29 August 2009

Deep Fields

The Absolute, Ultimate Contemplation


Above is a link and a photo. The photo is of the “Hubble Deep Field,” and the link is to an animation of the same.

“Hubble” refers to the Hubble Space Telescope, which has been in low earth orbit for 19 years. It is a reflecting telescope (meaning it has a precisely configured mirror that focuses the images into a “charged coupling device”) and because it is above the atmosphere, the resolution and clarity of the images are superior.

Some astronomers booked time on the Hubble to examine a teeny-tiny area of northern sky where there appeared to be nothing. Time on the Hubble is hard to get because so many astronomers want to use it and the objects it finds are so faint that the exposure times are very long.

The Hubble Deep Field image is of a "field" of thousands of galaxies 13 billion light years away. The animation is of the estimated distance of the galaxies (there’s a way to do that by measuring the Doppler shift of the light) and flies you through them in 3 Dimensions.

The contemplation is the sort of thing that keeps us up at night, or at least keeps some of us up. It is a challenge for mere human minds, certainly a challenge for theologians, the church, and philosophers. The Earth is 4 billion years old. The light from these galaxies started toward us 13 billion years ago. These galaxies each contain 100 billion stars, more than all of the grains of sand on all of the beaches of the Earth.

Traditional religious doctrine says that God created the heavens and the Earth, and sometimes it is expressly stated and always implied that all of this was created JUST FOR US. That’s a logical conclusion for a civilization which has no optical magnification. But as we have been able to observe the farther and farther away (as well as the smaller and smaller), it has become steadily - no, geometrically - more evident that the Universe is more complex and extensive than we ever imagined. Even at the possibly limited level that we now perceive, it may be much more vast even than that.

This creates a conundrum for earthly theologians and philosophers. Do you ignore the other 70 sextillion stars and their probable planets, and the possibility of life on those planets? (No appeal to scientific atheism there, that’s a way of saying that God as Builder had a lot of job sites going at once.) Do you accept the possibility (only a moron would talk authoritatively about numerical probabilities) that God is worshipped elsewhere in familiar or unfamiliar ways? Or is this a thing like me with calculus, darn it, they say this makes sense but I don’t see it, so I’ll do things that I know how to do and trust that somebody understands this.

Look at the video, stare at the picture and see if you can walk away without feeling uneasy. If you can, well, that’s your look out.

Age, Restraint, Yang, Yin

I’ve never been far separated from the fire/rescue service since leaving active field work. (I’m not sure when that date is - either my last emergency call or my last day as an emergency services officer.) In any event, like anything that’s a part of your life, it stays with you and if you’re not careful, you tend to pontificate ad nauseum forever.

Tim is about to take USAR (Urban Search and Rescue) training, after which he will be eligible for the regional USAR team. He and I have had lively conversations on the subject.

USAR involves Bad Things That Happen In Urban Environments, such as building collapses. Thus, the incidents are generally large, affect many victims, and require many unusual technical skills at a very high level. 9/11? Every USAR team in the world was headed for their gear and an airport within an hour.

I never had USAR training, and I know that it has changed from 20 years ago anyway. It involves sophisticated rope/descent/lifting systems, stabilization/support systems, and victim location, all of which requires heavy application of practical engineering and physics. It takes an enormous investment of time to become trained and maintain a high level of training. Well, some people in their 20's have the energy for that. (I almost said “guys.” It’s not exclusively men who do the very heavy rescue work, but mostly. I don’t know if it’s cultural, biological or a body strength thing.)

My concern is the number of live incidents a regional team in West Virginia will have to work. This is a concern, not the expression of superior knowledge. Having a specialized team nearby is a good thing. Having people going into an ultra-dangerous task with anything but the very best chance of getting out is a bad thing. Like so many parts of life, it is a yin/yang, although which is which is always the argument. This is similar to the hazardous materials flap of years ago in Marion County. Someone came to the County Commission with an elaborate plan to equip a hazmat team with a hazmat response truck for the low, low price of $200,000, and requested that the Commission fork it over. The Commission asked me for a recommendation, and after consulting some people more knowledgeable than I by far (but not all of whom agreed), I advised against it. The reason? There are so many industrial chemicals transported (something like 150,000) and so few incidents in the county, fitting firefighters out for an aggressive response created an unacceptable risk of killing rescuers. Again, yin/yang. (Years later, county policy changed somewhat, and now there is a moderate hazmat response capability.)

One lesson for those outside this professional community is that before you see the vehicles pass you with lights and siren, a whole lot of thought, planning and training has happened to make it look easy. It’s not easy. It’s not safe. Every time I see these folks on a call, I say a quick prayer for all aboard. They’re too busy, and they are doing God’s work.


I’m amused about odd things, I suppose. When I am in a courtroom or a church or other “official” public place, I see everyone being very, very quiet even when nothing is going on. (That being said, often I am too damn boistrous in those places, and I gotta cut that out.) When Court is not in session, it’s just a big room. You’re permitted to have a conversation, to tell a joke and to act like a person. Ditto with any other mere place.

At other times, too, people in these places seem to stay very, very quiet when perhaps they think that it might be good to say something or do something positive or encouraging.

Our church has an excellent choir. There aren’t many voices, but the ones there are have good quality and lots of volume. Three or four weeks ago, they outdid themselves with an anthem, something loud, something that everyone was letting it all hang out, singing at full voice, the tenors getting red faced, and they were defining “singing with gusto.” The anthem ended. Silence. Silence. And then, God bless them, some soul in the very back started to applaud and everyone took it up, relieved, because it was now OK to make appropriate noise.

In my relatively limited contacts with predominately black churches, there is a different tradition, a tradition of more open opportunities to praise and communicate. I’m not sure exactly what mechanism is at work. Whatever it is, I suspect it’s healthy.

There is a line from a Gene Wilder movie, Silver Streak, where a black fellow is criticizing a white fellow dancing: “How come you white people always have a tight ass?,” referring to his being clumsy and inhibited.

Makes you wonder. Why do we as a people always have a tight ass?

For as Long as the Grass Grows and the Eagle Flies

In 1985, I was just a beginning apprentice curmudgeon, but showing a sliver of promise. (Dissenting view: A shadow of the horror to come.) That’s the year that some organization in the county hit upon the “memorial brick” as a fundraising project. The idea was, people would pay, I think, $40 to have a special brick engraved with a loved one’s name (or their own name), and that would be part of the sidewalk in front of the courthouse. For $75, a larger concrete thing was available. Judging from the number of bricks, they made a lot of money and a reasonably attractive sidewalk was installed.

I noted at the time that the whole idea was silly, because it is unseemly for living people to prepare memorials to themselves and a vain hope that any memorial will last such that more than one or two generations later, anyone will care. [To illustrate: During Charles Dickens' life, one Wilkie Collins was at least as popular a novelist. Ever heard of him? (Unless you've read the recent novel, Drood, by Dan Simmons, which trades upon his very obsurity.)] That was not a popular notion in 1985 and as a mere apprentice, I knew to shut up and bide my time.

Walking into the courthouse this week, I noted some deterioration of the sidewalk. Many of the bricks are becoming worn. The concrete blocks are getting pretty shabby, as concrete isn’t nearly as weather resistant as brick. And, of course, fifty years from now, whoever decides about streets and sidewalks will have no problem with digging the whole thing up and replacing it with something else.

Which would we rather have - George Washington’s hatchet? Or his nation? Lincoln’s hat? Or his Union? The power of things as memorials is pretty small.

Pippa passes.


08 August 2009

Wanted, Dead or Alive: The Dirty Rat Bastard Who Kidnapped Roger and Wrote Nice, Non-Controversial Things in His Blog

You want sharp? You want erudite? You want controversial? You want the Truth? Well, I've none of the first three tonight, and I'll NEVER have the Truth.

Disaster at Equity Court

Owing to an unfortunate incident involving one of my animal friends, Equity Court has lost all four stars as a "Friendly Hostelry" from Flying Mammal Review.


CNN ran one of their “Everyday-Hero-Feel-Good” vids today which showed people exercising good sense while in a stressful situation, which is a rare commodity. A high speed intersection MVA (public-service-speak for car wreck) in downtown DC left one car deformed with a small engine fire and 2 occupants inside and an SUV on its top with 3 entrapped occupants. The vid shows bystanders tearing a door off the car by hand (with enough guys, you can do that) and removing the people. Normally, I’d say don’t do that. Removing people carefully prevents further injury, sometimes injury worse than what the patient started with. The rescuers talked about fear of the car exploding, which is Hollywood-inspired nonsense. Without a detonator of some sort and a just-right explosive, cars just don’t explode. But they can burn, and inhaling the fumes/smoke from the plastics can be fatal, so removing the people was the wise thing to do. And the bystanders crawled into the SUV to physically support and calm the trapped people. Just when everyone seems like a self-involved moron, people get together and shine a little bit of human light.

Book Related Things:

A Review of Reviews:

My attraction to the net generally began with finding out how it could enhance the world of reading and access to books. I heard about this outfit, Amazon.com, and the “new” way that they were selling any book you could possibly want! I suppose that I would have to be classified among those in the upper 50% of people interested in books & reading, and even in writing. Over the years, my writing went from rambling legal briefs and rambling letters to rambling emails and rambling anonymous blogs to this rambling blog and to occasional book reviews. [I’m desultorily looking for a forum to begin publishing reviews on paper again.] When the spirit moves me (often a malevolent spirit), I’ll do a review on amazon.com just for the hell of it.

Generally, I’m not overwhelmed with the quality of reviews there, although that could be jealousy showing through over the 40,000 reviewers who are ranked “above” me. Something that bothers me is the academically unexpected distribution of review ratings. One would expect a bell curve, tending to the high or low side depending on the consensus of the quality of a book. At Amazon, though, the reviews are separated and high contrast - a reverse bell curve. Normally, the reviews in Amazon’s 5 Star system include lots of 5's, several 1's, and darn little in between. If we’re actually reviewing a book, that doesn’t make sense. Micheners aren’t thick on the ground, so 5's shouldn’t be universal. Most folks with the chutzpah to write a book can string something together with acceptable syntax and make some sort of point, so 1's shouldn’t show up a lot, either. Well, the Amazon reviewers aren’t reviewing the books, they usually answer the question, “Do I agree with the author’s conclusions?” Let me note right here that I’ve been guilty of that sin a lot, and a more responsible and logical system is relatively new to me. Live and learn, or you don’t live long.

So let me suggest a three step process for reviews:

Step One: What is the quality of the writing? Is it grammatical? Consistent? Does it maintain ones' interest?

Step Two: What is the quality of the information (if non-fiction) or story (if fiction)? [NOT "Do I like it?" That's next.] Is it researched and footnoted if appropriate? What is the quality of the reasoning and logic? Are the conclusions supported? Does the author discuss alternate possibilities? Does the author use appropriate examples? Does s/he avoid logical fallacies? In other words, is the author enough of a scholar to pen something worthwhile? [“Scholar” is not a bad or wimpy designation. George Patton was a classical scholar; Leonardo exercised his hands by bending horseshoes.]

Step Three: How do I personally react to the book as a whole, what is my gestalt impression? Do I agree with it? Even if I don't agree with it, does it make a significant contribution to the public discourse? (Note: I've positively reviewed books I don't agree with for precisely that last reason.) And to be sure, “Do I like it?/Do I dislike it?” inevitably creeps in.

Use this sort of system, and you will not be a “popular” reviewer, but I think a more honest one.

Book Storage:

Yeah, of course we know how to store books. That’s why we go through them every 20 years and throw out 1/3 of the volumes because they are too damaged. The Library of Congress and Douglas Filler have published simple guidelines for safe and effective storage of paper books:

Store them in a stable, cool, clean, dry environment - Paper is an organic product. Warm and wet environments promote decay of organics and the growth of microorganisms. That’s a bad thing for a book.

Keep books out of direct sunlight. Sunlight fades inks and dyes.

Don’t force a book to lie flat. That’s always sounded contraintuitive to me, which is why hearing what the experts say is important, at least to me.

Don’t’ use rubber bands or string to tie up a book because they can cut into the pages and cover.

Never, never, never try to repair a book with conventional tape. [In fact, repairing them at all is an acquired skill.]

Don’t wrap books in plastic bags to preserve them; a cardboard box is better. (We’re back to dry environments there.)

Also a note from me, the dust jacket adds a lot to the value (and attractiveness) of a hardcover book. Transparent mylar can be cut to protect it well (but not from sunlight.)

Dull, dull, dull. That's me.

Pippa passes.


04 August 2009

Noble Savages and How I Learned to Ignore Human Nature

Prayers to the Wishemoneto

Man Above, these are my words.

Some posts die aborning. Some are the Chia Pets of essays: smear on some slimy packaged seeds, watch something conventional and silly grow quickly, take up space and excite trite comment, and then the only controversy will be whether it dies of neglect or is deleted first. Other posts are the cicadas which burrow in my brain for 17 years and spring out unexpectedly. And others? Well, sometimes, a post congeals out of smoke, lint and Miscellaneous Unidentified Things.

This post began in my mind as a short email to Parson Jim. He preached the sermon at Central Christian Church yesterday morning, and took as the message for the entire service various “Native American” themes. [See Note 1 below re posts based on sermons.] As the sermon progressed, I pulled out my little pocket notebook and began scribbling notes. [That’s a holdover from my Dad. He could talk at length about the development of papyrus, paper, writing implements and written language to illustrate why depending on a “perfect” memory was sort of stupid.] Parson Jim (and the elders and other participants) talked on, Indian prayer, a children’s sermon of a Shawnee creation myth, and the prospective email was growing. Some of it was (overly?) detailed, and I began to wonder if I simply was being contrarian. You see, all of what Jim was saying was making sense and moving toward consistent points, and was coming from a legitimate and common (if technically inaccurate) view of the continent’s original human inhabitants.

Ouch - original inhabitants. Already, I’m getting hung up on a sticky pedantic hobby horse that I ride. Who are “native Americans”? I am a native American. I was born here. As it happens, so were some of my ancestors, in some instances going back quite a few generations and in other instances just a couple. No matter. Native American. In the 17th Century, some poor Curry schmuck arrived at Hampton Roads (Virginia) either as an indentured servant or dead broke to make his way, presumably because England just wasn’t working for him. I have no shared memory with that guy. In the interior of the continent were some hundreds of thousands of individuals who likewise have descendants in American today who likewise have no shared memory with the 17th Century folks. Shared traditions? Sure. But do we really want to get hung up on racial shit again? OK, “First Americans”? Nope, that doesn’t work, that would have been Benjamin Franklin. I’m not creative enough to come up with a term - ok, how about Bering-Land-Bridge-Descendants? Nope, doesn’t sing, doesn’t even rap, so I’ll stick with native Americans, but understand that I do so with a footnote.

OK, the sermon itself. I doubt if Parson Jim has it in him to preach Hot Hell or Freezing Snow just for the, er, hell of it. Mind you, do harm and he’ll be on you like white on rice, but he doesn’t rant for the fun of it. Jim’s sermon was one of unity and tolerance (the Indian religion was monotheistic, and the “Wishemoneto” just another name for God) (oops, another note below), and the Indian was seen as “one with Nature,” which certainly doesn’t describe current society nearly anywhere.

As such, Parson Jim was using the “Noble Savage” model of the native American, first and best illustrated by Alexander Pope [“Lo! The poor Indian.”] James Fenimore Cooper also wrote ad nauseum from the Noble Savage model in the Leatherstocking Tales, comprising five novels. Five beautiful but TURGID, DRAGGING, PAINFUL novels. (But see Noble Red Man by Mark Twain, which was one of his semi-private works which savaged Cooper’s images.)

There is a lot of beauty in native American culture. Jim used a common creation myth, involving the Turtle bringing mud from the bottom of the ocean to form the land. [The turtle is a common native American symbol, sometimes a central totem/symbol for a tribe or group such as the Lenni Lenape. The turtle is also featured in other creation myths, notably in Southwest Asia.] The terms “Great Spirit,” “Man Above,” and so forth are not simply picturesque, they are reasonably accurate translations. Verbal images such as “sitting in the lap of my mother the earth” also are accurately translated and represent religious and spiritual truths. Moreover, the references to nature reflect the reality of the day-to-day existence of the non-technological culture, because the native Americans drew DIRECT sustenance from the earth.

Let me throw a bit of sand on that bright flame. The native Americans lived in harmony with the earth, but they also didn’t have either the population or the technology to stress the land other than very locally. And when technology was offered to the native Americans, they seized upon it eagerly because it enabled them to perform tasks better. Ultimately, there are all sorts of negatives to the construction of metal blades and other tools - but overall, they perform a whole lot better than non-metalic materials.

Noble Savage is a pop theme, too. Just today, I saw a 20-something white guy with a large tattoo on his upper arm depicting an Indian medallion with (I think from the coloration) a couple of hanging eagle feathers. The First Amendment lets this guy put whatever he wants to on his arm, so that’s fine with me. What message is he giving out? He is “one with the tribe”? That he adopts some presumed set of values associated with Indians? What tribe is he “one with”? What values? How does that affect his daily behavior? We all want tribe, I suppose. [See post of 9 May 2009, Fire and Tribe.] Mostly, we grasp some vague connection from nationality, ethnicity, or political viewpoints and when we do that, that’s REALLY convenient. We do not need to work very hard to develop beliefs, if we adopt somebody else’s tribe, we just get the rulebook and follow it. I’m a Shawnee! Oh, I’m a Limbaugh-ite, or over here I’m a Neo-Progressive Asskisser, or whatever.

An issue with Noble Savage is the “proof” by the degeneration of the native Americans after contact with Europeans, a degeneration which tribes lament until this day. [Statistically, native Americans are more prone to alcholism, poverty and other ills, the causes of which are subject to argument which is beyond this post on this day. (Although the inept multiple personality disorder treatment of Indians alternately as “nations,” dependents, enemies, racial inferiors, and social failures may have some little role there.] Well, modern developments after contact with a culture that overwhelmed the Indians numerically and technologically proves rather little about the pre-contact culture. Direct information about the Indian life, however, suggests that we’ve been handed a bill of goods. Parson Jim praised the Kevin Costner movie Dances With Wolves, and I’ll tell you I really enjoyed that flick, too. It depicted a tribe which was peaceful, honorable, resourceful and in some ways almost childlike. The tribe was the Comanches, and I bet that at times they were all of that. The Comanche culture also included torture and mutilation of captives. So I’ll accept that they were a workable culture, but don’t be telling me that Kicking Bird sat around all the time planning how to win the Nobel Peace Prize. [Is an appropriate response that the Army lied to Comanche leaders on occasion in order to lead them into killing ambushes? That’s true, by the way. It also has nothing to do with the fact that the Comanche were also cruel as we understand the term.] And Jim’s reference to the Shawnee in the service was appropriate. The Shawnee were a very developed nation with several semi-specialized “septs” or sub-groups, and they trod the ground of Mother West Virginia and Marion County. (Shawnee organization, culture and life is described well in the historical novels of Allan Eckert, beginning with The Frontiersman.) Ever heard of “running the gantlet”? That’s where you run between lines of guys who are trying to kill you and usually succeed. That’s a Shawnee thing. The Shawnee also had a designation called cutahotha. That consisted of painting a guy black and killing him in the most painful ways possible. Many of those methods involved pre-morbid evisceration.

So, mainstream modern culture is superior.



We don’t torture anyone? Do we?

Um, ok, there’s the little glitch of the fuel-air explosive, which maximizes the explosive potential of flammable liquids to create a wide area of high overpressure. In other words, big bomb, cheap, lots of dead people. Well, we have the “Laws of War”! One of those bans soft-nosed bullets which cause more damage to flesh because they expand and deform on contact and expend more energy in damaging the person they strike. So, in the primary modern military rifles, technology has come up with a way (based on the rate of rotation) to destabilize the bullet so that on contact it tumbles (and disintegrates) so it does as much damage as a soft bullet would but still meets the letter of the law. Perfectly legal, perfectly civilized, just hard luck on the target.

But we aren’t savage. We don’t torture. We don’t use “extraordinary rendition.” We don’t ration basic healthcare. When someone has, say, diabetes, we as a society provide the most basic support in the form of medication, insulin and an acceptable diet so that these people don’t crap out immediately, don’t we?

So maybe we don’t even reach the Noble Savage level?

Have we?

I could be wrong, you know, and it’s Parson Jim who’s been on the right track all along. Maybe there is a Noble Savage to the same extent that there is a Noble American. And there IS a Noble American. When I hear Lee Greenwood’s God Bless the USA, I feel the music and the lyrics and BY GOD I'M PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN AND IF YOU DON'T LIKE IT, YOU CAN GO STRAIGHT TO HELL. And then, I’ll pick up the sword-cum-laptop and talk about the 535 thieves, the broken justice system, poverty, idiocy and Things That Are Broken. I feel no inconsistency. Ivory Soap is 99-44/100% pure. There’s 56/100% impurity there to go after. If we tolerate crap, it's because we don't care about any of it.

And if we don’t see ourselves as Noble, if our “reach doesn’t exceed our grasp,” there’s just no point in any of this.

Oh, in a very recent comment to another post, Parson Jim mentioned Richard North Whitehead, because obviously I was familiar with his work and writing. Yeah, obviously. Jim has not yet learned the truly plaid nature of my half-formal and half-autodidactic education. I had never heard of Richard North Whitehead. The quotes provided by Jim made ZERO sense until the fifth time I had read them. His work is still going to take a lot of study. If you call me an intellectual, them’s fighting words.

So, Friend Jim, preach on, teach on.

Note 1: I’ve gotten a bit of push back from basing essays and posts on sermons, religious themes and other spiritual bases. Sermons, done correctly, are thoughtful essays from the hearts of educated and moral people. If it still bothers you, please note that your ISP provides a number of options in the tool bar above for other web content elsewhere, so goodbye and good luck.

Note 2: The Names of God. Arthur C. Clarke did an interesting sci-fi short story called The Nine Billion Names of God which just came to mind. Anyway, Jim termed the Shawnee deity “Wishemoneto.” Actually, “God” was the Moneto. (Spellings differ.) The benificent spirit/aspect was the Wishemoneto and the malevolent aspect was the Matchemeneto, sort of a Yang/Yin thing that I’ve never understood. See, I told you my thoughts as the sermon proceeded were getting positively persnickety.

Paladin, Paladin

Last week, my great friend Mike Beninger was in town. Mike is unquestionably one of the 10 best trial lawyers in West Virginia. As Bro. Dave and I sat in the café solving the world’s problems, we saw Mike trudging up the street, an associate in tow with a dolly load of file boxes. Clearly, Mike was on his way to try a case. Mike was in a plain grey suit, it was raining, and he was wearing a baseball cap. That is Mike, totally a one-off. (It was a Naval Academy cap, since Mike’s son is in his plebe summer there now.) I had a matter in Family Court, near the Circuit Court’s courtroom, so I caught the edges of the trial. As it turned out, it was a criminal case which ultimately was resolved very favorably for Mike’s client before one word of evidence was heard. Why? My view is that it’s the Paladin Syndrome in action. When you have a skillful lawyer, one of known talent, known to be willing to try a case and one who is known NOT to exaggerate and bullshit, s/he has credibility. On the other hand, if you don’t have the skill or haven’t made your bones, putting on the act earns you only a belly laugh.

The Duchess, The Nabobs, and a Simple, Polite Guy

The Internet war drums are alive with shocked, whining shrieks about the intolerable ego of Senator Barbara Boxer. In June, Army Brigadier General Michael Walsh was testifying to a Senate Committee and responding to questioning by Senator Boxer. In the conversation, he referred to her as “Ma’am.” She stopped him and pointed out that she wanted him to call her “Senator,” not “Ma’am,” because she’d worked hard for the title. The exchange was conducted at normal tone and wasn’t some obvious big deal at the time, although she was clearly pissing on his table to mark her boundaries and put him in his place. [Someone unfamiliar with Nature will give me noise about that metaphor, I’m sure.]

The nattering nabobs of the right are wailing like they’ve been gut shot, thus illustrating that in their frenzied need to feel afflicted, they are willing to bid a mighty “Screw You!” to conventional notions of logic and adopt willy-nilly all the logical fallacies they can fit in. Here, they use (1) anecdotal evidence (she did it once), (2) suppressed evidence (Sen. Boxer has at least expressed humility on lots and lots of occasions like any good little liberal should) and a whopping dose of (3) group think (liberals, bad; us, good.) Unfortunately, in the Sound Bite Universe, Logic has been suspended. Hard luck for all of us.

But On The Other Hand, Duchess, the General was talking to you respectfully, the way PEOPLE talk. You’re in the Senate by a vote, not by the Grace of God. Sure, you didn’t shriek about it, but this little exchange is yet another example of the culture of superiority in government and in money. You did work hard for the title. You worked hard raising money, kissing ass, taking polls, shafting enemies, casting loose inconvenient friends, keeping silent about some unpopular opinions and changing others outright, and I’m really not picking on you because you have 534 brothers and sisters there working with you who have done and do the same thing. Your humility prescription from Coal Run Hollow? Clean your own toilet for a while. Nothing like shit to turn your thoughts to the humble and comfortable.

Pippa passes.