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I’ve had time to read a few books in the past several months in spite of all the effort I’ve been putting in trying to develop a new church website for our Norway UU church using Joomla. OK, while I’m at it, why not mention loose bowels? I seem to have not diarrhea exactly but a pronounced looseness bowelwise and also perpetual sleep problems, not unrelated perhaps. Good God! I didn’t intend to get off on this subject!

A few weeks back I finished “My Stroke of Insight” by Jill Bolte Taylor, Ph.D., a neuroscientist. Her stroke deactivated a significant part of her left brain making it possible for her to function only through her right brain. The experience of this was what was amazing to her, and to the reader as well, I’m sure. The world, the universe, becomes something totally different. A feeling of oneness with the world and remarkable insight, a certain kind of spirituality where there exists no pressure to do anything, just to exist in the lap of the profoundest of feelings of wonder and, yes, joy. Of course, this was dangerous for her as the bleeding in her left brain was not stopping. With great effort she managed to save herself.

So, the mind has resources and perceptual abilities we never imagined.

Speaking of mind, I’m now working my way through “Absence of Mind: The Dispelling of Inwardness from the Modern Myth of the Self” by Marilynne Robinson. She really takes on the Richard Dawkinses of the world! She’s saying that there is a place for subjectivity and indeed religion, although so far she hasn’t said much about the latter. Some of it is hard for me to follow, but other parts ring bells. She goes after memes in a big way and tries to show how memes theory contradicts gene theories. I haven’t read the rejoinders by the rationalists yet, but I’m sure they’re tearing into her unmercifully because she really goes after them in this book.

Incidentally, Jon Stewart even gave her a favorable interview recently.

This quote from her has been highlighted by several reviewers: “Our religious traditions give us as the name of God two deeply mysterious words, one deeply mysterious utterance: I AM.” In other words, why the Hell am I here, who am I, why is anything here, and what does it all mean?

OK, that’s it for now.

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Hey, I’m amazed! I received one of these ubiquitous blogger meme things, usually disguised as an award! My friend Missy did it to me this time, but to tell ya the truth I appreciate it!

I better not scoff at awards any more. I’ll be 80 freaking years old this coming Monday! How many more awards can I possibly get given the limited amount of time I probably have left on this earth?

I better accept this one while I’m ahead.

See Missy’s post, Where Everybody Knows Your Name, for all the details. She got the award, which she’s passing on to me and seven others, from my friend Barbara of Home in France. Barbara is probably one of the most sincerely friendly people in the whole blogisphere!

Incidentally, notice Missy’s poem leading off her post. Brilliant! You wanna go where everybody knows your name! Yah! Right on!

To quote Barbara, from Missy’s post, “The Friends Award isn’t about being the most popular blogger or having the most read blog. It is just because you are a friend.” Wow. Can I stand it?

The text of the award, which according to the rules I must pass on, is as follows: “These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award.”

Wow. Charming? Self-effacing? No self-aggrandizement? Who can I choose?

OK, I bestow on the following friends the Friends Award:

Kate (She’s my daughter and a good friend too!)

Dragonstar (She’s a great photographer and photo hunter! A friend?)

Aileni (He’s a brilliant artist and poet! I’d be honored to be his friend!)

Debi in Hawaii (Yo Debi! You’re a friend, right?)

Zhu (Another brilliant girl! I hope she can be a friend.)

Minds Erased (Ah, my anonymous and brilliant atheist friend!!)

Greenabby (Lovely and shy, a neat young English lady! A friend?)

Joyce Hopewell (Another lovely English lady. Related to Greenabby? A friend?)

OK, that’s it! I made it to the magic number of eight. Yer all my friends and I bestow the Friends Award on all of ye!

This meme doesn’t seem to be a hard one. It just involves copying a lot of blog links and subscribing to them all. Aldon Hynes tagged me with this one. I think he has a good description of what this is all about which I’ve taken the liberty of copying, in color red, below. Here’s his description with the original links, my link added, and the five new ones I’ve chosen at the bottom:

It is the typical mailing list, ponzi scheme type meme. Copy the original list, which should include your blog already, if you’ve been tagged, and then add five more people to the list.

As I noted in a different list, if you get in early, your in good shape, but the meme can only go around six or seven deep before everyone in MyBlogLogs is reached. Also, as I’ve noted elsewhere, I’m not a big fan of copying the instructions. The more text that you have which is the same as on other websites, the more likely you are to be tagged as some sort of spammer and have your links denigrated.

Another thought about these sort of memes. Not only will this would increase your subscriber rate, which is probably a good bragging right, but doesn’t do much else for you, but it is also likely to raise your Technorati rank. My Technorati rank climbed considerably when I participated in the viral tags meme. However, the downside is that when you try to find who is linking to your site, all you find are the meme related posts, and you don’t find a lot of valuable content. Some people think this helps Google Page Ranks, but I don’t really think it does.

That said, I’ve been tagged and I want to honor that. So, here is the original list:

With that, here are the five people that I’m tagging:

I would encourage you to copy the list of sites and add your own five sites. That said, write your own thoughts about the meme. You will probably find it easiest to copy the source of the html and paste that in. If you have questions, let me know.

Thanks Aldon! And thank you in advance Danielle, Barbara, Abby, Katie, and Jason!

OK, I promised Barbara I would do the meme she tagged me with called “Eight Random Facts/Habits”. Here are the rules, taken from Barbara’s blog:

1. I have to post these rules before I give you the facts.
2. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
3. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
4. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
5. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

Let’s get started:

1. I was born in Preston, Oriente, Cuba, in the same hospital where Raul Castro was born, and at about the same time. (Could the babies have been switched?)

2. The little toes on each of my feet “stick up”. These are called “hammer toes” and they kept me out of the U.S. Navy. “With toes like those, son, you wouldn’t be able to wear the Navy’s shoes.”

3. I quit smoking cigarettes on May 14, 1957, when I crumpled up my last pack of Winstons and threw it in a trash container at the M.I.T. Lincoln Laboratory where I was working at the time. I had prepared myself months in advance through a kind of self-hypnosis. For “manipulative satisfaction” I switched to cigars but soon dropped them because of the coughing and sputtering they invoked in me.

4. At the age of four I bit my paternal grandfather on the arm. He was carrying me around and I didn’t like the smell of his upper arm, so I bit it. This annoyed him, and my mother screamed, “Why did you bite Grandpa?”

5. I’ve been wearing eyeglasses for as long as I can remember. I was often unaware of style changes. “Why is that man wearing 1950’s style glasses in 1980?” I didn’t know.

6. I use one of those Braun Oral-B ProfessionalCare Electric Toothbrushes once a day. I like the two minute timer, divided into the four 30 second increments. My hygienest says I’m doing a good job on my teeth but I don’t tell her I use the instrument only once a day. It probably doen’t matter.

7. The high point of my career was in 1970-72 when we had a “post” at PhilipsGloeilampenFabriken (if I’ve spelled that right), or Philips Lamp Research Lab, in Eindhoven, The Netherlands. My 5-year old daughter Kate learned Dutch like a pro and once said to me, “Don’t try to speak Dutch to me, Dad!”

8. I’ve never seen a purple cow and I never hope to see one, but this I will say anyhow, I’d rather see than be one!

OK, now comes the problem. Who can I tag? I don’t know eight bloggers well enough, and the ones I do know have already been tagged for this meme by Barbara. So I’ll have to think about this one…….and come back later?

Danielle has tagged me with the following Musical Meme:

Start Copy –
1. Go to
2. Pick the year you turned 18
3. Get yourself nostalgic over the song’s of the year
4. Write something about how the song affected you
5. Pass it on to 5 more friends
– Stop Copy –

So, let the memeing begin musically. The year was 1947. On January 12 I turned 18. Ripe old age, I thought. Great to be 18! Big guy now! So, what are the songs that ran through my head back then? The first one, the unforgettable “White Christmas” sung by Bing Crosby is still reverberating in my mind, after all these years. Oh, it’s so corny! But back then it was beautifully nostalgic and heart-rendering: the American boys overseas fighting the Japs and the Nazis were indeed dreaming of white christmases back home. Many of them never made it back home to celebrate. By 1947 the war was over but the song lingered on, and I think was number two on the charts. Here are a couple of stanzas:

I’m dreaming of a White Christmas
Just like the ones I used to know
Where the treetops glisten
And children listen
To hear sleigh bells in the snow

I’m dreaming of a White Christmas
With every Christmas card I write
“May your days be merry and bright
And may all your Christmases be white”

Even now, sixty years later, I can hear the music and the singing as I read the above words! Ah, to be 18 again!!

For some strange reason, another song that comes to my mind from 1947, done first by Arthur Godfrey, is the catchy “TOO FAT POLKA (She’s Too Fat For Me)”:

Here’s a silly ditty, you can sing it right away
Now, here is what you say
So sing it while you may
Here’s a silly jingle, you can sing it night or noon
Here’s the words, that’s all you need
‘Cause I just sang the tune:

Oh, I don’t want her, you can have her
She’s too fat for me
She’s too fat for me
She’s too fat for me
I don’t want her, you can have her,
She’s too fat for me
She’s too fat
She’s too fat
She’s too fat for me

I get dizzy
I get numbo
When I’m dancing
With my Jum-Jum-Jumbo

I don’t want her, you can have her
She’s too fat for me
She’s too fat for me
She’s too fat for me
I don’t want her, you can have her
She’s too fat for me
She’s too fat
She’s too fat
She’s too fat for me

…. and there’s more verses!

OK, that is not very nice or respectful of weight challenged people, but back then, as a boy of 18, I found it hilarious!

OK, that’s it. Here’s who I’ll tag specifically for this meme. Hope you can have fun with it.

Katie’s Crazy Ride

Barbara at Family-Counts has included SeevsPlace among her five choices for the “Thinking Blogger” award. Thank you, Barbara! Now my task is to select five blogs that I think deserve the award. See Just call me a Thinking Blogger for the rules. This is the first “meme” I’ve participated in.

OK, here are my selections, in random order:

Tisha has one of most active blogs around. She is always interesting, free, open, thought-provoking and enormous fun.

The Wrong Advices has a highly ironic title because the technical advice he gives is strictly top-notch. I’ve learned a great deal from him about how to improve this WordPress blog.

Missy has an extremely thoughtful, and fun-filled blog with great photos as well.

AJAY has a blog I just recently became familiar with but it’s very advanced, sophisticated, and full of great ideas well worth pursuing.

Modern Musings is another blog I just became familiar with but it’s very thought-provoking and spiritual, with thought-provoking photos as well.