Lady Grantham would not be amused

Pentatomidae01At work today we had those lovely inter­nal head-scratching ques­tions on whether the com­mon name of the insects of the pen­tato­mi­dae fam­ily is one word (stinkbugs) or two (stink bugs). Yes, yes, some­times even Quaker thought and life today includes these horrors.

Our house dic­tio­nary (the Amer­i­can Her­itage Col­lege Dic­tio­nary, 4th edi­tion) unam­bigu­ously declares it a sin­gle word, which would nor­mally end the con­ver­sa­tion, but pretty much every other source says two. The proscriptively-correct response is to clutch for dear life to that book and delete the space. But when Wikipedia and state ag col­lege exten­sion offices alike seem to pre­fer the two words, insist­ing on the dic­tio­nary seems unnec­es­sar­ily pendantic.

I half-wondered if this might in ret­ro­spect be seen as another step on the road to offi­cially endors­ing Wikipedia as our house dic­tio­nary. If I were the Dowa­ger Count­ess of Grantham, I’d come up with a quippy line about this being how civ­i­liza­tions crumble.

NYTimes video remembers the 1965 Selma James Reeb attack

One of the white min­is­ters with James Reeb in the 1965 attack that helped pro­pel the Vot­ing Rights Act remem­bers the night.

He also reflects on the value of white lives vs. black lives for national atten­tion in the Civil Rights Move­ment. While the actual Selma march was protest­ing the killing of black civil rights activist Jim­mie Lee Jack­son by a state trooper, national out­rage focused on the vis­it­ing white minister.

In 1967, Dr. King noted, “The fail­ure to men­tion Jimmy [sic] Jack­son only rein­forced the impres­sion that to white Amer­i­cans the life of a Negro is insignif­i­cant and meaningless.”

Don’t miss Gail Whif­fen Coyle’s overview of con­tem­po­rary Friends Jour­nal cov­er­age of Selma on our website.

Bayard Rustin’s letter to the Draft Board

Bayard Rustin’s let­ter to the Draft Board:

> I admit my share of guilt for hav­ing par­tic­i­pated in the insti­tu­tions and ways of life which helped bring fas­cism and war. Nonethe­less, guilty as I am, I now see as did the Prodi­gal Son that it is never too late to refuse longer to remain in a non-creative sit­u­a­tion. It is always timely and vir­tu­ous to change—to take in all humil­ity a new path.

The QuakerRanter Top-Five

Out­reach, Fam­ily, Paci­fism, and Blog Culture

At year’s end it’s always inter­est­ing to look back and see which arti­cles got the most vis­its. Here are the top-five Quak​er​Ran​ter​.org blog posts of 2013.

1. Out­reach gets peo­ple to your meet­ing­house / Hos­pi­tal­ity keeps peo­ple returning

This grew out of a inter­est­ing lit­tle tweet about search engine opti­miza­tion that got me think­ing about how Friends Meet­ings can retain the curi­ous one-time visitors.

2. Tom Hei­land

My father-in-law died in Jan­u­ary. These are few pic­tures I put together while Julie was still at the fam­ily home with the close rel­a­tives. Thanks to our friends for shar­ing a bit of our life by read­ing this one. He’s missed.

3. Expand­ing Con­cepts of Pacifism

A look at Friends tes­ti­monies and the dif­fi­cul­ties of being a fair-trade paci­fist in our hyper-connected world today. I think George Fox and the early Friends were faced with sim­i­lar chal­lenges and that our guide can be the same as theirs.

4. Rethink­ing Blogs

A num­ber of new ser­vices are try­ing to update the cul­ture of blog­ging. This post looked at com­ments; a sub­se­quent one con­sid­ered how we might reor­ga­nize our blogs into more of a struc­tured Wiki.

5. Iraq Ten Years Later: Some of Us Weren’t Wrong

This year saw a lot of hang wring­ing by main­stream jour­nal­ists on the anniver­sary of the Iraq War. I didn’t have much patience and looked at how dis­sent­ing voices were reg­u­larly locked out of debate ten years ago–and are still locked out with the talk that “all of us” were wrong then.

I should give the caveat that these are the top-five most-read arti­cles that were writ­ten this year. Many of the clas­sics still out­per­form these. The most read con­tin­ues to be my post on unpop­u­lar baby names (just today I over­heard an expec­tant mother approv­ingly going through a list of over-trendy names; I won­dered if I should send her the link). My post on how to order men’s plain cloth­ing from Gohn’s Broth­ers con­tin­ues to be pop­u­lar, as does a report about a trip to a leg­endary water hole deep in the South Jer­sey pines.

Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life has a page devoted to issues of faith and next…

Pew Forum on Reli­gion and Pub­lic Life has a page devoted to issues of faith and next year’s pres­i­den­tial elections.

Embed­ded Link

2012 Pres­i­den­tial Can­di­dates Reli­gious Back­grounds | Pew Forum on Reli­gion & Pub­lic Life
Inter­ested in how reli­gion could affect the 2012 elec­tion? Learn about the 2012 pres­i­den­tial candidate’s reli­gious back­grounds in Pew Forum online biographies.

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I thought I’d try an experiment

My life is now such that I don’t have the time to do long-form, thought­ful blog­ging. When I have time to think about big ideas expressed in well-chosen words, it’s as edi­tor at Friends Jour­nal. I have a rather long com­mute but it’s bro­ken up with trans­fers, I often have to stand and I usu­ally don’t have a lap­top on me. What I do have is a smart phone, which I use to keep up with Quaker blogs, lis­ten to pod­casts and take pictures.

Despite this, I can usu­ally write a few para­graphs at a time. Kept at steadily those could amass into blog posts. But the finishing-up effort is hard. I have a 2/3rds com­pleted post lav­ish­ing high praise for +Jon Watts’s new album sit­ting on my phone but haven’t had the chance to fin­ish, pol­ish and pub­lish. So what if I seri­al­ized these? Write a few para­graphs at a time, invite com­men­tary, per­haps even alter things in a bit of crowd-sourcing?

Any feed­back I’d get would help keep up my enthu­si­asm for the topic. This infor­mal post-as-chat was actu­ally the dom­i­nant early model for blogs, one that fell away as they became more vis­i­ble. It’d be nice to get back to that. The medium seems obvi­ous to me: Google+, which allows for extended infor­mal posts. So I’ll try that. These will be beta thoughts-on-electron. If they seem to gell together, I might then pol­ish and pub­lish to Quak​er​Ran​ter​.org, but no promises. This is mostly a way to get some raw ideas out there.

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