I've often wondered why tolerance is considered such a high principle these days.  Granted, I have many qualities that cause those around me to exercise forbearance; nonetheless, I hope for more in even a casual relationship than mere tolerance.  I'd rate our various neighborly relationships, for example, as great, good, casual, and tolerant, with the last being better than "nasty," but nothing to brag about.

Perhaps the preaching of tolerance comes because we have failed so badly at love.  Tolerance—at best—says, "I disagree with you, but it doesn't matter."  Love says, "I disagree with you, and it does matter, but I love you, and I choose to believe the best of you.  I will pray for you, encourage you, and seek out ways to work with you that do not violate my conscience.  I will be alert to any lesson God wants to teach me through you."

Lowering the bar is not the solution.  Redefining a C as an A rarely inspires higher performance.  Besides, we're not doing so well at tolerance, either.  With a hat tip to VP via Facebook, here's a lighter moment dedicated to all who have been slammed by the unloving who preach love, or by the intolerant who preach tolerance.


Posted by sursumcorda on Tuesday, April 30, 2013 at 7:04 am | Edit
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To brighten your day, here's a brief look at Fred Rogers, of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, by the Menopause Guy.  (Yes, I know it's really Mental Floss.  But I hear what I hear.)

Here's my favorite picture of Mister Rogers, because he's with one of my favorite people.


Posted by sursumcorda on Monday, April 22, 2013 at 8:16 am | Edit
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You all know I'm not a sports person.  Would you believe me if I said that spending all day (more than 12 hours) at a sporting event last Saturday was an absolute blast?

Believe it.

The sport was Quidditch, and last weekend was Quidditch World Cup VI, held in Kissimmee, Florida.  As much fun as I had, I doubt I would have bothered to attend had not our nephew's University of Richmond team qualified for the event.  His parents came down for the occasion, and we had a great visit.  It was too short, but included a first:  conversing over dinner, just my sister, her husband, and the two of us.  It's not that we don't get together—but quiet dinnertime conversation is quite different from the usual lots of people of all ages, with lots of things going on.

For those who have not read any of the Harry Potter books, or for those who have, but are puzzled as to how the players learned to fly, here is a brief explanation of how the earthbound version of Quidditch is played.

Several aspects of this game contributed to my enjoyment:  First and foremost was knowing someone on one of the teams.  But I found other games fun to watch also, and I think that's because Quidditch is such a very amateur sport.  It's only eight years old, the real-live version having been invented at Middlebury College in 2005, so it hasn't had a chance to get too messed up yet.  On college campuses, where Quidditch is most commonly found, it's a "club" sport rather than an official team, which makes it all the better.  In an age when even young children's sports teams view themselves as a training ground for the pros, and parents dream of college scholarships, Quidditch teams play for fun.  The youth of the game also means no one has quite figured out the best strategies.  We watched half a dozen games or so, and no two were alike.

The Snitch is a wild card that certainly contributes to keeping the game from degenerating into just another move-the-ball-from-one-end-of-the-field-to-the-other game.  The Snitch can do just about anything, roaming all over the park, throwing water balloons, catching a ride on a golf cart, whatever.  He or she must come back to the field after a certain period of time, even if he hasn't been caught by a Seeker—else the game could go on forever because the Snitch hopped a bus out of town.

Although I was at the games to root for the University of Richmond, I couldn't resist watching another UR game:  the University of Rochester.  (Fortunately, the two did not play each other.)  Speaking with one of the players after the game, I mentioned that we were Class of '74 and Class of '75.  The player said he was Class of '14.  Still, I didn't feel that old until I realized that the age difference was as if I had been talking with someone from the Class of 1934.  Ouch.

Both Carnegie Mellon and Virginia Tech have Quidditch teams, but we did not see them.  Either they did not qualify for the World Cup, or they couldn't afford the trip.  We're very glad the Richmond team managed to raise the not-inconsiderable funds.

Many of the team uniforms were clever, especially the backs.  Here are two of my favorites, from Rice.  (Click on the images to enlarge.)

alt  alt

The University of Richmond, however, had the best shirts overall; they received many compliments.  I thought the University of Rochester was odd, being the Yellowjackets; not to be outdone by the other UR, Richmond is the Spiders.  Our nephew Kevin and his friend Layla ... or rather, Layla and her friend Kevin, are shown here modeling the shirts for me.


The Seekers must wait out the first 10 minutes of the game before running after the Snitch.  This gives the rest of the players time to play before the catching of Snitch brings things to a halt.  It also gives the Seekers a chance to enjoy the game for a while.  And me, as well:  because Kevin is a Seeker, once the Snitch hunt was on my attention was mostly directed away from the other play.


Below are a few videos of that famous UR Seeker, Kevin Alloway, catching the Snitch in three of their four games.  Many Seekers are of the heavy-built, muscular type, but Kevin is a long-distance runner and fast, fast, fast.  Instead of wrestling the Snitch (person) to the ground, he zips in and grabs the Snitch (tennis ball in a sock, attached by Velcro to the person) before anyone knows what has happened.

Incidentally, my admiration has shot way up for those in back of the news cameras who manage to keep their attention on what they are doing.  You can see in the videos where in my excitement I totally forgot I was holding the camera.

University of Richmond vs. University of Texas (Austin).  Texas went on to claim the overall championship, so the object of catching the Snitch here was to end the game before the point spread could get any bigger.  I wasn't happy that Texas was so successful, because they have apparently forgotten that the game is supposed to be fun for everyone.  They play hard, rough, and mean; early in the Richmond game, one of their players smashed a bludger (dodge ball) point blank into the face of one of Richmond's best Chasers and sent her to the hospital.  His teammates said he's known for doing that.  It wasn't even a penalizable offense, so I think a rule modification is in order.  Some temporary pain is within bounds; deliberate infliction of injury is, well, unsportsmanlike, in the old sense—all too much like "sports men/women" these days.  (After the passing of time, and three medical exams—paramedic, urgent care, hospital—she was pronounced fit to play again.  Fortunately the games were far enough apart that the Texas bully didn't ruin her entire day.)

University of Richmond vs. University of Southern Mississippi, Richmond's first win.

University of Richmond vs. Ohio State.  This was the most exciting game of all, going into overtime:  five minutes or until the Snitch is caught, and Kevin ended the game for a win.


A bald eagle stops to watch the game:  Hrmph.  Silly people, flying so low to the ground.  I'd put those hoops a lot higher.  Why didn't they ask me to play?  I can outfly the best of them!  At least they didn't charge me for this great seat.


Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, April 20, 2013 at 9:04 am | Edit
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Recently we bought a gauge for our propane tank.  I'm tired of guessing, especially during hurricane season, how much propane is left for our barbecue grill, and figured the gauge would soon pay for itself through more accurate fill-ups.  (The cost for filling a tank is the same, whether it is empty or almost full.) 

Usually the odd or outrageous statements that come with a product these days are found in the Warnings section, but this was in the instructions themselves (emphasis mine):

  • If the needle is in the GREEN AREA (GAS) - the fuel supply is sufficient.
  • If the needle is in the YELLOW AREA (LOW GAS) - the fuel is running in short supply.
  • If the needle is in the RED AREA (REFILL) - the fuel tank should be refilled promptly - usually within 10 minutes of cooking time.


Posted by sursumcorda on Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 7:34 am | Edit
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The latest celebrity visitor to Fenwick, Connecticut.

Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, April 6, 2013 at 8:57 pm | Edit
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Thanks to DSTB, who have a personal interest in Bath, Maine, I offer you a glimpse of the action at Bath Iron Works.  It serves to remind me that the U.S. does, indeed, still build things (though I do wish we still built our own toasters), and that in my current (and I believe important) quest of small and local (farming, business, education, health care), sometimes large and local is beautiful, too.

Posted by sursumcorda on Thursday, March 28, 2013 at 7:36 am | Edit
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Here's an interesting TED lecture on some of the possibilities for small, agile, flying robots.  The possibilities for exploring dangerous places, such as collapsed buildings or gangsters' hideouts, are great.  If only they didn't sound so much like a swarm of bees....

Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, March 23, 2013 at 7:32 am | Edit
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I've set my alarm to remind me to pay attention at 12:12:12 today; otherwise it's sure to slide past unnoticed.  I'm sure if I'd check Facebook someone would remind me, but....

Posted by sursumcorda on Wednesday, December 12, 2012 at 10:15 am | Edit
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Porter says this BBC story is a good summary of what he saw when visiting the Boeing plant on his visit to Seattle.  Enjoy!  Pretty WOW, I think.

--> Get Adobe Flash player-->

Sorry about the extraneous "-->".  It's in the BBC's code, and I'm not taking the time to mess with it. Sorry, too, about the ad at the beginning; that also is theirs  If you happen to get the Air New Zealand one, though, it's pretty cool itself.

Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, December 8, 2012 at 9:49 am | Edit
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While I'm gathering mental energy for a response to Stephan's thought-provoking comment below, here's an easy post for your holiday enjoyment.  You don't have to know much music theory to enjoy it, but some basic knowledge helps.  (H/T Ruth from the WWMB!)

That does it; I'm inspired:  Joseph's next PowerPoint collection will include intervals.

Posted by sursumcorda on Thursday, November 29, 2012 at 8:12 pm | Edit
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For Heather, Janet, and all who are great mothers but sometimes feel intimidated by how far they are from meeting their own standards.  Today's Family Circus says it all.


Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, November 16, 2012 at 8:31 am | Edit
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Just for fun, check out these video clips from the Duggar family's visit to Japan.  These are from YouTube, so hopefully they won't be blocked for the only two regular readers who are likely to understand them.  Perhapse Joseph might catch some numbers.  :)  It would be great katakana/hiragana practice if things didn't move so fast.  Nonetheless, they're fun to watch even if you don't understand Japanese.

The interview.

A carnival?  Janet, are they making mochi at the end?  It made me hungry!

Posted by sursumcorda on Thursday, November 15, 2012 at 7:41 am | Edit
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I love Air New Zealand.  Back in 1997, we flew Air New Zealand to ... well, to New Zealand!  It was the longest flight I've every taken; nonetheless, it was the most enjoyable.  They actually encouraged us to get up and walk laps around the spacious jet, instead of restricting us to one small aisle and requiring us to remain seated most of the time.  The food was great, too.

Unfortunately, I don't see the opportunity to check out what might have changed in the ensuing 15 years, but if this safety video is any indication, they're still a great airline.  I've flown enough to be bored and blasé when the attendents begin to instruct us how to fasten our seat belts, but this presentation would have my full attention.  I enourage you to watch it full-screen.  Thanks, Dawn, for sharing it!

Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, November 3, 2012 at 6:39 pm | Edit
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I appear to be in the mood for quick posts sharing other people's brilliance.  They're much more entertaining than what I can come up with on my own at the moment.  Try me again after Li'l Writer Guy is revived by a week with four creative and lively grandchildren.  :)

This gem is from thduggie's blog, the work of a creative and lively son-in-law.  Thanks, Stephan!

A Modern Once-ler

“You’re Glumping the pond where the Humming-Fish hummed!
No more can they hum, for their gills are all gummed.”

“Oh no!  OMG!  Mr. Lorax, I’m bummed!
I’m glad you have told me, for I do not wish
To cause the demise of these dear Humming-Fish.
So I’ll tweet a tweet from my satellite dish
To make sure my followers all are aware.
For, once they’re aware, I am sure they will care
And caring, aware, as a group we will dare
To start a petition, a fundraiser – sure,
A Kickstarter project, a race for the cure:
These sick fish are more than what I can endure!
And then, with the funding and grassroots support,
We’ll clean up the gills, and if that should fall short,
We’ll hire some experts, the scientist sort,
Who’ll work on a coating that we can apply
To Humming-Fish gills.  I am sure that will fly!
Those gills, they will auto-de-gloppetify!
Our problem is solved.  Boy, you gave me a fright!
I’ll buy an indulgence on eBay tonight,
If offers are there and the prices are right.
On Farmville I’ll plant a few truffula seeds
And tell all my friends they’re what everyone needs.
There.  Now can I get back to knitting my Thneeds?”

Posted by sursumcorda on Tuesday, October 16, 2012 at 6:00 pm | Edit
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Once again, Eric Schultz (The Occasional CEO) has come up with just the right note.  My list of his serious posts I want to share and comment on grows longer, but this one popped right to the top.  So true, so true.


As I said in a comment to his post, it reminded me of a Christmas scene from 2003:  Like this one, it's a living room setting with five people. Three are busy with computers on their laps. (This was almost 10 years ago: no iPhones, no iPads.) The fourth is also intently focussed, not on a computer screen but on the fifth, a newborn baby. No, not that newborn baby, but I did title the picture, We Three Nerds.  Oh, wait.  This is my own blog; I can include the picture itself.


Sorry it's such a lousy picture.  Our camera at the time was an old Sony Mavica, at one time high tech, but it created small files and saved them to a 3.5 inch floppy disk, which couldn't hold even one picture from my present (inexpensive, Kodak) camera.

Posted by sursumcorda on Monday, October 15, 2012 at 9:16 pm | Edit
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