October 2005
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October 2005 Archives

October 28, 2005

Musst! Musst!

I used to think that the Littler Man was pretty sharp for a 19-month-old, but last night's dinner is making me think again.

Like most American toddlers, the Littler Man likes his ketchup. We don't mind - even with the sugar and the hfcs it has some nutritional value, and it encourages him to eat the rest of his dinner. We do look a little askance at his tendency to finish dinner by reaching out with his hands, grabbing a handful of ketchup, and schlorping it into his mouth, but hey, kids will be kids. We would prefer that he eat with a spoon, but we pick our battles.

Last night we were having sausage with ketchup and mustard. Littler man saw mommy and daddy eating mustard and insisted that we put some on his plate. "Musst musst!" So, we gave him some. He dipped his sausage into it and ate them, and liked it.

He had thirds on sausage, seconds on mustard (the kid must be growing, because he is eating hugely and staying skinny.) Again, "Musst Musst!"

As we were filling in around the corners, we saw the Littler Man reach out a hand and grab the pile of mustard. "Are you sure you want to do that?" "Musst!" and he licked his fingers clean and smiled. "OK, I guess you like it."

We continued to talk, and then out of the corner of my eye I saw the little hand heading for the mouth with the rest of the mustard in it - about a teaspoon full of Grey Poupon. Too late! In it went.

He smiled, at first. Then he opened his mouth in surprise and began to complain. We did our best to soothe him, including getting him to eat some bread, or sausage, or noodle to cool the hot spicy in his mouth. Finally, he diluted it with water and peace was restored to the dinner table.

Until, "Musst! Musst!" and the little hand reached out to clean the last of it from the edge of his plate.

We took it out of his reach, and began to reconsider. We had begun to think that the Littler Man was pretty sharp for a toddler, but after that performance maybe he really is dumber than a bulldog.

Posted by
Red Ted
at 05:25 PM | TrackBack
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October 26, 2005

One paragraph precis

I went ahead and did it.

Chapters 3 and 4 had covered the same story and the same years, with one looking at the common law, the other at benevolent organizations.

I smushed them together and then cut them apart chronologically, breaking in 1828. Chapter 3b now looks at the search for commonalities, chapter 4b looks at how the commonalities splintered when put into practice.

New precis below the fold.

One paragraph Precis
My dissertation, "Civil Religion, Religious Groups, and the Early American Republic" is about how Americans created a multi-denominational civil religion that could compel citizens to good behavior without coercing obedience to any state church. The founding generation were all Christians or post-Christian Deists who appealed to Providence but chose not to define the nation in religious terms. More, while several states defined themselves as Christian Republics, none maintained that identity for long. By the 1820s, Americans had turned to civil Providence, treating the Constitution as Scripture and promising each other that the nation would prosper if only it held to its founding documents. Presidents served as high priests of American civil religion, using public pronouncements to frame the issues of the day, and claiming that the test of a nation was its ability to secure the civil and religious liberty of its citizens. Meanwhile, many Americans claimed that the nation shared a common Christianity, which they located in benevolent organizations, the doctrine that Christianity was part of the common law, and the civic faith that enforced oaths and good behavior. This common Christianity splintered and fell apart after 1828 because of arguments over Sunday Mails, Masons, and even the words of the Bible. This splintering accelerated in the 1840s under the pressures of Catholic immigration and sectional disagreements over slavery. By the 1850s, Evangelicals, liberals, Catholics and the other major groups of American Christians gave up on trying to appeal to or even define a common Christianity and instead resolved to live in a fully pluralist nation. Religion mattered, but civil religion took precedence in public life.

Posted by
Red Ted
at 12:24 PM | TrackBack
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Gluttons for Punishment

I am applying both to history positions around the country and "straight" jobs around Philadelphia. I have noticed some oddities in both job searches. Academia is a small world - you never know if the idiot who just applied to your department may not, five years from now, hold the fate of your favorite graduate student in their hands. So, academic job searches tend to be polite. Even the folks who get dinged normally get a letter telling them sorry.

The other big difference is the nature of the application. Straight jobs ask for a resume and perhaps a couple of paragraphs of cover. They get a lot of these, zoom through, and hire. Academic jobs ask for a serious letter, a vita, letters of recommendation, and sometimes other materials as well. The gluttons for punishment in the title are a university whose committee requested: cover letter, vita, recommendations, teaching portfolio, and a writing sample.

I think I am going to be mailing them about 100 pages.

At least I got a new 1 paragraph dissertation precis out of the process.

Posted by
Red Ted
at 12:18 PM | TrackBack
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October 21, 2005

A Fragment, looking for a story.

This odd phrase came to mind the other day while I was walking the dog. I know there is a good little sci-fi short that follows it. But I have no idea what the rest of the story is. So, I have an opening fragment looking for a story.

When you bring aliens to a covered-dish church supper, you never know just what you will get. This time it was a credible attempt at a green bean casserole, which was a very good thing considering some of the more, erm, some of the less successful attempts at cross-species hospitality.

Posted by
Red Ted
at 12:49 PM | TrackBack
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October 18, 2005

Kosher Toad

Note to self.

When planning to cook Toad in the Hole for the boys on the night when J is out, remember to get soy milk for the Yorkshire pudding.

The cheese souffle I made instead should be out of the oven in a minute - we will see if that worked.

Timer dinged - bye.

EDIT
As expected, the toddlers liked slimy, puffy, cheesy, egg goo.

I think I just had my monthly quota of butterfat.

And the three of us killed a 4-egg souffle, with the boys also gorging on frozen peas.

Posted by
Red Ted
at 06:15 PM | TrackBack
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October 08, 2005

Colon or Semi-Colon?

I wonder which version of this sentence I should use?

These quiet Connecticut Sabbaths could prove surprisingly peaceful and attractive: European visitors who were accustomed to a more social holiday were struck by its democratic nature rich and poor alike stopped working and joined together and by its moral influence.

These quiet Connecticut Sabbaths could prove surprisingly peaceful and attractive; European visitors who were accustomed to a more social holiday were struck by its democratic nature rich and poor alike stopped working and joined together and by its moral influence.

Posted by
Red Ted
at 08:15 AM | TrackBack
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