Living in Two Worlds

So, I envisioned myself as this super-intelligent blogger speaking out about all the various political and religious ideas of the day (and I tried...once), rather than someone who constantly talks about the achievements of her children or post recipes for some kind of healthy and hearty bread or whines about the various minutia of my day...

But then I realized I should probably just be myself and talk about my life. So, my posts will probably be more self-indulgent than the other two, but oh well...that's very American, right?

And, as you can see, right now, my life is about juggling my vocation as a priest and my vocation as a mom. Two things I never really had aspirations to be, and can drive me crazy just about every hour of the day. Yet, two things I love doing more than anything else.

I find myself complaining about this pull - between work and family, priesthood and motherhood - because some days it is just so maddening. Like today, for example. We loaded up the car and went to work. For the first two hours of the day, I chased the baby around (who is walking pretty aptly these days), cut up various food for him to eat for lunch, shoved down a sandwich for me, and played in the nursery with him as I checked my email. I attempted to have a meeting with one of my wardens, but that was interrupted by the baby's gleeful screaming as he proceeded to take all the pamphlets for the Free Clinic out of the cabinet and scatter them all over the floor. So, we left the meeting and retired to "our" office, where baby decided to take the push pins (They were on the cork board that was originally on the outside of my door but the double sided-tape failed and it fell to the ground, where some kind soul decided to slip it under my door for a baby to play with.) and shove them in his mouth. Of course, I was busy writing thank you notes for the volunteers that helped with the fund-raising dinner we had the previous Saturday, so I didn't notice until he screamed in pain. So, I asked him to show me what he had in his mouth, and he removed the now bloody push pins from his mouth and, through teary eyes, held them up for me to examine. I am such a bad mom. After he had started crying for the fifth time (and tried to pull the pen from my hand for the twentieth time), I realized he was probably tired, so I closed the black-out curtains in the office, turned out the light and plopped down in the rocking chair. And we both fell asleep.

As he slept in the pack n play, I tried to proof and edit the bulletin for this week - our first Baptism since we arrived (and since the hiring of our most excellent parish administrator) in the pitch black. Not easy to see the black keyboard on this silly dell laptop in the pitch black. I found myself daydreaming about what a great invention it would be to have glow-in-the-dark keys for those late-night, in-the-dark moments on our various keyboards. Maybe that will be the million dollar idea people keep telling me I should have. I made one phone call (whispering in the hallway, so not as to wake the baby), which ended up being a left message. Sat down to make a list of everything I had to do this week during my quarter-time hours (HA HA), put the pen to the paper, and then baby woke up.

And so it goes. And no matter how tempting it is to complain, I actually love it all. I have always loved being a priest because it is a job that is never boring (sometimes so maddening you want to choke yourself and all your parishioners) - with so many angles. I get to be teacher, public speaker, singer, poet, writer, social activist, fund-raiser, manager, conflict resolver - conflict avoider and creator, too - pastor, friend, enemy, secretary...well, you get the idea. I don't like to be bored, so I know this job is for me.

But, I also have the unfortunate need to also be orderly/organized. I like schedules and lists and calendars. I like things put away in the right place (except for my clothes, which tend to lie on the floor of my closet for weeks at a time). I like to know what I am doing and what I am doing next. And when it was just me, when I was working alone in my office, I could control that all.

But with baby, it is impossible (and not just at work). And there are days when it drives me crazy. When I leave the office and think - what the hell did I do and why did I even come in today? And there are days when I wonder why am I even trying to work and be a mom and take care of our house and..? And if I continue on that path, I will be driven crazy.

Because while I could finish everything I wanted to get done when I was alone - I was still alone. I wasn't watching this amazing child change every day - learn new things, start to say words, laugh and play and look to me for love and approval. I might have been involved in various diocesan committees and task forces. But I didn't have the opportunity to hold my beautiful baby in my arms and think about nothing else in the world. And while I could check off my lists and see all my appointments nicely written in my Episcopal calendar, I was more bored than I knew. I took this job because I wanted to be with my baby (and work with my husband). I didn't want to deal with babies and daycare or working all the time and giving what was left over (if any) to my family. I was tired of suburbia and that constant drive to do more, be more, have more. I wanted to have the best of all worlds. And so, I am working on appreciating my multi-faceted life. And when it gets crazy, I try to remember to grab hold of the horns and just stay on as long as I can.

I am lucky. I can live into the various calls God has handed to me. The call to the priesthood that I knew with every cell in my body was right as all those priests and friends laid their hands on me. The call to motherhood, which has been a slowly refining call, that feels so naturally a part of me. And I am working on loving having it all. Isn't that what we all say we want anyway?


She Blinded Me With ... Science? Or, "How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Hate the Gays."

I am a Washington Redskins fan. I have been since I was 8 years old. That right there ought to tell you something about my devotion to a cause. I was there when the heavily-favored Redskins got tromped by the Oakland Raiders in the Superbowl (as a 10-year-old, that was the first true crisis of faith I ever experienced). Through thick and thin, I have backed the ‘Skins—even when the Pats beat them 52-7. Many of my friends feel the same way about their given sports team, be it the Green Bay Packers or the Boston Red Sox--they may be doing well now, but both have had their share of setbacks. (How my wife managed to write her sermon and yell for the Sox at the same time last Saturday night, I’ll never know, but it was a great sermon!)

If only we Americans stood by our moral values as firmly as we do our favorite teams. As a recent report from Christian News Wire tells us, we Yankee sheep are more prone to back the winning horse than the ethical horse.

This opinion piece is a real, well, piece of work: Love Isn’t Enough: 5 Reasons Why Same-Sex Marriage Will Harm Children. Normally I wouldn’t give any credence to such a clearly biased opinion piece, but after checking on the source, and reading her other writings, I have concluded that it is only a matter of time before we see this woman on Fox News, being touted by Rick Sanchez as an “expert.” Another in a long line of people who are to scared or stupid to say what they really think, so they take a position they believe to be held by the majority of society.

The author, Dr. Trayce L. Hansen, makes only one point I agree with—at least halfway: “Men and women bring diversity to parenting; each makes unique contributions that can't be replicated by the other.” I have never tried breastfeeding my son—I just don’t think my man-boobs are up to it. I’m quite happy to leave that one to my wife.

My wife and I do bring diversity to parenting—but that diversity has less to do with the difference in our gender than it has to do with the difference in our personalities. We problem-solve differently, we come from different families, and we have different backgrounds.

Dr. Hansen tries to separate mother and father based on the type of love each is uniquely capable of showing. A mother’s love is “unconditional-leaning,” while a father’s love is “conditional-leaning.” Dr. Hansen fails to explain these new terms, but I’m guessing that the “conditional” loving father is the type who screams at his kid during soccer games; the type who only remembers to show affection on those rare occasions when his son makes him proud. A mother’s “unconditional-leaning” love, on the other hand, means that she will probably stare at her lap while her husband screams at her son, and later hold him in private, trying to explain that “Dad didn’t really mean to scare/scream at/hit you.” (She also loves her husband so unconditionally that she wouldn’t dare to challenge his parenting decisions.)

Dr. Hansen’s view of parenting is pretty narrow, and it fails to stand up to even the most casual application to the real world. Most halfway-functional fathers deeply love their children, and would take exception to that love being labeled as conditional. Most mothers (at least the ones I have met in the course of 5 years of youth ministry) would also agree that Dr. Hansen’s attempt to categorize parental love is laughable. The vast majority of mothers and fathers love their children, and that love is beyond measure or condition.

So, if Dr. Hansen is unable to describe heterosexual marriage, how can she claim to be an authority on same-sex relationships?

Let’s consider the source: “Dr.” Hansen likes to play on topics that provoke an emotional or hormonal response: Andrea Yates, 9/11, child-molesting priests, gay marriage, and incest. And, yup, she takes the stand that would do a neoconservative proud. Hansen continues to prove that psychology is indeed a soft science. She begins each of her arguments from a supposition she never attempts to back up. Homosexuality is an undesirable choice. The Catholic priesthood harbors a large number of homosexual predators, and there is a conspiracy to force journalists to cover this up with misleading language. Feminists are bad.

Here’s my favorite:

After nearly one year of reflection, most Americans, including President George W. Bush, still see the events of September 11, 2001 in stark, black-and-white terms. This widely shared viewpoint is that America was unjustifiably attacked that day by evil, worldly forces, or as the president declared, by “evil-doers.” This simple—not simplistic—type of thinking is morally and psychologically healthy and lays the foundation for an appropriate response. Unfortunately, the majority’s perspective is not shared by all.

A stark, black-and-white worldview was also shared by the Jihadists who piloted the airplanes on that day. A morally, psychologically healthy worldview, Dr. Hansen? How would you respond to an American soldier in Baghdad who has had to learn the painful lesson that not every Iraqi is your enemy, and not every American is your friend? How would you diagnose someone who has seen the shades of grey in the world?

Dr. Hansen goes on to state that anyone who dissents from the President must logically deny that evil exists in the world:

The answer is that these dissenters, rather than viewing evil as the end result of moral choice and free will, as most Americans do, deny that it even exists.

Pacifism, on the other hand, is “morally and psychologically problematic.” To quote Marge Simpson, “I don’t even know where to begin telling you what’s wrong with that.”

I’ve stopped rambling and come to the point: Dr. Hansen is ill. Perhaps she needs to find a colleague—one who attended a strong university, and not a DeVry-equivalent—and spend some time on the couch. She has chosen her radical right-wing viewpoints not because she believes in them, but because she is siding with the majority. I can just hear Caiaphas singing to Judas, “You’ve backed the right horse!” Dr. Hansen takes specious argument to an art form.

Why am I even bothering to talk about this hack? Because she is exhibiting behavior common to some Americans who wish to claim they are in the majority. Go to msnbc.com and read some of the comments on the “What do You Think?” section. You can find the Trayce Hansen’s of the world there, too. They spout hateful, racist, bigoted messages, and have screen names like, “I_LOVE_AMERICA,” or “GOD_BLESS_OUR_TROOPS.” Implying, of course, if you disagree with their hatemongering, then you must hate America, and you must hope that God does not bless our troops. Dr. Hansen might have found a school willing to sell her a PhD, but it only makes her a slightly more highbrow “AMERICA_RULZ!”

SO, if you read through Dr. Hansen's website, here is her recommendation for being a mature, mentally healthy adult: Hate feminists, gays, and pacifists; Love whatever is popular.

In short, here is Dr. Trayce Hansen’s prescription for psychological health:

Vote Neoconservative!


My attempt at something somewhat intelligent...not really

I have wanted to post something for a while - something thoughtful and intelligent and meaningful. But my days are filled with poopy diapers; drooling, teething, whining; and little sleep. None of which helps me make any kind of sense in my own head let alone in the bloggosphere where at least two other people may read it.

My day today went like this...

Me: "Put it down"
Baby: "Maaaa maaaa ma ma ma, nay nay nay No!"
(I take it out of his hand and turn back to paying the bills)
One minute later...
Me: "What do you have in your mouth"
Baby: (pulling out a dead beetle from his mouth and holding it out for me to see) "Nay Nay Nay...No"

He's learned No, as you can see. Shaking his head, and getting very good at vocalizing the word. He'll go up to the light socket and shake his head. Now, do you think that means he'll stop himself from touching it? Nay nay nay nay No. He's only one. I can't really fault him for it.

So, as I have probably somewhere between 20 and 40 minutes of quiet (naptime for now), I will try to get at least one thing off my chest (start your timers....Now)

I have to admit I haven't read any of the HOB statements. I am trying to reread the Harry Potter series (because the ending just didn't do it for me), but I only get about ten minutes here and there to read anything, and Harry Potter seems far more interesting and satisfying than Episcopal Church stuff right now. I won't add to what the other two have added here - both very thoughtful and intelligent - because I will just sound stupid.

What I have been thinking about is all this crap that has come up again regarding women's ordination (on various conservative blogs they can't even stomach to use the words, instead choosing to refer to "it" as "WO"). Woe is me... I remember people telling me that it was women who had the hardest time with other women being ordained. At first that really surprised me. How could women be so unsupportive of other women - aren't we all in the same struggle together? But then I was something like 11 years old, and didn't really know how evil women can be to each other. The next year I learned very quickly how nasty girls can be in middle school gym class. The biggest critics of me when I was going through the "process" to become ordained (and my first year of ordained life) were women - specifically OLDER women. I listened politely for twenty minutes as one priest lectured me on why I needed to use the title "Mother" (thus my user name) - which I have always hated, but hated that much more after that lovely encounter. I remember one meeting (in a ladies room of all places) where another priest commented on the state of my shoes, and laughing as she left. Of course, she was wearing PENNY LOAFERS (with a penny in them), which went out of style like 20 years ago.

Oh...and stop your watches...the baby is awake. (That has to be a record for shortness.)

See? I told you. I guess I will continue this later...

I have relocated to the dark confines of the baby's room - hoping my mere presence will let him sleep for a few more minutes. A nasty brown stink bugs is buzzing around me. Sounds something like what's happening in the Anglican Communion...but I digress from my previous digression about penny loafers and such.

Okay I was wrong. Baby is awake for good. I will have to try again one of these days.

Pop Quiz, Hotshots!

Ok, so my last post was way too serious. Now for a little lighthearted fun. No disrespect is intended (well, maybe just a little). Here is a pop quiz for all those who have been following the news in ECUSA and the worldwide Anglican Communion.

Instructions: View each pair of pictures and answer the questions provided.


Which one of the above is a megalomaniacal evil genius motivated by a lust for power?

And which one is Dr. Evil?


Which of the above pictures depicts two shady individuals plotting the fate of millions?
And which one is Dr. Evil and Number 2?


Which of the above pictures depicts a secretive cabal of villains, cackling over their nefarious schemes?

And which one is Dr. Evil and his henchmen?
4. Extra Credit: In the image below, who is Archbishop Akinola about to give the middle finger to?

a. Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori

b. Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams

c. anyone concerned about the human rights of gays in Nigeria

d. The worldwide Anglican Communion

e. You! That's right, you! I don't like you and I'm coming for you next!

Well, as you may have guessed, there is really only one way to fail this pop quiz: if you take it seriously.

Where men are men and sheep are scared

According to a blogger named Greg Griffith, there is finally a place where men can feel free to be men.

(Hint: he's not talking about the local gay bar).

I am normally reluctant to cast stones at another--particularly people like the folks at this blog, as calling them out only inflates their sense of GRAND IMPORTANCE in the world. However, several sources (Including Fr. Jake, the Anglican Scotist) have pointed out some very disturbing comments by commenters, contributors, and the manager of the blog. Forgive me if I’m a little intense, but unlike Mr. Griffith and his friends, I don’t think that threats of violence are a laughing matter. Here it is, in a nutshell:

(original thread is here; it’s a response to some notes from the House of Bishops Meeting and anger at the Presiding Bishop; I’m not fully schooled in blog code yet, so I’ll just reproduce the more violent comments verbatim—boldface emphases are mine. You are welcome, if you can stomach it, to take a gander at the entire thread):

Greg Griffith wrote:
I’m already reaching for my pistol…

Bigjimintx wrote:
P.S. Texas is a “concealed carry” state. No telling who was packing heat in the meeting.

Virg wrote:
“they don’t realize most of us have guns, know how to use them and nobody’s gonna mess with our bishops!...”
At last…a perfect solution to all this bickering going on in the church. We’ll just kill the sobs.

Frances Scott wrote:
Frankly, Mr. Maxwell, I wouldn’t waste a bullet on [the Presiding Bishop].

Greg Griffith wrote:
I won’t criticize those who think the best course is to play the pacifist, but they shouldn’t find fault with those who want to pick up their sword along with their trowel.

Greg then responds to a critic:
The only way you can visit SF and come away thinking “all testosterone blazing,” is to have spent WAY too much time in the extreme, hyper-feminine wing of the Episcopal church. You and Jake’s girls need to get out into the real world more often. You know… experience more diversity.

Greg then responds to the outrage his statements have caused at Fr. Jake’s blog:
While I appreciate your advice about watching our p’s and q’s, I refuse to conform my posts to the delicate sensibilities of Jake and his gals. This will always be a place where men can feel free to be men… the kind of place our church used to be, once upon a time.

It is a common tactic of the self-styled reasserters at Mr. Griffith’s website to use words and phrases that provoke an emotional response: feminist, gay agenda, extreme, Louie Crew, Jack Spong, Bishop Pike, etc. But I don’t think I’ve heard anyone being called a “girl” since my grade school days. (What’s next, Greg? Gonna call me a poopy-pants?) Those tactics have garnered Mr. Griffith a large audience (although the commenters seem to be restricted to the same 7 or 8 people), and he’s welcome to continue to use them (the people and the tactics). If these threats are truly indicative of how their web community feels, then Stand Firm is indeed a place where men are men; and the sheep who follow the website contributors do so out of fear.

There are two possibilities here:
Mr. Griffith was just joking and it was all in good fun. He had no idea that the talk of guns, violence, and misogyny was in the least bit threatening or harmful.
Mr. Griffith knew exactly what he was doing.

Either way, this is yet another example of religion used as a tool for stirring up anger and violence against a minority. (Yes, in the Church, ordained women are a minority, and gays even more so). Maybe I am giving this website too much power, but I think that straight white males (including me) have more than enough power in the church and in the world. (What we need to do about that is going to have to wait for another post, but, in a word, “surrender.”)

Words are powerful, and those with any power must be gracious and noble with their use.

After all, “the pen is mightier than the sword.” However, given the name of his website and his “manly” nature, I think Mr. Griffith would better enjoy Darrell Hammond’s SNL interpretation:

“The Penis Mightier.”

Yep. After all, the name of Greg’s website, “Stand Firm in Faith,” has some obvious allusions to old Priapus and his domain in the Greek pantheon. What Greg espouses is not the pinnacle of being created in God’s image, but its opposite—“manliness” at its basest form—the manliness that keeps women in their place in the kitchen; the manliness that espouses rape; the manliness that makes men into lesser beings.

It doesn’t matter where in the world you live. It’s dangerous to be gay—more dangerous in some areas than others. It is also dangerous to be a woman in many parts of the world (and many parts of our nation). Let’s not heap more verbal or physical violence on them than they already must endure.

Lesbians are frequently gang-raped and murdered in South Africa. The idea is apparently to either “turn” them or kill them. Gays in Nigeria are arrested simply for being what they are.

Oh, and let’s not forget Matthew Shepard. This “church” would be only too happy to tell you where Matthew is spending his life. (This link is not for the faint of heart or the easily angered). Contributors to Stand Firm have said, on numerous occasions, that not only are the gays going to hell, but so is anyone who shelters them. Shame on the fearmongerers!

I hope Mr. Griffith would express his shock and horror at such crimes. However, by his comments (and those he has allowed to remain on their site), he has effectively taken one giant step beyond the mere language of violence. When is it EVER OK, acceptable, even laudable to joke about using guns; when is it ever manly to insult someone by calling them a girl? This is the same language used by those who support the jailing, rape, and murder of gays and lesbians. And Mr. Griffith thinks it’s funny. Just havin’ a little fun.

I wonder what Mr. Griffith’s wife thinks about all this? I wonder what the women who contribute to Mr. Griffith’s blog think about his statements?

Violence + misogyny + self-righteousness + homophobia +humor=?

Apparently that is Mr. Griffith’s definition of a real man, Anglican style.

I’m not making a “slippery slope” argument here; nor am I attacking a “reasserter” view of the Bible; nor am I making any attempt to defend inappropriate tactics used by progressive Christians. I am calling on Mr. Griffith to repent of his words, and of those he has encouraged on his website.

After all, Mr. Griffith, it takes a real man to admit his mistakes.

So what does it mean?

Following the House of Bishops' response to the Primates last week, the Joint Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates has issued a report making recommendations to the Primates and to the Archbishop of Canterbury.

First is an acknowledgement of the hard work and due diligence of the House of Bishops, and I must agree. Given the diversity of opinions, and the sheer weight of individual agendas, for them to have come to some agreement (though not unanimous) is a blessing. Despite what others may say (such as one blogger who is convinced that the HoB is demon possessed - no link provided on purpose), the HoB is trying to do its best with the difficult situation here in the Episcopal Church.

Second is an outright acceptance of the work. Yes, that's right - read it.

"By their answers to these two questions, we believe that the Episcopal Church has clarified all outstanding questions relating to their response to the questions directed explicitly to them in the Windsor Report, and on which clarifications were sought by 30th September 2007, and given the necessary assurances sought of them."

The JSC accepts the work that we have done, accepts the moratoria and the apologies that we have made, and commends it all to the Archbishop, to the Primates, and to the whole Communion by extension.

But wait, there's more:

For the first time the JSC acknowledges the hardships placed upon us by the "incursions" of foreign bishops into the jurisdiction of the Episcopal Church.

"We feel obliged to note that the House of Bishops makes a point here which needs to be addressed urgently in the life of the Communion. In appealing to the statements of Lambeth Conferences and the Ecumenical Councils of the Church, the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church is reminding all Anglicans that we are committed to upholding the principle of local jurisdiction. Not only do the ancient councils of the Church command our respect on this question, but the principle was clearly articulated and defended at the time when the very architecture of the Anglican Communion was forged in the early Lambeth Conferences, as well as being clearly re-iterated and stated in more recent times as tensions have escalated."

But, as though that needed clarification - because obviously it does! - the report goes on to cite several examples where the primates in their own words, and the Windsor Report, clearly calls for the incursions to cease. And as if that wasn't clear enough, the report uses their OWN words against them:

"As a Joint Standing Committee, we do not see how certain primates [read, Moses Tay of South East Asia, Emmanuel Kolini of Rwanda, and Peter Akinola of Nigeria] can in good conscience call upon The Episcopal Church to meet the recommendations of the Windsor Report while they find reasons to exempt themselves from paying regard to them. We recommend that the Archbishop remind them of their own words and undertakings."

Finally, of some interest, is a second call from the Anglican Communion for the current litigations to be suspended. Why?

The answer, my friends, is that the Gospel calls us to reconciliation. Say it with me: rek-uhn-sil-ee-ey-shuhn.

In the original communique from Dar es Salaam, the Primates asked that both parties give "assurances that no steps will be taken to alienate property from The Episcopal Church without its consent or to deny the use of that property to those congregations."

And the JSC writes, "Unless some measure of reassurance and security is given to those congregations, parishes, bishops and dioceses ... there will be no reconciliation either within The Episcopal Church or within the wider Anglican Communion."

Yes, folks. They're talking about putting down the guns, calling a truce - or at least a cease fire - and continuing in the apostles teaching, fellowship, in the breaking of bread and in the prayers. And we can do this without agreeing with one another!

Recently, Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburg opened the "Common Cause Council of Bishops" meeting by saying, "Our shortcoming is not 'right Faith.' Our shortcoming is 'right Order' and 'right mission.'" - addressing, of course, a group of people whom he was comfortable agreeing with - other evangelicals.

Of course he's going to say that "right faith" isn't as important as "right order" and "right mission."

But I wonder - what would our current situation have been like if they had taken this approach from the beginning? What if they could deal with the tension of unlike beliefs (not discordant faith), and instead work for "right order" and "right mission"?

I find it hard to accept their words at face value. And I guarantee that the rhetoric will change from this point on. Now that we've conceded and apologized - placing a stand-still on future actions, waiting on the Holy Spirit to bring about a deeper consensus on these issues - they have nothing to fight with us about... unless they change the arguement.

They won't put down their guns. They won't call a cease-fire. They have too much to lose: Bishops have been made (Minns) and power has been grabbed, and they fear losing that.


A Prayer, a Thank-You, and a Question for our GLBT brothers and sisters

The Bishops have done what they can (see the statement here) in New Orleans. Once again, we are asking a much-oppressed group in our midst—within the body of Christ—to wait.

Contrast the patient, faithful participation of the GLBT Episcopalians with the grasping, greedy behavior of Akinola, Iker, Duncan, Ackerman, etc. I think it’s pretty clear where Jesus is in our midst. We (TEC) do not deserve the faithful presence of those who are most demeaned and dishonored in our church.

Thus, a prayer from our BCP for GLBT persons everywhere in the world who have been victims of violence of any type, and for those who have simply been asked, again, to wait:

Look with pity, O heavenly Father, upon the people in this land who live with injustice, terror, disease, and death as their constant companions. Have mercy upon us. Help us to eliminate our cruelty to these our neighbors. Strengthen those who spend their lives establishing equal protection of the law and equal opportunities for all. And grant that every one of us may enjoy a fair portion of the riches of this land; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

(Now I know our little corner of the blog-o-verse isn’t even a blip on anyone’s radar-yet-but I’m hoping some visitors will comment-respectfully, please):

To our GLBT brothers and sisters: thank you for showing God’s grace to the rest of us. My question for you is this: in light of what happened (and didn’t happen) in New Orleans, how are you doing?