Have it your way

As a card-carrying geek, Firefox is my as my browser of choice, and I use it to access my personal email via Google’s Gmail. I really like Gmail, but there is one little issue that was bugging me: a lack of a ‘delete’ button. A couple of the most commonly used actions get their own buttons in Gmail, but others, including Delete, are relegated to a dropdown. To delete a message, I had to either check it on the list page or view it, and then select ‘Delete’ from the actions dropdown.
The other day I thought: I have Greasemonkey installed on Firefox. I wonder if anyone has created a user script to solve this problem. Sure enough, it took me about a minute to find and install a Greasemonkey user script to insert a Delete button into Gmail!

Those wacky Japanese

When we are at the grocery store, the kids occasionally get me to agree to play the grab-a-plush-toy game. Man, our grocery store looks boring now. If we lived in Japan, we could try out hand at catching our dinner:

Take the red pill

I don’t usually like to link to memes that are making the rounds, but this one is just too good to pass up. The image below is a new Roman Catholic recruiting poster (click on image for larger version):

UPDATE: Best comment about this poster from a discussion board I frequenet: When people starting marketing religion like they would a movie or any other product, they shouldn’t be surprised if that’s how people begin to treat it.

The price of a healthy child

My friend Susan’s daughter Sophie was diagnosed with leukenia eight months ago. Susan and her husband Randall have been keeping a blog about Sophie’s health. In yesterday’s entry, Randall totalled up the insurance claims so far (not including co-pays and other expenses that they’ve borne themselves). He writes:

The grand total (and still counting) is $173, 670.35. Basically that amounts to over $700 a day. We are incredibly, incredibly thankful for the terrific insurance coverage that we have, but can you possibly imagine how families manage without the kind of coverage that we have, or, worse yet, without any coverage at all? Granted, you cannot put a price on having a healthy, thriving child, but I fear for those who have to make tough decisions that we have never had to make in this process. There is no wonder that an experience like this can devastate families financially for years and years and years.

Too geeky

I’ve been a geek for too long. When I was writing the previous blog post, my fingers kept want to type ‘Perl’ instead of ‘Pearl’. I had to backspace and correct it two times.

Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier

I just completed the unabridged audio edition of Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier. I avoided checking out this audio book for quite some time, assuming that it was a chick book, not particulary my thing: more about feelings and/or relationships than actions. Well, now that I’ve read it, I can firmly say that it is indeed a chick book, but it’s also the best book I’ve read in some time. The characters and their relationships are subtle, complex and quite compelling. I highly recommend this book.

He says it better than I could

In my occasional attempts to explain my religious experience and faith, I recently wrote:

I respect people who say that they are spiritual but not part of an organized religion. For me, however, personal spirituality is only half the picture. The other half is being in community with people who are also struggling to better themselves and who help me remember that I’m a small part of a large and complex universe.
It’s times like this–the aftermath of hurricane Katrina–when I’m proudest to be a member of a faith community. Yesterday, like most United Methodist congregations in the U.S. (or even, possibly, world-wide), our congregation took a special offering for hurricane relief. Our pastor related the relief efforts of other area United Methodist congregations and how we can participate in them. And another local church, St. Mary’s Baptist Church, has become the organizing point for hurricane refugees in our community. With the participation of other local congregations, we will do our best to support the refugees among us.
All of this made me realize how many people have given more of themselves because of the connectedness to others that they experience in their community of faith. And I’m proud to be a part of such connectedness and self-sacrifice.

As usual, Gordon Atkinson, a.k.a. Real Live Preacher, says it much more elegantly than I can:

While we prayed, I felt a mysterious sense of awareness. I felt that something important was going on, something beyond us and bigger than us. Something, in fact, so big that we have no need or desire to try to explain it, market it, promise it, or claim any kind of ownership of it. We were dear friends gathered in love and in the very name of God. It was a quiet episode and no record of the details exists. Our prayers were not recorded for sale in some inspirational book. No movie will ever be made about that moment in time.
And yet, this truth remains. I would do just about anything, go just about anywhere, and even sell most of my possessions for a chance to walk through life with these gentle pilgrims. I will own any label you please. Crackpot, dreamer, shoddy thinker, weak-minded. None of these matter for I have found the pearl of great price. And the transforming power of that discovery and of that joy lies at the center of my life.
The power of our shared community, which we call the Spirit of God, helps me to be faithful even when I am feeling faithless. It helps me to be trusting even when I am feeling cynical. It helps me to become like a child even when childhood seems very far away and long ago.
There is a truth here that is hard to put into words. It is a life truth, a living truth, a truth of sinew and muscle and shared history and held hands. It is a truth that is utterly beyond us and somehow within us. It is a truth that makes us feel so small and childlike that we may have slipped, unnoticed, into the very Kingdom of Heaven.
Something out there is much greater than I. I am aware of it and in awe of it. This is the beginning and the end of Wisdom.