A weblog by Will Fitzgerald

Monthly Archives: July 2006

At 50, everyone has the face they deserve

Will's face at 50

George Orwell says that at age 50, everyone has the face they deserve; here’s mine. I had my first surprise party ever: after dinner, many friends from the Church of the Sojourners came over to the house and secreted them in the house library. “Come, Will, I want to show you something in the library,” said Mike. Unfortunately for the surprise of it all, I had seen some of them coming in. But fortunately for me–I’m not so sure I like surprises. There had been some debate over whether I’d enjoy singing or playing games more; again, fortunately, singing won out. Thanks, church. Plus, there was ice cream at work today (along with good business news), a nice linguine with clam sauce dinner cooked by Rick, pleasant presents and cards … and, of course visits and presents from family–maybe 50 isn’t so bad after all.

Several things of note

  • I work up so joyful this morning; it is so nice to have Bess and Jane with me here in San Francisco for a while. People at the Church of the Sojourners, and in particular the members who live in the Potrero houses where I live have been so kind: Naomi welcomed Jane and Bess with hand-made signs, and Louise made marvelous boquets for our bedrooms and a box of “movie treats” for Jane. When I came home from work last night, “Auntie Dodo” (Louise) and “Ne ne” (Jane) were happily watching Howl’s Moving Castle.
  • Neil Armstrong was the first human to walk on the moon on this date in 1969. Twenty years ago day, Viking 1 sent back its first pictures from Mars.
  • Seventy years ago, the Spanish Civil War started.
  • Lots of lovely pictures of Quakers singing Sacred Harp, posted by Linda, who’s apparently had a birthday.

Thank you for contact Mr. Reach

My life is pretty easy if this is the biggest complaint I feel the need to write about:

We purchased a Johnson & Johnson Reach Easyglide Pro Freshmint Floss, and have had the following problems:

– there is so much wax on the floss, it is hard to use because it slips in our hands,
– there is so much wax on the floss, it is hard to get between our teeth,
– it is almost impossible to cut the floss using the included cutter,
– the cutter and feeder are poorly attached to the body, and so collapsed when trying to cut the floss,
– the idea of having a ‘pro’ floss stikes us as silly as best and insulting at worst,
– we resent having to pay extra for non-functioning products (often, we are unable to purchase J&J’s basic waxed floss because stores do not carry it).

We would be glad if J&J refunded our money for this inferior product, and if J&J could make stronger efforts to ensure availability of their basic waxed floss product.

Will & Bess Fitzgerald

The J&J website replies:

Thank you for contact Mr. Reach

Singing at Kalamazoo

It was good–make that great–to be singing at home. It’s hard to believe that it was just a year ago that I led my first tune at a Kalamazoo singing. It was wonderful to sing with Bess and Idy Kiser in the morning and then between David Ivey and Judy Hauff in the afternoon. It was very hot and humid again, and we actually finished a bit early as a result, after everyone had a chance to lead.

It was tha bomb. (Image courtesy of Martha Beverly).

Neighbours online!

The Canadian National Film Board has put lots of their short films online, including a childhood favorite: Neighbours. (via bb).

Firbys across America

Jim Firby is blogging his family’s trip from Chicago to California, visiting sights (Carhenge!) and sites (they collect National Park passport stamps) along the way. The trip starts here. Insert obligatory, “my how the girls have grown” here. While humming “California, here I come!

Singing at Goshen

It was a very good singing today in Goshen; as Mark Miller has remarked, it’s a bit like singing inside the body of a guitar. Lots of southern singers, a very fierce alto section, excellent food. It was stifling hot–in the high 90’s, I think, and humid–but somehow that was all right. Sam Sommers: we’re going to take a break now, and be sure to try and rehydrate yourselves, and if you can’t do that, at least drink some water. Personal highlight: meeting Warren Steel for the first time, and being ask by him to sing on the front bench for a while. I had the pleasure of sitting next to Martha Beverly; I’m sure tha the pictures will show up soon at her flickr site. Tomorrow: the Kalamazoo convention!

(Image courtesy of Martha Beverly).

editorial-based 'faith-based' bashing?

A definition from the electronic dictionary program that comes with the Macintosh (based the New Oxford American English Dictionary):

faith-based (adjective): affiliated with or based on religion or a religious group : a faith-based plan that bilked investors out of millions.

USAGE The preponderance of usage for this term today connects it with institutions and programs that are affiliated with an organized religion, and with President George W. Bush’s faith-based initiative, which enables religious institutions doing social work to receive government funding.

I’m not a fan of Bush’s faith-based initiatives. As a Christian, I am a big fan of the separation of church and state, because I’ve seen what happens when the power of the state fuses with the church. Yet, it  seems to me that the example use of ‘faith-based’ given above, and its linking to Bush in the usage note, is more editorial (as in opinion) than exemplary (as in representative).

Singing with Jessica

Here’s how it happened. Jessica Beer, a fierce alto from Portland sent out an email:

Hello everyone … especially my fine friends to the coastal south!
I’ll be traveling through California over the next couple of weeks, and I wonder if anyone out there would like to meet me for some random singing. I have very little flexibility, due to the nature of my trip, so here are the dates I will be in each city, and some indication of the times I might be available as well. If any of this syncs up with your schedule, please contact me!

She manages the group 3 Leg Torso who are on tour. I misread her note, which said they were having their first concert on Friday, as saying she wanted to sing on Friday. So I worked on arranging a local singing. In the end, six of us–Jessica, Philip, Mark, Jill (another fierce alto, who is really ready to have her baby come), and Katie (a newly minted alto who is working on her fierceness) came together–oh, and my housemate Teri bravely attempted to follow along. So we had no trebles, but Mark led a strong bass, and I was the tenor (with Teri gamely attending). The power of the altos and basses was mighty, and I surfed the waves of that power (wiping out from time to time). Great fun.

My mistake led to a good singing, and it even left time to go to another welcoming party for someone just returning to the Church of the Sojourners, where, to my great delight and surprise, old friends from Chicago–Ronn and Nina Franz–were chatting away with Sojourner folks, along with their daughter Hilda, who’s come to stay for a while as she does a local internship.

All in all, a most satisfying evening.

Shoo-fly pie and burkhas

Slacktivist has a very good defense of why it’s not enough to be a “very nice person” if one argues for restricting the rights of others. It also includes a good list of Mennonite virtues and the following wonderful mock threat:

The proper response to such people is to crush them under a rock that is so big even God couldn’t lift it.

But you’ll want to read the post to get the full benefit.