Archive for the ‘Various Memories and Opinions’ Category

Back to the Blogosphere   9 comments

Blogging is a hobby for me, so it takes a back seat to the rest of life.

I have emerged from a whirlwind two weeks or so.  During this time, I have learned that I had to move, I have packed, I have moved, I have unpacked, and I have settled into my new apartment. about three miles from my previous abode.  I have also hung pictures and blackout curtains.

The final part of the move will ensue in several weeks, when my mother and stepfather relocate within town.  I am due to inherit their washer, dryer, and cat.

Now I am free to turn my attention back to my seven weblogs–mainly LENTEN AND EASTER DEVOTIONS and BLOGA THEOLOGICA, at the moment. (I have ongoing series at those weblogs.)  I am also free to read others’ weblogs.

Moving is a pain, literally and metaphorically.  It is also all-consuming.  I hope not to have to move again soon.

I now reside about half a mile down the road from Georgia Southwestern State University, Americus, Georgia.  I have no relationship to that institution, but I hope that someone there will correct that situation by looking favorably upon one of my forthcoming applications to work there.  A university campus is my natural habitat.




Posted February 20, 2022 by neatnik2009 in Various Memories and Opinions

Blogging Update–December 12, 2021   Leave a comment

Above:  My Writing Desk, December 12, 2021

Photographer = Kenneth Randolph Taylor


All appearances to the contrary, I have not dropped off the face of the blogging earth.  Yes, my pace of posting has slowed down considerably.  However, I have been drafting posts for a new series, “Reading Luke-Acts,” intended for BLOGA THEOLOGICA, perhaps my most cleverly-named weblog.

Yes, I do have Thomistic tendencies.  Yes, I was thinking of the Summa Theologica when I chose the name of BLOGA THEOLOGICA.


The Anglican rosary is new, as of this morning.

I have gotten through Luke 12 and started the second half of a composition book.  I am, by my reckoning, halfway through the Gospel of Luke and three-thirteenths through Luke-Acts.

I make no distinction between matters intellectual and matters spiritual.  For me, they are one and the same.  Serious Bible study, therefore, is intellectually and spiritually rewarding.  I do not shrink from the historical-critical method or any other critical method.  My historical training tells me that parts of Luke-Acts are not historical.  So be it.  I accept good theology and reject bad history.

I may begin to post segments of “Reading Luke-Acts” at BLOGA THEOLOGICA by the end of 2021 or shortly after the beginning of 2022.  I have yet to select a date to begin.

In the meantime, 2628 posts exist at BLOGA THEOLOGICA already.  And I will eventually return to my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days here at SUNDRY THOUGHTS.

I also refer you, O reader, to ADVENT, CHRISTMAS, AND EPIPHANY DEVOTIONS, the first of three weblogs with which I cover the church year.

Pax vobiscum!




Posted December 12, 2021 by neatnik2009 in Various Memories and Opinions

Reusable Bags   2 comments

I like to use reusable bags when shopping.  I keep them behind the driver’s seat in my truck.  I do, on rare occasions, forget to take reusable bags into a store (such as a grocery store), however.  Most of my reusable bags are big and blue.  They bear the name and logo of my former parish in Athens, Georgia.  A few others are from Dollar General.

Yesterday, I went to Dollar General in Americus, Georgia, where I live.  First, I put my mask on, due to the pandemic.  Then I carried two reusable Dollar General bags to the store, placed them in a shopping cart outdoors, and entered the store.  After I had selected the items I wanted to purchase, I went to check out.  I placed the reusable bags on the counter first.  The cashier was confused.  She asked if I wanted to purchase the bags.  I explained that I wanted to use the reusable bags.  Then she understood.

I live in a disposable society.  This is not a healthy way for a society to be.  Using reusable bags habitually constitutes a modest effort in living responsibly.  It also seems to be relatively rare in my culture, unfortunately.




“Stuff”   3 comments

In one of his less profane monologues, George Carlin discussed “stuff.”  Our houses are where we keep our stuff, he said.  The manner in which Carlin said “stuff” indicated the low importance of what he referred to as “stuff.”

I have become less materialistic as I have aged.  Even if an object is lovely and I may consider owning it pleasant, I consider a counter-argument:  It will occupy space and collect dust.  And, when I move from Dwelling A to Dwelling B, I will have to decide whether to take it with me.  Also, given that I helped to clean out the apartments of my deceased grandmother and my dead girlfriend three months apart, I know viscerally the truth of Luke 12:15:

…for life does not consist in abundance of possessions.

The Revised New Jerusalem Bible (2019)

“Stuff” is on my mind as I make final preparations to move to the opposite corner of the state in less than a week.

I have been thinking in practical terms.  I have pared my library down to about 600 volumes, small, by my standards.  Given that I will not have my own kitchen again for a few years, I have decided to part with almost all of my kitchen supplies.  I gave some away to a family yesterday.  (They needed these items immediately.)  I have decided to put nearly all of the rest in the back of my pickup truck and haul them to my favorite thrift store on the next non-rainy day.  I have reserved a U-Haul trailer; I have granted myself that much space, plus the cab and bed of the truck.

What which matters most is intangible.  “Stuff” is merely “stuff.”  Hair is hair, and ought not to function as a statement of vanity.  That hair takes a while to grow out after each self-administered pandemic buzz cut, but so be it.  And how much of x does one person really need?  I own two sets of sheets, so I can change the bed covers without having to wait for the laundry to finish.  This number of sets of sheets makes sense to me.  Practical matters aside, relationships matter more than “stuff” ever will.  Trust me, O reader; I wish I could still spend time with my beloved Bonny, watch old movies with her, and dine with her.

As I prepare to leave Athens, Georgia, and drive to my new home in Americus, Georgia, I know that (a) I am leaving much “stuff” in good places and (b) leaving places where I have forged relationships that have altered my being for the better.  I also know that this is the time to go.  Therefore, I have mixed feelings about moving.  I am simultaneously emotionally ready to move and sad to do so.  I will miss my parish of about sixteen years yet will remain connected to it via my lectionary class via Zoom, due to the pandemic.  And I will join a parish I have visited for about fifteen years.

“Stuff” is…”stuff.”  The abundance of life resides elsewhere.  We all need some “stuff.”  So be it.  We all retain some items for sentimental reasons.  Given that this practice does not become excessive and burdensome, especially to those who will have to clean out our abodes after we die, that is harmless.  We need to be careful to possess items, not to become their possessions.  How much of our lives ought we to spend in the service of inanimate objects?




Blogging Update–September 19, 2021   Leave a comment

Thank you, O reader, for visiting SUNDRY THOUGHTS.

SUNDRY THOUGHTS is one of seven weblogs I maintain.  Obviously, I do not focus on all seven weblogs simultaneously.  Each weblog is a different channel of my online presence.

As of today, I am focusing on BLOGA THEOLOGICA, which links into SUNDRY THOUGHTS.  A project, “Reading the General Epistles,” is underway at BLOGA THEOLOGICA.  A follow-up project, “Reading Revelation,” is underway, in longhand, in a notebook at my writing desk.  The Jerusalem Bible, the germane volumes of The Interpreter’s Bible (1957) and The New Interpreter’s Bible (1998), M. Eugene Boring’s 1989 commentary from the Interpretation series, and Ernest Lee Stoffel’s The Dragon Bound:  The Revelation Speaks to Our Time (1981) are stacked up on that writing desk.

For daily devotions, I refer you, O reader, to ORDINARY TIME DEVOTIONS, which also links into SUNDRY THOUGHTS.  Each of my weblogs links into the other six.

May something you read at any of my weblogs bless you.





I have completed “Reading Revelation.”  I have scheduled the remainder of “Reading the General Epistles” and all of “Reading Revelation” for publication at BLOGA THEOLOGICA, at the rate of one post per day, through October 21, 2021.


September 27, 2021 Common Era


Posted September 19, 2021 by neatnik2009 in Various Memories and Opinions

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Programming, Interrupting Commercials   Leave a comment


Once upon a time, when I had a head full of black hair and dinosaurs roamed the planet, I lived near Cordele, Georgia.  Cordele had a local, independent UHF television station.  I watched enough of that station’s output to realize that the shows interrupted the advertisements.  Even worse, most of these advertisements were, to be polite, homespun.

I have noticed the same issue becoming worse on YouTube in recent years.  The advertisements are not always well-produced either.  I enjoy certain YouTube channels.  One, in particular, consists of men exploring abandoned buildings and cemeteries in western Georgia and eastern Alabama.  I, being a student of history, enjoy old buildings and cemeteries.  Call me weird, if you choose, O reader.  The content is fascinating.  The irritating factor is that, every five minutes, an advertisement interrupts the video.

I used to listen to much music on YouTube.  I, being a Western classicist, am a natural music snob.  I attest that any genre of music that is neither classical nor jazz is inferior to them.  As I once said in reference to country music, it fits the technical definition of music.  And to quote Cynthia Tucker, of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, from some years ago,

Rappers would starve if they had to sing for their supper.

I may have insulted some sacred cows.  So be it.  (If I cannot express my opinions on my own weblogs, where can I express them?)  Anyhow, I used to listen to much music on YouTube.  I tired of advertisements interrupting sublimely beautiful music.

I can, of course, pay YouTube not to do this to me.  I refuse, on principle.  I refuse on the grounds that I should not have to pay people NOT to advertise to me.  The summary of my attitude toward 99.99 percent of advertising is,

Is it over yet?

Relentless advertising is an assault upon human dignity.  Your dignity, O reader, stems from you having a pulse and bearing the image of God.  So does my dignity.  My value–your value–is inherent; it has nothing to do with the ability and/or willingness to purchase or watch anything.

Here I stand.




Lost Potential and the Value of Life   3 comments

Above:  A Memorial Marker in Five Points, Athens-Clarke County, Georgia

Photograph Dated February 19, 2021

Photographer = Kenneth Randolph Taylor












MAY 22, 1916

NOVEMBER 16, 1922


I reside in the Five Points of Athens-Clarke-County.  Between one sidewalk and Lumpkin Street, across the street from a bakery, is a memorial marker one can easily miss if one does not look down and pay attention.

Martin Reynolds Smith died when he was six years old.  What might he have become, had he lived to adulthood?  What contributions might he have made to society?  How might he have affected the lives of others, for the better, overall, hopefully?

Life is precious and full of potential.  The memory of Martin Reynolds Smith persists, to the extend it does, because of a memorial marker in Five Points, Athens-Clarke County, Georgia.  In time, all of us–even the most famous people who have lived–will fade from living memory.  It will be as if we had never existed.  Walk through an old cemetery and pay attention, O reader.  Ponder how many or few people may care that those buried in that graveyard existed.  Notice that some grave markers are weathered and illegible.  Notice, too, that some graves have no markers.  Know that those lives had meaning.

Know, also, that your life has meaning, O reader.  Make it count for as much good as possible while you have breath.




Posted August 5, 2021 by neatnik2009 in Various Memories and Opinions

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Twelve Years of Blogging   4 comments

Above:  12

Image in the Public Domain


I created this weblog on July 27, 2009.

Today, therefore, at the beginning of my thirteenth year of being a blogger.

Little of the oldest content of SUNDRY THOUGHTS remains; I have put the vast majority of that content out of its misery.  I had little idea of what I was doing with this weblog, or how to do it, in the summer of 2009.  I have improved with time and practice, as one should strive to do in any endeavor.

Since July 27, 2009, I have spun off seven more weblogs from SUNDRY THOUGHTS and spun one of those back into its parent.  I have, of course, changed my mind regarding certain issues (some of them in the realm of theology).  I have not, however, undertaken to alter the germane posts.  No, I have decided to treat my weblogs as journals, documenting my thoughts as they were, at the time.  Harlan Ellison, one of the greatest writers (especially in science fiction) said on the Sci-Fi Channel in the middle-late 1990s that consistency requires one to be as uninformed as one was the previous year.  I have concluded that he was correct.

My next project here at SUNDRY THOUGHTS will be “new” saints with feast days in December.  I intend to return to A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days soon.  One ecclesiastical jurisdiction or another recognizes a few of my “new” saints for December.  However, most of the names on my list come from hymnals, mainly The Hymnal (1941), of the old Evangelical and Reformed Church.  Reading about the lives of hymn writers reveals some fascinating and useful stories.





Posted July 28, 2021 by neatnik2009 in Various Memories and Opinions

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A Strong Bias for the Practical   5 comments

Above:  Athens-Clarke County, Georgia

Image Source = Google Earth

Words and intentions interest me.  Indeed, words have power; the Epistle of James, for example, reminds us of that truth.  Intentions are relevant in many legal matters.  As much as words and intentions interest me, actions interest me more.  Therefore, I prefer to do something then say that I have done it, rather than proclaim my intention to do something, learn that I cannot do it, then announce that, sorry, I would have done it, except for circumstances beyond my control.

I live in Athens-Clarke County, Georgia.  Our local bypass is, informally, the Loop, for the obvious reason.

One evening, years ago, I was driving on the Loop.  Ahead of me was a vehicle that had its right turn signal on as it passed successive exits.  The right turn signal remained on between exits, too.  As I neared my exit, I activated my right turn signal then exited the Loop.  That other vehicle, with its right turn signal still on, remained on the Loop, without turning.  By the time I exited the Loop, I had ceased to believe the right turn signal.

As I drive, I pay attention to turn signals, of course.  However, I pay more attention to where vehicles go.  Some drivers turn without using turn signals, too.  I believe what people do.  I do not always believe what they say.

Consequences are about as practical as anything can be.  I recall that, years ago, there was a certain state representative from Athens who sponsored anti-abortion legislation.  (I dislike abortion as much as the next person who tries to respect the image of God in each human being.  I also recognize that certain strategies are more effective than others, while others are ineffective.)  I also recall that this legislation triggered another law–the law of unintended consequences.  I remember that this state law interfered with the malpractice insurance of certain health care professionals.    I also recall that the state representative refused to apologize for this unintended consequence.

May all of us live according to mutuality, compassion, respect, and love.  May we say what we mean, mean what we say, and try to avoid the law of unintended consequences.  May our words and actions not belie each other.  And, when we do trigger the law of unintended consequences, may we be remorseful.  Then may we act accordingly.




Posted July 23, 2021 by neatnik2009 in Various Memories and Opinions

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Confessions of a Detail-Oriented Geek and Pedant   3 comments

I am a geek and a pedant.

I have been a geek since early childhood.  I have also been detail-oriented and pedantic for as long as I can remember.  I have become more pedantic as I have aged.  I have, for example, developed the nearly-irresistible urge to hurl a copy of any edition of The Elements of Style (Strunk and White) at anyone who says,

The fact that….

And don’t get me started on ‘impact” (as a verb), “impacted,” and “impacting,” in the absence of physical contact.  The only people who have impacted me have punched me.  That was a long time ago, fortunately.  Many people have affected and influenced me, though.

Beginning a thought with, “so,” also annoys me.  Properly, “so” continues a thought.

One of my grandmothers taught English for nearly four decades.  She has continued to influence me beyond her grave.

I, as a geek, enjoy learning more about the topics of my geekiness.  Some of these topics are science fiction-related.  The Internet is replete with science fiction podcasts, most of which are not worth my time.  My two major complaints are:

  1. The hosts swear too much, and
  2. The hosts do not do their homework.

I may learn that I know more about the topic of the podcast episode in question than the hosts.  Then I know that continuing to listen to that podcast constitutes a waste of my time.  I can easily look up when an episode or serial aired in first run, for example.  I can also check to see who played which role.  Yet many podcast hosts do not bother to look up such details before recording.   Speaking out of one’s knowledge is superior to speaking out of one’s ignorance.  Podcasts in which the hosts say,

I don’t know,

too many times do not hold my attention.

I used to listen to a certain podcast about Star Trek:  Deep Space Nine.  I stopped listening to one episode about a minute after it started.  One host asked the other one if the main aliens were the Bajorans or the Pajorans.  (The answer is the Bajorans.)  Finding the answer to that question prior to recording was easy, but one of the hosts did not make the minimal effort to do so.

I do not object to an occasional, well-placed curse word.  Sometimes such language is appropriate and accurate.  However, when profanity becomes verbal wallpaper, the laziness of frequent cursing becomes evident.  And my mother raised me better than to swear as often as many people do.

My background as an educator informs my procedural bias for checking facts.  I know the importance of speaking as accurately as possible as often as possible.  I grasp why keeping one’s facts straight and one’s chronology in order is vital.  I bring this mindset to my hobbies, predictably.