Body and Blood

Brit Bennett at The Paris Review:

Ten days after a white supremacist carried a gun into a black Charleston church, I was in Los Angeles, listening to a black minister preach about the end of the world. A coincidence of timing, maybe, although the message seemed apt. What could be more apocalyptically evil than a racist massacre within the hallowed walls of a church, an angry young man sitting through a Bible study before slaughtering the nine strangers who had invited him in to pray? Yet on that Sunday, when the pastor talked about the end, he did not mention Charleston or the seven black churches that had been burned throughout the South in the immediate aftermath. Instead, he spoke about fornication. “M-hm,” a woman behind me chimed in, “and gay marriage.” The ladies beside her murmured their assent. Just the day before, the Supreme Court had legalized same-sex marriage, a decision that seemed to disturb the congregation more than anything that had happened in Charleston. I didn’t understand it. How could marriage equality be a sign of the impending apocalypse, but not a church shooting? How could the evils of fornication be a more pressing topic than the wave of racial violence affecting the very congregation sitting in the pews?

more here.

A Eulogy for Two Unsung Heroes of Egyptian Literature

Gretchen McCullough at The Millions:

One of the pleasures of reading critic and fiction writer Yahya Haqqi’s essays in Arabic is that I am always astonished by the breadth of his knowledge, the depth of his experience, the nimbleness of his mind and his eloquence. In the collection Crying, Then Smiling, he has a number of eulogies, one of which is for his uncle, Mahmoud Taher Haqqi, who wrote the first Egyptian novel, The Maidens of Denshawi, about the tragedy of Denshawi in 1906 where British soldiers carelessly killed a villager while they were shooting pigeons—the incident ended tragically when villagers were rounded up and executed by the British. Haqqi points out that it was the first novel to focus on fellaheen, peasants, and their problems and opened the way for Mohamed Hussein Haykal’s novel, Zeyneb (1913). Haqqi wrote that his heart trembled when he read The Maidens of Denshawi—which is what good stories should bring about. Haqqi deserves a eulogy, much like the ones he so generously wrote for others, about his place in Egyptian literary heritage. This seems appropriate in light of the recent celebration of the classic black and white film Al-Bostagy, or The Postman, directed by Husayn Kamal (1968), featuring Shukry Sarhan, based on Haqqi’s novella. But one cannot write about this poignant film without mentioning Sabri Moussa, the talented novelist who translated the spirit of Yahya Haqqi’s novella into a suspenseful screenplay. (He also wrote the screenplay for Yahya Haqqi’s Om Hashem’s Lamp.) Sabri Moussa, who died recently, January 2018, deserves a eulogy as well for his film scripts, short fiction, and novels—the unusual sci-fi tale The Man Arrived from the Spinach Field, the mythic fable Seeds of Corruption, and Half-Meter Incident.

more here.

Your DNA Is Not Your Culture

Sarah Zhang in The Atlantic:

Genetic-ancestry tests are having a moment. Look no further than Spotify: On Thursday, the music-streaming service—as in, the service used to fill tedious workdays and DJ parties—launched a collaboration with AncestryDNA. The partnership creates custom playlists for users based on DNA results they input: Oumou Sangaré for Mali, for example, and Ed Sheeran for England. And last May, after the U.S. men’s soccer team had embarrassingly missed the World Cup, 23andMe also saw a marketing opportunity. “What is a soccer nut to do?” the company asked in a blog post. “Here’s an idea—why not pick a team based on your genetic ancestry?” There’s an Ancestry ad where a man trades his lederhosen for a kilt. And another where a woman traces her ancestry to the matriarchal Akan people of Ghana to conclude, “When I found you in my DNA, I learned where my strength comes from.” And yet another where a man bonds with his Irish neighbor after finding out his own DNA is 15 percent Irish.

DNA, these marketing campaigns imply, reveals something essential about you. And it’s working. Thanks to television-ad blitzes and frequent holiday sales, genetic-ancestry tests have soared in popularity in the past two years. More than 15 million people have now traded their spit for insights into their family history. If this were simply about wearing kilts or liking Ed Sheeran, these ads could be dismissed as, well, ads. They’re just trying to sell stuff, shrug. But marketing campaigns for genetic-ancestry tests also tap into the idea that DNA is deterministic, that genetic differences are meaningful. They trade in the prestige of genomic science, making DNA out to be far more important in our cultural identities than it is, in order to sell more stuff.

First, the accuracy of these tests is unproven (as detailed here and here). But putting that aside, consider simply what it means to get a surprise result of, say, 15 percent German. If you speak no German, celebrate no German traditions, have never cooked German food, and know no Germans, what connection is there, really? Cultural identity is the sum total of all of these experiences. DNA alone does not supersede it.

More here.

Your gut is directly connected to your brain, by a newly discovered neuron circuit

Emily Underwood in Science:

The human gut is lined with more than 100 million nerve cells—it’s practically a brain unto itself. And indeed, the gut actually talks to the brain, releasing hormones into the bloodstream that, over the course of about 10 minutes, tell us how hungry it is, or that we shouldn’t have eaten an entire pizza. But a new study reveals the gut has a much more direct connection to the brain through a neural circuit that allows it to transmit signals in mere seconds. The findings could lead to new treatments for obesity, eating disorders, and even depression and autism—all of which have been linked to a malfunctioning gut. The study reveals “a new set of pathways that use gut cells to rapidly communicate with … the brain stem,” says Daniel Drucker, a clinician-scientist who studies gut disorders at the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute in Toronto, Canada, who was not involved with the work. Although many questions remain before the clinical implications become clear, he says, “This is a cool new piece of the puzzle.”

In 2010, neuroscientist Diego Bohórquez of Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, made a startling discovery while looking through his electron microscope. Enteroendocrine cells, which stud the lining of the gut and produce hormones that spur digestion and suppress hunger, had footlike protrusions that resemble the synapses neurons use to communicate with each other. Bohórquez knew the enteroendocrine cells could send hormonal messages to the central nervous system, but he also wondered whether they could “talk” to the brain using electrical signals, the way that neurons do. If so, they would have to send the signals through the vagus nerve, which travels from the gut to the brain stem. He and colleagues injected a fluorescent rabies virus, which is transmitted through neuronal synapses, into the colons of mice and waited for the enteroendocrine cells and their partners to light up. Those partners turned out to be to vagal neurons, the researchers report today in Science. In a petri dish, enteroendocrine cells reached out to vagal neurons and formed synaptic connections with each other. The cells even gushed out glutamate, a neurotransmitter involved in smell and taste, which the vagal neurons picked up on within 100 milliseconds—faster than an eyeblink.

More here.

Wednesday Poem



Africans in the hold fold themselves
to make room for hope. In the afternoon’s
ferocity, tar, grouting the planks like the glue
of family, melts to the run of a child’s licorice stick.

Wet decks crack, testing the wood’s mettle.
Distilled from evaporating brine, salt
dusts the floor, tickling with the measure
into time and the thirst trapped below.
The captain’s new cargo of Igbos disturbs him.
They stand, computing the swim back to land.
Haitians still say: Igbo pend’c or’ a ya!
But we do not hang ourselves in cowardice.
Sold six times on the journey to the coast,
once for a gun, then cloth, then iron
manilas, her pride was masticated like husks
of chewing sticks, spat from morning-rank mouths.
Breaking loose, edge of handcuffs held high
like the blade of a vengeful axe, she runs
across the salt scratch of deck,
pain deeper than the blue inside a flame.
The sound, like the break of bone
could have been the Captain’s skull
or the musket shot dropping her
over the side, her chains wrapped
around his neck in dance.
by Chris Abani
from Dog Woman
Red Hen Press, 2004

Michael Wood reviews Spike Lee’s “BlacKkKlansman”

Michael Wood in the London Review of Books:

Spike Lee, as befits a film school graduate, is a master of montage. His cuts and juxtapositions often say more than his dialogue does, perhaps more than any dialogue could. This is especially marked in BlacKkKlansman, which has been widely hailed as Lee’s return to form after a spell in the movie wilderness.

The film opens with a shot of a railway yard littered with bodies, wounded, dead and dying. A woman crosses the screen from right to left, and the camera pulls back higher and higher, until the whole screen looks like a tapestry made of those many bodies. A Confederate flag flutters at the left of the image. After the opening shot the film shifts away from colour, and we see Alec Baldwin practising a lecture with film clips. He keeps fluffing his lines, but the racism is clear enough: Jews and Negroes are taking over the world, and the natural supremacy of whites is scorned everywhere. Then we move back into colour and see some lofty shots of the Rocky Mountains: pure scenery, it seems, until we close in on a sign at the entrance to a town – Colorado Springs, a place that is about to hire its first black police officer.

The pictured times move from the 19th century to the 1950s to the 1970s. We may not have recognised the first shot as coming from Gone with the Wind, but we’ll certainly have picked up the presentation of the American South and the Civil War. As for the connections among the three scenes, we’re still waiting for the film to start and can’t really work on them. They are already working on us, though, and tangled bits of history and mythology hang in the air: spectacular but romantic defeat, self-congratulating hatred, the West, integration, much more.

More here.

Hawking temperature of black holes measured in fluid analogue

Sabine Hossenfelder in Back Reaction:

Stephen Hawking sadly passed away earlier this year, but his scientific legacy is well alive. The black hole information loss problem in particular still keeps physicists up at night. A new experiment might bring us a step closer to solving it.

Hawking notably was first to derive that black holes are not entirely black, but must emit what is now called “Hawking radiation”. The temperature of this radiation is inversely proportional to the mass of the black hole, a relation that has not been experimentally confirmed, so far.

Since the known black holes out there in the universe are very massive, their temperature is too small to be measurable. For this reason, physicists have begun to test Hawking’s predictions by simulating black holes in the laboratory using superfluids, that are fluids at a few degrees above absolute zero which have almost no viscosity. If a superfluid has regions where it flows faster than the speed of sound in the fluid, then sound waves cannot escape the fast-flowing part of the fluid. This is similar to how light cannot escape from a black hole.

The resemblance between the two cases more than just a verbal analogy, as was shown first by Bill Unruh in the 1980s: The mathematics of the two situations is identical. Therefore, physicists should be able to use the superfluid to measure the properties of the radiation predicted by Hawking because his calculation applies for these fluids too.

More here.


Samantha Libby at New England Review:

The word “Chinko” means nothing. It is the name given to a river in a place where the river gets lost in thick brush and fields of termite mounds. Chinko Park, established to protect what little is left, is called a national park, but there is nothing national in a place without the rule of law. Chinko’s only defense is a handful of well-trained rangers who spend weeks at a time in the wild, waiting for poachers or armed groups to emerge from the thick bush and attack. This is a dangerous part of the world—everyone knows at least that much.

In war-torn Africa, outsiders often feel an obligation to dissect old clichés and invent new ones. But I show up empty-handed. After ten years working in human rights and humanitarian aid around the world, I can no longer be deluded as to my own relevance. I come for a reason startlingly few want to admit: I need to work and there is often work to be had in places where nobody wants to be. 

more here.

A Warning From Europe: The Worst Is Yet to Come

Anne Applebaum in The Atlantic:

On December 31, 1999, we threw a party. It was the end of one millennium and the start of a new one; people very much wanted to celebrate, preferably somewhere exotic. Our party fulfilled that criterion. We held it at Chobielin, the manor house in northwest Poland that my husband and his parents had purchased a decade earlier, when it was a mildewed ruin. We had restored the house, very slowly. It was not exactly finished in 1999, but it did have a new roof. It also had a large, freshly painted, and completely unfurnished salon—perfect for a party.

The guests were various: journalist friends from London and Berlin, a few diplomats based in Warsaw, two friends who flew in from New York. But most of them were Poles, friends of ours and colleagues of my husband, who was then a deputy foreign minister in the Polish government. A handful of youngish Polish journalists came too—none then particularly famous—along with a few civil servants and one or two members of the government.

You could have lumped the majority of them, roughly, in the general category of what Poles call the right—the conservatives, the anti-Communists. But at that moment in history, you might also have called most of my guests liberals—free-market liberals, or classical liberals—or maybe Thatcherites. Even those who might have been less definite about economics certainly believed in democracy, in the rule of law, and in a Poland that was a member of nato and on its way to joining the European Union—an integrated part of modern Europe. In the 1990s, that was what being “on the right” meant.

More here.

Marvelous Muriel

David Pryce-Jones at The New Criterion:

The flight path of Muriel Spark is a wonder to behold. Her conviction was that the purpose of writing is to give pleasure, and in all her books she paid attention only to the innermost self that was her exclusive guide to that end. She had a poet’s instinct for the right form and a colloquial style all her own that allowed her to range the whole way from the comedy of manners up to the great unanswerable questions of the human condition. In an age when writers expect to be judged primarily by their sexual, social, and political commitments, and are therefore encouraged to be each one more shocking than the next, Muriel’s wit and independent mindset were conservative as well as revolutionary, that strange combination that surfaces when things go wrong. Since she was speaking for lots of people with hopes and fears like hers, she was successful—and deserved to be.

more here.

Alejandro Escovedo’s Return to the Border

Nick Paumgarten at The New Yorker:

Alejandro Escovedo, the singer and songwriter, likes to have a proper Mexican breakfast before a long drive. “Let’s go here,” he said. He pulled into the back lot of a restaurant called El Pueblo, across from the Tornado bus terminal on East Jefferson Boulevard, in the Oak Cliff section of Dallas. El Pueblo, he said, is where travellers arriving by bus from Mexico often go to eat and to get their bearings. He ordered in Spanish, then remarked that his Spanish was poor. The plates came quickly. Chorizo con huevos. “This is bad_ass_, man,” he said. An elderly vagrant looked in through the window and then walked in. Escovedo gave him a dollar. “When I was small, I used to be able to see the pain in people,” he said.

more here.

Finally, angry women are the solution and not a problem – but we still have far to go

Emilie Pine in The Guardian:

When I was 11, I read Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Like every girl who wants to be a writer, I idolised Jo. Rereading it recently, I re-encountered so many things I’d loved, from Jo’s exuberant character to her ability to make an independent living from writing. But I stumbled when I came to these words from Marmee: “I am angry nearly every day of my life, Jo; but I have learned not to show it … I’ve learned to check the hasty words that rise to my lips; and when I feel that they mean to break out against my will, I just go away a minute, and give myself a little shake for being so weak and wicked.” Marmee’s advice to Jo is: repress your anger, because the cause is not the problem – it’s you.

…Rage is beginning to feel like a permanent state of being. The cultural turn towards listening to women’s anger is, obviously, a good thing. But there are times when it feels as if being vocally angry has become a requirement, rather than an option. Where once women’s emotional labour was invested in suppressing anger, now we work to display our pain for a public gaze that is often unsympathetic. Think of all the hashtags: #MeToo, #TimesUp, #WhyIStayed or #WhyIDidn’tReport. A lot is being asked of women – not only that they identify and labour to fix the problems of gender inequality, but also that they absorb the emotional and social consequences of protest. Protest is necessary. But it is also exhausting.

I thought about all these questions as I watched Hannah Gadsby’s standup show Nanette, a call to action to angry women. Gadsby reveals the damage done by the self-deprecating scripts gay women are forced into by our homophobic culture. She demands that the narrative changes – both her own, and ours – to accommodate her fury. But then, in the show’s final moments, Gadsby declares that she is wary of anger. Anger, she says, is a way to unite people, but ultimately it only serves to spread “blind hate”. It’s a double bind. We need anger to call out inequality and violence, we need anger to provoke a reaction, and we need anger to drive us towards change. But anger will scar and consume us. It’s a salutary warning. Gadsby’s invocation to tell our stories, but to resist anger, is worlds away from Marmee’s advice to Jo. No longer are women expected to shake themselves; instead, we are being asked to shake the world. But giving permission to women to be angry does not mean that we have divested ourselves entirely of 19th-century attitudes to women and power.

More here.

Zapping mutant DNA in mitochondria could treat major class of genetic disease

Mitch Leslie in Science:

CRISPR, the genome editor celebrated as a potentially revolutionary medical tool, isn’t omnipotent. Mitochondria, the organelles that supply a cell’s energy, harbor their own mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and mutations there can have devastating consequences including deafness, seizures, and muscle weakness. Genome editing might be a remedy, but mitochondria appear to be off-limits to CRISPR. Now, two studies published this week in Nature Medicine reveal that two older genome-editing tools can slash the amount of defective mtDNA in mice bred to have a mitochondrial disease, counteracting the effects of the mutation. The proof-of-principle results could open the way for the first treatments for mitochondrial diseases. “These are remarkable findings that make it possible to even consider doing this in humans,” says mitochondrial biologist Martin Picard of the Columbia University Irving Medical Center, who was not involved in the work.

Turning these results into a treatment will be tricky. The genes encoding the genome editors had to be introduced by viruses, and researchers have long struggled to make similar gene therapy efforts work. But, “These are the right experiments to get ready to go into people,” says molecular geneticist Stephen Ekker of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, who wasn’t connected to either study. In fact, both groups are already aiming to launch clinical trials. Descendants of ancient bacteria that took up residence inside early eukaryotic cells, mitochondria sport their own small genomes and a distinct set of proteins not encoded by genes in the nucleus. Each cell can contain thousands of these organelles, and mutations in mtDNA cause a range of illnesses. “If you take all the mitochondrial diseases together, they are one of the most common causes of genetic disease in humans,” says molecular biologist Michal Minczuk of the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, who led one of the research teams.

More here.

Tuesday Poem


light keeps on breaking.
i keep knowing
the language of other nations.
i keep hearing
tree talk
water words
and i keep knowing what they mean.
and light just keeps on breaking.
last night
the fears of my mother came
knocking and when i
opened the door
they tried to explain themselves
and i understood
everything they said.
Lucille Clifton
from good woman: poems and memoir 1969-1980
BOA Editions 1980

Laughter and the Machine

by Mary Kenagy Mitchell

Lace knitting pattern written by a machine and knit by a human.

Like Uncle Albert in Mary Poppins, I love to laugh. Luckily, I have some funny friends. The work of many talented professional comedians is as close as my phone. I go back to Arrested Development and The Office. And certain novels. I even find myself funny.

What I usually mean by laugh is that I smile enough to crease my cheeks and exhale quickly through my nose three or four times in a row. If something is really funny, I might make a sound in the back of my throat like a dog trying to bark with a muzzle on. This is not a courtesy laugh. I am genuinely entertained. I just don’t show it much.

Or sometimes nothing is exactly funny at all: I just mean I suddenly have perspective on myself. I laugh at myself because it took me so long to figure out that I turned out the way I did because I am a lazy person who was raised by compulsive workers. This laugh does not have a physical manifestation. It is only an idea of laughter.

At the other end of the spectrum, I occasionally I find myself laughing involuntarily, loudly, spasmodically, hard enough to bring tears, so hard that I couldn’t stop if I wanted to. Then, the smallest variation on the original joke starts the whole cycle again and I’m helpless. My eyes become damp. This laughter is a form of exercise. Read more »

Fascism/Identity: A Tangle (Tango)

by Joan Harvey

Somewhere on an island with sun and shade, in the midst of peace, security and happiness, I would in the end be indifferent to whether I was or was not Jewish. But here and now I cannot be anything else. Nor do I want to be. —Mihail Sebastian

Fascism is what happens when people try to ignore the complications. —Yuval Harari

These days, even in the somewhat remote hills where I dwell, near a very liberal, and mostly white town, one thinks often about the possibility of living soon in an authoritarian state. And this possibility becomes impossible to separate from the idea of identity—who is most at risk? Probably not me. But certainly many immigrants are already or could be in danger, whether Mexican or Muslim. Identity, as in the quote from Mihail Sebastian above, becomes an issue when it is forced on one. And, tangled up with identity is the difficult issue of identity politics, which is driving the right in a negative way, and splitting the left.

In his book The People vs Democracy, Yascha Mounk quotes sociologist Adia Harvey Wingfield: “In most social interactions whites get to be seen as individuals. Racial minorities, by contrast, become aware from a young age that people will often judge them as members of their group, and treat them in accordance with the (usually negative) stereotypes attached to that group.” (Mounk, 2018, p. 202) Perhaps that is why one book keeps leaping to mind during these times, Mihail Sebastian’s Journal: 1935-1944, though it was written in very different circumstances. Radu Ioanid in his introduction writes: “One of Sebastian’s fundamental choices was to consider himself a Romanian rather than a Jew, a natural decision for one whose spirit and intellectual production belonged to Romanian culture. He soon discovered with surprise and pain that this was an illusion: both his intellectual benefactor and his friends ultimately rejected him only because he was Jewish.” (Sebastian, 2000, p. xii)

When the entries in this journal begin, Sebastian is in his late twenties. His life is full of literary feuds, theater going, agonies over his work, women chasing him and women he chases, and his passion for music, music, music. There are Mozart sonatas on the radio, plans to go skiing, lovely descriptions of his “amatory sufferings,” intelligent reading of Proust. He often meets and dines and parties with friends. But as the Germans pick up steam, the anti-Semites in Romania are emboldened; because he is Jewish he’s no longer allowed to practice law, the plays he writes are not produced, he loses his job with the Writer’s Association, he has no money to pay the rent and soon he’s not allowed to live in his apartment anyhow. Read more »

“Prove that I am Wrong!” – What QAnon, Descartes, and Brains in Vats have in Common

by Guy Elgat

Recently, CNN sent their reporter to cover yet another Trump rally (in Pennsylvania), but this time reporter Gary Tuchman was assigned the more specific task of interviewing Trump supporters who were carrying signs or large cardboard cut-outs of the letter “Q” and wearing T-shirts proclaiming “We are Q”.[1] These Trump supporters were professing their belief in the existence of a person known as Q or QAnon who is supposed to be an anonymous, high-level activist who works from inside the administration with the goal of supporting Trump’s agenda by squashing “deep-state” anti-Trump forces and removing any other obstacle that might stand in the way of consummating the President’s revolutionary vision.

At one point in the interview, in his attempt to probe the beliefs of the Q-ers, as I shall call them, Gary Tuchman challenged one of them and said: “So you don’t have any proof [that Q exists] but that’s what you’re guessing”, in response to which the interviewee said “and you don’t have any proof there isn’t”. In another exchange Tuchman again tried to interrogate a Q-er about her beliefs, saying “Maybe it is not true [that Q exists] because there is no evidence of it…”, in response to which the interviewee shot back: “There hasn’t been any non-evidence yet”.

Upon hearing these retorts many might react with a baffled scoff and dismiss them as not worthy of taking seriously. But though this reaction is at the end of the day warranted – or so I shall argue – it is hard, though important, to explain exactly what is wrong with the Q-ers’ response and why Q-ers might think that it serves their purpose and is thus perfectly legitimate. As we shall see, once we start to reflect on these questions we will find ourselves pretty quickly knee-deep in philosophy, what will bring out again the importance and relevance of philosophy to our everyday lives. Read more »

Monday Poem

Little Miracles 3:
A Quantum Angel Spinning-0ff Particles

I call you Quantum Angel
because you’re so unbelievable
not even physicists can pin you down,
the way you flit through atoms
you must have wings,
the way you punk time
your wings must be turbocharged,
the way you fling particles
we can’t keep up—
where do you get so many
tiny spinning things?
you must have a secret source
or you’re a maestro of illusion
a tall-tale provider, a teller
who tells in sparks and quarks
the most fundamental things
(mere things, almost)
in super hadron mist

Jim Culleny

Drawing: Quantum Angel
Jim C., 1997


by Shawn Crawford

Make it one for my baby, and one more for the road—Arlen/Mercer

The Lost Sheep by Alfred Usher Soord

On the 4th of July, the kids start acting jakey once the sun approaches the tree line. It’s maybe, kinda, sorta, starting to get dark, so shouldn’t we break out the fireworks? No. But soon you’ll relent and allow some preliminaries, like rockets that eject a little plastic soldier attached to a parachute, which are fun to watch, and the kids chase them around the golf course across the street and try to catch them before they reach the ground.

I sit outside at my uncle’s house and watch everyone, enjoying the cool breeze that has no business showing up on a July day in Kansas. My parents have decided to stay in Colorado all summer, to escape the heat that hasn’t shown up yet, so we’re next door at my uncle’s. My father and his brother have lived adjacent or across the street from each other for well over half their adult lives.

All the cousins have made the trip, including S. and her husband H., missionaries in the Philippines and home on furlough. I sit and listen to their very earnest talk about The Spirit and The Heart and Salvation and going out into The Fields. None of them would claim the title of Baptist anymore, the religion of my youth. They have all joined the ranks of Mega-Church Evangelicals, proclaiming their triumph over petty denominations for a purer form of Christianity. One that skews very white, very affluent, but includes a coffee shop in the Gathering Space of the church-cum-warehouse to demonstrate their welcoming nature and hipness.

In a time not that long ago, I would have joined right in, enjoying the discussion and the parsing of scripture, and debating the theology of even the most mundane of choices. But now it sets my nerves on edge and makes me irritable, especially with the Christian radio station blaring throughout the house and on the patio, every song reaching the same easy solution. Finally, I just tune it all out. Read more »