a standard procedure for estimating numbers of moose has not yet been established.

Oh. So we have a 60% difference between the low and high estimates, yet we’re claiming to know die-off rates of 8, 12 and 25%.  That poses some problems. Maybe when they establish as standard method of estimating moose populations they can tighten that up a bit?

Circling the Drain

Be vewy vewy quiet! I’m hunting meaning in life.

Here’s a story about a hunter getting lost in the forests near Mendocino, CA, for 19 days. His survival was ‘miraculous’ according to the report.

Maybe I’m missing something, but: Huh? I’d assume, if the dude were a competent hunter, that he’s lost in the woods with;

  • – a gun;
  • – ammo;
  • – good sturdy footwear;
  • – suitable clothes for the area and time of year.

Soooo – isn’t he excellently equipped to survive? Wouldn’t his *failure* to survive be more shocking? The coastal range near Mendocino, while no walk in the park, ain’t the High Sierra neither. We’re not talking about 20′ drifts of snow this time of year, probably just a light dusting.

My father’s generation would have been embarrassed by getting lost – this, pre-GPS – and embarrassed by having made people go look for you. And, if they had died, they would have done so under a shroud of presumed incompetence. A hundred an fifty years ago, many settlers in the truly wild areas would have considered a fall hunting trip to stock the larder before winter a routine thing.

This got me to thinking: My mom, who was born in 1919, could start with a live chicken or rabbit and turn it into dinner in a couple hours; my father build a house in his spare time. These were people with high school educations, raised in rural areas of Texas and Oklahoma. They would no doubt think it very stupid to get lost while out hunting, but be unsurprised by the dude’s survival.

This – this right here – is what I mean by dumbing us down. We Americans come from people like my parents, people who assumed anyone with a reasonable claim on adulthood could take car of themselves. I think many people today would starve surrounded by canned goods if they couldn’t get power for the electric can opener.

These are also people who assumed they could govern themselves, and instinctively resisted and resented suggestions that they could not.

Anyway, turns out the lost hunter was 72 years old, which casts the event in somewhat different light – but not that different, if he is indeed mentally and physically competent.

Cricket Music

And always let your pitch pipe be your guide.
– Milton, Paradise Lost

Everybody, and their buddies, it seems, is linking to this recording which claims to be simply cricket chirps slowed down a whole bunch. It’s kind of pretty.

I’m not buying it – ‘it’ being that it’s just cricket chirps slowed way down without any other treatment. One big problem: unlike just about any other natural sound – say, bird songs or whale songs, for example – the cricket chirps contain only notes in the diatonic scale. What this means is that we hear a melody and harmony, while in all other natural sound we get the full array of pitches *between* the notes of the scale. Not probable. Natural sounds are just a lot messier than Western music. Happy to be proved wrong, of course.

There are an infinite number of pitches between any two pitches, say, C and C#. The untrained human ear can typically distinguish at least quartertones – tones halfway between C and C#. Highly trained or gifted musicians can hear a lot finer gradation than that. Yet here, all we hear are bugs remarkably on pitch. It’s just too tidy.

Ornithologists of a musical bent have long tried to jot down bird songs using something like Western notation. Sometimes, such a musical score is close enough to remind one of the actual bird song. But recordings of bird song analyzed closely reveal that those darn birds just don’t limit themselves to the notes of the scale, but rather slip and slide through all sorts of pitches with no obvious preference for the ones that make sense to us.

This sounds more like what you’d get if you ran the slowed-down chirps through something like Autotune (a gadget that takes the pitches of ‘pitchy’ singers and digitally moves them to the nearest ‘real’ pitch). It even more sounds like Phillip Glass, if he wrote for a Russian Orthodox choir.

A musician could actually notate this music very closely – there are easily identifiable melody fragments and clear pedal points and an internal ‘alto’ harmony drone-ish part, as well as the occasional high counter melody. (I’d do it, but I’m betting better musicians than I are already on it.) That this could be fairly cleanly notated in standard Western notation would make it, as far as I know, absolutely unique among complex natural sounds.

So, somebody prove me wrong, already!

Theology Without Metaphysics

Is a book being discussed over on First Things. The premise, from the Amazon summary:

One of the central arguments of post-metaphysical theology is that language is inherently ‘metaphysical’ and consequently that it shoehorns objects into predetermined categories. Because God is beyond such categories, it follows that language cannot apply to God.

Thus, after 2 sentences, the book ends.


The Perils of Inattention at Mass

Now days, she’d have to fly out of St. Louis to get to Oz.

Every morning at 6:30 Mass, the priest invites petitions from the congregants at the Prayer of the Faithful, which works OK as there are only about 25 of us. One lovely woman always goes first, and offers a list of thoughtful prayers. Over the years, the list varies to accommodate new intentions, but remains largely the same.

So, maybe I wasn’t paying attention as much as I should have been – well, OK, my mind was a million miles away where it so often is – but one morning I would have sworn she offered up a new intention for “children back in Kansas.” Well, our oldest daughter is attending school at Benedictine College in Atchison. so I thought 1) how thoughtful; and 2) who else here has children back in Kansas?

And then, I forgot about it.

The next day, she offered pretty much the same prayers, except this time I was listening a bit more attentively as she prayed for “children battling cancer.”  Oh. Never mind.

So, if you feel so inclined, please offer up a prayer for some children battling cancer. You can fire one off for my daughter as well, although her needs are probably much less urgent.

Building ‘Revolutionaries’ to Spec

Let’s review: Starting with Luther in the 1530s, an effort was begun to institute compulsory state-run education, to make sure that everyone in a society learned the right stuff. While Luther’s interest was in having all children trained in the Solas and immunized against the arguments for Catholicism, it wasn’t long before apologists for the State realized what a convenient and efficient thing this mandatory state-run education could be. Luther imagined the state as the servant of the Church, providing another example of his radical disinterest in historical reality.  By what political mechanism does one suppose  the Church controls the State? Instead, the children of this world being wiser about the ways of the world than the children of light, the State ends up co-opting the Church’s authority – Lutheran, Catholic, Roman Pagan, whatever – for it’s own purposes. The idea that the *state* needs to protected from the influence of churches is laughable. It has always been the other way around: even a Cromwell ends up forwarding the goals of the State and damaging the case for the Church.

So, to quote Woody Alan, the lion might lie down with the lamb – but the lamb won’t get much sleep. Thus, we seek the separation of Church and State so that some sphere of operation may be left to the churches, which necessarily requires some sphere to be outside the government’s control. Modern governments reject the premise that anything in the public sphere should be outside their control – thus, the current unpleasantness is about much more fundamental issues than forcing religious institutions to buy birth control. It is nothing less than the requirement that all burn a little incense to Caesar as God.

Back to education. Once the states understood that, if Luther could seek to inculcate the Solas – and note: the Solas were a new thing upon the earth at the time – and make sure that people were schooled against Catholic argument, well, this new concept of schooling could be used for all sorts of wonderful things. Thus, by 1808, we have Fichte  proposing that the Greater German state institute universal compulsory education that removes children completely from their parent’s influence for years at a time, so that they may be properly trained to do what the state wants them to do – all couched in the quasi-religious language that became the norm for the National Socialists. Fichte, in that Prussian way of his, is just particularly clear and frank about what he’s doing – the ideas had been percolating and tentatively tried since right after Luther.

So, a well educated child does what the state wants him to do, and can’t imagine doing otherwise. This last goal is best achieved by training children so that they can’t imagine much of anything at all.

What does the state want us to do? Before all else, support the state! It cannot be allowed to be imagined that there are solutions to anything the state cares to define as a problem that lie outside the state’s competence and authority.  The absolute most that can be allowed is calls for ‘reform’ – but the reform must always assume the state remains fundamentally as it is, and reforms itself from within after having listened to complaints of its children.

Protesters in such a world as this will always fall into one of two species – those who call on the government to fix things, and those that want to fix the government.  The Occupy crowd displays two key the characteristics one would expect in a government-created protest movement:

– Incoherence: Occupy included people who wanted their college loans – loans that they took out to study some field that left them effectively unemployable – to be forgiven.  And people who wanted the government to punish Wall Street and redistribute wealth. And people who wanted the government to create jobs. And people who favored a return to Stone-Age culture through the elimination of all means to produce cheap energy.

And so on. Even those who seemed most anti-government – the various flavors of anarchists – nonetheless displayed the characteristics of the well-schooled: complete incoherence as to what to do or even what anarchy, of whatever flavor, might mean in practice. They were harmless enough, from the government’s perspective.

– Sola Government: all solutions were seen as government solutions. All calls to action were ultimately calls for government action.

And – the press LOVED the Occupy movement. That would be the same press that would get excluded from all the cool press conferences and parties if they said anything the government didn’t want to hear.  See section 5 of the  previous post for a  discussion of Calicles and petty retribution to understand how this works.

Thus, Occupy, which consisted of a bunch of disorganized, incoherent people making a nuisance of themselves and offering no coherent concrete ideas for changing anything, get held up as THE protest movement of the present.

Meanwhile, of course, the Tea Partiers (whether one agrees with them or not) were organized, tidy, law-abiding – and coherent. What they wanted, in simplest terms, was a government reformed *from the outside*. They even proposed some concrete ideas, and – horror of horrors – got people elected via established democratic means.

All of this means that they are the absolute enemy – despite many of their core criticisms being indistinguishable from those of Occupy. Wall Street out of control? Check. Government action ineffective? Check. Yet rarely have I witnessed such unbridled hatred as was directed at a bunch of otherwise harmless people. Communists, with their track record of 100M+ murdered in the name of Progress, march down the street on parade, and draw very little response, at least out here in California. But little old ladies (the Tea Party is largely a women’s movement)  suggest that the government isn’t the answer, and all hell breaks loose.

While I agree with many of the criticisms leveled by the Occupy crowd, I propose that they are ‘revolutionaries’ built to spec. They cannot think, in the words of Fichte, anything their teachers don’t want them to think. Even their protests against government are in favor of more government.  Their incoherence and irrationality and emotionalism make them easily lead sheep.

While the Prussians would no doubt be appalled at the untidiness of it all, they would admit that, if there were a need for protesters, these are exactly the protesters the ruling/governing classes would order up.

CLARIFICATION: when I say that Occupy has the characteristics of a government-created protest, I merely mean that it is the sort of protest one would expect from the products of our schools. Not proposing that Occupy resulted from direct and intentional government action. That would be overkill.

Round-Up: Non-Dead-Weeds Edition

Bet that burning plastic smells nasty.

1. So, have added several more drafts to the pile, things that need just a little more research, just a bit more tweaking, before they’re ready. If drafts were firewood, it would look as if I were preparing to immolate a Homeric hero or two.  And, been busy and exhausting at work. Yea, yea, cry me a river.

2. Darwin Catholic has written on something I’d noticed as well: the modern presumption that, because someone is a ‘good person’ (however that’s defined) whatever it is that they do must not be bad. I’m reminded of the Flannery O’Connor story A Good Man is Hard to Find, wherein a sunny matriarch continues to rely on the fundamental niceness of the polite and well-mannered gangster she and her family have fallen in with – right up until the moment he has them all executed (gangland style, one presumes).  Exterminating families on vacation can’t be bad, after all, if nice people do it.

3. I could link to Dr. Boli pretty much daily:

I thought this program was well under way…

Diversity, used in this way, is the mirror image of discrimination: not all diversity is good, just as not all discrimination is bad. Harrison Bergeron, and all that.

4. Mike Flynn posted links to his series on Hypatia that he did a few years ago – one of my favorites, and a gateway drug to history and the subsequent questioning of Modernity and its foundational myths.  I just reread it – please, do so, you’ll thank me a little and Mr. Flynn much.

5. Been pondering the eternal verity of Calicles’s definition of virtue (at least, as it applies to politicians such as himself), and how, 2500 years later, it still so perfectly describes politicians, most especially those that might be described as being of the Chicago School.

Virtue comes from the Latin ‘vir’, a manly-man – so, virtue is what makes one a manly man. In Greek, the word is  ἀρετή, (arete) which means excellence. The Greek idea is a bit broader than the Roman, in that everything has an excellence against which it might be measured, while one suspects the Romans saw a virtuous man as the apex, that against which all that is excellent in human life should be measured.  Be that as it may, it is good to contemplate how, to a Roman, a man needed to be virtuous in order to be a real man – brave, honorable, strong, and so forth. There’s not the slightest hint of weakness to Roman virtue. This has carried down to the present day in the Church’s prayers for the feasts of women martyrs, wherein they are praised for their manly virtue. This is not to suggest that heroism and bravery are not a part of being an excellent women,  but rather that the kind of heroism displayed in martyrdom is more properly the excellence of a man – the willingness to face death rather than accept dishonor.

Back to Calicles, who was an up and coming Athenian politician when he locked horns with Socrates in the Gorgias.  He states that virtue – excellence – is the ability to reward your friends, punish your enemies, and indulge your every desire.  I think here of, for example, the consummate politician LBJ. He was famous for keeping exact score – of knowing who owed him, who he owed, and who needed to be punished. Our entire hope, when one such as this comes to power (as they almost invariably do) is that their desires are not too destructive.  Yet, even such as LBJ, a man who did, after all, spend his political capital on getting the Civil Rights Act passed* could be remarkably petty in making people pay for crossing him.

New standards in petty seem to get set every day.

* over the vigorous opposition of those in his own party, meaning, at the end, he was in a terrible position of owing his ‘friends’ – something Calicles would recognize as essentially precarious. An excellent politician should always be owed, and seek to never owe – that’s political freedom and power.

Religious Practices: Is Outrage!

This, on the other hand, is right out in all circumstances.

Brain Dump.

First off, let it be noted that I can recite and sing Mass commons and several common prayers in Latin, I sang for several years with the St. Ann Choir, and love the Extraordinary Form liturgy, which I attend at least several times a year.  And I LOVE Benedict XVI. So, I’m not entirely a damn dirty hippy. Yet –

I’m not all that outraged by most goofy liturgical practices that don’t take place on the altar, or the variety of outfits people see fit to wear to Mass. Could be I’m weak-minded, or perhaps I’m just a Californian. Insofar as those are different and all. I just mostly go with the flow, to wit:

– Holding hands during the Our Father. It’s goofy, but all but one parish in this area does it at every Mass. I just go with it, for two reasons: my mother, may she rest in peace, really liked holding hands, and made a comment once about it being an important way for old people to get some physical contact; and it’s just not a big enough deal to make a little scene over. It’s well-intentioned nonsense. So shoot me.

– Standing during the Domine, non sum dignus. Why they do this is around here is, in the words of General Monger: “an X-file, wrapped in a cover-up and deep-fried in a paranoid conspiracy” Well, maybe not as bad as all that, but evidently our bishop, a couple of bishops ago, decreed that we were to stand during this prayer for reasons uncertain. In the intervening decade, evidently enough people have either moved in from elsewhere or decided they like kneeling for this prayer to make it a mixed standing/kneeling deal at most Masses. Me, I figure I cannot honor the current bishop’s authority by ignoring that authority as exercised by his predecessors – so I stand. I’d rather kneel, of course.

– I’ve addressed my policy on singing lame songs here. To sum up: if it’s not blatantly heretical (Sing a New Church, I’m talkin’ to YOU) I’ll sing it as an act of mortification. Yes, even Carey Landry and the St. Louis Some of Whom Are No Longer Jesuits. I even go out of my way to put a little spirit into Eagle’s Wings, as it was one of my mother’s favorite songs. But I’d rather be singing chant or polyphony.

– Communion in the hand? Fine, just be respectful. Same goes for communion under both species. The Church says it’s OK, so I’m not even bothered – as long as it’s respectful. Would I prefer kneeling and communion on the tongue? Yes, but I will not make a scene.

– I wish there were a lot fewer lay Eucharistic ministers, only because many of them seem a little too cavalier – mostly in the host in a pic in the pocket thing. Who ever allowed that? Now were getting into grit my teeth territory.

Oddly, though, proper attire seems to get more agitated blood flowing than more strictly liturgical issues. I’m here to take my beating:

– Shorts on men. I’ve done this. Did I mention I’m from Southern California? At a Sunday Mass anywhere near the beach, about half the men and more than half the boys will be in shorts. Flip-flops. Aloha shirts. T-shirts, even.

Before throwing up, please note that if you decided you were going to purchase a million dollar yacht or a Ferrari in Orange County, chances are you’d be buying it from a guy in shorts, deck shoes and an aloha shirt. Same goes for closing a movie deal in Hollywood. Shorts and funky shirts just don’t carry the same aura of disrespect in what elsewhere is seen as formal settings. Guys might dress in cargo shorts, a flower print short sleeve shirt and sandals, go to Mass, hang out with friends and then go to a nice expensive dinner – all in same clothes.  If you live someplace where it’s sunny and nice about 340 days a year, this might seem normal to you, too. Heck, I only wore shoes for school and church until I was about 13 – they seemed excessive.

Also, I try to ride my bike to work, so, during the summer at least, I’ll wear shorts, a t-shirt and sneakers to weekday morning Mass so that I can jump on my bike and take off afterwords.

The real one I’m thinking about maybe changing is Adoration. My wife and I have a Saturday 11:00 p.m. two-hour gig. The chapel is made of concrete and glass, and so is poorly insulated. In the summer, it’s hot; in the winter, it’s cold. (This is Northern California, which has something more like seasons than down South.) Therefore, I’ll often wear shorts and sandals in the summer. At that hour of the day, there a few to scandalize (not that they’d be). Plus, I, like Moses, can go unshod upon sacred ground.

I’m going to Hell, aren’t I?

– To make one thing perfectly clear before I start: Men have an absolute duty to maintain custody of the eyes. It should not matter if women walked around naked – it’s our job as men to control our eyes. No excuses. Yet, while I have no reaction to women and girls dressing comfortably for the climate just like men do – in the equivalent of shorts and aloha shirts, say, Capris and short-sleeved blouses, for example – sometimes it seems they plan to head straight out for cocktails after mass, or maybe to a gig as a torch singer or Pilates instructor. Showing a little navel for the Lord from inside skin-tight stretch pants seems, I dunno, odd.  Men don’t show up in muscle shirts and Speedos; the same general rule should apply to the corresponding get-ups for women.

So, women showing up for Mass in pants, in (not ridiculously tight or short) shorts, in t-shirts, in sandals – A-OK in my book.

I’m probably the wrongest wronger who ever wronged a wrong. Right?

Religious Ed

Although I’ve volunteered whenever they have sent around those ‘ministry’ sign-ups several times over the the last 15 years, I’ve just recently been asked to help out with the adult ed portion of the first communion training down at the parish.

Visions of millstones dance in my head.

Tonight was the first night. Everybody seems like good people – at least, they’re willing to sacrifice a weeknight to have, in part, a fat bald guy yack at them about the liturgy. The director did 90% of the talking, which is good. Seemed to go OK.

I just don’t want to lead anyone astray. Ya know? Glad the job description is: try to stay out of the Holy Spirit’s way – just might be able to pull that off with His help.